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· 1:Webcomic Wednesdays #131
· 2:A Brief History of Punk in Izhevsk, Russia by Alex Herbert
· 3:#362 with Kurt Morris
· 4:Webcomic Wednesdays #128
· 5:Patrick Houdek Photo Column – Toys That Kill


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Record Reviews

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NORTHLESS / LIGHT BEARER:
: Split LP
Admittedly, my pool of knowledge regarding epic (i.e. really long), bleak (i.e. really slow) metal is questionable at best. I can tell you the packaging for this split is impressive: heavy gatefold LP with apocalyptic art, 180 gram gray marble vinyl, even a black LP sleeve rather than a white one. Northless has two tracks, including the downer of a title “For As Long As You Shall Walk the Earth, Your Blood Shall Reek of Failure.” Both tracks are lengthy, droning, and crushing. Lots of talk of decay, red skies, and living as a shroud in your darkest hour. Light Bearer contribute one track, apparently titled from one of the chapters of the Jewish Scriptures, in which free will first makes its appearance and results in the creation of Lucifer. It’s a long track with an introduction that lasts for some minutes as simply a sound collage, akin to God Speed You Black Emperor, until their own particular brand of doom-heavy metal kicks in. Like I said, I have no idea. The guy who runs this label works really hard and there are tons of people who eat this shit up. Personally, I can’t help but feel the whole thing’s a little too Dungeons & Dragons-heavy for me, like whoever’s Dungeon Master gets to decide which side of the flip they’ll play. Probably not fair, but again, I’m way out of my league when it comes to this stuff. Orcs and serious metal fans take note. –Keith Rosson (Halo Of Flies)


MONEY IN THE BANANA STAND:
Giant Steps II : CD
I really couldn’t get into Money In The Banana Stand and it’s not for lack of trying. You see, Giant Steps II is a sincere effort by an original-sounding band. They have relevant social/political lyrics and I can appreciate what they’re trying to do. They kind of have a late-eighties post-hardcore, indie sound complete with Minutemen nods in their song names. They’re super original and relevant, but for some reason it didn’t gel with me. It’s just not my thing; maybe they will be on their next album. Nonetheless, I recommend giving it a spin because it’s a solid effort and you just might like it. –Craven (Bird Law, mitbs.net)


MIGHTY HIGH:
Legalize Tre Bags!: CD
Usually very leery about punk-oriented bands that rely heavily on humor (and to those knowledgeable of my own musical endeavors, yeah, I’m well aware of the irony), especially when said humor is almost completely focused on getting stoned, but this is one of them bands that somehow actually manages to pull it off. Counteracting all the attention to bein’ loaded on the eleven tracks here are some surprisingly strong tracks mixing punk and stoner rock, and are up to their reddened eyeballs with sly musical and lyrical references to Black Sabbath, ZZ Top, DOA, Slayer, and many others. Ain’t gonna be everyone’s cup o’ tea, but given the landfill-sized, pile o’ releases treading the same water, these guys have enough wit and chops to make it work –Jimmy Alvarado (Ripple Music)


MEDIA CONTROL:
Self-titled: CD-R
One o’ them names that’s apparently rather popular, this Media Control hails from San Diego. In all, the tunes here are neither particularly groundbreaking nor sound like they’re really trying all that hard to stand out from the rest of the pack. That said, vocalist Amy Norfleet does turn in some good work here, and there are definite hints that they probably come across much stronger live. –Jimmy Alvarado (Media Control, reverbnation.com/mediacontrolsd)


MASKED INTRUDER / THE TURKLETONS:
: Split 7”
These two bands from the Midwest pair together well… almost too well, as both bands play a super catchy brand of pop punk which is both slick and done with ardent loyalty to those who have come before them. Masked Intruder, from Madison WI, immediately reminded me of the Fastbacks if they had a dude singer. The four songs on their side are a little more traditional pop influenced than the Turkletons side. Flip the record over and the Turkletons, from Minneapolis, offer up two songs much in the same vein, just a little punker. Where the song structure of the Masked Intruder songs are short songs based around sung choruses and seemingly the least amount of lyrics possible, the Turkletons take the exact opposite approach on their side with more traditional wordy stories of love and pain. For pop punk fans, this record is as solid as they get. –Mark Twistworthy (Rad Girlfriend, radgirlfriendrecords.com)


