Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Suburban Voice blog #113--THE BEST OF 2014

Yep, that time of year again and, once again, I didn't have as many posts as I wanted. I suppose I could say one of of my resolutions is to publish more frequently in 2015. We'll see about that but, in the meantime, I've managed to put together a best-of list before the end of year.

2014 seemed to be a better year for releases than 2013. I had more go-to records, this time around--ones that logged a lot of time on my turntable or on my iPod. I was definitely a lot more dependent on digital music for the radio show in the past year. I still refuse to review digital promos and, as a result, some stuff might fall between the cracks. I'm an active record buyer but my budget is limited. I do the best I can and know the cost of sending out review copies is prohibitive so my usual deal stands--if a publicist or band want me to review something, I'll check out a digital promo and, if I like it, I'll see if they can send a physical copy. If I don't like it, I won't ask for a review copy and no hard feelings. Maybe I'm being a stubborn old-timer and, yes, I could publish more than I do but also keep in mind I do a monthly column for an actual print 'zine (Maximum Rocknroll)

Enough yakkin'... I did the list a bit differently this year. The top ten is a combination of 12"s, 7"s and demos/tapes--the ten releases I liked this year, regardless of format, and it's more or less in order. I follow that with an alphabetical list of other releases I liked in each format.

Thanks to everyone who continues to support SV and have a Happy New Year!


1. IVY-s/t (Katorga Works, 12”)
This NYC band’s vocalist Eddie used to be the frontman for the late, great Brown Sugar and there are some musical similarities but it’s with completely different personnel. A gnashing mix of hardcore, punk and garage, with an offbeat lyrical sensibility. Vocals are buried in the mix a bit, sharing space with this band’s mind-melting amalgamation of drill-press guitar buzz and rhythmic thump. Fitting in well with the thorny, chaotic sound proffered by many bands from that city.

2. SAVAGEHEADS-s/t (X-Ploit/Twerp, 7” EP)
It’s a good thing a certain friend of mine is a good friend of mine or I might not have forgiven him for neglecting to tell me about Savageheads’ final show a few months ago. Actually, I am still pissed about missing it because Savageheads were one of the better MassHole punk bands to emerge in the past few years. Boisterous punk with a little bit of a UK-82 influence that’s tough as nails and also catchy as hell. The four songs are perfectly executed. These guys came and went way too quickly. 

3. GOOD THROB-“Fuck Off” LP (SuperFi/White Denim/Sabermetric)
Another band I’m kicking myself for missing but I have no one but myself to blame because I knew about this show ahead of time and could have easily made it in if I hadn’t been such a lazy asshole (sorry, Bryony!). Fuck Off is a perfect title because of the in-your-face sentiments dealing with the day-to-day harassment and abuse that women deal with, no matter where they are. All of this is delivered with Ellie’s scathing vocals and a jarring ‘n jabbing post-punk attack that has prominent bass plucking, jagged guitar and a blunt backbeat. Yes, Kleenex and Delta 5 are easy touch points but this is lot more caustic—and that should be taken as a compliment.

4. A.D. SKINNER-s/t Demo
Four of the songs on this ten song demo came out as a 7” but you really need to hear the whole thing. Australian garage/punk/hardcore bashers, recorded by Mikey Young from Eddy Current Suppression Ring and UV Race (among others). You can hear bits of each band in their tumultuous sound, although it’s closer to what UV Race do, in that it does away with any of that band’s artsier (for want of a better term) impulses. There’s a newer demo, Dicksweat (great title), that continues in a similarly raucous vein.

5. STOIC VIOLENCE-“Chained” 12” (Video Disease)
Sometimes you just want good ‘ol fashioned bash-your-skull-in hardcore and Stoic Violence fit that bill on this 12”. Mean and stomping, without any excess, just an expression of pure fury. The title track, "Two Faced," "Choke" and "No Escape" are bruising fist-pumpers and “Empty Inside” is the crushing conclusion, with Branden Hutchins howling his guts out, repeating the song's title until there's nothing left and it's been stripped down to his emanations being accompanied by an ominous bass-line. The whole thing's over in a bit over 10 minutes and, sure, it might have fit on a 7" but the full-blown sonics aren't compromised and the disc is packaged inside a gatefold sle­ve and has a full-sized fold-out lyric insert. Sorry to hear they broke up.

