Jersey Beat Music Fanzine

MATTERN OF FACT - Reviews by Chris Mattern

The Jesus Rehab -
The Highest Highs and The Lowest Lows (

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 own sound.


Douglas Shields and the X Factors - Self Titled (Jeremy Records)

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.

Anti You - Two Bit Schemes and Cold War Dreams (Six Weeks Records)

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.

Big 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" again.

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.

DEVIL’S BRIGADE (Hell Cat Records)

Matt Freeman. What the fuck went wrong? You were the last hold out in my ever-dying respect for a band called Rancid. And now you do this. You made me sad and angry inside at the same time. Fuck You, Matt Freeman. Fuck you in your stupid fucking asshole. This disc is worse than the last four Rancid records put together. Only it just wasn’t supposed to suck. Matt Freeman DOES NOT suck! Matt Freeman is the fucking man! In fact, as the years went on and his role as a vocalist in Rancid diminished, it was one of the many contributing factors to the downfall of our East Bay heroes. And as Rancid ever increasingly became the Tim and Lars show, the band totally lost what made them great. Still, I never lost respect for Mr. Freeman.

Lars Fredrickson never had my respect. The guy has been writing the same damn song and singing it the same damn way for 15 years. Now Tim Armonstrong was once a man named “Lint.” Being in Operation Ivy is in fact enough in my opinion to demand some respect. However, it only goes so far. Over the years, Tim started to disappoint me. He became an “artist” and started dabbling in musical forms that he had no business in. Still, if you caught the band live, Matt would save the show by stepping up to the mic and delivering a dose of his Louie Armstrong-goes-punk-rock vocal stylings. Not to mention of course, some bass playing that you could always show to some Les Claypool, Vic Whooten, loving hippie and say “THAT’S bass playing… hippie!”

Sadly, the bass flat out doesn’t even exist on this record. Nothing that makes you wanna get up and dance. Not a single hook that makes you go “DAMN!” And the pace of the record… slow. The songs... bad. The recording… slicker than that Guns N Roses record that Axl worked on for 17 years or something…. And of course there is a horrible appearance by little Timmy Armstrong…….that bitch. Does he always have to find his way onto his friends’ records? I can’t imagine anyone wanting him on their record. He doesn’t even play the guitar live (NOT AN URBAN LEGEND. FACT CONFIRMED. NOTHING COMES OUT OF MR. ARMSTRONG’S AMP!) He just dances with it like Justin Timberlake. He is a sissy. Not to mention, he hasn’t been able to carry a tune since ‘97. Whether it’s contrived and on purpose (it is,) or Mr. Armstrong needs to lay off the whiskey and smokes, his voice is horrible and has been for a while. Why would you want him to sing on your record?
Friends, the Devil’s Brigade record is a flat out disapointment. This punk was so excited when Mr. Testa informed him that he would get to review this record. I waited all day to get home and listen to this damn thing. I was expecting blistering fast, hooky as hell, straight the fuck up punk rock nastiness. I got an Against Me meets new-school Social D record and I hate it.

The fact is that I’m sure the Hot Topic community and even those pussy East Bay knob slobbers over at Maximumrocknroll are going to eat this record up. It’s so “well rounded” and “meaningful” and “Matt really shows his ability to blah fucking blah blah blah.” This record can be compared to picking up a ketchup bottle, squirting it, and mustard coming out. I DON”T WANT ANY FUCKING MUSTARD. I WANT PUNK ROCK!!!!!!!! I wouldn’t wish this record on my worst enemy. It’s a sad day in the punk rock world. Matt Freeman (RIP)

NOFX – The Longest EP (Fat Wreck Chords)

What the fuck. guys?? I even made zine master Testa go out of his way to send me this thing twice because the publicists download code was bunk. I spend my night on my feet waiting tables at the local Big Boy, and what do I get when I get home? Another fucking “Best of” – What is this rock star bullshit coming from one of my favorite bands? This is more disappointing then Weasel Mania. Was it that long ago when NOFX released The Greatest Songs Ever Written By Us? I guess this CD is different because it offers some alternate takes of different songs, some of them are kind of cool, some of them are kind of not. I have to say after the disappointment that was the Cokie The Clown EP, I was hoping for some kind of redeeming release from one of the greatest punk rock bands that ever existed. Maybe some more crazy pee drinking manic behavior from Fat Mike. Please don’t be slipping, NOFX. The world needs you now more than ever.

