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Razorcake #79
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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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DOWN AND OUTS:
Forgotten Streets: CD
The Down And Outs play British pop punk with more punk than pop, so it’s a wee bit edgier than one would normally expect from such a sound. The choruses tend to be more influenced by the street punk sing-a-long motif, so there’s actually a more diverse sound at second and third glance than mere “pop punk.” Very solid, but not remarkable. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Boss Tuneage, bosstuneage.com)


DOTT:
Button: CD
Four tracks of lo-fi garage pop from Galway, Ireland. This is the sound of a very young band quickly finding their feet. While not my particular cup of tea, even a curmudgeon like me found plenty to like about this disc. Dott displays a certain confidence in their songwriting and performance that is at once infectious and surprisingly muscular. This CD was the perfect antidote for the bleak, rainy days that engulfed the week in which I had it in my music rotation. –Garrett Barnwell (Girth)


DON GARNELLI:
Grindcore/Death: 8” lathe cut
A bit different than their tape I have from a year or so ago. This one is more along the lines of short blasts of traditional grind noise. Somewhere between 7 Minutes Of Nausea and NOYFB. While I do prefer their more expansive stuff, where they go off into the noise experimentation, I also like this side of Don Garnelli. It’s nice to hear bands, or projects, that don’t keep doing the same thing over and over. This record is a lathe cut on plexiglass, so it sounds a bit different than the normal records you’re used to hearing. Only twenty-five were cut, so start trolling the ‘net for one of these. –Matt Average (No label listed)


DOGBRETH:
Get Out: 7” EP
Nice, hook-laden pop with nasal, amateurish vocals. Despite a singer who dances on the ugly side of a fine line between endearing and downright annoying, I found myself won over by the drony guitar lead in “Guest House.” I’ll grudgingly recommend it, but don’t come howlin’ to me if you decide it ain’t quite up to yer lofty standards. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dogbreth, dogbreth.bandcamp.com)


DINOS BOYS:
“Play Dead” b/w “Scab”: 7”
Punk rock is alive and well in Atlanta if you didn’t already know. I don’t know shit about geography, but I heard it was a Southern backwater in the middle of nowhere. So how come it’s some hotbed for punk rock? You know? The Carbonas, Gentleman Jesse? Good shit, right? Die Slaughterhouse has always had its finger on the pulse of what shakes in that town and this shit is no slouch. Mining the same fields as the aforementioned but more stripey shirts and Rod Stewart haircuts. Raw shit, like old school L.A. beach punk, but recorded through your sister’s transistor radio. Neck tattoos and PBR… Hostage records and old TKO mixed with Teengenerate. Only two tracks and a shitty pixilated cover may keep this in the fifty cent bin, but it ain’t half bad. –Tim Brooks (Die Slaughterhouse)


DESERT VEST, THE:
Hey What: CD
If this album had been released the year following Nirvana’s monumental Nevermind, one of two things would have happened: this band would have been snatched up, signed, and molded into a hit maker or they would have been lambasted mercilessly for trying to emulate a band that (and let’s face it) was destined to become the Highlander of grunge: the one and only. That’s not to say that this is a song-for-song carbon copy. These guys clearly do have some ideas of their own and I initially thought that the Nirvana aping was just my imagination running wild. That is until I listened to their song “Floody,” which couldn’t sound more like “Polly” if the song was actually named “Polly.” After listening to this for the second time, I’m left wondering if this is hero homage or some elaborate inside joke. I’m sorry to say that whatever the case is, it’s just not very good at all. –Juan Espinosa (Self-released, no address)


DEAD NORTH:
Maybe Next Time: CDEP
This three-song EP of pop punk music seems pretty safe and uninspired. Unfortunately, the drumming is pretty bad, making it hard to listen to these songs. The drum mix, especially on the third track, is horrendous. How in the world could you listen to the drum mix on that song and think this was worth releasing. “Yeah, the hi-hat is totally high in the mix and off-time, but let’s include the song on the EP anyway.” You know, I believe in independent music, but I don’t think being indie means putting out songs that are poorly recorded. As the title says, maybe next time, guys. –Kurt Morris (Porch Couch, johnjhoffman@live.com)