6. EEL-“Endless Fucker” 12” (Mind Cure/Konton Crasher)
I managed to see these guys twice this year and it was quite entertaining. At the first show, vocalist Jimmy Rose (ex-Annihilation Time/GSMF) came brandishing an angle grinder and, unfortunately, one kid leaned in a bit close and lost a chunk of his forehead (he was OK, though). Jimmy felt so badly that he pretty much retired that tool although I heard it made a return at the Varning Fest. Ellen is getting really sick of me showing the YouTube video of that show to just about everyone who came to our house last year (although you can’t see it actually happen). Anyway, Eel incorporate that power tool and electronic effects into a stew of punk-ala-Chaos UK and Disorder, along with more tuneful touches. It's noisy but not blown-out or covered in sheets of distortion. A new wrinkle on raw punk.

7. BREAKOUT-Razor Wire 7” EP (On-High)
Austin’s Breakout released two 7”s this year—the more recent True Crime on Grave Mistake, which is pretty good but I think this is the stronger of the two. That’s due in no small part to the title track, an inescapable earworm carried along by a scintillating bassline that ends up bouncing around in my head for hours just about every time I hear it. The songs are sharp and tuneful, while maintaining an edgy punk energy.

8. TERCER MUNDO-“Ser Nosotros Mismos” 12” (Cintas Pepe)
I still don’t have a physical copy of Tercer Mundo’s 12” (although I’ve got some people working on it) but there’s no way I’m leaving this out of the top 10. Just about everything I’ve heard involving Dave Rata has been worthwhile and this 12” is no exception. A fair amount of buzzy, fuzzy hardcore but the title track, with its Rudimentary Peni vibe, really stands out while “Caidos” has a mid-tempo, near-anthemic burn. I hope I’ll soon be able to slap a copy of this album on the turntable.

9. ANCIENT FILTH-“You’re Nothing, You’re Everything” 7” (self-released)
Ancient Filth have been cranking out kick-ass hardcore for quite some time but, since they’re not scenesters or beholden to any of the elitist Boston cliques, they’re sometimes undeservedly overlooked, compared to the better-known bands from these parts. Fast and frenetic, sometimes incorporating a melodic element or two, and executed with crack efficiency and impassioned vocals from Matt. Heartfelt, inspiring lyrics dealing with both worldwide and personal concerns. The elaborate package includes a fold-out poster and a lyric booklet with thoughtful explanations for each song.

10. ANIMAL MOTHER-“Seven Minutes In Heaven With...” Demo
Another Boston band, this one consisting of four women and the vocalist is Jen Millis (Red Thread, 40 Watts, St. Ripper). This ain’t exactly heavenly, sedate music. Raw, rough and chaotic punk pounding through the floor and Jen’s vocals are pissed-off and nasty sounding. Animal Mother have been somewhat hit and miss live but they nail it on this demo.


BRAIN F≠-“Empty Set” (Sorry State/Grave Mistake)
COMBAT ZONE-s/t (Side Two)
EX-CULT-“Midnight Passenger” (Goner)
FARANG-s/t (self-released)
GAS RAG-“Beats Off” (Beach Impediment)
INMATES-s/t (Painkiller)
RASPBERRY BULBS-“Privacy” (Blackest Ever Black)


BAD DADDIES-“Negative Fun Singles Club 2014” (Negative Fun)
FLACCID-s/t (Nothing Is Real)
GAG-“Locker Room” (Iron Lung)
GLUE-s/t (Katorga Works/Toxic State)
INSTITUTE-“Giddy Boys” (Katorga Works)
S.H.I.T.-all three 7”s (Iron Lung/Lengua Armada/Static Shock)
SNOB-s/t (self-released)


FACILITY MEN-s/t and “Futility Men”
FLYKILLS-“Lump of Flesh”
WHITE WHALE-“Demo 2014”
VARIOUS-“Cream of the Crop” compilation




Saturday, December 06, 2014

Suburban Voice blog #112


... yes, FINALLY! By the way, if you want to see tons of show photos that I've taken, check out my Flickr page.

