Thursday, August 21, 2014

Suburban Voice blog #111


BAJA BLATZ

Hey, a mere month and a half this time. Maybe I'm finally getting my shit together. Maybe not but i'm working on it.

DEMOS 

Got a batch of four demos from a Buffalo label called More Power Tapes and each have their own unique punk take. Pissing Match offer 10 blasts of ripping hardcore punk in under four minutes--the longest track, "Inflated Balloon," clocks in at 49 seconds. Tight as fuck, with angry 'n pointed lyrics, even taking a shot at people who preach atheism on "Atheist Evangelist," indicating they're just as insufferable as those who preach religious evangelism. Misanthropy never sounded so succinct.

Gillooly is named after Jeff Gilloly, the ex-husband of figure skater Tonya Harding. Mr. Gilloly (now known as Jeff Stone) got in a bit of hot water when he conspired to attack Tonya's arch-rival Nancy Kerrigan and one of his cohorts smacked poor Nancy across the knee with a baton. I suppose I could say that this band are the aural equivalent of such an action but it's not completely true. They do come storming out of the gate with the stripped-down hardcore of the song "Jeff Gilloly," but soon take other turns into intricate realms. They do this quite well, throwing in surfy and art-punk guitar lines while maintaining the hardcore framework. They even interrupt one song to go straight into another a few times. "Magenta Lion" has a nearly D. Boon-type cadence in the vocals. Biff from Brown Sugar/I Object/Plates etc. plays guitar in this band and Gillooly have a similarly diverse nature.

As for the other pair of tapes, Flesh Mounds's You're Welcome is the most-abrasive sounding one in the batch and that's for both good and bad. Jarring and off-kilter rock somewhat along the lines of Pissed Jeans, although it's in a snakier vein than a punishing wall-of-sound and the drums don't have the necessary pummel to drive this musical style. Pity because I could see some of these songs working better with a heavier approach. Finally, there's the aching pop/punk of Glamour Girls. Guitars buzz but it's doesn't have much oomph in the sound and I still haven't decided if the vocalist's yearning croon is a piss-take or not but a little goes a long way, if you know what I'm saying. Whatever the case, it's not anything I really need to hear again. (morepowertapes.bandcamp.com)

Even more demos from Buffalo--the debut release on Bitch Face Records comes from Hot Tip, who have a cacophonous clamor (ah, alliteration!) that emerges from the outset. Loud and abrasive, squealing guitar dueling with thick bass lines and powerful drumming. There's a relentlessness in their approach but little melodic snatches sneak in here and there. Not all that often, though--this is a mainly-jarring excursion. (359 Parkdale Ave., Buffalo, NY 14213, hottip.bandcamp.comSperm also make a heady, noisy racket. They have a couple of demos under their belt and the most recent one, Yahweh Brings Us To This Hell, is a throttle session. They have an abundance of bombast but there are subtle shadings--the Greg Sage-inspired guitar lines at times. There's a Rudimentary Peni feel for "Mortality, Christianity, Suicidally," although that also throws in the Wipers inspiration and that's in bolder relief for the instrumental "Hyperboria," I'm not quite as enamored with that song nor the guitar/vocal-only "Animal Life In The Demiurge" but the rest is pretty solid scree. (223 Lafayette Ave., Buffalo, NY 14213, spermbuffalo.bandcamp.comFacility Men, with the always-busy Pat Shanahan (most recently in White Whale, Empty Room and Cold Comfort) on bass, follow a surging post-punk route, working best on "A History of Self Sabotage," with a jabbing guitar signature. They just uploaded four new songs on their Bandcamp page that continue in a similarly quality vein. (subject1.bandcamp.com)

Meanwhile, approximately 75 miles east of Buffalo, the Rochester band Beastman have something of a schtick-filled concept going on, judging by the caveman-inspired costumes on the tape's cover. There's something in the water in that city, as the bands I've heard from there have a dementedly-loopy approach to their version of punk. There are members of Flip Shit involved in Beastman and it's something of a similar take as that band. Mainly fast compositions played with devil-may-care abandon. Guitar lines that sputter and slash with trebly aplomb and perfectly accompanied by unhinged, ranty vocals. (Jelly Music, [130 Winton Rd. N], PO Box 10512, Rochester, NY 14610, jellymusicinc.bandcamp.com)

