Saturday, February 09, 2013

Suburban Voice blog #104

Happy New Year... well, a few weeks later than I planned but this is a pretty extensive installment. Let's get started with...


2010 and 2011 were well above-average years for records. But I don’t think that was the case for 2012, at least comparatively speaking. Don’t get me wrong, there were some kick-ass records last year and I didn’t have a lot of trouble coming up with a top ten and it was easy to fill my year-end Sonic Overload with over two hours of strong material. I kept going back and forth between Joint D≠ and Hank Wood & The Hammerheads for album of the year. I picked Joint D≠ because "(I'm) Haunted" was better than any other song I heard all year.


JOINT D≠-Strike Gently


JOINT D≠-Strike Gently (Sorry State)
HANK WOOD & THE HAMMERHEADS-Leave Home (Toxic State)
CRAZY SPIRIT-s/t (Toxic State)
SCHOOL JERKS-s/t (Grave Mistake)
BOSTON STRANGLER-Primitive (Fun With Smack)
TV FREAKS-s/t (Schizophrenic)
METZ-s/t (Sub Pop)
WHITE LUNG-Sorry (Deranged)
TOKYO STORM WARNING- High Times at The Black Eye (Mind/No Mind)
CREEM-s/t (Katorga Works)
NÜ SENSAE-Sundowning (Suicide Squeeze)
MIND SPIDERS-Meltdown  (Dirtnap)
PLATES-s/t (Big Neck)
SLICES-Still Cruising (Iron Lung)
LAMPS-Under The Water Under The Ground (In The Red)

THE REST... 7”s and demos

All of these are 7”s, in fact, except for the WETBRAIN demo and POOR LILY 3 song CD. More or less ranked in order

BIG EYES-Back From The Moon (Grave Mistake)
DRY HUMP-s/t (Cowabunga)
WETBRAIN-s/t (demo)
BILL BONDSMEN-Overcrowded Control (Fourteegee)
DOUBLE NEGATIVE-Hardcore Confusion Vol. 3 & 4 (Sorry State)
POOR LILY-3 Songs (self-released)
MÜLLTÜTE-2nd EP (HeartFirst)
BRAIN KILLER-3rd EP (Deranged)
ANCIENT FILTH-s/t (Shock To The System)


BEST LIVE (in no particular order)




The first release with PJ on vocals, having moved out from behind the drum kit and it's another scorcher. His harsh vocals match the band's d-beat hardcore perfectly. Over time, BKB have stripped away the wall of distortion and opt for a loud but still-raw roar. Four of the five songs are speed-burners but "Reject" has more of an anthemic punk flavor, punctuated by a singeing lead break. One of the best bands from these parts. (6 Wadleigh Place, Boston, MA 02127,

BOMB BLAST MEN-Who Is The Master Here? (Vex, 7" EP)

This actually came out awhile ago (I'm pretty sure, at least) but showed up in the same package as the Dishonorable Discharge 12" (see review below). Crusty hardcore with low-tuned guitars and rabid, ravenous vocals. That adds a heavy ambiance to the sound but it's still got trebly sonics. The battering they give to NoMeansNo's "Dad" is momentarily humorous and I also chuckled at the title "Taxi Twat," but otherwise found this rather tuneless. Not that I'm expecting easy listening but it's just bile and not much more. (


CHAOS CHANNEL-(Magic Bullet) That Works To Feed The Pig (SPHC, 7")
Sad to say I hadn't heard of this band until a few months ago when I saw them play a sick set with the Wankys and Lotus Fucker. They play a noisy, Disorder-inspired style of hardcore but it's not so blown out as to make any sort of nuance inaudible. "The Bird, Singing At Non-Reality" has the same pattern as Disorder's "More Than Fights," starting with the same drum rolls leading into thumping thrash, then there's a lull and the drumming starts off the next volley. The flip, "New Stupid Piece Of Shit, That Doesn't Fuckin' Work" has similar drumming and a buzzin' ambiance. Time to check out the back catalog. (

