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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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PHOENIX FOUNDATION, THE:
We Need to Make Some Changes: little CDEP
Early Johnny Cougar fronting The Church over a severely muted Hot Water Music. Hearts seem in the right place, but it’s too pretty and heart-on-sleeve-y for my tastes. “Rain gives me a reason to stay inside”? Yerks. I like lyrics, and music, more crucial and less mired in excuses and paralysis. The last song is completely acoustic and skirts way too close to emo for my CD player to continue operating.  –todd (Snuffy Smile)


PETIT VODO:
A Little Big Pig with a Pink Lonely Heart: CD
I went back and forth with this ‘un, one moment praising its inspired brilliance, and the next railing against the self-indulgent crap that it is. What’s it sound like? Imagine the Butthole Surfers as a French one-man band with an overt swamp blues influence. What’s the ultimate verdict? It has its moments. –jimmy (www.chez.comlollipoprecords)


PERVZ, THE:
Self-titled: 7” EP
When you hear a name like the Pervz, you tend not to expect much from ‘em, so it is one helluva shock when the needle hits the groove and you get rocked outta your boots. When you procure a copy of this hunk of wax, rest assured you’re getting four solid tunes that sonically fall smack dab in the middle of the “Western Triangle” of punk – part Northwest Dirtnap ‘77 update, part SF “‘77 by way of ‘66” trash punk update, and part ‘80s Hostage thug beach pop update. The songs are ultra-catchy and sure to drop the jaws of anyone within hearing distance. Neato die-cut cover, too.  –jimmy (Wood Shampoo)


PERSUADERS/ THE BLACKS:
Split: 7” EP
Persuaders: One lo-fi punk tune and one sludgy instrumental. The Blacks: They manage to do with one tune what The Persuaders couldn’t with two, which is come up with a remotely interesting tune. Nothing particularly special – stuttery guitar, 8-bar garage rock format, you know the drill, but it works here. –jimmy (Rockin’ Bones)


PERMANENT DAMAGE:
Booom: LP
Lo-fi garage rock that sounds like it was recorded on a ghetto blaster placed in a cardboard box, stuffed with cotton and old rags and then wrapped tight with duct tape. Whatever floats your boat, I guess. –jimmy (Rockin’ Bones)


PEPPER:
In with the Old: CD
If you yearn for another Sublime release, here is another band that is so similar that you might not notice that Sublime is gone. –don (Volcom)


PEGS, THE:
Self-titled: 7"
The Pegs play punk rock the way it’s meant to be: trashy, angry, and fast. Two of the members of this band were in the Numbers, and the two other members of the band were in the Letters, and in the time it took me to type that sentence, I played both sides of this seven inch. It’s a great record, but both sides put together have less than four minutes worth of music. I’m not saying don’t buy this. Buy it. Buy everything on Hostage. You can’t go wrong. But after you play this, expect to be like my wife after sex, saying, “What? That’s it? You’re done already?” –todd (Hostage)


PATEL, RAJIV:
Obey the Cattle: CD
A hippie guitarist overdoses on the herb, listens to one raga too many and decides to release an album featuring his efforts to masturbate across six strings. No thanks. –jimmy (Sunset Alliance)


PAPER CHASE, THE:
What Big Teeth You Have:
Drone. That’s all I hear. Drone. Artsy and experimental is one thing, but having heard bands do this genre over twenty years ago, it’s tough to listen to. –Doughnuthead  –Guest Contributor (Southern)


