© 2006 Hellcat Records
It seems like quite a long time ago when I was shipped my first Slackers CD to review. It in fact was almost 8 years ago. I’m happy to report that I’ve got the new Slackers CD in my hot little hands. (It is actually in my CD player, as I felt it a more appropriate place.) I’ll be updating this review as I have the time, but for the moment, let’s just say the CD has some power.
With style grace and persistence, The Slackers are the heart soul and backbone of the New York ska scene. Peculiar is an exceptional release of the genre. To capture the intensity of their live shows, the band went to the legendary Ernesto's in Holland to cut the core of the tracks in front of a packed live audience. After recording all the new "live" tracks the band went back to the studio and stripped the rhythm tracks and performed vocals and horns and added guest assistance by contemporaries like Alex Desert of Hepcat and Jeff "King Django" Baker.
I commend the Slackers for their innovative approach to the new album. The combination of live energy and studio polish brings a whole new level to the life of the record. Adding to the intensity of "Peculiar" is the socially and politically aware vibe, much akin to the voice of dissent found in the reggae of the 70's.
Songs like Propaganda and International War Criminal decry current political scandal and portray the discomfort and discontent with the current management if you will. "Peculiar" is a brilliant blend of ska reggae and rocksteady raising a voice of concern to the current state of affairs.
Don't let me misguide you though; the album isn't entirely political so much that is an assessment of life, a bit of a State of Life Address. "Peculiar" brings hope for the true ska fans and fans of great music everywhere that not all hope is lost.
The Phlegms – S/T © 2005 The PhlegmsFuck Yeah! I love The Phlegms!Snotty Upbeat Euro-Ramones style good time punk rock. This self-produced CD is really quite a treat. I'm sorry that I haven't had the chance to review it sooner. Based out of Bangor, Gwynedd (That is on the other side of the pond for my American audience) The Phlegms started came to be in October of 2004 – most bands should be so great to put this kind of raw energy together in such a short amount of time.At any rate, The Phlegms are a 3 piece with influences such as The Clash, The Ramones, NOFX, Dropkick Murphy's and other. The songs (as you may know) are how I like 'em, really flippin' short. Basically The Phlegms offer good fun fast short old school 3 chord punk.With any luck The Phlegms will get some label attention and get a bonified release out to the world and follwing that a world tour. (though I'll settle for a San Diego tour) Go Get your self some beers and rock the hell out with The Phlegmswww.thephlegms.comFree Phlegms Downloads-Jerry Actually
Boundary – Out of Bounds EP 2005 BoundaryHailing from the far east bay land of Antioch, Boundary is self-proclaimed 4/5 straight-edge and 3/5 vegetarian, which by my count makes them 1 2/5 jesus lovin’ hippies. Ha! just kidding. Boundary knocks out 7 tracks in my prefered hardcore style: short, fast, aggressive and articulate.The sound is very classic hardcore punk with chugging power chord riffs and thundering bass. I didn’t get the lowdown on the production of the CD as I got a computer copy, but if this is a home studio DIY recording, Kudos to whomever was behind the console.Though I can’t contend that a whole lot of new ground is being broken here, the messages in the songs are solid; don’t fuck your life up and don’t try to fuck up mine. To each his own indeed. The angst of youth can easily spoil into a life of bitterness. Make something of it while you have the time.Bottom line: short, to the point, punk rockwww.myspace.com/boundaryhcJerry Actually
Priapism – Last Stand (EP) 2005 1332 RecordsWith intensity and urgency Priapism’s Last Stand blasts out at you from the speakers with metal-laden insurgency. Hailing from a seemingly odd location for this type of aggressive metal, Boise, Idaho’s Priapism puts it out there in such a way to convince you that Boise may not be the north western cow town that you’d probably expect.Last Stand is reminiscent of the hardcore metal onslaught of bands such as All Out War and Premonitions of War (war seems to be a binding thematic element here) Priapism offers a bit more diversity than that however with Clutch like breakdowns and a lot of Slayer influenced progressions. Musically the EP pounds and shreds, and for the most part I don’t have any complaints. I do however always make a point of contention with growling death metal vocals. That sort of thing ain’t my cup of tea. Fortunately much of the vox are done in a more intelligible hardcore friendly way.Aside from that, 3 of the 4 tracks clock in over 3 minutes with the average being approximately 3.8 minutes. My short attention span just can’t keep up. Barring any of my personally perceived down falls, Priapism seems to be a pretty promising new band.http://myspace.com/priapismusic-Jerry Actually
