Sunday, August 07, 2011

Suburban Voice blog #95


Long overdue, once again. Let's get right to it. Sorry to the bands/labels whose records I couldn't squeeze into this installment. Also, make sure you check out my Flickr Page for live reviews and photos of recent shows. I've been to some good ones over the past few months and, as always, listen to Sonic Overload, because I play a many more newer releases than the ones you see reviewed here.


ANAL WARHEAD-Time To Die (Suburban White Trash, 7" EP)
"Loud Music For Total Shitbags," eh? That's the title of the shortest song on this five track EP, the second by this Albany band. Raw, pissed-off hardcore punk with sloppiness here and there. The type of band you'd see at a rowdy basement show. The title track has the big build up and then the mayhem ensues. Not much change from their first EP except for beefier production. (PO Box 270594, Fort Collins, CO 80527-0594,

ANS/RAMMING SPEED-Split (Tankcrimes, LP)
Texans and MassHoles who proudly wave the crossover/metal flag. Both of these bands have been playing this kind of loud 'n heavy muzak for years, now. There's not a huge difference--ANS and Ramming Speed each trade in heavy riffage bolstered by manic speed and bellicose vocals. ANS's songs have a decidedly early Exodus vibe, although concluding track "Roehrs' War" (a tribute to the late, great MRR writer Bruce Roehrs) goes for stoner vibe and it's a bit on the long side. Ramming Speed aren't all that different--Bay Area thrash, though the drumming is a tad more manic. And kudos for the anti-homophobic message of "Dogmatic Horde." Metallic brothers from different mothers. (

BRUTAL KNIGHTS-Blown 2 Completion (Deranged, LP)
The final salvo from this merry band of punk rock miscreants. The Knights have been an enjoyable proposition for years, flinging out energetic, catchy fodder concerned with such important issues as chicken wings, getting out of household chores, food shopping and there's even an ode to iced coffee for "Summertime Coffee." I'm raising my medium cup of iced Dunks right now. It's empty but I'll still raise a toast and then see if there's another drop left in there. That track is unique for a minimalist electro-punk sound powered by a mechanized rhythm. "Bad Choice," which also appears on the "City Limits" comp reviewed below, is the toughest punk track here with Nick doing his best Damian Abraham (from Fucked Up) impression. Always fun, always kick-ass. I'm glad I got to see them a bunch of times. (

Aussies Burning Sensation are a hardcore band but they also exhibit some expansiveness  in their bare-knuckled approach. A healthy dose of X-Claim/Boston hardcore fused to a Zeke-ish beat (no rawk, though). What's interesting is they're apparently unfamiliar with the early Boston fodder. Whether that's true or not, the songs have a straight-forward energy but there are diversions--"Weeping Wound" has a decidedly west coast punk sound, favoring slashingly melodic guitar with a few surfy trills and "Terminal Decay" follows that blueprint, as well. "I Wonder" also possesses a near-poppy, tuneful pulse with tasteful, surging guitar licks and a supple bass-line. Some diabolical song titles, too--"I Fear Erections," "I Chopped It Off," "Wrapped Up In Plastic." Burning Sensation manage to avoid any sort of thrash ghetto. There's more at work here and it's intriguing. (

CRIME WAVE-Savage Reaction (Agro-Wax, LP)
Being that Crime Wave are a Houston band, you figure the members have been in a myriad of other bands and you'd be correct. You also figure it's high energy fodder and you'd be correct on that account, as well. Vocalist/guitarist Mike Grayum had the same job in Janitor (I review their 7" below) and, more recently, the PMRC (reviewed in blog #93). In Crime Wave's case, it's not that far-removed from what the PMRC were doing. There's still the urge to thrash but they also temper things with melody and fit in nicely between west coast punk and a band like the Celibate Rifles. "Get With The Sickness" fits the latter description. No-nonsense, hard-driving punk rock."Fashion Assassinate" even touches on that, with an admission of playing "standard issue punk rock shit" but staying away from the inbred "tattooed gene pool." No matter what bands these guys play in, you get the feeling it's not a fashion statement, whatsoever, and they're in it for the long haul. (

