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· 1:Webcomic Wednesdays #111
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· 3:#350 with Daryl Gussin
· 4:Boredom and Velocity (formerly A Broad Abroad)
· 5:Razorcake Issue #29 from 2005, Featuring Alicja Trout

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Razorcake #84

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Record Reviews

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Leon: Cassette
Really spazzy garage rock that massages your cortex with the subtlety of a velvet sledgehammer. Safety warning—don’t listen to Side 2’s “Zodiac Letters” until you have had at least ten bong hits. –Sean Koepenick (Telephone Explosion)

Tunneln I Ljusets Slut: CD
This is some great d-beat from Sweden. I don’t really listen to a lot of crust/d-beat because it usually gets really boring after the initial energy rush of the first song (I’m looking at you, Discharge’s Never Again), but this gets it right. Like Tragedy, these guys know how to throw in just a little bit of a frantic or desperate-feeling melodic edge to keep the 1,000 mile-per-hour drums and bloody murder screams fresh. There’s actually some damn sweet dynamics with the guitar playing. Gasp, there’s even some acoustic strumming on here! I also like how the bass has that distorted but not inaudible tone that I love so. There are several spoken interludes thrown in, but since there’s no lyric sheet and everything is in Swedish anyway, I have no idea what they’re talking about. I’d like to assume that some of the topics that are being covered in the interludes and songs include filing tax returns, dealing with post office clerks, and running out of toilet paper while on the can. This isn’t happy music by any means, but it ranks near the top of my list of music to usher in the apocalypse with. –Adrian (Prank)

He Had It Coming and The Second Coming : 7” EP
A couple o’ reissues here: He Had It Coming was originally released in 2005 and The Second Coming apparently first saw the light of day in 2011. The music is of the grind/powerviolence extreme of the hardcore genre, with blurring beats, screaming fetus vocals, and smart, sarcastic lyrics that address wider concerns about religion and the dumbing down of America via short blasts about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Jersey Shore, and dead sitcom characters. Both are on colored vinyl. –Jimmy Alvarado (To Live A Lie)

Discography 03-13: Picture Disc: LP
I’m a rock’n’roll fan and, by default, an AC/DC fan. So whatever the contents of this record, the copycat/ripoff band name and logo are a real putoff. And that’s probably the point. Powerviolence like this has a very specific audience, one that probably thinks the real AC/DC sucks big balls. But even as a fan of D.R.I., C.O.C., S.O.D., and T.N.T., this collection of riff raff is still noise (pollution) to me. And while there’s no beating around the bush musically, I gotta give it up for the concept of using shit like Lebowski and Casino as lyric fodder, though the execution just doesn’t flick my switch. Regardless, since this is a singles collection, you already know if this is gonna fire your guns or not. Buyer beware though, side two is some seriously ruff stuff with badly recorded live songs and demos, though at twenty-three songs itself, side one contains more than enough decently recorded studio cuts to get fully kicked in the teeth. Man, if I could have been a fly on the wall for that band name discussion...  –Chad Williams (To Live A Lie, tolivealie.com, info@tolivealie.com)

Split: 10"
Wow, a one-sided three-way split of powerviolence on a 10”. Interesting. First up is ACxDC who picked just about the most terrible name and I’ll tell you why: a few years ago I was at Headline records here in L.A. flipping through the record racks when I overheard Jean-Luc talking to a kid about punk music. The girl told him she was into “AC/DC,” much to Jean’s surprise. He excitedly explained to her how AC/DC essentially aped Rose Tattoo, a band she had clearly not heard of prior. You can imagine the face she made when Jean played a Rose Tattoo CD for her as well as his subsequent head scratching: I’m all for silly and or clever band names but not when they confuse the shit out of people like this. Musically, however, they ain’t too bad if you like pterodactyl screams and endless blast beats. Kids here locally seem to go apeshit for them but they’ve yet to convince me to buy any of their records or ball point pens. Magnum Force come through with more of a death/grindcore approach much like Insect Warfare and Hatred Surge; works for me. Sex Prisoner appropriately close out this split upping the ante on just exactly why the words “power” and “violence” should be reserved only for a band of this caliber. They just completely fucking destroy! Crossed Out smoking sherm with Mellow Harsher in a Tucson alleyway. Check out the cool etching on the flip side as you’re getting your ass handed to you. –Juan Espinosa (To Live A Lie)

