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Misfits – Friday the 13th EP

junkheadv1tmbMisfits – Friday the 13th EP

After decades of suckitude, the Misfits are finally going to reunite with original singer Danzig. Still, the bastard ’90s Misfits, whose only surviving original member is bassist Jerry Only, capitalized on this announcement by releasing the Friday the 13th EP in June. I didn’t even realize it came out; there seems to have been no promotion for the release. Still, after their mostly garbage track record over the past twenty plus years, it’s more than likely that everyone’s given up on the ’90s Misfits.

So imagine how stupid you feel when it doesn’t suck at all. Or maybe you’ll consider how stupid Jerry Only’s posse is. Couldn’t they have released music like this the entire time? Why bother with all the metal posturing and barely written songs when this betters 99% of today’s punk?

The title track opens with a garbage intro that drags on way too long before it bursts into pitch perfect horror punk. With an infectious chorus that’s as dumb as it is memorable (“BEWAAAAAARE / BEWAAAAARE / FRIDAAAAAAY THE THIRRRRTEEEENTH”), it’s like Jerry Only recently discovered how to write a hook. “Nightmare on Elm Street” is even better, repeating the song’s title over and over while adding in woo-oos to great effect. I’m not sure what film “Laser Eye” is referencing, but it’s easily the best song here based solely on catchy melodies. Things take a nasty turn with “Mad Monster Party”, layering the cheese thick with its ’50s rock schtick. It’s not awful, but it quickly reminds you that this is indeed not the original Misfits.

And you’re left with that idea planted in your head: rather than playing like he’s the one and only Misfits, Jerry Only is happy sounding like a Misfits rip-off band. All things considered, it’s a very, very competent Misfits rip-off band, one that finally understands how to please its audience. Let’s just hope Jerry doesn’t forget this for another twenty-one years and that the metal Misfits sound is finally dead.


Witherscape – Witherscape

junkheadv1tmbWitherscape – Witherscape

Some bands, in search of a “sound”, totally just pull two bands names out of a hat and go to work seeing how they can combine them. Witherscape might be the worst of all those bands, combining something really great and something ultra repugnant: the melodic death metal of Amon Amarth and radio-friendly hard rock.

The opener “Wake of Infinity” paints the picture in disjointed strokes: great guttural verses with juicy technical lite guitar work followed by a clean Foo Fighters chorus. The song literally stops about three minutes in and a Nickelback passage enters. Things get better with track 2, “In the Eyes of Idols,” a slightly intriguing mix of melodic death and conventional rock. This keeps most vocals growling and the rhythm playing two chords at a time, throwing in some random synths.

Some synths are okay, but what seems like a light prog touch quickly engulfs the rest of the album. Tracks like “Divinity” and especially the fifteen minute “Northern Sanctuary” are overblown to the point of absurdity, pulling in synth spiderwebs and spontaneous ballads far too often. So yeah, Amon Amarth and Nickelback if they wanted to sound like Dream Theater. Just in case everyone missed how artsy-fartsy they really were, Witherscape throw in a minute long piano piece to wrap things up super shitty.

Of all the tracks, the only great one is “Marionette”, a random goth metal track hidden somewhere at the halfway point. The verses are totally throwaway, but the chorus spreads out with lush keyboards and epic power chords. Too bad its ruined by the Scruff McGruff death metal barks pushed way up front. Then again, it sort of summarizes the whole album: a waste of an idea that wasn’t that great to begin with.

The lowest D+ you could possibly imagine.

Micro-Reviewery 12: David Dexter, Nintendocore.jp, Tommy Trull, YeahBoys




David Dexter – Death Design

A lot of that chill coldwave is the en vogue goth, but David Dexter’s instrumental destruction is too smart for that crap. Subtlety is thrown out the window as harsh drum loops, rumbling bass, and bloated guitars dominate. Most of this is pounding rock, with “Nibiru’s Orbit” and “Dead on Arrival” grafting holes in your ears, but “Cruel Work of Nature” sneaks some straightforward pop melodies in when you’re not looking. The near seven minute songs could be shaved a little, but now I’m just nitpicking.



Various Artists – We Are The Nintendocore.jp

If you like chiptune music and metalcore, this is for you. Three tracks from three different bands, none of which sound particularly different. “Septic Wave” is half good, with cool death metal grow vocals and great spiraling NES sine waves butting heads with beyond generic J-Rock wankery. Plodding jazzy Meshuggah drum junk is matched with little else on “Nerd is Dead!”, but the final track takes a similar polyrhythmic element to an extreme. After mixing in grindcore and even a female singer, Lost my Proust’s “extraterrestrial” has a schizophrenic sound that steals the show. If you think clean vocals have any sort of place in metal music, you can add three million points to my score.



