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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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LUDICRA:
Hollow Psalms: CD
Ludicra takes a black metal stance toward a preoccupation with melody but leaves enough regular metal and grind tacked on to keep the proceedings in full swing. Better than average for the genre.
–Cuss Baxter (Life is Abuse)


LOT SIX, THE:
Animals: CD
Noisy stuff that sometimes veers into Barkmarket country, sometimes dips its toes in the Nirvana pool, and sometimes just gives it the ol’ college try. I like and greatly appreciate the diversity of sounds. Ain’t exactly my cup of tea, but I do respect ’em for bein’ a little off the beaten path.
–Jimmy Alvarado (Espo)


LOST SOUNDS, THE:
Rat: CD
The last Lost Sounds, Black Wave, had me super confused. There were parts I truly liked, but, man alive, if I'd space out for a bit, I'd glance back over at the stereo and feel that someone had stuffed a sea urchin and some tight underwear on me and thrust me into a prog-rock desert party whence I got a body-wide, nasty sunburn. It got me downright confused. But, Rat's Brains & Microchips rectifies that by chopping down the song length, stripping the trippiness, and comes blazing out confidently. Instead of gingerly picking influences off the ground like garments at an over-stocked Goodwill, you get full tackles of a bunch of diverse shit. Especially when Alicja takes the vocal helm, there's Siouxie and the Banshees but with rusty blades and Converse instead of fake eyelashes feel. There's a real nice balance between ethereal – led by the synthesizer and cello – and the deranged and garagey (albeit intergalactic garagey) that makes me think of both Servotron and Man or AstroMan, but they're definitely taking cues from a deep, dark, swirling well of their own. The result is the record I was hoping for the last time around. I can't seem to take this off my stereo. Flat-out fantastic.
–Todd Taylor (Empty)


LIPSTICK PICKUPS/BIKINI BUMPS:
: Split 7"
The Lipstick Pickups play great poppy rock and roll (with a clear Bobbyteens/ Nikki & the Corvettes influence!), with cool girl vocals. The Bikini Bumps play good old-fashioned poppy rock and roll. If striped t-shirts, tight pants, and skinny ties are yer thing, you know what I mean, you’ll eat this up! If this were a cereal, it’d be Fruit Loops! Punk!
–Maddy (Geykido Comet/Erectords)


LIPSTICK PICKUPS/BIKINI BUMPS:
: Split 7"
Lipstick Pickups start off on side one and you feel the snot shooting out from the noses of their dual female vocal attack. The music is a garage-soaked rock'n'roll fun time. I flip the platter of vinyl to listen to the Bikini Bumps. They play a raw, early '80s OC surf style of punk that is snotty and edgy. The stripped down recording does them justice. Two unknowns (at least to me) put out a great sample of their music, which is worthy of your hard earned dollars.
–Donofthedead (Geykido Comet)


LEFT WITH NOTHING:
Good Things Come to Those Who Wait: CD
You dudes need some Prozac. Oh, and metal disguised as hardcore bites the weenie.
–Jimmy Alvarado (Excursion)


LEECHES, THE:
Suck: CD
Well, luckily for them they don't "suck," but their brand of art-punk ain't exactly engaging, either.
–Jimmy Alvarado (www.theleeches.com)


LAST IN LINE:
Self-titled: 7" EP
One of the best hardcore bands out of Mass. They’re right up there with Out Cold, Cops’n’Robbers, and A Poor Excuse. Fast, hard, and right on the mark. They make me homesick for east coast shows.
–Megan Pants (Gloom)


LANDSPEEDRECORD:
Good Housekeeping: CD
Arty college rock/emo. Not only did I not like it for what it was, I disliked it for what it wasn’t. There wasn’t one ridiculously fast song on here, and with a name like Landspeedrecord, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect such things. They also failed to provide a single tip on how to more effectively maintain a certain level of cleanliness at the crib. What a letdown. Distributed by Dischord, as if that really makes a difference. –Jimmy Alvarado (Ambiguous City)
–Jimmy Alvarado (Ambiguous City)


SAHARA HOT NIGHTS:
Jennie Bomb: CD
Being from Sweden, this all girl outfit has benefited from having a Hives connection. It's interesting how other countries absorb American culture. There's a definite Suzy Quatro influence here but also quite a bit of '80s arena pop/metal. The songs basically rock and have the kind of themes you'd expect to find on a Runaways record (or the earliest Donnas record, for that matter) such as "Alright Alright (Here's My Fist Where's the Fight?)." More of a garage influence may have made this more palatable. –Bob Cantu
–Guest Contributor (Jetset)


REIGNING SOUND:
Time Bomb High School: CD
This band definitely has a British Invasion influence. There's a little bit of Beatles, Animals and Them in the structure of songs like "Stormy Weather," "Straight Shooter," and "Brown Paper Sack." "I Don't Believe" sounds a bit like the Troggs. Everything sounds catchy and familiar in an oldies station sort of way. With more production and a little polish they could sound like Bruce Springsteen. Let's hope that doesn't happen. –Bob Cantu
–Guest Contributor (In The Red)


