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Razorcake #92
Spokenest, Gone, Gone, Gone LP
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Record Reviews

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Universe: LP
I’m a complete sucker for a hook, and this LP by Houston’s Far Out has so many catchy hooks that I don’t think I could possibly dislike this if I tried. These guys blend straight-up pop mixed with punk sensibilities in a way most bands don’t get right... but Far Out got it right. Any comparison I make will not do this record justice, but imagine a less crooning and slightly more punk Smoking Popes with a depreciated sense of self worth and a worldview so gently dismal and narcissistic that it paints a sugary yet bleak picture of hopelessness for the future without forcefully ramming it down your throat. Not exactly being a ray-of-eternal-sunshine kind of guy myself, I can relate to this, and therefore I immediately connected with this record. Aesthetically inconspicuous in that the record doesn’t have the band’s name (or any text for that matter) anywhere on the cover, I predict this will be inadvertently overlooked, which is a damn shame because it’s really, really fucking good. Recommended.  –Mark Twistworthy (Honeygold, faroutuniverse.bandcamp.com)

Another Day at the Office: CD
Man, these guys can't tell if they want to be a run-of-the-mill oi band or a lackluster thrash band. You've got your standard street rock fare here making up the bulk of the record, coupled with the occasional speedier, harsher number. Either way, it's consistent in its dullness, but at least the accents are sincere. Pretty much yawnsville all around, sorry. –Guest Contributor (Step-1)

The Thorns: 7” EP
A marriage of gothic gloom, shoegazey echo ‘n’ howl, and the more experimental of the early skronk-punk tribe. Oddly catchy, they somehow get their hooks into you and drag you down a dark road you ain’t really sure you wanna go, but end up all the better for it. This would’ve easily fit into Subterranean’s “classic” catalogue thirty years ago, which is no small compliment. –jimmy (HoZac)

Anthology 1997-98: CD
The musician in me says, “Jeezly crow, these guys can play the fuck outta their instruments.” All sortsa noodling, time signature changes, dynamics and such are smooshed into every song. The punker in me says, “Jeezly crow, I wish there was some fuggin’ ‘edge’ to their delivery.” I kept expecting the songs to build and then kick into overdrive, but that sadly never happened. In the end, I felt pretty much the same way I do about most prog rock: impressive playin’, but the end result makes me drift off in contemplation of my shoes and their place in the universe. –jimmy (Dischord)

The View From This Tower: CD
Disjointed, taut, noisy pop with some serious jazz leanings. They were a little reminiscent of the Minutemen, albeit without the good sense to know when to end a song. –jimmy (Dischord)

If Not Why Not?: CD
Serious nerd-out from 29 Palms, CA. First track: “Grammarchy,” a discourse on language to the tune of “Anarchy in the UK” (barely). Others include “Who’s Got Time to Build Infrastructure?”, “Here is a Cake,” “Bela Lugosi Loves Honky-Tonkin’” and “If the Egges Don’t Cooke.” It’s a huge mess of samples, talking, countless musical styles, and goofy nuttiness. Brings to mind the stuff on Eerie Materials, a label that put out scads of weird homemade weirdness (is it still around?), or maybe a Negativland-obsessed Sockeye. Must get pretty boring out there in the desert. (Incidentally, I saw another Farces Wanna Mo CD at the Children’s Hospital thrift store yesterday. I didn’t buy it.) –Cuss Baxter (My X-Lover)

: CD
Boring Epitaph punk! If this were a cereal, it’d be Lame-Ohs. The End! –Maddy (Epitaph)

The Gas Station Soundtrack: CD
Some serious Guided By Voices worship going on here. There are certainly worse bands to copy, but I wish this was GBV worship of the “we used a 4-track to record these great rock songs while we were drunk” variety and not the “this is such a copy that I had to check the liner notes to make sure Bob Pollard wasn’t involved in some way with this record” school. –Ryan Horky (Activities, Activitiesrecordings.com)

Boxing Clever: CD
Ska is what they are going to be labeled as, but this band is definitely presenting more to the listener. Ska, two-tone, punk, dub, metal, reggae, new wave and rock are all incorporated to keep the songs individual here. The finished product is an interesting melodic blend that keeps this listener intrigued. The vocalist is one strong tongue twister when he belts out his lyrics. The guitars are recorded superbly and can start off clean and turn at a moments notice into a fierce metal sound. I truly enjoyed this and hope others will too.
–don (Moon Ska Europe)

