Caustic Acoustic: A Benefit Compilation for Bucket
O Blood Books and Records – Johanns Face Records
This is a great collection of acoustic tunes featuring
a dirty laundry list of punk rock artists from the
Sass Dragons Jason Smith to Jon Lewis of The Dopamines.
Marc Ruvolo, Bucket O Blood proprietor, and Chicago
punk rock mainstay contributes as well. By 2013 if
you haven’t developed a place in your heart
for acoustic punk rock, you have either been living
on another planet, or you’re the last stubborn
hold out that hasn’t realized that you don’t
have to be pissed off and angry to be umm… pissed
off and angry. I know it’s cliché when
you hear someone state in a record review that “there
isn’t a bad song on this record” –
but really their isn’t… well…maybe
one….. fine. Track 12 is awful. The songs by
Jason Smith, Mike Petruccelli, and Dave Merriman stick
out as the strongest tunes. Definitely not a single
listen release here, I can assure you that you will
find more than one tune that you would like to hear
again, and again, and again.
This compilation was put together to benefit Bucket
O Blood records, a multi purpose record, books, art
store/center deal that Marc Ruvolo has been running
for (excuse me for being factually inaccurate) close
to a couple years now. While I have never been to
the store myself, I do correspond with Marc quite
often, and if I understand correctly they not only
sell books, records, and art, but have poetry readings,
spoken word, and live acoustic music as well.
In the short period of a few weeks Bucket O Blood
not only experienced a water issue in which a good
amount of inventory was lost due to water damage,
but Marc suffered from a ruptured appendix. Cry me
a fucking River right? Everyone has problems? True,
nonetheless, if you don’t know Marc, this man
has contributed to carrying on the spirit of punk
rock in Chicago for three decades and running. His
record label Johanns Face records has released music
by several generations of punk rock bands from Oblivion
to the Sass Dragons. Credited with giving the Alkaline
Trio their start by releasing their first seven inch
(we don’t hold it against him…too much)
Marc has also helped out a countless number of nameless,
nonetheless great, bands that have come and gone over
the years. For years Marc has been that sometimes
quiet, sometimes loud, alternative to the alternative
in Chicago punk rock. Throughout the years Marc has
fought the fight of refusing to let punk rock get
pigeonholed and labeled. If a true spirit of our community
really does exist Marc Ruvolo embodies it, and for
five dollars you can help Bucket O Blood get through
some trying times. My guess is that Marc would do
it for you… Five bucks.. Great songs. Good cause.
Purchase the compilation for a donation of $5
or more here...
Barry - 40 Miler (Chunksaah Records)
It's hard to believe that Tim Barry has delivered
his fifth record. It seems lke just yesterday I was
in a tent, in my friend’s back yard, drinking
cheap beer and listening to Rivannah Junction
on a skipping CD in amazement. The sounds I was hearing
were opening my eyes and light bulbs were going off
in my head. It was bluegrassy, countryish, punky,
acoustic, aggressive as fuck Rock n Roll. It was as
if I was hearing something brand new, like when I
first heard the Ramones. I remember looking at the
cover of Tim's third album, Manchester
wondering if he had it in him to keep pace with Rivannah
Two records later and Tim still has everything that
his fans love him for. In fact, I would say that 40
is clearly his finest moment. 2010's 28th
and Stonewall showed us a Tim Barry who was starting
to finely tune his craft, but to me the album sounded
a little slick compared to his other work. On 40
Barry and his gang of friends perfectly
catch that spot-on yet gritty and dirty muscianship
that defines a Tim Barry record.
The record simply has no bad songs, it’s simply
all killer and no fller. From the dirty, dark, and
bluesy "Adelle and Hell" to the singalongs
"Fine Foods Market" and "Amen,"
Tim Barry drops an entire album full of those songs
that ya just gotta hear again. And of course, there
is that one song.... While most of Tim's songs tell
somewhat of a story, every album has that one that
plays like a book on tape and makes you feel like
you know the characters: "Prosser's Gabrial,""South
Hill," "Dog Bumped," and now "T.
