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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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RICKY WOLKING:
Honky Mofo: CD
Any record that leads off with redneck rap (that’s so ridiculous it embarrasses the listener) is lucky to get past track one, but Ricky turns out to be a man for all seasons: he’s equally adept at aping Korn, Weezer, Smashing Pumpkins, Prince, Beck, N’Sync and probably some other fabulous radio stars I don’t recognize. He doesn’t, however, seem to have much inclination toward punk, ska, (actual) metal or anything else that might suggest sending a copy to a mag like this. Note to Ricky: Honky Mofo is a demo CD. Send it to record labels, not us. –Cuss Baxter (Sick Pup)


REVENGE THERAPY:
Self-titled: CDEP
Spotless, relentless hardcore in the classic fastpart/moshpart style with a tiny bit of overarching melodic guitar and screamy but legible vocals; too bad it’s only five songs (your CD player will say it’s six, but stop it before the extra track. Trust me.) And dig this: they’re named after the Jawbreaker record, and they have a split EP out with a band named My War; how something is that? –Cuss Baxter (Amendment)


REGGIE AND THE FULL EFFECT:
Under the Tray: CD
I have done a lot of things in my life that I’m not proud of. I have woken up on strange floors after benders, vomited on girls who I had been in love with for years, gagged on my own sick in my sleep and lived to tell the tale, pissed myself after drinking too much, gotten into drunken brawls that I barely remember, shattered glasses in my hands to prove points and bled all over myself and others while sitting in the middle of restaurants – you get the idea. However, even at my lowest moments, even when dimly regaining a drunken sort of consciousness next to a girl who was shouting, “What the fuck is all this puke in the bed?” at 3 a.m., I knew there were things that I would never do. I knew it might take me a while to identify them, but getting this record helped because I will never defile myself by willfully listening to any Reggie And The Full Effect song again. –scott (Vagrant)


REDD KROSS:
Neurotica: CD
Today i am officially old: I am now receiving promo CD reissues of albums to review that i received promo vinyl versions of to review fifteen years ago. This record was originally released in 1987, during my two-year stint as a college radio DJ (before the men with the walkie-talkies and pistols escorted me from the premises) on the ill-fated Bigtime™ record label, who went belly-up soon afterwards, thusly allegedly rendering said album somewhat difficult to capture. I wouldn't know; at least at WGBW, this thing was the darling of the "College Rock" set (sort of a precursor to "alternative," i guess, with R.E.M. as the spiritual point guard – take from that what you will), and overplayed (especially "Play My Song," yecch) to the point of near-absurdity both on the air and at parties, to the extent where it was so ubiquitous for a time that i to this day have a hard time believing it ever became difficult to find used vinyl copies on the cheap, ever. Anyway, inasmuch as this reissue seems to be accruing at least moderate buzz as the "great, lost" Redd Kross album (that YOU, who might have missed it the first go-round, must acquire immediately or court certain lack of status amongst your more knowledgeable peers), allow me to weigh in on the subject: Not only do i NOT consider Neurotica to be particularly "lost," i also don't think it's that "great" either. I mean, i'll cop to playing "Frosted Flake" on my radio show with some regularity for a while (occasionally reprising same with "Peach Kelli Pop" or "Janus, Jeanie & George Harrison" if i was in a particularly pro-Redd Kross mood that night), but, for the most part, i thought this seeming bulwark of punky psych-pop – recorded at the intersection of Brady Bunch Boulevard and the Charles Manson Freeway – was just a gateway record (drug?), the thing that signaled to me that hey, these guys might actually be able to pull off something REALLY GREAT in their post-first-EP period AFTER all – the record that bridged the credibility gap between the "i could care less what that band does these days" state i'd been in since 1982's Born Innocent (my review of which earned me my first ever real Hate Letter, signed by the band and kept in my desk to this day), and my prostrating myself before their one TRUE masterpiece, 1990's Bubblegum Factory CD (the succeeding Switchblade Sister EP and the Phaseshifter album are also quite worthy). In short: THIS RECORD AIN'T THAT GREAT. This point is rendered moot by the fact that, even if i was as big a fan of this album as many of my peers were, i'd have to insist you steer the fuck clear of this CD: The aggravating sonic thinness that was always part of the record (thanks to production by, of all unlikely villains, Tommy Ramone??!) has been aggravated to aggravatingly aggravating new heights of aggravation in the transfer to digital; that is to say, IF YOU'RE GOING TO BUY THIS RECORD, GO FIND AN OLD VINYL COPY. THIS CD SOUNDS LIKE SHIT. The crackly ultra-treble (the hi-hats in particular) renders this version practically unlistenable, as far as i'm concerned. On the vinyl, there's enough Shake-Yo'-Booty-ism left in the bass groove that the title track still sounds a bit like "Taxman," as i'm sure was the intent; that's not the case with the CD – further, on the vinyl, the sitar (or guitar-which-sounds-like-a-sitar) solo in "Play My Song" actually still sounds passably sitar-like; again, not the case on the CD. Etc. What a drag it AIN'T gettin' old! BEST SONG: "Frosted Flake" BEST SONG TITLE: "Ghandi Is Dead (I'm the Cartoon Man)" FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Excerpts from 1982 Red Cross hate letter, verbatim: "You'd sound pschycadelic too if you recorded on 10 hits of acid (and that's just the engineer). As a matter of fact, we're on Angel Dust right NOW!!! doesn't that make you sick? Well tough shit you little hardore turd! I bet you're bald!" and "My favorite drug is Angel Dust it’s got for you it helps you be creative. Im on it right now HA HA HA dont you wish you had some dildoe" and, finally "We hate you shit head." Right on, man. –norb (Five Foot Two/Oglio)


