Thursday, December 27, 2012

Suburban Voice blog #103


So here we are again, tardy as always. 2012 is drawing to a close and it's almost time to work on my Best of 2012 list, which is underway. That will be in the next blog. In the meantime, here's the latest, long-overdue installment.

ARTCORE #30 + STATE FUNERAL Protest Music 7"
I've got to hand it to Welly, the head honcho of Artcore --he's certainly a lot more diligent in sticking to the printed format than yours truly and he's been at this zine thing almost as long as I have. Not that I've given up on ever publishing a print issue again but he's kept plugging along for years and doesn't seem to have lost his passion for the music or the anti-authoritarian sentiments at its core. And Artcore remains a quality read, both in content and printing quality. In his latest issue, there are interviews with Drew Stone, the filmmaker behind the xxx All Ages xxx film about Boston hardcore, Aston from the Boss Tuneage label, a short one with Ron Reyes from Black Flag, an assessment of the Faith/Void split involving members of both bands, "historical" pieces on Dutch hardcore and Government Issue and an excerpt from Helge Schreiber's Network of Friends book about '80s Euro hardcore. My only complaint is the review section is hard to read because of the background. Welly should know some of us old-timers have faltering eyesight!        

In addition to the printed contents, there's also a 7" by State Funeral, Welly's current band. No skimping in the packaging department here, either--it's an 8 page lyric booklet. It presents a harsher sound than his previous band Four Letter Word. There's still some melody in the driving, politically-oriented punk but Welly's vocals are nastier sounding and it comes across as a more aggressive package. The only drawback is the drumming, which is a bit one-dimensional for the faster segments and there's too much snare in the mix. (



AGNOSTIC FRONT- Live At CBGB (Bridge Nine, LP) 
"This is the title track of our first album, an album called Victim In Pain... this song's also called Victim In Pain." So began AF's first live album, originally released in 1989 and given the semi-deluxe treatment in 2012--embossed cover, limited-edition RED, WHITE and BLUE vinyl (natch). The set list is culled from all of their records up through "Liberty and Justice For," with more than half coming from "United Blood" and "Victim In Pain." It includes the still-idiotic anti-welfare "Public Assistance," where Roger Miret claims, this is not a racist song, it's just the goddamned fucking truth." OK, maybe not racist but still dumb (and since it was written by Pete Steele, who had some dicey lyrics in his Carnivore days, well...). There's also the pledge of allegiance because, after all, they're an AMERICAN band (they'll come into your town, they help you party... ). I'll stop now. At the time, with the five piece lineup, the sound was more metallic and it definitely fit in with the era--bands that were blurring the line between metal and hardcore. While most of the earlier songs stand "the test of time," the grittiness is missed. It's a good performance and not without merit, but, in retrospect, I don't think it was the best era for AF.  Best stage banter? CBGB's stage manager Dennis stating that, "a lot of you ain't gonna live to see tomorrow if you keep fuckin' around this way." (

ALLIGATORS-Time's Up, You're Dead (Bridge Nine, LP)
Speaking of Agnostic Front, Roger teams up with three members of Insted to rip through sixteen songs of old-school hardcore, complete with venomous, succinct anti-authoritarian sentiments. They play the songs with veteran aplomb yet it doesn't really connect The production's not really slick but something's missing, here. And the world certainly doesn't need another cover of Negative Approach's "Ready To Fight."  I've heard worse and the playing is more-than-competent but the songs come and go without leaving much in its wake. Time to put on "Victim In Pain," again. (

ANOTHER SOCIAL DISEASE-Brain Damage EP (Social Disease, 12")
Another Social Disease--or ASD for short--include former members of early '00s hardcore thrash merchants Down In Flames but their new band goes straight for a late 80s crossover NYHC sound, Leeway in particular. A cleanly-executed sound with meat-cleaver guitar riffs and searing leads, punchy bass and drums and tough vocals from Sean that sound like he's channeling Lou from Sick of It All, although he starts things off with some nasty gutteral pukes for "Heroin." I'd imagine most of the guys in this band were too young to have experienced these bands during that period but they have the sound down pat. The kick drum is a little too prominent in the mix but, otherwise, there's little else to complain about. Fast and heavy--this could have been on Combat or Profile back in the day. (


ARCTIC FLOWERS-Procession (self-released, 12")
Five new songs by the Flowers and they maintain their forceful melodicism while offering different shadings. There are the sturdy, hard-edged rockers like "True Words" and "The Wrecking" but "Strange Ports Of Call," takes a different turn. It fades in and then out and sounds like an excerpt of a longer song. While other songs hint at it, this one delves into the early 80s gothic/post-punk realm, riding a New Order-ish bass-line and adding effects to Alex's voice so it sounds like she's beneath the surface. Once again, there's stellar and dynamic interplay between the instruments, with Lee's supple bass-lines complemented perfectly by Stan's stinging, haunting guitar and nuanced drumming that picks up the pace where necessary or percolates gently under the melody. There's not one song that really grabs you like "Crusaders + Banshees" on the first album--it's a bit more tempered, overall, but the songs have stick-in-head presence. (

This is a US pressing of Barcelona band Belgrado's 2011 album. They're another band playing in an early 80s gloomy, post-punk vein ala Arctic Flowers and many others. It's a spacious sound with shimmering, haunting guitar, bubbling melodic bass-lines and soothing yet emotional vocals. But it's not just an atmospheric approach--there's an assertive punch on such songs as "Zapomnijmy" and "Visions of Massacre," which utilizes a similar drum pattern as Killing Joke's "Pssyche." And, as with other bands playing this style, there's the echo of early Siouxsie and Joy Division. A "hot" style at the moment but Belgrado are quite adept at it, drawing you into a blissful yet forceful musical realm. (

BILL BONDSMEN-Nineteen/Things Fall Apart (4TG, 7")
I've probably said it before but the Bondsmen are one of the more underrated, overlooked punk bands in the US and have been banging out quality sounds for years, without fitting any strict mold. Here are a couple of more songs from the session they did in late 2011 (I have 9 songs in the digital format but only four have been released so far). Dark and menacing, with vocals teetering close to the edge of sanity and a fiery, hard-edged mid-tempo wallop, especially for the frayed charge of "Things Fall Apart." Let's hope the other songs from that session see the light of day at some point. (15106 Paris, Detroit, MI 48101,

BI-MARKS-Sleepless (Black Water, 7" EP)
Three revved up hardcore rockers--punks playing music inspired by NWOBHM and Lemmy's crew with all the piss 'n snot they can muster, at least on the two a-side tracks. On the flip, there's a thrashier flavor with heavier segments. I should probably go back and check out their previous full-length because these songs are fairly impressive. (PO Box 5223, Portland, OR 97208,

CITIZENS PATROL-Retarded Nation EP (Way Back When/Too Circle/Spastic Fantastic 7" EP)
More rampaging, old school hardcore from Citizens Patrol, who haven't tinkered with the formula over the past half dozen-or-so years. The opening guitar chords for "Short Attention Span" makes you think they're about to try their hands at a tuneful UK-82 sound but, uh uh, the thrash quickly comes in and things stay that way until the end, where they cover fellow Dutchmen Seein Red's "Diktatuur Van De Wekker," the only non-English song on here. More of the same but played with a good amount of musical adeptness, especially the shit-hot bass runs. (

DESPERAT-Demokrati Eller Diktatur? (Beach Impediment, 7" EP)
This Swedish band, with members of the legendary Mob 47 and Warvictims, have several releases already and this is a US pressing of their first 7", from 2011. On the lyric sheet, it says "Once hardcore, always fucking raw hardcore!" And they live up to it--blazing fodder in a classic Swedish vein. No low tunings, just a razor-sharp sound. In addition to the lyrical themes about governmental and religious abuses and environmental destruction, there's also a lament about people being tied to cellphones, with the clever title "Mobilterror," while "Bandlogga" simply states that band names and logos don't need to be so complicated. Yeah, I think these guys know what they're doing. (


