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Razorcake #93
One Punks Guide to Pinball, by Kayla Greet
Razorcake #92
Spokenest, Gone, Gone, Gone LP
Pinned In Place, Ghostwritten By LP


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Record Reviews

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ANCHOR:
Recovery: LP
Seems like the past few straight edge records I’ve picked up have been a cut above all the shit that has come out in the past twenty years, especially in the lyrical department. Along with Poison Planet, and a few of the other bands I’ve heard on Refuse (which seems to be the world premiere straight edge label these days), Anchor put a lot more thought into their lyrical subject matter. They sing about apathy, and the political implications it has, animal rights, the eternal search when you feel lost, and more. Never really delving into clichés, or taking the safe and tired path. Musically, they draw from the past couple decades more than the usual ‘88 source. The style is modern with effects added in the studio for more emphasis on certain lyrics or to add a little more punch in the music. The guitar dominates the sound with a heavy and loud drum sound right behind. There are some straight up rock elements here as well, but done in a way where it doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s more in the breakdowns and some of the riffs. The vocals are loud and shouted, but the words come across clear, and, at times, you can hear some cracking, which I like. Pretty good record. It comes housed in a gatefold cover with and a twelve inch lyric booklet with a bunch of well-produced photos. Whoa! –Matt Average (Refuse, refuserecords.prv.pl / refuserecords@gmail.com)


ANCHOR:
Distance & Devotion: CD/LP
Swedish vegan straightedge hardcore that uses the line, “Like a hammer smashing through my chest.” The eleven songs on Distance & Devotion sound like something that would’ve come out on Bridge 9 a few years ago—generic, forgettable, and uninspired. It seemed as though over the entire thirty-four minutes the band was phoning it in: dry vocals, tired riffs, and a sound I’ve heard way too often over the many years I’ve listened to and reviewed hardcore music.  –kurt (Gaphals)


ANCHOR ARMS:
Milligrams: 7”
Upon first listen, it’s absolutely no surprise that these lads call Gainesville home: gravelly voice, busy basslines, gang choruses, certainly no strangers to Fuel for the Hate Game. There’s something that separates Anchor Arms from the throngs of HWM copycats, though. These songs come off as totally natural, entirely sincere, as if maybe these cats were just so deeply immersed in hometown lore that they just live and breathe this sound. Passionate, memorable and genuine—I can’t ask for much more than that. –Dave Williams (www.myspace.com/theanchorarms)


ANCHOR ARMS:
Cold Blooded: CD
This album is good. Definitely. And probably if I didn’t have a full stable of bands of this ilk that I already listen to regularly, I think I’d be significantly more enthusiastic about it. I actually really dug the Milligrams 7”, and while this is good, catchy, melodic, undeniably Gainesville-bred punk rock, I started to lose interest about halfway through. I’m not writing this off by any means. I imagine a live viewing might do well to sway my opinion. It’s quite possible, even likely, that Anchor Arms will work their way into my steady rotation, but I just wasn’t floored right off the bat. –Dave Williams (Fail Safe)


ANCHOR BABIES, THE:
Self-titled: CD
This might be a bad analogy, but you know how cheap beer gets better the more you drink? That is an apt comparison to this CD. Upon first listen, I wasn’t really taken by the band’s mixture of Sublime-ish ska and punky Bossa nova, but damn, after a few listens I was singing along to more than a few songs, wondering how in the hell this happened. The Anchor Babies hail from right here in Razorcake’s backyard, Los Angeles, California and display a smart, lyrical wit and instrumental prowess that I wasn’t really expecting. I am not sure if they play out that much—as I have never noticed them—but I will certainly keep an eye out for any shows they might be playing around town in the future. I don’t know why, but this disc just oozes summer. I could totally see some of their songs in a surf video or something. This sort of mellow musical bouillabaisse normally wouldn’t find its way into my CD player, but damn you Anchor Babies! Damn you! Just like that cheap beer I mentioned, I hope to see you around again sometime soon. –Garrett Barnwell (theanchorbabies.com)


