Friday, December 27, 2019

Suburban Voice blog #142--The Best of 2019

UBIK (photo: Nick Nolan)

Damn, where does the time go? The end of the year, the end of the decade. Another batch of pretty good to great records. I'm done making resolutions to publish these installments on a more regular basis. Best laid plans, etc... although I've been working on the regular blog simultaneously to this one so they're being published at the same time. Happy holidays, New Year, etc... 

1. ISS-“Alles 3rd Gut” LP (Sorry State) 
ISS (which I've found out stands for In-School Suspension) are the punk rock masters of found sound permutations. I'm not sure how much is live instrumentation and how much comes from samples but it coalesces into something that doesn't come across as cold experimentation. And there are tunes--sublime melodies popping up on "Workshopping and "Fake V Flake," the former sampling Julie Cafritz's FUCK YOU from Pussy Galore’s "Cunt Tease." The spot-the-sample game is always fun. I smiled when hearing the animal noises from Flux's "Neu Smell" and the drumbeat from SS Decontrol's "How Much Art" merging for "Aromatherapy." There are other nods to hardcore, as with "Mac N Me" and "DDYSWHP" (Daddy's Whip) and the back cover is taken from the Beastie Boys' "Pollywog Stew." "White Man In Hammer Pants" rides a dubby PIL bass line. ISS's lyrics are clever and make a strong point without relying on slogans. A common thread is, my god, being an adult can really turn into a suburban soul-sucking existence, can't it? Save your sanity--play this loud and avoid such misery. 

2. UBIK-Next Phase (Iron Lung, 12" EP)
Another power-packed outing on Ubik's first 12", following a demo, 7" and a split with fellow Aussies Cold Meat. They're successful at cross-blending various punk shadings, including goth, anarcho, tuneful US west coast and even full-on thrash for the closing song "You Make Me Sick." An sense of urgency and anger come out in Ash's vocals. The lyrical emphasis is worldwide, whether at home ("Peter Dutton Is A Terrorist") or worldwide ("John Wayne Is A Cowboy (And Is On Twitter")).The urgency comes out in Ubik's music, as well.

3. KØHTI TUHØA-Ihmisen Kasvot (La Vida Es Un Mus, LP) 
Ravaging hardcore by this Finnish unit and their third album ups the ante with powerhouse playing and production. A statement against a world that "breed psychopaths, cold-hearted monsters who will never regret a thing," according to the English translation of the title track, which translates to "The Face Of Man." And that rage is served up in short, succinct doses. The stomping "Pinnah Alla" has a damaged, head-messing guitar line and that flows seamlessly into the full-blitz attack of "Mulkkujen Maailma," Doing it the right way, with concise, methodical aggression

4. SAP-2 (demo)
SAP are a scrappy, high-energy punk band who mix different strains together--incorporating post-punk, hardcore, garage and melodic touches into their sound, accompanied by Alex's hyper, expressive vocals. Well-played--the bass playing, in particular, is stellar throughout. Some impressive runs on "Carrot and Stick" and providing a solid counterpoint to the stinging guitar on "Short Stick.”

5. CRISIS MAN-The Myth of Moderation (Digital Regress, 7")
Ranty, snotty hardcore punk with Ross Farrar from Ceremony on vocals... this is real back-to-the-roots stuff for Ross, as Ceremony moved away (evolved or devolved?) from the punk ferocity of their masterwork "Rohnert Park." Ross punctuates his vocals with painful interjections, like someone's giving him a hotfoot. Gnashing, slashing guitar lines create a heady, twisted effect that goes straight for the skull.

6. THE VICTIMS-s/t (In The Red, LP)
Yes, a reissue of sorts. This is an archival godsend of early Aussie punk. I'm sure that anyone with even a passing knowledge of KBD fodder has heard this band's "Television Addict." Details are scant (no liner notes, even with a gatefold jacket) but, essentially, this is a reissue of a Japanese collection from 2011 called "Sleeping Dogs Lie" and side one features all of their recordings from '77-78, plus an unreleased song, "Perth Is A Culture Shock." Side two consists of previously-unreleased demos, just about all of 'em rough, fast and scorching. You could almost call many of these songs proto-hardcore  and the demo material sounds akin to UK-82 era bands like the Partisans five years early. A poppier side emerges for "I Understand" and there's a Kinks-ish vibe on "High School Girls." The tour-de-force is the nearly six minute, cacophonic mania of "Disco Junkies." Essential shit.

