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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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FIST FULL OF KNUCKLES:
Live on Tom Paine’s Birthday: CD
I feel cheated out of the FFOK experience. I’m not a friend of theirs, so I don’t know a thing about Karl’s girlfriend Stacey or how she punched through John’s window. Nor do I know the magic of what must be their dozens of basement shows and impromptu party sets. That being said, I’ll say I can’t fully and fairly critique this fairly well recorded live folk punk record. I don’t know if that’s what they call themselves, but I think that’s the term most people would identify them with these days. Fist Full kids…I want you to put out a properly recorded record and tour out of North Dakota so I can fully appreciate the experience. And I’m sure it’s an experience. –Guest Contributor (This Could Work)


FIRST OFFENCE:
Stranded In The Combat Zone: 7”
These guys (and girl) really punk the oi in Ohio! Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one. Seriously though, this sounds great. No new ground broken, but it doesn’t matter when it comes down to it. –ty (Step Up!)


FINAL CONFLICT:
Ashes to Ashes: CD
I remember the first time I saw these guys at Fenders way back when I was still sporting a silly haircut and before this, their first album, came out. I had previously dismissed ‘em as some lame peacenik Discharge rip-off, and so was completely baffled when Ron began verbally berating the audience from the get-go. BAM! Jimmy’s an instant fan. Lyrically and musically they were very much like contemporaries like Iconoclast and Body Count (no, not the Ice-T band, dweeb), with much emphasis on war, nuclear destruction, pigs, etc., but a more than passing metal influence in the guitar distanced them from the rest. Like a previous CD reissue, this includes tracks from a preceding demo, but this version also includes a couple of cover songs from an even earlier demo. The verdict remains the same; however, if you like yer hardcore fast, tight and political, you can’t go wrong with these guys. –jimmy (SOS)


FASTIDIOS, LOS:
Rebels ’n’ Revels: CD
Italian street punk/ska stuff that is better than most, and I like the “radical” slant of the lyrics, but ultimately this really doesn’t do much for me. Funny, I seem to remember them being a wee bit more memorable. –jimmy (Mad Butcher)


ESCAPE THE FATE:
There is No Sympathy for the Dead: CDEP
Something to review from Epitaph? I thought they went in another direction and abandoned the old standard of sending out material to small zines. Bad Religion, I will take any day. Pennywise, Bouncing Souls and maybe a few others I will sometimes go out and buy either for myself or my wife. But other than the old standards, I don’t know what this label puts out anymore. Judging from what I hear coming out of my speakers, they are looking for something outside of the punk scene. The closest thing I can think of is this band sounds like Avenged Sevenfold or that band that wears make-up, My Chemical Romance. Stuff I see on the Fuse channel when I check every once in awhile to see what the kids are into. It sounds like so many bands that are being passed off as metal but sounds so commercial because they add screamo or growling vocals interspersed in between the cheesy commercial emo pop punk vocals. I could see this on Victory but am shocked to see this released on Epitaph. –don (Epitaph)


ERGS, THE:
Jersey’s Best Prancers: CDEP
CD version of the 12”EP that sold out practically the day it was released. No real subtle way to put this: one of the world’s top twenty current bands puts out eight more songs and you should get it. For fans of: Bananas (pull back the skin and there’s boulders in the bubblegum), Minutemen (tightly wound without tiring the listener), Lifetime (artwork and the clarity of vision), Descendents (ain’t afraid to be young, smart dorks at heart but still shred) and, you, know, great music that has a long shelf life. I’ve hit people’s hands away when they’ve reached to eject the CD before it’s finished. –todd (Don Giovanni)


ERASURE:
Union Street: CD
Erasure has released this eleven song album that is acoustic re-workings of some of their classic hits and their biggest one, “Chains of Love” isn’t included? Seems like a fucking tragedy if you ask me. –kurt (Mute)


EL AVIADOR DRO:
Electrico!: CD
What info is available on the packaging says these guys have been around since 1978, but I’m unclear as to whether this is a reissue, a compilation of “hits,” or a new release. Either way, what you get for your buck is quirky, synth-driven new wave, sorta like Devo meets OMD. Most of it is quite good, especially “La Televisión Es Nutritiva,” and I’d venture that you could easily slip any of the tunes here onto the Sixteen Candles soundtrack and no one would notice. –jimmy (www.omegapointrecords.com)


