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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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SLAPSHOT:
Tear It Down: CD

Never really liked these guys much, and was wholly unimpressed with ’em the one time I saw ’em, and yet I’m kinda diggin’ this. It ain’t the post-Minor Threat, Boston circa ’86 vaguely metal feel of this, ’cause that ain’t so new and inventive, and lord knows I’ve said more than enough times that most metallic hardcore gives me a rash. Mostly I think it’s ’cause, in this post-9/11 world where it seems the entire world acts toward the Big Apple like co-dependent parents coddling victimized progeny, these guys have the huevos to lay down a ditty entitled “Fuck New York.” Gotta love that.

–jimmy (Thorp)


SKEEMIN’ NOGOODS:
Skeemin’ NoGoods: CD

Sometimes records come with a host of expectations: a one-sheet hyping members past bands or possibly a publicist tossing out a handful of comparisons at you. The Skeemin’ NoGoods showed up without much fanfare—just another disc slipped in with a handful of others in a padded manila envelope. And then sometimes, when you slip it in the CD changer and press play, your whole world gets rearranged. And that’s what happened to me with the Skeemin’ NoGoods. Cut one (“I Want Something”) jumps out at you with the fervor of classic speedball punk; think Johnny Thunders filtered through more beer and bands like The Humpers or Riverboat Gamblers. I’m thinking, “This is good shit,” but secretly hoping it doesn’t go down as predictably as a twelve-pack of PBR. By track two (“Politicians”), an Agnostic Front street punk styled run-up about dirty politics, and I’m totally thrown off course for my predictions. Then, the band has the fucking balls to follow up these with “Punch the Clock,” an infectious ‘70s rocker than recalls Cheap Trick and Thin Lizzy respectively. Fuck me. So I Google their ass and find out that they are on the Dallas-based label Idol Records which is home to VH1’s Band On The Run winners Flickerstick and aging Lollapalooza staples from ’95-’96 Sponge. Now I’m even more confused. Add to the fact that the band is from Detroit, features John Speck (formerly of Fags, The Paychecks), and none other than Ron Sakowski of Necros, Laughing Hyenas, Easy Action fame on bass, and drummer Chuck Burns (I apologize for not referencing past acts here, but goddamn, this guy definitely splinters his sticks when he plays) and you’ve got one of the hardest three-piece bands I’ve ever heard. And they do a cover of fucking Skrewdriver’s “I Don’t Like You.” Fuck me again.

–greg (Idol)


WOODEN GHOST:
True Gold Does Not Fear the Refiner’s Fire: CD
Drab, plodding proto-prog emo grunge with a mid to slower tempo. It’s raining right now, dreary in the middle of Western Washington, which is kind of how it is most of the year and, honestly, I don’t want to hear this right now. I’m not one of the kind of people who likes the rain and the depression of Seattle to keep me inside to “create.” I really want something to pick me up when the weather is shitty, something to elevate me, and this isn’t it. I don’t know where this band is from, but they sound like regional bands like Built To Spill or Modest Mouse. This isn’t bad for what it is, despite my dislike, so if you’re feeling too happy or not depressed enough, this might be the ticket. –Jason Donnerparty (Self-released, Woodenghost@earthlink.net)


WICKED POSEUR:
Maybe Eliminator: 7" EP
I can picture Arthur Bates, the one man behind Wicked Poseur, sitting in his basement apartment, shades drawn, absinthe in hand, listening to a steady diet of Joy Division. I can’t picture this same guy caring enough to write, record, press, and distribute to other people a 7”. That’s how bleak an image I get from these slow, morose, icy, yet still rather catchy songs. And they were made in isolation; at least Ian Curtis had bandmates. Maybe Eliminator is all right, just keep away from sharp metal objects when listening. Mike Faloon –Guest Contributor (Enduring Self, www.enduringself.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
You Only Get One Shot at the Big Time: CD
Few things are weirder than getting a comp CD of obscure punk bands and finding your old band on it (albeit an incarnation that preceded my involvement by a decade). As biased as I may be, I dug the five Black Jax tracks the best (all of which can be found on the Wankin’ Stiphs release of a few years back) but the remaining bands on here—M80s, The Ejectors, Zellots and The Sterics—are quite good, too. –jimmy (www.wizzard-in-vinyl.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Brandon Hardcore – Music for the Kids: 7"
It’s the idea behind this comp, the execution of it, that’s so rad. Local bands get together and put on a bunch of benefit shows until they’ve gotten enough money together to release a local comp 7”. It’s an incredibly simple idea, but one that’s seemingly only done in Brandon, a small Florida town. The town’s obviously got one fuck of an active, self-sufficient scene going on. And as it’s stated on the back of the record, no one’s really doing anything like this in Portland, Minneapolis, DC, San Francisco, or any other supposed punk mecca. So the idea is just awesome. The bands themselves aren’t really all that great, sorry to say—mostly a lot of nondescript super-fast crust and thrash stuff. Gross National Product takes the cake with their cover of “Cuffs on My Hands” by Gay Cowboys In Bondage. You’ve also got tracks by Reckless Deerhunters, Small Talk Death, Bad Eating Habits, Control De Estapo and Machete Attack. –keith (Burn Brandon, reckless_deerhunters@lycos.com)


