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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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AUBURN BIKINI:
Self-titled: CD
There’s immediately going to be limited regional appeal for a band with songs like “Punt, Bama, Punt,” but luckily, I fall within their scope. Auburn Bikini kind of reminds me of the Big Boys in their happier moments; not as cohesive, but that general do-whatever-you-want sort of sound, plus the guy kind of sings like Biscuit. Probably a shitload of fun at a house party. Too bad putting out CDs doesn’t help anybody win a national championship, huh? –Josh (Arkam)


A-SIDES, THE:
Hello, Hello: CD
Here’s another CD that finds its way to Razorcake HQ that is way off the base of its coverage. But to be fair, this is a real good interpretation of the Beatles’ Sgt. Peppers meets a kind of Beach Boys Pet Sounds vibe. Music you can pass off to the grandparents. –don (Prison Jazz)


ARTHRITIC FOOT SOLDIERS:
Texas Idiot: CD
Oi-ish mid-tempo punk tunes covering Bush, Jehovah’s Witnesses, “anorexic princess of pop,” and skateboarding. Songs are pretty good for what they are, but the mix leaves them sounding a tad flat. –jimmy (www.afs.me.uk)


ARMOR FOR SLEEP:
What to Do When You Are Dead: CD
The art and layout on this CD rules. The little booklet that came with the CD (that sort of mimics little Bible-thumper pamphlets) explains the ever-so-witty guidelines on what to do when you are dead. A shame the music sucks. Or maybe to be fair, I should have said a shame this reviewer hates emo rock and the like. –mrz (Equal Vision)


ANTISEEN:
Dear Abby: 7"
When I pulled this out of the envelope, I groaned. Ugh. Antiseen. Rebel flags and songs about guns and possums and redneck stuff. Yuck. Fortunately, I'm really stoked about this. It's a really cool concept record; four songs about four of the badassest wrestlers ever (Abdullah the Butcher, Sabu, Terry Funk and Cactus Jack) and the clincher, the thing that made me jump up and down with excitement, was the ad for Abdullah the Butcher's House of Ribs and Chinese Food. It's real. It's a real restaurant; Abdullah the Butcher really owns it. That officially makes it one of the coolest theme records ever. Good job, Antiseen! –ben (TKO)


ANTISEEN / ELECTRIC FRANKENSTEIN:
Split: 7”
A venerated, age-old approach that we wily music critics like to use in reviewing “splits” like this, is to pit the two bands against one another in a sort of fictional brawl. And if there was ever a split that perfectly lends itself to the brawl motif, it’s this one; two of the more bruising, brawling bands around, both sonically and physically speaking—brought head to head on none other than TKO Records. It’s a natural. But this one turns out to be a bit of an upset, at least the way I score it. I expected the brutish hillfolk of Antiseen to rip open a can of whoop-ass with the few teeth they have left in their heads and tear the EF boys apart like hapless chickens in a geek pit. You see, over the past few years, I had started to think Electric Frankenstein had lost its electricity, so to speak; that they were a soft, pudgy, couch potato-y version of their former mighty self. Whoa, son, was I wrong. At least this time around. They come ripping out of their corner and bullwhip the mammoth hillbillies around the ring like cheap beanbags with ratty hair. All right, I’m exaggerating a little bit; it’s not that much of a lopsided ass-beating. To be fair, the Antiseen song isn’t bad at all. It chugs and growls in typical Antiseen fashion but it’s just a bit sloggy and uninspired sounding, at least compared to the EF song. It fries my ass a bit that they’d go to all the bother of putting out a record with only two songs on it, especially with bands of the caliber of Antiseen and EF, but this one’s worth dropping a couple bucks on regardless. –aphid (TKO)


AGAINST ALL AUTHORITY/COMMON RIDER:
Split: CD
Back in the late ‘90s ska had its big revival (again). You couldn’t go anywhere without hearing someone playing ska/punk, punk/ska or skacore or whatever. At the start, I thought it was fun. Later, it was excruciating. At that same time, Against All Authority was getting lumped in there. Sure, they had some ska riffs, but they were pure punk rock. They were among the only bands from that era that held any interest for me and I’m pleased to report that it hasn’t changed. The tracks here rock. AAA isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. In fact, they have no problem ripping your skull open to tell you. I think this is the best stuff I’ve ever heard from the band. One track sports the ska vibe, but, as usual, they do it better than the glut of other bands that were doing it. Solid. The whole ska thing brings me back to Operation Ivy as well. I was never a fan. The only reason I have one of their records in my collection is because a friend of mine had two copies and he was right pissed off that I didn’t have it. I don’t hate it, but it sure as hell never worked me like it did for others. I’ve never bothered to listen to Common Rider until now just because I was never an Op Ivy fan. I would have to say that the songwriting has gotten better and having guys like Dan Lumley and Mass Giorgini in your band can only help. Yeah, I could see myself listening to this some more. Good split, but AAA are definitely the winners here. –ty (Hopeless)


