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Razorcake #93
One Punks Guide to Pinball, by Kayla Greet
Razorcake #92
Spokenest, Gone, Gone, Gone LP
Pinned In Place, Ghostwritten By LP


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Record Reviews

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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WINDOWSILL, THE / DEECRACKS:
Reconsider Fisto: 10”
Fisto, the rough-bearded, iron-fisted woodsman of Eternia. Deecracks deliver the twist waist and power punch action equivalent with four tracks of hook-laden gruff punk. Deecracks’ side of the record is the side of “good” and keeps you coming back. Fisto’s toy-line adversary was Jitsu, a gold-handed evil karate chop master. Total weak sauce compared to the power of Fisto. The Windowsill is Jitsu, masters of their craft, but ultimately forgettable in the glut of standardized pop punk. Deecracks and He-Man inferences make this release worth the price of admission and I’ll probably wear out the grooves of the Deecracks side. Thanks to Wiki Grayskull.  –Matt Seward (Shield, shieldrecordings.com)


WOOD CHICKENS:
Have a Cow: CD-R
All info I’m able to suss out indicate an origin of Wisconsin, but they could’ve easily come from Texas, given their almost schizophrenic output here. You get by turns, punk, country, roots rock, art-damage, and full-blown psychedelia here, with the band bouncing from one to the next with no apparent rhyme or reason other than they feel like it. Does it work? Well, it does make the noggin ache after a spell and one ultimately wishes they’d manage to find a way to distill all of their influences into one unique and gloriously fucked up sound; but yeah, they manage to pull it off, primarily because they’re quite adept at all the above. Betting they’re a hoot live, too.  –jimmy (Wood Chickens, facebook.com/woodchickensband)


YOUR PEST BAND:
Time to Go: CD
I had heard about Your Pest Band for some time now. There have been a few attempts on my part to check out the music, but I never found anything that stuck with me very well. An identity for the band’s sound never fully formed in my mind. And that’s around the time I usually give up trying to like a band. Going into this album, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. What I ended up getting was relatively pumped-up Japanese punk with a psychedelia twinge that’s a little out of tune in a good way. (A very good way.) This is a pretty good album. Goes great with blown-out speakers and warm summer days. Grade: A-.  –Bryan Static (Snuffy Smiles)


ZACK ZACK:
Wir Haben Zeit: LP
Shame on whoever took the “rock” out of “punk rock” but, lucky for us, Zack Zack is somewhere in Germany working on putting it back in. This album is a garageland masterpiece. If you told me that these were long-lost Clash or Buzzcocks recordings, done in German, I would believe you. Well done.  –John Mule (Modern Action, modernactionrecords.com)


ZACK ZACK:
Wir Haben Zeit: LP
Zack Zack have taken the ‘77 pogo punk formula and mixed it perfectly with ‘70s powerpop to create a totally great, absolutely solid LP of catchy singalong (mostly in German) punk. A couple of these guys used to be in the ‘77 punk style band The Shocks. Fans of energetic power pop-influenced punk like The Briefs would likely be able to get into this. The hooks are undeniable while still having enough teeth for the pogo punk purist. –Mark Twistworthy (Modern Action, modernactionrecords.com)


1971:
Self-titled: Cassette
While I felt like the band kiiiinda noodled on too long in the majority of these songs for my personal tastes, there’s no refuting that there’s some real power here, and 1971 has, hands down, some of the most impressive lyrics I’ve read in some time. Smart, agile, and thoughtful stuff that seamlessly merges the personal and political. And if some of the songs work from a kind of odd and stumbling doom/punk amalgam, or even a manic, caffeine-heavy version of indie stuff ala old Crackerbash—who 1971 has almost assuredly never heard, so that’s probably just me—that’s okay, because when these guys are on, they are seriously on. I’m personally a fan of brevity as far as chops go, so this probably won’t get a lot of repeat listens, but I’m sure there’s plenty out there who’d go bananas for these dudes.  –keith (Faxed)


