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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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SIOUX CITY PETE AND THE BEGGARS:
Necro Blues: CD
I saw Sioux City Pete play a solo set down in Phoenix a few years back. Stripped down blues, a little slide guitar, and a Son House cover...He was great and I was looking forward to hearing a record. Unfortunately for me, this is nothing like what I heard that night. This is a big, mean, and ugly wall of noise that would have been right at home on Amphetamine Reptile in the early ‘90s. It is certainly deserving of the title “Necro Blues”—it is dark, ugly, and bleak. It‘s very well done, but I have a very low tolerance for this stuff. I’ll hold out hope for that stripped down blues record I know he’s got in him. –frame (Steel Cage)


SINKING SHIPS:
Disconnecting: CD
Fast, straight edge hardcore from this Seattle band. This is a little bit better lyrically and vocally than most bands that play this style, but you definitely know what you’re getting. Fans of Kid Dynamite, Champion, or the Bridge 9 roster would do well to check this band out. –frame (Revelation)


A SINGLE FEW:
You Know You Want It: CD
This is like a smoothie made from the vomit of Sugarcult, Everclear and some band playing in the background of the OC. They’re from Canada so if we’re lucky they won’t cross over to the states. Normally I like to write longer reviews, but this is awful…just awful. –Steveo (self-released, www.asinglefew.com)


SIEGE:
Drop Dead: CD
Although I would argue the point that these guys are the originators of “grindcore”—sorry, but Deep Wound predates ‘em by at least a year—I will concede that they definitely had the largest worldwide influence, thanks in no small part to their inclusion on Pushead’s Cleanse the Bacteria comp and their earlier “Drop Dead” demo. As evidenced by this nine-song, seventeen-minute “discography” of nearly everything the band released (only one other song by a later lineup is apparently out there), the reverence they’ve been afforded by bands like Infest, Drop Dead and, yes, Napalm Death is well-deserved, as they were one motherfucker of a band, indeed. Eight of the tracks whiz by like a Mack truck lobbed at your noggin by a very pissed off Superman, delivered at breakneck velocity, this was a harbinger of the deluge of a legion of less talented bands that followed in their wake. Although many have upped the speed quotient, only a paltry few have managed to come close to matching Siege’s sheer muscle. Plop it on and be amazed, kid. –jimmy (Deranged)


SICK ON THE BUS:
Go to Hell: CD
Solid U.K. punk stuff with lyrics that, while aren’t exactly on par with Rilke or anything, more often than not tackle subjects more substantive than booze, bovver, and babes, and they have managed to come up my favorite line for the month: “Well I’ve got more money than you’ve got brains/I’m fucking skint and you’re insane….” The music is loud ’n’ fast, which makes perfect sense considering the band’s pedigree—from the ashes of the Varukers, includes a former member of Legion of Parasites, blah blah blah. Good stuff. –jimmy (SOS)


SHOP FRONTS:
So Sick: 7”
I gotta give a heartfelt apology to the bands that sent releases to Razorcake and were unfortunate enough to have them passed on to me. Personal blahblahblahs got in the way of my review duties and I’m just now working through the backlog of records and CDs piled up on my floor. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in this review—the “So Sick” 7” came out nearly a year ago. This release is everything a 7” should be—short, punchy songs that are catchy as hell, rudimentary guitar leads, vocals dripping with attitude and cover photos courtesy of Canderson. The one sheet says there’s a full length coming out on Rip Off Records. Sounds to me like the perfect match. –benke (NoMa Beach)


