issue_79_featured_revs_illo_by_genesis_bautista

The Best Moments of Razorcake #79 Reviews: It’s Fun to Imagine Bobcat Goldthwait Reading Them to You

Describing music is hard. Reviewing a record is hard. Some people use absurd analogies, some use band references, some use onomatopoeia, some take drugs and let it fly, some are vague, some are direct, some short, some long. There’s no right way to do it. But no matter what your style is, reviewing a record requires some serious listening. Personally, it takes me a few listens. The first time is just to see if it makes my foot tap or my mind reel. The second spin is where I focus on the musicianship. I try to isolate the instruments and listen to what they’re contributing, how they’re playing off one another, or try to understand what the fuck they’re even doing. The third time around I like to drink a beer and see what images come to me when I listen to it. This part is the most fun. It generally doesn’t make sense, but makes for a good time. The point is: listening is the important part of reviewing a record. If you really listen to a record, you’ll at least have a sentence or two to say about it that’s meaningful.

Below are some examples of reviewers who did some serious listening. If you’re the kind of person who glosses over reviews, I encourage you to take the time and read these to see what you’ve been missing. If you need further encouragement, it’s fun to imagine Bobcat Goldthwait reading them to you.

–Matthew Hart

POISON IDEA: Kings of Punk (Bloated Edition): CD
When you look at an album cover and see a bovine-like beer belly carved up with X-acto gashes that crudely spell out a band’s name, you can rest assured that, by buying this particular recording, you’re getting a genuine strain of hardcore nihilistic punk that will tear your nostrils open, separate the meat from your skull, and pin the ragged flaps of your face back against your ears. The photograph of Jerry A’s X-acto work in scarification “branding” on the Kings of Punk cover is like the Good Housekeeping seal for punk nihilism; it tells you in no uncertain terms: this is the most “rotten, dirty, damnable, filthy, putrid, filth” your money can buy—satisfaction guaranteed. Now of course, whether or not the malcontents in Poison Idea were really proper “nihilists” is debatable. They were most likely not nihilists in the sense that I don’t think any of them ever spent nights curled up on the couch with some Lorna Doone cookies and a good Max Stirner book. I seriously doubt they read much of anything outside of maybe a beer-stained Bukowski book or two. But if one is to believe the snuff-spittled rantings of the famous Hillbilly Hot Head, self-styled nihilist and all-around professional “Bad Man,” Jim Goad, both Pig Champion and Jerry A were drunken, thieving, drugged-up, hypocritical Man Mountains of amorality. Specifically, Goad claims that a certain Tom Roberts (aka Pig Champion) ratted him out to the fuzz, resulting in Goad landing in jail for an extra zealous bit of performance art wherein he beat up his girlfriend. Particularly bad form, says Jimbo, for the seemingly earnest composers of several brutal anti-cop/anti-snitch ditties like “The Badge” from the Feel the Darkness album. He also makes more broad claims that, while P.I. bassist Myrtle Tickner was merely a “sweet drunk,” Pig and Jerry were both luridly conniving smack addicts who would turn on anyone for a quick fix. Of course, I have no way to gauge the veracity of Goad’s accusations, but it seems at least plausible that his strident protestations are little more than the attention-getting “I’m-Badder-Than-You” bellowings of a person looking for a little more notoriety to heap on his already “dangerous” reputation. Don’t forget, Jim Goad was a reality TV type personality before reality TV even existed. And, seriously, can anyone with a straight face call Jerry A and Pig Champion gutless? But even if Goad is right in portraying them as dangerously obese back-stabbing junkies, they at least weren’t sickly, simpering little heroin-chic nihilists hunched and on the nod in some dark corner somewhere, watching their own grey drool accumulate in their navels; these were rotund, heavy-breathing brutes whose every blackened fat cell was bursting at the seams with utter nihilistic rage like Momma June—a Goadian Hillbilly heroine herself—bursting at the seams from a particularly gluttonous session of pork rind binge eating. And that comes through each and every song on Kings of Punk like a runaway herd of rutting bull elephants trampling Jeep-fulls of ivory poachers underfoot. What more can be said about this album that hasn’t already been said? Eleven sternum-cracking, just-don’t-give-a-fuck, meat-nado classics from the Billy and Benny McCrary (look ‘em up, you have a smart phone) of hardcore punk and a memorable album cover guaranteed to pop into your mind every time you take a sharp knife and cut up a nice plump hotdog.  Plus, with this re-mastered re-release from Southern Lord/TKO, you get an additional all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of previously unreleased live recordings, circa 1984-1986. So with this double disc version of Kings of Punk you can listen to the very dark sounds of raging drunk-junkie nihilism until the cows come home. There are even freshly-penned liner notes from Mr. Jerry A, detailing the back story to the stomach-slicing photo shoot and including a proud profession that he has not mellowed with age and is, in fact, more pissed off than ever. I’ve watched enough classic WWF to know a thinly veiled challenge when I hear one. By the time this issue of Razorcake hits the streets, cocky rapper DMX should’ve already pounded celebrity killer George Zimmerman into Alpo at the Celebrity Boxing event. I say that next up, as a way of promoting their on-going series of “extra gravy” classic Poison Idea re-releases, Southern Lord should try to orchestrate a Celebrity Nihilist Death Match between Jim Goad and Jerry A. And let’s put in a stipulation allowing X-acto knives. Whaddya say guys? Do it for Pig. –Aphid Peewit (Southern Lord, southernlord.com)

