Classic National CD Reviews

Share this:Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0

All or Nothing HC
Search for the Strength
On the Rag Records
There should be more females in hardcore. As much as I eat, sleep and breathe the ‘core (and listen to it literally 12 hours a day), it seems like a bunch of sweaty, shirtless dudes in a man-only mosh pit is rather gay. All or Nothing HC’s Renae Bryant is smart, opinionated and a great screamer. I admire her lyrics for making the female perspective more understandable to us stupid males. Particularly in the song “Knife to My Neck,” which is about a brutal sexual assault she endured several years ago. Musically, All or Nothing HC are upbeat yet thrashing, like Uniform Choice or Skins Brains & Guts-era 7 Seconds. The recording on Search for the Strength is fucking raw and sounds live, just as any self-respecting DIY hardcore band would have it. (Issue 169: 01/2003) –Dave Barratt

The Black Keys
The Moan EP
Alive Records
For those people who have still not discovered the bombastic sounds of The Black Keys, I shake my head in disgust. The Keys combine the perfect sounds of deep-South-homegrown-delta blues with 70s Detroit rock n’ roll thunder. Having released two masterpiece albums full of their hybrid blues rock compositions, the Keys decided to release a catchy EP of four songs and two new songs, so to speak. “Heavy Soul” was released on their first album. On this EP, it is a more raw alternate version. “Have Love Will Travel” was on their second disc, but it is presented again, more stripped-down. “The Moan” is a song that had seen the light of day on a split 12” but had been recorded live. On this EP, “The Moan” is the actual recorded studio version, which showcases the tightness between the guitar player and the drummer in their song structures. “No Fun” is a cover of The Stooges, classic, which is amazing to hear as a souped-up blues rock nugget. Having this EP take its place among the two Keys discs is to have the complete music catalog from the band, which is a worthwhile addition to any music lover’s collection. Feast on some down-home cooking at www.totalenergy.com. (Issue 185: 05/2004) –Kevlar7

Bob Log III
School Bus
Fat Possum
Due to the vast beehive network occupied by SLUG headquarters, the name Bob Log has passed through these hallowed pages in the past. He has recorded previous works under the name Doo Rag in partnership with his pots, pans and corrugated-cardboard box percussionist Thermos Malling. Doo Rag actually paid a visit to the capitol city to perform a concert the apathetic residents skipped. Tucson, Arizona is the location from which the maimed delta blues of both Bob Log and Doo Rag emanates. Due to unknown circumstances, the esteemed Bob Log added “III” to his name and ventured forth to Oxford, Mississippi searching for a recording experience in the heart of his influence. A holler, a shout and an exceptionally underdeveloped talent with the electric slide guitar are preserved for the rumored decade-long lifespan represented by the resulting compact disc. Log III is the multi-instrumentalist. Astoundingly enough, he supplied all the drum, guitar and vocal portions and composed the pieces. In one case he is aided by background vocals from Pancakes. In trying times such as these, Bob Log III uses a yellow short-bus metaphor while attempting information dissemination by expressing unpopular views, “I Want Your Shit On My Leg,” for example. He states the obvious results in the venomous anti-war anthem, “All Rockets Go Boom.” “Duck Back Down” furthers the message as a “Big Ass Hard On” follows, instead of preceding “Fire In the Hole.” Lacking a powerful voice, our friend Bob Log III uses the common megaphone method. This is not “come out of the house with your hands up.” This is information dissemination from the other side of the tracks. Street preaching, grandstanding and gathering the flock to a soapbox, this is the way of Bob Log III. Don’t worry—he won’t visit the capitol city anytime soon. It is impossible to convert the brainwashed using simple recordings. Corporate radio, corporate press and corporate video broadcast have brought the New World Order to pass. After the apocalypse, Bob Log III will receive recognition. (Issue 117: 09/1998) –Jam