D-CLONE:
Creation and Destroy: LP
Holy fuuuuck!! As soon as the needle hits the groove, you are hit with a massive wall of sound. I like how the drums open the song “I Wish...”. My jaw hit the floor with a thud as soon as I heard the thunder! The urgency is undeniable. It’s as though their lives depend on cranking this song out and pushing as much noise as possible through your speakers. Amid all the white noise you can hear the bass playing some catchy lines… and the drums... this guy is a god! You have to hear it to believe it. I like that they put a lot of low end in the mix, as it keeps the songs from floating away. It’s great when you can feel the bass run through a wood floor and up through your body. Totally puts you in the record. This isn’t a record you listen to with the volume down, or midway down. You listen to this cranked all the way up. AWWWWESOME! Comes packaged with a large tour poser as well. As if you need any more incentive. –Matt Average (540, timmy@chaosintejas.com, chaosintejas.com/540/index)


DAMAGE DONE, THE:
Nothing Is Over: LP
The Damage Done are a melodic hardcore band from Seattle. This record reminds me of a lot of things, but not enough to pigeonhole it with any one specific sound or scene association. It has the vibe of a ‘90s emotional hardcore record but with the sensibility of something much more modern and less contrived. Heartfelt and genuine-sounding with plenty of singalong parts, this record is sure to please. –Mark Twistworthy (La Escalera, laescalerarecords.com)


CURMUDGEON :
Self-titled: EP
Decent modern day powerviolence. Kind of reminds me of Spazz, with a singer who sounds like Max Ward did in Scholastic Deth. The songs are short and to the point. They stay to the formula, which I’m sure a lot of people like. But there’s not much here to make them stand out from the legions of bands playing this style today. It’s not a terrible record, but not one that will get many listens as the years tick by. The packaging is nice, though. Comes housed in a cover with the back folding out, a lyric sheet inside, dark gray streaked vinyl, and an obi band to keep it all together. –Matt Average (To Live A Lie, tolivealie.com)


CROOKED BANGS:
Self-titled: LP
Going off the cover art, I was expecting some weirdo-style post-punk, or fucked up, drugged-out garage racket. Instead, this is tepid rock that is as safe as milk. Play this at your company dinner party. No one will be offended, if they even notice. Blehhhh.... –Matt Average (Western Medical, westernmeds.com)


COLIN’S GODSON:
Colin’s Godson in Time: CD
Quirky British pop with keyboards that reminded me of equal parts Pink Floyd and Everything, Now! (It’s okay if you don’t know who they are—I do, and that’s all that matters.) The eleven songs on this album clock in at fifteen minutes, so it’s a bunch of quick songs along with some throwaway tracks. There is some sort of theme regarding the band going back in time to recover some items or something—there’s a comic about it with the CD. I didn’t really care enough about it to see how the music and lyrics matched up with the comic. I suppose if you’re into British pop music with keyboards and songs about traveling in time, then you’d probably like this. –Kurt Morris (Puzzled Aardvark, colinsgodson.com)


COBRA SKULLS:
Eagle Eyes: 7”
There are three songs here. They are all mid-tempo rockers. “Eagle Eyes” is on Side A. On Side B, “Internal War” leads into “Walk Away.” Definitely a nice pick up for fans of the band. As a bonus, this record was mastered in Stockholm, Sweden. Interesting. –Nighthawk (Fat)


CLUSTERFUCK / COJOBA:
Split: EP
Clusterfuck play speedy hardcore stuff that has some whacky elements that I can’t connect with. Kind of reminds me Litmus Green mixed with In God We Trust Dead Kennedys, but more modern. I do like the Cojoba stuff more (didn’t they used to be a harsh thrash band?). Their sound is speedy, but not thrash. More on the nervous kind of hyper side. Taina’s vocals are the definite standout. Delivered nice and clear, but with a lot of passion. I do think the music can benefit from just a little bit more fire in the playing. –Matt Average (Computer Crime, computercrimerecs.info)


