Sunday, April 01, 2007

Suburban Voice blog #36


That line is taken from an Impact Unit song. A friend of mine from Nevada was telling me about how she was at a punk show and how the pit (she calls it a mosh pit and I explained to her that it’s definitely not cool to use that term) had an unfriendly feel to it. We were talking about “friendly” and “unfriendly” pits. It got me to thinking that, for most of the shows I go to, the pit has a more or less “friendly” vibe. No karate moves or spin kicking, like you see at more tough-core or ’87-inspired hardcore shows—you know, the kinds of bands whose merch usually includes hooded sweatshirts.

It’s a contrast between something being communal and something being individualistic. I do think punk is about individualism and I’m also skeptical as all hell about the “communal” aspect but it’s a nice concept, at least, and the shows where people aren’t beating the living crap out of each other in the pit are more fun. With the martial arts pit crowd, it’s more a sense being self-centered, showing off your style and if someone gets in the way and they get clocked, too bad. They’re not HARD enough. Fuck that. So—to quote the Spark, circle pits, not karate kicks!

And, while I’m sure he’s so humble that he doesn’t want to be pointed out, a round of applause for Boston’s most enthusiastic dancer, Circle Pat. If you go to any DIY punk show around here, you’ll see him dancing like a maniac back and forth to just about any band. Hell, he dances to his own band, Apeshit. And the great thing about Pat is he goes nuts without crashing into people on the side. Even when he dives on people’s heads, there’s no malice. He’s so considerate that when I’m taking photos, he ducks down so he won’t ruin my shot. Agile as hell, too—when Benjamin from Blank Stare was engaging in some serious Roger Daltrey mike swinging and Pat came into the line of fire, he ducked just in time to avoid getting nailed. That’s probably the most impressive dance move I’ve ever seen from the guy.


Just the other night, I was at a show at MassArt that included three all-female bands, Condenada, Bruise Violet and Joda. Positive Reinforcement and Legion of Hell (watch out for these crust-metallers) started things off. During those three bands’ sets, the dance floor was taken over by the ladies and when a few of them started playing leapfrog, that was an awe-inspiring moment.




Two very good demos that I had reviewed before (is there an echo in here?) are now available in the vinyl format. The first is from The Youths, whose “We’re The Youths,” has been given a lovely yellow pressing on Criminal IQ Records (3501 N. Southport, Chicago, IL 60657, This Portuguese band hammer out five songs of catchy garage/punk snot and a slight amount of non-pretentious artsiness. When a song has handclaps and makes me want to clap along, as it the case with “Decontrol,” it’s a good sign. The other record is from the California hardcore band Nightstick Justice, a split release between Even Worse and Way Back When Records (WBW: Noel de Boer, Saenredamsraat 44-2, 1072 CH Amsterdam, HOLLAND, This band’s boiling-over sound grabbed me with the demo format and it sounds even better on vinyl. No let-up, no breaks, except when you have to turn the record over, and it’s pure throttle. I guess they heard me when I said the demo “begged for a demo release.”

ENCROACHED-Shoot The Icons (Shock To The System, 7” EP)
Off-the-rails hardcore by this Japanese band and they have a sound that pays tribute to their forebears. Raw distorted production and an attack that merges howling vocals and a clamorous tandem of razor-sharp guitar, earth-moving bass and powerful drumming—all of it moving at high velocity. I have no idea what they mean by “I’ll sabotage the surface relation” nor “Get chance to the rusts,” but these songs make a direct connection and then some. (PO Box 300991, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130,


FRUIT SALAD-Blood Power (Teenage Disco Bloodbath, 7” EP)
Thrash, grind and heaviness from this local (well, to Boston) band with the oddball moniker and on pretty green vinyl. A combination of serious and not-so-serious lyrics. “Natures Revenge Association” (aka “NRA”) advises arming the animals… you know, protect the right to arm bears. I’m still more a fan of seeing grind bands live than on record but these guys have gotten better lately and this recording reflects it. Tight, aggressive playing. (

