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· 1:One Punk’s Guide to Poetry
· 2:#331 with Mike Faloon and Todd Taylor
· 3:#332 with Kurt Morris
· 4:Top 5s from Issue #81
· 5:Marilyn Thunderhorse Interview


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Razorcake #82
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Razorcake #81
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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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STOP BREATHING:
Self-titled: CD
Fourteen quick bursts of hardcore with just the briefest hints of metal wickering underneath, mostly in those guitar solos that weave in and out of the songs. Comparisons to Dr. Know and RKL definitely come to mind—it’s that kind of frenzied hardcore. Comprised of folks from Glass And Ashes, The Missing 23rd, and The Fucking Wrath, Stop Breathing makes it all sound pretty effortless. It’s all a little too ceaselessly ferocious for me personally, (I have grown old, old and weak, and keep waiting for them to change it up a bit) but again, they just nail it. Aesthetically, the best parts here are the cover photo, which is straight up brilliantly done, and the back logo, with the No Idea stressface and Doug Moody/Mystic Records skull mixed together. –Keith Rosson (No Idea)


STOP BREATHING:
Santa Cruz: 7”
It makes me happy that some people out there still play “hardcore” that somewhat resembles what it originally sounded like. Sure, Stop Breathing is really tight musically, and the production is pretty slick, but these songs are rippers and none of it sounds like bullshit basketball jersey-wearing metal-rap. Does it bring anything new to the table? Probably not, but it’s a fun listen and that is what it’s all about.  –Ty Stranglehold (Rotten To The Core)


STOP IT!:
Self-titled: CD
Art-core that struck me as pretty unremarkable. I didn't turn it off, but I doubt I'd listen to it again. For some reason, the packaging smelled really good though. –Megan Pants (Robotic Empire)


STOP IT!:
Self-titled: CD
Art-core that struck me as pretty unremarkable. I didn’t turn it off, but I doubt I’d listen to it again. For some reason, the packaging smelled really good though. –Megan Pants (Robotic Empire)


STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB:
Haunted EP: 7”
DC’s Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb have awesome dual male/female vocals and are an ideal example of a mainline, straightforward formula working incredibly well. A lot of male/female vocal bands suffer from one singer outshining the other, but both voices here are similarly snotty, complementing one another nicely. Maybe I’m a softie, but it’s records like this one that make me want to go out and shake negative scenesters who think that there isn’t amazing music being created today. Even the most jaded listener would have to concede how darn energetic and magical this 7” is. We’re talking pure punk perfection here. –Art Ettinger (Big Neck, bigneckrecords.com)


STOPS, THE:
Self-titled: EP
Easily one of the best records I’ve heard in the past couple years. So damn good it’s unreal. It’s driving and tuneful punk rock from out of Portland with a lot of soul. From the beginning of “Wait for Today,” you hear Stefania’s voice you’re hooked. The music has a bit of a dark vibe, and is kind of moody, but not bogged down in the dreary or bleak. In fact, the songs on the second side are a bit more upbeat, especially on the aptly titled “Light Inside.” They sometimes repeat lines over and over, and with great effect, as it works its way into your mind, and you can hear the passion in the delivery as well. I like the guitar sound on here, with a slightly distorted and jangly syrupy thickness. This is one of these records where, when you listen to it, it’s a reminder that it’s a great time to be punk. I’m sitting here wondering what their live shows are like, and when the next record will be out... –Matt Average (Residue, residue-records.com)


STORM OF STRESS:
Self-titled: CD-R
Storm Of Stress play angry speed metal with pedantic lyrics about refusing to help friends who can’t help themselves. “Nut Up,” “Leech,” and “Waste” are gleaming examples of the self-righteous attitude in hardcore/speed metal that sends me lunging towards the “stop” button on the CD player. To these guys’ credit, they do acknowledge their own fallibility in “Slipping into Darkness” and “Let Down,” mentioning vague failures and wishing for real-life do-overs. The music is played fast and tightly with a few decent breakdowns and the singer is appropriately indecipherable in his overblown, unholy delivery. The dude could’ve sung in Polish and I wouldn’t have known the difference save for the lyric sheet printed in the liner notes. One suggestion, SOS: If your lyrics and message are important enough to print out for people to read, it’s a good idea to proof read them and correct the spelling errors. –Josh Benke (Self-released)


STORM THE TOWER:
Four Songs: EP
It’s been a loooong time since Storm The Tower put a record out, and they’ve gone through a lot of changes during that time. This new 7” is a lot more punk and a lot less hardcore than their previous releases, with Chris’ vocals evoking the early ‘90s sound of Heroin or John Henry West. Tightly played and well recorded, these four songs pack quite a punch. –ben (Little Deputy)


STORMCROW:
Self-titled: CDEP
Heavy metal with grumbly vocals that are not unlike how I’ve always envisioned King Diamond’s tummy sounding when he gets hungry after a long day of worshipping Satan. –Jimmy Alvarado (No Options)


