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Razorcake #85
Pale Angels, Imaginary People LP
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Record Reviews

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CUT THE SHIT:
Marked for Life: CD
On first listen, this twenty-seven song collection of Cut the Shit’s two EPs goes by like a blister forming. It happens quick. It’s painful, bulging, sensitive-to-the-touch hardcore, but it’s fun to pick at to see the pus ooze out, much like Dead Nation (who’ve been Tear It Up for a bit now, but I really like that Dead Nation record, Dead End). Several listens in, it’s as awesome by both what it is and isn’t. Thankfully, there’s no metal. It’s not jocky, but it’s as unforgiving as falling fifteen feet down onto cement. It’s also not 100% blurring by. There are great song titles. I can easily get behind stuff like “I Officially Have No Idea What It Is That the Kids Want.” It takes a bit for the ears to catch the pace – and this is what I really like – there are some melodies that sound like musical notes laced onto barbed wire being swung above their heads the whole time, a la DS-13, Career Suicide, and Fucked Up. The Bored to Death EP part of this CD sold me on ‘em. Me likey plenty. –Todd Taylor (Gloom)


CURLUPANDDIE:
But the Past Ain’t Through with Us: CDEP
Three tracks of mostly Morbid Angelic metal, and a fourteen-minute finale consisting of beats, loops, guitar effects, static, guitar jangle, some more metal, feedback, and some other quiet stuff. Like a whole college radio station in one song. –Cuss Baxter (Revelation)


CRUMBS, THE:
Hold That Shit Right!: CD
...if the Crumbs woulda kept on with that Farfisa™ thing, they would’ve fuckin’ ruled the last half of the pop-punk ‘90s. Just fuckin’ kicked everybody else’s ass. They were neither terribly original nor astoundingly proficient, but they were good enough – kind of like an early-ish Screeching Weasel plus rock & roll plus those kinda sing-song melodies the Jockstrap Murphys would later do whiz-bang business with plus maybe a little upbeat Dead Boys-type guitar mischief for good measure – and, of course, they had the singer with the Peruvian accent that all the chicks found soooo unbearably precious – thus all they had to do was stick that goddamn Farfisa™ in the mix for keeps, and it’s swimming pools and movie stars, forever and ever, amen. But they didn’t, and now an evil man is president!!! Learn from this experience, children, lest you be doomed to repeat it! That aside, this package gathers together the tracks from the Spaghetti & Schlitz™ 10” (including the almighty “Farfisa™ Song,” which is actually called... let me see... “Get All Tangled Up,” i think. What a stupid name. They should have called it “The Farfisa™ Song,” like everybody else did) and some singles and stuff – i’d be more specific, but the origins of the tracks are so poorly documented in the packaging that i’d hafta read thru about six members’ various liner note reminiscences to scrape together all the data, and wouldn’t anybody who thought they really needed this stuff already have it anyway? Next off, this shoulda been released as Spaghetti & Schlitz (which is actually called... let me see... Get All Tangled Up, i think. What a stupid name. They should have called it The Spaghetti & Schlitz™ 10-inch, like everybody else did) + 10 or something, for two reasons: 1) The original Spaghetti and Schlitz™ cover photo kicked ass, and 2) that would mandate that the eight songs off the 10-inch occupy the first eight slots on the disc, WHICH WOULD BE REALLY HANDY, BECAUSE THE OTHER TEN SONGS ON THIS DISC ARE SO FRICKING QUIET AS TO BE LITERALLY PRACTICALLY INAUDIBLE, and if they were all buried at the end, the end user would only be required to get up and crank the volume (by like 800% or something) on one occasion. I mean, i’ve been responsible for more than my share of recordings with variable sound levels (“Sheena’s Got a Microwave,” anyone?) but THIS is fucking RIDICULOUS. It sounds like this: whisper whisper whisper whisper RRAAHHRR RRRAHHHR RAAHHHRRR RRAAHHHRRR whisper whisper whisper. I kinda fail to see how no one noticed this beforehand. All i can say is that it’s a darn good thing this disc isn’t called COMPILE That Shit Right! BEST SONG: The Farfisa Song! BEST SONG TITLE: “Dothan, Pill City, USA” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Worst Tommy Roe cover ever! –Rev. Norb (Recess)


