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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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FAX ARCANA/THE DISEASE:
Split: CD
Fax Arcana: Twangy guitars over a post punk, gothic dirge. The Disease: Reminded me of Fugazi and screamo. Not the choice of beer I would drink if I were buying a pint. –don (Alone)


FACTORY INCIDENT, THE:
Redtape: CD
Second release from this post-punk quintet from DC. The Factory Incident rolls the dice and comes up snake eyes on this stellar six-song mini-album. Intricate arrangements, dueling guitars and thoughtful lyrics help this one stand out in a crowd. “Argument” features slippery bass lines reminiscent of PiL’s early output as the singer rails against the fray—“We have some conflict.” Superb. “In the Vile” is also a killer track with some wild drum fills that truly compliment the song’s flow. “4AM” offers up some cool guitar riffs that are sure to keep you up very late at night staring out at the stars. If you liked any aspects of The Sound, Echo & The Bunnymen, or Mission Of Burma, you will dig this band’s groove brought up to date for the masses. Mixed by J Robbins, so you know that you need this CD like you need to breathe. –koepenick (Post Fact)


EXOSUS/CLANCY 6:
Split: 7" EP
Exosus: Accidentally had this on 33 rpm when it started, but, to be honest, they sound just as whacked and pissed off at either speed. Clancy 6: Loud/fast modern noisy hardcore (meaning “not metal”) with strangled vocals. –jimmy (McCarthyism)


EVIL ARMY/BURY THE LIVING:
Split: 7" EP
Evil Army: Holyshitfuckgoddamn, were these guys ever swell. Short, hyped up hardcore that’s over before the needle hits the wax. I’m mightily impressed with what little is here. Bury the Living: Five more tracks of fast, pissed off tunes from one of the best hardcore bands currently making the rounds. I’d heard that they’d thrown in the towel, so I’m surprised to hear some new stuff from ‘em. Bow your head in respect and play this often. –jimmy (Soul Is Cheap)


ESKE:
Big Trouble in Little Village: 7" EP
Something about the Southside of Chicago has resulted in a proliferation of cool ass bands over the years, and these guys are no exception. Mid-tempo hardcore, pissed off, driving and to the point, is the order of the day here. Good stuff. –jimmy (Southkore)


EMERGENCY:
1234: CD
Street punk from, I’m assuming, Vancouver, Canada. Well-produced and played by three guys who look like they live what they play. Kicking into gear with their oxblood Docs, they play a mixture of punk that reminded me of Abrasive Wheels meets Infa Riot. Nothing that offended me or bored me enough to take it out of the player. I will give it a “raise a pint” rating. –don (Step 1)


EGGROLL WILLIE:
Recruited to Hate: CD
These guys have managed the dubious distinction of being the first hardcore band I’ve ever heard that made me wish I was listening to Jennifer Lopez instead. –jimmy (www.eggroll-willie.com)


EDDIE HASKELLS, THE:
Dumpster Divin’: CD
Not to be confused with that “Takin’ the City by Storm” band from Wisconsin, this is respectably non-suckass fourteenth-generation faux-Brit Bay Area thriftstore street punk which i originally thought could suck my dick because dumpster diving is such a menial topic to start one’s album off with a song about (i mean, come ON, Song One Side One should always be about the grandly unquantifiable—Blitzkrieg Bopping, Cretin Hopping, Sonic Reducing—or, at bare minimum, about something so inarguably valueful—being with a Rock & Roll Girl, perhaps, or Seeing Her Standing There—as to render any debate regarding its appropriateness essentially academic); the band eventually persevered and won my heart via their knack for reassembling their disassembled punk clichés into new (yet completely non-innovative) forms which i happened to find pleasing. Well, that and it seemed like the singer actually wouldn’t mind sucking my dick, so where’s the fun in that? “Radio Video,” “London Girls,” and “Little Creep” all have that sort of “i dunno, it just came to me while i was tapping my pencil against my shoe in math class” punk rock feel that nullifies their own inherent stupidity; “London Girls,” almost certainly the stupidest of the lot, is likely the best (and reminds me of The Mess, which almost rhymes). That’s just the way th’ world works sometimes, m’man. One of the more aggravating aspects of the record is that the songs aren’t particularly brief (none clock in at under 2:02)—and the lyrics are generally just two verses and a chorus of one or two lines (e.g., “Radio video,” “I’m a little creep, are you, I’m a little creep born sniffing glue,” and “Lust in the city, lust and danger in the city,” repeated ad infinitum, are the choruses to three separate songs)—so i can only conclude that the band has got whatever the opposite of ADD would be (DAA?). My advice is to ditch the lame stabs at outright Rancidism (“Goin’ Down”), but to keep trying to sing like BOTH Johnny AND Sid—it isn’t every day i get a chance to experience such friggin’ versatility. BEST SONG: “London Girls” BEST SONG TITLE: “Radio Video” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: “London Girls” is not the Vibrators song of the same name, but there is a Vibrators flyer depicted on the CD booklet’s interior. –norb (Super Speedway)


