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Razorcake #90
White Murder, both LPs
Treasure Fleet, The Sun Machine LP
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White Murder, Form Early LP (CLEAR VINYL)


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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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AMEBIX:
Knights of the Black Sun: 12”
I think my pal the Reverend Paul Putrid put it best: “Who knew the trajectories of the Amebix and Killing Joke would cross to the point where you can’t tell one from the other?” While maybe a bit more “rock” than even Jaz and the boys might dare to venture, the tune hear nonetheless bears traces of the same Killing Joke stamp as much of their other recent output. Not to say it’s a bad thing, especially when one considers that stamp could be found to varying degrees from the beginning, but it is interesting to note that the more they’ve progressed, the more that influence has become prominent. Also interesting is that this twelve-inch slab of wax has, count ‘em, one track on it, with an etching gracing the other side. Sure, it’s a good song, and the etching’s purty ‘n’ all, but a bit of a burn when one factors in the cost per song ratio, not to mention it’s a bit of a waste of a petroleum-based product, no? –jimmy (Profane Existence)


ALPINIST / MASAKARI:
Split: LP
Crusher of a split here! Alpinist and Masakari both crank out the dark and heavy stuff. Some would call it “epic crust.” Either way, the correct way to listen to this record is fuggin’ loud. Masakari are incredibly heavy. So much low end in their sound! I love how thick the bass is in the mix, and the seriously pummeling effect of the drums (check out the opening of “Progress”—rare that drums are so effectively recorded in the punk world). The vocals are a dry growl, without being completely Cookie Monster style. The songs range in tempo, using time changes effectively to give everything more punch and keep you interested throughout. The transition between “Hexenhammer” to “Modulation” is great and a perfect way to end the record: fast, huge in sound, and a total stomper. Alpinist, from Germany, are little less heavy, though no less effective in pulling you into the darkness the music creates. If anything, their songs are actually catchier (in a good way). The songs blaze, yet the crunching rhythms and slight time changes give the songs depth. “Subjection” uses a tried and true headbanging break that works every time. A little abrasive noise is added for texture as well. Pretty damn good. Nice artwork from Alex CF graces this as well. –Matt Average (Halo Of Flies, halooffliesrecords.com)


AGAINST EMPIRE:
Thieves and Leeches: LP
To see a band in their early stages, go through line-up changes, and still continue to stay together after a good amount of time warms my heart. Not many bands make it past the one or two year point. Many others don’t even make it out to play beyond their local scenes. This band has accomplished more and can add U.S. and European tours under their belt. I think the first time I saw the San Fernando Valley-based band was back in 2005 as a five piece. Currently, they are a trimmed-down force as a three piece. Musically, they used to fall into a cross of crust and anarcho punk, but this time around their sound has strong leanings of ‘80s hardcore. It’s a more direct approach in sound that takes the music into higher energy territory than in the past. The songs are precise, yet played with a bit more speed, which adds gusto to the music. The complexity is now in the chord progressions and work with more layers that gives the songs the epic feel. Production is on the clean and bright side of the spectrum, which better suits the new direction of the music. Clarity helps define each element. Lyrically, they continue on with their social political commentary of what disturbs them. They also add in a cover of Crucifix’s Another Mouth to Feed. As much as I love this new record, I am even more proud of what the band has accomplished. –don (Profane Existence)


ADOLESCENTS:
The Fastest Kid Alive: LP
This album has been a long time in the making. Me? I’ve been waiting with bated breath ever since the release of 2004’s OC Confidential came out, proving that the Adolescents were back and as relevant as ever. Right off the bat, as was the case in 2004, you can tell that the Soto/Reflex songwriting team has come a long way since the early ‘80s. These songs smack you in the face and drag you around the room, not necessarily with breakneck speed, but with hooks and melodies that can’t be resisted. It is very obvious in the lyrics that the Adolescents are very concerned with where the world is and the place where it is heading. From hating children to trying to save them, all in thirty years flat! It’s a change that suits them. I can proudly place this record along with my other Adolescents records. –ty (Concrete Jungle)


