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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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BLUEBIRD:
Hot Blood: CD (in crummy excuse for packaging.)
I can't speak for more than myself and a few other music critics, but there is nothing more annoying to at least the few of us than a CD we receive to review that is just the CD in a blank case, or worse yet, a sheath. This splits the difference by sending me one of those Comp USA scallop cases with no liner notes or cover, but a sticker telling me to contact Carol Phillips at TPG publicity. Not to say that I covet jewel boxes and professionalism, I love a lot of material found on home burned CDs with photocopied sleeves. But that gives insight into the band's personality, which requires one to have. This seems to be the work of people trying to "make it" in the music "industry." Yep, this band has mediocre written all over them. Sure, they know how to play instruments well, but this suits them for being the band that you stand around with a drink in hand, talking to your friends while waiting for the band you came to see to get onstage after whoever these guys are. Perhaps what you talk about how being competent and passionate are completely unrelated things. You bob your head, you may even enjoy them. Hell, music is enjoyable to hear. But the next day, you refer to them as "that opening" band and forget they existed at all not long after.
–rich (Dim Mak)


BLOODY SODS:
Get Outta My Head: CD
Wasn’t expecting this. Thought I was going to hear some street punk. Boy, I was wrong. This is punk with some metal overtones that is like a slap in the face. Mid '80s, East Coast punk is the flavor that I hear. The drummer whips out some mean double bass to accelerate the energy. The guitar and bass are recorded raw to give it the nastiness it needs. Background vocals are described as gang vocals to accentuate the words. Main vocal duties are alternated between two people to keep things interesting. The music is short but angry. The tempo is pushed to the limit but not overboard. They do an amusing cover of S.O.D.’s “United Forces” which fits them comfortably. Almost didn’t grab this. Glad I did.
–don (Madskull)


BLOOD BROTHERS, THE:
March on Electric Children: CD
Rasping wolverines, armed with claws of noise, blasting bursts and slashing gospel-y vocals, go to At The Drive-In's house, ransack the place, then go to your childhood happy place and scream at your mom. Wham, wham, wham. A tad arty in a Locust-y way and more like a painting of a flower on wrecking ball instead of being fey, foppy, loopy, and nose wipey. I also hear cues from Born Against and Combat Wounded Veteran. Not the usual swatch of carpet I play miniature golf on, but loud and crunchy enough to keep me putting along to it. I keep pulling out of the stacks.
–todd (Three One G)


BLOCKO/EIGHTY SIX:
: Split 7"
Both bands play mid tempo, fairly straight forward music, with introspective lyrics. Comparable to, say, Leatherface. "Intelligent" without being emo. The biggest difference between the two is that Blocko rocks out at 33 revolutions per minute, while on the other side, Eighty Six kicks out the jams at 45 rpm. Extra Suck Points must be given, however, because the hole in the middle of this record is too fucking small. You should not need a rubber mallet to get a record onto your turntable spindle. But on the other hand, this is a fat little record and you could probably have fun playing Frisbee golf with it.
–aphid (Bombed Out)


BLIND SOCIETY:
Business as Usual: CD
Take one part of pretty much every genre of hardcore, punk and thrash (all the loud, fast and angry parts, at least) and put it in a blender. Pour it in an empty beer bottle and use as a molotov cocktail. Throw it at a corrupt politician (i.e. – almost any of them). Enjoy.
–rich (www.blindsociety.com)


BLACKS, THE:
Last: 7"
"Mutate Radiate" is so full of sludge-slippery, fuzzy, lo-fi venom that's cleansing in its absolute dirtiness. I can't but help to think of the best bits of Mudhoney, hacked apart like in a slasher movie, quickly reassembled into a slightly different, more bloody monster. "Take This Town" is akin to the racket of the Civic Minded Five, where the constant abrasion acts like sand paper to metal – unexpectedly shiny – and it makes sense because the song is always moving forward instead of spinning its wheels in mud. Two fine cuts.
–todd (Chemical Valley)


