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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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SAM RUSSO:
Greyhound Dreams: CD
Brit Sam Russo lobs at us an acoustic singer-songwriter platter of mostly melancholy songs generated by relentless wanderlust. Over and over, Russo’s haunting songs remind me of earlier Tom Waits records, in which the only comfort one has in home is the very lack thereof. But unlike those Waits records (Frank’s Wild Years being a notable exception and ready-made point of comparison here), there seems to be a vague narrative thread here. Near the opening of Greyhound Dreams, the songs revolve around the glories of freedom on the road. By the end, the bitter truth sets in as the road becomes a remorseless punisher—but a punisher that one hates to give up. I didn’t realize the road can be like any other addiction. Well done, Mr. Russo. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Red Scare)


SCAMPS:
Self-titled: CS
This is some pretty cool, mid-tempo, rockin’ stuff from a band out of Boston. Even has a little piano here and there, which is used to good effect instead of being annoying or overdone. The sound reminds me a little of that pre-LP stuff by the Hunches, which is a good thing. There is a bit of a Dead Boys kind of underside to the whole recording that I like a lot, and a couple tunes even veer into first album Candy Snatchers territory.  –Mike Frame (scamps.bandcamp.com)


SELF-MADE MONSTERS:
Draggin Our Knuckles: CD
Raw, primitive punk rock from the wilds of North Carolina. So simple and so great.  –Ty Stranglehold (Brain Drain, braindrainrecords.com)


SELF-MADE MONSTERS:
Fine Stew: CD
The album art is amazingly juvenile. The music is dye-your-hair-black and fuck-a-stripper rock’n’roll, and I like it! If you can’t take a joke, this probably isn’t for you. They do a really great cover of Devo’s “Mongoloid” and “He’s Waiting” by The Sonics. Totally worth a listen! –Jackie Rusted (Brain Drain, braindrainrecords.com)


SENIOR FELLOWS:
Shallow Grave for a Dying God: LP
The sludge subgenre of metal can be a cruel mistress. Every now and then along comes a band who ups the ante and shatters expectations. Notable crushers include 16, Kylesa, Lair Of The Minotaur, and Brainoil. Senior Fellows from Tulsa appear to have all the working parts in order yet fall short of being spectacular, which is a shame because they’re neither awful nor boring.  –Juan Espinosa (Dead Tank / Protagonist / Horton)


SEX SNOBS:
Pop Songs and Other Ways to Die: CS
‘90s alt/grunge very much like those bands featured at the listening stations at Tower Records. Remember when every cock rock glam band put away the microphone stand scarf and flannelled up? Sex Snobs are reminiscent of that period when bands literally listened to Dinosaur Jr. once. For my money, a band like Supercrush does this style so much better. –Juan Espinosa (Hip Kid, sexsnobs@gmail.com)


SEX TIDE:
Vernacular Splatter: 12” EP
Lux and Ivy have kids who go down in the basement and bang around on their mom and dad’s gear, which is good, because the drums have no cymbals and the echo is up. The bad news is that the kids play some sort of incomprehensible garagey alt-plod. I’ve never heard a six-song 45 drag on so painfully before in my life. DEAR EARDRUMS: Please accept this gift of a knitting needle in the spirit in which it was given. BEST SONG AND SONG TITLE: Band is too cool to list songs anywhere. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: There are three different colors of spray paint used for the back cover stencil, so good work on that aspect of things.  –Rev. Norb (Superdreamer)


SHARK TOYS / UV-TV:
Split: EP
Shark Toys pick up on that ‘80s L.A. Urinals sound and make it new. “New Song 3” is raw and gritty. It deliciously falls apart and frays and picks right back up again. And “Delirium Tremens” has a post-wave melody that drones throughout the song. It’s bizarre and catchy. The shitty guitar solo is the cherry on top. UV-TV from Florida sounds like a harder-edged Cold Beat. The lo-fi recording sounds canned, hot, and actually is a great contrast to the lush, echoed vocals. Both “Lilith” and “Only Matters When” are just super dreamy garage. Love it.  –Camylle Reynolds (Emotional Response, jenandstew.com)