ABSUM:
Demo: CD
Picked this demo up out of the free box at my sweet Local Record Shop, a few months ago and just got around to checking it out recently. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was totally stoked to find out that it didn’t suck, and, in fact, ruled quite hard. Absum are a four-piece thrash/punk band hailing from CT. The three songs on this demo, an early promo for their debut 7”, call to mind thrash legends Suicidal Tendencies. The riffs are all blazing fast. There are some brief spots of guitar wankery and epic amounts of crew vocals sure to spawn massive sing-alongs live. I listened to this on repeat close to twenty times (not hard when the three songs on this clock in around five minutes) and didn’t get tired of it. While some of the riffage starts to feel repetitive, the creative use of gang vocals and sing-along parts helps keep all three of these songs interesting. The song “To Whom It May Consume,” is by far my favorite of the three, as it’s got the highest quantity of guitar wankery. Overall, this brief demo is a solid intro to Absum, and I’m stoked to check out their record. –Paul J. Comeau (Absum, absumCT@yahoo.com)


XAXAXA:
Tango Revolucioner: CD
The name of this band means HAHAHA in Cyrillic. This band is from Europe and plays their brand of tightly-knit, punk-influenced rock pretty well. I specifically liked the bass playing, which tended to lead things a bit. From what I researched, people really want to compare them with Hüsker Dü, which I simply don’t see. If this was the early ‘90s and this music was sung in English, they would have been immediately labeled college rock. There are ten songs, most under three minutes. The energy is steady and doesn’t fan out towards the end or slump on some slow songs. Unfortunately, this caused me to zone out a lot and I had to re-listen to the album a lot to really feel I’d heard it. Through some research, I found out this is basically a band called Bernays Propaganda without the female singer, so if you like this, that might be up your alley as well. –Rene Navarro (Moonlee)


WICCANS:
Skullduggery: LP
East Coast-influenced hardcore from the western part of the U.S. At least that’s what I’m assuming since some of the band members also play in Wax Museums and Bad Sports (both from Texas). The vocalist does a better job of doing Roger Miret vocals than Roger Miret and, aside from the fact that they’re not exactly breaking any new musical ground in the world of hardcore punk, this isn’t bad at all. My only problem with this record is that a full length is a bit too much to handle in one sitting. You know, kinda like when you order a large pizza but all you really wanted was a slice or two. Sometimes there really can be too much of a good thing. –Juan Espinosa (Katorga Works)


WHITE ORANGE:
Self-titled: CD
The hippie-dippy cover art and the “RIYL” sticker on the back point in the direction of stoner rock, and I can totally see where they might fit into that pigeonhole, what with the loud geetars and sludgy tempos. I do think it might be a bit of an uneasy fit, though, ‘cause based on the songs presented here, they’ve also got a knack for marrying hypnotic chord progressions to some occasionally potent pop hooks. The resulting songs sometimes sound more along the lines of a noise rock band shoving their inner pop darlings through a very rough sieve. Dunno if the pot-addled Sabbath freaks’ll find this to their liking, but they do have the seeds of something potentially interesting going on here. –jimmy (Made in China)


WAR OF WORLDS:
Dim World Act III: LP
Anthemetic hardcore with loads of posi-sounding backup vocals. The riffs are not straightforward HC all the way. The album is reminiscent of a time when bands were trying to get away from power chord dominance. Not quite “GO!,” but “PRO-CEDE!” People into post-speed Revelation bands would probably dig this. Not my thing, but well executed. –Billups Allen (New England Standard)


VOIVOD:
Warriors of Ice: CD
I don’t think I’ve ever listened to Voivod before, but I’ve heard about them for years. That being said, I don’t think this album was made for me. As is the case with most live albums, my guess is that this is for the diehard fans. Voivod is a Quebecois act and the album was recorded live in Montreal in 2009, hence almost all of the banter in between songs is in French, even though the band sings in English. The fifteen songs on here clock in at about seventy-five minutes, so if you’re a fan you will be getting your money’s worth. However, I can’t say this did much for me—it’s what you’d expect from a metal band that never quite broke through, that has been around for almost thirty years, and aren’t Slayer. –kurt (Sonic Unyon Metal)