PAINTBOX:
Cry of the Sheeps: 7"
This is a US pressing that was previously released on CD by HG Fact out of Japan back in 2001. Paintbox are one of the most original and powerful current bands out of Japan. Pigeonholed, they are not. They mix it up and swing their mighty bat with their blend of punk and metal influences. I don’t remember what issue my review of the CD was in, but I definitely have more to add. For starters, the vinyl version that I bought is pressed on red. The collector geek in me is giddy about that! The minus is that it does not include a lyric sheet. Not that it would help, since only a small percentage of the world’s population reads Japanese besides the Japanese. That includes me, who was raised by immigrant Japanese parents who do not speak English and was forced to attend Japanese school for three years. I spent a month and a half in Japan as a child. All I can do is speak a freakish coagulation that I call Japan-glish. When spoken to, I understand certain words as long as the person is speaking slowly. But what you miss out on and I will provide here are the cool English choruses. The title track has the wonderful chorus that goes like this: “Cry of the sheep, fly on the ship.” With all that is sung in Japanese, I really want to know how the chorus plays into the song. Track 2, “Big Ant,” has the chorus that goes “Viva la viva la viva la traverring go, Viva la viva la viva la traverring good.” Is the song really about an ant? The third track, “Betsu Mirai,” translates into “Alternative Future.” I didn’t know for the longest what the title of the third track was called since it was written in Japanese on the CD version. Another thing you don’t get on the 7” that is on the CD is the song that I have no idea what it’s called since it’s written in Japanese that is a bonus track. It’s their reggae song that has their vocals manipulated to sound like the Chipmunks. The lyrics endlessly repeat “Bivouac, bivouac, bivouac in my house, bivouac bivouac, bivouac in my home. Reverse, returned, reverse in my heart, returned, reverse, returned in my soul.” Now, that is deep! Do I understand it? No, but I believe that is some encrypted message to the gods. Either buy this 7” or go get the CDEP, which is still available. Shit this good can’t be made up! If the manic music fiend Jimmy Alvarado hears this and doesn’t shit a blue Twinkie like he said I would do about the band Mezklah (Hey, Jimmy! Are you going to burn a copy for me?), I really don’t know him. –don (Prank)


PAIN OF SALVATION:
12:5: CD
I plopped this in and, I shit you not, suddenly there were elves and fairies dancing around my living room. I stopped the disc and they disappeared. Intrigued, I started it again and, lo and behold, there they were, prancing and singing and carryin’ on. Damndest thing. I pulled the nearest one aside and asked him, “Wherefore doth thou boogiest ‘round my living room, gentle dryad?” He cocked his funny little hat to the side and said, “‘Tis the hippie shit that spins in that machine anon.” So I took the cute little fella by the feet and bashed my stereo in with his head. –jimmy (Inside Out)


OUT HUD/!!!:
LAB Remix Series: CD
Out Hud: Three remixes of the same song, none of which are particularly interesting. !!!: Remix of a song that probably wasn’t all that bad in its original state, but, at twelve minutes, is really tedious here. –jimmy (www.goldstandardlabs.com)


NORTH LINCOLN:
Self-titled: 7"
Much in the same way that young bands like Mea Culpa and Rivethead sound very well-realized, this band sounds totally confident on this 7”. I must say, having seen these guys in Gainesville during one of the best weekends of my life last year, I was a little apprehensive that maybe they weren’t going to live up to what I remembered. I shouldn’t have worried. Cribbing notes from prime Avail (it’s earnest and energetic) and Tiltwheel (the tight instrumental interlock), they sound pretty fucking good right about now. Recommended for fans of gruff-voiced melodic punk. –Josh (The Support Group)


NEW WAVE HOOKERS:
Ass & Frederic: LP
Okay, I’ll admit that their tunes have an infectious quality to them and that they obviously know how to string chords together in a pleasant manner. I’ll even go so far as to admit that I was impressed that they had the chutzpah to cover both the Dictators and Marginal Man on the same release. BUT, despite these plusses, the pop punk feel inherent in so many places here suddenly leaves me feelin’ limp just when I start to get hot and bothered. –jimmy (Wanker)


NEW BLACK:
Self-titled: CD
Arty new wave informed by bands like Wire and later-period 100 Flowers. Not bad, per se, but there’s an underlying current of “we’re so cool” pretentiousness in the delivery that kinda sours the sound. –jimmy (Thick)


