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Razorcake #84

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Record Reviews

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We’re in This Shit Together: LP
This is a very limited (250 copies only) LP edition of a popular 2010 Swedish street punk CD. A quality blend of early Euro oi and faster U.S.-based oi/street sounds, there’s nothing not to like about this LP. My favorite song is “Spirit of ‘95,” a non-sarcastic, honest nostalgic trip down memory lane for a time that the band members actually experienced. It’s pressed on cool purple vinyl and packaged in a sleeve featuring a montage of photos of Oldfashioned Ideas and their peeps. The photos help to prove the time-honored truism that European punks and skins are better-looking than their stateside counterparts. I love my friends, but we are fucking ugly compared to this crew. –Art Ettinger (Switchlight, switchlight-records.com)

Promises Mean Nothing: CD
I’m so fucking sick of fake nostalgia. Pictures of shit from the forties on a skinhead album. Shock me, shock me, shock me. Lyrically, this is so off it’s occasionally painful, and I’m not even getting into the missing space in the name. Or am I? I am. If you want your logo to consist of an O and an I, think of a fucking name that only has an O and an I. Anti-racist skins who claim “blues belong in sheds” and “country only draws in rats.” Genius lyricists, indeed. Musically, it’s second-rate street punk without the aggression or mandatory chant required to be oi! –Rene Navarro (Switchlight)

Promises Mean Nothing: CD
In just three years, Sweden’s Oldfashioned Ideas have made quite a dent on the worldwide streetpunk scene. This is their second full length album and it doesn’t disappoint. Reminiscent of Montreal’s Ripcordz, but with more of an oi influence, fashion punks everywhere will dig this release. And as was the case with their first album, there’s a photo collage on the insert to remind U.S. punks how much uglier we are than our European analogs. Singer Per has a solid, emotive tone to his style that sets these guys apart from the competition. Not that there’s a competition. Although I’d rather watch a streetpunk competition than any of the presently existing organized competitive events that this world has to offer. –Art Ettinger (Switchlight)

Don’t Believe a Word They Say: CD
Oldfashsioned Ideas is old fashioned oi! Take it or leave it. They are not breaking new ground here and I’m sure they don’t care. I’m sure that The Last Resort’s Roi Pearce and The Business’s Mickey Fitz would be proud to add this one to the family of albums that follow the simple ethos of “plug in and let’s go” instrumentation and guttural barroom vocals that make up the streetpunk genre. It is loud, proud, and punk to the core.  –John Mule (Contra)

Holemole: LP w/CD
First off, it’s pronounced “O-lay Mole-ay” and the album title is pronounced “Hole-ay Mole-ay”. Kind of stupid, I know, but, thankfully, the music makes up for it. Their sound is a mix of Hot Water Music and Red Animal War (especially on the vocals). It includes members of Burial Year and the Ghost and was recorded by one of the dudes from American Steel. The LP (in your choice of white or clear red) comes with the CD. The first track, “Gatekeeper,” isn’t necessarily the best song to start out with, as the singing vocals just sound silly after the fierce yelling with which it contrasts. And “Treble Hook” has a really annoying guitar part that it keeps coming back to. But beyond those two weaker tracks, there’s a good intensity and passion that comes from this band, the kind where you can tell they’re excited to be doing what they’re doing and believe in it. It’s been hard to figure the lyrics out. They require some thinking and I get a feel here and there about where they stand on things. From what I can tell, they like to question the traditional order of authority and the traditional order of things, and as someone who has been doing that a lot in my life lately, I can totally get behind that. –Kurt Morris (Underground Communique)

Gotta admit, I was never much of an At the Drive-In fan, but this wasn’t too bad a listen. This is a collection of primarily instrumental music Rodriguez-Lopez has put together for an unfinished film project he’s been working on. On its own, the music is a hodge-podge of space rock-styled jams, samples, static patterns, synth noodling and the like layered over one another. Perfect listening for your next brownie and tea party, if you catch my drift. –Jimmy Alvarado (GSL)

The Sound and the Fury: CD
They gallop, they trot, they will all-around rock your face off... and may make ya wanna pick it up, to boot. Pure, unashamed, straight from it. I’ve seen these guys be called surf punk, but this isn’t that regurgitated ‘60s-hollow-bodied-reverberated-bullshit. They’re a flat-out rollicking good time. It may be cold and dreary in Seattle, their hometown, but these dudes will warm yer heart... and goose yer throttle. Don’t miss out on this!  –Jackie Rusted (Self-released, omegamoo.com)

