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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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RAD COMPANY / DISCRETIONS:
Split: 7”
Rad Company: Kind of gruff, yell-y pop punk that’s somewhat of a standard these days. You know, the kind that you’d see playing one of the smaller bars at Fest at like three in the afternoon on Sunday. Discretions: Way noisier, faster, and kind of thrash-y, mixed with some sad bastard lyrics. It’s almost like if early era Jawbreaker was made up of dudes who weren’t sappy nerds. Have I heard that this band is good before? They’re kind of good! –joe (Rad Girlfriend)


PYROKLAST:
The Madness Confounds: CD
Metallic punk stuff with a gravel-voiced singer howling lyrics about big energy, scene politics, living outside the confines of a corporate-run society, and the like. –jimmy (Barbarian)


PUSRAD:
Smartrams: 7”
Seven songs: the shortest being thirteen seconds, the longest thirty-five seconds. I was expecting power violence, but what you get is fast punk without blast beats. All the songs sound the same and it comes off as being both pretentious and undeveloped at the same time. The entire record is under three minutes. I don’t get it. –Craven (Just 4 Fun, j4f.dk)


PSYCHED, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Dissonant garage rock: fucked up, sound’s blown out, messy performances, a wretched Sam Cooke cover—all the things fans of this genre find so peachy keen squooshed onto one disc. –jimmy (Black Gladiator / Slovenly, slovenly.com)


POOR LILY: : :
Three Songs: CD
“Ooookay,” I think. “A shrink-wrapped CD single that won’t play in CD player. Great. Computer reads the band as Judas Child, and the songs as “Early Morning Peace,” “Happy Place,” and “This Soul Has Flown.” Huh. This will be stellar, I’m sure.” Then I press Play and my jaw promptly bounces to floor. Poor Lily’s a three-piece, mostly out of Brooklyn, that features dudes—I shit you not—from Beyond, H20, and Lightning Crabs playing what sounds like Some Girls deviously and fuckedupedly covering the Minutemen. Three songs. It’s bizarre, surprising, frenetic, wound tight as a spring, riveting as shit, and really, really good. –keith (Poor Lily)


PONCHES, THE:
The Long Goodbye: CD
I’m not sure if Erik Estrada is down with these dudes, but he sure as hell should be. Cool sci-fi cover and choice tunes inside. The band is from Italy and they really dig Star Wars! Do you need to know more? Well, they write snappy power punk tunes and deliver them with chops. They even cover a Canadian band’s chart topper. No—it is not Rush. But give these guys a shot, man, and maybe you can share a slice of pizza and a bottle of Yoo-hoo with them when they play your town. –koepenick (Monster Zero)


PLÖTSLIG MANDAG:
Drag en Tejp Runt Mina Lår: 7” EP
Here you get a drummer aiming for the tribal end of the spectrum; a bassist embedding simple, repetitive riffs straight into yer cranium; a guitarist who loves his drone; another guitarist who sounds like he’s running through three distortion boxes and has a cord that keeps shorting out at inopportune times; and a Swedish cat who actually tries to sing over the top of the ensuing chaos. Hardcore, noise, art-punk, whatever hole you wanna cram it into, this is definitely worth extended listening sessions. –jimmy (Gaphals, gaphals.se)


PLATEAUS:
Do It for You: 7”
Unabashed Velvets worship abounds throughout this. Not a bad thing, if done well, and while their lyrics don’t appear at first blush to have the same focus on the seedier side of life, they do make good use of repetitive riffs and stomping rhythms that are more “Waiting for the Man” than “Venus in Furs.” Is it genre defining? Probably not, but I’ll take a couple of these over one more NOFX clone any goddamned time. –jimmy (HoZac)


PINKZILLA:
Self-titled: CD
One o’ them bands that hop scotches between punk, metal, scum rock, and stoner rock. Things are heavy, the guitars chugga-chugga along, the drums wham-bam relentlessly, and the singer howls from the gravel pit that is his voice box. –jimmy (Pinkzilla)


PIETASTERS, THE:
oolooloo: LP
Originally released in ‘95, oolooloo finally sees vinyl as part of The 3rd Wave Ska Preservation Society Vinyl Reissue Project. Funnily, while I’ve known all the songs on this album for just shy of twenty years, I’ve never owned the album ‘til now (most of them are on the live album, Strapped Live, which is the only album I ever held on to). In the late ‘90s I loved the Pietasters. Loved in the way that I only went to see Joe Strummer because they were opening. They got on stage and said they had the best job, playing for fourteen minutes before getting to watch Joe Strummer play. I almost left after their set. (I wasn’t that into the Mescaleros. A friend had seen the show the night before and Strummer threw in only one or two Clash songs.) I stayed and promptly had my ass handed to me as Strummer launched into almost a full set of Clash songs with tons of energy. Seriously one of my favorite show memories ever. As time passed, I listened to The Pietasters less and less. To be fully honest, I picked up the album because I wanted to support the project, but it’s gotten to be one of the most-played records since landing on my doorstep. It’s catchy as hell and it doesn’t take more than two seconds of “Girl Take It Easy” to pick up (pick it up, pick it up) my mood. They were one of the few ska bands at the time who seemed to have a sense of humor without being a shtick and just wanted to party. I appreciated it then, and hell, it’s 2012 and I’m not scared to admit I goddamn love this third wave ska record. –megan (Asbestos, asbestosrecords.wordpress.com / Underground Communique, undercomm.org)