7. HASH REDACTOR-Drecksound (Goner LP)
Charlotte and Meredith from Nots join Alec from Ex-Cult and one other individual to form this unit. It’s closer to Ex-Cult’s loud punk/post-punk mesh. The bouncy "Floral Pattern" and "Lotion Poet Laureate" owe a debt to The Fall, more from a musical point of view than Alec's vocal cadence, although it's not completely absent. Some brooding properties are introduced for "In The Tank," with a bluesy guitar undertow. "Down The Tubes" goes straight for the throat with jabbing basslines and drum patterns and twisted guitar lines. A good balance of aggro and darker properties.

8. NOTS-3 (Goner, LP)
The 3 has a dual meaning here--it's Nots’ third album and their first as a three-piece, with Natalie Hoffman handling all guitar and synthesizer/keyboards, complementing her detached-sounding vocals. Some songs eschew guitar completely, as the synth creates a heady sonic tapestry --beeps, blips, washes sometimes generating a frenzy, as with "Floating Hand." The bass and drums lock in perfectly, moving things along at a driving pace. Paring down the lineup doesn't compromise Nots’ sweeping sound one bit.

9. NEON-s/t (Square One Again, LP)
Neon are abrasive. They’re atonal. They have a way of getting under your skin and there’s no way to break loose. It’s an incessant assault of frenetic punk/post-punk/no wave, accompanied by a repetitive word attack that becomes an extra instrument. Not so much lyrics as words phrases and narratives repeated ad-infinitum, drenched with sarcasm and cynicism. Those vocals are wrapped around and run counter to the musical chaos, punctuated by jarring, slashing, sliding guitar lines, busy bass and walloping drums. It’ll leave your head spinning. 

10. SKIZOPHRENIA-Undead Melodies EP (Kick Rock, 7")
Skizophrenia were one of the more-entertaining bands I've saw in 2019 and this 7" gives you a hint of their trigger-finger power. Classic Japanese pillage ala Systematic Death and these guys can playyyyy.... One of my local musical compatriots mentioned that they reminded him of Laukaus, too, and I'd concur. They've been around for over a decade and these four songs show they're not letting up one bit. Four loud and fast ragers. Out on different labels around the world, including Distort Reality in the US.

15 MORE RELEASES I LIKED THIS YEAR (in alphabetical order)


CHAIN WHIP-14 Lashes (self-released, LP)
COLLATE-Symptomatic (demo)
CUNTS-s/t (Ipecac, LP)
DOTS-s/t (Dirt Cult, LP)
DROIDS-Droids Blood (Drunken Sailor, LP)
FUTURA-End It All (demo)
IRREAL-Fi Del Mon (La Vida Es Un Mus, LP)
KALEIDOSCOPE-After The Futures (Toxic State, LP)
MACK ENEMY-s/t (demo)
MOD VIGIL-Automatic Remorse (Fozmo, LP)
PCP & THE KNIVES-LSD For Breakfast (demo)
SCIENCE MAN-s/t (Swimming Faith, LP)
SLANT-Vain Attempt (Iron Lung, 7”)
SOGA-Demo MLP (Iron Lung, 12”)
UROCHROMES-Trope House (Wharf Cat)

BEST LIVE (in alphabetical order)


AXE RASH (News Café, 8/6/19)
BOOTLICKER (Ram Ranch, 10/18/19)
IDIOTA CIVILIZZATO (O’Brien’s, 5/12/19)
IMPULSO (Democracy Center, 4/20/19)
JAD (Banshee Den, 10/29/19)
MACK ENEMY (Black Lodge, 6/4/19)
PCP & THE KNIVES (multiple times in 2019)
RUBBLE (Harsh House, 1/26/19)
SKIZOPHRENIA (Great Scott, 8/12/19)
URANIUM CLUB (The Firehouse, 7/1/19)

