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Razorcake #90
White Murder, both LPs
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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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EROGURO:
Orgasms Achieved through Death: CD
This is a CD with a mission. That mission, as indicated in the booklet, is to create the sonic equivalent of Japan’s eroguro movement. Eroguro is an art and literary movement that combines the erotic and the gruesome. For the purposes of this disc, Jose Gabriel Angeles, the dude behind all the noise, bastardizes the definition a bit, stating that “it’s the ugly and the beautiful.” Of course, erotic doesn’t equal beautiful and gruesome doesn’t equal ugly, but I’ll let him slide. He certainly isn’t the first one to alter the definition of a genre for his own purposes. When music has a mission, I expect follow through. Unfortunately, the plot was lost somewhere on this recording. The scales tip in favor of the ugly. The grating sounds of electronic noise loops and buried screams overwhelm any attempts at beauty. All the listener is left with is noise. –mp (Sanity Obsolete, myspace.com/eroguromusic)


DAILY VOID, THE / 0 VOIDS, THE:
Split: 7"
Wow! This is a really good split record. The Daily Void are art damaged post punk with minimal rhythms, creaking and distorted guitars, and a bass that moves it all forward. The vocals have an effect on them—something I usually detest—but here it works. “D.G.W. #2” is the song of this side, while “Untitled #1” is the disjointed instrumental. The Daily Void reside in a world somewhere between Metal Urbain and Chrome. 0 Voids are slightly more traditional post punk. The songs have a dark side and are catchy at the same time. I really like the guitar tone these guys have. Totally pulls you in and creates the mood. A little melancholy and gray. “Scratch Test” is short and quick, while “Remote Control” is a bit longer. Hope to hear more from both these bands. –Matt Average (DHRR)


BOMB TOWN:
!?Interrobang?!: CD
The first few tracks sounded like Leftover Crack-esque ska with fewer metal overtones, but the sound quickly gave way to reggae. Let me be clear; I have no problem with bands experimenting in genre mixing. Mad Caddies always did some amazing jazz-influenced punk rock, Intro5pect did cool things with techno, and many bands did great things with folk, but if you’re going to choose to experiment with genres, you should find some part of the spectrum and stick to it. If you want to do reggae, do reggae, if you want to do ska punk, do that, but don’t fuck around everywhere. It’s kind like offering everybody some vanilla/chocolate chip ice cream and half way through there are so many chocolate chips it’s hard to believe there was any vanilla left at all. I would have no problem if you told me it was chocolate chip with some vanilla in the begging, but no, you said it was the other way, leaving me unfulfilled and annoyed. –Bryan Static (Stubborn)


BARBERRIES:
Raw Deal: 7"
Lo-fi garage punk with some ‘60s pop thrown in from this Atlanta band. Reminds me immediately of the Box Elders, based on the song style and the production style. Fans of other ATL bands like the Woggles, Subsonics, and Black Lips would find a lot to like here as well. This band could be on their way to Reigning Sound territory if the tin can production is kept in check. Look forward to hearing more. –frame (myspace.com/thebarberries)


AGAINSTERS, THE:
A Few Notes on Darwin: CD
Sometimes, you just need some goofy, down and dirty rock and roll to get through the day. The Againsters are more than able to fill that prescription. I find that the majority of the bands out there doing the whole Dead Boys/New York Dolls thing right now are quite boring. These guys escape the trap and keep it interesting with humor and catchy tunes. We’re not talking about the reinvention of the wheel or anything, but my foot is tapping. –ty (F.I.M.P.)


