RIVERBOAT GAMBLERS - Something To Crow About
Yet ANOTHER contender for album of the year. The Gamblers have finally captured some of that powerful intensity of their live shows onto an album. Their debut was great but this one is hands down a huge improvement. The buzz about these guys grows everyday as well, I caught them twice in Kansas City within two months and the second time it was packed from the word of mouth of the first show. High energy rock ‘n roll that leaves me in a sweat just by listening to it. You’re fooling yourself if you have yet to check out the Gamblers live or on record. Tell ‘em Fungus Boy sent ‘ya! [Gearhead] MW

THE BRIEFS - Off The Charts
Intended as a “fuck you” to Interscope and a way to hold fans over until a new full length comes out, Off The Charts is the Briefs unofficial second album. Comprised of many songs from singles as well as new material this holds up really well as a full length. I’ve seen a lot of reviews saying this isn’t as good as their debut but they’re all dead wrong, this is better. Their first album was almost too jokey in it’s approach, and it took me a long time to really warm up to it, not this one I’ve liked it from day one. This is a more solid effort and the songs are more of a reflection of where the band is going. “Gary Glitters Eyes” is a hell of pop song despite its subject matter and “Piss On The Youth” is a reaction to the new generation of cell phone teeny boppers. I’m still waiting for a singles comp and new album boys. Side Note: The Briefs have just signed to BYO Records. [Dirtnap] MW

THE MISTREATERS - Playa Hated To The Fullest
Another contender for album of the year. You can feel the dirt and fuzz roll out of your stereo as these four Milwaukee miscreants easily blow away their debut with this second full length. I’ve missed seeing these guys live twice, in Chicago to a power outage and I even had these guys booked to play in Lawrence and their van burned up (with all their equipment). If you’re looking for a thick rock ‘n roll album that’ll leave you feeling like a bad hangover when you stop playing it then grab this up. Things slow down with “She’s My Witch” but they throw it back into high gear on the very next track, the scorching “Hard On The Eyes”. Recommend baby! Buy it or they’ll come to your house and kick your ass. [Estrus] MW

THE MARKED MEN - self titled
I was disappointed when I found out that the Reds had broken up after only two albums but when I found out that three fourths of them were in the Marked Men I couldn't’t wait to hear their debut album. After hearing three amazing songs on the Rip Off Records web site I had to wait anxiously about three weeks to get this album in the mail, and it was well worth the wait. The same two guys who shared vocals in the Reds (Jeff & Mark) are doing so in the Marked Men and the results are astonishing. Easily a contender for album of the year, I loved the Reds but this stuff is better. The Marked Men are basically the Reds but they left behind some of the noisier elements and went straight for the kill with catchy as hell songs. Damn, this is a great album, if you don’t have it you’re missing out. Look for a new album on Dirtnap this Spring. [Rip Off] MW

LOST SOUNDS - Demos Volume 2
Considering that Lost Sounds are one of my favorite bands I was quick to get my order into On/On Switch for this disc. This 23 song CD is a re-issue of the CDR that they sold on their 2002 tour with a few different tracks. I will buy any thing that these guys put out because I know it’ll be good and this is no exception. How many bands are this fan friendly to offer whole albums of their demo tracks? There are tons of songs not found on their albums and some songs that eventually found there way onto Rats Brains... are here in radically different forms. One of the most unique original bands of our time, and you’re missing out (I know I keep saying that but its true) if you don’t have any of their albums. Top ten material, it’ll keep me occupied until the next full length. [On/On Switch] MW

A time machine ride 10 years into the past when Empty Records ruled the North West. The Mexican Blackbirds are actually from Tacoma but their blazing punk rock is reminiscent of the glory days when Seattle bands like the Fumes, Zip Gun, and the Supersuckers would jump from the speakers and kick you square in the balls. This album gets your blood pumping from the start and never lets up. Chris Trashcan sounds like he’s about to rip your head off with his vocals and Jill Trueblood keeps him in place with her ferocious drumming and backing vocals while Marty & Corey blast holes in your eardrums. Every song is a winner but some stand outs are “Pocket Full Of Hate”, “Burn It Down”, and a great cover of the Wipers “Over The Edge”. A side note Jill used to play drums in the Valentine Killers and likes ponies, and Chris’ brother Stu is in Midnight Thunder Express. And yes, you guys can stay at my house again. [Dirtnap] MW

