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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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WOODGRAIN:
Selsun: 7”
Two tracks lifted from The Bronze full-length. Woodgrain is an Austin, TX-based quartet featuring two keyboardists, a bassist, and a drummer. No vocalist. The end result is more interesting than you might suspect given the band’s layout. Both tracks here are of the mid-tempo variety and quite engaging. For some reason King Crimson kept coming to mind when listening to this, but not really, if that makes any sense. More than a few tracks of this might get repetitive, but two tracks are the perfect dose. –Garrett Barnwell (Australian Cattle God)


WOMEN IN PRISON:
Demo: Cassette
You had me at the band name. Then when I hear lyrics like, “I resist Christian morals…” (from “The Births of Rot”) I get all weak kneed. So nice to hear. Are they garage? Are they hardcore? Who really cares? The music on here rips! Loud, ugly, burly low end, and fucked up! Kind of sounds like a mix of No Trend, Flipper, and Black Flag. The guitar and bass are one big mass of distortion, the vocalist sounds a little “off,” and the drums chop it up nice and hideous. Starts off with some early Black Flag style in the form of “Suicidal Exit,” then they crank it up with songs like “Strange Waves” and “Reaction.” I like the guitar solo in the song “Circles & Circles.” It’s simple, dirty, and to the point, but a nice touch. “Shovel” sounds heavily influenced by Flipper, with the repetitive riff, length, and the way the vocals are delivered. Great way to end the tape. I hear that someone from Total Abuse is in this band. Hmmm... Seriously, one of the best demos I’ve ever heard. –Matt Average (trekbgh@yahoo.com)


WOMEN IN PRISON:
Demo: Cassette
Women In Prison bring six ragers on this curious little cassette. The guitars are of the buzzsaw variety and the vocals are treated with some serious echo ala Flipper, which aren’t necessarily bad things. I would love to see a lyric sheet as I suspect there is probably a little more going on lyrically than I can make out with such song titles as “The Births of Rot” and “Strange Waves.” In any case, releases like this one restore my faith in punk rock and you can’t ask for any better recommendation than that, can you? –Garrett Barnwell (Sick Thought, trekbgh@yahoo.com)


WINGNUT DISHWASHERS UNION:
Burn the Earth, Leave It Behind: CD
Every once in a while I come across a record that, once I’ve finished listening to it, makes me say, “Wow. That really was time well spent.” This is such a record for me, and it’s what I think a punk rock singer/songwriter record should sound like: urgent and exuberant, varied in its music, and thoughtful in its lyrics. All sorts of musical influences creep into these songs and the final result is somewhat like a sonic patchwork in the best possible way—one doesn’t normally realize how good a harmonica can sound on a punk tune. The variety of the melodies and instrumentation belies, however, the remarkable consistency this record achieves since the fundamental thesis never wavers: resist the powers that be and be a slave to no one and no thing. Great record. –The Lord Kveldulfr (D.I.Y. Bandits, wingnutdishwashersunion@hotmail.com)


WINELORD:
Winelord III: CD
My fever is still going strong but writing with the pitch—Winelord is helping, a good ol’ rock’n’roll party, like a nice, cool washcloth on my head. Feels soothing. Not too much, but a solid thrust of sound and energy. They have been playing for some ten years at least, because I’d left Tucson then and they have continued to lay down the rock law. Looks like the same girls in the band as before, from what I can tell from the rock names and the crazy photoshopped cover of them half-eaten by a giant horned dog (a cover deep in the Bloat Records tradition). Not as off-kilter as other Bloat bands (Mondo Guano, Doo Rag, Pork Torta, Bebe And Serge) but a fine, fine addition to them and your record player on the mantle. Fever still raging, but happy. –mike (Bloat, bloatrecords.com)


WILD WILD GEESE:
Sorry, Earth: CD
Some heady stuff here, part 4AD woozy drone, part ‘90s indie pop, with loud walls of guitars and an overall laid back vibe. Sounds great coming out the speakers full-tilt on an early January morning. –jimmy (Odessa)