BRICKWALL VULTURES: Vultures Rule O.K.!: 7”
The most exciting new American oi 7” I’ve heard in ages, Vultures Rule O.K.! has me bopping around my apartment like a maniac. Hailing from Chicago, these guys sound a lot like Patriot, but with harsher vocals, similar to the legendary band Squiggy. The lyrics are of the most basic type, covering the standard street themes of unity, urban pride, and a willingness to fight. The barebones brilliance of Brickwall Vultures exemplifies all that is great in skinhead music. Catchier than chlamydia in Cleveland, Brickwall Vultures truly rules. –Art Ettinger (Sexy Baby)

CAPITALIST KIDS, THE / THE TIGHT BROS: Split: 7”
Both Capitalist Kids and Tight Bros play first class, 1990s pop punk in the vein of Squirtgun. It’s precisely the sort of record that can be used to confront anti-pop grumps with a rock solid “bet you can’t listen to this without dancing” proposition. There’s nothing but aggressive joy here. If those of us who don’t hate fun have our way, pop punk is coming back, goddamn it! –Art Ettinger (Toxic Pop)

2ND DISTRICT: What’s Inside You!?: LP
This horribly corny, self described “glam-punk” record from Germany has a bit going for it, but 2nd District seems to be striving for a commercial sound simply for the sake of it. Perhaps that’s a snap judgment, but from the overproduction on down, there is an obnoxious quality to this that is just plain grating, especially the eunuch-ish vocals. It’s as if years of being made fun of egged these guys on to come up with something worthy of being made fun of. 2nd District is the sort of group you’d see in a TV representation of counterculture, wondering if it’s a real band or a group of actors pretending to suck. –Art Ettinger (Wanda, wandarecords.de)

FASHION FORESKINS: I Saw You Coming Closer So I Ran Inside the Door: Cassette
Disposable, cheaply recorded punk rock. It’s hard to even describe it any more than that. If I told you to just imagine a punk band, no adjectives involved, I’m sure your brain could come up with something pretty close to Fashion Foreskins in a number of seconds. The production of the release leaves a lot to be desired, in as much as I would have desired some production. Recorded live, it sounds like a one microphone affair with no editing involved. It starts off grating, but five monotone songs and one unlistenable poem later, you’ll want to chuck your boom box out the window. I’ll give the band credit, because at least they designed the cassette with garbage in mind. The liner notes give instructions to “listen, copy, destroy,” but I’d recommend skipping to step three. Grade: D+. –Bryan Static (Self-released, no address)

MAKEOUTS: “Hjärndöd” b/w “Du är så Punk”: 7”
Another Scandinavian masterpiece! The snow and cold might drive people into suicidal depression, but, man, does it make for some amazing guitar music. Hailing from Sweden, Makeouts play with an infectious sound similar to Jay Reatard and Audacity. The A-side on this record is one of the best punk songs I’ve heard all year! (Though to be fair, it is only February at the time of writing.) I could listen to this 7” forever. And there are two LPs left to listen to! I’m going to go hunt those down. Grade: A-. –Bryan Static (Bachelor, bachelorrecords.com)