ADOLF & THE PISS ARTISTS:
Lights Out: 7” EP
Well-executed but woefully pedestrian U.S. oi-punk. –jimmy (TKO)


ADOLESCENTS:
Complete Demos 1980-86: CD
Let me begin by saying that any self-proclaimed punker that has neither heard of nor owns a copy of the Adolescents’ “blue” album should be immediately stripped of their official Johnny Rotten Pez dispensers and sent to perform gulag work for Britney Aguilera’s street team. A harsh sentence, yes, but ignorance of the Adolescents’ true greatness warrants just such a punishment. That said, let it further be known that any self-proclaimed punker who has heretofore procured a copy of the above-referenced “blue” album and fails to supplement it with a copy of this album will be due for a serious shin kicking, for this—a collection of demos (as the title implies) by the “classic” lineup of the band, before Casey went on to caviar-filled swimming pools and the 90210 zip code with DI, Rikk sold his soul to the devil to round out the classic lineups of both Christian Death and DI, Steve and Frank fell in love with Kat Arthur’s snake and joined Legal Weapon, and Tony moved to the SGV and achieved punk-god status with stints in Abandoned, God’s Riot and Flower Leperds—is surely no less mandatory for the collection. Of the sixteen tracks here, only three have ever been officially released (“The Liar” making its first appearance on Flipside’s Vinyl Fanzine Vol. 3, “Who Is Who,” and one of the two versions of “Wrecking Crew” included here appearing on BYO’s Someone Got Their Head Kicked In comp), four are songs from their first demo that they never re-recorded, one is an outtake from the sessions that resulted in the Welcome to Reality EP (a markedly different version of “Richard Hung Himself,” the song that would later provide DI with their first “hit”) and the remainder are alternate, yet damn fine, versions of songs that graced the “blue” album and its follow-up, Brats in Battalions. While some who believe that the glory days of punk died around the same time this band’s classic lineup sputtered to a halt will find closure and much to wax nostalgic over, this also serves as a nice hors d'oeuvre to whet the appetite before they serve up that highly anticipated new album they’ve been threatening to unleash for the past couple of years for those of us impatient for new product from the reformed Adolescents. Quit torturing us, guys, and deliver some fresh goods already. –jimmy (Frontier)


7 SECONDS:
Take It Back, Take It On, Take It Over: CD
Listening to this takes me back to those breezy June skate-Betty days. The kind I had when I was a young teen and I'd sit on the curb, smoking cloves, watching my boyfriend ollie on his G&S. My favorite album was Walk Together, Rock Together. Old timers will enjoy the comfortable Kevin/Steve/Troy/Bobby lineup and tight new songs; newcomers can feel good knowing they're not a day late and a dollar short with this band. It's all in the family and they're just as good as they ever were. –thiringer (Side One Dummy)


25 SUAVE:
I Want It Loud: CD
It creeps me out when I see a picture of a band and one of the members has a severe receding hairline and wears their hair long. If you have ever seen a picture of the singer of the metal band Strapping Young Lad, you know what I mean. Well, the singer/guitarist is pictured in forehead glory. That is a hard sell, baby. It’s not going to make the blind consumer yell out with devil horns in the air saying, “I’m buying this one! It’s going to rock!” Ironically, this does rock in a later-period Corrosion of Conformity, a dash of Motörhead meets Gene Simmons, not Paul Stanley, singing for Kiss kind of way. Mid-tempo rock that is not annoying like the bad bar rock band at the country-western bar that has the cheap beer specials. –don (Bastard Sun)


BLITZKRIEG/PARADOX UK:
Split: CD
Blitzkrieg were one of the second wave Brit punk bands that had put out releases in the early ‘80s. Paradox UK were the band that formed after the ashes and continued on in the ‘90s. Blitzkrieg started, as many of the bands of the time, playing more a traditional oi sound and gradually changed their sound with the influence of Discharge, which made their music faster and more aggressive in the same manner as the Varukers. Paradox UK is a band that I saw their releases around but never had the urge to pick anything up. The tracks featured here have the remnants of the crossover period that has tinges of a Motörhead sound. These tracks are the weaker of the two bands due to the thin guitar sound. It comes out as average, but nothing to grab you by. The Blitzkrieg tracks were far better produced and have energy. I’m not sure where these tracks were compiled from, but it is a welcome opportunity to hear bands that I didn’t really pay attention to when they were active. –don (Street Anthem)