DOUBLE NEGATIVE-Hardcore Confusion Vol. 3 & 4 (Sorry State, 7" EP)/Hits (Sorry State, 7" EP) 
One brand new record and one not-so brand-new record from the always pummeling Double Negative.  HC 3&4 is just one disc with four songs, this time, instead of two separate singles with two songs apiece as on the first two volumes of HC and if you put the three sleeves together, it makes a full -/- logo. Confused? Don’t be. It’s their first release with Cameron on vocals, replacing Kevin Collins. Their new drummer Bobby Michaud had already joined for Hits. There’s not a dramatic change in vocal style and the band continue to rip out furious and frenzied hardcore with blistering guitar and scampering speed. Some of the sounds that Scott Williams pulls out of his guitar are mind-blowing--unsettling chords and whizzling noise. Hits has rougher production with less bottom-end, but Bobby's locomotive drumming makes an immediate impression on the opener "Suicide Suicide." That song mentions Scott's 48 years on this earth and how he's "worm(ed) my way back." Yep, let's hear it for the old-timers! The guitar and bass intertwine into a howling mesh and, if there aren't any hooks per-se, the cumulative effect on both of these discs remains riveting. (

ENDLESS GRINNING SKULLS-Fear, Ignorance, Control (Viral Age, 7" EP)
Hammer-smash sounds from the Skulls (I know--hammered skulls; not original), with a fast, crusty hardcore assault, and harsh vocal tradeoffs although things get slowed down for "Grovel". On that song, the vocals that sound like Nick Blinko from Rudimentary Peni with a sore throat or mixed with Deek from Oi Polloi and it does have a Peni-like cadence. But in the main, they go straight for the jugular. The sleeve folds out into a poster that offers a bleak, black and white visual accompaniment to musical contents.

FATAL FIGURES-Caterwaul (Big Neck, LP)
Most of this band’s membership was in The Blowtops, who hammered out dirty, noisy garage blues churn. There’s still something of that here and they drag their songs through the muck pretty well. The songs that favor a spirited shuffle work best here—“Party Girl,” “Break Me” or “Blue Zed,” the latter song previously appearing on a 2011 single. It’s less-successful for the dragged-out “Wayne Bent” and “New God,” sounding like a musical interpretation of a hangover. Maybe not as much “VROOM” as their previous band (you should check out the Blowtops’ Blackstatic if your curiosity is piqued) but they have the right idea at times. (PO Box 8144, Reston, VA 20165,

FERAL FUTURE-Come Out Swinging (Western Medical, 12")
They do come out swinging, that's for sure. Abrasive, yet textured rock from three women and one guy who stomp 'n bash their way through five songs on this one-sided `12". The best song, "College," has a ranty chorus and sarcastic theme about going to college for the "MRS" degree, if any of you ever heard that term and does have a hint of melody during the verses. Churning fodder that definitely has a 90s riot grrrl (at times) feel to it and an endearing spirit. (

"Go Home" came out some months back but I was finally able to score a copy. It’s on Toxic State so of course it was going to be a pain in the ass to come by (the same thing happened with the Crazy Spirit 12") and I'm glad I was persistent because this is one of the year's best. Raw 'n nasty garage punk, adding organ and various percussive twists into its spirited gnash. The lyrics are cantankerous and, at times, repeated until you’ve been numbed into submission—“It’s murder” or “walking down the street/fuck walking down the street” or “I don’t play games, I’ll kill him” stated ad infinitum until you think it might be a good idea to avoid the narrator at all costs. Don’t avoid their musical attack, though—whether it’s the strut of “Trouble” and “It’s Hard On The Street” (great drum clatter on that one) or the charging rave-up of “I Don’t Play Games.” this is attitudinal stuff that backs it up with raucous might. (

HYGIENE-Hygiene/Hygene (Sorry State, 7")
Hygiene have always been a mixed bag--let's just say a little of the offkey vocals go a long way and it was tough to get through their album. However, for this 7", with one song in English and one in French, there's a loopy charm. The English side has a clunky, offbeat hookiness that comes across like the Television Personalities. The French side is bouncy and jabbing, but leaves out the poppiness and devolves into a chaotic instrumental mesh. It sounds like a recipe for disaster yet somehow works--that's the case for both songs. (

ICON GALLERY-Valiance/The Pact (Solar Funeral, 7")
Straight-up tuneful hard rock--you could even call it metal, with the NWOBHM guitar lines. I give the edge here to the more concise "The Pact." Burning arrangements along with soaring vocals, which veer into near-overkill territory but it doesn't detract from the band's churning power. Thumping bass and drums complement the six-string authority quite well. (

KABUL GOLF CLUB-Le Bal Du Rat Mort (Uproar For Veneration, CD)
Here's another band working the visceral, 90s-era AmRep sound. From Belgium, KGC utilize tribal rhythms that stomp and swing around like a tetherball that’s going to wrap itself around your throat, along with nightmarish guitar squalls and jabs and a vocalist who howls like the spawn of Ministry’s Al Jourgensen. No real hooks to grab onto but it's very easy to get caught up in the power of these compositions and there are things you notice, like the snaky guitar line for "5 Minutes 2 Midnight." (

LEGENDARY WINGS-Making Paper Roses (Dirtnap, LP)
I wonder if you can get good wings in Kalamazoo, MI? That's something I was pondering a little while listening to this band's album. Power-poppy rock that sounds like it could have come out of the late 80s/early 90s Berkeley scene--if any of you remember Sweet Baby Jesus, it's somewhat in that vein. And while the songs have a good amount of tunefulness, there ain't a lot of power to go along with it. "Too Far" comes close, with a stinging guitar melody line and ear-grabbing vocal harmony but this is mainly on the lighter side of the melodic punk spectrum and I like more buzz with this style of music. (

A strong split by Mexico's Los Monjo and Bay Area band Ruleta Rusa, with a pair of songs apiece. Los Monjo favor a sturdy, buzzin' mid-tempo punk sound on their songs. Ruleta Rusa, with former Peligro Social vocalist Jose, come down on the more melodic side of the spectrum for "Delincuencia"  but this is still hard-edged, driving fodder, especially for "Destruye La Television." Killer split. (

MÜLLTÜTE-2nd EP (HeartFirst, 7" EP)
German punk band with a trebly style that reminds me a bit of Amdi Petersens Arrme and the Regulations mixed together. In other words, there's something of a Danish bent here. Jabbing and thumping, along with a judicious amount of feedback. Both of their 7"s (the earlier EP was self-released in 2011) are worth hearing. Yep, it's old school and, as I've said, there's been a burnout factor of late but these guys have an appealing sharpness. ( contact:

NEIGHBORHOOD BRATS-Ocean Beach Party (Falsified, 7")
Two song quickie from the Brats and it's a pair of rockin' punk ravers. It's a rough time--shitty weather, sharks. Not much of a party. "Ocean Beach Party" is quick and to the point, with an energetic burst while the flip, "Shark Beach," is slower and moodier, but 'ol Jaws does have a way of disrupting the fun. I'm still kicking myself for missing this band when they came through my area in 2011. More, please! (4940 Franklin Ave #7, Los Angeles, CA 90027,

