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· 1:Razorcake #81 Now Available
· 2:#326 with Tim Brooks
· 3:Featured Record Reviews From Issue #81
· 4:#327 with Kurt Morris
· 5:Webcomic Wednesdays #80


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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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PRIZZY PRIZZY PLEASE:
Self-titled: CD
So I’m driving around, reviewing the latest batch of stuff and I put this on. I’m hearing muscular punk/rock with enough quirk in it to make things interesting, right? But I keep fixating on the guitar player and thinking, “Wow, this dude plays really weird. He’s really happy with the harmonics and it sounds like he bangs, rather than strums the strings.” I get to where I’m going and take a look to see who this unique guitarist is. Turns out that, outside of a lead in one tune, there is no guitar player. All that noodly, distorted racket was being laid down by a keyboard player. Of course, that ratcheted up the “cool” factor by at least twenty points. –Jimmy Alvarado (Let’s Pretend)


PRIMES:
Facades and Pink Forms: CD
Wild-sounding release from a Vancouver, B.C. duo. Front 242’s sonics and Skinny Puppy’s experimentalism are present, but it’s not self-indulgent. “Weapons Tanks Fire” and “Consumher” brought some insistent rhythms that have yet to leave my cranium. If you’re looking for synthpop that doesn’t fit into any preset categories, Facades is it. This probably sounds fantastic driving on the Autobahn at 2 AM. –Sean Koepenick (Postfact)


PRIMES:
Facades and Pink Forms: CD
Apparently, all of the bike couriers in Ottawa are crazy about weird, electronic pop music. Me, I run at the very mention of electronic music, and if a band gets on stage with a computer instead of a drum kit, I’m totally out of there. I am not very progressive. However, if you, like the bike couriers, enjoy music with bleeps and beats and fuzzy, buried vocal tracks, then maybe you would like this album. –Jennifer Whiteford (Postfact)


FATALITY:
Self-titled: 7”
Interesting release from this band from Nevada. At first, the guitar sound comes off a bit off kilter and twangy. But as time moves on, it actually benefits the sound of the music. It creates a foggy atmosphere. The band has a sound of old analog recording equipment and recorded live inside a garage. The songs swish along and then you are taken for a ride where they punch up the speed and thrash you along. Then they return to wash you over with a dissonant dirge of harsh drone while the singer/guitarist screams and yells with a pained delivery. As an introduction, I like what I hear. In a better studio setting with bigger production, this band should make a larger population take notice. –Donofthedead (Spacement)


FATALITY / THINK FAST:
Split: 7”
Two hardcore punk bands, neither of which is doing anything amazingly original. Think Fast kind of reminds of Minor Threat if an oi singer was trying to front it. I really want to like this because of the vinyl color (half black, half clear), but something doesn’t quite add up. This record doesn’t sound right at any speed. On 45, you get the chipmunk effect and on 33 1/3 the vocals just sounds too slow for bands named Fatality or Think Fast. I suppose the vocals aren’t what I should be thinking fast about, eh? Get it? Moving on, the songs did seem to go by fast enough that I only counted three per side, but the Think Fast side had five. Go figure. –Bryan Static (Spacement)


FAREWELL:
: CD
Boring Epitaph punk! If this were a cereal, it’d be Lame-Ohs. The End! –Maddy (Epitaph)


FAMILY PET:
Self-titled: 7”
The first side of this record is about six or seven minutes of redundant noise made with percussion and keyboards. When I say redundant, I mean if you were to pick up the needle and move it anywhere on that track it would be doing the exact same thing. Side two is an actual track—as in it’s cut into the record—of complete silence. I liked the second side better. –Craven (Self-released)


FAILING MYSELF:
Every Day: Cassette
Solo acoustic stuff on an unmarked, one-sided tape. The recording quality was a little shoddy, but it was sparse and fairly haunting stuff, somewhat reminiscent, I guess, of that Liza Kate song off the Wayfarers All LP. I was digging it, until I came across the last song, “The Jailbait That Stole His Heart,” in which the dude waxes poetic in a first-person narrative about sawing a woman’s head off. Next. –Keith Rosson (Rally Point)


