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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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JAPANESE BREAKFAST:
June: Cassette
Michelle Zauner of the band Little Big League recorded a song a day for the month of June and this tape is the result. Zauner’s voice has a pretty, ethereal quality to it, which makes the sometimes bleak lyrics all the creepier. Not the ultra lo-fi type of music that is routinely coming out on cassette these days, June is instead a very polished, stunner of a release. These one-minute tracks seem way longer than they are. Maybe Zauner honed her patience skills by having to wait for her Z name to be called last at school growing up? June is a class act all around.  –Art Ettinger (Ranch, ranchrecords.bigcartel.com)


INTERRUPTERS:
“Liberty” b/w White Noise”: 7”
Recorded by Tim Armstrong of Rancid fame and out on Hellcat, you probably have a good idea where this disc is coming from. A-side is a good Rancid-meets-Distillers jam and the flip a straight-up ska number, not unlike Armstrong’s recent outings. The female singer has great pipes, everything is all buttoned up and I’m sure they do great playing huge shows with Rancid. Good on ya. Me? I’ll be drinking a fifth in my car listening to Obliteration.  –Tim Brooks (Hellcat)


IMPALERS:
Self-titled: LP
Hailing from Austin, Texas and featuring members of Mammoth Grinder and Hatred Surge, Impalers execute punishing buzz saw d-beat with hardcore and metal fringes. The group is reminiscent of Anti-Cimex and Tragedy, but the howling licks are one hundred percent Discharge. This record seems to be crafted by punk vinyl junkies as it attacks without overindulgence and every influence is cohesive, blown out, guttural, awe-inspiring—it all sounds effortless. Yet, Impalers remain tactful in a full-on assault. Nothing is excessively embellished and the production is gleefully raw. The art, which is printed on an immaculate white envelope fold jacket, is appropriately hellish. Sadly, no lyrics are to be had. Highly recommended for heavy music hounds sick of butt rock posturing.  –Sean Arenas (Todo Destruido, tododestruido@gmail.com / 540, chaosintejas.bigcartel.com)


IDIOT TALK:
Self-titled: LP
Before hearing this I’d read that the band had a 1980s DC hardcore sound and there is no denying that there are numerous moments that bring to mind that sort of loose and trebly quality of the earlier groups on Dischord. However, I’d also add that Idiot Talk would not seem at all out of place on the Deranged label, given its propensity for releasing bands with a frenetic and often uncomplicated approach, both of which are evident across the eleven tracks on this debut album. The record closes with a cover of “Fascist Cops,” a 1978 track by Belgian band The Kids, which is played in a third less time than the original version took and is a great song because, let’s face it, who doesn’t like singing, “We hate, fascist cops” at the top of their lungs!  –Rich Cocksedge (Build Me A Bomb, info@buildmeabomb.com, buildmeabomb.com)


HUNGRY GAYZE:
Roadkill: 7”
Psyched-out, freakout scuzz punk from Orlando. Lo-fi production comes replete with herky-jerky rock and roll rhythms, caveman drumming, alternating male and female vocals slathered in reverb, and some séance-inducing organs, with some other intermittent, caterwauling keyboard noise. Perfect for your next garage rock dance party and fits right in with labelmates like the Jacuzzi Boys on Floridas Dying.  –Jeff Proctor (Floridas Dying)


HUNG UPS, THE:
6 Songs: CDEP
I loved The Hung Ups from the first listen. Their sound had a pop punk meets hardcore vibe that I’ve heard elsewhere, but they make it their own. This CDEP showcased some quality songwriting, including several earworms worth of hooks. The lead in the track “Social Anxiety,” was particularly sweet. Punks of all ages will dig the band’s lyrics. Anyone who’s worked a retail job will relate to the lyrics in the track “Dante Hicks,” even if they might not get the Kevin Smith movie references. Get over your musical hang ups and give this a listen.  –Paul J. Comeau (Hung Ups, thehungups.com thehungups@gmail.com)