RASH TONGUE

Closer to (my) home come a pair of demos from bands who won't be together by the time you read this because members of each are moving away. In the case of Baja Blatz, they've already announced their demise (or "expiration date," as they put it). Any band with Chris Strunk (Conversions, Vile Bodies and many more) on drums already has plenty going for it as he's one of the more skilled sticksmen (yet more alliteration--somebody stop me!) around here. They cover Showcase Showdown's "Tonight Tonight" and there are some similarities in the way they fuse speed with irresistible, catchy punk energy although Jen's vocals are nastier and raspier. Some wise-assed lyrics but with a point, such as "Fuck Street Harrassment." "Joe Sly" is a true story about an undercover cop who went on various social media sites to find out where DIY shows were and then they'd get busted. Loud, fast fun. (bajablatz.bandcamp.comRash Tongue's aren't actually breaking up but going on hiatus--more recording and touring are in their future. Their tape has been out for awhile and it's a corker, operating in a d-beat/Swedish hardcore vein (both fast and slower tempos), with some feedback in the guitars but eschewing a noisy/blown-out sound. Nothing new or revelatory but just good thumping hardcore packed with more-than-enough ferocity. (rashtongue.bandcamp.com)

Finally, there's the debut demo from Chicago's Udüsic, who connect with some rough, dark sounding hardcore. A gnarled 'n prickly musical attack, punctuated by the occasional metallic guitar touch and Sarah's scathing vocals. Includes a not-too-bad cover of Out Cold's mid-tempo "It Went Bang." (udusic.bandcamp.com)

EEL

THOSE BLACK ROUND THINGS WITH A HOLE IN THE MIDDLE...


BAD DADDIES-Negative Fun Singles Club 2014 (Negative Fun, 7" EP)
The latest from the Bad Daddies is part of the Negative Fun label's singles club (in case you weren't paying attention). Some of their best stuff to date, especially "You Ain't Right," which clocks in at over 3 minutes and is a relentless whirlwind with squalls of feedback and a numbing progression that sounds a bit like the Germs' "We Must Bleed." Three shorter compositions comprise the flip side. "Teenage Hell" has a synth drone bracketing the main part of the song (which lasts all of 20 seconds or so). Dishing out the noisy punk and it's a good kind of noise. (www.negativefun.com; baddaddies.bandcamp.com)

BLOOD PRESSURE-s/t (Beach Impdiment, 7" EP)
Eric Montanez has played in a number of killer bands over the years--Direct Control, Government Warning, Sickoids and, these days, with Pittsburgh band Eel. Add this band to the list. Kick-ass hardcore punk mixing up Scandinavian and Poison Idea influences. The vocalist is Ed Steck, formerly of the late, great Brain Handle, but this band has a rawer edge to it. Coming at you full-bore and packing an unrelenting punch. (beachimpedimentrecords.blogspot.com)

COMBAT ZONE-s/t (Side Two, LP)
"This record is for the ugly people rejects outcasts freaks monsters punks and skins..." OK, there's a lack of punctuation but that's a pretty good description of the desired audience for the Combat Zone's first vinyl outing. And they proudly proclaim that "violence is real" and "hate is a driving force." It's hard to miss that message with the bellicose sentiments barked out by Eric. Boot stomping old school hardcore with a similar vibe as a band like 86 Mentality and the early Boston bands. A straight-forward, basic sound with catchy guitar riffs and a thumping bass-drums tandem reinforcing everything. Punch In The Face had a song called "Not Here To Make Friends" and that fits the bill here. (6 Wadleigh Place, Boston, MA 02127, www.side-two.com)

