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· 1:#366 with Susan de Place
· 2:D4th of July at The Triple Rock on July 4, 2015
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· 5:Hello Shitty People Top Shelf Interview Podcast


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Razorcake #87


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Record Reviews

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SPENCEY DUDE & THE DOODLES:
Self-titled: 7”
Hell yeah, there’s some zany songs here but it was all I could do to keep from just moving the needle back to the tune “Girl Crazy” over and over again. The ending of said tune goes, “You’re girl crazy” and then some funny voice says, “hit the clinic.” It’s definitely a must-hear track. For a song that’s about a minute and a half long, it had me smiling twice as long after I listened to it. This entire 7” is just one concept album of love songs that seem transported straight from the ‘60s. Spencey Dude & The Doodles sound a lot like The Troggs with every thing from their production aesthetics, reverb, and harmonies. “Flirting,” is about a man who gave his girl a quarter to stay in the bar and play the jukebox instead of going out and flirting with the guys. Annamal Doodle’s female back up vocals really add a nice touch. This is just one fun and funny EP here. –N.L. Dewart (Rob’s House, robshouserecords.com)


SNARLAS:
Self-titled: 7”
When I received this record in the mail to review, I was really excited since I knew that it was the band that Cindy Crabb ofDoriszine and her sister were doing. However, in spite of my excitement, I ended up shelving it for a while. Why? Because I didn’t want to be disappointed. Just because someone can write a great zine doesn’t mean that everything they do is going to be great. However, when I did get around to playing it, I found that my reservations were ridiculous. It’s a great record. It’s dirty three-chord punk with shouted dual female vocals. A raw, urgent, beautiful mess. The subject matter of the songs has a lot of the same themes you’ll find in Doris zine: songs about respecting past revolutionary struggles and some about self-preservation and empowerment. A lot of the songs also deal with living through trauma and abuse. For instance, the song “Generation 5,” seems to be in the voices of both an older and younger sibling as they try to heal from sexual abuse from their childhood as adults: “tell me, tell me / we can trust each other now / there were nights I knew nothing about / I couldn’t protect you like no one protected me.” The song “The Things That You Fear Are the Things That Will Save You” is an anthem about not listening to what we’ve been taught to fear by society and our upbringings and how wonderful and full that can make our lives. What more could you ask for in a punk record? It’s heavy, powerful, gutsy stuff. –Craven (Snarlas / Plan-It-X Records South)


SOURPATCH:
Crushin’: CD
This is pretty much adorable from start to finish. The songs are poppy and clever and the recording is just sloppy enough to be interesting. It reminds me a lot of the records I loved as a teenager in the nineties. Not slick, not angry, just a bunch of cool songs that make me feel good when I hear them. And the first track is a little kid being egged on by a grown up to introduce the album. Which should be cutesy and annoying, but it’s actually damn cute. –Jennifer Whiteford (Happy Happy Birthday To Me)


SNAKES, THE:
Hiya Hoya: 7”
Dripping with symbolism, this seven inch appears to be a sort of parable of punk rockers or indie rockers as the ill-fated American Indians, being forcefully assimilated into the greater WASP culture, having their identities co-opted and watered down in to a mainstream mess. The cover art prominently displays a picture of a braided Apache-chief-from-Super-Friends-looking dude ripping a pilgrim in half, with the A-side “Hiya Hoya” and B-side a couplet of tracks dedicated to the seventies half-breed anti-hero, Billy Jack. Musically, it is akin to the more tuneful Flipper numbers: perhaps a bit off-putting at first with its thrashy noise; with repeated spins you’ll come to find a seductively clandestine layer of pop sensibilities buried beneath the sonic rubble. This is an interesting and unexpected follow-up to their previously released split with 1-800-Band, also released on Slow Gold Zebra. –Jeff Proctor (Slow Gold Zebra)


