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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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DEZERTER:
Nielegalny Zabojca Czasu: LP

Pasazer have been on a reissue kick and I am sure glad they are doing it! Here is what I read: this is Dezerter’s twelfth LP that was originally released in 2004 on CD, now seeing the light of day on vinyl. Can’t believe this band from Poland has been around since the 1981 and still going strong. Thirteen songs of straight-ahead, no-frills punk rock delivered in the mid-tempo range. I like that the songs are anchored with melody, driving the songs with a fun energy. Not having a grasp of the Polish language, I find that the music keeps me interested. I find the vocal delivery is important, regardless of language. The vocalist’s tone and delivery with the chorus back-up is on point and really drives the music. The music maybe fun, but the lyrics are serious and in the socio-political vein. Much appreciated that they translated the lyrics to English for this release. –Donofthedead (Pasazer)

–don (Pasazer)


DEMON’S CLAWS:
Laserbeams: 7”
Excellent single. Both sides. “Laserbeams” is a fast song that leans more on the punk side of the garage punk sound. A plus, for sure. Quick tempo, catchy as fuck, and the delivery is solid. Great vocals as well. “Trip to the Clinic” is a slower song, and more of the garage side. Sort of reminds me of the Starvations, only rougher. To describe the song is ridiculous. Too good. Beyond words. Just get this, and listen –Matt Average (Savage)


DEFENESTRATOR:
Demo 2010: CD-R
Some serious ‘80s hardcore worship from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Very reminiscent of bands like Cryptic Slaughter and Attitude Adjustment in bearing and feelings evoked, you know, if not entirely in execution (Defenestrator is not a particularly fast band). But goddamn if there is not some definite crossover worship going on here. Packaged in a piece of written-on cardboard, stenciled on and duct-taped shut, there’s a very clear “use what ya got” aesthetic here, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. Here it just comes across as sloppy; luckily the music fared much better than the packaging. Not bad at all. –keith (Defenestrator)


DEFECTS, THE:
The Demos: CD
For those not in the know, the Defects were one of Belfast’s early punk bands, responsible for an album and a handful of singles. Though they started out in 1978, they’re often lumped in with the whole UK82 crop of bands, with tunes like “Dance Until You Drop” and their other catchy tunes fitting in well with that era of U.K. punk’s edgy urgency. Collected here are some rarities/obscurities, including their first demo from 1979, and tunes from three live shows from the years 1980, 1982 and 1984, respectively. The demo tracks are nice ‘n’ catchy, and the live stuff can be a bit of a rough listen in parts—which makes sense, considering they’re from audience tapes by the sound—but the band’s energy manages to shine through the muck. Sweetening the deal is the small fanzine-sized accompanying booklet, chock full of pics and clippings, covering the band’s career and some back stories on the recordings. According to said booklet, the band’s out and about again, so if you find yourself in their neck of the woods (or vice-versa) you’d do well to pay one of their gigs a visit –jimmy (Anti-Society)


DEFEATER:
Empty Days & Sleepless Nights: CD/2 x LP
Boston’s Defeater has thrown together what amounts to two different releases to comprise Empty Days & Sleepless Nights. The “Empty Days” part is the hardcore, screamy album of ten songs. The “Sleepless Nights” portion is five songs of acoustic guitar, singing, and even some slide guitar. It’s a striking turn for the normally fast-paced five-piece. And in some ways I like the acoustic tunes better than the hardcore ones. While there is some good melody and passion with the Empty Days tunes, they don’t strike me as bringing much new to the table. And perhaps the Sleepless Nights tracks don’t add much new to the scene either, but they are really heartfelt and stand in such complete contrast to Defeater’s other material. It displays Defeater’s breadth and talent, which is always nice to see in a hardcore band, especially on a label (Bridge Nine) that has been known (at least until lately) for offering so much cookie cutter youth crew music. Defeater may have a semblance of that youth crew sound but they are much more diverse than that. It’s reassuring to see a hardcore band exploring their talents and still performing it all capably. –kurt (Bridge Nine)


