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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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48 THRILLS:
Hand Claps and Ass Slaps: CDEP

 

This disc kicks right off with those warm Armchair Martian/Enablers-style guitars and I know I am in for a good time. The band has a real Banner Pilot/early Face To Face feel overall with some good melodic punk sounds and good vocals. Fans of Off With Their Heads would find a whole lot to like here as well. Good, ragged melodic punk from this Portland band. Seems like the average Razorcake reader would really love this. Would like to hear more from this band.

–frame (Self-released, myspace.com/48thrills)


ZOO:
Trilogi Peradaban: CD
A twenty-two song disc by an Indonesian band presented as a concept album in three movements about the evolution of civilization. The music itself is multi-faceted, chaotic, and challenging listening, to say the least. It’s rhythmic and its bass-heavy spasms give it some similarities to NoMeansNo, but its wild unpredictability and confrontational nature put it closer to Melt Banana and The Swans. Normally, music this experimental turns me off, but I found this release interesting enough to give it repeated listens. –Jake Shut (Tenzenmen, tenzenmen.com)


YOUNG GOVERNOR:
“Firing Squad” b/w “25 with a Bullet”: 7”
A mix of the Bay City Rollers and King Khan And BBQ? Does that sound too stupid? There’s a crisp eagerness and knowledgeable veteranship in Young Guv, matched to an infectious ear for music, and he’s not afraid to slow down, get electro-weird, go acoustic, or get lush. These two tracks show another dimension to the cut crystal of Ben Cook’s talent. Wholly enjoyable, worth tracking down, and I predict that his 7”s will become harder-than-hell to find the longer you sleep on it. –todd (Plastic Idol, plasticidolrecords.com)


YIS:
Kingdom of Fuzz: CD
Sometimes I wish I was a bona fide radio DJ, ‘cause a song like “(I Feel) Repulsed” screams “HIT TUNE” in big flashing red lights and I wanna be the guy that blasts it incessantly through the airwaves that permeate the Southern California basin. Its infectious retro new wave bounce brings to mind Echo And The Bunnymen in their more up-tempo moments, and lines like, “I love you so much it makes me sick/I feel repulsed” recall a sense of sly obnoxiousness that doesn’t pop up in similar sounding tunes quite as often these days. “Infin” similarly leans towards the new wave, in this case a bit more in the hypnotic direction of Tubeway Army, and the bulk of the band’s remaining tunes mine various hues of Detroit/’60s fuzz-inspired primal rock/punk, all of it done to the nines and infinitely listenable. A great debut, this, and definitely a band to keep an eye on. –jimmy (Yis, yisyisyis.com)


XTRA VOMIT / TROPIEZO:
International Split: 7” EP
Xtra Vomit: Hardcore ranging from fast to faster with tons of lyrics crammed into each tune. They can come across as a bit raw, but they do what they do quite effectively. Tropiezo: As with every other release they’ve put out thus far, you get top-tier hardcore with time changes up the yin-yang and songwriting that continues to be something to marvel at. Fuggin’ amazing they are, and if you haven’t stumbled upon Tropiezo yet, you’re seriously missing out. –jimmy (Discos De Hoy, discosdehoy@yahoo.com)


WRONG WORDS, THE:
Self-titled: CD

Power pop with some psychedelic influences and a bit of early XTC. The songs are catchy without being overbearing. I like the backing vocals for how they give the music another texture—a little sunnier in an already sunny-sounding band (if any of that makes sense). The guitar has a somewhat sparse sound, but clean, and the drums really are direct and effective. Must admit the opening lines to “A Cold Wind” are funny. “Cross the Line” is the strongest of the twelve and, alone, is worth picking this CD up.

–Matt Average (Trouble In Mind, troubleinmindrecs.com)


WORLD/INFERNO FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY:
The Anarchy and the Ecstasy: CD
Only the most cynical person could say there aren’t many good bands active today, if one is willing to dig a bit. That said, though, it is still a rarefied air that surrounds a band one considers great. You know, the bands whose songs you want to be played during your wedding/ birthday/ funeral/ break up/ indie movie montage. World/Inferno has been on my honor roll ever since I first heard them, and this release cements that status. The “loose conspiracy” of members making up the punk rock cabaret orchestra has shifted since their last releases, losing such longtime members as guitarist Lucky Strano and mustachioed keyboard man Franz Nicolay, but the band holds solid around lead spiel man Jack Terricloth and bassist/vocalist Sandra Malak. There is not a dud among the songs here which carry on the band’s tradition of joyous hard-luck stories and vaudevillian politics. “Canonize Philip K. Dick, Ok” is one of the band’s finest songs and one of the catchiest indictments of disillusionment ever put to tape. The peak of the album, though, is “The Politics of Passing Out,” which is my favorite song this year and one of the few that would make it onto my personal list of absolutely perfect songs. From the slow-build start, to the simultaneously heartbroken and joyous lyrical imagery, and the rising vocal duet at the end, this song alone would justify the existence of this band and makes this album a worthy purchase. –Adrian Salas (Chunksaah)


