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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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WORMEATERS:
Wardeath: 7”
Wow! You get slapped right in the face as soon as the needle drops. Fast punk rock that brought up thoughts of the early Mystic comps meets Negative Approach. Vocals are delivered with a vile scream that surely takes days to recover from. The bass guitar seems pulled up in the mix. It has a sort of live feel to it. I hear a bright thud tone with a bit of distortion mixed in. The guitar sound is what gives it the ‘80s sound—a bit pulled back in the mix but recorded with an interesting tone. It doesn’t have that Marshall half stack sound but more of a vintage combo amp sound: dirty yet clean with the use of a lot of reverb. Four out of the five songs blast by with manic speed. But the song that was saved for last was perfect for the ending. “Scabs” is the one slow song that shows the most power with the liberal use of reverb for the vocals. The heavy chords coming from the guitar, accented by the bass, strike a nerve and add to the anger. I get thoughts of Black Flag’s Damaged. From what I have heard, this band should be making more waves in the future. –don (Sorry State)


WOODGRAIN:
The Bronze: CD
Woodgrain play heavy electronic/metal style stuff with an almost prog complexity. The playing is strong and they certainly have their musicianship down. I am more of a heavy riff kinda fan—so this is not really my scene for the most part—but fans of The Melvins will find a lot to like here. In fact, this record was produced by ex-Melvins member Mark Deutrom. Like labelmates Tia Carrera, this is all instrumental jams, only instead of fuzz, there is an emphasis on keyboards. –frame (Australian Cattle God)


WLOCHATY:
Wbrew Wszystkiemu: LP
This LP came with an informative bio. Interesting facts are that the band formed in 1987 in Poland, recorded a bunch of releases, played many a show, and have shared the stage with Oi Polloi and Conflict. None of which I had any idea of, but I have heard the name before. But that was about all I have heard of the band. Coming in with fresh ears, I can focus on this only and not be biased by anything I have heard from the past. First impressions are good. I like that this record was recorded with a very strong production. Instruments sound powerful and the levels are matched evenly. Musically, I hear a blend of old U.K. anarcho punk in the likes of Conflict, Icons Of Filth and the Varukers. I also hear a lot of similarities to a current band like the Restarts. Mid-tempo to fast songs are their bread and butter but they are not afraid to add other elements to the music. At times, incorporate some reggae elements in some songs and go acoustic in another. But what I really appreciate is the melody in songs with the sing-a-long choruses. The other aspect of the music is the hard-rocking edge that pushes the message forward. Their socio and political lyrics are well thought out and you can hear the conviction in the delivery. It’s a nice, varied collection of songs that one doesn’t tire quickly in listening to. I guess I need to do some searching to hear what their previous output sounds like. –don (Pasazer)


WITCHES / HONKY HORN & BAD MOUTH:
Split: 7”
Witches: Punk rock that brings out way more comparisons to ‘90s alt/indie rock than any punk band that I can think of. Honky Horn: One lengthy Hickey-inspired song that is pretty damn rocking. Weird band name, though. –Bryan Static (Dead Broke)


WILD MOCCASINS:
Skin Collision Past: CD
If The New Pornographers and Sunday’s Best got together and managed to take their dullest, most uninteresting moments and put them together, it would sound something like this. This includes contrasting male/female vocals that sound like a not so appealing version of Kori and Jason from Mates of State. The songs are pretty consistently upbeat, which is cool, but it all comes across as too sappy for my tastes. When I used to run an online zine back in the early 2000s, we used to get a lot of stuff that reminds me of this. I’m just as disinterested now as I was then. –kurt (wildmoccasins.com)


WILD AMERICA:
Self-titled: 7”
After my initial listen, I was up in the air on this one. That’s all I remembered of that listen. I don’t know what I was thinking, because this record is tight. Four solid tracks that sound like they are a cross-pollination of Samiam and Gin Blossoms. This record makes me wish that Sleepwall was still around so that I could dream of one day seeing them on tour together. –Vincent Battilana (Freedom School)


WICCANS:
Teenage Cults: EP
Denton, TX must be the burgeoning spot for good bands these days. I can think of at least four off the top—ANS, Marked Men, Teenage Cool Kids—and these here Wiccans. That’s more than I can say about any city in California, or New York, or... I was in Denton about four years ago, and thought it was a cool town, but I was totally unaware of the scene that was happening there, outside of ANS and the Xtreme Dudes Manor. Fuck, I’ll have to be a little more investigative next time I’m there. Wiccans play some raw and unadorned hardcore punk with no immediate comparisons, which is a rarity anymore. The vocals have a dry, raspy sound, while the music is jammed, not in the hippy prog way, but the physical way, out of the speakers and into your ears. Some stop-go rhythms, some speed, some noisy and sickly sounding excursions, and really curious lyrics for songs like “Endgame”—“Blind faces under the robe / Some have become amphibian” and “Teenage Cults”—“Angular droves of animals / Frozen in waste / Crippled and placed in rows of eight.” Repeated listens are required and decoder rings are useless. Perhaps it’s time to reinstate the X-files? Only a mere three hundred of this were pressed. Do or die. –Matt Average (Pass Judgement, passjudgementrecords.com)


