CD REVIEWS 36

Juice CD Reviews

JUICE MAGAZINE 36 CD REVIEWS

EVERCLEAR
So Much For The Afterglow
(Capitol)

Can this band top the platinum-plus success of 1995’s Sparkle and Fade ? That disc spawned the hit single “Santa Monica” and put Everclear in the mainstream. A punk band at heart, the guys throw in just enough pop to make it accessible to radio. So Much For The Afterglow follows the same pattern, but the songwriting holds your attention. The title track rocks hard, while “Father of Mine” is a great pop song. This time they’ve even included a cool instrumental titled “el distorto de melodica.” It’s really nothing ground-breaking, but at least Everclear keeps it fun. – by Scott Dickson RATING: 7


BODY COUNT
Violent Demise: The Last Days
(Virgin)

After creating a huge ruckus a few years back with Cop Killer, Ice-T and Body Count return with another wholesome, family classic. Check out “Truth or Death” and “My Way” for socio-political issues, “Bring It To Pain” for sexual escapades, “Dead Man Walking” for gang-related activities, and “Root of all Evil” for lost love and corruption. Musically, it’s the best Body Count yet, and yes, the lyrics are controversial, but it’s real. It’s almost like Ice-T is trying too hard to get some publicity here, but who cares? It’s powerful hardcore/metal and Body Count does it just as good as any other. I just hope they tour. by Scott Dickson RATING: 6.5

DAYINTHELIFE
self-titled
(TVT)

The New York post hardcore band Dayinthelife was born from the remains of another seminal Long Island group called Mind Over Matter. Dayinthelife combines the melody and riffs of labelmates Sevendust with the hardcore angst and attitude of their other labelmates Stillsuit. The disc is full of fast-paced intensity as well as some seriously thick grooves from hell. The vocal interplay between George Reynolds and Josh DeMarco keeps things interesting as George sings like Civ and Josh sounds like SA Martinez from 311. They work well together on tracks like “See You on the Way” with memorable harmony and vocals in the chorus. Produced by Don Fury (Civ, Quicksand), Dayinthelife has more of a primal and tribal feel to their music than some of their hardcore predecessors. A definite must-have for fans of heavy music. by Scott Dickson RATING: 8

SNAPCASE
Progression Through Unlearning
(Victory)

Solid, straight-edge hardcore from Buffalo, NY, this band kicks ass. Word up to Victory Records for paving the road for hardcore music. Bands like Earth Crisis, Strife and Integrity have all risen from unknown beginnings to lead the way for the straight-edge movement. Snapcase is a leader of this prestigious pack. Progression Through Unlearning is sheer power and intensity, exploding with some of the strongest grooves I’ve ever heard. The two-guitar team of Jon Salemi and Frank Vicario create some cool intricate riffs and bassist Bob Whiteside and drummer Tim Redmond are tight as shit. Daryl Traberski sounds pissed off as usual. “Caboose,” “Priceless,” and “Vent” are the highlights here. Snapcase has grown considerably since their first effort, but it’s gonna be hard to top this one. by Scott Dickson RATING: 9.5

STRIFE
In This Defiance
(Victory)

Ahhhhh, heaven. Three years ago Strife hit the hardcore scene with their first effort titled “One Truth.” Since then they’ve toured the world, including a European jaunt with Sepultura. With In This Defiance Strife pulls out all the stops. They’ve recruited Igor from Sepultura on drums, Dino from Fear Factory on guitar, and Chino from the Deftones on vocals for some very special guest appearances. Needless to say, this disc is extremely powerful and intense. Tracks like “Waiting,” “Grey,” “Blistered,” and “To An End” stand out as testaments to the fact that hardcore is here to stay. Lyrically the group fights for respect and unity in a world full of hatred and evil. The band combines Sick of it All-type riffage with skull-crushing grooves to make this a winner all around. Strife emerges as the new straight-edge hardcore leader while Victory continues to produce the finest bands the genre has to offer. by Scott Dickson RATING: 10

DURAN DURAN
Medazzaland
(Capitol)

