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Razorcake #92
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Record Reviews

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Self-Titled: 7"
Being that I a.) drink, and very much like drinking and b.) am not really in the mood to go and kill pimps (as “Choice or Coercion” suggests the listener consider), I have to hand it to Blank Stare for nailing a.) some really impressive crew shouts b.) ratcheting tight-as-hell breakdowns c.) pounding out hardcore powerchords that scream like pterodactyls dragging chains all over the place and d.) seem to be thinking a bit outside of the box (“a cross is a cross, no matter which way you turn it.”). Tight, cranked, and occasionally sneaky hardcore in the best sense of the words. Fans of leave-’em-bloody-and-smiling music, like Vitamin X, Negative Approach, and Spasm 151 would do well to pick this self-released 7” up. –todd (Blank Stare)

Suicide Violence Cowards: 7"
Raging and pissed Kangaroo Records-style hardcore here. Fans of Bury The Living, Milkman, Dead Stop, and Spazm 151 are going to want to be all over this. –frame (Refuse)

The Art of Day Drinking: CDEP
A two-man band playing skronky noise rock stuff, with lotsa rhythmic variations and the occasional nod to more jazzy influences to keep things interesting. As with most two-man bands, it sounds a little incomplete and flat to these ears without someone flailing away on a bass. Totally admit it’s a personal preference, one that others may not share, and personal preferences aside, they do what they do quite well and are definitely worth a look-see. –jimmy (theblanktheband.com)

Self-titled: CD-R
M for Misfits, I assume, since they sound best when they’re sounding like the Misfits and, frankly, not too good when they’re not. I bet they’re tremendous fun at house parties. –Cuss Baxter (OBZ)

Self-titled: CD-R
This is a four-song, nine-minute EP. This could have been more fun if they had made it into a 7” with some cool artwork instead of burning it onto a CD. Of course, that’s assuming this would’ve been worth even putting out. The second track, “We’re History,” is great. Its got a good hook and a quick beat. The other three tracks were unexciting and insignificant. Make more songs like “We’re History,” drop the other shit, and you’ll be heading down the right path. –kurt (myspace.com/blanketofm)

Self-titled: CD-R

Generic punk that doesn’t even bother to label their CD-R. I take them even less seriously than they take themselves

–Craven (no info)

Self-titled: CD-R
This reminds me a lot of SNFU, both musically and lyrically. Throw in a little Misfits as well. Subject matter is pretty much light, referencing Christmas poems (“Small Town”), monsters, and sci-fi novels. The music is mid tempo, poppy, and just kind of there. If they pick up the pace and put more urgency into their playing, they could be a much better band. –Matt Average (cusser56@yahoo.com)

Make Me Drool, My Own Worst Enemy b/w C.H.U.D.: 7”EP
Ever watch cooking shows when you’re really hungry? Even the raw ingredients in their little bowls make you realize how famished you are. Los Blankitos are little bowls of quality ingredients, but when they’re put together, the promise of the recipe, although tasty, doesn’t seem to live up to its full potential. My culinary advice? More Jewws spice! More Spaceshits heat! More Shemps slurping! More Stupor Stars cumin! It’s just with music that’s aligning itself with a crazy-eyed, human-brained octopus battling spaceships on the cover, the music didn’t quite deliver what the packaging promised. (It was a lot more laid back.) –todd (Discos Chango)

Double Distortion Burger: CD
In the vein of Los Angeles nightclub cock rock, this record delivers the goods but with only half the cocks. It’s high-octane rock’n’roll with heavy slatherings of rawk, but one can still sense the ghost of Gene Vincent lurking somewhere behind all the power chords. Not, perhaps, one for the ages, but if records are like lovers, this is that wild girl you went out with for two weeks and smile about for the rest of your life. –Guest Contributor (Steel Cage)

Nuclear Empire of Apocalypse: LP
Death/black metal from Italy, this record is a tight piece of petrol. Thankfully, they saved the ambient interlude tracks for the sons of Odin and focused on keeping the pummel coming. The blasts are time-perfect, the recording is roomy and dank, and the title of the album couldn’t be cooler. No regrets here. –Andrew Flanagan  –Guest Contributor (Nuclear War Now!, www.nwnprod.com)

