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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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HITCH:
Clair.Obscur: CD
Sounds here like someone is feeling for the gray areas between pop and noise. Big grunge-type drumming and the occasional catchy bit makes things interesting now and then. –jimmy (Latest Flame)


HERE COMES A BIG BLACK CLOUD!!:
Party Vietnam: 10"
I picked up this record because I thought the title “Party Vietnam” was hilariously dickish. The jokey title didn’t prepare me for the genuinely weird sounds that came off this clear 10”: A mix of ultra-fuzzy garage rock with punk tendrils, spooky Halloween organs, and, to further confuse you, a cover of a Bo Diddley song with an original arrangement. The vocals are gritty as hell, but fitting. I’d truly like to see this band live. I bet it be a unique experience. Only change I’d advise: lose the long-ass name. –Samantha Beerhouse (Hovercraft/Stankhouse)


HER NEXT FRIEND:
Disaster Casual: CD
Fairly uninteresting indie rock stuff with what sounds like an uninterested singer. –jimmy (Autopoison)


HELLO SHITTY PEOPLE:
Self-titled: LP
Here we have a band from Chattanooga circa 2000. And, that’s pretty much what it sounds like. Dudes who spend their weekends getting hammered and rocking out to Jack Palance Band, ADD/C, and the whatever miscreants straggled up from Gainesville. It’s fun enough to listen to, but I’m just not convinced it needed to be released almost a decade after the fact. –Daryl Gussin (1234 Go!)


HEADIES, THE:
Sugar and Spice (And Everything’s Fucked): CD
What you got here is fun garage punk with a big dollop of primitive ‘60s influences and a great album title. Fourteen blasts of catchy melodies all contained in songs less than two and a half minutes, eleven of which are originals penned by The Headies. The lyrics are equal parts crude and cute which always seems fitting for garage rock of this nature. Highly recommended if you are a fan of acts as diverse as The Angry Samoans, Gas Huffer, early Screeching Weasel, or if you are just looking for an entertaining, snotty album to play at your next party. –Guest Contributor (Madison Underground Press)


GRIZZLEY ENDS, THE:
The Unfortunate Demise of…: CD
One of the things I love about writing for Razorcake is that I have no idea who most of the bands are that we cover. Until I started writing for Razorcake, I had never heard of Recess Records or Tiltwheel or Toys That Kill. I enjoy the opportunity to get to know some new bands, and the Razorcake podcast has also helped introduce me to some stuff. All that is to say that I still don’t know how to accurately describe a lot of the bands we cover, but I am pretty sure The Grizzley Ends would fit in fairly well. Their songs are short (ten tracks in thirteen minutes), and have a good mix of punk with some harmonies. I could try and drop some names as far as similarities, but I’m sure my lack of who’s who and who’s cool in the scene would probably just scare people off. These four gents from England are good at what they’re doing and their ability to blitz through everything doesn’t leave room for any bullshit. It’s quick and simple and probably something that should be played on a Razorcake podcast. Right, Todd? (wink) –Guest Contributor (Squinty Joe)


GRITS:
Self-titled: 7"
Noisy punk from North Carolina. Kinda weird, kinda gritty in a let’s strip it down to basics and build it back up again kind of way. –Jim Ruland (Lunchbox)


GREATEST HITS, THE:
Saved My Life: CD
Modern power pop stuff with more Beach Boys (and a smidge of New York Dolls) and less Beatles influence. –jimmy (nofrontteeth.net)


GOVERNMENT WARNING:
Paranoid Mess: LP
There’s nothing wrong with formulas. Science, when expanding armed with before-discovered numbers, often goes beyond empiricism into artistry. So, when I say that Government Warning is perfecting upon an equation that many thought ultimately and definitively solved in the early ‘80s, it’s the opposite of a dig. The raw ore they’re purifying is as potent as it’s ever been: fresh-from-the-musical womb hardcore swagger played as an unboring blur, mixed with paranoid anxiety, and steeled with conviction. “Solos” are imbedded inside of the songs instead of tacked on the end like donkey tails. The thirty-seven-year-old me likes this as much as the fourteen-year-old me would have. The proof’s in the pudding and the pudding’s fuckin’ tasty. –todd (Grave Mistake/No Way Out)


