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Suds!: CDEP
Once upon a Razorcake podcast, i once proclaimed The Vapors to be the second-most underrated band in the world, and this is a fact. I am pleased as Wildberry Punch© to inform all and sundry that W.H. Walker successfully rip off the first-most underrated band in the world, THE MOTHERFUCKING EQUALS ((profanity mine)), and this is also a fact. For the uninitiated, the Equals were Eddy ((“
Electric Avenue
”)) Grant’s late 60’s/early 70’s band; they were three black Jamaican/Guyanese guys and two white English guys, and THE WHITE ENGLISH GUYS WERE THE RHYTHM SECTION. They fucking rocked. The one good song on Sandinista! is an Equals cover ((“Police On My Back”)), there’s an Equals cover on the second Plimsouls album ((“My Life Ain’t Easy”)), the Sirens covered “Diversion” and both Gentleman Jesse & His Men and Brownsville Station covered their only US semi-hit, “I Get So Excited.” Derv Gordon had the most timber-caulkin’ Rock Throat EVER! Anyway, not that it is my job as Esteemed Rock Punjab to speculate wildly on the intent behind any given record with which i am charged with reviewing, but, shit, if “Suds!” wasn’t W.H. Walker’s attempt at trying to completely rip off “Rub A Dub Dub” by the Equals, i’ll eat my fucking copy of Unequalled Equals in the shower while rubbing my belly with linseed oil. This bit of tubby-time fun is followed by “As The Night Goes,” which sure the hell sounds like a brazen attempt to see what “I Can See But You Don’t Know” would sound like played to the tune of “My Life Ain’t Easy” to this intrepid reporter. The other five songs sound less like blatantly calculated Equals rip offs, yet somehow still manage to rock in a vaguely Equals-ish manner, regardless. Bra-fucking-vo, bra! Rubber duckies all around! BEST SONG: “Suds!” BEST SONG TITLE: “Suds!” i guess. Weird. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I read on line that the “W.H.” in “W.H. Walker” stands for “Welcome Home.” As a Wisconsin resident, however, i’d like to believe it stands for “We’ll Hang.” –norb (Boogie Creek)

Dracula School of Paper: CD
Let’s pretend that, when you were growing up, you used to watch a Saturday morning cartoon about a blue duck named Rosso. I think it was called “Wabeno Land.” Anyway, Rosso was not particularly bright, but he had all sorts of crazy ideas. In one episode, he built a robot out of toilet paper and somehow that robot turned into a really successful stand-up comedian. After each adventure, though, Rosso ended up back in the same place: at work in the junkyard, quacking about everything he would do right tomorrow as he dug through the glove compartments of beat up old Buicks. If Rosso formed a band, it would sound like Wabeno Rock Farm.  –mp (Self-released)

Paranoia Is Total Awareness: CD
I know most people complain “I like their earlier stuff better” when critiquing a band’s progression, but in this case I gotta say I like them more as their sound progressed from grindy, über-speedy hardcore to something a smidge slower with more groove, more anger and less bludgeoning. Thankfully, they start off with their latest stuff, then work their way backwards, with an earlier EP’s worth of tracks and ending with an even earlier EP’s worth of tracks, for a total of twenty-two in all. Good stuff. –jimmy (Life’s A Rape)

Paranoia Is Total Awareness: CD
This is some thrashy ass hardcore punk, right smack dab in the vein of DS13 and Pulling Teeth. I liked it so much I wanted to hear more and checked out their myspace page, because I think myspace is rad. They haven’t checked their page in months, but it was still cool to see all the old fliers for these guys. They played a lot of good punk shows in San Diego, none of which I was fortunate enough to attend. Looks like I completely missed the boat, even though I always knew I’d like this band. Their album title has become my anthem. It makes me feel a bit more normal about the fact that I constantly bite my lips and occasionally forget to breathe. I’m merely a parrot that’s finally realized this world is not a home. It’s a fucking cage. –Rene Navarro (Life’s A Rape)

A Mistaken Belief in Forever: CD
Kittie fans take note. Here is a new group of females ready to kick ass. Musically, picture a summit of Norwegian death metalers and East Coast youth crew types discussing a recording project. Have them switch uniforms and this is the new sub-genre that is created. I would have never guessed this was an all-female band until I looked at the liner notes. The cover of the Journey song, “Separate Ways,” was brilliant. –don (Immigrant Sun)