EXPLODING HEARTS, THE:
Shattered: LP
Hopefully I’m not being presumptuous, but since you’re reading Razorcake I’m assuming you know something about the Exploding Hearts tragedy (if not, check their website, www.explodinghearts.com, which is an informative tribute). Anyway, Shattered is an odds and sods collection of singles and alternate takes and mixes from Guitar Romantic. I’m typically weary of these collections (stuff left in the vaults is usually there for a reason), but the Hearts were one of those bands whose outtakes were better than most groups’ best tracks—a short-lived band whose limited output calls for a release of just about everything recorded—a lineage that includes the Young Marble Giants, LiLiput, etc. For rabid Exploding Hearts fans—a group that grows daily—this is a must. For those benighted to the Hearts and their ‘78 Mick Jones “Gates of the West” sound, start with Guitar Romantic then venture here. On a personal note, I’m glad to see that Dirtnap is releasing this record. Dirtnap, like In The Red, is a label whose existence is vital to up-and-coming bands—groups like the Exploding Hearts found a safe haven with Dirtnap’s broadminded, eclectic palette. –Ryan Leach (Dirtnap)


EVICTION PARTY / LEPER:
Split: Cassette
Eviction Party: I’ve reviewed a fair amount of tapes put out by Sharpie Fumes now and have started recognizing names of band members that continue to crop up in various releases. Thusly (and I’ve got no idea how accurate I am) Halifax strikes me as a fairly small but very tight-knit, active, and way fun scene. Eviction Party (and Sharpie Fumes as a whole) seems to reflect this perfectly: blank tapes with spray-painted stencils, Xeroxed covers, frequently dodgy recordings, and tons of passion. Vocally and lyrically, they’re treading some heavy Crimpshrine ground, while the clean guitar and strumming style almost brings to mind the Ne’er Do Wells or some other ‘60s-inspired jam—though that lack of distortion and oomph might just be a question of gear or recording. Either way, it’s decent, smart, and melancholic stuff—given a slightly brighter recording (though the levels on this one are generally pretty good), I’d probably be all over this band. Leper: Some fairly dark and political hardcore with strained vocals and spot-on lyrical content. Plenty of group vocals and the occasional odd, jazzy interlude—can’t help but feel like I’ve heard stuff like this before (Forced March, maybe?) but also more than willing to admit that they’re really good at it. I liked the menacing ska undertones that continued to pop up in “Creep Anthem.” Definitely one of the more consistent Sharpie Fumes jobs, and if these aren’t just a few bands that got together for a weekend and recorded some songs, I’d say we all might want to keep our eyes out for future releases. –Keith Rosson (Sharpie Fumes)


ERASE-HERS:
Out of My Mind: CDEP
Uptempo pop punk with a lady singer and keyboards high in the mix. If you’re thinking of the Epoxies, or maybe the Unloveables with someone tickling the eighty-eights, you’re on the right page. But the tracks on Out of My Mind lack that second gear, that other layer that contrasts the poppy elements and rewards repeated listens. (The Epoxies have their dystopia world view, for example; the Unloveables their heartache.) Out of My Mind seems static because the emotional highs and lows are given equal treatment. There’s no need to erase what they do, just add their voice to it. –Mike Faloon (www.erasehers.com)


ENDLESS MIKE AND THE BEAGLE CLUB:
The Husky Tenor: CD
Interesting, apparently this band is comprised of ten-plus dudes, and yet they aren’t a ska band. In fact, this is a whole bunch of folky/country jams that range from light and sensitive, to pretty rockin’, without just coming off as another Against Me! or Plan-It-X style rip off (as many other bands like this often do). This combined with the interesting packaging (which while I’m not positive, I suspect is the work of the label, who often pulls cool shit like this), I enjoy the bejesus out of this. –Joe Evans III (Crafty)


DUKES OF HILLSBOROUGH / THE MERCURY LEAGUE:
Abandon All Hope: Split 7”
The Mercury League: the post-Epitaph sound but played with youthful fervor instead of a desire to remain relevant fifteen years after the fact. The double wanking guitar attack may be brain numbing, but they’re definitely played proficiently. And the fact that all four of the band members spend a good portion of their side of the 7” with singing time creates quite the wall of sound. Dukes of Hillsborough: the gruff, the hell-raising, the Dukes. Like a seedier, heavier Billy Reese Peters, they bring the rock but with a certain amount of grime and dirt that just smacks of TampaBay. –Daryl Gussin (Accident Prone)