Can you really remember the last time you had a brand, new Duran Duran album you were dying to hear? (I think I was personally sporting a paisley pant suit that year . . .) But, Duran Duran’s newest, Do They Really Know What’s Going On?, is by far the most experimental release the band has ever put out. Technologically in line with the ’90s dance/rave scene, sardonically reminiscent of the fun they brought us in the ’80s and more dark and down to earth than Duran Duran has ever dared to go. Simon, Nick and John languish in their confidence as mature artists and not the recycled icons we expected them to be. Uninhibited and not out to impress anyone, you’d think they’d been shacked up with Bowie for the last few years. This CD almost makes up for that tacky collection of cover songs they released in ’95. Fave Tracks: “Melazzaland” (techno/ trance) and “Out of My Mind” (sensual/dark). by Tonya Knudsen RATING: 6

I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, The Album
Original Soundtrack
(Columbia/Sony)

As far as movie soundtracks are concerned, I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Album, delivers a concentrated assortment of tracks from several chart-topping acts such as Type O Negative, The Offspring, Soul Asylum, L7, Toad the Wet Sprocket and Korn. However, perhaps the best track is the movie’s theme “Hush” by Kula Shaker. This CD is a perfect gift for that Generation X friend who is too damn lazy to make his own mix tapes. by Tonya Knudsen RATING: 4

THE CRANES
EP Collection Volumes 1 and 2
(Dedicated)
This two-CD compilation is a must for any die-hard goth who still thrives and blooms in the dark. The Cranes, who have been producing their sonically macabre and strangely compelling music since 1989, have compiled their most jarring, ominous and inspiring tracks on this set. A long time favorite of Robert Smith, Cranes garnered some acclaim in the US with the release of Wings of Joy (’91), Forever ’93) and Loved (’94), but finally establish themselves as veterans of the goth movement with this esoteric and momentous release. by Tonya Knudsen Rating 9

DAVID BOWIE
I’m Afraid of Americans
(Virgin)

This six song EP, mixed collectively by the constituents of Nine Inch Nails, seizes Bowie’s rendition of the Bowie/Brian Eno penned song “I’m Afraid of Americans” and stretches it into forty spectacular, psychedelic minutes. Amid the tripped out, funk beats and Bowie’s charismatic vocals, Trent Reznor and Ice Cube (who both contribute vocal samples) take the listener into a war zone of rock, rap and pop. Says Bowie, “‘I’m afraid of Americans’ developed into a key song during the Earthling tour. And Nine Inch Nails input has created a fantastic single.” This CD comes highly recommended for anyone into NIN, David Bowie and their sublime mastery of fusion music. Fave Juice Mix — “V6”, over eleven Juicy minutes of this great production. by Tonya Knudsen Rating: 10.

FEEDER
Polythene
(Elektra)

Talk about ambitious! Guitarist, vocalist Grant Nicholas, bassist Taka Hirose and drummer John Lee are primal and thrash-happy on Polythene. Feeder is definitely one alt rock/pop group to watch in the next year. And as far as this CD goes, there are simply some remarkable, multi-layered, and amazing sounds. Check out “Cement”, “High”, “Stereo World” (voted single of the month by Korn in Metal Hammer Magazine), and “20th Century Trip”. by Tonya Knudsen Rating: 7.

THE NAKED MARY
Self-titled
(Embryo)

From the amazing and ingenious packaging to the experimental and compelling sixteen songs on this CD, The Naked Mary is a definite CD purchase. Originally a garage band founded in ’92, The Naked Mary’s new release experiments with the idea of home recordings intertwined with a live one track recording. Much of the music is soulful and gradually introduces the band as a truly talented, tormented and fiery act. Fave tracks: “Idol to Idol,” “Finest Everluck,” “Downtoon,” and “Corresponding Parts of a Congruent Triangle are Congruent.” by Tonya Knudsen Rating 8.