Suburban Voice blog #141

(photo: Mik Mellen)


I’d imagine a fair number of you aren’t familiar with Peter Laughner but you’re probably familiar with some of his bands that he passed through—Rocket From The Tombs and Pere Ubu, for instance. He also logged time in The Original Wolverines, Fins, Cinderella Backstreet and Friction. His song “Ain’t It Fun” made it onto the second Dead Boys album, “We Have Come For Your Children” but the original was by Rocket and co-written by Gene O’Connor, better known as Cheetah Chrome. To give a short history lesson, Rocket basically split off into Pere Ubu and Frankenstein, who eventually changed their name to the Dead Boys. 

Smog Veil has released a five LP or CD box set of Peter Laughner's music, spanning from 1972 to 1977, although he started playing in the 1960s. It's accompanied by a book (my copy of it came in PDF format) that includes a biography, photos and other ephemera. The best part is the collection of Laughner's musical musings that appeared in local arts papers in Cleveland and, later on, CREEM magazine. Peter Laughner's life was short. He died from acute pancreatitis in 1977 at the age of 24. Given his copious alcohol and drug abuse, it wasn't all that surprising. Let's put it this way--if his level of self-abuse was too much for even rock scribe Lester Bangs (who also died very young, at 33), then it was probably beyond the pale. Bangs' tribute to Laughner, originally published in New York Rocker (and later reprinted in the "Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung" collection of Bangs' writing) is included and says as much. 

Laughner's writing came from a self-referential muse, definitely Bangs' spiritual kin, and he called 'em as he saw 'em. He wasn't a Kiss fan--my notes say he referred to them as phony degenerates. Of course, his inspiration came from the real-life degenerates and hard-lifers, not cartoon characters. And his writing from back then has piqued my interest. I'm interested in checking out those Charlie Parker and John Cale records he's raved about. And his review of Lou Reed's contract-breaking double LP of experimental noise, "Metal Machine Music," from Exit magazine (see below) made me laugh out loud. All I can say is, if the internet had been up and running in 1975, the review would have won it that day. Maybe that year. And I can only imagine what sort of Twitter feed he might have had. 

Still, is anyone who some might regard as a musical footnote worthy of a five CD set? Made up mainly of practice tapes, home demos, radio broadcasts and live material?  It's not hard to figure out where he was coming from. Laughner was a music fan with a great depth of knowledge and he wore his influences on his sleeve--Dylan, the Velvets and Lou Reed, in particular. He embraced Television, for whom he auditioned when Richard Lloyd left the band for a bit. A lot of the earlier songs, mainly those done with the Original Wolverines, have a folk, blues and country approach and there are cover versions of Dylan, Jimmie Rodgers and the Lovin' Spoonful, among others.The late night recordings on "Nocturnal Digressions" (1977), done shortly before his untimely death are acoustic demos, once again including a number of cover versions, including a slashing version of Richard Hell's "Blank Generation."

Truth be told, there are only a handful of songs that would appeal to the diehard rockers (i.e. your loyal scribe) and that's mainly on the "Rock It Down" (1974-1977) and "One Of The Boys" (1973-1974) discs. There's only one Rocket From The Tombs' song (a live "Ain't It Fun") and nothing from Pere Ubu. "Rock It Down" includes the Rocket song, as well as The Fins and Friction (the latter of which is the best of the non-Rocket/Pere Ubu bands). 

There are fiery covers of the Velvets' "What Goes On," Television's "Prove It" and there's also a jam-out version of the Modern Lovers' "Pablo Picasso" on "Rock It Down.""One Of The Boys" has a crazy cover by Cinderella Backstreet of "White Light White Heat" that's pretty out there for 1973, disintegrating into a drone they title "Call The Ambulance." I wouldn't mind a collection of the heavier moments. And the book is a must and I'd love to see it as a free-standing item someday, although that might not be practical.