Beene" - one of Tim's greatest short story/songs
to date. Whether you are a casual fan, a die hard
fan, or just someone looking to check out something
new, this album won't disapoint you. If you like good
songs, if you like good music, this album delivers
both. Keep ‘em coming, Mr. Barry.
Fur Coats - Dont Make Me Beg (Dirt Cult Records)
Chicago's Fur Coats featuring Marc Ruvolo (No Empathy,
Traitors, Das Kapital) on lead Vocals and guitar,
Davey Houle (Das Kapital) and Deven Kay (Devon Kay
and the Solutions) on Bass and backing vocals, play
up beat "garage pop" with a touch of more
upbeat Husker Du and Replacements-like harmonies.
Fans of Das Kapital and No Empathy will definitely
enjoy hearing this side of Mr. Ruvolo's unmistakeable
voice backed up by great, catchy bass playing and
Davey Houle's always on point drumming. "Talking
to Myself" is my top pick on the record, but
each song is good. Only 300 copies are being pressed
so get your hands on one while they are still floating
Underlings - Vice Squad (Meth Bog Records)
This record sounds like it could be two different
bands. Standard punk rock, nothing ya havn't heard
before or already have in your collections. The
B Side features two really good song and the A Side
If you like punk rock, you probabally won't hate
this record, but you probabally won't prefer it
over anything you already have in your collection.
Disconnects/Crazy and the Brains - Split 7-inch
(Baldy Longhair Records)
The Disconnects are great, and definately dominate
this split ep. The Disconnects will remind you of
just about every awesome band that Rip Off Records
signed and put out little black and white sleeved
7" records for in the 90's. To say that they
are doing anything original would be a lie, but
I just don't see this band disputing thier originality.
This band is good at playing straight ahead rock
n roll based dirty punk rock. A three songs songss
are absolutely rockin.
The other side of this record bores the shit out
of me. The Ramones cover while in good spirit appears
with absolutely no balls. Kinda reminds me of the
BEatnik Termites or something... If you like punk
rock that sounds like a children’s music class
meets circus music, then you will definately dig
this band. I don't.
Mix Tapes - Hope is for People (Animal Style Records)
The Mix Tape play pop punk, with male/female vocals,
and sound like the Ergs with a girl in the lineup...
WAIT! WAIT!WAIT! They are fucking awesome at it! -
- Yes, this band is overly poppy, and the songs are
emotional and geared towards love and other pretty
stuff.. But ya can't help but sing along. You can't
help but tap your foot. You can't help but feel…
ashamed. You might even break out the first Teen Idols
record after this one gets played a few dozen times...
Maybe the Teen Idols thing was taking it a little
too far.. This band is good. This records is great.
Explosion - Bury Me Standing (Chunksaah Records)
This is a great punk rock record that has been
down a long hard road to finally getting released!
Boston's Explosion deliver ten fast paced catchy
and aggressive melodic punk tunes that are all equally
great. Good thoughtful lyrics backed by great dirty
yet pretty backing vocals that complement the singalong
chrouses. Apparently this record was recorded years
back and never released due to label and or internal
issues. After this recording The Explosion dabbled
in the world of the major labels briefly, and like
many that did so fell apart shortly after. All this
information may have been included in the press
sheet that I spilled Mountain Dew all over. I'm
sure whatever other information you need can be
found on the label or bands website. The Explosion
remind me of great 90's/00's punk that remind me
of different bands such as No Use for a Name, Pinhead
Gunpowder, Suicide Machines, The Bouncing Souls
and Rattail Grenadier. I suggest anybody that likes
punk rock that is equal parts grit and pop gets
their paws on this release as soon as they can.
I couldn't find a bad track on this record.
The Destructors –P OW! Thats Killmusik.