MAN’S ASSASSINATION, MAN:
The Big One: LP
Sounds like a fifth rate Red Hot Chili Peppers. Funk at the base, some rock sprinkled on top, and a forced attitude that’s a mix of indignant and whacky. If that’s your thing. –Matt Average (Ghostbot, ghostbotrecords.com)


MALE NURSES:
Wanna Play Doctor?: 7”
Fast and chaotic punk rock here! Need I say more? I suppose, since I get paid one shiny American quarter per word, and I do need money. Lots of it. So I will get a little wordy about describing this record to you. Male Nurses have this chaotic and raw side in their sound that hits you first thing. But when you immerse yourself into the song, you discover among all the brash attitude, there’s a strong, tuneful something or other happening here. From the opening of “GI Jock,” with the bass scratching away, and the drums and guitars come crashing in, to the first pause and then it all breaking loose, you’re carried along a wave of sound that throws you around. But during the storm, you can hear the back vocals with some “whoa-oohhh”s and other things and it’s like, “Wait a minute. These miscreants actually have a almost melodic side to them.” Like the sirens calling you to shore, only to have your brains bashed out on the rocks, you could say. The title track has stop-go structure and parts where the song kind of falls apart, only to collect itself and get back into the mess. I like the siren guitar part, akin to early pre-suck (pre-Prison Bound) Social Distortion. Great single. I think we all need to hear more from these guys. I know I do. –Matt Average (Cowabunga, cowabungarecords.com)


MAKE NO GAINS:
Power: Cassette
Dictionary.com defines “gain” as: “verb (used without object) 8.toimprove;make progress;advance: to gain in health after an illness.” This band makes no gains. –Craven ()


LYON ESTATES:
Come Mille Albre Volte: 7”
Hardcore that mixes youth crew with crossover thrash. There are some genuinely rocking moments, the drummer is a fucking beast who starts a few songs off with throat-throttling fills, and it’s all sung in Italian. –CT Terry (goodwillrecords.net)


LUCA BRASI:
Extended Family: CD
I guess naming your wussy rehash emo band after a badass mob enforcer from The Godfather is supposed to be funny? –MP Johnson (lucabrasi.net)


LOS HELLDANDYS / FUCKING BUCKAROOS:
: Split 7”
Check out the band names. Think there’s a chance this might be psychobilly? That is correct, sir! One of my least favorite styles, but I’ve heard worse bands than this. Buckaroos break things up a little by having a banjo out front and Shane MacGowan-type vocals. –Mike Frame (Fort Faxon)


LIFELINE LOST:
Your Turn Is Last: CD
This Finnish band does the melodic, emotional hardcore thing with so much heart and proficiency that I had to listen to this disc twice just to find some reason, some flaw that would explain why this is self-released and not on Fat or some other big punk label that could get it into the hands of more people. I couldn’t find one. –MP Johnson (lifelinelost.favor.org)


KNOCKOUT PILLS, THE:
Self-titled: LP
This righteous debut album from Tucson’s now defunct Knockout Pills is a must have. Every member of this band was at the top of their game for this one. High energy rock’n’roll at its finest. It’s hard to believe Matt recorded this on a 4-track. Solid. –Matthew Hart (Dead Beat)


KNIFE OR DEATH:
Self-titled: Cassette
Jagged, thrashy hardcore. Reliant on the “play fast, tape young” school of song writing, Knife Or Death delivers competent if by-the-numbers material. Not enough substance to warrant a deeper look behind the veil. It feels as dense as a paper cup. As a debut release, this is nothing to shake a stick at, but there’s still a lot of room to grow for this band. Questioning whether I just listened to six songs or one is rarely a positive. –Bryan Static (Self-released)


