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Razorcake #81
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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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METHADONES, THE:
Gary Glitter: 7"
Being a big Briefs fan, the first thing this 7” reminded me of was their song, “Gary Glitter’s Eyes,” (although their song was a play off of The Adverts’ “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes.”) Gary Glitter being the famous glam rock musician who is known for the popular sporting event song “Rock’n’roll.” He was convicted for having child porn on his computer and then again for committing obscene acts with minors. The Methadones tackle the pedophile songwriting affair by giving a nod to Glitter-esque rock riffs while their lyrics expound on the precarious situation of Mr. Glitter. The second song on the vinyl, “Over the Moon,” returns to classic Methadones power pop punk song writing as they deliver catchy riffs infused with melodic vocals. The songs here are fun but the cover art is still probably the best part of this record. It has Glitter in sparkly, red-sequined attire, posing with his face brimming with a cheeky rock’n’roll gaze. –N.L. Dewart (It's Alive)


METHADONES, THE:
Self-titled: 7”
The great thing about The Methadones is their uncanny ability to make polished pop punk songs and somehow pull it off without ever sounding too sanitized. However, this two-track 7” serves up gobs and gobs of layered cheese. Their sound here really resembles the worst parts of modern MxPx. –N.L. Dewart (Underground Communiqué, undercomm.bigcartel.com)


MEXICAN BLACKBIRDS:
Fear of Texas: 12” EP
Smear on some Motards grease and resin, huff some gas with early Zeke, add the smell of burning hair, squeeze and screw in the punk’n’roll pyrotechnic sensibility of The B-Movie Rats, and you’ve got a close approximation of the Mexican Blackbirds. It’s in the red, the vocalist sounds just short of being strangulated, and it feels like their instruments are stabbing you in the chest while slicing your tendons so there’s no easy retreat. They’ve definitely learned assault tactics of their own and aren’t just pickpocketing the bands previous mentioned. Good stuff. It’s growing on me with each listen. –Todd Taylor (Mortville)


MEXICAN BLACKBIRDS:
Just to Spite You: CD
Solid, straight-ahead punk rock, long on ‘tude and short on extraneous bullshit. Ladies and gentlemen, meet my favorite band of the month. Highly recommended. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dirtnap)


MEXICAN BLACKBIRDS, THE:
Ain: 7" EP
I spent an unduly large amount of time mentally censuring this band for sounding at least moderately Pagans-y, yet not being clueful enough to realize that the song title "Ain't Got the Time" was already taken by those selfsame Pagans; eventual double-checking showed that the Pagans song of similar nomenclature is actually called "HAVEN'T Got The time" and i regret the error (i also regret the fact that the other three songs on this record aren't covers of "Haven't Got the Time," "Got the Time" by Joe Jackson, and "When I Get the Time" by the Descendents, simply because that would be kinda funny) (we'll let the Chambers Brothers go unmentioned for now). Four songs from a five-piece, sounding like a cross between something the Chargers mighta done once (besides trading away the rights to Michael Vick) and some of the heavier, less-cartoony Rip Off bands of yore (i'm tempted to say the Stipjes, but i actually no longer remember what that band sounded like), with the occasional background blurt by the female drummer adding sort of a superficial Loli & The Chones garnish to things. Good but not superlative, as evinced by the fact that i can't think of a decent joke to end with that doesn't involve invoking mental imagery of a Hispanic singing "Blackbird" by the Beatles. BEST SONG TITLE: "Blackout (With You)" BEST SONG: "Blackout (With You)" FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Record label carries the message "PLAY LOUD." Hey, thanks for the tip, Slick.
–Rev. Norb (Mexican Blackbirds)


MEXICAN BLACKBIRDS/PINK SWORDS:
Black Vinyl Revenge, Chapter 1: Split LP
The title line here sounds like some sketchy urban legend from a fictional city across the border made into a ‘50s so-bad-you-love-it exploitation flick. This record is also that cool. It combines previous CD releases: The Birds’ Just to Spite You (2003, Dirtnap) with The Swords’ One Night High (2003, Mortville). The music fetish factor gets even higher: both have amazing girl drummers from other great bands (Jill from Valentine Killers, Suzy Motard), half-black and half-pink vinyl, and one new live track from each band. Catchy, hard-driving rock. Entire albums on each side, except the Birds’ “Burn It Down/Over the Edge” track from the CD is not here. Alas, still an awesome record. –Speedway Randy (Rockin’ Bones)


MEXICAN CHEERLEADER:
Self-titled: CD
Loud, guitar-heavy rawk with lotsa heart, but something is getting lost in the translation for me. No offense is meant here, as there is nothing tangibly wrong, per se, with this release, but some bands come across better live and I think these guys are one of those bands. –Jimmy Alvarado (Government Music)


