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Razorcake #90
White Murder, both LPs
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Record Reviews

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Self-Titled: 7"
Barely irritating experimental hip-hop on marbled vinyl. The ones without the raps are better. –Cuss Baxter (Sedition)

Discography: CD
If you thought the only thing Scandinavia was good for anymore was black metal and bad ‘70s rock, here’s some mind-blowing, crucial fjordcore madness here in the classic mold of bands like Mob 47 and Protes Bengt that’ll slap that notion right outta your head. A total of forty-one tracks, from three 7-inchers and a 12-inch spanning the years 1995-’98, are here for your aural enjoyment and the displeasure of all the fake-ass punker wannabes at your school. Best news of all is that this band is apparently still going strong. You can bet your sweet patootie this is recommended. –jimmy (Hardcore Holocaust)

Split: 7” EP
Rajoitus: Five tracks of vicious Finnish fjordcore coming at you like a hail of angry hornets armed with jackhammers aiming for your forehead. Been a while since I’ve heard anything from ‘em, but based on this, it sounds like they’ve lost none of their charm. Ratstab: Blown-out, spastic hardcore that, at times, sounds like someone is howling while banging on the inside of a very heavy, lead barrel.  –jimmy (Patac)

Split: 7” EP
Rajoitus: Five tracks of vicious Finnish fjordcore coming at you like a hail of angry hornets armed with jackhammers aiming for your forehead. Been a while since I’ve heard anything from ‘em, but based on this, it sounds like they’ve lost none of their charm. Ratstab: Blown-out, spastic hardcore that, at times, sounds like someone is howling while banging on the inside of a very heavy, lead barrel.  –jimmy (Patac)

Pure Pop Poison: LP
This appears to be some sort of Buddhist-themed band and record. The sides are split into “passionate side” and “political side.” This distinction is decidedly above my head but appears to be quite important to the artist. There is a paean to making love to eight people with Barry White on 8-track on the song “8-Track Love.” The sound of the band and record fluctuates between a rough and ragged Krupted Peasant Farmerz kind of sound and the goofy, twee sound of The Bartlebees or even Beat Happening at times. –frame (Three Peas)

Self-titled: CD
Arty noise that was about as exciting as a macramé contest. –jimmy (rakingbombs@hotmail.com)

Self-titled: 12” EP
Tough one to describe here. Which is a good thing, really. I hear strong death rock elements in the percussion and bass, and occasionally in the guitar. Then there’s this really wide and blown-out post-punk, post-rock, post-whatever, sort of art-damaged, vibe that dominates the sound that keeps everything from getting too dark and too heavy. Things really get interesting around songs like “Life Comes from Death” with its creepy graveyard organ sound, and the lumbering “Secret” where the bass has a loose and dark edge that takes the sound into the depths. Then there are the vocals in that song that have this distant dream feel. So good... Unfortunately, the songs “Ganex; Black Mob” and “Caverna” run too long and bog things down, killing the mood established by the previous songs. “Caverna” has its moments, and is more focused than “Ganex,” but neither song fit well with the previous four. Maybe it’s a matter of having to spend more time with these songs. Whatever the case, the material on the first side is definitely worth your time.  –Matt Average (Nada Nada, nadanadadiscos.com)

Self-titled: 7”
Rakta from Brazil recently played here in Los Angeles at the Dog Haus (L.A. punks Generacion Suicida’s spot to host touring bands) and for whatever fucking reason I assumed two very stupid things. One: that Rakta were a thrash band. Two: I didn’t need to go to this show even though GS and the Bay Area’s Flesh World were both also playing. This two-song 7” will forever be a painful yet endearing reminder of bad, bad life choices. I’ve tried to sit through Siouxsie And The Banshees records. I’ve never made it past more than two songs. I get that they were innovators in the post-punk/goth realm but always felt like there was a key DIY punk element missing. Rakta have not only found that element but have run off with it and nurtured it back to health in dark rooms full of empty wine bottles, bone-chilling keyboard notes, and echoing incantations. The packaging and artwork is nothing short of perfect: silk screened cover and dust sleeve with a printed vellum insert. What more can I say? I’m smitten.  –Juan Espinosa (540, La Vida Es Un Mus, Dama Do Noite, Nada Nada)

