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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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PROZACS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
"She needs a facelift and she needs one now/she needs to alter her looks somehow...." Are you kiddin' me with this? Look, the Queers-clone school of stupidity became passé more than eight years ago. Please find another band to emulate. I recommend some emo group that's hot right now. Now there's a genre that should provide gobs of fodder for flaunting such an utter lack of originality. –jimmy (Cheapskate)


PONIES:
Self-titled: CD
(Make note, this isn’t The Ponys.) Spazzy DIY rock in the musical-notes-instead-of-rocks cement mixer of The Okmoniks, ADD/C, The Lipstick Pickups, Los Federales, and The Leeches, augmented by altitude sickness (they’re from Flagstaff) and screams into your left ear. At times, it’s endearing. At other times, it’s like getting a tamale and you unwrap the husk to find another husk. It’s annoying, but you can work through that, too, unpeel it again, and it’s nice and warm and soft inside with just a little bit of chicken knuckle you’ll have to spit out into a napkin. I’ve got the feeling they’re on to something, and haven’t quite figured out how their Optimus Prime should be assembled for maximum ass kicking, but am willing to double check how their creative underwear fill up for the next release. –todd (DogPony)


PILOT SCOTT TRACY:
Any City: CD
The Causey Way (Razorcake #1) cult disbanded. But the musical platelets remained in their blood. In that blood, The Cars splashed through and slithering keyboards hydroplaned. In that blood, early ‘60s pop commingled with sparse, non-sucky indie rock. In that blood, guitars blare and Scott sings in his high-register voice, and sexy, sultry interludes remain. PST are less new wave and more just a band whose approach is akin to latter-day Man… or AstroMan? I’m willing to go the distance—far from the original flight pattern—because there’s always an unexpected reward if you buckle yourself in and take the turbulence. “Angel of Death” balls up every word in this review, lights them on fire, and uses them as a beacon for a safe landing. Recommended listening. –todd (Alternative Tentacles)


PILOT SCOTT TRACY:
Any City: CD
Sporadic new wave punk—what you’ve come to expect from the Causey Way outfit (some of the members who make up this new band). Elements of mellow electro, new wave, punk and straight-up pop flavor this disc, and in a good way. “Big Fun” (showcasing quality post-punk) and “Master Jack” (pure pop goodness) are the best tracks by far. Songs like “Daisies” and “Babies” sound less like the Causey Way and more like Le Tigre or Ladytron. All in all, this is a great disc for past cult members of the Causey Way and indie/electro post-punk fans. –mrz (Alternative Tentacles)


PHENOMS, THE:
Home Brain Surgery Kit: CD-R
So many bands are afraid of The Rock. They won’t let it be just that simple. There has to be some sort of outside influence. Then there are the traditionalists, those who make no apologies for walking a well-tread path, but with their own defined steps. This is where The Phenoms come in. Straight-forward, no frills rock’n’roll. No apology, and no reason for one. It’s just plain old rock’n’roll, but they make every song their own, and they do it well, which is why they have chances to share the stage with bands ranging from Pegboy, The New Bomb Turks, and Guitar Wolf to Link Wray. –megan (Beercan)


OVIPOSITOR:
Cease the Day: CD
Bony and discordant and yet as loose as the swinging flesh on the back of my grandma’s arms. I’d maybe compare this to Syd Barrett but this has an irksome self-consciousness that Mr. Barrett’s organic strangeness never allowed him to have. And no amount of dissonant guitar and experimental plumbing sounds can cover it up. Cool screen-printed cover, though. –aphid (Ovipositor)


OKAY PADDY:
Hunk: CDEP
This reminds me a janglier version of The Outfield or a weaker version of Jimmy Eat World. Neither of those references is bad, per se, but I just need more “oomph” to keep this one in my collection because by the last song (and this is only an EP, mind you,) I said out loud to myself, “Please stop,” as I reached for the eject button. Still, it’s always nice to get an extra jewel case out of these things… –kat (Prison Jazz)


