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Razorcake #84
Tim Version, Ordinary Life LP + bonus 7"
Radon, 28 LP
Zisk #25
Razorcake #83

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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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Solitude: CDEP
This is a posthumous review of the last EP by these Minneapolis punks. This prog style screamo trio, all named Kyle, put together these four tracks as their “goodbye” to their loyal fans last year. With throat searing-vocals, grindcore chords, and rapid-fire drums, Cowards merges an ominous bass line in “Solitude” for a decibel-shattering finale. But fear not, the Kyles will probably be back or absorbed by the surplus of punk bands in MN. –Kristen K (Automaton Records Media Conglomerate, myspace.com/thearmc)

Voodoo Shoppe: CD
Adult indie pop. Can it be done? All the time… and with predictable results. However, as natives of the Big Easy, the band is allocating a portion of CD sales to assist Katrina-displaced Orleans residents. –Jessica Thiringer (Eleven Thirty)

Hatred Songs: 7"
Cower resides somewhere in the audible crusty punk house between Iron Lung and Tragedy. Pounding at times, driving at others. It’s always heavy, and it’s always intense. Amidst the legions of copycats and style-prisoners, Cower take healthy helping of various sub-sub-genres such as power violence, d-beat, noise, and melodic crust to formulate a sound that seems naturally punishing. And while these songs of hatred may not be executed as proficiently as the aforementioned bands might have, they are still a promising detonation of unforgiving, unwavering noise. –Daryl Gussin (Television)

Split: 7"
Good split. Two demented bands that complement each other without sounding similar. Coworkers play dynamic and chaotic hardcore with the occasional blastbeat. This would fit in well at a mid-’90s basement show, but the vocals, which are snarled as opposed to screamed, make the band stand out. Inerds blow through some crust with dustbuster/ nails-on-chalkboard vocals. The raw recording adds to the power. Now, here’s the question: Is the band name a crack on Mac geeks (iPod, iNerd…) or a Skynyrd-esque misspelling of “innards?” Either way, score. Awesome hand drawn cover art, to boot. –CT Terry (Feral Kid/Foot)

Some People Simply Do Not Belong: CD
I was so excited to get a CD from West Virginia. Songs about incest, Nintendo, and girls. Definitely a pop punk influenced thing, but less catchy. I give Cowtipped points for putting this out themselves, but this just didn’t do it for me. If this were a cereal, it’d be Urkel O’s. Nice try, but it just didn’t work out.
–Maddy (self-released?)

First Word of Evil Omens: 7”
Coyote Slingshot is apparently a one man band, made up of teenager Dom Rabalais from Iowa. The cover of the 7” is a watercolor painting of him, with a feathered headdress (normally I’d take offense at someone playing Indian by wearing a headdress, but at least he’s from Iowa, where the Plains Indians who wore feathered headdresses resided.) and a sleeveless T-shirt with Black Flag bars, but with Neutral Milk Hotel’s name across the top: a quirky juxtaposition. And while those two names might be a good start in getting a feel for what Coyote Slingshot is about, they are definitely greater than the sum of those two parts. Coyote Slingshot opens up with “So Long Silly Rabbit,” with peppy piano plucking which bursts into dense, brooding synths, guitars loaded with fuzz and feedback, and vocals sung like a schoolyard rhyme. This becomes the template for the rest of the songs here. Definitely sharing in the jubilant irreverence of Neutral Milk Hotel and the rest of the Elephant 6 bands, but with a world-weary depth that normally wouldn’t be expected (by this grumpy old curmudgeon) of a teenager. This is a tremendous first release and I look forward to, hopefully, many more. –Jeff Proctor (Super Secret)

Jumping Fences with the Roadkill: Cassette
This is a split tape by two bands that are well suited to the lo-fi format. Coyote Slingshot sounds like the Misfits crossed with cheesy Halloween music (think “Monster Mash”). Their songs are synth-y and fun, but they also have an ominous snare drum beat that echoes that hollow-y Misfits sounds. Caution (Comma) Lemmy dishes out some equally creepy noise on their side of the tape. Their instruments are distorted beyond recognition, sounding something like helicopters and sirens. Amidst all the chaos, this could be a post- apocalyptic radio broadcast. –Lauren Trout (Sweat Power, Sweatpowerrecords.com)

