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Record Reviews

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V FOR VENDETTA:
Beneath This Mask Another Mask: CD
Cara and Michelle are visionaries. If The Need were emo, they would be V for Vendetta. A long time ago, people went to see orchestras perform much like we would go to a show to see our favorite band today. One of the differences, however, between going to a classical concert and a modern day show would be that people back then did not have the movies, so if you wanted to see a story, you could either obtain this through the characters in a theater play or opera, or through a classical masterpiece where every instrument (maybe even fifty pieces, or more) plays its own part. These girls manage to portray that with only two pieces. Both drums and guitar (or bass) have conversations with each other. The lyrics are there to decorate. This CD plays good in the background, but it’s best to listen up close. With song titles like, “But It Needs a Spoon Full of Sugar to Go Down,” and “The Jester in the Court of the King of the Goons,” you can’t help but want to figure this stuff out. The cover also looks like a kitty (V’s for the eyes, nose and mouth on a black background). Meow! –Harmonee (Mr. Lady)


V.P.R.:
Aural Assault: CD
Washington, DC area band that plays the hardcore. A mixture of Sick of it All, Strife, and some old-school Negative Approach. Throat-shredding vocals over metallic riffs. Only drawback is the cartoon artwork on the cover. It made me believe that I was going to be listening to a pop punk band. I have no idea what “V.P.R.” stands for. –don (Squirrel Heart)


V.P.R.:
Aural Assault: CD
The cover reminded me of a cross between Green Day and the classic Peter Sellers movie Dr. Strangelove. But it’s nowhere near as good as that. I imagine that they had a checklist of punk cliches in the studio with them: Tattoos? Check. Mohawks? Check. Nihilistic lyrics? Check. Fast guitars and faster drums? Check. Multiple piercings? Check. They only forgot one thing: Songs. Not a good one to be found. –brian (Squirrel Heart)


V.T. MARVIN:
Neposlusni Tenisti: CD
V.T. Marvin plays poppy Czech punk with strong hooks. Lyrics are in Czech, and I couldn’t find translations online, so I’m not sure what they were singing about, but the choruses were pretty darn catchy. If pop punk is your thing, this is totally worth checking out, but I think those who understand Czech will appreciate this the most. –Paul J. Comeau (phr.cz)


VAADAAT CHARIGIM:
Sinking as a Stone: CD
Second record from this trio from Israel. All the lyrics are sung in Hebrew so they didn’t really have a huge emotional impact on my thoughts while I listened. The music was driving, shoegaze-type fare. I enjoyed it and maybe I would throw this on at a BBQ when I was busy cooking wieners. But I doubt this would hit top rotation in other settings; the lyrics don’t resonate with me when I need them to lock in.  –koepenick (Burger, burgerrecords@gmail.com)


VAARINKASITYS:
Päivän Tunnit: EP
One of my favorite releases that I was assigned for this issue. The sound is very basic Finnish hardcore punk that harkens back to the 1980s in spirit, more than style. Granted, they sound similar to the early 1980s punk from that region, but they’re not a nostalgia band. The songs are straight forward, switching back and forth from mid to fast tempos. The guitars have a nice thick sound, and the vocals are urgent in delivery. I was surprised to see this is three piece, as their sound is pretty full. “Määränpäänä Kuolema” is my favorite of the eight on here, and they’re all good. –Matt Average (Väärinkäsitys, vaarinkasitys@hotmail.fl)


VAASKA:
Condenado: EP
More insanely fast hardcore from these guys. I have their Ruido Hasta La Muerta LP, and that is pretty good, but this is way better. The energy is cranked way the hell up and the urgency is undeniable. It’s all about force and volume here. The songs sound like they are being shoved out of the speakers. From the opening squeal of noise in “Hartos” to “Venganza,” it’s non-stop. There are breaks here and there in the songs, where it’s just the bass and drums for a couple seconds, or a big shift in the tempo like “Violencia Criminal,” with the count off at the beginning. Despite the overall catchy nature of the song, it’s about a heavy subject. Great record the whole way through. –Matt Average (Heart First, heartfirst.net)


VAASKA:
Todos Contra Todos: LP
Wicked brutal hardcore en español from Austin here. They grab you by the boo-boo from go and flail your scrawny body around like a ragdoll, thrashing in wild abandon one minute, then slowing it down to savor the beatdown the next. This is gonna get played lots.  –jimmy (Beach Impediment)


