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Record Reviews

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Revelation 150: Past Present: Breaking out the Classics: CD
Heres’s a new compilation where the long-running hardcore label celebrates their history with new and old bands covering material from across the label’s history. I dug the Bold stuff when they tackled Supertouch’s “Searchin’ for the Light” and also when other bands threw out Bold songs. So I guess I may need to get me some Bold, eh? Mikoto’s take on Texas Is The Reason’s “Back and to the Left” was also a standout. And, of course, Walter Schreifels’s contribution doesn’t disappoint because, uh, it’s Walter! The rest of the songs all had a sameness to them that was hard for me to overcome. But fans of this label’s bands will have a field day with this record. –koepenick (Revelation)

8 Up Records Punk Comp 2010: CD-R
Ten streetpunk bands contribute two songs a piece to this CD-R comp. I suspect that a lot of this is previously released material, so I’m taking this as a mixtape of the best punx ‘n’ skinz bands out there today. It’s all four-chord punk that isn’t very fast but has big sing-a-long choruses and song titles like “Fuck All” and “Beer, Meat, Rugby.” It started to blend together pretty fast, but I had a good, dumb, fun time listening to it. Coolest band names on the comp: Razors In The Night, A Disco for Ferns, Mike Puke. –CT Terry (8 Up, myspace.com/8records)

Cashing in on Christmas-Vol. 2: CD
It’s a little tough to get into the holiday spirit in February, but that’s why Razorcake reviewers get paid the big bucks! Nice package with questionable insert pictures, but I won’t hold that against them. Some bands cover the classics here (“Blue Christmas” by CH3, “White Christmas” by Antibodies) but the originals are more entertaining. How can you go wrong with titles like “Santa That’s My Wife” (by Pressure 28) and “Merry Christmas I Fucked Your Snowman” (by Violent Society)? Somehow I don’t think I can put this on next year when Aunt Edna pops in for some egg nog. Still, this will get some play when the last log is thrown on the fire. –koepenick (Black Hole)

Fat Music Vol. 7: Harder, Fatter, & Louder!: CD

A nicely packaged compilation made up of tracks from recent releases on the Fat Wreck catalogue. The None More Black, Good Riddance, and No Use For A Name tracks on this were the highlights for me. Everything else I could do without. Fans of the label and the majority of its roster will be into this, others are better off putting their eight bucks directly towards the albums of the bands they like. - Paul J Comeau

–Guest Contributor (Fat)

KGRG-FM “Live” Compilation: CD
This compilation has a little bit of everything. There’s some metal, hardcore, punk, and acoustic numbers. For a compilation put out by a community college radio station, it sounds about like you would expect: average recording, average talent, a song that starts with a throat-shedding scream that then throws in a jangly, ska influenced guitar riff—you know, the usual. My favorite part on the comp was on the song by the band Count The Hours that contains a line that states, “1,2,3,4,5,6,7—all God’s children go to Heaven.” This is pleaded in intense hardcore vocals. It comes across as pretty funny, which I’m guessing was not the intention. I used to see a lot of bands like this in high school and college. I’m not so interested in listening to them anymore. –kurt (kgrg.com)

No Future: CD
As one can expect from a Sex Pistols/Clash/Damned tribute album, a number of those offering tribute stick close to the original and, for the most part, avoid embarrassing themselves. More interesting, though, are those that choose instead to revamp the originals entirely, even if they don’t quite succeed. As a result, you get a jazzy version of the Pistols’ “Bodies” and a quasi-rap version of “Submission,” an oddly nouveau wave version of the Clash’s “Capital Radio,” and even a string quartet interpretation of the Damned’s “New Rose.” Although it’s probably no surprise that Leatherface’s take on “Melody Lee” is far and away the standout track here, others paying their respects include Attila The Stockbroker, The Bolsheviks, The Blaggers ITA, Terry Edwards, Bleach, The Price, and many others. –jimmy (releasedemotions.co.uk)

Pancake Productions Summer Sampler MMX: CD-R
I find records that feature a variety of musical stylings to be infinitely enjoyable, but only when the tunes are good. There’s a wild diversity on this record: a bit o’ hardcore, a bit o’ r&b/hip hop, some hippy-dippy shit, female-fronted torch-rock (decipher that!), folksy French accordion music, technotronica, etc. Some of it is actually quite good, but too much of what’s put forth here is borderline crummy or outright lousy and proves that even though technology allows anyone to record and distribute their tunes, that doesn’t mean that they should. Favorite moments: The Fantasy Four, “Open Wide”; Popular Mechanics, “Better Off in the End”; Mike Stansy, “I Am Mike Stansy”; Cardiac Arrest, “Old New”; Thomas, “Cherokee Street.” At the same time, there are a few songs on here that I would rather rip out my intestines with a fork than hear again. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Pancake Productions)

