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Record Reviews

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R. STEVIE MOORE:
U.R. True + 3: 7" EP
Four songs of home-recorded new wave, laden with treble and flange. The vocals are weird, running the gamut from sweet falsettos to Motörhead growls. A couple of the songs are very catchy, but a couple are a little too herky-jerky. I was listening, being reminded of the more far-out Jay Reatard stuff, then I looked this guy up and found out that he’s a middle aged dude whose father played with Elvis Presley, and he’s been making home tapes since the mid 1960s. Wow. I’d say this is good material by an artist who probably falls into the music geek trap where people know his back story better than his actual output. In other words, if you check this out, you’ll hear some interesting music and manage to impress obnoxious people. –CT Terry (Felony Fidelity)


R. STEVIE MOORE:
I Missed July: 7”
So... a little research tells me R. Stevie Moore has been recording for forty years! Jesus! He’s put out countless highly praised albums and has played with a ton of well-known musicians. Respect. But that doesn’t make this shit any more tolerable. When I first put it on, I was certain I was hearing yet another annoying, lo-fi, bedroom indie-folker strumming dumb shit into their iphones on breaks between studying and bong rips. But this dude’s no spring chicken and a lot of people have a good deal of respect for him, right? So what’s the deal? My guess is this is precisely why someone put out this 7” of weird acoustic songs with annoying vocals repeating inane phrases like “traded my heart for your parts” over and over. I have no idea whether this an example of an artist going gently into that good night or if he’s been recording this kind of weak horseshit for forty years, but I really don’t give a damn. –Craven Rock (Sweaters And Pearls, sweatersandpearls.com)


R.O.C.:
The Sum of All Beers: 7"
Lightning fast thrash from Vancouver B.C. Relentless drums and searing guitar is the order of the day. Not really all that decipherable in the lyric department, but judging by song titles like “Thrash Your Way to a Better Life,” “Burger Shots,” and “Rape the Pavement,” these boys like to skate and have fun. The ten songs on here just fly by. Flip up your brim and give it a play. –ty (R.O.C.)


R.U.T.A.:
Gore: LP
Polish punk rockers and folk musicians united to play and record an album of traditional Polish serfs’ rebel songs, using traditional instruments. The power in politically relevant folk songs, in rebel songs, in protest songs, lies in the words. Consequently, even though an English translation is thoughtfully included in the lovingly assembled booklet that comes with this album, I find it difficult to really feel the music, to connect in the same way I can with a Joe Strummer, Billy Bragg, or Tim Barry. My loss, I’m sure. If you have any understanding of the Polish language, or are better at absorbing music sung in a foreign language than I am, then this record would be a solid pickup. –Chad Williams (Pazazer, pasazer.pl)


RABBIT EARS:
EP: CD
Rabbit Ears is comprised of two members. Jeff Maisaac plays electric drums and keys while Spencer Moody sings, sometimes like Peter Murphy. While this combination could result in disastrous, shitty, art rock, Rabbit Ears rules instead! Think Atari Teenage Riot meets Foetus at a dance club. Musically this is a convoluted blend of distorto drums and overdriven vocals. Big Black would let them open the show. Stay creepy Rabbit Ears! –Buttertooth (Go Midnight)


RABBIT HOLES:
“It’s Not Alright” b/w “I Ain’t Coming Back Tonight”: 7”
Man, I’m getting cynical. Every part of me as a critic thinks this record is nothing new. At a certain point, the diminishing returns of reviewing records every few months shows you that there is only a limited number of tools for musicians to use to make their art. There are only twelve notes, you know? But this record gets everything right. The music is recorded in that beautifully terrible way where the vocals are buried, becoming just another instrument in the mix. I suppose if there’s a key to my heart musically, that would be it. Layers of musical noise with a small hint of melody shimmering in the background. Songwriting-wise, I’d put Rabbit Holes in that category of Dirtnap hopefuls that never fails to capture my ears. Both songs are incredibly well-written, with Side A capturing a Buzzcocks before they lost their edge vibe, and Side B imitating the Ramones back when Tommy was behind the kit. Totally worth any price between three and six dollars. Grade: A-.  –Bryan Static (Big Action)


RABID DECEPTION:
Self-titled: 7"
At one point, Rabid Deception was a perfectly normal band, roaming free in the wilderness like any other. Then they got caught. They got locked in a cage. Their captors dragged them out daily and taunted them, beat them, fed them scraps. The nice drained out of them, leaving a vacuum to be filled with a snarling fury that has been unleashed upon this world in the form of this record. –mp (facebook.com/RabidDeception)


