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Askew Review 15

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SAFETY PINS- Steel Knives & Razorblades(Munster, Apdo. 18107-28080 Madrid-Spain)Seventeen good, sloppy, punk tunes. If you like D.O.A.’s Bloodied But Unbowed cd, you will enjoy this. Late 1970’s punk influenced. I liked it. - Denis Sheehan

 SAGE- Schizophrenic Confessions From A Murderous-Junkie-Prophet (1612 Oretha C, Haley Blvd. New Orleans, LA 70113) Over fifty-two minutes of intensely grooved rage rock which combines Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails. Most of the songs are fiercely jammed into your ears with angrily sung vocals and music that will scare you just as much as it will please you. Some of the tunes are slower, but they are still good. I have no idea who Sage is, but they are pretty upset at the entire world.  - Denis Sheehan

SCREECHING WEASEL- Beat On The Brat (Panic Button) Originally recorded in 1992, this cover of The Ramones first album is finally available on cd. It had only been available in vinyl form and was very limited. Screeching Weasel covers The Ramones first album, but add a little of their own flavor to it. The songs are a little quicker than the original and some new lyrics are included. The last four songs are SW originals that appeared on the Formula 27 EP. I love SW and I love The Ramones, so I guess you know what I think of this cd. I love it. One of my favorites!- Denis Sheehan

SCREECHING WEASEL- Thank You Very Little (Panic Button) This two cd set offers up 51 songs and almost 2 full hours of demo tracks, outtakes, covers, songs from limited compilations and eps, and live material from 1986-1999. Disc one is loaded with a variety of Screeching Weasels’ signature punk rock including “I Hate Old Folk,” a song from bands first demos tape recorded in 1986. Also on disc one; some outtakes and practice takes from different cd recording sessions, a few covers of DOA songs (Fuck You, The Prisoner), and few other early demo tracks. Disc two is made up of live material. The sound quality is not pristine, but it does sound better than most of the live bootlegs I’ve heard. The majority of this disc is a full-length show recorded in Philadelphia on March 20, 1993. Since SW isn’t planning any touring dates (as far as I know), this disc will do nicely. This is the essential SW collection and a lot more comprehensive than their other comp cd “Kill The Musicians.” This is a must for any and all SW fans, and highly recommended to those who haven’t heard of Screeching Weasel. The cover of DOA’s “Fuck You” is great, as is most of the disc! Go get it. – Denis Sheehan

SCREECHING WEASEL- Emo (Panic Button) Twelve new, and different sounding, punk tunes form Screeching Weasel that will surprise you. These songs are unlike any SW songs you have ever heard.  Ben’s vocals sound like he is singing live and sometimes sound strained, but this is the most passionate he has sounded in years. The songs don’t sound the least bit polished which makes this disc sound even better. Jughead also brings some new and interesting guitar playing aboard. The songs are fast, catchy, and raw. “Static” is the song of the century with it’s cutting guiatrs, in your face vocals, and drums that pound you into the dirt. Very cool cover of The Cranberries “Linger” as well. Emo may piss some SW fans off, but I’m sure this disc will make a lot of new SW fans out of people. This is definitely one of SWs best discs. Buy this one. -Denis Sheehan  

7SECONDS- Scream Real Loud (Side One Dummy) I often find that live  recordings of hardcore/punk bands fail to capture the intense energy felt while attending such shows. Wow, does this cd blow that away. First, a little about the band; 7Seconds is a great punk band that has been around since the early 80s; enough said. The sound on this disc captures what is like to be at a punk show, minus the flying bodies and smell of course. The music is loud, but not so loud that it overwhelms the cheering and singing crowd. I know the music is what’s most important, but the crowd definitely adds some punked out atmosphere to the disc. Singer Kevin Seconds even takes a great, albeit quick, shot at Limp Bizkit. Some of the songs here; “Not Just Boy’s Fun,” “Ghost,” “You Lose,” “Here We Go Again, Kids,” and even a punk cover of Nena’s “99 Red Balloons.” Twenty-six songs long and not a disappointing or relaxed second! Recorded live at the Troubadour in Hollywood, April 29, 2000. Great stuff even if you’re not a 7Seconds fan! – Denis Sheehan

78 RPMS-Go Ep (Dill Record, POB 347388, San Francisco, CA 94134)Great six song ska disc. I’m not a ska fan, but this disc is very cool. Fast moving songs that don’t let up. Not too much horn work either. ”The Longest Way Home” is one of the best ska tunes I’ve ever heard. You don’t have to be a ska fan to like this one. - Denis Sheehan

