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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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YUCK FOU:
System in Effect: CD
I thought there was no way that the music could live up to a band name like Yuck Fou, or the cover art depicting a nuclear mushroom cloud shaped like a middle finger... I was wrong. This is exactly what a band with a name and art this bad should sound like. Sludgy, angry, boring metal. Unless this is some kind of high parody, in which case I was totally roped in, and I applaud their wit. –ty (Ever Rat)


YOUTH AVOIDERS:
Time Flies: 7”
Youth Avoiders has been one of my favorite bands of the last few years, and this 7” reaffirms that belief. Between the demo and their split with Zombies Are Pissed, the band got a bit more melodic, a bit more rock’n’roll, while still maintaining the aggression that made the demo so great. This 7” has a similar vibe to the material on the split, with frantic energy and crazy guitar wankery right out of the gate. Lyrically, they are still a bit all over the place, but vocalist Christopher Gautier is so fierce on the mic that the roar of his delivery sells anything they could write about. If you’ve yet to check these guys out, do yourself a favor and pick this one up. Highly recommended. –Paul J. Comeau (Build Me A Bomb, youthavoiders@riseup.net)


WYMYNS PRYSYN:
Self-titled: EP
Raging rawk garage ponk hardcore—whatever the fuck you want to call it. The guitar is loud and dense, the bass is up in the mix pounding against your skull, and the drums are bashing everything around into mincemeat. The songs on the first side, “Payday” and “Cat Pills,” are as fast as they are catchy. So fucking good it’s not funny! Both songs are a sonic whirlwind that whips you around, turning everything upside down and leaving the room in shambles. Is the surf-esque instrumental on the flipside, “John Titor’s Blues” about the time traveler from 2036? Nonetheless, it’s an interesting choice to end this record, as it shifts the mood slightly down and fuzzes out with a good amount of low end. Hunt this bastard down. –Matt Average (Scavenger Of Death)


WOUNDED LION:
IVXLCDM: CD
When I saw that I had a release from In The Red, I thought, “Cool! They put out some good stuff.” This album by Wounded Lion, however, is not one of them. I can’t tell if the vocals and lyrics are supposed to be funny or not. The vocals are so dull and deadpanned I almost can’t help but think it’s all part of the band’s “thing,” but who knows? The lyrics include singing about episodes of The Love Boat and Batman, monkeys, and someone named Jim. The band also lifts a line or two from Black Flag’s “Depression,” that makes The Dirty Projectors’ cover of the song sound intense. Their track “Black Ops” is some sort of repetitive sonic torture reminiscent of “The Song That Never Ends.” Except, thankfully, it does. The music is predominantly fuzzy garage rock, which is okay in its on right, but, frankly, I’m getting tired of hearing so many bands play it the past few years. What I’d love to see Wounded Lion do is more songs along the line of the fifth track, “Going into the Unknown,” a darker, slower tune that doesn’t have the garage rock but keeps the fuzzy guitar sound and which the vocals also compliment. Unfortunately, it’s the only track like it on the album. Shame. –kurt (In The Red)


WORRIERS, THE:
Past Lives: 7”
I’m going to embarrass Lauren here and put in my bid that she’s our Billy Bragg. Whereas Sr. Bragg makes the political personal, Ms. Measure makes the personal universal. She has a theurgical ability of turning the everyday—loss, cracked cups, slow disintegration, the small epiphanies, the fragile-skin bubbles of love—into shiny little beads to contemplate, to gain strength from. So bittersweet, this post-Measure [SA] world we live in; let’s revel in the fact that integrity and honesty never go out of fashion. (I learned a word in this review from the cover of the 7”. Thanks, punk rock.) –todd (No Idea)


WITHDRAWAL:
Faith Flesh & Blood: 7” EP
While the presence of one o’ them, “Naw, it ain’t really a swastika” swastikas next to an upside down cross on the back cover did elicit a raised eyebrow, the music presented here is spot-on hardcore up to its neck in metal influence, sorta like Gehenna slowed down or some other metalcore group I can’t quite put my finger on. This kinda stuff appears to be enjoying a renaissance, which is a bit of relief after years of silly black metal and painful nü metal-influenced “hardcore” pabulum. –jimmy (A389)


