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· 1:Razorcake #82 Now Available | Baby J, (Can Of Beans, Stoned At Heart)
· 2:#336 with Marty Ploy
· 3:#335 with Bryan Static
· 4:Punk Parenthood for the Sleep Deprived 5
· 5:Interview with Dave of Factory Records Store

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Record Reviews

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An Evening of Bad Decisions: CD
This falls into what I want to call Loved-Ones-core. The music is enjoyable enough while it’s playing, but there’s a sameness to the album that renders it unmemorable, much like the Loved One’s Keep Your Heart. The music itself is somewhere between the Loved Ones and the Explosion. As it is, this is a band I would be excited to see as an opener for some other bands I’m into but would be indifferent to if they were the headliner. If there are some more adventurous production or musical chances on their next album, I feel like Static Radio could really put out a record to be reckoned with. As a minor aside, this has some of the most boring cover art I can recall. It brings to mind an oversaturated photocopy of a piece of burlap. –Adrian (Black Numbers)

We Are All Beasts: LP
After hearing the name tossed around for years without ever checking them out, Static Radio NJ has finally wormed their way into my musical subconscious. And, surprise, surprise, it’s not bad. Lifetime meets Bouncing Souls. I wonder if they put the NJ in their name so that everybody thinks of those two bands first? There’s also that hard to avoid Hot Water Music comparison because the singer kind of sounds like a cleaner Chris Wollard. It’s not so surprising that no one’s ever authoritatively told me to check them out. The record, while solid, is no award winner. I recommend checking them out because my bet is their next record will be even better. –Bryan Static (Kiss Of Death, kissofdeathrecords.com)

Sons of Boy: CD
The Good: These cats really know their way around their instruments and have the sense to really mix up styles—ethereal post-rock, blues, and noise are all in evidence. The Bad: There’s also a heavy dollop of prog rock here, which really showcases their ability to play on this mostly instrumental release, but after a while gets about as interesting as an ELP album. The Fucking Awesome: Artist John Casey deserves hugs—and lotsa cash—from everyone in the band for the faboo illustrations he gave ’em for this release. –Jimmy Alvarado (Joyful Noise)

Tune Out the Static: CD
Punk has become so fragmented that each scene does not support one another. Case in point: this band falls under the twenty-one-and-over bar punk scene. A kid with patches on his or her hooded sweatshirt would probably not be into this. The average guy who actually has seen Black Flag and goes out once a month to drink beers with old buddies would go see this band. Even though this band, I believe, hails from Virginia, they have a very beach punk, SoCal sound with mid tempo numbers that have a drunk snottiness to them. They hold their own musically and aren’t half bad. Better enjoyed live than at home, in my opinion. –Donofthedead (Stations)

Leave Your Name: CD
What’s left to say about “mullet” haircuts anymore and what’s left to say about “emo” anymore? They’re both tragically bad exercises in compromise and like a mouse in a Chicken McNugget suit, they both have been passed out of the exit chute of the cultural rear-end of this American Society of ours. Bring on the next bad idea.  –aphid (Jade Tree)

self-titled: CD
Really, disgustingly, ass-rockingly, I-can’t-believe-I-just-heard-that, better-than-it-has-any-right-to-be awesome. Combining new wave, blip-and-twitter and drone-core, pop hooks that go off like a neutron bomb, understated croons that sound more like breathy shoegaze from the 1990s and introspective lyrics fit for late-night sessions of wondering why life isn’t better than it is, this EP blows the doors off of… well, pretty much everything else I’ve reviewed for a long time. The songs describe a yearning for something else, carving dreams of better times out of musings about claymation being replaced by computer graphics and wanting to be on TV. They are nothing less than great.  –Puckett (Jade Tree)

New People Make Us Nervous: LP
Intelligent lyricism, indie-rock sensibilities that don’t come off as lame, strong pop hooks and punk rawness make for an interesting listen in this case. This was pretty swell. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.radio81records.com)

Aux: CD

Three-piece from Ontario, Canada, this record is a re-release from 2004. Taut rhythms, grinding guitar parts, and melodic vocals make this a real treat for my bored ears. Think of Joe Jackson (without the wimpy piano) fronting The Plimsouls and you’ll begin to get the idea. “Barstool” mentions something about flying beer bottles and “Step Up”’s infectious chords will spread through your bloodstream like a viral infection. “Signals” also completely rocks. Aux wraps up with “There Are Things I Think You Should Know,” which is hard to say ten times fast. If you can’t find your Thin Lizzy vinyl at your next late night pops party, this will do the trick. Too bad they left The Flock Of Seagulls cover off this platter. Maybe that and “The Great White North” on the next one.

