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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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DANGERMEN:
Self-titled: CD-R
This appears to be the songs from a 7” single that have been burned onto a recorded CD. A good way to save on shipping from Australia, I would imagine. This is damn good greasy Aussie garage punk for fans of The Onyas and Cosmic Psychos. Pretty solid overall, but I would prefer to hear the vinyl.  –Mike Frame (swashbucklinghobo.blogspot.com)


Daily Void:
Self-titled: 7"
Boring riffs and god damn fucking repetitive and predictable. Good lord. –Corinne  –Guest Contributor (Boom Chick)


D.O.N.D.O.N.:
Last Warning: LP
A little history here. This was originally released in Japan in 1991 and there were only 200 pressed. I’m guessing only a handful ever made it out of the country with that kind of press run, but the fine folks at Schizophrenic Records unearthed a gem. Not only do they re-release this, but they also include comp tracks to fill out this reissue. This deservingly needed to be put back out there. The distinct style of punk that this band plays is very distinctively Japanese and should be mentioned in the same breath as one of the great punk bands out of Japan like The Execute, Lip Cream, Gauze, or GISM. They thrash with fury and add that slight crossover element that was popular in that time period—almost purely manic, yet controlled with such precision. Melodic, metallic, and fast bursts of sheer power. It is a sound that makes many people obsessive about punk music from Japan; it’s a sound that is hard to duplicate if you are not from the country. You feel like your heart is about to burst but a smile overtakes your face. Such a great release that if there is an inkling of interest, you’d better act fast. I hear they were only pressing 300 on cool multi colored vinyl. There is a CD version if you snooze. –Donofthedead (Schizophrenic)


CROWD, THE:
Letter Bomb: CD
This record is a re-release of the 1996 Letter Bomb LP with the 1995 Dig Yourself EP as bonus tracks. Sooo, I never really listened to The Crowd in the past and had to get a crash course in who they were and their discography. In the end, they get my vote; this is a very solid record, catchy, poppy, with lots of bitter twists thrown into the mix. Me like. Twelve years removed from its original release, I’m sure that these tunes still stand up and sound fresh. Another very welcome release from TKO. –The Lord Kveldulfr (TKO)


CRISIS IN HOLLYWOOD:
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: CD
Try as I might, the only thing that comes to mind when I listen to this is, “Man, these guys really wanna make it to the Warped Tour’s main stage.” I wish ’em luck.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Financial)


CRIME IN STEREO:
…Is Dead: LP
I’m hoping that the title of this album is a non-ironic reference to the timely passing of Crime In Stereo. At times, it sounds like an early ‘90s Jade Tree version of At The Drive In, only far more self-consciously earnest, with the singer doing his most heartfelt impression of the Promise Ring’s lead singer circa the time their first album came out. At others, they’re a bad DJ away from pulling off a spot-on aural replication of Incubus, which would have to stand as one of history’s greatest crimes against humanity…or, at the very least, the Razorcake readership. Is this what’s passing for hardcore these days? I thought Bridge 9 brought the fucked up, boot stompin’ brand of hardcore where mind-melting breakdowns were around every musical corner and the vocals recalled the tortured screams of suspected terrorists in the midst of a shadow government’s rendition. This sounds like a parakeet chirping in comparison.  –Josh Benke (Bridge 9)


CREOSOTE:
Life Lessons: 7"
Skip right to the second side of this crusty piece of wax. There, you’ll hear one of the most intriguing guitar sounds ever placed in this type of tune. Do you know those little door stops that are springs with a little piece of rubber on them? You know that sound they make when you accidentally hit one with your foot? That rad vibrating sound? Well, if that sound came rumbling out of a guitar, that would be what the opening riffs of the song “More than a Drinking Buddy” came from. After you listen to that part, though, you might want to turn it off, unless you’re into female vocals that sound sort of like a little girl showing up to church a day early for choir practice and deciding she should sing alone, all weak and off pitch. –MP Johnson (Music For Social Change)


