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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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J. GALLEGO:
Wash OST: LP
Unsettling and paranoia-inducing synth recordings intended to be a soundtrack to a film named Wash, although internet searches for the actual film yield nothing. It’s a little difficult to listen to something intended to have a visual counterpart and not have that reference available—like listening to the Liquid Sky or A Clockwork Orangesoundtrack without having seen the film. Aurally, the tracks are masterfully crafted and evoke nightmarish visions of David Cronenberg’s library of horror and science fiction films. The record insert art is a strange depiction of a high school prom photo with the head cut off and the track listing scrawled across. Fuck. Once I find out where or how to watch the film, I feel that this record will leave a much deeper impression on me.  –Juan Espinosa (Iron Lung)


JACQUES COUSTEAU:
Frecuencia de Corte: CS
Jacques Cousteau, from Mexico, is difficult to describe: one part jazz, one part Palatka, another part noise. Because most songs clock in around forty seconds, the entire cassette is roughly thirteen minutes long and a brief brain-scraping experience. The guitar and bass are spasmodic, the drums attempt to find rhythmic logic to the fits and starts, and the vocalist intermittently shrieks over the chaos. This is the soundtrack to a nightmare where I’m being chased. Lucky for me, I appreciate music that inspires hellish visions.  –Sean Arenas (Etnospine Noise, ethospine.com / Mula Terca / Sin Retorno / Marginal)


JEROMIL SABOR:
III: LP
This is a curious-sounding record by a French band. My first impression of this band was that they have an Allah Las / Burger Records sound. The vocals are really bratty while sounding lost, the music has a garage jangle to it, and, overall, there is a hallway reverb effect to the songs. That was side A. Side B gets a little more experimental with vocal harmonizing, some risky tempo changes, and overall song structure. Personally I’m a bigger fan of the punk side A.  –Ryan Nichols (Frantic City)


JOUST:
Sprouting Seeds: 7"
A couple quick jaunts into garage rock land. The opening riff of the title track has me perplexed. Is that some Iron Maiden flavor I’m tasting? Is this NWOBHM-inspired garage punk? Is that a thing? Please let it be a thing.  –MP Johnson (Fatal Seizure, fatalseizure.com)


JOY SUBTRACTION:
Hate Will Keep Us Together: LP
I was listening to this while doing the dishes and kind of getting into a whole self-loathing trip. The second song came on. I was pretty sure I was mishearing the lyrics as “I Feel Like Frank Stallone,” which made me giggle. But I liked those lyrics, so that’s how I sang along. As my fingers pruned up, I got to dreading the point at which I’d actually have to look at the record and find out what the song was really called. Probably something boring about “I Feel Like Being Alone.” But then when I finished the dishes and lotioned up my hands and got the record all goopy, I discovered that was actually the title and I felt like these guys understood and I was going to be okay tonight. I read along to the rest of the lyrics about making a mate out of car parts in the garage and stuff like that. Lyrics that dealt with angst and disappointment in life with a weird and hopeful sense of fun, which is what I really needed. And the music matched perfectly. Kind of dark, but with lots of weird little sparkly flourishes. Complicated but not assholish-ly so, and thoughtful in a totally thoughtless way.  –MP Johnson (Sailor Records, sailorrecords.com)


KILLER KANE BAND:
Self-titled: 7"
This record was unexpected. Arthur “Killer” Kane put together a post-New York Dolls band featuring future W.A.S.P. frontman Blackie “Lawless” Goozeman on vox. The cover is a pic of Kane, looking skeletal and at death’s door (he was probably still in his twenties when this pic was taken!). The music is kind of plodding, more in an average ‘70s rock kind of way. I get an early Alice Cooper vibe from these songs. The first time I played this record I played it at 45 RPMs on account of the big hole, but after about thirty seconds I realized it’s a 33. Try it for the first song (“Mr. Cool,”) it’s pretty strange. I know about the world?  –Sal Lucci (Hozac, hozacrecords.com)


KOMMIE KILPATRICK:
Self-titled: 7”EP
Dirty punks out of Detroit put eleven sick, ‘80s-style hardcore songs on this greasy 7”. Sounds like a big “Fuck you.” Plays like a Killed by Death comp. t the fuck do I know about the world?  –Camylle Reynolds (Glad Fact)


