Thursday, December 24, 2009

Suburban Voice blog #82

GIVE UP (2003)


Once again, please note my new address. I'm also not sure how much of my mail is being forwarded to my new box so, if it bounces back, now you know the reason why.

Suburban Voice/Al Quint PO Box 43 Peabody, MA 01960

A whole lot of reviews, with plenty to go. About one third are reissues/anthologies/etc and the balance comprise newer slabs. I was originally planning on making this an all-reissue blog but I didn't want to neglect some of the worthwhile recent releases...

Coming soon, a wrap-up of 2009...


(with the guy who writes this swill, second from right)

AGNOSTIC FRONT-Victim In Pain (Bridge Nine, LP)/United Blood (Bridge Nine, 7" EP)
Long-overdue vinyl reissues of two undisputed stone hardcore classics, that being the 1983 debut 7" and 1984 LP for the one and only AF. There was a little bit of controversy over these repackagings since the original artwork for both records has been relegated to the inner sleeves. Some folks viewed this as a compromise, especially in the case of "VIP" with its rather provocative cover of Nazi death camp imagery and a lynching. But the embossed outer sleeves are a hell of a lot better than the late 80s Combat reissue. And for "Victim In Pain," it's still a gatefold release with the original inner portions reproduced.

"VIP" is, in my opinion, the best of the early NYHC 12" releases (I'm talking pre-"Age of Quarrel"), a firebomb of buzzsaw thrash and sick circle-pit inducers. The breakdown of "Blind Justice" still makes one want to kill. So many incredible moments--Roger's "YEEEEEOW" that starts "Hiding Inside," the "STIGMA" yell that leads into Vinnie's sputtering solo for "Power," the rumbling bass that starts "Fascist Attitudes" and ominous pattern for "Last Warning" and so on. I've listened to this album hundreds of times over the years and it's not stale yet. As for "United Blood," the band were rougher-sounding than on "VIP." Double-time, martial-beat thrashers (with the tubs thumped by Raybeez), one brief blast after another and including an early version of "Last Warning." AF sound as if they were finding their footing a bit but the results are still explosive and demolish everything in sight. Along with the Urban Waste, Antidote and Abused EPs, this is one of early NYHC's Holy Grail releases. Two great recordings created by anti-social beings capable of battering their instruments into a bloody pulp. (

A/V MURDER-s/t (Local Cross, 7")
These guys are from Chicago and the first thing that crossed my mind while listening to these two songs--well besides the fact that this is damned good stuff--is their sound is what I call "nervy" punk band, a garagey primitivism but also some weirder, offbeat impulses. Daily Void and the Krunchies (see review below) are good at that sort of thing, as were the Tyrades. Turns out one of the band's members is Jim from the latter band. I wouldn't necessarily classify "Tourettes" as an anthem, but the gang-vocal cadence that repeats the one-word chorus moves it near that realm. The flip, "Fight Like A Man," heaves into darker terrain, a little Yow-ish vocalese and some sax skronkin' in the stew. More, please! (1619 Commonwealth Ave., #2, Boston, MA 02135,

BROKEN NEEDLE-Discography (Lengua Armada, CD)

A west coast band playing hardcore with a classic, catchy style ala Uniform Choice and the like--kind of stating the obvious since they cover two of that band's songs but it fits. Bright, punchy guitars, urgent-sounding vocals and all of it is spot-on. Given the band's name and the artwork with a hand snapping a syringe, one might expect standard-issue edge lyrical themes but that's not the case. Sure, there are the personalized songs about betrayal, confrontation and the like but also ones about larger issues--boilerplate sentiments on church, state, greed, etc and I find it hard to disagree. And "Trash This Place" takes venue-wrecking morons to task. Talk about a timeless theme. Taken from their demo, 12", 7", comp tracks and one of the UC covers ("Use Your Head") is unreleased. Well-worn for sure but they nail it. I'll always have a soft spot for this type of direct, uncomplicated burn. Incidentally, the insert fold-out includes flyer artwork from the late, great Randy "Biscuit" Turner from the Big Boys. (

CRACKS-Dirty Floor (Slipping Grip, 7" EP)
Buzzin' punk and hardcore with some real rawness in the guitar department, even if the snotty vocals chafe a bit. As Obama leads the US into a surge in Afghanistan, the message of "Yellow Ribbons" rings true--pumping up the warmongering while soldiers come home with bloody stumps that you don't always see on TV. Not amazing but it has its moments. (

EVERYTHING FALLS APART-Relief (self-released, LP)

A fine 12" debut (following a couple of 7"s, which were actually compiled on an LP) for this Buffalo band, who dip quite a bit into the mid-to-late 80s DC sound-scape--Rites of Spring, Ignition and the like--for inspiration. But instead of merely mimicking that sound, they use it as a piece of their frenetic, feverish tumult. Emotional? Well, sort of, although Pat Shanahan doesn't sound like he's about to break out into tears. But the warmth of the guitar tone offset by throbbing bass and propulsive drumming certainly conjure up that impression. I mean that in the best possible sense. It's a feverish swirl that veers closer to hardcore for the likes of "Paralyzed" and "First Time."
But it's a song like "Leave No Record," with the stop/starts and stinging guitar line, that leaves (sorry) an even stronger impression. It's been a few years since their last 7" and EFA have shown growth as a band, infusing their hardcore roots with an infectiously melodic focus. (

FUNERAL SHOCK-California's Dead/Petty Motherfuckers (Tankcrimes, 7")

"California's Dead" is a driving punk tune with the brute, bruising properties that informed Funeral Shock's previous efforts. Harsh vocals and a solid mid-tempo burn. The song details the state's decay with ass-kicking success. Unfortunately, the stretched-out, slower "Petty Motherfuckers" fares badly. The anger seems real, especially with the stentorian vocals, but it really drags. One out of two ain't bad, I suppose. (PO Box 3495, Oakland, CA 94609,

GEARS-Rockin' At Ground Zero/D.I.s-Rare Cuts (Hep Cat, 2xCD)

The deal is this a two-fer/double pack/whatever you want to call it. The commonality is both bands featured vocalist Axxel G. Reese (clever) and drummer Dave Drive. Each band had its own style, the Gears playing mainly lively punk, albeit with a stronger emphasis on melody, while the D.I.s (not to be confused with the Adolescents-affiliated D.I.) dove headlong into the country-meets-blues-meets rock 'n roll that became popular in LA in the early to mid-80s. The Gears disc has more tracks than on the previously-released Bacchus Archives anthology from about ten years ago, tacking on five demo tracks from '79. Axxel's vocals could occasionally overwhelm the punk tuneage. Not as gritty or hard-edged as other bands from the time and you can hear the direction that would be taken with the D.I.s, such rockabilly-ish title track. Some classic songs, though--the thumping "Don't Be Afraid To Pogo" is a perennial favorite and the leering "High School Girls" equally potent. The D.I.s, meanwhile, were more polished-sounding and had their moments of rock-itude, especially on the songs produced by X's Billy Zoom (most of which ended up on their first 7" and 12") but the punk roots only show up on occasion. They'd really gotten slick by the time of their unreleased A&M session from 1985. Essentially, this is bar-band rock. Mild thumbs up for the Gears, not the case for the D.I.s. (PO Box 1108, Orange, CA 92856,

GIVE UP-s/t (Peterwalkee, CD)

A compilation of this band's 7"s (there were only 100 of the second one), demo and a radio set. Raging, rabid-sounding hardcore, the latter element particularly true with Liz's vocals. It's a fast-paced assault, with short and blistering songs. For a change of pace, there's the punkier "Boring," complete with a "whooah" or two. From the early part of the decade and a band that shouldn't be overlooked. (408 Richmond Ave., Buffalo, NY 14222,

I HATE THIS-s/t (American Waste/Blastcat, 7" EP)
Blazing hardcore done with tight execution and full-on aggression, the strongest material yet from I Hate This, especially production-wise. Song structures are increasingly diverse, with on-a-dime tempo shifts and getting downright crushing for "Sick" and "Virus." An old-school hardcore influence informs some of the songs here. As always, there are strong and pointed lyrical sentiments aimed at those who see fit to denigrate others, destroy the environment and oppress workers. The final song, "Fuckface," is about the dangers of botox injections and it hits close to home because I have a close, 50-ish friend who is trying to fight against her natural aging process with plastic surgery and a recent procedure put her in intensive care. I don't want to tell people how to live their lives but I don't understand that mentality. Just vanity, I suppose. My copy also came with a booklet about emergency herbal remedies "for the punx," where their vocalist De offers help for fungal infections, ringworm and other nasty afflictions. This is a rager. ( or

INSURANCE RISK-Violence In Our Minds (Crucial Response, LP)

Beyond shameless, beyond derivative, from the band's name being plucked from a DYS song to the plucking of song structures lock stock and barrel from that band, SS Decontrol, Negative FX and The FU's. Complete with Springa-with-a-bellyache emanations. And you know what? It's a blast. They do cross the line of stupidity with the shock-homophobic "We Don't Care," meant to piss-off the so-called "politically correct people," as drummer/bassist Ollie puts it in the liner notes. OK, keep backpedaling. I just think it's dumb but not enough to get all self-righteous about it. This LP compiles the Norwegian edgers two 7"s from '99 and '02 (shit is it that long ago?) and the remastering job brings out the bile in bold relief. (Von-der-Mark-Str. 31, 47137 Duisburg, GERMANY,

JOHNS TOWN ALOHA-Digworker EP (HG Fact, 7" EP)
This band's last EP, "Blood Ravens Wander" (which I didn't review) featured a band with a noisy, chaotic hardcore sound. "Digworker,"the band's third release, is no less chaotic but the delivery seems sharper. Sputtering feedback and a dirty, frenzied attack. Pure noise that throws up a razor-wire curtain and dares you to try to cross through. You'll be bloodied, for sure, but the prize is there. Ex-members of Exclaim and Breakfast. (


