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Razorcake #87

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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Barking of the Dogs of War: CD
Some Portland punks opt for the traditional English-influenced anarcho-hardcore route and wind up with so-so results. They’re pretty much on the mark with recreating the sound, but their reliance on the oomPAHoomPAHoomPAH beat causes the songs to blend together into an uninteresting mush. Maybe next time. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.hardcoreholocaust.com)

Get Out: 7” EP
Nice, hook-laden pop with nasal, amateurish vocals. Despite a singer who dances on the ugly side of a fine line between endearing and downright annoying, I found myself won over by the drony guitar lead in “Guest House.” I’ll grudgingly recommend it, but don’t come howlin’ to me if you decide it ain’t quite up to yer lofty standards. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dogbreth, dogbreth.bandcamp.com)

Pure Hate: 7”
Do you remember a time when thrash didn’t equal metal? I do, and I can guarantee that Dogends do, too. This E.P. dishes out the flipped hat skate thrash like it was 1985. I’d go out and bust a boneless one on the curb if my back didn’t spasm at the thought of it! Oh well, I’ll keep listening to this and dream about when I could still skate. Good job, boys! –Ty Stranglehold (Flat Black)

Sarcazo Politikal: CD
An entire album of this is just not acceptable! The main instrument? Harmonica. The singing style? More said than sung. The lyrics? Sorta political. Joke check? Not sure. But the last song, “Punk Rock Taught Me How to Sew,” is hilarious, and is definitely a joke. And it includes people shouting, “Cross-stitch! Needlepoint!” Punk rock! If this were a cereal, the last song would be Quisp. Silly! But the rest would be Urkel O’s—more annoying than funny. –Maddy (self-released?)

Diggin’ at the Doghouse: CD
The good: A few members of some better known groups (namely the Blasters and the Cramps) get together to mine some choice rootsy sounds that sound more informed by the dark, swamp-soaked bluesy glory of bands like early Gun Club and Poison 13 than their own back catalogues. The bad: The sequencing of the tracks is such that the lion’s share of the moodier pieces are within the first six tracks and the Texas-steeped floor scorchers are within the last six, making for a release that (dunno if it’s intentional or not) is more like two different releases than a cohesive whole. The relief: Hitting “random” on the CD player fixes up that last issue quite nicely. –Jimmy Alvarado (Ratchet Blade)

Faster Side of Normal: CD
You know sometimes when a CD is so bad that it’s good again? Well, unfortunately, this disc isn’t one of those. There aren’t really any redeeming qualities to this release. The cover and liner text are all so blurry they gave me a headache to look at them. The CD, though, has ten songs of plodding bar rock fodder with titles like “Bitch,” “Show Me How You Dance” and “Go to Hell.” To be fair, these guys look and sound like a bar band that might be playing in your local watering hole and they probably get the crowd tipping the bartender pretty good. That doesn’t much make for an interesting CD, though. –Garrett Barnwell (Banned, no address)

Fearless: CD

Dirty, bluesy punk’n’roll. No bueno. Ridiculously cheesy songwriting with all of those old street punk hooks that got boring the second time you heard them. “Melody” that barely shifts notes: verse to chorus to verse then, inevitably, an incredibly predictable guitar solo. The musicianship isn’t bad, but I’m completely uninterested in listening to a weaker, less intense version of Zeke. Grade: D. 

–Bryan Static (Manta Ray)

Slow to Build: LP
Three-piece from Olympia with two women up front, layering on perfect punk wails. Just the right fuzzy bass tone and dingy guitar, like wet leaves on the ground in the woods. And when it gears up, goddamn, it’s like taking off running, or feeling your hair blow backwards. To call this wild would make it sound feral and sloppy; to call it free would make it sound too airy. All I can say is that it has a certain intangible something that makes mixing late ‘80s Northwestern punk with early 2000s hippie crust sound new, exciting, and real –CT Terry (Rumbletowne, rumbletowne.com)

Split: LP
Both bands are part of Olympia’s sprawling punk scene that also includes RVIVR, Sharkpact, and Prank War. Dogjaw shouldn’t be confused with their more pop punk peers, as their songs are sludgy with grunge-esque riffs and delightfully raw production. Dogjaw’s half begins with “Dragon,” which features a brooding guitar melody and an ambling drumbeat. The dual female vocals softly chime in and steadily become more powerful until erupting into a faster beat. The lyrics are open to interpretation with lines like, “With every move the wave reaches out” and “Inside myself I see the tide.” The second track, “Cast Beyond,” is marred by the fact that its vocal melody is almost identical to the first track. That’s the overall issue with Dogjaw’s contribution—the music is varied but the vocals can become gratingly repetitive. The third track, “Tides,” is an overly long instrumental. Agatha’s songs rock. If I skated, I would blast these jams in my earbuds. The vocals are biting and maintain a level of intensity that is a punch to the gut while the pace remains blistering throughout. The lyrics are more overtly political with memorable lines like, “Kissing doesn’t kill and silence equals death. I’ll say it again because us queers forget.” The songs sometimes verge on “fuck the system” lyrical simplicity, but never go off the deep end into becoming cliché. Luckily, Agatha makes up for any setbacks by raging across all four tracks. –Sean Arenas (Rumbletowne, punks@rumbletown.com)