VAASKA:
Future Primitivo: EP
Originally a limited release for the band’s Japanese tour earlier this year, Future Primitivo is now available in a wider release through Beach Impediment Records. This was my first exposure to Vaaska, whose discography includes a previous LP, and some split recordings with Impalers and Japan’s Skizophrenia. Future Primitivo features fast, furious d-beat, with shredding lead guitar parts and Spanish language vocals. I was a big fan of the blistering leads. I was less of a fan of the echoey style of the overall recording. I dig when records have a gritty and raw live recording-esque style, but this had more of an “I can hear the band playing from outside the warehouse venue vibe.” Not terrible by any means, but a little less echo to the recording would surely have upped the intensity. Still thoroughly enjoyable, and it’s worth looking into Vaaska’s other recordings.  –Paul J. Comeau (Beach Impediment)


VAASKA / IMPALERS:
Split: 7”
I think I could sell this hardcore split from Vaaksa and Impalers just by describing the cover. A shrouded skull has bony arms coming out if its mouth, hanging a mass of cracked and mangled skulls, spines, hair, and eyeballs from a barbwire fence. This all, of course, is happening in black and white. My three years of high school Spanish, mostly long forgotten, help me to translate Vaaska’s two songs as “Where is your God?”—my favorite track on the split—and “All is shit.”  –John Mule (Beach Impediment)


VAASKA / SKIZOPHRENIA:
Split: 7”
I got a lot of hardcore stuff in my review pile this time around. There isn’t a lot of information to go along with this one, but this split kicks off with Vaaska, who play it gruff and heavy with vocals in both Spanish and English. Good stuff for sure, but it was Skizophrenia on the flip side that really grabbed me. I think the vocals are in English (their lyrics are on the insert), but they sound so snotty that it’s honestly hard to tell. Can you imagine if The Stitches played crusty hardcore? I can, and it sounds a lot like Skizophrenia. Both bands play a very non-North American style of hardcore which I can appreciate. The less metal in there the better, I always say. Great packaging with screenprinted jackets (silver ink on black paper) featuring skulls and spiders and all that punk stuff!  –ty (540)


VACANCIES, THE:
Gutpunch: CD
Decent punk rock and roll in the Dead Boys/Thunders vein. (Which, you should all know, is preferable to the Stooges, MC5 vein, but I digress, and probably earn myself some enemies in the process.) Of course, the kids in Cleveland have their priorities straight! (Are you sick of my Midwest pride yet? Too bad!) After awhile, I got a little bored with the CD; but I bet this band is fun live. If this were a cereal, it’d be Chex. Pretty good! –Maddy (Smog Veil)


VACANCIES, THE:
Gutpunch: CD
Decent punk rock and roll in the Dead Boys/Thunders vein. (Which, you should all know, is preferable to the Stooges, MC5 vein, but I digress, and probably earn myself some enemies in the process.) Of course, the kids in Cleveland have their priorities straight! (Are you sick of my Midwest pride yet? Too bad!) After awhile, I got a little bored with the CD; but I bet this band is fun live. If this were a cereal, it’d be Chex. Pretty good!
–Maddy (Smog Veil)


VACANCY, THE:
self-titled: CDEP
Uninspired pop-punk with very little punk. Songs so similar you can hardly tell one from the next. Not that I tried. –megan (A-F)


VACANCY, THE:
Heart Attack: CD
I could be completely wrong here but this band reminds me of the Foo Fighters, Urge Overkill, Helmet, or Jimmy Eat World. But I couldn’t sit through a full song. –don (A-F)


VACANCY, THE:
self-titled: CDEP
Uninspired pop-punk with very little punk. Songs so similar you can hardly tell one from the next. Not that I tried. –megan (A-F)


VACANT CHURCHES:
As I Fall from Grace: CD
Twenty to twenty-five years ago, this band would have ruled in the Bat Cave or any number of goth clubs in L.A. I have no idea what they’d rule now. If 45 Grave tours again, these guys should definitely open. This has been my second shortest review ever. –Steveo (Vinehell)


