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Razorcake #93
One Punks Guide to Pinball, by Kayla Greet
Razorcake #92
Spokenest, Gone, Gone, Gone LP
Pinned In Place, Ghostwritten By LP


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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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MISS CHAIN & THE BROKEN HEELS:
The Dawn: LP
Italy’s simultaneous answer to the burning uterine sensations of Muffs, the Bangles, the Like, and Shannon & The Clams ((and, less obviously, to male-tinged Americanoid outfits like the Midwest Beat or Gentleman Jesse)), the marinara sauce of my ardor for this band remains at a slow simmer instead of a bubble-popping percolation largely because they have yet to write that one real beret-flipper of a song that elevates the rest of their material by association. Lots of decent songs here, but no real prostate-milker; i feel kinda like i went to the county fair to see Katrina & The Waves and missed “Walking on Sunshine.” Pass the funnel cake. BEST SONG: “Little Boy.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Quack.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The crazy Europeans only capitalize the first word of their song titles, and are therefore out of compliance with the Razorcake style guidelines. Well i never! –norb (Bachelor)


MIL MASCARAS:
Fuzz: 7” EP
The title track is a fine bit of simple, repetitive growl. The remaining two lean towards the Kleenex school of post-punk, keeping things minimal but edgy. Nice bit o’ work. –jimmy (HoZac, hozacrecords.com)


MIDWEST BEAT:
“Apology” b/w “Appaloosa”: 7”
Catchy, bright, sunny pop. Reminds me of early Beatles, but what does that really say? Really, all rock’n’roll minus a few major exceptions shows some Beatles influence, if even unconscious. What I guess I’m saying is we’re all fucked because The Beatles did it first. Thanks a lot, The Beatles. Midwest Beat might not be a musical revolution, but they have written a pretty good tune. The average Razorcake reader will probably be turned off by its up-beat country riffage, but its shine shows through the right amount of dirt making the gem all the prettier. Good single. I don’t know if I could stomach an album of it, though. It is a little sweet. –Bryan Static (Certified PR, certifiedpr.com)


MERCHANDISE:
Totale Nite: CD/LP
Totale Nite is another shorter release from the Tampa, Florida, band Merchandise, with five songs in thirty-three minutes, and none of them come in at over ten minutes, unlike Children of Desire (the band’s last album), whose two best tracks both broke that mark. The first track on this album, “Who Are You,” starts with a harmonica, reminiscent of “Hand in Glove” by The Smiths. Remember how it seemed so wrong for what you thought you knew of the band (harmonicas only work for country music and bluegrass, right?). But like “Hand in Glove,” when you think about it, the harmonica works really well. The second song, “Anxiety’s Door,” has the band back in their 1980s Brit-pop groove, with an infectious beat and Carson Cox’s great Ian Curtis-esque vocals. “I’ll Be Gone” is a more morose piece with electric guitar droning out before the introduction of acoustic guitar and cool synths. The title track is the longest on the album at just over nine minutes. It starts with what seems like a reprise of “I’ll Be Gone” before suddenly stopping and shifting gears into a marching beat, guitar, and saxophone. Perhaps it’s the inability of the saxophone to truly complement the song, but things never seem to jive and it sounds as though the song is always about to fall apart. Closing out the album is “Winter’s Dream,” something that sounds as though it was taken from a Tears For Fears or Depeche Mode album. It’s slow and morose, but like some of the other tracks on Totale Nite, it has this one element (in this case an off-beat progression on the synths) that doesn’t jive with the rest of the production of the track. Merchandise has certainly shown themselves to be a band that doesn’t really care much about conventional styles (they’re a bunch of hardcore punks playing ‘80s-influenced Brit-pop and releasing it on tiny labels when they’ve had offers from some of the bigger indies), so perhaps they said, “Yeah, this saxophone doesn’t quite fit,” or “This synth riff doesn’t make things smooth, but who gives a shit?” However, it’s really unfortunate to hear songs not gel after Children of Desire, which was one of my favorite albums from 2012. I really hope this is just a misstep on their musical path. –kurt (Night People)


