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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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PITY PARTY:
Do a Little Dance: 7”
Yes, the old “ex-members of a great band that has previously graced the cover of Razorcake” tag could be used here, but let’s skip it—Pity Party, pleasantly, needs absolutely zero name-dropping to help ‘em out. This shit is fantastic on its own: Do a Little Dance contains a handful of compressed, spring-wound punk songs, all of them exploding right out of the gate ala Bitchin’ or This Is My Fist. Catchy and thoughtful and just fantastic, man. A great surprise, and more than worthy of repeated listens. –keith (Bloated Kat)


PITY PARTY / BAD MAMMALS:
Split: 7” EP
Pity Party: Paroxysmal punk delivered with much verve and no apparent fear of switching gears mid-song and sending the wagon careening down a different road. Bad Mammals: More standard indie-punk faire with some pretty bad vocals. –jimmy (No Breaks)


PERIKATO:
Kovat Ajat: 7” EP
Über-thrash freakout from a Finnish band with sloppy warp factor nine beats and ADD lengths. The Discharge influence isn’t quite so obvious, but they clearly can fuck shit up with the best of ‘em –jimmy (Ektro, ektrorecords.com)


PEACH KELLI POP:
Self-titled: LP
House and basement shows are a rarity in Birmingham, AL. Basement shows featuring bands I’m willing to leave my house for, even rarer still. So being provided a magic moment with Peach Kelli Pop (with Mean Jeans providing the rhythm section) via the gracious kids of God’s Butt basement was in incredible weekday night gift. A head-nodding, booty-twisting, beer-can-emptying good time was had by all thirty attendees that evening… and I’ll pick up any PKP release from then on. This LP definitely sticks to the thinner-sounding ‘60s pop formula championed by Burger, but its ability to conjure the good-time party vibes of their live show gives it heft. Highly caffeinated soda plus candy bars plus spinning this record and you may not have an unsmashed stick of furniture in your room. –Matt Seward (Burger)


PARASITIC TWINS:
Self-titled: 7”
Five angry punk songs that sound exactly the same. In fact, they sound so much the same that at first I thought there might have been a pressing plant error. But no, just a creativity error. –mp (Reality Is A Cult)


PAINT IT BLACK:
Invisible: 7”
Downtuned, hoarsely shouted youth crew hardcore with melodic touches. Nothing new, but played with the proper conviction. Six songs. Wear a hoodie in the pit. Get red in the face imitating the singer. Grow out of it, then work out to it fifteen years later. –CT Terry (No Idea)


PAA KII:
Self-titled: CD
It’s gotta be a drag sometimes to come from an area synonymous for a type of music. Pää Kii hails from Finland, an area long known for some world-class thrash bands, but that ain’t the kinda hash they’re dishin’ up here. Instead, you get a choice meal of catchy punk with a little bit o’ garage here and a dash o’ Spits-styled thud-punk there. I know the “if it ain’t loud, fast, and Discharge-derived, it ain’t shit” crowd are gonna howl with disapproval, but this is nonetheless some mighty fine ruckus makin’. –jimmy (Stupido)


OLD FLINGS:
Spite: LP
Depressing and uplifting at the same time, fans of Samiam won’t want to miss Old Flings. Already on its second pressing, there’s quite a buzz about Spite in some circles, and for good reason. The Samiam comparison would be a lazy one if it weren’t for the fact that this record is virtually interchangeable with Samiam at its best. Hailing from Ashville, NC and starting out as an experiment to electrify an already prominent acoustic musician’s songs, Old Flings is one of those bands that quickly gains legions of fans. I’m not sure that the brooding mindset is for everyone, but those into the more gloomy end of punk will dig it. –Art Ettinger (Self Aware, selfawarerecords.com)


OCCULT SS:
Teeth in the Dark: 7” EP
Crust punk that’s a little cleaner and less “black” in production and structure than others. The faster moments are often more Discharge than Amebix, but you can still almost hear the hair growing when they shift into lower gear. Not my genre of choice, but they ain’t bad at what they do. –jimmy (Rust And Machine)


OBNOX:
Canabible Ohio: 2 x 7” EP
Was a bit put off by the pot-addled cover art, but Todd suggested I look past that and give it a try, and I’m glad he did. Dunno who is responsible, but this is quite an inspired bit of lunacy. Equal parts hip hop, art-damaged punk, psychedelia and general racket-making mix, and matched into something more acid than pot-friendly, right down to the lysergic covers of the Urinals’ “I’m a Bug” and the McCoys’ “Hang on Sloopy.” –jimmy (Slovenly)


