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· 1:Punk Parenthood for the Sleep Deprived
· 2:#330 with Craven Rock
· 3:#329 with Daryl Gussin
· 4:One Punk’s Guide to Poetry
· 5:#331 with Mike Faloon and Todd Taylor


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Razorcake #81
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Nights and Days in a Dark Carnival by Craven Rock
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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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CONTROL/MARCHING ORDERS:
Stand Your Ground: 7”
Hooligan rock’n’roll from jolly old England with a pair of songs about turning the other cheek—with your boot heel. Marching Orders is an oi band from Melbourne, Australia though you’d never know it by the way they sound. This predictability is both a comfort and a curse. –Jim Ruland (Contra /Longshot Music)


COMPLAINTS:
Wanna Be Bored: 7”EP
San Francisco punk with some Zero Boys and early Angry Samoans mixed in. What’s that?! You need to be told a little more before you get this? Really?! Alright, here goes. Driving and melodic, snotty, but not really. More for fun than affecting a shitty attitude. The tempos are on the speedy and jumpy side. The title track is the most amped of the four. However, the song that stood out most for me was “Cheap Reward,” which is a mid tempo number and slightly longer than the others on here. Look for it. –Matt Average (Complaints, sfcomplaints.com)


COMPLAINTS, THE:
Wanna Be Bored: 7”EP
Although from San Francisco, The Complaints are reminiscent of part of OC’s Hostage Records roster of the early-to-mid ‘00s. Rock’n’roll with punk swagger like D-Cup, Damaged Goods, The Pegs. That said, it sounds a little like they’re driving around with the parking brake on. Music like this is best when it sizzles, when it hits the guard rail, when it sounds like you’d get an STI by just listening to it. Although proficient, I wish it was nastier, sleazier, and shoving its hands down the front of pants of the ladies in the front row (sonically). Or at least sparking the guard rail when it comes close to a cliff. –Todd Taylor (sfcomplaints.com)


COKEROCKET / SINGING DOGS:
Split: 7”
A fine four-song split 7” of garage rock from an Italian label. Cokerocket delivers the goods on side A, sounding a bit like a roughed-up version of the Epoxies and I also enjoyed their song titles, “Unibrow Clan” and “Do The Dishes.” The B side is the Singing Dogs, who are less melodic and heavier, but keep the energy level high and also have their charms. –Jake Shut (Primitive)


CLOAK/DAGGER:
Lost Art: LP
Killer punk rock with dissonant hardcore and garage in the guitars. It reminds me of the late ‘90s, when clean-cut hardcore kids added catchy punk to their music, and bands like Kid Dynamite and The Explosion were born. While this album can feel safe, stylish, and tidy, there’s no denying how much ass it kicks. This will appeal to a lot of tattooed people, and for good reason. –CT Terry (Jade Tree)


CIVILIZATION:
Self-titled: LP
Let me quote myself: “What is it about Florida—or the South in general—that creates such dirge? There seems to be a dirty, swampy edge bands get from down that way. This two-piece guitar and drum combo, out of Jacksonville, Florida lays down some down-tuned aggression. Reminds me of the band Black Cobra with their Sabbath-ish, stoney riffs but with the punk energy of HolyMountain. Brooding, yet with a solid punch of energy at times to keep it interesting. The recording has a live feel to it. Would like to hear what comes out when they go all-out in the studio. Cool use of a used Blockbuster Video DVD case. They recycle!”That was my review of their CD-R that I reviewed before. Funny thing is that it’s still on my desk next to my computer. Comparing the two, it seems like the same recording but remastered for vinyl. This new version is much brighter and clearly gives it even more of the live feel I earlier referenced. Things that sounded muffled before come to clarity. They still like to recycle, too! Silkscreened cover reusing the inside of another band’s cover. (Mine being Gaslight Anthem.) Also nice purple swirly vinyl for all you record nerds. –Donofthedead (Dead Tank)