WHITE GUILT:
Self-titled: LP
Incredibly noisy hardcore that verges on being straight-up white noise at various times throughout the record. This makes all the noisy crust bands and lo-fi thrash bands sound tame in comparison. Think of a more misanthropic Drunks With Guns crossed with early Disorder and Larm. The guitar is nothing but full-on distortion and feedback. It’s like scratching sandpaper on the pavement and putting a contact mike on it. You can hear the bass in the din, and the drums give the songs a structure. The lyrics, which I really like, are remorseless and bleak in their outlook on the world around them. The sort of stuff you think and feel in those dark moments. The song with the most structure is “Race and Nation,” which opens the record, but as it—and the songs that follow—continue, everything deconstructs into a noisier and noisier affair. The only peaceful moment comes at the end of “Comatose.” I like the opening blasts of hellish noise on “Born a Victim/Born Ashamed.” It sounds like hell is about to come down hard and wreck your fuckin’ life. It’s a slower more mid paced song, and, as a result, has a more ominous tone. If you like the recent Timebombs, and bands of that nature, you’ll definitely like this. I’m hoping there are more records planned, and they come out to California soon. –Matt Average (Video Disease, videodisease.com)


WARCOLLAPSE:
Crust as Fuck Existence: 12” EP
Originally released in 1995 as a CD on Distort, Barvak from Insane Society has wisely reissued this on vinyl, where it should have been all along. These four songs have aged considerably well. The overall mood of this record is very dark. Rather than hitting the listener with a bludgeoning assault, Warcollapse pull you in with two slow and forlorn songs on the A side, “It’s Time Too...” and “Massgenocide.” The music is haunting and almost quiet. Think of later period Anti-Sect and Amebix mixed with Counterblast. The title track is the speediest of the bunch, but that eventually gives way to the slower darker side. “Encaged” is noisy and thunderous, as though the gates of hell have opened and, instead of attacking in a frenzy, they let their wrath just be. Definitely a high point in the crust realm. –Matt Average (Insane Society, insanesociety.net)


