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· 1:Off With Their Heads Top Shelf Interview Podcast
· 2:D4th of July, 2014
· 3:Trials and Tribulations of a Misguided Adult
· 4:Radon Interview
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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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HOT CROSS/LIGHT THE FUSE AND RUN:
Split: CDEP
Two songs and one video of each. Hot Cross’ video is a simple live clip with attendant poor sound, and their studio tracks are too heavy on the jangle and noodle to get away with so much screaming about eyes and hands and voices and pictures. Light the Fuse and Run, on the other hand, turned in a better video (interview and live footage, soundtracked with the two songs from the audio part of the disc) and better songs: second one’s a slow, quiet instrumental that evokes old Western movies, but “Ghost Town” shows that these fellows know how to write a dang song: meaty riffs, proper timing on the tension-buildup parts, discriminate use of “fuck”s, and lyrics that, while obscure, actually bring to mind something concrete. Ain’t no Flesh Eating Creeps, but what is? –Cuss Baxter (Level Plane/Electric Human Project)


HOT CARL:
God Bless America, Popcorn Shrimp’s on Sale Demo: CDEP
My memory of Dubuque is fuzzy. Did I see Hot Carl, or were they just around when people were falling out of trees in inflated inner tubes, before the paint fire, before I almost got in a fight with a guy who kept on pushing me to say, “Fred Durst is a genius”? I understand I was drunk for the better part of the week, and that may help explain why I didn’t realize how great they were. Maybe it’s I’m not so up on their name. Dunno. Hot Carl’s got the hard, tightly structured but expansive melody of Tiltwheel (plus that “it sounds happy but it’s not” quality), hitched onto guitar parts that Jughead of Screeching Weasel would approve of. (Plus the double lyrical meaning in SW. “I’m Doing Fine” is a song about losing it. And “Sympathy” is followed by the parenthetical “(or lack thereof)”) But it’s better than just that, much like Rivethead’s Thundercat music machine is better than the sum of their parts. The songs punch and leave marks of their own and the all the bands I referred them to before are just whizzing-by signposts. I say write them, send a couple of bucks, and have them burn you a copy. This one caught me by surprise. –Todd Taylor (Hot Carl, 140 Loras Blvd. #4, Dubuque, IA 52001)


HORDE, THE:
Self-titled:: 7” EP
They remind me of the Cro-Mags and that, my dear friends, is not a compliment –Jimmy Alvarado (www.1234gorecords.com)


HELLS, THE:
: CDEP
Woo, here’s some sexy two-piece rock’n’roll. Sexier than the White Stripes, even. Sounds like the Stooges run through Boss Hog with a little Blue Cheer on top. The man sings one song (and sounds like the guy from Mudhoney), but the lady sings the other five (there’s a drummer, too, but I can’t tell if he’s a proper Hell) in a strong, sweet, accented (they’re from the UK, but she sounds Scandinavian to me) voice that drips charm and authority. I expect if they can get themselves in American clubs and a full-length in our stores, they should do pretty dang well in today’s climate. –Cuss Baxter (Artrocker)


HEADHUNTERS, THE:
Escape the Grave: 7”
Punk bands can be so encouraging. Always railing against the system, stickin’ it to the man, defending your right to be yourself, no matter how fucked up you might be. Of course, sometimes the venom of bands like the Headhunters can be diluted by lyrics like “Don’t let them take your dreams away!” That’s nice, but isn’t “they” a little vague? And then there’s the b-side, “Skinhead Time.” The world needs another hooligan shout-a-long about “boots and braces” like it needs another Third World invasion. And what’s with all the misplaced nostalgia? What exactly was so fucking wonderful about the good ol’ skinhead days? Were Docs cheaper or something? Where there less poseurs or immigrants or what? Who cares? This sort of hooligan romanticism gives me the creeps. –eric (Haunted Town)


