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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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UZEDA:
Stella: CD
The arty aggressiveness of their droney, mostly atonal noise rock attack is alluring, but the lackadaisical approach of the singer, who sounds like a narcoleptic cross between Selene Vigil and Björk, prevents the band from pushing things from “not bad” to “holy shit, that was amazing.” –jimmy (Touch and Go)


UNITED STATES:
Divorce Songs: CD
A Brooklyn-based, post-punk band that consists of past members of Bent Outta Shape, The Scent Of Human History, and The Insurgent (among others). I definitely like this release. It’s no Meneguar record but still good. I hear a punky version of Modest Mouse, which could be horrible, but they pull it off. Maybe it’s just the chanting vocals. The band name seems kinda irrelevant to me. Why name yourself after an imperialistic nation? When they stick to their brooding songs it adds another dynamic to the music and comes off more angular and decisive. This is worth checking into. –Buttertooth (Iron Pier)


TYVEK:
Self-titled: 7”
Anybody who saw the cover art for this 7” agreed that it looked fun. And the two songs that are on this record maintain that level of fun. Its got that guitar tone that only people who are seriously dedicated to art of fun can accomplish. Think of The Bananas’ Forbidden Fruit. Think of old, worn-out guitars being played full-blast through old worn-out amps at house parties that are in old worn-out houses, and it totally rules. But I don’t want it to seem like this band is just a fuzz-out, silly band. There is definitely a level of seriousness and this band deserves to be taken seriously. I anxiously await more. –Daryl Gussin (X: www.x-recordings.com)


TV SMITH:
Misinformation Overload: CD
This is an uneven effort from the former Adverts front man. Smith mixes elements of punk, rock, pop, and folk with lyrics aimed at poverty and war. The opening song, “Good Times Are Back,” is poppy but sharp with some guitar work resembling that of The Crowd's Jim Kaa. Another strong track is the pounding “Bring the Bull Down.” The folk sound is heavier on the later tracks, so fans of Billy Bragg would probably like Misinformation Overload better than fans of the Adverts would. Smith's relentlessly potent vocals and anguished lyrics pull the album along for a while. In the later parts, however, the songs seem too soft and flat. –Chris Pepus (Boss Tuneage)


TRICYCLE FARM:
Everything’s on Sale: CD
Tricycle Farm are some kids from Florida who play local band kind of punk rock stuff that you can probably find every Saturday in a scummy beer soaked makeshift living room venue of any town. Congested vocals, a few hooks, they would probably be an okay band to see live, get wasted to, and dance to. –bree (ADD/Soooo Intense)


TOXIC NARCOTIC:
21st Century Discography: CD
This collection of pretty much everything this venerated Boston hardcore band has released in the last six years, hence the title, knocks you upside the noggin with twenty-three witherin’, barn-bustin’ tracks guaranteed to leave your ears bleeding. Few bands have managed to stick it out as long as these kids have (damn near twenty years at this point) and even fewer can claim to consistently pack as much punch. They deal in American hardcore at its finest, blissfully devoid of metal and seriously fucking pissed off. If that’s your bag, you really can’t go wrong with this disc. There’s no label listed on the cover, but given it’s Toxic Narcotic we’re talkin’ about, I’m guessing you can get it from Rodent Popsicle, which is their label. –jimmy (Rodent Popsicle)


TOUCH ME NOTS:
Hey, Television b/w Fucked up Big Time, Celebrity Roast: 7”
Don’t let this description turn you off; the band’s really good: Velvet Underground mixed with Hank Williams Sr. Imagine an early, thicker-voiced Lou Reed infatuated not with art to stir into his rock, but early and outlaw country, all wound around a self-recorded 7” on a 4-track recording. (It’s akin to the spirit of the Bassholes.) There’s a subtle, playful, yet obvious attention to songwriting detail that’s refreshing: grab-your-date-close Doo-Wop paces seamlessly meld into scream-alongs and I-fucked-ups, then slides back. Great stuff. –todd (Touch Me Nots)


