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Record Reviews

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SOLID ATTITUDE:
B.B. Gun Picnic: LP
Snot goes a long way with me. If you feel the same way, you will probably enjoy this album. The vocalist hemorrhages a lot of attitude with a high-pitched wail: one of those shrill vocal attacks that you just can’t fake. The vocals occasionally get into breathy, Iggy techniques. They don’t sound like they’re ripping off The Stooges, but the singer shows the influence once in a while and the band gets the dynamic. It works because they only dip into it a little and it’s effective. The sound strikes me at times as a snottier version of the OBN III’s. When they are not playing in that field, the songs are simple, three-chord drivers with mildly distorted guitars. Works all around. Really nice record. –Billups Allen (Rotten Tooth; rottentoothrecordings.com)


SOLID DECLINE / RUIDOSA INMUNDICIA:
Split: LP
Solid Decline: If I needed an ass kickin’, this band came at the right time. Charging hardcore that brings thoughts of early Die Kreuzen, Negative Approach, and a little SSD. Thoughts of early U.S. hardcore comes to mind, but amazingly, the band hails from Germany. Manic and at times feeling like it’s ready to fall apart while staying in complete control. Songs come and go and before you know it, you have to put the needle back on for another listen. Ruidosa Inmundicia: This band reminds me a lot of a Polish band I discovered recently called Slowa We Krwi. Fierce and abrasive female vocals over a full-force thrash attack. A no-holds-barred feel is received when they blast through song after song, not resting on their heels with unnecessary fills or breakdowns. The combination of speed and the vocals leaves me breathless from the short, fast, and loud formula they expel. I read that this band has a 7" out there. It’s definitely on my want list. –Donofthedead (Residue)


SOLID PONY:
Collar to Cuff: CD
Mellow, woozy, jangly pop stuff. Singer’s a shoe-in to replace one of the dudes in Peter, Paul, and Mary if ever if he decided to pursue such a gig –Jimmy Alvarado (Bakery Outlet)


SOLIDARITY PACT, THE:
Concrete Don: CD
They seem to mean well. The DIY press release insert is a rambling, stream of consciousness rant about how we’re all one big family, and we need to stick together and scream together, so that we can rise up together. Very uplifting. But the music is dark and throbbing, with hardcore screaming vocals and thunderous drums. Not exactly my thing, but well done. –brian (Solidarity Pact)


SOLIPSISTICS, THE:
Jesus of the Apes: CD
Who needs downers when you’ve got bands putting out discs with somniferous shit like this? Those suffering from narcolepsy are well advised to steer clear of this. –Jimmy Alvarado (.frigidisk.com" target=_blank>http://www.frigidisk.com)


SOLO DOS EN TIJUANA:
El Mango y la Luna Caribe: CD
Tom Waits and Manu Chao meet up at a Nico concert and decide to make an album together.
–Jimmy Alvarado (alvarezj@slackerhat.com)


SOMALI PIRATES:
Greatest Hits: 7” EP
Gruff, straightforward punk stuff about workin’, the Second Amendment and, well, Somali Pirates. Some of the lyrics’ll likely cause a bit o’ head scratchin’ in some circles, especially lines like, “Stay strapped/it’s a dangerous world/too many non-white boys/too many non-white girls,” in a song extolling the “patriotic” virtues of owning a gun and using it to ward off the threat of thieves, New World Order, and FEMA camps, but I’m guessin’ they’re makin’ a tongue-in-cheek point in the same way D.I. did with “Guns.” –Jimmy Alvarado (Camel Clutch, camelclutchrecords@hotmail.com)


SOME ACTION:
The Band that Sucked the Life out of Rock’n’Roll and Killed Itself in the Proces: CD
Apparently this record has been relatively long awaited. If you’ve been awaiting for it, I’m pretty sure that you won’t be terribly disappointed—eleven stinging tracks of dirty, trashy rock’n’roll. This is the kind of stuff that gets my blood rollicking and keeps me sitting on the deck drinking beer till four in the morning and listening to it over and over and over. This record comes off, at least to me, as one of the most unpretentious recordings that I have ever heard; Some Action’s one fundamental purpose of existence appears to be to rock my socks off and leave me crumpled and pummeled and begging for more. What else can I say? Well done, men! –The Lord Kveldulfr (Gigantic)