RADIO VAGO:
Black & White Photo Enterprise: Vinyl and CD EP
With two singles available on independent labels and a long out-of-print D.I.Y. recording, Black & White stands as Radio Vago's first CD release for national consumption. The five songs included are re-mixed and re-mastered from the band's self-released, self-titled CD. The guitar volume, vocals, and over-all sound quality is a definite improvement. With a sound that is difficult to categorize, Radio Vago's music seems to reflect a bevy of diverse influences such as Patti Smith, Iggy, Joy Division, Gang Of Four and the Screamers without ever sounding recycled. The CD's stand out track is a song about enforced gender rolls entitled "My New Suit" – a fast paced number on which every member's contribution shines, from the loopy keyboard intro, to the winding chorus that builds, to singer Adrienne Pearson's impassioned cry "Every Sunday, my mommy tries to help me and she makes me put on my stupid dress." This EP is a worthy prelude of greater things to come. –Bob Cantu
–Guest Contributor (Buddyhead)


MR. AIRPLANE MAN:
Moanin: CD
Low fi dirty blues stuff, kinda like Demolition Doll Rods only more bluesy. Margaret Garrett is an inspired guitar player and an apt singer while drummer Tara McManus fills things out nicely. The best songs are the ones that sound like lost '60s Nuggets: "Very Bad Feeling," "Wonderin'" and the cover of the Eccentrics "Podunk Holler." Another Jim Diamond engineered, minimalist blues/rock band from Detroit that doesn't sound like the White Stripes. Makes you think, huh? –Bob Cantu
–Guest Contributor (Sympathy)


KILLS, THE:
Black Rooster: 7" EP
The mysterious VV and Hotel come off like a cross between Mecca Normal and Royal Trux but the result is way more satisfying than anything either of those minimalist bands on this debut EP. Mostly 'cause the Kills don't sound minimalist at all. The potential of every song is deftly realized. "Cats Claw" starts out like a lost Mick Taylor-era Rolling Stones track and then kicks it up a notch with some seriously fuzzed out guitar and "Black Rooster" sounds like ZZ Top on meth amphetamines. Side two gives us "Wait," a sing-songy blues number and "Dropout Boogie" re-envisions the Kinks "You Really Got Me" riff as an angry blues number. They don't sound like the White Stripes. –Bob Cantu
–Guest Contributor (Dim Mak)


KENNEDY:
Self-titled: CD
Mop topped singer/bass player Kennedy carries on the work begun in the now-defunct Body English. There's a bit of an English Invasion influence here and the whole thing plays out almost like a Quadrophenia-style concept album. (Kennedy claims it isn't, but...) The first track, "Wake Up Motherfucker," introduces us to a horny, shiftless protagonist with a maxed out credit card and a rapidly depleting trust fund. In "Turkey Pot Pie," he sets out for New Orleans with "a bottle of port and an ounce of weed" and an eye out for your girlfriend. He rationalizes his reckless ways in "If Tomorrow Never Comes," and, declaring that "the universe is a maze and it's got me by the brains," indulges in all manner of excess, getting "hopped on goofballs and dreams" and later, engaging in bizarre sex acts in "Cold Pussy." He winds up, as many a reckless youth has, mixing it up with Silver Lake hipsters at the Fold in "The Scott Sterling Extreme Sports Challenge" before hitting rock bottom in "Cocaine Junkie O.D." and "Goatfuck." He reaches an epiphany in "I Love Me" and becomes re-programmed in "Utilitarian Cafeteria." Well, that's how I saw it, anyway. –Bob Cantu
–Guest Contributor (Sea Level)


JOHN BROWN’S ARMY:
Who Fucked the Culture Up?: CD
Fast, tight hardcore with decent lyrical content. Ain’t too fond of the gruff-guy vocal style, but the music made up for it.
–Jimmy Alvarado (Gloom)


JOAN OF ARC:
So Much Staying Alive and Lovelessness: CD
I didn’t even make it through the first song, “On a Bedsheet in the Breeze on the Roof.” At best I’d say that it’s kind of like Pearl Jam inviting a hot new guitarist to jam with them in an acoustic set. I’d burn this at the stake any day.
–Megan Pants (Jade Tree)


JEZUS AND THE GOSPELFUCKERS/AGENT ORANGE:
Couldn’t Care Less: CD
Tracks from two of Holland’s legendary hardcore bands are once again made available to the teeming masses. As can be expected, the proceedings are loud, rude and up to here with Discharge influence. Definitely worth the time if you can get your mitts on it.
–Jimmy Alvarado (Kangaroo)


JERRYCAN:
Prog-ress: CD
Sounds like college boys slumming with the punkers to garner at least some semblance of a music career.
–Jimmy Alvarado (www.jerrycan.com)


