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· 1:The Rikk Agnew Band, Symbol Six, Barrio Tiger and A Pretty Mess
· 2:Interview with Adam Gnade
· 3:Sign Up for a Razorcake Automatic Payment Plan
· 4:#323 - Future Virgins Edition with Todd Taylor and Mike Faloon
· 5:Burn Burn Burn Interview


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Record Reviews

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CRASH HOUNDS OF AMERICA:
Trash Heap (2009 – 2013): Cassette
Couple of porknobs whose recording equipment is as key to them jerking off as the internet is to the rest of us. –Craven (Self-released)


MATTHEW HART:
“From the Backyard” and “Do You Ever” b/w “Topanga Days”: 7”
Being a human being and simultaneously being an honest record reviewer is a tough gig. Words have consequences when backed by real life, right? I tell people I know, “Please don’t give me your record if you don’t want my honest opinion.” Because if I lie, I’m lying to myself. I’m lying to them. Thirdly, I’m lying to you, who’s reading this review. That sucks. The other side of the see-saw is the word “criticism.” It’s not code for being an unholy asshole and hiding behind the veil of “no consequence will happen if I tear this record a new one.” Couple that with the fact that I truly don’t want to see my friends fail at life, and perhaps you can appreciate a little bit of the big ball of kitty cat yarn this becomes. It’s far from abstract. So, yeah, Matt’s my friend. We laugh our asses off and do stupid shit together. I’d heard versions of these songs on a longer demo CD. Big ups go to Andrew Schubert of Ghostbot for not only selecting the best, least future-embarrassing songs (like the weed one), but capturing the light/serious, poetic/unpretentious, thinking-hard/not-thinking-at-all-are-you-a-fucking-keener? duality of these three songs and Matt’s personality. For those of you who want all grindcore all the time, you’ll be fuckin’ disappointed. Patch soiled. If you want unembarrassing catchy songs that are punk-saturated in the cloth and fronted by an acoustic guitar—bronze, silver, and gold versions of this record are waiting for you. There’s absolutely no way I would have paid for the box set just to make Matt happy. Fuck that. I’ve got important Chinese food to eat. Insert compelling ad copy here. –Todd Taylor (Ghostbot)


MASKED INTRUDER:
Self-titled: CD
Did the “Teenage Dirtbag” band change their name to Masked Intruder?! The Wisconsin-based foursome seem to have worn out their copy of “Pop Punk 101” with their Fat Wreck debut, which comes complete with a gimmick (multi-coloured balaclavas), a heavy Chixdiggit influence, and harmonies that The Supremes would’ve been jealous of. There’s pop punk and then there’s pop, which is the category Masked Intruder falls under. The music on the album is harmless and completely inoffensive, but if this is even remotely punk rock, then I’m Monica Bellucci (spoiler: I’m not Monica Bellucci). Hearing the lead vocalist’s look-Ma-I-just-finished-puberty voice singing about how he’s got a knife and wants your money on “Stick ‘Em Up” makes you chuckle and want to pat the cute little guy on his head. “Don’t worry, son—you’ll get your ten dollar allowance tomorrow!” For all you grown punkers with spawns, your kids will probably like this music, and it’s not the kind of pop punk that’s so bad that it makes you want to break out your gat at the neighborhood Hot Topic. The songs are saccharine, shallow, and way too produced, but they’re also catchy as hell. You’ll hate yourself tomorrow when you find yourself singing “In a world of nightmares you’re a sweet, sweet dream / Just about the prettiest thing that I’ve ever seen.” Trust me. –Rishbha –Guest Contributor (Fat Wreck Chords, fatwreck.com)


CRAPPY DRACULA:
Concerns of the Modern Womb Wiggler: 7”
Crappy Dracula is Gerard Butler, who played Dracula in Dracula 2000. Some may argue that Frank Langella was a crappier Dracula, but they are incorrect. On this record, Gerard Butler Dracula plays exsanguinated and dizzy jazz squawks about the horrors of Bill Cosby and weightlifting. Regardless of how weird you may feel after listening to this record, you are safe. Crappy Dracula cannot hurt you. Only a noncrappy Dracula can hurt you. –MP Johnson (Eeefin)


