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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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NEW ROCHELLES / THE WINDOWSILL:
Split: 7”
Hailing from the Netherlands with connection to Stardumb Records, The Windowsill spoon up vanilla, lethargic, forgetable Ramones-core. Thank Heavenly Dee Dee for the flip side! New Rochelles out-dumb the Queens divinity with sugary chants of “Joey’s eating all the wheat germ” in the pop powerhouse of “Hey Pizza!” followed by the buzzsaw blue Mosrite attack of “I Don’t Wanna Go Down to the Crawlspace.” It’s not “new,” but these Rochelles own it.  –Matt Seward (Lost Youth, lostyouthrecords.com / Swamp Cabbage, swampcabbagerecords.com)


NO FAITH:
Dead Weight: 7” EP
The EP begins with a low-end grumbling cycle looping over and over, punctuated with a high-pitched tone. Guttural Justin K. Broderick-style barking is buried deep underneath it. That leads into five impressive fast/slow, start/stop, humorless powerviolence rippers with pulverizing percussion. The same JKB-style vox are pervasive throughout, though there is a second vocalist who unleashes his ferocious yell from time to time. The front is rounded out with another loop with those guttural vocals eerily low in the mix. The EP’s eponymous track fills out the other side. As its title implies, it sludges quite a bit, right before it ascends into a short, explosive blast, and then returns to the sludge and drones out. Good stuff.  –Vincent Battilana (Clean Plate / vendettarecords.wordpress.com)


NO LOVE:
“Dogs//Wolves” b/w “Bad Things”: 7”
Fuck. Yes. Sick licks, fierce female vocals, and an unstoppable rhythm section. This band rules. With veteran precision they hotwire the early L.A. punk sound and drive it to the hardcore show. I could listen to a lot more than two songs of this. A lot more! If you’re looking to fill the hole created by the recently disbanded Neighborhood Brats, check out No Love.  –Daryl Gussin (Sorry State)


NO MORE ART:
Sorrows of Youth: LP
Wished for a full-length after hearing one o’ their singles, here it is, and it’s a doozy, kid. Stomping mid-tempo pop that sounds like it was dished out by a band that’d be just as happy to kick the shit outta ye as put nice notes in your ears. The slashing, textured downstroke-guitar work at times recalls “Potential Suicide” era Black Market Baby in all its minor chord glory, but, on the whole, this just pile-drives its way into your noggin and into your heart. I’d hoped they’d deliver something special with a bit more time to impress, and they’ve done so in spades here.  –jimmy (Rock Star)


NOCNE SZCZURY:
1980: 7” EP
Nocne Szczury were a short-lived punk band local to the small seaside town of Wladyslawowo, Poland from 1976 to 1982. A brief interview transcription reveals their early influences to be that of the standard European contemporaries, such as the Sex Pistols, the Clash, and UK Subs, although these recordings, at times, owe more to the darkness of early Joy Division and post-punk. The songs on this record appear to be taken from a live performance and have that same godawful, yet, endearing Germs’ “Sex Boy” sound quality. Don’t go searching the Killed by Death section at the record store or Discogs just yet. As is typical with a lot of KBD style bands, the obscurity factor doesn’t always equate to essential listening. Therefore this record serves more as a snapshot of a small punk town’s proudest moments than an undiscovered nugget of Ebay gold.  –Juan Espinosa (Pasazer, pasazer.pl / Underground Factory, xfactoryx.blogspot.com)


NOFX:
Backstage Passport Soundtrack: CD
It kind of blows my mind that NOFX is still churning out meaningful music after some thirty-odd years in the game. On this CD the band delivers up fourteen tracks of the band’s patented blend of wry social commentary and punk rock fire. As a bonus, you get a tasty Dickies cover. Some of this stuff has seen release before in the band’s 7” of the month club, but that shouldn’t stop you from picking up this convenient compilation.  –Garrett Barnwell (Fat)