OBLIVIONATION:
Demo 2012: Cassette
Three tracks of pissed-off hardcore punk from this Massachusetts-based quartet. For only three songs, this demo is filled with riffs sure to inspire furious bedroom moshing and steering wheel pounding while driving. Lyrically, the band talks about dealing with mental health issues in “Compulsive Paranoia,” ignorance in our society in “Proud to Be Dumb,” and telling the Westboro Baptist Church to fuck off in “Closet Country”—all sentiments I can get behind. Based on these three tracks, I’m stoked to get my hands on Oblivionation’s forthcoming LP, and you should be as well. –Paul J. Comeau (Bleeding Edges, weareoblivionation@gmail.com)


NUMBER 9 BLACKTOPS, THE:
Cool on My Right: CD

A dude with a ‘stache, a dude with a beard, and a hippie wearing a Motörhead shirt play bad bar rock.

–jimmy (Part, rockabilly.de)


NOVICE, THE:
Self-titled: 7”
There are precious few things you can bank on in the world of music, but one thing for certain is that anything that any of the members of The Marked Men do musically will be great. Their bands are a laundry list of awesome. Mind Spiders, Potential Johns, High Tension Wires, Low Culture… The Novice. I actually saw The Novice play a record store (Wooo! Trailer Space!) in Austin, but my first time in Texas, my heat-addled brain couldn’t really comprehend what was going on… I should amend that. I heard The Novice playing, while I was outside said record store pounding back beer after beer to try and beat the heat. I’m glad I finally get the chance to hear them again, this time in the confines of my igloo. Do I even need to tell you how great this is? I didn’t think so. Just get it. –ty (Dirtnap)


NOCTURNAL:
Self-titled: CD
Straight-up, no-bullshit, huge-apple-right-over-the-plate European heavy metal. It’s almost as if all that Sunset Strip faux-glam misery never happened and bands like Witchfinder General ended up calling all the shots. Admittedly ain’t my bag o’ moose patties, but it was nice to hear something down this road that neither reeked of hairspray nor sounded like Muppets shouting about Satan. –jimmy (Gaphals, gaphals.se)


NIRVANA:
Cult: Cassette
This is the original Nirvana, not the Seattle grunge band, but the United Kingdom-based progressive rock band active in the late 1960s and early 1970s. You get twenty-five songs on this compilation of their career. No grunge rock here, instead you get a mix of psych pop, and some British folk rock. With the large amount of songs on here, you will definitely get a treat from the well crafted and interesting songs and maybe when you tell someone that you like Nirvana, it won’t be the over-hyped one that you’re talking about. Only three hundred cassettes made, so grab one fast. –Rick Ecker (Burger, burgerrecords.org)


NIGHT BIRDS:
Maimed for the Masses: 7”EP
With the title track, Night Birds add to the storied punk tradition of wrestling songs, dedicating this one to seventeen-time title holder and children’s book author Mick Foley (who’s wrestled under the names Mankind, Dude Love, Cactus Jack). Youtube “Hell in a Cell June, 1998” and see a man almost die. The twist is that the Frankensteinian monster seeks love, understanding. For that to happen, he must self-immolate, make himself more of an outward monster. Night Birds, for all accounts and purposes, are the sonic equivalent of that monster. A monster with a high pain threshold. A monster that can withstand a fall from the top of a cage onto the bare ground. A monster with kicked-in teeth, blood dripping out from embedded tacks across the chest, smiling, leering, wiping the back of its hand, striding to you, foul-breathed. “That the best you got? Keep naming past punk greats and watch ‘em crumple under my bandaged hands.” Today. At the top of the card. Superb four-songer. –todd (Fat)