GOVERNMENT WARNING:
Paranoid Mess: LP
Let me start this review off by saying there isn’t a Government Warning release that I don’t champion. I’m a fan. Now an anecdote: a couple years ago a friend told me he had never heard Government Warning. I was shocked, but prepared. Discography time. First stop: No Way Out EP. Thirty minutes, two 7”s and a 12” later, they had a new fan; it was quite the bonding experience. I knew he would love it because they’re just that good. Undeniably good, and unbelievably powerful. Like a steamroller on steroids. Like an exploding pit bull coming through your living room window at three in the morning. They’re fast with their punches and they hit fucking hard! If you’ve ever considered yourself a fan of old school hardcore (especially SoCal and Midwest), it is extremely important that you track these records down. And if one of your friends doesn’t know what you’re talking about when you start rambling on about how good the new Government Warning LP is; sit ‘em down. Let the music speak for itself. –Daryl Gussin (Grave Mistake/No Way Out)


GOONS OF DOOM:
I Hate My Hair and Want to Die: CD
More punk-inflected indie stuff from these guys. The titles give the impression they’re not lacking a sense of humor, but the tunes themselves, while not bad, per se, don’t really do much for me. –jimmy (Volcom)


GLOCCA MORRA:
The Working Bones, a Health Decline: CD
ACK! EMO! –jimmy (Livid)


GIANT SQUID:
The Ichthyologist: CD
These guys throw in a lotta different stuff into the musical bouillabaisse they serve up here—some stoner rock, some off-kilter artsy noise stuff, the occasional Tom Waits rasp during quieter passages—resulting in something that, while it ain’t really my first choice off the menu, makes for an interesting flavor amongst less unique dishes. Restated without all the metaphorical nonsense: This ain’t something that’ll get much air time on my car stereo, but I really like that they ain’t afraid to fuck with conventions and expectations. –jimmy (translationloss.com)


GGREEN:
Swimsuit Drugs: 7"
Overdriven acoustic guitar/vocal weirdness. –jimmy (Out of Order)


GG ALLIN / DISCO LEPERS:
Split: 7"
Never has a cheesy, country-sounding song made me want to pump my fists and give the finger to the police more than GG Allin’s tune, “Fuck Authority” did on this vinyl. Then he follows it up with a raw cover of my now-favorite Warren Zevon song “Carmelita.” It’s just such sweet, sweet goodness. On the other side of the split, you’ll find more juvenile antics from the Disco Lepers. You have to give it to them. They sure do have clever song topics, with tunes dubbed “I Caught HIV from a Dirty Phone Call” and “Canker Sores underneath Her Lipstick.” On this effort, they dress their pubescent rants in some knee smacking country music swagger. –N.L. Dewart (Indian Recordings)


