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Razorcake #87


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Record Reviews

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STAGE BOTTLES/SCRAPY:
The Riot EP: CD EP
Stage Bottles: Don’t quite know what it is with them, but their brand of skinhead rock bores the hell outta me. There’s nothing specifically wrong with them, per se, they just fail to impress. Sorry. Scrapy: A little better than their partners in crime here, but their songs are way too fucking long. –Jimmy Alvarado (Mad Butcher)


STAGE DISASTER / THE DEFICIT:
Split: CD
Stage Disaster: Fairly pedestrian street punk-sounding stuff from a German band fronted by a singer who spends much of the time barely making it into the vicinity of the right note. The Deficit: Much more interesting than their disc-mates, the Deficit lean more to the thrashy-yet-poppy side of the modern punk spectrum, with lyrics that seem more politically informed than many. In all, this ain’t the greatest release I’ve heard lately, but the latter band make it a much better listen than it would’ve been without them. –Jimmy Alvarado (Warbird)


STAGE POTTLES:
I’ll Live My Life!: CD
Run-of-the-mill skinhead music from Germany. Although they seem to have their hearts in the right place, ain’t big whoop to be found here. –Jimmy Alvarado (Mad Butcher)


STAGGER & FALL:
Hero to the People: 7”
Cool, a new release on Chapter Eleven Records. Seems like it has been a few years since I have seen something from them. Chapter Eleven has traditionally been a really strong label that was / is run by members of the Randumbs and known for releasing top shelf street punk type stuff. I am glad to say that Stagger & Fall continue that tradition, bringing some really tuneful working class punk that would have been right at home on TKO Records in the late ‘90s. This band basically splits the difference between the Beltones and Reducers SF, so if you love that melodic, gruff street punk, you will wanna be all over this single.  –Mike Frame (Chapter Eleven)


STAGGER AND FALL:
Smash the Bottle Smash the State: CD
If you can get past the terribly trite title, Stagger And Fall is actually a remarkably thoughtful, Bay Area melodic streetpunk band. Reminiscent of Reducers SF, the songs are mainly mid-tempo, with lyrics about love lost and growing old in a subculture. There’s almost a Mike Ness feel to the vocals, and anyone who can look past the on-the-surface silliness will probably find themselves toe tapping and having a good old time. It’s the musical equivalent of a snack cake; easy to go down and relatively harmless, despite what your greedy dentist tells you. –Art Ettinger (Stagger And Fall, staggerandfall.com)


STAGGERS, THE:
The Sights, The Sounds, The Fear, and The Pain: CD
I love it when a band confounds expectation. The Staggers are primarily—for lack of a better term—rockabilly punk. They sway. The bass is prevalent and jumpy. The singer can croon and hold a note. Although it’s obvious he’s not aping Glenn Danzig, an argument could be made that his vocal stylings are similar. Some of them have high triangle haircuts. I was all ready to listen to a band from a limited universe that’s listened to Tiger Army and the Reverend Horton Heat and regurgitate stories about hot rods, Betty Page, and burning rubber. Or maybe some ooky spooky graveyard stuff. How wrong I was. Shame on me for pegging ‘em before pushing play. They pump new life into rockabilly by using it as a springboard to cannonball into a new pool of ideas. They pull off a great western-themed instrumental. They cover Masters of the Obvious’ song, “Primeval,” fuckin’ spot-on (which is super hard, figuring on the damage quirk pop to rockabilly conversion charts are a bitch to compute). And the clincher? They take lyrics from the great kid’s book Where the Sidewalk Ends and make it a song I want to hold a beer over my head and shout along to. An unexpected, fun, and cool surprise. Also includes a soulful, enjoyable campfire acoustic set and three videos. –Todd Taylor (Haunted Town)


STAGGERS, THE:
One Heartbeat Away From Hell: CD
Sturdy but samey-sounding hardcore-cum-punkabilly, complete with Brian Setzer sideburns, hollow body guitars and a Hank Williams cover. Antiseen Lite? Molly Hatchet gone punk? Meat Loaf fronting Molly Hatchet doing Antiseen covers? Fuck if I know. Though it had its moments, it never quite cinched me into that skull-popping headlock that I like to find myself in when I listen to this kind of music. And the milquetoast version of “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron” didn’t help matters. –aphid (Haunted Town)


