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· 1:Razorcake #82 Now Available | Baby J, (Can Of Beans, Stoned At Heart)
· 2:#336 with Marty Ploy
· 3:#335 with Bryan Static
· 4:Punk Parenthood for the Sleep Deprived 5
· 5:Interview with Dave of Factory Records Store

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Record Reviews

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Split: 7” EP
Bloody Phoenix: One mid-tempo stab at Discharge-aping, two grindy thrash-o-rama workouts. Question: Not to be confused with old Los Angeles mod band The Question, these kids deliver warp factor nine thrash with lo-fi recording quality. –Jimmy Alvarado (Six Weeks, sixweeksrecords.com)

Get Outta My Head: CD
Wasn’t expecting this. Thought I was going to hear some street punk. Boy, I was wrong. This is punk with some metal overtones that is like a slap in the face. Mid '80s, East Coast punk is the flavor that I hear. The drummer whips out some mean double bass to accelerate the energy. The guitar and bass are recorded raw to give it the nastiness it needs. Background vocals are described as gang vocals to accentuate the words. Main vocal duties are alternated between two people to keep things interesting. The music is short but angry. The tempo is pushed to the limit but not overboard. They do an amusing cover of S.O.D.’s “United Forces” which fits them comfortably. Almost didn’t grab this. Glad I did.
–Donofthedead (Madskull)

Odds and Sods, 2002-2012: CD
Great collection from New Zealand garage rock band The Bloody Souls. We’re talking lo-fi, early ‘90s Crypt style with this group (all levels are in the red). Not surprising—the group is fronted by Andrew Tolley, ex-Hasselhoff Experiment and head honcho of Perpetrator Records. Couple of covers (Chrome Cranks, Oblivians) and about eight originals. Recommended. –Ryan Leach (Self-released, facebook.com/pages/bloody-souls/57300875732)

Greetings! From Plant BWOG: CD
Okay, I think I’ve been outsmarted; this goes from jazz with really juvenile lyrics (like about having sex with squids), to growly death metal (with lyrics that sound like they’re making fun of growly death metal). It’s a valiant effort, just a little too “wacky” for me. –Joe Evans III (Self-released)

Bang Up Your Chair: 7"
This is an uncharacteristically DIY-looking release from Snuffy Smile. The front and back covers are photocopied and glued onto an old Registrators seven-inch sleeve. It actually looks really cool. The four songs that come with this package, though, are the high quality that I’ve come to expect from Snuffy Smile. Imagine a Japanese version of the Replacements covering Clash songs, and you’re in the ballpark. A lot of hooks and a lot of tempo changes. Folky parts and hardcore parts all wrapped around a tight melody. To top it all off, one of the guitarist/singers shares a name with my favorite Japanese author: Murakami. Great stuff. –Sean Carswell (Snuffy Smile)

Remember to Buy The Vinyl First… Singles Collection 2004—2007: CD
Blotto is my absolute favorite band from Japan. Hands down the tightest outfit going right now. Gritty pop punk with enough hooks and melodies to keep you listening through the entire twenty-one tracks here and stoked that they’re still making music. There’s also a great and really noticeable progression from start to finish. They start off strong in the 2004-era songs and end fucking amazing with the songs from 2007. They’re so good that they break through my whole “I need to understand the lyrics so I can sing along despite the fact that everyone wishes I wouldn’t” deal. Some of them are super slurred and some of them are just plain broken English, and I couldn’t care less. This is a compilation of their singles and comp tracks, pretty much up to date if I’m not mistaken. It’s got everything up to their split with Drunken Boat that actually just came out. There is literally no way you could go wrong here. CD version is out now on Snuffy Smiles out of Japan (which I always thought was Snuffy Smile but everything I see now has the extra “s” at the end) and a vinyl version is coming out here in the states on A.D.D. Records. In closing, I’d like to wonder what the deal is with A.D.D.: the good label, and A.D.D.: the somewhat heinous street punk label, coexisting with the same name some how. Seems like the world is small enough that it would have come up before. –Steveo (Snuffy Smiles/A.D.D.)

Split: 7”
It’s always nice to open a package from Razorcake and find a record that you actually want to review. I love Blotto and the track on this four-way split 7” is no exception. It’s definitely the standout track here, and you should buy this for that reason alone. The other groups are no slouches though: Prohibition’s song is pretty solid and the Sass Dragons are fast and fun. I thought the Conniption Fits had the weakest offering here, but they list their bass player as “Dale Nixon” so you’ve gotta love that. Cover art by Ben Snakepit! –Ryan Horky (ADD / Let’s Pretend, addrecs.com / myspace.com/letspretendrecs))

