“Homecoming,” by Jamie Elmer

“Home is not where you were born; home is where all your attempts to escape cease.” – Naguib Mahfouz

***

I took a seat on the worn couch, right on the edge, leaning my body tightly against the arm so as not to graze my leg against the guy passed out next to me. He had a penis with wings drawn on his cheek in permanent marker, his punishment for falling asleep before midnight with his shoes on. The party raged around me. I watched as my best friend, Lily, and a group of others cheered and squealed at the beer pong game going on not far from the couches. The hardwood floor around the table was sticky from spilled beer and overturned cups, similar to the coffee table in front of me, littered with every alcoholic beverage I could think of. I took a sip of my drink, rum and coke, hold the rum, and looked up at the sound of a crash. Alicia was pulled up from the floor she had fallen on and helped over to a lounge chair across from the couch where she collapsed and grinned widely over at me.

“Reina!” she yelled exuberantly. Her friend detached herself from her with a small apologetic smile at me and disappeared back outside, pulling a cigarette from behind her ear as she walked away. Behind the glass doors I could see more of the party: another beer pong table surrounded by players and friends; friends gathered around lounge chairs, smoking; a group of guys near a small fire pit passed a joint around. I looked back at Alicia, who waved at me to gain my attention.

“Reina! I love you, you’re great, ya know?” she said, smiling, her eyes unfocused.

“Had a little to drink?” I asked her, slightly amused, mostly tired.

“That and then some!” she giggled herself into silence, which took a solid minute and a half. She rummaged in the pockets of her incredibly short jean shorts and pulled out a small baggie. She shook it around like a treat for a puppy and the little white pills jumped around.

She pulled the shirt sleeve of one of the guys at the beer pong table nearest us. “Take a break?” she asked him, alluringly. He looked down at her and smiled, shrugged.

“Why not?” he said, and then looked back at the rest. “Time out!”

A couple of the others moved around the table toward Alicia and her pills, the same expressions of why not etched on their faces. I watched as Lily, a friend I’d known since grade school, and a number of friends from high school all encircled her.

Alicia looked up, back into my eyes after popping her pill. Before offering it to Derek’s outstretched hand, she moved to offer the baggie to me. I stared back at her and then up to see that most of the eyes of my friends were on me.

For the rest of the story, purchase a copy of Issue #2 of Negative Assets: Punk Lit Zine.

“About a Grrrl,” by Taylor Farner

Canon used to sell cameras with boxes that would hold 4×6 photographs. Each box would hold a couple hundred photos, maybe more if you crammed them in there. On one end of the lid, there was the Canon logo, and on the sides was a clear film that peeled up that you could slide photos under. Monica decorated the box three different times in her life: once when she was 12 and her parents bought the camera for her birthday, again when she was 15 and got her driver’s license, and again at her best friend’s wedding. Dani’s wedding. And Dani was in 26 out of 30 photos Monica had cut up to decorate the sides of the box over the years. She’d been Monica’s best friend since kindergarten. And looking at the box now made everything that much harder.

Monica swiped at her face and cleared a bunch of the mucus away, but she was crying too hard, and kept coughing in deep rough whoops. She set the photo box down and went for the napkins. Wiping away the snot from her hands and dabbing at her nose, she went back to the box of photographs. She was looking for a picture from the hiking trip she took with Dani last year. Both of them had really liked the photo; Monica made a copy for Dani, but her parents weren’t sure where she’d have it. It was probably still boxed away. If it was going in the paper, Monica wanted the photo to be one Dani really liked.

First, Monica found a photo from her senior year of high school.

“MONICA CRUZ IS A DUMB CUNT” The text glowed across the brownish-white aisle of lockers in bright red spray-paint. Standing on either side of the graffiti stood Monica and Dani. Dani was sticking her tongue out, and Monica stood there with her hand over her mouth, seemingly astounded.

Ramon Darren was the one who wrote it, she knew. She’d dumped him the day before. He denied sleeping around with Jackie Hildebrandt, but Monica knew he was lying. When you’re a cheating dumb-fuck, throwing tantrums or writing a bunch of ignorant shit in public places are the only ways you know how to react to being dumped. Ramon chose the latter.