Cola Shock Kids: 7”
“Cola Shock Kids” is a potent bit of power pop recalling all the best ‘70s tunes that frustratingly never got radio airplay, all handclaps and wicked hooks. The flip adds some acoustic guitar ‘n’ slows the tempo down a hair, but keeps the hooks raining down. –Jimmy Alvarado (HoZac)

“Kiss Me Dummy” b/w “Show and Tell”: 7”
Do you remember when you were first afflicted with glam disease? The first time you heard a New York Dolls record and thought to yourself, “My gawd! My whole life has been but beige and khaki until now! What is this glitter, this androgyny, this sparkle, this magic?!” Then you did things like cut your own hair, buy too-tight denim clothing, and write songs like these ones. There is a fine line between camp and cheese, and I am afraid that this record crosses that line in a red pleather boot. This band would be better off making experimental harsh noise instead—at least then the music wouldn’t be quite as generic –Alanna Why (Secret Mission)

Button by Button: LP
Hoarders of vinyl and purveyors of tropes and idioms, Cozy deliver dork anthems of shoulder-shaking insouciance patterned after early ‘70s glam rock ((band members are named “Bonkers Waddington,” “Baz Bosworthy,” “Gordie Leatherby” and “Fabian Blockbuster,” if that tells you anything)) but coming across as more of a mash-up between AC/DC and the Rubinoos than anything else. When these clever lads have it all clickin’, they’re pretty formidable, but I don’t think the Charlie-Watts-style behind-the-beat drumming always works in their favor. Wrong trope, Fabian! Surely singing the falsetto part to “Pure Lady” must have been a special time in that young man’s life. Carry on. BEST SONG: “Button by Button.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Denim Dream.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The only other album cover I can remember that has the band photos printed in brown was Vern Nussbaum’s immortal The Boogie Man LP circa 1975, so buy with confidence.  –Rev. Norb (Hozac)

Mutilation Nation: CD
Some arty tinges can be found here and there on this, but the bulk of the tracks dance back and forth over the line between trashy punk and psych-freakout. Good stuff on the whole—especially “One More Girl,” which would make great radio fare if programmers weren’t so fucking myopic—even if “Mechanical Man” isn’t a Manson cover. –Jimmy Alvarado (Swami)

The Broken Glass b/w Rich Rich Rich: 7” 45
I have absolutely no idea why this record would be any good whatsoever, which makes the fact that it is unexpectedly kinda good kinda baffling. Armed with cheese-ass hand-drawn lettering that eschews all curves ever concocted, this band has half the Confused Poseur Charisma of the Viletones and at least a third of the Tuned-Into-The-Grand-Cosmic-Something-Field perspicacity of the Dirtbombs ((albeit a Dirtbombs whose object of sonic slobber is not so much a reinforced-to-withstand-IEDs woofer as a one inch Sparkomatic™ tweeter)), and whyfore these ingredients should somehow be coerced to mesh into a respectably convincing sonic dictum of TENSION, DISTORTION, and ELECTRICITY is quite beyond the average Vulcan’s logic, which is why record reviews should only be written by Romulans anyway. BEST SONG: “The Broken Glass,” which name-drops Atlanta, Chicago, and Green Bay for no decipherable reason. BEST SONG TITLE “Rich Rich Rich.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Ugliest picture disc ever. What the hell IS that, the inside of my mother’s eyelid??? –Rev. Norb (Seeing Eye)