HAPPENING, THE:
Shit Happens: CD
An ultra-tight halfway mix between The Eyeliners and Discount by a power trio fronted by two Japanese ladies who are concerned with world and personal politics. I have a feeling they can play their instruments behind their backs, or upside down, or in the shower, yet there’s enough playfulness and art-kept-in-check pretensions that’s very appealing. When they slow it down, the songs actually breathe in and out and have nice flourishes, instead of repeating in a lock step. Shit Happens’ got a very clean pop rock’n’roll feel that at first didn’t get me, but on the headphones, there’s no dead spots, so it’s much better than first blush. I always enjoy the translations (it’s sung in accented English): “The punch lines goes disarm or we’ll break you arm/ We’ve got what it takes to wipe a whole country.” Although not earth shattering, a welcome listen. This would fit right in on Crackle Records out of England, if that helps. –Todd Taylor (The Happening)


GREAT REDNECK HOPE:
‘splosion: CD
Full-on noisecore. Not my cup of tea, but the song titles (e.g., “Girl, Are You Down with Bacteria? And If So, Would You Like to See the Inside of Our Van?”) are brilliant. –Jimmy Alvarado (Thinker Thought)


GLORYHOLES/ FLIP TOPS:
split: 7"

Gloryholes: Snotty sounding “whoo yeah!” rock with tambourine. Flip Tops: I like these tracks much more than I liked their full-length on Rip-Off, which I liked quite a bit. Everything just sounds like it’s come together so much tighter and fits together better now. Dirty rock’n’roll with a garage-y feel. Well worth picking up.

–Megan Pants (Johnny Cat)


GIANT HAYSTACKS:
How We Lost the War: 7” EP
Sounds like a mod version of The Punch Line era Minutemen, which doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense to me, though i guess this is not the gravest crisis of faith ever brought upon me by the postmodernist era. Might be the crude, early baby steps of a band that grows to do things of substantial tremendousness in the future; might be the only tolerable record by a band that later becomes an aggravating pack of pretentious, overexposed weenies. Only time will tell, but they’re sure not winning any friends by adorning their front cover with a photo of a row of airport lobby seats – possibly the one image guaranteed to cause a Pavlovian homicidal reaction in everyone who comes across it. BEST SONG: “How We Lost the War” BEST SONG TITLE: “The Pigs vs. The Kids” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Band makes no mention whatsoever of ‘70s wrestler Haystacks Calhoun, even though, tipping the scales at 500 pounds or so, one cannot help but view him as the only appropriate choice for band mascot. –Rev. Norb (Giant Haystacks)


GHOULIES, THE:
Communication: CD
If you can imagine what Zeke would sound like if they slowed down and wrote incredibly general and vague political songs about how they’re, like, totally pissed because, like, there are these companies, see? And they, like, make money and that’s, like, totally unfair, see? And, like, television is bad, see? And they probably really mean it… man. At any rate, if you can imagine that, then you really don’t need this record. And just to be perfectly clear, the above comments should be not be construed in any way, shape or form to constitute anything resembling a recommendation. They are, in fact, the exact opposite. I’m urging you to save yourself the time in your life that I just wasted on this boring piece of unimaginative, uninteresting and uninspired shit. –Puckett (Rockstar)


GC5, THE:
Kisses from Hanoi/ Horseshoes and Handgrenades: CD
Glory be. It’s cool to hear from Razorcake #13’s cover boys, even if it’s a re-release. The increasingly more difficult to get Kisses from Hanoi LP, originally released by Outsider, cozied up to the Horseshoes EP, makes for some prime Cleveland fuck the man listening. This is the era where the GC5 came into true form. They shed the growing skins of being very sonically close to Rancid, established their footing, planted a political flag right in the ass of corporate America, and began making songs that simultaneously makes one want to raise beers and burn WalMarts to the ground. With lines like, “And I strive to bite the hand that's feeding me at last/ And carry on the banner of the working class/ When I'm dead on my feet or shackled to the beat,” you know what you’re getting. Gritty, while retaining class-act songwriting, they sound like a super amplified and pissed-off gang of Johnny Cashes, updated to suit today’s discriminating punk tastes. By all means, that’s a great thing. This is their most political work (Never Bet the Devil Your Head became more personal.) Some of these songs are four years old and I still pull them out and crank them on. –Todd Taylor (Thick)


FUCKTIFINO:
The Fast Effective Relief: CDEP
This one is pretty touch and go for me. The weird thing is that I liked all of the odd songs and pretty near hated the even. The odd songs are fast, guitar-heavy street punk, with breakdowns that teeter on the metal side, which fully works somehow. The even songs seem to get slower and poppier, but with time they are growing on me a bit. –Megan Pants (Fuktifino)


