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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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GRAND COLLAPSE:
Self-titled: 7”

A relatively new band from Cardiff/Bristol (U.K.) that delivers three rather stonking tracks of a hardcore variety. The vocals of Calvin Sewell (son of Andrew “Stig” Sewell, formerly of Icons Of Filth) have a Crass/oi like quality to them as he barks out the lyrics, accompanied by a clamorous, yet melodic, din that shifts tempo and direction with ease. The title track, “Grand Collapse,” is a prime example of this and it really does highlight how good this band is. On this evidence, I’d say that Grand Collapse has a promising future and I’m hoping an album is in the pipeline.

–Rich Cocksedge (Pumpkin, matt@pumpkinrecords.co.uk, pumpkinrecords.co.uk)


GRAND COLLAPSE:
Far from the Callous Crowd: LP/CD
Sometimes it doesn’t take long for a record to make an impact. That was certainly the case for me here. “False Dawn” kick starts Far From the Callous Crowdinto life with a thunderous rumble as Grand Collapse’s debut album attempts to blow cobwebs away and clean out sinuses, relying heavily on a metallic six string thrust to back a weighty political punch. The galloping power of this band comes primarily through the guitar and drums, which work perfectly in tandem to keep the riveting pace up for almost the entirety of the record. Cal Sewell’s hoarse vocals are spot on in terms of matching the intensity of the music and provide a gritty outlet for lyrics formed from rage and a need to not give in. The final plus point is that the eleven tracks flow well without blending into each other as some hardcore records do, thus helping make this one of my favorite records of the year.  –Rich Cocksedge (1859 / Pumpkin / Static Shock)


GRAND COLLAPSE:
Far from the Callous Ground: LP
I didn’t quite know what to expect from this, a band featuring the progeny of one of the more respected U.K. punk bands of the early ‘80s on vocals and who cite Propagandhi as a major influence. Lo and behold, this translates into astute U.K. hardcore with its abundant metal influence wielded as a potent augmentation to their sound. Echoes of Slayer’s, um, mellower moments come to the fore when they ratchet the tempos down, and the soothing sounds of Broken Bones’ “metalcore” approach when they don’t. Shit’s tight, pissed, and comes off sincere, making this a definite winner. –Jimmy Alvarado (1859, 1859records.bandcamp.com)


GRAND HOTEL PARADOX:
Rust: CD
I can’t say I’ve ever had the opportunity to review a band from Dubai, but there’s a first time for everything. Eight songs clocking in at twenty-four minutes from this trio seems a little short, but it’s still enough to gather an idea of their sound. There are two vocalists, one sounding like Blake Schwarzenbach pre-polyps surgery and the other fitting what I would imagine a punky nerd would sound like if he fronted an indie rock band. (Yes, I realize that makes no sense, but in my brain it fits perfectly.) The energy on these songs is upbeat; the majority of the music is a combination of indie rock and punk, both in a more poppy version, but not sounding over-polished. The strongest song on Rust is the tune “Home.” It’s not as fast as some of the other songs or as punk-influenced, but it’s got a more emotional feel than the other material. Like many albums I review, Rust isn’t a horrible album, but it’s not a great album either. It seems to fall on the better side of average, which is a good step in the right direction. Tightening some of the songs and songwriting (there were times when the vocalist seems to be singing lyrics so fast he’s almost tripping over them) would help. Also, there is the sense that these songs lack a coherency as one unit; they seem to not flow as well together on the album as they might have. The problem isn’t so much their order on the album as it might be the way the band seems to write songs. Rust doesn’t seem as consistent as it could or should be. –Kurt Morris (grandhotelparadox.com)


GRANDMA’S BOYFRIEND:
Self-titled: 7”
This is chock full of sappy songs of unrequited love and/or murder! Musically, they sound like a less punk version of the Groovie Ghoulies mixed with a super power pop version of The Ramones. They blaze through six catchy tracks here, most of which are barely over a minute long. I liked this quite a bit. –Mark Twistworthy (Log Lady, theeloglady@gmail.com)