RABID GRANNIES:
My Brain Is Rotten: 7"
Hyper-speed Swedish hardcore not as reliant on Discharge as many of their fellow countrymen, with lyrics about skateboarding, degenerating, and playing really fast. If speed is your thing, this’ll do the trick. –jimmy (Wasted Sounds)


RACCOON:
Demo: Cassette
This is one of those demos that could fall under one of two categories: Either they know exactly what they’re doing in creating a kind of nihilistic, lo-fi anti-music not unlike if Flipper came out of the U.K. in the late ‘70s, or they’re just a really bad band trying to do something else entirely and this is just how it came out. I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt and think that they know exactly what they’re doing, and I suppose that it doesn’t really matter in the long run anyways, because their sound is the same regardless. Intriguing. –Mark Twistworthy (Raccoon, 351braccoon@gmail.com)


RACCOON:
Demo II: Cassette
One of the enduring passages from my history of reading zines is by one of the guys from (if memory serves well) Go Metric who said in a Punk Planet interview, that they sold the demos they got to review as Richard Hell live bootlegs. It was a perfectly indirect and perhaps unintentional summing up of the fine line between genius and slop that punk often walks, and one which the influence of a few pretentious rock writers can add value to or take away from as they please. I got the joke because, as a teenager, I was stoked to order a Richard Hell And The Voidoids live tape along with the seminal Bad Brains tape from ROIR Records. Expecting to hear “Love Comes in Spurts” the same way I heard it on Pump up the Volume and “Blank Generation” the same way I’d heard it on a Time/Life punk and new wave compilation, what I got was a shit recording of a shit show that had no business being released. I didn’t become a fan of Richard Hell until years later when I found a best-of tape in a cut-out bin. I think of that quote when I listen to Raccoon’s demo. It’s kind of slop, nowhere near the genius of Richard Hell’s larger work, but far better than that horrible, junked-out, live tape and probably the exact sort of demo the guy from Go Metric was thinking of when he made that quip. I’m not sure where I’m going with all of this, but this tape is pretty rockin’. –Craven (Self-released, 35lbraccoon@gmail.com)


RACHEL GORDON:
The Coming of Spring: LP
...i was on the verge of refusing to review this for moral reasons (i.e., the only connection to anything vaguely "punk" here was a cover of "Hearts Will Be Broken" off the second Records record, which is really overemphasizing the "vaguely" aspect of things), but, on closer inspection, i was forced to cede Ms. Gordon the album-opening "Where Are You Tonight," an appropriately bouncy pop-rocker that would have fit in just fine in the Girli-Pop mini-revolution of '83/'84 (Nena, Tracy Ullman, Bangles... that's all i can think of... i guess that's why the revolution was so mini) and written by her bass player, Hector from the Zeros (which i'm only giving her as many Punk Points for as i gave Rank & File for the Kinman Brothers [i think that was around 0.5, and there were two of them]). Everything after that not only came perilously close to not out-rocking Josie Cotton, but also came perilously close to not out-rocking Olivia Newton-John. Xanadu-core at its finest! BEST SONG: "Where Are You Tonight" BEST SONG TITLE: "Fun at Your House" FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I already used up the Fantastic Amazing Trivia Fact about the bass player being in the Zeros, so the runner-up Fantastic Amazing Trivia Fact is that she does a serviceable cover of Badfinger's McCartney-penned "Come and Get It," and appropriately changes the gender... so now it goes "will you walk away/from a fool and her money? (FOOL AND HER MONEY!)" which is kind of cute the first time you hear it. –norb (Sounds of Subterrania)