USELESS CHILDREN:
Self-titled: CDEP
Huh?! Where are these manically screamed female vocals coming from? It blares right into your face with a force that is hard not to notice. Backed by some pretty solid sounding punk rock, the music starts out with fists a flying. Heavy and wild with just enough speed to keep things interesting; this band changes things up to keep it from being cookie cutter. I don’t know what may be in the water in Australia. From what I’m hearing, it may be the best drug I haven’t tried –don (Exo)


STIFF LITTLE FINGERS:
Live and Loud/Salute the Flag: 2 x CD
Though I imagine many would argue the point with me, methinks SLF was one of the best punk bands to come out o’ that initial wave of U.K. punk back in the ‘70s, and are one of my top five favorite bands ever. True, their output got progressively weaker as the years went by, and the stuff they’ve released after reforming hasn’t lived up to the legacy they built the first time ’round, but those first few records were something, indeed, and had all the requisite parts—lyrics that were intelligent and occasionally provocative, white-hot guitars, impassioned vocals, and hooks up the wazoo—for them to give bands like the Clash a run for their money. Yes, I know they had a bit of lyrical assistance from outside their immediate ranks, but for fuck’s sake, at least they were good lyrics. So yeah, no small amount of hero worship coming from these parts. Of the two live albums collected here, Live and Loud has the set list with the most hits, but Salute the Flag has the best delivery of the tunes and the best sound. On the former, that the band had just reformed, shows in the looseness and lack of oomph in the performance, though it’s still nice to hear live versions of classics like “At the Edge” and “Tin Soldiers,” and their piss take of the Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep ’til Brooklyn”—here appropriately rechristened “No Sleep ’til Belfast”—shows their sense of humor survived their dormant years. The latter album, released four years later, features a tighter and more focused band, one that delivers tunes like “Wasted Life” and “Suspect Device” with newfound vigor and a good chunk of the passion that made them classics in the first place, and newer songs like “Each Dollar a Bullet” show glimmers of the promise that they have yet to fully cash in on. In the end, both albums collected here have much going for them and, while I wouldn’t go so far as calling them crucial, would be a nice addition to any fan’s collection. –jimmy (www.cherryred.co.uk)


SLEEPWALKERS, THE:
“Down with Baby” b/w “VC Baby”: 7"
Warning: This single is like a polluted box of Neapolitan ice cream. On one side there’s a great chorus—sweet and poppy, think Kinks circa ‘66/’67—but right along side it, seeping into the goodness, there are these horrid verses—rancid, sub-Chili Peppers funk rock. Part of me is tempted to nibble on the good stuff—wasting ice cream is criminal—but I know I have to throw out the whole box because the mere thought of those verses contaminates everything, and, health effects aside, it’s a taste that won’t wash out of my mouth for days. The flipside, which sounds like a Mudhoney b-side, is a draw, that slab of strawberry on the other side of the box that I wouldn’t touch anyway. –Mike Faloon (Wrecked ‘em)


SCUM OF THE EARTH:
Bad Decisions: LP
…i’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Florida rap-rock bands who share their name with songs from U.K. Subs b-sides, and Scum Of The Earth are no exception to this sage hunchwork. I actually think that rap is, in theory ((and i can’t stress those last two words enough)), “cool.” I think it is worthy, valid, and still, to this day, underexplored by caucazoidal nerd-punk types. Now, needless to say, i can’t quite… uh… RELATE, shall we say, to about 99.44 percent of rap-based musical products, but the idea of basing the rhythm AND melody ((such as it is)) of a song off of words, and getting on the computer and pasting a bunch of samples together for the background, is, at root, still a really good, really valid one, i think. “Bad Decisions” is not life-affirmingly great like the first Beastie Boys album is/was, but it’s decent enough that you’ll spin it all the way through and listen to it a second time on your own dime. Uh, i guess that’s “own dime, YO.” BEST SONG: “Revision” BEST SONG TITLE: “Revision” i guess. BEST RHYME: “Anything that i am for you has kicked the bucket / any points you might have earned have been deducted” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: This is a hand-stenciled edition of fifty, and i’ve got number 21. That should be helpful the next time i go to the casino. –norb (Destroy All Hipsters)


SCI-FI NIGHTMARES, THE:
Cold and Blue: 7"
This is one dude who seems to be preoccupied with an ex-girlfriend. It’s simple, poppy punk, taking its queues from the Ramones and Misfits (with Glenn, in poppy moments) and making it more basic. “How does that work?” you ask. Well, I’m not sure how, but it does. Not too bad. –Vincent Battilana (608 Kisses)