NERVOUS IMPULSE-s/t (Undercurrent, 12")
Serge from the Goons is the vocalist in this DC band and his vocals are a double-edged sword. Distinct, for sure, soaring and whooping over the music but a little goes a long way with his throaty croon. Musically, it's not far-removed from Serge's old band or some of the other units his bandmates toiled in, such as Striking Distance and VPR (who had a pretty good album in 2003 or so). Loud, fast hardcore with rock/metal leads, slowing it down a bit for "Build A Bomb Or Shut Up." If there's an overall theme, it's about life's difficulties, disappointments and disillusionment (say that three times fast). You vote but nothing happens. Hours wasted working but still falling behind economically and, in the meantime, as Serge sings on "Louder Than Stupid," all you get for information on TV or radio comes courtesy of bloviating "pundits" while "level heads just get ignored." Anyway, if you can get past some of the vocal excesses, this is pretty good. (

NO TOMORROW-Nuclear Exposure (Sorry State, 7")
Ravenous, crusty hardcore with thick 'n meaty riffs dished out in a mid-speed manner for "Nuclear Exposure" and a faster-paced attack on "Burning Inside." Something of a Japanese influence with the metallic, but tasteful guitar trills punctuating the band's onslaught. There ain't much discernible enunciation in the twin howlings but the music crushes quite effectively. (


NÜ SENSAE-Sundowning (Suicide Squeeze, LP)
Nu Sensae started as a bass/drums duo playing aggressive rock with an early 90s muse ala Babes In Toyland. Even with just two instruments, the sound was booming—that was certainly the case when I saw them play in the summer of 2011. Both bass and drums had an authoritative punch and Andrea Lukic accompanied her four string calisthenics with vocals ranging from howling to measured. Since then, they’ve added a guitar player and, if it’s a somewhat more conventional approach, the results on this album are hardly disappointing. In fact, it has more power and, yes, fullness. After a quiet guitar intro, it’s full on for “First Born” which does, indeed, sound like the Babes. And the new member, Brody McKnight, doesn’t just add powerchords to the equation. There are nervier shadings, as well, like on “Dust.” There’s some desert twang for the lengthy instrumental passage on “Whispering Rule.” “Spit Gifting” offers a jarring, post-punk drive while the relentless “Eat Your Mind” sounds a bit like Sonic Youth. A heady whirl. (PO Box 80511, Seattle, WA 98108,  

RED DONS-Auslander/Mauvaise Foi (Dirtnap, 7")
Another pair of melodic songs from the Red Dons, whose members are scattered around the country (and globe) at this point. A warmth in the compositions but there's a sting just beneath the surface. There's something almost Buzzcocks-ian about what they do, in terms of the guitar harmonics, albeit without the pop trappings--in fact, the guitar lines go in a chaotic direction at the conclusion of "Auslander," before abruptly ending. Nothing that rises to the heights of "Pieces" on their 2010 album (still my favorite song by this band by far) but this is more than simplistic tuneful fodder, both musically and lyrically. (

REPLICA-s/t (self-released, flexi)
Blistering Bay Area hardcore (Oakland, to be precise), showing off some strong instrumental chops and appropriately agitated, gutteral vocals from Dharma. A good mix of thrash and medium-paced burn, staying away from tuneless blasting. All of this is expertly navigated from one song to another--B, the drummer, has long shown-off his skill in such bands as No Statik and Scholastic Deth and it makes a difference. Good debut. (

RIPPER-Death Rider/Never Enough (Black Water, 7")
Two new tracks for Portland metallions Ripper. More than a bit of Fast Eddie era Motor-you-know-who in the engines, played in a semi-fast manner. You know the drill--train-like drumming and searing riffing 'n leads to go along with the husky vocals. Something to appeal to your denim jacket-festooned soul. They were a pretty damned good when I saw them with Warcry awhile back. (PO Box 5223, Portland, OR 97208,


SCHOOL JERKS-s/t (Grave Mistake, LP)
Snarlin' and snotty punk from this band, who have a handful of 7"s under their belt and now commit to the 12" format, pressed on lime-green vinyl or maybe an approximation of the color of infected nasal discharge. I have no idea. But it's quality burn. There are older touchpoints for sure--it has that SoCal flavor (they ain't called Jerks for nothing), executed in the same manner that Amdi Petersens Arme used a decade ago (yes, like mentioned above in the Mulltute review above although these guys have a sloppier take on it. Vocals aren't so much enunciated as spat out with a tantrum-like cadence. The music is lean and mean--slashing guitar, ratty drums, played fast and not messing around with anything too complicated. No grand statements, no polished production--just a bashing good time. (

THE SHAME-The World Is Ours (Profane Existence, 7" EP)
The first release for Profane's "Limited Edition Singles Series" is this four-songer by Tulsa's The Shame. Singer/guitarist Chad Malone is probably best-known for his time in Brother Inferior (he's also played in Bring Down The Hammer in recent years) and this is straight up oi-style punk with a tuneful boisterousness. That means buzzin' guitars and hearty vocals, to go along with lyrics espousing a working class point of view and also extolling a love for soccer (or football, as its known everywhere else) and raising a pint or three. Oi Oi Oi! (PO Box 18051, Minneapolis, MN 55418,

SHORT CHANGED-We Will Bury You (Rodent Popsicle/Goat Power Recreation, LP)
Short Changed's second album introduces their new vocalist Bekka but the band’s attack remains similar—fast ‘n crusty hardcore played at a breakneck tempo and I’d imagine this is best-experienced in one of their home base of Oakland's warehouse facilities, if they still exist. And it could be scream therapy for ‘em, since the lyrics are about people and institutions that disappoint them but then they take solace in the music they’re laying down here—a release and that’s something we all need. While there are global concerns for some of the lyrics, there are also tongue-in-cheek sentiments, such as “Fuck You, Fight Me” which is about differences of opinion over... video games? Don’t laugh—I’ve been in heated arguments over which side of Black Flag's "My War"  is better (for the record, I’ll take side one). One of the standout songs here is actually an unlisted cover of Sepultura’s “Refuse/Resist,” the closing track and an absolute crusher from that band’s best album Chaos AD. It’s fairly standard fodder and, while I miss the rougher production of the debut, it’s still a good, hard-hitting effort. (Rodent Popsicle/Goat Power Recreation,,

Two power poppy punk bands from Houston--OK, enough with the alliteration already. Both of these bands pack their songs with bright, brash arrangements and catchy hooks although Occult Detective Club imbue it with a harder edge. The vocals are gruffly emotional, the bass-lines throb--that instrument really carries the melody line for the opening song "Brick By Brick." The vocals are higher and sweeter for Something Fierce, who I wish sounded more fierce than they do. About the closest they get is "Get On Or Get Off," and that's still on the lightweight side, despite some decent guitar/bass gnash. Ear-catching but slight. (

URBAN WASTE-s/t (Way Bay When/Even Worse, 7" EP)
Repress of one of the greatest 7"s to come out of the early 80s New York hardcore scene and one that should be included with the best-ever, period. Few records have had as SICK a guitar sound as Johnny Waste, with a trebly, hornets nest effect, while Kenny Ahearn emits the vocals in harsh, larynx-shredding fashion. With the abrupt jolt of "Police Brutality," your attention will be immediately commanded, with all the subtlety of a truncheon to the skull. "Public Opinion" remains an anthem of individuality for the ages: "I'm not into punk rock/I'm not into hardcore/Don't you try and label me..." and they're just getting started with the antisocial agitation except for the tender love ballad "Banana-Nut-Cake." Um, yeah. It's neither tender nor a ballad. Hard to believe it's been almost 30 years since this sonic timebomb was unleashed but it sounds as manic and raw now as it did back then. No legitimate hardcore record collection is complete without this. (

