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Razorcake #86
Wailing Of a Town, by Craig Ibarra
Razorcake #85
Pale Angels, Imaginary People LP
Toys That Kill / Joyce Manor, Split 7"


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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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IDIOT BOX:
This Is Only a Test EP: CD
This band is from the land of San Diego. I just saw them play the other night and was pretty impressed. Fun tunes and punk sounds are all I really need. Idiot Box has ex-members of the Rich White Males, the Underhills, and the Burbs. This is truly the guys’ best material and just all the head bobbing, foot tapping stuff a girl could ask for. One of the best bands that have come out from the San Diego scene in a while, and I hope it gives a jolt to the music scene there. –Corinne  –Guest Contributor (PunkNJunk)


HYPERBUBBLE:
Airbrushed Alibis: CD
I feel like this is the sound of what has been called electroclash over the last several years. It is a mix of synth, dance, and bleep bloop electronic music. I am out of my league with this, but it seems to be as good as most other music of this style. One sheet says Ladytron, Goldfrapp, and the sort, so if you dig that, you might dig this.  –Mike Frame (Filthy Little Angels)


HUNTING LODGE:
Energy Czar: CD
These guys can kick up a mean racket; I’ll definitely give ’em that, boy. As it was playing, I kept picturing a film loop of Pere Ubu’s David Thomas gleefully driving a packed kiddie train full-bore into a wall, backing up, doing it again, over and over. I guess that’s about as accurate a description as any for the noise rock they’re dishin’ out. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.yosada.com)


HUMANIFESTO / I AM THE CARTOGRAPHER:
Split: 7”
Humanifesto: Treading ground musically along the lines of Good Riddance and Boy Sets Fire, but not nearly as tight as either of those bands. The lyrics have a social awareness like the above two bands and later Fifteen material. I Am The Cartographer: Remember Fiddler on the Roof? Good. [clearing my throat] Map maker, map maker make me a map, find me a… Sorry. Okay, the band… Lyrically, they have the same kinda thing goin’ on as Humanifesto. Not bad. Musically, they are like a poppy HWM and gravely vocals sometimes hitting like early Fifteen-era Jeff Ott, but not quite there on either count. The second track is acoustic, and it probably would’ve worked better as a track with the full band. Overall: Neither band is suck territory; however, this release sounds premature. –Vincent Battilana (Hip Kid)


HOWITZER:
Turncoat: 7"
This record works hard to find common ground between oi and country music. Each side has a straight oi song followed by a really unique oi/country hybrid. The oi songs end up sounding so standard that they’re boring, especially next to the heartfelt “Folded American Flag” and the muscled-up cover of the George Jones tune “I Just Don’t Give a Damn.” I can’t help but think the whole thing would have been a success if they had gone oi/country on every song.  –MP Johnson (Hazard Hill)


HOWITZER:
Turncoat: 7"
Howitzer plays awesome hardcore-influenced oi reminiscent of a slightly less dopey Patriot. Or maybe it’s oi-influenced hardcore that they’re going for. In any event, this is super tough, super mean, and super hilarious. Knee-jerk types might take a quick listen and plunk Howitzer into the jingoistic, nationalistic tripe drawer, but the surprising anti-war lyrics on this one defy skin stereotypes.  –Art Ettinger (Hazard Hill)


HOT WATER MUSIC:
Till the Wheels Fall Off: CD
This is Hot Water Music’s second B-sides record, focusing on the latter half of their recorded output, more or less the Epitaph years. Every song brings some quality to the table, ranging from outtakes of their last three records and a few 7”s, to a variety of covers: Circle Jerks, Leatherface, etc. Despite some recent shows, I guess the wheels have fallen off, and that makes this album the spare tire. Its not something to ride on too long, but if you need more than what they’ve released on the full lengths, this holds up. Of course, if you’re missing a proper HWM record, get that first. –Nick Toerner –Guest Contributor (No Idea)


