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Razorcake #90
White Murder, both LPs
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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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RAD COMPANY:
“Friends like These” b/w “Dress You Up”: 7”
Part of Juke Box’s singles subscription series and apparently already “Out of Stock.” Like all the singles in the series, an original A side and a cover song on the flip. “Friends Like These” is a piercing piece of thrash pop that will win you over first spin and have you dropping the needle again and again (which is actually the annoying part of only getting one song on one side, but I suppose justifiable considering the juke box format). The Madonna song is humorous and adequate, but let’s be honest… you don’t often come back to the cover song. Good thing the A side slays. Worth picking up if you can find it. Sexy see-through snot green vinyl.  –Matt Seward (Juke Box, jukebox-records.com)


RAGING NATHANS, THE:
Jukebox Records 7” Series: 7”
I admittedly grabbed this 7” solely because of Peter Bagge’s art. Bagge’s Hate is a seminal comic series, while oft-overlooked graphic novel Other Lives is a personal favorite. Sadly, The Raging Nathan’s don’t live up to Bagge’s contribution. “Long Way Home” is cookie-cutter pop punk complete with uplifting chorus, and “Rewards” oozes Epitaph circa late ‘90s, you know, when Millencolin and Pennywise were “relevant.” Originality can be overlooked when execution is spot-on, but The Raging Nathans offer a brand of mall punk that’s as cringe-inducing as Hot Topic T-shirts and bullet belts.  –Sean Arenas (Rad Girlfriend, radgirlfriendrecords.com)


RAGING NATHANS:
Losing It: LP
Pop punk as a descriptor has either become passe or carries too many potentially negative connotations. Bands with releases of this caliber, that transcend those former shackles, will be said to bring the boom jangle. Heavy-driving low end holding down fuzz-filled bratty pop hooks coupled with bummer party lyrics about relationships and altered states. When three of the best and most consistent record labels are coming together to release your three-piece from Dayton, OH’s first full-length, you know you’re on to something. Losing It, a handful of cold ones, and a tubin’ trip to the river will provide a nice respite from this summer’s heat.  –Matt Seward (Rad Girlfriend, radgirlfriendrecords.com / Dead Broke, deadbrokerecords.com / Recess, recessrecords.com)


RANDOM PRICE:
My Kidnap Money: CD
Releases like this one really frustrate me. On one hand, you have a batch of decent, melodic, mid-tempo punk only to be impaired by not being played by a full band. On the other hand, you have a batch of songs that tend to circle a theme —love, loss, and relationships; again due to basically being a two-person band. Trust me guys, a bassist and someone else to help write and sing would really make this baby shine.  –Garrett Barnwell (Unable, unablerecords.com)


REALLY RED:
New Strings for Old Puppets: LP
Volume three of the Really Red reissues is a collection of 7”s, compilation, live and unreleased songs. It really ties everything together nicely. The band lasted for about six years and wound up having a lot of quality music recorded. Having listened to all of their output now, it is easy for me to understand why people who are fans of the band (especially those who had the chance to see them live) are incredibly passionate about them. I can’t recommend picking up all three of these volumes enough. Really Red is a band that deserves to be heard far and wide, even if it is thirty years later.  –ty (Alternative Tentacles)


REALLY RED:
Rest in Pain: LP
Volume Two of Really Red’s discography reissues on Alternative Tentacles is their less known second LP Rest in Pain. Originally released posthumously in 1985, it is finally getting a wider release. This record shows the band moving a little bit away from the artiness of the first record and into a more straight-up hardcore sound. The good thing is that they do it really well and manage to stay away from a “cookie cutter, hardcore by numbers” situation. This album is relentless. The second side only has two tracks that just kind of go on and on with a lot of noise and such. I guess they saved all the art for the end.  –ty (Alternative Tentacles)


REALLY RED:
Teaching You the Fear: LP
If you pay attention to any of my music ramblings (both in print and in person), I will inevitably express my love for punk rock from Texas. Being from Canada, it took a long time for me to hear a lot of the amazing bands from the ‘80s from the LoneStarState, but every time I did I fell in love with them. Really Red was among the best. This is the first of a three volume reissue of the Houston band’s discography, featuring their debut album Teaching You the Fear. Simply amazing and intense, Really Red came out of a more interesting art-damaged corner of punk rock (much like fellow Texans Big Boys and Dicks). When they played hardcore, it was relentless and pitch perfect, but they would turn around and lay down something arty and different at the drop of a dime without losing any of the anger or urgency. It’s a tough trick, but Really Red really nailed it on this record that put them in a league with the likes of Minutemen and Nomeansno in my mind. I, for one, am incredibly excited about these reissues. Everyone should own this record and now they can.  –ty (Alternative Tentacles)