SHIPWRECKS, THE:
Here on the South Shore, We Treat Friends Mo Bettah: CD
This disc is a wild blend of reggae, ska, surf, and standard street punk. The Shipwrecks are clearly a talented group of guys. Beach tunes for your punked-up, drunken beach party. –Steve Adamyk (morebeerparty.com)


SHIT THE COW:
67p: CD
From the unbelievably bad band name department comes this five-song EP of mid-tempo indie stuff with a goth outer shell. The band is from Sweden and, as far as I can tell, this is their second release. One song has a Starfuckers/Union Carbide Productions feel to it, which is pretty cool, but for the most part this EP just flies by without making much of an impact.  –Mike Frame (shitthecow.bandcamp.com)


SHIVERS, THE:
In the Morning: 2 x LP
Not-so-subtle hints of early Velvet Underground permeate throughout the four sides here, along with maybe a more-together Vaselines and the artier fringes of singer/songwriter-land. When it’s at its best, the songs are haunting, introspective and, yes, beautiful. Sunday morning music for those times when Johann Bach is a bit too old school.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Untide)


SHOUJO KITTEN:
Self-titled: CS
Syrupy sweet, cosplay-inspired sugar pop. They are self-described “bubble gum pop rock” and I’ll stick with that. Shoujo Kitten is light hearted and fun with super catchy hooks and sassy, sugar-coated vocals. I can actually picture this band getting picked up by the Disney machine for some teeny bop show, which is not a diss. They just have that sweet adolescent sound that gets devoured by the masses.  –Camylle Reynolds (Self-released, shoujokitten.bandcamp)


SICK LIVERS, THE:
Mid Liver Crisis: LP
Early candidate for album title of the year. Dirty, sleazy, barroom rock’n’roll is the order of the night here. Nothing new, but nothing new is required for this brand of rock. Always good to hear bands carrying on the tradition of balls-out rock, with no apologies given. Nashville Pussy and Turbonegro would be proud of these Welsh rockers. –Chad Williams (Baldy Longhair, baldylonghair.com / Glunk, glunkrecords.co.uk)


SOFT SHOULDER:
No Draw: LP
Another band aiming for the noisier end of the block. They keep things pretty eclectic while still maintaining a healthy dose of dissonance—”No Occupancy” is almost danceable with its swinging rhythm—as well as keeping things structurally sound instead of letting them dissolve into a wall of pure noise. Even the closer (also known as “side two of the album,” if you wanna get technical about things), the instrumental, barely-shy-of-twenty-minutes “Repeat #3,” revolves around a structure built on a primal bass/drum backbone with other parts added on. All told, these kids would’ve fit nicely on a bill between Tragic Mulatto and Distorted Pony, which is indeed a compliment.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Gilgongo, gilgongorecords.com)


SONNY VINCENT & SPITE:
Spiteful: CD
As a Sonny Vincent fan, you know what to expect and you can’t go wrong with this release. The sixty-something punk elder statesman still belts hot fire. His bitter poetry is no less hard-hitting some thirty-plus years later. The backing supergroup features the likes of Rat Scabies (The Damned), Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols), and Steve Mackay (Stooges). What’s truly remarkable is that this record doesn’t sound like an exhausted nostalgia trip, but electrified with the same caustic spit present on Testors’ “Bad Attitude.” Steve Mackay is MVP, as his tenor sax elevates the bluesy punk songs with a gutter jazz vibe. This is an ideal example of a supergroup. No one member attempts to outshine the other—instead operating as, god forbid, a band. If snarling punk or Sonny Vincent is your preferred poison, then Spitefulis a lethal dose –Sean Arenas (Ultramafic)


SONNY VINCENT:
Bizarro Hymns: CD
It’s always exciting to see a current release on Get Hip, which is such a solid label, and this is the first thing I have seen since the last Mullens album. This appears to be a U.S. pressing of a 2011 release from the ever-prolific Sonny Vincent. Considering how much stuff this guy releases, the quality level is incredible; nearly everything is great. From the early outings with the Testors on through to current day, he just keeps cranking out stuff with his friends along for the ride. One song on here has Scott Asheton on drums, which is pretty cool. This is more of the usual mid-tempo and faster punk stuff, which is usually embarrassing out of someone this age, but Sonny Vincent just nails it, time and time again. Highest possible recommendation for fans of Jeff Dahl, Mike Hudson/Pagans, The Dogs, and other “old guy punk.”  –Mike Frame (Get Hip)