MEZCAL BROS., THE:
“Brunette Baby” b/w “Nobody Else But You”: 7"
The Mezcal Brothers play traditional rockabilly that is a million times preferable to the awful sounds made by any current psychobilly band. That doesn’t mean these songs are up there with Joe South’s “I’m Snowed” or Jeff Daniel’s “Daddy-O-Rock,” but they make for good background music and have some nice guitar leads. It’s well played and executed, if not exactly memorable. –Josh Benke (Speed! Nebraska)


MEZKLAH:
Spider Monkey: CD
Hoo doggie, my buddy Donofthedead is gonna shit blue Twinkies when he hears this bad boy. Two – count ‘em – two guys, one on vocals and one on guitar (with the help of a drum machine), unleash one mutha of a mélange of hip hop, dub, ragamuffin, trance, funk, Cuban son, psychedelia – hell, damn near every style that has made the rounds through the underground, all served up with a healthy dose of punk rock “love us, hate us, but you ain’t gonna ignore us” attitude. Mind you, they ain’t mining the above musical styles by settling on one style for one song and then another the next. Au contraire, these guys are not only smooshing all these styles together into one raucous gumbo of sound on nearly EVERY TRACK, they are making it work: soaring guitars layered on top of Cuban piano forms fueled by the staccato of reggae, with some mighty fine, often bilingual, lyrics served up inna dancehall style, all of it slathered over a drum ‘n’ bass backbeat. This is some very creative, very heady stuff that works on a variety of levels, which is a polite way of saying yes, the booty can be shook quite nicely to it, but you just might find yourself thinking, too, if you don’t watch out. This is easily my pick of the issue and, quite possibly, of 2003.  –Jimmy Alvarado (www.mezklah.com)


MHz:
Increase the Voltage: CD
From what I gather, these are the complete recordings of this band. Not sure why it took so long to get released or why they only put out a 7” while they were a band, because this is pretty damn great. It finds a nice middle ground between the Tyrades and the Baseball Furies, which is a pretty nice place to be. There’s also a weird computer theme going on, like Servotron, but not as funny. Where was I when they were around? –Josh (Flying Bomb)


MI6:
Lunchbox: CD
Generic. I’m not at the TV watching MTV and I still hear Blink 182, New Found Glory, or Good Charlotte. –Donofthedead (Kung Fu)


MIA :
Lost Boys: CD
I’ve been sitting here for two days trying to convey what a great thing Alternative Tentacles has done by making the tracks on this release available once again. MIA was simply one of the best punk/hardcore bands that ever graced a stage, period. They were a perfect hybrid of the hardcore that was coming out of DC in the early ‘80s and OC/HB’s “beach punk” sound of the same time period, or, to put it more succinctly, they sounded like the bastard offspring of Minor Threat and the Adolescents. Yet, rather than be mere shadows of their influences, they took those sounds and forged a sound entirely their own, one that was hard and fast yet instantly hummable. As if good music wasn’t enough, they also took time to make their lyrics both substantive and well written, something that was often as rare then as it is now. Submitted for your aural pleasure are the “Murder in a Foreign Place” EP, their side of the “Last Rites” split LP, tracks from various compilations, live material, early and late-period demos and other goodies. My suggestion to you, loyal reader, is to buy three copies of this (in case two get worn out) and crank “Boredom is the Reason,” “Murder in a Foreign Place” and “Fucking Zones” as loud as your stereo will allow. Make sure that you have a cassette copy for the police to blast on the way to the station when they take you in for disturbing the peace, too. Believe me, they’ll thank you for it later. God (or pick your deity of choice) bless Alternative Tentacles for this disc and God bless MIA for leaving us some timeless, kick-ass tuneage. –Jimmy Alvarado (Alternative Tentacles)


MICHAEL JORDAN TOUCHDOWN PASS:
Cash, Money, Etc.: CD
Gotta say, when I saw the crayoned cover, noticed that MJTP was one of those projects where one guy sings and plays all the instruments, and noted that it was co-released on Plan-It-X, I was steeling myself for some shitty folk singer blathering away about anarchism in only the basest and most idealistic, simplistic way. Yet again, that’s what I get for judging stuff prematurely, because what I’m hearing is a younger, ragged (though some might say more vulnerable or honest) version of the Weakerthans. I mean, on songs like “Sedan-Sized Truck” and “Ill-Planned, Feeling III,” this kid is an absolute dead-ringer for Weakerthans crooner John Samson, even at times using his exact same sense of meter and alliteration. And that’s a good thing: this guy’s onto something—he’s borrowing heavily at times but there’s too much passion and focused intent here to call it stealing, you know? Acoustic guitar, keyboards, minimal percussion, layered vocals—the songs are deceptively simple, but there’s some incredibly catchy moments on here and the lyrics somehow come across as both cynical and joyous, and all-around razor-smart. Is it punk? Depends on how you look at it, I guess. Is it sincere, memorable, and just pretty much awesome? Yeah, there’s definitely that. –Keith Rosson (Plan-It-X)


