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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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YOUNG OFFENDERS:
“Big Man, Small House” b/w “Saints”: 7”
There was this thin feather of time—around two years—and that’s what many people tend to forget. Gang of Four’s Entertainment! and Wire’s Pink Flag are the signposts where the Young Offenders have set up their kicking team to score some extra points on a game that was abandoned well over two decades ago, before the game was over. (Gang Of Four went on to do some disco stuff. Wire disbanded, solo’d, and later reformed. Both are worth further exploration than the two records mentioned above.) If you’re in the mood for contemporary music that’s simultaneously skeletal, pristine, a little abrasive, and sick with hooks, the Young Offenders are in league with The Estranged. This is how I imagined “post-punk” would have evolved years ago, instead of turning into architectural sound sculptures that give math majors boners… Funny how that happens. Great stuff across the board. Fantastic two songs. –todd (Deranged)


YOUNG FAVORITES:
Self-titled: CD-R
With a cover that looks like it would be more at home on a Smiths single, these guys blast through four thrash tunes with all the modern trappings—herky-jerky rhythm changes, stops, lyrics about how pissed off the singer is. The lack of overt metal influences, the brevity of the tunes, and the fact they can make one mean ruckus earns ’em beaucoup points. –jimmy (www.myspace.com/youngfavorites)


YAHZENBURG, DER:
Demo: Cassette
A cacophony of guitar parts and drum tracks possibly being played by men caught in traps originally designed for bears. If it’s a joke, it’s a brilliant satire worthy of being listened to by all bands recording their first demo as an example of what to avoid. If it’s serious, what the fuck? –Bryan Static (Baby Carrot, myspace.com/itlsvnwo)


WOMEN:
Self-titled: 7”EP
“Strangler” is tightly wound punk that proceeds to spin out of control, only to come to an abrupt halt. These guys remind me a bit of Career Suicide with their “what you hear is what you get” approach and sound—punk pure and unpolished. The second side with “Get Fucked Up,” “Shark Week,” and the strong closer, “Radiation” is the best of the record. –Matt Average (FDH)


WILD WEEKEND:
Cosmetic Couple: 7”
You might remember Wild Weekend as the Zeros cover band from San Diego that played at the Masque’s thirtieth anniversary show. Although they’ve been writing their own material, this release features a couple of covers from their hometown heroes, “Cosmetic Couple,” one of my favorites, and “Black and White.” Sticky sweet on top and distorted on the bottom. Sounds like a wild weekend to me! –Jim Ruland (Munster, www.munster-records.com)


WHITE CLOUDS AND GUNFIRE / DESTRUCTORS 666:
Caveat Emptor: Split CD
Split records like this should happen a lot more often: two bands that sound absolutely nothing like each other, and both rocking hard and well in their own distinctive fashion. White Clouds And Gunfire have kind of a fuzzy Kinks groove combined with new wave dance sensibilities on the first song. More of a commercial (read: nice, and likeable by everyone) sound on the second, and kind of a mellow late ‘80s-esque rock‘n’roll feel on the third tune. Ne’r have I heard so much in so little tunage by one band. And then comes Destructors 666—flat-out rockin’ my socks off with kind of a swamp-rocky undercurrent to a lot of it. Wowzers. So, the final tally: two extremely different bands, both of whom I liked for entirely different reasons, on the same record. Kind of like when I discovered that smoked turkey and tomato go really well on a blueberry bagel—you wouldn’t expect the mixed flavors to work all that well together, but it sure is tasty. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Rowdy Farrago / www.destructors666.com)


WHITE BARONS / DEAD CITY ROCKERS:
Split: 7”
Punks, some of you punks are ridiculous with the stupid tattoo art record covers. No more tattoo art covers. You send em’, I’m trashin’ em. Boobie girls and broken bottles? C’mon dauchy. Okay, this isn’t that bad on the music end. Not great, not bad either, sans artwork. White Barons: catchy female-fronted melodic punk song. DeadCity Rockers supply a Clash/Cocksparrer type song that was typical but solid. –Dave Disorder (Champagne & Cocaine)


WHISKEY TRENCH:
The Good Son: 7”
Dillinger Four-style of hooky pop punk bands like New Bruises and Witches With Dicks play. Whiskey Trench supplies some of the same ingredients—the vocal trade offs that produce catchy choruses and breakdowns where the music breathes without a wanking solo to accompany it. The vocals sound like Mike and Bobby from the Thumbs, and the production of the recording lends a gravely undertone that you hear when you throw on an old Crimpshrine record. Lyrically, it’s a little too mundane and self introspective for me, but, musically, the foundation is built tight. Overall, a solid record. –Dave Disorder (Dead Broke)