VALIOMIERDA:
Self-Titled: CD
I don’t know what it is this month, but the story seems to be the same every time. Good tunes, bad vocals. This time I’m dealing with the guy who sounds like he’s been drinking Sterno in the alley behind the studio. Painful. Fortunately, there are some tracks without the “gargling thumbtacks” guy, and those are the ones that really do stand out. It’s all well played too. What can you do? –ty (Fivecore, www.5corerecords.com)


UNSEEN, THE:
Internal Salvation: CD

I seem to remember their first two LPs being touted as really great, spot-on streetpunk. A few full-lengths and Warped Tours later, what’s coming across is about as threatening or memorable as a rice cake on the countertop. I mean, yeah, the production’s flawless, the musicianship’s terrific, in that slicked-up, über-produced Epitaph kind of way. And admittedly, I’ll bet they’re one of those live bands that can just smoke, just play super-fast, super-tight, and still manage to flail and bop around and be fun to watch. But apart from a very few interesting moments on this disc (Hellcat didn’t include lyrics, so I’m just going off ze sheer rockingness-factor), the whole thing goes in one ear, rattles around in the Batcave for a second, and pops out the other side. I’ve reached the point in my Razorcake reviewing, uh, career where I really don’t like to just blatantly bag on something, but I guess I’m not really capping on this one, either. Internal Salvation, like the previously mentioned rice cake and this review itself, is just kind of there, you know?

–keith (Hellcat)


TWISTED SYSTEM:
Self-Titled: CDEP
The music here is your above-average thrash stuff with a good, driving beat delivered by a tight band. The lyrical subject matter is interesting, too, with its criticism of prescription medication, people afraid to face adulthood, gangsta rap, and gangster life. Frankly, the only gripe I have about their delivery is their adherence to the now-cliché alternating screech/burp vocal style. Judging solely on the lyrics to “Crime Vs. Criminals,” I had no idea the Crips and Bloods had chapters in Saskatoon, Canada. Sheesh, you really do learn something new every day. –jimmy (www.100percentwild.com)


TRACTOR SEX FATALITY:
Braces: 7"EP
Some people say that to live is to suffer. Others say that to live is to suffer so you may as well punish yourself by listening to music that sounds like Mudhoney with more distortion in the vocals, more noise in the background, and fewer melodies along the way. Not many people subscribe to the second saying, but if you’re among them, then scarf up Braces. It has buckets of what you seek. Mike Faloon –Guest Contributor (myspace.com/tractorsexfatality)


THINGZ, THE:
Surf and Turf: 7" EP
Surf side: I want to do “The Crab.” I think I know how it goes—strut across the dance floor sideways, crouched over, hands acting like claws. The song title tells me I’m in for a great time. Trouble is The Thingz aren’t there with me. They sound bored, indifferent, distant, and the “The Crab” passes unnoticed. I can’t have a good time if I’m wondering what’s wrong with the band. Disappointing. Turf side: “She’s a Piranha” is much better. B-52’s kitsch with a Peter Gunn guitar line. The last tune, “T-Bone,” falls somewhere in between. Good recipes, but needs more pizzazz to merit more time on the turntable. Mike Faloon –Guest Contributor (Coffee Addict, no address)


TERROR VISIONS:
World of Shit: CD

Sick death synth from Jay Reatard. Maxed-out fuzz obliteration for fucked up kids. Not so much more disturbing than Destruction Unit, Ryan Wong’s synth project that Jay is often a part of, and not more moody than his other friend, Digital Leather, but where the Unit sounds like a band ripping together in a basement, TV feels like a lonely kid in a trailer park with synthesizer and Radio Shack mic, pulling it together. Where Leather also feels like a solo project of hatelove, TV is more speedy across the board. The whole album goes by quick, but not painless. The whole album falls into death synth territory with itchy minimalism, but the occasional song you could actually fukking play in a club (“Medicated Dreams”) where E boys might tap into it while melting. A Digital Leather cover (“Shattered Reflections”) is in that clubby mode too, and fulfills the incestuous nature between all these guys. While the remake of “Endless Tunnel” (originally on the Lost Sounds’ Demos Vol. 2) is pretty great, how can your favorite not be “Blood Is Sweet but Semen Is Sweeter”?

