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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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UV RAYS:
Bad Reputation: 7"
This is kinda average punk rock'n'roll done by metal dudes (the bass player used to be in Mastodon and it was recorded by Dan Lilker of S.O.D.). It's pretty generic Dead Boys/ Dictators-inspired stuff, but in a way it's kinda charming in its generic-ness. It's not bad, it's just nothing particularly new or interesting. -Ben Snakepit –Guest Contributor (Razorblade Music)


URGENCIES, THE:
Desolation Chic: CD
Starts off with a dark, moody rock'n'roll vibe, but veers off into more of a post-Dolls rock'n'roll direction after a darn good cover of the Plimsouls' "A Million Miles Away." Much better than expected. –jimmy (www.bubbleempirerecordings.com)


TICONDEROGA:
The Heilig-Levine LP: CD
I don't think the band planned it, but at first glance this looks like a concept album. There are four songs about animals and one that on the surface may be about killing them ("Poison Control"). But that could also be totally off the mark. Don't bet the farm on it. I like the interweaving guitars on "Flippin' Burgs," but the best song on here is track eight. For those of you who left your scorecards at home, that's a little ditty called "Why Do You Suppose?" It's slow and introspective. Exactly what you wouldn't expect in the middle of this record. This will make you work for it, but the rewards are in there. Trust me, it's in there. -Sean Koepenick –Guest Contributor (54 40 or Fight!)


THREE MILES FROM:
Division Demotion: CDEP
This three-song CDEP is actually well done and sounds solid, it's just too bad they sent a radio-friendly pop rock album to a punk magazine. Being that my interest in music is more than just punk, I can appreciate this for what it is-a catchy, upbeat release with strong hooks-but all the same it's not something in which the average Razorcake reader is probably going to be interested. -Kurt Morris –Guest Contributor (Tune Tribe; www.tunetribe.com)


SLITER:
Think Other Wise: CD
It's weird because it's not slither, but sliter. This is a four-piece Japanese rock band with vocals that are totally gruff and as though the singer has been downing his fair share of whiskeys for a while and also happens to be Japanese. The vocals are so messed up I can't even tell if they're singing in English or Japanese, although the lyrics in the booklet are printed in English and some of it sounds like it's in English. It's hard to say. There is some solid guitar playing, although some of it seems a little over-done, as though all the tricks had to be pulled out of the bag in order to even get close enough to making this album interesting, musically speaking (which it isn't). I've heard some things worse than this, but so much that is better. For the most part, even though I listened to this album an ungodly number of times, every time I heard it I just wished it were over. -Kurt Morris –Guest Contributor (Akom, www.akomprod.com)


SPACE VACUUM FROM OUTER SPACE:
Starcade: CD
Someone please tell me that it's merely a coincidence and Zolar-X did not in any way breed. Musically, this is gloomy and loud (and actually not too bad), but add a little more aluminum foil and subtract a few women and you're looking right at Ygarr and his alien buddies. –jimmy (Dionysus)


SHAMS, THEE:
Sign The Line: CD
I saw this band once, because a friend of mine insisted that they were a great live act. He was in error. Which one's Jimmy Pursey again? BEST SONG: "Something Happening" BEST SONG TITLE: "1-2-3-4" FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I think this band played an Allman Bros. song (or something) the time i went to see them. –norb (Shake It)


SCREECHING WEASEL:
Kill the Musicians: CD
A reissue of a collection of B-sides, EPs, and assorted rarities by this venerated band. While I can't say that listening to it has made me a fan by any stretch of the imagination, I do find that I can appreciate their take on the punk template when they veer away from the Ramones worship and branch out a bit. Nothing wrong with the Ramones thang, mind you, but after literally decades of being inundated with thousands of bands aping both Screeching Weasel and the Queers, even the original strain of the virus is a bit much to take after a while. –jimmy (Asian Man)


SCALLY:
Coto De Deportivo De Caza: 10"
Spastic hardcore with lyrics wholly in Spanish from a band that apparently hails from Germany. Go fucking figure. –jimmy (Scally)


ROCK 'N' ROLL MONKEY AND THE ROBOTS:
Detroit Trauma: CD
Lo-fi rock with just enough arty psychedelia in the mix to keep things interesting. –jimmy (www.drastic-plastic.com)