VITAMIN X-About To Crack (Tankcrimes, LP)
Vitamin X are still going strong after a decade and a half and return with their first new album in four years, the second in a row recorded by Steve Albini and Pushead-inspired artwork by John Baizley. They continue to dish out boiling-over hardcore punk that includes metallic and hard rockin' leads (Marc knows his stuff in that department). Call it crossover, if you want, although it's from the hardcore side of the aisle and not the same as what, say, Municipal Waste are doing. The opening riff for "Carnival of Fools," for instance, is reminiscent of "Screams"-era Raw Power. And while there's certainly anger in Vitamin X's sound, it still manages to sound upbeat. A rip-roaring good time, as always. (PO Box 3495, Oakland, CA 94609,

ZEITGEIST-s/t (Cobra Cabana, 12")
Fired-up rock 'n roll from this female fronted Pittsburgh band. The music has a formidable thump to it, especially the blistering rockers "Let's Play House" and "Relationshit." Tilley's vocals have range, from soaring to screaming and, unfortunately, they're somewhat overwrought and that hurts things. This disc has its moments but it didn't completely grab me. (201 N. Fairmount St., Pittsburgh, PA 15206,

Friday, October 12, 2012

Suburban Voice blog #102

Here's another installment of the SV blog. I wanted to add a few more reviews but vacation is coming up and I didn't want to have another week and a half pass. This time, I feature spotlights of recent releases from Nada Nada Discos out of Brazil and Cowabunga Records from the good 'ol USA...


Nada Nada Discos, from Brazil, sent along a generous package of records—two LPs and four 7”s (some of them have been out for awhile). The first is a reissue of a split live album, Ao Vivo No Lira Paulistana, featuring RATOS DE PORAO and COLERA, recorded in 1985 as part of three day event to mark the release of Colera’s first album. Raw, warts ‘n all performances by both bands. RDP did the show as a three-piece, during a time that main mouth Gordo wasn’t in the band. Revved-up thrash with a strong DISCHARGE influence at times. Colera’s songs have a slightly more tuneful quality and they keep the speed to a moderate clip. Sound quality is acceptable but I’d still say it’s more of a historical document than anything essential, but that’s just my bias about live albums in general. I wouldn’t have minded being at this show, of course. I did manage to see RDP on their only US tour (a whopping total of 5 dates in 2000) and they were completely raging.

O INIMIGO ply a mid-to-late 80s DC sound on their album Imaginário Absoluto. It’s musically solid, taking cues from Embrace, Dag Nasty and Rites Of Spring (the bass-lines, in particular) but the over-the-top vocals—akin to an over-caffeinated Rob Pennington from By The Grace Of God—are often excruciating and nearly sink the whole thing. It’s a shame because the songs manage to blend brawn with a strong melodic sense.

As for the 7”s, there’s another reissue, INOCENTES’ 1983 debut Miséria E Fome. As the liner notes explain, 13 songs were recorded but only 4 made it past the censors. The one track on side A, “Apenas Conto O Que Eu Vi,” is a mid-tempo punk buzzer and the three on the flip take a thrash route. Raw, gritty and no doubt reflecting the repression they endured at the time. Meanwhile, SPEED KILLS offer up blistering d-beat hardcore with the usual hallmarks—feedback/distortion wrangling on the guitar, hoarse vocals and a full-speed ahead approach. FUTURO provide a change of pace with “Sair De Mim” and “Destrói Você on their three song EP. A melodic wash to go along with the punk punch and Mila’s pealing vocals. The final song, “Mãos Atada,” a cover of a song by fellow Brazilians B.U.S.H., is a brief buzz-burst. Finally, VENENO LENTO have a hearty ‘n tuneful punk sound. I hesitate to call it ‘street punk’ but there’s a streetwise, singalong quality to it. The gruff vocals do strain at times. Otherwise, not bad. (Nada Nada Discos,



I also got a generous package of records from this Illinois label. I'll start with the BRAIN DEFORMITIES' 10", Suburbanized. The band includes members of Cülo and the vocalist is Cowabunga honcho Nick. Snarlin' hardcore punk that manages to sneak in a few foreign hardcore influences, such as "You Can't Catch Me," which sounds similar to a Kaaos song and the title track has a similar feel, bookended by some festering feedback. Mainly, it's just nasty, trigger-finger fodder and the line "got so much pent up bile" could be something of a mantra. Comes with a 20x20 poster of the rather colorful artwork.

SLUGZ, from Richmond, VA, dish out hard-edged rockin' punk on their three song Empty Space EP. Slammin' riffs and raspy vocals add up to a savage, fierce-sounding disc. RATIONAL ANIMALS are also a fierce-sounding band but in a slightly different manner. Their approach is heavier. A wall of sound with braying vocals, reveling in ugliness for their new single. "Gabrielle" is mid-speed rocker with a subtle Black Flag undercurrent as part of the bargain. There's some serious string mangling going on for "Eating My Words, slowing to a sputtering conclusion. THE NARCS, who like Rational Animals are from upstate New York, had a pretty good 7" on Reel Time awhile back and this one, Long Hot Summer, is also quite good. A trebly sound that has the trashcan garage punk ambiance that stomps away in bruising fashion. From the bluesy raunch of the harmonica-drenched "Mobile Jail" to the stomping 'n simple "Rat Bone," it's quite an inviting racket. Not nearly as inviting is the latest 7 song 7" missive by SICK/TIRED. It's definitely a racket and a hammering tandem of ugly thrash and grind. I've gotten somewhat sick/tired of this sort of tuneless wreckery, although there are moments where they pull it into a sharper, hammering focus, especially "Us Vs. Them."

Finally, for something completely different (where have I heard that before?), there's the album by TENEMENTThe Blind Wink. Eclectic doesn't begin to cover it. It's essentially a solo project for a guy from Wisconsin named Amos Pitsch, assisted by two other people on some of the tracks. Amos definitely has a pop heart and expresses that through different musical shadings that bring to mind, at different times, Dinosaur Jr., the Beatles, Bowie, Guided By Voices and the Jesus and Mary Chain (although without the sheets of feedback)--those are the names I jotted down. At its best, there's a knack for a solid hook, such as "(Messy Ending) In Middle America," "The Pleasure We Get (In Scratching An Itch)" and "Viscous." "Urinal" is a warmly-engaging, albeit lengthy dose of tuneful rock. Unfortunately, you have to wade through some overly precious and twee material to get to the gems. Maddeningly inconsistent. (



ABORTION SQUAD-Demo 1983 (Who Cares?, LP)
Manchester, NH—home of the Union Leader, one of the most right-wing papers in the US. Home of Channel 9, which once featured a children’s host named Uncle Gus, who didn’t seem to like children all that much. And home of the Abortion Squad, a hardcore trio who started as a punk band called the By-Produx but caught the hardcore bug. They recorded a demo 20+ song demo in 1983 and it’s just been given a limited vinyl pressing on French label Who Cares. (full disclosure—I had the source tape for this release and did the ‘rip’ myself—unfortunately, there’s some tape hiss. I was hoping the guy releasing it would fix up. It still came out sounding fairly clear). Very much “of-its-time,” with a fast thrash sound --some might call it generic--punctuated by buzzsaw guitar, 1-2-1-2 drumming and standard anti-authoritarian sentiments—“No Authority No Rules” was their anthem of sorts and there’s no missing the point of “Fuck You Ronnie,” “Stupid Jerk” (unfortunate use of the word “faggot”) and “Pledge Allegiance.” There was something of an outsider kinship with bands like Psycho, Cancerous Growth and, a bit later, PTL Klub, bands that weren’t really accepted by the Boston hardcore elite but built up followings away from the city. An endearing grittiness though far from top tier. Sadly, I recently found out that the band’s vocalist/guitarist Pat Landry passed away after a long battle with cancer. He was only 48. I always liked seeing these guys play and I offer my condolences to his family and friends.(