JELLO BIAFRA:
Machine Gun in the Clown: 3 X CD
Another ultra-long player of spoken word from Biafra, this one focusing on 9/11, the resulting war on terrorism and the general corporate and governmental shenanigans that all of the banging of the war drums is supposed to be covering up. Love him or hate him, you’ve gotta give Biafra his propers. At a time in American history when civil liberties are being wholly done away with and openly questioning the government’s actions could result in a nice long jail stay (or worse), he’s there, reminding us all that no matter what sugarplum dreams the major corporate media lulls us sleep with, no matter how many pills the Ministry of Wellness force-feeds us to make us “better,” no matter how many times King Georgie the Lesser insists that the only way to achieve peace is through all-out war, when punk seems to be more content to wallow in an insipid realm of fart jokes and affected posturing and suckle the corporate nipple than to actually raise a little ruckus, reality is sometimes worse than your wildest nightmares. Call him paranoid, but that don’t mean they ain’t out to get you.
–Jimmy Alvarado (Alternative Tentacles)


JAWBREAKER:
Etc.: 2 X LP
It's been a long time since I've heard new-to-me Jawbreaker songs. I really enjoy the sense of raw discovery that Jawbreaker provided me for the years they were actively releasing records. They're amazing – they came at punk rock, cracked its walnut and got to the soft flesh, but never forgot the texture of hardness. The duality was both poetic and durable. This is a collection of some early almost-demo songs (the demo, Rise, had Jon Liu singing every song but one), comp tracks, split 7"s, and out-of-print singles, all the way through their last release, the still-controversial Dear You. The songs are placed in chronological order, which is a great way to see how they refined and redirected their sound without abandoning what made them great: the power of three instruments ever inter-locking then breaking to breathe and Blake's tender knife-to-throat urban lullaby lyrics. If you've never heard of 'em, take Leatherface, move 'em to California, shake on Husker Du's bulletproof songwriting skill, open up an exposed soul, duct tape it together in a big ball, and stuff into a rattling tour van. The LP record dust jackets are great, too, with scans of Walter Matthau's attorney ordering a cease and desist from using one of the Odd Couples' pictures on the Busy 7" and a play-by-play of every song by all three members. Highlights: "Split" off their split 7" with Samiam that was released with No Idea Magazine, the spot-on cover of the Psychedelic Furs' "Into You Like a Train," "First Step," (a song slated for what I consider their magnum opus, 24 Hour Revenge Therapy) and the re-do of "Boxcar." Only one song makes me cringe – the U2 medley that segues into the Misfits "Skulls." All in all, though, this is fantastic. Highly recommended. I'm stoked this stuff is easier to find now and all in one place.
–Todd Taylor (Blackball)


JACK HOUSEN:
Two Lane Road: CD
Some pretty good stuff here from a guy that is going off the beaten path and actually writing songs rather than merely following a well-worn template to fit into some prefabricated genre. His style is engaging, sometimes maybe a bit mellow, but the arrangements are inventive enough to warrant future listens.
–Jimmy Alvarado (Jack Housen)


I AM SPOONBENDER:
Shown Actual Size: CDEP
Minimalist synth-driven new wave. Very mellow in comparison to the racket produced by bands like Polysics, the Epoxies and Le Shok, but it does have a certain amount of charm nonetheless. Wouldn’t mind hearing a full-length disc.
–Jimmy Alvarado (GSL)


HOBART:
Self-titled: CDEP
The bass player of Hobart sent me this CD to review, along with a note saying that he’d read one of my reviews and decided that, judging from my review, I didn’t know shit about music in Tucson. He sent me a whole package of music that was supposed to educate me. In the package were a couple of Blacks seven inches (so I knew he had good taste); a CD he burned for me with a bunch of cool Tucson bands like the Weird Lovemakers, the Blacks, and Los Federales; and this CDEP. It was hell of a good package, and I’ll take criticism like that any day if the criticism comes with cool music to back it up. I’ll have to admit that I really scrutinized this EP the most, thinking to myself, if this guy says he knows so much about music, let’s see how he backs it up. So I listened really closely to these three Hobart songs as they came blaring out of my speakers all disjointed and noisy and solid and in blocks of time that far exceeded the requisite two-minute punk song. It was a little arty. I could hear some Hot Snakes in the guitar. The vocals started, and my first thought was, oh, shit, they should’ve stuck with just the instrumental parts. The songs continued to wind up and build into this crazy ball of tension. And, luckily, they remembered to bring on the rock. These songs were way better than I hoped they’d be. I decided to listen to the EP a few more times and hope that I could find something to criticize about them, but the more I listened, the less criticism I had. By the third listen, I even liked the vocals. What can I say? This shit rips. Consider me educated.
–Sean Carswell (Sumo Agnew)


HIGH BEAMS:
Hallucination: CD
Safe, bland, teethless pop punk pap that isn't even remotely worth commenting on. Make this hallucination stop.
–aphid (Dead Beat)


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