Laughner was always evolving and eventually found his own voice. There was talent and he tried to get the musical ball rolling in Cleveland, aspiring to create something running counter to the mainstream, with a DIY aesthetic. Bangs quotes Laughner's review of Lou Reed's "Coney Island Baby"--"... if you are going to get anything done on this planet, you better pick it up with both hands and DO IT YOURSELF." 

I should note this review was largely composed while on a serious caffeine jag. That's my drug of choice and, now that the inevitable crash has happened, my notes look like a few pages of jibberish that required some piecing together. Hopefully, it makes some sense. (



ADRENALIN OD-The Wacky Hijinks of... 35th Anniversary Millenium Edition (Beer City, LP)/Humungusfungusamongus (Beer City, LP)
Following Beer City's reissue of AOD's "Let's Barbecue" EP comes re-waxings of their first two LPs. By the time "Wacky Hijinks came out, the lineup had shuffled, with guitarist Jim Foster departing and Bruce Wingate coming on-board, while vocalist Paul Richard also picked up a guitar. Thrashin’ was AOD’s business and they were quite proficient at it. Raw throughout but introducing some sneaky rock ‘n roll touches with a thickened up two guitar attack. The production was cleaned-up a little for "Humungus etc" and there were poppier touches mixed into the fray but the modus operandi didn't change that much. You want speed? You want volume? You got it here, along with a wise-assed worldview that was always one of AOD’s winning characteristics. And what a wicked wit they had, right down to barbs at sports cars, cock rockers and other thorns in their collective side. 

It’s obvious AOD had an anti-norm (for want of a better term) attitude. Lyrics like “How are you? Who cares? Why even talk if you get nowhere/Idle talk for idle minds/I got better things to do than waste my time” on “Small Talk” could be on any modern-day hardcore record written by this generation of misfits. It’s a timeless sentiment, in other words. 

Is it possible to sound pissed off while having a great time? These speed mavens proved those qualities don’t have to be mutually exclusive. I mean, how serious can you be when writing songs like “Hijack the Senior Citizen’s Bus" or claiming you recorded a song in your underwear? Or doing a surf version of "Hava Nagila" for "Surfin' Jew"? AOD were the antithesis of tough-guy hardcore but still held their own in the aggro sweepstakes. And they even snuck in a message or two, as with the anti-authoritarian "Crowd Control." A frenzied joy ride. (PO Box 1759, Milwaukee, WI 53201-1759,


BOOTLICKER-Nuclear Family (Neon Taste, 7")
Sound the fucking battlecry--Bootlicker is back. Mean 'n ugly, thumping, d-beat laced punk providing the full air-raid effect. The crash 'n wallop of the drumming really pushes things along here accompanying Lewis' throat-ripping vocals and the six 'n four string assault. "Shellshock" mentions "the bang of hell's drum." Sounds like a perfect description. (

BORIS THE SPRINKLER-Vespa To Venus (Beer City, LP)

First new album from these wiseacres in a couple of decades and it's just as silly and funny as ever. Rev. Nørb and his band of now middle-aged merrymakers are back and, if you think they've matured, think again. Granted, there's almost a bit of political protest for "[What Did The] Dog [Now?]"--"when you hear the news/don't it make you want to cry-yi-yi-i-yii." The orange turd isn't mentioned by name but it shows that Nørb has his hand on the pulse of current events. He probably has his hand elsewhere but I'll leave that one alone.  He introduces each song in his cartoonish voice. Musically, it's on the poppy side of the punk spectrum, as they've always been--those Rezillos recores are probably still in regular rotation on the 'ol hi-fi. Vocals are a tad more understated--sweeter, maybe? And this isn't going to blindside you with any raging power but if hearing him read a title like "My Cock's On Drugs" doesn't make you giggle like you were in the 7th grade, you need to lighten the fuck up, Francis. Or Dave. Or Amber... or whatever the hell your name is. (PO Box 1759, Milwaukee, WI 53201-1759,

