Bouncing Souls – Tie One On (Live)

(c) 1998 Epitaph Records
Rating: ★★★½☆

Put on your boots and show us your favorite new tattoos boys and girls, this live plus one CD kicks serious ass. The more I listen to it, the more I want to listen to it. These are good old-fashioned punk rock anthems as they were meant to be. I’ve never seen them live, but I’m pretty sure that I would leave with at least one major injury. Every song made me want to drink beer and shout along with the rest of the crowd. Tracks 1, 2, 6, and 7 are now permanently in my head for the duration of time. Fast and furious boot stompin’ pleasure for the whole family (or at least a good portion of it.) This CD would be a worthy addition to anyone’s CD collection. The only thing that could make this CD better is if it was personally delivered to your door with a twelve-pack of cheap beer…..oh yeah, and more guitar solos (ummm…..sure.)

–Phil Lousy

NOFX – The Decline

(c) 1999 Fat Wreck Chords
Rating: ★★½☆☆

I don’t know what to say except that perhaps the title of this new NOFX release is far to aptly correct. “The Decline” leaves me a little underwhelmed and a little disappointed. The comedic yet poignant NOFX that I once knew is gone for the moment. I’m not going to give up on them (’cause I didn’t like “Heavy Petting Zoo” either) but here’s the deal a little less art boys and a lot more rock. the CD starts out well enough for the first couple (or what I assume to be) tracks and then it drops right out. I know there are some die hard NOFX fans out there that are gonna be pissed reading this, but then again they’re probably 15. Another thing is that this CD is very politically charged, not this this bothers me, but again it is a departure from what I’ve grown to enjoy from NOFX. I guess it’s good to vent, but get on with it and get back to the good times I have grown to love/loathe.

–Jerry Actually

The Lawrence Arms – A Guided Tour of Chicago

(c) 1999 Asian Man Records
Rating: ★★★★☆

Clouded by depression and gilt with anger, bearing a jaded outlook for today and the future, The Lawrence Arms grind out 10 Emo-Laden tracks on their debut CD “A Guided Tour of Chicago”. These former members of the Broadways and Baxters turn out some decent suburban angst-ridden punk rock, albeit a little on the emotionally torn side. These guys are not the fastest, they’re not the most hardcore, and they’re not aiming for the hip and trendy set. In these day were in that get slammed in the head like a runaway cement truck, It’s refreshing to hear a little bit of good ol’ Punk Rock -n- Roll. With bleak view of the future and a hope for better yesterdays, Chicago’s The Lawrence Arms leave me with a feeling of inner turmoil of my own. It is the kind of CD that fits well on a rainy day and evokes a bit of a cathartic feeling. Given that I am in Portland, This may get quite a bit of play throughout the winter. Final assessment, Good, like seeing a bitter drama flick that leaves you pissed off when you leave the theatre, a difficult situation with no resolution.

–Jerry Actually

Bombshell Rocks – Street Art Gallery

(c) 1999 Burning Heart Records
Rating: ★★★☆☆

I get so innundated with punk rock music that sounds exactly like punk rock music sounds. It becomes very difficult to descern one band fron the next. They have to have something that stands out from the crowd, or they have to be really rockin’ when I’m drunk. Sweden’s Bombshell rocks are a slightly better than average punk band. don’t get me wrong I’m not being harsh. I like the CD. I’d play it for my friends in casual settings, and I’d bring it along on road trips if I had the room, butt… Heres how it is though, it’s like bottled water. There are umpteen bazillion brands of bottled water and each and everyone is wet and watery and just about the same. So anyway if you like punk rock in the style of mid career Rancid, Swinging Utters, Humpers etc… Get this CD. If that aint your bag, keep away.

–Jerry Actually

Youth Brigade / Swingin’ Utters

(c) 1999 – BYO Records
Rating: ★★★★☆

Swingin’ Utters is a damn good band. Youth Brigade is still a damn good band. Both of them together on one CD?? Stop, you say. It can’t be so. Ah, but it is true. This spit series CD is a fucking cool idea. This is the first time that I, personally, have run across one of these (that’s not saying a whole hell of a lot.) Anyway, for those of you who have never heard of these bands, Go BUY IT NOW!!! This is not necessarily 100% hardcore, but a little Oi, a little traditional, a little hard-core, and a little (oh shit!) pop. Could you really ask for more? Guaranteed you will find at least 4 songs that you will play again. My personal favorites, not that you give a stinky hippie, are Haven’t Seen Yourself In Years (Swinging Utters) and Let them Know (Youth Brigade.)