LINCOLN TUNNEL, THE:
Today 2.0: CD
No. Just… no. Okay, wait. Let’s walk it back a little bit. Are you bummed that there are only so many Gin Blossoms and Third Eye Blind records in the world? This horseshit is for you then! There are some trumpets, there’s a lot of whining, there’s a lot of open mic night going on. Here’s a lyric sample: “You live just like a yard sale / one weekend to the next.” I couldn’t even finish a song. It blows my mind that something like this would come to Razorcake, but I just learned that the Goo Goo Dolls had two albums on Metal Blade Records, so what the fuck do I know about the world?  –Kayla Greet (75orless, 75orlessrecords.com)


LIQUID BREAKFAST:
Let It Be 77 Again: LP
I thought we were done with shitty pixilated covers fifteen years ago! I guess Germany didn’t get the message. It’s a bummer because a record is the whole package; something to hold while the record spins. This is one of two appalling covers this month. Musically, it’s mid-tempo power pop not unlike the Boys or maybe even wimpier like the Shoes. The vocals have a really strange falsetto quality, which I actually kinda like. I’ll pass, though.  –Tim Brooks (Still Unbeatable)


LONG GONE:
Six Songs: CS
Can’t move forward without toppling a few sacred cows, so bear with these names being thrown out there. Uncle Tupelo. Catherine Wheel. Jeffrey Lee Pierce. You’re either incredibly intrigued or peanut butter and pickles disgusted. Long Gone is not my usual cup of indie rock, but there’s a lot going on inside (and out) of this lovingly crafted cassette’s songs. Intrigued by the mash up of all the other musical troupes inferred, Long Gone’s cassette gets replayed for Ryan’s vocals. Like the art insert, but would have loved a lyrics sheet. Recommended.  –Matt Seward (Nervous Nelly, nervousnelly.storeenvy.com)


LUCKY BOYS, THE:
Self-titled: CDEP
As you might imagine, it could be an awkward situation when you are given a disc to review of a band that you are friends with. What do you say if you don’t like it? Well, I will save that worry for another day because Seattle’s Lucky Boys refuse to put me in that position. Having shared the stage with them on many an occasion, I knew they were an amazing band, but hearing their recorded output for the first time confirms it. They’re a force to be reckoned with. Fast, rock’n’roll-tinged punk rock played well (these guys have played in a lot of killer bands over the years) and pushed over the top by Kim’s stellar vocals. There is a reason I love going to Seattle any chance I get. The city is full of great people playing in great bands having a hell of a lot of fun. Lucky Boys are at the forefront of that for me. I’m going to have to scrounge up a copy of this on vinyl.  –Ty Stranglehold (Lucky Boys)


MALASTARE:
Self-titled: EP
Guadalajara’s Malastare play grim, uncompromising hardcore like Moxiebeat and Mexico’s Maladie. The vocals growl over the brooding guitars, and the pace ranges from driving to mid-tempo cacophony. This is my favorite kind of hardcore, where the rage is all-consuming and the noise is dense enough to chip your tooth. But they’re not a bunch of somber dudes, as Malastare is the name of a planet in Star Wars and the home of the Dug species, I think. When you head to their Bandcamp, you’ll be greeted by Chewbacca and the adorable gaze of an Ewok—the perfect accompaniment to crushing punk.  –Sean Arenas (Ethospine Noise, ethospine.com / Puercords /Dias Mas Oscuros / Exabrupto)


McRAD:
Lion Pure: 2 x LP
A killer, comprehensive reissue/compilation from this Philly skate punk band. We get a double LP containing the Dominant Force 12”, the Absence of Sanity LP, and McRad’s songs from a Thrasher comp. Very ‘80s-sounding, in the best way possible. Though East Coast-based, McRad would have fit right in with J.F.A. and Agression in Southern California. Of course, what makes McRad stand out is their incorporation of reggae a la Bad Brains, into their hardcore skate punk. That may sound like a lazy comparison, but come on, not many hardcore bands also played reggae. Oh, also, H.R. sings on a couple of songs!  –Chad Williams (Not Like You, notlikeyourecords.com)


