RED LORRY YELLOW LORRY: The Very Best of Red Lorry Yellow Lorry: CD
The late ‘80s was an odd time to be a college radio DJ; with scattered exceptions here and there (Lazy Cowgirls, Sloppy Seconds, Moral Crux if ya want three good bands from that era that didn’t sound at all similar), punk rock was obviously no longer deserving of the missionary zeal we True Believers correctly heaped upon it in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s ((and incorrectly heaped upon it from ‘83 or ‘84 on out)). Hair metal bands of varying darknesses were still considered completely legit by almost everyone, would-be REM clones with pluggable-innable acoustic guitars ran roughshod over every state in the union, and the people who were supposed to be REALLY smart were beginning to invent grunge. Given the circumstances of rightfully mounting consumer ((that means me)) disconnection from the stinky carnival of LAME that late ‘80s punk had become, the times were such that folks such as i were inclined to listen to the radio shows of fellow DJs a bit more than normal decorum would suggest, just on the off chance that they actually sidestepped the whole mess and hit on something INTERESTING that my natural punk-o-centric tendencies might have otherwise caused me to overlook. Red Lorry Yellow Lorry were one of those bands that i was always glad to hear my fellow WGBW DJs play, because, although they weren’t awful enough to make me turn off the radio, they also weren’t good enough to make me think i was missing anything by not owning any of their records. Surprisingly, this dark and mildly tinny Limey collegio-goth hasn’t actually aged that poorly over the last twenty-odd years, although i’ll state up front that the brunt of this disc’s appeal to me is pure nostalgia. Still, i could see popping this in after work some night when the only things to eat in the house are ramen and beer ((gets up to check cupboard and refrigerator)). Damn, you’re in luck. I’ll get the water boiling. BEST SONG: “Talk about the Weather” BEST SONG TITLE: “Monkeys on Juice” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I said the band’s name ten times fast just to see if it could be done. I respond in the affirmative.
–norb (Cherry Red)
RAY GRADYS, THE: Die Mindless Fools: CD-R
I’d almost endorse this hodgepodge disaster of a band due to a truly great song or two, but piles of obnoxious cock rock and metal influences interrupt their otherwise likable childish, straightforward, Pennywise-fueled sound. You’ll need to actually shoot some Chinese rocks to enjoy their covers of “Chinese Rock” and “Outlaw Scumfuc,” but a series of included answering machine messages detailing a member’s quitting the band are priceless.
–Art Ettinger (www.raygradys.8m.com)
RANDUMBS, THE: It’s About Time…Again: LP
For some reason, I thought this was a pop punk band because the name sounded familiar. Then I looked at the cover, and thought this was going to be some Crass-but-not-quite style band. Then I listened to it, and it kinda sounded like Against All Authority without the horns, and little edgier/gruffer. Let’s leave it as I was half right on both accounts.
–joe (More Smart Than You)
PURPOSE: 1994-2001: CD
I did a little research to find out this band was a NJ-based melodic emo-hardcore band that existed during between 1994-2001. They totaled ten members, one of who was Bill Henderson, ex-Thursday. The tracks are a twenty-seven song discography that spans the band’s existence. This is good emotionally charged hardcore with the tough guitars and vocals of Youth Of Today and Gorilla Biscuits, not the whine of most of today’s emo copycats. Oh yeah, they do a Rites Of Spring cover as well! The lyrics are mostly centered on fighting back against today’s corporate-driven, consumer-based system. Fucking a right!
–Buttertooth (Black Numbers)
PUNKINPIE: Broketruckgoodluckson: CD
One time I had a plastic jug fall out of my car and get water all over the inside. Pissed, I kicked the gallon jug, thinking it was just water inside. But I forgot it was actually frozen solid from the night before. Cracked my toe right open. Had to get toe surgery. When I looked at Punkinpie’s name and emo-ish cover, I wanted to kick it hard. But it’s actually pretty good poppy girl-guy singing punk in the vein of The Lids. More fun than surgery.
