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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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PRIMITIVE PACT:
Self-titled: EP
UK82 worship from this New York outfit. The most interesting thing about this is the death rock guitar that makes its presence known at the beginning of the song before giving way to the formula of this style. If you’re looking for originality, you definitely won’t find it here. But the playing is intense and relentless. Check out the hammering “Soldiers for War” and “No Self Choice” (the thunderous opener is an attention grabber for sure). A little more of their own personality and not playing it so safe by sticking to the formula could do wonder for this band. They have the potential to be better than this. –Matt Average (Nightrider /Total Fucker)


PONY NAMED OLGA, A:
The Land of Milk and Pony: CD
German rock trio that have been at it since 2004. The songs feature a rockabilly feel, which may float your boat. There seems to be a strange fascination with horses on this album. I’m not sure if this has something to do with Catherine the Great, so maybe this will remain a mystery. If Dave Alvin fronting The Stray Cats sounds like something you would put on at your backyard BBQ, then grab this while you can. –koepenick (Saustex)


PONCHES, THE / RICCOBELLIS:
Split: EP
The Ponches have a bit of the “bro’ punk” vibe crossed with Weezer kind of sound. “Balls at Large” is catchy, and not a bad song, with the ending having a repetitive chorus that has a nice, slight punch. Riccobellis hearken back to that early U.K. punk sound that could almost pass as power pop, if it was just cleaner sounding and the singer had a “nice” voice. “Don’t Hesitate” is okay, but lacks that fire to send these over the edge and warrant further listening. Then “I Created a Monster” is pure cheese, and clichéd as hell with the, “Oh oh baby, I wanna listen to the Ramones with you” thing going on. Wretch... –Matt Average (One Chord Wonder)


POLYCHROME VIOLENCE:
Self-titled: 7”
These are simply recorded simple songs in the simplest of packaging. To put it simply: it works. It makes you wish more bands would just fucking make music and stop worrying about whatever else they spend their time doing as a collective unit. –John Mule (American Sedation)


PERSPEX FLESH:
Perspex Flesh: LP
Perspex Flesh takes a bludgeoning approach to hardcore that is unsettling and invigorating in equal measure. There is nothing specious about what the band is doing and the intensity and rage which is unleashed is done within a nihilistic framework depicting a grim and unhinged world. These guys ain’t no feeble bastards. –Rich Cocksedge (Static Shock)


PERRITOS ON PERICO:
Demo: CD-R
Dunno anything about the band, but the lion’s share of tunes here are straight-ahead thrashers with a clear ‘80s bent to the delivery, while the “bonus track,” “Larry,” is a bit more on the “rock” side of the fence. Six tunes clocking in at seven minutes. –jimmy (Perritos On Perico)


PEPES, LOS:
Tonight: EP
Okay power pop. The sticker on the bag this is stored in proclaims, “Possibly the loudest power pop band on Earth!” No idea if that is true, but loud does not necessarily mean good. Really, this stuff is okay. Not terrible, but definitely not something you would call—or uh, as the youth today do—text your friends and invite them over to listen. The playing is tepid and they never really let loose. This lacks confidence, choosing to keep it safe and cling to the conventions. Power pop, like punk, when it’s at its best, it instills a sense of possibility in the listener, and is like a massive jolt of caffeine on top of all that. This does none of that. –Matt Average (Wanda)


PARCHE DE IRA:
Self-titled: CD-R
Wow, some swell stuff outta Tijuana here. Parche De Ira kick down with six choice tunes that marry a sound that sometimes recalls Fugazi, Bikini Kill, and non-annoying rock with topical lyrics that address governmental corruption, schizophrenia, and police corruption. The recording quality is choice, and the songs manage to be creative and skirt obvious pigeonholes and maintain an edge. –jimmy (Parche De Ira, parchedeira.com)


PAGANS:
What’s This Shit? 1977/1979: LP
Now this is a Record Store Day release I can really get into! Time for commentary: I love the concept of record stores country-wide getting some respect (in the form of life supporting sales) but RSD ain’t nothing but big biz malarkey. Maybe some of you share my opinion, maybe not. The faux-cool “limited” releases, the overpriced reissuing of “classic” rock albums… isn’t this what the cool kids-only club of underground rock is supposed to be against? Time for record review: side one is a fiery live performance from 1979 with surprisingly decent fidelity, especially considering the sounds on some of their official releases. Side two has a few versions of “Six and Change” recorded on the same random October 1977 afternoon. These recordings get better as they progress, and according to notes on the back cover, the third version is what made it to record. My only complaint is that I wish there were more pics/liners, but I think everything that can be said about The Pagans is in the liner notes on all their Crypt Records releases. I won’t pretend to have all the Pagans ephemera out there, nor do I necessarily want it all, but I’m really amazed that these recordings have gone this long unreleased. What’s this shit, indeed! –Sal Lucci (Thermionic)


