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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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SOUNDS OF THREAT:
Creature of Habit: CD
Las Vegas, Nevada: desert city that obliterates energy resources, water resources, wallets, lungs, livers, and laws. Its only historical redeeming quality being the genesis of criminally overlooked punk band M.I.A. I hold a deep loathing for Las Vegas and its stale, dry, nosebleed-inducing forced air. Yet I visit annually, fourteen years running, for P.R.B. Glutton for punishment? Hardly. Just can’t resist competitive bowling (2010 champ!) and the great bands that B.Y.O. continually gets to play the thing. Anyway, there are apparently native Las Vegas punk bands, and Sounds Of Threat is one of them. Solid, straightforward punk rock, kind of reminiscent of the Randumbs, played as fast and loose as punks at a Blackjack table at 3:00 AM. So, yes, there is something for all the Vegas punx the other 361 days a year.  –Chad Williams (Squidhat)


SNOOZER:
Cottage Cheese: Cassette
I suspect it’s going to be hard to separate this band from Sunny Day Real Estate— and, through transitive property, from emo—because of the singer’s vocals, which share Jeremy Enigk’s high pitch and inflection. It’s a shame if listeners do fall into this trap, because Snoozer is a band worthy of repeated listens. There are traces of late ‘90s indie stuff like Built To Spill throughout. The last song is an epic sprawl, with finger-picked segments leading the way to bombast and release. I’m not crazy about the recording of this one: it flattens the band’s attack and renders some potentially ass-kicking passages fangless. Still, a band with ideas and execution who probably kill live.  –Michael T. Fournier (Ranch)


SKINNY GENES:
Meh: 7”
Skinny Genes skillfully repurposes a traditionally teenage genre for the quarter life crisis or dirty thirty dread, complete with Simpsons references, but leaving the pizza and disdain for one’s hometown behind. Instead, late twenties anxiety around making it, fitting in, working shitty jobs, and juggling fair weather friends takes over. Meh takes the earnest hardcore of New York peers like Iron Chic, ups the pop quotient, and suffuses it with the emotive disaffection of Weezer. Skinny Genes is Azeem “Ace” Sajid, a key member of beloved pop punk stalwarts House Boat and The Steinways. On Meh, he steps out and literally does it all himself. Ace sings and plays all of the instruments on each track, showcasing his impressive mastery of songwriting. This guy knew exactly what sound he wanted and how to create it, cranking out intelligent bubblegum with a wry sense of humor. “Comfortably Dumb” and “No Service” are standout songs, both featuring memorable and reassuring lines like, “I suck at being a grownup,” and, “Should have known I’d fuck it up somehow.” I hear influences from the Lookout! Records portfolio here, particularly the Queers. Meh moves at an obscenely fast clip, gripping the listener’s attention with urgency. It’s as if this record was made by an otherwise milquetoast nerd guy who is accustomed to bottling up his emotions, but one day, he just couldn’t take the wage grind anymore and walked into the studio. This is a perfect record for getting oneself out of self-doubt fog on a shitty day, and I look forward to hearing whatever Ace churns out next.  –Claire Palermo (Bloated Kat, bloatedkatrecords@gmail.com, bloatedkatrecords.bandcamp.com)


SIN 34:
Do You Feel Safe?: CD
Yup, you read that right, kids, the album it was once alleged would never see a legitimate reissue has been re-released. For those not familiar with the band, Sin 34 was a unit active on L.A.’s Westside in the early ‘80s (and for a time in the ‘00s/’10s with the original lineup intact) that was notable for a) being one of only a handful in the early American hardcore scene to feature a woman on vocals; b) counting Dave Markey (half of the We Got Power fanzine brain trust and a noted filmmaker) among their ranks; c) being one of the legion of bands that Circle One guitarist Mike Vallejo was in (though not for this recording), for those playing the wildly popular “Six Degrees of Mike” game that is sweeping the underground. This is the band’s sole long-form outing released when they were still active, a perennial inclusion on assorted want-lists and a bit of a classic, I reckon, of its type. If you’re looking for the artsy weirdness of Butthole Surfers, the taut funky-punk of the Minutemen, or even the mind-bogglingly complex speed-trials of Die Kreuzen, you’re barking up the wrong tree here. Sonically, their palette was solidly of the sloppy, occasionally generic thrash variety, more in line with early Wasted Youth than any of those others, with less emphasis on how much Reagan sucked and on more personal issues, peppered throughout with enough humor to keep things interesting. I fully know it’s a bit of an acquired taste for those looking for more sophisticated fare, but I’ve had a soft spot for ‘em since this was originally released, so it’s nice to see this get another go-’round. While the inclusion of the Die Laughing EP and assorted comp tracks would’ve been aces, the three outtakes that are tacked on here are definitely a welcome surprise, as are the liner notes penned by Markey, Thurston Moore, and Tobi Vail, respectively, to give the listener some context.  –jimmy (Sinister Torch)


