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Razorcake #84
Tim Version, Ordinary Life LP + bonus 7"
Radon, 28 LP
Zisk #25
Razorcake #83


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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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TAXPAYERS, THE:
Exhilarating News: CD
When I say this, I mean it in the best way possible: this band sounds like a cartoon. If punk rock ever decided to start a cartoon show to convert impressionable young kids into the next era’s punk rockers, this band would fit the bill perfectly as the show’s mascots. The sound is folk punk with vocals between Chris from Ghost Mice (except on key more often) and This Bike Is A Pipebomb. All around, an equation that equals awesome. (Available for somewhere free on the Internet! Get it now!)  –Bryan Static (myspace.com/thetaxpayers)


TAGGART:
Pink Pig Stink: CD
Subtitled “10 Years of Taggart Covers, Demos and Z-Sides: 1997-2007,” this is a whopping twenty-four song collection from this Philly band. The band’s originals stand proud next to covers of The Who and The Replacements. Noisy, frenzied, and full tilt, there’s not a wilting flower in the bunch. “Deep End” is a great song, but I’m sure you’ll find a lot more on here that will have you knocking your stereo speakers over.  –Sean Koepenick (Self-released)


SUNGLASSES AFTER DARK:
Self-titled: CD
This is a nearly complete discography from an ultra obscure U.K. goth band circa 1983. Discs like this make me happy. I like knowing there are people out there doing their best to make sure awesome music like this doesn’t disappear. It’s reckless, wild goth with touches of rockabilly. There’s an impending sense of dread in the screaming guitars and off-kilter vocals, but a kind of fun dread, like when you’re being chased by a zombie and you know that your life might end, but you just made out with a super hot girl so you still feel like things are going okay for you. You figure there’s really no better time to have your brains eaten.  –MP Johnson (Cherry Red)


SUMP PUMPS:
Revenge of: CD
The first track, a short, trashy raver called “Space Camp,” is summarily followed by what can only be described as a speed-addled Braniac paying a visit to Servotron so they can listen to Devo together on a shitty old record player. While there are occasional nods to gloomy new wave and techno-pop, the aggressiveness they infuse their songs with will handily make them worthwhile listening to even the most snooty punk rocker.  –Jimmy Alvarado (www.8bitrecords.com)


SUBWASTE / TOMMY GUSTAFSSON AND THE IDIOTS:
Split: CD
Wow, total sleeper hit of this issue. Wasn’t expecting much at all from this, and then both bands just blew me away. Terrific stuff: catchy and anthemic. Owing heavy nods to their fellow countrymen in Bombshell Rocks and Smalltown, every song is so goddamn bright and hook-laden, I was singing along by the second time I ran through this, and that’s saying something. Using the framework and template of, say, the first few Stiff Little Fingers records but updating and modernizing it; goddamn, what’s not to like, right? Subwaste’s the more jagged of the two, if only because of the fact that the vocalist’s got that extra ounce of snarl in his pipes. TG&TI are swimming through similar (rad) waters, but they’ve got a very slight rock/rockabilly thread buoying up their end of things. It’s albums like this, ones that totally come out of left field, that make me so stoked to review for yon ‘Cake. –Keith Rosson (Warbird)


STRANGER, THE:
Prison Called Life: 7"
A serendipitous collage of rock, garage, rockabilly, blues, punk, and more influences that resonate with me. The hard-rockin Prison Called Life backed with the dirgeful Missing Link and a great mussed-up version of Nick Cave’s “Thirsty Dog.” Pick this up for “Thirsty Dog.” Then do yourself a favor and pick up their self-titled CD. The band’s influences are given their proper due, like New Bomb Turks, Rev. HH, Gun Club, Smiths, Amazing Crowns, Thin Lizzy, and Nick Cave, as well as classic R&Band country artists. Think SWiG, Black Keys, Girl Trouble, Gas Huffer, et al. It’ll make you shaky, achy, and fevered.  –Jessica Thiringer (Haunted Town)


