Saturday, May 05, 2007

Suburban Voice blog #38



The State, as in the Michigan hardcore wrecking machine. A quick schooling, if you don’t know who they are. The State’s history actually dates back to the 70s but their first 7” EP, “No Illusions,” came out in 1983 and is one of the more overlooked vinyl artifacts from that era and also one of my favorites. A raw, pissed-off hardcore sound that merged the brawn of the time with some innovative guitar scorch by Art Tendler. They stuck around until sometime in the late 80s. In ’03, three quarters of the “No Illusions” lineup reunited to play a benefit for an area record store, State Control Records, and have been back together ever since. 2006 saw their first new recordings in two decades, in the form of the “All Wrong” LP.

Time may have passed but the State sound just as pissed and agitated as ever. Vocalist Preston Woodward is all business, barking out the words and going onto the floor to get up in peoples’ faces and make sure they get the point. They began the set by playing the 7” in order, in its entirety and the balance consisted of songs from the LP, another 80s vintage song, “State,” one new song (they have 15 new songs recorded) and an encore of Discharge’s “State Violence State Control.” A friend of mine gets pissed when I bring up age, since she thinks it’s a state (no pun intended) of mind and she may have a point. Still, it’s pretty damned cool to see people in my age vicinity that are still committed to making a loud statement and don’t look ridiculous doing so. Hell, they could teach some bands half their age about the fine art of raging.

I didn’t get to see much of the other bands—I did see Mind Eraser’s intense, punishing set of speed and heavy crawl and a few songs from Scapegoat, who operate in a similar vein. Standing next to the PA during those bands is akin to having bricks clapped hard onto the sides of your head. I missed Psycho since I was interviewing the State at that point.


Not to stereotype but it seems as though, no matter the style, most Japanese bands I’ve seen over the years know how to put on one hell of a show. This goes for garage punk bands like Teengenerate and Guitar Wolf, street punk like Tom and Boot Boys and such hardcore purveyors as DSB, Forward, Warhead and these guys. Total Fury were in the States in ’01 and ’02 and their pure rush of energy quickly won people over. Drawing heavily on early 80s hardcore, particularly of the Dischord variety but not restricted to that. In any case, it’s 2007 and they’re back and ready to raise havoc once again. No disappointment. Sure, it was chaotic, sometimes threatening to fly apart but the floor exploded when they opened their set with SSD’s “Glue.” Kenji held up a Red Sox logo as a tribute, although he did admit to me he’s a Yankees fan. That’s OK—I’ll give him a pass. Actually, except for the covers, there weren’t always a ton of people dancing. There was a sideshow that had started earlier in the evening with two guys doing low-budget pro wrestling moves. I was amazed they didn’t kill themselves while partaking in the elbow drops. The “TO-TAL FU-RY” chant was resurrected from ’01—think about the “Let’s Go Red Sox” and the rhythmic clapping that follows. That’s what the chant is based on. At the end, everyone’s sweaty and there’s a satisfying feeling. Hmm… that could be taken a few ways but I’m talking about the music’s effect. I counted 24 songs on their set list and it didn’t take them long to rip through all of ‘em. Their cover of Scream’s “New Song” was a pleasant surprise—very few bands cover Scream. One of those sets where it’s tough to fight off the urge to go in the pit and raise hell.

Total Fury were on tour with Reagan SS, who were on the east coast for the first time, and Albany band The Jury. Reagan SS have a whirlwind sound that was bookended by a heavy-as-fuck intro and outro. Matching Flying V’s for the guitarist and bass-player and that four-string plucker, Andy, was the weapon here. Wanton finger-picking and making the floor rumble in a Mikey Donaldson (Offenders/MDC) kind of way. Matt and The Jury’s vocalist Mike have something in common. Both scream until their voices are raw and their faces turn purplish-red in the process. The Jury are pared down to a four piece these days but the sound remains razor-sharp and aggressive.


There were three local openers and they all put in solid performances. This was my first time seeing Step Forward and I liked their brief, catchy hardcore blasts. Close Call have recently re-formed and they have a good blend of speed and heavier elements. Waste Management have a tough, muscular 80s-inspired sound. A great night all around.


BLACK SS/HOW WE ARE-split (Stop Whining, Start Winning/Specimen 32, 7” EP)
Black SS return with three more hearty, bruising hardcore punk songs. “Subhuman” is on a level with their album, the other tracks slightly less so. How We Are, meanwhile, merge hardcore and some melodic elements. Heavy and driving, but Black SS are the attraction here, by far. (SWSW: 58 Belaire Dr., Horseheads, NY 14845,

BORN BAD-s/t (Fashionable Idiots, 7” EP)
Sheesh—this is bad-ASS. Raw hardcore punk in a stripped-down format. Three fast ones on the A-side but, on the flip, they slow it down a tad and get a little more rockin’ for “Walls” and “Dead Or Alive.” The lyrics fall into the rantology realm—“I don’t need your bullshit, I don’t need your fuckin’ rules” is the opening salutation for “Authority Bullshit.” Rantology coupled with bruiseology—you get the idea. (PO Box 580131, Minneapolis, MN 55458,

HOMBRINUS DUDES-Politi-Kill (I Deal, LP)
Ear canal-a-kill. A grinding/thrashing two piece that bash out some nasty sounds—subterranean growls and high-pitched shrieks and the lyric sheet is a necessity. It also helped me in figuring out the name of the band, which is pretty damned close to illegible on the cover. The duo’s lyrics about a world in decay are on the money. I just wish their brand of early Napalm Death-inspired brutality was more listenable. Nice “Supernaut” lick at the end of their cover of Sepultura’s “Anti-Cop.” (19 Goldsmith St., Littleton, MA 01460,