RISE AGAINST:
The Unraveling: CD
This is their debut full length which is re-mastered and includes bonus tracks. I missed this the first time around because I was in a transition period leaving one magazine and coming to this one. I also passed this up thinking I would buy it the next time. But there are so many releases that I say I will buy and they eventually disappear. Fat comes to the rescue and boom! Here it is. Glad I got the second chance because I enjoy this more than their sophomore release Revolutions Per Minute. I do have a soft spot for their third full length that came out on a major, Siren Song of the Counter Culture. Some people might hate the big production on that one, but that is what I like about it. The production here is not off par. For those not familiar with this band, they have a lot of similarities with label mates Good Riddance: mid-tempo to fast punk numbers that have variety, not the cookie cutter three chord punk that members of this band have played in other bands in the past. Listening to this now, they were destined to be lured by a major. This band was writing music that was more advanced than a lot of their contemporaries at the time. The musicianship allowed for that. The songs already had a radio friendly edge to it. So if you missed out the first time like me, you have another chance. –don (Fat)


PLIMSOULS, THE:
One Night in America: CD
Judas Priest. The gods are truly smiling on power pop fans. To augment the woefully inadequate availability of Plimsouls' product (only Everywhere at Once is readily available), this brand new live CD has hit the shelf. Recorded in 1981, probably in Cleveland, this is guitar rock at its finest. Yes, we have the Zeros, the Romantics, and many others-but The Plimsouls live is a godsend. This record features Plimsouls favorites like "I'll Get Lucky," "How Long Will It Take," and of course "A Million Miles Away." Plus some cool covers of bands like the Outsiders, the Kinks, and the Easybeats. The Easybeats, for Christ's sake! Throw Angus Young's brother a bone- times are tough. Great sound. Another release is planned for next year. But buy this record and then buy one for a Xmas present for a pal. You'll get something better than a lump of coal this time around. The return of the Plimsouls is good news for the music world. Real rock that has stood the test of time. -Sean Koepenick –Guest Contributor (Oglio)


OVERKILL:
Relixiv: CD
Okay, so in the mid-'80s, when SST was still releasing hardcore records, they put out a four-song EP by a band called Overkill, and I've never known if this was the same band. What I do know is that EP smokes a pack of Camels and this album sounds like a Guitar Center employee's attempt to ride the lightning. In all honesty, I've heard worse, and if you've ever picked through metal section of the cutout bin, you have too. And really, the only reason I pulled this out of the stacks was in the hopes that somebody would send me a copy of that SST record. –Josh (some metal label)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Kiss or Kill Volume 2: CD
This compilation is a collection of bands that assumedly are favorites of those at the Kiss or Kill weekly live show at the Echo club in Southern California. This get-together primarily appears to be an excuse for people in the area to listen to mediocre power pop and drink a lot. I've never heard of this club nor have I heard of any of these bands. I was going to list the bands on here as the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, but they're all fairly bad: the O.A.O.T.'s, Bang Sugar Bang, the Waking Hours, Zeitgeist Auto Parts, Silver Needle, the Randies, Midway, the Knives, the King Cheetah, the Rainman Suite, Billion Stars, Underwater City People, the Letter Openers, Chromosome Tea, Bobot Adrenaline, and the Cloves. Some of these bands at least have some talent and ideas of how to sling together a catchy tune (Bang Sugar Bang) while others sound like fodder for some pop radio station (Billion Stars). Every few tracks, Emcee Rob Z pipes in with some pointless comments. He's the "Masturbator of Ceremonies." Get it? Ah, I'll explain it to you when you're older. -Kurt Morris –Guest Contributor (War Room)


NO HEROES:
Self-titled: 7"
Looks and sounds like spastic early '80s West Coast hardcore, to the point where you could plug any of these songs onto Not So Quiet on the Western Front or tape it for your next backyard skate session. That said, it's not quite essential, but it's definitely a good starting point. –Josh (Blind Spot)


VIVA K:
Self-titled: CD
Local Los Angeles band that is equal parts Siouxsie and the Banshees meets the Yeah Yeah Yeahs doing more industrial dance music. Might be next hype around here but I probably won't be following. As interesting as the music is, it may be a bit too experimental for most people. To my ears, it seems to lack a lot of the melody and pop sensibilities that make the songs catchy. The songs tend to drone on and nothing seems to jump out. Even with the addition of the sitar and tabla to add effect, the keyboards are overbearing. This is one that needs more listens to see if it grows on me. –don (Stinky)


NERVE GAS TRAGEDY:
Written in the Blood of the Dead: CD
Wow, I really got a heaping helping of so-called "hardcore" this time around. Lucky me. I'm not really sure where to start with this. Okay, I hate the "I am the spawn of evil" style vocals. I just can't get into it. The tunes seem like pretty competent metal to me, but the vocals just kill it for me. I'm sure someone out there would like this, but it sure ain't me. -Ty Stranglehold –Guest Contributor (Spook City)


