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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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ENDLESS:
Decade of Obscurity: CD
I don’t know if this is supposed to be a discography of sorts since the cover references 1993-2003. If they only wrote and recorded six songs in that time span, that is pretty bad. If this is a greatest hits, it’s new to me. This is what the kids now call hardcore. The vocals are screamed and the guitars are metallic. Four originals, one Suicidal cover and two live cuts that should have been replaced with two originals because the sound quality is flat and sounds like it could have come from a W.A.S.P. concert. Not half bad. I’m debating if I’m going to put this in the trade in pile. –don (Da’ Core)


EL BUZZARD:
Self-titled: CD
Sludgy, post-grunge stoner rock with screamed vocals. It’s been so long since I’ve heard anything like this that I actually found myself digging it quite a bit. Thumbs up. –jimmy (www.el-buzzard.com)


DT’S, THE:
Hard Fixed: CD
The DT’s play soulful, female-fronted punk rock in the vein of The Bellrays and the Detroit Cobras. Plus, Dave Crider from the Mono Men is on guitar, so the songs have that extra edge that I was hoping for. As an added touch, they skipped out on having a bassist and stuck in keyboards that owe a lot more to the Sonics than they do to any kind of New Wave. Put it all together and you got yourself a solid ten songs. Prior to this CD, the only thing the DT’s put out was a little five song, three-inch CD. Two of the songs from the little EP made it onto the album. The rest is new stuff. All of it’s worth repeated listens. –sean (Estrus)


DRIPS, THE:
Mexico: 7"
It’s a rare thing indeed when I go see a band almost cold, with only the slightest of expectations and recommendations, and I have to wipe the concrete dust off my jacket from getting blown through the back of the club by the first song and remaining there for the rest of the set. That was the case with The Drips when I caught them at the Doll Hut last year. Monstrously catchy (and not in easy ways that I’m well prepared for), anthemic (in the “we’re all sick and we’re all in this together” way: “More pills! More wine!”), headed by a spazz (and he’s in a much better known band. Dig a little and you’ll find out), armed with one of the most powerful drum punishers I’ve seen in ages. I can’t quite put my finger on what makes The Drips get my pulse all erratic and makes me listen to each song twice before I flip the record over. They’ve got the x-factor in spades. The charisma that although you’ve heard all the pieces scattered about, they glued that fucker tight and you find out that it’s got more missiles to deploy than you first thought possible. Much like how the GC5 updated street punk without betraying it or being a slave to it, The Drips take a shit-ton of OC punk and do a fine bit recreation, then decimation. My prediction: if the band doesn’t annihilate itself in the next year, they’ll be constantly drilling to your cranium, like those oil wells spread out through the residential neighborhoods of Huntington Beach. Mark it, dude. This one’s a bonafide punk rock master stroke. –todd (Hostage)


EHLEUCHATISTAS:
On the Culture Industry: CD
I guess the new thing with failed emo bands is to ditch the singers and up the jazz influence exponentially. Singer or no, this rocks about as hard as the last Weather Report album. –jimmy (www.angurasound.com)


DRESDEN 45:
Paradise Lost (Expanded): CD
Wow, here’s another one of those bands that time almost, unjustly, forgot. Last remember hearing these kids in the late ‘80s and was mightily impressed with their full-on thrash attack. At the time, things were starting to get a tad rehash, and a lot of groups were jumping ship to take a stab at metal superstardom, so when a band managed to shake things up a bit, you tended to take notice. This wrecking crew was such a band. After an LP and maybe a 7-inch or two, they were gone, and I heard nothing more of them until the day Todd popped this into my box. Wow, I had no idea they released much more than I thought they did. There’re a total of twenty tracks here spanning their entire recorded career and, aside from a moment of ill-advised rappin’, there’s nary a bad bit in the bunch. Fans of very early RKL or Final Conflict would be well advised to pick this up. Yeah, this is recommended. –jimmy (Arclight)


DR. PEDOPHILOUS:
Killer Klown: 10” EP
Decent enough peppy punk rock marred by attempts to sing in English. Include a lyric sheet with translations if you want to, but stick to your native tongue and you’ll sound that much more authentic. –jimmy (Kill Yourself)


DIVINE RIGHT OF MEANS:
Self-titled: CD
This dances on a razor’s edge between trash rock and AmRep skronk, lagging a bit when they lean toward the latter but shining bright when they pull out all the stops and raise a ruckus. Clip off four or five tracks of dead weight and this would be a stunner. –jimmy (www.doubleplusgoodrecords.com)