CONCUBINE FORMING:
The Guilt Will Kill: CD
From the packaging, I was expecting some patently lame straight edge metal or something, but what’s coming out of the speakers is some dual guitar/bass/drum machine skronk, which, compared to the former, is by all means a good thing. Their brand of noise was a tad redundant, but “March of the Robots,” ironically the longest track on the disc, was pretty danged good, and the unlisted cover of Billy Squier’s “The Stroke” was good for a laugh. –Jimmy Alvarado (Big Neck)


COMMUNIQUÉ:
Poison Arrows: CD
Unless Ted Leo comes out with a new record in 2004, Lookout! won’t release anything else that’s as good as this. With this follow-up to 2003’s A Crescent Honeymoon, the former members of American Steel begin mining a shaft that most bands left behind in the 1980s and find that precious gems still exist. Falling somewhere between Marc Almond’s cabaret pop and Duran Duran’s synth-driven guitar rock, Poison Arrows turns inward, tenderly focusing on the intricacies and complexities of human relationships which all too often lead to failure. Like all the best albums, it’s guarded and occasionally bitter (“Dagger Vision”) but there’s also a potential for redemption here, suggested in songs like “Strays” in lines like “I’m coming home / With nothing but losses / I’m coming home to mend the cracks / In the fragile détente of our love.” Unfortunately, it’s difficult to look at this record in a vacuum which excludes Communiqué’s history because of the debates that broke out when American Steel released Jagged Thoughts. In truth, those discussions weren’t debates as much as a collective questioning of whether evolving beyond a stringent and dogmatic scene was selling out. Most people didn’t think of the album as a progression; American Steel – one of the most vital and creative punk bands of the last two decades – broke up not long after that. I’ve always wondered whether those attitudes caused the break-up or were just another factor and, in that respect, Poison Arrows seems like an answer record, an abiding gesture of defiance to people’s limited and limiting expectations. Jagged Thoughts was much closer to Poison Arrows than it was to anything else that American Steel had done and, while you can still hear the echoes of the band’s punk rock history, they resonate far more quietly now, held in notes and riffs that only seem to provide a peek into a rearview mirror at a past which is quickly receding into distant memory. I’m listening to Poison Arrows for approximately the 30th time in the last week and still can’t think of anything else which has been released this year which is as elegant, stately, and touching, nor am I aware of anything scheduled for release which will be able to catch up to these breathtaking songs. Sometimes, making a clean break is the best thing that can happen and the best decision someone can make; in this case, there’s just no question that it was. –Puckett (Lookout!)


COFFIN LIDS:
Rock ‘n’ Roll: CD
Lo-fi trash rock that, while quite good, ain’t particularly memorable or blazing a path into new territory. –Jimmy Alvarado (Bomp)


COCKNEY REJECTS:
Greatest Hits Vol. 2: CD
Captain Oi has seen fit to reissue album number two from these boys, and we are all the better for it. While not as consistently awe-inspiring as the first album, with Stinky in particular not belting out them vocals like he did on prior efforts, this is still one monster of an album, with classic tunes like “Subculture,” “War on the Terraces,” “Urban Guerrilla” and, of course, “Oi Oi Oi,” the song that gave the movement its name. Also included here are assorted singles tracks and BBC sessions for your listening pleasure. If you have any sense at all, you already own a copy of this. –Jimmy Alvarado (Captain Oi)


COCKNEY REJECTS:
Greatest Hits Vol. 1: CD
Back when I was a kid, there was a record shop, Roadhouse Records, next to the youth center my dad ran in Montebello. Whenever my brother and I would go with my father to work, we’d pop over to Roadhouse to peruse the shelves and stock up on punk badges and copies of Flipside. Because the owner of said record shop was a friend of my father’s, we managed to make a deal with him that if no one came in and bought the punk LPs he occasionally stocked within a month or so, he’d sell ‘em to us for two or three bucks. It worked out swell for all involved because he’d clear a room for the lame metal records that were popular at the time and we got brand new albums for a song. To make a long story short, this was one o’ those records. I remember rushing home, plopping it on the record player and being blown outta the room by what I still consider to be the UK’s answer to Black Flag. Songs like “They’re Gonna Put Me Away,” “Fighting in the Streets,” and “Police Car” easily rival that band’s best work in terms of intensity, and, like Black Flag, the Reject’s efforts helped spawn a whole new subgenre of punk rock, in their case what became known as “oi.” Twenty-plus years on, the tracks here still hold up and still generate that same sense of immediacy they did so long ago. In addition to the original album’s tracks, Captain Oi serves up the Flares and Slippers EP and some BBC sessions to sweeten the deal. In the grand pantheon of English punk rock records, this puppy ranks in the top fuggin’ three and as far as Rejects albums themselves, this is, hands down THEE BEST of the lot. –Guest Contributor (Captain Oi)