Hair Gimmicks of Apathy: CDEP
Formerly of Rubber Molding, Finchler delivers his latest acoustic project of six new tracks. Showcasing his different facets, each song differs from its predecessor. With “Elvis Thermometer” and “Freaky Painting,” Adam’s brand of quirky narrative is both laugh-out-loud and introspective, reminding me of They Might Be Giants. “I Love the Woods” veers off into a wistful lap steel solo while the intimate acoustic strumming of “President Coolidge” sounds like it could have been recorded in his bedroom. Where some singer/song writers fall into repetitive song structures and maudlin lyrics, Adam deftly avoids these pitfalls. And I love the album title! Recommended. –Kristen K (Self-released, adamfinchler@gmail.com)

Shiv Shiv Shake: CD
Six spoken-word tracks—and by spoken word, I really mean poetry slam entries in the making—backed with guitar textures much like those sonic backdrops that you can find on old Bill Hicks records. These stream-of-consciousness pieces ramble on about landlords and bakeries, death and Sam Cooke records; Gnade checks Jawbreaker’s “The Boat Dreams from the Hill,” Golden Hill punks, and a laundry list of band houses heading into downtown San Diego. Unless you’ve lived where he’s talking about (and I lived at 26th and A when it was a ghetto with SDPD helicopters flying over all night, every night, not a gentrifying yuppie enclave with skyrocketing property values and constantly increasing rents), these pieces probably won’t speak to you much. The most impressive aspect of this release is that Gnade apparently constructed it himself. The liner notes, such as they are, were pretty obviously assembled and cut by hand. While this doesn’t much move me to listen to it more than a couple of times, I can at least tip my hat to how it was made. –Puckett (Impacto)

Four Track Mind: Cassette
An hour of light, pretty, depressing, and magical songs from a very talented songwriter, Four Track Mind is a bold collection of twenty-one songs by lo-fi recording genius Adam Mowery. An unsung hero of underground pop, Mowery does his own thing and does it well. His lyrics are haunting and morose, yet stimulating. They’d sound ridiculous recorded in a bland hi-fi setting and are a rare set of tunes that honestly work best on the cassette format that they’re presented on here. You’ll have a one-track, Mowery music-hunting mind after aurally ingesting this tape. –Art Ettinger (Hamburger)

God’s Gift to Women: CD
In the ROCK vein of Zeke, The Hellacopters, or The Candy Snatchers, but what makes me love a band like The Candy Snatchers is that Larry May can sing and has more personality in his big toe than entire bands of this genre. I have heard quite a bit of Adam West over the years and the vocals have always held me back. Try as I might, this one thing keeps me from being a fan. –Wanda Sprag –Guest Contributor (I Used To Fuck People Like You In Prison)

Right On! : CD
Testes, testes, one, two, three. This CD has more conejos than a stag Mexican bachelor party tour bus! Yikes, I love machismo punk if it’s done right, i.e. The Dwarves, GG Allin, The Knack, etc. but Adam West leaves quite a large amount to be left desired. It’s inane 3 chords are played over and over again with seriously corny guitar yanks (note: use cock rock sparingly). The lyrics spew evolutionary arrested development, like Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, if he was defrosted and told to write rock songs. I’d probably liken this record to a man who buys a Porsche – small wee wee, small brain. My livid self has grown tired of this crap, I want to get up, drink some cheapass Steel Reserve malt beverage and shave then perhaps get in a fight with someone much smaller than me. Try, try again boys. ` –Namella J. Kim (The Telegraph Company)

