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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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Self-titled: CD
This is what I dug up. First off is that this is a LA band. Singer Susan Hyatt used to be in a band called Pillbox and had some acclaim in the UK. Geoff Tyson, who does all the instrumentation, was taught by Joe Satriani and used to play in rock bands Snake River Conspiracy and T-Ride. This release sounds like it should have come out in the late ‘80s. It has elements of new wave and the big production pop rock of the period. There is a lot going on here. Layers and layers of instrumentation. The singer is strong and can carry a note. From sultry to aggressive, she can belt it out with the best. The cover of the Olivia Newton-John hit “Magic” comes off as their own. I have to admit that I was hooked by the vocals mixed with the overblown production that took me back to a place in time that I haven’t been in a long while. Sugary sweet on top and a little dirty underneath makes for a surprising discovery. I was so ready to write this off. –Donofthedead (Stimulator)

2: CD
Pretty trippy. I reviewed a CD of this band a few years ago and remember them being sort of new wave pop, so I was expecting more of the same. First thing that comes out of the speakers is the track, “Holiday,” that starts off with a straight-up Bee Gees-sounding guitar with keyboards riff that sounded like the song “More than a Woman.” My mouth dropped and was fascinated by how good this captures the disco sound. I can close my eyes and visually picture a dance floor of full of people with a disco ball spraying the room with bits of reflected light. Nothing like their previous release. This band has really reinvented themselves. The majority of this release falls into the pop rock category, which I would believe would do very well on adult contemporary radio. The Captain and Tennille classic “Love Will Keep Us Together” is attempted, but I was rather let down that it was so true to the original. –Donofthedead (Self-released, www.stimulatortheband.com )

Don’t Fear the Reverb: CD
This three-piece instrumental group of sun-lacquered youngsters aurally ride high and impressively swoop through a wave-crashing array of boss surf sounds that tickled my toes and made my stomach all fuzzy and warm inside just like a coconut-flavored Caribbean cocktail. The reverb-drenched ditties contained herein wail, shred, and border on the absolutely phenomenal. Indeed, this is the closest 21st Century semblance to The Ventures and The Chantays that has yet sonically roared outta the salty tempestuous waters of the magnificently grand Pacific. The guitars are frenetic, jittery, spastic, and twangy (soundin’ uncannily like a rabidly crazed orchestra full of tightly wound electric rubberbands bein’ furiously snapped, plucked, and strummed); the bass thunderously rumbles along like a full-force tropical hurricane hellbent on an unrelenting path of catastrophic destruction; the drums crash, bang, and boom with explosive percussive fury like a hailstorm of molten volcanic rocks raining down on the cast-iron deck of a gigantic old weather-beaten oil-tanker. Hot-dog hell yeh, The Stingrays sure know how to musically strut their stuff, and they do it with the utmost of style, energy, and finesse! I’m ecstatic and stoked to the max over this ear-pummeling puppy, and you can damn well bet your newly polished board on it! –Roger Moser Jr. (Slimstyle)

The Red Album: CD
Hip hop can be just as rebellious—if not more politically motivated—than punk in some instances: Public Enemy preaching revolution, NWA telling tales of life in the hood, and Tupac not giving a fuck. I’m bringing this up because I’m listening to an electro/hip hop/ funk band comprised of Caucasian Canadians dropping rhymes about menstruation cycles and rim jobs. Christ sakes, I feel so violated mentally by having to endure the pain of ingesting this lyrical lobotomy. I’m gonna go wash out my brain with some Dead Prez. –Dave Disorder (Cochon)

Self-titled: CD
Opening track is “Show Me Your Tits.” The rest of the record is nearly as bad. This is kind of what Bradley Williams and King Khan and BBQ would sound like if they couldn’t write songs and had a thirty point drop in their respective IQs. –Ryan Leach (Voodoo Rhythm, www.voodoorhythm.com)