MXPX: LeftCoast Punk: 7”
Thanks for reminding me why I haven’t listened to skate punk in five years. It’s hard to believe I received this piece of vinyl for review. Maybe the cultural tide has shifted enough and Razorcake has new readers who aren’t aware of who MXPX are. Allow me to explain. MXPX play songs where the drummer uses the NOFX double bass drum beat, where the guitars follow the vocals to a fault, and the lyrics are sometimes about Jesus. It’s pretty uninteresting. I’ll give the band credit; they haven’t changed into the slowed-down clones of themselves like so many other prominent bands of the ‘90s turned it, but it’s not like they ever released anything worth caring about. Grade: D. –Bryan Static (Sexy Baby, sexybabyrecords.com/RockCity)

SLACK BIRD: Turvallisuuden Onnettomuus: 7”
As broad as my punk rock umbrella is, it’s not quite wide enough to cover this slosh of Finnish folk… but for the sake of not having the argument “what is punk?” it sounds like Tom Waits to a Finnish folk polka beat. Sounds cool? Then you get it, but I still don’t. –Camylle Reynolds (Parta, partarecords.com)

MR DAD: Self-titled: 5”
This sweet little morsel of a 5” comes from a scrappy garage punk band out of North Dakota. So how can I say this without this review going to shit, because I don’t think Mr. Dad is shitty at all; they’re pretty damn solid. The vocals have the similar sound and cadence to Zach de la Rocha from Rage Against The Machine… the screechy, good part of Zach de la Rocha, not the pretentious douchey parts. Two solid thrashy alt garage punk songs on this little baby. Cover art is pretty rad. If I found this at a record store I would be intrigued. I would buy. And I would like it, which I do. You probably will, too. –Camylle Reynolds (Self-released, [email protected])

DILDOZER: The Titular Tape: Cassette
Decent smarty-pants punk rock from this St. Augustine, Florida-based trio. Having grown up in the area, I can relate to the “doin’ it for fun” vibe that is projected on this cassette. I get the feeling these guys are doing this for themselves and would happily play a show to three people at their local watering hole and they couldn’t care less. I have to confess that is a welcome feeling after sifting through releases from “professional” punk bands with endorsement deals and the like. To me, this is the sound of drinking a lukewarm twelve pack of Keystone Light with some of your closest buds and not giving a fuck. I’m not complaining. –Garrett Barnwell (Self-released, [email protected])

GBH: Perfume and Piss: LP
A foreign vinyl pressing of the most recent GBH album (the CD came out on Hellcat in 2010). It sounds good (it was recorded well for the style), and the songs are upbeat, anthemic numbers with some gang vocals. The record isn’t embarrassing and the band could certainly be doing a lot worse for themselves this late in the game, but there’s not a whole lot going on that interests me in this. Following a trend in more commercial street punk that I harp on a lot, the songs seem to be based around their catchy, kitschy titles and the riffs are a little too Hellcat for me. It seems like they were trying to make music specifically palatable for a younger crowd (some of the riffs sound like they were written by Lars Frederiksen, who produced the record and has always had a talent for writing songs that allude to a specific sound and genre). There’s nothing really wrong with that, per se, and younger kids who see GBH at some big punk festival and then pick this record up are certainly getting a better deal than we did when Sham 69 and the Business put out their abysmal bids for fame in the late ‘90s, but I’m a little too old and jaded to appreciate this record at this point in my life. –Ian Wise (PHR)

BLOOD BUDDIES: Tree & Bird: 7”
This formerly of L.A. and now residing in Portland two-piece has matched, if not improved on, their previous self-titled 7”. On Tree & Bird’s two tracks, Rachel Lynch riffs around with garage punk chords and shout-sings just under the throat-wrecking level, calling out her connection to the natural world outside of mega-jumbo urban areas. And, yeah, we all love cities (bars, busses!), but cities also have gross plastic bags screaming in the trees and exhaust coating all of your possessions, so between knowing intuitively that cities are kinda gross and hearing the raw sparseness of Blood Buddies songs, lyrics like, “If you’re looking for me / If you’re lost / If you really need me / I’m on a mountaintop” become simultaneously alarming and catchy. In the absence of second guitar or a single bass, all that remains is great songwriting: hooks, sharp edges, and the slight shock that hits you when you hear uninhibited rock for the first time in a long time. –Jim Joyce (Ghostbot, ghostbotrecords.com)

