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· 1:Razorcake #79 Now Available
· 2:#307 with Mitch Clem
· 3:L.A. Zine Fest 2014 by Andy Garcia
· 4:#308 with Kurt Morris
· 5:Record Reviews in Razorcake #79


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Razorcake #79
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Spokenest: We Move 12"EP

Record Reviews

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GARY WAR:
Police Water: CDEP
Spacey, ambient synth-wave stuff with funky beats and buried vocals that sound like they were recorded by fish. Somehow it works. –Jimmy Alvarado (sacredbonesrecords.com)


GARY WRONG:
“Mayhem Troopers” b/w “Heroin Beach”: 7”
There’s something in the water down south, and these cats from Alabama have sure been drinkin’ it. Ex-Wizzard Sleeve (if that means a shit to you), drugged-up kids on the Hozac tip. I dunno man, imagine if all those obscure Killed By Death records were influenced by Can and Hawkwind and a handful of PCP. It’s drug music, dangerous music, music to kill or be killed by. It’s punk music. Dig in freaks, this one is worth the admin price. In case you have any idea what I’m talking about, one of the two songs is a Cortex cover, twisted synth psych. This shit is fucked up. –Tim Brooks (Bat Shit, batshitrecords.bigcartel.com)


GARY WRONG GROUP:
Self-titled: LP

A droney mix of heavily overdriven noise framing echo-laden vocals and snotty attitude. A small dose of Devo, Butthole Surfers, and long, reverb-drenched riffs make the album fun for late night listening.

–Billups Allen (Total Punk, totalpunkrecords.tumblr.com)


GAS CHAMBER:
Self-titled: LP
Dark, distorted hardcore with powerviolence tendencies from Buffalo, NY. It’s no surprise that members’ previous bands have had records released by 625 five or ten years ago. And while I do enjoy getting the shit kicked outta me by the music, I’m really digging this black dust sleeve. I’m sure these guys are pretty well-known in their immediate vicinity, but if you’re looking for some raw hardcore from people who have been doing it for years, Gas Chamber awaits. –Daryl Gussin (Warm Bath)


GAS CHAMBER:
Self-titled: LP
Interesting band out of upstate New York. Gas Chamber sound like JBA meets “Pain of Mind”-era Neurosis. Dark, heavy, and abrasive, and an overall ominous tone. In the lyrical department, it’s very bleak and apocalyptic. The music is in the thrashy vein, with some noise interludes to break up the sonic hammering. The two standout cuts are “Comfort Food,” which has a near jazz-like bridge, and “Drug Induced Coma” that opens with a really depressed bass line. Works well conveying the message of the lyrics. I like that these guys are taking chances and wanting to do something different. It separates them from the pack and makes this music interesting again. Worth your time to give this a listen, and if you live in the Midwest, they’re touring in your area in May 2011. Go, then write and tell me how it was. Thanks. –Matt Average (Warm Bath, gaschamberhardcore/wordpress.com)


GAS CHAMBER:
Corpse with Levity: EP
Wow.... Listening to the second side right now, and I’m in total awe. The music is morose as it gets. The mood dominates the whole record, but it really starts to get heavy after the second song, “Pigeon,” on the first side. The bass comes to the fore and sets the mood. The music really draws you in. To the point where you don’t want to leave. It goes from brooding to fast and aggressive without pause. Manic, indeed. I really like their LP, but find this is even better. The whole second side is perfection. Gas Chamber are a band that is moving forward musically, and I plan to follow them to where ever they go with it. This sounds like something that would have come out of the Bay Area nearly twenty years ago. Think of Neurosis mixed with early Dead & Gone. Taking this one to my grave. Get your own. –Matt Average (Warm Bath)


GAS CHAMBER:
Self-titled: 7” flexi
I remember back in the ‘90s when powerviolence bands started experimenting with noise. Mainly, they were following the footsteps of Man Is The Bastard / Bastard Noise. The results were pretty forced and subpar. More than ten years later, hardcore bands and the like are starting to try their hand at it. And this time the results are better. This is the Gas Chamber from Buffalo, NY who put out the dark stuff doing noise. This is pretty good. One piece with a cold drone that borders on white noise. Tones rise and fall, with some sounds hovering like alien space craft. The sort of music to zone out to, contemplate, and eventually come back down when the song is over, or until you tire of moving the stylus back to the beginning. –Matt Average (Warm Bath)


