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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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IL BUIO:
Self-titled: LP
This Italian band plays triumphant, post-rock-influenced, aggressive punk rock. Top notch production with lyrics that are belted out rather than sung. Technical and epic, yet engaging. Kind of like a good action movie. And on top of all that, the drummer was in La Piovra. Rippin’ stuff. –Daryl Gussin (Self-released, ilbuio.mailbox@gmail.com)


I FAIL:
Highways…: 10"
Five epic political hardcore songs. Belted lead vocals with nails-on-chalkboard shrieks in the background. Ominous guitar breaks tying the parts together. These songs are on the longer side, and may draw comparisons to Fucked Up, but I find this record a lot more dynamic and engaging than anything I’ve heard by that band. Blackberry yogurt colored vinyl. Props for the before and after photos of the now burned down Touchdown Jesus (Google it). –CT Terry (Sacred Plague, sacredplague.com)


HUNTERS, RUN!:
“Life of Crime” b/w “Oh My Ageless Brother”: 7"
Besides bearing a name that sounds like it was taken from a country club (minus the punctuation, of course), this New York City band makes adequate alternative pop akin to something I would’ve listened to in the late ‘90s. Of course this would’ve been one of those bands that I was really into but no one else I knew would have even heard of them. The two songs have fine structure and are kept simple in their delivery but still construct a nice summery feeling. The songs include some strings and keys but are primarily driven by the guitar and vocals, as the drums (and bass?) fall into the background. I guess this is part of a series of seven inches they’re doing; I wish I could’ve heard a full-length, however. It may sound pretentious to call it post-pop but, regardless, it seems like it’s up my alley. –kurt (myspace.com/huntersrun)


HOUSE OF BREAD:
Superhuman Tomb: CD
Every time I get a batch of CDs to review for Razorcake, it usually means a handful of albums that either suck real bad or don’t do anything for me and then one album that sticks out. For this time around, House Of Bread’s Superhuman Tomb would be that album. Unfortunately, the band is the victim of a horrible name but does their best to make up for it with an album of synth-influenced swirling pop. The band is from Fort Wayne, Indiana (woo! home state represent!) and consists of just two guys but they make some fuzzy, delicious songs that are groovy and catchy and definitely pick up from the camp of Yo La Tengo (amongst others). There are some shoegazer elements as well; with affectionate vocals lying over some warm sonic landscapes and other times the music moves into a more keyboard-oriented approach. I can hear some Lassie Foundation and other times I hear something that reminds me of A Study In Her but there is always a focus on the guitar and that’s key to my appreciation. Even songs that might be seen as filler by some (“Our Green Plots”) leave me with a feeling of warmth that evoke so many memories I often associate with some of my favorite albums. If you’re into something that’s partially dreamy and partially ethereal but still rooted in some firm understanding of bands like My Bloody Valentine or Swervedriver, then check out Superhuman Tomb. –kurt (houseofbreadband@gmail.com)


HOUSE BOAT:
Processing Complaints: 7”
The modern pop punk super group is back. House Boat is Garth and Ace Steinway, Mikey Erg, and Zach Rivethead. Their lead singer, Garth; his previous band had some problems. I was a fan of the Steinways, but their overly jokey songs didn’t age well. House Boat is him doing songs with a bit more emotional and musical depth and it’s quite good. If you’re a fan of Chixdiggit at all, I really recommend checking out this 7” and their full length from last year. –Bryan Static (Traffic Street, trafficstreetrecords.com)


HOUSE BOAT:
Processing Complaints: 7”
If you don’t like this record, then you probably don’t like pop punk, which means you’re probably reading Razorcake as part of a college research paper on subcultures. Either way, the facts are not in dispute. House Boat includes two members of the Steinways, Mikey Erg (of the Ergs, naturally), and Zach, who, depending on your frame of reference, could be referred to as a current member of Off With Their Heads, Dear Landlord, or an ex-member of a band named after a book written by a steelworker. Your pick. Now here’s the part where I tell you what this sounds like. What do you think a band with members of all those bands sounds like? Yes, you are correct. It sounds sort of like all of those bands combined, which is a boring yet accurate way to describe this. A better way might be to say that if this were a cereal, it’d be Froot Loops with a few Lucky Charms thrown in for good measure. In other words, this is excellent pop punk of a non-bubblegum fashion, with lyrics about being sad. This is probably one of the best pop punk records you’re going to hear this year, unless you don’t buy it. –Maddy (Traffic Street)