Bouncing Souls
Johnny X 7 inch
BYO Records
So, after listening to the previous stack, I found the Bouncing Souls at the bottom. Thinking that some extra energy was required before slapping the vinyl on the turntable, I snorted a gram of West Valley City crank. Gnawing furiously at my lip and smoking five cigarettes in the three minutes both sides of this record lasted, I found the band to be a throwback to the past. They play so fast that moshing is impossible. Stage diving at a Bouncing Souls show would involve changing into a bit-mapped icon and moving way beyond the speed of sound. Place this one in the “good” stack. (Issue 87: 03/1996) –Riley Puckett

The Circle Jerks
Oddities, Abnormalities and Curiosities
Mercury Records
Let’s say you were a Southern California punk rock band who had labored for years with little financial reward. All of a sudden, the kid down the street you taught to play guitar is moving out of the neighborhood because of his new millionaire status. Then an A&R guy from a mega-corp record company knocks on your door and offers you the chance to make another record. It’s been six or seven years since your last one came out. What do you do? If you are a member of the Circle Jerks, you sign on the dotted line. This review is of an advance cassette. The actual CD comes out in late June. No information on who is currently in the Circle Jerks was included, and my attempts to gain an interview with any member of the band were stymied by record company red tape. What you see is what you get. Oddities, Abnormalities and Curiosities is currently my pick for the best punk record of 1995. (That status could easily be changed if I get a free copy of the Bad Brains CD in the near future.) The Circle Jerks were one of the founding members of the California punk scene. Remember the seminal movie Decline of Western Civilization? They were in it. From the sound of this tape they have retreated to old Sex Pistols records and forsaken their California past. If you managed to catch Texass when they were in town a couple of months ago, the sound is similar. The year is 1977, and England has taken the Ramones as their own—of course, with a few changes. It’s three-chord punk rock with lovable, grating vocals. If they come to town, don’t expect to mosh or even slam. Worming and pogo-ing are acceptable both at home and at whatever venue these guys play. An incredible album from some old timers who were always one of my favorites anyway, Oddities, Abnormalities and Curiosities receives five SLUGs to the face—the highest rating possible. (Issue 78: 06/1995) –WA

Discount
Ataxia’s Alright Tonight
7 Sixty Records
So I gave this my three-song test. Basically it’s the judge of everything under five bucks. It has three songs to get me interested or I’m outta there. I think if Discount were an opening band I might enjoy them, but I would never stay if they were headlining a show. They’re not horrible or anything. As a matter of fact they have a ‘spunkiness,’ but for the most part the only thing that stands out about them is the fact that they’ve got a female lead singer who can do this J Church sort of thing well. The recording quality sucks, though, and it’s hard to tell if the band’s any good at playing their friggin’ instruments. The good news is they don’t annoy me. (Issue 106: 10/1997) –Sausage King

Fugazi
The Argument
Dischord Records
If ever there was an award for a band that actually gets better and better with each release, then Fugazi definitely takes the prize. The Argument follows in the same musical styles and compositions as Fugazi’s last two discs, End Hits and Red Medicine. They develop the artistic and engaging fulfillment of building melodies and complex arrangements that build to loud crescendos of noise and fury. This disc, as well as their last two, is a fine example of an independent band that has been around for a long time and through those years have become committed in creating musical masterpieces. (Issue 156: 10/2001) –Kevlar7