SICK THOUGHTS:
Terminal Teenage: LP
Two LPs, ten 7”s, and a 10” all released in the course of less than two years?! This is either the work of a madman hell-bent on prolificacy, or a teenager with absolutely nothing better to do than crank out a jaw-dropping amount of blown-out, lo-fi, bedroom-style garage punk. While the madman title has yet to be confirmed or denied, Sick Thoughts is in fact the work of local Baltimore teenager Drew Owen. It’s abrasive, it’s harsh, it’s punk. Rootsy and primal, if you want something raw this will satisfy. Angry and alienated, desperate for reason, this is a journey into the mind of a frustrated, lonely teenager. All too relatable.  –Daryl Gussin (Dead Beat)


SHITTY NIGHTS:
Rick Kid Jokes: Cassette
I’ve always thought the term “street punk” was a euphemism for “shitty, unrehearsed band.” This tape reminds me this sort of thing can be done well. I can’t tell if it’s intentional or not, but there’s a great whiff of ‘80s U.K. in this tape. Sometimes a great recording has a mojo to it where it seems like it could all fall apart at the seams. That’s where the urgency in punk lies. It’s not just being loud and/or obnoxious. This band either gets it, or is so cool they don’t have to. The riffs are simple, mid tempo, and pissed as hell. They bring to mind an angrier Vice Squad. “Fuck It I’m Trying” is an anthem quality song. Get it and put it on in your car. Good tape.  –Billups Allen (Let’s Go Do Some Crimes, letgodosomecrimes.co)


SHARKPACT:
Run: LP
Sharkpact is Camille and Jeff, a keyboard/drums duo from Olympia, WA, who inhabits the same scene as RVIVR, Dogjaw, and Prank War. It would be grossly reductive to say that Sharkpact is pop punk with a keyboard, as the keys could not be replaced with power chords. Instead, their vocals gleefully burst forth, harmonizing with the synth in ways impossible to guitar-wielding punk bands. I’m reminded of Kiwi’s uplifting inflections, but challenging anarchist politics: “I was taught class by the smell of a laundromat.” Each song is food for thought, yet even without glancing at the lyrics, Run is still perfect boogie music. Sharkpact makes me want to pedal my ass off on my bike until I’m drenched in sweat and self-realization: Sure, it’s great to be alive, but make your life count for something.  –Sean Arenas (Ditches, ditchesrecords.com / Starcleaner, starcleaner.com / Rumbletowne, rumbletowne.com)


SEB AND THE RHAA DICKS:
Self-titled: CD
Seb And The Rhaa Dicks, according to the liner notes, is a project led by Seb Radix of Lyon, France. I saw Seb open for Mike Watt And The Second Men at Permanent Records a few months back and he, with a tape-recorded drum beat and acoustic guitar, put on one hell of a punk show. Even for that tiny space, divided by racks of CDs and vinyl, he ran up and down the aisles, singing, dancing, and pretending to punch his male listeners in the testicles. It was a great and memorable show, even before thee legendary Mike Watt plugged in to play. The songs recorded here have a lot of bop and pop to them, reminiscent of The Modern Lovers or The Buzzcocks. I get the idea that Seb spends most of his time in Europe, but I will be certain to look for his future releases and chances to see him live.  –John Mule (Pure Pain Sugar, purepainsugar.blogspot.com / R’n’R Masturbation)


ROTTEN UK:
Bat Shit Crazy: 7”EP
This is the second 7” from the hilarious, ripping Rotten UK. Part joke band a la Who Killed Spikey Jacket?and part devout reenactment of the best of UK82 hardcore, Rotten UK is from Rochester, U.K., a.k.a. Western New York. Cerebral, intelligently inane, and an all-around hoot, the lyrics cover pressing punk issues like bestiality, Christian baiting, and chaos. Even better than their debut record, this is a 7” that won’t be forgotten. 82 copies come on colored vinyl, the first 30 thirty come with a large bat earring, and the next 77 come with a smaller bat earring. Fun for both those living the life and those standing on the sidelines, this record is the perfect balance of kitsch and reality.  –Art Ettinger (Disillusioned, rottenuk.bandcamp.com)