Self-titled: 7” EP
Short blasts of non-metallic hardcore, some slower, others opting for full-speed ahead. Given the name and the cover art, I kinda expected more arty fare from this, but these kids kick up dust quite nicely on the seven tunes here. –jimmy (Scavenger Of Death, no address)

Seriously: CD
Ralph Carney is a multi-instrumentalist who’s been associated with bands in what seems like damned near every corner of the new wave—B-52s, The Waitresses, They Might Be Giants, Talking Heads, Jonathan Richman, and the list goes on. As the band’s name and the title suggest, this is jazz, specifically along the lines of small-group, ragtime-derived early swing (hence the “jass” spelling, I’m guessing). The lion’s share of stuff here are run-throughs of standards (like “Echoes of Harlem,” “You Took Advantage of Me,” and “I Wish I Were Twins”), and they handily do them justice—solid musicianship, choice soloing, and a sense of respect not so bogged down with reverence that no room is left for some playful bounce. If traditional jazz is yer chosen poison, this’ll go down nicely. –jimmy (Smog Veil)

No Name Café: CD
I didn’t like this kind of stuff when it was put out by Johnny Cougar. Or John Cougar Mellencamp for that matter. –megan (Readyfireaim)

Talk Down the Sky: CD
Think “alternative rock’s answer to the Black Crowes” and then head for the hills. When they described themselves as “emo-billy,” I should’ve taken them at their word, ’cause this pretty much bites the weenie. –jimmy (ReadyFireAim)

Talk Down the Sky: CD
Adult contemporary country crossover, anyone? I need a Q-tip. My ears feel dirty. –megan (ReadyFireAim)

Avanti: CD

Twenty-four minutes of top-notch surf and spaghetti western instrumentals. Great soundtrack for your next Fistful of Dollars-themed shindig.

–jimmy (Mint)

Self-titled: 2 x LP
If you’re looking for a Gun Club record, you may be disappointed by Ramblin’ Jeffrey Lee. As Cypress Grove, Jeffrey’s collaborator on Ramblin’ Jeffrey Lee, points out in the liner notes—Ramblin’ Jeffrey Lee enters into vanity record territory. Instead of his usual blues-punk hybrid, Jeffrey performs straight blues interpretations on Ramblin’ Jeffrey Lee, covering songs by Howlin’ Wolf, Skip James, Charley Patton, and Don Nix (“Goin’ Down”). Jeffrey was at his musical peak when this album was recorded (1992), and his desire to do a blues record was a reflection of his reverence for the genre that gave him a career. If you’re a seasoned Gun Club fan, this reissue is an absolute must; Jeffrey’s version of “Go Tell the Mountain” is worth the price of admission alone. Bang! did a great job with the packaging (double LP gatefold).  –ryan (Bang!, bang-records.net)

Bring It!: LP
There’s a reason that Rambo’s huge in certain circles: like Propagandhi, Dillinger Four and Against Me!, they manage to convey an “us against them” kind of desperation in a manner that still remains inclusive, that allows you to feel that things are possible, and that makes you feel that this is a world that isn’t totally void of compassion or meaning. While Rambo sonically sounds nothing like the aforementioned bands, they all have (or had) that same inherent undercurrent of rage, that same ability to deal with overtly political issues in a way that’s still accessible to the listener. And the fact that this is some of the most tuneful, furious and intelligent hardcore to come rumbling down the avenue in some time doesn’t hurt either. Despite the lack of Mike Bukowski cover art, this record just kills from start to finish; songs like “That Lump in Your Throat” and “Kids Who Mosh Like Assholes Must Make Selfish Lovers” will hopefully be on mixtapes for years and years to come. Still, this literally has to be one of the ugliest LP covers I’ve seen in years. I’m not necessarily faulting the artist, just saying it was a poor idea for a cover, the end result being if I didn’t know who this band was, I wouldn’t pick this thing up in a hundred years. Both CD and LP versions come with a live DVD that highlights their ‘03 European tour, along with a bunch of additional material. If you’re wondering about the hype, it’s well founded. If you’re wondering why everyone’s talking about this band, there’s a reason. Seek it out, read the words, feel it, and wear the grooves out on the thing. –keith (Havoc)