–Sean Koepenick (Pelado)

Same Bodies, Same Faces: 7”EP
I’m sure these guys are sick of the Tranzmitors comparison because they’re Canadian, pour their hearts out into power pop, have releases on the same label, and, basically, kick a ton of ass, but we go with what we’ve got. Lyrically, this comes across like the movie Brazil and the black sheep bolting in the opposite direction of the flock on the cover of Minor Threat’s Out of Step. Work suuuuucks people into fluorescent-tinged, lock-step, grey-raced bean pushers. Music’s a beautiful fuckin’ rainbow in the darkness. And if a band holds up Elvis Costello in a chalice to make your butt shake, more the better. They make the GG Allin cover sound like it was originally released by The Jam. I’m a goddamn sucker for this stuff. –Todd Taylor (Deranged)

Same Bodies, Same Faces: 7”
This band’s last record, 2006’s New People Make Us Nervous, left me completely speechless. I hadn’t heard a knack for combining near-perfect pop songs and goose bump-inducing lyrics since hearing “The Science of Myth” for the first time. It was upsettingly good. The Same Bodies, Same Faces 7” continues in the same vein, just oozing catchiness and sincerity. Folks are quick to make Buzzcocks comparisons or plaster on the power pop label whenever a pop punk band doesn’t reek of Ramones influence, but I really think that Statues rises above the completely obvious. With a once-over, one can find elements of all of the above stuff in Statues’ sound, but there’s just something indescribable going on here; something that gives me the shivers. I’m hard-pressed to think of a current band that I like more. Incredible. –Dave Williams  –Guest Contributor (Deranged)

Broken Hands: 7” EP
Much like I inadvertently learned quite a bit about the day-to-day working class Britain from listening to Jam songs over and over again, Statues are power popping me through a short history of middle class troubles of modern day Canada. It works on two levels. 1.) The music is airtight, happy, bright, and bouncy—all hallmarks of great power pop. 2.) The lyrics belie some grave misgivings they have of their lot in life and the songs themselves work as both temporary salve and, hopefully, the antidote. It’s that unresolved tension and a Pointed Sticks cover that make this a great 7”. –Todd Taylor (Plastic Idol)

Terminal Bedroom: CD
A collection of four previously released 7”s (on three different labels) in a handy CD package. The underground world is getting sick with power pop (it goes through cycles. Yesteryear’s surf and garage is today’s power pop), and the measuring stick is simple: how’s the songwriting? These Canadians, curiously but effectively take the Dilbert, casual Friday office-dweller approach. The bleakness of office bureaucracy is boarded up against Elvis Costello’s early work (I can’t stomach the Burt Baccarat collaboration stuff, personally), and holds up to the standard bearers of the early ‘00s, The Exploding Hearts. The pacing, the drive, and the bouncy, fleshy bits are all in place. Even though I have half of the 7”s already, I found myself popping this on quite often to listen to the stuff I didn’t have. Catchy, intelligent. –Todd Taylor (Deranged, derangedrecords.com)

“We’re Disparate” b/w “To the Top” and “Young Enough”: 7”EP
Equal parts Dilbert, The Jam, and Allan Sillitoe’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. You could say that it’s geeky (check), you could say that they’re bouncy and non-ass power pop with sharp punk teeth in their chainsaw (check), and you could say they’re working class without the nutty boots, birds, braces, dual, fat-fingered patriotism (check). Rural Canadian spectacle rock is a go. Haven’t heard one bad song from this trio yet. –Todd Taylor (House Party / P.Trash)