BROTHER-s/t (Atomic Action, 7")
13 songs (all with single word titles) of crazed hardcore in under 10 minutes and it's not all done at blurry speed. Yes, they're capable of blasting away but it's not mindless grindcore or powerviolence. There are lots of tempo shifts in even the shortest songs. Closing track "Manifest" is heavy and ground-shaking, damn near an epic. George from Dropdead plays bass in this band and it's not far-removed from those guys or Infest. (

CHAIN WHIP-14 Lashes (self-released, LP)
14 lashes? More like 14 blows to the skull. Completely ass-kicking hardcore punk infused with speed, venom and hints of melody. The venom comes from Josh's phlegm-emitting messages of disgust, delivered with all of the anti-social rage that he can muster. Different themes are explored, though, such as the false alarm about a nuclear attack in Hawaii for "Hawaii CBM." There's also the creepiness of "Crawl Space Boyfriend" and "Turner Street Ghost Motel." The music is appropriately bare-knuckled, infused with a tinge of brawling, bootboy attitude and darker musical shadings. Inspirational line: "I don't wanna live in a fucked up world." Yeah, that sums it up nicely although I think it could be wanting things to be better than just throwing in the towel. (

CLITERATI-Ugly Truths//Beautiful Lies (Tankcrimes, LP)

Tough as nails, both musically and attitude-wise. Hardcore that flirts with crossover but avoiding boring chuggishness. Big-ass riffs tied to fast 'n raging arrangements and with a strong message. Vocalist Ami is trans (they/them) and one of the standouts is "Trans Is Beautiful," an important message given that trans people are still subjected to violence and abuse. Ruminations on an increasingly toxic and divided populace (particularly for "Red Neck White & Blue" and "Tribal Politics") and there's a LOT to be pissed off about these days. Cliterati express that succinctly, while bowling you over with a furious blitz. (

CUNTS-s/t (Ipecace, CD)
Hot 'n heavy hardcore/punk/noise. Guitarist Mike Crain slung the six strings for Retox, among other bands. Some of the tracks here follow that chaotic and fast muse, such as "Cholos On Acid," "You Should See My Dad," "Fail At Failure"), but a good chunk of it is crushing, a swirling block of bile aiming straight for the cranium. Pounding and intense, especially for "A Hero's Welcome" and "Cholos On PCP" (I guess different drugs have different effects on cholos). And let's just say they don't exactly fall into the "support our troops" mentality for "Fuck You For Your Service," with a "Semper Fi... die die die" refrain. Packing on the tension until submission is inevitable. (

DAS DRIP-s/t (Sorry State, LP)
The insert for this record has the original ad looking for a vocalist--"Angry freak to front new mid-brow Raleigh hardcore punk band. For fans of nihilism, not using chorus pedals and the first Meat Puppets 7"." It sounds like they got what they wanted. Well, I'm not sure if their vocalist Rach is a freak or not--or what qualifies as mid-brow. There's a definite appreciation of that first Puppets' EP, though. Frenetic punk with busy instrumentation and feeling a bit off-kilter. I mean that in a positive sense. I'm not sure if it's complete nihilism but the musical proceedings are certainly chaotic. Only one song breaks the 90 second mark and the adrenaline never flags. (

EYE WITNESS-Demo 2019 (demo)
Tortured Skull vocalist Ben Lynn also fronts this band and, instead of the more metallic style that band plies, this is straight-forward hardcore punk, delivered with all the subtlety of a boot to the groin. Fast 'n raw, expressing sentiments of dissolution and rage. Sometimes, you need that. (

FRENZY-s/t (Distort Reality, LP)