Easiest to Grab: CD
Apparently Alaska has its own homegrown alt-rock scourge. –jimmy (Wilderhood)

Self-titled: CD
This is a chunk of decent indie rock. It’s actually pretty competently done in a shoegazey way, due to the big, effects-drenched guitars and chorusy vocals. My main problem is that it never really clicked with me in a big way. If the album tipped a little to the direction of either more experimental or bigger hooks, the band would have elicited some stronger response. –Adrian (Wilderhood)

Trail Songs of Love, Loss & Regret: 7”
This tractor punk outfit from Nebraska harvests the best qualities from country and punk and makes it their own. With crackling drums, strong guitar, buzzing harmonica, and electric bass fiddle, Blasters have created three tracks that can stand alone with quality production and sound throughout. On ruby red vinyl, this is solid punk’n’roll done right by some good ol’ boys. Davis, the vocalist and founder of this local record label, reminds me of Jeff Pezzati, with brawny, blow your house down kind of vocals. “Golden Lariat” and “Fortified” are my faves for their sheer boot stompin’ energy. Pass the whiskey! Recommended. –Kristen K (Speed! Nebraska, speedneb@yahoo.com, speednebraska.com)

Hospital Blossoms: CD-R
The Wailing Wall is primarily a solo artist, Jesse Rifkin, who grabs a bunch of his friends to play with him on this here album. There are a lot of good acoustic guitar and banjo parts and the whole project is very eclectic, with there also being piano, viola, trumpet, accordion and the like. It’s all woven together very well and reminiscent of the Microphones or Akron/Family, but better. The lyrics seem to deal with God frequently, but maybe due to my background, it didn’t really bother me that much. It’s got a great festive vibe at times, like an indie rock jam band. Other times, it’s just downright sincere and honest in its delivery. You really can’t ask for more than that. –kurt (Self-released, www.myspace.com/jesserifkin)

Seasons: CD
I don’t know if they wanted us to catch this, but if you happen to glance at the spine of the CD, you’ll notice it says Seattle Straight Edge. Pretty sneaky guys! More melodic than a lot of straight edge I’ve heard. Well produced, with a guitar that grates like a steel wool rag notched in your nether regions. This will scare the neighbors. –koepenick (Think Fast)

Seasons: CD
If someone were to claim that Trial’s Are These Our Lives? LP was the greatest hardcore record of all time, I don’t know that I could argue with them. Whichever forces aligned after Trial’s first two EPs that led to the creation of that record have yet to reunite in the seemingly bottomless abyss of camo shorts and hilarious clichés that makes up most of the present-day hardcore scene. When I heard that Trial guitarist Timm McIntosh (whose post-Trial outfit Champion I felt paled greatly in comparison to his prior undertaking) was again teaming up with one of the best drummers in the genre, Alexei Rodriguez (of Trial, Catharsis, 3 Inches of Blood, etc.), I thought perhaps something incredible was in the works. Now, I know that this is a different band, and that Seasons isn’t the new Trial record, but it’s difficult not to compare the two. Musically, Seasons could be the successor to Are These Our Lives? but with McIntosh handling lyrical/vocal duties, the intellectual, seething rage that Trial frontman Greg Bennick once brought to the table has been replaced with a more typical hardcore delivery of less compelling content. Don’t get me wrong, this is still head and shoulders above most recent hardcore bands’ output, but I guess I was just hoping for a masterpiece and this came in a touch below expectations. –Dave Williams (Think Fast!)

4 Fancy Eleki Hits!!: 7” EP
Picture if you will a bargain basement White Stripes, circa ten years ago, who are now Japanese and live by the ocean and smell really crustaceany and play oceany sounding two-piece surf instrumentals that sometimes borrow/beg/steal from source material such as “Blue’s Theme” by Davie Allan and the Arrows. Now picture them devoured by a giant octopus! No one said rock ‘n’ roll is an easy life. BEST SONG: “Blue’s Theme” er um i of course mean “Blue Steamer.” BEST SONG TITLE: “V2.” Who doesn’t love a surf song named after the second Vibrators album? FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Cover blurb states “We Can Play Only Our Originals!” Well, THAT should surely keep Davie Allan’s legal team confounded for the next few months! –norb (Go Ape)