New People Make Us Nervous: 8-song LP
This is a re-issue of the getting-hard-to-find debut LP by Canada’s Statues. It’s firecrackery power pop and I stand by my previous (hugely positive) assessment that they’re the best Dilbert punk band on the planet. But I’d like to augment that with two other reference points. William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and The Who’s Quadrophenia: two well-known works that are examinations on class and, ultimately, indictments of greed and avarice perpetuated by that class structure. Piggy gets murdered. Ace Face’s Vespa is ghost ridden into the sea. Right below the surface action is a structure that has been in England for centuries and adopted by Canada. (They do share the same Queen.) It’s the mundane stuff that all slowly adds up to a boil, and the Statues have got its pulse: Standing in lines, separating fences, processing orders, satellites monitoring movements, bosses monitoring mistakes, the inability of technology itself to make human connections, telemarketing prompts during dinner, being forced or coerced to rate your own productivity on a scale of one to ten, and middle management scapegoats. It’s the death by a million little bites of modern middle class life preoccupied by the illusion that the ladder to a more fulfilling life is through making more money. And like both Lord and Quadrophenia, in New People Make Us Nervous there’s this tension, this impending snap; for the storm, for rebellion, for revolution, for the return to a natural state that doesn’t involve corporations in collaboration with the state. And that’s what the Statues sing about, so bouncily that you might miss it if you’re pumping your fist and spilling your beer. And that’s part of what makes The Statues so fuckin’ great. –Todd Taylor (Deranged)

Holiday Cops: LP
A decade ago, around late August, was the last time I worked for anyone else. I was fired from Flipside (a punk zine that existed from the summer of 1977 until that day). Fired isn’t a strong enough word. Locks were changed at night. I had to go seek my boss out. Confrontation wasn’t his scene. I wish The Statues were a band then. I’d’ve put them on the record player as a motivational tool before heading over to soon-to-be-ex-boss Al’s house. You see, The Statues are unmistakably punk and hummy, but they’re not pop punk. They’re more like sweater vest power pop. But that sounds a little douchey and the Statues aren’t douchey. They’re just a little Dilberty, more than a little Office Space-y, nine-to-five, forty hour death sentence rock, ties-are-nooses, Smalltown-friendly punk. They’ve got the deadening effect of mundane work at the crack of someone else’s whip vibe down. And they always make me think of literature. This time out, it’s Orwell, living in a grey world with conflicting directives. I like The Statues. This isn’t my favorite record by them—it’s less crunchy and less diverse than the past couple outings—but I’m still a big fuckin’ fan and I’m not gonna fire ‘em anytime soon. –Todd Taylor (Deranged)

“Green” b/w “Old Songs” and “Record”: 7”
The hardest reviews to write are the mediocre ones. The bands and records that don’t hit, nor do they deserve any sort of derision. They elicit no strong feelings. But I feel obligated to write something, log it in, basically say that I received and listened to the record that was sent in the mail and had a nice handwritten note attached. It’s part of the social contract to which we’ve tacitly agreed. I wish I liked Stay Clean Jolene, a British band, more than I do. They’ve got the earmarks of what I’d potentially like: All (in the bass) and Leatherface (in the guitar fills). I gave them a full five days of listens, but it’s just not sinking in. Reminds me of a band like Nothington, who I’ve seen several times opening for bands I was excited to see, found them okay, but don’t remember a single song and would never seek out their music. Sorry. Excellent, honest labels are backing these guys. –Todd Taylor (Eager Beaver / JSNTGM / Drunken Sailor / Rad Girlfriend)

Ambitions: EP
Bless this lot from Sweden for keeping the straight edge flag flying. Typical graffiti style cover with bald and hooded dudes, songs about ambitions, judging, and being above the influence. The music is ‘88 youth crew with breakdowns, you know the drill. Fuck it, I love this shit. I get it, they aren’t reinventing wheels, but who gives a fuck, if you dig current straight edge you will be all over this and the other discs these dudes have put out.  –Tim Brooks (Refuse)

Four Songs: CD
This five piece from Philly is embracing the old school East coast hardcore style of the ‘80s. Four songs in eight minutes and everything seems to slightly remind me of Youth Of Today or the Gorilla Biscuits. Chanty vocals with decent hardcore riffs behind them. It’s not original but worth taking a listen. I think this is what the new school kids are doing that crazy windmill arm swinging shit to in the mosh pit. –Buttertooth (Monkey Wrench)

