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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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MERIT:
Arson Is for Lovers: CD
This is Hot Topic Rock at its finest, only this time with a female singer. The songs are boring for the most part, however there have been a few really catchy hooks that caught me by surprise that I really enjoyed. This woman’s voice isn’t horrible, but she probably doesn’t have to hold out every word as long as she does. The music comes off as pretty fancy guitar work, but when you listen to it, you notice it is just an excessive amount of arpeggio and string bends. This is what I imagine Paramore to sound like, I guess. One thing I find weird is that on the back of the album it says that this album can be downloaded for free at their website. Doesn’t that kind of make the CD pointless? –Noah W. K. –Guest Contributor (Self-released, www.arsonisforlovers.com)


MEET ME IN MONTAUK:
You Don’t Understand: CD
Everything about the packaging of this CD screamed “SUCK” at me when I pulled it off the top of the review pile—from the intentionally childish robot astronaut drawing on the cover to the cheese dick font in which the songs are listed on the back of the jewel case. The only thing that caused me to hold out a shred of hope for the music contained therein was the fact that the album is put out by Furious George Recordings. How foolish of me. My suspicions were confirmed when I popped the disc in the player. Worthless indie pap, err, pop that treads the same water that far superior bands did ten to fifteen years ago. The singer is obviously an Elliot Smith disciple and there’s a strong Quasi influence in his singing, too. This is so goddamned sensitive it makes me want to club a puppy to death or run over a baby seal with my car. And Meet Me In Montauk show such restraint—they wait all the way until track five to bust out the oh-so-ironic cowbell section. This is what happens when private school douchebags decide they want to rebel and show how “edgy” there really are. Absolutely painful to listen to. –benke (Furious George Recordings, no address listed)


MAD ANTHONY:
Self-titled: CD
This band has to be a joke band. “Get You High”is attractive because it’s funny that this it’s an actual song. It’s kinda cool, kinda ridiculous, and I’m into the deep, gruff vocals. Upbeat music that’s not all good, so don’t get too excited. The recording seems overly produced and commercialized, which sucks. I feel like music loses its soul like that. I’m not impressed, but you can tell these dudes like to have a good time and it shows in their music, so they get major points for that. –Corinne (Phratry)


LUCKY SO FAR:
Fashionista: CD
Bouncy, fun rock’n’roll punk sounding like a slightly less boisterous version of Throw Rag. The vocals are quite reminiscent of Spencer Moody of Murder City Devils, although somewhat less tuneful and charismatic. Still, this disc shows a lot of potential. This band likely sounds great playing on a Saturday night in a punk rock bar with catchy choruses that would be easy to sing along to drunk, even if you don’t know the words. Nothing new here, but well executed nonetheless. –Jake Shut –Guest Contributor (Narcoma, www.narcomarecords.com)


LOVE LANGUAGE, THE:
Self-titled: CD
As soon as I started listening to this, I was immediately reminded of soundtracks such as Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums…which I love. I’m not sure the technical term for the instrument is, but I call it “bells on a stick.” Well, they have a bunch of “bells on a stick” goin’ on and I like it. Upbeat tracks that have vintage sound to them make this CD very attractive. –Corinne (Bladen County, bladencountyrecords.com)


LOOKER:
Self-titled: CD
Slower paced indie rock that sounds like the Shangri-Lasat times with female harmonies followed by hints of rockasilly and the hippie ‘60s (even the occasional tambourine). Unfortunately, this CD did not make me a fan even though I liked bits and pieces of it. I can see NYC kiddies being really into this band, thinking it’s the most original “cool” thing out there, but I tend to get super bored with slower rhythms. I have to resist the urge to skip to the next song and all I’m thinking is, “Blah blah blah, next please.” –Corinne (Serious Business)


JOHNNY THROTTLE:
Stukas Uber Shoreditch: 7”
Not the most original take on ‘77 style punk, but these English punk rockers hit all the right notes. Kinda slow, like the Sex Pistols, but with a flair for the dramatic. –Jim Ruland (Wrench)


