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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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SOLUTIONS:
Life of Joy: 12”LP
Solutions had a short-lived existence, this being their only release. Sorry folks, I guess it’s better to leave them wanting more, eh? Solutions are straight white-knuckle, brutal powerviolence. From slow, sludgy, mud-dragging bass to a hot fettered d-beat froth and atonal guttural screams, it’s pure rage. Gas Chamber, which they share former members of, and Condition instantly come to mind when I listened to this LP. Only 300 copies.  –Camylle Reynolds (Iron Lung)


SOMERSET THROWER:
Falling Swingers: 7” EP
I was excited at first to hear a band that kind of sounded like Lotion (underrated ‘90s indie rockers from Manhattan). As the record went on, I realized these guys are closer to Sunny Day Real Estate, or some cousin to The Get Up Kids. The lyrics are vague sensitive male clichés, the singer staring at a woman’s face and describing a sad ocean or a sidewalk (I’m paraphrasing). They’re either throwing back to an era that needs to be left alone or they don’t know how dated this sounds. I can’t decide.  –Matt Werts (Dead Broke, deadbrokerecords.com)


SPELLS:
“Jet Set” b/w “¡A Huevo!”: Cassette
“¡A Huevo!”is as close as you can get to aping Rocket From The Crypt without lifting the leads from Speedo’s fingers or snatching his swaggering voice right out of his throat. The song is cheeky and rambunctious, but sadly, “Jet Set” slips into the deep end of cloying power pop and winds up swimming with The Maxies. For about four and half minutes of music, I recommend roughly half of it.  –Sean Arenas (Snappy Little Numbers, snappylittlenumbers.blogspot.com)


SPELLS:
At Sea: 7” EP
Let me just throw this out there: Spells are incredible. Reviewing this record was a pleasant surprise. In all likelihood—unless this band explodes (hopefully)—I may have never heard this release. Extremely well packaged, four-track EP by this Denver quartet. Three hundred copies of this sucker exist, which seems low to me, but what do I know? The quality of the songs is remarkably high. The production’s dead-on for Spells’ sound (huge) and the tracks themselves are catchy. In a nutshell, it sounds like veteran band’s record, rather than a new group (which, apparently, they more or less are). Great Rocket From The Crypt style-tunes, with a nod to Dillinger Four here and there, while sticking close to the rock to a traditional rock band formula. I’m impressed. Mastered by the one and only Daniel “Hajji” Husayn. –Steve Adamyk (Snappy Little Numbers, snappylittlenumbers.blogspot.com)


STABBED IN BACK / PAYOFF:
Split: 7”
Well looky here; a surprisingly potent split from New Mexico’s Stabbed In Back and SoCal’s Payoff. The SIB cuts feel a little more raucous and aggressive (sounds like this James Hall guy would fit right in at Razorcake HQ) than Payoff’s, but that isn’t meant to take anything away from them. In fact, the Payoff cuts probably demonstrate a little more range than SIB’s, largely due to the dual girl/guy vocals. Payoff features some ex-members of The Bombpops and their overall sound doesn’t stray too far from that now-defunct outfit. Honestly, this hasn’t left my turntable in days. Maybe that means something?  –Garrett Barnwell (Rad Girlfriend, radgirlfriendrecords.com)


STALE PHISH:
Rock N Roll Revert: LP
This is what it’s all about: skateboarding and punk rock. The two go hand in hand. Stale Phish only write skate punk songs, with song titles like, “Shred Sled,” “Gators Song,” and “While You Skated Street (I Skated Pool with Your Mom).” All the songs are really tight and have an old school punk rock feel. If you like bands like the Faction, Agression, or the old BYO comps, do yourself a favor and check these fellas out. Rip it!  –Ryan Nichols (Not Like You, notlikeyouzine@gmail.com)