DEATHWISH-Six Bullet Roulette (Profane Existence/OSD Press, 7" EP)
Deathwish feature Wartorn vocalist Bitty, who doubles on bass here. When Bitty sent this 7", he described it to me as being "Motorcharged" and that's a decent enough description. It's a looser rock 'n roll sound fused with Scandinavian hardcore and I think I actually prefer this 7" to his other band's most recent album Iconic Nightmare (which came out last year on Southern Lord). Wartorn are a good band, especially live, but this is more in my wheelhouse. The two faster-paced songs, "As The Fire Rises" and "6 Bullet Roulette," are total scorchers. (profaneexistence.com; osdpress.wordpress.com)

DRAIZE-s/t (Bad Teeth, 7" EP)
The latest from this long-time Boston band (they started around 2008 or so) who haven't released much on vinyl over the years. This is their first 7", following a 12" in 2010. Ripping hardcore/powerviolence that's played with power and precision, due in no small part to drummer Mike Read, who is an absolute monster behind the kit. Tom's harsh and gutteral vocals provide the perfect accompaniment, as do the bleak lyrics. As I've always stated, I'm not a big powerviolence fan but these guys mix up the tempos well and the riffs are crushing. (badteethrecordings.bigcartel.com)

EEL-Endless Fucker (Mind Cure/Konton Crasher, 12")
Drunk with power tools and obsessed with death... that's the motto of Pittsburgh's Eel, whose vocalist is Jimmy Rose (ex-Annihilation Time/GSMF). Mixing in electronic effects and featuring Jimmy on lead angle grinder, Eel concoct a stew of punk-ala-Chaos UK and Disorder, along with more tuneful touches. It's noisy but not blown-out or covered in sheets of distortion. It wraps up with the experimental sonic collage (with a beat) of the closing track "Jisatsu Noisy." A new wrinkle on raw punk. (3138 Dobson St., Floor #2, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, mindcurerecords.com; kontoncrasher.blogspot.com)

EXTERNAL MENACE-Coalition Blues (Loud Punk, LP)
A somewhat more obscure early 80s UK punk band (they were from Scotland, actually). An excellent compilation of recordings from 1982-1984, with various lineups, including two different vocalists who have a similarly raspy style. External Menace came down on the more tuneful side of the equation ala the Defects or Blitz (the guitar sound for "We Wanna Know" had me thinking of the latter). The earlier songs, with their original vocalist Wully, do have somewhat more punch to 'em--those were the songs that were used for their first two 7"s. Lots of buzz and burn to go with the hooks and these guys hold their own with some of the better-known acts of the day. It includes a four song bonus 7" with two rough-sounding demos that pack a primitive appeal along with a couple of not-as-hot live tracks. (PO Box 6115, Albany, NY 12203, www.loudpunk.com)


FLACCID

FLACCID-s/t (Nothing Is Real, 7" EP)
Boston's North Shore suburbs (my neck of the woods) hasn't exactly been fertile ground for quality bands over the years but here's an exception. Hard-hitting, fast-paced punk mixing old school US and UK influences. As with some of the newer crop of local bands, there's a bare-knuckled, pissed-off vibe. Nothing positive, just an outpouring of bile punctuated by a "leave me the fuck alone" attitude. Nicely packaged in a hand screened cover and with 12 page lyric booklet. 19 Green St. Unit #1, Salem, MA 01970, xnthompsox@gmail.comnothingisrealrecs.storenvy.com)

GOOD THROB-Fuck Off (SuperFi/White Denim/Sabermetric, LP)
The album's title should give you a pretty good idea where UK band Good Throb are coming from. Jarring post-punk with throbbin' (yep) bass, jagged guitar, a pounding backbeat and caustic vocals and lyrics. Bands like Kleenex, Delta 5 and the early 90s riot grrrl scene are easy touchpoints but they're accurate. In-your-face sentiments dealing with the day-to-day harassment and abuse that women deal with. Spot-on musically and lyrically and Ellie's voice sounds positively scathing. Incidentally, one of my favorite tracks by them, a cover of Puke Spit n Guts' "You Ain't Never" isn't on here but on the Welcome To 2013 comp. I loved the way Ellie matter-of-factly sings "you ain't never gonna fuck me in my ass." I've been kicking myself for missing them when they came through here earlier this year and hope I might have another chance to see them. (www.superfirecords.co.ukwww.whitedenim.com; sabermetric.tictail.com)

