Reviews by Sue Wood, Justin Emery, Vans Davey and David Wiley

THE AGONIST – Lullabies for the Dormant Mind (Century Media) Who doesn’t love a hot chick who can seduce almost every one of your physical senses, while, at the same time, make it seem like Satan has sent her to collect and eat your everlasting soul… not because he wants her to, but because he’s afraid of not letting her? The Agonist’s beautifully talented Alissa White-Gluz and her band of metal misfits bring those exact sentiments with their 2009 release “Lullabies for the Dormant Mind”. Lullabies is a goth-metal paradise for the ears and whatever other physical or metaphysical body parts it decides to take over. This band’s advantage is in that it provides both musical prowess and intoxicating vocals. So kneel and say your prayers once the Lullabies begin because this frightfully enchanting dream may never end, and you probably won’t want it to. – JUSTIN EMERY

BIG BANG, Edendale (Grand Sport Records)
It’s nice to hear Norwegians pulling something off other than Black Metal. In fact, Edendale is its direct antithesis. Slowing things down worked out well for these Norsemen. Skip to “Swedish Television” and you’ll see what I mean. Melody meets simplicity, The Arcade Fire meets CSNY. There is a consistency in this album that is very pleasing. Big Bang has put together a wonderful collection of songs and music that definitely showcases their talent. Be on the look-out for the boom of Big Bang. – JUSTIN EMERY

EASTER MONKEYS, Splendor of Sorrow (Smog Veil Records) In the midst of the beginning of the punk era, with a pre-punk sound and somewhere between the psychedelia of the Velvet Underground and the poetic ranting of Patti Smith, Easter Monkeys crafted a sonic experience. Splendor of Sorrow spans the band’s career and showcase the variety of their musical talents. This album is smoke, heroin, cut-off shirts and thrashing on grimy, small club stages. Easter Monkeys is the band you want to hear at CBGB’s while a cigarette slowly yellows your fingers, and your beer (that’s not a PBR) is less than a dollar. This is music that you should only own on vinyl; not because it’s chic, but because that raw popping and crackling is what places you in the sound. This is music. – JUSTIN EMERY

EDDIE CURRENT SUPPRESSION RING, Rush to Relax (Goner Records) They may call themselves indie, but these Aussie punkers know how to put out some music regardless of labels. They’ve got an early punk sound, and my favorite song on Rush to Relax is “I Can Be A Jerk.” We all think it. We never say it. It needs to be said. Play this for your significant other if you’re in a fight…you won’t get the make up sex you’re probably looking for, but a kiss on the cheek might do. – JUSTIN EMERY

ENDWELL, Consequences (Century Media) Brutality. Pure and simple. Endwell’s Consequences is nothing shy of an auditory fist fight in your ear drums. This album is pure, unadulterated American hardcore at its finest. If you want hardcore, find it here. You won’t be disappointed. – JUSTIN EMERY

FICTION REFORM, Revelation in the Palms of the Weak (Basement Records) I like this band! I like this album! You want tenacity, skill, thrash? You want punk? You got it. Fronted by the incomparably hot Brenna, Fiction Reform channels Bad Religion, Pennywise, The Creepshow, and Tilt – great modern punk. Cut up your leather, put on your brass knuckles, lace up your boots because it’s going to be fury fists and fighting. Listen to “Whites In Their Eyes” and feel yours become bloodshot with rage and fun all at the same time. Very rarely does one ever come across music that makes caffeine seem obsolete. Shoot this into your musical veins! – JUSTIN EMERY

THE GHOST INSIDE, Fury and the Fallen Ones (Century Media) Century Media has done it again! With a formula of brutality and talent this label brings us The Ghost Inside and Fury and The Fallen Ones. There’s a soft spot in my heart for hardcore and this band digs its ravenous claws in and through that spot. Whether you like hardcore or not, the fact we can all agree upon is that breakdowns make this music what it is. As far as breakdowns go “Faith or Forgiveness” has the balls to stand its ground. Flail your arms, thrash, punch, kick, windmill, pick up your change, who the fuck cares…just hit somebody. When you hear, “I’ll see you when the sun sets” that’s your cue. Jonathan Vigil and his bandmates have paired lyrics and music to make this album truly great. – JUSTIN EMERY