ROCKET 3:
Burn: CD
Rocket 3 is dreamy sugar pop with a Portland sound. They remind me of a montage of tidbit songs in Portlandia: a mix of Breeders and the Shangri-Las, and sweet, subdued Stereolab-style vocals. The drums roll along, punchy yet light. The guitar is charmingly simplistic, which adds to the band’s soft-flowing sound. There are three covers: “Submission” (Sex Pistols), “All Tomorrows Parties” (the Velvet Underground) and “Only Shallow” (My Bloody Valentine), which, I think, are unnecessary. Rocket 3 put their own sound into each of these songs, which I don’t think does any justice to the songs nor the band.  –Camylle Reynolds (Self-released)


RICKY C QUARTET, THE:
Recent Affairs: LP
This LP contains rock-inspired punk. At times, punk-inspired rock. The singer sounds a bit like the singer from The Saints. The guitars are low distortion and feature lots of Chuck Berry riffs in the vein of ‘77 New York bands. “Rock the Boat” utilizes a saxophone nicely. The saxophone occasionally pushes the sound to the Jersey shore. I think this album is more for the older crowd, but that’s me and I like it.  –Billups Allen (Wanda, wandarecords.de)


REV. NORB & THE ONIONS:
Self-titled: LP
Bouncy, intentionally stupid power chord punk, the kind with a ton of rock’n’roll solos and goofy lyrics delivered in boppin’ post-Ramones style. The usual tropes are there, for those keeping track at home: teenager problems, needing to be medicated, sci-fi conspiracies, B-movie monsters, etc. I can’t lie, this kind of tongue-in-cheek band always just seems like a novelty to me—but hey, you don’t see anyone asking me how to get invited to parties.  –Indiana Laub (Certified PR)


RESENT:
Self-titled: 7”
Technical post-hardcore from Austin, Texas. Not normally my thing, but I can appreciate the quality of the product and the tunes overall. Throwback ten years or so and these guys could be on Three One G.  –Steve Adamyk (Vermin Resplendence, resentpunx.com)


REBEL SPELL, THE:
Last Run: CD
I have been a fan of Vancouver’s Rebel Spell since the very beginning. They are such a unique band that brings together a lot of elements to conjure up something genuinely special. I am hard pressed to think of another current band out there who sounds like them. Last Run continues along the trajectory set forth by previous albums. Huge anthems that are, on one hand, very catchy and make you want to get up and move, and, on the other hand, incredibly thoughtful and introspective. Politics are at the forefront and it’s nice to hear serious protest music that is also fun to listen to. Rebel Spell tour North America a lot. If you get a chance, you should really get out and see them. They’re great live.  –ty (Not Yer Buddy, facebook.com/Not.Yer.Buddy)


REAL NUMBERS:
What Was & What Is: CD
Like its predecessor, the latest from these cats stakes out and stripmines the intersection between the Simpletones, Vaselines, and T.V. Personalities—all clean-channel guitars and happy hooks explored at various tempos. Great stuff. –jimmy (Almost Ready)


REAGAN’S POLYP: :
Deadenator:: CD
“I felt embarrassed and defensive every time someone came in through the living room and saw me watching it. Like I was guilty of something. And I guess I was.” –Dave Roche on his first time watchingPink Flamingos on a friend’s couch. Which I remembered while trying to listen to Deadenator while my roommate was in the kitchen making dinner. Two of these tracks come close to sounding like songs. “Rock and Roll ‘Music’”—only a song because it’s a parody with lyrics like, “Oh yeah / Let’s go / It was Saturday night / And I went to a bar / And I put in a quarter / to hear some guitar!” and the track, “Overpowered by the Spacegirl,” which “songs” around for a minute or so before the drums sound like they’re being thrown down the stairs and the yelping begins and doesn’t ever really go away. Generally, I support this kind of thing. Very entertaining. A post-holidays gift for someone you used to love? –Jim Joyce (Vetoxa, vetoxa.com)


RAVAGE FIX:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Fuuuuck, these cats are pissed. Four tracks of raw, feral hardcore delivered at varying tempos ranging from thrash to slow, caustic burn. The song structures are simple, but man, do they pack a punch. –jimmy (Rinderherz)