Ty Tabor – Naomi's Solar Pumpkin (re-master) © 1997 Tabor Tooth Records – 2005 Official bootlegThe version of Naomi's Solar Pumpkin (NSP) that I am reviewing is the 2005 re-master of the original 1997 release. Written and released by Ty Tabor , the astounding guitar player and song writer from the perpetually underrated band King's X, NSP reflects the best parts of Faith Hope Love era Kings X. The CD is filled with some of the most tasteful guitar work around and though it crosses a lot of gray area genres, it is largely on the mellow side. (this is of course subjective) In regards to the more aggressive end of the CD's spectrum, Ty Tabor was running “Drop-D” tuning long before it became the status quo. This is certainly evident on NSP. I can't exactly speak for the quality difference between the original and the re-master as I don't have the original for a reference. I will however just assume that the new version is better. That being said, I'll keep this short. Ty rocks!-Jerry Actually
Horrorpops – Bring It On (c) 2005 Hellcat Records The second release by the Horrorpops sounds a bit like Siouxsie Sioux over a rockabilly band. I was hoping for more ‘Psycho’billy action considering that the Necroman and now Geoff Kresge are playing the guitar. It’s a good relase, but I wish it had more guts.http://www.hell-cat.comhttp://www.horrorpors.com-Jerry Actually
10 In The Swear Jar – Accordion Solo (c) 2005 Asian Man Records10 in the swear jar is a short-lived band formed from the ashes of IBOPA and eventually evolved into Xiu Xiu. Accordion Solo is the result of the music made from 1999-2000 and is recently made available on Asian Man Records. My gut instinct is to tell you that you probably wont like this stuff. If you are regular consumer of !upstarter reviews, don't bother, this isn't your cup of tea. If, however, you are adventurous, give it a shot. I didn't like it. I can't even really describe why. It was almost like elevator music when I listened to it. It was there, but the impact was so minimal that it was hardly even noticed.-Jerry Actually
Dr. Kilpatient – Some Old Fashioned Maladies (c) 2004 Dr. KilpatientI suppose the best term coming to the top of my mind right now is spatial. Having spilled coffee all over the CD, I will give the best account I can, by memory alone. In order to pigeon-hole things, which is something I love, the Dr. is oft reminiscent of Mr. Bungle. I think fans and enemies of either outfit would probably agree. Mrs. !upstarter found it to be similar to one of her least favorite acts, Ramogasm, though I would have to disagree. The lyrics are clever though often too reliant on obvious rhyme schemes and the music for all intents and purposes is electronic, cosmic and largely disjointed. Incidentally, the logo, when viewed upside down, appear to spell “audiofuckup”. Take that for what it's worth. If your like you music best enjoyed while chemically enhanced or otherwise mentally impaired, come on, give Dr. Kilpatient a shot.www.drkilpatient.comJerry Actually
PAMA International – Float Like a Butterfly (c) 2005 Asian Man Records Wow! Great stuff. Full review coming soon — ok as promised. Pama International what a clever band; I was, dare I say, anticipatory when I heard tale of a new release from a band comprised of previous member of Madness, The Specials, Special Beat and the Paul Weller Band. When “Float Like a Butterfly” arrived in my mail I was very excited, until I played the CD that is. I felt let down. I expected to be immediately blown away. Little did I know the power that lay dormant in this clever little multi-layer plastic and aluminum timebomb. It apparently was set to go off in about 2 weeks time. I kept listening and listening and the songs were running through my head. I must admit, I was wrong right out of the gate, but I have come around. “Float Like a Butterfly” is a masterful creation by legends of the art. Don't hesitate; buy it now. If you don't like it, give it a few weeks. It will grow on you like a plague, I swear.http://www.pamainternational.co.ukhttp://www.asianmanrecords.comJerry Actually
(c) 2005 Asian Man Records
“How to Make Enemies and Irritate People” is already my favorite Screeching Weasel album, having been re-mastered only makes it sweeter. Personal favorites on the album include ’99’ ‘Time Bomb’ and ‘I Wrote Holden Caulfield’.
I believe that there is little else that need be said about it; I mean it freakin’ rocks, but I do suppose that when you’re reading this you may well have crawled out of the primordial ooze somewhere and logged into the internet for the very first time just to see what the heck punk rock was all about, or alternately, you are receiving this on a remote satellite transmission in outer space. So very well, Screeching Weasel are pop punk pioneers who helped hone an affinity for the Ramones into a staggeringly huge sub-genre of its own, as well as being the progenitors of other influential bands like The Queers and the Riverdales.
Their music takes a comedic approach and reflects the quasi-casual partly cornered attitude of modern suburbia. Though unlike the suburban restlessness and boredom that spawned the punk rock of a prior generation, Screeching Weasel seem more content to be goofy and often sappy. I would contend that they probably had a pretty decent time growing up in suburban Chicago.
I suppose I am kind of rambling on here, so, “How to Make Enemies and Irritate People” re-mastered and re-released brand sparkin’ new liner notes; Out now on Asian Man Records. Buy it now. That makes it brand new for you!