Friday, August 25, 2006

Suburban Voice blog #19

I haven’t been to any live shows in the past week, so here’s a good place to post some recent live photos, along with the record reviews. Clockwise from top left, it's Todd from Severed Head Of State, Gary from the Dicks, Kasper from No Hope For The Kids and Kenny from Government Warning...

CARDIAC ARREST-Life’s A Dead End (Grave Mistake/No Way, 7” EP)
Another rip-roarin’ dose of hardcore from St. Louis band Cardiac Mistake. Rob’s Choke-inspired rant is at the fore and, as always, the band’s basic, fast hardcore connects dead-on. “End Of The Line” starts with the line “Everyday I fight the urge to put a knife in your face/gonna snap, I’m gonna snap.” That’s why hardcore is such good therapy for all of us—what better way to get that shit out of your system. Cardiac Arrest haven’t disappointed yet. ( or

CIRIL-Pink Cave/Metal Postcard (Vinyl Dog, 7”)
One song on each side. Dark-hued punk not showing as much of the obvious Peni inspiration, either vocally or musically, as in the past. Also easing up on the speed. “Pink Cave” is carried along by prominent bass/drums and snaky guitar. The flip is a Siouxsie cover—not the song I would have selected and it’s not particularly well done. Middling. (8941 Atlanta Ave., #505, Huntington Beach, CA 92646,

THE DRAWBACK-The Brain Of The Operation (self-released, 7” EP)
Kind of a disgusting drawing on the cover, playing on the surgical theme of the title track. The main riff from that song is very similar to Discharge’s “Protest and Survive.” A street-punk/UK inspired sound, with “Dead Streets” taking a faster turn. The vocals are kind of weak and the sound clunky, at times. Let’s just say it needs work. (

GUNNAR HANSEN-Village Idiot (Audiofellatio, 7” EP)
Does the teenybopper duo Hansen even exist anymore? The thought of what’s left of their fanbase thinking this is a solo effort, buying it, putting on the turntable and having their precious heads explode is an appealing image. This record is an ass-kicker. From Hamilton, ON and a ruckus of rock ‘n roll inspired hardcore punk. Two fast ones, two at a more medium speed. The opening bass-line for “You’re Alone” casts a 4-Skins “I Don’t Wanna Die” influence. Whatever the vocalist’s name is, he has a bite-off-‘yer head cadence somewhere between Eric Ozenne from the Nerve Agents and John Joseph. They sound mean. They rock hard. That’s all you need to know. (251 West Ave N., Hamilton, ON L8L 5C8, CANADA,

THE JOHNS-In Tune (Anko, 7” EP)
The cover lists all the bands these guys have played in—Die Hunns, Grabbers (including their vocalist Tommy), Crowd, ADZ and more—so it’s safe to say the guys in The Johns (a different Johns from the Maryland post-punk band) have been around a bit. Struttin’ punky rock ‘n roll played with bravado and confidence. The a-side is the best of the three and I wouldn’t mind checking out more from this band at some point. (PO Box 1799, Costa Mesa, CA 92628,

MARKED MEN-Fix My Brain (Swami, CD)
Another enjoyable power pop hookfest from the Marked Men, on their third album, starting with the opening chords of “A Little Time.” My first impression was it wasn’t as punchy as the other two records but I was completely off-base. Sharp, jolting and tuneful. A winning brashness. I keep going back to the aching “Sully My Name,” with the “whoos” sealing the deal. The Marked Men also released a two song 7” on their own Shit Sandwich label and it has a little more edge but these songs, even with the sweetness, still cut to the quick. (PO Box 620428, San Diego, CA 92162,

NIPPLES-Weekend Toys (Basement, CD)
Melodic hardcore and punk with a snot-noise/high register vocalist and it gets grating after awhile. They stick to a largely thrashy formula, along with the occasional punkier song such as “All That Pink,” which is the most-memorable. The thing about the thrash is it’s happy-sounding and I prefer more burn and anger in fast hardcore. I have to admit the “thanks” to “Tom from MySpace for a generation down the drain” but the songs here mainly go by without leaving much in the way of impact. Not to be confused with the early UK punk band that included Shane MacGowan. (PO Box 511, La Habre, CA 90633-0511,