VICTIMS:
A Dissident: LP
I’ve somehow slept on this band for a long time. I have their split with From Ashes Rise (which is great), but just never picked up anything by them since, so I can’t make comparisons to their albums in the interim. However, I’m happy to hear that not a whole lot has changed since that split in 2003, and these guys are still churning out heavy, melodic crust. The production here is pretty slick, but with all the guitar parts swelling in and out and playing off each other, it’s justified. The songs are typical d-beat fare, but if you know what you’re getting into it’s a good listen. –Ian Wise (Tankcrimes)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
We’re All in This Together: LP
A hardcore punk comp here with four tracks each from Triple X, MDC, Hanker Hoax Haphazard, Asspiss, and Crackbox. Music’s good, but the advertisements stuffed in for good measure—one for the Institute for Anarchist studies, one for Asspiss’ Fuck Off and Die seven-inch, one for the label’s other releases, an Asspiss stencil, and a patch with the label’s logo on it ostensibly so some punker can give ‘em some free advertising at a show—seems a bit capitalist-overkill, considering this looks to be some sorta anarchist-themed release. Then again, the white vinyl and great cover art’s gotta get paid for somehow, I guess. –jimmy (Suburban White Trash)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Kill Rock Stars: LP
This is a special limited Record Store Day version of Kill Rock Stars’ first release, to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the record and the label. That many of the bands on this comp are now considered “legendary,” or “classic,” is a testament to how smart the folks at Kill Rock Stars were at putting together a collection of some of the best bands of the era. Featuring tracks from Melvins, Bikini Kill, Nirvana, Nation Of Ulysses, Mecca Normal, and others, this album is more than just a document capturing a particular era of music, it is also a collection of some of the best music of all time. Fans of great independent music of any stripe owe it to themselves to add this comp to their collection. I can’t recommend this enough –Paul J. Comeau (Kill Rock Stars)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Crack Rock City Volume II: CD
Seriously, if there’s a Crack Rock City Volume III, I’m buying a gun, finding some kinda bell tower, and people are gonna die. (So, yeah, I wrote the previous sentence like a month ago, and it seems mighty fuckin’ insensitive in light of recent events in Norway. I obviously wouldn’t shoot anybody over a bad record. If you’re offended, get a life. This CD still sucks though.) –Ryan Horky (Pirated)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
City Limits: Down and Out in Toronto and Montreal: LP
Twenty-three songs by twenty-three bands who all hail from the fair cities of Toronto and Montreal, Canada. Plenty of household names (Career Suicide, Inepsy, Urban Blight, Brutal Knights, School Jerks, Burning Love) some eyebrow raisers (Mad Men, Foreign Bodies, Mature Situations) and um, the rest. Such is the curse of a compilation album with this many bands on it: too much filler. At first glance, the better-known bands make this record seem like a steal because, yes, the good songs are really fucking good. But upon closer inspection, the intent of giving some seemingly deserved, lesser-known newer bands some exposure doesn’t quite meet the standards set by their predecessors. Also, the fact that all the best songs are almost all on the first side of this platter makes me wish this were a single-sided LP. –Juan Espinosa (High Anxiety / No Idea)


TOUGH TITTIE:
Stomach Transplant: CD
Seriously, you’re going with that band name? Sigh. Well, all right. Oh, wait, you’re going with the artwork with the weird looking gnome guy who has arms for legs and hands for feet? And you’re calling the album Stomach Transplant? Really? You sure about that? Because you’re really not doing yourself any favors with any of this. All this being said, you can understand why I was crushed when it wouldn’t play in my CD player. –kurt (Self-released)


TOUCH ME SATAN:
Not Respecting the Dead: EP
Well, I’ve cleaned this record a few times and it still skips all over the place. From what I can hear, this is some pretty raw and primal punk. My favorite of the three, and I really wish I could hear it better, is “My First Time.” The creepy bass line really makes the song work. Argh... Really want to hear this more. –Matt Average (Artificial Limb Co.)


