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Razorcake #84
Tim Version, Ordinary Life LP + bonus 7"
Radon, 28 LP
Zisk #25
Razorcake #83


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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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NHL 95:
Living Letdown: 7” EP
NHL 95 are a rockin’ melodic punk from Finland, obsessed with the ‘90s, if their first song “History Lesson Pt. 2” is any indication. Interesting riffs and clever but silly lyrics in each song make for one of the most entertaining and enjoyable records I’ve come across in some time. The music gets more enjoyable every listen, but the lyrics while silly and fun the first few times, start to get old after awhile. Still, Living Letdown is a great record, and highly recommended. –Paul J. Comeau (Pop-Poo, nhl95.co.nr)


NAW DUDE / IT BURNS:
Split: Cassette
Naw Dude pillage and plunder through their four songs of Scandi-core-inspired madness in what seems like no time at all. I can hear a bit of Krigshot during their Mieszko (rest in peace, sir) years. Cymbals crashing, deep fryer bass burl, and pissed-off-dog with a sore throat barking vocals. Fucking ace. It Burns are also obviously influenced by Swedish hardcore as evidenced by the Diskonto cover but, to be fair, their originals do tear shit up in an unmistakably American way. Extra special bonus points to them for the lyrics, “I’m going to find a baseball bat and hit a line drive through your skull!” Couldn’t ask for a better pairing of two bands that I will be keeping a closer eye on from now on. –Juan Espinosa (Let’s Pretend, no address)


MYSTIK MOTORCYCLES:
Dress to Impress/Rock & Roll Died in Paris: 2 x CD
This appears to be two full length albums packaged together in one case. There is literally no information other than song titles. While the band name and album titles would imply some serious glam action, the sound is more akin to snotty vocal punk with some glam and post punk influences. The vocals are like The Cute Lepers or similar spazzy-vocalled punk groups. S’okay I suppose… –Mike Frame (Self-released, myspace.com/mystikmotorcycles)


MUSICBAND:
Self-titled: CD
Two guitar punk rock, one clean channel and one distorted, which makes for a sound not unlike some of the bands that like to affect a “Pogues gone oi” sound, though they refrain from employing a quasi-Irish lilt. Can’t say it worked for me, but they definitely get some interesting textures and rhythms into the sound, which makes the end result much more interesting. –Jimmy Alvarado (Music Band, myspace.com/musicband)


MANGES, THE:
Bad Juju: CD

I have never understood how so many of the “bigger” pop punk bands attract the sizeable followings they do. The Manges (along with The Apers and a handful of silly-named others) are a perfect example. In the post-”Lookout heyday” pop punk world, it seems like the biggest names are often the bands bringing the least amount of originality to the table, musically and/or lyrically. As someone who came of age in the aforementioned “heyday,” I still tend to check out each new release from these bands, and not once have I been pleasantly surprised by even the slightest veer off of a worn-out path. A beacon of mediocrity.

–Dave Williams (Monster Zero)


LIGHTS AT SEA:
Palace Walls: CD

Palace Walls is seven songs of instrumental post-rock with more indie rock sensibilities. Think Caspian, Explosions In The Sky, and Unwed Sailor. There are the soft to explosive sounds you might find with those bands coupled with a good drive and energy. It’s pulled off well and is nice to listen to. I imagine Lights At Sea’s live show is solid, too. However, I’ve heard it all before, so I can’t say that there is much worth your time here unless you’ve just got a craving for more of the aforementioned bands.

–Kurt Morris (Barrett/Mind Over Matter)


LEEVES, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Digging in to Greensboro, North Carolina’s the Leeves first full-length for the first time left me scratching my head. What’s going on here? As each track passed, I had to keep looking at the disc to make sure it was the same one. This stuff is seriously all over the place, but not necessarily in a bad way. To break it down, the band does seem to have at least a few identifiable personalities: Some tracks have a Clash-like reggae feel, while others have a sound that I can only describe as Against Me with the Cure’s Robert Smith singing. Still, other songs reveal a serious party-rock influence while others are blues-tinged. The disc was recorded over the course of a few years, which certainly accounts for some of the continuity issues of the disc. And man, is this disc long. Clocking in at seventy-seven minutes, I found I dug it more when broken down into smaller, easier to digest doses. –Garrett Barnwell (theleeves.bandcamp.com)


KOHOUT PLASI SMRT:
Hužva: CD
I don’t understand what is going on! Everything is in Czech and I only speak Greek! Seriously though, from the band name and album title to the liner notes and vocals, everything is in Czech so I really can’t tell you anything about the band beyond the sound. With Kohout Plasi Smrt I felt like I was listening to a punkier, Czech version of Gogol Bordello. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s also not necessarily something I feel like I need in my life. Thanks, though. –Kurt Morris (kohoutplasismrt.cz)


HUMANOIDS, THE:
Year of the Snake: 7”
Kind of post D4 melodi-core, similar to most of the other stuff I’ve heard of theirs, and seen live. It’s not bad, though it sounds like a lot of other stuff, making it a little tough to stand out. Two originals, plus I was surprised to realize that there was also a Wipers cover. –Joe Evans III (Rock Bottom)