GAS CHAMBER:
Modern Vision of the Erect Nightmare: 7”
Continually pushing against boundaries and exploring the outer realms, Gas Chamber are one of those bands where I know I’m not going to hear a band do the same thing over and over again. Each record of theirs makes the past release seem puny in comparison. This may very well be my favorite from them. The noise at the beginning is excellent! Seriously, my favorite part of the song. When they kick in to the main body, they bring to mind Dystopia, but a little more direct and to the point. The vocals are shouted with a sense of pain and disgust. The second side of this record paints a scene of hell—with sounds coming in and out of the dark—and the vocals shouted with a shredded throat rasp over the din. Rightfully so, as the lyrics are bleak, detailing the fall of civilization. The acoustic playing at the end comes out of left field and is a great way to go out. It puts a very different mood on the whole thing. Excellent record, to say the very least. –Matt Average (Nerve Altar, nervealtar.blogspot.com)


GAS HUFFER:
Lemonade for Vampires: CD
It’s amazing to me that, after all of these years and all of these albums, Gas Huffer keeps getting better. Lemonade for Vampires has all the elements that I’ve come to love in Gas Huffer: Tom Price’s amazing guitar; a subtle, Brit-pop kind of catchy-ness; and an album full of songs that seem to go off in a bunch of different directions, but pull together into a cohesive unit. There’s even a political song to wrap up the album—an ode for the environment called “Ruined.” If you’ve never gotten into Gas Huffer, this latest album is a good place to start. If you’ve been into them for years, this new one will slap a smile on your face. –Sean Carswell (Estrus)


GAS HUFFER:
The Rest of Us: CD
Wow. I wasn’t expecting this from Gas Huffer at all. It’s like they took the trashy rock’n’roll that made them famous and threw out the trash. Not in a bad way at all. This is the musical equivalent to the whole Pygmalion fantasy, where you take a hooker, clean her up and make her presentable to all your friends and everyone loves her and she’s a great girlfriend, etc., but deep down inside, you know she still fucks like a pro and you’ll never have to lose that. It just makes sense, though, that, when you have this much talent swimming around beneath the distortion, you should probably drain a bit of the distortion out of the pool. And that’s what The Rest of Us does. Everything about Gas Huffer is solid in this album: a sturdy rhythm section, catchy vocals, and good lyrics (“the kids are listening to the radio. They can’t tell the songs from the ads, but who can these days?”). But what makes this album amazing is Tom Price’s guitar. Without any kind of wanking or showboating, Price rounds out the songs with perfect sounding riffs. Every time I listen to this album, one of Price’s guitar parts will jump out at me and I’ll think, how the fuck did he do that with only six strings? I’ll think, people have been playing guitars for hundreds of years, why hasn’t anyone else thought to do that? And that? And that? It’s not just impressive; it’s great music. –Sean Carswell (Estrus)


GAS RAG:
Human Rights: 7” EP
Chicago hardcore that’s raw as all get out, almost to the point of sounding like some obscure Scandinavian hardcore gem, zippy without being silly about it, and pretty much unintelligible. They keep things short, endearingly sloppy and full-tilt, as well they should. –Jimmy Alvarado (Beach Impediment)


GASH:
We Are Fuck You: 7” EP
Fifteen seconds of what sounds like the band’s riffing on something lifted from a groovy ‘70s soundtrack starts things off before they go the full grind route. Midway through, they pause with a bit of Sabbath’s “Lord of this World” before riding a renewed onslaught to the end, all in roughly four-and-a-half minutes. –Jimmy Alvarado (Give Praise)


GASHERS, THE:
Law & Order: CD
Dime a dozen “street punk” doing its damnedest to squarely fit the stereotype. Knew this was gonna be a painful affair from the opening lines, “I don’t wanna be no business man / I just wanna play in a punk rock band,” and it doesn’t much improve after that. –Jimmy Alvarado (SquidHat)


GASLIGHT ANTHEM:
The ‘59 Sound: CD
The much-anticipated second full-length album by this New Jersey band. First off, let’s get it out of the way; yeah this band is clearly influenced by GardenState legend, Bruce Springsteen, and are not interested in hiding the fact (even more so than the Hold Steady, if that’s possible). But they focus on the compact, economical songwriting of the Boss more than the self-indulgent soloing, bar band tendencies of the E. Street Band that the Hold Steady revels in. That being said, Gaslight Anthem has really filed off the charming minor rough edges of their debut 2007 album, Sink or Swim for a sound that is radio friendly with a capital R. I don’t think you could really even call this a punk rock record in the context of 2008. There is not a single shitty song on the album, but, by the same token, nothing seems to rise far above mediocrity. If you enjoyed the first record a lot, this is worth picking up, but I am guessing most readers of Razorcake would find the production off putting and the songs too middle-of-the-road classic rock to embrace. I can say I do still recommend this band live (if you can still see them in a reasonably sized venue with their increasing popularity) where the new songs are presented in a much more organic context than an overproduced record. –Jake Shut –Guest Contributor (SideOneDummy)


