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Razorcake #90
White Murder, both LPs
Treasure Fleet, The Sun Machine LP
Razorcake #89
White Murder, Form Early LP (CLEAR VINYL)

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Record Reviews

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What Doesn’t Kill You…: CD
Forty years since the bone-shattering debut of Vincebus Eruptum? Hard to believe, but these guys are back with a new release. It rocks from start to finish. Heavy grooves, great guitars, and pounding drums. “Rollin’ Dem Bones” and “Young Lions in Paradise” are my current faves. There’s even a killer Albert King cover on here, too. Blue Cheer—they still play hard enough to “make cottage cheese out of the air.” Gut, where are you?  –koepenick (Rainman)

self-titled: CD
Picked this out of the pile ‘cause I thought it was gonna be some good hardcore. I put it on... and after the third lame emocore song, I tossed it into the trashcan. Oops forgot to mention it was a benefit CD. Yeah, I bet they’re REAL appreciative. –jimmy (thrownbrick@disinfo.net)

self-titled: CD
When you pull out a pile of CDs to review and you find yourself hitting repeat and it’s not until the fourth play that you realize you should move on, well, that’s a good sign. These guys remind me of Circle Jerks (esp. “Wonderful”), D4, All, NoFX’s best stuff and not so much the Freeze but later bands that were inspired by the Freeze. A few bits make me think these guys also listen to Tool and country. I like NoFX’s Heavy Petting Zoo a lot and would imagine that if that album were harder, rougher around the edges, and made with less goofiness and more sense of purpose, this would be the album. (Which is to say, if you like NoFX you should like them, but if you don’t, you probably will, too.) The final track’s reggae influence seems more from the Choking Victim school than straight reggae. Various songwriting credits explain how one band can have such a range while maintaining a “sound” that works consistently. My one complaint with this album is that it should be much longer. –rich (Destroy All)

Had Enough...: 7"
Almost did not want to listen to this. Nothing in the packaging made me want to put this on. A pleasant surprise on my part. This band has elements of street punk mixed with early Face to Face. The recording is a little thin, but the song writing truly jumps out. I would like to hear how they sound down the road with a little better recording. –don (Destroy All Records)

I Am Death: LP
I’m definitely enjoying the resurgence of death rock these past couple years. Blue Cross definitely stand out. I was in Extreme Noise a couple months back, and they were playing this. My friend was losing his mind over it. “Gah!! Who is this? Are they an old band?” Nope. They’re new (a two piece, whose members been in/are in bands like Germ Attak, Iron Dogs, etc.). I showed him the LP and suggested he add it to his foot-high stack of seven inchers. Seriously, if you like the dark and cold stuff, you will love this record. Think early Siouxsie And The Banshees, but far darker. As though they mated with Christian Death, and this is their hell spawn. The guitar has that nice and dark sound, as well as those ice cold notes that have a way of bleeding all over the place, and creating this air of despair. Then there’s the bass that lurks under it all, guiding you further into the gloom. The rhythms are plodding at times, and rumbling others. The vocals have a slight echo going on, giving them an otherworldly quality. “Coming Back to Haunt You” and “The Man That You Fear” are nothing but despairing, whereas songs like “No Redeemer” and “Driving Spikes into Flesh” are more defiant. The song, “Despair, Don’t Care” is the most upbeat and has a riff and outro very similar to the Adolescents “Amoeba.” Perfect listening for the lonely hours. –Matt Average (Noxious Noize, noxiousnoize.blogspot.com)

Conspiracy: LP

I was hoping there would be another Blue Cross record. This one is somewhat along the lines of their I Am Death LP. The songs on this are a little quicker in pace, though. Yet they still retain that dark and minimal style. The sound is a little more fleshed out as well. I like the synth towards the end of “Don’t Submit,” and the layers of sound in the song. “Conduit” is one of my favorites on here. The song races at a nice and wound-up pace and the vocals are coolly delivered despite it all. “Your Violence” sounds like something you would hear in an early to mid-1980s horror film. Lyrical themes on here tend to revolve around the idea put forth by the title of this album, which makes for an even more interesting listen. I’m always pulled in by the sheets of guitar that dominate the songs. It has this cold and all-encompassing way about it. Also, Jess’s vocals are stronger and more to the front in the mix on here. One of the things that I really like is that Blue Cross is shedding their influences to a point where they are having their own sound. You can’t say they really sound like Siouxsie or Christian Death. Yes, those influences are in there, but it’s not blatant. They’re adding to the genre at this point. This comes on blue vinyl, in case you are wondering.

