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One Punks Guide to Pinball, by Kayla Greet
Razorcake #92
Spokenest, Gone, Gone, Gone LP
Pinned In Place, Ghostwritten By LP
Razorcake #91


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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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LUAU / CHOKE UP:
Split: 7”
For fans of At the Drive-In/late ‘90s hardcore. Comes on swirled vinyl. –ryan (intensehumanvictories.com)


LOVELY LITTLE GIRLS:
Glamorous Piles & Puffy Saddlebags: CD
There’s a very theatrical vibe to Lovely Little Girls. I guess punk cabaret is the name people are calling this kind of thing, but I can’t say that I’m feeling it. While I admired the musicianship on this, I was too annoyed by the music to give it more than a few listens. If punk cabaret sounds like a genre you’d dig, check this out. Everyone else, steer clear. –Paul J. Comeau (Apop, apoprecords.com)


LEE COREY OSWALD:
Moon Songs: Cassette
If Titus Andronicus cranked up the Bright Eyes, you’d have this tape. Bleated vocals, indie genre-hopping, parts that don’t go together, times where you think the song ended but then it comes back in after a pause for dramatic affect. And the packaging is cumbersome and boutiquey. Who in their right mind prints each song’s lyrics on its own business card and ties them to the cassette case with yarn, along with a different-sized card that has the recording info? Uuugh. –CT Terry (curlycassettes.com)


KEITH RICHARDS OVERDOSE:
Self-titled: LP
As a handle like Keith Richards Overdose would imply, this is over-the-top trashy rock stuff—more pissed off Yardbirds than hackneyed Childish wannabes—with the occasional harmonica thrown in for good measure. Dunno how Keef would feel about ‘em, but I imagine the average punter into this kinda stuff would find much to dig here. –jimmy (Scanner)


JOSH MEDSKER & WISCON:
Wretched Josh Skims Wino: CD-R EP
Collaboration between a music blog guy and a noise collective. Sounds inviting? Guess again. Spoken word that rocks me to sleep and music that has no structure, melody, or harmony whatsoever. I appreciate that fact that Josh runs a music blog with interviews that help spread the word on relevant artists and bands, but this should have been left in the basement. It’s more rancid than a sack of old tomatoes. There are three bonus tracks here too, including the worse rap performance on song number seven since Randy “Macho Man” Savage’s “I’m Back!” At least there were some dope-ass beats on that jam. The Wino EP belongs in a flaming trash barrel down by the river. –koepenick (Self-released)


INSOMNIAC FOLKLORE:
A Place Where Runaways Are Not Alone: CD
Good lord, turn the vocals down and the instruments up! This thing is coming off all a cappella when it isn’t supposed to and I will not stand for it. The songs + the album artwork + the photo included + the album name seems like these kids are trying a bit hard to come off as whimsical. All I hear is wacky circus music trying to be passed off as folk. –Corinne (Business Deal)


INCREDIBLE KIDDA BAND, THE:
Everybody Knows: 7”
Thanks to the internet, this is what I’ve been able to glean about this band/release: hailing from Coventry, they were a power pop band that formed in 1976 and managed to release a number of singles and LPs before disbanding in 1989. This is a reissue of their debut single, originally released in June 1978. It sounds pretty much as you’d expect it to, namely seventies English power pop with a bit of a pub undertow. –jimmy (Last Laugh, lastlaughrecords.us)


HUNGER PAINS:
Self-titled: 7” EP
The highlight here is the first roughly minute-and-a-half of the first track, “Blindspot/Therapy,” which is a sound collage. From that point on, however, it’s fairly nondescript, crusty hardcore with grunty vocals. –jimmy (Feeble Minds)


HIGHTIME:
Ishi Prende: CD
Ska-punk that draws from a whole ton of stuff, but still falls into all the traps that you expect from a ska-punk record. (In case you were wondering, the dub song is track four.) Not bad, per se, but nothing interesting. Move along. –Bryan Static (Pee, peerecords.com)


HELL CITY KINGS / WHITE RHINO:
Split: 7”
The Hell City Kings side starts out well enough, very Coliseum-inspired, then the chorus slowly just takes over and they repeat it way too many times. I really didn’t dig it at all, and the fact that I just have one song to go off doesn’t help. Neither does the horrific solo throughout the incessant chorus. White Rhino, let’s see here; equally foreboding black and white cover, but will it deliver? Not really. Kind of a much heavier Queens Of The Stone Age—basic riffs, repeated a few times without being able to build up the tension and then a guy whose voice just wasn’t made for blues-inspired heavy rock. Really makes me appreciate Motörhead that much more. –Rene Navarro (Cutthroat)


HEADLINERS, THE:
Too Young to Fall in Love: CD
The obvious jokes aside (like, what happens if they’re not headlining?) it falls somewhere between pop and street punk, kind of like a One Man Army or Dead To Me, with more noodly guitar leads throughout all the songs. –joe (UVPR, uvpr.fr)


