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Razorcake #84
Tim Version, Ordinary Life LP + bonus 7"
Radon, 28 LP
Zisk #25
Razorcake #83

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Record Reviews

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Away Away: CD
The first thing that crossed my mind is that this band must have named themselves after the fake trailer from Death Proof. Seems like the press kit would write itself…” If you—are thinking—of ignoring—this—band—DON’T!” Anyway, this is ten songs of moody post punky stuff from Portland, featuring ex-members of The Wipers and NapalmBeach. There is no way to get around it. The band sounds a lot like Sleater Kinney, which is just fine by me. Pretty good stuff overall that also veers into kind of Signal Lost territory from time to time –Mike Frame (Red Eyed Rabbit)

“89” b/w “Dead End Drive”: 7”
Portland four-piece made up of three old dudes and a lady who provides whiny, Bif Naked-esque vocals. Trashy rock’n’roll, but not in an intentional or campy way. Their cover of “Ghost on the Highway” sounds just as shitty as the songs they wrote themselves.  –Alanna Why (Dead Broke, deadbrokerec@gmail.com, deadbrokerekords.com)

Five: CDEP
If someone tells me that they want to hear The Doughboys, I’m gonna slap on some Big Drill Car, fuck you very much. Same goes for this band if someone has a request with their name on it. –Designated Dale (Nitro)

Five: CDEP
They tricked me for the first twenty seconds. A rock’n’roll intro of the Runaways kind. Ahhh, but then they turn into the latest Sum 182 rip-off. –Megan Pants (Nitro)

Five: CD single
This is not my thing, but if it is yours, you should buy it. It’s well-done melodic, emotional pop punk. These guys are good musicians and their songs are well done. I could very well see these guys being on the Warped tour. They would fit in perfect. –Mike Beer –Guest Contributor (Nitro)

Je Suis Radio (split): CD
The Destructors are one of those ‘70s bands that simply will not stop playing and putting out releases ranging from decent to classic. Their four songs included here are a healthy mix of their initial ‘77 sound with a pinch of hardcore thrown in. Don’t Look Down is another high quality British band, although one of their contributions to this split almost kills the whole project. They decided to record a semi-cover, semi-tribute to the classically shitty 1980s radio hit “People Are People,” which manages to be even shittier than the already atrocious Depeche Mode song. I suppose out-shitting notoriously bad Euro-pop is some sort of a cultural achievement in its own right. –Art Ettinger (Rowdy Farrago, destructors666.com)

Los Dias de Junio: CD
The press one-sheet describes this as “a carefully constructed album with equal parts of minimalist swell and swirling tension of sound, providing each instrument in the texture plenty of space.” It goes on to say the band is “determined to make you calm and disturbed at the same time.” Well, I’ve got to say their determination has won out, ’cause I’m calmly certain that I am no fan of the emo-drenched art-rock crap they’re peddlin’ and I’m disturbed that it may somehow taint my CD player in such a way that my Adolescents CDs will sound like Piebald from this point forward or something. Wait.... Nope, Tony and the boys still sound as glorious as ever. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.moonleerecords.com)

Versus the Beast: CD
I get the eerie chills of listening to the Suburban Lawns, X-Ray Spex and Lene Lovich, but all at the same time. When I’m ready to shoot something down, a band puts me in my place. –Donofthedead (Noise Maker)

: Split 7”
A new release from Turkey Baster Records, who I don’t remember seeing anything from for a while after their Texas punk output in the late ‘90s. Both bands play lo-fi garage stuff of the sort that Mortville Records used to release. –Mike Frame (Turkey Baster)

Self-titled: 7” EP
Straightforward, charging, mid-tempo punk with enough of a nod to the past to sound familiar but well footed in the here and now. Think Hex Dispensers in a sullen mood. –Jimmy Alvarado (no address)

Blow Your Soul: CD
Doombuggy have flawlessly constructed the ultimate high-voltage power-rock release with the ear-crumplin’ audial wonder that is Blow Your Soul. It’s hard-rockin’ yet melodious, primal yet well-polished, aggressive and intimidating yet smooth, impeccable, and solidly structured. The boyish barroom-brawlin’ vocals, crunchy powerchord-driven guitar rhythms, solar flare eruptions of soaring skin-tinglin’ leads, monstrous spine-snappin’ bass rumblings, and thunder-hoofed herd of buckin’ bronco drum-bashin’ frenzy all add up to one helluva skull-crackin’ wallop of road-travellin’ rock’n’roll rowdiness. It’s as if The Who, MC5, Cheap Trick, D-Generation, and a meaner leaner Matthew Sweet were vigorously swallowed whole by Godzilla and then gruffly regurgitated in a fiery fit of full surround-sound fury. Man oh man, Doombuggy sure know how to plug it in, crank it up, and robustly blast the shingles off the roof! This is cacophonously beyond compare... –Roger Moser Jr. (P22/Atom Smash)