HORROR SQUAD:
24” Sonic Vampire: CD
A little bit o’ hardcore, a little bit o’ rock, a little bit of ska/reggae. All the bases are firmly covered, and equal doses of humor and horror make ’em fine entertainment for your next Halloween bash. –jimmy (Fallen Angel)


HOMEOWNERS:
Light and Vision: 7” EP
I blame Superchunk’s “Slack Motherfucker.” Was it punk? Was it college rock (which became indie)? It was rockin’ and angsty and I loved it. Girls who liked REM liked them because of the pretty parts and it didn’t look like the guys in the bands were the stabbing kind of hobos who wanted to hurt you. Dudes who had Crass patches liked the “motherfucker” and “I’m not working for you” side of things. And since this was at a really important developmental stage in my music brain, I have the largest soft spot for bands that hit that energy/catchiness, where it can be fists in the air, uncontrolled bouncing, and smart/angry all at the same time. Not to be a dick, but this is what I thought Beat Happening would sound like before I heard them. Don’t let genres lock you into solitary confinement. This shit’s downright enjoyable and fresh. Supposedly, it was also recorded in Neil Young’s model train studio, but the internet is usually a big, fat, fuckin’ liar. –todd (Margin Mouth)


HOLY SHIT!:
Had a Couple Good Songs: CD
Compiled for their Japanese tour, this is fifty-five tracks anthologizing an assortment of 7”s, 12”s, split 7”s, comps, and even a cassette. No insert, just a track listing and then who recorded what songs. So if you’re looking for fifty-five songs of spazzy punk hardcore crammed into forty-seven minutes, this is your disc. I’ve only ever got one person to admit that they’ve listened to the Crudos discography in its entirety, and even then they were only able to do it on a long drive. Like that CD, this CD is great as an easy reference for, say, what tracks were on their side of the split with Turd Hungry Christ, but otherwise it’s kind of an endurance test. –Daryl Gussin (Snuffy Smiles)


HOLLYWOOD:
Baltimore Queens: 7”
This here is some noisy rock stuff for fans of Tractor Sex Fatality and Baseball Furies. Limited to four hundred copies with an annoying lock groove at the end. Never been a fan of this stuff, but this band does it as well as anyone. –frame (KenRock, myspace.com/kenrockrecords)


HIPPY RIOT:
Self-titled: CD
Compiled for their Alabama tour, this is four tracks of backwoods punk rock via San Pedro, California. Featuring Almighty Do Me A Favor’s Bradley Williams on guitar and vocals, and Raul, Jacob, and Kevin from Killer Dreamer backing him up, you can only imagine how rocking this is. I remember a couple years ago seeing ADMF and KD playing together and having a psyched-out jam sesh to segue between their sets, this is not that. This is swaggering punk with dirty twang to it. Think early Texas punk rock, the punk appropriation of CBGBs, and the aimless spirit of Jeffrey Lee Pierce. –Daryl Gussin (Cali Mucho)


HIGH CRIMES:
Self-titled: CD-R EP
Totally not what I expected from the artwork and band photo. I thought I was gonna hear something between thugged-out street punk and crust. What I heard was like early Ensign. Color me surprised yet unenthused. –Vincent Battilana (no address)


HEADS HELD HIGH:
Dogs and Cats, Living Together: CD
Loud, yelly heavy metal. –jimmy (Fail Safe)


HARD SKIN / BLOTTO:
Split: 7”
Hard Skin: To dumbasses (and children—no offense), it was a razor-thin world of difference between Blitz and The Casualties, from Cock Sparrer and Total Chaos, from The Partisans to Cheap Sex. (And in case you came late to the conversation, the first of each of the couplings, well, they don’t suck and have actually put out some great punk rock.) Hard Skin somehow exploit that coont hair of plausible “Yeah, rough life. Work’s lousy, but I do it all the time. I’m mad. I drink. I fuck,” and the weird cartoon that followed a couple decades later with punk suits, over-ample hair products, and a fanbase mostly based in junior high aged kids. Wow, that early ‘00s wave crashed like a tidal wave onto an empty beach… and Hard Skin continue to be the Wat Tyler of oi. Or the street punk Dickies. Or whatever you fancy to call it. Great stuff. Blotto: In that slightly delayed semaphore that bandies back and forth between Japan and America, Blotto took all the best of the Modern Machines’ songs, took out the wigouts, took out the sound of constantly flipping through a record collection, and have finely whittled down a precise, intricate ornament that says both “Made in Japan” and, yet, smaller, “We’re better at doing this than you are.” And damn it if they aren’t more right than wrong. Weirdly appropriate pairing. –todd (Snuffy Smiles)


