Razorcake 133, featuring Litige, Cromi, Pleasure Venom, Target Video, and One Punk’s Guide to Surf Music, Part II

Razorcake 133, featuring Litige, Cromi, Pleasure Venom, Target Video, and One Punk’s Guide to Surf Music, Part II

Mar 20, 2023

“It’s like glasses that you put on when you’re a kid and you keep them for your whole life. We know we’re not gonna be rich and famous, but we’re not doing it for that.” –Litige

Cover by Lauren Denitzio
Cover photo by Joan Dastarac

Litige interview by Tim Brooks

There’s something refreshing in this age of social media thirst to find people who have no interest in jumping aboard and selling themselves like a can of Coke for a viral video. This isn’t some obtuse anarchist statement, just a choice to live life in the here and now; enjoy what you have, be content with the slow burn, and focus on what’s right in front of you. Litige are busy: being real people, living their lives as a byproduct of crossing paths and sharing their music. My experience is that everyone who has discovered this band from Lyon, France has fallen head over heels for their sweet-yet-tough punk vibes. Lulling you into their soft arms with catchy tunes and sweet female vocals only to punch you in the neck with their toughness and uncompromising attitude. No fucks given. “Like us or don’t. Your choice.” Us? We love ’em. –Tim Brooks

Cromi interview by Daniel Makagon
A New Level of International Punk Rock Freedom

I first learned about Denise Schipano (“Cromi”) when I heard the Inyección demo. The demo was co-released by Discos Enfermos (Barcelona); Planeta Destrozado (Mexico City and New York City); and Cromi’s label, Educación Cínica. I was then down a rabbit hole for days listening to a mix of new and old punk that Cromi released. And that seems to be the kind of journey Cromi hopes to curate: introducing a global punk audience to exciting sounds and scenes that might go unnoticed. Of course, it’s ironic that a new wave of Latin American hardcore and punk can be discovered through YouTube or Bandcamp, but Cromi’s very interested in analog artifacts and in-person connections. She releases cassettes, is excited by homemade graphics and collective art projects, and is energized by booking local shows. She wants to provide a visual complement to the embodied sonic experience of her bands and the bands with whom she works. She seems to possess an interesting blend of wanting to travel while also trying to help make a scene at home. The new level of freedom she felt when she moved from her home in the La Matanza section of Buenos Aires to the city center extended as she met punks around the globe during tours and is taking shape again as she begins a new adventure after a move to Barcelona. –Daniel Makagon

Pleasure Venom interview by Rosie Gonce

Pleasure Venom isn’t your average DIY punk band. They’re more of a DIAY—do it all yourself—punk band. And that’s only part of what makes this band so special. Hailing from Austin, Texas, Pleasure Venom has directed their own music videos, recorded themselves, and even screen printed their own shirts in their living room. Audrey, the fierce lead singer who commands the stage with hair towering over the mic—complete rock outfit with fishnets and curves—shrieks and dances and sings and rolls on the floor for all their performances. She has shown a clear vision from the beginning of what she wanted to produce. I found it fitting that Audrey starred in the independent film I Am TX, (where she played a character similar to herself) because Pleasure Venom is here, claiming their space, loud and clear.

Audrey’s created a band that always collaborates and is hands-on in every aspect of being in a band that tirelessly keeps moving forward. She’s not afraid to be the leader, but it’s also clear she values her bandmates dearly and makes space for everyone’s creative voices. She even wanted to have less of herself talking in this interview, but it would be a disservice to the representation of this band to discount the fact that Audrey is an extremely determined, strong frontwoman and the unwavering, driving force behind Pleasure Venom. With a mixture of passion and aggression, Audrey gives off some Cramps’ Poison Ivy vibes as she pulses onstage along with her bandmates’ frenetic music, the rock’n’roll backdrop for her emotionally charged lyrics. –Rosie Gonce

Target Video interview by Mike Plante and Jason Willis

Hearing a band for the first time could change your life. Seeing a band play live for the first time takes it to a different level—seeing them in motion, the incredible energy of the band, the crowd interacting. Before the internet, if a band didn’t put a photo on the album, you might have not even known what they looked like until you saw them live. And for punk rock in the ’70s and ’80s, you had better live near a city where the bands lived or had a club that would accept the transgressive scene. 

Video does not replace the power of a live show, but for those of us who lived away from both coasts in the ’80s, Target Video saved us. Target Video was at the vanguard of releasing a barrage punk VHS releases—the bleeding edge of technology at the time—in the decade of Reagan. These tapes were incredible documents of first and second wave punk bands playing live. The footage of those early bands playing also showed us the first West Coast venues, what the early crowds looked and acted like—with the lack of a dress code and no separation from the band or stage. Some of the most unusual punk shows ever were captured on early, raw video by Target: Crime playing at San Quentin State Prison, The Mutants playing at a school for deaf children, The Cramps playing at a mental hospital, the first performances of Survival Research Laboratories, and both live and studio performances of The Screamers, who would only release video and no vinyl during their time. 