Self-titled: LP
On occasion, I’m fine with bands fucking with expectations, as long as it doesn’t feel like they’re laughing at, or behind the backs, of the listener. It also doesn’t hurt if the band doesn’t come across as masturbatatorial pretentious instead of involved in intrepid songwriting. Doomhawk play long-ass songs (four long ones, one short one on a 33 RPM 12” LP) that genre-skip from circus metal to electronica to disco to orchestral to spoken Speak-n-Spell to ska to industrial to gypsy to Hobbit vs. Orc to Middle Eastern whathaveyou. Granted, it’s not every day or every-type-of-situation music for me, but it’s got a nice heft and grit to it, even in the quieter parts. My depth of knowledge is shallow with this type of stuff, but I’d say fans of Praxis, Smegma, and the “getting right with the earth” magick set would like it instantly. –Todd Taylor (Rumbletowne)

Greenwood Park Mall: CD
Rhino recently reissued pretty much every album X ever recorded with bonus tracks at $11.99 list. That’s not to say that this record is bad, but you really should listen to Wild Gift or Under the Big Black Sun before picking this up so you know where it comes from. –Puckett (Plan-It-X)

Vices: CD
Well, I guess it’s about time I have an opinion on this band one way or the other. I met the Dopamines once. They were playing the back patio of a bar in San Antonio and I told one of the Jons how my friend wanted to come down because he loved the line “drink a little sake and get a little cocky.” The Jon looked me at me, pondered seriously for a moment, and tried to remember if that was actually a lyric that they really sang at one point. This anecdote illustrates the ridiculous, but forgettable, quality about the early parts of their discography. The earlier records had moments that stand as great pop punk moments, where others stand in mediocrity. If I put money on it, I would probably say this is the best thing I’ve ever heard by them. As someone who’s been watching them since their debut years ago, this is the first records of theirs that I could see coming back to more than half a dozen times. For the longest time, it had to do with the fact that the Copyrights filled the same basic functions as the Dopamines, but I think this album marks the official point where I can really say that a band can sound like the Dopamines or The Copyrights, with clear distinguishing marks between the two. –Bryan Static (It’s Alive, itsaliverecords.com)

Split: 7”
Dopamines: The Copyrights have made a crater in the middle of the United States. I’m not saying The Dopamines are stuck in that crater. I’m saying that they’re looking at that crater and going, “Fuck… dude…” looking at the immensity of it. It’s the strange majesty of a big previous penetration. Some people will commemorate it by putting a sticker on their car, signifying that they, too, saw that fuckin’ crater. The Dopamines went into the studio, with the residue of that crater in their minds, and they sat down to write two pretty, simple songs—one of forlorn pop punk and another with that and a dash of folk punk—while not being as weepy, contrived, or as bad as that may sound. I like it. Till Planes: Take this from a dude who’s never written a song in his life. These songs are a little premature, where I can almost hear “what’s next?” a couple of times before there’s a chord change, tempo change, or lyric. There are good bits, and I’m interested what they’ll develop into, but, right now, it feels like I’m sitting in a car with someone who’s learning to drive stick for the first time and they have to pause each time to find the right gear while a medley of early Hot Water Music and At The Drive-In is playing on the stereo. –Todd Taylor (It’s Alive / Soapy Hands)

Split: 7”
Dopamines: First time hearing them on record, pretty standard, rough/Midwest style pop punk, with one straight forward song, and one acoustic-then-way-loud song. It’s okay. Till Plains: First time hearing of them, ever. Kind of like a noodle-y indie rock band, but with a faster/harder attack. –Joe Evans III (It’s Alive/Soapy Hand)

Split: 7”
The Dopamines play poppy Midwestern sing-a-long punk, that sounds to me like it could have been the long lost third side to the Digger/Weston Wilkum to Pennsylvania split 7”. Competently played, with perhaps a bit of spit polish, a busy bass line intersects peppy guitar that occasionally breaks into well-timed chugga chugga starts and stops while cue-the-background-vocals come in to save the day. This is the kind of thing that the 1996 me would have eaten up. 2009 me is looking for a little bit more than what the Dopamines have to offer here. Sharing the 7” with the Dopamines is Till Plains, who, like the Dopamines, are from Ohio, and also recall bits of ‘90s pop punk, though with a bit more depth, channeling The Jack Palance Band before meandering off into Hot Water Music territory. The two Till Plains songs here foretell potentially interesting future offerings from the band, and help carry some of the weight to give this 7” a passing grade. And it comes on a nice slab of blue marble vinyl, too. –Jeff Proctor –Guest Contributor (It’s Alive)

Split : 7”
The Dopamines play fast, catchy, gruff-voiced punk rock. Their two songs here are pretty cool. Till Plains have more of an At The Drive-In feel. They’re okay. Worth it for the Dopamines side, for sure. –Ryan Horky (It’s Alive)