AARON & THE BURRS-Release The Bats (Ut/Feral Kid, 7")
No, not a Birthday Party cover--this is straight up instrumental surf rock (the lyrics are listed as "N/A")--from Buffalo, no less. Well played and snappy and, somehow, there's not a kitsch factor. A respite from the hardcore, at least for a few minutes (

AJAX-Bleach For Breakfast (Even Worse, 7" EP)
I can't always keep track who's in each of the newer NYC hardcore bands (such an incestuous scene) but there are people from Warthog, Creem and other units. Whoever/whatever, this is raging stuff. A vinyl pressing of their 2013 demo and with a hard-hitting, piledriving sound. Pure brawn with angry vocals and a loud and punchy sound, packed with memorable riffs. New 7" on Katorga Works is due to be released in December. (

ALERTA ROJA-Algo Esta Cambiando... (Lengua Armada, LP)
Compilation of this Buenos Aires, Argentina band recorded between '82 and '86. There's an insert with a short interview, as well as Spanish-language lyrics but other details are scant--recording dates, etc. Alerta Roja were a band that embraced both the '77 era punk and the more Oi!-oriented sounds of the early 80s. As time went on, they added darker elements that pushed them into goth-inspired regions, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. The best songs here embrace a straight-forward catchy sound, as with "Sin Oportunidad" or "Revolucion En La Evolucion." Varying sound quality but more hit than miss, with some real keepers. And they were creating their politically-tinged lyrics during an oppressive era in that country, which is admirable. (

ASYLUM-s/t (Vinyl Conflict, 7" EP)

A punishing effort by this Richmond band featuring scathing vocals and a full-tilt thrash attack. Delivered with rock ‘n roll fury and driven by powerhouse drumming and a scorching two guitar tandem and murderous-sounding female vocals. A hard and fast attack that erupts from the speakers. (324 South Pine Street, Richmond, VA 23220,

BILL BONDSMEN/SBLC-Resurgent Cinebus (Rust On The Blade, 7")
The Bondsmen keep teasing us with one great 7" after another and this is their first one in over a year. Their track, "Terrible Diagnosis" is dark, driving, riveting punk with burning, haunting guitar, a propulsive bass-line and Tony's anguished vocals. And is that a synth I hear percolating at the end? Sick stuff, as always. Flip it over and SBLC (an old-timer Detroit punk band who apparently just got back together) connect with charging hardcore punk attack on their song "Wired," which certainly sounds that way. Keith's hoarse vocals are in the same vein as Tony's and the sound is muscular. (


BORN WRONG-Art District (Schizophrenic, 7" EP)
Some of this Hamilton, ON's best material to date, four savage rippers full of anger and bile, both sonically and vocally--especially vocally. The title track is about the sanitization and white-washing processes that suck the life and edginess out such areas and, for some reason, is split between the sides of the record. That disrupts the flow a bit but, overall, the intensity doesn't waver. (17 W. 4th St., Hamilton, ON L9C 3M2, CANADA,


BREAKOUT-True Crime (Grave Mistake, 7" EP)
Breakout's second 7" of the year (following Razorwire, which came out last spring) and it's an interesting mix of punk and nervier rock--the loping bass-line and sturdy rhythm of the opening title track gives off an almost Pixies-ish vibe and the brief "No Sooner Said That Done" has a similar feel. Kyle's hoarse vocals provide a counterpoint to the band's instrumental adeptness. Guitar with melody and burn fused to a fired-up bass/drums tandem. Far from anything generic. (

