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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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LIKE BATS:
Look on the Bright Side: 7”
There are several things I am known for doing—and listening to a 7” four times before writing a review about it is not one of them. I am more than willing to admit that that was not the case with this EP. Have you ever been angry at a record because there weren’t enough songs? This is easily the best 7” I have heard in the last few months and I want more, god dammit. Like Bats are a three-piece who come together to bring us some choice cuts of Midwest gruff punk with equal elements of Dear Landlord and For Science. Traffic Street Records, I am not sure where the hell you are finding these bands, but please keep going there. –Bryan Static (Traffic Street, trafficstreetrecords.com)


LIGHT RAYS, THE:
Self-titled: Cassette
Ultra lo-fi and DIY, five songs on cassette with hand-screened covers. Precious little info about the band here, no liner notes, no song titles. But, what you do get are some really catchy garage pop ditties. Reminiscent of the playful, frolicking of Beat Happening: slack drums, a little bit of a Cramps wiggle to the guitar, unsure vocals. The songs are certainly a lot of fun, though it’s over awfully quick. And I imagine I would listen to this a lot more if it weren’t released on the worst format possible. Hopefully, the clandestine Light Rays can get it together to release some more material in the near future. –Jeff Proctor (Sun Fight)


LEGION / FINGERS CROSSED:
Sign of the Southern Cross: 7”
This is Legion’s second split release in just a couple of months, and these tracks are from the same session of their split with Mammoth Grinder. The production is the same, but the mastering on this slab of wax sounds a little burlier than their last release. The tracks are still heavy on the Integrity influence, but have a little more range on the slower, sludgy parts. Some of it sounds like Iron Monkey and some of it has more of a Southern edge like old Buzzov-en. The lyrics on this release are top notch, especially on the opener “No Faith.” Fingers Crossed are a little less interesting but sound a lot like old Dark Empire Records/Clevo style hardcore. “Pressing Matters” has a pretty awesome breakdown midway through the song that is a good turn from their straightforward metalcore style, and gets a little moshy towards the end. Solid release from two southern bands. –Guest Contributor (Dead End, myspace.com/deadendrecordsjc)


LEATHERFACE:
The Stormy Petrel: CD
This late in the game—their eighth full length—I’m far beyond the honeymoon stage with Leatherface. They’ll never be new to me again. I knew almost exactly what The Stormy Petrel would sound like before I played the first song: burlap and cold concrete, smoke bristling; songs that have shape but when you try to capture them, they wisp around your fingers and soak into the furniture. Simultaneously everywhere and nowhere. I knew I’d be seduced by Frankie Stubbs’s lyrics and Dickie Hammond’s string work. And although I’ve never been to Leatherface’s hometown of Sunderland, England, I’m intimate with aching towns of failing industry, of large ports of amazing complexity, of countries simultaneously capable of extreme compassion and viciousness. I can hear that world through Leatherface. With The Stormy Petrel, there are no huge surprises for longtime listeners, yet, at the same time, it’s a distinctly new experience. Leatherface writes novels of songs, not just records. Although longtime listeners may know all the characters, the scenery, and the plot, Leatherface has the knack of being true to their time and place without “Bad Religion-ing” themselves by making the same record again and again (topically or sound-gimmick wise). It’s far-ranging in topic (the opening line is “God is dead, in my shed,” terrorism, heart infarctions from ice cream, heart break, depression, murder fantasies, and a plea for the listener to never give up hope (or watch Home Alone.)) Paradoxically, The Stormy Petrel is also an excellent, accessible record for listeners new to the band. My advice? You have to come to Leatherface. Let the record spin over and over. Even if it doesn’t lock in, keep on spinning it, even six months down the line. It’s not uncommon that it’ll take some time. But when the dime drops… pure magic. Uncontested top ten of 2010 for me. –todd (Big Ugly Fish, biguglyfish.uk, Leatherface.biz)