Frenzy, indeed--that's what this PDX band create, a total musical frenzy. And while this could be loosely described as noise punk, there's a lot at work here. It's not just a wall of indecipherable rawness.The scampering drums that start "Oblivion" have a similar feel as Disorder's "More Than Fights" but, instead of a d-beat assault, the rhythm quickly becomes whirling and chaotic. Bouncy thump also pops up, as with "Zcum" and "Calculated Genocide." A fusillade of guitar effects and burn, working in phasers and smokin' leads. Vocals aren't larynx-shredding or gutteral, but barked in a rhythmic cadence. Frenzy have a strong pedigree--most of these people also logged time in Nerveskade and Bi-Marks, among many other bands, but it's a different approach. A loud one that will shake you up, of course, but still a bit off the well-trod path. And on bright yellow vinyl and a full-color cover with a spiked, studded and smiling creature. (

HAIRCUT-Senstation (Beach Impediment, 7")

The follow-up to their 2017 EP on Feel It and with all the hardcore buzz 'n burn you'd want. Juliiana raspily barks out the words in both English and Spanish, accompanied by a beefy, razor-sharp attack falling in between rawness and cleaner production i.e. something that's not slick-sounding. Four songs to get your blood pumping. (

HELL BENT-Apocalyptic Lamentations (Atomic Action/Armageddon, LP)

Three members of 2000s era Providence band Straight To Hell reconvened a few years ago as Hell Bent and here's the debut album, following a demo. Whereas STH followed the Scandinavian blueprint, Hell Bent play in a decidedly metallic vein, retaining some of the Swedish elements. When I say metal, I mean 80s thrash and death metal. The riffage for "Ichthyosis" has a Celtic Frost tinge. They even do a medley of 80s Chicago thrashers Znowhite's "Sledgehammer" and "Hell Bent." Aaron sounds as agitated as ever... age sure as hell hasn't mellowed him one bit... and the band operate with ruthless, meat-cleaver efficiency. (

HOLY SHIT!-Not My Tempo (Vinyl Smash/Snuffy Smiles, 7")
Milwaukee hardcore hellions Holy Shit! seem to resurface every so often, with a history going back to 2001. And their approach to hardcore has a lot going on, maybe because their background came from the KBD punk-inspired scene (Chinese Millionaires, Catholic Boys, etc) and, being older guys, they have a wider historical scope. So they've always been a bit off-kilter. Midwest hardcore ala The Fix, early Meat Puppets and Black Flag, the latter on "Narrow The Goal." And on the title track, they say that Weezer, Radiohead, US Bombs and the Chicago Cuts are not their tempo while they take you aboard a well-wound whirlwind (yes, I stole that but I ain't saying where from). That makes me like them even more. (


IRREAL-Fi Del Mon (La Vida Es Un Mus, LP)
Spanish punk with a cleaner-sounding take on what Destino Final and Invasión did before that... that means reverb on the vocals and a loud/fast, sometimes mid-tempo blueprint. The latter creates some floor rattling intensity, as with the title track and "Ens Venen A Salvar." Slashing guitar with extra-terrestrial effects. Hitting all the right buttons, a powerful surge of sound. (


JAD-Strach (self-released, LP)
Tough 'n nasty hardcore punk from Warsaw. It's not all at one velocity, either. Along with speed, they throw in some bruising breakdowns and thumping, pounding medium-speed tempos. In other words, it's not pro-forma thrash but coming from a dark and intense region, without devolving into mosh-metal nonsense. There are some sick guitar pyrotechnics on the instrumental outro. Krzysiek's gruff and gutteral vocals have a small amount of echo on them, matched perfectly to the full-bore guitar, bass and drums tandem. (

JUDY AND THE JERKS-Friendships Formed In The Pit (Neck Chop, LP)/Music For Donuts (Thrilling Living, 7")/Bone Spur (Earth Girl, demo)
It's been a busy year for Judy and her Jerks--a 12" anthology, debut 7" and an even newer demo. "Friendships" is a compilation of their first two demos, adding on unreleased cover songs and it's funny how they show off their diverse roots. Versions of Floorpunch's "True Colors" and Die Kreuzen's raging "Think For Me" share space with the much sweeter renditions of the Go-Go's "Our Lips Are Sealed" and Buzzcocks' "I Don't Mind." Embracing hardcore, snotty punk and post-punk, played with malicious glee. If anything, their hardcore side has come out more on "Bone Spur." Julie (aka Judy) has an engagingly sarcastic, singy-songy vocal style. And they sound like they're having a great time doing it. (

