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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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CRAZE, THE:
Introducing the Craze: CD
If my parents (who are the antithesis of hip) suddenly decided to become “cool” and tried to influence me as to some “awesome” music, I’m pretty sure this would be their idea of what it should sound like. Let me put it this way: a good number of the songs have “woah” or “oh oh oh” or some combination or variation of them and yet none of the songs come anywhere close to sounding like a Fat Wreck band. Yes my friends, somewhere there is a “great” sports bar missing their weekend band. –kurt (Dynatone)


CRIS CORDERO:
Why Can’t God Cure the Baby?: CD
First things first, Cris, I don’t know why God can’t cure the baby. Honestly, I don’t entirely know what the baby’s problem is. And while I hoped that some resolution would have been reached as your album unfolded, I still feel as though there’s a lot of explaining to be had on the part of God, you and the baby. That being said, the twelve songs on this album run a nice range from bluesy, crunchy rock a la the Black Keys to jarring indie pop reminiscent of Guided By Voices. The connection between the tunes isn’t awkward; it has a nice flow from song to song. And with help from musicians Joshua Jones and Randy Lyons, Cordero has really taken the DIY ethic to heart, recording and producing this all on his own without the help of a big label or even one of which I’m familiar. And just like his songwriting, the production is very solid and steady, which is a relief considering the all too common fate of DIY projects (“Hey, I’ve got ProTools, let’s put out an album!” Uh, no.) Being from Orange County, California, there is a healthy backbone of that punk pop/power pop sound filling the album but Cordero’s ability to fuse it all together with basic rock’n’ roll makes for a nice spin, especially considering how I was led to believe that the music would match the horrible album title. There’s lots to offer fans of all kinds of genres on this album who find they have a common love for good rock’n’ roll. –kurt (Remember Artists)


CHOP SUZY:
Going to the Mall: CDEP
Oh sweet Jesus. You have a song called “Disco Beaver” and it’s actually a disco song? Just kill me already. –kurt (Red Shirt)


AGENT:
I Wouldn’t Trade That for Anything: CDEP
Agent’s five song EP of melodic hardcore bears a striking resemblance to a lot of other bands of the same genre such as Braid, Lifetime, or Dag Nasty. The vocals, which go between spoken words that are kind of sung and gravelly yells, remind me of this band I knew in Indiana called Clark. I liked that band a lot and so Agent did somewhat endear themselves to me. There are lots of hooks and some catchy parts and it all times in at around thirteen minutes. It’s not anything much worth talking about especially since it’s just five songs. Maybe a full-length will be in order so that I (and no doubt a lot of other listeners) can make a complete decision on this Long Island band. –kurt (Iron Pier)


WRECKING CREW:
Balance of Terror: CD
Late ‘80s Bostonian hardcore. This is their one and only full length record, released in 1989. There’s no wheel reinventing going on here–it’s straightforward breakdown hardcore. The aggression of their earlier influences Negative FX and SSD feels tempered a bit with this recording, as was common with the progression and metal crossover of later ‘80s hardcore bands. Sounds more like bands of the time period Cro-Mags and Agnostic Front. Vocals, though male, remind me at times of Wendy O of The Plasmatics, but then again so does Roger Miret of Agnostic Front. A worthwhile release for mid-late ‘80s New York hardcore fans. –KO! (I Scream)


WIRES ON FIRE:
Self-titled: CD
While this was playing, my mind was wandering so much, I forgot several times I was writing a review. That said, it makes great background music. I had to start over and listen again, to analyze this as experimental, meandering rock. Or more accurately post-grunge Sub Pop rock. It was vaguely like Mudhoney/Green River meets Backyard Babies if they all smoked pot and lied around noodling while sprawled on the ground after a big taco dinner. It bored me, but if you like heavy, arty rock you may enjoy the stylings here. Not my cup of Schlitz. –KO! (Buddyhead)


SINKS OF GANDY:
Trust=Damage: CD

Indie pop/rock reminiscent of later Superchunk. Some songs have that shoe gazer, Brit pop sort of sound, with personal lyrics. Distorted vocals with heavy-laden guitar melodies. If I listened to this kind of music, I think I’d say it was pretty okay.

–KO! (Tiberius)


MORNING RIOT, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Garage influenced rock with sung/spoken vocals that remind me a bit of Ric Ocasek or The Wipers at times, and a few of those “I’m squeezing my balls” squeals. The CD has catchy guitar riffs, but overall this doesn’t have enough edge to be considered a punk record. This would appeal more to an indie rock crowd. At times this also reminded me of Moving Targets a bit, but then the more meandering, folkish, acoustic moments just killed that for me. Standout songs here are: “Pills,” “Bed Against the Wall,” “She Devil,” and “I’d Rather Die.” This would have been much stronger as a 7” release with those songs singled out. –KO! (Self-released)


CRISIS:
Holocaust Hymns: CD
Re-release of a couple singles and a 12” EP of the band from the late seventies. This sounds essentially like Warsaw/Joy Division with Crass-ish politics, and that certain brand of English shouted vocals. Moody, minimalist, raw post punk. A few members of this band went on to form Death In June. You may have heard “Holocaust” covered by a wee little band called Upright Citizens in the mid-‘80s. –KO! (Apop)