COMMON ENEMY-As The World Burns (Overdose On Records/multi-label, CD)
Common Enemy have been kicking around since the start of the last decade and continue to hammer out decent meat 'n potatoes hardcore punk rock. Loud, fast and angry, with a few metal guitar lines here and there, and coming across like a merger of bands like the Casualties and early Unseen fused to early '80s hardcore. By the numbers, nothing new or groundbreaking but they play these songs with all the venom and rage they can muster. Good for them... up the punx! (

DISHONORABLE DISCHARGE-Nightmare Visions EP (Vex, 12")
If the name of the band isn't a dead giveaway about the musical contents, you're probably not paying attention. This Norwegian unit do, indeed, take a page from the second word in their name and add some of Anti-Cimex's roughness for good measure. Breaks no new ground, the drumming falters on occasion but I still end up liking it because they're pretty good at hammering out aggressive fodder. Fragmentary lyrics that are kept to a minimum, along with repetitive arrangements. You know what you're getting. (

DISSENSION-Why Work For Death?/We The Fooled (Bad Idea Music, CD)
Dissension were a southern California band in the mid-to-late 80s and released a pair of albums, now reissued on a convenient single disc. Throttling hardcore punk played at a go-for-broke clip and adding some metallic leads to their thrashy thump, along the lines of DRI and Final Conflict. The metal seeped in further for "We The Fooled," although the hardcore roots were hardly abandoned. "Why Work For Death?" has been a Labor Day perennial on my radio show and I still have the red vinyl copy of that 12" they sent back in 1986. Plenty of buzz, if a bit sloppy in execution and the leads excessive at times. High energy stuff. (PO Box 6052, Huntington Beach, CA 92615,

EMPTY ROOM-s/t (Subject/Feral Kid, demo)
Buffalo band with the ubiquitous Biff Bifaro (I Object/Brown Sugar/Plates and more) on bass, joined by people from White Whale and Everything Falls Apart. Thundering and pummeling hardcore in short, angry bursts although they take a different turn for the brooding "Americans With Guns" (timely!) and "Ambient Awareness," the latter featuring some damaged-sounding guitar and dark lyrics about internet stalking. Hope to see some vinyl from this band in the not-too-distant future. (

F/I-Very Negative (Atomic Action, 7" EP)
Some brutal hardcore sounds from this Rhode Island band aka Fucking Invincible. F/I incorporate heavy lurch with manic speed but they sometimes let the blast/hammer effect get in the way. Rather tuneless, in other words. Closing song "Violent Screaming Delusions" works the best, with a scampering drumbeat and scorching guitar work. People from Soul Control, Dropdead and Daughters, among other bands, for those of you keeping track. (

HASSLER-s/t (Schizophrenic, 7" EP)
Total ripper of an EP from this Toronto band. They're just flat-out mean-sounding, plying thumping hardcore punk that has plenty of bottom end and mighty pissed-off sounding vocals. And they have more than a few bones to pick with life's irksome elements. That's an understatement--and I'd better give them a good review or prepare to suffer their wrath, as stated on "Nothing For Nothing": "I read your blog, you fuckin' jerk/Waste of time, your friends are twerps/'You're not a punk, you're not hardcore'/Clueless fuck/What's the point? What's the score?" Just bruising and they're not novices, either--one or more of these guys were in the Reprobates, who put out a good 7" on No Way around 5 years ago. (17 W. 4th St., Hamilton, ON L9C 3M2, CANADA,

LAMPS-Under The Water Under The Ground (In The Red, LP)
This is one mind-fucker of an album--heavy and muscular and the effect is punishing but also applying those properties to forays into Fall-ish rock, garage and even a lumbering cover of a Bo Diddley song--"H.B.D." aka "Hey Bo Diddley" that offers a radical reworking of the "shave and a haircut, two bits" beat. The aforementioned mind-fuckery is established at the outset, with the post-punk arrangement interrupted with sheets of atonal noise. Pure guitar wreckery, punctuated by fuzz, power-chords and whizzling chaos, along with gigantic bass-lines and drumbeats. Pure, unadulterated abraso-rock with a relentless quality throughout. (PO Box 50777, Los Angeles, CA 90050,

