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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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DEAFHEAVEN / BOSSE-DE-NAGE:
Split: 12”
I awaited this split with eager anticipation, and it did not disappoint. I loved Deafheaven’s debut Road to Judah, but I was a bit skeptical when I heard that their side of this split was a pair of Mogwai covers. Leave it to Deafheaven to give me a new appreciation for a band I previously couldn’t care less about. These covers of “Punk Rock” and “Cody,” surpass even the originals. Taking the subdued Mogwai originals, Deafheaven gave the songs teeth. They turned the levels up a bit, to allow in some extra fuzz, and replaced Mogwai vocalist Stuart Braithwait’s subdued vocals with George Clarke’s banshee howls. This record was my first encounter with Bosse-De-Nage, after hearing much hype, and they totally owned their side of the record with the track, “A Mimesis of Purpose.” The string arrangement at the intro creates a somber mood, before the track explodes with blast of guitars and drums. I worried Bosse-De-Nage might be overshadowed by Deafheaven, but they more than held their own, bringing a passion and intensity to their music rivaling their record-mate. The packaging on this was minimal, but high quality, and the vinyl itself was a purple marble swirl, showing the high standards label The Flenser has become known for. It takes a lot for a release to impress me, but I’m totally impressed by both bands on this. –Paul J. Comeau (Flenser, jonathan@theflenser.com)


ASTRAL TRAVEL:
“Bodymelt” b/w “Povos”: 7”
There’s a definite post-punk bent to things here, especially when they grab a groove and ride it, but there is also an indie/DIY feel to the drumming and the up-front production values. They drop an unnecessary breakdown in here and there, I reckon to break things up a bit, but, on the whole, both tunes are quite worth a listen. –jimmy (Vertex)


AN HISTORIC:
Seicremllams: Cassette
One-man band, consisting mostly of a dude singing over an accordion, with the occasional segues into a few wind instruments. This is actually pretty cool and well done, though it’s kinda doubtful that it’d sustain the interest of all that many Razorcake readers. –keith (An Historic)


255S / THE STATE LOTTERY:
Split: 7”
I guess the best way to describe the 255s is “punk’n’roll” as much as I hate that term and try, at times poorly, to avoid it. There is definitely a pop punk sensibility to their two songs on this record, but that term doesn’t quite do them justice. In the end, this is definitely above-average rock’n’roll, but it’s not over-the-top awesome. The State Lottery, on the other hand, has a more distinctive sound. Their song is pretty much straight-up rock’n’roll with a ‘70s sensibility to the rhythm and sound, including an annoyingly overplayed saxophone. I could see the Bay City Rollers playing something like this with Clarence Clemmons as a guest musician. While I don’t hate the song anymore, nor am I all that keen about it yet—it still strikes me as sounding like the crap from the ‘70s that gets replayed for the sake of nostalgia rather than a true sense of worth. –The Lord Kveldulfr (All In Vinyl, allinvinyl.com)


142:
Demo: 12”
This record is a work of art, with a die-cut cardboard cover that looks like a daguerreotype and ten thrash songs tearing their way across one side of blood red vinyl. 142 were Germans playing exciting thrashcore with touches of the chaos that late ‘90s bands like Reversal Of Man threw into the mix. This is a limited edition reissue of their 2008 demo and I highly suggest it if you’ve ever said “rip your face off” and meant it in a good way. –CT Terry (spasticfantastic.de)


DAVE RATA:
Hallucigenia: LP
Rata kinda takes the “throw spaghetti at the wall” approach here, with alternating doses of lo-fi garage, punk, psychedelic experiments, and noise offered up for aural consumption. When things work best, the proceedings are hypnotically intriguing and/or sound like a Jay Reatard lysergic nightmare. When they don’t, they come off as a bit uninspired and indulgent. You ain’t gonna find the good bits without a bit of diggin’ and exploration, though, and it’s nice to hear someone trying to push the boundaries in different directions, even if all the reaping ain’t rewards. –jimmy (Batshit, badshit@live.com)


YOUR YOUTH:
Battery: CDEP
Vintage late ‘80s/early ‘90s alt-rock sound here, sorta somewhere between Poster Children and earlyish Pixies. The description may cause a bit o’ cringing in some quarters, but they’re quite good at it and manage to keep things well on the side of when “alt-rock” was more akin to edgy creativity than corporate facelessness. Dug it lots. –jimmy (Old Flame)


