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Razorcake #90
White Murder, both LPs
Treasure Fleet, The Sun Machine LP
Razorcake #89
White Murder, Form Early LP (CLEAR VINYL)


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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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BLACK FORK:
The First Fork Years: LP
No idea how I missed these guys when they were around and I was living up there. There, being the Bay Area. Friends and acquaintances would talk Black Fork up, and make it sound like some huge event. They’d often ask me about why I wasn’t at the show, and I didn’t even know about the show until well after the fact. What’s a person to do? Well, it’s been a good, long time since those days. Longer than I sometimes realize. But life and time have that way of moving fast, and when you get hep to that, it goes even faster. S’anyways, Mess Me Up has taken it upon themselves to release all of Black Fork’s EPs, demo, comp, and split material onto one twelve inch piece of blue vinyl. A good twenty-three songs that embody the EastBay punk sound. Sort of sounds like the spawn from the union of Blatz and Filth on that split they did nearly twenty years ago on Lookout. Snotty, ugly, belligerent, discordant, and somehow catchy. One listen of the rager, “Don’t Talk to Me” will have you hooked. It has all the elements of a classic punk song. Catchier than the swine flu, and lots of pure ‘tude. –Matt Average (Mess Me Up)


BLACK 100S, THE:
Out with the Stars: CD
Singer/songwriter, Thomas Handschiegel, is armed with an acoustic guitar and the blues. He strums somber songs from a stark landscape. His vocals don’t have much range, like the monotone purr of Leonard Cohen or the dreamy sighing of Nick Drake. Unlike them, Thomas’s voice lacks richness and, at times, sounds deliberately restrained, while, mechanically, his melodies are hit and miss. The ending of “The Lost Song” is restless and tight like his earlier work on “Cocksucker Blues,” but Thomas stopped there. On the other tracks, it sounds like he’s strumming more out of habit than passion. –Kristen K (Self-released)


BEHIND THE WAGON:
11 Songs by…: CD
This record reminds me of Biosphere II: a sealed-off world, filled with experiment, but a crack in the foundation. Some of the experiments work. Some of them don’t. I have the feeling that there are multiple songwriters in this band and they’re all tugging in different directions. For example, a single song, it goes from Replacements (yay!) to Blues Traveler (please, no. It’s not just the harmonica, but how it’s played.). Several songs go from a promising pole to a suspicious one. Behind The Wagon’s mode is mainly in the vein of punks-going-country, (Billy from Altaira is in it) and at its tightest and most focused, I get the self-assured strains of Whiskey & Co. and Ninja Gun. I say follow that long, dusty trail for a bit longer, put in some more miles, let the dust settle, and play it as simply as possible. –todd (myspace.com/behindthewagon)


BANNER PILOT:
Collapser: CD
This is album is in my top three of the year, for sure. Hell, it might be number one. I have the Pass the Poison EP, but somehow managed to miss Resignation Day. Collapser manages to feel comfortably familiar, yet still exciting and fresh. For the uninitiated, Banner Pilot is really gritty pop punk (think gravel vocals, heavy and really busy bass work that’s actually noticeable, tempos that never really dip below fast, and twin guitars that know how to play some excellent minor key stuff against power chords), with a low-key epic quality to it. It’s like every song is somehow the story of your life while it’s playing. Collapser sounds like the album I always hoped None More Black would make. The lyrics are really great too. They have a bit of the Weakerthans’ Great Plains desperation poetry mixed with Lifetime’s direct emotiveness. I would single out some tracks, but they’re all great. Get this, and if you don’t like it… well, much like the Grinch, your heart may be two sizes too small. –Adrian (Fat)


BANNER PILOT:
Collapser: CD
I think it’s safe to call this the “highly anticipated Fat Wreck” debut, right? While it’s not a drastic departure from anything they’ve done before (I hear the Jawbreaker and other influences still), there’s interesting little bits that throw you at first listen (“How’d they get the guitar to sound like that?” “This kind of reminds me of Superchunk”). Overall, it’s solid, though it has that weird “problem” where if I’m not careful, I’ll find myself listening to a few of my personal highlights over and over again (particularly “Central Standard,” “Pensacola,” and “Vacant Lot”) instead of just listening to the whole thing all the way through. I think this is their best sounding record yet. –joe (Fat Wreck)