MORRICONE YOUTH:
Silenzio Violento: CD
This 'un's a bit hard to pin down. There's a definite Morricone influence in there, especially in that spaghetti-surf guitar, but there are vocals; there's a weird ska tinge in the way the music swings but there really ain't any overt "pick it up" nonsense and the other obvious trappings; and there's a '60s sensibility to the whole thing, but none of it sounds all that dated. Nice. While I can't say it was the cat's pajamas, I do respect 'em lots for trying something a little bit different. –jimmy (www.morriconeyouth.com)


MIKE AND THE RAVENS:
Four Aces and a Joker: CD
I...uh...well. What? I'm not sure how this found its way to Razorcake's review bin, but nonetheless, here it is. My first guess would be '50s style doo-wop rock'n'roll. I guess I was off a bit because it says that it was recorded between '62 and '63. It's kind of cool, but I'd love to have a little more info about it. -Ty Stranglehold –Guest Contributor (no address)


MICHAEL RAULT AND THE MIXED SIGNALS:
Self-titled: CD-R
Was ready to write this off because it was a CD-R. But this is not half bad. A psychobilly/ rockabilly mix of the Cramps meets Screamin' Jay Hawkins. The guy in the picture doesn't look old enough to get into a bar, but his music would make you believe he is much older. –don (do_the_dog@hotmail.com)


LEIANA:
Page: CD
The backup artist is of interest here: Chuck Treese, former pro skateboarder and leader of '80s punk rock band McRad. I knew he did a stint in the Bad Brains, but I did not know he also played in the Roots and Urge Overkill. On this recording he does just about everything: wrote the music, arranged, performed and produced. That is a lot of hats. The backup musicians are not half bad, either. Singer Leiana pulls in the lyrics and vocal performance. The mixture is ambient and atmospheric in nature, but Chuck Treese's love of the Bad Brains comes out more often than not on the heavier tracks. The arrangements are interesting and intriguing with their play on emotions and texture. At moments it reminds me of what Garbage has been doing. Pretty cool. –don (no address)


LAST DAYS:
Self-titled: CDEP
French-Canadian hardcore punk that sounds like it could've come from anywhere in the United States. Sick, screamy vocals compliment strong guitar playing and an overuse of the toms (evidently the snare is broke or something). Unfortunately, the lyrical content is mixed, with some songs, like the opener, "Hearing Voices/Calling Shots" coming off very well-written but there's also a number like the closer, titled, "I Am Death," in which the song takes the first-person view of death. Wow, that's only slightly junior high. Not to mention that they have a song title that is the same as their band name, which I thought only '80s epic metal bands were allowed to do. Musically, it's not horrible and certainly shows a lot of potential, but at the same time, this has all been done into the ground many times before. -Kurt Morris –Guest Contributor (2nd Hand Smoke)


KOLA KOKA DEATH SQUAD, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Sometimes sludgy, sometimes bar-rocky, usually pretty uninteresting. –jimmy (www.wiferecords.com)


KHANATE:
Capture and Release: CD
Ha ha ha, when I put this on, my first thought was, "Wow, this sounds like Burning Witch or Thorr's Hammer," and then I read the press sheet and lo and behold, the dude from Burning Witch and Thorr's Hammer is in this band! Well, it's really slow and really heavy, with terrifying screechy vocals. If you're into Earth, Sunn, Boris, or Grief, you'll like this. I'm really impressed with the musicianship on this record. It's gotta be hard to stay as tight as they do while going so slow. In fact, my only real problem with this record is that it's too slow; it never actually starts to rock, but I think that's kinda the point. This record is cool, but I honestly don't think that I'll listen to it again. -Ben Snakepit –Guest Contributor (Hydra Head)


ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE/SEND MORE PARAMEDICS:
Tales Told by Dead Men: CD
Zombie Apocalypse features members of Shai Hulud. The music they play is a little more straight forward than that band, but still fairly technical. I am sure that fans would love this, but I can't say that I have ever cared much for the style. Send More Paramedics, from the U.K., are a little faster and more punk sounding, but still with the breakdowns and the occasional metal intro and lead. Pretty decent horror metal CD here for people who can't quite go in for the Murderdolls/Rob Zombie thing. Green face paint and lyrics about bloodshed, lap it up if it's yer bag. -Mike Frame –Guest Contributor (Hell Bent)


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·AYE-AYES, THE
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