MICHAEL KORB:
Two of Me: CD
Out of New York, this trio led by frontman, Korb, has switched out the acoustic guitar for electric and has incorporated effects pedals. While “Bell Jar” borrows from Sigur Ros’s soaring guitar notes, the likeness ends there. Korb, who has an impressive voice, uses contrived vocal structures and boring guitar arrangements to populate this eleven track album. This is more like Rufus Wainwright without the piano and poppy tunes. As I’m not a fan of singer-songwriter formulas, your mileage may vary. –Kristen K (Winged Disk, wingeddiskrecords.com)


MICHAEL RAULT AND THE MIXED SIGNALS:
Self-titled: CD-R
Was ready to write this off because it was a CD-R. But this is not half bad. A psychobilly/ rockabilly mix of the Cramps meets Screamin' Jay Hawkins. The guy in the picture doesn't look old enough to get into a bar, but his music would make you believe he is much older. –Donofthedead (do_the_dog@hotmail.com)


MICHAEL YONKERS / LITTLE CLAW:
Split: 7"33
Mr. Yonkers is a sexagenarian rocker who has been fucking with sonic nutziness since birth, delivering two echoey, reverby, slabs that sound like a meat tenderizer going apeshit in a reverb coil factory ((if there is actually no such thing as a “reverb coil,” i regret the error)). The female-fronted Little Claw play the type of squeaky drone that clears venues quickly and effectively until the next band comes on. Excellent for misleading wayward Fire Marshals! BEST SONG: Michael Yonkers, “The Drain” BEST SONG TITLE: Michael Yonkers, “I Think” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Michael Yonkers’ 1968 album, “Microminiature Love,” was recorded in one hour. –Rev. Norb (X!)


MICHALE GRAVES:
Illusions Live/Viretta Park: CD
If Danzig is Evil Elvis, then Michale Graves is… Evil Neil Diamond? This is an acoustic album featuring a live set and a brief studio session. The music is solemn, dark, and a little self-serious. I could see a metal dude playing this on his headphones while passing a wintry graveyard that he once walked through with an ex. A few of the tracks are acoustic adaptations of songs that Graves sang with the reformed Misfits in the second half of the ‘90s. His involvement with the Newfits and the Conservative Punk movement will be deal breakers for some, but this album ain’t that bad, and you ghouls out there might want a copy, for those introspective, autumnal times. –CT Terry (Screaming Crow)


MICHELLE GUN ELEPHANT, THEE:
Gear Blues: CD
Extremely LOUD Japanese trash rock. The press materials allude to Billy Childish as an influence, but I don't hear it as much I do the Cramps and others I can't quite think of right now. Hell, I gotta lay off of them there allergy pills, 'cause they seem to be messin' up my short term.... Whatever. Either way, this is some screamin' mad shit here, all sludgy, dirty and fuckin' loud, man. I think they're singin' in English, but it's damn hard to tell. I'm recommending this disc for two reasons: 1) The songs are mighty nice, and 2) Playin' it at excessive volume levels is sure to kill all rats, insects and small dogs in a square mile radius around the speakers. Oh, wait.... Silly me, I accidentally had the stereo runnin' through my guitar amp. Well, I still like it, even if it ain't as loud as I thought it was. –Jimmy Alvarado (Alive/Total Energy, PO Box 7712, Burbank, CA 91510)


MICHELLE GUN ELEPHANT, THEE:
Collection: CD
During the past couple of years, it seems as if I’ve read countless flattery-packed articles zealously praising the roarin’ rock’n’roll splendor of Thee Michelle Gun Elephant. I unfortunately hadn’t been exposed to their manic eruptions of musical madness until bodacious lil’ Betsy Palmer (promo princess extraordinaire at the aurally eclectic Bomp HQ) sent this ear-scorcher of a disc to me several days ago (thanks so very much, Betsy dear!). Hot diggedy dog damn, now I know why TMGE have rightfully warranted all of the frenzied fuss! They noisily, raucously, and enthusiastically create a garagey post-punk cacophony of high-spirited rock’n’roll fierceness... it’s hyperactively swarming with a charismatic over-abundance of energetically uplifting originality and inimitable uniqueness! Oh man, I can only describe this eardrum-batterin’ quartet as a four-headed nuclear-spawned reptilian monster sonically rampagin’ through the smolderin’ remains of The Who (circa 1965-67), The Stooges, Husker Du, Agent Orange, a harder-edged PIL in certain places, Mission Of Burma, The Makers, and even a bit of Dicks and Big Boys (with a spicey stirring of Chuck Berry riffage tossed throughout). After only one listen to this gut-pummelling platter of joy, it blew the fuckin’ enamel off my teeth in 30 seconds flat! –Guest Contributor (Alive)


