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Record Reviews

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Contrary to Popular Belief: CD
Imagine early MDC, with less of both the free jazz and the political influences, crossed with early Hogan’s Heroes and maybe a pinch of early Union 13. Good for what it is, which is essentially hyper-speed hardcore. –Jimmy Alvarado (Blackout)

Business as Usual: CD
Take one part of pretty much every genre of hardcore, punk and thrash (all the loud, fast and angry parts, at least) and put it in a blender. Pour it in an empty beer bottle and use as a molotov cocktail. Throw it at a corrupt politician (i.e. – almost any of them). Enjoy.
–rich (www.blindsociety.com)

Injection: CD
I go through waves of obsession. I change what I like to listen to like how often I change out my dirt-streaked underwear. I would have loved this about five to seven years ago. I can’t really fault this band for what they play. They sound exactly like a blend of Pulley and 1208 playing Twister with each other. The production is on par with all the Fat bands, since Ryan Greene at Motor Studios recorded it. If you didn’t see the packaging, you would swear this was a Fat or Epitaph band. So, cheers to their future and maybe on a different listen further in time, this band will raise the hairs on the back of my neck. –Donofthedead (Putalabelonit)

Via Casilina: CD
A European Dillinger Four knockoff that pales in comparison to the original. –Jimmy Alvarado (Mad Butcher)

Punk Royale: CD
The Rancid shirt and scowl on one of the guys on the cover should tell you all you need to know about them. –Jimmy Alvarado (KOB)

Punk Royale: CD
One word: RANCID. These guys are very influenced by Rancid. They live in Sweden and I’m sure Rancid is their favorite band. For what this band does, they do it well. The lyrics are good, the music is good and its very singalong-y like Rancid, although I must say these guys do have early rock’n’roll thing in their sound too, which makes it interesting. So if you like Rancid or the style they play, you will love this CD. –Mike Beer –Guest Contributor (KOB and Mad Butcher)

Hits: CD
Dunno if most of what’s on here could be considered “hits” in the “units shifted” sense of the term, especially when we’re talking about embarrassing covers of “Suffragette City,” but any excuse to blast some crucial tunes from one of England’s greatest punk bands is a welcome one, and crucial tunes are in abundance here. The bulk of the tracks come from their first few singles and the Voice of a Generation album, so this is a great starting point if you’re unfamiliar with ‘em. Now excuse me while I go back to singing along to “4Q.” –Jimmy Alvarado (SOS)

Voice of a Generation: LP
Here’s a good place to state why Razorcake doesn’t take the bait of capitalizing the “o” and putting an exclamation point after the “i” in the word oi. (“Oi!” in English, is like saying “Hey!” in American. “Hey! Music” sounds horribly stupid.) Oi! was a marketing term, musical make believe, coined by writer Garry Bushell. He made such other music terms as “Skunx.” (Skins + punx. Get it? Lars did.) The problem with tags is that when they go out of style, most bands tied to the mast of the particular label sink. Pretty much everyone except one or two bands gets fucked, except the industry that feeds off of broken dreams, unfulfilled promises, and short-term memories. (See: grunge, powerviolence, emo, bandana thrash.) I don’t know where you sit with New Mills, Derbyshire, England’s Blitz, but I’ll say that they put out one of the finest full-lengths of the early ‘80s. This one. Voice of a Generation. It’s punk. No need to tart it up, capitalize it, and add an exclamation point. It stands on it its own just fine in the thirty years since it was first released. This reissue sounds great, is from the Czech Republic, comes with a glossy fold-out poster, and was pressed on Pirate’s Press. It’s nice to have it readily available at a reasonable price instead of some bad “live” recording on shady “European pressing” vinyl. –Todd Taylor (PHR, phr.cz)

The Manual Transmission: CD
Emo. Insert gratuitous, tear‑drenched vomiting sounds here. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.blitzhosen@hotmail.com)

Five Cellars Below: CD
This is what I call trying too hard. I understand the band has been around for nearly ten years and they’re big in Germany, much like Hasselhoff, but goddamn: dudes covered in ghoul make up, fake blood, and devil locks playing bad metal meets pop punk. Harmonized vocals, samples of rain, ska horns, doo wop, and even some gothic Peter Murphy caterwauling. It all comes off as confusing and highly over-produced. Looked ‘em up on the interweb and apparently most folks write about the band not being a cliché Misfits-type horror punk band. Kinda wished they were. –Dave Disorder (www. fiendforce.com)