DUCKY BOYS, THE:
The War Back Home: CD
It seemed that back in the late ‘90s when Dropkick Murphy’s and American streetpunk/oi (or whatever you care to call it) was hitting it’s stride, the Ducky Boys were everywhere. They were never stand out amazing, but never a let down. Many years have gone by and I haven’t heard a thing about these guys—until now that is. The War At Home kind of took me by surprise. I was expecting the old Ducky Boys. I guess the trace elements of some boot and braces action is there but it’s overshadowed by big production and harmonies. I don’t mean for that to sound like a bad thing because this is a damn fine record. If anything they’ve finally defined themselves from the pack. I kind of liken this to how the Swingin’ Utters changed up their sound only without the Celtic influence. Lot’s of lyrics about the sad state the world is in these days. My only complaint is that the vocalist tries to over sing a few notes and it comes off kind of cock-rocky at times. Well done other than that though. –ty (Sailor’s Grave)


DUCHESS SAYS:
Noviciat Mere-Perruche: CD
Aggressive, non-sappy new wave, not unlike a band like Polysics in a bummer mood. Three originals and a Six Finger Satellite cover is what you get for your buck. The coolest kids will be shaking their shimmy to “Black Flag” this summer, if they know what’s good for ’em. –jimmy (www.duchesssays.com)


DROPGUN:
Devil Music: CD
Another DIY gem from Ohio, this time, Akron. Swaggering punk with cock-rock guitars, driving bass and drums, and gruff, yowling vocals. Overflowing with hormones, punch your way to the front of the stage and rock the hell out. –thiringer (www.dropgun.com—how about putting that on your CD, genius?)


DROGUES, THE:
No Facts That Don’t Fit: CD
I picked this up because of the artwork – really cool bees. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t the Big Boys meets Talking Heads (who I like both) that I got. At this point, I’m not that taken by it, but it has the potential to possibly grow on me. –megan (Waxbrain)


DRIVER:
Ninth Valley: CD
Fast, thrashy stuff with funny song titles (“Lesbian Seahags from Indiana,” “Midgets Can’t Surf”) and completely unintelligible vocals. –jimmy (Lookatme Bumpole)


DRAG THE RIVER:
It’s Crazy: CD
Similarly to the 7”, I like the whole album, but there are songs that hit me much more strongly than others (like “Leavin’ in the Morning” and “Mr. Crews”).The last track is the previous twelve tracks repeated. Fantastic soundtrack to pre-sleeping reading. –megan (Suburban Home)


DRAG THE RIVER:
...Has A Way With Women: 7”
The first question that really comes to mind: Why was this sent to Razorcake? If anything, these dudes should be vying for a slot on Prairie Home Companion or something—resting somewhere in the neighborhood of a passive Rumbleseat and Springsteen’s The Ghost of Tom Joad, this is some morose country and western stuff, acoustic style. It’s not “alt-country” and is nothing like Lucero or bands of their ilk—this sounds like the kind of stuff that a cowboy would get savagely drunk to before he accidentally shoots himself in the pecker while passing out with his gun. It’s actually pretty decent in spots (though I could do without the slide geetar on the title track), but I really don’t think they were tapping the right demographic when they sent this’n in to Razorcake. –keith (Wallride)


DRAG THE RIVER:
…Has a Way with Women: 7”
Some of my San Diego friends have been singing the praises of Drag The River for years, but I’d yet to hear them. I was expecting alt country, but there really isn’t any alt in there to muddy everything up, thankfully. From the first song, “This Star,” I could see I’d sold my friends short. Simple, acoustic country with a voice clear and true. I can’t describe it as anything less than beautiful. It’s sad and romantic, but never touches cliché or sappiness. I have easily listened to that one song at least fifty times, and probably closer to a hundred to be honest. The rest of the 7” follows strongly, but, to me, can’t touch the magic that is captured in the first track. –megan (Wallride)


DISCREET DOLL BAND, THE:
Deny Everything + 2: 7”
Man, not sure what they’re going for here, as the only information on the cover is the band name and song titles and a highly-pixilated photo of what looks like a young Richard Simmons smoking a cig. Sounds like mid-tempo snot rock with monotone vocals—they’re shooting for some big riff-rock deal here, and they manage to pull it off for a little while; unfortunately, the songs also manage to go on about four times longer than they actually should. Imagine the Riverboat Gamblers if they all had two fingers on each hand, a heavy, heavy Quaalude addiction and the insistence that a verse be played forty times. I know it takes a lot of work to put out a record, guys, but just because you can fit five and a half minutes of music on each side of a record, it doesn’t mean you have to. Sometimes less is more, if not in love than at least in choruses, okay? –keith (Rich Bitch)


DIGITAL LEATHER:
Monologue: CD
You are either into this or you’re not. Sort of one man band from Phoenix described as synthpunk and dark wave, it's equal parts brutal keyboard garage fucknets and ‘80s sounds-of-the-future melody with moody dude lyrics. Rad stuff, so get into it. Hey man, when you live in the desert, you have to make your own entertainment. –mike (Empty)


