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One Punks Guide to Pinball, by Kayla Greet
Razorcake #92
Spokenest, Gone, Gone, Gone LP
Pinned In Place, Ghostwritten By LP
Razorcake #91


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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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DISCO FOR FERNS, A:
Look Who’s Laughing: CD
I try to tell myself that behind every horrendous piece of music I hear there are real people who may have been passionate and well-intentioned about the slop they ended up putting together. A Disco For Ferns is probably not a bunch of kids who hastily tossed this crapfest together to impress their friends. They’re probably people who really put their hearts into this music, intending to put together something meaningful. It’s just a matter of coincidence that the fifteen minutes worth of music that came out sounds like a bunch of four-year-olds screaming and growling into a tape recorder while their older brothers pretend to play real instruments. Unfortunately, I don’t review intentions. –mp (Self-released, myspace.com/adiscoforferns)


DISCO FOR FERNS, A:
Chemical Burn: CD
Good bass and drum duo playing three chord hardcore. The band is billed as grindcore, but the songs on the demo sort of resemble Cryptic Slaughter with a hint of early Dischord vocals at the helm. Maybe they play faster live, but the pace on the demo is more in the vein of pissed-off skate rock. The recording is low-fi. This is what you want to hear when you put on a demo; it sounds urgent and unpretentious. –Billups Allen (OBZ8, myspace.com/adiscoforferns)


DETOURNEMENT:
Awaken with Millions from One Heart: 11” heart-shaped surface, 7” playing surface
I question the format size because the actual playing surface is that of a 7”, the actual size of the red, heart-shaped vinyl is eleven inches. But this record does not need a collectability gimmick, in my opinion. The anti-capitalistic, working-class communisto punk rocks really well. Good, politically-oriented, blistering punk rock that touches primal nerves and makes you want to smash the state. However, the mix sucks. The record sounds like it was recorded on a two-track through a towel. Despite that, however, this is a really solid record and I enjoyed every second of it. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Pirates Press)


DESTRUCTORS 666:
POW! That’s Kill Music 666: CD
Completely thorough discography (plus new tracks) for this original English UK82 band. Meticulous, living-history liner notes, sentimentally notating dates, times, places, and reasons. Hard-charging tracks like “Bullsht” and “Scuzz Rock Accelerator” take me back to more carefree days. –thiringer (Rowdy Farrago, destructors666.com)


DEFECT DEFECT:
Self-titled: 12” EP
Finally available on vinyl, this is one killer 12”. Defect Defect is one of the best bands in the U.S. playing mid-(to fast)-tempo, straight-forward hardcore punk. It definitely has its flourishes and intricacies, but its most valuable asset is its bass-heavy, to-the-point aggression. No clutter, no distractions, just rock solid songs. It’s been a long time since the Words EP came out, but this record has made it worth the wait. –Daryl Gussin (Residue)


DANGERS:
Messy, Isn’t It?: LP+CD
Good effin’ lord! If you’re in the market for let-it-all-out hardcore that’s full of passion and righteousness, then I highly suggest this band. Vitriol Records has definitely become known for pushing the envelope for both packaging and sound, and this latest release is quite a piece of work. Dangers are able to bridge the gap between an emotional conversation between close friends/family and a fucking maelstrom of human limbs and torsos the size of a DIY venue. While the average hardcore fan (ex: B9, RevHQ, S&F Fest) may be completely turned off by the experimental, and artful, aspects of this record, the amount of thought that must have gone into it is incredibly daunting. It’s impossible not to be completely wrapped up in it as it descends into despair, then rises up, completely determined. Completely consumed. In addition to this record being an amazing accomplishment, the times I’ve seen this band live, it truly was an inspiring experience. Something that hardcore should always be, but falls short of all too often. –Daryl Gussin (Vitriol, info@vitriolrecords.com / Penguin Suit)


DECAY, THE:
This Month’s Rent: CD
The Decay appears at first blush to play typically generic, sing-a-long melodic punk. But it doesn’t take long for this young Canadian band to grab you with their earnestness. It’s incredible to think of how many kids have recorded songs about being broke and punk over the years, yet The Decay still packs quite the punch. I’m rocking to and fro like the autistic audience in that old Billy Joel video as I’m grooving to these catchy tunes. Play This Month’s Rent and pretend you’re on a punk version of Silent Library in which the goal is not to smile. There’s no way you’ll make it two songs in before you’re grinning ear to fucking ear. –Art Ettinger (Juice Box, juiceboxdotcom.com)