I-FARM:
IV: CD
More mathy post-hardcore punk from this Brooklyn band. IV is I-Farm’s finest release to date, artfully balancing strange, change-on-a-dime musical structures from hardcore but never losing sight of good, melodic songwriting. The vocals are fairly typical punk rock shouted barks, but, really, the songwriting and the instrumental prowess it what makes the mark with this band. As a final note, don’t be dumb enough to miss I-Farm live if they happen to be playing a basement near you. Unless you don’t appreciate having your face tore off in the best way possible. –Jake Shut –Guest Contributor (Go Kart)


INTERNATIONAL DATELINES, THE:
Self-titled: CDEP-R
These gals and guys play ‘50s-inspired, girl fronted, poppy/slightly garage-y/slightly soulful rock’n’roll. Super catchy, great songs, and really fun, to boot. There are a few “normally” recorded songs, and a few from a live radio broadcast. I recommend looking into this. –joe (Self released, www.myspace.com/theinternationaldatelines)


HINDI GUNS:
Rarities: CD
I feel that Rarities is a somewhat ironic title for this collection, because that pretty much sums up everything about this band. Since most people probably haven’t heard of this band, they play fairly arty jazz meets ‘60s counter culture rock. Interesting stuff. –joe (Swingin Pig, no address)


GURTRUDESTEIN:
The Power of Human Family: CDEP
Female-fronted noise band out of San Diego with a zombies-at-the-gates groove. Like Death On Mars, they don’t really need lyrics to get their point across. It’s like a trip to the dungeon: the rhythm section hammers you into submission and then the guitars and vocals get all freaky on your ass. NTTAWWT. –Jim Ruland (Self-released, myspace.com/gurtrudestein)


GUNFIRE! GETDOWN!:
Songs for Trash: CD
Garagey punk a la Riverboat Gamblers, maybe a little like New Bomb Turks, with intros that keep making me think I’m listening to The Arrivals. The equation seems valid, but the math doesn’t click. It’s good, but I was a little more impressed that I could see through the CD when I held it up to the light than I was with the music. Take that for what you will. –Bryan Static (State Of Intoxication, no address)


GROSS URGE:
A Very Special Cupcake: Cassette
This minimalistic, artsy music exhibits everything from drum machines to what sounds like kid toy instruments. I’d call this an even less accessible bedroom version of Erase Errata. It’s music that delivers a brief retreat from convention. –N.L. Dewart (Baby Carrot)


GRANDPRIXX, THE:
Prixxology 1998-2001: CD
This album finely anthologizes The Grandprixx’s existence with forty-two songs, none of which reach the three-minute mark. The Grandprixx found their niche and hit the street running with all of these tracks, except one cover, written by them between the years of 1998 to 2001. I can’t deny their most apparent influence, The Queers, but I’d say the Grandprixx are less ‘50s/‘60s rock pop throw back and more rough around the edges. The music is fast and nihilistic with tunes like “Beers & 15 Year Olds.” This is a fast, fun album done with the right mix of stupidity, music production, and snotty sing-along choruses. The song contents rarely veer past pubescent troubles. What you see is what you get with The Grandprixx, but, at least with this anthology, you get your money’s worth with more than an hour of music. –N.L. Dewart (Cheapskate)


GOOD LUCK:
Into Lake Grifty: CD
Good Luck reminds me a bit of The Weakerthans, but in a way I can’t quite put my finger on. They’re a bit louder and rougher, with more infectious energy. The songs are kind of chaotic in that really great way where it makes you want not to dance so much as just jump and flail and look retarded (but have an awesome time doing it). I became officially sold on the song “Pajammin,” which ends with the chant “Oh the feeling/is spreading out to the ceiling/when the band plays everyone’s favorite song.” It’s worth mentioning that “Pajammin” is the second track on the album; the other eleven tracks were just gravy. –Sarah Shay (Self-released, www.myspace.com/wearegoodluck)


