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Razorcake #79
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Spokenest: We Move 12"EP

Record Reviews

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Altamont Raceway: 7” EP
Loud, rock-tinged hardcore from Austria. Angry and coming on like a battering ram is what you get here, and in spades. –Jimmy Alvarado (De Nihil, denihilrecords@gmail.com)

Split: 7"
Is that a tostada on a rampage? How would a tostada trim its mustache? The cover leaves us with many unanswered questions. The Answer Lies: Imagine that the Swing Ding Amigos listened to metal, sounded less Hendrix’y, and rolled around in a fine layer of dust and dirt, just like Pigpen. Zingy, tightly-wrapped, riding-bikes-is-rad punk. Not bad at all. Tulsa: It’d be “precious” if it didn’t seem so gut-right. You could make an argument that this wouldn’t considered “punk” if you just root canalled the music right out of context (it’s sorta folky, sorta indie, but anxious and asking all the right questions) and put it under the cold light of consumerism. But solely approaching the music like that would be missing the entire point of bands like Tulsa: it’s all about heart, DIY trust, and great songs, much like Hot New Mexicans, This Bike Is a Pipebomb, and Almighty Do Me A Favor. Yep, real good. –Todd Taylor (Repulsion / Dirt Cult)

Split: 7”
I love bipolar splits that, on first listen, feel like there’s no way that these two bands should be put together. They work as three releases to suit your mood. Here, you can throw on The Answer Lies when you’re frustrated and need something fast and aggressive (think when hardcore was just starting to take on its own form). Or, if you’re feeling a bit more desperate, but are still able to laugh a bit at yourself (think Hickey), throw on the Tulsa side. But, if you’re feeling fine (or really mood swingy) and just want to listen to a pretty awesome slab of wax, go ahead and listen the whole way through. One of my favorite 7”s of the year yet. –Megan Pants (Repulsion/ Big Raccoon)

Split: 7”
The Answer Lies blast out four sloppy fast nuggets of sun-baked desert punk a la Scared of Chaka or the Weird Lovemakers. Keep an eye on Las Cruces, NM. It’s the next Asheville, for real. Tulsa sure does sound a lot like Hickey, not that that’s a bad thing. I hear they used to actually live in Tulsa, but now they’re in San Francisco. Both of these bands are great at what they do, but don’t really sound much like each other, which always makes for an excellent split. Get this or you’re a dumb turd. –ben (Repulsion)

You Had Your Chance: CD
This is shitty hardcore complete with choruses of "straight edge and my friends" and "fuck you." How dramatic. If you like hardcore that complains about life while sounding tough, you will probably love this band. Because it sounds like any other New York Hardcore band. -Gabe Rock –Guest Contributor (Excursion)

Just My Luck: CDEP
The band advertizes their five songs here as “High Gravity Rock N Roll.” Whatever. It’s cheesy and boring. The only thing worth mentioning is that, apparently, the music was written and recorded by the original Antagonizers in Durham, NC, in 2010. Then, the vocals were recorded in Atlanta, in 2011. There is also a new lineup listed on the back cover. This all makes me assume that the singer kicked his band out of the band after they wrote and recorded all of these masterful hits, and then moved to Atlanta and got a new band together, or the singer quit the band, then moved to Atlanta and got a new band together. Either way, at least he was nice enough to mention the names of who actually wrote and recorded these songs. Maybe it was part of their agreement. Oh well, it still sucks. –Nighthawk (Self-released, antagonizersatl.com)

Self-titled: 7”EP
Philosophically playful and a little more abstract than their previous Let’s Not Have a Party 7” (which ruled), it seems like these French folk are testing the form, both topically (“Mao Vs. the Sparrows”) and structurally (“Illusions of the Teens” has a lot of counting numbers between thirteen and nineteen, so it’s feels like a musical Derrida meets Sesame Street). My favorite track is the “regressive” (meaning the one track that most reminds me of their previous work) “Let’s Get Back Together,” which fuses the sunshine and doom of the best of the Velvet Underground into a timepiece of music that sounds simultaneously like a new anthem and a song that has been already been played for forty years. (It’s a cover, I later find out.) Great stuff. –Todd Taylor (Plastic Idol, www.plasticidol.com)