DEFTONES
Around The Fur
(Maverick)

Two years after the release of their debut album, Adrenaline, the Deftones have returned with Around The Fur, an album that is even more volatile than its predecessor. Where as Adrenaline’s production was sparse and kept to a bone-dry minimum, the multi-layered vocals on Around The Fur are tastefully enhanced and given plenty of space to weave in and out from under the instrumental barrage. The Deftones are tight, brutally honest and their imaginative songwriting has continued to keep them well beyond the reach of their peers. Check out the title track, “Rickets,” “Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away),” “Lotion” and “Headup.” by JZ RATING: 9

MORPHINE
B-Sides And Otherwise
(Rykodisc)

Finally, all of those hard to find little Morphine gems on one disc! Okay, so maybe they’re really not that hard to find, but who wants to buy all those CD singles, soundtracks and miscellaneous compilations? Thankfully, only three of the twelve tracks are live versions of songs that are available on the first three Morphine albums. Choice cuts? Try “Bo’s Veranda”, a flamenco-tinged instrumental piece from the Get Shorty soundtrack or either of the two semi-spoken psychedelic pieces, “Mail” and “My Brain.” Mmmm… yummy… by JZ RATING: 8.5
gummo

Original Soundtrack “GUMMO”
(London)

An all-star cornucopia of spinegringing, migraine inducing bands compose the lineup of this brutal, gutsy soundtrack to the independent flick, Gummo, directed by Harmony Korine, who worked on that much heralded 1995 flick, Kids. The entire soundtrack is grating and fierce. It opens with a sinister Absu cut and is followed by the mayhem of Eyehategod’s “Serving Time In The Middle Of Nowhere.” I can do without the Electric Hellfire Club’s satanically tinged cut because it messes with the ironically coherent axe-wielding series. Without it, the harrowing, brasslunged Spazz “Gummo Love Theme” would follow Eyehategod and send listeners into angry convulsions. The raw chaotic noisecore of the German outfit Bethelehem is gnawing and violent. Soul severing tracks by Bathony, Mortician, and Mystifier are also included for your deafening pleasure. An ambient, techno-inspired tune by Dark Noerd is tossed into the mix, as is a catchy and slower Sleep tune. The Gummo soundtrack is an exercise in discordant comfort. The colossal conglomeration of bands whose specialty is sadomasochistic sonic torture is reserved for the strong of mind and heart. by Amy Sciarretto RATING: 9

THE TOASTERS
Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down
(MoonSka)

Has anyone else noticed the flood of ska that has inundated the commercial radio dial? Reel Big Fish and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are at every slot. Frankly, I don’t find them as appealing as The Toasters and their brand of happy go lucky ska. I can feel the need, the desire, the urge to skank as I listen to DLTBGYD. The most interesting thing about the title track is its infectious positivity. With this pumpy music invading my mind and body, how could I let anything, much less a bastard, get me down? The distinguishing feature of DLTBGYD is the way each instrument supports its own weight throughout. None of the instruments lose or bury one another. The sax, the trumpet, the drums, and the vocals complement one another in “Gimme Some Lovin’” and “Fire In My Soul.” The Toasters make happy music, stuff my mom and dad can shake their heads to while paying da bills. by Amy Sciarretto RATING: 8

HUMANS BEING
My Demons Disagree
(Pressure Point)

Sometimes I like to tease myself and see if I have ESP. When I get a record, I hold it in my hands to see if I can prefigure the band’s sound on the sheer basis of the packaging. I did this with Human’s Beings. I studied the evidence. Back cover depicts the face of a wetlipped young guy with black, serial killer spectacles. First song is titled “First Time in a Hearse.” Opening lyrical lines reads “Death makes me apprehensive.” I was willing to bet phat ducats that I would soon be corroded and corrupted by an Obituary-Crisis type death howl. Oh, how you can’t judge a CD by its cover. Boy, was I wrong. I was pleasantly surprised. Despite the morbid, six feet under theme, this is not death metal but a brilliant tag team of metal and hardcore elements that fuse into a hell of a listening experience. The shriekey vocals are thick and throaty as they slash at my ears. They are supported by a chunky and turbulent riff-o-rama. Stompy breakdowns creep into the guitar solos of “15 Fits.” The bassline in “Juan Carlos Castro The Human Experiment” resonates in my chest. Human’s Being is fueled and furious yet accessible, despite proving me wrong with my first impression. by Amy Sciaretto RATING: 10

IRON MONKEY
Iron Monkey
(Earache)