GASLIGHT ANTHEM, THE:
Señor and the Queen: CDEP
Here comes my poorest and undoubtedly least understandable simile for this issue, but I’m standing by it: the Gaslight Anthem sound like what I would imagine a genetic recombination of R.E.M. and the Bouncing Souls to sound like. This is one of those records on which even the music sounds like it’s in a thoughtful and introspective mood. This would be a great record for driving around town while wistful and vaguely dissatisfied with things. Rocks well, but provokes inward musings at the same time. I like it a bit more every time I hear it. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Sabot Productions)


GASMASK TERROR:
17101961: 7” EP

I imagine some will howl to the contrary, and there are definitely exceptions (Metal Urbain comes to mind), but by my recollections is that France has never much been a consistent hotbed of quality punk and especially hardcore. This definitely falls into the “exception” pile. You get four tracks of Discharge-inspired hardcore with a ferocity that is more akin to Scandinavian bands like Totalitär than the band upon which the template is built. In short, quite impressive.

–Jimmy Alvarado (Solar Funeral)


GASOLHEADS:
Red Wine and White Russians: 10”
They thank Teenage Head! They are from France! This is pretty decent rock and roll. If only they sounded like a French Teenage Head! Then I could die happy! If this were a cereal, it’d be regular Cheerios. Not great, not bad. And could all bands from non-English speaking countries stop singing in English, please? –Maddy (Dead Beat)


GASOLINE:
Take It to the People: CD
Japan’s Gasoline is truly a sight to behold. They ripped a new one to each and every member of the crowd that was lucky enough to witness the all out rocking at the Garage in beautiful sunny Los Angeles. Singer Gan glides effortlessly through a host of front man antics including the James Brown, getting’ so down, he has to crawl all over the stage while he dons a majestic shameless metallic purple embroidered cape; inducing the crowd to lay low during a hushed portion of their cover of “Shout” by the Isley Brothers then commanding them to leap to their feet at his discretion; as well as a full frontal cover of The Pack’s classic punk anthem “Nobody Can Tell Us.” Man, these Japanese soul bros take it to the heart! So, ReTodd was nice enough to pop over their latest full length CD, courtesy of the fine folks at Estrus records. It starts off with a swampy blues harmonica thang – Take It To The People (which they reprise at the end of the vinyl version, but what do you know the CD version actually has more bonus tracks – get smart and buy the CD version will ya, cause they’ve got classics like “We Are Gasoline” for your edification) but don’t fall asleep on that sweaty Mississippi porch yet my friends because Pearl Harbor #2 is goin’ off right in your ear! There’s a consistent garage punk tone but it’s laden with hefty servings of soul sonic reduction Detroit rock and early rhythm and blues influences to keep your feet moving and your butt shaking. Gan gets downright gutwretchingly blues vocaled out (he’s a virtual Japanese Son House), Hiroshi anchors the tunes with precision bass lines, and drummer Shuhei hits ‘em hard babies! Mr. Tim Kerr takes the reigns and makes it swing. Take It To The People is another instant classic from Japan that belongs in your record collection. Can I get an amen? –Namella J. Kim (Estrus Records)


GASOLINE:
Fake to Fame: CD
This is completely different from most of what I listen to, but I really like it. And I'm not just saying that because of the sexy picture of a naked lady on the cover. Gasoline is a Japanese band, and much like their predecessors, the Mad 3 and Guitar Wolf (at least I assume Gasoline came along after those bands, but I don't know), Gasoline has a way of merging an eclectic bunch of musical styles into a cohesive song. Songs can move seamlessly from very clean rockabilly to trashy R&B to noisy garage rock to growling blues. "Fake to Fame" is one of those releases, too, that you have to listen to as a whole album. Any single song seems just like a piece of a larger work - good on its own, but easier to understand if you can see the whole picture. The vocals sound almost like a crazy guy singing karaoke to an Aretha Franklin song, but paired with the rest of the songs, the vocals become more like another instrument, a noise to fill in a space, secondary to everything else that's going on. In the middle of the album is one painful jazzy song, but other than that, Gasoline has won me over. –Sean Carswell (Estrus)


GASOLINE GRENADE / THE MINDLESS SHOW:
Split:: Cassette
Hell yes! Man, releases like this one make me glad I still have a functioning cassette player. Both bands are from Malaysia and I’m happy to say both bands pretty much rip. I’m sadly not that aware of the Malaysian punk scene, but this tape makes me want to start digging a little deeper. Both bands offer up a nice dose of mid-tempo pop punk done in such an earnest fashion that even an old fart like me has to take notice. Nice packaging, cool art, and good production make this a total winner. –Garrett Barnwell (Pissart)