PUGET SOUND / KID BLUNT: Split: CD
Puget Sound are good at playing their instruments, but don’t do a good job of working it into their songs, so instead, there are things like a disembodied Primus bass part before the song kicks in. Kidd Blunt sounds like Planes Mistaken For Stars with Iron Maiden guitar parts, and three songs in, I was standing there in my boxers with one leg up on the arm of the couch, eating a bag of pretzels and doing this headbang/pelvic thrust dance. –CT Terry
–Guest Contributor (Hideaway)
PUBES, THE: Peat Sounds: CD
Ack! This band is toying with my emotions through the use of Snakepit-meets-Dr. Seuss cover art! I’m such a sucker for good cartoon-ey drawings that this band could play Jets to Brazil-esque crap, and I’d still think they’re pretty good. Attention pop punk devotees: This was recorded at Sonic Iguana! To the uninitiated, this means that it’s a.) pop punk, b.) guitar-happy, and c.) good! The music is your standard pop punk, but the lyrics? There’s the song “Squirrel Fight Pt 1” (“They go at it every night/Come on buddy, don’t be lame/Pay your dollar, state your name/I promise you’ll be glad you came/Get geared up for the big squirrel fight!”) and the song “Oven Burn,” which repeats the line “Jackie Joyner Kersey” over and over! Shameless copying of Ben Snakepit’s comic style? Songs about female athletes? If this were a cereal, it’d be those colored Rice Krispies that don’t exist anymore. Rice Krispies=standard fare, but different colors=silliness. I am dumb!
–Maddy (Roadhouse Tunes)
PROTOCOL, THE: Recess: CD
Please note: In your bio, you can’t just make statements like, “Jeff Reitan is recognized as one of the best guitar players around…” What? By whom? You might as well say that your band is the best band in the area. Argh, bio writers…if there’s one thing that can annoy me more than bad music it’s shitty writing. Unfortunately, in this case, the music isn’t much to write about either. I feel like I’m back in high school when I was subjected to horribly generic Christian pop rock. This includes cheesy lyrics, simplistic structures, generic vocals, and the occasionally stereotypical guitar solo. I didn’t like it then and ten years later I still don’t.
PROFESSOR CANTALOUPE: Space Snacks: CD-R
Professor cantaloupe needs to put the pipe down and think things through. This is sound collage music that is a repetitive skip for the first four minutes. All these tracks are live on the air at KXLU. So these college students had no musical talent but enjoyed mixing on the radio. Space Snacks leads into some Twilight Zone-style Future Sounds of London atmosphere stuff, but I was a lot more impressed by FSOL. If noises are your thing, maybe you’ll dig this, but it came off as just freaky in a stupid way to me. Random dialogue you sampled from obscure sources doesn’t constitute music.
PRIZZY PRIZZY PLEASE: Self-titled: CD
So I’m driving around, reviewing the latest batch of stuff and I put this on. I’m hearing muscular punk/rock with enough quirk in it to make things interesting, right? But I keep fixating on the guitar player and thinking, “Wow, this dude plays really weird. He’s really happy with the harmonics and it sounds like he bangs, rather than strums the strings.” I get to where I’m going and take a look to see who this unique guitarist is. Turns out that, outside of a lead in one tune, there is no guitar player. All that noodly, distorted racket was being laid down by a keyboard player. Of course, that ratcheted up the “cool” factor by at least twenty points.
–jimmy (Let’s Pretend)
PRIMES: Facades and Pink Forms: CD
Wild-sounding release from a Vancouver, B.C. duo. Front 242’s sonics and Skinny Puppy’s experimentalism are present, but it’s not self-indulgent. “Weapons Tanks Fire” and “Consumher” brought some insistent rhythms that have yet to leave my cranium. If you’re looking for synthpop that doesn’t fit into any preset categories, Facades is it. This probably sounds fantastic driving on the Autobahn at 2 AM.
PRIMES: Facades and Pink Forms: CD
Apparently, all of the bike couriers in Ottawa are crazy about weird, electronic pop music. Me, I run at the very mention of electronic music, and if a band gets on stage with a computer instead of a drum kit, I’m totally out of there. I am not very progressive. However, if you, like the bike couriers, enjoy music with bleeps and beats and fuzzy, buried vocal tracks, then maybe you would like this album.
FATALITY: Self-titled: 7”
Interesting release from this band from Nevada. At first, the guitar sound comes off a bit off kilter and twangy. But as time moves on, it actually benefits the sound of the music. It creates a foggy atmosphere. The band has a sound of old analog recording equipment and recorded live inside a garage. The songs swish along and then you are taken for a ride where they punch up the speed and thrash you along. Then they return to wash you over with a dissonant dirge of harsh drone while the singer/guitarist screams and yells with a pained delivery. As an introduction, I like what I hear. In a better studio setting with bigger production, this band should make a larger population take notice.