EXODUS, Exhibit B: The Human Condition (Nuclear Blast) Another epic release from bad ass San Francisco Bay Area band Exodus. Exhibit B: The Human Condition is a wall of explosive sound with tracks like “Burn, Hollywood, Burn” and “The Sun Is My Destroyer.” With “March Of The Sycophants,” you can hear Rob Duke’s sheer metal vocals and Gary Holt’s screaming guitars for the ultimate thrash metal sound. Lead me to the mosh pit and you know what I’ll be doing. Two devil horns up! – VANS DAVEY

JASON RICCI AND NEW BLOOD, Done with the Devil (Eclecto Groove) He may be Done with the Devil but these diabolical blues have the hounds of hell hot on Jason Ricci’s trail. This man is a master and the mouth harp and shows his talent all over this album. Jason Ricci takes the tradition found in gospel and blues, adds some pink hair dye, makes a mess out of Robert Johnson and The Legendary Shack Shakers, and makes the blues accessible to all. Whether you’ve got a lowrider, a pickup, or a Vespa, Jason Ricci and New Blood are sure to please. Sometimes the songs have a tendency to drag on a bit long, but it’s the blues baby, and y’ain’t done til ya done. Move aside John Popper and get rid of that pop friendly shit, Jason Ricci’s got hell fire behind him to burn a path to the top. – JUSTIN EMERY

KILLING CALIFORNIA, Goin’ South (Basement)
I wanna rob a bank, hop in a black ‘59 Caddie and haul ass down some dirt road while listening to this album. Or break out of Alcatraz. Or who knows, but something I do while listening to this album is gonna take me in a southerly direction. Raspy growling lyrics, thrashy guitars with a lot of distortion, who wouldn’t wanna do something bad? “I got my sub-machine gun and my war goggles on. I’m runnin’ with the devil cause we’re in this together.” Nuff said. – JUSTIN EMERY

NICK CURRAND AND THE LOWLIFES, Reform School Girl (Electro Groove Records)
I feel like I should be riding around in some hot rod and popping the rumble seat to this one. Hidden behind a seemingly punk rock album cover, Nick and his Lowlifes have compiled a fantastic collection of tracks that blend Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bill Haley, ‘50s pop rock, the Stray Cats and some modern flare. This album is definitely making its way into my iTunes library. If you like big body guitars and bands like the Coasters, you’ll have a fun time in your earphone space with this one. – JUSTIN EMERY

OCEANO, Depths (Earache Records)
Fans of White Chapel, Black Dahlia Murder, and Job For A Cowboy rejoice! Another band for you guys to see on tour, one better than Killswitch. Black metal has found another outlet in the guys from Oceano. Though Depths is their first release, what a brilliant introductory album! Heavy and powerful, pissed off and well planned. Audio hell is waiting for you on this CD, so if you dare, venture forth. But abandon all hope ye who listen here, for there is no light beyond this darkness. So smile and give a listen. – JUSTIN EMERY

HORROR SQUAD, Horror Squad (Fallen Angel Records)
A fresh perspective of the older roots of thrashy punk. Foundation = Reggae root beats and velocity with a hint of new style. Tight-knit rhythm works together as the Horror Squad kicks their music into overdrive. It makes you feel, whether in the car or not, that you’re in the pit, slamming with the best of ‘em. The garage days of thrashy punk are dead, but this band recaptures the pure punk rock intensity of the everlasting era of blue-haired mohawks and broken down water-logged boards. – DAVID WILEY

BISON B.C., Dark Ages (Metal Blade)
Loud, aggressive, hostile and striking riffs describe Bison B.C. and they are as heavy as heavy can get! With songs like, “Two Day Booze,” you’ll be in a full head bang in a matter of seconds! Then you have “Die of Devotion,” which begins as a mellow instrumental then turns into a mesmerizing melody and finishes off with fury and rage! Metal lovers will definitely find something to love about this band. – VANS DAVEY