SOME GIRLS:
Heaven’s Pregnant Teens: CD
Not as frenzied as their The DNA Will Have It’s Say EP on GSL, but also not as contrived. While I enjoyed that outing (in a guilty-pleasure kinda way) I couldn’t help but feel they were just kind of going through the motions; all of the dudes in this band are seasoned veterans of the screamo/noise scenes and it just seemed like they put the first five or six songs they came up with on that record. Heaven’s Pregnant Teens has a few things going for it that the previous record didn’t. For one, the lyrics are actually decipherable more than half the time and they’ve managed to create a record this time around that actually coheres—each song manages to seem reliant and dependent on the one that came before it. The end result is an album that manages to feel current but also harkens back to the day when this shit was new and chaotic and crazy and fast as fuck, when bands like this were dismantling the foundation of hardcore and throwing it on its ear. No, there’s no new ground being forged, but all the same it’s a pretty nice visit to an old haunt. –Keith Rosson (Epitaph)


SOME GIRLS:
The DNA Will Have It’s Say: CDEP

(Super-Extended Rock Critic Codeine Trance Mix)

I haven’t figured out everything I need to say about this record yet; I usually have an album or two that I struggle with every year and this time, it’s because these six minutes are simply too fucking dense to parse on even the twentieth or thirtieth listen. Perhaps it’s because these sounds are the aural embodiment of how I’m feeling lately; next Monday, I’m heading in for my second operation in less than a month to try to fix some serious health problems. The ferocious, grisly sounds on this EP mirror the recent horror of my body—spitting hemorrhaged blood into the sink, looking at MRIs of cranial bone erosion, coughing up unidentifiable masses of solid organic matter that are the shape and size of the first two knuckles of my little finger. My body, at the moment, exists somewhere between the abject and the Kristevan sense of the other; this EP falls along similar lines, both alienated and alienating, ostracized and ostracizing. It is the other side of pop music, the deformed thalidomide twin revealing (and revering) the ugliness which is glossed over by production values and marketing strategies. To understand what it sounds like, imagine running an industrial meatgrinder at full power until it starts to smoke and rattle, until it breaks down completely—and fill it with anguished yelps and screams. It sounds like warfare—the sound of machine guns and dying soldiers caught in concertina wire. It is openly hostile and abrasive; it is guitar-driven and grinding. It is musical dermabrasion for boring ideas expressed in dull ways by uninteresting people and in a decade in which some punk bands have essentially become collaborators, the musical equivalent of the Vichy French (and still more seem to aspire to that capitulation), Some Girls defiantly throw potato mashers whilst engaged in door-to-door partisan combat. This is, effectively, musical terrorism in any sense that matters. It is also the only logical response to contemporary music—the proper reaction to blandness is a sprint to an extreme, to seek out new terrain and leave the old world behind and the new ground unmapped. Let others follow at their own risk; whether they also find the way is irrelevant because they will find something new regardless. In many ways, Some Girls occupies similar music space as other seditious musical minds like Albert Ayler, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Archie Shepp, and Ornette Coleman—not in the musical style, but the approach, in the sense that something more is going on or could be happening and that ignoring what is known and staring into the abyss may reveal exactly what that is while teetering on the edge of chaos. These songs spill over with dizzyingly complex musical ideas; like a reservoir well past capacity. Rather than explore an idea or two, Some Girls throws a mass of concepts into a blender and liquefies them beyond recognition, transforming them into a corrosive substance which will eat through steel and concrete, and then plays the result faster than I ever thought humanly possible. The lyrics aren’t what I expect from grindcore or hardcore; they’re simply too literary, using near-rhymes and alliteration to craft images and borrow ideas from both prose and poetry. There is also humor here, although it’s hanging from a gallows as Wes spits out lines like "Yea, well, fate is fucking romantic if you can get off on failure." Like most of the albums that I love, this EP requires just a little more engagement and commitment; it is not easy to absorb and it is not catchy in any traditional way (we aren’t really talking about verse-chorus construction here). This record requires that you dedicate yourself to it a bit, that you put aside what you think you know about music and engage it on its own terms—it draws you onto its own ground for the fight, which is a dangerous place for you to be and an immediate disadvantage. However, you will learn from the beating this record dishes out, even though it’s only six minutes long, and is not for the faint of heart or for people who have weak stomachs. You will learn, you will expand your musical horizons, and you will grow. (Side note: While it’s true that other bands have created similar records—Napalm Death, Universal Order Of Armageddon, The Locust, et. al., just to name a few—Some Girls happens to do it exceedingly well. ‘Nuff said. For now.)

