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Razorcake #92
Spokenest, Gone, Gone, Gone LP
Pinned In Place, Ghostwritten By LP
Razorcake #91


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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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TYME:
“Land of a Thousand Dances” b/w “Cry for the Trees”: 7”
“Land of a Thousand Dances” was written by soul singer Chris Kenner, made famous by Wilson Pickett, and covered endlessly by many. This version is an overdriven ‘60s scorcher necessary for the laying of asphalt. The song was included on Back from the Grave Volume 4. The single is worthwhile for the overdriven jangler on the B side and the always-copious notes provided by Crypt. A solid winner, even if you have BftG4.  –Billups Allen (Crypt)


UK SUBS:
Yellow Leader: CD
One letter away from releasing an album for each letter of the alphabet, and this one is a corker. Charlie is in as fine voice here, belting along to the excellent U.K. hardcore/punk the band puts behind him, topical and feral as ever. Fuck yeah, this hits the spot.  –jimmy (Captain Oi)


UPSET:
‘76: EP
The first time I listened to ‘76, the power went out. I was blowing bubbles in my room, because, at heart, I’m a child. In the dark I continued to have a party by myself blowing bubbles and dancing along to every song. This album feels like the friendship you’ve always wanted to have with the cool girl across the street. Almost every track has a harmony that’s unique and pulls you in. It’s perfect pop punk with the bitterness of adulthood sprinkled on top. The chorus in “Linus” breaks in and turns the track into the ultimate summer jam: “Sunlight sneaks up slowly on us. Some nights I just want to stay up. So, I never have to wake up sore and stuffed, dirty and dried up.” –Monique Greig  –Guest Contributor (Lauren, laurenrecs@gmail.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
A Butcher’s Waltz: LP
A four-way split between noise outfits Seawhores, Power Take Off, Skoal Kodiak, and Gay Witch Abortion. Seawhores starts things off with a powerfully heavy blast of symphonic, orchestral arrangements in a tempo-shifting metal stomper. They then, somewhat bafflingly, switch gears and deliver a couple notes of pan flute that serve as a transition to an effects-laden synth loop track with chanting, almost reggae-inflected vocals before closing out their portion of the split with a ripping cover of Hammerhead’s “Cleaning Lady,” that has an early Melvins feel to it. Following Seawhores comes Power Take Off, who offers up an epic track in “Plowshare,” which features spoken vocals over a long barrage of slow, heavy, hypnotically repetitive riffs. Skoal Kodiak has a pretty solid groove, a bit of inspired, psychedelic, bong-rattling bass that works its way in and out of tunes otherwise characterized by a bevy of unintelligible vocal howls and a heavy peppering of electronic bleeps and pulses. Gay Witch Abortion rounds things out with some more space sounds amidst bursts of chaotic metal. This was my first introduction to each of the bands and I found this comp to be a solid primer. Worth checking out.  –Jeff Proctor (Learning Curve)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Destroy Poserton: LP
I was looking through some of my back issues of Ugly Things earlier this week, and one issue had an article by Johan Kugelburg about early punk parody albums, and towards the end of his introduction he opined that maybe the genre of punk is itself turning into a parody at this point in time. Here’s a compilation that really helps back up that opinion. From the cheesy cover art of a giant skinhead and two giant fashion plate punks laying waste to a cityscape, add the goony title and you know you’re in for some punk rock Civil War re-enactment aimed at the lowest common denominator. Turning the cover over, you’re greeted with the names of the bands, and see a couple clichéd rip off logos for The Extorted, who wholesale rip off the Exploited logo, and Disposable, who rip off—take a wild guess. Yep, they, just like a billion bands before them, use the Discharge logo to sell themselves to the unquestioning masses with low standards. Practically ever genre is touched on this compilation. The only things missing are the Ramones knock off bands and the beard core bro bands. A few “we are da’ punx” songs from the likes of Kontra:Diction, Kids Of Alright, some run-of-the-mill oi from Proper Lads, Cheap, one throwaway song from Endzone, the previously mentioned Disposable, who sound like Disclose, who themselves were simulacra—copy of a copy of copy—further deteriorates from the original. I will give credit to Disposable for being true to their name, though. From this review you might gather I’m some bitter asshole who just, “Doesn’t get it, maannnn...” But here’s what’s up. I believe punk is great, and can forever be great. I can still remember clearly when it was great, and something I forever wanted to be a part of. But bands and “punks” who are just taking on the look (which has been completely co-opted and absorbed into the mainstream—so maybe it’s time for something new instead of another stupid mohawk haircut and a studded leather jacket with painted on logos of bands that were long gone a decade or more before the wearer was even born—like what Kanye wears), and playing music that sticks tight to the formula, adding nothing new, and taking no risks is a waste of fucking time and an insult to anyone who even takes the time to listen to this kind of music and take on the ethics of punk (remember those things?). There really is no need for the compilation to exist.  –Matt Average (Total Fucker, Smash Art, lifeisposers.bigcartel.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Haiku Fucks Volume One: 7” EP
Fourteen U.K. bands crank out fourteen tracks of short (longest length here is an epic minute and four seconds) blasts of hardcore and grindy thrash. There’s enough diversity in delivery to keep things from turning into a blur, but kudos are specifically due to 51stState for managing to really stand out with a tune that would’ve fit in well on one of Crass’ Bullshit Detectorcomps.  –jimmy (Kibou, kibourecords.bigcartel.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
The Marshmallow Generation: LP
This excellent sampler LP of current, kickass Ontario punk and hardcore bands is a much-welcomed collection of largely unreleased songs from nifty bands like Zex, Terminal Licks, Pre-Nods, and Noble Savages. It’s not a label comp, automatically raising its creds, and it presents diverse, fun bands from several towns and cities in the province. As someone who listens to many different subgenres of punk, I appreciate the fact that what bonds the tracks is geography, rather than uniformity. I think Zex is the only band included that I’ve seen before, but I’d go out of my way to check out the others, too. There’s someone with a very inclusive sensibility behind this collection, with no duds to speak of. Plus, who wouldn’t want to be a part of something called The Marshmallow Generation?  –Art Ettinger (It’s Trash!, itstrashrecords.bandcamp.com)