BALANCE AND COMPOSURE:
Only Boundaries: 12” EP
Four songs of beefy emo rock, like prime Cursive, or the stuff that Revelation was releasing fifteen years ago. The musicianship is tight and the recording packs a punch and a crunch. The problem is, that while the music takes its cues from the highpoints of this much-maligned genre, the vocals are lifted wholesale from the radio emo of the last five years. The lead singer is whiney, and some dipstick screams in the background every now and then. Making matters worse, the vocals are super loud in the mix. It’s a shame, because the music shows a lot of promise; it’s just sunk by what Mr. Burns on The Simpsons would describe as “off-key caterwauling.” –CT Terry (No Sleep, nosleeprecs.com)


BAD SPORTS:
Self-titled: LP
Bad Sports sound as if they’ve been having late night, after work meetings discussing the finer points of the Nerves and the Urinals over half a carton of smokes and a case of: insert the name of your favorite cheap domestic beer here. Early Ramones also isn’t merely a reference here. It’s a way of life. And the Sports clearly adhere to that motto. This record gets better with every listen. –Juan Espinosa (Douche Master)


BAD BLOOD REVIVAL:
Tongue Twisting Tunes for Tiny Tots: LP
This initially reminded me of Stupid Party, with their stoner and grungy inclinations, yet pretty different because of their seeming penchant for some of the noisier, more abrasive Touch & Go catalog titles (e.g., Jesus Lizard). Then I found out that they toured with Stupid Party recently. It made sense, for sure. Another thing that I think I read (maybe in an interview that Daryl sent me with somebody, maybe somewhere else) BBR was formerly just Bad Blood. I believe that they augmented their name after a line-up change; so if you’ve been keeping an eye out for the Bad Blood full-length, I do believe that this is what you are looking for. And I don’t blame you for keeping an eye out, as it is pretty heavy and intense. Dead Broke has done some decent stuff, but this is one of the more interesting releases I have seen from them, without a doubt. I’m liking it quite a bit. –Vincent Battilana (Dead Broke)


AUTONOMADIC:
Gift of the Sun: CD
A poppy punk band that appears to have more on its mind than girls, drinking, and farting, which immediately places them a cut above their peers. The singer sounds like he’s been listening to Rancid a wee bit too much, though. –jimmy (Bleeding Ear, no address)


ASPIRIN:
We Do Painkilling to Your Anger: 7"
Holy smokes! Where does Schizophrenic find these obscure Japanese bands? (Not that I’m an expert on the Japanese scene.) A no-holds-barred band that goes straight for the attack. They waste no time going for speed and anger while taking short breathers to show they can rock at points. Manic thrash is the focus and I can’t believe the Japanese language can be screamed at this pace. Add that to the gang-style choruses, driving guitar and bass, all carried by the breakneck drum barrage. If this band stays together, continues to put out releases, and doesn’t achieve the popularity like Paintbox or Judgment, I will put my punk hat in the closet. This is band is that good. –don (Schizophrenic)


ANS:
Pressure Cracks: LP
Have I gone back in time to the mid ‘80s? I know everything comes back eventually. But to experience another cycle of popularity in the same lifetime intrigues me. Thrash metal was a favorite of mine back then and I really do like it now. As Municipal Waste’s popularity grows in leaps and bounds, I can see others embracing this style. This Texas band does it well. I have seen it first-hand live, even before listening to their recorded output. The first thing that I notice coming from the guitar is rapid metal riffage that doesn’t sound downtuned. Drumming comes pounding out with that classic double bass kick sound. Vocals phonetically delivered that you can actually hear the lyrics without a lyric sheet. Bass guitar rounds things out to fill in the bottom of the sound spectrum. Adding to the mix, they add elements of punk and hard rock to keep things interesting. The back cover layout looks like the back cover of the Adolescents blue record but with different colors. –don (Tankcrimes)


