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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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KHLYST:
Chaos is My Name: CD
Gollum fronts a free jazz band comprised of musically inept three year olds. If this is supposed to be a new direction in black metal, they really need to quit smoking pot and reassess said direction, ‘cause as it stands, I’m taking bets as to how few of these are gonna be sold. I say seven, tops. Any takers? –jimmy (Hydra Head)


HERESI:
Psalm II: CD
From what I’ve been able to determine, this is the work of one person, kinda like how Bathory used to work back in the late ‘80s. While I ain’t exactly big on the whole black metal thing (although I will admit getting a good laugh out of a buncha people running around worshipping Satan or Odin and trying to be e-vile and shit), this wasn’t all that terrible. There’s little in the way of subtlety, the songs are way too fucking long to hold the attention of this old hardcore kid (I easily could fit fifteen songs in the space of one of the tracks here!) and the incessant, pummeling beats get kinda boring by track two, but the execution of the songs was good and the overblown grandiosity inherent in the genre fit here quite nicely. Of course, you can’t understand word one lyrics-wise, but on the whole I’ve heard much worse. –jimmy (Hydra Head)


GUNS, THE:
Attack: CD
This band has some long roots in the Cleveland hardcore scene, circa ‘84-‘86 to be exact, and it appears that this CD is a rerecording of some of their tunes from that period. The resulting songs are white-hot, heavy-duty gems that could’ve given the best of that bygone era a run for their money. Anthems abound, especially “I’m Not Right,” which would’ve been my fuckin’ theme song at sixteen had I known it existed. Some quick poking around the Internet reveals that one of the members went on to play drums for Government Issue and, more importantly, there’s an album’s-worth of tracks from 1984 out there somewhere. Here’s hoping that those make it one to disc in the very near future, too. –jimmy (SFE)


FRIENDLY NEIGHBORS:
Demo: CD-R
Really strong early L.A. punk vibe here, right down to a cover of the Middle Class’ “Home is Where,” from a modern buncha louts who know what to do with them instruments. The gems here are the originals, though, which are delivered with just the right mixture of sloppy attitude, creative spark, and spastic energy to make ‘em all worth many a listen. Why the fuck ain’t this a 7-incher yet and when’s the full length comin’ out? With tunes this good, these guys should have three homes in Barbados each and be on their second rehab stint already. –jimmy (thefriendlyneighbors@yahoo.com)


FED UPS, THE:
Such is Life: CD
Decent enough punk here that kinda reminds me of some of the early L.A./O.C. punk stuff. Although the vocals—a little too monotone and lacking oomph—and the recording quality—ditto—don’t really do it for me, the songs themselves, especially “Angry Fuck,” were strong enough to get me to listen to this more than once, and they get stronger as the CD progresses. –jimmy (www.thefed-ups.com)


ELLIS, NOEL:
Self-titled: CD
Noel Ellis, son of rocksteady giant Alton Ellis, released this, his debut album, in 1979. One listen and it’s clear why it’s been something of a collector’s item since. Blessed with a great voice in his own right, Noel serves up six fine conscious reggae tunes that each devolve somewhere at the midpoint into dub, losing none of the power established at the outset. Those with a more than passing interest in The Clash will notice that “Rocking Universally,” bears a strong resemblance to “Armagideon Time,” which makes sense considering the composer of that tune, Willie Williams, plays percussion here, as do some other reggae greats, including Jackie Mitoo and Johnny Osbourne. Included is a booklet packed with info about Noel, the place and time period in which this was recorded, and where his and the other musicians’ heads were at while working on the album. Good, good stuff. –jimmy (Light in the Attic)


BUCKSHOT:
Facelift: CD-R
BoogadaboogadaBURPBURPARRRRGGGHHHH. Multiply that times eleven and you pretty much got a handle on what this sounds like. Although the music was wholly uninteresting, the song titles were a hoot: “Giving Acid to a Gorilla Who Knows Sign Language,” “Colossal Meat Smorgasbord,” “True Love is a Belt-Fed Weapon.” –jimmy (Buckshot)