 SEVENTEEN-Ransom Your Handsome (Risky Music, 18 Morse Lane, Hopkinton, MA 01748) Seventeen plays the same type of intense punk rock that Iggy Pop is famous for. However, they had a certain flair to their music which enables it to stand alone and be appreciated for it’s refreshing sound. The tempo of the music is generally fast, but they are so melodic and catchy you have no choice but to become addicted to it’s unique sound. Nothing negative can be said about this debut seven song cd/ep. Seventeen might just be the next big thing to storm Boston. –Denis Sheehan

SLOJACK- Get There From Here (Silver Lake Records)  I kinda like the name Slojack.  Reminds me of a retarded version of Kojak, but I’m not sure if that’s what they were actually going for.  I felt a certain warmth when I read on their press sheet that they were influenced by the Kinks, the Who and Social Distortion.  This warmth spread like a pee stain on a drunk’s crotch when I went on to read that “they integrate Hank Williams’ despair with Iggy Pop’s ‘lust for life’.”  Then I had to go and ruin everything by actually listening to it.  Get There From Here serves up 12 tracks in all, most of which are standard bar band numbers or sentimental ballads.  While I’d be lying if I said I thought it sucked, I’d also be lying if I told you it got me excited.  Their hearts seem to be in the right place, but the warm piss stain I was looking for has turned out to be nothing more than a strategically unlucky water splash on the pants while washing up at the sink.  –Ben Hunter

THE STATUE FACTOR- A Mission Of Five (band website) Ah yes, once again The Statue Factor has thrown me for a loop. This is one tough band to review. Luckily, I really like this disc so I will take on the challenge of reviewing this disc. The music is a beautiful blend of rock with punk influences, an organ which gives it a late 60’s psychedelic flavor, searing guitar riffs, rhythmic bass and drums, and a feeling of intensity to wrap it all up into an enjoyable ball of music. All that music is nicely brought together by Joseph Coelho’s vocals. This is a cool Boston area band with an addictive, unique sound. Check them out!- Denis Sheehan

SPECIMEN X- The Final Hour. (band website) Not many bands can successfully pull off walking the fine line between alternative rock and heavy metal while keeping things interesting, but this Boston area band does so in the most entertaining way. The song’s tempos intensely combine hard rock and metal, which is powered by a little funk to make it all sound “groovy.” These guys remind me of Faith No More and Pantera, but Specimen-X adds a more melodic madness to their sound. Singer Sean Gallagher is able to lure you into a false sense of security with his softly sung ballad type vocals, only to scare the hell out of you when he loses his mind and rips your head off. The first song “Alienated,” is a perfect example of Gallagher’s vocal style as he and the band pull you into the disc for one wild ride. I was also impressed with Jim Dillon’s wide range of guitar playing. I think “Submerged” is the best here, but the entire disc is very cool.- Denis Sheehan

STEREOTYPERIDER- Fairweather Fan (Sunset Alliance, POB 31596, Phoenix, AZ 85046) For the most part, this 8 song CD had me rocking out! Dave Aionaking, Mike Upsahl, Anthony Germinaro, and Shane Addington twist together some intricate rhythms and tight jams. "Gone" starts off the CD with a fuzzy bass groove and searing guitar attack. Add to this the drumming, which was more akin to a freight train than a percussive instrument! The vocals are very dynamic, running the spectrum from the melodic to an all out screamfest! You can't help but bop your head to it. Other outstanding tracks include "Destination" and "Truth Decay". The former is riddled with ringing guitar notes building into a deliciously full texture, very reminiscent of early 90's or late 80's alternative bands like U2, or earlier 80's acts like A Flock of Seagulls! The other five songs did not really impress me as they kind of droned on or seemed to lack a certain musical cohesiveness to set them apart from just a bunch of noise. Also, at times the lyrics are a bit sophomoric. Not so much that they were immature, but they just seemed to employ a liberal use of forced rhymes and naivety in subject matter. But to their credit, nothing was any more immature than your typical Green Day song. They did redeem themselves creatively with a hidden track recorded backwards! I'm not sure if it was a new one or perhaps "Destination" in reverse?- Tony Gerardi

