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Record Reviews

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8-Song Demo: CDEP
I can understand nary a syllable of a single song on this short, sweet piece of ear candy, but DAMN if it don’t get my blood pumpin’. The songs are musically to-the-point shards of molten punk-hewn metal that prove that you don’t need to be fast as hell or bicep-advantaged to sound like hard muthas. Being the proud owner of some of their other releases, I can’t wait for this to be properly released so I can find out exactly which of my favorite sci-fi writers are taking the lyrical center stage this time around. –Jimmy Alvarado (Bloodhag)

Horizoner: CD
Heavy and epic. There’s a foreboding tone through the entire record, as though the skies are filled with black birds of death circling as the heathen horde storms the desert village, taking no prisoners, laying all to waste with their hell-forged steel. It’s slow and deliberate one minute and then the next they’re cranking out an unholy riff that could move the catatonic. Somewhere between stoner rock and doom. You can hear the influences of bands like Sabbath, Pentagram, and Electric Wizard, but Bloodhorse are wise enough to keep it original and not take the easy route to become some glorified tribute band. If you like bands like the Sword, Ancestors, Cavity, and other bands of that style, you need to check out Bloodhorse. Fuggin’ great album. –Matt Average (Translation Loss, translationloss.com)

Embrace: 7”
Daaang! An unreleased Bloodlet track from the Shell 7” sessions. If you’re familiar with early Bloodlet, you know exactly what to expect. Heavy, strained, incredibly unique hardcore that hearkens transition-period Neurosis but with a very Victory Records heyday aggressiveness and production. Not unlike their other early 7” tracks, Embrace only hints at the brilliance that was to come on the band’s first LP and their masterpiece, Entheogen, but this is still first rate, essential heavy music.Killer.  –Dave Williams (A389)

Lost My Head for Drink: LP
According to the included info, this is apparently the heretofore unreleased final album by sorta supergroup comprised of members of Mudhoney, Lubricated Goat, and Monkeywrench, originally record in 1996 and left to rot until 2010. Given the personnel involved, I imagine it’d be a surprise to no one that the music here is bluesy, sludged-out stuff—albeit pristinely scrubbed of any excess sonic abrasiveness—that fits in many pigeonholes, yet comfortably in none: grunge, punk, sludge, noise rock, yes and no to all the above. Is it worth a listen? Yes, surprisingly. A thousand of ‘em out there, so start scramblin’. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dirty Knobby)

Mister Mess: 7"
Not really my thing. More of a TKO Records street punk-ish sound reminiscent of the Bodies with sorta patriotic (confusing?) lyrics like, “These brave men of courage put their lives on the line/When all is said and done/We’re the ones who lose/the system’s failed you and its failed our troops.” Like I said, not my thing. If this were a cereal, it’d be Total. But some people love Total. I do not. Ack. –Maddy (Bloodreds)

Bad Intentions: CD
Depending on the amount of hair and wax buildup in your ear holes, this band might sound similar to late-era Exploited, Accused, and Rocking Dildos. Raw, hyper, Wattie-just-threw-up-in-my-mouth, jacked-up metal-punk that is so excited to kick your teeth down your throat that it trips over its own spiked storm trooper boots as it lunges towards you. This has a sense of alarm to it, like when you’re witnessing street-level violence suddenly erupt in a crowd and some hapless schmub gets chased down and beaten into a pile of raspberry preserves by a pride of wide-eyed sociopaths swinging toilet plungers with nails sticking out of the rubber cups. After seeing the cheesy cover with the played-out Mohawked Skull character, I was ready to skewer this thing with a thousand fondue forks and feed bloody chunks of it to Andrew W.K. I mean, as iconography goes, even Wattie himself realizes that the Mohawked Skull has jumped and humped the shark so many times that the pedophiliac clown, Ronald McDonald, is now considered infinitely more sinister. B&D does come, in many ways, teeteringly close to being some flatulent tough-ass metal pud-jerk, but it’s saved from that ignoble fate by virtue of its own hair-on-fire intensity. Even if these guys wanted to strike sulky, tough-guy Danzig metal poses, they simply don’t have the time. Not only is this turnip truck on fire and mowing down pedestrians as it careens down the street out of control, but these chaps are busy wiping the guts and juices and human debris from their faces as they speed ever onward. When the stick shift breaks off in your hand and the brakes fail, there’s no time for puff-chested Alpha Male posturing. So you might want to wear a mouth guard when you listen to this disc. In fact, I recommend sticking some Martha Stewart brand salad tongs up your ass because once you subject yourself to this sonic onslaught, you’re going to need something to help you unpucker your butthole. –Aphid Peewit (Self-released)

