<%@ Language=VBScript %> <%response.buffer = TRUE%> R ... is for Rock!
Politik Culturati Song Artful Imprint Sport Interact

R ... is for Rock!

Review Archive:
Various Artists

Raccoons Self-Titled
"Eh, you hear that 'ma?"
"What, boy?"
"Them critters is out in the garbage, rooting around the chicken bones.
I can't stand it no more, Ma! Every night they're out there tearing up the place and I gotta clean it up." I'm a gonna kill 'em."
"Don't do it boy. Leave 'em be. It's nature."
"It's nature to kill weakly animals, Ma. It's nature for me to hunt, and tonight I'm gonna hunt for raccoon hide. I'm gonna get you a coat, Ma, a beautiful new fur coat, just you wait and see."
"You spoil me boy, you spoil me." Crouton Records RG

RAGE: 20 Years of Punk Rock West Coast Style DVD
This was a fun documentary. Jello Biafra, Jack Grisham, Keith Morris, and a few other minor players from major bands in LA and SF talk about the history of west coast American punk rock. Yes, this has been done before (and probably better, too). It was still fun to see some Dead Kennedy's live footage accompanied by Biafra talking (again) about how he became a target for Tipper Gore. I thought it was sad that so many great LA and SF bands were completely omitted. There was no mention of Black Flag, Fear, Minutemen, Avengers, or Descendents at all, and only passing references to the Nuns, X, Crime and the Dickies. This was a criminal act. Sometimes this shit never gets old, even with big holes missing. This DVD comes highly recommended for anyone who thought The Decline of Western Civilization was as good as Citizen Kane. Music Video Distributors MM

Rah Bras Ruy Blas!
A wounded animal needs to be put out of its misery. The suffering must end, it's the humane thing to do. When an animal needs to be put down, no one wants to be the one to pull the trigger, but when the ghastly sounds of the beast in pain are all that can be heard, it doesn't take long for someone to grab the gun. Boom! It's over. Rah Bras are a sick, dying animal of keyboards and best forgotten new wave; a limping, festering beast with hind quarters shattered to dust and thick runnels of snot and blood coming from its ears, nose and mouth. Their time is over. Featuring ex-members of Men's Recovery Project. Lovitt Records JS

Rally Boy Hooks & Crutches
College rock in the Yo La Tengo, Superchunk, Archers of Loaf, Pavement vein. The mighty Sebadoh also rears their heads, especially in the schizophrenic pairing of "Low E," a straight-out ballad, and "Slang Tips," a Jason Lowenstein bit of unbridled rage, and noisy as hell. Six songs from a band who are quasi-listenable, yet utterly boring, because of too much reliance on the styles of their obvious influences. Jealous Butcher JS

Rainer Maria Ears Ring EP
I don't remember Rainer Maria being this upbeat and catchy. Then again, I always thought their name was Rainer MARINA, so that shows you how much I know about this band. This three-songer collects one track from their latest full-length, Long Knives Drawn, and two unreleased songs. Vocalist Caithlin De Marrais' sweet voice carries the band, but the peppy guitars and bouncy rhythm section only help matters along. I would love to hear the full album after perusing this. Polyvinyl Records JS

Rational Solution Self-Titled 7"
Rational Solution plays your standard crust, mid-paced, sloppy punk with "cookie monster" vocals and political lyrics that don't amount to much more than mindless political sloganeering. It's not that this is unlistenable -- they actually remind me of a slower, sloppier Civil Disobedience -- it's just that I feel like I've heard and seen this stuff a million times before. The lyrics are just plain cliche, giving you nuggets of wisdom like, "Fight racism, not each other/ Erase the hate and not your brother" and "There's no end for violence/ There's no end for war/ There's just one question/ Who'll stop the violence." The band also packs the record with a bunch of fliers they've lifted from PETA and other groups and a silly, badly written rant on flag burning. The cover is the usual photocopied deal depicting a rather poorly drawn picture of Ronald McDonald crucified, and the circle A's and E's and peace symbols are slapped on wherever a place can be found. With other interesting, thoughtful, sincere politically oriented acts that refrain from mindlessly regurgitating ideology gleaned from some other band's lyric sheet, is this record really even necessary? Microcosm Records BD

