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· 1:Razorcake #79 Now Available
· 2:L.A. Zine Fest 2014 by Andy Garcia
· 3:Record Reviews in Razorcake #79
· 4:#308 with Kurt Morris
· 5:Record Reviews in Razorcake #79


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Razorcake #79
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Record Reviews

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RAYON BEACH:
This Looks Serious: CD
Haven’t watched these guys too closely. Really like their The Memory Teeth EP from a couple years back. What’s on here is a little more focused and slightly poppier. They seem to be taking less risk, sound-wise, than before. Where songs on the aforementioned EP would go off into other sonic realms, what’s on here tends to stay close to the vest, so to speak. However, there’s more drive in the newer material, which could definitely appeal to a larger audience. I like the backing vocals on “Airplane with Tits,” as it gives the song a campy horror movie soundtrack vibe. The instrumental “Girls and Boys” stands out with its slight fuzzed-out and dark vibe. But other than that, this doesn’t do a whole lot for me. I prefer it more when they push at the borders of their songwriting and veer off into slightly weirder territories. –Matt Average (Hozac, hozacrecords.com)


RAY AND THE DEVIL’S MOTORCYCLE:
Self Titled: Record
Quirky. Ray And The DM’s sound is more or less a low-fi experimental garage trip-out on Cramps-fueled acid, but there is no consistent vein to the nature of the tunes. Some are genuine garage rock in its best form, while others are warbling, wailing experimental sonic freakouts. The label claims that they release “music to ruin parties,” and I’d have to say that description hits the nail square on the head. I can see me and my buddy Matt back in college commandeering the stereo at a party to play this and piss everyone off, punks and frat boy lunkheads alike, laughing our asses off all the while. This is probably one of those records that you’ll either love or hate from your first listen, but if you hate it and then don’t listen to it for ten years you’d realize at that later date that there is genius in them there warblings. But then again, you might not. Waffling is fun –The Lord Kveldulfr (Voodoo Rhythm)


RATMASK:
Demo: Cassette
Always good to hear some straight-up hardcore punk being cranked out without any pretense or hollow pose. Ratmask belt out seven crunchers that are heavy and moderately fast. Instead of pummeling whirlwind speeds, they deliver their sonic beating through largely mid tempo and riff-heavy songs. The vocalist sounds like he’s being strangled, and at times he’s so pissed he can’t even get the words out, to where it sounds like he’s saying, “Yaay yah yay uh yahhhhhh!” Lyrically, it’s all vitriol against co-workers, pro-lifers, feeling useless, and society in general (there’s a lot of lyrical inspiration out there these days). If you want some no-frills hardcore that is loud and pissed, and good for venting to, then Ratmask are a good place to look. No idea why we’re just getting this now when it was released in 2009. Anyhow... –Matt Average (Drug Party, drugparty.org)


RATIONAL ANTHEM:
Sensitivity Training: LP
I’m finding that more often than not my bias against “pop punk” is unfounded, and here Rational Anthem goes proving me wrong again. I can’t deny that even though (or maybe because) I know exactly where these songs are going to go after hearing a few chords that they have a way of imbedding themselves into my brain. Sometimes I’m perfectly okay with not being the least bit surprised. Think early Blink 182 getting the shit kicked out of them by life and you’re in the right place. –Chris Mason (Bloated Cat)


RAPSÖD / STOLEN LIVES:
Split: LP
Hardcore with that distinct Eastern European feel. Rapsöd remind me a lot of See You In Hell, but they are definitely not mere parrots of that style. Their side of the record blazed a fiery swath through my record collection and made me want to pull out my own heart and eat it in a paroxysm of punk fury. Stolen Lives, while not quite as fun in my opinion, are still quite good. Their sound is a bit more standard and sounds a bit less uninhibited (if it’s possible for a hardcore record to be even a bit “inhibited”), but I still liked it a whole awful lot. Good record. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Different / PHR)