MEAT MIST / MORSE:
Split: Cassette
Meat Mist is from Kansas City and Morse is from France. Both bands listen to too much metal, but are weird enough to be pretty fucking fun. Meat Mist is so bizarre that there’s almost a Crucifucks vibe on some of the songs, which is a big time compliment. Morse isn’t any more accessible, which is also not a bad thing. Morse’s dual vocals are very cool, with a new wave-ish feel at times. If the demo tape resurgence of the past few years keeps leading to oddball releases like this one, I’m all for it. But there’s some major irony in the fact that the cover art suffers from a bit of dithering, which is typically a digital phenomenon. Now that’s a humdinger. –Art Ettinger (Self-released, meatmist.blogspot.com)


MAYFLOWER / JEFF ROWE:
Split: 7”
One of those ol’ split singles where each band does one original and a cover of the other band. Mayflower have a real anthemic pop punk kind of sound that I cannot find another way to describe than Dillinger 4-like. Jeff Rowe is an ex member of the band Boxing Water and seems to be opting for the singer/songwriter wing of the punk/hardcore retirement plan. Both sides of this record feature tuneful, well written songs, which is becoming a very noteworthy thing in this day and age, unfortunately. –frame (Kiss Of Death)


MANX, THE:
Bloody Chronicles: 7” EP
This four-piece folk punk outfit releases their third EP, wielding mandolin, accordion, banjo, and bass. If The Pine Hill Haints are uptown, The Manx reside downtown with a little more dirt in their teeth and under their fingernails. Here they kick off these four new tracks with “Blood Gold,” pulling from traditional structures with a crisp mandolin intro which turns a corner into a banjo-shredding, porch-stomping affair. Rounding out the eccentricities so prevalent in folk punk, the boys from Los Angeles toss in a micro Korg and tinkly glockenspiel heard in “Husky Tavern,” distinguishing it from the rest of the herd. While they can clearly create a lot of melodic jangling, I’m not struck by much of a range as one song falls into another with the same time signature. Perhaps they could take a few pointers from their uptown counterparts. –Kristen K. (Sweat Band, sweatbandrecords@gmail.com)


MANATEEES:
“Cat Food” b/w “Tree House”: 7”
 “Cat Food” is a mover with overdriven vocal delivery. I can’t make out the lyrics well enough to tell what cat food is a euphemism for, but I think it’s dirty. “Tree House” switches to a more tom-heavy beat. Nice record. –Billups Allen (Goner)


LOW CULTURE:
“Evil” b/w “Slave to You”: 7”
I had the best dream. It’s 2013 and contemporary Bad Brains was secretly swapped out with Low Culture, like coffee at an expensive restaurant. Punks looking up to big stages are saved a rambling, lackluster reggae sermon and are instead blasted by one of America’s best punk bands. Low Culture: anxiety and insecurity rarely sounds this confident and secure, amplified and powerful. Because no matter how much I say, “Lightning bolt strikes adobe gold!” about Low Culture, it’ll fall on deaf ears to “thirty dollars is a reasonable ticket price” punks. It’d be also be fun to see Bad Brains in back yard or a small club. If it was 1982, with back flips and hardcore, not the soft stuff they’re peddling now, kind brother. –todd (Drunken Sailor / Cut The Cord That…)


LIVIDS:
Adrenalized Hearts: 7”
Yet another single in the blitzkrieg that The Livids have unleashed in the last several months. By my count, this is one of four singles this band has released since the beginning of the year. This is just absolutely smokin’, high energy garage punk featuring Eric of New Bomb Turks on vocals. Turks comparisons are inevitable given the vocal style, but that could never be considered a bad thing coming from me. The band also features Jami Wolf of Zodiac Killers and Glamour Pussies on guitar so all you Rip Off Records fans will wanna be all over this. This is just a goddamned great single. This band is maybe the best I have heard playing this style of punk in a decade. Here’s hoping there’s a plan to head out West sometime for some gigs. –frame (Oops Baby, oopsbabyrecords.com)


LIVIDS:
: 7”s
Three 7”s released simultaneously-ish (I think there’s a fourth, but can’t find it) heralding Eric Davidson’s (of New Bomb Turks) return to wax. Apparently, the band has been around since late 2011 but I’ve only heard of them when these records dropped. Also featuring Jami Wolf (Zodiac Killers, Shop Fronts—a New York garage-punk band from the middle of the decade. Saw ‘em a few times and liked ‘em. Don’t know if they ever released anything. Now it makes sense why Zodiac Killers played their last show in New York!) Davidson’s vocals are strong as ever but the mix is pretty even so he doesn’t drown out the band. Fans of New Bomb Turks won’t be disappointed. “(Some of Us Have) Adrenalized Hearts” feels very ‘90s garage punk, in structure and song title. Much like the Turks’ recordings, these are good songs but the band is probably best experienced live. I hope to do that soon. –Sal Lucci (Oops Baby, oopsbabyrecords.com / Slovenly / Twistworthy)