KITE PARTY:
Baseball Season: LP
I am so not qualified to review this record. I mean I like it, but what is it?! From my limited frame of reference, I guess I’d compare it to early Jade Tree stuff like Cap’n Jazz mixed with stuff I imagine to be popular on college radio these days. This record almost feels cinematic... like these guys are telling stories and taking you on a journey. Definitely not typical the typical Razorcake reader’s fare, but pretty fucking brilliant. I’m gonna put this on my Ipod and jam it the next time I’m driving across the desert. –Chris Mason (Animal Style, animalstylerecords.com)


JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION:
Meat and Bone: CD
I bought all those Jon Spencer Blues Explosion records in the ‘90s, same as everybody else, and, as with most of my vinyl of that era, the albums quickly wound up transferred to cassettes and were listened to exclusively in my car. Once i got a car that lacked a cassette player, Jon Spencer and his honking squall fell completely off my radar, except for when i bought a 1969 Rock-Ola 440 jukebox ((“Psychedelic” model)) and my JSBX “jukebox series” 45s would sound good on it, which they didn’t. As a result, a decade-and-a-half later, the only JSBX song i can name, sing, or hum is “Bell Bottoms,” which isn’t a terrible batting average, all things considered, but tends to suggest that i appreciate his records more than i actually adore them. Well-played, well-produced, hard-hitting alterna-rootsy-whatever-rock with accents on the 2 and 4 instead of the usual Caucasian stomping grounds of the 1 and 3 sounds pretty good over the P.A. between bands or at a party at someone else’s house; however, i can’t honestly say that this record is gonna have me shaking my flank steak around the living room as i attempt to grow dashing razor stubble on a daily basis. Then again, if you liked “Bell Bottoms,” there’s no real reason you won’t like “Boot Cut,” so obviously Nature has a plan for all of us. BEST SONG: “Danger” BEST SONG TITLE: “Boot Cut,” given the band’s previous jeanly output. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: If you peer into the interior of the pocket which houses the CD, you can tell that it’s been printed with a closeup photo of icky meat. –Rev. Norb (Boombox/Mom + Pop)


JOEY MOLINARO / VALERIE KUEHNE:
: Split 7”
New Yorker’s Molinaro and Kuehne string up two new nail-biting tracks a piece. First up, Molinaro teeters at the apex of anxiety as he screeches his way through a Hitchcockian soundscape entitled, “Pranayama of Kali.” On the second track, Joey’s neurotic violin is laid over by foot stamps. His muted vocals haunt, like a preternatural voice from beyond the pale. Kuehne, a member of the Cello Madness Congress, opts for a slower cadence in “West Virginia” and flails into spoken word theatrics and finger plucking, while “Long, Long Sleep” cuts like a glassy-eyed lullaby sung by Virginia Woolf as the weight of the stones pull her under. Not for the faint of heart. –Kristen K (Inverted Music Company, joeymolinaro.com)


JEAN CLAUDE JAM BAND:
Discography: Cassette
Listening to this wonderful group of songs I have found myself at a loss as to why this has not been reviewed here sooner. The tape was released in September, 2011 and I have been letting it sink into my brain since sometime in March. Jean Claude Jam Band is a band from Massachusetts that seems to have been recording (or at least playing) off and on, in one form or another, since 2006. They have earlier split releases with the likes of Get Bent (Kiss Of Death) and Serious Geniuses (Clubhouse/Kiss Of Death) which are small but awesome samples of their work. Discography seems to be just that, a collection of their songs to this point, most of which (and I could be mistaken) are apparently recorded (or at least officially released) here for the first time. The album leaves me with an impression (bear with me now) of what might arise if someone broke Tom Petty’s heart and sent him to DIY pop punk boot camp ran by Creedence Clearwater Revival (whew). I love the country twang of the guitars and find it a perfect match to the nostalgic lyrics sang in a fitting, slightly raspy voice that somehow throws me back to summer loves (current or lost) and has me almost smelling the cotton candy beer breath of a county fair as I sing along. Nine tracks without a miss, probably one of the best four dollar investments one could make this year. The album is also available through digital download through bandcamp.com. Now if we could only get them to play us a show here on the West Coast! –Andrew Wagher –Guest Contributor (Dead Broke, deadbrokerec@gmail.com, deadbrokerecords.com)