Surrounded by Human Filth: 7”
The first side was three songs of face-ripping-off grind. Fast as fuck with vocals that go from shrieks that will strip paint from the walls to growls that will register on the Richter scale, followed by pounding blast beats. The other side is one epic track of all the crust that you need. It sort of reminds me of Catharsis. The lyrics are about cannibals and zombies; fun, gory stuff like that and then some about hating the daily grind. Intense record that definitely stands out from the grind/crust ghettos. –Craven (Hearing Aids)

Gone with the Night: CDEP
Six-song platter that looks to be an appetizer for an upcoming full-length. This trio are cousins, hopefully there are no fisticuffs happening, which seems to be the case sometimes when you have relatives in bands together. The theme hear seems to be moody, fuzzed-out rock. I’m hearing a bit of The Black Angels welded with The Rain Parade. “Don’t Fear” and the title track are stuck in my mind the most here. It’s a solid mini-album that compels me to keep an eye out for more.  –koepenick (Self-released, band@wakeuplucid.com))

EP: 7”
I think this Swedish band was custom built for my enjoyment. Early ‘80s style hardcore all about skateboarding. The eight songs on this single fly by fast and another run is mandatory. I want more and I want it now! –ty (Batshit Records, badshit@live.com)

Staring at the Walls: 7"
What we have here is a superb example of what present day hardcore ought to be: a sum of a band’s counterparts, where every component is just as crucial and key in the process of creating such vile yet endearing sounds. Walls are the kind of band whose members magnify each other’s presence instead of outshining either the instrumentation or the vocals. I was witness to this: they are fucking wrecking balls live. And the great part about this record is that the madness captured onto vinyl is just as intense as seeing them in person. Yeah, I heard Rorschach got back together and did some live shows. Walls are what Rorschach would have sounded like if they had decided to take it to the next level. –Juan Espinosa (Iron Lung)

The Future Is Wide Open: LP
I guess you could say this is “post-hardcore” or “post-rock” or something of that nature. Listening to this definitely takes me back to the late-‘80s/early-‘90s, a time when bands like Unsane and Cop Shoot Cop were cranking out some hard and heavy sounds without falling into any one category. Depending on how far you have your head shoved up your hardcore purist or trendy power violence ass depends on how much you might cotton to this record. The tempos are mainly on the mid tempo and nervous pacing side, with some blasts of speed and cranium-bashing percussion here and there, while the guitars are as equally anguished and strangled-sounding as the vocals. This is the soundtrack of a heat wave and residing in a greasy, roach-infested studio apartment with no air conditioner or fan to bring any relief. All you can think about is that list of motherfuckers who need to get what’s coming to them. Listen to “A Piece of Rope” with its lumbering and repetitive bass line. The guitar sort of rings out and hangs in the air while the singer bellows about “A cord! A piece of rope. A wire...” Allow yourself to get consumed in the blackness of “The Tears of a Lonely Man” and “Cheap Equipment.” Walls achieve that sound and that feeling of anger, despair, and being completely lost in this world without coming off contrived or whiny. Pretty damn good. A nice companion to have around at the end of the day when everyone and everything else just sets you on edge. –Matt Average (Iron Lung)

Almost Hit by a Truck: 7"
The title track is a recounting of the titular tale accompanied by a ‘60s-sounding backing track, with minimal percussion and tremolo-laden guitar. The flip, “My Mind Got Bad,” is a country blues ditty about a love gone wrong, naturally.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Spacecase, spacecaserecords.com)

Self-titled: CD
Who is that guy that sang that song "Jessie's Girl"? Well, he might have started a new band! –don (Rykodisc)

Catch Me a Possum: CD
Fucking Voodoo Rhythm Records! One thing I’ll say about ‘em—their releases are never boring, and this one by the Waltzloves is no exception. It in no way resembles any of the previous Voodoo Rhythm releases I’ve reviewed for Razorcake. It could hardly be called punk rock, but there’s a healthy bit of garage rock spirit buried somewhere underneath the slide guitar, accordion, trombone, and washboard. What sets this apart from the dog shit Zydeco garbage my mom listens to is lyrical content that is true to the oldies and garage pop I love. Songs about holding hands, a girl hoping to get kissed, dancing all night long, and lamenting the long lost love one hopes will come back someday. The bayou beats and Zydeco rhythms were completely unexpected, and I’m not sure how often this will be stuck in the CD player, but, like I said, it ain’t boring, and it’s executed so well that I’m willing to give it a few more spins. –benke (Voodoo Rhythm)

