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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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PREGNANCY SCARES:
Mind Control: 7” EP
Raw, angry, mid-tempo hardcore of the ilk that sounds like it could’ve made its way ‘round the “mix tape” circuit in the early ‘80s. The recording doesn’t have quite the punch one might hope for, but it is otherwise clear and appropriately frazzled, and the tunes are nice ‘n’ pissed.  –jimmy (Deranged)


PRIESTS:
Bodies and Control and Money and Power: CD
Priests toured with one of my favorite bands, Good Throb, so my interest was piqued when this CD came my way. Interesting choice for a tour buddy. Everything that I love and expect from Good Throb (gnarly, distorted, unpolished and unapologetically so), is the exact opposite of Priests. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. Hailing from DC, Priests are a no-frills minimalist post-punk band. It’s got a retro vibe, but still remains fresh, potent. Sonic comparisons like tinges of Breeders, Bikini Kill, and even the Cramps work, but really they have a sound all their own. Politically driven lyrics—”Obama killed something in me” strike a chord. Something that all of us hopefuls felt as we once stood at the precipice, but now find ourselves flattened at bottom with doubt and disillusionment. Bodies and Control and Money and Power is a worthy album, there just seems something missing to really put this one over the top. I’ll be watching for what’s next. –Camylle Reynolds (Don Giovanni)


PRIMITIVE MAN / HEXIS:
Split: 10” EP
Here’s a couple bands taking sludge and mixing it with some black metal style guitar work. Primitive Man are slow and punishing in their assault. The music pours out in a thick ooze, with some cold black metal guitar parts here and there to provide a little extra despair. The bass and drums act as a slow motion demolition crew, while the guitar saws and sways under the force. Hexis mix black metal with sludge elements in their song “Excrucio.” The black metal comes in the cold swarm of bees guitar sound, which has a hypnotic element that is offset by the thud of the drums. It all eventually washes into feedback and heavier, more deliberate thud.  –Matt Average (Halo Of Flies, halooffliesrecords.com)


PROTESTANT:
In Thy Name: LP
Milwaukee hardcore, but hardcore in spirit only. This is metal. Or at least a mix of crust, grindcore, and primitive black metal. Blast beats drive the record, with guitar leads more Immortal than Amebix and screamed vocals that would fit comfortably in either genre. None of this is a deterrent, just a grim warning. With music and lyrics as dark and apocalyptic as the record cover would indicate, this is not for the faint of heart. For those who dig Discharge and Napalm Death alike, this will work for you. As is often the case with filthy shit like this, some of the most compelling moments are those that slow down, hit a groove—if you can call it that—and let the riff become the focus, forcing a slow head bang before returning you to your previously pummeling program, already in progress. Brutal, bleak, and bloody good. –Chad Williams (Halo Of Flies, halooffliesrecords.com)


PYRRHON:
The Mother of Virtues: CD
Technical death metal? Sure, why not? The Mother of Virtues at times is reminiscent of Dead To Fall, with a slightly less technical version of Dillinger Escape Plan mixed in. With nine songs clocking in at fifty-five minutes, it seems like it would be a lengthy ride, but the songs move along surprisingly well. Unfortunately, with few exceptions (“The Oracle of Nassau,” “Balkanized”), the songs don’t do much to distinguish themselves. None of this is to say the band isn’t talented—they’re good at what they do and their diversity is appreciated, but what they’re doing on The Mother of Virtues didn’t catch me and make me want more. On a totally unrelated note, the opening few seconds of drumming on “White Flag” was incredibly reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac’s “What Makes You Think You’re the One” off their Tuskalbum. If you can find a way to incorporate Fleetwood Mac with your technical death metal sound, then I definitelywant to hear your next album. That would be bizarrely amazing.  –kurt (Relapse)


