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Razorcake #87

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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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The Atavistic Triad: CD
Big, blustery black metal that was interesting for approximately two and one‑half minutes of the first 15 minute track, then I found myself thinking about my new socks. They're very nice socks, by the way. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dark Symphonies)

Waiting on a Remedy: CD
Mostly acoustic tuneage here, more reminiscent of Jim Croce, early Dylan, and such than Jay Reatard, which is not said to malign what’s goin’ on here, ‘cause there is some seriously good writing in evidence. Pop this into the Wayback Machine, set the controls for 1972, and this vato is a millionaire. –Jimmy Alvarado (Deadbeat)

Self-titled and Down on the Farm: LP reissues
How can you not love a band that sings about the joys of eating sausage? The reason I’m not including Go the Hack here is because I already own the original, and it’s in good enough shape that I don’t need to replace it. Strictly budgetary reasons, you understand. Looking at the cover of the Go the Hack reissue, the only difference I notice is the color contrast seems sharper. Anyhoo, this is the kind of Aussie rock’n’roll I dig. Hard-driving, meat and potatoes type shit. And beer. On top of being able to finally own these early records, I got to see the Psychos at Gonerfest 10, as they toured in support of the Blokes You Can Trust documentary. Hadn’t seen them since 1998! The self-titled EP is not at all what I expected. The fuzz bass definitely drives the songs, as in many of their songs, but these tunes are more groove-oriented, some clocking in at six or seven minutes. Down on the Farm, however, cuts to the bone and gets me where I need to go! Thudding rock’n’roll punk. Working class music by actual members of the working class (singer/bassist Ross Knight still owns the farm). Goner truly scored with these records.  –Sal Lucci (Goner/Aarght!)

Self-titled: LP
Re-mastered version of this Australian band’s debut LP that originally came out in 1987. I’d never heard this band before, but after one listen I realized I’d obviously been listening to bands that have been influenced by them for years. It sounds like the missing like between The Saints and The Sultans. I also feel like there are exact riffs that Sex Vid would later play. Heavy, plodding punk that hits you like a punch to the gut, and then drinks all your beer. Solid, rockin’ tunes with sporadic, nasty guitar freak outs.  –Daryl Gussin (Goner / Aarght)

Go the Hack: LP
Blunt instruments with outrageous torque moving cubic yards of dirt. There’s nothing pretty about the Cosmic Psychos, nothing complicated (fight, fuck, work, drink, lift weights, repeat) and that’s their charm. (One song’s just called “Pub.”) Go the Hack was their second full length, originally released in 1989 in Australia, and if there was ever a missing link between Lemmy Mötorhead’s no-bullshiting thud, mid-period Sabbath’s sonic rake of blood and tension, and proto-grunge, this’d be it. My memory’s that the Cosmic Psychos (formed in ‘82) and Beasts Of Bourbon predated what would happen in the Pacific Northwest in the early ‘90s, but since they weren’t ever as popular as their American counterparts (Nirvana, Mudhoney, L7, Soundgarden), that bit of grunge history gets glossed over in “official” reconstructions for sake of convenience and self-service, as should be expected. No matter. This is a welcome and timely reissue. Ross, Cosmic Psychos lead singer, continues to run his farm.  –Todd Taylor (Aarght, aarghtrecords.com / Goner, goner-records.com)