RUNS, THE:
Piss and Shit: CD
Two dudes with guitars, a drum machine, and a book of punk rock clichés. It’s like if Japanther combined with that local punk band of twelve-year-olds who sang about anarchy and were being totally serious about all of it. –Bryan Static (Criminal IQ)


RUBBER MOLDING:
High Octane: CD-R
For the bulk of this, these guys do a nice job of straddling the more visceral edges of the art punk fringe, but I find myself preferring the more uptempo stuff, like “Landscape Architect” and “British People.” –jimmy (Rubber Molding)


REVOLUTIONARY YOUTH:
Self-titled: CD
I saw these guys were from Atlanta and became a little worried they were going to be another metal band. With a name like revolutionary youth, you better deliver the goods. While not rocket science, these guys manage to keep the dark screams coming and not turn me off from it. Crustcore kids and squatters might be into it. There is a somewhat darker element to this band that vaguely reminded me of Neurosis during some intros. You could segue this with Dystopia, Damad, Econochrist, and other heavier hardcore bands rooted in the squatter culture. Oh yeah, the CD packaging is made from one hundred percent dumpstered or re-used cardboard. –Buttertooth (Self-released)


PUSH-PULL:
Hello Soldier!: CD
Push-Pull play surging, mathy punk that doesn’t stay in the same place long enough to hit a groove. Parts are catchy, but I wish they’d hang around longer. I asked my girlfriend if she thought this band sounded like Shellac and she said, “No, they sound like they should be punched in the face.” Uh, so there you have it. Please don’t punch my girlfriend. –CT Terry (Sick Room)


PRAMBATH, THE:
I Will Walk My Way: 7"
This power pop quartet rock it Japanese. It’s a combo of X-style riffs and male and female harmonizing, early early Go-Go’s and Puffi Ami Yumi. The female vocals, a signature of Japanese punk, are sugary, hyper, and as potent as a shot of espresso. “Cold Shadow” switches to male vocals and opens with chords resembling the pop persona of the Beatles –Kristen K (myspace.com/sonicjettrecords)


PEDESTRIANS:
Ideal Divide: CD
I’m pretty sure this is a CD version of the vinyl I reviewed a while back (for some reason I can’t find said vinyl, though I’m certain I kept it), but just in case, these guys dish out some mighty fine hardcore that doesn’t need to resort to hitting warp factor five to show some muscle. Singer sounds like Henry Rollins when he was a punk, backed by a band that knows how to put them instruments to good use. The whole thing is top notch from beginning to end. –jimmy (Southkore)


PAPER THE OPERATOR:
Solemn Boyz: CDEP
Some serious pop-smithing here, with enough sick hooks and inventive guitar playing to recall Sugar, Descendents, and Teenage Fanclub in one fell swoop. The lyrics are pretty much pilf, but the music is wicked impressive. –jimmy (www.viperbiterecords.com)


PACK A.D., THE:
Funeral Mixtape: CD
One of many things i will not miss when the 00’s wind to a close is the presumed extinction ((or, at bare minimum, long hibernation/remission)) of the once-in-vogue two-piece band—not because said units are not capable of producing decent music ((they are)), but simply because, as with pop punk bands in the 90’s, i am bound and convinced that there is absolutely NOTHING new that these bands can possibly do that will grab and hold my interest. That ship has sailed, and i don’t expect it back in the harbor ((“of ROCK!”)) for decades, if not centuries. I mean, the band is pretty decent—label-supplied comparisons of the vocalist to Janis Joplin are not egregiously far off the mark, and the guitars have a nice tone and a passable second White Stripes album kinda vibe ((i’ll stick my neck out here and claim that “De Stijl” was one of the better albums of the first half of this decade)), but i just can’t get into it. It’s sorta like once the elastic gets all stretched out on the waistband of your Fruit of the Loom® thermal longjohns, nothing you can do is gonna make that elastic all grippy and stretchy again, and the Pack A.D., through no real fault of their own, are that elastic waistband. This, of course, begs the question of whom my barndoor is; i’d like to imagine it’s Godhead Silo but that’s pure conjecture on my part. BEST SONG: “Blackout” BEST SONG TITLE: “Oh Be Joyful” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Almost listened to this in my car on the way to a funeral; feared karmic recompense; did not do so. –norb (Mint)