–Puckett (Three One G)


SOME GIRLS:
The DNA Will Have It: CDEP
Seven songs in a little over six minutes. Comes with a video that shows the band playing, paint being thrown against a wall, and dudes making out. The juxtaposition of the music (a la Combat Wounded Veteran, the Locust, Reversal of Man, etc.) and the album art (super-bright colors, rainbows, a winged bunny with its guts falling out) is brilliant. Charged, frantic hardcore that's maybe a little too cute and smart for its own good, but I dig it. Karen from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs screeches along with the boys on one song. The typo in the album title is theirs, not mine. –Keith Rosson (Three One G)


SOME GIRLS:
The DNA Will Have It’s Say: CDEP

What is the most important information I should know about Some Girls?

Call your doctor if you experience difficulty sleeping; mood changes; nervousness; irritability; difficulty concentrating; indigestion; nausea; vomiting (especially material that looks like coffee grounds); diarrhea; black, tarry stools; slurred speech; headache; extreme drowsiness; yellowing of the skin or eyes; hallucinations or severe confusion; vivid dreams; or changes in behavior. These symptoms may be early indicators of an awe-inspiring musical listening experience and may require immediate medical treatment.

What is Some Girls?

Some Girls falls into an unclassifiable genre of music which straddles hardcore, grindcore, and other extreme forms. It affects chemicals in the brain and may result in happiness or cause anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. This particular dose features Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, lasts for just over six minutes, and is not unlike slamming face-first onto concrete with nothing to break the fall. It is used to treat boredom with other musical styles, frustration with a lack of experimentation and adventure, and general malaise about contemporary society. It is also an effective treatment for constipation.

Who should not listen to Some Girls?

No one. Some Girls is suitable for listening by everyone, including small children. To date, no birth defects have been reported as a result of listening to Some Girls during pregnancy.

How should I listen to Some Girls?

Frequently and at high volumes.

What happens if I overdose?

In the extremely unlikely event that you manage to listen to too much Some Girls, enjoy it. Very few people have managed that accomplishment.

(End notes: 1. All of the side effects listed above are possible side effects of meds I’ve been on in the last month. Go me. 2. Having actually fallen off of a fence from ten feet up and landed face-first on concrete, this is an accurate description of how fierce this record really is. 3. Totally true. My girlfriend’s kid likes it and she’s pushing four. She also likes to play scary songs on guitar. 4. This is one of the best records I’ve heard so far this year. It’s challenging and offers no easy answers or even easy questions.) –Puckett (Three One G)


SOME GIRLS:
All My Friends Are Going Death: CD
First of all, this isn’t the Juliana Hatfield group. Second, you probably already know that this includes members of Give Up The Ghost, Unbroken, The Locust, Over My Dead Body, Swing Kids and Holy Molar. Third, this disc collects existing and unreleased material (the two EPs released to date plus demo tracks and more fun). Fourth, it’s fucking brilliant. This isn’t hardcore so much as it is aggravated assault – it’s pulverizing, punishing and astonishingly accomplished (not surprising, considering who’s involved). Sure, there are straight-forward hardcore parts, breakdowns, mosh parts and everything else you’d expect from a hardcore record, but – like most things which I’ve heard from Deathwish lately – it’s also strikingly experimental, primarily in the lyrical content but also in the sound (equal parts noise, spastic hardcore like Melt-Banana and The Blood Brothers, and seemingly chaotic rhythm). The mix leaves these songs sounding raw and feral (as if covering The Stooges’ “No Fun” wouldn’t do that by itself), while Wes’ lyrics seem like picking scabs off self-inflicted knife wounds. However, I really wouldn’t expect anything less challenging from the people involved with this album. –Puckett (Deathwish)


