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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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RAINBOW PERSON:
Trade, Labour, Vocation: Cassette
There’s a very limited audience for this kind of racket: Chavez fans, math-rock fans, and maybe later-era Rites Of Spring fans. Limited to twenty-five copies, so jump on this if you’re so inclined. –Juan Espinosa (Self released, rainbowperson@usa.com)


QUINTRON:
“Ring the Alarm” b/w “Jamskate”: 7"
“Ring the Alarm” is not a cover of Tenor Saw’s reggae anthem of the same name, but rather an up-tempo, dancey bit of organ ‘n’ drum machine-propulsed bit of punky quirkiness. Ditto for the flip. Fun and totally innocuous. –jimmy (bachelorrecords.com)


QUEERS, THE:
Back to the Basement: CD
Another superb addition to the ever-increasing discography of New Hampshire’s finest. There’s an instrumental and a Black Flag cover. But there’s also the classic songwriting you have come to expect from Joe Queer and the boys. With titles like “Titfuck” and “Fucked in the Head,” would you expect any less? And, really, there is no fucking way this could be a bad Queers record with a drummer named Hog Log behind the kit. Case closed. –koepenick (Asian Man)


PUTAS MIERDAS:
La Nacion Mas Pobre: EP
As far as I know, Mexico is largely ignored and unknown for its great punk/hardcore bands, which is quite a mystery to me since I am fairly certain that a country so large and internally oppressed surely must have some punks screaming into microphones somewhere. Putas Mierdas from Guadalajara are everything I was hoping to hear from the land of my ancestry: pissed off, mid-paced, basic but not bland punk rock drawing influences from the early ‘80s such as Nardcore and Eskorbuto. I hope they don’t take offense to this, but their singer seriously sounds like a punk rock Alex Lora, vocalist for a well-known Mexican rock band called El Tri. Stoked that they’re helping to put Mexico on the punk rock map. –Juan Espinosa (Adelante, adelantediscos@gmail.com)


PRICKS, THE:
Maximum S&M: CD
The ‘50s style pin-up model artwork had me fearing I would have to review some neo-rockabilly album, which I was not looking forward to. Instead, The Pricks deliver twenty three tracks of raging speed punk in under half an hour, with only one song lasting more than two minutes. Reminds me of modern era bands like Zeke, Speedealer, and the Candy Snatchers, with clear references to ‘80s hardcore pioneers like Negative Approach and Black Flag. That being said, The Pricks do not approach the brilliance of any of those legendary acts. The songs are somewhat typical in an unexceptional way and the shrill vocals began to wear on me during repeated plays. –Jake Shut (Rockstar)


PORN STARS OF HORROR / STUPID IN STEREO:
Split: 7”
For a band with one of the worst names ever, the Porn Stars Of Horror are surprisingly rad. Straightforward horror hardcore that gets bonus points for doing something so mind-blowingly obvious that I can’t comprehend how it has never been done before (or how, if it has been done before, I’ve missed it): they turn the “verata clatoo nicto” chant from Army of Darkness into a song. Of course, they lose major points not only because they did not use the official spelling of the chant (which originally appeared in The Day the Earth Stood Still), but because they chant the three words in the wrong fucking order (should be “klaatu barada nikto”). If you’re keeping track, that puts them into negative points. If you’re going to mess with nerd stuff, you best do it right. Stupid In Stereo’s side is a match thematically, even if their pop punk sound doesn’t mesh. They pay tribute to Ash and the evil dead with a song called “Tree Love.” And they spell everything correctly. –mp (Unrepentant)


POOL PARTY:
Pool Party Yeah!: CD
A four-piece band from Iceland being released by a Florida label. This disc has a running time of close to an hour, with the first half being a twelve-song, coherent album that sounds like it was recorded in a legitimate studio. And it’s pretty darn good too, ranging through Ramoneish punk, synth-driven new wave, and power pop. Energetic and amusing party music that appeals to the basest rock and roll instincts, which goes well with the joyfully immature, sexually-loaded lyrics. The second half is twenty more tracks of noticeably lower quality both in terms of the recordings and the strength of the songs themselves, although a number of songs on the later half of the release are live or crude demo versions of the twelve first songs on the disc. The second half is also more experimental, even working in elements of dub and techno, but quite hit or miss. The first twelve songs are well worth listening to all the way through, but you will want to employ the track skip button on the rest of the release. –Jake Shut (Livid)