HOUNDS OF HATE:
Self-titled: LP
I’m a fussy bugger at times and it doesn’t take much for me to not like a band/record but equally there are moments when there is one redeeming quality that draws me in and without which I’d pass on a release. Fortunately for Hounds Of Hate, there was one thing that held my focus on the first few plays of this and that was having a vocalist who sounded like a young Colin Abrahall of G.B.H. I’m actually pleased I kept with it as with repeated plays I was able to discern more elements on this album that I enjoyed. The brand of straightedge hardcore touted by Hounds Of Hate contains all the usual traits, being primarily a two speed dominated attack—a slow chugga chugga along with a more deliberate mid-paced variety, although, for good measure, there are some breakneck bursts making cameo appearances to spice things up a bit. The band makes good use of these changes of speed and they are interspersed nicely throughout the songs so that no one track becomes overly reliant on any single approach, ensuring my interest doesn’t wane. The songs have a rough, mean hardcore sound delivered in a fairly no-frills way and although I’d prefer more of the faster moments, which also remind me of G.B.H., this is another instance in which my perseverance with a record is rewarded. My only gripe would be the muddled drums which take some of the snap away from the music.  –Rich Cocksedge (Painkiller, painkillerrecords@gmail.com, painkillerrecords.com)


HOLIDAY:
Holiday: 7” EP
The band name has a positive vibe. The title of the EP brings to mind happy times. The energetic melodic punk accompaniment adds further to that feeling, but, ultimately, the lyrics, delivered with a Mancunian accent, throw a caustic cloak over the whole package with a focus on the crap that we are frequently forced to deal with in life. The opening track “Missiles on the Roof” takes a swipe at the London Olympics, not so much the sporting events but everything that occurred on the periphery—in what seemed like a risky move, surface-to-air missile launchers were situated in suburban areas in the event of any kind of threat during the games. There is no drop in quality in the remaining three tracks and this release really does have that perfect juxtaposition of upbeat music and downbeat lyrics. I really like the buzzsaw guitar along with the dynamism that the rhythm section brings to proceedings and I’m definitely left wanting more. This is released by five labels but Brassneck sent me this.  –Rich Cocksedge (Brassneck, brassneckrecords@hotmail.co.uk, brassneckrecords.bigcartel.com)


HARRINGTON SAINTS:
Bettin’ on a Longshot: The Singles Collection: CD
I could talk all day about the politics of oi and streetpunk bands. While one of the keystones of the genre has always been taking pride in representing the working class, the complexity of who the working class is and what they want has never been clear from the bands that represent the scene. As a result, I have always thought of oi and streetpunk bands as falling into two camps: those who might side with actual working-class, union strikers, and those who could be found at a Buffalo Wild Wings, watching mixed martial arts. For my money, Harrington Saints are not terribly exciting. There are a lot of lyrics about shining boots, fighting, and even a song called “Machine Guns and Molotovs,” which claims, “These are the tools of my trade.” I could list a dozen oi bands that I love. You can have Harrington Saints.  –John Mule (Pirates Press)


GITANE DEMONE:
The Reflecting Shadow: CD
Another solo effort from this former Christian Death chanteuse. Melding bits of goth, blues, jazz, and industrial with gobs of gloom and heaps of theatricality, she delivers nine tracks that sound like the possible fruits of Brecht, Waits, and early Coil collaborating on some morose musical, with her voice giving the whole undertaking some added class. The casual listener might find it all a wee bit too dark, but fans and folks who prefer their Halloweens without all the stifling modern day-glow jollity will find much to sink their filed teeth into.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Manic Depression)


GINO & THE GOONS:
“Troubled” b/w “I’m a Big Boy Now”: 7”
Mid-tempo punk’n’roll is always welcome when it’s done well. This record contains two stone cold winners. The vocals are snotty. The guitars are loud and grinding. “I’m a Big Boy Now” makes a solid declaration. Total Punk is on a roll. It’s a keeper.  –Billups Allen (Total Punk)


GENTLEMEN PREFER BLOOD / HANDS LIKE BRICKS:
Split: 7”
These two bands fit neatly into the past couple years of Southern California gruff-dude pop punk. If that means anything to you, you already know exactly what this sounds like. Gentlemen Prefer Blood plays along the lines of L.A. compatriots American Lies and The French Exit—or Latterman and Off With Their Heads, to be less regional. “New Year’s Resolution” kicks right off with a killer singalong chorus, a definite highlight of the split. Hands Like Bricks picks up the tempo on the flip side, two tracks of raucous punk reminiscent of Dear Landlord and early Social Distortion. The off-key vocals are really throwing me off, but the music is solid and fun. Lyrical content is mostly limited to being drunk and nostalgic about old friends. You know, punk stuff. As far as Los Angeles-area pop punk goes, this split is just about par for the course, but there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that.  –Indiana Laub (Radius)