SOMEHOW HOLLOW:
Busted Wings & Rusted Halos: CD
Ever since Warzone’s Raybeez croaked a few years back, Victory Records has been paying tribute to him by slapping his name and birthdate and deathdate on the back of each of their releases. On the surface, a noble effort, but do the pukes at Victory actually think that it does poor departed Raybeez any honor at all by putting his name on a bound-up cheesy emo turd like this — even if it’s meant only as a posthumous tribute? It’s bad enough that he was cut down in the prime of his life, but to be affiliated (no matter how tenuously) with a product so devoid of anything he ever cared about or stood for — well, hell you might as well dig what’s left of him up and let Richard Simmons have his way with the corpse. That might seem like a tasteless thing to say, but these are tasteless times. How else could you explain the plethora of fame-hungry whores like Somehow Hollow sprouting up faster than all the bad “reality” TV shows across the face of the planet? Isn’t it bad enough that we have a dangerously dim-witted, stammering huckleberry manning the helm in the White House? We’re perched on the edge of utter annihilation, and you and I are expected to go about our lives with a quiet but ever vigilant stoicism. This is a volatile, savage era and we’re all already at the point of exploding like kumquats under the pressure of the dumb, evil density of the world around us. Do we really need — or even deserve — these tattooed dandies calling themselves “punk” or “hardcore” or “emo” or whatever and dragging their musical baggage into our lives? Aren’t we at the point where this should be considered “piling on”? Yes, I’m sure these sensitive lads have spent countless hours cultivating their punk rock attitude, primping their punk rock look. I’m sure that just one of their colorful limbs alone is imbued with more ink-stained punk cred than I could ever hope to swaddle myself in. They’re on fucking Victory Records, for chrissake, the Microsoft of hardcore. But something seems, um, hollow. Oh, sure, they’re tighter than Avril Lavigne’s cute little wifebeater and they are possessed of a lucrative lack of imagination that’s bound to propel them to a new financial stratosphere; no doubt they’ll be on the next Warped Tour, trading backstage hi-jinx with other corporate android “punk” bands like Good Charlotte and New Found Glory, all with their Vans footwear proudly displayed. They might even, for all I know, be cute in that very marketable sullen teen-angst, he’s-too-sensitive-for-his-own-good kind of way. But isn’t this really just a boy band in “punk” clothing? Wait a minute — it just occurred to me: maybe I didn’t think this thing all the way through; maybe there’s really nothing more genuinely dangerous than a truly, TRULY innocuous faux punk band. What could be more insidious? Punk is, after all, supposed to be dangerous, right? You know what? Fuck it, let Somehow Hollow and their ilk take the label, let “punk” be all theirs. It’s a label so played out and bastardized and commodified that who the hell would want it anyway, aside from a bunch of career-minded suckwad opportunists like these fucks? This isn’t even war; this is simple self preservation. That wise old sage Jello Biafra was right: if we’re going to snip the vas deferens of this wildly proliferating breed of emo-erectus, we need to shut off MTV and VH1 now. If nothing else, do it for Raybeez. No one, no matter how dead, deserves to be violated like this. –aphid (Victory)


SOMETHING ABOUT VAMPIRES AND SLUTS:
We Break Our Own Hearts: Cd
Art, minimalist, drum machine-propelled art pop. Resulted in a resounding “eh.” –Jimmy Alvarado (Morphius)


SOMETHING FIERCE:
Come for the Bastards: CD
These guys mix equal parts of punk and indie rock with a hardcore chaser. While I ain’t exactly gaga over the resulting tuneage, I am mightily impressed with their ability to take those ingredients and come up with something that sounds nothing like emo. Given the sheer number of emo bands in existence, it appears that feat is more difficult than one would assume. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.somethingfiercemusic.com)