SUNSET RIDERS:
Self-titled: 7"
There are essentially two different types of straight edge songs. The first type is all about how positive and how important the good ol’ X has been to the songwriter. The second type is the rant about how someone else sucks because they either aren’t straight edge or they have turned their back on their edge beliefs. I’m all about the first type, but the second type can get a little tedious. Sunset Riders play some nice moshable hardcore, but throw in one of those type two edge songs. Even worse, it’s not about an old edger getting drunk or crunk or skunk, it’s about a straight edge friend neglecting the third X. What’s the third X? Well, let’s count ‘em down, Minor Threat style: “Don’t smoke/Don’t drink/Don’t fuck/At least I can fuckin’ think!” So the third X must be fucking. Sure enough, the lyrics go on to detail how someone found a new girl and the edge went out of sight, thus all the words they lived by turned out to be a fucking lie… Well, either that or the dude was horny. Cut him some slack, bro.  –MP Johnson (Suburban Waste)


STOCKYARD STOICS / THE FILAMENTS:
The Special Relationship E.P.: Split 7”
The press release for this claims it’s all “no bullshit DIY punk rock.” No argument there. This is good, good stuff. The Stockyard Stoics are certainly more street punk oriented, but it’s not the hyper-aggressive, meathead type stuff; their offerings are earnest yet thoughtful and, musically, the band is muscular and powerful but still catchy. The Filaments have more of a classic hardcore sound to them, but there are moments at which the ska monster tastefully rears its fun-loving head. They remind me a lot of Snuff. The songs are fast, tight, and anthemic. All in all, this is a great little package: six tunes that got me reinvigorated and sent me bouncing down the street. It comes with a sticker and a mini-zine, too. Recommended.  –The Lord Kveldulfr (Fistolo)


STEVIE TOMBSTONE:
Devil’s Game: CD
A man sings melancholy country rock songs, accompanied by his guitar. Not a bad thing… if you’re Steve Earle.  –Jessica Thiringer (Saustex)


STEINWAYS, THE:
Unoriginal Recipe: EP
This ‘lil EP is leaps and bounds ahead of the band’s debut CD. The songs are more complex and layered and, quite frankly, catchier. Wow…what a punch. I’m real bummed though. Why, you ask? This EP came to me as CD-only. The 7” and all of its re-presses sold out the day they arrived from the plant. Nothing but evidence. This band will be huge in zee pop punk world. –Mr. Z (It’s Alive)


STRAIT A’S, THE:
Detention Span: 7"
I’m pretty glad that I listened to this, considering the fact that I really didn’t want to because of the one sheet. It made mention of the current drummer (the band’s ninth) also playing with a pretty big indie hip-hop group. The thought alone of combining rap and punk makes me cringe. Punk and hip-hop are not like sodium and chloride. They aren’t poisonous on their own, and they don’t make a season enjoyed by almost everyone when merged together. That is, never write anything on a one sheet that may be taken as an insinuation that they are mixed unless it’s true, in which case it would be shameful to withhold such information. (However, it is okay to mention that one of the old drummers plays in Sass Dragons and that the female vocalist is in the God Damn Doo Wop Band.) Anyway, the Strait A’s don’t make punk rap; they make pop punk. Damn fine pop punk, in fact. It really reminds me of the Teen Idols, but with a bit of the sloppiness and attitude prevalent in early ‘90s Queers’ albums (one track reminds me of “Ursula” musically). There are both male and female vocals, but the female vox only take the lead on one track. Overall, the band’s moniker is pretty damn right on. –Vincent Battilana (Johann’s Face)


STRANGER KIDS:
3 Song Demo: CD-R
Number one: If you’re gonna co-opt a grade school pic of Darby Crash, you better have some worthwhile tunes to back it up. Number two: You need to include them on the CD upon which you put the picture. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.myspace.com/strangerbsg)