POISON PLANET:
Oblivious: EP
So many reasons to like this record... Poison Planet crank out some blazing hardcore punk that has a rough and burly edge. Elements remind me of Negative FX, such as the vocals, and the straight-forward approach to the music. The guitar has a nice sound and the guy can actually play. I like how the bass is right up in the mix as well. More hardcore bands need to do this! There are some cool intros to the songs, and this stuff is as catchy as it is speedy. Then—something I unfortunately don’t come across too often in today’s punk scene—here’s a band that actually has something of worth to say. Not one song on here is about what the “scene” means to them, or about straight-edge. Instead, they bring up animal rights, staying true to your ideals (as they say, “This is about something much greater than breaking Edge, or ceasing to be vegan/vegetarian. This is about selling out your soul like a fucking coward”), religion, and apathy. Well worth your time and money. –Matt Average (ThirdXParty, thirdxparty.blogspot.com)


PINK HOUSES:
Self-titled: LP
Some decidedly atypical punk rock, with a bit of a tribal vibe in evidence in some places, hints of mid-period Fugazi in others, with flashes of a more straightforward approach popping up now and then. –jimmy (Pink Houses)


PERKELE:
Punk Rock Army: 7"
This three-song record came out as an appetizer to the new Perkele full-length and it’s another fine release from this popular Swedish streetpunk band. Fans will especially dig the corny, but awesome acoustic version of the old Perkele staple, “Heart Full of Pride,” exclusive to this 7” only. It was pointed out to me not long ago that skins like some of the wimpiest music imaginable. No one would disagree with that fact, but the detractors with their noses in the air are missing out on some of the catchiest, most lovable bands around. Pride is lame, unless it’s taking pride in adoring seemingly asinine music. How asinine is it, then? –Art Ettinger (Oi! The Boat, oitheboat.com)


PERENNIALS, THE:
Oh Kimmy: 7"
I’m puking from my fever now, but I think this 7” is really sweet. It might be the meds or the flu, but The Perennials got a great dreamy, flowing sound. It could be anxious teenagers strumming and playing with energy over authority (that’s big in my book), or it could be my head swirling, thinking about 1960s sock hops with local bands tearing it up. I do hear lyrics about girls not needing love anymore and trying to remember memories. Shit yeah, man. I think this is honest, kickin’ garage-pop rock. I asked my wife to make sure: “Hell yeah, this is happy.” –mike (Eradicator)


PHOENIX FOUNDATION, THE / HER SPECTACLES:
Split: 7"
A pair of rather generic indie rock bands together on the same split 7”. The most memorable thing about this record is that The Phoenix Foundation’s name is a sweet ‘80s pop culture reference (Macgyver). –Paul J. Comeau –Guest Contributor (Unsane Asylum)


PERENNIALS, THE:
“My Side of the Mountain” b/w “This Whole Town”: 7"
Catchy punk stuff with a kinda indie rock, kinda garagy feel. The guitar pretty much sticks to a strum-de-strum pattern, but I’m diggin’ the noodly bass lines. –jimmy (Eradicator)


PERENNIALS, THE:
“My Side of the Mountain” b/w “This Whole Town”: 7"
This 7” contains three catchy pop songs with a tinge of ‘60s influence. “My Side of the Mountain” rocks a Teenage Shutdown–style beat and bass line framing jangly guitars. “Savannah” is a simpler song in the same vein, while “This Whole Town” moves into more roots territory. There is no snot, but the songs take the retro influence into upbeat territory confidently. Good vocals. Good songs. –Billups Allen (Radicator)


PARTING GIFTS, THE:
Strychnine Dandelion: LP
The latest project from Greg Cartwright (Reigning Sound, Oblivians, Compulsive Gamblers and numerous others) with Coco Hames of the Ettes. Apparently, the band came together just to record a single for Norton Records’ Rolling Stones cover series but a full-length accidentally popped out. Cartwright continues to be a prolific songwriter (penning ten of the fifteen songs on the album) and there are no real duds here. The production sounds much like the latest Reigning Sound album (Love and Curses); very organ heavy. I actually kind of like this album a little more than Love and Curses. –Sal Lucci –Guest Contributor (In The Red)