DEADLY COMPANIONS:
You’re Not the Only One: 7”
Whoa—I heard an earlier split 7” with the Deadly Companions and was not into it; felt uninspired. But this is freaking great, with a kickass get-up-and-go I felt the last one missed. Three songs chock full of energy, pulling the fuzz out of the pedals with strained, anxious vocals trying to push the depression away. Speedy and trashy and tight: the way you want it when you drive real fast. Guitarist Rob Yazzie played bass in The Fells, keeping the static family tree going. –mike (Post Party Depression, myspace.com/deadlycompanions)


DAYLIGHT ROBBERY:
Through the Confusion: LP
It’s obvious how similar Chicago’s Daylight Robbery are to X. When you hear the noirish rock’n’roll and male/female crooning, John Doe and Exene come right to mind. But, after seeing Daylight Robbery last night, and playing their LP this morning, I’m prepared to offer a new theory: Daylight Robbery sound like The B-52s. Bear with me! Tell me that Christine doesn’t sound like Kate Pierson. Tell me that the wide space between the driving rhythm section and Dave’s scratchy guitar don’t offer a new wave danciness that might be heard on “Planet Claire.” Sure, Dave doesn’t sound like Fred Schneider (for shame!), and they’re playing moody punk with slice o’ city life lyrics, but there’s more to Daylight Robbery than your X or Gun Club comparisons can provide. X make me want to squint through my hangover and Gun Club make me want to drive into the desert and ditch my car, but Daylight Robbery make me want to throw a party and serve neon punch. Ten songs that blow by fast. –CT Terry (Residue, residue-records.com)


CRIME IN STEREO:
I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone: LP
In the interest of candidness, I haven’t heard this band since 2008’s Selective Wreckage, their singles collection, which was also my introduction to ‘em. So yeah, I’m definitely a novice when it comes to their catalogue. I do remember not being terribly impressed with Selective Wreckage but willing to write off the questionable production tricks and stutters and skips in pacing due to the fact that it was indeed a singles collection. The problem is that Crime In Stereo suffers from the same thing here: I Was Trying… still sounds like a group relying way too heavily on flash and smoke; in effect-trickery instead of actual songwriting. Like they’re more interested in crafting interesting sections rather than whole songs, you know? In a song like “Drugwolf,” the guitarists utilize more effects than The Edge did throughout the entire goddamn recording of The Joshua Tree, and “Not Dead,” the following song, sounds like a drawn-out mixmash of Nirvana and Marilyn Manson or something equally as ridiculous. And that’s just two songs. The production values are either incredible or woefully overblown, depending on your viewpoint, and while there are brief flashes of hardcore scattered throughout the album, the band’s mostly relying on these strange, nearly prog-rock structures peppered with speed bumps of radio-friendly dross. What is great in theory just makes it, in reality, nearly impossible to discern one song from another. The whole thing eventually comes across as background noise with some odd random jarring parts thrown in every once in a while. Some people would say it’s a “challenging” record; to me it just sounds like various song parts smooshed together and coated in some kind of ProTools gloss in the hopes that it’ll sound like a cohesive album. There are undoubtedly some fascinating parts here, but that doesn’t exactly make for compelling and repeated listens, you know? –keith (Bridge 9)


CRIME:
Extortion: EP
Let me get this out of the way, so we’re all clear here, Crime are one of my all time favorite bands. The whole mythic aura, the music, all of it. So I was a bit surprised to see they put out a new record. Didn’t really expect that. Now, after listening to it, I wonder if this wasn’t Crime, would anyone care enough to put it out? There’s nothing on here that is really interesting. The team-up with Gnawa Express on the B side is a little out of left field, but, at the same time, it’s just rock’n’roll in the end, despite the Moroccan music cut in at parts. “Crazy Beat” sounds pretty similar to “I Feel Alright” from the Stooges, only less power. Seriously, if this wasn’t Crime, I doubt anyone would be interested in hearing this. Absolutely disposable. Blehhhh.... –Matt Average (FYBS, fybsrecords.com)