Due to the undeniable and enduring impact of these videos, over the past few years we’ve been producing documentary projects on Target Video. We’ve compiled this origin story through multiple interviews, from their very beginning through the Napa State show on June 13, 1978, learning who and what was behind these essential punk videos. Leading up to meeting the three co-founders in person, we knew they operated in the Bay Area starting in the ’70s, living in affordable warehouses in Oakland, then San Francisco. Their second and third spaces also doubled as studios to videotape bands performing for the camera. Joe Rees was the man behind the camera, also producing, directing, and editing the videos. Jill Hoffman helped produce the videos and took still photos. Sam Edwards was the “technician.” We heard they came out of art school with some of the first video technology as local friends were starting bands.

Our short documentary film focusing on the story of when The Mutants and The Cramps played Napa State (titled We Were There to Be There, inspired by a great comment by Jill) was made in 2021 and is coming out on Blu-ray, along with the original tapes and lost footage not found until  2022, all remastered by Dino Everett at the Punk Media Research Collection, University of Southern California, HMH Foundation Moving Image Archive. –Mike Plante and Jason Willis

One Punk’s Guide to Surf Music, Part 2: 1989 to Now by Sean Carswell

Surfing Sets

Here’s a little wisdom I picked up from years of surfing crowded spots: waves come in sets, and it’s best to let the first wave of a set go. That first wave of a set is always crowded and full of kooks. Everyone has been sitting on their boards, waiting for exactly this, and everyone goes at the same time. They cut each other off or flounder trying to catch the wave and send their boards flying. It’s a mess. If you have a little patience, though, the second and third waves of the set almost inevitably follow. Fewer surfers wait for these, so you’re more likely to get the clean face of the wave all to yourself.

This wisdom can sometimes work as a metaphor for life. Let’s take the waves of surf music. Last issue, I wrote about the first wave of surf music—the craze that hit Southern California in the early 1960s, catalyzed by acts like the Bel-Airs and Dick Dale And The Deltones. It exploded into a national sensation, then died off a few years later. Like the first wave of a set, the first wave of surf music was crowded and full of kooks. But here’s the other thing about catching that first wave: you’re still riding a wave. Even a crowded, kooky wave is a wave, and it can be really fun. I hope you read last issue’s article. I hope you went online, checked out some videos, listened to some music, and enjoyed it. Maybe you even picked up a record or two. You can’t go wrong with Link Wray, Dick Dale, or that long-forgotten 45 by The Crescents. I ended the article with the second wave stuff. I wrote about Jon & The Nightriders’ Surf Beat ’80 LP, a few surf songs on Agent Orange’s Living in Darkness, and Johnny Thunders cover of “Pipeline.” I didn’t write about the great Finnish band Laika And The Cosmonauts or about Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet or the Insect Surfers. They’re among my favorites of the second wave and worth more than the ten bucks you’d need to pick up one of their CDs these days.

So I genuinely enjoy the music from the first and second waves. I loved pulling out my old records and listening to them while I wrote that article. But the wave I really caught was the third one. This is the music I love. This is the music I think you’ll love. Hopefully, this article does more than send you online to watch a few videos. Hopefully, it leads you to dust off your CD player and fill it up with third-wave surf (because that’s where third-wave surf lives: on CDs). Hopefully, you’ll reach a point in a few months where you realize that this article cost you a couple hundred bucks in new music, but turned you on to some of your new favorite bands. –Sean Carswell

Donna Ramone
 talks about removing the shame and obscurity surrounding menopause. (instagram)

Jim Ruland writes helpful advice about how to not write a punk rock novel set in the not-too-distant future. (instagram)

Lorde Destroyer interviews trans youth, Bambina Alacran. Part 2. Great today. Greater tomorrow.  (instagram)

Sean Carswell uses a memory activated by Cyndi Lauper’s “She Bop” as a musical echo to talk to his younger self to not let anger consume him. When someone tells a joke, you can have a laugh. (instagram)

Rev. Nørb pulls the thread of the band Vacation and embroiders it into a discourse on the Buzzcocks’ logo, which could end up being your life. (instagram)

Puro Pinche Poetry y Cuentos (Edited by Ever Velasquez (instagram) and RoQue Torres (instagram))
From: untitled
Wagered flesh, revived and reviled,
Nourishing naught that the martyr inspired.

Designated Dalealmost ordered floor samples as a kid because they were free until his Dad put his foot down. However, the practice of personal correspondence and fandom have steered him to good places ever since.
Art Fuentes. Yep, all cops. (instagram)

After decades of ruckus, the Rhythm Chicken actually starts playing drums for… personal enjoyment. (instagram)

Jennifer Whiteford contemplates the tweens in her house who are moving further away from her both physically and mentally.

And photos from the lovely and talented:

Chris Boarts Larson

Mari Tamura

Albert Licano

This issue is dedicated to the memories of Jen Angel, Tim “From Pomona” Russell, Otis “O” Barthoulameu, and Patrick “PJ Goon” Crean.

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