At first it only made Monica more pissed off, and she wanted to die in a pile. But thankfully Dani was there.

“Oh… oh my god, no, this is too good!” Dani said between each harsh gasp she tried pulling in through the laughing fit. “Ramon is such a baby!” she said, struggling to get the words out. Monica pulled out the camera. It was her safety net, and what she hoped would be her future. She wanted to be a photographer for Flipside. Photography was her thing. But life has a way of taking the things you like and putting them in the ground.

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“Oh good, yeah, take a picture of it! We can put it up on the wall,” Dani said.

The wall was a scrap-book, on a wall. It was in Monica’s room. The wall started as three bulletin boards the girls had mashed together after their first concert, in 8th grade. They made a pact that by the end of high school they’d have the wall filled with ticket stubs. They’d made great strides in between the on and off fights, the highs and lows of teenage friendships. The girls had their share of ups and downs, but each time they fought at Alberta High, they knew that it would pass, and they’d be together again.

That day, Monica learned that no matter how enlightened you think you are, and no matter how much you tell yourself that it doesn’t matter what people think of you, when someone feels the need to tell the whole world you’re a dumb cunt, it’s going to eat away at you, a little.

For the rest of the story, purchase a copy of Issue #2 of Negative Assets: Punk Lit Zine.

“Give ‘Im Enough Rope” by Gordon Robertson

Three days on the rope and Jonathan already had a fat milky blister on his left hand. It was in the groove between thumb and forefinger, and it hurt like fuck. He wanted to burst it himself, but he didn’t have the nails. He winced. Every left hand-hold stole a gasp of air from his mouth and sent a sharp scissor-stab of pain down through his left side. He wasn’t sure how much more of this he could take.

The first two days after finding the rope–stiff and upright between two empty warehouses on the abandoned industrial estate he used to walk the dogs through, back when they were still alive–had been relatively easy. The thick knots placed at regular intervals for the hands and feet to hold on to obviously helped. He couldn’t imagine attempting the climb without them. It’d be like trying to negotiate rapids without a paddle. But this morning he’d woken to a dull throbbing in his hand and had recognized it for what it was. He’d briefly tried some single-hand climbing but it just made things worse. He was using up energy and fluids he badly needed. Who knew how long he was going to be up here for? He was in no way an experienced climber, but he at least had some amount of common sense.

Jonathan grunted. Common sense. Really? How sensible was it for a grown man to climb a suspicious, unattended rope in the middle of nowhere, with no clear indication as to where that rope led? How sensible was it to think everything would be okay once he reached the top? Was he even convinced there was a top? He glanced up, but the clouds that had hung over him these past three days hadn’t moved, and he couldn’t see a fucking thing. He was climbing blind.

Climbing the rope at least gave Jonathan a chance to think. And he had a lot to think about. Gloria, for one. He’d never known anyone who could keep an argument going longer than Gloria. It didn’t even have to be about anything in particular. It could be something as ordinary and mundane as which restaurant to go to for dinner, or what TV program to watch, or whether or not to have sex. It didn’t matter. If it had two sides to it, Gloria would argue one of them, sometimes both.

She certainly hadn’t listed her ability to argue on her profile. Nor had she been entirely truthful in other areas. Jonathan had been new to online dating and had assumed she would look exactly like her profile picture. That wasn’t the case. She was at least ten years older than she’d claimed, and over two stone heavier than she’d been in her photo. She’d clearly lived, and not well. But they’d spent two pleasant enough weeks in each other’s company before he’d murdered her. In the end, it was more the arguing than the looks that pushed Jonathan over the edge. He slit her throat while out driving one night, and tossed her naked body into a quarry.

Resting a moment on the rope, Jonathan realized the reason he was still thinking about Gloria wasn’t because of some child-like sense of guilt or remorse, it was because of her glasses case. He couldn’t recall what he’d done with it, or if he’d done anything with it at all. He’d burned all her clothes and wiped down the surfaces of the car, inside and out, but he had no idea what had happened to her glasses case. It worried him because he remembered handing it to her before she got in the car. If it wasn’t on her, or in or near the car, she must have lost it, which meant if the police happened to find it, they’d also find a couple of fat thumb-prints on it. And only one of those would be Gloria’s.