GASOLINE GRENADE / THEMINDLESSSHOW:
Split: Cassette
This split cassette release between two Malaysian bands is a reminder of just how global punk is. Both bands play relatively mainline hardcore, but with a freshness/vitality that you rarely get out of U.S. suburban counterparts. The recordings are raw and listening to it on cassette feels like checking out a breakthrough demo tape back in the day. The lyrics are primarily in English, except for one of the songs, “Dilarang Melarang,” which is in Malay. Both bands play fast hardcore, with vocals ranging from screamed to melodic. There are some kids having a blast with these guys somewhere in Malaysia. And that’s a comforting thought. –Art Ettinger (Pure Minds, puremindsrecords.blogspot.com / Pissart, pissartrecords.com)


GATEWAY DISTRICT:
Perfect’s Gonna Fail: CD
For the uninitiated, Gateway District is a four-piece female-fronted band from the Twin Cities. Their members have amassed quite a resume, with current and past stints in The Soviettes, Banner Pilot, Dear Landlord, Rivethead, and many others. This is their second full length record and their musical perfection on these twelve songs is the diametric opposite of failure: catchy mid-tempo punk that balances raw passion and an invigorating air of triumphing over the adversity in the human condition that we all reside within. The lyrics are bold, unique, and cut right to the bone with my favorite example being the strongest song on the record “New Hands,” that begins with: “When they cut off my hands they threw me money/I grew new hands so I could pick it up/When they cut off my legs they all came for me/I grew new legs to escape this love.” The vocal interplay between Maren Macosko and Carrie Bleser is a joy to listen to and very well arranged. While I thought the debut Gateway District album was strong, they totally stepped up their game on this one. Serious contender for record of the year. –Jake Shut (It’s Alive, itsaliverecords.com)


GATEWAY DISTRICT:
Perfect’s Gonna Fail: LP
Throughout this review, just think “Really great punk pop, but so much more.” Coming from America’s Scandinavia, Gateway District are Midwestern poetic. Of being born into failing industrial towns, down to specific streets as familiar as veins on forearms. Compelling, bubbling harmonies and backing vocals. Dark skies. Long winters. A deep appreciation for spring and summer. Constant renewal. What gives Gateway District repeated listens is their yearning, their ontology. They’re concerned and dealing with the nature of being; not just beers, breakups, boohoos, and yahoos! But some deep thinking and placement: “You think you’ve got it all figured out/ that’s when the bottom drops out / looking for perfect’s gonna fail you.” Perfect’s Gonna Fail is an album that sounds like a shared relationship between four musicians. In fact, its strength is in the lattice of overlapping types of relationships the band examines: From memories of high school to the drifting-away of friends by the passage of time or time stolen away by addictions. Records like these make me proud to self-identify as a DIY punk. So smart, rockin’, and meaningful. –Todd Taylor (It’s Alive)


GATEWAY DISTRICT:
Old Wild Hearts: LP/CD
A new full-length from a band that many figured was over. And guess what, it’s on par with their best material, if not their best yet. What happens when you strip the cocky strutting and superficial attitudes out of power pop? The answer may just be Old Wild Hearts. Ditch the skinny ties and unnecessary sunglasses, this is cold cut, Midwestern songwriting knee deep in immaculately catchy choruses that rise above the songs. Harnessing some vocal Silly Putty power, Carrie stretches hooks further and farther than previously known possible! Even when they’re singing about an island twenty miles off the California coast, it still feels so studiously ingrained in the earnest, weather-beaten ways that the Midwest is known for. Another solid full-length from this outfit. –Daryl Gussin (It's Alive / Eager Beaver)


GATEWAY DISTRICT:
Old Wild Hearts: LP
While fans of The Soviettes and Rivethead will get exactly what they are wanting musically from Gateway District, two things bring Old Wild Hearts to the top of the heap. The packaging on this LP is so simple, it’s stunning. The simple diagram graphics are hypnotic, keeping the cover glued to my hands while the wax is spinning. The only things that break that spell are the lyrics. A typical listening experience is following along with printed lyrics sheet as the songs unfold and blare through the speakers. I started this LP that way, then found I couldn’t marry the words to the tunes. I kept reading straight through. They are poetry or short chapters of a book I can’t put down. I actually read the lyrics sheet without the music playing after spinning the record. Just fantastic. –Matt Seward (It’s Alive, itsaliverecords.com)


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