VACANT FEVER:
Kill Kill Kill: 7” EP
Brief, fuzzy, and precise barely-post-minimal almost-art-rock that seems at times like it is trying to mentally insert a large, densely-studded silicon rubber centipede into my lower intestine so it can teach me to enjoy it when it pulls the centipede slowly out of my butt. The first couple songs were over three minutes long and i thought maybe they were too serious/pretentious/whatever for me, but the minute-something songs like “Yeah Yeah” and “Like It Or Not” are actually pretty cool, and briefly reminded me of “Psychocandy” era Jesus & Mary Chain doing Wanderers covers, although i overcame that hallucination with the power of my oversized mutant brain. Now, if you’ll excuse me, i have to see a man about a large, densely-studded centipede. Good day. BEST SONG: “Yeah Yeah” BEST SONG TITLE: “Yeah Yeah,” especially if you’re the Revillos. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Not surprisingly, the tits on the cover prevented me from noticing the bloody nose on the cover for quite some time. –norb (Vacant Fever)


VACANT LIFE:
Pain Compliance: 7” EP
Raw, overblown hardcore that somehow transcends the (probably intentional) sonic limitations via some solid musicianship and the wisdom to know that all the instrument-pummeling won’t do ye a bit of good if your shit don’t rock. Closing things out is a vicious bit of dirge guaranteed to ruin your evening. Fuck yeah, this does the trick.  –jimmy (Iron Lung)


VACANT STATE:
Internal Conflict: 7"
I’m assuming that this band hails from Vancouver, BC, based on what I could find on their lyric sheet. But what popped into my mind was that they love early ‘80s East Coast hardcore, especially Negative Approach. There are four charging punk numbers on the A side that shows that they really pay homage to their forefathers. The B side is one long-winded number that clocks in a hair over five minutes that reminded me something of the likes of the Germs’ “Forming” or some later period Black Flag. Based on the A side, I hope to hear more to come. –don (Deranged)


VACANT STATE:
Fill the Void: LP
Heavy on the early ‘80s Boston hardcore influence. Definite Negative FX vibe, from the awesome vocals, to-the-point lyrics, and on to the crushing music. The first thing that grabbed my attention with this record is the bellowed vocal style. Somewhere between Choke and John Brannon. Loud and clear delivery. The music moves mainly at a mid-tempo lumber, so the words are delivered in the same manner. Even when the speed picks up, you can still get what’s going on. There’s not one bad song on here, but the ones that really stand out are “Don’t Care,” “Dying World” (I like the beginning with the feedback), “Nothing New,” and the songs that close out each side with their slowed-down pace that really creates a dark mood—”Vicious 2Bastards” and “In The End”—which starts to give way to feedback and a repetitive beat to send the point deep into your mind. This will definitely be in my “best records of the year” list. Not that that distinction will improve anyone’s life. Just putting that out there. Get this. –Matt Average (Deranged, derangedrecords.com)


VACANT STATE:
Chains: 7” EP
Sounds like it’s just come back from Boston circa 1981 to unleash a little whoop-ass on a scene overripe with backpacks and nouveau-geek chic. Singer alone sounds like Choke Slapshot’s unholy progeny.  –jimmy (Warthog Speak)


VACATION:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Barely competent stuff that skirts the fine line between political punk and the DIY tape stuff that proliferated in the underground in the late ‘80s. The kids over at KXLU will no doubt be all over this. –jimmy (Hello Asshole)


VACATION:
Self-titled: 7”EP
Crass spoken word bits, mixed with the occasional folky ambience of Defiance, Ohio. I was thinking, “Maybe Surrender has a contender!” Unfortunately, Vacation hug the hardest-to-listen-to bits of their predecessors. They seem philosophically and literarily involved—Baudrilliard, Pynchon, and a whole host of heavy thinkers are invoked—but, I enjoyed reading the lyrics without the music playing much more. That’s bad news for a band. For fans of late-period Fifteen, who really get wet when Jeff Off recites how to clean the syringe before sharing a needle for the duration of a song? I admire the driving ideals, not the execution. –todd (Helloasshole)


VACATION:
The Do Shit Disc: CD
Six songs of frenetic pop punk from Cincinnati, Ohio’s Vacation that brings Operation: Cliff Clavin to mind vocally. I really like what’s going on here on all six tracks. The vocals are slightly blown-out, the guitars are fuzzy, and the rhythm section is teetering on one foot. The operative word here is “fun.” I have a hunch that seeing these cats play a house party would be a pretty epic time. Not sure if this makes it any better, but I cannot quit staring at the awesome cover art… –Garrett Barnwell (Moonquake)


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