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High Priest of Harmful Matter
High Priest of Harmful Matter
Price: $14.31
39 used & new from $4.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Know Your Rights, January 16, 2011
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Jello Biafra is in outstanding form on the three spoken word pieces which find him delivering pointed commentary on his First Amendment trial surrounding "Work 219," death squads and Ollie North, and government censorship in the media, music and politics.

The bizarre comedy in "Tales From The Trial" is solid, but the connecting of the dots in "Talk on Censorship" is the chilling highlight. A laughing audience member during "Intro - Love American Death Squad Style" makes Biafra briefly angry - he was discussing the sordid work by death squad members - but actually gets him particularly focused on powerfully delivering the sickening details.

Though released in 1989, the nearly 97 minutes has uncanny timeliness, since Biafra has a grasp on the game of puppeteers and puppets on the national/international chessboard.


Blood Brothers
Blood Brothers
6 used & new from $16.98

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tentative Beginnings, January 15, 2011
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This review is from: Blood Brothers (Audio CD)
It is surprising that Rob Tyner only had one solo release before passing away from a heart attack in September 1991 at age 46.

The 1990 album culminated a long and rocky trail of around 15 years where Tyner had several projects stall because he could not secure a recording contract. He ultimately started spending considerable time on charitable causes and assisting up-and-coming bands, before giving it one more shot. The place to start is the final track - a lenghty promotional interview - where Tyner discusses his career, the production of the album and his future plans, since his enthusiasm and optimism puts a nice twist on these initial tentative steps in the comeback.

The arrangements by Joey Gaydos are disappointing, since they mostly fall flat in the pack of the radio-friendly heavy metal sound of the era, though "Let's Rock" comes close to capturing the MC5 sound. The standouts are the retrospective "Grande Days," solid rocker "Taboo" and bitter aftermath after taking on the system in "Renegade." "Disturbing the Peace" is simply silly and "Taking on the Night" can be explained away as a generic template to find traction in the national FM scene.

Tyner had big plans for the 1990s, which included touring with former Blackfoot drummer/percussionist Jakson Spires. Sadly, what could have been remains open to speculation.


Live From the Battle in Seattle
Live From the Battle in Seattle
Price: $8.55
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fantastic Four, January 14, 2011
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The short-lived punk/grunge "supergroup" of co-founders Jello Biafra (v) and Krist Novoselic (b) - with Kim Thayil (g) and Gina Mainwal (d) - provided a December 1, 1999, spoken word and musical report card on the WTO meeting in Seattle.

Biafra kicked off the energetic set with the spoken word "Battle in Seattle," which finds him briefly expanding on a shouted comment from someone in the audience. Thayil sizzles on the Dead Kennedys' classic "Let's Lynch the Landlord." A pair of Biafra-penned songs for the event - "New Feudalism" and "Electronic Plantation" - in no way prepares the listener for the jaw-dropping sonic attack of "Full Metal Jackoff," (it first appeared on the Biafra project with D.O.A.) which is a stunning feedback assault by Thayil.

A lengthy booklet has essays from Biafra and Novoselic, along with a wealth of information that retains relevance. Biafra stresses throughout the "serf music" that there is hard work remaining for the voice of the people to be heard....the struggle continues today.


Terminal City Ricochet: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Terminal City Ricochet: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Price: $11.58
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sending Out a Message, January 13, 2011
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Before the movie was released on DVD, this soundtrack on Alternative Tentacles Records was essentially a "stand alone;" though the dark comedy on the merging of politics and consumerism garnered solid reviews on the festival circuit, it rarely aired on TV.

The dozen tracks lean heavily on Jello Biafra - who stars in the picture - and D.O.A., but the real gems are a trifecta from Evan Johns & The H-Bombs ("Madhouse," which has elements from the best of the early Stooges), NoMeansNo ("It's Catching Up") and The Groovaholics ("Pull the Trigger, Sunshine!"). Keith LeBlanc and Biafra team up for the hilarious and eerie "Message From Our Sponsor/Object-Subject," which aptly describes the struggle for personal freedom from the government jackals who yearn to smash it all for "national security." The other performers are The Beatings, Gerry Hannah, Art Bergmann and I, Braineater.

That the album remains in print demonstrates the strong feelings Biafra still has for this project....that there is a growing urgency in the theme presented by the artists clearly demonstrates something else.


Stations of the Crass
Stations of the Crass
11 used & new from $4.74

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wealth from Knowledge, January 12, 2011
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This review is from: Stations of the Crass (Audio CD)
The essence of the anarcho-punk movement is found in the second release by a band who was as honest to their fans as they were to themselves. This is no posturing for the suits looking to greedily bank cash from chaos, but observations from the gritty streets, boarded up storefronts and declining neighborhoods as dreams turn to dust in any era.

With the avant-garde vision of Sun Ra, sonic power of the MC5 and poetic lines worthy of the Beat Generation, the CD was originally released as a 2-album set; three sides recorded in the studio four days after the concert tracks, which was side four. The incredible bluntness and wealth of timeless issues covered seem to be summarized when Steve Ignorant belts out: "They said that we were trash/Well the name is Crass, not Clash."