Balboa: LP
Love it. We need a name for this wave of punk that borrows from early alt-rock. I’m going with Alterna-Punk, y’all with me? Stirling Says are a Bay Area power trio with the songwriting chops of late ‘80s/early ‘90s indie bands like Dinosaur Jr. and Pavement, but they play with an intensity that makes it sound like catchy, quirky California punk. The melodies have an underlying melancholy that makes them all the sweeter, like bruises on a plum. There’s a prog-nerd element in some of the noodlier leads and lyrics like, “I’ll do everything I can to make the fire flow from my hands,” but it doesn’t cut into the fun. Nice recording, too—bombastic low end, and enough grit to make the psychedelic guitar freakouts blast off. I’d suggest copping wax and putting “A to D” on a mix in-between “Freak Scene” and anything off that new Underground Railroad To Candyland LP, but if you’re on the fence, go to their Bandcamp page and download it for free. Either way, give this a listen. –CT Terry (Adagio 830)

Do the Jetset: 12” EP
I know very little about this release other than it is a bunch of old Stitches songs that were re-recorded in 2005 or so. It is so hard to describe what it sounds like. Slowed down, new-wavy kind of versions with electronic drums and these crazy sounds going on throughout. Not a lot of bands could pull this kind of thing off, but there’s one thing about the Stitches, it’s the fact that they are about ninety percent swagger and balls and ten percent flat-out don’t give a fuck. I heard a rumor that they played the set like this one time only and had to fight the entire crowd! Can’t say I’ll listen to this all the time, but it’s pretty great to slap on from time to time. It’s got the coolest clear and black splatter vinyl that I’ve ever seen. –Ty Stranglehold (Vinyl Dog)

Automatic: 7”
Fuckups of the highest order rarely can play worth a shit. The Stitches, against all reason, keep getting better. Most miscreants of this caliber just become class-A drug users and lose the ability to play (not to mention losing their apartments and all touches to sanity), but The Stitches somehow get better and better. Hell if I know how. They should be dead by their own hands by now. Perhaps they’ve got special organs in their bodies? Perhaps the phrase, “What won’t kill me can only make me stronger” applies to them in this scientific equation: “snorting so much cocaine off a hooker’s ass (I’ve seen the pictures) that would kill a baby rhino = the superhuman ability to steal a classic punk riff and make it sound like you came up with it.” The weapons they use are blunt. The music’s simple as slapping a homeless person. Yet, it’s perfect. No moves wasted. No dumb arty shit. Is this a classic punk slab that nods to but doesn’t bow down and suck 1977’s dick? Yeah, I’m beginning to think so. –Todd Taylor (Vinyl Dog)

8 X 12: CD
I feel like I run into a lot of Stitches records in the $5 sale bins of record stores. Fast, catchy stuff with kind of dumb lyrics, beer bottles breaking, and songs that are under two minutes. So, you know, fun. The Pogues song “This Womans Got Me Drinking” is probably the highlight. –bree (Vinyl Dog)

Twelve Imaginary Inches: CD
What is there to say about the Stitches that hasn't been said before? You know the score here: snotty vocals, great mid-tempo punk rock, lots of creepers, and lots of intoxicants. Catchier than a venereal disease in Baltimore. I can't tell you which song is my favorite because the only place where the song titles are written is on the CD itself, but they are all good. There are a bunch of little keyboard parts on this. These guys must think they're Hawkwind or something. –Josh (TKO)

Automatic: 7"
Fuckups of the highest order rarely can play worth a shit. The Stitches, against all reason, keep getting better. Most miscreants of this caliber just become class-A drug users and lose the ability to play (not to mention losing their apartments and all touches to sanity), but The Stitches somehow get better and better. Hell if I know how. They should be dead by their own hands by now. Perhaps they've got special organs in their bodies? Perhaps the phrase, "What won't kill me can only make me stronger" applies to them in this scientific equation: "snorting so much cocaine off a hooker's ass (I've seen the pictures) that would kill a baby rhino = the superhuman ability to steal a classic punk riff and make it sound like you came up with it." The weapons they use are blunt. The music's simple as slapping a homeless person. Yet, it's perfect. No moves wasted. No dumb arty shit. Is this a classic punk slab that nods to but doesn't bow down and suck 1977's dick? Yeah, I'm beginning to think so.
–Todd Taylor (Vinyl Dog)