Split: 7"
Blotto: It’s nice to think that the Midwest is a state of mind—kinda like the Beach Boys making anyone hearing their songs feel like they should take up surfing, no matter where they were. In the Midwest, people seem nicer and strangers will often look you in the eye without hostility. The bands are definitely heartier. Blotto fits in right nicely with The Modern Machines and Off With Their Heads, only they’re from Japan. And that makes perfect sense to me. Bouncy, rugged, ragged, smart punk with melody. I’m hardwired into liking ‘em. Drunken Boat: They’re getting better and better with each release because they seem to—instead of snuggling into a convincing patchwork of their influences from the Pogues (Their name is from a Pogues song {or a Rimbaud poem, take your pick}) to early ‘90s East Bay punk—are bleeding and sweating them out to a more pure and personal form to a voice all their own. Good stuff. –Todd Taylor (Snuffy Smiles)

Split: 7”
Ringers: Opposite to my usual slide rule with things of this nature, the closer The Ringers get towards The Clash, the more they sound like a band making music on their own terms. It’s almost like they’ve found the key to the secret decoder ring that Rancid was fiddling around with for years. And with Saint Joe Strummer’s passing, I like hearing that banner being re-hoisted oh, so well. Totally on target. Blotto: Japan is a planet where echoes of America’s musical past can tidal wave on a 2008 shore without losing any of its initial energy. How does a band sound like themselves—Blotto’s a force to be reckoned with by themselves—but also seem to be sharing the microphones and amplification with The Replacements and The Jam in a way those bands never quite sounded? I don’t know; I’m no musical genius. But I do know that I like it. –Todd Taylor (Snuffy Smiles)

Split: 7”
Anybody who gives a hot pocket about poppy DIY punk rock will automatically recognize this as an amazing match up. And no fucking doubt it is. Blotto continue in their long line of great, slurry punk songs about plenty of things that completely confuse me, and then at the end of “Drowning in Thirst” they incorporate a slide guitar and it's goddamn amazing. Ringers bring some of the most authentic and justifying Clash worship since the Ratchets. “I got a brother in the service / and if he gets shot then he deserves it.” Without hesitation, top 5 split of the year. –Daryl Gussin (Snuffy Smiles)

Split: 7”

One original and one cover by each Japanese band. Blotto!: I finally got to see these guys at a small house party during The Fest when they played a three-song set in the front room of a cabin in the woods to a small crowd wedged around a pool table, which took up most of the room. Amazing, amazing, amazing. Their cover is Chrimpshrine’s "Wake Up" and The Because do Jawbreaker’s "Do You Still Hate Me." The Because: my friend J has been going on about The Because since he came back from Japan, and now I know why. Sweet melodies offset by gravely vocals that works so well that they’ve just made the ranks of being one of my four favorite Japanese bands (Blotto! being another of the four). One of the best 7"s of the year.

–Megan Pants (Snuffy Smile)

Split: 7"
Blotto is easily the best punk band in Japan, and a good contender for one of the best punk bands in the world. I mean, they pretty much sound like Crimpshrine, Fifteen, and Shotwell, but pushed ridiculously over the top, in classic Japanese style. Altaira broke up, unfortunately. This is a post-mortem release to support their post-mortem Japanese tour last summer, but like all zombies, the risen-from-the-grave Altaira is pretty damn cool. Hot Water Music/Avail style drunken front porch Florida punk. Along with Yusuke’s totally awesome cover art, this record makes you wanna spray paint your girlfriend’s name on a bridge. –Todd Taylor (Snuffy Smile)

I Like Time: CD
Some potent, crazed mid-tempo Japanese hardcore courtesy of four of the ugliest fuckers I’ve seen in quite a while. The singer’s "throat cancer patient in training" vocals sometimes makes the whole thing sound like a punkier version of early Voivod. This is some great shit that just put a silver lining on my otherwise shitty day. –Jimmy Alvarado (HG Fact, 401 Hongo-M, 2-36-2 Yayoi-Cho, Nakano, Tokyo 164-0013, Japan)

Self-titled: 7"
Side one has some good mid-tempo punk rock, and side two, while not as strong, is still pretty good. The singer reminds me of the guy in Barkmarket. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.emptyrecords.com)

True Noise: CD
This three-piece bring the trash, light it up on the porch, play with it, and watch it burn. The Blow Up hurl through stomping, red-line, pop the clutch and smash the Lambretta (an LI Series II if you’re gonna get technical and go by the cover) though the garage door mania. They seem to revel in eradicating the pus of splinters from broken soul, broken strings, broken melodies, and pierced eardrums. It’s one of those records where I’m always reaching for the volume knob and cranking it ‘til my teeth chatter and my ears ring. Yeah, it’s spazzy, but in the way that Scared of Chaka noise it up, upon returned listens, I had this revelation: “Holy fucking shit, there’s some songs in there, some actual songwriting capability, not just fuzz, racket, screaming, scramming, jamming, and cramming.” True Noise is like finding change in your pocket after laundry. It doesn’t stink and you feel unexpectedly a little bit richer. –Todd Taylor (www.theblowup.net)