FATALITY / THINK FAST: Split: 7”
Two hardcore punk bands, neither of which is doing anything amazingly original. Think Fast kind of reminds of Minor Threat if an oi singer was trying to front it. I really want to like this because of the vinyl color (half black, half clear), but something doesn’t quite add up. This record doesn’t sound right at any speed. On 45, you get the chipmunk effect and on 33 1/3 the vocals just sounds too slow for bands named Fatality or Think Fast. I suppose the vocals aren’t what I should be thinking fast about, eh? Get it? Moving on, the songs did seem to go by fast enough that I only counted three per side, but the Think Fast side had five. Go figure.
–Bryan Static (Spacement)
FAREWELL: : CD
Boring Epitaph punk! If this were a cereal, it’d be Lame-Ohs. The End!
FAMILY PET: Self-titled: 7”
The first side of this record is about six or seven minutes of redundant noise made with percussion and keyboards. When I say redundant, I mean if you were to pick up the needle and move it anywhere on that track it would be doing the exact same thing. Side two is an actual track—as in it’s cut into the record—of complete silence. I liked the second side better.
FAILING MYSELF: Every Day: Cassette
Solo acoustic stuff on an unmarked, one-sided tape. The recording quality was a little shoddy, but it was sparse and fairly haunting stuff, somewhat reminiscent, I guess, of that Liza Kate song off the Wayfarers All LP. I was digging it, until I came across the last song, “The Jailbait That Stole His Heart,” in which the dude waxes poetic in a first-person narrative about sawing a woman’s head off. Next.
–keith (Rally Point)
EXPLODING HEARTS, THE: Shattered: LP
Hopefully I’m not being presumptuous, but since you’re reading Razorcake I’m assuming you know something about the Exploding Hearts tragedy (if not, check their website, www.explodinghearts.com, which is an informative tribute). Anyway, Shattered is an odds and sods collection of singles and alternate takes and mixes from Guitar Romantic. I’m typically weary of these collections (stuff left in the vaults is usually there for a reason), but the Hearts were one of those bands whose outtakes were better than most groups’ best tracks—a short-lived band whose limited output calls for a release of just about everything recorded—a lineage that includes the Young Marble Giants, LiLiput, etc. For rabid Exploding Hearts fans—a group that grows daily—this is a must. For those benighted to the Hearts and their ‘78 Mick Jones “Gates of the West” sound, start with Guitar Romantic then venture here. On a personal note, I’m glad to see that Dirtnap is releasing this record. Dirtnap, like In The Red, is a label whose existence is vital to up-and-coming bands—groups like the Exploding Hearts found a safe haven with Dirtnap’s broadminded, eclectic palette.
EVICTION PARTY / LEPER: Split: Cassette
Eviction Party: I’ve reviewed a fair amount of tapes put out by Sharpie Fumes now and have started recognizing names of band members that continue to crop up in various releases. Thusly (and I’ve got no idea how accurate I am) Halifax strikes me as a fairly small but very tight-knit, active, and way fun scene. Eviction Party (and Sharpie Fumes as a whole) seems to reflect this perfectly: blank tapes with spray-painted stencils, Xeroxed covers, frequently dodgy recordings, and tons of passion. Vocally and lyrically, they’re treading some heavy Crimpshrine ground, while the clean guitar and strumming style almost brings to mind the Ne’er Do Wells or some other ‘60s-inspired jam—though that lack of distortion and oomph might just be a question of gear or recording. Either way, it’s decent, smart, and melancholic stuff—given a slightly brighter recording (though the levels on this one are generally pretty good), I’d probably be all over this band. Leper: Some fairly dark and political hardcore with strained vocals and spot-on lyrical content. Plenty of group vocals and the occasional odd, jazzy interlude—can’t help but feel like I’ve heard stuff like this before (Forced March, maybe?) but also more than willing to admit that they’re really good at it. I liked the menacing ska undertones that continued to pop up in “Creep Anthem.” Definitely one of the more consistent Sharpie Fumes jobs, and if these aren’t just a few bands that got together for a weekend and recorded some songs, I’d say we all might want to keep our eyes out for future releases.
–keith (Sharpie Fumes)
ERASE-HERS: Out of My Mind: CDEP
Uptempo pop punk with a lady singer and keyboards high in the mix. If you’re thinking of the Epoxies, or maybe the Unloveables with someone tickling the eighty-eights, you’re on the right page. But the tracks on Out of My Mind lack that second gear, that other layer that contrasts the poppy elements and rewards repeated listens. (The Epoxies have their dystopia world view, for example; the Unloveables their heartache.) Out of My Mind seems static because the emotional highs and lows are given equal treatment. There’s no need to erase what they do, just add their voice to it.