Split: 7”
Puke on Yer Balls is a concept record of sorts. It seeks to answer the complex mystery of who puked on someone’s balls with songs like, “Puke on Yer Balls” and “Who Puked on My Balls!?!” Both bands’ lyrics describe a morning haze of trying to piece together this great mystery. Lyrics like, “I’m looking at the pictures and I’m making some phone calls / Trying to figure out who the fuck puked on my balls.” Brilliant. It’s like a Raymond Chandler mystery novel. Or at least a sequel to The Hangover. Well, spoiler alert: The guy puked on his own balls. –Dan Ozzi (Suburban Whitetrash)

Split: 7"
Solid, classic street punk, as could only be expected from Todd Radict (Radicts, LES Stitches). "Ordinary Man" (Bloodstained Kings) and the previously unreleased "When All Is Said and Done" (Radicts) on fuchsia and banana vinyl. –Jessica Thiringer (TKO)

Self-titled: 7"
Bruising, meaty hardcore that swings a spiked 2x4 right at your soft and tenders and evokes some of the same heavy rage as bands like latter-day Exploited and Sweden’s Disfear. Absolutely no new twists here, this one wins on simple drag-you-by-the-hair-down-the-stairs, ass-kicking execution alone. Me like. Me want more. –aphid (FNS)

Self-titled: EP
Let’s cut to the chase, this record is fuggin’ awesome: blazing hardcore punk that’s fast, chaotic and pissed off. You have to hear “Dropout.” It starts off sounding like it’s going to be the usual stuff, then suddenly they kick it into high gear and dive straight into some raging thrash, which tears into “Not Here to Make Friends” that, somewhere in the middle, finally shifts back down for a couple seconds to let you catch your breath. All five songs rip, and yet it never gets redundant. They throw in time changes, some stop-go parts, and the delivery is from the heart. The singer sounds like a rabid dog going berserk. As I said in the beginning, this is fuggin’ awesome! Definitely in my top ten of 2010. –Matt Average (Cowabunga)

Just Your Type: CD
According to their website, they’re self-described “prog-punkers.” While I ain’t hearin’ the “prog” part of the equation, I am definitely hearin’ the “punk”: simple, catchy, thuddy punk at that, with names like “The Day the Sun Explodes,” “Anti-Social Media,” and “Radiation Sickness.” As with many of their Northwestern peers, they take that SoCal beach punk template and just run riot with it—hooks aplenty, pummeling power chords, and some nice backup vocals to boot, with the results sounding reminiscent of both The Epoxies and something that could slip in on Dirtnap’s roster without anyone blinking an eye. –Jimmy Alvarado (The Bloodtypes, thebloodtypes.bandcamp.com)

Johnny: 7”
If you miss The Epoxies like crazy (like some of us do), the song “Johnny” is going to make you a very, very happy listener. (Searching the interweb and my own facial recognition program, while not official, I’ll posit that at least one member was in that band.) Female-fronted pop punk fueled with swirling keyboards and a driving beat. “Alien Eyes” delivers a similar track with more ‘80s-styled guitar histrionics and “Don’t Wanna” winds it up with a whirlwind pop tantrum. “Destroy the Heart” left me a little cold with its more mid-tempo ‘50s approach, but you won’t be disappointed if you spend a few of those blood donation dollars on The Bloodtypes.  –Matt Seward (Bomb Pop)

