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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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BAD INFLUENCE:
Preaching to the Perverted: LP
It has been some time since we’ve last heard from this Belgian outfit. Hearing this is like catching up with a long lost best friend; you easily pick up where you last left off, though you’ve both changed and the world is slightly different. Their Amebix, Rudimentary Peni, and later Black Flag influences are now mixed with a band like Blyth Power. There’s a bit more wisdom in their sound instead of just the dark and heavy abrasive stuff. It’s the songs like “Rituals,” and “The World,” with their slightly subdued approach, which I find more engaging and effective. By slowing it down and letting things quiet down a bit, they bring in more emotion and darkness. On a lyrical level, they go deeper than many bands. They address how the human condition is affected by controlling powers and the methods they use to crush the human spirit. There is also some questioning of the things one believed in strongly, and where did it all go, and for what? A bit bleak, but there is a glimmer of hope in here. This is one of those records that reveals more of itself with every listen, and it’s the sort of record that pays off the closer attention you pay to it. Thinking person’s punk rock. –Matt Average (Chaos Rurale, chaosrurale.com)


BAD COYOTES:
We Got Our Reasons: Cassette
Hectic rock’n’roll punk with a snotty singer who sorta sounds like Keith Morris. If you told me this was from 1979, I’d believe you. Continuing in the spirit of an era where rock was made by white guys who were born before civil rights, it even has a racist song: “Goin to China.” Fuck this shit –Chris Terry (discosmmm.com)


AUTONOMY:
“Altar of Apathy” b/w “Grave Realities”: 7”
I was expecting something heavy when I first pulled this 7” from its black and white packaging. To my surprise, Autonomy is anything but. Instead, they’re a melodic dark wave-influenced group with some crazy, catchy hooks. With only two songs on this 7”, I found myself running back and forth to flip it over for repeated listens. I couldn’t get enough! Of the two tracks, “Grave Realities” had my favorite riffs, making my favorite on the record. I really liked the interplay between Nick O’Neal’s lead vocals and Monica Reina Brennan’s backing vocals on both tracks, but hoped to hear them share vocal duties more evenly. After listening to this, I can definitely say I’m eager to hear more. –Paul J. Comeau (Let’s Pretend, withouthatredwithoutfear@gmail.com)


ATOWN SLUTS:
Corruption of Minors: CD-R
This is, for me, one of those records that I really don’t want to like, but somehow I do anyway. If there were any easy way to describe these guys, I would say they’re kind of like an Allentown, PA version of the Dwarves, only less talented, more trashy, and not as clever—songs about drugs and hookers and related ilk with a bit of winking, tongue-in-cheek humor, or so it seems. I caught myself liking this more and more with every listen. There may not be a lot of originality to this, but even Shakespeare got his stuff from other sources. –The Lord Kveldulfr (facebook.com./allentownsluts)


ATOWN SLUTS:
Corruption of Minors: CD-R
I think this is the second cycle in a row that I’ve received a CD-R from A Town Sluts. I recall the last one being fun and sleazy. I gotta say this one is losing me. Maybe it’s the somewhat faithful Kiss cover (changed to “A Town Crack City”) second song in that turned me off. The rest still sounds like the Nobodys with a crippling head injury. –Ty Stranglehold (facebook.com./allentownsluts)


ARCTIC FLOWERS / SPECTRES:
Split: 7”
This is a repress of a 7” that came out in 2011. Portland’s Arctic Flowers offer one tune in their anarcho punk-influenced melodic fare, while Spectres bring a more synth-filled offering, heavy and seemingly influenced by ‘80s U.K. post-punk. Arctic Flowers are the standout here with Spectres being an enjoyable bonus from a band I had not yet heard of. If you missed out on this previously then, you now have another chance. –Mark Twistworthy (Man In Decline, manindeclinerecords.com)


