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· 1:Razorcake #79 Now Available
· 2:L.A. Zine Fest 2014 by Andy Garcia
· 3:Record Reviews in Razorcake #79
· 4:#308 with Kurt Morris
· 5:Record Reviews in Razorcake #79


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Razorcake #79
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Record Reviews

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BAMBOO KIDS, THE:
Safe City Blues: 2 x LP
If the Exploding Hearts would have matured along the same trajectory as the Figgs for the last ten years, and somehow bumped into the first Boomtown Rats and Jim Carroll Band albums along the way, when they weren’t sounding like a slightly more housebroken Barreracudas, then saw fit to replicate occasional glimpses of those faux-ass-shaker bands of about ten years ago like the Sick Fits or the Richmond Sluts for levity, garnishing the whole bit with small doses of New York network TV soul a la Springsteen or DeVille, then made a double batch of big vinyl cookies with the results because no single platter could contain all the awesome thus produced, i’m guessing it’d sound a lot like this double album. Wouldn’t you? Look to thy laurels, London Calling! Make way, Zen Arcade! Don’t buy any green bananas, Registrators thing with the big long title! THE BAMBOO KIDS HAVE DONE SOMETHING OF NOTE!!! None can ask fairer than that. BEST SONG: “Batshit Crazy.” BEST SONG TITLE: Curiously, it’s also “Batshit Crazy.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: This double album comes with a download code that includes all the songs plus nine bonus tracks! Look to thy laurels, “Dozen Beats Eleven!” –Rev. Norb (Drug Front)


BAMBOO KIDS, THE:
Safe City Blues: 2 x LP
Not too long ago, I reviewed an EP from the ‘Kids in these very pages, and was pleasantly surprised that such a great rock’n’roll band like this exists these days. This double full-length, which includes the songs from that EP, further prove that NYC is far from finished when it comes to laying down the goods in the studio, as well as producing some of the better live acts that you and your more discriminating, music-craving pals can catch these days. Those keen on the vinyl will also be happy to know that the 150 gram vinyl version of this set is limited to 250 copies and also includes a download card that scores you nine extra tracks (thirty songs total!). Safe City Blues is a healthy dollop of getting your riffed-filled rocks off, and there’s no correct side of the genre dividing line you have to stand on to appreciate these rekkids. Simply put, if you like good music (as Sam Cooke one time asked), chances are you’ll have a helluva good time spinning this vinyl. The Bamboo Kids’ soundscape mixes and matches with some of the better influences of our time: Dead Boys/Stiv’s post-Dead Boys solo work, the non-wanking era of The Stones, that all-too-brief 1973 to 1974 window of the New York Dolls, a healthy dusting of Bowie’s glitter era, the catchiness of Mott The Hoople, and those awesomely solid hooks that Dramarama still bring to the table to this day, and this is just what I hear the first couple of times around. Fans of Prima Donna should find the ‘Kids right up their dirty little alley, as well. These three guys have been at it for ten years now, and not only does it keep getting more and more solid, but they deliver just as much as most four or five piece bands do. Yeah, think about that while you dig on this. –Designated Dale –Designated Dale (Drug Front, drugfrontrecords.com)


BAMN/ BLACK STAR RISING:
Split: 12"
Bamn reminds me a lot of Wilmington’s Armistice—super crusty! Black Star Rising is super fast Swedish street punk. This is one of the best new splits out right now, and from the DIY looks of it all, it’s probably not too far off from being permanently out-of-print forever. So you better go pick yourself up a copy right away! –Mr. Z (S&M)


