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Razorcake #84
Tim Version, Ordinary Life LP + bonus 7"
Radon, 28 LP
Zisk #25
Razorcake #83


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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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VIOLENT SOCIETY:
The Complete Punk Collection: CD
Decent enough anthology of stuff from these spiky-headed punkers. Normally, my appreciation for bands that easily fall into the “parrot punk” category is about as positive as it is for lutefisk (quite possibly the worst fucking thing on the planet to pass itself off as food), but these guys seem to get it a bit more than others in the Krazy Colored, leather-clad set. They manage to cover Eater and MDC with enough conviction to come of as sincere, and from what I can make out of the lyrics, are a step above the other punters in that regard as well. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.pukenvomitrecords.com)


VIBRAFINGERS, THEE:
They Vibrate!!: CD
If you’re anything like me, you sometimes lie awake at night quietly sobbing into your pillow while cursing the heavens that the Vindictives and Apocalypse Hoboken have stopped making albums. Thee Vibrafingers may not replace either of these bands in our hearts, but their rock is reminiscent of my favorite bands of yore. Mixing the vocal styles of these two bands with the power pop sensibilities of bands like The Briefs create an enjoyable amalgamation of good old times. Just what the doctor ordered. –Bryan Static (Turborock)


WAR OF DESTRUCTION:
Normalisering: 7” EP
Wow, two Danish releases in one review cycle. I feel quite blessed. While not exactly delivering something out-and-out crucial, this is nonetheless not bad, falling somewhere between snotty punk and rudimentary hardcore. More succinctly, it didn’t set the house ablaze, but didn’t have me scrambling for the “off” button, either. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.hjernespind.com)


WAIT IN VAIN:
Seasons: CD
If someone were to claim that Trial’s Are These Our Lives? LP was the greatest hardcore record of all time, I don’t know that I could argue with them. Whichever forces aligned after Trial’s first two EPs that led to the creation of that record have yet to reunite in the seemingly bottomless abyss of camo shorts and hilarious clichés that makes up most of the present-day hardcore scene. When I heard that Trial guitarist Timm McIntosh (whose post-Trial outfit Champion I felt paled greatly in comparison to his prior undertaking) was again teaming up with one of the best drummers in the genre, Alexei Rodriguez (of Trial, Catharsis, 3 Inches of Blood, etc.), I thought perhaps something incredible was in the works. Now, I know that this is a different band, and that Seasons isn’t the new Trial record, but it’s difficult not to compare the two. Musically, Seasons could be the successor to Are These Our Lives? but with McIntosh handling lyrical/vocal duties, the intellectual, seething rage that Trial frontman Greg Bennick once brought to the table has been replaced with a more typical hardcore delivery of less compelling content. Don’t get me wrong, this is still head and shoulders above most recent hardcore bands’ output, but I guess I was just hoping for a masterpiece and this came in a touch below expectations. –Dave Williams (Think Fast!)


WAIT IN VAIN:
Seasons: CD
I don’t know if they wanted us to catch this, but if you happen to glance at the spine of the CD, you’ll notice it says Seattle Straight Edge. Pretty sneaky guys! More melodic than a lot of straight edge I’ve heard. Well produced, with a guitar that grates like a steel wool rag notched in your nether regions. This will scare the neighbors. –Sean Koepenick (Think Fast)


VIVA HATE:
Hateful and Hollow: CD
This sounds like mid-‘90s Epitaph/Hellcat music. They have hair like the Nekromantix. I don’t even know if I spelled that right. –Mr. Z (Self-released)


WATCHING THE MOON:
Perception Is Bent: CD
These guys do a nice job of recalling the alt-rock hype circa 1993. Unfortunately for them, this is 2008, which means they’re fifteen years too late for the initial wave and five years too early for the revival. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.universalwarningrecords.com)