Fail Forward: CD
The global influence of Lifetime and Avail cannot be denied. Wank For Peace would likely not exist but for the tremendous power and spread those bands continue to enjoy. Wank For Peace is from France and this is not their first release. Not only is Wank For Peace gaining popularity in Europe, but they’re also getting known in North America as well through playing shows in both the U.S. and Canada. Action Patrol proved way back when that it was possible to surpass Avail through tribute. Fail Forward is powerful enough that these talented kids might again prove that an Avail knockoff can sometimes be preferable to the original. There’s no failing whatsoever on Fail Forward.  –Art Ettinger (Shield Recordings)

Split: EP
Two bands of different weights. One light, the other heavy. The Wankys (ex-early Extreme Noise Terror and Varukers) are blown-out noise similar to early Disorder, Satanic Malfunctions, and Chaotic Dischord. Feedback, minimal drumming, and a vocalist who spews the words out fast and sort of growly. If you like noisecore, then you’d probably like these guys. Doesn’t do much for me. There’s no low end, and it just goes by without incident. Too light. Lotus Fucker, on the other hand, steal the show. They have a definite heaviness in their sound, while still being (semi) fast and noisy. Two songs that go by in a blink of the eye. Would like to hear more from Lotus Fucker. –Matt Average (Katorga Works, katorgaworks@gmail.com)

Repercussions: CD
Was it Danzig or Wattie or Pushead or someone else I’ve long since forgotten about who first conveyed to me that the iconography of the human skull — in the form of a Jolly Roger or a Crimson Ghost — was the punk equivalent of the “real” seal on dairy products in this country? Whoever it was, they rattled the cage of a very old archetype and got it to leave its droppings all over my mind. And lo, all these many years later, though I’ve been hoodwinked a few times here and there, it still, more or less, holds true. Yeah, it’s stupid and cartoonish and probably best personified by that cretinous thug kid on The Simpsons with the black skull shirt, but skull imagery almost always tells you that this is a band that isn’t afraid of the repercussions of being stupid and cartoonish and delving into a bit of mindless skullduggery. Wanted Dead is one such band — at least sonically speaking. Fast, clean, compact street punk with some metal flourishes, they strike me as something like a cross between the Casualties and Agnostic Front. If I could ever bring myself to actually read the lyrics of a band like this, I would let you know if they’re straightedge or not, but I don’t really give a damn whether they think I should drink or not. But I will pour some cold PBR into my skull and listen to this album again. Good stuff. –aphid (Chunksaah)

Constant Defeat: 12” EP
Interesting mix of early NYHC-influenced hardcore punk with some d-beat guitar stylings added in here and there for extra punch and heaviness. The bass that kicks off “So Far Gone,” as it comes in with a slide and then builds up the tempo, is glorious! It effectively grabs your attention with its dark and dirty sound. This is how bass should always sound in hardcore. The songs are on the fast and faster spectrum, but they manage to throw in a few breakdowns here and there. I do think this would be more effective if they put fewer songs on here, as some of these songs being played at the same tempo, or close to, back to back tend to start sounding like the same song. Take the songs “So Far Gone,” “Carcinogens,” “Obsessed with Death” with its lumbering pace contrasting with the faster and shorter songs, and “Hard to Swallow,” which has one of the coolest riffs I’ve heard in a while, and you would have a killer record. This is a good record that could be great with some heavy editing.  –Matt Average (Protagonist, protagonistmusic.tumblr.com / Narshardaa, narshardaa.com)

Constant Defeat: LP
War Emblem is a hardcore punk band from Philadelphia. Lately, most of my music-related conversations have revolved around the plethora of incredible bands that call Philadelphia home (Hop Along, Glocca Morra, Sheer Mag, and Dogs On Acid immediately spring to mind). Constant Defeat is short, fast, and to the point, as it should be. This is no-frills hardcore. I’m reminded of Coke Bust, Hummingbird Of Death, and Punch. The lyrics are appropriately bleak; however, War Emblem is less political and more emotionally damaged: “Life is frustration” and “Will there not come a day when the pain will dull?” I often wonder if lyricists who navigate such hopeless facets of everyday existence are in fact that crippled by pain and anger. If so, how do they even get out of bed in the morning? Regardless, War Emblem is equally familiar and awe-inspiring and further proof that rage has no limit.  –Sean Arenas (Protagonist, protagonistmusic.tumblr.com / Narshardaa, narshardaa.com)

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