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· 1:Razorcake #82 Now Available | Baby J, (Can Of Beans, Stoned At Heart)
· 2:#336 with Marty Ploy
· 3:Tom Neely and Keenan Keller Interview
· 4:#335 with Bryan Static
· 5:Punk Parenthood for the Sleep Deprived 5

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Record Reviews

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All My Heroes Are Dead: CD
A late ‘80s So Cal straight edge sound that would’ve fit well on Nemesis a decade ago. I never really thought much of the straight edge stuff after the initial onslaught of bands from Boston and DC, and this band did zip for me as well. –Jimmy Alvarado (New Age, PO Box 5213, Huntington Beach, CA 92615)

In the Lines: CDEP
If I kept listening to emo, I would stop having to take sleeping pills.  –Donofthedead (Die Die Diemond)

Through the : CD
The first song sounds a little like Pink Floyd's "Cirrus Minor," which is cool 'cause I've always had a soft spot for early Floyd. Wait a minute, damn near EVERY SONG ON THIS sounds like that song. It's all very pretty and all, but I got bored silly quick, and the lethargy that this instilled upon me made it hard for me to muster enough energy to even take it out of the player. Then again, maybe that was their plan all along.... –Jimmy Alvarado (Emperor Jones)

Sudden Departure of Vultures: CD
Singer sounds like Mike Muir around the time of Suicidal’s first record. The rest of the band sounds like your average rock band. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.uprisingrecords.com)

: Demo Tape
Yes, yes, yes, yes, this is the shit! This is the kind sugar papa likes. The dudes that used to be in Athens, Georgia’s No! have started a new band, American Cheeseburger, and boy is it fucking perfect. Fast-as-shit melodic-ish hardcore that reminds me of Spazz or Charles Bronson without all the blast beats, with super pissed-off vocals but also with a sense of humor! Nothing makes me happier than a band that doesn’t take themselves super-seriously all the time. I mean, there are some topical songs and issues addressed, but for the most part it’s all just rad fun. Come on, how can you not love lyrics like: “Playing Super Ghouls and Ghosts/Eat tofu and texas toast”? This shit is rad. If you run a record label, you should put out this band’s record! –ben (Demo)

Self-titled: 7”
Decent thrash to get you through your day. The mama bear in me wants to make a pot of tea with honey and lemon for the singer, though. –Megan Pants (Tsunami)

Modern Advice EP: 7”
Seething, reject thrash that’s more about removing the skin from the listener’s face with the lead singer’s ear-piercing screeching than guitar solos or fancy musicianship. The most noticeable thing about this record is definitely the lead singer’s voice. The music’s anger level is probably around medium-high, while the singer’s is somewhere this imaginary anger index doesn’t even reach. Go figure. Laugh out loud song title: “If Your Face Was Georgia, My Fist Would Be Home by Now.” I think I might not actually understand it, but it’s still funny. –Daryl Gussin (Rock Bottom)

Split: EP
What do one of my favorite eats and a very taboo sexual act have to do with one another? Not much other than that combining the two bands named after them makes for some of the best hardcore (music, that is) in recent memory. I first picked up American Cheeseburger’s split with Canadian Rifle as per the highest recommendation from Daryl “no metal!” Gussin. When I first heard their side of that split, I thought to myself: “The Repos.” Not having listened to anything else of theirs until now, I figured I would dig their side of this record. I was wrong. I don’t dig it. I fucking love it! What’s it sound like? Like Poison Idea’s Pick Your King cassette with Cobra Commander taking over on vocals while a totally zonked out Greg Ginn wanders in and tries to play along to it. You think I’m kidding? I’ve come across Bukkake Boys’ EPs on several occasions and like the moron that me be, I did nothing but flip past them in the record bins. No longer shall I ignore the Boys and their silly name. Anyone who worships at the church of Jan’s Room is all right by me. I can spot Jon Kortland’s artwork a mile away and it’s what has led me to believe that I will not likely come across a better split for the remainder of the year. An absolute must own. –Juan Espinosa (Vinyl Rites)