: Split 7"
Rambo: First track is a East Coast mosh fest that keeps the pit moving. The second and third tracks blasts off like a laser guided missile aimed at a strategic target, ready for destruction. Crucial Unit: More manic and intense than Rambo. The vocals are screamo and the beats fly by at lightning speed. You feel like you have to hold on for dear life. They definitely win the speed contest here. Both bands hail from Philadelphia. The theme of the split is bicycles. This was a great introduction to both of these bands for me.
–don (Ed Walters)

Self-titled: 7” EP
Ding dong! Moo-pow-pow! As fun as Otis Day made the toga party in Animal House, Ramma Lamma takes ‘70s teen arena fun pop, unzips the listeners’ skull, scoops brains out like ice cream with sugary, sprinkles crunchy candy bits on top, and dances around like kids let of out of school for the summer. Think David Cassidymania dreaminess, prior to that London concert where a fourteen-year-old girl got stampeded to death at the gate; an event that haunted David until his death. No haunting here, just repeated listens! –todd (Certified PR)

Self-titled: 7” EP
Four tracks of punky power pop, or poppy punker pop, whichever you prefer. They keep the tempos and styles eclectic, the hooks a-plenty, and there ain’t a Ramone clone within a mile of this, so you know this definitely worth a spin. –jimmy (Certified PR)

“Gimme Gimme Gimme Gimme” b/w “Rock’n’Roll Lady": 7”
…Ramma Lamma are my favorite Wisconsin band right now, although that could be a matter of damning them with faint praise at this juncture. They answer the age old ((okay, day old)) question of what it would be like if a less-annoying Suzi Quatro fronted a three-piece version of Slade and played Mud covers, or Cichlids covers, or something deep like that, as well as the question of what would happen if someone spelled “Rama Lama” with extra M’s. They continue their jaunty strut to bang-shang-a-lang-gri-la by creating that rarest of fowls, a Christmas 45 THAT DOESN’T SUCK. Unless you bothered listening closely to the lyrics, as so many young people do, you wouldn’t really know it was a Christmas 45, and that’s the kind of sugar cookies Santa likes. The A-side chorus of “Christmas time is a time for givin’, so give me everything you got / don’t bother givin’ me nothin’ baby, unless you’re gonna spend the night” manages to completely fit the whole “Christmas” bit into Ramma Lamma’s standard agenda of Rockin’, and…and Lovin’, and…and…Rockin’ some more, instead of the other way around—fitting the Rock Agenda into the Christmas paradigm—and that is exactly As It Should Be. The synth interlude is properly unexpected, and the real or imagined sleigh bells add a respectful dollop of surrendering without giving oneself away. The b-side is a little more heavy-handed in its Christmassyness, but they have the good sense to steal the riff to “Gudbuy T’Jane” so it’s all good. Throw in a sugarplum fairy or two and we’ll call it a deal! BEST SONG: “Gimme Gimme Gimme Gimme” BEST SONG TITLE: “Gimme Gimme Gimme Gimme” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I recorded one Christmas song about twenty years ago, which was called “Gimme Stuff.” In light of recent events, i should have called it “Gimme Gimme Gimme Gimme Stuff.” –norb (Certified PR)

Ice Cream: LP
Work sucks. The school I work at is having a real tough time. Seismologists told us that nearly half of the campus was built on a fault line. Now that portion of the school, which includes a dozen classrooms, is off-limits. On top of that, the after-school program’s budget got slashed to practically nil. As a result, I’ve been heading home partially deflated, embittered. Today, I slump into my chair and see Ramma Lamma’s Ice Creamon my desk. It beckons me with its garish, crude cover art, like an animation cell from The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat. I give it a spin and, god almighty, it’s just what I need. I’m talking pure id power pop, mining the brains most impulsive (repulsive?) regions, and kick-starting serotonin production. These are the type of songs that just might make you blush: “Baby I’m a monster, come from outer space. If the girls don’t like it they can sit on my face.” Ramma Lamma is therapeutic. They extinguish my frustrations with whip cream. After a handful of songs, I’m completely decompressed. This is the type of record that reminds you that there’s still stupid fun to be had in the world. –Sean Arenas (Certified PR, certifiedprrecords.com)

Doomed to Destroy, Destined to Die: CD

I am really the wrong person to be reviewing this. I generally can’t stand metal. There are a few exceptions, but as a genre, I’m just not a fan. I won’t hold it against Ramming Speed that I hate them. Musically, they seem pretty tight, but it all sounds the same to me. I’ll be sure to pass this on to someone who will appreciate it.

