Featured Record Reviews Razorcake 112—The Outcasts, Cement Shoes, Eat My Fear, Generacion Suicida, Snakes, Soul Glo

Oct 22, 2019

Illustration by Jessee Zeroxed

OUTCASTS, THE: Self Conscious Over You: LP
Northern Ireland is famous for Stiff Little Fingers and the Undertones but Ulster and Belfast in particular spawned an entire sound in the late ’70s with bands like Rudi, Ruefrex, and the Outcasts making noises specific to the area and also made in the middle of a warzone. The Harp Bar in central Belfast was a haven away from sectarianism and violence in Belfast in the late-’70s where Protestants and Catholics could freely mingle and pogo to the new sounds (go dig into the politics of Northern Ireland if you get a second). The Outcasts did a handful of singles and a couple of LPs, but this, their debut, is an absolute masterpiece. Sing-a-long power pop at it absolute best. I have listened to this LP to death over the past thirty years and it sounds as fresh today as it did back then. There may have been a bootleg of the original a few years ago and all the songs float around on various compilations and the internet, but this appears to be a legit reissue. Put a gun to my head and let me leave with a handful of records; this fucker (my original) is coming. I can even fuck with the sax solo. Wonderful. –Tim Brooks (PHR, phr.cz)

Sometimes the best records are the ones I have the hardest time describing. Sure, I can rely on comparisons to bands such as Cülo and their recklessness or the off kilter mania of the Shitty Limits or even a melding of the two, but there’s still a lot more going on beneath the surface here. There’s some chemically induced Wayne Kramer psychedelia in between the guitar riffs that aren’t driving punk or manic hardcore: speaking of which I wouldn’t be surprised if one or all of the band members ate shrooms like candy, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if they were all stone sober. The cover artwork is surely a sight to behold: drawings of various unsavory looking characters (including the devil himself) doing everything from drinking wine to preaching nonsense imposed over a photograph of a graveyard and various headstones. Okay I take it back, there are definitely drugs involved here. Perhaps the best description is the album’s hype sticker that has the ringing endorsements of both Ron House (Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments) and a member of Japanese hardcore legends Death Side: “I thought I hated hardcore but you guys are really cool!” and “Good song” respectively. You can’t argue with results. Get this. –Juan Espinosa (Feel It)

DAN WEBB AND THE SPIDERS: Now It Can Be Told, Vol. 2: CD
Damn, guys. The second collection from this group gathers the material from their incredible split LP with Bundles, a split 7” with Modern Saints, and a bunch of other unreleased and comp stuff from 2015-2017. I don’t know what it is, maybe because they don’t tour much, but this band is like the absolute poster child of the term “criminally underrated.” They’ve put out five albums and a bunch of 7”s over a decade, and still remain relatively unknown in the States, which really sucks, because they’re a fantastic band. Moving, precise, heartfelt, while still laid-back and discernable. They’ve got garage leanings but aren’t frantic. Melodies abound, but the songs aren’t cloying. Just a terrific, catchy band that writes songs about having a black cloud floating over your head. Glad this was released. –Keith Rosson (Gunner USA, [email protected], gunnerrecordsusa.com)

DOGS, THE: 1994-1998: Sick as a Dog: LP
In high school my friend gave me a ride home and he was playing a cassette that caught my attention before we’d even left the parking lot. Every song was played like the band was on speed, and they probably were. The lyrics seemed to resent everything surrounding Southern Orange County. They were desperate, vicious, depressing, and constantly based around drug use, alcoholism, and rehab. The short ride home that day left a lasting impression on me and I hope this record gets into the hands and ears of other sixteen-year-olds who feel lost and alienated. In the way you need to warn people before introducing them to GG Allin, the same goes with these guys. They’re not a band for kids. Gabe Hart (Jail Weddings, Starvations) did the honor of addressing the Dogs’ nihilistic gang mentality in the liner notes. This record never came out, so this is more of an issue than a reissue. The release coincides with a limited run of coffin-shaped skateboards by Bat Skates. Do not sleep on either of these items, folks. –Ryan Nichols (Garage Rock, [email protected], garagerock-records.com)

EAT MY FEAR: Taking Back Space: 7”
I don’t know what’s facilitating the pipeline between me and great hardcore from Berlin, but keep it comin’. The second EP from this Berlin-based queer feminist hardcore band fucking rips and I cannot even count the number of people I know who need to hear the lyric “Your antifa patch only exists to make your jacket pretty” as a scathing indictment of political people who don’t live their commitments beyond aesthetics. This hardcore though—this is what separates the worlds of the Cro-Mags and Pageninetynine—yeah, Eat My Fear are fucking pissed about migration, about transphobia, about feeling completely abandoned by a scene that supposedly respects them. It’s also about the radical power that building a strong, supportive scene can have. So, you get the pissed-off venom (and, ultimately, correct) arguments of a band like War On Women alongside a celebration of the very fact that making this music gives us another way forward. –Theresa W. (Refuse / Emergency Punx)