Let’s Not Have a Party: 7” EP
Here are the things that automatically come to mind with the Anteenagers MC: stilettos, pins and needles, walk-in freezers, and piano wire beginning to press on my throat while good music is being played. They’re a French foursome from the musical incest pool of the No Talents and Operation S who’ve picked up the best and most anxious bits of art punk. When I say, “Comparable to Entertainment!-era Gang of Four,” it means that they’re both danceable (and not disco, like later Gang of Four), and angular (like a mannequin body in fancy clothes thrown out of a fourth story window. It’s pretty, but it gets plenty fucked up on the landing, with appendages jutting out like broken tent poles.) It’s hard for art to rock and for rock to be arty, but the Anteenagers MC pretty much nail it. Strong, strong stuff. –Todd Taylor (Plastic Idol)

Reflector: CD
Dischord Records has always had a unique place in my life. Since getting into punk, I have always had an appreciation for the politics and camaraderie that was displayed amongst the Dischord bands. The music though…the music doesn’t so much lack my appreciation as it frustrates my repeated attempts to want to give Dischord the place I desire to give it, upon an almighty throne of what a true scene should be. No doubt there are problems with the company that I’m unaware of, but on the whole it seems like a great example of what many record labels can (and do) try to become. What about the music? Yeah, Minor Threat was great, as was Fugazi. Much of the rest of the catalog seems like hits and misses to me: Jawbox? Hell yeah. Q And Not U? Amazing. Marginal Man? Uh, never heard of them. Skewbald? What? Who are some of these bands? I’ll tell you who they are: the vast majority of them are bands who only put out one or maybe two albums on the label and then broke up, depriving fans of the fully mature musical. Antelope is a current Dischord band, one that is active and putting out music and could go either way on the list of Amazing/Who? This is the band’s first full length (with an EP and 7” under their belt) and it’s ten songs coming in at twenty-five minutes, which means a lot of quick action in that tangled, strange indie rock sound that one might have heard with some of the more recent Dischord bands. A lot of the material here is really catchy and borders on being fun at times. However, there are also tracks like “Wandering Ghost” which is somewhat annoying with its continuous monotone delivery of the song title. I want to hear more of Antelope, and with songs this short, maybe a longer album, too. I have a feeling there could be some good things in store for this band and with an ex-member of El Guapo, there certainly is a history of creativity within the band. It’s just a matter of time to see where they fit on the list of Dischord bands. –Kurt Morris (Dischord)

self-titled: CD single
...And that, ladies and gentlemen, was four minutes of my life I could’ve better spent doing something constructive, like gouging my eyes out with a soup ladle.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Dischord)

Shakedown Tonight: CD
The first thing that came to mind is that this is one of those screamo-emo bands. I could be right on that fact. But the music is more of the current day hardcore variety. The music tends to reach more into the metal vein with the heavy down strum riffing of the guitars and the double bass drums. The screamo comes from the vocalist. He screams to the point where you can picture veins bulging from his forehead as sweat sprays out. His eyes bug out like they are about to explode from their sockets and his hot breath hitting the microphone is burning the electronics. The emo comes from the breakdown in their songs that the vocalist actually sings and sounds moody in an Incubus kind of way. Pretty interesting stuff that was enough not to make me get discouraged from the emo overtones that I hear. –Donofthedead (Triple Crown)

Q: And Progress A: And Progress: CD EP
Hardcore that was loud, fast and really pissed off, just as it should be. For some reason, they reminded me a little of Articles of Faith, had Vic Bondi been stricken with throat cancer. –Jimmy Alvarado (No Idea, PO Box 14636 Gainesville, FL 32604)

One Last Drop: CD
An essential compendium of this venerable U.K. anarcho-punk band’s recorded output here, meaning that you can now listen to it in your car without worrying about the record skipping about every time you hit a pothole. Demos, singles, and compilation contributions of their “Crass on a more traditional punk bender” sound all make an appearance here, all of it serving as a nice reminder of why these guys were one of the better bands to come out of that scene. Add some stunning packaging and you’ve got yourself one great fuckin’ CD. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.anthraxukofficial.com)

