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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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CRIMSON SPECTRE / UWHARRIA:
Split: CD
Crimson Spectre: Reminded me a lot of the early period Corrosion Of Conformity. The weird melding of Southern rock with a twisted sense of reality added with the hardcore attack of a raging maniac. Wailing vocals over a controlled fast attack. Fitting that this band comes from North Carolina. Uwharria: Another band from NC that seems to have gotten something from COC. But this band has members that have been in other bands like the Blownapart Bastards and Face Down In Shit. I read elsewhere that someone in this band had a stint in Oi Polloi. Self-described as “Eco-Thrash,” the lyrics are centered around the environment. Musically, they sound like a mixture of Motörhead meets COC. I have a vague recollection that I might have reviewed something else by this band but I didn’t keep it. Pretty cool split. –don (Magic Bullet)


CRACKER:
Greenland: CD
I was surprised to get this to review. My first reaction was that Todd is fucking with me. Maybe its cause these guys are from Georgia and so am I. This is the same “Cracker” that put out “being with you is like being stoned” where Sandra Bernhardt punches some guy in the video. Their new CD is mellower than that, kind of with a country roadhouse vibe that would make adult contemporary listeners cream their britches, but not me. Sorry Todd, but I’m selling this one to the pawnshop. –Guest Contributor (Cooking Vinyl)


COUP, THE:
Pick a Bigger Weapon: CD
In a period in rap’s history when politics and the art of rhyme has been overshadowed by an almost obsessive emphasis on bitches, business and bling, The Coup sticks out like Stokely Carmichael at a Pat Boone concert. Boots’ rhymes cover every nook and cranny of how the system has failed the bulk of the country’s great unwashed with eloquence and intelligence that is rare outside of hip hop’s underground these days. Like similar-minded rhymers like Dead Prez and Immortal Technique, Boots assumes a revolutionary stance, but infuses his politics with liberal doses of humor and a gift for telling a good story, which, when fused with Pam the Funkstress’ funk-heavy beats, gives new meaning to “Revolutionary Party.” Although there’s no arguing that he means it when he says “‘Death to the Pigs,’ is my basic statement,” he ain’t about simply rehashing old slogans, and more often opts to make a point with a little more finesse: “Some confuse ass-breath with strong halitosis/it’s been hundreds of years since its first diagnosis/by the African doctor Mwangi Misoi/ known in the States as ‘Mr. Thomas’ Boy’/he found that preventing this affliction was lost/with the mention of the phrase ‘Um, yassah boss’/When that phrase was uttered/many stomachs would wrench/some jumped in the Atlantic to escape the stench….” Like Abbie Hoffman and Jello Biafra (who makes a guest appearance here), the emphasis is more on the “prankster” approach to rabblerousing and dropping lyrical bombs wrapped in wit rather than angrily railing about what is obvious to everyone but the Republican and Democratic parties and the corporate elite that control them. If you think rap sucks, you’re just listening to the wrong joints, ’cause The Coup is some mandatory listening. –jimmy (Epitaph)


CONDUIT:
Superior Olive: CD
Is this a record for kids? Oh wait, they just said “fucking.” So probably not. I’m not sure why this was sent to Razorcake since it doesn’t sound like anything I’ve ever reviewed before. And I don’t really mean that in a good way. This is a CD full of weird, slightly jazzy, generic songs with female vocals. Probably someone will like it, but I don’t think they’re reading this magazine. –jennifer (Velvet Wrinkle Wreckerds)


CODE OF HONOR:
Complete Studio Recordings 1982-84: CD
Formed from the ashes of Frisco hardcore legends Sick Pleasure, the remaining members of that band recruited Society Dog’s Jonathin Christ after Nicky Sicky bailed and shifted the lyrical subject matter from crude humor and nihilism to radical-left agitprop. The result was some great, unique hardcore on their first record, a split with Sick Pleasure. The band’s music on that record alternated between anthemic punk and spazzed-out, wild-metered thrash, all with Christ calling for unity, dissolution of the government and the killing of politicians. The band’s second album, Beware the Savage Jaw, featured the band taking more musical risks and experimenting with their sound, although the proceedings remained just as angry and aggressive. Both albums, as well as their “What are Gonna Do?/What Price Would You Pay” single and an unreleased track, can be found here, and much of it stands up considering the passage of at least twenty-two years since the last note here was put to tape. “Fight or Die” remains an amazing piece of work, showcasing just how tight and creative the band could be even within the confines of hardcore’s ultra-fast template. Highly recommended. –jimmy (Subterranean)