LARMA-s/t (Beach Impediment, LP)
People from Skitkids, Heratys, Institution and more. Needless to say, this is straight up classic Swedish mangel hardcore drawing from past endeavors. It's not blown-out or over-the-top and largely eschews any sort of rock 'n roll influences that Skitkids plied. Larma don't really push the envelope, opting for standard hardcore operating procedure but that's enough. Just play it loudly enough. (

LAST RIGHT BRIGADE-Hoy Por La Libertad (Kick Rock, 7")
Scampering hardcore from Mito, Japan with lyrics in Japanese, English and Spanish (well, one line for the title track). No matter the language, they stick to a hard 'n fast blueprint, occasionally veering into hyperspace, as on "What's Freedom?" It definitely has that classic Japanese attack--high energy, throughout. (


Two Wisconsin bands operating in a not-too-serious garage punk vein. Last Sons of Krypton have been kicking around (off and on?) for a few decades. Fast-paced three-chord swill played with instrumental looseness and a wise-assed attitude and it'll keep your toes tappin.' The first track on the two man band Foamers? (that's how they spell it) side, "I Drew A Dumbass," is a trashy joy with squiggly guitar trills. After that, the fidelity drops to transistor radio quality and it's a drive through punk, blues, garage and old-time rock 'n roll. It sounds like an exhumed recording that was recorded in a shack. And it somehow holds together. Spirited sounds from both parties. (


A pummeling attack of hardcore punk out of Melbourne, from this band of pissed-off miscreants culled from the likes of Gutter Gods and Geld. Old school ravage with the throat-ripping vocals subsumed into a blown-out, nearly impenetrable cocoon. A more-recent 7", "Eye Of The Scared," provides more of the same. (

LOOSE NUKES-Behind The Screen (Beach Impediment, 7")

Boiling over rage. You want hardcore? This is the real shit. A gathering of Pittsburgh luminaries from a number of killer bands (Direct Control, Blood Pressure, Machine Gun, Sickoids, etc...) and having one of the best drummers in the game, Vince Klopfenstein, doesn't hurt. An outburst of pure, raw fury that reminds me of Out Cold at times, although it's dirtier sounding. Attitude? As they say, "call it cliche... I don't give a fuck." Amen. (

PCP AND THE KNIVES-LSD for Breakfast (demo)

New band from Salem, MA (home of the witch trials and way too many tourists in October) with a few people from Similar Items. Rough 'n tumble rage with snotty vocals conveying a bad fuckin' attitude. They don't have much use for cops, for one thing, rather pointedly stated on "Paid Vacation." A good mix of thrash and bile-filled punk and the trashy, 4 track production gives it a nasty edge. (


Persistent Aggressor include a couple of guys who played in early 2000s hardcore band Don Austin. This is a meaner, more vicious-sounding beast (not that Don Austin were exactly pop music)--Persistent Aggressor infuse their dark and intense thrash attack with metallic fury. The closing song, "Old, Grey, Feral," crawls through a damaged-sounding, twisted morass. Aging not so gracefully, with a ferocious statement. (


Pure thrash 'n death metal outta Milwaukee. The unholy offspring of Slayer, Bathory and Obituary--at least those are the bands that came to mind when listening. Evil-sounding vocals, meat-cleaver riffing, some furious bass runs and drumming that varies from a straight 4/4 beat to death blasts. All of it is well-executed and it's heavy as fuck, tending to work best at standard thrash velocity. The fact that it still mainly comes from a traditional metallic approach, instead of tuneless, grunted death stylings makes this a more listenable excursion. (PO Box 1759, Milwaukee, WI 53201-1759,

POWER-The Fool/Give It All To Me (Feel It, 7")

Two new tracks from Melbourne's Power. A pair of revved-up metallo/boogie rockers. "The Fool" has a Motörcharged feel, while "Give It All To Me" sounds like a sprightlier Saint Vitus. The latter is my pick to click. Deadly even at low volume. (

