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Razorcake #87


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Record Reviews

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HUMANS, THE:
Pop!: 7” EP
The Humans aren’t reinventing the 12-bar blues here, but they’re using it to burst out some fierce garage rock. This is fun times with four songs. You gotta love the humorous sleeve art for this 7”, which has a comic of a woman popping her zit. Good times. –N.L. Dewart (The Humans)


HUB CITY STOMPERS:
Ska Ska Black Sheep: CD
Horrible cover art, a regrettable album title, and something immediately off-putting about the drum and guitar sound on the recording. I can’t say it got much better from there. Ska ranging from fast paced with slight metal influences to traditional rock steady and dub.  Nothing struck me as utterly horrible for the genre, but nothing above mediocre that I am drawn to listen to again. The lyrics offer no redemption and the chip-on-the-shoulder tone of the liner notes is likewise a turnoff. –Jake Shut –Guest Contributor (Stubborn, stubbornrecords.com )


HOMOSTUPIDS:
Self-titled: LP
This emerges somewhere between the Spits and the Tyrades, and those familiar with what’s lurking beneath those rocks—the dark digestion, the cool heat, the wiggling obscured from far above—may say, “That sounds incompatible.” The Spits and the Tyrades both employ the tactic of “Music as fight,” and the Homostupids take angular, bent wires of songs, like a hand-unwound coat hanger, and then they mercilessly beat the listener about the neck, shoulders, face, and delicates. It’s a type of garage rock that comes with its own set of weapons and this record’s an unrelenting, solid mass. Bathe it in blood and score it as another target hit by the ‘Stupids. –Todd Taylor (My Mind’s Eye)


HÖLLEY 750:
Death Machine: CDEP
The band’s name comes from a famed carburetor and they self-describe themselves as “trucker punk.” This six-song EP reminds me of a slower Limecell or Cocknoose, and it’s hard not to raise a hairy fist in the air as the songs plod on. Jamie Desoto’s growly vocals are notably expressive and there’s a dedicated “we mean it” vibe to it all that rises to the surface on every track. The song title “Guns and/or Knives” might be tongue-in-cheek, but the seedy lyrics are seriously awesome. –Art Ettinger (Zodiac Killer)


HOLDING ON TO SOUND:
Songs of Freedom: CD
At first, these guys struck me as being fairly Propaghandi-influenced, since this came off as kind of prog-y and political, but there’s touches of bands like Bridge And Tunnel, or The Exit. It’s pretty cool, though it runs kind of long at times, with songs coming in at over five minutes (which is cool if you’re like, Coltrane, but I get restless when it comes to punk). But, there is a song called “Kurt Russell,” which is pretty rad. –Joe Evans III (Geykido Comet)


HOLDING ON TO SOUND:
Self-titled: CD
This is bad reggae punk that sounds like it was made by really young kids in their first band. Were this the case, I’d cut them a break, but the dudes in the photos look a lot older than that, so no dice. The songs seem interminable even though they aren’t really that long, and the vocalist sometimes sings with fake patois. Skip this one. –Ryan Horky (No label listed)


HJERTESTOP:
Aarh Fuck...: EP
Okay, this is the domestic pressing of their EP that originally came out in 2005 on Kick N Punch, then Adult Crash. There’s a Young Wasteners and Incontrollados connection here, and this band is of the same style: old style punk from Denmark. If you like stuff like City-X, and the Razorblades, or even a semi recent band like No Hope For The Kids, then you need to get this. Hjertestop pull off the retro sound with ease. The songs are tuneful, catchy, and well structured and played. I think my favorite of this record is “Vi Er Overalt” with its hyper tempo and classic guitar sound. Then there’s the song that kicks off the flip, “Ind I Lejren” that’s pretty ripping as well. Hell, this whole record rips. They switch up the tempos, create some tension, and pace this thing properly throughout. More than a mere collection of songs, this is a solid EP. I heard these guys played the L.A. area not too long ago. Come back so I can see you guys. I’ll take you to Punky Reggae Party when the show is done! Hjertestop translates to “heart failure.” Whoa! –Matt Average (Fashionable Idiots, fashionableidiots.com)