NIGHT BIRDS:
Born to Die in Suburbia: LP
Releasing your second album has got to be a bit nerve racking. Especially if you are Night Birds and you are following up one of the most amazing debuts in recent memory (2011’s The Other Side of Darkness). I can’t think of anyone who disliked it. The problem is, once you’ve released an album that good the world has something to measure you against and that can backfire in a hurry… Unless you are the goddamn Night Birds, who have managed to not only match their stellar debut, but surpass it! Born to Die in Suburbia takes the DNA encoded in the preceding records and injects them with a new vitality strand like some kind of Dr. Moreau-like experiment. The results are breathtaking. From the introductory cover of the theme from Escape from New York, to the album closing “Golden Opportunity” (which happens to be my favorite song on here), the album is damn near flawless. All the things that make Night Birds great are here. The relentless beat, the surf-damaged guitar, and the depraved tales of horror, science fiction, and everyday weirdness, but there is something more. There is a tough urgency that wasn’t there before. It’s an element that pushes the album to the next level. I can’t stop listening to it. Another interesting change in gears is the inclusion of a couple of slower tunes (“Nazi Gold” and “Less the Merrier”). They add a new texture to the album and are perfectly placed. Without a doubt, this will be glued to my stereo for the summer. Night Birds are one of the best damn bands out there playing today. –ty (Grave Mistake)


NEO CONS:
Idiot Circus: 7” EP
Loosely delivered hardcore, rarely getting faster than a moderate trot and slightly reminiscent of Condemned To Death, with maybe a wee bit of the Fartz thrown in for texture. –jimmy (Deranged)


NEIGHBORHOOD BRATS:
Birth Right: 7”
You know, I’m really amazed that in 2013 we still have to put up with people spouting the whole “punk ended in ‘79” or “hardcore was dead by ‘84” shit. Equally, these people seem utterly stunned that there are amazing bands cranking out killer punk rock today. If I am ever asked for an example of this, I almost always tell them to check out Neighborhood Brats. If there is any hope for these bitter, cranky old fucks to get a clue, this band is it. I became a fan from the very moment I heard their debut (courtesy of the review material of this very zine) and by now, I could be considered a zealot. Yes, they are that good. After the debut came a couple of great 7”s (We Own the Night and Ocean Beach Party) and now I’m happy to report that streak continues with this new one. Spastic and relentless are a couple of adjectives that come to mind. The music is tightly wound and Jenny is like a fusion reactor. She is pumping out massive amounts of energy but you just know she is on the verge of an explosion that is going to take most of the coastline out. Listening to this makes my blood tingle and the hair on my arms stand up. Three new NB songs and a Youth Of Today cover to complete the package. I like to imagine those jaded bastards hearing Neighborhood Brats for the first time and realizing that there is a band out there right now putting a lot of their old heroes to shame. Wake up and get with the Brats! –ty (Deranged)


NATO COLES AND THE BLUE DIAMOND BAND:
Promises to Deliver: LP
Alright, here goes. Sometimes there are people in our particular music community who just stand head and shoulders above most others. True musicians with innate abilities and quite obviously encyclopedic wells of reference with a grasp on their craft that most can never hope to achieve. Individuals who seem almost too talented, clever, and fully-realized to belong to what “outsiders” would consider a genre built on cutthroat delivery-yet-amateur ability. For me, from the first time I heard “Flash Infatuation,” Nato Coles has been one of these rare gems. While the Modern Machines gave us a glimpse of Nato’s gifts, and Radio Faces showcased even further progression into what he’d become, it wasn’t until Used Kids’ 2009 LP Yeah No that I feel like Nato found his own stream. For four years I’ve spun this record constantly, repeatedly shocked and awed by the Westerberg-by-way-of-Springsteen-via-classic-Motown-yet-somehow-unique songwriting and performance. And fuck, I was truly heartbroken when I learned that I was seeing what was reported to be Used Kids’ last show at Fest 8. I knew, however, that it’d be no time before Nato was back with something new, and if history were any indication, even better. Fast forward to Awesome Fest 5 in San Diego and my first peek at the Blue Diamond Band. Granted, the set was peppered with tracks from Nato’s previous output, but the band was on point and I was thrilled with the potential that jumped and howled and strutted before me. Skip to The Fest 11 in Gainesville and a setlist comprising the band’s new material. Jaws on the floor, mile-wide smiles, and beers being danced happily from their cups: Nato and company tore Nelly’s down and I knew that my man had trumped his already-amazing earlier self. And now, listening to Promises to Deliver, care of that cutie Mike Dumps, I can barely believe my ears. Immediately, I knew that I was hearing something I’d deeply love forever. Flawless performances and a sound reminiscent of one crafted by a young Jimmy Iovine aside, these songs are on an entirely new level. To attempt to justly describe them individually, or as a whole, or even how I personally feel when listening to them would inevitably fall well short. It is quite simply a brilliant, passionate, unbelievable record from a man (and his band) who has reached the staggering potential hinted at in those Modern Machines songs. To me, it could very well be the high point in our little world, in recent memory. It is almost too good. Almost. And at the risk of getting way too corny about it, I honestly want to thank Nato for these songs and so many before them. Dude: wow. I really hope you’re so proud. Because I’m even fucking proud that this came out of something I’ve been a part of for so long. Dang. Dude has delivered. –Dave Williams (Dead Broke)