DISTRACTION, THE:
…More Trouble at the V…: 12” EP
Man, I tried and tried to like the last Distraction full-length, and I sat on the fence with it for a long time, finally falling off, coming to the ultimate conclusion that it was a simpler Stitches. And, due to gross geographic proximity of the two bands (thirty miles, tops), I figured that that subdivision needed only one Stitches. This EP has got me doing some serious re-figuring. Gone are the “Is that Mike Lohrman singing?” vocals, replaced by none other than Le Shok and Neon King Kong’s Hot Rod Todd, who sounds like he’s huffing paint and slurring simultaneously. Also greatly whipping this thing into another shape are the keyboards, which roam through the recording like a fat boa constrictor, gently sliding in and out, squeezing and bulging unexpected bits and pieces to the front. I never had a problem with the Distraction’s string work, and it all comes into focus on this EP. The whole enterprise makes a hell of a lot more sense when it stands on its own two musical legs. Thumbs up, also to the 3-D cover (with Distraction-logo’d glasses) and the fact that this is a one-sided 12” EP makes it almost impossible for these guys to break even, so you know this thing’s from the heart and not just the wallet. –todd (TKO)


DISKORDS, THE:
Blame It on the Kids: CD
I’ve been hearing a bit about the Diskords. The rumor mill says that one of their dads drives them to shows (they’re only fourteen) and fixes them dinner. That endears them to me. Heavy Ramones influence, especially on “Cretin Girl” and “Boppin’ at the Morgue,” mixed with heavy doses of the Heartbreakers. They haven’t really established their own sound, but it’s super catchy and done well. Plus, when I think about what I was doing my freshman year of high school, this just blows me away. –megan (Vinyl Warning)


DISILLUSIONED YOUTH:
Cent Ep’d: CDR-EP
Pretty funny joke band, with songs like about dad’s porn, being a loser for buying a laptop, and Dischord Records (“Twenty years of Dischord is 18 years too long!”). If this were a cereal, it’d be something like Fresh Prince O’s. A kinda funny idea. –Maddy (self-released?)


DIRTSHAKES:
Return to Boomsfeeldeliah!: CD
A compilation of singles by a good rock band. I wouldn’t turn the channel from KXLU if it was playing. –mike (Valve)


DESCENDENTS, THE:
Cool to Be You: CD
I was one of those awkward kids in school. Punk rock gave me an identity that I have carried for over twenty years. When I first bought the Milo Goes to College LP, I felt instant validation. It connected to me then as it still does now. The line-ups have mutated, but the formula remains the same. A teaser EP, ‘Merican, came out first this year and blew me away. They’re one of the few bands from the early ‘80s that can still kick out jams. Anticipation was high after hearing that. Retodd reported to me that the full length is “fuckin’ good!” I was so excited. When I left Razorcake HQ to pick up review material, I popped the sucker in the CD changer in my car. I rarely ever do that. I started the car and turned my stereo up. I’m no typical punk rocker. I have to have a 200-watt stereo system with some booming subwoofers that cost me a pretty penny in my truck to play my punk rock. Ooh, ha! I’m in familiar territory here. That oh-so-familiar bass playing of Karl shakes out of the speakers. Milo’s voice provides me the comfort that things are going to be all right. Bill’s intricate lead drumming bang away in a positive heartbeat. Stephen continues on with a great guitar sound that is so sweet up front but will bite you in the ass if you aren’t paying attention. My highlight track has to be “Mass Nerder.” Changing the Germs’ lyrics of “We Must Bleed” to “We Must Read” is fucking classic! I hate to say it, but this is better than the last three albums combined. That is no small chump change. Those albums are great, but this one is so much better. Jimmy Alvarado and I are kinda the old goats of this cooperative. If he hates this, he needs a colonic. –don (Fat)


