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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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AK47:
Self-titled: CD
I have a weird hate of bands reusing band names. A quick search shows that this band name was used by a Texas band that has a single that is heralded by KBD record collectors and the name also was used by a prominent punk band from Croatia. Using the excuse that those bands do not exist anymore is lazy if that is what they are going to use. Going in their favor, they do offer a jam-packed affair with twenty-four blistering hardcore punk songs done in about twenty-two minutes. It’s a well-recorded batch of songs that adds to the power of their to-the-point songs. The band shows that they have some musical chops in between their blasts, too. Vocals remind me of Deek from Oi Polloi and the lyrics of all things that anger them makes me think of the Nihilistics. This is definitely worthy of being uploaded to the iPod. –Donofthedead (AK47, akfortyseven.net)


A. RESTREPO AND THE OLDER SIBLINGS/JUSTIN CLIFFORD AND SOME OTHER PEOPLE:
Split: 7”
Two sides of weirdo folk from Bloomington’s Friends And Relatives label. I bought a CDR of A. Restrepo a while back from this label and found it to be totally overbearing, with the singer’s annoying voice and obvious biting of Mountain Goats-style imagery in the lyrics. However, with three songs on a split 7”, it works out rather well. In moderation, I can appreciate the absurd magical realism that is mixed in with the songs about pretty common themes. The Justin Clifford side is more lo-fi folk stuff that sounds maybe, slightly, like the most whacked-out of the Sebadoh catalog, if I can compare it to anything. It’s a little too much on the cute side of things, but they’re not afraid to get really strange and experimental by messing around with, well, I don’t know what they’re messing around with, but it comes out warbled and twisted at times and buzzy and feedback-damaged at others. –Craven (Friends And Relatives)


ZELDA’S DEAD:
First Impressions Are Lasting Impressions: CD-R
I can’t say I hate this, because it’s not terrible. It makes me think of those books I see at the library that I can’t imagine anyone enjoying a great deal, but somebody had to like it enough to publish it. The cover is weird and the syntax is off, but the author was enjoying himself, it that’s of any worth. –Bryan Static (Self-released, no address)


WELCOME HOME WALKER:
Self-titled: 7”
Their sound reminds me a lot of what the Used Kids are doing in terms of retro rock style like that of The Jam just brought up to speed and made for today’s generation. Here the titled track “Watch Your Step” brings that old school sound with backbreaking tempos. The bass on this track is nice and bouncy and I could imagine a dance hall filled with the feel-good vibe of this music. The B-side of this two-song 7” is the highlight here with the track, “The Untold Death of Grady Jones.” It’s a tune about the murder of a man Grady Jones with lyrics hinting that it was done by a gang: “They really have blood stained hands but did they do it just for game? I guess we’ll never know for sure…some shot the messenger.” The song itself reminds me a lot of Mötley Crüe’s tune, “On with the Show,” in terms of concept. Welcome Home Walker does theirs less epic and shorter in length, but brings richer music influences to the table by having Latin-feeling beats and a “Strawberry Fields Forever”-sounding arpeggio tempo change transition in the song. It’s all around solid songwriting on this track. –N.L. Dewart (Boggie Creek)


VOCABS, THE:
The Sound of Seizures: CD-R EP
I’m often attracted to cheap, oddball packaging; that’s just the way I am, I suppose. One packaging style that is out of the norm that does bother me is the packaging of a CD or CD-R in 7”-sized or other vinyl-sized container. It’s not the size necessarily—I am not particular about where my CDs are as long as they’re in their cases—but rather the deception. I always think, “Oh, how nice that this band has put their music on vinyl!” Then I open it and become disappointed. If it weren’t for the jackassery contained on this CD-R and package, I would seriously consider just throwing the whole fucking thing away out of spite and write a review only of the band’s bullshit chicanery. Once I opened the fold of the cut-up light green folder to find nonsense scribbled about and a guitar string case holding the disc, I popped the CD-R in the player and waited to be disgusted. I was immediately taken aback by the shitty attempt at a Velvet Underground take on rap that I was hearing. Though not good in a more traditional sense, it was at least interesting. Most of it is experimental, odd hip hop stuff. I don’t mean that in an Anitcon kind of way. I mean that in an odd bunch of dilholes experimenting with hip hop sounds and rap kind of way. It is kind of funny; it’s a real joy putting it on to gauge others’ reactions. Anyhow, my copy says “1 of 1” on it, so you’re fucked on that front. However, it also says that you can email them for mp3s if you’re so inclined. –Vincent Battilana (vendingmachinerecords@gmail.com)


