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Razorcake #90
White Murder, both LPs
Treasure Fleet, The Sun Machine LP
Razorcake #89
White Murder, Form Early LP (CLEAR VINYL)

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Record Reviews

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Self-titled: 7"
Do you ever listen to a song and realize the verses and choruses blend together and there are no real ups and downs in the music? It’s kind of boring. Even if a band has some wacked-out rockabilly nut hollering like a maniac and spazzy guitar riffs right and left, if there’s nothing to latch onto, there’s no real point in listening to it more than once. I’ve listened to this a few times now, but when I sit down to write about it, just moments after the record has finished, I’ve already forgotten the songs. –mp (Self-released, myspace.com/thespooklights)

Death from beyond the Grave: LP
Quite a bizarre album here from these Atlanta garage punks, featuring member(s) of the Black Lips and others, somewhere between a Halloween sound effects album and synth punk a la the Screamers, Los Reactors, and the Spits. Some of it is really terrific and engaging, and some of it is really unlistenable. Either way, the fellas seem to be having a fantastic amount of fun with the material and I imagine something like this is better meant to be experienced live. Overall, I think this should have been condensed into a 10” or 7” even, as this is met equally with great enjoyment and great disappointment. Comes on clear vinyl with a pair of 3-D glasses. –Jeff Proctor (Die Slaughterhaus)

Psychosexual Chapter 2: CD
Now this is what I’m talking about. Some of my fellow corpses making the type of tunes I can really get into. They’ve got one called “Here Comes the Zombies.” It’s about going home after a long day of work and baking up a homemade pumpkin pie… filled with corpses! Well, at least that’s what I’m going to pretend it’s about. The lady carcass singing the tunes sounds a little bit too fresh. Her voice is all pretty and melodic. Most of my zombuddies tend to sound a bit more gruff, what with their rotten vocal cords and all. Oh well. – Tarantula Ted (translated by MP Johnson) –mp (Wolverine Records)

Halloween Night: 7”
Horror punk is a slippery slope. On one side of the seesaw is the original Glenn-Danzig-lead Misfits, Dance with Me TSOL, some Damned, some Siouxie. On the other side of the seesaw is an ocean of horror punk bands (including new Misfits, Balzac, Damnation, post bleach blonde skating AFI.) There are several hurdles to clear. 1.) There’s probably makeup/costumes/hair product/props involved. (See Spinal Tap when the pods don’t open.) 2.) No happy songs (unless there’s joy in sadism, being a predator, that type of thing). 3.) The template’s already been made like a plaster cast over a broken arm. Break that cast and horror punk fans get confused. The Spooky know exactly what they’re doing and they do it well. Mike Monster has a thick voice and a nice range. He can actually sing and croon, which is a big boost. The Embalmer and Stain aren’t slouches at their respective instruments, either. My only quibble is that the lyrics are really dumb. Not bad. –todd (Hostage)

Gravest Hits and Lost Haunts Vol. 1 & 2: 2 x CD
Back in 2000 or so, my bandmate Dustin turned me on to a bunch of amazing bands from OrangeCounty coming out on labels like Hostage and Disaster. Before I knew it, I was living on a steady diet of Smogtown, Smut Peddlers, Stitches, and The Crowd. When he laid the Hostage Situation compilation on me, I was blown away by The Spooky. I love me some horror rock, but it has to be quality. The Spooky delivered what I needed in two amazing songs. Then I spent years trying to track down more from them to no avail. It was like they went back to the grave that they crawled out of. Well, it turns out that Hostage Records has come to my rescue again with the release of two CDs chock full of The Spooky. Although the two discs are sold individually, I chose to review them as a set because they really are two companion pieces. All of their earliest demos and compilation tracks are here and their horrific history is followed right up until their amazing Halloween Night 7” that came out last year. The thing that makes The Spooky stand out is their melodic sound. They’re not trying to be scary; they just write great songs with macabre topics. Mike Monster’s voice reminds me of O. from Fluf or Davey Tiltwheel. Sweet yet strong. Everything works with this band, and I am so happy to finally have more than a couple of songs to jam with. The cool cut and paste packaging on the discs is pretty great too. Thanks Spooky and thanks to Hostage for unearthing these bones! –ty (Hostage, hstgerecords@aol.com, hostagerecords.com)

