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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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MAXIMUM RNR:
The Black and White Years: CD
Amazing how decent a Zeke/Speedealer knockoff-sounding band can sound after being inundated with some of the other garbage in the review stack. This appears to be a singles and rarities collection from an Ontario band that has been around for at least a decade. They are as good as anyone playing this style but I have been burnt out on it for many, many years so there is not a lot for me to grab on to here. Hookers/Brutal Knights/Candy Snatchers fan? You will want to be all over this, because this band kills it in that style. –frame (Self Released)


ADEM:
Apocalypsongs: CD
Adem plays singer-songwriter stuff accompanied only by a guitar. As a writer myself, lyric-driven songs are my favorite kind of music, but I just didn’t connect with his songwriting or delivery. Though it didn’t click with me, I can respect it for what it is. That’s not my complaint. It’s the packaging I have a problem with. It just comes off as overwhelming and pretentious. It’s two CDs long, and part two (the second CD) is titled: “Infinite to Extinct” and is a five-part, five-track suite. As soon as you know that all you’re getting is a dude singing over his guitar, you realize what a self-indulgent plod you’re getting into. This guy’s really not bad, but a little restraint goes a long way. –Craven (Intense Human Victories, contact@intensehumanvictories.com)


ABJECT:
Liberty: CD
The lyrics are articulate and intelligent. The music is a hodgepodge of backyard thrash with occasional hints of metal and even quasi-flamenco guitar. Of course, there are the ubiquitous ska tunes, which have apparently become de rigueur for this generation of punks as tunes about Reagan were three decades ago. –jimmy (Esco Zoo Music, escozoomusic@gmail.com)


MASSMORD / SHADES OF GREY:
Self-titled: 12” Split
This reprint of ‘07 and ‘08 Swedish hardcore should have everyone smiling. Compared to Wolfbrigade, Massmord, who are now using the moniker Future Ruins, offer up six d-beat, politipunk tunes. While this is sung in Swedish, don’t fret; there is a blurb in English on each track giving listeners insight into the aim of each song. With snarling vocals and heavy chords, Massmord attacks capitalism, the lack of autonomy, work, and my fav, “Missnöjets Ruiner,” which challenges punk collectives to remember we’re all on the same side and stop squabbling over the small stuff. Shades Of Grey fit seamlessly into the mix with English lyrics and automatic gun fire drums. Five tracks address the aristocratic one percent, the invisible prison we live in, exploitation, and despair. This is prime Swedish crust. If you didn’t get it then, you best get it now on swirly lavender vinyl. Recommended. –Kristen K (Nakkeskudd Plater / Profane Existence / Blindead Productions / Contraszt! / Vex)


20TH CENTURY TOKYO PRINCESS:
I’ve Never Been Happy & I’ve Never Had Fun: Cassette
This tape sounds kind of funky, the way tapes sometimes do, where turning it up just makes it worse. Somehow, this is a positive. If I had the internet, I’d’ve downloaded it, but I don’t and they sent this tape, so it is what it is, fancy download code be damned. Don’t expect your head to explode. It’s, musically, the Germs and, vocally, the Modern Lovers. There’s a picture of Lou Reed on the cover. This is the kind of band that I’d like to be from my town so I could drunkenly bounce around while they play, but not a band I would go out of town to drunkenly bounce around to. That does make sense? If you’re into the whole, “How fucking doped out do we sound?” thing, this is all you. Also, their bass player is good. –Rene Navarro (Random Old Records & Tapes)


ZEBRASSIERES:
Black Brainwave: 10” EP
An engaging cross of the Eyes bouncy bubblegum punk and the synth-laden future punk of the Epoxies to get ye bouncing ‘n’ bopping about. The right amount of each ingredient and the sense to know not to let a song overstay its welcome make this a definite Bandstand Pick to Click. –jimmy (P.Trash)