PARASYTIC:
Poison Minds: LP
I thought this Richmond, VA’s debut LP Hymn was great, but I feel this new release raises the bar. This time around, the crust seems to take a bit of a back seat while the thrash metal and Motörhead sound come to the forefront with sheer ferocity. I would compare the sound to the last few World Burns To Death releases. The production is superb with a biting and bright guitar sound accented with the pounding and solid tone of the bass leading the charge. The mixture of the two creates a soundscape of headbanging fury. The drum mix seems to be pulled a hair to the front to give the songs a thundering effect. I can picture every beat as they are being hit. The gravelly vocals complete the barrage of power to this collection of eight songs. Saw them a few years ago live and they put on a great performance. Hopefully another tour out west is in the works for the future. –don (Vex)


OUR OWN END:
Quit While You’re Still Behind: CD
I don’t know what to say about this other than that it’s super generic youth crew hardcore. Gang vocals and all of that. The best thing about this band is the unintentional, homoerotic band name and album title. –Craven (myspace.com/ourownendmusic)


OTTOWA:
SELF- TITLED: 12"EP
Ottowa were a Midwestern grind band in the mid-’90s, from the era of spazzing that lead up to the powerviolence explosion a couple of years later. These thirteen songs were originally on a split LP with Jihad, and have been remixed and re-released with new cover art as a 12” 45, minus the (inferior) Jihad side. I’ve had the original of this record since high school, and these short, furious songs made it onto a lot of mixtapes back then. I’ve been meaning to dust that record off, so this review gives me an awesome excuse to revisit an old favorite. I’m in my early thirties and am discovering that some of the music that I loved as a teenager has not held up well (Koff! Koff! Lifetime, ahem!). Luckily, Ottowa still shreds. The music is grindcore with two singers who don’t do the stereotypical dustbuster/nails on chalkboard back-and-forth. The songs are well written, too, swinging between blastbeats and half-speed parts to make dynamic hardcore blasts. You could file these guys alongside Infest, Crossed Out, Man Is The Bastard or The Locust before they got keyboards. –CT Terry (Residue)


ONE DAY:
Self-titled: 7"
The sound of modern Gainesville filtered through a turd. I couldn’t get into this at all. Nice screen printed covers though. –Ryan Horky (Abandon Hope)


NUCLEAR FAMILY:
Self-titled: 12”: 8-song EP
Here’s a record anyone who even remotely likes punk should listen to. They sound like a mix of early S.F. punk with U.K. influences and little bit like the Epidemics. The songs are tuneful, led by a guitarist who picks notes more than strumming chords. Any punk band worth a damn has a bass player that gives the songs the drive they need, and they definitely have that here. The singer can actually sing, as well. “Mistakes” has the most pop sound of all on here. It comes out of left field, but a nice switch up. “More of the Same” is my favorite on here, with lyrics that illustrate losing oneself in the day-to-day, crushing routine of work. I heard these guys have split up. Which is too bad, because they wrote some really well-crafted punk that stands out above a lot of what’s out there at the moment (and there’s some really good stuff happening right now, so that’s saying a lot). The labels are reversed, by the way. At least the copy I have. –Matt Average (Loud Punk)


NUCLEAR FAMILY:
Self-titled: 12”: 8-song EP
Strong, melodic DIY punk that threads the strident, defiant stance of Tilt to the anthemic crackle of Bikini Kill and the bike-down-a-steep-hill velocity of Black Rainbow. Unwrapped, that means the vocals are clear, loud, and sung with both smiles and sneers. The lyrics are deeply concerned with strong identity in the face of whelming social, societal, political, and religious odds. The music’s tight, but heart-tight, not technician-at-cyborg-band-school tight. Fellow Razorcaker Daryl handed to this to me and said, “I have absolutely no doubt you’ll like this.” Fuck if he didn’t hit the bullseye on that one. Really taken by this band. –todd (Loud Punk)


