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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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FRIGITS:
The Guilt: CDEP
(Note: The first two references in the upcoming review were in mind prior to the reviewer looking at the CD insert and seeing a) the Aaron Cometbus-style graphics and b) a band member named Paddy.) There are many places in this world in which people revere the early less-than-poppy East Bay/Lookout releases and, in forming their own bands, attempt to infuse such sounds with a more contemporary Dillinger 4 style. It is within these circles that The Guilt will be very well received. They will love this scruffy, melodic post-hardcore with gruff vocals and goofy-on-the-outside-earnest-on-the-inside lyrics. Those of us who favor half or neither of those influences (I’ll sign up for D4, pass on the inconsistent early East Bay/Lookout) will likely shrug with indifference. –Mike Faloon (Hide Away)


FRANK TURNER:
Campfire Punkrock: CDEP
As a music critic, it is sometimes difficult to write an objective, concise, and articulate review about an album when all you want to say is “Ohmygodohmygodohmygod SO GOOD.” I hope you all appreciate the effort, because that was my exact reaction to first hearing Frank Turner’s Campfire Punkrock. Turner has taken a life of rock shows, touring, waking up in strange places, and (of course) loveless sex, and channeled it into an excellent folk record. He’s a Woody Guthrie for the modern punk scene, with a voice like an earthier, British Jeff Magnum. He may be riding Billy Bragg’s anti-folk wagon, but as he says in the excellent “NashvilleTennessee,” “I try to make it sound my own.” He succeeds. –Sarah Shay –Guest Contributor (Welcome Home)


FOUR STAR ALARM:
Tilted b/w Cities in Dust: 7”
I couldn’t figure out what was familiar about this at first. Was it Dag Nasty? Then after listening to it a bunch of times, I looked at the little info sheet, and realized the a-side was a Sugar cover (that song’s going on a Sugar tribute, the other’s just an extra b-side). So that’s what I decided; this band sounds like Sugar and Dag Nasty. With a slight indie rock side to them. Yes. –joe (Underground Communiqué)


FORTY MARSHAS:
Self-titled: CD
Appears to be some big rock dude collaboration project, with a bunch of people (ranging from member of Death By Stereo to the Goo Goo Dolls), and a bunch of sounds (ranging from really long, drawn-out ambient noise, to metal). It’s not bad and has its moments, it’s just kinda weird for me to be able to sit down and enjoy it in one sitting. –joe (Beatville)


FORENSICS:
Green Lions: 7”
Isn’t it against the rules to put an instrumental song on the A-side? My bet is it’s also not smart to have the B-side be so much better than the A-side. Not bad, maybe a little less organ and then you’ll be going somewhere—specifically somewhere that doesn’t have really lame organ lines. –Bryan Static (Timberline)


FORCED FAILURE:
Self-titled: CD-R
When one thinks of Arcata (in Humboldt County), California, visions of hairy people, the pungent stench of patchouli, and blurry memories of quality buds come to mind, rather than punk rock. True, it was once home to Brew ‘n’ Beats, a fairly nice bar with a fairly eclectic booking policy, but the thought of a scene of thrash-happy kids taking root there was kinda remote, although apparently that was an incorrect assumption. To wit: this disc, a demo from a bonafide hardcore punk band from Arcata, was passed on to my courtesy of East L.A. punk legend Morgan Hunt, who while living down here in the early ‘80s, did time as a writer for Ink Disease as well as putting out his own zine, Multiplication of the Typical Joe, and as singer/guitarist for the sorely missed A.D. Do. He seems to have kept up with his old days as a rambunctious punker and has now added drums to his repertoire of instruments played. True to form, this is steeped in enough ‘80s influence to look (check the Agression-esque skull skater on the cover) and sound (is that some early Die Kreuzen quirkiness I hear in there?) familiar, but not so much that it sounds like some fawning rehash circle jerk. The beats are kept mostly at a driving pace and the band smashes along with enough conviction to keep things interesting. In all, it’s a fine debut and, hopefully, a good indicator of even finer things to come. –jimmy (www.myspace.com/forcedfailure)


