Read, record reviews razorcake

Straight up, this is a country, bluegrass, folk record made by an ex-preacher who’s also ex-military. It was sent to Razorcake because it has a song called “I Wish I was a Punk Rocker.” The lyrics to that song are ridiculous: “I want to be a punk rocker / because it seems like the right thing to do.” Huh? Why does it seem like the right thing to do? Oh, I see. It’s explained in the song after he gets out his leather jacket and has the barber do him up the wildest of hair: “Rock stars get all the ladies / Best drugs and top shelf booze.” Just because CBGB stands for “country, bluegrass, and blues” doesn’t mean that’s what the Ramones and other bands were playing in there, nor is it what many of them listen to outside of punk. And I, for one, don’t want to listen to a bible thumper sing about being angry and depressed so he can be a punk who’s got nothing to lose.


There are other folk songs on here about Mobile, Ala., prison tattoos, and one that just screams “Satan your kingdom must come down” over and over again. Honestly I couldn’t even make it to the B-side. This is not your target audience, Abe. –Kayla Greet (Skate Mountain)

Ambitious project—this being a concept album that flips the world from one of self-absorbed callousness to one of compassion and caring, but there’s a catch. There’s always a catch. Interesting timing too, at this moment in time the U.S. is flipped upside down and thrown into a dark corner. What is here before us is the question of what if the world was ordered in a way that we thought of as just? Where being vegan was the norm, animal liberation was every day, and being conscientious of the world was a given? Would it just be a change for the same? Is it human to destroy utopias? Utilizing a mid-‘80s Dischord style (the guitar tone reminds me of Michael Hampton from Embrace, SOA, One Last Wish) as the fuel, their sound is combined with an element of the present for combustion. The band incorporates peaks and valleys for maximum effect, where the message is of equal importance to presenting dynamic music for you to singalong and raise that fist to. –Matt Average (1859, 1859records.bandcamp.com, 1859records@gmail.com)

There are “old” bands tapped into the punk nostalgia cottage industry that are content to earn a little Christmas money playing nothing but the oldies at the odd gig now and then, and there are the bands who prefer to still work at being a collective creative endeavor. The Adolescents not only fall into the latter category, they continue to be a vital voice in the underground while maintaining a consistent level of quality output that is a rarity even among newer bands, let alone one that’s been plugging away at it at different intervals for nearly forty years. Much like their last effort, Manifest Density, things largely continue down a trajectory that adds a wee bit of “rock” to a trademark, influential hardcore punk template hardwired with dual-octave leads, devastating riffs, assorted tempos, and crack musicianship. Tony remains in fine form, howling out topical, pointed lyrics that address, and often dress down, the current demagogue-in-chief and the larger social (dis)order while Steve and the boys lay down one ripping musical base after another. The collective results here are a consistently strong, effective album, quite possibly the best they’ve dropped this decade. Nostalgia is fun in small doses, but, given the choice between the safety of a perpetual wallow in a static, unchanging past and supporting crucial work from vets who remain rooted in the reality of right now, I’m gonna go with the latter every single time. –Jimmy Alvarado (Concrete Jungle)