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· 1:Featured Record Reviews From Issue #81
· 2:#327 with Kurt Morris
· 3:Punk Parenthood for the Sleep Deprived
· 4:#328 with Bianca Barragan and Simon Sotelo
· 5:Creepy Emphera #1: Cadaver Synod


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Razorcake #81
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Nights and Days in a Dark Carnival by Craven Rock
Chantey Hook, Underground 7" *Limited Color Vinyl


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Record Reviews

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ENABLER:
War Begins with You: Cassette
This starts off like a race, with all members of the band fighting to get to the finish line first. They throw elbows and scream along the way, and the result is some absolutely manic, fast-paced hardcore. Then they come together for the last track, “Symbiosis,” and really show everyone what they can do: Destroy (with guitar solos). –MP Johnson (Sacred Plague)


EARTHMEN AND STRANGERS / FAR CORNERS:
Split: 7”
Earthmen And Strangers: It’s been a long time since I’ve thought about the Talking Heads as, well, as a punk-punk band. Oh, I understand their history. I get that, but I haven’t seen any of their direct influence on punk bands recently. I can’t remember the last time I dropped by a friend’s house and they plopped on the Talking Heads. But it’s in Ryan Rousseau’s capable hands that I have to do some double-thinking. The first half of “Slaves” has that tense, slightly off-kilter, atmospheric-as-an-empty-highways, almost bordering on a warble feel of early Talking Heads. Then the song hits the high gears and blows the doors off so hard, you’re digging gravel out of your ears at the end. This song could’ve easily been on the Repo Man soundtrack. Far Corners: Bordering on no-fi, this could be totally shitty, but if you’ve ever had a soft spot for Supercharger or the Oblivians and you can spot the hidden melodies in a recording that sounds like it was done in someone’s kitchen when their mom is making grilled cheese sandwiches, I know you’ll find their charms-in-the-rough as appealing as I did. –Todd Taylor (Dirt Cult, dirtcultrecords.com / GC, gcrecords.com)


DOUBLE NEGATIVE:
Daydreamnation: LP
A little put off by the Sonic Youth-copped album title and the Double Platinum-reminiscent cover? Remember this: WHOP. That’s the sound you will hear the instant before what’s coming out of the speakers smacks you square in the face and makes its way ‘round to doing permanent damage to your ear canals. One battering tune after the next, strip mining and milking every ounce they possibly can squeeze from all that was glorious about Poison Idea’s early years, including the sheer timelessness aspect of it all. Truly good tuneage doesn’t stagnate with age and there is no shortage of flat-out jaw dropping moments here. Still on the fence about this one? Trust me: WHOP. –Jimmy Alvarado (sorrystaterecords.com)


DOGHOUSE SWINE:
Faster Side of Normal: CD
You know sometimes when a CD is so bad that it’s good again? Well, unfortunately, this disc isn’t one of those. There aren’t really any redeeming qualities to this release. The cover and liner text are all so blurry they gave me a headache to look at them. The CD, though, has ten songs of plodding bar rock fodder with titles like “Bitch,” “Show Me How You Dance” and “Go to Hell.” To be fair, these guys look and sound like a bar band that might be playing in your local watering hole and they probably get the crowd tipping the bartender pretty good. That doesn’t much make for an interesting CD, though. –Garrett Barnwell (Banned, no address)


DOG COMPANY:
A Bullet for Every Lie: 12”
This band is too light for my taste in the genre these guys are going for. That genre, I can only assume is street punk, though I can’t picture these guys backing up what they sing. The vocals pack no punch, with a band that is the definition of generic—bad generic, the kind that doesn’t even hint at a different approach. If that wasn’t bad enough, the lyrics are moronic. These guys sing about being part of a secret society that can kill you at any time, about having artillery, and asking skinhead girls what their name is. Only six songs on a 12”, none of which are good, on patriotically-colored vinyl. –Rene Navarro (Contra)


DIRECT CONTROL:
Bucktown Hardcore: LP
I remember getting this demo a few years back when Municipal Waste and Caustic Christ played a show with Born Dead Icons at the Che Café. Thought it was one of the better demos around. Then, it seems less than a year later, they were one of the bigger bands making the rounds and putting out vinyl. On one twelve inch smashed circle of vinyl you get the Bucktown Hardcore demo, the demo from 2002, and the Public Safety session from 2006. If you missed out, and like early ‘80s style hardcore, then now’s the time to pick this up. Songs like “What’s the Point” and “War All the Time” are ragers, and the stuff that came later is just as good. It’s interesting to hear the raw recordings from 2002 as well. They sound more intense during that period. Glad to finally hear it. –Matt Average (Tankcrimes)