HICKOIDS:
Kicking It with the Twits: CD
Long-running alt-rock cowboys pay tribute to a gaggle of British bands. I’m a bit of a nut about cover songs, but I just couldn’t handle this. Twangy and dull pretty much sums it up. –Ty Stranglehold (Saustex, saustexmedia@aol.com)


HEAT TAPE, THE:
Raccoon Valley Recordings: CD
Brett from Dear Landlord/The Copyrights doing some lo-fi pop punk that’s pretty decent, but doesn’t really knock me out. For me, what makes his two other bands so great is how fast, loud, and pummeling they are (both recorded and live), and this kind of songwriting just isn’t quite as effective when it’s played more sloppily to a dirty-sounding 4-track. Probably a lot of folks who are bonkers for Underground Railroad will think this is the shit (although I love URTC, so maybe I’m off there), but it’s just okay to me. –Dave Williams (Red Scare, redscare.net)


HAY PERRO:
Eastern Ideas of Death: CD
A mutation of rock and hardcore, not so much in the stoner rock “let’s mix Sabbath with Black Flag” vein as it is a melding of the two approaches to loud guitar-oriented rock where you can hear both influences right up front. If bands like Annihilation Time float yer boat, this’ll likely do the same. –Jimmy Alvarado (Hay Perro, hayperro.com)


HAUNTED CONTINENTS:
The Loudest Year Ever: CD

 

What this sounds like is what it is: two indie-rock dudes with a yen for Weezer geeking out on various hues of ‘50s and ‘60s music. Amidst the loud, fuzzed guitar and quivering vocals, one can hear bits of doo wop, soul, early Simon and Garfunkel and the like. A novel idea, I guess, but most of it ultimately falls kind of flat and reeks of pretense. Every once in a while, though, they deliver a song like “Nothin’ to Be Done,” which is full of an achy beauty that stands in perfect contrast with the rest of what’s on here and would likely lose some of its luster if they had gone down that road instead and filled the release with songs in the same vein. In the end it feels like an interesting idea that falls short of the mark in execution.

–Jimmy Alvarado (Forest Park, no address)


GRIPPER / THE DESTRUCTORS:
Les Fleurs du Mal: CD
Gripper: There’s definitely a reminiscent feeling of playing Tony Hawk games again right now. I’m not sure if this is a bad thing. Because, you know, those soundtracks were pretty fucking killer. The Destructors: Every time I think I know about all the classic punk bands, I find another that’s been around for thirty years. The Destructors have been on and off the radar since 1977 and their discography is huge! I’m amazed I haven’t noticed them before. A little bit Swingin’ Utters, a little bit Circle Jerks. I’m cool with this. –Bryan Static (Rowdy Fargo, no address)


GÖTTEMIA / LUCKY MALICE:
Split: EP
Hmm. Well, I don’t really like either of these bands. Göttemia play kinda trashy punk rock’n’roll that didn’t hold my interest for more than two short songs and Lucky Malice play upbeat, slightly rough-around-the-edges melodic punk rock with dual female vox, which amounts to being only slightly less forgettable than Göttemia. Just not my thing, I s’pose. –Dave Williams (Tonehjulet Kraftpest)


GLEAM, THE:
Sunrise: CD
This right here is a country album by some dudes in the Midwest. Sunrise has a fun, upbeat feel that is punctuated by harmonica solos and twangy guitar fills. This wouldn’t be bad for its genre if it wasn’t for the vocals. The half- drunken drawl of the lead singer and those group singalongs get so off-key that it’s kind of painful. The guy doesn’t quite have that gravelly country singer voice down, either. This band would probably be fun to dance to if they played at a local bar, but the vocals kind of killed this CD for me. –Lauren Trout (Self-released, thegleamusa.com)


GETBACK, THE:
Halfway Home: CD
This album is a strange breed. There’s a bit of Scared Of Chaka coming through. A bit of mid-’80s Social Distortion, and some of that mid-’90s Muffs songwriting and drumming style. It’d be kind of like if Mike Wiebe of Riverboat Gamblers fronted a moodier and pop punkier Toys That Kill. It’s better than you’d think, even if it seems a bit bipolar. It’s got soul, harmony, and pure punk spirit. –Mr. Z (Livid, lividrecords.com)


FUCKING BUCKAROOS, THE / LOS HELLDANDYS:
Split: 7”
I consider myself a TFB fan because if I saw a flyer for a show of theirs, I’d go. I saw them live once years ago at Revolver Café here in Tijuana and thought they ruled. This feeling led me to walk over, compliment them on their set, and purchase their self-titled compact disk. When I got home and played it, it just wasn’t as great as what I’d seen. The two songs on this split leave me feeling the same way. It’s banjo-driven rockabilly music about drinking. Los Helldandys I didn’t own anything by, but have seen a few times. They opened for TFB at the show I referenced, are from TJ, and have Oscar (Bumbklaatt, Thunder Cats, Magnum 757) on guitar, which is what really does it for me. They’re a pretty cookie cutter rockabilly band, and that’s what the first track serves up. The second track is more of a rocker and has female vocals, which makes it stand out a bit more. –Rene Navarro (Fort Faxon, thefuckingbuckaroos.com)


