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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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NARCOLEPTIC YOUTH:
Airplay: CD
When I was a young teen, Dr. Strange Records was my mailorder of choice. They carried the best in all things street punk and have continuously released excellent street punk albums. Narcoleptic Youth’s Airplay is a fine example proving that Dr. Strange has not missed a beat. Although this hasn’t been my cup of tea for quite some time, it is hard to deny that this album is a great collection of street anthems and not cringe-worthy at that. For me, the most exciting part of this album are the bonus tracks. Among them there is an Adicts and a Damned cover, two excellent choices of songs in my book. Also as a side note, it seems that my CD has been autographed by the band, even though it was completely shrink wrapped. I wonder if they signed them all before they were packaged or if I just got a special copy. –Noah W. K. –Guest Contributor (Dr. Strange)


MYLES DECK AND THE FUZZ:
Police Cops: CD
Tepid Radio Birdman-inspired proto-punk. Proficient but too by-the-numbers. –Ryan Leach (From Here To There)


MOUTHBREATHER / ENVIRONMENTAL YOUTH CRUNCH:
Split : 7”
Mouthbreather’s shouty combination of rawk and emo-core is indigenous to sweaty Richmond house shows. It reminds me of a show I was at in 2001, when two of the guys who are now in Mouthbreather were underage and sent me on a beer run for them and their roommates. The haul totaled nine 40s, which I arranged on my skateboard and wheeled across a convenience store floor to the register, while lotto-playing crackheads cheered. Environmental Youth Crunch sounds like a roman candle fight on a Florida beach where you see one of your friends get hit in the nuts by a firecracker. Especially if that firecracker was a short blast of pop punk that sounded like a mix of Crimpshrine and The Bananas. Baseheads and pyrotechnics aside, this is a truly kicking record that gets bonus points because a.) the bands sound like they’d be in different subsets of “the scene” and b.) the guitars on the first Mouthbreather song remind me of late ‘70s Judas Priest. –CT Terry (rorschachrecords.net)


MOTHER SPEED:
Bizarre Reality: 7”
This band has a lot going for them on side one in that the singer sounds like Spike from early D.R.I. recordings and the songs are short blasts of skate rock in that vein. That part is right on, well done, and awesome. There is some stoner-type riffage thrown in that bothers me. The riffs aren’t bad, but it doesn’t work for me. The second side is just a mélange of noise including horns and shit. Again, nothing wrong there, just not a fan of that. The cover art is a good mural of some baddies wearing goat skulls, but it looks like stoner rock artwork, further confusing an old punk. I like the songs when they speed off, and, overall, this dynamic prevails on side one. The record is good and worth getting into, just confusing to old people. Also confusing to old people is two email addresses, two myspace addresses and a street address included on a 7”. –Billups Allen (Here’s Your Warning)


MINORITY BLUES BAND:
Momentary Beautiful Burnout: CD
A collection of outtakes, comp tracks, and split releases bundled into one release for your listening pleasure. And you will get much pleasure from this record, I promise you, my friends. Jagged guitars, vocals that veer in and out of Squirrel Bait country, and rock-solid song structures overall. “Metaphysical Burst” is my favorite song title here, but there really isn’t a full on clunker to harp on about. Bass lines bubble along with consistency, drums supply the back beat without being overwrought, and the guitars mesh pretty seamlessly with the vocals. A great power trio that should be missed by many, but, hopefully, this release will be enjoyed by more than a few. –Sean Koepenick (Snuffy Smiles)


MIGRAINE:
Self-titled: 7”EP
Unequal parts Neos and Black Sabbath (wait for the Sabbath on the B-side), ground-in, trebly, stained hardcore without a lot of containment when it’s going full speed. Think of a car that’s been in a serious wreck but is still street legal after using a hammer to prevent the crushed-in quarter panel from puncturing a tire. When it slows down, they drag the doom chains. On the cover is none other than the self-designated “Coryphaeus of Science,” the “Brilliant Genius of Humanity,” and “Gardener of Human Happiness” Joseph Stalin. –Todd Taylor (Stress Domain)