VITRIOL:
The Crown: Cassette
The Crown is kind of a hot mess. Even though it’s out of tune and super rough around the edges, this Jawbreaker-weirdo pop punk band still stays charming in the most sloppy but heartfelt and honest way, which struck me as odd on the first listen, but started to settle in upon a second try. I really dig how they let the songs fall apart at the end. Melodies are simplistic and catchy, and the off-tune vocals are jagged, raw, and real. Songs range from the stylings of ‘90s alt indie Modest Mouse, to ‘80s punk Descendents, to modern day post punk Nervosas, dabbling in whatever seems to feel right at the time.  –Camylle Reynolds (Get Better)


VOIDED SOCIAL CONTRACT:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Voided Social Contract powers through six solid songs on this small but mighty EP. It’s a sweet cocktail of modern pop punk and ‘80s punk, with bit of The Knack, Circle Jerks, and the Descendents. Fast, melodic guitar that’s laden with feedback and crisp vocals really make it pop. Fave tracks like “Alpha Boy” and “They Don’t Know What We’re Doing Here” rip! I’ve seen them live, and they are just as tight as they are recorded. No rookies here.  –Camylle Reynolds (Ape Law, voidedsocialcontract.com)


VULGAARI:
Self-titled: CD
Grrrrrrrrrrrr grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr gggggrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww bwooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong. Grade: C-.  –Bryan Static (Cubo De Sangre)


WAR EMBLEM:
Constant Defeat: LP
War Emblem is a hardcore punk band from Philadelphia. Lately, most of my music-related conversations have revolved around the plethora of incredible bands that call Philadelphia home (Hop Along, Glocca Morra, Sheer Mag, and Dogs On Acid immediately spring to mind). Constant Defeat is short, fast, and to the point, as it should be. This is no-frills hardcore. I’m reminded of Coke Bust, Hummingbird Of Death, and Punch. The lyrics are appropriately bleak; however, War Emblem is less political and more emotionally damaged: “Life is frustration” and “Will there not come a day when the pain will dull?” I often wonder if lyricists who navigate such hopeless facets of everyday existence are in fact that crippled by pain and anger. If so, how do they even get out of bed in the morning? Regardless, War Emblem is equally familiar and awe-inspiring and further proof that rage has no limit.  –Sean Arenas (Protagonist, protagonistmusic.tumblr.com / Narshardaa, narshardaa.com)