Vol 2: Rewind (RFAO)
This is the kinda shit that just gets under my
skin. Bad generic sounding street punk with British
accents. This over romanticized bullshit is what
keeps punk stupid. The Destructors play some seriously
boring, uninspiring, dime store punk rock with peppered
in outright wierd electronic breaks that just make
the entire thing sound awkward. Lets just go ahead
and get something straight here. England sucks.
These guys are proof. The Destructors have been
sucking since 1977 or someplace around there. Much
The Sex Pistols, Cocksparrer, and The Damned ....
they suck. Slow, poorly executed garbage with no
hooks, nothing intelligent to say and an anoying
fucking accent to boot. Please don't buy this CD.
In fact - I say we get everyone that got review
copies togegther and send them all back to the shitty
little island they came from.
The Freshkills - Raise up the Sheets (The End Records)
The Freshkills play quirky new wave inspired power
pop with highly annoying vocals. In all honesty
if they sent this double douche packing, got a proper
vocalist and laid off the synth garbage they might
be a pretty damn good band. The guitar works well
with the Bass and and the drummer plays some very
interesting stuff... but then the Vocals start and
I can't even get past the fourth song. I'm not sure
who this guy thinks he is but it sounds like Bono
meets that disheveled fat guy from The Cure. Don't
buy this. Please.
Avoiders/Zombies Are Pissed – Split EP - Self
To put it simply, this is a good punk rock record.
I can’t say I have heard of either band, however
in both bands cases I would like to hear more. The
Zombies are pissed side of the record features four
great tunes that fell somewhere in between Jawbreaker
and Blanks 77 (sorry.. that’s the best I can
do). The band takes an interesting musical approach
to melodic punk rock, but the lyrics seem to be
a little bit cliché and sophomoric. We all
know that the worlds a bad place, we all know corporations
suck, and unfortunately none of us really care about
much more than money substances and cheeseburgers,
and it’s been done a thousand times better.
The Youth Avoiders definitely deliver the stronger
side of the record. I can’t help but make
the against me comparison. Even though a vast majority
of all new punk rock bands sound like they are borrowing
from Against Me, for some reason, Youth Avoiders
are good at it, and unlike Against Me and all the
pussy bands that try to emulate them, The Youth
Avoiders DON’T suck. I’m not sure if
that’s a back handed, piss in your chucks
compliment, but I do believe it’s a compliment..
Most Deaf – “By 1994” –
Kiss of Death
Well what a fucking surprise …. Emo hipster
garbage from Kiss of Death. Can someone please explain
to me the attraction to this vocal style? Please.
I just can’t take it anymore In fact I have
opened this email account - firstname.lastname@example.org-
in the hopes that someone else can explain to me why
people want to hear this fucking shit. Give it a whirl…
Sway me… If we get any good responses I will
post them in my next column. - -People, I just don’t
understand it… Some of these bands are good.
They can play…So what on God’s green earth
possesses them to invite these whiney fucking ween
bags over to ruin their fucking songs? I can just
hear some hipster pussy getting all worked up about
the passion and intensity in this jerk off’s
voice and I just cant understand why. Is it possible
that there is just ONE singer the fills the slot in
every college boy emo band? IT ALL SOUNDS THE FUCKING
SAME. THE FUCKING SAME DAMN IT. I can’t help
but wonder if maybe all you back pack wearing socially
aware future IT guy wanna be fucking poets out there
don’t see it… because you are also all
the fucking same.
– “Here We Are Tomorrow” - Tiny
This is pop punk from outer fucking space. The
Pink Floyd of cheesy pop I tell you! These songs
are, believe it or not, quite good and the bands
fluid style complimented with some great ambient
vocals actually makes for some great pop. A little
bit too much instrumental jerking off, nonetheless,
in a new and unique style. Experimental punk rock
that actually didn’t make me want to take
a shot of Drano.
Diarrhea Planet – Aloha – Evil Weevil
Diarrhea Planet mange to capture that perfect sound
wherein you can clearly hear every note and separate
the instruments, yet the whole thing still sounds
like it was recorded in a garbage can. FUCK YES! The
songs are just flat out catchy and fun. Most bands
that try to capture the aggression and power of stuff
like the Stooges and MC5 and mix it with pop usually
go too heavy on the candy coating. DP will have you
singing harmonies in the car without losing a bit
their high energy old school sound.