KAMIKAZE-The Spirit Of Battle (Soulrebel, LP)

Kamikaze's vocalist Craig was/is in Degenerics and, as with the Degenerics discog LP awhile back, he does the same thing for this sick early-'00s (weird to see that) band--all the stuff was recorded in 2003. "The Spirit Of Battle" collects the band's LP, 7" and one compilation song for this boiling-over volume. It's fast and frantic hardcore that has more of a stripped-down sound than Degenerics, who at times had a Die Kreuzen-ish flair. One song here, "Going Through The Motions," does echo that and, of course, Craig's yowl 'n rant remains the same. "Nothing Seems Real" brings the proceedings to a torturous (not in a negative sense, though) conclusion and a trail of doubt, anger and rage is strewn behind them. And if there's an admission of "singin the same ol' song" and "another cliche about changes," it remains a timeless and universal theme. And even if starting the album with a clip from "Repo Man" (the one where the grocery store manager is lecturing Otto about not paying attention) is also a bit of a cliche, it's still a great starting point as Otto's "FUCK YOU!" leads into the lament of "Coma Life." Direct and soul-grabbing. (

KRUNCHIES-s/t (SouthKore, 7" EP)
Fast garage punk, nearing hardcore speed occasionally, on this new EP from Chicago's Krunchies and it's the first stuff I've heard from them in awhile. I missed their 7" a few years ago so the most recent disc I have by them is '05's "In De Winkel" and time hasn't dulled this three piece one bit. There's a lot of scrappiness and brashness but the musicianship is also creative, particularly for "Victim All The Time." Jagged, thorny songs and the Krunchies will slash their way into your heart. (2814 S. Spaulding Ave., Chicago, IL 60623,

MAD WORLD-s/t (Even Worse/Kangaroo, 7" EP)

Given that they're from North Carolina and the band's name could possibly have been taken from a COC song title, I was expecting something along those lines. That's definitely part of the sound but not nearly the whole story. This is hammering hardcore punk, sometimes going into a double-speed vein and with an abundance of guitar whizzle and scorch, battering drums and hoarse emanations. A raw presence, here. ( or


A couple of new tunes from Peligro Social--well, one's an original, while "Ruidos" is a cover of an early 80s Spanish punk band called La Uvi. The latter has a catchy, almost No Future records sound on their rendition. "Salvame" mines a successfully tuneful route, as well. The TV Evangelists apparently consist of the legendary purevyors of the form. In fact, this could be Oral Roberts and Tammy Faye Baker's final recorded appearances. Enough feeble attempts at humor. "Farewell Falwell" (fitting the theme, here) has something of a west coast skate punk feel and that continues to an extent for "Generation RX." 'Tis OK.
(PO Box 3495, Oakland, CA 94609,

PISSCHRIST/FRAMTID-Hardcore Detonation Attack (HG Fact, 7" EP)

Holy motherfucking shit... this is the real deal. There are plenty of bands who play d-beat styled crust, to the point where they're a dime a dozen. Pisschrist are a notable exception. They're just so over-the-top and punishing that it makes me want to punch the wall. Walls, for that matter. Sick and insane vocals along with a relentless musical pillage including one hell of a circle-pit part for "Extinction." Perfection, from the full-bore drumming to the guitar/bass fusillade to Yeap's throat-rending vocals. And then it's time to flip it over for Framtid, with their first new recordings in some time. The same sort of walloping attack as Pisschrist--three songs with the subtlety of a rhino charge. No hyperbole, here--one of the best records of 2009. (

RORSCHACH-Remain Sedate/Protestant (Gern Blandsten, 2xLP)

I think Rorschach are a band I appreciate more now than I did back then and I was definitely a fan at that point, as well. I was late to the party in realizing the importance of the DIY ethic that sprung up in NYC during the late 80s/early 90s. That changing of the decades was something of a fallow time for quality hardcore, as the testosterone levels grew in some quarters and the music largely became sluggish and static. With the passage of a decade and a half, listening to these remastered/remixed albums gives perspective, a handle on where Rorschach were coming from. It's trite, but they were coming a dark region. Howling vocals, dramatic arrangements shifting between heavier lurch and blasts of adrenalin. The twisted guitar lines drew from the well of Die Kreuzen and, to an extent, Voivod although the latter was certainly influenced by the former, themselves. And the nods to Black Flag have to be acknowledged, as well, although it's a subtler take than, say, Bl'ast. That stated--and to once again be a tad trite--they twisted those musical ideas into something of their own. The albums are separated by two years and, while it's simplifying things a little, the first of the pair, "Remain Sedate," had it's moments of more straightforward hardcore, particularly on the speedy "Checkmate." The brain damaged elements already had started to rear its theoretical head. Roraschach's approach proved that it's possible to play heavy and intense music without any sort of mindless machismo or boring chuggishness. And this reissue is done right, with a gatefold sleeve and 180 gram vinyl (on different colors--one was sold in each city of the reunion tour)--the sound is killer. Brutal and brilliant. (

SPG-Special Patrol Group (American Waste/Give Praise, 7" EP)
Solid old-school hardcore mixing up thrash and punkier sounds ("Destroy," "Thought Control," "Never Give In"). "Rhetoric" takes a provocative stance on treating soldiers as heroes (these guys don't think that's the case) and there's pissed-off finger pointing at patriots, the media elite and, let's see, political leaders. Ah, to be young and pissed-off, again. Well, I'm old and still somewhat pissed-off and this kind of hardcore remains capable of providing a charge, even with a sense of familiarity. ( or

ULTRATUMBADOS-s/t (SouthKore, 7")

An interesting mix of punk and garage not fitting any pigeonhole. The A-side, "Autogesto, Al Exceso," includes a nifty instrumental break with near-spacy guitar, underpinned by a throbbing bass-line. The bass leads the way for the flip, their "theme song," adding in some Raygun-ish whoops to the heady bash. I definitely want to hear more from these guys. (
2814 S. Spaulding Ave., Chicago, IL 60623,

WHITE LOAD-s/t (Leather Bar, 7" EP)
Talk = Fuck, yelled as many times as possible and it's also the last word you hear. "Talk" is the first of three rippers on this one-sided 7", pressed on lovely Pepto Bismol-colored vinyl. Actually, that word about fornication is about the only one I can make out but they lay out some gloriously raw punk bash here. Two fast ones that careen into the slower, sinister 'n savage "Chemicals." No self-consciously low fidelity, as far as I can reckon, but this wouldn't work nearly as well with cleaner sonics. Play loud but be careful not to scratch the record on the staples when removing it from the sleeve. (

WORLD BURNS TO DEATH-The War Can Go On Forever/Black Becomes The Sun (HG Fact, 7")

The latest from WBTD features the band's hallmark, bulldozing sound. Swedish and Japanese hardcore meets metal and both songs on their own 7" and the split with Japanese wreckers Blowback are raging as always. Their song on the split, "Here A Dream Dies Everyday," has a tasteful, non-overblown classic metal touch. As for Blowback, how can you not love a song called "Fuck Fuck Fuck." Nasty vocals and pure rampage from the guitar scorch and hard-driving drumwork. Like WBTD, they have the Dis-metal elements although it's slightly scrappier. Blowback are definitely one of the better Japanese bands in recent years. (

Friday, November 20, 2009


after 23 years of having my box in Lynn, I've decided to move it closer to home. So please send all correspondence to:

Al Quint
PO Box 43
Peabody, MA 01960

if you're shipping UPS or via someone that requires a street address, email me for it.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Suburban Voice blog #81

And so it begins again. First, a mea culpa or perhaps I should say I got "pwned" or "punk'd," and I wonder if it's a good idea for a nearly 50 year old guy to be using internet terms in a feeble attempt to still look cool. Or if it's a good idea for a nearly 50 year old guy to still be doing a punk zine/blog/whatever. But I digress. In the last blog, I reviewed a Bunny Skulls 7" and mentioned it was recorded by Steve Albini, yet it still sounded like a boombox recording, as was the case for their first 7". Well, the joke's on me--it was a basement recording. Bunny Skull Scott told me that a lot of people had fallen for the gag. What is it about bands with bunny or bunnies in their name? First there were the Lil Bunnies, the uber-obnoxious garage punk terrorists from Sacramento in the 90s. Never heard of 'em? You're in luck--here's a sample of their unique talents, from a rather pathetic video clip made by yours truly in about five minutes. Literally...

Then you have Nobunny, running around with a bunny mask and creating annoyingly clever minimalist pop ditties that charm, grate or a bit of both. And now Bunny Skulls... those impish little jokers. But it just has me looking forward to the next installment of their punk rock chaos...

... but I can't think of anything more snappy than "demo reviews." I do tend to neglect the demo cassettes and CD-Rs that come my way and that's not on purpose. A few sneak in here and there but let's plow through some of the recent and not-so-recent ones that have shown up here.