SCHOOL DRUGS-Modern Medicine (Indecision, LP)
The first 12" by this New Jersey band mixes driving west-coast influenced hardcore punk with melodic flourishes--kind of like Night Birds without the surfy twang. The double guitar attack creates full-on aggression, accompanied by a walloping rhythm and at-times howling 'n growling vocals. Lyrics that look inward and reveal tortured thoughts and emotions that are expressed passionately. Forceful production, although not too slick-sounding and that gives it a winning edginess. A scream from the soul. (

THE SHAME-Friendly (Crowd Control Media, LP)
Rowdy singalong oi/punk from this Tulsa firm, who have been doing this thing for close to a decade. Or vocalist/guitarist Chad Malone (who you may remember from Brother Inferior many years ago) has, along with some new recruits. Nice and beefy, with a boisterous twin guitar attack and songs centered around beer, football (soccer, not the gridiron kind) and some pointed political/sociological commentary to go along with it. Hooligans, but thoughtful ones. I'll bet they even say thank you when the next round is served. (

SLUMP-Flashbacks From Black Dust Country (Feel It, LP)
I don't get high but Slump's new album might be a good one to listen to if I did. Expansive psych/space/stoner emanations which tend to push things a bit--only two songs under four minutes--but when they rock, they do it hard. "(Do The) Sonic Sprawl" has an abundance of head-messing fury. "Tension Trance" has a deliberate power, with all sorts of otherworldly effects, although it sort of floats off into the ether. "Sensory Cocoon" is the opposite--a slow build-up to swirling cacophony. I tend to prefer this sort of thing in short, sharp doses and/or with an explosive nature and that's only true part of the time. (

SOGA-s/t (Iron Lung, 12")
Vinyl pressing of this Mexico City three piece's demo and, while they're not the most polished-sounding band, who needs it when the energy level is so high? Scrappy, energetic songs with buzz, wheedle and sting in the guitar lines and raspy, ranting vocals to go along with it. Some anarcho punk shadings, as with the Peni-esque "Resistir." They can be near-catchy at times, as well ("Medianoche"). People from Cremalleras and Ratas Del Vaticano, leaning towards the latter stylistically. (


TOUCH HEADS-Nostalgia Is Poison (demo)/Try To Get Some Sleep (demo)
Two demos in rapid succession from this Boston band. Rockin' punk with a sturdy, straight-forward flow. Big-ass bass lines, snaky, sometimes surfy guitar lines, rock-solid drumming and super-gruff vocals. Even a "woo-hoo-hoo" for "Simulcara," on the "Nostalgia" tape. And they're not a nostalgic lot. "Bought A Memory," reading between the lines, is about musical nostalgia being commodified, i.e bands on the classic rock or punk or whatever circuit. And, truth be told, while I'll sometimes see the old-timers, I'd rather see bands like this playing in a more intimate environment, where it doesn't feel like it's just something for sale. (


THE VOIDS-s/t (self-released, 12")
First time I've heard from this band in over a decade, but they're back with a reshuffled lineup. Fast, melodic punk ala Vice Squad, along with older west coast influences. The former is an easy comparison since Adri's vocals are akin to Beki's. It's well-played and produced and hits the right buttons. Nothing life or game-changing but it goes down easy, as they say. An energetic blast. (

WET SPECIMENS-Haunted Flesh (Brain Slash, 7")
Haunted, indeed--from the caverns of horrorific misery. Bruising, bare-knuckled hardcore with reverb-laden hoarse vocals and plumbing the dark side of the psyche. There's the occasional gothy guitar shimmer to the bloodcurdling attack on "In Secretion Room" and "Tongue & Teeth." Burning with a cold-blooded intensity. (

Two bands grindin' it out here (pun intended). Wound Man sound like a more metallic Infest, going between lurching tempos and pure speed.  I prefer RGC since their music doesn't spiral out of control and provides a bashin' good time. Speed and heavier breakdowns but it's more damaged-sounding than chuggy, (