ANEURYSM RATS:
Dying to Live: 12” EP
Powerful and heavy hardcore that sounds like a mix of Deadguy and Gordon Solie Motherfuckers. Aneurysm Rats features members from Paint It Black, None More Black, and others. They expand on their musical past with more potency and darkness. The songs are a mix of speed and mid tempos that somehow create a chaotic din when they throw it into fourth gear. The vocalist sounds a bit like Tony Erba as well. I like how they sequenced the songs on this album to run into one another, which allows them to create a mood throughout: one of disenchantment, confusion, and other feelings of abnormality in a fucked-up and diseased world. –Matt Average (Assassinated, assassinatedrecords.com)


ANDREW JACKSON JIHAD:
Can’t Maintain: CD
This recording shows Andrew Jackson Jihad playing a bunch of songs you’ve already heard if you’re a fan, but with a bunch of backing musicians. If you already love this band, you’re sure to love this as well. If you’ve been passing on it due to their strictly acoustic sound, this might be the album that wins you over with everything from blazing guitar to trombone and theremin. –Rene Navarro (Asian Man)


AND THEN THERE WAS YOU:
What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes Us Stronger: CD

The title of this CD could describe the listening experience. Holy shit, this is the worst thing I’ve ever had to review. A play by play would go something like this: first five seconds: “This might be alright.” Entire rest of the album (which I indeed listened to): “Dear lord, this is ass-ery.” Basically, this is the most painfully earnest-sounding singer in the world playing over that type emo that has aspirations of being youth crew style hardcore, but fails and fails hard. I always faulted Set Your Goals for playing this type of music, but, after hearing this I have a new-found respect for that band. They at least have a semblance of balls to their sound. On the other hand, you seriously want to reach into the music and give the singer for ATTWY a wedgie; maybe leave a bag of poop in his doorway. –Adrian (Indianola)

–Adrian (Indianola)


AIRES AND GRACES:
What Happened to the Kids?: 7”
This band from WashingtonState takes its name from a phrase that means putting on airs. Thanks to some remarkable bass lines, it’s a bit more soulful than some of the other oi acts on Longshot and the vocals sound a little Leatherface-ish. “Doesn’t want to learn from an older face, because he’s learned everything to know from MySpace” is one of the more unintentionally funny lines I’ve come across in awhile. There’s something hilarious about punk rockers complaining about kids using technology. Do Aires and Graces have a MySpace site? You bet your braces they do. –Jim Ruland (Longshot Music)


AFTERNOON NAPS:
Parade: CD
Afternoon Naps like Orange Juice and The Three O’Clock a whole hell of a lot more than me. I hate Edwyn Collins’ music quite a bit. Absolute pap. The moments on Parade that resemble the better parts of C86 (i.e. The Wedding Present) and the Paisley Underground (i.e. the sublime Rain Parade) are not quite evident enough to save this CD from white funk riff-raff. (On the subject of C86, be sure to check out the Shop Assistants’ Will Anything Happen. Top-notch stuff that’s definitely underappreciated.) –ryan (Happy Happy Birthday To Me)


ACES & EIGHTS:
A Different Animal…: CD
Hailing from Boise, Aces & Eights continue pumping out their fast, hard brand of punk. I recall them having more of an oi/streetpunk feel on earlier releases, whereas now they’re definitely incorporating some cock rock influences into their material. I wish they’d leave the lead guitar lines at the door because, otherwise, there’s a lot to dig on. The vocals have a kind of metal feel, but not overly so. I don’t know that A Different Animal… is the best place for newcomers to start, but Aces & Eights’ existing fans will be into it for sure. There’s a very aggressive “in the bar” shade to the recording that allows it to feel loud even when played at low volume. You can practically smell spilt PBR upon popping this CD in. –Art Ettinger (Downtown Academy)


ABORTTI 13:
Viimeinen Veriloyly: EP
This record is unbelievably great! Abortti 13 has done something far too many old bands can not pull off to save their lives. These songs were written back in 1983 and recorded in 2009, and sound like they were recorded in 1983. Huh?! How did they do it? And they did it in one take. This is pure Scandinavian hardcore punk rock! Which translates to, “This is a record you must get!” Raw, speedy, catchy, and they have soul. The sort of record you hear and it makes you feel alive. Not one bad song in the fourteen on here. If you like bands like Riistetyt, Terveet Kadet, and Kaaos, then you need to get this, and also seek out their split EP with Pyhakoulu. –Matt Average (Killer, kilrec@luukku.com)