WIZZARD SLEEVE / TRUE SONS OF THUNDER:
Split: 7”
Wizzard Sleeve! Love their LP on Hozac from a while back, and this song, “Setting Fire to Your Loft” is of the same caliber. Dark, lurking, and dirty. The music oozes and splurts. It’s the synthesizer that lures you into the den of iniquity. Comparisons can be made to Blank Dogs, but Wizzard Sleeve are much more sinister sounding, and what pop there is in their music is sparing. Music for those who want something different and something better than what’s on offer by the truckload. True Sons Of Thunder give the world “Butt Bong,” which is a noisy, lumbering song where the music drones and the vocals talk over the din. Kind of an afterthought. Pick this up for Wizzard Sleeve. –Adrian Salas (Jeth-Row, jethrowrecords@yahoo.com)


WHITE ORANGE: :
“…And This Is Why I Speak to You in Parables” : 12”
Thick vinyl picture disk with trippy, quasi-religious art. Side A: One thirteen-minute psychedelic metal song that alternates between hardcore slowbuilds and cool desert rock. The song carries the long run time well. It’s focused without being monotonous and dynamic without being scattered. Side B: Five-minute edit of Side A, for when you’re smoking a one hitter instead of a bowl. –CT Terry (Made In China, madeinchinarecords.com)


WHISKEY & CO:
Rust Colors: CD
Another good, solid, alt country disc from this Florida band. Featuring members of the Takers, this is perfect music for a cold beer and warm sunset evening. Not really much more to say than that; third album in and Whiskey & Co. is still going strong. –frame (No Idea)


WEIRD TV:
Self-titled: Cassette
Man, there’s a slight pop sensibility applied to these riffs that definitely didn’t come across in the live show. The vocals sound a lot more level and less growly than live, which, until now, has been the only way I’ve experienced Weird TV. This band is made up of some really cool kids from Olympia that are all about hardcore, fanzines, and, apparently, chola culture. I would highly recommend this for fans of Fire Party, the Gits, or even Spitboy. The cover of “Gloria” is sheer brilliance. This tape is punk as fuck and makes me feel the way I used to feel when listening to my Demon System 13 tape: on edge and ready to push someone. I hadn’t heard it since I saw them play and now I’m wishing I could turn back time and do it all over again. –Rene Navarro (Self-released)


WEEKEND WARRIOR:
Se Repite: 7”
I picked this up after these guys played a rad show in Long Beach and was surprised to find out it would be their last show in a while, as they are going on hiatus. Bummer. What isn’t a bummer is the crazy aggression conveyed through the music. Very anarcho-punk reminiscent of early Bumbklaatt, whom they admittedly admire. Lyrically, it’s another ode to nihilism, smashing the system, and calling bullshit on government propaganda. –Rene Navarro (Mass Media)


WEEKEND NACHOS:
Black Earth: 7”

I’ve been lucky enough to see Weekend Nachos several times and hear them evolve from being a pretty by-the-books (but still heavy as all hell) power violence band, to a band with a distinct aesthetic that they’ve cultivated over the course of two full lengths and a few EPs. The band is good at writing interesting riffs and surprising changes, but they manage to make it all feel natural and still fall on a line right in the middle of Infest and Integrity. The three new tracks on this 7” are pummeling, and the re-recording of “Priorities” from This Comp. Kills Fascists blows away the original. I feel like the vocals cut through on this recording better than on the previous ones, and the recording has a good raw edge to it without sacrificing any of the character of the songs.

–Ian Wise (A389)


WEAK TEETH:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Weak Teeth are pissed-off hardcore from Providence. The technical playing crammed into every second of their well-crafted songs, combined with a political edge in their lyrics, make them stand head and shoulders above the glut of run-of-the-mill hardcore bands out there. Songs “Welcome to MENSA,” and “Facebath,” highlight some of their best lyrical moments, but “September 30th,” and the closer “…and They Shall Inherit the Earth,” are the songs where the band display their best overall songwriting. That said, this EP rips from start to finish. Highly recommended. –Paul J. Comeau (Weak Teeth, weakteeth.bandcamp.com)


VRGNS:
Manimals: CD
Cigarette-scratched vocals over straightforward powerchord punk with nice intensity and enough details to keep everything from feeling like an unwieldy load. Fun and high energy, but not especially infectious. I’m not in love, but we can still hold hands! –Candice (Kiss Of Death, kissofdeathrecords.com)