RED CHORD, THE:
Fused Together in Revolving Doors: CD
I never thought I’d be grateful for receiving a modern hardcore record in my review pile, but after the other piles I’ve reviewed, this sounds great. Think metallic hardcore – the really brutal stuff. Think power violence. Think grindcore. Think Carcass. Think Entombed. This seems to fall just on the punk side of death metal and only because the contact email address begins and ends with X. With that said, if I hadn’t just finished listening to three albums which consisted of the most mealy-mouthed, treacly pop-punk I’ve heard in weeks, I probably wouldn’t like this either, but right now, it seems like a shot of atropine straight to the chest. –scott (Robotic Empire)


REAL McKENZIES, THE:
Pissed Tae Th’ Gills: CD
It’s the third full length from these Vancouver, BC kilt-wearing, Celtic punk playing, hard drinking, Robbie Burns loving, Scotland worshiping lads. It’s their second time around being on Joe Keithley’s (DOA) Sudden Death Label. The last release was 2001's Loch’d and Loaded on Honest Don’s. This time around, you get a live set that was recorded, I think, three years ago. It features many songs from their 1998 first release, Clash of the Tartans, plus many Scottish traditionals re-done with their tongue and cheek flavor. If this is all new to you, this band mixes punk rock with a bagpipe to make a ruckus. They make songs that make you want to hold your pint high in the air or at least drink to the point that the evening never existed. Fans of Flogging Molly, the Pogues or Dropkick Murphys will appreciate the craft of this band’s wares they have created in the last ten years. –don (Sudden Death)


RC5:
Run Baby Run: CD EP
They’re the umpteenth band I’ve heard cover “Just Head,” but their originals, which musically run along the same lines as that long-ago gem, aren’t too bad, thankfully. A nice diversion from an otherwise boring day. –jimmy (www.buttermilkstudios.com)


RAZORS NEVER DIE:
Breadcrumbs to the Birds: CD
Saw the bald guy with the tattoos on the cover and thought this was some oi thang, but it’s pop punk with an Undertones cover tacked onto the end and two fast punker tunes in the middle. –jimmy (Jimmy Alvarado )


RAW POWER:
Still Screaming (After 20 Years): LP
This is the newest output by these punks who put Italy on the international punk map. At least for me, they were the very first Italian punk band that I heard back in the early ‘80s. The Screams from the Gutter LP and the Wop Hour EP were in constant rotation at my house. Those two releases and the Mine to Kill LP are my favorites. Those records are crossover classics. I actually got to meet the band and see them live, if I remember correctly, around 1985. They were amazing shows and nice people. This is the last recorded work by guitarist Giuseppe Codeluppi, who died unexpectedly last year. The singer Mauro Codeluppi remains as the only original member from the beginning. This new release is consistent with their last two releases, Reptile House and Trust Me. The songs are more straight forward punk with less metal leanings. Luckily for us, their age hasn’t slowed these guys down. The band and the songs still pulverize with their aggression. The lyrics haven’t strayed from the original formula. Their lyrics are still pissed off and are questioning what irritates them. It’s an interesting choice though for a cover on this one. They cover Nirvana’s Territorial Pissing. Isn’t it usually the case a younger band covers an older one? This band was around before Nirvana. –don (Six Weeks)