SHOOK ONES:
Facetious Folly Feat: CD
New full length from a self-professed “Lifetime rip-off band” (see Verbicide #17). I could just leave that as the review, but I’d feel bad. So… I bought my first Lifetime record, Hello, Bastards, sometime in the late ‘90s. As blasphemous as it’ll sound, I didn’t really care for it at the time: there was something too… warm about it. They were blending these really tight tempo and chord changes with a certain… bounciness (God, my adjectives are blowing today); it initially came across as a bit too imprecise, almost sloppy—I appreciated the verse-chorus-verse aspect of punk back then, and Lifetime discarded that to some degree. They weren’t actually sloppy, not by any means, but they were altering the template, expanding on it, and that threw me. Jump forward nearly ten years and there’s a glut of bands tilling their ground. I really can’t tell you how many reviews I’ve read recently in which bands are getting compared to Lifetime now. With all that in mind, I’m not going to say that Shook Ones are a straight up Lifetime rip-off, but the similarities are definitely, absolutely there. Difference is that I actually appreciate that warm “bag full of rocks and Jello” aspect of Lifetime now, and the Shook Ones sound like the more precise, straight-forward version of the band I was looking for back then. So that’s it, in a nutshell—super-similar to Lifetime, if that band concentrated more vigorously on the sharp angles and taut edges in their songs. –keith (Revelation)


SHOCKER, THE:
Up Your Ass Tray—The Full Length: CD
I am a big Jennifer Finch fan. She is one of my rock heroes for sure. To this day, L7 is one of my all time favorite bands and I was a big fan of her last band, Other Star People, as well. Somehow, she has managed to perfectly merge the sound of both bands with The Shocker. This is a perfect cross of the heavy riff rock of L7 and the poppy that dog / Rentals sound of Other Star People. For the most part it works and this is a solid disc. I doubt I would have given this as much notice if not for Jennifer Finch being involved, but it is a good solid record. –frame (Go Kart)


SHOCK NAGASAKI:
Year Of the Spy: CD
This album is great all around, from the production, style, lyrics, originality, and catchiness. A good word for this album is raw. The album starts off strong with “1968” which follows with “I Get High on Low Society.” Many of the songs discuss capitalism, having an affinity for the lower classes, and an ever present questioning of politics and religious propaganda in the U.S. It’s abstract while still making a point without being preachy. I love track ten, “Hit the Beach.” The simplicity of the guitar riff is so intoxicating. It lodges itself in my brain and hits repeat. The vocals and sound are some freak baby accident birth between the U.S. Bombs, Johnny Thunders, and The Clash. It’s a fun listen, what else can you ask for? –jenny (TKO)


SHAKES, THE:
The Rise and Fall of Modern Living: CD
I loved The Shakes last release, with its lighthearted, bouncy pop delivered with sincerity to rival Jonathan Richman. And, in general, I hate when a band goes from themes like changing the world with songs about girls to more “serious” topics. And I almost always hate concept albums. But guess what? Peter Gilabert is such a good songwriter, and the band does such a brilliant job of melding the more intellectual side of The Kinks with the more innocent side of The Modern Lovers, that you can’t help but love every moment of The Rise and Fall of Modern Living. One of my favorite bands right now. –brian (Teenacide)


SEVEN SIOUX:
Argue Again: CD
This appears to be the work of an older Austrian band, who have re-recorded some of their tunes. The results fall kinda in a less abrasive post-Leatherface poppy punk void where some of the tunes aren’t too bad but the vast majority just fail to stick to the wall. –jimmy (Fettkakao)


SEIZURE 17:
Too Pretty for a Riot: CD-R
Two piece band with a drum machine that sound too much like the Velvet Underground for my liking. –don (Seizure 17)


SECOND OPINION:
Youth Revolt: CD
Co-released by Tank Crimes and 625, so you know what you’re getting here—friggin thrash, man. Hit Me Back, Total Fury, maybe a simplified Cut The Shit. Fourteen straight-ahead studio songs and some live tracks thrown onto the end, the whole thing’s done in a little over twenty minutes. The cover features a bunch of zombies carrying wakeboards, if I’m not mistaken. –keith (Tank Crimes)