VETERANS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
There are a lot of albums my four-year-old daughter and I share as favorites. There are also tons of albums where one of us can’t believe the other actually listens to such things. I know for a fact she doesn’t dig Rudimentary Peni, and I can tell you that I can’t stand her forty-track Dora the Explorer CD. One band we can usually agree on, however, is The Queers. We can’t get enough of those sing-along hooks. Now, if the two of us were to sit down one day and work to create a mix CD of all of our favorite Queers songs, the resulting sounds, harmonies, emotions, and jubilee would be of equal value to the self-titled album from Italy’s The Veterans. Good stuff, yo. –mrz (It’s Alive)


VERSE:
Aggression: CD
Dudes are definitely onto something here. “Modern” hardcore that toes the line between the flattened, howling fury of Killing The Dream and the fuck it all finality of Modern Life Is War, Verse came out of left field and surprised the hell out of me. Smart-as-nails lyrics, musicianship that manages to convey both melody and a threadbare sense of desperation being juuust held at bay without losing any of its power or relentlessness. Hard to describe, which is generally the case with bands that are doing things right. I mean, the apple isn’t falling too far from the tree here—it’s still hardcore, right?—but all of the things that make it so easy to make fun of this genre (frenzied odes to being stabbed in the back, silly breakdowns, etc.) are absent here. And they’ve been replaced with challenging music, resounding intelligence, and, what the hell is this? A suggested reading list that includes William Blum, Pratap Chatterjee, and George Orwell? This shit’s good; don’t know how likely it is that the “average” Razorcake reader would dig it, but I’ve found myself playing it pretty frequently. Nice attack. –keith (Bridge Nine)


VIOLENT SOCIETY:
The Complete Punk Collection: CD
Decent enough anthology of stuff from these spiky-headed punkers. Normally, my appreciation for bands that easily fall into the “parrot punk” category is about as positive as it is for lutefisk (quite possibly the worst fucking thing on the planet to pass itself off as food), but these guys seem to get it a bit more than others in the Krazy Colored, leather-clad set. They manage to cover Eater and MDC with enough conviction to come of as sincere, and from what I can make out of the lyrics, are a step above the other punters in that regard as well. –jimmy (www.pukenvomitrecords.com)


VIBRAFINGERS, THEE:
They Vibrate!!: CD
If you’re anything like me, you sometimes lie awake at night quietly sobbing into your pillow while cursing the heavens that the Vindictives and Apocalypse Hoboken have stopped making albums. Thee Vibrafingers may not replace either of these bands in our hearts, but their rock is reminiscent of my favorite bands of yore. Mixing the vocal styles of these two bands with the power pop sensibilities of bands like The Briefs create an enjoyable amalgamation of good old times. Just what the doctor ordered. –Bryan Static (Turborock)


WAR OF DESTRUCTION:
Normalisering: 7” EP
Wow, two Danish releases in one review cycle. I feel quite blessed. While not exactly delivering something out-and-out crucial, this is nonetheless not bad, falling somewhere between snotty punk and rudimentary hardcore. More succinctly, it didn’t set the house ablaze, but didn’t have me scrambling for the “off” button, either. –jimmy (www.hjernespind.com)


WAIT IN VAIN:
Seasons: CD
If someone were to claim that Trial’s Are These Our Lives? LP was the greatest hardcore record of all time, I don’t know that I could argue with them. Whichever forces aligned after Trial’s first two EPs that led to the creation of that record have yet to reunite in the seemingly bottomless abyss of camo shorts and hilarious clichés that makes up most of the present-day hardcore scene. When I heard that Trial guitarist Timm McIntosh (whose post-Trial outfit Champion I felt paled greatly in comparison to his prior undertaking) was again teaming up with one of the best drummers in the genre, Alexei Rodriguez (of Trial, Catharsis, 3 Inches of Blood, etc.), I thought perhaps something incredible was in the works. Now, I know that this is a different band, and that Seasons isn’t the new Trial record, but it’s difficult not to compare the two. Musically, Seasons could be the successor to Are These Our Lives? but with McIntosh handling lyrical/vocal duties, the intellectual, seething rage that Trial frontman Greg Bennick once brought to the table has been replaced with a more typical hardcore delivery of less compelling content. Don’t get me wrong, this is still head and shoulders above most recent hardcore bands’ output, but I guess I was just hoping for a masterpiece and this came in a touch below expectations. –Dave Williams (Think Fast!)