WAYFARER:
Sleep Through to the Light: LP
Two songs in and I was planning to make a few Gin Blossoms jokes, then focus on the trend of emo bands sounding like mild-mannered alt rock from 1997. The thing is, by song three I was going, “Wait, this one is catchy as hell, too.” They play with a certain heartland yearning that Split Slip/Chamberlain had on Fate’s Got a Driver. And it turns out this is a concept record about the holocaust, with songs taking place in concentration camps, and later as survivors struggle with describing the holocaust to younger relatives. The more straightforward songs about affairs of the heart have timeless details like cigarettes and baseball uniforms that let them ride the fence between nostalgia and modern life. It takes balls of steel for an emo band to attempt to write an album about something as sensitive as genocide, but Wayfarer manages to focus on the humanity in a way that avoids myopia and makes their characters feel real and timeless. The fact that they know their way around a hook sure doesn’t hurt either.  –CT Terry (sorrowcarrier.bigcartel.com / Housebreaker)


WESTERN PLAZA:
Self-titled: Cassette
Fair or not, bands on Burger Records have a specific “sound,” and WesternPlaza fits in amongst that sound perfectly. Pop/garage tunes, drenched in reverb, with little to absolutely no punk influence is what you get with this release. The songs almost have a Beach Boys type pop sensibility about them. While this Amarillo, TX five piece does what they do admirably, this eight-song cassette ultimately doesn’t have enough dirty rock’n’roll bite to it to keep me interested.  –Mark Twistworthy (Burger, burgerrecords.org)


WHITMAN:
Restoring Darkness: CD
The dark bedroom pop Bob Pollard would produce if he joined Defiance, OH. Cellos, violas, upright bass, piano keys, and splashes of noise behind secrets whispered into the dark of a closet recording booth. Picture Plan-it-X fest afterparty grouped around an Indiana bonfire and all the friends bursting out into song captured on tape. Intimate and potentially heartbreaking, Restoring Darkness is going to mean a lot to someone somewhere.  –Matt Seward (Folktale)


WILDHONEY:
Sleep Through It: LP
Shoegaze is a slippery slope. The vocals are meant to bleed into the crashing waves of fuzzed-out guitars. The hope is to create a unified melody that is both haunting and texturally rich. However, many bands meander and drift into reverb-saturated noise that leaves you staring at the inside of your eyelids. Wildhoney has swirling guitars and sedated female vocals (read: Lush), but forgoes indulgence in exchange for pithy songwriting. Sadly, there are few pop gems. I was really hoping to fall into this record. I wanted these songs to follow me around, but I only recall “Owe You Nothing” and “Boys from Out of Town” because of their twee pop uptempo. Although Wildhoney have refined the sonic aesthetic of dream pop and shoegaze, they have stumbled into the pitfall of monotony.  –Sean Arenas (Deranged, derangedrecords.com)


WOAHNOWS:
Understanding and Everything Else: CD
British indie pop with enough punch to still call itself punk. Nasally Ted Leo-style vocals with some gang vocal singalongs thrown in for maximum impact. Unrelenting energy and pop hooks to appease the hardcore Jam or Lemuria fan. Press your best Ben Sherman, crank the scooter, and zip on down the Woahnows’ show… you’ll have quite the time bopping and sweating and screaming along. Extra points for T-shirts featuring Kurt Vonnegut.  –Matt Seward (Big Scary Monsters, bsmrocks.com)


WOODEN WAVES:
Wilder Dreams: LP
Playful indie rock with smooth basslines and lyrics of the quirky and slightly psychedelic variety: “I believe, I believe, I believe / You are real and soon they will see / I believe, I believe, I believe.” “Ooh”s and “ahh”s and assorted easygoing harmonies in abundance. This sounds more or less like most other playful indie rock bands, but if it’s your thing, it’s your thing—they keep it sweet and fun, and who can really argue with that?  –Indiana Laub (One Percent, onepercentpress.com)


XAXAXA:
Sami maži i ženi: CD
Leatherface doppelgänger from Macedonia. As anyone who reads this zine knows, this is pretty hallowed territory for a band to attempt and XAXAXA succeeds for the most part, though the lyrics (not in English) simply cannot approach those of Frankie Stubbs, in any language. It’s a universal axiom, kind of like staring at the sun—you are probably better off not attempting it.  –Garrett Barnwell (Moonlee, moonleerecords.com)


