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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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REDBUSH:
Milk Maid: LP
Wyoming’s Redbush certainly have a sense of humor, which they ought to, given how fucking goofy they are. I like the slickness of the recording, and they’re definitely trying to do something different. The vocals kind of grate on me and have an almost whiny tone at times. The aggressive, rock-heavy guitar lines are likewise a bit difficult to connect with, but it all comes together into something not fully obnoxious. The cover art of a hairy male chest squirting milk is probably the best thing about this release. At least Milk Maid is housed in a great record sleeve. –Art Ettinger (Whoa! Boat, whoaboatrecords.com)


RAYDIOS, THE:
Do You Wanna Walk with Me: 7”
The title track is a bit of a stomper up to its eyeballs in classic Gary Glitter, especially around the chorus. The flip is a grittier bit of potent stun punk. Good single. –Jimmy Alvarado (Target Earth, target@earth.email.ne.jp)


RAT STORM / CHAOTIC NEUTRAL:
Split: 7” EP
Rat Storm: The sad thing about hardcore’s silly-fast subgenres is that too often its purveyors blend into a vast moosh of facelessness where one band is pretty much the same as the next. This is no exception. Chaotic Neutral: A bit lower than their record-mates, allowing the band to lock into a groove and thrash away all angry and pained-like. –Jimmy Alvarado (Reality Is A Cult)


RANDOM CONFLICT:
Tradition Is the Enemy: 12”

Hardcore act Random Conflict write blunt songs. There is no reason to be subtle and no time for poetics. Consider the final lines of the song “D.B.A.T.O.E.,” not sung but spoken plainly over the music: “You can run, hide behind your guns/ But it doesn’t matter/ You are done.” It doesn’t take a genius to figure out where Random Conflict stands politically: they are fucking pissed! What I appreciate about this album is that it doesn’t fall into any musical categories easily, even though it is clearly a hardcore album. There are heavy riffs and driving chords, spoken word and sing along choruses, and shades of metal, crust, oi, and streetpunk, sometimes all within the same song.

–Guest Contributor (No Profit, noprofitrecords.limitedrun.com)


RAMMING SPEED:
Doomed to Destroy, Destined to Die: CD

I am really the wrong person to be reviewing this. I generally can’t stand metal. There are a few exceptions, but as a genre, I’m just not a fan. I won’t hold it against Ramming Speed that I hate them. Musically, they seem pretty tight, but it all sounds the same to me. I’ll be sure to pass this on to someone who will appreciate it.

–Ty Stranglehold (Prosthetic)


PSYCHIC TEENS:
Come: LP

Art damaged post rock kind of thing. There are definite nods to The Birthday Party here, with the drum and bass playing off each other, playing snaky lines that weave in and out, creating this dark atmosphere that teeters on potential chaos. The songs are well executed and sound like this band puts in the hours in the rehearsal room. But there’s an edge to this that is missing. Maybe the production is too clean? With music like this, the listener has to feel the grit and sweat. This is just a bit too cool. Or the droll delivery of the vocals? This isn’t terrible, but it could be better.

–Matt Average (SRA, srarecords.com /SRArecords@gmail.com)


PRETTY PRETTY:
Demo: Cassette

Pretty Pretty is a garage punk band with dual male/female vocals. There’s a very fuzzed-out vibe going on with this demo. At first I wanted the sound to be a bit crisper, but it grew on me. The jangly riffs they play are fun, having an almost relaxed and meandering quality to them, like going for a walk on a nice, sunny day. Toss this in your cassette player on the way to work, or while sitting around the house, and you’re sure to have a better day because of it.

–Paul J. Comeau (Let’s Pretend, prettyprettyrock@gmail.com)


POINT OF VIEW:
Burner: 12” EP

There was a bit of a ska influence creeping into the riffs opening the record, which quickly gives way to slightly generic pop punk sound that didn’t really move me. I was also slightly annoyed that Side B was the same tracks as Side A. At least some art on the other side would have been cooler than simply a repeat. Speaking of art, my favorite parts of this record were the dark and gritty-looking hand-drawn and painted cover artwork, and the collage art in the liner notes, all of it dope as hell. I think if more of this record sounded like the title track, I’d have been into it, but as it stands, I’ll pass.