NICK GOLDEN:
6/24: CD
Full disclosure: It’s difficult to be tough on someone whose review material consists of a CD-Rapparently hand-coated in hot pink paint/nail polish. The 6/24 title looks like it was scratched into the surface with a blunt pen. How endearing is that? Alright, moving past the physical disc and onto the content, Mr. Golden’s forte is ardent, youthful folk punk likely being delivered on a beaten-up acoustic. I’m willing to overlook how off-key his high-pitched vocals can get but the manner in which he frequently tries to fit way too many words into his verses is very distracting. At points, you can just picture saliva gathering in his mouth as he struggles to simultaneously bang on his guitar and keep up with the uncomfortably swift pace he has set for his vocals. Should he learn to draw his breaths out. Plan-It-X fans take note. –Reyan Ali (Self-released, virb.com/nickgolden)


G.G. ALLIN:
Carnival of Excess: CD
This is about the corniest shit I’ve ever heard. G.G. Allin doing a stripped-down country album is as expected as Celine Dion tearing her microphone from its cord and snaking the live wire through her asshole into her bowels. I’m not sure what to think. Some of these songs actually sound pleasant. Well, the music, at least. The lyrics are true to G.G. form as he addresses being an outlaw, heroin abuse, guns, bottles of liquor, and fighting. But, “Carmelita” and “Guns, Bitches, Brawls, and Bottles” both lope along sweetly dripping with slide guitar. In fact, all the songs would fit nicely on a roots country radio station if the lyrics weren’t so profane. I’m not sure many corporate jocks would spin a tune with the line “For on that night I met a force that nothing will compare/I was born the Son of Evil and I fucked the devil there” on their weekly radio shows. I don’t know how many more times I’ll listen to this CD, but, astonishingly, I don’t completely hate it. –benke (Ponk, www.ponkmedia.com)


GESTAPO KHAZI:
Self-titled: CDEP
John Roller is on vocals here. For the record: I’m a huge John Roller fan—probably the biggest one you’ll come across. The thing with Roller—he’s a fucking L.A. punk throwback. I mean way back. Dangerhouse. SST. Posh Boy. Roller is the kind of guy who can (and will) call you out for confusing members of the B People with the dudes in Silver Chalice. In short: John Roller is bona fide. With that in mind, I’ve found that people who have a narrow fixation on one or two things in their lives are generally really good at their respective obsessions. (Conversely, Brion Gysin, who was all over the place in his artistic endeavors, received criticism for stretching himself too thin.) John Roller is certainly a gifted musician. And when it comes to creating an early ‘80s hardcore punk band—you’re not going to top the dude. It doesn’t hurt that Gestapo Khazi is rounded out by some shit hot musicians (hats off to, uh, Third Reich Mike on drums—let me know how those Jerusalem shows go…). Unlike a lot of bands working in the hardcore genre, Gestapo Khazi seems conscious of the use of space in music. What I mean by that—put on a Wall Of Voodoo record and really focus in on Marc Moreland’s guitar playing. If you’re not completely dense, it’ll bring you to tears—the way Moreland played guitar was more in the vein of Keith Levene or Andy Gill (but better), the former knew that silence was music, and that guitar playing shouldn’t be one-dimensional (in influence or performance). And I hear a little of that in Gestapo Khazi’s guitar playing—space and influence (punk, rockabilly, surf, etc.—get some, Stark Raving Erik). This is really an incredible EP. Fans of John’s old band (Geisha Girl) will probably be happier with Gestapo Khazi. (I’m sorry this review has been abbreviated. I’m watching Urgh! A Music War right now, and Marc Moreland’s guitar playing is making me totally useless. Unbelievable. The guy was truly a genius.) –ryan (Self-released, myspace.com/gestapokhazilongbeach)


GERALD PROKOP:
Exits & Obstacles: CD
Firstly, I would like to tell the person who made the map-based packaging and artwork to the CD that they did a wonderful job and I think that it’s really rad. The music is in no way punk rock. I’m pretty sure of it. It’s more like folk with a soft voice behind it and mostly acoustic tunes. With that said, if you take it for what it is, it’s not bad. As for something I would enjoy listening to on a daily basis, I don’t think it really fits in with my style. I should also mention that the song “Safe and Sound” has some really annoying radio like noises in the background that made me want to punch some glass. Fuck the person who thought that sounded cool. –Corinne (Prokiev Projects & Publishing)