HERO DISHONEST-Kaikki Hajoaa (Peterwalkee, 7" EP)
This longtime Finnish band never disappoint and that's the case with their latest five song EP. And there's another foreign-language cover version--on the last album, it was Die Kreuzen's "This Hope." This time they take on the Proletariat's "Religion Is The Opium Of The Masses," retitled "Jumalan Selatys" (which actually translates to "God's Annihilation"--thank you Google Translate) and substituting the jazzy break of the original for something spacier-sounding. A bumpy ride navigating through hammering, thrashy terrain to the ferociously rockin' title track,  Despite the title translation of "All Decomposed," there's no decomposition in their sound. As for the world at large... (www.peterwalkeerecords.com)


MISSIONARY

MISSIONARY-American Strike EP (Warthog Speak, 7" EP)
Mean 'n nasty hardcore by this NYC band, following a killer demo last year--and they're an ass-kickin' live unit, as well. Reed has a harsh, in-your-face vocal cadence and the band's approach is no-nonsense old school US bootboy fodder. Matt from Social Circkle and Green Beret plays guitar and the other guys have played in other past/present quality NYC punk bands. Rage you can feel and will make you want to start stomping the floor. (warthogspeak.com)

NEUTRON RATS-Bomb Worship (Loud Punk, 7" EP)
Second EP of maximum hardcore punk pillage for Albany's Neutron Rats. Raw, feedback-laden, spark-sputtering guitars, club-like drumming (as in the weapon, not some lame dance music) and all the hoarse-voiced fury you can manage. Very ugly-sounding--view that as a compliment.  (PO Box 6115, Albany, NY 12203, www.loudpunk.com)

NIHILIST CUNT-Everything Falls Apart (Suburban White Trash, 7" EP)
Nihilist Cunt are so fucking punk, it hurts. Becca, the rough-voiced frontwoman, sounds like she wants to hurt a lot of people and states as much on "Killing Spree"--well, certain people, like ones who have kids they're unable to support. There's the whole "you had a kid and stay home and I'm supporting you with my tax dollars" attitude that almost sounds like "Public Assistance" by Agnostic Front. Although, after spending afternoons at the YMCA pool and dodging annoying kids, I can kind of see their point. And, despite all the anger 'n rage they muster, the music isn't bombastic but mainly fast and catchy in spots, while maintaining plenty of burn. (PO Box 270594, Fort Collins, CO 80527, http://swt4records.storenvy.com)

RESIST CONTROL-Cessation (Feral Kid/Peterwalkee, LP)
Resist Control have been around since the late '00s (I saw them with Hjertestop back in 2008) but this is their first 12" vinyl offering. Rippin' hardcore with some ultra-fast drumming as well as shifts in tempo, such as for the slightly more anthemic (for want of a better word) "Reality Check." You can hear bits of DRI, Offenders (the vocals are somewhat like JJ's from that band) and Siege. Sometimes, it does come across as speed-for-speed's-sake but the band sound tight and powerful throughout, before the slower, four minute plus instrumental "Dissipation" that wraps things up. Lyrics that observe the often-dispiriting nature of our existence, both personally and politically. I like the Ayn Rand reference in "Traditions," which takes issue with the so-called American dream. Pretty solid release and the screened cover on heavy stock looks great. (feralkidrecords.com; www.peteralkeerecords.com)

RF7-101 (Smoke 7, CD)
Still going strong after god-knows how many years (over 30 at this point) and RF7's latest is a mixed bag, with some solid tracks and a few semi-clunkers along the way. That's been the case with most of their albums over the years--they seem to reappear every five or so years with a new one (the last two were in 2004 and 2009). One thing that remains constant is Felix's rough-as-sandpaper vocals and, at its best, a slammin' west coast sound connecting best on a track like the brief "Bu Yao" or "She's Not My Jesus." On the other hand, the reggae-inflected "Sunshine Lady" and draggy rocker "Wasted Is The World (Again)" don't work as well. Good production by studio vet Earle Mankey. As always, RF7 remain a band that have their moments but not a lot more than that. (www.facebook.com/Smoke7Records)

