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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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NINETY SIX GHOSTS:
New Dustbowl: CD
I don’t want to be that guy, but fuck it, I am that guy so why try to hide it? If you are putting time and effort into writing and recording songs, make at least some effort with the packaging. Bullshit single card sheet with pixelated back is a minor step up from a demo in my eyes. Weak. Musically this is okay; I’m feeling some later American Steel or Bad Religion but with lame guitar melodies and over emotional vocals. Meh.  –Tim Brooks (Old Bitter)


NIKKI LOUDER:
Golden Men: CD
Golden Men is the third full-length release from these Slovenian noise merchants who serve up nine tracks of anxious, tense post-punk. This stuff is perhaps a little too arty for my liking, but if grating, noisy, arty post-punk is what rocks your boat, you could certainly do worse.  –Garrett Barnwell (MoonLee)


NEW WEATHER:
Self-titled: CD/LP
New Weather is a three-piece instrumental, synth-driven act, reminiscent of Crime In Choir, Boards Of Canada, or Kraftwerk. The 1970s and early ‘80s vibe is especially strong throughout the five songs that clock in at thirty minutes. For example, the closing track, “Everything,” had a synth line that I kept expecting to break into Joe Jackson’s 1982 single, “Steppin’ Out.” While I can’t say these songs blew me away, the album’s unique sound—in comparison with most of the guitar-driven music I review—as well as its superb recording quality made it stand out amongst this latest stack of albums I received to review. I wouldn’t mind hearing a full-length album, as this serves well as music to play softly in the background. I can always stand to have more instrumental stuff to play while I write, read, or just drown out the world around me and New Weather’s self-titled EP does that as well as standing on its own as competent electronic music.  –Kurt Morris (butterscotchrecords.net)


NAH:
Die Bad / Tape Fuck: Cassette
Well, I don’t know what to do with this. Two sides of stripped-down, industrial-sounding hip hop beats over atmospheric loops and samples. Occasionally there are weird noises, including something that sounds like a siren made out of a slide whistle and that sound submarines make at the bottom of the ocean. I can’t even begin to write about this as if I know what I’m talking about, so I’m just telling it like I hear it. Apparently this is the guy from 1994!, but don’t let that color your expectations too much. The cover is a glitchy-looking xerox photo of a scary eyeball. Spooky.  –Indiana Laub (Ranch, ranchjams.blogspot.com, ranchjams@gmail.com)


MOTÖRHEAD:
Aftershock: CD/ 2 x LP
Motörhead are an institution. Together since 1975, Aftershockis their twenty-first full-length album. Even more amazing, they’ve had the same lineup since 1992. Some might argue that the lack of fresh blood has caused the band to stagnate, with every album generally sounding the same. Others would argue that it’s what allows them to be so tight and proficient in their well-known style. Sure, the band has had their share of lackluster albums in their career, but find me a band who has been playing for over thirty-five years that hits the mark every time. What’s more surprising is the times that the three-piece gets things right. Aftershockis such an example. Sure, it sounds at first listen like most other Motörhead albums: galloping beats, nice guitar solos, and Lemmy’s gravely vocals. But there’s a catchy vibe to these songs. Motörhead have often been called a metal band, but metal bands don’t write hooks like this. It’s further proof of Lemmy’s interest in punk music, 1950s and early ‘60s rock music, and his understanding of what made many of those acts great. There are big riffs and a definite “heavy” sound, but these songs also get stuck in your head. And when that happens with a band like Motörhead, it’s nothing but fucking awesome. Sure, there are a few nitpicky things here (Lemmy’s vocals don’t sound quite as strong as they used to, the bass seems a little buried in the mix), but there are so many other great things on here (for example, the two slower numbers “Lost Woman Blues” and “Dust and Glass” provide a nice respite but also show the range of Motörhead’s influence) that Aftershockcan’t be seen as anything but a winner.  –Kurt Morris (UDR)


