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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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READING RAINBOW:
Prism Eyes: CD
The Vaselines is the first comparable band that popped into my head as this spun ‘round, and there is definitely no shortage of similarities between this duo and that more celebrated duo: geetar and drums, male/female harmonies, and shimmery, occasionally beautiful pop tunes with an almost tribal undertow popping up now and then. –jimmy (Hozac, no address)


RATIONS:
For Victory: One-sided LP
Rations sound like they graduated with honors from the College of Latterman while taking summer extension courses at Hot Water Music University. There isn’t a song on here that doesn’t sound like it lacks a bit of sincerity, with posi-esque lyrics that ride the wave of the down but not out who want to get some high fives goin’ all around and keep on keepin’ on. You know, all posi with beers in hand and emotional without the hairdos and scarves and whiny sounds. The layout is pretty nice. The blank side of the vinyl has a screen print, and the booklet is full-size newsprint. –Vincent Battilana (86’d)


RATIONS:
For Victory: CD
Fucking great. Sloppy as hell, fuzzed-out, and couched somewhere between—work with me here—(Young) Pioneers and Action Patrol. Frenetic, blistering, quick jabs that, were it a coin toss, consistently land on the ragged, scarred side of pop punk. Made up of a group of thoughtful, experienced thirty-somethings—check out the Rations interview this issue—that seem to be doing it for all the right reasons and having a blast at the same time. Beautiful packaging, careworn melodies, and a seventeen-minute running time. Recommended. –keith (86’d)


RADONS:
Radiation Summer: CD-R
At this point it’s becoming clear to me that Fleshwave is just a collective of synthpunk bands. I can’t imagine any of them have more than two members, but how would I know? The inserts provide no information. I am not even sure if this band’s name is Radons. Their name could very easily be Radiation Summer. Either way, this music is good, but sucks for you because I don’t know how you’re going to find it. –Bryan Static (Fleshwave)


PUNK FLOID:
Underground: CD
Czech pop punk. C’mon, you know you’re as thrilled as I that such a thing exists. –jimmy (phz.cz)


PUBLIC SUICIDE:
Agoraphobic LP: Cassette
This band reminds me of JFA in the way that they are all over the place. They start out decent, with a sort of lonely boy hardcore song, then they move into the straight-up ‘80s hardcore territory, which is really quite terrible. Most ‘80s hardcore was generic and flat before everybody copied it for the next thirty or however many years. Those douchebags in American Hardcore can have it. However, just when Public Suicide loses my interest, they snap me back again with some Revolution Summer-style emocore that reminds me of The Hated. Let me put it this way, I wouldn’t sit through the bad hardcore nor would I bother to fast-forward and rewind to get to the good stuff. Pretty good at times. Hardly a keeper. –Craven (myspace.com/allquietrecords)


PROTESTANT:
Judgments: LP
Can’t believe I haven’t listened to this band until now. Fuggggg... Protestant reside somewhere between Artimus Pyle, His Hero Is Gone, and Kylesa. It’s heavy and crushing hardcore with some dissonant elements. The songs hit hard and leave a serious burn. The closer, “Retirement,” throws some rapid and direct punches at the beginning that will grab the listener’s attention, for sure. “Funeral” is my favorite of the nine, as it has a catchier riff and more epic structure. Lyrically, “Dustbowl” is the best, detailing the dissolution of small town, rural America due to corporations, developers, and other scum. The majority of the songs deal with the alienation of American life, the dehumanization of employment, and the feeling of losing control over one’s existence. These issues are all tied together and these guys do a good job of getting that point across. Hope I get to hear more in the future. –Matt Average (Halo of Flies)


