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Razorcake #86
Wailing Of a Town, by Craig Ibarra
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Pale Angels, Imaginary People LP
Toys That Kill / Joyce Manor, Split 7"


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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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BURNITDOWNS, THE:
We’re Not the Things We’ve Done: CD
Album artwork is admirable, but then again, I like anything with an eye patch. In this album, you will find an unlikely, but commendable, combo of country, punk, and hootenanny with some unexpected input from a banjo and a glockenspiel. I’m hearing fun, enthusiastic tunes with solid heart. –Corinne (Rubber Factory, rubberfactoryrecords.com)


BREAK IT DOWN:
Three Songs: CD
This is not really hardcore, it’s more like late ‘90s Epitaph generic Pennywise-sounding stuff. The music isn’t really heavy, but there is occasional chugga chugga that might sound a bit more raw live. That still wouldn’t change the fact that the lyrics say very common things phrased in common ways. It was recorded very cleanly, there are guitar leads and all that kind of stuff, but nothing really sounds heavy or, like, you know, hardcore except for the last minute of the last song which is the saving moment for this demo. The vocals are what really don’t do it for me. One moment he sounds like he’s going for the Jello Biafra thing, then its just generic pop punk vocals, then gravelly punk vocals, then hardcore vocals. From song one to three, the vocals go up a notch in terms of what I enjoy. There would still have to be one more notch up in the vocals, then two notches down in the recording quality for me to be truly stoked on this. –Rene Navarro (myspace.com/breakitdownhardcore)


BLACK100S, THE:
Fins: CD
It’s probably just me being a jerk, but I can’t help but wonder why people take on “full band names” when it’s clearly just one person. That said, I make big deals out of nothing at times. This is solo acoustic type stuff that skirts the line between solo blues and folk. It’s not bad, though it starts to drag after a while, and while people into this kind of scene would probably be more into it, I’d probably like it more as an EP. –Joe Evans III (Self-released)


BIBLBROZZ:
Jeste Se Toci?: CD
Simple ‘82-style hardcore punk with a fork-tongued mohawk skull on the CD and face-melting guitar solos. Made extra badass by the lyrics being in Czech. –CT Terry (Papagajuv Hlasetel)


BERNAYS PROPAGANDA:
My Personal Holiday: CD
This band is from Macedonia. The lyrics (I hope I am correct) are half in Macedonian and half in English. The Macedonian lyrics are translated in the liner notes in English. The music is that dancier, edgier version of the new wave revival that is going around. Lots of ‘80s-sounding hi-hat work underlined with distorted guitar riffs that weren’t used so much in the ‘80s. The vocalist has a sort of Missing Persons quality to her voice. That’s the best part to me. The music is not bad for what it is, but not that interesting, either. –Billups Allen (Moonlee)


BRAMBLE:
H.A.G.S. EP: CDEP
This six-song EP started off with an acoustic guitar flourish and I hoped it was just an intro and would bust into some major contrast with some raging punk rock. But alas, no. Bongo drums kicked in and more acoustic instruments. The rest of the music continued to horrify me as some sort of dreadful noodley, hippy, dream-pop dreadfulness. There are no electrified instruments on the album, which is simply something I cannot accept. I made myself listen to it once all the way through out of service to the readers of Razorcake and then bits and pieces the next day to verify that my listening experience was not a horrible patchouli-soaked nightmare. Printed on the CD are the words “have a good summer” so it is ironic that this is the worst piece of music I have listened to this season, and for a half hour in August made my summer much less enjoyable. –Jake Shut (Self-released)


BRAINS:
Zombie Nation: CD
Pretty standard horror-themed rockabilly. I’m not exactly in love with the thousand bands that sound just like this one (who all, it seems, also have songs called “Evil Never Dies” and “We Will Rise”), so I can’t get too psyched about this disc, no matter how many pictures of half-naked zombettes are included in the album art. –MP Johnson (NMG)


BANDAR LOG, THE:
AK-747: CD
So the insert to this CD has a picture of some honky in khakis and a safari helmet wielding a huge modern machine gun. There beside him, a missile is imbedded in the ground, then off to the right there’s what appears to be a bunch of African natives with spears. Above all of this is an ambiguous use of a quote by literature’s most famous imperialist Rudyard Kipling from The Jungle Booksabout “Monkey-Folk who live in the trees,” called the Bandar-Log. So what is a socially conscious music reviewer to do? Pick apart all the songs to find out where they might be going with such imagery and figure out if it’s simply culturally insensitive or if they actually might be making a progressive political statement? Probably. But since this is crappy alternative rock, which nobody who found their way into this fanzine would touch with a ten foot pole, I’ll save myself the time. –Craven (no info)


BAKESYS, THE:
Return to the Planet of the Bakesys!: CD
I’m pretty open to all genres of music but, admittedly, whenever I have some ska come my way, I can’t help but think “Why?” Fortunately, this is more two tone similar to The Specials than “crazy ska punk,” so it’s not unbearable. Unfortunately, it’s a lot mellower and less energetic than The Specials, which is one of the reasons I like that band in the first place. And even though it’s a live record, there’s hardly any crowd noise in between songs! It’s still good if you’re that into ska in 2010, though. –Joe Evans III (Do The Dog)


