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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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ENVIRONMENTAL YOUTH CRUNCH:
Let’s Ride: Cassette
With song titles like “Golf Course in the Ghetto” and “Liquid Gold,” how can you possibly go wrong? You can’t really, but these aren’t even my favorite songs on this one. “The Stock Market Is My Garden” is, but how did these guys know the roof was gonna cave in in 2007? These dudes should have part-time shifts on CNBC when they are not on tour. For real. –koepenick (People’s Republic)


CAETHUA:
The Village of the Damned: CD
Did I miss something? I think I must be reviewing a soundtrack to a movie. The second song sounds a lot like when you walk into the Haunted Mansion in Disney and there is all those creepy little bell sounds and dripping water noises like there’s something mysterious going on. Track eight is similar in that it sounds like a heart beating with dramatic tones. Fun? Sure, but do I really want to listen to it on my way to work? Absolutely not, and you wouldn’t either. Other tracks are just as dreary and dark. This album is a thumbs down for being background noise to a scary ride. –Corinne (Blue Sanct)


EINE KLEINE CHINMUZIK:
Hoch Und Dich: CD-R EP
Looks can be deceiving. When checking out what looks like crappy third grader cat drawings that accompanied this CD with the track listing, I thought this might be some young kids’ stab at making music. Well, I can’t confirm the ages of the band members Ben, Magoo, and Jason, but I was pleasantly surprised by their ability to make music. This speed demon pop punk has me pounding my feet without understanding a damn word they’re singing. These seven songs are full of distorted vocals and blistering drums, making it sound like a live band recording in a lo-fi setting. Their songs are similar to Milwaukee counterparts Chinese Telephones. If Eine Kleine Chinmuzik translates this nicely on recording, I hope they come to town soon because they’ll have a lot to live up to. If you want your pop with a surge of body-wrecking power, then get this EP now. –N.L. Dewart (http://www.myspace.com/einekleinechinmuzik)


EL BANDA:
Wisi Mi: 7”
This is a great follow-up release from this Warsaw, Poland band who put out the wonderful debut LP, Przejdzie ci. This time around they seem to have grown from their dark melodic hardcore beginnings and are pushing the envelope in growth. The first side starts off with a dark mid-tempo number that reminded me a lot of the now-defunct Signal Lost: charging female vocals on top of the rhythmic chords shows power without resorting to the use of speed. The second track, being more melodic, reminded me, for some reason, of the playfulness of one of those ‘80s new wave bands that I used to see on MTV when they actually showed videos. It’s by far my favorite track on the whole release. Flip this baby over and they show that they have not lost their punk edge. The last track closes off the experience with a massive gang chorus backed by more of a rock-edged tune. If Post Regiment, La Fraction, The Assassinators, Utopia, or the many other female-led punk bands is your thing, you need to get one these. (The exchange rate of the US Dollar is decent to the Polish Zloty.) –don (Pasazer)


BRAINERD:
Self-titled: CD
The vocalist reminds me of James Hetfield in parts. I’m assuming he is the dude in the picture with the Rollie Fingers ‘stache. I hear some Alice In Chains mixed in with Black Label Society’s pummeling riffage. “Powerlines” even sounds like “Spoonman.” Who knew the ‘90s were back? –koepenick (Zodiac Killer)


EBONICS:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Rip Off-styled punk rock. One of the better ones doing this, I’ll admit, but after zillions of bands bathing in the same cesspool, this just ain’t as big a deal as it might’ve been twenty years ago. –jimmy (Daggerman, no address)


DIABLOS BLONCOS, EL:
Dancing to Contusions: 7” EP
A-side consists of three helpings of synth/drum machine-derived noise. B-side is more of the same, although, according to the insert, was generated with the standard bass/drum/guitar setup. All of it’s pretty atonal and minimalist, but still occasionally odd enough to be interesting. –jimmy (El Diablos Bloncos)


DEVOUR:
Self-titled: LP
Heavy duty hardcore of the first order here, definitely something that’s sure to slam your brain into the back of yer noggin if you’re not prepared. Fans of Double Negative, Out Cold, and the like would be well advised to pay these guys some well deserved attention. –jimmy (Sorry State, no address)


DOPAMINES / TILL PLAINS:
Split : 7”
The Dopamines play fast, catchy, gruff-voiced punk rock. Their two songs here are pretty cool. Till Plains have more of an At The Drive-In feel. They’re okay. Worth it for the Dopamines side, for sure. –Ryan Horky (It’s Alive)


DRAG THE RIVER:
Bad at Breaking Up: CD
I usually avoid music made by a man (or in this case, men) and his acoustic geetar like I avoid broccoli. Nine times outta ten, this is the way to go. In this case, however, I’m actually glad I stuck around for the ride. The songs lean heavily into country territory (and I mean this in the “real” country music sense, not the “shitty pop music with a hillbilly twang in the vocals” sense), are very moody and sedate, yet oddly passionate and well written. On the whole, it gives off a very intimate vibe, like that of a friend sitting on your porch and strumming some tunes while you knock back a few on an early summer evening. –jimmy (http://www.vinylcollective.com/)