GAGGERS, THE:
Rip You Off: LP
This record looks exactly like it sounds; sometimes you can judge by the cover. The Gaggers are a U.K. band that sound like an exact cross of The Briefs and The Stitches. Parts are quite reminiscent of the Hatepinks and The Distraction as well, with a real snotty Le Shok kinda vocal style. Fans of early Dirtnap, Modern Action, Hostage Records, and Southern California style beach punk will absolutely want to track this down.  –Mike Frame (Wanda)


FUTURE PRIMITIVES:
Into the Primitive: CD
Voodoo Rhythm is another one o’ those labels that ain’t afraid to put out music that grays up the areas around the “garage rock” niche its releases often fall into. This is a prime example of that, wherein you have a band that strips the whole garage thing down to its sonic and structural bare bones while still somehow managing to drop shades of ‘50s rock’n’roll, ‘60s beat, trash punk, and even some psychedelia into the mix. No simple hat trick, that. The results echo the storied careers of both The Cramps and Thee Headcoats whilst not sounding much like either. Danceable, raw, and not aiming to sound like the rest of the punters.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Voodoo Rhythm)


FUCKTARDS:
Self-titled: 7”EP
Took me some time to find any information on this band since the only thing printed on this 7” is the band name and names of songs. Turns out Fucktards are a Swedish band, from Hisingen, Gothenburg Sweden. Wouldn’t have guessed this by my first couple of listens. It’s straight early ‘80s hardcore punk/surf rock. Think Circle Jerks/JFA/Black Flag. Surf guitars with circle pit-inducing beats ready to work shit up into a foamy lather. It’s solid.  –Camylle Reynolds (Self-released, o.kilstrom@gmail.com)


FRUSTRATION:
Disintegrate: 7” EP
Portland crust punks Frustration contribute to a 7” single series on the long-running label of all things crust: Profane Existence. Somewhat of a departure from their last record on Inimical; this time incorporating a butt-load more melody into the mix à la Severed Head Of State. I’m not complaining though; the songs fucking rip. You don’t need to own a dog that you take to shows or sport dreadlocks to be into this record, but I do suggest picking this up ASAP as it has been pressed in limited quantities.  –Juan Espinosa (Profane Existence)


FRENCH EXIT:
Guts & Black Stuff: LP/CD
A slightly different take on the rough pop punk formula that’s definitely interesting enough to keep me listening past track one. An upbeat-but-melancholy vibe similar to For Science’s later output, but with a mid-paced, somewhat heavier approach that reminds me of OWTH a bit, but less moody. Even kinda Weezer/Nada Surf-y at times. A cool, refreshing record that folks who’ve moved on from cookie-cutter pop punk might seriously appreciate.  –Dave Williams (It’s Alive)


FALTER:
Self-titled: Cassette
I recently got my hand on a Falter demo, and, shit, was I impressed. Ripping straight out of Milwaukee, WI, Falter is a heavy sound that needs to grace your ears. If I had to throw in a genre, I would say it’s hardcore with a mix of crust in the vein of Dystopia. There are some Disclose-sounding riffs and you can easily hear all the instruments. Their sounds all match up really well. The recording isn’t the best, but it sounds raw, and doesn’t really take anything away from the music. Vocals are a little on the higher end and remind me a bit of earlier Martyrdod, but it definitely works for what they’re doing. The demo is damn good, and the artwork is sick too; what more could you ask for? They have a 7” coming out soon that I’m looking forward to checking out.  –James Meier (Reality Is A Cult, realityisacult@gmail.com)


EUREKA CALIFORNIA / GOOD GRIEF:
Split: 7”
EurekaCalifornia play strummy, melancholy indie pop. Good Grief sound like a mix of psychedelic garage rock and ‘90s emo rock. No, really. Both bands are catchy and punky and have fuzzed-out recordings that forefront their garage rock tendencies. They’re different enough to be distinctive, but enough in common to make sense back-to-back. Adding to the big picture, the packaging is nice, and sorta looks like a 1970s PE uniform.  –Chris Terry (roklokrecords.com)