Injustice: CD
Ahh, that’s more like it. I thought that, after the waste of time that was their last album (why release your back catalog and then release new recordings of the same songs hot on its heels?), these guys were just gonna be content to sit back and rehash all their oldies like so many old bands that’ve reformed, but no, here’s some brand new stuff, back to form and sportin’ some kick-ass shit to boot. Although the reworking of “Buried Alive” was a mistake, the tracks here pretty much stand up to their “classic” work and blaze along quite nicely, thank you. You like your hardcore mean, nasty, and with some semblance of a point? Look no further than this. Recommended. –jimmy (Alternative Tentacles)

What: CD
I don't get it. They just released a discography no more than two years ago and it's still available. Now they release this, which consists of re-recorded 15 tracks, versions of all but two of them were on the other disc and one of those two is a Motorhead cover. They sound as swell as they ever did, but what's the point? They add nothing new to the songs. After the long silence at the end of the last track, we're treated to the whole thing all over again. Fuck, "Buried Alive" isn't even on this. –jimmy (Alternative Tentacles)

Self-titled: 7" EP
Four songs you can already get on their latest Alternative Tentacles CD. I don't get it. –jimmy (Transparent)

Self-Titled: CDEP
Assembled as a supergroup of sorts, from bands I’ve never heard before. If it helps: The Homosexuals, Attica 9, Universal Order Of Armageddon, The Uniform, Double Dagger. All I can say is that this EP is great! Eight hardcore songs sending me back to when I first heard Dag Nasty and Born Against! The music is mostly straight forward hardcore with some cool break downs. The best part is the vocals. The only way to explain would be to have you picture (or hear) Dave Smalley as a girl, minus the melodies he sometimes busted into. It’s a refreshing change to the trend of girl singers in hardcore bands who need to scream and sound tough, or try and sound like Allison Wolfe (Bratmobile). There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of that, but when every other band I hear tries to have a certain sound, it’s so great to hear something as cool as this. And the lyrics friggin’ rule! Songs about self hatred and hating parties. Not taking themselves too serious, preachy or pretentious, but through sarcasm and humor, throwing out their message. This is a great EP. –Guest Contributor (Reptilian)

I Saw You Coming Closer So I Ran Inside the Door: Cassette
Disposable, cheaply recorded punk rock. It’s hard to even describe it any more than that. If I told you to just imagine a punk band, no adjectives involved, I’m sure your brain could come up with something pretty close to Fashion Foreskins in a number of seconds. The production of the release leaves a lot to be desired, in as much as I would have desired some production. Recorded live, it sounds like a one microphone affair with no editing involved. It starts off grating, but five monotone songs and one unlistenable poem later, you’ll want to chuck your boom box out the window. I’ll give the band credit, because at least they designed the cassette with garbage in mind. The liner notes give instructions to “listen, copy, destroy,” but I’d recommend skipping to step three. Grade: D+.  –Bryan Static (Self-released)

Pret-A-Porter: LP
This record came with a short background on the band that honestly threw me off. Either these guys are funny or they’ve actually been around since 1987. As far as the record goes, Fashion Week is a three-piece from New York. It has a post-hardcore, post-metal sound mixed with some alternative ‘90s rock. There’s a heavy Converge, ISIS thing going on with the music mixed with some melodic vocals. I think the bass player and the guitar player switch off on vocals duties, otherwise someone has some serious range. At times it reminds me of what Mastodon does vocally. They do a good job of giving the songs more dimension by constantly changing tempos, breaking the songs down into melodic instrumental parts, and playing straight-up heavy riffs to keep you from standing there with your arms crossed.  –Ryan Nichols (Solar Flare)

Over Before It Ever Began: 7” EP
Going off the cover (where everyone has typewriters for heads), the band name, the band photo (jackets, sunglasses, and buttons), and a theremin listed, I was thinking new wave. Nope. More in line with the Candy Snatchers than the Epoxies, it’s blades-out, beaten-by-clubs rock’n’roll fronted by a guy whose eyes I can easily imagine popping out of his skull from screaming so much all the time. The more I gave up on the new wave idea of the band, the more I liked ‘em on their own merits. –todd (Floridas Dying)

