Thursday, August 07, 2008

Suburban Voice blog #64


Hey, that’s what the band called it, not me. And it comes from the Band’s documentary (directed by Marty Scorcese, no less) of their final show in 1976. Of course, like many “classic rock” bands, they did reform in the 80s—well, most of ‘em, anyway. So now it’s 2008 and the Conversions were playing their “last ever” show, since vocalist Terry Cuozzo will be moving to Austin. This noisy soiree occurred at the Democracy Center at Harvard or the Papercut Zine Library, if you want to call it that, since it’s housed in that building. It’s a pity they have to pack it in because the Conversions were constantly expanding their sound. The arrangements became increasingly complex and moved away from straightforward hardcore while not abandoning the style and any band with Terry’s in-your-face presence and acerbic scream is going to keep it in that realm. Some bands can’t achieve such a widening of scope without adding an aura of pretense and that never happened here. They wrapped it up with a completely enjoyable change-up—a cover of Sham’s “If The Kids Are United” and it was one warm, sweaty group hug to bid them farewell. By the way, if the Conversions ever did decide they wanted to play again, I sure as hell wouldn’t complain about it.

This was a pretty crazy show, overall—Scapegoat preceded the Conversions with their spasmatic/lurching hardcore tandem, Mark stalking the floor like a madman and the bodies were flying everywhere. There were people getting hurt—for real. Ah, the war wounds of hardcore. Between that and the Sham sing-along, I felt like I’d been beaten up after that show. I was scolded by Ellen for still wanting to engage in this sort of physical participation—despite the fact that I’m “pushing 50,” as she reminded me. OK, that’s true and so what if I didn’t want to leave my recliner the next day? Where’s that ice-pack?

Brain Killer opened things up with a scorching take on the Disclose type of raw thrash distort. It’s not a completely noise-drenched attack but there’s more than enough buzz to go around and Marcus proves himself to be an aggressive frontman. I was told they’ve been sloppy in the past but this was dead-on. Life Partners were the other band—it’s an indescribable combination of art-punk, stoner rock and psych—I guess. The set up is guitar, drums, a trumpet treated with pedal effects and a vocalist alternating between keyboards and bass. The visual spectacle was intriguing, although the music seemed formless and ponderous at times...



ANTISEEN-The Best Of (TKO, 2xCD)
Let’s get this straight—Antiseen don’t like you. Especially if you’re one of them crusty or hippy punks or lookin’ for spare change, are a vegetarian or fall into any other “PC” category. In other words, they like to push buttons but do so with a knowing wink. At least I think they do. Antiseen’s credo is “Fuck All Y’all” and, while I don’t share quite a few of their political/social viewpoints, I do subscribe to that credo a hell of a lot more in recent years. Antiseen never wanted to be cool or loved. They just wanted make bile-filled, buzzsaw punk rock and they’ve been succeeding at that for 25 years, without any sign of packing it in. I’d say it’s a distinct possibility that Jeff Clayton’s parents force-fed him sandpaper stew when he was a young’un because, even in the beginning, that voice was a nasty instrument. And, speaking of nasty instruments, Joe Young’s guitar fills that bill. That’s where the buzzsaw description comes from. Two discs/40 songs covering their illustrious history of mayhem. Antiseen have never really refined their approach all that much over the years. Truth be told, that’s the way it should be. No compromise, just volume and a bad attitude to match. I still start grinning ear to ear when hearing the opening chords to “Hippy Punk” and it makes me want to smash their skateboards, too. (8941 Atlanta Ave. #505, Huntington Beach, CA 92646,

BASTARD SONS OF APOCALYPSE-Strangled By The System (Adelante/Todo Destruido, 12”)
Great god of hell, this is absolutely killer, essential, ripping and every other adjective you want to attach. After a few EPs, BSA’s new 12” lives up to the promise on those records. These boys lay down ferocious Discharge-meets-Poison Idea mania. I don’t know if it’s a D-beat in the strict sense and I don’t give a fuck about the nuance; all I care about is shredability and BSA definitely possess that quality The galloping drumming is what really keeps things moving here and the occasional lead guitar break always happens at the right moment. BSA do allude to their musical approach in “No Charge D-Beat RocknRoll.” Amidst a not-so-cheery worldview, that’s the sole moment of lyrical levity here, a celebration of “kids playing with no future.” Crank it, motherfuckers and get a move on ‘cause there’s only 525 of these PVC slabs. ( or