Ratos de Parao Onisciente Coletive
Those who paid attention to the late-'80s Brazilian thrash metal scene when Sepultura were first taking the world by storm might remember Ratos de Porao. Yep, after more than 20 years, Ratos are still swinging, and still cranking out 1000 mph thrash grind punk. As Sepultura went the path of mainstream metal, the other notable Sao Paulo thrash group stayed underground and seeping with angry, political grind. Onisciente Coletive is probably Ratos' most venomous record to date, lambasting the Brazilian government for its treatment of the Brazilian poor and taking potshots at the US for their constant world bullying. Complete with pissed-off translations to their lyrics (which are sung entirely in Brazilian), smart explanations for all their songs, and a heartbreaking photo of Brazilian aboriginals scarfing McDonald's food, this album makes you think as much as it makes you want to bang your head against the nearest brick wall. Some of the best thrash in recent years, making the latest Sepultura output look more than a little stinky. Alternative Tentacles Records JS 4.15.2003

The Raveonettes Whip It On
These people are hardcore-arty Danish poseurs and you are really not going to want to admit to liking this record. The b-movie kitsch of the cover image, the ghoulish evocations (the record boasts song titles like "Attack of the Ghost Riders" and "Bowels of the Beast") the morbid fuzz guitar drenched in echo, and the kind of living-dead monotony of the dual-vocal delivery all add up to some heavy handed quasi-horrific schlock. With all of that as a caveat, this record eventually, uh, creeps up on you. Winking postmodern irony wasn't as popularly understood when the Misfits were around -- and The Raveonettes may have hit it a little late in the game -- but the theatricality of this record is kind of charming. And this is not only in a so-bad-it's-good sort of way. Considered as a noir-ish concept album, or an alternate soundtrack to Night of the Living Dead, this music is a lot of fun, and a few of the songs are actually pretty rocking and not that far off from early Jesus and Mary Chain. The Raveonettes are from Denmark, after all, and there may be some sort of cultural gap at play here, which might explain sincerely-delivered lines like, "Going fast (that's the way we go)". Crunchy Frog Recordings CO 4.15.2003

Reaching Forward Complete Discography 1998-2000
As is the case with every hardcore discography CD know to humankind, Reaching Forward's 1998-2000 memento is way, way too long. With 32 tracks of venom-spewing hardcore a la early Agnostic Front or Negative Approach, this is bound to become a chore about half way through. Listening in increments of a few songs (hey, pretend it's a bunch of seven inches) is about the only solution to the overload of samey, '80s-inspired hardcore from Europe. Surprisingly, a wide range of sounds is represented over the two years of this band's output, and we're not only talking about a full spectrum of sound quality here. Some of RF's earlier material is more of a Manliftingbanner-style scream-core. They even cover MLB's "Donkey Shot," as well as versions of Side by Side and Sham 69 tracks. If you like hardcore loud, fast and just a little macho, look no further than Reaching Forward. Martyr Records JS 4.2003

Stephanie Rearick The Long Picnic
Imagine someone playing the soundtrack to her dreams for you. A woman sits down to her piano and painting an intimate picture for you. She guides you by the hand through a series of situations and pictures and bizarre stories, and you've got Stephanie Rearick's solo CD. Rearick's unusual piano harmonies and melodies set this trippy mood, but mainly she uses her voice as the most powerful instrument of imagery in The Long Picnic. Her unusual piano compositions sound like a despondent twist of classical and experimental melodies. The music progresses through stages in each song and throughout the CD, but it is hard to tell where she will turn next. Rearick has mastered the soulful piano instrumentals in the first track, "Folk Tune," and last track, "Cosmic." These songs are slow and sweet and transition well in and out of this dream world. Rearick moves fluidly between her instrumental songs and her lyrics. Her playful lyrics match the unusual piano melodies and harmonies. Moving from the sarcastic to the romantic in, Rearick proves that she has dreamed about, or at least thought about most scenarios, and she expresses herself through her piano. Rearick presents so many images and moods in her songs, the only consistency is that they are all unusual. Uvulittle Records JR