REALLY RED:
The Complete Collection 1979-1985: 2 x CD
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating yet again: I dunno what the fuck they were putting in the barbecue sauce in Texas at the dawn of the 1980s, but some seriously amazing stuff came outta that state’s punk scene roughly from the tail end of the ‘70s through the ‘80s—Big Boys, Dicks, D.R.I., Offenders, Kamikaze Refrigerators, Dot Vaeth Group, Cargo Cult, The Hates, M.D.C., Culturcide, Scratch Acid, Butthole Surfers, The Nervebreakers… suffice to say that only scratches at a list that is long and wildly varied. Also sitting in that pantheon is Houston’s Really Red, a name that one doesn’t come across quite as often these days as maybe some of the others named might, but one no less important or jaw-dropping awesome were they, and at the time they were rightly well regarded in the greater scene back then. What they brought to the table—and is in full evidence throughout this collection of their recorded output—was a sound that kept a toe on the punk/hardcore template while lurching in every which direction: thrashing with the best of ‘em on second, meting out some choice punk tunes the next, adding some psychedelic art-damaged hardcore the next, and going off on an almost industrial excursion the next, lurching rhythms, howling vocals, and pummeled guitars in tow. Collected here is pretty much everything one could hope for: the crucial Teaching You the Fear LP, the über-rare Rest in Pain LP, all their singles/EP tracks, comp tracks, and some unreleased gems, plus a booklet with lyrics and a version of an interview with vocalist U-Ron that I remember being included in David Ensminger’s indispensable tome, Left of the Dial: Conversations with Punk Icons. In addition to being two discs-worth of challenging and wildly creative music, the collection is yet another testament to just how wildly creative some bands remained even within the rapidly tightening “rules” hardcore’s adherents insisted on shackling themselves with as time went on. Boiled down to three words: THIS IS ESSENTIAL.  –jimmy (Alternative Tentacles)


REBUILD/REPAIR:
Damage Stories: CD
This is what it would sound like if Henry Rollins sang over the music from the video game Contra for fifty-six minutes. It’s up to the listener to decide whether or not that’s awesome.  –Nicole Madden (Self-released)


RED DONS & TV SMITH:
A Vote for the Unknown: 7”
This was an unexpected treasure in the review pile. I never thought to myself, “I wonder what it would sound like if TV Smith did vocals on a couple of Red Dons songs,” but now that I am hearing it, it seems very natural. Dark and moody in the best way possible; it’s a match made in post-punk heaven.  –ty (Deranged)


RED MASS:
White Nights: 7”
The title track starts out with a guitar lead brazenly appropriated from the Buzzcocks’ “Boredom” welded onto the promise of something twisted and weird before instead veering into a nice punky ditty with darker edges than appear at first blush. The flip, “Animal,” is the more traditionally “punk” of the two, with a bit more stomp to it and a structure that would have all the ‘77-punk dweebs soiling their leather pants if the guitars were more Marshall crunch than Fender slash.  –jimmy (Zaxxon, zaxxon.ca)


REMAIN IN VAIN:
Self-titled: CD
This is a tough one to nail down—it starts off with a traditional hardcore vibe and then moves into a series of breakdowns and tempo changes which, in my sometimes-humble opinion, works quite well. Sometimes it sounds like 1983 and 2008 in the same song, but into whichever era Remain In Vain’s song propels me at a given moment, the fury is the same, and it works. This isn’t a magnum opus of punk rock by any stretch, but it makes me feel like a kid again, so I’m happy with it.  –The Lord Kveldulfr (10:39)


REMAINDERS / BARONS:
Split: 7”
Charmed by the bear devouring a sub sandwich on the front, and the giant sub sandwich devouring a tiny bear on the back—artwork compliments of Righteous Indignation, better known as Jason Lubrano of Iron Chic—I was sold on this Pittsburgh-born 7” split before even listening to the tracks. “Band of humans,” Remainders, slam through catchy, riffy punk rippers—”You’re Living a Lie? I’m Living Like 20!” and “Standstill” on Side A—both bolstered by minimal production that suggests the immediacy and emotional investment of a basement show. Side B features Barons taking a more tempered, anthemic approach on “Tradition” and “Lessons,” with fist-pumping choruses, swinging breakdowns, and well-paced crescendos that make you quiver with antici… pation.  –Kelley O’Death (Between The Days, betweenthedaysrecords@gmail.com, betweenthedays.storeenvy.com)