STATUES:
Same Bodies, Same Faces: 7”
This band’s last record, 2006’s New People Make Us Nervous, left me completely speechless. I hadn’t heard a knack for combining near-perfect pop songs and goose bump-inducing lyrics since hearing “The Science of Myth” for the first time. It was upsettingly good. The Same Bodies, Same Faces 7” continues in the same vein, just oozing catchiness and sincerity. Folks are quick to make Buzzcocks comparisons or plaster on the power pop label whenever a pop punk band doesn’t reek of Ramones influence, but I really think that Statues rises above the completely obvious. With a once-over, one can find elements of all of the above stuff in Statues’ sound, but there’s just something indescribable going on here; something that gives me the shivers. I’m hard-pressed to think of a current band that I like more. Incredible. –Dave Williams  –Guest Contributor (Deranged)


STATUES:
Same Bodies, Same Faces: 7”EP
I’m sure these guys are sick of the Tranzmitors comparison because they’re Canadian, pour their hearts out into power pop, have releases on the same label, and, basically, kick a ton of ass, but we go with what we’ve got. Lyrically, this comes across like the movie Brazil and the black sheep bolting in the opposite direction of the flock on the cover of Minor Threat’s Out of Step. Work suuuuucks people into fluorescent-tinged, lock-step, grey-raced bean pushers. Music’s a beautiful fuckin’ rainbow in the darkness. And if a band holds up Elvis Costello in a chalice to make your butt shake, more the better. They make the GG Allin cover sound like it was originally released by The Jam. I’m a goddamn sucker for this stuff. –Todd Taylor (Deranged)


STARK RAVING MAD:
Amerika: CD
Long has it been since I heard these guys—so long, in fact, that I’d completely forgotten what they sound like. You get two albums’ worth of stuff here for your buck, their self-titled debut and the Amerika LP, both of which feature fine thrashy hardcore and vocals that fall somewhere between Jello Biafra and Rodney Anonymous from the Dead Milkmen. Songs are nice ‘n’ short and have the requisite spazz quality, and the only major complaint is that the spaces between the tunes—we’re talking some ten to twelve seconds here—are way too goddamn long. Outside of that, it was good hearing these kids again.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Just For Fun)


SPEAR OF DESTINY:
Grapes of Wrath / One Eyed Jacks / World Service: CD / CD / CD
Sometimes listening to a band’s recorded output in one sitting is like reading a Dickens novel, in that you hear their earliest—and usually happiest—period, followed by their brush with fame and its corrupting influence, which of course leads to their inevitable downfall. SOD’s first here, Grapes of Wrath, is easily the most interesting of the three: less aggressive and angry than previous bands some members had staffed, specifically The Pack (whose “St. Teresa” remains a great song, but I digress) and the always swell Theatre of Hate, yet still retaining the post-punk fascination with tribal rhythms and adding an almost disembodied saxophone, a singer with a strong, rich voice, and even some gospel tinges around the edges. By the middle of the tale, however, more obvious pop overtures had begun to creep in, which led them to a bonafide hit song and, no doubt, all that it brings. One Eyed Jacks is not a bad album, and it even is singled as the band’s best by their fans. As history has shown repeatedly, any intentional pandering to the mainstream carries a heavy price, and by their final album, World Service, they were in a full-blown ‘80s British pop morass, sucking six ways from Sunday. By the end of the last note on the last album, you’re looking around, wondering where that crazy old lady in the flambé-style wedding dress popped off to and why she didn’t take the band with her.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Cherry Red)


STAKES, THE:
Real Tigers: CD
Sporty straight-edgey stuff with two vocalists yelling in sort-of harmony. My wife hates this shit. Some days I do, too, but, for the most part, I’m okay with this record since I haven’t been drinking much of late and I can finally understand the need for all the yelling in straight edge music: yelling till yer face turns purple takes away the desire for a drink. Still, the Stakes’ focus seems to be kind of like a former smoker policing his friends’ smoking. And I’m pretty much done with titles like “Benchwarmers” and “Victory” and lyrics such as “wake up/stand hard.” Pfft. In the end, this is a lot more like drinking a creatine milkshake of music than rocking out in any significant way; but there are times when such puffery and power are welcome.  –The Lord Kveldulfr (High Fidelity)


SOULSHAKE EXPRESS, THE:
Self-titled: CD

Fuck! “Can you feel it?! CAN YOU FEEL IT?!....” “NO!” This shit is as whack as Wolfmother. Motherfuckers just ripping the shit out of Hendrix and the MC5… wearing their hair long… playing Rickenbackers and hollow body guitars. Man, it’s like all these fools I know who think that drinking alone will get you writing like Raymond Chandler or Hunter S. Thompson…. These guys have the imaginations of a rock. 