HOLY SHIT! / TURD HUNGRY CHRIST:
You Are what You Eat: Split 7”
This is a split 7”. Holy Shit! is from Milwaukee. Turd Hungry Christ is from Chattanooga, TN, and has members of Spawn Sacs, Future Virgins, Jack Palance Band, and ADD/C. For a band with members of Future Virgins and Jack Palance Band, it has got a lot less pop to it than I expected. It’s screamy with garage rock influences. You can tell that it’s funny dudes though if you look at the artwork and insert. I like the lyrics to Holy Shit! in particular: “We’re poor, fuck you.” Mmmmm, I like it. Probably ‘cause I can relate. –Corinne  –Guest Contributor (Scattered, Smothered and Covered)


HISTORY:
Ghosts in the City: CD
A heavy mid/late-’80s Dischord influence is all over this, so the emo tinges are in abundance. Lord knows it ain’t my cup o’ poison, but their reliance on a direct tapping of the emo source rather than more contemporary stuff makes for a much edgier sound, a performance that exudes more conviction, and a bit more creativity in how the songs are structured. They’ve also got some good hooks, which never hurts.  –Jimmy Alvarado (24 Hr. Service Station)


HEX DISPENSERS:
Lose My Cool: 7”EP
How the Hex Dispensers are like Frankenstein’s monster: 1) Lightning from above. 2) Demon-like power. 3) Pissed, but rightfully so. 4) Stomping around right after their creation, looking for friends amongst unprejudiced innocents. Except, they do it in a musical village populated by the likes of The Marked Men and The Wipers (who they cover); it’s a pop-driven, power garage music world with kinship from The Brotherhood Of Electricity. How the Hex Dispensers are not like Frankenstein’s monster: 1) They actually have a name. 2) When they were created, their maker didn’t immediately flee and renounce his abomination. 3) The Hex Dispensers have both men and women in the band and Dr. Frankenstein ultimately reneged on his promise to make a lady monster for his dude monster, thus totally bumming his male monster out to the point where he eventually committed suicide above the Arctic Circle. Result: Hex Dispensers rock harder than a bad-ass, self-conflicted monster that could snap your neck with one hand. –Todd Taylor (Douchemaster)


HEDRONS, THE:
One More Won’t Kill Us: CD
Twelve-song disc of mid ‘90s alterna rock from this band from Glasgow, Scotland. Fans of Veruca Salt, Fur, New York Loose, or The Goops will have a nice decade ago flashback with this one. Not bad for what it is, but nothing to get too excited about.  –Mike Frame (Measured)


HANK IV:
Dirty Poncho b/w Symptomatic: 7”
Also known as the Hank Four. Five guys from San Fran bash out well done, legit, raw garage punk akin to the Lazy Cowgirls, Devil Dogs, et al. No fuss, no muss, no questions, just rock.  –Jessica Thiringer (Plastic Idol)


