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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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I’m Against It EP: 12”
When Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist who first synthesized LSD, accidentally got a taste of a very minute amount of the just-born industrial strength mind bender back in 1943, he had a helluva time just figuring out how to work the pedals on his bicycle so he could get home that night—so powerful was the drug. That’s how I feel right now with Out With A Bang. I’m not sure I know how to brush my ass or wipe my teeth, let alone craft some smarmy review about this one-sided twelve-incher from punk rock heaven. Out With A Bang, for those trying to keep track of the evolution of lo-fi misanthrope-core, is the band that has grown up from the wreckage of the backed-up toilet explosion once known as “The Grabbies.” And the Grabbies, of course, were a band that could best be compared to a short bus full of Tourette’s Syndrome Italian retards stalled out over a giant anthill crawling with stinging ants and in their brief existence they produced two 7” records that were the very picture of brutal, hate-filled, dim-witted beauty. Live Raw Punk Shits, in fact, was so blastingly raw that it makes the Reatards sound like the Max Weinberg 7 and I would still put that record on the top of my Razorcake Top 5 list each issue if I thought I could get away with it. The Grabbies were “punk as hate” and I loved everything about it. So deep was my affection for that amazing band that I made up counterfeit Grabbies shirts—one for myself and one for the only other person I knew who gave two shits about the Grabbies: a friend of mine known as “The Imp.” If it weren’t for those shirts I made, I might not know Out With A Bang even existed right now. But as luck would have it, the Imp wound up wearing her counterfeit Grabbies shirt in a photo which she posted on Fox Entertainment Group Inc.’s “MySpace”—a sort of meet-n-greet web-club popular with attention-starved teenagers, pedophiles and wannabe rock stars. And, lo and behold, what should bubble up from the cyber sea of MySpace chitchat and go for the bait? None other than Anus, the surly snapping turtle frontman of the Grabbies. He claimed that he was just wondering why anyone in their right mind would make shirts emblazoned with the logo of such a ridiculously “horseshit” band as the Grabbies. Or maybe it was really just the predatory congressman side of him coming out. Whatever it was that drew this foul-mouthed idiot savant out from his internet duck blind is anyone’s guess. What’s important is that he brought news of his new band, Out With A Bang, and that was just the thing to pull me out of the doldrums of a deep musical despondency that had gripped me since the untimely demise of my beloved Grabbies. So things are right with the world now; Out With A Bang might be a tad more cohesive than the Grabbies ever were—perhaps Anus has a Ritalin prescription now?— but there’s more than enough unbridled hostility and seething hate-stew here for me to hang my hat on. And that’s saying something, because I’ve got a huge head. Plus they’ve thrown some Three Stooges sound bytes between songs, which always brings the I.Q. level of anything down a few glorious notches. And nothing goes better with lo-fi than lo-brow. My only complaint is that one side of a record’s-worth of this kind of stuff just isn’t enough. But if I know Anus, I know there’s sure to be more where this came from. Hate springs eternal, after all. –aphid (Proud to be Idiot, www.ptbi.8m.com)

Kickball: 5-song 7” EP
Oh man, this is all over the place. Here’s a partial list of the bases they touch: electro-folk, drum machine hymnal, rap, art, and indie rock. It’s not without its brief charms, but the splattering of the influences just choggles me. In their approach, they remind me of the Mean Reds—mostly interested in the blender, or “making something new,” not the ingredients being chucked into the blender. I just don’t hear enough internal digestion (collage isn’t just ripping something out, it’s putting it back in a new context is where the art is) or self-identity (which is ironic, since they’re trying so hard to be different). So, if you want a single band sounding like a regional comp of truly unalike music (including a barely recognizable Who cover), then Order fits that request. –Todd Taylor (Blood On The Drash)

War Machine: CD
Nicely done, fairly straight-forward political punk with a kind of dark, almost apocalyptic undertone that still holds onto a decent amount of variance between songs. As in, you know who you’re listening to for sure, they never hop genres, but the songs don’t blend into one thirty-minute opera either. Vocally, the guy’s got his screech down, reminding me a bit of the crooner from Leftover Crack, and there’s the added blessing that the dude’s actually singing about stuff and you can make out what he’s saying. The songs, like I said, come across as varied while still keeping consistent hooks and punch in there—each song’s built on a bedrock of catchiness. Mostly mid-tempo, War Machine kicks it up a few times here and there, most notably on “Armchair General” and “Guilty.” As a whole, it’s a decent outing, and one that’s gotten more than a few plays around here. –Keith Rosson (Unitree)

