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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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ARMAZILLA:
Texas Weed: CD
A solid stoner metal release by an Atlanta trio. Definitely sounds heavily influenced by the high desert rock sound pioneered by Kyuss, Fu Manchu, and early Queens Of The Stone Age, but also just the no-bullshit metallic rock’n’roll of Motörhead. It never gets too self-indulgent, dirgy, nor does it head into cheesy boogie rock territory, thereby avoiding the worst possible pitfalls of the genre. I would not recommend this to the average reader of Razorcake, but if you are like me and have some hesher sympathies mixed in with your love of punk rock, you may enjoy this record quite a bit. –Jake Shut –Guest Contributor (Self-released, no address)


DEATHCAGE:
Chaos Nightrider: 7”
I’m one of those people who have a lot of worship for Japanese punk, mainly because of my heritage and, at the time of my youth, it was a hard to get many of the records that were coming out of Japan. When I hear a mention that a band from another country has the Japanese sound, I am skeptical. But boy did this one blow the shorts off me. Here is a band from Australia that gets strong mention for their Japanese sound and they sound better than many of the bands that are famous for the genre of Burning Spirits. From first listen, you can here the dead-on musicianship of the players who play a mixed blend of speed metal meets crust punk. The first thought that popped in my head was that this band almost is too talented to be playing this style of music. They are that good. The vocal delivery is wallowing in the sheer brink of loss of self-control and wailing with genuine energy. Package that all together and it’s one record that shines. Being the second release from this band, I now have to add their debut to my long list of wants that I currently can’t afford to purchase. –don (Schizophrenic)


DEATH:
For the Whole World to See: LP
How could these recordings have taken so long to see the light of day? This is one of the best reissues ever released and some of the very best rock music I have ever heard. Unreleased 1975 recordings from Death are collected here as well as two tracks from a single from the late ‘70s. Death were a band that took in everything in their Detroit surroundings and harnessed it into some of the baddest rock you are gonna find. It sounds more like Radio Birdman than anything else, and for the same reasons, this is the sound of Detroit. Pure Motor City thunder that rocks harder than nearly anything else from the same era. –frame (Drag City)


DEATH:
For the Whole World to See: CD
I’ve always had this thing where I obsess about things that I love. I obsess to the point where I try to gain an encyclopedic knowledge of the given subject. Some of these things are horror movies, Star Wars, comic books, beer, and, most of all, punk rock. That said, I had never heard of Death until my father-in-law clipped an article out of the paper for me. The story blew me away. Three brothers from Detroit in the early 1970s start playing what would, in coming years, be known as punk rock. They eked out a 7” and promptly disappeared. Flash forward to today. The master tapes for seven songs have been discovered and released on Drag City. When I put this on, I didn’t know what to expect and was quickly blown away. The first thing that struck me was how much singer Bobby Hackney sounds like HR (I know that the Bad Brains connections are inevitable due to both bands being African-American, but, damn, they sound alike). The music is literally the missing link between the proto punk bands like MC5 and The Stooges and the likes of the Ramones and what would come afterwards (I kept thinking about The Zeros and Radio Birdman when listening to it). It often grooves like ‘70s rock under the surface, but the speed and the politicized lyrics really prove that Death (having recorded these songs in 1975) could really be the first true punk rock band. I’m still trying to pick the pieces of my mind up off the floor! –ty (Drag City)


ALGREN:
A Wayward Sound Floods the Streets: CD with graphic novel
Wow, this CD comes with a lovely black and white graphic novel, with romantic, cartoony art reminiscent of the stuff done by Nate Powell. The story is about consumer culture ending the world. After checking out the awesome artwork and cool story, I was prepared to hear some fucked-up jazz or progressive hardcore. Instead, my ears were felched by modern rock at its most pretentious and ham-handed, played by sloppy musicians that you’d expect to see stinking things up with an Incubus cover at a high school battle of the bands. It’s interesting when pedestrian art inspires other, greater art—similar to how the movie Superfly was surpassed by Curtis Mayfield’s terrific soundtrack. While Superfly was a good movie with incredible music, A Wayward Sound Floods theStreets is a strong comic inspired by a weak band. –CT Terry (www.algrenmusic.com)