COCO COMA:
: 7”
Spastic garage punk, nestled somewhere between The Trashies and The Motards. Vocals are nicely fuzzed-out, works well. Super-creepy cover that looks like it was drawn by a possibly demented little kid. Liked the flip side best—a swaggering, sneering, mid-tempo number called “Premonition.” If you’re into this kind of stuff, Coco Coma’s walkin’ around with some snot in their pocket—you could definitely do worse. –keith (Shit Sandwich)


CHURCH, THE:
Uninvited, Like the Cloud: CD
I bet the singer wears black jeans, a button-up black shirt, sunglasses, and has a cigarette in hand at all times on stage. Which is kind of how I picture The Plimsouls. Which is also probably why I’ve never listened to The Plimsouls willingly. –megan (Cooking Vinyl)


CHROME PISTOLA:
Information War: CD
Kinda middling hip hop stuff with a live band backing up the MC. Not bad, but it ain’t really mind-bogglingly good, either. –jimmy (www.chromepistola.com)


CHEAP THRILLS/NERVOUS HABITS:
: Split 7”
Look, I’ll freely admit it: I am one of those dickheads whose listening enjoyment is often influenced by how a record looks and sounds. And before you roll your eyes and say “Duh” to that little gem—what I mean is that there are people who are fans of lo-fi production, and there are those of us who deal with it. I’m one of the latter, and I found myself unfortunately having a hard time making it through this one. Which totally sucks, because I can hear the potential energy and hooks on both sides of this thing, like little jewels buried in the sonic slag heap. But when the entire thing is either buried so far in the red that the snare drum is, like, indenting the vocals (Cheap Thrills) or is so treble-heavy that the bass is nearly nonexistent (Nervous Habits), it really gets frustrating—I could tell that, given a more interesting cover and just a bit more evening out of the production aspect of this record, the chances are really good that I’d have totally dug this one. But as it stands now, both of these bands are doing some pretty decent dagger-in-the-face punk shit, ala a more frenzied, simpler and meaner Briefs or bands of that ilk, but there’s just too much fuzz covering everything. Everything’s too tinny or too hot. I don’t need sitars or quadruple-tracked guitar solos, but I want to be able to hear the shit, you know? –keith (Terminal City)


CHEAP SEX:
Written in Blood: CD
This album is what you would expect coming from Punkcore. Very “street punk,” very fast, very loud, two guitars (one plays the screechy solo with unison yelling back ups), and sort of, how do you say, generic, millennium generation music that teens play to piss off their parents. I don’t mean that to discount the music. But, if you like the crusty-type bands that are on Punkcore, you will love this album. It does what it is doing relatively well, but not enough to make me rock out, bob my head, or even tap a toe. However, there are some sound bites from our idiot president, which further display his stupidity. And I applaud that. Also, many of the lyrics talk about the current political climate and their distaste for it, and any sort of intellectual thought/discussion that can be brought to people’s attention is always a plus in my book. But not to be a bitch, as I’ve been told I can be, I was very happy when I turned this CD off. –jenny (Punkcore)


CARDINAL SIN, THE:
Hurry Up and Wait: CD
It makes no difference how many “punk” bands end up with their own prime time specials, and make quintuple platinum records, I’ll still get weird looks from people for wearing a Toys That Kill t-shirt, or have people tell me “The Ergs? No one knows who they are.” That’s sort of what I like about The Cardinal Sin; this is poppy enough that your average random person won’t just write this off. However, there’s also some indie/post punk overtones, and compared to most of those garbage bands that worry about “making it,” this band actually focuses on coming up with good songs. Here I could probably play this in front of both my Mom (and she wouldn’t HATE it) and my friends (who would probably enjoy it). I like this. –joe (Grey Flight)