PAGAN PISS:
Alone: Cassette
Relentless, scratchy-voiced hardcore that gathers momentum with each song. I imagine them playing a basement show and turning the audience into a giant, sweaty ball that rolls upstairs and crushes the neighborhood. Seven songs, woman singer, from Grand Rapids. –Chris Terry (letsgodosomecrimes.com)


OWL:
Self-titled: Cassette
A six-song debut or “first album” of stoner rock, drawing from such obvious influences as Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, and Sleep. Two of the six songs clock in at over ten minutes, although one of them has a Bonzo-esque drum solo. Yikes! Annihilation Time / Lecherous Gaze fans should find something to latch onto here. –Juan Espinosa (Off The Books)


ONES, THE:
Self-titled: CD + 7”
A reissue of the band’s “one” and only 7”, “Short Dress,” b/w “Tight Rope,” plus a full CD of other stuff ((take that, Razorcake formatting conventions!)) this 1978-80 Milwaukee band slots in nicely as the regional proto-punk equivalents to La Peste when they’re at their most sophisticated ((“Tightrope,” “All Screwed Up,”)), to the Dictators when they’re at their dumbest ((“Short Dress,”)) and Unnatural Axe all the other times ((“The Dog Said Yeah,” “Disco Sucks”)). I trace this Boston-heavy evolutionary pattern back either to the Boston Braves’ move to Milwaukee in 1965, or irrepressible global zeitgeist, take your pick. Either way, this is a Levi’s®-load of solid rock-punk from dudes who look like Metal Mike used to look in the ‘70s! Thanks to extensive liner notes, my only question is where does Jason Ross FIND this shit??! BEST SONG: “I’m Normal/No Turn on Red.” BEST SONG TITLE: “The Dog Said Yeah.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The single was originally released on Blue Ribbon Records, which appears to be the first time, to my knowledge, a punk band co-opted the Pabst™ logo for their own devious ends. –norb (Rerun/Hyped To Death)


OBNOX:
Used Kids: EP
I reviewed an LP by this ex-Bassholes one-man band a while ago and nothing has changed; I have no idea what the fuck is going on. I know I’m out of the loop, but I can’t hang with the new noise. Tricky, fuzzed-out noise not unlike what other Midwesterners Human Eye or other space punks are doing. I guess I see the appeal, but it just doesn’t ring my chimes, you know? Where’s the hooks, maaaaaan? Fans of Hozac or the Florida shit take note. –Tim Brooks (12XU)


OBLIVIONATION:
Cult of Culture: 7” EP
A potent mix of punk and metal that lays off of the latter enough to find that sweet spot that’s more Poison Idea than Crumbsuckers. Tunes are zippy yet varied, the delivery is fierce without coming off as beef headed, and you’ve got yerselves a winner here. –jimmy (Man In Decline)


NUNHEX:
Disruptive Deception: 7”
I’m really not up on my hardcore subgenres, so I mean no offense if I am way off base. Nunhex sounds like really crusty hardcore with lots of blast beats and anger. In all honesty, I am digging this way more than I figured I would. With bands like this, it’s usually the vocals that turn me off, but here we have a good mid-range between low and growly and high and screechy. I could definitely stick it to the Man to this record. Added points for the poopy brown marble vinyl! –ty (Suburban White Trash)


NUKES, THE:
Fascist Perverts: 7” EP
Eighties-styled retro-core, snotty, not too fast, not too slow, and to the point.  –jimmy (Man In Decline)


NOT TONIGHT AND HEADACHES:
“Love…and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction”: CD
Wow. Who knew people would want to recreate the pop punk of the ‘90s which hasn’t been heard since Big Drill Car or Blink-182? Syrupy smooth, feel good pop punk that any self-respecting thirteen-year-old girl would go ape-shit over (a thirteen-year-old girl and Aston at Boss Tuneage!). While you would imagine these clean cut fellas riding long-boards down Santa Monica pier, they are actually from another beach town; Grimsby in the North of England, which the word “shithole” doesn’t do justice. Fair play to the fellas for looking on the bright side of life. I’m way too jaded and abrasive to hang with this. –Tim Brooks (Boss Tuneage)