YOUTHBITCH:
Youthbitch Youthbitch Youthbitch Youthbitch Youthbitch: Cassette
At first glance and listen, I kind of chalked these cats up to being another Ramones-core band. After taking the tape for a few test spins though, I detected a serious ‘60s rock’n’roll garage vibe going on here that I quite liked. These guys hail from Portland, Oregon and I would venture to say that seeing them live would be a fun time indeed. You can tell that they must have spent quite a few rainy days cranking out songs in a basement as most, if not all, of the songs on this tape buzz with a sort of manic intensity that could only come from some serious confinement. The tape also sports a lyric sheet with some awesome illustrations for the songs. Well played sirs, well played. –Garrett Barnwell (Gnartapes)


YOUNG GOVERNOR:
Pizza Face: 7”
Ben Cook’s in that elite group of songwriters who have unassailable punk roots, who haven’t completely abandoned what they learned at an early age, haven’t divorced themselves from edgy, dark, fast beginnings, and are still exploring. How does someone continue to make music without just repeating themselves, yet they’re instantly recognizable? It’s a mystery that Mark Ryan (Mind Spiders), Jeff Burke (Potential Johns), Greg Cartwright (Reigning Sound) and Alicja Trout (River City Tanlines) are also unraveling. So, after a small raft of records (7”s, 10”, LP, Marvelous Darlings output), it’s safe to say that if Ben Cook’s manning the steering wheel, it’s worth a listen and worth the ride. This originally came out as a super-limited lacquer; now it’s a Japanese import. But there’s one caution. Listening to music this good—soak in it, let it permeate—will make you start shelving other records that you thought were passable. Here’s to asking more of your music. –todd (SP, sp-records.com)


YOUNG AND IN THE WAY:
“Amen” b/w “I Am Not What I Am”: 12”
Young And In The Way are a hardcore band, but they play black metal. They don’t play cheap blast beats and distort it with cassette hiss. They don’t simplify old Mayhem into formulaic interludes with cheesy bursts of noise. They play fucking black metal…but like a hardcore band. That’s the only way to describe it. The recording is warm and heavy—and the vocals are throaty and evil—but lack distortion or augmentation. The metallic hardcore parts break up the song structures, but are sparse and provide just the right level of creative variety. These two records have been released previously, but A389 saw fit to put them together in one package. They fit well together. Everything flows and fits perfectly into one sovereign, disgusting, dark mess. My only complaint is that I wish the records had been released with lyrics or notes. –Ian Wise (A389)


YALE, MASSACHUSETTS:
Act Like You’ve Been There: 7”
The first song on this record starts out with buzzsaw guitars riffs and pounding drums. It’s a little more indie rock-sounding than the rest of the record and starts things off just right. The second song, which sets the tone for the rest of the record, is total pop punk, but in a way that’s not too candy coated, just catchy like good rock ‘n’ roll should be. You get three more songs on this record and they’re everything that I would be desperately looking for if I was desperately looking for good pop punk, but I’m actually never looking for pop punk at all. I often am, however, looking for good rock and roll with hooks and such needs are sated here. The lyrics deal with self-doubt, scene parasites, and faltering friendships. Others have done a better job on such topics, but I can still appreciate their choice of subject matter and the lyrics work well with the upbeat songs. So, no complaints. I’ve put this record on quite a few times in the morning before heading out the door. And I’ll definitely be watching this band. –Craven (Self-released)


MANXX, THE:
“Messin’ Around” b/w “Hard Lessons”: 7"
Swank cheese from Denver, shrewdly blending the enthusiastically rinky-dink with the low, throaty gurgle of a high-performance Leslie organ speaker. Clipped female vocals waxing poetic about cannonballs in the swimming pool and doing it with boys bring to mind visions of the Okmoniks doing Radio X-era Donnas numbers, and it’s hard to kick that particular concept out of bed. Although i applaud the inclusion of a download code, i’ll register a token grouse about the running length, though...a sub-two-minute A-side backed with a minute-thirty-five B-side suggests plenty of room for a third song on the flip, or, at bare minimum, doubling up the A-side, Rip Off Records style, and leaving the B-side blank. That, of course, gains me no additional Manxx songs, but it does help me sleep better at night knowing all resources are being used to their fullest utility. But yes, it is as the sleeve says: “Another Fine Batch Of Snappy Little Numbers!” BEST SONG: “Messin’ Around” BEST SONG TITLE: “Messin’ Around” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Run-off groove etchings read “this party has a pool!” on the A-side, and “la mauvaise education...” on the flip. –norb (Snappy Little Numbers)