Dead Stars: 7"
Raunchy, thrashy rock’n’roll mixed with a punk attitude with a heavy attention to the rock part. –Donofthedead (Empty)

Self-titled: 7"EP
Side one has some good mid‑tempo punk rock, and side two, while not as strong, is still pretty good. The singer reminds me of the guy in Barkmarket. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.emptyrecords.com)

Disposable: 7”
Holy Batshit, Todd! If the Sex Pistols hit the U.S. in the ‘60s, they might’ve sounded like this: all garage rocked out and Jack White vocals as high pitched as the guitars. This foursome out of London spits out three new, tightly strummed jams, showcasing their ability to incite dancing with their knack for catchy chords. The title track is unmistakably ‘80s era U.K. punk with fast-talking lyrics and an awesome crescendo/decrescendo that ought to make even the heartiest wallflower hit the floor. “Your Hate” and “I. Animal Lover” round out the set with a distinct bare bones garage sound. A solid play through; short but sweet. Recommended. –Kristen K (Batshit, batshitrecords.com)

Track III: CD
What this reminds me of is MDC meets the early eighties East LA band, Crankshaft. The singer sounds like Dave Dictor to me. The lyrics are in the same vein as MDC. Interesting. –Donofthedead (String Break)

Lies: CD
Political punk/hardcore that seems to have its heart in the right place, even if the music ain’t all that interesting. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.blowback.org)

Living Vibration: CD
Fifth installment from this Burning Spirits-style band. Sonic as hell. They attack full force in a near blinding fury. Tracks like “Left Hand,” “Color Water,” and “Crash” break up the wild pace without losing any momentum; shifting to mid tempo—in comparison to most of the songs—letting the rhythm come to the fore, and burning into your memory. Eleven tracks of all killer songs. Not one drop wasted. Essential, really. –Matt Average ()

Drug War: 7”
Surprising stuff here. Competent and detailed hardcore with a great recording and the strange ability—almost entirely due to the vocalist—to sound like entirely different bands on each of the four songs here. I’m hearing Agnostic Front, Dead Kennedys (mostly due to the heavy sarcasm and mocking Southern accents in the song “Bible Belt”), Pennywise and, finally, Voodoo Glowskulls, again mostly because of the ragged and repetitive Spanish being belted out ala Eddie whatever-his-name-is from that band. Vocals are also fairly high up in the mix, which, at times, lends this thing a slightly cartoony quality that I could’ve done without, but as a whole, there’s some definite power here, and the sonic similarities to the aforementioned bands are definitely better off for being built off a hardcore template like the kind that Blowback’s laying down. Decent record. –Keith Rosson (String Break)

Greed Runs the Clock: 7” EP
Remember hearing a prior release and not thinkin’ much either way about it. This, however, is an entirely different matter. Four tracks here of well-executed punk/hardcore that bounces from one tempo to the next and to the next in complex shifts while a singer makes astute observations about the state of American culture. At different times throughout, I’m hearin’ bits of Really Red, Articles Of Faith, and a few others buried in here and there. Kudos and backslaps all ‘round; good, good stuff. –Jimmy Alvarado (String Break, stringbreak.com)

Greed Runs the Clock: 7" EP
Any band that can get a couple of Dons (Zientara and Fury) involved in the recording of its music should be on to a winner. Not only that, but when the band has a significant amount of chops of its own to add into the mix, the results should be more than above average, at least. Coming out with guitars and drums blazing in an oddly Big Black style, this soon moves into a more standard angry punk / hardcore sound with a clear enemy to focus that fury towards. There is a bit of early Circle Jerks to be heard here, certainly on “Rats in the Middle,” where the vocals are reminiscent of Keith Morris. Musically, this manages to be varied enough over four tracks to sound fresh throughout, with quite a scratchy guitar sound that provides edginess to the proceedings. “Cassandra’s Lament” is the standout track with spoken word elements that are like a less manic Jello Biafra, leading into a catchy yelled refrain of, “The smoke stacks reaching in to the sky.” Blowback manages to cram an awful lot into under three minutes on this one track. The final track, “Smoke Break,” has a surprisingly comic feel to it, showing that punks can display a sense of humor even when remaining mad at the world. Certainly, this is one worth checking out. –Rich Cocksedge –Guest Contributor (String Break, stringbreak.com)

Self-titled: 7"
Two raw, straightforward rock/punk jams from Germany that just as easily could've come from Scandinavia, if you catch my drift. "Baby's Got a Dick" is my pick as the better of the two tunes because it's faster. –Jimmy Alvarado (High School)

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·Original Sinners, The w/The Men Of Leisure
·Punk Like Him: Terry Graham of the Gun Club
·10TH MUSE, #1
·Lords of Dogtown

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