Thursday, January 17, 2019

Suburban Voice blog #135


GLUE TRAPS (photo: Punk Betty)

ANOTHER STAB AT MY NEVER-ENDING ATTEMPT TO KEEP UP WITH THE DEMO PILE...

Glue Traps have Tony Pence from Deep Sleep on vocals but, instead of Descendents-inspired punk, they go for a traditional loud, fast hardcore punk style on their Future Shocks demo. Five songs in under four minutes and it's pure burn. Except for brief "Nuke DC," the lyrics veer more towards the personal, just getting through life theme. Doing it well. And plenty of blank tape to fill it up with your own hardcore mix, just like I used to do. (celebratedsummerrecords@gmail.comgluetraps.bandcamp.com)

Bloomington, IN band The Bills have a taut, minimalist punk sound on their Take Two demo. Not cutesy and while there's a hint of new wave, there's not a keyboard in sight. The tape also includes their Take One demo. One of the songs on there, "Isolation," has a slightly more post-punk feel. No excess, no fucking around, just short songs with a good amount of sarcasm in the vocals. (bill.bandcamp.com)

London continues to produce a promising crop of young bands and Naja are one those. Their self-titled EP has a snaky goth/dark hue to it but also dips into the Rudimentary Peni well. Hitting a sturdy mid-to-fast clip, with a slight amount of echo on the vocals and a thick yet textured guitar tone. (najaband.bandcamp.com)

Also operating in somewhat minimalist vein are XL hell, whose Evel demo provides gnashing punk although they have a harder, faster, thrashing edge. Vocals climb the ladder up to a piercing squeal and the arrangements are really basic. Proving the point that the simple approach is often better. (xlhell.bandcamp.com)

Podium, from Valencia, Spain, don't have song titles on their demo--there are seven in all--but they're all sharp blasts of nervy, new wavey punk. From what I've been able to glean about Podium on-line, it appears to be a solo project that has just started doing live performances. Drill press guitar, synth shadings, mechanized rhythms and low-in-the-mix vocals, all generating some catchy hooks. Echoes of Devo, some Chrome, not really low-fi and it sounds like it'd be at home on Lumpy or Neck Chop. (podiumpodium.bandcamp.com)

Tired of Everything (are they pals with Sick Of It All?) hail from North Carolina and Will Butler fromTo Live A Lie Records handles vocal duties. Six songs of thumping, thrashing uptempo hardcore punk with strong words, among other things, about animal abuse and hypocritical "punk progressives" who commit sexual assault. Tired of Everything pretty much stay away from the grindcore and powerviolence that Will's label usually specializes in, opting for something at a more measured pace and they're good at it. (www.tolivealie.com)

A TASTE OF NEON

BOOTLICKER

Three recent 7"s on the Neon Taste label offer different slices of bruising hardcore punk. Chain Whip's self-titled EP starts off with a thrasher, "Self Destruct," but the rest operates in more of a mid-tempo oi-tinged, street punk vein. Brash and to the point and quite catchy at times. Another self-titled EP is by Cheap Appeal, featuring people from Vacant State, and they work in various shadings from Negative FX (the vocalist sounds like he could be Choke's meaner younger brother), Minor Threat and even some Motörhead. No excess, just meat 'n potatoes hardcore with a rockin' edge. 

Finally, Bootlicker's 6 Track E.P. is also rough 'n tough, starting with the martial drums and machine gun riffs leading into a good musical ass-whuppin'. The mentality can be summed up succinctly by a phrase from "Fragments"--the songs are, indeed, about "societies atrocities." In more of a UK-82 vein than the other bands. The only distraction is the production is a bit muddy. Not that one would expect high fidelity, of course. By the way, Bootlicker have another 7", Who Do You Serve on the Warthog Speak label in the US and it's just as ripping. (neontasterecords.bandcamp.com)

A CASE OF SCHIZOPHRENIA


Five, count 'em, five new releases from Schizophrenic Records, two of them plumbing the archives of 80's Toronto hardcore and the other three of more recent vintage. The older material comes from Chronic Submission and M.S.I. (aka More Stupid Initials). Chronic Submission's Empty Heads Poison Darts was originally released as a demo in 1984 (I have a copy in my collection). Brian Taylor from the old Toronto band Youth Youth Youth produced it and there are some musical similarities. Chronic Submission were young teenagers when they started the band in 1981. The songs on the demo are fast, peppy hardcore thrash with a sense of melody, as well as metallic flash. The record's accompanied by a booklet that features an a reprint of an extensive 2012 interview done by Stephe Perry from Equalizing Distort. In it, the members mention that Jello Biafra was interested in recording them for Alternative Tentacles and advanced them some money, which they proceeded to spend on glue to huff. Oh well. Better late than never. This is high energy stuff and, needless to say, this vinyl pressing was long overdue. 

