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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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(VLAD AND) THE IMPALERS:
Self-titled: CD
Woah, this one is all over the place! Some absolutely great moments and some downright head-scratchers on this one. I’m digging the yellin‘, not so much the singing. This one is all over the friggin’ map. Even the token ska song! It’s 1998 again! They surprisingly pull it off without completely throwing off the album. Pop punk, vampire/zombie shit, speedy punk’n’roll. I’m seeing this mix of sounds within one band more and more lately, and I’m not sure if I enjoy it. Vlad gets the stamp of approval this time around, but next time I wanna see them pick a sound! The faster and rougher, the better.  –Will Kwiatkowski (Geykido Comet, www.gcrecords.com)


VIOLENT HEADACHE:
The Singles Collection: CD
This discography was done right. The liner notes are informative, including cover art, member line ups, lyrics, and a brief history of how this collection came together. What you get is eighty-four songs of filthy-as-hell crusty grindcore. Starts with their material from the Unholy Grave split and works backwards to their first vinyl appearance (a split with Agathocles). Great stuff, and despite there being a ton of songs here, you can get through this in one sitting without thinking “Did I hear that already?” There’s progression in each release. Pick this one up.  –Matt Average (Six Weeks)


VERMIN, THE:
Joe’s Shanghai: CD
The Vermin from Vegas are back with their sleazy, Dwarves-influenced scum punk. It’s all mid-tempo and kind of generic, yet I totally fucking love it. Some of the songs are more melodic than others, but they’re all catchy, especially on a second listen. They use distorted vocals to good effect and I bet these guys tear it up when they go on in the wee hours of the night in their hometown. One of the songs is called “Gimmee Hot Sushi,” with lyrics so vile and cliche that only a humorless dipshit couldn’t fall in love with The Vermin.  –Art Ettinger (Wood Shampoo)


VERMILLION SANDS:
Self-titled: 7”
This is very catchy, rocking stuff; the perfect thing for a cold November night. Good female vocals, a little lapsteel guitar, and synthesizers added to this stripped-down rock outfit really round out this sonically pleasing and uplifting 7”. These three songs carry a very similar beat, yet manage to subtly differentiate themselves. This is definitely worth picking up.  –Rene Navarro (Rijapov)


VENA CAVA:
Weapons of Mass Communication: CD
Some speedy and ragged pop punk here, reminding me of This Is My Fist or Measure [SA], off the top of my head. Six tunes in quick succession and I am also hearing elements that remind me of everyone from Lemuria to Toys That Kill in parts. This seems to be the perfect band for the average Razorcake reader. Melodic but still raw, Vena Cava have put out a real solid disc here.  –frame (ADD)


VARSITY WEIRDOS:
High School Teen Party: 7” EP
The cover art looks like a cross between the Beatnik Termites logo lettering and a Mutant Pop label ((to say nothing of the band’s name being an apparent cross between Junior Varsity and the Weirdos)) thus it should likely emerge as no surprise that this ep is four shots of tight, bouncy, happy Ramones-core. At some point in time—maybe today, maybe next year, maybe ten years from now—i am going to put on a record of tight, bouncy, happy Ramones-core and it is going to be SO fucking good and SO fucking right that i am going to drop my Powerade® on the floor and stand in that ever-widening puddle of Arctic Shatter™ and scream “YES! THIS IS IT! THIS IS THE ANSWER TO ALL LIFE’S PROBLEMS, BY GAR! THE MYSTERIES OF THE UNIVERSE REVEALED IN A MICROCOSM, I SAY!!!” This is not that record, but it’s decent enough that it suggests that this day is not as far off as some might suspect. I guess i’d better stock up on the Arctic Shatter™. BEST SONG: “High School Teen Party” BEST SONG TITLE: “I Don’t Go To Parties” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Guaranteed all downstroked chords! George Tabb would be so happy…  –norb (It’s Alive)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
This Comp Kills Fascists, vol. 1: 4 x LP
Assembled by Scott Hull (Pig Destroyer, Anal Cunt, Agoraphobic Nosebleed), these are four LPs of overview of the grind and hardcore scene, it is, if anything, a fun game to see if you can tell the differences between powerviolencegrindhardcore bands. I’d chuck a copy at a fascist’s noodle in support of this comp, but I don’t know any (besides my grandfather, and he’s soon to the grave anyways). Standouts are Agents Of Satan, Kill The Client (whose drummer plays like a wizard from spacehell), Insect Warfare, Man Will Destroy Himself (welcome break of not blastbeats) and Total Fucking Destruction. -Andrew Flanagan  –Guest Contributor (Deep Six, www.deepsixrecords.com)