ReJx 300 Orchard Place
Some take pride in being a dork. That's cool. Be what you are, be proud and sing real loud! Better yet, start a band so you can crank your idiocisms up to 11 and get the crowd moving to your maniacal energy of stupidity. ReJx sing mainly about the title of the album --some punk-rock flophouse casbah located at 300 Orchard Place, somewhere in Pittsburgh, Pa. Apparently you can pee on the floor if you really have to go and the kitchen reeks of rotting food. Ah, paradise! Otherwise, it is a lost cause rebel's crash pad and beer swill hideout/hangout. Other tunes deal with their childhood, which is long since past so lets act like drunken fools and mess things up. Yeah. The music is standard dirt punk. Sometimes irresponsible guys with amplifiers get lucky. Uprising Publications MM

Red Level Eleven Fort Seduction
Intense climactic rock. Twangy at times, rhythmic at others. Building, driving music with incredible female vocals reminiscent of Chinchilla. The lyrics are well written and emotional. The music is distant and familiar. They use guitars for intros then break starting back up again with an eruption of sound. Think talented indie rock with strong female vocals. The nostalgic "Freshman Year" is my favorite track. Cool name, cooler packaging. CR

Red Shirt Brigade Home of the Cannon Saints
The Red Shirt Brigade makes me tap my feet through their peppy-pop-power-pieces. Listen to the 13 tracks off Home of the Cannon Saints while skipping through the mall to buy your new frock from a favorite franchise. What comes to mind when you hear the song title, "Thugs with Venom?" Well, they don't play it like that, no not that way either. Keeping with the unwritten rules of indie-rock, their songs are somewhat introspective, a pinch catchy, and just enough different from anything else you have heard to earn them a place with everything else you are listening to in your indie-rock collection these days. These guys have a certain way of making sense of somewhat nonsense lyrics. Where else would you find "complete ... always since the day we try" sung in chorus with guitars and a synthesizer? It is hard to categorize this band, or group them with some others, because their style changes a little from song to song. They are keeping you on your toes. RSB definitely have been listening to some Radiohead and Elvis Costello, and let me tell you, these off sides influences have come together quite nicely. The CD picks up in the first few seconds, and won't let you down. Quite catchy RSB, really quite catchy. Team AV/SSM JR

Remembering Never She Looks So Good in Red
This boring metalcore release is significant only for its lyrical content. She Looks So Good in Red is basically a concept album about killing women who have ended relationships with the boneheads in the band. Geez guys, keep writing songs about stabbing or choking your ex-girlfriends in their sleep and I'm sure it will only be a matter of time before you all find your soul-mates. Fuck this band and fuck Ferret for releasing this shit smorgasbord. Boycott violence against women-core. Ferret Records JS

Remembering Never Suffocates My Words to You
I think I can save you some valuable time and $10 to $15. Remembering Never is not very good. They try to mix overrun, generic hardcore with occasional indie/emo moments of sincerity and serene harmony, and none of it works. I see no interesting contributions from the band, and everything seems like crappy déjà vu. It makes me sad to be completely honest. Maybe ten years ago, I might have given these kids a nod that at least they were doing something new, but Suffocates My Words to You is just re-done hardcore meets half-assed emo. It just shouldn't be done. One Day Savior records has put out some good releases, but Remembering Never is a group that, hopefully, I will remember never. One Day Savior CS