BRAT, THE:
Attitudes: CDEP
All right, I’ll admit I’m more than a little biased when it comes to East L.A. punk rock. Consider it the musical equivalent to being a Dodgers or Yankees fan, except that there are no hot dogs, no one is paid a fraction of what Barry Bonds pulls in and bats have wholly different uses. Now that that’s out of the way, trust me when I say that you truly need this in yer collection, kids. The Brat were/are one of the better-known bands from the area, and the solid musicianship, smart, taut songwriting and the desire to push past what’s expected illustrate why. Originally released back in the mists of time we now know as the early 1980s, Attitudes, as well as two tracks on the Los Angelinos compilation, is pretty much all the initial incarnation managed to release. The five tracks here cover a lot of ground—the reggae undertow of “Swift Moves,” the punk/pop of the title track and “Starry Night,” the hardcore roar of “High School,” the morose isolation of “Leave Me Alone”—all of it sweetened by infectious hooks and Teresa Covarrubias’ voice, which she isn’t afraid to use to actually sing rather than yell. The good news is that a) they’re also out and playing again, b) an “anthology” disc of unreleased material and a DVD of assorted performances are in the works, c) with this now remastered and on CD, you can now blast this bad boy from your car stereo without having to worry about the needle on the record player bouncing all over the place. My suggestion is you get your grubby paws on a copy by any means necessary, ‘cause although East Los has long maintained a solid batting average, this is one of those occasions when the eastside kids handily sent the ball sailing over the fences. –jimmy (www.myspace.com/thebrat)


BOYS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
From the ashes of glam band Hollywood Brats came this monster of a band, and their pedigree is evident in the songs contained herein. Tunes like “First Time,” “Sick on You” (originally recorded by the aforementioned Brats), “Cop Cars,” and “Kiss Like a Nun” sound like glam gone on a speed bender, with zippy tempos, catchy choruses and a seriously tight rhythm section. The result is one of the best, and most criminally underrated, punk records to come out of the initial U.K. punk wave. Added treats here include the single versions of “I Don’t Care” and “Soda Pressing,” some outtakes and a “long version” of “First Time,” which includes an extra verse. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


999:
Self-titled: CD
This long in the tooth—and still active—band’s first album gets the digipack treatment, including a lyric booklet, liner notes, and bonus cuts from assorted singles. While the band tamed quite a bit by the early ‘80s, this first album catches the band somewhere between their pub rock roots and some raw punk. Where “Emergency” slinks, “I’m Alive” savages, both of them fine examples of what 999 were/are capable of when given the chance. The album is easily a high point in early punk, but the singles tracks, including “Quite Disappointing,” and the stunning “Nasty Nasty,” are the real gems here. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


MILLION DOLLAR MARXISTS:
Zero Culture: CD
On this, their second full-length album, Million Dollar Marxists deliver a brand of fist-raising punk rock that somehow manages to be earnest and still not take itself too seriously. Blistering, unrelenting guitars? Check! Non-wimpy punk vocals you can sing along with? Check! An irrepressible urge to play this album as loud as your stereo will go? Check, again. Two of the album’s songs, “X Street” and “Praise the Mutilated World,” have already made it onto the playlist I listen to while running, which is not to say that this is nerdy exercise music. No, more like music that lights a fire under your ass and makes you want to dance. Or run. –jennifer (Stumble)


ALLUMETTES, LES:
Close Cover Before Striking: CD-EP
This album is a pleasant little surprise. Evoking images of nature, winter, and animals befitting their Canadian origins, Les Allumettes deliver four strong tracks rife with quirky lyrics, driving guitars, and complex drum beats. The music is largely of the mellow, indie rock variety, but some moments, like when lead singer Natasha Beaudin lets loose and yells, “I got music! I got the crowd!” point to the band members’ collective roots in the Ottawa, Ontario punk scene. –jennifer (Basement Attick)


TRUCKS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
I want to like this. Mostly because the girls in the band are all foxy. And the songs have lines like, “I turn into a bitch/ When I’m hungry,” and, “You can’t hate a girl/ Who looks good dancing,” that I can really relate to. But the electronic music on this album really makes it something that I just can’t truly love. This is in the same vein as Peaches, Chicks On Speed, and Le Tigre. Stuff I can totally appreciate, but will never really get into. One or two songs, like the poppy “Old Bikes” and the more complex “Zombie” make me think this album has the potential to grow on me. Though realistically, I will probably bring it to a party some night and leave it as a hostess gift. –jennifer (Click Pop)