DIE PRINCES DIE:
Lions Eat Lions Deluxe: CD
I caught these guys live at Part Time Punks around 2006. They weren’t the band I went to see, but they ended up being the band I remember, as they ripped it up and put on a great show, leaving the band I came for in the dust and, now, long forgotten. Die Princess Die are noisy, spastic, angular, disjointed, and catchy. The rhythms are nervous, while almost danceable. They take disparate musical styles like post hardcore, techno, rock, and new wave and mix them up into something new. “The Racer” starts off with keyboard loop, then builds with heavy percussion, guitars, and other sounds coming in, to make the song soar, and never lose the overall tone of the song. “Lights of the Night” sounds heavily influenced by gabber; pumping beats, noisy bursts, then the drums come in, changing first impressions. One of my favorite songs here is “Young Lady, Your Tail Is Showing”. It’s mainly mid tempo, and has a dark, low rhythm that’s cool and sinister. Lazy comparisons would be !!! meets Arab On Radar with a little Moving Units and Rocket From The Crypt. But really, Die Princess Die are their own entity. Give ‘em a listen, and go see them live. Originally released on GSL in 2006, this version also includes their Cut Lips LP. –Matt Average (Uproar For Veneration)


DINOSAUR AND THE MISSING LINK:
Self-titled: 7”
Here we have some two-man trash punk from Seattle. Dinosaur is handling the guitars and vocals and the Missing Link is rocking the drums. I love this record! It’s so snotty, so minimalist, yet in your face and kicking you in the balls. Add some hilarious lyrics and we have ourselves a winner! Somehow, in my mind’s eye, I’m imagining a mutant hybrid of The Regulations and The Evaporators, and that can’t be bad! –ty (Milk n’ Herpes)


DWYERS, THE:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Standard, straightforward punk stuff with lyrics addressing a general dissatisfaction with the way the protagonist’s life is heading, although “Giggling Faggots” is sure to raise a few eyebrows among the more puritanically PC factions of punkdom. –jimmy (http://www.psychedelica.fi/)


DUNCAN REDMONDS:
Bubble and Squeak: CD
Based on the title, the subheading “Collaborations 2004-2008,” and the drawing on the cover, I winced while I put this on, totally expecting it to be some sorta arty, barely competent stuff involving an acoustic guitar. When what sounded like a lost Leatherface track started blasting from the speakers, I dove for the cover and, indeed, it is Mr. Stubbs on vocals on a track called “Allotment No. 44” by a band called The Pissmops. Intrigued, I looked Duncan Redmonds up online and found out he’s a Snuff/Guns ’n’ Wankers/Toy Dolls member who decided to record some tunes with different folks he ran into while touring—in this case members of NoMeansNo, Leatherface, NOFX, Hard Skin, Snuff, Guns’n’Wankers, Billy No Mates—some of which he is a member, as previously mentioned. The resulting tracks are solid bits of different points along the punk rock spectrum, occasionally raw, but never unlistenable. Easily the winner of the “surprise I pulled out of the mystery meat pile” award for this issue. Hell, even the Donovan cover was worth a listen. –jimmy (http://www.worldrecords.us.com/)


DSC:
We Are the Drug Store Cowboys: CD
This started off really well with a catchy uptempo punker tune, “Captain Chaos,” but my attention went right out the window when the ska punk thing kicked in on the next song. Bracing myself, I soldiered on and, thankfully, that was the only tune to try and dangle its toes into the Ska Punk Zero Tolerance Zone I keep myself in these days. The rest keep things peppy, with a sound that leans towards the mid-‘80s not-quite-as-hard-as-others hardcore. Sometimes they sound like a less metal Beyond Possession, which ain’t exactly an insult. Not bad at all. –jimmy (http://www.myspace.com/drugstorecowboys)


BLUE SKY LAW:
Gravity Made Us Run: CDEP
New York indie punk rock from the streets of San Diego. Rob, the singer from Challenger Deep, a band reviewed here last year, moved to New York to start Blue Sky Law. Melodic riffs over a wash of distorted guitars. Easy listening hardcore in a Fugazi kind of way. –Jim Ruland (Self-released, myspace.com/blueskylaw)


BLUE SANCT:
2008 Mixtape: CD
It was a grueling experience to have to listen to this and I never want to do it again. Ever! Bullshit artistic electronica and weird, creepy background noises don’t give these artists an excuse to suck. I’m not ever going to give this another chance so I’m going to have to say that this one gets a “Fail” stamp across it. –Corinne (Blue Sanct)


