Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Suburban Voice blog #49

So I finally got my shit together and put out another SV blog. I don’t know why I’ve been dragging my ass around so badly trying to get this out but I hope it was worth the wait. If it wasn’t, fuck you for not appreciating my hard toil and labor. Just kidding… maybe…


Wow—they still exist. I’ve actually accumulated a pile of pretty good zines lately. Everything from single sheet zines to xeroxed efforts with a staple in the corner (much like early of issues of my zine) to printed ones with a cut and paste format on heavy stock paper, also how I did it for awhile and I miss that smell of paper and ink. So let’s get to it.

Matt Breen, former host of WERS' “Radiobeat,” has been putting out a single sheet effort called Beat Sheet for awhile and has been a champion of those types of zines. When Rabies and Warkrime did a show here over the summer, Matt gave reduced admission to anyone who showed up with their own single sheet ‘zine. Hell, I did one and I didn’t even go to the show—the zine, in part, explained why I wasn’t there, which was because I was at my brother-in-law’s 50th birthday party. I have one of his issues sitting here, #5.5, and it’s a xeroxed single sheet job with what amounts to a travelogue about a trip Baltimore with Blank Stare. (6 Wadleigh Place, Boston, MA 02127-2728, stamp).

Craig Lewis recently revived his zine Upheaval as a one sheeter, sometimes in an 11x17 format, as with issue #11 but, for the past two, it’s 8 ½ x 11 and consists of record and demo reviews, a few flyer reproductions and personal updates. #11 is my favorite of the three, with bigger-size reproductions of flyers, along with the requisite reviews. All of it done cut and paste. (PO Box 301426, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130,, stamp in US/$1 overseas or trade).

Phil Knowles has been publishing his single sheet Clench zine for some years now and it has tiny print that has me reaching for the magnifying glass (that’s what happens when you get older, sorry to say). This effort often offers a history/critical assessment of an older band, such as Void, Agnostic Front, the FU’s or Black Flag. Reprints of vintage interviews, photos and flyers make it interesting. Issue #9, however, is a 20 page zine that includes an extensive study of Urban Waste, including an interview with their guitarist Johnny Waste. There’s also an interview with Wendy Eager from Guillotine fanzine and Daniel Skibra of Mad At The World Records, who did an Urban Waste reissue a few years back. This is the best issue he’s done. (Phil Knowles, 240 Spring Hill Dr., #210, Roselle, IL 60172-2470,, 2 stamps for #9, one stamp each for #1-8)

On to the full-size zines: Mindless Mutant, published by Matt Rolland (who recently toured with Weekend Nachos), is a ‘zine with an attitude. In other words, Matt calls it as he sees it. For instance, there’s a piece that rips on Terror where he turns their logo into “Terrorible” and criticizes them for what he perceives as attempting to broaden their audience to something more mainstream. The zine was done, as Matt puts it, with a typewriter, pen, pencil, scissors, lots of glue and a photocopier. Ah, glue or, more accurately, rubber cement. I miss that smell. I like the look and the devotion to hardcore, brought out through the interviews, reviews and accounts of his punk rock road trips. The photos look cool, as well—hell, the whole thing looks cool. It looks like a hardcore zine. A chip on the shoulder and a biting sense of humor make this a fun read. Issues #2 and #3 feature Career Suicide, Punch In The Face, Black SS, GO! and more. No joke—this is one of my favorite new zines and I hope he keeps it going. (Matt Rolland, 3108 98th St. East, Highland, IN 46322,

Distort is a zine from Australia that is now up to 15 issues (I have 8-10 and 14-15) and also favors the xeroxed cut ‘n paste look. Publisher DX seems to be more enamored with older bands although he’s also partial to such current hardcore purveyors as Cold Sweat, Sex Vid and the State (OK, old and new in their case). Interview/review format although there are also pieces on the best unreleased hardcore albums and split LPs and an assessment of the Schism/late 80s youth crew scene that had me laughing out loud (“Effectively, this book is documenting the original contagions which have spread across the world and choked much of the life out of hardcore…”) At $10 for 5 issues, this is a fuckin’ steal. (DX, PO Box 239, North Carlton, VIC, 3054 AUSTRALIA, Incidentally, this guy also plays in Straightjacket Nation and you NEED to track down their 7”.