UPTOWN BUMS:
Self-titled: 7”
This is a three-song single on an Italian label by this Denton, TX band. Yes, you Marked Men fans will find a whole lot to like here. This band straddles the line between garage punk and power pop with a speedy delivery. A little distortion on the vocals adds a rougher edge to the proceedings. Fans of Nobunny or Douchemaster Records will wanna check this single out.  –frame (Shake Your Ass)


UNHOLY GRAVE / BLACK SISTER:
Split: EP
Unholy Grave churn out three lo-fi grind numbers. The usual from them. I know a lot of folks love this band, but, really, they’re nothing special. Prolific, yes, but nothing that needs to be pressed to vinyl. Black Sister, however, are the reason to pick this up. Blazing grind with low end and some cool metal guitar leads. One original, “The Hunt,” and a Anti-Cimex cover (“An Fheadhainn Neo-Chiontach”). These guys deserve a full record.  –Matt Average (Problem?, myspace.com/problemrecords)


UH-OH:
Underneath the Stupid Sun: 7”
Garagey slop rock from Milwaukee, featuring members of Holy Shit!, Lefty Loosie, and Louis Tully. I really like this, but I wonder if my many years in Beer City have tainted my judgment. Don’t know, don’t care. Regardless, if you’re an aficionado of lo-fi, this is a good one to pick up right soon.  –The Lord Kveldulfr (Repulsion)


TRISTESS:
Hog & Låg Blues: LP
Sometimes it’s really hard to describe a record that is absolutely fantastic. It’s like, where do you begin? This is by far the best record yet from Tristess. Everything they’ve done prior pales in comparison. They definitely have the early European punk sound nailed down tight, and though the sound is retro, they sound refreshing. “Jag Tillhor Mig” is an excellent track that has a bit of a Stooges sound in the guitar, and the singer, Triztano Cazanova, adding the “ch-ch-chs” sends the song over into the “repeated play before listening to the next track” category. The organ on “Hg & Låg Blues” and the sax on “Paralyserad Generation” raise this record even further up the measuring stick of what makes a record great and not run of the mill. Definitely one of the best of 2008.  –Matt Average (Deranged)


TRADITIONAL FOOLS, THE:
Self-titled: LP
It takes a special kinda… something… to lead your album off with “Davey Crockett” by Thee Headcoats and to hyphenate the word “valley” between the “a” and the “l”, but white vinyl means cool, 45 RPM means loud, and the Traditional Fools’ droolingly reckless, one-take garage smasherooni is actually a life-affirming necessity, much like free bacon, or reasonably priced biscuits & gravy. Reminds me a bit of the Statics, if the Statics were more rabidly howling and recorded in the Snivelling Shits’ practice studio. Taste the burnt fudge of their mania! BEST SONG: “Snot Rag” BEST SONG TITLE: “Valley (Of The Jams)”, but only because “Snot Rag” isn’t that inventive. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Liner notes claim that “Kill Someone You Hate” is a Redd Kross song. Technically, it’s a RED CROSS song, innit?  –norb (Wizard Mountain/Make a Mess)


TOTAL ABUSE:
Self-titled: CD
I think Total Abuse’s abrasive artwork kinda led me to assume that I was in for some GG Allin-esque, moronic shock punk, and so I never bothered to check them out until hearing this LP. Foolish. This record ripped my goddamned head off. Insane, redlining punk rock from the Poison Idea school, just dripping with anger. Seething, desperate and one hundred percent convincing. I need to see this band live. Chock up yet another killer release for Deranged Records.  –Dave Williams (Deranged)


TOO MANY DAVES:
A Shit-Faced Odyssey: 7”EP
In this size-ist, dumb-ist, clothes-ist shit stain of a culture we call society, there was something missing: a party soundtrack that celebrates fat dudes partying without their shirts off in not-necessarily-homosexual-but-it’s-cool-if-you-are situations. This is like the Village People’s party record (I’m just assuming there is one) for those of us who mix up malt liquor for champagne and “bad ideas” for “life purpose.” And if “Fat Doodes” isn’t the catchiest rallying cry of the DIY disenfranchised to be played like Gary Glitter at half time, I don’t know what is. Is it hot in here, or is my beer crying on its own? PS: Ladies can be doodes.  –todd (ADD)


