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· 1:Razorcake #81 Now Available
· 2:#326 with Tim Brooks
· 3:Featured Record Reviews From Issue #81
· 4:My First Punk Show
· 5:#327 with Kurt Morris


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Razorcake #81
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Nights and Days in a Dark Carnival by Craven Rock
Chantey Hook, Underground 7" *Limited Color Vinyl


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Record Reviews

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ANOTHER OPPRESSIVE SYSTEM/HUMAN WASTE:
Split: 7”
AOS: From Connecticut, anarcho-crust d-beat with an amazing drummer and bass-heavy drone. Lyrics to remind you that your life sucks. Human Waste: Hailing from Sweden, another great punk band that follows the d-beat tradition. The vocals are from a singer who sounds like what happens after vocal chords are torn to shreds. Songs that are straight and to the point without overdoing it. I only wished that the copy I received wasn’t so warped. –Donofthedead (Profane Existence)


ANABOLICS, THE:
Self-titled: CDEP
Straight outta the 1950s with four songs of rudimentary three-chord trash rock. At least Careena Collins finally gets the musical recognition that she deserves. –Puckett (No address listed)


AMPS II ELEVEN:
Self-titled: CD
Ornery, ass-kicking, snoose-spitting rock that falls somewhere between early Hookers and the Midnight Evils. This is scruffy facial-haired, beer bellied, slam-a-shot-of-Jack, pit-stained wifebeater rock that has a certain beehive-in-the-outhouse charm that I tend to cotton to. I like. Now just come up with a less lame band name and we can begin start discussing what sort of membership gifts I’ll receive for joining the band-formally-known-as Amps II Eleven’s official Fan Club. –aphid (Smog Veil)


ALMIGHTY TRIGGER HAPPY, THE:
I Hate Us Even More: CD
I couldn’t stop listening to this trying to figure out who they sounded like, which was just out of my grasp. Yeah, they’ve got a metal-rock sound with pretty distinctive vocals, but then it hit me. Survivor. As in “Eye of the Tiger.” It’s in there somehow until about track ten. With all that, I can’t actually say that it’s unlistenable. There’s a nice balance in gruffness and melody and the drums aren’t buried in the mix, which is nice since they do some pretty interesting things without throwing off the song. –Megan Pants (Bad Taste)


ALMIGHTY TRIGGER HAPPY, THE:
I Hate Us Even More: CD
Funny that I receive this for review when I have read somewhere that this band just broke up. It is a loss to a certain degree because they were a pretty good band. When I was really into Swedish melodicore in the early ‘90s, I really enjoyed everything I heard from this band. So I was really excited to see this in my pile for review. Right from first listen, they seemed to keep the energy going right until their demise. Musically talented and with the gift of writing a good melody, the songs don’t blend into one another. Each song seems thought out and with no filler in the bunch. The production is not overblown and adds a slight edge to the sound. Oh well, most bands, no matter how good, don’t last forever. –Donofthedead (Bad Taste)


ALLEYCATS:
Nothing Means Nothing Anymore b/w Give Me a Little Pain: 7”
It’s amazing that a bootleg is made from the original ½” tape, not just a copy of spinning vinyl from the original Dangerhouse release. I don’t know how that happened, but I’m glad it did. It sounds absolutely great. The Alleycats, one of the lesser-known L.A. Masque bands (compared to X and the Germs) were probably one of the most musically proficient. They were older, had been in bar bands before, but were open to and thankfully charged up by a brand new thing called punk rock that had come across the ocean from England. Randy Stodola’s tightly wound guitar chord progressions match his growling. He’s counterpointed by leggy Dianne Chai’s great backup vocals and playful, almost surfy bass. John McCarthy’s drumming hammers it all home so the songs don’t travel too far off course. It’s commanding stuff, especially for a trio. Then they become The Zarkons. Ooh, what a big hair mess that was. –Todd Taylor (bootleg)