CHROME SPIDERS:
Black Butterfly: 7”
AC/DC’s Brian Johnson has nothing on Thomas Jackson Potter, Chrome Spiders’ caterwauling lead singer and guitar player. The man’s voice was made to sing this type of timeless classic rock—muscular without being gruff, able to hit the upper register without being shrill, and a delivery as venomous as a striking sidewinder. The rhythm section does a fantastic job on “Black Butterfly” of locking things down without a bunch of needless noodling around. Even the guitar solo three-quarters of the way through the tune is restrained, complementing the tension that develops between the vocals and beat. The b-side is a scumbag dirge that conjures the Oblivians’ “The Leather.” Totally awesome. –Josh Benke (Big Neck)


CHOPPER:
Static/(The Complete Recordings 1994-1998): 2 x CD
Somehow, I completely missed out on Chopper, despite the fact that I got into punk in 1994, right when this band started. The first couple songs on the first CD are pretty good, but they’re all about thirty-five seconds too long. (Yes, I timed it). If I had just one of these records, I’d probably like this band a little bit more, but when you listen to all thirty-six songs in a row, they all start to sound the same, starting around song four. (And, in case you’re wondering, there are many bands that I could listen to for thirty six plus songs, easy.) Basically, this is a British pop punk/sorta ten percent emo band that sounds exactly like Broccoli (the band, not the vegetable). The first CD has all their 7”s, and the second CD includes the “Last Call for the Dancers” LP and “session tracks” recorded in 1996, which I’m guessing is leftover stuff from other recording sessions. Do I know what “session tracks” are? Not really. If this were a cereal, it’d be Cinnamon Chex. I recently had a handful, and it was okay at first, but by the last few pieces, I was ready to move on. –Maddy (Crackle)


CHEEKY:
What the Heck: 12”
It’s a shame that Cheeky are the latest in New York/Jersey area bands to call it quits, because they’re pretty great, and this record is more proof. Take the snottiness of FYP, inject it into your little nieces and nephew, and have them practice along to All records. Crank one amp to a Gregg Ginn/Black Flag distortion level, the other an early Billy Joel/power pop jangle. Shouted-out lyrics about the problems that inevitably come up from being human. Supposedly, this record almost didn’t come out, which would have been stupid, so make sure you get this and listen. –Joe Evans III (Freedom School)


CAT PARTY:
Self-titled: LP
The first thing that I heard from Cat Party was their “Jigsaw Thoughts” single, which is backed with “Entitled.” The tunes on there were both pretty damn good post-punk, leaning more towards the minimalistic, goth side of post-punk (Joy Division/early Bauhaus) as opposed to the noisy, chaotic side (Fall/DNA). Both of those songs made it on to this LP, which sees Cat Party fine tuning just a bit. I find it amazing how this three-piece is able to put together an LP of bleak yet rather hypnotic and atmospheric songs. Listening to this is, at times, like going into a commuter coma on a scenic drive: I plan on going out to take in the beauty, but it seems so obvious that I sink into it and just forget what I am doing; then I look up and notice that my surroundings are truly superlative. If you’re going to brood, brood to this. –Vincent Battilana (Flat Black)


CARRIE NATIONS:
Self-titled: 7” EP
My memory’s shit. I just got my eighth concussion, followed two months later by a direct punch in the face that loosened some luggage upstairs. The upside to all this is that I’m virtually incapable of nostalgia because I have a hard time remembering in much of a linear fashion. I gotta really concentrate to separate what happened in 1998 from 2008. But, I did see Athens, Georgia’s Carrie Nations at a house show in Anaheim (the cops came that day) years ago, and I was blown away. They’ve got a sorta indie rock approach to songwriting, meaning there’s more attention to texture and dynamics, but it’s played in such a manner that the drummer’s glasses flew off his face from the combination of sweat and totally punishing the buckets. Be Still, their full length which I bought right after their set along with their split with This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb, is a flawless record. Like roses cropping up from blood spilt in the cracks of a sidewalk, the a-side of this 7” are songs recorded in 2003 that had never before been released. That’s the time capsule magic. The b-side is the remastered songs off the TBIAPB split that’s long out of print. Love me some Carrie Nations. Relevant? More than ever. –Todd Taylor (Stankhouse)