OBSERVERS, THE:
So What’s Left Now?: CD
Ho-ly go-d-dam-ned sh-it, this record’s fantastic. It’s denatured, so many of its elements are intentionally off-kilter, which may throw you off on first listen, but stick it out. The reward may just be your new favorite punk band. The singer’s got a mid-paced, almost operatic voice, which makes the vocals sound like a politically informed Damned. But they don’t take the easy cookie cutter route, because the overall effect is a new DIY band stepping on the toes of giants and getting away with it. The bass is thick and slabby without being fret-tastic wankery. The drums are slaps, punches, and tough love. The guitar is Dangerhouse’s barbed wire pulled tight, keeping the compound well protected; the band takes no easy outs. The lyrics are heartbreaking, expansive, and generous, focusing on promises upkept and decay seeping in. If some asshole’s shitting in your ear that all punk’s on a big stage and sounds like taffy coming out of some boy band factory, here is, yet again, proof positive that they have no idea what the fuck they’re talking about. Dig. A diamond. –todd (Vinyl Warning)


NRA:
Machine: CD
I've heard of these guys for quite some time but, if memory serves, haven't actually heard ’em. They dabble in a poppy, rock form of punk (meaning the songs are mid-tempo and the screaming is kept to a minimum) that's often reminiscent of Naked Raygun and similar bands. While they approach their tunes in a straightforward manner, there are some neat little surprises to keep things interesting. –jimmy (Gearhead)


NONE MORE BLACK:
Loud about Loathing: CDEP
I tried to check this band out. I’ve heard good things. It’s way too poppy for me, though. They attempt some edgy stuff, but Alkaline Trio did it a lot better. I guess they could fit with a kid that likes the new Hot Water Music, but I like the old HWM. No, even that’s giving these cats a little too much street cred. They do play Pork Pie drums, use Pro-Mark sticks, and ESP bass guitars, among other things. I always thought it was a little wanky to write that shit in a CD. Gotta please the sponsors, guys. Punk rock. Dude. Their retort in a song here is “I don’t give a shit what punk has to say anymore, man, ‘Shit has changed,’ no kidding, there’s no more room for me,” and then it ends the whining rant with, “There’s no point. The subversive’s been dug up. All the ideas that were dead.” Did Donald Rumsfeld write this gibberish? I have no idea what the hell they mean, either. –Buttertooth (Sabot Productions)


NEW MEXICAN DISASTER SQUAD/WESTERN ADDICTION:
Split: CDEP
Each band provides three originals and one cover. NMDS: Melodically infused hardcore punk that is not afraid to push the limits of speed and anger. No cookie cutter song structures. They made me keep my attention. Reminded me of a cross of Avail meets Strike Anywhere. The cover of the Bad Brains’ “FVK” was pretty damn fine in my book. Western Addiction: They hold their own with their brand of punk that was equal parts Good Riddance mixed with some Minor Threat conviction. I don’t think I have heard someone cover Naked Raygun’s “Rat Patrol” before. A release worthy of keeping. –don (No Idea)