CREEPS, THE:
Lakeside Cabin: CD
There’s something somewhat bittersweet about stumbling upon a long-running local band and immediately falling in love. Sure, it’s terrific that now there’s this killer band from your hometown that you’ll probably get to see all the time and you can hang out with at your dingy local bar and talk to about all the nerdy records that you both like. On the other hand, what have I been doing for the last eight years that hasn’t involved a steady diet of The Creeps? Lakeside Cabin, these boys’ third full-length record, is an insanely catchy combination of mid-period Alkaline Trio and Backchannel Broadcast-era Lillingtons with fittingly dark, creepy lyrics that (luckily) avoid any hint of horror punk cheesiness. With any luck, this band will be right at the top of the Insubordination Fest heap of pop punk bands that both the kids and the grown ups can dig. Seriously, track this shit down. –Dave Williams  –Guest Contributor (Black Pint)


COPYRIGHTS, THE:
Learn the Hard Way: CD
While I initially thought that a new record from these fellas was perhaps a little too hot-on-the-heels of last year’s Make Sound, it really only took one listen to dispel any uncertainties or preconceptions. I can easily say that this is The Copyrights’ best release to date and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that each record sheds more obvious influences than the one before it. Granted, there’s still an unshakeable sense of Illinois in this record, but it’s significantly less obvious. The choruses are bigger, the lyrics are cleverer, and it’s immediately more memorable than their previous albums, which I also loved. I’m totally blown away.  –Guest Contributor (Red Scare, www.redscare.net)


COPYRIGHTS, THE:
Learn the Hard Way: CD
This is good, even very good, modern pop punk—like eight out of ten stars. I can’t say exactly how Learn the Hard Way stacks up against the older Copyrights albums since this is the first one of their albums I’ve gotten to hear more than a couple tracks from, but this feels like a band that’s mastered their craft. The main problem is that, at times, this album feels just a little too workman-like. Everything’s pretty good, but only a few of songs rise above the fray to approach greatness and be especially memorable (those songs being “Switchblades,” “Out of Ideas,” and “On the Way Out”). This is worth picking up, but seeing as my benchmark for contemporary pop punk is The Methadones Not Economically Viable and The Ergs! Upstairs/Downstairs, there is a lot to live up to since every song on those albums is nearly perfect and full of those moments which make me glad to be alive, even if I’m feeling miserable. Learn the Hard Way is good, but it needs a few more of those all transcending moments to be great. –Adrian (Red Scare)


COPYRIGHTS, THE:
Learn the Hard Way: CD
They’ve wowed me again. This album is much more elaborate than the last one and doesn’t reek of tired melodies or stolen ideas. These guys manage to come up with new ways to reconstruct the formula they’ve created on the foundation of pop punk with every new release. On first listen, I immediately wanted to go back to the comfort of 2007’s Make Sound. But after a full two or three listens, I can’t seem to take Learn the Hard Way out of the CD player. This band is the bees knees, and they are currently talking about coming out with a split CD with the Methadones soon. I can’t wait. This album is highly recommended.  –Mr. Z (Redscare)


COPYRIGHTS, THE:
Learn the Hard Way: CD
I’ll admit, this is one of those bands I got into much later than everyone else for whatever reason, but I’ve become well aware of this by now, and made sure to pick this up as soon as they came around. Before they’ve had the whole “distinct pop punk without being generic,” with the last record building on that, this one feels a bit darker, with just a touch of F.Y.P. style thrash to it (just slightly though, as they’re still tight as ever). I like this quite a bit.  –Joe Evans III (Red Scare, www.redscare.net)