MIG & MIN VEN:
Self-titled : Cassette
Unfortunately, I don’t speak Danish. Fortunately, I don’t have to in order to tell you that this tape rocks. Mig & Min Ven is a garage rock/punk duo that holds their own with a stripped-down sound of just guitar, drums, and vocals. I’ve consulted my translator and their name means “Me & My Friend.” There’s no gimmicks here, just straightforward pop songs that will be your friends, too, if you can get a hold of this tape. –N.L. Dewart –Guest Contributor (Rabalder)


MASAKARI:
Eden Compromised: 7”
For a debut release, this one can stand with the best of the modern day crust bands. It has the heaviness of Hellshock, the power of HolyMountain, and the epic sound of Tragedy. The recording is big with a chest-pounding sound that is hard to ignore. The vocals are deep but not guttural while growling the words into your face. The guitar sound is crunching with sharp riffs that are metallic with the right amount of distortion. Bass and drums bring on the deep tones and rhythms with thunder. I’m truly impressed with this output. If they come ever to town, I want to experience this live. –Donofthedead (Halo Of Flies)


MARX, THE:
Self-titled: CD
This is fast, silly, basic punk rock music. Most people know what to expect from song titles like “(She’s Got A) Manifesto” and “Zombie Hookers from Outer Space.” But, hey, at least The Marx deliver on their title musings with distorted blues-based rock progressions and gritty vocals. This is nine tracks of a good time that go by too fast. –N.L. Dewart –Guest Contributor (Zodiac Killer)


MARGINAL MAN:
Identity: LP
Dischord is re-issuing a load of their early hardcore staples on vinyl with digital downloads included. Among them is Marginal Man’s Identity, a classic that has gone in and out of print too many times. Here is another chance to pick up this DC hardcore staple. Marginal Man stood out in that they could play well and had lots of whoa-whoa-whoas in the mix. There is a seminal lyric in “Friend”: “If I say something that you don’t like, just hear me out I might be right.” Find enclosed loads of songs about friendship and, yes, identity. Timeless and essential. Also on the list of essentials being re-ished on vinyl is the Void side of the Faith/Void split and an obscure band called Minor Threat. –Billups Allen (Dischord)


MANIC ATTRACTS:
Shut It b/w Teenage Teenage: 7”
Poundy smashy garage din with lots of reverb on the guitar! From what i can hear of the vocals, the dude sort of sounds like a chick, or at least like that dude from the Washouts before his voice changed. I like it when i put a song into Audacity and it looks like a solid horizontal stripe too. BEST SONG: “Shut It” BEST SONG TITLE: “Teenage Teenage” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: This sleeve is printed with two colors of ink, and both are shades of green. –Rev. Norb (Yakisakana)


MAKE DO AND MEND:
Bodies of Water: CDEP
Melancholic and gruff as an all-night drive on tour, Make Do And Mend play earnest, chugging post-hardcore that would fit on a road trip mixtape right in between Split Lip and pre-stoner Planes Mistaken For Stars. The music chugs forward like a just-tuned-up tour van, and this CD blows by like a drunken set in a living room. I’ve been playing it on the kitchen boombox a lot, wishing I was going on tour this summer. –CT Terry (Panic)


MAKABERT FYND / NICE IDIOT:
Split: EP
Here’s the first installment of the Fuck Your Scene,Kid series from Kranium (who are off to a great start—four releases so far, and all of ‘em great). Makabert Fynd slam out three absolute ragers that are heavy, fast, and urgent. It’s a noisy affair, with thrashy tempos giving way to mid-paced breaks, before throwing themselves back into the sonic storm. They remind me of early DS-13, when that band first came out and had something to prove. Makabert Fynd, so far, are a great band, which I’m sure we’ll be hearing more of soon. Nice Idiot are ripping hardcore that sounds like a mix Y2K thrash meets the Zero Boys and The Freeze. Really hyper and urgent with quick tempo changes, a feeling of looseness, everything teetering on coming apart, and vocals that bounce back and forth between shouting and talking. Seek this one out and don’t stop until you have it. –Matt Average (Kranium, krnm.se)