I Love You, This Is a Robbery: CD
Do you ever get a CD and you can't decide if you really like it or not? It’s clever acoustic punk from a fan of Billy Bragg. Although, this CD doesn't resemble anything Billy Bragg has ever done. It’s a true mix of duds and gems. Perfect for mellow, thoughtful nights with yourself and a six pack of Pabst. –mrz (Plan-it-X)

The Papas: CD
There’s apparently a zine that accompanies this with lyrics ‘n’ assorted tales, but I wasn’t privy to it, so based solely on the music, yer gettin’ quasi-angry poppy/punk/indie stuff here. While the nasal vocal delivery kinda wears thin and the songs start to blend into one another after a while, Mr. Boy knows his way around a hook and lyrics, and in smaller, more digestible bites, the tunes would make for worthwhile radio listening, assuming of course the radio was still worth listening to in the first place. –jimmy (Discount Horse, discount-horse.com)

Split: 7”
I’ve seen Spoonboy play. One man tour. It did not prepare me for a full band release. “Great Mistake Maker” hits like the Street Eaters’ side of their Severance Package split—rollicking bass hopping around through sunshine and grit. And now that you’re all amped up, you get a Springsteen/Ted Leo swaggering storyline about “Linus & Me.” Two songs may be the perfect dose and you might find a little freedom in letting yourself love these tracks. The Goodbye Party is Beach Boys garage and the Spoonboy side will prevent me from ever remembering them. Clear red vinyl.  –Matt Seward (Silver Sprocket)

News, Weather and Spores: CD
Dunno a damn thing about these guys other than they hail(ed) from Vancouver and, based on the dates given for the material here, were active 1984–88. The music here showcases a band that sought to stretch punk’s parameters a bit by throwing in bits of country twang, standard rock, and other elements into the tuneage, and they weren’t afraid to use humor to address more conventional punk topics like animal exploitation, media manipulation, and the like. Also included are a couple of low budget videos the band shot that are very much of their time. –jimmy (Sudden Death)

Colors: LP
Pop punk outfit from Lyon, France will time warp you to a ‘90s sun-drenched summer despite its time skipping trajectory. Like a soundtrack to the Olympics, the track names read like a photo album for the international games vaulting from one location to the next with titles like “Barcelona, 1992,” “Lillehammer, 1994,” and “Sydney, 2000.” Like a snapshot of times past, the tracks are nostalgic, soaring from jugular, vein-popping vocals to the gradual build of drums and elongated guitar notes and back again. “Helsinki, 1952,” shows off nimble guitar work. Despite my effort, I was unable to determine whether there’s a tie between song and title. Released in 2012 in the same pipeline of Surfer Blood and Red House Painters, this is stuff meant for Sunday beer-fueled barbeques and down hilling on your bike. Recommended. –Kristen K. (Self-released)

Imitate Art: CD
The second I started to enjoy any of these songs, they end up taking an overwrought turn toward mall punk town. Are you looking for all the conventional trappings of whiny emo pop punk in one CD? If so, this is a great specimen. Most of these songs are pretty juvenile, and the lyrics will grate if you pay enough attention. For instance, on “Pity Party”: “pity party/it’s a pity party/are you feeling sad or are you feeling sorry?” As I type this out, I can hear the trite melody smashing around in my brain, probably destroying some happy childhood memory. I’m not necessarily saying I have a problem with song titles like “I Farted (Let’s Get Started)” or ones about gangrene asses, but songs about butts need to be fun and/or funny, otherwise they end up sounding way too much like a middle school talent show. I realized about halfway through listening how spot-fucking-on the title of this CD is. The Sprains aren’t creating anything new, just rehashing a genre that is pretty dead tired already. Maybe when these guys graduate high school, I’ll check back and see if they’ve moved on to any other parts of the body. –Candice Tobin (Cheapskate, cheapskaterecords.com)