Hepcat
Right On Time
Hellcat Records
I can remember when both City Weekly hacks ridiculed the Deseret News’ Vice for predicting that ska was the future of music. How do you kids feel now that ’97 proved Vice correct? The platinum-selling ska of ’97 wasn’t true ska so maybe the pulphacks were correct. When searching for actual ska, Hepcat is the one and only name. “Right On Time” begins the latest release in such soulful fashion that I suddenly realized American R&B was the cornerstone of early ska. If all that speed and punk rock shit is desired, skank really fast by Hepcat on to Buck-O-Nine. Hepcat’s rhythms are breezy, the horns are laid back, the vocals are soulful patios, the guitar is fat and the bass/drums are live. “Pharaoh’s Dreams” is an instrumental featuring Deston Berry on the keyboards and if the influence of American swing isn’t felt by the time the tune is complete, Hepcat follows it up with “No Worries.” The horns are swinging without a doubt, (or is that no doubt?) but the rhythm section keeps the back beat ska. Make no mistake, this isn’t third-wave ska—Hepcat’s version is so close to the reggae border that third wavers won’t cross to discover the Harry Belafonte take-off that closes “Rudies All Around.” Harry Belafonte? Didn’t ska spend some time in bed with calypso? “Tommy’s Song” is another instrumental and Kincaid Smith (trumpet), and either Aarone Owene (guitar) or Lino Trujille (guitar) step out to strut the breaks before the rest of the band joins in. The vast majority of today’s current punk-ska bands qualify as good-time music. Hepcat is so far above the pack—these cats even do doo-wop on ”Together Someday.” Call it roots if you must. To me, Right On Time is the direction. It’s a beautiful recording. Buy Right On Time and ingrain it into your membrane. (Issue 109: 01/1998) –Batty Bread

Integrity
INTEGRITY 2000
Victory Records
Although the life philosophy of Dwid leaves me alternating between cringing and chuckling, I have always admired the massive musical onslaught of his band. In fact, I would dare say that over the years, Integrity has been one of the most influential bands in the Victory style. Their unabashed utilization of metal influences allows them to brandish one of the biggest, harshest and most evil sounds ever produced in hardcore. With the world on the brink of a new millennium and doomsday pundits worldwide getting more and more attention, Dwid has unleashed the latest incarnation of the band called Integrity—a group primed to revel in the destruction of the world. The new CD is definitely the most balls-to-the-wall and in-your-face chunk rage Integrity has ever made. For the most part, 2000 is faster, harsher and more twisted than any of its predecessors. Fans of the band (and Victory-core in general) should be totally satisfied. Even fans of more extreme sounds like grind and power violence will be appreciative. This is a keeper. (Issue 126: 06/1999) –Jeb Branin

Lil’ Wayne
Lights Out
Cash Money Records
I fucking hate censored promos, man! Lil’ Wayne mobs with the Cash Money crew, who just had a mini-hit with that stooped “project B*tch” song. Lil’ tries to keep it ree-yo by rockin’ it old school, rapping mostly about slangin’ and bangin’. Takes me back to the gory daze of the Ghetto when a brotha was more likely to be shot for his Nikes than become a millionaire gangsta rapper. The coolest thang is that nobody gets killed on this disc. Being only eighteen, the deepest knowledge he drops is on the classic track “Get Off the Corner.” He gets into a few jiggy grooves, but mostly the beats are meatless and the samples wack. It’s obvious that Cash Money didn’t fork the cheese they did for B.G.’s disc. Might’ve done better to bring something a lil’ shorter and phatter. (Issue 146: 02/2001) –Shame Shady

Madlib
Shades of Blue: Madlib Invades Blue Note
Blue Note
Madlib repents jazz for the new generation. Following up countless projects with different groups like Lootpack or Yesterday’s New Quintet and under different guises like Quassimoto, Joe McDuphrey and Dudley Perkins, Madlib gives us his take on jazz culture by remixing his favorite tracks from the legendary Blue Note label catalog. Madlib’s production style is simultaneously raw and polished and remains unique and experimental while staying true to the originals. The superior quality of this modern soul music is hard to find these days and the crossover appeal is enough for me to recommend this to anyone interested in jazz, hip-hop or soul. (Issue 178: 10/2003) –J-Russ

