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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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HOSTILE COMBOVER:
Storklord: CD-R
This San Diego three-piece band is a bombastic blend. Imagine early Amphetamine Reptile bands, like the Cows meets Fugazi or Nation Of Ulysses on a bus that Drive Like Jehu is steering off a cliff. Intense with the loudness the early underground ‘90s perfected. For reference, a hostile combover is what you get when you mess with indigenous people’s land, i.e. the Native Americans. Ain’t No Joke, brother, as these guys say. This seven song gem was recorded by Gar Wood of Rocket From The Crypt. Definitely worth seeking out. –Guest Contributor (Self-released)


HOSTAGE SITUATION:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Super-speedy straight edge stuff, thankfully short on the metal influence that plagues so many bands in this genre. The lyrics veer more towards the “personal politics” side of things, but there are a few that deal with the stereotypical “edge” subject matter. Not bad for what it is. –jimmy (Third Party)


HOOKS & THE DAGGERS:
This is Ballroom Thrash: CD
This album showcases what is good with music, punk, and sarcasm. This album has some of the best song titles, lyrics, and wittiness around. The album starts out with “Fuck You Punk this Is Ballroom Thrash,” which blatantly proclaims their hate for publicists, the music industry, and generic fashion. Other cleverness that I applaud, is “It’s 9:11, Do You Know Where Your Rights Are?”, “Self-Proclaimed Anarchists Are Usually Just Douche Bags” (and I can’t help but love when people are referred to as douche bags), “The Rain on My Car Is a Baptism,” “Sterilized (I Think You Should Be)”—which has amazing schizophrenic yet harmonized vocals on the chorus—and “Botox Disaster (Another Dead Yuppie).” And the lyrics are just as good as the song titles. The music reminds me of a severely sped up Soviettes with a dude singing but hitting some charming high notes. –jenny (Moodkiller)


HOLY SHIT:
Jazz Phaze: 7” EP
Real solid, smartly aggressive, fuck-with-you hardcore that’s channeling the spirit of Flipper and Saccharine Trust (make your audience pay—and not monetarily—for showing up), laid down and stretched apart on the rack of the Minutemen (they’re intricate and driving when they choose), which puts them in contemporary league with the AbiYoyos and 400 Blows. Intentionally disjointed but held together by fuzz, herky jerkiness, and screaming that sounds like the vocalists are coughing up sweater-sized balls of fur. Not every day listening, but well pulled off. –todd (Trigger-on-the-dutendoo)


HIDDEN CHARMS:
The Square Root of Love: LP
Take Dean Dirg (let’s hit stuff and scream), The Hives (cocky swagger, but, Jesus, they can rule), add a lead singer that hasn’t quite figured out his meds, mix ‘em up, give ‘em silly haircuts, get ‘em stinko drunk, have them dry hump barely bar-legal lasses, touch a keyboard on occasion, pull out switchblades, trip, and fall over them while doing a stupid trick that costs an eye, and that’s what it sounds like. Pretty much. Fight your friends. Puke where you sleep. Roll over so you don’t choke to death. Teeth are overrated. Snort the pavement if the drugs fail. You know: healthy depravity because the prospect of getting old really sucks. I think they have a song that goes, “She’s a wombat,” too. (I love wombats.) The record comes with a stenciled paper bag so you can be an anonymous accomplice during their live show. It’s retarded fun that could have easily come out of Portland, but hails from Germany. –todd (Alien Snatch)


HERESY:
Face Up to It!: CD
Here is one record that has eluded me for years. I passed on it a few times during it’s initial release. I vowed to come back and purchase it at a later time. But that time never came and I never saw another copy again. Ten plus years later, I have bid on a number of copies on the evil Ebay and have been outbid by collectors that have money to burn. Last year, the reissue label Speedstate out of Japan released the second part of the Heresy trilogy and quickly sold out. A re-press was announced but never seemed to see daylight again. But the great folks at Boss Tuneage have come to my rescue! As soon as I heard that BT was releasing it, I sent an email into Razorcake HQ to see if I could have dibs if a copy came in since the label consistently sent in review material. Luck would have it that a copy had come in and was already assigned to me for review. Yes! Why do I care? Well, I was a partial fan. I bought a copy of the Never Healed flexi and the split LP with Concrete Sox. I enjoyed their track on Earache’s Grindcrusher comp. But my favorite was Face Up to It that was on the Manic Ears, The North Atlantic Noise Attack comp 2xLP. I wanted to hear more from that recording session. Now I get to. As I suspected, the songs are pure blasts of thrash with hints of crossover due to it being of the late ‘80s time period. Having a major roll in the formation of such genres as grindcore and power violence, they were one of the speed kings. I have heard stories of Napalm Death and Heresy in their early days having battles at shows to see who can drum the fastest. In this recording session that has been remastered, you can hear that they were influenced by American bands like Siege and DRI. Their change in sound was less Discharge and more like the latter mentioned bands. Like Holland’s BGK, they sounded very American. But that was not a bad thing. Hearing these songs for the first time, with the exception of the title track, gets me charged up with the manic and rapid speed drumming and the aural blur of the guitars. I can’t wait for volume 3 of this discography series. Reading the liner notes, those recordings are the ones they are the most pleased with. If I like this, I know that one is going to make me into one happy music nerd. –don (Boss Tuneage)


