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Razorcake #87


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Record Reviews

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PEGS, THE:
Danger’s Gone: 7”
I think I first heard the Pegs on the Tower 13 compilation. As with most of the stuff on that comp, I liked them a lot. It seems I still do. There is a heavy beach vibe running through this that brings the likes of Smogtown to mind, but at the same time, it lays down a little more rock’n’roll, which makes me think of The Humpers. It’s a combination that works. –Ty Stranglehold (Slab-O-Wax)


PAINT IT BLACK:
New Lexicon: CD
Paint It Black were one of my favorite bands in college (not that I stopped liking them, more of one of those “I’m in love with a different band/girl every week” kind of deals). I liked that the first record was essentially a “lets just do this” kind of a hardcore record. I liked that Paradise started to branch out into some more melodic territory. This one takes the best of both worlds (I started listening thinking “Man, this sounds way more brutal,” and then “No, this is way poppier”), but now there’s some interesting electronic/hip-hop/noise stuff going on as well (though to be honest, it’s mostly transitional between the songs). It’s “let’s see where we can take this” and not “let’s rehash the last record again.” I like it. Seriously though, get me one of those record release 7”s. –Joe Evans III (Jade Tree)


PAINT IT BLACK:
New Lexicon: CD
New Lexicon is Paint it Black’s third edition of the textbook on how to make modern hardcore punk. There are a few revisions made, and a few more twists added; such as some spacey effects and more attention to melody (most notably the last track with Jeff from Naked Raygun singing backups). For the most part though, you know what you’re getting with Paint It Black: fast songs, a distinct lack of “mosh parts,” and lyrics ranging proudly from the political to the socio-political. If you’re into that sort of stuff, you’ll probably enjoy what is easily their best record yet. –Nick Toerner –Guest Contributor (Jade Tree)


PAINT IT BLACK:
New Lexicon: CD
I was fortunate enough to get tickets to the first night of Paint It Black’s weekend-long record release festival just hours before it sold out. As I stepped into the crowded basement of Philadelphia’s FirstUnitarianChurch, I was given a free copy of the new record a month before its release date, as promised on the fliers. I had some time to kill before the first band of the night was ready to play, so I stepped out to my car to give it a quick listen. I got so sucked in that I missed the first half of the opener’s set (Amateur Hour, respectively). Philadelphia’s hardcore act Paint It Black has shown tons of progression between their debut CVA and their sophomore release Paradise, and New Lexicon is no different. I believe that “dark” is the only word I can use to describe this one. Dan Yemin’s (Lifetime, Kid Dynamite) lyrics are angrier than ever and the guitar parts tore me to pieces. There is plenty of credit due to the production as well. There are some parts in between most of the fifteen songs involving either drums or feedback that are noisy without being annoying, and create a strange vibe for the record. It’s only January, but I have no doubt in my mind that this will be one of my favorite hardcore records of 2008. –Dave Dillon –Guest Contributor (Jade Tree)


PAINT IT BLACK:
New Lexicon: CD
For some reason, the cover of this record reminds me of a The Life And Times cover. But no way in hell is any of the music the same. Loud, abrasive, brutal music from this outfit. Favorite song titles include: “Missionary Position,” “White Kids Dying of Hunger,” and “Check Yr Math.” I’ll take a wild stab here and state for the record that if you liked Swiz, you may like this CD. Hey, they’re on the same label—weird! –Sean Koepenick (Jade Tree)


OVER-VERT:
Test Recording: CD
YES! Skate rock is alive and well and poised to take its crown back from the Mountain Dew slurping fuckstix who have plagued the genre with their “Ex-treme Brah!” attitude. Over-Vert is the real deal: spastic hardcore odes to skating and the quest to thrash. The recording is sloppy as hell, but as the title suggests, this would be a test recording. I would love to get my hands on the finished product. The spray-bombed OV on the disc is pretty damn punk too. I want more! –Ty Stranglehold (Over-Vert, myspace.com/oververt)