OH MY SNARE!:
Hoyeste Gang: LP
Hot damn! All right, so my standard reaction to a Leatherface comparison is one of doubt and disinterest. And typically, rightfully so: more tuneless, derivative, gruff-vocalled nonsense that is entirely unrecognizable from the legions of clones doing the same disgraceful crud. So when I say that Montreal’s somewhat-oddly-named Oh My Snare! sounds quite a bit like Sunderland’s favorite sons, I mean it in the most enthusiastic and beautiful way. Main vocalist and guitarist Jorel certainly has his Stubbs down to a science: a gravel so thick that some of the heart-wrenching melodies only reveal themselves in time. Combined with bassist Lily’s amazing, almost Cinder Block-meets-Quin-twins-like voice and guitarist Dan’s quite melodic delivery, Oh My Snare! packs a wallop that could very well be the most welcome addition to the post-Boat canon since some bearded Floridians first dropped Fuel for the Hate Game. Not to be so easily pigeonholed, OMS! also injects a hearty dose of Gilman-heyday flavor, hardcore-tinged gang singalongs and a sincerity and joie de vivre that is wonderfully typical of French Canada. Fans of any of the above namedrops (and, y’know, any of Rugger Bugger’s more melodious output, most of the Snuffy Smile releases, essentially the entire first half of the Lookout! catalog) should absolutely not hesitate to check out this criminally brief LP. So, so great.  –Dave Williams (Say-10 / Sick Scene)


OILBOOM:
Red Metal: CD
Most of what I get to review for Razorcake isn’t up my alley and, frankly, isn’t very good. In contrast, Red Metal, by Dallas-based three-piece Oilboom, is by far the best album I’ve received in ages. It’s nine songs in thirty-five minutes (perfect length, by the way) of a mash of blues, dance punk, Motown groove, and power pop. The songs are all catchy as hell and will make you want to dance and sing along. What I love is that when I listen to this album I hear little bits of things that remind me of so many different artists: this opening sounds like something from Chad Vangaalen, that riff is like one I once heard in a song by the Buzzcocks, the vocals here remind me of the Strokes, that guitar reminds me of a keyboard part from the Doors, and so on. That’s not to say it sounds like any of those bands exactly, but Oilboom is able to take all those pieces and put them together in a way that is seamless and effective. These are songs that are crafted by a band that has been around for a while and knows what works and what doesn’t. They’ve nailed it here.  –kurt (Self-released, oilboomband.com)


OTP:
Worth the Weight: 7”EP
This Boston trio is back with a new four-song single. What if J. Mascis and Gordon Gano were backed up by The Ergs? I’m thinking it may sound something like this band—brisk songs that deal with love and how easy it is to lose it. (Also, how booze can always throw a monkey wrench in the proceedings.) This band is on the right track. Hopefully they will stay the course. Recommended.  –koepenick (Self-released, facebook.com/OTPMUSIC)


OUTTACONTROLLER / PINK WINE:
Outtawine: 7”
Do you like your punk poppy, skuzzy, and Canadian? Well, if you do, chances are these bands aren’t new to your ear holes. The recently revived Young Modern Records dive head first into the vinyl game, after years of releasing music in the era of CDs. Outtacontroller blast off with two tracks, which I’m betting are outtakes from their P.Trash debut LPDon’t Play Dumb, given the sound of the recordings. “I Gave Up on Weezer” has a silly title, but it’s a rager of a track. Pink Wine’s side’s no different—although I believe their cuts on this are more recent—scrappy garage/pop punk that reminds me of the Vindictives. (A compliment of the highest order.) Both bands have stellar debut LPs that are more than worthy of your time. Oh, this here piece of wax is no runner-up. Not sure what the scum stats are on this sucker, but there are at least some on clear vinyl. A solid, four-track 45.  –Steve Adamyk (Young Modern)


OVERCHARGE:
Accelerate: LP
Ripping motörpunk from Italy! If you’re not familiar with this very specific genre, it’s Discharge-meets-Motörhead. That’s it. This territory has been adequately covered in the past by bands like Inepsy and Midnight, two of the best. Overcharge do it well, if a little monotonously. If you’re not too concerned with distinguishable songs and just want to crush beers and röck while wearing your patch-covered denim vest and mirrored aviators, this record provides plenty of amped-up energy to do just that.  –Chad Williams (Dead Beat)


P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S.:
Hit and Run: 7”
I’m not a sophisticated music aficionado. I like what I like, and sometimes what I like is kind of stupid. For example, one thing that always turns me on is when a song starts with a perfectly timed guttural shout. Not a long shout, just a staccato “Uh!”—like the singer got punched in the gut right when the recording started. The first track on this record, a great, high energy, Humpers-lovin’ rocker, starts with a solid “Uh!” But it doesn’t end there! The singer drops a couple more well-placed “Uh!”s throughout. It’s pretty marvelous. Now if there was a proper whistle in there somewhere, I’d be all set.  –mp (Doomtown Sounds)


