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Razorcake #84
Tim Version, Ordinary Life LP + bonus 7"
Radon, 28 LP
Zisk #25
Razorcake #83

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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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oolooloo: LP
Originally released in ‘95, oolooloo finally sees vinyl as part of The 3rd Wave Ska Preservation Society Vinyl Reissue Project. Funnily, while I’ve known all the songs on this album for just shy of twenty years, I’ve never owned the album ‘til now (most of them are on the live album, Strapped Live, which is the only album I ever held on to). In the late ‘90s I loved the Pietasters. Loved in the way that I only went to see Joe Strummer because they were opening. They got on stage and said they had the best job, playing for fourteen minutes before getting to watch Joe Strummer play. I almost left after their set. (I wasn’t that into the Mescaleros. A friend had seen the show the night before and Strummer threw in only one or two Clash songs.) I stayed and promptly had my ass handed to me as Strummer launched into almost a full set of Clash songs with tons of energy. Seriously one of my favorite show memories ever. As time passed, I listened to The Pietasters less and less. To be fully honest, I picked up the album because I wanted to support the project, but it’s gotten to be one of the most-played records since landing on my doorstep. It’s catchy as hell and it doesn’t take more than two seconds of “Girl Take It Easy” to pick up (pick it up, pick it up) my mood. They were one of the few ska bands at the time who seemed to have a sense of humor without being a shtick and just wanted to party. I appreciated it then, and hell, it’s 2012 and I’m not scared to admit I goddamn love this third wave ska record. –Megan Pants (Asbestos, asbestosrecords.wordpress.com / Underground Communique, undercomm.org)

Phantom Limb: CD
The name conjures up images of a butcher slicing some bacon off a meaty hog’s ass, but in reality it’s code word for “Cop Killer.” So, somewhere Tracy Morrow, or Ice T, as he likes to be called, is happy his message wasn’t wasted. Even though he plays a cop on television... But, as ridiculous as that is, it still isn’t as ridiculous to me as grindcore. I know these guys are talented n’ shit, but goddamn, this music is for kids dressed up like wizards throwing twenty-sided dice. I could have maximum hit points and total charisma and I still wouldn’t know what the fuck this guy is saying. Probably something about cutting up his girlfriend, but I couldn’t care less. –Dave Disorder (Relapse)

Book Burner: CD/LP
I’ve been waiting five years for a new Pig Destroyer album. The band’s last release, Phantom Limb, came out in 2007, and is in my top five all-time favorite albums. It would be tough for this Maryland/Virginia four-piece to top that glorious slab of excruciating grindcore. The nineteen songs on Book Burner arrive in thirty-two minutes, being reminiscent of older albums in their catalog like 2004’s Terrifyer in so far as the bursts and brevity of the tracks. Guest vocals are prevalent on the album, which is unusual for the band. Vocalists include Kat Katz and Richard Johnson from Agoraphobic Nosebleed (Pig Destroyer guitarist Scott Hull’s other band), and Jason Netherton of Misery Index (Pig Destroyer drummer Adam Jarvis’s other band). Upon first listen, these guest vocalists seem to upend the sound of J. R. Hayes’s rough screaming, but after more listens, it’s good to hear some different vocalists trying to hold their own with Pig Destroyer’s aggressive sound and not just doing so but complementing it. One of the things that made Phantom Limb so great was the grooves of the songs. They were long enough (more than two minutes is a rarity in grindcore) to build the song into a groove, work it through, and then end the tune, all while still pummeling the listeners’ ears. That’s not the case on Book Burner. Like Terrifyer, these songs are primarily blistering, fast, and to the point. The ones that shine (“Baltimore Strangler,” “The Bug,” “The Diplomat,” “Permanent Funeral”) are the ones that extend past the three-minute point. The rest of the songs are still good, but seem insignificant in light of the material that has depth. The lyrics also don’t seem as intelligent (no, I’m not kidding—see “Gravedancer” or “Alexandria” on past albums for examples of J. R. Hayes lyrical capabilities), either. They’re blunt, like the music, and seem to be drawing more from the Kerry King style of lyricism than the Henry Rollins school, which is a disappointment, as I had always considered vocalist and lyricist J. R. Hayes to be amongst the better lyricists in the hard music genre. Let’s face it—it’s hard to top an all-time favorite album, so despite these reservations, Book Burner is still far above almost anything else you’ll hear in the grindcore scene this year and a good place for the unitiatied to learn about Pig Destroyer. –Kurt Morris (Relapse)

