New Mexican Disaster Squad - Don't Believe (Cover Artwork)

New Mexican Disaster Squad

New Mexican Disaster Squad: Don't BelieveDon't Believe (2006)
Jade Tree Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: SloaneDaleySloaneDaley
(others by this writer | submit your own)

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At the end of Lifetime's "What She Said," there is a voice sample that claims "‚?¶it isn't even what she says, it's how she does things." In a way, the exact opposite can often be used in the context of hardcore punk. Things like subtlety, clever wordplay and poeticism are often eschewed in favour of focusing on the underlying message and passion behind the music. For better or worse, that appears to be the ethos behind New Mexican Disaster Squad's Don't Believe. The lyrics aren't mindless shit-talking to say the least and they are presented in a pretty literate fashion, such as on "Pulse:" "Things happen when you go to sleep, wide awake in a lucid nightmare, no line between, reality and dreams."

For those of you that have never heard NMDS, they take elements of melody in a similar fashion to Strike Anywhere while paying homage to their `80s forefathers a bit like Kid Dynamite. If there is a standout strength the band has in their music it is their vocal arrangements. At times, vocalist Sam's throaty rasp is contrasted with melodic backup whoa-ohs ("The Piggy Bank's Gone, Nick!," "Tightrope") or a utilization of trade-off shouts ("9 Kinds of Hell"), while other times the lead and backup vocals are layered atop each other ("Heads with You"). At points I find myself waiting for that insanely catchy chorus or that irresistible melody that I'll be humming for weeks, but it doesn't really come. Yet, when NMDS find the perfect combination of aggression, melody and `80s influences, such as the blistering "Tightrope," everything really clicks together for a memorable listen. Lasting around half an hour over 14 tracks, they keep the songs short and the pace fast so everything flows well, just how a hardcore record should be. although on "Bullshit Detector" NMDS are even able to pull off a slow-tempo hardcore song with surprising success.

Overall, New Mexican Disaster Squad have created a cohesive album that stays brief and to the point. Through variety on both the vocal and musical ends (such as the solo on "Coughing Up Blood"), the band is able to prevent the album from blurring together. This might not end up on year-end lists, but it is a consistently strong release that will warrant repeated listens. Plus, all bands should take note that goofy looking pictures of you or perhaps a sullen looking woman staring into the distance do not constitute engaging artwork. NMDS use a vibrant coloured tiger amidst a severed limb and some funky clouds as an appropriate alternative.


People who liked this also liked:
The Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Jawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyNone More Black - This Is SatireRefused - The Shape of Punk to ComeA Wilhelm Scream - Career SuicideAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldThe Loved Ones - Keep Your HeartDead to Me - Cuban BallerinaWestern Addiction - Cognicide

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
SouthernLovin (February 4, 2009)

Not their best, but I like it. Score is for Horsebites.

Anonymous (June 22, 2006)

shredsavage.... those words weren't taken out of your mouth. they were felched.

look, we're not talking about some technical range for the folks at juliard, butit's fucking idiotic to deny the fact that something exists that differentiates good vocals from poor ones. not just anyone can make a great record.

Creativity is the antithesis of punk? Okay, Scarecrow.

gladimnotemo (June 22, 2006)

I love the arguments on this site. Someone said a while ago that Paint It Black was "underproduced". No fucking way, kids.

shredsavage (June 22, 2006)

To the dude below me:
You took the words right out of my mouth.

Anonymous (June 22, 2006)

"They sound like they like music and good music at that, but let's face it, not everyone's cut out to be creative and make music. No slight on them. Deal with it."

Yeah, I'm sure John Weiffenbach of Void and Cal of Discharge spent hours getting their vocals in shape for performance... Hhahaha.

"Not everyone is cut out to be creative"?

Isn't this the antithesis of punk? Get a fucking life.

Anonymous (June 22, 2006)

I like it. I like it a lot. Bullshit Detector equals greatness.


feeeding5000 (June 22, 2006)

Oh, and who here thinks that "Punk Sucks"? That's my mantra from now on.

feeeding5000 (June 22, 2006)

Oh...ok. Yeah, the whole modern thrash argument makes sense. Why can't there be any bands that rip off MDC?

Anonymous (June 21, 2006)

You'd probobly prefer he'd sound like Davey Havok or that fat bitch from Fallout Boy. You can keep all those bands with pretty boy voices, cuz I ain't with that. Keep your singing lessons out of my hardcore.