1984:
Specjalny Rodzaj Kontrastu: LP
I only have my own boring historical context with which to review this album. The lyrics and notes are in Polish and I’m not sure who this album is made for, save an emerging scene and/or a continuation of an existing interest in dark electronic pop I’m not familiar with. When I was younger (yawn) D.C. had a very small punk scene. I was too young to be fully involved in the really historical stuff, but there were places to hang out and many groups were fairly accepting of anything. This reminds me of music played in clubs at this time. It’s slow, electric, minimal, and goth-like (as much as I understood goth at the time). Not the mall goth, but the people actually hanging out in dark places—meaning goths who turned twenty-one, probably. I had very wide eyes then; everything was impressive to me. This music is mysterious, but only in that I haven’t heard anything like it in awhile and I don’t understand Polish. What I mean is: I either don’t get it, or it’s made for people like me, which I doubt very much. Either way, it’s very well done. As a point of reference, I don’t really like The Faint, although I sort of understand why some people might. It doesn’t sound like that sort of thing, but the sort of thing that a person who likes The Faint might smoke a joint to.  –Billups Allen (Pasazer)


ACID BABY JESUS:
Selected Recordings: CD
Acid Baby Jesus sound exactly like you’d expect based on their moniker. Yet, this Greek psychedelic ensemble eschews the common “throwback band” pitfalls of nostalgia and mimicry. Their utilization of eclectic instruments and minimal lyrics packed with mythical and literary allusion create an atmospheric sound that is interesting and authentic. It threatens to fall apart for me around “Who’s First”—the lyrics for which were “found and collaged” whatever that means; art, man—and again on “I’m Becoming a Man,” which boast prima facie effemimanic messages. Not sure whether these sentiments comment on Athens’ human rights issues or spawn from them—though the track “Night of Pan” invokes infamous half ‘mo Aleister Crowley—but I like the music enough to pretend Acid Baby Jesus get to use the word “faggot” because they themselves are mad gay.  –Kelley O’Death (Slovenly)


ACID BABY JESUS:
Selected Recordings: LP
Psych rock is a bit tricky to pull off with any effectiveness. Lose your footing and you’re sliding down a very slippery slope into a rather deep puddle of pretentiousness. ABJ are good at knowing where to go next, adroitly avoiding overt Pink Floyd worship while still recalling the heavily dosed experimentation of that band’s early years and knowing that changing things up and throwing in a teensy bit o’ pop can go a long way. “Head” music of fine vintage here.  –jimmy (Slovenly)


AGATA:
Promo: CDEP-R
I got excited when I opened this one because I thought it was going to be Seattle queercore band Agatha. What a difference a letter makes. Imagine if Agnostic Front and Coliseum were roommates and the apartment always smelled like sweat and dank nugs. This is the sonic equivalent of that. It works, though, kinda like a pit bull St. Bernard mix, that is to say loud and heavy. There are only three tracks on here. I hope to hear more from these guys.  –Lisa Weiss (Agata Industries, agataindustries.bandcamp.com)


AGATHA:
Gravis Atque Gravior: LP
This is the Italian Agatha, not the band from Olympia, and they’re a drums-and-bass two-piece, but with none of the ickiness that that implies. Gravis Atque Gravior (Latin for Heavier and Heavier) is a dark and brooding thing, riff-heavy and menacing, and, if nothing else, remarkable for its fullness of sound. This record sounds like a lot more than two people at work. Unfortunately to my uneducated ear, words like “stoner doom” keep coming to mind—they just have this tendency to ride a slow and singular riff into oblivion—but preferences notwithstanding, the band is certainly excellent at what they do.  –keith (Chaos Rurale)