Menzingers – Chamberlain Waits (Red Scare)

God damn these are some good songs… they are just over fucking done. Way over fucking done. Produced and polished into the fucking ground. This punk rock record could have been great. Instead, what we have here is Hysteria. In the vein of Husker Du, Replacements, and Jawbreaker-influenced punk rock, this record manages to focus on all the wrong things, without focusing on the obvious things that made the bands that the Menzingers emulate great, and that was the dirt under their nails. Quit the fucking screaming like a bitch already. This record makes me mad.

P.T.L. Klub – Complete Discography 1984 -1987 (Welfare Records)

I can’t say I had ever heard of P.T.L. Klub before I tore open my most recent package of Jersey Beat reviewables. I can honestly say that I was missing out. This CD needs to played for every ninny boy in girl pants and eyeliner that calls his band “Hardcore.” In the vein of Forced Anger and early SSD – these guys are what made Boston cooler than L.A. ever dreamed of being. 80’s hardcore, no thrash, no metal to it. HARDCORE. So for old fans looking to get a hold of long out of print tunes, and new kids looking for a lesson in what Hardcore punk really sounds like, this CD is definitely worth checking out.


The Anomalys – Self Titled (Slovenly Records)

Once again Europe kicks America’s ass in the punk rock department. I tell you, I think 90 percent of the bands that I have been seriously blown away by in the last two years have NOT been American. When I check out a press sheet and find out that I have some European punk rock in my hands, I usually start to shake in anticipation. NOW – Have it known – That a small amount of these Euro – punks absolutely blow, so my theory that Europe (minus Brittan BOO!) kick’s Americas ass isn’t ALWAYS true, however in the Anomalys case.. it is. I LOVE THIS RECORD!!! The Anomalys are like the Mummies meet the Dwarves delivering straight forward Rock and Roll tunes such as “Rock N Roll World” and the spooky/spacey “I aint got a lot to give.“ Raspy sand paper vocals, thrown together with heavily distorted guitars and drums that sound like they have seen better days, give this record a very raw edge. Don’t let the Anomalys in your face ass, ass kicking dirty rock n roll approach sway you. Raw or not, this band has their shit together. “See Me Bleed” could be the best punk rock song EVER.

The Murder – ‘Til Death (Self Released)

This record is a little polished for me, but the songs are catchy and well written. If you are into Social Distortion than you will most likely be into The Murder. Til Death features six songs with great choruses, and good story telling behind the lyrics. Unfortunately The Murder are very typical of a Boston band with their obnoxious romanticisations of “street punk” life. I don’t know The Murder so I’m not going to jump to conclusions, but I will go out on a limb and say that this CD will most likely be enjoyed by Umass and Boston College “punks” hanging out in Harvard Square pretending to be homeless until the street lights turn on and it’s time to return to the dorms.

The Walk Ons – “We did this on Purpose” EP (Drug Front Records)

Is this the fucking new Paul Stanley solo album? I’m serious – the similarities between the lead vocalist and Kiss frontman Paul Stanly is uncanny. The suckometer is just as high too! And of course it’s from New York, the only place where pop music is this fucking bad. – All and all this Disco record went out the window and into the street by track three.


The Undead – “I Want You Dead” EP (Post Mortem Records)

One-time-Misfit Bobby Steele delivers five tracks that have more of a Misfits feel than anything Jerry Only and Doyle have given us in two decades. The Undead’s rockabilly vibe and hi fi sound are familiar and inviting and the recording manages to hold onto its raw pure edge all the while coming through loud and clear. I can’t say that I was familiar with The Undead very much before, but this EP makes me want to go back and check out their other stuff.