DOPAMINES, THE:
Self-titled: CD-R EP
Six-song debut from this Cincinnati power trio: solid punk rock, vocals you can hear with actual melodies attached. This is a demo recorded in someone’s basement. But it actually sounds pretty decent. These dudes are on the right road. Oddly though, one of the band member’s last name is not Dopamine? Why? –Sean Koepenick (Drastic)


DOA:
The Black Spot—Unauthorized Bootleg Version: CD
Dunno what the second half of the title is referring to, but considering Joey’s the one putting it out, I’m guessing it’s some kinda piss-take or something. Feel kinda bad about the short shrift I gave this record back when it came out. When it hit the shelves back in 1995, I hadn’t seen DOA in at least a decade, but I had heard from numerous people that they just weren’t what they used to be, so when this band I was in (actually, by this time my position in the band had shifted from musician to sound guy/auxiliary guitarist-when-in-a-pinch) scored a show at a Tacoma AA clubhouse with what was once one of my favorite bands, I was jazzed, but still not expecting much. They demonstrated themselves to righteous punker types when they lent our drummer a kick pedal to replace the one that had broken right as he was setting up (and anyone who’s ever played a show can attest to how truly rare it is for a headlining band to do such a thing), allowing this humble touring band from East L.A. perplex Washington’s punk population in attendance with our hybrid of punk and traditional Mexican music. When DOA hit the stage, though, I knew that everyone who’d said they had lost it were utterly fulla shit, ‘cause they were easily better than the last time I’d seen ‘em in 1986. They sounded just as inspiring, tight, and manic as ever, and newer songs, like their quasi-cover of David Peel’s “Have a Marijuana,” sounded more in step with their earlier stuff than that later rock-type stuff they ended up delving into for a short time. And yet, when I saw this on the racks later, I just couldn’t bring myself to spend the cash on it. Why? I dunno, really. Chalk it up to their aforementioned “rock” period, blame it on terminal lameness on my part, but despite my experience, I totally figured it was gonna suck, so I dismissed it out of hand. That was ultimately my loss, ‘cause while this ain’t Hardcore ‘81 or nothin’, it is one of the more solid releases from their later period, which has been pretty hit-or-miss, frankly. Most of the songs are strong, catchy, edgy, and all that other good stuff one looks for in a DOA release, right down to the chainsaw used on “The Nutwrencher Suite.” Thanks again, boys, for lending us that drum pedal lo those eleven years ago, and thanks, Joey, for givin’ me a second opportunity to appreciate this album. –Jimmy Alvarado (Sudden Death)


DIGITAL LEATHER:
Hard at Work: LP
Unfortunately, since body casts are made of fiberglass, you can actually walk around in them. So when I got it put on after breaking the vertebrae, I had to go back to my ninth grade classes. Other kids were pretty nice, actually, and only laughed after I was far away. Digital Leather gave me the same feeling inside. Can’t really describe it, just stuck in a cast, walking around feeling weird and contained. Another great album from DL in his homemade mood synth world. Maybe his most vital album yet. –Speedway Randy (Tic Tac Totally)


DIGITAL LEATHER:
Blow Machine: CD
Is it the shitty Reagan ‘80s and computer technology that made the synth music inhabit a melancholy electric space, or did the music make us feel that way? Digital Leather has been uncannily good in album after album, year after year. ‘80s-dramatic deep voice, moody keyboards at the club, dance and take drugs but don’t feel better—I don’t have old albums like that, but I do have Digital Leather. Try this new one if you know his stuff or if you don’t yet, it’s great. –Speedway Randy (FDH)


DIE KREUZEN:
Cows and Beer: 7”
This classic Midwestern hardcore 7” has been officially reissued on its twenty-fifth anniversary. And twenty-five years later it’s still thrashing. There are a lot of bands right now reclaiming this early ‘80s style, but some things just can’t be redone. If you’re a fan of Sorry State Records, No Way Records, Grave Mistake Records, or even Fashionable Idiots, and have never heard these songs, I implore you to pick this up and check out why everyone’s so proud of this whole hardcore thing. –Daryl Gussin (Barbarian)