GUN CLUB, THE:
Ahmed’s Wild Dream (reissue): CD
Ahmed’s Wild Dream (2008) is a reissue of the Gun Club’s hard-to-find album of the same name. Originally put out in 1993—three years before (Gun Club figurehead) Jeffrey Lee Pierce’s untimely death—Ahmed’s equitably culls songs from the Gun Club’s then-current catalogue, spanning 1981’s Fire of Love to 1990’s Pastoral Hide and Seek. The recording on Ahmed’s is of soundboard quality and the group’s performance is amazing. Although the second lineup of the Gun Club (the band represented here—Pierce, Romi Mori, Nick Sanderson, Kid Congo Powers) is often shortchanged by fans, it was of equal artistic stature as the original group—but for very different reasons, namely a maturation in Jeffrey’s songwriting and guitar playing. Simply put, the first Gun Club (1981-1984) and the second Gun Club (1984-1994) were so conceptually and stylistically different from one another that they’re the same band in name only. And it’s the qualities found in the second lineup that naturally stand out on Ahmed’s. Lyrically some of Jeffrey’s strongest material is present—the East Los Angeles recollections of “Lupita Screams” and the anti-imperialism protests of “Another Country’s Young,” the latter an erudite expedition into hitherto unknown subject matter just prior to the release of Ahmed’s. Musically the group is tight beyond belief, but what really stands out is Pierce’s guitar playing, particularly on “Go Tell the Mountain,” a song that has long instrumentation showcasing Jeffrey’s sublime guitar playing. And it’s Pierce’s guitar work that’s the real gem of this album. It’s fucking hypnotic—someone once asked me if Dave Alvin dubbed over Jeffrey’s guitar work from this period; nope: Pierce had gotten that good! There is a slight drawback to Ahmed’s: its well-roundedness. Normally, this would be an asset to a live album, but the early stuff (“Sex Beat,” “Preachin’ the Blues”) seems more like a concession to fans than the Gun Club’s desire to play earlier tracks. The Fire of Love-era songs on Ahmed’s are good, but they’re fucking awesome with the 1981 lineup. And this is probably indicative of Jeffrey’s restlessness: he was always changing, irrespective of trends or others’ desires. Just as I have difficulty envisioning Ward Dotson playing “Another Country’s Young,” there’s a slight amount of cognitive dissonance I feel hearing this lineup play “Preachin’ the Blues.” Nevertheless, Ahmed’s is a strong live album from the Gun Club…. A testament to Jeffrey Lee Pierce’s deserved position as one of Los Angeles’s greatest songwriters.  –Ryan Leach (Cherry Red, www.cherryred.co.uk)


GUANA BATZ:
Held Down… At Last!: CD
A reissue of the classic first LP, plus three “bonus” single tracks. Includes their most famous track, “King Rat,” and my favorites, “Can’t Take the Pressure” and their version of “Please Give Me Something.”  –Jessica Thiringer (Anagram/Cherry Red)


GOOD RIDDANCE:
Remain in Memory—The Final Show: CD
I admit I don’t too much about this band. Tough shit for me that they are calling it a day after ten-plus years. Over thirty songs, the band is on point and ragin’ full on. A fitting, final testament to a great outfit. Fans shouldn’t cry too much—I’m sure they will pull a Face To Face and come back in five years. In the meantime, maybe this will free up Russ to play my town with Only Crime? –Sean Koepenick (Fat)


GOOD RIDDANCE:
Remain in Memory—The Final Show: CD
Back in 1995, I was at my local record store digging through the used bin of CDs when I came across a CD by a band I had not heard of. I grabbed it and went to the listening station that the store had. First song was “Flies First Class” and instantly I was pulled in by the mixture of punk rock rage and melodic flair. I was officially a fan. As years went by, I either bought or received for review every release and enjoyed every one of them. The band continued to get better in writing and musicianship. One thing I didn’t do was go see them live more than three times. So, I was a half-assed fan since I didn’t participate and support all the way. As the title of this release states, the band has met their demise and called it a day. Not a sad thing since they left on a good note and not on the downswing. A twelve year history in punk rock is a noble one that many bands can not claim. A good cross-section is covered here with songs from just about every release they put out. I’m truly happy that they included “Credit to his Gender” off the A Comprehensive Guide to Moderne Rebellion LP. It’s my absolute favorite of the bunch and also brings back Cinder Block from Tilt/Retching Red who originally sang on the song. Now, is there a DVD on the way from this show too? If so, I want one!  –Donofthedead (Fat)


GOLDEN SHOULDERS:
Friendship Is Deep: CD
At first I thought this band was called Golden Showers. That would’ve made this album a lot more fun because then I could’ve reconciled the sound of the Beatles getting fucked by indie-pop with the idea of the singer getting peed on. Or perhaps I’m supposed to feel like I’ve been hit with golden showers while I listen to this. Well, it’s not quite that bad, but I still don’t like it.  –Kurt Morris (Welcome Home)