–Paul J. Comeau (Hella Mad, hellamadrecords.com)


PLACES WE SLEPT:
Peeled: 12”EP

Jingly, jangly pop-fuzz hangout listening. This reminds me of stuff I would listen to late at night in the early 1990s. Nice nighttime listening when working in the wee hours with friends. It’s rocking and heavy enough to keep you awake and focused, but not overbearing. The pop side keeps you in good spirits. Places We Slept sound like they could have shared space on one of the Yo-Yo comps or International Pop Overthrow. I like how the songs are light and minimal in parts, then they hit the pedals and some fuzzed-out distortion comes pouring out of the speakers. Then suddenly we’re listening to much quieter song with buzzing amps in the background. The opener, “Almost Died,” sounds like early Dinosaur Jr., which, to me, is a good comparison. These are the sort of songs that attach themselves to your mind with a stronger grip on every listen.

–Matt Average (Lagerville, lagervillerecords.wordpress.com)


PITY FUCKS:
Oaks Bottom: 7” EP
This new three-song release from Pity Fucks contains two original songs as well as a cover version of Bo Diddley’s “Hong Kong Mississippi.” The two original tracks have a renewed Dickies vibe complete with organs to help with the flow of the songs. The vocals are a cross between Gluecifer and Lamont with a little Eddie Spaghetti thrown in for good measure, especially during the chorus of “Ain’t All There.” I would swear that was Biff Malibu making a guest vocal appearance. The Bo Diddley cover is a complete rocker raising the song’s pace to a whole new level. Would love to see these guys play this song live. I’m guessing it would be a highlight of their set list. –Brent Nimz (Felony Fidelity, no address listed)


PARASITIC TWINS:
Self-titled: 7” EP

Straight-ahead hardcore from the Tied Down-era Negative Approach school of racket-makin’. They deftly bounce between full burn ‘n’ slow churn over the course of five tracks. Good stuff.

–Jimmy Alvarado (Reality Is A Cult)


OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE:
Seculo Seculorum: CD

Since I wasn’t familiar with Obsessive Compulsive before hearing this album, I did quite a bit of research on the band and from what I’ve gathered they are one of the hardest working bands in the business right now. They have been a staple in the U.K. underground music scene for years and have a very strong DIY ethic. When I gave this self-released disc a spin for the first time, the opening track “Sick Sick Sick” punched through my headphones with a vengeance. The production alone would lay out the most seasoned fighter. I wouldn’t categorize this band as punk but rather alternative rock with a punk attitude. Their songs harness furious instrumentation with lyrics that beg confrontation. Lead vocalist Kelii Compulsive is both ferocious and melodic in her delivery. I could file this band next to Dead Sara or Cherri Bomb, but Obsessive Compulsive are on a whole different level—a level that demands even more success for this deserving rock act.

–Brent Nimz (Self-released, obsessivecompulsiveband.com)


NUNHEX:
Demo: Cassette

It’s so quaint how lots of hardcore/crust bands still use tapes… I’m sure they would use 8-tracks and 78s if they could. Nunhex are happy to wallow in the genre of skeletal spiky haired dude playing flying V and death metal spiky lettering for the name. I thought I had this lot pegged, but they actually stretch a little further than the graphics would have you believe. Fast, tight d-beat/powerviolence that has as much in common with Infest as with Discharge. The breakdowns have a d-beat edge but the vocals are way more in the world of Crossed Out or some shit. It ain’t breaking the mold, but good shit for a first demo.

–Tim Brooks (No Work, nunhex@gmail.com)


NEGATIVE DEGREE:
Get Fucked: 7” EP

Was totally expecting—given the name, title, and label—some raging thrash-o-rama, but got some prime-grade clean-channel guitar hardcore not unlike the Regulations with less of a early Southern California beach punk bent to it. Six tunes, none of ‘em filler.