XUB SAFARI:
MMXV: Cassette
There’s a layer of natural fuzz over this EP and the songs are mid-paced and short and upbeat and feel like expanses of summer nights after quick thunderstorms or cool fall days and having to put on a jacket. Faintest hint of shoegaze, thought they don’t slow down enough and don’t seem obsessed with pedals. Hazy but fast, I guess. Not sure what they’re singing about (vocals are in Spanish). One song title translates to “The New Violence,” another translates to “Worth Nothing.” For the people wearing all black to the beach.  –Matt Werts (Self-released, xubsafari.bandcamp.com)


YELLOW BUDDHY MONKS:
Self-titled: CD
Rather bluesy rock’n’roll from this Japanese duo; I think of Teengenerate meets John Lee Hooker. Not much to say here—the record is above average, but it doesn’t wake me up in the morning the way a really good record should.  –The Lord Kveldulfr (Laugh)


YOUNG ROCHELLES, THE:
Know the Code: 7”
Syrupy, downright sticky-sweet, and positively neutered is the tone set by the first song, “Stay-at-HomeMan.” It’s a pipedream about winning the lottery and giving up the rat race to stay home, throw dinner parties, and master the art of decorative paper folding; the gelded tone totally makes sense. Following that is a gruffer ode to some junkie dude; once again the perfect energy for the subject matter. The Young Rochelles rounds out this 7” with “Meltdown,” a lovesick, awkward, introverted, and danceable little pop punk gem that brings The Ergs! to mind. Each of these songs is thoughtfully constructed and it really shows. The Young Rochelles is not one to disappoint!  –Jackie Rusted (Greenway, greenwayrecords.storenvy.com)


ZOLTARS:
Self-titled: LP
The Zoltars doesn’t have any urgency. It’s music for hot Texas summer evenings as the sun sets and the refraction of the heat moves the air about like waves in the ocean. There’s a slow, sedated quality that would make or break this music for whomever attempts to enjoy it. Sonically, think early 1960s garage rock and early psych with pop melodies. The record almost sounds like a Nuggets disc with the diversity of song flows. It’s a good record, not quite my speed, but a good record nonetheless. The Zoltars knows very clearly who it’s trying to be and it shows. Grade: B.  –Bryan Static (Happenin, happeninrecords.com)


BRADDOCK:
All That Is Man: LP
At first listen, it’s understandable that someone might just hear another attempt at post-hardcore. With a little patience, however, it becomes obvious that these four dudes infuse their own voice as a band into the popular style that is home to Hot Water Music and Small Brown Bike. Equal parts self-deprecation and “fuck you”s, the lyrics keep a fairly somber mood but there are plenty of breakdowns and catchy harmonies to keep everyone happy. The recording quality is just right, too—it’s crisp and clean but just raw enough to remind us that these guys really mean it. I recommend taking it for several spins.  –Nicole Madden (Encapsulated, encapsulatedrecords.limitedrun.com)


7YEARSBADLUCK:
Bridges: CD
Man, comparing Bridges to anything the Lawrence Arms has released might be a copout, but the similarities are a little too close to ignore. That doesn’t make this release bad by any means, just maybe a little redundant. The tunesmithery is pretty high and the energy in the performance is consistent, so it is kind of hard to dismiss this as mere pap, no matter whom I think they are aping. Given my caveat, this disc is quite listenable.  –Garrett Barnwell (Monster Zero, monsterzero.nl)


AGADOR SPARTACUS:
Agadorable: CDEP
Agador Spartacus, from Germany, describes itself as “Epic Destruction Rock.” I can only assume one of two things: 1) Their English isn’t great or 2) They’re joking. This is neither epic, nor destructive. I suppose it’s rock, but anymore, who can say? Is this style of generic emo pop rock the new “alternative”? What does “alternative” even mean anymore? It all sounds the same to me. I suppose there are nuances and unique angles Agador Spartacus is playing on these five songs, but I don’t really care enough to dissect them in depth. After a dozen listens, I will admit they’re catchy, but so are a lot of bands. Nothing new here. Next, please.  –kurt (Self-released)


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·IDLE HANDS
·FANTASY FOUR, THE
·RUINER
·WHISKEY TRENCH
·PREVAILING NONSENSE #4
·TEMPORAL SLUTS
·PARTING GIFTS, THE
·NUCLEAR FAMILY
·IDIOT TALK


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