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Record Reviews

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L.A. DRUGZ:
Outside Place: 12” EP
Wow, I really hate this band’s name… but everything else about this is killer. This 12” offers six poppy, garagy, punk rock’n’roll tunes from ex-members of the Clorox Girls that reminds me of an equal mix of The Observers (vocally), the White Wires (musically), and, of course, a slowed down and less typically “punk” version of the Clorox Girls. This is likely a little too power pop to be widely accepted by the garage rock crowd, which is a shame because it’s really good.  –Mark Twistworthy (Hover Craft, hovercraftrecords.bandcamp.com)


L.E.S. STITCHES:
Lower East Side: CD
If there were ever a battle royale for the title of "Dead Boys of the new millennium," these guys would definitely be finalists, if not victors. –jimmy (Artemis, 130 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011)


L.I.D.:
Still Hasn’t Gotten Weird Enough For Me: CD
Lower Island Dealers have been a Victoria mainstay going on thirteen years now. You’d think they’d have put out more than three records in that time, but hey, good things come to those who wait. It’s a solid collection of punk rock that’s reminiscent of something between Fear of a Punk Planet-era Vandals and Musical Monkey-era Guttermouth. Songs that simultaneously come off witty and somewhat retarded. Songs about beer, weed and food never sounded so good. –ty (Foam Cell)


L.S.D.:
Discography: LP
It amazes me how some people can get a lot done and there are other people who get nothing done. It seems more of the latter. Craig / Schizophrenic Records is one who does a lot. Here, he unearths a discography-worth of material from a band only hardcore record nerds might even have the knowledge of. Mid- ‘80s Japanese band who came from the same time period as G.I.S.M., The Execute, Laughing Nose, and many others. During that time period, it was kind of hard to get punk records from Japan. I got a few by chance, including the Great Punk Hits comp that featured a L.S.D. track. It has been a long while since I have pulled out the comp, but I recognized the song immediately. Being of Japanese heritage, I was obsessed with hearing punk bands from Japan. What I got my hands on, I listened to repeatedly. Around that time, each country seemed to have their unique sound. Sweden, didn’t sound like Germany. Well, this collects their first release, which was a flexi; their first 7”, Jast Last; the track from Great Punk Hits; a studio demo of the song “Jast Last”; and a live show from 1984. I’ve only heard about and seen pictures of their first two releases. Hearing the actual songs, these guys were a fierce bunch. The music is abrasive and powerful. Mid-tempo but well performed. Being from a technologically advanced country, many of the recordings I have heard from that time period seemed to always have good production. This is no exception. The vocals, even though screamed, are audible and mixed right where they need to be. The guitars sounds have that almost metal feel due to it being the cusp of the crossover period. Drums and bass are the rhythm that ties everything together. To actually hear the music is satisfying. Would I love to own the originals? Of course. But seeing how an original G.I.S.M. record goes for sometimes $300+ on eBay these days, these originals are probably going to cost more than my left nut to purchase. A re-issue does me just fine. L.S.D., which I never knew, stood for Lustmord, Snatch, and Death’ein Bodie. That was kind of a typical bad translation you would see from Japan, but it meant something to them. But then again, Japanese to English never translates well as a whole. –don (Schizophrenic)


LA ARMADA:
Self-titled: LP

“Latino Hardcore Fury” is La Armada’s slogan, and it describes them perfectly. Absorbing various elements of hardcore, grindcore, powerviolence, d-beat, and crust, La Armada distills these influences down into a potent elixir of face-melting fury. Blistering dual-guitar shredding, thundering drums, and snarled Spanish-language vocals come together on one of the most intense slabs of vinyl you’ll hear this year. In addition to a screen-printed poster insert with track listings and album credits, a printed lyric sheet is provided with lyrics in the original Spanish and translations in English. I really dig the sharp political lyrics and the pull-no-punches method of their delivery. La Armada’s past recordings were all excellent, but on this LP, they capture the essence of their live experience and achieve a new level of greatness. It’s easily a contender for album of the year and is mandatory listening.

–Paul J. Comeau (Fat Sandwich, armadahardcore@gmail.com)


LA CACAHOUETTE:
Cocaine Unicorn b/w Help Is Automatic: 7”
“It’s not a unicorn; it’s a horse, with a sword in its head.” I make that reference on account that this is a decent bit of indie rock, that I could easily see being used on some prime time hit if they were just a tad more “mainstream” (read as “hipster”). –joe (www.allthingsordinary.com)


LA CRISI:
The Crisis: CD
Edgy, swaggering punk from Italy, fronted by tour manager extraordinaire and all-around charming dude Mayo, here strutting his hardcore stuff. Songs build up at a blistering pace, but also take time to rock out, making for a wild, breakneck ride. “Capolinea” is my favorite here, but I just wish I knew what those Italian lyrics are saying. Good listening in any language, still. –susan (Hurry Up!, www.hurryuprecs.com)