ANTI CIMEX:
Raped Ass: 7”
I’m going to openly make an admission that will surely make my ears sore with cries of “poser!” from several directions, near and far, but here goes: I had never listened to Anti Cimex prior to picking this up out of the review pile at Razorcake HQ. Why not? Essentially, because the record was never readily available anywhere, nor had I heard/read from a reliable source that I should own a copy of this is why not. Also, not trying to sound like a self righteous dickhead, but I don’t necessarily have time nor do I always want to make the effort to listen to every single “classic” band that is thrown in my direction, especially not when it’s only available on YouTube or through some sketchy blog/download. That being said, I’m glad I did finally give this a listen because it is top fucking notch classic d-beat/crust from one of the apparent originators of said styles. This happens to be the Swedish band’s second 7” originally released in 1983 and it’s now plain to see where bands like Totalitär and Mob 47 drew a wealth of influence from. A non-stop assault of brutal hardcore d-beat in the form of five songs which demand repeat listens. This also happens to be a top notch reissue packaged in a pocketed sleeve with bonus inserts, photos, and a reprinted letter to an unnamed zine from the band’s vocalist (I love how he corrects them on the assumption that they are U.S.-influenced!) The label that lovingly reproduced this for renewed consumptive interest is from Brazil—so I don’t know how easy it will be to track a copy down—but take it from this recovering poser; it’s well worth seeking out! –Juan Espinosa (Nada Nada / Spicoli, no address listed)


ANGER HOUSE:
Loss: CD-R
Are you pining away for the Revolution Summer? Do you wish more bands were taking cues from mid-’80s Washington DC bands? Well, this might be for you. Anger House are a “classic era” Dischord Records-inspired band from Denton, TX who seem heavily inspired by one of my favorite periods of U.S. hardcore, sounding not unlike the bands Rites Of Spring, Rain, or One Last Wish. This is the sound that we once called “emo” before that term was co-opted by mid-’90s bands to mean something else entirely. Anger House seems to know exactly what they’re doing and what they want to sound like, wearing their hearts on their sleeves. –Mark Twistworthy (angerhouse.bandcamp.com)


ABSINTHE ROSE:
The More That We Learn, The More We Learn That We’re Wrong: CD/LP
The band describes themselves as folk punk, but I hear more cowpunk than folk. However, I will give the band credit for drawing from a wide range of styles. What turned me off to Absinthe Rose, though, were Kimbo Rose’s vocals. Far too often I found it reminding me of someone doing a bad Eddie Vedder impression. I feel as though, on the whole, this is a band I probably saw at many a college coffee house. Sure, they could write a song and were tight, but it just wasn’t interesting or unique. –Kurt Morris (absintherose.org)


AMBER:
Lovesaken: LP
When the idea was still fresh and innovative, I could appreciate heavy bands such as Isis delving into a more atmospheric, prog rock sound. But even that got boring in a heartbeat. At least they had the good sense to not try and mix in screamo vocals. Oh, how I wish Botch would come back from the dead to show bands like Amber how it’s done. –Juan Espinosa (Halo Of Flies / Narshardaa / Protagonist Music, weareamber.bandcamp.com)


ABOLITIONIST:
The Growing Disconnect: CD
Internal memo: While the crossing of Smogtown and Propagandhi seems utterly ridiculous on paper, the results are ultimately pleasing and will warrant further playing… In all seriousness, this is a great disc. This one will make the car rotation in no time. –Ty Stranglehold (abolitionist.bandcamp.com)


ZOLTARS, THE:
Live Like Dragons: 7”
They start out playing very gritty, low-fi garage on “All My Friends” then they mix in The Beach Boys harmonies on “Heroin Thunder.” To wrap it up, they throw in some psychedelic on “In the Basement.” What an interesting mix—a little bit of the different genres of the ‘60s—all in a very cool single. It took me a couple of spins, but this really grew on me and I really like it. –Rick Ecker (CQ, cqrecords.com)


ZERO BOYS:
Pro Dirt: 7”EP
Disclaimer: The Zero Boys’ debut Vicious Circle LP is one of the top twenty punk records ever made. That’s not an opinion. That’s a punk fact. Their second LP, Make It Stop, is a steeeeeaming pile. (I finally found the CD at my local 99 Cents Only store along with Hulk Hogan tapes in the early 2000s. The Hogan tape was superior.) You won’t believe it’s the Zero Boys. Pro Dirt sounds like the Zero Boys covering All’s Pummel. Lighter, mid-tempo-y, poppy, lots of bass noodle. Not what I was expecting—and if you’re expecting “Forced Entry” or “Amphetamine Addiction”—whoah, those expectations will be shattered—but this 7” has its own charms and kudos for Stevo of 1-2-3-4 Go! to be able to put out music by the band who inspired the name of his label. That’s gotta feel rad. –Todd Taylor (1-2-3-4 Go!, zeroboys.com, 1234gorecords.com)