DRIPPING SLITS:
Short Skirts & Long Nights: CD
Twenty-six minutes of standard Dwarves style rawk is what is to be found on this disc. Actually, there is one stoner rock style instrumental kicking things off, just for diversity’s sake. As one might guess from the band name and the title, there is some real deep stuff going on here. The songs are as dull as the “offensive” band name. Yawn. –Mike Frame (Thinker Thought)


DOUGLAS SHIELDS AND THE X-FACTORS:
Self-titled: 7”
DSXF play a fuzzy, tender brand of punk over the course of the four songs on this 7”. This three-piece hails from Gainesville and has some similarities to some of the other punk bands from that great city but also seems to have some more heart in their music than any sense of overt anarchic spirit. DSXF seem like the type of band you’d catch opening at a basement show that you didn’t know but after seeing them you’d say, “Well that was a pleasant surprise,” and wouldn’t mind hearing more of them in the future. I wasn’t expecting much from this, but I can dig it. –Kurt Morris (Jeremy)


DIRTY FILTHY MUGS:
Up in the Downs: CD
New release from this L.A. five piece. Heavy punk rock that will shake the foundations of any manmade structure. Songs like “Bodkin Downs” push the proceedings full tilt but then they are followed up by mid-tempo songs like “In Walked the Devil.” “Plastic City” is my favorite song on here; for some reason I’m hearing Angus Young within the grooves. Hopefully this doesn’t blow any well-earned street cred. These guys are going places with this record. Catch them live if you can. –Sean Koepenick (DC-Jam)


DFMK:
Manual Practico Para La Auto Destruccion: CD-R
This band is probably the best thing that’s happened to the Tijuana punk scene in a while. They seem to be down to play almost every show that gets booked, and their set just keeps getting tighter and tighter, to the point where it’s squeezing you like a vice. This eight-song demo is recorded very well, which gives this recording a lot of energy. Lyrically, they tackle everything from walking through the parts of this city that resemble hell (“Cruce de Caminos”), not being a loser (“No Soy Un Perdedor”), and hopelessness (“Morning Blues”). Musically, it’s all over the place in just the right way. There’s an intro straight off a Fucked Up 7”, there are some moments you feel the breakdowns are about to cave in on you, and even some Millencolin-sounding ‘90s punk. These songs have carved themselves into my brain with hooks that gig deep and words that hit close. Did I mention these guys can actually play their instruments very well? Because they can. If ever anyone has actually checked something out I’ve recommended, this is the time. –Rene Navarro (Self-released)


DEMERIT:
Bastards of the Nation: CD

 

While I thought it was cool getting to check out a hardcore punk band all the way from China, slick production work by Brian Hardgroove (Public Enemy), and nice packaging were not enough to save this album. Demerit is a band with an identity crisis. This album sounds like the band couldn’t figure out how they wanted to sound or what genre they wanted to play, so they wrote separate songs for each of the genres they like. This gives the album a disjointed feel, like a really bad compilation, not an album. There’s some ‘80s NYHC-style songs, some oi and street punk songs, and some straight-up ‘80s metal, with an acoustic jam closing the album. With such radically different sounds to each song—and none of them particularly memorable—this album flounders around as if in search of musical direction. If Demerit ever finds such a direction, they will be a force to be reckoned with, but this album is lost, and should stay that way.

–Paul J. Comeau (Tenzenmen)


DEECRACKS:
Attention! Deficit Disorder: CD

 

There is a double edged sword when it comes to playing a Ramones-derivative style. Sure, it’s easy to play but it’s also easy to become stale. Countless bands take it on with varying degrees of success. I’m thankful for Dee Cracks because they totally get it. Simple and fun is the order. I really do like that new Screeching Weasel record, but, to be honest, this disc goes and knocks it outta the park. I hit play and I can’t stop bouncing around the room, and that is what this is all about! I might have to take issue with their trash talk on pizza and barbecue, but I guess I can’t knock it until I have myself some Ritalin for lunch. Look out Ben and Joe, Dee Cracks are coming outta Austria and they’re looking for you. The next heirs to the crown? I think they just might be!

–Ty Stranglehold (Stranglehold (Monster Zero)


DEAD FARMERS:
Go Home: CD
I’ve always had a theory that the best bands are the ones who listen to things that I would never listen to. Dead Farmers are definitely providing some good support for this theory. Distilling the best out of psychedelic rock so I don’t have to hear the shitty parts, Dead Farmers create a nice blend of garage rock with acid-fuzz. All in all a fun, solid album. –Bryan Static (Self-released, no address)


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·FOR SCIENCE
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·MEDIA JUNKY
·ARMY OF FRESHMAN
·TRAGEDY
·ICONOCLAST #94
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·BUZZARD, EL
·SOMETHING FOR NOTHING #67


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