KVOTERINGEN / NITAD:
Split: 7”
The lynchpin for these two Swedish bands is Motörhead, and in the parts where Lemmy and Co. would go noodly and Fast Eddie would get fret-happy, replace those bits with Minor Threat, Slayer, dark skies, and D-beats. Due to America’s crumbling educational system, this is a short lesson in Swedish. (Prior to this, all I knew was the Swedish Chef, Swedish Fish, and Swedish meatballs; and figuring I’m a fan of all three, why not?) Kvoteringen (“quota expansion and financing” if split to its roots of “Kvot” and “Teringen”) is from Örebro. They share members with both Millencolin and Totalitär (“totalitarian”), and, appropriately, sound like the middle ground between the two, with Motörhead (“badass rock’n’roll”) thrown in. Song titles—Vi Har Fått Nog (“We’ve Had Enough”), Allt å Alla (“Everything at All”)—cue you into their head space. Stockholm’s Nitad (“Riveted”) ratchet up the energy with their two rippers: Digitala Ögon (“Digital Eye”) and “Riv Ner” (“Tear Down”). It’s close, but I’m liking the Nitad side just a little bit more. There’s just more oomph. Utmärkta resultat. (“Excellent record.”) –todd (Kranium, krnm.se)


KRAYONS, THE:
Hindsight Is 20/20: CD
WARNING: The following review contains no jokes about or relating to The Ergs. This is a retrospective of sorts from a band that existed in Corpus Christi, TX during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. I am not sure who the hell’s been sitting on this, but this is a killer fucking record. It makes me think this is what Kid Dynamite would have sounded like in ‘80s. The songs do sound slightly dated, but I think that’s okay if they were recorded twenty years ago. The biggest problem with the record is that, as far as I can tell, the songs are laid out in no particular order, so you get some really weirdly recorded stuff smack dab in the middle of the record. Really, though, that’s making skinheads out of skin flakes and it’s not that big a deal. Recommended. –Bryan Static (TFC, tfc-records.com))


KNIVES:
Demo: CD
Five songs of circle-pit-ready, four-chord hardcore punk. Nice in-your-face recording. I could see these folks fitting into the suburban D.C. scene of the mid-’90s or suburban L.A. in the early ‘80s. Honestly, while Knives rock, they aren’t terribly original, and could fit in anywhere. Sometimes, the best way to judge a demo is to ask yourself, “Would this make for a good 7”?” In this case, the answer is “Yes.” So bring it on, y’all. –CT Terry (Flat Black)


KINGS OF NUTHIN’:
Old Habits Die Hard: CD
This record was recorded over two years ago but the label’s PR company is trying to pass this off as a brand new record. The band maintains their signature “punk rock, rhythm and blues” style that mixes ‘77-’82 style punk rock with a horn section and swing beats. The vocals are still very, very Boston and my friends always ask me if this the new band “from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones guy.” The songs on this record are a lot better than Over the Counter Culture (which was mostly covers, anyway). The production is pretty slick compared to the raw sound on Fight Songs and Get Busy Livin..., but it actually works for most of these songs. “The List” is a great anti-industry rant that’s perfect for mix tapes, and the album’s closer “Congratulations” is a surprisingly well-written ballad. This is a solid comeback record and is definitely the best thing they’ve released since their early days. –Ian Wise –Guest Contributor (Sailor’s Grave, sailorsgraverecords.com)


KILLED BY THE BULL:
Failing Is Fun: LP
This is hardly tolerable experimental punk. These songs crescendo and decrescendo a lot, which is a nice way of saying the music is dynamic at least. If I were grading this album, I’d give it an A for effort and a U for unlistenable. Yuck. –N.L. Dewart (Koi, koirecords.com)


KILL DEVILLE:
Self-titled: CD
New old school SoCal speed thrash punk a la D.R.I., although I hear a little Dag Nasty et al in there, too. Very good if you like that sort of thing. –thiringer (Malt Soda, maltsoda.com)


JUVENESCENT BEAT:
One Day We’re Gonna Fall through This Roof: LP
First things first: the first song sounds eerily like Altaira, right down to the vocals. I mean this guy is a dead ringer for Tampa J Wang. Weird, really weird. The rest of the record takes on more of an Embrace / One Last Wish / Rites Of Spring All Through a Life EP sound. Clean guitar lines, vocals with a heavy conscience, and a tight and precise rhythm section successfully pounding out complex grooves. These guys clearly live on a musical diet rich in Revolution Summer and they represent that sound very well. For those waving banners that read “emo’s not dead,” this is the record for you. –Jeff Proctor (Ghidorah, myspace.com/ghidorahrecords)