GASLIGHT ANTHEM:
The ‘59 Sound: CD
The much-anticipated second full-length album by this New Jersey band. First off, let’s get it out of the way; yeah this band is clearly influenced by GardenState legend, Bruce Springsteen, and are not interested in hiding the fact (even more so than the Hold Steady, if that’s possible). But they focus on the compact, economical songwriting of the Boss more than the self-indulgent soloing, bar band tendencies of the E. Street Band that the Hold Steady revels in. That being said, Gaslight Anthem has really filed off the charming minor rough edges of their debut 2007 album, Sink or Swim for a sound that is radio friendly with a capital R. I don’t think you could really even call this a punk rock record in the context of 2008. There is not a single shitty song on the album, but, by the same token, nothing seems to rise far above mediocrity. If you enjoyed the first record a lot, this is worth picking up, but I am guessing most readers of Razorcake would find the production off putting and the songs too middle-of-the-road classic rock to embrace. I can say I do still recommend this band live (if you can still see them in a reasonably sized venue with their increasing popularity) where the new songs are presented in a much more organic context than an overproduced record. –Jake Shut –Guest Contributor (SideOneDummy)


FUN HOGS:
Party!: CD
Not my favorite band, but I can see myself going to check them out if they passed through my town. From Evansville, Indiana, this band is from the same scene that produced Be My Doppelganger. The songs don’t exactly leave a bitter taste in my mouth, but I haven’t warmed up to them and I don’t know that I ever will. The album has short tracks, pop punk beats, and simple lyrics that I (and probably most of us) can relate to. This quote is from the fifth track, “No you can’t catch up with sleep, so catch up with life and stay up all night.” –Corinne (Bird Mouth Mouth, angelfire.com/falcon/bmmr)


FOUND DEAD IN TRUNK:
Kerosene Cocktail: CD-R
For some reason, Found Dead In Trunk’s name conjured for me thoughts of Deadguy and Buzzoven. I don’t know why and I know much better than to make such assumptions going into a record because I’m rarely right when I do. That said, Found Dead In Trunk are no-frills rock’n’roll, sometimes bordering on hardcore, with a slightly jangly garage sound and lack of production value running throughout. Sometimes when I listen to this record that’s a bit disconcerting, as if I really want F.D.I.T. to decide once and for all what sound they want to go with and get on with it. But since I screwed the pooch on the initial pre-aural assessment, I should know better than to put expectations such as that on this. In the end, this is low-fi and sloppy, which I like lots. I’d love to see these guys playing in a basement. –The Lord Kveldulfr (F.D.I.T.kgrave2000@hotmail.com)


FOOD:
Self-titled: LP
Sludge. Stoner rock. Doom. Whatever it’s being called these days, it’s a tricky genre to pin down and appreciate for what it is. One thing you definitely need is patience. And you’re going to need to exercise patience to take in five songs in forty minutes. Some of the songs take an incredibly long time to take form and become interesting. I would hear parts that stuck to me but then would be let down with a build up that wouldn’t quite deliver. I did like the vocals, but there were times when I had to remind myself this wasn’t an instrumental album. I was hoping to be floored but I wasn’t. It’s too bad because the vinyl is super thick and the packaging is all made out of recycled materials. –Juan Espinosa (Molsook)


FILTER KINGS:
Finer Things: CD
Finally, Nebraska is growing more than corn! Roots rock and honky tonk from the plains with a full, rolling sound built of both electric and acoustic guitars and basses. Honest lyrics delivered via an irreverent hollerin’ layer with a singing pedal steel and a melancholy fiddle. Some nice male/female duets. Very solid effort, despite a little muddiness at times. –thiringer (Speed! Nebraska)


DUN 2 DEF / DESTRUCTORS 666:
Deus Ex Machina: Split: CD
Dun 2 Def were called ‘77 in the 1990s and are back in action. The Destructors were one of the original U.K. 1970s punk bands and are likewise back in action, as Destructors 666. Both of these bands comprised of old British dudes are holding up exceptionally, playing a blend of fast, hardcore punk with earlier 1977 stylings thrown in. Dun 2 Def covers a U.K. Subs song and does two originals while Destructors 666 does three originals and a GBH cover. Sometimes, the oldest people in the room don’t suck. Sometimes. –Art Ettinger (Rowdy Farrago, www.destructors666.com)


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