THE BROOD-Defective (self-released, 7" EP)
Debut vinyl by this Philly band, following one of 2013 best demos. Rampaging hardcore with shit-hot riffing and a sound wedged comfortably in between Swedish hardcore and Poison Idea-inspired pillage. People from Lost Cause, Witch Hunt and lots of others--vocalist Ned Wells has been fronting bands for over 15 years, going back to his days in Balance of Terror and he sounds as pissed off as ever--expressing the frustration of a soul-sucking existence, to simplify things--and he's complemented by occasional lead vocals from bass-player Janine. The four songs here come at you non-stop and the people in this band certainly know what they're doing by now. (5032 Florence Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19143,

CARDIAC ARREST-In The Mouth Of Madness (Even Worse/Way Back When, LP)
Cardiac Arrest have had something of a low profile, at least record-wise, in recent years. A couple of 7"s nearly 10 years ago, a demo for a 2010 tour and, finally, their debut full-length (which was actually recorded in 2012). Vocalist Rob Ruzicka is the sole remaining original member and he sounds just as agitated as ever, giving Choke a run for his money with his throat-shredding bark. Fast, blistering hardcore that doesn't let up for a second, except for the Slapshot-like "The Days." Blistering sentiments, as well, such as the critique of Rob's hometown St. Louis on "The Gateway Drug" but it seems as though he'll stay put even with all the crap. But there's also a "lighten up, Francis" (Stripes reference) take for "What A Joke," where Rob calls out people for lacking a sense of humor. Good to hear these guys are still kicking around. (;

CATHOLIC GUILT-Futile Attempts (Cut The Cord That.../Doomtown, 7" EP)
Semi-melodic hardcore from Austria--maybe that's not the right term but the melody comes in the textured, Die Kruezen-ish guitar lines that possess a good amount of crunch. It's a muscular-sounding musical framework, with a hard-driving rhythm section pushing things along nicely. Some of it reminds me of Vaaska's earlier recordings. (;

CRETINS-s/t (Vinyl Conflict, 7" EP)
6 tracks of  rough, fast ass-kicking hardcore with angry-as-fuck vocals that are spat out with venomous rage. A bare-knuckled sound and some pissed-off sentiments, such as the ones directed at crusty traveler punks on “Shoogle.” More venom than you can shake a stick at. (324 South Pine Street, Richmond, VA 23220,

DEATH IN CUSTODY-The End Result (self-released, CD)
DIC might be from Detroit but they've got some NYHC crunch in their sound, to go along with their city's fast-paced hardcore legacy and occasional "oi-oi" street punk element, as with "The Bottle Never Says No." This is their first new album in years (it actually came out in 2013 but was just sent here recently) and they still sound as agitated as ever  Ralph has an in-your-face vocal style and the hardcore attack is lean and mean. (

DIVIDED MINDS-Strangers EP (Doomtown/Crapoulet, 7" EP)
Darkly tuneful punk by this Croatian three piece. There's a little bit of a west coast whiff to the overall sound although a song like "Invitation" sounds almost like a punked-up Warsaw (Joy Division's original name) track. Not gloom 'n doom by any stretch--there's a kick to the songs, especially the closing "Burning Hell." (;

FACILITY MEN-Futility Men (Subject, tape)
SLEEPTALKER-s/t (demo)
WHITE WHALE-Demo 2014 (Subject, tape)
Three new demo tapes from Buffalo bands and the common denominator is Pat Shanahan, who plays bass in Facility Men and White Whale (where he also handles vocals) and is the vocalist for Sleeptalker. Pay attention--there'll be a quiz later. The common thread for these bands is a haunting quality of one sort or another. Sleeptalker even have a song called "The Haunting" on their demo, although there are varying degrees of aggressiveness with these bands. Facility Men's first demo was pretty damned good their new one, Futility Men is even better. The production values have improved and the songs are sharp. I'm guessing they've listened to some alt-rock in their past because the first song "The Whip" sounds influenced by the PIXIES. The post-punk inspiration is there, as well, with the guitar jabs for "Down In The Valley." White Whale aren't dissimilar from Facility Men. Four new songs with a dark, post-punk hue, especially in the guitar playing and “Three” has a wicked ear-grabbing hook in the chorus and strong guitar solo. Sleeptalker is Mr. Shanahan's newest band and Biff (BROWN SUGAR, PLATES, BAD PEOPLE and tons more) plays bass. More trebly and reminiscent of HOT SNAKES with the gnashing guitar. Give 'em all listen on their Bandcamp pages--it's worth your time. (;