Personality Disorder: LP
According to the AZPunk website, this collaboration with the label May Cause Dizziness is their seventh, and latest, comp, and a fine one it is. Like all truly good punk comps, this “collection of Arizona punk” feels more like a showcase for local talent than some bullshit label sampler, and a variety of styles are represented, from lo-fi trashing to more sophisticated fare, courtesy of The Impossible Ones, Japanese Monsters, Casket Life, Streetside Prophet, Hotdog!, The Father Figures, Automatic Erasers, Good Men Die Like Dogs, Lenguas Largas, Cagematch, The Plainfield Butchers, Said Gun, BroLoaf, and Jason DeVore. Hell, even the cover art is brilliant. Only major gripe is that there ain’t a sheet, little booklet thingie, or something else with some info on the bands representing here. Yeah, I imagine no shortage of info on each of them can be found on the website, but I’m an old bastard and prefer paper to processors any day. –jimmy (azpunk.com)

Takeonemillpartysore: CD
Four bands—The Donner Party, Eyesore, Darkmill, and Take One For The Team, respectively—offer up thirty tracks of grind. The first and last above have the most hardcore mixed in, Darkmill the most metal, and Eyesore opts for the full-on pummel. All are good at what they do and those who consider themselves fans of the genre will find much to satisfy their tastes here. –jimmy (pissartrecords.com)

The Ties That Bind: 7”+ Cassette
On the No Breaks website, this is listed as “CD/tape,” so I don’t know if the tunes on the 7” represent what are to be found on the CD. That said, The Ties That Bind consists of four bands (Giant Bags Of Weed, Que’ Mart?, Wrister, and Rock Paper Stupid) with “musical interludes” by Peter Stubb. For the most part, the thirty-plus tunes are satisfying blasts of punk/hardcore, but the sheer volume caused the songs to blend together in my mind. As a result, few were truly memorable. At five dollars this is one helluva deal in term of quantity, and the quality is there to be sure, but it gets lost in the enormity of the quantity. Regardless, I’m sure not sorry for having heard this. –The Lord Kveldulfr (No Breaks)

Anti-Social Promotions and Sampler: 7" EPs
Some overlap in bands here, with The Unpatriotics, The Dead Pawns, and A Disco For Ferns making appearances on both discs, while Angel Face, Violent Society, All Rise, Bucket Flush, Haste Killed Creativity, and Combat Crisis round out the rest of the tuneage here. Save for Haste Killed Creativity’s indie-punkish track, the lion’s share of stuff on both discs falls into one derivative or another of ‘80s-influenced hardcore, simple and direct, with nary a whit of metal. Can’t say anything blew my skirt up either way, but nothing here was especially terrible, and I definitely like the fact that this fits more into the traditional interpretation of “compilation” than the more modern “label sampler.” –jimmy (8^)

Casual Victim Pile 2: LP
Nice collection of current Austin bands. Seems that city has never really had a lack of worthwhile bands, unlike many of the more “famous” scenes like LA, NYC, or SF. The styles run the gamut of hardcore punk to pop. Some stuff is ehh, and then some stuff is “Holy fuck! I need to get everything this band has done!” awesome. Standouts are Literature, RayonBeach, Crisis Hotlines (do they have records out yet?), Women In Prison, Serious Tracers. Comes on white vinyl and a digital download card. –Matt Average (12XU, 12XU.net)

I Think We Should Stay Away from Each Other: LP
In this era—where the label sampler disguised as a compilation has gone online or marketed as a free giveaway at shows with paid security—released-on-vinyl, fan-based compilations are like collages to specific music scenes or tastes. It’s a trend I encourage. Well, the good ones, like this one, I do. And, it’s perhaps because a really nice, enthusiastic local guy, Aaron Kovacs, put this compilation together and I’m enjoying watching Summer Vacation, the band he’s in (and who is also on the comp) develop, that I’m more susceptible to its charms. I dunno. Perhaps it’s that Aaron’s around nineteen or twenty, putting him at nine or ten when Razorcake started, that there is some hope, you know? Here’s a new generation, not only choosing what to collect as a batch of songs, but organizing it, and earning the money for the printing and pressing. This comp has the feel of the best of Plan-It-X: DIY punk with folk and acoustic leanings, open to jumping around in wild abandon. It’s got the feel of a well-paced mix tape, mixing well-known bands like Underground Railroad To Candyland, Andrew Jackson Jihad, and Japanther with lesser-known excellence like Jehovas Fitness, Pangea, and many more. Recommended. –todd (Lauren, laurenrecords.bandcamp.com)

