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Record Reviews

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Rustle Up Some Action with the...: 7"
We get a lot of music at Razorcake that just seems to chase trends. A lot of trashy garage rock, a lot of new wave revival bands, stuff like that. Then, something like the Okmoniks comes along and it manages to dance circles around those trends and come out rocking. The Okmoniks play quirky garage rock thatís backed with an electric organ and a really bouncy rhythm section. And, boy, does it work. Rustle Up Some Action with the Okmoniks is a three-song seven inch that follows right along in style with their first seven inch, RockíNíRoll with the Okmoniks. Itís great stuff. Side A and Side B are exactly the same, but I usually end up flipping this record every time I play it, just so I can finish dancing around my living room. I canít wait until this band puts out a full-length. –Sean Carswell (Lo-Fi)

Party Fever!!!: CD
My middle-time memory is awful. Iíll say stuff like, ďA couple years back,Ē when it was over five, over a decade. The Okmoniks remind me of the best of Crypt and Estrus Recordsóbands that simultaneously plunged a direct heart shunt into the first beatings of rockíníroll, yet didnít fully ignore the ever-evolving now. You get a comforting bit of nostalgia in a nice, attitude-filled wrapper, so it didnít seem like you were merely raiding musical mausoleums, but stumbling onto something undiscovered, cool, and not past its expiration date. Channeling the spirit of the Devil Dogs, Mummies, and the Trashwomen, the Okmoniks Farfisa-jump right into good company. Except much of that company stopped making music over a decade ago. Iím a sucker for this. If technology gets to the point where you can download songs and that activates a pizza being delivered to your door at the same time, man, thatís about the only thing I could think of thatíd make this record even better. Crank it. –Todd Taylor (Slovenly)

Compact 33: 7"
The Okmoniks are a female fronted garage rock band that I can honestly say four things about: 1) theyíre the only Sonics-sounding band that I can listen to without getting impatient and just putting on a Sonics record; 2) it is physically impossible to listen to this seven inch (or their other two seven inches) without dancing around your living room at least a little bit; 3) seeing as how theyíve been around for about three years, itís really about time that they released a full-length; and 4) Dirtnap should put that full-length out because The Okmonics and Dirtnap seem like a match just waiting to happen. In the meantime, this record has seven songs and all of them rock. Highly recommended. –Sean Carswell (Okmoniks)

Split: 7Ē EP
Do Ya Hear We usually delivers the goods, so I had high expectations for some quality region rock. Unfortunately, this one didnít quite cut it. The Onetimers sound like they have heart and are doing just what they wanna do, but their straightforward, no nonsense, gruff-vocaled punk is too forgettable for me. I find Ol Scratch much more palatable. They offer four semi-aggressive punk tracks, kinda reminiscent of Butt Trumpet or Meatmen circa the Ď90s. Surprised to hear anything like this nowadays, and Iím also surprised to be kinda warm to it these days.  –Vincent Battilana (Do Ya Hear We)

Westering Again: CD

Groovy Dead-influenced fodder for makiní love in your Chevy van, if thatís all right with you.

–Jimmy Alvarado (www.oldcalifornio.com)

2011 Demos: CDEP
Old Flings started as an attempt to put some muscle behind singer and acoustic guitarist Matt Evans. It turned into a legitimate band that has a Hot Water Music influence but with, perhaps, a little more indie and punk sound. Itís quite different than Evansí hardcore punk band, Just Die! Thereís nothing complicated or unique here, just six songs with strong, endearing vocals and a sound reminiscent of Liars Academyówhich is probably why I find this release so up my alleyóas I always thought they were a pretty underrated band. The fourth track, ďStranded,Ē is the one exception to this, with an acoustic sound and a contribution from someone who sounds like Cat Power (but Iím assuming is not). Itís a very beautiful song and serves as a nice break from the punk material. My one major complaint is that sometimes Evansí vocals fall a bit flat and the lyrics, while not stupid, arenít as powerful as they might be. Considering these are demos, though, theyíre not too bad. Iíd be interested in hearing what they do with a full-length. –Kurt Morris (Bitter Melody)

Spite: LP
Depressing and uplifting at the same time, fans of Samiam wonít want to miss Old Flings. Already on its second pressing, thereís quite a buzz about Spite in some circles, and for good reason. The Samiam comparison would be a lazy one if it werenít for the fact that this record is virtually interchangeable with Samiam at its best. Hailing from Ashville, NC and starting out as an experiment to electrify an already prominent acoustic musicianís songs, Old Flings is one of those bands that quickly gains legions of fans. Iím not sure that the brooding mindset is for everyone, but those into the more gloomy end of punk will dig it. –Art Ettinger (Self Aware, selfawarerecords.com)