QUAALUDES:
Nothing New: 7”EP
Quaaludes are addictive. Fact. I’ve been seriously hooked since I first saw them last year. Quaaludes is a force of nature in SF. They are one of those rare all XX bands that fit on any punk bill, a loved local to the SF scene, adored by guys and grrrls alike. This is their first EP, and just like every performance I’ve seen of them, it does not disappoint. Well recorded, with crisp melodic bass and drums, even more euphonically distorted guitar, with Aimee’s straight up unapologetic, bratty riot grrrl vocals at the forefront. Best song on here is “Stiff Little Single.” This song is fucking genius with a perfect bass rift and unmistakably rad lyrics “I’m going to take you to a place where I can fuck you.” Instant classic. The only thing that’s missing on this EP is the pogoing girl-friendly pit and Aimee’s crazy stage antics. Buy it before it sells out. –Camylle Reynolds (Thrillhouse / Dollskin)


RAF:
Come On!: 10”
The cover of Come On! has Mod targets where the Os are supposed to be. There is no question what this band is going for. They have a song called “(It’s a) Modern World” and a song called “We Are the Mods.” The band logo is filled with British flag stripes. They are trying awfully hard to be extras in Quadropheniafor a band from Portland. The good news is they are good at what they do. The band crams fast-paced, jangly Rickenbacker-inspired riffs into two-minute, Jam-style songs. The record contains six upbeat tunes in the framework of skinny ties and tight trousers. The title track is a standout. See them in the winter so you can wear your parka. –Billups Allen (Time For Action)


RAMMA LAMMA:
Ice Cream: LP
Work sucks. The school I work at is having a real tough time. Seismologists told us that nearly half of the campus was built on a fault line. Now that portion of the school, which includes a dozen classrooms, is off-limits. On top of that, the after-school program’s budget got slashed to practically nil. As a result, I’ve been heading home partially deflated, embittered. Today, I slump into my chair and see Ramma Lamma’s Ice Creamon my desk. It beckons me with its garish, crude cover art, like an animation cell from The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat. I give it a spin and, god almighty, it’s just what I need. I’m talking pure id power pop, mining the brains most impulsive (repulsive?) regions, and kick-starting serotonin production. These are the type of songs that just might make you blush: “Baby I’m a monster, come from outer space. If the girls don’t like it they can sit on my face.” Ramma Lamma is therapeutic. They extinguish my frustrations with whip cream. After a handful of songs, I’m completely decompressed. This is the type of record that reminds you that there’s still stupid fun to be had in the world. –Sean Arenas (Certified PR, certifiedprrecords.com)


RANCID VAT:
We’re Still Better Than You: CD
The insanely prolific Rancid Vat formed in Portland on New Year’s Eve, 1981. Since then, they’ve churned out over sixty releases, constantly experimenting with new bizarre things. The band’s current lineup is based out of Texas and includes two of the original founding members, Phil “The Whiskey Rebel” Irwin and Marla Vee. Intentionally inaccessible at times, Rancid Vat mixes a broad range of musical influences into a punk framework, although they’re still probably at their best on their catchier songs like the title track. It’s a pleasure hearing new material from this one-of-a-kind band. The opposite of uncool, Rancid Vat will continue alarming those with conventional tastes with their abnormal approach to songwriting. –Art Ettinger (Brilliancy Prize)


RATOS DE PORAO:
Seculo Sinestro: CD
One can’t help but be impressed when a band in its thirty-third year of existence can still manage to crank out an album as consistently strong, relevant, and unrelenting as this one. This latest release sees the band seesaw a bit more back towards the “thrash metal” side of their dual existence but while there may be a bit more chugga-chugga to the guitars, they approach things with the same level of political astuteness and ferocity that has made them one of Brazil’s most formidable and better-known hardcore bands to the outside world. Ten originals, an Anti Cimex cover, and not a second wasted. Fuuuuuck yeah, this’ll definitely blow your doors off.  –jimmy (Alternative Tentacles)