LES THUGS:
Come On, People!: LP
By now you should know if you like France’s brilliant, classic Les Thugs. One of the best known, if not the best known French punk band of all time, Les Thugs played typical anthems, but with their own atypical, almost Euro-pop spin. Their only live album to date, this record was recorded during their brief 2008 reformation. An extended version is also due out as a double DVD/CD package with even more Thugs hits as performed at the 2008 reunion shows. Foreshadowing the sound that Jawbreaker would bring to the States years later, there’s a “can’t put a finger on it” quality to Les Thugs that makes them such a unique entity in music history. Live albums can be a real drag, but not this one. Acutely well recorded, Come On, People! captures the energy that Les Thugs still had, even in their all too brief reunion. Merci beaucoup, Thugs! –Art Ettinger (Slow Death, slow-death.org)


LENGUAS LARGAS:
Ese Culito: 1-sided 12”
I’m not a fan of the Beach Boys. Vocal harmonizing, doo wop, and wood-paneled pop doesn’t do much for me and not sure why aficionados get all teary over the drugged-out, fall-apart vocal layering of Pet Sounds. However… I love the first Los Lobos LP and all the visions it stirs (backyard parties, day drunk, sunshine, and a feeling of wonder, of everything being just a little out of place but oh-so-right). Lenguas Largas falls somewhere into those visions, perfect for a Sunday morning sunshine mimosa porch sit or pre-gaming your Friday night show-going adventure. Multi-layered desert psych that will expand your mind, spinning it alone or perfect backyard fiesta platter… dying to see this troupe live. –Matt Seward (Volar)


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)


KNIFVEN:
“Av!” b/w “Den Sista Javeln”: 7”
“Av!” stomps along at a more straightforward punker manner, muscular without being meathead. “Den Sista Javeln,” though, is the pick here, with slower tempos and dual-octave guitar chordage adding considerably more brooding to the pot while sacrificing none of the heft. –jimmy (Gaphals, gaphals.se)


KNIFE THE SYMPHONY / SWEAR JAR:
Split: LP

Knife The Symphony: Noisy, angular tunes that allude to the influence of emo before backpacks and whining became the order of the day. Swear Jar: Oddball, freakout jams that kinda makes one wish they’d secure a kickass slot on every punk festival out there and totally flummox the sensibilities of those paying outrageous sums to hear the same bands eke out the “hits” over and over and over.

–jimmy (Phratry)


KILL, THE:
Make Em Suffer: LP
Holy Mother of Christ, this is the record to make your parents shit their pants or wake the undead. Long-time Aussies return after what seems like forever with a record that sounds like a blowtorch to the face. Unrelenting, punishing grindcore, like Slayer on speed (they mangle a Slayer cover mid-stride). Think a punker Napalm Death or Pig Destroyer. Blast beats to your face, bitch. Sickness. –Tim Brooks (To Live A Lie, tolivealie.com)


KICKER:
Not You: CD
Hot on the heels of their Broke 7” comes this full-length chock full o’ punker ditties from members of Neurosis, Dystopia, and fronted by Pete the Roadie. The tunes are heavy with the UK82 vibe, but in a way that sounds more, oh, “real” than that “streetpunk” swill the average parrot-punk outfit is shilling, and also included is a choice cover of the Fuck Ups’ “I Think You’re Shit.” –jimmy (Tankcrimes)


KAM KAMA:
“Passer-By” b/w “Joseph Stride”: 7”
There are no surprises here, but I didn’t want any. They’re keeping up with their peculiar brand of ambient, open-spaced sound which I really enjoyed on their recent full length, The Tiled House. I usually don’t like bands that sound so similar to my post-punk idols, but somehow this band just rubs me the right way. The pace seems to have gone up a notch on the first track “Passer-By,” which may be due to the new drummer. Whether you like that or not is up to you. I personally think it adds a little sizzle to the steak, and I say that as a man who hasn’t had a steak in a really long time. The second track is twice as long, and just as good, with a heavy, bass-driven vibe. I hope their next release is a full length. I need a larger dose. –Rene Navarro (Sister Cylinder, sistercylinder.bigcartel.com)