RAPE REVENGE :
Paper Cage: 7”
Paper Cage is a trip into the angry world of Rape Revenge. Whether railing against apathy, sexual violence, homophobia, or the hypocrisies of the punk and leftist movements, they drag hardcore from its font-obsessed ghetto and make it crucially relevant again. The lead singer, blind with rage, shrieks over some intricate, tight power violence with time changes reminiscent of Converge. The songs are only a few lines long, but in the liner notes, they give long written explanations to what they’re so pissed about. Just for the record, I feel compelled to mention Rape Revenge is a straight edge, vegan, queer, feminist band from Calgary. That’s awesome, but do they rock? Absolutely, they are full of vigor and integrity and are talented enough to keep things interesting and fresh. Fuck yeah! –Craven (To Live A Lie)


RANCID HELL SPAWN:
“Abolition of the Orgasm”: 7”
I knew this was going to suck from the moment I saw the horrible, slapped-together design featuring photos of trans women and a contortionist lady that a very out of touch Mr. Spawn found by googling “weird.” I was right. This is shitty, guy-in-his-basement, distorted noise-punk by the kind of guy who names his “band” Rancid Hell Spawn. By that, I mean some guy who gets positive reinforcement from every bad review, thinking he’s doing something edgy and subversive. Nope... sucks! –Craven (Wrench, mail@wrench.org)


RAD COMPANY / DISCRETIONS:
Split: 7”
Rad Company: Kind of gruff, yell-y pop punk that’s somewhat of a standard these days. You know, the kind that you’d see playing one of the smaller bars at Fest at like three in the afternoon on Sunday. Discretions: Way noisier, faster, and kind of thrash-y, mixed with some sad bastard lyrics. It’s almost like if early era Jawbreaker was made up of dudes who weren’t sappy nerds. Have I heard that this band is good before? They’re kind of good! –Joe Evans III (Rad Girlfriend)


PYROKLAST:
The Madness Confounds: CD
Metallic punk stuff with a gravel-voiced singer howling lyrics about big energy, scene politics, living outside the confines of a corporate-run society, and the like. –Jimmy Alvarado (Barbarian)


PUSRAD:
Smartrams: 7”
Seven songs: the shortest being thirteen seconds, the longest thirty-five seconds. I was expecting power violence, but what you get is fast punk without blast beats. All the songs sound the same and it comes off as being both pretentious and undeveloped at the same time. The entire record is under three minutes. I don’t get it. –Craven (Just 4 Fun, j4f.dk)


PSYCHED, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Dissonant garage rock: fucked up, sound’s blown out, messy performances, a wretched Sam Cooke cover—all the things fans of this genre find so peachy keen squooshed onto one disc. –Jimmy Alvarado (Black Gladiator / Slovenly, slovenly.com)


POOR LILY: : :
Three Songs: CD
“Ooookay,” I think. “A shrink-wrapped CD single that won’t play in CD player. Great. Computer reads the band as Judas Child, and the songs as “Early Morning Peace,” “Happy Place,” and “This Soul Has Flown.” Huh. This will be stellar, I’m sure.” Then I press Play and my jaw promptly bounces to floor. Poor Lily’s a three-piece, mostly out of Brooklyn, that features dudes—I shit you not—from Beyond, H20, and Lightning Crabs playing what sounds like Some Girls deviously and fuckedupedly covering the Minutemen. Three songs. It’s bizarre, surprising, frenetic, wound tight as a spring, riveting as shit, and really, really good. –Keith Rosson (Poor Lily)


PONCHES, THE:
The Long Goodbye: CD
I’m not sure if Erik Estrada is down with these dudes, but he sure as hell should be. Cool sci-fi cover and choice tunes inside. The band is from Italy and they really dig Star Wars! Do you need to know more? Well, they write snappy power punk tunes and deliver them with chops. They even cover a Canadian band’s chart topper. No—it is not Rush. But give these guys a shot, man, and maybe you can share a slice of pizza and a bottle of Yoo-hoo with them when they play your town. –Sean Koepenick (Monster Zero)