WAR TRASH:
Distort Disaster: Cassette
Lo-fi, filthy crust out of San Francisco. They stick like glue to the genre and make no attempts to venture out, yet this is still a pretty good listen. I love that creaky bass sound and the tinny guitar. No kidding. If you like bands like Asbestos, Neurose Urbana, Anti-Cimex, etc., you would and should dig this. Worthy of being on vinyl. –Matt Average (War Trash)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
We Do What We Want: Olympia Punk Comp Vol. 1: 7”
I listened to this record and somehow I got “DIY” tattooed on the inside of my lip. Maybe it was the hand-screened/hand-stamped covers or the sixteen page photocopied booklet filled with notes, lyrics, and collages, or maybe I didn’t actually receive the tattoo and all this stuff just made me want to. Whatever actually happened, the bottom line is there are some sweet, DIY punk bands in Olympia, WA playing some tight music. Very heavy EastBay influences, but nonetheless, a group of bands and people that are well worth checking out. –Daryl Gussin (Rumbletowne)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Rhode Island Rejects: CD
If you were looking for another reason to be happy you’re not from Rhode Island, I’ve got fifteen of them right here. –Megan Pants (Reject)


UNNATURAL HELPERS:
Earwax: 7”
Skewed, smartass Northwestern punk that sounds like the era before punk, indie pop, and grunge all shot out in different directions. I’m hearing some Half Japanese or maybe the Crucifucks at their blurtiest. If I had a band, I’d like it to sound like this. Or The Pharcyde. –CT Terry (Dirty Knobby)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
America’s Unknown: LP
Dunno quite how to approach reviewing this. On one hand, you’ve got a great compilation of now-obscure U.S. punk from Ash Tradition, Identity Crysis, Stukas Over Bedrock, PTL Klub, Horror Planet, Stevie Stiletto and the Switchblades, Chronic Disorder, Entropy, and Maggot Sandwich. On the other, you’ve got the twenty-year anniversary issue of Artcore Fanzine, with interviews and features on Career Suicide, State, Smalltown, Direct Control, Bad Posture, Bemisbrain Records, Frontier Records, and the irrepressible George Hurchalla (whose book Going Underground is a must-own). Both are packaged together in an LP format, and both are definitely worth the hunt. Better hurry, though, ’cause this is no doubt a limited edition release. –Jimmy Alvarado (http://www.damagedrecords.co.uk)


VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL:
Unlucky: CDEP
VBS, who hail from Elgin, Illinois, has hints of Screeching Weasel and Green Day, which totally makes it sound like it could be some ‘90s-era Lookout! stuff that fell through the cracks. Everything tells me that I should be all about this. But I’m not. Parts of it aren’t that bad, but those parts aren’t making me think that I’d put this on again. The songs are just too long—or at least they seem that way—and they seem too orchestrated, too produced. –Vincent Battilana (Cassette Deck)


UV RAYS:
Are Sick of Humans: 7” EP
Five tracks of street punk rock and roll from upstate New York that comes in somewhere between the U.S. Bombs and the Unseen—especially on the last track “Party Rat.” Loud and obnoxious. Sign me up for the full-length. –Jim Ruland (Feral Kid)