–Jimmy Alvarado (Deranged)


NATURE, THE:
Din Medicin: LP

Sound-wise, The Nature fit firmly between punk and post-punk. They’re too sassy to be on the pouty-faced art school post-punk side, but, at the same time, they experiment and fuck around with style too much to be completely in the punk camp. Wise choice on their part. Something about the attitude of the vocal delivery reminds me of Nation Of Ulysses. Maybe it’s the confidence and attitude the words are delivered with, as well as how his voice sounds at times. Though they never “get in your face,” the first three songs are the most charged up. When they hit “Ett Rån,” they shift gears for something a little more inward looking and has interesting Cylon-sounding backing vocals. Easily my favorite track on this record. The only downside is they never really pick up the momentum after that. “Fatta!” picks up a little bit, but it’s not as focused as the earlier tracks. Towards the end of the LP they seem to lose steam and the material is not as strong. “Northern Lights,” which closes the record, is more of a throwaway track and not a good ender. Although this is not a terrible record, they should have been a little more selective, shed some clunkers, and just released a solid EP.

–Matt Average (Skrammel, skrammelrecords.se)


MUNCIE GIRLS:
Sleepless: CD/12” EP

In 2012 Muncie Girls, released a flawless record in the Revolution Summer 12”EP. It had five fantastic songs, pretty much putting this band on the top of the pile in the U.K. Twelve months on, and Muncie Girls offer up four tracks that work much in the same vein as those earlier songs—mesmeric, indie pop-infused punk, making full use of the guitar, bass, and drum combo, all topped off with Lande Hekt’s luscious voice fronting the trio. It was a tough task to follow on from Revolution Summer, but the band has done a damn good job with three very strong tracks, all of which warm the cockles of my heart. My expectations for this record were (overly and unfairly?) high and Muncie Girls has only slightly fallen short of meeting them in full.

–Rich Cocksedge (Specialist Subject, Andrew@specialistsubjectrecords.co.uk, specialistsubjectrecords.co.uk)


MORTO PELA ESCOLA:
Raiva Do Mundo: EP

Hardcore thrash that brings to mind bands like Scholastic Deth (which is kind of fitting, as this band’s name translates into Killed By School), and some of the better bands during the heyday of 625 Records. “Velho de Câncer” is super catchy and nice break between the trashier and driving numbers like “Sem Titulo,” “Homem Sorriso,” and Inimigo.” I can’t stop listening to this song! What I like is that Morto Pela Escola crank out the fast and thrashy stuff, but are able to make the songs catchy at the same time. Plus, they’re not hopping on the latest bandwagon (which is “noize” at this second) rolling through the punk world.

–Matt Average (Zuada, eduardo_maia@hotmail.com, Morto Pela Escola, mortopelaescola@gmail.com)


MORNING GLORY:
Born to December: 7”

I guess this “band” has been going for over a decade now, and this is my first listen. What started as a solo project for Leftover Crack frontman Ezra Kire, slowly morphed into a full band complete with pianos and strings. The A side has that rollicking on the docks shanty sound, like an Americana Pogues, or if the Decembrists were punk. I could be wrong, but I bet they dress up like steam punks or civil war re-enactors when they play. The flip is way more rock’n’roll, like a folksy Black Keys almost. The recording is very crisp and the drums click like all Fat Wreck Chords releases (is that mandatory when releasing a record with them?). I bet the kids fucking love this. I’m old as fuck and thought it was shit. What the fuck do I know?

–Tim Brooks (Fat Wreck Chords, fatwreck.com)


MOMS ON METH:
Grey Areas: LP

Phew, seventeen tracks of d-beat, hardcore, and USHC all mixed together with a bit of melody hidden within the barrage that this French quintet offers up. In fact, it seems like everything but the kitchen sink is used on the band’s debut album. Predominantly, this has great shouted/yelped female vocals which are occasionally aided and abetted by a gruff male adding to this album’s gritty vibe. This is fairly blistering from the start to just until before the finish, as the penultimate track, “Moms Hate the Police,” takes a different path and has more in common with The Muffs than sounding like any of the other tracks on the record—it’s a good song though. The closing track, “Thanks Asshole” kicks off in a raging fashion but becomes more sludge-ridden as it slowly grinds to a halt over four minutes or so. I like this record a lot.