–Ryan Leach (Beatville, www.beatville.com)


SONIC CHICKEN 4:
Self-titled: LP
Already one for the top ten of the year! Solid rock from France’s Nasty Product trash scene, and all the best facets possible. Swings from great echoes of the past like The Monks, Jonathan Richman, and girl groups, feels fond of later greats The Fells and The Gories, while not sounding like a ‘60s karaoke rip off. No, you will pop up and down to this pureness and cry because it seems so simple to be so good the way seeing a band in someone’s house is a thousand times stronger than going to a thousand-person club with stage lighting. Leave it to In The Red to unleash another new band on the U.S. that gives you faith in rock. LP doesn’t have liner notes, but does have a CD inside.  –Speedway Randy (In The Red)


SNAKES / 1-800-BAND:
Split: 7"
Snakes: Imagine the Strokes on heroin. 1-800-BAND: Mellow-groovy-remembrance-of-things-past-sipping-beer-on-a-Saturday-afternoon rock. The record is all right at any point, but borders on good when I’m in kind of an introspective and, dare I say it, peaceful mood. Nothing earth-shattering here, but nothing worth pitching in the trash, either.  –The Lord Kveldulfr (Slow Gold Zebra)


SOULSHAKE EXPRESS, THE:
Heavy Music: CD
See above review. Formulaic, late-’60s garage shit from some dudes who refuse to give it up. Donate your instruments to charity.  –Ryan Leach (Beatville, www.beatville.com)


SMOKE OR FIRE:
This Sinking Ship: CD
Second full-length from this four-piece. Does it beat the stellar Above the City? It comes pretty fucking close, my friends. Songs about loss, family, pain, and just getting through the day. Solid arrangements backed my actual melodies? This is getting to be a real rarity in punk rock. Play this one over and over again—I doubt you will ever get tired of it. Seriously.  –Sean Koepenick (Fat)


SLOW POISONER:
Roadside Altar: CD
Gee, I like the first album so much that it’s only natural I would be afforded the pleasure of reviewing the next gem. This time—it’s a singular, not plural—Poisoner making all this Edward Gorey-like, Edwardian, La Belle Epoche aurally illustrated noise. A one-man band of hexes, roosters, eye hands, and roadside altars. Still campy, theatrical, and melodramatic—although this album is more structured, but with the same early 1900s aesthetic. Words escape me, but visualization doesn’t. And “Faded Love” is a flat-out good song.  –Jessica Thiringer (Zodiac Killer)


SKINNY JIM & THE NUMBER 9 BLACKTOPS:
Horsepower! Horsepower!: CD
Eager Illinois three-piece knocks out a dozen floor-stomping, elbow-greasing roadhouse rock tracks. Exemplary technical skill produces a full, big sound will make you toss a couple beers down your gullet and hit the dance floor. Reminds me of Hi-Fi & The Roadburners. Produced by Rick Miller of SCOTS and would be right at home on Yep Roc.  –Jessica Thiringer (Self-released, www.skinnyjimrocks.com)


SIL VETH:
The Elemental: CD
Top three things that the members of hard-charging and tuneful, but way-too-tinnily recorded death metal act Sil Veth can change their matching band logo tattoos into when their band dissolves in acrimony after years of not realizing their dream of playing Ozzfest and “European Festivals” (thanks, lengthy band bio): 1) Sil Vethter, with a picture of the popular cartoon cat; 2) BaSil HaVeth, with actor Basil T. Rathbone holding a cornucopia, 3) Tupac’s ghost peeing on Dale Earnhardt’s grave (Why not, right?). –CT Terry  –Guest Contributor (8th Sphere, www.8th-sphere.com)


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