SAMIAM:
Whatever’s Got You Down: CD
I wish this record was the JFK assassination. Because everyone would remember where they were when they first heard about it. I wish this record was the Zapruder film. Because we’d spend the next forty-plus years analyzing it. More than anything I hope Samiam will finally get their due. Whatever that “due” might be. Be it a million copies sold or recognition outside the legion of snotty ass old timers claiming they used to be better and some snotty ass youngsters claiming their new record should be as big if not bigger than a presidential assassination. Samiam has been away from a studio for over five years and they come out with a new record this year like they’ve spent the time fine-tuning their game. That and playing no fucking shows in the U.S. but touring plenty in Europe and South America. If you liked their last record Astray, you’re a true gentleperson of distinction and you shan’t be disappointed. If you didn’t like Astray, you’re a no class fucking tool. –Steveo (Hopeless)


SCREAMING FEMALES:
Baby Teeth: CD
Kind of a weird record, and not just because it’s a CD and there’s only one female and practically no screaming: starts off with this heavy groovy Kyuss thing, and then generally avoids that neighborhood for the rest of the time, sticking mostly to a sparse pop deal with tasteful bits of funk here and there and some very competent guitar work (though with too much soloing for my taste) by the female who also is the singer. And while the music doesn’t sound much like the Yes Yes Yesses, the vocals do sound a lot like those of Karen O, maybe doing a Dylan impression. Totally grew on me, just like hairs. –Cuss Baxter (Self-released?)


RUSS SUBSTANCE:
The Safest Place to Hide a Book: CD
This little album is totally adorable. Billy Bragg comparisons are inevitable, given the British-man-with-discernable-accent-and-acoustic-political-songs thing that Russ Substance has going on. I like that this has a little zine-ish insert with the lyrics. I love the first track, “Kings and Queens,” because it is so earnest and hopeful and you can hear him clearing his throat before he starts to sing. Most of the songs on this album are charming and catchy in a sweet, acoustic punk kind of way. I’m all over it. –jennifer (At the Library)


RUM RUNNER:
Guns at Cyrano’s: CD
Fans of The Pogues, please form a line behind me. Today we are here to meet Rum Runner, the pride of Albert, British Columbia. Four young men from western Canada who know how to bash their way through a fine collection of Irish-inflected punk rock songs about guns and gin and sweethearts and going home. The drummer sounds like he’s trying to destroy his kit, the singer sounds like he’s long since destroyed his vocal chords, and the guitars do their best to keep up. It could be a total disaster; in fact, it often sounds like things are just about to go completely out of control. But somehow they never quite do. Listening to Guns at Cyrano’s is kind of like riding a roller coaster with just a bit of a whiskey buzz, sharing shots from the flask of a smelly little guy with no front teeth who tells the best stories since my Uncle Bill. I don’t exactly what that means, but I know I like this record a whole bunch. –brian (Stumble)


RUM DIARY, THE:
We’re Afraid of Heights: CD
Pretty, stylish, and wussy indie rock.What does this have to do with a Hunter S. Thompson novel, you say? I’m not sure, besides profiting from the allusion. It’s calming ambience stuff with fancy piano layering, wistful vocals kind of bullshit. It might be a good come down from an acid trip, I guess. –bree (Devil In The Woods)


ROYAL PAINS, THE:
Get Punched: 7” EP
Part A Lines: Frenzied, helium squirrel female vocals (which are rad.) Part nail hammered into the trachea, growling male vocals ala Whiskey Sunday. Part Billy Childish: his fingerprints are all over this 7”, and beyond the fact that he produced and mixed it, The Royal Pains’ celebrate musical amateurism and worn kneecap music well-loved by Mr. Childish. Part Triggers: Rotted-out-fillings, lead-in-the-blood stream meanness and “Is it a party? Okay, I’ll piss my pants” feel. Their full powderkegosity culminates on the final song, “Eye on You,” which has become my favorite track, by mixing the cocktail perfectly. Excellent. –todd (Jonnycat)


ROXANNE JEAN POLISE:
We’re All Right: 3" CD
Twenty-one-minute industrial drone whose textural changes occur slowly—maybe elegantly—with periodic chimes or very mild feedback and chirps and squeals, all very mellow and non-harsh (harshness being the primary touchstone in noise-as-irritainment evaluation) and packed in a plastic petri dish with what looks like what happened the time I left a box of Crayolas on the back deck of the Plymouth Volare one summer, though it doesn’t smell as good. –Cuss Baxter (Apop)