YOUR PEST BAND:
Ground Zero EP: 7”
I love Japanese garage bands, and for the most part Your Pest Band does not disappoint—the spirit of ‘96 is front and center in this record. Ya, this is much in the vein of Japanese garage rock from that era, and Your Pest Band has the fervor of Teengenerate, the muddy sloppiness of Guitar Wolf, and a bit of bubble-gummery akin to the 5.6.7.8’s. The record includes what appears to be three originals plus two covers. The originals rip it up: trashy and rockin’. The covers are kinda weird, though. The B-side has a cover of “Please Mr. Postman,” a bizarre choice given the band’s sound (and hence the claims of bubble-gummery), yet it works. The cover on the A-side, however, I find to be thoroughly questionable: NOFX’s “Punk Guy.” The problem is that the original of this song was kinda lame, and this version doesn’t really do anything to up the ante on the original. Hmmm. In the end, though, great little record. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Snuffy Smiles)


DALI’S LLAMA:
Autumn Woods: CD
This is one ugly band from Palm Springs playing some ugly music. I’ve thrown the phrase “they don’t give a fuck what you think” far too much in my reviewing career, so I’ll just avoid it this time and say they make it clear they’re just making music for their own pleasure and the release the get from it. It shows. I think it sounds like nice blend of heavy sixties and seventies rock like Deep Purple or Sabbath with doom, groove-oriented current stuff. It’s very, very raw. If these guys had the production and publicity of any number of the conformist bands on Relapse Records, they’d probably be just as popular, but I kind of prefer how they sound. As it stands, it’s very poorly-produced and refreshingly honorable slab of solid rock’n’roll from the deliberately hash-drawled vocals that are poorly mixed with the awesome slabby riffs. As Dead Moon is to White Stripes, Dali’s Llama are to High On Fire. Not trying diss any of those bands, but as far as sheer rawness goes that’s the best way to describe them. If you can get with that, you can probably hang with Dali’s Llama.(After writing the above review [and thinking Autumn Woods deserves another spin soon], I decided to give Dali’s Llama a google, only to find out they’ve been around twenty years! TWENTY YEARS! And they’ve released eleven albums on their own label! So they are the Dead Moon of stoner, groove rock and their crude recordings are exactly how they are intended to be heard. Respect!) –Craven (Dali’s Llama, dalisllamarecords.com)


YHTEISKUNNAN YSTÄVÄT?:
Kahleet Poikki: CDEP
Add this latest salvo from these Finnish thrashmongers to a phenomenal streak of outrageously awesome hardcore bands and releases that have come outta the Nordic countries. Primo-grade fjordcore comin’ at ye fast ‘n’ furious, with only the vaguest wisps o’ metal around the edges and song lengths averaging under two minutes. Should fit snuggly in yer collection between Terveet Kadet and Krigshot. –jimmy (Ytheiskunnan Ystävät, facebook.com/Yhteiskunnanystavat)


CRAZY SQUEEZE, THE:
Self-titled: LP
This “super group” features The Stitches’ Johnny Witmer, Teenage Frames’ Frankie Delmane, Richmond Sluts’ Chris B., and Superbees’ Johnny Sleeper. Does it come off as a bunch of underground stars just fucking around, or does it work as a genuine, rocking effort? Fortunately for fans of their prior bands, it’s the latter. These guys deliver the goods, mixing in the best aspects of early glam punk, ‘77 styles, and tributes to the members’ own prior recorded efforts. The colored vinyl from Vinyl Dog looks as great as it sounds. I don’t know if it’s appropriate to call something this sleazy a “class act,” but that’s precisely what it is. –Art Ettinger (Vinyl Dog)


WYMYNS PRYSYN:
Time: EP
This sounds like it was recorded live. While this has a lot more urgency than the other record (Payday) I have from these guys, it lacks the heaviness they had before. However, this seems to be one of those records that’s meant to be played loud and generate a rowdy time. I like that you can hear the bass drum and, if played loud enough, you can almost feel it kicking through the walls. “Put Out” is the most manic of the bunch, and definitely the one I like best. –Matt Average (No Breaks, nobreaksrecords.com)