NEEDLES-Desesperación (Iron Lung, 7" EP)
The latest from Needles,  a band that features (in case you didn’t know), Martin Sorrondeguy (Limp Wrist, Los Crudos), Scott from Limp Wrist and Brian and Jim from Talk Is Poison, so you know this is going to be pure aggro and they deliver. Martin sounds as rabid as always and the sound is blistering hardcore with frayed, slashing guitar and bone-crushing bass and drums. Six songs, no breaks (except when you flip the record over) and, while there’s plenty of anger, “Not Losing Faith” sounds, dare I say, a bit hopeful about “the youth.” And that song is way better than the one that goes “I believe the children are the future.” (Iron Lung, (PO Box 45521, Seattle, WA 98145,

NO PROBLEM-Living In The Void (Debt Offensive, 7" EP)
Three more songs of sturdy punk by these Edmontonians--is that the right term? Well, they're from Edmonton. There's oomph 'n punch in the arrangements and gritty vocals. Some of the guitar lines are almost surfy, giving a bit of a west coast flavor. Definitely a dark mood, lyrically--life's travails, chafing against convention and conformity. Timeless themes and delivered with a sound that's both assertive and tuneful. (

RAYGUN-Pommeja Taivaalta (Kämäset Levyt, LP)
Half of the record was recorded in 2012 and the b-side consists of recordings from '93 and '95 and '06. The new stuff is actually the best--it shows them to still be a vital, rip-roaring unit with a classic Finnish sound that's closer to Appendix than the well-known bands in that there are catchy elements to go along with the thrash-driven arrangements. New(er) vocalist Jonne adds a snottier dimension, as well. It has a vintage sound without coming across as dated. The older songs vary in sound quality but stick to a similar musical format. The vocals don't have as much presence, though, so it was definitely the right move to add Jonne. (Iisakinte 18, 37560 Lemaala, FINLAND, EUROPE,

RECIDE-Statues (Even Worse, 7" EP)
Some ugly-sounding hardcore. A feedback-laden intro starts things off and the guitar playing sputters and slashes, along with the band's trebly rhythmic bash and throat-shred vocals. Bursts of speed are interspersed with moments of pounding and hammering. I just wish the songs were more memorable as a whole. "Before False" is a good example: a tribal beat and guitar sizzle that conjures up Bad Brains's "Big Takeover," then ratchets up the speed but the effect is disjointed. Some good ideas here--hope they can find a bit more focus. (

SAILBOATS ARE WHITE-Best of Turbo II (Schizophrenic, 7" EP)
Brash, face-grabbing noise/punk/damage concocted from guitar, bass, programmed drums and serious synth-mangling. It's not as "artsy" as that sounds, though--this is mainly visceral music with an experimental twist, I suppose. Some similarities at times to one of Jay Reatard's many bands, Lost Sounds, especially "Dead Man's Clothes" and "Seven Aaron Winger." This is a vinyl pressing of 7 songs taken from a 9 song 2008 recording and the band's history goes back to the early '00s. (17 W. 4th St., Hamilton, ON L9C 3M2, CANADA,


SOCIETY NURSE-s/t (Iron Lung, LP)
Dark and visceral sounds by Society Nurse, including a couple of guys from Walls and Cold Sweat, namely Jensen Ward and Nick Turner. Jensen plays guitar in this band the drumming is more-than-ably handled by Todd Hoffman. Bruising fodder with plenty of speed but there are also hammering moments and a sense of drama in the arrangements. New vocalist Donald Abel (another guy sang on their previous 7") delivers the words of despair in an agonized and gutteral style. Society Nurse have something of a similar vibe to the bands mentioned earlier but this takes more a direct, hardcore route and it will leave your senses shattered. (PO Box 45521, Seattle, WA 98145,

SYNTHETIC ID-Apertures (1-2-3-4 Go!, 12")
A San Francisco post-punk band working in the same thorny terrain as Rank/Xerox, as well as the Minutemen at times. That means busy, nervous-sounding arrangements punctuated by throbbing bass, solid drumming and dexterous guitar playing that is both jarring and mellifluent, especially for "Pressure Gauge." The only problem is with the vocals, which are off-key and flat-sounding. The band's kinetic sound makes up for it, though.