THROWIN’ FISTS- Keep The Change (KPM Records, POB 3101, Kearny, NJ 07032) “Hey, you should check out my friend’s band.  They’re really good!”  Anybody ever said this to you?  I’ve found, with the exception of one time (and that was when I was introduced to the late, great Penis Fly Trap, one of Boston’s most underrated ensembles), that while the “friend’s band” usually has its heart in the right place, the music itself just lacks something.  Enter Throwin’ Fists, a group that strikes me as a perfect example of somebody’s- anybody’s- friend’s band.  You can tell by the oftentimes-thoughtful lyrics (specifically on the heartbreakingly sweet “2497,” a song sung from a father to a child he wishes he could see more) that these guys mean well on this 16-song disc.  They play mid-tempo punk rock that certainly isn’t bad, but it just seems to be missing any sort of edge.  I hear good intentions in the straining monotone of the lead vocalist, but that doesn’t change the fact that he really doesn’t sing very well.  From their liner notes and press kit, I can tell these guys really love playing together, especially the great camaraderie that comes from being in a band.  And while “Keep The Change” really doesn’t do much for me, I hope they continue to play for a long time, if only to prolong the obvious joy they get from being Throwin’ Fists. –Ben Hunter

 TILT- Viewers Like You (Fat Wreck Chords, POB 193690, San Francisco, CA 94119-3690) Good old-fashioned punk rock with not so old-fashioned female vocals. Cinder Block, the female singer, can really sing and has a great voice. She can belt out the notes and just as easily turn into a snotty sounding punker. Yes, Cinder impressed the hell out of me. Oh, the band is pretty cool too. “Pious” is one hell of a toe tapper, and “Mama’s Little Man” is a hilarious satirical look at a mother bragging about her racist son. Great disc. – Denis Sheehan

TILT- Been Where?  Did What? (Fat Wreck)  Goddamn, there’s a lot of shit to digest here!  Been Where? Did What?  is a 22-song retrospective of stuff Tilt has put out over the last 10 years.  It’s got early demos, album outtakes and a few covers.  Not having heard any previous Tilt releases, I admit I’m coming into this a bit uninformed, but I’ll plow on ahead anyhow.  In one sense, Tilt reminds me of a modern day version of X (in fact, they even cover X’s “It’s Who You Know”).  Cinder Block, the only woman on Fat Wreck’s artist roster, has a distinctive, at times sultry, voice and the music itself strikes a nice balance between punk and straight-ahead rock.  The lyrics are generally pretty good and contain a lot of defiant put downs aimed at a wide variety of sleazers.  I give ‘em bonus points for their creative renditions of “Carmen San Diego” and “Dukes of Hazzard Theme.”  That said, I think I would’ve liked it even more if they had done the standard blast punk treatments these songs are crying out for.  (The other day I was thinking about bands that always seemed to do really excellent covers- this is bands aside from “pros” like Me First- and I think the Dickies were without a doubt one of the best.  And as unhip as it may be to say so, I think Evan Dando, either with or without the Lemonheads, always had an excellent feel for covers.  I’d love to hear what they would’ve done with the songs mentioned above).  Been Where? Did What? has its fair share of cool moments and also some stuff that drags (maybe there was a good reason some of the outtakes were left off the original albums after all).  If you like Tilt’s previous releases, I have a feeling you’d probably like this, and Been Where? Did What? gives me half a mind to see what the other stuff sounds like. –Ben Hunter  

 TOTAL CHAOS- In God We Kill (Cleopatra Records, 13428 Maxella Ave #251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292) Uninspired, anthem like punk rock with way too many guitar solos. – Denis Sheehan

 TOXIC NARCOTIC- 89-99 (Rodent Popsicle Records, POB 335, Newton Center, MA 02459) Holy Boston hardcore Batman! Nineteen old school, hardcore punk rock tunes so vicious it will make your ears bleed. The music is faster than President Clinton chasing after an intern, and the vocals are of the screaming, raspy variety. Even thought the music is insanely fast, each song has it’s own sound and is very melodic. As far as the drumming, it is some of the best hardcore drumming I have heard in a very long time. Old schoolers take note!- Denis Sheehan

 TREE- Our Day Will Come (WonderDrug, POB 995, Boston, MA 02123) This is Tree’s first studio cd in a couple of years and believe me when I say it’s well worth the wait. Tree continues to pump out some of today’s greatest punk rock. The music will knock the pictures off your walls while River’s intensely sung lyrics will make you think of today’s society and environment. “Pesticide” deals with all the chemicals that we are breathing, eating, and drinking and “Burning Seed” is about the lingering affects of war. Tree never ceases to amaze and gets better with every disc. Allow Tree to take root in your brain. You will not regret it. - Denis Sheehan