Self-titled: CD-R EP
Six-song debut from this Cincinnati power trio: solid punk rock, vocals you can hear with actual melodies attached. This is a demo recorded in someone’s basement. But it actually sounds pretty decent. These dudes are on the right road. Oddly though, one of the band member’s last name is not Dopamine? Why? –Sean Koepenick (Drastic)

Self-titled: CD
Building on the promise of their debut CD-R, this Cincy three piece delivers the bacon on their full length debut. “Fun Tags” and “The $50,000 Cigarette” rock with reckless abandon. I don’t know who Dan Teets is, but he should bow down and kiss the ground that these dudes walk on for writing a song about them. I hope Jon Weiner’s forehead has recovered from Insubordination Fest 2008. Go see ‘em live and ask him.  –Sean Koepenick (It's Alive)

Self-titled: CD
I threw this on while sitting on the back porch with my roommate. About thirty seconds into each song, one of us would say, “Wait...this is ripping off (fill in some name or another).” It’s one thing for that to happen once or twice, but it was every song on the entire album, and not just a riff here or a line there, but we were fully singing other songs on top of theirs—cadence, melody, everything fit. I’m not sure if it was a strange homage (especially to Toys That Kill on the second track, “Molly”—there’s no way it could just happen to be that close) or just blatant stealing. And, I do understand that pop punk is a well-traveled path with lots of familiarities between bands the more you listen to it, but there are tons of bands out there throwing in their own twists to make it their own. It’s not that I don’t like this, actually I do, but I just wish it had a bit more (or really, any) of its own voice.  –Megan Pants (It's Alive)

Self-titled: CD
It’s like a calculus equation. Scratch that. It’s like simple math. (DIY, non-Warped, non-hair product) pure strain pop punk = girls + bubblegum + varying degrees of Ramones +/- Beach Boys. Some recurring variables have popped up in the ‘00s. Sickness, snot, more drugs. (And the Queers/Screeching Weasel abacuses.) At the top of the ledger are the considerable likes of The Copyrights, and on the edges (incorporating more than just a pure strain, which, history shows, will make them more resistant) are Off With Their Heads, Dear Landlord, Banner Pilot, and The Chinese Telephones. The Dopamines know the confining walls of pop punk well, and instead of contentedly stuffing the listener into a small box, tinkering with thread-bare riffs, and clumsily figuring how the male end of one cliché fits slides into the female end, they sound like they’re having the times of their lives, playing to a sweaty basement of wigging-out friends. That energy and the precision how they play make this record a fun, strong listen.  –Todd Taylor (It's Alive)

The Soap and Lampshades: 7”
When I opened this record, a tiny piece of paper dropped out. It said, in six-point font, “This record was stuffed by matt lame of SUCIDIE!! See SUCIDIE LIVE with guest guitarist Larry Livermore at the Insubordination Records Fest…” The lowly record stuffer strikes back, turning punk rock shit work into an unusual method of band promotion! Could other shit workers employ similar tactics? What if the next time you bought a pack of socks, instead of a sticker saying, “Inspected by #4,” it said, “Check out my dad’s auto shop at 1215 Main St.” or maybe it could just say, “I hate this job. Think about it. Putting something into something else for hours? Really.” So, thank you Matt Lame for stuffing this Copyrights-influenced record! The more I listen to it, the more I like it. It’s got a bit of a Teenage Bottlerocket sound (without the ridiculous lyrics and not as catchy), but I imagine that this is the sort of record that I end up liking more a few months later. It this were a cereal, it’d be Frosted Flakes. You start off thinking that there are probably a lot of other better cereals, and, in fact, there are, but once you’re eating it, you think, “Hey, this is actually really good!” –Maddy (Cold Feet)

Expect the Worst: CD
These dudes are like the Gallo wine of punk rock. With the passing of time, they just get better and better. Orson Welles would be stoked. Great songs, cool song titles, and hummable melodies stock this record up to the brim. “Public Domain” sports a great chorus while I’m hoping “Dick Simmons” is about a certain asshole bass player. But maybe not. There are two songs about dates, so you know these guys are pretty deep. And “3244” is the best number song since “2541.” So go out and buy this when you see them on tour, which I will be doing next week. –Sean Koepenick (Paper & Plastick)

Vices: CD
Man, so many people are loving this band. There’s no way you can please everybody, but here’s what I’m hearing personally: Vices has a more than passing similarity to Make Sound-era Copyrights, if ye ask me, if a bit brighter (they’ve one guitarist versus two), as well as being more nimble and a bit more frantic. (I know the bands have done a split together, and I’m sure they’re sick of the comparison. Sorry, guys.) Vices is also a clear continuation of their previous records. The songs are lean and wire-tight, the lyrics—a big plus in my book—are literate and whip-smart and snagged with more than a little doubt and self-loathing. Ten songs, with not of them one over the three-minute mark (and many of them closer to one). It’s a concise album, no fat on it, with just the right tinge of desperation that, if it’s not intentional, is a hell of a lucky mistake. Nice work. –Keith Rosson (It’s Alive)

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