CHRONIC SEIZURE-Ancient World (No Way/Fashionable Idiots, LP)
The opening chords strike, it sounds like the Dead Boys’ “Ain’t Nothin’ To Do” but the speed burst comes in and it’s quickly apparent that this band’s anarchic spirit is from a pure hardcore punk muse. That’s always been the case with this band. Chronic Seizure’s first 12” effort is slightly more “produced” when compared to the previous EPs but it’s still a full-bore trebly attack. There’s also more variety in tempo than in the past, not always relying on the brute speed—“Disaffected” is an out and out pounder, for instance. Vocals spat out with agitated urgency, both from Austin and bass-player Pat, who logged time as the Rat Bastards’ frontman. With titles like the previously-mentioned “Disaffected,” “Stark Reality” and “Slow Death In The City,” it’s not too difficult to figure out where these guys are coming from message-wise, if that’s the term. Meeting, hell, exceeding your daily throttle allowance. (No Way:; Fashionable Idiots: PO Box 580131, Minneapolis, MN 55458,

CITIZENS PATROL-Dead Children EP (No Way, 7” EP)
Nothing like keeping it simple and that’s what Citizens Patrol do—pure hardcore mania, with a razor-edge rasp in the voice (Kenny could be Blaine Fartz’s baby brother) and thumping songs that move like a motherfucker to the point where your head’s still moving even after the last chord has burst from the speaker. I’d say they’re not too enamored with day to day life, given the words for “I Want To Be Boring” and “Life On Repeat.” I’m definitely enamored with Citizens Patrol’s musical nailbomb. (

DISKELMÄ-Fun Is Over (Kämäset Levyt, LP)
Ah, the magic three letters at the head of this band’s moniker. I wonder what they sound like? Actually, it’s not a pure tribute although there’s definitely an element of that in there. What we have here is shredding hardcore imbued with an abundance of speed, red-hot riffs and leads and the words expelled with the requisite agitation. Blending some metallic guitar flourishes into the burning rampage. And a formidable rampage it is—this is searing fodder. (Valliktu 28 A 2, 33240 Tampere, FINLAND,

FORCA MACABRA-Aquié O Inferno (Black Water, LP)
Forca Macabra are back with their first album since 2002. Around since the early 90s, the band’s from Finland but they’ve always had a kinship with Brazilian hardcore, going so far as to sing (or bark) the words in Portuguese. Ratos De Porão is at or near the top of the list for their inspiration and, like that band, there’s a blending of the thrash and metal impulses, even more now than in the past. “Guerreiro Do Rock” is a salute to all that is heavy with the title translating to “Soldier of the Rock” and words that vow to fight to the end for it and for the women and the beer. Sporting long hair and a beard as symbols of rebellion. OK, maybe I goofed a bit on the translation but it’s definitely a bit tongue in cheek and also more of a trad metal sidestep from the speed pillage that dominates the rest of the time. Uma guerra worth supporting! (PO Box 5223, Portland, OR 97208,

HUMAN MESS-s/t (No Way, 7” EP)
A slightly less-recent No Way release and Human Mess offer a rough punk sound that would have fit in nicely with the Rip Off Records bands. The DGAF (“Don’t Give A Fuck,” ©A. Quint) attitude, spewing out the antisociality with all the bile they can muster and reinforced with a jagged guitar minefield. (

LIFE TRAP-Solitary Confinement (No Way, 7” EP)
At the risk of being redundant, more of that rough, fast hardcore punk stuff and if you think it sounds a bit like Direct Control, you wouldn’t be mistaken and Nico sounds like Brandon from DC with a sore throat. And it’s music/lyrics for the new recession, at least on “Too Young To Die,” a lamentation about being unable to afford life’s necessities. These youngsters continue to prove themselves adept at the style and there are some shit-hot guitar and bass-lines. (