STAGGERS, THE:
One Heartbeat Away From Hell: CD
Seeing as some of the especially thick out there have yet to grasp the concept, let me repeat it one more time: There was only one Misfits, and they broke up in 1983, the minute Glenn “The Ego” Danzig decided to throw in the towel. They were a helluva good band and no one since has come close, and it is highly unlikely that anyone ever will. Love ‘em and appreciate the fine tunes they managed to leave behind, but for chrissakes, let ‘em die already and quit pissing on their legacy. To the Staggers’ credit, they’re a little more conscious of Glenn’s country influence than the average band of punters, but that doesn’t mean they suck any less. –Jimmy Alvarado (Haunted Town)


STAGNANT YOUTH:
Demo: Cassette
I don’t give a fuck what you say; Texas is a shithole. I’ve been stuck on the never-ending circle of fly-overs and freeways. That place fucking sucks. So why am I always there? Shitty, harsh environments make for the best music. Fact. Take a look at the music that’s come out of Texas. Raw shit. Crazy shit. Houston is the end of the fucking earth. So, of course, it makes sense that this bunch make some unholy noise. Hard to pinpoint, but I’m hearing fellow Texans Spazm 151 filtered through the down-tuned mayhem of His Hero Is Gone. Not sure their sound is fully realized but this is a cassette demo, so I’m guessing the next release will be a barnburner. –Tim Brooks (stagnantyouth.bandcamp.com)


STAID:
Demo: CDEP

405.0pt" class="NoSpacing">Four songs in six minutes: it’s youth crew hardcore! From the Philippines, even. This is much better than I expected it to be. The lyrics are superior to most in the genre; I especially appreciated the idea of questioning the “authority inside” ourselves as a first step in getting “one step ahead.” Screamy lead vocals with some occasional gang vocals—this is fast and makes me feel like I’m nineteen again. I like it.

–Kurt Morris (myspace.com/xstaidx)


STAJNAS LOBOS:
Brain Waves Searching Heart Beats: CD
This Swedish band finds the middle ground between making you want to dance around like a nut and making you want to smash dishes over your head. It’s maliciously catchy and sweetly violent. –MP Johnson (Lupa, www.stajnaslobos.com)


STAJNAS LOBOS / VACANT CHURCHES:
Self-titled: Split 7”
This split features two very like-minded bands. Both use horror imagery as a jumping off point to comment on modern culture. Stajnas Lobos opens with “The Hammer,” in which they draw school shootings in the form of slasher films, all blood-soaked and focused on the killer. The shaky vocals keep you off balance as you watch the events unfold and even begin to understand the murderer’s point of view. In “Wake up the Dead,” Vacant Churches paint a post-apocalyptic scene of “meathead monsters and plastic ladies.” The keyboards pick at your nerves until you realize the scene isn’t post-apocalyptic at all. This is a good example of how strong the split 7” format can be. –MP Johnson (Vinehell)


STAKEOUT, THE:
On the Run: CD EP
From Finland, featuring a couple of members from Selfish. This reminds me of BGK, the first Suicidal Tendencies record, DS-13, and Amdi Petersen’s Arme. Mid-’80s punk rock that is straightforward, no bullshit, and a kick in the ass. With all the bands trying to capture the American sound of that period, the international community has it nailed down pat.  –Donofthedead (Deranged)


STAKEOUT, THE:
Jaded: 7"
I'm going to use the reference that my friend used when he gave this to me. He said that this band is like “Boston/DC hardcore from Finland.” I definitely hear it. With a mixture of Government Issue, The Freeze and the FU’s, these Fins have paid tribute with high regard. Ah, the memories. Brings me back to when I first started hearing bands from other states before other countries. It's amazing how good this sounds to these ears and that good musical genres can stand the test of time and can get recreated for new generations to come. Brutal, tough and direct without falling apart in a mass of noise. –Donofthedead (Burst of Anger)


STAKEOUT, THE:
On the Run: CD
Pretty rippin’ hardcore out of Finland here. It’s a little different from most of the other Finnish hardcore bands I’ve heard, mostly because it’s not all crusty and Cookie Monstery. It sounds like a better recorded, not-quite-as-annihilating DS-13, and the only song that sucks is the one that’s all slow and metal, including space echo vocals. –Josh (Deranged)


STAKES, THE:
Real Tigers: CD
Sporty straight-edgey stuff with two vocalists yelling in sort-of harmony. My wife hates this shit. Some days I do, too, but, for the most part, I’m okay with this record since I haven’t been drinking much of late and I can finally understand the need for all the yelling in straight edge music: yelling till yer face turns purple takes away the desire for a drink. Still, the Stakes’ focus seems to be kind of like a former smoker policing his friends’ smoking. And I’m pretty much done with titles like “Benchwarmers” and “Victory” and lyrics such as “wake up/stand hard.” Pfft. In the end, this is a lot more like drinking a creatine milkshake of music than rocking out in any significant way; but there are times when such puffery and power are welcome.  –The Lord Kveldulfr (High Fidelity)


