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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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NECKTIES MAKE ME NERVOUS:
(I’m the Captain and I’m Telling You) This Ship Is Fucked: 7”EP
This is a weird lament. Razorcake has a large, widespread family of over one hundred active contributors. I’m not saying this as a boast. And the reason that we work with many of our repeat contributors is that we find them talented and agreeable. DIY punk is, at most, three degrees of separation. Keith Rosson of Neckties Make Me Nervous is a longtime graphic designer for us. We met years back at a reading at Reading Frenzy in Portland, Oregon and have remained in contact ever since. So, it becomes harder and harder not to critically access projects that our contributors are involved with because, in almost every instance, they are active parts of the underground. With fewer and fewer outlets even reviewing DIY punk nowadays, it’d be kinda shitty/dumb to ignore the very people we intentionally associate the closest with. End preamble. Start review. This is my favorite Neckties Make Me Nervous release to date. They’ve got a smart duct tape and nagging cough sensibility to the songs; the playing’s tight and leaves distinct whip-like marks. My only issue, echoing a sentiment of Otis Redding, is that there’s “too many fuckin’ words.” I’m all for words. The Minutemen and Fucked Up use a lot of them. But, even especially with The Minutemen who didn’t use verse/chorus/verse, they had this sense of beginning/middle/end, and imbedded inside was a hook, a blasting refrain. I can conjure up the words, and sing along to “Bob Dylan wrote propaganda songs,” after not hearing that song for months. Although Neckties have smart, sympathetic, and relevant lyrics, I’m having a hard time remembering distinct, repeatable refrain from them. Maybe I just want a little bit more Tim Armstrong in the monitor and a little less Noam Chomsky on the teleprompter, but I still think this is a very good record. –todd (Code Of Ethics)


NARSAAK:
Prašina: 7” EP
There is some definite Discharge influence in evidence here, but they manage to give enough spin to what they’re doing that they avoid sounding like yet another bullshit cover band. The stuff here’s stripped down (hell, some of the lyrics consist of no more than three words or so), driving, and catchy. –jimmy (www.thoughtcrimerecords.de)


MYSTERY GIRLS:
Incontinopia: CD
Mystery Girls are one of those rare bands that manage to take equal influence from the Velvet Underground, Stooges, and the Nuggets comp series and make it all sound fresh. The tunes are, for the most part, slam-banged and overdriven, but still delivered with enough skill and attention to each song’s potential dynamics to keep things devolving into a big assaultive, faceless mess. The more you listen, the better it gets. –jimmy (In the Red)


NO CHOICE:
Anaesthetize This!: CD
This is the latest release from a band that was part of the RiotCity stable of bands back in the early ‘80s, and a doozy it is. While the name of their former label might bring to mind the political thrash of bands like Vice Squad and noisemongers Disorder, what we have here is an entirely different beast. Though they do kick into overdrive when the mood arises, the music occasionally falls more in line with post-Hüsker bands like Leatherface, with fine use being made of dual guitars, horns, and the occasional quiet, even acoustic bit thrown in. The lyrics are intelligent, thought provoking, dense, and address direct resistance to the current social order with a sincerity that is too often non-existent in this era of punk-as-career-move. Most importantly, the songs are so passionately delivered and, frankly, so good, it’s hard to believe they’re staring into the face of their third decade as a band. Destined to be looked at as one of modern-era punk’s bright spot, virtually devoid of any pandering to what’s been, and focusing attention instead on what’s now in the hopes of affecting what may be to come. I respectfully tip my hat to ’em. –jimmy (No Idea)


NERVOUS TICS:
Stupid Little Heart: 7”
Three potent doses of catchy punky pop with some organ thrown in for some flash. –jimmy (No Front Teeth)