CORMANS, THEE:
Mingo: 7”
Played a show some years back with these cats and they were quite the bee’s knees, rockin’ wild surf tunes whilst decked out in monster masks. Sounds here like time has not softened them in the least. Both the title and the flip, “Tiger Lilly,” are fuzzed out ‘n’ fucked sounding bits of surf mania, delivered with verve amid much distortion. Mighty fine listenin’ if you don’t mind having yer ears ripped to shreds. –jimmy (Total Punk)


WORTHWHILE WAY:
Love Is All: CD
Mid-tempo female-fronted punk from Japan which takes a big ol’ swill from the same jug that The Measure [SA] and The Gateway District also heavily drink from. From what I’ve heard, these folks made quite a splash at both the Fest in Gainesville and Awesome Fest in San Diego. I, however, don’t quite see what all the fuss was about. Perhaps I “had to be there.” The lyrics in English are really hard to listen to and can sound kind of silly at times. Not knocking them for trying, just saying. –Juan Espinosa (ADD / Eager Beaver)


WILD CHILD:
Self-titled: 7”
Wild Child originally released this disorienting clump of songs as a demo and now it’s seeing the light of day on vinyl. And man, does it deserve it. Wild Child ram through these spastic, aggressive jams as if their hair is on fire. The result is a snarling mess of snotty thrash that sounds insanely loud even with the volume turned all the way down. –Dan Ozzi (Fashionable Idiots, tchardcorejournal.com/fi)


CITY SAINTS:
Kicking Ass for the Working Class: CD
With songs like “Dick” and “Gonna Ball,” you could take a guess on what you are going to hear and probably hit the mark. In-your-face punk with a “take no prisoners” attitude. These dudes are from Sweden but from the looks of their inside photo, they could smash my face up real good. I forgot that Switzerland is the country with neutral people. Tough-as-nails rock well played. –koepenick (Spirit of the Streets, citysaints@live.com)


WIL WAGNER:
Laika: CD
Wow. Now I’m not someone who really likes singer/songwriters (in fact, I kinda dread reviewing them), but this dude out of Australia has something. What puts Wagner in a different sandbox is his knack for using his frantic acoustic guitar to accent his lyrics, which are equally self-effacing and observant like poetry. Not a crooner by any implication, Wil’s vocals are unfiltered and untreated, like Ian MacKaye’s in Fugazi, cracking with humility and charming with his Aussie accent. The title track snuck up on me. It’s told from the point of view of Laika, the first dog shot into outer space by Russia in Sputnik II. She died within hours of the launch. This kind of thing is precisely why I don’t watch movies with animals as main characters; it’s too fuckin’ sad when they go. So there’s your heads up. Recommended. –Kristen K (Poison City)


WHITE FANGS:
Self-titled: LP
Poundy, distorty French garage with curious graphics that are somewhere between hippie and hip-hop. My noble gases remained largely inert until their inarguably ragin’ cover of “I’m a Bug” by the Urinals, then i thought the next few songs were all pretty cool as well. Not without its merits, yet i’d likely not think twice about slicing open this record’s belly and warming myself with its steaming innards were i in a desperate and freezing state. Which, come to think of it, i usually am. BEST SONG: “I’m a Bug,” unless you don’t believe in Urinals covers, in which case it’d be “I’m So Glad.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Midnight Jock,” if that’s what it says. Heck, even if it’s not! FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: My hand-numbered copy is number two hundred out of three hundred. Boy, what are the odds of that? Oh, that’s right, one in three hundred. –norb (Frantic City, frantic-city@hotmail.fr)


VINDICTIVES, THE:
Mono-Flexi EP: 7”
A nineties punk band returns after thirteen years with this new slab o’ wax. Cool songs with actual melodies, which is a good thing. “Joining the Circus” almost made me want to volunteer to work under the big top. Welcome return gentlemen, I will wait patiently for the full length. –koepenick (Sexy Baby)


VILLAGE PISTOLS:
Big Money: 7"
Another Killed by Death dream score, this time from 1981, gets the reissue treatment. The title track is the type o’ punk/hardcore stomper that gets that certain brand of punk record collectors droolin’ all over their overpriced bondage pants. The flip is deconstruction/desecration of the Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever” that’ll either come off as inspired or wholly forgettable, depending on where your loyalties lie. Me, I like to think ol’ John would’ve been tickled pink by it. –jimmy (Last Laugh)