MF Doom
MF Doom’s “Special Herbs” Vol. 4
Metal Face Records/Nature Sounds
Take three teaspoons of the freshest samples, add a bundle of snares and kicks, two pounds of strings, a dollop of piano loops and a pinch of bass for flavor…and voila, you have the recipe for making classic wax. It’s a recipe that MF Doom has been following since his days as a member of the dynamic duo known as KMD. His latest release is another collection of beats from past classics and new tracks not yet released, as well as a remastered version of Vol. 3. All 16 instruments vary, ranging from the extreme changeups on “Star Anis” to the cypha-inviting piano and bass loops found on “Arigmony.” For crowd participation, Victor also takes the effects his tracks will have on you after listening. So, take some “Lemon Grass” for your psychic powers, a little “Arabic Gum” for purification, top it off with the sedative powers of “Spikernard” for your health, and call me in the morning. Finally, an album guaranteed to make the breakers break, the emcees spit, the graff writers bomb, and DJs study. Whether you’re a fan of MF Doom or not, this album is worth checking out, no matter what your musical taste. (Issue 183: 03/2004) –Keegan

Nirvana
From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah
DGC
I saw Nirvana a long time ago in San Diego. Everyone left the show saying how it was the coolest show and Nirvana was the best of the bands that night. I was silent, so as to avoid an argument. That is because they sucked. Lo and behold, the very show I saw is on this record. December 1991 at the DelMar Fairgrounds with Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved Nevermind, but this was not a good band live. They were sloppy, out of time and had shitty vocals. This record proves it—regardless of what the idiot ex-bass player thinks of the ‘ultimate allure’ of Nirvana. (Issue 94: 10/1996) –Sean

Nirvana
Nevermind
David Getten Company
All the promise of Bleach is fulfilled on the new Nirvana album. The single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” is only the beginning as the record takes off with lightning speed and rarely slows down to let the listener catch a breath. Can you keep up with Nirvana? They put you to the test on this one. All the elements that made the first album so great are here again: raunchy guitar licks, steady bass and drum throbs accompanied by vocals that range from soft and melancholic to screaming bursts of energy. Nirvana stretches one’s sense of rock music to its limits, adding unconventional lyrics and guitar sounds to a conventional genre. This album isn’t contrived by any means. From the first song to the final fade-out, this album takes on a life of its own, with the band in tow. Nevermind also shows a more vulnerable side of Nirvana, with the balladesque feel of “Polly” and “Something In The Way” complete with a cello line in the background that adds a new dimension to Nirvana’s music. Don’t be alarmed though. These aren’t typical rock ballads like Motley Crew and Guns ‘N’ Roses spew out on nubile young females with an excess of hormones. There’s sincerity and hopelessness wrapped up in these songs, and a reason for them being on the record not just to fill space, but to express another aspect of Nirvana. If you missed Nirvana live this past summer in Salt Lake, you may not have a feel for the energy level this band creates live—so hold it. If Nevermind is your first encounter with Nirvana, then check out the grungier garage sounds of Bleach to find out where thesecrack-smokin’-fudge-packin’-satan-worshippin’ motherfuckers came from. (Issue 35: 11/1991) –M

Pixies
Trompe Le Monde
4AD/Elektra
If they haven’t yet, the Pixies are bound to conquer le monde with their new album. Trompe Le Monde is their strongest record since the duo of Surfer Rosa/Come On Pilgrim, with a perfect blend of grungy guitars and vocals worked into the slick studio production that detracted from Doolittle and Bassanova. The energy and frenzy of the Pixies’ live performance is captured on this disc. Trompe Le Monde finds the Pixies branching out, blending the influences of heavy metal, hardcore and alternative rock with trademark Pixies sounds. This diversity broadens the band’s musical appeal, while they make out-and-out gut-wrenching rock n’roll. Black Francis seems even more psychotic as he sings through effects than he doesstraight singing. The strange and weird world of the Pixies is still very much with us as Francis sings lines like “Jefrey with one f Jeffery” or in the mock send-up of rock underground culture, “Subbacultcha,” “I was looking handsome/she was looking like an erotic vulture/I was all dressed in black/she was all dressed up in black.” Somehow the lyrics fit the feel of the songs, especially when delivered in Francis’ half-singing/half-screaming vocals, as if he needs to shout to get his point across. Needless to say, when Black Francis wants to make a point, one is inclined to sit up and listen. One of the highlights of the new record is a ripping version of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Head On.” It fits with the context of the album and sounds as though the Pixies wrote it themselves. Their version puts the excitement back into the song that seems to be dying with The Chain. Sadly missing from Trompe Le Monde is Kim Deal’s presence. She’s so far in the background that she’s hardly noticeable. Maybe this is due to the strength of her side project The Breeders. This record is bound to “fool the world” into loving the Pixies and embracing them for the musical leaders they are. Liberte! Egalite! Fraternite! Les Pixies! (Issue 35: 11/1991) –Matt