Let's start with the tapes. First up is Slump, a German band mixing ominous, low-tuned ooze (particularly for the crush that starts things off) and grind blasts. A good-sounding recording but nothing all that memorable beyond the "brutal" nature of the music. (Kink Records, Backslider are also on the grind tip/trip, a guitar/drums duo blasting out Spazz-ish compositions in very short permutations and, once again, pretty much a tuneless flail-fest but the grinders will love it. ( Magnum Force's demo is on the same label as Backslider, that being Blastcat, and it's in a similar vein. Ultra-fast hardcore although they do come across as a tighter-sounding unit. Their version of Infest's "Peace Test" is handled fairly well. ( From Virgina, Total Wreck play fast and raw old school shiznit and the songs are competently executed. 7" apparently in the works and I'd be interested in hearing it. (

Iron Hand
's demo says 2008 on it so this review is long past due. Decent thrashy-crust favoring howling vocals and a sound akin to Born/Dead, From Ashes Rise, Wolfpack et al. A thick wall of guitar and bass and crashing drums power things along nicely. (32 Fairview Ave., Middletown, CT 06457, Over Vert's tape is also from 2008 but no matter. Their monstrous-sounding "Gagging + Swallowing" is one of the best in this batch. The first words you hear are "GET THE FUCK OUT!" and that command is repeated many times. A heady 90s-era Touch & Go/Amphetamine Reptile nerve/noise/core attack driven by pillaging bass and ample guitar shock. If you crave the days of Jesus Lizard and other skull-wreckers who play hard-cored and hardcore music, then this will be right up your alley. Recorded by Steve Albini and I don't think it's a fib, this time. (

With the Peace Creeps, you've got three former members of the late, great Last In Line--vocalist DJ Podolski and guitarists Deuce and Mikey Flynn and two other compatriots trying their hands at snappy punk, rock 'n roll, even a bit of Misfits-meets-surf for "Psychomania" and "Werewolves On Wheels." The latter two songs add some schizophrenia--sounds like a different band, almost, but it's a good start. (Rock & Roll Disgrace, 24 Sadler St., Lynn, MA 01905,

The sound quality for the demo by Albany's Girls Of Porn isn't that great but it's due to the tape since the tracks sound a tad better on their MySpace page. Wacked-out rock/thrash/noise/weirdness, with a lengthy dub-style piece wrapping things up. "Howard's Johnson" is the most straight-forward ripper. Moments of intrigue and not predictable. (

From the other other end of New York, Buffalo to be precise, White Whale dish out some enjoyably-tuneful punk in the same way Gaunt did. That means it's poppy but not sweet and the vocals sound as though they're coming through a cheap mike. With this kind of production, it works perfectly well. Two of these guys also play in Everything Falls Apart. (

The Confidence Men sent their demo on both CD-R and cassette and, in either format, it wasn't anything particularly exemplary. A band with UK anarcho-punk propensities, particularly in some of the guitar lines (echoes of early Banshees there, too), while mixing in some thrash. Trying a few different ideas but not all-that-successfully yet. And their cover of Rudimentary Peni's "Teenage Time Killer" on the CD version is pretty bad. (

Continuing with the CD demos, Fucked For Life connect with three songs of furious distort-core and one song in a rock 'n roll vein--not as good, either. The title track, "Distortion and Death," sums things up: "Life is simple, simple for us/We crave distortion, all we see is death... all we drink is whiskey and beer/all we know is distortion and death." Whatever gets you through it. I like the rawness, here. ( The Love Below aren't quite as distorted but lean towards a crusty 'n raw sound along with heavier elements. Vocals howl painfully and the band's bash has presence. Nothing amazing but some flash. (

Excuse The Blood
is another demo CD I sat on for awhile and the band's energetic, upbeat yet still hard-edged hardcore and punk wears well. Catchy songs--even the reggae parts that pop up aren't that bad. I could still live without them but it doesn't ruin everything. (

Minnesota band Thanks! play clever, fairly good pop/punk on their "It's Not Funny" demo and do it without being cutesy about it. Getting close at times--"Winning A Marble Eating Contest Isn't Winning" ups the cloy quotient, but this is mainly rough and hook-filled. It'd probably be less appealing with too-clean production. (317 Raymond Ave., St. Cloud, MN 56304, Finally, MRKAXN, from the UK, have a heavy and lurching hardcore sound. Not really metal but a dark 'n anguished ambiance with the occasional speed break. The final song is a lengthy dirge and beyond the tolerance threshold after awhile. Some interesting twists but largely not going anywhere beyond that. (

... and a few records (with many more to come next time)

DESTINO FINAL-Atrapados (La Vida Es Un Mus, LP)

This is just as great as people have been saying it is. Spainiards Destino Final are essentially a continuation of Invasion. Simply blazing, brimming with sizzling-whizzling guitars, drumbeats packing plenty of straight-on speed blitz along with some tribal rhythms and vocals that act like a cutting, razor-like instrument.
As with Invasion, the reverb remains on Guille's emanations although the production isn't as echo-laden. It just provides a more direct route to the band's savage burn, anyway. A tandem of Disorder and Discharge-isms and some anarcho touches, all of it coalescing into something remaining distinctive. There's pure excitement in the way a song like side two opener "Laborinto II" builds through an intro and provides a satisfying, powerful payoff, careening from one song to the next, each side ending with a mid-paced ravager. One of the best of '09. (

PREYING HANDS-Through The Dark (Inimical, LP)

Some (well at least their vocalist Spoke) of the people in this Montreal band used to play in Ballast and, as with that band, there's a good amount of melody in their overall approach. The difference is things are cleaner-sounding, with nothing down-tuned or plodding. A warmth in overall tone but still driving and some intense howls emerge from Dave's backing vocals. Lyrically, it's a cry for help in a world gone mad (thank you, Agent Orange) or, at the very least, a plaint. It's a single voice asking questions but also exuding defiance, as with "Sinking," asserting that "I'm never giving in... not until I've got you by the throat." Despite that latter phrase, the lyrics aren't overly bombastic nor the music funereal. No acoustic passages or any of that nonsense and that makes Preying Hands eminently more listenable. (PO Box 2803, Seattle, WA 98111,

SWORN LIARS-Vile Device (Big Neck, CD)
Snarlin', nervy punk and garage with some electronic effects scattered here and there. The title track offers the invitation "welcome to my doom" (that's what it sounds like, anyway) and it's gladly accepted. The traditional garage/psych side is played up on the likes of "Kill Me" or "Foul Thing" but most of the time, it's pure throttle, as with "Down," "Bubble Boy" or "Mental Fissure." There's something sinister at work here. These German deviants include members of the underrated Moorat Fingers and you should seek out their album "Punk (As In Prison)" from 2002 or so. (PO Box 8144, Reston, VA 20195,

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Suburban Voice blog #80

I wanted to try to get another blog published by the end of the month and here it is. Realize that as I type this, my arm is in a sling and I'm on painkillers, due to shoulder surgery last week. That means you have to forgive any sort of incoherence, even though most of this was written over the course of the month!

Show-wise, kind of slow for yours truly. I made it to the Midway a couple of times, the first to see Sista Sekunden from Sweden and the second show featured Bring Down The Hammer, Chad from Brother Inferior's latest band. Photos and reviews of the shows can be seen at my Flickr page.



ACEPHALIX-s/t (Prank, 7" EP)
A crushing amalgam of metal and crust with a riveting, thick sound and gut-punched vocalizing. In fact, the latter could be likened to Cronos of Venom being gut-punched. The opening song, "Nothing," is dirty, fast and nasty with some tasty wah-wah guitar punctuation and that continues with the careen of "Embodied In Skin." "Patricide" is in more of a pounding vein and things wrap up another speedy blast, "Confession." Thunderous. (PO Box 410892, SF, CA 94141,

ANS-Pressure Cracks (Tankcrimes, LP)

With "Pressure Cracks," ANS move even closer to the metallic realm. At the outset, there's a clip asking if they're going "a little slow heavy metal" and the reply is "a little bit zany, a little bit wastey." That could be name-checking a certain zany Waste-oid band from Richmond but this definitely isn't a carbon copy of 1987. They embrace a sprightly heaviness, if that's not a contradiction, while maintaining the Bl'ast-Flag inspirations, especially the first part of the hybrid. That applies to the words, taking a search inside and finding painful questions to deal with and express but also leaving time to "party with bros," as stated on ("If You Don't Get It Now) You Never Will." That's the only song that mentions their passion for skating, incidentally. Most of these songs here have a fired-up, rocking fervor reinforced with scorching guitar riffs and leads and wailing drumming. The last pair of songs take chances but aren't quite as successful. "Instru-Monu-Mental" uses the same modus operandi as "Walk Down My Way" from the last album, with spoken word over an instrumental vamp. It's kind of like combining the spoken word and instrumnetal sides of Black Flag's "The Process Of Weeding Out." "Bleeding Out" goes through an excruciating passage of purgatorial emanations (huh?) before finding a groove. Still, those songs aren't complete disasters, just a bit tough to get through. That's definitely not the case the rest of the time. (PO Box 3495, Oakland, CA 94609,

ANTIBODIES-... Are Here (Patac, 7" EP)
The head honcho at Patac told me these are older guys who felt the urge to get together and start a punk rock band to work through the midlife crisis--well, I surmised the latter. And that they've done--started a punk rock band, that is. A drunken, loutish, obnoxious one. That description definitely applies to the vocalist. Meanwhile, his musical compatriots batter the snot out of their equally loutish and obnoxious compositions. Maybe they're trying a bit too hard but it takes something--though I'm not sure what that something is--to come up with a song as inspiringly stoopid as "Penis Intravenus." You wonder if their kids would tell THEM to turn down the racket. I say turn it up even louder. (

BUNNY SKULLS-18 Song EP (Punks Before Profits, 7" EP)

Formerly a duo, now a trio and I neglected to review their first 7". Distored, raw hardcore in short, sharp installments. I mean, you're not going to find any three minute epics here. It's not all blinding thrash either. "Daily War" actually has something of a melody. Pretty tongue-in-cheek and particularly contemptuous of crusties, suicide punx, youth crew-ers and people who wear Hooters shirts. What's funny is this sounds like it was recorded on a boombox or four-track but it was actually recorded by Steve Albini at his studio. And he does a great job of making it sound like a boombox recording. I just went back and listened to their first, one-sided EP and that was recorded on a four-track and is sonically similar. Maybe you can still score one. Go to (PO Box 1148, Grand Rapids, MI 49501,

