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Razorcake #87

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Record Reviews

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3-Dimensions: CD
Deke Dickerson has this sweet, resonating voice that he really knows how to use. This CD showcases his versatility of voice, as well as guitar across rock’n’roll, rockabilly, and hillbilly with about five songs dedicated to each of the three genres. He’s always reminded me a bit of Ricky Nelson, but with a little something more. Dickerson has the voice you could easily swoon over. I’m personally drawn to the rock’n’roll section more than the others, but the other sections follow closely behind. –Megan Pants (Major Label)

Between the Waking and the Dying: LP
Really diggin’ the whole death rock resurgence and this is a prime example why. Taking sonic cues from bands like early Death In June and VoodooChurch, things veer away from the now almost obligatory post-Sisters rock/metal and bass vocal trappings of goth and instead bathe in a female-fronted tribal gloom that recalls the best of L.A.’s dark, dank glory days. Broken Bottles once sang about a time “when gothic chicks were cool,” and Between the Waking and the Dying would’ve easily earned this band a prime spot on their playlist. –Jimmy Alvarado (Chaos Rurale, chaosrurale.com)

Flowers to Blossom: LP
Exceedingly chuffed to see these Canadian gloom-merchants have released another full-length. Following along the same lines as their last,Between the Waking and the Dying, this latest effort maybe tempers the aggressiveness of its predecessor by just a hair, but the band still knows how to lock into a groove and wield those loping post-punk bass and guitar lines with deadly precision. Normally, this sort of fare features heavily in my late-autumn listening, but this has managed to worm its way into a featured position into many a summer’s session. This comes highly recommended, with the suggestion that you start scrambling ‘cause it appears only a little over 330 copies exist.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Chaos Rurale)

Us Vs. Them: CD
Sleater-Kinney wannabees trying desperately to capture the sweet angst of the Corin/Carrie vocal play. And unlike the important relevance of S-K, this just sounds average and dated. –Kat Jetson (Lovitt)

The Fajita Monologues: CD
First thing that came to mind was this band sounds like the Monkees. The melodies are the key and they give me the same feeling I had when I first heard the Redd Kross record Third Eye. Bubblegum pop with multi-layered harmonies and a production that is super clean. Perfect soundtrack to a ‘70s romantic comedy for television. –Donofthedead (Lightning Bug)

The Fajita Monologues: CD
While it would be easy (and unfair) to dismiss these guys as a pop band with more than their share of ‘60s influence, one can hear a cornucopia of different bands and sounds in there, from the early work of the Who and the Byrds to later power pop darlings like the Quick, as well as a twinge of ‘80s paisley underground, and maybe even a little bit of the Dickies thrown into them multi-part harmonies as well. A tough dance it is these days to do this stuff effectively, but they manage to do so quite well. A glance at the songwriting credits indicates these guys (or at least their guitarist/vocalist J.R. Jones) have been slogging it out for at least twenty years, and it shows. Good stuff. –Jimmy Alvarado (Lightning Bug)

Self Decapitation: CD
Rootsy Americana with some punk thunk to give it some heft. Occasionally, it sounds like Leonard Cohen channeling Jelly Roll Morton, which ain’t a bad deal at all. –Jimmy Alvarado (voodoorhythm.com)

…Don’t Laugh: CD
If those of my friends who said, “I really like Delay,” had actually said, “I really think Jello Biafra should front a band that sounds like a lot of the pop punk bands from the late ‘90s/early ought years,” I probably wouldn’t have picked this up. –Megan Pants (Plan-It-X)

…Don’t Laugh: CD
This album has spunk, and it’s pretty possible that these guys are too young to catch the Mary Tyler Moore reference, so I won’t even bother (plus it’s not necessarily true). Aside from the overly dramatic lyrics, this is fun DIY pop punk. In the context of a crowded house show, I’m positive this band would be great, but when it comes to repeat listening, the lyrics and vocals really begin to annoy me. If the thought of a band somewhere between the Pink Razors and Defiance, OH really excites you, then you would probably dig this. –Daryl Gussin (Plan-It-X)

Jumpstart My Heart: CD
As I put this on, I hoped and prayed that their handle was some kind of piss-take on Tom DeLay’s name and that they were gonna be humorous in a cool and subversive way. Nope. Lame, collegy emo pop is the order of the day here. I found, though, that if you have sharp enough scissors to cut into the disc, it makes for a pretty good ninja star. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.midwestrock.org)