Self-titled: 7”
Punks are complex. Punks are the same people who break all their shit one night and work on their gardens the next morning. There’s a rocky grace to punk rock; this grace that compels the same punk who blacked out and tried to fight everybody the night before to bring a bottle of whiskey over the next night as an apology. Punks are assholes a lot of the time, dealing poorly with their own demons. This is because the punks are a fucked up lot. That’s what attracts people to punk; they have no place anywhere else. Few punk records, though, cover the breadth of the punk experience. If you want happiness or smarmy nostalgia, put on a pop punk record. If you need call-to-arms anthems, put on a Gorilla Biscuits record. If you’re feeling hateful, put on a GG Allin record. Punks themselves have always been more complex than the records they play, because the records usually only tell one side of the story. There’s some kind of unspoken law about that and the best punk records are the ones that break it. Some of these exceptions are bands like The Gits, The Dicks, Patti Smith Group, Citizen Fish, and Leatherface. If it weren’t for punk bands like these that speak of a wider range of human experience and emotion, well, I would listen to a lot less punk rock. I would listen to even more Leonard Cohen and Creedence Clearwater Revival than I already do. Crackbox does this for us. The first side starts with “In Love Must Mean Stupid,” a song about a fucked up relationship. On the second song, Corrina sounds like a demon as she sings “On My Feet,” a song so nihilistic that it comes up on the other side as positivity. Nobody knows like the punks do that not giving a fuck about anything, even dying, is the kind of desperation that leads to an exciting and momentous life. If everything is a struggle than struggle is everything. By the second side, it seems that some things have been worked out. These songs switch to shouted anthems. “Cop Out” is a vitriolic jab at jaded punks who fell off, with the chorus “fuck your cop out/our greatest fear is to shine not burn out.” I love that lyric, the way that it acknowledges the cynical urge but is dead set on resisting it. A line in the sand is drawn on this record between the healthy kind of not giving a fuck and the bullshit kind of not giving a fuck. It’s about the struggle of being human, to get by, but it’s in the language of punk. Maybe only punks will understand it. Punks are complex. –Craven (crackboxxx@gmail.com)

Couldn’t Get Worse: LP
In the blackness of my despair during my time in Oakland, I felt unappreciated, worthless, and alienated. I am not fond of how I felt during those days or proud of my inability to bring myself out of that darkness. My friend John didn’t live with us long, but I liked having him around. John had a sensibility and a presence of mind about him that was refreshing amongst all of my bro-punk roommates. He brought me breakfast in bed on my birthday. Steph bought me beer, beef jerky, and gave me a stupid-looking bear she won in the claw machine on the first night we hung out. She cut a lock of her dreads and stuck it in a hole she cut in the bear’s ass to give it a bit of style. Corrina managed to scam food stamps even though she didn’t live in Oakland. She spent most of them on my house for letting her stay for a while. She got a kick out of buying us a set of Pez dispensers featuring all of the princesses and girls of Disney movies displayed in a cardboard case, because it could be purchased on stamps as a food item. John left Oakland after about three months to be closer to his family and friends in New Orleans. There he walked in on his own burglary and got shot in the head. Steph lived with him in New Orleans and came home that night to flashing blue and red lights. She never wanted to be in New Orleans, but wore a bracelet around her ankle that would send her to jail if she left. She did leave, though. She turned on the gas in her home and checked out. Corrina would move to New Orleans and start a band. A band called Crackbox, a band I would rave about after getting their first 7” to review for this fanzine by sheer luck of the draw. I was floored by the vigor, soul, and integrity of the songs. This time, maybe not so much by coincidence, Razorcake sent me their second record, Couldn’t Get Worse, to review. I pulled out the lyric sheet to see Corrina’s photo-realistic drawing of Steph and John together and smiling. Playing the record I heard songs written about friends dying and being sad about it. I heard songs about the struggle to keep living and to keep fighting. Songs about resistance in a broken world. Songs about loss and damage and gritty hope. It was the best damned punk record ever made and if there’s anything else about it you want to know, you can fuck off. –Craven (Self-released, crackboxxx@gmail.com)