LA DESCENTE DE COUDE:
L’ Indécence du Coup: CD
Goddamn, if bands like Weird War and (International) Noise Conspiracy were (in the first case) actually or (in the second) consistently this good, I’d have started pegging my trousers and getting bowl cuts years ago, man. Instead it took some French Canadian band I’ve never even heard of to prove that it’s actually possible to kick out catchy, smart dance punk that doesn’t leave the listener feeling like he’s been eating a bucket of Sweet Tarts and watching static on the television for six hours. A statement like that says something, considering the lyrics are exclusively in French and I have only the basest understanding of what it is they’re singing about. The accompanying catalog claims these guys are political as fuck; the anger’s certainly there, though it’s filtered through beats that make me want to shake my ass more than a bit, as frightening as that would be. I generally do enjoy bands like (I)NC and the Washdown quite a bit, but these guys, even with the language barrier, are blowing them right out of the water with this one. –keith (Dare to Care)


LA FLINGUE:
Kleb-Stoff Zéro-Deux: 12” EP
Word on the street is that this band contains at least one former Hatepink ((as if, somehow, all the hot pink duct tape on the cover wasn’t enough of a context clue)), which makes perfect sense, as La Flingue take the mess left us by the Hatepinks ((sort of a crash between a French Spits and a pink Zodiac Killers)) and mutate it into even more gloriouser heights of Franco-Anglo-Deutscho ‘70s punk retardo-insanity. If you’ve spent the last twenty-five years of your life looking for the next “Bummer Bitch,” I’m pretty sure “Hass Hass Hass” has just ended your quest gloriously. Viva l’eyefuck! BEST SONG: “Hass Hass Hass” BEST SONG TITLE: “Ton Cuir Noir de Merde” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The front cover consists of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band cover, almost-but-not-quite covered in hot pink duct tape with a white duct tape border. The back cover repeats the process with the other side of the jacket, but this time it’s white duct tape with a hot pink duct tape border. I salute their even-handedness. –norb (P.Trash, ptrashrecords.com)


LA FRACTION:
La Vie Revée: LP
I remember, first getting into punk rock, that, for me, the lyrics would carry a band much further than the music itself. It was a big reason for initially getting into the Dead Kennedys and Bad Religion. I wanted to side with the smarties; get lines to crib, arguments to adopt. As time’s gone on, if the music’s not there, my interest isn’t held. I’d rather sit down and read books on politics; think about it hard and long than follow along with it lyrically if the music’s ehh. Point? La Fraction’s a French hardcore band, singing solely in French (but provide us only-English-speaking dolts translations), and I can’t seem to listen to this LP enough. It’s not that lyrics have become irrelevant—far from it—but it’s surprising how much I pay attention to the music when I’m not trying to decipher the lyrics. (It’s sort of like watching a movie on mute. It’s surprising how much your eyes are directed by sound.) And, La Fraction’s music’s great. Think along the line of Funeral Oration or El Banda with different singers. Oh, it’s hardcore, no doubt about it, and it’s finely tuned. Paradoxically, they’re as tight, smooth, and mechanically proficient as fresh ball bearings while remaining as organic, fluid, and powerful as a waterfall. Great stuff. –todd (Feral Ward)


LA GACHETTE:
A Travers Le Temps: CD
This band from Montreal, Quebec has a ton of tracks on this release, nineteen in total, including a bunch recorded live and unplugged. The whole CD has a great sound and feel to it, from the punky, oi-type studio songs to the acoustic songs. I could really see going to a concert from these guys, even though my French is pretty useless. The lyrics are included and are in both French and English. This is a damn fine release and now I have to go find their older releases. –Guest Contributor (Trigger)


LA LUZ:
Damp Face EP: Cassette
Somber, surf-influenced garage rock. Santo And Johnny guitar reverb and some Seeds keyboard work streaked across a lovelorn, starry-eyed teenage girl’s bedroom floor lined with all her ‘60s Girls in the Garage comps. I gifted a digital copy to my girlfriend who completely fell in love with these songs. That’s right. I paid for something I initially got for free: it’s just that good. –Juan Espinosa (Burger)


LA MALADRESSE:
Self-titled: CD
Sounds like Rites of Spring meets the Minutemen’s time signatures meets several dozen of those teenage emo bands who used to open up for my old band at stinky VFW halls with no stage and the house lights either all the way on or all the way off in the 90’s that made me question whether my earplugs were working properly because i could still hear them somewhat, mashed up into a certain type of gravel that gets in your shoe easily and also, counterintuitively, sticks to your pants like cockleburs. In the spirit of sportsmanship, i usually think it’s pretty important to give any record i am assigned to review a fair playthrough; this one, however, i’ll admit i got up from my desk and got lunch about two or three songs in. Lunch didn’t work, though—i could still hear them somewhat. BEST SONG: “Océan de Distance” BEST SONG TITLE: “Hypertension” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I actually have hypertension. –norb (Mon Oeil)