BANANAS, THE:
New Animals: CD
Hooray! At this point, the Bananas could’ve easily coasted on past exploits. I mean, if you’ve already made the musical equivalents of The Statue of Liberty (A Slippery Subject) and the Grand Canyon (Nautical Rock’n’roll)—(these monuments are totally arbitrary; solely used for illustrative purposes due to their hefty landmark fame)—no one’s gonna give you shit if the new record doesn’t make a Mount Rushmore (without fucking over the Oglala Sioux). I mean, these three Sacramentoians basically made, and then perfected, a version of punk that’s equal parts confectioner’s sugar and cordite. It’s as sweet as a Jolly Rancher, but as dangerous as a grenade with the pin already pulled in the hands of an infant. It’s celebratory, raucous DIY pop that has the wonderful tendency to explode into unexpected chunks. I’ve put my level of trust in The Bananas on the same shelf as two long-standing underground bands that, last year, they went and upped the ante on themselves. The Arrivals’ Marvels of Industry and The Tim Version’s The Decline of the Southern Gentlemen are two hard-playing band’s best records. Mind you, I already celebrated The Bananas entire catalog, but New Animals is the best album by one of my already-favorite bands. The lead-off song is quite possibly the catchiest song about gentrification ever written. Wahoo! –Todd Taylor (Recess)


BANANAS, THE:
A Slippery Subject: CD
The Bananas are sonically similar to a ferociously flamin' firestorm of The Dead Milkmen, Descendents, Doggy Style, Germs, and a psychotically crazed Thelonious Monster... they loudly blend an upbeat and addictive melange of wondrous musical weirdness that's all-at-once melodic, poppy, punky, funky, and pure... spastic, manic, snotty, and chaotically all over the fuckin' place... wildly primal, feverishly unrelenting, and goshdarned energetically frenzied! This is the sort of audial nastiness that should be routinely blasted at daycare centers everywhere, 'cause it's so damn bratty, clownish, and jubilantly hyperactive... yep, it playfully tugs at my inner ears, goofily slaps me upside the head, and then teasingly pulls me back for more. So I recommend this deliciously delightful disc profusely: get "A Slippery Subject" by The Bananas as soon as humanly possible... it'll drive ya ape and make a monkey outta you in no time at all! –Guest Contributor (Plan-It-X)


BAND CALLED PAIN, A:
Broken Dreams: CD
Arriving ten-and-a-half years too late for the party, these guys provide the definitive follow-up album to both Alice in Chains and Soundgarden’s respective careers, circa 1993. Competent at their craft and spot-on in their aping the commercial wing of the “grunge” sound, maybe they’ll strike it rich when the grunge revival hits in five years, but right now this is woefully uninteresting. Adding a little confusion to the proceedings, they’re apparently somehow aligned with the Hieroglyphics hip hop crew. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.abandcalledpain.com)


BAND IN HEAVEN, THE:
Self-titled: 7”EP
Dreamy, lysergic-drenched drone rock. While minimalistic in structure, the four tracks here are remarkably diverse in approach, with one that sounds like someone’s jamming along on a sitar. –Jimmy Alvarado (Hozac, hozacrecords.com)


BAND NAME:
Insert Band Name Hear: CD
This is one disorganized little package here. It took me awhile to figure out that the band is actually called Band Name... Seriously, unless you were entered in some sort of shitty band name competition, you just aren’t even trying. After getting over that little bit of confusion, I found that I really like the music. Jangly, punkish indie rock in the late ‘80s sense of the term. I keep thinking of a way sloppier Dinosaur Jr. or some kind of bizarre Sonic Youth/Dead Milkmen/Superchunk hybrid. Honestly, it’s better than that description looks on paper. One more thing: Hey Band Name! Take a minute and think of an actual band name. –Ty Stranglehold (myspace.com/bandnameb4tv)


BAND NAME:
Insert Hear: CD
Friends, what we have here is some seriously fantastic, fun and catchy lo-fi slack pop. Carefree ramshackle jangle, a scoop of Sebadoh with a swirl of Beat Happening is Band Name’s flavor of the day, a delectable summertime treat. –Jeff Proctor (myspace.com/bandnameb4tv)