Retisonic Lean Beat
Ex-Bluetip singer/guitarist Jason Farrell and ex-Garden Variety drummer Joe Gorelick have teamed up on Retisonic, a surprisingly full sounding two-piece quite similar to their previous projects. Bluetip were always a little too textured for the basic emo-rock they played, so it's nice to hear Farrell trying to keep things simple on these six songs. The result is often an almost new-wavey rock, thanks to clean vocals and some additional prodding bass lines by Farrell and another Bluetip alumni, Dave Stern. The true treasure is hearing Gorelick's eight-armed drum fills and never ending snare rolls again; this guy has only improved since his days of smashing and bashing Garden Variety's songs over the edge. The only complaint is Retisonic has that same expiration date quality Bluetip had; these aren't really songs that will stand the test of time. For the moment, however, they will have you bouncing off the nearest walls. Silverthree JS 7.2003

The Reunion Show Kill Your Television
OK, how boring is that album title? Like I remember when those stickers were on every first year grad student's car as they drove around listening to old REM and talking Proust with their girlfriend who wore glasses much too thick. But now The Reunion Show arrives and brings that shit back. Far out man. I mean, the sound they produce, musically, is straight ahead power pop with some Commodore 64 keyboard sounds tossed in for decent measure, rounding it all off for a surly yet enjoyable evening of recorded music listening. I mean, these guys have a song called "On A Scale From One To Awesome (You're Pretty Great)". Is this like a slap in the face to corporate America or do they just not get it? Or both? See, the uncarved block is the source for true beauty and if these cats are such then all power to them. If not: Dude, what is up with all of this? At first I thought they were from Sweden because most of their songs are dopily titled, but then I found out they are from New York and took pity. But I didn't hate them. Honest! Victory Records MW 4.15.2003

Scott Richter
Coffee house acoustic. Vocals are flat (like Courtney Love flat) but interesting enough. Good to be sad to and share the secrets of your life with your best friend over a cup of joe. I Can't Believe it's a Record Company MH/AH

The Rise Signal to Noise
We all know what The Refused did to hardcore; some say it was the best thing that could ever happen, others believe it was the death of real hardcore and the beginning of the Casio takeover. One thing is certain: The Rise, and many other hardcore bands incorporating electronics into their sound, owe their very existence to the Swedish moppets, for better or for worse. The Rise combine electronic dance beats with screamy, stop/start hardcore. When it works, they sound semi-revolutionary, when it doesn't, they come off as contrived and silly, such as "An Automated Response If You Will" which uses a painful CD skipping effect over and over and over. At 41 minutes in length, Signal to Noise begins to spiral around itself, repeating ideas that were interesting in earlier parts of the album ad nauseam. When "The Fallacy of Retrospective Determinism" hits the ground running, however, it's easy to get a bit swept up in the stylish glory of it all. Don't worry, the feeling will pass soon enough. Ferret Records JS

River City Rebels No Good No Time No Pride
River City Rebels are punk and there is no denying that. You can label so many bands with that, um ... label, but it takes an outfit like this to make us all scratch our well-gelled head and retort "oh yeah ... punk. I forgot what the stuff was." Rancid never had it so good man. RCR stick to their tight pants'd guns and ram it down good and smooth like a frosty pint in your favorite pub, right before the riot, right after you clocked out. Full-blown UK style poonk done to safety-pinned perfection and there is not much else to say except thank you boys. In a time when aging punkers like me are getting sick of the whole Blink 182 take on "punk", it's so refreshing to see a new lot of angry youths come around and bash it up proper. No Good No Time No Pride is a great follow up to their brilliant Playin' To Live Livin' To Play, the boys do us proud with a fine mix of true grit, ska influence, and blood-stained boots up the arse of your bloody system. Oi! What fun. Get in the pit and fight your way out mate. It's so worth it. I mean anything worth fighting for is just that ... Cheers! Victory Records MW 4.15.2003