THINGS FALL APART:
We Are All…: CDEP
Super-serious post-Dag Nasty HARDcore with a guitars that sound like Joe Satriani or one of those ridiculous axe jerkers. Stuff about “There’s a crime here that goes beyond denunciation, and there’s a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolize” and “hey, a silent affliction is heavier to bear. I want you to know I’m here and I’m willing to carry what you let me.” Also, “Recorded in the frigid winter months, of years five and six of the Arbusto Era.” –Cuss Baxter (Crustacean)


THINGS FALL APART:
We Are All…: CDEP
Four songs at over fourteen minutes of any kind of music, even when well done, tries my attention span a bit, but this has won me over. Lots of guitar, intelligent lyrics, and an overall pretty heavy feel. Gruff vocals feel like they could come from San Diego (think Tiltwheel or Dan Padilla) or Florida (Tim Version), but I’m guessing they’re out of the Midwest, as Crustacean is based out of Madison, WI (and has been putting out some great stuff). Gorgeous packaging, and well worth seeking. –megan (Crustacean)


TEAM STRAY:
Popular Mechanics: CD
Could it be? Could it be that The Ergs! (otherwise known as the best reason NOT to kill yourself in the year 2006!) are starting to do more than simply be the best band in the world (tied with the Marked Men) right now? Could it be that they are, in fact, serving to influence their genre, and provide a separate point of reference other than the traditional Queers/Screeching Weasel trajectory? I dare think so! For Team Stray is, admittedly, a pop punk band, but the Ergs! influence is there. Five years ago, a band like this would’ve covered “Teenage Bonehead” and called it a day. Now, a band like this, THIS band even (!), actually rocks, and has some of the most ridiculous lyrics I’ve heard in a long time (“Jenny, you’ve got eyes like chocolate covered marbles. Those aggies send me to the dentist on the double. And even though my cavities are multiple and deep, Jenny I wouldn’t trade you for relief.”). Call me a dork! I like this! If this were a cereal, it’d be Golden Grahams. A little flavor overload? Perhaps, but good nonetheless! –Maddy (self-released: teamstray@gmail.com)


SUPREME COMMANDER:
Self-titled: CDEP
Three-song demo that sounds better than most band’s regular records. Featuring former members of Daycare Swindlers, Latchkey and Wake Up Cold. Tight musical interplay plus cool vocal harmonies make this one a front runner. If bands like Pennywise and Cro-Mags float your boat then you’ll be marching in time with this army in no time. Look for more from this outfit in the near future. With a singer named Boo how can they fail? –koepenick (a389)


STUDIOFIX, THE:
Will Change Your Life: CD
I don’t know about life-changing, but this one is certainly a lot of fun. Studiofix is three young California women who claim to have just started playing without any lessons or training, and not much practice. While they may not be virtuosos, they are more than competent enough for the sort of pop music they are offering. Lyrics run from cryptic to just plain silly, but are never anything but perfect. I can definitely imagine that there is plenty of dancing going on at a Studiofix gig. –brian (Avebury, www.aveburyrecords.com)


STEP2FAR / SPIDER CREW:
Hooligans: CD
The cover of this album displays a lip being flipped over with the word “HOOLIGAN” tattooed underneath it. It’s angry (indignant), it’s anthemic (sing along if you wanna), it’s New York Hardcore (with the X replaced by machetes). STEP2FAR: This is your standard NYHC that you’ve been listening to since you were a wee lad. No new ground being broken, but that’s not the point. I mean its all about tradition anyways, right? Where are the gang vocals though? Spider Crew: Oh, there are the gang vocals. And not just that, they’ve got two guys singing. This band is huge! Not only do they have two vocalists, but they have two guitarists, a bassist, and sporadic usage of the infamous double bass. I have the feeling that this band can floor everybody in the Vets Hall when they play. Do you wanna hear another song titled “Punks n’ Skins”? If you do then you should buy this split. –Daryl Gussin (Street Anthem)