ANCHOR, THE:
Self-titled: CD
What a way to start my reviews this time around! There I was in the parking lot of the post office with my package from Razorcake torn open on the car seat beside me. I was in a daze because The Anchor had just planted a Chuck Taylor square in my ass! Very reminiscent of some of my favorite bands of the late ‘90s, such as Jon Cougar Concentration Camp or Pinhead Circus. Melodic and raspy-voiced punk rock that just sounds like the beer supply is never going to run out and the pizza is on the way. Don’t get me wrong, this disc isn’t all “happy all the time,” I just think it would be a good soundtrack to me getting drunk and eating pizza. Like said beer and pizza, I want more of The Anchor, too! –ty (ADD)


ANCHOR, THE:
Self-titled: CD
It took me a couple of spins, but this is pretty alright. This album is straightforward, gruffy, pop punk of the melodic variety. One guy sounds like Jason Shevchuk and the other sounds like… well, a dude with a beard and possibly camo shorts. Listening to this makes me regret not going to see them when they swung through a few weeks ago, due to it being a work night (ahh, for the days of not worrying about getting less than eight hours of sleep). Is it groundbreaking? No, I wouldn’t say that, but the songs feel comfortable. I mean that in a good way. This would be a good soundtrack to go out for a walk when it’s warm out to decompress. Summer day punk rock… is that a genre yet? I was gonna try to avoid doing name drops this time, but I can’t avoid it. This sounds like the missing link between None More Black’s Loud About Loathing, Banner Pilot’s Pass the Poison, and a dash of Lawrence Arms, which is pretty good company in my book. –Adrian (ADD, Hot Dogs & Records)


ANCHOR, THE:
Party!: 7”
The Anchor is another one of those bands that I have to thank Razorcake for turning me on to. Great poppy-yet-gravely punk that takes me waaaay back to my late twenties. Party! is the name of the record and that is exactly what I want to do when I hear it. I said it before, and I’ll say it again. Beer, pizza, and The Anchor… a perfect fit. –ty (La Escalera)


ANCHOR/ BREAKDANCE VIETNAM:
Split: CD
Anchor: A lot of guitar wanking in a Helmet-meets-death metal sort of way. The band sounds like it’s just going through the motions. Emotionless metal hardcore. Also a really bad hair metal cover of Skid Row’s "Youth Gone Wild." Breakdance Vietnam: Man, this CD went from bad to worse. Average, generic, mid-tempo melodicore. I need to find something to entertain me. I guess I will go pop that zit on my chin. –don (Triple Crown)


ANCHORMEN, THE:
Nation of Interns:: CD
They rhyme woozy with Vespucci. That’s seriously the highlight of the album. –megan (Unstoppable )


ANCHORS:
Lost at the Bottom of the World: CD
The evolution of metal-core is a mystery I don’t think I’ll ever solve. It went from Cro-Mags breakdowns, basketball jerseys, and windbreaker pants to crew cuts, skinny jeans, and melodies galore. One thing I know I’ll never be able to figure out is where the element of danger went. I don’t need to know much about this band to know that they more than likely are from the suburbs, have money (studio time ain’t cheap!), and that they openly embrace iphones (fair use: it’s in their thanks list). All that comfort and privilege equates to nothing more than safety and is anything but threatening. The roots of hardcore have always been punk—whether anyone involved wants to admit it or not—and, quite frankly, there’s nothing punk about any of those qualities. It’s a shame to think that maybe, just maybe, I could be into this because when the bright spots really shine, this sounds like a very potent blend of Sick Of It All, Good Riddance, and All (Chad Price era). When the haze settles, however, all I see is forty five dollar hoodies, bouncers at the door/stage, and kids texting before, during, and after the show as they drive home in their parent’s Audi. –Juan Espinosa (Creator Destructor, creator-destructor.com)