OUT_CIRCUIT, THE:
Pierce the Empire with a Sound: CD
This is the new project from a former member of Frodus. It’s the semi-lightweight, dark alt-indie stuff that seems to be somewhat popular nowadays (or at least was a couple years back). It drones, it makes pretty noises, it makes ugly noises, it samples, it distorts, it screams every now and then, but it fails to excite. –Will Kwiatkowski –Guest Contributor (Lujo)


ONION FLAVORED RINGS:
Perfect Evolution: 7”
Thanks you OFR for writing a conceptual 7” about the nothingness that is our life, and on top of that, orchestrating it with your own brand of jangly, melodic punk. And while I truly love the directness of older songs in regards to their topics, the vastness that they seem to be discussing in this 7” is much more lofty yet still applicable. It is hard for this band to do anything I don’t like. Its realist outlook on life and its authentic take on punk rock have always been great. –Daryl Gussin (Thrillhouse)


ONION FLAVORED RINGS / THE FUTURE VIRGINS:
Split: 7”
When I was a kid, I went through a stage where I’d wear a tie with a sweatshirt and sing the soundtrack to Godspell. I hope some kid out there is doing the same nowadays, but their clued-in parents have been following the anti-cult stylings of Onion Flavored Rings. For such Parasites-sounding poppiness that’s coming out of the speakers, there are some bleak, existential, what’s-the-point? we-all-become-dust lyrics that pervade their two songs. (“Like a raindrop/ All alone I’m falling.”) The Onion Flavored Rings have been a slow grow for me, but I’m warming up to them due to that dynamic. Gives ‘em a little depth. The Future Virgins: I hope that this doesn’t sound creepy, but if I’m sure that the world’s gonna end at a specific time, I’m going to crank the Future Virgins and shoot myself in the head in the middle of one of their songs. Might as well die happy, screaming along with the endorphins pumping: the perfect blend of ache and joyousness, of The Bananas and rat-tumored, bring-more-beer Chattanooga, of experience gained by royally fucking up in the long run for all the right reasons. The cover art has me scratching my head, though. –Todd Taylor (1234 Go!)


ONE SMALL STEP FOR LANDMINES:
Self-titled: CD
Whenever I see a whale on the cover art for a record, I automatically wonder how hippy-dippy the record will be. And is it just me, or do prog rock bands put an inordinate amount of whales on their record covers? I’m not claiming that O.S.S.F.L. are a prog rock band, but their brand of rock’n’roll is a whole lot more complex than this three-chord simpleton can properly describe (and it’s not hippy-dippy). So, out of laziness or stupidity, I turn to the Mighty Onesheet: “angular-yet-driving guitar lines, tangling…catchy-yet-sophisticated songs” with “jazzy, rapid-fire drums and an explosively propulsive bass line.” That sums up the tunes, and in the end I liked how it all came together. Imagine eating a really tasty cheeseburger in a five-star restaurant: simple, solid food with a wonderfully complex and ornate presentation. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Civil Defense League, www.civildefenseleague.ne)


OFF WITH THEIR HEADS / DEAR LANDLORD:
Split: 7”
Two songs a piece from two of the Midwest’s finest pop punk bands. OWTH starts it off with “Die Slow,” a song that many people have said is one of the worst songs ever done by this band, but they’re all crazy. All of them. This is definitely one of my favorite Off With Their Heads tracks. They wrap up their side of the split with a cover of Warren Zevon’s “Splendid Isolation” that isn’t too shabby at all. Dear Landlord (a newer band comprised of ex-members of Rivethead and current members of The Copyrights) plays what sounds like an even better—if you can imagine it—continuation of Rivethead without all of the forty-five second songs. Strong group vocals singing and depressing choruses are the order of the day, and you’ll find yourself singing along to sickness in no time. Both songs, “Hi Fives” and “Crashing,” are fantastic. I can’t wait until a release date for a full length is announced. –Dave Dillon –Guest Contributor (No Idea)