STAPLES IN CARPET:
“One of the Same” b/w “In Secret”: 7”
This Seattle trio’s translucent green 7” is stunningly beautiful, and its cover—which stylizes the most iconic image from 1978’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers—made this horror nerd do a happy, little jig. The single itself, “One of the Same,” features the kind of straightforward, gain-drenched guitar work, simple but precise drumming, and angry white guy vocals that will resonate with fans of ‘90s hardcore, then throws in a chuggy, slow-building breakdown to lock down the band’s metal cred. The B side, “In Secret,” blends Staples In Carpet’s punk and metal influences more seamlessly, utilizing the minor chords and disorienting fuzz of an old school horror punk song without compromising their thesis of being pissed the fuck off.  –Kelley O’Death (Totally Brainless)


STAY CLEAN JOLENE:
Self-titled: CD
These dudes from Manchester, England, sound so much like an up-tempo version of Gaslight Anthem that I had to check if there were any ties between those bands. To my knowledge, no ties exist, and the more I think about it, the basis for my comparison is the hoarse vocals and the melodic power of the music. All in all, Stay Clean Jolene offer a filling plate of twenty-first century punk, and one that I’m liking more and more with each listen: the melodies are fast and tight, the vocals have a raw intensity and sincerity that I really dig, and the harmonies that start making themselves known upon further play really sew it up and sell the whole thing for me. Let me bookend this review with a better comparison: Stay Clean Jolene sound like a cleaner, less metal-y version of Venerea.  –The Lord Kveldulfr (Just Say No to Government Music / Bombed Out)


STRANGLED:
Body Bag: 12” EP
A reasonably brief album’s worth of what I call chilly punk, and everybody else calls the much more respectable cold wave. Park it somewhere between Arctic Flowers and Flowers In The Dustbin and you’ve got the right idea. Gloom and frost and typewriter fonts. It’s got a little too much punch in it to be entirely shrugged off—those guitars aren’t screwing around—but there’s a part of me that was wishing the songs themselves were a little more nuanced.  –keith (Crude City, no address listed)


STUPORHERO:
Clams?: LP
I do love surprises. From the strangely spelled name to the bizarre album title and cover art, to the rock-star-mocking-but-not-humorous photographs on their website, I rolled my eyes so hard that I could feel them hit the back of my skull. Then the music came on and I got happy. Really fucking happy. It’s poppy surf-punk, done well. Really fucking well. This is a band that doesn’t have to be silly to be good but I can’t imagine that anyone would convince them of that. I just like the music. I really like this music.  –John Mule (Basement Tape)


SUMMER CANNIBALS:
Show Us Your Mind: LP
A proper full-length’s worth of female-fronted pop rock with ample Big Muff leads and solos. The vocal delivery shifts between soothing, dreaminess, and varying levels of aggression, yet never too aggressive. The album might start to feel monotonous, but that’s probably just your punk-addled brain. Listen to the whole thing; the tempo changes at the end make for a particularly strong finish. And lock groove/secret song stuff is pretty fun too, even if somewhat confusing. –Daryl Gussin (New Moss, newmossrecords.com)


SUNSHINE STATE:
Pour: CD
It’s going to take this band a few releases before every other review isn’t obligated to mention drummer Warren Oakes’ history in Against Me!, so let’s just get it out there. And Pour should be received warmly by Against Me! diehards who haven’t minded the band’s metamorphosis from ear-shredding folk punk toward mid-tempo Replacements-style rock, because there’s plenty of that on this debut. But the seasoned punks of SunshineState have plenty of other influences they don’t mind showing. Some familiarity with the DIY behemoth that is the Gainesville punk scene is a decent jumping-off point, but frontman Troy Perlman’s style is less marble-mouthed and gruff-beardy-guy-oriented than the classic orgcore stereotype. This has more in common with the thoughtful, songwriter-centric pop punk of Jawbreaker and J Church. It seems like this list of ingredients adds up to a whole lot of nostalgia, which isn’t totally inaccurate, but this is a band that does manage to put its own spin on it for something pretty new and interesting. –Indiana Laub (No Idea, noidearecords.com)