Cola Kids Hanging Out in the Bubble Dome: 7”EP
Pogo much? This is skinny ties and horn rimmed glasses kinda music. Out of San Francisco, Adam’s four pop punk tracks with snappy melodies and tight 4/4 rhythm maintain a continuous playlist of bounce-happy jams. Easy to sing along to, “CC.MM.YY.KK”, and the title track are a fine mock up of Buzzcocks meets The Kinks. Inventive garage riffs and harmonies make this a stand out in this genre. If you’re in need of a little sunshine in these winter months, pick this up. Recommended. –Kristen K (Big Action, bigactionrecords.net)

Make Out!: 7”
Five songs of extra catchy garage pop, a bit like the early (pre-BYO) output of the Clorox Girls crossed with Joe Jackson’s power pop and skinny tie years. Instantly enjoyable, Mr. Widener has written some incredibly fun, stellar pop gems and, impressively, provides for all of the instrumentation on the record by himself.  –Jeff Proctor (Fuzz City)

Vesuvio Nights: LP
Every song sounds the same, which is like shit. Dude’s voice is drowned in reverb, and some shitty, spooky Johnny-cum-lately weak ass garage backing it up. The fact that this is a solo project leads me to believe that this guy is just an annoying as his music.  –Vincent Battilana (Speakertree)

When It Rains, It Pours: CD
Imagine Pantera’s vocalist singing to the slow parts of a Slayer song. –Jimmy Alvarado (Indecision, PO Box 5781, Huntington Beach, CA 92815)

Dear Professor: LP
Adams and Eves is a family affair that plays lush, exquisitely arranged indie folk/indie pop. The band is made up of frequent Red Pony Clock collaborator Adam Powell—who writes, sings, and adds melodica and saw to the mix—as well as his wife Chelsea who plays bass, and his sister Laura who plays accordion. Adam and Chelsea are joined by another couple in the band; husband David Lee on drums and banjo and wife Megan Lee on vibraphone and glockenspiel, the two of them showcasing a fantastic interplay of the banjo and vibraphone, extracting great emotional depth from their instruments rather than being employed for novelty. Adam’s voice brings to mind that of John K. Samson’s in the Weakerthans and the songs here, generally speaking, share the Weakerthans qualify of being folk music that is earnest without being pretentious and without subscribing to genre limitations. The songs accomplish the feat of being immediately accessible, due to the great song writing and production, and then challenging as well, to both the folk and pop worlds. It’s a lovely record and worth seeking out.
–Jeff Proctor (adamsandeves.com)

The Ripper: 7"
Straight-ahead punk rock with an ‘80s OC feel to it—tempos not aiming for a land speed record, lyrics sung more than shouted, tongue-in-cheek subject matter. When all’s said and done here, they do the job nicely. I’m sure the Babylonian Brotherhood will approve. –Jimmy Alvarado (Durty Mick)

Self-titled: CD
Holy shit, guys. The ‘80s were thirty years ago! Can you believe that? Well, Adam’s Dagger can’t, because I’m not sure if they’ve ever heard a record released past 1984. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, because Adam’s Dagger is actually pretty decent. There are a few odd choices in song writing here and there, but this is not a bad record. I think when my biggest gripe about the release is the cover art (another The Black Album cover? Really?) then the band must be doing something right. –Bryan Static (Durty Mick, durtymickrecords.com)

Terminal Hate: 7”
Fairly solid synth punk in the vein of Nervous Gender. Not grabbing me like some of their contemporaries—Nervous Patterns for example—but I am digging the female backing vocals and energy. One thing’s for certain: I doubt anyone can question Adaptive Reaction’s commitment. This 45 came in a hand-folded sleeve; the record is on colored vinyl and is hand numbered. Fuckin’ awesome. –Ryan Leach (Conduktiv Produkt)

Scream the First Few Bars and Family Entertainment: 7” EP, CD
Weird mix here of punk, goth (?), synth rock, and maybe a little psychedelic rock. At times they sound like an almost punkier Chrome, especially on “Suffragette,” but too often the results sound like they land just shy of the sweet spot, especially when the male vocalist’s growl takes center stage. Family Entertainment collects the four tracks from the EP with those from two other EPs, plus some unreleased ditties, some of which have a sort of drum-machine-techno-punk hybrid to the mix of styles. –Jimmy Alvarado (Adaptive Reaction)