WORSHIT:
Self-titled: EP
Lawdy! Lawdy! This is some good stuff. Hailing from sunny Moscow, Russia comes the blazing Worshit. Listening to this has me grinning from ear to ear and wanting more. It’s that damn good. They are definitely punk with jumpy beats, a gritty guitar distortion, and a vocalist who sounds like he’s gurgling on blood and throat tissue (yet through it all, the words come out nice and clear). Kind of like Satz from the Lewd. Most of the songs are mid tempo. Sometimes they pick up the pace, but no matter how they’re dishing it out, it’s done with blunt force. All the songs on here are great, musically and lyrically. They don’t pull punches, opt to tell it like it is, and offer some astute political observations (“Numbers” and “Worshit”) that apply to the American political landscape as well. I guess the apathy disease is worldwide? –Matt Average (Worshit, worshithatesyou@gmail.com)


WINDOWSILLS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
I think this band is a contender for the most mundane band name contest (is there a band called Chairlift? If so, in my mind, they would win.). Apparently, this band shares members of The Apers and The Accelerators, so while not exactly my cup of tea, fans of those bands will certainly enjoy this. For the uninitiated, this is straightforward, pleasant, pop punk that takes its cues from bands like the Riverdales and the Queers. –Chris Mason (Monster Zero)


LOOSE: Dodge This!:
Dodge This!: CD
These guys sure do wear their influences on their sleeves, unabashedly so. From Italy, Loose churns out twelve ‘70s-influenced proto punkers on this CD, taking their cues from some of the most famous and legendary bands from both Detroit and Australia of that bygone era. I call most current bands like this “Man’s Ruin Rock,” as their style of hard-rocking retro guitar rawk/punk would have fit perfectly on the defunct Man’s Ruin Record label. Included are Radio Birdman and Sonic’s Rendezvous Band covers, supporting my point above. Well done. –Mark Twistworthy (Loose, loosemax@alice.it)


LONESOME SAVAGES, THE:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Four tracks of unbridled Cramps worship, right down to the sludgy tempos, two guitar/no bass shtick, covers of Slim Harpo and Johnny Burnette standards, and reverb aplenty. –jimmy (Kind Turkey, kindturkeyrecords.com)


WILD BILLY CHILDISH AND THE SPARTAN DREGS:
Forensic R&B: LP
New combo featuring Billy Childish, a man synonymous with garage rock. The mention of Childish’s name conjures up images of guitar tones and lyrical themes, making the listener familiar with the album before its first spin. The Spartan Dregs are different than many of Childish’s previous groups in that he doesn’t sing or play guitar, instead he plays a snarling bass and chimes in some backing vocals. I’m not sure who the singer/guitarist is, but he isn’t just a Childish clone. His voice is warblier and his guitar less slashing, but that doesn’t make The Spartan Dregs any less powerful. I think these songs were initially released as a limited series of 7”s with handcrafted covers. I don’t even want to know what kind of prices they’re fetching. –Sal Lucci (Damaged Goods)


LIQUOR STORE/NATURAL CHILD:
Split: 7”
Liquor Store: High-strung Jay Reatard punk that recycles the riff from “Suspect Device.” Catchy and snotty. Natural Child: Melancholy, strummy sing-along, like you might hear on an early ‘Mats record. Two good sounds that go well together. Both recorded lo-fi. –Chris Terry –Guest Contributor (eradicatorrecords.bigcartel.com)


WHOLE IN THE HEAD:
Them and Us: 7” EP
U.K. anarcho-hardcore, sorta like Disorder with more Kropotkin and less glue ‘n’ cider. –jimmy (Dogdown, dogdown@hotmail.co.uk)