RACHEL GORDON:
The Coming of Spring: LP
...i was on the verge of refusing to review this for moral reasons (i.e., the only connection to anything vaguely "punk" here was a cover of "Hearts Will Be Broken" off the second Records record, which is really overemphasizing the "vaguely" aspect of things), but, on closer inspection, i was forced to cede Ms. Gordon the album-opening "Where Are You Tonight," an appropriately bouncy pop-rocker that would have fit in just fine in the Girli-Pop mini-revolution of '83/'84 (Nena, Tracy Ullman, Bangles... that's all i can think of... i guess that's why the revolution was so mini) and written by her bass player, Hector from the Zeros (which i'm only giving her as many Punk Points for as i gave Rank & File for the Kinman Brothers [i think that was around 0.5, and there were two of them]). Everything after that not only came perilously close to not out-rocking Josie Cotton, but also came perilously close to not out-rocking Olivia Newton-John. Xanadu-core at its finest! BEST SONG: "Where Are You Tonight" BEST SONG TITLE: "Fun at Your House" FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I already used up the Fantastic Amazing Trivia Fact about the bass player being in the Zeros, so the runner-up Fantastic Amazing Trivia Fact is that she does a serviceable cover of Badfinger's McCartney-penned "Come and Get It," and appropriately changes the gender... so now it goes "will you walk away/from a fool and her money? (FOOL AND HER MONEY!)" which is kind of cute the first time you hear it. –norb (Sounds of Subterrania)


RACIN’ FOR PINKS:
More Songs About Corpses: CD
Hardcore with an occasional nod toward the less abrasive rock/punk pigeonhole. They’re loud ’n’ rambunctious, but something I can’t quite place seems to be missing from either the songs or the performance, resulting in a product that was neither lousy nor memorable. –jimmy (www.racinforpinks.com)


RAD:
This Is Rad: 7”
Dunno if it’s a compliment or insult—depends on what you think of the label’s output, I reckon—but this brings back memories of Mystic Records’ ‘80s thrash-o-rama glory days. Seven zippy, simple thrash tunes crammed onto one side of a seven-inch record, lyrics covering asshole geeks, asshole moshers, asshole ‘90s punks, protection of delicate body regions whilst in a pit, and Battlestar Galactica. They may not be breaking any new ground, but they definitely sound like they’re having fun not doing so. –jimmy (Sacramento, sacramaniacs@gmail.com)


RAD:
Live on KDVS: Cassette
Thirteen songs on this cassette, with five of them being covers of JFA, Negative Approach, Jerry’s Kids, and two by MDC. This female-fronted band rips through these songs and really does a great job of getting the feeling of being there with the band live in the studio. They do a great job on the covers, adding a bit of freshness to these great songs. This is one of my favorite bands right now. I can’t get enough of them. –Rick E. –Guest Contributor (Pleasant Screams / Sacramento, pleasantscreams.com, sacramaniacs.com)


RAD:
Loud & Fast: LP
A friend and I always have this conversation about how some fast and thrashy hardcore bands have that certain something that other bands of the genre lack. What do these bands have that the others don’t? I’m listening to Rad, and sitting here trying to figure that out right now. A lot of bands play it fast, some are pretty good, a few are great, and good majority should just stay in the practice room. I would place Rad squarely on the “great” podium. How is it that a jaded and bitter guy such as I can be blown away by this record? I’ve heard a million (okay I’m exaggerating, but you get the point) bands like this. I have a wall of records of this stuff located right behind me, and this record will be added to that collection at some point when I feel like it’s time to file it away for a while. Whatever the case, this record rips. I hear hints of early DC hardcore like Minor Threat (guitar) and Void (the urgency of the vocals) in here, but, at the same time, these guys are not a clone and the influences are not wholesale rip offs. Maybe that’s the secret? Play your music with conviction and that will come through. They tear into one song after the other, and each song is able to differentiate itself from the other in order to not sound like one long blur (another key ingredient to being at the top of the heap). Songs like “Creep-out Crew,” “Corporate Drugs,” “This Is Not Final War,” “I’m an Adult,” and “You’re Next” (about D&D) are the stand outs amongst a very solid record. –Matt Average (Sacramento, sacramaniacs.com)


RAD:
Return of Thrash Radical: CS
This is the long-awaited demo out from the Sacramento hardcore band Rad. Straight D.R.I., Reagan Youth, ‘80s-style thrashcore. It’s a full-on assault that lasts for barely five minutes, shredding through eight (eight!) songs. Nerdcore lyrics and a brutal sound. Ridiculously good. Only fifty demos made. Heads up to a possible 7” in the making. –Camylle Reynolds (Sacramento, sacramaniacs.com)


RAD COMPANY:
Demo: CD-R
Thrashy punk rock from Dayton, Ohio. Evil thrash growl vocal here! Pop punk singing part there! Blast beat here! If they played a really tight live show, I bet they’d rule. In fact, even this CD kinda rules, especially the more poppy stuff! It kinda confuses me because one second I’ll be thinking, “This fucking rules,” and the next second I’ll be thinking, “I don’t like growly vocals!” If this were a cereal, it’d be a mixture of Trix and Total. Worth checking out! –Maddy (Self-released)