Exposed/Time to Die: 7" EP
My first impression was that there was a lot of Midwestern hardcore influence here. After repeated listens, though, I’m leaning a bit more towards a mid-’80s Southern California foundation with a bit of that Midwestern brute force brought in through the windows. Gruff vocals, gallop tempos, muscley delivery, this’ll definitely rattle your cage –jimmy (Dry Heave, dryheaverecords.limitedrun.com)

self-titled: CD-EP
Blasting Agents are an ugly, mean, and nasty group of midwestern auditory terrorists who are as frenetically out-of-control as a blinding apocalyptic windstorm. Their menacing musical misbehavior is a barroom-brawlin’, 18-wheelin’ cacophony of balls-out rock’n’roll brazenness that’s equal parts punk, metal, and rockabilly. It’s trashy, twisted, and turbulent; the manly, swaggering sound of hard-drinking working-class pugnaciousness; the 21st Century’s robust and brash answer to the Minutemen. Hell yeh, this lively lil’ platter of unadulterated aural attitude packs all of the relentless stinging power of a swift uppercut to the jaw; so put up your dukes, kiddies, and prepare to get hit hard! –Roger Moser Jr. (Blasting Agents)

Theme for a Dying World: CD
Blastmat attempts an early ‘80s hardcore sound. Think: The Adolescents and Minor Threat. Not bad, and pretty catchy at times. But I was disappointed because when I glanced at the song titles, I saw “Taliban Fight Song,” which had incredible potential. Sadly, the song was not the hilarious joke I expected it to be, but was just a funny title. Oh well. There’s a mediocre AC/DC cover (“Dog Eat Dog”) on this as well. If this were a cereal, it’d be a slightly stale box of Kix. Kix = early ‘80s hardcore, stale because Blastmat’s nowhere near as good as, say, the Dils or the Germs. But then again, what is? –Maddy (Blastmat)

A punk band striving for that 1984 feel. Trouble is, the metal touch to the guitars makes it feel more like 1986 than ‘84. Liked the live tracks better than the studio tracks. –jimmy (www.blasmat.freeservers.com)

Broke Life, Working Class: CD
I was an immediate fan of Blastmat’s music. Featuring members of Forced Reality, their songs included plenty of aggressive but catchy riffs, with plenty of parts to make you want to bedroom mosh or circle pit around your living room couch. Some sweet guitar leads and a solid rhythm section completed the musical package. Blastmat have a strong NYHC vibe that I was very into. (Their singer even sounds a tad like Sick Of It All’s Lou Koller at times.) With the album title I thought I had a good idea what Blastmat’s lyrics were going to be about before I even listened to them. While working class pride and the struggle to survive are themes I can easily get down with, I found the nationalist tones of some of Blastmat’s lyrics a bit problematic. I’m no Berkman or Bakunin, but calling out that, “I’m an American, born and raised,” in the track “Yup,” and saying “America gives too much charity, it’s time to take it back,” at the end of the track “Uprising” to make your point, doesn’t reflect working class solidarity as I understand it. I hope that Blastmat will develop a more pluralist understanding of working class pride (might I suggest reading What Is Anarchism? by Alexander Berkman, or Anarcho-Syndicalismby Rudolf Rocker), but, overall, I ended up with some mixed feelings about this.  –Paul J. Comeau (United Riot, reitano@sbcglobal.net, unitedriotrecords.com)

666-Pack: CD
This one got buried in my review pile for a little bit. This is pretty straightforward poppy punk with a touch of rock and rollishness that breezes by pretty quick, as only two of the ten songs surpass two minutes. It’s a pretty good release, actually, and sounds like it could have probably been a lost Epitaph or Fat Wreck album from fifteen years ago. The singer guy has one of those very limited range everyman shouts, like Paddy from Dillinger 4 or the guy from Pegboy, which he manages to make work for him. Plus one of the songs is a Marty Robbins cover that isn’t “El Paso” or “Devil Woman.” Not too shabby at all. –Adrian (The Blastoffs)

Sin to Win: CD
Stripped down, no-frills punk’n’roll with a crushing low end that makes me want to break shit. At times it becomes a bit dull and formulaic, but not that often, and some of these tunes knock me over like a swift kick in the nutsack, but in a good way. –Guest Contributor (The Blastoffs)

Boy in the Mirror: CD
Ack! I’m two seconds in and already the lame distorted vocals start! This is as bad as the band name would suggest! Boring rock! Argh! Fie! Feck! Fiddlesticks! And they cover “Don’t You (Forget about Me).” If this were a cereal, it’d be Berry Berry Kix. Barf! –Maddy (Independent Artists Alliance)

Cheaper than the Beer: 7”
Imagine if the Crass song “Reject of Society” was a band and recorded an EP in Berkeley, California circa 1991. Well it pretty much happened and this is it. Powerful, off-kilter songs that are just so pissed, almost tuneless, and really fucking good. While prolific bands like this are lousy with context, it’s nice to separate these songs from everything else and enjoy them for how strangely beautifully ugly they really are. –Daryl Gussin (Silver Sprocket)