ICU-17 Minutes (Put-On, 7” EP)
All that noise is coming from just guitar and drums? There’s enough fuzz that the bass isn’t missed on this three song EP. Attitudinal punk rock/garage bashing from guitarist/vocalist Peewee and her drummer accomplice Memphis Mike for both “17 Minutes” and “AP,” while the flip is their volume-drenched take on Pink Floyd’s “See Emily Play.” Nice ‘n loud. (131 Grand St., Brooklyn, NY 11211,

KVOTERINGEN-Bister Prognos (Terötten, LP)
I’d probably mangle this Swedish band’s name if I tried to pronounce it—I’ll bet I did when I played songs off this LP on the radio show. The band’s guitarist, Jallo, has logged time in Totalitär, Meanwhile, Krigshot and other prime units of raucous shredabililty. One side features new, unreleased material and the flip has tracks taken from two EPs and a split with Pisschrist, all recorded over the past few years. To say that Discharge is an inspiration on some of these songs would be an understatement—“Om 40 År” is a melding of “Death Dealers” and “Free Speech For The Dumb.” “Det Var Då Väl Det Va!?” is a take on “Protest and Survive.” That doesn’t go for every song but the pillaging and decibel level never wanes. What makes this album so goddamned good is the rawness and wanton way in which they smash out these songs. When this style is played too cleanly, it can detract a bit. No problem here. (distr. in US by Havoc, PO Box 8585, Minneapolis, MN 55048,

SEX/VID-Tania EP (Dom America, 7” EP)
This band have an assaultive way of doing things. Over-the-top aggression fueled by shit-hot guitar/bass that creates unholy havoc. I’ve hyperbolized enough. Sex/Vid just bring it in no quarter hardcore punk fashion. Incidentally, the mid-tempo, bashing title track refers to Patty Hearst’s guerilla name after she was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army and developed a case of Stockholm Syndrome. Killer… now, anyone want to hook me up with their first record? You can probably find this record through various distributors. The record only has a band contact—PO Box 2066, Olympia, WA 98507)

STATE-Nixed Life (Grand Theft Audio, CD)
It’s tough to beat an anthology that leads off with one of the best US hardcore 7”s of the early 80s. I’ve sung the praises of this band’s “No Illusion” EP since I got it ca. 1983. Even with the remixed version, it’s still a killer. Pissed-off sentiments and a sound that had the thrash elements, accompanied by some noise-damaged guitar ear-singe. That’s followed by a boatload of unreleased material—their ’83 demo, which showed the State playing up the bootboy angle a bit, while maintaining the razor-sharp hardcore. This is a raw as fuck recording and, even through the hiss, the power emerges. Then there are a few so-so rehearsal demos, rebounding for a smokin’ live radio set from 1983. The recordings reach as far back as 1980-81, when there was a different lineup, with guitarist Art Tendler on vocals, and the songs take more of a garage/rock ‘n roll turn, particularly for “I’m On The Outside,” which has Stooge Ron Asheton’s guitar playing all over it. Except for the political nature of some of the lyrics, there’s definitely a stylistic difference from what would follow later on. There are extensive liner notes that tell a very interesting story about this band’s evolution. Also, you should be grateful that they left off the not-so-hot 1986 LP, “False Power.” (501 W. Glenoaks, PMB 313, Glendale, CA 91202,

UV RAYS-Night Of The Living Dudes (Garagepop, CD)
I suppose you could spell it “rawk” for these upstate Noo Yawk rawkers. I’m sorry for the previous sentence but it’s accurate. In any case, this is fired-up fodder with loud guitars and a hint of sleaze, with the partyin’ lyrics but it’s a dark party. “Kick The Corpse” takes more of a political turn, for instance—visions of dead politicians and I imagine there will be one hell of a party after that happens. Of course, it’s not likely but it’s still a nice sentiment. The vocalist, who goes by the name of Ultra-What?, has a nasally-yet-confident cadence, like a more pissed-off Axl Rose at times. Furiousness on display. One minor quibble—the world doesn’t need yet another cover of Gang Green’s “Alcohol.” (PO Box 88003, Rochester, NY 14618,

VARIOUS-Brandon Hardcore: Music For The Kids (Burn Brandon, 7” EP)
A free compilation 7” (if you’re not a local, just send postage money to cover the shipping cost) that includes some kickass hardcore from the area. Brandon is just outside of Tampa and the scene centers around the Sound Idea store. I’ve been there a few times and it was refreshing to see such an enthusiastic hardcore gathering point in the midst of depressing urban/suburban sprawl. The bands are a mixed lot—I’m not too enamored of the grindier Small Talk Death, for instance, but Machete Attack and Bad Eating Habits rage with authority. Reckless Deerhunters’ sole song is a fairly rockin’ punk tune and Gross National Product’s straight-ahead hardcore has come quite a way since their demo. Control De Estado mangle the Pink Lincolns’ “I’ve Got My Tie On” beyond recognition. Hey, can’t beat the price. (

1 comment:

Lauren Toxic said...

Hey, I was wondering if you could do me a huge favor. I'm doing a research essay for Suburban Voice, and I need info on the zine like its circulation, percentage of freelance writers, etc. If you could help me out a little I'd greatly appreciate it.