MAGNETIX:
Positively Negative: LP
Veterans of the French drudgey fuzz punk scene with dark echoes of the Blowtops, the boy-girl duo Magnetix have been churning out good static for a while now. But this is their best effort yet. Echo fuzz pedal set to infinity can get old, but the Magnetix keep it interesting throughout the whole LP, with equal amounts catchy chords and black-glasses-cool mood. There are a million bands aping the 1960s garage glory but it’s fun here: a pounding reverb party that can send you through time when played backwards. If you’ve liked any of their singles or thought they had something even remotely worth checking out, this is the album to get. –Speedway Randy (Born Bad, bornbad.fr)


LOT LIZARDS:
Self-titled: 10”
Furious lo-fi fuzz and caterwauling out of jolly old London town. Bears some resemblance to Black Time, but Lot Lizards is less sludgier and with just a guitar, drum kit and, on some songs, an organ, they’re a bit lighter on their feet. The second side is a little more tuneful than the first with some interesting arrangements on “Dead Girls” that culminates with a long wedge of silence. “Dysfunctional Agenda,” the instrumental that follows, makes the package poignant somehow. –Jim Ruland (Yakisakana)


LOST CONTROLS:
American Action: 7”EP
In their lesser moments, Lost Controls come across as a more bar-rocky New Bomb Turks. In their greater moments, they start plowing the adjacent fields that Scared Of Chaka tended nearly a decade ago. Their own musical corn is starting to bud and there’s something interesting and promising in the developing kernels. Let’s just see if they’re adept at both harvesting and crop rotation with the next batch of songs, or if we’re dealing with baby corn that goes on salads. Worth keeping on the radar, for sure. –Todd Taylor (Thou Shalt, myspace.com/lostcontrols)


LORD BY FIRE:
Self-titled: 7”
Lord By Fire had the unfortunate luck to be called Sword back in the day… right when the other band The Sword broke out big… like mega-butt fuck big. So big that Sword kind of just disappeared for a while. Well, time has passed, and the band’s returned with the new moniker Lord By Fire, and a kickass little 7” record, filled with two doom-soaked tracks. The band manages to deliver that thick, messy stoner sound, while still being technical and tight with the songwriting. Highly recommended for fans of this genre. Let’s just hope that another band with the name Lord By Fire doesn’t suddenly explode, forcing these guys back out of view for another four years. –Evan Katz (Forcefield)


LENGUAS LARGAS:
Self-titled: 7”EP
I don’t mind weird if it rocks. I don’t mind psychrock if the “rock” part’s not just a handy post-it note whacked onto the side of masturbation. Lenguas Largas has the Roky Erickson Weird-O-Meter pegged. They’re also carrying a mile-long locomotion’s worth of quarry-grade rock, freshly blasted from the earth. Featuring the voice and guitar of Isaac of The Swing Ding Amigos and Shark Pants, the drumming of both Dickie (Shark Pants) and Chris Kohler (Sexy), and Southwestern stalwart Mark Beef, this makes total Tucson sense. It’s a nice counterpoint to the Swing Ding’s full assault and sidles nicely up to The Resonars. –Todd Taylor (Tic Tac Totally)


LEATHERVEIN:
Self-titled: LP
This record does not belong on this plane of existence. The cover alone—a painting of a leather jacket-clad demonic metalhead wielding his glowing green, laser-shooting, toxic sludge-filled guitar penis—is clearly from some alternate reality in which the citizens of the world are governed by the unseen power of heavy metal. The music only confirms that some sort of inter-dimensional wormhole must have temporarily opened up and allowed this to slide out of that magnificent metal realm and into Razorcake headquarters. It’s a searing mix of early thrash and new wave of British heavy metal, combined with lethal doses of punk and pure rock’n’roll. The songs move fast, but refuse to leave you in the dust. They carry you with them on the sidecars of their guitar solo cycles, while the singer’s cesspool triumphant voice guides the way through the darkness ahead, grinning. Yes, this is truly from another realm where metal is everything. The back cover says it’s from Denmark, but I know better. –MP Johnson (Hjernespind)