DOLLYROTS, THE:
Eat My Heart Out: CD
She (the vocalist, I missed her name) thinks she’s JoAnn Rogan from Thorazine or Kim Shattuck from The Muffs. She’s not even the gutter crud stuck in their shoes. Closer to home, she thinks she’s Ashlee Simpson, all the Donnas and Kelly Osbourne. Sickly sweet chubby-cheeked curly haired baby-girl goo-goo vocals over humdrum guitar chords. Plus, they (don’t forget the band!) thank “roller skates, bubblegum and all the bands we luv.” Grow up. You suck. –thiringer (Panic Button)


DOLLYROTS, THE:
Eat My Heart Out: CD
I saw The Dollyrots rock the house at the Anarchy Library back in April. At the time, they didn’t have anything released. I figured I’d keep my eyes open for any future releases. When this showed up at Razorcake, I grabbed it, listened to it once when I got home, and my wife promptly stole it from me. It’s okay. I like this album, but she loves it. It’s on almost every time I get into her car. I think I’m going to go deaf from turning on my wife’s car and hearing the Dollyrots pushing the speakers to the limit. Eat My Heart Out is well-done, female-fronted pop punk that has all the requisite traces of Nikki and the Corvettes and the Bobbyteens. “Kick Me to the Curb” gets the album rolling with the right mix of breaking hearts and shaking hips. Songs like “Jackie Chan” and “Wreckage” are tight little balls of energy. I don’t think anyone could listen to “Penny” all the way through without singing along to the chorus. And, finishing it all off is a cool cover of “Be My Baby.” This is a solid debut album all the way through. I can’t wait to steal it back. –sean (Panic Button)


DISSIMILARS, THE:
Jimmy's Room: CD-R
Ever since Dave Hernandez decided to pull the plug on Scared of Chaka and start breaking the hearts of lonely indie rock girls everywhere (he’s in another band that I’m not going to mention), there seems to have been a wave of heirs to their throne. The Chop-Sakis, the Put-Downs, the Marked Men, the Knockout Pills, and now you can add the Dissimilars to that list as well. Mid-tempo, scuzzy, catchy garage rock from San Diego. It’s as sloppy as it is endearing. Can’t wait ‘til this band releases some vinyl. –Josh (Genetic Disorder)


DISRESPECT:
Justice in a Bag: 7"
They do this clever thing where the “Disrespect” on the sleeve looks just like Discharge’s logo! But then instead of mimicking Discharge, they stomp around with a dual girlboy vocal streetpunk thing that’s not particularly interesting but doesn’t suck (except some of the rhymes do). Contains members of Misery. –Cuss Baxter (Profane Existence)


DIESTO:
Doomtown 7: CD
Eight tracks of brutish Unsane/Hammerhead lowend mulch, three of which come before a surface defect on the CD, which defect causes uncorrectable skipping, which skipping causes uncontrollable throwing. –Cuss Baxter (Elastic)