MARTHA :
Self-titled: CD
I LOVE THIS EP MORE THAN MY PARENTS. OH MY GOD. IT’S POWERPOP AND PERFECT AND I’M GOING TO DANCE TO THIS UNTIL I VOMIT. If this is what happens when Nathan and Daniel of ONSIND get two more talented musicians and play as a full band, then I’m shipping them every talented musician I encounter. Which means all you jerks are safe. –Donna Ramone (Discount Horse, marthadiy@gmail.com, marthadiy.bandcamp.com)


CONGENITAL DEATH:
From My Hands: 7” EP
I’m always a bit amazed by the tenacity of certain punk/hardcore subgenres, in this case grind/powerviolence. One would’ve figured that, given its more or less limited scope, it would’ve faded away a few years after quickly reaching its apex, but no, it lives. Congenital Death are the purveyors of this brand of über-thrash clocking in with all the drumroll-speed sturm und drang one has come to expect. Me, I would’ve been more impressed if they’d approached the style with the guitars ‘n’ drums replaced by more unconventional weapons, like congas, banjos, and violas. –Jimmy Alvarado (Ranch)


CONFINED:
Demo 2012: CD
There’s been a drought of good straightedge hardcore bands in the last few years. Confined has stepped in to fill this void with one of the most promising demos I’ve heard this year. If you like melodic but moshy youth crew hardcore with catchy riffs that make you want to get low, pile on, and sing along, look no further. “Back on My Own,” is Confined’s straightedge anthem, lyrically tackling all the themes one would expect from such a song, with a great breakdown and a chorus you can’t help but want to sing with. My favorite track, though, was the second track, “Lost in the Light,” which tackles the subject of trying to find one’s place in the world. The track features fast and thrashy verse parts leading into my favorite breakdown on the demo, with great gang vocal part. I can’t stop listening to this, and you won’t want to either. –Paul J. Comeau (briantravisgeller@gmail.com)


LOW DÉRIVE:
Do•Make•Walk•Sing: Cassette
Wow. These Italian guys put out a cassette in a limited edition of seventy copies and the album—all dozen songs—flat out smokes, man. Layered, catchy pop punk akin to Direct Hit or Challenges. And the tape even features a hidden track. My respect grows, nerds. –Keith Rosson (Low Dérive)


LOW CULTURE:
Screens: LP
Another Marked Men (and Shang-A-Lang) affiliated group and, yes, another danged corker of a release. Great riffs, great vocal lines, great goddamned garage-tinged punk/pop tuneage—at this point I’m just plain awed by the track record of flat-out awesomeness these cats are rackin’ up. We’re a scant few months into the year, but I’m willing to bet this’ll top a lot of 2013 top ten lists. I can tell you with absolute certainty that this schlub will be wearin’ this slab o’ wax down to the nub in short order. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dirtnap)


COMO ASESINAR A FELIPES:
Comenzara de Nuevo: CD
Let’s be real—shit just sounds better when it’s not in English. That rule stays true for Comenzara de Nuevo, the fourth album from Santiago, Chile outfit Como Asesinar A Felipes. Experimental hip hop would be the only way to describe the group’s music—everything from hip hop/jazz fusion, trip hop, acid jazz, and alt rap can be found in Comenzara de Neuvo. Fans of El-P, Aesop Rock, Alexander Spit, and Immortal Technique are sure to dig the inimitable sound of Como Asesinar A Felipes. Lead emcee Koala Contreras spits rhymes as if each word were a threat. The ominous synths and steady soundscapes of the songs call on the influences of Gravediggaz, Psycho Realm, Cypress Hill, Company Flow, and Tricky, all held up with some Big L/Mobb Deep swagger. The fact that the Chilean band has branded its own version of hip hop that takes a million bands to describe it goes to show that they’re unique in their endeavours. Steady, calm, and menacing—Comenzara de Neuvo is what Suge Knight wishes he could roll to. –Guest Contributor (Koolarrow, koolarrow.com)


LOUGHTON:
Live at Back to Basics 2011: Cassette
Five songs “accidently recorded” at a show. It’s full of sound drops and muffled to the point of inaudibility, as if it was recorded through someone’s pocket, which it probably was. The crowd seems to like them, for what that’s worth. But don’t ask me how I feel about Loughton because I can’t hear them on this recording. –Craven (Self-released)