Jonee Earthquake Band – (Just Like a) Steal Guitar b/w Last Night… In Hell (Spiral Records)

For those of you unfamiliar with Jonee Earthquake and his band of scoundrels, you my friends are missing out. With nearly 30 years of DIY punk rock under his belt, there is nothing not to love about Jonee Earthquake. This spring’s limited edition Spiral Records single has a country feel to it, only accentuated by Zack Uncles steel pedal playing, and Jonee’s own mandolin and electric banjitar picking. “Last Night (I dreamt I woke up) In Hell” makes you laugh and want to sing along at the same time in an honest and comical fashion, that doesn’t stray into the world of parody. From fast paced pure punk rock, mosh pit inspiring anthems, and apparently now…country ballads, you can’t go wrong with Jonee Earthquake. Check em Out at

Voice of Addiction – Re–evolution (Self Released)

I think these guys have really good ideas, and write good songs, However their singer is terrible. Over dramatized vocal styling’s and horrible lyrical content aside.. these guys… suck. If they would trim the fat and stray away from the five minute power ballad, they would probably still suck. Where am I going with this. Sorry.. Wait. No. I’m Not. Bright moments surrounded by suck.

Smokejumper – Self Titled (Better Half Records)

Great things are coming out of the Northwest. From the Taxpayers to the Mean Jeans to now Smoke Jumper, I keep getting really good CD’s out of this part of the country. “Exploding Houses = Dirty Floors” is the best song I have heard all year. Smokejumper plays great pop punk with a very raw feel. Pop without the bubble gum if you will. This album is a must have for 2010! Everything you always loved about aggressive up beat poppy punk rock n roll in a nice cardboard package. Check them out for yourself at

Mall’d to Death – Cant Make A Living (Geykido Comet Records)

Fun punk rock in the vein of Against Me. Mall’d to Death bounce in between fast, paced three chord punk rock mayhem, and various other styles of aggressive pop and ska nicely, not mention, write songs that make you pay attention and want to learn the words to. The vocalist is at times a little dramatic and flamboyant for me, but in a fun and snotty way that makes him somewhat endearing. The songs are good, the production is tough. Killer backup vocals, and a great batch of sing along punk rock for you and your friends. Check it out.

Remaindermen – Borders States (Nowhere Records)

Fucking Emo. Every damn time I think I’m gonna end up with a positive column.. There is always one. This is garbage. Made for little girls and pussies.

Knights Of The New Crusade – Knight Vision (Alternative Tentacles)

Christian Rock on Alternative Tentacles.. Seriously. These guys are mother fucking servants of god!! This is Christian punk rock, very aggressive in your face Christian punk rock. God even talks between songs. No Shit. Songs like “He Stands and Knocks At The Door” and “The Lord Dwelleth Not In Temples” make it very clear the Knights Of The New Crusade have a very strong message about God. Umm.. They kind of kick ass, but I’m really confused right now. Is this punk rock blasphemy, is it Christian blasphemy, and is it both? I feel like if I don’t repent the Knights of The New Crusade will kick my ass, so I’m gonna bow out on this one before I point out that Christ has no place in Punk Rock. Okay. Done.

Sloppy Seconds – “You Can’t Kill Joey Ramone” (Limited Edition) 7 inch EP – Wall Ride Records (and a sad attempt at tying myself in some way to the record)

The gods of Hoosier state punk rock commit their live staple and instant classic from last year’s Endless Bummer LP (Go Cart Records) “You Can’t Kill Joey Ramone” to Vinyl, and they do it in style. Backed with a sloppy version of Anti Nowhere League’s “Can’t stand rock n roll” this is a must own for any Sloppy Seconds fan. Even cooler is that when you unfold the record sleeve, you get a nice full sized portrait of Joey Ramone(that for history’s sake first appeared on the main page of Jersey Beat for last Aprils Joey Ramone tribute featuring Rev. Norb, George Tabb, Jim Derogotis, Jim Testa, and ME!ME!ME!.) done by the one and only Kevin “Cockroll” Wright (Originally painted as birthday gift for..ME.. another original print was sprayed up for B.A.).. It gets better friends and Ramones fans, Kevin would be happy to spray you up your own print at a fair price! Contact him at Own the record AND the print! (and be as cool as B.A. and ME)

The Max Levine Ensemble – “Them steadily depressing, low down mind messing, post modern recession Blues” LP (Asian Man Records)

Mike Park spits another hit out of his garage with this mind blowing EP by some up and coming young men. This A side of this record delivers not two good songs, not two great songs, but two of the greatest fucking punk rock songs I have ever heard.. the B side is kind of “ehh”…. Go figure. Nonetheless, the A side makes this record worth dropping the dime. Pop punk done originally and done right at the same time, which is hard to come by these days.