CALZONES, LOS:
Frecuencia Extrema: CD
Music geeks love packaging. I love how well thought out the packaging is for this release. An almost origami fold out cover that packages inside the CD and its contents. Instead of the usual booklet for the lyrics, they have individual cutouts the size and shape of the CD for each song with an image on one side and the lyrics on the other. That is so cool! Self-proclaimed as ska, I hear so much more from this band from Argentina. I hear elements of salsa, Caribbean and other tropical tones mixed in with upbeat fun. With a little research, I found out that this band started back in 1989 and have continued playing even though the popularity of the genre has waned. Very successful in South America and most likely in the Latin community here, it is nice to see that the label has reached out to have this band’s music reach out to an even wider audience by being reviewed here. Me being Asian and being a fan of music sung in Spanish, this just tickles me—even though I don’t understand the language. Right off the bat, I can tell this band has been together for a long time. The musicianship is real tight and recorded with professionalism. Professional in a major label sense. The production is big. The main vocalist is very soulful and it sounds like everyone in this six piece band participates in singing. The horn section is sharp and precise in their delivery. The bassist throws down some riffs that shows he can most likely play with anybody. The guitars and drums tie everything together and makes it whole. I really enjoy this. If I run across anything else by this band, I’m definitely purchasing. –don (Delanuca)


BUSY SIGNALS:
Can’t Feel a Thing b/w All the Time: 7”
Pure fucking electricity. Take the hot, crunchy directness of the River City Tanlines, the holy-shit-we’re-gonna-die-happy-tonight winning-through-losing vibe of the Tyrades, and somehow serve that with a side ice-creamy goodness of Josie Cotton (Wha? I can’t figure it out either, but damm, if it don’t work, like cotton candy made with gunpowder.) My only complaint? Too short. Me want more. –todd (Shit Sandwich)


BURNING BUSH:
As I Went Out One Morning: 7”EP
Fans of the Bassholes, take note. It’s rising-steam-from-a-boiling-pot, assuredly played roots rock. (Think of John Mellencamp without the self-righteousness and the millions, swapped out with hard luck and potholes, mixed in with the Gories and tenderness.) This is a side project featuring The Gibson Brothers’ Don Howland and Reigning Sound drummer, Lance Wille. Enigmatically and exquisitely packaged with an insert in German (?) and a Rorschach design silk screened on a thick brown cardstock cover, there aren’t many clues as to the who, what, where, and why on the release itself. The A-side’s a Bob Dylan song (you know, the guy who did the voiceover for Yoda and was recently in Victoria Secrets commercials) and one of the two B-side tunes is a nicely muted and rambling retake on a song, “Hell’s Angel,” from the Bassholes’ self-titled album on Dead Canary. –todd (Fistful of Records)


BULLETS, THE:
: CDEP
Five song disc starting off with a boring sound bite. Semi-well done Motörhead / Zeke style sound, which I know fans can’t get enough of. This band has a member of The Midnight Evils. Overall, this comes off like a less good Hookers or Electric Frankenstein. –frame (Self-released)


BRUTAL KNIGHTS:
The Pleasure Is All Thine: CD
Did you ever wonder what bands like Zeke or The Candy Snatchers would sound like if they weren’t awful bar rock bands? Well, now you don’t have to wonder anymore—you can just listen to this Brutal Knights record instead. Fast, loud, scummy rock with beautifully stupid lyrics, and not unintentionally stupid like Zeke—these are stupid on purpose! I guess the bottom line is whether or not you can stomach this kind of stuff at all. If you can, this record is completely awesome, but if you’re still nauseous from years and years of bad Motörhead plagiary, then the retarded lyrics might not be enough to make you like this. –Josh (Deranged)


BRIMSTONE HOWL:
M-60: 7” EP
Rapid, floor tom heavy, squawky crap (meant in the nicest way, i can assure you). The singer sounds like he’s yowling thru one of those boxy mikes that looks like some manner of 1950s automobile adornment, and the guitar player might be in line for this month’s Gary Farrell synapse-fryification award. Although no one has explicitly asked me to testify in this matter, i may, in fact, do so unbidden. So be it! BEST SONG: “Soulless” BEST SONG TITLE: “Bad Kisser” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Each side of this record consists of a really short song followed by a much longer song. –norb (Boomchick)


