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trakMARX.com is proud to unveil its new reviews section – there are no poncey star ratings or ridiculous numerical awards systems – we actually listen to the damn records (& pay for them all ourselves too – with real money) so yr. just gonna have to read the damn reviews – it’s as simple as that.



The Vines – Highly Evolved – Heavenly
The follow-up to last year’s vinyl only "Factory" EP - "Highly Evolved" is 1 minute 32 seconds of the greatest pop song Nirvana never recorded. Craig Nicholls is destined to take his place alongside Cobain in the R&R hall of fame by 2000 & ? (it says here, in this IPC sanctioned script). B-side, "Sun Child", show’s the bands softer underbelly whilst remaining resolutely in the garage. There are two skools of thought presently; A) This band are a cunning manufactured corporate skam. B) They’re the best thing since sliced Strokes. The choice, as they say, is all yr.s. Personally, I’ve always hated Heavenly Records, if that’s any help. However we really feel, you’ll find no adverts for this single in this issue, whatsooooever.

Jean Encoule




The Strokes – Hard To Explain EP – Rough Trade
Following their recent triumphant return to the UK in the live arena, The Strokes have issued this slight return for the Irish market only. Ltd to 2000 copies, this EP features; "Hard To Explain", "The Modern Age", "Last Nite", "When It Started" & "Take It Or Leave It" (live). Nothing you can say about the sounds that hasn’t been said a thousand times before – you know we love em – we know you love em – in fact, if you don’t like The Strokes by now y’re living in denial.

Nick Kuntz




Moldy Peaches – Country Fair – Rough Trade
The first fruits of MPeaches liaison with the full band; "Country Fair" is their most upbeat effort yet – a scuffed up 60’s gem of a song – all frenetic energy & treble heavy melody. Adam & Kimya intertwine vocally with all their accustomed charm – as usual, Kimya is cracking up on nearly every line (we love it when you don’t take yr.self too seriously). The B-side, "Rainbows", is the show-stopper from their Strokes support – "you’ve gotta have dick, to have a dick in yr. mouth" – honest, groovy & intentionally fuckin hilarious. If you don’t get Moldy Peaches maybe you have too high an opinion of yr. own critical judgement. Ace.

Marquee Smith




mclusky – "mclusky do dallas" – too pure
mclusky’s second lp was recorded with steve albini - & boy do is it show (not that the boys want you to dwell on it). Where "pain & sadness" was rurally quaint but suffered from a lack of power due to muddy production values - "Do Dallas" grabs you by the bollocks from the opening 45 - "lightsabre cocksucking blues" - & continues to kick yr. head in until the closing "whoyouknow" wry smiles it’s way out of the door. "collagen rock" is the LP’s pinnacle – with its "one of those bands got paid, I heard" refrain – a fantastic condemnation of today’s underground mainstream corporate cocksucking industry. The overall sound achieved here isn’t a million miles away from the "1000 hrtz" era shellac – but I guess that’s no real fucking surprise – is it? falkous/chapple/harding continue to write some of the most original, challenging & genuinely amusing lyrics currently coming out of these septic isles & match it with brutally infectious left field gtr shapes. They win the "titles of the year" award hands down. Highlights include; "dethink to survive", "fuck this band", "to hell with good intentions" & "gareth brown says". mclusky – they hate mediocrity nearly as much as they hate capital letters.

Jean Encoule




Ikara Colt – Chat & Business – Fantastic Plastic
Ikara Colt have been shuffling around the fringes since their debut 45, "Sink Venice" (included here), lit up the horizon like a distress flare last year. Inventively presented in a stick it 2gether yr.self digi-pak sleeve, "Chat & Business" is a sterling statement of intent. Paul Resende’s dead-pan vocals coast just above the railing gtrs of Claire Ingram (who also interacts with the odd vocal) – all powered by the energetic drumming & solid bass work of Dominic Young & Jon Ball, respectively. Ikara Colt rattle along @ a hell of a pace – with lyrical nods to early Fall ("Rudd") & sonic references to Joy Division ("City Of Glass) & jnr Sonic Youth ("Pop Group"). Having just completed the tour of the year so far with The Parkinsons & The 80’s B-Line Matchbox Disaster, Ikara Colt are already capturing hearts & minds all over the UK – art punk for modern lovers.