SMALL BROWN BIKE:
Composite, Volume One: 7”
Listen, I’m not going to pretend to understand this band or why they have the rabid, ferociously loyal following they have. I honestly just don’t get the appeal. I tried repeatedly to get into Our Own Wars ten years ago and there was just no spark there for me. Same goes for Dead Reckoning just a few months ago. And now there’s this two-song 7”, their first release since reuniting last year. I’ll admit, the band can certainly craft songs that sound thematic and cohesive, it’s just that those songs also sound… boring. They sound as well put together as they ever did—if you’re a fan of the band you’d probably say the songs sound dense and complex and have been crafted with a solid foundation and very little gimmickry or pomp, etc. Me, I think they’re just kind of… there. The second song, “Hourglass,” starts off promisingly, with a strangely playful indie rock guitar line; it actually managed to hold my interest for a few spins. But I think we’re all agreed: one song on one seven inch over a ten-year career isn’t much of a batting average. –Keith Rosson (No Idea)


SIN REMEDIO:
Border Hoppin’ Hardcore: CD
Los Angeles’s Sin Remedio play music from two poles: grindcore and norteños. They play these widely divergent styles of music with equal focus and power. My favorite tracks are where they oscillate and blend the two styles. “Manias del Pensamiento” is a prefect example. The women’s sweeter voices hover over the ragged rubble of the guys’ voices; there’s a nice and tender sweep of instruments before the rough and broken concrete crash of guitars. In a lot of ways, tracks like this make me instantly think of East L.A. itself. Seeing innocent things—like a public park taken over for a kid’s birthday, bright piñatas and balloons, Esponja Bob jumpy castle—surrounded by walls and sidewalks of graffiti, haloed by barbed wire snagging trash above nearby buildings. It’s this contrast of dark and light, celebration and decay, that makes Sin Remedio such an interesting and memorable band. My only question mark about this album—due to how textured and multi-moded their sound is—is how it would sound recorded more fully. I’m not saying Fleetwood Mac full, Tragedy full, so you can hear both the atomic blasts and the more floral, delicate nuances. If you’re into hardcore, Sin Remedio is well worth your time. –Todd Taylor (Sin Remedio, sinremedio.net)


SHELLSHAG:
Rumors in Disguise: LP
Shellshag is hard to define. If you’ve read any of the reviews from their first record, the word “experiment” usually appears at least once in some form or another. After two years, I still can’t figure out how to describe this band to people, but I do know that everyone should at least listen to them once, if not just for the strangeness of it all. Shellshag has also done the impossible task of ruining themselves. If you’ve ever seen them live, you know exactly what I mean. I can’t help but imaging them playing in a cramped living room at my friend’s house when listening to this. Their songs, no matter how well they’re recorded, never capture the amazing talent and fun they exude when in front of an audience. Oh yeah, the record is fucking great. Essential listening. Nothing I said should undermine how good of a record this actually is, but if they’re ever in your town (or within proximity), go to them. You shall understand. Amen. –Bryan Static (Don Giovanni, dongiovannirecords.com)


SCREAMING FEMALES:
Singles: CDEP
Before seeing Screaming Females live, I hadn’t done the math in my head. All of those tricky guitar parts—Jimi Hendrix by way of Pussy Galore’s Cristina Martinez—was coming from a shy, soft-spoken lady who turned into a lion on stage. Watery waver to full roar; she does all the singing, too. Apparently, Marissa self-taught herself years of guitar when she was taking care of her grandmother, which explains a couple of things: her proficiency and the fact that she doesn’t sound exactly like any other guitarist I can think of. This CDEP is a six-song collection of their little vinyls—splits and 7”s—and if you’re into loud guitars doing wicked things, here’s your ticket. –Todd Taylor (Don Giovanni, screamingfemales.net)


SCHOOL JERKS:
Self-titled: EP
Gawwwwwwwd damn! The best record I’ve had the chance of reviewing this issue! Raw hardcore punk that reminds me of early Black Flag (a comparison I don’t make often—do your research if you doubt me) with the guitar sound and the sinister way it all plays out. The vocals are seriously killer, totally spat out and foaming-at-the-mouth style. Sounds like someone throwing a shit fit, and they’re so mad the words are a series of splats, blats, and bluhs. Not that cheesy Cookie Monster grindcore growling shit, either! This is the real deal hardcore punk rock. Worthy of repeated listens and phone calls to your friends; “Dude, you gotta get this record!! Seriously!” type conversations. I hear this is their second EP, and that half of them are from TerminalState. Huh?!?! Never mind all that. Get this and crank it the hell up! One of the better records to be released in some time. Definitely worth driving to a record store for, or even going to some shitty show and rummaging distro boxes to get. –Matt Average (Cowabunga, cowabungarecords.com)