MONSTERS, THE:
The Hunch: CD
It’s always sort of fascinating to see how the symbols of classic American culture are adopted and repackaged overseas. In no setting is this phenomenon more apparent than the great international echo chamber of psychobilly. The Monsters hail from Switzerland, and this CD is a reissue of the original 1992 release. The Hunch opens with a creepy serial killer quote—the first of a serious excess of samples—and goes on to be exactly what anybody would expect after one look at the pulp magazine cover art. In “The Creature from the Black Lagoon,” the growling frontman purports to be, aside from the title character, “a teenage zombie,” “a werewolf,” and “a B-picture movie star.” Other lyrical topics include murder, infernal romance, and unhealthy sexual activities. The guitars are surfy; the bass is upright; the vocals are guttural and rife with haunted house groans. I can’t say The Monsters brought anything new or particularly exciting to psychobilly’s campy table, but if the Meteors and the Guana Batz are your jam, then by all means have at it.  –Indiana Laub (Voodoo Rhythm)


MONSTERS, THE:
Masks: CD
Bit of a different sound for these guys. By my presently-don’t-have-their-other-releases-immediately-handy recollection, they’ve more or less ruled the roost of the psychotic wing of the garage/trash end of things. There is a smidge of that here, but for the lion’s share of the tuneage, it appears they’re making a move to spike their spurs into the psychobilly side of the pool as well. They do so handily, with Beatman’s vocals still evincing that crazed, overtoned rumble that would make your average Tuvan throat singer envious, and the rest of his cohorts a-slappin and a-boppin’ away.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Voodoo Rhythm)


MÖBIUS STRIP:
Step Down: 7”
Möbius Strip has a thick, chunky bass sound that I really enjoyed. The DC-based trio recorded Step Down at Inner Ear Studios with the legendary Don Zientara, and the echoes of DC bands past can be heard in their sound. They’re not more than echoes though, as Möbius Strip demonstrates a command of songwriting that stretches a wide gamut. The title track, “Step Down,” is a slow, but relentlessly chugging song, which stretches across the first side of the 7”, and shows Möbius Strip at their heaviest. “O’Dark:30”on the B-side, isn’t as heavy, but plays with a bit higher intensity. This added intensity carries on to the closing track “Interpretation,” whose wailing one-word chorus really kicks.  –Paul J. Comeau (Left Out, leftoutrecords.com, band@mobiusstripdc.com)


MISERY JACKALS:
No Place for Children: CD
Hill country bluegrass band, filled with accordion, banjo, piano and all the other fixin’s. Two vocalists take turns singing lead, one with a big, booming Charlie Daniels voice and another sounding a fair amount like John Reis, with the trademark combination of nasal sneer and scratchy, sandpaper grit. But this is more than a paint-by-numbers approach to bluegrass, as this also dips its toe into Celtic, klezmer, ranchera and Tejano pools. Definitely more adventurous than many others doing this sort of thing, though, as a personal point of taste, I do feel like this can became a little grating after a while (so much banjo and some lyrics that are a little too Dr. Demento) and is probably best experienced as some flavor to spice up a mix.  –Jeff Proctor (Misery Jackals)


MISCONDUCT:
Blood on Our Hands: CD
Ugh. Just ugh. Some trite-as-hell, over produced alternative punk rock. It’s something you’d expect to be playing in the background of some consumer capitalist-driven teenage-angst crap store in a suburban mall. Okay, that’s a low blow, and, yeah, Misconduct is a Swedish band, but so fucking what? It’s the same shit they’ve been dishing out here in the States that you can breeze through in your local Best Buy music aisle with the likes of Papa Roach, Korn, and Pennywise. Painful.  –Camylle Reynolds (Strength, no address listed)


METALLEG:
Hit of the Week: LP
Metalleg occupies the bit of the Venn diagram where pop punk and power pop intersect. You know: sometimes there’s the chug of a Ramones song in the band’s guitars, and other times there’s catchy melody that might’ve come straight outta the Cheap Trick playbook.  –Michael T. Fournier (Trend Is Dead!)


MASS MILICJA:
Collective Punk: LP
Nicely packaged album from this Polish anarcho punk band that is very much in a Profane Existence type of vein. Really quality insert included lyrics in both Polish and English. This is not really my style at all, but this band is as good as any and better than a lot of stuff I have heard.  –Mike Frame (Pasazer)


MANDATES, THE:
Self-titled: Cassette
Here’s to leather jackets and shaggy bangs! The Mandates’ influences start at the Ramones and reach back through ‘70s power pop, with special credit due to the New York Dolls and Elvis Costello’s more upbeat moments. Eleven buoyant tracks of mid-tempo pop complete with walking basslines and squealing guitar flourishes. These guys dial the rock’n’roll nostalgia a couple notches higher even than like-minded contemporaries such as Future Virgins and the Marked Men. Twenty-first century Ramonescore is so susceptible to stagnancy, but the Mandates hit just the right balance of bubblegum and swagger. This band could easily have filled out any late ‘70s pop punk bill, but I’m glad they’re around now so I get a chance to catch them.  –Indiana Laub (Shake!, records@experienceshake.com, experienceshake.com)