Vs.: Split CD
Those who know me can attest to my love of bands from both my native Canada and also Germany. Just can’t get enough of the punk rock from both countries. That said, this split puts me in an odd position. Who will win? The Crackdown are from Winnipeg and they play that earnest, working man’s punk. They do it well. Great recording here as well. I’m thinking Beltones which works well for me. Toe tapping and singing along at work. We have a contender. In the other corner we have Hiroshima Mon Amour hailing from Bochum Germany. They came out of the corner firmly rocking the whole Turbonegro thing. Doing it well, but it’s a style that’s been done to death as of late. Wait a minute. That’s all falling to the wayside, and what we’re left with is some tight, snotty and rocking punk that is fully kicking my ass. Lyrics in both English and German. That gets me every time! Who wins this one you ask? I DO! –Ty Stranglehold (Longshot)

Greenland: CD
I was surprised to get this to review. My first reaction was that Todd is fucking with me. Maybe its cause these guys are from Georgia and so am I. This is the same “Cracker” that put out “being with you is like being stoned” where Sandra Bernhardt punches some guy in the video. Their new CD is mellower than that, kind of with a country roadhouse vibe that would make adult contemporary listeners cream their britches, but not me. Sorry Todd, but I’m selling this one to the pawnshop. –Guest Contributor (Cooking Vinyl)

Drunk with Power: 7" EP
I liked this for fifteen seconds. It starts off very Chicago meat and potatoes punk until the singer mopes in front and center and asses the place up with some terribly cliché lyrics that, by the sounds of it, rips off Timbuk 3. Not a good choice. Pink slip the singer and writer, and give it another go. –Todd Taylor (Dylaramma)

Giants from the Stereo: CD
A four-piece dare I say nü-metal band from Detroit that is clearly making an attempt to grasp the brass ring. Videos on MTV2 and hoodies at Hot Topic soon to follow I’m sure. Maybe even a Warped Tour date. –greg (I Scream)

Stab: Cassette
Seriously, if it weren’t for the modern references to SUVs ’n’ such, I’d swear this was the work of some long lost ‘80s Midwestern hardcore band. Eight tracks in all that cover the bases, from Bush’s stupid war to suburban boredom. The recording is a bit dicey in some spots, but never so bad you can’t tell what’s going on. –Jimmy Alvarado (Phillip Knowles)

Dirty Floor: 7" EP
Five more helpings of sloppy, straight-ahead hardcore. It rarely gets above mid-tempo in velocity, and the singer sounds a bit more Doc Dart-ish than on their cassette of a few years ago, but they get the job done. –Jimmy Alvarado (myspace.com/cracksstab)

Sandpaper: CD-R
Hey, hey, hey! This is pretty hardcore out of the Midwest that sounds influenced by early ‘80s Boston hardcore like Negative FX: mid-tempo stuff with a churning feel in the guitars and gritty, strangled vocals. There’s a looseness in the music that keeps it from being po’ faced or overbearing. “Live the Lie” is a damning indictment of the mainstream way of life—wife, career, family, and losing oneself in the process. It’s a little humorous (maybe unintended?), but the point is clear. There’s some pretty good stuff on here, like “Negation,” “Hungover,” the title track, and “Bearer of Bad Nudes.” But then there’s a clunker like “Someone Else to Screw,” that should have died in the practice room. Other than that, Cracks is pretty damn good. –Matt Average (Slipping Grip Productions, pizzachew@hotmail.com)

Stick To Your Guns: CD
Twelve songs on this debut CD from this five-piece band from Germany play some cool oi mixed with some speedy hardcore. These guys have been around for a long time in other bands like Maskapone and I Defy, took their past experiences, and brought them to this band. They combine all their older bands and other influences and have created a pretty damn good release with lots of power and passion. This is a great CD to sing along to and hit the repeat button on your CD player. –Guest Contributor (Aggrobeat, aggrobeat.com)