ALLEGED BRICKS:
Place Your Blame: CD
Oi-influenced punk with low, deep gargling vocals and the occasional shout out anthem. This brings to mind The Wretched Ones or The Suspects, mixed with slow NYHC breakdowns. This feels a bit bogged down at times, so the peppier songs come across better, such as in “Backpack” and “The Pain.” They do a Bad Brains cover of “Don’t Bother Me” with what sounds like someone else singing. Overall this is solid, but somewhat unremarkable. –KO! (Street Anthem)


RIVER CITY HIGH:
Not Enough Saturday Nights: CD
Pounding the same drumbarrel as dudes like the Black Furies and the Supersuckers–arena-flavored rock’n’roll with plenty of songs about women and what badasses the band members are, interspersed with the occasional “sensitive” ballad about looove, baby. I obviously don’t know these guys, so who am I to judge their intent or honesty, right? But solely as a listener, this record comes across as uber-glossy, they mention their caterer in the liner notes, and the whole endeavor oozes as much sincerity as a four-dollar bill. There’s nothing particularly offensive about it, but there’s nothing there that really reaches out and grabs the lovehandles either. –keith (Takeover)


RAPID CITIES:
Demo: CD-R
Dude, decent, aggressive emo is still alive and kicking, though I figure that’s about the last thing that the average Razorcake reader cares to hear. Myself, I’m on this stuff like, uh, fly larvae on a huge pile of shit. Or something. The three songs here sound like a nice blending of 1000 Travels Of Jawaharlal, The Shivering and maybe True Feedback Story. Gotta tell ya, it’s totally refreshing to hear this stuff done well for a change. Good work. –keith (Rapid Cities)


PTERADON:
Demo: CD-R
So this guy wrote his address on a piece of paper and taped it to the face of this CD-R. The CD-R was also spray-painted. Plus, said CD-R was cracked nearly in half by the time it made it to me. All of this resulted the Pteradon demo being one unplayable motherfucker. –keith (Pteradon)


NIGHT TERROR:
Demo: CD-R
Four songs. Some soundbites. Sounds like it was recorded live. Ugly punk with lots of cymbals and distortion, as well as some slow parts where they get their stoner-rock on. Remember how you’d sometimes go to your friends’ band practice in the drummer’s garage after school? Remember how you liked ‘em okay but figured that if you guys just had some beer and the drummer’s mom wasn’t home, they’d probably sound a lot better? Well, Night Terror sounds a lot like your friends’ band. –keith (Night Terror)


CHESTERFIELD:
Destination Nowhere: CDEP
First song: “With you gone, I’ll never make it. You took my heart, now don’t you break it. If I could just look into your eyes, and feel your heart beat next to mine.” Look, I’ve been to Medford, Oregon before. It’s a pretty shitty town. I understand. But that does not excuse the fact that I felt it necessary to actually turn this down for fear of people actually thinking that I was putting it on of my own volition. Six songs that straddle the four minute mark; lifeless mid-tempo “melodic punk” with wah-wah guitars, multi-tracked saccharine vocals and lyrics that go straight for the jugular, if the jugular was full of sap, sugar, and obviousness. I mean, okay, there are flittering moments where they sound eerily like Pulley or something, but with the creepy-ass bat skeleton and stressed, damaged Certificate font on the cover, these guys should be sued for misrepresentation. Sometimes being somewhat culturally isolated (like, say, living in Medford) can produce some stunning results, a forging of new ground. Other times, you just wind up aping your heroes, badly. –keith (Mental)


BLACKLIST BRIGADE:
Slit-Noise Hymns: CD
I was immediately turned off by the rough-hewn recording and big jumps in sound quality, but then I trudged through this thing a few times and then found myself putting it on well after I could’ve written a review and been done with it. So there’s some promise here; they’re taking some heavy cues from Smalltown, Juvenile Product and Streets of San Francisco-era Swinging Utters, as well as a heavy nod to the Pogues. Mushmouthed, confident ‘77-styled punk that just misses the mark of being really, really good, mostly because of the aforementioned sound quality and the lack of coherency in the way the tracks are presented. One swaggering, near-acoustic track after another, then a few pogo-punk numbers in a row—why not streamline the record by splitting them up so they don’t blend into each other? Regardless, there’s still something relentlessly anthemic about Slit-Nose Hymns, but with a brighter, more consistent recording and a more straight-arrow approach to what songs got included on the record, it could’ve been stellar. –keith (No Front Teeth)


HEAVY HEARTS:
Self-titled: CDEP
Indie rock that’s stuck in the ‘90s. Undeniable Jawbox, Fugazi and Versus influences. I’m so outta touch with this scene that I didn’t know people made music that sounded like this anymore. Not my cup of slop, but okay if you like the three bands mentioned above. –benke (The Swingline)