NUTS & BOLTS:
We Don’t Wanna Wake Up: CD
I don’t know if it’s a case of reviewing too many bands like Nuts & Bolts this time around, but this just isn’t working for me. The band is competent and the recording and packaging are good, it’s just the songs… Well, they’re just kind of boring. It’s just not keeping my attention. –Ty Stranglehold (Funeral, myspace.com/funeralrecords)


NOJONS, THE:
Self-titled: 7”
So super fun. I liked it right from the start. Just the pop punk I was looking to listen to this morning. Lyrics are lighthearted and silly without being juvenile sounding. The song titled “California 1983” is about buying a used time machine and going to California in 1983 to go skateboarding. How rad is that? I’m so impressed with this band right now. I’ve been listening to crappy stuff, trying to justify why they are crappy, and now I realized that I should have just been listening to this band. Go buy a copy of this 7”. It is bound to put you in a good mood; nothing depressing about it. Good to dance and sing a long to as well. Gosh, I’m so f’in into this record, I feel like I bathing in it. And I don’t even know what that means. –Corinne –Guest Contributor (Punks Before Profit / Feral Kids)


NOISE NOISE NOISE:
Blazing Hot Title Track: CD
After starting off with a one-two onslaught of sand belter-raw pop delivered at thrash velocity, these guys drop it down into cruise control and sail down similar back roads that bands like the Marked Men have been traveling. Really good stuff here. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.tummyrock.com)


NOFX:
They’ve Actually Gotten Worse Live: CD
As much as the title and banter implies that NOFX sucks live, the truth is that these guys never sound less than great. The reason behind this, I think, is the fact that Erik Sandin is one of the tightest drummers ever. I think it’s just hard to sound bad with him in your rhythm section. And it’s actually a really good-sounding live recording instead of sounding like the audio was taken off somebody’s overworked cell phone mic. As for the selection of songs, it’s a great mix of old and new songs, with some stuff being changed up for the live album. If you liked the originals, it’s a safe bet you’d like the rearranged versions of the songs. The only problem with the CD is that after the first couple of times, you never really want to listen to the banter again. I think it’s worth getting if only for the fact that they have The Decline on here as a hidden track. That is, after all, NOFX’s greatest, most epic batch of songs. –Adrian (Fat)


NO SLOGAN:
Self-titled: CD
Dunno if this is an actual release or just something Benny threw into his care package to add a little punch, but either way, it is much appreciated. This is a discography of tracks from past—and future—singles, EPs, and comp tracks, plus a few live tracks from a trek to Mexico. For those not in the know, No Slogan are one of the highlights of Chicago’s very cool and unabashedly bilingual hardcore scene. What makes them special—in addition to a knack for writing some really good, catchy originals and for picking some interesting covers (their take on Bhopal Stiffs’ “Too Many Things” handily surpasses the original, in my humble opinion)—is that they aren’t afraid to spice things up a little by occasionally stretching out a bit or tossing in a smidge of post punk to the thrashin’. If this ain’t readily available—this one says “40/100” across the bottom, but I dunno if that means all together or just for the ones with the stenciled covers—it really should be, ‘cause in addition to being a solid release, it’s a nice way to get everyone up to speed on a band well worth taking notice. –Jimmy Alvarado (Southkore)


NITAD:
Ge Oss Mer: 7”
Pissed, angry, Swedish, ‘80s USHC-influenced punk sung completely in Swedish. This 7” comes in these great-looking, hand-printed covers and is on blue/green vinyl. I guess only 200 of these were made, so if you liked their 2007 Deranged release, or Swedish hardcore/punk in general, this would be well worth your lunch/beer money. –Daryl Gussin (Kranium, www.krnm.se)


