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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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LOMA PRIETA:
I.V.: LP
Relentlessly creating music on their own terms since 2005, Loma Prieta’s fourth LP, and first for new label Deathwish, is an exploration of the interplay between melody and dissonance. Melodic guitar riffs clash with dark, noisy riffs backed by thundering drums and chugging bass. It’s an emotional rollercoaster ride expressed not only in the band’s music, but in their lyrics as well, which touch on topics both political and deeply personal. I was not crazy about the mixing of the album, which did a bit too good a job of blending the discordant sounds present in Loma Prieta’s music. There’s a uniformity to the sound of the songs on this album that I do not detect in previous efforts from the band. According to the album’s description, I.V. was “written during a time of great personal suffering and transition for the band,” and I think this album is a solid step forward, but I’m not quite as stoked on it as past efforts. –Paul J. Comeau (Deathwish, info@deathwishinc.com)


YOUNG GUV & THE SCUZZ:
A Love Too Strong: LP
Holy shit…this is disgustingly good. Über-catchy, action-syrup pop rock entering my brain like there’s an IV going from my tuner to my arm. It’s potent and addictive; and I love it. The Young Governor recordings are always interesting, but seldom would I consider them mandatory: solo home recordings that must be a great escape from the world of Canadian cable television appearances and corporate “indie rock” showcases that Ben is obligated to partake in due to his role as third guitarist in Fucked Up. But with A Love Too Strong he’s decided to assemble a backing band of breathtakingly talented musicians, enter a studio, and lay down six tracks of the most pristinely orchestrated pop you can find anywhere. The end result is incredibly reminiscent of Marvelous Darlings minus the power pop/glam swagger. Just track after track of brilliantly executed pop perfection that sounds effortless. This isn’t background pop music though, it’s commanding. Young Guv & The Scuzz aren’t here for you to nod off to. If you’re in it for the good time, get your hands on this record –Daryl Gussin (Southpaw)


YDINTUHO / KYLMÄ SOTA:
Split: 7” EP
Both bands crank out Discharge-influenced hardcore with HISSSSS guitars, ramped up tempos, and over-the-top delivery like only Scandinavians can pull off. Kylmä Sota at times sounds a bit like prime-era Rattus. Ydintuho wears the Discharge influences on their sleeves the most of the two, but neither sounds like they’re going outta their way to fit into the Dis-hole, which is as it should be. –jimmy (Psychedelica)


KRUDS / RAMPANT DECAY:
Self-titled: 7”
The cover of this record has a crude drawing of a hardcore guy with satanic tattoos hacking up a fixie-riding hipster with a machete. That’s cool. Now somebody chop up the poser with the tattoos and we’ll be set. Anyway, these bands play punishing, brutal, indistinguishable hardcore for people who like band logos more than they like music. –Craven (Buried In Hell Records, no address)


WHITE LUNG:
Sorry: LP
What’s up, Canada? I guess being so far away from stuff in the “real” world, you just make up your own shit right? I first heard these gals (and token dude) back on the Emergency Broadcast Vancouver comp and they were cool an’ all, but I guess I snoozed on their next few records cos this LP is a banger—a crazy mix of ‘90s-era K rock stuff like Slant 6, Sleater Kinney, or even some of my fave gal-fronted bands from the U.K. like Joyce Mckinney Experience, but with a fierce hardcore backbone and almost Ginn-esque lead breaks. I can’t stand artsy off-key shit, so trust me, this shit works. It’s hard as a bag of hammers, but these cats have kept the hooks way up front and the song lengths at a breathy two minutes that works just fine for old fucks like me with goldfish-like attention spans. First listen grabs you by the neck and chokes you out, but further listens peel back more than the initial attack with complicated song structures and melodies. This recording kills and is as good as anything I’ve heard this year. Way to start my Razorcake review career. Boss. v –Guest Contributor (Deranged)


KILLING CALIFORNIA:
No Pentagrams, No Crosses: LP
These local boys out of OrangeCounty fire off their third full length record of hardcore thrash. With throat-ripping vocals the likes of The Casualties and blue collar work-a-day tunes that would make Cock Sparrer proud, Killing California has single-bandedly defied the surf-rockabilly punk so resplendent of sunny Southern Cali. With fangs bared, they barrel straight into riffs as heavy as a sledgehammer on “Blame Bukowski,” while “Limbs” opens up with one of those deep bass lines that makes your intestines warble. “Dirt” strays from the pack and ebbs into psychedelic prog metal with extended guitar whines making for what I could imagine to be a viable soundtrack to one of Ozzy Osbourne’s LSD trips. Solid guitar work throughout. Recommended. –Kristen K (Basement, basementrecords.com)


