Reviews

Sister Raygun

Chino Best of Firsts CD

Fuck, this is really good. This young trio manages to channel the best of mid-to-late-’70s British punk (think mid-tempo, largely “clean” guitars). Poppy, anthemic, and unafraid to wander off into various musical directions, this reminds me of the best of the likes of the UK SUBS, 999, the VIBRATORS, and even SLAUGHTER  (i.e. the second SLAUGHTER AND THE DOGS LP, where they abbreviated their name accordingly) on the more rock ballad efforts. I guess the FLAMIN’ GROOVIES and the REPLACEMENTS would be the Yank comparisons. Yup, it’s that poised, composed, and fucking dead-on.

Foxycontin This Time You’re On Your Own LP

Reading their own description of the band, you’ll see words like “pop punk” and “power pop.” I’m not going to argue with them, but those weren’t the first things that jumped into my mind. I’d have said “rock’n’roll” or “punk’n’roll.” I’d say there’s also a gritty slice of Americana in there, and certain Celtic influences. It’s mid-tempo and catchy, and they convey a certain authenticity. You get the impression that these four are just doing what they enjoy doing and are sort of unapologetic about it. They remind me of BOUNCING SOULS without really sounding much like them, though they do bring that energy. And they like the fact that they’re from Philadelphia, an awesome city.

Mad Rollers I Need Your Love / Did You See 7″

Inspired by bands like the BRIEFS and the EXPLODING HEARTS, these guys pump out a couple of power pop numbers that will take a total of a little less than six minutes of your time. While I wouldn’t necessarily put them in the same league as either of the aforementioned bands, I would say that this record is super solid and it will end up spending a little bit of time on my turntable. They’re from Italy, if you pay attention to stuff like that.

Monkey 101 Rusts, Smuts and Heart Rot LP

An album collecting early nineties recordings from this group, who released a single on Siltbreeze in 1990 and are not out of place among their label-mates of the time, like POLVO and GBV. Layers of everything-all-at-once fuzz, heaviness, noise, and reverb, with catchy indie rock tunefulness finding its way through the murk. When I hit play, the first comparison that came to mind was TRUMANS WATER. I stand by that, but with less BEEFHEART quirk and more of a SCIENTISTS/MUDHONEY rock’n’roll sensibility. Honestly, fans of anything I mentioned in this review will find much to appreciate about this record.

Mt. Vengeance Machines LP/CD

So often in these annals you can sum up a review in one short blurt. Indeed, take a look at the first few dozen issues and you’ll see reviews of stone classics that are two sentences long. Tops. So is the point of a Maximum Rocknroll review in 2020 to simply tell you what “it” sounds like and whether or not the reviewer thinks “it” is good……? Good question—and I clearly don’t know the answer or I would already be done here. Theoretically, it would go like this: “Philadelphia’s MT. VENGEANCE plays catchy indie rock that successfully conjures ghosts of late ’80s college radio alt.” Bass player was in ELECTRIC LOVE MUFFIN, which might mean something to a clique of nerds and/or middle aged people from Philadelphia (I fall into one of those two categories). Machines doesn’t sound like it’s emulating another era, it sounds like it was plucked out of one—and that’s a sincere compliment. “Noisy guitars, good left-field jerks in tempo and timing, a tension in the vocals that accentuates melody instead of eschewing it” would be the second sentence. “Super good record from a trio who know exactly what they are were doing,” that would be my closing salvo….theoretically.

Pre-Cog in the Bunker Precog’s Dream EP

An internet search of the meaning of “pre-cog” brings up some differing things. Due to the cover art drawings of brains I am going to assume they’re going with the psychic meaning. However, the song titles “Athermic Man,” “On The Run” and the title track don’t give me much of a clue as to what they are predicting. PRE/COG IN THE BUNKER is a two-piece playing rudimentary garage punk. It is all jagged guitar strumming and pounded drums until “On the Run,” the VELVET UNDERGROUND-sounding rave up at the end of side B. The vocals are somewhat sinister in a hard rock-ish way. An interesting juxtaposition that will hopefully become more smoothly integrated in future releases.

Pre-Cog in the Bunker What If CD

This is a sci-fi post-punk duo from Italy. No bass musically, just synth, guitar, and drums. This has ’90s lo-fi leanings and does get noisy; I like the synth when it’s there. Songs are OK but nothing really stood out after a few listens. Sometimes sounding like old-style US punk songs missing the bass.

The Prof. Fuzz 63 Owls LP

Peppy, organ-led garage rock with a monotonic singer. The high-pitched organ sounds and the low-register vocals match perfectly giving PROF. FUZZ 63 a more unique sound than the average 21st century garage band. The drumbeats and guitar riffs are simple and add just enough foundation. The RAMONES update “Sheena Is a Soccer Mom” is a bit too corny, but the two (!) FLIPPER covers are pretty cool.