ALCOHOL FUELED:
Self-titled: Cassette
This studied seven-song streetpunk demo from Ottawa has a heavy Ripcordz influence, confirming my suspicion that Canadian streetpunk has its own distinguished set of tropes and traditions. Clean, but not overproduced, this demo is supposedly a precursor to a full-length that is due out in 2015. Clearly fueled by more than alcohol, these guys can play. Sounding like something that would have appeared on the Pogo Attack compilation in the ‘90s, Alcohol Fueled makes me nostalgic for that fun-filled resurgence period of this subgenre. Watch for Alcohol Fueled if you’re into street sounds. This is easily one of the better releases of this type to emerge in ages, and it’s only a demo!  –Art Ettinger (Obnoxio Drunk Punk)


ALIANS:
Gavroche: LP
Want to learn more about Polish punk? I know I do. Here’s a twentieth anniversary reissue of a classic, crunchy, Crass-influenced release from the 1990s. There’s a lot of junky weird interludes, flutes, and accordions at work. But when it gets moving, it moves. The vocals are completely fucking zany, and the fast breakneck speed is welcome when compared to the creepy bits between tracks. Pasażer is a label that specializes in fancy packaging, with them pulling out all the stops for Gavroche, including a cool foldout poster lyric sheet. Even the most peaceful of peace punks will want to break shit upon spinning this apparent classic, which is brimming with rage. –Art Ettinger (Pasażer)


ALPHABET CULT / ELEPHANT RIFLE:
Split: 7”
Your parents’ basement carpet smells like old smoke. No light, save the TV glow from the Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla VHS you’re watching in slow motion. You peaked about thirty minutes ago. Alphabet Cult, with their raw and metallic-heavy desert psych, provide your Man’s Ruin aesthetic soundtrack. Elephant Rifle wake you the next morning with their bending nightmare assault of early Unwound hangover headache. Recommended if your definition of “punk” is “do what you want.” Labels are reversed, so careful choosing your favorite side.  –Matt Seward (Self-released)


ALPHABET CULT:
Self-titled: Cassette
My severe marijuana allergy has me at a bit of a loss while trying to connect to Reno trio Alphabet Cult’s self-described “noise/stoner/yarn art rock,” but their post-punk aspirations on tracks such as “Overt” resonate with the lukewarm Fugazi fan in me. Talky vocals provided by guitarist Cyril Beatty and bassist Leah Ruby’s occasional pubescent boy vocal cracks play well with the dirty, noisy production, as drummer Darren Barnes stays high on his cymbals like he’s playing a game of “hot lava” with the rest of his kit. The acid trip lyrics scattered throughout the ten tracks on this eponymous cassette—most notably on the spooky intro to “The Whiteness” and the early Les Savy Fav-infused “Child 5”—probably sidle close to whatever “yarn art rock” means, but I’m not cool enough to know for sure.  –Kelley O’Death (Intruder Alert!)


AMEN:
Live 1992: 7”
Straightforward hardcore punk from Poland, recorded live in 1992. Think Insted’s sturdy beats fused with the berserker approach of Dutch hardcore heroes BGK. Despite being a live punk recording, the quality is most certainly top notch and holds up pretty well for being well over twenty years old. A live set on vinyl is not my preferred introduction to a band, but in Amen’s case I’ll overlook that minor detail.  –Juan Espinosa (Pasazer, pasazer.pl / Stary Cap)


AMERICAN HERITAGE:
Prolapse: LP
American Heritage was a long-running stoner sludge band with the Motörhead-meets-Melvins sound that was really popular in the ‘00s. This is their final release, and feels like a last gasp—six originals and three covers from a bulldozer of a band just starting to sound dated.  –Chris Terry (Solar Flare)


ANTIDONT’S, THE:
32 oz. to Failure: CD-R
Beach bro skater punk for beach bro skater punks with inarticulate frustrations with the system (see, e.g., songs such as “Don’t Worm Our Chicks” and “Fuck Your Institutions”). Thought the title might a redeeming jab at Sublime, but then came the unexpected upstrokes on the penultimate track—at least it still shows that they are self-aware.  –Vincent Battilana (theantidonts.bandcamp.com)