Self-titled: EP
I guess this is more of the “modern-hardcore” thing. I say this because the playing is not as urgent or desperate and pissed as the more traditional hardcore bands are. Really clean sounding, and it seems these guys really know how to play their instruments. Sort of like a more tuneful Undertow, with a slight rock edge. It’s a wonder these guys haven’t been picked up by Revelation or Bridge Nine yet. –Matt Average (Anchor)

Self-titled: EP
I guess this is more of the “modern-hardcore” thing. I say this because the playing is not as urgent or desperate and pissed as the more traditional hardcore bands are. Really clean sounding, and it seems these guys really know how to play their instruments. Sort of like a more tuneful Undertow, with a slight rock edge. It’s a wonder these guys haven’t been picked up by Revelation or Bridge Nine yet. –Matt Average (Anchor)

Old Salt: 7"
Sometimes a record is so boldly generic, so stunningly uninteresting, that one’s mind seizes up in a sort of reverse satori that dulls the eyes and slackens the jaw; where all you’re aware of is the flickering of your brain’s pilot light and thoughts freeze still like frost on a window pane and there’s simply fucking nothing to say. –aphid (Soul is Cheap)

Self-titled: CD
When I do reviews, I usually disregard any one sheets until I’ve actually listened to it. I don’t want them to taint the experience, which is usually all they’re good for. So at first blush on this record I’m getting a fair amount of Chuck Ragan / HWM and Against Me! love. For the most part, it isn’t too overbearing or embarrassing; however, “You’ve Been Superseded” sounds a whole lot like AM!’s “How Low.” Other than that, I don’t really see any other dead rips on here. It’s half decent Florida-at-times-acoustic punk with a really decent recording. Revelations on the one sheet: the actual liner notes include that Heather Gabel did the art for this, they’re from St. Pete/Naples, and it was recorded at Crescendo. All of which explains a lot of what I’m hearing here. Anyway, it’s definitely decent but nothing I’m going around screaming about. Very nice work on the packaging though. –Steveo (FDO)

Split: 7”
Hailing from Japan, The Steadys dish some snappy-ass power pop jams. So fresh and so clean. I mean really to the T, literally, like a squeaky clean Mr. T Experience. Slick stuff. Grandmas Boyfriend is a bit more rock’n’roll. Mix of lo-fi ‘60s pop, with tinges of Weezer in “Dirty Surfboard.” Reminds me of fellow San Franciscans Midnite Snaxxx, and new comers Dancer, but perhaps not quite as good. Not that it’s a dis or anything.  –Camylle Reynolds (Dirty Rabbit)

We Can’t Stand This World: 7” EP
The Italian kids responsible for the music here offer up four hellafied tight and catchy punk ditties that could’ve easily held their own against the Dangerhouse stuff back in the late ‘70s. Seems like Zodiac Killer is trying to make an end run on and corner the market on the catchy, rock end of the punk spectrum, and it seems to my they might be succeeding. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.myspace.com/zodiackillerrecords)

Devil Inside: LP
Hell f’n yes! A much-needed shot of adrenalin right here! The Steaknives, from Italy, are back with their debut LP that is nothing short of killer. Mix up early L.A. punk like the Bags with early hardcore and you get these guys. The songs have urgency, are delivered with convincing attitude, and the playing is as raw as it is razor sharp. They never really jump into super speedy assaults (“Big Money” is about as fast as they get and it still packs a wallop!), which allows them to retain the power and the punch of the music with mid tempos, and time changes to bring everything down to a knuckle-dragging lurch that reminds me of early ‘80s OC hardcore. All the songs are great. Not one clunker in the mix. The title track has a nice dose of urgency that shifts between fast to mid tempo without missing a beat. The vocal delivery kind of reminds me of Frank Discussion. Whoa! Decent cover of Bad Brains’ “Big Takeover”. However, I would prefer to hear another original song from these guys. Great record. Hunt this fucker down. I’m on the search for their debut EP from a couple years back.
–Matt Average (White Zoo, whitezoorecords.com)

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