Welcome to Razorcake | DIY Punk Music Magazine Welcome to Razorcake | DIY Punk Music Magazine

Records Reviews from Razorcake #78
5 of 5

By Staff
Tuesday, February 04 2014

What more could anyone ask of the big, fat jolly dude than some new Xmas-themed vinyl? Well, these two bands have just answered your wish list. Taggart hits you up with three covers and one original for their side. “Wishmas” is cool and will make it into a wintry playlist mix with ease. But it’s on their cover of The Kinks “Father Christmas” where they really nail it. Ray Davies would be proud and I doubt Bad Religion’s recent take kicks as much ass. The Successful Failures come at from another angle: three originals and one cover. Although their Ramones cover is heartfelt, I think I’m feeling “Christmas Morning (Yellow Canary)” a bit more. Either way this is best enjoyed loud, then go back and search out other releases by both bands as well. –Sean Koepenick (FDR, beckermgt@comcast.net)

TEAR THEM DOWN: This Is a Mutiny: CD
There are certain review tropes which drive me up a wall when I read ‘em. The worst, I think, is “for fans of (fill in the blank).” Sometimes, though, it’s unavoidable, such as with this CD from Tear Them Down, a Swedish four-piece chugging out melodic, vaguely political whoah-oh anthems. They’re good at what they do, you know? For fans of finger-pointing, singing along, and sweating in da pit. –Michael T. Fournier (Tear Them Down, info@tearthemdown.com)

TEENANGER: Singles Don’t $ell: LP
If you’re a fan of spacey post-punk leads with the occasional synth flourish, snotty vocals, and pogo beats, then Teenanger is a big bowl of delight. Denizens of the Great White North, these Torontonian punks downpick through poppier songs akin to the Buzzcocks, then time warp into late ‘70s New York punk à la Television or Richard Hell & The Voidoids. The tunes are at once precocious, ambient, and immediately catchy. The highlights—”Psychic Sonya” and “Conflict of Interest”—benefit by baring their jagged teeth, but the discordant ballads leave quite the impression and hint at more jarring experimentation further down the pipeline. A solid record overall and a band definitely worth following. –Sean Arenas (Southpaw, southpaw-records.com, southpawdistro@yahoo.com / Telephone Explosion, telephoneexplosion.com, telephoneexplosion@gmail.com)

TENEBRAE: Self-titled: 7” + CD
Many hardcore talents make up Tenebrae, but as to this new band’s standing in relation to their collective history—members of The Unseen, Blood For Blood, Slapshot, The Street Dogs, and Sick Of It All, and maybe others, still—Tenebrae’s self-titled EP has the most in common with the first two mentioned. On the four new tracks, Mark Civitarese’s vocals recall a bit of his melodic range with The Unseen, though the singing here achieves something harder and darker. And while there is some commonality with Blood For Blood’s old school roar-along breakdowns, the sum of Tenebrae’s parts, to my ears, congeals into something with more thrash and metal than the prior hardcore songwriting the members are known for. Two great tracks “No Voice” and “Blood Runs Red” are streaming on Dyingvoice.com; dig it. I definitely recommend this release for fans of any of the members’ earlier work, but this is an excellent start for Tenebrae in and of itself. Grab the colored vinyl (blue or red) with free CD included. –Jim Joyce (Boss Tuneage Retro, bosstuneage.com)

TERMINUS: Graveyard of Dreams: CD
Songs about hunting the men who hunt foxes, songs about hatin’ the state, songs with doomsday sci-fi undertones—these and more can be found on Terminus’s Graveyard of Dreams. For those who missed Terminus during their heyday (after which much of their material was no longer pressed), this re-release condenses at least six EPs worth of material onto one nineteen-track CD spanning their lengthy ‘80s-though-’90s career. Among fourteen other bandmates, Mark Richardson—principal songwriter, guitarist, and singer—is the sole constant member through the years. Richardson holds it down with follow-the-guitar vocal melodies that fluctuates into guttural Lemmy Kilmister lows and American rockabilly swagger when appropriate—all this over some smoky and shifting mix of mid-tempo almost Sabbath-touched rock, and by its end, something more snarling and rough-edged, without losing the hooks and melodic touch of a versatile punk’n’roll outfit. If you’re looking to fill the gap in a collection of ‘80s U.K. punk and hardcore, Terminus is a fine addition, and plenty to explore. Check out “(Waiting for the) Purge” and “What Do You Want From Me,” exemplary of the band’s early and later work, respectively. –Jim Joyce (Jailhouse, jailhouserecords.com)