ORPHANS, THE:
Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead: LP
“Fuck you, I just took a whole shitload of coke,” Wade screamed. Something was muttered from the soundman. “Fuck ‘one more song.’ Two songs. Let’s go!” Typical Orphans fare, right after someone got gored by the bass neck and took a microphone to the top of the head, they played what they wanted, no more, no less. At first, it’s the firestorm that attracted me to the Orphans. Play it fast, mix it up, and I’m usually a sucker for it. The obvious stuff is great: Jenny’s a vixen, equal parts rolling-in-glass punk sweetheart and back-arcing public displays of drunken fuckitosity. Wade at bass – I’ve never, ever seen someone simultaneously unplug from both ends – the guitar and the amp – and then play for a good forty-five seconds before he realized he was unplugged. There is all that on the criminally well recorded Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead. That danger, that people who don’t go out that much, claim to have left punk rock, is here in spades. But then I continued to listen to this LP, and not to get all mystical and shit on you, but there’s a complete other side to the Orphans. If Brandon wasn’t drumming, it’d be mush. If Dann wasn’t guitaring – Wade’s pitbull would still be lunging – but Dan provides the teeth and neck strength for those teeth to really sink in. Just as any half-assed karate movie has taught me; strike when planted to put strength in the blow. The result, a fantastic, satisfying record. The only criticism? I think Jenny’s organ solo should be louder on “Creature Double Feature.” The LP is gorgeous, too. Converse ink stomps on the inserts, orange vinyl, the works. –todd (Unity Squad)


OIL!:
The Glory of Honor: LP
Simultaneously ridiculous (lyrics-wise) and spot-on (music-wise), this is one of the best homages and deflators of oi culture I’ve heard in long time. Much like JewDriver takes the undeniable musical power of Skrewdriver and turned it on its head (racism, for starters), Oil! spins tales of skinhead glory on its rubberized, metal-tipped boots, both commending the best of the culture (hey, at its best, it’s a definable belief system where beer’s involved and hippies are hated) and making fun of its over-used clichés (calling ladies “birds,” spending gross amounts for fashionable clothing that was once made for the working class, and not knowing how to cry.) In the end, yeah, it’s pretty damn good. I bet you could slip it on in the middle of the first Blitz record, classic 4-Skins, and the Cockney Rejects, and few people would be the wiser. It’s leagues better than that last Business record that Epitaph put out. At least these guys know there’s a joke involved. First 300 have sixteen-page booklet and silkscreened cover. –todd (Noma Beach)


OBLIVION:
The Garden of the Machine: CD
Put the bong down, college boy. –jimmy (www.oblivionrockmusic.com)


NEULANDER:
Smoke + Fire: CD
Sometimes, it just takes one line from one song to drag a listener into an album. For this listener and this album, the line was “I’ve lived in funeral cities/ and I’ve lived in golden towns,” from the song “Flying.” While this listener still has no idea what it is that is so captivating about that line, she confesses that it sucked her deep intoSmoke + Fire and she has yet to be able to escape. This debut album from New York-based duo Korinna Knoll and Adam Peters (ex-Echo and the Bunnymen), is filled with lyrics that are sort of vague and lovely and make you sit around and wonder if this is all just fantasy or reality? What exactly is “Middle East” about? Is it a travelogue of sorts? A protest song? Musically, Neulander has the minimal electronic pop style down, with dollops of Neu and Can influences to give the album a sort of psychedelic, lo-fi new wave sound. Knoll has the vocals – the husky, accented vocals that are distinctly European, although it is difficult to tell exactly whereabouts. Or, it could be that she isn’t European at all, but an American who listened to too much Nico while growing up. Alas, a press sheet check confirmed that Knoll is Austrian. Accents, Krautrock, electronic pop—isn’t this all a little like Stereolab? Perhaps, in parts there seems to be a similarity between the two, but Neulander really has developed its own sound. Given it a listen and you might end up caught in the smoke and fire as well. –liz (Disko B; <www.diskob.com>)