AUTONOMY / DOOMTOWN: Split: LP
Autonomy: Great blend of politically astute sentiment and post-punk attack. The songs gel and bounce with bubbling bass runs and hypnotic guitar lines one minute, then things get nice and dissonant the next, closing with a righteous cover of the Wipers’ “Doom Town.” Standing here slack jawed and amazed as I flip this puppy over…. Doom Town: Thought Autonomy might have these kids on the ropes, but they more than handle their business here, with that dark-tinged thud punk sound they’ve honed so well on previous efforts still serving ‘em well. Gloomy but not goth, meaty but not meathead, and saturated with sophistication in its wiggly bass lines and chord runs. The final tally: A solid draw, making this a faboo split. –Jimmy Alvarado (Trend Is Dead)

NUDES: Sister: 7” EP
Things start off a-flailin and a-whoopin’, with some hyper-speed thrash setting the pace. Then, however, they immediately shift back into low gear for the remainder of the ride, meting out some heavy hardcore whomps stuffed with paranoia and virulence. Fuckin’ rad, though I’m gonna have a hard time explaining all the fist-sized holes in the wall. –Jimmy Alvarado (Inimical)

REGIMEN: Self-titled: LP
One of the pitfalls of reviewing gobs of releases over extended periods of time is that one can create mental snapshots of a particular scene/country’s music scene that might be a bit fallacious. Let’s take Sweden, for example. From Mob 47 to DS-13 to Regulations to AC4 to—well, you get the point—one inevitably forms a vision of an entire country packed with both snow and an entire population that is born and bred on a steady diet of Discharge and had embedded in its DNA the ability to effortlessly churn out some of the best punk/hardcore on the planet. I’m willing to bet large sums of money this isn’t true, and I have heard my share of less than stellar output from that region, but one making such a leap of logic wouldn’t exactly be out of the realm of possibility. Regimen does nothing to counter such a leap. With a bevy of (mostly) mid-tempo ragers that are inexplicably catchy amidst all the screaming and slamming, ye find yourself shaking an angry fist and shouting along with the Swedish gang-choruses that pop up like whack-a-mole heads, and at other times shimmy-slamming to many of the tunes’ odd surfy undertow. No, Sweden can’t be a punk paradise—c’mon, the law of averages dictates that there has to be at least one square block in that country that is infested with shitty bands—but this definitely makes it easier for some of us to dream such a thing is possible. –Jimmy Alvarado (Gaphals, gaphals.se)

ANTAGONIZERS ATL, THE: Hold Your Ground: 7”
File under: streetpunk full of vague “fists up” lyrics that don’t actually say a lot. At their best they’ve occasionally got a U.S. Bombs or Reducers SF thing going on, but those moments are pretty slim. For the most part, Hold Your Ground is just a little too lackluster and paint-by-numbers to draw many comparisons at all. Between their typo-ridden lyrics—how someone can make a layout look so good and still not be able to catch fuckups like “maybee” and “I like the sound of a traffic jams” is beyond me, dude—and the fact that the flipside of the insert was an ad for their T-shirts, I’ll have to pass. Like I said, downright gorgeous packaging and the spattered vinyl is so pretty I’d like to ask it out on a date, but the music itself, in spite of its proclamations, doesn’t quite pack a punch. –Keith Rosson (Longshot)

MICK FARREN AND ANDY COLQUHOUN: Black Vinyl Dress: CD
Black Vinyl Dress is amazing in its horribleness. This seriously flabbergasts me. It’s as though the actor Alan Rickman (Severus Snape in Harry Potter and the villain in Die Hard)—the similarity of the voice is uncanny—got drunk, dropped acid, channeled whatever emotions he got from watching Apocalypse Now, wrote really bad Jim Morrison-inspired poetry and recited it with a nondescript band backing him. They then recorded an album and here I am, listening to it. I seriously can’t stop laughing at every track, because I can’t stop imagining a drunk and high Alan Rickman as the lead singer. Incredible. –Kurt Morris (Gonzo Multimedia, gonzomultimedia.co.uk)