PROSTHETICS:
Bad Intentions: LP
Well, the cover and lettering had me anticipating some shitty grind or crust band. Instead, Prosthetics are a hardcore band with a slight skate rock influence. The songs are semi fast, and the three-pronged guitar attack gives everything a thick wall of sound. The drums sound like they were recorded a little wimpy, though. Lyric-wise, I’m reminded of Mike Muir, in that everything is sort of stream of conscious, not too deep or introverted, singing about the world messing with his mind. “The End” is the standout track, with its speed and ability to have a catchy rhythm. Good stuff. –Matt Average (Prosthetics, prosthetics.az)


PROLETARIAT PUNCH:
The Opposable Thumb: 3" CD-R
“The Opposable Thumb” is a quick hardcore blast that sounds very British and very mid-eighties. The second song, “Now What,” is a surprise—a reggae song that sounds like Culture Shock coupled with the distortion-heavy guitars of Mouth Sewn Shut. The first track came across as pretty standard fare—”Now What” was definitely the standout here. Given a slightly more “traditional” release—a 3” CD-R, in my opinion, is just a tiny step up from a cassingle—and I could see this three-piece stirring up some shit. Nice work. –keith (Recluse)


PRESSURE 28:
“Spirit of 69” b/w “Pull No Punches': 7"
Two-tone and oi sound with elements of The Adicts and The Clash. They only gave me two tracks, so there’s not much else to say. –thiringer (Longshot, longshotmusic.com)


POONTEENS, THE / THE ENLOWS:
Split: Cassette
The Enlows play pretty lo-fi pop punk. Songs about girls, drinking, and breaking uuuuup. After a weekend at Awesome Fest listening to so many bands do this, I just can’t listen to it more than once, more than twice, official verdict: bleh. The Poonteens play pretty poppy punk as well, but nice and sloppy with ugly sounding vocals. That makes it better. Also their side ends with a Guns & Roses cover. I only play that side of the tape from now on. By the way, this stuff is recorded live. Some people (myself included) tend to not be that into live recording, so now you know. –Rene Navarro (Poonteens Music)


PLIMPTONS, THE:
00’s Nostalgia with the Plimptons: CD
I saw Madness’s “Our House” video for the first time in about twenty years the other day, and, stunningly, it actually made me feel kinda good inside—like angels were peeing pink sugar water into my lungs—for some unspecified reason ((as opposed to back in the day, when i’m sure i was lobbing sneakers and pull-tab beer cans at the TV in disgust every time it came on)). In retrospect—and, perhaps, ONLY in retrospect—that was a pretty good song, really. I have no idea what the fuck this has to do with the Plimptons, other than the fact that, if MTV still played music, i’d like to think the Plimptons would be in Madness-esque heavy rotation ((which brings up a chilling tangent: Is “these guys would be in heavy rotation if MTV still played music videos” this generation’s version of “in a perfect world, this song would be blasting out of every AM radio in America”??? Yikes!)). They’re poppy and ska-ey and clever and jumpy and sing with funny accents because they’re from Scotland ((good, i’m sick of Ireland anyway)), but they’re also punky because GOD DAMMIT WE HAVE RAISED A GENERATION OF CHAMPIONS. Who knows, for all i am aware, maybe this band is big and famous and continually overplayed at the corner bar ((and, hell, maybe MTV plays videos all the time again? How would i even know?)), but i’ve never heard of ‘em before and i’ll go so far as to say that their videos ((viewable on many popular social networking sites)) are mildly life-affirming necessities. HARK, THE HERALD ANGELS SING! BREATHE DEEPLY OF THEIR SUGARY TINKLE!!! BEST SONG: “I Don’t Wanna Be Dead” BEST SONG TITLE: “The Day My Baby Said She Hated Ska.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Nobody really knows what the last decade was called, and i don’t blame them. –norb (16 Ohm)


PIMPS, THE:
Fuck This Shit, We’re Outta Here: CD
Quirky rock/punk, deftly executed and long on humor. –jimmy (Crustacean)