RAD COMPANY:
Self-titled: Cassette
This tape reminds me of late ‘90s pop punk bands I used to like and are all but forgotten: Shyster from Florida or Pinhead Circus from Colorado. I could see them opening a show for The Lawrence Arms. Like these bands, Rad Company plays heavy and hard-hitting music, but there’s always a little of that emo aftertaste to their songs because of the heart-on-the-sleeve lyrics. Take Rad Company’s “Blood Bath” lyrics: “But you could not stand someone loving you so you pushed me away.” Unlike these before mentioned bands, Rad Company is a bit more rugged on cassette in terms of production, as these songs sound like they were recorded decently in a practice space. I actual think by approaching their recording like this, it made their songs more appealing because it captured the raw aesthetic that fits their sound. My favorite track here is “Nothing Works.” It’s a tune about these guys quitting their jobs, selling their cars, and going on tour. Overall, this is a pretty decent demo worth getting if you’re into this specific style of punk. –N.L. Dewart (Rad Company, myspace.com/radcompany)


RAD COMPANY:
Carnivals: CD
Despite a pretty lousy name, this is one of those bands I really wanna like more than I do. The music is spot on and catchy post-Hüsker punk; fast and hook-laden in all the right ways. The problem, though, is the gruff vocals, which sound fine when things lean more towards the hardcore, but sound woefully out of place and way too forced and atonal for the remaining bulk of the songs here. A little more attention to sonic dynamics from the singer and this would’ve been much, much better. –jimmy (teamhumanstudio@gmail.com)


RAD COMPANY:
Bottom Shelf: 7”
Apparently, some dude from Rad Company used to be in some band called Bottom Shelf. These are all old Bottom Shelf songs as performed by Rad Company. Maybe folks that saw Bottom Shelf can get all nostalgic over this release, but if you’ve never heard of these guys, you’re not gonna care. –Ryan Horky (Team Human, teamhumanrecords.com)


RAD COMPANY:
Someone Should Be Fired: 7” EP
One thrashy pop punk tune, one that leans more in a Hüskers-influenced direction, and one more straight indie-pop punk, all with vocals that strain mightily yet only manage to dance around the correct note. Sorry, but I just ain’t feelin’ it. –jimmy (Smiling Handshake, myspace.com/smilinghandshake)


RAD COMPANY:
“Friends like These” b/w “Dress You Up”: 7”
Part of Juke Box’s singles subscription series and apparently already “Out of Stock.” Like all the singles in the series, an original A side and a cover song on the flip. “Friends Like These” is a piercing piece of thrash pop that will win you over first spin and have you dropping the needle again and again (which is actually the annoying part of only getting one song on one side, but I suppose justifiable considering the juke box format). The Madonna song is humorous and adequate, but let’s be honest… you don’t often come back to the cover song. Good thing the A side slays. Worth picking up if you can find it. Sexy see-through snot green vinyl.  –Matt Seward (Juke Box, jukebox-records.com)


RAD COMPANY / DISCRETIONS:
I Won’t Be Home for New Years: 7”
Rad Company: Rad Company plays that style of Screeching Weasel pop punk that everyone loves. Gritty, quick, but with those pop sensibilities that drive the kids wild. Hot off the heels of their split LP with Ex-Boyfriends, Rad Company are still churning out a consistent repertoire of dirty punk anthems. Discretions: Running the gambit from dirty pop punk to powerviolence to skate rock, Discretions are a bit less produced than their splitmates. Their songs can shift tempos at a drop of hat, resulting in songs that have qualities not unlike an opera. Unpredictable in a good way. –Bryan Static (Rad Girlfriend)


RAD COMPANY / DISCRETIONS:
Split: 7”
Rad Company: Kind of gruff, yell-y pop punk that’s somewhat of a standard these days. You know, the kind that you’d see playing one of the smaller bars at Fest at like three in the afternoon on Sunday. Discretions: Way noisier, faster, and kind of thrash-y, mixed with some sad bastard lyrics. It’s almost like if early era Jawbreaker was made up of dudes who weren’t sappy nerds. Have I heard that this band is good before? They’re kind of good! –joe (Rad Girlfriend)


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