Subjects – Self Titled EP – Self Released
I really enjoyed this record. Nothing flashy here,
just straight forward punk rock. Ramones influenced
(like it damn well should be) but unique and pulled
off well, unlike so many bands that tread these waters.
I love the female vocals with this style of punk rock.
The Sore Subjects are Rock – n – Rolly,
dry yet sassy. These guys get my stamp of approval.
Yes.. the stamp exists.
Miniboone – Fight Song B/W The Other Summer
It looks like Lego’s on the record and the
music sounds like Devo. New Wave sucked in the 80’s
and it sucks now. (same with picture discs) This
band attempts to bring composition and art to fun
silly music and ends up making stupid shitty music.
Ripface Invasion – Five Song CD and Seven
Inch EP – IDK Music
Hey I like these guys!!! Ripface invasion are for
people that like a little thrash in their punk.
Both the CD and the vinyl EP absolutely rock your
socks off in a manner I havn’t heard in long
ass time. Think back to old school Suicidal, S.O.D.
and the faster side of Anthrax and mix it with bands
like Pennywise and you have a pretty good idea of
what Ripface Invasion might sound like. Better yet
– check em out for yourself!
Heat Tape – Raccoon Valley Recordings –
I really didn’t like this record the first couple
times I heard it… it kinda grew on me like herpes
or something, because now I know I’ll never
get rid of it. The songs sound like they were recorded
in a trailer(they were) and the whole deal just has
a really lo fi sound. The songs can either be viewed
as break neck or spacey depending how you listen.
The Heat Tape definitely reach back to old school
Rock N Roll for influence, and at the same time almost
sound extremely 1972 and modern all at the same time.
Thumbs up to The Heat Tape (See Toby..Sometimes I
can be nice)
AFTERTHEFALL – Eradication – Mightier
Than the Sword
See review for Most Deaf … the same thing
applies – You email this address and tell me
why this shit doesn’t suck… - Good responses
included in next column. Email: email@example.com
Luck Next Time – A Lifetime of Learning –
Well I thought that I might like this because it came
from Kid Tested. Was I wrong!!! – This is horrible.
This is that band that makes all the pussy pop punk
songs for the American Pie and Van Wilder movies…
you know – this is that band from that one soundtrack
that made that song tthat played during the party
scenes and the happy ending… Right? Right? -
- I try not to mention press sheets too often, but
this bands in particular was filled with crap about
how big they are in Japan and even thanked the people
of Japan in their liner notes… GO TO FUCKING
JAPAN. GO THERE. You fucking suck. This is not punk
rock. This is what went wrong. This is my fucking
generation’s fault. Shoot us all.
The Ignorant – Loaded Statement – Northeast
Standard Punk rock that doesn’t exactly standout.
I may have really like this as a younger man, but
these days it’s just been drug into the ground.
So many bands have done this same thing. From the
harmonies to the gang vocals, to the cheesy little
two string leads this is just been done too many fucking
times. Nobody will remember this band.
Time – Music of Matt Arluck – RMR
This is a compilation of all things Arluck. The
late Matt Arluck made his rounds as far as recording
and playing punk rock goes. This CD features tracks
by Crash Course, Deminer, Horace Pinker, Matt Flag
(backed by Lynards Innards), Cooler by the Lake,
Sweet Cobra, and Closing In. 22 Tracks in all. The
Black Flag covers are fantastic, and the rest of
the CD is absolutely kick ass. I have to admit I
feel a little bit embarrassed being originally from
Chicago, and not even aware of who Matt Arluck (even
if I was familiar with a few of these bands) was.