WITCH-LORD:
Atomized in the Black Solarian: LP
Another band featuring a Gehenna member or two; this band deals in post-Sabbath sludge-o-rama metal. Limited to 250 copies. –jimmy (A389)


WILD, THE / RUN, FOREVER:
Split: 7”
This unique split of folk punk tunes and a mini-zine, to boot, has quickly made it into my regular rotation. The Wild, a five piece band out of Atlanta, builds their variety of folk punk with harmonica, tambourine, banjo, and galloping drums. Less backwoods than country dirt road, their two-song contribution has left their Dylan-style ballads at home and wrangled up some knee-slappin’, toe-tappin’ jams. “Street Names” and “To Be Content” challenge us to realize our potential with sing-along choruses, like, “We are the ones we’re waiting for; this is the here and now.” On the flip side, Run, Forever is a trio out of Pittsburgh, PA offering up two power punk tracks, “Silver Screens” and “Young Pioneers.” The former kicks things off with a rockabilly, garage-type hook, while the latter brings up some Jawbreaker harmonies. Run, Forever hits on those things we have trouble letting go of and maintaining that positive DIY attitude in the face of adversity. To top things off, in classic cut and paste fashion, the zine consists of photos, lyrics from both bands, pieces on twenty-one-and-over shows, and safety in punk collectives. Impressive work, both musically and literarily. Recommended. –Kristen K (Solidarity, solidarityrecordings.com)


WIDE ANGLES:
Boxcutter: 7” EP
Four tracks of indie/emo/pop punk hybridism that makes one break out in a funky rash. –jimmy (No Breaks)


WHITE WHALE / MALLWALKERS:
Split: 7”
White Whale play pissed garage punk with trace amounts of snot. It’s quite conducive to bopping your head up and down to, whether or not they want you to enjoy it. The driving bass lines are the clinchers. Fans of Chicago garage punk bands take note. Mallwalkers are Buffalo, NY’s answer to Black Randy & The Metro Squad, only thirty years later. Soul-inspired punk (with horns) that must mandate a party. Finishing up their side of the split with the finger pointing track “Lo-fi Losers,” you just get the feeling that they must absolutely kill live. Contains members of Everything Fall Apart, Unwelcome Guests, Get Bent, and other Buffalo punk bands. –Daryl Gussin (Subject / Feral Kid)


WHATEVER BRAINS:
Self-titled: LP
Chaotic, wild, fucked up, drug-fueled, spastic—these are all descriptions that are more than fitting and likely lobbed at Whatever Brains quite frequently. I reckon their starting point is some dank corner of the garage rock thang, but they drown it in synths and a whole buncha other crazy shit and fuel it all with a manic energy that would make Polysics or Le Shok green with envy. Some cat you hate havin’ around ‘cause he’s a complete asshole? Plop this on the ol’ record player when he’s peakin’ and watch the fucker’s head explode. –jimmy (Sorry State)


WEIRD PARTY:
Honey Slides: 7” single
Decent single here. “Honey Sides” is a pretty straight forward garage-style song that has a little bit of attitude, but not enough to be convincing when you’re singing about being a maniac. If you’re going to sing about it, play like you are. A little more fire and abandon is needed to send this song over the edge. The flipside, “Sarah Palin” is better. It has more going on to hold your interest and warrant repeat listens. The low end that comes in with a thud at the beginning is what grabbed me. The vocals during the chorus hinge on Doc Dart at times, which is cool. I like how the chorus contrasts with the rest of the song and is effective at hooking you in. Never thought I’d like anything with Sarah Palin’s name on it, but this is a pretty good song. Is it about her? I have no idea. But they say, “Her eyes are filled with terror baby / It smells like the stench of a dead cow.” –Matt Average (Sex & Death, sexanddeath.bigcartel.com)


WAX IDOLS:
“All Too Human” b/w “William Says”: 7”
Sixties-influenced dream pop with a sloppy, almost sludgy delivery and a noise element to it that’s just barely this side of The Jesus And Mary Chain. –jimmy (Hozac, hozacrecords.com)