SPEEDBUGGY USA:
South of Bakersfield: CD
I seem to recall seeing this band name around a fair amount for about a decade or so and just figured they were probably a surf band or something. The actual sound of Speedbuggy USA is right square in mid-‘90s alt country territory, which is where I like to find myself. There is more Uncle Tupelo happening here than there is Urban Outfitters wallpaper crap, is what I am trying to say. Good songwriting and good vocals separate this from a lot of other, newer, alt country stuff these days. A coupla tunes go off into cowpunk/Mojo Nixon territory, which is not so much my thing, but overall this is a pretty damn good release.  –Mike Frame (soundcloud.com/speedbuggy-usa)


SPOILS, THE:
Have a Drink with: CD
The Spoils are a band that I had heard of for a while, but hadn’t actually heard. I knew a couple mutual friends had started a surf rock band here in Austin, but surf rock was never really my thing, so I never checked ‘em out. So honestly, when I got a copy of this to review I was a bit skeptical if I would like it. Well, I was completely wrong… this is really cool! Ex-members of J-Church and The Smears have some involvement, although this sounds absolutely nothing like either. The eight songs on this CD are what the band refers to as, “noisy, surf-inspired instrumentals.” Honestly, I would say that these songs are sitting more on the “rock” side of the fence than the “surf” side, but they’re all absolutely drenched in surfy reverb so the surf influence is definitely still there. And they are noisy, adding to the list of what makes this CD really… listenable. Good stuff.  –Mark Twistworthy (Deep Eddy, deepeddy.net)


STAPLES IN CARPET:
Beyond Belief: 7”
Is “doom punk” a thing? Seattleites Staples In Carpet describe themselves as an old school punk and metal crossover, but that’s such a mouthful. Maybe doom punk is more appropriate. The Beyond Belief EP’s first two tracks, “Burn” and “Small Amount of Something,” tear ass out of the gate with blistering ‘80s hardcore intention, but eventually settle into a chuggy monotony dynamically reminiscent of the kind of doom metal that makes me sleepy. The latter half of the EP—”Closed Out” and “Ornaments”—dispenses with much of this urgency altogether, and the roughly two-minute tracks feel much longer than their actual running time. It’s difficult to qualify how Beyond Belief differs from Staples In Carpet’s previous effort “One of the Same,” which didn’t seem to suffer from this same affliction. Like that release, there is plenty of distortion here, the vocals are still angry and talky, and the drums are still serviceably helmed, but comparatively this record feels more lethargic, groggier, and cloudier. At least the translucent red vinyl is beautiful.  –Kelley O’Death (Totally Brainless, staplesincarpet.bandcamp.com)


STAPLES IN CARPET:
Beyond Belief: CD
Three-piece Seattle hardcore punk with a metallic edge. Certainly not reinventing the wheel here, but I could see having a lot of fun in a basement getting sweaty, bopping about to these jams. Six short and punchy songs chug away on this disc. Best song: “Small Amount of Something.” Solid and cohesive. Great job! –Jackie Rusted (staplesincarpet.bandcamp.com)


STICKMEN WITH RAY GUNS:
Grave City: LP
Stickmen With Ray Guns were a Texas punk outfit who, like most legendary cult bands, existed for mere moments and were allies with bands who would go on to become household names—in this case the Butthole Surfers. Notorious in Dallas for their unapologetically offensive lyrics and deliberately violent behavior onstage, they were a certified opening band for scores of popular touring bands including the Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, and the UK Subs. Most of the tracks on this album were recorded between the years of 1981 and 1984 and previously only appeared on long-out-of-print compilation albums (among them the classic Cottage Cheese from the Lips of DeathLP) with no proper full-length or singles ever released. Often mentioned under the same breath as Flipper due to their atonal wall of dirge, the songs on the first side of this record certainly bring to mind Generic’s alienating experimental punk qualities as well as the bizarre nature of Butthole Surfers’ Locust Abortion Technician. The second side wanders further more towards cow punk territory with a Dicks and Big Boys twist, save for the final track “Kill the Innocent,” which is the musical equivalent of watching a plane crash in slow motion for hours on a loop. I have a soft spot for the ugly side of punk and Stick Men With Ray Guns is as ugly as it gets. –Juan Espinosa (End Of An Ear, endofanear.com)