First US pressing for ECSR's 2006 debut and if you haven't heard these Aussies yet, what the heck are you waiting for. This is one of the cooler bands to come along in the past five or so years. The individual who introduced me to these guys (and it spurred me to lay out a pretty good amount of money for the import pressing of this album) said they sounded "old" as in having something of a vintage sound. They certainly use the Australian band X as a starting point, along with early Wire but this isn't a museum excursion. ECSR favor a gnashing, gnarled sound with jabbing guitars reinforced by in-the-pocket bass and drums. Vocalist Brendan Suppression has a knack for sounding both self-assured and nervous. Repitition is a not-so-secret weapon--a song like "Having A Hard Time" gradually builds to a manic crescendo. "Insufficient Funds" replaces the guitar with organ and has the same kind of mind-numbing effect and if the sharp, catchy "It's All Square" doesn't bring on some sort of blissful sensation then it might be good idea to get thyself a stethoscope and check ye pulse. That applies to this album taken as a whole and the follow-up, "Primary Colors," is nearly as great. (2152 Young Ave., Memphis, TN 38104,

LEWD ACTS-Black Eye Blues (Deathwish, CD)

Hardcore of an eruptive and powerful nature. Bursts of blazing speed, pummeling crunch and a dramatic metallic coating. The latter element brings early Voivod to mind, believe it or not, at least in the jarring guitar lines. Things get plodding at times, particularly the laborious closer, "Nowhere To Go" and that makes "Black Eye Blues" frustrating at times but when they unleash the full-bore fusillade of sonic terror (a pretentious way of saying when they play it faster), watch the fuck out. (

LIPKICK-s/t (Kink, 7" EP)

Bashing, thrashy punk by four German women. The musicianship is on the primitive side (the drumming isn't too sharp, to be honest) and sounds as though it's going to fall apart at times. Their anger and aggression gets them through to a point but there's definitely room for improvement. (

LOGIC PROBLEM-s/t (Abuse, 12")

A pile-driving attack of hardcore punk, the best material yet from this NC band. Well, the discography isn't that extensive yet, just a previous 7" and demo but this is high quality rage. Speedy songs that do follow a slightly similar rhythmic pattern as early COC or Double Negative (yeah, inevitable touchpoints from my lazy keyboard) but this is more blown-out sounding, as the guitar blasts out a sound akin to a nettled hornets nest. Cameron's vocals, with a tinge of distortion, cut through the raw mayhem with raspy authority. And they turn Gang Of Four's "5.45" into the type of bloody violence that appears on the "18 inch screen" in the lyrics, falling apart into a sputtering mess and battered beyond recognition. I imagine there's no room in there for the melodica used on the original. Nothing held back here. (

NIGHT BIRDS-s/t (demo)

Psyched To Die drummer Brian Gorsegner is the vocalist for this NJ band. The four songs each have a distinct approach--an echo of the Descendents for "Send Me Home," a little bit of Buzzcocks crossed Agent Orange for "Paranoid Times," some garage on "Can't Get Clean." This is sharp, jumpy punk fusing melody with the instrumental jab. Not a bad debut. (
6 Clydesdale Ct. Tinton Falls NJ 07701,

PINHEAD GUNPOWDER-Kick Over The Tracks (Recess, CD)

There's someone named Billie in this band and I think he might be the singer for some huge band but that's not really relevant here. Well, it's relevant in the fact that this kind of tuneful punk wears a lot better. Enough sly joking--Pinhead Gunpowder was another musical vehicle for Aaron Cometbus, who played drums and penned the lyrics. Three new songs continuing in the same snappy and catchy vein and the balance of the material is a "greatest hits" compendium from a band that didn't have any hits so to speak. If there was ever a classic Lookout Records sound, these guys fit the bill. And Aaron's lyrics are sharply observational and self-referential. Perhaps a bit sugary at times, especially the acoustic "On The Ave.," one of the new songs--and I was a lot more into this kind of sound in the early 90s before catching the hardcore bug again--but some of the songs remain engaging. I'm just not sure that it's enough to come off the shelf all that often. (

PISSED JEANS-King of Jeans (Sub Pop, CD)

With Pissed Jeans, up to now, it's been more about the live show than the recordings. Each of their previous albums had their moments of sonic crush but this is their strongest effort to date or perhaps most consistent. For want of a better term, "King Of Jeans" has a bit more accessibility. Accessible in the sense that the songs seem to have a sharper focus--NOT accessible in the sense that they're writing catchy pop ditties.
Not to put too fine a point or box things in but they conjure up Scratch Acid (Matt Korvette has more than a little David Yow in him), Laughing Hyenas and the Melvins mix-mastered together in different permutations. And speaking of the latter, look no further than "Spent," crushing away for over 7 minutes. This song provides a musical approximation of dragging your ass out of bed, sleeping for 8 hours but still waking up tired. Talking about how drinking water didn't satisfy. I imagine, though, that a caffeine jolt could have been an inspirational spark for the furious blast of "False Jesii Part 2" "She Is Science Fiction" and "Human Upskirt"--the latter is particularly explosive. Raucous and dangerous-sounding. (2013 4th Ave., 3rd Floor, Seattle, WA 98121,

THE POGO-Police War EP (Loud Punk, 7" EP)

The ranting vocals here might be coming from Jorge of the Casualties' cousin or clone or whatever. And while the two, speedy songs on the flip take on a few of that band's properties, there's something subtly different in interplay between the guitar and bass. It's almost like early 80s anarcho punk on speed along with the "punx" trappings. And the whole thing sounds sped up as it is--it plays on 33 but sounds like it's on 45. Effectively flailing. (PO Box 3067, Albany, NY 12203,

POINTBLANK-s/t (demo)

An Albany band with Joe (ex-Jury) on vocals and another demo I neglected for a bit, although it's had a good amount of airplay on the radio show. They were originally called Reagan's Still Dead and maybe they should have kept in since there have been a ton of bands called Pointblank over the years. No matter--this is full-bore hardcore punk that isn't the most original-sounding stuff but it more than gets the job done. Cranked up, fast and Joe's vocals bear a resemblance to Mr. Tony Erba from Gordon Solie Motherfuckers, Face Value et al. (


RAMMING SPEED-Always Disgusted, Never Surprised (Punks Before Profits, 7" EP)

Boston's metallic hellions Ramming Speed are back with four new tracks. The main muse is straight-up thrash metal with some blowtorch leads. That's particularly true for "Too Close To Almost," the best song here and almost close to catchy (sorry). Given to blasting on occasional and Jonah Livingston has the sticksmanship to pull it off but they're at their best when sticking to the traditional trappings. The lyrics deal with economic collapse and putting too much faith in political leaders i.e. the current occupant of the White House to make things better for the underclass ("No Hope"). Pretty good but you really need to see them in their live, hair-flying fury. (PO Box 1148, Grand Rapids, MI 49501,

RELIGIOUS SS DISORDER-Prey (Punks Before Profit, 7" EP)
Dark and churning punk with tribal-like rhythms, buzzing guitar and bass, plus vocals with a whole lotta reverb on them.
The title track begins with collage of clips repeating the word "terrorism" ad infinitum leading into the musical fray. The more aggressive punk side comes up for "Critically Think" and "People Not Property," but there are other times where there's an anarcho punk vibe and that adds a distinctive flair. One of the better recent releases from this label and well-packaged with a hand screened cover and poster. (PO Box 1148, Grand Rapids, MI 49501,

REPORTS-Bill Wyman Metal Detector/Attleboro Trailers (Ride The Snake, 7")
Yet another record that came out awhile ago. Two engaging songs with a skewed, primitive and chaotic beauty. In other words, poppy without being obvious about it. "Bill Wyman..." pulls one hell of a vocal hook out of the chorus and it all builds to a fever pitch with a gnashing, feisty determination. "Attleboro Trailers" favors a garage-style bash with searing guitar leads. The recording is perfect--it'd probably lose something in the traslation with cleaner production although calling it lo-fi is something of a misnomer. (

REVILERS-Stand Or Fall (Patac, 7")

Another fine dose of hearty 'n tuneful punk rock. As with the first EP, they favor punchy arrangements and endearinly gruff vocals, a '77-era meets No Future Records sound. "Road Rage" aims for a Motorhead style and sounds more like Motorhead-lite but that's the only misstep here. They're not changing the world but it's still decent. (

SHITTY LIMITS-Beware The Limits (Sorry State, LP)

Beware, indeed. There's a newer crop of UK punk bands playing with a rough 'n jarring sound that incorporates post-punk and garage into the aural mixer. This year has brought stellar 7"s from Fashion and Hygiene and the Shitty Limits come from the same region (London and surrounding regions) and a similar muse, that being a penchant for shaking things up. After a slew of earlier 7"s, some of which have been re-released, "Beware The Limits" is their first bigger-sized release and it uncorks a delirious, jittery sound. "Transitions" has a Fall-like tinge to it and if their vocalist Louis doesn't parrot Mark E. Smith, he still has a sing/speak/shout cadence. He practically drove himself into convulsions when they performed here over the summer and I wondered if he was going to
have an aneurysm from shaking his noggin too hard. The same thing might happen to you once the needle hits the vinyl. (1102 N. Greensboro St., Carrboro, NC 25710,

STATE-Wuste dtld EP (Gossenwelt, 7")