CHILLED MONKEY BRAINS:
We’re All in This Together: CDEP
Coming out of Tallahassee, FL with their new four-song EP, this seven piece band, has come up with a winner. They play a mix of hardcore, punk, and ska and have dual trombones for something a bit different. I’m glad that this isn’t too much in the third wave style, but has the punk and hardcore along with the ska. The songs mix up the styles pretty good and keeps the pace going through this release. They have pretty clean production which makes the release a catchy, easy to get into bunch of songs. These guys sound like they would be a good time live. –Guest Contributor (Swamp Cabbage, swampcabbagerecords.com)


CHANNEL 3:
Land of the Free: 7”
New single—first from these punk rock giants in quite some time. The record comes with a nifty “fake ID card” that offers up seven extra bonus tracks. Two from previous compilations, but it is nice to have them all in one tidy package. “This Calls for a Drink” blows by the listener at one hundred MPH. “Make It Home” is the super catchy pick of the new material. Ultra-melodic and engaging from end to end. Grab this now on blue wax directly from the record company’s website. –Sean Koepenick (Hostage, hostagerecords.com)


CATHOLIC GUILT:
Leather Jackets Only: Cassette
It takes a lot to stump me, but this art-rock tape has me at a total loss. Noisy, funny, and confusing, I do not get what Leather Jackets Only is about. Indescribable mush, peppered with bings and zings, this is less irritating than just plain weird. The band has some really cool merch though, including nifty high heels featuring their fun anti-religious logo. Leather Jackets Only is for friends of the band only. –Art Ettinger (Zeng, catholicguilt.bandcamp.com)


CAFFIENDS:
Boris Dogavitch: 7”
An eight-song pop punk snot fest from this three-piece band from Florida. I know, pop punk, stop! I usually say that too because of the lousy pop punk that is out there, but these guys are really good. They play fast, have snotty and funny lyrics, and cover the Descendents song “Coffee Mug” really well. If I still had my radio show, I would definitely play this because it was a lot of fun. I hope that they do a whole album soon. –Guest Contributor (Swamp Cabbage, swampcabbagerecords.com)


BUCK BILOXI AND THE FUCKS:
Weirdos on the Street: EP
Minimal lo-fi/no-fi type punk rock type stuff here. This is the kind of stuff I always hope to stumble on when I’m at record shops fingering through the racks. The cover art is jacked up and makes no sense whatsoever. The kind of thing that is vexing to the fan with limited funds: “Do I pull the trigger and get this, or go the safe route and get the record with torn apart bodies on it and four songs about how war is bad?” The wise decision for you would be to get this, as this is something you will still listen to in years to come. Four songs of scratchy guitar sound similar to “Nervous Breakdown” Black Flag, and drums and vocals. I don’t think there’s a bass here. Whatever, it’s still a pretty damn good record. Plus, this has the attitude that many bands try desperately to attain. The title track is evidence, listing a few of the less desirable elements of society and declaring his hatred towards them. Then you get a couple songs; “Shut the Fuck Up,” and “Shut the Hell Up,” just in case you didn’t listen the first time. Seek this one out. –Matt Average (Orgone Toilet, facebook.com/pages/Orgone-Toilet)


BUCK BILOXI AND THE FUCKS:
Self-titled: 7”
This is what the punk rock of today should sound like. Only slightly more awesome than No Bails. Shit-fi guitar tone that I drool over every time I put this slab on. For fans of Sharp Balloons, Budget Rock, or just plain old fun. “Shut the Fuck Up” or “Shut the Hell Up”—you decide! –Sal Lucci (Orgone Toilet, facebook.com/pages/Orgone-Toilet)


BRENDAN KELLY AND THE WANDERING BIRDS:
I’d Rather Die Than Live Forever: CD
The singer / bassist from The Lawrence Arms has put out a new CD after a previous EP. It has hardly anything in common with The Lawrence Arms other than the raspy vocals. This has only two songs that could be considered punk rock, with the rest being more rock and acoustic songs, but they are infused with a punk spirit. You have good production on here and really good lyrics that make this a very cool change of pace for when you need something not in your face, but a bit more laid back that still has a bite to it. –Guest Contributor (Red Scare Industries, redscare.net)