HINDI GUNS, THE:
(Many Many) Miles Away b/w Loaded Gun: CD
I’m a little confused by these guys. I’ve reviewed ‘em a handful of times by now, and it’s pretty much always the same: kind of weird rock, usually two or four songs at a time (and one “Rarities” collection). The discs are always made out to look exactly like vinyl. There really isn’t any updated information on them, and can’t seem to tell if they play out live much or not. I just feel like there’s some sort of “agenda” here, but I don’t know what. WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO PULL, HINDI GUNS? –Joe Evans III (French Fan Club, no address)


HICKOIDS:
Waltz a-Cross-Dress Texas: CD
The Hickoids were one of those bands like the Dead Milkmen who straddled the fence between novelty band and punk band. It was clear from the tunes that they didn’t take themselves too seriously and yet, obviously, put some thought into what they were doing. The music on this reissue does nothing to sway that assessment, with tunes that poke fun at whatever’s nearest to them at the time with enough cowboy punker twang to satisfy any Lama-sportin’ Mohican looking to dive off the stage. “Queen of the BBQ” still brings a smile to my face. –Jimmy Alvarado (Saustex)


HERE COMES A BIG BLACK CLOUD!!:
“Black Mold” b/w “Psychic Violence”: 7”
Chaotic, skittering, in-the-red, energetic and organ-infested: I wouldn’t call it a mess because it sounds like they know what they’re doing. Also straddles the new and the old, so a mix between the Mummies (the garage elements) and The Peppermints (really worked-up zombies on LSD) wouldn’t be too far a field. Comes with 3D glasses, but the seahorse on the cover doesn’t pop out at me as much as I hoped it would. –Todd Taylor (Stankhouse, myspace.com/stankhouserecords)


HEATH DEADGER:
Self-titled: Cassette
Musically competent thrash punk played with precision and utter disdain for any vocal performance that contains even a hint of actual melody. Not something to throw on at your next BBQ. But “So Black Jesus Has Descended” has a nice beat and you can dance to it, so what the hell do I know? –Sean Koepenick (self-released)


HAWKS AND DOVES:
Hush Money/I’m on Fire: 7”
Acoustic-based single from an ex member of Planes Mistaken For Stars. Man, this really seems to be the gruff punk retirement plan. Alongside how many members of assorted beard punk related bands comes another single that is stripped down to basics. One thing about this style is that someone will live and die by their songwriting; there is no distortion or volume to drown things out. This record is not nearly up to the level of something like Drag The River or Tim Barry and covering Bruce Springsteen is never a good idea—particularly a popular song such as the one here. It just seems to be setting yourself up for disappointment. This is probably as good as most of this style, and fans of the stripped down ex-punker style will find a lot to like here, I suppose. –Mike Frame (No Idea)


HARLEQUIN KID:
Self-titled: Cassette
The insert for this release keeps the band’s story shrouded in mystery, other than that they like pictures of really old, beat-to-shit cars. But they actually look like fine young men from Appleton, WI online. This five-song EP starts off with the sludge rock of “Deer Slayer.” Side one ends with “Don’t Help Me Up,” which strikes me as dipping into the Killdozer pool, which I have no problem with at all. “Drown the Sun” blurs the crosshairs between Volcano Suns and Bastro. Promising debut slab, guys. Let’s see where next year’s extended play tape takes us. –Sean Koepenick (self-released)