GRAVE BABIES:
Self-titled: 7”
Dark, slow, atmospheric industrial that one might call goth, with lyrics about killing yourself for the sake of the earth and other murky, cryptic matters. People who like 4AD Records, the Swans, and being spanked will probably like this a lot. I’m not saying it sounds like the Swans and it certainly sounds nothing like being spanked, I’m just saying that it’s a safe bet that it would attract the same crowd. It’s a unique, quality record regardless, and hopefully they’ll get someone more mature to review their next record. Hee hee... spanked... Ooooh, please stop. I just haaaate it. –Craven (myspace.com/gravebabies)


GRITA O MUERE / TROPIEZO:
Futuro Precario: CD
Grita O Muere: Hyper-speed thrash from Colombia. Overt metallic wanking is kept at bay and the singer opts for screaming fetus mode rather than Cookie Monster. Tropiezo: Their five tunes here are a bit more subdued that some of the crazy, wild tempo changes stuff this Puerto Rican juggernaut has released elsewhere, but the tunes are still zippy, pissed off, and miles above the lion’s share of hardcore bands you’re gonna come across. Great split here. –jimmy (discosdehoy@yahoo.com)


GREEDY MISTRESS:
A Compulsive Need of You: CD
The modern, pop punk version of the Mentors. If you’ve been longing to hear your favorite Fest bands sing pro-rape anthems, then this is for you. Maybe it’s supposed to be tongue in cheek, but there’s hardly anything funny about rape. This is garbage. –Jeff Proctor (Point Break Society, myspace.com/pointbreaksociety)


GREAT EXPLAINER, THE:
The Way Things Swell: 10”
Slow post-hardcore with constipated vocals. As if one Hot Water Music wasn’t more than enough. They put all four songs on one side of the record, which is a complete waste. If they put two on each side, the sound would be better. If they put these four songs on a 7”, they’d save precious resources. No lyric sheet. Toothpaste-colored vinyl. I’m not finding anything about this release that isn’t superfluous or cynical. –CT Terry (Chunksaah, chunksaah.com)


GRABASS CHARLESTONS / TOYS THAT KILL:
Split: LP
“Hey Will, how’s it going?” “Not good, Todd. Not having a good time.” That’s pretty much summed up my conversations with Will, the drummer and singer of Grabass, the past several years. It may be that he’s on tour and grumpy. Or that he’s at Fest in his hometown, and that just means more jackasses, long days of work, then dealing with ultra-drunk jackasses who don’t want to talk to him about R. Kelly’s magnum opus. But I really like and admire Will. He has the ability to write poetic songs about a discarded, pink-tired kid’s bike and it’s sad, beautiful, and meaningful. Ah, fuck it. I like not being lied to, either personally or musically, and Grabass have always delivered honest news in their own humble way. Peej still has secret hands playing notes simultaneously on two guitars that glimmer, sparkle, crackle, and fade like fireworks. Replay keeps the bottom end flexible, bubbling, and locked in place. He’s like a less menacing, more cut-off shorts, sleeveless-shirt, postal code-savvy Lemmy. Grabass are my Betsy Ross. I wanna wrap myself up in the flag they’ve been stitching together for years and years, then fly that flag like freedom itself. Toys That Kill: I say this without equivocation. Toys That Kill are my Black Flag, except they haven’t put out a bad record yet, their love of cats isn’t completely batshit crazy, and their fans don’t pine for the days when punching strangers in the face was “punk.” Rise above, my ‘80s-locked friends, and come into the current decade of DIY. –todd (No Idea)