I gather from the liner notes that Arluck passed
away, and left behind a slew of great punk rock,
and apparently liked to skateboard as well. I suggest
this CD to anyone that likes music that falls under
the wide umbrella of PUNK ROCK because this CD is
all over the place, from blistering fast Black Flag
covers to pop punk, melodic hardcore and just straight
forward Rock N Roll. I’m glad I got this CD.
Lots of good stuff.
The United Sons of Toil – When the Revolution
Comes, Everything Will Be Beautiful – Phatry
See AFTERTHEFALL review; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mad Anthony - …I Spent All My Money on Speed
Metal – Phatry Records
Mad Anthony play groove based riff rock and their
singer sings every song the same exact way.
Karysun - …until the end – Destructure
Karysun are really slow. Really fucking boring.
Not as heavy as I’m pretty sure they think they
are and you can’t understand a single fucking
word the “singer” says.
Getback – Halfway Home – Livid Records
The Getback play punk inspired power pop. A lot of
bands that attempt this style tend to bore the fuck
out of me, but the Getback have some pretty decent
songs on this CD. Halfway Home serves up 11 upbeat
sing songy tunes that sound like what you would get
it if you could somehow mix D Generation and Screeching
weasel. The title track “Halfway Home”
is a great three chord ode to getting older and less
comfortable with your station in life and its backed
by a whole disc worth of good heartfelt pop tunes.
From the darker “Gimmie Routine” to the
rockin “Tell Me Something Nice” The Getback
managed to impress me.
Jesus Rehab -
The Highest Highs and The Lowest Lows (thejesusrehab.com)
The Jesus Rehab make good music. If you are into
Paul McCartney-esque pop that leans towards the
progressive end of the spectrum, you might really
be into this band. Heavy on synth and hooky choruses
this album might get played again. The opening track
after the the two identical introduction tracks
is definitely the highlight of the record.
The Safes - Double Single (Merrrifield Records)
From Chicago Illinois comes The Safes. And yes,
they are quite fucking safe. I dunno know if I like
it or not. Great hooks reminiscent of sitting in
the back seat of the station wagon while your parents
listened to the oldies sation. You can hear a touch
of influence from the "the" bands that
were popular in the early 2000's. "She's So
Sad" is a good song; if not for the horrible
bass player, it would be a great song. The vocals
are good, similar to the Australian guy that sang
for The Vines. Thumbs sideways. One part awesome,
one part suck. The Safes remind me of a Nineties
Rip Off Records band, minus the balls, and something
just sounds like a bunch of jerks fighting and clawing
for the brass ring.
The Rivals - self released
The Rivals play what you would come to expect from
a punk band in 2011. It's been done before but it's
still catchy. What can you really say about this
stuff? I'm sure the guys are nice guys and all,
but let’s face it... I have been hearing this
shitty punk record for the better part of twenty
years, and unfortunately for the Rivals, some of
it is written and recorded much better. I'm sure
this review isn't going to make the Rivals hang
up their guitars, and I surely don't want them to.
I have nothing bad to say about this band... it's
just that I have absolutely nothing good to say
either. I just can't help but feel that this is
exactly the kind of band that earns punk rock the
"three chord, unoriginal, non progressive"
stereotype, and that irritates me. But hey, we have
all been in a shitty punk band in our day, and for
some of us those were the best days of our lives.
So I'm at a loss. They left a personal phone number
on the CD, maybe I'll get blacked out drunk and
call them at 4 a.m. and then I'll decide if I like
them or not. Good luck to ya guys. Time for your
Shields and the X Factors - Self Titled (Jeremy
This is apparently available on a 7-inch... but
I got a special "press version" on a CD
that had a unicorn on it. Really.... a unicorn.
The CD came in overdone DIY packaging with lots
of friendly little notes from the band and basic
info stuffed inside. How nice. But isn't DIY supposed
to be cheaper? Has some unknown art of making something
look half assed sprung up in the hipster underground?