SCHATZI AND HAZELTINE:
Happy Birthday Baby b/w When Yr Alone: 7”
Two pleasant retro-girl group songs with a bit of country jangle to them. I’ve never heard of them before (admittedly, this is the kind of stuff that I enjoy, but don’t tend to actively seek out), and get the impression this is a one-off project. Probably for someone’s birthday. I’m smart like that. Neat stuff! –Joe Evans III (Burger)


RIPSHIT / DYLAN BREDEAU:
Split: 7”
With a name like Ripshit, they sure have the confidence to live up to it. Four songs of fast, raging, political hardcore which rail against consumption, laws, America and all the stuff that punk is epically pissed off about. Nothing has changed, so why stop? Female-fronted, this band is best on the song “Ripshit Votes Kill ‘Em All and Let God Sort ‘Em Out” which rails against the ignorance of voting for Hillary Clinton as being feminist and for voting at all. That’s the first time I’ve heard that cliché put to good use! Dylan Bredeau is a three-piece of ‘90s-style emo hardcore with shrieking gang vocals. These are good hardcore songs if you don’t think about the horrid lyrics about holding hands and sharing soy ice cream. –Craven (Spicy Soup)


RESIST AND EXIST:
Ad Liberty: CD
Even though I long ago gave up on the idea of anarchism, or any “ism” for that matter, being a viable reality and vehicle towards an idyllic society, I still carry similar sympathies and have a soft spot for anarcho punk bands. Unlike their parrot punk cousins, whose only apparent interest is in getting back at an amorphous “system” by singing songs about getting drunk and coloring their hair purty colors, the anarchy bands that take their Bakunin seriously have always seemed to me to have their hearts in the right place when they sing about peace, self-governance, and not being an asshole to others. I remember playing with Resist And Exist and Media Children on one or two occasions and thought they were among the more interesting of that crop of bands, and this collection of what sounds like a couple of demos and live tracks shows a band a bit more conscious than the other punters of tempering the inevitable sloganeering with diversity in their delivery. Sure, there’s no shortage of angry thrashing, but there is also some slower and—dare I say it?—occasional poppy moments to be found as well. Dunno if they ultimately had much impact on the greater world, but it’s clear that they sincerely wanted to, and that intent sometimes goes a long way. –Jimmy Alvarado (Mass Media)


REGULATIONS:
To Be Me: CD
It’s funny how almost unavoidable it is to mention Circle Jerks, Adolescents, or Germs when describing Regulations’ sound. It’s a stigma that I’m sure the band members are tired of being attached to. But I recently came to the conclusion that Regulations has been able to accomplish what none of those bands were able to: consistency in quality. Not one of those bands had more than one record that would ever live up to their brilliant debuts. Regulations came from out of nowhere with two excellent EPs in 2003. They were quick to follow those up with a ridiculously good full length, a mini LP, and a third EP just to let everyone know they weren’t going anywhere. A couple of years and some side projects later did nothing to slow down what has already been an impressive stream of great releases. A second full length should have been where the bottom finally fell out for these guys, but, fuck me, this is just as great of a listen as any of their previous works. Old school dinosaurs be damned and current bands take notes: be unto the Regulations! –Juan Espinosa (Deranged)