Plain Language: Cassette
With two particularly high-pitched singers and poppy punk songs, Delay might not be for everyone. But I don’t buy it. It takes a couple listens for Plain Language to really sink it, but once it does, these songs stay stuck in your head. So much so, that multiple times I’ve had to literally go put something on my stereo because I’ve been singing one of these songs to myself all day. Thoughtful lyrics range from the love of girls, the love of friends, and a general concern about life, and it’s my favorite record of the year. –Guest Contributor (Self-Released, vinyl soon on Salinas)

Plain Language: LP
Imagine a sped-up Weakerthans, with the high prairie Canadian cold being swapped out for a floating-on-air excitement. Perhaps a couple of balloons, for good measure. Fronted by two high-register twin brothers from Ohio, I get quick flashes of the wide-eye wonder of everything from early Redd Kross to Defiance, OH, and… well, it goes back to the Weakerthans. There’s a nice, supple poetic feel to the pretty straight-forward pop punk songs that gives them a gentle, heart-felt aura without them sounding like treacle or being overly slick. Sounds handcrafted and gentle without being precious. I like it. –Todd Taylor (Salinas)

Circle Change: LP
I nearly dismissed this record. Delay’s 2009 LP, Plain Language, features a slew of plucky pop punk gems that are all personal favorites alongside The Max Levine Ensemble’s OK Smartypants. But I was taken aback by Circle Change’s gut-wrenching, mid-tempo tonal shift. The opener, “Explanation,” contemplates personal insecurities (“I need to trust my own guts again instead of getting fucking high”) with some of the heaviest guitar tones the band has ever committed to vinyl. Each subsequent song is methodical, plodding, and painfully honest (“I want to fuck without feeling gutted”) with ‘90s indie and emo influences intermingled. (I’m hearing some definite Superchunk and Silkworm vibes.) Although I initially felt disconnected, I listened again—and again. I decided to re-listen to an early LP, Don’t Laugh, which is scrappy, chorus-driven punk, then Rushing Ceremony for the very first time: That’s when it finally clicked. Like an estranged friend, I foolishly assumed that Delay would be identical to how I remembered them back in 2009. After some catching up, they are both the band I missed as well as a moodier, more introspective group that is equally as memorable, if not superior to their previous sound. They have peeled back the pop punk artifices, leaving something raw and vulnerable. Delay is a friend who has grown up with or without you. Highly recommended. –Sean Arenas (Salinas)

Losing My Mind: CDEP
I’m not sure what to make of this one. There are moments during this five-song EP that remind me of early ‘80s bands like Hoodoo Gurus and The Smithereens. But then there are other moments, when they sound more like later ‘80s hair bands like Poison and Ratt. I think the problem is that the lead guitarist sounds like he wants to be in a pop-metal band, while the rest of the band want to be in a ‘77-era punk band. The songs are mediocre, but if they can clear up this confusion about who they want to sound like, I think they’ll be a lot more enjoyable. –brian (no label)

Self-titled: Cassette
If these cats don’t wear jumpsuits onstage I’m gonna be pissed. Never nostalgia for its own sake, but an updated approach: Deletions’ modus operandi is to meld herky-jerk rhythms and catchy vocal phrasing, which refer to new wave without outright aping it, filtered through sheets of glitch. Usually music which nods to the past like this takes a similar production approach to its predecessor, but here the audio is decidedly lo-fi, adding an unclean edge. Great stuff, especially for fans of Devo and the A-Frames. –Michael T. Fournier (deletions.bandcamp.com)

Filmezza: CD
The bio for this release from Delicate Noise states, “warm and sentimental songs wash in and out with lullaby-like melodies, augmented with disembodied voices of children playing.” And while I like the sound of the first part I wasn’t real down with the “disembodied voices of children playing.” That’s mainly because, while I love my nephew, I don’t like a lot of other kids and to hear them on various tracks saying things repeatedly as it’s synced with a repetitive beat just kept reminding me of when little kids say “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” repeatedly until they get their mom’s attention. Except, in the case of this album, I couldn’t tell what the kids were saying. I’ll admit, as someone who doesn’t want children, I’m probably the worst possible person to review this. That being said, this album would’ve been a lot better if it had just been the music and not any vocal accompaniment at all (child or otherwise). And by better, I mean for someone who actually likes electronica music. I’m probably the worst possible person to review this for that reason, too. –Kurt Morris (Lens)