LA MANCHA:
Choose Your Own Adventure: CD
Mostly mellow, mostly instrumental art rock. The majority of it is pretty, but the songs go on for way too long (many of them 10+ minutes) and get boring rather quickly. –jimmy (Sit-N-Spin)


LA MANCHA:
Choose Your Own Adventure: CD
Mostly mellow, mostly instrumental art rock. The majority of it is pretty, but the songs go on for way too long (many of them 10+ minutes) and get boring rather quickly. –jimmy (Sit-N-Spin)


LA MOTTA:
Love California: CD-EP

Loud, Marshall-overdriven pop. Singer sounds like Billy Corgan, which can’t be a good thing in any circles.

–jimmy (Boss Tuneage)


LA PESTE:
Better Off La Peste: CD

…i actually never really thought “Better Off Dead” was all that hot shit; the lyrics are flat out stupid (“that girl’s only thirteen, she ain’t never given/givin’ head!”), and they’re sung in this sort of affected, pretentious, echoey art-poet tone—it just didn’t MOVE me. A couple songs into this primarily loft-tape retrospective, and i realized i was Wrong As Heck about this band—a good chunk of this ‘70s expose IS all that hot shit, and engaging as all get-out (i may have that backwards, but you’ve got the general tone of my vector). You can tell that this stuff directly precursed (if that’s even a word) bands like Mission Of Burma, but it’s also apparent that this stuff is punk with a capital UNK. If you, like me, have grown steadily less interested in obtaining posthumous retrospectives of “great, lost” punk bands with minimal studio recordings to their credit, i suggest for your own personal safety you rethink your life utterly and clasp this disc to your heaving bosom. CLASP IT I SAY!!! BEST SONG: “Kindness Invites Abuse” BEST SONG TITLE: “Kindness Invites Abuse” MOST VIVID TRUISM GLEANED FROM LYRICS OR SONG TITLE: “Kindness Invites Abuse” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: “Kindness Invites Abuse” Also, did Gang Green ever cover “Spymaster?” I think they did it on that live 10”, but i can’t remember now.

–norb (Dionysus)


LA PESTE:
Better Off La Peste: CD
…i actually never really thought “Better Off Dead” was all that hot shit; the lyrics are flat out stupid (“that girl’s only thirteen, she ain’t never given/givin’ head!”), and they’re sung in this sort of affected, pretentious, echoey art-poet tone—it just didn’t MOVE me. A couple songs into this primarily loft-tape retrospective, and i realized i was Wrong As Heck about this band—a good chunk of this ‘70s expose IS all that hot shit, and engaging as all get-out (i may have that backwards, but you’ve got the general tone of my vector). You can tell that this stuff directly precursed (if that’s even a word) bands like Mission Of Burma, but it’s also apparent that this stuff is punk with a capital UNK. If you, like me, have grown steadily less interested in obtaining posthumous retrospectives of “great, lost” punk bands with minimal studio recordings to their credit, i suggest for your own personal safety you rethink your life utterly and clasp this disc to your heaving bosom. CLASP IT I SAY!!! BEST SONG: “Kindness Invites Abuse” BEST SONG TITLE: “Kindness Invites Abuse” MOST VIVID TRUISM GLEANED FROM LYRICS OR SONG TITLE: “Kindness Invites Abuse” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: “Kindness Invites Abuse” Also, did Gang Green ever cover “Spymaster?” I think they did it on that live 10”, but i can’t remember now. –norb (Dionysus)


LA PESTE:
“Better Off Dead” b/w “Black”: 7”
From what I’ve been able to gather, La Peste are an overlooked trio from Boston that never released a proper LP, but are nonetheless remembered for the handful of jams they recorded during their brief existence. First off, Wharf Cat’s reissue is spot-on, with a reprinted show flier insert and an additional photograph of the group. On the insert, Mission Of Burma’s Roger Miller provides a quote, which is fitting, as I can assume from these two brief tracks, that La Peste’s musical trajectory might have further coincided with these fellow Bostonian luminaries. “Better Off Dead” is definitely the hit. It opens with guitar and some chiming on the cymbals. For being over thirty years old, the song is urgent and still slyly tongue-in-cheek. The jangly guitar tone conjures bands across the pond like Gang Of Four, Wire, and Zounds. “Black” is more avant-garde and, frankly, less effective. It doesn’t hold up nearly as well as the pogo-inducing jam on the opposite side. This 7” wasn’t reissued to cash in on nostalgia, rather because La Peste were truly ahead of the curve and well-worth revisiting or appreciating for the first time.  –Sean Arenas (Wharf Cat)