TESTAMENT, The Formation of Damnation (Nuclear Blast) Don’t you love the sound of screaming guitars and double bass drums in the morning? If you do, check out Testament’s first studio album in 9 years with its jaw-clenching, gut-wrenching, head bangin’ thrash metal style. It’s easy to understand why they continue to bring on the adrenaline rush. Check out “More than Meets the Eye” and title track “The Formation of Damnation.” You won’t regret it. Try it instead of coffee one morning. – VANS DAVEY

GWAR, Bloody Pit of Horror (Metal Blade) Gwar rules. Where else could you find song titles like “Tick Tits” and “KZ Necromancer”. “A Gathering of Ghouls” goes balls out with insanely rad energy. Oderus Urungus’ vocals and brutal lyrics sound raw the way I would imagine meat to sound stuck in a grinder. From thrash to stoner metal, Gwar has many different sounds. Hear for yourself! – VANS DAVEY

IVAN IVES, Newspeak (No Threshold Records)
Intelligent white boy rapper makes good with Soviet/Brave New World themed album. This guy changes the game and has the intellectual prowess to make his rhymes deeper than they sound. The beats and tunes with the lyrics make it flow. Listen to “1984” and you’ll see what I mean. – JUSTIN EMERY

OG TRIGGS, OG Triggs (Indie)
Being from Venice, CA, and growing up in the “Skateboarding is a Crime” age, we rebelled from the limelight of the mainstream. Our art and music channeled the more underground aspect of day to day life. The DIY collective prevailed over the mundane suit-and-tie set with music from homies like OG Triggs. OG Triggs brings solid beats, entrancing gangster lyrics with a hint of, “Fuck what you think! This is VENICE!” – DAVID WILEY

CHIODOS, Illuminaudio (Equal Vision)
“Notes in Constellation” is an enigmatic masterpiece.  Chiodos reminds me of a newer version of the Deftones. “Modern Wolf Hair” makes me want to mosh and then contemplate the worries of the world and then mosh some more to forget all that! – VANS


by Cheetah Chrome – This is the fascinating story of Cheetah Chrome, lead guitarist of one of the America’s greatest punk bands, the Dead Boys. It’s a story of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll during the punk scene in the ‘70s with a captivating foreword written by Legs McNeil. If you want a raw inside perspective of the early days of punk, check out A Dead Boys Tale. – VANS DAVEY

THE LOST CHRONICLES OF LED ZEPPELIN’S 1975 AMERICAN TOUR by Stephen Davis – In 1975, during Led Zeppelin’s tenth American tour, Steven Davis, a journalist traveling with the band, chronicled this story. He was inspired to write this book when he found a lost box of tapes, notes and never before seen gems of memorabilia from that tour. Check out the crazy shenanigans at the legendary Riot House in L.A. and more, as Zeppelin rocked and rolled the U.S.A.. This is your backstage pass to a musical magic carpet ride you won’t forget. – VANS DAVEY

MISS O’DELL by Chris O’Dell with Katherine Ketcham – During the peak of the Beatles heyday, Chris O’Dell was there through it all as an insider. She was as an assistant tour manager for bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. She even got to sing in the “Hey, Jude” chorus and was the “Miss O’Dell” of George Harrison’s song. A must read for anyone who is into rock n’ roll nostalgia. Take it from her when she says, “I wasn’t famous. I wasn’t almost famous. But I was there.” I would have loved to have been there too, Miss O’Dell!  – VANS DAVEY


100% handcrafted in the USA by skater Von Wolf the flyaway helmet has all the style of the ‘70s and all the function of modern times. Every helmet is custom painted and the attention to quality and detail is unmatched by other skateboard helmets in production. They do not only look great, they’re so comfortable sometimes you forget you have one on. When it comes to your head you should not overlook quality and with Flyaway helmets you can be confident in it’s performance. Check out  www.kanoasurf.com to order yours. – DAN LEVY


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