KRAYONS:
Damn Bonus Disc: CD
From the first song, Krayons instantly remind me of a couple of my favorite bands from the San Diego area: Fluf and Tiltwheel. Sweet and chubby riffs and rollicking rides over songs hammered together with equal parts care and disdain. Well, like I said, Krayons remind me of those bands. Not as good as either of them, but still really enjoyable. By the third song, things change up to more of a straight up scrappy punk thing that is different, but also good... Now a poppier, Descendentsier song. The vocals are very Dave Smalley-like. These guys are all over the place, but I’m liking all of it. It seems that they’ve been around in one form or another since 1987. I think this may be some kind of brief retrospective, but there is very little information to go on. After a little internet digging, I’ve found out that this disc is the “bonus” disc that went along with their retrospective Hindsight Is 20/20. I’ll have to get that now. –ty (TFC, tfc-records.com)


JIZZ KIDS, THE / THE GUTS:
A Safe Return to the Forest: Split 7”
Jizz Kids: standard punk rock. It’s good, but not because it’s original. The Jizz Kids are musical comfort food for me: a rockin’ beat with buzzsaw guitars, aggressive lyrics, and a snotty attitude. The Guts: pretty much the same. In fact, apart from the vocalist, the sound is pretty much the same for both of these bands and they could easily be mistaken for one another. The only real difference is that the Guts have a more melodic sound that seems more obviously influenced by the Queers’ bubblegum punk tunes. The Jizz Kids, on the other hand, seem more influenced by the Queers’ “fuck you” songs. Good record, but not great. Blue vinyl! –The Lord Kveldulfr (Knowhere / No Breaks)


JAIL:
There’s No Sky (Oh My My): Cassette
I was thinking of using the word “jangly” to describe this band, but I wasn’t sure, so I asked a friend of mine what he thought they sounded like. The first word out of his mouth? “Jangly.” So, there you go. Jangly indie pop, pretty catchy, the sort of thing that a friend might play during a long road trip, and by the time we reached our destination, I’d be pretty into it. Also, under the “probably unrelated side note” category, it appears that all four members of this band have moustaches. If this were a cereal, it’d be Apple Jacks. You wouldn’t think to purchase it, but if your friend has some, you eat it, and it’s actually pretty good. –Maddy (Burger)


INTERNATIONAL PLAYBOYS:
Hymns of the Flesh: CD
Psychedelic garage with heavy organs and reverb; an Australian version of Electric 6. Low on the white noise with smooth vocals. –thiringer (I-94 Bar, i94barrecords.com)


INJUSTICE SYSTEM:
Self-titled: Cassette
Quick little four-songer. Spray painted tape face, xeroxed cover, and about five minutes of well done, frantic ‘80s-era hardcore. It all sounds pretty authentic, so if you’re a fan of Gloom or 625 stuff, keep your eyes out for these dudes. –keith (Injustice System)


IN DEFENCE / PARTY BY THE SLICE:
Split: 7”
Good luck trying to find seven inches of wax with more fun crammed into it than this split between Twin Cities tacolytes In Defence and Milwaukee pizza-eaters Party By The Slice. Which band delivers the most fun? On “Bromophobia,” In Defence offers this line: “You’re just a boy with a cheesy mustache, Wanda Sykes is going to kick your ass.” On the flipside, Party By The Slice pairs the classic line from Romero’s Dawn of the Dead “When there’s no room left in hell, the dead will walk the earth” with “By the time they make it to the lunchroom, they’ll get their just desserts.” When you’re talking zombies, you’re talking my language. –mp (Berzerker / Crash Assailant / Goodtimes / Insulin Addicted))


IMPEDIMENTS, THE:
Self- titled: Cassette
Burger has a solid roster of cassette-only releases featuring punk, psych, and rock bands working riffs from previous eras. The Impediments play straight from the rock and roll guitar handbook with a bit of Rose Tattoo speed thrown in intermittently. The recording is really big; I would like to hear them a little more raw, but there is some full-on riffage, including a bass player who does good runs. Good rock and roll bass playing is always a winner with me. The range is pretty minimal; the scope being mid-tempo bouncers like “Junk,” to fast-paced riff rock with furious piano chords, like the album opener “LeAnn Stoned.” The song is about hanging out with LeAnn Rimes. Curse them for making me look up how to spell her last name. Praise them for rock and roll. –Billups Allen (Burger)


