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· 1:Razorcake #82 Now Available | Baby J, (Can Of Beans, Stoned At Heart)
· 2:#336 with Marty Ploy
· 3:Tom Neely and Keenan Keller Interview
· 4:#335 with Bryan Static
· 5:Punk Parenthood for the Sleep Deprived 5

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Record Reviews

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The Power of Beef: CD
Wow, there’s more chugga-chugga metal in their sound here than I remember them having. If my mind is playing tricks on me and I have blocked out the fact that this is what they sounded like back in the ‘80s, I am flabbergasted that they never managed to break into the Sunset Strip scene all them years ago so Michael could assume his throne as the “King of L.A.” –Jimmy Alvarado (Go Kart)

Illuminati House Party: LP
Heavy stuff here. But it’s not all doom and thud. This is a good mix of straight-up rock, with songs like “Population Control” and “Hard Lovin’ Van,” and then they give you stuff like “The Call,” which is in the realm of Sabbath and Sleep. But the crème de la crème is the Sabbath-inspired riff godhead “Lurch,” which is so undeniably good it requires a couple more listens before moving on to the next song. Then you get the epic “Taser Trilogy,” which is, as the title suggests, a three-part instrumental jam. At points this stuff reminds me of mid- to late-’80s SST output: jam heavy and out of left field. Would love to see these guys live. This record comes packaged in a foldout, two-color screen printed cover, along with a CD-R of the album to listen to in the car. Fuck yeah! –Matt Average (Sugar Mountain, sugarmountain@gmail.com)

Gaffe: 10”
Unh. Hell yes. Exactly the filthy, off-kilter, pissed-off result I was expecting from Dave Unsane and producer Andrew Schneider (Cave In, Converge, etc). Certainly in the Unsane world, with more quirky Melvins-esque swagger and a seriously mesmerizing rhythm section. Often reminiscent of Tomahawk’s first record, as well. Heavy, just weird enough, and way dirty. Rad.  –Dave Williams (Coextinction/Solar Flare)

Split: Cassette
Let’s say you happened to be having a BBQ, and your house backed up to a hospital filled with mental patients. What if those patients somehow escaped and climbed over your fence because your burgers smelled real good? This is what you would put on your boom box by the grill. I think they would really enjoy both band’s efforts. –Sean Koepenick (Multiverse)

Oink!: CD
…when i first saw that this was on a label called “Disturbing Music,” i immediately assumed that that meant “Disturbing Records”—house organ of Chicago’s The Cunts (occasionally “The C*nts”) for like the last twenty years or so—and that the Pigs were some manner of post-Cunt or perhaps merely Cunt-affiliated project, which had me contemplating their competent yet unincisive Oingo Boingo/Skafish-isms in an entirely different manner than i was forced to contemplate them in once i found out Disturbing Records and Disturbing Music are two wholly unrelated entities. In this case, i can only ask the listener to compare Oingo Boingo’s Only a Lad to the wholly unoriginal by comparison (yet still, musically, in the same ballpark) Stand Back, then ask thyself if thee thinketh that Geoff Westen of The Pigs will ever be writing the score for Batman movies like Danny Elfman of Oingo Boingo. One thinketh not. Decent record though. BEST SONG: “Saturday Night,” because it doesn’t sound like Oingo Boingo OR Skafish, it sounds like the Kings! The Kings are Here, binch! BEST SONG TITLE: “Saturday Night,” because it sounds like the Bay City Rollers! The Bay City Rollers are Here, binch! FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Danny Elfman sucks, and don’t those keyboards at the beginning of “Saturday Night” sound frighteningly like those of REO Speedwagon’s “Ridin’ The Storm Out”??? –Rev. Norb (Disturbing Music)

Dripping: CD
College rock, alt-rock, skronk and post-hardcore melded together in one noisy package. I prefer their noisier, disjointed moments, like “Grunt Like a Pig,” over their more structured, musical moments, but I imagine this’ll get no shortage of plays by people cramming for a Chem 203 exam. –Jimmy Alvarado (Exploding in Sound, dan@explodinginsound.com)

Music from Little Pink: CD
Adequate, yet uneventful poppy rock music. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.pillowofwrongness.com)

Music from Little Pink: CD
Adequate, yet uneventful poppy rock music. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.pillowofwrongness.com)

Demo: CD-R
Pop punk that’s of a more modern style than mid-‘90s rehashes. Overall, it sounded like the self-titled Lifetime record with Unlovables-style vocals. This demo also has a bunch of different stuff, ranging from songs that were recorded in a decent studio to some off a cell phone. I like it. And I haven’t seen for myself, but I hear they actually have pillow fights at their shows. If so, that rules. –Joe Evans III (Self-released)