STENCH:
Moral Debauchery: 7”
These kids have the perfect U.K. punk look down: magazine cutout letters on the sleeve, a picture of the punk boy on the shitter, the studded jackets, names like “Hooligan” and “Peter Paedophile,” the sort of shit that usually gets hammered in by the mall punks. But that doesn’t matter, because “Raspberry Cripple” rocks in a stripped down, trashy way that makes my belly feel nice and warm, like when it has just been filled with a few shots of whiskey. Flip the record for two songs that have less excitement, but are almost equally enjoyable. –bree (Puke N Vomit)


STARVATIONS, THE:
Live 2-21-2004: CD
I used to love seeing the Starvations play around L.A.. The first few times, I think the happiness was a mixed bag of their actual performance as much as it was to see a large portion of the audience a little surprised at what they had just walked into. More swamp dirge than the typical L.A. showgoer had bargained for, but soon enough, people were showing up for the same reason I was: they were just a great band to see live. I can’t remember which guitar player was my favorite (I know it wasn’t the most recent, but I’m not sure how many lineup changes there were.). It wasn’t what he was playing, but how he played. He seemed to be the least interested in what they were playing on the first song of any set. Then, little by little through each song, he was psyching himself up to the point that he would be dancing and singing to the ceiling by the end of the set. Watching him get that genuinely excited as he passed through the set is what really hooked me on them live. I think, in part that’s because it’s similar to how I respond to a band, or a show. I pace myself (unless I’ve been drinking a lot, then all bets are off); I warm up to the band. As for The Starvations, they’ve finally broken up (I think? It’s been going on for years now) and mostly reemerged as Fortune’s Flesh, who I’ve yet to see. This is a pretty damn good live recording, which I’m not typically a big fan of. I still prefer their recorded stuff over this, but it’s a solid release nonetheless. –megan (www.sycophanticide.tk)


STAPLER, THE:
Metaphysical Haircut: CD
Have I lost my magic touch? I thought I had a pretty good detection system, not for avoiding all crap (I actually, instead seem to have a strange talent for finding that), but for at least avoiding stuff that would do well with all the arty kids. Not so, I’ve discovered this rotation. I picked this up because the cover sort of reminded me of the Pixies, oh, and it was yellow, and sometimes I like yellow. I know some people will give me flak for not ever getting into (and barely have even listened to) Dinosaur Jr. or Sonic Youth, and this reminds me of a fuzzier version of them (but again, I haven’t listened to either, so it’s more that The Stapler sound like what I imagine those bands to sound like, but fuzzier). So, I mean, I’m sure it’s good for what it is, but fuck if you’ll ever catch me listening to it willingly. –megan (www.colombusdiscountrecords.com)


SORE THUMBS, THE:
Listen Up!: CD
Total Social Distortion and Swingin’ Utters thing goin’ on here! Catchy, rockin’, good stuff! If this were a cereal, it’d be Raisin Bran. Not great, but good! –Maddy (Radio)


SOMETHING FIERCE:
Come for the Bastards: CD
These guys mix equal parts of punk and indie rock with a hardcore chaser. While I ain’t exactly gaga over the resulting tuneage, I am mightily impressed with their ability to take those ingredients and come up with something that sounds nothing like emo. Given the sheer number of emo bands in existence, it appears that feat is more difficult than one would assume. –jimmy (www.somethingfiercemusic.com)


SOLDIER DOLLS:
Self-titled: CD
Re-recordings by a U.K. punk band initially active in the ‘80s. A heavy GBH influence is in evidence on songs like “State of Shock,” but they’ve got enough of their own thing going that they don’t come off as a cover band. –jimmy (Longshot)