FROM ASHES RISE/ VICTIMS:
Split: CD
From Ashes Rise: Today, I drove my truck around to do some errands. To get to the photocopy place, I have to go through one of those up-scale outdoor malls/slash renovated downtown commerce places, and From Ashes Rise was awesome for that. It was like a movie, seconds before the apocalypse. Instead of taking at face value the shiny people with bits of plastic sewn under their skin, I could imagine the decay, the bombs ripping the place apart. It made me smile. And even though it was just a play in my mind, it made me feel better that music could dominate and bring the storm clouds, through the heat, and take out a Cheesecake Factory. For a more technical take on the band, see the upcoming review for their upcoming full-length, Nightmares. Victims: I probably would like this band loads more if From Ashes Rise didn’t just waylay me. They’re actually pretty good, like a pipe to the knee from a passing car. They have a lot in common with fellow Swedes, Skitsystem, with the throttle twisted and shouting in full effect. It’s furious and straight-forward, but the drummer hits his limits when they go full bore. I also hear a bunch of Motorhead in the bass – that chugga chugga, train derailing into a house of nails type deal. Not a bad split, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that From Ashes Rise is going to get more play. –Todd Taylor (Havoc)


FRENZAL RHOMB:
Sans Souci: CD
Hmmm. Do I give these guys a good review or not? I mean, I like this CD, I like the music, I like the lyrics, I like each song individually and the way the CD works together, and I even like that they have cool web links in the CD. Yet, I have to say that there is already a band that sounds like NOFX on this record label, and they are called NOFX. So, to sum up, this is a good CD for those that like NOFX and want to listen to bands that sound like NOFX, and I suppose it’s a good CD for those who want to listen to someone that sounds like NOFX but is one of those types that can’t admit to liking a band because of how big they got or something. (Hey, I got to give a positive review and still be a snide reviewer guy!) –rich (Fat)


FREE VERSE:
Inventing an Archetype: CDEP
I reviewed their two-song EP awhile back. I actually kept it. It has survived a couple of clean outs of the collection. They have a dark, moody tone to them that I am attracted to but can’t listen to all the time. This EP is a six-songer that shows better production and progression. The band has remained intact with the same three women grinding out their rage. The songs remain dirgy, dark and angry while maintaining their rock edge. They still remind me of an old death rock band from the ‘80s but add elements, this time around, that remind me of that metal band, Kittie. This is one I will keep. –Donofthedead (Demirep)


FOUR SQUARE:
Three Chords.. One Capo: CD
Yawn... Stretch... Rub my eyes... This R.E.M., indie band almost put me to sleep. –Donofthedead (Bad Taste)


FORFEIT THE DAY: Demo: CD-R:
Demo: CD-R
Speed metal that’s comparable to, um, other speed metal bands, I guess. Not exactly what I would call my area of expertise. I’ve got nothing but sympathy for the singer, who sounds like he’s pretty constipated. I’ve been there, dude, I feel for you. –Not Josh –Guest Contributor (kosfsh@yahoo.com)


FLIP TOPS/ TRIGGERS:
split: 7”
Man, this is a good split. Flip Tops sound like Supercharger meets the Dwarves meets the Motards. Both tracks (and the two on their split with the Gloryholes) seem to show the Flip Tops maturing as a band from their full-length released late last year. Everything works so well now. The Triggers are so damn good. Female-fronted, no-nonsense punk’n’roll. –Megan Pants (Johnny Cat)


FLATTBUSH:
Smash the Octopus: CD
Some thoroughly razed music here, melding equal parts metal, hardcore and free jazz, and ending up with the Filipino/American equivalent of having Melt Banana whooped upside your head by your favorite grindcore band. While certainly spastic in every sense of the word, closer inspection reveals a level of precision and technical prowess that might be lost on the casual listener. Definitely not for those who are faint of heart, but a damn good listen if you’re feelin’ lucky, punk. –Jimmy Alvarado (Kool Arrow)


FLAMETHROWER:
self-titled: CD
I was ready to hate this, but Flamethrower opens the record with a song about The Super Bee and have peaked my interest. It’s rock, no way around it, but the band seems like lean towards Motorhead in a way that I like and, at the same time, giving me a feeling that someone in this band listened to Agent Orange in high school. With that said, and it’s nit picky, the vocals lean a little away from Lemmy and towards Kurt Cobain. Fans of Zeke or Motorhead should seek this out. –Wanda Spragg –Guest Contributor (Dead Teenager)