BLACKLIST BRIGADE:
Slit-Nose Hymns: CD
One of my fantasies is that Joe Strummer didn’t really die, he just pulled the ultimate “I don’t want to be famous” trick, took a U-turn, and went back to being in a tiny English garage band. The Blacklist Brigade fulfill that fantasy. ’77-inspired punk rarely sounds this plainly inspired in 2005, but these guys have been turning what is usually a bunt situation into a series of home runs. They’re not afraid to slide around in the mud of a long, piano-damaged ballad then kick the next song like they’re playing soccer with skulls in a graveyard. It’s all perfectly lo-fi, yet clear in message as burning a flag on an embassy’s steps. Since the banner holders of this genre seem to be working on clothing lines and listening to their personal trainers now, here’s your chance to hear a band that’s busy doing some serious reclamation of rebellion. –todd (No Front Teeth)


BLACKLIST BRIGADE:
Slit-Nose Hymns: CD
If I didn’t know any better, I’d think this was Stranglehold. Old-school street punk with all the background whoa-oh’s. Shane McGowan inspired many a working class drunk punk as well. One acoustic tune has an accordion, I think. There are a few random piano interludes with sea waves crashing in the background as well. Argh! And a Jolly Rodgers to ya! I could see TKO Records putting this out. –todd (Self-released)


BILL BONDSMEN:
The Swinging Sounds of…: 7” EP
When ugly is beautiful and fat means more time to live after the Apocalypse. Dashes of N.O.T.A., Die Kreuzen, and The Offenders, in my humble opinion, are always going to put some sharp, interesting corners on any hardcore band (I’m using hardcore in the original early ‘80s sense, not the ‘90s Mr. Universe with bad attitudes, metal masturbation-as-a-crew sense). When said no-bullshit band doesn’t take themselves seriously, name drops The Dark Crystal (“the greatest documentary of political struggle ever”) body checks The Wall, and has one of the best “I shoulda been brushing my teeth” songs I’ve ever heard, well, then you’re on to something. It’s like finding a piece of pre-chewed candy on the street, yet it still has its own flavor, even with all the pebbles, strands of hair, and slivers of old glass. Tastes better than it first looks. –todd (Fourteegee Profuctions)


BILL BONDSMEN, THE:
The Swingin’ Sounds of…: 7”
After a demo that showed considerable promise (even if it needed mixing something awful) comes one fucker of a hardcore record steeped in its influences yet refraining from rehashing the same ol’ shit. Things are not too fast, not too slow, and there’s enough of a sense of humor to keep things from becoming a preach-fest. Subjects include stupid Nazi skins (“stupid tattoos on your forehead and neck/poor pathetic slob/shoulda got ‘this space for rent’/have fun hunting for a job”), tooth decay, telemarketing, and “the Dark Crystal.” Add some punny song titles (including “Garthim Attack,” a sly reference to a Mob 47 tune) and you’ve got some entertaining listening. –jimmy (Fourteegee Profuctions)


BENT OUTTA SHAPE:
Self-titled: 12” EP
Considering their name, it’s ironic that the record I got was bent almost like a taco. Some carefully applied heat and pressure, a little patience, and it’s a playable, wavy potato chip. So, this is how the radio works on most people? A band you’ve never heard of before, you instantly like because they simultaneously remind you of ten bands you already like (this time, reshaped and tossed and bruised, holding a delicious burrito), and you want to buy every fucking thing by them as soon as possible. It’s scary how much I liked this when the needle first touched down and I’m happy to say that the satisfaction hasn’t waned in the twenty plays since. Take the infectious train-hopping, ashtray pop punk of Rivethead, the good-smelling fungus and fumes of Toys That Kill, the curly pubes left on the soap by Dick Army, and the indie rock by way of falling down while attempting stupid tricks on your bike sound of the Carrie Nations and that starts getting at what Bent Outta Shape do. Charming as all hell. Comes with a zine. –todd (Drunk Tank, ($8.50 ppd.)


BELLRAYS, THE:
The Red, White, and Black: CD
Y’know, I could go on and on like so many other fans and critics about how crucial the Bellrays are; how they bend the definition of "punk" in the most glorious of ways; how they manage to conjure all the best of Big Brother and the Holding Company, MC5, and Tina Turner; how they take punk, soul, and garage rock's most crucial elements and boil them down into a—dare I say it—holy mélange of "good goddamn, this rocks so friggin' hard"-ness, with a side of whoop-ass to give it spice. I could further describe them as the perfect blend of the sacred and profane—a voice surely blessed by the gods merged with banshee-howl guitars and a pagan, devil rock backbeat. But, you know, I'm not gonna do that. Just pick up a copy yourself and revel in THE WORD, brothers and sisters, put forth by some of the Church of Rock'n'Roll's most venerated prophets. As they put it so eloquently on their CD booklet, "Soul is the teacher, punk is the preacher," and to not heed that message would be absolute folly –jimmy (Alternative Tentacles)