Also from Australia comes Us vs Them (issue #3) published by a gentleman named Beau who, like DX, has a love for both old and new punk and hardcore and with an emphasis on US sounds. The interviews are with newer acts—Social Circkle, Life Trap, Socialcide and Straightjacket Nation, to name some of ‘em. The layout is the same as Distort, although the print quality and photos are clearer. Some rather provocative cover art, as you see and it’s pretty obvious that the artist takes a dim view of cops, priests and ravers (Beau says they’re all “assholes just in different ways”). Beau admits he does the zine because “I can’t stand most people.” Sounds like he has the type of inspiration that pushes many of us to these forms of expression. (

That’s it for now. I’ll try to have some more zine reviews next time, as well…

REVISIONS DE LA MÚSICA (ooh—blog bi-lingualism!)


AMERICAN CHEESEBURGER-s/t (Tsunami, 7” EP)/Modern Advice (Rock Bottom, 7” EP)
The band with the somewhat silly name but lethal sound make a really big splash on these two EPs. The self-titled one is the newer of the pair. Wanton rampage favoring a charging thrash style and vocals that sound like razors in the night, uh, throat. The lead guitar on “Camouflage Hairspray, from the new EP” is godawful, so are the horns on the pisstake uncredited track that ends it but they’re also kind of cool elements. They definitely have a creative way with song titles, such as “If Your Face Was Georgia, My Fist Would Be Home By Now,” which is a well-aimed attack on some of the retrograde residents of their home state. The first EP operates in a similar vein albeit a tad more primitive. There’s a decided 9 Shocks influence here and that’s nothing to sneer at. They put on one hell of a live show, too. The band’s unhinged nature comes across well on these recordings. (Band contact: 385 S. Peter St., Athens, GA 30601,

BUSY SIGNALS-s/t (Dirtnap, CD)
This is the first actual physical copy of any Busy Signals music that I’ve owned, since I don’t have the EPs, as of now. I’ve heard those recordings, though, and, on this album, there’s a smoothing of the rough edges, to use an overused term. In any case, these Chicagoans still have a way with a catchy punk melody, even without the rawness. It only takes a small guitar solo in “Plastic Girl,” for instance, to completely grab onto my ear and shake me up and that doesn’t really stop much after that. Ana’s vocals are both sweet and have an edge. Bad-ass but also vulnerable. They occasionally make me think of the Fastbacks, although that band was never as tough sounding. The guitars jab, the bass throbs and the songs have plenty of punch while piling on the hooks. (2615 SE Clinton St., Portland, OR 97202,

Super-catchy, yet scruffy punk. A number of influences here—the sturdy, mid-tempo style of fellow Chicagoans Pedestrians, some Clashy jab and and, yet, they come up with something their own. I particularly like the surge for the finale of “Creep,” following a quieter segment. Big melodies, gruff vocals and bursting with an energetic warmth. (3501 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, IL 60557,

86 MENTALITY-Final Exit (Deranged, 7” EP)
This is probably it for one of the meanest-sounding bands in hardcore. Six new burners and it begins with the slow build up of their “Outro” (which is an intro, to be specific) and then the musical brass knuckles come out. Raw, bruising hardcore punk with catchy properties and having a street punk/oi feel, as well. Boots stomping around the dance floor, a tough vibe but not in the spin-kick/martial arts manner. In the liner notes for the Negative Approach “Total Recall” comp, Tesco Vee referred to “fuckin 81 baby—jack booties wit bandannas, shaved noggins…” That’s the vibe I get with 86 Mentality—that and DC ’81. The thrashing is done at a more moderate pace than those bands and it’s not a straight derivative but an overall feel. Also, only their vocalist Steve sports that look but work with me here. If this doesn’t get you pounding at the wall, I don’t know what will. (2700 Lower Road, Roberts Creek, BC V0N 2W4, CANADA,