AMELIA / PHERAMONES:
Split: Cassette
Amelia: This sounds like it could be pretty all right stuff; however, it’s recorded horribly, rendering it near unlistenable. The vocals are too loud while everything else is rather quiet and barely discernable. There are mainly female vocals with some male vocals. The hand-written note that came with it said that they are “’90s alternative.” I’ll buy that. Hope things work out better with the recording next time around. Pheramones: Well, it’s male-fronted poppy indie. Kinda playful, kinda heartfelt. I wouldn’t mind hearing it while sitting at a coffee shop, but it doesn’t really do too much for me. –Vincent Battilana (In The Pocket)


YEAR FUTURE:
self-titled: CD-EP
I never thought I’d hear a band that simultaneously reminded me of Drive Like Jehu, Deadbolt, and some of the more ambient Man or Astroman stuff, and I definitely didn’t expect to hear some guy yellin’ nonsensical lyrics over it. They could use a good werewolf song or two, and some snazzy artwork wouldn’t hurt, either. –Josh (GSL)


Y:
Sooo...Intense: 7"
This is so dumb that it’s awesome. If you don’t like this, you’re no fun. Highly recommended. Smoke weed and drop out of school. –Josh (Soooooo Intense)


WORMWOOD/TEEN CTHULHU:
split: 7"
First, it’s a picture disk. Second, I listened to Wormwood first and couldn’t figure out if it’s 45 or 33 rpm. Third, I listened to Teen Cthulhu and it’s 45 and they play dense metal that’s occasionally a little gothic for my taste. Fourth, I listened to Wormwood again and they play gothic metal that’s occasionally dense enough for my taste. –Cuss Baxter (Accident Prone)


WINKS:
self-titled: 7"
When the band won’t even put down their beers to get their picture taken for the cover of their seven inch, it means that they’re either 1) alcoholics, 2) tough broads, or 3) trying to look like alcoholic, tough broads. Ignoring the fact that I’ve been reading about one of the members of The Winks in Snakepit for the past year and judging solely by the music, I’m gonna guess tough broads. They have a trashy, rock’n’roll sound to them, kinda like the Dirty Sweets or Loli and the Chones, though they sound a little younger and a little more hollow than Loli and the Chones. Still, these are four pretty rockin’ songs, full of Lone Star and attitude. –sean (Super Secret)


WILLOWZ, THE:
Willowz with a Z Live: CD
The band’s initial flash-frozen 1981-in-twenty-aught-three Posh Boy single lathered me up pretty right and proper; this follow-up live CD (recorded on the air at KUCI in Irvine CA, if that means anything to you [means nothin’ ta me]) is essentially a push: I win because it is, indeed, more Willowz material for me to ponder, muse upon, and vivisect; I lose because a live-at-the-radio-station CD is not what i want. What i WANT is a five-or-six-song studio 12” that i can compare, contrast, lump in and otherwise quarantine with my Stepmothers, T.S.O.L., Red Cross and MAYBE China White five-or-six song studio 12”s – preferably in a die-cut jacket that’s in homage to those red, yellow, green and purple generic Posh Boy 12” dealies of twenty-some years ago. GO BACK AND BRING ME WHAT I WANT OR I WILL CEASE THINKING DEEPLY ABOUT YOUR BAND. Thank you. BEST SONG: Still “That Willowz Feelin’” BEST SONG TITLE: Well, since the song called “Revolution” is neither the Beatles nor Toxic Reasons song of the same name, i’ll go with “Equation No. 6” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Recorded in stereo. –norb (Art Monkey)


WILLOWZ, THE:
self-titled: CD
No info whatsoever, except that it’s on Posh Boy, and as far as I can tell it could as easily be from 1982 as 2002: old style pop punk a la Redd Kross and that bunch, or the less manic stuff on some of those Mystic comps; bouncy and fuzzy, with backup singing (and some pretty extreme separation on the stereo end of things). The singer kind of reminds me of Jeffrey Lee Pierce. Very pleasant. –Cuss Baxter (Posh Boy)


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·MEMBERS
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