“Gimme the Shakes” b/w “20 Flight Rock”: 7”
Having not known a whole lot about the Dogmatics catalog, I was surprised to find this in the mail, considering this is a band that’s almost thirty years old now. Turns out it’s a re-release of a single originally put out in 1984. For the uninitiated, the Dogmatics were a seminal Boston punk rock/rock’n’roll band. Side A is a simple, straightforward toe-tappin’ rock’n’roll song with a heavy dose of harmonica. B side is a rockabilly jingle that sounds like the kind of number the young rooster would sing to woo the hens, much to the dismay of Foghorn Leghorn in Banty Raids. Even though these two songs are enjoyable, with being played at 45 speed and with the big hole in the middle, they come and go awfully fast. This was made to be played for a dime in the jukebox at Arnold’s. However, with the inflated price of vinyl today, I’m not sure this is an essential for anyone except the most dedicated Dogmatics devotees. –Jeff Proctor (Ramo)

Self-titled: 3-Song 7” EP
Wow, this is a lot more motivated than I thought it’d be. It’s a re-issue from 1978. “Slash Your Face” starts a little surfy, and then breaks into a groove which is often reminiscent of Hollywood’s The Cheifs. Hard-boiled, middle/fast tempo roiling bass. Siren to stagger to slash guitar. A drummer that pounds in a way that both controls the tempo and provides the spine. The vocals come by way of early Iggy; the voluptuary screams and spastic wiggles. The last song, when Mary sings backups, sounds like Nikki and the Corvettes, only if they’d ran into a brick wall. Super fine re-issue. Sounds fresh 20 years plus after the fact. –Todd Taylor (Dionysus)

Suburban Nightmare: CD
Everyone’s favorite LA-by-way-of-Detroit proto-punk band resurfaces with some top-notch rock’n’roll. It’s rare when a band manages to release an album of new material that can stand up to their “essential” efforts of the past, and this is such a case. The songs are strong, the band sounds like it hasn’t aged a day, and the whole thing manages not to sound dated in the least. Crank it up and prove to your mom that people her age can, indeed, bring the rock. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dionysus)

Fed Up: CD
Never knew much about this band prior to their post-KBD-appearance popularity and I still don’t know much. What I do know is that they kicked out some grade-A MC5/Stooges jams way back before it was the cool, hip thing to do and that these tracks blow damn near any modern band claiming that style outta the water. Most of the bands whose records fetch a pretty penny these days are undeserving. These guys are an exception. Great, rockin’ shit. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dionysus)

Revival of Species: CD
Soap up that ‘hawk and throw on that greasy spiked leather ‘cause it’s time for the real deal. Dogsflesh are flying the flag of British punk rock in the vein of The Exploited, Varukers, or Charged G.B.H. Pissed off and relentless, they are going to have their say and make you hear it. Fuck the war! Fuck the politicians! Amazingly fresh sounding. A lot of those old bands are still out their slogging it, but Dogsflesh are bringing the goods. I’ve gotta go smash something now! –Ty Stranglehold (Unrepentant)

Terrosimso: CD
Six-song split with two U.K. bands. Both have a legit old school punk sound. Dogtown Rebels offer up three songs. It sounds like Clash and Ramones-style hooks sang with a bro-y Brit drawl. Destructors pick up the pace a bit with their three songs. Lots of 1-4-5 chord progressions, steady drums, and snotty lyrics to match. It’s not bad.  –Camylle Reynolds (Rowdy Farrago)

Mind the Gap: CD
The two things I thought while listening to this is D-Generation and the Adicts meets the Dead Kennedys. Kind of trashy rock’n’punk meets melodic U.K. ‘82 with theatrics. Not too overproduced, but tight in musicianship. Kind of out of the box at times but that’s what keeps things interesting. –Donofthedead (Cultjam)

Kourallinen Lihakirveita: Cassette
In case you couldn’t tell from the title, this tape is fourteen tracks of Finnish hardcore/punk with lyrics all in Finnish. Some songs veer into parts that have a bit of a post-punk feel, but, for the most part, this is just solid, dark, Finnish hardcore. Fans of the style will wanna be all over this release by Dokumentia.  –Mike Frame (Paalaus)

Self-titled: LP
Dolarhyde play really well crafted pop punk and would have been massive had they come out in 1997. The obvious RIYLs still come into play, including NOFX and Pennybridge Pioneers-era Millencolin. All the songs on this record have their own unique sound and style, and all the vocals melodies are distinct, avoiding the pitfalls of the soaring, whiny vocals that turn me off of most pop punk. I’m not a fan of the style, but this actually won me over. This is a solid debut full length. –Ian Wise (State Of Mind)

Culturama: CD
Another faceless, Fat-clone punk band releases another faceless, Fat-clone punk album to stoke the flames of history’s ash heap. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dolf, facebook.com/dolfpun)