BLACK WINE-Hollow Earth (Don Giovanni, LP)
Super-catchy, melodic rock. The vocals (both male and female) are sweet and melodious but don't fall into twee territory (I HATE twee!). OK, the quieter song "Blurry" does veer awfully close to that but not enough to make me sprint to the turntable to lift the needle. But these two guys/one gal know their way around a hook and have probably boned up on the likes of Guided By Voices, Big Star, the Undertones, Fastbacks and the Pixies because there are bits and pieces of those bands sprinkled into their compositions. And Black Wine pull off the feat of making it more than the sum of those parts. There's a manifesto of sorts on the lyric sheet where Black Wine talk about being "no core" and it encourages, in essence, just being yourself. "Stop thinking about how you can label yourself/sell yourself/make yourself accommodating, marketable and attractive and start thinking about what makes you actually happy." I think they're on to something there. (

BLUE CROSS-Mass Hysteria (Shogun, LP)
An Ottawa duo with Jo from Germ Attak collaborating with a vocalist named Jess and quite a bit different than the UK-82 punk of his other outfit. This is goth-tinged, post-punk rock with a hovering, warm shimmer and texture. They proudly wear their influences--definitely Siouxie in the vocals (although it's a more soothing cadence) and there's borrowing from Bauhaus on "Disconnect" and "End Up Alone." But it's not as derivative as you might assume and there are other shadings, such as the sizzling guitar noise for "Headstone." Music to pull you into a dreamlike state, although that's likely to be jarred loose for the near-cacophony of "Calling Combatants." This came out some time back (I know, tardy as usual) and they have a newer album that I haven't heard yet but my curiosity is certainly piqued. (3 rue du Lavoir, 51140 Bouvancourt, FRANCE,

COLTRANES-I've Got Heaven In My Smile (Shogun, LP)
A tandem of hardcore and hard rock, with a vocalist summoning his inner Danzig at times, but also letting out some blood-curdling shrieks. It's not really thick enough to qualify as stoner metal for the heavier compositions but songs like "20/40" and "Fear Of Frozen Foods" certainly follow a St. Vitus template. There's even a little "Bleach"-era Nirvana with the snaky riff of "Cataracts." Fairly rocking at times but the production is thin and it negates the power-level. Also, a little of the vocals go more than a long way. Not really into this. (3 rue du Lavoir, 51140 Bouvancourt, FRANCE,


FOREIGN OBJECTS-Mammonism/Fable (Cut The Cord That..., 7")
It's tough to follow up the best album of 2011 but this 7", the first recording with new bass-player Andrew Farr, fares pretty well. "Mammonism," provides some edgy rock with some atonal trumpet bleating mixed in with a sturdy bass-line and Terry's piercing vocal. "Fable" is a succinct, straight-forward burner. In all honesty, it took a few listenings to sink its hooks in but it's another solid release. (

THE GUNS-s/t (Red Hour/Smog Veil, 2xLP)
Long overdue "legit" release of this great lost Cleveland punk band's album. It's been booted over the years and I've had MP3s that I've been listening too for probably a decade at this point. They had a few songs on the "New Hope" compilation and another compilation or two but that was it. The Guns were a teenage band (early teens, in fact) who got caught up in the nascent Cleveland hardcore scene in the early 80s and bashed out some credible noise full of teenage angst and anger. That's pretty much epitomized on the anthemic "I'm Not Right." Later material introduced a metallic element into the sound, as the lineup shifted a bit. Besides the various studio recordings (which sound the most pristine), there are songs from a radio broadcast and various, not-too-great live recordings. But it's worth it alone for the primo hardcore swill and it's presented in a gatefold package with extensive liner notes by Tom Dark, the brother of the late Scott Eakin, who was the guitarist/vocalist in this band and later played in Step Sister with Tom. (245 E. 235th St., Euclid, OH 44123-1507,

HAUTE COUTURE-Max's Rooms (Shogun, 7" EP)
The cover pays tribute to the Fix's "Jan's Rooms" EP, right down to the last detail and French band Haute Couture slam out some thorny, agitated-sounding hardcore punk that sounds at least partially inspired by that band. Mainly fast and raw, although "Hello Finn," the best song here, is a mid-paced stomper. Max's Rooms probably aren't as plush as the ones you can get at the Hotel California but I'd rather hear this than the Eagles anytime. (3 rue du Lavoir, 51140 Bouvancourt, FRANCE,

Kind of "outsider" Massachusetts hardcore bands in that they've never been part of the cool clique. Insult were around in the 90s but haven't been heard from that much in recent years. These 2010 recordings show them to still be a pretty potent outfit. Occasional blasting/double-speed thrash but with stop-on-a-dime tightness and "Diddler On Parole" takes a dirgier route. Rampant Decay have a little death metal in their engines but the hardcore side also comes out on their three pounding songs. Should I be trite and say both bands play ugly songs for ugly times? Oops--too late. (

NIGHT STALKERS-s/t (Who Cares?, 7" EP)
A one-sided 7" featuring some fast, ’82-inflected rough ‘n tumble hardcore going the “punk-noxious” route i.e. dicey lyrics exuding drugging, drinking, killing, etc. Yes, they have a song called “True Punk Fags” and I imagine that’s going to disqualify this record for some of ‘ya. They’re definitely suffering from a case of arrested development and/or it’s just good ‘ol fashioned button pushing. Yeah, we get it, punk shock value. Pretty stupid. It’s one of those records I almost hate myself for liking. (

NO MISTAKE-Connect The Dots... Complete The Puzzle (demo, CD)
With the old-school layout, semi-generic name, SS Decontrol and Negative Approach covers, you know what you're getting right off the bat. Thumping old-school hardcore punk from four guys who don't look like they're kids. The guitarist (and occasional vocalist)  is Mike Bullshit from Go!, and it sounds like the late 80s NYHC bands who took cues from the earlier part of the decade and molded into something of their own. And while they express outrage and a chip-on-shoulder attitude, there's no bluster. Songs about environmental destruction, corporate ladder climbers and even the colonization of Hawaii. Well-tread ground and they get it right. I'll bet they're a lot of fun live. (PO Box 59321, San Jose, CA 95159,

PINK LINCOLNS-Yinz: The Live Album (24 Hour Service Station, CD)
Florida punk legends captured live in their drunken glory in Pittsburgh in 2005. Loud 'n snarly with some crowd-baiting banter between songs. It sounds like vocalist Chris Barrows got increasingly inebriated as the set progressed. The Lincolns operate at the nexus of '77 punk and thrashy hardcore, along with rock 'n roll touches. Sputtering and spirited in mostly a good way, although they didn't include my favorite song, "I've Got My Tie On" and I probably would have been "that guy" yelling for it. I'm sure Chris would have given me a beer shower as a reward. At least I can stay dry while listening to this. (

PLASTIC CROSS-Grayscale Rainbows (Don Giovanni, LP)
NJ band with members of Kamikaze, Degenerics and other aggregations and continuing in a similar vein--that means frantic, heartfelt hardcore with melodic sting in the guitar and passionate vocals. No chug or metal--this is a tuneful approach with some mid-to-late 80s DC hardcore inspiration and the occasional Gorilla Biscuits-ish guitar trill. I'm guessing most if not all of these guys are in their 30s at this point and they continue to make energetic, potent hardcore that's the product of skill and experience. And I imagine it's a way of coping with the adult world that's "so full of shit" and chafing against expectations of others and elements that attempt to submit people into numb compliance. I can certainly relate to that! Music for misfits, for those who still refuse to "fit in," no matter the numerical age. (