ALICE DONUT:
Three Sisters: CD
I suspect you would be hard pressed to find anyone who has thought about Alice Donut in the past fifteen years, much less cared about the band’s music in some way. I would put myself in both categories. Having listened to this album, duly noting that it is presumably intended to be filed under rock by dint of its guitars and rhythm section, I will continue to place myself in the latter of the two categories. –Puckett (No address listed)


ADULT./ THE DIRTBOMBS:
Split/Split/Split 7”: 7”
Ah, the cover split 7”. Two bands joining forces to take on one song from each other’s catalogues. This is the sort of release that record junkies dream about while digging through dusty crates, knowing full well that the first time the gem is spotted might be the last. Limited to 3000 copies, Split/Split/Split 7” brings together Detroit-based groups Adult. and The Dirtbombs to carry on in this punk tradition. Not merely a split between the two bands, this record also serves as a split between Adult.’s Ersatz Audio and The Dirtbombs Cass Records, as well as a split between two photographers. (Nicola Kuperus of Adult. snapped The Dirtbombs while Dirtbomb Patrick Pantano photographed Adult.) For this release, The Dirtbombs chose to cover “Lost Love,” which Adult. released back in 1999. With two drummers and two bassists, The Dirtbombs turn this into rhythmic flurry so raw that it sounds as if it were recorded live in concert. If this is a good indication of The Dirtbomb’s live set, then the band’s next tour is not to be missed. Meanwhile, Adult. takes on The Dirtbombs “Pray for Pills.” As with the last full length, Anxiety Always, Adult. seems to have pushed the rock element in front of the band’s dance element. In this instance, the result is a short, heavy track filled with anguished screams and panicked electronics guaranteed to instill only the best kind of madness in the listener. –Liz O. (Ersatz/ Cass)


ADICTS, THE:
Rollercoaster: CD
The Adicts are the longest running punk band with the original lineup in the world. First starting out as Afterbirth and the Pinz in 1975, then changing their names to the Adicts in ‘76, they seemed intent on zagging when the rest of the English punk hordes zigged. Opting for fun, humorous, and ironic songs (a la the Toy Dolls) instead of politics and class war, they were able to carve out a unique smiley face on punk’s back. Their history could easily be a Spinal Tap of punk rock. Early success. They got signed by a major. Got sucked dry. Released a new wave record. Got back on their own two feet, and keep plugging away. Almost thirty years down the road, they release an album of entirely new material. How is it? Okay. Instead of the fire in the belly of their first record, Songs of Praise, it seems that they’re more opting for a living room full of votive candles. The setting’s mostly subdued; the tempos are relaxed. There are even hints of ELO (“Men in Black”) and Lou Reed (“Cheese Tomato Man”). My favorite songs are very close to what the modern day Skulls are hammering out. Sure, the songs are still strange and wacky, but with a little tweak here and there, most of them could be used for Saturday morning cartoons. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not exactly tweaking my nipples and making me want to smash parking meters, either. –Todd Taylor (SOS)


ADAM GNADE:
Shiv Shiv Shake: CD
Six spoken-word tracks—and by spoken word, I really mean poetry slam entries in the making—backed with guitar textures much like those sonic backdrops that you can find on old Bill Hicks records. These stream-of-consciousness pieces ramble on about landlords and bakeries, death and Sam Cooke records; Gnade checks Jawbreaker’s “The Boat Dreams from the Hill,” Golden Hill punks, and a laundry list of band houses heading into downtown San Diego. Unless you’ve lived where he’s talking about (and I lived at 26th and A when it was a ghetto with SDPD helicopters flying over all night, every night, not a gentrifying yuppie enclave with skyrocketing property values and constantly increasing rents), these pieces probably won’t speak to you much. The most impressive aspect of this release is that Gnade apparently constructed it himself. The liner notes, such as they are, were pretty obviously assembled and cut by hand. While this doesn’t much move me to listen to it more than a couple of times, I can at least tip my hat to how it was made. –Puckett (Impacto)