Split: LP
American Cheeseburger: Spastic thrash with wild tempo changes popping up all over the place and a singer that’s gotta spend his waking hours perpetually sucking on throat lozenges. A whole different kind of spastic thrash with wild tempo changes popping up all over the place, RAF seem to have a wee bit more metal-by-way-of-Negative-Approach buried in there somewhere, and the guitarist often opts to let chords ring rather than strumming wildly at them. Pretty good pairing. –Jimmy Alvarado (No Idea)

Hawk: CD
The Fucking Champs are back and they’re called American Draft. Wow. This shit is amazing and totally righteous. Perhaps it’s just because I’ve been listening to Crack the Skye lately, but American Draft remind me of Mastodon, as far as the metal guitars and how tight they are. However, American Draft is entirely instrumental save for one song, “Dragon,” and, frankly, the screamy vocals don’t seem to fit in with the music. Comprised of members from Volta Do Mar (another instrumental, albeit much different band), the sound is very reminiscent of the Champs, too, but does enough to stand on its own. It isn’t all brutalizing, as the track “Wind” shows an electronic and acoustic side to the band, but soon thereafter American Draft is back to kicking ass and taking names. I didn’t know what to expect, based on the cover photo of a hawk perched on the hand of an elderly man with a white beard, but this rocked pretty hard. If you belong to a gym, when you’re there and no one is looking, switch the music on the sound system from the shitty pop radio they’re playing to this and watch everyone get super strong in no time. –Kurt Morris (Coachhouse Collective, coachhousecollective.com)

Empty Pockets: CD
It’s clear from first blush that the cats responsible for this release have been around the ol’ punk rock block. The tricky thing with older punkers playing in a modern setting is that oftentimes things get a bit too caught up in pining and/or attempting to recreate the “good ol’ days,” but these guys manage to keep the mothball stench of nostalgia at bay and deliver some strong tunes with lyrical content teetering toward more personal subject matter without coming off like a confessional session transcript, addressing not fitting in, lost love, being broke, and the like. They hail from Northern California, but there’s a definite mid-’80s Southern California feel to the tunes—catchy riffs, the vaguest wisp of oi influence, and tempos that rarely ratchet up past a solid gallop. All told, some solid work here. –Jimmy Alvarado (americanhabit@yahoo.com)

Split: CD
I don’t know why I grabbed this to review. I’m not into the rock’n’roll stuff too much. This reinforced my belief that I should have put this back. My interest dropped so fast that I couldn’t tell the difference between the two bands. I learned my lesson. –Donofthedead (Coldfront)

Self-titled: LP
The American Heist from Houston is my kind of band. They’re definitely firmly planted in their punk-as-fuck roots, but they also aren’t afraid to borrow from folk music traditions. They remind me a lot of Hudson Falcons, but with slightly harsher vocals. From the maroon vinyl and super cool bank robbery cover art on down, this LP is a labor of love. There’s no heist going on here, as these guys are doing all of us a favor by putting out a record. You can line up seven of your average dwarf oi bands and six would be called “dopey.” The last band standing is called The American Heist. –Art Ettinger (Cutthroat, myspace.com/cutthroatrecs)

Sedentary: LP
The one record I got this month that I literally know nothing about. I thought they were European, but it turns out they’re from here. I don’t mean the U.S., I mean Chicago. I live here. How have I not heard of this? And they have three full lengths. What? They sound like early Mastodon in that most of the riffs are pretty technical but are played with a consistency that sounds like the guitarist moves in triplet time constantly and just sort of moves his left hand around. Does that make sense? I mean he sounds bored. I don’t really mean that in a bad way, it’s sort of a mark of a good metal guitarist. I don’t really see super punk dudes getting into this, but those with a lot of crossover taste will appreciate this and the RIYLs all come from the bands name-checked as “guest musician” creds on this record (Mastodon, Nachmystium, Black Cobra). –Ian Wise (Solar Flare, solarflarerds@gmail.com)

Your Kids Need AK47s: CD

Crudely recorded punk/ska that would’ve been just peachy if they’d ditched the ska altogether and came up with more memorable punk songs. –Jimmy Alvarado (No address)



–Jimmy Alvarado (No address)