VIBRATING BEDS, THE:
Self-titled: 7”
If you’re having a dance party, you need this record! Three amazing songs in the Motown meets Phil Spector meets regular rock and roll meets a general Detroit Cobras genre! The singer has a really awesome voice, too. Gender Fact: she’s a girl. Geographical Fact: The internet says they’re from Winnipeg. As far as I can tell, this is their first record. More please! If this were a cereal, it’d be Apple Jacks. Good stuff, but I think this band could easily get even better and enter into Froot Loops territory! –Maddy (Transistor 66, transistor66.com)


VEGETABLE:
“Castration Frustration” b/w “Sol” : 7” EP
“Castration Frustration” is a nice bit of weirdness with lines like, “All the other boys go pee standing up/But I go through a tube into a cup,” put together with almost hypnotic guitar plucking ‘n’ simple drum patterns. “Sol” is a bit more brooding with solemn lyrics about tapping “into the knowledge/that threatens the male system/Rise on our collective power/And demand real social change.” Interesting sounds overall and they definitely get an A for avoiding conventional punk musical avenues and going outside the box. –jimmy (Gilgongo)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Wolf Party: LP
Hot damn! Want to know what the current NZ garage rock scene sounds like? Then pick this compilation up. Released by Tape Man, Wolf Party is a burner. Hardly a dud in the mix and some of the finest surf and garage rock you’re bound to hear anywhere. Obscure even in New Zealand, these bands are part of the real underground—The Wrongdoings feature an ex-member of the Axle Grinders; The Don Kings have the head of Perpetrator Records on bass and Tape Man… well, he’s Tape Man. A lot of love, pain, and sweat went into this compilation. Pick it up while you can… reportedly, only two hundred copies were pressed. (P.S. Anyone know where Celia Mancini is at?!) –ryan (Stink Magnetic Tape, phatsherkes@gmail.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Voodoo Rhythm Volume 3: CD
Truth be told, I usually much prefer Voodoo Rhythm’s sampler compilations. This is a bold statement, seeing as I think the vast majority of samplers are fairly disposable, and it’s not meant to imply Voodoo Rhythm’s individual releases are not worth a listen. What sets theirs apart from so many others is the scope of styles the label specializes in—rockabilly, swamp-rock, country western, garage rock, ‘60s trash, bluegrass, punk, and a myriad of combinations of all the above —makes for an eclectic mix of sounds to keep you on yer toes. The result sounds less like, say, Epitaph’s Punk-O-Rama series—where all the bands sound like variations of the same song—and more like a radio show specializing in shit that rarely gets played on the radio anymore. This, like its predecessors, is a nice hodge-podge of stuff that’s pretty danged consistent in quality and features tunes from the likes of The Monsters, The Juke Joint Pimps, Hipbone Slim And The Knee Tremblers, Movie Star Junkies, Reverend Beat-Man (whose psychotic dance floor stuffer “Jesus Christ Twist” is the pick to click here), Andy Dale Petty and many more. Those looking for a quick teaser of future musical acquisitions and those who prefer something to plop into the car stereo and rock out to on the way to wherever will both find many tantalizing bits to savor here –jimmy (Voodoo Rhythm, voodoorhythm.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
The New Hope: 2 x LP
Hardcore USA, circa the early/mid-’80s: Pitifully few legitimate places to play, no big money backing and big budget recording sessions for million-selling albums or tours, no internet making all the information on a band one could want—plus recordings—literally at one’s fingertips, and it seemed like pretty much everyone outside of your small pack of punker pals were out to kill asshole freaks like you. The concept of punk-as-career-move wasn’t even enough of a blip on the radar to be considered a joke, and those who aligned themselves with “the scene” and picked up an instrument to bash on or went to a rented hall/backyard/basement show often did so because they believed in something that had a value that transcended the usual lure of fame and fortune. What resulted was some amazing (and yes, some admittedly pretty crappy), surprisingly diverse music coming from different clusters of groups in places not identified by the mainstream as hotbeds of musical culture—Tempe and Phoenix, Dallas and Austin, Las Vegas, Seattle, Portland, Washington, DC, Lawrence and elsewhere. Some of these clusters of bands stuck out in the middle of nowhere pooled together and managed their statement of existence via what was then a critical musical avenue for the average punk band, the compilation album. Some, like Flex Your Head, Boston Not L.A., Get Off My Back, Master Tapes and Cottage Cheese from the Lips of Death, featured what would end up the only recordings by bands that may have ruled the roost at home, but likely would be known to only a select few just fifty miles away. The New Hope was Northeast Ohio’s definitive statement circa-1982/’83, a thirty-song collection featuring a number of the area’s hardcore elite—The