DEEP SLEEP:
Turn Me Off: CD/LP
Thirteen minutes and twenty-three seconds of hardcore-influenced punk rock. It’s energetic, full of melody, and passionate. If you’ve picked up and enjoyed any of the three prior EPs, you know what you’re getting into here. Like the Regulations, Deep Sleep doesn’t throw curveballs. Straight forward, skillfully played, punk rock that’s true to form. They cite All and Big Drill Car, and I give them credit for that. But Deep Sleep is pretty gritty, pretty morose. And fuck it all, they know how to buckle down, hit those backing vocals, those guitar leads, and let those last notes ring out. –Daryl Gussin (Grave Mistake)


DEECRACKS:
Attention! Deficit Disorder: CD/LP

Monster Zero is a DIY punk label out of the Netherlands run by the dudes from the awesome band The Apers. I guess they had a busy year in 2010… put out a bunch of stuff. This debut LP/CD was one of them, and I love it! Can I be frank with you? Even after all the memories made, good and bad, I’m ready to trash all of my Screeching Weasel and Queers on my hard drive and replace it with this one fourteen-track album. Seriously! It’s that good and that much better. Fuck all the rest… if I’m going to subject myself to Ramones-influenced punk instead of just popping the Ramones in, this is what I’m going to grab the next time I get that urge. This three-piece hails from Austria and I guess I already missed their first U.S. tour! What? No! Come back!

–mrz (Monster Zero)


DEAD MILKMEN:
The King in Yellow: CD-R
Never in my life did I think I’d be getting the chance to review a new Dead Milkmen record. Part of me was glad that I would never have to. I have been a diehard Milkmen fan ever since that day circa 1987 when that cool older kid told me that if I liked Sex Pistols, I should really check out Dead Milkmen and Bad Brains. I promptly bought Big Lizard in My Backyard and I Against I. Both tapes worked in different ways to send me on my way to the present. Dead Milkmen were a jokey band, not at joke band. (I’m looking at you Steven Blush!) The songs presented weird slices of life that you know damn well were happening out there somewhere. Always funny, but in an often sad or scary way. I loved it. Fast forward a couple of decades and some hit and miss records. Never quite as solid as the early days, but always containing some gems. They became an institution of the underground. When bassist Dave Blood died, I was fairly sure that we had heard the last of Dead Milkmen... But I was wrong. The King in Yellow begins with the titular instrumental song. It would fit in on Bucky Fellini, for sure. Right away it’s apparent that these Milkmen are older, but still able to mine the humor out of these weird times we live. If possible, they might even be more cynical and biting that ever. Musically they sound like they always did: surfy, funky jangle with either Rodney barking over it, or Joe floating softly on top. As an album, it’s the most overall cohesive work since Beelzebubba. I think Dave Blood would be stoked at the outcome. I have to see them play again! –ty (Dead Milkmen, deadmilkmen.com)


DEAD DOG:
Don’t Touch Me: 12” EP
Yes! What was Shellshag listening to when they interviewed each other for issue #50? Dead Dog. And you know why? Because this is legit, bizarre music that’s fun to listen to. Finding a common thread between modern day luminaries like Bent Outta Shape and Tulsa, Dead Dog keeps the weirdness going with their own brand of dirty, poppy punk. Similar to Punkin Pie with Hickey-inspired guitar freakouts. This 12”EP is a perfect accompaniment to the recently released Dirty Marquee 7” and the ADD/C LP. Recorded by Mike Pack, nonetheless. –Daryl Gussin (Let’s Pretend)


DAY CREEPER:
Problem at Hand: 7”
Pretty good rockin’ and jangly pop from this band, with a slight Modern Lovers feel in places, especially on the first song. If you like your pop music with a little jangle, like some of that early ‘80s North Carolina power pop action, this band will be right up your alley. –frame (Tic Tac Totally)


DAVILA 666:
Tan Bajo: LP
I continue to be amazed by the machine that is Davila 666. These guys tour for months at a time, play every show as if it’s their last, and consistently put out great records. They are a breath of fresh air in a sometimes stale garage rock scene. Tan Bajo has the same production sound, catchy hooks, and group sing alongs as their previous records. The differences are slight; I’d say the solos are less James Williamson/Stooges-y and are a little more chaotic and noisy. I don’t know how Davila can use so much reverb on everything and not have the sound go to complete shit—maybe compression on the overall mix? If I had to complain (and I always do), I’d say the low end should be more present. –Sal Lucci (In The Red)