SOMETHING FIERCE:
There Are No Answers: CD

 “Teenage Ruins” is a perfect song. Something Fierce take a great hook and beat the tar out of it—it’s as catchy as the Undertones’ “Teenage Kicks” but it’s a different kind of perfection, faster, louder, more frantic. Fifty listens (and counting) it’s still holding up. That’s “all-time great” in my book. Now let’s say, for sake of argument, that There Are No Answers subsequently faltered, failed to scale those lofty heights, never again took in that rarified air. Would it be a record worthy of seeking out? Yes. “Teenage Ruins” is that good. But Something Fierce wouldn’t pull that one-hit wonder crap on you. Time and time again they uncork songs I turn up as a matter of reflex. Guitar lines that are simple and infectious. Lead vocals that melt into backing vocals as they hold the vowel sounds at the end of the lines. I almost never understand the lyrics and I howl along anyway. (Isn’t that a symptom of Marked Men Syndrome?) There are nine excellent cuts here. It’s like a greatest hits record. The remaining three cuts, the relative stragglers, sound like Pete Shelley and company. That’s right, at its relative weakest, this disc reminds me of the Buzzcocks! There Are No Answers is the heart of my 2009 soundtrack.

–Mike Faloon (Something Fierce)


SOMETHING FIERCE:
There Are No Answers: CD
Although I’ve never felt that louvered sunglasses have ever delivered on the vast promise they’ve always seemed to extend, and “Something Fierce” makes a better Gatorade™ flavor than a band name, this be-badged trio does a swell job of crossing the hop-around-your-room-like-you’ve-got-bugs-such-as-walking-sticks-inhabiting-your-shins bop-und-slam of the first Donnas album ((“Teenage Ruins”)) with spring-wound Marked Men-isms ((“Second Son”)), Clorox Girls/Busy Signals garage-Buzzcock-isms ((“Passion is a Fashion”)), and even updated Screeching Weasel-isms ((“On Your Own”)). I rarely say ((let alone think)) this, but I think I’d enjoy a lyric sheet. Go figure. BEST SONG: I was thinking “Teenage Ruins” but now I’m thinking maybe “Modern Girl.” BEST SONG TITLE: I was thinking “Teenage Ruins” and that’s what I’m still thinking. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Band states they love the Returnables, and so should you if you know what’s good for ya. –Rev. Norb (Something Fierce)


SOMETHING FIERCE:
There Are No Answers: LP

Spores. Fungus. Mold. All flourish in shit, hidden wetness, and darkness. Some’ll kill you outright. Some, it takes years to get into your lungs, and, even then, the malady may be hard to diagnose. You’re taking a shower one day, and unexpectedly die when a lung collapses. So when Something Fierce shine their power pop halogens into the dark, slick, icky madness below, their songs don’t sound like bubblegum. They sound like bubblegum and jammed circular saws, lengths of too-short rope, and spats of far-thrown blood. If Roky Erickson, Fred Cole of The Lollipop Shoppe, and an excellent new century punk pop band got together, I imagine it’d sound something akin to Something Fierce. And that’s something I’ve been looking forward to hearing for years without realizing it. Highly recommended

–Todd Taylor (Dirtnap)


SOMETHING FIERCE:
: 7”
If you’re a fan of the bouncy jangle of early power pop—with contemporary nods to the smart, snotty hooks of the Briefs and Clorox Girls—but with more of an outsider, socially awkward overlay, Houston’s Something Fierce is well worth checking out. Their There Are No Answers LP on Dirtnap that came out a year or two ago is a firecracker. This 7”, however, is a little odd. The stronger of the two tracks is “Where Ya Goin Man?” which is on the aforementioned LP. It sounds a bit little more sped up here. “Spray Coat” is a perfectly okay, very short cover. It’s so short that I get the feeling that both songs could have fit on the same side of the 7”, leaving all that virgin space for a couple more songs aching to be etched into some grooves on the other side. It’s a bit of a logistic head scratcher. If you’ve never heard the band, I suggest the LP. If you see this in the bin, know that there’s just a little bit of new sonic meat on these bones. Looks nice, though, for sure. –Todd Taylor (Action Town)