Self-titled: EP
It’s one thing to be influenced by a band, and it’s another to blatantly sound exactly like a particular band. Quite a few bands are citing the Wipers as an influence these days. Which is understandable. The Wipers were an amazing band. But many of these bands still sound more like themselves, and have other influences in their sound. Then there’s a band like the Bloody Gears who sound like they decided to start a band around the third Wipers album, Over the Edge. Everything about this band sound wise, minus most of the lyrics, is a direct influence of the Wipers. From the guitar sound, the vocal delivery, and on down the line. Being such a blatant knock off, they’ve also scrubbed any chance of the music having a soul. Which is one of the key elements the Wipers possessed. You could say these guys are nothing more than a glorified cover band. I will say they do the sound well. But when faced with the decision of listening to Wipers or Bloody Gears, I’d rather go with the original than simulacra. –Matt Average (Deranged, derangedrecords.com)

Frozen Rain: 7”
Released two years after their first EP, Boston’s Bloody Gears finally returns with another record. I was hoping for a full-length, but this three-song single is another super cool release. Dark, brooding punk doesn’t always work, but Bloody Gears has a flavor all its own. There’s a pinch of 1980s Euro-pop-ness and even a little bit of Pegboy hidden under it all, making for an interesting, instantly grabbing sound. The vocals are probably not for everyone, but that’s true of a lot of great vocalists. It’s time for Bloody Gears to put out a damn LP already! –Art Ettinger (Grave Mistake, gravemistakerecords.com)

Landscapes of Disease: LP
I’m not totally sure how I feel about this band. I get the Hüsker Dü comparisons, but I also hear a lot of darker ‘80s references like early TSOL and even 45 Grave. The guitar tone and the vocal approach lean a lot towards that gothic-influenced punk, but it doesn’t sound like it’s jocking a style. The rhythms are almost danceable like Joy Division or—as a stretch—Rudimentary Peni, and the singer croons with a raspy but confident approach. When the melodies reach outside his vocal range, he strains to hit the notes, making him sound desperate—like he’s standing on the tips of his toes, stretching out his whole body for something out of reach. The way the guitar riffs are arranged reminds me of fellow Deranged band White Lung, but the approach is far less aggressive. This record makes me feel anxious and out-of-sync, and I think maybe the members of the band felt that way when they were writing these songs. –Ian Wise (Deranged)

Apathy Is Bliss: EP
So gawwwd damn good! So many reasons to love this record; it’s hard to know where to start to tell you that you should really have this in your life. My eyes were bulging out of my skull the whole time I was listening to this record, mainly in disbelief that something so good, so righteous, had found its way into my feeble existence. That something as noble and holy as this Bloody Hammer record had put a little bit of sunshine into the grey that is my life. Before hearing this beauty, I was shopping around for a pistol that would match my shoes as I blew my brains out over the holidays. But, fuck no, this record intervened with its awesomeness and set me straight. There is hope. Not the kind of hope that people use to win elections, but real hope. The kind you can see and hear. The kind that makes you want to face the day and take it on, instead of the usual, “Oh, shit another fucking day ahead of me...” This is punk fucking rock to the core. The kind of music that gets up the noses of the straights, the kind that miscreants thrive on. It’s ugly, full of attitude, and delivered in a “straight up, don’t give a fuck” way. They can hit the high speeds, then go for something a little more subdued with some “whoo-ooh” underneath (“Public Enemy”). So many songs on here are destined for classic status among those wise enough to grab this. Somewhere out there you will find people singing along to “Dead Erection,” “True Love,” “I Don’t Care,” the previously mentioned “Public Enemy,” “Hysteria,” “God Bless America,” and “Keep Running.” Imagine if GG Allin had fronted a hardcore band in the early ‘80s. Get off your dead ass and get this. –Matt Average (Cutthroat, cutthroatrecords.blogspot.com)

When in Rome: 7” EP
Sounds like early ‘80s Midwestern hardcore, but based on the info on the cover, it’s a one-man endeavor straight outta Houston circa 2011. Fans of the Fix will likely flip over this. –Jimmy Alvarado (Batshit, batshitrecords.com)

