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Record Reviews

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GEEKS, THE:
Dreamland in Machineland: 7"
Strange piece of vinyl here. Two songs from 1982, courtesy of a band that apparently started playin’ bebop in the late ‘60s and later added punk to their sound. What’s it sound like, you ask? Imagine the Cows if Ornette Coleman was their chief songwriter and he was in a pisser of a mood. As can be expected, me likey lots. –jimmy (S-S)


FUNERAL, THE:
Ruled By None: CD
And still another stereotypical “hardcore” metal unit rises from a very large heap of shit. Wish they’d go for the Korn/Limp Bisquik sellout move already, effectively hastening their slide into obscurity and ridding the world of one more lousy band. –jimmy (Endwell)


FEEDERZ: Vandalism:
Beautiful as a Rock in a Cop’s Face: CD
The Feederz were a legendary eighties hardcore band. Lead singer Frank Discussion reformed this incarnation of the band, and we’re all better for it. They have a very confrontational approach to punk rock (as you can see in the interview with them, conveniently placed within the pages of this issue of Razorcake), and it’s easy to simply be offended by them. The trick is to go beyond that, to confront the issues that their lyrics force you to confront. This whole approach is what gives the Feederz their edge. But it would be a shame to discount them as just a message put to music. The music itself is solid. It’s hard for me to avoid comparing them to the Dead Kennedys, and not just because Frank Discussion ran off with Jello Biafra’s wife. Because Discussion also ran off with a handful of EastBay Ray-style riffs while he was at it. Apparently, he pocketed some DH Peligro drum sections, too, and put those beats on loan to Feederz’s drummer, Ben Wah. And, from there, they built their own disjointed sound that simultaneously irritates you and makes you enjoy the irritation. If you’ve never heard the Feederz, I recommend starting with Ever Feel Like Killing Your Boss. After that, you’ll just follow the natural progression to pick up this album. If you’re thinking, c’mon, there’s no way the Feederz could be as edgy and relevant as they once were, pick up this album and prove yourself wrong. –sean (Broken Rekids)


FORGOTTEN, THE:
Out of Print: CD
This is a handy compilation of (you guessed it) out-of-print songs by a band that sounds a lot like Rancid, probably tours with Rancid, and maybe even masturbates while thinking about how great Rancid is. If you need to own everything by every band that sounds like Rancid, this is right up your alley. –Not Josh –Guest Contributor (BYO)


FORK KNIFE SPOON:
Black Stork Attack: 7"
The very best thing about this record is the title. Otherwise, there’s four songs, mathy metal, lyric sheet with annotations pointing out the cliches, and a crappy metal logo. –Cuss Baxter (Born To Die)


FIYA:
Self-titled: 7"
When the needle first drops on this slab of vinyl, it’s easy to think, Oh no! Emo. It’s arty. I won’t lie to you. But it’s interesting enough to hold my attention for twenty seconds or so, at which point the song blows up into exactly what I was hoping to hear: fucked up punk rock. But that doesn’t last long, either. It starts to drift into something more. It’s arty. I won’t lie to you. But in a good way. Fiya have a lot in common with their fellow Gainesvillains, True North. The songs borrow a lot from Fugazi and Rites of Spring, but at the same time, they don’t sound anything like all the crappy bands that have been inspired by Fugazi and Rites of Spring. And, not that you can discern a word from all the screaming, but if you read the lyrics, they’re very intelligently written. This record is a surprise all the way through, and a highly recommended surprise at that. –sean (Obscurist Press)


