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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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PLAN B PURSUIT:
Under Your Hat: CD

This is a case of influences outshining a band’s own vision. The songs on “Under Your Hat” sound like rip offs of Pinhead Gunpowder and early Green Day. Don’t get me wrong—I love all that music—it’s just that this album keeps me turning to the CD player and wondering, “Is that Billy Joe Armstrong?” which makes these songs too derivative. This pop punk album does have some catchy tunes. “Twist and Fall” is worth a listen. The drums are upfront, upbeat, and pounding throughout the tracks. My gut tells me this band would put on an amazing live show. Perhaps, on stage, they would represent a little more of their own sound? (Eunuch, www.myspace.com/pbp)

–Guest Contributor (N.L. Dewart)


PK:
Casting Shadows: CDEP
Man, if it was 2003, Victory Records or Vagrant would be all over these guys. Modern melodramatic pop punk reminiscent of Taking Back Sunday, Saves the Day…you name it; if the band has the word “Day” somewhere in the title, they sound like them. The average Razorcake reader isn’t gonna dig this, but I get the feeling my tolerance for this stuff is higher than most, and found it somewhat decent. Points for the TK-421 (Star Wars) reference, too. –Will Kwiatkowski (No address)


PIST, THE:
Ideas Are Bulletproof: LP
Glad to see this back in print. The Pist are not to be denied! Seems like a lot of people had a hard time finding this album, at least on the West Coast, when it originally came out. The street punk influence is more prominent on here (and saluted in the song, “Street Punk”), and the songs have slowed down slightly. I always thought the mix on here sounded a little flat. They should have turned the guitars up a bit more, and maybe a little more low end to give the music more punch. But what can you do? Songs like “Energy” with its quick pace and stop-go breaks is a ripper, and you get the classic “Still Pist” on here as well. I would suggest starting with the singles collections, Input Equals Output, then get this. –Matt Average (Havoc)


PINK RAZORS:
Leave Alive: 12”EP
Honest, emotional pop punk from this former Richmond, VA, four-piece, and now dispersed between Richmond, Bloomington, IN, and Tucson, AZ. Male and female vocals trade off between tracks. Songs sung by newest member, Erin Tobey have a familiar sound to them, familiarity without mimicry, however. The easiest point of reference is likely Discount, but there is much more going on here than just tracing over points plodded out previously by Alison and co. A rollicking instrumental, “Clouded,” is a nice touch and is followed by the very Vena Cava-esque “No Secrets.” Erin shares vocals and guitar duty with Jeff Grant. Jeff’s songs are fine, though a little more straightforward pop punk (in the DIY school of pop punk that is—think Shorebirds) and a little less dynamic, less remarkable, showing Erin to be a truly inspired addition to the band. I look forward to new releases and more incorporation of Erin’s voice in the mix. Nine tracks in total here, released on Houseplant Records, a label created by Jeff and Erin. Definitely worthy of multiple listens. Recommended for fans of Superchunk, Discount, and Vena Cava. –Jeff (Houseplant)


PHOTOBOOTH:
Da Me Tus Besos: EP
At first I thought these guys were from Europe, instead of San Francisco (ex-FM Knives, and Mothballs). There’s something about their sound that is a bit more free than how U.S. bands play it. Jangley garage pop that’s a tad raw and unrefined, and that’s where their sound has strength. The drums crash and rumble, the guitars go heryky jerky and a little chirpy, and the rhythms are catchy and even danceable. “Da Me Tus Besos” may be the A-side, but the two songs, “You,” and “3 In The Morning,” on the flip are more upbeat and driven. No complaints, really. You’re not going to lose with any of the songs on here. –Matt Average (Daggerman)


PHANTOM LIMBS:
Accept the Juice / Whole Loto Love: CD + DVD
My unabashed admiration for this band’s synth-pumped, psychotic circus punk has been well documented, and my belief that punk rock is worse off with their passing is heartfelt. What these kids were doing was reveling in the same alluring creativity, unpredictability, and, yes, sense of danger that allowed those first few waves of punk to fuck up so many lives. They were a band to get genuinely excited about, and I’m gonna spend the rest of my life kicking myself in the ass for not seein’ ‘em when I had the chance. I guess they figured there were quite a few fans as dumb as I, so in addition to a disc’s worth of singles tracks, remixes, and live cuts—all of which are friggin’ choice, I might add—they’ve seen fit to include a DVD filled with live footage of the band wreaking bloody, occasionally disrobed, havoc on unsuspecting audiences. This one’s a definite must-have for any collection. –jimmy (Alternative Tentacles)