All for the Cause: CD
Not to be confused with the U.S. heavy metal band of the same name, this Anthrax was a U.K. anarcho punk band active during that sub-scene’s prime era, circa 1980-‘84. During that period, they released two EPs and a number of compilation tracks rich with the musical and lyrical influence of noisy peers like Crass and Conflict, yet maintaining a personality of their own. Some thirty-two years down the road, they’ve self-released their first bona fide full-length, nattily packaged in a brown envelope with a lyric booklet, a poster of the cover art by “The Tasty M,” and a CD featuring all new material. They can still kick up dust with the best of ‘em, but there’s also a slightly more modern U.K. “street punk” feel in places. Lyrically, they remain as astute as ever, with commentary on the futility of war and the greed of those who profit from them, austerity, the evils of capitalism and the consumerist mentality that feeds it, and even an introspective critique of punk’s apparent misplacement of its purpose and/or its soul. Many of these “old bands give it another go” releases are abysmal exercises in ego stroking and demonstrations at how horribly songwriting skills can degenerate when a band forgets what it’s about. This isn’t one of ‘em. Much respect due, much respect given, and here’s hoping this ain’t just a one-off. –Jimmy Alvarado (Anthrax, anthraxukofficial.com)

Self-titled: CD-R
These kids cover both Dropdead and Rudimentary Peni, which, fortuitously enough, also serve as nice parameters on where they’re coming from. They’re dolin’ out hardcore, and tons of it, vacillating between hyper-speed and slower ‘n’ brooding with nihilistic lyrics addressing children, chem trails, the Jesus punk scourge, and other topics. Dunno if this is their first recorded outing, but if so, they’re off to a flying start ‘n’ it’ll be interesting to see where they go from here. –Jimmy Alvarado –Jimmy Alvarado (Loop The Feedback,loopthefeedback@gmail)

The Fucking Tape: Cassette
Eleven thrashing hardcore songs that switch between blast beats and brutal breakdowns. Caustic vocals, up-front guitars. The 9/11-related soundbites are the only thing clueing me in on the fact that this wasn’t recorded in the ‘90s. I would have preferred to hear this, instead of Jihad, on the flip of the Ottowa 12”. As they put it in the liner notes, “Download it for fucking free at bandcamp.” –CT Terry (Cop Grave)

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)

Split: 7”
Anti Justice: I’m not so sure about all the theories that the Japanese live longer because of their diet. My money’s on the music. I don’t know what it is, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be giving much credit to any U.S. band singing “He is a rainbow,” but here I am, singing along giddy as all heck every time that line comes on. Gruff and anthemic in all the right ways. Chinese Telephones: Justin Telephone can write a damn good song. Catchy enough to stay in my head for days and interesting enough to not have the same song in my head for days annoy me in the least. These two tracks just add to my already well-established adoration. –Megan Pants (Snuffy Smiles)

As Long as People Think: CD
Have you noticed if a band is from another country, they still sound American? That is one drawback to America’s influence on the international punk community. All our bands go over there to tour, but how much of the other countries’ bands come here? I hear in some countries, the local bands can’t even get gigs unless an American band picks them to open up. That is sad. Here is a band from Austria that sounds like an American band. They play to the formula of what’s popular with the Warped Tour kid set. They play melodicore laced with some ska leanings. The vocalist at times sounds like Ian from the Minor Threat period. The songs range from Against All Authority to NOFX in sound. Nothing thrilling, but competent in their delivery. –Donofthedead (Household Name)

Two Bit Schemes and Cold War Dreams: LP
Straight-up hardcore punk attack in sixteen movements. There’s a definite late ‘70s/early ‘80s SoCal punk influence. The choruses are direct and memorable, the vocals are more talked than yelled, and the guitar is more jangly than buzzing and distorted. The songs on the first side are more straightforward, whereas the songs on the second side have a little more going on. “Cop-Out” has a cool introduction that reminds me of the Adolescents with the lone guitar creating the mood of despair, then there’s songs like “Dead End World” and “Operation SS” that switch back and forth (“Operation SS” stays mostly mid tempo and is a definite stand out on here). At times, they sound like a rawer Smogtown “Fuhrers of the New Wave.” “No One Like Me” is definitely the best song on here, and kind of brings all the elements they mess with together in one great song. It’s catchy, it’s fast, and it captures the mood of the lyrics perfectly. –Matt Average (Six Weeks, sixweeksrecords.com)