CHROMATICS:
Plaster Hounds: CD
Arty and boring, but hey, I could imagine people into that sort of thing digging this. Yes, I am serious! If this were a cereal, it’d be I Don’t Understand-Ohs. –Maddy (Gold Standard Laboratories)


CHORDVETTS:
Hana Fumi Hisae: 7”
Deliriously squeaky trio of Asiatic females (oh no! El Guapo sighting! El Guapo sighting!) whose five songs worth of protean 5.6.7.8.s-meets-the-Brentwoods garage-pop can transform Earth’s most manly subwoofer into a two-inch tweeter in jig-time. Their version of the oft-covered Hollies standard “Come on Back” sounds like the Martian voice from “The Martian Hop” singing dub reggae over a backbeat created by a piece of bacon the size of a quarter-mile of four-lane highway sizzling under the universe’s largest magnifying glass. Shucks, ladies, you had me at “Martian!” BEST SONG: “I Fought the Law” BEST SONG TITLE: “My Boyfriend’s Learning Karate” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: They actually spell the Bobby Fuller Four song “I Fought The Low” on the cover and label. As far as the EQ goes, i would say in this particular battle they were quite successful. –Rev. Norb (I Don’t Feel a Thing!)


CHEESEBURGER:
Self-titled: CD-EP
Cheeseburger is a rock and roll masterpiece; a stompy, ragged, AC/DC-in-Estrus tumble down a staircase clad in 10-grit sandpaper. The CD’s four songs bristle with rocknroll drugsnpartying cliches that never sounded so right, probably because the accompaniment is just so goddamn perfect, even without a bass player. Also a thing about a pirate I can’t understand the words to. I love you, Cheeseburger! –Cuss Baxter (Aerodrome)


CHAZ HALO:
Amazing Graceless (Demos 2002-2003): CD
Chaz Halo’s old band, The Dimestore Haloes, are one of the most under-appreciated bands in punk rock history. Classic late ‘70s rock and roll sound crossed with depression and loss and lots of Bukowski. I love ‘em! This CD is full of newer Chaz Halo songs, heard here backed by – ack! – a drum machine! Bad technology notwithstanding, there are some amazing songs in here, like “Baby Comes Undone,” but they all point to one obvious fact: This man needs a band! As punk rockers, it is our duty to patronize the arts, and so, if you’re living on the East Coast, and you play an instrument, for the love of all things punk, give this man a call! If this were a cereal, it’d be the test demo for a new breed of Corn Pops. Yum! –Maddy (Black Nipple)


CHASED AND SMASHED:
30 Seconds Over Hillsboro: LP
The packaging and vinyl are immaculate. The thick insert that has comic and lyric sheet. Blue vinyl. Chased and Smashed are in the same pajama party of dirty, pop-liking, DIY punk rock as ADDC, Allergic to Bullshit, and Crimpshrine, with a slight whiff of Fleshies thrown in for rockatude. That said, if they were put on a bill, I feel like they’d be the opening band. Although not terrible – there’s some toe tapping going on – Chased and Smashed isn’t terribly memorable. Pretty standard fare. –Todd Taylor (Onion Flavored)