SUSAN ATKINS DIET:
Vagina Envy: 7” EP
Rudimentary Peni and surf rock meet, fall in love, and birth a child named Susan Atkins Diet. SAD carries the tone and vocals of RP, simultaneously following the other “parent’s” surf rock melody throughout this entire EP. While featuring strikingly similar styles of both of the above, this 7” manages to add their twists and turns with their anti-patriarch content and misogyny-slashing lyrics. To say the least, I am smitten and am left wanting so much more. As I eagerly wait for this “more,” I will leave it up to you to follow my footsteps and join me. –Genevieve Armstrong (Self-released, Susanatkinsdiet.bandcamp.com)


SWINGIN UTTERS / MODERN ACTION:
Split: 7”
In one corner, the champion, the Bay Area’s hard-hitting favorite, the legendary Swingin’ Utters. In the other corner, the scrappy challenger, Modern Action who, if I were to judge from this split single alone, get a surprise knockout to shock the judges and make the bookies skip town. Modern Action’s 2010 release, Molotov Solution, got good reviews from Razorcake, so I’m not surprised at how much I dig this release. –John Mule (Modern Action, modernactionrecords.com)


TAPEHEAD:
The Flexi: 7” flexi
I’m so confused by this. The packaging combines the classic Crass Records aesthetic with the Black Panther movement images and contains two and a half songs of snotty, garagey punk rock’n’roll. Based on the look of this alone, one might lyrically expect a political, socially conscious rager, but instead you get contrived rock’n’roll songs about not being able to get the girl. After two full songs, the third song gets about thirty seconds into it before it fades out—much like my interest in this band.  –Mark Twistworthy (Reel Time, reeltimerecordss.bigcartel.com)


TEENAGE REHAB:
Break Yourself: 7”
Another solid record from these degenerates. Upbeat punk rock with some rock’n’roll riffage thrown in for good measure. The title of the record and the front cover photo of someone eating shit on their skateboard takes me back to the good old days. Could do without the weird reggae guitar thing happening on the last song, but the rest was great. –ty (Revert, teenage-rehab.bandcamp.com)


TELEVISIONARIES, THE:
Self-titled: LP
Surf rock is a tricky genre. There’s some good stuff here and there, but, for the most part, this stuff tends to suck. Really, how many Ventures albums are solid the whole way through? Unless you’re Man… Or Astroman?, then chances are you aren’t all that. Televisionaries make me miss bands like the aforementioned Man… Or Astroman?, as well as Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet, which I can here influences of in this band. However, Televisionaries lack charisma, drive, and all other things that make for an interesting band. This just sounds like a band dialing it in.  –Matt Average (Reel Time, reeltimerecordss.bigcartel.com)


TENANTS:
Demo 2015: Cassette
I had this pinned as entry #43859 in the category of bellowing melodic punk for fans of Iron Chic and Midwestern basements. But then the second half abruptly turns into a stompy oi thing, so there’s a lesson about pigeonholing. This is a demo that sounds like what I assume it is: the early efforts of a young band still finding its footing and arguing over influences at practice. Nothing too attention-catching yet, but it’s a decent start.  –Indiana Laub (Self-released, no address listed)


TENEMENT:
Bruised Music, Volume One: LP
A collection of previously released songs from these Wisconsin rabble-rousers! I have been patiently waiting for this, and I was not disappointed. Raw riffs, catchy song titles, and all that you would normally expect from this power trio. The one-two punch of “Sitcom Moms” and “Spaghetti Midwestern” is formidable, but the quality control stays in the red until the last note. The harmonies seem to be a bit tighter on this platter and the drums are a bit more in your face. Besides, any band that has a song called “Icepick” is worth checking out, don’t you think?  –koepenick (Toxic Pop, tenementwi@hotmail.com)