FIRE RETARDED-Scroogz Mamor (Big Neck, CD)
Bobby Hussy from The Hussy plays guitar in this band. Harder edged than his other unit, proffering a garage/punk/semi-psych combo, the latter coming from the fuzzy, dirt-under-nails guitar sound. Grungy although they eschew any sort of cock rock trappings. This is closer to what the Marked Men or Hex Dispensers do. Getting overtly poppy at times, as with the concluding song "Overrated Kayak," and it doesn't provide nearly the same charge. That misstep aside, this is a pretty solid effort, albeit nothing I'd probably go out of my way for. (PO Box 8144, Reston, VA 20195,


FLYKILLS-Demo (tape)
NYC band Flykills have a unique sound on their ten song demo tape—ranty, Darby Crash-esque vocals and an edgy guitar-driven approach embracing post-punk, a dollop of goth and more straight-ahead punk. Something that can’t be specifically pinpointed and I suppose I shouldn’t rely on such easy comparisons, anyway. They told me they consider themselves outsiders in their hometown but there’s certainly the same sort of punk rock parameter stretching that some of the other bands mentioned here follow. And I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a band pin with a dead fly laminated on it. They've since posted a new four song demo that's even better. (

GAG-Locker Room (Iron Lung, 7")
Just two tracks on Gag's latest but they both kill--one original and one by a couple of these guys' former band Dehumanized (I think), "No Hope No Change." Reverb on the vocals and just a savage and loud attack in a mid-tempo vein. "Locker Room" starts with a fusillade of guitar mangling and wreckery before kicking into overdrive, while "No Hope No Change" follows a more pounding route with messed-up, nightmarish vocal effects and torrents of feedback. Gag's brutality continues to mow down all in its path. (

GLITTER-s/t (Pee Blood, 12")
A gnashing joy--braying, ranting, abrasive vocals that you have no hope of making out, along with a trebly sound that has punk, garage and post-punk elements. Jabbing guitar that also incorporates a glowing sort of feedback, accompanied by lowdown bass-lines and thudding drums. They keep it stripped down to the essence. This Calgary band were a pleasant surprise when I saw them on a bill with Born Wrong, Flykills and Ancient Filth over the summer. A trip into darker regions. (,

GLUE-s/t (Katorga Works/Toxic State, 7" EP)
Glue's vinyl debut cleans up the sonics a little from their demo but it puts their strengths into clear focus and that's floorpunching, slammin' fodder that connects like a slug to the gut. Not tough-guy moshcore--the songs have catchy elements and the guitar playing has an arsenal of crunch, texture and string-sputter. Vocalist Harris Greenwood likes to punctuate his harsh vocals with plenty of RRRARFFS (I think that's how you spell it) and, with hardcore this ass-kicking, it makes sense. (;


I was disappointed with Hank Wood's second full-length, at first. It's hard to top an album that was in my Top Five of 2012, one of the best garage records I'd heard in a long-ass time. For "Stay Home," they've cleaned things up to an extent and added a percussionist (you should have seen them trying to jam all their gear into a tiny basement space in Boston) but this is still a heady gnash with a pugnacious flavor, mainly due to the with staccato cadence of the vocals. The melody lines come to fore more than in the past--such as "I Thought I Was A Good Man"--but they're still capable of bashing away into delirium, starting with the opener "The Ghost." and the hard-driving "This World Is Beat" and "Shook and Hungry" The organ riff to "In Space" is quite ear grabbing. The lyrics are first person narratives of alienation,longing for escape and who knows where to find it, although "In Space" does seem to assert there's a coping mechanism. There's nothing here that's on the level of "It's Murder," "My House" or "It's Hard On The Street"--not even close, but this really is one of those records that eventually connects. I'm glad I gave it time. (