They toured together, so here’s a split CD (vinyl on Alternative Tentacles). Each band covers the other—plus LOC cover the Subhumans and Citizen Fish cover Choking Victim. Got it straight? LOC’s songs here are a lot better than on their not-so-great second album. Tuneful punk along with ska and the guitar lines grab ‘n singe. Best of all, I can listen to the songs without being surrounded by their godawful fan base. I have to admit I’m a sucker for their sense of melody. As for the Fishies, they also tread the ska/punk line. I sometimes think the songs that have horns would be better without them but it doesn’t sound like third wave garbage, at least. What’s interesting is the jaunty, upbeat feeling to the compositions even with the deadly serious subject matter. The best song is the urgent, driving punk of “Getting Used To It” that almost has a Rocket From The Crypt feeling to it. No real duds here. (PO Box 193690, SF, CA 94119-3690,

POUND FOR POUND-For Our Fallen Brothers (Surprise Attack, CD)
When I turn this disc on, I get the urge to start pumping iron. No joke—I was pantomiming some heavy lifting in my den here since I don’t have any barbells. In any case, stentorian hardcore with the requisite bellowing vocals and metallic riffage. Pound for Pound have spent as much time listening to “And Justice For All” and “Vulgar Display Of Power” as they have “The Age Of Quarrel.” As you can probably tell by the title of the record, the subject matter isn’t very cheerful. Such lines as “This world is so full of hurt. The tide of pain left to rip us apart.” I have to admit some of these songs have enough groove to get by but it still ends up being tedious chug-chug. Incidentally, there’s a sad sidebar to this album. It’s dedicated to their friends, at least some of whom were killed in Iraq (I found out by Google-ing their names). Such a tragedy for no legitimate reason. Just as sad is the desire to exact revenge, as expressed on “Stand Our Ground.” That enmity should be directed more at the madmen who had the idea to invade Iraq in the first place. (PO Box 63704, Philadelphia, PA 19147,

ROTTENFUX-s/t (Six Weeks, 7” EP)
The thumpa-thumpa drumming is kind of weak but this band’s super-raw early 80s hardcore punk sound is rife with feedback-laden guitar buzz and sputtering leads. The throat rippin’ vocals come from a gentleman who goes by the name Filthy. This sounds as though it could be some lost Killed By Hardcore EP from back in the day and that’s something to be impressed with, much in the same way I’m impressed with one of the guy’s Mecht Mensch hat. (225 Lincoln Ave., Cotati, CA 94931,

TRANZMITORS-Teenage Tragedy/Invisible Girl (Deranged, 7”)
The latest in a string of singles and the A-side is driving pubby, piano-spiced punk and the flip taking a power pop/semi-glam direction, with nary a skinny tie in sight. Both songs have Thunders-without-the-sleaze guitar licks. The Tranzmitors seem to have multi-faceted pop instincts and I’m curious to hear their upcoming full-length. These two songs are good but don’t completely blow me away. 1166 Chaster Road, Gibsons, BC, V0N 1V4, CANADA,

TWENTYSEVENSHOTS-s/t (self-released, 7” EP)
Surging hardcore punk with rock ‘n roll and melodic touches. The lyrics are brooding, “heart on my sleeve,” to quote the title of one of their songs and there are two vocalists/guitarists who take turns howling out those words. Dare I say there’s emotional content in there? Umm… perhaps but before you run away with your hands over your ears, these guys sound pissed off and not the type of guys who are going to cry onto their keyboards while writing LiveJournal entries. Nope—I’d call this a good solid ear-whuppin’. (2704 Garfield Ave., Apt. 1, Minneapolis, MN 55408,

Two raging bands from the UK. Sned, one of the guys in War All The Time, sent a witty note that said “here’s some more stuff from grizzled veterans” or something like that—it was in reference to my review of Violent Arrest. Anyway, I don’t care if they’re 20 or 50, all that matters is their songs rip hard in a Scandinavian-meets-late 80s UK hardcore vein. Whole In The Head, meanwhile, come on like early Agnostic Front for “The Boy Who Told Lies.” Double-speed thrash and they also have some of the Scandi-core style, as well. Nuance, nuance, nuance. The first sentence I wrote actually sums it up the best. (Unit 3, Lodge Causeway Trading Est., Fishponds, Bristol BS16 UK,

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