The State's second German and English languages EP (the title means "Dregs 'o Detroit") with two songs apiece in each tongue and taken from recordings ca. late '07/early '08. "You Against The World" is a solid change of pace for these guys, taking a rockin' punk turn with some blowtorch guitar. The other three songs run the gamut from a mid-speed wind-up ("Emo-X") to hammering hardcore ("Wuste Deutschland") to the no bullshit rager "Pop Tart." Not the greatest record ever by these stalwarts but the "You Against The World" and "Pop Tart" are definite keepers. (

TASTE THE FLOOR-s/t (Rising Riot, CD)

Cleanly-produced fast hardcore respecting the roots but having the modern twist. Maybe a little too clean for my liking since hardcore, at its best, needs some roughness but it's not a deal-breaker. The songs bristle with an urgency, both musically and in the vocals. These Italians eschew the chug and don't sweeten things up too much, either. Overall, nothing all that out of the ordinary--just songs that are well-played and energetic. (

WHORES OF WAR-s/t (self-released, 7" EP)
Due to my now-standard tardiness, the Bay Area band Whores of War have broken up before this review gets published. Ranting, thrashy hardcore from these three ladies/one gentleman and they would have fit in well on the early 80s Northern Cal. comp "Not So Quiet On The Western Front." Kat's vocals are murderous and the songs equally-nettled sounding. Not anything real distinctive about this crew (i.e. a tad generic) but it sounds good coming out of the speakers. 300 copies. (1033 Rosewood Ave., San Carlos, CA 94070,

Friday, October 02, 2009

Suburban Voice blog #79


Hi! Remember me? While Suburban Voice has been lagging in the print arena for, oh, six years, I've been trying to keep the blog running on a regular basis. And not successfully of late. I'm REALLY going to try to have another one of these posted in the next week or so since I have a backlog of record reviews. I do appreciate all the fine music sent my way and, even if I somehow fail to publish a review here, I try to get it on the radio show at least. So, with that in mind...

... the last three shows I went to, during the span of 17 days in September, featured what one would call "heritage" acts i.e. bands who have reunited or been around a wicked long time, as we say in MassLingo. One of 'em, Youth Brigade, were only broken up for a few years anyway. Their show and the one featuring Naked Raygun were both at the larger downstairs room of the Middle East and it was the first time I'd been there in a number of years. I was trying to remember when it was but it could have been 2002, when I saw the Rezillos. I did get to the upstairs room for the first time in perhaps five years in August to see another reunited band, Chronic Sick but that wasn't particularly good so I think I'll move on. The other show was at the ICC in Brighton with Rorschach, reunited for their first shows since '93.

People I talked to after the Naked Raygun show were telling me how they thought it was awesome, incredible etc. I wasn't nearly as overwhelmed. It was definitely great to hear the likes of "Treason," "Home of the Brave" (the opener), "I Don't Know" (yes, I was singing "what poor gods we do make" like everyone else) and especially the killer "Rat Patrol" and "Surf Combat." But it wasn't all that energetic. I know that Jeff Pezzati hasn't been in the best health but the playing was still on the tame side. I still don't think that Bill Stephens was ever an adequate replacement for John Haggerty. Incidentally, Haggerty's own "heritage" band, Pegboy opened for Face to Face at the House of Blues the following week but I refuse to patronize that corporate club with oppressive security unless it's the show of a lifetime or something. Getting back to this show, though perhaps it's something being lost in the large club environment. I've become accustomed to the intimacy of basements and smaller venues. Whatever the case, hardly a mindblowing performance.

That was pretty much the same case for Youth Brigade. They're out for a 25th anniversary tour, a couple of years late actually, to promote the "Let Them Know" project--a package with a book, DVD that tell the story of the band and BYO Records and either a double LP and CD or a smaller version with the CD. The musical portion features bands covering songs from the BYO catalog. I got the DVD and CD discs sans book and haven't had an opportunity to check out either one yet.

The Brigade did a career-spanning set and, truth be told, I haven't listened to much after "Sound and Fury" in recent years. It was fairly enjoyable and, yes, I sang along to "Sink With California" like everyone else! Just like with Raygun's songs. And like Raygun, the songs are strong on melody and this lineup has plenty of instrumental dexterity, particulary their newer bass-player Joey, who also contributes strong backing vocals.

Rorschach, on the other hand, did deliver the goods and then some. Hell, the usually-abysmal sound at the ICC was tolerable for once. Still plenty of echo due to the high ceilings but you were able to hear the vocals and that's a rare occurrence. I'm pretty sure the last time they were here was in '92 with Econochrist and Face Value at a church basement near Harvard Square. A heavy, lurching sound given to spasms of speed and Charles Maggio's throat-shredding timbre hasn't been dulled by the passage of time. This was also likely the first time I've ever heard both King Crimson ("21st Century Schizoid Man") and Black Flag ("My War") covered in the same set. Lots of old faces came out of the woodwork for this one and it was great to see one-time Suburban Voice photographer Justine DeMetrick for the first time in years.

REVIEWS OF RECORDS, TAPES, CDs (but no 8-tracks):

(taken from their MySpace page/pic: Simon Faulkner)

BATTLE RUINS-s/t (Rock'n'Roll Disgrace, tape)

New Mass. band with Brendan Radigan (XFilesX, Mind Eraser) on vocals and the ubiquitous Justin DeTore on drums. A sturdy rock-core sound with lyrics about the ravages and glory of various battles, with "traitors stomped out," to quote one of the song titles. Imagine Criminal Damage without the blatant No Future Records-isms and you're on the right track. Brendan's vocals soar with authority and the volume-drenched sound wears well. (

DAMAGE-Our World (self-released, 12")

There have been any number of bands called Damage over the years. These four lads are Swedish and have a decidedly old-school hardcore sound. Or, rather, taking those influences and playing them with the non-distorted guitar attack utilized by the likes of Smart Cops, Amdi Petersens Arme, et al. The drumming is a little bit one-dimensional but, otherwise, I have few complaints about their no-bullshit style. I got a nice note with the record talking about how it was co-released with a "DIY human resource bank called Eldsjal" (hope I spelled it correctly) that provides info on releasing records and printed matter, booking shows, etc. Anyway, this band has a winning scrappiness. (

EQUALITIES-On The Street! (Loud Punk, LP)

The view on the back cover is facing the stage and you see people in leather jackets festooned with the logos of Abrasive Wheels, Special Duties and Adicts and hair spiked or mohawked (?) and getting ready to sing along with the Equalities. There are plenty of boisterous singalongs on thie LP from this Japanese band. Hearty UK-82 inspired punk that also dips into the '77 yearbook for the Pistols-ish "The Spring Of "Haruko," with the "Holidays In The Sun" guitar sweep. This sound kind of played itself out for me some years back but, every once in awhile, it's fun to hear this sort of "up the punx" fodder and the production is booming instead of slick. (PO Box 3067, Albany, NY 12202,

IN DEFENCE-Into The Sewer (Learning Curve, CD)

The Minneapolis band who have their name spelled wrong, claims to contrary on “In Defense Is Our Name Spelled Wrong” (maybe they think they’re from the UK), go over the metallic cliff here and welcome the collision I’d imagine. This is some fired up riffa-thrash-a-rama starting with the opening chords of “Lessons In Headbanging.” Crunchy bits of NYHC slip in there, as well. Ben Crew barks out the vocals with conviction as he emotes about such pressing issues as the lameness of pizza (“The Only Good Thing About Pizza Is The Crust”), a dearth of circle pits (“Don’t Call Me A Moshist”) and even throws in an anti-Reagan sentiment or two (“Total Filler No Killer”). Yeah, it’s kind of silly and one wonders how much of it is wise-assery and how much is serious. I used to wonder the same about Good Clean Fun but In Defence are WAY better than those guys and these songs throttle nicely. (PO Box 18378, Minneapolis, MN 55418,

MURDER-SUICIDE PACT-Summer 2009 demo (CD)
This Florida band, fronted by the one and only Bob Suren (of Sound Idea/Burrito Records fame), are back from the dead and come back with a vengeance. Fourteen songs of damage-core played in a deliberate and full-bore fashion. A Black Flag/Bl'ast inclination has always been part of the band's sound and they harness it in a somewhat similar fashion as a band like Annihilation Time but with only a smidgen of the metalisms of the former. While a good chunk is at a medium clip, they'll occasionally bring on the thrash, such as for "Get Bored And Die." For a "laptop" recording, the sound isn't bad at all--good and punchy, not overly slick. I also think they're better now than 'back in the day.' Dark aggression and that darkness extends to the lyrics. Well, sometimes there's a self-improvement, keep forging ahead theme, as with the fiery "Full Time." Bob has a sinister, close to murderous (sorry) timbre in his voice, matched very well by the music. Good to have them back. (PO Box 3204, Brandon, FL 33509,

PAINTBOX-Trip, Trance & Travelling (HG Fact, CD)
As I wrote about the "Gemstone" EP earlier this year (I referred to it as "Raw Ore" but that was one of the songs), Paintbox follow a musical everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach. In that particular song--re-recorded for this album--you've got 70s-style rock guitar, female harmony vocals and a thrash break with sax bleating. In one song. Quite a few of the 16 songs here are mini-epics and you hear everything from traditional Japanese hardcore to balladry to metal to a reggae take on a traditional Japanese dance. Some of the songs are re-recordings of earlier material accompanying the new compositions. At their crazed best, the riffs have a ferocious attack as the late great Chelsea juggles power-chords and soaring metallic leads. That's the attraction, along with Mune's inaniac vocals and the pummel often has an inherent hookiness. And weird references come to mind--the opening guitar line for "Cry Of The Sheeps" has me thinking of "Laughing" by the Guess Who, the horn charts echo Chicago, the harmonica on "Save The Ground" conjures Blues Traveler and THAT's not good but made up for by the rampage and Ziggy Stardust guitar strum. It's a lot to get through and pretty overwhelming in one sitting but it's also an album you're not likely to forget, be it good or bad and that's definitely the case here. For instance, I don't think I need to hear the jazzy ballad "A Field In The Moonlight," even with the heavier takeover in the midsection, again. But, man, I can't stop singing "Cry Of The Sheeps." If you're adventurous, this is one thrilling ride.
It's something of a cliche but I can't think of another band that sound quite like this. I should mention that the packaging is stellar, with a colorful gatefold sleeve and lyric booklet. (

