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· 1:Punk Parenthood for the Sleep Deprived
· 2:#330 with Craven Rock
· 3:One Punk’s Guide to Poetry
· 4:#331 with Mike Faloon and Todd Taylor
· 5:#332 with Kurt Morris

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Record Reviews

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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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Broken Bottles and the Way We Live: 7"
Great little record. For lack of a better analogy, I think of this record as skate punk that has grown up: age has put more meat on the bones—it’s not as gangly and sparse as in days of yore—and a bucket full of wisdom backs up the added weight. –The Lord Kveldulfr (A.D.D.)

Back to the Cruel World: LP
Am I fucking nuts or does this band have something to do with the criminally underrated band the Statues? I have no idea, but how many punk rock aliens live in SudburyOntario? I’ve always said the best music comes from places that are hostile and inaccessible; no peers to impress, no chicks to pick up on, allowing musical freaks to be free to go wild uninhibited. Case in point this band… or person, or group of extra terrestrials, this is mind-blowing freak punk. Taking the best aspects of hyper obscure Killed By Death punk from Canada like the Red Squares, Proles, Hot Nasties, and other no-marks who have had record tweakers freaking out for decades. This slab isn’t just some throwback; those names were just starting point. If you are new to the game, think Ty Segall or some hip shit mixed with the Angry Samoans or some other loose ne’rdo well punk band full of fuck ups. I’d love to be wide eyed and sixteen again thinking every cookie cutter piece of shit was the second coming, unfortunately a lot of new shit bores me to tears. This record blew my ears clean off my bald head. You need a blueprint or a fucking roadmap how to make dense, strange, interesting, elusive punk? Look no further. Top ten shit. Bet it’s sold out.  –Tim Brooks (FDH / Mammoth Cave Recording Co. / Resurrection)

Ennui Activation Dissolver: 7”
This record is weird. It is Midwestern-sounding noisy hardcore one minute, then it suddenly takes a turn towards the ‘80s with a thrash-influenced, riffy song. It continues to straddle this line throughout the seven songs on this record. It’s one of those records that is hard to talk about because while it may remind you of a bunch of different bands, the record doesn’t necessarily sound like any of those bands. Whatever this is, it’s cool.  –Mark Twistworthy (Dirty Hippy Barn)

Ennui Actuation Dissolver: 7”
Guitar-heavy hardcore punk out of Milwaukee. Has a tinge of ‘90s metal. Think a sludgier-punker Pantera. None of this is terrible nor is it compelling. It’s pretty generic. It’s missing something to set it aside from all the other bros dishing this shit out. Maybe this could happen for Strange Matter, just not on this 7”.  –Camylle Reynolds (Dirty Hippy Barn)

Waste of Flesh / Radio(in)active EP: Cassette
A ton of potential here, what with their tried and true Misfits / SoCal whoa-oh-oh melodic approach. But it feels to me like this is a young band who, over the course of the two EPs on this tape, are spending more time working on their individual parts than listening to each other: there’s often so much going on that the songs don’t have much space to breathe. The last song here, “Angel of Summer,” is the best and most spacious. It’s also the one which sounds the most unrepentantly like ol’ Glenn and co.  –Michael T. Fournier (Pleasant Screams)

Our Refining Days: CD
The latest from this quartet further solidifies their bluesy niche in L.A.’s indie circuit. SRF took the distinctly southern Americana formula of baritone vocals like Leonard Cohen, coupled them with female vocals, and added solid post-punk/blues guitar riffs. “Down in the Hole” and “Missing” veer toward a lighter, stripped-down sound more like Iron & Wine or The National. Meanwhile, “In the Blood” showcases their southern gothic roots, reminding me more of NickCave with a foreboding creep of guitars while the title is chanted repeatedly. They neglected to include a murder ballad, which would have sweetened the pot. If you dig the aforementioned, pick this up right quick. –Kristen K (Silenced, myspace.com/silencedrecords)

Through Dust & Ash to the Falling of the West: CD
This Americana quartet out of L.A. drops their second full length with baritone vocals mimicking NickCave’s later mellowed-out sound. These eighteen new tracks opens with crooners, “Face in the Crowd” and “Xs for Eyes,” while male and female vocal harmonization in “Careless Heart” lend another layer to a somewhat flavorless cake. Unfortunately, SRF checks off all the components of Southern Gothic (deep, male whispery vocals, sparse, jangly soundscapes, and songs of lost and disaffected girls) but fails to add another shade to the beleaguering landscape. The majority of these songs have the same structure and similar melody, some repeating chorus and verse well past what is necessary. “DVB” edges into six minutes long, breaking from the monotony of tortured ballads bringing a screeching guitar like early Bauhaus, while “War Machine” might just get people on their feet. Hopefully, SRF will tighten up their game and trim the fat on the next go round. –Kristen K. (Self-released)

I Love Cops: CDEP
Satire is a fine line to walk. On one side is the ridiculous; attempts that falter into caricature. On the other side is the poignant; utilizing the absurd in a context that exposes harsh realities. Few artists are successful. Most punk bands scream their politics in your face. Subtlety is left by the wayside. The Strange Times, like in “Stop! Let’s Get Frisky,” try to shed light on police exploitation of power but the message is lost in translation and ends up sounding silly. The vocals are snotty and over enunciated, but the songs are memorable. By trying to channel the exaggerated satire of the Dead Kennedys, they end up sounding like a parody instead. This is a case of catchy song writing derailing the message.  –Ashley (Self-released, thestrangetimes.bandcamp.com)