“Weapon” b/w “Gut Pleasures”: 7”
As you’ve probably read elsewhere (or heard by now, as this has been out long enough to be sold out at the source), noise project Pig Heart Transplant toys around with something like song structure on this one. The last thing that I had heard from PHT was the devastating Hope You Enjoy Heaven LP+7”, which was rather menacing. This is a bit of a departure from previous output, to be sure, though not in a manner that makes it seem to be anything but begotten from the same maniacal vision. Both songs are slow, heavy, and center around repetitive drum-pummeling: the sound of torment carefully making its way down a hall to corner you in terror. The main accompaniments on “Weapon” are the repetition of a discomforting guitar riff and quiet, raspy vocals, though pieces of noise are still present. “Gut Pleasures” gets much noisier and has ominous bellowing throughout. Both tracks convey a feeling of being tracked by an opportunistic, malicious predator and nightmarish paranoia. Inhuman and brilliant. –Vincent Battilana (Iron Lung)

Root Porno: Cassette
One of the best listening experiences I’ve had in a long time was over the summer, driving with Zach Rooney to our friends’ house while he played rough demos of his new Pig Welt songs. It was a warm day and breezy, and here was Zach playing genius home-recorded desert rock by way of Unwound and Slint through his iPhone (might have been an iTouch). I think I briefly understood the universe, no joke. On Root Porno, he finds the common ground between Up on the Sun and David Grubbs, between a cluttered attic bedroom and the expanse of the Mojave and the cool, damp woods of the Northwest. It’s effortless, catchy head-space rock with bonus droning, for people who want to drive/float/smoke on a long, slow day. Get this immediately. –Matt Werts (Holy Page, holypage.org)

Self-titled: EP
This record is fuggin’ awesome! It’s fast and crushing hardcore punk with some noisy elements permeating the overall sound. Guitars churn and crank over thundering percussion, while the vocals have a dry, raspy style that spits the words out with contempt for religion, the elite, and more. The songs race by at a quick clip, but it never blurs into grind. Think of early Die Kreuzen, mixed with some Scandinavian sound, and coming out of Germany. I like the feedback lock groove on side one. Nice touch! On side two is the long and punishing “Trauma.” Cold feedback sets the dark and bleak tone. It builds tension as it goes a few measures before everyone else comes in to blow the whole thing apart. And when they do start playing, the results are excellent. The song has a crushing and yet catchy riff that rocks like hell. Then they hit whirlwind speed, go for some chaos, and end with lumbering drums. Great record! The more I listen to this, the more I find myself starting to obsess over these guys. More records soon! –Matt Average (Heartfirst, info@heartfirst.net, heartfirst.net)

Trauma: 7” EP
I thought their self-titled EP from a while back was pretty crushing. This was one is just as heavy, and maybe more devastating on a sonic level. Each song is a huge, rough, and raw chunk of sound that sounds like it’s being torn apart and slammed down onto the pavement. The guitars are drenched in feedback and distortion. They push noisy leads that sound like they were pulled from the outer reaches of the cosmos. Percussion hits hard and fast with chaotic abandon while the bass gives everything a nasty grit and solid-as-hell low end. Vocals are delivered in a rabid rapid-fire bursts, and yet every word comes across loud and clear. The first three songs come at you in quick and noisy bursts tied together with dread and distortion. I find I’m a fan of their songs on the second side (such as “Trauma” on their self-titled EP), which tend to be slightly longer workouts than the A side material. “Kein Frieden” is a heavy and noisy number that mainly stays on the mid-tempo side, with a brief foray into faster territory. It’s catchy as hell, with head banging rhythms that eventually give way to whirlwind fury before collecting itself once again and washing out into a gurgling foam of sick distortion as the drums punch holes into the wall. Fantastic!  –Matt Average (Heartfirst)

The Power of Beef: CD
Wow, there's more chugga-chugga metal in their sound here than I remember them having. If my mind is playing tricks on me and I have blocked out the fact that this is what they sounded like back in the '80s, I am flabbergasted that they never managed to break into the Sunset Strip scene all them years ago so Michael could assume his throne as the "King of L.A." –Jimmy Alvarado (Go Kart)

The Power of Beef: CD
Wow, there’s more chugga-chugga metal in their sound here than I remember them having. If my mind is playing tricks on me and I have blocked out the fact that this is what they sounded like back in the ‘80s, I am flabbergasted that they never managed to break into the Sunset Strip scene all them years ago so Michael could assume his throne as the “King of L.A.” –Jimmy Alvarado (Go Kart)