DEVLIN’S KIDS:
Self-titled: CD
Dear Devlin’s Kids: If you think that writing a song called “Retro Zombie Jesus” is all it takes to win me over, you’re wrong. Now, if you had written a catchy song called “Retro Zombie Jesus,” one that was a little more memorable, that probably would have done the trick. –MP Johnson (myspace.com/devlinskids)


DEVIL’S BRIGADE:
Self-titled: CD
Matt Freeman’s hallmark, cleanly-picked bass lines and gruff voice are the cornerstone of this raucous collection of early demo songs, plus a half dozen songs in homage to the building of the Golden GateBridge. References to ironworkers, labor unions, the Dust Bowl, and more resonate with today’s issues. Punk, punkabilly, folk, spaghetti western and ska influences round out this crisply produced album. Stand out tracks: “Shakedown,” “Gentleman of the Road,” “Protest Song,” “Half Way to Hell.” –Jessica Thiringer (Hellcat)


DÉTENTE:
Decline: CD
Los Angeles speed/thrash metal with a decidedly hardcore punk feel. Détente encourages people to speak up about social injustice and poor politics—and speak out this band does. Well-executed, crunching thrash and a female vocalist whose strong, hardcore-styled vocals pierce the gravity and shine like a beacon. Well produced by Bill Metoyer. –Jessica Thiringer (Cognitive, myspace.com/cognitiverecords)


DESTRUCTORS, THE:
Helloween: CD
Another Razorcake issue, another release from this long-in-the-tooth U.K. punk band who seem to be trying to give Billy Childish a run for his money in the “let’s see how many releases we can crank out” department. As the title implies, the tunes showcased here tap the horror vein and keep things mid-tempo and catchy, with a few covers of standards penned by Ramones, Misfits, and Dead Kennedys alike. While their song output remains remarkably consistent, one can’t help but be thankful that some other punter will have to eventually put together a discography for ‘em –Jimmy Alvarado (destructors666.com)


DEREK LYNN PLASTIC:
The Smell of My Room Volume Three – Wicked Bad: CD
I have to say I don’t think I’ve ever been so confused by a CD sleeve. There is a dude standing in front of an Arby’s sign on the front cover and a photo of beer bottles, a bong, and a pile of weed on the back cover. Doing my homework, I found out that Derek Lyn Plastic was the culprit behind the disc. Turns out, nothing could prepare me for what lay inside: thirty tracks of garage-tinged, punkish pop plus another twenty-nine tracks of demo versions of the same tracks in the same order. Even though it’s a fun listen, one version is certainly enough. “30 years,” “You Need Money to Love Me,” and “Worlds Are Burning” were probably the disc’s most compelling tracks for me. –Garrett Barnwell (NMG, no address)


DEREK LYN PLASTIC:
The Insides and Outsides of Plastic Surgery: CD
Holy cow, this CD has twenty-four songs. They could have left a few off that wouldn’t have been missed. Filler songs are not fun for us listeners. There is some good stuff in there, though. It’s total pop punk with snotty undertones. Multiple songs include keyboard technology. A good band for fans of Creepy Creeps. I imagine the indirect influences were bands like Quincy Punx and… gross. Is this song about a chick with a UTI? Ugh. –Corinne (NMG, nfluential.com)