NAZ NOMAD & THE NIGHTMARES:
Give Daddy the Knife Cindy: CD
I was unemployed for most of the summer of 1987, and, to give myself some illusion of productivity, i started off every morning (okay, afternoon) by sending an anonymous post card signed with the obvious pseudonym “Jesus Chrysler” (note: this affectation preceded both the band of that name and the song “Jesus Chrysler Drives a Dodge” by the Screaming Blue Messiahs) to my friend Donny who was stationed in Japan. The only actual message i still remember from any of the cards i sent him (which were, as often as not, just weird scrawls and chicken scratching) was something to the effect of “HeY dONnY i bEt yOu DOn’t KNow tHaT NAz nOmaD & tHe NiGhtMaReS aRe reAllY tHe DAmNeD!”, which amused, puzzled, and bewildered him even after he got out of the Navy™. In retrospect, how ANYBODY could have listened to this record back then and NOT immediately pegged it as the Damned by the time “Action Woman” rolled around is beyond me, but, nope, most joes were well and truly of the opinion that Naz Nomad and Sphinx Svenson were real people (who weren’t other real people with funny names most of the time), that this really was the soundtrack to a movie called Give Daddy the Knife Cindy that no one had ever heard of before or since, and that American Screen Destiny pictures would one day surely grace us with this sure-fire box office smash in full Psychedelic Color, as advertised (starring Eddy Taylor and Shelley DuMaurier, don’tcha know). Oh well, people are weird that way. In any event, this album was always real cool to have at parties—if half the people wanted to hear something at least vaguely tied to punk rock (“vaguely tied to punk rock” about as generous a label as one’d slap on the Damned ca. this album’s original release in 1984) and the other half wanted to hear some sort of ‘60s punk-psych-garage thing, you could flip this on and be hailed as The Great Uniter; plus, back when it came out, i wasn’t all that familiar/saturated with songs like “Action Woman” and “She Lied” and “I Can’t Stand This Love, Goodbye,” so it came in handy as a de factoNuggets/Pebbles type thing as well. From a Damned standpoint, this record is certainly WAY the fuck better than their “real” sixth album (i maintain that every album up through Strawberries, their fifth, is worth owning), and, compared to Acid Eaters, the Ramones’ lame attempt at doing the same sort of record years later, Give Daddy the Knife Cindy is King of the Jelly Jungle times ten. From a standpoint of how essential a record featuring a ‘77 punk band (’76, whatever) doing cover songs from 1967 in 1984 is in 2005, if you can cope with a little of that thin, overcompressed ‘80s sound, and the whole bouncing around thing from the ‘70s to the ‘80s to the ‘60s to the ‘00s doesn’t swat you as sure to produce some horribly ersatz result, i say tune in, turn on, and blow your tweeter, dude. BEST SONG: I’ll say the one original, “(Do You Know) I Know.” BEST SONG TITLE: “I Can’t Stand This Love, Goodbye” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I obtained my vinyl copy of this in the ‘90s when Timbo from Mutant Pop™ decided he could no longer stand this record, goodbye, and gave it to me. Sweet. –norb (Dionysus)


NARCOLEPTIC YOUTH:
Chronological Disorder: CD
Holy moley, the kids are all right… at first I swore that this was a re-issue of some band from the early ‘80s that somehow I had never heard of. It’s fast and biting, with a snotty sense of humor and tunes that, instead of getting old, get better with every listen (even if some of the riffs are markedly similar to riffs that I have on other records, but when you’re working with only four or five chords, tops, you’ll wind up covering some old ground: cf. Big Drill Car’s almost note-for-note reworking of a Brigade song on Album Type Thing). The titles may have made me groan at first (“Vicious Killer,” “Don’t Belong,” “My Neighbor Hates Me,” “McAnarchy,” et al.) and wonder what kind of rehashed crap-trap I had found myself in, but dang it all if they didn’t pull it off. This certainly isn’t the record of the year, but I doff my cap to Narcoleptic Youth for making me feel fifteen again. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Finger)


MOREX OPTIMO:
Beast of Reflection: CD
A wickedly vomitous example of what happens when some wretched weanlings mix art and algebra and try to pass it off as music. At its best it sounded a little like Jethro Tull at their turgid, pretentious worst. Absolute rot. What did I ever do to deserve having to listen to this? If this is “punk,” can Razorcake stop being a punk zine? Please? –aphid (Broken Hill)


MOMMY AND DADDY:
Fighting Style Killer Panda: CD
Dual girl/boy vocals snarling over an awesome sounding fuzz bass and synth, but desperately trying run away from the annoying and monotonous drum machine. –kat (Kanine)


MISERY/PATH OF DESTRUCTION:
Split: CD
Misery sounds like a punk band trying to outdo Swedish metal. Sorry guys, the Swedes have it down pat. Path of Destruction is more of the same only a little less punky. They have a song talking shit on Bush, so at least they got their head on the right way. –mrz (Rodent Popsicle)


MILLION DOLLAR MARXISTS:
Give It a Name: CD
Another band strip-mines the same "garage rock" territory as the Hives and a million others. Catchy tunes, I'll give 'em that. –jimmy (Gearhead)


MIDNIGHT LASERBEAM:
A Death in the Discotheque: CD
At some point I fell asleep while listening to this but I think I remember it being sort of a collection of mushy atmospheric lullabies that sound a bit like the Cure crossed with the Afghan Whigs crossed with a warm bottle of Enfamil baby formula. It just oozes from the speakers like creamy spit-up from the gaping mouth of a giant baby a-snooze and dreaming fitfully of being tangled up in Robert Smith’s octopus hairdo. While beating this thing to death with a garden weasel certainly sounds satisfying, it would ultimately be something akin to attacking a big soggy saltine cracker. Frightfully uninteresting. –aphid (Mattress)