Tommy Trull – Songs

As an enormous fan of Michael Nesmith’s brand of early country pop/rock, this is absolutely perfect. “Saddle Up” channels this best: vaguely hip cowboy lyrics are mixed with a perfect melody and a rolling strum. Trull covers a little more ground than that: “Comfort Zone” is pure bubblegum folk and the deliberate jangle of “The Hero of Hide and Seek” never misses a step. There’s even some sort of slow dance thing with “Secret Sun”. I was going to save this last sentence to say something negative, but I can’t come up with anything. Wait, here’s one: very original album title, you talented dipshit.


YeahBoys – YeahBoys

Straight-faced power pop can be difficult to pull off for longer than thirty seconds, but YeahBoys does okay with their seven song demo. Stupid rhythm sequences in “Long Time” and awful guitar on “Everything” aside, there’s a manufactured pop swagger that clicks most of the time. None of the tracks really stand out, but hey, what do you expect when it’s totally free?



Dust Bolt – Mass Confusion

junkheadv1tmbDust Bolt – Mass Confusion

Back in high school, I was a huge DRI fanatic. I listened to Dealing With It religiously, blasting it everywhere I went. One time my friend Dave and I were driving down a downtown avenue, just looking around and making fun of people as we normally did. After only thirty seconds of diverted attention, we looked down at his speedometer: we were blasting through the 30 mph street at 65 mph. The music filled the atmosphere with energy, and all it told us was to go fast, fast, fast.

Still, some things are better off dead. The world can live without feudalism, World War II, mass genocide, and crossover thrash. If you think one of those doesn’t belong, you’re right: crossover isn’t the worst thing ever, but it definitely suffers in the shadow of good genres. Power violence, thrashcore, grind, virtually all of it’s punk/metal hybrid cousins trump it.

DRI’s switch to crossover thrash in the mid-80s was dreadful. The blur of chords was switched to lots of metal space between the notes. It’s like if instead of cruising at 65 down the main strip, we were pumping the brakes every half a second. Going from teen angst to preaching about the dangers of acid rain, it was simply lame and, if the republican party’s opinion of global warming is to be believed, inaccurate:

“Will our children look back
With hatred or despair
At a generation of idiots
Who just didn’t care
About the fossil fuel fumes
And the aerosol sprays
That put holes in the ozone
And let in the rays”

In many ways, Dust Bolt recreates that DRI, whether it’s Lenny doing his best Kurt Brecht impression or the guitars chugging like it’s 1991, but they benefit from hindsight.

Able to eschew the throw away “dun-dun-DUN-dun-dun-DUN” riffing of yesteryear and the aforementioned banal lyrics, this enigmatic band knows how to make crossover thrash good. The same basic principles are there, but “Blind to Art” and “Mass Confusion” rip hard and fast. It has the one piece of the equation that most bands lack: good riff writing.

Unfortunately, for every step forward, there’s a back flip belly-flop that accompanies it. “Exit” is a flaccid power ballad that just can’t muster any strength, while “Mind the Gap” is way too metalcore for comfort. Why bother experimenting so much when you have a decent niche?
So yeah, crossover thrash still sucks. Sorry guys.


Micro-Reviewery 11: Satellite Skin, Minutes of Decay, Lana White, Vaginal Diarrhoea




Satellite Skin – Is This The Desired Effect?

This five track mini-thing is pretty cool when it’s loud, but that doesn’t happen very often. The opener “Waking Up” nails some lo-fi grunge guitars cutting through spacey drums and vocal echo. Even better is “Pissed Work”, a song that sounds like two or three different tracks playing simultaneously. The remaining three snoozers are definitely yawn-worthy, although “I Don’t Understand” has a great moody garage thing going on, sort of like the Kinks’ “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” for the bedroom lo-fi purist.



Minutes of Decay – Inchoate Death

This Metal/emo thing ends way too quickly. The first two tracks catch fire slow with doom riffs burrowing a hole into your brain. Filip Stojiljkovic strikes the perfect balance between screaming and whining, although it’s weird when the occasional clean vocals pop in. Unfortunately, the last track gets all fast metalcorey at the last minute and is thus less good.