Twelve Imaginary Inches: CD
The Stitches had me 50-50 until I saw them several years back at a Shakedown. They bruised, shouted, and creepered through a beer-glass-to-the-head set in Vegas. The crowd was rabid, seething for more. The Stitches' set time was up, but they didn't stop playing. Lohrman's mic was cut. Without vocals, he picked up a little red plastic cup and shouted through it like an itty bitty megaphone as the band ripped through another. The crowd sang along so loudly and shot so much energy back at the band that during the last chorus, the mic was flicked back on and – while not necessarily a love fest – it was a real rock'n'roll moment where the audience became the fifth member of the band. Everything was blasted in temporary alcoholic bliss. In the years following, The Stitches have alternately impressed and bored the fuck out of me live, depending if they're fighting one another, depending if they can stand up. Coke variables, emotional stability, that sort of thing. This album is as close to the perfect live set the Stitches are capable of, then laying it to tape and making sure the drummer keeps time. It's just short of having Johnny kicking you straight in the chest if you're standing too close. My favorite full length release by them. Check the little box by name. I'm a believer.
–Todd Taylor (TKO)

Four More Songs from the Stitches: 12" EP
OC’s favorite fuckups, who half the time can’t figure what type of line to do (pool line, coke line, guitar line), break their too-long vinyl silence with four as-close-to-perfect cuts of mid-tempo punk as you can get. Iggy, Pistols, Clash – are all broken and mashed and chipped and pock marked – then wrung out like a bar towel and distilled. The result is that they dish out instantly catchy songs (“hey, I know that riff… sorta”) but you don’t get any the wank or fluf or solos that usually runs in tandem with hedonism. I was skating at a park when Mike, the singer, showed up. He slapped on a helmet and skated the hell out of the place. He was obvious – tattoos, older, distinctive, slashy style. I was standing next to a couple of fat-panted, suburban-doughy kids, who looked at one another and said, “Dude, that guy rips. What the hell was that move? And his pants are so tight.” That pretty much sums up the Stitches. The packaging on this 12” is immaculate. Faux Japanese printing with corner promo thing on one side, full color sleeve with tons of great photos, and lookie, my vinyl’s white. –Todd Taylor (Kapow)

Do the Jetset: 12” EP
Damn it. I like the Stitches. Despite its obvious limitations, I’ve really been getting back into the whole Modern Action/No Front Teeth snotty punk thing lately. And the Stitches are not only stalwarts of the genre, but they’re generally really good at it. So yeah, it pains me to say, but this EP is pretty much unlistenable. Recorded in one day, Do the Jetset consists of reworked versions of various b-sides and covers spanning the Stitches’ career. The only catch is that these reworked versions pretty much suck and pale in comparison to the originals. Featuring a drum machine, woefully tinny guitars and vocals, and a resounding sense of awkwardness, these six songs are totally unnecessary. I just don’t understand why these guys wouldn’t have used their available resources—the packaging for this record is impressive, and surely wasn’t cheap—to do something new, instead of rehashing fifteen year-old songs in a way that takes every ounce of energy and fun from them. –Keith Rosson (Vinyl Dog)

Unzip My Baby…All 7 Inches: LP
Collection of singles from these cats, who crank out slab after slab of primo ‘70s-style punk rawk, heavy on the snarl and swagger. They’ve been around for something like twenty years, so if you’re a fan you might already know some of these. If not, well, you know what they say in reviews like this. Hand-numbered press of five hundred on cool-looking mango-colored vinyl.  –Michael T. Fournier (Wanda)

Split: 7”
Never got what was supposed to be so godawful amazing about the Stitches fifteen years ago and still don’t. The less-celebrated Gaggers fare better with pharyngeal anthem “Gag on This,” which, despite my best attempts to not like it, won its way to my tonsils with a calculatedly retarded synthesis of pretty much everything off of the first four Killed by Death albums. Like “Bend and Flush” by the Pork Dukes, this monomaniacal neo-filth seems the stuff of world-smiting legend if you’re like fourteen years old. And who isn’t? BEST SONG: Gaggers, “Gag on This.” BEST SONG TITLE: I feel like i’m gonna lose like thirty IQ points for even saying this, but it’s “Gag on This” by the Gaggers. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The Stitches song was recorded at Earle Mankey’s in 2001, which is, I believe, where the Detonators album was recorded in 1984.  –Rev. Norb (Rapid Pulse, undergroundmedicine.com)