REPROBATES-Stress EP (No Way, 7” EP)
Kinetic energy unleashed on the debut vinyl from Toronto’s Reprobates. These guys could be the descendents of Jerry’s Kids and Gang Green—it has that kind of feel. A slammingly chaotic charge of raw hardcore punk—it sounds as though everything going to come flying apart, a din of guitar, bass and drums that somehow manage to make a cogent attack out of this seeming mess. The buildup for “Failure” creates an ominous foreshadowing that something unhinged is on the way and that’s exactly what happens. (


SEX VID-Nests (Dom America, 7” EP)
The week before Sex Vid played in Springfield, Mass., I was giddy with excitement, to the point where it was starting to annoy my wife. She even said she was thinking of starting a Sex Vid drinking game where she’d do a shot every time I mentioned the band. Now that I’ve listened to this record, I hesitate to go upstairs to give her my opinion because it’s too early in the day for her to start drinking. “Nests” and “Exorcism” dishes out the speed but also add hammering accents. “Always Home” eschews the thrash for a slower attack. It was the set closer at that Springfield show and is a brooding song using the Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog” as a starting point and the guitar playing becomes increasingly frayed by the song’s conclusion. The lyrics create an image of a psychological bunker, the protagonist screaming to be left alone and the music creates the perfect mood. Damaged-sounding? No Flag illusions intended but the damaged description fits the bill. (available from

SOTATILA-Eepee (Kämäset Levyt/Plauge Bearer, 7” EP)
Scandinavian perfection—Sotatila are a Finnish band favoring blistering tempos, dead-on instrumentation and harsh vocals with the accent on the last syllable (lots of “ahrrrs”). Once again, I could spend all day analyzing the various nuances, micro-influences but it’s hard to analyze anything when being hammered with Sotatila’s tumult. Honoring the tradition but it’s also a modern sound, particularly production-wise. In other words, no “distort” but it fucking blazes. Yep, there’s an aura of familiarity here with no surprises... just everything falling perfectly into sync. (Valliktu 28 A 2, 33240 Tampere, FINLAND,

STATUES-Terminal Bedroom (Deranged, CD)
Collecting early EPs and Statues are one of those brash ‘n poppy bands with a jumpy spring in their musical step. Taut, tuneful songs with an abundance of energy and even if they don’t wear skinny ties, I could almost visualize them fitting in with the more accessible version of late 70s punk. That’s not meant as a dis, either and, even with the older touchpoints, it doesn’t come across as retro nor, more importantly, twee. That’s become a dirty word in some quarters and justifiably so—that sort of shitty pop seems have taken over most of the commercials I see between innings of the ball game, for instance. Statues do pay tribute to the roots by covering fellow catchy Canadians (Statues are from Ontario) the K-Tels and the Pointed Sticks. Sure, the vocals are melodious but that’s accomplished without being mannered. And things are toughened-up with a hint of garage rock for “Adult Teeth.” The guitar tone has enough jabbing growl to give things an edge and it seems as though they try to make that point with the unreleased 24 second thrashin’ throwaway that ends the disc. These guys have nothing to prove on that account. (2700 Lower Road, Roberts Creek, BC, V0N 2W4, CANADA,

THREATENER-The Hammering, The Fastening, and The Bending Of Throats (625/I-Deal, CD)
The first thing you hear is the uttering “18 wheels of hell” and then the hammering mentioned in the title begins. 18 wheels of hell? Try 28 minutes of it. An anthology disc covering all of this Michigan band’s 7” releases, their appearance on one of the “Tomorrow Will Be Worse” comps, their first demo and a live radio set that lasts all of 7 or so minutes. These boys loved brevity—their Boston set some years back lasted less than 10 miniutes as well. Enough numerology. Thrash ‘n blast, getting increasingly raw and distorted-sounding as time passed. The first EP almost sounds conventional by comparison, although that ain’t no sonic day in the park, either—it just sounds cleaner and I can’t believe I hear a tambourine on “Societal Runoff.” That’s also the most palatable segment. Each of their 7”s had part of what could be loosely termed a short story of desperate lives in ruin and they’re combined here. I’m being vague but, in detailing sick sexual encounters, it attempts to get to the core of humanity or, more accurately, the animal that lies within and that seems to be the lyrical thrust, as well. Not that you can make out what they’re screeching about, anyway. Very uneasy listening and only recommended for those who like the effect of a two by four applied viciously to the back of the skull. ( or