It’s no secret the whole “indie rock” thang has been plundered, looted, and wholly defiled by the mega-corporate music machine, but every now and then little bits of fertile green promise pop up amongst the ruins. Such is the case here from a band that infuses that base with bits of swampy pop, varying tempos, chorused guitars, the occasional cowboy twang, and no apparent fear of sounding like an honest-to-goodness band that’s actually trying to write songs instead of playing to pre-approved templates. The results make one pine for the days when songs this catchy could find airplay on terrestrial radio, but also thankful that some folks continue to stubbornly create in a world that devalues such efforts more with each passing minute. –Jimmy Alvarado (Deranged)

THOSE HOWLINGS: Self-titled: 7”EP
More good stuff coming out of the Austin Texas punk scene. Those Howlings offer up their 7” (two songs) of super charming garage/psych/ “rock and roll, emphasis on the roll.” The A-side’s “Paid for You” is all garage rock with Patsy Cline-tinged vocals—the vocals are superb—surrounded by clean, melodic guitar, and a beat that will get your hips moving. Flip to the B-side, “Dip It in” has a solid Stooges-style rockin’ drawl, a bit more raw on this side, with chord progressions that are Pavement-esque? Coincidence perhaps. Highly recommend, so pick it up. –Camylle Reynolds (Swear Jar, thosehowlings@gmail.com)

Based on the name—which includes an anarchy-A symbol in the band logo and the atrocious album artwork with depicts the Statue of Liberty holding a hypodermic needle rather than a torch in hand—I was expecting some crust punk or something along those lines. Instead, I got some vaguely 7 Seconds or Down By Law-style melodic hardcore. Normally I’d say that’s much more preferable, but this was mostly unoriginal, unlistenable cornball. –Jeff Proctor (1332)

The defeated-looking old lady adorning the cover of this record didn’t give me any insight as to what these bands were going to sound like. Three Man Cannon have a nostalgic indie rock sound. They took me back to the early days when all these now-famous bands belonged to us and not the world. The recording has a warm home recording sound to it. Lee Corey Oswald really took me back to the ‘90s and reminded me of bands like Superchunk and Pavement. Both of these bands compliment each other really well. If you miss the days of discovering underground indie bands with your weirdo high school friends then pick this record up. A lot of band names come to mind when listening to this split, but, more importantly, it’s the time that this record reminds me of being young, having your whole life ahead of you and not realizing it. This split is a perfect blend of indie rock, pop, and emo (the good, old stuff). Great record overall. –Ryan Nichols (Stereophonodon / Black With Sap, blackwithsap.limitedrun.com)

THUNDERHOOF: By the Flames: Cassette
Tape wouldn’t play. Found ‘em on Bandcamp. They tagged it as sludge, but it sounded like constipated-guy moshcore from the ‘90s. –Chris Terry (thunderhoof.bandcamp.com/yum)

TIM TIMEBOMB: “30 Pieces of Silver” b/w “Ooh La La”: 7”
In general, white people trying to do ska and reggae make for a lot of embarrassment, in my humble white ass opinion. There are some exceptions to this rule, the most immediate being the late, great, magical Joe Strummer (may he rest in peace), and former Operation Ivy guitarist, current Rancid co-frontman, Tim Armstrong. His latest project falls under the name Tim Timebomb and represents a wide arrange of musical genres and cover songs, from Cock Sparrer to The Specials to Tom Waits, as well as reinterpretations of songs from his past as country and ska tunes. Here, Tim performs ska legend Prince Buster’s “30 Pieces of Silver” and The Faces’ “Ooh La La.” I would like these tracks even if I didn’t know the originals, but listening to them had resounding effects. After hearing and enjoying them, I went back to listen to the originals, then listened to the Timebomb versions again, then spent some more time listening to more of Tim’s latest work. You would have time well spent if you did the same. –John Mule (Hellcat / Pirates Press)

TIM TIMEBOMB: “Change That Song Mr. DJ” b/w “Guardian Angel”: 7”
Tim Armstrong (of Rancid, and here under the moniker Tim Timebomb) did this deal where he released a song a day for a year. As someone who is a fan of the guy’s stuff (in spite of how embarrassing that is, and how ludicrous and cartoonish the man’s persona has become over the years), I listened to most of them. The majority of the songs released were old country and western or ska covers, and towards the end of the year he just released the same songs without vocals, ala old singles from the ‘50s and ‘60s. His backing band is the guys from the Interrupters, and in my humble opinion, maybe ten percent of the year’s songs proved to be even remotely interesting. Pirates Press is gathering those songs up and releasing vinyl versions of them. “DJ” is a quick and frenetic tune that may be as close to aping the Ramones as the guy’s ever gonna get, and it’s a good one. The B-side could’ve come off of their recent album, but there’s a grittiness in the production that gives the song a little breathing room. A fun little record, all in all, and absolutely miles above some of the stuff he released throughout the year. –Keith Rosson (Pirates Press)