Another moody release from L.A.’s post-punk four piece. They hit that sweet spot left vacant by bands like The Vicious and Gorilla Angreb. We’re talking fast, sharp leads with those angular notes on guitar over cymbal-heavy drums that pummel through quick songs. Yes, their songs are all in Spanish. Yes, you can translate them online if you don’t speak the language and want to learn it. Most of these tracks are about not being silenced, living through dark and violent times, death, and a little bit of drugs. It’s a fairly bleak record with the atmospheric intensity that this group is so good at. One of the stand-out lyrics for me is “Las balas no discrimen / Solo saben matar” which translates to “bullets don’t discriminate / They only know how to kill.” With a record titled Reflejos (Reflexes), and the lyrics I read through, these songs are instinctive responses to discrimination, poverty, and class-based struggle, which are symptomatic of societal issues all on its own. In the closing track, “Desaparecer,” they slow it way down and break out an acoustic guitar which adds a different feeling of weight than the rest of the record. In this song they say, “El futuro no se puede ver (The future can not be seen)” and leave me thinking about how I can change what is yet to come. While it’s an emotionally overpowering record, I think they leave us with an anger that ignites change, rather than desperation. –Kayla Greet (Going Underground)

KIRA JARI: Spooky Freaky: 7”
Let the Texas highways break you all damn day just to be around Andy’s welcoming smile or Avery’s infectious laugh. And on the days when getting to Denton just isn’t possible, reach for this 7”. Millennium DIY punks that have spent years drunkenly staring at their turntables while Marked Men, Tiltwheel, and Bent Outta Shape records spun into the night. Years studying, years cracking the codes. And once the needle hits the groove on Spooky Freaky, it’s just raining fire of riffs, licks, and love. And for the span of four songs, you feel like you’re amongst your kind, and damn it feels good. –Daryl (Dirt Cult)

MARTHA:Love Keeps Kicking: CD
Confession: I’ve been casually following Martha since the very beginning, but my favorite song of theirs is and always has been the first song of their first EP. There’s been tons of great stuff since then, but at this point I don’t think anything else is ever going to hit me as hard as that one perfect, jangly, Audre Lorde-centric powerpop anthem does. This is just a bittersweet personal truth that I have had to learn to live with. That being said, Love Keeps Kicking RIPS. I don’t know how they keep turning out these sparkling fucking hits, but here they are about a million releases deep, just as jubilant, hyperliterate, and stupidly catchy as ever. Highlights include the prechorus of “Into This,” which The Smiths wish they wrote, the Lovecraftian horror that just bursts out of nowhere in “The Void,” the sweetly self-referential “Lucy Shone a Light on You,” the fiercely buoyant title track… Honestly, I tried to keep track of my favorite songs as I listened to this all the way through for the first time and I just wrote down almost every title. I spent the last seven years thinking this band might have peaked right out the gate, but this might be the record that makes me revisit that assumption. –Indiana Laub (Dirtnap, [email protected], dirtnaprecs.com / Big Scary Monsters, [email protected], bsmrocks.com)

SNAKES: Psychic Rats Demo: CS
This band is like bizarro crossover: a world where all the good thrashmetal bands turned into propulsive hardcore bands. It rips in every way you could possibly want it to. They could be this long-lost gem that spent the ’80s in a van opening up for Nonmeansno, Die Kreuzen, or DRI, fueling riots at City Gardens and Raul’s; but they’re a current Los Angeles band that just isn’t fucking around at all. Funneling decades of aggressive punk, Stinson-style guitar shit, and metal into a sound that makes you want to slam your head into the computer screen, or maybe that’s just me, like literally, right now as I type this. Track this tape down and join the riot. This shit is the real shit. –Daryl (Extinction Burst, extinctionburst.limitedrun.com, [email protected])

SOUL GLO: The Nigga in Me Is Me + Untitled I & II: CD
Soul Glo is a chaotic hardcore band from Philly and most of the people in the band are black. I first heard of them last year when they ran a successful GoFundMe campaign after Missouri cops racially profiled them on tour—pulling them over and arresting one of the band members. The cover of their new album The Nigga in Me Is Me is a photo of what must be that terrible day: on a bleak stretch of rural highway, a white cop is watching a young black person in a hoodie standing by a police car’s gaping open door as its lights flash and swirl. This record feels like that moment—flailing and screaming through different modes of hardcore, fed up and pissed off, creating something amazing in the face of a world that won’t let that be nearly enough. It’s the frustrations of black life told through punk rock, and it’s Soul Glo’s best work yet. Soul Glo’s been around for about five years. Trace their trajectory backwards on this CD, which includes all three of the band’s 12”s, showing how they evolved from satisfying but by-the-numbers Level Plane-style screamo, through raw-throated hardcore rants, to The Nigga in Me Is Me, which builds on the “anything goes” grab-bag of the previous record, weaving chaotic emo, d-beat, powerviolence, and caustic Danny Brown-ish hip-hop into a cohesive statement with tighter playing and a bigger-sounding recording than their previous work. It should be emphasized that the hip-hop in the mix feels completely organic, matching the rest of the music in intensity and adding a welcome dimension. The barcode sticker on top of the CD calls it The N in Me Is Me, which is how non-black punks shall refer to this album. While the music is vital, the CD itself is frustratingly bare-bones, with recording info and no lyrics. When a song kicks off with “Them white niggas you fuck with turn tiki torch real quick,” I want to know exactly what else is being said! I just ordered the vinyl. Hopefully that format isn’t so stingy with the info. Speaking of early ’00s screamo, I was active in that scene. As my band was fulfilling dreams by touring Europe and playing venues I’d only seen in zines, I was painfully isolated, trying to work out the nuances of my black identity in that highly white scene. I wish Soul Glo had been around then. I’m glad they’re around now and that there seems to be more space in punk these days—more and more bands who aren’t just straight white dudes—and that it’s leading to exciting and life-affirming music like this. –Chris Terry (srarecords.com)

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