BAND NAME:
Breakfast: LP
This band has some decent mid-tempo punk rock’n’roll riffs, but the album never really takes off. All the members of this trio sing, but the vocals are not very dynamic. The first song on side two, “Another Life,” shows the most personality. The song has a blasé pace that reaches into the arena of second tier Television songs. The playing is competent; I could see the band slowing down and exploring that direction. The faster the album gets, the more generic it comes across. Female vocalist Cat Park’s performances add an occasional bit of urgency to the proceedings, but overall the album is very dull. –Billups Allen (Self-Aware)


BAND OF BEARDS:
Fuerteventura: CD
A little bit o’ poppy indie punk here, a little bit o’ indie rock there. There are hints at some good ideas, especially when they lean more towards the former, but while nothing here is out-and-out bad, on the whole, nothing ever feels like it quite gels enough to say, “Wow, that was fuggin’ great.” –Jimmy Alvarado (Band Of Beards)


BAND OF BEARDS:
Fuerteventura: CD
Band Of Beards have a terribly gimmicky name (they all have beards), but hidden behind the silly gimmick, is a band of great substance. Band Of Beards have a lot going on musically, with a bit of punk’n’roll, ska, surf rock, and other influences wrapped up in their sound. The band does the fast and loud punk thing well, but they also slow down at points, and get a little wild with guitar wankery at others. Mix in some tongue-in-cheek song titles and some thoughtful and heartfelt-sounding lyrics, and you have a formula for a band that is great musically, but doesn’t take themselves all too seriously (in a good way). A few songs that showcase everything this band has to offer are the tracks “Richard Loves New Jersey,” “One Point Twenty-One Gigawatts!,” and “Buddy Was an Elf.” “Richard Loves New Jersey” opens with a bit of a slow jam before picking up the pace, and “One Point Twenty-one Gigawatts!” opens similarly before rocketing up to breakneck speed in the first verse. This song has some of the best lyrics of all the songs on this album, and the title is a sweet reference to the Back to the Future movie series. “Buddy Was an Elf” is another song of note that I really enjoyed, which has the most overtly ska-influenced sound of all the material on the album. In all, I’d say this band is an example of a band doing everything on their own terms, and succeeding admirably. Highly recommended. –Paul J. Comeau (Band Of Beards, bandofbeards@gmail.com)


BAND OF BEARDS:
Fuerteventura: 12”EP
Listened to this record. Didn’t like it. Googled the band, hoping to form a constructive perspective on their music. Found the site for the “comedy rock” group Band Of Beards. Thought, “Wait, was that supposed to be funny?” Turned out it was a different band. This Band Of Beards plays gruff punk with vague lyrics, painfully off-key vocals, and a couple of ska parts. Yeah, you read that right: ska parts. Eight songs. Good guitar work, aside from the up-strumming. Lovely cover art by Nate Powell. –CT Terry (Band Of Beards)


BAND OF FELONS:
Drown My Sorrows, Drink My Dreams: CDEP

Anthemic, profanity-sprinkled street punk/hardcore that kind of sounds like a cross between the Bump ‘n Uglies and Sick Of It All. And judging by the title and the dumpy barroom photos, I’d say they have a pro-alcohol abuse agenda. What’s not to like? Five songs and a whopping eleven minutes and thirteen seconds of strong, no-bullshit rock'n'roll. Unlike some of the other discs I’ve reviewed this time around, I will not be burying this one in my backyard.

 

–aphid (Go For Broke)


BAND OF HORSES:
Everything All The Time: CD
Band Of Horses may not be entirely original and they may not be all together thrilling for most people, but any band that can showcase a wonderful mixture of soul-piercing vocals reminiscent of Brian Wilson meeting up with Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips has got something special going on. The music that backs these fine vocals is a mixture of verdant dream-pop and mopey shoegazer guitar riffs. The band can seemingly go from sounding akin to slowcore band Codeine on one tune and the next moment coming across like Built To Spill or The Shins. It’s a strong blend that works behind the piercing vocals and wistful lyrics of this Seattle duo, comprised of the core of the now defunct band, Carissa’s Wierd. This is great summer music that knows how to properly tread the ground between melancholic and triumphant and does a damn good job doing it. There are pleasant build-ups that are peaked and then find themselves falling back down, but never too far that they’re tragic. The ten songs on this album show Band Of Horses to be a band that is quite capable of handling the dynamics in music that so many bands fail to understand: loud and soft, fast and slow, intense and laid back, etc. At a pace like this, good things can only abound for this duo. –Kurt Morris (Sub Pop)