TONIGHT WE STRIKE: Bombs and Bibles: 7” EP
Mid-tempo modern punk of the ilk that sounds like it was made either by older punks or younger punks that like punk made by older punks—mid-tempo rhythms, singalong choruses, the occasional “whoa-oh” and so on. No particularly offensive, no particularly memorable. –Jimmy Alvarado (The Machine Shop)

TOUCH MY RASH: Destined for Disaster: CD
Fairly middling thud-punk with little “thud” of any potency to it. The performance is a bit more spirited than on their previous release, but ultimately the tunes don’t really leave any lasting impression. Bummer. –Jimmy Alvarado
(Bittersick, bittersick.com)

TROUBLE MAKER: Made in Oakland: CD
Meathead hardcore tinged with streetpunk, very much in the vein of a more monotonous Agnostic Front or Sick Of It All. It’s the kind of punk where the choruses are mostly the song titles chanted between the verses, which frequently concern getting trashed and beating the shit out of people. Made in Oakland surprised me every now and then with some rocking guitar solos, as well as the world’s most jarring Elton John reference. But they’re buried in junk like the insufferably douchey “Hit and Run” (spoiler: it’s not about traffic accidents) and way too many earnest complaints about posers. Really, by the time I got to the song actually called “Poser” I had to wonder if this whole thing was a parody. Sorry, guys: if you’re over thirty—or fifteen, really—and posers are still a serious problem in your life, we probably aren’t going to be on the same page musically either. –Indiana Laub (Self-released, makesometrouble.com)

TUNES, THE: Love Uncool: LP
I feel lately we are unearthing a lot of shitty eighties music and calling it power pop. I’m a sucker for a haircut and a Rick Springfield lean, but I see a lot of that in dollar bins and, as we all know, buyer beware. However, whoever put this out has taste. It takes an ear to appreciate it, I think. It’s more on the lighter side. It doesn’t have balls, but it has heart. It’s catchy as hell. I put the needle back on “Elevator” a few times before I even got through the whole thing. Awesome vocal harmonies, great choruses, and upbeat themes are prevalent. If you’re only into the heavy power-chord power pop and don’t dig the poppier stuff, then this isn’t for you. But it’s high quality for fans of The Shoes, Squeeze, or better Elvis Costello. For a more obscure reference, that Colors’ song “Growing up American” and the Trainspotter’s “High Rise” also come to mind. I’m keeping it. –Billups Allen (Cheap Rewards, cheaprewards.net)

I’m liking this a lot better than their other LP, which was pretty good. This one has more fire in its guts, I guess you could say. They pace the album with peaks and valleys to keep you interested and to keep everything from becoming one long blur. You get the ragers like “Overreacting,” “Knife,” “Battle,” “Game,” and the rest. Garage punk’n’roll done right. Which is saying something, because a lot of bands of this style are bleh. But TV Freaks rise above the rest. –M.Avrg (Schizophrenic, schizophrenicrex.com)

TV GHOST: The Amputee: 7”
Sludgy instrumental garage stuff with the sound so blown out that it’s all but unlistenable. Whatever floats yer boat, I reckon. –Jimmy Alvarado (Kind Turkey)

TWO COW GARAGE: The Death of the Self Preservation Society: CD
The early records by this band, particularly the masterpiece, The Wall Against Our Back, are some of the best rocking alt-country stuff that I have ever heard. Unfortunately, the last couple of albums have been a little more “interesting” and mature, though still good. Well, I am glad to report that Two Cow Garage are back to rocking, and this record is fantastic. Take a little of the Figgs, some Uncle Tupelo, the rockin’ side of Lucero, and you will be in the area that TCG are when they’re at their best. Glad to see them come back swinging with this great new record and hoping to hear more. –Mike Frame (Last Chance, lastchancerecords.com)

Based on the (admittedly quite nice) cover art, was kinda expecting some hardcore or dark metal variant, but no, it’s more of a punky indie rock variant. There’s maybe a whisper of soul buried in the A-side, while the flip ups the punk quota with singalong elements in the chorus. Nice single. –Jimmy Alvarado (Pirates Press)

TZN-XENNA: Paranoja 1981: 7”
Tzn-xenna originated in Poland in 1981. This band has seen a lot of the ups and downs of punk rock throughout the decades. They stopped playing around ‘87, and just recently got back together. These guys are unadulterated punk through and through, and you can tell they started in the eighties. If you like bands like GBH and Anti-Nowhere League, you’ll probably end up liking Tzn-Xenna. The recording quality is great, and they’ve lost no energy with age. The second song has some really interesting Native American elements that I can’t even figure out how to describe. If you’re a fan of ‘80s punk, you’ll feel right at home with Tzn-Xenna’s new release. –James Meier (Refuse, refuserecords.prv.pl)