GOVERNMENT ISSUE:
Self-titled: LP
Although the band’s initial Legless Bull ten-song 7” was among my very favorite records of the initial hardcore era, i pretty much lost interest in the band after the blue album with the yellow letters and don’t even remember this 1986 album existing ((although i did like the song “Melancholy Miss,” which appears to have been on an even later album, so i guess i was even more out of the loop than i knew)). I don’t hold records like this—and, when i say “like this,” i mean “mid-’80s albums by early ‘80s hardcore bands where they are trying to figure out their ass from a hole in the ground in regard to performing non-hardcore music” in terribly high regard. I mean, here are these bands that got their start—and excelled at—playing fifty-second hardcore songs. Fast-forward a few years, and everyone’s outgrown hardcore, so now we have to listen to these guys try to create and execute three-and-four-minute songs, an area in which they have neither particular abilities nor gifts. We have to listen to them attempt to figure out HOW TO PLAY ROCK MUSIC, as they fumble along with the process. I dunno about you, but i’d rather listen to a ROCK band play rock music, or a COLLEGE ROCK band play college rock music, than listen to a PUNK band try to FIGURE OUT how to play rock music or college rock music or fuckin’ world beat or whatever the fuck they thought was cool at the time. Consider the irony: Here we have Government Issue, a band who excelled at playing fifty-second hardcore songs, making these ho-hum, can’t-quite-get-to-the-point, college rock-ish FM punk-ish records, and the only reason these guys are known enough to have enough of a platform to throw their ho-hum, can’t-quite-get-to-the-point, college rock-ish FM punk-ish records against a wall or an audience is because, at one point in time, they grew a fanbase based on the fifty-second hardcore songs which they no longer play. I mean, i didn’t hate 7 Seconds because they started playing college rock; i hated 7 Seconds because they SUCKED at it. Leave the complex shit to people who actually have the skill set to pull it off, that’s what i’m sayin’. I mean, take “Hear the Scream” as an example. You have about thirty seconds worth of lyrics, padded out to make a three-minute FM radio-friendly college rock-ish punkish song. You got a sixteen word first verse, then a ten-word chorus ((repeated a few times)), then a fifteen word second verse, then the chorus again, then some guitar stuff, then repeat the sixteen-word first verse and the chorus and start the whole thing over again. How is that a good punk song? How is that a good college rock song? How is that a good ANYTHING? All it is is a stretched out, heavily diluted thirty-second punk song with delusions of grandeur. I was happy as hell when that whole lo-fi/garage thing came along in the early ‘90s and eradicated any lingering confusion over whether “these kinds of records” could be anything other than Rock & Roll Bullshit. That said, the too-brief bits of electric sitar playing herein are uniformly awesome. BEST SONG: “Last Forever” BEST SONG TITLE: “Visions and ?” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Bass player is depicted wearing a DC 101 ((a Washington-area commercial AOR station)) t-shirt on innersleeve. –norb (Dr. Strange)


GLOM DA / MAKABERT FYND:
Split: LP
Glöm Da: Swedish hardcore, heavy on the Discharge, but not so reliant on it they sound like yet another Dis-clone band. Makabert Fynd: They also rely heavily on Discharge, but speed things up to a tempo worthy of the better fjördcore hordes. Good split. –jimmy (Sorry State)


GHOST TOWN ELECTRIC / DEFENDING THE KINGDOM:
Split: LP
GTE are all over the place. One song sounds like Zeke, another sounds like Converge, and there is a ballad in the mix, just for good measure. DTK offers up a seventeen-and-half-minute, three-part epic movement for their side of the LP. Some hardcore, some metal, and big rock all over the place. If a long, three-part song appeals to you, this would probably be something you’d like. Annoyingly, this record is 33 RPM on one side and 45 RPM on the other. –frame (Cutthroat, myspace.com/cutthroatrecs)


GAIN TO LOSE:
Gunlock Germ: 7”
It’s not hard to picture this band playing on a Friday night. Local stalwarts, dependable, always ready to play with their hearts out. The practicing pays off. Nothing seems particularly inspired, but everything seems fine. You’re thinking about how much better they’d be in a few more months or years. They throw out a song or two that surprises you a little, but your heart moves onward when the main band takes the stage. You leave the venue without remembering the name of the band. So it goes. –Bryan Static (Suburban White Trash, suburbanwhitetrashrecords.com)


FRONT LINE:
Basic Training: 7” EP
I’d be lying if I said I liked this EP. It’s fairly undistinguished hardcore. Nevertheless, I appreciate its release. Basic Training is a collection of Front Line’s unreleased tracks from 1982. The back cover contains a photo of four American kids who played hardcore during Reagan’s years. That alone warrants a release. Churning out vicious music at the beginning of the worst American presidency of the twentieth century wasn’t for the uncommitted. –ryan (Beach Impediment, beachimpedimentrecords.blogspot.com)


FOR SERIOUS THIS TIME:
Weird Life: LP
This is some indie rock-sounding stuff, or maybe it’s just really slow pop punk or Jade Tree-style emo. It’s pretty sounding, sparse, and unfortunately... uninteresting, in spite of the obvious sincerity of the songwriting. They have these long guitar intervals that one might expect from bands like... maybe Cursive or something? Wait, maybe it sounds like Get Up Kids, though much more listenable, but that’s really not saying much. –Craven (Life On An Island)