VOCABS, THE:
Live in Transylvania: CD-R
Could be totally wrong, but the sound of this leads me to believe it’s the work of one person and his keyboard. Though the artwork looks like it was done by a four-year-old and the songs have titles like “Shit Sandwich I Found on the Street” and “Dead Guy Shuffle,” the tunes here are a bit more sophisticated than one would expect. I kinda dig it. Go fucking figure. –Jimmy Alvarado (vendingmachinerecords@gmail.com)


VIDEOVILLE:
Self-titled: CD
This is a little six-song instrumental deal. This mini-album occupies a weird middle space. The indie jams on here are all right in their way, but aren’t really epic and atmospheric like the work of some of their instrumental post-rock brethren. Perhaps the last track, “Paparazzi, Roi du Desert,” starts reaching for that grander sound. The songs, while poppy and upbeat, are not particularly dancey, which is the other notable track for instrumental rock to take. What I can say about this album, which in this case isn’t meant to be a bad thing at all, is that it makes exceptional and enjoyable background music. –Adrian (L’Oeil du Tigre, Videovillemtl@gmail.com)


VENDETTA AGAINST:
Shifty Eyes: CDEP
Punk music has to have energy or momentum. It’s a prerequisite. While bands have successfully incorporated folk and blues music into the genre (especially in the past ten years), punk music played on the acoustic guitar, while fun for the performer (and often the audience), has the ability to sound very lackluster. The songs recorded here with only guitar and vocals are punk songs, and need a full band and electric guitar. They’re begging for it. These songs would sound pretty damned decent with a set of drums backing ‘em. I’ve received a few albums like this in my time reviewing at Razorcake, and I always imagine a guy with an acoustic guitar and a small crowd, playing to a receptive audience (hopefully singing along)…it’s fun, but it only goes so far. Go further! Play louder! It’s okay! –Will Kwiatkowski (Tasty Treat, tastytreatrecords.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Welcome to the Golden State Vol 2: EP
The Imposters track, “Tourists Are Invading Hermosa Beach” is great. Sounds like something you would hear on some early ‘80s L.A. area compilation. This alone is reason enough to pick this record up. Waco Fuck are pretty good, with a mid-tempo number. Dry Rot come out of left field with a countrified number that’s dark, spaced out, and actually pretty good. A nice change from all the aggression that surrounds the song. The other bands on here are Black Triangles, Migraine, and Crucial Cause. –Matt Average (Cowabunga, cowabungarecords.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Speed! Soapbox Riot: Label Sampler: 10”
Classy retro packaging with a simple paper dust jacket printed with metallic silver ink. Includes an insert about how to get a free digital download so you don’t have to play the record in your car, considering all six songs are about cars. Tracks by the Wagon Blasters, Domestica, Filter Kings, Mezcal Brothers, Third Men, and Ideal Cleaners. Songs for all types of hot rodders. Seriously. –Jessica Thiringer (Speed! Nebraska)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Corroded Music for the Masses: CD
While there ain’t anything inherently terrible here, none of it really sticks, either. You get twenty-five tracks of fairly nondescript punk rock, the kind that seems more interested in adhering to a template than delivering the goods with any kind of conviction, and mostly kind of blends from one song to the next. Some stuff here sounds like it might even make the Hot Topic playlist, while others sound like stuff you’d unconsciously bounce yer head to if it were on the radio, but wouldn’t reach for the volume to crank it up. If that sounds appealing, more power to ye, but it ain’t doing squat for moi. –Jimmy Alvarado (Stickman, stickmanrecords.com)