Split: 7”
I picked this 7” up because the name ADD(insert lightening bolt)C cracked me up. A couple of spins showed me that these guys are more than just a silly name. Giant Bags of Weed play catchy songs that would fall into the pits of pop punk if it wasn’t so sloppy and dirty. As it stands, their lack of polish save them. All four songs are upbeat and a little angry and a lot of fun to listen to. God, I love a crappy four-track recording. ADD-C come through with a lot of trash and fuzz, too, but they’re less poppy. It’s pretty heartfelt punk rock, not unlike The Thumbs (and, if you know what a fan of The Thumbs I am, you know what a big compliment this is). I was expecting something silly and half-ass, and this record actually impressed the shit out of me. –Sean Carswell (Half-Day)

Busy Days: LP
On its best days, DIY punk is a joyous reaffirmation that there is something worth fighting for in our day-to-day lives, no matter how big and sloppy the shit sandwich we’re constantly served is. ADD/C has created an existential—as in, why do we exist? What we do today is more important than yesterday or tomorrow—and soulful record. I’ve enjoyed past ADD/C records, but Busy Days has than earnest, honest ache for communication that doesn’t come around all that often. It has many of the earmarks of contemporary Chattanooga DIY punk—gruff, but clear and sung vocals, excellent-but-not-pro-dude tech playing—in line, but clearly far from aping The Hidden Spots, The Jack Palance Band, and The Future Virgins. I know so very little about what records will stick close to others record players for the long haul, but I see Busy Days’s chances pretty good that it’s going to keep company with Bent Outta Shape’s Stray Dog Town and The Tim Version’s Decline of the Southern Gentleman in my household.The record comes beautifully packaged with a full-sized zine lyric sheet and great artwork throughout. –Todd Taylor (Mauled By Tigers, mauledbytigers.com; Plan-It-X South)

Split : 7”
ADD/C are one of those bands that I would have killed to be hip to when I was just getting into DIY punk. Two rough’n’tumble, sloppy-yet-sturdy punk songs that reek of wide-eyed nights and blurry mornings. So pissed, so catchy. You gotta love good punk that’s played by dudes who look like they work at a gas station. On the other side, Landlord contribute three stripped-down tunes; kinda college rock, but on the punker side of the spectrum. Solid stuff, but the vocals remind me a little too much of that schmub from Bright Eyes. –Daryl Gussin (Plan-It-X South)

No Hay Descanso: LP
Interesting mix of street-level Mexican music and anarcho-hardcore from a band hailing Portland, Oregon. The songs bounce back and forth (sometimes even within the same song) between almost folky bits vaguely influenced by huapangos and rancheras to blazing thrash. Nice hand-screened cover with lyrics (including translations for the Castellano-challenged), too. –Jimmy Alvarado (Tomorrow Belongs to Us, punkisaghetto@gmail.com)

Apocalypsongs: CD
Adem plays singer-songwriter stuff accompanied only by a guitar. As a writer myself, lyric-driven songs are my favorite kind of music, but I just didn’t connect with his songwriting or delivery. Though it didn’t click with me, I can respect it for what it is. That’s not my complaint. It’s the packaging I have a problem with. It just comes off as overwhelming and pretentious. It’s two CDs long, and part two (the second CD) is titled: “Infinite to Extinct” and is a five-part, five-track suite. As soon as you know that all you’re getting is a dude singing over his guitar, you realize what a self-indulgent plod you’re getting into. This guy’s really not bad, but a little restraint goes a long way. –Craven (Intense Human Victories, contact@intensehumanvictories.com)

Fifth Overture: CD
Egads! A re-issue of the Adicts fifth album, and it appears that the ‘80s hit the boys mighty hard. Synths, that ‘80s pop band mix, a decidedly tamer sound…. this is pretty scary. As a pop record, it ain’t too shabby, but as a punk-related release, this is pretty danged bad. Jeez, I had no memory of this sounding this tame. –Jimmy Alvarado (Captain Oi)

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