BAD AMERICAN:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Thrashy stuff that ain’t silly fast, but they definitely exude enough anger to leave you feeling like you just got yer ass handed to ye. –Jimmy Alvarado (Bad American)


BACKLINERS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Web searches revealed that this is not the Backliners from Hollywood. Nor are these gents the Backliners from Springfield, Illinois. These are the Backliners from Tel Aviv, Israel, and they fucking rock. The musical formula is fairly standard: fast tempos, buzz-saw guitars, and snotty, aggressive vocals, but it sounds fresh every step of the way. If you’re into sounds the likes of the Riverdales, Nobodys, or Zero Boys, this should be a welcome addition to yer collection. It may take a bit of work to find ‘em online (their Myspace address differentiates them from other Backliners with a z at the end of their name), but these dudes are worth the effort. –The Lord Kveldulfr (myspace.com/thebacklinerz)


ARCTIC FLOWERS:
Self-titled: 7”
Please keep in mind that this review is being filtered through the drunken near-epiphany-like experience I had seeing Arctic Flowers at Chaos In Tejas back in May. Sure, I could barely stand but I was snared and dragged in. I honestly didn’t see how this record could possibly live up to that moment. It does... and then some. As soon as the needle hit the groove, I was mesmerized. The rhythm section locks you into the song and the guitar rips you apart. The vocals begin and the last piece falls into place. The best thing about the three songs here is the true sense of desperation, anger, fear, and depression that comes across without resorting to screaming. Vocalist Alex has a beautiful voice and even when it seems like she’s right on the edge, she still keeps it together. More records please (and come play somewhere near me)! –Ty Stranglehold (myspace.com/arcticflowerspdx)


ANOMALYS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Every now and then you run into a disc that makes you wanna see, rather than hear, the band that’s doin’ the hootin’ and hollerin’. The feral, almost atonal raunch these kids are putting down here makes this just such a disc. Sorta reminds me of mid-’60s beat stuff as interpreted by the Pagans or something—wild, primal, and mere millimeters from becoming completely unhinged, which is exactly how rock’n’roll should be. –Jimmy Alvarado (Slovenly, no address)


AN HISTORIC:
Ephemeral Stampede: CD-R
There are two camps of European folk-inspired contemporary music. The first include the bands and musicians who thoroughly enjoy the music of their fatherlands and wish to modernize the culture to allow greater access to the general public. The second consists of kids who listen to Flogging Molly and Gogol Bordello thinking themselves clever for being a band that pretends to have a wide worldview. I honestly don’t know which section Adam Matlock of An Historic should be placed in. He certainly seems more sincere about this music than most of the specimens I’ve ever seen. His arrangements are clever in parts and lead me to think he’s just a boy from 1930s New York longing to go back to his village in some small country that will soon become assimilated by the looming threat of the communist regime. If this is what he was going for, amazing job. –Bryan Static (Self-released)


ALL NIGHT DRUG PROWLING WOLVES:
Make It Right: LP
This record starts off in a mid-tempo fashion with lots of overtones of bouncy ‘77 punk and Brit pub rock. Clear influences from Stiff Little Fingers, Sham 69, and The Jam along with plenty of hooks and choruses that soar. By the time the fourth track hits, things slow down a bit and more Americana influences become prevalent, made even more pronounced by the presence of organ which continues to play a role in most of the other songs. The vocals by frontman Tom Cheshire are two parts Jon Langford of Mekons and Waco Brothers fame and one part Joe Strummer with a ragged working class timbre that fits the music appropriately. Sometimes it strays a bit too far from pub rock to heartland rock. On the balance, it made for more-than-tolerable listening experience as a reviewer, yet did not peak my interest enough to give me a desire to seek out any other releases by All Night Drug Prowling Wolves. –Jake Shut (The Gospel Of Rhythm)


ACTORS & ACTRESSES:
Arrows: LP

The first full length from this trio out of Kansas City continues wending on the path of shoegazer dreamrock. More structurally complex than their previous effort, AAA manages to create space with reverberating, echoing down tempo tones reminding me of Sigur Ros and Mogwai meets Radiohead’s OK Computer. “Murder” and “Hello Tornado” take a dismal turn hitting deeper chords and showcasing Scott Bennett’s velvety vocals that rival Trent Reznor. Destined to be in the festival circuit, keep an eye on these guys. If you dig the aforementioned bands, be ahead of the learning curve and pick this up.