DICKS, THE:
Pigs Run Wild b/w Hate the Police and Ten Inches: 7” and 10”
The 7” says right on the sleeve, “Both out-takes from the original Hate the Police studio session.” The 10” is a well-recorded, noisy live set from the Punk Rock Prom from Austin, TX, 1980, featuring one of my favorite songs of all time: “Kill from the Heart.” If you don’t own any Dicks on vinyl (or the retrospective Alternative Tentacles released several years back), it’ll do you more than a bit of good to get square with The Dicks and snatch up this vinyl. Here’s the Cliffs’ Notes: The Dicks were part of the original embryonic nutrients of Texas hardcore, whose mutant DNA can still be heard in bands today. Way before codes, rules, and instructions made a narrow corridor, then a box, for much of hardcore, The Dicks pushed conventions, of both the old guard and the new spawn. They were a band made of thugs headed by a flamboyantly gay, very left, extroverted, meaty man with a great voice (much like the Big Boys’ Biscuit or Minutemen’s D.Boon). It’s liberating, twenty-plus years later, to hear that such a wide musical conduit still sounds great. They’re unmistakably punk and on fire, but they’re also well imbedded into soul, blues, and country without betraying the original fighting spirit of any of those genres. It’s such a tall order for any band: make contemporary music that both understands and undermines their influences to create something original. And the Dicks have been one of the very few bands to not only pull it off, but to set it ablaze. What a treat. –todd (Delta Pop Music)


DESTRUCTORS 666 / THE RUINED:
Split: CDEP
Destructors 666: Some fine UK-sounding punk rock from these kids. Not sure why they decided to cover a song as dated as The Stooges’ “1969,” but whatever floats yer boat, I guess. The Ruined: A little too professional sounding and slick for my taste, and the singer sounds vaguely Metallica-ish, but they aren’t bad at what they do. –jimmy (Rowdy Farrago)


DEGENERATE ELITE:
Self-titled: CDEP
This sounds like Tampa’s answer to One Word Solution, which is really weird because I don’t know why Tampa would have an answer to One Word Solution. Angry, pissed off punk with a fancy fingered guitarist. This EP was recorded, mastered, duplicated, and is in my hands before the band has even been around for half a year so who knows what’s up with them or what they’ll be up to. –Guest Contributor (degenerateelitefl@yahoo.com)


DEFIANCE, OHIO:
The Great Depression: CD
I first saw Defiance, Ohio in a small space in L.A. as the last band after Toys That Kill, The Bananas, and This Bike Is A Pipebomb. It’s no small feat to follow any of those bands (let alone the three of them together), but they held their own. The room was still filled with kids shouting, swinging on a rope from the ceiling, and dancing and sweating the little sweat they had left. The Sissies mixed with the folk leanings of This Bike with violin, cello, and upright bass. Interesting recorded, fun as hell live. Good stuff indeed. –megan (No Idea)


DBD:
Nobody’s Heroes: CD
They’re really trying hard to make their mid-tempo punk stuff sound anthemic, and their songs aren’t bad, but the whole thing rings just a smidge hollow. They’re quite adept at what they do, but given the fact that they took their album title from a song by one of the most anthemic punk bands in history, I guess I just expected more. –jimmy (SOS)


DAN MELCHIOR:
Fire Breathing Clones On Cellular Phones: CD
I first heard of Melchior as a collaborator with Billy Childish and Holly Golightly on various albums, and that is perfect company to keep. That term “singer-songwriter” has been destroyed by the mainstream to mean shitty white guy noodling in the House of Rules. That’s too bad, because here is a man who puts on no image, just writes songs and rocks them out. These songs are heartfelt and melodic, and while you can see the link to the Childish-Golightly scene this is not a rip-off but a solid voice. I can hear some good ole Country Teasers seeping in too. Shit, I gotta catch up with his older stuff. –mike (Plastic)


CYRIL LORDS:
Motherland: CD
A poppy, highly stylized Detroit (via Ohio) “garage” band, nearly evocative of the Smoking Popes. Polished, melodious and infectious in that college radio way, this mop-top, Nehru-collared trio isn’t nearly as communicable as their previous incarnation, The Bloody Hollies. However, the many loyal fans of the Cyril Lords will thoroughly enjoy this catchy and well-produced album. –thiringer (No Fun)


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·Razorcake Podcast #186
·DEADBOLT
·DOUG MCKEAN AND THE STUNTMEN
·MYLENE ZINE, THE, VOL. 2 #2
·MONS, THE
·Cripple Bastards, Phobia, Final Conflict, Lack of Interest, Burn Your Bridges
·CY BARKLEY AND THE WAY OUTSIDERS
·ANTISEEN
·DUMBSTRUCK


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