THE DISKORDS - Blame It On The Kids
Holy shit these 14 year old kids from Portland can rock! Before hearing this full length I picked up two of their singles and was blown away. Mix in a heavy Ramones/Thunders influence and the Diskords can do no wrong. Blame It On The Kids is a great album but it lacks some of the intensity that I heard on their singles. I still recommend this to fans of this type of music and these guys can play their instruments better than a lot of bands twice their age. Some the rippers on here are “Savage Love”, and “Mommie Is A Commie”. I’m looking forward to their next album. The vinyl has a bonus track not found on the CD. Look for them on tour with the Spits this Spring! [Vinyl Warning] MW

TRIGGERS - Shoot Your Mouth Off
Portland is quickly starting to rival Seattle with it’s abundance of good North West punk bands (Electric Eye, Diskords, Hunches, etc.). If you base your opinion of this band solely on their contribution to the Dirtnap comp then I can tell you that song doesn’t do them justice. Female vocals shouted over quick, abrasive, beer fueled blasts of rock ‘n punk roll. Comparable to other bands from the region, but hey I like most bands from that area any way. Down a few PBRs and you’ll be in the front row dancin’ away too. [Dirtnap] MW

CATHOLIC BOYS- Psychic Voodoo Mind Control
This is one of those albums that I waited anxiously to get my hands on. After hearing their debut seven inch & their split with the Kill-A-Watts I just knew this was gonna be great. Things kick off with a short weird instrumental that jumps straight into the ferocious title cut that hits you like a ton of bricks. The Catholic Boys music makes me want to go crazy and destroy my living room. This reminds me a lot of early New Bomb Turks with similar intensity and power. Great cover art, good production, and thick guitar sounds all make this a contender for best of 2004. I like this so much I bought two copies! I can't wait to see them this May at the Blackout. [Trick Knee Productions] MW

Chicago's own noise punks churn out a strong debut album. Originally only available on vinyl this has been issued on CD for the turntable deprived. I've read lotsa comparisons to Clone Defects and Piranhas and seen the words "art punk" thrown around, while those aren't far from the mark these guys remind me of early Killed By Death punk rock (before punk became "safe"). This album gets better with every listen. Favorites are"Tick Tick Tick Tick", "Stamp Out Techno","Delta 32 Mutation", "Little Victim", just to name a few. Some of you will more than likely find this too abrasive for your tastes but I like my peanut butter crunchy. Recommended! [Criminal IQ Records] MW

DESTRUCTION UNIT - Self Destruction Of A Man
You all probably already know that Destruction Unit are Ryan Wong (from the defunct band the Wongs), Jay & Alicja (from the Lost Sounds). Ryan takes on drums, bass, and vocals, Jay on guitars, and Alicja on synths. This is the D.U.'s second release, the first being a single with Ryan playing all the instruments, and this is their debut album. Obviously the Lost Sounds comparisons are unavoidable, especially since the Lost Sounds have been playing the song "Lets Lie" for several years now. Sure it's got a similar feel to it but with enough difference that it stands on it's own. A spastic snyth-fuled ride I'm sure you'll enjoy. The song "Race/Time" is a clear standout along with the aforementioned "Lets Lie". [Empty Records US] MW

CLOROX GIRLS - self titled

My first exposure to the Clorox Girls was through the three MP3s on their website. The songs, “The One, Vietnam, & Don’t Take Your Life” have been on all my CDR compilations for months. This reminds me a lot of early 80’s Southern California bands like the Gears and the Controllers. They’ve gotten tons of Redd Kross comparisons, not only for their name, but because their energetic rock is flavored with hook filled pop candy. These guys crank out 12 energetic songs in just under 20 minutes, perfect for my short attention span. A very strong debut album, I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot about these guys in the future. I’m really looking forward to seeing these guys at the Blackout in May, I hear they put on a hell of a show. Vinyl with different artwork than the CD is limited to only 400 copies & they’re already sold out. Don’t miss the boat on this one kids, highly recommended!! [Smart Guy] MW

COACHWHIPS - Bangers Vs Fuckers

The second album from the Coachwhips is a full on barrage of wonderful noise. This trio consists of drums, guitar, & organ, their sound is what would happen if the Oblivians stole Doo Rag’s scratchy microphones and went balls out crazy. Don’t get me wrong, their brand of whacked out garage stomp gets my blood pumping. I heard these guys once played in a Laundromat on top of the washing machines! Included on the CD, as a bonus, is a live set videotaped at someone’s apartment. Noisy, fucked up, headache inducing (in a good way), music that your friends will hate. I like this more than their debut, so I give this a thumbs up. [Narnack] MW


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