Smokejumper/The Pillowfights – Split EP (Silver Sprocket Records)

Surprisingly pop punk has stopped disappointing me as of late, more and more I come across bands like Smokejumper and the Pillowfights playing interesting and aggressive pop punk, without falling into the black Chuck Taylors and Mosrites trap. Both sides of this EP are solid. On a side note, I recently became familiar with Smokejumper, and the split caught my eye because they kick ass, and after listening to both sides I went and checked out more from the Pillowfights.... and that’s what a splits supposed to do right?

Sexual Suicide - “Old School Rules!” EP (United Riot Records)

AWESOME!!! Great name, great look, great songs, great attitude, great sound. Everything about this band kicks ass. Dirty NYC punk rock, that isn’t “hardcore” – (all though I think I would put my money on Sexual Suicide against a few fat guys with shaved heads and addidas sweaters. ) All the energy of Reverend Horton Heat, with the trash brat New York groove of the Heartbreakers, balled up with all the aggression and angst of old school Agnostic Front, and ready to blow up in your mother fucking face. Potentially the best punk rock record of the year. That’s that.

Road Rage – “Trust No One” EP (Welfare Records)

Another hit by Welfare, this seven inch is great. Right up there with the old school heroes, like Black Flag, A.O.F., Minor Threat and S.S.D only right here and right now. Six songs on a seven inch, each one distinctly angry. I love the vocals because they are about as hardcore as it gets, without a hint of “tough guy” – closed up with killer cover of “Fix Me” this record is a keeper.

Fed Up (Welfare Records)

Welfare is 2 for 3. This sucks. Everything I hate about hardcore shines through with this record. Thug life bullshit. Music for jocks. Bad Metal. Done.

How To Make Soap Without Burning Your Face Off – Raliegh Briggs – Microcosm Publishing

Umm.. This is a guide, printed in the author’s handwriting, with small illustrations that guide you in the process of making soap without burning your face off… The press sheet has the DIY flag all over it.. Blah fucking blah blah blah. This is what happens when college kids try to take punk rock too seriously, they turn into hippies. See: Bloomington IN.

Landlord – Lifers – Bakery Outlet Records

Landlord out of none other than suck town, U.S.A. - Bloomington IN - have been the first thing out of the lamest town in the world that I have found to be even listenable in ages. This Hoosier state based trio, featuring members of Defiance Ohio and The Door Keys, do write some catchy songs that almost take you back to that mid 90's “alternative” sound. I won't listen to it again, but it isn't necessarily bad. There are some great hooks on this record, and some catchy as heck choruses. The flaw, is that it sounds like it was recorded in a garbage can, and I'm guessing that this is intentional. Everything down to the snare drums sounds terrible to me. Weak guitar sounds, and a bass player you can hardly hear to boot, some of the songs ARE good, even if sang horribly off key on purpose.

Street Eaters – We See Monsters – Bakery Outlet Records

This is a little bit much if you ask me. This drum and bass outfit hailing from Oakland California, completely miss the point. A song is supposed to be catchy. Street Eaters bounce from one style of punk to another, with male female call and response vocals, that on the male end are tolerable, and on the female end are outright bad. They never really settle into any sort of pocket, and the songs have no structure. No to mention the parts that seem to be choruses are more annoying than catchy. Quit it.