VIOLENT AFFAIR:
Stand Trial: CD
Mohawks? Check! Stencil Lettering? Check! Post military occupation imagery? Check! We got us some hardcore punk rock here. I really liked what I was hearing. No new ground being broken, but “If it ain’t broke...”, right? Well, the one problem I came up against was the vocals. They just seemed out of time with the music for pretty much the whole disc. I dunno, but with a band that can obviously play well, it becomes glaring when the vocals are just shouted over the top. It’s too bad, really... –ty (Unrepentant)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
The Ties That Bind: 7”+ Cassette
On the No Breaks website, this is listed as “CD/tape,” so I don’t know if the tunes on the 7” represent what are to be found on the CD. That said, The Ties That Bind consists of four bands (Giant Bags Of Weed, Que’ Mart?, Wrister, and Rock Paper Stupid) with “musical interludes” by Peter Stubb. For the most part, the thirty-plus tunes are satisfying blasts of punk/hardcore, but the sheer volume caused the songs to blend together in my mind. As a result, few were truly memorable. At five dollars this is one helluva deal in term of quantity, and the quality is there to be sure, but it gets lost in the enormity of the quantity. Regardless, I’m sure not sorry for having heard this. –The Lord Kveldulfr (No Breaks)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Takeonemillpartysore: CD
Four bands—The Donner Party, Eyesore, Darkmill, and Take One For The Team, respectively—offer up thirty tracks of grind. The first and last above have the most hardcore mixed in, Darkmill the most metal, and Eyesore opts for the full-on pummel. All are good at what they do and those who consider themselves fans of the genre will find much to satisfy their tastes here. –jimmy (pissartrecords.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Personality Disorder: LP
According to the AZPunk website, this collaboration with the label May Cause Dizziness is their seventh, and latest, comp, and a fine one it is. Like all truly good punk comps, this “collection of Arizona punk” feels more like a showcase for local talent than some bullshit label sampler, and a variety of styles are represented, from lo-fi trashing to more sophisticated fare, courtesy of The Impossible Ones, Japanese Monsters, Casket Life, Streetside Prophet, Hotdog!, The Father Figures, Automatic Erasers, Good Men Die Like Dogs, Lenguas Largas, Cagematch, The Plainfield Butchers, Said Gun, BroLoaf, and Jason DeVore. Hell, even the cover art is brilliant. Only major gripe is that there ain’t a sheet, little booklet thingie, or something else with some info on the bands representing here. Yeah, I imagine no shortage of info on each of them can be found on the website, but I’m an old bastard and prefer paper to processors any day. –jimmy (azpunk.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Pancake Productions Summer Sampler MMX: CD-R
I find records that feature a variety of musical stylings to be infinitely enjoyable, but only when the tunes are good. There’s a wild diversity on this record: a bit o’ hardcore, a bit o’ r&b/hip hop, some hippy-dippy shit, female-fronted torch-rock (decipher that!), folksy French accordion music, technotronica, etc. Some of it is actually quite good, but too much of what’s put forth here is borderline crummy or outright lousy and proves that even though technology allows anyone to record and distribute their tunes, that doesn’t mean that they should. Favorite moments: The Fantasy Four, “Open Wide”; Popular Mechanics, “Better Off in the End”; Mike Stansy, “I Am Mike Stansy”; Cardiac Arrest, “Old New”; Thomas, “Cherokee Street.” At the same time, there are a few songs on here that I would rather rip out my intestines with a fork than hear again. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Pancake Productions)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
No Future: CD
As one can expect from a Sex Pistols/Clash/Damned tribute album, a number of those offering tribute stick close to the original and, for the most part, avoid embarrassing themselves. More interesting, though, are those that choose instead to revamp the originals entirely, even if they don’t quite succeed. As a result, you get a jazzy version of the Pistols’ “Bodies” and a quasi-rap version of “Submission,” an oddly nouveau wave version of the Clash’s “Capital Radio,” and even a string quartet interpretation of the Damned’s “New Rose.” Although it’s probably no surprise that Leatherface’s take on “Melody Lee” is far and away the standout track here, others paying their respects include Attila The Stockbroker, The Bolsheviks, The Blaggers ITA, Terry Edwards, Bleach, The Price, and many others. –jimmy (releasedemotions.co.uk)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
KGRG-FM “Live” Compilation: CD
This compilation has a little bit of everything. There’s some metal, hardcore, punk, and acoustic numbers. For a compilation put out by a community college radio station, it sounds about like you would expect: average recording, average talent, a song that starts with a throat-shedding scream that then throws in a jangly, ska influenced guitar riff—you know, the usual. My favorite part on the comp was on the song by the band Count The Hours that contains a line that states, “1,2,3,4,5,6,7—all God’s children go to Heaven.” This is pleaded in intense hardcore vocals. It comes across as pretty funny, which I’m guessing was not the intention. I used to see a lot of bands like this in high school and college. I’m not so interested in listening to them anymore. –kurt (kgrg.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Fat Music Vol. 7: Harder, Fatter, & Louder!: CD

A nicely packaged compilation made up of tracks from recent releases on the Fat Wreck catalogue. The None More Black, Good Riddance, and No Use For A Name tracks on this were the highlights for me. Everything else I could do without. Fans of the label and the majority of its roster will be into this, others are better off putting their eight bucks directly towards the albums of the bands they like. - Paul J Comeau

–Guest Contributor (Fat)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Cashing in on Christmas-Vol. 2: CD
It’s a little tough to get into the holiday spirit in February, but that’s why Razorcake reviewers get paid the big bucks! Nice package with questionable insert pictures, but I won’t hold that against them. Some bands cover the classics here (“Blue Christmas” by CH3, “White Christmas” by Antibodies) but the originals are more entertaining. How can you go wrong with titles like “Santa That’s My Wife” (by Pressure 28) and “Merry Christmas I Fucked Your Snowman” (by Violent Society)? Somehow I don’t think I can put this on next year when Aunt Edna pops in for some egg nog. Still, this will get some play when the last log is thrown on the fire. –koepenick (Black Hole)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
8 Up Records Punk Comp 2010: CD-R
Ten streetpunk bands contribute two songs a piece to this CD-R comp. I suspect that a lot of this is previously released material, so I’m taking this as a mixtape of the best punx ‘n’ skinz bands out there today. It’s all four-chord punk that isn’t very fast but has big sing-a-long choruses and song titles like “Fuck All” and “Beer, Meat, Rugby.” It started to blend together pretty fast, but I had a good, dumb, fun time listening to it. Coolest band names on the comp: Razors In The Night, A Disco for Ferns, Mike Puke. –CT Terry (8 Up, myspace.com/8records)