US POLICESTATE:
Release the Chemicals: CD-R
By the numbers hardcore, with nary a variation in the beat from one song to the next. While that may sound like an insult, and it’s true that they ain’t exactly breaking new ground here, they are proficient enough at the style to keep the attention span from waning over the course of the nine songs here. –Jimmy Alvarado (Age Of Risk)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Dancehall Troops III: CD
Given the 7” record-type packaging, I was a little apprehensive when I picked this out of the pile. With a name like “Dancehall Troops,” I had visions of a single filled with piss-poor ska-punk drivel from a band that probably never heard of Desmond Dekker. Well, it ain’t any such thing. What it is, is a CD compilation featuring some of the finest punk in a number of permutations currently making the rounds. Of the thirty-three tracks collected here—courtesy of Red Invasion, the Cute Lepers, The Handgrenade Hearts, Suicide Dogs, Sick Fits, The Steaknives, Soda Pop Kids, Fishnet Stalkers, The Main, Black Beauties, and more, much of which is either heretofore unreleased or available only on vinyl—nary a one dips lower than “pretty danged good,” and makes for quite an impressive mix tape for those who don’t wanna work to hard at making one of their own. Given the bad shape of the compilation in recent history, it’s nice to hear one so consistently strong. Best of all, there ain’t a ska punk tune in sight. Someone put some quality work into compiling this, it shows, and that makes all the difference. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.nofrontteeth.net)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
I Thrash, Therefore I Am: LP
Finally, a vinyl reissue of this classic tape that was originally released on Bad Compilation Tapes. This is where I was first introduced to bands like Mob 47, Anti Cimex, Moderat Likvidation, and Enola Gay back in the ‘80s. Don’t really know where the actual tape is; probably mixed in with my brother’s collection. There are some bands missing on this release, like Raw Power that was on the original tape. It probably was due to limitation of time for a LP and probably because the sound quality issues of the more obscure bands. But, overall, this is not lacking in any sense. I didn’t even notice it until I looked up the original tape to see who was originally on it. Schizophrenic Records didn’t hold back on the packaging. The records are multi-colored vinyl for you collector nerds and an even more special mailorder edition is available. Even though this a great history lesson, this record is full of straight-up blazing, raw tracks of classic international punk. –Donofthedead (Schizophrenic)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Hours and Hours: A Tribute to Seaweed: CD
Seaweed was one of the Sub Pop bands that toured heavily, reaching their peak when they opened for Bad Religion (along with a pre-major label Green Day) on the Recipe for Hate tour in 1993. Seaweed sucked, so why shouldn’t a tribute to Seaweed suck as well? In that regard, I suppose this is an appropriate tribute. The original songs were depressingly dull and these covers capture that bland mentality perfectly. I did enjoy Kane Hodder’s cover of “Stagger,” but this is a fairly tortured release. Fans, if there are any left, will appreciate the included Quicktime video of Seaweed performing “Sit in Glass” in TX in 1992. The rest of us will remember why we wouldn’t have been caught dead at a Seaweed show in 1992. –Art Ettinger (Engineer)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Emergency Room Vol. 1: LP and Book
Here’s a comp worth picking up. The music is quality and the packaging superb with a 12” x 12” photobook of some of the bands on this record, and some who aren’t. The whole shebang is a document of one year at the Emergency Room, an all-ages performance space in Vancouver. The bands tend to lean towards the punk end of the spectrum, with various flavors added and subtracted. Defektors remind me of early L.A. punk, similar to Dangerhouse fare. Petroleum By-products are the sort of punk Olympia, WA bands wish they were. Vapid remind me a bit of Bikini Kill, only tougher and nastier. Whitelung have jumpy rhythms that’s danceable, but not disco. Mutators churn out neo no wave in a mix of minimal and noise. Twin Crystals are art damaged with a menacing undercurrent. Nu Sensae are raw and fast. The vocals are venomous. Gotta hear ‘em! Sick Buildings emit noise to either contemplate or run out of the room. You pick. Either way, get this record. Only 924 copies have been pressed up. –Matt Average (Nominal)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Killer Workout Mix: CD
One of my favorite sets of compilations were the Dry Lungs series put out in the ‘80s by Placebo, the label that brought you fine music by Feederz, Conflict (Tucson), Mighty Sphincter, and the always faboo Jodie Foster’s Army. Those compilations featured none of the punkier bands like the aforementioned as the more industrial wing of the underground (and when I say “industrial,” I’m talking about sandbelts on sheet metal, not Nine Inch Nails) and some seriously odd shit. They were really cool listens when you wanted something a little different to clear out a party in eight seconds flat. While light on clanging pipes with wood mallets, this comp is no slouch when it comes to odd noises. One moment you’re listening to some weird dirgy electronica song, next some punky quasi-jazz combo is screeching in your ear, and then suddenly there’s two minutes of what sounds like someone trying to create dance beats with sounds from assorted video games. Bands like La Mere Vipere, Tickley Feather, Wigger Mom, Leper Colony, and Mountain Husband keep things blissfully out of whack, offering the listener stuff they’re not likely gonna hear anywhere else anytime soon. Easily one of the better comps I’ve heard lately and also sure to clear out a party in eight minutes flat. –Jimmy Alvarado (CNP)