WHITE NIGHT:
Immortal: Cassette
This one’s a complicated animal. If a bunch of Hickey worshippers from Milwaukee got tired of the rough winters and relocated to the Southwest next door to the Swing Ding Amigos. It’s weird loud noise that nearly blows out the speakers but is still pop punk at heart. I like that they don’t seem to take themselves overly seriously, but that’s not to say that there aren’t a few more somber moments on here. Rad stuff. –joe (Burger)


WHITE LUNG:
It’s the Evil: LP
Pretty dang energetic and loud punk rock from this group of three modest-looking ladies and a guy on guitar who looks like he would help you cross the street. You know, you usually get the “Fuck, man, we are so crazy. Look at our stripes and hair and we are too tired to take this photo for our record, although we reallllly need our faces on the cover”—but here is a group that is more concerned with playing good and making cool music. Here is a solid, burning record, snappy guitar, groundwork bass and drums, and mad singing. If you are looking for tight songs with power and no nonsense, here it is. And, you guessed it, on white vinyl. –mike (Deranged, derangedrecords.com)


WHISKEY & KNIVES:
Self-titled: CD
Whoa! This is heavy! This shit rips! Clean vocals, similar to Helmet or Fu Manchu, and musically just as tough, but amped up with a bit of punk speed for a little oomph. Nice surprise here. –Jeff Proctor (Zodiac Killer)


WEED HOUNDS:
Beach Bummed: 7”
Excellent indie pop that reminds me of the early- to mid-’90s, when this genre was in top form. I hear hints of the Pixies in the song “Beach Bummed,” with its surf style bass and guitar. Yet, Weed Hounds sound like they could easily fit on the Slumberland roster. The sound is dreamy without being lethargic or foggy. Touches of shoegazer are in the sound, and I like how the vocals sound—with Laura’s up front and Nick’s slightly underneath—as the guitars and occasional feedback washes over. “Skating away from the Cops” is the best song of the two, and it’s a great song. Definitely one of the best I’ve heard this year, for sure, and the one I play over and over. Listening to this reminds me of rainy summer afternoons spent in my room reading old comics and fanzines. Not a bad place to be. I seriously hope these folks release an LP soon. –Matt Average (Iron Pier, ironpier.net)


WAYFARER:
Our Fathers: LP
This is some decent mid-tempo, melodic punk rock with rough, mid-range vocals and cool, kinda Kinsella-esque guitar work. It’s not the most original stuff I’ve ever heard, in that there’s not exactly a drought when it comes to bands inspired by mid-to-late ‘90s “emo” bands of the Braid/Get Up Kids/Cap’n Jazz school, but it’s certainly well-played and written, and if that’s your kinda scene, then you’d do well to check this out. –Dave Williams (Tragicomedy)


WAXEATER / JABBERJOSH:
Split: 7”
Waxeater is methodical, mathy post-rock with spazzed-out vocals. Being from Louisville, Kentucky where this stuff pretty much originated, I’m totally burnt out on this kind of stuff. It’s good for what it is, though. Jabberjosh is the better side. As a two-piece, they make a hell of a lot of noise with lots of shrieking and bashed-to-hell drums. It’s sort of post hardcore with lots of time changes and trickery. Not bad. –Craven (uselessrecords.com)


VIET RUSE:
Self-titled: CDEP
Probably the most technically accomplished bunch of musicians I’m reviewing this go-round, yet also paradoxically the most boring. (Isn’t that always the way?) I have no idea why they sent this to Razorcake—guys, there’s no way anybody here was going to give you a good review. If you’re into vaguely dancey/funkish tunes that sound like the song a cover band plays after they say, “Here’s a song we wrote,” then you might like this. I sure don’t. –Ryan Horky (Self-released, myspace.com/vietruse)