EXIT HIPPIES / LOTUS FUCKER: Split: LP
Exit Hippies crank out some heavy, low-end, sludgy noise that is all over the map. One second the music is plodding and distorted with sounds blistering in the din. Then, suddenly, it’s bubbly and skronked-out electronics spluttering and splattering against the wall. The bass has a great dirty and gritty sound. I mean really filthy sounding, as though thick clouds of dust are coming out of the speaker cabinet. “Slam” is pretty cool, opening with air raid sirens, then the buzzing distortion of instruments comes in with honking sounds and washes of white noise. At times, the noise for the sake of filling space gets tedious. When everything is focused is when they are most effective. Fun for a couple or four spins. Lotus Fucker, on the other side, expand on what they built from their Forever My Fighting Spirit LP. They continue to push at the boundaries of the noisecore thing, which helps place them way ahead of most bands taking a stab at this style currently. Although, I will say these songs didn’t knock me over the way their aforementioned LP did. At points, the songs start to bleed and melt together forming one big white noise mess. Some may think that is good, but I think Lotus Fucker are capable of doing better. –M.Avrg (SPHC, sphc.bigcartel.com)

RATIONAL ANTHEM: Whatevermind: LP
The “it” factor. Music folks have been looking for the formula for decades with limited results. The best bands (like The Brokedowns, Dan Padilla, Rumspringer) play styles that are all too familiar, but for some reason can push both hands into your chest and push your heart through your mouth. Add Rational Anthem to the list. Whatevermind takes the lyrical strength of Black Flag’s “Depression” and grinds it through haunting bubblegum punk tuneage so you’re drunk singing through the tears and smiling through today’s suck, ready for tomorrow because the Rational Anthem LP is still on the turntable. I’m late to the party, but oh well, never, whatevermind… –Matt Seward (Rad Girlfriend, radgirlfriendrecords.com / John Wilkes Booth, johnwilkesboothrecords.com / Kiss Of Death, kissofdeathrecords.com / Bloated Kat, bloatedkat.storenvy.com)

TRY HARDZ: Midget Made Giant: CD
Sprawling, unfocused jam band hip-hop that feels like it could only come from a liberal arts college in a medium-sized town. A friend of mine recently trademarked the phrase The Right Kind of Weird. Try Hardz would be The Wrong Kind of Weird. Or, I don’t know, it’s like they’ve created a subgenre that’s literally just hyphens. They put every type of music together—folk, funk, rap, jazz, outré electronics, you name it. I could say it’s in the same vein as cLOUDDEAD/Why?/Anticon stuff, but that’s being very generous. The ambition’s there, the experimental sensibilities are there, the weed is there. But the songs are often incoherent, the production is demo-quality, and the rhymes are objectively terrible. I kept thinking of a Mark Ronson/Kanye West interview I read years ago where one of them said something to the effect of, “When they say there’s ‘something for everyone,’ it means there’s nothing for anyone.” –Matt Werts (Fauxtown, fauxtownrecords.com)

TAXPAYERS, THE: ColdHeartedTown: LP
The Taxpayers are an American band. The America you find in the lure of the bayou. Kudzu-covered mansions. The devil at the crossroads. Headless horsemen. Roadside carnivals. The Air-conditioned Nightmare. The America that’s mysterious, unrestrained, and cruel. Cold Hearted Town sounds like Tom Waits on sketchy drugs. A baritone saxophone makes it a record as heavy as a steam engine: pummeling, oppressive, and right on time. Tenor sax, trumpet, banjo, and accordion whirl around the precision rhythms like fireflies, flickering in and out. Haunting, luminous, organic. It’s jazz played in punk’s backyard. It’s like drinking an expensive amaretto out of a dirty peanut butter jar. The guitars alternate from acoustic tones dryer than scotch and meandering slide riffage that sounds like someone playing an AM radio dial through a distortion pedal. Rob’s vocal delivery oscillates between the fervor of a street corner preacher and the avouchments of somebody who thinks no one is listening. With fire and abandon. Think the Reverend Gary Davis with espresso in his veins instead of blood. The back of the record tells a story about how Rob bought a book of incantations in New Orleans and went to write the album in an abandoned house. I won’t give the story away, but I will tell you that he spills his blood. The lyrics reflect the story. Satan speaks in the song “Plant Oak,” telling the narrator, “You know the answer, you know what to do: Link hands, lie down, and tie rope. By the full moon and black skies, plant oak.” Highly, highly fucking recommended. –Matthew Hart (Useless State, useless-state.com / Plan-It X, plan-it-x.com)