This, along with Quintessentials, marked something like twenty years of the UK Subs and original guitarist Nicky Garratt coming back temporarily to mark the occasion. I remember liking this quite a bit when it was first released around 1996/97. It’s nowhere near as good as the early stuff, but held up against a lot of what was coming out in the 1990s, this isn’t too bad. They had one foot in the past and one in the present of that time. The punkier edges were softened to some degree with the poppy tendencies of what was passing as punk in the dreadful ‘90s. “Paradise Burning” has a main riff that recalls the Subs in their glory years, though the reggae influence derails the song. There are some moments, with songs like “Human Rights,” “Preacher,” and the title track, but none of them are exactly scorchers. Nowhere near on par with “C.I.D.” or “Stranglehold.” On the whole, this record did not age well—okay songs surrounded by a lot of filler and not something I would go back to when I can listen to the earlier, stronger, and better material. –M.Avrg (Papagajuv Hlasatel, phr.cz)

The Japanese three-piece Ultra Bidé has been together since the late 1970s, and this is the first I’m hearing of them. Researching the band, I learned they were on the forefront of the avant-garde, punk, and noise scenes in Japan. (In an alternate universe, I can see Ultra Bidé as the bastard child of a late 1970s Japanese version of Andy Warhol.) It seems as though those genre descriptions still apply on this latest album, DNA Vs DNA-c. This is their fifth release for Jello Biafra’s Alternative Tentacles label and their first U.S. release in over ten years. The music is chaotic—but still cohesive—with strong playing by the bass and drums and crazy, broken vocals. The band sings in English, but many of their lyrics make little to no sense: “Such a fuckin I’m a killing dead / Such a fuckin I’m a thinking dead / Such a fuckin I’m a living dead / What’s going on human race, what a liar” (“Civil Action”). Or: “Phase is massive power attack weapon” (“Phase Is Massive Power Attack Weapon”). At the risk of losing some listeners, I wish more non-native English speaking bands would sing in their native language. I’ve always appreciated those bands more because it doesn’t seem forced and the songs almost always flow more naturally. Ultra Bidé has obviously never concerned themselves with making popular music and it doesn’t seem to have changed now. I know there are fans of obscure Japanese avant-garde (is there ever non-obscure avant-garde music?) out there. They’ll probably eat this up, and I might have too, even with my lack of knowledge of the band, but the vocals really turned me off. –Kurt Morris (Alternative Tentacles)

UNDERCLASS UK: Live and Loud: CD
What we have here is a live album of some good quality British street punk. The singer has a great voice. It’s rough in all the right ways. Apparently, these guys put out a record in the early ‘80s and the follow up came in 2012. Well, good on them, since they are still sounding vital and carrying the punk rock torch high. For a live album, this is some stellar recording too. This is great all around. –Ty Stranglehold (Punk Lives, punklives.co.uk)

UŠTKNI: Protijed / Oči Šelem: LP
It took me a minute to figure this one out but I do believe this is a 12” with two separate recording sessions (and possibly even releases) on each side by Uštkni from the Czech Republic. The first side is entitled Protijed and recalls the “to the point” energy of Naked Raygun but with a sax player. Side B, Oči Šelem, is more rhythmically led with a strong Big Boys, Dead Kennedys undercurrent and more of that zany sax-o-ma-phone which, I might add, is front and center with the rest of the band and will surely test your tolerance for the sexiest of all horns. The songwriting is expertly crafted despite the arrangements appearing to be a tad bit too adventurous for most of us American punks who typically prefer to have something to sing or mosh along to. You’d only be able to sing along if you’re fluent in Czech and since things rarely get fast or frenzied, you’d do well to just stand in place and enjoy your drink while your head bobs back and forth to the herky-jerky beats. Solid stuff. –Juan Espinosa (Papagájův Hlasatel, phr.cz)

UTTER FAILURE: Eroding Forces: LP
New band with the Fraser brothers of ‘90s punk outfit Krupted Peasant Farmerz (as heard on the classic Can of Pork comp). A mixture of ‘80s skate punk and ‘90s pop punk, this record is a grower. Has a “heard this before” feeling at first and while that may not be an unfair criticism, there’s a lot to like throughout the fourteen songs. Raw, raspy vocals, catchy melodies, and lyrics that balance political and personal commentary with just the right amount of humor. Really, just good punk songs that worm their way into your brain. Favorite song: album closer “Psychological Breakdown.” I’d be remiss to not mention that this thing is nice and raw, recorded basically live by the man whose name must appear on a thousand Bay Area punk records, Bart Thurber at House of Faith Studios. All in all, solid first album from this San Jose band. –Chad Williams (Vinehell, trallpunk@aol.com, vinehell.com / Lost Cat, lostcatrecords.org / HaHaHa Cool, hahahacool.com / Say-10, say-10.com / 86’d, 86drec.com / Shit Starter, shitstarterrecords.com / Smart Ass, smartassrecords.com)