REMAINDERS:
Fine Exits: 7” EP
Pittsburgh, PA, dudes Remainders would sound just as at home on a mid ‘90s Warped Tour alongside Face To Face and Down By Law as they would at a contemporary fest alongside Hold Tight! and Iron Chic (whose frontman Jason Lubrano designed Fine Exits’ album art as his illustration alter ego Righteous Indignation). Remainders are not reinventing the melodic punk rock wheel, but they are keeping stride with their forefathers and contemporaries. This debut has established the strong foundation of addictive riffs, quotable heartfelt refrains, and winking humor that will help them fit in to the modern punk scene. Time will tell if they’ll isolate the unique attributes that will help them stand out.  –Kelley O’Death (Between The Days, betweenthedaysrecords@gmail.com, betweenthedays.storeenvy.com)


REVENGE OF THE PSYCHOTRONIC MAN / BOOTSCRAPER :
The Bear and the Tiger: CD
Bootscraper is from Leeds and is a folk punk band, as opposed to Manchester’s Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man, known for fast-paced melodic hardcore. The joke here is that each band covers songs of the other, which works better than expected. Reminiscent of the famous Born Against / Screeching Weasel split from the 1990s, it’s refreshing to see bands this disparate pay tribute to one another. Also available on vinyl with a download card, TNS Records did a class act with the presentation here.  –Art Ettinger (TNS, tnsrecords.co.uk)


RIFLE DIET:
No Solace: 12”EP
Pummeling, relentless, heavy-as-hell crust from Minneapolis. Most of it is fast, but they mix up the speeds, making for some truly epic moments. There’s an unbelievably gallivanting part at the end of the second song where the vocals change from being screamed to being yelled. “Break down the walls of this box / Break down the walls like this, break them down with you fist / Break down the walls of this box / Kick them out at the root, kick them out with your boots.” It continues on for a couple more lines, getting better and better. Not just crust fans, but fans of any hardcore subgenre need to check that track out. Solid.  –Daryl Gussin (Profane Existence / Blood Of The Young)


RIGHT HERE, THE:
All Herky-Jerky: CD
Hailing from Minneapolis, The Right Here is what would happen if some of my favorite punk bands made a crazy talented baby. Imagine The Lawrence Arms with Tim Barry at the helm or if early Alkaline Trio featured Tim Armstrong. To be fair, though, that’s what comes to mind immediately. After getting to know the songs better, it becomes quickly apparent that The Right Here has created their own sound that fits in perfectly with that punk rock’n’roll scene that’s happening in Minneapolis (they share a keyboard player with local powerhouse Nato Coles, if that helps clarify). Song title winners like “Freddie Mercury Poisoning” and “Who Framed Roger Lodge?” are the perfect combination of punk, blue collar rock, and alt-country that still make me want to dance. Anyone that pull that off is a winner in my book.  –Nicole Madden (Self-released)


RITUAL CONTROL:
Inoculation: EP
Certainly heavy and pummeling. Though these folks have been around for a while, this is my first time listening. Pretty much what I expected from a band that features someone from Artimus Pyle: one super massive wall of sound, abrasive guitar, ungodly bass sound, thrashing percussion, and a vocalist who’s screaming from the gut. All good elements, and this does have its moments. The riffs are good, the drumming is solid as hell, and there’s a lot of power in the music. However, even after six or more listens, there’s nothing that really stands out, or stays in my mind after the record is over, other than the fact that this is heavy. I’m pretty sure live this slays, but on record it’s just okay, and not something I’d listen to again down the road.  –Matt Average (Sabotage, info@sabotagerecords.net)


RULETA RUSA:
Me Dan Asco: 7”
Instructions: Put record on turntable. Drop needle. Curl fingers into fist. Raise fist overhead. Pound fist in air. Jump around. Sing along. Get sweaty. This is the kind of riffy, impassioned, anthemic punk rock that makes 7” records seem too short.  –mp (Modern Action)