NEW DRESS, THE:
Where Our Failures Are: CD
Mixing folk tones and punk attitude is ground that is being well treaded now, but that’s no reason to roundly embrace or dismiss a band. It’s just in the water. The New Dress, thankfully, have poetic tongues, where the reduction to two voices and two instruments distills down to a confident beauty and defiance. At times, reminding me of Against Me!s acoustic numbers (where the hell did that anthem come from? They’re just strumming), Whiskey & Co. (haunted voices, washed in sorrow and resolve), covering Billy Bragg (socialist workers unite), and the seduction of a band doing what they do exactly right. All of that made me a new fan. –Todd Taylor (Red Leader)


NEUTRAL BOY:
Everybody Dies: CD
I’ve got to admit that with a name like “Neutral Boy,” I was imagining a pop punk outfit. I knew that I was probably wrong because I don’t see a band like that coming out on Fivecore, but that’s what I pictured. Well, I was way off. This is some good, mid-tempo hardcore with growly (but still understandable) vocals. As it plays out, it becomes increasingly catchy. The songs are bouncing around in my head in a good way. The female backup vocals (supplied by bassist Mandy “Hot As Hell” Reed!) add the last piece of the puzzle that seals the deal for me. This band rules! A note to Neutral Boy: WA is not all that far from Victoria BC. Come on up! –Ty Stranglehold (Fivecore)


NAZI DEATH CAMP:
We’re Not Special, Just Retarded: 7”EP
Finnsh punk band that is having fun rehashing the more rudimentary elements of the genre. They write dumb songs about such things as: killing people they hate, retards killing people, having dementia, and being a drunk. It’s all pretty fuck-you-I-don’t-give-a-fuck, distorted punk rock—except the last song of side B titled “Retard Violence” has this really warm, soothing guitar solo. I don’t think it really fits, but it sounds really nice. –Daryl Gussin (Psychedilica)


NASTIES:
Teenagers Bored: 7”
Punk rock’n’roll from Italy! Girl band extravaganza! Featuring tight pants and striped shirts all around! For fans of Not So Sweet-era Bobbyteens and the Pinkz! The A side is a little boring, but the B side totally rocks! Total dance party music! If this were a cereal, it’d be Fruit Loops! Yummy goodness, not Lucky Charms, but still! –Maddy (Mortville)


MYSTECHS:
Hot Tub of Blood: CD
“We’ll turn you and your children into chunky applesauce.” That’s about the level of their lyrics. This band is trying very hard to make it obvious that they are just a bunch of goofballs who want to make everyone laugh. I bet their friends love them. I bet their friends love the bad metal guitar and drum machine. I don’t. –MP Johnson (Death By Karaoke)


MUGWUMPS, THE:
Do Time with the Mugwumps: 7”
First question: Is this band’s name a reference to the 1880s anti-Gilded Age Republican political activists of the same name? If so, I salute them! Mid-period Ramones-influenced (in a good way!) punk rock. The press release compares it to Too Tough to Die, and, oddly, for the first time I think I agree with a press release. Good stuff! If this were a cereal, it’d be Trix. Tasty, but not quite up to the level of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (early-period Ramones’ influenced punk could accomplish that!). –Maddy (It’s Alive)


MODERN CREATURES:
Thick Thick Black: 7”
When I listen to this, I get two images in my head. The first is of me being miserable in some club lit by neon while everybody else is dancing. The other is of some kid who went to art school thinking about whether Duchamp or Dali is more impressive, but by the second year was thinking about whether smoking cloves or American Spirits is more impressive. This 7” is mildly goth and dance-y, mildly dark and punk, and mildly experimental and annoying. It’s just mild. –Vincent Battilana (Grotesque Modern, www.grotesquemodern.com)


MOB 47:
EP: 7”
There’s not too much info to go on here. Nine songs of scathing hardcore that sounds as if it comes from that razor thin moment in time when the music was more technical than punk rock but wasn’t quite crossing over to metal yet. Did I mention that there is no English on this record? I’m thinking Swedish, but I’m not 100 percent  on that. There are a lot of umlauts and double consonants going on, though. I can almost smell a studded leather jacket when I listen to this. Great! –Ty Stranglehold (Havoc)


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