Shut up. I love how you namedrop flamebait bands to try to discredit what I said about their vocals. I never said anything about "pretty boy voices." You interpreted it as that, because you're defensive because you know NMDS's vocals are weak sauce. He doesn't have the pipes. Anyone who knows the Kid Dynamite story knows that Shevchuk spent a lot of time getting his voice in shape and knowing how to control it. It's not just screaming. And that difference is HUGE. Tom Petta is someone who also has discussed, in interviews, the development of vocal chords. Same as the guy from Avail. These are hardcore (or quasi-hardcore) singers that actually know how to utilize their vocals. NMDS is mediocre musically, but fine, and then they have vocals by an unmusical guy. He's the punchline to the joke "what do you call a guy who likes to hang out with musicians." They sound like they like music and good music at that, but let's face it, not everyone's cut out to be creative and make music. No slight on them. Deal with it.

Anonymous (June 21, 2006)

Paying a shit ton of money to record analog isn't punk. Bands without big budgets can't afford that shit.

dazed (June 21, 2006)

Yeah this band is not really pop punk influenced at all, their first two albums especially are about the closest modern analog you'll find to more midtempo 80s USHC. It seems like much of the contingent on this site who listen to 80s and underground hardcore don't accept any modern bands unless they're way more thrashy; even in the 80s not every hardcore band sounded like DRI.

feeeding5000 (June 21, 2006)

Yeah...I love Dag Nasty, and used to love GB, so I know about the whole "melodic Hardcore" thing. It just sounds too clean. But that may just be because of the digital production. I HATE albums recorded onto digital. Really, CDs that are recorded analog and then digitally mastered sound more..."real".

Anonymous (June 21, 2006)

This album is great and will end up on my end-of-the-year list in some form.

Anonymous (June 21, 2006)

Have you heard this album? How is it slickly produced? I was actually kinda shocked when I heard it cause it didnt sound over produced especially since they are on Jade Tree and Strike Anywhere's album was extremely over produced! And also, have you ever heard of Dag Nasty or Gorilla biscuits? How is this Pop Punk influenced? I just dont hear that.

feeeding5000 (June 21, 2006)

See, this is the type of music that's the pop-punk version of Black Flag or Minor Threat -- not really "hardcore" but more "hardcore-influenced melodic pop-punk". Of course, everyone on this site will say "that sounds great!". I, however, still prefer music that isn't slickly overproduced and is merely a mockery of the "punk rock" that came before it.

Anonymous (June 21, 2006)

You'd probobly prefer he'd sound like Davey Havok or that fat bitch from Fallout Boy. You can keep all those bands with pretty boy voices, cuz I ain't with that. Keep your singing lessons out of my hardcore.

Anonymous (June 21, 2006)

And please excuse the mistake in the first sentence. You know what it means.

Anonymous (June 21, 2006)

The vocals sound like they're from someone who likes music but isn't too someone who can make it themselves. I don't think people realize that singing is like an instrument and that it takes a lot of work and talent to sound good.

Anonymous (June 21, 2006)

Decent review. Rad record. Good live.

SloaneDaley (June 20, 2006)

the reason I compared them to Kid Dynamite was because like Kid Dynamite they take influence from the 80's rather than the "metallic hardcore" I thought that was spelled out pretty clear. The Strike Anywhere comment was because of the melodies, and frankly if you take hardcore bands from the 80's (Gorilla Biscuits, Embrace, Turning Point) that infused their songs with melody there is no way you can say it was as present with them as it is with NMDS. Maybe with Dag Nasty but again to say Dag Nasty sounds like NMDS is even more of stretch than Strike Anywhere

dazed (June 20, 2006)

To be fair this does sound a lot more like Kid Dynamite than any previous NMDS effort, there's a real effort for vocal melodies. The other big change is that the songs lack the anthemic punch in favor of little nuances and odd riffs. This album has the best artwork and some of the best NMDS songs on it (Tightrope, Bullshit Detector) but it's also the first NMDS album I've heard with songs I just can't get into (Cough up Blood, I'm Infected). There's nothing wrong per se with the production but I liked some of these songs better live. I agree with the reviewer, I'd give the s/t an 8 but just because I like that better doesn't mean this is a regression, its pretty ambitious.

Scruffy (June 20, 2006)

And Retard ( I love that you took that as a name so anyone responding to you would have to call you that. I wish I'd thought of it), most of us aren't kids, we're in our twenties and we calls as we sees em.