VIIMENIEN KOLONNA-Tuhat Aurinoka (Kämäset Levyt/Hardcore Holocaust, 7” EP)
New noise from VK and I like the overall sound on this EP more than previous releases, a raw, hammering approach that brings the band’s power out in bolder relief. Yep, this is dis-worship but, man, if they don’t have it nailed. There are sick bass-runs to accompany the guitar chord inferno, pounding drums and from-the-gut vocals. And reading the translation for “Tuhat Aurinkoa,” which means “people are ugly” makes me smile. So does everything else here. (Valliktu 28 A 2, 33240 Tampere, FINLAND, or

WARKRIME-Tighten Up (No Way, 7” EP)
I’ve always found this band’s semi-spastic take on hardcore to be somewhat disjointed and that continues to be the case here. I imagine it’s a change from the standard verse/chorus/verse setting that many hardcore bands follow, a case of defying the convention a bit. There’s some early Void and COC in the buildups and guitar damage, along with the ranting vocals. And, somewhere, Arthur Lee will roll over in his grave if he hears their cover of Love’s “7 and 7 Is.” Maybe he’ll be grooving on it—they do batter it up pretty well. The idea to create something that goes against the grain is intriguing and there are moments where everything does fall into place; I just wish the execution was more consistent. (

WINNING LOOKS-s/t (Waiting, 7” EP)
Down ‘n dirty rock ‘n roll in a guitar/drums, both of ‘em sing format, recorded in ’06 and just seeing the light of day in the past few months. Whew. This four song EP from these two NYC ladies was recorded by Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna and there’s a slight hint of her musical pedigree. But it’s just as much garage, really cooking on a song like “Breakdown,” although all four songs have plenty of thump in ‘em. Two voices chanting in near-unison, in a hearty high register and the music has a complementary brazenness. The EP comes with a free digital download of the songs, too—best of both worlds and I’m glad that more labels/bands are doing that. (band contact:

WOMEN-s/t (FDH, 7” EP)
Wrapping my ears around this one and it’s a mish-mash of punk, hardcore and garage. Yeah, that’s real helpful I’m sure. Well, the songs all don’t sound the same. There’s the thrash of “Strangler,” but most of the other songs take a snottier punk tone.” “Radiation” has one of those snappy choruses that sticks in your head. There’s a loose spiritedness infused into these raucous tracks. (

WORLD BURNS TO DEATH-The Graveyard Of Utopia (HG Fact, CD)
A new 8 song mini-album or whatever you want to call it. It’s brief compared to its predecessor “Totalitarian Sodomy” and features a streamlined, full speed ahead sound, compared to that album, which had some much heavier material. Recorded in Japan and featuring appearances by the late, great Chelsea (Paintbox, Death Side), Souichi from Forward and Keiro of Akutare, all of ‘em laying down some fierce guitar leads and WBTD axeman Zac Tew does a fine job, himself. There’s no doubt that the surroundings inspired the songwriting beforehand and it ends up sounding like a throttling Japanese hardcore record, blending in the speed with overpowering metal licks. There’s a conceptual gist to the lyrics, emitted with strangled-larynx aplomb by Mr. Control. The subject matter deals with historical atrocities in Russia and other Soviet regions. “Come And See” states “come and see the beauty of inhumanity” and mentions how flowers grow best on top of mass graves. While perusing the lyrics, all I could think about was a former co-worker’s pet phrase that summed up the world’s ills as being “man’s inhumanity to man” and that’s detailed throughout this album. And, of course, there’s the perverse juxtaposition of things of beauty with the obliteration of the innocent. It’s not as graphic as on “Totalitarian Sodomy” but still conveys some powerful imagery and that’s paired with equally powerful music. (; vinyl available on Prank Records, PO Box 410892, SF, CA 94141,