–Kristen K (Mylene Sheath)


WIGHEAD:
The William and Edward Frontage: 7” EP
I see a bright future for ‘em on KXLU’s regular rotation list. Those kids can’t resist quirky college rock tunes with banjos, slide whistles, ukes, and such. –Jimmy Alvarado (wigheadcentral.com)


WHITE PAGES:
Demo: Cassette
This is exactly the type of sound I imagine when I think of demo tapes: thrashy garage punk. It’s very weak sounding, recording wise. The guitar is full of treble and the mics can’t handle the drums, but I can’t take it too seriously because I am pretty sure the band doesn’t either. I mean when you end a song with a line like, “When I think about it now it’s like I sucked my ex-girlfriend’s brother’s dick,” it makes me pretty convinced I’m only supposed to listen to this once, perhaps laugh nervously, and then forget about it. Joke’s on you though, because I listened to it twice. –Bryan Static (Self-released)


WE LANDED ON THE MOON!:
These Little Wars: CD
This album has been lounging around in my review stack for a short lifetime, and now I regret not checking it out earlier. We Landed on the Moon! turns out uncluttered ‘90s-style indie rock that contains hints of low-key pop punk. (Rilo Kiley and Lemuria make credible reference points.) Loads of tender touches are scattered through These Little Wars: lush, splashy synth jump-starts “The Night Was Open,” guitars get sprightly on “Mirror, Mirror,” spunky handclaps adorn “Re: Your Letter,” and “Washing for Weeks” flutters like a melancholic prom night lullaby. Although this Baton Rouge five-piece’s tracks are tight and refined, front woman Melissa Eccles’s voice is what stands out here. Using a breathy, feminine call, she’s good at playing angsty without coming off as weak, and her wispy notes reach a tender peak at the close of “Washing for Weeks.” Recently, We Landed has been putting together some new work, and I don’t plan on sitting on their next album. –Reyan Ali (myspace.com/welandedonthemoon)


WAYWARD, THE:
Alzheimer’s: 7” EP
Skronky noise rock with all the intricate noodling, screamy vocals ‘n’ such. Good version on Birthday Party’s “The Friend Catcher” on the flip. –Jimmy Alvarado (forcefieldrecords.org)


VEM BRURSIG?:
Va Fan E Re Nu Ra?: 7” EP
With the help of Google translate, this is what I was able to suss about this, however incorrect it may ultimately be: This Swedish band was initially active between 1979-81, which is the time period when these tunes were written, but weren’t recorded until 2009. They offer up two mid-tempo and two trot-paced punk tunes that sound about right for the time they were written. Good stuff on the whole, and they may (or may not) be back together. –Jimmy Alvarado (theeyeproduction.com)


VARSITY WEIRDOS:
Can’t Go Home: 2 x CD
Oh, my dearest Ramones. How I adored your utter brilliance, how I miss you now you’ve no chance of ever returning, and how I curse you for the endless scourge of lesser wits you inspired. –Jimmy Alvarado (It’s Alive)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
This Is Peterborough Too!: CD
Okay, here’s the deal: I’m an old punk fart, and as such I still get excited over compilations, especially regional ones. For much of my youth, compilations were the best—and sometimes the only—way to hear the greatest, most interesting stuff coming out of the little pockets of creativity spread across the planet. These days, however, this excitement more often than not gives way to utter disappointment ‘cause so many of ‘em are absolutely wretched anymore and too often serve as a cheap way for labels to hawk their wares rather than as proud statements of a scene’s existence. Still, every time I come across a comp in the piles, I light up and can’t wait to plop on what I hope will be a treasure trove of gems no longer hidden in the deepest recesses of the underground. So where does this comp stand, you ask? Well, of the nineteen bands presented here, all of whom apparently have some connection to this area in eastern England, only three were of the remotest interest: Angels Of Malice, Punky Rebel Media, and long-in-the-tooth and prolific punkers The Destructors. The rest cover every bad clichéd corner of the corporate-rebel faux underground revolution—mall punk, emo, plop pop, even aspiring heirs to Sigur Ros’s opiate-drenched dream throne. I’m really not trying to slag this off to be an asshole, and some here are better than others at what they do, but on the whole there really ain’t much here to elicit a response better than, “eh.” By the looks of this, a lot of work was definitely put into this, which shows they cared about what they were doing and kudos to ‘em. Thing is, I dunno if this is intended to be an honest attempt at showcasing the area’s finest or a statement on the deplorable condition of its so-called underground, ‘cause if this is the best Peterborough has to offer, they be in pretty dire fuckin’ straits. –Jimmy Alvarado (Rowdy Farrago, no address)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Rodentum: The Best of Roots Music IV: CD
This CD covers the broad spectrum of what could be called roots music. Country, blues, bluegrass, folk, circus/vaudeville-type stuff, it’s all here. Just like you might find on a Tom Waits album. Most of it has a sort of modern twist to it, ala 16 Horsepower or something of that sort. It’s done well, but nothing on here really grabs me. Personally, I’d rather just throw on a Tom Waits album. –Craven (Devil’s Ruin)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Punk Chartbusters Vol. 6: 2 x CD
I can’t believe this compilation series is still going. I looked in my collection to see which volume I had and it was Volume 3 from 1998. So that means I probably reviewed this in the Flipside days. Same as before, this is jam packed. Forty-eight bands that play forty-eight cover songs of more mainstream bands and artists. A lot to digest, but a fan of covers can always unearth a few gems amongst the mass. –Donofthedead (Wolverine)


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