GOD DAMN DOO WOP BAND, THE:
I’ll Always Be Your Girl: 7”
Yay! This band rules! Punk rockers form a doo wop band! Punk rockers wear ridiculous prom dresses at their shows! Yes! Yes! Yes! If you’re not a total idiot, then you acknowledge the continuum that exists, starting with ‘50s rock’n’roll, going through ‘60s girls groups, straight to Joey Ramone and Co. This continuum needs to celebrated and explored by all reasonable punk rockers! And the God Damn Doo Wop Band totally gets this! If this were a cereal, it’d be Quisp, a ‘60s cereal pulled from the market in the ‘70s only to be revived a decade later! And it’s tasty, too!  –Maddy (Self-released)


GITO GITO HUSTLER:
What’s My…!?: 7”
Catchy and cute. If the Dickies toured Japan in the late ‘70s and their illegitimate offspring formed a girl band, they’d sound just like Gito Gito Hustler. I could spin this record all day long.  –Jim Ruland (Big Neck)


GIRAFFES? GIRAFFES!:
More Skin with Milk-Mouth: CD
I was right this time! Whales on the cover! Prog! Or is it math-art-prog-rock? Don’t care… Kind of prog-punk, if we can allow for such a classification. And since prog is a distinctly problematic genre for me, this gets a mixed review. Parts of it rule and rocking is to be had, but it moves on to boring shit just when yer gettin’ yer groove. If you’re into this stuff, I’m sure it will be satisfying like a good back scratch, but if you’re not into math-art-prog-whatever, there are better places to spend your dough. Would somebody please finish this ineffectual review for me and ease me down from the Hook of Vacillation? –The Lord Kveldulfr (Loves In Heat)


GIN GOBLINS:
Self-titled: CD
These cats blend punk, rock, and horror themes together in a way that, thankfully, sounds nothing like the Misfits, and they pull it all off with a level of precision that hints at more musical proficiency than they’re flexing here. Lyrically, they ain’t giving Shelley a run for his money, but on the whole it wasn’t a bad listen at all.  –Jimmy Alvarado (www.gingoblins.com)


GFI:
Dichotomy: CD
Not something I could ever relate to, but I hear these guys have been around forever, and it must be true seeing how this is their ninth album. Good for you guys. Here is a quote from one of their songs called “Panty Huffer”: “When they’re down around your ankles, with the stains so red and brown, it makes me wanna grab my cock and throw you on the ground. Huffing is a way of life for me.” –Dan Glenn Fury  –Guest Contributor (Roughtounge)


GET RAD / CALL ME LIGHTNING:
: Split 7”
Here you have two Milwaukee bands teaming up for a 7” that has them covering each other’s songs. Get Rad does hardcore covers of Call Me Lightning’s “Ghosts in the Mirror” and “We Be Dragons” and CML does some covers with a rock’n’roll feel of “Say Fuck No to Rules” and “You Over Rotated” by Get Rad. The fact that the bands covered each other’s songs in their own style as opposed to trying to copy the style of the original makes this record way more interesting. Usually, records like this come out sounding like a train wreck, but these bands definitely know their way around each other’s songs. Totally energetic and fun, even if you aren’t familiar with the band’s original material. Limited to 600, 300 on blue and 300 on clear vinyl. –Dave Dillon  –Guest Contributor (Scenester Credentials)


GENUINE IMITATORS:
22 Songs About Hamsters: CD
Eleven minimalist tracks (not about hamsters) with drums like the Germs, bass like SST bands, and non sequitur vocals and lyrics like the Dead Milkmen. Chaotic, carefree, unfocused, and reminiscent of the early years of punk.  –Jessica Thiringer (Cal Rock)


FUCK THIS / STATE:
: Split: 7”
The Fuck This side is great—straight-up hardcore that was comforting in its familiar sounds, but still didn’t sound derivative at all, kind of like when after eating a bajillion meatloaves in life, someone comes along with a recipe that is standard yet still succulent. The State side is still good and all, but it has a much crustier beat to it, like the top of the meatloaf got burned and the female vocals are like some tangy sort of ketchup-based sauce slathered on the top. All in all, a good record, but I like how the Fuck This side tastes over State.  –The Lord Kveldulfr (Punk Before Profits)


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