DEMON’S CLAWS:
The Defrosting of: LP
I honestly cannot fathom why Demon’s Claws are not recognized as one of the greatest rock’n’roll groups around right now. I mean, of course this can be attributed to the fact that their label In The Red can’t buy them that distinction through music videos and other vacuous media exposure, but word of mouth should have these guys somewhere around Miami-era Gun Club. Evil. Debauched. Fucked up. Great songs. A few years back, these Canadians released Satan’s Little Pet Pig and it was head and shoulders above their previous efforts. The Defrosting of continues that artistic ascent. Jeff Clarke is a great songwriter. His arrangements are strong and his lyrics are compelling. His vocals are at times indecipherable—and the album lacks a lyric sheet—but it’s easy to visualize the scenes of degradation he describes…going to a free clinic in the south side of town…being fucking up on ketamine. It’s a bad place to be and it convincingly sounds like Demon’s Claws are providing reportage of their daily lives…. I can’t shake the feeling that this record at times feels like the 13th Floor Elevators’ brilliant last one, largely the work of Stacy Sutherland on his last leg. There is that kind of hopelessness on some of these tracks. It’s the second side of The Defrosting of that’s the burner. “You’ll Always Be My Friend” has a real street-level International Submarine Band feel to it…train-shuffle drum beat and lyrics in the form a personal letter. I haven’t read too much press on Demon’s Claws, but I’m hoping people are picking up on how talented these guys are as musicians. In particular, Ysael Pepin’s bass lines are never less than formidable, and, wisely, his work is high in the mix. The dude grooves like a refined Bill Wyman. This review is about as real as they come. What I mean by that is I wasn’t sent this record by In The Red. I bought if from Goner then paid to have it shipped out to New Zealand. Sorry. If you’re looking for sycophancy, read something else. I’ll be damned if this album slips through the cracks. –Ryan Leach (In the Red)


DEAD BROTHERS:
5th Sin-Phonic: CD
The gothic country/dark cabaret genre continues its expansion with the Dead Brothers; another high-quality pick by Voodoo Rhythm a la Those Poor Bastards, O’Death, Munly and the Lee Lewis Harlots, etc. For a primer on the genre, consider some of the pioneers, such as 16 Horsepower, Legendary Shack Shakers, and the Handsome Family. –Jessica Thiringer (Voodoo Rhythm, voodoorhythm.com)


DE HØJE HÆLE:
Skal Vi Aldrig Videre?: CD
This is just great. Danish bouncy, poppy, weirdo punk rock. I don’t understand anything about it and I don’t want to. The hooks are in me, I couldn’t leave if I wanted to. Such a fresh, quirky record, it makes me want to shoot bottle rockets at the moon. A little Shitty Limits, a little Gorilla Angreb, and a little Cola Freaks, but like all three of those groups, bands comparisons do very little justice. –Daryl Gussin (Hjernespind)


ROUGH KIDS:
Into the ‘00s: 7"
Hell yes. Killer minor key punk rock that immediately brings to mind some of my recent (sorta) faves like Hex Dispensers, Idle Hands, No Hope For The Kids, etc. A lyric sheet would’ve been swell, because it usually goes one of two ways with bands of this persuasion: angry-smart or faux-spooky. I’m certainly hoping it’s the former more than the latter. Regardless, great record. –Dave Williams (Margin Mouth/ Rough)


DAGGER DICKS:
“Sharp for You” b/w “Razor Sharp Love”: 7"

Dagger Dicks is an awesome U.K. garage punk band that delivers two very catchy tracks on this 7”. Rather than adhering to the studio trickery or production silliness that permeates the vast majority of today’s garage records, Dagger Dicks present a full, clear sound. Musically similar to the Jabbers, with a slight influence from later bands like the Spider Babies, both songs maintain a fun ‘77 vibe. Not that there’s anything wrong with dopey, but this record is far from it, despite the name and goofy cover art. Anyone with a sense of humor will want to prance around with a knife hanging from his or her fly after listing to this one. No lie.

–Art Ettinger (Meaty Beaty)


DAG NASTY:
Dag with Shawn: CD
Though I was well aware of ‘em when they first started making the rounds, and have heard them innumerable times over the past twenty-five years, I gotta admit I’ve never picked up anything Dag Nasty. My initial reluctance was based on the fact that at the time I wasn’t all that hip on much of the stuff their local contemporaries—Rites Of Spring, Embrace, Gray Matter, et al—were putting out and they pretty much got lumped in with the lot. Once I’d actually heard ‘em and it was clear they were more on the Minor Threat/Second Wind side of the fence, I just never got around to picking up a copy of Can I Say, mostly because so many of my friends had copies that it almost seemed redundant to procure one of my own. According to the liner notes here, these are the recordings of what was to be their initial album, featuring original vocalist Shawn Brown doing the hollering instead of Dave Smalley, who replaced him. When Brown left, the band went back into the studio, redid the whole shebang with Smalley, and released it as the aforementioned Can I Say. Despite maybe some title/lyrical changes, most of the tuneage sounds the same, different singer notwithstanding—the ragers still rage, Baker’s guitar is a punchy as ever, and “Circles” still possesses one helluva wicked hook. Both those new to the band and those who’ve followed ‘em a spell will find much to like here. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dischord)