Run for cover or thrust yourself completely into the violent pit of the music of Iron Monkey. This British sludgecore has evoked many comparisons to the legendary kings of filth, Eyehategod. Definitely a meritable and obvious comparison. Iron Monkey delivers six satantically symboled offerings that hammer with much aggression from start to finish. The caustic grinding of the guitars and the acidic, Sucret-begging vocal shredding spill over one another. Iron Monkey has made a dark, doomy record where not one lyrical phrase is clear but I am not sure I want diction or phonetic purity. I like the mucky spread of the sounds collected under the song title “Web of Piss.” I’d say they score originality points for the title “666 Pack,” but when listening to the ominous opening of slamming and monstrous riffs, all notions of “Cute, cool title” are dispelled. Iron Monkey is not clever. They are ass-kickin’. by Amy Sciaretto RATING: 7

THE TIE THAT BINDS
Slowly Sinking Under
(Onefoot)

Onefoot records is located in Cherry Hill, NJ, two towns over from my native West Collingswood. From the sounds of the bands that inhabit the label, it’s only a matter of time before Onefoot is recognized as a good pop-punk label. The Tie That Binds plays a poppy-punk sound. Upon the first few spins, Revelation Records’ Texas Is The Reason kept popping into my brain. I think it may be the vocals that warranted the association, especially on “Remote” and “We’re Feeding From The Bottom.” What I like most about Slowly Sinking Under is the impassioned incantations. It’s also quite unpredictable. It never gets stuck in that rut that most pop-punk bands cannot propel themselves out of and thus end up sounding generic. The tempo change-ups work here. by Amy Sciarretto RATING: 6.5

TODAY IS THE DAY
Temple Of The Morning Star
(Relapse)

A few nights ago, Today Is The Day and eyehategod played a show in my hood (that would be Philadelphia). Nothing could’ve stopped me, not even the apprehensive qualms I suffered since I would be attending the show a la carte. I feared exposing my innocent soul to a band as ominous and fear-inspiring as Today Is The Day, since their recent release Temple Of The Morning Star operates off a satanically charged battery. Oh, how exposure is one of the orgasmic pleasures in life. TDITD, on their new record and on stage, is a chaotic, mic-swallowing, grinding experience.The gently lulling acoustic title track is trippy and Pink Floydish but it is not illustrative of the album’s ranting coherence. Loaded with mayhem, vocal effected samples and keyboard movements, Temple Of The Morning Star is scary. The lyrics, most of which are unprintable and modified by the f word, pertain to the phenomena of death and suffering. It’s a filthy pain, but it wraps around me. I don’t know what to make of my emotions, only that I like the pain while not supporting any of the philosophies inspiring it. There is even a sample of the Black Mass Liturgy included. TDITD sounds horrifying and ominous. Hell, pardon the pun, they even look it. But they pack their sound and set with emotion and when I met singer Steve Austin after the show, I would have to say he’s a cordial, nice guy. by Amy Sciarretto RATING: 8

SETTLING THE DC SCORE
Various Artists
(DCide)

Gotta love compilations. They serve only one master: the listener. You get a sample of a band. If it teases you enough, you go out and buy the full length and revel. If you hate a track with murderous passion, you blow it off and you get happy that you didn’t bother to waste your precious and heard-earned ducats on the piece of filth. The comp in question highlights DC-MD area bands and is extremely poppy and adult-contemporary. Lots of radio friendly selections. The fastest offerings come from Number and Polyplush Cats, but they don’t exactly hit the speedlimit. Clermont Popes “Cherry Burnin’ Love” is remniscent of the Stray Cats and is wedding reception danceable. by Amy Sciaretto RATING: 5

CRISIS
The Hollowing
(Metal Blade)

This, their third album, proves to be a spill-all affair of Crisis’ grimiest influences, and they’re listed in the credits: Soilent Green, Acid Bath, Helmet, Coalesce, et al. The bulk of the tunes resembles an extra-chunky Babes In Toyland with vocalist Karyn Crisis singing like a sparrow and wailing like a warthog in the same breath. From a revolving cast of drummers, Thorn’s Roy Mayorga, guest skinsman on “Fires Of Sorrow,” gives the tune an underlying industrial throb, but it’s the Jurassic bass of Gia Chaun Wang that drives a two-ton I-beam straight into your gut. – by Chris Ayers RATING: 8