STALAG 13:
In Control: CD
Let me start by saying that most of the stuff I review for this magazine is sent to me by Sean and Todd. Every now and then I get something in my own mail from some press agent or someone who got my address from the magazine, and that is usually accompanied by an 8x10 glossy of some boring people trying to look cool, press clippings, and some over the top copywriting like about how well the band went over at Warped Tour and their potential and all that. Generally, the more of this stuff there is, the more the band sucks, and sometimes the more promo stuff I get means the less I ever hear about the band again. Then I will get a really good CD with one Xeroxed sheet explaining why I got it in the mail and it blows me away. (The one that trumped that had a post-it saying, “please review.”) My other comment is that if you send me a CD to review, send me the CD to review – the whole thing. Send me the CD, the artwork, the liner notes, and something that they all go in so I can keep them together. If you want me to endorse your product, let me know what the whole product is. This CD came to me with liner notes in a nice plastic thing that was more easily mailed than a jewel case. There was one sheet explaining that this is a re-released CD of a reformed band. The booklet had fliers that were not self-indulgent but framed the where and when of Stalag 13. The CD has really good music on it. Imagine, if you will, Minor Threat, Circle Jerks and MDC all forming a super group and having a really good producer oversee the album (though there are live tracks). Fuck yeah. –rich (Doctor Strange)


STALAG 13:
In Control: CD
Bill from Dr. Strange comes through again and brings back another classic from the dead. Originally released on Upstart Records (Jorge Newberry, where are you?) in 1984 and bootlegged numerous amounts of times by Lost and Found out of Germany, this Nardcore classic is available to the masses again. This record was on regular rotation on so many punks’ stereos back then that I barely ever played my own copy. I actually burned out hearing them and never played my record ever again. I bought the three limited edition copies of this on vinyl recently and never played them. What a collector nerd I am sometimes! While at Razorcake HQ, I saw that this was in my box. I slap the disc into the CD player and see if I will like it after all these years. Like the hypocrite that I am, I fuckin’ love this! The songs are familiar as ever but welcomed. Hearing the song “No Excuse” again was a reenactment of getting a boot to the head. The booklet has pictures of the band at the long-defunct Cathey de Grande here in Los Angeles which brought back good memories of seeing them there on a regular basis. There are also pictures of flyers that are still on the bedroom wall at my mother’s house that I haven’t taken down even though I haven’t lived there in over fifteen years. Hearing the four bonus tracks was a welcome surprise. Three songs were recorded in the studio and the track “Selfish” was on the We Got Power comp. The last track, “Make a Change,” is recorded live. I had put them below Nardcore greats like Dr. Know, Agression, RKL, Ill Repute, and False Confessions, but I do step up on the dummy box to admit that I was wrong. I sometimes wonder why I think the way I do. They were equals in a scene that created many great bands. –Donofthedead (Dr. Strange)


STALAG 13:
In Control: CD
Let me start by saying that most of the stuff I review for this magazine is sent to me by Sean and Todd. Every now and then I get something in my own mail from some press agent or someone who got my address from the magazine, and that is usually accompanied by an 8x10 glossy of some boring people trying to look cool, press clippings, and some over the top copywriting like about how well the band went over at Warped Tour and their potential and all that. Generally, the more of this stuff there is, the more the band sucks, and sometimes the more promo stuff I get means the less I ever hear about the band again. Then I will get a really good CD with one Xeroxed sheet explaining why I got it in the mail and it blows me away. (The one that trumped that had a post-it saying, “please review.”) My other comment is that if you send me a CD to review, send me the CD to review – the whole thing. Send me the CD, the artwork, the liner notes, and something that they all go in so I can keep them together. If you want me to endorse your product, let me know what the whole product is. This CD came to me with liner notes in a nice plastic thing that was more easily mailed than a jewel case. There was one sheet explaining that this is a re-released CD of a reformed band. The booklet had fliers that were not self-indulgent but framed the where and when of Stalag 13. The CD has really good music on it. Imagine, if you will, Minor Threat, Circle Jerks and MDC all forming a super group and having a really good producer oversee the album (though there are live tracks). Fuck yeah. –rich (Doctor Strange)