MIDDLE CLASS MILE:
Self-titled: CD
Liberal doses of pop and emo are fused to a punk fuselage. While their efforts will no doubt garner them a record deal, they didn't sound all that different from all the other "new school" bands playing in the same sandbox. –jimmy (Two Four Dead)


MHz:
Increase the Voltage: CD
From what I gather, these are the complete recordings of this band. Not sure why it took so long to get released or why they only put out a 7” while they were a band, because this is pretty damn great. It finds a nice middle ground between the Tyrades and the Baseball Furies, which is a pretty nice place to be. There’s also a weird computer theme going on, like Servotron, but not as funny. Where was I when they were around? –Josh (Flying Bomb)


MATICS, THE:
Self-titled: CDEP
First release since 2001’s Ignition shows the band updating their sound with a new drummer and songs that thrash around like a caged animal being tortured with a stun gun. “343” features dueling guitars while “Symptoms in Tread” recalls the best that Fugazi had to offer. My favorite track on this platter is “The Last Swashbuckler” which sports precision batterings from drummer Ronnie DiCola that may cause your ears to bleed. That’s certainly my idea of a good time. Pat K. and Jim Mertz trade off on both guitars and vocals and their tight interplay provides solid cohesion to their sound. According to the liner notes, this was recorded in an oil factory outside Chicago. I can practically smell the grime oozing through the speakers on this one. This CD wraps up with a live song, “I Sacrifice I,” which showcases throbbing bass chunks that Pierre Kezdy would be proud of. Pick this one up and play it really loud in your basement. It will hold any loose foundations in place. –koepenick (World Records)


MANIKIN:
M4: 7”
I keep on thinking they’re writing me songs on a postcard from the outreaches of Siberia. Cold, tattered art rock, that although infused with an Eastern Bloc solemnity, is engaging and slightly hypnotic, like watching the wheels of a train when it’s speeding up and clanging along. So, not cock rock or smash-you-in-the-face rock, but more Pere Ubu and Wire: it’s primarily about weight and atmosphere, but with scraping hooks and definite momentum. Could have easily come out in the late ‘70s England or Cleveland instead of Austin 2005. Satisfying stuff. –todd (Super Secret)


MANHANDLERS, THE:
Self-titled: LP
It’s amazing what mastering will do. I wasn’t so up on the CD version of this album, thinking it sounded too much the same. The vinyl makes it an almost completely different album. It’s nasty, fishnet-ripping, cough syrup and vodka chugging, porno warehouse as practice space good times. Think if the Runaways got of age after making a series of poor life decisions, funneled that rage and confusion into a tight ball, and tore right back at it by making music. The result is sexy, angry, gritty, and unapologetic: in other words, a great punk record. –todd (Criminal I.Q.)


MALACHAI:
These Sounds of the Spirit World: CD
One song reminded me of the Presidents of the United States of America. One had a ‘80s Krautrock sound. Another was more punk meets Mars Volta sound going. And another goes more towards a pop punk ‘77 style. That was the first four songs. This release goes out in many directions. I could have gone without the white boy rap. –don (4XBeaver)


DEVIL IS ELECTRIC, THE:
I’ve Never Trusted a Revolutionary That Was Afraid to Dance and a Bunch of Other: CD
As the album title mentions, this is a re-release of TDIE’s very cool CD that came out a few years ago, along with a bunch of 7” and comp tracks that you might otherwise never get a chance to hear and a few songs from pre- and post-TDIE bands. These folk-punks always makes me feel like I can change the world, one humble step at a time, and remind me that there really are some genuinely down-to-earth people out there who want to make a difference. There are few DIY labels that like to cram as much music as possible on to one CD (not to mention for it to be as inexpensive as possible), and Plan-it-X is one of ‘em, so you’re sure to get a bang for your buck (this CD only costs $5 ppd!). Twenty-five tracks here, though there are actually way more songs than that, as the last two tracks are entire EPs (one being the Disarm 7”—the band who had originally been Operation: Cliff Clavin and later morphed into TDIE). Sadly enough, TDIE disarmed (get it?!) in 2003, but Chris and Hannah are still playing together as Ghost Mice. Not the best sound quality, but lots of good songs about how great and how horrible we humans are. –Heela –Guest Contributor (Plan-it-X)


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