RUSSEL STREET BOMBING:
Self-titled: LP
Abstract, psychedelic post-punk damage situated in the land of Gong, Thee Homosexuals, Rat Columns, and Swell Maps. Truthfully, this is too good and too smart to be easily categorized and filed away. So, just ignore that opening line. Think of that as a way of luring you into their world; one where usual song structures are thrown out and replaced by trance-inducing droning, strumming, and rhythmic time keeping that’s effective and unobtrusive. This is the kind of music you stop all else and just listen to. There’s a lot going on, and it’s all worth making the time for and getting familiar with. I think the whole year-end best-of lists are shit, but if I was to ever keep one, this record would be in the upper portion, and possibly at the tippy top. Treat yourself right and get this.  –Matt Average (Smart Guy, smartguyrecords.com)


RUTABEGA, THE:
Shiny Destination: 7”
The two songs on this seven inch both clock in at exactly 2:38, but couldn’t be more different from one another. The title track is a fun, fast romper with great drumming that propels the song along. With the yelling backing female vocals on the chorus, it reminds me of RVIVR. The b-side, “Ladder,” is an unused track from The Rutabega’s last full-length, Brother, The Lights Don’t Work. I can hear how it would’ve fit in with those songs, as it’s more of a somber, indie rock tune. I like the excitement and energy of “Shiny Destination,” but the reflective tone on “Ladder” gets me every time. Both are winners for entirely different reasons, but it’s a great example of the diversity of The Rutabega’s sound. Whatever way this Indiana duo goes in the future, I can’t wait to hear it.  –kurt (Triple Eye Industries)


RYAN BARTER:
Discography & Book Collection Data Disc: CD-R
I am not sure how to approach this material, but Ryan Barter wants to share his work for free. Also available for download via his website are many of the included items on this CD-R, which range from full-length books to screenplays and albums. Musically, his interests are more metal than punk, although it’s definitely punk-friendly. His writing is mainly about underground metal in Europe, including a fascinating book on present-day Romania. I’d rather listen to his best band, Vulture Locust, on vinyl, than as part of a densely packed data disc, but it’s hard not to recognize the boldness of this unique, egalitarian distribution methodology.  –Art Ettinger (Self-released, bigshinyprison.com)


SAINTE-CATHERINES, THE:
The Art of Arrogance: LP
I’m of the opinion that this band got better with age. I think Fire Works, their last full-length, was hands down the best thing they ever did, and it still gets regular listens around here. The Art of Arrogance, their third full-length, is ten years old now. It’s getting the reissue treatment here, and while it’s not my favorite SC record, it’s being repressed for a good reason: Arrogance offers an almost different picture entirely of the band than Fire Works and, in between, Dancing for Decadence. With Arrogance, they were a band still couched somewhere between emo, hardcore, and the musical angularities of stuff like Hot Water Music. The sense of fatigue and world-weariness so prevalent in their later shit is filled instead with an abject fury here: “While living this dream, I become my own fucking nightmare / I never believed in this bloody lie. Head first in what I hate about life.” It’s a furious, thoughtful, jarring record that more than holds up a decade later and manages to have its toes in a few different genres without ever seeming scattered or diluted. Fierce, seething, whip-smart, and probably the last record they did that fully eschewed melody for barbs. –keith (Housebreaker)


SAINTS OF 35th STREET, THE:
Sorry for the Mess: LP
I want to like this. I try. It’s almost there. I can only relay the unsatisfying feeling by describing a very unfortunate Leonard Cohen cover on Side A of the LP. “Hallelujah,” Cohen’s nearly perfect 1984 ode to god, doubt, and orgasm, is given the punk treatment here, much like Johnny Ramone effectively did with Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” It’s sped up and played with chunky, driving guitars, and that lip-curling sneer. Again, the lyrics, the chord progression, the familiarity of an incredible song. The parts are all there but the goddamn thing just doesn’t fucking work. I don’t get it. This one doesn’t do it for me.  –John Mule (Tree House)


SANHOSE:
Japanese: CD
Co-released with Snuffy Smiles, so you’ve got a good idea of what you’re getting into: this is pop punk stuff for sure. Yet unlike label (and country) mates like Pear Of The West and Minority Blues Band, Kyoto’s Sanhose seem more gritty, less concerned with melody. Pretty slim packaging, so I have no idea how wise songs like “Pour Oil” and “Tape Me” might be, though they do manage to punch out a cover of “Attitude” by the Misfits. Solid work from this three piece, if not terribly memorable.  –keith (Sanhose)


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