HEX DISPENSERS:
Winchester Mystery House: CD
The Hex Dispensers are the magic bullet. What they pull off is so fraught with potential failure, that the fact that they are any better than passable is a cause for celebration. Let’s establish some early facts: the Hex Dispensers are great and they’ve made their best album yet. Let me explain some larger implications. Bands of Danzig ripper-off-er-ers are clowns. Here’s a fun thing to do. For every devil-locked spook who’s taking themselves a wee bit too seriously at their respective musical duties, I just imagine them with bright red noses, big-ass shoes, and oversized ties. For every skeleton-handed glove, I imagine bright pink polka dots. If you’re asking me to willingly suspend belief that the Misfits never existed and what you’re doing has one iota of a creative spark, I might as well have fun with it. But the Hex Dispensers, although they tread in the operatic darker lands of music’s psyche, they do it with an Edward Gorey precision and a Tales from the Crypt style of understanding of both blood spatters and the psychology of titillating terror. They’re both simultaneously paranoid and dance party of the apocalypse-sounding, filtered through the dark charcoal of years playing in small bars and backyards. The album ends with a kick-ass cover of Devo’s “Gates of Steel.” If you’re on a tight budget, and can only buy a couple of records this year, here’s one of my top recommendations. –Todd Taylor (Douchemaster)


HEX DISPENSERS, THE:
Winchester Mystery House: LP
I was dragged kicking and screaming into the “garage punk” world, being entirely suspicious of the genre’s good-timey nature and undeniable image consciousness. Thankfully, I ended up coming across a handful of bands that I truly love, and The Hex Dispensers are right at the top of that short list. I liked their first LP quite a bit, but I was completely blown away by both the Lose My Cool and My Love Is a Bat 7”s. Winchester Mystery House, their second LP, has torn my head clean off. This is the band’s fastest, darkest, and most memorable stuff to date, hands down. The verses are as catchy as the choruses, the music is more melodic yet somehow more evil sounding, and the vocal performance is absolutely killer. As far as I’m concerned, The Hex Dispensers put the rest of their currently über-hip sub-genre to shame. Awesome. –Dave Williams (Alien Snatch)


GUITAR BOMB:
Happy Hour at the Silverado: CD
Fairly minimalist bluesy bar rock. I liked some of the older stuff, but at this point, the sleaze shtick kind of wore thin on me. Case in point: The Minor Threat “cover,” of “Straight Edge” that tries to pull the switcharoo, even though he’s actually playing “Out of Step.” GET OUT OF MY DISC MAN. –Joe Evans III (Crafty/Rockparka, rockparkrecords.com)


GRANNIES, THE:
Hot Flashes: CD
Swaggering rock’n’roll stuff with some of the edges scraped off by an otherwise great Endino mix. Sorry, but bands like this need an extra layer of grime. –Jimmy Alvarado (Wondertaker)


GOVERNMENT ISSUE:
The Punk Remains the Same: CDEP
Five tunes, recorded live in their prime circa 1982-83. Seems a measly amount of tuneage for a CD, but, apparently, it is also on 7”, so it makes more sense. If you dig ‘em, you’ll definitely dig this, but if you don’t know who they are, you seriously gotta go back and catch up with this venerable hardcore band’s back catalog. I suggest you start with the Legless Bull EP, collected on Dischord’s Year in Seven Inches compilation, or the Complete History Vol. 1 collection on Dr. Strange and progress forward. Oh, and yes, a version of “Sheer Terror” is on here. –Jimmy Alvarado (DC Jam)


GOOD LUCK:
Into Lake Griffy: LP
Man, I totally hate it when I get a record to review that’s good, but just not my thing. Good Luck’s Into Lake Griffy is an example of that. Well recorded, very crisp, I guess I’d just call it rock (or maybe “alt rock,” if I could avoid getting my ass kicked for doing so), but it’s got a lot of poppiness to it, so maybe it’s more pop. Kind of reminded me of Ted Leo, although that’s not exactly right. I wasn’t super into the male vocals. I preferred the female vocals or when they sang together. Guitar seemed to be very good—some fret board dynamics in there that reminded me of the guitar playing in bands and by people such as Silian Rail, Manacle, Kaki King, etc. —that kind of style (which seems to be really making a comeback lately). Although, granted, I am being quite broad in that description, and I know very little about guitar playing, so please cut me some slack! Thanks. Some of the songs had rousing choruses that lent themselves towards a folky, punk rock sing-a-long. I can see why people would like it—it has fun parts (particularly “Come Home”) and the lyrics read to me pretty optimistic about living, taking chances, friendships, and other relationships. I think they’re a good band, just not for me. Liked the cover, with its pointillism sky, lacey mountains, and water. Really pretty green vinyl. –Jennifer Federico (No Idea)