WHITE GUILT:
Self-titled: 7”
Syracuse’s White Guilt offer up four tracks of mangled hardcore punk. Boundaries are met without hesitation. The vocals indecipherably affected. The noise rages on. The amps may as well be in the process of utter annihilation. It simmers down and picks right back up. The destruction seems endless and encompassing. Fans of Ecoli, Iron Lung Records, and feeling trampled: take note. This record nails it. –Daryl Gussin (Feeble Minds / Video Disease)


LIONIZE:
Superczar and the Vulture: CD
Cover looks like an outtake of something out of Asia’s catalog, and the music pretty much follows suit—painful dreams of grand arena rock fame mixed with a yen for a reggae backbeat on full display. The kids in Journey will be plenty jealous. –jimmy (Pentimento, pentimentomusic.com)


WEEKEND NACHOS:
Two Things at Once: LP
Hey Peabody, set the wayback machine to 2005 for a bit, then we’ll move up to 2010 for more audio brutality. This album collects two EPs from Weekend Nachos. This shit is heavier than hell, akin to playing your Infest records at a slow speed, or better yet, Neanderthal at a slower speed. Dense, forceful, and moves with a deliberate, slow gait. The first side consists of their Torture EP, originally released in 2005. This is some slow, grinding (not grindcore) stuff that works at wearing you down to a fleshy puddle. It’s as though they studied Noothgrush and Man Is The Bastard while simultaneously listening to the aforementioned Infest and Neanderthal. There’s some mid tempo, but, for the most part, it’s sludge. They really slow it down on the Bleed EP from 2010 (which makes up the second side of this LP). Songs trudge in iron boots across muddy fields as smoke rises from burning bodies type stuff. They pick up the pace here and there, but it’s more to create a tension and break the spell of the slow. Here are two reasons why the Weekend Nachos have a rep among the fans of powerviolence. –Matt Average (Cowabunga, cowabungarecords.com)


WEEKEND DADS:
Self-titled: 7”
This is a summertime record…which is weird since the band is from Canada. Regardless, I would like nothing more than to blast this while drinking cheap beers in someone’s backyard. If there is a Slip N Slide involved, even better! Weekend Dad’s play great four chord punk rock that reminds me of King Friday and Vagina Sore Jr. Easily one of the best 7”s I’ve heard this year! –Chris Mason (Its Alive)


IN VITRO:
Konfrontacje: CD
Wow, lotta Polish stuff findin’ its way into the Razorcake bins these days. These cats are aiming for a catchy, sorta streetpunkish sound, with things never getting too fast and lots of chanty bits. Nothing here too crucial when all’s said and done, but I can definitely see a crowd full of kids going nuts to ‘em. –jimmy (No Pasaran, nopasaran.pl)


WEEKEND DADS:
Self-titled: 7”
This band writes songs that are meant to be screamed along with by four dozen of your closest and/or drunkest friends at a Fest near you! Lyrics that are caught somewhere between nostalgia, depression, and nostalgia for depression, like, “On an old bridge/On a rainy night/Pick myself up/It’s gonna end right.” Also, a classic Fest-esque line, “The time is for drinking when you know that there’s nothing worth fighting for!” Nothing new here, but who cares? Solid stuff! –Maddy (It’s Alive)


INTEGRITY:
Kingdom of Heaven: 7"
The three songs on this 7” are reissues from two separate releases dating back to 1992. Integrity weren’t the hype machine they are now, but they were a band that took chances and pushed the limits of what could be considered “hardcore” at the time (and eventually reshaped the definition for a lot of people). It’s easy to see the influence they had on hundreds of bands that followed, but what I like most is that if you listen to these songs out of context of the band’s later significance, they are still just really great songs. The down tuned, out of step guitar riffs are sick and evil, and the vocals are unique even though they’ve been copied a million times over. It’s cool to have these three songs on this format rather than buried in the deep cuts on some retrospective CD. –Ian Wise (A389)


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