Why Hasn’t Anyone Killed You?: CD
Cretin from Dayglo Abortions had a band called The Bloody Hells back around 2000. This isn’t it, but I get the feeling that there is some Dayglo’s influence in the mix here. The title of the disc is an open question to famed Canadian murder couple Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka, and it’s a good question. The Bloody Hells take that ‘80s hardcore influence and mix it in with some ‘90s southern California sounds (NOFX or Guttermouth perhaps) with good results. I would definitely go and see these guys play. Come out to BC! –Ty Stranglehold –Ty Stranglehold (Bloody Hells, facebook.com/thebloodyhells)

Got It Where It Counts!: CD
Faster and harder than average rockabilly. Or rockabilly inspired punk. Or maybe just really great rock and roll that makes me think of rockabilly but makes me want to circle dance. I am so tempted to make the pun that they HAVE got it where it counts. Dammit, I think I just did. –rich (Garage Po)

If Footmen Tire You…: CD

They may be from Buffalo, New York, but The Bloody Hollies play revved up, southern blues infected punk. And it absolutely floors me. The first track, "Watch Your Head," opens with a few short chord bursts before drummer, Michael Argento, fires off three drum rolls with Gatling gun ferocity and the fiery gates of Hell open up. The conflagration continues to rage through "We’re So Anxious" and "Burning Heart," on which singer/guitarist Wesley Doyle’s slide guitar calls to mind a deal with the devil at a crossroads. Doyle wails and screams his vocals with dark, religious fervor, delivering lyrical gems like "You’re better off just to stay at home/You’re better off just to be alone/Murder on the rise/Livin’ those lies/Then it hits you right between the eyes" on the album’s stellar track, "Right Between the Eyes." A sinister, hypnotic undercurrent winds its way just beneath the surface of these songs, making it one of the most cohesive, affecting albums of the year. A must have.

–Josh Benke (Alive)

Some Truth and a Little Money: CD
I don’t know what’s worse, the music (a bad take on the worst bits of Tom Petty and ELO) or the fact that they thought Razorcake was a good mag to send their wares to. Maybe they inadvertently mailed it here instead of some “hip” dentist’s office.  –Jimmy Alvarado (www.TheBloodyLovelies.com)

Some Truth & Some Money: CD
This is what I picture: Dave Jones leaves the Monkees and sings for a time with the Doors, the Beatles or covers Elton John songs –Donofthedead (Cheap Lullaby)

War, Hate, and Misery: CD
Hey, listen. Do you ever think about, you know, aliens? Or more specifically, what aliens (ages from now, exhuming the wreckage and rubble of our long-devastated cities) would think if they happened upon a grindcore record like War, Hate, and Misery? Like, from a purely sociological standpoint, what does grindcore say about the state of our society, the dissatisfaction of humanity as a whole? Most importantly, would Bloody Pheonix pretty much be enough to instigate a telepathic, planet-wide “Let’s get the living fuck out of here” by said extraterrestrials were they to pop this thing in the mothership’s CD player? At this point I’m thinking yeah, probably. Because this is some crazy shit, indeed. I don’t even particularly like grindcore and I can admire the fact that this band is relentless, scary, and tight as hell. I mean, they’ve got all the requisites of a standard grindcore band—screaming guy, Cookie Monster guy, the fuzzed-out bass laying waste to the low end, all of it—but they’re doing it with such goddamn precision and insistence that I can’t help but tip an imaginary hat. Still, they’re yet another band that uses loaded imagery (dudes being hung, piles of skulls, stricken faces behind barbed wire) and has brutal song titles and then uses what could have been a pretty informative lyric sheet for a foldout poster and thanking their homies. But I’ve come to accept that nine times out of ten, that’s all you’re gonna get from a record of this ilk. So if you’re solely in it for the music, then you’ll be stoked. Play it loud and bring an extra pair of pants. –Keith Rosson (To Live A Lie)

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)

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