POTTY MOUTH-Sun Damage (Puzzle Pieces/Ride The Snake/Feeble Minds, 12" EP)
An impressive debut by this Western Mass. band. Snaky punk/post-punk with strong melodies that, at times, make me think of another band that started in WMass, the Pixies, at least with some of the semi-surfy guitar lines. It's just one element, though. Six downright catchy songs with the hooks emerging from the arrangements as well as Abby's charming vocals that flow from sweet to assertive shout 'n swoop for a song like "Superfriends" while the band bash away behind her. Potty Mouth don't go for a brazenly pop sound but that's the effect--a blissfulness sets in but it also has an edge. ( / Ride The Snake:

WHITE PAGES-s/t (Can't Stand Ya!, 7" EP)
Fast, geeky and fun punk by this Cambridge, MA three piece. The songs made me think of early Showcase Showdown with the trebly guitar sound and unaffected charm, although Joe's vocals are more nervous-sounding. And I doubt you'll be able to get Christine's "ah-ah-ah" backing vocals from "Please Kill Them" out of your head. Quite enjoyable. (

ZOOPARTY-You Must Be Joking! (Devil, CD)
Third album for this Swedish trio and, for the third time, they're joined by some well-known friends, namely Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols/Rude Kids) and Brian James (Damned/Lords Of The New Church) contributing to a few songs. Unsurprisingly, this is straight-ahead tuneful trad-punk with a definite Pistols/UK-77 slant. "Sick Of The Racket," for instance, owes a bit to "The Great Rock 'n Roll Swindle" (the song). They also occasionally pick up the pace, such as on the title track and "Shout It Out" but the mid-tempo, anthemic songs are better. If the bands I mentioned above float your boat, you'll like this. (

Friday, September 07, 2012

Suburban Punk Issue #1

This month is the 30th anniversary of the rather humble beginning of my 'zine, which was Suburban Punk for the first 10 issues and renamed Suburban Voice starting with the 11th. In all, I published 45 print issues between 1982 and 2003. It was never my intent to stop publishing a print edition of SV but let's just say life got in the way, as well as my own procrastination, feeling a lack of inspiration and the like. That still continues at times--and that's why there haven't been as many blogs the past couple of years. Fear not--I'm not going to stop anytime soon and, yes, I still hold out hope to publish another issue of the zine, maybe even a book or two. I've learned to stop making promises, at this point.

I'm sure many of you have read the story about the origins of SV/SP but for those of you haven't--I started the zine kind of on an impulse, without any grand plan. I'd done a few reviews for a zine called Concentration X and they edited my writing, in what I thought was incompetent fashion. At that time--summer 1982--I was simultaneously starting my post-collegiate "adult" life and also starting to go to more hardcore shows. When I saw a few shows at the legendary Gallery East in Boston, that was life-changing. I decided I needed to start writing about this stuff so, in either late August or early September 1982 (I don't have the actual date), I typed out some live and record reviews over the course of a few nights, leaving the top of the front page blank since I didn't have a name for the zine yet. After finishing, I just scrawled out Suburban Punk in the blank space, along with my name, address and price, which was a quarter. There was no great brainstorming process over the name, it was just something that popped into my head. My dad worked for GTE and had access to a copier. He'd made copies for me in the past--small newsletters and the like. He ran off fifty copies of the four page first issue, I took them to a few shows (it might have been one, it might have been two--I can't remember) and I sold them all fairly quickly. I think he did a second run of 40-50 more. It's all kind of hazy.

The next issue was done on a ditto machine at the Hadley School in Swampscott. My mom was a sub in the school system (I also did some subbing while between jobs in late '82). I forgot the exact number--somewhere between 50 and 100, with 9 one sided pages and a cover with a xeroxed photo of Discharge taken from a UK punk magazine. That was because I featured a review of their new "State Violence State Control" 7". Issue #3 was the first one to be professionally done, at a local copy place and, except for four issues (#12-#15, where a friend xeroxed them for me at his work), the rest have always been done at printing places.

So there 'ya have it. The zine was born of a love for this music and, while I feel older and don't have the energy or perhaps some of the enthusiasm I used to, I still feel the need to make some kind of contribution and not merely be a spectator. That comes from my writing, doing the radio show and posting photos on my Flickr page. In the latter case, though, I've recently decided to put the camera away for a good amount of the set, once I feel I have what I need, and just watch the band. Because that's why I'm there, right?

So here's Issue #1 of Suburban Punk for you to download. It's a PDF file that you can open using a program like Adobe Reader. You can even print it out and staple it together and you'll have your own copy. I look at that issue and I cringe at quality of the writing but I also marvel at some of the shows I covered.

A hearty thanks for the support, kind words and, of course, free records over the years!

Al Quint

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Suburban Voice blog #101


Damn, nearly two months again? Apologies for suffering from severe procrastination. Incidentally, this month is the 30th anniversary of Suburban Voice, which began as Suburban Punk in 1982. I don't know the exact date but I'm going to be making the entire issue (all four pages!) available in another post. I want to find some way to mark the occasion in the not-too-distant future and I have some ideas but you're just going to have to "stay tuned," as the cliche goes.


BAD AMERICAN-Pretty/Ugly (Bad Recordings, LP)
I always find it interesting that some bands get hyped because they're on a certain label or embraced by various elitist hardcore cliques. I get the impression that since this album isn't on one of the hip/happening labels, it might get overlooked. Pity, because Bad American manage to fuse aggressive hardcore with brain-damaged elements and turn ugliness into a virtue. This band had a 7" a couple of years ago that I described as sounding pissed off. That hasn't changed with this album. Agitation, agitation, agitation from the opening salvo, a pounding song entitled "Dirty Waters." At other times, they're reminiscent of Out Cold, such as the back-to-back "Joe Ego" and "Blink," which is preceded by the howling build-up of "Pre-Load." Their theme song "Bad American" takes a page from "Lost" by Jerry's Kids. Bruising, bare-knuckled and definitely more ugly than pretty. (852 N. Clewell St., Bethlehem, PA 18015,

BAD JESUS EXPERIENCE-s/t (Tuska & Ahdistus/Kamaset Levyt/multi-label, 10")
Don't let the cute kittens on the cover fool you. Bad Jesus Experience don't play anything cuddly. This is fast, ravenous raw hardcore with stinging guitar lines and harsh female vocals that repel the words with a machine gun-like cadence in time with the thumping drumbeat. Listen closely and there's some dexterous muscianship propelling the band's howling attack. (T&A:

BATTALION OF SAINTS-Second Coming/Live At CBGB'S 1984 (Taang, CD)
Reish of BOS's first full-length album and it's still a scorcher, riding the ridge of thrash and metallic touches at a time where the term crossover was just coming into existence. A relentless pillage of razor-sharp guitar and thrash speed, along with a good amount of lyrical cynicism. The studio album wraps up with one of the better covers of Motorhead's "Ace of Spades" set to vinyl. There's also a warts 'n all set from CB's with most of the songs from "Second Coming," a few older ones and a cover of the Damned's "New Rose." Pretty good, sloppy in spots but it doesn't add much. I also wish the CD packaging was better. No booklet, just a four panel fold out with no lyrics, liner notes, etc. Reissues such as these should provide perspective, reminiscences, history, etc and someone needs to fire the quality control department because there's a glitch between "Intercourse" and "Solitary Is Fun." Incidentally, if you ever get a chance, check out the 7" version of "Second Coming," because it's way wilder/crazier-sounding than the one here. And, yes, this is recommended. (3830 5th Ave., San Diego, CA 92103,

BRAIN KILLER-Third EP (Vinyl Rites/Framework, 7" EP)  
Same stun-effect but a few different wrinkles on Brain Killer's latest EP. There's the usual feeback-drenched Discharge-inspired assault they're known for and that's as formidable as ever. But it''s "Controlled Reality" that's the centerpiece here, with a stutter-step rhythm and an instrumental segment that creates a cacophony of demented chaos. Sheets of guitar noise before going back into the main riff and cascading into the finale of "Desperation." Brain cells will definitely perish when played at the appropriate volume. (Vinyl Rites: PO Box 341, Athens, GA 30603, 4 Elm St, Ipswich, MA 01938,