RAKIM
The 18th Letter, The Book of Life
(Universal Records)

“It’s been a long time…” Yeah it has. Five long years since the man, the master, the original urban prophet has blazed the microphone. But he’s back and yes, it’s everything you hoped it would be. Dope to the fullest. While Rakim resurrects without the aid of original partner Eric B., Rakim makes it seem that he never went anywhere, just kept his original skills and ear for the beat in his back pocket brewing. The first of two discs are Rakim’s newest material. It’s hip hop at its most prolific, with pure seasoned rhymes (it seems that, like with any true talent, Rakim was born with it, flowing like he’s never known otherwise) and beats that are stripped down but tight. Beyond Rakim, the disc is “blessed” with the production skills of DJ Premier (can the man ever do wrong?), Pete Rock, Clark Kent and Nick Wiz, who produced the title track to Chubb Rock’s latest joint “The Mind”, among others. So while some tracks (“The Saga Begins”, “When I’m Flowin’) carry a laid back vibe, others (“New York (Ya Out There)”, “The Mystery (Who is God?)” rush right up there with Rakim’s staccato knuckle punch. The second disc gives you what you know best. Back to the days of 1986 when “Eric B. For President” was blew up your bulky ’80s walkmans, and “I Know You Got Soul” and rocked every party from Harlem to Compton, the disc is literally dripping with every classic that you ever missed. For those of you true hip hoppers, with this, you can finally feel you’ve returned home. – by Mazi Gaillard Rating: 9


JANET JACKSON
The Velvet Rope
(Virgin Records)

If there’s one thing you can rely on with Janet, it’s that with every album, she’s bound to change her game. She’s been through her freedom stage, her politically conscious stage, her grown-up stage, and now…her sexual stage. While the bi-sexual expermental, S and M, techno sound may seem slightly played and a little contrived for Janet, it somehow fits, and somehow reinvents her in just the right way without trying to sound current. From the single “Got Til’ It’s Gone” with its ingenious use of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi”, to the James Brown-esque “Free Xone” with it’s sound that almost borders on drum n bass. “Empty” eventhough discussing the downfalls of an on-line courtship, pulses through with a clean, fluttering jungle-pulsed beat, and “I Get Lonley” rises and falls through some luscious harmonies. While some of the songs still soak in Janet’s standard R and B feel-good vibe, the disc gives you a hipper Janet that manages to surprise even the most opposing ear. – by Mazi Gaillard Rating: 8


THE FIRM
The Album
(Aftermath/Interscope)

Brainchild to Queensbridge, NY President Nas, The Firm is the supposed illest collaboration from Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ and Nature. With Dr. Dre appearing from the mixing boards for a rare producing stint, it would seem that the caper would come off like the new jack Goodfellas that it paints itself to be. Yet, the grandiose Mafia undertones are exactly what weaken the effort. It seems Nas and company have worked too hard trying to make The Firm a make-believe soundtack instead of concentrating on the beat and rhyme essentials. While Nature’s “Five Minutes To Flush” uses the nostaslgic “Five Minutes to Funk” as background and “Desperados” with Canibus, AZ and Nature weaves around a Nas-esque Spanish guitar flutter, Foxy is up to her naughty self, and Nas seems to have left his strong delivery for the Godfather’s throne. It works if you have the dope ride and the full wattage, but don’t look for inspiration. – by Mazi Gaillard Rating: 6


THE BOUNCING SOULS
Self Titled
(Epitaph Records)

This is the Bouncing Souls’ first release on Epitaph and at first I wasn’t really impressed. I felt that the maniacal fervor I was accustomed to from their previous albums was non- existent on this release. However, after a few more rotations I felt the album grow on me like a fungus and found the tracks “Shark Attack”, “Say Anything”, and “East Coast F*ck You” quite enjoyable. Since the Souls relocated from New Jersey to New York, they have been highly visible. I recommend you catch one of their shows because they are crammed with unbridled excitement. Forget the Warped Tour, it’s good and well, but for an energetic show you gotta see these guys live at a small venue. When they’re bouncing off the walls and going nuts nothing else compares. So buy this you freaky bmx bandits and tell little Kenny next door how hot you think his mom is. You’re sure to get free cookies and juice, plus give the kid a complex for life. If I had to put this on a scale of one to ten (one being the best),it gets a three and definitely deserves a spot in your collection. – by Eddie Starke