WASTED:
Outsider by Choice: CD
The latest from this long-running band. They’ve always reminded me of Rancid, with their romanticization of struggle and the streets, poppy leanings, and U.K. influence filtered through ‘80s U.S. punk. However, Wasted are less polished, less Clash influenced, not as corny lyrically, and have a slight hardcore sound. This is a decent outing. There are some missteps, such as the ska-inflected “Doom Train.” But then you have a song like “Burn It Down,” which is the best song on here, and it definitely catches your attention with its driving tempo and tuneful style. This disc also includes their Modern World Is Dead EP, which is pretty good for this style. The recording is rougher than what’s on the Outsider by Choice album, and, as a result, has more punch. –Matt Average (Combat Rock Industry, combatrockindustry.net)


VULTURES UNITED:
To Live and Die in Gainesville: 7” EP
Mid-tempo rhythms and lotsa screaming about wanting to live in the titular city, Sarah Palin being an idiot, Italian fascist organizations, and a cover of a Good Riddance tune. –jimmy (Kiss Of Death)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Terminal Decay: LP
Compilations have always played a big part in the spread of punk rock. From early gems like Let Them Eat Jellybeans and Flex Your Head to early to mid-’90s CDs like Punk Sucks or Punk USA, it was the best way to find out about band you probably wouldn’t have heard about otherwise. At some point in the late ‘90s, the compilation was more of less replaced by the label sampler. There were still good things about these (cheap, and lots of bands), but the art of building a solid compilation was becoming lost. It’s a good thing that Welly knows a thing or two about what a compilation is supposed to be. He has managed to put together a stellar group of international bands in a way that fits together like the pieces of a big punk rock puzzle. The songs all work individually, of course, but when put in a certain order with all the other songs, it becomes an entity of its own. There are several bands that I already know and love on here (Night Birds, Arctic Flowers, Off With Their Heads, and Rebel Spell) and a bunch of stuff that is new to me (1981, Bad Sam, 40 Hells, and Agent Attitude, to name a few). It feels and sounds like a classic punk compilation to me. Throw in an amazing new issue of Artcore zine with interviews with the likes of Arctic Flowers, Night Birds, and 1981 and this comp is coming up a winner every time! –ty (Artcore, artcorefanzine.co.uk)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Spokanarchy!: CD
The soundtrack to the documentary of the same name, this album features Spokane, WA punk bands of the ‘70s/’80s whose stories are documented in the film. The bands featured run the gamut of what can be defined as punk, and there’s an eclecticism here that I really enjoyed. The bands that particularly caught my ear include Sweet Madness, TFL, Vampire Lezbos, and Social Bondage. Sweet Madness, the earliest band featured, have a very Clash vibe to them with their catchy tune “I Need Electricity.” TFL play angry hardcore punk that would have been at home in any of the larger punk scenes. There were several bands with a new wave vibe, and of these, Social Bondage was the most standout band. Politico-punks Vampire Lezbos were fast and angry, like TFL but with more rock’n’roll vibe. This soundtrack does an excellent job of documenting an overlooked scene, one of many that quietly helped shape punk as we know it. Recommended. –Paul J. Comeau (Flat Field, flatfieldrecords.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Portland Mutant Party: 7”EP
First up: the almighty Mean Jeans! Have they ever written a bad song? Ramonescore for people who don’t really like Ramonescore but totally like to party. Therapists: despite their best efforts, it is rare for bands to pull of such a convincing Circle Jerks impression. No disrespect intended. I think I’m a fan. Chemicals: Snotty as hell garage rock with tasteful keyboards. Leaders: quirky punk, akin to Killer Dreamer. I didn’t know this record existed and I’m excited as hell it ended up in my pile for review. A great comp! –Chris Mason (Jonny Cat / Portland Mutant Party)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Either or Sucks: A Tribute to Descendents: CD
As tribute records go, this one would definitely rise to the top in my stack. Mostly unknown bands tackle the vast catalogue of this top notch outfit. Caleb Lionheart and The Tired And The True are my favorites here. Call It Quits’ bludgeoning take on “Bikeage” makes me want to hear Face To Face’s take again. Hospital Garden sounds like they have J. Mascis guesting on vocals, which seems a bit odd. But, overall, this is definitely worth giving it a spin. –koepenick (Either/Or Records)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
A Ray of Hope: CD
Underground music changed once the idea of a compilation album disappeared. Sure, label samplers still pop every now and then, but it’s a slightly cheaper version of a great concept. Granted, I wasn’t even around for the comp CD heyday, but I really wish it were still around. Eager Beaver put together a great comp of a ton of bands (mostly American, mostly gruff pop punk) to help raise funds for the recent earthquakes in Japan. In the grand scheme of things, I know that no punk comp is going to create a huge splash in the charity efforts, but it’s beautiful that CD exists in the first place. I highly recommend that you purchase a copy. As a reader of Razorcake, you’re probably already familiar with a good chunk of the bands on it, but your car could probably use another mix CD. (This review is not intended as an insult to anyone who does not own a car.) –Bryan Static (Eager Beaver, eagerbeaver.shop-pro.jp)