Light Returns: CD
The music is nice enough, but the vocals piss me off because it might as well be some five-minute pop chart wonder on the mic. I'm not someone who believes that country has to include drawls or slur words in order to adhere to some vague and affected notion of authenticity, but this sounds like little more than a competent country band backing a bland pop singer. My problem isn't that this is insincere due to some lack of rural stylings - my problem is that it's fucking boring. –Puckett (Morphius)

Light Returns: CD
The music is nice enough, but the vocals piss me off because it might as well be some five-minute pop chart wonder on the mic. Iím not someone who believes that country has to include drawls or slur words in order to adhere to some vague and affected notion of authenticity, but this sounds like little more than a competent country band backing a bland pop singer. My problem isnít that this is insincere due to some lack of rural stylingsómy problem is that itís fucking boring. –Puckett (Morphius)

Battle Born:

Las Vegas oi/street rock style stuff that is well recorded and actually really catchy. The title track is kind of a dud for me, but the second song picks it up a little bit. Everything is really in that mid-tempo range so itís not like itís in your face, but the songs are good and the lead breaks are catchy and good. It vaguely reminds me of stuff like Patriot or the early Adolf And The Piss Artists records. I guess the best point of reference would be Maddog Surrender, but thatís probably a little obscure. The B-side track ďEnough of YouĒ is the best of the three and has that nice Best Defense vibe to it. The band is American but the record came out on a label in the Netherlandsís, so Iím not sure how hard it would be to get over here.

–Ian Wise (Stratum, stratumrecords.nl)

Out of the Sand and into the Streets: LP
To be honest, this record didnít move me even though I think it is pretty good. Thatís not to say that its sentiments, rhythms, and tonalities are not for anyone, I simply did not find my pulse to be altered drastically when spinning this record. Having said that, for those who are into the punk-influenced proto-grunge of Mudhoney, or Neil Youngís Reactor, this record could be a welcome appearance in your life. Bass-heavy guitars, minor phrasings, tribal drums, simple mournful guitar solos, and melodic and yearning vocalsówhich recall traditional folk songsóbring this record to life. Whether itís a reference to an economic system rife with inequity, or simply the cry of a struggling artist in the clutches of a capitalist world, I did find my heart quickening to the repeated lyric that comes later in the record: ďwhereís the money gone.Ē Worth a spin.  –Noah (Bakery Outlet/Echo Canyon, bakeryoutletrecords.com/echocanyonrecords.com)

Split: 7"
Weíve got a problem here. Itís finals at school and Iíve got limited time to write these reviews, but all I want to do is play this record over and over! Old Growth combine winding guitars, interesting rhythms, and vocal hooks while retaining a punk compactness. Think Jawbox or Unwound at a house show. Franceís 12XU play silty indie punk with sing-song vocals. They remind me of an old favorite, Garden Variety. Two songs from each band, but Iíll be seeking out more. My grades may suffer for it, but damn the torpedoes; it will be worth it. –CT Terry (Bakeru Outlet)

Split: 7"
Science hits again with another dirty Jehu-styled dirgeóif youíve heard either of their LPs or any of their 7Ēs, you know what pond youíre skinny dipping in. Fuck, Lukeís got a set of pipes on him. Old Growth totally rules this record, kicking out two rough-hewn pop songs (and I donít mean pop in a crappy K Records way but a good, melancholy-but-still-rocking broken heart on your sleeve kind of way.) Theyíve also got an LP out and after listening to their side of the split about twenty times in a row it looks like Iím gonna have to go pick it up. –Keith Rosson (Bakery Outlet)

Demo: CD
Old Lines play dark, raw, gritty, and heavy hardcore punk that totally rips! I was blown away when I saw them play in a basement in CT, and this demo does a great job of capturing their live ferocity. The demo includes three songs of catchy riffs, manic drum beats, and throat-blistering vocals. The only disappointment here is how quickly the demo is over. Three songs just arenít enough! Thankfully, the band is heading into the studio to rerecord these songs, plus a few more for a second release later this year. Pick this up to tide you over until then. I canít recommend it enough. –Paul J. Comeau (oldlines.bandcamp.com, oldlines666@gmail.com)

Self-titled: LP
Pummeling, raw, vicious hardcore from ex-Pulling Teeth and Ruiner folks, so you should have some idea of what youíre in for. Low, fast, hyper-aggressive hardcore with the occasional non-derivative breakdown and even flashes of gloomy melody. Hell, I might dig this more than both PT and Ruiner, and thatís saying plenty. Get this shit. –Dave Williams (Self-released, oldlines.bandcamp.com)