Lana White – Letting Go

Sometimes I hear music my body doesn’t react well to. The melodies permeating the atmosphere invade my head, infecting my brain. My cerebellum bloats so much that it starts pressing against my skull until it’s going to rupture. In a fit of confusion and deep despair, I grab anything resembling a nail and furiously trepan my skull until I feel some sort of relief.

At first I thought this was the case here, but Lana White seems okay. “Letting Go” is definitely the stand out. The pop/folk singer-songwriter crowd should probably add a million points to my score here.



Vaginal Diarrhoea – Rotting Paradise

Ever since that dude from Mortician went crazy and stole a taxi cab a million years ago, there’s a huge gaping hole in the goregrind lexicon. Thankfully or unfortunately, there’s a million imitators out there, although few are as cool as Vaginal Diarrhoea. The classic Well Fuck Me Dead was definitely one of the better albums of 2009 and this better-late-than-never follow-up surpasses it in every way. Sludge guitars and tinny drum machine blast beats are all you get, battering the listener with a down-tuned onslaught that makes me want to bulldoze the fucking Earth.



Micro-Reviewery 10: Meat Loaf, Ghost Community, Ally Gold, Sequestered Keep




Meat Loaf – “Going All The Way”

If you were excited about the newest Jim Steinman/Meat Loaf collaboration coming September, this single is sure to dispel any hope in humanity. Meat Loaf sounds like he’s slobbering all over his microphone, obviously ready for his next dose of geritol. The mandatory female vocalist character makes Meat Loaf sound even older, and the production’s synthesized instruments give it a super cheap feel. I don’t think Jim Steinman remembers what it’s like to be teenaged anymore either, making the entire affair a flaccid dullride.


Ghost Community – Cycle of Life

Prog is a very dirty four-letter word, but Ghost Community’s brand of adult alternative/AOR/prog/Dio/rock definitely excels. The secret is great songwriting. There’s never a moment wasted, with instrumental passages serving only to push all six tracks to a powerful climax. John Paul Vaughan has a clean, silky power, while Moray Macdonald’s whirling keyboards always left me wanting more. Hopefully this stuff isn’t too dense for the melodic rock crowd: nothing is under seven minutes, all tracks like an epic juggernaut of emotion and atmosphere. Sometimes you dig the music, but this music digs into you.



Ally Gold – The Noise Collective

Twenty years too late, these noise-pop zombies have some decent hooks to share. The opener “Caffeine” has this twangy shoegaze James Bond guitar thing going on, while “All My Old Friends (Follow New Trends)” displays rockin’ capabilities. The remaining two get a little too self-conscious for me, aping shoegaze and lo-fi sensibilities in that order, but if I knew anything about indie credibility, this website would have millions of hits a day and earn me and Ay-hole enough money to comfortably retire on a remote private island off the coast of Argentina where I’d sip on expensive margaritas made by my private Chilean bartender Franco Vicente. Ally Gold could play there sometimes if they want.



Sequestered Keep – Dawn of Battle

More metal than you’ll ever be, Sequestered Keep’s take on medieval ambient is absolutely perfect. I can feel my blood pump listening to “Parapet Wizard” and “Into A Grim Forest Battle”, their swirling synth-orchestra and subtle military beats filling my soul with delicious melancholy. “Upon Its Hilt A Shining Light” and “The Silent Call of Hidden Paths” also nail the dark atmosphere, but the real killer is “Tattered Banners Across the Fields of Thousands-Slain”. I don’t think the title could be more appropriate. This is my new vote for best kept secret in underground music.



Dirty Bombshell – Dirty Bombshell

junkheadv1tmbDirty Bombshell – Dirty Bombshell

Cock rock was a staple in the teenage American male’s diet for decades. Ted Nugent, Kiss, and virtually every hair metal band have bragged and begged for a woman’s affection time and time again, but it was only a matter of time before horny white guys died out. Much like Steel Panther, Dirty Bombshell attempts to recreate that classic time with reckless stupidity.

Reportedly an old cover band that realized rock songs about boning is mere pocket rocket science, Bombshell’s self-titled debut isn’t the dullest crayon in the toolshed. The music is pure hard rock, distilled like strong and sloppy AC/DC moonshine. Vocalist/bassist JD gives some spirited performances, the drums sound great, and Ryan riffs competently through it all. My only major complaint is how buried and muddled the guitars sound. In a genre driven by loud thunderous riffs, it’s a little odd that they sometimes come off more as quiet farts.