Self-titled: CD
So I immediately decided that this band was awesome based on the title of the first track, “Canadian Trash.” I thought, “How sweet! A song about my people!” I figured I’d be doing some basic rocking out, but instead I found myself checking to make sure my windows were fully closed and my door was locked. Is there such a genre as creeper punk? Because I’m pretty sure this is it. This Spray Paint album is the Soundtrack to Stalking, the album you pop in when you ditch school early to follow the love of your life—who doesn’t even know you exist—back to his house so you know where to creep on him in the future. (Just me?) However, the genius of it is that it’s also the album you pop in when you’re running away from the crazed creeper who you didn’t know existed until now, as she follows you back home so she knows where to creep on you in the future. Spray Paint synchronizes the stalker and the stalkee—this is some multi-purpose shit right here. Although they sound as if they were Interpol coming down from a meth binge after joining the Illuminati, virtually every song is flawlessly produced and insanely appealing. Spray Paint is proper post-punk along the lines of the A-Frames and the Intelligence, with the attitude of the Hangmen and Night Beats thrown in for good measure. A hearty four restraining orders out of five! –Rishbha –Guest Contributor (S.S., s-srecords.com)

Punters on a Barge: LP
Their guitarist manages to get a pretty unique sound to his twanger here—at times it almost sounds like a large, steely marble being bounced around inside a large metallic tube. Not a sound one comes across too often since Sonic Youth decided to write pop songs. This is noise rock that falls on the no wave end of the spectrum; rhythmic—often hypnotic in the same way listening to machines work is—and yet fully engaging throughout. –jimmy (Homeless)

Split: 7”EP
I haven’t kept as close a watch on Spray Paint as I would like and should, since they are one of the better post-punk bands going these days. They are consistently delivering quality music, as I had expected from the Spock Fingers single from a few years back. These two songs are dissonant and noisy. “Country Singer” starts off with a repeating riff that is instantly jarring and dominates the room when the record is on. Then the bass kicks in and the song takes off with more speed. It ends abruptly to turn into “Yr Shedding” with spidery guitars that share space with a repetitive beat and more noisy guitar that recalls early-Sonic Youth kind of discordance. Exek are post-punk dub in the way of early PiL. The bass has that repeating riff that hypnotizes you and permeates your being as guitars come in with a sickly tone (think of the music in Dawn of The Dead when they’re in the news room studio). Vocals float just right above the music. Great song and I really want to hear more. One song is not enough! This record was pressed for Spray Paint’s Australian tour this past year. Get one! –Matt Average (Homeless, info@homelessvinyl.com.au)

Cut and Paste: LP
“One more night to scream at the top of your lungs.” Spraynard’s out of print debut LP gets that one more chance via Dead Broke and Square Of Opposition in anticipation of their regrouping and a new LP. Three-piece bands that play this well and sound so emotionally bombastic make the heart swell. There’s less room for covering up mistakes as a three-piece and the players really have to be dialed in to each other, technically as well as instinctually. Cut and Paste is a great reminder why you loved Latterman and why Iron Chic feels so good to scream along to. Also, “poopy wieners.” Get this.  –Matt Seward (Dead Broke, deadbrokerecords.com / Square Of Opposition, squareofopposition.com)

Split: 7"
Spraynard: Somewhat of a gruff, yell-y DC-inspired art rock band. Or, I suppose the new Fest “pop punk” that’s a bit more intricate or calculated than most bands that just play three chords and (try to) actually sing about how girls made them sad. Sundials: Kind of Fender Strat indie rock, not unlike Against Me! or This Bike Is A Pike Bomb, without as much yelling and a little less hyperactive. All in all, not bad. –joe (Evil Weevil, evilweevilrecords@gmail.com)

Don’t Talk to the Narc b/w Up Too High (Much Too High): 7"
This joke record from Lawrence, KS features two heavily distorted, trashy, garage-infused songs recommended for fans of The Oblivians and the countless bands they inspired. With a caveat on the back cover that reads “all songs not copyrighted” and a hilarious insert featuring a list of real narcs entitled “Narc List,” this record is a rare gag record that works on all levels. Art Ettinger –Guest Contributor (Boom Chick, www.boomchickrecords.com)

Micro-Manipulators: CDEP
There’s something in the recording of the CD that makes it sound like it was recorded in a tin tunnel where someone is constantly felling Christmas trees full of ornaments. It’s this weird, delayed metallic whispery sound that has me thinking that something got over processed on the computer (but that’s just a guess). They sorta sound like Black Flag smoked a lot of pot and it really got to them (okay, post Slip It In Black Flag, same thing), but not nearly as interesting, certainly less punchy, and more arty repetitive. Too jammy. Sorry. No thanks. –todd (spreadego@yahoo.com)