LHS / ROUND EYE:
Full Circle: Split: CD
LHS, AKA Libyan Hit Squad come out of their corner swinging on this aural curiosity. Playing a blend of thick, angular, jazz-tinged punk that reminds me at times of a blend of James Plotkin’s pre-Khanate band Old and, oddly enough, the Big Boys with maybe a sprinkle of the Minutemen on top. Greg Ginn is featured on the title track, which seemed rather random until I heard it. His playing is actually right at home on the disc. Perhaps even more curious are the tracks from Round Eye. These tracks have a strange ‘50s-type vibe and prominently feature a saxophone, which generally isn’t a good sign of punk things to come in my book. I was happily wrong. This stuff is just all over the place enough to make it work. All in all, this is a real cool split. Probably my biggest complaint is the label on the cover that mars the otherwise awesome cover art. Pointing out that Greg Ginn is featured on one track just smells sort of cheap. Truth be told, both bands are strong enough to stand on their own without that sort of marketing. –Garrett Barnwell (Ripping)


CODE ORANGE KIDS:
Love Is Love / Return to Dust: CD
In many ways, Love Is Love / Return to Dust is exactly what I expected. Raw, abrasive metallic hardcore which occasionally melts into melodic, almost borderline ambient parts before returning to metallic chaos. That this CD is exactly what I expected is part of the problem I have with it. The sonic path tread by Code Orange Kids is well worn, blazed by bands who pushed, and continue to push, the boundaries of extreme music. When treading in the wake of such creative forces, imitation only gets washed away. To survive takes more than competent musicianship, of which Code Orange Kids have plenty, but also enough creativity to make something that stands apart. An example would be on the track “Nothing (The Rat).” Here, from the buildup of drums and bass, into the thundering song, and all the way into the washed-out outro, everything about this track blew me away. The breakdown in the middle, before the feedbacking ending, is particularly excellent. Unfortunately, I found the rest of this album lacked the spark which made this track so good for me. Instead, it was a lot of tracks that sounded like stuff I’d heard before. –Paul J. Comeau (Deathwish)


LEXICON DEVILS:
Self-titled: 7”
Nicely done Hostage Records-style punk via Italy. Four frenetic, uptempo scorchers, consisting of equal parts Amoebas and Adolescents. I enjoy records like this because they manage to sound both timeless and resoundingly new—a band working from a well-loved and respected template without copying the blueprints. They’re not reinventing the wheel here, but they are flicking garbage at it and asking it for cigarettes. The cover illustration features some poor guy trying to climb his way out of a bathroom. –Keith Rosson (Surfin’ K)


CHURCHWOOD:
2: CD
This was different for me—a blues band with a punkish edge playing ten tracks of varying tempos and slightly different styles of blues. You get some swamp, some traditional, a not-too-successful try at funk, and some Delta blues all mixed together on this album. The playing is spotless. It has lots of emotion and prowess. Clear production, to boot. Not something that I’ll play a lot, but a cool bunch of songs all the same. –Rick Ecker –Guest Contributor (Saustex, saustex.com)


LESS THAN JAKE:
Greetings & Salutations from Less Than Jake: CD
Man, I used to be such a LTJ nerd. That is why it really pains me to say that this—Less than Jake’s ninth full-length disc seems to just be spinning the same wheels they have on the past few releases. Don’t get me wrong; this is a well-crafted pop punk disc that any band of this genre would be lucky to have in its catalog. It is just a bit too derivative of their past releases for my taste. I suspect that if this was your first introduction to the band you might be fairly pleased. There just isn’t anything that sticks out to longtime fans to warrant many repeated listens. –Garrett Barnwell (Fat)


LEFT FOR DEAD:
Devoid of Everything: LP
Seems like every fucker is on the reissue/reform train right now—before we know it bands who broke up last week will reform this week. Left For Dead were a band from Ontario, Canada who pumped out a few discs in the late ‘90s and, in many ways, were indicative of a sound that has really stood the test of time. Taking cues from Clevo hammerheads Integrity and bands like No Comment or Spazz, they brought brutal, fast, acerbic hardcore that just fucking throttled you. While most of the ‘90s can rot in hell as far as I’m concerned, I really got into some of the Canuck knuckle-draggers like these cats, Chokehold, and Haymaker (no surprise LFD had members of both). This disc is a worthy purchase as it holds all those tricky little 7”s and splits in one tidy place, but also has a full remastered overhaul from the original tapes that makes all the tracks sound like a fucking steamroller. If you didn’t know this shit was more than fifteen years old, you could slide them in as new band and no fucker would be any the wiser. I’m stoked as a motherfucker on this reissue. Wonder what the reformation gigs were like? The line-up looked insane with bands like Despise You and Lack Of Interest. Oooof. –Tim Brooks (A389, dom@a389records.com)