The New Hope: 2 x LP
Hardcore USA, circa the early/mid-’80s: Pitifully few legitimate places to play, no big money backing and big budget recording sessions for million-selling albums or tours, no internet making all the information on a band one could want—plus recordings—literally at one’s fingertips, and it seemed like pretty much everyone outside of your small pack of punker pals were out to kill asshole freaks like you. The concept of punk-as-career-move wasn’t even enough of a blip on the radar to be considered a joke, and those who aligned themselves with “the scene” and picked up an instrument to bash on or went to a rented hall/backyard/basement show often did so because they believed in something that had a value that transcended the usual lure of fame and fortune. What resulted was some amazing (and yes, some admittedly pretty crappy), surprisingly diverse music coming from different clusters of groups in places not identified by the mainstream as hotbeds of musical culture—Tempe and Phoenix, Dallas and Austin, Las Vegas, Seattle, Portland, Washington, DC, Lawrence and elsewhere. Some of these clusters of bands stuck out in the middle of nowhere pooled together and managed their statement of existence via what was then a critical musical avenue for the average punk band, the compilation album. Some, like Flex Your Head, Boston Not L.A., Get Off My Back, Master Tapes and Cottage Cheese from the Lips of Death, featured what would end up the only recordings by bands that may have ruled the roost at home, but likely would be known to only a select few just fifty miles away. The New Hope was Northeast Ohio’s definitive statement circa-1982/’83, a thirty-song collection featuring a number of the area’s hardcore elite—The Guns, Positive Violence, Spike In Vain, Agitated, No Parole, The Dark, Zero Defex, Outerwear, Offbeats, PPG and Starvation Army—offering up their individual takes on “hardcore,” ranging from the brooding virulence of The Gun’s “I’m Not Right,” to the hyper-speed thrashing of Positive Violence and Zero Defex, to more addled approaches from Spike In Vain and The Dark. Nearly thirty years down the line, virtually everything here stands up well, with the hard work and dedication put into the project still shining through. A one-sheet included here presents shrunken images of the pages of the comp’s original booklet, along with some liner notes helping to give context and insight into just how much effort was put into putting this out the first time ‘round, and Smog Veil has upped the ante by including an additional LP’s worth of material from each band. Things have definitely gotten a wee bit easier in Hardcore USA circa-2011 in terms of recording, releasing, performing and networking, but reissues like this are still invaluable, not only because the music on ‘em is so kick ass, but also because they serve as evidence that those needing to get their point across will inevitably find a way to do just that. –jimmy (Smog Veil)

Voodoo Rhythm Volume 3: CD
Truth be told, I usually much prefer Voodoo Rhythm’s sampler compilations. This is a bold statement, seeing as I think the vast majority of samplers are fairly disposable, and it’s not meant to imply Voodoo Rhythm’s individual releases are not worth a listen. What sets theirs apart from so many others is the scope of styles the label specializes in—rockabilly, swamp-rock, country western, garage rock, ‘60s trash, bluegrass, punk, and a myriad of combinations of all the above —makes for an eclectic mix of sounds to keep you on yer toes. The result sounds less like, say, Epitaph’s Punk-O-Rama series—where all the bands sound like variations of the same song—and more like a radio show specializing in shit that rarely gets played on the radio anymore. This, like its predecessors, is a nice hodge-podge of stuff that’s pretty danged consistent in quality and features tunes from the likes of The Monsters, The Juke Joint Pimps, Hipbone Slim And The Knee Tremblers, Movie Star Junkies, Reverend Beat-Man (whose psychotic dance floor stuffer “Jesus Christ Twist” is the pick to click here), Andy Dale Petty and many more. Those looking for a quick teaser of future musical acquisitions and those who prefer something to plop into the car stereo and rock out to on the way to wherever will both find many tantalizing bits to savor here –jimmy (Voodoo Rhythm, voodoorhythm.com)