Illuminati House Party: LP
Heavy stuff here. But it’s not all doom and thud. This is a good mix of straight-up rock, with songs like “Population Control” and “Hard Lovin’ Van,” and then they give you stuff like “The Call,” which is in the realm of Sabbath and Sleep. But the crème de la crème is the Sabbath-inspired riff godhead “Lurch,” which is so undeniably good it requires a couple more listens before moving on to the next song. Then you get the epic “Taser Trilogy,” which is, as the title suggests, a three-part instrumental jam. At points this stuff reminds me of mid- to late-’80s SST output: jam heavy and out of left field. Would love to see these guys live. This record comes packaged in a foldout, two-color screen printed cover, along with a CD-R of the album to listen to in the car. Fuck yeah! –Matt Average (Sugar Mountain, sugarmountain@gmail.com)

Gaffe: 10”
Unh. Hell yes. Exactly the filthy, off-kilter, pissed-off result I was expecting from Dave Unsane and producer Andrew Schneider (Cave In, Converge, etc). Certainly in the Unsane world, with more quirky Melvins-esque swagger and a seriously mesmerizing rhythm section. Often reminiscent of Tomahawk’s first record, as well. Heavy, just weird enough, and way dirty. Rad.  –Dave Williams (Coextinction/Solar Flare)

Split: Cassette
Let’s say you happened to be having a BBQ, and your house backed up to a hospital filled with mental patients. What if those patients somehow escaped and climbed over your fence because your burgers smelled real good? This is what you would put on your boom box by the grill. I think they would really enjoy both band’s efforts. –Sean Koepenick (Multiverse)

Oink!: CD
…when i first saw that this was on a label called “Disturbing Music,” i immediately assumed that that meant “Disturbing Records”—house organ of Chicago’s The Cunts (occasionally “The C*nts”) for like the last twenty years or so—and that the Pigs were some manner of post-Cunt or perhaps merely Cunt-affiliated project, which had me contemplating their competent yet unincisive Oingo Boingo/Skafish-isms in an entirely different manner than i was forced to contemplate them in once i found out Disturbing Records and Disturbing Music are two wholly unrelated entities. In this case, i can only ask the listener to compare Oingo Boingo’s Only a Lad to the wholly unoriginal by comparison (yet still, musically, in the same ballpark) Stand Back, then ask thyself if thee thinketh that Geoff Westen of The Pigs will ever be writing the score for Batman movies like Danny Elfman of Oingo Boingo. One thinketh not. Decent record though. BEST SONG: “Saturday Night,” because it doesn’t sound like Oingo Boingo OR Skafish, it sounds like the Kings! The Kings are Here, binch! BEST SONG TITLE: “Saturday Night,” because it sounds like the Bay City Rollers! The Bay City Rollers are Here, binch! FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Danny Elfman sucks, and don’t those keyboards at the beginning of “Saturday Night” sound frighteningly like those of REO Speedwagon’s “Ridin’ The Storm Out”??? –Rev. Norb (Disturbing Music)

Dripping: CD
College rock, alt-rock, skronk and post-hardcore melded together in one noisy package. I prefer their noisier, disjointed moments, like “Grunt Like a Pig,” over their more structured, musical moments, but I imagine this’ll get no shortage of plays by people cramming for a Chem 203 exam. –Jimmy Alvarado (Exploding in Sound, dan@explodinginsound.com)

Music from Little Pink: CD
Adequate, yet uneventful poppy rock music. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.pillowofwrongness.com)

Music from Little Pink: CD
Adequate, yet uneventful poppy rock music. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.pillowofwrongness.com)

Demo: CD-R
Pop punk that’s of a more modern style than mid-‘90s rehashes. Overall, it sounded like the self-titled Lifetime record with Unlovables-style vocals. This demo also has a bunch of different stuff, ranging from songs that were recorded in a decent studio to some off a cell phone. I like it. And I haven’t seen for myself, but I hear they actually have pillow fights at their shows. If so, that rules. –Joe Evans III (Self-released)