FOR SCIENCE:
Way Out of Control: CDEP
1) This is a serious contender for best EP of 2007. 2) Mikey Erg producing and on bass and Chris from Sinkhole on drums! 3) Has nothing to do with the last Clash album Cut the Crap, originally entitled Out of Control. WHAT MORE COULD YOU WANT?! –Bryan Static (It’s Alive)


FLAGS OF CONVENIENCE:
Self-titled: CD
Yikes. Is this part of an official Razorcake campaign to send me total crap to drive me crazier than I already am?! Really, really bad political punk. Lyrics like: “Straight boys are taught to rape with their eyes.” I only hope that they’re all fourteen years old and will look back on this one day and get a good laugh. If this were a cereal, it’d be Cap’N Crunch (It hurts the roof of my mouth!). –Maddy (Sharpie Fumes)


FILTHY 42’S, THE:
Positively South Jersey: CD
I notice I tend to get a lot of stuff from New Jersey lately, presumably because everyone assumes I already know about it. This pretty much comes across as just another band trying to hit it big. I mean, the tunes aren’t bad, but anything heartfelt here has been polished away. I mean, it came with a press sheet that included “target markets.” People aren’t assuming I’m into that kind of stuff, right? –joe (Boot To Head)


FEAR OF LIPSTICK:
Indie Band: CDEP
About two minutes into “Bad Motel,” as the song is going from the second chorus into the solo, there’s a bit of guitar noodling that tugs the track in a different direction. It’s not dissonant or off key (it reminds me of the Soft Boys, actually). It’s unexpected and hard to categorize and I wish Indie Band had more moments like it. The rest of the disc, a decent blend of Green Day and the Clash (Billy Joe Strummer?), too goes where I expected it to. –Mike Faloon (It’s Alive)


FEAR OF LIPSTICK:
Indie Band: 7” EP
Punky, ramped-up pop from a buncha guys who apparently prefer “independent” rather than “indie” when it comes to describing them, and I can totally empathize. The songs are catchy, opinionated and strong overall, which means you could do much worse than picking this up. –jimmy (It’s Alive)


FEAR OF LIPSTICK:
Indie Band: 7” EP
There is an axiom in rock’n’roll that says you can’t really go too wrong buying a record with a black cover and pink lettering ((and i should know, because i just now made it up)), and, in a general sense, that’s true here; however, what i really can’t get my brain around is how a band that writes such laughably shit-tacular lyrics like “your college boy brand of rock is doing mighty well for you and that’s just fine / you’re packing your shows, making more than a dime” could actually have the balls to include this line in their press writeup: “Pop punks ((sic)) songs absolutely need to have the hooks, but without quality lyrics and solid song structure they’re just fodder for the bargain bins of tomorrow.” I’m reading that, i’m like “Fuck YOU, ya little douches! Your lyrics are so bad i spent ten minutes trying to figure out if you were native English speakers, or from fuckin’ Lithuania or some god damn thing! Who the hell are YOU to go off on ‘quality song lyrics’ this, and ‘solid song structure’ that?! YOU FUCKIN’ DORKS WRITE SONGS WITH TITLES LIKE ‘CHERRY BOMB!!!’ HAVEN’T WE HAD A PERFECTLY GOOD SONG WITH THAT TITLE FOR LIKE OVER THIRTY YEARS NOW??? I HOPE JOAN JETT KICKS YOUR ASS WHILE LITA FORD EATS TIM HORTON’S STREUSEL CAKES OFF YOUR MOTHER’S BEST CHINA!!! AAAAAAGGGGGHHHHH!!!” Not a terribly bad record, really, but... i mean... holy crap, mon, get it together. BEST SONG: “What You Do” BEST SONG TITLE: “Cherry Bomb”...if you’re the FUCKING RUNAWAYS!!! FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I wrote the song “Motherfucker Are You Ready To Rock?” in the front row of a Joan Jett concert. –norb (It’s Alive)