TYRED EYES:
The Piercing Eyes, the Thousand Lies: LP
What is it about Scandinavia Back in the day it was the raw hardcore…. then recently we’ve had the joys of Smalltown, No Hope For The Kids, Gorilla Angreb, Knugen Faller, Vicious and a host of other youngsters banging out stuff that sounds unmistakeably ‘Scandinavian’ but has orginality bursting from the seams. This Gothenburg band takes pieces of all the above bands, melding knowledge of the past but with something new and vibrant. Sounding somehow familiar yet fresh and new. This band takes everything I love about bands from Sweden and Denmark and blend them with current West Coast heroes like Toys That Kill. Songs of drinking, firing squads and not like anyone work just fine for me. It’s rough and raw but the male/female vocals give it a certain sweetness that acts like the ginger back to your Fernet shot. This is one of those gems you’ll have to make an effort to track down, trust me; it’s worth the effort. –Guest Contributor (TYRED EYES: The Piercing Eyes, the Thousand Lies: LP Alleycat )


KEY TEENS, THE:
No Fucks Given Demo: Cassette
This band is gonna kill me, but the biggest reference point I can manage here is via other Halifax bands I’ve reviewed over the years, folks like Eviction Party and Starla Ubiquitous. It’s a cop out, I know, but there’s just such a distinct thread running through all of these groups, even beyond the sense of joyous resilience and similar visual aesthetic: sonically, it’s a kind of rough-and-tumble earnest punk, like Cub if they had back patches and preferred box wine, or Cleveland Bound Death Sentence if they were a three piece and a little more gruff. Ragged stuff, and thoughtful; boom-bap-boom-bap drums, lyrics that read like stories, like little encapsulations of a particular time and place, that remind us (kindly) how our personal actions irrefutably have political ramifications. I don’t know how big the Halifax scene is, but the little I know of it rules, hands down, as does this band. Also, best name for a demo I’ve seen in years. –keith (Key Teens)


WHITE LOAD:
“Pig Eyes” b/w “Little Black Pig”: 7”
Two rambunctious garagey-punk tunes hamstrung by a production quality that renders both into overblown walls of shit. –jimmy (Ken Rock, myspace.com/kenrockrecords)


WEIRD PARTY:
The Secret Lives of Men: 7”
Four catchy songs laden with overdriven guitar riffs and reverb-heavy vocals. “I Don’t Want You to Know” rocks with a bit of roots influence while the other songs are a bit more chaotic. The guitar playing reminds me of noisier ‘90s punk. Good stuff. –Billups Allen (Twistworthy)


JAWAZ, THE:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Slightly changing tactics here on their first vinyl EP (if you haven’t procured a copy of their Live and Loaded demo, I suggest you do so ASAP), San Gabriel Valley heroes the Jawaz start things off with “Not for Me,” a tune downshifting slightly from the manic tempos they usually employ, yet blessed with some sick hooks and structures that showcase some sophisticated songwriting instead of the usual faceless thrash-o-rama. Ditto for “Modern Tragedy,” a brooding ditty that recalls the best of L.A.-area punk/hardcore’s so-called “glory days” without sounding like lame rehash. Sandwiched in between is a re-recording of the rager “Stand Up,” to facilitate stage diving sessions offa yer bedroom desk as this spins in the background. Three songs total, not a stinker in the bunch. –jimmy (The Jawaz, thejawaz@gmail.com)


WASTELAND:
Self-titled: LP
Five years in the making, Wasteland’s posthumous full-length record is finally here, and it’s one epic slab of vinyl. Featuring current and former members of Soul Control, Relics, Mean Man’s Dream, and other Western Mass stalwarts, Wasteland tear through ten tracks of raw, blistering hardcore. Thick, chunky bass lines and guitar riffs that alternate between furious assaults and soaring melodies meet with thundering drums and throat-blistering vocals on each of these tracks. I dug the sharp political themes covered in the lyrics, especially in the track “In the Shadow of No Towers,” but would have been okay with a few less f-bombs. Not only is the LP a great listen, but it also comes with a download code for the entire Wasteland discography, remixed and remastered! Overall, this is an excellent document of a band that went too soon. –Paul J. Comeau (Clean Plate)


