Problems Portland Punk Rock Music

“Make it through the night” LP // Reviews

  • Sonic Recollections Records

    If the standard for overdrive is: MANOWAR plays on 10, MOTORHEAD kills yer lawn when they move in next door, and SPINAL TAP plays on 11, then this record was recorded at 30 or 40. I think Stan Wright's Buzz Or Howl studio was probably reduced to a smoking pile of rubble in the ground, declared "toxic" by uniformed federal employees after P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S.'s Apr 2011 session for this album. I've played in bands with Bradly, and have recorded with him a few times, and he turns up the intensity (I mistyped that as "inStensity" at first - interesting!) to a level off the charts - and it works, usually. Here, we have the songs played with the meters in the red, and additional sounds added here & there (the smashing bottle noise is especially appropriate, I'm sure) for effect. If the STOOGES "Metallic K.O." includes audible bottles hitting the guitars as an outraged audience gets into the live recording, then maybe these breaking bottle noises were captured naturally. "Graveyard Kiss" - practically a goth song that cuts the tempo of most of the record in half. And Brian Kozenek, I've gotta express my love for the cover. It is NOT the record cover I expected from this band, given the stylistic approach on the singles & demo CD, so far. The insert looks like it's a part of the same frame of mind as its precedents, but the album cover shocks. In a good way. It sounds like Bradly has set aside some (okay, all) of his fascination for southern hard rock that showed up occasionally in later Weaklings and a lot of the LUCKY THIRTEENS stuff - plus there's a CORTINAS cover here ("Fascist Dictator") where they take it down half a notch, so their guitars are only killing innocent bystanders on the same block, instead of everyone within a half mile radius. I hear a shouted "fuckface" in the lyrics, at least once! Kelly's playing has always been and continues to be the standard that bassists should be measured by - it's like the man showed Matt Freeman how to do it. The new drummer Ian Jackson takes over where Dean Johnson left off, and Matty K and Scott Williams have guitars set on "stun" or "maim" throughout. There's just 9 songs, but there only NEEDS to be 9 songs on this record. This is a set I'd like to see this band do, in this order. PS - thanx for the thanx in the liner notes. P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S. / “Make It Through the Night” - Doom Town Sounds / Static Age Records, DTS-003/SA-008, 2011.

    - Jeffrey Larson, Sonic Recollections Records.

  • Maximum rock and roll #343, December 2011

    I imagine the guys in Portland’s P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S. as old school punks who likely frequent the dive bar scene to hold them over during times when no decent shows are going on. And at some point while hanging out in one of those joints, with whiskey shots in hand and probably screamed over loud rock music blaring in the background, these veterans of various Portland area bands decided to forma new outfit. The resultant sound is high-energy punk that seems to hover in the vague border region between booze fueled heavy rock and hardcore. Think HELL NO or even later era POISON IDEA. The louder this is played and the more inebriated the listener is (trust me, I am conducting this experiment as I write), the better this nine track album sounds. I can only imagine the power in the air when these dudes play a live set, as the sound seems more geared towards a live performance than one captured on acetate. But that certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check this out. (but it certainly means that you need to see them when they hit your city).

    - Bob Goldie, Maximum rock and roll #343, December 2011