River City Rebels Racism, Religion, and War…
Very competent ska/punk from a seven piece band who average just over 18 years of age. The lyrics on these 14 songs tread the line of cliché punk rock, as "Fuck You" repeats the cuss words in its chorus ad nauseam, but the River City Rebels seem genuine and from the heart. The lead track (also a video if you are lucky enough to see it), "Hate," has an effective anti-racist message -- not without bitter irony from the only record label dumb enough to put out a record by One Life Crew. Victory is doing their best to make up for past stupidity, but it remains to be seen if they will repeat the same bone-headed mistakes. So, the boycott is still on, and I'd only recommend taping this off a friend or scooping it online. Victory Records JS

River City Rebels Playing to Live ... Living to Play
Count them: Seven guys, all bent and ready and full of fuel to shake the foundation loose and truly slam it back in your face with the audacity and vigor of a true punk rock outfit, set in modern terms and teetering close to the brink of major success. This is what the scene needs more of. Fine craftsmanship, sing along anthems and the old school punch of annihilation and rejection of most social norms, just for the sake of being young and knowing darn well that conformity is for squares man. Like, can you dig it? What ... no, the River City Rebels are far from beat, but they do have a penchant for dictating gut wrenching poetics in the guise of ska influenced punk and gathering the tribes together for one last maniacal fist waving before the end of the world. In the late-'70s, punk really was something, meant something, and these boys from rural Vermont know how to pick the bones clean of S. Vicious and a still pumping Iggy Pop into a virile force of dance-worthy aggression and all around preaching about living life to the fullest. It's easy to get hooked on these guys. It's even easier to shut me up and get on with it! Victory Records MW

Resent Title Self-Titled 7"
At first, I was a little bit worried when I saw that this 7" was put out by the same label who did the atrocious Insurrection 7". While not really spectacular, this 7" is MUCH better than the Insurrection 7". Resent is a pretty standard mid-paced crusty political hardcore band that is reminiscent of Aus-Rotten on their first LP. The lyrics are about what you'd expect, but they do seem to flow along well with the music. The sleeve is the standard cut 'n paste job with a picture of a blindfolded/gagged guy that I've seen on about 100 other records. This band doesn't really standout from the crowd much, but I know there are people who can't get enough of this style and will probably eat this up. Autonomy-Resistance-Equality Records BD

Anthony Rochester Music for Listening and Relaxation
I think I saw this guy playing at a Holiday Inn in suburban Indiana. Not really. This is total lounge music reminiscent of Sebastian and Belle with a huge dost of lame '70s TV theme trappings and electronic bits thrown on top ala Stereolab. This is the CD that they play at that one record store in town where they have absolutely no "rocking" records. Non-essential. Dogprint MM

Rocket from the Crypt Group Sounds
Hear that? It's a collective sigh of relief from all Rocket from the Crypt fans. After the humiliating defeat of their self-titled record and subsequent drop from a major label, the boys in blazers are back with a blazer of their own; the infectious Group Sounds. While their previous album (the aforementioned self-titled travesty) had only one decent song in an attempt to win over No Doubt fans with its ... actually, let's not talk about it. Group Sounds is chock full of total rockers. Out of the 13 songs on this album, at least ten are better than anything Rocket has done since their glory days of Circa: Now. An infusion of speed and chaos feeds songs like "Carne Voodoo," "White Belt," and "Savoir Faire," leaving the party stomp of "Return of the Liar" to flatten anyone left on their feet. As with most Rocket albums, we do get a couple of rusty melons, the disjointed five minute-plus album closer, "Ghost Shark," being the best example here. The band must be drinking lots of wheat grass, though, because even their often annoying change-up songs are done with style, as tidy little slow rides like "SOS" and "Dead Seeds" equal any of Superchunk's best ballads. Wow! That's enough time wasted writing about Group Sounds, it's time for another listen. Vagrant Records JS