Hammer Down: CD
You know when you end up having to go to Guitar Center to get some strings or something and there’s always some dumbass subnormal redneck working there and he won’t put down the Dime Slime that he’s been shredding on long enough to help you with what you need? This band is made up of five dudes like that. Completely retarded (and not in a good way) heavy rock that sounds like third-rate Pantera. I know Todd only gave me this to review because the first song is called “Skull Bong.” Cool song titles aside, this thing is a ridiculous waste of everyone’s time. –ben (Omegalord)

Destroy The ESP: CD
Denver, a bubbling musical hot spot long before theme park Elitch’s moved and the squatter-infested train station was turned into the center of civic pride, spews out the Omens’ sneering, stripped-down garage punk the way it all started. I feel as good as when I first heard the Oblivians. Requires Russ Meyer-busted go-go dancers, not included. –Jessica Thiringer (Hipsville Int’l)

Make It Last: 7”
Synthesizer—check. Fuzz—check. High pitched singing—check. Not enough flying saucers, though. –Speedway Randy (Hipsville)

Send Black Flowers: CD
The Standells hire a ‘roid-raged Mike Tyson to deliver repeated knockout blows to the nards while they do some serious ear-pummelin’ via grade-A punked up fuzz rock. It’s not often I verbalize my approval whilst a disc is on, but I gotta admit I had the window down and was screamin’ “fuck yeah!” pretty much throughout its initial spin. Pretty nifty when that happens. –Jimmy Alvarado (Hipsville, hipsville-records.com)

Self-titled: CDEP
Adding screams to singing vocals does not a good album make. And starting an album with an instrumental isn’t usually a good idea either. Sure, lots of bands do it, but unless you’re building a legendary concept album, I’d steer clear of it. A number of the songs on here are appealing and have some ample hooks, but when the screamy vocals back up the pure, poppy punk vocals it just sounds ridiculous. The last song starts with the lyrics, “You think you’re really cool / can you come out and play?” No. I’m afraid I can’t. –Kurt Morris (www.takeoverrock.com)

Take Cover: CD
Is Longshot Records the new TKO? Who knows, but I do know that they consistently release great records by bands rocking the whole Beltones/Bodies vibe. You can add On The Brink to the list of good ones. The songs here are rockin’ and very catchy. I find my head uncontrollably bobbing up and down and my hand unconsciously reaching for another beer. They have a lot in common with fellow Edmontonians Wednesday Night Heroes but with perhaps a little more Ripcordz in their sound. Edmonton has had a long and storied punk rock history and On The Brink are adding another page. –Ty Stranglehold (Longshot)

Take Cover: CD
This reminds me of bands that I used to see at the Warped Tour back when it was worth going to. (I suppose everyone has a different definition of this, but for me that would have been up to about ‘98-’99.) On The Brink has a sound reminiscent of older Fat Wreck Chords releases: They’re anthemic, crunchy, and vaguely political. If you’re into that sort of stuff, this is pretty solid. –Ryan Horky (Longshot, longshotmusic.com)

Take Cover: CD
Take Cover is loaded with standard, at-the-speed-of-NOFX pop punk. This trio plays well, is recorded well, seems to have their act together, and there is nothing wrong with this band at all, but there is just nothing going on here for me. Every song on the album moves at the same pace. All the playing is so competent to the point where nothing stands out. This is dictionary-entry, hardcore-style pop punk album with songs titles like “Corruption,” “My Truth,” “Something to Lose,” “Damned from the Start.” There are bass breaks, vocal alone breaks, snare starts, melodic guitar runs, alternating singing (they all have good voices). Everything from the book is represented here. Not my thing, but they play well. –Billups Allen (Longshot)

Feed Them to the Children: CD
Buffalo, New York’s On The Cinder brings five tracks of unpretentious, blue-collar punk to the table on this disc with fair results. While nothing here hasn’t been done before, the band plays with a certain honest conviction that is endearing and I, for one, hope to hear more in the future.  –Garrett Barnwell (Self-released, onthecinder.bandcamp.com)

The Making of a Conversation: CD
The vocals on this first recording by OTMOP are a pretty straight forward rip-off of Rising Tide-era Sunny Day Real Estate stuff. This is a decent record in mostly drop D but I don’t hear anything too original here. If you like Hum and Sunny Day Real Estate and can’t seem to get enough of bands that sound like them, you might dig this. –Buttertooth (RokLok/Eugenics)

