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Razorcake #93
One Punks Guide to Pinball, by Kayla Greet
Razorcake #92
Spokenest, Gone, Gone, Gone LP
Pinned In Place, Ghostwritten By LP

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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (www.theblowup.net)

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

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 (High School)

Fahrenheit 69: CD
Blowfly, a contemporary of ‘70s X-rated comedians like Rudy Ray “Dolemite” Moore, dishes up a bevy of rap and soul flavored tracks addressing booger-picking, sex, gay Black Republicans, ugly people, and “The Great Debate” (which is better: older or younger pussy?), with the word “cunt” sprinkled liberally throughout and vignettes explaining what he will do to improve the state of the country when elected president. The results are a bit of a mixed bag. When it works, like on “I Believe My Dick Can Fly,” the results are pretty funny, but when it doesn’t, it sounds like he was just trying to come up with enough material to reach the half-hour mark. –jimmy (Alternative Tentacles)

Butt Pirate Luv: 7”
“Butt Pirate Luv” is a dirty take on the Heartbreakers “Pirate Love.” Playing is really good, the lyrics are good for one laugh and that’s about it. The flip song “F U in the A” is self explanatory. A real ass fest going on here, not that you would expect anything less from Blowfly. Novelty song fans will love it. –frame (Steel Cage)

Black in the Sack: LP
I have plenty of friends who adore Blowfly—credited by many as the first dirty rapper, if not the first rapper ever—who, in real life, is seventy-five-year-old musician Clarence Reid, releaser of records since the Kennedy administration. If you find infinite entertainment value in hearing a dirty old black dude singing X-rated parodies of songs like “Back in Black” ((the title track)) and “Another Rainy Night in Georgia” ((sung as “another spermy night in Georgia”)), by all means, feast at this copious pile of macaroni and cheese soul. I personally find Blowfly kind of fun to play in the van on the way to an out of town gig once in a while, but that’s about the extent of my appreciation. The comedic enhancements ((credited as “perverted prologues”)) by Tesco Vee are pretty ace, though. BEST SONG: “Spermy Night (Slight Return).” BEST SONG TITLE: “Spermy Night (Slight Return).” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Thanks list includes a “Gary Gilmore.”  –norb (Patac, patacrecords.com)

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