BASSHOLES:
Self-titled: CD
The scene: the world’s busiest freeway. The time: 4 PM. Me: thinking about class war as another BMW cuts me off. Enter the Bassholes. No artifice. No hipster nuthuggers swaggering for a future shampoo commercial. No dilettante “oh yeah!” gospel soft serve. Just religious music without the religion. Folk music with the hippie overtones replaced by daggers. Music just made by folks. That salve at the time when you need some salvation the most. As alive and real and sturdy as an oak tree. Smokey as bad memories burning up, still stinging your eyes. Modern blues, and not in a Blues Hammer type of way, but of musicians pushing back all the bad shit, reaching over your shoulder, and flipping a happy switch. While I doubt the Bassholes will ever be televised worldwide, I know this: this is the type of music that’ll protect you. The world’s busiest freeway just gave me the time to sit and listen and realize this: what a great fuckin’ record. –todd (Dead Canary)


BASSHOLES, THE:
Broke Chamber Music: CD

It’s pretty easy to bag on modern punk rock. Lots and lots of people have embraced the superficial aspects of it while ignoring what’s important. Lots and lots of people have taken a visceral, powerful kind of music and glossed it over, clipped its nails, and purtied its hair up real nice. Somewhere along the way, it got turned into a cool police badge. Not to put too fine a point on it, but that really sucks. As much as that sucks, it doesn’t mean that great punk rock doesn’t exist anymore. Just because some bondage-panted future accountant is bitching about his deli tray backstage doesn’t mean that two falling-down drunks from Ohio can’t bash their instruments and howl their guts out. It’s the blues, the cockroach blues, the hell blues, the goddamn blood red blues that can’t be faked. It’s music for music’s sake, not to show off fancy sleeve tattoos. It’s everything that’s great about America condensed like soup into an hour of Bassholes singles and outtakes. Familiarize yourself with it

–Josh (Secret Keeper)


BANG SUGAR BANG:
Thwak Thwak: Thwak Thwak
Okay, let's get something straight: some songs should not be redone. "Sex Beat" is such a song, and redoing it with vocals that sound like Siouxsie Sioux with a tummy ache only makes matters worse. The rest of this wasn't too painful a listen, but after hearing what they did to what is thee quintessential Gun Club track, I had a hard time focusing on any of their merits. –jimmy (www.bangsugarbang.com)


BAFABEGIYA:
Those Who Die Dancing: 7”
Rebellious, rambunctious hardcore with rebellious, rambunctious lyrics. Songs are put together well, and I bet these guys smoke live. –jimmy (Spacement)


ARM, THE:
Self-titled: 8-song CD
Androgyny, angularity, and a cold-processed fusion of Wire and Lifter Puller: all neon arrows point to art rock. For this guy, art rock’s like a blister forming under a toenail. There’s a point where it’s gotta pop, where you have to go through the ugliness of drilling the X-acto tip right into the nail and the first head of blood and pus pools up… then push, push, push. The Arm, although hard to put an ear around at first, deliver in the end with a perfectly ugly, dance-in-the-doom release. Folks who dig the in-a-dark-butcher’s-freezer sound of Joy Division would do well to pick this up. Don’t let the dodgy bronze goose on the cover fool you, it’s pretty damn good. –todd (Last Gasp; www.lastgasprecords.com)


ANTISEEN:
One Live Sonofabitch and a Hell of a Lot More: 2CD + DVD
Ugh. Now I realize why I never really got into these guys—a double CD of live tunes and outtakes from the early- to mid- ‘90s, and mindless thuggery galore. Don’t get me wrong—there are some interesting bits on the CDs, but thirty-two tracks is simply too much to take; I like my thuggery as much as anyone else, but it gets old pretty quick. And the production isn’t that great, so I kept switching over to Julie Andrews songs to balance out the bad karma just created. Regarding the DVD, the live stuff is more of the same, but now you’ve gotta look at them. HOWEVER, the Destructo Video included herein was actually fairly interesting and entertaining; if you’re a fan, I suppose that in itself will be worth the price. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Steel Cage)


ANTISEEN:
Badwill Ambassadors: CD
Things are a bit slower and more on the "rock" side of the fence than I remember previous efforts being, but they still do the southern scumrock thing quite well. Considering these guys have been around long enough to have played marbles with Moses, it's no surprise their chops are finely honed, and they manage to make something that could easily fall into "pathetic and sad" territory worth a listen. –jimmy (TKO)


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