ANCHORSET:
Self-titled: CD
This gives me the perfect opportunity to talk about something that’s been getting to me with a lot of albums lately – and it’s not exactly a negative review. You take a band that sounds pretty ripping and put them in a studio. Maybe they’re blown away at how good they sound once the levels are tweaked a bit. Maybe they think the producer/mixer/master guy knows more about what they’re doing. When it makes its way to me, I end up hearing something with promise at best, at worst jut some generic shit that I won’t give more than a quick listen. Anchorset falls into the first group for me. I can tell that there’s something there. I’m pretty sure they’d have me floored if I saw them live, but in the recording there’s something missing, or maybe added. It just seems a bit too glossy. I’ve listened to it a bunch of times now and I like it. I like it a lot. I’m not saying that everything needs to be gritty and raw, or that the only way to record a band is live. Some studios just know how to capture that energy better than others. I just get bummed when I hear something that I could really like sounding more like the Offspring. The album is definitely growing quickly on me. And if they can hold the stage with the Marvels (one of Boston’s best, if not fattest bands) they’re more than okay by me. If you’re in the Boston area, I highly suggest checking these guys out.
–megan (Nice Guy)


ANCIENT FILTH:
Self-titled: EP
‘The Fuck? Void meets Flag? My prayers have been answered! No half-assed, cookie cutter, yawn-inducing tunes on this record at all: this is commandeering hardcore punk with a conscience and an air of mysticism. Fantastic artwork. Hateful lyrics. 45RPM. You can’t go wrong! –Juan Espinosa (Shock To The System)


ANCIENT FILTH:
The Illusion of Freedom Is Control: Cassette
Boston maniacs Ancient Filth get back into it full force with their second release of the year after an astonishingly impressive debut 7”. The formula is essentially the same as the last recording: fast hardcore, with raging vocals and lyrics calling out for a higher consciousness of the human race’s doomed existence without wagging a judgmental finger or soapbox preaching. Each song is one ripper after another worthy of any sweaty basement show mosh fest and climaxes with the Crass-gone-hardcore anthem “Fight Fear.” Program repeats on both sides, making this perfect for repeated listens. That is exactly what this cassette deserves. Absolutely mandatory. –Juan Espinosa (Self-released, FNL9000@gmail.com)


ANCIENT FILTH:
You’re Nothing You’re Everything: 7” EP
Massachusetts punks Ancient Filth are back with their second 7” of raging hardcore. As with past releases, the music is one brutal assault after another in the honorable tradition of past MA bands such as Out Cold and Cut The Shit. Lyrically, however, they have much more to scream about than the typical fare of “stabbed in the back” betrayal stories or suburban lethargy and disillusionment. Ancient Filth encourage us all to give a fuck, if not for the sake of others then for the sake of ourselves: to agree to disagree, to call out bullshit (organized religion, capitalist oppression) when necessary, and to question not only our country but our world: “believe nothing, examine everything.” All this without pretense or a high-and-mighty stance on the issues they feel strongest about. The artwork and packaging is, once again, stellar: a booklet sleeve with the lyrics printed on a separate inner booklet stapled in the center and a huge fold-out poster, to boot. Can’t possibly say enough good things about this band. Get this or die posing.  –Juan Espinosa (Ancient Filth self-released, ancientfilth.com)


ANCIENT GREEKS:
The Song Is You: CD
Some people might call this plaintive. I call it sniveling. Other people might refer to these melodies as lilting. I call them wanky. If you believe that using more than three chords is getting into jazz territory, then this is what our world would sound like if Kenny G had founded Stereolab – bland, mindless, inoffensive, innocuous, and so utterly indistinguishable from beige wallpaper that I can’t even call it background music. This is the eighth straight album (out of eight so far) I’ve reviewed for this issue that I hated. I’m beginning to wonder if Todd is punishing me for something… My only hope is that I can sell this shit for enough money to buy a pint of cheap whiskey to annihilate the memory of the indignities which I am currently suffering. –scott (Flameshovel)


ANCIENT SHORES:
Self-titled: 7”
I really liked this 7” quite a lot. It’s pretty intensely heavy hardcore. Sounds a lot like Trap Them, or Hope Conspiracy’s Death Knows Your Name in its ability to smother you with layers instead of chasing you down with speed. A very brutal approach. The vocals are gravelly and the music is surgically precise while letting the guitars hang out for a split second to create a little ambience. Good stuff, very neatly packaged, from a killer label. –Rene Navarro (A389)