GET THE MOST-Common Goals (Crucial Response, CD)
Hoods-up Varsity Core (© Quint, 2007)—although Get The Most don’t have the Varsity font in their name, but it’s still there for the EP’s title and lyric sheet. It’s actually a pretty decent, well-recorded take on class of ’87-inspired/youthcrew-ish hardcore. Speed ‘n crunch (hell, one of ‘em is credited with “crunch”), finger pointin’ backups and earnest lyrics and vocals. Kyle also emits a credible Cappo growl when the spirit moves him, although his voice is more along the lines of Kevinsted. I think if I could go back in time to an earlier hardcore era, I’d rather it was ’83 and not ’87 but, as I said, they’re good at this style. (Kaisersfeld 98, 46047 Oberhausen, GERMANY,

LOST CAUSE-Kill What’s Inside (Love The Music Hate The Scene, 12” EP)
There have been many bands called Lost Cause over the years and I almost think their label name, Love The Music Hate The Scene, would be a cooler band moniker. This band is from Philly and includes Ned, who has logged time as the vocalist for Balance of Terror, Sangre De Los Puercos and Endless Nightmare and could be one of the tallest frontmen in punk. Other bands on the resume for the various members include AOS, Violation and Witch Hunt. That should give you a fairly good indication that this is loud, aggressive music. There’s definitely a Scandinavian bent in the band’s approach but also some Poison Idea inspiration, the latter coming from the guitar sound and delivery. Ned’s hoarse voice effectively conveys the words of rage. “Through The Cracks,” about people lacking health insurance, is timely in light of the fact that Bush has vetoed an expansion of health care coverage for children. It’s always a good sign when the record ends and you crave more. I’ve played it through two times while writing this review. (Mitchell Brochu, PO Box 37271, Philadelphia, PA 19148,

THE PMRC-Polyphonics For The Modern Renaissance Cannibal (Motorchest, 7” EP)
Fiercely rockin’ hardcore punk. There’s a speed metal vibe on these songs without the lead guitar—it’s just a throttling tempo, such as on “My Annihilation” and that song pillages like a motherfucker. That’s the effect most of the time, in fact. Guitarist/vocalist Mike Grayum has a throaty, soulful cadence similar to Serge from the Goons (if you’ve ever heard of that band). Lyrically, there are takes on personal trials and tribulations and larger issues and they’re both direct and perhaps a bit more abstract. The bottom line is agitation both in words and music. (PO Box 725, Poplar Bluff, MO 63901,

RIOT/CLONE-Success (Dr. Strange, CD)
Thoughtful, solid punk from this long-time UK anarcho band. I like the personalized explanations that accompany the songs. There are tracks that cast a wider lyrical net but, just as often, vocalist Dave Floyd will write about his own experiences. Similarities with their contemporaries from “back in the day”—Subhumans, Conflict et al and it’s accessible as well. They’re not above introducing a Pistols-ish touch for “Intellicide” and there are bits of the UK-82 sound, as well. Tuneful and cutting and Floyd’s vocals have an ingratiating gruffness. The only other full-length I ever owned from Riot/Clone was “Do You Want Fries With That,” an animal rights treatise and this album is more enjoyable—both from a musical standpoint and the variety of topics covered. I should also mention they do their own “interpretation” of Secret Affair’s “Time For Action” as a medley of sorts with their own “Cows With Guns.” That makes my heart dance—and if you get the reference, good for you. (PO Box 1058, Alta Loma, CA 91701,

RUINER-Prepare To Be Let Down (Bridge Nine, CD)
Brawny modern hardcore with a melodic bent, in a soul screaming sort of way. In other words, there’s no angelic, high-voiced vocalist here. Rob Sullivan sings harshly and from the gut. The tempo is mainly fast, with the requisite slowdowns/breakdowns—going for the crunch mode on “40 Miles North,” for instance. Some nasty lyrics that express disgust with those who do, indeed, let them down. “A Song For Beggars” comes across as a song of romantic betrayal and rather blunt in its sentiments. The same sort of betrayal comes across in “Kiss That Motherfucker Goodnight.” It’s a rant of frustration. It also seems a tad overwrought and, despite the up-front nature of the music, it doesn’t always connect with this particular screaming soul. (