Micro-Manipulators: CDEP
There’s something in the recording of the CD that makes it sound like it was recorded in a tin tunnel where someone is constantly felling Christmas trees full of ornaments. It’s this weird, delayed metallic whispery sound that has me thinking that something got over processed on the computer (but that’s just a guess). They sorta sound like Black Flag smoked a lot of pot and it really got to them (okay, post Slip It In Black Flag, same thing), but not nearly as interesting, certainly less punchy, and more arty repetitive. Too jammy. Sorry. No thanks. –todd (spreadego@yahoo.com)

Micro-Manipulators: CDEP
The latest in aural terrorism, courtesy of El Monte punk legend Frank D. This latest project plunders sounds he mined in previous bands, resulting in a synthesis of the melodicism that fueled his prior band, the Naggs, and the wild time signatures and off-kilter skronk of his first band, Cascius Clay. The result is a potent cocktail of equal parts Jesus Lizard and later Black Flag, with maybe just a smidge of Slug thrown in to give it some edge. This ‘un is gonna stay glued to the stereo for some time. If you’re looking for something that’s guaranteed to give you a headache in all the right ways, you can’t go wrong with this bad boy. –jimmy (Spread Ego)

Pizza Crisis: EP
Wow, a humor band that actually plays decent music. Kind of a rarity. Spread ‘Em crank out tuneful hardcore punk that has some Oi! elements here and there. They have a song on here called “Jamie Lee Curtis Fingerbang” so you know you’re in store for some lowbrow stuff, but funny, just the same. Which is certainly better than any number of “whacky thrash” bands that sing about whatever whackass, or uh “whacky thrash” bands sing about. The singer, Brandon, has a great voice. Makes me wonder what he’d be like in a ‘serious’ hardcore band. Comes on clear vinyl. Why they didn’t press it on cheese yellow vinyl is a mystery. –Matt Average (Peterwalkee, peterwalkeerecords.com)

self-titled: CD
Nominally punky headbanger drug dealer rock that should appeal to those who always felt the Candy Snatchers were cheating because they did have the one good song, and i’d feel a lot worse about raining on the whole parade of ENERGY and VOLUME if the last noise this disc emitted was something other than the heavy metal kissin’ cousin of the “Hotel California” lead that it is. Would be an all right purchase value if it came with a free pizza and a blowjob, but this does not appear the case (at least with my review copy). BEST SONG: “Flyin’ High” WORST SONG TITLE: 13-way tie between “Ready to Bleed” “Bad Motherfucker” “Now Could Be Never” “8 Ball” “Roadwarrior” “Fury” “Flyin’ High” “Blackout” “Just That Easy” “Blood, Coke & Sodomy” “Don’t Leave Anything” “Full Time Loser” and “Dead of Night.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The Rock and Roll Over album flat depicted on the cover behind the girl with the big boobs and plentiful tattoos is hung in such a fashion that Peter Criss’ head is at the top. I’m not sure what that means. Possibly “Paul Is Dead.” –norb (Nerve)

Self-titled: CD

These guys can’t seem to decide whether they wanna be a generic modern punk rock band or the Mentors. They suck at both, so I guess the point is moot, but, lord, do they try.

–jimmy (www.vmsrecords.com)

…You Saw Me Laugh, You Saw Me Cry…: CD
It took me forever to dig up anything about the band due to the lack of any info with the CD besides a Japanese mailing address, but after some searching I found out that they were a German pop punk band in the early to mid ‘90s. This release is more or less their discography. These guys are somewhere between Millencollin and Face To Face. There are lots of harmonies, fast punk that dips into the slower, epic emo end of the pool quite often, and accents galore. Some of the lyrics do get a little embarrassingly direct, like the song “That Girl,” whose chorus is “there is a girl and I love her.” But, for the most part, this is pretty good stuff. The best, no doubt, is the lead-off track “Windmill.” This sounds like the best song that never made it onto Face To Face’s Big Choice, or one of the good Unwritten Law albums. Freaking great gem of a song. –Adrian (SP)

Medicated Empty: CD
Faceless, radio-friendly pilf that hits all the key “modern rock” demographics but is wholly devoid of any risk, edge, or anything else that would make ’em remotely interesting. More succinctly, this challenges the status quo about as much as the Mary Poppins soundtrack. –jimmy (myspace.com/sprocket)

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