Razorcake 120

Razorcake 120, 20th Anniversary Issue featuring Partial Traces, Candace Hansen, Moxiebeat, and One Punk’s Guide to Sludge Metal

Cover by Jason Willis
Photo by Brad Lokkesmoe

Partial Traces: Interview by Todd Taylor

Partial Traces’ music has been lingering with me since I first heard them several years ago with their debut Glass Beach. That was the initial strike—like a wrench clanging against a metal cable—and then came a long-resonating vibration, an ongoing hum. Their full-length Low Definition has remained on high rotation for a full year since its release. There’s something haunting yet comforting about the music they create. Something forlorn but captivating in the lyrics. It’s music that explores space, both internal and external. Like deep space: void and vivid colors. Like inner space: what’s it like to be a questioning, thoughtful human being without having all the answers.

To stay vital, punk must continue being an ever-expanding universe. Bands dedicated to exploration instead of conforming to limitations or proven formulas are reasons I continue to seek out and enjoy new music. For some context, Partial Traces’ members have been in The Soviettes, Rivethead, Gateway District, Dear Landlord, Banner Pilot, God Damn Doo Wop Band, and Off With Their Heads—all bands celebrated by Razorcake over the years—but this band is looking ahead, through the horizon of the front windshield instead of glued to the rearview mirror of their past accomplishments.

It’s a special treat for me that the people who are involved in Partial Traces have been actively making music for close to two decades and are continuing to grow, continuing to make exciting, relevant music. That’s why I sought them out to be in our twentieth anniversary issue. –Todd Taylor

Candace Hansen: Interview by Daryl Gussin

I was trying to remember when I first met Candace Hansen but I couldn’t remember because it feels like I’ve always known them. (They reminded me it was at a HIRS / YAAWN show at the Smell in the beginning of 2018.) Really, though, I think I’ve just known about them for much longer. Candace is a modern-day, L.A. queer punk legend. You might know them from playing in bands like dimber, YAAWN, or the Alice Bag Band. Or, you might know them from their days at Rock Camp for Girls OC. Or, you might know them from their work as a professor of Gender Studies at UCLA, their work in OC Weekly, or their podcast for Razorcake. A punk about town, when they aren’t playing drums in your favorite LA punk/noise bands, Candace is busy working on a PhD in Musicology at the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA and a certificate in Gender Studies. They hold an MA in Musicology and a dual B.A. in Gender Studies and History. As if that wasn’t enough, they’ve also found time to help out at Grrrl Fair and Transgress Fest.

They are an encyclopedia of knowledge when it comes to punk and queer history and theory, and they’re always my go-to person to text when I need a fact check. They’re an incredible musician, writer, activist, artist, zine maker, and friend. I’m so lucky to have Candace as a part of my found family, and Los Angeles is so lucky to have such an icon in its midst. –Emily Twombly

Moxiebeat: Interview by Sean Arenas

Roughly fifty-five miles outside Los Angeles is Riverside, Calif. Despite the lengthy drive, I spent a lot of time there during my nascent punk years, sweating my ass off in basements and dancing at house shows. Brothers Fritz and Brent Aragon and drummer Tomas L. Acosta are staples of the Inland Empire punk scene. For years, they thrashed in hardcore bands like Rogue State, Dogs Of Ire, and Restrained.

As their respective bands wound down, the three formed Moxiebeat in 2011, initially as a five-piece with two guitarists and two bassists. The low-end was enough to shake the bones out of your body. They have since honed their sound as a punishing, eardrum-punching trio.

Loud, sure, but determined. I’ve never known an angrier band that has continually channeled their rage into DIY projects. Their nearly two-decade old label, Ethospine, has served as a home for their music as well as other noisy outfits like Tijuana’s Maladie and Pittsburgh’s Edhochuli. They were also founding members of Blood Orange Infoshop, a community-led venue in Riverside. They helped transform a dusty basement into a second home for punks and radical artists.