RAY CREATURE:
Self-titled: LP
I am a huge new wave fan and love all kinds of dark shit like Sisters Of Mercy, Christian Death, and Bauhaus. I also worked at Hot Topic for half a decade. I am fully aware of what those bands unwittingly spawned. I listened to this quite a bit before reading the press sheet and must admit to not being surprised that these recordings are essentially just mash-ups of old recordings. You know “liberally adding synths and sequencers” does not make a good record. This is like people who actually think anyone who learns simple punk chords should record a punk album. “Could” and “should” are different things. I actually find this stuff insulting. I want Nick Cave to punch this band in the face.  –Rene Navarro (Sister Cylinder, sistercylinder.bigcartel.com)


RAZORHEADS:
Self-titled: Cassette
Black metally, gruff, and fast with some powerviolence tendencies. Just three tracks on this release and they go by quick. But don’t worry because the same three appear on the b-side as well. Seems like a bit of wasted tape to me. The artwork rocks; the band is not really my thing. –Kayla Greet (Self-released)


REAGAN’S POLYP:
America Needs More Ass: CD
Art-damaged synth noise experimentation whackery. These guys must really like Men’s Recovery Project, but are nowhere near as clever or interesting. More simulacra and bargain basement juvenilia. Bleh. If you need a shim for an uneven chair or table, this would suit just fine.  –Matt Average (Vetoxa, vetoxa.com)


REAGAN’S POLYP:
Facefuckingbatspermantidotepudding: CD
Do you like to challenge yourself when you listen to music? Are you a fan of potty mouth lyrics and absurdities? If you answered yes to either of these questions then I have the CD for you. There are thirty quirky songs on here with titles like, “Fuck Mommy,” “They Installed Teeth in My Ass,” and “1-900-Monkeybutt.” Smell my feces and enjoy.  –Ryan Nichols (Vetoxa, vetoxarecords@gmail.com)


RED KATE:
When the Troubles Come: LP
The woodblock print cover looks like a folk punk record, the music’s in that grey area where power pop begins veering into cock rock, and the vocalists sound like Muppets. I could see this being fun after a couple beers at a bar, but it wasn’t really doing it for me on wax at home.  –Chris Terry (replayrecordsusa.com)


RED TAPE:
Bless Me Father, For I Have Sinned: LP
If the singer’s Boston accent didn’t creep in every now and then (“Teah down the walls”), I’d swear this was a lost SoCal band from the early ‘80s. These twelve songs are anthemic like Agent Orange, with a heavy black cloud of guitars that got my fist in the air. All the songs are on one side, and the flip has an etching of the cover art, a drawing of a ball-gagged priest getting whipped by a nun.  –Chris Terry (pinehillrecords.bigcartel.com)


REPELLERS / DEAD HAND:
Split: 7”
Okay, metal… I kind of understand metal, I guess? Repellers is like a mix of crust and death metal. Dead Hand is some kind of doom/sludge thing. It is listenable. If you do not obsessively listen to metal already then I don’t think this will make anybody a convert. But the art on the cover is pretty neat! Grade: C+.  –Bryan Static (Divine Mother, divinemotherrecordings.blogspot.com)


REPLICA:
Beasts: 7” EP
An unrelenting barrage of sonic virulence comes crashing down upon your melon, thrashes its way into your auditory canals, and infects your being until you find yourself unable to stop your body from rhythmically spasming along to its demon-beat. Yeah, I’ve been reading old Pushead and, yes, as a matter of fact, this release is aces, and the cover art is fuggin’ gorgeous. –jimmy (Prank, prankrecords.com)


RESIST CONTROL:
Cessation: LP
Resist Control—who feature former and current members of NY mainstays such as Running For Cover, John Brown’s Army, and Gas Chamber—play a frantically paced interpretation of the fastcore genre with the absence of the prototypical screaming pterodactyl or gurgling cookie monster vocals in favor of a confrontational-styled shouting. First impressions bring to mind powerviolence revivalists Burn Your Bridges or Low Threat Profile, but a closer look under the hood reveals manic, shredding guitar parts a la Stikky sans the humor. The guitar notes are a lot more melodic than what is customary for this genre, but they work surprisingly well here. Glad I kicked the tires on this one. –Juan Espinosa (Feral Kid / Peterwalkee, no address listed)