PHANTOM LIMBS:
Self-titled: CD
Can’t say with any certainty, seeing as the disc came by itself in a black sleeve with no additional information and I wasn’t able to find diddly on the web about it, but unless they decided to ditch the synth-laden death punk of their classic period and go down the droney-chord college rock route, this ain’t the same Bay Area band that formed in 1999 and released no shortage of LPs and singles over the past decade. –jimmy (Clown School, no address)


PAZAHORA / GHAUST:
Split: 7"
Two hardcore bands from Southeast Asia drop one long, sludgy song a piece. Pazahora add ominous black metal to their crust and bring to mind One Eyed God Prophecy or Union Of Uranus. Their song ends with an acoustic break and a sound bite from the documentary One Nation under Lee, about Singapore’s first prime minister. Their liner notes and lyrics discuss violence in Singapore, which has the highest execution rate in the world. Ghaust’s track is a terrific doomy instrumental companion. Nicely designed packaging with handmade flourishes. –CT Terry (Diseased, diseasedrecords.com)


PARTY BY THE SLICE:
Pizza’s Not Dead: Cassette
Down tuned party thrash from Milwaukee armed with a pizza gimmick and some really tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Sorta like R.A.M.B.O. minus the soapbox. I love the way they spoofed The Exploited’s “Punk’s Not Dead” and Morbid Angel’s logo for their artwork. Musically, it’s not terribly original or awfully bad. It’s exactly what you would expect from a band that obviously doesn’t take themselves too seriously and has fun doing what they do. More power to them. –jimmy (Halo Of Flies)


PARTING GIFTS, THE:
Strychnine Dandelion: CD
I count my lucky stars that I got to catch The Reigning Sound the last time they came through L.A. They were amazing. Nothing flashy, just no-motion-wasted, age-appropriate, kids-don’t-know-shit punk rock. The drummer’s torso barely moved: all limbs. There wasn’t any flailing, but it was powerful, energizing, no-nonsense, and great. After their set, Greg Cartwright got back on stage and did a mini, four-song set with The Parting Gifts, where he duets with a woman who was in the opening band, The Ettes. Strychnine Dandelion is like tuning into and lingering on a perfectly DJ’d radio show. Soul, R&B, and ‘60s rock are all played, without the allergizing dust, the smell of yellowed record jackets, or the embarrassing retro-Fonzie-as-lifestyle genre locking other bands happily handcuff themselves to. It’s this type of time-traveling wizardry—it’s contemporary music, my friends, without discarding that initial fire of entire genres of music that many “industries” have declared not economically viable in this new world—that keeps me in healthy awe of and appreciation for all of the bands Greg Cartwright’s involved with. This is some fantastic hard-to-make, easy-to-listen-to music –todd (In The Red)


PARASITIC SKIES:
The Descent: CD
Mid-tempo metal that hearkens back to what started happening in the ‘90s with bands like Integrity and Earth Crisis: heavy riffs galore and a lot of low end. Yet not one song stands out and half way through this gets pretty tedious. –Matt Average (seventhdagger.com)


OUTLAST / REVEAL THE TRUTH:
Split: 7"
Two straightedge bands that are pissed about having to do stuff and crutches and pride and whatnot. Both are well recorded, fast, and pissed sounding with mosh parts appearing in all the right places and logos that feature varsity lettering. Both bands are solid and sincere with reasonable discourse and no ridiculous thug posturing. Formulaic, but who wants to hear free-form straight edge? Good, good, good if that’s what you are into. G to the O! –Billups Allen (Dead End, myspace.com/deadendrecordsjc)


ONLY FUMES AND CORPSES:
Who Really Cares What Really Lasts: CD
Hey, look at this. There are still people making cheesy screamo metalcore. Yeah, I know. I thought that whole fad reached its conclusion years ago too, but, apparently, these guys disagree. Oh. Shh. Here they come. Don’t say anything. Ha. Shh. Oh, hi OFAC. Ha-ha-ha. No, I’m not laughing at you. How could I possibly laugh at something with so much heart, so much emotional depth. I mean, that first line: “This is your cross to bear, this is my axe to grind.” So original. So deep. Ha-ha-ha. I’m sorry. I can’t even keep a straight face. But no, keep doing what you’re doing. Walking clichés that actually incorporate clichés into lyrics? Brilliant. –mp (Underground Movement)