Round 1: CD
I declare this album to be pop punk perfection. It’s ten tracks and most of the songs are about a minute (the longest is a minute and twenty-three seconds and the shortest is a robust thirty-three seconds). This band definitely subscribes to the Minutemen’s “jam econo” philosophy. This isn’t blast beat-driven powerviolence either, but fully fleshed out and great pop punk that just doesn’t see the need for stuff like bridges or repeating a chorus if it can get the job done the first time. With the male/female vocals, this is like a distilled concentration of the best moments of bands like Lemuria and Tsunami Bomb. The song “True Story” has one of my favorite lyrics as of late: “And on the first night, we hung out in the park/ it was like reading Huxley for the first time.” Something about the sentiment of that line really sticks with me. Not a second in the roughly ten minute runtime of this album is wasted, as every song has a memorable lyric, or riff, or little melodic moment. –Adrian (Silver Sprocket, avi@springmanrecords.com)

Round 1: CD
This album feels like some young people did it, so I’m sure they’ll still be putting out more records. With that said, The Pillow Fights touch on all the typical run-of-the-mall themes and sing about them like we just walked out of the food court after spotting our crush there: “Don’t think I didn’t see you eye me, because I saw you stumble over, with your head over your shoulder looking back.” Those are the lyrics to their song “Touche Marianne Touche,” which would undoubtedly be clever to me if I were in high school. That’s the problem. All the juvenile lyrics throughout the album don’t translate well on a universal sense, but more in a demographic sense. We’ve all had crushes (and now I feel sixteen again after typing that line) but it’s been a long time since some of us thought of our crushes in the way they’re presented here. Musically, you can compare the singer to Discount but a more out-of-tune hybrid with New Found Glory riffage, and you’d have a succinct surmise of The Pillow Fights. –N.L. Dewart (Silver Sprocket Bicycle Club, silversprocket.net)

Round 1: CD
Pop punk with male/female vocal harmonies that are pretty good at times. It’s a decent record. I liked it. But I’ve heard it before. If you put this in my CD changer with the Beautys, I might not always be able to tell the difference. Grade: B. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Silver Sprocket)

Any City: CD
Sporadic new wave punk—what you’ve come to expect from the Causey Way outfit (some of the members who make up this new band). Elements of mellow electro, new wave, punk and straight-up pop flavor this disc, and in a good way. “Big Fun” (showcasing quality post-punk) and “Master Jack” (pure pop goodness) are the best tracks by far. Songs like “Daisies” and “Babies” sound less like the Causey Way and more like Le Tigre or Ladytron. All in all, this is a great disc for past cult members of the Causey Way and indie/electro post-punk fans. –Mr. Z (Alternative Tentacles)

Any City: CD
The Causey Way (Razorcake #1) cult disbanded. But the musical platelets remained in their blood. In that blood, The Cars splashed through and slithering keyboards hydroplaned. In that blood, early ‘60s pop commingled with sparse, non-sucky indie rock. In that blood, guitars blare and Scott sings in his high-register voice, and sexy, sultry interludes remain. PST are less new wave and more just a band whose approach is akin to latter-day Man… or AstroMan? I’m willing to go the distance—far from the original flight pattern—because there’s always an unexpected reward if you buckle yourself in and take the turbulence. “Angel of Death” balls up every word in this review, lights them on fire, and uses them as a beacon for a safe landing. Recommended listening. –Todd Taylor (Alternative Tentacles)

self-titled: CD-R demo
Emerging from the robes of The Causey Way (see Razorcake #1 for full interview), with front man and collaborating main co-songwriters, Scott and Tracy, there are traces of the old project transmogrified into something more slinking, sultry, and openly playful. The only thing I don't like is the name of the band. It comes across as way too emo for my tastes (like the name Pilot to Gunner). Yet, don't let that be too distracting. If you like new wave in the vein of Servotron, with music more suitable for slipping your hand under a special someone's underthings, instead of killing humans (Servotron's call to arms), while openly inviting the use of a synthesizer, you can't go wrong. Both Scott (ex-Causey himself) and Tracy have sexy android, almost hypnotic trances of voices and it doesn't hurt things one iota that they cover ground from intergalactic surf, to the state controlling your monkey brain, to what could be readings from children's books with equal grace, hummable vibration, and authority. Excellent, hard-to-categorize but fun-to-listen-to music. –Todd Taylor (Pilot Scott Tracy)

Wicca Chicka: EP
A most enjoyable single from a most promising band. Tight lyrics, sloppy music - just the right garage punk rock blend. This single is for you if your name is Steve, Mike, Dave, Tom, or Chris (that alone should be about 3,000 guys in our readership.) –Namella J. Kim (Rapid Pulse)

Fuck This Shit, We’re Outta Here: CD
Quirky rock/punk, deftly executed and long on humor. –Jimmy Alvarado (Crustacean)

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