CUM STAIN:
Self-titled: Tape
Lo-fi garage punk with its mind in the gutter outside some high school. The mood is obviously light and the attitude is more of a laugh than a snarl. If you were to take this serious and get upset, then you need some fucking help. Songs about dicks, sex, and being a dirty loser. Who can’t relate to any or all of that? There are some good songs on here like “Smoker,” “I WANT IT NOW!,” “Jack Shack,” which come on with some speed and a nice low end. Then there are some throwaway songs like “Cum Stain”; “Just another Kid” is a little too precious. Some good, some bad. –Matt Average ( Burger)


CULO:
Military Trend: EP
Un-gawd-damn-believably awesome! Pure fuggin’ godhead hardcore punk rock! No metal, no pop, just straight-up hardcore punk. Four anthems of checking out of society and not giving a fuck who cares. This stuff sounds legit and not some part time pose. Fast, pissed, and catchier than hell. “Shootin’ Glue” will burrow its way into your mind, and the title track is the sonic bull in a china shop. Instruments are beat to hell. I imagine a couple nodes are going to develop on the singer’s vocal chords, but what a great record. Looking forward to their split with Raw Nerve. –Matt Average (Deranged)


CRY COYOTE:
“Cold Storage” b/w “Backwash”: : 7"
Plodding cowpunk from Milwaukee with a slight Gun Club feel. A band with five people should be able to create more noise and a less retrained sound. –Jessica Thiringer (One Track Mind)


CRUSHED BUTLER:
Self-titled: 7"
More ‘70s cocker rocker than I usually go for, but it’s pretty, err, rocking. Retro release from Windian, originally recorded in 1970. Fans of T. Rex and leather and jeans should apply; fits in with fuzz and garage fans, too. Solid power sound can fuck up your speakers for a good party time. I’m a fan of Windian (Personal and the Pizzas, M.O.T.O., Dan Sartain, etc.). This just hit me different than those bands—which ain’t a bad thing. –Speedway Randy (Windian)


CRUSADES, THE:
Self-titled: 7”EP
What the Statues are to Canadian office work, the Crusades are to Satan. To the five people that that makes sense to, you’re welcome. Perhaps it’s the Canadian tendency not to boast, but it took several listens for their dark arts to sink in. On the black, glossy cockroachy surface, they may initially sound like a second-run, too-proficient Swedish late ‘90s skaterock band, but you’d be mistaken. At an undisclosed point in time, the thousand hooks fall from the ceiling in some sort of hellishly devised scenario and their trap’s been sprung. You’ve just been ripped apart, but in a melodic punk rock way that uses that CockSparrer “Runnin’ Riot” siren sound effect in one track that dissolves into the sound of crackling embers of a slow-burning fire. Hail the Crusades. –Todd Taylor (Scared To Death)


CRITICAL CONVICTIONS:
The Crisis of Modernity: 7"
Speedy, angry, über-politicized hardcore from right here in my snowy hometown of Ottawa. Obviously no strangers to the less-accessible side of ‘80s American hardcore and a smattering of Japanese influences, I also draw a lot of comparisons to EastBay bands ala Christ On Parade, Spitboy, Econochrist, etc. Standing out amongst the masses of black-jacketed, bleak-artworked, blast-beaten crusty hardcore bands is by no means an easy feat, but Maxx’s unique (and certainly for the genre) vocal delivery and the hints of melody throughout the record (think maybe even a less-”poppy” Lost World) easily makes this one of the most interesting records of its ilk that I’ve heard in a long time. –Dave Williams (myspace.com/criticalconvictions)


CRISIS HOTLINES:
Self-titled: 7” EP
An interesting side effect of the punk music blog culture and the availability of obscure tunes via Bloodstains and Killed by Death compilations is a whole generation (or two, or three) of newer groups who, in their zeal to play like their heroes of yore, manage to come up with a sound that shows the past’s influence yet somehow keeps things from becoming an exercise in musical necrophilia. The Briefs, The Spits, and The Regulations are the most obvious examples, and Crisis Hotlines do an admirable job of keeping the stale scent of mothballs from permeating their songs. The four tunes here keep things fun and energetic, catchy without being syrupy, and clearly influenced without being overtly nostalgic. Thumbs up. –Jimmy Alvarado (myspace.com/kenrockrecords)


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