Self-titled: 12Ē EP
You know the feeling you get when you see a great band live? The hair stands up on the back of your neck, and it feels like the music isnít just vibrating in your ears, but right down to your DNA. Thatís the feeling Iíve gotten both times Iíve seen Old Lines play, and their debut 12Ē captures that experience in vinyl form. The record features seven tracks, delivering Old Linesí crushing riffs direct to you. I was a big fan of the bandís sharp political lyrics, which tackle a variety of topics, but especially on the track ďCages,Ē for its anti-vivisection theme. Vocalist Mattís potent roar and the rest of the bandís thundering music is so intense on record, youíll swear youíre in a dirty basement somewhere experiencing them live. –Paul J. Comeau (oldlines bandcamp.com, oldlines666@gmail.com)

Self-titled: LP
Old Man Lady Luck busts out heavy instrumental rock that defies easy genre classification. Are they post-hardcore? Post-rock? Drone? They are perhaps a little of each of these things, but they are also so much more. With lots of guitar wankery, frequent changes in tone and tempo, and complex riffs that rise and fall in intensity, each song on this record feels like a movement of a symphony. Combined, the songs on this album reveal a fine tapestry of sound. I continue to find things that intrigue me about this album, even after repeated listens. Regardless of your taste, there will be something about this album that will pique your interest. –Paul J. Comeau (Forge)

Self-titled: LP
MOM, SUMMER CAMP IS WEIRD, BUT I FOUND THE ONE GUY WHO THINKS ďOBLITERATIONĒ BY BLACK FLAG IS A GOOD SONG!!! Actually, for something i hate, this is not terribly bad. BEST SONG: There are songs? BEST SONG TITLE: There are song titles? FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Record has the phrases ďMeat on meat, eh?Ē and ďGet him a glass of meat, eh?Ē inscribed on the runoff grooves. –Rev. Norb (Forge)

Guts Ní Teeth: CD
This down-to-earth, bluegrass, good time band is going to be your favorite thing.  Every person in this group seems genuine in their art.  I love watching them all have a great time performing while simultaneously trying to fit the entire band onto one stage.  This album reflects all the happy things they project out to their audience.  If you get a chance to see them perform, get off your couch and make the effort because you will be glad you did.  Go out and get two copies of this record for you and someone you like. –Corinne (Fat)

Guts ní Teeth: CD
This is a bit of an oddity. We have here a Fat Wreck release that could potentially be played on CMT or TNN, if it were still around. This isnít punk with a distinct influence from some country music. This is a full-on modern bluegrass album that just happens to be played by a legion of punk rockers. Mainstream country is about as big a cesspool as Clear Channel-core rock, so itís nice to hear some stuff with an Appalachian slant that doesnít involve an excessive sheen of jingoism or enough mawkish sentimentality to make one want to join a Nordic black metal band. (Okay, ďSong SongsĒ does get dangerously close to crossing the line on the sentimental thing though.) Simply put, this is a fun record. Itís the type of thing you could probably put on at a party with mixed company and not kill the buzz of people who are less accustomed to the noisier side of things. –Adrian Salas (Fat)

For Better for Worse:
When this band was described to me by a friend of mine, I felt it was pretty much the opposite of something Iíd want to listen to. Seriously, how many fiddle, stand up bass, and banjo bands are out there these days? Well, I begrudgingly went, saw them play, and was an instant convert. This is just great twang music that is played really well. The countrified Screeching Weasel cover on the flipside is pretty damn fine, too! –Ty Stranglehold (Fat)

Woke up Swinging:
Paging Kangaroo Records, there is a band you need to snap up for an album immediately! Right out of the gate I am hearing some serious Negative Approach/Out Cold vibes from this band and that is usually the only thing I wanna hear where hardcore punk is concerned. Hailing from Vancouver B.C., where they know a thing or two about killer hardcore, Old Man Strength drop four mid-tempo, pissed-off HC killers on this single. ďConversations with a JackassĒ is my pick to click here, but all four songs are great, pissed-off, basic hardcore. Cannot wait to hear a full length from this band.  –Mike Frame (Pankratium, oldmanstrength1.bandcamp.com)

Catharsis in Crisis: CD
These guys make Wesley Willis sound like Asia –Sean Koepenick (K)

Backed in a Corner: CD
The opening track on this disc is amazing! Itís so good, in fact, that I felt that the rest of the disc couldnít live up to its awesomeness. Itís not that the rest is bad by any meansóitís standard pop punk stuffóbut, damn, that first song stuck with me for awhile. It would have been great to have that song on a 7Ē. –Ty Stranglehold (Whenís Lunch)

Here We Go Again: CD
These two bands play equally sterile pop punk. As I reach the end of the album, Iím trying to recall a single song I just heard, and I canít. Just a bunch of chirping with too-clean production. The songwriting is strictly by-the-book. Sometimes bands just get lost in their attempt to achieve perfection.  –MP Johnson (Eccentric Pop, eccentricpop.com)

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