–ty (Prosthetic)

Split: LP
I feel like I’m reliving my teen years again with all the new thrash metal that is making the rounds, making me believe it’s the crossover period again. Ramming Speed start things off with a bombastic blast of thrash metal that gets close to death metal and grind territory at times. A vocal delivery that is throaty and shouted then guttural. Bright guitar tones with a heavy dose of rapid chords and hyperfast solos are combined with thundering bass and drums to bring a force of sound to their music. A.N.S. are equal contenders with their contribution to this release. Crossover in the vein of Excel meets Nuclear Assault. The soundtrack to a good skate sesh on the backyard halfpipe. A raw feel to the production gives them more of a punk edge. But the metal is brought with the heavy chugging of the guitar. I really appreciated hearing the mosh part in one of their songs. I saw the band a couple of years ago and came away with a good appreciation of their live show. It’s a great pairing of two current bands that gives me the itch to experience Ramming Speed live when they come to town. –don (Tankcrimes)

Greatest Hits: CD
Twenty tracks of standard Ramones fare to introduce those (who have been living under a fucking rock) to quite possibly the world’s most perfect rock’n’roll band. The first eleven Ramones slabs are represented here (sans Halfway To Sanity) with songs that many a fan have pogoed to over the years, be it at all those wondrous Ramones gigs, or in the noisy privacy of their very own bedrooms/house parties. A great way to get your cool little nephew/niece off on the right foot, absolutely. But if you were a genuinely cool aunt or uncle, you’d buy ‘em the entire catalog, one b-day and Xmas gift at a time. –dale (Rhino: www.rhino.com)

Wierd Tales of the Ramones: Box Set
Around four years ago, Rhino Records did an awfully wonderful thing for us high priests belonging to the Cult of Ramones: they re-issued the first eight LPs in their re-mastered entirety on CD plus bonus tracks of cuts including different vocal versions, demo versions, and live versions. Some of these bonus tracks were also tunes that never made it onto the original LPs to begin with (the Subterranean Jungle non-LP cuts are fucking brilliant). Being par for the course with Rhino, the packaging and liner notes on these re-releases are top notch and I can’t recommend ‘em enough if you haven’t replaced your worn-out Ramones vinyl with these yet. They’d also be good gifts for your friends who just had their first newborns. Screw baby blankets and Johnny Jumpers. Put together an eight-disc set of “Baby’s First Ramones.” The kid will thank you later on in life if he/she grows up with any sense. Now, getting to this box—when I first heard about it, I was a bit skeptical being there’s been a few “greatest hits” Ramones releases over the past few years. But when I heard that a collaboration of comic artists were pitching in their talents for an included book with this and that Rhino was heading the deal, I was sold. Quote Homer J. Simpson: “Done and done!” The book is packed with artists’ Ramones offerings from whom a lotta fans will recognize right off the bat, like John Holmstrom (Punk magazine), whose artwork graced the Rocket to Russia and Road to Ruin LPs, not mentioning about a bazillion Ramones tour shirts. Other noted artists include Sergio Aragones (MAD Magazine), Matt Groening (Life In Hell, The Simpsons), Xaime Hernandez (Love and Rockets), Bill Griffith (Zippy The Pinhead) and a whole bunch more. I get the idea that this book was supposed to be primarily for comic book artists, but I personally would’ve like to seen Chris Cooper (Coop) included here. If I ain’t mistaken, he did the Ramones’ We’re Outta Here box art. He also draws one hell of an example of what a beautiful woman looks like. The first three discs include Ramones tuneage from the thirteen studio LPs plus cuts from the Acid Eaters cover album. The fourth disc, a DVD, includes the Lifestyles of the Ramones video collection of Ramones production videos plus five later videos the band produced in the ‘90s. Upon further examination of the liner notes, it seems Johnny Ramone compiled all the disc material for this before passing on last year, and it’s just a damn shame that he, Joey or Dee Dee aren’t here to see it. Seymour Stein, the man who once ran Sire Records and signed the Ramones said something awhile back that hit the nail right on the head. He said bands like the Ramones don’t come along once in a lifetime; they come along once. Life’s too short, my friends. PLAY LOUD. –dale (Rhino)

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