MISCONDUCT:
United as One: CD
These guys come from Sweden. It contains twelve tracks of fast Pennywise-style punk. This stuff is fast but has a lot of changes in it and has some slow parts, too. The lyrics are very positive and about doing the right thing. This also reminds me of old Southern California hardcore. The music is played well and the vocalist is good, too. A worthy release and worth the money for fans of this style.–Mike Beer –Guest Contributor (Union 2112)


MINORITY BLUES BAND:
Capitalized Suffering: CD
I reviewed the songs on this CD for the last issue of Razorcake, but for some unexplained reason, I put the title of the Minority Blues Band’s first album. That was a mistake on my part. Sorry about that. Anyway, here’s what I have to say about Capitalized Suffering. Rule number one: Japanese punk rockers play their instruments better than American punk rockers. Rule number two: everything Snuffy Smile Records releases is fucking awesome. Rule number three: well, it’s not so much a rule, but pick up this fucking album already. If you like Leatherface, Hüsker Dü, and the Replacements, you won’t be disappointed. And, yes, I realize that Leatherface, Hüsker Dü, and the Replacements don’t have all that much in common with each other, but Minority Blues Band has a lot in common with all three.  –todd (Snuffy Smile)


MINORITY BLUES BAND/MANIFESTO JUKEBOX:
split: 7"
Minority Blues Band plays fast and fuzzy melodies just like I like ‘em. I have both of their full lengths, listen to them all the time, and these three more songs by them make me happy. Manifesto Jukebox plays fast and fuzzy melodies that just don’t grab me the same way. I can recognize the talent. I can understand why people love them, but they bore me. Now that I’ve written this review, I’ll probably never flip this record again. But, oh, that Minority Blues Band side... –sean (Snuffy Smile)


MR. T EXPERIENCE:
Yesterday Rules: CD
Why? Why? Why? Sure, it’s not as bad as Alcatraz, but the lyrics keep getting worse. And I’m not some punk rock vigilante. I, much to the dismay of many friends, think late-period Minor Threat is great, and I like a fair amount of Bob Mould’s post-Hüsker Dü projects. But some bands do one thing well – and any deviation from that results in the dreaded comparisons to Captain Crunch’s Oops! Chocolate Donuts with Sprinkles – a cereal that is just trying too hard. Too much crooning, too much seriousness, too many “affected” vocals. Gimme Lucky Charms! –Maddy (Lookout)


MISS DERRINGER:
King James, Crown Royal and a Colt .45: CD
Ten soppy girl-ballads about boyfriends doing 30-to-life et al that evoke that whole “Don’t Forget Me Tommy”/”Bobby Come Back”/”Oh My Beloved Elmer Whither Hast Thou Gone?” Joe Meek vibe content-wise, but, alas, not form-wise (not that that would be any big whoop in and of itself). I am unclear as to why this would be submitted to a punk mag for review. BEST SONG: “Dear Johnny” BEST SONG TITLE: ...actually, i’m still trying to deal with the fact that she’s got one song called “Texas” and another called “Corpus Christi”...but no songs whatsoever called “Beerland.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Not only is “Corpus Christi” not the Avengers song, but “The Letter” is not the Box Tops song, neither. –norb (Sympathy)


NERVOUS SHAKES:
Separate Beds?: CD
Les belges sont ici! Belgian rockers playing a Devil Dogs-influenced rock and roll. And they cover the Queers’ “Number One” and the Infections’ “Be a Man.” Strange! Apparently, in Belgium, pop punk is still popular and rock and roll versions of Queers songs are all in a day’s work. I couldn’t decide how I felt about it, and so I played it for two friends who released the following statement: We don’t hate it, but, if for some reason this CD came into one’s possession, one would probably sell it to a used CD store. The verdict is in! So, if this were a cereal, it’d be Weird-Belgium-Pop-Punk-Vortex-Sell-It-for-Sour-Gummi-Worm-Money-Oh’s. –Maddy (no record label info)


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