VIET RUSE:
Self-titled: CDEP
I’ve known Ollin’s Scott Rodarte long enough (most of my life, if you insist on bein’ nosy) to know that when he tells me I should pay attention to a band, I should do just that, and this EP doesn’t change that assessment. Viet Ruse is a San Antonio punk band, but in their case the “punk” is more evident in attitude and approach than adherence to the slew of stereotypical templates that most associate with the genre. While they retain enough of their own personality to keep things from sounding like rehash, one can hear a slight but definite Paul Weller influence throughout, right down to the preference for high end, clean channel guitars and their smart use of pop hooks and subtle soulisms. Their lyrics are well above the norm as well—intelligent, thoughtful, and topical without being preachy—one song even mulls the parallels between Dresden, Vietnam, and Iraq. If I had to find something to gripe about, it would be a wish that they fiddled a bit more with song dynamics and that more disparate, diverse musical influences manifested in their music, ’cause a lot of the songs here are similar in tempo and approach. For all I know, though, the tunes they didn’t record could sound like Ravi Shankar being beaten about the head by The Swans. Sure, maturity ultimately comes with time and experience, and, frankly, they’re already working well ahead of the curve here. I’d be much interested to hear how they expand on the sound they’ve already honed. –jimmy (mjmiranda@83@gmail.com)


VICTIMS FAMILY:
White Bread Blues: LP
Victims Family is just plain strange. Their bizarre amalgamation of punk, metal, and jazz makes them a “you had to be there” band. It’s hard to imagine that a group this oddball and complex could have reached the popularity it did. Listening to 1990’s White Bread Blues, the third Victims Family LP, is like opening a time capsule of pop culture references from its time. This re-release is everything a repackage should be, replete with a giant 12” booklet, colored vinyl, and a free full CD version of the LP. Next time some dipshit tells you that the music you like all sounds the same or lacks diversity, refer them to this nutty album. If you missed them the first time around, this is as good a record as any to start with. It’ll make you cha cha like a fucking fool. –Art Ettinger (Saint Rose, saintroserecords.com)


VIC GODARD AND SUBWAY SECT:
We Come as Aliens: CD
Kind of sounds like Ian Dury and the Blockheads (that first generation stuff with a touch of white-dude funk to it), but a little more subdued (or, at the risk of being a dick, what you would expect from dudes who have been around for that long, and probably a little partied out). Not that surprising, considering this seems to have a bunch of assorted ‘70s/early generation people like Paul Cook from the Sex Pistols. It’s a little slow to get into at first, and I was a little thrown by the weird, cheap early ‘90s-looking outer space art, but it picks up a little more towards the end. –joe (Overground)