LA PIOVRA:
Risacca b/w Danni Collaterali: 7"
Jaw-dropping, high energy, punk rock’n’roll in the same vein as Dean Dirg and Henry Fiat’s Open Sore, only it’s Italian and they’ve probably been listening to those two aforementioned bands for a good coupla years thinking of ways to top them. A couple weeks ago I saw La Piovra play in a packed Milwaukee basement and it was the musical equivalent to having a shotgun full of spaghetti blasted in my face. We American bastards didn’t even know what hit us. –Daryl Gussin (Punks Before Profit)


LA SERA:
Never Come Around: 7”
Candy indie-pop that reminds me of stuff from the early-nineties like The Spinanes and Velocity Girl. The super-sweet female vocals float over light, airy melodies. I believe it has members of Vivian Girls, if that means anything to you. It’s okay, but unmoving and kind of dull. –Craven (Hardly Art)


LAB RATS, THE:
Start Thinking: CD
Since this band is based up in the bay area, I would picture them perfectly at a
Gilman Street
show. These guys blew me away! I get goose bumps when I hear elements of Nardcore meets late eighties fastcore. Intensity that doesn’t waver. The speed without going into a blur. Punk rock that has the snottiness, speed, and musicianship that pulls it all together. They definitely kept my attention. I felt like I was back at the Cathay de Grande. If you don’t know about the Cathay, it was my Gilman back in the early-to-mid eighties in Hollywood. With the name they have chosen, I swear I was going to get to listen to some mediocre melodicore band. Loved to be proven wrong. I am a fan! –don (New Disorder)


LAB RATS, THE / SCISSORHANDS:
Split: LP
The Lab Rats: Pull the trick of having me listen to their side of the split a good five times and fail to have a distinguishing characteristic to call their own. They cover (quarter-assedly) a Charles Bronson tune. They point a few fingers. They play riffs that would have been better not the thousandth and first time. Scissorhands: Their four tracks remind me of the Nerve Agents but not as good. It’s hardcore that’s looking back to the beginning of the ‘80s for inspiration (think Unity) with melodic instruments (think pre-Danzig fixated AFI) with screamed vocals. Well beaten ground. Unfortunately, this is forgettable stuff. –todd (Left of the Dial)


LAB RATS, THE / SCISSORHANDS:
Split: LP
The Lab Rats: Pull the trick of having me listen to their side of the split a good five times and fail to have a distinguishing characteristic to call their own. They cover (quarter-assedly) a Charles Bronson tune. They point a few fingers. They play riffs that would have been better not the thousandth and first time. Scissorhands: Their four tracks remind me of the Nerve Agents but not as good. It’s hardcore that’s looking back to the beginning of the ‘80s for inspiration (think Unity) with melodic instruments (think pre-Danzig fixated AFI) with screamed vocals. Well beaten ground. Unfortunately, this is forgettable stuff. –todd (Left of the Dial)


LABEL THE TRAITOR:
The Battle of the Common: CD
Oh man, with song titles like “Burned at the Stake,” “Let the Demons Go,” and “The Horns of the Shepherd,” I was so ready to hate this. I was preparing myself for an album full of whiplash-inducing metal that read like a D&D manual and was rife with shitty solos and falsettos. Thankfully, I was way, way off the mark. Instead, Label the Traitor managed to give us an album full of furious hardcore that plays all the requisite sonic tricks but throws a few more in the blender as well. Most importantly, they’re not dumb. Un-fucking-believeable! Musically, the stuff’s pretty good, but what really sets this band head and shoulders above their peers is the fact that while the lyrics intelligently cover topics like the dangers of blind patriotism, drug addiction, hipsterism, apathy, work as identity, etc., they addend these with thoughtful liner notes. End result is, in a genre that’s chock full of thick-neck assholes espousing the joys of street-thuggery and thinly veiled gang mentalities, it’s nice to hear from a group of guys who actually take the time to step beyond idiotic “watch your back” sloganeering. If you’re into the current crop of straight-up hardcore, stuff that’s totally void of any emo undertones, pick this one up—these guys impressed the hell out of me with this one. –keith (Five Point)


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Razorcake Podcast Player


·VANISHINGKIDS
·HOMBRINUS DUDES/ LOADED FOR BEAR
·Harold’s Horrible Life
·GARY WRONG GROUP
·Between Resistance and Community: A Documentary About Long Island DIY Punk: DVD
·CEREMONY
·MESRINE / PRETTY LITTLE FLOWER
·GORDON GANO’S ARMY
·Razorcake Podcast #197


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