BRAINS, THE:
Drunk Not Dead: CD
Montreal’s premier psychobilly band is back with thirteen news songs about horror, cars, and drinking, but they do a damn fine job within those confines. They throw in some pretty good punk on here as well—nice and speedy. They put a lot of feeling into what they do and make it convincing, plus you get one song in French and one in Spanish for something a bit different. The songs have a ton of singalong parts and on this third album, great playing and production. These guys should be in jukeboxes in bars and you should throw some coins in and dance around like a nut to these songs. –Guest Contributor (Stomp, stomprecords.com)


BLACKBIRD RAUM / HAIL SEIZURES:
Split: 7”
Folk punk reminds me of dubstep in a way; every song works its way toward the same tired riff that everybody’s waiting for and then everybody freaks out. Take Blackbird Raum’s song. It starts out with a shitty bagpipe playing... building tension... and then those pipes fade into the background as a guy starts playing a banjo and shouting off-key... wait for it... THE BIG DROP... then all of the band starts shouting at once to that goddamn faux-Eastern-European, yee-di-i-yee-de-i folk loop, the standard of every goddamn folk punk song with that horrible yut-dut-dut-duh accordion and saw and washboard and... I dunno, who the fuck cares? My friend, who knows Blackbird Raum, claims they have an excuse because they are, in some way, originators of this horrid sound. Fair enough, but that makes them even more accountable for inspiring such a horseshit genre. I’ll give them credit for being more complicated and having more parts and changes than your average oogle, folk punk band, but it makes them no more bearable than the rest. So, anyway, after trashing the entire genre, I have to eat some crow and speak up for Hail Seizures. They’re the exception to the folk-punk-sucks rule. They fall into some of the same trappings, sure. For instance, the shouting gang vocals are a bit too much at times, but you’ll never hear that horrible loop. Basically, they’re just a fast-as-hell acoustic punk band with, at times, a metal complexity building and expanding on their sound with some crazy breakdowns here and there. They’re from Olympia, so I’ve always kind of considered them one of the Northwest’s biggest secrets. This isn’t some of their best work. I like their album For the Ruin far better because individual songwriters in the band had a chance to shine Wu Tang-style, rather than constant gang-shouting, but still, this is a good couple a tracks from them. –Craven (Gox, goxrecords@hotmal.com)


BLACK SPIRALS:
Consuming the Rests: CD
Nine tracks of brutal metallic hardcore in almost as many minutes. They have a very American d-beat kind of vibe, which isn’t something I would expect to come from Paris, France where they apparently hail from. This is good stuff if you like your punk rock to be of the “shirt off in the pit” variety. I would personally like the songs to be a bit longer and fleshed out further with some breakdowns, but to each their own. Still good stuff, provided you don’t mind leaving your CD player on repeat. –Garrett Barnwell (SBS, fuckyeahsbsrecords.com)


BIRTH DEFORMITIES:
Suburbanized: 10”
Borrowing heavily from southern California ‘80s punk and hardcore, Birth Deformities unveil an onslaught of eleven tunes of suburban angst, self deprecation, and downright hatred towards anyone and everyone—including themselves. Birth Deformities have done an amazing job of converging two completely different styles from two completely different regions that obviously didn’t care much for each other. Try to picture if T.S.O.L. was booked with Agression, 45 Grave, and Stalag 13. Yes, the pit would not be a pretty sight for anyone who wasn’t ready to get a bottle chucked right at their head—and that’s exactly what I’m picturing as this record spins. And in the true spirit of the ‘80s, Birth Deformities doesn’t care if they bum you out with their offensive lyrics during a time when being “cool” with everyone means watching what you say. Top it off with great cover art, a giant poster, and a silk screened dust sleeve with the album’s lyrics. Impressive! –Juan Espinosa (Cowabunga, no address)


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