CREAMERS-Modern Day (Jolly Dream, 7" EP)
The guv'nah of Texas, Mr. Good-Hair Rick Perry, just had a day of prayer and fasting at a big-ass football stadium in Houston and there were gospel and Christian rock performers. Somehow, I doubt this band would have been invited 'cause this kind of music just invites sinnin'. Not to be confused with the old LA band, these Creamers come from Austin and dish out a boisterous '77-informed garage punk sound. Braying vocals--the vocalist sounds like he might have downed a few Lone Stars--accompanied by plenty of gnash and slash. I wanna hear more. (


CÜLO-Toxic Vision EP (Deranged, 7" EP)
Damn, what an ornery bunch these guys are--vocals, guitar and drums and no bass so there's almost a garagey quality to their old-school hardcore sound. Inspired by old Boston stuff, Void and early DRI. Raw guitar, squealin' feedback and, if the drumming gets a little sloppy at times, the purity in their aggression will still win you over. The title track, a cautionary tale about addiction, flirts with catchiness. (

DEATH TRAP-No Hicks (Feral Kid/Warm Bath Label, 7" EP)
From King City, on the central coast of California and, according to the liner notes, that was basically the middle of nowhere but it still spawned this snotty punk band in the early 80s. The four songs on this 7" are taken from a four track recording ca. 1983. Rough in more ways than one, as Pat Grindstaff rants along with and sometimes out of sync with the music, with all the venom he can muster up about their surroundings ("No Hicks," "Peer Pressure") but the environmentalists might be bothered by "Fuck The Whales, Save The Humans." Garage-tinged punk--there are even cheesy keyboards and odd guitar noodling on a few tracks--and it's a wonderful mess. (www.feralkidrecords,com,

LE FACE/DVA DAMAS-Split (Psychic Handshake, 7" EP)
Two LA bands coming from darker regions. Le Face's two songs are frenetic, twisted punk creations. Jabbing, intense but also sinister-sounding. DVA Damas's electro-minimalism is engaging, especially on "Man Skin Pants." Detached, cajoling, echo-laden vocals along with a surfy guitar signature, atmospheric keys and a drumming that sounds like a rhythm machine but a drummer is listed. Who knows? Both of these bands are quite cool. (

FOREIGN OBJECTS-No Sensation (Vinyl Rites, LP)
On their first 12" release, the Objects go from being a good band to a great one. The songs are sharp and catchy and the musicianship really gels here--from Melissa's jabbingly melodic guitar lines to Meghan's solid, full-bodied bass playing to Dan's straight-ahead, skillful drumming. Terry sings in an impassioned high timbre, stretching the lyrics around and over the stirring music. Foreign Objects are somewhere in that region between punk and post-punk. It might just be by accident, but the Objects would have fit in well with some of the 80s era Propeller label bands, a loose-grouping of Boston bands who generally favored a jarring approach but combined it with memorable hooks. "One Made Two," in particular, brings that to mind. Actually, that song reminds me of Mission of Burma or even Sorry, a younger, underrated Boston band in the early to mid-80s. The lengthy closer "Obliteration" pushes things into an abrasive realm although they don't stray into free-form territory. "No Sensation" is an album that is probably headed for my top ten of 2011 and this band transcend any easy category. (Vinyl Rites, PO Box 924, Gainesville, FL 32602,

FRUSTRATION-Broken Defective (Inimical, 7" EP)
Fast-paced hardcore with super-gruff and hoarse vocals (not always an asset) and a semi-melodic pulse at times. People in this band have played with various crust-styled bands but the sound here isn't that distorted nor tuned down. The follow up to their self-titled EP that was released on the same label last fall and this one is stronger, overall. Not bad but not mind-blowing, either. (PO Box 2803, Seattle, WA 98111,