HEADACHE CITY:
Self-titled: CD
I had expectations, but I wasn’t quite ready for how slithery and juicy Headache City is. It’s like their songs have Vaseline’d up Slip-n-Slides in the middle of ‘em: vlooop, songs just quirt by. It’s just so “jazzy,” too. Not jazz-ish, but so palatable and unique. It’s a double head scratcher that when the songs are taken out of the context and sequence from the album: they’re nicely weird universes into themselves. It’s like a puzzle where every piece is its own mini picture, but when they’re all interlocked, there’s something definitely larger to hear that’s presented by the length of the album. I’m fully aware that I’m stretching here, but it’s like The Fuses meet early Bauhaus meet Manikin meet Lost Sounds. I was fully expecting driving oddrock—which they deliver. I wasn’t expecting the atmosphere and flourishes. This rubbed me completely the right way…and I didn’t know I needed the rubbing. –todd (Shit Sandwich)


GRACER:
Voices Travel: CD
There’s a guy I work with who is just dumbfounded by the fact that I don’t like 311 or half a dozen other bands he loves. “They’re such talented musicians.” To which my response is: “I don’t give a good goddamn how talented they are. They’re not playing anything I want to hear.” Chuck Berry plays three chords and I’d happily listen to those three chords for three hours than hear some asshole noodling around being “talented” for three minutes. Gracer are talented musicians. It’s just three guys and I’m sure if you see them live there’s a minefield of awesome pedals and fancy lights all over their amps. But they aren’t playing anything I want to hear. At nearly five minutes a track I should be able to grab on to something here. The kindest thing you could say is that it’s “epic” indie rock. It drags on and on, pulling you through what sounds like out-takes from The Postal Service and/or Death Cab For Cutie catalog, and a lot of deep, emotional, poetic, schmaltzy lyrics that never hit their mark. If I could remember a single one of these songs I’m sure I wouldn’t be shocked when I heard it in the background of a particularly emotional scene on One Tree Hill or The Gilmore Girls. Revelation Records…I like you a lot. We’ve had a lot of good times but I’m watching you guys. The path tread by Victory Records and this sort of crap is paved with thousands of shifted units but it’s a dark one. –Guest Contributor (Revelation)


GRABASS CHARLESTONS:
When the Funk Hits the Fan: 7”
I don’t think it will come as a surprise to anyone that Grabass is pretty heavily ingrained in the rotation at Razorcake HQ. Number One, they’re some of the Best Dudes Ever. Number Two, they write songs that acknowledge the shit and the drudgery of life, but somehow manage to leave me feeling damn glad to be alive. And finally, they put out great music, but it’s a music that’s pretty hard to categorize. They play really, really well and you can tell that a lot of thought goes into their (dare I say it?) musicianship. Is it too slow too be punk? Too raw to be rock? You can go ahead and waste your time classifying them if you want—I’ll be busy dancing. –megan (Barracuda Sound)


GOOD NEIGHBOR POLICY:
Self-titled: CD
All too often I’m trying to explain to knuckleheads that new hardcore doesn’t have to sound like shitty metal. Now I have the proof. Angry, but not screaming vocals. Searing, but not overbearing guitar. Add a fast and throbbing rhythm section and you have an equation for hardcore success. GNP should be required listening. –ty (Lorelei)