GG ALLIN & THE CRIMINAL QUARTET / DUANE PETERS GUNFIGHT, THE:
Split: 7"
On one hand, you could tout this record as a well-deserved salute to two of punk’s more celebrated modern primitives. On the other hand, you could tack it up to yet another garish attempt to sell the gunk scraped from the toenails, clipped from the frosty cadaver of another dead-as-dirt rock star who is now bigger and more well-known in death than he was in life. That is not to, in any way, slight Mr. Duane Peters, but to put into sharp focus the likely truth that it’s GG’s rotting pudge that is the crackling fat behind the “sizzle” being sold here. But I suppose that all seems to have a badly burnt curl of cynicism to it, which is probably not entirely fair. Maybe this record really is nothing more than a celebration of two dent-headed, scar-decorated, half-cocked meat rockets determined to streak obscenely across the sky, crash, and finally implode in the absolute middle of nowhere and the craggy musical detritus they’ve left behind. I’m not sure why I wrote that last sentence that way or whether I really agree with it or not, but I’m going to leave it alone for now. Chances are that GG never regretted or even thought twice about the bubbling brown glop that burped out of his backside and splattered on the floor, so I’m going to adopt a similar attitude here. Reckless art deserves reckless criticism, if it deserves any criticism at all. And I mean that as a sort of compliment. While a declaration like that has all the stodgy pomposity of an Antonin Artaud or Guy Debord, this 7”, though dressed up as a sort of country-fried take on GG and Duane, is also presented as “art.” In fact, one of the two spoken word cuts here is a recording of GG himself waxing philosophic about what “art” means to him. I’ve listened to his take several times now and I’m still trying to figure out if I think it’s just the dumb flapping tongue of a desperate poop mime, or if it’s a cut-to-the core statement by an “art brut” performer stripped of all the typical pretentious baggage. All I know is that I agree with it more than I don’t. Duane’s spoken cut here is more or less a throw away comment about what he thinks about GG. Again, I don’t disagree with what he says, but it’s hardly illuminating. But no surprise there, as pretty much everyone knows that the thoughts that emanate from these two gentlemen have about as much profundity as the lint tumbleweeds in Johnny Paycheck’s navel. More important than any punk rock philosophizing, this record has two songs by GG and the Criminal Quartet and two songs by Duane Peters Gunfight. GG’s tracks sound like all the attempts at country you’ve heard from GG before. Basically, it sounds like drunken karaoke recordings made in GG’s motel room after a show, while he has a lamp shade on his head and piss on his breath and he croons off-key like a croaking salamander. Duane Peters has a tune called “Last Cowboy,” which is a rocker with a slightly country punk (Nine Pound Hammer) feel to it and is probably the highlight of the record. His other “tune” is called “Marry Me” and is a musical interpretation of a full-throttle booze stupor, complete with woozy slide blues guitar. It features the skate boarding legend sounding like he gargled with a thermos full of Tom Waits’s hacked up phlegm right before the recording was made. As it’s packaged here, we basically have the grubby miscreant spiritual grand kiddies of Hank Williams Sr., boozed up, narcotized, and making recordings they probably don’t remember ever making. And at a level several steps lower and seamier than any so-called “outlaw country.” This is more like “murderer’s row country.” These louts haven’t a speck of decency in them and there’s more dirt and grit in just one of their scabs than on the entire bodies of Waylon, Willie, and David Allen Coe put together. And for that reason alone, in this world oozing with turgid, jingoistic, corporate-teat-sucking sow bellies like Toby Keith, this is a dirty good thing. –aphid (Ponk)


GESTAPO KHAZI / EBONICS:
Split: 7"
Gestapo Khazi: Dangerhouse-style fingerprints aplenty, and the fingerprints are distinct, not blurry. Explanation: Obscurely referenced, tightly grasped musical details are incorporated onto long-and-widely loved musical icons; think Weirdos mixed with Chuck Berry or The Weasels mixed with The Ventures. This duality even follows with their name. The Gestapo were the king assholes of the Third Reich, as many know, but Khazi, is derived from a 19th Century Cockney word that translates into toilet, which the internet barely knows. Well played, gentlemen. Ebonics: Driving budget garage rock with dirty socks condomed over all the microphones. It suffers from the clarity of the band on the other side, but still retains some Mummies-like charm. –todd (Self-released)


GATEWAY DISTRICT, THE:
Some Days You Get the Thunder: LP
Oddly enough, The Gateway District’s Some Days You Get the Thunder may not be the best-known Minneapolitan supergroup LP of the year, billed second to Dear Landlord’s Dream Homes. But for my money (or lack thereof), it’s just as good, if not better. Multiple female vocalists and even more songwriters in the band make this a dynamic record, occasionally adding some country twang and pop to the mix, but maintaining a rough-around-the-edges punk feel throughout. Dream Homes might be the Friday night rager, and the Saturday night rager for that matter, but Some Days You Get the Thunder is the quintessential Sunday hangover record, perfect to make you remember the best parts of last night, lament the outcome of it, or maybe want to do it again. –Guest Contributor (It's Alive)


GATEWAY DISTRICT, THE:
Some Days You Get the Thunder: LP
Most times, it’s best not to rush into a relationship. Folks who have a habit of falling instantly in love also tend to end those relationships just as abruptly. Feelings can get broken like bones. Words can be sharpened like knives, slashing both memory and skin. I took some hand holding time with The Gateway District, some share-some-beers, let’s-go-swimming time, some crank the record high to softer headphone time to see if we really did share the same interests; liked each other’s world views and company. Was it a short-time crush or something more lasting? There are many pitfalls in record reviewing. Here are two. One of them is premature ovations. The second is approaching a record that takes time to reveal itself on repeated listenings in the short amount of time available for a timely review. The irony is that these are the records, in the long run, I’ll listen to the most. Some Days You Get the Thunder is an expansive, fun, poetic, daring, personal, and DIY dance-friendly LP with fiddle in two songs. The crib notes is progressing, celebratory, strong-willed Minneapolis punk pop by ex-and-current Soviettes, Rivethead, Banner Pilot, Dear Landlord, and a farrier, so you have the basic legend to the map. Thankfully, all members continue to explore, discover, and mix experience with wonder. –todd (It's Alive)