STORMSHADOW:
Set on Destroy: LP
Stormshadow were an early ‘00s New Brunswick three-piece and this is their long-delayed final LP. They wrote short, shambolic songs that changed moods and vocalists every few measures. You get a guy bellowing from inside a half-empty soda full of cigarette butts, a woman with a snotty voice, thrashin’ breaks, swampy distorted bass, single note stuff where the drums hit with the guitar pick… I’m thinking Minutemen, Hickey, a skipping Dillinger 4 record, and how much I want to go to one of their shows and spill beer on myself. –CT Terry (Don Giovanni)


STORMSTRIKE:
Make Total Destroy: CD
Had to take the disc out and make sure I put the right one into the player ‘cause, based on the cover and band name, I was expecting some sorta Scandinavian-inspired crusty/anarchy stuff. What’s coming outta the speakers, however, sounds more like late-‘70s Flesh Eaters outtakes, though the singer here sounds a tad more reserved than Chris D. did during that band’s heyday. With its “grind the pick into oblivion” guitar attack and occasional bluesy swagger, this sounds like it comes outta left field, which is never ever a bad thing. –Jimmy Alvarado (no address)


STORMSTRIKE:
Make Total Destroy: CD
The quatro out of Wisconsin, offers up an interesting set of garage punk jams. The anomaly is oddball track, “Trollkiller” which would feel more at home in a RPG Xbox game. For a sec, it almost sounds like Bradley Nowell was resurrected and made the lead singer, but the vocals don’t have the same punch, nor the range the chords do. At times, the vocals are strained and detract from the melody, but your mileage may vary. –Kristen K (Mad Cook, www.myspace.com/madcookrecords)


STRAIGHT ARROWS:
“Never Enough” b/w “Can’t Stand It”: 7”
Unsurprisingly, Straight Arrows deliver another awesome 7”. “Never Enough” is a little slower and heavier than most the songs found on the band’s debut full-length It’s Happening. The B side’s “Can’t Stand It” is a fast-tempo burner. It should go without saying that the production on this 7” is raw, so if you’re looking for the clarity of Eno’s Ambient records—and they do indeed rule—you’re coming to the wrong place. Anyone interested in fucked up music—Red Krayola, Swell Maps, etc.—will benefit greatly from picking this 7” up. The cover art rules, too. Impress your friends at parties with this 45. And if the Straight Arrows ever come through your town, catch them. They’re from Australia and that’s a long plane ride. (Just be careful of drummer Adam. Word on the street is the dude parties harder than Keith Moon.) –Ryan Leach (HoZac, hozacrecords.com)


STRAIGHT TO HELL:
‘02-‘04 Discography: CD
Goddamn, one shudders to imagine the plethora of slayed dragons and razed villages that must’ve fallen prey to this band in their short two-year existence. I’m getting that from the cover, which features an army of soldiers coming out of a large dragon-headed ship, being led by a guy with a He-Manesque breastplate and a dog’s head. It’s really no big shocker that Gloom released this: Straight To Hell’s playing straight-up thrash, with throat-rending vocals and the occasional screeching metal solo thrown in. The bad: I guess I really shouldn’t review thrash shit anymore; all of these bands just start to blend together after awhile. The good: Smart, scene-critical lyrics in a genre that almost always goes for the dumbass A-B-A-B rhyme scheme. –Keith Rosson (Gloom)


STRAIGHTFACED:
Pulling Teeth: CD
If I were in Helmet, I'd sue these guys back into the Stone Age. –Jimmy Alvarado (Epitaph, 2798 Sunset Blvd., LA, CA 90026)


STRAIGHTFACED:
Pulling Teeth: CD
If I were in Helmet, I'd sue these guys back into the Stone Age. –Jimmy Alvarado (Epitaph)


STRAIGHTJACKET:
Modern Thieves: CD
Nothing flashy here, just straight ahead punk. As Todd alluded to in his review of their 7” in the last ish, there’s hints of greatness here, but oftentimes I feel that it stops just short of those possibilities. Like watching a prizefighter who strings along his opponent, I keep waiting for a knockout blow that never seems to materialize. Instead there is a string of solid body blows and jabs to the face that do the job over time rather than all at once. A good record, but I wanna be KO’d. –The Lord Kveldulfr (TKO)


STRAIGHTJACKET:
Enemy b/w 30+ Years: 7”
Surely played, pleasant ‘77 punk. The band plays like veterans (think Subversives, The Murders), and although not burning down any new barns (it’s more like a pilot light that never went out, and can heat up, depending on the situation), they’ve got the art of melodies and backups down, the guitarists do nice little flourishes to keep the standardization at bay, and the two songs switch up vocalists. They’re definitely aware of the template and its limitations, but they’re also confidently pushing at its boundaries and playing to its strengths. This could have easily come out on a Hostage comp. Satisfying. –Todd Taylor (Jonny Cat)


STRAIGHTJACKET NATION:
Self-titled: 7” EP
Simple, potent, pissed-off hardcore—take a line or two of lyrics, set ‘em to a riff, and beat both mercilessly for a minute or two. Repeat twice more. Works just fucking swell, thank you much. Three tunes, not a clunker here. –Jimmy Alvarado (Iron Lung)