Listen, That’s Disco: 1-sided 12” EP
My geography’s not the best. Neither is my sense of time. The East Bay late ‘80s/early ‘90s has shifted to the Inland Empire (2009-201?). I don’t think anyone’s gonna deny that without the early Lookout and Fat catalogs shipping into chain stores in the dryer and hotter parts of Southern California that American Lies wouldn’t exist in its present state. American Lies is less beef jerky and more fruit leather. Sure, you can reduce all the ingredients to their original fruit components: Crimpshrine, Pinhead Gunpowder, Fifteen, NOFX, Sludgeworth. The good news with fruit leather is that all those musical notes are still pliable, flexible, shapeable, provide some nutrition. It’s not over-salted, dry, brittle relying on artificial preservation. American Lies are also playing with tangible excitement. The B-side is a bitchin’ silkscreen. Not for fans of disco. For fans who wish there was a record that bridged Today’s Empires… Tomorrow’s Ashes and Fallow. –Todd Taylor (americanliesband@gmail.com, Way Out West / Muy Autentico / Mouse House)

Listen, That’s Disco!: 12” EP
This record has six songs on it and they’re all really good. The songs are also all on side one. Side two has no songs on it, but it does have a sweet image of two dudes who look like they’re out of Saturday Night Fever, disco dancing with Stormtrooper helmets on. The track listing is also there, on top of grooveless vinyl. Everyone in this band is talented as hell. The songs are all very catchy, and they pretty much draw you inside of them. Listening to this, I feel like I’m in the same room with the band. Honest and real lyrics are sung through strong vocals that make it easy to understand where the songwriter is coming from. Songs about questioning your existence and growing old, but not wanting to let go of your youth. Good stuff. –Nighthawk (Autentico Records, americanlies.bandcamp.com)

Feed ’Em Before You Kill ’Em: CD

Punk rock with, sometimes, more country than is good for it. When they keep the tempo up, they can muster a good hardcore song, but when they start going for that modern Social Distortion sounds, watch out! In short, nice try, but no thanks.

–Jimmy Alvarado (American Pig)

Soundtrack of the Struggle: CD
American Static sounds like they've already sent their demo into TKO. Blue collar, proud-to-be-American, alcohol-encrusted punk. Woo! –Mr. Z (Street Anthem)

Destroy Their Future: CD
Destroy Their Future has quickly become one of my favorite recent releases. I heard American Steel for the first time this summer when I saw them play at the Fuck Yeah Fest in EchoPark. I enjoyed them then, but I was surprised by the difference between their live sound and their studio sound. Live, I thought they really sounded close to the Lawrence Arms. On this, it’s more of a… I dunno, electric-folksy, sing-along epicness? I know these guys predate Against Me! by a few years, but I think the first reaction upon listening to this is the urge to compare the two bands. I would say there are definitely grounds for doing this as they both share some similarities. Both bands have singers with an earnest working man’s operatic shout, both bands hit full tilt with choruses that beg to be sung along with, and both tend to write songs that resemble mini character sketches or open indictments against some facet of society. I have three favorite songs on this. “Mean Streak” starts out with a drunken-sounding intro about being a really anti-social girl, which turns into a love song from the girl’s point of view about one miserable fuck-up finding another miserable fuck-up with the chorus, “I like you ‘cause you’re like me.” I think that might be one of the most astute observations about how “love” tends to often function. “Smile on Me” starts out with a slow and lazy—almost acoustic—intro, breaks into one of the most joyous-sounding choruses when the rest of the band and backup singers bust in, and then, just as quickly, the song ends. I think the centerpiece of the whole album has to be “Old Croy Road.” This song about inheriting a father’s record collection is the kind of song that sucks you into the narrator’s viewpoint, even if you’ve never been in the exact same situation. This is the sort of song I think people were hoping for more of on the last couple of Against Me! releases. The rest of the record is just as strong. If big, hearty choruses are lacking in your life, I say pick this up. –Adrian (Fat Wreck)