Various Artists
NIHON SKA DANSU (LAND OF THE RISING SKA) The Best of Japanese Ska
(Moon Ska)

Chipmunks are go!! There’s just something that is really sort of charming the way Japanese embrace various musical genres in their best broken English, like say Shonen Knife. While most of the album is emulative of recent rock/ska hybrids like Rancid, (Young Punch, for instance) some is absolutely unique and wonderful. “S.A.G. To You” by Friuty hops along with a quirky, spirtited Farfisa-organ beat, while Duck Missle’s “Push Out”, more early punk era than ska is probably a great anthem and belted out full-throttle in Japanese. Several bands stick more closely to ska’s musical roots (and we mean pre-Specials here OK?). Bands like Blue Beat Players’ “Cool Ska” and Determinations’ “Lion Bite” have an early ’60s ska sound closer to say the legendary Skatalites. On the whole, the nutty sound on this ska sampler is entertaining and often endearing in it’s crudeness. by Olivia Biddle RATING: 7


SHY FX
Mad Apache/Stroke
(Ivory Records)

This is the first release on the Ivory labe; and it is nothing short of a masterpiece. “Mad Apache” is Shy hitting you with the funk knock out. He funks out the Apache Rock break like a mad scientist. Smooth Ass bass line compliments this soon to be jungle anthem. Over the top of this ill foundation is some blistering keyboard lines improvising fluidly amidst some tweaked out acid lines. Production on this is flawless. Top notch Runninz “Stroke” on the flip is more laid back. A nice tight groover is the vibe on this. Nothing too extravagant, just fluid Shy-style grooves. This record is a must! – by Karl Williams RATING: 9


THE DEAD MILKMEN
Death Tides A Pale Cow (The Ultimate Collection)
(Restless Records)

When I was 13, I had a crush on this blonde chick in my class. Iasked her out on a date to the Dead Milkmen show at Club Bene. She laughed at me and told me the Dead Milkmen are gay and I should cut my hair and listen to the Smiths. The Smiths? She was serious, too. Listening to this CD chock full of all the DM’s greatest hits and unreleased shit makes me want to track that girl down, go to her house and sit in her driveway in my bitchin’ Honda pumpin’ this CD through my serious powerhouse stereo system, yelling, screaming, “Who’s gay now baby? Huh? Who’s fuckin’ gay?” -by Chris Nieratko


FATBOY SLIM
Better Living Through Chemistry
Astralwerks

Remember that scene in Trainspotting when those two guys were raging in that club in London? And that one guy with the mustache hooked up with that chick that was actually a dude? That was pretty fucked up right there. I don’t know what I’d do if I was in his shoes. I’d probably go nuts and run to the nearest hill and chest slide down it as fast as I could. Or do something really loco like pissing in someone’s mail box. I’m sure eventually I’d calm down and go back into the club, grab another beer. The DJ would probably he playing Fat Boy Slim and I’d start dancing. – by Chris Nieratko


PULLEY
60 Cycle Hum
(Epitaph)

Surprisingly this Epitaph release doesn’t sound like Bad Religion, but more like Face to Face, with whom they share a former bass player (though they’re not quite as catchy), and Dag Nasty. Former Ten Foot Pole vocalist Scott sings most of these upbeat, powerful, and aggressive punk songs, which have enough variety, partly thanks to the vocal contributions of the rest of the band, to make this a better than average album worth checking out. by Adam Feinberg RATING: 6


VARIOUS ARTISTS
We Will Fall: The Iggy Pop Tribute
(Royalty)