BLACKLIST BRIGADE, THE:
Brethren of the Coast: CD
In a way, The Blacklist Brigade are a kick in the ass to anyone who’s trying to declare punk dead. In some ways, this album sounds like three guys who sat around for years listening to Peter and the Test Tube Babies, Vice Squad, the Adicts, the Business, and so on, and, after drinking vats of beer and singing along with their arms around each other, they decided to pick up the cheapest instruments they could find, write songs like the ones they’d been singing along to, and record it on a four-track in a basement. It sounds homemade and they wear their influences on their sleeves, but damn if they don’t sound great doing it. And there’s more to these songs, too. These guys are more than just a throwback. I guarantee that, for every time they played their Menace albums, The Blacklist Brigade sang along with the first US Bombs record, for every time they listened to 999, they probably listened to Oxymoron a dozen times. Hell, for all I know, they’ve been around long enough to inspire bands like Oxymoron and the US Bombs (because, to be honest, I don’t know anything about this band except what I hear coming through my speakers). Anyway, everything about this release, from the photocopied album cover to the lo-fi recording is at once a throwback to better days and a step forward towards better days. It’s fucking awesome.
–sean (No Front Teeth)


BLACKLIST BRIGADE/INVERTED NINES:
: Split CD
This is put out by No Front Teeth Fanzine out of England. The packaging is an excellent DIY effort – the sleeve is foldout xerox, easy to read, and well laid out. What a great way to get people to hear some choice oi and punk. Blacklist Brigade: although it sounds a little hollow, like it was recorded in an empty boxing ring, the songs are jumpy as fuck and a sound filled with ghosts of greats past. Think of older guys who've got a deep collection, including Stiff Little Fingers, Clash, Pogues dirges, faster Waterboys, and aren't just raping the dead, but pulling life out of bodies that most treat as deceased. Well-written mid-tempo songs, sound quality regardless. Better than recent Rancid or that horrid Transplants thingie, that's for sure. Inverted Nines: It's not lost on me that a fanzine from England is introducing me to damn spanking good band – a la the Bodies, but meaner vocals – that's almost in my back yard. Crunching, Crowd-style guitar buzz, and a couple overlaps in sound with townmates, Smogtown, but not quite as inventive. Not a bad way to be, though. Cool split.
–todd (No Front Teeth)


BLACK DICE:
Lost Valley b/w Head Like a Door: Mini CD Single
I'm figuring if Black Dice have enough money to hire a very nice publicist – because they surely have no idea what Razorcake's interested in – I'm invoicing them for the twenty minutes I've fuckin' wasted listening to the electronica version of changing channels on a TV. Less interesting that mic-ing your toilet and adding static. Bah! Poo! Yuck! Grrr! –todd (www.tigerbeat6.com)


BITCHIN':
The Night Life, the Tight Style: CD
I was looking forward to this album so much and it rose to heavy rotation in my record collection so quickly and it just fit into my life so well that I forgot that I was supposed to review it. So here’s the review, a few months late. Bitchin’ in some senses fit well into the sound that so many Gainesville bands have. They have that Hot Water Music/Leatherface ability to build and release tension and add complexity to a song by staggering the tempo and letting the songs breath between vocals. But Bitchin’ songs also have a nice catchiness that a lot of their Gainesville counterparts lack. When you couple that catchiness with Bitchin’s rich and confident vocals, you have something special here. I’ve listened to their two seven inches dozens of times, and I wondered if they’d be able to translate that power and excitement into a full-length, and The Night Life, the Tight Style put my anxieties to rest. This is one of my top albums of the year.
–sean (No Idea)


ROY:
Tacomatose: CDEP
This song reminds me of sixth grade when I listened to They Might Be Giants all the time. Not fond, campy memories, but how my mom would make me turn it off because it was so fucking annoying. Imagine a whole album of “Birdhouse in Your Soul” complete with grating vocals. –megan (Initial)


ROCKETS RED GLARE:
Moonlight Desires: CD
You know the difference between emo bands and toilet paper? Eventually you run out of toilet paper. –jimmy (Blue Skies Turn Black)