Where You Are and Where You Want to Be: CD
This is indie-post-hardcore stuff that leans towards emo without becoming completely whiney. I like some of the transitions but think At The Drive In still rules ‘em. These four Long Island screamers play heavy stuff but still retain a melody. I personally like the quiet interludes but think the screamed vocals are a bit repetitive. There aren’t too many fast and furious tracks on here—its mostly mid tempo. I suggest this for folks who like the idea of mixing June of ’44-style spacey parts, Sunny Day Real Estate melody vocals, and a little dash of angst. –Buttertooth (RokLok)

Sirens: CD
It reminds me of what might occur if Thursday and Cursive collaborated. If that sounds appealing, you should stop reading now because this album is unimaginative, uninspiring, and almost completely uninteresting. Stop. Start. Scream. Croon. Melody. Mosh. Yawn. Go play drums on your chest and stare at your shoes some more. Find something to yearn over and don’t come back until you’ve either fought your way out of a paper bag or moved past the same stupid fucking trend that’s drowning the creativity of all the other bands like you.  –Puckett (Revelation)

Tragic Endings: CD
Some pretty standard, by-the-numbers youth crew hardcore. Sounds like a mix of most of the bands on Deathwish and Bridge 9. To their credit at least most of the songs are actually fast, but this just ain’t my cuppa ‘core. –Mike Frame (Thorp)

Forever: CD
I hate the band Live. I think this band likes them. Screaming Trees had cooler guitar riffs while laying on the wah pedals. I can’t take the way my stomach turns when I hear the Eddie Vedder/Creed hunyh-huhs. These guys aren’t as bad as it gets, but are leaning towards a stoner rock version of that same hated musical beast. –Buttertooth (Bad Afro)

Riot in My Head: CD
Album number two from these guys sees them continuing to tap the pop/punk vein, with a bit more emphasis on jangly Hüsker guitars, Midwestern hooks, and even a wee bit of country twang on “Lies.” A lot of what they do is good at worst, but when they latch onto a good riff, like on “Guided by Choices,” they can really run with it. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.theoaots.com)

Worst Episode Ever: CD
My mood swings swing wider than a home run hitter in baseball. This issue, I’m not that into pop punk. I guess I have a little bit of pent up anger. Maybe, I’m just a big asshole who should give up music. But I do sometimes see the light at the end of the tunnel. One thing for sure, American pop punk is flooded with cookie cutter, paint-by-the-numbers bands. Something I find interesting is if a band is not from the USA, I seem a little more interested. I have come to really appreciate a release by Crackle. They seem to put out pop punk that is not only energetic, but raw at the same time. There have been very few releases that I have not liked. What caught my attention of this release was that this band took matters in their own hands. They worked hard and long to save and build a home studio because they never liked the results of their recordings when they contracted a third party to record them. I have been there before. I don’t know how hard it is to build your own studio. I have been fortunate enough to have friends and relatives lately who have the gear and the know-how. But one thing I do know is it’s not cheap! Now in their own hands, they spend four long years recording a new album’s worth of material and re-recording songs they were not satisfied with in the past. The result is quite impressive. The songs have a strong Propagandhi meets Consumed sound and structure. The production is solid but not overproduced. Patience was their friend because I have no complaints about the mix. The guitars are up front but not overpowering. The bass and drum sound is solid. The vocals are in the right place and everything sounds individual and at the same time together. Their first attempt at self-recording is impressive. I’m looking forward to hearing more. This is their best effort to date. –Donofthedead (Crackle)

Never Suspend Disbelief: CD
I like ‘80s style youth crew hardcore for the most part, and I wanted to like this album more than I did. Bands like Youth Of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, New Mexican Disaster Squad, and Kid Dynamite have a way of really inspiring the ol’ hardcore pride in me. Musically, One Choice Win is pretty on the mark, and lyrically they touch all the bases about thinking for yourself, keeping dreams alive, etc… The problem with the band is that the vocalist keeps coming off as whiny and annoying rather than inspiring. Being a bad singer in this type of band is almost a feat considering how so many great hardcore singers like Civ and Kevin Seconds are technically really limited, but great none the less. Minus the vocals, this has some potential, but, until then, I think Deny Everything from Germany and NMDS might be the best bands currently playing this brand of punk. –Adrian (Jump Start)

Self-titled: 7"
The sound of modern Gainesville filtered through a turd. I couldn’t get into this at all. Nice screen printed covers though. –Ryan Horky (Abandon Hope)

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