MEERCAZ AND THE VISIONS:
Get Muzzled: LP
While listening to this record, my brain and I got into a fight. Part of me thought, “Oh this sounds just like this one band…” and then I had to struggle to sort out what that was. Then it hit me that it was difficult to pin down because they’re derivative of so many bands. There’s a core Rolling Stones sound, especially with the vocalist who reminds me of a young Mick Jagger. But then the Stones are, in essence, a stripped-down blues-inspired rock and roll band. Meercaz And The Visions are the 2016 equivalent of that sound. The lyrics are simple in a way that makes it easy to sing along with by the second spin. There are some real sweet Wipers-y guitar leads mixed in with fuzzed-out riffs and a driving rhythm section that round out a rockin’ record.  –Kayla Greet (Sweet Rot, sweetrotrecords.com)


MINDLESS ATTACK:
Self-titled: 7"
It’s nice to see that I am not the only one who still likes The Pist twenty years later. These guys really love ‘em and they are wearing it right on their sleeves.  –Mike Frame (Mindless, mindlessattack.bandcamp.com)


MINOTAURS, THE:
Secret Deals: CS
The Minotaurs’ debut album, Secret Deals, features eleven tracks of hazy garage rock. The production on its first handful of songs takes the genre quite literally, evoking a particularly tight garage practice pumped through ancient amps and surreptitiously recorded on an old 4-track Tascam. This approach shifts at the midway point with “Hangman,” after which Secret Deals’ remaining cuts seem to have been tracked in a particularly deep cavern or possibly a parallel dimension. There’s a dusting of this space-y tendency throughout the entire release, but it shines most brightly on the appropriately haunting stunner, “Ghost.” A generally experimental tone is apparent here—especially on the swinging “Little Man” and in the boisterous, ecstatic quality of “I Won’t Compete”—which adds a welcome complexity beneath the record’s omnipresent lo-fi hum.  –Kelley O’Death (Rare Plant, rareplantrecords@gmail.com, rareplant.bandcamp.com)


MISCALCULATIONS / NEON KNIVES:
Split: 7" EP
Miscalculations: Seem to remember these cats being more in line with the Spits, and there is a certain level of thud-punk to the delivery, but there’s also some wavy keyboards thrown in, with odd time signatures and a Mothersbaugh-esque quality to the vocals with pisses all over such trite dismissals. Me likey. Neon Knives: A bit more of a conventional “punk” sound, especially “Acid Eater,” which is built on a driving, dark, and tasty riff. Then they go and fuck up such trite assumptions with their other contribution here, “Clorox,” a bevy of stop/starts chopping up the forward momentum before it has a chance to send you careening off the walls. Great split here.  –Jimmy Alvarado (No Front Teeth, nofrontteeth.co.uk)


MISCHIEF BREW:
Bacchanal ‘N’ Philadelphia: CD
Mischief Brew—the DIY anarcho punk brainchild of Erik Peterson—have remastered and reissued their eclectic resistance anthems from Peterson’s 2003 Bellingham & Philadelphia split with Robert Blake and his Bakenal EP from the same year. Released together in the form of the compilation, Bacchanal ‘N’ Philadelphia, the eleven tracks include a crucial selection of acoustic singalongs, teachable stories, and vagabond odes from the olden days of Mischief Brew. For listeners who weren’t in the know when the project sprung forth from Peterson’s head sixteen years ago, Bacchanal ‘N’ Philadelphia’s rich, crystal clear remasters are the perfect gateway drug to discover some of the earlier entries in the band’s catalog. While the LP is a must-have for serious fans and collectors, the CD art ain’t too shabby either, featuring eight full-color, fold-out panels adorned with lyrics and brand new artwork. “Dare we say classic? Essential?” Peterson mused on Mischief Brew’s blog. “Well, we just did…”  –Kelley O’Death (Fistolo, fistolo@hotmail.com, fistolo.com)


MODERN PROBLEMS:
Foolish Times: LP
I am a total sucker for generic ‘88 youth crew straight edge. I’m pretty much as far from anyone you could call “nailed to the X,” but fuck it, I dig the jams. On-the-fucking-nail hardcore from Buffalo with enormous gang backups and songs about having no regrets and foolish times. Sounds like a way sped-up Uniform Choice. It may seem like I’m clowning on this, but it’s as good as it gets. I’m sure if you’re down with this scene, you’re all about this band. I know I am. Originality? Stick it up your ass. –Tim Brooks (Not Like You)