ACTION TOOLBELT:
Self-titled: CD
College-radio friendly pop from the Gin Blossoms/Wallflowers school, without the overly slick production. Singer/songwriter Owen Briggs is a bit too sincere, and the songs are fairly typical English major stuff. Still, not bad if you’re a fan of this sort of thing. –brian (Fastmusic)


ABBATOIR 3000:
Road Trip to Oblivion: CD
The bio in the accompanying CD booklet alludes to a punk rock pedigree, but what I’m hearing is smart-guy bar rock. –Jimmy Alvarado (Kommy Elektra)


A.V.O./ RUNN-AMUCKS:
Split: 7”
A.V.O.: Some pretty good hardcore here, with one fast tune, one mid-tempo tune and a liberal use of the word “fuck” throughout both. Runn-Amucks: wild tempo changes pepper the first track, while the second blasts forth with a driving mid-tempo beat. Not a bad EP here from two bands I wouldn’t mind hearing more of. –Jimmy Alvarado (Kangaroo)


800 OCTANE:
Rise Again: CD
Is “Never Sleep Again” seriously about Freddy Vs. Jason? I mean, I like horror as much as the next guy. Okay, I probably like it a bit more than the next guy. But a song about that movie? It became a pivotal point of the album. Up until that point I thought it was pretty uninspired rock blah. Then I thought the song was about Jason, and was intrigued. Then I figured out the truth, that it was a Freddy Vs. Jason tribute song. So, then I decided that they had to be a joke band, since no one would seriously write a Freddy Vs. Jason song, and the next two songs were much more enjoyable. Then they surpass themselves and go to unbearably played-out phrases, chords, and lyrical patterns on the last song. –Megan Pants (New School)


700 MACHINES, THE:
Promo 2002: CD
Greek bar band boogie. Having heard more than my share of the American equivalent, I found myself wholly unimpressed. –Jimmy Alvarado (700 Machines)


12 SUMMERS OLD:
When the Romance Ends: CD
12 Summers Old? What the crap does that mean? Is that your target audience age? I’m sure they hired some pro-market asshole to come up with this brilliant idea. It’s a good thing they listed their legal council in their liner notes (email and all). I’m thinking of suing them for their attack on my sensibilities and good taste. –Megan Pants (Anomer)


PRIDESWALLOWER:
Lifeswallower: CD
Reminds me quite a bit of a slowed down piss-take of the Men’s Recovery Project Normal Man 7”, just not as dynamic and way too mired in feedback to make it terribly effective. It’s also kind of like, I don’t know, if one of the guys from Born Against and one of the guys from Tractor Sex Fatality met in a hillbilly bar, wanted to start a band that channeled Jon Spencer but decided to simply butt-funnel shots of snake venom instead, got wasted, decided to start the band anyway and asked Luke from Science Of Yabra to sing for em. It’s okay stuff, if somewhat repetitive. I mean, I bet they’re pretty crazed live, and probably manage to throw out some pretty good sonic bricks in a basement show, but it’s just falling a little flat and monotonous when it comes to ye olde compact disc listening. –Keith Rosson (Auxillary)


POISON CONTROL:
The Violent Years: 7”
Guttural, fierce hardcore always has its place, but doesn’t always leave its mark. The first three songs of this 7”, for example, are great hardcore songs, but don’t really have any chance of staying in rotation of my listening. That’s why it’s all about the transition from the third to fourth—and final—song of this record. Halfway through the B-side, the music does a 180 and turns from an all-out attack of fist-pumping punk to a genuine introspective of someone who suffers from social anxiety, while maintaining the energy and fury of the first three songs but raising the intensity to an almost frightening level. One of the top 5 B-sides of 2007, and definitely one of the most intense songs as well. If you were at the Fest this year, that dude who sang those SSD songs with Witches With Dicks is the lead singer of this band. –Daryl Gussin (Deranged)