JACK SCRATCH:
2012: CD
I gave this CD a thorough test. I didn’t just stare at my stereo as it played. I moved recently, so I unpacked some boxes while I listened to it, hung some pictures. Good music doesn’t fade to the background when pushed. It cuts through the hammering of nails and dropping of dishes and does its thing no matter how hard you try to give your attention to mundane bullshit. It waves at you like a hyperactive child, and you find yourself kicking empty boxes across your living room and hammering your palm to the beat. Jack Scratch’s gloomy bar rock passed the test. –MP Johnson (jackscratchchicago.com)


GUNTOWN:
Chaos: 7”
I really don’t know what to make of this record. Off-kilter melodic stuff that is familiar yet incredibly hard to place. Oddly enough, one of my favorite songs isn’t even on the record, but is a “bonus track” on the download card that came with it. That one (“Animals”) and “Fuck It Days” from the record are treading into Arrivals territory and I like that a lot. There is enough interesting stuff here to keep an eye out for more. –Ty Stranglehold (whoaboatrecords.com)


GRENOUER:
The Odour O’ Folly / Gravehead: CD
Wow! A double reissue of uninspired albums by a generic Russian death metal band. Just what Razorcake readers have been waiting for! –MP Johnson (grenouer.com)


GOLDEN PELICANS:
“Hard Head” b/w “Jump in a Lake”: 7”
I’m going to assume Golden Pelicans are from Florida because they have a picture of a Tampa Bay Rays player on their insert. What I do know for sure is that these two ditties rock pretty fucking hard in an early Carbonas sort of way. “Jump in a Lake,” in particular, is probably just as infectious as anything the Georgia madmen ever did. Two-song seven inchers don’t get much better than this, folks. –Juan Espinosa (Total Punk)


GLADIATORS EAT FIRE:
Psychedelic Hogwash: CD
When I first received this CD, it was packaged in a 7” sleeve. I thought to myself, “Argh! I can’t play this. I don’t have a record player!” But upon further inspection, the CD was tucked inside the booklet. For some reason, in lieu of releasing this album as a LP, the Seattle-based Gladiators Eat Fire decided to release a CD with a 7”-sized color booklet filled with pictures of random scenery and the band playing live. While I can’t entirely understand the point of doing that, it looks nice. The four songs that are actually on the CD are noisy hardcore reminiscent of another Seattle band, Botch. Unfortunately, it’s not nearly as good. The music seems creative and intriguing, but the vocals seem all over the place: sometimes they’re akin to early 2000s hardcore that just come off sounding strained and other times are shouted in a monotone. Botch’s vocals were always intense and pissed off—Gladiators Eat Fire’s vocals sound rehearsed and lack passion. While it’s clear the band isn’t skimping on the amount of music (four songs in twenty-nine minutes), the intriguing sound of the music was overshadowed by inconsistent vocals that I had hoped had gone out of style many years ago. –Kurt Morris (gladiatorseatfire.com)


GASHERS, THE:
Law & Order: CD
Dime a dozen “street punk” doing its damnedest to squarely fit the stereotype. Knew this was gonna be a painful affair from the opening lines, “I don’t wanna be no business man / I just wanna play in a punk rock band,” and it doesn’t much improve after that. –Jimmy Alvarado (SquidHat)


GANG BUSTER / SENZA TREGUA:
: Split CD
Gang Buster: There’s no pic of ‘em, but judging from the songs about killing rich people, fighting, shit-licking politicians, and a cover of Agnostic Front’s cover of Iron Cross’s “Crucified for Your Sins,” my guess is they be baldies. Music’s rudimentary and the lyrics are of the variety of English where it’s clear they would’ve been better off sticking to their native language to get their point across. Senza Tregua: Italian skinhead stuff, better overall in writing and delivery than their discmates, but the repeated “oi oi oi” chants are silly considering how non-Cockney they be. Oh, and for the record, the grumbly, snarly vocal style is soooo passé. How about trying to emulate someone else for a change, like, Tiny Tim? Emo Phillips? –Jimmy Alvarado (Prohibited Projects)


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