GOLDEN GODS, THE:
...The Thorny Crown Of Rock and Roll: CD
First of all, come on dudes: rock’N’roll. Rock and roll is for posers. HAHA! Anyway, in case you couldn’t tell from the name and the title, these dudes dig rawk. The singer is a dead ringer for Lou Gramm and there’s no doubt about it, these guys would tear the shit out of “Dirty White Boy.” Occasionally they step on the gas a little too much and slide into Supersuckers territory, but on the mid tempo tunes like “Dynamite Lady,” they are awesome. Without a doubt “Stone Fox” is the hit here and pretty much dwarfs the rest of the tunes. The disc is a little too long and I am sure that true to form, they play way too long live, but when they are on this is some killer big rock. I am a rocker and I can dig it. –frame (The Control Group)


GOLDBLADE:
Punk Rockers In The Dance Hall: CD
Goldblade play street punk with a rockin’ undercurrent. Pretty solid and fairly well written songs. One song appears to be about Ghostface Killah from the Wu Tang Clan. Overall their sound falls somewhere between the Toy Dolls and Wat Tyler. –frame (SOS)


GHETTO WAYS:
Party Down: 7” EP
James Brown would approve. Great bands in this genre are like unexpectedly stepping into folks gloriously having sex out in the open, but not in a creepy, ashamed, or pathetic way. It’s visceral: a celebration of lascivious noises and gasps for breath and moans that aren’t usually heard in general public. Like the BellRays and the Jewws, the Ghetto Ways don’t sound like a cheap porno put-on of “clap yer hands!” “boogie!” or “testify!” but of that undeniable full-body sweat music that’s wrung out of a dirty T-shirt at the end of a set and splattered onto the floor, of shattered glass and steel-bending guitars, of rolling train drums and bass, all accelerated by a lady vocalist who sounds like a gospel singer belting out songs of the damned. Like the finest of liquor, comes in a brown bag (but stenciled). –todd (Wicked Singles)


FUNCTIONAL BLACKOUTS:
The Severed Tongue Speaks for Everyone: LP
Judging solely by the name of the group, and paying no attention whatsoever to the cover art, I was totally expecting some bar-punk retread shit, but lordy, I was in no way prepared for this. While most decidedly a “punk rock” band, these kids deal in some of the sickest sounding interpretations of the word—not quite hardcore, not quite rehash-core, not quite art-core, but some inhuman Osterizerized blend of all the above strictly their own—that I’ve heard in quite a while. This is one awesome fucking record. –jimmy (Criminal IQ)


FUCKBOYZ:
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?: The Fuckboyz Story: CD
This is a collection of all of the Fuckboyz releases, along with a bunch of previously unreleased tracks. It covers a pretty wide range of styles, which might be hard for some people at first, but stick with it because it’s the range that makes it impressive and keeps it fresh after repeated listens. If you don’t find yourself singing along to “Rock’n’roll Problem,” there’s seriously something wrong with you. Oh, and for the record, Fuckboyz is the band that went on to become Hickey. Do you like Hickey? Then you need this. If you don’t like Hickey, you’re probably stupid and don’t like jokes. –megan (Fast Crowd)


FRIDAY KNIGHT / PANTY SHANTY:
Split: 7” EP
Sometimes, when I’m writing reviews, I hope bands realize that I see their potential and raw talent, and these reviews are my two cents of encouragement while neither just being a cheerleader nor a dick. Both of these bands have gumption and fire to spare. The recordings are a little shaky, but I hear good hearts making honest music, and that goes a long way. Friday Knight: From Chattanooga, they sound less like a band-in-forming, and more like seasoned musicians getting used to one another, taking cues from the Carrie Nations and Allergic To Bullshit (oscillating female/male vocals, and very spacious and dynamic musically. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s Ivy singing). Panty Shanty: The recording and the songs themselves just sound a little too muddy—with the occasional sparkle. Like unsuccessfully panning for gold in dirty water, the songs themselves are repetitive. I have the feeling that once they find a shiny nugget or two of a song, they, themselves will begin to shine. –todd (Plan-It-X South)


FRANTIC:
Attaque of the Grizzlie: LP
First several times I played this, it zipped right by, seeming a little blunt and nubbed-down. But I didn’t mind listening to it, and kept at it. To me, it had that weird honor of being a band I like listening to, but always had difficulty placing if I didn’t put the record on. On the outskirts, Frantic’s guitars sound like the Tyrades (imagine a cat strangled with wire) and has more than a passing blush to DC hardcore (with the cover of Government Issue and more barking and talking than singing). Then I discovered something on the tenth spin. You know all those records that say “Play loud!” just to look more exciting? Well, Frantic’s true power is discovered at higher volumes, and that revealed something I hadn’t picked up on at first: they seem to be channeling those recently released Adolescents demos. What it lacks in fidelity it gains in punching you in the ear while making you want to sing along to it. Post-it note attached to the front says it features members of Beat Beat Beat and The Carbonas. –todd (Die Slaughterhouse / Douche Master)