ZATOPEKS, THE:
Damn Fool Music: CD
The latest release from these prolific Europeans, who are known for their take on pop punk crossed with rock’n’roll. They seem to try to take things a little further on this one as well, with some subtle indie rock and jazz influences (especially on “Daily Mail,” which is one of my favorite tracks on the record). Other miscellaneous thoughts that popped into my head while listening involved wondering if Sonic Iguana had moved to overseas, and that the vocals sounding like a pop punk cross between Jello Biafra and Leonard Graves Phillips. –joe (Whoa Oh)


YOUNG LASSES, THE:
Sad Fur Peak: CDEP
According to the info that came with this, the main dude responsible is an abstract painter who got into making his own tape loops. He got involved with two other cats and they decided to make a kinda hip hop/punk/skronk hybrid, which is exactly what this sounds like. It’s quite good when it works, kinda meandering when it doesn’t, but when you average the two ends of the spectrum out, it’s a consistently interesting take on the melding of all aforementioned genres. –jimmy (The Young Lasses)


WRETCHED ONES, THE:
Make It Happen: CD
It took them almost a decade, but the irresistible Wretched Ones finally return with their fourth full-length album. The Wretched Ones are one of the few surviving bands from the oi/streetpunk boom of the 1990s. Perhaps they’ve endured since they truly do live the working class existence that other bands only purport to. They work blue collar jobs and don’t try to make a career out of the band. Live shows reveal that they have some of the most ribald fans of any active band of today. They traditionally sing about being old and working themselves to the bone, and it’s been wise of them to take so long between records since all four albums are essential. While there are no songs as catchy as “Bicycle Jack” or any of their occasional melodic songs from the past, every track on here retains that Wretched magic that fans know and love. New classics include “Skin Neighbor” and “Lady Boss.” It’s always been hard to explain why this seemingly dopey music is so damn effective, but nothing gets us fans going the way The Wretched Ones do. This new batch of laugh out loud lyrics you can raise your fist in the air to, belted out by vocalist Pit, will provide years of fun for a bourgeoning new generation of Wretched fans. –Art Ettinger (Headache)


WORDS:
Self-titled: CD
Is it naïve of me that I expected a band called Words with an album called Words to have an emphasis on, y’know, words? Words’s atonal, frenetic, slightly mathy hardcore has a few good lyrics, but the way vocalists Justin Morales and Morgan Travis scream them, you’d never know without cracking the insert. Doing so does prove informative, however; they’ve included a manifesto of sorts inside, explaining that they give away their music for free because “music is passion, not an industry.” –Sarah Shay –Guest Contributor (Self-released)


WORDS / THINK IN FRENCH:
Split: 7”
Your older brother’s screamo, from the days when bands wore garage jackets and didn’t even consider getting on the radio. Words are the more spastic of the two bands, with guitar effects, a sick drummer, and sing-along potential towards the end of their track. Think In French slow their hardcore down a bit, for a chunkier rock style that would have been a lot more interesting if the song was half as long and they didn’t keep going back and forth between two parts. If those Impetus Inter records just aren’t enough, you may as well pick this up. –CT Terry –Guest Contributor (www.humaniterrorist.com)


WITHOUT M.F. ORDER:
Desentivity Training: CD
Kevin from Limecell once told me that he sings from the neck up, no diaphragm needed. He’s got a kindred spirit in Captain Perverto, fellow practitioner of the Cookie Monster (style), “I will end you” (substance) vocal arts. But it’s the humor and conviction as much as the sandpaper singing and metallic punk that win me over to the occasional Confederacy of Scum band. While I have no doubt that Without M.F. Order can mop the floor with any dude in the joint Desentivity Training is a relatively tame record. Sure “This Blood’s for You” is kind of funny but it’s kind of dull. The anti-gay lyrics later in the record are to be expected—more predictable than offensive—but I’m confused by the “Parental Advisory” label and the decision to abbreviate “motherfucker” in the band name, seems rather pragmatic, if not sensitive. I can’t imagine a guy like Captain Perverto making such concessions. –Mike Faloon (www.blackandbluerecords.com)