FERAL BABIES:
Violent Boredom: EP
Pretty good debut EP from this Florida outfit. They play straight-up hardcore punk that has more in common with the past than the present, but doesn’t sound like anyone in particular, which is a rare thing anymore. The only comparison I can make is that the vocalist, Justin Arnold, sometimes sounds like Sam MacPheeters. But that’s it. These guys are their own entity. A little bit fast, a little bit slow. They definitely have more than one color in their pallet. The bass has a beefy sound and you can always hear it snaking around in the music. A crunching guitar is loud in the mix. The drums bring the urgency. I can see songs like “Teenage Extinction” and “Bad Times” going over well at live shows. “Bad Times,” because of the simple and to-the-point lyrics, and “Teenage Extinction,” because of the ending with “All the teenagers are terminal” being repeated over and over. –Matt Average (Rigid)


FELLOW PROJECT:
Stable Life: LP
There is nothing I can really say negatively about this record other than the fact that I didn’t like it. Every song was screamed with passion and the band was tight, but like a bunch of the other Latterman-style of pop punk bands, I find myself bored quickly. Kind of like how everyone else in the world loves Doctor Who, but I’m too lazy to get into it. –Bryan Static (Answer Key, answerkeyrecords.com)


FEAR OF EXTINCTION:
Self-titled: 7” EP
More unabashed Discharge worship, this time coming from the Czech region instead of Scandinavia. They’ve got the Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing era sound down pat, and what they do they do well, even if it’s mind-numbingly uncreative. –jimmy (Phobia, phobiarecords.net)


FATAL NUNCAHAKU:
Paving Stone under the Beach: CD
The powerviolence disease is pandemic. It spread beyond the West Coast years back and is now infecting hordes in Europe, as evidenced by this band of French outcasts. Maniacal dual vocals, minced drums, grinding guitars, and the bass in there somewhere (they should turn it up more!). Eighteen tracks of madness that sounds like Opstand ran through a blender with No Comment and Confrontation. –Matt Average (To Live A Lie, tolivealie.com)


FAT HISTORY MONTH :
A Gorilla: 7”
Four songs of raw and rudimentary slowcore, scribbled all over with creepy reverb and feedback and delivered with a warped humor that banishes all preciousness. This is from a 2009 recording session, and I’m interested to hear what this band has done since. Are they still this visceral and dark? Think of this record as the ugly freshwater fish nibbling at Will Oldham’s toes while he floats in that quarry, taking Slint’s picture for the cover of Spiderland. –CT Terry (sweatersandpearls.com)


EXTERNAL MENACE:
Early Demos E.P. (1979-84): 7”
I’m not familiar with External Menace, but the internet tells me that they came out during the second wave of British punk. The recording quality is really rough, but that is usually the case for any kind of “early demos” kind of thing. The music itself is a great example of what was going on in the U.K. at the time. Side one has a couple of mid-tempo punk rock tunes while the flip has more of a UK82 sound going on. Nice piece of history. –ty (Loud Punk, loudpunk.com)


EX BOYFRIENDS / RAD COMPANY:
Hold My Glasses: LP
Ex-Boyfriends: What’s the word when a band reminds you of a million things, but you can’t call any of the influences dominant? Ex-Boyfriends are a melting pot of pop punk. I can hear The Ergs!, MTX, Screeching Weasel, all the classics and quite a few more. Their constant tempo shifts and reliance on dual vocal lines in choruses is very akin to the ‘90s, with moments of the record even bringing up the dreaded Blink-182 comparison. Or, wait; is it cool like Blink-182 now? A solid use of half an LP. Rad Company: Kind of reminds me of Fear Of Lipstick or Delay. They fit in with that general brand of pop punk that wouldn’t seem so out of place on Plan-It X Records. (Do not confuse that last sentence with one that compares this band to the Bananas.) Some of the backup vocals feel out of place on their side of the LP, giving the songs a feeling that they are a bit too overwritten. They could suffer to use a little more quality control. –Bryan Static (Rad Girlfriends, radgirlfriendrecords.com)


EVACUATE:
2012: LP
Pretty high-energy elements at play here. Crust that toes the line with more “traditional” punk. Their visual aesthetic is heavy on military stencil fonts and cues from Profane Existence, but many of the melodies and the fact that the vocals are almost entirely discernable (a nice touch) brings to mind, say, the Vibrators or the Skulls: solos that almost get out of hand but don’t and a recording that packs a punch without sounding glossy. The LP jacket folds out into a six-panel poster, with the interior being a crazy collage/art piece of the world shooting itself with a pistol. There’s also a nicely inspired plea from the vocalist regarding a commitment to DIY as a viable, grassroots solution to a lot of problem facing punk, whether it be in clubs or via downloading. I initially figured it wouldn’t be my thing, but it grew on me exponentially with each listen. A surprisingly impressive outing and one that’ll probably get repeated listens around here. These dudes should be on butt patches all over town. –keith (Voltage)


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