GRANDPRIXX, THE:
…Drive Me Crazy! : CD
I used to pronounce this band “grandpree” until several people informed me that its pronounced “grandpricks.” Ack. Even worse. Very mediocre pop punk with slightly annoying vocals. Reminds me of the lesser Mutant Pop bands. If this were a cereal, it’d be generic Fruity Pebbles. Not much here to get excited about. –Maddy (Fork in Hand)


GRANDPRIXX, THE:
Prixxology 1998-2001: CD
This album finely anthologizes The Grandprixx’s existence with forty-two songs, none of which reach the three-minute mark. The Grandprixx found their niche and hit the street running with all of these tracks, except one cover, written by them between the years of 1998 to 2001. I can’t deny their most apparent influence, The Queers, but I’d say the Grandprixx are less ‘50s/‘60s rock pop throw back and more rough around the edges. The music is fast and nihilistic with tunes like “Beers & 15 Year Olds.” This is a fast, fun album done with the right mix of stupidity, music production, and snotty sing-along choruses. The song contents rarely veer past pubescent troubles. What you see is what you get with The Grandprixx, but, at least with this anthology, you get your money’s worth with more than an hour of music. –N.L. Dewart (Cheapskate)


GRANNIES, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Punk'n'roll, heavy on the punk, that often comes off as a more rockin', less "fuck" oriented Dwarves. I liked 'em well enough, I guess. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dead Teenager, PO Box 470153, SF, CA 94147-0153)


GRANNIES, THE:
Hot Flashes: CD
Swaggering rock’n’roll stuff with some of the edges scraped off by an otherwise great Endino mix. Sorry, but bands like this need an extra layer of grime. –Jimmy Alvarado (Wondertaker)


GRANNIES, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Punk'n'roll, heavy on the punk, that often comes off as a more rockin', less "fuck" oriented Dwarves. I liked 'em well enough, I guess. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dead Teenager)


GRANNIES, THE:
For Those About to Forget to Rock: LP
Are the Grannies just a gimmick band, only entertaining because they play in drag? I think not. Now that they’re on their seventh full-length, it’s safe to say that they’re at least somewhat serious about their music. Or at least as serious as a group of grownups with a new song entitled “Denture Breath” can be. This is an almost too pretty package for the seedy Grannies: a beautiful gatefold LP, with a full CD copy of the album included as well. The music is the same as it’s always been, with aggressive verses bookending tuneful choruses/sing-alongs. Lot of similar, better bands (Trash Brats and Diesel Queens come to mind) broke up quickly, so these guys are scoring major stamina points, if nothing else. This is a solid sampling of the Grannies, as good as their earlier records I heard. At this rate, they seem to be in it for the long haul. They’ll be granny age for real by the time they hang it up. –Art Ettinger (Wondertaker, wondertaker.com)


GRANNY FROST / BRICK MOVER:
Split: 7"
The record equivalent of a zine written in one night because, you know, it might be fun. Sure, it might be fun, but there’s probably no reason to share it with anyone outside of your immediate punk house or indie dwelling structure. Granny Frost is basically one guy reading/singing in a way that’s supposed to be humorous, but isn’t. Brick Mower plays some combination of experimental rock and indie something-or-other. Blah. –Maddy (Viking On Campus)


GRANT HART:
Hot Wax: CD
First new record in quite some time for the ex-Hüsker Dü songwriter/drummer. It’s consistently a stripped-down affair, so don’t expect a blistering onslaught like his former trio. “You’re the Reflection of the Moon on the Water” features mysterious lyrics that help the song flow with precision. Grant is a storyteller, so that’s why out of nine songs there are three with names in the titles on this record. “School Buses Are for Children” features a wistful chorus: “school buses are for children/they need someone who wants them.” This song will end up really grabbing you by the end. “My Regrets” throttles the motor a bit, but by the time it is over, so is this record. There’s no “2541” here, but it’s still a captivating record that creates a somber mood which you’ll find hard to shake. –Sean Koepenick (MVD Audio)