SAHU MARU-Never Too Late (Inimical, CD)
Figured this would be some heavy overseas crust stuff, with the ominous fog depicted on the cover. Not exactly. This is an Oakland three-piece who do have darkness in their sound but it comes from more of a Deathreat direction, in that the crust influence is there but without the lower tuning or sonic thickness. Another difference is most of the songs take on personal subjects—coming of age, confusion, lost love, etc, but without sounding emo (thank whatever). A few songs hit a slightly epic length. There’s the three minute build-up for “Bliid Of Luna,” accompanied by a spoken word piece about humanity’s murderous nature (“a pile of dead piled to the sky”), after which it’s back to the thrashing and it ends up being a powerful statement. This isn’t new or innovative but still rates on the rage-ometer. (PO Box 2803, Seattle, WA 98111,

TOKEN ENTRY-The Re-Issues (I Scream, CD)
… of their second and third albums, “Jaybird” and “Weight Of The World” and showing their age. Token Entry always had something of a more melodic take on NYHC. Guitarist Mickey Neal wasn’t averse to throwing some metallic flash into the songs and there was the occasional nod to west coast hardcore, as well. As with many releases from that time, there’s the cavernous sound, especially on the drums and vocals. Time hasn’t treated “Jaybird” particularly well but there are moments that bring back pleasant memories. Their brand of hardcore had a heartfelt energy. It’s also a LOT better than “Weight Of The World,” which is flat-out embarrassment. There was a lineup shuffle, with a different bassist and drummer. With this album, Token Entry introduced funk into the hardcore/metallic stew and it was a very bad idea. As was Timmy attempting to rap on a few of the songs. There’s no other way to put it—“Weight Of The World” was a wretched album. The era of Scatterbrain, Limbomaniacs, 24-7 Spyz and “Weight” was Token Entry’s contribution, even while hanging on to some of their hardcore roots. All of it is best committed to the dustbin of musical history. (Broekstraat 10, 1730 Kobbegem, BELGIUM,

VARIOUS-Propaganda Is Hippies (Kämäset Levyt, LP)
All those narrow bands and the tribute of sorts to the Propaganda records label. 34 unreleased sonx (as the sleeve notes put it) by seven of the newer crop of Finnish hardcore bands. Any piece of vinyl that starts off with the raging Kieltolaki is off to a great start, indeed. Viimeienen Kolonna keep the speed attack going but there are a few UK anarcho elements, as well. Väarinkäsitys bring it back to the old-school Finnish buzzbomb sound. Flip it over and Totuus rip it up furiously although the speed sometimes gets the best of them. Sotatila, with people from Finland and Austria, only have three songs, one of ‘em a Mellakka cover (“Ei/Oikeus Valita”—a well-played version) and make the most of it. Omaisuusvahinko are a tad monorhythmic but still blistering. Probably the weakest of the bunch, though. Finally, Yhteiskunnan Ystävät? bring it home with a relentless assault. The bottom line is it doesn’t matter where you drop the needle on this record. The volume explodes from the grooves and pure rage emanates. (Nakari, Sorinkatu 6 B, 33100 Tampere, FINLAND,

A variety of classic punk sounds, from songs inspired by the Boys and Professionals (“The Race Has Begun,” “This Time Around”) to harder-edged rock ‘n roll to fast ‘n snappy compositions—“Remember To Forget” and the album’s standout, “Crime Scene Instigators,” fall into the latter category. Glen Matlock from the Pistols/Rich Kids shows up on one song and Brian James from the Damned on a pair but, in all honesty, this band doesn’t need any “star power.” If anything, those are the less memorable songs here. This trio have an ingratiating loud and brash style. (PO Box 441, Dracut, MA 01826,

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