PAPER BAGS:
II: 7” EP
Four cuts of potent thud punk in the fine tradition that No Front Teeth has established for itself—catchy, tight, and packed to the rafters with swagger. Crank it up and tell the boss to go fuck himself. –jimmy (No Front Teeth, nofrontteeth.co.uk)


ORGANS:
Breathing with the Dead: 7”
“Breathing with the Dead” is a mostly acoustic shuffler with atonal vocals, which sets the mood nicely enough. The flip, a garagy barn-stomper called “All Alone,” is the much more satisfying of the two, however. –jimmy (Puta!, putarecords.com)


ONSIND:
Mildred, Margie, Annie, Clarice: 10” EP
When I mention a band is feminist and acoustic I know a lot of you will automatically consider that a big bag of suck and probably try and trip me when I walk past you. I get it, I know. Understanding that, I still want to shove these four songs down all your throats, knowing you’ll eventually thank me for punching your esophagus with my personal tastes in music. Don’t believe me? Each song is about a female character from four movies: Mildred (Nurse Ratchet) from One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Margie from Fargo, Annie from Misery, and Clarice from Silence of the Lambs. So it’s smart, catchy, fun, very well written, and full of movie references. If you were listening to me talk, instead of just reading this in my voice, this is part where I grab you by your shoulders and shake you violently while proclaiming, “This is my favorite EP of the year!” very loudly in your narrow-minded face. –Donna Ramone –Guest Contributor (Plan-It-X, onsind.bandcamp.com)


OFF CAMBER:
Self-titled: Cassette
Quick, mysterious little four-songer here. Drawing from a ‘90s screamo template both European and American (Orchid, Sugar Pie Koko, Betercore, etc.) on the A side, the one song on the flip verges on John Zorn/Ruins avante garde weirdness. Cryptic lyrics, very little band info offered, creative but minimalist packaging. Not sure how much this will appeal to the majority of Razorcake’s readership—though it would’ve gone over like gangbusters in a back issue of Heartattack—but these songs are concise, jagged, and creative, and they’ve certainly piqued my interest. –keith (Off Camber)


NUCLEAR SANTA CLAUST:
Self-titled: 7” EP

Five tracks of thud punk not far off from bands like the Spits, but with a bit more “rock” mixed in to give things a bit more of a Killed by Death sheen.

–jimmy (Don Giovanni)


NOUN:
Holy Hell: LP
Noun is the mostly-solo side project of Screaming Females guitarist/vocalist Marissa Paternoster. I’ve been a big fan of Screaming Females over the years, but I’m not really sure what to make of Noun. Marissa sings in all of these songs and plays guitar, piano, and any other instruments not credited to the list of guest musicians in the liner notes. From the first track, “BlackLand,” and throughout the album, we hear Paternoster exploring her vocal range to good effect. She’s clearly a talented vocalist beyond being the eponymous screaming female in her main band. As an album though, Holy Hell is a bit all over the place. There are tracks that sound like they could easily have been Screaming Females singles, or tracks—like the aforementioned “BlackLand,” and “Call Earth”—which sound like something else entirely. The songs that don’t sound like Screaming Females were the tracks that most interested me on this, mainly the tracks where Marissa plays piano and sings. There was a very cabaret feel to these songs that I was into. While I was a bit more intrigued by the songs that didn’t sound like Paternoster’s main band, overall this didn’t move me the same way Screaming Females does. –Paul J. Comeau (Don Giovanni)


NOT YET!:
It’s a Small World, Alcohol: Cassette
Just when I am about to write off modern punk rock, releases like this one find their way into my hands thus restoring my faith in the musical form. Not Yet! seems to be the brainchild of YouTube sensation Jose Anything. Given the chance to flesh out his songs within a band format really takes his material to a higher level. Thematically, the songs are of the “young, drunk, and in love” variety but don’t come off as cheesy or schmaltzy. Containing only four songs, this tape left me wanting more. In fact, this tape is clearly one of the best things I’ve heard this year. I am looking forward to hearing more from Not Yet! –Garrett Barnwell (John Wilkes Booth)


NO:
Can You Dig It: LP
Ripping punk’n’roll from Connecticut, No have been tearing up shows in the Northeast for awhile now. At long last, their debut LP is now available for your listening pleasure, bringing every ounce of the ripping party that is a No live show to your living room—minus other sweaty punks knocking over your furniture and spilling beer everywhere. Offering up super catchy riffs with lots of guitar shredding, care of guitarist/vocalist Carlo Frese, and lots of epic singalongs, this LP offers everything I could want in a fun punk’n’roll album. I couldn’t stop listening to this, and you won’t want to either. –Paul J. Comeau (Electric Indian, nowaitwhat@gmail.com)