TSUNAMI BOMB- The Invasion from Within (Tomato Head Records/Band Site) Hmm, perplexing six song, fifteen-minute cd to say the least. Highly energetic poppy punk with great, and I mean great, female lead vocals. The cd starts with the rambunctious “The Invasion From Within” that powerfully primes you for the next five tunes. Even better is “No One’s Looking,” which has a great 70’s female led punk sound. The dueling female/male vocals heard in “No Good Very Bad Day” will git yer blood pumping quicker than you can say “transfusion!” On the negative side, although original sounding, the keyboards add a “Phantom of the Opera” feel. That annoyed me. On the plus side, the music is fast and cool enough to make you forget the keyboards. Vocalist Agent M is the newest member on my list of “punk babes I would happily cross a den of hungry wolves wearing raw steak underwear only to sniff the tires of the truck that brings her dirty cloths to the laundry matte.” Oh, keyboardist Oobliette is worthy of a tire sniff or two as well. Cool disc. – Denis Sheehan

 UNCLE HO- Small is Beautiful (Risk Records, 7080 Hollywood Blvd Suite 302, Hollywood, CA 90028) This trio from Germany play that rap/metal type of music, but they do so in their own special way. The twelve tunes consist of mostly fast spoken rap lyrics accompanied by hard rock instruments. If I were going to compare them to any band, it would be The Beastie Boys. However, these guys aren’t as sloppy sounding and get the music across without screaming the lyrics and repeating the same three words over and over. The fifth cut, “Can’t Lick This,” is my favorite here with it’s catchy chords and melodies. Oh, the singer speaks perfect English, so you would never know that Uncle Ho is German band.- Denis Sheehan 

U.S. BOMBS- The World (Hellcat, 2798 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026) This band is pure street punk. If you enjoy The Dropkick Murphy's as much as I do, you will buy this cd. It's worth the money because these guys are great. Street punk speaks for it’s self, so if you're into it you should buy it. There are no complaints from me. – Brian Clark

 THE VELVETEENS- Marveline (Derailleur Records, POB 10276, Columbus, OH 43201) Ten pop rock tunes with folk influence. The vocals are a beautiful combination of the Alwood sisters, Amy and Meagan. The songs are both fast and slow with some great guitar work. These girls are harder than The Indigo Girls, but softer than Veruca Salt. “Antiguard” deserves plenty of attention. Very nice disc. – Denis Sheehan

WEDGIE- Include Your Enemies (band site) If you’re into bands from indie labels such as Fat Wreck, Honest Don’s, and Lookout, you’ll love Wedgie. This powerful trio out of Rhode Island packs a cool sound of raw garage pop punk with one mean sounding guitar. These guys nicely weave a pop punk sound with a guitar that often strays into the sound of hard rock and even metal. The intro to “Tube Truth” would make Rob Zombie drool until the songs turns into a pure slam dance of a punk tune. To put it in culinary terms, Wedgie throws punk, rock, and a touch of metal into a blender and purees it with catchy hooks and melodies. Go get yourself a wedgie you won’t soon forget!- Denis Sheehan

 WESLEY WILLIS- Greatest Hits Vol. 2 (Alternative Tentacles) Looking for a collection of truly bazaar spoken word “songs”? This is it. Wesley shoves his incredible, and often out of this world, poetry down your throat. The spoken word is recited with a band playing some pretty cool jazz/rock music. At times, Wesley sings his words, but he is not a singer at all. This guy doesn’t hold back on anything. His words will cut through you like a knife. “Frogs,” “Amy,” and “Girls On Film” are more hard core (music wise) than the rest. Hey, there is even a tribute song to Jello Biafra. This cd is by far the most interesting and fun disc I have heard in a very long time. Check it out.- Denis Sheehan

 THE UNDEAD-Till Death (Post Mortem, POB 358, New Milford, NJ 07646) Here we have the latest from ex-Misfit Bobby Steele. All the songs are a combination of the old Misfits sound (go figure) and the soundtrack to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The songs incorporate a 60’s garage rock sound similar to the sound heard on The Misfit’s Legacy Of Brutality album. The vocal tracks are recorded with an echo sound to them, but are enjoyable nonetheless. I liked this disc. -Denis Sheehan


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