WORRIED MOTHERS: Tape: Cassette
There’s taking yourself seriously, and there’s Taking Yourself Seriously. With more theatrical music, often the intention, and subsequent elevation to caps status, can become a stumbling block: if an audience spends too much time wondering about intention then the music can be obscured by the art of the thing (or, perhaps, The Art Of The Thing), you dig? Worried Mothers manage to deliver a well-played, highly performative set of diverse-yet-cohesive songs without tripping over themselves. The singer’s vocals are high-pitched and flamboyant, like that nineties band Placebo. This was certainly recorded on a budget, with all the requisite rawness, and hits in a well-organized blast in which everything is audible but it all kinda blurs around the edges for max effect. I dig the occasional keys, which punch through the mix. There’s occasional flat-out aggression, which provides a nice counterpoint to the more subdued numbers, some of which contain little melodic hooks which remind me of Guided By Voices. –Michael T. Fournier (DoomTown)

SCAM, THE: Fuck On: CDEP
Not the worst CDEP with a drawing of a topless girl spitting into another topless girl’s mouth on the cover i’ve ever reviewed in my life. Oh, who am i kidding? Of COURSE it is! Sounds like mall punk for people who hate mall punk. I can only imagine the self-loathing. Now spit in your own mouth! This is a cool place. BEST SONG: I actually prefer the outstanding cover art to any of the songs contained within, but, by process of elimination, the answer is “Monkey Monkey.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Teenage Knife Fight.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: “Monkey Monkey” is a ripoff of the song “Peanut Butter” by the Marathons on Arvee Records, which is itself a ripoff of the song “(Baby) Hully Gully” by the Olympics on Arvee Records. Unless you know otherwise. ­–Rev. Nørb (Throwing Things, thescam.bandcamp.com)

DIE: DiE: 7”
DiE is a British band that harkens back to the likes of Jerry’s Kids in its rough and ready hammering across half a dozen blows to the head on this record. Okay, it might be a bit melodramatic to claim the tracks are equal to a physical beating but there is quite clearly a deep, deep well of anger, hatred, and vitriol that has been discovered beneath the foundations of this relatively new band and it’s a well that has burst open, setting free a geyser of molten wrath that DiE has drunk deeply from. Produced by Jonah Falco of Fucked Up, this is ugly, raw, and beautifully uncompromising. –Rich Cocksedge (Sheer Terror Discs, Bandcamp)

LIQUOR STORE: In the Garden: LP
I thought Liquor Store’s debut LP Yeah Buddy was an exercise in hubris, but then I got this! In the Garden isn’t a gatefold double LP like its predecessor, and only has eight tunes, but the sheer balls and triple-guitar bravado more than makes up for it. These are compliments, people. As my friend Jumpkick might say, this shit is “pow’ful.” Guitarist/vocalist Sarim Al-Rawi’s voice has changed from the snot-caked, bleating blurt of early Liquor Store tunes to a Handsome Dick Manitoba-like bark. The guitars (again, three of ‘em!) are huge, the solos are monstrous. These dudes can hang with Dictators axe-men Top Ten and Ross The Boss, as well as give the Nuge (“Pile of Dirt”) or Slash (check the epic “Midnight Walker”) a run for their respective money. It’s only in recent years that I’ve come to terms with strong musicians flexing their muscles while playing the punk rock. I don’t know why I couldn’t accept it for so long. Probably because so many technically proficient musicians don’t know when a song doesn’t need them to jack off all over it. Liquor Store is a band that can triple-guit a song and you can still feel the actual song. On a different tack, Liquor Store also scares me, more than a little bit. Listen to a tune like “Keys to the Face” and tell me you would even think about crossing these guys. Or maybe they’re sweethearts and they just unfortunately witnessed some dude punch another dude with his keys. In the face. Then I look at a picture of Sarim, and his eyes tell me that he’s seen something I shouldn’t. –Sal Lucci (Almost Ready)