DESCENDENTS, THE:
Cool to Be You: CD
The differences between The Descendents and ninety-five percent of pop punk? I sat and listened and listened and listened to this CD and it kept on getting better instead of stale. Little things hit me. As I’m wont to do with a CD that I really like, I talk to people about it. Here’s what’s come up in discussion. 1.) When they sing about love, it’s not boyfriend/ girlfriend. It’s wife, ex-wife. The stakes are higher and more grave, the emotions less polar. 2.) The guitar, as with Jughead of Screeching Weasel, up in the front, it sounds like frosting, fuzzy bunnies, and sunshine but underneath, it’s all sharpened blades sticking in deep, churning nuts and bolts. 3.) The Descendents are still consummate musical outsiders. Through the relative isolation of living in Colorado while Milo went off and got his Ph.D., they weren’t concerned with keeping up with all of the little punk rock ghettos that have formed. They lived life and were human beings with punk rock rooted inside. Then they decided to make an album. They don’t need the money. They needed the fuel that only creation can bring. I admire that. 4.) True pioneers don’t just have one trick up their sleeves. The best of the breed are the ultimate survivors. They overcame one of the largest obstacles: remaining relevant past their mid-to-late thirties in a genre of music that treats bands like Logan’s Run. 5.) Any band that lyrically includes Otis Redding, the Haymarket Riot, and the line “I’m gonna kick their asses in class/ Gonna get good grades!” will usually make it to my A list, anyhow. It’ll be impossible for this album to be kicked off my top ten for 2004. –todd (Fat)


DIE STINKIN’:
HMFU: 7" EP
I liked their Smell Is in the Air CD and there’s enough solid, mid-tempo punkin’ going on here to keep these ears satisfied. While nothing here reaches the lofty heights of “Beer,” “Baby I Love Dope” comes pretty darn close.  –jimmy (Die Stinkin’)


DEVENDRA BERNHART:
Rejoicing in the Hands: CD
Infinitely cool artwork, an impossible to decipher lyric sheet, and some achingly dull acoustic folk music. Get a job, hippie. –jimmy (www.younggodrecords.com)


DEFIANCE, OHIO / ENVIRONMENTAL YOUTH CRUNCH:
Split: 7"
The song “Collecting Complaints” by Defiance, Ohio left me feeling very awkward. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a song that critiques collecting records and fliers. Maybe I am sitting in my room and hiding, but it’s the only place I feel safe. Two very solid songs by Defiance, Ohio. Environmental Youth Crunch cover “Fortunate Son” by John Fogerty, and it really gets the blood flowing. I like this version better. Punk is the hot sauce to Fogerty’s burrito, the right flavor added to the right foundation. This 7” kicks major ass. It makes me smile inside.  –Rene Navarro (Dead Tank)


DAS KAPITAL:
Ben, We’re Jealous: 7"
Nervous and disturbing lyrics take center stage on this badass Chicago band’s 7”. I’m almost reminded of The Freeze and their dark tales of human nature gone wrong. The song “Johnny Gosch Was Here” deals with the true story of a young boy who was abducted by a network of religious leaders and Washington politicians who flew children to Washington D.C. for sex orgies. The band even includes a website where you can find out more information on the victim (screwed up stuff). The music itself is distinctly Chicago, think Naked Raygun or Effigies in style, with even a bit of that Big Dipper jangle. There were only two hundred of these sweet clear disks pressed, so I‘d highly suggest you try to get your hands on one. –Evan Katz (Johann's Face)


CUSTOMS, THE:
Really Long Gone: CD
After one of Boston’s mightiest bands, DMZ, split up, there is a murky history of Lyres and DMZ cross-references; the lineage of which is confusing at best. In there, somewhere, is DMZ guitarist Peter Greenburg’s band The Customs. Really Long Gone is a reissue of the long-out-of-print album Long Gone, itself a twentieth anniversary collection of the long out-of-print 7”s. The twentieth anniversary collection, now ten years gone, is as rare as the 7”s, and so, once again, the world has access to The Customs. The Customs classic song is “Long Gone.” They have a superior version of the rock standby “Strychnine,” and the rest of the album rocks in that avenue. And too long has the world gone without it. Really Long Gone is an indispensable compliment to the DMZ and Lyres legacy; a must for fans thereof. –Billups Allen –Guest Contributor (Shake It)


D.O.A.:
Northern Avenger: CD
The album title comes from the name producer Bob Rock gave to Joe Keithley’s beat-to-shit guitar. It fits. This record also features the return of Randy Rampage on bass, but, apparently, he left the band again shortly after this recording. “Human Bomb” blows stuff up right from the get go, but strap yourself in. There’s a lot more. “Police Brutality” warns all of us to watch out for the fuzz. ‘Still a Punk” makes the case in point that the spirit of punk rock is still alive and well. This CD grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let up. I really, really like this one; a consistent release from start to finish. Don’t worry—Rock didn’t talk Joe into playing any Hammett-style licks. This is just one hundred percent pure D.O.A. No filter required. –koepenick (Sudden Death)