–Matt Average (Chaos Rurale, chaosrurale.com)

Suicidal Heart: CDEP
I’m not a cop, but I’m willing to bet if you want to get a woman into bed, your line wouldn’t be, “I’m going to cover you in roses and razorblades.” We’ll that’s just the type of creepy lyrics you’ll find on this album. If you don’t find that disturbing, then check out the lyrics to “Spoiled Ass Sweet Talk”: “You’re gonna call me your king. Blood stains all across your panties.” The scary thing is I can’t tell if they’re trying to be funny or not. I don’t recommend this CD. –N.L. Dewart (Rockin' Stan)

Suicidal EP: CD
Fun punk irreverence that brings to mind the glory days of the Weirdos, Tits, Creamers, Stitches, and more. The most carefree fun I’ve had in awhile, even on the dorky songs like “Roses and Razorblades.” –thiringer (Rockin’ Stan)

Holocene Epoch: CD
Too mainstream in a MTV, Creed, Godsmack, etc. kind of way for me to continue listening. –don (Dough Main)

2008 Mixtape: CD
It was a grueling experience to have to listen to this and I never want to do it again. Ever! Bullshit artistic electronica and weird, creepy background noises don’t give these artists an excuse to suck. I’m not ever going to give this another chance so I’m going to have to say that this one gets a “Fail” stamp across it. –Corinne (Blue Sanct)

Love is Not Enough: CD
Yawn… More generic pop music. British Invasion-ish. From Portland, Oregon. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t excite me. There is really nothing else to say. –jennifer (King of Hearts)

Embracing the Modern Age: CD
This album seems straight out of the ‘50s.  Soda shop-inspired and really brought me back to romances of poodle skirts and sweethearts.  I think it’s really cool though and not as nerdy as I’m making it seem.  It’s so genuine that I felt like I was back in time with my new vinyl, listening to the soon-to-be-new hit songs.  It’s really something special if you are into oldies music from that era. –Corinne (Super Big LTD.)

Self-titled: CD
The ‘70s are back with a vengeance here with tune after groovy tune that sound like outtakes from long lost album sessions for Pilot, or the Eagles. The songs are well written, but having lived through this kind of AM radio fodder the first time ‘round, I’m not sure revisiting the days of bell bottoms, country-tinged rock and makin’ love in Chevy vans is all right with me. –jimmy (Velvaphonic)

Gravity Made Us Run: CDEP
New York indie punk rock from the streets of San Diego. Rob, the singer from Challenger Deep, a band reviewed here last year, moved to New York to start Blue Sky Law. Melodic riffs over a wash of distorted guitars. Easy listening hardcore in a Fugazi kind of way. –Jim Ruland (Self-released, myspace.com/blueskylaw)

Demo: CD
Dance-y indie rock played with punk sincerity, speed, and nervous energy. Six catchy songs with interesting shit like acoustic breaks, reggae beats, and Joy Division synths mixed in seamlessly. The Cars’s first LP used to be known as the new wave album that punks liked, and the punk record owned by the normals. Blueberry Fist could build a similar bridge between the DIY scene and bourgie indie fans. I bet that if these guys came to your town, they’d get the crowd to boogie, then hang out afterwards and make friends with everybody. –CT Terry (Self-released)

Falling Back to Earth: CD EP
This is mostly comprised of outtakes from a session that resulted in another release, Hot Blooded. You get loud, heavy alt-rock for your buck, pretty good for what it is, but ain’t exactly my preferred bag o’ worms. –jimmy (Dim Mak)

Hot Blood: CD (in crummy excuse for packaging.)
I can't speak for more than myself and a few other music critics, but there is nothing more annoying to at least the few of us than a CD we receive to review that is just the CD in a blank case, or worse yet, a sheath. This splits the difference by sending me one of those Comp USA scallop cases with no liner notes or cover, but a sticker telling me to contact Carol Phillips at TPG publicity. Not to say that I covet jewel boxes and professionalism, I love a lot of material found on home burned CDs with photocopied sleeves. But that gives insight into the band's personality, which requires one to have. This seems to be the work of people trying to "make it" in the music "industry." Yep, this band has mediocre written all over them. Sure, they know how to play instruments well, but this suits them for being the band that you stand around with a drink in hand, talking to your friends while waiting for the band you came to see to get onstage after whoever these guys are. Perhaps what you talk about how being competent and passionate are completely unrelated things. You bob your head, you may even enjoy them. Hell, music is enjoyable to hear. But the next day, you refer to them as "that opening" band and forget they existed at all not long after.
–rich (Dim Mak)