FITT, THE:
Elastica Pacafic: 7”
Big Neck Records delivers the goods again with this heavy, grunge-punk soup of meaty, ‘70s metal riffage and voice-put-through-a-paper-shredder delivery. I like rich, warm, pitch-perfect vocals as much as the next guy, but there’s something to be said for someone who gets in front of a mic and belts out a tune sounding like he’s in the midst of a month long battle with strep throat. The title track has a big New Bomb Turks influence, while the rest of the record delves into sludgy territory. Good and different. –benke (Big Neck)


HEARTACHES, THE:
Too Cool For School: CD
Billy Dee can barely sing, the guitars are trebly and sound like they could fall apart at any moment, and the drums sound on the verge of shambles—in other words, it’s perfect. Quick, catchy shots of 90 proof punk that tries on the styles from decades past and gives them a now sound twist. I hear flashes of the New Bomb Turks, Motards, Black & Whites, Chuck Berry, and Riverdales. There’s an undercurrent of timeless naivety to these songs, but something tells me that’s a conscious choice made by the band and that they’d gladly sneak off with your girlfriend and sister after the show. Covers of Love (“Seven & Seven Is”) and the Testors (“Let’s Get Zooed Out”). For fans of the Real Kids, Boris the Sprinkler, the Woggles, sugar highs and falling down drunk…and, really, that should be everybody. –benke (Swami)


URINAL MINTS:
Own Your Soul: CD
It would be easier to choke down an actual soiled urinal mint than to make it all the way through this CD in one sitting. I required four separate occasions to get through the 27 unmercifully awful songs on this disc. Two of the three band members were smart enough to use photos that don’t reveal their identities on the back cover, which leads me to believe the identifiable idiot is the one responsible for this utter cow shit. The Urinal Mints take stabs at a few genres: metal, pop punk, power ballad, all of which are generic pabulum. The song titles say it all: “River of Piss,” “She’s Got a Dick,” “Dildo,” “Fuck Me Up the Ass,” “Cockpunch,” “Kill and Fuck,” “Mind If I Masturbate,” etc. Own Your Soul is one of the dumbest, un-fuckin’-funny extended jokes I’ve ever heard. Avoid at all costs. –benke (Plinko Productions)


LION OF JUDAH:
Universal Peace: CD
My PK sixth sense went into overdrive when I picked up this disc to put in the CD player, and I couldn’t even read the band name on the front cover. Lion of Judah…definitely some sort of biblical reference, probably having to do with the lord acting like a lion and tearing the shit outta some civilization or other. Old Testament hoo-ha, for sure. LOJ should get together with Lamb of God and start a tour, “The Pious Damn You To Hell.” Ah, but these young would-be crusaders likely know that the lord also sayeth, “Judge not, lest ye be judged,” which translates, loosely, in modern speak to, “This sounds a lot like a cross between Suicidal Tendencies and Bad Brains as filtered through the Bridge 9 label.” The lyrics are cribbed from Propagandhi, sans all the cussing, and address the evils of war, manifest destiny, greed, big government, and there’s even a song that tackles personal insecurities. Their hearts and minds are in the right places. Produced by Don Zientara and mastered by a guy named Alan Douches…HEE-HAW! –benke (Youngblood)


VARSITY WEIRDOS, THE:
Fly Me Up to the Moon: 7” EP
“Don’t Back Down” by The Queers paced pop punk, only the singer isn’t trying to copy Brian Williams. I’ve mentioned it before, if you’re into pop punk, watch It’s Alive Records, because this came on colored vinyl, with a poster, and fancy CD-R, so you know they don’t mess around. Also, I’m going to point out that one of the dudes on the cover of this is wearing nearly the same Soviettes shirt as I am now, so I like the cut of his jib. –joe (It’s Alive)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Spastics Music Volume One: CD
I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure this is a collection of bands from the Midwest. I couldn’t find any label info (the website they provide didn’t work for me), but there’s a number of weird indie rock/post punk bands (some that sound a lot like Girls Vs. Boys, one that sounded like Against Me! by way of Hootie And The Blowfish), as well as one of my favorite Modern Machines songs. Other than that, the other highlights to me were the Crossed Wires and PB Army songs. I’d be interested to hear what else the label is up to, if I could find any info on it. –joe (Spastics)


GUITAR BOMB:
Back Alley Jesus: CD
I’m not much of a one man band aficionado by any means, but that’s what this is, and I like it. Going with that, I’m not sure how else to really describe it other than a bunch of rad country/bluesy jams, so I’ll add that this is on Crafty, who get an A+ in the “being stand up dudes” department, for putting out some cool local records, as well as setting up shows, which makes this worth checking out on that merit alone. It’s like the fact that it’s a good record anyway is an added bonus. –joe (Crafty)


GOD DAMN DOO WOP BAND, THE:
Broken Hearts: CD
So here’s the deal: this is a bunch of punks, who decided to start a doo wop band. Not some cutesy little “punk” doo wop band, like a real, legit, doo wop band. And it’s freaking awesome. Heck knows I have enough trouble describing punk rock, so this is even tougher on me, but I do know the dudes can play, and the ladies can sing. I mean, everyone starts punk bands now, but who starts doo wop bands? I love this. –joe (Afternoon)


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