–Rich Cocksedge (Offside, offsiderecords@gmail, offsiderecords.com / Mosh Potatoes, diy.moshpotatoes.org)


MISTER X:
...какими мы ст : LP
Very solid oi/streetpunk from this Belarusian band. I forget sometimes how slow a lot of the classic ‘80s oi really is. While clearly influenced by those classic bands, Mister X play a more up-tempo style that employs simple but catchy guitar leads reminiscent of bands from the last fifteen years like Discipline, Pressure Point, and Marching Orders. No new ground is being broken here, and that’s beside the point. A cursory look at the history of Belarus implies that things are pretty tough for its citizens, living under a repressive, Soviet-like government. You know it’s bad when you’ve had the same “president” for almost thirty years and are dubbed the “Last Dictatorship in Europe.” So lyrical topics (an English-translated lyric sheet is thankfully included) that sometimes seem silly or generic coming from American or Western European streetpunk bands take on an entirely new light coming from a band like this. Songs about their own punk scene (“Three Chords”), living with totalitarian leaders (“They…”) and life’s daily struggles (“Life Is Life” and “Who Were We”) seem much more urgent, relevant, and worthy of consideration, coming from this environment. And rest assured, there’s no doubt which side of the skinhead divide these guys stand on with the guitarist’s “Anti-Fascist” t-shirt, the powerful though lyrically awkward Iron Cross cover (“Crucified for your sins” has a lot more syllables in Russian!) and the praise of Desmond Dekker and Laurel Aitken in “Skinhead Reggae.” All in all, an excellent LP. Mister X: так трымаць! –Chad Williams (Mangy Little Mut / Street Influence, si-rex.com / Street Beat, vk.com.sbrbygrdiy / No Pasaran, nopasaran.pl)


MINX DELILAH, THE:
Blood, Sweat and Beers: CD

This CD has Warped Tour written all over it to me. To be fair, this style of pop punk isn’t really my thing. It reeks of seeking record contracts and tour buses. The music is produced well and the band is talented, I will give them that as it’s undeniable. There just seems to be a feeling that I get from bands like this and that feeling is phony. The members of this band might be the sweetest kids in the world with the best of intentions but I can’t really help but see them saying stuff like, “We’re going to take the world by storm!” or “We’re going to knock down the doors at MTV and be the next Blink 182!” The cover art looks to be straight out of a Hot Topic ad. Totally not my scene. Sorry, kids.

–Adam Mullett (Self-released, theminxdelilah@gmail.com)


MARC GANANCIAS:
Policy of Discontent: CD

New solo record from this DC artist is another solid notch in the belt for this talented musician. It shows with the caliber of players who jumped in to help out-Dave Smalley on vocals on “Yours Truly” and Steve Hansgen (ex-Minor Threat) on bass from start to finish. Melodies and harmonies are plotted with precision here, helped along by the stellar production skills of Don Zientara. Fifteen songs in all, so grab your favorite adult beverage and set the stereo on “repeat.” Your rewards will be many, young grasshopper.

–Sean Koepenick (Self-released, facebook.com/MarcGananciasMusic)


MAN HANDS:
Misadventures: CD-R
 Amped up, jittery garage rock a la Tokyo Electron or Lost Sounds. Lots of good ideas with mediocre execution. I can’t tell you how much more I would have enjoyed the record if it was just sung a little better. It felt like catching a band at the end of stressful tour and they just don’t feel like playing right now. When the band was working, it was almost always the music that was doing the heavy lifting. Grade: B. –Bryan Static (Self-released)


MALLWALKERS:
Shake the Rust Off: LP
 Mallwalkers are an eleven-piece collective in band form, offering dual gendered vocals along with dissonant post punk songs bashed out to a funky backbone and a full horn section. A contemporary band to reference as a comparison might be Chain & The Gang, but honestly I think this record sounds more like a perfect merging of Gang Of Four and the Dog Faced Hermans into one superband. It’s post-punky and noisy with biting guitars. Good stuff. –Mark Twistworthy (Peterwalkee, peterwalkeerecords.com)


MALE BONDAGE:
Love Moon: LP

These guys fancy themselves as “Indianapolis Sludge Lords,” but they’re way more “rock” than your average sludge band. Imagine if Pissed Jeans were heavily influenced by mid-’90s emo? Maybe imagine if Fugazi and EyeHateGod collaborated on a record together? Male Bondage might be what you have in one of these scenarios. If you can take the good with the bad here, then you will likely enjoy this ten-song LP.

–Mark Twistworthy (Drink Or Die, dodrecords.storenvy.com)


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