RAKKAUS-Jokainen Paiva On Taistelua (Tuska & Ahditus, LP)

A blending (sheesh, sounds like I'm talking about coffee) of different styles but this is a melodic sound with elements of Swedish and Japanese hardcore and the occasionally epic propensity. The guitars aren't tuned that low so things don't collapse under their own weight. When the compositions are kept brief and throttling, it's the best display of this Finnish band's power. Katri has a commanding vocal presence--sandpaper rough but not one dimensional. There's the occasional instance of dreaded snare slam taking a shortcut to speed things up but that hinders more than helps. Definitely not a light-hearted affair--the lyrical translations mention daily struggles, pain "within me that cuts deep," etc. "The sky is filled with dark clouds" from the song with the English title "Rain" kind of sums thing up. Nothing really bogs down to a crawl and the band's inherent power is effectively conveyed. Might be a little somber for fans of the raw/aggressive Scandi-core. (Kannaksenkatu 6 as.7, 33250 Tampere, FINLAND,

RF7-Hatred On The Rise (Just 4 Fun, CD)

Kind of a round-robin deal here or maybe showdown, if a band can have a showdown against itself. The deal is there are two lineups of RF7 on this disc--the original lineup from the 80s play on the odd-numbered songs and the newer lineup on the evens and they're all current recordings. Vocalist Felix Alanis and guitarist Nick Lamagna are the only performers in both of them. Differences? To these ears, the '00s version has a tad more sprightliness in the playing. In both cases, it's the same sort of straight-forward fast west coast punk they've always plied and Felix's vocals remain some of the gruffest in the business, without degenerating into indecipherable growls. Read closely and there's a religious element to a few songs, particularly "Witness," basically offering a warning of a "burning fire/gnashing teeth" fate for the non-believer. Hmmm... In any case, RF7 have always been a decent but not outstanding band, with the occasionally killer song and that's the case for this album. In other words, fairly average. (

ROT IN HELL-Hallways Of The Always (Grot, CD)

Metal, hardcore and crust merging together. I’m tiring of having to compartmentalize everything but that’s the broad description. The riffing is hot and heavy and Rot In Hell utilize a few familiar riffs here and there, be it the Celtic Frost-isms of “Final Word” or the even-more-brazen appropriation of Slayer’s “Angel of Death” for their own “Black Omega." It does falter towards the end, with the lengthy “Psionic Annihilation” and “Now, Today, Tomorrow and Always,” more of an experimental piece with acoustic guitar fading into some sort of sonic collage with a religious sermon underneath it. I’m sure there’s some kind of grand statement being attempted but it’s not worth spending the 8 minutes to wade through it. Otherwise, a more than adequate amount of ragingness. (

SLAP THE CULTURE-s/t (Cock Suck, CD)
This came out awhile ago (as in last year) but just landed in my mailbox recently and it's been landing on my CD player quite frequently. It also made its way into my iPod, which doesn't happen that much for newer albums. This Japanese band have a snotty early 80s-inspired thrash sound along the lines of Street Trash or Total Fury and the vocal delivery is similar to those bands' vocalists Josh and Kenji . Brief catchy-but-flailing songs following each other in quick succession. The three bonus songs--adding up to a total of 16 in around 12 minutes--are rougher and a tad more chaotic, especially "I Wana (sic) Skate." Lyrics are in English and aren't exactly poetic but convey a middle-finger attitude quite effectively. Inspiring wrecklessness. (

SPITS-The Spits (Recess, CD)
The Spits release their fourth self-titled album, their first for Recess. It's unofficially called "IV," much like Led Zeppelin's fourth album was called the same thing. And they get through about 7 of the 10 songs in the time it'd take you to listen to "Stairway To Heaven." The closest thing to an epic here is "Flags," timing out at 2 1/2 minutes. This is punk minimalism possessing a crude '77-era catchiness but they let wavier/nervier chunks in the mix--synth lines and washes and plenty of distortion effects on the instruments and vocals. "Flags," mentioned earlier, is the roughest song here, driven by muffled guitar and prominent bass and the chorus "wooah" perfectly played.
You might be thinking of accusing them of "d-u-m-b" schtick but it's very clever, dark schtick that'll have 'ya pogoing around. And "School's Out," with the line "we're gonna burn the teacher's car tonight" is way cooler than "Rock 'n Roll High School." (

TIMEBOMBS-Belong In Hell (Cowabunga, LP)

Hell? Hellacious! A cataclysmic barrage of pure energy music from the feedback-laden intro to "Safe For The Whole Family" to the bombastic conclusion of the final pair of songs, "I Belong In Hell" and "Not Safe." That's for sure! The instruments sputter and squeal in an eruption of pure craziness while vocals fight to rise over the clatter. You won't be humming the songs but you'll certainly feel the impact. This is the same sort of heady noise that's been plied by Sex Vid the past few years and I could see this band being a violent force of nature in the live setting. It's a pretty formidable force right here in the listening room. (

WITCH HUNT-Burning Bridges To Nowhere (Alternative Tentacles, CD)

So I've been watching all this back and forth about the health care debate, how it fosters socialism, a takeover of the government and so on. It's time for a musical respite but that doesn't mean it's time to stop thinking about those issues and Witch Hunt's "Sick Industry" puts it into an angry lyrical focus. "Burning Bridges To Nowhere" continues the move to a more tuneful sound while maintaining the energetic hardcore emphasis. There are moments that bring late 80s DC 'core like Gray Matter to mind (as with the aforementioned "Sick Industry" and "Counting Down The Days") and the warm guitar textures channel a Leatherface influence. There's also a sense of dramatic intensity for "Void" and parts of "Counting Down The Days." One change is Rob Fitzpatrick handling an increasing amount of the vocals although Nicole and Janine are hardly silent here. The progression continues and nothing's diluted. (PO Box 419192, SF, CA 94141,

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Suburban Voice blog #78


I've been trying to come up with a way to describe the Evacuate warehouse space in scenic Roxbury, thinking about whether a term like "demimonde" or "darkside" would accurately state things. In any case, it's a spacious, dusty room with a high ceiling and wretched acoustics--at least that was the case for the Hatred Surge, Mammoth Grinder, Total Abuse and Mind Eraser show there on 7/15.
Actually, the dust was sawdust and, as for the shopping cart, one of 'em made it into the pit at one point during the show.

My favorite band of the night was Total Abuse, from Austin (all three of the out-of-towners are from there). Rusty didn't have his pedals or electronics (said he's been too lazy to replace the batteries and such) but no trickery was necessary for their tandem of thrashy rage and damaged 'core. Mammoth Grinder mix up the metal and some lower-tuned Swede core into a pummeling combination and some hot guitar leads on their last song. Hatred Surge have the hammering metallisms along with crazed grind. Those may not be the most incisive, elaborate descriptions for these bands but they'll have to do.


I made it to two other shows over the past month, both of 'em pretty memorable. Shitty Limits, from the UK and Logic Problem, from North Carolina, had a joint tour and hit PA's Lounge in Somerville on 7/28. have animated vocalists, as you can see in the photos. The Limits are refreshingly original, while drawing from a diverse array of influences including post-punk (a Fall bent on some songs), 60s garage and thrashed-out hardcore punk.

Logic Problem weren't quite up to that level. A thorny, aggressive sound. At one point, I heard a guitar line that sounded very familiar and it turned out they were doing a warp speed cover of Die Kreuzen's "In School." Cool... there's a band from the 'old days' who aren't covered all that much. Libyans played last and debuted some new songs, sputtering at the start but picking up momentum as the set progressed.

Finally, Perdition returned to town on 8/5 at a basement space in a pretty nice Brookline neighborhood. I'm amazed it was able to get almost all the way through (one local band, Isolation, didn't get to play). It was a good-sized room, too, and the acoustics were surprisingly good.

Perdition are from NYC and the last time they were here, they only got to play one song because some traveler fucks who had been thrown out of the show tossed a couple of bricks through the window of the Democracy Center. Completely wailing/raging distorted hardcore punk. Lotus Fucker, from DC, probably played around 10 minutes but it got the job done... an out-of-control vocalist, performing barefoot (as you can see) and the band's sound is a wild, crazed thrash onslaught puncutuated by his screech-your-lungs-out emanations. Finally, The Epidemic marked their return with an energetic array of UK-82 inspired punk.