–Phil Lousy

Zeke – Dirty Sanchez

(c)1999 – Epitaph Records
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Well, I can’t honestly say that I’m giving this CD a fair and honest review, but I’ll do my best. I actually only got to listen to the thing one time through before I had to go out of town, while which Mrs. Upstarter promptly removed the CD from the changer and as of now it is MIA. What I did gather from the listen that I got is that “Dirty Sanchez” is a bit better than the previously released “Kicked In The Teeth” Zeke has lost a little bit of that Kiss feel (not all of it, just some) and overall the songs rock pretty well. The mystery/bonus track is pretty damn funny for those of us that are old enough to remember. anyway I gave this disc a three out of a possible five on the !upstarter “UP” rating scale perhaps fair, perhaps not. At any rate not bad for a bunch of Seattle post grunge boys.

–Jerry Actually

Get Dead – Letters Home

(c) 2008 Horns Up Records
Rating: ★★★½☆

Have you ever, as an ever tough punk rocker wanted to let you inner-emo out?  But how could you and still  save face with all your extra tough punk rock friends?  San Francisco’s Get Dead holds the answers to your fears.  Their “punkcoustic” anthems reek with their innermost feelings but still come across as cool and nonchalant.  I venture to say that you can safely listen to Letters Home and you will still command the respect of your spike-bedazzled friends and maybe you’ll even show that cute little pale girl all dressed in black a little bit of your own tortured soul (but not too much) Aside all that, Get Dead brings some fine non-electrical punk rock in an anthemic and almost piratical way. If I had to make up some adjectives that you can use to tell your friends about them, I’d go so far as to say that they are both Clashtastic and SwinginUtteriffic.  For those of you back east, you can say that they’re wicked sweet!

–Jerry Actually

Swingin’ Utters – Hatest Grits

(c) 2008 Fat Wreck Chords
Rating: ★★★★☆

Welcome to the B-side. What have we here but no less than 32 tracks of B-side, demos, 4-track takes and BS schlock from none other than Swingin’ Utters. It is generally easy to dismiss B-side compilations as strictly for the die hard fan. Generally they consist of crap to lackluster to otherwise distribute. That is only partially true for Hatest Grits. Instead of the usual 90% garbage 10% diamond, the Utters give you a sketchbook chronology of one of the best bands of the hybrid folk punk genre. Of course you also get some crap to lackluster to otherwise distribute, meant only for the die hard fan. But thanks to the good graces of the band, the ratio is more like 75% kick ass takes and 25% filler. You slice it how you like it though. I for one am down with their brand of rock and roll. Highly recommended from your friends at !upstarter.

–Jerry Actually

Sorry About Your Couch – Greeen!

(c) 2008 Sorry About Your Couch
Rating: ★★★★☆

In a world where you bust your ass somewhere around 20/7 (a fella’s got to sleep sometime) you occasionally get the reviews out a little late. I have a serious stack of material in my inbox, so without further adieu, here is Sorry About You Couch. Hailing from the darkest depths of Central Wisconsin and the home of Point Special Beer comes some rude young lads and their new album Greeen! (Though the mailing address on the back is listed as Wisconsin Dells they claim to be from Stevens Point) No matter which place they are from, I spent plenty of my youth in both of those towns and though it was many years ago, I never expected much out of either area musically. Fortunately for me, time or fate has intervened and saw fit to send this disc to my door. SAYC is a raw blend of punk and roots. Frankly they remind me of Rudiments. The sound is a bit on the lofi side, but the raw nature of the tracks only serves to amplify the angst of youth. But what you get is 14 tracks and a bonus one. Running from raw rock to ska punk while trading verses like throwing around the ol’ pigskin, Greeen! makes for a good listen. Incidentally, with an album name like this, I really expected more overt stoner-rasta content. Not that is absent mind you, I just expected more. On another note, there is a cuddly green monster on the cover that appears to be destroying Toronto. I’d like to provide a slightly more in depth analysis, however I am beat. Sufficed to say that if you like the 3rd wave a bit more to the punk side then odds are fair you’ll like Sorry About Your Couch.

–Jerry Actually

Bankrupt – Rocket to Riot City

(c) 2008 PiaRRecords
Rating: ★★★★☆

First and foremost I’d like to point out that we (that usually being me) here at !upstarter review HQ really dig it when bands from across the world find their way to my inbox. I absolutely love the positive exchange of music and ideas from across this big ol’ punk rock community that I would like to refer to as the Earth. That said I’d like to introduce you to Bankrupt. Readers meet Bankrupt. Bankrupt meet my readers. Right now I’m listening to a five song EP from straight outta Budapest, Hungary. “Rocket to Riot City” is a catchy little number, albeit a short one, but full of substance despite its lack of duration. With a sound somewhere between the rockabilly of the Peacocks and the punk rock of Millencolin, Bankrupt’s Rocket to Riot City blasts back at a messed up world. I suspect there’s nothing like rioting and economic crisis amidst political disarray to make life a waking nightmare. (not that we aren’t becoming a frightening reflection of that here in the states) Despite all the chaos, Bankrupt has made a kick ass EP. I strongly urge everyone to do their part for their local economy and international relations and buy a couple copies.

www.bankrupt.hu

–Jerry Actually