Wolf Party: LP
Hot damn! Want to know what the current NZ garage rock scene sounds like? Then pick this compilation up. Released by Tape Man, Wolf Party is a burner. Hardly a dud in the mix and some of the finest surf and garage rock you’re bound to hear anywhere. Obscure even in New Zealand, these bands are part of the real underground—The Wrongdoings feature an ex-member of the Axle Grinders; The Don Kings have the head of Perpetrator Records on bass and Tape Man… well, he’s Tape Man. A lot of love, pain, and sweat went into this compilation. Pick it up while you can… reportedly, only two hundred copies were pressed. (P.S. Anyone know where Celia Mancini is at?!) –ryan (Stink Magnetic Tape, phatsherkes@gmail.com)

I Don’t Want to be a Part of Your So Called Punk: CD
Twelve tracks of punk, ska and metal, courtesy of Fork, Freedumb, Vaya con Satan, and others. I know the bands themselves aren’t responsible for it, but the irony of this compilation’s title is that every one of the tracks here sounds like it’s trying very hard to fit within a given pigeonhole, with none really aiming to set a new bar or break out of the box, so you’re left with pretty much more of the same ol’ same ol’. –jimmy (Kraft Pest, kraftpest.com)

3 v 1: CD
Yeah okay, I am gonna do my best here to figure out what’s going on with this CD because google translate is just not helping. You know how a single word can have several different meanings? None of the possibilities for these band’s names makes sense. It took me forever just to figure out that this is all in Czech after I assumed German. It’s a spilt between three bands: Čertůf Punk, Do Řady!, and Šanov. There are twelve tracks, but I can’t tell for sure which band did what because the way the songs are ordered and listed is confusing. With that in mind, please forgive any false information that I am about to give you. Šanov is the metal band with the growling vocals. No thanks. Čertůf Punk are the street punk guys with the superfast guitar and drums and predictable song formulas. Okay. Do Řady! plays catchy punk rock in a way that’s hard to describe because I’m not used to it, but I could definitely see myself singing along if I understood what they were saying! Definitely the best band out of the three and I’ll be listening to their songs again. One more thing I want to mention about this CD: there’s a phrase in English on the cover that I thought was really weird, “Old Punks Never Die.” What? Never? I’ve heard that “Punks don’t die when they turn thirty, they start writing books.” But eternal life? Really? Stateside, we’ve seen plenty of punk rock veterans pass away over the last few years. So I don’t know, maybe the punk rock fountain of youth is over in the Czech Republic and we all need to head over there once we turn fifty. What do you think? –Lauren Trout (Papagájův Hlasatel, phr.cz)

A Tale of a Rotten Orange: 2 x CD
A double disc compilation featuring twenty-four bands over thirty-nine tracks as the first release by a new label called Orange Fight Records. I assume the label is based in the OrangeCounty area, due to the fact most bands on the record are from that region, but I could not locate a mailing address to verify that fact. I was unfamiliar with all the acts appearing except legendary OC punks the Crowd who contribute a mid-tempo punk rocker entitled “Masquerade.” The overall sound of the comp is a definite throwback to the early ‘80s OC punk sound, as well as ample skate rock vibes from the same era, but it varies enough from track to track not to test the listener’s patience with a completely one dimensional sound. While nothing on the disc struck me as bad, none of the songs stoked my interest to want to hear more by any of the bands. A respectable, if middling, mediocre punk rock collection. –Jake Shut (Orange Fight)

A Tale of Rotten Orange: 2 x LP

Just a little over ten years ago, there was a somewhat healthy music scene here in the SoCal area. A few bars would host punk, punk’n’roll, whatever the fuck, on a weekly basis. There were times I would be at shows at least four times a week. Often traveling from L.A. to OC to catch bands like Smogtown and the Stitches. Saw some great shows during that time and saw a lot of crap as well. For every Smogtown or Stitches, there were at least ten mediocre bands behind them. After awhile, the garbage bands began to stink so bad it was hard to want to leave the house to watch one good band. It gets old paying a cover charge, then stand outside the club while some band drags on and on inside. Listening to this comp tells me that not much has changed since then. There’s some good stuff on here like Crazy Squeeze, The Dogs, Social Task, The Hitchhikers, Smogtown, Stitches, and Foul Response. But the majority of what is on here outnumbers the good. If anything, seek out individual releases from the mentioned good bands.