UNDERLINGS:
Vice Squad: 7”
This purple swirl slab serves up jangled jazz, funk, and rock and calls it punk/garage. I hear strains of Clikatat Ikatowi, Nation Of Ulysses, and other discombobulated stuff that makes no sense to ears like mine. Now I have yet another reason to continue my decade-plus avoidance of Eugene, OR, should I ever grace the Pacific Northwest again. –Jessica Thiringer (Meth Bog, myspace.com/methbogrecords)


U.D.I.:
Unidentified Drunken Injury: LP
Thrashcore with vocals that sound like when Beavis goes into Cornholio mode. Includes a couple sweet skull drawings and song titles such as, “Wake Up and Drink” and “Go Kill Yourself.” The guitar is low in the mix and the riffs are generic, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had here. –CT Terry (Spider Cuddler)


TV EYE:
Nice People: CD
I hereby proclaim that TV Eye is (well, “was” would be more accurate, I guess, by the time you read this) my favorite band for the week of March 1, 2010. Boasting a lineup that includes former members of notable Swedish punk bands like Ugli and Raped Teenagers, and current contributors to the Killed by Death Records music blog, they unleash thirty-one tracks of pure punk brilliance with a sound not unlike the Dickies if they’d hijacked the early Crowd’s taut giddyup and had the Minutemen’s attention span. Everything here is tight as hell, catchy in a way that would impress the most diehard Marked Men fan, and chock full of smart-dumb lyrics addressing such topical topics as mystical rubbers, learning to be a punk from the pages of NME, not fitting in, and the inability to tell Benny and Bjorn from Abba apart. –Jimmy Alvarado (tveye.se)


THOUSANDAIRES:
Land Seal Demo: CD-R
Thousandaires are a total throwback to ‘90s emo bands like Braid, Elliot, and Anklebiter. I found it likable for that reason. However, I also didn’t like it for the same reason: it made no attempt at originality. However, Dominic (who also does the zine Trying) is a great writer and he definitely has the same talent for writing lyrics. His songwriting is poetic, thoughtful, and full of metaphors, which add complexity to this release. –Craven (Mandible)


THIEVES:
Positive Vibrations: EP
Strange thing when a hardcore band sounds tired. This is music that is based on high energy, so when I hear a band that is “meh,” makes me wonder what the hell is going on. Is it me, or is it them? Thieves have some speedy tempos, and the usual, but there’s no fire, no thrust. Nothing. They’re beating the hell out of their instruments, but what’s coming out sounds flat and lifeless. You know how sometimes you listen to a record and it does nothing for you, then a couple days later you listen to it again, and you’re like, “Oh gawd, this record is something awesome!” I’ve done that a lot of times. So I’ve developed a routine: if it doesn’t grab me the first couple times of listening, then I’ll try it again another day. When you’re tired from work, school, whatever, your judgment isn’t the keenest, so you gotta run some tests. I played this a few times, over the span of a week, and it’s definitely not me that’s tired. Test results tell me this record should have been a demo. –Matt Average (To Live A Lie, tolivealie.com)


TEXAS TERRI & KEVIN K:
Firestorm: CD
This is a pairing that has been waiting to happen and makes a whole lotta sense. Here, Miss Texas Terri Laird and Mr. Kevin K team up for an eight-song dose of killer glam punk, bringing Ricky Rat of the Trash Brats along for the ride. The requisite Dead Boys and Thunders covers are here, as one might expect. The difference is that they both rock. Texas Terri turns in a cool take on “What Love Is” while Kevin K lays down a smokin’ version of “London Boys” that may match the original. I am a sucker for the Kevin K style Ramones-meets-Thunders songs and this batch is as good as any he has ever done. Looking forward to a new Texas Terri full length as well, based on these four tunes. This would make a perfect 12” vinyl 45 record with four tunes on each side, and it looks like Beast Records from France has taken care of that. It’s an excellent new record by two old favorites. I’m glad to see them still kicking it out. –Mike Frame (Realkat, no address)