The Middle of the End: 7”
This Australian act gives us two songs here. One is an original tune and the other, “Let Go” is a cover of Frou Frou. You know, the song that has that line that lots of girls were putting on their MySpace pages last year: “There’s beauty in the breakdown.” Both songs sound good. The original tune, “Saw You Last Night,” has a little more energy—is upbeat and catchy as hell—while the Frou Frou cover is just a mellow pop song. Not bad, but nothing I haven’t heard before. Comes with a coupon for free MP3 downloads of both songs. –kurt (Hobbledehoy, www.hobbledehoyrecords.com)

A Working Title in Green: CD
Punk is like a potato: dirty, ugly and yummy. Say you thought you could improve upon the potato, so you carved it into the shape of a handsome man, painted it pretty colors, and dressed it up in a nice pair of slacks. Then you wrote some poetry for it. Guess what: you ruined it. Now it looks stupid and you can't eat it. It's limp and unfortunately won't even pass for art. This CD has "Pay no more than $8.99" printed on the tray card, but anyone who would pay ANYTHING for these four songs is a penis. –Cuss Baxter (Fueled by Ramen)

Better Late Than Never: CD
Damn these kids and their catchy pop lyrics. They almost had me hooked. Melodicore from Murder City (that?s right... Detroit), fronted by the ex-bassist of the Suicide Machines. Needless to say, this band sounds nothing like the Suicide Machines. Maybe All with a heavier edge. Overall, not a bad first effort. –Guest Contributor (Broken Spoke)

…but I Gotta: 7”
The title tune consists of a drum going thud-thud and a guy saying variants of the same sentence over and over while a sorta blues organ is buried in the background. The flip ditches the vocals altogether and opts instead for a thud-thud drum and organ playing the same simple riff over and over again. This is either a work of genius or one of those records that makes you think, “Fuck, it must be nice to have the kind of disposable income that allows to press up stuff like this on wax.” I ain’t quite decided yet, myself. –jimmy (Hot & Ready, hotandreadyrecords@gmail.com)

Post Mortem Anthem: CD
Try as I may, I can’t seem to get my mind around these guys. Their music, kinda angular collegy punk, isn’t bad, per say, and I have no really problem listening to them for prolonged periods of time, unlike, say, your average emo group. They just seem to fail to register as anything past background music. I want to like them, ‘cause there’s little doubt that they are good at what they do, but it’s been two albums that I’ve heard now, and neither one of them impressed much. Hopefully next time this’ll change. –jimmy (Dischord)

Self-titled: CD
Blunderbuss hails from Pittsburgh, and while I’ve never been to that fair destination, this music is what I imagine the city to sound like: a slow, churning, methodically metallic cacophony, like someone banging on factory pipes with a hammer while a large engine rumbles rhythmically, keeping time. The songs are noise-rock dirges that are content to plug along for a few minutes in Shellac-like repetition before exploding in a swirl of coppery guitars and the rigorous thumping of the drums. “Sin Built Stairs” builds on a menacing bass line that vibrates so hard I checked my cell phone thinking I had a call. Slint and Jawbox would round out a great bill with Blunderbuss opening. –benke (Escape Artist)

2014 Demo: Cassette
The recording on this cassette. Cassettes bring a lot of nostalgia with them. We all remember the time that our friend brought of some demo or taped-over-a-thousand-times cassette cartridge and it became the ever-life-changing moment that we first heard oi or hardcore. Blunt Force took me back there. Thanks, dudes. –John Mule (Self-released)

Hellbent for Letters: Demo-version CD
The nutshell: Blöödhag play short heavy metal songs about science fiction authors. They play actual libraries (there’s a mini documentary—The Sooner You Go Deaf, The More Time You Have to Read—about them) and they continue to pull from the deep well of authors they celebrate. (Although I was really looking forward to R**d Like a Beast, where Jake promised to be wearing a bloody book codpiece on the cover.) Think Municipal Waste, except thickly spectacled, with a little less DRI, played by guys in ties with latent professional wrestling tendencies. Sure, they’re metal, but the solos are kept at bay and the doom and amplitude is stomping all over the place. Plus, you’re learning and shit by rockin’ out. It’s like a book on tape overdubbed with a more growly Slayer. The only mystery, for me, is since this is a demo, no song titles. I don’t know who they’re honoring, which is half the fun of learning. Another welcome Blöödhag addition to my card catalog. –todd (Alternative Tentacles)

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