Unfortunately, the M.S.I. material hasn't aged quite as well, although it's still enjoyable. Taken from 1986 and 1988 sessions and it's fast, peppy hardcore that doesn't take itself too seriously--how can it with covers by the Archies, Village People and a song taken from the "Wizard of Oz" cartoon series--although some of the lyrics express serious concerns. Slam-bang thrash with hints of melody, occasionally out of sync but with energy to burn. The accompanying booklet is filled with lyrics, photos, flyers and anecdotes, including the time they played with Slapshot and one of them was mocking Choke's hockey stick moves. 

Uncontrollable Urge don't sound DEVO-esque, as you might have expected, on their debut album. Instead, it's a tandem of garage, punk and even a little psych No hippy-dippy excursions but tight and rocking, particularly on the hard-hitting "Never Now," "Never Mine" and "Dark Days." "Your Way Out" and "Faked It" have a knotty post-punk fervor. Former members of TV Freaks, adding vocalist/guitarist Angie Lanza and it's not far removed from what that band was doing. 

Flesh Rag's Inside Your Mind is pretty much straight-up rawk. Right from the outset, the influences aren't tough to figure out. The title track is an amalgam of the Stooges' "I Got A Right," "1969" and "Little Doll." "Just One Kiss" is MC5-ish. "Love Dump" starts with some AC/DC style riffing. It's on the ordinary side and "Ballad of Nova" is definitely a skip-over track but there are some good rump-shakin' moments here and there, "Bleed For Me" in particular. Checking out some of their back catalog, this album seems to have smoother production. Their debut, self-titled 12" has a lot more of a raw edge to it. I kind of wish they'd maintained that. 

No Blues' A Collection of Love Songs is limited to 100 copies on vinyl and collects their demos and 7" tracks, plus five previously-unreleased tunes. Masterminded by Scott Paige from hardcore band Born Wrong (he's also dabbed in Crime-inspired rock with X45), No Blues are quite a different animal. Unabashed power-pop-punk that's catchy as fuck. No high-fidelity and, even with the yearning vocals, there's enough distortion on it to avoid any saccharine OD. Most of you probably won't remember New Sweet Breath but they were a 90s band who did this sort of thing very well. And if you're into the Marked Men or Exploding Hearts (one of No Blues' songs has that title), you'll love this. 

IN RYVVOLTE

SYRINGE

Three (relatively) new 7"s from the Philly label Ryvvolte are by Syringe, Nightfall and a split 7" with two acts from South American, B.E.T.O.E. and Besthoven. The latter is a tribute to Swedish legends the Shit Lickers EP, where each band (or in Besthoven's case, one man project) offer their own interpretation of this classic EP. I'd give the slight edge to B.E.T.O.E., who come closer to the original's raw spirit, although both are played with affection. I wouldn't call it essential, though.

Nightfall's Deadly Game is a rampaging dose of encrusted Swedish hardcore, done in go-for-the-throat fashion and with Discharge-haiku type lyrics. Self-deseribed as "noise and distortion against the fucking bloodsuckers." That sums it up. Finally, Syringe's vinyl debut, the Rotten Cycle EP, features raw-throated twin vocalists and a fast 'n burning crust-core/d-beat assault, with feedback and wah-wah being part of the guitar aresenal. Syringe also have a new two song flexi, The Leash, on the Dark Raids label (darkraidslabel.storenvy.com) that continues in a similarly loud and raging fashion. (ryvvolterecords.storenvy.com)

BUT WAIT... THERE'S MORE...