PLÖTSLIG MANDAG:
Drag en Tejp Runt Mina Lår: 7” EP
Here you get a drummer aiming for the tribal end of the spectrum; a bassist embedding simple, repetitive riffs straight into yer cranium; a guitarist who loves his drone; another guitarist who sounds like he’s running through three distortion boxes and has a cord that keeps shorting out at inopportune times; and a Swedish cat who actually tries to sing over the top of the ensuing chaos. Hardcore, noise, art-punk, whatever hole you wanna cram it into, this is definitely worth extended listening sessions. –Jimmy Alvarado (Gaphals, gaphals.se)


PLATEAUS:
Do It for You: 7”
Unabashed Velvets worship abounds throughout this. Not a bad thing, if done well, and while their lyrics don’t appear at first blush to have the same focus on the seedier side of life, they do make good use of repetitive riffs and stomping rhythms that are more “Waiting for the Man” than “Venus in Furs.” Is it genre defining? Probably not, but I’ll take a couple of these over one more NOFX clone any goddamned time. –Jimmy Alvarado (HoZac)


PINKZILLA:
Self-titled: CD
One o’ them bands that hop scotches between punk, metal, scum rock, and stoner rock. Things are heavy, the guitars chugga-chugga along, the drums wham-bam relentlessly, and the singer howls from the gravel pit that is his voice box. –Jimmy Alvarado (Pinkzilla)


PIETASTERS, THE:
oolooloo: LP
Originally released in ‘95, oolooloo finally sees vinyl as part of The 3rd Wave Ska Preservation Society Vinyl Reissue Project. Funnily, while I’ve known all the songs on this album for just shy of twenty years, I’ve never owned the album ‘til now (most of them are on the live album, Strapped Live, which is the only album I ever held on to). In the late ‘90s I loved the Pietasters. Loved in the way that I only went to see Joe Strummer because they were opening. They got on stage and said they had the best job, playing for fourteen minutes before getting to watch Joe Strummer play. I almost left after their set. (I wasn’t that into the Mescaleros. A friend had seen the show the night before and Strummer threw in only one or two Clash songs.) I stayed and promptly had my ass handed to me as Strummer launched into almost a full set of Clash songs with tons of energy. Seriously one of my favorite show memories ever. As time passed, I listened to The Pietasters less and less. To be fully honest, I picked up the album because I wanted to support the project, but it’s gotten to be one of the most-played records since landing on my doorstep. It’s catchy as hell and it doesn’t take more than two seconds of “Girl Take It Easy” to pick up (pick it up, pick it up) my mood. They were one of the few ska bands at the time who seemed to have a sense of humor without being a shtick and just wanted to party. I appreciated it then, and hell, it’s 2012 and I’m not scared to admit I goddamn love this third wave ska record. –Megan Pants (Asbestos, asbestosrecords.wordpress.com / Underground Communique, undercomm.org)


PAPER BAGS:
II: 7” EP
Four cuts of potent thud punk in the fine tradition that No Front Teeth has established for itself—catchy, tight, and packed to the rafters with swagger. Crank it up and tell the boss to go fuck himself. –Jimmy Alvarado (No Front Teeth, nofrontteeth.co.uk)


ORGANS:
Breathing with the Dead: 7”
“Breathing with the Dead” is a mostly acoustic shuffler with atonal vocals, which sets the mood nicely enough. The flip, a garagy barn-stomper called “All Alone,” is the much more satisfying of the two, however. –Jimmy Alvarado (Puta!, putarecords.com)