GRAPH:
EP2: CDEP
Graph has been worshiping at the shrine of the family Kinsella. Graph’s EP2 may only have six songs, but they definitely show some Joan Of Arc and Cap’n Jazz influence. That’s not to say that the sound is overwhelming any sense of originality on the part of Graph. However, there’s the occasional guitar noodling, and the vocals that kick off the opening track totally sound like Tim Kinsella from some unreleased Joan Of Arc track. But what makes Graph remind me most of some Kinsella-related bands is the effect they have of playing with melody in the midst of the occasional angular song structure that stops and starts and gets a little jazzy. But I kind of dig it. It’d be nice if their next album were called LP1. –Kurt Morris (myspace.com/graphisaband)


GRASS WIDOW:
Internal Logic: Cassette
Pulling from Lush’s signature 4AD sound, (think: Spooky), this all-girl trio out of San Francisco gently layer dream pop vocal harmonies, light as chiffon, on top one another. This, their third full length, is buoyed by post-punk bass lines reminiscent of Joy Division and set adrift with early PJ Harvey chord arrangements. “Milo Minute,” the first single released last year, kicks off with clean Sleater Kinney-style finger work and glides seamlessly into a late ‘90s era stripped-down garage melody. Beautifully hazy all the way to the end. “Goldilocks Zone” and “Hang Around” fit in perfectly on my lazy Sunday afternoon rotation. Recommended. –Kristen K (Burger)


GRASS WIDOW:
Milo Minute: 7”
Grass Widow released Milo Minute on their own label, HLR, last year, and when I got it, I didn’t listen to it right away. Something about their Past Time LP left me worn out, although I’ve since come to my senses. Past Time is excellent; an album of effortless, slightly mathematical hooks. It’s tempting to just emphasize the radical girl-ness of them, to place them on a riot grrrl continuum (they’re all-female, they have a record on Kill Rock Stars, they’ve played with the reunited Raincoats), but there’s more. The video for “11 of Diamonds” almost feels Maya Deren-ish, like avant-garde beach noir from the earliest days of counter culture America. On the flip side of Milo Minute, they cover Neo Boys and Wire, and they’ve cited ‘60s Brits the Move as an influence. And while their strength is often in their restraint (no wild distortion, no super fast parts or freak-outs), they have something of the pop rush and bounce of the Buzzcocks, and they hint at the briskness and poetics, the guitar jangle and bass rumble and adventurousness, of the Minutemen, but take it in another direction. They’re a model female punk trio, no question, but you can go deeper and wider with them. “Milo Minute”, the song, feels like their attempt at a jaunty two-minute pop burst—plenty of craft, without a ton of overthinking. In the video for “Milo Minute,” they go to Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo and play music for gorillas, and it’s here, with the band on one side of the plexiglass and a gorilla habitat on the other, that the song seems to grow. The band is so charming, they seem like they were going to the zoo to play anyway, and then said “Oh! You should bring your camera, we need to make a video!” I did have some questions, mainly about whether or not it was good for gorillas to hear amplified instruments and drums, and then also what their hearing frequency was like. Is it like a dog’s? Dogs don’t seem to notice bands. The gorillas seem fine with it, especially by the end. Grass Widow have a way of making the complicated very uncomplicated and natural. They make it look not only easy, but desirable. –Matt Werts (HLR, no address listed)


GRAVE BABIES:
Self-titled: 7”
Dark, slow, atmospheric industrial that one might call goth, with lyrics about killing yourself for the sake of the earth and other murky, cryptic matters. People who like 4AD Records, the Swans, and being spanked will probably like this a lot. I’m not saying it sounds like the Swans and it certainly sounds nothing like being spanked, I’m just saying that it’s a safe bet that it would attract the same crowd. It’s a unique, quality record regardless, and hopefully they’ll get someone more mature to review their next record. Hee hee... spanked... Ooooh, please stop. I just haaaate it. –Craven (myspace.com/gravebabies)