Destroy Their Future: CD
I never really listened to this band the first time around. I see that they had a run of a few years where they had released three LPs, toured extensively, and disbanded in 2002. So they resurface and bam! Here’s the reformed band and a new record. So this is new territory for me. Right off the bat what comes to my mind is that they remind me of an Irish-influenced version of Against Me! meets One Man Army. But the second track, “Dead & Gone”goes into a different direction. It had a mixture of the Cure meets early Goo Goo Dolls before they went major. My favorite track, right off the bat. But this band gets hard to pigeonhole as you continue listening. They bring a lot of elements to the table. The song structures are multi-layered and yet still calculated. Not one song seems to be from the same camp, which keeps things interesting. This release is a pleasant surprise to my ears, indeed. I was so ready to dismiss this. –Donofthedead (Fat)

Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts: CD
“Emergency House Party” is an excellent, nearly perfect opening track. It really nails that enthusiastic “good stuff’s ahead” feel. The rest of the album is solid. Not quite as amazingly good as Destroy Their Future (One of my favorite albums of 2007), but really good nonetheless. To describe the sound, American Steel is like the East Bay Against Me! (and yes, I am fully aware that American Steel is the older band). Both bands ply their trade in clean and passionate vocals, distorted yet bright guitars, and great sing along choruses. First thing that stands out in this album, aside from the great opening track, is the prominent use of “ass” in two different choruses (the songs “Tear the Place Apart” and “Your Ass Ain’t Laughing Now”). It’s weird to hear that word sang with so much conviction, not just in one, but two, songs. Second is that the opening to “Finally Alone” sounds exactly like a song by some indie rock band I can’t remember at the moment. I want to say maybe the Arcade Fire. Overall, this is a pretty good CD, but it’s kind of like Leave Home or Give ‘Em Enough Rope in that it suffers from being not quite as mind blowing as the album that came before. I think, mostly, because the lyrics never quite click as well as in Destroy Their Futures. Still, this is a solid effort that’s better than most. –Adrian (Fat)

Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts: CD
Grown-up pop punk—polished production, expert musicianship, earnest vocals, and lyrics filled with personal introspection all wrapped up in snappy two and three minute packages. It doesn’t do much to excite me, however. And it’s not for a lack of fist-pumping choruses. Don’t worry guys, it has plenty of those. It’s just not exactly my bag, but I can see plenty of kids and grown-ups alike getting down with this album. My one real issue with the record is the line “haters can blow us” in the song “Your Ass Ain’t Laughing Now.” This is a pet peeve for me, but I really dislike the term “hater” and how it has permeated American English. And using it in conjunction with some lame, macho threat that were one to hate on them that fellatio would—by the hating party—then be a requirement is absolutely ridiculous. Firstly, it’s lazy songwriting. Secondly, it’s treading on offensive. –Jeff Proctor (Fat)

Self-titled: CDEP-R
I’m reading though this band’s one sheet and I notice that this release was produced by Jim Pearlman of Blue Oyster Cult and The Clash fame. That’s fucking sweet. Oh, wait—that was Sandy Pearlman! Well, maybe it’s his cousin or something. Anyway, this crisp sounding demo starts off with “Coming Back” and I think they’re pouring an icy cold one into a glass at the beginning of the song to get thing revved up. Sounds like the best drinking song since “Drinking and Driving.” The band keeps the amps cranked for the whole deal and this sounds really good at high volume. They tend to remind me of a twisted concoction of Scream and Junkyard. All in all, probably the hottest rock to come out of Pensacola since the last NASCAR crash. But at four songs, this is a quick fix. I hope more is on the way. –Sean Koepenick (Self-released)

Self-titled: 7”
American Sun is an all-female, dark garage punk three-piece with silly lyrics and an eye to the past. But there’s a problem with fetishizing the past. It leads to the resurgence of things like echo-drenched vocals and people thinking moustaches are pretty sweet. The goal should be to take what’s good from the past, develop it, and leave the headbands in the mud of rural New York. I like ‘60s garage rock as much as the next person, but it’s time to move on. Get over it. We went to the moon: there was nothing there. With that said, if I was wasted somewhere I didn’t want to be and this band came on, I’d think it was pretty cool. - Matthew –Guest Contributor (Self-released)

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