BRAIN HANDLE:
Self-titled: 7” EP
It’s straight ahead meat and potatoes hardcore from Pennsylvania, the land of Electric Love Muffin and Flag of Democracy, and I like it. You know what you’re getting ten notes into the first song. The menu’s straight forward, you order it, and it’s on your plate, glad it’s nice and hot, not just reheated. It fills you up; not too greasy, not too dainty, not art-confusing. I’d put them in the modern company of Career Suicide, Direct Control, and the Pedestrians: very interested in resuscitating the early ‘80s while not willing to jump down in its grave to violate the corpse of old music. Solid stuff. –todd (Fashionable Idiots)


BOUNCING SOULS:
The Gold Record: CD
These New Jersey hoodlums are back with a new record and it’s just as catchy and sincere as ever. Nothing new ventured or explored, but die-hard fans will eat this up for sure. –mrz (Epitaph)


BOOK OF MAPS:
II: CD
Disjointed art rock of the ilk that would probably get changed if it came on KXLU while I was driving. –jimmy (www.whoaboat.com)


BOMBSHELL ROCKS:
The Conclusion: CD
These Swedes have been blasting their brand of Rancid-y streetpunk stuff for many years now and I’ve always considered them to be amongst the best at it. I’m happy to report that some things don’t change. Lots of soaring guitars and “Hey, Hey, Hey” action. It’s cool to see a lot of these types of bands finding a home on a label that seems to be suited to them perfectly. –ty (Sailor’s Grave)


BLOODHAG:
Hell Bent for Letters: CD
You gotta love Bloodhag. Seriously, it’s a law in some states. They’re just so friggin’ good that you really can’t help yourself. Sure, they’re essentially a burp-metal band, but four things make ‘em rise above the pack: 1) their songs rarely break the two-minute mark, which means no guitar wanking; 2) their songs are well constructed and, frankly, rock; 3) instead of dwelling in some faux sci-fi universe where metal is king, the chicks wear only loincloths (actually, that one has its merits, but I digress) and robots have feelings, they opt instead to literally sing biographies in homage of those who write about such worlds in ways that don’t suck (this time around, Douglas Adams, Poe, Anne McCaffrey, Madeleine L’Engle, Franz Kafka and Phillip Jose Farmer are among the scribes paid tribute); 4) books are cool, and they obviously love books. That last one alone—given that we now live in a world of iPods, laziness and short attention spans—puts ‘em in the running for “saints” status. Easily the best band that ever rocked a library, and y’all muhfuggahs betta recognize. –jimmy (Alternative Tentacles)


BLACKTIME:
Midnight World: LP
Midnight World contains a lot of music for being so minimal. Sometimes, I stare at the keyboard. There’s only twenty-six letter keys on it, but I come up with new sentences all the time. With music, on a bass, there’s four strings. A guitar, six. Two drum sticks. And even at its most primitive and basic, there are almost infinite combinations. It’s all been done, but does that mean you deny young souls their time? When music’s lain so bare—from Supercharger to the Reatards to the Gories to Leadbelly to the Mummies—to Blacktime, it’s kind of astonishing; something so naked and raw and old yet new screams at you like a baby fighting a dinosaur in a lo-fi world. The blood and shit and screams are real. Proficiency in music is greatly overrated. Crawling back into the cave, it’s times like this—when wars are digital and kids look at vinyl records with the same expression they’d use during a rectal exam—that bands such as Blacktime make more and more sense to me. Great to listen to in the dark, too. –todd (In the Red)


BLACK TIME:
I Hate the World and the World Hates Me: 7”
More scummy dirt from the band gaining speed since their Blackout vinyl debut in 2004. They are as consistent as any band out there, with a dirge in the garage and fuzz in the air with two full-lengths and a bunch of singles. They must stay in the basement all week. This is a band that makes completists out of even the laziest garage punk fans. Get it and keep it. –mike (A Fistful of Records, afistfulofrecords@yahoo.com )


BLACK HOLLIES, THE:
Crimson Reflections: CD
Wow, the possibility for Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin rip-off jokes are endless. It’s kind of ridiculous. There’s something to be said for influence, but I swear I’ve heard a lot of these riffs on Zeppelin or Hendrix albums. I think you can probably see where this review is going. –kurt (Ernest Jenning)


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