FIGHTING CHANCE:
Thus Hope Fades: CD
This month I got a lot of killer CDs to review. This one is no exception. Thirteen tracks of excellent street punk, hardcore, and even a reggae tune. It’s all done very well. Great vocals, great music, great lyrics = a great full length. These guys very strongly support the working class, which is evident in their lyrics. That’s good by me. So, yes, bust out your wallet and buy this CD. I highly recommend it. –Mike Beer –Guest Contributor (Insurgence)


FIGHT, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Sometimes when you review stuff you have to contrast how you much you like something with how good a job it does of what it tries to do. I don’t see myself that impressed with this CD in contrast with a lot of other music. However, I am sure that this band formed with the intention of impressing me. Even so, nobody I have played this for believes me when I show them the band photo – they look way too young to be making music as well as they are, and everyone is shocked the singer is female – she doesn’t sound like a boy so much as she has a really unique vocal style, especially to contrast her with most female vocalists. I bet these guys will be a real hit with the kids, and I just hope they stick it out for a while. A few years from now, and possibly with a better name, I can imagine being completely in awe here. I do worry. They walk a fine line away from being the next Blink 182 or whoever, but they are definitely on the right side of that line. –rich (Fat)


FANTASY FOUR, THE:
Wig Wam Bam b/w Love Me Till the Sun Shines: 7”
It’s got a girl singer who sings kind of flatly, then they take a really good Sweet song and just kind of push it around on a dusty floor. If you’re gonna crap up a Sweet song, pick one that wasn’t so good to begin with (ask Nørb which one, probably). B side is a Kinks song I don’t know, so I can’t tell how well they do it, but it sounds pretty good to me. –Cuss Baxter (The Bert Dax Cavalcade of Stars)


EXPLOITED:
Fuck the System: CD
This is pretty solid musically, with the mid-tempo hardcore beats and crunching guitars you’ve some to expect from the Exploited. Lyrically, though, we’re talking about a completely different ball of wax. Granted, The words that have accompanied the average Exploited song haven’t exactly been poetry or anything, and it seems that they’ve only worsened with age. Wattie’s voice is in fine form here, but he’s wasted his talent on mediocre, hackneyed lyrics instead of tackling specific issues and taking to task the monoliths of the system he professes to despise. Sorry, but repeating “You’re a fucking bastard” some thirty-odd times and tossing in the occasional “and a shit cunt too” does not a song make, and naming your songs after other, better known tunes (“Holiday in the Sun,” “Noize Annoys”) doesn’t make ‘em good. Ultimately, you’re left wondering, to quote one of the songs here, “What’s the fucking point?” Maybe he should refrain from hanging out with them poseurs in Total Chaos, ‘cause that band’s eagerness to peddle crap music is apparently rubbing off. –Jimmy Alvarado (Spitfire)


EXPLOITED, THE:
Fuck the System: CD
If you are an Exploited fan and you go out and buy this, don’t look at the lyrics. It might bum you out. Otherwise, if you can get past the bad lyrics this is a good release. I, for one, usually pay more attention to the music before I even look at the lyrics. But when I picked this up, Jimmy Alvarado was at Razorcake HQ and he fucked it up for me. He told me to look at the lyric sheet. My mouth dropped. I was now tainted and biased to what was going to come out of my speakers once I get this disc home. I did have another view from a long time fan and he had mentioned something about the lyrics being stupid but the music was good. So let’s see which side of the fence I was going to go to. I didn’t go anywhere on the fence. I’m stuck on top. The lyrics are stupid and the music is good. One thing I do have to say is they seem to be leaning more in the Discharge camp than their own. The lyrics are structured the same, in a sense. They’re simple and to the point, even though the point is pretty blunt and not too thought provoking. For longtime fans who have stayed for the long haul, they will enjoy this. If you are new to punk and want to check out this band, I would steer you to the Punk’s Not Dead LP instead. –Donofthedead (Spitfire)


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·NICE FACE
·MINKS, THEE
·BASTARD CHILDREN
·MANDATES
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·LESS THAN JAKE
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