VENKMAN:
Self-titled: 7”
Straight-up goofy, silly, idiotic powerviolence from the Bay Area. Take your Charles Bronson, Stikky, and Scott Baio’s Army records, melt them together, dip them in an oil drum of toxic waste, and see what happens. You smell that? That’s the smell of bored teenagers who love burritos, wrestling, throwing rocks at cats, beer, macaroni salad, and applesauce—of all fucking things. Did I mention those are the song titles? Even with all this dick-baggery going on, they do happen to make a very astute and poignant observation on the ridiculousness of lifted trucks but fail to make mention of those fake rubber nut-sacks that so many of the bros love to hang underneath their rear bumpers. Pay attention kids: the bros vs. punks war is imminent and we need to stay one step ahead of the flat-billed assholes. In case you hadn’t already figured it out, the band is named after Bill Murray’s character from the movie Ghostbusters. I swore to myself that I’d hate this, I really did. But I don’t. –Juan Espinosa (Cow Catcher, venkmanrips@gmail.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Tribute to Krupted Peasant Farmerz: CD
I was never a huge fan of KPF when they were around. Which is too bad, because I really missed out. Apart from a few comps or songs I heard on mix tapes, their stuff seemed pretty hard to find in the ‘90s, and while they’re referenced like crazy now, I’m just not sure how big of a deal they were when they were around. But they were undoubtedly a gritty, smart, melodic pop punk band from San Jose that a lot of later bands would, inadvertently or not, wind up emulating. That said, this is a tribute album. Tribute albums are frequently steeped in suckydom because, really, do we need to hear an album’s worth of covers, whether they’re faithful renditions or “wacky” ones? Still, with the original template at work here—sinewy, idea-heavy punk that’s steeped in melody—there doesn’t seem to be too many missteps. Including folks and bands as varied as Craigums, Rations, Useless ID, and Arthur Hazelwood. Nicely done, but still probably something that’s for completists. –keith (Lost Cat)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
This Is Peterborough Goes Forth: CD
Wow Peterborough! The hotbed of English music! Who knew that this many people even lived in the town famous for being the home of the Destructors (third tier UK82 band). Remember when CDs came out and there were loads of sampler and regional compilations that were utter shit? Ah, the spirit lives on! As with any compilation focusing on a microscopic scene, it’s a totally mixed bag from wanna-be commercial emo, shit streetpunk to pop punk. I’m stoked people are repping their scene. I just don’t need to know about it and I’m pretty sure not one reader of this fine rag does, either. –Tim Brooks (Rowdy Farrago)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Sick City: EP 1: 7”
The L.A. record store specializing in vintage T-shirts and the latest and greatest releases from local bands has dropped their first comp. This tight little package of four bands with a track a piece consists of lo-fi garage surf. First up, The Ugly Kids, who throw their temper tantrum “Nobody Likes Me.” The three piece scream the title and alternate it with “nobody likes you!” ad infinitum. Fans of The Shrills ought to gravitate to the similar vocal theatrics and stage-diving energy. “Nervous Breakdown” is Death Hymn #9’s post-mortem offering. Also on Alternative Tentacles, these guys out of Louisiana in full zombie regalia of black eyes and musty, tattered clothes lean into a nasty, thrashy ear bomb. The flip side launches into Cigarette Bums, whom you may have caught in Long Beach in 2011 or recently at Burger Records. They hand over “Destruction (Is How I Function)” off their debut, Holy Smokes! Without a hint of parody or camp, these guys do classic garage so well, you might think you were hearing a resurrected track from the ‘60s. The Flytraps, a L.A. female quartet, close it out with “I Wanna Party,” a straight forward, weekend warrior anthem equipped with handclaps and high-pitched, high school girl yowls. If you dig garage with all its nuances, you oughta pick this up. Recommended –Kristen K (Sick City)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Sexy Babies across the Wasteland: CD
Sexy Baby Records has a penchant for releasing ultra catchy streetpunk and pop punk. This thirty-one track compilation is an assailment of instantly lovable tunes from the likes of Patriot, Terminals, Apers, and Ducky Boys. It’s a good way to learn about some cool mainline bands you might have missed, like The Bombpops. Way, way above average for a comp these days, this collection is certainly not a musical wasteland. –Art Ettinger (Sexy Baby)


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·DUMB EASIES, THE
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·FILTHY VAGRANTS


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