Five Cellars Below: CD
I can’t tell if there’re only two guys in this band or if just two of them decided to show up for picture day. Either way, this is a horror-rock band. One of the dudes has a devilock, there’s a bunch of songs about horror movies and stuff, but the press release goes out of its way to stress that they do not sound like the Misfits. And they don’t. Not really. They go “whoa oh” and stuff, but, honestly, they sound like radio-friendly Hot Topic crap. And you know what, being from Bluefield, VA is no excuse. There are a lot of real, awesome punks and punk bands and shows going on in the Appalachians. Just not at any of these guys’ houses. –ben (fiendforce.com)

Split: CD
Blitzkrieg were one of the second wave Brit punk bands that had put out releases in the early ‘80s. Paradox UK were the band that formed after the ashes and continued on in the ‘90s. Blitzkrieg started, as many of the bands of the time, playing more a traditional oi sound and gradually changed their sound with the influence of Discharge, which made their music faster and more aggressive in the same manner as the Varukers. Paradox UK is a band that I saw their releases around but never had the urge to pick anything up. The tracks featured here have the remnants of the crossover period that has tinges of a Motörhead sound. These tracks are the weaker of the two bands due to the thin guitar sound. It comes out as average, but nothing to grab you by. The Blitzkrieg tracks were far better produced and have energy. I’m not sure where these tracks were compiled from, but it is a welcome opportunity to hear bands that I didn’t really pay attention to when they were active. –Donofthedead (Street Anthem)

Torn Throats: 7”
I saw this band a couple weeks before this record came in for review and these nine songs do an adequate job of representing their live show. Guttural, mid-tempo hardcore that chugs and bellows itself to point of exasperation, even if there are only a handful of people paying attention. Blocked Out take the middle ground between emotive let-it-all-out East Coast style and circle-pit-till-puke West Coast thrash. A decent expedition both live and on record. –Daryl Gussin (Television)

Torn Throats: 7”
Shit yes. The list of bands Blocked Out is compared to did not prepare me for this record. When you’re expecting “Judge meets American Nightmare” and you get “Ringworm meets Ruination” you’re bound to be a little shaken up. Shaken up in a very good way, in my case. This rips hard. Just vicious, not unlike the recent Blind To Faith record, although without the “evil” imagery. An incredibly pleasant surprise. –Dave Williams (Television)

Self-titled: Cassette
This tape contains a righteous slab of D.R.I.-inspired punk. Pissed, thrashy-sounding hardcore with Spike-like vocals. The band does not like cancer, hypocrites, or bullshit. There is a Blockhead theme song and a blank side so you can tape your favorite companion songs. Everything a demo needs. Definitely a good buy for your old school friends. –Billups Allen (Self-released)

Guts: Cassette
This tape contains four cuts of crossover-era-style angry hardcore the way I like it. “Guts” is a five-minute HC epic with weird marching interludes thrown in. The other three songs are one-two minute blasts against the things you wanna be against, like cops and waiting to blitz. Plus if you mail back the logo on the tape, they’ll send you more music. So play this tape as part of a healthy breakfast. If you know anyone who is balding but still has a Mohawk, this is for them. –Billups Allen (Smash!)

Self-titled: 7" EP
This has a sort of indie rock feel to the music, but with a more driving, punk-style beat. There is a strong Dinosaur Jr. influence, with maybe a touch of that DC supergroup Three thrown in. It’s also a one-sided 7” which you’ll either think is really cute, or a waste of space. Kudos on the DIY effort, but maybe next time, include some lyrics, O.K.? –Dan Yemin –Guest Contributor (Boss Tunage)

South London Vs the World: 2 x CD
There are bands that take up places in ones memory like the smell of the London Underground or pub carpets at opening time. They are of a place and a time and as soon as you hear them you are instantly taken back as if it were yesterday. No-one needs to hear about my past, but in 1999 I was living in London with my wife who was transplanted from the U.S.A after I was rudely deported and we were missing her home and wishing the U.K wasn’t so crap. During that period we listened to and loved our homegrown talent (however few and far between it was), bands like Southport, Leatherface, Hard Skin, and South London’s own Blocko. They took the very English sound of bands like Leatherface, Drive, and Broccoli and added just a dash of the Gainesville “emo,” if that’s the right word (think Hot Water Music). It’s hard for me to gauge this double disc with any kind of impartiality, just to say if you want to collect the LP, mini LP, and numerous split records of this London staple from 1999–2003 then it’s more than worth the admission price. Props to Aston at Boss Tuneage for continually archiving my memories. –Tim Brooks (Boss Tuneage, bosstuneage.com)