MY MIND :
Anvils Rising:
There are people out there who would like to enjoy a carbonated beverage, but they can’t handle the sugar, calories, and caffeine. For them, we have drinks like Diet Caffeine Free Coca-Cola. My Mind are basically the musical equivalent of this. They are a watered down, bland, fat-free version of bands like Hot Water Music and Avail. Maybe those bands, with their good songs and originality, are too much for you. If so, let me present My Mind. (Sorry fellas. I prefer my jams full-flavor.) –todd (Satiated, myspace.com/satiatedrecords)


MUSTANG:
Hotmanvenom: CD
Welp, they get some much needed points for having someone in the band named “Todd of Thunder,” but most of said points are lost using their disc time to dish out what is essentially an updated version of the same ol’ stupid cock rock template (right down to one tune featuring a chorus of “I need your mammaries/I’m beggin’ please”) with none of the humors, irony, or wit of, say, the Mentors. –jimmy (Drunkenstar)


MUMIY TROLL:
Comrade Ambassador: CD
Quirky, catchy Russian rock music. –jimmy (wwwmumiytroll.com)


MOVIE STAR JUNKIES:
Melville: CD
Think early Gun Club chillin’ with Jay Reatard at a screening of Once Upon a Time in the West and you’re halfway here. –jimmy (www.voodoorhythm.com)


MOUTHBREATHER:
Thank You for Your Patience: CD
Heavy mid-‘80s D.C. influence here, falling somewhere between Government Issue’s stuff around that period and the proto-emo rumblings Dischord was starting to favor back then. Normally ain’t my cup o’ poison, but they do it well and there’s still enough “punk” left in there to give ’em a wallop. –jimmy (Kiss Of Death)


MORAL CRUX:
Self-titled: LP/CD
I saw these dudes in Green Bay at Kutzka’s Hall in ’88 or ’89 when they were touring in support of their LP The Side Effects of Thinking. (I believe that I have my facts straight; if not, may the Rev. Nørb correct me sternly.) They were a fucking stellar live band, so I bought the original pressing of the record that it is now my solemn duty to review, but, for some reason, the record was always a disappointment compared to what I remembered live. That view lasted for about ten years, at which point I gave the wax another concerted listen and my God! how impressed I was. I do believe what I was tasting was a four-year residual from Boris The Sprinkler’s split 7” with ‘em. (The Rev. Nørb was sternly rebuking my idiocy even then.) What a fool I had been for ten years of failing to appreciate primordial value in the crispy riffs of Moral Crux! Hoo-boy, was I a dumbass. I just hadn’t turned it up loud enough. I’ve been paying for my sins, though, spending the last ten years in a makeshift punk rock Purgatorio in which the D’s on my forehead (for “dumbass”) are erased by singer-man James T. Farris only after great tribulation and penance on my part. If you’ve heard Moral Crux before, there’s not new much that this re-release offers; the CD has some bonus stuff that sort of seems live, but sort of not at the same time. So far as I can tell, the LP is a simple re-issue of the original on a new label, and they’ve even included the original insert. And if you’ve not been graced by the clean and tight no-frills punk rock of Moral Crux, here’s your chance at redemption. But make it loud so as not to be the lame bastard that I was for most of the ‘90s. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Jailhouse)


MOMMY SEZ NO:
Hotwaterburnbaby: CD
There’s something psychopathically simple about Mommy Sez No’s music. When you let lunatics loose in a graveyard and give them enough time, they’ll start digging up corpses. It’s not because they’re malicious. It’s because they’re crazy. When you wander in and see them rhythmically drumming on the skulls of rotting corpses, it’s not because they disrespect the dead. It’s because they think it’s fun. If MSN’s music seems built specifically for dancing around in crowded rooms with sharp knives, it’s not because they want to hurt anyone. It’s because they want to dance. The scary part is that this disc will make you want to dance too. Just don’t get carried away listening to this stomping punk’n’roll. Blood is hard to clean up. –mp (Self-released, www.mommysezno.com)