Self-titled: CD
I’ll start with the disclaimer that none of this is in English, and I personally have struggled with more than one intro language course. That said, I think this is either Finnish or Polish, and for the first ten seconds it sounds like weird Sonic Youth worship until it turns into yelling-lady anarcho metal. This is made funnier by the fact that according to internet searching, a Delicje is some sort of chocolate cookie biscuit. Again, I don’t know how to make the connection, but it’s interesting, for sure! –Joe Evans III (No Pasaran)

Do the Uncle Willy: CD
A reissue of a 1989 collection featuring selected tracks from this Childish-related vocal group’s first two albums, as well as the obligatory unreleased gem or two. As with their later incarnation as Thee Headcoatees, the emphasis is on punkified ‘60s rock and, as with that band, the music is top-notch. –Jimmy Alvarado (Get Hip)

…Are Your Girlfriend’s Favorite Band: 7”
I had to call upon nearly all of my grit reserve to take this off the turntable. And that’s despite the moderately pedantic Kiss cover that opens the B-side. The other two tunes show that they’ve got the goods, though, and their jester mentality makes me take them all the more seriously—rocking tunes and jokes! It’s like having beer and deer jerky! –The Lord Kveldulfr (Sonico)

“Panic” b/w “Uptown Lover”: 7”

Little bitty guitars doing a rapid-fire ding-ding-ding-ding-ding-ding-ding inside my skull like mice with jackhammers, vocals that sound like they’re coming out of the mouth of a Strawberry Shortcake® doll without pupils, and a drummer who left his cymbals in the gig bag out by the dumpster and couldn’t care less about retrieving them. Although “Panic” is clearly labeled parenthetically as the “single,” it’s the also-helpfully-denoted “demo,” “Uptown Lover,” that had me doing a double-take ((on the completely unexpected line “I’m a sex-crazed dope fiend!”, no less)). I think the word for which we’re all striving here is “keen!” BEST SONG: “Uptown Lover” BEST SONG TITLE: “Panic” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Recorded on Guy Fawkes’ Night ((uncredited))!

–Rev. Norb (Thread Pull, threadpullrecords.com)

They Found My Naked Corpse Face Down in the Snow: 7” EP
Angry, noisy hardcore with oodles of violent lyrical imagery and mile-long song titles a la Charles Bronson. –Jimmy Alvarado (Grey Sky)

Self-titled: 7”
If you’re hearing this music, you are one of three places: a fucked up junkie warehouse with a practice space, some shit hole where you can smell the urinal from your seat at the bar, or working next to this girl who I used to work with and her GG/Mentors tape has just finished and this is the next thing to come on. Super lo-fi, what I call “Three F’s” punk. The three F’s are of course “fucking,” “fighting,” and... um… “finding and then doing drugs.” Tolerable moments are the Fear and Supercharger covers. –Steveo (Die Slaughterhouse)

Piss on Your Wounds: Cassette
Some current DC hardcore—fast and earnest and angry. Every song an epithet— lashing out at falseness and weakness—in personal life and broader humanity alike. It owes a lot to classic hardcore with its slam pit-centric, speedy riffs and pounding drums. I’d like to see them change it up a bit and add a few more elements to their songs, but if you just want fast and angry, you’ll find a bunch of that here. –Craven (self-released, jamesdoubek@gmail.com)

Self Inductance: Cassette
Some nasty d-beat hardcore. Primal, gasping, deep-throat vocals, beefy metallic guitar, maniacal drums. Demands lists Agnostic Front and Deaththreat as influences, but it reminds me more of the fastcore of lore, think of an über bro’d-out Vitamin X. Feel like punching the world in the face but your existential self is just too sloth to give a fuck? This might be your soundtrack. –Camylle Reynolds (Self-released)

Hellbilly Storm: CD
Hooray. Yippie. Huzzah. Yawn. This album from the debatable progenitors of psychobilly is one of the better psychobilly comeback endeavors; their musicianship has been honed and perfected but their voices sound just a tad tired. Demented Are Go is still doing the mutant zombie demon gore thing, but there are a few exciting treats that are just so good I’m almost in favor of this album. Although the lyrics are still about getting drunk, gore, skating and the bourgeois, some of the music is just so damn catchy. Now if there were just a little more. –Jessica Thiringer (Hepcat)

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