FIRST STEP, THE:
Open Hearts and Clear Minds: CD
Generally speaking, I hate mottoes. But the Discordians have a useful one: “Death to all fanatics.” I mention this here because I recently read an article in some mainstream, Big-Five media conglomerate ad-paper about militant edgies showing their intemperance by roughing up those who don’t share their taste for the temperance-heavy lifestyle. To those scared half-witted sheep I say: take your sex-starved pee hose and go fuck yerself. Now, it very well could be that the sXe gentlemen in The First Step are just as disapproving of the Neanderthal antics of those other edgies as I am; they may well be good eggs themselves. I have no way of knowing. Judging by the photos here, these guys wear the standard issue sXe outfit – complete with the nifty “X” wristwatches. They certainly sing about the same stuff as all the other straightedge bands. And like all real-life edgies, they possess that uncanny ability to defy the earth’s gravitational pull and float with their guitars just a few feet above the ground. Creepy. I wish I knew how to do that, but my body’s probably too weighted down with beer and sin and stuff. I'm not sure what to think. I like the music, but not the ideology. I think it was William James who once noted that religion is the “opiate of the masses” and I guess straightedge is too close to organized religion for me to feel comfortable about it. But I really do like the music. And, interestingly enough, I seem to like it the more beers I have. –aphid (Live Wire)


FIGHT, THE:
Home Is Where the Hate Is: CDEP
Youth is what keeps punk vibrant. This thought is showcased here with this band which has no one older than eighteen years old. You can feel the youthful energy and the exceptional knack for writing music. Female vocalist, K8, has a strong voice that is not too gruff but is melodic at the same time. Her male backed band play at a mid-tempo pace that falls in line with a melodicore sound mixed with their homebase UK environment. I would picture this band on the Crackle label instead of Fat. But they jumped the gun first and heard the potential to take a chance in an unknown band. A full length is supposed to be coming out. I can’t wait to hear it and see how far they have progressed. Off the top of my head, the band sounds like a more melodic Lunachicks. Great debut! –don (Fat)


FUCKED UP:
Police: 7"
This came out of left field for me, but I hear it’s their third EP. Damn good 7” here. No fucking around. This is a perfect example of how a band can be good, fast, and loud. All of the power seems drawn from an anger towards police and government, but it’s an anger fueled by cogent reasoning. Now, I know dick about local Toronto politics, but the liner notes have pictures and descriptions of their council members, the mayor, president of the auto workers union, and others, along with their less than civic-minded actions. Keep an eye out for these guys. –megan (Deranged)


FRENZAL RHOMB:
Sans Souci: CD
Some bands, no matter how much you listen to them, you just don’t like. I have yet to enjoy one of this band’s releases. Too NoFX without being NoFX or Australia’s answer to Guttermouth. –don (Fat)


FEDERATION X:
X Patriot: CD
Bradley Williams sings the praises of Fed-X, so I checked them out. They’re a three-piece from Washington, but that’s where it starts getting weird. The three pieces are drums and two guitars, both with four strings and played through bass amps. The result? A dirty sound that hooked me. It has a southern feel, even though they’re about as far from the south as you can get in the States. I missed them their last time through LA. I won’t make that mistake again. Oh yeah, Steve Albini recorded the album for those of you who care. –megan (Estrus)


FECES FOR WARPAINT:
You Can’t Polish a Turd: Demo: CD
These eight songs were recorded on a four track. That’s just fine, ‘cause this is a demo. The songs are between hardcore and crust. Full on fast and ragging. No pretty melodies here. Reminds me of something from the early to mid ‘90s. Boy, these guys are pissed, too! Their lyrics are very hateful of the rich and what they do to the rest of society – not just to the people, but to the environment as well. I definitely liked this demo. Not only for the music but also for the lyrics. So just email these guys and I’m sure for a few $ you could get this fine demo CD. A definite winner in my book. –Mike Beer –Guest Contributor (FFWP)


FAVORS, THE:
Self-titled: CDEP
These guys are smart. Too old for a boy band, what to do? Put out this EP. They’ll still get some tail from girls in the punk princess tank-tops, or the guys in the same get-up. Prettier than me on my best day. –megan (Break-Up!)