DEAD MECHANICAL:
A Great Lie: 7”EP
In a lot of ways, I don’t envy DIY punk bands around today. Punk’s history and legacy is like a huge tub of unconnected Legos dumped out and scattered on the floor. It’s not enough to click together the Dag Nasty brick to the Dillinger Four base piece and say, “It’s an airplane!” because people will call you naïve or retarded. With thousands of little bits to put together in the imperfect world of jobs, flakey people, and limited resources—to build something spectacular, yet referential to previous history—is fuckin’ hard. Dead Mechanical have made a Lego diorama, replete with Baltimore’s skyline and a little band playing in a basement. They’ve even somehow got the Lego dudes sweating. And it’s rad. Rad in a way that, even with a deep knowledge of punk history, sounds familiar, but newly realized, fresh, and explosive. It’s like Dead Mechanical had somehow never heard of (pre-Field Day) Dag Nasty or Dillinger Four, but channeled the same awesome Lego-building spirit of both. Highly recommended. –todd (Sex Cells, sexcellsrecords.com)


DEATH:
For All the World to See: CD
The story of this record contains a lot of the romance that records nerds like me eat up. Three brothers from Detroit start a band, hear the first Stooges record, start playing rock’n’roll, get a record deal, refuse to change their name, get dropped, are not allowed to finish their album, and get left behind in the pages of rock history. This re-ish contains seven songs from their aborted recording session. Most of the songs resemble the higher end of the MC5 catalog. “Freakin Out” is a snotty tune that throws a wrench in the timeline of when rock’n’roll sped up, as these sessions took place in 1974. All the songs on this record are great, but “Freakin Out” is a real head scratcher. It’s hard to imagine this song being recorded in ’74. Without a doubt, it is a lost classic. This record is awesome and essential for punk historians and fans of Detroit rock’n’roll. –Billups Allen (Drag City)


DAMNED, THE:
So, Who’s Paranoid?: CD
Never much followed these guys—like most punks my age. I love their first album or three, but after that, I’ve only sporadically checked in with ‘em over the years. Based on this, it sounds like they’re still very much mining the same potpourri of punk, gloom, psych, garage rock, ‘70s rock and whatever piques their interest in much the same fashion they have since the dawn of the ‘80s. Don’t mean for that to sound like an insult, ’cause it ain’t. They still rule a niche that’s all their own, and deliver the tunes with a vim that bands a third their age seem unable to muster. If you’re looking for stuff as incendiary as “Fish” or even “Love Song,” you’re gonna be sorely disappointed, but if you give it half a chance, you might be pleasantly surprised by what you do end up with. –jimmy (The English Channel)


DANGER STRANGERS:
Self-titled: 7” EP
This is little looser in spots than, say, D.R.I. in their prime, and they come nowhere near warp factor nine, but these kids still crank out some punk rock that’s speedy and catchy. Dunno shit about ‘em, but ya gotta respect a band with a drummer named Little Drummer Troy. –jimmy (Small Pool)


DANIEL JAMES GANG:
In This City: 7”
A moment of silence for the demise of the Chinese Telephones, please. What a band. Here is lead guitarist, Daniel James’s effort. Is “dirt glam” a term? He’s got the rough, technically proficient charge of a band like Nine Pound Hammer while images of the Sweet, Slade, and T Rex hang all over the place, like posters tacked onto a wall in the recording studio. It’s also pretty obvious that the focal point of this band is the guitar. The a-side’s a charging, catchy slab with a refrain that reminds me of the Peanuts theme song. The b-side could have been shorn in about half, increasing the quality of the cut. –todd (Affiliated Publishing Situation, danieljamesgang.blogspot.com)