ZENTRALHEIZUNG OF DEATH:
Busy Ghost: 7”
Rollicking, ‘60s-inspired, garagey rock’n’roll. Bouncy, light-hearted tunes ideal for jovial dancing and the drinking of the beer. The cut-out stickers on the cover and A side of the record are to be seen to be believed. If there’s a process to doing this that isn’t maddeningly detail-oriented, please share, because it seems downright impossible! Whether the work of a wizard or a skilled scrap booker, the end result is top notch cover art. Anyone who has ever been stoked on a previous Alien Snatch release will not be disappointed by this one –Daryl Gussin (Alien Snatch)


ZEBRASSIERES:
I Am a Human: LP
Another release from these punk-wavers. This time ‘round is a full-length chock full of bouncy, catchy ditties that recall the tumultuous heydays of Epoxies, Eyes, Dickies and, yes, Devo. Synths, male/female call/response vocals, tight musicianship, and the pogo-meter set on high. –Jimmy Alvarado (P. Trash, ptrashrecords.com)


YUPPICIDE: :
American Oblivion: CD

If it’s the same band I’m thinkin’ it is—and judging from their sound and the pics, I’m gonna guess it’s not yet another batch of lazy jackasses who couldn’t be bothered to do a cursory search and see if the band name had been used prior—they’ve been around since at least the late ‘80s. It’s a mix of, well, meat ‘n’ potatoes late-’80s hardcore and English oi influences that manages to retain a level of potency bands this long-in-the-tooth usually lose years back. Can’t say it totally blew my skirt up, but they do what they do well and have the good sense not to bury it in an avalanche of overproduction.

–Jimmy Alvarado (Dead City, deadcityrecords.com)


YOUTH AVOIDERS:
Self-titled (East Coast Invasion 2013 edition): LP
After a great demo, an excellent 7”, and a split with Zombies Are Pissed!, one of my favorite current bands has their first LP, and wow is it a ripper! Featuring ten new songs, and a new version of “Control” from the demo, there are plenty of tracks here for longtime fans and for those new to Youth Avoiders to get stoked on. “Cold Mines” opens the album with a nice intro that quickly builds into the furious roar of the song itself. Side B has my favorite songs on the album, including the new version of the track “Control,” and the tracks “Smoked Glass” and “Snake Charmer,” which were my favorites of the new material. On their demo and 7”s, Youth Avoiders showed that they could shred, get a bit rock’n’roll, and write some strong hooks. On this album, the band delivers all of that in spades, turning in not only their finest performance on any recording thus far, but managing to add a bit of nuance to their already great songwriting repertoire. The closing track “Oil Slick,” is a great example of this, having a slightly different vibe than the rest of the album, but still fitting right at home in the Youth Avoiders catalog. If you’ve missed checking out this band in the past, do yourself a favor and stop avoiding them. –Paul J. Comeau (Deranged, youthavoiders@riseup.net)


YOUNG LIGHT:
Great White Arc: CDEP/LP
This two-piece (guitar/vocals and drums) shoegazer indie rock band’s first release is a four-song, sixteen-minute EP. It’s something a bit different for the Underground Communiqué label, but it works for me. I can picture enjoying listening to this as I sit in my (imaginary) leather chair and look out upon the city at night with a nice gin and tonic in my hand. I’d be interested in hearing a full-length from this duo. –Kurt Morris (Underground Communiqué)


YIKES SURF CLUB, LE:
Yikes: CDEP
Nice mix of surf sensibilities (and you thought it was just a clever name) with mid-tempo punk not out of step with early ‘80s beach punk and more modern garage rock, steeped in reverb and catchy hooks. –Jimmy Alvarado (Grizzly)