REACTIONARIES, THE:
1979: LP

Please understand what a one-in-ten-thousand shot this is for this record to come out as well as it did and prevented it from becoming merely a footnote. One: The fact that a pre-Minutemen band practice tape from the late seventies was even found. Two: The fact that the Reactionaries’ tape didn’t just fall apart when it was discovered and played. Three: The fact that the tape was handled like a deceased friend: with care, respect, and with all intent of honoring the dead. Singer Martin Tamburovich and guitarist D. Boon can’t be anything but smiling down from where ever they are. Four: The fact that the “record collector’s impulse” didn’t intentionally keep this tape obscure, sneak out some pressings on Ebay, then rake in some back door, gray market cash, garnering the respect and envy of a small group of well-heeled vinyl dorks while keeping it out of the hands of folks who love music and are willing to pay modest prices for it. Five: The fact that the fidelity of what’s transferred to vinyl sounds honest and true to the time; it’s carefully preserved. It’s far from mud. And it’s far from being pro-tooled to death or “Let’s fix the bottom end” bullshit. Six: With all that said, if there was just an A side to this record—the practice tape—it’s an amazing historical, archival effort—with its heart in exactly the right place—where you can hear the molecules and DNA of the Minutemen banging around and forming. But the fact that the B side is roundtable congregation of over thirty current (mostly) San Pedro musicians covering the songs on the A side is flabbergasting all the way from a conceptual to a logistical point of view. History ain’t dead folks; no reason to jump into a coffin before your time. Music ain’t dead, either. There’s a direct legacy that continues on through today. It still can be done “in house.” No need for larger labels, fancy-assed studios, or unsympathetic outsiders. Going back sometimes means leaping forward. Protection is often for the survival of the species. Seven: Most of us don’t even have pot thoughts this lucid and complicated. The fact that this record not only exists but was pulled off with so much focus and audio payoff warrants as many people as possible who claim to like punk to listen to this one-in-ten-thousand shot.

–Todd Taylor (Water Under The Bridge / 45 RPM, waterunderthebridge.com)


READ, THE:
Self-titled: 7”
The first thought that ran through my mind when I put on this 7” was, Q And Not U reunited and changed their name. After looking into it more, I found out that that’s not true. However, these guys do cite Q And Not U as a band with a comparable sound. The Read has the whole dance punk thing going for them with that strange Dischord guitar riffage sound intermixed into it. Unfortunately, these tracks lack originality and they feel like collages of different Q And Not U songs. I’m going to have to give their full length a chance, which is supposed to come out some time this year, before I can decide if I like their music. I’m not sold on this 7” alone. –N.L. Dewart (Phratry)


RATIONAL ANIMALS:
Distorted Temptation: 7”

The lyrics are filled with desperate calls for humans to act as individuals and according to their own human nature; not just as mingling automatons stoked full of societal clichés. Their writing just holds up a mirror to the social roles we play day by day. “Distorted Temptation” has a resonating verse of what I feel like being working class: “Overwhelming feelings of dread. Breed grim notions inside your head. The excuse becomes your noose. Killing yourself to survive. Just to get by.” All the writing on this 7” is just so powerful and poetic that even the choruses are brimming with meaning. Take the chorus lyrics to “Games and Fun”: “Having all the games and fun. Hips that shake, a mouth that runs. Having all the games and fun. I’m you’re knife and you’re my gun.” This isn’t the style of hardcore punk I sit at home and listen to, but these guys really put out a potent EP here that is well worth sitting down and listening to. Musically, this 7” is interesting for how the two guitar tracks play various noises and sixteenth note riffs that seem to suck the air out the songs, mirroring the desperate, suffocating feeling of the lyrics. All the song structures are pounded down tight by the rhythm section that enables these guys to make their very own rally cries against insipid social games.

–N.L. Dewart (Feral Kid)


PONY BOY:
Sexual Assault Rifle: LP
First of all, the title of the record is just brilliant. Something I wish I would have thought of first. Secondly, the album artwork, all of it, is particularly striking. A silk-screened cover, very colorful, with a cardinal perched atop a rifle with a grey kitty looking on. The labels on the record are of a giraffe with boobs and a hornet with an erection. Furries are stoked. And it comes with an insert of what might be a crucified Magnum P.I. Musically, the first thing that comes to mind is Pink Razors, which might make sense since they are both from Bloomington. It’s not that it sounds exactly like Pink Razors, because it certainly doesn’t, but it sounds as if they both live in the shared space of a Venn diagram that includes modern DIY punk, ‘80s college rock, and ‘90s indie rock. They live in a world of pop punk but are acutely aware of more challenging sounds and styles, incorporating complex timings and arrangements with bits of pop sensibilities a la Tanner, or a slightly tamed Triclops! There’s a lot of stuff going on here; effects are employed quite nicely with what sounds like perhaps Theremin, moog, or tape looping. But with precious little information provided, I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of said devices. As well, this is one of the few times I receive a record and wish I had a lyric sheet to go with it so I can sing along without having to guess and make up my own lyrics. It is early in the year, but I think so far I have my favorite new record of the year. Sexual Assault Rifle has me a Pony Boy fan. –Jeff Proctor (Let’s Pretend)