BURNING ITCH:
Self-titled: 7"
Judging from the band name and the cover of two stoner-looking rockers with guitars and rifles against a white wall, I thought I was in for some craaaaaappy bar rock. Shit no, it’s actually pretty rad, weird rock. Angular guitars stabbing out some catchy music, real driving, basically pop punk, but with a more gravelly singer than a smooth snot punk. Think a poppier Mistreaters. And I know we can all get on that train. Maybe they just sell pot, not smoke it. Three solid songs, tight as shit. They would be too energetic for a biker bar. Don’t know how you can get this 7”. No label listed, no address on the back cover, just “mono.” The vinyl has no label either, just the inscriptions “Don’t touch my moustache” and “Continued use may cause birth defects.” Maybe you can find them on the MySpace. –Speedway Randy (Self-released)


BROKEN NEEDLE:
Self-titled: 7"
After a few delays, this finally sees the light of day. It’s a great follow-up to their debut LP on Lengua Armada. Heard they remixed and remastered those tracks for their discography CD, which I heard has these tracks also. I actually like the original mix of the LP. Oh well, have to see if I like the new mix too. This 7” is five songs of intense hardcore in the mid to late ‘80s vein that surely can peak the attention of the most jaded. A dual guitar attack punches though the mix to give it the power. Drums are banged with controlled madness and the bass gives it the punch needed to feel it in the ribs. Just the right backdrop for singer, Todd, to do his thing. Broken Needle on record is great, but seeing them live takes it up a few notches; at least what I have witnessed since they are a local band. “Energetic set” barely covers it. I usually get banged around good trying to take pictures either by the crowd or the band, but I know for sure that I’m going to enjoy every minute of it. –Donofthedead (Schizophrenic)


BROKEN BONES:
Death Walks the Streets: EP
The dangerous thing about old bands who put out some classic records recording new records today is, all too often, the results are less than stellar. The classic line up is long gone, inspiration isn’t what it was, and on and on. Broken Bones, sadly, are one of those bands who should have stayed in the past. On these three songs they sound like some local opening band wishing they were Broken Bones. Today’s imitators have more power and are more relevant, oddly enough. Another once great band with a tarnished record. –Matt Average (Dr. Strange)


BRIMSTONE HOWL:
Big Deal. What’s He Done Lately?: CD
Excellent third album from these wunderkind fuzz monsters. They give the blown-out, fuzz box treatment to a few different musical styles, including country and western on “Easter at the Lewises’” and ‘60s British Invasion on “Suicide Blues” and “Elation,” all to fine effect. There’s a longing that echoes in the singer’s cracking voice on “Final Dispatch” that lends the song emotional depth. The guitar interplay with the lead vocals works especially well throughout the record. The album is so good I can even forgive them for rhyming “cool shit” with “atavistic” on “End of the Summer.” –Josh Benke (Alive)


BREAKAWAYS, THE:
Walking Out on Love (The Lost Sessions): CD
Between the breakup of L.A. power pop legends The Nerves and the formation of their equally legendary bands The Beat (not to be confused with the English Beat) and the Plimsouls, Paul Collins and Peter Case had a band called the Breakaways. Although the group never really quite got off the ground, they did manage to record a few demos of some tunes from the Nerves’ set list and, in the case of the title track, some that would also feature in the Beat’s future set list. These tapes were apparently mislaid for many a moon, but have been rediscovered and released. The sound quality is great considering these are demos and they’re some thirty-odd years old, and the songs, well, we are talking about the dudes responsible for “Rock ’n’ Roll Girl” and “A Million Miles Away,” so of course the tunes are top notch. –Jimmy Alvarado (Alive)


BREAKAWAYS, THE:
Walking Out on Love (The Lost Sessions): CD
After the end of The Nerves, Paul Collins and Peter Case started a new outfit. Previously only two songs were ever made available to the masses via a Bomp compilation. Now from the archives comes this thirteen-song release. Only three songs look to repeat from the recent Nerves CD. This sounds like a band trying to find its sound, but it really does not matter since both Paul and Peter are such fantastic songwriters. A revolving door of almost members completes the lineup here. But as quickly as it started, it ended. Case went to start The Plimsouls and the Paul Collins Beat was born. If you like even one song from either outfit, then you need this too. –Sean Koepenick (Alive)


BORED STRAIGHT / NORDIC WASTE / HOLY SHIT!:
Split: 7"
Wisconsin seems to have an unusually good instinct to stacking bands up on top of each other. This 7” is the equivalent of a River West basement show, except there are only three bands and I have yet to bang my head on the house’s plumbing system. Musically, the trio at hand offers varying speeds and ideologies of harsh, wintered hardcore punk that range in the humor/seriousness department. While not cooking up something for “everyone,” it definitely packs a punch for those who are lookin’ for it. –Daryl Gussin (Holy Shit!)