Torture The Artist – Self Titled – Kid Tested Records

This is some of the most west coast sounding crap I've ever heard out of Indiana. What the fuck does that mean? Well.. I'm not sure, but it isn't good. In fact it's terrible, like Bad Religion. Mass Giorgini and Dan Lumley have definitely failed to impress me with this record. (The man that I have at times thought to be the best damn drummer in punk rock does nothing interesting and fails to break a sweat.) Torture The Artist hand over one pretty, mid tempo, cheesy, over produced, pop song after the other. Unfortunately it's serious too, with no fun or attitude in sight, and It just didn't move me. I'm having a hard time making comparisons with this one, because I've never heard anything that is as bad as this is in it's own uniquely terrible way.

The Ex Gentlemen – Self Titled –

Now here's a pop band out of Hollywood, California that knows what they hell they are doing. To the point, catchy pop music, that is equal parts Ramones and good Springsteen. (And for confused Jerseyites, “good Springsteen” includes his poppy tunes only. None of this whinin about AIDS and little kids making shoes shit) This four song EP is full of sing along choruses that will bring punk rockers, and Huey Lewis fans alike, to their knees begging for more. The Ex – Gentlemen do a great job of tipping their hat to great pop music of the last 30 years, but don't lose their punk rock edge in the passionate sing along choruses. “Katie's Gonna Cry” is one of the greatest rock n roll songs ever written. (ever) Check these guys out. I'm personally looking forward to some more.

Knife The Symphony – Dead Tongues – Phatry Records

So the last time these guys released a record I gave my honest opinion of it, and a member of the band wrote the editor of this fine online fanzine and made shitty comments about my record reviewing skills. So this time I'm not going to try and butter it up. You guys play fucking shit. Contrived, obnoxious whiny ass emo, tailor made to sell to ninny boy's in their girlfriends pants and their mothers fucking eyeliner. Your vocalist pisses and moans more than my bi polar ex girlfriend on the rag, and there is nothing original about your shit emo band. Finally, I'm sorry to make you cry. But you're just gonna have to fix up your eyeliner, get your hair together, and get over it this time. When you send a record out for review, you run the risk of someone not liking it and printing it. However, I tip my hat to Knife The symphony, they have actually managed to make a worse record than their last one. I'm sorry, but this stuff just makes me fucking sick. Leave the symphony alone, do the world a favor and knife your fucking selves.

Droids Attack – Must Destroy – Crustacean Records

Riff Oriented, Heavy Metal, that does absolutely nothing for me. The band never seems to get on with things, and just drill's “sick riffs” into your head over and over again. Finally after 17 minutes of some scary black sabbath guitar the singer pops his head in the door, with the reverb on 11, and says some stuff that doesn't make much sense. At least he doesn't sound like the cookie monster.

Protect 2 – Benefit Compilation – GC Records/Scissor Press

This is a benefit album for the National Association To Protect Children. Not only is that a cause that I'll wholeheartedly support but it's a kick ass comp too. I never heard the first “Protect” compilation record that was released by Fat Wreck Chords, but I'm willing to bet this one is just as good if not better. All the tracks are exclusive to this comp, or were previously vinyl only. Be My Doppelganger,
Fallen Reform, The Dopamines, The Copyrights, Yesterday's Ring, Jack Killed Jill, Planet Trash, and more. Get a kick ass record and support an important cause.

Dan Webb and The Spiders – Self Titled – Self Released

Coming out of Cambridge Mass, this is like an East Coast answer to No Bunny. Great Low – Fi pop music, reminiscent of the oldies station that our parents listened to in the car. The only difference is that Dan Webb and The Spiders seem to be a little more serious about what they do, which isn't necessarily a good thing.

Hello Shitty People – Self Titled (LP) - 1-2-3-4 Go! Records

This is a cool little record by an apparently now defunct band. These guys touch on everything cool that ever came out of punk rock in one short blast of a record. They will remind you Crimpshrine and Jawbreaker at times, but have a sound that is uniquely theres. I won't be throwing this record into the starting lineup, but it will definitely get pulled out of the sleeve from time to time. Also, it's the first LP I have ever seen that spins at 45, and it's not marked anywhere on the sleeve or record, so it had me kind of confused at first.