NOSECONE PROPHETS:
The Liars, the Dopeheads, and the Hipsters: CD
Facile chord progressions, frenetic guitar, flimsy and over-produced vocals. Sped up, dumbed-down pop punk impression of early ‘80s punk a la Angry Samoans, but not even as close to that good. Nothing to see here, folks, move along. –Camylle Reynolds (Unsane Asylum)


NO MARKS, THE / HYALIN:
Split: 7”
Both bands play mid/up-tempo melodic punk, and they’re a bit interchangeable. Then again, so are many bands who play this sound—both bands sound like the songs could have been written anywhere between 1987 and today. Anyway, the No Marks feature dudes from other U.K. bands—Blocko, Crocodile God, and the Down And Outs. Hyalin are two parts Blocko members and two parts members of France’s Chestnut Road. It’s a good record, and if you like melodic punk you probably can’t miss with this. The music is good, and, lyrically, both seem to have some fingers in the emo pie, with Hyalin’s verses a bit more abstractly poetic. Very solid stuff on both sides. Orange vinyl! –The Lord Kveldulfr (Brassneck)


NO BAILS:
Epyx Shredder: LP
Heavily influenced by Angry Samoans and Adolescents, No Bails keep it simple with easy chord progressions, heavy riffs, and monotone vocals. My interest begins to drift with vocal-less, drawn-out, repetitive instrumentals, before pulling me back in with an angst-filled ending track. With titles like, “My N.E.S. Is Fucking with Me,” and “Who’s a Punk, Your Mother,” topped with giggle-worthy cover art, this record is worth checking out for ‘90s skate punk fans. –Genevieve Armstrong (Combat Rock Industry)


NAH:
Otheration: Cassette
Mike Kuhn, the drummer for 1994!, continues to do what he does best outside of his stalwart band: Beat the shit out of his drum set with mathematical precision. He has released multiple solo albums, with some guest noisemakers, and they’re just that—predominantly solo percussion. There’s no doubt that his drumming is phenomenal but some fantastic booms and thwacksdon’t make an album. Fifteen songs of cymbals crashing is just as lobotomizing as someone sweep-picking on their Steve Vai signature. No matter how good you are, solo instrumentalists always have to be better. Some spitfire rapping over his beats would go a long way towards making this more digestible. –Sean Arenas (Protagonist)


MUUY BIIEN:
D.Y.I.: LP
If you can weather the ambient intros on both sides of the record then you’re in for some spastic dance punk with noisy guitar accidentals, chunky bass lines, and bestial howls galore. This is a difficult sound to leash, but Muuy Biien has lassoed it like a wild animal tamer. You can almost taste the salty sweat dripping off your brow from the inevitable nonstop pogoing while these dudes thrash out some tasty tunes with “fuck all” attitude. D.Y.I. (do yourself in) got me undulating in my rickety desk chair. Recommended for the secret freak in you. –Sean Arenas (HHBTM)


MUGWUMPS, THE:
Mutation in the Family: CD/LP
I can appreciate the Ramones as much as the next guy. I really like the Ramones, actually. And evidently so do The Mugwumps. And that’s all good and well, but I have very little patience for bands that want to ape the Ramones, even if the vocals don’t sound exactly the same (think Fat Mike from NOFX). It’s not as though the Ramones only released one album of eight songs—there are a lot of Ramones albums; more than enough to keep me entertained for the rest of my life. And there are also a lot of bands that make catchy songs that don’t sound anything like the Ramones. I’d love to see The Mugwumps fall more into the camp of the latter than that of the former. And I’ll stick to listening to the Ramones. –kurt (It’s Alive)


MOSTLY DEAD:
The Day They Turned Us All into Slaves: 7”
Mid-tempo hardcore is what this D.C. band offers up on this single. Pretty decent effort overall, sounding a lot like early Bridge 9 type stuff. Mostly Dead seem like a band that would have been on a bill with Tear It Up and Internal Affairs about a decade ago. –frame (Self-released)


MOSTLY DEAD, THE:
Wilderness: CD
Super slick, mid-tempo hardcore. Death By Stereo and Strung Out come to mind. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it really keeps me from thinking of anything but those bands. I think you could take a song or two from this CD and fire them onto a mix (a playlist I think the kids call them these days?) and every time they came on, you’d think to yourself “Who is this? Not bad” but listening to the entire disc in one go is a little much. –ty (themostlydead.bandcamp.com)


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