BORED GAMES:
Party ‘Til You Puke: 10"
Power pop by way of smooth garage/girl groups, with a noticeable rock’n’roll influence—not in the Chuck Berry vein, so much as the kinds of bands like the Reigning Sound or Used Kids, and while, admittedly, I don’t know that kind of stuff that well compared to a lot of my friends, I do like this. I recognize Addie from Lefty Loosie (who did a good job singing before, but really sounds fantastic here), but not the other dude singing, who provides a good contrast, keeping things interesting. This is terrific! –Joe Evans III (Repulsion)


BOO FROG:
Self-titled: CD
Sounds like this emerged from the swamps of Baton Rouge, but this trio actually hails from Portland. Sparse, raw sound from this three-piece, since there is no bassist. But there’s still a decent depth here. I wouldn’t say The Cramps are my favorite band, but I bet these guys might. “Birthday Girl” actually reminds me of a Kinks song, so we are treading similar moving sidewalks at times. “Throw Me a Bone” sounds like a Velvet Underground outtake that John Cale forgot to bring his viola into the session. Intriguing material that I can see myself popping in again when the mood strikes me as I’m driving home late at night. –Sean Koepenick (Skullman)


BOLTH:
If You Want Peace, Prepare for Class War: CD
The title to this record made me think that it was gonna be run-of-the-mill anarcho punk tinged with metal. I guess I wasn’t far off, but this record really isn’t run-of-the-mill. Ya, the first seven tracks or so are fairly standard musical fare of this genre, but the last three or four set me on my ear; they had a bit more of a hardcore sound, were a bit more catchy, and didn’t have that feeling of trying to walk with eighty-pound weights tied around one’s neck. This is not to slight the first two-thirds of the record, but the last third was so rollicking and free compared to the rest; those songs dominate my attention. Good record overall. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Useless World, uselessworldrecords.com)


BLOWTOPS, THE:
64 Teeth: 7”
It took a few listens, but the Blowtops’ experimental keyboard weirdness and mentally ill sounding vocals grew on me in much the same way Lili Z’s last LP did. “64 Teeth” is a warped stream of consciousness rant that falls completely apart about half way through, the drums galloping into a mess of percussive confusion only to be brought back into some sort of song structure by an eerily held keyboard note. The flip side is more precise musically, but doesn’t shake off one bit of the lunatic vibe from side one. –Josh Benke (Certified PR, myspace.com/certifiedpr)


BLOCKED OUT:
Torn Throats: 7”
Shit yes. The list of bands Blocked Out is compared to did not prepare me for this record. When you’re expecting “Judge meets American Nightmare” and you get “Ringworm meets Ruination” you’re bound to be a little shaken up. Shaken up in a very good way, in my case. This rips hard. Just vicious, not unlike the recent Blind To Faith record, although without the “evil” imagery. An incredibly pleasant surprise. –Dave Williams (Television)


BLOCKED OUT:
Torn Throats: 7”
I saw this band a couple weeks before this record came in for review and these nine songs do an adequate job of representing their live show. Guttural, mid-tempo hardcore that chugs and bellows itself to point of exasperation, even if there are only a handful of people paying attention. Blocked Out take the middle ground between emotive let-it-all-out East Coast style and circle-pit-till-puke West Coast thrash. A decent expedition both live and on record. –Daryl Gussin (Television)


BLACK KNOTS:
Guitarmageddon: CD
Loud rock’n’roll stuff along the same lines that bands like Zeke have trod prior. They pump in enough energy to deliver one overcharged, hell raising salvo of guitar-driven noise and manage to make it sound fresh. Only gripe is “A Change Is Gonna Come” ain’t a Sam Cooke cover, which would’ve been truly impressive if they’d manage to pull that kind of an endeavor off. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dead Beat)


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