TERVEET KADET-Musta Hetki (Kämäset Levyt, LP)
Finnish hardcore legends Terveet Kadet have never broken up and here they are 30 years down the road. Only vocalist Läjä remains from the original lineup and his voice is lower and throatier than in the early days. It's a high energy effort but something seems a bit off, at times.The songs are played at piledriving speed but the drumming is occasionally out of sync with the other instruments and Läjä's vocals don't always time well with the music, either. Maybe if they'd slowed it down a bit, it might have meshed better--that's accomplished for the more-reasonably paced "Verinen Syli" and "Viimeinen Naula." Somewhat disappointing but I'm looking forward to seeing them live. (Iisakinte 18, 37560 Lemaala, FINLAND, EUROPE,


TRUNCHEONS-Stuck On The Block (Distort Reality, 7" EP)
Janick and Matt from After the Bombs are in this band and it's a somewhat different beast. Instead of the longer, epi-crust compositions, these are short sharp shocks (sorry) of distorted Disorder/Chaos UK-style punk. Buzz-stun guitar with a whole lotta distortion and echo on Janick's throaty vocals. On the back of the record, it says "models and musicians out of punk. Keep hardcore for the ugly and talentless. That's not really the case here. Sure, it's an ugly sound and they ain't virtuosos but this is one blistering racket.(

TV FREAKS-s/t (Schizophrenic, 7" EP)
A stormin' follow-up to their album. More rough-hewn garage-infused punk bash. It sounds like the speakers are going to blow for the cacophonous conclusion of "Upper Hand" and they show no let-up on the other three songs here. While the album had a bit of Eddy Current jitter, that's not really noticeable here, except on "Freelancer," and that song sneaks in bit of a hook at the end. That track also has a few similarities with Career Suicide. "Identity Crisis" is dark and pounding before picking up the pace at the end. All in all, this is a concise and relentless statement. (17 W. 4th St., Hamilton, ON L9C 3M2, CANADA,

UV RACE/NATIVE CATS-Split (Ride The Snake, 7")
Two Australian bands. UV Race have released some strong records over the years (the new one, "Racism," has some excellent tracks) but this isn't really one of them. Opening and closing with a downbeat Modern Lovers-ish dirge and one another , "Wire Strainer," they nearly get it right for the garage-ish clamor of "Shat It's Self" but this is pretty forgettable. Native Cats' one song, "Ten Years Transportation," was recorded in 2010. It's a two-man band with a bassist and vocalist accompanied by minimalist programming. The repetitive drumbeat had me thinking Faust's "It's A Rainy Day Sunshine Girl" but this isn't sunny-sounding at all, especially the mournful synth comes in towards the end. Not a complete triumph but intriguing. (

VARIOUS-Destroy Music, Start Your Own Band (Hammer City/Schizophrenic, LP)
This compilation album of Hamilton, ON bands is dedicated to the memory of Imants Krumins, who passed away last year. Imants was a tireless supporter and passionate fan of punk (and other music), an endless fount of knowledge and an all-around nice guy. I was fortunate enough to meet him a couple of time and correspond with him a bit over the years. His spirit hovers over the whole thing, including some soundbites of him between songs. On to the musical contents--it's the typical mixed bag of inspired noise-making along with some less-memorable material--real hit and miss. A diverse assortment, not just sticking to one style, with all sorts of punk, hardcore, garage and straight rock represented. As for the highlights, TV Freaks and Sailboats Are White, whose discs are reviewed elsewhere in this installment, both make solid showings. The Freaks song isn't as strong as the tracks on the new EP but gets things off to a loud 'n rousing start. The two Sailboats songs are new recordings and continue with the band's noise-drenched attack.The ominous industrial clatter of Skull Servant is intriguing. Born Wrong viciously burn through their one song with a raw hardcore-meets-garage attack. The bruising hardcore of Haymaker was sometimes a case of "a little goes a long way" but I do like their pummeling of Suicidal Tendencies' "Memories Of Tomorrow" (their pair of songs were recorded in 2002).  Not everything is great--the dull rock of Wiggler and The Tiny Humans or the uneven noise wreckery of Snake Charmer, for instance. Still, one thing that comes through with the whole package, especially the booklet, is a true DIY spirit. The people involved run a record store, run a label and put on shows and have been doing so since the 80s. On the back cover, it says "You Are The Scene" and, corny as it sounds, it's true. (17 W. 4th St., Hamilton, ON L9C 3M2, CANADA,