Smash the State (With Your Face): 7” EP
The A side is a super-duper bubblegum glam hit that sounds like Chapman/Chinn crossed with U.K. power pop circa 1979, and is pretty clearly Jeff from the Tranzmitors singing. The flip is a less buzzworthy number plus a cover from ‘80s Rocky Horror Picture Show follow-up Shock Treatment, which I admit I had to google, despite once using the picture from the movie poster in a collage for my fanzine about thirty years ago. Obtain this item and keep yourself on the right side of the manifesto! BEST SONG: “Smash the State (With Your Face)” BEST SONG TITLE: Duh, same. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Observe closely and you will see that one of the black stripes on the image of the girl on the cover is reflex blue instead of black.  –norb (Hosehead, hoseheadrecords.ca)

4-Track Demos: CD
This is new wavish super-distorto janglish stargazin' sonic splendor that's all-at-once trippy, poppy, funky, sludgy, and feel-good giddy. In an unusually odd display of audial diversity, the succulently sweet songs contained herein are a magical mishmash of infinitely mind-reeling instrumentation ala Cheap Trick, Badfinger, Stereolab, Smashing Pumpkins, Devo, Spacemen 3, and even a bit of "Rubber Soul"-era Beatles. I especially enjoyed the invigorating spontaneity of the spastic tribal drumming, the sporadic eruptions of a synthesizer's ebullient emotings, and the intermittent effervescence of fuzz effects. The whiney bratty schoolboy vocals are strainfully similar to The Judys, Violent Femmes, and Dead Milkmen (annoying at times, but certainly unique and vividly impressive). All in all, this delightful lil' disc possesses a euphoric childlike innocent quality to it that's both endearing and uniquely divine... –Guest Contributor (Geff Grimes, Crystal Clear Sound)

Rock N Roll Trash: CD
This album has fourteen songs that clock in at less than thirty-two minutes. This reminds me a lot of The Stitches but with Guitar Hero-sounding solos. There’s a fun cover of The Damned’s “New Rose” on the CD. All the music is as straightforward as it gets. It’s just good, old-fashioned, assaulting punk rock here. –N.L. Dewart (Zodiac Killer)

RockNRoll Trash: CD
…meaning no disrespect to anybody up or down the food chain, but i’m kinda viewing the whole Poison Arrows/Cute Lepers fatal OD thing as kind of the Altamont for this kind of music ((and when i say “this kind of music,” i apparently mean some kind of post-Exploding Hearts punk/glam/rock & roll dealie-do where everyone has tight pants, studded belts, chain wallets, and creepers. And really nice guitars. Oh, and hair brushes, too)). I mean, the Poison Arrows played in Green Bay about a week before that whole deal went down, and, even then, you could tell that people were just sort of…i dunno, for want of a better word, smirking at the whole Renaissance Faire aspect of the whole deal. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not an inherently bad look—hell, i freely admit that if i could honestly pull off the whole “looking like a Bay City Roller as drawn by John Holmstrom” look, i’d probably do it, too—it just doesn’t seem like this is the way productive, vital cogs in the rock’n’roll bioorganism look right now, it seems, at this second, that it’s more like people being tethered to/frozen into whatever aesthetic template they decided was Boss and Gear after they heard “Guitar Romantic” or something ((and if OD-gate is this music’s Altamont, i’m thinking the Exploding Hearts tragic van crash is more like Elvis going into the Army than it is Buddy Holly’s plane going down, but these analogies are beginning to verge into the realm of the pointlessly insensitive so fuck it)). Anyway, enough high level shit. I neither hate nor wish to hate this record, but, for the cry-yi, could you POSSIBLY have thought of a more generic band name? And could you POSSIBLY have come up with a more generic album title?? I mean, i’d be depressed if i found out that “Fast Boys” and “RockNRoll Trash” were anything other than the result of some software program designed to scientifically and mathematically calculate the most generic possible results to the queries of “CREATE BAND NAME” and “GENERATE ALBUM TITLE.” Still, this record isn’t bad—it’s rehashed, generic and overplayed, but it still isn’t bad—and in between the mewling about “rock ‘n’ roll trash” and—i dunno, was it “Main Street” or “The Boulevard” or am i just assuming there’s a song that mentions “Main Street” or “The Boulevard” because it would be some kinda violation otherwise?—there are a few sorta memorable tunes ((“Wanderer” appears to mention a jukebox, “Grown Up Blues” is kinda good, and “Won’t Let Me Kiss Her” would be really good except that it’s sorta wrecked by some, frankly, awful backup vocals)) and the album does seem to pick up steam as it shambles along…but that plug is swiftly pulled when the band opts to include, for whatever reason, a humdrum cover of “New Rose” towards the end of side two. DUDES, WHAT THE FUCK??? You don’t cover a fuckin’ completely ubiquitous punk classic on your album! Ya put something like that on the b-side of a three-song 45! What’s your big idea for the next record, start side one off with “Blitzkrieg Bop???” I mean, JESUS! Couldn’t you even hit us up with “So Messed Up” or something??? You gotta do the HIT??? What fuckin’ RockSchool did YOU fail outta??? Well anyway…yeah. Pretty Boy, Nasty, Cocoa, Fitz and Mikey, i salute you: “RockNRoll Trash” is officially the first record of this genre’s post-Altamont era. Good luck with that. BEST SONG: “Won’t Let Me Kiss Her” minus the bad backing vocals. DUMBEST SONG TITLES: “Fast Boys DTK” “Rock N’ Roll Trash” “Late Nights” “Gettin’ Off” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: “Recorded at Crystal Rain in South Carolina by a mullett (sic) -headed jackass” –norb (Zodiac Killer)