SUSPECT PARTS:
Seventeen Television: 7” EP
The drumming herein is ascribed to Chris Brief, and, assuming it’s the Chris Brief i know ((and love)), the a-side is vaguely stunning in its utter absence of Chris’ best trick—extended eighth note cymbal rhythm blastery—substituting instead a hi-hat-heavy, accent-on-the-two-and-the-four, vaguely British neo-punk/dancey beat thingie, not unlike what the U.K. Subs, Anti-Nowhere League, and Blitz did when they were trying to be gay dance homos circa ‘81 ((before the money came back around for punk rock, you understand)), except that this beat sounds FIERCE and ROCKIN’, which i suppose would make it the first successful application of said beat since that Steve Diggle solo EP with that “Shut Out the Light (Rothko)” thing on it, so there. Sounds a bit like the Skids, but more inclined to raw guitar savagery as opposed to echoey bagpipe envy, with a song title that was almost certainly stolen from the same piece of toilet paper Les Hatepinks scrawled it on. On zee flip, “Lesson” is comparatively more Briefy, while “To Stone” is an ethereal cover that i am not familiar with, nor particularly inclined to seek out information on. Featuring a Clorox Girl! I hope it’s Debbie. BEST SONG: “Seventeen Television” BEST SONG TITLE: “Seventeen Television,” and if i had to choose whether “Seventeen Television” was a better song or a better song TITLE, it’s definitely a better song title. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: February 1865 was the only month in recorded history to not have a full moon.  –norb (17 Television/Deranged)


SURRENDER:
Paper Thrones: LP
Surrender is a very good band. I want you to know that. Paper Thrones is as much a social project as it is a music project. Being so, the message—an important one of, basically, peace—is all over this record. In and of itself, that’s not a bad thing. But, when the message eclipses songs is when I lose interest in repeat listens. (This may sound strange, but I liken “talky” peace punk albums to comedy albums. They can be totally worth the first couple of listens, but I don’t find myself itching to put them on over and over again after I’ve digested what they’re putting down. George Carlin and Richard Pryor included.) And, so, in another digression, Paper Thrones reminds me of two unlikely musical/art signposts: Bongwaters’s Too Much Sleep and The Clash’s Sandinista, where there are great songs nestled inside of those records, but it’s just short of a chore to sit through the languid, ho-hum parts to get to the stuff that sounds like pure fire, like how I’d want a revolution to sound like. If that’s all a bit “what the fuck are you talking about?”, try this: didn’t live up to the promise of the lead-up 7”s.  –todd (Thrillhouse)


STAR FUCKING HIPSTERS:
Until We’re Dead: CD
Of the myriad possible explanations that come to mind as to how this ended up in my review box, I like to think/hope it was put there by someone who knows full well my disdain for this sorta pop/punk/ska dreck and wanted to mess with my noggin a bit. If that’s the case, okay, heh heh, you got me. Oh, on a totally unrelated subject, please accept my preemptory plea of total ignorance as to how copies of the book Living with Chronic Bedwetting and 50 Cent’s A Gangsta Tribute to Liberace CD got in your review box but if I had to lay blame somewhere, I’d say Dale put them there.  –jimmy (Fat)


SONIC CHICKEN 4:
“Midnight Girl” b/w “Toe Man”: 7”
A fun little 7” here: two short and sweet garage pop gems, akin to King Khan & BBQ Show and Nuggets-era rock and/or roll, though perhaps more in the “Louie Louie” or “Wooly Bully” school of things than say, the Sonics or the Seeds. These guys are apparently from France, too, which is cool if you’re into that sort of thing. –Jeff (Rob’s House)


SMUT PEDDLERS:
Failure: LP

 