COCONUT COOLOUTS:
Halloween Party Songs: 7”
The title is no joke—these tunes sound like they come straight outta the set of the DJ at Marilyn Munster’s sweet sixteen party on Dr. Frankenstein’s Isle of Evil. “The Last Man that You Will Ever See” is the darker of the two, while “The Monsters Crash (the Regular People’s Party)” is the more celebratory stomper. My inner monster kid likes this loads. –jimmy (Dirtnap, dirtnaprecs.com)


COCOCOMA:
Things Are Not All Right: CD
Lots of bands have brilliant singles and then some filler. CoCoComa has less explosions and more solid, invigorating punk rock. Bands don’t have to reinvent punk; just got to do it right. CoCoComa is fuckin’ dependable. –mike (Goner)


CIRCLE ONE:
Patterns of Force: LP
Circle One—with John Macias’s vocals drenched in oil slicks of reverb—is like convincing someone to listen to the Dead Kennedys or Cypress Hill for the first time. It sounds like a band fronted by a cartoon character toying with opera… and it can be a jarring experience. When “The Gospel” and “Our Sword” kick in, you realize, “Oh. Fuck. They’re Christians.” Yes and no. John was deeply religious. He also had grave mental problems that would tragically end his life in Santa Monica after being shot multiple times after throwing someone over the side of a pier. There’s also the gray area of John’s cult-like personality, the violence (to others and himself) and The Family’s gang tendencies and tactics. So, yeah, Circle One is a cryptic, paradoxical band that doesn’t unravel cleanly. They’re more like a chunky candy bar left out in the sun. No matter how you try, there’ll always be a bit of a mess on the wrapper, but it’s still worth the effort. Also, unlike ninety-nine percent of East L.A. bands, Circle One actually released vinyl when they were an active band, which was no small feat. Originally released in 1983 by Upstart Records, Patterns of Force was never that easy to find. But with Mass Media and Puke N Vomit co-releasing this re-issue, it’s much more than just an artifact. It’s a fascinating and powerful snapshot of a time in punk in a place that didn’t get much attention compared to other bands—Black Flag, Circle Jerks—just fifteen miles away. If you’ve never crossed paths with Circle One or if you’re in the doldrums of listening to the same twenty-five “punk favorites” albums in your collection, this comes highly recommended and remains to hold its own distinct personality over twenty-five years after its initial release. –todd (Mass Media / Puke N Vomit)


CAVES:
Self-titled: 7”
Four songs of rolling, melodic punk from England. Caves have indie-influenced guitar breaks, female vocals, and whoah-oh hooks. I wish they resisted the temptation to do the refrain one last time, but hey, that repetition does offer another chance to sing along. This record is definitely a winner and should be checked out, especially if you like The Soviettes or Lemuria. –CT Terry (Specialist Subject, specialistsubjectrecords.co.uk)


CAPITALIST KIDS:
Acceptable Boundaries: CD-R
Interesting bit of work here. They appear to be a contemporary band that hails from Texas, but musically and lyrically they would’ve fit in quite nicely with the Lookout Records/Northern California “geekcore” bands of the mid/late-’80s. Zippy, poppy punk here with lyrics that vacillate between the personal and political, all of which is done well above average. –jimmy (Capitalist Kids)


CANADIAN RIFLE:
Facts: 7”
Chicago’s grouchiest strike again: three new songs, hot on the heels of their LP. Canadian Rifle’s sound has been getting progressively darker, and that depression gave their LP a couple of snoozy spots. Since then, they’ve figured out how to harness that ill will and use that anger to polish tiny diamonds of punkness from what had threatened to become charcoal bricks. Here’s to a new direction and rejuvenation for one of my favorite Chicago bands. –CT Terry (Residue, residue-records.com)


BUKKAKE BOYS:
2nd: 7”
Wait! Read this review. This band isn’t some cock rock’n’roll bar shit. They just have a stupid name. Total early OC-meets-Boston hardcore forklift brawl. And if there are any rules at this rumble, the participants are unaware. God bless the Bukkake Boys for keeping the drum count at the beginning of most of the songs, and for being so gloriously hostile to everyone who lives in the same town as them. –Daryl Gussin (Sorry State)


BREWTAL THIRST:
Hard Work: CD
Six more songs from these hard-drinkin’, hard-rockin’ Seattlites. Nothing fancy, no frills, just some nice, fast punk tunes about drinking from dudes who seem to know what they’re talking about. Every time I hear these guys, they remind me of Fear, and that’s not a bad thing at all. Very nicely recorded and mixed by Conrad Uno. –Ryan Horky (Wet Brain)