OFF!:
First Four EP’s: LP
New band from Keith Morris that rose from the ashes of an aborted Circle Jerks session. Joining Keith in this controlled mayhem is Steven McDonald (ex-Red Kross) on bass, Mario Rubalcaba (ex-Hot Snakes) on drums, and Dimitri Coats (ex-Burning Brides) on guitar. Coats abandons his stoner rock licks and inhales generously from the leftover seeds of Greg Ginn. But it’s not a rehash. Live, they bring more intensity to the party. “I Don’t Belong,” “Darkness,” and “Fuck People” will blow your speakers into hyperspace like a slingshot. Believe the hype. This is real. –koepenick (Vice)


OFF!:
First EP: 7"
My first thought when I heard about this, was that it was weird that Keith Morris was fronting another band named after bug spray... Then I heard the record and promptly shut the fuck up. I will say this once and I truly believe it to my core. Keith Morris is punk rock. Period! Four blasts here that will leave you picking up the brain matter off the floor before you know what hit you. Of course it sounds like Black Flag and Circle Jerks. It would be impossible for it not to. The important thing here it that it sounds fresh. The anger is seething. He’s not some old dude trying to cash in on past notoriety. He’s got problems and he’s pissed about it. Back him up with some stellar guys from the likes of Redd Kross, Burning Brides, and Rocket From The Crypt, add some Raymond Pettibon art, and OFF! will remind you that hardcore punk is still alive and angry! I’m anxiously awaiting my “First Four EPs” box set in the mail. Stay tuned for that review. –ty (Vice)


OFF WITH THEIR HEADS:
I Will Follow You: Picture Disc
I’m fairly sure that by now most if not all regular Razorcake readers are familiar with Off With Their Heads. I’m also pretty sure that their minds are made up as to whether or not they care much for this band. But for those unfamiliar or curious: this is a good a place as any to start. “I Will Follow You” is an all new song and features vocals that seem less gravelly when compared to any of their previous recordings. On the flip side you have a medley of two Cleveland Bound Death Sentence songs and a live version of the song “Janie,” from their split with J Church. So, in a nutshell, you have them at their best (the live song), their influences (the CBDS covers), and what they’re up to now. The addition of this 12” with 7” proportions brings the grand total of picture discs in my collection to about eight (I have absolutely no fondness for ‘em) and is the first to be shaped like a fireball. –Juan Espinosa (Pirates Press, piratespressrecords.com)


NONE MORE BLACK:
Icons: CD
This is an all right return after four years for the melodic punk band led by Jason Shevchuk and his distinctive rasp. I say all right, because it never achieves the snap that set their previous gems This Is Satire and Loud about Loathing apart. While the band seems in fine form, I will say that it’s a lack of distinctiveness to most of the songs that knock this down a few pegs for me. There is the caveat, though, that the double time “I’m Warning You With Peace & Love” and the moody and atmospheric “Here Comes Devereux” are two of the band’s best songs yet. –Adrian (Fat)


NONE MORE BLA:
Icons: CD
Despite the band’s pedigree and supergroup status of sorts, None More Black’s third disc for Fat—Icons—is a mixed bag. Firstly, the disc just isn’t a very fun listen. The songs don’t seem to do more than simmer and bounce along without ever really kicking into gear. There are a few bright spots, like “I’m Warning You with Peace and Love” and the disc’s closer, “Budapest Gambit” but, unfortunately, there are too few and too far between to warrant many repeated listens. Secondly, the disc is a bit too overproduced for my ears and not in the typical Fat way. Think more of an Offspring, radio-toned way. Lastly, Jason Shevchuk’s bellow became pretty monotonous pretty quick. –Garrett Barnwell (Fat Wreck Chords)


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