DICKIES:
Dawn of the Dickies: CD
It’s exceedingly hard to put into words just how fuggin’ great the Dickies are when they’re up to full snuff. Like the Ramones, when they’ve a full head of steam and a good idea, they’re a force of nature more than a band; case in point their cover of the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin.” They take a fairly pedestrian pop hit, its original version lackadaisical in delivery, and just tear into it, banging it against walls and just wringing it for every good thing it has until the song is wholly transformed and wholly their own. You’ll find that cover here on this reissue of their second album (originally released nearly thirty years ago!), along with stellar originals like “Fan Mail,” “(I’m Stuck in a Pagoda) with Tricia Toyota,” and “Manny Moe and Jack,” as well as their take on the “Gigantor” theme. Although the length of time between their releases rivals the rock band Boston, when they do manage to crank a disc out, most times it’s well worth the effort and this one is no exception. The punk gods indeed blessed the Dickies, and we all reap the benefits. –Jimmy Alvarado (Captain Oi)


DEREK LYN PLASTIC:
Negative Feelings: 7”
I love Derek Lyn Plastic! Total new wave punk rock with awesome lyrics! Although the A side needed to be faster, the B side more than made up for it! There’s even totally awesome girl vocals on one song by Naomi Lavender. Whoever she is, I NEED to hear more! So rough and rockin’! Buy this, dear consumers! If this were a cereal, it’d be Trix! So yummy! –Maddy (dereklynplastic@hotmail.com)


DEFEATIST:
In Praise of False Hope: 7”
This is intense stuff. Eight songs on a 7” of brutally heavy, angry hardcore. The cookie monster vocals are there, the dark brooding guitars and smashing drums and bass. They compare themselves to Disrupt and Napalm Death and that’s good enough for me. I don’t know if I could take more than a 7” worth of this, but it made me wash dishes like there was no tomorrow! –Buttertooth (Chainsaw Safety)


DEADLINE:
8/2/82: CDEP
Obscure DC band finally sees their recorded output hit CD. The band did feature Brendan Canty on drums, however. Hard driving and relentless, this is the best ten minute hardcore release since the Fury record. –Sean Koepenick (Dischord)


DEAD KENNEDYS:
Milking the Sacred Cow: CD
EASY JOKE ALERT: This record could not be more aptly named. I hold in my hand the brand new “greatest hits” collection of the Dead Kennedys. True, the disc does a decent job of chronicling the music career of these miscreants, but was it truly necessary to do so? Any DK fan could point the ignorant music enthusiast to Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables or Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death and produce similar results. The track listing for this is pretty much pulled from the two previously mentioned releases with one or two tracks from the others for good measure. It comes with two live tracks—”Soup Is Good Food” and “Jock-O-Rama”—the latter is filled with enough distortion that it’s almost worthless. In fact, the whole thing is worthless. Anyone interested, seriously, Fresh Fruit, ten bucks, local record store. –Bryan Static (Cherry Red)


DEAD KENNEDYS:
Milking the Sacred Cow: CD
EASY JOKE ALERT: This record could not be more aptly named. I hold in my hand the brand new “greatest hits” collection of the Dead Kennedys. True, the disc does a decent job of chronicling the music career of these miscreants, but was it truly necessary to do so? Any DK fan could point the ignorant music enthusiast to Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables or Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death and produce similar results. The track listing for this is pretty much pulled from the two previously mentioned releases with one or two tracks from the others for good measure. It comes with two live tracks—”Soup Is Good Food” and “Jock-O-Rama”—the latter is filled with enough distortion that it’s almost worthless. In fact, the whole thing is worthless. Anyone interested, seriously, Fresh Fruit, ten bucks, local record store. –Bryan Static (Cherry Red)


DEAD BETTIES:
Fuck You Avril, You’re in the Army Now: CD-R
Every now and then something comes along that is just so weird it works. The last release I remember hearing from these guys was kind of skronky and decent if not all that interesting. This, however, is a significant step forward from that. Nine songs here and not a one sounds like any other on the disc. You get off-kilter, all-over-the-map stabs at post-glam, punk (their cover of Creedence’s “Fortunate Son” is impressive), experimental fiddling about, artsy fun with loops of Avril Lavigne trying hard to sound intelligent, synth rock, death rock and, of course, skronk, all delivered with maximum catchiness and enough sense not to take things too seriously. They keep up like this and they may well end up one of the more interesting bands the underground has seen in years. –Jimmy Alvarado (no address)


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