WOOLEN MEN:
Tour Tape Number Two: Cassette
Five really tight, well played pop songs clearly influenced by post-punk. I was fortunate enough to pick this up while they were, as the title implies, on tour. I had never heard them before but was immediately impressed by the very tight musicianship and vibe their music creates. I can’t listen to this band’s music without either bobbing my head or shaking my hips, sometimes both. Highly recommended. –Rene Navarro (Woolen Men, woolenmen.bandcamp.com)


WHITE WALLS / DEEP HEAT:
Split: 7”
For someone who loves food dearly, I am not able to pull from the top of my head a nice wine/food pairing (including specificities), and I feel like googling one would be disingenuous. However, I can say that these two bands pair well, whether they were curated by a sommelier of music or just came together as friends, I truly enjoyed the rich notes of heavy shoegaze, paired with the languishing, conspiratorial, surreal vocals. There was a metallic flavor of noise that left a mark on my eardrums that the hook-filled choruses were quick to amend. Falling somewhere between later Mission Of Burma and My Bloody Valentine, both bands manage to create from a rich sonic palette. White Walls (Cream reference? Definitely has some of the desperateness of that song) lean towards the noisier instrumental (though there are vocals) end of the spectrum, while Deep Heat utilize the throbbing music as a bed upon which to rest the vocals. It all worked for me. Looking forward to more! –Rev. Norb (Poison City, info@poisoncityrecords.com, poisoncityrecords.com)


WHITE ORANGE:
Onawa: CD
Dunno whether to classify this as a full-length or EP—three tunes, but the whole ride clocks in at a smidge over twenty-five minutes, total. What it all boils down to is modern space rock fodder, hence the limited number of tunes with looooooong run-times, that sometimes sound just as influenced by Loveless-era My Bloody Valentine as anything Hawkwind ever released. Tunes are hypnotic with a catchiness that manages keep the listener engaged throughout. This kinda stuff is generally hit-or-miss, but they manage to pull it off quite well. –Jimmy Alvarado (White Orange, whiteorange.bandcamp.com)


WHITE NIGHT:
Prophets of Templum CDXX: LP
Driving an hour or three for a show is unfortunately reality in the South. It also prevents a lazy person from catching some great performances. So I was determined to not miss Pedro kings White Night tour through Alabama. The show was a blast in Huntsville and I got to walk away with the new LP. Live, the band still pushes the scrappy punk sound of the first LP and 10”, but Prophets of Templum CDXX veers closer to Burger ‘60s psyche territory, especially with the keyboard pushed as high as the guitars in the mix. Not always my cup’o’magic mushroom tea, but there’s still enough feistiness and fun in these tunes to warrant many a spin on sweaty summer days, dreaming about toobin’ your local spot. –Matt Seward (Recess, recessrecords.com / 45 R.P.M., calimucho.net)


WELCH BOYS, THE:
Bring Back the Fight: CD
This new record from these Boston barnburners is lean and mean. There are songs about drinkin’, songs about hockey, and songs about gettin’ in trouble. It’s all delivered with a fast and furious precision that may cause you to spill your beer. There are two covers sandwiched in here as well. But all you need to know is if you like fast punk that gets your blood pumping, then you need this one on your shelf. Also, there’s only one dude smiling in the band photo. The rest of the guys may have to give you a talking to if you don’t get on board. –Sean Koepenick (Sailor’s Grave, info@sailorsgraverecords.com)


WE HAVE HEAVEN:
Feel the Power: LP+CD
Their label describes We Have Heaven as “psych drone thrashers.” The band is composed of David Kresge and Eric de Jesus on looped guitars and effects, and Kyle Page on drums. There are guest appearances by Rachel Lambdin on violin on one track, and Renee Uzardi on tabla (an Indian hand drum similar to bongos) on another. There’s not much thrashing to speak of on this. What there is, is looped guitar riffs run through a bunch of effects pedals with drums that set a beat and keep things from getting stale. If you’re looking for something low key to mellow out to We Have Heaven are divine, but if you’re looking for something that gets the fist pumping, or the head banging, you’re best to look elsewhere. –Paul J. Comeau (Easy Subculture)


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