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Hell’s Hounds: 7” EP
Kinda punky acoustic stuff heavy on the dark, murder ballad influence. The quasi-Irish lilt is kept in check, which is a relief.
–jimmy (A Coin In The Coffer)

This Microscopic War: CD
Frankie Stubbs produced this record and you can tell. They have the signature Leatherface sound without straying too far into copycat land. These Australians don’t carve out new territory but tread well on a sound that many have tried and failed. Samiam and Hot Water Music definitely get played in the van these guys drive around in. Although this recording has a big, polished sound, there is still the element of rawness in the guitar tones. Worth a listen if you like crunchy melodies but are tired of the suburban pseudo-angst that harmlessly swarm the music world today. –Guest Contributor (Poison City)

Self-titled: CD
I was going to say something about That Dog and how they’d go “la-la-la” and then “Rarrrrr-rarrrrr-rarrrr?” I was going to say that this is somewhere in the middle where it stays static and oh-so-boring. Oh, and there’s a eight plus minute “song” of a radio report with music and fuzz. I was going to say that this was boring, but inoffensive. I was going to say this until I got to their cover of “House of the Rising Sun” (which you shouldn’t cover unless your name is Eric Burdon). If you’re going to yell cookie monster meets death metal through the whole thing, please don’t make anyone have to suffer through that. Do it for fun once in your garage, maybe record it for kicks, but for everyone’s sake, keep that shit in you bedroom where you can hide your shame. Blech. –megan (slipperyblacknoise@yahoo.com)

Look Who: CD-R
Hey, look, a band from Denton that doesn’t involve a Marked Man. From the cover, I was hoping they were death metal so I could make a Mountain Goats reference, but they were this weird sort of grind/punk/terrible music hybrid. Can I have my ten minutes back? –Bryan Static (8 Up)

Dogmatic Deception: 7"
Hardcore punk that is a little too sludgy for me. Well executed but just not my thing. –ty (suburbanwhitetrashrecords.com)

Morse Zeichen: CD
Yeah, yeah, they’re German, but they remind me quite a bit of Portland’s own They Found My Naked Corpse Face Down In The Snow: it’s some brutal, manic, screamy shit that pretty much ditches any sort of Blood Brother-esque hair-waving sassiness and goes right for the jugular. Stuff like this has never translated that well to record for me, but I feel pretty comfortable in assuming these guys would weaken the foundation of any basement they happen to be playing in. Four songs seems a bit thin, but at least they’re keeping it in the red the whole time without running the risk of getting repetitive. The lyrics are in German but they’ve got some liner notes for each song in English—they come off as pretty precious at times (“Most brightly of all burned the hair of my evening loved one: to her I send the coffin of lightest wood.”) but maybe some of that’s due to the rough translations. Overall, a nice attack. –keith (Tor Johnson)

Complication b/w Frankenstein: 7"
People tend to throw around Gang of Four comparisons when talking about this band, but this record is too immediately satisfying to be lumped in with any icy, quasi-disco British post-punk. Call me crazy, but it reminds me a lot of the Mummies, albeit with really skewed guitar lines. I mean, if you played this at a party, it would never be confused with the kings of Budget Rock, but the approach is similar in the way they pound the crap out of their instruments and the way they, you know, rock. It’s addictive stuff; I usually let each song play two or three times before I flip the record over. And I heard that these guys have now signed to Sub Pop, which hopefully means that their upcoming records will be easier to find than their previous ones. –Josh (S-S)

2: LP
Lyrics about math and atoms and electricity and alienation and what-not (sample song titles: “Nuclear” “Ionic” “Electricity” “Abstract”) (sample verse: “She’s a spasm/Protoplasm”) intoned in a droll monotone over calmly spastic riffs that lead one to believe that the guitar player’s mother was frightened by that Crucifucks song about the canisters whilst she was with child, backed by basslines that seem appropriately disjointed enough to match the guitar, yet deep ‘n’ shake-a-robo-booty rhythmic enough to lock in perfectly with the hard-hittin’ drums – meaning that while the geeks spaz out to the sonic and lyrical occurrences occupying the higher frequency ranges, the stoned art fop two feet away might very well be simultaneously locked in some manner of rhapsodic groove coma down at the lower end. Not a bad gig, really – sort of like if Gary Numan kicked Steve Albini out of Shellac or something. And, right when one begins to feel the feeling that the entire record is one big drone-smash statement after another, the band serves up a brilliant slice of comparative goofiness in “Search & Rescue,” which is almost Supernova-esque in its merry naivete (though not to the extent where the A Frames instruct everyone to string together all their belts because they lost their snorkels and their fins) (but TO the extent that i decide the band has more in common with the Epoxies than the Gang of Four) (thank fucking God). One thing i fully expected from this record that never materialized was at least one song where the singer purported to either be an artificial intelligence or an alien – no one said anything of the sort, and, as a result, i’ve been furtively looking over my shoulder ever since. BEST SONG: “Search and Rescue” BEST SONG TITLE: ah, i won’t give ‘em the satisfaction... but i will state, for the record, that if “Togetherness” is not a direct musical ripoff of “Apathy” by Suburban Mutilation, i will eat my own shit. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Recorded (quite well) by Chris Woodhouse of the FM Knives, which i didn’t know until yesterday, despite the fact that i was in the same building as both Chris and the A Frames on two separate occasions this year. –norb (S-S)