INOCENTES:
Miséria e Fome: EP
A lot of old stuff is getting reissued lately, which is a great thing. But it’s easy to miss some stuff in the onslaught. I absolutely urge you to seek this one out. Put it at the top of your list. Hit all the mailorders you go through, or just go direct through the label. It was originally released in 1983, from Brazil, and during the time of a military dictatorship. The band entered the studio with the idea to record an album, however, all but four songs were cut by censorship (they even had to alter lyrics and rename the title track to “Apenas Conto O Que Vi O Que Sent”) that was self-recorded and released by the band. What you get here is four songs of potent, raw hardcore punk that has an undeniable amount of energy and spirit. “Aprendi a Odiar” with its stop-go parts and shifting tempos grabs your attention, and then there’s the urgency of “Calado” that has spoken parts that lead into short and frantic bursts. The songs are mainly mid tempo, but bouncy and catchy. The urgency is great and carries over to the listener. Absolutely love this record! I’m finding myself more and more obsessed with Brazilian punk and hardcore. And for good reason; most of what I’ve heard from that country is awesome. –Matt Average (Nada Nada, nadanadadiscos.com)


WARM NEEDLES:
Pretty Tambo: 7”
Anthemic and catchy Long Island punk rock that reminds me of a bunch of Tampa bands like Tim Version, Dukes Of Hillsborough, and so on. Good stuff. –Chris Mason (Tour Van)


INCINERATION, THE:
Madness: CD-R
Nine tracks of Russian metal that I found to be rather uninspired. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good hesh fest as much as the next guy and this stuff wasn’t so bad until the guitar wanking kicked in then it became a bit too much to take. The booklet was all written in Cyrillic which, unfortunately, I can’t read so I didn’t have a lot to go on as far as band or song information goes. –Garrett Barnwell (Wings Of Destruction)


WAR//PLAGUE:
On a Darker Dawn: LP
Heavy and dark stuff here. Metallic crusty hardcore with a political conscious coded in apocalyptic lyrics. The dual guitar piles on layers of darkness and creates a feeling of unease and despair when one solos over the main riff of the other. It’s as though the world is about to plunge into an era of darkness. The opening of “Harvest” is great. Very on the metal side, with the down tuned guitars—and build up from the rest of the band—it creates a tension that is slowly released with every measure. When they hit the riff after the first verse and let it hang for a minute —yeah! At times they can be overdramatic, such as on the ending of “Pack of 1,000 Wolves,” where you hear wolves howling and the vocalist spitting out “One!” a few times. But other than that, and it’s a minor carping really, this record is pretty good. They create a mood and hold it. The musicianship is solid as hell. I’m pretty damn jaded when it comes to this style, especially after years of it dominating the L.A. area with not very good bands. War//Plague are definitely not a clone band. They breathe some new life into the genre. –Matt Average ((Profane Existence)


HUMAN TOILET:
Self-titled: 12”
Almost professional-sounding NYC hard rock/metal that has apparently stolen more than a few towels from Motel Angus, coupled with lyrics detailing miscellaneous vague perversions ((“Human Toilet” “Must Love Dogs” etc.)) and other degenerate apéritifs. They rhyme “schism” with “catechism” and drop the occasional chin-stroker like “all my fantasies revolve around convenience,” so it’s not like this is, you know, TORG’s “Hot Yogurt Enema” album or anything…but, all the same, my favorite thing about the line “human toilet is not a lifestyle choice!” is that I am heartened to find out that this is not a choice which I will be required to make at any point in my life. Huzzah! BEST SONG: “The Flirt” BEST SONG TITLE: “Giuliani Time” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: It’s been a while since I’ve listened to a record with an honest-to-gosh “poet laureate” on it, although I was a bit saddened to find out it was not going to be Leapin’ Lanny Poffo. –norb (Black Thirteen)