Down on the Farm: 12” EP
Dunno how valid this statement is in this modern era of globalized everything, but it used to be, if given enough time, every scene eventually coagulated around a specific sound or thing that made what they did unique from what was coming from other areas—OC had the whole surfy thug-pop dual guitar thing down pat, Minneapolis planted the seeds that would sprout the “alternative nation,” Arizona and Texas both cornered the markets on both the furious and the weird, you get the idea. Australian bands have long been able to distill damned near any style of rock down to its most primal, gooey center and bend, smoosh, and twist it into some very interesting origami patterns—AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, Birthday Party, Scientists, Hard-Ons, and Radio Birdman all played in different ends of the sandbox, but if you listen with surprisingly little effort, you’ll find that the first half of this sentence applies to all of ‘em. As this reissue of their 1985 debut EP shows, Cosmic Psychos kept to tradition by boiling their tunes down to their bare essentials before adding heaps of sludgy tempos, hyper-fuzzed bass and guitars, and simple lyrics about workin’, dames, and such, the results of which are tunes by turns punky, hypnotic to the point of being almost psychedelic, and just all-around fuggin’ heavy. If that description reminds you of some of the output from a certain clutch of bands primarily based in the West Coast, especially the Pacific Northwest, a few years later, suffice to say one need do no more than listen to L7’s “Fuel My Fire” and then listen to the Cosmic Psychos’ “Lost Cause” off of their Go the Hack LP to hear how deep an influence the Psychos had on ‘em. Fine chance to revisit a fine debut, and the band’s apparently still goin’ strong and still strip-mining the same sludgy mountain, so you might wanna do some diggin’ around.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Goner)

Oh, You Know: Cassette
Cosmonauts plays moody, bass-driven garage with a ‘60s Euro-pop aesthetic. Sadly, the songs are overly long, unremarkable, and entirely drained of energy. The languid vibe can easily be mistaken for boredom. Listening to Cosmonauts for an extended period of time results in one drifting off into oblivion and asking life’s biggest questions: Why are we here? What is the point of all of this? Who am I? Why am I still listening to this tape? –Sean Arenas (Burger)

Self-titled/New Psychic Denim: Cassette
This is another Burger release of two albums on one cassette. It is really cool when a label uses a medium so well to spread the word about newer bands. And a load of The Cosmonauts is a great thing. Both albums are a combination of jumpy rock riffage soaked in reverb with longer, psych-inspired droning. Fans of Thee Oh Sees should take note. –Billups Allen (Burger)

Self-titled demo #1: CD-R
Hailing from the U.K., these guys play a hybrid between street punk and more melodic, punchy stuff. I appreciate the effort, but it’s not killing me. Not bad, just a bit un-stand-out-ish. The whole EP is only seven minutes long! I wish they would have stuck to the double time stuff more, but, fuck, then the EP would have been about four minutes long!  –Buttertooth (Self-released)

Self-titled: Cassette
In the first year after I discovered where DIY was in my town, I went to every show I heard about at the two local punk houses I knew. Whatever was on was what I got into—and, given the particular time and place, what was on was bleak, dirty, larynx-shredding hardcore, often with a gloomy inclination toward metal or chaotic screamo. Thus was laid the groundwork for my taste in punk. This demo could easily have been something I picked up for two bucks at some shadowy merch table in that formative year. The vocals are a harsh and indecipherable bark, less communicative than textural. The music is equally aggressive, but the band breaks up the onslaught with some scattered moments of moody guitar. Even the production is familiar in the best way. That tape warble, that silver-Sharpied title, the way the volume plummets three seconds into each song… man. Shit like this was everything back then. Thumbs up for keeping it going.  –Indiana Laub (Self-released, cotillionhc@gmail.com, cotillionhc.bandcamp.com)

Self-Titled: CD-R
They are so fucking bad it’s awesome. I really like the guitar sound. It sounds like weer neer weer neer and they seem to have something. I would like to see them live. Gabe Rock –Guest Contributor (no address)

Manhandler: CDEP
I happened to see the Cougars by sheer coincidence about two days before this CD came in the mail. I didn’t know anything about them, and I was standing there moving my head up and down in that way some folks do when enjoying music, and thinking (aside from, “man, that singer is quite a showman, grinning and leering and bobbing like that”) that it COULDN’T be an accident that they sounded THAT MUCH like Rocket from the Crypt (Horns and tempo. Mostly horns.), and here they were playing in Rocket’s home town with about nineteen people watching, and nobody from Rocket there to approve or disapprove. Then someone from Rocket did show up, but he was just there to drop off his girlfriend who was in one of the other bands, and I think he watched the Cougars for around one minute. Having now heard the CD, I can state that they sound more like Nazareth than I noticed at the show. They’re from Chicago and have some of that Midwest (Jesus Lizard) goofiness, and the man says, “Good luck with your big pants” in the song “Cookietown.” Good enough for me. –Cuss Baxter (Thick)