MANBIKI CHOCOLATE:
Super Dimensional Hardcore: LP
This discography contains the Japanese hardcore stalwarts’ entire ‘90s output, including songs from an obscure cassette and a handful of previously unreleased tracks. This is fairly straightforward metallic hardcore of the blisteringly fast and violently angry variety. The vocals are a mix of guttural croaks and snotty streetpunk screams. Manbiki Chocolate is not the tightest or most technical of bands, but each song is a blast of manic energy—topped off with some thrashy shredding more often than not. Strangely enough, there’s also a sense of humor and lightheartedness that I don’t usually associate with crusty Japanese hardcore. This impression may have something to do with the hilarious band history included in the accompanying booklet (which also includes some punk-as-fuck live photos and liner notes in English, along with the Japanese lyrics). Gundam references abound... who would have thought?  –Indiana Laub (Not Very Nice, chaosnonmusica@gmail.com, notverynice.storenvy.com / General Speech, generalspeech@gmail.com)


MADTOWN MULLIGAN:
Bombs Away!: 7”
Oi, oi, it’s another street punk band. Madtown Mulligan sound pretty good. Catchy, mid-tempo oi stuff with good vocals and—as a refreshing break—an anti-war, anti-corporate stance. These guys put humanity before blind nationalism and I really like it. I hoist my drink to these guys!  –Ty Stranglehold (Spirit Of The Streets)


LITTLE MERCURY:
First Thought / Best Thought: 10”
Little Mercury may have an Elvis Costello And The Attractions obsession. Not an entirely bad thing, but when the songs lack Declan’s pop hook genius, you have a wholly forgettable parcel of tracks. “Come up Twice” might be a saving grace and may even find its way on to a mix tape or podcast. It’s also the shortest track and one out of six just isn’t a good average. The guitarist caught mid-leap on the back of the jacket is the most exciting part of the release. White vinyl.  –Matt Seward (Quarrymen, quarrymenrecords.com)


LIMES:
Rhinestone River: CD
Sprawling, folksy college rock with plenty of twang and hints of psychedelia, Limes come across as a sedated J Mascis fronting Pavement, with languid vocals that droll over meandering, exploratory guitars and a mellow, easy-going back beat, peppered with vibes, accessory percussion, and trumpet. Listening to this reminds me not just of Pavement, but of their native Stockton, CA and its long, hot summers, where time and the air seem to stand still, no matter how much watery domestic you down in a futile attempt to combat the heat and the boredom.  –Jeff Proctor (Goner)


LIKE LIKE THE THE THE DEATH:
Cave Jenny: CD
Dang, these guys have some chops. The impeccably titled “Here Comes Irregular” kicks off with shimmering post-punk guitar before the strangled vocals burst in. From then on out the album is a nonstop exercise in frantic, noisy precision. Anthony Weber and Kyle Scheuer’s dual vocals alternate between ranting yelps and tuneful howls that stray just the right amount out of key before diving back into some downright pretty melodies. ‘90s indie fans who recognize the Silver Jews shoutout in LLTTTD’s stuttering moniker take heed: this band offers little of their namesake’s chilled-out sleepiness. On the other hand, Cave Jenny does owe much to the golden age of college rock. “Cry Tag” rips like an amped-up Superchunk, trading poppy harmonies for jagged riffs that venture in and out of mathy territory. Dissonant plodders “Tyrant Science” and “Paralyzer” contribute a heaviness that evokes Nation Of Ulysses with an extra dash of Minutemen weirdness. An all-around solid effort from these talented Wisconsin dudes.  –Indiana Laub (Latest Flame, dan@latestflame.com, latestflame.com)


LIFE STINKS:
“Shadow on the Wall” b/w “Drag You”: 7”
Name says it all: Life Stinks is influenced by Rocket From the Tombs-era proto punk. Mid-tempo songs with heavy guitars. Pretty cool and definitely worth the price of admission—although the little swastikas on the insert are stupid and redundant (Electric Eels had the asshole/nihilistic market cornered way back in the Nixon/Ford years and—while it was infinitely more brazen then—it was still dumb). On Total Punk, so you know the deal: small run with hand-stamped covers.  –Ryan Leach (Total Punk, floridasdying.com/tag/total-punk)