GET RAD-Choose Your Own Adventure (Get Rad/Halo of Flies/The Perpetual Motion Machine,  7"EP)
When I was a kid, I had a Bugs Bunny set that came with a book and two 10" records that spun at 78. Yes, I'm old, deal with it. Get Rad's latest missive is accompanied by a booklet where you're given choices to make and then flip to whatever page your choice leads you. The lyrical contents echo that narrative. As usual, with this Milwaukee band, the music is enjoyable, buzzing old-school hardcore punk with burn and occasional melodic touches. And it's a good thing it plays at 45 instead of 78 because my turntable doesn't have that speed option. (4144 S 1st Place, Milwaukee, WI 53207,

GONE BAD-s/t (self-released, 7" EP)
Gone Bad bash away at their songs crudely and rudely. Loud, boisterous garage punk powered by a stomping beat and a full-bodied guitar roar. Coco's vocals convey a don't-fuck-with-me rage. "Let The Poison Out" goes on a bit long, timing out at a shade over 4 minutes, but it's entertaining listening to them beat their songs to a bloody pulp. (

GUNNAR HANSEN/UTI-Split (Schizophrenic, LP)
Two bands from Hamilton, ON--NOT Toronto. I've been told that bands from Hamilton get testy if you lump them in with Toronto bands. Anyway, Gunnar Hansen had a pretty good 7" about 5-6 years ago and most of the songs here were recorded in 2008. Bruising punk/rock 'n roll/hardcore with a bile-filled orneriness. Occasionally sounding like Fucked Up, particularly for "Phil's Song." The harder rocking side is shown off for "My Crimes," with a sputtering guitar break. UTI are also a nasty-sounding, aggro-laden band. Leah is a venomous-sounding vocalist and songs like "Commodity" and "Klaebouter Manniken" harken back to the days of Babes In Toyland, et al. And while "Fake As Fuck" is a credible thrasher, they don't fare as well on "A. Fish." All in all, this isn't merely two bands from Hamilton, ON. It's two nasty-sounding bands from Hamilton, ON. (17 W 4th St., Hamilton, ON, CANADA L9C 3M2,

HAZARDOUS WASTE-Destroy EP (Schizophrenic, 7" EP)
Raw thrash agitation, in terms of sound quality and delivery. Both of 'em work to their advantage. Some similarities to Career Suicide, although Durk's rant is in a lower register. "I wanna destroy everything" kind of sums up their outlook on life. Enjoyable, albeit generic. (17 W 4th St., Hamilton, ON, CANADA L9C 3M2,

JANITOR-s/t (Agro-Wax, 7" EP)
Recordings from a Houston hardcore band from 1999 and 100 copies were released last fall. I got it a few months after and I'm FINALLY reviewing it. Better late than... well, moving on, this is thrashed-up hardcore done in economical fashion. The band existed from the mid-90s to mid-00s and members went on to play in the PMRC, Crime Wave (you just read the review of their record above!), No Talk and more. It could have come out/been done at any time and you probably wouldn't know the difference. It reminds me of another late 90s US band, namely Rat Bastards, who had a no bullshit, straight ahead sound. It might be tough to find but do some Googling. A distro or two might still have it. The label's site has a download, anyway. (

JESUS H. BOMBS-Push The Button (Bookoven, 7" EP)
I love the way these guys just bash their way through their songs with raw, snotty punk attitude. They put their guts into it--yelling, screaming and battering the songs with all the subtlety of truncheon. From what I gather, these songs were recorded at various points during the past decade. It's also another record that's been out for awhile and (as per usual) neglected by yours truly but it's still available. (