CATHOLIC DISCIPLINE:
Underground Babylon: CD
Total LA punk rock archival boner. Catholic Discipline, memorialized in Decline of Western Civilization, never recorded track one in a studio, was a supergroup of sorts, lasted only six months almost a quarter of a century ago (‘79-’80), and only played out of LA once. And here are twenty-one tracks from live recordings and radio performances on one handy CD. It’s got the feel of the Screamers LP that was put together twenty-plus years after the fact. It’s half “this is weird, good, and well played” and half the feel not unlike legendary folk music collector Alan Lomax’s scouring the south in the 1930s and 1940s for original music made by real people in the field. Folks. Spirit over fidelity. Crudeness and honesty over any sort of professional validation. Varied recording levels, dropouts, and uneven recordings merely underscore the “fuck it, we’re all going to be nuked anyway” attitude of late ‘70s punk. This time, with Catholic Discipline, it’s urban, cynical, and fueled and shaped by a chain-smoking, heavily drinking Frenchman. The vocal charge and captain of the ship was Claude Bessy (Kickboy Face, editor of Slash, RIP). The band was co-formed by Craig Lee (Bags, long-time LA Weekly contributor, RIP) who plays drums. Phranc (Nervous Gender and long-time solo artist) on guitar, Rick Brodey (B-People, who was married at the time to Pat Bag) on bass, Richard Meade on synths, who would be replaced by Robert Lopez (Zeros, and currently he’s El Vez) rounds out the troupe. The idea behind the band was that even though all of the members were accomplished musicians (except Claude. It was his first band), they picked up instruments they hadn’t played before and started from scratch. Listening to this, and it may be through telekinesis or pollution, there are echoes of Catholic Discipline in more than several current Southern California punk bands. The Distraction, Radio Vago, The Fuse! and The Sharp Ease come instantly to mind – the angularity, the sharp and jagged use of instruments, the mordant tempos, all tempered by an almost subliminal melody. My only slight criticism is that I wish there were lyrics to these songs. It’s not merely archival curiosity, but because Claude was respected as one of the best writers in the original LA punk rock wave and it’d be cool read what he was singing about. Excellent stuff. –Todd Taylor (Artifix)


CASINO VOLANTE/WAISTCOATS:
Split: 2X 7”
Casino Volante are an English band who contribute four essentially placid surf instrumentals with reverb and whammy bars and minor chords and all that other appropriate shit. The Waistcoats are Dutch neo-mods (mods more like “Keith Moon’s balls mod” than like “touch-up paint for your Vespa™ mod”), who apparently thought i wouldn’t notice that their corkin’, Farfisa™-driven instrumental “Jack’s Off Day” found herein is THE EXACT SAME SONG as their corkin’, Farfisa™-driven instrumental “Jack’s Day Off” found on their All The Rage album. WELL, I GOT NEWS FOR YA! I NOTICED!YOU GODDAMN KIDS WILL NEVER GET AWAY WITH THIS! I KNOW MY RIGHTS! I KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU DID! Luckily, “Jack’s Day Off”/”Jack’s Off Day” is my favorite Waistcoats song, so i won’t be pressing charges this time. Roundin’ out their lot is a pretty cool cover of the Moving Sidewalks’ oft-covered “99th Floor,” a Yardbirds-styled honker, and an additional instrumental of much less ambient corkitude. The Waistcoats are worth a sniff, but unless you were looking for an excuse to stock your larder with some more surf instrumentals, i’m not so sure the split-double-seven-inch would be the model of efficiency you so richly deserve. BEST SONG: Waistcoats, “Jack’s Off Day” BEST SONG TITLE: Casino Volante, “Breathe, Elvis, Breathe” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I believe i covered this with the whole “Jack’s Day Off” thing. –Rev. Norb (Rockin’ Bones)


CAPTAIN EVERYTHING!:
It’s Not Rocket Science: CD
Pop-punk that threatens to become ska-punk on the second track. Call it a guilty pleasure, call it bad taste, I like it. It’s summer and this is super-catchy and dancey, so lighten up. –Megan Pants (Household Name)


BUSINESS, THE:
Smash the Discos: CD
What we have here, kiddies, is the issuing of the Business’ “first” album, one they recorded before Suburban Rebels, but lost and, thus, remained unreleased until now. What you get are rough, yet strong, versions of classic tunes like “Drinking and Driving,” “Smash the Discos,” “Guttersnipe,” “Work Or Riot,” and pretty much the bulk of what was on Suburban Rebels, as well as “H-Bomb,” “Law and Order,” “Last Train to Clapham Junction,” and a Sham and Crass cover, respectively. As with most Captain Oi releases, there are a few bonus tracks on here as well, namely versions of “Loud Proud and Punk,” “Real Enemy,” “Disco Girls,” “Dayo,” and the single version of “Smash the Discos,” as well as lyrics to the tunes and some liner notes detailing the album’s history. Frankly, as a longtime fan, I’m fuggin’ stoked. –Jimmy Alvarado (Captain Oi)