Round 1: CD
I declare this album to be pop punk perfection. It’s ten tracks and most of the songs are about a minute (the longest is a minute and twenty-three seconds and the shortest is a robust thirty-three seconds). This band definitely subscribes to the Minutemen’s “jam econo” philosophy. This isn’t blast beat-driven powerviolence either, but fully fleshed out and great pop punk that just doesn’t see the need for stuff like bridges or repeating a chorus if it can get the job done the first time. With the male/female vocals, this is like a distilled concentration of the best moments of bands like Lemuria and Tsunami Bomb. The song “True Story” has one of my favorite lyrics as of late: “And on the first night, we hung out in the park/ it was like reading Huxley for the first time.” Something about the sentiment of that line really sticks with me. Not a second in the roughly ten minute runtime of this album is wasted, as every song has a memorable lyric, or riff, or little melodic moment. –Adrian (Silver Sprocket, avi@springmanrecords.com)

Round 1: CD
This album feels like some young people did it, so I’m sure they’ll still be putting out more records. With that said, The Pillow Fights touch on all the typical run-of-the-mall themes and sing about them like we just walked out of the food court after spotting our crush there: “Don’t think I didn’t see you eye me, because I saw you stumble over, with your head over your shoulder looking back.” Those are the lyrics to their song “Touche Marianne Touche,” which would undoubtedly be clever to me if I were in high school. That’s the problem. All the juvenile lyrics throughout the album don’t translate well on a universal sense, but more in a demographic sense. We’ve all had crushes (and now I feel sixteen again after typing that line) but it’s been a long time since some of us thought of our crushes in the way they’re presented here. Musically, you can compare the singer to Discount but a more out-of-tune hybrid with New Found Glory riffage, and you’d have a succinct surmise of The Pillow Fights. –N.L. Dewart (Silver Sprocket Bicycle Club, silversprocket.net)

Round 1: CD
Pop punk with male/female vocal harmonies that are pretty good at times. It’s a decent record. I liked it. But I’ve heard it before. If you put this in my CD changer with the Beautys, I might not always be able to tell the difference. Grade: B. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Silver Sprocket)

Any City: CD
Sporadic new wave punk—what you’ve come to expect from the Causey Way outfit (some of the members who make up this new band). Elements of mellow electro, new wave, punk and straight-up pop flavor this disc, and in a good way. “Big Fun” (showcasing quality post-punk) and “Master Jack” (pure pop goodness) are the best tracks by far. Songs like “Daisies” and “Babies” sound less like the Causey Way and more like Le Tigre or Ladytron. All in all, this is a great disc for past cult members of the Causey Way and indie/electro post-punk fans. –Mr. Z (Alternative Tentacles)

Any City: CD
The Causey Way (Razorcake #1) cult disbanded. But the musical platelets remained in their blood. In that blood, The Cars splashed through and slithering keyboards hydroplaned. In that blood, early ‘60s pop commingled with sparse, non-sucky indie rock. In that blood, guitars blare and Scott sings in his high-register voice, and sexy, sultry interludes remain. PST are less new wave and more just a band whose approach is akin to latter-day Man… or AstroMan? I’m willing to go the distance—far from the original flight pattern—because there’s always an unexpected reward if you buckle yourself in and take the turbulence. “Angel of Death” balls up every word in this review, lights them on fire, and uses them as a beacon for a safe landing. Recommended listening. –Todd Taylor (Alternative Tentacles)

self-titled: CD-R demo
Emerging from the robes of The Causey Way (see Razorcake #1 for full interview), with front man and collaborating main co-songwriters, Scott and Tracy, there are traces of the old project transmogrified into something more slinking, sultry, and openly playful. The only thing I don't like is the name of the band. It comes across as way too emo for my tastes (like the name Pilot to Gunner). Yet, don't let that be too distracting. If you like new wave in the vein of Servotron, with music more suitable for slipping your hand under a special someone's underthings, instead of killing humans (Servotron's call to arms), while openly inviting the use of a synthesizer, you can't go wrong. Both Scott (ex-Causey himself) and Tracy have sexy android, almost hypnotic trances of voices and it doesn't hurt things one iota that they cover ground from intergalactic surf, to the state controlling your monkey brain, to what could be readings from children's books with equal grace, hummable vibration, and authority. Excellent, hard-to-categorize but fun-to-listen-to music. –Todd Taylor (Pilot Scott Tracy)

Wicca Chicka: EP
A most enjoyable single from a most promising band. Tight lyrics, sloppy music - just the right garage punk rock blend. This single is for you if your name is Steve, Mike, Dave, Tom, or Chris (that alone should be about 3,000 guys in our readership.) –Namella J. Kim (Rapid Pulse)

Fuck This Shit, We’re Outta Here: CD
Quirky rock/punk, deftly executed and long on humor. –Jimmy Alvarado (Crustacean)

Plethora: CD
What Polkacide did for polka and the Hickoids did for country music in the ‘80s, San Anto’s Piñata Protest seeks to do for norteño, namely take what is often considered a markedly “uncool” style of music and infuse it with copious amounts of punk energy and attitude. They handily succeed, due in no small part to the fact that keep things eclectic, and they approach what they’re doing with a seriousness in execution without taking themselves too seriously, if that makes any sense—despite polka and cumbia-derived rhythms and accordion solos aplenty, they are at heart a punk band that tempers their social frustrations with lots of humor, and vice versa. What you end up with is a band that ain’t afraid to get a crowd on their feet and dancing while singin’ songs in Spanglish about just how fucked up things in the world often are. Fine work here from a band worthy of much attention. –Jimmy Alvarado (Saustex, saustexmedia.com)