Noise By Numbers – Yeah, Whatever... - Asian Man Records

Fronted by the inimitable Dan Schafer, known to the world as the one and only Dan Vapid, Noise By Numbers does a good job of tapping into the Husker Du, Replacements influenced style of punk rock without falling off the edge into the world of Emo. Being a fan of most things Vapid, I personally enjoyed listening to him venture into a new land in the world of pop and once again walk out it's king. The band is rounded out with a solid line up of Jeff Dean on guitar, Rich Uncapher on Bass and Neil Hennessy on drums and backing vocals. The songs are all credited to Schaffer/Dean and it's safe to say that the duo did a great job of putting together a group of songs that would hold onto the familiar feeling of Schafer's previous output without failing to sound new and interesting. This album has a melodic almost emo feel, but it has balls too. I'd suggest it to anyone that feels that the aggression and angst of punk rock is only complimented with a little bit of melody. “Seventeen on the Wayside” and “Paris in September” are my favorites, but the entire album is strong.

Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine – The Audacity of Hype – Alternative Tentacles

First things first, a big “Fuck Yeah” goes out to Jello Biafra for NOT doing something that fans of The Dead Kennedy's would be totally alienated by. No Spoken word, or silly lounge music here. Jello has left the standup to Henry and delivered a kick ass punk rock record, that aside from the annoying song lengths, is just as good if not better than anything the DK's did in their hey day. Thats Right. I said it.
The band comprised of of Ralph Spight, on guitar and keyboard, Billy Gould on Bass, Kimo Ball on guitar, and John Weis on drums is damn good, and pulls off the obviously intentional DK style in a much more polished and precise manner that still has plenty of dirt under it's nails. From the production end this album sounds perfect on everything I have played it on. The songs are great, the packaging (I'm such a sucker for a nice product) is cool with great art and a nice fold out color poster. Lyrically the album is everything you would expect from Mr Biafra where in he tackles an array of political issues that the country has faced in the last decade. As far as delivering a good performance vocally, Jello's voice hasn't lost anything. His immortal flamboyant sneer and dramatic vibrato is as in tact today as it was when he recorded “Too Drunk To Fuck” I think the nicest thing I can say about this record, is that not only will it appeal to the older DK fans, but it has the potential to open a window to the past for the kids of this generation.

Various Artists – No Idea Fest 08 2009 Sampler – No Idea Records

What we have here is a compilation record featuring some of the great bands that have been involved with No Idea records and Fest 8 this year. Some of the songs are good and some are not so good, but for the most part it's a pretty solid 33 song compilation record, featuring bands from all different walks of the punk rock life. Young Livers, FIYA, Bridge and Tunnel, Dear Landlord, Psyched To Die, and many more. Most, if not all of these songs are previously released so it doesn't do much for me in the sense that some of the best compilations I have ever gotten have been purchased so I could get one specific, exclusive to the comp, by a band that I really like. I can't count the bands I have gotten into because of that exact scenario.. but that has nothing to do to this comp, and I'm not bitching because these people send kick ass CD's every month. Solid comp. Get it.

The Len Price 3 – Pictures – Wickedcoolrecords

This is terrible shit. Outright awful. This band sucks, and I'll tell ya why. Because they suck...thats why.
The Len Price 3 are yet another band tapping into the Beatles and Byrds, British Invasion retro sound, and they suck at it. Paul McCartney sounding vocal lines, with perfectly executed backup harmony's over some jangly chords, with absolutely none of the grit and shuffle that is a requirement for approval by yours truly. If I wanted to listen to Wings (and I DONT) I would listen to Wings (not likely). If your gonna suck it's best that you suck originally and this band doesn't. I can see them with the little wigs and silly suits at the block party doing “I Saw Her Standing There” for the dancing elementary school kids.

NOFX - “Cokie The Clown EP” - Fat Wreck – Chords

This is a cool EP by one of my favorite bands. I have to say that the title track is absolutely terrible. When I saw NOFX this fall at Riot Fest in Chicago, they did this song live for the first time, and I remember thinking it was terrible, but cutting them some slack because it seemed to have been just slapped together. All and all it really is terrible. However the other songs on this EP are awesome. I love how this band can manage to play simple punk rock so technically. These days it seems that a lot of punk bands have regressed into the “Ramones – Core” three chord formula, or are taking themselves WAY too seriously. It's good to see a band that can play with the best of them and still write fun songs. The song “My Orphan Year” done acoustically is a hit in my book even though a certain editor for a certain website that I write for says it “borders on bad emo” Did they use a cheap pitch shift or do something in the studio to make Eric Melvin's voice sound so digital?