MOB, THE:
Let the Tribe Increase: CD
One of the best anarcho punk bands ever. While the majority went (and the new generation as well) for the hard-driving sound and a string of slogans, the Mob took a different route and offered something more human and believable. Their sound was mid tempo and dark, with the words clear and concise. The tone was full of despair and introspection towards war, human suffering, alienation, and the like. Musically, the songs range from straightforward, such as the classic “Witch Hunt” to abstract, as in the song “Roger.” This disc collects their Let the Tribes Increase LP, and the Mirror Breaks single, as well as a demo version of “Stay.” There’s also a history of the band, and what was happening in England around and during their time, complimented by a nice layout with full color photos, flyers, and more. Well worth your time. I do know Broken Rekids released a complete discography in the mid ‘90s. No idea if that’s still available. Also, if you like this band, then check out Blyth Power, and Zounds, which feature ex-Mob member, Joseph Porter. Then, seek out Thatcher On Acid, who stylistically were along the same lines. –Matt Average (Overground)


MIDDLE CLASS:
Out Of Vogue—The Early Material: CD
Kickass reissue of some of this Fullerton, CA band’s output. For the record, let me be clear: there is no filler here. Just one hundred percent hardcore. “Above Suspicion” and “A Blueprint For Joy” rock the hardest. But buy this release and you will crank every single one. Could a reunion be in the cards? I think they are all still alive, so who knows. Just be sure to tell Frontier thanks for making this one available to the masses again. –koepenick (Frontier)


MIDDLE CLASS, THE:
Out of Vogue—The Early Material: LP
One of my favorite things about hardcore is when old codgers who have been into it for too long will get bored with life and begin extolling the virtues of some unknown band. I particularly love it when the hype begins to raise eBay prices and, before long, a mediocre retrospective record is produced. Then eBay process fall and everything goes back to normal. This is one case, however, where the community has been served properly. Out of Vogue—The Early Material is an essential document of that magical time in history where punk rock picked up speed. The song “Out of Vogue” is a classic smoker that has gotten around a bit. Loud, fast and out of control, it is the song that they are known for. But this record is not a one hit wonder. Vogue contains the band’s first two 7”s plus some demos that are actually worth listening to. From session to session, their style wobbles between early Bad Brains recordings and Adolescents-sounding beach punk. The negligible variation in style and raw recording quality gives the record as a complete listen the feel of putting on Discord’s Year One. The Middle Class originate from the late ‘70s when punks were unsure if the music could handle the speed. This document of their output is angry and sloppy and there is not a weak spot on the record. Am I an old codger extolling the virtues of a virtually unknown hardcore band? Maybe. But don’t let that stop you. This is essential listening. An absolute keeper. –Billups Allen (Frontier)


MEMORIAL:
Self-titled: LP
Dude, when the ‘90s come back in vogue and everyone starts paying outrageous prices for Sub Pop singles and “authentic” grunge-approved flannel shirts, these guys are gonna make millions. –jimmy (Flight Plan, no address)


MAYNARDS, THE:
Date and Destroy: CD
All three of The Maynards band members sing and, at first, you want to separate them and put them in their own bands. The two female members sound a little alike but Heath, the band’s guitar player and only male, throws a weird vibe in to the mix. The album starts off with a soft indie rock dance number, the sort you could see getting a fair amount of applause for an opener at a Tegan And Sara concert or something, but less depressing. Then comes Heath on track two with a song that could have been a Briefs B-side. The whole album jars you from side to side for all eleven tracks. Everything from indie pop to punk to DIY street cheerleader jams. It’s tempting to dismiss this band, but after repeat listens it becomes harder to do so. I can’t decide if they should focus or get even crazier. I will say that I wouldn’t blame them if they changed their band name. I’m probably just sensitive because my mom used to call me Maynard when I was a kid. –Steveo (MAPL, myspace.com/themaynards)


MASTERS OF PUNK ROCK:
Self-titled: 7” EP
A self-proclaimed “80s punk rock parody” record, right down to mistuned guitars and song titles like “Fuck Reagan,” “I Hate the Jocks,” “Chicks Suck,” and “Cops Are Fucking Kicking Me in the Fucking Head.” If you long for the days when Anarchy 6 ruled the mock-punk roost, this is for you, kiddo. –jimmy (www.myspace.com/mastersofpunkrock)