BOX ELDERS:
Alice and Friends: Cassette
I am not a fan of the recent cassette tape craze that’s sweeping the nation. My girlfriend and I have three cassette players between us and not a single one of them works. In fact, I don’t know anyone who owns a functioning cassette player. It was worth it to track one down, though, because the Box Elders are thee shit and write indelibly catchy tunes. The problem I have with this type of release is that the album is readily available on LP, CD, and MP3. Are there really that many folks out there who listen to music exclusively in the cassette format? No way. I’m not convinced that tapes like this will survive in the music delivery landscape other than as annoying novelties. Still, if your heart is set on purchasing a cassette to stuff into your hopelessly outdated Walkman, this is the one to buy because the Box Elders rule. –benke (Burger)


BLUE RIBBON BOYS:
Suicidal EP: CD
Fun punk irreverence that brings to mind the glory days of the Weirdos, Tits, Creamers, Stitches, and more. The most carefree fun I’ve had in awhile, even on the dorky songs like “Roses and Razorblades.” –thiringer (Rockin’ Stan)


BLOTTO / CONNIPTION FITS / SASS DRAGONS / PROHIBITION:
Split: 7”
It’s always nice to open a package from Razorcake and find a record that you actually want to review. I love Blotto and the track on this four-way split 7” is no exception. It’s definitely the standout track here, and you should buy this for that reason alone. The other groups are no slouches though: Prohibition’s song is pretty solid and the Sass Dragons are fast and fun. I thought the Conniption Fits had the weakest offering here, but they list their bass player as “Dale Nixon” so you’ve gotta love that. Cover art by Ben Snakepit! –Ryan Horky (ADD / Let’s Pretend, addrecs.com / myspace.com/letspretendrecs))


BIRTHDAY SUITS:
The Minnesota: Mouth to Mouth: CD
Punchy, strange punk that flip flops between some of the most undeniable hooks this side of Denton and guitar-heavy crunch time that’s on par with the Congelliere-tone. I’ve spent a lot of time listening to this band—probably their split with the Marked Men receiving the most spins—and nothing could have prepared me for their live set: two truly talented musicians, skillfully concocting a sound that’s so massive, bizarre, and enticing. If there were ever a common ground between The Blind Shake and Shellshag, it would be the Birthday Suits. And if you’re a fan of punk that should be considered “post-punk,” but never will be due to ridiculous presumptions, I suggest checking out all three of those bands. –Daryl Gussin (Nice & Neat)


BIRDS AND WIRES:
Self-titled: 12” EP
You ever call it in the air? You ever just look at a record—you’ve never heard the band before, nothing—and just get the feeling it’s gonna hit you right between the eyes, like, perfectly? That’s the feeling I got with this four-song twelve inch. One look and I was pretty sure; one spin and I was positive. That’s all it took. The songs are long and take some time to gather themselves and fully depart the station—but when they do, you’re in for the long haul. Complex, dense-but-pretty music that’s filled to the brim with a sense of place and atmosphere. There’s a working template of mid-tempo ‘90s screamo with a heavy nod to the drama and willful theatrics of Moss Icon, coupled with a more modern sense of a slowly gathering calamity that bands like Aussitot Mort and Amanda Woodward manage to nail every time. Like the fucking bottom’s about to drop out and you can’t wait for that to happen, you know? It’s a rare bit of music that really takes me out of myself these days, fully out of my own head, but these four beautiful and ferocious songs by Birds And Wires have done it repeatedly since that first listen. –keith (Amor y Lucha)


BILL BONDSMEN:
Accident Prone: 7”
Much like Local Cross’s outing with the Cola Freaks, on this record you get two doses of warped, questioning punk rock. Yet with only two tracks, the Bill Bondsmen develop these bleak landscapes that make Cormac McCarthy’s darkest shadows look like Louis L’Amour’s book covers. Reminiscent of both the Estranged and We March. Coiled desperation from the frozen, haunted tundra of Detroit. –Daryl Gussin (Local Cross)


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·BOMBSITE BOYS
·BRASSKNUCKLE BOYS
·TROPHY WIVES
·PIETASTERS, THE
·BRAIN FOOD
·PRETTYBOY THORSON AND THE F’N A’S
·DEFECT DEFECT / DAYLIGHT ROBBERY / FOREIGN OBJECTS
·YOUNG GUV & THE SCUZZ
·YOU IDIOT


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