GATEWAY DISTRICT, THE:
Some Days You Get the Thunder: CD
The first track on this album is a roaring garage punk gem and the voice screaming, “Now my body shakes like an exit sign/ It helps keeps track of time,” has been stuck in my head all week. The packaging that comes with the CD is great and it includes a full-color, sixteen-page booklet with interesting collages behind handwritten lyrics. There’s also a black and white photo of the band on the back cover, and they’re all cute as hell. The aforementioned “Keeps Track of Time” and a track called “Highway Song” are the best efforts on this CD. I wasn’t really into the rest of the album because of the vocals, which are kind of low and warbling (think high schoolers trying to sing like Danzig). The vocalists really ought to stick to screaming, because those songs are where they do sound great. –Lauren Trout (It's Alive)


FUCKED FOR LIFE:
Distortion and Death Demo: CD
A great four-song demo from a band that reminds me heavily of Poison Idea with hints of Caustic Christ with a d-beat edge. Gruff vocals over a Motörhead-like guitar sound. I really like the live sound of the recording. The drums sound fantastic, as I can almost picture the bashing going down. Really feels like I am almost there and having my teeth a good kicking in. Glad they went the demo route as opposed to releasing vinyl, but this would have been worthy enough for that kind of release. –don (Fucked For Life)


DIRTY FILTHY MUGS:
Another Round: CD

Well, Timbecile and, um, Ace Facial and the boys are at it again—Dirty Filthy Mugs had a recent EP blasted in these pages, and it looks like we’re in for another six songs of Dropkick Murphys-styled punk/Celtic noodlings. Competent music with all the usual lyrical trappings: fucking (they are self-proclaimed “cocksmen” after all), fighting, and drinking. Proclamations from the vocalist about fisticuffs and how various women “give him the horn” and how he’s finally got a good woman “under his thumb” doesn’t exactly lend an air of new lyrical ground being tilled, but I guess it pretty much goes hand in hand with a genre like this. It’s too bad, too—the songs range from full-on barnstormers to some slower, squeezebox-laced songs that are all performed decently. Still, that doesn’t negate the fact that the songs sound like they were written by a bunch of eighth-grade d-bags.

–keith (Brrapp)


DESTRUCTORS, THE:
999: CD
Looks like they’ve dropped the “666” off their name. What you have here is the most recent full-length by a band that has been around nigh on three decades now, once dropped in with the “UK82” crop of bands. They are ridiculously prolific—I believe there hasn’t been an issue in years where Razorcake hasn’t had something from these guys show up in the mail bin—and they’re more or less consistent in delivering tracks that are worth a listen at worst. This ‘un is a bit of a concept album, with all the songs addressing the police. The odd numbered tracks are originals, and the even tracks are covers of tunes originally put to good use by the likes of Dead Kennedys, DOA, 999, Girlschool, and The Filaments. While I’m surprised they didn’t cover Black Flag’s “Police Story,” which I figure would’ve been sonically more up their alley than, say, “Nasty Nasty,” they do, turn in, serviceable versions and the originals show wit and are catchy enough in their own right. –jimmy (destructors.co.uk)


DELAY:
Plain Language: Cassette
With two particularly high-pitched singers and poppy punk songs, Delay might not be for everyone. But I don’t buy it. It takes a couple listens for Plain Language to really sink it, but once it does, these songs stay stuck in your head. So much so, that multiple times I’ve had to literally go put something on my stereo because I’ve been singing one of these songs to myself all day. Thoughtful lyrics range from the love of girls, the love of friends, and a general concern about life, and it’s my favorite record of the year. –Guest Contributor (Self-Released, vinyl soon on Salinas)


DECAPITADO:
Autowriter: 7"
“Autowriter” makes you feel like you’ve done something wrong. It makes you feel like you’ve just snuck up on somebody in the dark and slit their throat from behind. As you watch the blood form a puddle on the blacktop around your victim’s body, you think about what you’ve done. You smile. You feel hateful and happy. The air suddenly seems fresher as you pull it into your lungs. You know you’re sick, but you can’t help but turn up the volume. That’s Decapitado. –mp (Headless, decapitado.com)


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