Woe Is You And Me b/w Baby Please Don’t Go: 7”
Kickin’ garage rock with a hint of blues and very strangely recorded vocals. Places to listen to this include: hole in the wall bar, 1940s deep south America, or the crossroads while waiting to sell your soul to Beelzebub. –Bryan Static (In The Red)

3 Song Demo: CD-R
Number one: If you’re gonna co-opt a grade school pic of Darby Crash, you better have some worthwhile tunes to back it up. Number two: You need to include them on the CD upon which you put the picture. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.myspace.com/strangerbsg)

Demo: CD-R
Stranger Kids is made up of three dudes from Inglewood. This demo was recorded two years ago, so I don’t know if it’s a proper reflection of their current output (if they’re still outputting). This is definitely a demo, but it ain’t too bad—especially if you can put the recording quality, or lack thereof, aside. It’s kind of Toys That Kill/F.Y.P. derivative in a melodic, less intense way. I’m interested in hearing what they’re doing now, but not enough to find out for myself. –Vincent Battilana (Self-released)

Self-Titled: CD
Chicago four piece channels the back-to-basics, no-frills, clean guitar work and straightforward vocals of genre forerunners like the Cadillac Tramps and Twistin’ Tarantulas, as well as the layered depth of contemporaries like Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers. Worthwhile, attainable goodness for regular folk. –Jessica Thiringer (Haunted Town)

Prison Called Life: 7”
Garage rockabilly that reminds me a lot of Custom Made Scare, The Neckbones, and, on “Missing Link,” a little like Deadbolt. The B Side is a slightly rough-edged version of NickCave’s “Thirsty Dog” that I’m sure if I saw them play live, I’d be into, but as a recording, I wouldn’t put it on again. Overall, I give this a rating of “Meh.” –Steveo (Haunted Town)

Prison Called Life: 7"
A serendipitous collage of rock, garage, rockabilly, blues, punk, and more influences that resonate with me. The hard-rockin Prison Called Life backed with the dirgeful Missing Link and a great mussed-up version of Nick Cave’s “Thirsty Dog.” Pick this up for “Thirsty Dog.” Then do yourself a favor and pick up their self-titled CD. The band’s influences are given their proper due, like New Bomb Turks, Rev. HH, Gun Club, Smiths, Amazing Crowns, Thin Lizzy, and Nick Cave, as well as classic R&Band country artists. Think SWiG, Black Keys, Girl Trouble, Gas Huffer, et al. It’ll make you shaky, achy, and fevered.  –Jessica Thiringer (Haunted Town)

Self-titled: 7”
Ahhhhhhh, I see what’s going on here. Well, no, I’m not affiliated with this band despite having the same name. It wouldn’t be a bad thing though because I like what’s going on here. Solid mid-tempo punk rock whose singer had an amazingly raspy voice. Does she gargle with razor blades and whiskey? The thing is she sounds great, as does the rest of the band. Three straight-up, catchy originals and a Stiff Little Fingers cover. Stranglehold approved! –Ty Stranglehold (Longshot)

Trouble: 7”
I suppose that I am destined to write reviews of this band because of our names. I’m okay with that because I really liked their last 7”. Stranglehold is back with another three-song blast of dirty street punk. Musically, Stranglehold reminds me of a mid-tempo Bodies but this time out the singer sounds like she had really upped her cigarette and whiskey intake. Seriously, she is heading into Frankie Stubbs and Lemmy territory. It makes for a tougher sounding record for sure, but I wish there was just a little less gravel in her voice. It’s still a solid record though.  –Ty Stranglehold (Pirates Press)

Jacking off with Jacko b/w Beat It: 7”
Ah, borderline weird masturbation jokes: so many people insist on trying them, yet so few can pull them off. Then again, I’m not sure if this is a joke, or just what it is. Overall, there’s not much info, just some weird artwork, no real liner notes, and just two tracks that leave this reminding me of some weird noise band from a far corner of the Alternative Tentacles catalog (like Pachinko or Ultra Bidé). I’m not completely won over just yet, but I will admit to being intrigued. –Joe Evans III (Apop)

Self titled: 7" EP

Primal punk rock dementia covering masturbating perverts, women with urinary problems, assholes and teenagers committing infanticide. Pure fucking genius. –Jimmy Alvarado (Rapid Pulse, PO Box 5075, Milfor, CT 06460)

Self-titled: 7"EP
Primal punk rock dementia covering masturbating perverts, women with urinary problems, assholes and teenagers committing infanticide. Pure fucking genius. –Jimmy Alvarado (Rapid Pulse)

Invisible Knife: 10”
This is truly a band of mystery. The only information I can find out there on The Strap Straps is from the No Front Teeth website and an incredibly sparse Myspace page... Nothing but “featuring members of the Briefs, Cute Lepers, and the Spits.” It was little to go on, but definitely enough for me to order it. I am glad that I did because this is one of the best things I’ve heard in a long time! Drums, guitar, two basses, vocals, and insanity. It’s very Spits-like but with no keyboards or voice modulation. Short blasts about cops and killing. Songs that will have you singing about “murdering love” in public. So, so good! I keep playing it over and over. You will too! –Ty Stranglehold (No Front Teeth)

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