RAMBLER 454:
Talk Down the Sky: CD
Adult contemporary country crossover, anyone? I need a Q-tip. My ears feel dirty. –megan (ReadyFireAim)


RAMBLER 454:
Talk Down the Sky: CD
Think “alternative rock’s answer to the Black Crowes” and then head for the hills. When they described themselves as “emo-billy,” I should’ve taken them at their word, ’cause this pretty much bites the weenie. –jimmy (ReadyFireAim)


Radon:
We Bare All: CD
If you’re not hip to Radon, now’s the time. Although they’ve been broken up for years, they’re Florida’s answer to the riddle of what happens when you take Husker Du, make them squeegee off and drink their own sweat like pints of beer, have Leatherface become restaurant managers in some backwoods southern town while holding the place hostage, and the whole thing somehow mutates – with duct tape, exhaust pipes from broken vans, and some sort of unidentified fungus – into one of the best sheer will punk bands that most of America’s never listened to. The playing, although not in the slightest flashy, is amazing in a tight/sloppy way. It’s all about dichotomies, humility, poor judgement and shooting themselves in the foot while still having a good time, ending with an occasional microphone up the ass. Anyhow, on this pup are their first two seven inches (that, since their release, have never more than twenty 7”s deep from yours truly’s record player. Evan Dorkin, the man behind Milk and Cheese, illustrated the cover of In Your Home), some of their comp tracks, and live tracks, five that have never been released. (The last track, listed “Misfits,” is actually several Misfits songs.) Long time favorites continue to be so. If you’re in the buying mood, get their album, 28, too. Great shit. Four years after its release, I finally don’t mind the last song on it. –todd (No Idea)


PONYS:
Self-titled: 7"
This is the second band (Kill Me Tomorrow was the other) in as many months that takes elements of early Cure – the swaying rhythms, more than a couple of guitar lines, and mopey wry-smile vocals – and turn them on their ear for a satisfying, updated effect. The entire affair, instead of being plugged into the gray clouds, feels less theatric (it’s not glam mope) than the Cure. It’s not frenetic but it’s not super polished and the slower parts build a nice atmosphere that’s dense and you get the feeling that a ton of original thought went into these songs, much like The Starvations newest record. –todd (Contaminated)


PLANES MISTAKEN FOR STARS:
Spearheading the Sin Movement: CDEP
This is the clash of metal and emo; it’s really strange. My friend Phil said that this is a pretty different direction for them. He also says it’s kind of like early Metallica, but I don’t see it. I’m not sure how I feel about this. –megan (No Idea)


PLAN A PROJECT:
Self-titled: CD
Kind of like ska-punk without the ska. Crap. –megan (Go-Kart)


PISTOL GRIP:
Another Round: CD
So much better than their debut, The Shots from the Kalico Rose, that it’s surprising that this is the same band. The street punk is still there but the music sounds more mature. The production takes them off the streets and makes them sound more legitimate. They seem to have more hooks than a bunch of fisherman on a chartered fishing boat this time around. The music is definitely more rocking than they have been in the past, almost like they have taken the influences of Youth Brigade (since they are on the band’s label) and punk pioneers of the past to truly fine tune their sound. Now I have to make the effort to go see them live. –don (BYO)


PINE HILL HAINTS, THE:
Alabama Country Ghost Music: 7"
The title says it all. Well, maybe not the ghost part, as they are lacking a saw player on this release, but this is still good, down home country music by people whose definition of country music is not Brooks & Dunn or the Dixie Chicks. Unless you are some crusty gutter punk that only listens to Crass, you'll probably like this. Caveat: The label on the record is blank and you have to look at the engraving in the runout groove to see which is the A-side. Who cares? Send 'em five bucks and tell 'em to keep up the good work. –Josh (Nation of Kids)


PAVERS, THE:
Return to the Island of No Return: CD
Yar matey! This a fine CD be. You know how some CDs have bonus tracks? This thing has a whole bonus CD EP! Obviously, any review that I start with a pirate reference means I like the CD, but I do have to say, this album sets itself up by having the first song be really fast and catchy, then following it with slower, more complex songs. The mix of styles is good, but it got me all revved up and left me. The style is a mix of a bunch of things – parts remind me of Ramones, the non-hit-single Nirvana songs, the stronger Foo Fighter tunes, Queens of the Stone Age… hmm, what’s with me and the Dave Grohl kick? Basically, what seems to be going on here is some musicians are too “mature” to do simple three chord, straight ahead punk, but too amped and passionate to get wishy washy. Some songs remind me in structure of pop punk or even grunge songs if they were being covered by a good punk rock band. I find myself enjoying this a bit, despite the fact that it doesn’t really fall in any of the music subgenres I prefer. Although I do wish that the lyrics hit me more on some level. (A side note – why is it that the more meaningful lyrics are, the less coherent they are normally sung? I can understand every line in Janet Jackson’s “Nasty Boys” which means nothing, yet well thought out political lyrics of many crust bands sound like a seal gargling?) –rich (Ratchet / Boss Tunage)