ROGUE NATIONS, THE:
American Ruins, The: 7”
Boys definitely got their hearts in the right place—lyrically, it’s punk to its core, vilifying or celebrating everything from Pat Robertson and the religious right to Alice Bag, respectively. Musically it reminds me of a few early-‘90s bands like Face Of Decline or Eightball; bands with crystal clear, nasally vocals, obvious, to-the-point lyrical attacks and odd little guitar quirks thrown in at the end of a riff. It’s decent stuff, I suppose, but kind of went in one ear and out the other; just lacked that the necessary fuel that’d guarantee repeated listens. –keith (Suicide Watch)


ROGER MIRET & THE DISASTERS:
My Riot: CD
New York City’s Roger Miret sounds like a cross between Larry Kirwan of Black 47 and Joe Strummer. The rest of The Disasters sound a bit like an edgier version of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers, without the keyboards, until they throw in some reggae a la The Clash. I like it, almost in spite of myself. The lyrics range from street punk style solidarity anthems to Springsteen-like character studies, plus a Ramones tribute. They mix up the tempos and the moods nicely. It may not be the most challenging record of the year, but it’s a good one, one that you can probably enjoy with both your punk friends and your classic rock-loving cousins. –brian (Sailor’s Grave)


RIVER CITY TANLINES:
I’m Your Negative: CD
Smoke after the fireworks; hanging in the air like a specter. That’s what this album sounds like: smoke in your clothes, eyes burning, lingering notes drifting through the air, slow to dissipate. And although it doesn’t come right out and scream all the way through like the quiver of released and previously collected singles, the result’s remarkable. It’s a slow-burning smolder that shows age as maturity, which, when it does explode, is all the more powerful (think of the tension of the burning fuse). Joan Jett’s not dead, but Alicja Trout is my generation’s Joan Jett: an undeniable talent driving a force behind whatever marketing ploy could theoretically be foisted upon her. At the core, she’s a consummate, passionate musician. This is music for mature rockers who don’t devalue youth nor fake their age and it’s for fans of bands as widely scattered as the Bassholes, Top Ten, Big Star, Mouserocket, Roky Erickson, and, well, great rock music. –todd (Dirtnap)


RIOT SQUAD:
No Potential Threat: CD
Riot Squad were one of the lesser known “UK82” bands, lasting only the first half of the 1980s. In those few years, however, they managed to release a number of seven-inchers and one posthumous LP, No Potential Threat, of which this is a reissue, complete with numerous tracks from the aforementioned singles seven-inchers and a couple of demo cuts. Musically they come off as a mélange of Discharge, Blitz and, especially “Troops of Tomorrow” era Exploited, thanks on no small part to their singer sounding like a helluva lot like Wattie. Brusque, primal and political, these guys may not have been brimming with technical prowess (then again, how many of the truly great hardcore bands really were?), but they got their point across quite well. Good stuff. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


RIBZY:
81-85 Recordings: CD
Ribzy was one of those bands in the ‘80s that everyone knew about but never really had much of anything by them—or at least that was the case with everyone I knew. I think with the exception of a tune on some faceless homemade comp culled from tracks lifted from some long-ago punk radio show and their sole track on MRR’s legendary Not So Quiet on the Western Front compilation I hadn’t heard another note from them until putting this puppy on the player. In short, this was a treat. Starting off as a sloppy, scrappy hardcore band with oodles of charm, they apparently progressed over the course of their career (and this disc) into a fine hardcore band more prone to mid-tempo ranting than balls-to-the-wall thrashing, although they were more than capable of that when the need arose, before calling it quits in 1985. The recordings here are all studio takes, and there’s even a track recorded by a lineup in 2004. Pick of the litter? An almost surreal interpretation of the Archies’ “Sugar Sugar.” Good to see these kids get their due. –jimmy (Vinehell)


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