GOODNIGHT LOVING, THE:
Supper Club: CD
Is it possible that I might receive a CD that I am completely unprepared to review? Yes, but those CDs tend to be horrible, so while I might not know much about, say, ‘90s screamo metal, I do know that the entire genre is stupid, if such a genre exists. (My research into this area is both inconclusive and nonexistent). So, what to do with a band like The Goodnight Loving? They live in Milwaukee; I used to live in Milwaukee. I’m within a few degrees of separation from most of these guys, but somehow they just seem beyond me, like they might be the greatest non-punk band in the world, but I’m too stupid to know it. Everyone I know loves them, but some of those people also like the Gin Blossoms. Here’s what I’m able to say: This is a band that takes the time to craft really well thought out, layered, and well produced (in a good sense) country-pop influenced music (think: Wilco), but it’s more complicated than that. There’s a touch of ‘50s rock and roll, early Beatles, and even a nod to some of the more psychedelic songs on the Nuggets anthologies. And they make it seem really easy, like this is the music they were meant to play. Frankly, my usual cereal comparisons seem to have failed me. I’ll just say that if you haven’t checked out this band, you should, regardless of whether your favorite band is the Dopamines or Pavement. I get the feeling that I might eventually decide that this band is amazing. –Maddy (Dirtnap)


GOVERNMENT ISSUE:
The Fun Just Never Ends: LP
I’d say by the time this LP came out (1985), GI was pretty much on a new path in their sound. Still hardcore, but more melodic and textured in their style. Yeah, Legless Bull is a great record, but it would lose its impact and get predictable had they kept playing the same style over and over for the duration of their existence. The songs on here are catchy, tuneful, and still focused. “Bored to Death” is a mid-paced song that’s a little poppy, but still has an edge. “Written Word” is one of those songs that has stuck in my memory for the past twenty-five years, and one I find I still sing to myself on occasion. There’s no denying “World Caved In,” which is catchy and smooth. Every time I hear this song it’s like a Freedom Rock moment—“Turn it up mannn!!” The outtakes and alternate versions should have been added to the very end of the record instead of ending each side. They disrupt the original flow. Outside of that, if you don’t have this, then now’s the time. –Matt Average (Dr. Strange, drstrange.com)


GOZERIANS, THE:
Squatter: CDEP
Five-song EP from this St. Louis power trio. The theme to this release seems to be taking a shit. The front and back cover feature dogs doing their business and there is a picture of a toilet in the insert that looks like it is frequented by the band members. Now that we have that cleared that up, what do the actual songs sound like, you the reader are probably screaming at me. The singer has the snottiness of Fat Mike, coupled with the off the wall humor of Guttermouth in the lyric department. The music is definitely hard rocking with some clever hooks spread out in the songs. “Pornable Education” is my favorite just because it’s nice and dirty. Promising debut and I think we will hear more good stuff from these dudes in the future. –koepenick (Self-released)


GOOD MEN DIE LIKE DOGS:
Self-titled: 10”
Scrappy pop punk that fits in well with the second wave of Lookout! bands, like pre-MTV Green Day and Rancid. What sets this apart from all the other coffee, hitchhiking and dumpster romance bands is the lyrics, which tell little stories. It’s like listening to your favorite zine. Eight songs. Black and white cookie-colored vinyl. –CT Terry (Tortilla Chip, myspace.com/tortillachip.records)


GLOM DA:
Grisigast i Ostergotland: EP
Glom Da seem to be a prolific band. A split EP and this coming out around the same time. The material here is along the same lines as their split with Dorrterror—Totalitar, Avskum, Mob 47 d-beat that sticks tight to the formula, and I’m not complaining. When done right, it’s a glorious thing. This is done right. Fast, raw, noisy, and direct. The vocals sound like they’re blown to hell and back—really ripped and gravelly. Totally works with the buzzing guitars and crunching percussion. “Svinhysterin” is the standout track, as it breaks up the full-on assault with a change in tempo. Interested to see and hear how these guys continue on in the coming years. –Matt Average (Smattra Kang, glomda@gmail.com)


GLOM DA / DORRTERROR:
Split: EP
Dorrterror get points for adding a saxophone in their song “Hussjoroveri.” It totally works and shows originality on their part. Both bands, from Sweden, play some blazing hardcore punk with slight variations in style. Dorrterror have a definite U.S. crust influence with dual vocals, a slight catchiness, and it all comes at you in one rolling, blasting attack. What’s really cool is, despite all the intensity and speed, there’s a lively spirit in the music. We only get three songs from these guys, and they’re all good. Glom Da are a bit heavier and have definite influences from Totalitar, Mob 47, and Avskum. Blistering Scandinavian d-beat, without a doubt. One blazer after the next. “Kor Upp Din Bibel dar Solen Inte Skiner” is my personal favorite of the four. –Matt Average (Smattra Kang, glomda@gmail.com)


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