LAMBS:
Self-titled: 7”
This is one beautifully packaged record. Two-color screen print on heavy cardboard. It looks great. An added bonus is when the music is equally as great as the art. It is no secret that I have an affinity for German punk rock. Well, here is another band to add to the list. Heavy, melodic, and urgent (as if you can sound anything but urgent in German), I was sold on the first song. Luckily, there are six on this record. I think I’ll have another listen!  –Ty Stranglehold (Contraszt! info@diyordie.net)


KNIFVEN:
“Smutsen” b/w “Bingo”: 7”
“Smutsen” is the peppier tune of the two, with “Bingo” following up with minor chords and an overall gloomier feel.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Gaphals, gaphals.se)


KING NINE:
Scared to Death: LP
Aww sheeit. This is top notch NYHC in that Crown Of Thornz and Will Shepler-era Agnostic Front/Madball way, but with some serious late ‘90s/early ‘00s Victory vibe ala Path Of Resistance, Skarhead, and the classic Clevo bands. Toss in some later period Cro-Mags, too. Oh, and like, Rejuvenate and DMIZE. Y’know, mid-paced, tight grooves and furious vocals ala Ezec, Choke, Chris Lohman (Collateral Damage), etc. I can’t think of a New York band that’s sounded this street-level and legit in some time. Old-school cats and newjacks should be equally psyched. So hard, so catchy, so goddamned good. –Dave Williams (Mass Movement, mmrecs.tumblr.com)


KATA SARKA / BODDICKER:
The David Lee Gorgoroth EP: 7”
You may have already seen the cover of this record. A David Lee Roth-esque creature (possibly David Lee Roth) in black metal regalia, complete with upside down cross on forehead and pentagram on chest. It’s been making the rounds. Unfortunately, this record is not a collection of black metalized Van Halen covers. It’s actually pretty straightforward. No jokes, just black metal/thrashy stuff on one side and chaotic hardcore stuff on the other. There may be some gags in the lyrics, at least on the Kata Sarka side, based on song titles like “Mired in Spleen,” but there’s no lyric sheet, so who can say? –MP Johnson (Reality Is A Cult)


JESU:
Everyday I Get Closer to the Light from Which I Came: CD/LP
I’ve been a fan of Jesu (aka Justin Broadrick) from the start, thus I’m familiar with the spectrum that the music can take: some albums are more atmospheric, mellow material—showcasing his appreciation for shoegazer music like Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine—while others tend towards more crunchy guitars, showing the influence industrial music has had on Broadrick. While many Jesu releases have been EPs, in that they have few songs, they can be quite lengthy in regards to overall time. This release is only five songs but clocks in at forty-three minutes, and has very little crunch (the one exception seeming to be some riffs on “The Great Leveller”). Rather, it focuses more on Broadrick’s interest with the ethereal. In fact, it’s probably the least heavy album in Jesu’s catalog. If fans of Jesu have been comfortable with Broadrick’s exploration of shoegazer music in the past, this is by no means a stretch. However, it’s also not Broadrick’s best attempt at the droney sound. That’s not to say it’s bad, because it’s certainly not played incompetently, nor is it overwhelmingly depressing; rather it’s introspective. Broadrick has mastered this sound and knows what he’s doing. But the album isn’t as compelling and nothing came out and grabbed me in an emotionally moving way, (although I did appreciate the nod to the Red House Painters’ snare and guitar work on “The Great Leveller”). I imagine I will always be a bigger fan of the heavier sound, but for fans of Jesu, and especially those who like shoegazer bands, this might be worth your time. As of this writing, the CD and colored LP are sold out, so your only options are black vinyl (one hundred pressed) and digital.  –Kurt Morris (jesu.bandcamp.com)


JAPANESE FURNACE:
Demo: Cassette
Okay, I liked the name first thing, so it started off a bit biased. Regardless, Japanese Furnace rages. There’s harsh-screamy vocals, hardcore-twangy metallic guitar shredding, fast-as-shit d-beat madness that stops, throbs, and swells, all keeping the fire burning. Along the likes of Urban Waste, Effluxus also comes to mind. I’m pretty sure Japanese Furnace is epic live. Lo-fi recording, handmade tape insert, true to DIY punk.  –Camylle Reynolds (Self-released)


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