Self-titled: CD
Seeing as there’s a dearth of information included with his, I know jackshit about both band and release. So far as I am able to deduce, these guys are either some old fringe-punk band from the early ‘80s or are heavily influenced by such groups. The music is rife with the angular, choppy rhythms and monotone vocals that so many of the bands in that gray area between art punk and edgy new wave seemed to wallow, sounding sorta like Servotron covering the Normal. Either way, old or new, these guys rock somethin’ fierce. –jimmy (S-S)

Black Forest: CD
Think of the Fall as a coin. If a band like the Country Teasers represents the funny, ironic side of the Fall, then the A Frames would be the dark, edgy, sardonic side. For a three-piece, the A Frames are amazingly tight; there’s a constant push-and-pull going on, with none of the instruments really taking center stage. I don’t really pay attention to trends in music, but it seems like bands that draw from late ‘70s British post-punk are getting a lot of hype these days, and I’d just like to say that the A Frames are too confrontational and noncommercial to be lumped in with all that shit. As an album, it’s a bit spotty but there’s some really great stuff on here and it’s worth picking up. –Josh (Sub Pop)

Where the Sun Never Sets: CD
I’ve listened to this several times and keep coming up with conflicting results. On the one hand, it put a smile on my face because it reminds me of all the great hardcore bands over the years and does an excellent job of taking the listener from say Point A (Cro Mags) to Point B (Avail). So it’s obvious that the band’s inspiration is coming from all the right places for me to enjoy it. On the other hand, no matter how many times I’ve listened to it, it always comes across stale and soul-less. Something is missing and I’m not quite sure I can pinpoint it. –greg (BYO)

A Page Of Punk blast through twelve (?) songs on their respective side in a such a violent and poppy manor it’s pleasantly baffling. Non-stop “fuck you”s morph into covers of well known songs and then there are possibly songs that aren’t even listed on the back cover. And when it’s over, you have to come to terms with the fact that they just fit a full-length record onto one side of a 7”. File under referential-punk, subcategory genius. Werewolves On Motorcycles’ brand of shouty, bar punk’n’roll might have a different impact when it’s on its own, but compared to APOP’s high-speed conciseness, the songs feel a little long. But who knows, maybe A Page Of Punk just put the final bullet in my attention span. –Daryl Gussin (Drunken Sailor / Speedowax / Carnage Club / Pie n’ Mosh / Yeah)

You Know You Want It: CD
This is like a smoothie made from the vomit of Sugarcult, Everclear and some band playing in the background of the OC. They’re from Canada so if we’re lucky they won’t cross over to the states. Normally I like to write longer reviews, but this is awful…just awful. –Steveo (self-released, www.asinglefew.com)

…And Don’t Forget to Breathe: CD
There are two other albums I know of that start with “… And” and both of them are better than this screamotic hardcore for kids who dye their hair black. No, darker. Blacker than that. No, dude, I mean fucking black –scott (Ferret)

Another Year in Philadelphia: CD
This band is mainly just one guy doing electro-pop who works with a revolving cast in the studio and on stage. I really thought I’d hate this and, yeah, some of it is kind of dumb (“The Same Ailment,” “Favorite Actor”) and frankly, seventeen songs is too long. You’re not Anal Cunt or Pig Destroyer, so let it go. No one wants to hear you do your thing for over an hour. However, some of these songs are pretty fun and interesting. There’s a mix between songs that are really heavily pop and others that rely a lot on the electronics. On some songs I could hear The Faint and other songs it was like listening to an electrified Ben Folds. Thankfully, my palate is somewhat diversified so I found some good gems on this album, but there’s a lot of mediocre swamp to wade through. –kurt (Sex Cells/Electronic Eel)

Italian Girls (The Best in the World): CD
Modern hardcore, with all the disjointed rhythms, screamy vocals, and metal inflections one would expect. About as exciting as watching cheese melt. –jimmy (High Fidelity)

Partycrasher: CD
This is a band that I avoided for years because I didn’t like their annoying band name. I have lots of friends who are into them, but I can be stubborn about stupid things, so yeah. I’ve never heard any of their stuff until now. The verdict: Not bad. Melodic Fat Wreck-style ‘90s hardcore that brings to mind Death By Stereo or Propagandhi, but not quite as engaging. I can’t see myself listening to this very much, but I wouldn’t turn it off if it showed up on random or something. I still don’t like the band name.  –ty (No Idea)