BLUE SKIES FOR BLACK HEARTS:
Love is Not Enough: CD
Yawn… More generic pop music. British Invasion-ish. From Portland, Oregon. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t excite me. There is really nothing else to say. –jennifer (King of Hearts)


FACELESS WEREWOLVES:
Medium Freaky: CD
I am madly in love with the first line of the first song on this album. The lead singer’s bratty girl voice full of unapologetic snark singing, “Well I met this girl/ You can’t wrap your brain around her…” over a sparse drum beat. So fucking good. If that song were a day long, that would be the best day ever. The rest of the album is good too. Decent, up tempo rock songs. But really the whole thing suffers from best-song-first disease. The kind of album you keep around just so you can put that first song on every mixed tape you ever make. –jennifer (Super Secret)


POLAR GOLDIE CATS:
Floral Phantasms: CD
I know that often when people don’t like the sound of something they liken that something to the torturing of a cat. But literally, literally people, the first track on this CD seems to be a recording of a cat being tortured. Or at least a cat being annoyed really, really badly. I may be, you know, unhip, but I don’t know why anyone would want to start their CD off that way. Is it like those college courses where the professor is a gigantic asshole for the first month of the course so that all of the weaker students drop out and let the proverbial cream rise to the top? Because it totally alienated me right from the start. The rest of the CD contains seven tracks of uninspired instrumental music. Kind of like the soundtrack to a movie that a pretentious ex-boyfriend of mine would have dragged me to. Yuck. –jennifer (Up)


GERTIE FOX:
An Imaginary Meeting in the Woods: CD
I’m not sure this album would appeal to many Razorcake readers, unless they, like me, harbor a semi-secret love for earnest indie pop. Unlikely. This album contains lots of pretty harmonies, catchy tunes, a few “wooo oooo”s thrown in for good measure. The kind of songs that creep up on you and get stuck in your head for days. The boys in Gertie Fox know what they’re doing, but if you’re reading this magazine chances are you won’t really care about that. Me, I’m going to crawl under the covers and put this album on my headphones when I’m feeling the melancholy Canadian winter seeping in. –jennifer (Gertie Fox)


CAMARO ROUGE:
Got a Crane in My Head: LP
Two girls playing guitar and bass and both singing and one guy playing drums, this band reminds me of girl garage bands like The Husbands. There’s some great interplay between the two singers, a steady 4/4 drummer, and hooks a’ plenty. This is the kind of rock’n’roll that looks back and takes the tried and true methods from the past, rather than trying to rewrite the book. If yer looking for a good-time party record, this is it. –Jason Donnerparty (Demolition Derby)


BRASSCASTLES:
A43-012-2(?): CD
Sort of a fucked up take on ‘70s hard rock and metal that is weird and messy enough to seem interesting. It kind of reminds me of early ‘90s bands like Karp or Godheadsilo. I liked the really horrible sounding Rolling Stones type ballad too. –Jason Donnerparty (Velocette )


NECROPOLIS:
The Hackled Ruff and Shoulder Mane: LP
This is definitely interesting. What should I call this? Psychedelic post punk? Eighties dance rock that’s been run through a mountain of effects pedals? The music (composed of guitar, bass, organ, drums, and vocals) switches from atonal to melodic, from spastic fast tempos to a more dreamy mid-tempo. The vocals also shift from a male screamy/whiny voice (sounding sort of like the singer of the Ponys or Old Time Relijun) to a less jarring and more tuneful female voice, sometimes singing over each other. A lot of the songs descend into squalls of feedback, samples, and random instruments, falling apart. For me, listening to this was more interesting than enjoyable. But that’s more my personal taste. –Jason Donnerparty (Columbus Discount Records)


LOOKER:
Blacktop Accelerator: CD

This sounds like AC/DCish hard rock but a little bit faster. What’s funny is that I just saw This Is Spinal Tap again today and the first song seemed really reminiscent of “Tonight We’re Gonna Rock You.” Actually, a lot of the songs seemed like “Tonight We’re Gonna Rock You.” Unfortunately, there isn’t a song on here that can match up to the majesty of “Big Bottom.”