Way Back Home: CD
Six piece from Montreal that shows a strong love for reggae and ska. A real mellow set of songs that are relaxing to have in the background while you chill. The songs that feature female vocalist Jacinthe really are the highlights and the ones that are the most vibrant. She does a cover of the Aretha Franklin classic “Rescue Me” which has been given the reggae touch. The opening track is also one of her numbers. It almost deceives you to believe that she is the main singer of the band. Not that the main male vocalist is bad, but she adds a tenderness that is striking. This gave me the same mellow vibe I got off the new Aggrolites CD. –Donofthedead (Stomp)

All Roads Lead to Ausfahrt: CD
Nomeansno means no desire to listen to this record a second time. BEST SONG: “Mondo Nihilissimo 2000” BEST SONG TITLE: “Mondo Nihilissimo 2000” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: It is probably quite apparent that i was reading the Roctober record reviews on the toilet today. –Rev. Norb (Ant Acid)

Self-titled: CD
I’ve never been much for religion, but No Truth Lies is my salvation. I have a serious lyrical problem. I get songs stuck in my head for hours, sometimes days. I don’t even have to hear the song. I could be at breakfast and someone’s struggling with the ketchup. As soon as people start suggesting where the bottle should be hit for maximum ketchup compliance, I’ll get Young Black Teenagers’ “Tap the Bottle” stuck in my head. It’s there now, just from typing it. This happens at least fifteen times daily. But, I am now armed with No Truth Lies. They somehow have the ability to unstick any song lodged in my head. I don’t know how they do it, but I am grateful. They’ve got the feel of Tim Version (think the split with Superchinchillarescuemission and not the country stuff—which I also love), but their sound is definitely their own. One of the bands I’m most excited about out of Florida right now. –Megan Pants (A.D.D.)

Get Out: CD
Perusing the liner notes, I saw that saxophone is featured on a couple of the tracks. I was hoping it would be the cool kinda sax you hear on records by the Sonics and the Mothballs. It ain’t. The guy plays the sax in much the same way Ferris Bueller plays the clarinet—“Never had one lesson!”—honking like dying goose. The guys are all dressed like the Strokes in the liner note pictures, but it seems like they may be trying to ape the Nation Of Ulysees, stylistically and musically, more than anyone else. As Rick Stratton might have said on long lost-but-not-forgotten sitcom, Silver Spoons: “This is bogus.” –Josh Benke (Super Secret)

No Tomorrow: CD
Former members of a metalcore act named All Out War start a new band with a new vocalist. This is their second record since the change. I personally only have heard of the previous band’s name but not the music. I don’t think I would go back and see if I like what they sound like because the current band is pretty bad-ass. I would hate to waste the money if they don’t stand up to the current band. Right off the bat, the guitar riffs are heavy and technical in a death metal kind of way with a couple lessons in Iron Maiden guitar licks 101. The double bass drumming is executed with robot-like precision. Vocals are harsh with a smoked a pack a day for half my life quality. I would be surprised that this band does not move forward and go onto a bigger indie or even a major. –Donofthedead (Spook City)

Split: 7” EP
Neon Nazis: First tune is kinda droney and boring as far as rock/punk goes, and the second song ain’t exactly an improvement. Singer sounds like an indecisive chicken with a head cold. Hips: Considerably artier and weirder than their recordmates, and the pep in their performance puts ‘em over the edge. Hips win by a landslide. –Jimmy Alvarado (Going Underground)

Self-titled: 7” EP
I like the on-point criticism they level at certain factions in the punk world in the first two songs, and it’s apparent from their lyrics that they ain’t exactly intellectually challenged. Their take on punk rock as music, however, wasn’t particularly bad so much as nondescript and really didn’t do much for me. –Jimmy Alvarado (Geykido Comet)

Naked Before God and Country: CD
The charm about this record lies in the fact that it sounds like a decent, fairly young band that’s recorded their album in their friend’s garage or basement studio. Odd thing is that the band’s apparently been together for nearly ten years. It’s rough-around-the-edges pop punk stuff with warbly vocals, apparently recorded entirely live with only two mikes and put out by a label that’s best known for its blues releases. I liked what I heard, but seventeen songs is a lot for something that isn’t totally stellar, and I found my patience growing a bit thin by the end. –Keith Rosson (Mapleshade)