THAALS:
Castle Claremont: Cassette
This album starts and ends with soundclips from Daleks, so Whovians should be pleased just with that. The band makes rock’n’roll for teenage space aliens. Song titles range from “Bingo Dabbing,” to “Patty Hearst,” to “Black Mold.” Vocals are really blown-out with effects and distortion, so the band comes off very garagey. It makes lyrics fairly indiscernible and with no lyrics printed, it’s anybody’s best guess. But that kinda helps add to the sci-fi, out-of-this-world sound that Thaals have going on. They can get pretty thrashy on some of the songs. For the most part, this is a fast record with echo-y vocals and dirty bass. I’d love to hear them with a keyboard player. Would be a great companion to any campy alien movie or Halloween party. Don’t get me wrong, though, I’d bump this any day of the year. –Kayla Greet (Drug Party, drugparty.storenvy.com)


THRASHERS, THE:
Robot Invaders from the Death Galaxy: LP
A lotwent into this LP… double-printed jacket (outside and in), printed sleeve, glossy lyric insert, and vinyl sticker. Packaging ain’t cheap. Strip away the excessive graphic trappings and you’re left with adeptly played interstellar attack robot surf rock (from Canada). However, Robot Invaders… is all over the map. Cosmic artwork, X Files, or mob themed band pics, and lyrics that do nothing to connect the themes equals a shtick that don’t stick. One song did have the singer sounding like the Horny Mormons, so that’s a plus.  –Matt Seward (transistor66, transistor66.com)


THIRTY SIX STRATEGIES:
Strategy Three: LP/CD
Thirty Six Strategies might contain a number of stalwarts from the U.K. hardcore scene but this isn’t tough guy music, as there is a relaxed and melodic outlook that sits at its core. With new vocalist Marie Vockins firmly settled front and center, she frequently acts as a siren distracting me from all else that is going on with her wonderfully gritty and soulful voice. Then suddenly I’m snapped back from my reverie by the rest of the band rocking out in way that makes me think of Hammerbox, given the guitar work and agile rhythm section. Great stuff.  –Rich Cocksedge (Boss Tuneage, bosstuneage.com)


THREE ROUNDS / JUNKIE FIGHT:
Split: 7”
A split release by two young Nevada bands: Three Rounds and Junkie Fight. This record is packed with almost ten tracks (The Three Rounds side alone tracking in at over seven minutes!). Junkie Fight’s approach is quite unique, bridging grindcore and blast beats with riffs that are a fairly poppy. Seemingly thought-out tracks with a good sense of humor and witty lyrics. Three Rounds have the better production value on their side, while sticking to a more straight-forward, Screeching Weasel sound with heavier guitar work. No track list, but the second Three Rounds tune is their best.  –Steve Adamyk (Self-released)


TIGER HELICIDE:
Rock ‘n’ Roll Commandos: CD
I hated this record on my first listen, but I will admit that my initial judgment was a bit off base. Subsequent listenings just left me a bit bored. This compilation of seven EPs and singles is standard-issue horror punk, replete with a cover of the Misfits’ “Teenagers from Mars.” The sound quality is at times dubious, but on the whole, this isn’t the terrible record that I thought it was at first. It just covers a well-trodden path in a way that isn’t strikingly inventive in any way and thus does not make me stand up and take notice. Except for the Misfits cover, that is—the chorus is all warbly and watery, as if it was recorded with the singer’s head in a toilet bowl, which is a really neat effect.  –The Lord Kveldulfr (Gad! / Murder Boy)


TIGHT BROS / RAD COMPANY:
Split: 7”
Strange that a name as dumb as Tight Bros would be used more than once, though I guess this band is from now and not way back and all. It’s the first I have heard them. They sound a lot like the Marked Men—kinda fast and ragged pop punk. Rad Company are on the other side of the record and hail from Bob Pollard land , Dayton, OH. Similar kinda ragged pop punk sound but more anthemic in the delivery and a little faster. This seems like the kinda record that the average Razorcake reader would absolutely love, especially the do-it-together ethic of having seven labels involved in the pressing. –frame (No Breaks)


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·MATT SALKELD
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·Razorcake Podcast #162
·DAKOTA/DAKOTA
·Big Shiny Prison, The: Volume 1


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