UNDERPARTS:
Drown in This: 7” EP
Operation Ivy moves to Germany, ditches the ska, and embraces pop punk. –jimmy (Yo-Yo)


UH OH:
Self-titled: LP
Unpretentious, catchy punk with hooks galore that kids in basements everywhere should be trying to emulate if they know what’s good for them. Uh Oh figured out the formula and got it right on. This fourteen-song LP punk’n’rolls from start to finish, turned sonically to ten all the way through. It’s rough and aggressive enough that garage punk crowd might like it, yet hooky enough that the pop punk crowd won’t be able to deny it. Absolutely recommended. –Mark Twistworthy (HS!BF)


TY SEGALL:
Singles 2007-2010: 2 x LP
To no fault of Ty’s talent, I hadn’t heard much of his output before this collection. Yet, it sounds so familiar, like I knew plenty of these songs but didn’t own any. I know the following may sound bad, but I don’t mean it that way. Ty Segall, to me, plays easy-to-listen-to-psyche and garage. He’s got chops and a deep understanding of melody, groove, and reconsideration of the linearity of time. And who am I to begrudge a musician who’s got a working understanding of Kinks, Blue Cheer, The Creation, MC5, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, and the Stooges? One way to look under the rug is pretend that 1975 clicked right over to 1995 Memphis and Toe Rag Studios. One day, everything was proto-this, proto-that, psyche-this, folk-that, all before punk crested and crashed, then the next day, everything was looking back twenty years. Gories, Oblivians, Headcoats, Country Teasers, Devil Dogs with passing blushes of what most of the world considers meat-mohawk-spikes-snot punk rock. It’s an interesting way to approach aggravated, scratchy music and I’m half-surprised this retrospective wasn’t released on reel-to-reel. I don’t want to say Ty’s a mockingbird, a mimic, because there’s no back hand to this compliment. He’s the glue in the collage. You may have heard this before, too, but not quite assembled the same way. Pleasant and oddly comforting, yet raw, alive, and sticky. His music sounds red, with purple flashes. Longhair soul that got a haircut? That probably makes no sense. Hey, Emily! –todd (Goner)


TWO FUNERALS, THE:
Boys Club: 12” EP
Three songs mixing mid-’90s DC rhythms with riot grrrl politics. The band has an undeniable musical chemistry, especially when the bass and guitar switch off as the lead instrument, but the vocals pop up randomly like an afterthought and the songs wander too far between bursts of energy. I wish I could boil this record so that the excess melted away and I was left with a dense chunk of the urgent, passionate, and unique music that is buried inside. –CT Terry (Rorschach)


TUNAS, THE:
“Feathered Fish” b/w “Lester Bangs Is Dead”: 7”
Smart cover—”Feathered Fish” is an obscure Arthur Lee composition originally performed by the Sons Of Adam (a band that featured Randy Holden, who later cut the brilliant Population II record). B side is great garage punk track (sounds sorta like The Last) called “Lester Bangs Is Dead.” The Tunas are from Italy, Primitive Records is from Italy. Scary as hell how on top of American rock’n’roll the Italians are. Geez. Get me a visa already! –ryan (Primitive, myspace.com/primitiverecord)


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