MICHELLE GUN ELEPHANT, THEE:
Gear Blues: CD
Extremely LOUD Japanese trash rock. The press materials allude to Billy Childish as an influence, but I don't hear it as much I do the Cramps and others I can't quite think of right now. Hell, I gotta lay off of them there allergy pills, 'cause they seem to be messin' up my short term.... Whatever. Either way, this is some screamin' mad shit here, all sludgy, dirty and fuckin' loud, man. I think they're singin' in English, but it's damn hard to tell. I'm recommending this disc for two reasons: 1) The songs are mighty nice, and 2) Playin' it at excessive volume levels is sure to kill all rats, insects and small dogs in a square mile radius around the speakers. Oh, wait.... Silly me, I accidentally had the stereo runnin' through my guitar amp. Well, I still like it, even if it ain't as loud as I thought it was. –Jimmy Alvarado (Alive/Total Energy)


MICHELLE GUN ELEPHANT, THEE:
Gear Blues: CD
Just as Guitar Wolf re‑interpreted Gene Vincent style cool and MC5 flash in a kitschy, fun way, thee Michelle Gun Elephant, in a strange new twist, crosses the animalistic passion of the Stooges with the rigid NYC composure of the Ramones to produce this furious blend of rockin' sukiyaki. On CD, anyway, this made in Japan quartet howls, writhes and rolls like demon possessed samurai for fourteen tracks and the syntax of the lyrics isn't nearly as bizarre as you might expect. –Guest Contributor (Alive/Total Energy)


MICHELLE GUN ELEPHANT,THEE:
Gear Blues: CD
Just as Guitar Wolf re-interpreted Gene Vincent style cool and MC5 flash in a kitschy, fun way, thee Michelle Gun Elephant, in a strange new twist, crosses the animalistic passion of the Stooges with the rigid NYC composure of the Ramones to produce this furious blend of rockin' sukiyaki. On CD, anyway, this made in Japan quartet howls, writhes and rolls like demon possessed samurai for fourteen tracks and the syntax of the lyrics isn't nearly as bizarre as you might expect. –Bob Cantu (Alive/Total Energy, PO Box 7712, Burbank, CA 91510)


MICK FARREN AND ANDY COLQUHOUN:
Black Vinyl Dress: CD
Black Vinyl Dress is amazing in its horribleness. This seriously flabbergasts me. It’s as though the actor Alan Rickman (Severus Snape in Harry Potter and the villain in Die Hard)—the similarity of the voice is uncanny—got drunk, dropped acid, channeled whatever emotions he got from watching Apocalypse Now, wrote really bad Jim Morrison-inspired poetry and recited it with a nondescript band backing him. They then recorded an album and here I am, listening to it. I seriously can’t stop laughing at every track, because I can’t stop imagining a drunk and high Alan Rickman as the lead singer. Incredible.  –Kurt Morris (Gonzo Multimedia)


MICKEY:
She’s So Crazy: 7”
From the grimy north side streets of Chicago comes Mickey, a ramshackle five-piece rock’n’roll band who deliver a swaggering blast of glittery gutter glam and an earnest “this is who I am, warts and all” ballad. “She’s So Crazy” is damn near perfect: a maddeningly catchy guitar hook, bouncy bass line, superb drumming, and vocals, a la Mac Blackout, that sound far crazier than the accused “She” in the title. The desperate obsession of the chorus seems to indicate that maybe, just maybe, the singer is projecting his insanity onto his object of desire: “and when she walks in the room/I go into a trance/if she would just give my love/just give my love one chance/but I ain’t stalkin’ and I ain’t stuck on you.” What does stick is this tune. In your head. For weeks. The B side, “I Am Your Trash, I Am Your Man,” sways along sweetly while the lyrics detail the heel-like behavior of the singer. He talks about drinking, getting into it with his girl, being rotten and not understanding why she loves him, finally exploding with the defiant proclamation “I am your trash/I am your man.” A touchingly menacing masterpiece. –Josh Benke (Horizontal Action)


MICKEY:
Rock 'n' Roll Dreamer: CD
A little bit o’ lo-fi, a little bit o’ glam rock, a smidge o’ theatricality, and a lotta chutzpah make for some interesting listening here. They love their rock with hooks and ain’t ashamed to aim for the fences. Gotta respect that. –Jimmy Alvarado (Hozac, hozacrecords.com)


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