PETER STUBB:
Selected Cuts Vol. 1: LP
Imagine making a casserole from equal parts G.G. Allin, a sidewalk performer with an acoustic guitar, and the underbelly of backwoods Georgia. Mix well and serve it up half-baked and you’ll essentially have this record. Primarily a discography of previous cassette releases (or so it seems), parts of this record are really entertaining and parts are really sort of crappy. But I liked it enough that I’d listen to it again—the closest, I believe, that I can come to an accurate comparison would be that this is kind of like Beck meets Antiseen. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Family Night)


PEGGY SUES / FUTURE LOVERS:
: Split 7”
The Peggy Sues are lesbians playing lascivious, gyrating rock that sounds like a sloppy version of the band from “Prey for Rock ‘n’ Roll.” The Future Lovers play herky-jerky whoah-oh pop-punk songs about staring at girls. You know how depressing it is when you’re sober at a party where a bunch of awkward people have got drunk and started hitting on each other? Like, it’s almost funny, but it’s just too much of a bummer? This record puts that feeling on wax. –CT Terry (Wee Rock)


PARASITES, THE:
Solitary: CD

Ack! I want to like this more than I do! I have waited years for this album! The first song (“All the Time in the World”) is classic Parasites pop punk greatness! But then the rest of the album just starts to seem like one long pop song. Ack! Perhaps this album needs two tablespoons more punk rock and a slightly faster tempo! Certainly the cheezy classic Parasites lyrics are there (“When I think of things we’ll never have/It breaks my heart, it hurts so bad.”) But there’s also the less-than-classic (“Nobody’s calling me/I used up my battery/But as soon as it holds a charge/Then my life will start again”). I will give this time for a more thorough evaluation. But right now, if this were a cereal, it’d be Kix. Not bad, but if you’re expecting Lucky Charms, then you’ve got a problem.

–Maddy (Kid Tested, www.kidtestedrecords.com)


PANIK ATTACK / INTENSIVES:
Figure it Out! / Tear Resistant: 7”
This release is two street punk bands with a cover that made me think it was a new wave single. If these bands were in a fight, the winner would be the Intensives, despite their silly haircuts. –Bryan Static (Longshot)


ONE WIN CHOICE:
DefineRedefine: CDEP
These five songs sound halfway between Rise Against on Revolutions Per Minute and the more straightforward Avail songs, which lands them in Strike Anywhere territory. While that sounds good and all, there’s some weak voice work going on here: harmonies that never really gel, some ill-chosen vocal melodies, and some angry screams that never really sound angry as much as a little whiny. I reviewed this band’s other album, and I said the exact same thing about the vocals. There’s some kind of oomph that the band’s lacking in the singing department. Maybe they’ll get it next time around. –Adrian (Jump Start)


ON THE BRINK:
Take Cover: CD
Is Longshot Records the new TKO? Who knows, but I do know that they consistently release great records by bands rocking the whole Beltones/Bodies vibe. You can add On The Brink to the list of good ones. The songs here are rockin’ and very catchy. I find my head uncontrollably bobbing up and down and my hand unconsciously reaching for another beer. They have a lot in common with fellow Edmontonians Wednesday Night Heroes but with perhaps a little more Ripcordz in their sound. Edmonton has had a long and storied punk rock history and On The Brink are adding another page. –ty (Longshot)


OLD CALIFORNIO:
Westering Again: CD

Groovy Dead-influenced fodder for makin’ love in your Chevy van, if that’s all right with you.