–Mike Faloon (www.erasehers.com)
ENDLESS MIKE AND THE BEAGLE CLUB: The Husky Tenor: CD
Interesting, apparently this band is comprised of ten-plus dudes, and yet they aren’t a ska band. In fact, this is a whole bunch of folky/country jams that range from light and sensitive, to pretty rockin’, without just coming off as another Against Me! or Plan-It-X style rip off (as many other bands like this often do). This combined with the interesting packaging (which while I’m not positive, I suspect is the work of the label, who often pulls cool shit like this), I enjoy the bejesus out of this.
DUKES OF HILLSBOROUGH / THE MERCURY LEAGUE: Abandon All Hope: Split 7”
The Mercury League: the post-Epitaph sound but played with youthful fervor instead of a desire to remain relevant fifteen years after the fact. The double wanking guitar attack may be brain numbing, but they’re definitely played proficiently. And the fact that all four of the band members spend a good portion of their side of the 7” with singing time creates quite the wall of sound. Dukes of Hillsborough: the gruff, the hell-raising, the Dukes. Like a seedier, heavier Billy Reese Peters, they bring the rock but with a certain amount of grime and dirt that just smacks of TampaBay.
–Daryl Gussin (Accident Prone)
DOPAMINES, THE: Self-titled: CD-R EP
Six-song debut from this Cincinnati power trio: solid punk rock, vocals you can hear with actual melodies attached. This is a demo recorded in someone’s basement. But it actually sounds pretty decent. These dudes are on the right road. Oddly though, one of the band member’s last name is not Dopamine? Why?
DOA: The Black Spot—Unauthorized Bootleg Version: CD
Dunno what the second half of the title is referring to, but considering Joey’s the one putting it out, I’m guessing it’s some kinda piss-take or something. Feel kinda bad about the short shrift I gave this record back when it came out. When it hit the shelves back in 1995, I hadn’t seen DOA in at least a decade, but I had heard from numerous people that they just weren’t what they used to be, so when this band I was in (actually, by this time my position in the band had shifted from musician to sound guy/auxiliary guitarist-when-in-a-pinch) scored a show at a Tacoma AA clubhouse with what was once one of my favorite bands, I was jazzed, but still not expecting much. They demonstrated themselves to righteous punker types when they lent our drummer a kick pedal to replace the one that had broken right as he was setting up (and anyone who’s ever played a show can attest to how truly rare it is for a headlining band to do such a thing), allowing this humble touring band from East L.A. perplex Washington’s punk population in attendance with our hybrid of punk and traditional Mexican music. When DOA hit the stage, though, I knew that everyone who’d said they had lost it were utterly fulla shit, ‘cause they were easily better than the last time I’d seen ‘em in 1986. They sounded just as inspiring, tight, and manic as ever, and newer songs, like their quasi-cover of David Peel’s “Have a Marijuana,” sounded more in step with their earlier stuff than that later rock-type stuff they ended up delving into for a short time. And yet, when I saw this on the racks later, I just couldn’t bring myself to spend the cash on it. Why? I dunno, really. Chalk it up to their aforementioned “rock” period, blame it on terminal lameness on my part, but despite my experience, I totally figured it was gonna suck, so I dismissed it out of hand. That was ultimately my loss, ‘cause while this ain’t Hardcore ‘81 or nothin’, it is one of the more solid releases from their later period, which has been pretty hit-or-miss, frankly. Most of the songs are strong, catchy, edgy, and all that other good stuff one looks for in a DOA release, right down to the chainsaw used on “The Nutwrencher Suite.” Thanks again, boys, for lending us that drum pedal lo those eleven years ago, and thanks, Joey, for givin’ me a second opportunity to appreciate this album.
–jimmy (Sudden Death)
DIGITAL LEATHER: Hard at Work: LP
Unfortunately, since body casts are made of fiberglass, you can actually walk around in them. So when I got it put on after breaking the vertebrae, I had to go back to my ninth grade classes. Other kids were pretty nice, actually, and only laughed after I was far away. Digital Leather gave me the same feeling inside. Can’t really describe it, just stuck in a cast, walking around feeling weird and contained. Another great album from DL in his homemade mood synth world. Maybe his most vital album yet.
–mike (Tic Tac Totally)
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