I think I could sell this hardcore split from Vaaksa and Impalers just by describing the cover. A shrouded skull has bony arms coming out if its mouth, hanging a mass of cracked and mangled skulls, spines, hair, and eyeballs from a barbwire fence. This all, of course, is happening in black and white. My three years of high school Spanish, mostly long forgotten, help me to translate Vaaska’s two songs as “Where is your God?”—my favorite track on the split—and “All is shit.” –John Mule (Beach Impediment)

VACATION CLUB: Self-titled: 7”
I finally have a vinyl version of “Daydream!” I love this song so much, and had to settle for a cassette version last year. (I hate the tape resurgence of the past few years, but I made an exception for Vacation Club.) In the spirit of full disclosure, not only are Vacation Club my favorite Indiana band, but I’m friends with these guys. They’re kinda reverb-y pop-psych, and there’s something distinctly Midwestern about them. “Forest Babe” is no slouch of a tune, but “Daydream” is the jam. Don’t be afraid to dance home alone to this record. –Sal Lucci (Randy, randyrecords.blogspot.com)

VACATION: Candy Waves: LP
Don Henley and Phil Collins do not count. The only singing drummer that springs to mind as actually good is Will Grabass and now that he’s moved up front, The Careeners are even better. Enter Vacation to turn that notion on its head. 2011’s self-titled was a stunner and Candy Waves seals the deal. Tight mod-pop (think current Canadian punk explosion) drumming dropped into a 40oz full of California echo and fuzz. Dose the drink with just a touch of desert expansiveness. Re-cap and shake vigorously. Pop the top and catch Vacation explode. Fast and tight hooks to blow your mind and set your happy feet free. Highly recommended. –Matt Seward (Let’s Pretend, letspretendrecords.com)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Puke and Destroy III: 7”
Three bands (two songs each) from the Land of the Rising Sun again served up by the illustrious Snuffy Smiles. Your Pest Band is this generation’s Teengenerate. Fast, blown out, incomprehensible, fantastic. Dog Hotel brings the jangle with a Beatles’ beat behind drunk Replacements tunes and an almost Dead Milkmen delivery. But Car10 is the gem and the lyrics to “Get Drunk” alone are worth hunting down the 7”. Both Car10 songs strike a Blotto cord. We need more Blotto in our lives, ergo, more Car10. –Matt Seward (Snuffy Smiles)

VARIOUS ARTISTS: Drop the Needle: CD
This CD is a retrospective of sorts featuring the Stilphen brothers, Chuck and Glen, who seem to have left quite a historical footprint on the Boston punk scene. These recordings span the years from 1985 to 1995, starting with the brothers’ stint in Gang Green and progressing through their time in other bands that are perhaps a bit lesser known. I never knew what it was with those classic hardcore bands from Boston in the ‘80s (DYS, SSD, and even Gang Green) that they all seemed to end up playing metal, but the brothers Stilphen went down that road as well (something in the water?) with their respective bands Scratch, Mallet Head, and Celebrity Death Certificate. Personally, I wasn’t too keen on the metal stuff but there is plenty here to keep me occupied, particularly the tracks from Smegma and the Nunz. My only complaint is that the tracks don’t follow a chronological order, but I can be picky about stuff like that. –Garrett Barnwell (Trev)

A potent potpourri of punk, trash, surf, and such, with echoes of rock’s most productive periods peppered throughout. This time ‘round Mean Jeans, Angora Debs, Denizenz, Chemicals, Guantanamo Baywatch, Cyclops, Dancer, Primitive Hearts, Elvis Christ, and many others participate in the shenanigans. As many, myself included, have yammered on too many times to count, contemporary comps are too often a dicey purchase, but, in this case, care and thought have clearly been given to maintain a certain level of quality and the end product is consistent enough that any clunkers there may be are buried in a flurry of tasty tuneage. –Jimmy Alvarado (No Rules, norulesrecords.org)

VARIOUS ARTISTS: Shake! It Up Vol. 1: LP
Faboo comp of Canuck rock. Them last two words might sound off-putting to some if not for the fact that the compilers were meticulous in keeping the sounds varied, so yer getting driving hard rock, punk, and various stops in between, courtesy of Electric Empress, Greenback High, The Poor Choices, New Tricks, Shitty Neighbors, and others. Most of the participants pull out all the stops, keeping the energy high and the listener adequately rocked. –Jimmy Alvarado (Shake!)