Wayne Cocaine





Rocket From The Tombs – The Day The Earth Met.. – Hearpen/Glitterhouse
Rocket From The Tombs were un-released during their short lifespan. Their members included Ohio scene luminaries; Peter Laughner (sings 4 traks), David Thomas (sings 7 traks), Gene O’Conner (sings 3 traks) & Craig Bell (sings 3 traks). They split, largely unrealised & acrimoniously, in August 1975 - spawning Pere Ubu & The Dead Boys. RFTT looked to The Stooges ("Raw Power" & "Search & Destroy")) & The Velvet Underground ("Foggy Notion") for inspiration, mixing cover vershuns with their own self-penned tunes. Early takes on Ubu classiks – "30 Seconds Over Tokyo" & "Final Solution", are included - along with a take of "Sonic Reducer", The Dead Boys solid gone punk anthem. "The Day The Earth Met.." is compiled from 3 separate recordings originally made in 1975; a radio broadcast from RFTT ‘s rehearsal loft 18/2/75, supporting Television @ The Piccadilly Inn 24/7/75 & Live @ The Agora 5/5/75. "The Day The Earth Met.." is a history lesson far too important to sleep through @ the back. RFTT have finally got the headstone they deserved – make sure you put fresh flowers on it every week. They died for you.

Nick Kuntz




Desaparecidos – Read Music/Speak Spanish – Wichita
From the moment "What’s New For Fall" rides into town on the wings of a Pixies a riff, you know Conner Oberst’s new punk rock project has "my favourite old band" running through the middle of its stick. Leaving behind the lo-fi Dylan-isms of Bright Eyes, Oberst shrieks & wails his way, Fugazi stylee, through 10 vibrant mid-paced growlers in a loosely conceptual manner;

She only wants me for my designer clothes – I’m way too intelligent & bookish – I have a new-found social conscience – Isn’t it terrible how these massive corporations are swallowing our culture? – Town planning, isn’t that an oxymoron? – etc etc. Fetch me my damn irony gun, now - motherfucker.

Just so you know; Desaparecidos are the "disappeared" of South America – "Read Music/Speak Spanish" are the top 2 items on Conner’s "to do" list (when he’s thru making concept LP’s, obviously). All executed in a "marvellously moods for moderns punk-rock-a-thon for an un-named charity" manner, the question of who’s patronising who only raises its butt-ugly head – ooooh - every 30 fuckin seconds. What we’re left with is a pop-take on "Relationship Of Command" (isn’t that another oxymoron – Moron Ed.) without the histrionics & with slightly less pretentious lyrics. "You wanna bury me under a mountain of shopping bags", moans Conner. No, its much worse than that, dude – I wanna grab you by the moody haircut & scream "SAY SOMETHING I AIN"T HEARD BEFORE, WHY DONCHA" into yr. wax filled ears.

Marquee Smith




And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – Source Codes & Tags – Interscope
Eagerly awaited 3rd LP blues for the Texan noize-terrorists sees Trail Of Dead desperately trying to avoid turning into their generation’s Grateful Dead - with varying degrees of success. Celebrating the joys of Sonic Youth (again), the poetry of Baudelaire & the problems of taking independent R&R to the majors – "Source Codes & Tags" is the 1st two TOD LP’s angst with some tunes welded onto the fender for good measure. This approach works on the superb "Days Of Being Wild" & the enigmatic "Homage" (ooh, wicked irony) - but sets alarm bells ringing on the U2-esque (nurse, the straight-jackets) "Monsoon". All in all, it’s hard to work out who’s come off worse – TOD or Interscope. TOD have made a compromised artistic statement their label has no chance of capitalising on – Interscope have a soon to split band disillusioned with it all. The music industry – doncha just love it? Keep an eye out for 4 solo LP’s from the TOD ranks any day now – they WILL be released (from their contract).