And the Horse They Rode in on: CD
William Randolph Hearst once declared that a cover photo of a child, a dog, or a pretty girl was all he needed to sell newspapers. The Dollarstore Cowboys take this lesson to heart, slappin’ on their CD cover a young cowpoke vixen with her shorts zipped down just a inch shy of her snatch. Yeehaw! Although they unintentionally cribbed the album title from Soul Asylum, And the Horse They Rode in on is a rockin’ debut complete with the usual cowpunk accruements; the Tacoma, Washington band proudly boasts of their white trash (damn, this scene is in need of some new buzzwords) heritage, greasy hair, and allegiance to all things trashy and dumb. To their credit, they have their Eddie Cochran cum Stray Cats licks down pat (“How Long You Wanna Live Anyway?) and dutifully pay homage to the Man in Black (“Folsom Prison Blues”). Original tracks like “Off the Wagon” are reminiscent of the Supersuckers at their honky tonk best while “Bowling Alley Blitz” sounds like Zeke at half the speed. –eric (Infect)

Self-titled: 7"
Very ‘70s-sounding (in both delivery and production), overdriven punk rock’n’roll that sounds to me like a weird cross between the Runaways and the Electric Eels. "Sevens," the B-side, is pretty darn catchy. Not too shabby. –Jimmy Alvarado (Get Hip, PO Box 666, Canonsburg, PA 15317)

Cold Cinder: 7"
This is wondrously wild distorted audial depravation at its most mindwarping and disruptive best. Dollicious are clamorously comparable to a cranked-to-the-max over-amped Who frantically fronted by Theo Lunachick (and toss in the occasional spooky strains of a theremin's wavy-gravy eeriness for added incendiary effect). Man, this is deliciously decadent, aurally belligerent, and nefariously noisy beyond belief... I've repeatedly rotated it until I can no longer hear myself think (it's that damn addictive, folks!). Please, Dollicious, tell me there's gonna be more... –Roger Moser Jr. (Get Hip, PO Box 666, Canonsburg, PA 15317; <http://www.gethip.com> or Dollicious, 39 Newcourt House, Pott St, Bethnal Green, London E2 0EG, UK)

Halos & Horns: CD
This was an impulse buy. My cousin who works for a big recording studio told me about this. He told me that this was brilliant! Brilliant?!? That peaked my curiosity. I am one not to appreciate country music. I think of it as top forty music with a twang in the vocals. At least that is what modern country sounds like to me. I do like Dolly Parton’s song “Jolene,” which was covered with perfection by the band Strawberry Switchblade back in the '80s. I was at Best Buy anyway, buying some blank discs for the computer when I saw this out of the corner of my eye. I grabbed it and said what the hell. I was there to also pick up the new Tracy Chapman. The first thing I noticed on the package when I got home is that she is doing a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” That alone makes it a great purchase. Can’t wait to hear it. I popped the sucker on to hear the stripped down, old school country I remember hearing as a child back in the '70s. Very rootsy and not annoying like the overblown pop that passes as country these days. I discover another cover in this release and it’s Bread’s “If.” I didn’t recognize it at first, but I knew I had heard it somewhere. A brief search on the internet rewards my curiosity. I forward through the CD to “Stairway to Heaven.” Here is a song that I could not stand listening to because of how much it was on the radio and being played by students when I was in junior high and high school. They were teaching the song to the guitar students too. I would hear it everywhere. The only time I enjoyed it was the times I would see Dread Zeppelin play it. They took it as their own and made you believe it was theirs. The same with Dolly. She adds her beautiful voice and rearranges the song to make it her own. It's old school, in the way that people appreciate Johnny Cash. I can’t believe I bought this but I can’t say that I made a mistake.
–Donofthedead (Sugar Hill)

Eat My Heart Out: CD
Eat My Heart Out is bursting at the seams with an assault of yeah-yeahs, crunching guitars, heavy handclaps, and soaring, sugary harmonies. Able to melt tired punk rock hearts in a single bound! L.A.’s version of Sahara Hotnights got me to love them forever and it only took an instant. –Kat Jetson (Panic Button)

Eat My Heart Out: CD
I saw The Dollyrots rock the house at the Anarchy Library back in April. At the time, they didn’t have anything released. I figured I’d keep my eyes open for any future releases. When this showed up at Razorcake, I grabbed it, listened to it once when I got home, and my wife promptly stole it from me. It’s okay. I like this album, but she loves it. It’s on almost every time I get into her car. I think I’m going to go deaf from turning on my wife’s car and hearing the Dollyrots pushing the speakers to the limit. Eat My Heart Out is well-done, female-fronted pop punk that has all the requisite traces of Nikki and the Corvettes and the Bobbyteens. “Kick Me to the Curb” gets the album rolling with the right mix of breaking hearts and shaking hips. Songs like “Jackie Chan” and “Wreckage” are tight little balls of energy. I don’t think anyone could listen to “Penny” all the way through without singing along to the chorus. And, finishing it all off is a cool cover of “Be My Baby.” This is a solid debut album all the way through. I can’t wait to steal it back. –Sean Carswell (Panic Button)

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