OCCULT DETECTIVE CLUB:
Tortures: LP
This came with a tiny note on a rectangle of lined paper: “Alex from Maaster Gaiden’s new band.” That’s publicity I can understand. Decoded, it means that in the middle of Texas another musical terror is spawning. Alex is a dude who channels bedroom recording ala Ryan Rousseau, Alicja Trout, and Ben Cooke into slippery anthems that tie high and low fi into seductive little knots—tied in a manner that you’re not quite sure if they’re pretty bows on presents or twisted wires set to detonate garage rock bomb blasts. (It’s both.) From a Maaster Gaiden point of view, Occult Detective Club takes more breaths between notes and has injected a nice level of creepiness and bounce to the proceedings. Being so, distant echoes of the Adverts, The Ramones, and Roky Erickson and comparisons to and shared bills with contemporaries like Something Fierce wouldn’t be too far off the mark. Tortures sounds effortless, juicy, and dire. As an aside, this is the first record I’ve ever seen that was made in Karlsruhe, the German city that was reportedly one of the heavy inspirations for WashingtonD.C. –todd (Red Lounge Records)


OFF!:
First Four EPs: 4 x 7” EP
On its surface, yeah, it’d be easy as pie to write this off as some vainglorious attempt by some punkers of yore to make a quick cash-in on their former infamy and further besmirch what smidgeon of cred they had left. Making it easier still would be the fact that the label it’s on is connected to Vice Magazine, which, if my memory of it is correct, is some hipster mag that fetishizes underground culture for folks who would’ve been beaten to a pulp if they’d ever had the temerity to step into Godzillas, Cathay de Grande, or Club Fuck. The problem with handily jumping to such conclusions, though, is the music contained on the four 7” discs up for discussion, which contain sixteen tracks of straight-for-the-jugular, no-frills, no-bullshit Southern California thug-punk. Very early Black Flag and Red Cross are the too-obvious references, considering the pedigrees of those responsible, but they are nonetheless fitting, with virtually all of the tracks here evincing the same short attention span song lengths and sparse, pointed lyrics about non-conformity, various psychoses, and the generally fucked up state of the world that continues to make the early work of the aforementioned bands so goddamned relevant. More importantly, instead of being saturated in that jaded, “We were doing this shit thirty years ago, kids” arrogance so many of their (and my) peers exude, the whole package— the music, the accompanying artwork, the live performances—feels fucking real and dripping with a seeming sincerity that is often rare in this age of punk-as-career-move. Keith and the boys have something special on their hands here and it’ll be interesting to see/hear if/how they evolve over time. –jimmy (Vice Music)


NORMALS, THE:
“Almost Ready” b/w “Hard Core”: 7"
Another reissue of a silly-rare, silly-good 45 (though the tracks have appeared on CD at least once last decade, on Airline 61’s Your Punk Heritage compendium of the band’s recorded history), from these New Orleans legends, originally recorded and released in 1978. “Almost Ready” is a fine bit of thud-punk that predates bands like the Spits by a number of decades, while the use of the title “Hard Core” beats DOA’s use of the term for “Hardcore ‘81” by three years. Take that fly in the ointment, snobby historians! –jimmy (Last Laugh)


NOMEANSNO:
Tour E.P. No.2: 12"
When I reviewed Nomeansno’s Tour E.P. No. 1 a couple of issues ago, I stated that I needed a fix of the more upbeat style of NMN record. Well, it looks like I’ve got my wish! Tour E.P. No. 2 kicks off with “Jubilation” which, in my opinion, just may be the best song they’ve put out since the Worldhood of the World (As Such) record. I wouldn’t say poppy, but seriously catchy and forces you to sing along and bounce in your seat. It continues along this way throughout the record. Rather than the incredibly morose, bleak ballads, they’ve switched to their, “We know the world sucks, but we’re gonna go down singing with a sarcastic smile on our faces” alter ego. My favorite facet of Nomeansno. The increasing difficulty in obtaining these tour EPs is a little bothersome, though. Good luck hunting this one down. It’s worth it! –ty (Wrong)


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