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Reviews



  

Customer Written Item Reviews
 
Displaying 1 to 10 of 46 reviews
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Benjamin from Boston, MA 
May 29 2005 Rating: 4/5 Stars
Flogging Molly -Within A Mile Of Home CD
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Flogging Molly
Within A Mile Of Home CD

The problem with designating labels like "sellout" or "not punk enough" is that it is applied indiscriminately, bunching together both the true culprits (like Sum 41) and starving artists like Flogging Molly. This band was founded on famine, be it the Irish potato one or the modern-day creative one. The scrupulous listener could concoct a hefty list of crimes committed in Winthin A Mile Of Home, but in the end, it really doesn't matter much. The truth is that this kind of music is dying off, as major labels stuff their pockets with fresh booty from sales of 50 Cent and Mario Winans. It's certainly easy to scoff at the idea of a Celtic folk punk band; many efforts on this record to mix them together fall flat. But like so many other doomed races, the musicians in Flogging Molly have learned that the best chance for survival is through assimilation. It's times like these when one has to look past the fallibility of the songwriter and think what a horrible place the world would be without him.

Benjamin from Cincinnati, OH 
May 29 2005 Rating: 4/5 Stars
Briefs -Hit After Hit (Reissue) CD
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Briefs
Hit After Hit (Reissue) CD

During at least one outstanding show, the Dead Kennedys became a new wave band for a moment and performed "Pull My Strings," a song that parodied the Knack with lyrics like, "I'll make my music boring! I'll play my music slow." You get the feeling from Hit After Hit that the Briefs were at that show and derived their mantra from Biafra's wisdom. They go to extraordinary lengths to keep their music from being either boring or slow, with an almost self-destructive antipathy towards commercial rock 'n roll. "Silver Bullet" is the lynchpin of the album, a minute-long tirade against classic rock tyrant Bob Seger. That song alone explores several methods of violent incapacitation, a theme revisited throughout the record. Unlike most bands in the modern rock canon, though, the Briefs have no apparent agenda to fulfill, no grand enemy whose defeat would actually mean anything. Then again, those alienated punk rock kids probably won't give a damn. Hit After Hit has everthing they could possibly want from a band like this, and it won't try their patience in the least.

Benjamin from Boston, MA 
May 27 2005 Rating: 4/5 Stars
Avoid One Thing -Chopstick Bridge CD
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Avoid One Thing
Chopstick Bridge CD

If nothing else, the least you can do is feel pity for this band. They're all terribly modest, don't push other people around, just play like regular guys and sing about what regular guys they are. Avoid One Thing took some pretty heavy punches after their first record, and for this one they've had to start over from scratch with one less member and a new drummist. As though trying to make their lineup seem fuller, they've resorted to having Amy sing on a few tracks. Not that it's a bad thing, necessarily, but Chopstick Bridge often comes across as a cry for help. Some tracks are a bit too long, or the arrangements are fudged, but c'mon you guys. Musicians are people just like everyone else, and they have to get money for coffee somehow. Don't let anybody tell you there's only one good song here; the music has its merits and anyone can see that this band has some hardworking artists in its ranks.

Benjamin from Boston, MA 
May 27 2005 Rating: 5/5 Stars
Dead Kennedys -Give Me Convenience Or Give Me Death CD
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Dead Kennedys
Give Me Convenience Or Give Me Death CD

How unfortunate it is that they still call that punk-pop juggernaut the "Warped Tour" when the last truly warped band has long since disappeared. Yes, this is extremely twisted music, designed to skewer America like a stuck pig. Rarely do so-called "militant" bands in our time spew this much venom at such traditional targets. And what a shame that the Dead Kennedys spent so much of their creative energy lampooning the Cold War...but that's nitpicking, really. The music here is first-rate and the lyrics are, as one should expect, funny as all hell (which is to say that Hell really isn't all that funny when you think about it). After listening to this you may never find anything so sick, yet so easy to take.

Benjamin from Boston, MA 
May 27 2005 Rating: 5/5 Stars
Bad Brains -Banned In DC: Bad Brains Greatest Riffs CD
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Bad Brains
Banned In DC: Bad Brains Greatest Riffs CD

There really isn't anything left to say about Bad Brains that hasn't been said before, yet many people are still woefully ignorant about such an influential and idiosyncratic band. For anyone seeking a crash course in Bad Brains' music, this compilation has everything you need to get started. It's thorough and amazingly well-compiled, choosing not to rely heavily on one or two releases for standout tracks. Almost all selections were painstakingly extracted from the original vinyl recordings, presenting them as the band would prefer they be heard. The straight reggae songs are few and bunched together right in a row, but that doesn't detract at all from the listening experience. So go ahead and get this thing right now...or continue living your miserable existence wondering what you've missed. It's your choice.