He’d been more careful the second time. Janice had reminded him of a girl he’d went out with when he worked on the bins, not long after leaving school. Helen? Hannah? Something like that. He’d taken Helen/Hannah out for a meal–somewhere fancy to impress her–and she’d asked him what he did for a living. Jonathan had just sat there, squirming, and too terrified to answer. But she’d wormed it out of him and had been totally fine with it. Janice had been a bit like that. Easy to talk to. Tolerant. But only up to a point. When he said he’d killed before and was worried he might be tempted to do so again, she’d freaked and ran for the door. Jonathan had felled her from behind with a golf trophy he’d won as a teenager and she’d dropped to the floor with a scream and a thud. He’d hit her twice more in the face with the jagged-edged trophy and then, satisfied she’d stopped breathing, had dragged her into the bathroom to clean her up.

For the rest of the story, purchase a copy of Issue #2 of Negative Assets: Punk Lit Zine.

Fat Mike’s “Home Street Home.” Reviewed by Taylor Farner.

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This is certainly something very different from anything else Fat Mike has produced. Noticed, this is by Fat Mike, not NoFX. All of the songs were written by Fat Mike, as well as the lyrics, along with additional lyrics by his girlfriend (or wife now?) Soma Snakeoil and Jeff Marx, creator of Broadway musical Avenue Q. I’m reviewing the album, which is not really what the whole project was about. It was about the musical titled Home Street Home. The cover is even slugged, “Hit songs from the (s)hit musical.” It’s a musical about dirty drug abusing punks that are living out on the street. But it’s that… it’s a musical, not a punk album. The project as a whole is genius and puts a smile on my face; it’s an artist branching out and doing something other than what’s expected of him. Throughout his musical career, Fat Mike has been eclectic: NoFX changed from a hardcore outfit, softening up, playing melodic hardcore, pop-punk, ska, and doing a wide variety of covers from all different genres in Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. So, go Fat Mike!

Okay, the record… Some facts: the record has a lot of cameo performances by other members of punk bands. I don’t know who exactly sang what and where, but Matt Skiba was on the record as well as tried out for the musical. The story behind it comes from experiences in both Fat Mike and Soma Snakeoil’s lives. I don’t want to say I related to the album because I thankfully can’t, but it totally let me try on their shoes, or at least hear what it’s like to be in them. I grew up in a very fortunate house: I didn’t have to spend nights on the street, abuse drugs, or sell my body to get along. I know there were people out there and there are now. But it’s easy to forget and ignore when you aren’t walking around LA, or just being unfortunate enough to live in a messed up household. Some people are well off, but just fall into a bad situation.

The record also goes beyond that. There are people who were thrown into situations like that, but have become content with it, and have grown out of it, and made it a part of who they are. They’ve evolved out of the lifestyle and turned a bad situation, to them, into a good one. Through all of the misery and drug overdoses and the loss of friends, some come out of it stronger for it. Then you take people like them… the drug abusers, the people abandoned to the streets, and looked down upon because they don’t have jobs or didn’t grow up to be these contributing members of society, when really they had no choice. It’s a miserable situation, both then and now, and it’s very real.

Something like this coming from Fat Mike speaks to his ability of playing anything any way he wants. An immediate reaction might be to see the subject matter he’s written about, drug abuse, turning tricks, drinking your life away, trying to kill yourself… it might be easy to see all those things as trying to get shock value, especially in a Broadway musical setting. But really, it’s just honest. There isn’t a man eating a sheep out on the cover, they’ve made a point to put their own lives into these songs. It took them a long time to get the project finished, but it’s been well worth all the effort they put in. If you like punk, you probably have to be in the right state of mind going into it to really appreciate it, but it’s worth it to at least hear the stories.

Failure’s “The Heart is a Monster.” Reviewed by Douglas Peyton.