TEENAGE WHORE MOANS:
Moan All Nite Long: 7”
The Teenage Whore Moans seem like a concept band that writes satirical social commentary songs about high school hi-jinks. These guys bust out striped-down garage rock. Garage rock in the sense the guitar sounds like it has a bit more reverb than distortion and the fact these seven songs sound like they were recorded in a garage with about four microphones. The chords don’t really slam exactly down on beat and I’m sure all the tongue-in-cheekisms are intentional. For example, they typed on their jacket sleeve that this album was not produced by Jay Reatard. Production wise, all the sounds bleed together and it’s difficult to catch the verses’ lyrics, but the pummeling four to the floor beats kept my head shaking and the simple, catchy chorus made me want to sing. The tune “Sadie Hawkins Dance” is one fine example where the chorus (“I want to shake it all night long”) not only won’t leave my head but, by the end of the song, I’m singing along. The guys close the song with lyrics, “I want to go down on you. Will you go down on me?” This only solidifies their concept. –N.L. Dewart (Eaglebauer Enterprises)


TEENAGE GLUESNIFFERS:
Nervous Breakdown: CD
The fact that their name comes from a Queers song pretty much says it all: Ramonesy pop punk stuff with song titles like “I Wanna Be a Pyro” and “Losers Parade.” Its saving grace is that the songs are stronger than the average band of punters strip mining an already barren genre, and the Italian accent on the vocals gives ‘em a nice twist. Can’t call myself a fan, but they aren’t horrible, I’ll give ‘em that. –Jimmy Alvarado (myspace.com/mindrotrecords)


SYLLABLE SECTION, THE:
Linear Views: CD
Lysergic-laced pop from what looks to be a band comprised of one guy with a lot of different instruments and an occasional drummer pal. At the end of the day, this falls somewhere between Small Faces’ “Itchykoo Park” and Blind Melon’s “No Rain,” with Syd Barrett turning the knobs. –Jimmy Alvarado (no address)


SUMMER PEOPLE:
Good Problems: CD
This one messed with my head. Started out like a folkier/hippy Reconstruction Site-era Weakerthans. Then it quickly turns into a weird mixture of a jammier Bridge And Tunnel mixed with noisy, atmospheric (which I don’t find myself saying about most of the stuff I get here) indie rock, like that broken up New York band, the Sea Change? I could get into it a little more if it was more consistent. However, when I looked at the press sheet, it explains “In lesser skilled hands, the album would sound disjointed and random. Instead, these thirteen tracks are cohesive; fitting perfectly into the band’s collage of beautifully fractured noise.” Well, I guess I’m wrong then! –Joe Evans III (Red Leader, redleaderrecords.com)


SUB VERSO:
Within the Hour: 10”
The record starts off with an instrumental track, oozing gloomy, moody synths that got me excited that I was about to hear some dark wave. That excitement was sadly short lived as it gave way to sappy, sensitive emo-ish stuff, in the vein of Jealous Sound or Minus The Bear. I’ll take a pass on this one. –Jeff Proctor (thesubverso.com)


STUPID IN STEREO:
The Day the Earth Stood Stupid: CD
New school, goth/punk “psychobilly” that might be better (marginally) if the thick, muddy production didn’t make me feel as if I were listening to this through a wet cardboard box. –Jessica Thiringer (Unrepentant, unrepentantrecords.com)


STRUNG OUT:
Agents of the Underground: CD
I’ve tried to get into Strung Out over their last couple of releases and haven’t been able to do it. I did find a copy of Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues a few months back and actually enjoyed it. I think it was because the band didn’t sound so slick and processed at that point. There was some grit to grab onto. This new album isn’t changing my opinion that the band is too much like a Teflon-coated pan. I will give it to the band that they’re technically accomplished musicians, but, jeez, at least drop a few tracks of treatment out of the vocals. This isn’t bad, so much as it leaves no lasting impression on me at all. –Adrian (Fat)


STOLEN PARTS:
Self-titled: 7”
Four songs on colored vinyl. This is straight-forward gruff pop punk that will probably appeal to many Razorcake readers. It’s well done and tuneful, but not necessarily all that memorable. They do a pretty solid cover of “Between Planets” by The Jesus And Mary Chain. Features members of Monikers, Latterman, Off With Their Heads, and Bridge And Tunnel, if that matters to you. –Ryan Horky (Kiss Of Death, kissofdeathrecords.com)


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