FUNEROT:
And Then You Fucking Die, Man: LP
Northwestern metal punk that starts out sounding like Poison Idea, but branches out. As the album progresses, other influences creep in—the technical ecstasy of late Black Flag, the biker classic rock of early Motörhead, the tongue-in-cheek bombast of Karp and maybe even some epic metal, cribbed from Killers, Kill ‘Em All and a few other albums with “kill” in the title. Speaking of “kill,” this record is killer. They do a great job of writing riffs that are complex and unique without sacrificing energy and becoming wanky. I can’t put my finger on what it is about this band, but they have that hilarious roommate vibe, like their motto would be, “The world sucks, so let’s stay in with a couple twelve packs and make up a bunch of inside jokes to keep ourselves entertained.” I’m there. Ex-members of Adventure and Goddammit. –CT Terry (Funerot)


FUCKFACE:
Self-titled: CD
A rhythmic blast from my past, straight out of Milwaukee. I was a fan of Fuckface from their frequent shows in Green Bay during my early twenties. They made quite an impression on me with at least four drummers pummeling floor toms behind acidic post punk guitars and vocals, or so I remember from the perspective of fifteen years later. Flash forward to 2010, when I get my new batch of reviews for Razorcake and, lo and behold, a fresh release by Fuckface. The sixteen tracks on the CD stand the test of time. To a certain degree, it is a time capsule to that meaty post punk sound that had a stronghold in the western Great Lakes region with bands like the Jesus Lizard, God Bullies, and the entire Amphetamine Reptile Records stable leading a hellaciously noisy charge in the ‘90s. Thank you Latest Flame Records for putting out this slab of Wisconsin noise history. –Jake Shut (Latest Flame)


GARBO’S DAUGHTER:
Goes Pop!: Cassette-EP
Super bubblegum all-girl pop! Think: Nikki And The Corvettes, Candy Girl, the Pinkz, et. al! With Brentwoods-styled silliness! Plus they cover a Phil Spector song (“Oh Yeah, Maybe Baby”)! Only complaint: cassette tape release? I get the ridiculosity of such an endeavor, but I want this on vinyl! If this were a cereal, it’d be Corn Pops! This is perfect for your next punk rock sleepover! –Maddy (Burger)


GOLDEN:
Self-titled: LP
I think for some Razorcake readers out there, all I’d have to say is “from Japan” and “colored vinyl” and that’d be enough. But I’ll go crazy and talk a little bit about the music, too. Musically, this combines bits of Meat Puppets twang, Camper Van Beethoven ramshackle, and Butthole Surfers freakouts with lyrics sung in Japanese and (kindly) translated into English on the liner notes. A potpourri of sonic sensations is found on the record, as some nice melodies and creative instrumentation (mandolin, banjo, and accordion are sprinkled throughout) find themselves interspersed between some intense and heavy blasts of fuzzed-out noise. Well worth a listen. –Jeff Proctor (Tsurumi)


GOD EQUALS GENOCIDE / NO PEOPLE:
Split: 7”
Every time I hear God Equals Genocide, I want to dance and every time I read the lyrics, I’m baffled by how much more I can like a song I already love. Songs about paranoia and the shackles of routine. Getting this band’s stuff one 7” at a time is like only being able to have one bite of a burrito every few months. In their defense, I’d probably have a heart attack if I held a full length in my hands. Thank you for unknowingly saving my life like that. No People sound like a band I would like to bounce around to while I’m drunk. Fun, basic, bouncy. They have a keyboard player too. –Rene Navarro (Underground Government )


HYPERNOVA:
Through the Chaos: CD
Disposable version of a band who sounds like Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, She Wants Revenge, and the Killers. There’s absolutely no need for this to ever exist. Simulacra. –Matt Average (Narnack, narnackrecords.com)


HORRIBLY WRONG, THE:
C’mon and Bleed with the Horribly Wrong: LP
Fucking awesome. The Horribly Wrong play dirty, trashy, sloppy, beer-spilling, blood-soaked rock’n’roll in the tradition of the Invisible Men or the Mummies. About as lousily perfect as you can get. An excellent soundtrack for the Keg Party of Doom and its requisite reckless abandonment. This record is about as low-fi as they come, and it drips with rock’n’roll sincerity as a result. If you’re into this sound, this one should not be missed; may the fleas of 10,000 camels infest your armpits if you do. And it’s on 180-gram vinyl! You can emotionally and physically maim people with this record! And there’s a free digital download card included (at least in the copy I was sent), so failure to own a turntable is not a viable excuse for not adding this record to your weekend drinking plans. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Eradicator / Shit In Can)


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·INSURGENCE, THE
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