BANDAR LOG, THE:
AK-747: CD
So the insert to this CD has a picture of some honky in khakis and a safari helmet wielding a huge modern machine gun. There beside him, a missile is imbedded in the ground, then off to the right there’s what appears to be a bunch of African natives with spears. Above all of this is an ambiguous use of a quote by literature’s most famous imperialist Rudyard Kipling from The Jungle Booksabout “Monkey-Folk who live in the trees,” called the Bandar-Log. So what is a socially conscious music reviewer to do? Pick apart all the songs to find out where they might be going with such imagery and figure out if it’s simply culturally insensitive or if they actually might be making a progressive political statement? Probably. But since this is crappy alternative rock, which nobody who found their way into this fanzine would touch with a ten foot pole, I’ll save myself the time. –Craven (no info)


BANDITAS:
Self-Titled: CD
I met all three members of this trio prior to hearing their album. The drummer is also a poet. He and I did a reading together. He’s a pretty good poet (and I don’t often say that about poets). One of the guitarists is a writer, too. She does a zine about being a menstrual anarchist. She taught me how to say “eat my pussy” in French. The other guitarist hit me up to buy him a beer. With a trio of personalities like that, what could you possibly expect from the album? I wasn’t sure. I just wasn’t expecting it to be this good. The first thing you’ll notice when the Banditas start playing is that your head will start bobbing. You can try to fight this, but you won’t be able to stop. The second thing you’ll notice is a sonic fuzz wrapped around melodies. It’s been done before. Hüsker Dü and early Mudhoney did it well, but it would be a mistake to compare the Banditas to either one of those bands. In fact, it’s hard to find any safe comparisons for the Banditas. I guess there’s a bit of Rocket From The Crypt without the horns in there, like the Banditas and RFTC are part of the same species, but not the same genus. When you stop comparing them to bands, the next step is to just get swept away in the songs. There’s a nice balance of power and rhythm, and this trio puts more into the songs than you’d expect from only three people. And maybe, after about twenty or thirty listens, you might notice that there doesn’t seem to be any bass in here—no bass guitar, no bass drum. Not that it’s missing. It’s just not there. And, finally, this album will creep into your top five. At least, it’s one of my top five favorite albums right now. You may also be interested to know that this album is available on vinyl, too. And they sent me a CD. Fuckers. –Sean Carswell (Last Drag)


BANDITAS:
Save the Rats: LP
Hands down, Save the Rats is the sleeper hit of this review batch. I really wasn’t expecting much, and while the Banditas sound is actually a bit hard to pin down, I do know that I really, really like what I’m hearing. A female three-piece with a sound that’s a wildly successful amalgam of ‘60s pop, garage, country, and even gospel… and it’s coherent. And awesome. Frequently sweet “he done me wrong” songs coupled with a stunning solemnity that really works in their favor—it’s that sense of solemnity, coupled with the simple fact that these people sing really beautifully, that makes this record so rad. “Harmony Glass” is a perfect example of Banditas’ magic: a haunting and spooky reverb-heavy number laden with gorgeous harmonies and a slowly simmering rhythm section culminating a flare-bright ending. While that specific formula doesn’t stay the same throughout the entire record, the effect does. This is a great, great album. –Keith Rosson (Hard To Kill)


BANDITOS, LOS:
Self-titled: 7"
'60s-influenced instrumental music with just a dash of new wave thrown in. Would make good music for a movie soundtrack. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.sheeprecords.com)