DETENTION:
Too Noisy: 7"
Ahh... another blast from the past resurrected. These tracks were originally released on BCT tape number ten (I’m Buck Naked) and later re-released on the CD titled Hardcore Amerika, which compiled tracks from BCT tape number three (Eat Me) and number ten. If you don’t know about BCT (Borderless Countries Tapes or Bad Compilation Tapes), look it up, there is a discovery waiting to happen. Here are five live tracks from this New Jersey band that I think still stand the test of time. It’s punk rock that is equally ready to fall apart but magically held together to create that sense of disturbing chaos. On top of that, they had a sense of humor. When so many are serious today and play by so many rules, this band had fun without being blatantly ignorant. –don (Ponk-111)


DERIDE:
Self-Titled: LP
Flawless Japanese thrash in the rich, gushing vein of Assfort, Gauze, and Gism. Like sports photography, if you look at it in a millisecond and capture it in mid-leap, you can appreciate how precise, how finely tuned, how on-target, and how incredibly difficult a feat Deride’s pulling off. The result’s a nuclear bomb made out of thousands of meticulous motions, from the drums which oscillate between making a metronome jealous to how the Tasmanian Devil would attack, to the sharpened guitars that have more speeds than a blender, to the words spit out like bullets and unspooled like barbed wire, it’s quintessential thrash. –todd (Mad at the World)


DEADLINE/BRASSKNUCKLE BOYS:
Can't Be Beaten: Split LP
Deadline: I’m becoming more and more convinced that I’m living in an alternate reality, that I just don’t have ears that hear that same thing as the world at large. While people fawn and goo goo over the Distillers—who I think are “ehh, at best”—England’s Deadline is virtually unknown in the States. While they’re unmistakably street punk, three things save them from being merely stuck in the tight pants, skinny suspender herd. One, they’re fronted by a strident, loud female who can both sing and scream—and there’s just not enough of that. Secondly, the lyrics read less like meathead hooliganisms and bad behavior done by folks with short hair, and more like Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, a great book by Alan Sillitoe. Thirdly, and more important, the songs are catchy, varied, and reminiscent of a mix between early Vice Squad, Cock Sparrer, and, to add some modernity, early Dropkick Murphys. Brassknuckle Boys: Don’t let the name fool you. They’re coming from more the hard-working, hard-pushing GC5 camp of intelligent working poor. Plus, there’s a song titled “For You, Mom” about the misery of abandonment, so it’s not all thick-skull, callus-brain stuff. The easiest way to sum the Brassknuckle Boys up is to imagine if Bruce Springsteen was raised on Sham 69, never had a hit single, and never met the E Street Band. Straight-ahead, whiskey and smoke-voiced, no bullshit rock’n’roll that’s not trying to affect any poses. Excellent split. –todd (Haunted Town)


DEAD STOP:
Done with You: CD
Okay, Gord at Deranged Records must have taken a wheel barrel full of fat pink little infants and offered it up to Choronzon as a sacrificial snack in exchange for favorable luck in stumbling across amazing band after amazing band. How else do you explain Fucked Up, Career Suicide and now Dead Stop—all on Deranged? My god, what other awesome, run-away cement truck bands do they have on their roster that I don’t yet know about? Any other label would be lucky to have just one band of that caliber, let alone three. Like those other Deranged bands, Dead Stop is a hardcore band that somehow manages to sound like they’ve re-invented hardcore, even if they really haven’t. This is anything but generic, formulaic hardcore. This CD hits you like someone swinging the business end of a twenty-pound carp right into your mush. And it’s all the cooler because it’s been reported to me that Lino, the lead singer, is a truculent little elf who likes to wear fingerless gloves and a teeny-tiny leather jacket. Awesome band. –aphid (Deranged)


DAVID THOMAS & TWO PALE BOYS:
18 Monkeys on a Dead Man’s Chest: CD
...and, presumably, after said monkeys had been supplied with enough typewriters to randomly churn out the complete works of Shakespeare, they were given enough guitars, violins, trumpets, melodeons and musettes to emit this. Frankly, i still prefer Lancelot Link & The Evolution Revolution. BEST SONG: I’ll say “New Orleans Fuzz,” because i’m sure i at least listened all the way thru the first song. BEST SONG TITLE: “Nebraska Alcohol Abuse” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: At 5:19, “Sad Eyed Lowlands” is exactly six minutes shorter than Bob Dylan’s similarly horrific “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands.” –norb (Smog Veil)