And now to the music review segment of our program:


BEAR PROOF SUIT-A Suit To Alter Fate 2005-2008 (Urban Pirate)

A collection of this band's 2008 B.Y.O.B.O.C. LP, two earlier 7"s and a few unreleased songs. A potent hardcore punk band who evade any sort of easy compartmentalization. Jarring guitar lines and riffs--some real scorching stuff--wrapped around a tight bass/drums tandem and accompanied by primary vocalist Ryan Poortenga's throaty growl. In fact, the vocals from Jon Hanson are almost as gruff. There's a good amount of speedy savagery unleashed on most of these songs. Not thrash, so much, but it's a charge of full-bore adrenalin (how much hyperbole can I put in one sentence? Never mind.) "Fourth World" adds a little Bl'ast stop 'n start. And the choice of cover versions shows impeccable taste--the Wipers' "Up Front" (from one of the 7"s), Poison Idea's "Pure Hate" (previously unreleased) and Husker Du's "Real World," one of that band's best songs and handled very well here. They also sneak in a few tips of the hat, such as the opening guitar line for the heavy-sounding "Bear Proof Suit" that borrows, albeit briefly, from Black Sabbath's "Embryo" and "Sans Equity" does the same thing with Blue Oyster Cult's "Before The Kiss (A Redcap)." In an earlier review, I said they were on the right track but not "mind blowing yet." After hearing the songs from the LP and re-evaluating the EPs, I've changed my view on that a bit. Quite a bit, in fact. (1509 Bell Ave., Sheboygan, WI 53083,

Straight outta the suburbs of Chicago came these two bad-ass hardcore punk bands ca. 1983. OK, they weren't exactly bad-asses but, instead, typified the fast, generic sound of the day. There are distinctions, though. Let's begin with Negative Element, since they were the first band and perhaps have a bit more notoriety since they got a 7" EP, Yes We Have No Bananas, released back in the day. I've always had a soft spot for this band's goofy approach... songs about Elmer Fudd and the Pillsbury dough boy, an anti-Pac Man song (that was the video craze at the time), as well as the de-rigeur plaints about the cops and religion. The mixes here are different than on the 7", although definitely not slick. There are also some very rough-sounding, unreleaed demos that probably could have stayed that way. So after Negative Element split, due to the Stepe brothers (Chopper and Barry) moving away, Caustic Defiance was born and the sound was much more aggressive. A nastier guitar tone leading to a buzzsaw ambiance. They played the same kind of thrash plenty of other bands did at the time but with enough youthful vigor to make it enjoyable. Just don't expect any sort of revelation. I should mention it's all previously unreleased. Nicely packaged with a booklet that has lyrics and reminiscences. (Mukasoi 1058, Wakayama 648-0025, JAPAN,

INSUBORDINATES-1968/Rendezvous (Feral Kid/Crotch Rot, 7")
Two short songs with the a-side a slice of catchy 80s west coast punk and the b-side a garage/surfy instrumental, albeit without the reverb or twang. Definitely a subject for further research, to quote the insufferable rock crtitic Bob Christgau i.e. I'd like to hear more. "1968," in particular, is a real keeper. (379 Ontario St., Buffalo, NY 14207,

AIDS of Spades/Teenager In Trouble (Ride The Snake, 7")
You might think a band with amplified trumpet, occasional organ, screamy and atonal vocals along with guitar and drums would sound like a trainwreck. That's true, but it's an intriguing (and highly abrasive) trainwreck. Yet the songs do follow verse/chorus structure--sort of, anyway. No Wave in the '00s? Something like that, at least on this pair of songs. I'm still not sure if I'd want to hear this more than a few more times but the songs are running through my brain at the moment. (

MAKABERT FYND-s/t (Flat Black, 7" EP)

A pack of Swedish rippers laying out the thrash brutality. Damn, how many cliches can I jam into one sentence? But you should still pay attention. Fast and aggressive songs at a mostly quick pace although "Var Fam Ar Er Respekt" has more of a measured velocity, while still stomping your senses. Not specifically following either the d-beat nor downtuned metallic style usually associated with this country's hardcore bands. All that matters is the band's power-filled attack. New album has just been released and it's definitely something I'm looking forward to hearing. (

NIGHT OWLS-s/t (Hex, CD)

Pretty tuneful rock 'n roll with a DC-ish touch--I thought a bit of the first Gray Matter album, although "Fake Blood" definitely has a Nirvana vibe to it and that inflects a couple of other songs as well. And there's a thrashier side for "Results Inconclusive." These guys show it's possible to play nervy rock music without any sort of cheesiness. There's an abundance of juicy/sharp riffage and it whets the appetite for more. The six studio songs are appended with a not-so-shabby live set. (201 Maple Ln, N. Syracuse, NY 13212,

NUCLEAR FAMILY-s/t (Loud Punk, 7" EP)
Three engaging songs favoring a melodic and edgy sound. Jen's vocals swoop over, under and sideways around the arrangements--maybe a tad grating in spots but certainly distinct. "Doublespeak" is the best of the three, a straight-ahead song powered by Paul Henry's always-impressive sticksmanship and buzz-sting guitar. (PO Box 3067, Albany, NY 12206,

PSYCHED TO DIE-Year One (Dirtnap, CD)

A compilation CD (no duh) of this band's new EP, Scatter Brained, out on Dirtnap plus their earlier Sterile Walls EP and demo. Bright 'n punchy melodic hardcore created by a band that includes former Ergs, only with a harder edge than that band. An air of futility and anger permeates the lyrics--confusion about life's direction, jobs that grind people down and ultimately deciding that, no matter what, we may still be fucked. Despite the lyrical cynicism, they don't sound defeated and the music exudes a fighting spirit (if that's possible). Don't miss the hidden bonus track, a cover of Freestone's "Bummer Bitch," which wraps things up on a lighter note. (2615 SE Clinton St., Portland, OR 97202,

RAW NERVES-Murderers Among Us (Poisoned Candy, 7" EP)
New-ish Portland, OR band with people from Squalora, Forced March and a few other combos. They had a CD demo earlier this year that I neglected to review (but have played on the radio show so maybe you heard 'em already) and four of the seven songs have been re-recorded for this EP. Raw hardcore featuring Matt Svendsen's rabid howlings and a feisty tumult that incorporates crusty thrash (or is it thrashy crust--no matter) and more ominous passages. Opening song "Hello To Oblivion" actually opts for the latter, with that kind of intro before settling into a bruising mid-speed assault. Not-so-cheery politically oriented lyrics fit the music's mood very well. To quote a pretty well-know band from their city, feel the darkness. (

RESIST CONTROL-s/t (Peterwalkee, CD demo)
Pummeling fodder toggling pretty seamlessly back and forth between DRI-ish double-speed thrash and circle-pit-inducing and hammering moments. The first thing you hear is an earth-moving bass-line and that really drives things throughout, complemented by raging guitar, drums and vocals. The playing is tight and executed in effective fashion. Twelve songs in twelve minutes. (408 Richmond Ave., Buffalo, NY 14222,

SPREAD 'EM-Pizza Crisis EP (Peterwalkee, 7" EP)
Hardcore/punk/rocknfuckinroll for a band that probably doesn't take itself all that seriously, as some of these ditties are titled "Too Many Zits" and "Jamie Lee Curtis Fingerbang." That song raises the question as to whether Jamie Lee is an "X or Y," if you catch their drift. Meanwhile, "Fuck Megatron" flashes some metallic trills 'n thrills. Fun and raucous. (408 Richmond Ave., Buffalo, NY 14222,

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Suburban Voice blog #77


I figured it was time to finally publish a new one despite the fact, as usual, I haven't reviewed everything I'd have liked to. So, in addition to sporadically writing this material and actually getting out of the house occasionally, I made the trip to Richmond, VA the weekend of June 19-21 for the third No Way Records fest. Three days of music and over 20 bands is a bit much, especially since I didn't get to do quite as much non-show stuff as I would have liked. I did have the pleasure of spending most of the Saturday afternoon with an old friend, Briant, who is from my hometown of Swampscott, MA and I hadn't seen in over 20 years. Had a nice lunch with him and his wife.

As for the fest itself, I performed the first No System set since 1986 with the superb assistance of Biff, Glenn and Brandon from Buffalo band Brown Sugar and that was a lot of fun. I managed to get through the set without blowing out my voice or needing oxygen. Big thanks to Brandon and Alex for letting us borrow their practice space for the one full band practice we had! The Zero Boys headlined the second and third nights and it was cool to finally get to see them play after nearly three decades of fandom. Among the other highlights were the scorching garage/punk/hardcore of Italy's Smart Cops and crazed performances from Government Warning, Wasted Time, Omegas, Direct Control and Chronic Seizure. And it was great getting to spend time with my pal Donna, whose sister and brother-in-law were gracious enough to provide a place to crash over the weekend. The central AC was especially appreciated with all the heat and humidity (98 on Saturday... gross...)

So let's move on the main part of our program... the music reviews!


BOMBER-Mourning (Cowabunga, 7" EP)
I got these songs on a CD demo awhile back but, as often happens, it got a bit lost in the shuffle. Now I get a second chance as it’s been pressed on vinyl by Cowabunga Records. Punk with a garage tinge and slobbering, ranting vocals. This is some quality noise that makes me feel badly about missing it before. Brief, tough-sounding songs—6 of ‘em in about 7 minutes—with the verbal sneering accompanied by barbed-wire guitar/bass/drums jolt. (1441 N. Mountain Ave., Claremont, CA 91711,

BRAIN KILLER-s/t (Deranged, 7" EP)

Brain Killer are one of the most exciting bands to emerge from these parts in awhile. Overdriven, chaotic scorch. Marcus’s vocals are gutteral as fuck and it’s not a stretch to say there’s a bit of a DISCLOSE influence here. Wild thrash with each song connected by a whizzle of feedback and the delivery is manic, to say the least. The connector from “Black Cloud” to “They Live//We Sleep” pushes it to an even more ominous level, as if the black cloud is about to burst, much like all this fucking rain around here lately. If you like it loud and raw, these four guys will make your day. (

DARK AGES-Vicious Lie (Cowabunga, 7" EP)
Manic hardcore packed with a musical and vocal urgency, punctuated by creative guitar lines, some formidable bass runs and a good amount of instrumental intricacy. No musical masturbation from this Kansas City band, though, as the chops-flexing never becomes excessive. It makes me think of the period in the mid-80s where bands built on a thrashy base but also added different elements without crossing over in metal territory. (1441 N. Mountain Ave., Claremont, CA 91711,