RIVERBOAT GAMBLERS, THE:
Something to Crow About: CD
These last two months, crawling though the endless amount of music that gets sent us, it’s a rare CD from an unknown band that gets instantly glued to my home and truck stereos. By sheer hours amassed listening along, the Riverboat Gamblers have called my bluff and plunked down a royal, colossal sonic buffet that’ll get you fucked upper than hell. They’re so good, I’m going to sound like an asshole trying to explain them, but here goes. First off, all cliches are wiped away like insect guts off a windshield. Serve up all the best New Bomb Turks songs onto one album. Hyper-velocity, swaggering vocals where all the words are actually sung, actually sound fun. If they started a gang, you’d join in a split second. Pile on the too easy to be easy instrumental velocity of the Candy Snatchers. Like chicken grease, squeeze all the bravado, sleaze, and sneer of The Humpers’ prime form on top. Add two scoops of that covert pop element cloaked in hard-beaten, hard-won punk, like the Black Halos. Then, somehow, make it fucking catchy, claim it like it’s never been done before, let it buck you home, then it bake in the Texas sun and have Tim Kerr produce it. Something to Crow About has so much energy, I swear lightning bolts are going to sizzle out of the speakers and light my carpet on fire. This is in serious running for a top ten of 2003 for me. –todd (Gearhead)


RISE AGAINST:
Revolutions Per Minute: CD
I’ve been wrestling with this disc for several weeks now because – while I like the politics and sentiments expressed in these songs – the music sounds like stereotypical run-of-the-mill Fat. It’s true that in recent years, Fat has substantially diversified, but assholes like me remember that long stretch in the ‘90s when everything sounded like NOFX and, unfortunately, this music supporting these lyrics isn’t that different. With that said, this album won’t be going into my sell pile soon. –scott (Fat)


REVOLVERS/DUANE PETERS AND THE HUNNS:
Split: CD
Hunns: I’ve never been a fan, but I picked this up primarily to give ‘em another chance. As with other releases I’ve heard both by the Hunns and US Bombs, I don’t find the tunes here particularly awful or anything, but I also don’t find them especially inspiring, either. To me, they sound like a bunch of old dudes going through the motions in an attempt to recapture their gloriously misspent youth rather than a band rooted in the now and desperate to make their mark, and that just don’t cut the mustard. Revolvers: Mid-tempo, power-poppy punk along the lines of Cocksparrer and the like. No big whoop, but they don’t exactly suck, either. –jimmy (Dirty Faces)


REVILLOS:
Jungle of Eyes: CD
A long-lost album from this revered group finally sees the light of day. While the songs themselves aren’t all that bad, the overall feel of the album, sorta like Bananarama plundering through the same Stax of soul 45s that the Jam did to write “Town Called Malice,” is just a little too ‘80s to be comfortable. Still, “Bitten by a Love Bug” should’ve been a massive international hit two decades ago. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


RETURNERS, THE:
The Wag b/w Motorheartbeat: 7”
The A-side sounds like the Weirdos after suffering blunt force trauma to the head and waking up convinced they were A. Supercharger and B. German; the flip sounds like one of those songs off The Armitage Shanks Sing and Play Twenty Punk Hits of the Seventies that you never heard before and turned out to be a cover by the Users or the Killjoys or the Kusers or the Illjoys or someone like that (but is, in fact, another original). High praise aside, i have a bit of a problem with “The Wag,” as one of my all-time favorite genres of music is moronic three-chord rock’n’roll that ushers in A NEW FANTASTIC AMAZING ERA of wacky dancing (The Twist, The Hucklebuck, The Uganda – hell, i can do ‘em all at once!), yet i am COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY bereft of any idea how to do The Wag. I mean, one would assume it involves some manner of “wagging” – or, at bare minimum, “waggling” – yet, the dance i spontaneously flung myself into body’n’soul within seconds of this record hitting my turntable was conspicuous by the complete absence of either wagging OR waggling (hmm... perhaps this is a dance best performed sans pantaloons?). How MY personal interpretive interpretation of The Wag goes is like this: 1) Kinda stand there and twist over to the left, in sort of a demi-contraposto posture (yes, that’s right, i said “demi-contraposto!” I’d tell you to look it up, but it’s not in the dictionary) (at present) 2) Raise left arm up, as if flexing muscle to impress chicas 3) Raise right arm up in opposite position – that is to say, with the forearm pointing downward. However, keep your right fist pointed away from your body, kind of like Bowser from Sha Na Na would do 4) As the beat goes “BUP-BUP! BUP! BUP-BUP! BUP!”, jerkily jab left fist up and back with each beat, as if to repeatedly punch a small, invisible otter off of the top of your head, whilst simultaneously punching your right fist out and up behind you, as if to repeatedly smack an invisible potential sodomist in the nutsack. 5) On chord changes, twist in the other direction, and reverse the position of your arms relative to each other. 6) Iterate the operation at the dance down 14th Street, ya hear?! Should these instructions prove faulty after inspection, all i have to say in my defense is that (ahem) i’m into punk rock, and i throw like a Wag. Thanks, i’ll be here all week. BEST SONG: “The Wag! “The Wag! Thuhhhhh WAAAAAAAGGGGGG!!!” BEST SONG TITLE: “Motorheartbeat” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The band thanks “slime” on their thank you list! –norb (Swindlebra)