ANCIENT SHORES:
CYNARAE: LP
Sweet baby boy. Alright, I’ll start by saying that AncientShores are super cool. Great, heavy hardcore reminiscent of Cursed (Colohan even does vox on a track here) that I’m sure gets the room moving for both young kids and old heshers alike. Great stuff that’s a huge step up from their earlier work. Now, onto Cynarae. Fuuuck me. This band completely destroys me. Their self-titled 12” was one of my favorites of last year, and somehow this is even better. Expanding on the Bremen worship of the 12” and thus defining a more uniquely Cynarae sound, these songs are heavy and melodic, chaotic and calculated, and absolutely furious. It’s nothing new that A389’s got the best stable of heavy bands around, and Cynarae might be right at the top of that heap. Good grief. –Dave Williams (A389)


ANCIENT SLANG:
Fake Future: 7”
Raw, yet well recorded, no wave-style punk. Straight forward and catchy, though. I’m not talking shoegaze or heavy psych here. Close to what some of those really great, fast Viva L’American Deathray Music gems sound like. I’ll be looking forward to hearing more from Ancient Slang. Another winner for Glory Hole Records.  –Steve Adamyk (Glory Hole, gloryholerecords.com)


AND THEN THERE WAS YOU:
What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes Us Stronger: CD

The title of this CD could describe the listening experience. Holy shit, this is the worst thing I’ve ever had to review. A play by play would go something like this: first five seconds: “This might be alright.” Entire rest of the album (which I indeed listened to): “Dear lord, this is ass-ery.” Basically, this is the most painfully earnest-sounding singer in the world playing over that type emo that has aspirations of being youth crew style hardcore, but fails and fails hard. I always faulted Set Your Goals for playing this type of music, but, after hearing this I have a new-found respect for that band. They at least have a semblance of balls to their sound. On the other hand, you seriously want to reach into the music and give the singer for ATTWY a wedgie; maybe leave a bag of poop in his doorway. –Adrian (Indianola)

–Adrian (Indianola)


ANDERS THODE:
Self-titled: 7"
Poppy punk stuff that sounds like it was recorded on a tape recorder wrapped in pillows. The songs are actually quite good, but the sound quality really doesn’t help the cause. –jimmy (Leather Bar)


ANDI SEX GANG:
Blind!: CD
Sex Gang Children is one of those proto-goth bands that is not probably unheard-of by only today’s most dedicated gloom’n’doomer. I’m figuring the biggest reason for this is because, like fellow Batcave denizens like Alien Sex Fiend, their chosen sound was far removed from what became the goth template set forth by bands like Bauhaus and, especially, Sisters Of Mercy. Rather than sing in dour, deep voices, Andi opted for a very nasal post-Rotten screech for the most part, while the rest of the band eschewed all the sludgy minor chord worship and instead mined some bizarre, over the top, dark cabaret/tribal punk hybrid that would’ve made Bertold Brecht giggle with glee. This, released as Andi’s first solo album due to some legal bullshit the band was going through over their name at the time of its 1984 release (and since reissued a few times under the band’s name), is a nice example of what the band does best and stands shoulder-to-shoulder with better known previous releases like Deiche and Sebastiane. If black is your favorite shirt color and you’re looking for something a little off the beaten vampire-inspired track, this’ll be a welcome surprise. –jimmy (www.cherryred.co.uk)