STRAIT A’S:
Detention Span: CD
Apparently, this is a reissue of an out of print EP. I was initially thrown off by the goofy name, but there aren’t really any good band names left anyway, so I guess I better get used to it. This is actually pretty solid. Detention Span comes across as total Screeching Weasel-worship, right down to the melodic pop punk guitar solos, but I’m fine with that. Totally worth checking out. –Ryan Horky (Moonquake)


STRAIT A’S, THE:
Detention Span: 7"
I’m pretty glad that I listened to this, considering the fact that I really didn’t want to because of the one sheet. It made mention of the current drummer (the band’s ninth) also playing with a pretty big indie hip-hop group. The thought alone of combining rap and punk makes me cringe. Punk and hip-hop are not like sodium and chloride. They aren’t poisonous on their own, and they don’t make a season enjoyed by almost everyone when merged together. That is, never write anything on a one sheet that may be taken as an insinuation that they are mixed unless it’s true, in which case it would be shameful to withhold such information. (However, it is okay to mention that one of the old drummers plays in Sass Dragons and that the female vocalist is in the God Damn Doo Wop Band.) Anyway, the Strait A’s don’t make punk rap; they make pop punk. Damn fine pop punk, in fact. It really reminds me of the Teen Idols, but with a bit of the sloppiness and attitude prevalent in early ‘90s Queers’ albums (one track reminds me of “Ursula” musically). There are both male and female vocals, but the female vox only take the lead on one track. Overall, the band’s moniker is pretty damn right on. –Vincent Battilana (Johann’s Face)


STRAITJACKET:
The Loudest Voice: 7"
Mid-tempo punk, kinda poppy in spots. They somehow manage to vaguely remind me of both All and the Business, which is really weird when you take into consideration that they sound like neither. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.straitjacket.net)


STRAITJACKET:
The Loudest Voice: 7”
Mid-tempo punk, kinda poppy in spots. They somehow manage to vaguely remind me of both All and the Business, which is really weird when you take into consideration that they sound like neither.  –Jimmy Alvarado (www.straitjacket.net)


STRAND OF OAKS:
HEAL: CD/LP
First things first: I have known Tim Showalter, who is Strand Of Oaks, for ages, and our parents are still neighbors. In fact, last year at Christmas, Tim’s parents brought my parents cookies. They were delicious, but in no way influenced this review. The fact of the matter is that HEAL is an incredible album. Things start with “Goshen ‘97,” a scorcher of a song that will be my summer jam, thanks primarily to guest guitarist J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr). From there, however, the sound tends to mellow and diversify. Throughout the album I could hear Vangelis, Editors, Bruce Springsteen, M83, and Neil Young. While the opener is guitar-focused, the rest of the album tends to rely heavily (but not exclusively) on synths and keyboards, more reminiscent of Strand Of Oaks’ last album, Dark Shores. There is a break from that sound at the start of the B-side on the LP with the slow-burning guitar rocker, “JM,” a tribute to the late Jason Molina. The last four songs go back and forth between a reflective sound and a few more guitar-fronted tunes (“Mirage Year” has a primal scream and explosive guitar meltdown and “For Me” is a foot-stomping, fist-raising jam). Lyrically, the songs can be intense. While “Goshen ‘97” is about Tim discovering music in his parents’ basement in our hometown in 1997, other songs deal with the tension in his marriage and the attempt to restore it after his lack of attention to his wife and her infidelity. There’s no blame or anger at her, there’s no wallowing in the misery of his failures: everything is just what it is. Tim’s opened up and is sharing. The subject matter can be forceful and emotionally moving, but, ultimately, reassuring as Tim proclaims in the closer, that he’ll “wait for love.” The album works because the emotional vulnerability is matched by the weight of the music. That being said, Tim seems musically conflicted; he’s someone who loves both synths and guitars. There’s a bit of both on here and it’s all good, but given my tastes and interests, I’d love to see him write an entire album of songs that are just rockers; heavy guitars, and his black metal influences (yes, he’s a fan of the genre) funneled through his singer/songwriter sensibilities. (Perhaps something like “Giant’s Despair” off of Pope Killdragon, but more fleshed out.) As it stands, this is a great and highly recommended album—easily in my top five for the year—but I’m also interested in seeing Strand Of Oaks continue to push themselves, sonically.  –Todd Taylor (Dead Oceans) –Kurt Morris (Dead Oceans)


STRANDED:
Broken Bottles and the Way We Live: 7”EP
I hope these dudes don’t take this the wrong way. It’s not a slag. Stranded sound like they would totally fit on the late ‘90s Fat roster. Skate-friendly, crisply and expertly produced, melodic punk rock that falls somewhere between early Strung Out and early Pennywise. There’s a little bit more in the brains department, and it’s played tight as all hell, but—and to no fault of Stranded—it’s just not hitting me. I think I got more than my fill of this style of music several years, even back before it got Warped and CD-cutout-binned to death. –Todd Taylor (ADD)


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