Disconnected: CD
In honor of Mr. Bators, who served posthumously and well as my fanzine's Math Editor back in The Day, i'll put things mathematically: There are 14 Stiv Bators tracks that you need to own. 9 of them compose "Disconnected," the punk-pop solo album released contemporaneously with the Dead Boys' demise. 5 of them—"Circumstantial Evidence," "I'll Be All Right," "Not That Way Anymore," his cover of the Choir's "It's Cold Outside" and the 45 version of "The Last Year"—were exclusive to singles. To not possess each and every one of said 14 tracks is an affront most grievous; to possess anything Stiv-credited above and beyond the previously mentioned Big 14 is a superfluous indulgence reserved for fops, dandies, and repeat snake oil consumers. I did not buy Disconnected upon initial release, as, if you’ll cross-check the math, it was a power-pop (“punk-pop” perhaps more accurate a hyphenate) album with nine songs. What the fuck kinda power pop album has only NINE songs on it? That’s right! The kinda power pop album i don’t buy! I mean, everybody knows that power pop albums have twelve songs on them. That is a rule of some sort. To fuck with the 12-count Golden Mean O’ Power Pop is to court disaster, or, worse yet, the withholdal of currency! (now, okay: One might think one has a leg to stand on in defense of the three-songs-light lid of Disconnected by pointing out that punk albums are supposed to have fourteen songs on them, but Stiv’s old band, the Dead Boys, who were punk, only put ten songs on each of their albums, and that therefore 9 < 12 in the same way that 10 < 14 so it’s all good, but i refute this backpedaling jive by pointing out that the Dead Boys only put ten songs on their albums because that’s what ROCK bands did, and the Dead Boys thought they were ROCK. At no point in time could power pop confuse itself with a nine-song-per-album type genre, if such a thing even exists [and, if it does, like, who cares?]). So, anyway, yeah, i never bought it when it came out the first time. A few years later, some French label came out with a Stiv album called The Lord and the New Creatures which was the 9 Disconnected songs + the 5 songs exclusive to singles = all 14 of the necessary solo Stiv sub-objects. THAT is what you should buy, if they still make it. I mean, i will admit that it was a bit of a shock to the system to hear that first Stiv Bators 45 (“It’s Cold Outside” b/w “The Last Year”) in ‘79, and see Our Hero go from leather-licking King of the Jackals to blouse-wearing Gelding Prince in one quick and decisive Pop Gambit—but, despite sounding like a cross between the Stiv we all knew (and, counterintuitively, loved) and Laurie Records, the Searchers vs. Byrds vs. Dead Boys charms of the real early Stiv solo stuff cannot be denied (i dutifully point out that by the time Disconnected had rolled out, things had regressed to the mean a bit, and were sounding a bit more like Dead Boys vs. Nuggets than Dead Boys vs. Searchers/Byrds). Which, of course, brings me back to the task at hand: Reviewing Disconnected. Well, HA! I CAN’T! I can’t disconnect Disconnected from the full fourteen-song mass of Relevant Stiv material; to me, it sounds like 9/14ths of a classic album. Oh, sure, Disconnected, understocked as it is, is worth owning IF, by cruel marketplace realities, you have no recourse to The Lord and the New Creatures, but, i mean, to me, Disconnected is like taking “Judy Is a Punk,” “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend,” “Loudmouth,” “Let’s Dance,” and “Listen to My Heart” off the first Ramones album, then trying to pretend nothing is amiss (although i will admit that ending Disconnected with “I Wanna Forget You (Just The Way You Are)” makes more sense than the sequencing on Lord, which ended each side with a version of “The Last Year,” which sorta makes sense too). This is the second time Bomp! has reissued Disconnected on CD, and also the second time they padded it out with essentially irrelevant bonus cuts in lieu of the 5 songs i consider to be part ‘n’ parcel of the Stiv experience. Of course, as with the last reissue, the five songs are available—padded out with even more irrelevant bonus material on a second album, meaning that you, tragic figure, have to buy 2 albums, then play the first 9 songs off the first one and the first 5 songs off the second one in order to replicate the effects of The One True Stiv Thing, The Lord and the New Creatures. Might i suggest you riot? BEST SONG: “Evil Boy” BEST SONG TITLE: “Evil Boy” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The live version of the Syndicate of Sound’s “Hey Little Girl” on this reissue is a different live version of the Syndicate of Sound’s “Hey Little Girl” than the one that appeared on the Disconnected reissue from the ‘90s—and, of course, both are totally different than the live version of the Syndicate of Sound’s “Hey Little Girl” that was on the first Dead Boys album. Whoopee ding. –Rev. Norb (Bomp!; www.bomp.com)