EDHOCHULI:
Self-titled: LP
According to my research, the name is derived from Ed Hochuli, an attorney and longtime NFL official. Thankfully, the band avoids both legal mumbo jumbo and meathead hoorah. Instead, these Pittsburgh punks grant us six dizzying tunes full of Black Sabbath solos, finger bass noodles, harsh vocals, and genuine eardrum abuse. Although they exhibit technical hardcore and sludge influences, pure rock bombast—sans the machismo, misogyny, and ill-fitting pants—bleeds through every note. (There’s even a song that features an extensive acoustic guitar intro that deviates into a tasty tapping riff.) The tunes are impressively composed with tempo changes, thick licks, and long, playful titles (“Dude, Here Comes the Sweet Part”). Edhochuli is the type of band that warrants watching while dumbfounded and agape as they shred without a hint of smugness and modestly gyrate their hips.  –Sean Arenas (Ethospine, ethospine.com, ethospine@gmail.com)


EDHOCHULI / WASTE AGE:
Split: 10”
Edhochuli’s single contribution opens with a frenetic mishmash of interwoven riffs and pulsing percussions. The extensive instrumental layering is mind boggling. I imagine that some flow charts must have been involved. With a hard right turn, the screams rip through the guitar-laden veneer, transforming the song into a death waltz. Eventually, what follows is a frantic interlude and a tormented, atonal climax. This is expansive, heady stuff. Almost hardcore geometry. Definitely one of the band’s most memorable outings. Waste Age’s two songs don’t slack off either. Both begin with pleasant guitar interplay and silky crooning evocative of ‘90s emo like Sunny Day Real Estate. When the vocalist strains, he sounds eerily similar to Guy Picciotto of Fugazi. Also, the integration of keys is a plus. Overall, this is a varied split from two sets of very distinct musical maestros.  –Sean Arenas (Ethospine, ethospine.com, ethospine@gmail.com)


DOWNTOWN STRUTS:
Victory: 7”
Following an EP, single, and album, the A-side track, “Victory,” is easily the best song these guys have done. Most of their previous output was too soft for my taste; decent songs but not enough balls, not enough punch. “Victory” has the catchy melodies these guys obviously have the skill to write, but sounds much more urgent in its delivery. The obvious reference point here is Smalltown, another good band that gets too soft at times. The B-side isn’t quite as good, but still captures that same raw, urgent quality. A solid pickup.  –Chad Williams (Pirates Press, piratespressrecords.com)


DOWN BY LAW:
Revolution Time: CDEP
Fresh off the heels of last year’s Champions at Heart, the band returns with this innovative blast of seven songs. The influences are here, some damn good ones too. From Stiff Little Fingers to Thin Lizzy to Motörhead, it’s a hearty mix. But there are some mellow passages too. “Radio Silence” slows the tempo to great effect with some intricate acoustics. “Midnight Fighters” ratchets up the racket to bring this too short record to a close. Down By Law knows this is new age, but they are still able to keep up and fly the flag high for punk rock and the true believers. That’s admirable beyond belief these days. Join the cause!  –Sean Koepenick (Self-released, downbylaw.com)


DOBERMANN CULT:
Lions Share of the Dog Years: CD
Swedish dudes doing the NYHC thing. While I was kind of looking forward to trashing this—this is easily my least favorite genre of punk—Dobermann Cult made that pretty difficult to do. Sure, the template never strays very far from the one laid down long ago by oldie-moldies like H2O and Sick Of It All, but what sets this band apart is their absolutely refreshing lack of meatheadedness. The lyrics contain reasonably articulate and meaningful calls for unity, tolerance, and compassion that span the gamut of racial, sexual, and economic differences, something that really endeared me to this band. Still not really a fan of the music—though admittedly they’re good at it—but I’d wholeheartedly suggest fans of the genre check these dudes out well before listening to yet another beefed-up ignoramus yell about how he’s been stabbed in the back.  –Keith Rosson (Gaphals, gaphals.se)


DIVINE RIGHT:
Self-titled: LP
Noisy hardcore with lots of feedback and fuzz pumped into the sound. Musically they run along the Tear it Up/Double Negative side of the street, alternating between thrashing and menacing boil.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Deranged)


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