1-2-3-4: CD
Remember, if you will, the days when garage rock really meant a bunch of kids in a garage trying their darnedest to sound like the Beatles. Of course they failed in that objective for any number of reasons: poor equipment and lack of a producer the equal of George Martin being the two primary ones. What some of them did manage to achieve, however, was a level of energy and joy the Fab Four lost somewhere in Hamburg before any of our kids in garages ever heard of them. This is what Muck And The Mires do better than any other band I know of. Drawing inspiration not only from The Beatles, but also from all those bands on the Nuggets compilations, these four Boston music scene vets have brought us a real gem of party record here: good time rock’n’roll without any self-righteousness or even a hint of any subject matter heavier than boy-meets-girl/girl-dumps-boy. Front man Evan Shore writes three-minute, three-chord songs about love found and love lost as well as anybody, anywhere. This is a good ‘un. –brian (Dionysus)

Survive: CD
Rise Against, Pennywise, Strung Out, No Use for a Name and Ignite is what pops to mind listening to this. That pretty much sums it up for me. –Donofthedead (Nitro)

Twelve Ways to Breathe: CD
It’s kind of like Jimmy Eat World, but with screaming/yelping and really bad metal guitar breakdowns and less melody. If these songs are the ways to breathe, I’m hoping there are other options because it looks like I’ll suffocate otherwise. –Megan Pants (I Scream)

Missiles vs. Jupiter Shifter: Split 10”
The Missiles start off strong with a couple of punked up, AC/DC-crossed-with-Thee Machine Gun Elephant (minus that bands’ guitar virtuosity) sounding tunes. Singer, Takaichi, has a great, Land of the Rising Sun, Bon Scott snarl. “Guitar Yokosuka Thunder” really takes off once it gets to the chorus, and “Three Code Sensor” is memorable for the vocals, which are what I imagine a Japanese guy sounds like when he throws up. The last two songs venture, Icarus-like, a little too close to the brightly burning sun of Nashville Pussy and whichever ‘80s hair band it was that covered “Once Bitten, Twice Shy,” babe. Jupiter Shifter plays standard punk rock, with emphasis on the “rawk.” “Wing Store” starts off with a variation on the Spy Hunter riff and shifts into a slightly slower version of a Stallions song. Not bad. The guitar is way too up front in the mix of the subsequent two songs and you can’t really hear the vocals or the drums. The cymbals, however, seem to be crashing continuously. Not good. –Josh Benke (Wood Shampoo)

Lullabies: CD
Sympathy For The Record Industry is of those labels that has such consistent quality in their releases I’m pretty much on board with whatever new stuff they put out. Miss Derringer, thankfully, is no exception to that rule. This album has plenty of the dark, lovelorn, garage rock that I’ve come to expect from Sympathy releases. Vocalist Liz McGrath has a sassy, heart wrenching voice that rivals her lovely label-mate Holly Golightly. With titles like “Dead Men Weigh More Than Broken Hearts” and “Pennies on His Eyes” this album manages to craft its own darkness into spooky, perfect retro rock songs. Highly recommended for those nights when you may be drowning your sorrows. –Jennifer Whiteford (Sympathy For The Record Industry)

Hate and Chaos: CD
Unlike a lot of bands like this, I don’t doubt Misled Citizen’s sincerity, and I think they could have been contemporaries of the So-Cal bands from the early ‘80s that they are clearly influenced by. Social D on one side and Youth Brigade on the other—they’ve each formed a wall of death and are headed straight for each other. Afterwards, they’re all going skating together. Not to say these cats are on the same level as those guys, but they would have definitely played a lot of shows together and would have fit in nicely on Someone Got Their Head Kicked In. –Steveo (www.funeralrecords.net)

Split: 7”
Minch: Noisecore with the fascination of using a washing machine as instruments. I believe they beat on the side of a washing machine for drums. Almost tribal with all the banging and screaming going on. Somewhere in the mix is a blown out guitar amongst the sheer madness of what sounds like two people singing completely different songs. Fourteen tracks. Breathilizor: Play a more traditional metal that has a raw garage sound on the first track. Song about a space plague that needs to be cured. The second track is more of a bluesy rock number that kind of reminded me of later period Black Flag. The topic has to do something with Pacman. Interesting to say the least. Neither band plays anything remotely pretty, so some dementia is required. –Donofthedead (My Cheap Ass Life)

Do You Wanna Evolve?: 7”
Highly reminiscent of late ‘90s band All Systems Go, with a touch of the Knockout Pills thrown in (I ain’t got internet at my apartment, so who knows, MDM might be older than both of those bands), the title track has the fantastic line, “Do you wanna walk?/No, I wanna crawl,” repeated throughout the chorus. They get all sophisticated with their guitar solos, incorporating a wah-wah pedal (?!?!) and whipping off lots of notes. There’s enough of a pop sensibility and the songs are played at a decent enough clip to keep me interested. –Josh Benke (Seeing Eye)