KIELTOLAKI-s/t (Moo Cow, LP)/Dying System (Feral Ward, 7" EP)
The self-titled full-length isn't a new album but a compilation of the band's demo, first two 7"s and compilation songs. With Kieltolaki, there’s a respect for the Finnish hardcore tradition but it’s not a pure retro trip. Loud, fast and blistering throughout (although they slow it down on occasion) and with harsh vocals accompanied by ripsaw guitar, thundering bass and charging drums. "Dying System" has throwback artwork that looks like it could have come out on Propaganda Records in the 80s and it's more of the same--taking the best of the era and bringing it up to date. A double dose of destruction--and even a Destrucktions cover on the LP. (Moo Cow, 38 Larch Circle, Belmont, MA 02478, Ward:

KICKER-Innit (Tankcrimes, 7" EP)/Broke (Inimical, 7" EP)
Even though KICKER's two EPs are on different labels, they showed up around the same time. Both of them are packaged in heavy stock, gatefold covers. I figured they might be a UK band due to the vocalist's accent and verbiage ("shite," "nicked" etc) but it turns out they're from the Bay Area and the disparaging commentary about the college students on Telegraph (as in Berkeley's Telegraph Ave) on the thrashy "Two Hats" should have been a giveaway. Not a bunch of happy campers--a life of pain, poverty, drugs and god knows what else. Although "Two Hats" follows a traditional HC blueprint, that's not always the case here. "Broke" has a FALL-ish lope and "Wrong Things" favors more of an anthemic punk flavor. Likeable, gritty buzz. (Tankcrimes: PO Box 2803, Seattle, WA 98111,


KROMOSOM-8 Tracks (Havoc/multi-label, LP)
After Kromosom's demo, with their original vocalist Doom, he's gone and guitarist Yeap moves over to vocals, taking the same role he did in the late, great Pisschrist. While his former band had a driving Swedish hardcore sound, these guys offer up more distortion and rawness along the lines of Kaaos, early Riistetyt or Disorder but the crazed, gutteral howlings remain in effect (and thank god for lyric sheets). Relentless and I hope y'all had a chance to see them on their recent US tour because it was ear-shredding, a wall of noise. On this disc, though, you can make out the songs. (

LEATHER-Sterile (Jade Tree, 7" EP)
Unsettling hardcore that's rather hookless but potent. "Relapse," for instance, has an explosive stop 'n start pummel and leads into "Novitiate," which works off the riff from Joy Division's "Warsaw" a bit. "Zek" is a faster burst. Some good ideas and I'd be curious to see what they're like live. Further developments will bear watching/listening for. (2310 Kennwynn Rd., Wilmington, DE 19810,

LIEUTENANT-s/t (Art Of The Underground/Warm Bath/Peterwalkee, LP)
This LP sat on the proverbial shelf for a long time--I've had a CD-R of it for well over a year and their origins go back to the early part of the last decade. Members of No Time Left, John Brown's Army, To Hell and Back, Resist Control and others and this is pummeling hardcore driven by bulldozer bass and vocals that sound like a cross between Springa and Tony Erba. They also have a sound akin to one of Erba's former bands, namely Nine Shocks Terror. The vocals do get a bit over-the-top at times and Lieutenant are hardly the most unique band at playing this style but the production is hot and powerful. Glad this saw the light of day. Nice screen printed cover, too. (408 Richmond Ave., Buffalo, NY 14222,

NEO CONS-s/t (Deranged, 7" EP)
Neo Cons follow up their solid demo with a scorching vinyl debut that includes re-recordings of all four demo songs. As I said in the previous review, they're a scrappy punk band with an appealing roughness. And, the more I've listened to these guys, the more I realize that Jason's vocals are semi-reminiscent of Mark Sheehan (R.I.P.) from Out Cold and there are times where they have that kind of buzz, especially on the last song (and one of the new ones) "Don't Touch Me" and it has the same sort of lyrical sentiment as Out Cold too, i.e. "leave me the fuck alone!" The title to "Teenage Snark" had me laughing on its own--snark is such a great word--and the song is a complete ripper. Makes me regret not seeing them when they were here awhile back. (