The lyrical content is sure to please everyone’s grandmother. The disgusting title of “Sixteen/Sexteen” would normally bother me, but the breakdown lyrics are just too good to be true: “sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex”. It only gets worse when they start trying to make sense, dumbing out hard in the only way rock gods can. Here are my favorite examples.

“Slut Queen” – So I tap her on the shoulder/And I tell her/ And I tell her/I’ve gots to get me some/Slut queen

“Drinking of U” – Are you drinking of me/Drinking of U/Can you feel it girl/Can I feel it too

“MicH377e” – Go to hell/Michelle

“Vince” – Phonin’ it in/phonin’ it in/phonin’ it in/Oi oi oi oi

The last one’s rather telling, as the shtick starts to wear thin over the fifteen track length. “Dead Man’s Curve” and “Walk of Shame” are like the awful tracks on your favorite Ugly Kid Joe album, which is definitely more of a compliment than I initially intended. For the vast majority of listeners, that’s a bad thing, but for us about to rock, it’s not too shabby.

Keeping your social justice warrior girlfriend in mind, Dirty Bombhsell were thoughtful enough to include “Pants Off” radio edit. She’ll still break up with you, but at least her virgin ears will remain intact.


Micro-Reviewery 9: DRI, Astronoid, Nattsvargr, Palissade




DRI – But Wait…There’s More EP

Legends DRI prove their long absence from a recording studio was the nicest thing they could have done for humanity. This five track EP is totally useless. The opening “Against Me” was previously released on the band’s website a decade ago, while “Mad Man” and “Couch Slouch” were featured on Dealing With It! over thirty years back. They even ignore all of their innovations in crossover thrash, exclusively playing dull hardcore. We need to put microchips into punk rock guys so they spontaneously combust when they hit twenty-five.


Astronoid – Air

Astronoid throws their two cents into the blackgaze arena with a very focused sound. Vocals are never screaming, just melodic melancholy. The guitars and drums pound their way through largely atmospheric black metal sections punctuated with slow crawls. “Violence” is conventional shoegaze that totally disrupts the flow, but in general, you have to really, really like wistful whinery to get through the double LP length.



Nattsvargr – Winds of Transilvania

Misspelling Transylvania for the sake of metal, Stockholm’s Nattsvargr is less derivative thank you’d think. It definitely recalls the tr00 kvult Scandinavian stuff of yore: the title track in particular is a clear clone to Darkthrone’s similarly titled Transilvanian Hunger with its tremolo hypnotism. Further digging reveals a lot more, with the band slowing things down on the epic “Svarta natten…”, droning it up on “Ett lik utan en grav”, and thrashing out on “The Freezing Darkness”. This is as diverse as raw black metal can get without comprising its unadulterated hatred.



Palissade – Lanterne / Je ne peux oublier

Slick goth with that clean single-note guitar echo proves delicious with Palissade’s first demo. These two tracks sink into your brain and fill up the empty spaces. “Lanterne” is very coldwave pop and “Je ne peux oublier” is pure dark atmosphere, a distinction that only the purest post-punk junkers will ever understand. Thank God I’m one of those guys.



Sockeye – Unruley King and I

junkheadv1tmbSockeye – Unruley King and I

In 1994, there was a lot of stuff that blatantly embraced the retarded. Retards were brought front and center in the cinemascape with Forrest Gump and Dumb and Dumber. Jerky Boys 2 was up for a grammy and GWAR had their very short stint with the majors. Wanton stupidity was becoming embraced by the mainstream.

But insensitive retardation didn’t pop up overnight. Throughout the ’80s, a handful of bands were the vanguard of stupid nose-picking humor, and Sockeye was drooling at the front lines. With songs like “Fuck Your Cat” and “Wheelchair Full of Old Men”, Sockeye’s early lo-fi tapes are as weird and wild as noise-punk get. If “Destroy everything while a bunch of retards fuck your mom/Then beat your dad to death with a pillowcase full of squirrels” doesn’t sound like a good time, then you probably listen to Mariah Carey and have no soul.

Among all of ’94’s big-budget retarded glamour, Sockeye released Retards Hiss Past My Window, tardcore’s White Album, Dark Side of the Moon, and Led Zepplin IV all rolled into one. Comprised of re-recordings of Sockeye old classics alongside some new tracks, Retards displays the band at their peak. The refined yet slimy studio sound and stellar performances really brings out Sockeye’s insanity, making the album a seriously unheralded classic.