FOURTH ROTOR:
Plain: LP
I just don’t get it—when the hell did Matt Freeman start singing for a Steve Albini band? Seriously, this sounds eerily like Freeman fronting some bouncy, bass-throbbing Shellac cover band or something. Am I off on this one? Does anyone else hear this? The rhythm section really owns these songs, while the guitar mostly plays catch-up or offers little high-end alterations. It’s not as particularly heavy as Shellac, but that’s about the only band that comes to mind when I think of stuff like this. Needless to say, it pretty much went in one ear and out the other; the emphasis seems to be placed on discordance rather than catchiness, and unless you’re some kind of wunderkind virtuoso (i.e. really good at that shit), it’s a genre that rarely moves me. I’m all for toeing the line and trying to present something new, until a band reaches the point where each song just sounds like five or six different, totally random sections strung together. –keith (Southkore)


FOUR SLICKS, THE:
’56 Jewel: 7” EP
Four amped-up ravers that rely heavily on the patented twelve-bar blues pattern. Luckily, they use it to good effect. –jimmy (www.rapidpulserecords.com)


FOUR EASY PIECES:
Birth of the Uncool: CD
Two things: 1) their press stuff says they are influenced by Johnny Thunders, The Kinks, and all the other usual suspects, but their output is more ass-kick than rehash; 2) I think the album title, while obviously a piss-take on Miles Davis’ Birth of the Cool, is a bit of a misnomer, as the shit their peddlin’ is plenty cool. High-octane punk rock that doesn’t sound like yet another Thunders tribute band is what you get here, and they can easily rock with the best of ‘em. –jimmy (Last Shot)


FORMALDYHYDE JUNKIES:
Self-titled: 7”
These guys are probably sick of hearing ‘80s hardcore band comparisons (so I’ll spare naming names), but it’s definitely there. It’s mostly in the energy itself more than the sound. So damn energetic, so damn good. I was lucky enough (thanks to my friend Justin waking me up and driving for five hours) to see them play with the Fuck Yeahs in the basement of the Alamo House in Minneapolis over my spring break, and they were nothing shy of amazing. –megan (Fashionable Idiots)


FOR THE WORSE:
Non Compos Mentis Vol. 1: 7”
Pissed off, fast ‘n tight hardcore culled from two radio sessions from 2004. Dunno much about these guys, but they make a nice racket. –jimmy (FNS)


FOR THE WORSE:
Couldn’t Give Two Shits about the Kids: LP
Pretty brutal East coast hardcore fronted by Mr. Mike McCarthy (A Poor Excuse). Mike’s a bit of a legend in New England. There’s a picture of him on jumping off a balcony into a pit, he’s trained as a wrestler, and he tends to leave his shows bleeding. He’s one hell of a front man, so I was happy to see him doing something again. Some days, I really miss this kind of stuff—Fast, short, angry, and frenzied as all hell. And throwing a Symarip sample and a Bruisers cover on there never hurts either. –megan (Even Worse/ Kangaroo)


FLANK, THE:
At Stake: CD
Seriously? I like to think that I’m fairly good at coming up with decent ways to describe shitty records, but I’m damn near at a loss here. Wanky, Beatles-esque piano pop douche fodder. Trippy-dippy vocals that whine to be heard on mainstream radio. The only hope for this would be if it was someone’s idea of a sick joke, in which case they still failed because they haven’t let anyone in on the gag. Speaking of gag, I’ve got to go. –ty (Velvet Wrinkle)


FLAMING SIDEBURNS:
Back To The Grave: CD
Some pretty cool rock from this Finnish band. Sometimes veers a little too far into “Scandaniavian Rawk” but the moodier songs like “Black Moon” are great. Reminds me of the New Christs and the Celibate Rifles in spots. Only real low point is the half-assed cover of “Funk #49”; they totally strip the guts out of one of the greatest guitar riffs of all time. Bad boogie. Overall, a pretty solid disc for fans of Hives, Compulsive Gamblers, or The Maggots. –frame (Bad Afro)


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Razorcake Podcast Player


·VERSE
·We Were There: Alice Bag and Jimmy Alvarado
·FULL SUN
·AGAINST ME!
·CHUBBIES, THE
·POOR LILY: :
·ZEN GUERRILLA
·HOLLYWOOD GODS
·SMOGTOWN


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