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Holy shit. After nearly twenty years, it finally happened.

Failure released a follow up album to Fantastic Planet.

If that means nothing to you, there is something missing from your life. Fantastic Planet is easily the most underrated, ambitious, and downright sonically awe-inspiring record of the post-grunge era; it’s basically porn for audiophiles.

That being said, it’s hard not to compare The Heart Is A Monster to Fantastic Planet; the sensation is akin to watching a movie rendition of your favorite book. But in order to give Failure’s newest release its due praise, it’s best to put Fantastic Planet back on the shelf. It’ll be there for you when nostalgia strikes back.

To be honest, I really wanted to hate the new record. I wanted to bitch and moan about creative authenticity, about how the angst of youth is lost on bands that survive the turmoil of their early successes and release material long after their seminal years.

Well, I was wrong. Sorry, Failure.

The Heart Is A Monster kicks ass. Thanks to band leader Ken Andrew’s audio wizardry, Failure’s sound remains signature: the guitars are layered thicker than a wedding cake sprinkled with delay and dissonance, Greg Edwards’s bass growls louder than a grizzly bear, and Kellii Scott’s cymbals splash like drops of dark matter in outer space. Not only that, Ken Andrew’s voice sounds as strong and melancholic as ever, drawing you deeper into the landscape of space rock Failure is famous for.

I gave the record a number of listens. On the whole, “Hot Traveller”, “Counterfeit Sky”, and “Come Crashing” seem to be the most accurate depictions of what the band has become over the years. Drawing upon influences of all their separate musical endeavors post-Fantastic Planet (most notably, Queens of the Stone Age, Year of the Rabbit, and Autolux), these tracks sound like a collaboration between musician’s who’ve spent the last twenty years writing music, not lamenting over what could’ve been. However, while they do retain a certain “hit” appeal, they lack some of the melodic intricacies that Failure’s songs typically embody—a quality that separated them from the masses of post-grunge imitators and lazier shoe-gazers. The songs drive, but leave you wishing for a longer ride.

For those looking for some good old-fashioned Failure head nodding, you’re in luck: two of the album’s tracks date back to the band’s formative years. “Petting the Carpet” and “I Can See Houses” originally appeared as live recordings on the band’s DVD release Golden, having never been laid down in the studio. Well, here they are, polished, full of the atmosphere and open-ended musical arrangements one would expect when listening to early Failure. And adding to the sentimental listening experience, The Heart Is A Monster is packed with “Segue” tracks (#’s 4-9), which branch off the original musical segues that appeared on Fantastic Planet (#’s 1-3)—a little Easter egg for the avid fans.

For all the record’s merits though, there are a few scratches on the surface of this gem. “Mulholland Dr.” and “Atom City Queen” are a bit of a detour. I imagined “Mulholland Dr.” as the brainchild of The Beatles and The Beach Boys, that is, if both bands dropped even more acid and turned up their guitar distortion. That doesn’t necessarily make it bad, especially considering the references it evokes, but the song felt misplaced, pulling the listener out of the Failure soundscape.

Despite the brief departures, The Heart Is A Monster is a great album. Failure tips their hat to sound that inspired their cultish fan-base, while remaining available to new listeners and adapting to the vast changes which have occurred in the world of audio production since the group last huddled in the studio. For those of you who have been waiting as eagerly as I have…well, you probably already bought the record.

I hope you can agree: it was worth the wait.

Thanks, Failure. We missed you.

A Trip Back in Time: Bad Religion’s “Process of Belief.” Reviewed by Harmony Hertzog.

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Rather than write a review of something new, which I almost always hate at first because I don’t like change and new things, I thought I’d remind everyone of The Process of Belief by Bad Religion, which was released in 2002. I know 13 years is kind of a random time, but I had to be honest with myself and admit that The New America, which came out in 2000, really did kind of suck. That album was the first one to gain mainstream attention with the title track “New America,” which sounded nothing like the Bad Religion everyone was used to. If you ask almost any veteran punk, they will tell you The New America is the worst Bad Religion album ever, they sold out, etc. I defended that album for a long time, as it came out when I was in my formative years, but I have to jump on the bandwagon (slightly grudgingly) and admit The New America doesn’t even break the top 10 of Best Things Bad Religion Ever Produced.