PLEASURE KILLS, THE:
Self-titled: 7”
I guess retro-power pop is the flavor du jour. These kids are quite proficient at it, which is a definite plus, with either tune here conceivably being a minor hit back when power pop wasn’t retro. –Jimmy Alvarado (Polypore)


PLASTIC IDOLS:
Singles, Demos and Live: CD
The chorus of “I.U.D.,” the lead-off track on this retrospective of one of Houston’s more notable punk bands, has haunted my for years since the supremely cool Scott Pellet (head honcho over at the Big Boys’ tribute site www.soundonsound.org) put it on a comp cassette of old Texas punk rock he’d made. The problem is I know it’s lifted from another song, one that has been on the tip of my tongue for years but just refuses to make itself known. No matter, I guess. What’s important here is that this is chock full of some very nice, very quirky (and let’s be honest, it would really be quirky if it weren’t quirky, considering where these kids were from) Texas punk. Songs about the aforementioned contraceptive device, the advantages of being uncircumcised, Siamese love, and yellow stains are the order of the day, and the music is a nice example of that sweet spot in punk’s history where attitude was more important than adhering to some rigid template. Nice history lesson here, one definitely worthy of attention. –Jimmy Alvarado (hotboxreview@hotmail.com)


PLAGUE:
Thumper: CD
Personally knew nothing about these guys prior to listening to this, which was bit surprising to me, considering how tuned into the hardcore thing I was when they were out raising a racket, and it’s my loss. Formed out of the ashes of the Defnics (whose “51 percent” is a staple for the Killed by Death types), Plague meted out some crushing warp-speed thrash during their decade of activity. Mining the area between Negative Approach and early DRI, they managed a number of EPs and an album before calling it quits in 1992. The tracks from those releases are all here, giving a whole new crop of hardcore fans the opportunity to revel in their glory. –Jimmy Alvarado (Plague Music)


PINK REASON:
Throw It Away: 7”
Either a Joy Division-y mood vibe with Lou Reed slide guitars (33 speed) or a higher pitched singing moody acoustic-y guitar lots of effects on the voices (45 speed). Pretty catchy and dreamerific either way. I honestly can’t tell and Criminal IQ always has cool, freaky, unexplainable bands. By the end of their three songs I feel in the territory of the Residents. Did I mention keyboards? –Speedway Randy (Criminal IQ)


PHOTOS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
If the press one-sheet that came with this is any indication, these guys fancied themselves the U.K. answer to Blondie, which I reckon is not too far off the mark, if that’s the only reference they had available at the time. For my money, though, they sounded like the Brit counterpart to East L.A.’s The Brat, who in their prime were contemporaries of the Photos when they originally released this album. Both bands were much more streamlined, tighter, faster, and to the point in their pop, with more of the punk engine (the band’s core is the remnants of cult punk darlings Satan’s Rats) that got them going in evidence than Blondie had by that time. Although the pop can get a wee bit sticky-sweet in some places here, they’re really something when they put it in overdrive and just rock. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.cherryred.co.uk)


PAWBOX:
Self-titled: CDEP
Modern rock, radio friendly, I want to be on MTV, battle of the bands winner kind of band. –Donofthedead (www.myspace.com/pawbox)


PATROL WAGON:
Self-titled: CD
Why the hell haven’t I made a trip to Carbondale yet? There seems to be a loose sound forming around the town, sort of a mixing of those associated with the almost ready to fall apart sound of Tucson, the fun and sloppiness of the Bay, and a not quite nasty dirtiness that I can’t quite put my finger on that might just be all their own, if not shared with Asheville. Patrol Wagon (I’m not sure if they’re from there, but it was recorded at Lost Cross) fits that, but there’s a desperation that comes through in the speed and the vocals that sets them apart from just plain ol’ fun (which there is absolutely nothing wrong with). Another sweet release from Let’s Pretend. –Megan Pants (Let’s Pretend)


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