WAR ON WOMEN:
Improvised Weapons: 10”
War On Women is a co-ed feminist hardcore punk band hailing from Baltimore, MD—a city currently brimming with great bands—and after only a few listens to this 10”, I’d say it’s safe to add WOW to that list. Playing a brand of aggressive garage punk that features melodic riffs with an abrasive edge and female vocals that alternate between singing, shouting, and spoken-word passages, I found each song really damn catchy. I gleaned a positive feminist message in much of vocalist Shawna Potter’s lyrics, which I dug, though I would have appreciated a lyric sheet with the record to grasp everything she sang. Overall though, I enjoyed this record, and would love to hear more from the band. –Paul J. Comeau (Exotic Fever)


WALLS:
The Future Is Wide Open: LP
I guess you could say this is “post-hardcore” or “post-rock” or something of that nature. Listening to this definitely takes me back to the late-‘80s/early-‘90s, a time when bands like Unsane and Cop Shoot Cop were cranking out some hard and heavy sounds without falling into any one category. Depending on how far you have your head shoved up your hardcore purist or trendy power violence ass depends on how much you might cotton to this record. The tempos are mainly on the mid tempo and nervous pacing side, with some blasts of speed and cranium-bashing percussion here and there, while the guitars are as equally anguished and strangled-sounding as the vocals. This is the soundtrack of a heat wave and residing in a greasy, roach-infested studio apartment with no air conditioner or fan to bring any relief. All you can think about is that list of motherfuckers who need to get what’s coming to them. Listen to “A Piece of Rope” with its lumbering and repetitive bass line. The guitar sort of rings out and hangs in the air while the singer bellows about “A cord! A piece of rope. A wire...” Allow yourself to get consumed in the blackness of “The Tears of a Lonely Man” and “Cheap Equipment.” Walls achieve that sound and that feeling of anger, despair, and being completely lost in this world without coming off contrived or whiny. Pretty damn good. A nice companion to have around at the end of the day when everyone and everything else just sets you on edge. –Matt Average (Iron Lung)


HITCHHIKERS, THE:
A Little More Time: 7”
Candy Snatchers/Catheters-style amped-up garage punk is the style this band lays out. Fairly well done but I had more than my fill of this stuff a decade ago. Both songs on the second side sound like watered-down Infections outtakes. Fans of Junk Records and Electric Frankenstein will find a whole lot to like here. –frame (Orange Fight, orangefight.com)


VULTURE:
Oblivious to Ruin: CD
This is just way too slow and sludgy for my tastes. Admittedly, it does say “Steel City Sludge” on the insert. I understand it’s supposed to sound like this, but I still wish it was on vinyl so I could switch the RPM to 45. Truth be told, I wish I had a record player that let me turn it to 72. It’s on CD and it’s the way they want to sound. Imagine you’re walking down the street and your shoes are melting into the asphalt. That’s the pace. I wonder if their drummer manages to break a sweat when they play. I don’t think you could even get a circle pit going to this. –Rene Navarro (Innervenus Music Collective, innervenus.org, vulturedoom.blogspot.com)


HILLY EYE:
“Jacob’s Ladder” b/w “Almanac”: 7”
Guitar/drums two piece with these ethereal vocal harmonies that make the sound so much bigger than the sum of its parts. Side B has this ascendant, cinematic affect with big drums and wordless vocals. Feel like I’m escaping to WitchMountain. –CT Terry (Don Giovanni)


VINCAS:
Blood Bleeds: LP
The album reminds me a lot of NickCave’s early band The Birthday Party. I’m sure these guys have to be sick of the NickCave reference, but it’s a fair cop. The songs are comprised of dark, bass-heavy riffs. The singer has a deep, resonant howl that surges to the music. It’s hard to pull something like this off without sounding derivative. The album has a lot of energy and they do it well. People who can’t get enough of that Birthday Party sound would enjoy this, for sure. –Billups Allen (Douchemaster)


HIGHWAY GIMPS:
She: CD
The first song got me stoked, thinking I was going to get some spooky instrumental surf, but by track two, I realized was in for some stupid alternative shit; then the annoying guy starting singing. –Craven (No address)


VICTIMS FAMILY:
Have a Nice Day!: 7”
Been hearing the name for a long time, but never heard the band, so pardon my lack of context in this review. Victims Family (Victim’s Family with an apostrophe?) have a sound that is born of the mid-‘80s, when metal and punk crossed over with prog and funk bleeding in. But these guys don’t sound like a bunch of mooks. They do fascinating, noodly shit on the guitar and work it into quick-moving, tuneful songs. Would suggest for fans of All, Minutemen, and even Primus. –CT Terry (Alternative Tentacles)


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