Sweet Heartache and the Satisfaction: CD
It seems as though Angus Young has joined a punk rock and roll band, up in Oregon, USA. This has an obvious AC/DC influence, as well as the Dead Boys, of course. The heavy, riff-crazy guitar sets them apart from the sea of rock and roll bands out there, but it’s still lacking those catchy choruses a band like this needs. The name “the Stivs” stupefied me. I mean come on, you don’t advertise the singer from the band you’re trying to emulate. It’s like calling your Clash wannabe band “the Strummers.” And you set yourself up for a mighty tough comparison. If you like heavy, wanking rock punk, you’ll like this. If you’re looking for catchy Dead Boys songs, stick to Young, Loud, and Snotty. –KO! (Boot to Head)

Self-titled: CD
As cryptic and as uninformative as this CD is: no clear track listing, hard to read liner notes, etc, I will spare you these extreme injustices. I will pull a George Costanza and do the opposite of this CD. I will be absolutely 100% direct. No need to buy this CD, there’s nothing here that would interest even a deranged monkey. That’s my lesson from the “How To Be Clear” handbook. Class dismissed. –Sean Koepenick (Modern Radio)

Dignified Sissy: CD
With hints of the Minutemen, this noisy art band doesn’t attract my attention with its take on the overdriven noise rock thing. –Donofthedead (Modern Radio)

Self-titled: CD
An EP’s worth of some nicely meandering instrumental indie rock. Reminds me somewhat of a less frantic Fourth Rotor—a slow, simmering buildup to some kind of crescendo, scattered through with braces and squalls of feedback. Not sure how much of an appeal it’ll hold for Razorcake readers, but they seem fairly adept at what they’re doing. I can visualize lots of people drunkenly swaying to this stuff in a bar somewhere. –Keith Rosson (Stock Options)

Catastrophe: CD
This is in the take it or leave it pile. Very Rancid-like in their sound. Street punk mixed with some ska overtones. They play well and their songs are catchy. But nothing exactly won me over. –Donofthedead (Bankshot)

The Special Relationship E.P.: Split 7”
The press release for this claims it’s all “no bullshit DIY punk rock.” No argument there. This is good, good stuff. The Stockyard Stoics are certainly more street punk oriented, but it’s not the hyper-aggressive, meathead type stuff; their offerings are earnest yet thoughtful and, musically, the band is muscular and powerful but still catchy. The Filaments have more of a classic hardcore sound to them, but there are moments at which the ska monster tastefully rears its fun-loving head. They remind me a lot of Snuff. The songs are fast, tight, and anthemic. All in all, this is a great little package: six tunes that got me reinvigorated and sent me bouncing down the street. It comes with a sticker and a mini-zine, too. Recommended.  –The Lord Kveldulfr (Fistolo)

Sunshine Smiley Face: 7"
Classic “your fave local band” shit right here. From Dekalb wherever the fuck that is? Midwest? Whatevs… scrappy mid-‘80s-sounding punk rock. No frills, messed up drum rolls, in-jokes… you know the drill. It’s like a waaaay shitty Dayglo Abortions or any number of mediocre one dollar bin bands. Bet they are super fun live though. –Tim Brooks (no label listed)

Self-titled: LP
This album features eight tracks of raw hardcore which has its roots firmly in the 1980s from a band seemingly intent on trampling all in its path with fists and boots flailing wildly. On the whole, it’s quite a rudimentary affair but is highly effective in its execution, as guitars and drums rage away with some nasty—and occasionally whacked out—sounding vocals up front and center. For all the fury dished out in a shade over nine minutes, I actually find this album quite catchy. It’s clearly not for the timid. –Rich Cocksedge (Video Disease, videodisease77@gmail.com, videodiseaserecords.com / Katorga Works, katorgaworks@gmail.com, katorgaworks.com)

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