BROKEN HEROES/ TOUGHSKINS:
Split: 7” EP
Broken Heroes: Two mind-bogglingly stupid songs, the dumber of the two being “Smashing Hippies,” an ode to beating hippies “with all your heart.” Apparently to these geniuses, however, “hippies” are anyone who disagrees with the current war and are “spouting all you’re [sic] commie shit.” Well, as a former skinhead, let me just ask you this: If you are so filled with “pride,” why don’t you fuck off to the nearest recruitment center, join up and become another “working class” corpse killed in yet another rich man’s war instead of sitting safely at home and writing songs about beating up those who may disagree with your blind, ignorant patriotism? Toughskins: Ahhhh, now I understand where these jerkoffs – uh, bands – are coming from, as the Toughskins have laid it out for all to see in their opening salvo, “Payback”: “I know you dream of the day when you come here/own some seven elevens but you smell weird… all you fuckers – payback is a bitch – better pray to allah you don’t wind up in a ditch.” These is racist baldies, and I’m willing to bet that they’re of the ilk that says shit like, “We’re not racist, we’re just proud of our country and who we are,” and then proceed to spout off dumb, hypocritical shit like the above. Well, now that you’ve been sussed, allow me to extend a middle finger to each of you. –Jimmy Alvarado (Headache)


BROKEN BOTTLES:
Drinking in the Rain: CD-Single
Hey! It’s the Adolescent Distortion of Liberty! They’re so whiny and SoCal 1981, the only thing sillier than the fact that they even exist is that they put out a two-song CD! It does have a video, but it’s about drinking in the rain! Hey guys, drink in your houses! –Cuss Baxter (TKO)


BROKEN BONES:
No-One Survives: 7” EP
One of the early “crossover” punk bands returns with three new tracks of metallic, Discharge-influenced hardcore, which makes total sense when you take into account that former Discharger Bones is on guitar. Not as intense as I remember them being back in the day, but it still manages to do the trick. Limited to 800 copies, 400 of which are on white vinyl. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dr. Strange)


BRIEFS:
Sex Objects: CD
Man, it seems like these guys just get better and better as time goes on. Last long player I heard was their first (although I have an extensive collection of assorted singles, so it’s not like I’m totally in the dark about what they’ve been up to since that disc hit the streets), and while I thought that record was just peachy, this is one is miles above that one when it comes to the “hit versus miss” ratio. This is one solid piece of work here, and it boggles the mind that these guys aren’t played every five minutes on your local quality radio station. Then again, one would need a quality station. –Jimmy Alvarado (BYO)