Twenty tracks means there’s bound to be something for everyone here, and they’ve certainly done a good job of choosing a wide variety of bands, from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pansy Division to Blanks 77. No one does anything very exciting with any of Iggy’s songs, but there are definitely some good moments, and the variety of bands is interesting. The chicks make the best showing here, with NY Loose, 7 Year Bitch, and especially the Lunachicks’ “The Passenger” among this collection’s brightest moments. by Adam Feinberg RATING: 6


RIVERDALES
Storm the Streets
(Honest Don’s Totally Beaten Brats)

These Chicago punks, featuring Screeching Weasel’s Ben, are devoted disciples to the Church of Ramones, who they had the good taste to thank on this, their second album. But despite their apparent unwillingness to do anything original, the Riverdales have succeeded here in making a pretty good album in the classic punk rock style, with some great songs among these 14, though not, of course, as great as The Ramones. by Adam Feinberg RATING: 8


THE VERVE
Urban Hymns
(Virgin)

The Verve’s latest is a long and mostly excellent one, with lots of hits and only a few misses. Occasionally spicing things up with strings or slide guitar, these songs are of the mellow, late night variety, with laid back beats and sometimes Bono-esque vocals. “The Drugs Don’t Work” is the highlight here, a beautiful track that succeeds with what The Verve do best on “Urban Hymns”, a combination of melancholy and hope, musical understatement and drama. by Adam Feinberg RATING: 7


DAMAGED
Token Remedies Research
(Rotten)

This grind-core band from Australia is so uniquely punishing to the ears that it’s hard to describe. The vocals are the equivalent of the most severe physical torture you could ever experience. The singer sounds like someone is standing on his throat while his balls are being shaved with a dull razor. This sonic spectacle is backed by some of the best grind tunes around, with the sound ranging from the mindless wall of noise to some truly colossal chunks of metal. Damaged is absolutely the most intense band to emerge in recent years. jeff jobes RATING: 7


THE UNDEAD
Dawn of the Undead
(Shock)

Here it is: the definitive Undead best-of compilation. The monster-child of Bobby Steele has been around in one way or another since 1981 when Steele was kicked out of the Misfits. Twenty-two songs of good old punk is the result in 1997. Samhain fans should listen to Steve Zing’s drums on about half the tracks. So now while the Misfits have put out their new metal CD and Danzig experiments with techno, Steele still refuses to kiss the corporate rock ass and stays true to his punk roots. If you missed the vinyl versions of these punk classics, pick up this CD. When you’re through listening, drop Bobby a line at [email protected], he’ll appreciate it. jeff jobes RATING: 8.5


THE COOTEES
Let’s Play House
(Tooth and Nail)

This is the pop-punk record of 1997. I surveyed, I counted the vote, and that’s the result. All of the necessary elements for pop-punkdom are here: songs about girls, songs about being punk, songs about themselves, and songs about what sucks. All of these factors combined with a little harmony, a healthy dose of aggressive, speedy guitars, and nasal vocals, makes the new Cootees CD the best pop-punk CD of the year. The band keeps their sense of humor, Decendents-style, has some absolutely spectacular Dag-Nasty moments, and even plays around with a ska tune. – Jeff Jobes RATING: 10


THE DIRTYS
You Should Be Sinnin’
(Crypt)

OK OK. This band is way too good for being only two years young. Their sound has three main elements: the tempo and punk furor of the early Dead Kennedys, a dash of the Cramps unique psychobilly sound, and the attitude and chaos of the early Replacements. Couple these with the 8 track analog recording and over-the-top manic vocals and you have a phenomenal CD. The Dirtys’ raw energy and chaos is a welcome gift among the industry-bred one hit wonders that seem to plague the airwaves these days. Any fan of frenzy MUST hear this band. – Jeff Jobes RATING: 6.9


AFI
Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes
(Nitro)

It’s cool to hear a west coast band blend the east coast hardcore sound with the harmonies of the California scene. The combination works, especially when the harmonies are well placed and never overdone throughout the entire recording and the east coast hardcore influence is not overbearing. The early DC influence manifests itself a few times throughout the CD and again, this works. The result of the intermingling of all of these distinct hardcore influences is a unique sound that is unmatched as of yet. Definitely worth checking out. jeff jobes RATING: 6.5