PERE UBU-Why I Hate Women (Smog Veil, CD)
Pere Ubu’s recordings have always been on the spotty side for such a legendary band. At their best, which was in the 70s, though, there were some incredible moments that sound as good some 30 or so years later—“Non-Alignment Pact,” “The Modern Dance,” “Heart of Darkness,” “Streetwaves” and, notably, “Final Solution.” My Pere Ubu listening is mainly restricted to the first album and the “Terminal Tower” anthology. I try to keep an open mind when hearing new recordings by older artists. Some bands—Motörhead, for instance—are able to make exciting music. Others—the New York Dolls—shouldn’t have bothered trying (a friend of mine would disagree with me, although he liked Buster Poindexter, so that disqualifies his opinion). So let’s get to the album. Quirky, artsy rock with similar synth “washes” as in their embryonic days and David Thomas’ oddball vocals continue to cut against the grain. In fact, the synth is fairly dominant, although the guitars cut through on occasion, particularly “Caroleen,” by far the most straight-forward rocker here. Sporadically interesting, sometimes involving elements of the “vintage” era but still highly uneven. (1658 N. Milwaukee Ave., #284, Chicago, IL 60647,

REZUREX-Beyond The Grave (Fiendforce, CD)
As I look at the CD cover and contemplate the musical contents, there is one unrelated question to ask—how the hell do two of those guys manage to get those mohawks to stand up? Pomade? I’d say that would be it. Anyway, the term for this music is psychobilly and they have horror-oriented themes. It’s not all that psychotic but, rather, sounding fairly controlled. Pleasant vocals, solid playing with twangy guitar, drums and standup bass as Rezurex touch on 50s-era sounds with a semi-punky twist. I’m not into this genre and, even if I was, I wish it had a nastier edge to it. (

STABBED IN BACK-s/t (Basement, CD-EP)
When hearing the ranty vocals and peppy, tuneful hardcore on here, I wondered if it was the vocalist for Swindle because Kendal, this band’s voice, sounds quite a bit like him and the band also have some similarities. Fast paced and punctuated by vocal whooahs to sweeten it a bit. Standard west coast punk, none-too-memorable. The violin at the conclusion of “When Laughter Turns To Screams” doesn’t help, either. (PO Box 511, La Habre, CA 90633-0511,

TODAY’S OVERDOSE-s/t (Profane Existence/Wasted Sounds, 7” EP)
This band includes all the members of Wolfbrigade except the bass-player. When Dan from Profane handed me a copy of this EP, he mentioned they had a Poison Idea influence and that’s accurate, merged with a crusty edge. “Insomnia” deviates a bit with a rock ‘n roll feel, with some speedy segments for good measure. The best song on here and they’re off to a hell of a start. (PO Box 8722, Minneapolis, MN,

TOXIC HOLOCAUST-Reaper’s Grave (Gloom, 5”)
Amazingly, I was able to get this to play on my regular turntable because, sometimes, the tonearm will return before playing a note. Anyway, this two song disc on blood-red vinyl features the typically raw death/speed metal sounds and cheery subject matter that come from Joel’s mind. Only 500 of these fuckers and mine is number 4. Must be some kind of karma because, when I played sports, I wore #4 in honor of the Bruins’ Bobby Orr. It says on the Gloom webpage that the vocals were recorded in his car in an Applebees parking lot. If that’s true, it must have been after dinner and Joel was probably attempting to purge some of those godawful riblets. (PO Box 14253, Albany, NY 12212,

VÖETSEK-A Match Made In Hell (Six Weeks, CD)
Collections of singles, splits etcetera etcetera. Thrash, thrash and more thrash, along with some metal/crossover influences, such as Napalm Death. Eruptive yet I sometimes think this band would benefit from having their songs be a little more structured and a bit longer. That does happen on occasion—“White Ain’t Right” is a perfect example. It seems like speed for speed’s sake and Ami sounds as though she’s having difficulty getting all the words in. Tight as hell, though. How do they remember all those songs?! (225 Lincoln Ave, Cotati, CA 94931,

WITCH HUNT-Blood-Red States (Profane Existence, LP)
A lineup shift as Witch Hunt beef up their sound with Rob moving from drums to guitar and the addition of a new drummer. Rob also has an increased amount of vocal duties. A peace punk band and I’m not just saying that because of the peace symbols on the fold-out sleeve and record label. It’s a stylistic influence, both in terms of the lyrical matter and sound. Raging, impassioned music with a combination of speed and melody. “War Coma” brings Crucifix to mind. The title track draws together the war in Iraq and the indifference towards the victims of Hurricane Katrina as part of the current administration’s pure evilness. Witch Hunt really come into their own here. By the way, that aforementioned sleeve, a drawing by Rob that pictures a dead man sprawled across the blood red states, is an appropriate visual accompaniment. (PO Box 8722, Minneapolis, MN 55408,

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