Self-titled: 7"
Sorta garage-y rockin’ pop punk that sounds a lot like the Gotohells or Heartdrops. Not my fave style, but this band does it as well as any other. –frame (Young Monster, yngmnstrrecords.blogspot.com)

Party of Three: CD
An album by a Spanish pop punk trio released by a Japanese label. What a global age we live in. The cover art successfully evokes a spirit of fun, graphically relying on hot rods, UFOs, witches, surfing, ‘60s girl groups, food, and zombies. Basically all the coolest shit. Musically, Fast Food maintains its excellence with sixteen tracks of above-the-bar, sweet, melodic punk. What sets them apart from most of the sweet, melodic punk you already listen to is that all the lyrics are in Spanish, somehow cranking up the fun factor of the music by at least 130 percent. The only words I could discern in the English language were “Spiderman” and the phrase “gabba gabba hey,” which was invoked in three different songs on Party of Three. The entire album is basically a loving Spanish re-envisioning of the Ramones and Screeching Weasel and Fast Food are not shy about acknowledging their obvious influences. Besides all the “gabba gabba heys,” they also do a note-for-note cover of Screeching Weasel in Spanish by the moniker of “Fantasia de Supermercado.” Upon further research, I found out that Fast Food had been around since the mid-’90s and the new record is the best tunes off their previous two records recorded with a suitable recording budget. In any case, mucho gusto Fast Food, you have made my summer a bit more bouncy and enjoyable. –Jake Shut (SP, sp-records.com)

Self-Titled: CD
Oh man, you gotta hear this song “Daddy Has a Mullet!” It’s about this girl, right—and she’s, she’s embarrassed to be seen in public with her father, ‘cause he’s got a mullet! A mullet! A mullet is like a really uncool haircut—and her dad’s got one! Aw, man, you get it? You don’t get it? Crap. I didn’t tell it right. This one’s on me. Let me start over. This girl’s dad, right? He’s got a really lame haircut. A mullet! And she has to like, you know, go places with him, and be seen with him—with his mullet! So she’s embarrassed and she wants him to cut it off! Man, that’s great. Brings a tear to my eye. Really great stuff. Hey, where ya goin’? I didn’t even explain the song “He’s a Heterosexual” to ya yet!!! Oh well... if George Lucas ever decides to fuck up the Hell Comes to Your House compilation LP, i’d be cool with him sticking any two of these songs on the second side—however, i think Fast Mattress must only be a twin size, as three is pretty much a crowd here. BEST SONG: “Hot Boyfriend” BEST SONG TITLE: “Inappropriate Itch” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Scott thanks the city of Cleveland, Budweiser™ beer, and all those who serve it to him ice cold and promptly. –norb (no label)

Tall Coin: CD
Hit or miss pop with some interesting play between guitar and Farfisa and guitar, and some bouncy bashers, but also a couple bland duds and a mostly-bland lady voice singing to the duds and the bashers. –Dud Basher –Staff (Semiotic Idiot)

Self-titled: 4-song CDEP
Here’s to hoping they forge their own identity on future releases because this sounds like the skinny alley of exactly who they like and little else. This band features former members of Rivethead, OWTH, and Tiltwheel. (Past members of OWTH and Tiltwheel could fill a parking lot at this point. No weight on that, just an observation.) Total conjecture on the band formation: “Hey, I love the Riverdales, Screeching Weasel, and The Copyrights!” “So do I!” “Me, too!” “And some Teenage Bottlerocket!” Unfortunately, they put nothing new on the table and all the other bands’ records are readily and abundantly available. –todd (Self-released, fasterhousecat.bandcamp.com)

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