FATE 2 HATE:
Iron Fist: CD
MTL HC? Is that Montreal? Stupid American, doesn’t know his Canadian abbreviations. I do understand the abbreviation for HC. They follow the current formula so closely that if you told your friend that they were a different band from the genre, he would believe it. A mighty, mighty Sick of it All meets Slapshot meets Agnostic Front meets Strife worship. Within the formula, they do pull the shit off. The band name does come off a little white power to me. At least it comes off to me as a little thuggish and jock like. It must be those cold ass winters; it shrinks the dick. Am I wrong to assume? –don (Insurgence)


FASTIDOS, LOS:
Ora Basta: CDEP
Italian street punk that was so nondescript that I couldn’t muster the motivation to pop the disc outta the stereo and into the computer to marvel at the accompanying videos. –jimmy (KOB)


EXPLOSION, THE:
Sick of Modern Art: 2 X CD
It’s a double CD deal. One is an EP of the Explosion, the other is an eleven-song sampler comp put out by the label this is on, Tarantula. Shifting slight gears from their full length, Flash, Flash, Flash, they move from the callused hands and blood and sweat of the explicitly working class and full-blown Boston hardcore, to more cerebral, slightly slower, more artful efforts. And it doesn’t suck. Think of the gradual shift that Social Distortion made from establishing part of the Southern California punk archetype then slowly morphed into a more country, rockabilly firm without a complete divorce. All the initial elements are still there, just the priority and presentation are shifted around. With Sick, The Explosion have become slightly more rock – the lyrics are a little more abstract (which works to their benefit), the songs are less crew singalongs and more structured in and of themselves – and I like the transition. They sound more like a band playing for themselves instead of what they expect people think they should sound like. If you liked latter Lifetime, The Arsons, or any crisp, well-recorded modern hardcore (made by outsiders instead of football players), The Explosion are worth the spare change. The comp’s just icing on the cake. –todd (Tarantulas)


EVEN IN BLACKOUTS:
Myths and Imaginary Magicians: CD
Since I got this, I can’t stop listening to it! Total pop punk – on acoustic guitars! And fear not! This still sounds like total rock and roll. Of course, with Mass Giorgini producing, how could it be otherwise? A bunch of guys and a girl singer, and even covers of “Hey Suburbia” and “Knowledge”! Granted, neither cover was super great, but any band that hasn’t abandoned their love of Screeching Weasel, Op Ivy, et. al for fear of being labeled uncool, is a friend of mine! This is Frosted Mini-Wheats! Basic folk set-up, with the frosted coating that we all know as punk rock! (Note to self: one day Todd and Sean will realize exactly how dumb my reviews are and replace me with Kurt Loder.) –Maddy (Lookout/Panic Button)


ENEMY YOU:
Video to Radio: 7"
Pop punk that pretty much comes off as standard fare. Nothing new ventured, nothing new added to the equation. –jimmy (Geykido Comet)


ENEMY YOU:
Video to Radio: 7"
I first came across this band on the Panic Button Four on the Floor comp, where Enemy You shared the disc with Screeching Weasel, Moral Crux, and the Teen Idols (each band contributing four songs). Right away, they were a guilty pleasure for me. I say guilty because they don’t really break any new ground in the arena of pop punk. Still, they held their own with heavy hitters like Screeching Weasel and Moral Crux, and I figure that’s justification enough for me to keep listening. They released a full-length on Panic Button, also, but I like snippets of Enemy You better than a whole album. A 7” is just right. This one has five songs, three of which are covers. The covers (all songs I’ve never heard before) are silly. “Video to Radio” is the best of the three. It adds a little bit of early eighties, Wall of Voodoo-style pop to the punk. “Hot Dogs Till You Die” is so stupid it’s awesome. Side B has two original Enemy You songs, which are both pretty good. And, like I said, this is the best way to hear this band: five fun songs and on to the next record. –sean (Geykido Comet)