–jimmy (www.oldcalifornio.com)


OBITS, THE:
I Blame You: CD

I have no particular love for the Hot Snakes, Drive Like Jehu or any of their prior or subsequent bands. Everyone jumps up and down and throws a fit when these guys get in to a studio, but, typically, I find myself underwhelmed. Same with cohorts Rocket From The Crypt and everything those guys have ever touched. So when I say that the Obits record has made it in to my daily required listening pile, you’ll know it must be something special. It cracked my thick skull. It must be good. This is a great example of what I’d like modern rock to look and sound like. Enough nods to garage and punk of the past to fill the tank of a rocket headed towards the future and uncharted lands. All packaged in Rick Froberg’s signature art style. Shit is weird and classy. Just the way I like it. I think if you twisted my arm, I’d admit there were a few so-so songs on here, but you could rip out my fucking fingernails and I would never speak an ill word of the song “Back and Forth”. It closes the album in one of the best ways possible. It’s so fucking good it makes you want to put the record back on immediately after.

–Steveo (Sub Pop)


YUKON:
Medallion: CDEP
Wending from an intersection of prog and math rock, Yukon comes off as exploratory and angular. The formula for their songs melds At The Drive-In with early Yes. The results are percolating melodies that work for twenty to thirty seconds, but get repetitive as the minutes tick by. This made me feel like I was listening to a practice session in someone’s garage, but your mileage may vary. –Kristen K (Infinite Limbs, www.myspace.com/infl2012)


WOLFBRIGADE:
Comalive: LP
A million times better than I was expecting, and I was expecting quite a bit. Since the days when they were known as Wolfpack, these guys have been a consistent favorite, so the bar is always raised high. They have a habit of raising that bar a bit higher all the time. I did think the last couple records, thought not horrible, were not as awesome as the previous (I’m still keeping them in my collection, no doubt). Here, they deliver in full. Sonic D-beat that obliterates all in its path. Makes most seem like amateurs. All thirteen songs are absolute rippers. They can hammer down like no tomorrow and hit you with a melody at the same time. If you like bands like Tragedy, or the Victims, then you need to get this. Wolfbrigade were doing it before them and all that have followed, and really, doing it better. “Skulls of Doom” is unbelievable. The tempo is raging, guitars are thrashing, drums are crashing, then here comes this melodic guitar over the noisy din that sends it over the edge. Fuggin’ awesome! Every song is a jaw dropper. There’s a song like “Barren Dreams” that rages, then there’s “The Race of the Wrath” that goes even further. Raging like mad, then they shift to a mid-tempo break and back to the fast and speedy in a blink. It may be premature to state this, but this album is a classic. Easily. –Matt Average (Deranged)


ZANN / BURIAL YEAR:
Split : LP
Crusty march-core—this stuff isn’t what I reach for first, but when done well, it stands up as well as anything out there. Actually, a lot of the record, both bands, reminds me of early Buzzoven stuff, which is one of the reasons that I liked both sides. I’ve got a problem with the Burial Year stuff, though. Musically, it’s pretty muscular and brutal (Zann, too), but there’s this part where the vocalist is blabbing about our need to make choices regarding the planet and we’ve got to do it quick, suggesting that we need to make choices to save the planet from things like pollution and global warming, but the record has gatefold packaging, which, by its very nature, would require twice as many trees and would require twice as much carbon dioxide poundage to produce. What the fuck? I like the record and all and I want to be optimistic (maybe somebody not in association with Burial Year chose such packaging), but such mixed messages leave a really sour taste in my mouth. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Adagio 830)


WHITE WIRES, THE:
Self-titled: LP
I threw the needle on this record and the first thing I did was do a double take on the pitch knob. Something wasn’t right about this garage rock, ‘60s throwback album. The guitar was out of tune. But this was the White Wire’s unique twist on original and catchy surf riffs. Somewhere lost in the eerie vocal reverb, pitchy guitar parts, and sugar sweet power pop this band, named after iPod headphone wires had me falling for sock-hoppy tunes done with playful distinction. They mesh the lo-fi aesthetic of the Mummies with a more focused idea on how their resources affect their sound. Sing-a-longs such as the album’s “Ha Ha Holiday” and “Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah” have me spinning these nine tracks over and over again. –N.L. Dewart –Guest Contributor (Going Gaga, myspace.com/goinggagarecords)