Self-titled: Cassette
The Cougs play really lo-fi rock’n’roll. It seems like there might be some decent songs on here, but they’re hard to decipher through the poor recording and cruddy cassette tape sound. Not an incredibly memorable release. –Ryan Horky (People’s Republic Of Rock And Roll, thepeoplesrepublicofrockandroll.com)

Self-titled: 7”

The Cougs play grainy, down-picked indie garage pop. Vocalist, Andrew Virga, reminds me of Andrew Savage’s less nasally efforts in Teenage Cool Kids—that’s a good thing. Virga is capable of vocalizing a lot of interesting melodies, but the songs nod off into tedium around the minute mark. There isn’t much to musically sink your teeth in here, as it’s just average slacker pop. The album design by Marsupial is eye-catching and abstract.

–Sean Arenas (Bakery Outlet, rtdiem@yahoo.com, bakeryoutletrecords.com)

Cool, Cooler, Coulier: CD
Three piece instrumentalists which consists of two guitarists and a drummer. A mixture of early Butthole Surfers meets Rollins Band kind of metal or grindcore twistedness. You have to have a taste for the abstract to like this one. –Donofthedead (Stickfigure)

Self-Titled: CD
Boston garage rock from some veterans from the music scene. The last time a garage band from Boston rocked this hard, it was the Standells singing about a “Riot on the Sunset Strip.” Anchored by Hilken Mancini (ex-Fuzzy) and Winston Braman (Consonant), the band also features Mike Savage and Mark Perretta. Tight, concise tunes about washed-up actors and growing old, this would be great to throw on at your next winter party. It will light things up quicker than a slug of peppermint Schnapps. “Take You to the Cleaners” kicks major ass, and if you don’t have this record in your stack you’ll be a no chump love sucker. Or some reasonable facsimile thereof. –Sean Koepenick (Punk Rock Aerobics)

Huge Rock: CD
If these guys think they have friends, they are so wrong. No friend would let them commit, not only this worthless drivel to a CD, but also, c’mon – there are some people who should keep their shirts on in pictures. And this is coming from a lady who likes a keg more than a six-pack around the bellies of her men. Hairy man-tits are just a whole ‘nother ball park there, cappy. –Megan Pants (RockMafia)

Eater of Worlds: LP
I thought the Turn into Shadows tape they released earlier was pretty good. But this album surpasses all they’ve done prior. The songs have a darker and more ominous tone and a stronger dynamic structure. The title track is a great example of this. The drums roll through with an avalanche in slow motion style, while the guitar rings out like a siren, and then there are some really cool accents from the bass. The cold and bleak feel of their music really comes through here. Plus, the recording is much more solid. Everything has more “oomph” to it. The opener, “Hymnal 238,” is fuckin’ epic! “The Scourge” is an absolute ripper! Fast and tight execution. I like how clean the drummer pulls off the rolls and makes use of the kit. Then they transition from that song into “Turn into Shadows,” and it’s pure godhead! They also re-record the excellent “Like Animals” (which also appeared on the Turn into Shadows tape). The closer, “Construiremos De Nuevo,” is perfect and wraps up the record with an even more ominous feel. Seriously, some of the best d-beat crust I’ve heard in a long time. –Matt Average (Aborted Society, abortedsociety.com)

Turn into Shadows: Cassette
This is some decent U.S. crust punk: dual vocals, abrasive guitars, rumbling percussion, and dark low end. The best song of the five is “Like Animals,” which is mid-tempo and has a darker and more forlorn tone, which sings about torture via the military and the government. It’s also a good break from the faster numbers on here which remind me of Disrupt, only these guys are more raw and intense. Nice packaging for this as well—silver j-card/lyric booklet with black ink. –Matt Average (countdowntoarmageddon@hotmail.com)