MARX, THE:
Self-titled: CD
For some reason, the basic quick photoshop CD art made me expect typical bar (yet punk) rock, but it’s more catchy and peppy than expected. There is something to be said about stripped-down guitar rockin’ belting out songs. –mike (Zodiac Killer)


MARKED MEN:
Ghosts: CD
When the last Marked Men record came out (Fix My Brain) I was kind of bummed out. It sounded different from the previous records and it was weird to me. I was talking to Todd about it and in his sage-like way told me to give it a chance to grow on me. Nowadays, that disc is in rotation around here more often than not. Well, here we are with another disc from our boys in Denton and I am pleased to report that there is no “growing period” needed here! This baby flat-out rocks! I’ve more or less lived and breathed On the Outside for a few years now, and I’ve got to say that this one is quickly climbing up to that level. It’s like the aural equivalent of crushing up and snorting a bunch of pep pills and washing them back with endless beers with the one you love… Comfortably on edge! Now the sad part is that it sounds like this is going to be the last Marked Men record we get for a long while. That sucks. –ty (Dirtnap)


MARKED MEN / BIRTHDAY SUITS:
Split: 7” EP
I don’t know about reincarnation after this lifetime, but the musical version can reap great rewards. Reel the clock back a little shy of a decade and members of both outfits—as The Reds and Sweet J.A.P. (cover of Razorcake #18)—shared a split 7”. I don’t know about the transcendence of souls, but I do know that both the Marked Men (cover of Razorcake #22) and Birthday Suits continue to improving listeners’ quality of life in tangible ways. Marked Men: Okay, so Jeff Burke sings on the cover of Sweet J.A.P.’s “Oh My Pretty Face.” Sweet J.A.P. was mostly comprised of Japanese dudes living in the Midwest. Now Jeff is living in Japan. Coincidence? Perhaps I’m living in denial, but I’m placing the Marked Men in the “indefinite hiatus” brain file instead of “broken up.” Birthday Suits: Spazzy, two-piece Teengenerate-based rock’n’roll with a Shellshagian art bend. What a tidy, explosive mess they make, sounding much bigger and octopusal than just a duo. The goocher is that by the time this review sees print, this sucker’ll be totally sold out and hard to find and/or Ebay-dumb-expensive. That’s one thing I’m sure of. –todd (Nice and Neat)


MARCH INTO PARIS:
Shield the Dilemma: CD
Female-fronted alt-rock stuff from a band that sounds like it’s swinging for the fences to earn a coveted major label contract. Whether the case or not, I wish ’em luck. –jimmy (www.marchintoparis.com)


MANIX, THE:
Stay Low and Go: CD
These guys appear to hail from the same area and mine the same influences as Dillinger Four. Some of the tracks here are well written, but, overall, it feels like it falls just shy of hitting its mark, with songs that are not quite as catchy or memorable as one would hope. Still, they’re close enough to the target that this might end up being one of those sleeper discs that sneaks up from behind and whops you on the melon when you ain’t lookin’, or, at worst, this stuff probably comes off much stronger in a live setting. –jimmy (Heart Of The Lakes, no address)


MALACHI:
Self-titled: CD
Sludgy, looooooong metal tunes very much in the post-Sabbath vein. –jimmy (Halo Of Flies)


MADELINE:
White Flag: CD
This appears to be an Elephant 6 related group/project from Athens, Georgia. It is a very strong album, coming on something like indie pop/twee with some alt country elements. I think this record will be getting a lot of spins as it is right up my alley. I am hearing parts that remind me of Rose Melberg, Kimya Dawson, and much of the Elephant 6 collective in the sound. There is a whole lot here to make Madeline stand out on their own, and I only use those comparisons as a reference point. Really great vocals and strong songs are all I care about and this album has those in spades. –frame (Orange Twin)


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