I feel like The Process of Belief was heavily ignored by the non-mainstream due to the reception of The New America. Obviously the album did well; everyone knows “Sorrow,” and it peaked 30-some-odd points higher on Billboard than The New America. But even then, I don’t know many people who are into punk without being Bad Religion fans that remember The Process of Belief. Since I don’t play music, I can only judge as a consumer. My standards are somewhat low; I like the basic instruments (guitars, drums, bass) played fast while still being more music than noise, with melodic vocals that are some combination of intelligent, witty, and/or entertaining (read: I am able to sing along). This album meets my somewhat mediocre standards, but music is so much more than that: this album makes me feel. The New America, overall, did not make me feel anything. In contrast, The Process of Belief really made me think and feel about things outside my 16 year-old inherently narcissistic self. I didn’t understand what “Kyoto Now!” was about at the time, but I knew shit was bad, and that song made me angry. Rightfully so, covering up nuclear disasters is generally frowned upon. “Sorrow,” even despite being completely played out, still encourages me to love my neighbor, in complete opposition to my general apathy toward everyone who isn’t my cat. “Evangeline” is rather cryptic, but it always made me proud to be an atheist, if only because what’s mine is mine and I don’t have to worry about any omnipotent being judging me. Similar feelings arose due to “Destined for Nothing.” That song is far more transparent, with lyrics like “headed for eternity and destined for nothing,” making me happy that I was living for myself and not for some interpretation of a 2000+ year-old book. The last song that gave me particularly peculiar feelings was “You Don’t Belong.” When I was 16, I was like, yeah, outcast anthem! But after hearing the song a few times I was like, no, wait, no one is special..? I didn’t know at the time who most of the people in the song were, save Milo, GG, and Jack, two of which I did, and still do, look up to as people who “don’t belong.”* I decided this song really was dedicated to me. And you. Yeah, you.

If you don’t know who Bad Religion is, The Process of Belief is a good place to start. No, it is not their best album by punk standards, but I feel like this is their most encompassing, mass-friendly album that is not offensive to long time Bad Religion fans. And if you are a Bad Religion fan, revisit this album. If you’re still holding a grudge about them being sellouts, maybe this last purist fact will help: The Process of Belief was their first album back on Epitaph Records and ushered the return of Brett Gurewitz. There is bound to be at least one song on the album that is meaningful to you, and meaning is what it’s really all about, right?
*Milo is Milo Auckerman of the Descendents, who took a hiatus from the band in order to obtain a Ph.D. in biochemistry, and still plays to this day in between bouts of scientific research.
*GG is GG Allen. Look him up.
*Jack is Jack Grisham, lead singer of T.S.O.L and infamous cross-dresser. He also ran for governor in the clusterfuck that was the 2003 California governor reelection. I, and approximately 2,000 other people, voted for him.

Blunt Knife Idol’s “Greed Heritage.” Reviewed by Luis Balderrama.

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Blunt Knife Idol’s Greed Heritage is the a solid example of some great grindcore. The guitars are heavy, fast,  and very aggressive and the vocals match that aggressive tone of the guitars and drums by layering on the very top of the mix.  What’s extremely impressive is how accurate and clean the entire band is during rhythm and tempo changes. It’s this organized chaos sound which just makes it that much better. It’s very nicely executed. They also incorporate some death metal and black metal styles into their music without straying away from rock solid grindcore.

“Perished” and “The Last Steps to Heaven” are the comedic breaks to the album. “Perished”   begins with the sound of a string ensemble,  so I was pleasantly surprised to hear something different, but quite suddenly, the serenity is cut short. It’s a nice and artistic statement. “The last steps to heaven” begins with a clip of “Stairway to Heaven” but again, the serenity is broken very nicely. Both of these songs put a smile on my face.

“Collapsed Into Nothing” begins with this eerie guitar riff. There is tons of dissonance in the chords and plenty of off beat rhythms coming from the drummer to challenge the listener’s sense of tempo. It brings a sense of black metal touch to the album.