TROPIEZO:
El Manual de La Perfecta Cabrona: CD
Absolutely essential, fast-as-hell hardcore from Puerto Rico. Sixteen tracks clearing in sixteen minutes! This is the fucking shit! From what I can make out of the packaging, the lyrics seem to be of a political nature and their packing is kind of cool, if awkward. It’s a wide booklet with goofy cartoons in it. But whatever, who fucking cares about their packaging? This is seriously some of the best hardcore I’ve heard in a long time. Everybody I’ve played this for has been all, “Dude! What the hell is this?!” So, I’m far from being alone in being stoked. I don’t care if you don’t listen to hardcore anymore and just listen to (insert more listenable punk subgenre here) these days. Hell, that wouldn’t be too far from my own situation. Just sayin’, if you don’t get into this, you don’t like punk rock. Yeah, it’s like that. –Craven (Self-released)


TOTAL CHAOS:
Avoid All Sides: CD
I avoided all contact with Total Chaos when they came out because at the time I was moving away from Great Big Haircut type punk (Vincent and Cochrane were throttling me at the time, and early Lennon/McCartney had me in a noogie headlock). I also feared that Total Chaos would seem like a total joke to me with the punk uniform and all. So, after many years, I finally get a taste. And the gastronomical conclusions: sure, it’s a bit clichéd at times (an early expectation of mine and one that kept me away), but it rocks often enough that I can doff my battered cap to them. Fast and angry. This is that wholesome meal that you keep going back to after trying some exotic crap at a new-fangled fusion restaurant. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Punk Core)


TOKYO POLICE CLUB:
Elephant Shell: CD
When a Saddle Creek band is at its strongest, it can take the idea of indie pop or rock and turn it inside out, substituting any preconceptions of blandly delivered histrionics for something that is a powerful and necessary listen. Unfortunately, this Tokyo Police Club disc doesn’t have the urgent crush of the Desaparecidos or Cursive’s impassioned confessionals to take it into superior territory. Instead, it’s a bland and bloodless affair that accomplishes nothing extraordinary with its sparse sound and maybe Morrissey vocals. It doesn’t have to be something loud and fast, but this brand of tepid, hesitant delivery never helped anyone get the feeling of their music across. Hell, even The Smiths had some flair to the most dour of their ballads. –Reyan Ali (Saddle Creek)


TURPENTINE BROTHERS:
Self-titled: LP
Now this is the kind of band that makes one excited about music. Garage rock done right. Raw, rocking attitude, and all with a swinging rhythm. The organ that runs throughout is great. Not overbearing, but essential. Giving this an air of cool that can not be faked. The whole time I listened to this record—and repeated listens at that—all I could say to myself, wide-eyed, is, “Fuck, this is great!!” And great this record truly is. You get your rippers, some in between, and some slow stuff (“Tired Luxury”). Great album the whole way through. You really have to hear “Time/Min” and “Forget Loyalty.” Great songs! –Matt Average (Alien Snatch!)


UNDER ANCHOR:
There Is No End: CD
Hardcore, but not consistently straight up. Sometimes it sounded more neo-metal, sometimes more like crust punk. Some of these songs I loved; some kinda bored me. I’m mixed on this mixed bag and I freely admit that this mixed review is entirely subjective in its mixed-up nature. This record’s hitting or missing at various points is only a matter of my quirky tastes and not any sort of qualitative judgment. However, let me make a modicum of effort. The hardcore-sounding songs tend to be real scorchers, and they get the proverbial thumbs-up with goofy grin in tow. The crusty songs were okay, but Under Anchor sounds a lot better doing a more classic hardcore sound. The metally tunes can be left off the record, in my opinion. Bad comparison number two for this issue: imagine Nausea meets Ann Beretta. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Veritas et Aequitas, myspace.com/veritasetaequitasrecords)


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·HOLDING ONTO SOUND
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·PINHEAD CIRCUS
·SAY BOK GWAI
·RETURNABLES, THE
·Records Reviews From Issue #43
·GIANT HAYSTACKS
·HARD SKIN
·GENETIC DISORDER


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