MUSLIMS:
Extinction b/w My Flash on You: 7"
Somewhat sparse ((a lesser man would say “minimalist”)) garage rock/pop that is nowhere near as bad as it could be, but nowhere near as great as the various other reviews on their one-sheet make it out to be, either. The label claims that the band has “hints of” the Velvet Underground and Modern Lovers, but, HA, what if they only really sound like what the Dogmatics would have sounded like if the Dogmatics hadn’t rocked? Huh? HUH? Didn’t think of that one, now did you??! Or what if they just sound like the Willowz, without the girl? NEEDLESS TO SAY, PANIC IN THE MARKETPLACE WOULD ENSUE!!! The Love cover on the b-side is pretty decent; problem is that i don’t really hear an A-side on either side. BEST SONG: “My Flash on You” i suppose BEST SONG TITLE: “My Flash on You” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The band’s name does not appear on the record sleeve proper; instead, it is affixed via a green, triangular sticker, with a slightly larger, but otherwise identical, black triangular sticker enclosed inside. Gawrsh! –norb (Sweet Tooth)


MOUTH SEWN SHUT / INSTANT ASSHOLE:
Split: 7” EP
Mouth Sewn Shut goes right up to that metal/hardcore edge and starts a fight. Is this a metal band with hard core chops or vice versa? I don’t have an answer, but it sure sounds great. Instant Asshole is trying to prove a point: cram every metal cliche into a hardcore format and let it rip. Point taken. While you’re drifting off to dreamland, heads are banging in Oakland. –Jim Ruland (Tankcrimes)


MOUNTAIN ANIMAL HOSPITAL:
Startled by Deer: CD
Whiny indie rock with electronic elements: a combination of two of my very least favorite styles of music. This sounds a lot like many early ‘00s Jade Tree releases that caused me to stop paying attention to that label unless there was Doctor Dan Yemin involvement. A lot of “interesting” time signatures that I cannot appreciate and bleeps and bloops galore. –frame (Loves In Heat)


MEZCAL BROS., THE:
“Brunette Baby” b/w “Nobody Else But You”: 7"
The Mezcal Brothers play traditional rockabilly that is a million times preferable to the awful sounds made by any current psychobilly band. That doesn’t mean these songs are up there with Joe South’s “I’m Snowed” or Jeff Daniel’s “Daddy-O-Rock,” but they make for good background music and have some nice guitar leads. It’s well played and executed, if not exactly memorable. –benke (Speed! Nebraska)


METAL TEETH:
Wild Eyes: 7"
Pretty good four songer from this Kalamazoo band. Anyone who is a fan of most of the Terminal Boredom type stuff like Human Eye, Intelligence, Terrible Twos, or Jay Reatard will find a whole lot to like here, which is to say there is sort of a root in garage punk, but there is a hell of a ruckus of noise built on top of that. The kids seem to be calling it weird punk and that is as good a description as any. This appears to be limited to 300 copies, so you best get on it. –frame (UFO Dictator)


MEGAZILLA:
Please Please Sorry Thank You: CD
This very polite-sounding titled album makes a hell of a racket. Megazilla are a combination of metal and AmRep-style heavy noise. The band is a two piece so I am already thinking Godheadsilo. The sounds are quite similar. Fans of this style would do well to check this band out. –frame (Australian Cattle God)


MEEMAW:
Glass Elevator: CD & 7”EP
Noisy pop that’s instantly memorable. More attitude than cute or fragile. Jangley guitars and big drums instead of lush sounds. Weird time changes, and the songs have a definite space in them, and yet it all makes sense. If you like Half Japanese, then you will like this. Everything about this is fun—and the sort of thing that will get played repeatedly—as well as something you can share with friends. One of the coolest bands I’ve heard this year. The CD has eight songs, and the vinyl EP has four of those eight. Two formats to suit your needs, I imagine. –Matt Average (Infinity Cat)


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