Nick Kuntz




Various – CBGB’s & The Birth Of US Punk – Ocho
Johnny Chandler’s essential compilation charts the development of US Punk from the UK 60’s invasion & the garage bands it spawned, to the advent of Hilly Kristal’s pivotal NYC club, CBGB’s. The Sonics’ "Louie Louie" sets the tone, a howling primal scream of aural terror. The Seeds, The 13th Floor Elevators & The Velvets walk us through the mid-60’s, leading us right up to the door of The Stooges (The MC5 are one glaring omission). The New York Dolls "Trash", Suicide’s "Speed Queen" & The Modern Lovers’ "Roadrunner" bring us into the 70’s, paving the way for the CBGB’s class of 75; Television, Blondie & The Ramones. The Electric Eels, Pere Ubu & The Dead Boys represent Cleveland, Ohio. Rarities include The Ramones demo, "Judy Is A Punk, the original 75 demo of The Dead Boys "Sonic Reducer" & a live take of Television’s "Friction". The packaging is excellent, & the sleeve notes comprehensive & informative. As a historical document, this compilation is the best of its type yet. Volume 2 is apparently in the pipeline, threatening to mop up other omissions, such as Patti Smith & Talking Heads. In order to know where yr. going to, you have to know where you came from. Every home should have a copy.




The D4 – 6Twenty – Flying Nun
New Zealand’s legendary label returns with the debut by NZ’s hotter than hot garage punk export, The D4. Fresh from tearing up SXSW, it’s all "Rock & Roll Motherfucker" in D4’s back yard. They wear their debt to The Heartbreakers with pride, covering "Pirate Love" faithfully. Elsewhere, their own compositions struggle to emerge from the weight of their influences. Sure, they strut & they riff with all the conviction & ability you’d expect, but sadly come across like The Janet Street Porters conducting a genetic experiment with the ghosts of Thunders, Joey Ramone & Radio Birdman. Very proficient, very nice & very pedestrian - & you all know what we do to passers-by - Destroy. When it comes to 4’s, y’re better of with Dillingers every time.

Wayne Cocaine




Desert Hearts – Let’s Get Worse – Tugboat
Belfast 3-piece, Desert Hearts, follow on from their sublime 2000 7", "No More Art" (included here), with this debut LP from Tugboat. Recorded @ Glasgow’s Chem 19 studios under the guidance of Andy Miller, & with assistance from Life Without Building’s Robert Johnson & Will Bradley, "Let’s Get Worse" could well be one of the best things to come out of Northern Ireland since the heady days of SLF, The Undertones & Good Vibrations. "DSR" opens proceedings with style – a nagging lick rides a vaguely JoyDiv drum pattern into a polished gem of a girl/boy tune-ette (Charley Mooney’s vocal recalls memories of Andy White - Roisin Stewart smothers it in just the right amount of honey laced cough mixture). Instrumental "136" again nods in the direction of early Factory – Stockholm Monsters, no super creeps – white-noize battles it out with clean cut gtrs – treble without a pause. "Florida Keys" ably highlights Desert Hearts subtle way with melody - imagine something off the 1st Tortoise LP with lyrics – could even be a touch of the Prefab Sprouts around the edges – Swoon!. "This Is This" pushes all the right quiet/loud buttons - but with added sophistication. Aforementioned 45, "No More Art" flies past in just over 2 minutes, sounding just as good now as it did 18 months ago. "(3.39)" throws some excellent Sumner-esque gtr shapes, "May Gold" goes all wide-screen on us, "A New End" features a lead vocal from Roisin that builds to a glorious crescendo & "Last Song" aptly brings the LP to a close. Most songs clock in around 3 minutes or under, the total running time is 35.29 – there is no chance of Desert Hearts outstaying their welcome. When it’s all over there’s only 1 thing to do – play it again. Desert Hearts, beat fast – yr. tears are the only thing they need to grow.

Nick Kuntz


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