MONO IN STEREO:
Living for Yesterday: CD
Mid-tempo rock’n’roll punk is something that needs to have something extra special to it in order to stand out from the crowd. If there isn’t any spice in the recipe, the dish is going to suffer for it. I consider Riverboat Gamblers to be masters of the mid-tempo rocker and, fortunately, Mono In Stereo have a similar thing going on. Good riffs and heartfelt lyrics go a long way in the end. There are other elements going on here, too. I know it’s a bit of a copout to list other bands that they sound like, but any time a band reminds me of The Outlets (Boston), I am going to shout it from the rooftops because that doesn’t happen very often. I guess what I am saying about Mono In Stereo is that they don’t sound exactly like some of my favorite bands, but rather like they’re influenced by them. They also have a song named after legendary pro skater Monty Nolder, so you know they have to be rad!  –Ty Stranglehold (Rum Bar, rumbarrecords.bandcamp.com)


MORALITY CRISIS:
Mash: CD
Pick screams! Cookie monster hungry! Metallic hardcore with some occasional weird, weird group vocals that sound like operatic beer chants! Maybe Drowningman or Dillinger Escape Plan are good jumping off points? You know—bands that write fractured, disjointed songs that sound like a detailed exercise in attempting to map schizophrenia? I.e., these dudes are all over the place. The title track is over twenty minutes long, divided into four movements and the whole thing just seemed to drag for this particular listener, but fans of heavy shit should take note.  –Keith Rosson (Minnesconsin)


MUNCIE GIRLS:
From Caplan to Belsize: LP
In 2012 I saw Muncie Girls for the first time and, despite them being desperately nervous, it was obvious there was something special waiting to come from the three teenagers. That year I saw the band six times and on each occasion there was definite progression as the Muncies gradually grew in confidence. In the intervening years there were a slew of excellent indie-punk singles. However, good things come to those that wait and From Caplan to Belsizeis everything I could have wished for. All the trademark attributes of the trio hit new heights, individually and collectively, as Dean McMullen and Luke Ellis—guitar and bass respectively—provide the more extravagant moments countered by Lande Hekt’s lilting bass lines and mesmerizing vocals. If you do nothing else, seek out the video for the standout track, “Respect,” which features a huge singalong chorus very much at odds with its strong anti-misogynistic message. Finally, I must acknowledge one gloriously incongruous moment in “I Don’t Want to Talk about It” with its cry of “Oi oi!” which left me resembling a Cheshire Cat for longer than I care to say. An album destined to be played many, many times by me.  –Rich Cocksedge (Specialist Subject, Andrew@specialistsubjectrecords.co.uk, specialistsubjectrecords.co.uk)


NADZÓR:
Your Tolerance Is Shit If You Don’t Try to Understand Us: LP
Nadzor was a Polish hardcore band initially active in the ‘80s and, according to the liner notes, again active. This release consists of two demos, recorded in 1988 and ‘89, in their rehearsal space, released previously on cassette in Germany and Poland, and finally getting its first vinyl pressing here. The sound, captured by a mic placed in the middle of the room, is understandably raw, but one can largely suss out a band that mixes thrash with a tinge of metal and lyrically addresses much of the same topical material prevalent in the global scene back then—the constant threat of war, isolation, totalitarianism, and life within such an oppressive governmental state. Included is a booklet with tons of pics, lyrics, and info on the band presented in both Polish and English. A nice timepiece illustrating both punk’s influence reaching deep into even the most repressed places and the human will to resist those who would strive to bring any dissent to heel.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Pasazer, pasazer.pl)


NAMELESS FRAMES:
Self-titled: LP
Tension. Nerves. Steady diet of coffee, cigs, and paranoia. With a beat you can almost dance to and a penchant for hooks cribbed straight out of the Burning Ambitions song book. Future Of The Left performing songs written by Paul Weller. Nameless Frames’ mostly two-minute musical jaunts will haunt you auditory memory like the last band that blew your mind at Gonerfest. Get this record quick so you can tell everyone you were into them first.  –Matt Seward (Super Secret, supersecretrecords.com)


NARCO ESTADO:
Self-titled: 7" EP
A demo these Mexico City punkers released a while back is now seeing some vinyl time. They dish out mid-tempo, gruff-vocaled tunes that hint at more than a little of the “street punk” that has long influenced bands outta that area. Their lyrics address the sense of futility and existential struggles of being young in this “modern” world, spurned romantic interest, pining for long-lost friendships, feelings of isolation, and living under the repressive conditions of a “narcoestado.” Fans of the work coming out of the Silenzio Statico collective here in Los will find much to whet their appetites.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Going Underground)


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