WAIT IN VAIN:
Seasons: CD
I don’t know if they wanted us to catch this, but if you happen to glance at the spine of the CD, you’ll notice it says Seattle Straight Edge. Pretty sneaky guys! More melodic than a lot of straight edge I’ve heard. Well produced, with a guitar that grates like a steel wool rag notched in your nether regions. This will scare the neighbors. –koepenick (Think Fast)


VIVA HATE:
Hateful and Hollow: CD
This sounds like mid-‘90s Epitaph/Hellcat music. They have hair like the Nekromantix. I don’t even know if I spelled that right. –mrz (Self-released)


WATCHING THE MOON:
Perception Is Bent: CD
These guys do a nice job of recalling the alt-rock hype circa 1993. Unfortunately for them, this is 2008, which means they’re fifteen years too late for the initial wave and five years too early for the revival. –jimmy (www.universalwarningrecords.com)


WAR TRASH:
Distort Disaster: Cassette
Lo-fi, filthy crust out of San Francisco. They stick like glue to the genre and make no attempts to venture out, yet this is still a pretty good listen. I love that creaky bass sound and the tinny guitar. No kidding. If you like bands like Asbestos, Neurose Urbana, Anti-Cimex, etc., you would and should dig this. Worthy of being on vinyl. –Matt Average (War Trash)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
We Do What We Want: Olympia Punk Comp Vol. 1: 7”
I listened to this record and somehow I got “DIY” tattooed on the inside of my lip. Maybe it was the hand-screened/hand-stamped covers or the sixteen page photocopied booklet filled with notes, lyrics, and collages, or maybe I didn’t actually receive the tattoo and all this stuff just made me want to. Whatever actually happened, the bottom line is there are some sweet, DIY punk bands in Olympia, WA playing some tight music. Very heavy EastBay influences, but nonetheless, a group of bands and people that are well worth checking out. –Daryl Gussin (Rumbletowne)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Rhode Island Rejects: CD
If you were looking for another reason to be happy you’re not from Rhode Island, I’ve got fifteen of them right here. –megan (Reject)


UNNATURAL HELPERS:
Earwax: 7”
Skewed, smartass Northwestern punk that sounds like the era before punk, indie pop, and grunge all shot out in different directions. I’m hearing some Half Japanese or maybe the Crucifucks at their blurtiest. If I had a band, I’d like it to sound like this. Or The Pharcyde. –CT Terry (Dirty Knobby)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
America’s Unknown: LP
Dunno quite how to approach reviewing this. On one hand, you’ve got a great compilation of now-obscure U.S. punk from Ash Tradition, Identity Crysis, Stukas Over Bedrock, PTL Klub, Horror Planet, Stevie Stiletto and the Switchblades, Chronic Disorder, Entropy, and Maggot Sandwich. On the other, you’ve got the twenty-year anniversary issue of Artcore Fanzine, with interviews and features on Career Suicide, State, Smalltown, Direct Control, Bad Posture, Bemisbrain Records, Frontier Records, and the irrepressible George Hurchalla (whose book Going Underground is a must-own). Both are packaged together in an LP format, and both are definitely worth the hunt. Better hurry, though, ’cause this is no doubt a limited edition release. –jimmy (http://www.damagedrecords.co.uk)


VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL:
Unlucky: CDEP
VBS, who hail from Elgin, Illinois, has hints of Screeching Weasel and Green Day, which totally makes it sound like it could be some ‘90s-era Lookout! stuff that fell through the cracks. Everything tells me that I should be all about this. But I’m not. Parts of it aren’t that bad, but those parts aren’t making me think that I’d put this on again. The songs are just too long—or at least they seem that way—and they seem too orchestrated, too produced. –Vincent Battilana (Cassette Deck)


UV RAYS:
Are Sick of Humans: 7” EP
Five tracks of street punk rock and roll from upstate New York that comes in somewhere between the U.S. Bombs and the Unseen—especially on the last track “Party Rat.” Loud and obnoxious. Sign me up for the full-length. –Jim Ruland (Feral Kid)


US POLICESTATE:
Release the Chemicals: CD-R
By the numbers hardcore, with nary a variation in the beat from one song to the next. While that may sound like an insult, and it’s true that they ain’t exactly breaking new ground here, they are proficient enough at the style to keep the attention span from waning over the course of the nine songs here. –jimmy (Age Of Risk)


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·PARASITE DIET
·I AM SPOONBENDER
·SUSAN ATKINS DIET
·FALL-OUTS, THE
·PICK YOUR POISON
·3 CAR PILE UP #1 & #2
·Side A: The Music Lover’s Graphic Novel
·ROBERT BELFOUR
·A Clutch of Record Reviews


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