Void: CD
I like metal. It’s one of my favorite genres. When I first started listening to non-mainstream music in middle school, it was the first style I tapped into. I like thrash, grind, speed—just about every subgenre there is. But through it all, there has been one type I have not been able to get into and that is the type that Craft plays: black metal. I’ve tried listening to Burzum, Mayhem, and Gorgoroth, but have never been able to identify. I often find their music isn’t fast or extreme enough—there is a lack of brutality—and the vocals all seem to sound alike from band to band. And don’t get me started on the lyrics. Anti-Christian verses and satanic imagery is interesting when done well, but much of the genre can become a parody of itself. That being said, Craft follows many of these same parameters: Cookie Monster vocals that try and sound evil, in addition to poor lyrics (“My mind screams to me like a black metal record in dissonant accord”). However, one place where Craft seems to best some of their comrades is in regards to musicianship and the songs created on Void. While the mix seems to lack consistency, what is played is powerful and has some edge in its delivery. Too often, black metal comes across as one of the weakest subgenres within metal, but Craft seem capable of throwing in some hard riffs and the accompanying guitar solos fit appropriately. Obviously, Void isn’t my thing but if you want to check out something different in black metal, perhaps this might be up your alley? –Adrian Salas (Southern Lord)

Nazibilly Werwoelfen N'ont Pas De Bausparvertrag: CD
The Cramps may be in the running for being the most bootlegged band in punk rock history. There's over fifty full-length boots already. Undeniably, they're a great band, who were the first to fuse rockabilly, punk, voodoo, and psychosis, while delivering all the shock and thrills that '50s movie posters always promised. That said, this is a strange bootleg of a live 1979 performance from Palo Alto, California. It's recorded directly from vinyl to CD (you can hear the needle drop and a couple of pops. It first came out as a 10"). What's perplexing is how any of this adds up to the Nazi motif on the artwork and the re-titling of songs like "I Was a Teenage Werewolf" to "I Was a Nazi Werwolf" [sic]. I'm still not sure, but I'm sure that this is a solid Cramps set. If you're looking to bust your hymen on The Cramps and don't know what to shell out on, I'd suggest Songs the Lord Taught Us or Gravest Hits. –Todd Taylor (bootleg)

Fiends of Dope Island: CD
This is the first CD from the Vengeance Label, fronted by the only two people who should be in charge of The Cramps – Lux and Ivy. After disastrous stints with IRS and Epitaph and various other shady record companies that wouldn’t know what to do with good music even if they had it shoved up their assholes, The Cramps became the boss of The Cramps. This is good news for all you record collectors out there because this means you will be guaranteed better packaging, better attention to detail, and most importantly full creative control by the artist! Yes! Okay, enough of the celebrations. The Cramps forge on against Father Time’s vicious scythe with the greatest of ease and deliver one of the most entertaining new CDs to come blaring out like a drunken drag queen karaoke contest. It’s hard to imagine that The Cramps have been around over twenty years; giving a listen to this album would contest any naysayer, who obviously do not know the legend of this prolific band. The CD starts off with the commanding stomp of “Big Black Witchcraft Rock,” which hollers the intro by lead vocalist extraordinaire, Liberace reincarnate, Lux Interior, who growls a frightening sexy, “Satan baby, Satan!” This CD packs in more of the campy sinister B- Movie infused Cramps ideology, which confronts your little puny, pseudo-intellectual, Celine and Camus reading minds with such familiar Cramps themes like African witchcraft, and Satan. It’s all generously slathered with their invention, psychobilly, switchblade wit and tough girl and boy sashaying into their oblivion of fast cars, alcohol and cannibus smoking doom. Of course, you hear more Link Wray, Sun Records country, real black rhythm and blues, Elvis, exotica and all the cool influences that made The Cramps what they are today – pure fucking legends. So, you wanna know who the new bass player is? It’s Chopper Franklin, from local LA act Mr. Badwrench, who got the coveted position and supplying the big beats is Mr. Big Daddy NASCAR himself, Harry Drumdini. Miss Poison Ivy twangs like Duane Eddy’s demonic sister and makes black leather look even hotter than ever possible on a woman’s body! Whatcha waitin’ for? Go get this album and make out with a bunch of sluts. Okay, don’t get this album and go fuck yourself on a pinhole on the wall where your little dick will fit. –Namella J. Kim (No address supplied)

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