VANILLA POPPERS (photo: Angela Owens)

BAD MOJOS-I Hope You OD (Voodoo Rhythm, CD)
This Swiss band have no doubt listened to more than their fair share of Spits records because that comes through both musically and vocally. Totally blatant, in fact, but they do it damned well. Succinct and to the point, avoiding deep lyrical poetry and just going for a knee to the groin. Plenty of snot, fuzz 'n buzz for your buck. (www.voodoorhythm.com)

BRANDY-Laugh Track (Monofonus Press, LP)
Big-ass riffarola noise-rock with one former member (Matthew Hord) of Running, who specialized in this sort of ear-splittery. While Brandy could very well have been on Amphetamine Reptile and the music is heavy, it's not metal. El distorto bass-lines pulverizing everything in their path, hornet-swarming guitar and whomping drums, to go along with the buried-in-the-mix vocals and everything turned up nice and loud. Chome, Unsane and Jesus Lizard could be some touchstones. "Blandy" is about as close to melodic as they come and even that song rages like crazy. Prepare to be wrecked. (monofonuspress.com)

CELEBRITY HANDSHAKE-That's Showbiz, Baby! (Eastern Prawn, 7")
Two songs of noisy-as-fuck garage bash--just guitar, drums, barely-audible rinky-dink keyboards and unhinged vocals. About as primitive and tuneless as it gets, a wanton sonic excursion that's abrasive as fuck. In other words, it'll clear the people from any room... including me. (celebrityhandshake.bandcamp.com)

DEATHWISH-Rock 'N' Roll's One Hell Of A Drug (Beer City, 2xLP)
When I was much younger, you'd occasionally come across two-fer vinyl packages, combining two previous releases into one. There were a pair of them for early Who albums, as well as sets for Syd Barrett and Jeff Beck. Of course, the CD era made those types of pairings a lot more common. Now this Wisconsin powerhouse have put their first two 12"s (2015's Out For Blood and 2017's Unleash Hell) together for maximum kill effect and, of course, it's limited to 666 copies. The term "Motörcharged" is becoming overused but it's an accurate description for this loud 'n fast unit. Searing, blazing double-barreled guitar riffing along with a rumbling bottom end. At their core, Deathwish are just a fast 'n furious band. Songs like "Flat-Line," and "Six Bullet Roulette" and while "There Will Be Blood" rocks like a motherfucker. Rock 'n' roll definitely remains my preferred kind of drug. (www.beercity.com)

EXOTICA-Musique Exotique #03 (La Vida Es Un Mus, 7")
More noise from Casa de Rata, that is Dave Rata, who's played in a number of bands over the years (Ratas Del Vaticano, Muerte, Pobreza Mental) both in Mexico and NYC. Exotica keep the thumping and chaotic NY bung-punk tradition alive, with scampering drums and buzzsaw guitar (the sizzle-whizzle effects on "Desciendo" are mind-melting), merging it with anarcho touches. Pure burn.(www.lavidaesunmus.com)

LIÉ-Hounds (Monofonus Press, LP)
Everyone who bags on Maximum Rocknroll probably haven't read it in decades, if ever. One reason I'd read it, even if I wasn't a columnist, is that I still find out about new bands or ones I've missed. A recent interview with this band in those pages piqued my interest and "Hounds," their third, is a scorcher. Surging, jarring, jabbing rock with a dark edginess and a goth tinge. Ear-messing, swirling guitar lines, throbbing, distorted bass and hard-hitting drumming, along with vocals that pack both sadness and rage. You can hear a little Siouxsie Sioux, although the timbre is lower. Like a fierier version of White Lung. (monofonuspress.com)

MAN DESTROYS-Everything (Not Like You, 7" EP)
Pretty standard raw, fast and angry hardcore with Simon from Supermarket Trolleys and Jeff from Final Conflict. A vinyl pressing of their demo, it's a d-beat infused attack, accompanied by well-tread lyrical concerns--cops, war, puppies... OK, I'm kidding about the last one. Pink vinyl--maybe blood red would have been better? (102 Richmond Dr. SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106, www.notlikeyourecords.com)