SOMETHING FIERCE:
Don’t Be So Cruel: LP
Wham! meets all of the slower Clash songs from the middle of London Calling, on. Serious. And it’s fuckin’ great. That’s all you really need to know, but for the band to understand I’m not clowning on them in the least, here goes: Rarely have I heard a band take the mellower, mid-tempo Clash as a starting point and embrace those slower-burning red-hot coals. (The Ratchets and Ringers being notable and worth-seeking-out exceptions.) Clash aping has typically been—in thoughtless hands—“punk ‘77! Charged hair! Spray-paint shit!” I love Clash ballads like “Lost in the Supermarket.” Here’s where Wham! comes in. Instead of mixing the Clash with more traditional rock’n’roll (or even the psych rock Something Fierce alluded to in their debut LP), there’s something prancy and Euro-pop in the delivery. Something very butt-missing in stone-washed jeans, gay-sex-in-public-bathrooms, and permanent-stubble that was a little off-putting when I first heard this new record with the echoes of There Are No Answers still ringing in my ears. But it’s this airy, open, summery, and unexpected gayness that keeps Don’t Be So Cruel spinning at high rotation at Razorcake HQ. Yeah, it’s smart, the lyrics belie some real though, but it’s also so prancing unicorn, so “Careless Whisper.” Shityeah. –Todd Taylor (Dirtnap)


SOMETHING FIERCE:
Don’t Be So Cruel: CD
Fucking love this record. Had to make a concerted effort to not listen to it repeatedly and burn out my love for it. Clean and simple sound pulled off brilliantly; catchy with early punk vibes. I can’t even pick my favorite track off the record. Another solid win for Dirtnap’s collection. Super bummed I missed the band when they played downtown L.A. –Samantha Beerhouse (Dirtnap)


SOMETHING FIERCE / HANGOUTS, THE:
Split: 7”
Both of these Houston bands play a once mainline brand of punk that recently has been relegated back to the underground. The end result is fun as hell. Not liking this fast, melodic punk record would be akin to not liking to smile. Niki S., who plays bass and does backing vocals for Something Fierce, provides killer female vocals for The Hangouts, who are harder than Something Fierce but just as catchy. It’s records like these that stomp the jaded right out of me and take me back to the basement show vitality that made me jump up and down for the first time back in the day. Easily one of the best fucking records of the year. –Art Ettinger (Manic Attack!!!)


SOMETHING FIERCE / OCCULT DETECTIVE CLUB:
: Split 10”
My love of bands from Texas continues with this brain-squeezing, amazing double LoneStarState blast of power pop punk whatever. Houston’s Something Fierce are new to me (other than that great set at Awesome Fest) and they kick this record off with a bang. Hard driving, yet kind of dreamy feeling pop, it just feels right. Denton’s Occult Detective Club commands the flip side with laser precision. They’ve been a favorite of mine for a while, and the new songs are more of the same greatness. It’s obvious to me that Dirtnap shares my affinity to Texas bands. Marked Men, Mind Spiders, Bad Sports, High Tension Wires, now Something Fierce and Occult Detective Club. Bring on more! –Ty Stranglehold (Dirtnap)


SOMETHING FIERCE / OCCULT DETECTIVE CLUB:
: Split 10”
Something Fierce: Three London Calling-long songs from this Texas power trio. Anti-war pop? Like “Lost in the Supermarket,” Something Fierce’ll have you humming, “marketing… marketing slavery” like it’s an advert for soap, gum, or shoes. (Come to think of it, any overthrow should have a memorable tagline that you can’t get out of your head. Brilliant (both meanings: smart and bright), convicted. For those cynics who solely look to doom-black-and-barbed-wire imagery when recognizing political punk, Something Fierce will have you dancing on those flag-covered coffins in no time. Occult Detective Club: Clipped, spit-out delivery—to shamelessly borrow from the band—ODC are fucking craftsmen. There’s an artistic lyricallity, a hammer-and-nails workmanship, but it’s neither too in-the-head or too stuck-in-the-machine-of-endless-toil. Their songs remind me of people who can make something of utility that lasts a long time and is beautiful—be it a handicap ramp to the front door or a chair that’ll last generations. Their songs have that quality of durability, like soles on well-made, long-wearing boots.  Highly recommended. –Todd Taylor (Dirtnap)


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