Two-Bit Schemes and Cold War Dreams: CD
Speedy hardcore, courtesy of these Italian thrash monsters. You get the seventeen tracks that comprise the album itself, plus the tracks from the Johnny Baghdad and Pig City Life EPs and covers of Discharge’s “Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing” and Descendents’ “I’m Not a Loser.” The lion’s share of stuff here is amped way the fuck up and will surely warm the hearts of your favorite speed freak punker pals. –Jimmy Alvarado –Jimmy Alvarado (Six Weeks, sixweeksrecords.com)

Hooray for Everything: CD
It’s hard being a music reviewer sometimes. You hear so many bands that sound the same, you can barely make it through a few tracks. Here is another band that sounds like so many other bands. The first thought that pops in my head is they sound like an early period Bouncing Souls. Locally, they might be popular, but for me, they are one of hundreds or thousands of CDs I hope I can sell to the record store for a dollar. –Donofthedead (Fastmusic)

Anarkist Attack: 7” EP, Raped Ass: 7” EP & Victims of a Bomb Raid: 7” EP
A reissue of the first three EPs by this venerable Swedish hardcore institution, courtesy of a Brazilian label. Their first salvo, 1981’s Anarkist Attack, is an amateurish, yet spirited mix of the obligatory Discharge influence and sloppy, thuddy hardcore. It probably wouldn’t be considered crucial to the casual listener, but is arguably ground zero for both the band and the whole fjordcore sound. Their follow-up, 1982’s Raped Ass, is an altogether different beast. Tempos, vocals, and the Discharge-derived musical attack are ratcheted up several notches, with screaming vocals and pummeled instruments giving clearer insight into why the band became so influential. They followed up the next year with the Victims of a Bomb Raid EP, which keeps the speed and Discharge influence at the fore and, while they back up a bit on the sonic flailing, they manage to do so without sacrificing any of the heft. All are faithfully reproduced and include inserts with cover variants from other reissues, as well as “liner notes” by one of the band members. It’s highly recommend these be sought out, and fast ‘cause I’m guessing there’s only a handful of ‘em floating around out there. –Jimmy Alvarado (Nada Nada, nadanadadiscos.com)

Anarkist Attack: EP

Psyched as hell to see this stuff getting reissued on vinyl. I have the CD that has the first three EPs that Distortion put out twenty years ago. Can’t afford, nor would I want to pay, the collector prices for the original. That money can be better spent on things like skateboards, food, more records, and books. So, thanks to Nada Nada and Spicoli for reissuing this, as well as Raped Ass, and Victims of a Bomb Raid for those of us with discerning taste. They have even kept the covers to the original format and design. Anarkist Attack was the first EP from Anti-Cimex, and while it is perhaps their rawest, it’s still pretty good, and even catchy. These four songs don’t bear the Discharge influence that would surface on the following records. This stuff is more just straight-up hardcore punk. Maybe it’s the looseness of the sound, or the drumming style, but I’m reminded of the early Italian hardcore style when I listen to this record. You get four short blasts that race at a decent pace, but never a dull blur, making sure the songs retain their individual character and stand out from the next. I like the hectic pace in the chorus to “Drömmusik,” where the singer Jonsson sounds like he’s slightly ahead of the rest of the band. Seriously, this is a great record, and essential to your collection. Jonsson would go on to sing for Wolfpack/Wolfbrigade, Charlie would go on to be in bands like Death Dealers, Psychotic Youth, and Driller Killer.

–Matt Average (Nada Nada, nadanadadiscos.com, info@nadanadadiscos.com)

Victims of a Bomb Raid: EP

This is Anti-Cimex’s third EP, and though not as blazing as their second EP, Raped Ass, it still packs a devastating blow. Sound wise, this sits in the middle of their first two records: mid tempo, still catchy, and a heavier sound via the Discharge influence seeping in. I like how they continue to solo in the songs—as started on the Raped Ass EP. It gives the sound a more urgent feel, believe it or not. The title track is a total burner—with the churning bass line—then that break where it’s just the bass rumbling. Then everything comes back in underscoring the sonic force they were becoming. Plus, you will be singing this song to yourself within minutes of the record being over. “Game of the Arseholes” is another killer on here. I like their attack on religion, straight, unrefined, and to the point. That dive bomb guitar intro is always great to hear. Also, I like the fact that Sweet influenced them to title a song “Set Me Free.” Absolutely essential listening.

–Matt Average (Nada Nada, nadanadadiscos.com, info@nadanadadiscos.com)

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