NO CLASS:
II: LP
Picks up where their first LP left off. The songs are thrashing and tense with some stop go parts, quick tempo changes, and some noisy parts that make their presence known here more than before. You can hear the band starting to push at the boundaries of their sound and see where they can take it. “That’s Just You...” has a noisy middle with some voice overs muttering in the din, and the results are okay. But I think they have the ability to do much better. They seamlessly transition into the rager “Burning Bridges” which cranks the energy to the red. And then they end the song with just a guitar hitting notes and letting them float into the air and fade away. Actually very cool and a nice switch. Totally changes the mood of the record for a brief moment from anger to somber. “Let Down,” which closes the record, is the definite standout. A bit speedy, with some avalanche-style percussion that sends the song over the edge. Interested to see what these guys have planned next. This is pretty damn good. –Matt Average (Deranged, derangedrecords.com)


NEON PISS:
Self-titled: LP
Bay Area hardcore-influenced punk that feels heavily inspired by bands from both Copenhagen and Umeå. Think Wasted Sounds, Ny Våg, Kick N’ Punch, or Hjernespind. Shit’s-fucked tunes that pack a mangy, soggy sound. The punk just drips off, leaving a puddle you dare not step in. Consisting of four veterans of the best leaky basements and cramped living rooms that DIY has to offer, Neon Piss is a truly talented outfit. And for all those “Regulations vs. The Vicious” debates that were never resolved, hopefully now we can all now just agree on Neon Piss. –Daryl Gussin (Deranged)


MURDERBURGERS, THE:
How to Ruin Your Life: CD
An album’s worth of pretty convincing pop punk from Scotland. Maddy Tight Pants would have a lengthy review ready, complete with cereal comparisons, but me, I’ll just say they sound like a pretty convincing do-over of How to Make Enemies-period Screeching Weasel, without the heavy pop culture nods. Songs like “Broken Brain” carry a surprisingly dark undertone to them, while the follow-up “Moron” (with its notably catchy chorus of “You’re a fucking moron” x 100 or so) takes a blitzkrieg Ramones approach. It’s hard to make stuff like this truly memorable, but the Murderburgers aren’t slouches. Nothing new, but How to Ruin Your Life is certainly nothing for fans of It’s Alive, Red Scare, or the Lookout back catalog to shy away from. –keith (Monster Zero)


MULTICULT:
Spaces Tangled: LP
Out of Baltimore, this trio has let their second full length fly. In “Stop Calling,” post grunge builds on noise rock with sharply strummed chords and battle cry vocals. “Groteske” showcases their ironic lyrics with a shout out to Gerard Depardieu and almost sounds like it’s played at 35 RPM instead of 45 with its slow-as-molasses crescendo. I kept anticipating the rest of the melody and wanting to pull the song along—not a bad thing! “Billows” is the most straight forward grunge’n’roll track constructed on a couple of fuzzed-out, alternating guitar hooks. Pulling from At the Drive-In’s pure energy and others like Bad Brains and New York’s Manual Zombie, Multicult has handpicked some of the best components of post punk in attempts to assemble a new patronage. I’m all in. Recommended. –Kristen K (Sleeping Giant Glossolalia, sleepinggiantglossolalia.com)


MOOVALYA:
Self-titled: CD
I went to the first two Warped Tours, skipped a year, went back in 1998 and then stopped going for a while. Then one of the bands playing a local Warped date stayed with me in 2002, so I went back. I had an embarrassingly good time and started attending Warped Tour again. In recent years, the majority of bands on the tour play a very complicated new form of emo, with screamed lyrics over technically adept hardcore. Moovalya is more accessible than most contemporary new school emo-influenced punk. They’re the sort of band that can make older snobs understand the appeal of the present day Warped Tour sound. There’s a definite link from the music of the past to this newish form, but its immediate influence is itself. Chances are, the kids are having more fun than you are. Why not check out what they’re into? –Art Ettinger (Dagger Sight, daggersight.com)


MODERN DAY RIPPERS:
Rip It Up in a Modern Way: CD
Debut record from these grizzled Chicago punk vets. What would Fear sound like fronted by Jello? Maybe something like this! “C.T.A.” and “Liquor Store Blues” are my favorites here. There are also some tunes about various drugs you can ingest in your free time. The back cover was a nice touch too. I would like to see these dudes live at some point, but I don’t think I would shake the singer’s hand afterwards, since his name is Germ. –koepenick (Sexy Baby)


MIDNITE SNAXXX:
You Kill Me: 7”
Three songs from new snot rock seamstresses Midnite Snaxxx. Members include Bobbyteens singer Tina Lucchesi on drums. I might have my head up my ass for being a Bobbyteens fan, but this band rocks and rolls the same road, and, therefore, I’m way into it. –Billups Allen (Goner)


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