CHURCH SHOES:
Loves: LP
These Ft Wayne, Indiana transplants who are now living in Austin, TX offer ten songs of sometimes rollicking, sometimes waltzing good times. I’m hearing a number of different influences here, varying from sometimes bringing to mind the masterpiece that is Alex Chilton’s Like Flies on Sherbert LP, whereas other times being seemingly influenced by the rootsy garage rock of fellow Austin residents The Golden Boys. It seems to straddle the line between garage rock and Americana equally, but without all of the bullshit trappings of most every artist that actually ever gets labeled or labels themselves as an “Americana” musician. This is a really good record and deserves more attention than it will probably ever receive. –Mark Twistworthy (KMJ, churchshoesrock@gmail.com, music.churchshoes.us)


LEECHES:
Rott: 7”
This is the sound of hanging from a cliff by sore fingertips. There’s kicking. There’s screaming. All of the energy falls into the canyon below and then echoes everywhere. The sound is so intense it’s likely to crumble everything down. –MP Johnson (Bridge Sounds)


LAKE FOREST:
Furious Party: Cassette
Twenty minutes of shimmering, tactile guitar noise glaciers, waves, and clouds. If you don’t space out during the extended jams on Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine records, you want this. The tape came wound to the blank side and I was like, “Furious party?! Damn right!” Then I flipped it over and was like, “Ahh, nice.” –CT Terry (Cherish)


CHILL DAWGS:
Oh Okay: 7” EP
The Chill Dawgs are St. Louis’s answer to the question that everyone has been asking for years. What would a Rocket From The Crypt Too Many Daves hybrid sound like? “Dude’s Room” with horns! Soul that’s chill! The kind of band that should be playing a house party in Revenge of the Nerds. And to top it off, this record is brought to you by the fine gentlemen at Dudes Magazine. Bring the party home! –Daryl Gussin (Do What?)


KILL YOU DEAD / THE DIMARCOS:
Split: 7” EP
Kill You Dead: One poppy ditty and one noisier, dissonant bit o’ hardcore. DiMarcos: Vaguely poppy, gallop-tempo hardcore. –Jimmy Alvarado (Bigger Boat)


INSURGENCE, THE:
Elimi-Nation: CD
When I reviewed this Seattle band’s Lost 7” a while back, I likened them to some of the bands on Hostage Records in OrangeCounty. I’m not hearing that so much on this disc. Nope, on this one The Insurgence is embracing their Pacific Northwest punk, thrash, and hardcore heritage. I am hearing a lot of Poison Idea, The Accüsed, and Zeke. Those are some solid influences and we’re not talking blatant rip off stuff here either. It more like The Insurgence are getting to a point where they can stand alongside those giants and hold their own. If you dig any of the bands I mentioned, you should be getting on board with The Insurgence. –Ty Stranglehold (Innerstrength, inrstrrecs@yahoo.com)


CHANDELI’ERS:
Self-titled: EP
The first output from a new New York/primarily Brooklyn band, featuring members of Ringers, The Besties, and Bent Outta Shape. It leans more towards the mid-tempo and poppy side of the spectrum, aligning with more with vintage Elvis Costello or even what you would hear on a tried and true oldies station, particularly due to the (often crooning) male/female vocals. But there’s just enough grit to keep it from getting too saccharine. Overall, a solid record that leaves me intrigued to see what comes next. –Joe Evans III (chandelierstheband.bandcamp.com)


INSTIGATION, THE:
Self-titled: EP
Hmmm... Musically, this is some pretty damn good punk rock. The tempos are fast and wound up. The vocal delivery is urgent and passionate as hell. The lyrics can be dicey, though. “Foreign Moron” complains about tourists coming around acting like assholes—but there’s a bit of a localism mentality that is off-putting. “Crack Baby,” comes across as confused and impotent anger detailing dislike for a woman, “who don’t know shit but she’s out for fame,” and how she “needs a man or she’ll die, on her own she can’t survive.” How any of this makes her a “crack baby,” I have no idea. It makes me wonder if the person who penned this song had their heart broken by some girl, so this is their way of getting revenge. Then the other two songs, “Brainwashed” and “Misery Guts,” are less cringe inducing. They also do a cover of Black Flag’s “White Minority.” Ignore the lyrics, and you have a good record, I suppose. –Matt Average (theinstigation@gmail.com)


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