NIGHT BIRDS-Fresh Kills-Vol. 1 (Grave Mistake, CD)
A collection of the band's three 7" discs and demo and showcasing their peppy, catchy blend of surfy/slashing west coast punk, even though they're New Jersey-ites. Opening song "Killer Waves" and "Triple Feature" could be a DI outtakes, with surging guitar lines, sturdy backbeat and "ahhh-ahhh" backing vocals on the first two. The faster, hardcore-tinged songs aren't quite as memorable but they're dead-on most of the time. Even better live. (PO Box 12482, Richmond, VA 23241,

NIHILIST CUNT-You're Next (Suburban White Trash, 7" EP)
Maybe it's kind of a silly band name--and lest there be charges of sexism, the vocalist is a woman. Charging punk and lyrics offering poison observations along the same lines as the Profits, especially with Becca's vocals. Songs about decaying mental, physical and emotional health and feeling at odds with societal norms and a pair of songs railing against the likes of the homophobic Fred Phelps and corporate hegemony. 30 years and the themes remain the same. In other words, it's not terribly original but the sentiments come across as heartfelt. (PO Box 270594, Fort Collins, CO 80527-0594,

NO CLASS-Keine Klassed (Deranged, 12")
Ravenous hardcore incorporating different shadings, only they're all dark and pissed-off. The rampage of Double Negative or Sex/Vid and some NYHC bile. Bass and drums to club you into submission, big guitar riffs that bridge the songs with feedback and concluding with a few minutes of noise that will force you to lift the needle. Or maybe not, if you're a masochist! Add a whole lot of vocal agitation spewing out pure venom and this is a heady, hard-hitting mixture. (

NO PROBLEM-And Now This (Deranged, LP)/Paranoid Times (Handsome Dan, 7" EP)
A new album and EP from No Problem, who continue to crank out rousing, spirited punk. The 7" preceded the album and the title track ended up on the album. The difference between the two is in the recording quality--the album sounds rough and trebly by comparison and it really gives the songs an edge. Slamming guitar riffs, strong melodies and heartfelt vocals with some killer choruses--"Enemies," in particular. Paranoia (duh), turmoil and even bands cashing in on past fame--all part of the lyrical oeuvre here and it meshes well with the songs' punch. (

OBNOX-I'm Bleeding Now (Smog Veil, LP)
Obnox or obnoxious? Both! Obnox IS obnoxious. Low-fi garage/blues/psych bash underneath a wall of noise. If the intent is to be jarring and abrasive, this essentially one man band (the perpetrator's name is Lamont Thomas) succeeds. Not that there's anything wrong with that. There's still the occasional recognizable song in there, such as the down 'n dirty title track. And is "The Get It Inn" some sort of twisted ballad? Could be. It eventually reaches a cataclysmic conclusion on "Whaddup Young Blood," subtitled the "Drum Thunder Suite." Free-sounding degeneration powered by a storm of guitar mayhem and clattering drums. Exhausting by the end and I'm not quite so sure I feel like another go-round. (

OUTDOORSMEN-Tell Your Folks I'm A Goner (Psychic Handshake, 7" EP)
"... I'm A Goner" is gloriously scuzzy, revved-up garage slop that will hamfistedly worm its way into your heart. On the flip, "Stink Up The Bathroom" continues in a similar vein while "She Wants To Go Steady" is their (semi-successful) stab at a poppier song, albeit with not-so-sweet lyrics. Kind of in take it or leave it territory although they've got the right idea, especially for the title track. (