SAVAGEHEADS-s/t (X-Ploit/Twerp, 7" EP)
Finally, some vinyl from these MassHoles, who emerged with one of last year's best demos. People from Bloodkrow Butcher and Male Nurses playing thumping punk with a little bit of a UK-82 influence. Tough as nails and also catchy as hell, with sharp guitar riffs and spot-on drumming. Includes a full-sized poster on newsprint, suitable for framing. OK, maybe not. (xploittapes.storenvy.comtwerprecords.storenvy.com)

SELF ABUSE-Teenage (Loud Punk, LP)
Another early 80s UK unearthing from Loud Punk. Recorded in 1983 and originally released as a demo. Straight-forward, sturdy mid-tempo tuneful punk done with something of a light touch, although there's still rhythmic presence. The compositions are punctuated by tasteful lead guitar lines and plain-sung vocals from Andy, who doubles on bass. There's nothing inherently wrong with all of this but it's not overly-electrifying, either. (PO Box 6115, Albany, NY 12203, www.loudpunk.com)

SOKEA PISTE-Valikasi (Peterwalkee, LP)
US pressing of this Finnish band's second album. Read the review on Suburban Voice blog #105. Recommended. (www.peterwalkeerecords.com)

STERILIZED-Zero Sum Game (Warthog Speak, 7" EP)
From the opening bass thunder, thumping drums and ominous guitar riffs, it's obvious a rough ride is ahead and that's what you get from Sterilized. Raw d-beat hardcore treading well-worn ground but they do it right. The last song, their theme song "Sterilized," is a mid-tempo crusher that makes the floor shake if you play it loudly enough--and that's the best way to listen, of course. (warthogspeak.com)

STRANGE WILDS-Wet (Inimical, 7" EP)
Noisy rock from Olympia by a band once known as Wet and have changed their moniker to Strange Wilds. This could have come out of that same region in the late 80s/early 90s and been pressed on a certain label whose initials are SP (or maybe it was one word but you get my drift) or maybe a Minneapolis one who were referred to as AmRep. Not a whole lot of hooks as they rely on an intense churn. It coalesces the best for the driving "Static Cage." Some good ideas but it didn't really connect. (inimical.com)

VALSE TRISTE-Sininen Hetki (Blame The Victim/Pupu's Bistro, 7" EP)
This Finnish band have been around since the late 80s but haven't released all that much new music in recent years--their Madon Luku album (reviewed in Suburban Voice blog #30 way back in early 2007) was their last full-length. Anyway, the passage of time hasn't diminished this thorny band's energy level one bit. A mesh of beefy bass-lines and guitar, along with two throat-rippin' vocalists, creating a sonic head rush. As I said in the older review, there are some similarities to NoMeansNo although this is coarser and harder-edged. Good to hear from these guys again. (blamethevictim13@gmail.com; pupusbristro.nettisivu.org)


WHITE PAGES

WHITE PAGES-Bam Bam EP (Can't Stand 'Ya, 7")
Speaking of bands that kinda sound like Showcase Showdown (see Baja Blatz review above), White Pages have been dishing out that kind of fast 'n unaffected punk for awhile on their previous 7" and a split tape with Halfrican. Charging straight ahead with Joe's nervous-sounding vocals and a stripped-down appeal. Four new songs on a one-sided 7" flying by in rapid succession and it's like an enjoyable caffeine jag without the crash. (http://cantstandya.storenvy.com/)

ZOOPARTY-UpOn9 (Dead Lamb, CD)
Zooparty's original bass-player Per Karlsson passed away but they carry on to kick out some more rock 'n rollin' punk ala the Pistols, Professionals, etc. Brian James from the Damned once again adds guitar licks on several songs, although the cover of his solo single "Ain't That A Shame" isn't that great--just guitar and vocals dragged out to nearly five minutes--I'd rather hear a cover of the one of the songs on the b-side of that single, "Living In Sin." Anyway, no reinvention of the wheel here, nothing next level, just some really catchy punk tunes, especially the leadoff song "Angry-La." (www.deadlambrecords.com)
 

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