PAPERBACKS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
So fucking terrible. “You better go for broke! You’re already broken!” –megan (Enabler)


PANIC:
When Monsters Move: CDEP
Following their last Crackle release, Get Well, the band comes back with six tracks of melodies and pop harmonies. Imagine going to elementary school and the Ramones are the music teachers and the Queers and Screeching Weasel are the students. The students are converted and go out in the yard and pick on the kindergarten kids because their music teacher taught them that Britney Spears and Mariah Carey was real music. After a number of beatings, the kindergartners are converted and become the band Panic. Now that Panic have graduated from school, they start their infection tour around Europe and its effects are now trickling here to the states. How can you pass up a band with a song titled “Stupid Music Played by Idiots”? –don (Crackle)


ONEWORDSOLUTION:
Portrait of a Decrepit Nation: CD
Pitch perfect hardcore with all the knobs set just the right way, all the right notes hit, and the band playing with perfect precision. Makes me pine for the sloppy glory of bands like the Fuck Ups. –jimmy (www.dedicatedwreckers.com)


ONE STEP SHIFT:
Chemical Burn: 7"
I’m at odds on this one. At times, I like it and at other times, I want to kick my own ass for liking it. When they slow down, it’s really soggy mathy rock that’s less intimidating than a second grader with bad eyesight. When it speeds up, like landscape seen from an accelerating car, all the angles seem to add up and get interesting, in a Jawbox, Nomeansno smartguy punk rock sort of way. Not abysmal, not an emo turd, but not fully endorsed, either. –todd (Loder Brock)


OKMONIKS:
Rustle Up Some Action with the...: 7"
We get a lot of music at Razorcake that just seems to chase trends. A lot of trashy garage rock, a lot of new wave revival bands, stuff like that. Then, something like the Okmoniks comes along and it manages to dance circles around those trends and come out rocking. The Okmoniks play quirky garage rock that’s backed with an electric organ and a really bouncy rhythm section. And, boy, does it work. Rustle Up Some Action with the Okmoniks is a three-song seven inch that follows right along in style with their first seven inch, Rock’N’Roll with the Okmoniks. It’s great stuff. Side A and Side B are exactly the same, but I usually end up flipping this record every time I play it, just so I can finish dancing around my living room. I can’t wait until this band puts out a full-length. –sean (Lo-Fi)


NOFX:
Regaining Unconsciousness: CDEP
A teaser of sorts, with three tracks from the upcoming album The War on Errorism and an exclusive track. Fat Mike and the gang have come a long way. In their early years here in LA, they were another of a hundred punk bands that played around. Mike (as he was called back then) was just a young punker who attended Beverly Hills High. Somewhere along the line, he moved up to SF. Bad Religion put out the classic album Suffer and a light bulb went on in Mike’s head. The band had a transformation and became what they are now, after endless touring and recording over many years. I may not be a fan of their music, but I do respect them. When punk was dead, they were in the van touring all over. I have a friend in Canada who used to tell me what shows were happening in his area and NOFX seemed to be up there as much as they would come through LA. That is a tough life. Me, I’m a wimp. I hated being in the van, driving up to Bay Area to play a couple of shows. The new tracks will not turn away fans and should continue to recruit new ones. They have perfected their songcraft after all these years. The hidden track with snippets of songs from their new album formatted as a commercial is pretty funny. Hey, a band that can sell over a million copies of a release with no commercial airplay or videos can’t be half bad. –don (Fat)


NO RESPECT:
Confidence: CD
If an album starts off with horns, take it as a bad sign. In this case, it means bad ska punk. No way in hell will this ever make it onto a stereo in this home again. –jimmy (KOB)


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·FACE TO FACE
·UNNATURAL HELPERS
·NIX COMICS QUARTERLY #1
·POPULATION REDUCTION
·ELSINORES
·NO STAYER
·SHALLOW END DIVERS, THE
·BROKEN BOTTLES
·COMICS JOURNAL, THE Volume 5


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