–Matt Average (Orange Fight, orangefight.com)

Retro as Hell – A Tribute to the Dehumanizers: CD
The title here says all you need to know to suss out what you’re getting into here, with Raw Power, Potbelly (who sound like early White Flag here for some reason), Luxury Esc., Demoni, Barista Suicide, Trauma, Reptilicus Maximus, The Upstairs, Coven (apparently not the ‘60s band responsible for “One Tin Soldier” on the Billy Jack soundtrack) Crom (who turn an originally two minute song into an eleven second song), Citizen Useless, Astrobalance, RXGF, and Howlin’ Houndog each taking a tune from the Dehumanizers’ oeuvre and ostensibly making it their own. The results are about par, meaning the whole endeavor is likely more an honor for the band than it is a revelatory experience for the listener. A song or two might qualify as “good,” but the overwhelming majority tunes here are pedestrian at best. –jimmy (P.I.G)

Seriously!, Volume 1: 7"
Holy crap, a regional comp that doesn’t blatantly suck. Now there’s a rarity. Seriously! features four Washington bands that all manage to deliver the goods. Snuggle sounds more aggro than I remember them (though I remember their earlier work tending to drag on a bit, and the song here follows suit). One Day’s song is ferocious and fuzzed-out and sounds like something that coulda been on a long lost EastBay comp like Benicia or Lest We Forget. No Hi Fives To Bullshit know the meaning of brevity and also sound strikingly like Crimpshrine, and Know Your Saints deliver a slower, simmering tune that showcases the fact that they’ve definitely learned their way around writing a song. Not a dud in the bunch, and everyone involved should be stoked. Nicely done. –keith (Abandon Hope)

This Is Peterborough Thrice: CD
A disc showcasing the local talent from the city of Peterborough in the U.K. Twenty-one tracks and the great majority of it is an icky mix of alternative radio, bland-ass indie rock, sappy acoustic numbers, and overproduced soulless pop punk. Three of the bands, Taconite, Dun2Def, and The Destructors, contributed some mediocre street punk that did not make my finger immediately itch for the track skip button. A band called the Castros offers up some snappy indie rock with ample English post punk vibes which was decent. The best of the bunch is the song “Decadence” by Five Go Mad In Europe, which does an enjoyable imitation of The Fall with deliciously offbeat meandering. But, on the whole, this is a very bad record. –Jake Shut (Rowdy Farrago)

A Tale of Rotten Orange: 2 x CD
Took a thorough look at the credits provided, ‘cause this has that Rick Bain/Hostage Records sound all over it, but no, it looks like this is this label’s inaugural release, and a doozy it is. Two discs of grade-A punk from south of the (L.A. County) border from both legendary acts and new jacks alike—Druglords Of The Avenues, Disguster, Narcoleptic Youth, The Piss Pops, The Dogs, Crazy Squeeze, The Boners, I-9, The Crowd, Social Task, Broken Bottles, The Hitchhikers, Bonecrusher, Smogtown, The Junk, Fork Tailed Devils, Killing California, The Loyals, The Stitches, Foul Response, No More Saints, Neon Maniacs, Raw Helmet, and The Uncivil all contribute at least one song to the ensuing shenanigans. Omitted from the proceedings are the endlessly boring pop punk and ska acts that too often these days are propped up and handed the OC punk flag to run right into the ground, and instead the listener is treated by what is arguably the true OC underground sound, with styles ranging from the rock/punk to the trashy to the hardcore spectrums and back. Good stuff all the way ‘round and destined for a slot on upcoming year end lists of this year’s better comps.
–jimmy (Orange Fight, orangefight.com)

Buffalo Brutality: EP
I can’t remember the last time I’ve listened to a comp that was half way decent. Let me think.... Hmmm... Ummm.... Let me think... err... Nope, can’t remember. It has been a while. Welp, this comp is actually pretty good, and not one with a couple good songs and the rest shit. This one is good the whole way through. Focused on Buffalo, NY bands, this delivers on the hardcore, grind, and thrash fronts. Resist Control crank out two songs of hardcore with some Infest influence, though not a direct copy. Ordinary Men And Women blow my cloudy mind with some down-tuned, bass-heavy lurk. What I wish MITB would have sounded like. Avulsion, who should get some sort of reward for still being around (I remember them well from the ‘90s), have one song of their patented grind that’s tighter than hell and hits with brute force. Morax have a bit of crust side in their sound. I like the rawness of the guitar here. Inerds, Scheisse Krieg, and Ancients Of Earth keep the needle in the red. A comp worth picking up...
–Matt Average (Warm Bath)

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