25 TA LIFE
Strength Through Unity – The Spirit Remains
(Triple Crown Records)

25 Ta Life has taken elements from their previous records and improved on them greatly. The recording quality is cleaner, Rick’s vocals are clearer and the CD booklet artwork and layout very well done. Lord Ezek from Crown of Thornz and Freddy Cricien from Madball help out on vocal duties on “Loyal Ta The Grave”. The songs blend together seamlessly and the addition of more complex metal sounding riffs in “Turning Point” are a welcome addition. Some of the riffs such as in “Loyal To The Grave” remind me of early Slayer, which is a great direction. A worthy addition to any hardcore collection. -by Chris Bors – RATING: 8


Various Artists
SKARMAGEDDON 3
(Moon Ska Records)

This is the third installment of a great idea, a massive compilation of the growing number of ska bands popping up around the country. You get forty five tracks on two discs, which are broken up into two sub-genres. The first disc is “Old-School / 2 Tone” for traditionalists and the second is “Post 2Tone, Ska-Punk and Beyond”. There are lots of highlights, few disappointments and overall a worthwhile package. No band has ever been featured more than once on the Skarmageddon comps, which shows the amazing number of ska bands proliferating in the scene. This disc has enough variety to please all ska fans. – by Chris Bors – RATING 8


1,000 CLOWNS
Kitty Cat Max
(Fish of Death Records)

An honorable mention goes to 1000 Clowns for their CD single, Kitty Cat Max. As they say in the song, “1,000 Clowns got a funky sound”. A catchy, hip hop song that I for one am going to tell all my DJ friends about. – by Tonya Knudson – RATING 7


12” REVIEWS
by PRIME MOVER

D. J. ASEUD – “1.2.3/Newstyle” (RMXS) Second Movement
“1.2.3.” rinses out “at the count of three I want everybody to make some noise” sample throughout the tune. Chunky ass beats on this blow out. Tune is very hot in the funk department. Ill distorted basslines cop bash this track to death alongside some fierce amentreaks. Shit is potent in the phat beats category. “New Style Rux” on the flip is no half steppa either. Straight from the get go nice choppy, uptempo drums scorch you. Adrock sample “it’s the new style” lays the vocal time stretch into the picture. Runnin’ ass beats break onto even illa drums as the song progresses. Ascend wonderfully adds some dreamy synth lines along some gazzy style organ hits. This tune is fierce and nothing less. Essential!

D.J. ZINC – “Reachout (RUX)/damn” True Playaz
D.J. Zinc represents lovely on this plate of pure break beat beauty. He hits you with the funk on the intro. Half time flavors in the beat department team up with some filtered out, time stretched vocals. This track totally rinses out the runninz, seen. Zinc also adds in some horn stabs and some funky wah guitars. Essential record for all bad boys. The flip “Damn” is more laid back. Lush synth sounds are teamed up with some sci-fi noise and creepy, minimal bassline. Steady grooves here, nothing too choppy. Buy this 12”, nuff said!

TERMINAL OUTCASTS – “Playin’/War Games” Frontline Rec.
“Playin’” is definitely the breakdown. Chill phat beat steady groove leads the way into several drumless breakdowns. Production is very tight. Uptempo phat steppa is a good title for this track. Nice work on this one. “War Games” starts off with a nice moody free time intro, then proceeds to move into some mechanical sounding drum patterns. Very hard driving, but not too choppy hear. This track also flexes some very effective drumless breakdowns. Solid release for the Frontline crew.

ALPHA PROXIMA – “Future Voices/20th Century” Autoi Rec.
The title “Future Voices” should say enough. Complete break beat mayhem for the future focused. A symphonic seducer, this track hits hard in every segment. Tight production throughout this heeter. Runnin’ drums bash your head amidst a flurry of vocals, wails and lush but eerie atmospherics. Distorted basslines lay the foundation throughout. Definitely this song serves as a perfect energy enhancer. Essential ground breaking work. “20th Century” on the flip, starts off more laid back than the A-side. Effective bass stabs lead the way for some jazzy suspense vibes. After the intro drops the warble. Phat ass straight beat phat stepper grooves you throughout this groove on the cool out pimp beat tip. Alpha Proxim hits you with truly creative sounds!

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