VEINS:
Self-titled: 7”
This 7” is a re-release of the Veins cassette that came out a few months ago and sold out in a few minutes, so the songs have been making the rounds on the internet hype machine. Both sides swell up with simple guitar work and slower, typical “intro” style hardcore before taking off into rough, raw, old school hardcore punk that reminds me of Dischord #s 1-6. The sound actually has a bit of that treble-y mix in the guitar that makes those records so distinct. The second track, “Sniper Parade,” has a killer breakdown and stands out among the rest, but these six tracks are over so fast and pulled off so well it’s pointless to try and pick them apart. The packaging is a book with the record sleeve stapled inside as part of a fold out. Members of all the usual suspects. –Ian Wise (Youth Attack)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Silver Sprocket Bicycle Club Sampler 2: CD
I’ve only heard a smattering of Silver Sprocket bands in the past, but I’m completely sold on the label based on this sampler. This is the best comp record that I’ve heard in ages. Some straight-up punk, some pop punk, some ska, some stuff that sounds like underbelly wryly-humored singer-songwriter tuneage, and what may be some one-man band stuff or something close thereto. I hesitate to indicate who all is on the line-up because 1) there’s a shitload of different acts on this; 2) I don’t want to favor any one act—I liked the whole thing that much; and 3) I can’t really attest to which acts people will know or not. If you look at the Silver Sprocket website, you’ve got the lineup for this record. To that end, the comp has a diverse sound, but everything here works really, really well together. Yeah, it’s a sampler for a record label, but this stands up to any comp out there in my book. I’d pay good money for this, and like so many others these days I’ve become a cheap bastard who unfortunately thinks twice about buying records. And then there’s the glorious denouement: the back of the insert claims “this CD is awesome even though it is free”—truer words are rarely spoken. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Silver Sprocket, silversprocket.net)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Dead Broke Rekerds: Four-Way Split #2: 7”
Underground Railroad To Candyland: I wouldn’t say URTC is the Fugazi to Toys That Kill’s Minor Threat. (And that’d make FYP the Teen Idles. My analogy goes all to shit there.) But I will say that I like both TTK and URTC equally for essentially different reasons. (Perhaps it’s fist pumping vs. hip shaking.) And that’s a fuckin’ puzzle because with only one member difference at the time of this writing (lord knows when this was recorded), URTC sound like a band that could sell a lot of records if records were selling (like in that scene in High Fidelity when they put on a record and everyone in the store asks who it is… I mute the movie there and play URTC). Killer Dreamer: Zombie stoners. Brains. Buds. Bowls. Scorching riffs laid at the altars of Nick Blinko, Roky Erikson, and Dario Argento. Smelly bandage San Pedro punkrock that will silk-screen anything if it stays still long enough. Tulsa: It’s sometimes amazing how long songs can be on 7” records. Tulsa’s song’s (from 2004? Am I reading that right? It sure looks like a four) has got a lot of parts duct taped together like a massive quilt made out of dirty blankets. Tent city punk rock. The Reaction: Lean back really far and laid back, like the Hot New Mexicans do, and it’s easy to go along for the ride. Four-way split 7”s don’t get more solid. –todd (Dead Broke, deadbrokerecords.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
8^: Comp #1: Cassette
Serving as a mixtape, this solid punk compilation from this Missouri nonprofit showcases five bands with two songs a piece. Political watchdogs, The Dead Pawns, give us a peek at their punk‘n’roll schematics with heavy riffs, gang vocals, and smooth transitions. Part Time Crooks turns up the octane for a hardcore lean, finding their stride somewhere between Casualties and Adolescents. Next up, A Disco For Ferns plays a range of late ‘70s lo-fi punk to grungy humorcore with falsetto vocals. The Unpatriotics take it back to U.K.-influenced hardcore with rapid-fire lyrics and guitar solos the likes of Judas Priest. Stereo Atomico slows it down with their own brand of anthemic sing-alongs, and Snotlock brings up the rear with garage punk and earwormy hooks. The only downside to this sampler is the acoustics. At times it reminded me of how bands sound when I’m outside waiting to get into the venue. I’m hoping vinyl and CD have better sound quality. However, the talent of these bands shines through and so does the effort put out by this nonprofit record label. Definitely recommended. –Kristen K (8^, myspace.com/8records)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
8^ Punk: CD-R
The first band literally had a chorus that goes, “I love you, you love me, that’s what we call a family! Oi, oi, family! Oi, oi, family, oi!” And then the other two bands sang about rape and dead white bitches and how you’re a cunt, etc. Idiotic and unfortunate. Fuck this scene, these intentionally unnamed bands, and this “label”. –keith (8^)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
1919 Hemphill: How Y’All Doin’ Tonight?: CD
A comp that’s a celebration of seven years of existence, making Fort Worth’s 1919 Hemphill the longest-running DIY venue in all of Texas. It’s also an eight dollar benefit CD. Anyone who’s tried to get a volunteer-run community punk space off the ground has to admit that that’s downright amazing (almost unheard of) and it’s a testament that you don’t have to be in a “punk mecca” or even a “punk-friendly” city or town to build a magnet that’ll not only showcase local talents, but draw in bands that are vanning across the country. This comp is a diverse and honest collection of bands (more-well knowns like Onion Flavored Rings, Lemuria, and Japanther) to local-ish asskickers (Teenage Cool Kids, Brickfight). If you’re genre-locked, its breadth may be a bit much for you—folk punk to metal sludge to pop punk to dancey stuff is all here—but I think it’s a great, Polaroid-style snapshot of a national scene in motion; a scene and locale that I hope will get the props they deserve retroactively. –todd (1919 Hemphill)


UNWED TEENAGE MOTHERS:
Blonde Girls: LP
Lo-fi, psych/garage/folk rock from this band featuring members from Lover! and Bass Drum Of Death. Fans of the current offerings of Goner and HoZac records will find much to like here. There is a lot of the kinda stuff that Ty Segall, Dutchess & Duke, and Thee Oh Sees are up to, if that’s yer thing. –frame (Play Pinball!, playpinballrecords.bigcartel.com)


U.X. VILEHEADS:
Catch 22: EP
The title track has nothing to do with Joseph Heller’s 1961 novel of the same name. Nor is the song “Kill for Christ” a FU’s cover. However, this is the second EP from these guys, and though it’s a little less blatantly urgent than the first EP, they’ve added more tension by slightly slowing some of the songs down and getting a little more musical. The title track is a burner with its fast attack and vocal delivery that’s convincingly desperate. “Kill for Peace” is pretty good, slightly longer, and reminds me of the Regulations and ETA. I like how they build up “No Salvation” with the vocals shouting, “Do what they say, Obey your god, Do what they say...” over and over with the drums underneath before they bring in the rest of instruments in one quick wave. “Down Again” ends sort of like the record began: a mix of fast and slow with urgency throughout. Yes, this is hardcore, and everything is laid out without pretension, but if you listen a little closer than usual, there’s more power here than just a burst of “1-2-3-Go!” Tempos change and guitars go quiet while the drums momentarily take over. A tried and true formula, but played with conviction, for sure. –Matt Average (Sorry State, sorrystaterecords.com)


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