So twenty-two years later, My Mind’s Eye has just released the Unruley King and I, a vinyl-exclusive collection of demos recorded prior to Retards remastered from the original four-track tapes. It comes in random colors. My copy’s baby poo green with some brown and black stains for good measure.


This collection is an instant must-have for any Sockeye aficionado. The remaster job is pretty great, with everything sounding crisp and clear. These are probably the best performances of “Destroy Everything” and “Freaky Friday Tits” you’ll ever find, the former featuring some great noisecore breaks mid-song and the latter absolutely ripping through the track. While versions of “Retarded Boy Rendevous” and “Your Muff Has Tusks” might not be better than their studio counterparts, they certainly are different enough to warrant attention. Most of the other tracks are good runs of the songs you know and love, but a few different tracks sneak in. Both “We Are Circumcized” and “Two Babies Fucking” can be found on other releases, but they definitely sound better here.

Basically, Sockeye’s music will appeal to anyone who thinks poop and dick jokes are funny, myself included. The only track I really dislike is “Yo Me Gusta Cum”, an acoustic track sung in fake Spanish that wasn’t really funny the first time around. Otherwise, it’s a great set that should be in every record collection ever.

It’s appropriate that they broke up right after recording these demos and Retards: with Beavis & Butthead and Dennis Leary rearing their heads, offensive humor was quickly becoming the status quo. How can you be noise-punk rebels when everybody’s making dead baby jokes? I’m glad these demos were sat on until now, a time where political-correction has returned in a big way. Unruley King and I reminds me that while culture is constantly changing, there will always be anti-everything vagabonds willing to fantasize about Ulysses S. Grant appearing on their pizza.


The Monkees – Good Times!

junkheadv1tmbThe Monkees – Good Times!

’60s bubblegum rock holds a special place in my heart. Never again would rock raunch and Sesame Street melodies meld so seamlessly, selling sex and drugs to minors. While the Archies’ “Sugar Sugar” is an obvious example, my personal favorite is “1 2 3 Red Light” by the 1910 Fruitgum Company. The obligatory infectious melody is paired with lyrics that are decidedly anti-”just say no”: “Everytime I make a move to love you/1, 2, 3, red light! You stop me/Baby you ain’t right to stop me”. In general, there’s always something rude about the purest bubblegum, a tension bubbling under the surface that will always make Everything’s Archie infinitely cooler than Meet the Beatles.

Most of these groups were manufactured by evil corporations and the Monkees were no different, but somehow they’re back fifty years later with Good Times!, a retro bubblegum piece here to revive your love of ’60s radio-ready pop. Of all the bubblegum acts, the Monkees were the only one who actually had a consistent line-up. This was not by choice: the group had to be on their popular TV show every week and pretend they were a functioning unit. The members rarely wrote a track and often used a ton of session musicians even after they wrangled creative control of their albums.

And they’re still doing it fifty years later. Now slimmed down to official members Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, and Micky Dolenz, it’s all studio glitz. Many songs have ten session musicians backing Micky Dolenz, with Nesmith and Tork taking over only a handful of the albums thirteen tracks.

Each Monkee has one writing credit to their name and they all totally blow. Tork’s “Little Girl” and Nesmith’s “I Know What I Know” are ballad drivel, while Dolenz’s “I Was There (And I’m Told I Had a Good Time)” is the worst “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road” re-write ever.

Other songwriters do a better job, but not much. The opening title track is based on a Harry Nillson demo and even features the dead man’s voice, an addition that doesn’t keep the song from sucking ass. “You Bring the Summer” is a standout, written by the dude from XTC. It’s glittery ’60s bounce trumps “She Makes Me Laugh”, a soft verse/loud chorus piece by some dude from Weezer.

There’s a lot of middling tracks in between and the okay rocker “Gotta Give It Time”, but “Love to Love” definitely sticks out. A Neil Diamond track with ancient vocals from the departed Davy Jones, it’s garage-pop aged to perfection. The guitars jangle and the tambourines pound proudly as Jones sings with the perfect moody croon. Too bad it’s the only great song on the album, and it’s only appropriate that it was mainly recorded back in ’67.

So yeah, these are some shitty times. More of the Monkees or Headquarters were okay albums, but both are twenty times better than this garbage. I’d probably rather listen to Meet the Beatles than this…and I fucking hate the Beatles.