DAN WEBB AND THE SPIDERS:
Much Obliged: CD
Dan Webb And The Spiders is an inspired, terrific pop band from Boston. They are easy to compare with guilty pleasure gem the Thermals, but less cheesy and with rawer production. I dug this CD so much, I’m going to track down the colored vinyl version immediately. The vocalist brings just the right amount of toughness into the pure pop framework to add edge to the bounce, and there is nothing artificial about Much Obliged whatsoever, despite the fact that they clearly spent a ton of time on the post-production. I bet they’re phenomenal live. Not even the drunkest or most metal soundman could fuck this brilliance up. –Art Ettinger (Gunner, gunnerrecords.com)


CREEPOUT / INTEGRITY:
Love Is...the Only Weapon: 7” EP
Creepout: Three relatively short blasts of “we have mosh parts” metally hardcore. For a lark, I changed the speed to 45 and they sounded much more exciting. Integrity: Full-on sludgy pain metal. Purty purple marbled vinyl and a pic of Mansonites Sandra Good and Squeaky Fromme in the buff likely appropriated from the now out of print tome The Manson Files adorns the back cover –jimmy (A389, a389records.com)


CRAZY ARM:
Born to Ruin: CD
I found myself wanting to like this diverse mid-tempo U.K. band, but every time a glimmer of inspiration creeps through, it falls flat and gets obnoxiously contrived. It’s all over the map, and the end result is a total mess. Influences include cock rock, emo, rockabilly, and 1977 punk. There are some interesting passages in a handful of the tracks, but it is drab and mope-y overall. While Born to Ruin might be an earnest attempt to blend various rock influences into a punk-minded framework, it ends up sounding bland, like some of the weaker third stage Warped Tour bands taking the stage this summer. Uncool, man. Uncool. –Art Ettinger (Gunner, gunnerrecords.com)


CORE BALL:
Self-titled: CD
Catchy gallop-velocity hardcore from Poland, well executed with tight execution and lotsa interesting chord changes to keep ye on your toes. While the likely inclusion of songs in English to reach a wider audience is understandable, my personal preference veers towards the tunes they sing in Polish, which are delivered with a bit more conviction and bite to ‘em and are not hampered by the distracting malapropisms. That said, they do what they do quite well and I bet they can get a live crowd good and worked up. –jimmy (Pasazer, pasazer.pl)


COLD CAVE:
Cherish the Light Years: CD
For anyone who’s followed Wes Eisold’s evolution from early-through-later American Nightmare, to Some Girls, to Cold Cave’s first-through-current output, it’s hardly surprising to see him nodding so emphatically to the who’s who of ‘80s darkwave/synthpop (in fact, it’s no secret that Wes and the Makeoutclub crew had plenty to do with scores of early ‘00s hardcore nerds alternating their Panic longsleeves with Smiths and Sisters Of Mercy swag). While Cold Cave’s first proper full length, Loves Comes Close, was enjoyable in spite of its unabashed throwbackedness and occasionally cringe-worthy lyrics and delivery, Cherish the Light Years manages to shake off some of those shortcomings by avoiding unnecessary clichés and ramping up tempos considerably. Wes’s vocals remain both affected and somewhat limited, but considering the genre, it works quite well. Not mindblowing or anything, but certainly a progression and a job well done. –Dave Williams (Matador)


COKE BUST:
Degradation EP: 7”
With these six songs, Coke Bust harnesses the power of three modes: feedback-infested pauses; driving, guttural hardcore; and straight-up blastbeats. Transitioning between the three, they drag you by the hair through song topics regarding the endless—and maddening—trials of life, the drawbacks of using illicit, destructive substances, elitism in the scene, and a couple more. Fans of raging fast hardcore should definitely seek this EP out. Tight band-shirt points go to the drummer, Chris, for sporting an In Disgust shirt and a RVIVR shirt in separate photos. Bad ass. –Daryl Gussin (Grave Mistake)


COBRA SKULLS:
Bringing the War Home: CDEP
Short, sweet, and there’s a cover of Bad Religion’s “Give You Nothing.” The strength of the Cobra Skulls is that one will never mistake them for another band, with their mix of melodic punk, folk, and rockabilly—among other genres—and singer Devin’s distinct vocals. The non-punk influences on this are a bit less distinct, but, if anything, the constant touring and new drummer have resulted in a tighter attack than before. My one complaint: where are the canciones en español at which they oddly excel? –Adrian Salas (Fat)