NAKED AGGRESSION / ALL OR NOTHING H.C.:
Split: LP
Angry music with political intent. Fuck the system and whatnot. Naked Agression has a twenty-plus year long history and All Or Nothing H.C. started in the late ‘90s. At certain point, music like this feels like it’s a game of Madlibs. “Fuck (neo-conservative buzzword).” “We’re being (word implying mass public has no free will)-ed.” It’s not that I disagree with the message, but the lyrics feel too simplistic for the ideas that are trying to be addressed. Political commentary is a tricky game. For fans of The Exploited, mohawks, and studded belts. –Bryan Static (Emancypunx, emancypunx.com)


NAAM:
Vow: CD
An unholy mix of Tangerine Dream, Pink Floyd, and Black Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan” spread across an entire full-length release. In short, the kinda shit that’d give Syd Barrett night terrors. –jimmy (Tee Pee)


MULLTUTE:
Self-titled: EP
Whoa-ho-hoooo! This record is fargin’ awesome! A modern day band cranking out some early style hardcore punk with total abandon. Sounds like a lost recording from 1981. The style is raw and abrasive, and the delivery is urgent, not to mention catchy as well. It’s the sort of record where you’ll pound in time to the music on a table like it’s a set of drums. Six songs of greatness on this thing! These songs charge with pure attitude and a bit of recklessness. They also have some brains in the lyrical department, proving not all present day bands sing about nonsense. This is a “must get” record. –Matt Average (Heart First, heartfirst.net)


MOUTHBREATHERS:
Nowhere Else to Go: 7”
Based on a previous single, I was expecting some more dour garage punk from ‘em, but this is a bit different. The title track is a rip-roarin’ bit o’ punk stoppage with a smidge of surf in the guitar solo. The flip continues along the same lines with a keyboard breakdown replacing the Dick Dale worship. Between this and its aforementioned predecessor, I’m guessing any future full-length will be quite the bee’s knees. –jimmy (Slovenly)


MOTÖRHEAD:
Self-titled: LP
In the early ‘80s, punk and metal squared off in the States. You had to make an either/or decision: metal dirtbag or punk cretin. Hair length meant a lot, how you were treated, if you were walking into a beating. Jean jacket or leather jacket were easy codes. There were serious consequences, silly as it sounds today. We’re talking before crossover which is another ball of bees. Between the intractable divisions, between the Sunset Strip hairspray buttrockers (like Odin—assless chaps with suspenders, egregious Spandex and hot tub abuse) and the hardcore punk equation of hair = shit hippie, one band, Motörhead, and one man, Lemmy Kilmister, was the keystone, the détente that both sides agreed didn’t slurp shit. Motörhead built the bridge between the two camps that hated each other. Make no mistake, dark waters still run deep beneath it to this day, but Kilmister built a durable brick monument with his sturdy hands. Motörhead’s metal wasn’t fluffy, wasn’t poppy. It was, and is, dangerous: face-moley, zit-rocky in a Hawkwind-meets-Sabbath way. It was straight-forward, not solo-drenched, Chuck Berry-informed, wank-in-check, and hard, which punks got behind. (Let us not overlook the power that the bullet belt and all-black attire has had on punk accessorizing.) Motörhead’s song topics were unabashedly rock’n’roll: fucking, white drugs, brown liquors, WWII tank battles, gambling, and bad luck. It’s not PC music. Nor is in anti-PC. It’s rock’n’roll. This is a re-issue of the first 1977 LP, originally on Chiswick. Lemmy, Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, and “Fast” Eddie Clarke ran their black flag up the pole and let it fly, creating the rarest of rare: a place where people of different nation-states of music who fucking hated one another’s guts could celebrate the power of music together with few getting stabbed or shot or bombed or threatened with mutual annihilation. No small feat. I’ll end with a piece of unsolicited advice: look beyond “Ace of Spades,” (which isn’t on this record), dive into Motörhead’s nineteen other studio albums, and revel in this superpower’s consolidation of punk and metal. Hail the War-Pig bastards. –todd (Drastic Plastic, drasticplasticrecords.com)


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