VARIOUS ARTISTS: The Songs of Tony Sly: A Tribute: CD
Does anyone ever really dig a tribute album? I mean, how often do you hear a cover that trumps the work that it’s paying tribute to? It happens, sure, but it’s rare. And, sadly, that’s the case with this beautiful sentiment as well. Granted, Tony’s shoes are no easy fill. These songs were the soundtrack to so many lives, mine certainly being no exception; and, inevitably, a slowed-down ska version of, well, any of them is going to fall way short of the mark. And, fuck, I’m getting tired of the, “I’m an old punk dude but now I play folky-country-subpar-lazy garbage now” thing. Luckily, there are a few amazing, fist-biting, tear-jerking heartbreakers on here (Karina Denike and Joey Cape’s contributions brilliantly display an obviously intimate and memory-filled relationship with Tony), and even a couple of the ragers are exciting enough to make me smile (Strung Out’s “Soulmate” is a shredder), but the rest of the record mostly makes me wish I was hearing the far-superior originals and leaves me aching for a dude I felt like I knew. A wonderful tribute, no doubt, and what an honor it must have been to be asked, but, unfortunately, the final result is too hit or miss for my liking. Rest easy. –Dave Williams (Fat Wreck)

I’ve known the singer/guitarist of Victory And Associates, Conan Neutron, for over ten years. He used to write for my online zine and has played in bands such as Replicator and Mount Vicious. That being said, I do honestly believe that Victory And Associates is the best of any of the projects he’s been involved with and Better Luck Next Life is the best album he’s recorded. Of course, the band isn’t just him (he’s just the one I know). This four-piece from the Bay Area has one prior release under their belt, but this second album is much stronger. The first thing one notices is that the lead track, “We’ll Have to Be Our Own Heroes” sounds like something Torche might have written, with a plodding bass line and fierce guitars. The song then slows down but comes up with a catchy chorus the likes of which I haven’t heard in quite some time. It should be noted that while Torche sounds like an influence, the band diverges from Torche in that they aren’t nearly as heavy and Neutron’s vocals are unique. In fact, the approach he’s taken with them sounds different than any of his bands’ past albums. I can’t think of anyone to compare them to except perhaps the singer from the now defunct Baltimore band, Wilderness, but they’re one thing that attracted me to this album. While Victory And Associates aren’t a joke band (at least not that I can tell), they certainly have a sense of humor, as can be seen with the pop culture references in song titles, including Louis CK (“Everything’s Amazing (Nobody’s Happy)”) and the TV show Party Down (“‘Are We Having Fun Yet?’”) While ten songs seems a good amount of material for this sound, the forty-three minutes seems excessive. Some of the songs on here (“For Serious,” “A Cheeky Little Wish for Your Attention,” “Taste the Danger”) are really amazing in that catchy heavy indie rock way but could’ve gotten the same ideas and punch if they were shortened by a minute or two. As it stands, the sound is good but the songs need some tightening. Overall, though, I’m definitely interested in seeing where Victory And Associates go next. –Kurt Morris (Seismic Wave, seismicwave.net)

VIOLENT AFFAIR: The Cockroach Theory: 12”
Well the cover art really tells it all: Stencil lettering, giant military cockroach, arms flanked with political emblems, standing at a podium with an eagle crest adorned with a dollar sign, holding a bloody document, preaching to the minions of sheep that stand in before him. Sound cool? Well then perhaps this is for you. Similar sound to the Casualties, Violent Affair is streetpunk with no apologies. It is what it is. Mohawks, spiky jackets, all of the above. This is not my thing, but I think it’s well done. –Camylle Reynolds (Jailhouse)

If you’re looking for a heady existentialist message, you’re picking up the wrong CD. The Visitors are just trying to have some fun here with a punk-nerds delight, Yeti. Lyrics like “kings in castles” and “tales of wizard magic” and song titles like “Unicorn in the Mist”….you get my drift? Aside from the whimsical lyrics, the music is melodic pop punk, harkens back to early Green Day at times, and has a serious ‘70s Queen-esque guitar shredding. The Visitors is a punk trio, two guys and a gal, and the vocals alternate between all three. Like I said, these kids are just having a good time, and I think it’s cool. Let them indulge. –Camylle Reynolds (It’s Alive, itsaliverecords.com)

Pop punk with lyrics about vampires and unicorns, but with songwriting strong enough that any ridiculously silly lyrics aren’t that big of a deal. The lineup has three singers, one of which is Skottie of The Creeps and Crusades fame, so I was sold on this before I even listened to it. Knowing those two bands is a pretty good benchmark for what The Visitors sound like. Honestly, the strongest moments of the record come when bassist Erin takes the mic and delivers her lines with a croon akin to Sturgeon from the Soviettes. The songs are varied in delivery and intent, with one track even sounding like a punk and power metal hybrid, complete with fantasy lyrics. Grade: A- –Bryan Static (It’s Alive, itsalive.com)