POOR LILY-s/t (self-released, CD)
What a walloping effort and it's always a pleasure to be blindsided by something out of the blue like this album. The musical pedigree of some of the members include various New York hardcore bands but that isn't all that relevant here. Let's take this album/band on its own terms, without any preconceptions. Imagine NoMeansNo or the Minutemen off on a hardcore bender. Bands like the Rhythm Pigs and Victims Family used to do the same thing. Music that's ostensibly punk in attitude and intensity but incorporates a tight musical dynamic to the proceedings. Like those bands, these guys are a trio (I know NMN did eventually add a second drummer) and incredible musicians. While the chops are obvious, they don't let things get so busy or overcooked that it dilutes the power--even with the jazzy interplay on a song like "Regular Guy" or "Pretty Little Uniform." There's a nervousness in Poor Lily's music and it also comes out through the edge-of-a-breakdown lyrics espoused on a number of songs and, what the hell, "sanity is for the insane," anyway, as they sing on "Decide To Sleep." Although that might be debatable--I'm thinking of when GANG OF FOUR sang "some are insane and they're in charge" on "To Hell With Poverty." Enough thinking, though--I'd rather have the braincells rattled in a more positive way and this might be the ticket. (

SHIRKS-s/t (Grave Mistake, 7" EP)
Three songs of garage/punk/rock 'n roll. The hallmarks of the sound are here--guitar riffs with a rockin' swagger delivered at a mid-to-fast pace. "Prostitution Summer" is a decent Saints knockoff and there's a New Bombs Turk-ish inspiration, as well. Those aren't bad touchpoints and, while it doesn't get the walls shaking as much as I'd like, they get the job done. (PO Box 12482, Richmond, VA 23241,

VARIOUS-City Limits (High Anxiety/No Idea, LP)
A showdown between Montreal and Toronto that's more intense than the Canadiens/Maple Leafs rivalry. OK, maybe not. I'm sure there's plenty of musical kinship. Anyway, one side is from TO and one from Mtl. and features a hit and miss array of punk, hardcore and rock 'n roll talent, with more hits than misses. On the Toronto side, things get started with snotty fodder by Career Suicide. Not the best song they've ever done but it's good to something unheard. Speaking of CS, their guitarist Jonah Falco's solo project Mad Men connects with some tribal punk minimalism. Bad Choice, Brutal Knights and School Jerks rip out feisty punk--same for Urban Blight, who add a distorted rawness. On the flip, Castevets have a tough garage-fueled attack and that applies to Slobs, as well. Dead Wife bash through their song with riot grrrl ferocity. Unfortunately, the slugging percentage isn't quite as high, here. Inepsy's rock tune goes on a bit long and the Omegas song isn't nearly as good as on their other releases. I'll probably be playing the Toronto side a lot more. (

VARIOUS-Speed Trials: Worst Bands Of West Michigan Vol. 1 (Punks Before Profits, LP)
A one-sided compilation on red vinyl with an artistic rendering of the state of Michigan on the other side and tucked inside a screened cover. The xeroxed booklet is tough to read on some pages. Song titles are always nice, in some instances. The whole thing was recorded on one day, where the 17 bands each recorded a single song. All loud and fast hardcore, thrash and grind and varying quality, as you would imagine--sad to say, most of it is tuneless and forgettable. In fact, only a few of 'em really stick out, in a good way. Shattered Badge's ravenous thrash packs a solid punch, Attention Span feature scalding vocals and a musical edginess and Dissertation's raw d-beat might be cool to see live. Otherwise, there's not much else I'd want to hear again. (PO Box 1148, Grand Rapids, MI 49501,


VICTIMS-Dissident (Tankcrimes, LP)
This Swedish band have been around since the late 90s, having released five albums, a split LP with From Ashes Rise and a number of 7"s. Over the years, they've moved towards a heavier Swedish sound with thicker, lower-tuned riffs that accompany the speedy attack and harsh vocals. All of this is in line with their countrymen Skitsystem, Wolfbrigade  and others. The new album gets the job done with concise bursts of rage that will warm the heart of anyone who wears a studded vest. I do prefer the earlier recordings, especially Neverendinglasting--much rougher and raw sounding --but they remain a pulverizing live band and that comes across pretty well on this album. Full-gatefold sleeve with some wild artwork.(