ONSIND:
Mildred, Margie, Annie, Clarice: 10” EP
When I mention a band is feminist and acoustic I know a lot of you will automatically consider that a big bag of suck and probably try and trip me when I walk past you. I get it, I know. Understanding that, I still want to shove these four songs down all your throats, knowing you’ll eventually thank me for punching your esophagus with my personal tastes in music. Don’t believe me? Each song is about a female character from four movies: Mildred (Nurse Ratchet) from One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Margie from Fargo, Annie from Misery, and Clarice from Silence of the Lambs. So it’s smart, catchy, fun, very well written, and full of movie references. If you were listening to me talk, instead of just reading this in my voice, this is part where I grab you by your shoulders and shake you violently while proclaiming, “This is my favorite EP of the year!” very loudly in your narrow-minded face. –Donna Ramone –Guest Contributor (Plan-It-X, onsind.bandcamp.com)


OFF CAMBER:
Self-titled: Cassette
Quick, mysterious little four-songer here. Drawing from a ‘90s screamo template both European and American (Orchid, Sugar Pie Koko, Betercore, etc.) on the A side, the one song on the flip verges on John Zorn/Ruins avante garde weirdness. Cryptic lyrics, very little band info offered, creative but minimalist packaging. Not sure how much this will appeal to the majority of Razorcake’s readership—though it would’ve gone over like gangbusters in a back issue of Heartattack—but these songs are concise, jagged, and creative, and they’ve certainly piqued my interest. –Keith Rosson (Off Camber)


NUCLEAR SANTA CLAUST:
Self-titled: 7” EP

Five tracks of thud punk not far off from bands like the Spits, but with a bit more “rock” mixed in to give things a bit more of a Killed by Death sheen.

–Jimmy Alvarado (Don Giovanni)


NOUN:
Holy Hell: LP
Noun is the mostly-solo side project of Screaming Females guitarist/vocalist Marissa Paternoster. I’ve been a big fan of Screaming Females over the years, but I’m not really sure what to make of Noun. Marissa sings in all of these songs and plays guitar, piano, and any other instruments not credited to the list of guest musicians in the liner notes. From the first track, “BlackLand,” and throughout the album, we hear Paternoster exploring her vocal range to good effect. She’s clearly a talented vocalist beyond being the eponymous screaming female in her main band. As an album though, Holy Hell is a bit all over the place. There are tracks that sound like they could easily have been Screaming Females singles, or tracks—like the aforementioned “BlackLand,” and “Call Earth”—which sound like something else entirely. The songs that don’t sound like Screaming Females were the tracks that most interested me on this, mainly the tracks where Marissa plays piano and sings. There was a very cabaret feel to these songs that I was into. While I was a bit more intrigued by the songs that didn’t sound like Paternoster’s main band, overall this didn’t move me the same way Screaming Females does. –Paul J. Comeau (Don Giovanni)


NOT YET!:
It’s a Small World, Alcohol: Cassette
Just when I am about to write off modern punk rock, releases like this one find their way into my hands thus restoring my faith in the musical form. Not Yet! seems to be the brainchild of YouTube sensation Jose Anything. Given the chance to flesh out his songs within a band format really takes his material to a higher level. Thematically, the songs are of the “young, drunk, and in love” variety but don’t come off as cheesy or schmaltzy. Containing only four songs, this tape left me wanting more. In fact, this tape is clearly one of the best things I’ve heard this year. I am looking forward to hearing more from Not Yet! –Garrett Barnwell (John Wilkes Booth)


NO:
Can You Dig It: LP
Ripping punk’n’roll from Connecticut, No have been tearing up shows in the Northeast for awhile now. At long last, their debut LP is now available for your listening pleasure, bringing every ounce of the ripping party that is a No live show to your living room—minus other sweaty punks knocking over your furniture and spilling beer everywhere. Offering up super catchy riffs with lots of guitar shredding, care of guitarist/vocalist Carlo Frese, and lots of epic singalongs, this LP offers everything I could want in a fun punk’n’roll album. I couldn’t stop listening to this, and you won’t want to either. –Paul J. Comeau (Electric Indian, nowaitwhat@gmail.com)


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