Rancid
…And Out Come The Wolves
Epitaph
The only reason this record made the stiff sheet is because I am a fan of old N.Y. punk rock. I AM NOT a Rancid fan. Scratch that. I didn’t used to be a Rancid fan. Now, unfortunately, I have to join forces with all the other hacks that are praising this band. …And Out Come the Wolves is one of the better records of the year. Best punk record of the year? Abso-fucking-lutely. I must apologize to all the other punk bands that released records this year. There were many great ones, but Rancid’s kicks everyone’s ass. From the opening lines of “Maxwell Murder,” “Dial 999 if you really want the truth/…\he ain’t Jack the Ripper, he’s your ordinary crook” to the semi-punk/ska “Time Bomb,” Rancid stays on track and never disappoints. Even when they go in and out of varied song styles, they sound fresh and listenable. This is no shit, if you blow this record off as “another punk album” you’re an idiot. These 19 songs capture every possible feeling imaginable. “Junkie Man,” “Old Friend,” “She’s Automatic”—this record has it all. Need I say more? If so, read this review again from the start. (Issue 81:09/1995) – Mr. Pink

The Reverend Horton Heat
Spend A Night In The Box
Time Bomb Records
What can I say about the Reverend that I haven’t bragged, idolized, worshipped, totally been left on my hands and knees drooling, barking and howling like a rabid dog for his holy self, before in the past? He is the new king of rock n’roll. All bow down and worship in praise for the glory of the Rev. I own everything this man and his band have done on disc. He is solely responsible for getting me into the whole rockabilly and psychobilly scene. He has five albums that give testimony to the power and fury of his music. He started on the label Sub Pop and then moved to Interscope, which he has now left behind for the Time Bomb label. The label has Mike Ness, The Amazing Crowns, No Knife, and Social Distortion on their roster. So I know you’re asking, “How is it, is it any good?” In response I say, “Fuck yeah!” The Rev has gone back to the more traditional sounds of his first two records Smoke ‘Em If You Got Em and The Full Custom Gospel Sounds, steering away from the more psychobilly sounds of the Interscope records. That doesn’t mean the knee-slapping humor is gone. “Sue Jack Daniel” keeps me chuckling every time I listen to it. “The Girl in Blue” has a good blues sound to it. The chorus on “Hand it to Me” is for the latter-day alcoholics out there. Lust is the theme on, “I’ll Make Love”—my favorite anthem. Stand-up bass thumper Jimbo and drummer Scott Churilla plays in top form, giving the Rev a solid platform to stand upon. The album’s 14 tracks burn with hell-fire as the Rev attempts to get the listener to see the light of salvation. His motto of course being, I was a sinner until I saw the Reverend, and now I’m going straight to Hell. I can bare my soul and testify to all that I’ve been baptized by the hymns of the Rev and now I’m a goner. Yeh-hah!!! (Issue 136: 04/2000) –Kevlar7

River City Rebels
No Good, No Time, No Pride
Victory Records
This is some great, kick-ass oi!-style street punk. These guys take Rancid-influenced socio-political punk and add a twist to it by including a horn section. With the horns, the band goes from writing engaging and catchy songs to in-depth masterful tunes that are neither boring nor mediocre. Great songs like “Aborted,” “Life’s a Drag” and “Crush” show the group’s skillful songwriting, but the lyric writing on these tracks is what will put a smile on the faces of those who like thunderous retro-sounding gutter punk. River City Rebels will definitely hit all the right chords for those fans of The Clash, Snuff and The Distillers. With so much mediocrity out there cashing in on the punk catchphrases and clichés, it’s great to see a group that tries really hard to write something worth spending one’s money on. (Issue 169:01/2003) –Kevlar7