El Valiente: CD
Getting releases like this reminds me of why I love reviewing music in the first place: The opportunity to hear and be blown away by music from unexpected quarters. In that context, Piñata Protest deliver the goods with nine tracks of punk-infused, Texas-style border music. This disc literally drips with the steaming humidity of San Antonio on a sweltering day mixed with the taste of sweat and warm Lone Star. Some tracks are in Spanish while others are in English and the band isn’t afraid to tackle the odd Mexican classic either. Having a cookout on an hot, sunny day with a cooler full of beer? This is your soundtrack. –Garrett Barnwell (Saustex, saustex.com)

El Valiente: CD
Another fine salvo of norteño-slathered punk from these San Antonio malcontents here. Much like their previous release, they fuse serious musicianship with a “fun” tone, aggressive attack with “party” vibe, and blazing guitars and fiery accordion to kick down tunes that will have fans of both Flaco and Flipper scratching their heads as they shake their shimmy. Fans of Polkacide and the Hickoids would do well to take note. –Jimmy Alvarado (Saustex, saustex.com)

Blue Screen Life: CD
Wimpy college pap... er, pop. To the shitcan with thee! –Jimmy Alvarado (Ace Fu)

Information Retrieved: CD/LP
At this point in their career, Pinback has made one thing clear: every album they release sounds pretty similar, but dammit if they aren’t all good. What allows Pinback to get away with this redundancy is that there aren’t any other bands that sound quite like them. The dual harmonies of Rob Crow and Zach Smith complement one another so well, it’s as though they were always meant to go together. The multi-instrumentalism (it seems there’s always something else to listen to in each song­­—strings, keyboards, piano, electronic drums, bass, and various guitars), and the darker nature of the music mixed with the pop sensibilities cause the band to stand out in the indie rock scene. The lyrics continue to remain obscure, albeit catchy. “It shouldn’t be so hard to have a nice day,” the band sings on “Diminished” and soon I’m crooning along, too, but I have no idea what I’m even singing about. And in the course of the ten songs in thirty-eight minutes, this happens frequently. The opening track, “Proceed to Memory,” might be one of the best rock songs I’ve heard this year and while none of the other tracks can top it, “True North” and the closer, “Sediment,” are both strong numbers. The one stinker on Information Retrieved is “Denslow, You Idiot!,” mainly because the keyboard sounds like it was taken from a rejected Wesley Willis song, especially at the beginning of the track. While the nuances of the tone of an album can be rather subjective, Information Retrieved seems to be more melancholic than much of Pinback’s previous work, which sits well with this reviewer. The day this band records a happy pop album is the day I stop listening to them. But based on where they’re at with this latest album, it appears that’s not occurring any time soon. –Kurt Morris (Temporary Residence)

Headbanger Gangsta Youth Vol. IV: 7"
Mid-fi, jump and shag, poor punks huffing blues from Italy. Their swagger’s what’s convincing. Hips be a-shakin’. These guys would fit in perfectly in a Budget Rock Showcase, opening for Oblivians (who they cover), Mummies (who they channel), and the Rip Offs (who the dude on their cover looks like). Sprinkle on the dirty-yet-sharp rust flakes of modern banner holders, like Vee Dee and the River City Tanlines, and it’s definitely a strong showing from a band who used to be called the Pin Pals. Limited to 300. –Todd Taylor (Goodbye Boozy)

Self-titled: Cassette
Tapes don’t sound that good. I use to lug a big boombox and a box full of tapes to my dishwashing job, and let me tell you, I don’t miss it. (I’m not some modern technology guy either—I mostly listen to records. I don’t own an ipod. But seriously, this cassette tape nostalgia that’s seemingly sweeping America (If the things I get for review are any indication) is beyond me.) That being said, this isn’t terrible. It’s at least listenable. There are some decent turns of phrase and the instruments interact well. Just put it out on an LP like the good lord intended, okay? –Ryan Horky (Self-released, pineaway.bandcamp.com)

The Barefoot Feel: Cassette
This tape is really something. It’s really nice, warm-sounding stuff that becomes a bit intangible when you try to put your finger on it. It’s punk in spirit but a little bit too tricky to fit into that box. You could label it post-punk, but that’s just a shitty cop-out term. It’s too cheerful to be called emo although what it reminds me of most is those more upbeat One Last Wish songs. While it’s not quite pop, it is lively and melodic. Each song has a whole lot of lyrics that lack choruses giving the listener a nearly whole narrative. If they had just a bit more information in the songs, they would make great pieces in a personal zine. Instead, you just get some great songs about living life. I could see this band being appreciated by pop punk fans, hardcore kids, punks, and even some indie rockers, yet, it sounds like none of that stuff. I guess it is still possible to make something that sounds completely new. –Craven (Fully Intercoastal)

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