DIRECT CONTROL-Farewell (Feral Ward, 12")

"Farewell" was originally released in a limted-to-100 copies pressing for No Way Fest 2 but now it's been given a wider release. I haven’t been completely blown away by much of this band’s output since "You’re Controlled" but this is a fairly good effort. Just don’t expect "You’re Controlled." Fast, throttling hardcore with rough production and Brandon’s vocals sound raspier than in the past. Definitely a fatalistic world view... society’s collapsing but all anyone cares about is what’s going on in Hollywood. Half of the second side is taken up by the title track, a four minute instrumental written by the late, great Mikey Offender but I’m afraid it goes on a bit too long. I do have to compliment Eric’s bass playing, though—it’d do Mikey (one of the best hardcore bassists ever) proud. (

GARBAGE STRIKE-United and Slam Against The System (demo)

A new Boston band with the legendary Dan Wars, late of Poison Control, on vocals. I'm not quite sure if I've got the title right but that's what it says on the cover of the booklet. In any case, the demo is nicely packaged with that booklet that includes lyrics, photos and a few collages, a pin and my copy came with a CD-R as well. Good ‘n snotty punk rock with a hardcore edge. Another cool thing is the use of samples from an early Boston rock ‘n roll DJ named Arnie “Woo-Woo” Ginsburg. I imagine one of ‘em must have had the knowledge handed down from a parental figure because I’m an old guy and only vaguely remember hearing him on my small red transistor radio when I was a youngster. The radio motif goes further for “Coast To Coast,” the overnight conspiracy-oriented radio show. They’re off to a hell of a good start, here. Stirring songs with plenty of punchiness. (

GENERAL INTEREST-Right By The Beach (Ride The Snake, 12")
General Interest's overdue vinyl debut (good rhymin' or what?) showcases a nimble, ultra-tight band dishing out some formidable post-punk, for want of a better term. The lazy critic will mention the Minutemen and Gang Of Four and yes, I’m lazy. Add some Nation of Ulysses to that, as well. Still, it’s just a starting point. Guitar, bass and drums play off each other, hooks occasionally emerge but the main attraction is the dynamism in these compositions. Meanwhile, Steve Shea’s lyrics could be “shit from a new notebook” to quote one of the above bands. There are political/sociological messages, though it’s combined with a smart-assed sarcasm. “Crusty Dog Show” aims a vicious barb at, well, crusties who, while being “freegan” and “going green” still bring dogs to shows. The ultimate hope is that “your dog eats you/when you OD.” “Capricious Youth” pokes fun at the type of people who can’t make up their minds about everything from education choices to relationships. My copy came inside a spray-painted cover that looks pretty damned cool. So are the aural contents. (


GOVERNMENT WARNING-Paranoid Mess (Grave Mistake/No Way, LP); Executed (Grave Mistake/No Way, 7")

A new LP and a 7" with songs that aren't on the LP. Following me here? While you get a good share of pummeling thrash, Government Warning further embrace the west coast blueprint created by Agression, Adolescents, et al. That applies to “Urban Warfare,” “Stop Again,” Blurred Yellow Line” and a few others. Kenny rants like a post-adolescent (sorry) maniac, emitting words of confusion, anger and, as the LP title would indicate, paranoia. The cover drawing, by Scott Langlais, is reminiscent of the Cro-Mags’ “Age Of Quarrel” inner sleeve, a frightened-looking guy in the midst of mayhem that swirls around him. "No Martyr" remains this band’s recorded pinnacle but I’m definitely not damning with faint praise here. The praise is genuine and this is some razor-sharp hardcore punk on both the LP and 7.” The latter includes an unlisted cover of Battalion of Saints’ “Modern Day Hero.” (PO Box 12482, Richmond, VA 23241, or 324 S. Pine St., Richmond, VA 23220,

GROINOIDS-Radio Beat Sessions (Boston's Finest/Fatalist, 7" EP)
You might remember The Groinoids from the "Boston, Not LA" and "Unsafe At Any Speed" hardcore compilations from 1982 where they contributed a pair of songs, the speedy “Angel” and thumping “Empty Skull.” Those songs and three unreleased tracks show up on this 7". A scuzzier take on hardcore, with “Burn” being up to the standard of the previously-mentioned song and mocking for the brief and stoopid “Doy.” “4.6 Billion Vampires” is a slower, murkier track. The Groinoids had a kinship with other local bands like The Sickness and, later, Kil Slug (and shared some members)—hard-edged but also on the verge of collapse. This 7” sold out almost immediately but a repressing is being discussed. (

KOROVA-Another Happy Customer (self-released, CD)
Korova's style of hardcore punk doesn’t follow any set blueprint. On this album, there’s an abundance of thorny anger. Howls from the gut and a dollop of Black Flag-ish damage on the slower songs and even the bluntness of The Nihilistics at times. They go between hammering ugliness and bursts of speed. It wraps up with the heavy ‘n epic crawl and bash of “Factor X.” I haven’t heard too many good bands from Alabama and these guys are an exception. I’m guessing there’s a lot of political retrogression in their state and if I lived there, I’d probably want to express myself the same way as these three guys. (

LIKE RATS-s/t (Like Rats)
Like Rats' vinyl debut is hit and miss. There’s a whiff of Poison Idea from time to time, especially with Pat’s gruff vocals, but also some melodic properties. “Receptor Potential” hits all the right buttons--a mid-to-fast tempo and solid riffing. When they try to speed things up, the results are less than stellar. Has its moments but I like ‘em better live, at this point. (610 Cambridge St., Allston, MA 02134,

LOGIC PROBLEM-No Center (Grave Mistake, 7" EP)
"No Center" picks up where Logic Problem's first EP let off—in fact, I’d argue they’ve gotten even better. It’s loud/fast hardcore but there are some knottier, dense elements lurking beneath the surface and it enhances the songs’ kinetic qualities. The words on the lyric sheet are laid out willy-nilly like puzzle pieces. Scattered thoughts but everything falls in place from a musical standpoint. (PO Box 12482, Richmond, VA 23241,

REVILERS-Isolation (Patrac, 7" EP)

A kick-ass debut for this Cape Cod band although I don't think they're all from that area. No matter. Four songs of sturdy, street-wise punk and rock ‘n roll is the name of the game, here. You can hear a little bit of Blitz at times, particularly for “Dead End,” but a song like “Next In Line” is fired up, rockin’ fodder. Beefy guitars and gruff, heartfelt vocals. The songs are melodic without being wimpy, exuding a defiant spirit and a pure punk heart. (

ROGUE NATIONS-Be Your Own Rogue Nation (Suicide Watch, LP/CD)

After a not-so-bad 7" comes the debut full-length from North Carolina band The Rogue Nations. This is sharp, catchy mid-tempo punk with strong burn ‘n hooks and vocal back-ups. The lyrical sensibility is also sharp—sure, there’s “political” content and it seems as though they spend quite a bit of time watching cable news and drawing out the day to day absurdities, tragedies and the like. The upbeat music almost seems as odds with the ideas expressed. I can hear a bit of Marked Men and Naked Raygun from time to time although vocalist/bassist Chris Peigler sings in a higher voice than Jeff Pezzati. Plenty of punk bash to go with the poppier inclinations. (PO Box 9599, Charlotte, NC 28299,

SACRED SHOCK-You're Not With Us (Residue, LP)
Following a couple of 7"s and a split with Deskoncidos, Sacred Shock have released their first full-length album--or, more accurately, Residue have released it. A rampaging, modern-day Swedish hardcore inspiration along with some later period Poison Idea-ish riffage. And Alex Hughes’s hoarse vocal style makes me want to loan him some lozenges. Not always blindingly fast but still a speedy rumble and it creates something powerful and driving. The lyric sheet—handwritten white lettering on a washed-out background--is tough to read, right down to the song titles but the expressed rage comes through loud and clear. Best stuff to date for these Texans. (

SMART COPS-Cominciare A Vivere (Sorry State, 7" EP); Untitled "Cop Medley" one sided 7" (Hell Yeah!)
One of the best bands I saw at No Way Fest (and I’ve seen them one other time since then in Boston) was Smart Cops. They may wear silly costumes when playing live—black t-shirts with an “SC” logo and black running pants with a red stripe—but there’s nothing silly about this Italian band’s kick-ass punk sound. On "Cominciare A Vivere," they continue with the jabbing tandem of old-school punk, hardcore and garage—the latter most evident for “Gambe Levate.” I’m a sucker for this stripped-down, catchy approach. The other record doesn't have a title on it, just the band's logo screened on one side and the music on the other. Those contents are a medley of anti-cop songs. Favorites from The Boys, Doom, The Kids, Black Flag, The Dicks and and others, played seamlessly in their own sharp style. Hell Yeah! Records made only 300 of ‘em and it was for their tour. I’m not sure how easy it’ll be to get at this point but it’s definitely worth mentioning and seeking out. (1102 N. Greensboro St., Carrboro, NC 25710,


WASTED TIME-Futility (Grave Mistake, LP)

Futility? Try hostility! This record just boils over with a ferocious aggressiveness and I’m not being hyperbolic. When I was in Richmond for the No Way Fest, someone said to me that there weren’t many other bands doing American-style hardcore this well and I’d say there might be a more than a few grains of truth there. Fast rippers, circle pit starters and if “Withdrawal” isn’t a fucking anthem, then I don’t know what is. A full-bore attack and Mark Shubert’s angry vocals are appropriately nettled-sounding. No sunshine and flowers in the lyrics, as you might imagine, and “For The Fatherland,” another stomper, is an effective critique of the military/industrial complex. It's been awhile since Wasted Time released anything and "Futility" was definitely worth the wait. (PO Box 12482, Richmond, VA 23241,