Scruffy (June 20, 2006)

I'm not comparing this to Kid Dynamite because it sounds like it's kind of the same genre at that's all I know. It's because the vocals sounded like Jason, and the music was pretty similar, too. I'm not saying they ape KD like Shook Ones do, just that if you like one, you'll like the other.

Anonymous (June 20, 2006)

The only thing they have in common with bands like Strike Anywhere and Kid Dynamite is the fact that they draw their influences from many of the same bands. They sound more authentically 80's than either of those bands, and maybe you're just a new school kid and that's why you're not into it. They're pissed but not macho, and their catchy without being sugary and poppy. I think this record is flat out awesome.

Anonymous (June 20, 2006)

People are out of their minds when they put this band up against the bands that they tend to compare them to. From what everyone says about this band, I should absolutely love them, but I think they're pretty bland and tedious.

Anonymous (June 20, 2006)

This doesn't sound like Kid Dynamite at all. Besides the fact that it's fast and slightly melodic.

Kids, you have to learn that this kind of music was around way before KD, because when you try to compare pretty much an 80's HC sounding band like this to some 90's band, you sound stupid.


HeresLookinAtYou (June 20, 2006)

very good review

hvmyselfabear (June 20, 2006)

This album is solid, and this band kills live. I saw then in Atlanta with Lords, and there were maybe 12 people there, but they played like there was 200.

recordtheory (June 20, 2006)

oh man, this is a great album. a couple of songs drag a bit, but then again, songs like "tightrope" and "destroy at all cost" make up for them.

this is a solid 8/10

shredsavage (June 20, 2006)

Also. Nice mention of the artwork, because it looks awesome. I can't wait til No Idea gets the vinyl finished and I can have a 12" copy.

shredsavage (June 20, 2006)

This record rips. It's a grower not a shower. Most people I know who give it more than a couple listens really end up loving it. It'll be on my year end list for sure.

Anonymous (June 20, 2006)
danperrone (June 20, 2006)

this is just a very boring record to me


xcarlupanddiex (June 20, 2006)


Anonymous (June 20, 2006)

Cough up blood is a punk rock anthem... don't deny it!!

etwiels88 (June 20, 2006)

Still have been meaning to check this out. Love the artwork.

SalsaShark (June 20, 2006)

How are these guys live? They're coming to town soon with Clit 45.

Also, does anyone know if there is a site where Richard Minino (their drummer) has his artwork up (He does the cover)? I really like this style.

Anonymous (June 20, 2006)

There's no excuse not to own the NMDS/Western Addiction split on No Idea. That said, a full album of NMDS might be a bit much.

dir (June 20, 2006)

I love this cd. I don't see much of a Strike anywhere comparison and the only thing I really find in common with KD, is the vocals(only slightly). "Coughing Up Blood", has such a catchy chorus. Also, the artwork in the book is complete radassness.

Scruffy (June 20, 2006)

I don't know about your ear, Brian, but I definitely hear it.
I didn't have a lot of money when I found this in the record store. I listened to it, and took the headphones off pretty quick, because I couldn't afford to spend the money when I had Kid Dynamite CDs at home that I barely listen to. For a fan of Kid Dynamite, this CD would be rad, but for someone who only listens to KD casually, this probably isn't worth my money. But for anyone who likes bands like Shook Ones and No Trigger, buy this.

SloaneDaley (June 20, 2006)

the Strike Anywhere point I tend to see in the vocla melodies at times is the closest comparison I could make becuase it is more melodius than say Sinking Ships but it isn't as melodic as say Lifetime

inagreendase (June 20, 2006)

Several notes on this:

-I was going to review this but feared the wrath of the site for giving it the same score Mr. Keaton did here.

-That being said, I do really like it; it's baby steps up from their past efforts, but still their best one yet. Definitely on the cusp of an 8, mind you.

-Maybe my ear is weak, but I really don't hear any of the Strike Anywhere / Kid Dynamite comparisons this is getting. I've always thought the band established a much more direct line to `80s hardcore than those bands and while this is more structured than S/T or Abrasive, it doesn't change that entirely.

-I actually gave this a 4 in the newest issue of AP but the score was bumped down as my review apparently read like a 3. Don't hate!

-As far as year-end lists go, this will likely be an honorable mention if not a very close contender for my top 20.

Anonymous (June 20, 2006)

That artwork is sweet. Havent heard this yet but it sounds really interesting.

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