Lawrence Arms – “Buttsweat and Tears” - Fat Wreck Chords

I commend Fat Mike. He does what he wants, he signs the bands that he likes, he signs bands that he has fun with. “Fuck yeah!”to him. However, he apparently doesn't care if the bands are any good because I haven't given a positive non NOFX review for a Fat release since the Loved Ones earlier in the year. (That band Pour Habit is pretty cool though.) I have to say I go into this release a little bit biased. Brenden Kelly was kind of a high school hero for my friends and I. Slapstick (and in a lesser sense The Broadways)was one of the band whose music was playing in the background of my teenage years. In one form or another, Brenden's voice was part of the soundtrack for some of the best (and worst) days of my life. I think Brenden's voice is awesome on anything he does really, but I'm so sick and tired of hearing people kiss the guys ass like he's the messiah of college town punk rock. I'm sorry, but that is exactly the kind of music that Chicago's Lawrence Arms make; dime a dozen pop music for “lost” (read: financed) 20 somethings with silly haircuts ruining bars they don't belong in. The songs are perfectly constructed and boring, dialed in for radio length, and produced to the point that even the familiar grit that made Brenden Kelly's voice one of the most memorable in punk rock is gone. This record can kiss my fucking ass. Hope this doesn't get me beat up in Carbondale, but I'm sure it's going to get a couple football players laid.

I Love Rich - “Seasons Of The Rich” EP – Self Released

I like this band a lot. I Love Rich play fun pop metal, reminiscent of big hair, spandex, and hot chicks humping the hood of a Trans Am. This is simply fun music, and I feel to analyze it and pick it apart would be a crime. Featuring Chuck E. Sleeze, otherwise known as Chuck Uchida of No Empathy, the record immediately caught my interest. The band is solid, the songs are fun, and with titles like “Let's Fuck all Night”, “Im Only Here Cuz Your Sister Said No” and “Everybody's Getting Laid Tonight” you can't go wrong. One word: Fun.

The Fire Bombing – Self Titled –

This is a cool little DIY release. I can't say it's super interesting, ground breaking, or mind blowing. It's not all that original either. But it isn't bad. I've just heard about a billion bands over the years that sound exactly like this. Good effort, but it really didn't make me want to get out of my seat. I'm not sure even who to compare this band too. It's run of the mill punk rock, but thats not always a bad thing. I might love this CD in a week. (Sidenote: A week has past and I do not love this record)

Worn In Red – In the offing – No Idea Records

Worn in Red is one of the few “modern” hardcore bands that impress me. Brenden Murphey's voice is pretty standard as far as “hardcore” bands these days go, and is really the only major turn off for me. A lot of bands coming from the Virginia area have a similar sound as Worn In Red, however, what makes these guys stick out is their ability to venture into the area of “melodic hardcore” without sounding like a whiny ass emo band. I give it a thumbs sideways. I like some of it, I can do without the rest.


No Friends – Self Titled – No Idea Records

Featuring members of Municipal Waste, New Mexican Disaster Squad, Gatorface, and Virgins, No Friends one thousand percent kick ass. Finally a band calling themselves “hardcore” that doesn't make my face scrunch up to the thought “this is hardcore? Really?” If you like real hardcore, as in hardcore punk. (IE – Decendents, Minor Threat, Black Flag, Gorilla Biscuits) than you will like this record a lot. The coolest thing about it was looking up after only a few minutes and realizing that I was already on the 4th track. In a time and day when everyone wants to call themselves hardcore, but sound and feel nothing like the bands that the term “hardcore” invokes thoughts of, it's as refreshing as it gets to hear a band that finally has the goods and the energy to slap the term hardcore on themselves. Fuck yeah to these guys. We need more bands like this to set the damn kids these days straight. “Sans Opinions” is the best song ever. (ever)