STOPS, THE:
Nameless Faces: LP
I had been hearing this band’s name thrown around by quite a few people whose opinions I really respect, so I thought the logical thing was to grab a copy for myself. I am sure glad I did. It’s pure West Coast punk rock goodness that makes my blood pump. I swear if I listen to this in the car again, I am going to bend my steering wheel in half and punch a hole in the roof! If you were to dig back into my past Razorcake reviews, you would find that two bands that I truly love are Neighborhood Brats and Arctic Flowers. The Stops take my favorite aspects of both of those bands and create something unique and ripping. I am going to make it a mission to see The Stops live as soon as possible, but until then I have this amazing record to keep me company (barring any auto accidents). –Ty Stranglehold (Dirt Cult)


SUNPOWER:
Last Rites: EP
I was not expecting this from a Belgian band named Sunpower. Fucking unleashed! It’s like a mix of the Clash, Dead Kennedys, the Jam, and the Coachwhips but on amphetamines—full-force, melodic hardcore garage. Deliciously short songs are all killer, no filler. –Camylle Reynolds (Spastic Fantastic, spasticfantastic.de)


SUPERSUCKERS:
Holdin’ the Bag: CD
The Supersuckers are as peculiar as a two-headed cow. They are a Janus-like, teet-wielding beast that sports two seemingly separate heads; one bovine head representing the side of the band that is a sort of American Turbonegro—in other words, a swashbuckling hedonistic band that effortlessly combines the disparate elements of arena rock and punk—and the other head representing the puke-encrusted, cowboy-hat wearing, chaw-drooling side of the band. Despite the differing orientations of each head, they are both ultimately connected to a hind quarters equipped with a dung-spackled tail and two hoofed legs, all too capable of suddenly rearing up and kicking your Adam’s apple down your throat. As Eddie Spaghetti himself points out in the liner notes of Holdin’ the Bag, the key to making it work is finding that stripped-down, deeply honest core at the heart of both punk and country—a bullshit-free core that existed in both country and punk’s nascent forms, before corporate pirate tendrils snaked into openings in both and polluted their naked honesty quotient. Here’s to the Supersuckers for pulling out their bowie knives and chopping those encroaching corporate tendrils into bloody chunks and tossing them into their bubbling pot of booya. Holdin’ the Bag is the Supersuckers’ second “country” studio album, coming some eighteen years after 1998’s Must’ve Been High. We’ll have to wait to see if any of the bruised ditties on this album become new classics, but after a few listens, I dare say that it’s a pretty safe bet. Help out Mr. Spaghetti as he battles cancer by picking up a copy of Holdin’ the Bag and tossing a few dollars his way. And in so doing, let your inner Hellbilly out and let him/her ride nekid and tendril-free on the two-headed cow of the Supersuckers. –Aphid Peewit (Acetate)


SUZARDS, THE:
Pour Votre Santé, Écoutez The Suzards: 7” EP
The Suzards are from Bordeaux, France. As a result, despite employing Google translator and having taken two years of high school French, I can’t tell you much about them. Things I can tell you: they wear impossibly tight pants, they are influenced by New York Dolls, and their four-song EP Pour Votre Santé, Écoutez The Suzards—in English, “For Your Health, Listen to The Suzards”—is expertly crafted, throwback ‘70s punk ensconced in adorable album art drawn by someone named Van Gogo. Featuring a healthy dose of weedly-wah guitar fuckery, jaunty drumming, staccato vocals, and even some hand claps on the EP’s closer “Just Gimme a Kiss”—oh, how I love me some hand claps!—these four songs are upbeat and danceable without sacrificing the anarchic spirit that necessarily accompanies all great punk rock from or inspired by this era.  –Kelley O’Death (Adrenalin Fix, adrenalinfixmusic.com / Barbarella Club, barbarellaclubrecords.bigcartel.com)


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