The Rocking Horse Winner Horizon
This band should be called Rocking Horse Loser or Weiner or better yet Whiner. A must for fans of such shitty bands as Dashboard Confessional (a member of Dashboard is the "guest vocalist") somehow guest vocalist transforms into singing all the tracks (or at least the two I listened to before falling asleep) and she also writes the words but isn't in the band? Hmm. Speaking of the words they are so generic and run of the mill they make Chris Conley's 100s of almost the same song songs look original. Poppy, boring, uninspiring emo pop. What the hell is Equal Vision thinking? Is the whole world on drugs? Equal Vision Records CR

The Roswells Self-Titled 7"
This 7" has the Roswells playing four tracks of punk on the poppy end of the spectrum. The songs are pretty well written with enough speed, hooks, and changes to pull the band above the army of pop-punk bands that are around today and keep them interesting. The guitars have a welcome edginess to them which seems to be absent from a lot of melodic punk bands today. The sleeve is actually pretty humorous in a juvenile way, as opposed to the multitude of lame bands that try to be funny only to fall flat on their face. What self-respecting punk can't be down with a song called "Crass Not Christ" about "MxPx and how religion + punks = dumb?" Microcosm Records BD

Rupture Cunt of God
I thought the band would be better titled Rapture instead to stick with the God theme. I mean when the Rapture comes won't everyone be speaking in tongues -- this vocalist is already ahead of the game and in fastforward nonetheless. Short songs, there are 22 tracks. Bad recording. An Anal Cunt wanna-be. With track one titled "Toilet Paper Bible," you must be sure to recognize the silliness. Rhetoric Records MH/AH

The Rutabega/Owen Split EP
Booooring. Rutabega and Owen serve up interchangeable indie rock/acoustic meanderings. One minute into the CD, Rutabega (also known as Josh Hensley) gives us this ditty: "I remember when great grandma died/ you tried to make me touch her face," and it's over for anyone with even the highest tolerance for cheese. Owen is Mike Kensella and his songs are slightly better, if not only for the absence of any lyrics about his great grandma kicking the bucket, but still dry, slow, and dull. Sorry, but I expect something a bit more dynamic from a guy who used to be in Cap'n Jazz. Backroad Records JS

RX Bandits Progress
Progress is a big word. In light of all that is happening in the global scheme of music, and the rest of us, there is always one more band to come across and let us all know that, sure, they can play and, gee, isn't it great to be in a cool band that most folks enjoy? But progress takes a big toll on history and traditions, and what the RX Bandits are trying to accomplish here is most likely on their own terms, in their own universe, and, sure, they are getting bigger and better within that vast confine. What these dudes from Orange County revolve around is the mild punk/ska that spawned so many others to fall in the wake of No Doubt and Rancid ... perhaps even 311 or Sublime. The music is good and tight and totally unoffensive or even, dare I say it gentle reader, progressive? No, I am not that harsh. I will not put down a fine inclusion to the rest of the scene. Even though my toes were a tappin' and each tune did its job with success, there was just that groinal pull that needs to be included to send a good bunch of well meaning cats into the further depths of outer space, never to return, only to be admired from afar. I liked it, but they need to progress just a bit more. Sorry. I drink too much. Drive Thru Records MW

FM radio station
FM radio station
Also in Song ...
Song Archive

JS - Jason Schreurs

MW - Mark Whittaker

KG - Kenny George

ZH - Zachary Houle

MH - Melissa Hostetler

RG - Ryan Gowland

CS - Cameron Smith

CR - Chuck Reith

CO - Cory O'Malley

BD - Bruce Duncanson

JR - Jessica Richman

GW - Greg Wilson

DG - Daniel Garret

JT - Jessie Turner

About Us Feedback Contribute Advertise How to use FM Mailing List
Current Events
Wave Makers
Road to Kitsch
Movies l Television
Culture Columns
Song Interviews
Song Reviews
Audio l Video
Song News
Song Columns
Artful Columns
Imprint Columns
Sport Interviews
Sport Articles
Sport Columns
Interact Letters
Interact Poll
Site Reviews