DAWN:
Self-titled: CD
Song titles like “Proud to Be” and “Ragnarok” made me a little wary, but I see no evidence of any affinity for Teutonic dictators with Chaplin mustaches or calls for albino supremacy dolled up as the worship of one-eyed Nordic warrior gods. The music here is speedy, angry thrash stuff with lyrics bemoaning the state of the world in a way that doesn’t sound like your average peace punk rant. –jimmy (Anti-Corporate Music)


DARKLANDS / THE VILLAGE IDIOT:
Split: 7” EP
Both bands dish up a couple of acoustic tunes, none of which are earth shatteringly good enough to make any sort of lasting impression, though Village Idiot were slightly more interesting than the band named after the second Jesus And Mary Chain album. –jimmy (http://www.myspace.com/rabalderrecords)


DARK LINGO:
Self-titled (?): Cassette
Dark Lingo is a duo of gents creating dark, moderately creepy, and slightly experimental tunes with bass, drums, and effects. Such musical configurations can often be hit or miss, but this one hits very, very well. The six tunes on this tape tap into something dark and primal yet elegant at the same time, like a malevolent spirit with a kindly smile on its pate. Oh, and the packaging is friggin’ awesome: cloth, hand-sewn cassette case. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Official Facss)


DEAD MECHANICAL / FULL OF FANCY:
Split : 7”
Dead Mechanical’s Medium Noise LP usually shows up on my turntable as I’m making the transition from Sunday afternoon to Sunday night, mentally and physically preparing for the week ahead. This band just writes consistently solid and relatable songs. There’s a definite warmth and comfort in them, even though these songs were spawned by the exact opposite of conditions. I will pick up anything this band releases. On the flip, Full Of Fancy play the fuck out of some pop music. The fuck, I say! –Daryl Gussin (Cold Feet)


DAYLIGHT ROBBERY:
Red Tape: 7” EP
If Exene had married Joe Ramirez and joined the Eyes instead of X, this is pretty much what they would’ve sounded like. Songs are tight, sans fuzz on the guitar, and are about as on-target as a band can get. –jimmy (residuerecords@gmail.com)


ALABASTER SKELETON:
Stay Cool, Have a Great Summer: CD
This was a welcome musical relief for me. Twelve songs of crooning from what seems like a bygone era with a take on relationships that doesn’t sound naively antiquated. Everything here is really simple, straightforward, and delightful. Most of the songs are played on acoustic guitar with occasional keyboard or drums. Sometimes, this reminded me of a broken Buddy Holly or Elvis. Other times I felt like I was listening to that friend we all have who plays his songs on his acoustic guitar for you in his bedroom and you wonder why the hell he isn’t playing out because he’s that good. And, sometimes, he sounds like Steven Hawking (“Somethin’ Stupid”). A couple of the songs on here were mediocre and could have stood to be tossed. That’s not to say that they brought the album down, but there were just a few tunes that didn’t do anything for me. This album may not be the most emotionally draining listen from a singer/songwriter (i.e. Elliott Smith), but it’s honest and endearing and I’ll take that any day. –kurt (www.myspace.com/alabasterskeleton)


ABE FROMAN:
Baltimore Is Scum: 7” EP
Abe Froman is the sausage king from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Abe Froman is also a band from East Lansing. I’m a Michigan native and good music from the mitten state gets me pumped! Right from the first song, “Russian 101,” the band’s sound is very similar to a female-fronted Pinhead Gunpowder. With lyrics like “I write you all the time, even though I’m not gonna send them,” it’s hard not to see the comparison to anything Aaron Cometbus related. Just the artwork alone reminded me of something Aaron would have done. The sound is pretty consistent throughout the entire EP. There’s even a reference to Cleveland Bound Death Sentence in the song “Rex.” Highly recommended if you’re into Midwest punk rock. Too bad they broke up! –Ronnie Riggar –Guest Contributor (Self-released, www.msu.edu/~tobeyeri/abefroman.html)