WISDOM TEETH:
Self-titled: CDEP
This five-song EP from Portland’s Wisdom Teeth bears a great resemblance to Virginia’s Haram (who basically combine Drive Like Jehu and Sonic Youth) or the great Unwound. While it’s played competently, it doesn’t really have any bells and whistles or even a swinging leg that kicks me in the balls. Unfortunate. –kurt (Radio Is Down)


WILD WEEKEND:
Demo: CD-R
First off, lemme start by saying that as a rule I’m not too fond of cover bands, especially punk cover bands. Exceptions exist, of course, but on the whole, I don’t really understand why anyone would spend so much time perfecting the performance of someone else’s songs instead of coming up with your own. To me it shows a serious lack of creativity, you know? That said—and I know I’m contradicting myself, so shut up—I like Wild Weekend. Sure, the vocals could be delivered with a little more oomph, but on the whole, they ain’t too bad at covering Zeros “hits,” like “Cosmetic Couple,” “Wimp,” and “Handgrenade Heart,” to name a few. Would I prefer to hear what they come up with on their own based on said Zeros influence? Yeah, but hearing a worthy band put “Don’t Push Me Around” to good use ain’t exactly a bad thing. –jimmy (www.myspace.com/wildweekend07)


WAY HIGH-MEN:
Let’s Get Arrested: CD
Dirty, outlaw, stoner rock from this New Orleans via Baton RougeLouisiana band. They are sleazy and proud. The songs are tongue and cheek and over the top. Although this kinda stuff isn’t usually up my alley, these guys could grow on me. At least they don’t take themselves too seriously. They could be considered in the vein of Supersuckers, Nine Pound Hammer, and Nashville Pussy. They appreciate the down and dirty style and attitude of bands like Zeke and Honky. If you’re in the mood to tie one on and get in a fight with some rednecks in bro-dozers, these guys might whet your whistle. –Buttertooth (www.myspace.com/thewayhighmen)


WASTED TIME:
No Shore: 7” EP
Seven more cuts of hardcore carved from the same cloth as bands like Negative Approach and Out Cold. Not too fast, not too slow, but plenty pissed. –jimmy (Grave Mistake)


WARDANCE / PENALTY TIME:
Split: LP
Splits LPs rule. All around, it’s an awesome format: more than a split 7”, which can be over before you know it, you’re able to firmly get an idea of what a band’s trying to do—but you get two of ‘em to try on for size. So I figured Sweden’s Penalty Time was going to be some nutty thrash stuff, given that their side of the sleeve had a drawing with skeletons with those little flipped up hats on it. That and the band name were really all I had to go on, and surprise, surprise, I was way off. Me and my assumptions. They’re actually kicking out some pretty decent, catchy streetpunk stuff: think of a more gruff Criminal Damage, or Blitz with a bit more of a hardcore flair. Not bad by any stretch. Wardance is playing dark and doomy crust stuff—they don’t really provide any band information at all, so I’m just guessing when I say that a guy and a girl are trading vocal duties here. If I’m wrong, you lads should know that one of your vocalists sounds strikingly like the woman from Hiretsukan. Taken as a whole, it’s a great introduction to both bands, and neither one of them skimp on the content; generally good songs and consistent songwriting throughout, and there’s so much music packed onto this thing, the record would occasionally skip due to the grooves being so thin. Pretty solid attack. –keith (Penalty Time)


VOIDS, THE:
Sounds of Failure Sounds of Hope: CD
Solid, female-fronted punk rock with lyrics that are deeper than you might expect. The next time I’m in an angry ladyrock kind of mood, this is what I’m going to reach for. –jennifer (www.drstrange.com)


VOICE OF THE MYSTERONS:
They Have Pulled Down Deep Heaven on their Heads: CD
Sometimes when you wish for something a little off the beaten path, you get it in spades. Case in point: this disc: Imagine that Biafra and Saccharine Trust’s Jack Brewer had a love child and he’d been recruited to sing in a Scratch Acid cover band wholly conceived in the mind of the dudes in Rudimentary Peni and you ain’t even partly there. This is unrelentingly noisy, pretty danged original sounding, and fucked up in all the right ways. Can’t wait to spring it on the guests at my next garden soiree. –jimmy (Boot To Head)


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