NASHO

NASHO-s/t (Nopatience, LP)
This multi-racial, multinational band based in Australia have very strong feelings about colonialism, racsim and gentrification, to name a few things, on their first album. Nasho is short for nationalist, something that's on the rise in Australia (as in many places). Those sentiments are combined with a dark, power-packed sound. Echo and reverb on the vocals buried a bit in the mix, along with a dense musical ominousness. Hardcore, punk and goth, with Peni-esque shadings and it's a potent statement. (www.nopatience.org)

NIGHT BIRDS

NIGHT BIRDS-Roll Credits (Fat, LP)
A band steeped in the history of punk, trashy TV, real crime and also with a bit of a political conscience. You get all of that here, starting with the back cover parodying the Killed By Death comps and the Stiff Records nod for the record's label. Running the gamut from hardcore ("Onward To Obscurity, with backing vocals by Poison Idea's Jerry A and the anti-Trumpster rant "White Noise Machine"), tuneful west coast-inflected punk and opening and closing instrumentals--truth be told, the closing title track goes on a bit long. "Uranium Girl," underpinned by spooky organ and shit-hot guitar playing, is catchy as fuck and kudos for covering the Suicide Commandos, although I might have picked a different song than "I Need A Torch." Maybe "Burn It Down" or, if you wanted to keep in more of a sci-fi bent, maybe "Mr. Dr." Get on it, guys! (www.fatwreck.com)

PRIORS-New Pleasure (Slovenly, LP)
Nervy punk/new wave/garage from this Montreal band that have me thinking they're a more guitar-driven, less mechanized cousin to ISS. Gnashing guitar spearheading this band's heady attack, topped off with squiggly synth lines and echo-laden vocals bubbling just beneath the surface. A psycho-head blowout--yes, that's borrowed and you'll have to look it up--to mess up your mind. A new EP, Call For You is already in the pipeline. (www.slovenly.com)

TOMMY AND THE COMMIES-Here Come (Slovenly, 12")
Technically a one-sided 12", with the program repeated on the second side. Sneaky bastids! Anyway, this is unabashed bright 'n sprightly power-pop/punk although it's tougher than your garden variety skinny tie combo. Tommy and his Commies add a sharp mod revival flair, as well as Undertonesy guitar licks percolating through the hook-laden arrangements. Infectiously fun. (www.slovenly.com)

U-NIX-Nuke Portland (Feel It, 12")
Nuke Portland? But what about all of those cool record stores? Voodoo Doughnuts? Poison Idea Park? OK, I realize there is no Poison Idea Park but there should be or, at the very least, a Pig Champion statue. I feel 'em, though. I sometimes wish they'd nuke the city where I live. U-Nix's guitarist John Cardwell used to do the fretwork for the somewhat underappreciated Nasa Space Universe, who tread in oftentimes unpredictable off-kilter hardcore. U-Nix have some of those qualities but it sometimes sounds even meaner and more unhinged. Sputtering and angry, borth musically and vocally, negotiating hairpin time changes with ruthless efficiency. Threatening to fly apart at any second but they're too tight for that happen. Not even nine mutes long and you're left spent. Time to play it again! (feelitrecordshop.com)

VANILLA POPPERS-I Like Your Band (Feel It, 7")
Four more rockin' rollin' punk songs from the Poppers, who had one of my favorite albums of 2017. Christina Pap's vocals have a cutting, ranting quality and the lyrics are pointed, semi-satirical observations about human interactions and struggles (?). "I Am Adult Baby" shows how hard it can be to get your shit together while the title track is a wise-assed poke at scenester types. Big-ass riffs with plenty of fuzz and an abundance of rhythmic wallop. (feelitrecordshop.com)


WASTE MANAGEMENT

WASTE MANAGEMENT-Tried and True (Painkiller, LP)
Well, it's about time this longtime (as in over a decade) Mass. band got an album out and, to use the cliche, yes it was worth the wait. This is a primer in classic hardcore, both from early 80s Boston, as well as NYHC later in the decade and given a modern feel. SS Decontrol, Negative FX and Jerry's Kids figure into the equation from this neck of the woods. Craig sounds pissed off as hell and, while the lyrics express disgust, there's a surprising amount of positivity. Don't let anything stand in your way, fight through it. It's almost like a musical power of positive thinking course. Yes, I'm being a bit of a joker but this is well-played, powerful and urgent hardcore. (painkillerrecords.limitedrun.com)