It still takes me a bit to wrap my head around the fact that the Smut Peddlers’ Failure came out over thirteen years ago. Really? Those unfamiliar with the Smut Peddlers, let’s just say that I think that John Ransom should become ambassador/MC of Orange County punk and that the band’s songs always remind me of Polaroid pictures. They’re definitely not the most “pro” band (I say that in the best way), but they definitely capture a raw, intimate snapshot of specific moments. Those moments are filled with being pissed about yuppies fucks, PC fucks, drugs (pro, con, plus, minus, snort, needles, pills) and hostility towards the increasing safety measures that society is imposing on itself (pads, helmets, smoking bans). It’s probably the most honest—and definitely a controversial—version of lifelong punkdom that’s come from Orange County. (No one I know says “The OC” without some retribution.) The hidden engine of the Smut Peddlers is Julia Smut, the drummer. And I’m just guessing here that she’s the one behind the gorgeous and detail-oriented 500-copy reissue of this self-released record. She sent us two versions. One comes in a sewn canvas sleeve, silk-screened, signed by the entire band, on booger and old-bruise yellow marbled vinyl. (Fifty made. Check out www.smutpeddlers.net) The other is a more traditional cardstock sleeve, on purple-swirly vinyl, but also comes with an honest-to-goodness photograph of the band, a sticker, a button, and a flyer that will come out in different configurations. Talk about a band taking care of its own legacy and embracing some of the awesome possibilities that only the vinyl format can offer.  –todd (Ransom)


SLEAZE, THE:
Smokin’ Fuckin’ Cigs and Other Hit!: 7”
Inhalin’ Fuckin’ Helium and Other Hit! Unless, of course, this 45 actually plays at 33, in which case this is idiocy on so many levels as to be both note and praise worthy. Some day i will treasure this record deeply, provided i remember that i do, indeed, own it. BEST SONG: “Smokin’ Fuckin’ Cigs” BEST SONG TITLE: “Smokin’ Fuckin’ Cigs” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: It is impossible to note the band’s label without thinking of that one Negative Approach song.  –norb (Fashionable Idiots)


SILVER COCKS:
Holiday in Auschwitz: 7”
Solid. Imagine a really angry version of Sham 69 and you’ve got it. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Zodiac Killer)


GIT SOME:
Cosmic Rock: CD
A couple ex-members from Planes Mistaken For Stars decided to continue playing music together. This new combo of theirs, I tend to think is better than their previous. Git Some just have a bit more teeth in their sound. There is definitely a heavy Drive Like Jehu sound, but mixed with a rawer, purposely less polished edge. Also throw in some Hell No and Dead & Gone for the darkness and slow-fire burning in the guts. The playing is tight and, despite being a studio recording, there’s an intensity that is usually found in live performances. The songs go from one to the other without pause, and the sequencing is spot on. You start off up, and around the middle, they bring the energy down a smidge, then up again, ending somewhere in between. With a debut this good, I can only imagine what lays in store. –Matt Average (1-2-3-4 Go!, www.1234gorecords.com)


GIFT HORSE, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Some real ‘90s-sounding emo, the way it sounded before it became the glam metal of this decade. Fans of Mineral, Braid, or any Crank! Records compilation would love this band. This is extremely well done and I have something of a soft spot for this sound. It’s nothing I would reach for over the Texas Is The Reason LP or anything, but it is nice to hear some emo style stuff that doesn’t totally suck for a change. –frame (Poison City)


FULL OF FANCY:
Sweet Baby Jesus: CD
Did you like the soundtrack to Juno? I hated it. This reminds me of that, with more electricity and pop. I got cavities in all my indie teeth (which I swear I had removed). Pity, because I love the voice that comes out of Miranda (also from Hunchback). –megan (Whoa Oh)


FULL OF FANCY / SCREAMING FEMALES:
Split: 7”
Full Of Fancy: Two songs. “Gym class” sounds like pitch-perfect Unlovables-style pop punk mixed in with a bit of Measure [SA]. (It makes perfect NJ/NYC geographic sense.) “Notebook” sounds like Soviettes meets Mo Tucker singing the songs of the Velvet Underground, where it’s openly existential (“can’t judge a heart by its lover”) while moving right ahead to its intended target. Fun for both the brain and the feet. Screaming Females: This band shares Miranda with Full Of Fancy. Miranda was in the dearly departed Hunchback and her talents trace nicely onto and flesh out a new skull of music. I’m amazed at how, when she’s involved, that weirdness sounds so fun, so accessible, but it’s still weird. Like fun relatives who aren’t dangerous, but you’re never quite sure what their next present to you is going to be. –todd (Let’s Pretend)


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