CITIZEN FISH:
Goods: CD
Been a spell since I’ve heard anything by these guys, but from the sound of this, they’re still mining the better parts of modern ska and punk. Also no surprise, considering their connections to the U.K. band Subhumans, is that Dick’s lyrics remain rooted in the anarcho-punk mold, keeping things topical and insightful just as much as he ever did with that much ballyhooed punk band of yore. There’s a bit more straightforward punk in the songwriting than I remember them having very early on in their career, and though the post-Op Ivy ska-punk scourge long ago soured me on nearly all but the most traditional ska sounds, the mix of styles here and the intelligence of the lyrics keep me coming plopping it back into the player for another run-through. –jimmy (Alternative Tentacles)


CHOOSE YOUR POISON:
Crawl to Nothing: LP
Fast and crusty metallic hardcore full of palm mutes and lyrics that toe the line between hilarious (“Smoke Weed and Worship Nothing”) to the seriously, abysmally dark (“Severed Cock of Christ”). Resting pretty successfully between the campiness of the Accused and the dark, apocalyptic leanings of the Awakening, and an unabashed adolescent worship of weed, beers, and kicking back. This is actually pretty good. It’s a little too goofy for me at times, and the cover is corny enough to turn some people off, but, musically, this is some pretty ace shit. –keith (Active Rebellion)


CHIXDIGGIT!:
Safeways Here We Come: CDEP
Yay! After a five-year break, Chixdiggit! is back! (I’m not counting the re-release of their first album because, well, that doesn’t count!) The band that created my favorite twenty-five-second song (“Quit Your Job”) and some of the most ridiculous pop punk song themes—”Henry Rollins Is No Fun,” “Shadowy Bangers from a Shadowy Duplex,” et. al)! Best news alert! They didn’t change anything! Rejoice, for progress is dumb! Songs about girls, the “swedish rat” haircut, and, naturally, a defense of hockey! My only complaint? After such a long break, I’m guessing most fans were hoping for a full album, instead of just seven songs. But at least five of these songs have been stuck in my head for weeks, so I shall complain no more! Welcome back, Chixdiggit!! If you were a cereal, you would be (and always would’ve been) Cinnamon Toast Crunch! –Maddy (Fat Wreck Chords)


CHEIFS, THE:
Holly-West Crisis: LP
I have to come clean and admit that the Cheifs are one of those bands whose name I have seen for years and years but have somehow managed to foolishly ignore until recently (see: the Middle Class, the Brat, the Bags). This is a rather excellent retrospective collection of songs from their only proper 7” release, some compilation tracks, and some previously unreleased recordings. I’d have to call shenanigans on the Zero Boys and Reagan Youth if they were to say that they were not in any way influenced by these cats. Big ups to Doctor Strange for making these songs once again readily available for more punks to discover and enjoy the way I have. –Juan Espinosa (Dr. Strange)


CAVE WIMP:
Rehearsal 1: CD-R
Three songs of raw, deranged punk. The vocals are blown out and I often wonder if they’re playing at the tempo they had intended on. But it’s just so spiteful and weird that I can’t stop listening to it. The guitarist sounds like a sunburnt Greg Sage and the vocalist sings like he’s dictating his memoirs from a straight jacket. More, please. –Daryl Gussin (Television)


CARMINES, THE:
Older, Fatter, Wider: CD
Surfy pop punk, though I assumed that meant super reverby surf rock, but it’s mostly straight-up pop punk. I wish there was a little more info in the liner notes, aside from some praise from Joe Queer (side note: bands I like, please ask me to do your liner notes!). It’s standard stuff, there are a few moments that make me start to go, “Ohh brother,” like lyrics about sock hops (only acceptable from FYP) and Little Bo Peep where I can’t help but think “how badly do you want to be in a pop punk band?” but it’s over fast enough so I don’t get sick of it. –joe (Merman)


CAPTAIN WE’RE SINKING:
With Joe Riley: 7”
A damn solid three-song 7” here that will likely be highly appreciated by many regular readers of Razorcake. Captain We’re Sinking crafted a small handful of songs that occupy a perfect intersection of melody, energy, and passion. If any similarities to their DIY punk peers are apparent, I hear echoes of J. Church and Grabass Charlestons. If Captain We’re Sinking can release a full length as consistent as this three-song release, this is really going to be a band to watch. –Jake Shut (Evil Weevil)


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