RESISTOLEROS, THE:
Rock ‘n’ Roll Napalm: CD
Fang’s Sammytown recruits a new band and goes the punk’n’roll route. Aside from the fact that there’s nothing here as classic as “The Money Will Roll Right In,” not to mention that there are literally thousands of bands out there that sound just like this, this ain’t a bad effort. –jimmy (Steel Cage)


RANCID VAT:
Crybaby b/w Strychnine: 7”
Pretty good punk rock that’s endearingly sloppy in a Rip Offs kinda way, but heavier and more rock. What else would you expect from Phil Irwin (AKA Thee Whiskey Rebel) and his wife? “Crybaby” is quite catchy for a band often lumped in with the Confederacy of Scum bands, but bands really shouldn’t insist on performing Sonics covers unless their lead singer wears vinyl suits. –Not Josh –Guest Contributor (Casual)


Q & NOT U:
Different Damage: CD
I thought their last record, No Kill No Beep Beep, was pretty good. This one isn’t as good. And they have also dumped a member of the band since that album. Hmmm… I always did like their groovy drum beats and slightly danceable tunes, and a lot of it sounds like the latest Fugazi record. This is the record that is gonna make all the emo kids cream in their jeans. I don’t really know what else to say. This review is really as bad as the effect this record is having on me. –Sarah Shay (Dischord)


PW LONG:
Remembered: CD
A label that once put out some mighty crucial punk, hardcore, and just plain weird tuneage is now apparently home to bad Southern rock. My, how things change with time. –jimmy (Touch and Go)


PUTRID FLOWERS, THE:
...And For The Little Children, Sing: CD
Just so you know, the Putrid Flowers are an UNSIGNED BAND. They tell you this both in the liner notes and on the CD itself. So they are unsigned, okay? It’s kinda strange that they are unsigned, since they seem to imply that Fat Mike said that they were the best band he has ever heard. Dunno. Also strange that they are unsigned because they are pretty good. I mean, pretty good. Not super awesome, but if I saw them live and they seemed pretty cool, I would buy this. Likewise, the lyrics aren’t anything I will be quoting any time soon, but if I heard someone reading them at an open mic poetry reading, I would tell the reader that I liked them. Musically, it’s pretty straight ahead rock for rock’s sake. They could play a punk show and get a pit, but also not scare the normals away. One thing I will say, is that they have that “thing,” where you can tell that they care about their music more than that it’s cool to be in a band. At least I think so, but the music seems to have a passion underlying it. I wonder if this will still be the case if they ever become a signed band. I also wonder if they will make as big a deal about being signed as they do about being unsigned. –rich (Putrid Flowers)


PUBES:
Wow, Baby! Let’s Go Wheelin’!: CD
Never, ever thought I’d run into a band that reminded me of both Love Canal and “Get Out of My Yard”-era Wasted Youth, but that’s exactly what came to mind while this was playin’. –jimmy (www.roadhousetunes.com)


PROTAGONIST:
Hope and Rage: CD
NOTE TO ALL WOULD-BE “HARDCORE PUNK” BANDS: If you’re writing songs that are longer than two minutes, you’re doin’ something wrong. Shitcan the set and start over. And, for the love of Pete, don’t release a disc chock full of songs that clear four-plus minutes. It’s almost as offensive as seein’ your gramma in an “Assmaster” video. –jimmy (Blackout)


POST STARDOM DEPRESSION:
Ordinary Miracles: CD
Bands like this make me feel like the owl on those old Tootsie Pop ads. How many tracks ‘til it goes in the trade-in pile? Ah one, ah two, ah didn’t make it that far. –megan (The Control Group)


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