All this to say, I fucking love Moxiebeat. (After all, it takes a lot for me to want to sit in my car for an hour.) But more than that, they’re an inspiration. For over a decade, I have watched these guys hammer out some of the best hardcore punk, and I am honestly better for it (although my eardrums might beg to differ). –Sean Arenas

One Punk’s Guide to Sludge Metal by Angus Wonder Of It All

One of the really lovely things about discovering sludge bands like Crowbar, Neurosis, and Iron Monkey as a teen in the ’90s was they were unhealthy, scruffy, and unglamorous, like myself. These bands’ onstage demeanor also appealed to me. The slow music lent itself to a downbeat presentation—not many sludge musicians jumping off PAs. Also, no tight vests, leather trousers, or bullet belts; a general lack of the flamboyance and grandstanding you find in thrash and macho hardcore. As a salty, self-deprecating type, I didn’t miss the gang shouts, skanking, or the windmills at all. I did once see Kirk Windstein of Crowbar, swinging his mic round by the lead like a despondent Roger Daltry while his guitar was being fixed mid-gig, but this was a special (and boozy) occasion. The devil makes work for idle hands. To borrow another phrase from the Catholic church: a gig should be a hospital, not a museum. It’s not like a museum where perfectly crafted artworks go to be displayed; it’s a place people with flaws can go to feel better.

For anyone who doesn’t know what sludge is, it’s a metal subgenre based around playing slowly. Sludge is an onomatopoeia for the sound of very distorted, down-tuned guitars. The term has become somewhat interchangeable with the more commonly used doom metal. But, for me, sludge implies something grittier and less retro. The incessant wall of bassy power chords that Black Sabbath brought to the table in the ’70s is the aspect that holds together the doom and sludge genres. Sabbath had some good lyrics as well, burning blim holes in the backdrop of the Vietnam war and the hippy movement.

The current sprawl of Sabbath-worshipping bands tend to rely on Hammer horror film vibes and a lot of stuff about witches and wizards. When I’m trawling the internet looking for new stuff to listen to, I have a policy of skipping anything with “witch” in the title. I’m more interested in the down-to-earth-ness of sludge as opposed to weed-wizard-word-salad. At the chirpiest end of the doom spectrum, the amp settings are pretty much the same as sludge, but the “lyrics” and “attitude” knobs are turned right down. Stoner rock/stoner metal is basically a happy genre. There is no call to action, no worries about human decline, but a relaxing retreat to the riff-filled land. Even the smear of illegality is all but gone. Sludge bands use distortion pedals. Distortion means harsh, industrial, destructive. Stoner bands use fuzz pedals, which means warm and cuddly. –Angus

Bella Bear’s Story by Bella Justo

Hi. My name is Bella and I’m gonna turn 12 years old + I’m gonna share my last story so I can feel better. I’ve been wanting to tell my life story for awhile. It happened when I was in Kindergarten after breakfast. I was five years old. I had cereal in class and was excused to use the restroom. I told my teacher I didn’t feel good. They sent me to the nurse’s office. The next day it happened and my parents took me to the hospital to get a check-up. The doctor ran tests on me and said you have cancer and it made me sad. They rushed me to the ER for emergency surgery. What they removed was a tumor the size of a golf ball. They took me in the room to relax after surgery and to recover with physical therapy. After a few days, I learned how to walk and talk again. I couldn’t stand, or walk, or balance myself. It was hard for me. We just prayed to god that I could stand again and get better. I did get better with chemotherapy and time. –Bella

Donna Ramone dreams a little dream. (instagram)

Jim Ruland can’t lick a stamp with a mask on. (instagram, website, twitter)

Lorde Jayne and the trauma of healing. (instagram).

Sean Carswell plays the fan favorites with shoe goo and paper cement. (instagram)

Rev. Nørb’s suspicious minds is in the ghetto of burning love. (instagram, website)

Puro Pinche Poetry: Gritos Del Barrio (Edited by Ever Velasquez (instagram) and Eugenia Nicole (instagram)

From:Broken Glass“Though I know you are always in my past,
so is the day you became broken glass.”
Necalli Del Lago
Roque Torres is catching a lean. (instagram).

Michelle Cruz Gonzales is swinging the heartache. (instagram).

Jamaica Dyer mourns the city that never was. (instagram)

Rhythm Chicken was wearing a mask around town long before the anti-ruckus struck. (instagram)

Designated Dale enunciates “fuck yeah” as loudly and clearly as possible.

Art Fuentes and the death of a clown. (instagram, twitter)

Jennifer Whiteford strums the trusty chords.

And photos from the lovely and talented:

Chris Boarts Larson (instagram, facebook, website)

Rachel Murray Framingheddu
(instagram, website)

Kwasi-Boyd Bouldin (instagram, website)

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