From the Coffin to the Rave: CD-R
We all know the staff of Razorcake does wonders, aesthetically and otherwise, within the constraints of a budget—I acknowledge this. However, it is at this juncture in time in which I would implore, plead, and beg Sean and Todd to at least consider the possibility of taking out health insurance policies on its reviewers. Because I am fucking dying here. This is sickeningly bad psychobilly pabulum of the lowest order. Never a genre known for its lyrical brilliance, this is still incredibly, nearly majestically stupid. In most cases, I would say, "Some lyrics or band information would have been nice." But not this time. Oh, and one more thing, Mr. Chop Shop, sir: if you're going to put an $8.95 price tag on the front of your album, please make certain the paper template you've pressed onto the cover of your CD-R doesn't show the lines from your laser printer. Doesn't look good at all, hoss. If you're gonna present something in a DIY but half-assed manner, I applaud you, but please price accordingly. If you're gonna charge some sap nine bucks for a shitty six-song EP, make sure said EP doesn't look like something my drunk little brother did in Photoshop while he should have been out buying me cigarettes. –keith (A-Bomb ChopShop)

Ears Wide Shut: CD
Norton Records’ house band (the label’s two owners are members) are bit rougher sonic-wise than I remember their earlier work sounding—no doubt due to the fact that it was recorded in their rehearsal room—but they nonetheless turn in another fine slab of mostly garage rock’n’roll covers. Honking sax, rolling keyboard lines, and sludgy fuzz aplenty, they keep the rock rolling in ways that’ll please discerning trash rock fans. Been a helluva long time since I heard anything by ‘em, and it’s nice to find they haven’t lost any of their gumption or charm.  –jimmy (Norton)

Going Gone: 7"
Holy crap, the Monkees’ less musically-proficient brothers have released a single! Alert Rodney Bingenheimer while the rest of us run for cover!  –jimmy (Prison Jazz, no address)

Hello, Hello: CD
Gentle, lilting pop music which sounds like a throwback to the 1960s. It’s actually a very pleasant surprise of Beach Boys-inflected, Pet Sounds-era sunshine rock (which means that it compares favorably with contemporaries like Beulah, the Pernice Brothers, the Aluminum Group and other chamber-pop specialists). This album strikes me as one that will take some time to grow on me, but don’t be surprised if you hear about it again around the end of the year when I do my “best of” list because it just seems that there’s a little too much here to appreciate in the span of time that most critics (myself included, this time) have to evaluate an album’s merits. Mark it eight, dude. –scott (Prison Jazz)

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)

Steal Your Drugs: CD-R
Juvenile. Thoughtless. Unoriginal. Given the content of this disc, I think that the band members would tend agree that these adjectives aptly describe them. However, we’d probably disagree on whether these are positive things to say about their moronic, wastoid punk. The least stupid and immature point on here is their cover of GG’s “Bite It You Scum,” if that’s any indication of what you’re dealing with here. Sources of lyrical inspiration include the classic Jack and the Beanstalk, as they lift the Mighty Giant’s catch phrase “fe fi fo fum” for the beginning of one track. The music itself is fair enough, but the vocals are a goddamn tragedy, taking the punk ethic of “no talent needed” to mean, “no effort allowed.” I don’t know which question was more prevalent in my mind during the course of listening to this disc: “Why didn’t they mix the vox down into oblivion?” or “Why am I still listing to this?” If you want a free copy of this, you can sort through my trash.  –Vincent Battilana (atownsluts.bandcamp.com)

Bare Tepiole Termination: 7"
Jesus Christ, do not accidentally play this thing at 45 RPM. It will give you a fucking heart attack. Side A begins with a man screaming repeatedly, but after that inauspicious beginning, you’re segued into nasal-voiced, occasionally off-key solo acoustic guitar-folk. Nothing particularly special, here. The random off-key moments (from both voice and guitar) started to get on my nerves before the first song was over. Despite that, the guy seems earnest and without pretension, which earns a few points with me. –Sarah Shay (BBtM, Friends and Relatives, DIY Bandits, Green Tape, and Big Magic)

Split: 7”
Two sides of weirdo folk from Bloomington’s Friends And Relatives label. I bought a CDR of A. Restrepo a while back from this label and found it to be totally overbearing, with the singer’s annoying voice and obvious biting of Mountain Goats-style imagery in the lyrics. However, with three songs on a split 7”, it works out rather well. In moderation, I can appreciate the absurd magical realism that is mixed in with the songs about pretty common themes. The Justin Clifford side is more lo-fi folk stuff that sounds maybe, slightly, like the most whacked-out of the Sebadoh catalog, if I can compare it to anything. It’s a little too much on the cute side of things, but they’re not afraid to get really strange and experimental by messing around with, well, I don’t know what they’re messing around with, but it comes out warbled and twisted at times and buzzy and feedback-damaged at others. –Craven (Friends And Relatives)

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