TOPLESS MONGOS:
Hey My My: 7” EP
Trashy rock ‘n’ roll, gloriously sloppy and oozing with charm. The instrumental “Theme from Human Centipede” is the clear pick here, but the other two are tracks equally deserving of much turntable time. –jimmy (Mammoth Cave Recording Co., mammothcaverecording.com)


TENEMENT:
Napalm Dream: LP/CD
I saw this band in DC a while back. Amos also played drums with Chinese Telephones at the show, in addition to fronting Tenement on vocals and guitar. He does double duty on this record too. Jesse Ponkamo is his partner in crime here, supplying cobra-like bass runs and an attitude that propels the tunes along. “Running into Mirrors” and “Simple Things (Can Seem So Involved)” are my favorites on this record. Is “Earwig” their tribute to Pegboy? You be the judge. Think early Replacements mixed with Hüsker Dü circa Zen Arcade and we’re entering the same ballpark. Fantastic songs from Wisconsin’s favorite sons. –koepenick (Mandible / Hang Up)


TERRORISTS, THE:
Shoot It Up: CD
Sloppy, primitive punk with lyrics tackling subjects like being broke, doing drugs, prostitution, holding onto a girlfriend who prostitutes herself for drugs, S&M, being an outcast, and the stupidity of supporting troops that are essentially paid mercenaries anymore, the latter of which will likely cause a shit storm in this age of blind patriotism if anyone pays any attention to ‘em. Great hand-decorated cover artwork, too. –jimmy (Fucked Up Recordz)


TEENAGE LOVE 13:
Street Zombie: CD
These guys play their rock in a Dead Boys/Ramones vein. That’s all fine and good, but there is a million and one bands rocking in a Dead Boys/Ramones vein and there is nothing here to separate them from the pack. –ty (teenagelove13.com)


SEVEN SISTERS OF SLEEP:
Self-titled: 12”
This band’s name betrayed my expectations of some hybrid black metal/doom metal mash up (seven as in the Seven Churches album by Possessed and “sleep” as in Sleep who got their name from a Black Sabbath song.) There are some obvious nods at stoner, metal, and satanic influences, which is very promising, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t culminate into the memorable slab of wax that I was hoping for. It’s more like the result of a night spent smoking weed out of a crushed can, listening to Eyehategod and Brainoil. It’s fun but I’m not going to remember much of it later. –Juan Espinosa (A389)


SERENGHETTO:
Self-titled: CD
I hate writing reviews when my girlfriend is around, because she always tries to out-review me. The thing is, a lot of times she succeeds. For example, I was blasting this Serenghetto disc and she said, “I like this, but I don’t know how to describe it.” I described it as art punk. She then one-upped me and said, “It’s AmRep-y without even knowing what AmRep is.” That’s pretty accurate. AmRep-y without being self-consciously AmRep-y… and with a better sense of humor. –mp (Self-released)


SWEAR JAR:
Cuss: LP
Gleefully raucous. A halting, yowling, tightly-wound mess. There’s a whole lot of namedropping in the one-sheet, and a few of them actually seem fairly accurate to this listener: I do hear a few nods to the unabashed structural weirdness and tomfoolery of NoMeansNo, and the crazed bombast of Jesus Lizard. On songs like “Bury My Body,” they go for a more traditional garage rock approach (there’s even a few palm mutes in there!) but, for the most part, it’s crooked, rawboned, dirty shit. They never quite match the full-blown intensity of either band, but they come pretty close. The recording’s slightly murky, but a band like Swear Jar may not benefit all that much from everything brought into the light and examined under a microscope. Their particular vision is not my thing at all, but it’s still a reasonably realized one. Not bad. –keith (Phratry)


RUDE CITY RIOT:
Nothin’ but Time: CD
Quasi-tough guy pop punk/ska stuff. Still makes me laugh out loud when I see non-cholos trying to dress the part, in this case what looks to be their singer front and center on the cover with slicked back hair and only the top two buttons of his shirt buttoned up. Can’t tell if he’s wearin’ Stacy’s shined like mirrors, though. Orale. –jimmy (Stomp, stomprecords.com, distributed in Canada by Warner Bros Canada)


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