Benjamin from Boston, MA 
May 27 2005 Rating: 5/5 Stars
Fugazi -13 Songs CD
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Fugazi
13 Songs CD

Hard as it is to believe that some people still don't know about this band, there is the off chance that you learned about "punk rock" through some blink-182 song on your local Top 40 station and didn't discover the truth until just yesterday. Well then, welcome to the real world. This right here is the album that defined the Fugazi sound and inspired countless imitators, as you've no doubt heard from some devoted fan speaking glowingly of Ian McKaye and the boys. It turns out all the rumors were true. The 13 Song compilation doesn't waste a single note on filler or imperfection. That said, it can also be frustrating for someone who wants a more expansive or mature sound from their records. In that case, try Red Medicine. There you'll find lots more experimentation, looser arrangements, and probably the only song that lets their bass player sing.

Benjamin from Boston, MA 
May 27 2005 Rating: 4/5 Stars
Henry Rollins -Get In The Van CD
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Henry Rollins
Get In The Van CD

There's already enough warnings on the site and the CD packaging to tell you this isn't a music recording. It is not, however, the book on tape you have been hearing about. Books on tape are categorically thick, heavy and expensive. This is what Henry calls a "talking record," which is really not that different from the live recordings of his speaking tours. Henry Rollins is a storyteller, plain and simple, and his stories are abundant. They're all related here by the "author" in his familiar furious way, putting more of an urgent spin on his tales than you find in the bland recitations of books on tape. Many of his stories are shocking, though not in the sense that usually applies to musicians of this kind. There's no sex, a painful scarcity of drugs, and surprisingly little rock 'n roll. "Get in the Van" can be ponderous and repetitive at times, but it's a fitting reminder that at one time long ago, people actually had to work to be famous.

Benjamin from Cincinnati, OH 
May 27 2005 Rating: 3/5 Stars
Hot Snakes -Suicide Invoice CD
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Hot Snakes
Suicide Invoice CD

Unlike the other stuff I've heard by the Rick Fork/John Reis crew, I found this album particularly difficult to stomach. It's not just that they play dissonant notes; Audit In Progress has plenty of those, but on that release they at least let Reis's guitar heroics in every once in a while to save the day. Suicide Invoice doesn't bring that crucial element into the mix until track 3, and it only pops back in at inopportune moments later on. If I didn't know any better, I'd say this was a slew of outtakes from the last Drive Like Jehu record, but the more likely explanation is that it's only an attempt to sound like a bunch of outtakes from a Drive Like Jehu record. In the grand scheme of things, this really isn't a magnificent work in the Swami catalog, although if you don't have any such works already, you should probably go ahead and get this one out of the way.

Benjamin from Boston, MA 
May 20 2005 Rating: 5/5 Stars
Sultans -Shipwrecked CD
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Sultans
Shipwrecked CD

The Sultans are like the ultimate Swami band; the members insist on going by assumed names, as if anybody actually cared, while their devotion to the San Diego music scene is unequivocal. "Shipwrecked" demonstrates this even better than its predecessor, as lead vocalist Slasher has chosen to abdicate bass responsibilities to a newbie in the wake of guitarist Black Flame's departure. The guitars on this album are less chugging than those of "Ghost Ship", while the song arrangements have gotten looser and longer. None of the above should disappoint fans, though, as the new sound clings like Saran wrap to the brash party dynamics of the debut. It goes to show that after four years' hiatus and a lineup change, the Sultans can still kick it.

Benjamin from Boston, MA 
May 20 2005 Rating: 4/5 Stars
Strike Anywhere -To Live In Discontent CD
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Strike Anywhere
To Live In Discontent CD

I first heard Strike Anywhere on the Rock Against Bush comp, and the title of this release alone is a heartening sign that someone is still fighting in the wake of the failed election. This is one of those things that can be accurately judged by their covers. It's explosive as bottled nitroglycerin, with all the energy needed to throw an SUV through the window of your nearest Wal-Mart. As a singles and rarities collection, though, it shines particularly brightly. The band decided to put it together with only two full albums under their belts, and the curtailed length adds much to its power. Strike Anywhere's characteristic screamo and melodic muscle are here in full force, though a full studio album is the best way to show those elements off.

 
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