END OF THE WORLD NEWS:
Self-titled: 7"
This is curious and bookish, but charming and listenable. The new Aaron Cometbus vehicle is an interpretation of Leon Trotsky’s unfinished musical about his brief stay in New York, after being forced out of Europe and before he was killed in Mexico (suspected scenario: an ice pick through the ear). Along with Marx, Trosky was the guy who set up a lot of the fundamental theories on Communism, only to see it pan out in a way that not only horrified him, but went out of its way to silence him. This 7” begs the question: would Trotsky have written a musical that doesn’t stray far from Pinhead Gunpowder, Astrid Oto, and Green Day formulation? In my world, sure, why not? It’s better than a stuffy, overblown interpretation with too much makeup and too-tight cravats. Comes with instructional booklet. –todd (Recess)


EL SOB:
Welcome to El Sob: CD
Have you ever watched kid’s educational TV? You know how sometimes they try to make a “hip” song about brushing your teeth or some other nonsense? That’s what this sounds like, except the guy’s voice is so bad it’d probably scare off the tykes. Hey, at least they’re label’s name describes their sound. –megan (Abominable)


EDDIE HASKELLS, THE:
It’s Going Down: CDEP
Solid EP here with snot-induced, rock and roll-fueled jamming, ala Johnny Thunders, especially “Radio Video” and “Steal & Squeal.” Hints of The Clash are heard on “It’s Going Down,” and it’s a good thing. Extra-added fun for all is hidden at the end of this disc with a version of the Undertones’ “Teenage Kicks,” and the Eddie Haskells do their part in covering it quite nicely. These guys need to make it down to LA for a coupla shows. Fans of the Spits and The Girls will dig ‘em, most definitely. By the way – Eddie Haskell – wasn’t he that pesky fuck on Leave It to Beaver? God, didn’t you just wanna beat that Haskell kid down to the ground with a brick? Always kissing the asses of the parents on that show, thinking he’s so sly and fucking slick. The kind of guy that would turn his own brother out for some chick, a genuine loudmouth that never learned the phrase, “Snitches wear stitches.” –dale (Hubcap N Wheel...no fucking address...dopes... www.eddiehaskells.com)


EARACHES, THE:
Fist Fights, Hot Love: CD
Step aside nay-sayers! The Earaches (formerly the Reckless Bastards) are one of the many fucking amazing bands out now. They have that perfect balance of garage punk in the vein of the Mummies (no organ, just the energy). The songs are power-driven without ever getting too fast that they lose form. “Used to Be a Loser” gets all reverby, which doesn’t always work, but it does here. The song pulls off such a sleazy feel. The whole album is raw and just plain good. The only thing it leaves me wishing for is a tour. –megan (Steel Cage)


DUDOOS, THE:
Specium Sommer: CD
Am I looking at the back of the CD right? My contacts are old and dry but I can still see through them. It’s say’s Sound Pollution as the label on it. I was expecting a full blast beat hardcore punk attack. The home to Hellnation and other fast as shit, bugs hitting the windshield kind of punk. Thirty songs in twenty minutes kind of shit. Here Ken throws a fucking curve ball at everyone. He finds the least likely band from Japan to put out on his label. I was surprised to hear a band that sound like the Dickies, Hi-Standard, Toy Dolls, Wizo and the Queers all thrown together as one. Not so angry that your balls are sweaty kind of music, but tongue and cheek, fun and have a dance with your girl kind of music. Bubblegum pop punk that incorporates bad English mixed with Japanese that makes it hard not to crack a smile. I love all the stupid instruments that are added to make things even more cheesy. I can’t get enough of this stuff. You can really feel that this band is having fun and people are going to get the message. They call their music Poko Poko Punk Punkos. Inventive in their description and spot on in the results. I need to drink large amounts of alcohol and pogo as high as I can to put head impressions in my ceiling. –don (Sound Pollution)


DSB:
Pure Cultivation: 7"
Now this is more like it…. Three more doses of Japanese hardcore with a healthy bit of metal in the mix. This time it works, mainly because there’s much more mania in their attack than on the Battle into Invisible Zone EP, and that makes all the difference. A nice solid boot to the noggin’ here. –jimmy (Kangaroo)


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