BRIEFS, THE:
Sex Objects: CD
...something about this record Golden Shower of Hits... Golden Shower of Hits... can’t exactly put my finger on Golden Shower of Hits... Golden Shower of Hits... “Orange Alert,” presumably a cautionary tale about their last Golden Shower of Hits... Golden Shower of Hits... and, while i can certainly appreciate the unbridled craftsmanship it takes to introduce the lead to a song called “Halfsize Girl” with the impassioned reminder to “keep it short!” you’ve eventually got to admit that Golden Shower of Hits... Golden Shower of Hits...so like aren’t songs like “Destroy the USA” and “No More Presidents” just the aging punkly equivalent of those old tribute/spoof ‘50s type numbers decaying rockers in the ‘70s and ‘80s used to occasionally include on their albums (i’m thinking that “Wham-a-lama-lama-lama rock and roll is king” song by ELO here but that’s probably not a very good Golden Shower of Hits... Golden Shower of Hits... songs are actually the Briefs’ equivalent of “Old Time Rock & Roll???” CAN THIS BE HAPPENING??? Now, granted i Golden Shower of Hits... Golden Shower of Hits...but overreacting or not, i can’t help but Golden Shower of Hits... Golden Shower of Hits...you know? On the brighter side Golden Shower of Hits... Golden Shower of Hits... almost Seussian lyrics like “I picked it up, it weighed almost an ounce / on the top was a name that I couldn’t pronounce,” “Mystery Pill” is the exact type of midtempo, easily comprehensible number college DJs (at least used to) wet their Golden Shower of Hits... Golden Shower of Hits... with some authority that “Sally I Can’t Go to the Beach” is the best song with the word “Beach” in the title of the last fifteen years, and the best song with the name “Sally” in the title ever! That’s right! Fuck you, Wilson Pickett! Fuck you, Sir Mack Rice! Fuck you, Dick! Fuck you, Jane! Fuck you, Spot! The Briefs are coming to Golden Shower of Hits... Golden Shower of Hits... which is what the Toy Dolls started relying too much on during their long, protracted decline as well, so really i woulda saved my “Clash City Rockers” larceny for Golden Shower of Hits... Golden Shower of Hits... with “Lifestyles of the Truly Lazy,” which is just stupid. Hey, Ronald Reagan died within four days of me hearing the song “No More Presidents,” too bad you guys weren’t a band twenty years ago. BEST SONG: “Sally I Can’t Go to the Beach,” but i will also accept “Mystery Pill” as an alternate lifestyle BEST SONG TITLE: “Killed By Ants,” because who in this post-Adam universe even bothers to recall the punk/ant connection so viably established by Eater in 1978? FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: This record cover is red, yellow, gray and black and therefore does not coordinate with any of my outfits. Please do not tape it to me. –Rev. Norb (BYO)


BRAT ATTACK, THE:
Destruction Sound System: CD
The first song, “Infighting and Bickering,” excited me with its dual female/male vocals and melodic pop sound that reminded me of the now defunct UK band Servo. I was hoping for more! But no, the male vocals are dominant here. Where did that great female voice go? Two tracks of average punk rock. Track four is “Enemy” and the female vocals come back! The vocals are soft and enduring and go into Brody and Courtney country during the chorus. Tracks five through eight: male dude again. Yawn. Track nine, the dual vocals are back! You go, girl! Track ten is dude again. Skip. Track eleven has too much dude and not enough female vocals. Track twelve: dude. Track thirteen: dude. Track fourteen: dude’s track up front, female vocals buried. Track fifteen comes back with dude singing the verses and female vocals in the chorus. Track sixteen closes off with a rock ballad of sorts but dude is only a background singer. So I’m not sure who dude is. On the CD there is Ben and Dave who are listed as vocalists. They need to step back and just play guitars. No more singing. The female vocals, I think, are handled by Seana but there is a picture of a Meaghan on the back that says vocals, too. Put them up front on vocal duties and this band would be much improved in my book. Sounds like I’m a dude hater, huh? –Donofthedead (Steel Capped)


BOXCAR SATAN:
Upstanding and Indigent: CD
Singer sounds like Captain Beefheart and sings a million words in every song. Sometimes the band sounds like the Jesus Lizard, sometimes more like Beefheart’s band, sometimes like Mule or the Cows. If you like that stuff, you’ll get the picture. “I got back with a new tattoo of you kissing my ass.” Wholesome weirdness. –Cuss Baxter (Dogfingers)


BOOKS LIE:
Hall of Fame of Fire (Plus Singles and B-sides): CD
When I was in college several years ago, almost all the punks there were exclusively into grindcore, noise, thrash, emo, etc. What was a decent, harmony-loving punk who wasn’t given to public emotional breakdowns to do? Well, when in Rome… I ended up going to a fair amount of shows I would’ve never gone to otherwise, and one of those shows was Books Lie. I actually ended up seeing them a few times, and, out of all “those” bands, they were the only ones I actually thought were all right. This CD is both a new album and lots of singles and b-sides. Hardcore with some metal influence, definitely a Heartattack kind of thing! I’d be lying if I said I listen to it all the time, but the fact that I listen to it at all, given my musical tastes, must be worth something! If this were a cereal, it’d be Heartattack Ohs! Oh, subculture! –Maddy (Level-Plane)


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·Reviews from Issue 75
·KNIFE OR DEATH
·20BELOWS, THE
·VARIOUS ARTISTS
·VARIOUS ARTISTS
·ANOMALYS, THE
·BLOOD BUDDIES
·CHAMPION
·RAD COMPANY / DISCRETIONS


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