SLEEPER SET SAIL:
Eyes Just Like Forest Fires: CD
“All My Reason” is a pretty cool acoustic song. But if that’s the last song on your CD you may have problems. Not horrible, just too all over the place for me in terms of the styles. Other people may like this, but it was not for me. I did like the inside cover photos-creative idea. The government of Canada helped finance this recording, or maybe Nardurwar is behind this? Dubya sure as hell wouldn’t have authorized any scratch for this one. But judge for yourself-what do I know? I actually have an Asia CD in my collection. –koepenick (Sonic Unyon)


SHOTGUN MONDAY:
Read Compare Adjust: CD
It’s ex-members of two bands whose other members went on to be Sean Na Na, Har Mar Superstar, Pretty Girls Make Graves and These Arms Are Snakes (kind of a weird selling point if you ask me. I mean, I was in a band with people who were later in Avail and the Debbie Harry Band, but that doesn't mean Anxious Poop was any goddamn good) creating scads of mopy tension with their dense guitars and drum-hitting, but frankly the guy’s Fread Moon whine kills it for me as often as not (the not times might be when another guy sings, or maybe the first guy just sings quietlyer). I guess one of the parent bands, Calvin Krime, was on Amphetamine Reptile, though I don’t remember them, and that sound is here, but I think they lean more toward a poppier Mergey sound. –Cuss Baxter (Modern Radio)


SHIVS:
They’re Here: CD
Speedy hardcore stuff that sounds like it was recorded in ‘85 (it wasn’t) and features lyrics that often seem almost pathologically obsessed with being drunk. Not bad at all. –jimmy (No Front Teeth)


SHARP KNIFE / LOVES SONGS:
Split: Tape
Yay! Three Sharp Knife songs and two Love Songs (featuring Craigums!) songs on a tape! Punk rock! Love Songs use the phrase “apples and banaanaas” from one of the most ridiculous children’s songs of all time! Score one! Sharp Knife just rocks and rolls until your neighbors are pounding on the wall begging you to turn it down. Punk fucking rock! If this were a cereal, it’d be a single-serving double pack with silly, fun Froot Loops (Love Songs) and amazing, innovative Rice Krispie Treats cereal (Sharp Knife)! I am a dork! –Maddy (Grateful)


SHAPESHIFTER:
Self-titled: 7”
Like The Degenerics, this is another band that my friend Joe had sent to me not knowing I had gotten this for review. Unlike The Degenerics, I’m not really that into what I hear here. I like what he sent; I listened to it over and over. Wait, I’m a complete moron. It’s the same exact release. I listened to Joe’s copy on my little jambox and I listened to mine on my laptop. World of difference to me. What I thought was tinny sounding wasn’t at all. Really lyricaL crust that isn’t without melody. If, in the song “Feeding the Beast,” the lyrics actually correctly spelled when it says, “as the bones enrich the soil under our feat,” then I applaud you on your word play (it easily could go over the top, but is always well-balanced, and not a groan was induced). It was suggested that this is reminiscent of Aus Rotten, but seeing as I’ve avoided them for (apparently misguided) presumptions, I’m not sure. If they are (but I think I might just give Aus Rotten a chance now). A strong release with a cover photo of old cars that had me mesmerized. –megan (Don Giovanni)


SEX ROBOTS:
Self-titled: CD
It’s like if the spirit of Killed By Death was fused to pop punk. The Sex Robots sound like an obscure, smoking, gawky, retarded Midwestern band on a limited budget. It’s like the Gizmos or Unnatural Axe or Zero Boys rammed up against early Descendents. Actually, I’m astonished not more bands have done this: take that early, anonymous, anxiety-riddled punk from shit-tiny towns of the early ‘80s and channeled its spirit into no-pretense, choking-on-stucco, chain-stores-are-killing America punk in 2006. Recommended. –todd (Roadhouse Tunes)


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·Razorcake Issue #15, Archived
·DILLINGER FOUR
·MILLOY/THE LEIF ERICSSON
·SIVLE SI DOG
·STEVE LIEBERMAN
·RADON / SHALLOW CUTS
·VARIOUS ARTISTS
·SPITS, THE
·LAURICE


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