PALLBEARER:
Foundations of Burden: CD / 2 x LP
Pallbearer’s second full-length is another exploration of hopeful doom metal. I’m not entirely sure how they do it, but this Little Rock four-piece is able to take the normally gloomy, morose sound of doom metal and insert bits of optimism in the songs. They do this through the use of guitar solos (“The Ghost I Used to Be”) and piano (“Watcher in the Dark,” “Ashes”), and, at times, the melodies flow together to the point where it’s actually beautiful, which is something I never thought I’d say about a doom metal album. The vocals still sound a lot like Ozzy Osbourne, but a couple of the other guys in the band are also providing some vocals as well, which gives an even greater depth to the sound. Foundations of Burden may only be six songs, but it’s fifty-five minutes of music, which makes for a real engaging listening experience. It’s one of those albums that is great to turn on, put headphones in your ears, and just let the sound wash over you.  –kurt (Profound Lore)


PEDRO SAYS HI:
The Creep-Over: Cassette
Extraordinarily bizarre vocals are the standout feature of Pedro Says Hi. Oddly reminiscent of the three Doc Corbin Dart solo albums. If those releases were lo-fi, this is easily recommendable to anyone into strange singers. The songs are catchy and the lyrics are poised to confuse the listener in the best ways possible. I say “hi” back to Pedro, even if his voice is frightening.  –Art Ettinger (Let’s Pretend)


PENN’S WOODS:
What Good We Do: Cassette
I’m sure I’ve been accused of being “the girl who cried Leatherface” before, but, really, this time I mean it. Take a bit of the gravel and rasp out of Frankie Stubb’s voice and you’d have Penn’s Woods. And not at all in a bad way; it’s not like they’re totally biting their sound. The melodies, lyrics, and cadence are all their own—but you can tell that these guys grew up with what is my favorite British band, right behind The Smiths. As soon as I put this on, I got those heartstring tugs and swelling of emotions, just as if I ran into an old friend or an unrequited love. These are my preferred bristles of the wide brush of pop punk that we paint on countless bands. And Penn’s Woods makes me want to blast What Good We Do just as much as Mush—falling in step with every beat and belting out every word until I’m as hoarse and raspy as Stubbs. Flowery language and poetic waxing aside, this album very well will make my Best of 2015 list.  –Kayla Greet (Secret Pennies)


PEPES, LOS:
For Everyone: LP
Catchy, danceable power pop punk from these four Londoners. Purists, relax. They stay true to their influences. Power pop is a traditionalists’ game, and Los Pepes have the ball. I imagine their live show is how they seal the deal, so go see ‘em if they play your village.  –Daryl Gussin (Wanda)


PISS TEST:
Self-titled: 7” EP
At its core we’re talking about (mostly) mid-tempo punk stuff with a serious yen for early ‘80s hardcore. Something about the way the singer barks the lyrics, though, adds a bit of Proletariat to the proceedings, which is a nice additional dimension. Four tunes, not a clunker in the bunch.  –jimmy (Taken By Surprise)


PLASTIC CAVES:
Dispossessed | Suicide Floor: 7”s
From what I’m able to glean, this is a band hailing from Reno. The Dispossessed single appears to be their first vinyl release with a limited pressing of three hundred copies. The title track is a nice bit of aggressive, new wavy post-punk, and the flip, “Cold Remains,” takes a slower, drone-based approach. Solid single all the way ‘round. Suicide Floor is single-sided with only one track and is limited to 116 copies. Tune’s a bit more brooding than the two on the other single, but still some choice work. Definitely some good things going on here. Hope they’re working on a full-length.  –jimmy (D6)


PLASTIC CAVES:
Self-titled: Cassette
I cannot begin to imagine trying to be goth in a high desert town like Reno: makeup melting under a hot sun and black leather sweltering even under the best of circumstances in the summer. You’ve gotta choose your flags wisely under such a hot sun: lapel pins, the odd black T-shirt. Perhaps it’s exposure to a harsh environment that makes PlasticCaves so effective and ultimately awesome: there are certainly post-punk/goth tropes throughout their eponymous debut, but they’re making intelligent choices about their presentation rather than blindly going whole hog. The stylistic overtures which the band choose—familiar guitar tones, urgency driven by an insistent rhythm section—further the songs, never thrown in for their own sake. Of particular note are the vocals, which are neither heavily affected or overemoted. So often bands showing promise in the early ‘80s post-punk department boast singers who showboat and ultimately pilot the SS Spooky into an iceberg of overindulgence—not here. The focus is on the group as an organism which delivers music (and well), rather than some theater wannabe with a cape trying to be sinister and/or spooky. Faith-era Cure and Bauhaus are good starting points in a discussion which quickly branches into unblazed territory. Recommended.  –Michael T. Fournier (D6)