REXX:
Death, and Other Ways to be Artsy: Cassette
Emo/indie for the sad boys with the feelings and so on. Home-recorded, Pacific Northwest vibes kind of save it from just being wimpy white noise. The first time I listened to it, I was scrolling through Tumblr and a picture of the cast of The O.C. came up and I was like, “Ah, okay. This makes sense. I like this. Seth Cohen and nostalgia and stuff.” Then a couple days later I was listening with my girlfriend and I said, “This isn’t bad. But I wouldn’t want to be the person he’s singing about” and she said “Oh godno” and then we watched Foyle’s War, but really Rexx is all right, for the young people with hearts, not just the sad boy people.  –Matt Werts (Burger, burgerrecords.org)


RHYTHM OF CRUELTY:
Dysphoria: LP
Shades of early Cocteau Twins and Xmal Deutschland are in evidence in the music here, which also throws in hypnotic hints of industrial minimalism and drone to draw you in and keep you mesmerized. It’s not really uncharted waters they’re delving into here, but they do so with talent and a palpable sense of purpose. I’m listening to this during the dog days of summer, but I can totally see it making its way into heavy rotation as soon as the days get cooler and grayer.  –jimmy (Crude City, crudecityrecords@hotmail.ca)


RICH HANDS, THE:
Out of My Head: Cassette
I like it when new releases sound like stuff I was into twenty-five years ago and still listen to despite the nagging suspicions meandering in my head that I’m just a nostalgic old fool. The Rich Hands have a sound similar to stuff coming out of Minneapolis in the mid- to late-’80s (I keep going back to Made to Be Broken-era Soul Asylum on this one, but that’s not quite right…), but with a bit more of a rock’n’roll roots feel to it. I liked it a bunch. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Burger / Fountain)


RIDGELANDS, THE:
Daggers Down: LP
On first listen, I would describe this as Midwestern, Johnny Cougar pop punk. That’s not a dig. I like pop punk. I like the Midwest. John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Hurt So Good” is a fucking solid ode to kinky sex. The video is a goddamn masterpiece. Why not? In the gatefold, the trio sits clothed in a bathtub, pouring clear liquid from gasoline canisters over themselves. Crazy kids. I see a skateboard deck, a half-gnawed chicken wing, a G.G. Allin shirt, and cans upon empty cans of Midwestern beer. I bet this band is the life of the house party, frat party, and skate park. If you find yourself headed into any of these situations, consider taking a copy of Daggers Down with you. The packaging is beautiful (colored vinyl, etc.) and it’s impolite to show up empty-handed, you filthy cheapskate!  –John Mule (Sexy Baby, sexybabyrecords.com)


ROCHELLE ROCHELLE:
Self-titled: Cassette
If we lived in a reality where children, instead of becoming adults as they aged, became, say, furry green multi-headed antelopes that shit out, like, gems and miniature cities instead of poop, and everyone talked out of their eyes, and rubbing the soles of one’s foot with someone else’s foot was considered the most intimate form of human contact, then Rochelle Rochelle would be the biggest house band in the universe. But since we live here, in this reality, this tape sounds like the droll, trying soundtrack to a demented kids’ show, full of reverb and no information besides song titles and, honestly, I just don’t have the patience for it. –keith (Muckman)


ROMAN CANDLES:
“Yorba Linda” b/w “Crystal Cathedral”: 7”
Chris Gordon is not simply an angry punk who writes about what he sees on the news. This two-song seven inch is a testament to that. The short essay on the insert makes all the difference by not simply throwing music into the world expecting the listeners to interpret it correctly, but rather putting the effort to explain, “This is why I made this.” Gordon is honest; he pulls from his life experience admitting his disappointments with his hometown as well as the reluctance with which he leaves it. While the lyrics themselves—sung in strained pleads that were too lacking in definitive melody—did not stir radical feelings of rebellion in my chest, the context they were presented in won me over.  –Ashley (Self-released, fuckthestowaways.blogspot.com, romancandlesmusic@gmail.com)


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