LAST LIGHTS:
No Past, No Present, No Future: CD
This is a discography of sorts, cataloguing all the tracks recorded by Last Lights before the death of their lead singer, Dominic. If I recall correctly, they received a lot of praise, and for good reason: these songs pretty much kick ass. This is hardcore that’s not in the deep-voiced-tough-guy vein. This is one of the most bittersweet releases I’ve ever heard. –Bryan Static (Think Fast)


LAPINPOLTHAJAT:
Self-titled: 7”
A fantastic record from a band that supposedly formed in the ‘90s and didn’t release anything until now. I think that was a good thing. This band from Finland seemed to have taken their time to hone their craft: a grouping of songs which are tight and aggressive with an underlying feel of melody bleeding through. Taking the more punk sound of a band like Appendix and adding the melody of early Asta Kask are songs which are not overdone and straight to the point. You can hear the band taking influences from their early ‘80s forefathers and adding their own flair, giving it modern day relevance. I also like that they didn’t seem to have rushed the recording process, choosing their song selection precisely. Having listened to this numerous times, there is not one filler in the bunch. It’s a well-produced recording that retains a rawness that this style of music needs. This 7” is pleasant surprise from a band that I will definitely keep an eye out for. –Donofthedead (Heat Wave)


KINTARO:
Power Love: 7”
This is some fantastically bummed out punk rock. This Tennessee three-piece rips shit up on the four tracks here, with some seriously catchy and depressing tunes. With big, pounding drums and hand claps, this is somewhere between a mopey Japanese Monsters and a tuneful, power pop Off With Their Heads, or the masculine equivalent of Little Lungs. In any case, it’s terrific. –Jeff (Baby Don’t)


KILLING CALIFORNIA:
Bones & Sand: CDEP
This is harsh California hardcore whose primary fault lies in its unwillingness to jump into risks. The intensely throatyvocals resemble those of Fucked Up’s Pink Eyes (not a poor model) and the group’s impatient sound moves like a time bomb charging towards zeroes at burning speeds. The frustrating part is that the whole disc flies by without any marked changes in volume or tempo, turning the barrage of blasts into something lacking punch. Abrasion is produced by contrasts. Without slower/softer pauses to counteract the hurtling forward, hardcore loses some of its provocative effect. –Reyan Ali (Basement)


KALASHNIKOV:
Angoscia-Rock: 7” EP
At full tilt, it’s stratospheric, melodic modern hardcore from Italy, along the fitful, beautiful lines of Poland’s El Banda and France’s La Fraction. When it slows down, instead of getting metally or chonka-chonka, veers into Human League-style new wave with slippery eel synthesizers and languid horns. That’s a tough transition and Kalashnikov seem equally comfortable in both modes. The accompanying thirty-six page booklet is more like a book, the vinyl is gorgeous, and the sound is impeccable. For those who aren’t afraid of bands without genre blinders on, I highly recommend seeking this out. –Todd Taylor (Self-released, kalashni.net)


JON SNODGRASS:
Visitor’s Band: CD
It takes time to distill a crooner voice into an appealing raspy tone. Jon Snodgrass has the scars to back the bark in his rootsy whiskey tenor. Being in bands for almost twenty years now, Snodgrass continues perfecting his voice with his solo project. Visitor’s Band stylistically locks into the same vein as other Drag The River records but, of course, it’s Snodgrass calling all the shots. These tracks are also less twangy than the full band efforts. To his appeal, he’s showing no signs of getting any younger, but Snodgrass surely isn’t letting that get in the way of his song craft. He’s already done shows with Joey Cape of Lagwagon to promote his solo stuff and Drag The River has shows scheduled for this summer. With the combination of tireless work and a life devoted to music, Snodgrass knows what nails to leave unhammered in his songs. Surprisingly, he’s able to make alt-country both more accessible and harder edged with this work. “Not That Rad” is a fine mix of rock, country, and pop. Perhaps it’s not rad, but there are eleven fine tunes here. –N.L. Dewart –Guest Contributor (Suburban Home)


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