The Visitors launch a triple vocal attack with male vocals by Skottie (guitar) from Crusades and Kevo Polo (drums), and female vocals by Erin (bass). It’s a nice contrast, which keeps things lively and my prior introduction to Skottie’s vocals via Crusades made this album feel more comfortable than it might have otherwise. I wasn’t a big fan of Erin’s vocals, however. I’ve heard her medieval metal punk project, Black Tower, and the vocals work much better with that style. All the songs are short and quick: the whole thing is over in less than twenty minutes. It’s lyrically silly (most of the songs are about things like burning witches, Dracula, unicorns, and, of course, Sasquatch), but that’s not to say the music is silly. It’s guitar-led, catchy, driving pop punk that’s played competently and tightly. It’s just not entirely my thing. –Kurt Morris (It’s Alive)

Strong vocal melodies are a serious business. Canadian punks, The Visitors, are making out like bandits. From the get go, the group’s sound is akin to The Soviettes and The Marked Men. It’s a style of pop punk that bombards the senses with sugary sweetness and causes auditory hyperglycemia. The riffs strike like a whip, the background vocal harmonies are robust, the lyrics are playful, and the hi-hat-laden beats are relentless. “Golden Coast” just might be one of the catchiest songs ever concocted. Highly recommended for a long head-bobbing drive; you’re neck might end up hating you, but it’ll be worth the bone-creaking aftermath. –Sean Arenas (It’s Alive, itsaliverecords.com, adam@itsaliverecords.com)

VOICE OF ADDICTION: Modern Day Meltdown: CD
With a band name like Voice Of Addiction, I was expecting an ‘80s straight edge youth crew throwback band. Instead, this Chicago trio offers slick, modern punk rock with two vocalists: One who often sounds like Greg Graffin if he blew out his voice to give him a raspier edge, and another vocalist with a higher-pitched, cleaner-sounding voice that sounds so very atypically Chicago punk rock. This four song CD isn’t bad, but it isn’t necessarily good either. Musically, there’s a rock edge that turns me off, not unlike recent Bad Religion records. The “safe yet socially conscious” lyrical content rounds out this trifecta of “meh.” –Mark Twistworthy (Voice Of Addiction, voiceofaddiction.com)

WAXEATER: Baltimore Record: LP
Man’s Ruin worship flirting with arty period Black Flag. Everything is tightly performed and crafted but it’s missing the little things that make albums like this more endearing, such as guitar feedback or dog pile-inducing sing-a-longs. A fairly competent effort but, unfortunately, nothing that left much of a lasting impression. –Juan Espinosa (Latest Flame, no address listed)

Paint It Black are time lords, went on a bender with Adolescents in Orange County 1982, things got hot and heavy, and a child was born. Twenty some-odd years later, that child started its own band and named it Western Addiction. WA released some fantastic hook-laden hardcore punk right after the turn of the millennium with their 7”, split EP with New Mexican Disaster Squad, and LP. Cue eight years later, some line up changes (plus Ken, minus Chicken, plus Sam NMDS/Dead To Me) and punks over thirty are back with three ragers on Fat (but not recorded in that “Fat sound”). Smart and intriguing lyrics (the Agent Orange nod in “Black Salt” had me smiling and singing first spin) backed by power and hooks that can’t quit. “My Opinion Is, I Hate It” wins best song title, but lyrical content propels it way past clever rubric. Pines is worth the wait, but don’t keep us waiting for more. –Matt Seward (Fat)

They’ve battened down the noise quota a bit from the last album I heard—seem to recall ‘em kicking it up something mean—but they do keep the “weird” intact here. One moment yer thinkin’, “they clearly love their Devo, Neubauten and Foetus records,” the next yer all, “what is this, fuggin’ circus music?” and then you find yourself pondering if they’d cop to the musicals that inspired their cacophonous caterwauling. Definitely not the same ol’ shit and this listener couldn’t be happier. –Jimmy Alvarado (Sorry State, sorrystaterecords.com)

WHITE REAPER: Self-titled: 7”
This album is catchy as hell. The A-side starts off with some quick drums and a quick sliding riff. It’s definitely poppy, but it doesn’t sound like everyone else; the sliding vocals over top the fuzzy guitar and bass make for an energy that I don’t hear too often. It has a uniqueness to it that at least I haven’t heard. The guitars and bass are noisy with nothing but high end. What really stood out about this album was the singing. The way the vocals slide around is awesome. I don’t hear too many bands do it, and even fewer bands do it well, but White Reaper does a great job. I had the song on the A-side stuck in my head for a good few days. The flip side is just as good as the first. The recording is fuzzy as hell, and while nothing groundbreaking, this is an awesome album that has just the right amount of pop in a noisy, fuzzy setting. –James Meier (Earthbound, earthboundrecords.bigcartel.com, earthboundrecordz@gmail.com)