GRAVE BLANKETS:
Your Injured Ways b/w You’ll Know Everything, Something You Say: 7"
Grave Blankets are a slow to mid-tempo garage horror punk band with dual male/female vocals from Columbus. Their influences range from Gun Club to The Mummies. What helps this single not fall flat is the terrific lo-fi recording that isn’t riddled with the intentionally distorted, overly produced fuzz added to so many similar releases in recent years. I’m not crazy about any of the three songs included here, but this record shows enough potential to pique my interest in checking out future releases from the band. Art Ettinger –Guest Contributor (self-released, graveblanketsmusic@gmail.com)


GRAVE DANGER:
Self-titled: CD
A limp combination of tame, Cramps-styled rockabilly and surf music. The group is more than proficient, but there’s neither a sense of immediacy nor psychosis to the music to make it particularly interesting. –Jimmy Alvarado (Rustic, PO Box 15225, Phoenix, AZ 85060)


GRAVE MAKER:
Bury Me at Sea: CD
Well-executed modern hardcore that adds some straight-ahead rock influences. They definitely don’t break the mold here. But what they do, they do well. “Cast Away” and “It’s Raining Again,” in my opinion, are the strongest of the album.  –Matt Average (Think Fast!)


GRAVEHILL:
Practitioners of Fell Sorcery: LP
Boy, them Gehenna kids are mighty prolific these days. By my reckoning, this is the third or fourth release I’ve come across that features a member or two of that band. This time they delve into the black/death/trash metal realm with six songs that recall the best of the Teutonic speed metal bands like Kreator, Destruction, and especially Sodom. This style seems to be making a bit of a comeback in recent years, and this should rightfully rank as one of the better—and faithful—of the modern installments, right down to lyrics like, “Archaic pages shall tell/In the black book of the earth/Demonic harbingers of the end/Necrosummoner—bring forth hordes of the dead…” –Jimmy Alvarado (A389)


GRAVEHOUSE:
Untitled: CDEP
This EP is a soundtrack for the descent to Hell. Equal parts drone, doom, and minimalistic, this is pretty kewl instrumental stuff taking cues from Japan’s Boris and Sunn O))). Three tracks clocking in at just over twenty-one minutes, the first song, “Untitled + Hollow Mind,” starts off with feedback whine and merges into an almost romantic guitar melody. “Of Feather” kicks off with heavy, sluggish riffs layered on top of a slow, methodical, meat-pounding beat. If you dig creepy, atmospheric tones or really like the soundtrack to Rosemary’s Baby, this is for you. Recommended. –Kristen K (Television)


GRAVELTRAP:
Concrete + Udder Chaos: CD
A band that reminds me a lot of the band Turtlehead. Not as strong as the latter band but melodic in the same way. –Donofthedead (Moon Ska Europe)


GRAVELTRAP:
Concrete + Udder Chaos: CD
A band that reminds me a lot of the band Turtlehead. Not as strong as the latter band but melodic in the same way. –Donofthedead (Moon Ska Europe)


GRAVES AT SEA/ASUNDER:
Split: CD
If you have any depressive mood or suicidal feelings on the horizon, and this should be passed. Graves At Sea take a super bongload and recreate the Sabbath lick with sheer despair. Heavy riffs that sludge along but bite hard attack your aural senses, like smoking too much pot and over-focusing on every aspect of a song. If I was stoned, this would creep me out with the witchcraft screeching vocals mixed with the growl of doom. They unleash two songs that clock over twenty minutes. Asunder is another story. I saw them last summer, and that was an out of body experience. They played in the dark by candlelight and played barely four songs in less than an hour. The room was maybe 20’x20’ and, due to the season and no air conditioning, it was blistering hot and humid. Their brand of super slow, sludgecore, or whatever you call this type of music, was a strange episode. With the environment and their music, they made me feel like I was hallucinating and experiencing something unique that I have not felt before. I was exhausted and dehydrated after their set and I was completely sober and drinking water the whole time. Strange. Here, they expose to the world an eighteen-minute-plus montage of pure, thick molasses. The sounds that come out of the speakers coat the room with charred smoke and make it almost inhabitable. If this sounds appealing, these are two bands that can take the happiness out of any room. –Donofthedead (Life is Abuse)


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