BANG SUGAR BANG:
Thwak Thwak Go Crazy!: CD
I had many things running through my mind before listening to this disc. I know this band has been getting prime opening slots for many large bands. The cover looks kind of cartoonish and the title makes no sense to me. I hope it's not another bunch of glam rockers trying to fly under the punk flag. The band name doesn't exactly scream punk to me either. Putting all that aside, I was quite surprised. Here is a band that I would have bypassed easily. But after a few listens (and that's saying a lot from me), I was truly intrigued by their music. They easily could have been a band from San Francisco, New York, or Los Angeles circa '77 to '81. But the slickness of the production removes that thought quickly. I have read references of X from a few. I can hear it in spots due to the female/male vocals, but it is not prevalent. Stylistically, I hear hints of X but I also hear things in a song like "Kill the Radio" that could be a guitar-driven version of the Epoxies. They also sound like so many other things that I just can't pull it off my tongue. I hear songs sections that remind me of other songs and I hear parts of lyrics that I recognize from elsewhere. It's driving me crazy right now trying to think what band it sounds like or who sang something. "The Machine Gun Song" sounds like something XTC or Squeeze could have played in the past, a song that is somewhat silly but is infectiously melodic. Their songs of varying flavors keep things from becoming monotonous. What sells me here is the strong vocal delivery of bassist/singer Cooper. Her vocals capture the moment. Anyway, even though they are flying under the punk banner, I would consider them more a rock band that got lumped under the punk banner due to being hard to pigeonhole. But it's not a bad thing. This release did fall on my lap and I truly enjoy it. –Donofthedead (SOS)


BANG SUGAR BANG:
Thwak Thwak: Thwak Thwak
Okay, let's get something straight: some songs should not be redone. "Sex Beat" is such a song, and redoing it with vocals that sound like Siouxsie Sioux with a tummy ache only makes matters worse. The rest of this wasn't too painful a listen, but after hearing what they did to what is thee quintessential Gun Club track, I had a hard time focusing on any of their merits. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.bangsugarbang.com)


BANG! BANG!:
Electric Sex: CDEP
A new band out of Chicago that is bringing back memories of ‘80s new wave with a bass player that sings like Terry Bozzio and music that has elements of early Devo and the Waitresses. Fun and a welcome change from all the death metal and thrash that I have been listening to lately. –Donofthedead (Morphius)


BANG! BANG!:
Decked Out: CD
Indie dance pop from this Chicago three-piece, with dueling male-female vocals. Veers off into the realm of pretentiousness at times and “borrows” a big chunk of their sound from the late ‘80s to early ‘90s Dischord Records roster. But with a disco beat. The song “(I Heard You Singing) On the Radio” cleverly starts off with, surprise, the sound of someone spinning through channels on the radio dial. Dear lord. They redeem themselves a bit with a Gun Club cover. –Josh Benke (Morphius)


BANG! BANG!:
Do You Like It?: CD
Did you know that back in the ‘70s the Alice Cooper Band were forced at gunpoint by Mick Jagger to write and record an album with the lippy Glimmer Twin? I didn’t either. But here it is. And if one listen isn’t enough to convince you of the verity of this recently come-to-light factoid, then just check out the lead vox on this disc who coyly goes by the moniker “Jack Flash.” Like that isn’t a total give away. But wait a minute... now he sounds like Richard Hell. Man, after that first song I was certain it was Mick Jagger. I guess it doesn’t matter ‘cause I never liked either one of those over-cherished suckwads. So to answer the original question, no, I guess I don’t like it. But the hot blond chick bass player on the other hand... –aphid (Heads Up)


BANGERS:
Small Pleasures: CD
More Leatherface than Queers on the pop punk scale, with odd chords, mid-tempos, smart lyrics, and a bucket full of hooks. The guitar sound seemed a bit subdued at first, but I found that cranking the volume up fixed that up right quick. –Jimmy Alvarado (Kiss Of Death)


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