DAMNED , THE:
So, Who’s Paranoid?: CD
At this point in their career, I have to applaud the band for continuing to put out new music. Maybe they should call up The Circle Jerks? There’s no “New Rose” here, but, overall, I found it to be enjoyable. The Captain still entertains on guitar and Vanian is still one of the coolest frontmen. What I really can’t wait for is to see them again next month. Monty’s spazzy dances will be worth the price of admission. “Maid for Pleasure” and “Little Miss Disaster” could slip into the set list and still please the hardcore punters. For those who like to trip out, enjoy The Electric Prunes-cue “Dark Asteroid.” Good work, men. Keep up the good work. –koepenick (English Channel)


CURTAINS OF NIGHT, THE:
Lost Houses: CD
Sludgy guitar/drum duo noise rock stuff. –jimmy (Holidays For Quince)


CREEPY:
Strong Lies Kill Highs: CD
Damn shame that Indie 103.1 went under, ‘cause the Kaiser Chiefs/Arctic Monkeys-reminiscent modern punk/wave these guys dish out would’ve made ’em all but a shoe-in for heavy rotation on that now-defunct (at least on terrestrial airwaves) station’s playlist. –jimmy (http://www.teenorecords.com/)


ALL NIGHT DRUG PROWLING WOLVES:
Self-titled: CD
Great title for an album, kinda hokey name for a band, especially considering that it doesn’t sound like these guys are on any cool kinds of mind-altering/expanding drugs. The tunes are mediocre power pop that fall short of memorable. It reminds me of something that I can’t quite put my finger on…mid-’90s “alternative” FM radio…that fuckin’ “Flagpole” band, Harvey Danger. There you go. Colonel Records put out the great King Tuff record recently, so grab that release rather than this one. Stick to the Pets or Gentleman Jesse if you’re looking for a power pop fix. –benke (The Colonel, www.myspace.com/thecolonelrecords)


400COLPI:
Homo Homini Lupus: CD
Crust-tinged Italian metalcore with two singers and two bass drum pedals. –CT Terry (chorusofonerecords.it)


CREEPS, THE:
These Walls: 7”
The Creeps’ Lakeside Cabin was undoubtedly one of my favorite records of last year. It was a dark, slick pop punk affair reminiscent of mid-period Alkaline Trio and mid-‘90s Lookout! fare that totally caught me by surprise and became a staple of my daily listening. With their newest release, These Walls (once again on Black Pint Records), The Creeps chose to forgo the lengthy, detailed recording process of Lakeside Cabin for a rawer approach, and the result is, in my opinion, their best work yet. Gone are the campy, slasher flick lyrics of past releases and, instead, the band focuses on some uncharacteristically insightful commentary on the prison system, the international culture of fear, and the desperate state of daily life. Now, don’t get me wrong when I say “uncharacteristically”—these are three smart guys, but their lyrical content up to this point has been much lighter. These songs are just on a whole other level. These Walls is catchy, cerebral punk rock that I can’t recommend more highly. Get into this band immediately. –Dave Williams (Black Pint)


COBWEBBS, THE:
The Cola Sessions: CD-R
The music’s not bad in a KXLU/college alternative stuff kinda way, but the singin’ is so lousy you can’t help but admire their chutzpah. It takes some serious huevos to be this unabashedly bad. –jimmy (http://myspace.com/thecobwebbsmusic)


CORY CASE:
Waiting on a Remedy: CD
Mostly acoustic tuneage here, more reminiscent of Jim Croce, early Dylan, and such than Jay Reatard, which is not said to malign what’s goin’ on here, ‘cause there is some seriously good writing in evidence. Pop this into the Wayback Machine, set the controls for 1972, and this vato is a millionaire. –jimmy (Deadbeat)


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