BILLY RAYGUN:
Seasick: 7”
This one hits it out of the park and right up the musical alley of many readers of Razorcake. Sloppy, fun, catchy, poppy punk echoing their great and established contemporaries such as The Ergs, The Steinways, Chinese Telephones and so on. A five song 7” at 33 RPM, which is almost flawless in songwriting prowess and still sounds rough enough that you know it’s a punk rock record. This is Billy Raygun’s debut release and I know they are some young-looking fellas, so here’s to hoping this band lives on to record a lot more songs. Billy Raygun might be one of your new favorite bands; don’t sleep on this single. –Jake Shut –Guest Contributor (John Wilkes Booth, no address listed)


BASEMENT APARTMENTS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
I like the artwork on the CD sleeve of a screen-printed half-eaten hotdog and sandwich. Who wouldn’t? The songs aren’t catchy and don’t have much of a hook. Riffs are repetitive. It seems like they took the easy way out with finding a sweet riff and sticking to it through the entire song. I can’t really take listening to this. It’s actually kind of stressing me out. But wait, there’s the song “Teen Planet” that actually does have a hook and some back up vocals that seem like it has some good construction to the song. This one is okay on my ears, but I don’t think I’ll be adding it onto my playlist anytime soon. –Corinne (Self-released, myspace.com/thebasementapartments)


DEVO:
Watch Us Work It: 12” Single
Being a worshipper of the Energy Dome for quite some time, I found myself pleasantly surprised by Devo releasing their first chunk of vinyl since 1990. Sure, the song was used in a computer company’s ads, but the bottom line is that it rocks. The thumping bass is the thing that grabs me the most. I kept thinking about Nomeansno because of it, and it totally makes sense to me. The two bands share a huge overlap musically. I can’t get enough of this song (especially the Teddybears mix). The single features a few different versions of the song and a Devo remix of The Attery Squash’s “Devo Was Right About Everything.” The song is kind of lame, but the lyrics are perfect. I just heard that our spud boys are gearing up for a new record in the fall, and this single really has me jerkin’ back and forth in anticipation. –ty (MVD Audio)


DESTINATION : OBLIVION:
The Road to Nothing: CDEP
The latest burnt offerings from D:O are a return to their dark wave synth grinds. Ninety percent instrumental, these cuts are brooding and sinister. They belong in a torture scene from a Saw movie. Great to clean the house to or dismember a body! –Kristen K (Apocalypse Machine)


DESOLATE VOID:
No Sign of Better Times: CD
Metal stuff with the requisite crunchy, growly vocals. They don’t much thrash it up, but instead go with odd rhythm patterns and lyrics that don’t seem overly obsessed with Satan and/or Odin. This stuff ain’t always my cup o’ tea, but there’s enough punk influence in there to keep things from getting silly. –jimmy (http://www.cahrecords.com/)


AUTUMN PICTURE:
The Field: CD
Slow, melodic, melancholic, acoustic indie folk for fans of Bright Eyes and Fleet Foxes. The album is packaged in a very pretty limited edition, screen-printed cardboard case with paper and vellum art insert. Not really my thing, but I will definitely pass it into the right hands. –Sarah Shay (Hill Billy Stew)


DERROTA:
Asko Inifinito: LP
Blazing hardcore punk from Spain. Derrota sounds like E-150 crossed with Drive Like Jehu. A weird combination that works well from these guys. You get the thrashy speed and recklessness of the aforementioned E-150, then you also get the jangly and disjointed guitar sound, the driving tempos and rhythms of a band like Drive Like Jehu thrown in with a huge amount of tension to keep you listening. The pacing for this album is pretty good. They switch up tempos from speedy to mid tempo, with some thrashy and bouncy songs mixed in to break up the onslaught. Some songs come on in a thrashing rage and end on a slower, spaced-out note, like “Critter.” The final track, “Abismo Interior,” has a bit of a stoner rock outro, with the lumbering pace and repeated riff over a din of noise and crashing cymbals. The guitar sound of this band is awesome: classic punk distortion, and when called for, clean and precise to lift the song above the fray. A great example of these contrasting styles can be heard in the song, “Asfalto Muerto.” Comes packaged with a large format lyric booklet that has translations in German, French, and English. Great record all the way through. –Matt Average (Trabuc)


DEFECT DEFECT:
Self-titled: CDR
I’m not making this reference casually: early Black Flag (which is the Black Flag in which I abide). Every member is a monster at their instrument. There’s a militia-like staccato, like a grim, ritualized beating, coming from every direction. Colin’s voice marshals commands and directives. The shaped charge of each song hits the target in a tight cluster. Maximum impact. Minimum fuss or flourish. This is dire, direct, penetrating shit. Very good. –todd (Self-released? Got the silk-screened tour edition when they played nearby.)


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