The Shit Split: CD
Wow! Reviewing this in 2009 is a little strange, but it’s been re-released on Alternative Tentacles, leading to the only logical conclusion: Blatz and Filth desperately wanted me to review this and this was the only possible way! Thank you Anna Joy, Jesse, and the rest of the gang! First, the Filth side. Let’s be honest. I can’t get into Filth. I mean it would be strange if I liked Filth, but that’s okay because a lot of people do, so there’s no reason for Filth to sit around in a squat and cry. Blatz, on the other hand, well, there’s not much to say except that: I love, love, love this band! A good portion of my high school years were spent singing along to “Cockroach Café” while contemplating how much I hated ninety-eight percent of the people I knew! Screamy yet poppy! Screamy in the most amazing way! Punk rock! If the Blatz side were a split, it’d be Frosted Mini-Wheats, rough around the edges, but with sugar on top! Filth would be regular Mini-Wheats, of course! If you don’t own this, you know what you need to do. –Maddy (Alternative Tentacles)

For No Apparent Reason: LP
Lo-fi supergroup featuring Lamont Thomas of Obnox and two OBN IIIs. It sounds like a plane taking off over an MC5 concert. The songs run long, but some hooks shine through, and the result is surprisingly cathartic, considering the record is more static than song.  –Chris Terry (12XU)

Mas Chingon: CD
Don’t worry, although Blazing Haley loosely fit into the psychobilly/rockabilly mold, they don’t play like they’re recording and episode for the Halloween episode of Happy Days or making songs that could be used to sell Cheez Whiz to folks with pompadours,nor do they sound like they spend too much time deliberating on the height of their jeans’ cuffs. Balls, bite, and drive overcome all that. They’re my reigning favorite if I want a change of pace from straight-ahead punk, to something infused with more country. They come across more authentic and stylistically together than Tiger Army, and have more diverse tempos and are less schlocky than The Slanderin’. Go right to the top. They remind me of prime Reverend Horton Heat –bluegrass stains on their knees, there’s amazing dexterity in their fingers without becoming flashy, and they’re able to pull off slower songs that come out of the stereo like smoke rising off a single cigarette in a still room. When they pick up, lead singer Matt Armor picks up a classic Greg Graffin of Bad Religion tone to his voice that somehow fits right in with Dave Kruger’s frantic standup bass. Okay, I’ll say it. If you wish X had written a good song in the last fifteen years and Exene was muted, you’d be listening to Blazing Haley whenever you slick you hair back. Cool stuff. –todd (Rode to Ruin)

Mas Chingon: CD
After waiting months for this full length to be finalized and pressed, I finally got what I was waiting for all along – the thunder that defines Blazing Haley: seminal rock and roll guitar that's not afraid to get loud; galloping standup bass that's so wonderfully thick live, you could cut it with a straight razor; manic, all-over-the-place drumming, making you wonder if Gene Krupa hit the crack pipe years back; and a singer who can wail it out with the best of 'em, still making it hard for me to believe that he's only been belting it out for only five years. Talent here, and lots fucking of it. Ten songs that call to mind '50s teenage lust, like "Trailer Park Annie," "Date with Ivy," and the party-rocking "They Get Bad Fast." They even recorded their version of Black Sabbath's "Black Sabbath" as a bonus track, and I'd like to add that they've been playing it long before the instant adoration of Ozzy/Ozfest/The Osbournes became so recently fashionable. It's unfortunate that Blazing Haley sometimes gets lumped into the "rockabilly" category, aka The Fonzie Dung Heap, because BH have got one hell of an outfit happening amongst their peers, usually leaving them buried in the dust after just one of their tried and true live gigs. It's also really unfortunate that no record labels have taken the opportunity to get up off their assses and done something with Blazing Haley. I mean, fuck, at least talk with this band, fer chrissakes! What more do you need? A fucking engraved invitation? This disc kills the competition of what's considered "hot" for Top 40 standards. But, then again, fuck Top 40. This is rock and roll. This is Blazing Haley. (david@blazinghaley.com">david@blazinghaley.com) –dale (Rode To Ruin)

Self-titled: CD
Skronky, technically proficient noise-punk/metal courtesy of three Japanese women who know how to raise a racket with the best of ’em. My interest level piqued somewhere around the middle of the second song and dropped off rapidly thereafter, but there’s no denying they are definitely good at what they do. –jimmy (Australian Cattle God)

Puke Wave: 7” EP
Judging from the looks and sound of these guys, plus the location of the label, I think it’s a safe bet this ain’t the U.K. Bleach Boys, whose 1978 single “Chloroform” was such a swell bit of limey indie-punk. You get four tracks of punk-fueled surf instrumentals, including the obligatory cover of “Pipeline.” Outside of leaving one to wonder why no one covers the Lively Ones’ “Goofy Foot” just to change things up a bit, this wasn’t bad at all. –jimmy (Rabid Dog)

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