Cash, Money, Etc.: CD
Gotta say, when I saw the crayoned cover, noticed that MJTP was one of those projects where one guy sings and plays all the instruments, and noted that it was co-released on Plan-It-X, I was steeling myself for some shitty folk singer blathering away about anarchism in only the basest and most idealistic, simplistic way. Yet again, that’s what I get for judging stuff prematurely, because what I’m hearing is a younger, ragged (though some might say more vulnerable or honest) version of the Weakerthans. I mean, on songs like “Sedan-Sized Truck” and “Ill-Planned, Feeling III,” this kid is an absolute dead-ringer for Weakerthans crooner John Samson, even at times using his exact same sense of meter and alliteration. And that’s a good thing: this guy’s onto something—he’s borrowing heavily at times but there’s too much passion and focused intent here to call it stealing, you know? Acoustic guitar, keyboards, minimal percussion, layered vocals—the songs are deceptively simple, but there’s some incredibly catchy moments on here and the lyrics somehow come across as both cynical and joyous, and all-around razor-smart. Is it punk? Depends on how you look at it, I guess. Is it sincere, memorable, and just pretty much awesome? Yeah, there’s definitely that. –Keith Rosson (Plan-It-X)

Bloodlove: CD
So, I read a bio on this band and I’m kind of turned off without actually hearing them. Former members of Lars Frederiksen’s Bastards and Exene Cervenka’s Original Sinners and, if I remember what I read, a member of the Transplants. It doesn’t exactly excite me with my current tastes. But, this band collectively makes music that I actually do like. They play a brand of music that has strong hints of street punk that also has the ambient leaning of death rock. But to add some more descriptions, they also remind me of One Man Army meets more of the melodic Killing Joke stuff. I really like that they are not over-polished like My Chemical Romance, a band with the look but not the sound. This band has the sound but not the look. Looking at the band photos, they could be any generic melodicore band on the Warped Tour. But music is what it’s all about. It’s funny when I’m so ready to dismiss a release before listening: that there are a few bands out of thousands that can make me take notice. –Donofthedead (Hellcat)

Decomposer: CD
I’m sure Epitaph will send someone over to my house to smash a baseball bat through my car windshield, but this will be the second time I will have to send a new record by this label down the toilet. Too many producers’ hands in the till make this an uneven sounding affair. Plus the lyrics are truly horrible. And from the liner notes it seems that their manager co-writes the majority of the tunes. Reminds me of when that creepy doctor was writing a lot of Brian Wilson’s songs a few years back. These results are similar. I’ll be waiting for something new that does not sound like The Fall Out Killers Boys. –Sean Koepenick (Epitaph)

The Unclaimed Prize: CD
This is a reissue of an obscure (well, obscure to me, at least) Australian band’s second album, originally released in 1991 and subsequently reissued repeatedly over the ensuing years by a number of different labels. Taking cues from some of post-punk noise rock’s heaviest hitters—a little Killing Joke here, a little Big Black there, a smidge of Foetus’ more rambunctious moments, and maybe just a dash of Birthday Party for color—and yet managing to avoid sounding like a trite rehash of all the above, they take the sum of these parts, dress ’em up nice and purty with loud guitars, driving beats and attitude up the wazoo and just let fly some savage, pounding, and strangely catchy tuneage. Seeing as they’re still out and about making a racket, one would assume that catching ’em live (as well as investing in a few of their releases) would not be a bad idea. –Jimmy Alvarado (Feel Presents)

Battlesick: CD
Originally released in 1989 in Australia and at one point was licensed to Henry Rollins’s 2.13.61 label, this Australian band’s debut sees the light of day again. A mixture of the Birthday Party meets Joy Division with a hint of Killing Joke thrown in is what I picture. Sound tempting? –Donofthedead (Feel Presents)

Strain: CD
What happened? The last record I heard from this band I really liked. But this, this is some tired-ass jangly post-punk with real sassy vocals. Oh god how I despise sassy vocals. I guess you can forgive a little because these guys are from Scandinavia and maybe they don’t get that certain enunciations of English come across sounding sassy, but still, what happened? You know how you’ll hear a song sometimes and it just sounds like a bunch of intros and transitions and fills with no actual song? Every song on this record sounds like that. Sorry to give this a bad review cause I know these dudes are cool guys and stuff, but hey, sometimes the truth hurts. –ben (Combat Rock)

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