“Celebrate the Indulgence” has an almost classic rock intro. The entire band really showcases how tight and clean their rhythms are. Tempo changes are clean and nothing seems to be off in terms of synchronization.

“Greed Heritage” is a solid first album for these guys and a solid grindcore album in general.

Feared’s “Synder.” Reviewed by Luis Balderrama.

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“Synder” seems to be more of an experimental album for Feared, as they step out of the box with clean piano sections, clean vocals, and much more clean-guitar melodies mixed in with their amazing death metal writing. It almost seems as if they had a check list of styles that they wanted to play on this album. Black Metal, Death Metal, Progressive, Rock, etc…

It never ceases to amaze me how creative Ola’s guitar riffs and melodies are. He’s just got such a tight hold on such a huge and heavy sound, but is still able to incorporate crisp blast beats, neck breaking breakdowns, clean and tight rhythmic riffs, clean guitar melodies mixed in with an almost Opeth – progressive quality it has.

“Of Iron and Ashes” has this abrupt change from heavy blast beat and death metal vocals to clean guitar, which gives such an eerie vibe. It really catches you off guard. At first, the change almost seemed like some sort of editing glitch, but the more I listened to it, the more it felt in place. It’s that clarity you get before delving back into the insanity of the piece. It’s a great change up.

“Dygder” is the first real introduction to this new type of sound with its creepy piano and melodramatic tonality. It’s a great break from the heavy and chunky sound Feared is known for, and it’s a great lead into “By Silent Screaming.” It sets you up for that driving rhythm of the guitars and bass drum working together. I cannot overemphasize how precise Feared is when it comes to full-band rhythm synchronization. You can tell they take a lot of pride in that ability and use it well.

“War Feeding War” is a solid piece that really shows off Kevin Talley’s drum abilities. Not that the other songs don’t, but this song brings such a wide variety. The solo in the middle is small, but again, it’s the contrast to the rest of the piece that somehow makes the rest of the song valid. Both Ola and Kevin really shine on this piece. I also enjoy the ending blend into the next song, “The Narcissist.” This song brings forth the band’s amazing ability to nail some solid black metal style music and mix it with some serious thrash metal. The dissonance from the chords puts you in that disjointed mindset. It’s a great blend of death metal chunk, clean piano, tremolo melodies, and black metal dissonance.

Overall, Synder is a great album. It showed how flexible Ola’s musical abilities are. Previous albums touched on different styles, but this was an obvious charge to take on different styles of music. I very much enjoy Feared’s ability to create heavy death metal riffs, but I hope they continue to do so. Although I like the new musical influences in Synder, I hope they do not lose that heavy-ness they’ve always brought to the table.

Good Riddance’s “Peace in our Time.” Reviewed by Taylor Farner.

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Well, it seems Good Riddance is ageless. They’re still playing gnarly jams. You would think a gap of 8 years in their catalog might have an effect on their ability to play like a bunch of angsty teenagers. Not the case, my friend.

I, for one, am new to Good Riddance. I didn’t start listening to them until the midst of their hiatus, so I didn’t get to feel the pain long-lost fans felt during the gap. I don’t even know, man.

But I was thinking about this the other day when I started planning this review: Good Riddance has one of the strongest sounds I know of. Their sound doesn’t wither away, and hasn’t changed into something else. They’re still busting out these great hardcore jams with the same voraciousness they had in the mid-90s. Musically they know their shit. Melodically, they’re catchy as hell. Let’s get to it:
Opening song: It’s hardcore. Duh.

“Disputatio,” (Latin for dispute) is in a lot of ways GR’s recurring anthem. They still hold the dream, and the vision of being able to speak your mind. It’s a statement for their hardcore straight-edge friends and neighbors to stand firm and uphold what you believe.
Another favorite of mine from the record is “Take it to Heart.” The first reminder that GR is a group with very strong and willful political views, the song reminds us of all the shitty things that we allow, as a nation, and cause, all the while putting up blankets to hide everything in slaughterhouses or mental institutions, or bury in the past. There isn’t really a doubt that we’ve been ignorant and willfully chosen to not look at the grimy parts of life, but GR throws the ignorance out the window and slaps us with another catchy hardcore song.