CONVERSIONS, THE:
Prisoners’ Inventions: LP
Listening to Prisoners’ Inventions is like watching a great movie for the second time—the characters and scenes are familiar, the plot doesn’t go anywhere unexpected, but things that went unnoticed the first time around reveal themselves, and the subtle touches that went into making the film become apparent. At first listen, The Conversions aren’t doing anything ground breaking with their brand of perfectly executed, arty post-hardcore, but just underneath the surface is a thoughtfulness and attention to song craft that isn’t found in 99.9 of the hardcore bands releasing music today. The lyrics are satisfyingly vague (no self-righteous braggadocio here), the breakdowns are interesting and unique, and the singer’s voice is high-pitched and ferocious. It reminds of a less rock’n’roll Aerobitch, a less balls-to-the-wall I.C.U., or a more musically accomplished East Bay Chasers. It’s good. Really good. –Josh Benke (Level Plane)


CONQUEST FOR DEATH:
Front Row Tickets to Armageddon: LP
I never got around to putting together my list of top ten albums of 2007, but I can tell you for a fact that, if I had, this sucker would have been on it. It’s most of the dudes from What Happens Next? making the same sort of insanely fast hardcore. This is the stuff that makes you want to go so fast in the circle pit that you end up tripping on your own feet. Don’t worry though, someone will pick you up. Just keep on going. Spend your ten bucks on this now. –MP Johnson (PBP)


CONGA FURY:
Never Die!!: CD
I guess it’s safe to say that my appreciation for the crustier side of punk rock doesn’t extend very far beyond the reaches of the decidedly more accessible “stadium crust” sound. I love an incessant d-beat as much as the next guy or gal, but I like a tempo that I can keep in head-nods and a somewhat clear recording and at least the occasional snatch of melody. Conga Fury has none of these things. Their self-described “chaotic noise and terro-rhythm” isn’t entirely without its charm, but noise for noise’s sake has always gone completely over my head. Lyrically, it’s obvious that their heads and hearts are in the right places but it’s delivered in a cacophony of treble and screeching. I know there are folks who live for this stuff, but I just don’t get it. –Dave Williams –Guest Contributor (Six Weeks)


CONGA FURY:
Chaotic Noise: LP
Raging and blown-out thrash from this Japanese band. According to the insert, these songs were recorded in 2001. I wonder why they took so long to come out. Saw this band a coupla years back and they were a fantastic live band. Very cool full color artwork makes this real cool to look at while the thrash spews out of your speakers.  –Mike Frame (Six Weeks)


COLORSTORE:
Bonefish: CD
Some Beatlesque psych influence mixed in with tape manipulation and some other stuff makes this mildly interesting, but the mellow vibe just ain’t doin’ it for me, man. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.colorstore.net)


COLD ONES:
Self-titled: 7”
Cold Ones come from Liverpool with some hardcore punk, emphasizing the punk elements. Sometimes it gets a bit rockin’; sometimes it gets a bit cheesy. For the most part, they sing about drinking and being downtrodden. In case you didn’t catch it, their name is a reference to beer. The closing tracks on both sides hit harder than the rest of them. Pretty good stuff. (The last track on the first side is my favorite on here.) The cheese is to be found smothering the opening track on the second side. It opens like some hair metal crap from the Sunset Strip twenty years ago, and it has lyrics to match (the title is “Cold Blooded Hot Lover,“ from which the lyrics don’t stray too far). The opening track on the first side kinda threw me off, too. It has a skate-influenced street punk feel to it with lyrics à la Misfits (it’s called “Evil Eye”). Kinda sounds like it could be on one of those Tony Hawk games. –Vincent Battilana (Ghost City)


CIVIC PROGRESS:
Disposable EP: 7”
Since I usually just listen to PTSD music like Sade and Luther Vandross, this no bullshit, pounding hardcore knocked the sidepart out of my hair! If I didn’t have a Dockers-and-wine party to attend tonight, I’d want to see these guys tear up a warehouse for a bunch of crusties, hoodie dudes, and Bandana Republic-shopping hardcore-reenacting throwback thrashers. And, instead of making a payment on my Solofex, I’d spend my money on this 7” with cool, minimalist packaging and just enough musical quirks to make these guys a unique band. Too bad I’m a douche. –CT Terry  –Guest Contributor (www.freewebs.com/civicprogress)