ANDRE WILLIAMS:
The Black Godfather: CD

Although dirty old man Andre's still growlin' and howlin' about the good things in life ‑ pussy, ass, dope and pussy ‑ his rug burn voice no longer resonates visions of orange‑juice soaked BBQ ribs and Bonneville joyrides. Distracted by far less than 36‑24‑38 these days, the gritty "Pass the biscuits, please" signature voice now inertly punctuates the fuzzed‑out guitars of the Countdowns, Blues Explosion, Cheater Slicks and Compulsive Gamblers ‑ Andre's never had so much competition from a bunch of white‑boys‑gone‑black. Ol' Andre, senior citizen, was done plucked plumb outta his weekly‑rate hotel room on Detroit's notorious Cass Corridor and re‑branded as the Pimp of all Pimps, injected with the trademark Jon Spencer sound. A good idea in theory, but much to my chagrin, "Shut the gate Sally, and don't let me in." –thiringer (In The Red, 2627 E. Strong Pl., Anaheim, CA 92706)


ANDRE WILLIAMS:
Aphrodisiac: CD
Pravda Records is still around??? I thought they went out of business like fifteen years ago! I wonder if they still have any copies of that Defoliants ep that Soul Asylum ripped the “Hang Time” cover idea off of. Well, anyway, let the record show that Andre Williams – surely the only human bean to have played both the Apollo Theatre and the Concert Café—has had a fifty year recording career; therefore, my opinion and/or potential endorsement does not and should not matter one pinch o’ poo in the grand scheme of things. That said, whilst i liked Mr. Williams output for Sympathy et al in the 90’s fair enough, 2006 finds me finding his voice wholly unremarkable at this late date in his larnyx’s history, and, worse yet, finds me finding him backed by some anemic white boy soul/r&b/funk outfit to whom WAR (ca. “Spill The Wine”) and Gladys Knight & The Pips appear to be some manner of holy grail. I didn’t much care for this type of music when it was on AM radio when i was a kid in the early ‘70s, and, to tell ya God’s honest truth, i still can’t stand the shit today. If this record still makes your white urbane ass feel like it’s been given an honorary Harlem knighthood, go nuts. Me, i’m still trying to figure out whether or not anyone in his backing band was ever in Too Nice For Nancy. Whoopee ding. BEST SONG: “Uptown Hustle” BEST SONG TITLE: “I Don’t Need Mary (Juana)” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: A few years ago, i played roulette at the same table as Andre Williams. He kept trying to take his chips with him, not realizing that roulette chips stay at the table under penalty of great censure. That’s actually not the fantastic amazing part, though: Later that weekend, i was riding in an elevator with Mr. Williams, and he took a fancy to my shirt. It was a standard Superman t-shirt, except that, instead of being royal blue, as these things tend to be, it was powder blue. Andre Williams kept telling me that my shirt was “the bomb!,” and attempted, several times, to literally purchase the shirt off my back. I wouldn’t sell, and, from that point forward, my powder blue Superman t-shirt was known to me as my “Andre Williams shirt.” Fast forward several years, and i am opening up this month’s package of reviewables from Razorcake, which included this CD. What shirt, might you guess, was i wearing as i opened it? Correct. My Andre Williams powder blue Superman shirt. Doo-DOO-doo-doo-Doo-DOO-doo-doo… –norb (Pravda)


ANDRE WILLIAMS :
The Black Godfather: CD
Although dirty old man Andre's still growlin' and howlin' about the good things in life ‑ pussy, ass, dope and pussy ‑ his rug burn voice no longer resonates visions of orange‑juice soaked BBQ ribs and Bonneville joyrides. Distracted by far less than 36‑24‑38 these days, the gritty "Pass the biscuits, please" signature voice now inertly punctuates the fuzzed‑out guitars of the Countdowns, Blues Explosion, Cheater Slicks and Compulsive Gamblers ‑ Andre's never had so much competition from a bunch of white‑boys‑gone‑black. Ol' Andre, senior citizen, was done plucked plumb outta his weekly‑rate hotel room on Detroit's notorious Cass Corridor and re‑branded as the Pimp of all Pimps, injected with the trademark Jon Spencer sound. A good idea in theory, but much to my chagrin, "Shut the gate Sally, and don't let me in." –Guest Contributor (In the Red)


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·SICK THOUGHTS
·TWO MAN ADVANTAGE
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·Suckers
·RED LINE INDEX
·JINXES, THE / THE TEUTONICS


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