Split: 7”
Blocko: Blocko tread that ever-thin ice that behemoths Leatherface and Hot Water Music have been skating on and carving their own distinctive designs in for years. The good news is that Blocko brings a lot of their own to the table. The guitars swell, siren, and are played urgently, the singer doesn’t strain too hard nor get lazy, and there’s a Jam-like sensibility (and “down at the tubeway station at midnight” feel) hiding right beneath the concrete that makes them very enjoyable to listen to. Their second song, “Black Coffee,” is a cover by a pop band I’ve never heard of, All Saints. It sounds weird on paper, but Die Toten Hosen covered the same song, and, for some reason, it works well with the punk rock treatment. Minority Blues Band: Deep in the vein of Hüsker-Dü-loving DIY Japanese punk, I can’t say anything bad about ‘em. Catchy hooks, lots of similarities to Japanese brethren like The Urchin, for their immediately catchy energy and crazily precise playing, and Florida’s Tim Version for layer upon layer of sounds to wrap your brain around. Super solid, no-fashion, no-pretense punk. Oh, and the best Japanese to English translation? “Without you, nuts go wrong.” Sweet split. Thumbs up. –Todd Taylor (Snuffy Smile)

: Split 7"
Both bands play mid tempo, fairly straight forward music, with introspective lyrics. Comparable to, say, Leatherface. "Intelligent" without being emo. The biggest difference between the two is that Blocko rocks out at 33 revolutions per minute, while on the other side, Eighty Six kicks out the jams at 45 rpm. Extra Suck Points must be given, however, because the hole in the middle of this record is too fucking small. You should not need a rubber mallet to get a record onto your turntable spindle. But on the other hand, this is a fat little record and you could probably have fun playing Frisbee golf with it.
–aphid (Bombed Out)

Envision: CD
This foursome out of Bonn, Germany bring a new face to riot grrrl garage pop. Some might suspect their second full length to throw up shades of Sleater K, and Lesbians On Ecstasy, and while it does, Blockshot goes further. Blending pogo pop harmonization, women’s rights, and a knack for progressive song structures, “I Don’t Wanna Play” brought me back to early PJ Harvey, circa Rid of Me, with its minimalist, jangly guitar-to-fuzz transition while “A is for Anarchy” kicks off with a souped-up “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” melody. For those old school riot grrrls and those in training. Recommended. –Kristen K (F-Spin, contact@f-spin.de)

Melodie Citronique: CD
Gone is the obvious Sonic Youth influence and in its place is a quieter, subtler chaos. The songs are rife with haunting melodies that lull yet disquiet, kinda like sleeping with a feathered pillow on a bed of nails. Good stuff. –Jimmy Alvarado (Touch and Go, PO Box 25520, Chicago, IL 60625)

Summer Van: CD Single
A song about having a van for the summer. Simple enough. “Shazzam, I got a van.” Very poppy early seventies rock with double guitars and some synth for good measure. A one song single isn’t much to go on, but I’m a sucker for lyrics that deal with rock’n’roll, makin’ love, smoking pot, and getting caught. –Rene Navarro (www.teenaciderecords.com)

Self-titled: CD
This band’s myspace brags about featuring former members of Dissucks. That caught my attention, since the first Dissucks 7” is one of my all-time favorites. I dug it out, looked at the band members, and didn’t see any matching names. Odd, but that would explain why this band really sounds nothing like Dissucks. I suppose Blood Bomber are good, but all I’m hearing in my head now is “Better Day” from that Dissucks 7”, and nothing on this disc matches that. The dangers of listing your band as “former members of…” –MP Johnson (Self-released, myspace.com/bloodbomberpunks)

March on Electric Children: CD
Rasping wolverines, armed with claws of noise, blasting bursts and slashing gospel-y vocals, go to At The Drive-In's house, ransack the place, then go to your childhood happy place and scream at your mom. Wham, wham, wham. A tad arty in a Locust-y way and more like a painting of a flower on wrecking ball instead of being fey, foppy, loopy, and nose wipey. I also hear cues from Born Against and Combat Wounded Veteran. Not the usual swatch of carpet I play miniature golf on, but loud and crunchy enough to keep me putting along to it. I keep pulling out of the stacks.
–Todd Taylor (Three One G)

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