Working class hero, indeed.


Chernobyl: Endless Tragedy
Chernobyl: Endless Tragedy
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4.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious Project in Music and Spoken Word, January 11, 2011
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Released around the tenth anniversary of the nuclear disaster, the merging of music, spoken word and art makes this an even more ambitious project than the one issued on a multi-album set by MUSE nearly 20 years before, while covering more political territory through the use of bands and activists.

Each band is featured in artwork that's included in a bulky booklet that also has short biographical essays on a number of the activists, including Noam Chomsky and Harvey Wasserman. The most intriguing selection is "The Way Things Are" from Schwartzeneggar, which was co-founded by former Crass vocalist Steve Ignorant. A short interview of Jello Biafra has particular meaning, since he discusses the need for people to tune out inflammatory rhetoric and find ways to work together for the common good.

The CD is split into two sections; music that is often interspersed with dialogue and interview excerpts from activists that are "woven" together. The latter jumps like very short chapters in a book providing a quick overview, hence there is choppy momentum within this format. A number of the controversial issues covered are still being debated today, which may be the biggest tragedy of them all.


Dicks: 1980-1986
Dicks: 1980-1986
Price: $17.36
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5.0 out of 5 stars Double Life, January 10, 2011
This review is from: Dicks: 1980-1986 (Audio CD)
The Dicks had an incredible run from 1980 to 1986 that was about equally split with two bands fronted by Gary Floyd; based in Austin, Texas (Buxf Parrot, g & b; Glen Taylor, g & b; Pat Deason, d) - 1980-1983 - and San Francisco (Tim Carroll, g; Sebastian Fuchs, b; Lynn Perko, d) from 1983 to 1986.

The 21-track compilation captures the vocal wit of Floyd as the punk blues/hardcore punk tackles such issues as radical politics and homophobia, while demonstrating that the band had a growing set list that came close to the power contained in the classic "Dicks Hate the Police." A member of the Texas Music Hall of Fame, the band delivered a loud and proud punch as Floyd nearly trumped every lead vocalist from this eventful era of an underground movement that could not be bottled up in small clubs and squelched by suits sitting in towers owned by international record labels.


Not So Quiet on the Western Front
Not So Quiet on the Western Front
Price: $16.10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Concrete Beach, January 8, 2011
When it was initially released in 1982, the chunky compilation of 47 bands that swept through the bleak landscape of Reaganomics was not simply a chronicle of West Coast punk, but a coming out blast from an underground movement that was not going to be silenced by the growing pop culture robotics of the new wave sound.

The 48-page booklet - which includes a slick essay by Jeff Bale - is worth the price of admission, with the songs in the same order and the artwork very close to its original form. For the uninitiated - even back in the day - the hook may be the Dead Kennedys and Flipper, but the wealth of talent is extraordinary, with Social Unrest, Capitol Punishment, 7 Seconds, Karnage and Free Beer unleashing a timeless assault on the puppeteers of political/societal norms.

What did you know, what did you care......


Pure Mania
Pure Mania
Price: $7.48
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Band that Time Forgot, January 6, 2011
This review is from: Pure Mania (Audio CD)
Part of the second wave of punk bands that swept onto the UK scene, the foursome of Knox (guitar, keyboards, vocals), John Ellis (guitar, vocals), Pat Collier (bass, vocals) and John Edwards (drums) kept the politics to a minimum while delving into the roots of rock-n-roll through fast and stripped down numbers.

This debut album was released in June 1977 and the 15 tracks are covered in a swift 34:42, with the standout "Baby Baby" being issued as a single one month before the larger vinyl. Other choice cuts are "Yeah Yeah Yeah," "No Heart," "Petrol" and "Wrecked on You." The band Stiff Little Fingers took its name from one of the songs.

Considered part of a hefty list of UK "one-hit wonders" from this era and mostly forgotten by critics, the band broke up in 1980, reformed in 1982 and have been on the road since then. "Pogo Dancing," indeed.


Poisonous
Poisonous
7 used & new from $47.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Desperate Days....Nothing on the Airwaves, January 5, 2011
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This review is from: Poisonous (Audio CD)
Along with Crass, the Poison Girls quickly became a foundation band for the anarcho-punk movement in the 1970s, which went beyond gigs in squatted clubs and the release of material well outside the norms dictated by record companies and their close friends masquerading as "music critics."

With Vi Subversa (guitar/vocals) and Richard Famous (guitar/vocals) the only constant members until the band called it quits in November 1989 - they briefly reunited in 1995 to celebrate the 60th birthday of Vi Subversa - the turnover in musicians seemd to provide renewable energy for the duo. Though "Bully Boys" is not on the collection, the 30 tracks is an outstanding career overview and clearly demonstrates the premium placed on exploring a wide range of topics, which includes motherhood - Vi Subversa was a middle-aged mother of two when the band formed in 1976 - gender issues and the special role each person can play in thwarting the drama manipulated by the puppeteers who control career politicians.

This 2-CD set is only trumped by the 4-CD "Statement" and is a celebration of music that speaks to people of all ages who have the courage to strongly question societal norms and the voracious economic appetite of pop culture.


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