RL Burnside
Sound Machine Groove
HMG
Time now for some motherfuckin’ blues in the pages of SLUG. A lot of blues lovers were disgusted by RL’s “An Ass Pocket A Whiskey.” That is as it should be. Jonny Lang is the blues for the fools. Burnside didn’t start playing blues until Jon Spencer took him on tour. This particular recording was made in 1979. Burnside was playing fucked-up blues all the way back then. His band was the Sound Machine and a Burnside appearance at the time was a combination of plugged-in and unplugged. Burnside made three tours of Europe as a country bluesman before most Americans had ever heard of him. The first Burnside recordings date back to 1967. Arhoolie Records issued one-half an LP that year. All of this has gone way beyond those educated in Utah public schools and that is as it should be.  Utah is very similar to Mississippi. In Mississippi the untutored are white and black. In Utah the untutored are just plain white. I’ve spoken with some Mississippi residents and I’ve discovered a certain quality of their manner of speaking: I am of the firm belief that the only person able to immediately understand the rural Mississippi dialect is a public-schooled Utahn. Sound Machine Groove is a combination of trance blues and simple plugged-in Mississippi blues. It’s the motherfuckin’ blues. If the reader doesn’t understand what motherfuckin’ blues means then head on down to Salt City CDs where I found the disc. Ask the employees to set y’all down wit a copy and educate yourself. “Yeah and I begged her likk ‘er?” What the fuck? That, my friends, is from one of Burnside’s country tunes. (Issue 104: 08/1997) –Bukka

Roger Miret and the Disasters
S/T
Hellcat Records
Godfather Roger Miret (Agnostic Front) has returned with his new punk rock upstarts The Disasters. This is true New York messed-up-pompadour, gutter brawl punk, but don’t expect AF-style hardcore politi-punk. This album is chock-full of pump-your-fist street anthems. There’s even a Cock Sparrer cover modified into “New York Belongs To Me.” This is a fun CD with quick, catchy, stomp-it-down-your-throat tunes centered around fun found the hard way. “I wanna kick some heads in, I wanna run and riot, feelin’ loud and proud, ready for a fight.” (Issue 167: 11/2002) –Monkey 965

Sage Francis
A Healthy Distrust
Epitaph
Nothing new lyrically here for Sage (solo from the Non-Prophets, though Joe Beats lends an occasional hand), which is just fine. Politics, chicks and badmouthing drug addicts are laid out with just about the sickest, clever and tightest rhymespeak abilities existing today. The beats vary in quality and interestingness, sometimes even resembling (gasp!) rock guitar riffs. Anyone who knows Mr. Francis, though, knows it’s all about the words. A Healthy Distrust is not a testament quite in the way Personal Journals was, but seems much more personally focused than most of his albums of late. “Gunz Yo” is a highlight: “Straight to the grill like a homophobic rapper/unaware of the graphic nature of phallic symbols/Tragically ironic, sucking off each other’s gats and pistols.” Billboard magazine hails that, “Sage/…\may not be a household name yet, but it may only be a matter of time.” Yeah, too bad he’s like, 40. (Issue 194: 02/2005) –Nate Martin

Subhumans
Live in a Dive
Fat Wreck
We’ve all seen Subhumans patches at shows. Like the Misfits’ crimson ghost or the Black Flag bars, the simple three boxes spelling out Sub-hum-mans is unarguably one of the most recognizable logos in the punk scene. I always wanted the patch with the logo on it for my jacket, but I didn’t know who the Subhumans were, so I went out and bought Time Flies + Rats. Well, I never got that patch, but I find myself four years later still listening to that record. This, like the other numerous discs from Fat Wreck’s Live In A Dive series, is a crystal-clear recording of 26 tracks that span the band’s entire career. Maybe now I’ll finally get that patch. (Issue 183: 03/2004) –James Orme