YOUNG PLAYTHINGS, THE:
Self-Titled: 7"
Female-led, trashy garage pop that has ‘60s overtones. Guitar fuzz and keyboards make me feel psychedelic in a mod sort of way! –don (The Young Playthings)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Number One Sampler: CD
The Groovie Ghoulies, Phenomenauts, Big D and more. Fourteen tracks. I haven’t heard a collaboration of this many good punk bands since Punk Part Two in the mid-‘90s. Treephort is rad. Big D and the Kids suck. But, unfortunately, the comp reminds me that both a lot of really good and really, really bad music comes out of California. BRO. At times I talked to myself out loud and said, “God this sucks!” But the new bands like Treephort that you’ve never heard of make up for the surf pop. I think? Gabe Rock –Guest Contributor (Springman)


VANISHING KIDS:
The Selfish Mirror: CD
Dreamy shoegazer stuff with bendy, sounds-like-humpback-whales guitar leads and occasional nods in the direction of new wavy pop. Produced by Killing Joke’s Martin Atkins. –jimmy (Failed Experiment)


USELESS ID:
Redemption: CD
This melodicore band from Israel has been kicking around for sometime now. Why I liked the new No Use For A Name and not this is a big question. But listening to this after NUFAN, I think I’m still listening to NUFAN. But I also hear elements of Green Day’s formula. This reminds me of all the new bands I see on Fuse or MTV. It bugs me because it seems to be cut from the same mold. My tastes change as often as my socks. I would have loved this in the late ‘90s. –don (Kung Fu)


TSAR:
Band-Girls-Money: CD
Ah, the perils of signing with a major label. Let me explain to bands everywhere why it’s better to stick with an indie than to collude with the devil spawn of the RIAA. Freelance writers like myself usually listen to CDs while on the computer so they can type and write at the same time. Playing this CD in my car is no help—my cheap ass set-up does not list the tracks. I could go down into my basement (don’t make me, Joey!) and listen to them and then take notes. But that’s strictly Dark Ages, baby. So, here’s what you get when you allow a major label to put software on a disc that does not allow the disc to be played on any normal computer—squat. Who is going to make multiple copies of this and pass them on to their friends anyway? It’s a NEW band! So here is what the members of TSAR and their record company would like you to know about their music—”This CD is equipped with CDS-100 copy protection technology preventing the downloading or burning of the music contained. This disc may not be compatible with some players.” I wonder if XM™ satellite radio’s copy had this on there or was it just magazines like Razorcake cos they think their writers are weasels? I can’t answer that but I can tell you the cover was kind of snazzy. –koepenick (TVT)


TROUBLED HUBBLE:
Making Beds in a Burning House: CD
Fourth full-length from this Midwest band of rockers, and their first for Lookout. I can’t put my finger on what these guys sound like. Jangly guitar rock with an edge. Some of the song titles are so long they need semi-colons—but that’s okay. I’m wondering if these guys were med school drop-outs before deciding to pick up an axe or a stick? Song titles like “Ear Nose & Throat” and “Ear Nose & Throat Pt. II” led me to this conclusion. But I definitely think they should keep the lab coats on when they play live. “I’m Pretty Sure I Can See Molecules” and “Even Marathon Runners Need to Nap” are the stand-out tracks on this record. But if a song like “Nancy” can get in some Hollywood eardrums, they’re headed for a guest spot on the O.C. –koepenick (Lookout)


THUNDERLIP:
Self-Titled: CD
Man, aside from the dearth of falsetto whaaaaoow’s, this is heavy metal in all the worst ways. I was willing to overlook the lameness of a song title like “Leather Forever” and “Evil on Two Legs” for the promise of “Viking Love Song” and “Sons of Thunder,” but even they couldn’t make this any better. –jimmy (Lucid)


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