Dead To Me - African Elephants – Fat Wreck Chords

This record is hit or miss. Dead To Me do a great job with the pop punk tunes on the record and I love every last one of them, however on the tunes that they decided to venture out into more experimental genre's they just totally lose my interest. They have a great sound that reminds me of old No Use For A Name on tracks like “Nuttin Runnin Through My Brain” and “Fell Right In” and pretty much totally blow on tracks like “California Sun” and “X.” Sadly, the good half is absolutely fucking mind blowing, and the bad is super bad (worse than Bad Religion. Really.) This record is very west coast sounding, and you can hear a lot of Sublime influence on most of the tracks that I happen to not like. Like I said, it's Hit or Miss. Kind of like Fat Wreck Chords these days.

Star Fucking Hipsters – Never Rest in Piece – Alternative Tentacles

This band is trying to be interesting, and as a result they suck. Nothing on this record is catchy. Not a single damn hook that flows smoothly. The vocals are absolutely terrible, like someone chopped off the cookie monsters balls. This vocalist, whose sex is unidentifiable, defines awful and takes it to a new level. Everytime he/she opens his/her mouth it's like Nails going down a chalk board. There are like 17 people in the fucking band too! The lyrics are all “thought provoking” (Read:Boring) and the band is trying so hard to be “unique” that they completely miss the point and totally lose my interest. Star Fucking Hipsters are a bad band and Never Rest In Peace is a fucking horrible record. Next.

CoCoComa – Things Are Not All Right – Goner Records

This is a good record for fans of catchy pop. In each of these songs, you can hear one part Ramones, one part Stooges, and one part Velvet Underground, tied together and personalized into one pop masterpiece by this Memphis based power trio. Johnny Thundersesque, guitars, layered with some of the sweetest, stickiest bubble gum vocals I have heard, and most importantly infectious hooks that you won't forget. I would suggest this record to anyone that grew up in the back seat of their parents car listening to the oldies station, as some of these tunes will take you back to beautiful simplicity that made rock n roll special. Thumbs up to Bill Roe, Lisa Roe, and Mike Fitzpatrick.

Snacktruck – Spacial Findings, 1 -7 – Rorschach Records

This is an instrumental. If you like space sounds and emo and can pay attention to something for seven fucking minutes while nothing exciting happens this record is right up your alley. Can I have the last 20 minutes of my life back now?


Razorcake # 53

I really like these guys! Razorcake puts out a nice product, filled with all kinds of great columns, reviews, features, and news. Not to mention they have some of the best damn add rates (cutting MRR's almost in HALF) and if you havn't noticed, the rag is getting hot, and replacing the boring and stagnant recent issues of MRR on coffee tables and in book bags around the country. It's about damn time too!
Issue #53 features 13 columns that vary from the whacky life of Reverend Norb to the thoughts and views on living in Bangladesh and returning to America by Amy Adoyzie. Six features, two of which really caught my interest, a story on No Bunny and a very informative article on Artcore Fanzine. The reviews are fun too! (Not as current as us here at Jersey Beat of course, but still fun) A year subscription is only 16.50, and like I said before the add rates are awesome. Razorcake Rules.

Dagger # 42

I liked this zine. Not a lot of adds and a lot of words, which is really cool. At first look I was thinking it was a little short, but I soon realized that the adds were few and far between. Mostly interviews and reviews, which is also cool, with a cool Mummies cover. The editor of the zine seems to have had a child, and the life of Dagger in it's print form sounds shaky at best, but kids grow and demand less attention in time, so keep looking for it in the future, it's a cool little zine if you ask me. Keep it up!

Chris Mattern's top 10 for 2009

Vortis - Self Titled
Psyched to Die – Year One
Pink Lincolns – Back From The Pink Rom (reissue)
Dear Landlord – Dream Homes
Das Kapital - Self Titled EP
No Friends – Self Titled
Accelorators – Ready Set Go
The Taxpayers – A Rhythm in Cages
NOFX – Coaster
Pinhead Gunpowder – Kick Over The Traces


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