T-Model Ford
She Ain’t None Of Your’n
Fat Possum/Epitaph Records 
Yeeehhaaahhh! Blues! Good Blues! Not that shitty Dead Goat hippie blues, that local music retards think is what the blues is all about. I remember the first time I heard the blues, I had just drank a fifth of Everclear and was just sitting there on the coach shaking my head to the beat, keeping myself from passing out. This record ranks up there with all the blues greats, it has all the right elements to it. T-Model covers all the right subjects, exploring the depths of what makes a man piss fire. The best track is, “Take a Ride With Me,” so he can love you all night long, baby. Who said one gets too old for some good loving? T-Ford is a man I can look up to and respect. Rockabilly fans will dig this one, since the blues are very similar in topics and in groove. Tom Waits fans will also dig it, as well as Stevie Ray Vaughn clones. As the press kit states, “This is what blues was before it was corrupted-weird, rawboned, looser-than-life tales about snakes, bullfrogs, trains, women, and especially women.” I will agree with all of that listed in the press kit—T-Ford gives his praises to all of these subjects. If you don’t think you would enjoy an album full of blues, remember that even Steve Martin in the movie The Jerk learned to appreciate them, even if it did make him depressed. (Issue 137: 05/2000) –Kevlar7

Throw Rag
Tee-Tot
Hellnote Records
If The Cramps and Deadbolt were to ever have a bastard child it would definitely resemble Throw Rag. A volatile combination of rockabilly, pyschobilly, honky-tonk and rock n’roll is the altar that Throw Rag worships at with stunning effect. What really gives the band an edge above all other groups in this genre is the inclusion of a guy who plays a custom built, old-fashioned sock washer that has a hotel-bell and conga bells attached to it. Plus, the lead vocalist has some pretty impressive vocal ranges that thrust the lyrics to the forefront of the dark crashing noise that the band tears through masterfully. Tracks like “Beast in Me,” “Table 4 Three” and “3-D Cross” roll with aggressive menace by using tales of deals with the devil, the evil man and drinking whiskey and gin. After having seen these guys open for the Supersuckers at Liquid Joe’s on Dec. 2, I know that this disc does not do their over-the-top live show justice, but it is still worth every penny for its repeated listening value. Keep on the look out for a new disc by them in the near future. (Issue 169: 01/2003) –Kevlar7

The Transplants
S/T
Hellcat Records
Tim Armstrong is about the closest thing that I have to a hero, so I can honestly say that it pains me to write this review. In case you’re an idiot, Tim fronts Rancid and played guitar for the legendary Operation Ivy. If you’re not an idiot, you already knew that. Anyway, this CD pretty much sucks. Tim, Travis Barker, and newcomer vocalist Bob Aston have put together a disc that is neither interesting nor exciting. Many of Rob’s vocals sound ridiculously similar to gangster rap, which may go over well in the ghetto style district, but just don’t float my boat. The only real vocal highlights are when Tim sings (Do I sound biased? I am.), but even then it just sounds like Rancid rehashed. I hoped for reconciliation through at least one of the many guest appearances on the album, but they all seem too little, too late. Davey Havoc is unimpressive, Matt Freeman’s bass lines are lost underneath the (ugh) drum loops and mixes, and Brody Armstrong utters but a few words. The one decent guest appearance is made on track four by Son Doobie of Funk Doobiest, whose smooth style flows nicely over the repetitive beats. Nice try, guys. Don’t quit your day jobs. (Issue 168: 12/2002) –Nate Martin