BUKKAKE BOYS-s/t (Sorry State, LP)
Once you get through chortling about this band's name (if you don't know what people are chortling about, look up the first word), prepare to be assaulted by some unfettered hardcore rage from these Atlantans. After a few 7"s dating back to 2008, here's their long overdue 12" platter. At the outset, a big swell of feedback builds and the terror ensues. All fast songs, except for the mind-melt of "Weakness," which closes side one and, after the feedback whizzle-frenzy, abruptly cuts off without a fade. One of the songs is called "Ugly World" and, well, it is an ugly world. I'd imagine that would apply to their home state, with the hot, humid summers and retrograde environment, except for a few small pockets here and there. Maybe I'm off-base but that's this MassHole's perception, anyway. This isn't a political album, it's more of a universal expression of disillusionment and disenchantment and it really comes through in the nettled-sounding music and harsh vocals. (

CLAW TOE-s/t (Criminal IQ, 12")
There's something rather sinister-sounding about Claw Toe. It started as a solo project by Darius from Criminal IQ and has been fleshed out into an honest-to-goodness band. The songs have familiar elements but are imbued with a darkly-enticing freshness. "Another Saturday Night" sure as hell isn't the oldie by Sam Cooke. It's a hard-edged rocker with a post-punk pulse and synth texture percolating through. "The Drug Song" pushes into a clambering, experimental/industrial realm. "Geriatric Stalker" is flat-out creepy, telling a tale of, well, you probably figured it out, riding a mechanized rhythm and buzz-press guitar and seething vocals. "Kamikaze," a cover by the underrated Chicago band Functional Blackouts, pounds its way into your consciousness with a numbing, twisting guitar line. "Panic Attack" wraps things up with a Big Black-ish rhythm and a fired-up nerviness.Moody, brooding and electrifying, embracing various musical shadings and strokes. (

COPS-s/t (Rob's House, 7" EP)
Atlanta amalgamation with former Carbonas Jesse Smith and Greg King and Ryan Bell from Bukkake Boys, joining up for some slam-bang, gnashing and catchy punk. Not the standard three chord burn, either. There's a nervous, jumpy quality with slashing guitar and thumping bass/drums playing off each other. Squiggly and wah-wah driven guitar lines are occasionally layered on top of the slash 'n jab, as well. Taut and energetic. (

CRANK-s/t (self-released, CD)
A NY power trio playing some ugly 90s Amphetamine Reptile-inspired swill with beefy aplomb. Big, rubbery bass lines--which comes across as the lead instrument at times--jabbing guitar and crashing drums, accompanying gravelly vocals. While a song like "Another Dead Place" gets a little lumbering, the direct attack of such songs as "(You Bought Your Ticket) Take The Ride," "Sour" and opener "The OrganGrinder" have no lack of throttle. And the cover choice of the Crucifucks' "Democracy Spawns Bad Taste" is inspired although, let's face it, no one's going to come close to Doc Dart's inimitable vocal. Quite an immense sound. (

CRAZY SPIRIT-s/t (Toxic State/Ground Zero, LP)
Here's this NYC band's first longplayer and it's a killer, from the superb packaging to the musical contents. This disc comes tucked inside a heavy stock, screened sleeve and is accompanied by a poster and booklet.with some eye-catching sketches and artwork. They also have a unique, fresh musical approach. Sick 'n raspy vocals--sometimes buried in the mix--buzz-stun guitar and clattering, galloping beats that turn this into something of a hardcore hoedown. For a change of pace, "What Have I Become?," the penultimate song, features creepy-sounding instrumentation with weird percussion and nearly subliminal vocals. This record is just about certain to end up in my top 10 of 2012. Crazy Spirit's (and this label's) records can be tough to find but it's worth the effort.  (


CREEM-s/t (Katorga Works, 12")
Out of the ashes of Nomos comes Creem (hmmm... maybe I should re-phrase). Tough and rockin' hardcore punk all irritable and pissed off sounding but there's more to it than that. Sure, there's the speedy blaze of "Never End" but they also throw in some No Future Records guitar trills for "The Wrong Man" and cover an obscure early 80s punk song, "What The Fuck," by Black Easter. At its heart, though, Creem bash through their songs with bruising aplomb and pay equal attention to US strains, such as the the "City To City" (DYS) tribute for "Lucid." 7 songs to get the foot stomping and head banging. Can't wait to hear more. Great live band, too. (

DEATH BY SNOO SNOO-Tasta Saat! (Creative Class War, CD)
This Finnish band with an odd name have created an album with an odd and charming quirkiness. They flow easily from roiling punk to sweeter moments to moodier rock to bouncy, poppier material. Hanne's vocals have a girlish, over-the-top nature and there are times where a little goes a long way but damn it if she doesn't hook you in. She also adds melodica on some songs--a mouth instrument kind of similar to a harmonica only it has a keyboard. Gang of Four used it on some of their songs and I wonder what my melodica-tooting grade school music teacher Mr. Boujoukos would have made of this? A spirited romp and an unpredictable one at that. (

DRY HUMP-s/t (Cowabunga, 7" EP)
I'm playing this back to back with the Creem 12" and it makes sense since they come from a similar muse--PJ's harsh vocals are much the same as the vocalist from that band and it's not standard-issue old school hardcore. Their latest four song EP pushes things into a harder-rocking direction with the floor-pounding "Fist Your Heroes" (a near anthem) and "China White." Same for "Everybody Loves You." "Mein Herr," meanwhile, is in more of a traditional thrash vein. Ryan Straker's piercing guitar lines stand out, adding a distinct element and the lyrics come from dark, sometimes deviant regions. One of this area's best bands right now. (

FLIP SHIT-Outgoing Rockers (Reel Time, 7" EP)
The opening song on this disc is a power-packed snot-punk rocker called "Amerika" and, if you didn't realize the tongue was very deeply in cheek, you might take lyrics like "This is my land/go get your own/call it ethnic cleansing/I call it cleaning my home," something that was conjured up by a performer at a teabagger rally. And I'm sure at least some of the people attending the recent Republican convention would shake their heads in agreement, completely missing the point. I know they shook their heads--I heard the rattling. Most of these songs explore speedier territory and they create some heady hardcore punk rocknrollarama. Oh yeah, rock is definitely part of it--check out the scorchin' leads on "Stoop Rock." Incidentally, I need to read record labels more closely--I've been referring to this band as the Outgoing Rockers before realizing this was the title of the disc and the band is actually called Flip Shit. Oops.(1087 Clinton Ave. S, No. 3, Rochester, NY 14620,

FRENZY-Noizey Trouble (Distort Reality, 7" EP)
Noizey indeed but not a complete sheet of noise. There's no doubt about Frenzy's DIS-tort leanings but the drumming doesn't always stick to that pattern and there are additional elements, such as the odd, space-like sonic effects for "Nightmare Convulsions" and "Daily Indoctrination." And I imagine that the title "SS Control" might be a tip of the hat to a certain Boston band since there's a whiff of early 80s US hardcore for that song and "Calls From The Grave." Or maybe I'm wrong. Whatever the case, these 7 tracks provide a potent buzz-bomb. (