Through the Wires: LP
Dark. Very dark, brooding, slow-burning, bleak, apocalyptic punk. Elements of Tragedy and Amebix combine with melodic (but dark) guitar lines, basslines, and drum parts that really keep things interesting. Well thought out and thoroughly dark lyrics cover all of your dystopian bases, from societal thought control through the media (“A Walking Dream”) to the destruction of earth (“The Portal”). The only sliver of light contained on this black disc is the hope of finding an escape from all the shit that these worldly forces shovel onto you—and fittingly—it’s the title track. This one takes a couple listens for the quality of the songs to shine through, but it’s worth it. Did I mention how dark it is?  –Chad Williams (Skuld / Aborted Society)

Tragedy So Irresistible: CD
With a name like Countdown to Life, I couldn’t expect much. Somehow they managed to fall short of even the low standards I had set. Rush meets nu metal-core. –Megan Pants (State of Grace)

Discography: LP
I’ll begin this by saying that Left For Dead was one of the most important bands in my young life, and that Chris Colohan’s vocal style, lyrics, and overall approach in those early years left an indelible mark on me. For those who don’t know, CTO was one of Colohan’s many late ‘90s/early ‘00s bands, and while not sounding terribly unlike Left For Dead or The Swarm, CTO ramped up the Euro metal influence and brought a more chaotic vibe to the table. This record combines the band’s Brain Surgery for Beginners EP, the split with They Live, and demo tracks. Remastered, repackaged, and finally seeing the slick release it deserves, thanks to the always classy gentleman that is Dom at A389. Essential shit. –Dave Williams (A389, a389records.com)

Discography: LP
Step back a little over ten years ago and marvel at how fast time moves and consider all the changes. Formed in 1998, this Canadian gang of thrashers (members of the Swarm One Blood, etc.) put out a demo, and two EPs (one a split with They Live) in the early part of this century. Their style was a mix of hardcore punk with some metallic elements (especially in the guitar riffs and some solos). A mix of Born Against, powerviolence and Y2K thrash, which was when these guys formed. The songs are fast, well executed, and the lyrics are sarcastic, but with a point, often critiquing the punk scene, as well as the insecurities and absurdity of society at large. The structure and riffs in “4 Alarm Fire...” is insane; a lot of near tech metal riffs, and there’s a crunching main riff that makes the song awesome. Comes on red vinyl and packaged in a gatefold cover with liner notes, as well as a separate lyric sheet. –Matt Average (A389, a398records.com)

Fight Back: 7”” EP
DC skinhead music that’s not bad musically. The lyrics are relatively well written, even if it is more of the same old flag-waving, right-wing bullshit that goes in hand with the style. They talk about giving respect to the soldiers who died in combat because they didn’t know they were going to fight a rich man’s war and then slag draft dodgers. Huh? Had those who died known they were fighting for the benefit of the rich and decided not to go, they’d have been draft dodgers, and hence asshole cowards, right? So, with that line of thinking, the only way they could possibly earn any honor is by dying in complete ignorance for the sole benefit of the wealthy. Taking a look at the pictures of the band, they look no older than 14. Just think, in four years you’ll be old enough to join the Marines and become cannon fodder for the next war, waving that flag and taking them bullets, completely oblivious to the fact that, no matter what the “cause,” no matter who the enemy is, the rich are the only ones who will ever gain anything from your “sacrifice.” Jesus, your fathers must be proud. –Jimmy Alvarado (Reality Clash)

Step Aside: CD
Stereotypical, uninspiring American oi stuff, meaning it pretty much blows. Included is their contribution to what is apparently becoming the mandatory post-9/11 pro-USA anthem genre, in this case a ditty called “Let’s Roll.” Thanks, but if I want mindless flag waving, I’ll turn on the evening news.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Reality Clash)

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