COMADRE: Self-titled: LP
With a pledge to DIY and a considerable distance from their screamo upbringing, Comadre brings us their swan song—and it’s a doozy. It’s difficult to appreciate the evolution without acknowledging the scrappy sincerity of The Youth and the frantic appeal of Burn Your Bones. But since A Wolf Ticket, Comadre has ventured towards more varied melody, ranging from pop lead guitar to trebly hardcore. Evolution without the loss of authenticity is a colossal task. (Recall all the bands that have forfeited their ties to engaging punk music because of major labels, the pursuit of image, or straight up bad decisions.) Thankfully, this LP is a glowing example. The slickly produced tapestry of bass-driven verses complemented by keys, horns, murmured vocals, and acoustic guitars is equally as hard-hitting as any of their previous outings. The keyboard-driven “Summercide” should be audible mush, but all the elements gel creating a pogo-inducing, hair-whipping jam. Furthermore, “Binge” sounds like The Smiths while retaining Juan’s throat-tearing vocals, “Date Night” oozes spaghetti western vibes, and “The Moon” is a sore throat ballad. With an almost ten year history, this final LP is a fitting bookend; it’s uncompromising like every great punk record. A contemporary classic. –Sean Arenas (Vitriol, vitriolrecords.com, [email protected])

EX-BREATHERS: Collision: LP
Sporadic metallic hardcore hailing from Tallahassee, Florida. Reminds me of Ghostlimb except with fewer Viking solos, but every bit as jittery (both bands are dizzying, high impact three-pieces). The songs sink in then hurriedly rush out the fire escape. The start/stop tempos fend off monotony and each shrill pitch floods into the next with skillful calculation. The barrel-chested yells are mixed fairly low blending with the piercing guitars, chugging bass, and fitful drumming—it’s a production quality that retains the rawness and ferocity of live performance. I imagine that these guys crush live. Overall, an impressive debut LP of grim aggression and convulsive experimentation. Recommended for technical hardcore fans looking for blind rage over indulgent showiness. Check the butt rock solos at the door. –Sean Arenas (Living Lost, [email protected])

DRUNK AS SHIT: Drunk.Punk.Thrash: CD
Curse you, Taylor. Listen, I fucking love booze, even more than drugs. I love songs about drinking as much as the next functioning alcoholic but weren’t we done with “drunk punk” in the ‘90s? Guess not, huh? Oh wait, these fools are from Salt Lake City where there is no booze, I get it. Okay. Truly horrendous punk/thrash, like a terrible Grimple or Submachine or any other no mark bands from the ‘90s with crap solos and songs about booze. Don’t get me wrong, I love booze, but even drunk this sucks. –Tim Brooks (Ballzout, ballzoutrecords.com)

ADAM WIDENER: Vesuvio Nights: LP
Every song sounds the same, which is like shit. Dude’s voice is drowned in reverb, and some shitty, spooky Johnny-cum-lately weak ass garage backing it up. The fact that this is a solo project leads me to believe that this guy is just an annoying as his music. –Vincent (Speakertree)

TIM TIMEBOMB: “She’s Drunk All the Time” b/w “Tulare”: 7”
The mumbling guy from the Transplants sings over a guitar, mandolin, accordion, banjo, and a dobro (whatever the fuck that is) on two songs. Unless dude has put out more mickey mouse bluegrass, this one’s a clear departure from his previous efforts in all ways but quality. You’ve probably gathered that this record is pretty bad. Or maybe not, as you people keep buying this fella’s records despite the fact that the descriptions alone of the last few things this guy has done should have brought death to even his vanity label releases. It’s a small wonder. –Vincent (Hellcat / Pirates Press, no address listed)

UKIAH DRAG, THE: Jazz Mama Is Crying: 12” EP
Former members of the weird guy hardcore elite (see, e.g., Cult Ritual and Diet Coke Heads) do us all a favor and lay down four lysergic jams on this here slab, which was originally released on cassette by Ascetic House. Had I known of the band’s pedigree before hearing this, I woulda been more than mildly surprised. Dudes (I’m assuming) drop any pretense of hardcore (but do retain a bit of the weird) here, with the opener being the closest thing to punk really on here, as it exudes a bit of Stooges-esque sexual power at times. Outside of that, your feelings about drugs are probably a good indicator of whether you’ll enjoy this. Unless, of course, you really like drugs, in which case you’ll like this, but probably not as much as somebody who isn’t as loaded as often. The second track broods calmly while communicating a definite severity. The cream of the crop is the first song on the B-side, in all its minimalist avant-garde glory. A bluesy lament about being without that sounds like the morning after the night before rounds things out. They already have a follow-up cassette, issued by the reputable Night People label, but this one appears from all accounts to be self-released, as reinforced by the LSD-69 catalog inscription in the dead wax. No contact info, but easy enough to find from a kind distro on the web. –Vincent (Self-released, no address listed)