JUICE FALCON:
Night Wind and Animal Tantrums: LP
Remind me to knock the long-suffering record assigners upside the head for this piece of work. Tense, lurching, jazz-infused hardcore. Taking the very worst parts of later Black Flag, B’last, and Whipping Boy with a singer trying to hit every octave possible. One of the worst records I’ve ever heard. –Tim Brooks (Snakebrain)


JUGGLING JUGULARS:
Asylum: EP
It’s been a long time since I’ve heard new material from this band. Glad to finally catch up again! This is definitely my favorite record from them. They’re still as tuneful as ever, and the songs have always been fast and catchy, but there’s a certain fire on this that burns out of control. “Earth, Hell, Death” rages with the driving bass and drums laying it down quick and forceful. I’m guessing the song is about factory farming, with the end verse of, “What is the reason for their existence?/Subdued in total isolation / We suppress their true nature.” The title track is about autonomous zones, and the line “A little hope for this ugly town (I want something beautiful)” sums is up perfectly. Each verse of “How Long Should We Be Laughing?” is like a powerful punch. The words are spit out with a vengeance against the racists affecting the world at large through social media and other dubious outlets. Excellent record from a great band. Love this record. It’s a great jolt of energy and cleans the cobwebs out of my mind. Thanks! –Matt Average (Juggling Jugulars, petteri.mikkila@gmail.com)


JOYRIDE!:
Self-titled: LP
Heavily pop-influenced punk with sincerely delivered female vocals. Beautiful songs about shitheads and old friends. The vocals can ruin this genre for people, but on this record they’re always strong and engaging. The lack of a lyric sheet creates a foggy mysteriousness to the stories. I saw a flyer for a recent East Coast tour they embarked on with Sourpatch and I can’t imagine a better companion-band. Rhythm sections that are familiar with blast beats and breakdowns will always bring out the best in pop music. –Daryl Gussin (Lauren, Lauren-records.com)


JOHNNY MURDER AND THE 25 TO LIFE:
E.S.P.: CD
I sometimes cringe when I get psychobilly stuff to review. Despite all the pompous pompadour posturing, much of it is painfully unoriginal. So I was pleased to hear Johnny Murder and crew violating clichés at every turn on this disc. This doesn’t even really look like a psychobilly CD. There are no pictures of the band members preening, no zombie or hotrod artwork, nothing like that. The music starts slow and swinging, ripping through different textures aside from the standard upright-bass-riddled buzz, culminating in the title tune, in which the singer takes the rockabilly vocal style to an absurd place, to the extent that it sounds like he was possessed by demonic hiccups when he had to hit the studio. These guys know the genre, and they know how to play around with it and have fun with it, rather than doing it paint-by-numbers style. –mp (Sexy Baby)


JOHNNY MANAK AND THE DEPRESSIVES:
I am Not a Bum, I’m a Jerk: LP
Johnny Manak And The Depressives is the latest project from Johnny Manak, who has played in tons of bands including The Cliftons, Fang, and Resistoleros. A hearty mix of garage, surf, and 1977 punk, this profoundly ridiculous record is a blast from start to finish. If unflinchingly dopey bar punk is your cup of tea, then the Depressives are for you. If not, then go listen to a more adult work, like Rimsky- Korsakov’s “Russian Easter Overture” or something. –Art Ettinger (Reach Around, reacharound.co)


JOHN WESLEY COLEMAN:
Trans Am Summer Blues: LP

I think comparing John Wesley Coleman’s two newest releases (at least I think they’re the newest. The man is prolific in a Billy Childish kinda way) is the best way to see what makes the artist inside the man tick. Trans Am Summer Blues is a full band, mania-tinged party record. The album feels like a fairly fleshed-out collection of songs (much like his two Goner albums.) The 7” is the flip side of that (well, the proper flip side of mania is depression, and this isn’t it… let’s say for lack of better words). Two no-fi recordings, one in someone’s kitchen, the other in someone’s studio. The 7” feels more instant, like Coleman had a good tune or two rolling around inside his afro-noggin’ and had to put something on tape. An eventual box set collection of his work should be called The Many Moods of John Wesley Coleman. (spacecaserecords.com)

 

 

–Sal Lucci (Tic Tac Totally / Spacecase)


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