PINHEAD GUNPOWDER:
Kick over the Traces: CD
What does it mean when one of your favorite bands releases a greatest hits album? Sadly, I am no expert in philosophical pop punk inquiries, so instead I’ll just say that I’ve listened to Pinhead Gunpowder in every possible context: in my bedroom in high school after enduring my mom screaming at me, on my headphones during countless late-night bike rides, in my college dorm room in the middle of ridiculous, almost-emo-ish relationship crap, in my apartment writing articles about labor history, and on the dance floor at punk rock dance parties. And, somehow, Pinhead Gunpowder always seemed like the perfect band in all of these places. Even though I’ve listened to these songs hundreds or thousands of times, it’s still hard for me to deal with how good these songs are. I drove from Minneapolis to Milwaukee last weekend and I listened to this CD for five straight hours. By the time I got to my mom’s house, I had a sore throat and my eardrums hurt. If this were a cereal, it’d be Lucky Charms, the highest honor this Razorcake reviewer can bestow. –Maddy (Recess)


PETROLEUM BY-PRODUCT:
Superficial/Artificial: LP
Petroleum By-Product is a synth-driven punk band. Their album Superficial/Artificial is surprisingly solid—influenced by all the right people: Nervous Gender, Screamers, Wall Of Voodoo, etc. There’s playfulness with Petroleum By-Product; a sort of B-52’s take on the vapidness of daily life in consumer culture. It’s reinforced vocally by girl group-style call and response in the vein of Fred Schneider/Wilson and Pierson, recalling the halcyon days of planned obsolescence (see the late ‘50s/early ‘60s). It should go without saying that you can dance to this record. The cover art is amazing, too. –Ryan Leach (Mona Mona, myspace.com/petroleumbyproduct)


PUSHER:
Our Beloved City of the Dead: CD
Just to give some context about how this album flows, this CD is a bit more than twenty-six minutes in length and is ten tracks long. Out of those ten tracks, one of them is an extra track with the first one being a one minute and fifty-two second introduction with some strange, psychedelic-influenced rant about the crappy state of the world. Then the second song “Dead End” begins with its own weird intro that plays for about thirty-nine seconds. It includes another guy talking through a distorted loud speaker, telling people to choose between a red pill or blue pill, I assume paying homage to The Matrix. From the start, this album picks up pretty slow and is confusing because the listener still has no clue after about two and a half minutes of listening what the music is going to sound like. In short, this is a reggae-influenced punk album. I’d say these guys are trying to sound like Tim Armstrong’s solo stuff. When they finally get to the music, these guys actually have some decent songs. “Artificialized” is a fun track, as Pusher has a cool way of transitioning from reggae beats on the verses to the more explosive four-to-the-floor choruses. This would have been a more solid EP if these guys just stuck to the music instead of all the filler hi-jinks. –N.L. Dewart (Knot)


RAT CITY RUCKUS:
Mustard Shot: CD
I’m getting tired of bands naming themselves via the formula “X City Y.” Normally, you know exactly what you’ll get, both musically and lyrically, and while such tunes and lyrics are often welcome in my universe, they have become somewhat predictable and overused within the X City Y formula. In some ways, this record wasn’t much different (simple, fast tunes and songs about drinking and venereal disease), but, for some reason, Rat City Ruckus’s brand of cheap, trashy rock’n’roll wasn’t all that stale. I think it’s because of the immense influence of bands like the Dayglo Abortions that I sensed lurking just beneath the surface of this record. Musically, Rat City Ruckus plays fast and loose, bordering on being a pure hardcore band. Lyrically, they focus more on drinking than the Dayglos, rather than penning numerous tunes on farting and puking. Overall: loud, fast, and obnoxious. I liked it. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Rockin’ Stan)