I’m assuming they purposefully made the intro to “Dry Season,” sound like “Green Corn,” which made me smile. This song is another political one. It gives an interesting perspective, but ultimately brings us back to the title of the record. It’s a call for peace, when no one seems to be interested in it.

“Washed Away,” is a thought-provoking melodic tune that makes us question our routines and why we do the things that we see as necessities that are ultimately what are destroying the world, and made us willfully ignorant. The greediness of humanity and our selfishness has tarnished their belief in any divine faith or organized system of beliefs.

“Glory Glory,” is here to tell us that changing our ways isn’t going to be easy. We are where we are, because being ignorant is easy. Conforming to an ideology is ultimately hindering us from a real freedom, and is really just a huge joke that we’re playing on ourselves, and preventing us from being true to ourselves.

Just go get the record. GR is back, giving us their catchy melodic hardcore straight-edge jams, asking for us to try and be better people, and reminding us that we’re the reason the world is the way it is. It’s up to us to fix it, and being ignorant to our problems doesn’t really make them go away.

I saw them right before the record released. They’re easily one of, if not the best band I’ve seen live. They know their shit, they sound amazing, and they are here for the greater good. I’ll try to dig up some tour dates.

Bad Cop/Bad Cop’s “Not Sorry.” Reviewed by Taylor Farner.

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This record is fantastic. I’m glad I gave it a shot. The record released in June, 2015, under Fat Wreck Chords. To give some perspective for this review, I’m a fan of female fronted/dominated bands. I like Riot Grrrl records, and metal-chick bands. I find what Bad Cop/Bad Cop has to say in Not Sorry very interesting, especially in a genre that is, for the most part, male-dominated.

To me, their sound is very close to Gwen Stefani, as far as lyrical image goes (and I mean that to be a good trait. No Doubt is mas tight). The three guitarists in the band all sing. They have two consistent lead singers, Stacey Dee and Jennie Cotterill. They trade off singing the songs, it seems, and act as the front women for the band. Upon seeing them for the first time (04.18.2015) and not knowing who they were or ever having heard of them before, they sounded a lot more rugged, and had a crisper sound in person than they did over their record. It reminded me of Bikini Kill or something like that. It’s the reason I got the record.

The opening track, “Nightmare,” is a nice touch on writing over-polluted love songs, spinning it around a bit, with lines like “I’ll never write a stupid poppy love song/ (Beat) For anyone but you.” Funny, and gives the band character. It tells me Yeah, we’re not here to write a bunch of soppy songs about our crush or whatever, but we’re still human, and like sharing how we feel.

The second track comes on, “Anti Love Song,” and I think, Ah shit, I had high hopes for this album, but there’s already a trend starting here… a hypocritical one at that… But when it’s over, I see that’s not the case. It gives me an impression, but not the one I initially thought I was going to be left with. It was just extra wrapping around the idea they originally started with their opening track. And it is something I think needed to be made. It tells me that it was the right time for them to make the record, for themselves. They have just found who they are as a group, and don’t need to build musical careers off of relationships, and they aren’t defined by their emotional triumphs and failures.

Another track that sticks out is “Sugarcane.” I thought of it as an homage to their female musical predecessors. It follows the narrative of a girl who enters abusive relationships and keeps going back to them. It tells women to stand up for themselves, and stop putting themselves through shitty relationships. While it’s not right, it’s your fault that you keep putting yourself through abuse by not trying to move on, go somewhere else, or find someone that is deserving. It is a bit brutal in that it doesn’t take into account the great deal of physical and emotional pain, but maybe that’s what people need sometimes is brutal honesty.

The whole album is good. You should check them out. I recently saw them live (and wrote about it). They play a lot harder: they’re capable of playing loud, fast, and they’re funny. Go see them, if you can. They’re playing with a lot of their fellow Fat Wreck Chords bands on their various tours.