The fact is, I would really like to kill Douglas
Shields and the X Factors. Ten years ago, before
everyone started swearing off the word "EMO,"
DSXF would have been billed as an "emo"
band. Only then they would have been current; now
they are just one of thousands presenting punk rock
with absolutely no aggression and balls. DSFX can
be equated to some whiney 20 year old whiney prick
crying to world about how he wished he had done
something important in his teenage years instead
of taking beatings from his closet fag father for
not making the football team. "Blah blah blah
I think about stuff too much and can’t get
laid" should be the title of this record.
Without a Face - The First Album was Better (Redbird
Records and Tours)
Without a Face doesn't suck. But they aren't that
great either. Without a face is mainly singer/writer
sounding stuff that dances on John Mayer’s
toes, but doesn't come off so intentionally pop.
I know five guys that do this stuff, and they are
all assholes. Thats really all I can say about this
record. Listen to it yourself. www.wafmusic.com
You - Two Bit Schemes and Cold War Dreams (Six Weeks
Rome, Italy's Anti You are fantastic. It's clear
to me that Europe officially kicks America's ass
in the punk rock department. Not England though,
Nothing good comes from England. Ever. Limey hating
aside, good things apparently do come from Rome,
Italy. “Two Bit Schemes and Cold War Dreams”
is a killer fast-paced aggressive punk rock record.
Fans of traditional hardcore from early Black Flag
to old school Suicidal Tendencies, will like this
record. This is the album’s first appearance
on digital format and includes the “Johnny
Baghdad” and “Pig City Life” EP's
as bonus tracks. Great, fast paced, angsty, angry
punk rock. I like it, I like it, I like it.
Eyes - Self Titled (Evil Weevil Records)
This is a really good 7-inch. It's not mind blowing
but the songs are good. This will become one of
those records in the collection that sits by itself
with no buddies. Just a one-off single with two
and a half good songs... which isn't all that bad,
considering 90 percent of everything sucks. This
is good lo-fi Misfits-sounding rock n roll, with
great hooks and female vocals. If these songs had
been sung by a man, this record would be in the
"free box" at my next show... but I think
I'll keep it.
Screeching Weasel - First World Manifesto (Fat Wreck)
I have tried to write this damn review for two
weeks. I have tried my hardest to think of the right
things to say. Most people that would actually take
the time to read my column might know that I have
a poor taste in my mouth for anything Screeching
Weasel. What most people don't know is that I was
at one point one of the biggest SW supporters out
there. I don't know what to do other than cut right
to the chase and point out that this record blows.
It should be titled "Screeching Wesael's WORST
LP" Or "These Ones are Dog Shit Vol. 2."
If you were a fan of "classic era" Screeching
Weasel… a kid from the 90's that liked pop
punk... someone walking around with a Weasel guy
tattoo on your leg and "Is It Good Morning"
in your head as you step into the shower, than you
are not going to like this record. First things
first, the production is too slick. Gone are the
warm sounds of Sonic Iguana and the punk rock era
of Mass Giorgini. This record SOUNDS digital, and
it's kind of funny when you remember the Major Label
Debut track "Compact Disc." The songs
are what you expect, Ben Weasel attacking the current
trends and attitudes of the current punk rock scene.
Once again quite ironic when you consider that Screeching
Weasel came to be known as a band that didn't take
punk seriously and looked to acting goofy and having
fun over hard politics and tough guy attitudes.
Not a single song on this record manages to say
anything important. First World Manifesto is on
the same level as Bark Like A Dog, and to be honest
i was expecting more than a half assed pop punk
record. I wanted Television City Dream/Major Label
Debut Ben Weasel, ripping my face off with blistering
fast, snotty, insightful, and offensive lyrics.
Instead I got "She Got Electroshocked"
Nothing about this record sounds right. From the
vocals to the guitar, this is the worst record ever.
As far as I am concerned Screeching Weasel was finished
a long time ago. It costs a lot less to employ a
few college kids and a producer from a shitty band
that is really good with Garageband than it does
to employ Mass Giorgini and a few bona fide punk
rock musicians... and guess what? Ya get what ya
pay for, asshole!!!! Out the window like a Frisbee
goes this pile of shit.