Guns, Positive Violence, Spike In Vain, Agitated, No Parole, The Dark, Zero Defex, Outerwear, Offbeats, PPG and Starvation Army—offering up their individual takes on “hardcore,” ranging from the brooding virulence of The Gun’s “I’m Not Right,” to the hyper-speed thrashing of Positive Violence and Zero Defex, to more addled approaches from Spike In Vain and The Dark. Nearly thirty years down the line, virtually everything here stands up well, with the hard work and dedication put into the project still shining through. A one-sheet included here presents shrunken images of the pages of the comp’s original booklet, along with some liner notes helping to give context and insight into just how much effort was put into putting this out the first time ‘round, and Smog Veil has upped the ante by including an additional LP’s worth of material from each band. Things have definitely gotten a wee bit easier in Hardcore USA circa-2011 in terms of recording, releasing, performing and networking, but reissues like this are still invaluable, not only because the music on ‘em is so kick ass, but also because they serve as evidence that those needing to get their point across will inevitably find a way to do just that. –jimmy (Smog Veil)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
I Think We Should Stay Away from Each Other: LP
In this era—where the label sampler disguised as a compilation has gone online or marketed as a free giveaway at shows with paid security—released-on-vinyl, fan-based compilations are like collages to specific music scenes or tastes. It’s a trend I encourage. Well, the good ones, like this one, I do. And, it’s perhaps because a really nice, enthusiastic local guy, Aaron Kovacs, put this compilation together and I’m enjoying watching Summer Vacation, the band he’s in (and who is also on the comp) develop, that I’m more susceptible to its charms. I dunno. Perhaps it’s that Aaron’s around nineteen or twenty, putting him at nine or ten when Razorcake started, that there is some hope, you know? Here’s a new generation, not only choosing what to collect as a batch of songs, but organizing it, and earning the money for the printing and pressing. This comp has the feel of the best of Plan-It-X: DIY punk with folk and acoustic leanings, open to jumping around in wild abandon. It’s got the feel of a well-paced mix tape, mixing well-known bands like Underground Railroad To Candyland, Andrew Jackson Jihad, and Japanther with lesser-known excellence like Jehovas Fitness, Pangea, and many more. Recommended. –todd (Lauren, laurenrecords.bandcamp.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Casual Victim Pile 2: LP
Nice collection of current Austin bands. Seems that city has never really had a lack of worthwhile bands, unlike many of the more “famous” scenes like LA, NYC, or SF. The styles run the gamut of hardcore punk to pop. Some stuff is ehh, and then some stuff is “Holy fuck! I need to get everything this band has done!” awesome. Standouts are Literature, RayonBeach, Crisis Hotlines (do they have records out yet?), Women In Prison, Serious Tracers. Comes on white vinyl and a digital download card. –Matt Average (12XU, 12XU.net)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Anti-Social Promotions and Sampler: 7" EPs
Some overlap in bands here, with The Unpatriotics, The Dead Pawns, and A Disco For Ferns making appearances on both discs, while Angel Face, Violent Society, All Rise, Bucket Flush, Haste Killed Creativity, and Combat Crisis round out the rest of the tuneage here. Save for Haste Killed Creativity’s indie-punkish track, the lion’s share of stuff on both discs falls into one derivative or another of ‘80s-influenced hardcore, simple and direct, with nary a whit of metal. Can’t say anything blew my skirt up either way, but nothing here was especially terrible, and I definitely like the fact that this fits more into the traditional interpretation of “compilation” than the more modern “label sampler.” –jimmy (8^)


VACATION :
Dream Dad: 7”
Sounded to me like a mid-’00s melodic hardcore band like Strike Anywhere, with just a touch of Fleshies weirdness. Mostly straight forward, with bits of “Wooos!” that sound like they could come from John Geek, plus some weird guitar noodling at just the right moments. I’m into it. –joe (Sidejar/Let’s Pretend)


UNFUN:
Pain Prescription: 7” EP
Vancouver’s Unfun wear their Hüskers on their sleeve, with distorted guitars layered on thick and little bits of harmonic noodling thrown in here and there. The raspy vocals and their overall song structure show they are also no strangers to Crimpshrine’s back catalog, either. They know their way around a song, though, and it shows in an EP fully of catchy tunes that despite obvious influences stand up well on their own. –jimmy (Unfun)


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·Razorcake Podcast #173 - Awesome Fest 5 Edition!
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·WONKAVISION, #31
·BLACK MONDAY/KINGS ROCK
·NO USE FOR A NAME
·The Gentleman Jackalope: An Unexpected Stop along the Farewell Tour
·EXPLODING HEARTS
·VARIOUS ARTISTS
·INOCULATORS, THE


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