CROWS FEET:
Concertina: Cassette
If one were to peek under my bed, one could see in a few boxes there that I have yet to relinquish my tapes, and I still make mix-tapes on actual cassettes rather than on CDs, so I was happy to get this tape to review. Fun! The artwork on the cover is nice—a bright blue background with a cool drawing of a guy holding a baby that actually looks like an old man—loads of teeth grimacing in some kind of skull’s grin. The insert that came with it is unfortunately kinda hard to read—the background is gray/black and the writing is white, so it’s difficult to make out. There aren’t any lyrics anyway, though. The recording is not great; it sounds warbling and messy. The music is kind of folky, with a solo acoustic guitar and some whistling in the very beginning. There are occasional forays into blues and rock. He might be a good guitarist but it’s a little bit hard to tell. I admire his enthusiasm but it’s not a genre I’m particularly into and this tape didn’t win me over.  –J. Federico (Let's Pretend)


CITY OF SHIPS:
Live Free or Don’t Tour: EP
Amidst the ocean of droney, post-rock, post-hardcore clones, there are only a couple bands that catch my attention. It’s a hard genre to accomplish that because the songs tend to bleed together, feedback overshadows the details, and I’m usually exhausted by the time I get through an entire album. City Of Ships had me hooked from the beginning to the end of their vinyl-only release. The band crushes, no question about it. But, they aren’t just here to be the loudest, or the slowest, band; each song has its own personality. Some consist of eerie instrumental passages that lead to more hardcore dirges, while others come across like a heavier Quicksand, which is never a bad thing. The vocals are pretty varied, but always fit the song. Fans of Jesu, Cult Of Luna, and Isis should definitely invest their time and money in this release. –Evan Katz (Forcefield)


CALL IT ARSON:
Moth Wash: The Old Flames: 7"
Vinyl makes you wait. It makes you analyze the packaging on your lunch break. I am a huge fan of free downloads coming with an album, so that was very pleasant. I am a big fan of Kurt Ballou, who recorded and mixed this in his studio God City. This 7”’s dark artwork mixed with the fact that Converge’s guitarist was steering things along led me to the preconceived notion that Call It Arson were going to be super dense and very heavy. Call It Arson’s A side is very reminiscent of Orange Rhyming Dictionary-era Jets To Brazil. Both sides of the record have the first line of lyrics printed on them, but they’re on the wrong side. The B side is nowhere near as good as the A side which, in and of itself, isn’t worth buying the 7”, so I would say, don’t. –Rene Navarro (Kill Normal)


CACTUS’S:
Tropical Terror: CDEP
Six songs, fifteen minutes, too many damn hooks. Too catchy. I wanted to dislike this (mainly because the band name is so ridiculous), but the songs are actually pretty good and infectious. The trio that makes up Cactus’s says their influences range from the Pixies to Converge and, for once, I can actually hear their music taking that full range of sound and making it coherent on the EP. (Normally, when a band says who their influences are, they can come off sounding rather delusional.) There’s a little bit of screaming on the album but it’s not contrived; it comes across as mixing well with the energy of the songs. Mostly, the vocals are sung and the music is straightforward rock and roll. Other times, I may find this kind of thing as being ridiculous, but Cactus’s approach their sound with such an aggression that it’s hard to deny they’re sincere. I’m sure they’d be great live. Their lyrics make little to no sense and their name is stupid, but, other than that, I think we might have a winner. –kurt (Beat Crazy)


BROWNTROUT / DRUNKEN BOAT (PDX):
Split: 7"
Browntrout: I first heard Browntrout on their split with Gleam Garden. I first heard Gleam Garden on their split with Dan Padilla. I checked out Dan Padilla because of Tiltwheel. So, in a way, I like Browntrout because I like Tiltwheel. So, if you like Tiltwheel, you might like Browntrout. If you don’t like Tiltwheel, bummer for you. Anyhow, Browntrout is a pop punk band from Japan with strong melodic leanings. They have an upbeat sound that juxtaposes interestingly with their downtrodden lyrics. Great stuff! Drunken Boat (PDX): I like just about everything I’ve heard from this band, but the two tracks on here leave me bummed. The instrumentation is kind of, well, I don’t play, but it lacks some of the power and intricacy of some of their other material. I’d still rather listen to this than some of the stuff I’m reviewing this time around, but I hope that this isn’t the direction of things to come for this typically awesome band. –Vincent Battilana (Snuffy Smiles)


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·CLOROX GIRLS
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·MARK SPARKLES, THE
·SK8 OR DIE


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