–mike (FDH Music, fdhmusic.com)


TERMINAL STATE:
Sick: 7"
Decent enough old school-influenced hardcore that satisfies, yet nothing about the songs really catch my attention. Though, if someone were to ask me about what I’ve picked up recently, I’d mention this. –Daryl Gussin (Deranged)


STEVE E. NIX & THE CUTE LEPERS:
Terminal Boredom: 7"
For those not in the know, Herr Nix was formerly a member of the Briefs. For those in the know, guess who this sounds like. Sheer brilliance. –jimmy (www.1234GOrecords.com)


SPREAD EAGLES, THE:
Don’t Talk to the Narc b/w Up Too High (Much Too High): 7"
This joke record from Lawrence, KS features two heavily distorted, trashy, garage-infused songs recommended for fans of The Oblivians and the countless bands they inspired. With a caveat on the back cover that reads “all songs not copyrighted” and a hilarious insert featuring a list of real narcs entitled “Narc List,” this record is a rare gag record that works on all levels. Art Ettinger –Guest Contributor (Boom Chick, www.boomchickrecords.com)


SNAKE FLOWER 2:
Renegade Daydream: CD
San Fran T Rex rock, equal amounts strumming, noodling, humming, and full-out rock blast, a pretty nice mix actually. I usually hate the wandering rock, too in love with its own voice to form a song, but that’s kept in check here. It’s tight with some trip out moments that lead to something, for a change. Fun and peppy. Led by ex-River City Tanline Matthew Melton, for your band family tree at home. –mike (www.snakeflower2.com)


SLEAZE PATROL:
20th & B: CD
When these guys are at their best, they do a good job of sounding a bit like a less politically charged (Canadian) Subhumans circa 1980 or so. At other times, like the sluggish take on Agent Orange’s “Bloodstains,” or the dopey opener “(Let’s Get) Drunk Tonight,” the results aren’t as inspired or inspiring. –jimmy (www.100percentwild.com)


SHAKE IT LIKE A CAVEMAN:
Or It Will Take Everything: CD
My general disdain for one-man bands notwithstanding, this, um, group is steeped with a nice, slow-burning Delta blues influence, which makes for a not too painful listen. –jimmy (no address)


SAVAGE HENRY AND THE INFAMOUS ONE POUNDERS:
Abuse It or Lose It: CD
If it weren’t for the silly, sleazy lyrics, I’d swear this was a long lost Dicks album. –jimmy (www.100percentwild.com)


RUINER:
The Lives We Fear b/w Sleepless: 7"
When did it stop being a requirement to rhyme your lyrics? You could at least try. The music is generic modern-day hardcore. Two positive aspects of the single: the bass tone is fantastic and it’s less than three minutes long. Only one thousand pressed which is nine hundred more than need be. Bryan Static –Guest Contributor (Bridge Nine)


RICHARD JAMES AND THE SPECIAL RIDERS:
Music for People Who Have Been Wrong(ed): CD
Sounds like old Delta blues with the distortion cranked up. This reminds me of the Soledad Brothers or Jack ‘o’ Fire. The vocals go between fuzzed-out, whiskey-beaten drawl to a high hiccupping sound. If you’re looking for something progressive rather than regressive you probably won’t like this; it’s lo-fi raunchy blues rock incorporating slide guitar and harmonica that pretty much follows the standard 12 bar pattern. I love this kind of stuff and this disc is going to go into regular rotation. –Jason Donnerparty (RRR, richardjamesthespecialrider@yahoo.com)


RICH WHITE MALES, THE:
We Ain’t No Musicians: 7"
The first in-house release from the folks at the popular distro Punk N Junk, The Rich White Males’ vinyl debut is a hoot from start to finish. Harkening back to the mid-‘90s before the underground turned on pop punk, the four songs on this terrific 7” had me hopping around like an idiot. The high-pitched, frantic vocals are coupled with lyrics tackling important subjects like kicking old men in the balls and hating The White Album. The Rich White Males bring back the unmistakable vibe that kept so many of us satiated on dumb pop a decade ago. This record is limited to just 300 copies, so get one now! Art Ettinger –Guest Contributor (Punk N Junk)


RATFINKS, THE:
Detroit Fuckers: CD
Lace up the boots, ‘cuz it’s time to stomp. The Ratfinks are a “punkx n skinz” kind of band that have ultra gruff vocals and a sound that had me thinking of Templars with a little more mohawk in the mix. The topics are fairly typical for the genre. Beer drinking, fighting, and being working class are the order of the day here. Nothing that’s cutting any new paths, but it’s all really good. –ty (Detroit Noise, www.detroitnoise.com)


POSER DISPOSER:
You Don't Count: CDEP
Fast, thrashy Canadian hardcore with metal flourishes around the geetars and the burpy vocals kept at a tolerant level. –jimmy (www.100percentwild.com)


NARCOLEPTIC YOUTH:
Cocktail Sword: 7"
Two blasts of Southern California hardcore served up on a purty picture disc. Dunno if it’s uncool to say so, but methinks this band is just peachy, and they should’ve included more than just two songs on this ’cause it comes and goes way too fuggin’ soon. –jimmy (www.myspace.com/suburbiarecords)


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