STALAG 13:
In Control: CD
In a weird way, on a very small scale, Nardcore is coming back. A couple of weeks ago, I went to see the old Nardcore greats Ill Repute haul their old bones out to rip through one of the best live sets I’ve seen in a while. It was way more than I expected. They tore through a bunch of songs from their What Happens Next EP and basically made me feel like 1984 wasn’t such a bad year. And now, on top of that, Dr. Strange has re-released Ill Repute’s Nardcore counterparts, Stalag 13’s 1984 album In Control. They’ve even included four bonus tracks on it. To be honest, I never heard much about Stalag 13 or In Control, but coming across this re-release, I’ve found a lost gem from a time period and style of music that I love. Musically, Stalag 13 fit nicely in between Ill Repute, Agression, Youth Brigade, and, well, most of the bands on that Somebody Got Their Head Kicked In comp. It’s not totally original now, mostly because so many bands have been influenced by this sound since it first came out almost twenty years ago. Still, I can crank this sucker up and feel like I’m being transported back to a time before a bunch of these bands went metal and before Reagan’s second term fucked everything up. –Sean Carswell (Dr. Strange)


STALAG 13:
In Control: LP
Smart idea to remaster this album. I must confess I didn’t care much for this album when it first came out for the very reason that it sounded dull and flat. I figured this was one of those bands you had to see live to appreciate. Living in the middle of the country during the ‘80s, where a good hardcore show was twenty-five people in the audience, I was never going to see these guys in their prime. Hearing this version, my opinion has changed drastically. The songs now have more spark and there’s that needed punch here that’s necessary to make a hardcore record and band good. The songs are straight forward, as are the lyrics of teen angst. It’s aged a bit by today’s standards, but the most important aspect remains, and that is the raw energy that Stalag 13 and most of the early hardcore bands possessed. I’ll gladly take that approach any day over musicianship, wall of sound, and opaque lyrics. There are four extra tracks on this edition—three recorded in 1983 with a different line-up, and a live song that’s pretty unnecessary. I’d recommend this pressing over the Upstart version. –Matt Average (Dr. Strange, drstrange.com)


STALE PHISH:
Rock N Roll Revert: LP
This is what it’s all about: skateboarding and punk rock. The two go hand in hand. Stale Phish only write skate punk songs, with song titles like, “Shred Sled,” “Gators Song,” and “While You Skated Street (I Skated Pool with Your Mom).” All the songs are really tight and have an old school punk rock feel. If you like bands like the Faction, Agression, or the old BYO comps, do yourself a favor and check these fellas out. Rip it!  –Ryan Nichols (Not Like You, notlikeyouzine@gmail.com)


STALIN VIDEO:
Animalistik: LP
Members of the Gaggers and Now In 3D go full-on garage-wave on this full-length. Both root bands can be heard in the mix, along with echoes of Servotron, Le Shok and a few others that have in the past plied similar wares. Sound is raw, aggressive, primal, and suffused with woozy organ. Purty red-splattered yellow vinyl, to boot.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Wanda, wandarecords.de)


STALINS OF SOUND :
Self-titled: 7”
Originally a one-man band featuring Hadi Ziade, former bass player for the Dissimilars, singing and playing guitar backed by a drum machine, Hadi was then joined by bass player Dave Masur, and later synthesizer from former Dissimilars and SlabCity frontman Jimmy the Worm. Employing the drum machine in place of a live drummer makes for a unique twist on the current wave of synth punk bands. While the Spits have perfected the unfrozen-cavemen-discover-synthesizer sound, eagerly and earnestly delighting crowds for fifteen years and still managing to come across as idiot savants, there is something more deviant and sinister with Stalins Of Sound, like world-weary misfits expertly aware of the doom and gloom electronic instruments can bring. Stalins fall in line more with the darker, troubled sounds of Destruction Unit or Digital Leather, however still maintaining a bit of the tongue-in-cheek irreverence of the Spits (songs like “Baton of Discipline” aren’t completely serious). If any of the aforementioned are up your alley, then Stalins Of Sound comes with the highest recommendation. –Jeff Proctor (volarrecords.blogspot.com)


STALINS OF SOUND:
Pool of Piranha: 7”
Another fine effort from San Diego’s extraordinary synth punk trio, and again released on Craig Oliver’s (of Christmas Island) very fine Volar Records. First side includes two fast and heavy tunes, loaded with crunchy, smartly played guitar and moody synths. Second track is a gem of a cover, “Panik” by French paleo-punk outfit Métal Urbain with a shredding solo and ray gun synth blasts. The B-side track, “Rapture in Blood,” features a much more subdued slice of doom and gloom, droning vocals and instrumentation, and dense and layered keyboard sounds that sounds like it could be a missing track from Digital Leather’s Warm Brother.Excellent stuff.  –Jeff Proctor (Volar)


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