GONZALES:
Checkmate: CD
Gonzales are full-tilt, hard-rockin’ Spaniards whose blasting tuneage had me enthralled from start to finish. But a burning question remains: are Gonzales a hard rock band with punk rock influence, or is it the other way around? And while I’m at it, why do so many great European bands make me ask this question? This is rock’n’roll done in a way that Americans oftentimes seem to be incapable of pulling off—all the bark and all the bite, but very little of that pretentious “look at me; I’m a cock-rock star” sensibility. Dark and dirty bars, bad smells, and a hurricane of cheap beer would be the appropriate auditory environment for this band, based on what the record holds. I suspect (and hope) Gonzales would agree. Great friggin’ record. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Chorus Of One, chorusofonerecords.it)


GONE TO CROATAN:
They: 7”
Bass and drum grind violence with noodly parts. Side A is fast and farty, and the absence of a guitar is felt. The flip side slows down, stretches out, and fucks your mind. Play it loud, for it will truly flip out the squares. And hey, it’s hard not to like a record that features a photo of Jesus with an alien face. –CT Terry (Eolian)


GOLDEN TRIANGLE:
Self-titled: 7”
Oh boy, I am into this record. Yay! Fantastic. The strumming of the guitar—so I’d say it’s not only the way it sounds, but the way it seems to be played—reminded me right away of Thee Oh Sees. The music itself is also pretty garage-y, but I think the reason I’m into it is the weirdness factor, which has a lot to do with the vocals. There seems to be a male and a female singer—the female singer, who I understand used to be in Angry Angles with Jay Reatard, sounds to me like some kind of blonde-haired, all-American, corn-fed sweetheart on a break from the Polyphonic Spree to play some dirty rock’n’roll (although I’d wager the mental image does not very well match the reality). What I think is a male singer—it sounds like one, although I’ve learned there are actually two female singers in the band—didn’t really seem to sing as much as he seemed to mumble around in an escaped mental patient kind of way. I felt there was a very Manson family kind of quality to the songs, albeit a very catchy Manson family. Excellent collage on the cover. Love it. –Jennifer Federico (Rob’s House, robshouserecords.com)


GOLDEN AGE, THE:
Unlock Yourself: CD
I really feel like this style of melodic hardcore (Strike Anywhere-esque leads and octave chords, loads of gang vocals, etc.) has its sights set on a very particular age group—an age group that I grew out of some time ago. I get the attraction to this kind of thing (and don’t get me wrong, The Golden Age do it very well), but I prefer my hardcore to be a little less, I dunno—accessible, maybe? I’m a hardcore kid through and through, but I need some seething rage and this just comes across as mildly annoyed. –Dave Williams (Panic)


GODDAMN GALLOWS, THE:
Gutterbilly Blues, Ghost of the Rails: CD
Slightly above average psychobilly with just enough “roots” in the mix to help ‘em rise a bit above the heap. Really not much of a fan of this style at this point, and neither these albums or their cover of the Mummies’ “Planet of the Apes” help to change that, but I can see how others might appreciate ‘em. –Jimmy Alvarado (GBC, no address)


GLUE!:
Self-titled: EP
Glue! hail from Olympia, WA. However, their sound has more in common with Revolution Summer DC bands than it does Sleater-Kinney. I can hear the simple yet solid song writing of Gray Matter as well as the more discordant moments of Rites Of Spring. Contemporary comparisons would be the darker sounds coming from their neighbors to the north in Portland such as The Estranged and a little bit of Harum Scarum’s vocals. I hate to admit it, but I don’t always read a band’s lyrics (assuming they’re provided) because—more often than not—I get bored halfway through. Such was not the case this time. They sure know how to paint a picture of frustration, disappointment, and emptiness in such a manner that I found myself actually paying attention for once. Four songs that I recommend listening to while you’re simultaneously pissed, bored, and drinking. –Juan Espinosa (Rumbletowne)


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