PLATEAUS:
Wasting Time: 10”EP
Let me just state first how glorious the pastel splatter starburst pattern on this vinyl 10” is. Its front cover plays this up front and center with a cutout design and the contrast of some dark, strange yeti type creature. I suppose it adds some intrigue. Plateaus have an unseasoned vernal sound—a fresh mix of pop with the stoner glaze of, say, White Fang, but much more clean and polished. Both “Wasting Time,” and the faster “Look Out,” have melodic guitar that arches over the underlying flat vocals, leaving wisps of echoes, laden with fuzzed-out bass, and some pretty sweet riffs. “Air Head” is a bit more ‘60s garage pop, with a solid bass line, warped surf guitar, and weird, nasally vocals. It’s a damn good song that gets the hips moving.  –Camylle Reynolds (Mt. St. Mtn.)


PLEASURE CROSS:
Self-titled: 12” EP
Pleasure Cross certainly appear to worship the early Earache catalog, as evidenced by a non-stop beat down of thrashing grindcore, demonic vocals, and some serious guitar tremolo bar bending. Imagine, if you will, Heresy’s Never Healed as interpreted by members of Napalm Death and Bolt Thrower. Seattle powerhouse Walls disbanded as a result of vocalist August Alston’s departure from the group to focus on Pleasure Cross. Shed a tear as you bang your head and pump your fist.  –Juan Espinosa (Iron Lung)


POISON ANTHEM / SIBANNAC:
Split: CD
Poison Anthem starts this thing off with a flop. Not a fan of this kind of this Epitaph records-style punk. “Choke and Die” and “Sinking Ship” are aptly named. Perhaps too harsh? What I can say about Poison Anthem is that the vocalist has some serious range and the drawl of Chrissie Hynde. Things pick way the fuck up with Sibannac, with their “fuck pop culture” sermon and kicks into a pretty gnarly pit-worthy ska beat. It’s some serious skank that’s charming and well done. It reminds me of my confused skater punk youth. However, things take a turn for the worse, yet again, with “Decades 2 Late,” which has even grizzlier vocals and ska beat breakdowns that are 311-esque. Never a good thing. They close out with the live “Pick & Choose,” which is poorly recorded, but not terrible, and probably kind of fun to see live.  –Camylle Reynolds (Self-released, sibannac.bandcamp)


POP CRIMES / WILLOWER:
Split: 7”
Severe lack of creativity in the execution of the unimaginative concepts on both sides. Pop Crimes: Accidentally started this side at 45 RPM, and thought I heard some muscly garage rock, but soon realized that I needed to slow down the turntable. At the appropriate speed, the record sounded like Cat Party if Cat Party sucked. Willower: Nico-esque “singing,” backed by a heavily distorted repetitive guitar riff. Supposedly, a Korg is in there somewhere, but it was underutilized if used whatsoever.  –Vincent Battilana (Bonzer)


PORNO POP-UPS:
Self-titled: Cassette
Talk about a Google search wormhole… deal with looking for a band and label whose primary words are “porno” and “fuck.” The Porno Pop-Ups hail from Finland and keep warm by pushing “Record” on a boombox and wailing away in an echo chamber. The groove is repetitive, loud, and barely held together by their shambolic drum beat. It’s refreshing in its pure brattiness—in a genre that has been overwhelmed with Guitar Center clerks playing psychedelia… maybe someone will pay their way to Gonerfest.  –Matt Seward (Fuck CDs)


POSITIVE NO:
Negative Fun Singles Club 2014: 7”
Kinda sounds like some sort of clash between At The Drive-In and Kim Gordon, but no screaming. Goes a variety of different ways but remains cohesive and well executed. Not sure if I’d wanna listen to much more than two songs of this, but that’s all you get here. Despite the name, I don’t think you hafta join any sort of subscription club to get this two-song 7” of art school indie rock.  –Vincent Battilana (Negative Fun)


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