GOD EQUALS GENOCIDE-Rattled Minds (Razorcake/Dirt Cult, LP)
After a plethora of 7"s, splits, etc, God Equals Genocide make their "long playing" debut and it's just so goddamned likable. GEG gleefully bang their way through their compositions and manage to be aggressive without the slightest hint of a tough-guy/gal ambiance. The lyrics aren't always that sunny, either, although "You're Different" is a bit of self-affirmation. You'd expect angry vocal emanations but Adrian and Daryl intertwine their voices in quite the opposite fashion. Adrian, in particular, strains to go as high as she can and all the windows in the house threaten to shatter, especially for "Wasting Time." And it's perfect--this is about as unaffected as it gets. There's also a "bonus"--a song to end each side by Dumbag Daryl & The GEG Bags that I would gather includes the same personnel but they feature jolly-sounding organ and a bouncy pop flavor. The whole thing is punk as fuck but with their own personality stamped all over it. (Razorcake: PO Box 42129, LA, CA 90042, Cult: 713 Stagecoach Dr., Las Cruces, NM 88011,

LÖGNHALSMOTTAGNINGEN-Gomorra Sverige (Kenrock, 7" EP)
This duo--one Brit who lives in the US and one Swede, with a very-tough-to-pronounce name (although one of them said I did a pretty good job when saying it on the radio show)--have a new-ish 7". This was originally released as part of a four 7" box set, Burning Hell Vol. III, in 2011 and now has a limited re-press. Rough old-school US hardcore mixed with '77 punk shadings. One of them plays all the instruments, accompanied by vocals that sound like Nikki Sudden from Swell Maps with a Swedish accent. In fact, early Swell Maps isn't a bad touchpoint, either. A fun, jabbing racket. And a new album has just been released. (

MALE NURSES-Wanna Play Doctor?/GI Jock (Cowabunga, 7")
Two new tracks by this not-exactly-prolific Boston band. The A-side is a scrappy west coast-style punk song and the b-side adds thrash for the first half. The rough production definitely works to their benefit. Two songs ain't enough. Get to work, guys! (

NEGATIVE APPROACH-Nothing Will Stand In Our Way (Taang, CD)
Another collection of rarities, demos and live recordings from one of the all-time great bands. NA were an absolute holy terror live and while recorded evidence will never completely capture it, you get a pretty good idea. The real find here is the 1981 Clubhouse demo, with good sound quality and raging runthroughs of the by-now familiar material. In fact, it gives the 7" recordings a run for their money, although original drummer Zuheir wasn't as accomplished as OP Moore. Also of note is a live soundboard recording of their 8/1/82 set at NYC's Mudd Club, recorded during the Process of Elimination tour (my first encounter with them would be less than two weeks later). There are also a couple of outtakes from the 7" session--"DABF" and a piss-take cover of the 4 Skins "Chaos" (those songs also show up other times, as well). Rounded out by two other gigs and very early demos that are more completist items. Some of this stuff has been making the bootleg rounds for years but Jim Diamond has done a great job remastering things. As with the Battalion of Saints disc reviewed above, the packaging is bare-bones but that's the only quibble. Hard to believe it's been 30 years and NA has inspired countless bands and hardcore fans during those three decades. (3830 5th Ave., San Diego, CA 92103,

NIGHTBRINGER-Fight Like Hell (self-released, 7" EP)
One blazing original on side one and three cover songs by Michigan bands on the flip--a snippet of the Amboy Dukes's "Journey To The Center Of The Mind," rudely interrupted by takes on the Necros' "Face Forward" and Cold As Life's "Addiction" (the original of which I'd only heard recently), both given thumping renditions. "Fight Like Hell" is a blitzing, boiling rager. Something of an older Japanese hardcore influence here and played loud and fast. (2715 Radcliffe, Ann Arbor, MI 48104,  


NITAD-Rastlos Och Vild (Mourningwood, CD)
Restless and wild, eh? No, this isn't an Accept tribute album, it's the latest from veteran Swedish band Nitad. Not that Nitad were ever exactly a soft rock band but they seem to have increased the aggression, increased the adrenalin, increased the intensity and made things more blown-out sounding. In addition to the thrash/fast trax, they verge into slower, psychotic realms with the opening title track and especially the closer "Tryggheten," a lumbering, clambering instrumental. "Vem Ska Lita Pa?" is pure rampage and "Raggare Is Still A Bunch Of Motherfuckers," a play on an old Rude Kids song, is a forceful rocker. Vild, indeed! (

D-beat following the blueprint to the letter--relentless cymbal-bashing drumming, maintaining the same fast tempo throughout, buzzsaw guitars with squiddly leads during the break, titles like "Killing Continues," "Modern Holocaust" and "To Hell and Back." Yep, this Indonesian band have it down pat and it's a faithful reproduction, no more or less. Not sounding all that polished works in their favor. You pretty much know what you're getting here. (3 rue du Lavoir, 51140 Bouvancourt, FRANCE,

POOR LILY-Three Songs (self-released, CD)
One of last year's pleasant surprises return with three new songs (in case you weren't paying attention). High powered, high caliber wrecking-ball rock drawing from the well of NoMeansNo, Victims Family, etc. Vocals that channel the ghost of D. Boon and the songs are jarring, particularly the final, three-minute-plus "Third Rail," which rides a scintillating guitar signature into more of a focused frenzy. The other two song possess a chaotic, ripsaw approach. Definitely worthy of your attention. (

SUPER FRISKY-For Buddy (Burai Core, LP)
Hell-raising metal/hardcore/rock 'n roll by this Japanese band, consisting of members of Akutare, Judgement and Tetsu-Arrey (and the late, great Chelsea from Paintbox was an original member and wrote the songs). The lead-off song "No" mines "The Hammer" by Motorhead for all it's worth but this most certainly is NOT a tribute album and little else copies that blueprint, unless you want to consider the bass pulverization. Yoko's vocals soar and sometimes flutter and, after a deluge of Japanese bands with gravel-voiced growlers, her timbre is a refreshing and distinguishing factor. The band's full-bore attack doesn't mess with excess, either. High-powered, high energy rock that's meant to be cranked up really high. Yeah, I know some of you are groaning over that line but it's advice well-worth heeding. (

UPHEAVAL #15 (zine)
I've got to hand it to Craig Lewis--he manages to get a zine out on a much more frequent basis than yours truly. Actually, that applies to most people. Craig's latest installment is a 36 page half-sized effort and features a rather provocative interview with Keith Bennett (Wrecking Crew, Panzerbastard) where he candidly talks about, among other things, at one time declaring himself a "National Socialist," mental health issues, appearing on a short lived TV show about a moving company, "Deathwish Movers" and, of course, his long-lasting musical career. There's still something of a sketchy aura regarding his agreement with Nazi and white power groups but he denies he's ever been a racist. Moving on, there are interviews with Co-Arse, from the Philippines, Overkill For Profit from Azerbaijan (formerly part of the Soviet Union), plus a plethora of record, CD and demo reviews. Craig doesn't cover just the hip and trendy bands. Instead, he seeks to write about bands from all corners of the world, taking a truly universal scope and his enthusiasm is embedded into every cut 'n paste page. (

UTAH JAZZ-s/t (Feral Kid, 7" EP)
Not jazz but some offbeat, engaging weirdness from this band that includes Brandon from Brown Sugar. Don't let the hippie-looking front cover drawing fool 'ya. At the core, there's a wild garage punk influence and, I swear to god, I never thought I'd like a punk song that has flute on it, but that applies to "Contact Low." It also shows up on "Florida," which does have a psych-rock headiness. The opening instrumental "Lookin' Like Howwywood" sounds like Pussy Galore on a speed bender. Utah Jazz's trebly sound will gnash its way into your heart. (


All the college students have returned to Boston and Cambridge and it makes me think of this song (a Sonic Overload perennial!)


What's Mark E. snarling on about? Here's a sample:

"Hey student, hey student, hey student,
You're gonna get it through the head"

So welcome back, kids. And stay out of my way!