–Jason Donnerparty (One Legged Pup)


RODENT SQUEALS:
High Pitch Distress Cries: CD
Definitely the oddest thing I’ve ever reviewed, this CD is exactly what the title promises: the squealing sounds of rats in distress. The inside of the CD cover reads: “The original recording artist of the material presented on this disc is unknown. The master tape was mailed anonymously from Waco, TX to an associate of Apop Records in the mid ‘90s. A note was enclosed that stated that the tracks are not synthesized. No other information is known. Some have speculated that these are field recordings of the sounds blasted at Camp Davidian as a means of Psywarfare. We can neither confirm nor deny the claim.” So if you happen to need just less than thirty minutes of the disturbing sounds of rodents crying for a project or practical joke, here you go. Probably the best album of rats squealing ever made. –Jason Donnerparty (Apop)


MARDO:
The New Gun: CD
The first song that starts off this CD is a ‘70s hard rock guitar riff, then the words, “She’s so sexy, only seventeen, little bit a sugar gonna sweeten my tea!” Then the chorus, “I still want her, I still need her.” Led Zeppelin wrote songs like this in the ‘70s that in retrospect just seem silly. But they had Jimmy Page. The other songs run the gamut from a cover of “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” with all the soul drained out of it to a ballad with the lyrics: “See me, feel me, touch me, kill me.” Everything on this CD seems like a cliché. The funniest thing about this CD (other than advertising for “street teamers”) is the stern warning on the back, “WARNING! This is a numbered and trackable advanced promotional copy. Not for sale. This copy is PROPERTY of HOUSE of RESTITUTION RECORDS. Violaters[sic] will be prosicuted[sic].” C’mon, spellchecking isn’t that hard. –Jason Donnerparty (House of Restitution Records)


AWESOME SNAKES, THE:
Venom: CD
What is it with all the snake related band names? Off the top of my head I can think of Hot Snakes, The Charming Snakes, These Arms Are Snakes, Iceage Cobra, The Detroit Cobras, and now the Awesome Snakes. There’s almost as many snake bands names as there are wolf band names. If you’re thinking of using wolf or snake in your band name, don’t do it. There are enough other animals to pick from. Other dumb, (or funny, depending on your sense of humor) things about this band: the CD cover has umlauts over the “A’s” and a picture of a cock rocker’s tight leather pants-clad crotch. I’d laugh, but hasn’t making fun of ‘80s cock rock been done to death? All the songs are simple, herky-jerky punk done with just a drummer and a bassist/singer, which makes economical sense for a band since it’s hard enough to make money playing rock’n’roll with three or more people. Maybe they just thought it would sound better with two people, but I can really notice the missing instruments. Other than the songs, which almost all have the word “snakes” in them, there are some music “collages” and sampled old songs with the word “snakes” being thrown in to substitute other words. Overall, this seems like a joke band that must be really funny for the people who made it, but for the rest of us it’s worth listening to maybe once at the most. –Jason Donnerparty (Crustacean)


MODERAT LIKVIDATION:
Nikad: 7”
Havoc re-released three EP’s of this band. There is a discography CD that includes all the 7”s if you missed out because the 7”s are supposed to be a limited release. There is even a super limited edition in an actual wooden box of the three 7”s. I believe those sold out fast. I bought one of those because I thought it was cool. If you picked up this 7” and didn’t know, the labels and packaging are all correct. But the tracks belong to the Marionett I Kedjor 7”. The tracks for this 7” are on the Marionett I Kedjor 7”. Confused? Easy, switch the records. But if you only got this one, you might be out of luck. But then again, it might be an eBay price lifter down the line. So which way do I go for the review? Do I go into my stash and review the actual record or do I review what was given to me? I don’t know. Well, both records start off with the title track as the opening song. Both records were recorded at different times in 1983. The music has a sound that is characteristic to the music of Swedish punk of the early ‘80s. If you can get a copy of the super 3x CD comp, Varning! For Punk, then you will know what I mean. Very raw and heavily influenced by bands like Discharge, Disorder, or Chaos UK but adding a melodic touch which many Swedish bands did at the time. If you are into their contemporaries like Anti Cimex, Avskum or Mob 47, this should be a no-brainer of a purchase. If you have an interest of early ‘80s Swedish punk, this band is a good place as any to get started. –don (Havoc)


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