CHRIS STRAWN:
I Left My Hat in Hades: CD
Mix tapes are a remarkable thing, often serving as collections of our absolute favorite songs strung together, like a child’s dream team of their favorite sport, only for music nerds. But that’s the main reason we love them; they’re collections of our (or, our friends/admirers/etc. etc.) songs that we’ve listened to over and over again. I bring this up because this solo record goes back and forth genre wise, from simple folk to some electronic jams, as if trying to recreate that feeling, as if it were an “original” mix tape, so to speak. The problem is the familiarity isn’t there, so while I think the songs are pretty good on their own, it’s a bit tough to listen to in one sitting. I could be wrong though, and realize that it’s just more of a “grower” record than I have time for before I send in the review. Here’s to hoping.  –Joe Evans III (Drazzig, www.myspace.com/chrisstrawn)


CHRIS EVIL AND THE TAINTS:
Wanna Kill! Kill! Kill!: CD
These kids fall somewhere between proto-hardcore and Oblivians-styled trash rock. While personal preferences lean toward the former, this is decent enough meat and potatoes punk on the whole.  –Jimmy Alvarado (www.75orlessrecords.com)


CHOOSE YOUR POISON:
Party Zone: 7”
Straight outta Appleton, Wisconsin, comes Choose Your Poison, a band that is firmly committed to partying, as you can tell by the name of the record. Sure, they thrash out about the usual subjects, like drinking the booze and getting pissed off at tough guys in the pit (“Save all your beef for Philly cheese steak,” they warn), but they also take the time to do a song about those shitty pay day loan businesses that prey on people in economically unstable positions. That means this record is great for partying and for thinking!  –MP Johnson (Bacon Towne)


CHINA LOCA:
I Like How: CD
Oh, man, you caught me again. Here I am, the editor of this zine, reviewing something that one of our contributors put out. Conflict of interest! I tell you what. When three other zines run a review, I’ll retract this. You just send me the links. It’s not like we have contributors to this here publication because we think they suck and they should be ignored. China Loca are: Amy Adoyzie, Imposing ‘Stache Gus, and a warp speed Casiotone providing the drumbeats. Let’s not gussy this up beyond what it is: Amy sing/screaming, Gus plonking through a practice amp, and a machine, but, damn, if the minimalism doesn’t play in their favor in a Crass-meets-Bikini Kill-meets-cheap-beer-belly-basement way. There’s anthems (“SOS”—“same old stuff” (roller rink mix)), there’s ballads (“This Is All”), and there’re straight-up rockers. Take your Warped Tour, cell phone excuses, and viral marketing. I’ll take a band that had three months to exist, practiced in their pajamas, and DIY’d furiously any day.  –Todd Taylor (China Loca, and if you have Razorcake #43, there’s a link in Amy’s column to download this album for free.)


CHIEF SMILES, THE:
Great for Terrible Times: CD
A little tough, this one is. On the one hand, they have an interestingly addled take on the pop thing with flashes of “rock” sensibilities pushed up against artier pretensions, prodigious use of a violin, and some decent hooks. On the whole, however, they seem to be missing a key ingredient to take them over the county line from “eh” to “whoa.” In the end, there’s enough here to pique interest, but not enough to hold it. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.thechiefsmiles.com)


CATALYST, THE / BRAINWORMS:
: Split 7”
The first Catalyst song, “Born with a Buzz,” sounds like a robot trying to make itself throw up. The second song, “Dunna Nanunna,” is a righteously fucked up bullet train blast of growling, screeching hardcore. The third song is an aimless instrumental that should have been left off the record, no matter how close the band is with the friend to whom they dedicate it. I’m not sure I’d listen to this side again, but fans of jaw-cracking hardcore might wanna pick it up. The Brainworms side starts off with an ode to Rites Of Spring called “Winnie Cooper.” Not my cup of tea, nor is their second offering, “Art Thou Bored.” Emotional hardcore that, unfortunately, is lost on these ears.  –Josh Benke (Rorschach)


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