Wesley Willis
Fabian Road Warrior
American Recordings
After a listen or two to the advance cassette it is difficult to determine where the CD will be filed. Some songs on the tape cause laughter hard enough to draw tears. What a way with a verse. Willis doesn’t know very many guitar chords. He plays the same songs over and over and only changes the lyrics. He doesn’t change all of them. He might repeat the same exact words, or he might move the words around in a different order. Every now and then he’ll insert a slogan from a television commercial. The tapes last about an hour. Imagine the concept! The exact same guitar pattern is repeated again and again. Does it sound tedious? Not at all. It’s charming and hysterical. The album name has to refer to Willis’ referencing an entire list of his favorite or not so favorite musicians. Tripping Daisy, Alanis Morissette, Porno For Pyros, Brutal Juice, Loud Lucy, Silverchair and others receive a Wesley Willis live concert review. Is it comedy, rock, singer/songwriter or experimental? After finishing with Alanis he takes on Saddam Hussein. The song is titled “Rock Saddam Hussein’s Ass” and it is a variation on Willis’ theme of rocking. He also includes “Rock The Nation,” “Ward My Rock Music Off” and “Rock It To Russia.” He loves to rock. Wesley Willis rocks all over his new album. Rock on Wesley. Everyone deserves at least one listen to this work. Try Future Shop. (Issue 92: 08/1996) –Steeb

Wesley Willis & the Dragnews
Greatest Hits–Volume 3
Alternative Tentacles
Before I begin this review, let us pause and reflect how amazing it is that there IS a WW Greatest Hits Vol. 3! Unfortunately, this will be his last, due to his death last year at age 40 from leukemia, joining the glut of rock star deaths of ’03. As usual, this set includes some great insights, like his diet secrets on “Your Way, Right Away,” in which he advises sticking to the veggie burger at Burger King. (Are those on the menu in this state?) His infatuation with the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle are on display with “I’m Going On a World Tour,” “I’m the Daddy of Rock and Roll” and “Love God,” a KISS-like anthem. He worships celebrity in “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers” and “Oprah Winfrey” (“She really knows how to flap her yap”). If you are a superhero, you better not mess around with Wesley’s woman, or he’ll write a song about you like “I Whipped Spiderman’s Ass.” With any Willis release, bestiality has to have its due with “Suck a Polar Bear’s Dick.” The package includes moving tributes from label head Jello Biafra (“He brings smiles to the faces of everyone he comes in contact with”) and Henry Rollins: “You think you rock? You might. But not like Wesley.” He always did it his way. Rock over London, Rock on Chicago. (Issue 181: 01/2004) –Stakerized!

Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Fever To Tell
Interscope
If you have ever wondered what The White Stripes would sound like if Jack White were a girl, you might want to check out the Yeah Yeah Yeahs first full-length and major label debut, Fever To Tell. The Brooklyn-based trio of sassy garage punks features members of The Seconds, Unitard and Challenge of the Future, and adheres to the simplistic formula of guitar + drums + female screaming erotically = drives hipsters wild. The crazy, catchy melodies, sexy lyrics and singer Karen O’s even sexier delivery, make this one my top five albums to turn on both you and your partner, and I suspect we will be seeing them on MTV pretty soon. You could slip your little sister some acid and watch her freak out like a rock star with similar results, but remember it’s a lot harder to fuck in front of your sister. (Issue 174: 06/2003) –Fat Tony

Yo La Tengo
Little Honda
Matador
Yo La Tengo covers six songs in around 25 minutes and for bargain price. If the Velvet Underground had ever covered “Little Honda” it might have sounded similar to Yo La Tengo’s version. The version is so good that it deserves to be a hit all over again, but we all know about the state of the nation and the general public’s taste in music. “Be Thankful For What You Got” is spy-movie-lounge, “No Return” is Mary Hopkins in a lounge, and “Black Hole” has a folk-rock harmonizing with pure Yo La Tengo guitar. “How Much I’ve Lied” is weepy, country complete with Al Perkins on pedal steel and “By the Time It Gets Dark” combines the folk-rock of “Black Hole” with the lounge of “Be Thankful For What You Got” and “No Return.” There are certainly worse ways to spend the few dollars Little Honda costs and I can’t think of many better uses for the money. One hidden track is “Little Honda” again, and again, the tune would sound great in a little Honda tuned to corporate radio. Fuzzed out, freaky, psychedelic guitars to make any drive pleasant. Things come to a close with a live version of “We Are the Champions” in a lounge. (Issue 113: 05/1998) –Zippy the Pinprick