PERMANENT BASTARDS:
Emericans: CD
There’s a sort of new school of punk (hell, maybe that’s what I’ll call it: nü-punk) that seems to be pretty present now. Music that seems to be really influenced by Against Me! and the more basic rock sound of current No Idea Records bands. Fortunately, they don’t necessarily have to suck as bad as Against Me! (And all apologies to Permanent Bastards if Against Me! is not an influence.) Passionate, at times folky, and indie singey at other times, but still very punk. It’s like a new generation thing,you might say, and I’m down with it when it’s done well, even if I won’t be listening to this kind of thing often. (The genre, anyway. I probably will come back to this band.) The lyrics on Emericans range from being overtly political to socio-political, which provides a pretty good balance. The lyrics are actually what carry the album, driving out a damaged, youthful hope. The lead singer’s voice is off-key and sort of, well, weak. Which gives the songs a sincerity when he belts out the choruses the best he can but it has none of that Leatherface/Hot Water Music-biting, if-you-sing-it-gruffly-enough-it-will-sound-like-we-mean-it trend in punk. Instead, it really pretty much has to grow on you. The rest of the band’s gang vocals help him out with choruses and some whoah-oh-ohs here and there, which works out well. This is a great punk album, the kind my music snob roommate would dub “shitty punk rock,” the kind of punk that record geeks and hipsters who only swear by the classics of The Clash and The Fall would never quite get. Which means it’s a damn good punk album for the punks. I can definitely get behind this. –Craven (Self-released)


OVERNIGHT LOWS:
City of Rotten Eyes: CD
Overnight Lows are one of those bands that could hold their own at pretty much any punk show you throw their way. The tunes here are filled with the kind of choice chord progressions to please yer average Dangerhouse Records fan, the raw sound that’ll keep the Rip Off heads happy, and a vitriolic delivery that virtually guarantees they’d more than hold their own on a bill with the Regulations or yer average straight-ahead hardcore band. Songs are to the point with little in the way of frills or extraneous bullshit, just stripped-down, pissed-off punk rock with catchy hooks up the wazoo. A doozy, this is. –Jimmy Alvarado (Goner)


OVER VERT:
Gagging + Swallowing: Cassette
Something about the riff and vocal delivery on the track, “The Stranger” reminded me of Nirvana’s tune, “Negative Creep.” So I examined this tape closer and found out Steve Albini recorded it. (Now I know Albini didn’t record Nirvana’s song “Negative Creep,” but it was a strange coincidence.) In reality, it’s hard for me to pin an influence on Over Vert’s sound, but it’s definitely some thrashy hardcore. It’s similar to the band Deep Sleep. Nothing here is played sloppily and everything hits hard, but Over Vert never progresses into sing-a-long pop choruses. These guys don’t rest on their laurels by just pummeling out straight-ahead power chords. Their riffs are always a bit more spaced-out sounding and droning so their tunes wouldn’t necessarily appeal to a pop crowd. Their song, “Burning An Eye” does a good job lyrically to describe what these guys and their music is all about: “There is a house with a joyous sound that keeps my ears ringing underground.” If you’re into thrash, get this tape. –N.L. Dewart (Five Ten Tapes)


ONION FLAVORED RINGS:
Funny: 7”
Funny has instantly appealing sing-songy tunes anchored down with the weight of morose lyrics. These tunes’ ingenuity captures life’s dichotomy of happy and sad. On one hand, Onion Flavored Rings’ guitar riffs make me feel super happy and carefree, like I was fourteen years old again and listening to early Green Day for the first time. On the other, scratch just beneath the surface of their sugar high riffs and you’ll find things are a bit more serious and not quite as happy as they appear. Take the poignant song, “Gurgle + Coup” about the birth of a child: “For you the flower of youth is blossoming; ‘Scrap Heap of History’ for me.” It’s songwriter, Steve Funyon, musing of how the happiest moments in life are truly the ones that bring the most suffering and frustration. This plays out through the entire EP. In the track “Running Away,” the happiness of one lover’s freedom is the anguish of the other one’s loss as the chorus explains, “You’re running away, Now it’s your moment: Free from underneath the thumb of torment. And your success now, Is my catastrophe.” Musically, the band never seems to seep down into a minor key anywhere. All five tracks come across rocking out—really up beat—like an Egghead or Nerf Herder tune. I don’t’ think any other band possesses the ability to make life’s mishaps sound so happy the way the Onion Flavored Rings does. This is one 7” worth getting. –N.L. Dewart (Thrillhouse)


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