WHITE NIGHT:
Self-titled: Cassette
White Night play the pop punk that make me feel like a freshman in high school all over again. Fast, basic, tight, rad. The recording quality on the cassette isn’t as great as the digital versions I’ve heard, but hearing it on tape just kicks up the nostalgia another notch. It makes me want to pogo at the old Soma on Moreno Boulevardand be fifteen again. I was surprised to see this was recorded in Vista, Ca. I lived there briefly, in order to graduate after being expelled from the San DiegoHighSchool District, and I’ve never been to a more boring town in my life. I’m glad to know something rad happened there besides me buying my first Sonic Youth album. These are some great jams that make me want to bust out my skateboard and maybe find my old wallet chain
–Rene Navarro (Burger)


WHERE IN THE WORLD IS CARMEN SANDIEGO?:
Happy Trails to You: 7”
This came sparse on details. The name of the 7” (which might also be the name of the one track on here) was written across the top of the front cover; the name of the person/group that created/decided record this was on the back. The only bit of clear information was the bit about the record speed. Anyhow, after some quick internetting, I found out that my instincts were wrong: the name of the band is not on the front cover and the track listing is not on the back. Counterintuitive stuff there. Whatever. Also there’s a piece of paper slipped in front of the cover that has a drawing of some cartoonish cowboy on a cartoonish horse or burro. Anyhow, the picture is a slight indication of what is on this disc. Imagine a person who recently started playing guitar trying to play along with the music of a cartoon of a cowboy plodding along through the desert on a horse or burro. Suppose that that person was also trying out some pedals at the same time, to give it a “far out” ambiance. Now suppose that that person decided to record it to a cassette deck for a super lo-fi feel. Finally, imagine that recording put on both sides of a 7” with no other recordings. Depending on your ability to imagine sounds, you might have just played this 7” in your head. –Vincent Battilana (Green Tape, no address)


WEREVILSDARE:
Full Moon Fury: CD
The cheesy front cover art shows a cigarette-smoking, leather jacket-wearing greaser turning into a werewolf. The back cover shows that werewolf sneaking off into the night carrying a buxom, tattooed redhead. Oh, and the wolf is wearing a Danzig shirt under his jacket. What do you think this album sounds like? That’s exactly what it sounds like. Growled horror punk‘n’roll. What’s particularly impressive is that they know exactly how backup vocals are supposed to sound for this type of music: like the howl of wolves echoing out of a canyon at night. This has just the right amount of swagger for blasting from a boombox under a full moon while smashing bottles in a parking lot. –mp (Zodiac Killer)


WE ARE HEX:
Gloom Bloom: CD
Gloom Bloom is the perfect title for this album because, like the music, it contrasts yet fits perfectly. The upbeat drums and occasionally dancy guitars contrast the dark female vocals. This sounds very much like a modern Siouxsie And The Banshees. Not like how they would sound, were they to record a new album, more like how they would sound if they were reborn and touring with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Vanishing. Good music for rainy nights reading comic books. –Rene Navarro (Hex Haus, wearehexwearehex@hotmail.com)


WE WERE WOLVES:
Yeah, Mammoth: CD
Imagine a not-as-catchy Foo Fighters, with less emphasis on the poppier influences and more on the traditional rock influences. Take that as you will. –jimmy (myspace.com/wewerewolvestx)


WAU Y LOS ARRRGHS:
Vienen: CD
Farfisa-soaked trash rock from Ethpaña, fronted by a dude that sounds like Nina Hagen at her most guttural. While the genre they live in has been so raped and pillaged that it’s damn hard to find much worth paying more than passing attention to, the sheer exuberance they pack into every second of this makes it worth more than a few listens. –jimmy (Slovenly)


VITAMIN X:
Full Scale Assault: CD
Hot damn, whatta rager! This new full length from Vitamin X simply kicks fucking ass. This band has finally managed to harness their live energy onto a recording and the results are jaw dropping. There are some serious ‘70s rock action riffs to be found here as well. It’s always risky to mix up hard rock and hardcore, but when it works it is one of the best sounds going. The Albini production on this record is huge and it sounds great, maybe the best production I have ever heard on a hardcore record. It still sounds crisp and raw but it also sounds huge. I wish more hardcore sounded like this. –frame (Tankcrimes)


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