APACHE DROPOUT:
Heavy Window: CD
Eleven fuzz-drenched numbers straight outta Indiana are coming for your eardrums. This is not the next big thing but rather some reverberating heavy-on-the-backbeat, good ol’ garage rock. It’s got an especially murky, swampy quality that’s pleasing to these ears, like The Cramps cleaned up to go to college or like an unironic Make-Up. Fun. A keeper.  –Lisa Weiss (Magnetic South)


A-TOWN SLUTS:
Steal Your Drugs: CD-R
Juvenile. Thoughtless. Unoriginal. Given the content of this disc, I think that the band members would tend agree that these adjectives aptly describe them. However, we’d probably disagree on whether these are positive things to say about their moronic, wastoid punk. The least stupid and immature point on here is their cover of GG’s “Bite It You Scum,” if that’s any indication of what you’re dealing with here. Sources of lyrical inspiration include the classic Jack and the Beanstalk, as they lift the Mighty Giant’s catch phrase “fe fi fo fum” for the beginning of one track. The music itself is fair enough, but the vocals are a goddamn tragedy, taking the punk ethic of “no talent needed” to mean, “no effort allowed.” I don’t know which question was more prevalent in my mind during the course of listening to this disc: “Why didn’t they mix the vox down into oblivion?” or “Why am I still listing to this?” If you want a free copy of this, you can sort through my trash.  –Vincent Battilana (atownsluts.bandcamp.com)


AUTARKEIA / ME AND GOLIATH:
Split: LP
Both bands mix ‘90s-style chaotic hardcore with something crustier. Me And Goliath are especially heavy without sacrificing tunefulness, bringing to mind black metal-influenced hardcore bands like Union Of Uranus and One Eyed God Prophecy. Autarkeia’s winding, syncopated guitar lines hint at something cool to come, but the songs are sloppy and overlong. I suspect that their next release will come together with more confidence.  –Chris Terry (city17records.bandcamp.com)


BAD NERVE:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Another slab of clean-channel proto-hardcore worship from Umea here. Dual male/female vocals, punchy delivery, and attitude just oozin’ out of its pores. Fuck yeah.  –jimmy (Ny Vag)


BAT BITES, THE:
Self-titled: CD
If you’re still lamenting the loss of Lookout Records, you might like this disc. The Bat Bites deliver masked and caped pop punk straight from the ‘90s. They’ve got the riffs. They’ve got the solos. They’ve got the singalongs. But everything’s too slick. Production-wise, the music leans too close to the pop side of the spectrum. I need more rough edges. I need something to grab onto so I don’t slide right through an album like it’s an aural slip-and-slide. I just couldn’t find it here.  –mp (Monster Zero)


BINGERS, THE:
Gonna Get You: 7”
Night has fallen quicker than you expected. There’s a fog rolling in. That fog looks the way the fuzz on this record sounds, like there’s a good chance that you could get lost in it and never make it back. You drive into it anyway, because you’ve gotta escape. This is the perfect soundtrack—the B-side, specifically—which kicks off with the plaintive “Hideous Heart.” The yelling seems distant. Maybe if you drive faster, you can get to it, and maybe it will have the answers you need. Or maybe not. Maybe you’ll just have to keep listening.  –mp (Tall Pat)


BLACK PLANET:
Betty No: 7” Flexi
The flexi craze is really taking off. I mean, when Pirates Press got their machine (presumably the old Eva-Tone press?) up and running, I was intrigued like everyone else. After all, it’s an affordable, interesting twist on a standard record. But I can honestly say I never expected to see so many. I suppose I simply presumed that people wouldn’t be open to paying the same price as a seven inch for one of these plastic tampons, but what do I know. Apparently, people are into them, so that’s cool. I’m still on the fence, but this here “Betty No” track by Black Planet is swaying me into the “yes” direction, since it’s a great tune. Post-punk/new wave with female vocals, done strikingly well and enjoyable enough to dig deeper and track down other releases by this band. This is a picture disc flexi as well, I should add.  –Steve Adamyk (Let’s Pretend)


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