VACATION:
The Do Shit Disc: CD
Six songs of frenetic pop punk from Cincinnati, Ohio’s Vacation that brings Operation: Cliff Clavin to mind vocally. I really like what’s going on here on all six tracks. The vocals are slightly blown-out, the guitars are fuzzy, and the rhythm section is teetering on one foot. The operative word here is “fun.” I have a hunch that seeing these cats play a house party would be a pretty epic time. Not sure if this makes it any better, but I cannot quit staring at the awesome cover art… –Garrett Barnwell (Moonquake)


USELESS CHILDREN:
People Come, People Go: 7”
The music is repetitive to the point of drone. I can’t make out the time signatures. Vocals are screamed. Unlike other “difficult” music—DNA, Mars, etc.—there isn’t much to engage the listener on this 7”. Admirable effort even if the record falls short. –ryan (IQ, criminaliq.com)


UP! SCUMBAG:
Reality TV Casualty: CD
This band’s name is a reference to the British show The Young Ones, and they throw in a cover of the show’s theme song. The singer sounds like Billy Joe (Green Day), but more in a coincidental way than anything else. The first few songs on this are okay, but then they brought in a saxophone, and then they covered Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song.” Sadly for Up! Scumbag, either one of these offenses is akin to running a red light during a driver’s test: automatic fail. If this were a cereal, it’d be a bowl of regular Chex that you start eating and it’s fine, but then you walk away for minute, come back, take a bite of mushy-cereal-nastiness, and say, “No thank you.” –Maddy (45 Little Revolutions)


UNWELCOME GUESTS:
Don’t Go Swimming: CD
Unwelcome Guests from Buffalo, New York have released a twelve-song disc mixing alt country, Florida campfire punk, and energetic power pop. The upbeat numbers like “Might Be Broken,” “Considering,” and “Any Other Place” border on anthemic punk, but—even more precisely—like their fellow upstate New York brethren The Figgs. The majority of the disc is slower and more reflective than those tracks with clear nods to Americana. In particular; frequent similarities to the Old 97’s with twangy guitar, walking basslines, and a lead vocalist that bears a striking sonic resemblance to Rhett Miller. However, even the ballads don’t overstay their welcome with the longest track on the album running only a 3:08. The songs are economical and well crafted. I would recommend this one if you don’t mind some heartland rock diluting your punk. –Jake Shut (Kiss Of Death)


UNPATRIOTICS, THE:
To Whom It May Concern: CD-R
(This review will attempt to be as bland as the piece of music that it represents.) This was a CD that contained music. It was street punk. Sometimes they sounded like Sham 69. There was a ska song, too. –Bryan Static (Freedom)


UNKO ATAMA:
Another Creature: CD
Super awesome Ramones core pop punk from San Francisco! They cover Stiv Bator’s “I’m Not That Way Anymore,” and it’s awesome! They cover the Ramones’ “Bonzo Goes to Bitburg,” and it’s awesome! They have a song called “Twinkle Twinkle UFO,” no doubt named after a line in Screeching Weasel’s “I Believe in UFOs,” and it’s awesome! They have lots of their own songs (personal favorite: “Tonight”), and they’re awesome! If this were a cereal, it would be Froot Loops, and it would be awesome! Well done, Unko Atama, well done! –Maddy (Self-released?)


UNFUN:
Pain Prescription: 7”
I saw this EP and figured, “If I’m judging vinyl by its cover anyway, it’s not a terrible start to go with a band named after a Jawbreaker album.” At first, I thought something was wrong with my stereo (actually, there is something wrong with it, but further investigation revealed it’s not Unfun). I felt like I was listening to the band behind a wall of static. The second pass through I learned it sounds better when you aren’t sitting eight inches away from the speakers. I think I can hear some slammin’ drums and power chord-friendly guitars here, but that’s all practically buried underneath extraneous noise. Cut the static noise out Unfun, and then we’ll talk. –Candice Tobin (Lost Cat, myspace.com/lostcatrecords)


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