RATIONAL ANTHEM:
Emotionally Unavailable: LP
To me, it seems impossible to escape Rational Anthem’s name if you’re tapped into any kind of DIY punk community, but I haven’t followed them as closely as this record suggests I should have been. Eight tracks of irresistibly accessible pop punk that never stops bouncing off the walls from start to finish. It’s something like Dear Landlord or Lipstick Homicide, but scuffed up with some of that gangly, rough-and-tumble Plan-It-X-style scrappiness. Listen, if you’re trying to forcefully help your little cousin bridge the gap from saccharine corporate pop punk to Real Music, this record is the best possible next step for them to take. As for me, this will probably be in regular rotation once I get over the staggeringly awful artwork, which is of a terrifying scribble guy apparently getting shot down by a lady with Spongebob eyes. Nightmares. –Indiana Laub (Bloated Kat, bloatedkatrecords@gmail.com, bloatedkat.storenvy.com)


RAJOITUS / RATSTAB:
Split: 7” EP
Rajoitus: Five tracks of vicious Finnish fjordcore coming at you like a hail of angry hornets armed with jackhammers aiming for your forehead. Been a while since I’ve heard anything from ‘em, but based on this, it sounds like they’ve lost none of their charm. Ratstab: Blown-out, spastic hardcore that, at times, sounds like someone is howling while banging on the inside of a very heavy, lead barrel.  –jimmy (Patac)


RAJOITUS / RATSTAB:
Split: 7” EP
Rajoitus: Five tracks of vicious Finnish fjordcore coming at you like a hail of angry hornets armed with jackhammers aiming for your forehead. Been a while since I’ve heard anything from ‘em, but based on this, it sounds like they’ve lost none of their charm. Ratstab: Blown-out, spastic hardcore that, at times, sounds like someone is howling while banging on the inside of a very heavy, lead barrel.  –jimmy (Patac)


PULLING PUNCHES:
Former Friends: CD
These Philadelphia dudes have a sound that is a very natural complement to the Harsh Realms record I also got for this review cycle, but this one is a spawn of Off With Their Heads and Street Dogs. Pulling Punches are anthemic, angst-ridden, and feisty, with lots of power and melody. It’s the kind of music that inspires one just to blast through all the shit and all the burdens heaped upon us and get it done. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Universal Warning)


PROTES BENGT:
In Bengt We Trust: EP
Swedish hardcore re-release from ‘85. Crams thirty-two punchy hardcore jams on to a seven inch slab of vinyl. If you’ve ever craved a ‘script to Adderall, this gem is guaranteed to give ADD in just under fourteen minutes. –Jackie Rusted (Insane Society, insanesociety.net)


POSITIVE NO:
Automatic Cars: 7”
Odd change-ups keep you on your toes on this single. Positive No’s EP is a release off of Negative Fun’s Singles Club, a label out of North Carolina, in a series with Bad Daddies, Hot Dolphin, Midnight Plus One, and Positive No. The vocals undoubtedly sound like Björk, and even the song title and chorus (“Automatic Cars”) on Side A sounds like an oddball topic that Björk herself might sing about. With a bit of controlled chaos and noise here, a bit of a disco beat drumming there, and a whole lot of bass drumming all over, Positive No creates a unique sound all their own. B-sides “Slumber Sequence” is notably less odd and a bit sweeter. Keep it coming. –Camylle Reynolds (Negative Fun)


PONG:
Gone: CD
Seven tracks of smarty-pants funky rock in the vein of say, Gang Of Four meets Talking Heads. Nothing really sticks out from anything else other than the song “Fish Sauce,” which annoyed me and captivated me simultaneously. Any band that extols the virtues of fish sauce is ultimately okay in my book. Just don’t spill any on your pants, trust me. –Garrett Barnwell (Saustex, saustex.com)


PARTY DRESS, THE: :
Self-titled: 7”
This is some good, simple, lo-fi, garagey rock and roll. It appears to be the first release for Bonzer Records, which has no web presence other than Bandcamp. No sign of a lyrics sheet or band lineup included and the insert from the label advertises records that are coming out in “Srig 2014.” Seems like these guys were so eager to release, they forgot to cross their t’s and dot their i’s. The Party Dress has some solid bass lines and rhythm guitar over droney rock beats that are a lot like The Cramps but less nostalgic. I like what they’re going for, but I wish they’d put more effort into the record. Like: where are you from? Who is in the band? Did you record in a sewer? Cool album art and decent music. I’d be interested in what they put out from here. –Kayla Greet (Bonzer)


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