WIFE BEATERS, THE: The Beat Goes On!: CD
I can’t imagine that the Wife Beaters didn’t know what they were getting themselves into when they chose their band name. It certainly started an internal conversation on my part about what it was that so thoroughly disgusted me about the name and the whole “punk as controversy” aesthetic. The whole mindset ultimately equates to undue attention for uncreative decision making. It’s easy to be crass without a purpose. There’s no grand subtext to the Wife Beaters persona, or any value in its aggressive “Come at me” nature. If the Wife Beaters didn’t have an offensive name and atmosphere there wouldn’t be much to note about them. The music is generic Ramones/Social Distortion sound-a-likes. It’s very clear that the Wife Beaters don’t give a shit what I think or what anybody thinks. Well, great, because this album is shit and you should all feel bad about the decisions that got you to play in a band called The Wife Beaters. Grade: F. –Bryan Static (Self-released, thewifebeaters.co.uk)

WILD EMOTIONS: “Hey Everybody” b/w “Wild Emotions”: 7”
This five-piece from Jackson, Mississippi rocks out a solid party anthem with “Hey Everybody” and follows it up with more punkness on the B-side. Wild Emotions’ guitarist is the bass player for The Overnight Lows, another Jackson band with the pedigree of a must-have fistful of singles. Fans of the Bobbyteens’ family tree should take note. –Billups Allen (Blahll!, blahllrecs@gmail)

WILD EMOTIONS: Hey Everybody” b/w “Wild Emotions”: 7”
Wild Emotions are an all-girl band with a lo-fi, keyboard-punk sound. The song on the A-side, “Hey Everybody,” would be a perfect track to spin at a Halloween party. It’s a fun, simple song you could easily pogo to in your ironic costume. The B-side song is called, well, “Wild Emotions.” This song is a bit more chaotic than the other. The vocals are blurry and it has a drunk-speed tempo. All in all, this is a fun little party record. –Ryan Nichols (Blahll!, blahrecords.com)

For a band that seems to be striving for the hard-drinking, blue-collar, Midwestern indie rock sound, these guys play it pretty safe. Everything’s a little too clean, a little too pretty. It’s a fresh-off-the-lot pickup truck that yearns to be covered with rust and mud. I’m not sure these guys are going to make it that 200,000 miles. –MP Johnson (Self-released, facebook.com/thewildfinish)

Can’t find out too much about this band online. They are from Boise, ID and this recording was done in 2005. I hope the band is still not stuck in some treacherous time warp, since they only list their Myspace account here. These guys really dig anal sex. One of the songs is called “Anal Sex.” They also advise you to “have a nice bite of anal sex baby cakes” on the front cover. I would guess that their live shows are packed with hot girls. –Sean Koepenick (1332, 1332records.com)

WOODEN WAND: 3 Songs: 7”
Wooden Wand is one of the many stage names of singer-songwriter James Jackson Toth. This 7” offers up three tracks of minimalist acoustic folk. The only instruments are Toth’s guitar and his voice, and both are working overtime on these home-recorded tracks. He demonstrates a gift for songwriting, with music and lyrics both working in conjunction to evoke mood and emotion, as in the somber “When Your Stepfather Dies.” Many singer-songwriters who perform with only their guitar and voice often struggle to keep silences at bay, constantly playing or singing, as if out of fear of losing the listener’s attention, but not Toth. He makes as much use of the brief silences between his guitar and voice as he does of his instruments, as in the track “Country Graveyard Soil.” The result is a certain gravitas, an emotional power, which I think is the essence of great music –Paul J. Comeau (25 Diamonds, info@25diamonds.com)

ZOLTARS, THE: Walking through the Dark: LP
Slower, introspective garage rock. Dream-like fuzz jams that lull you into a secure warmth and drag you into a happy place. Normally I’d use the phrase, “makes you fall asleep” as a negative statement, but this is a pleasant listen with great songwriting. The trancelike state that the music creates is a wonderful, natural high. Grade: B+ –Bryan Static (CQ, cqrecords.com)

Razorcake Podcast Player

·Life and Limb: Skateboarders Write from the Deep End

 Printer Friendly Printer Friendly

 Send to a Friend Send to a Friend

If you live in the Los Angeles area and want to help us out, let us know.

Get monthly notifications of new arrivals and distro and special offers for being part of the Razorcake army.

Razorcake/Gorsky Press, Inc.
PO Box 42129
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Except for reviews, which appear in both, the
contents of the Razorcake website are completely
different from the contents of Razorcake Fanzine.

© 2001-2015 Razorcake/Gorsky Press, Inc. Privacy Policy

Razorcake.org is made possible in part by grants from
the City of Los Angeles, Department
of Cultural Affairs and is supported
by the Los Angeles County Board of
Supervisors through the Los Angeles
Arts Commission.
Department of Cultural AffairsLos Angeles County Arts Commission

Web site engine code is Copyright © 2003 by PHP-Nuke. All Rights Reserved. PHP-Nuke is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL license.