INFEKZIOA-Ezin Da Alde Egin Sufrimenduaren Zulotik EP (Blindead Productions, 7" EP)

Pure distorto-d-beat mayhem from Spain (the lyrics are in the Basque language). Low-fi 'n tinny, with a sheets of guitar noise fused to bass/drums pummel and hoarse, spat-out yells. Ear-slaughtering damage that sounds like it's about to fly apart. Inspired by the likes of Wretched and some early Finnish hardcore and it's a sonic buzzbomb. (


INMATES-s/t (Painkiller, LP)
100% scabrous, nasty, don't give a fuck Clevo hardcore punk. The Inmates have been kicking this shit around off and on since the 90s (this is their first 12" since 2002 and first record since 2008) and they've got it nailed. The "bye-bye" at the end of  "Little Bitch" and 1-2-3-4 cowbell clang at the start of "Pintar El Mundo Oro" ("sung" in Albanian, allegedly) give away the inspiration--GISM and Raw Power--and you certainly hear raw Japanese and Italian hardcore in their sound. The fake ad that introduces "Crustdust" might be one of the funniest things I've heard on a record in awhile--as someone else said, Inmates' drummer Wedge might have a future as a radio announcer. You can probably guess who the target is on that song, with Paul exhorting "if this is punk, I'm not punk... I want no association, I'm handing in my resignation." No, this IS punk, born of anger and, well, not giving a fuck what anyone thinks. A buzzbomb delivered with one hell of a prickly attitude. They even cover Joe Dolce's "Shaddup You Face"--sort of. (

INSTITUTE-Giddy Boys (Katorga Works, 7" EP)
"Giddy Boys" is one of the catchiest songs I've heard all year, with a guitar line that quickly works its way into your consciousness, playing off a descending bassline that's equally sublime and it has a strong Eddy Current vibe. "Success" is a briefer punk jab while "Fate In A Pleasant Mood" is more expansive, mixing PIL and the Australian X during its nearly five minutes. Moses's vocals are unique, with a choppy, nearly hard-to-decipher cadence. Essential, just for the title track alone. There's a new five song 12", Salt, that just came out on Sacred Bones. (


IVY-s/t (Katorga Works, LP)
Brilliant debut album by this NYC band, whose vocalist is Eddie from Brown Sugar. Completely different personnel but there's still something of the throw everything against the wall (or maybe it's throw caution to the wind) sound that mix-masters hardcore, punk and garage. A thumping rhythm lays the foundation for the buzzing, drill-press guitar attack and Eddie's vocal rant, which are buried in the mix a bit. Fiercely rockin' and mind-melting, the same kind of inspired chaos wielded by Crazy Spirit et al. Top ten material, for sure. (

KOHTALON KÄSINE-Laki On (Urban Gorilla, 7”)
2 songs by self-described old guys from Helsinki who played in bands back in the 80s. Here, it’s more-or-less a fired-up, mid-tempo rock ‘n roll sound tinged with punk. Sturdy riffs but coming and going without leaving that strong an impression. (

KONTAMINAT-s/t (Lengua Armada, 7" EP)
A Chicago band with members of Rat Bastards, Chronic Seizure, Los Crudos and Sin Orden. Their demo came out in 2011 and, finally, here's their first vinyl slab. A loud 'n fast affair, as you might imagine, sounding closest to the underrated Rat Bastards buzzsaw attack (Jay Perris, from that band, is one of the guitarists) and it's ear-singeing throughout. There's no lyric sheet but, instead, an insert with thoughtful essays about each track, with an eye cast towards education on a few songs--vocalist Mike Friedberg is a teacher--as well, as employment issues, wondering why working class people vote against their own interests. (

KRANG-Bad Moon (Sacred Plague/multi-label, LP)
Another Chicago band, this one trading in a heavy, crusty metallic style along the lines of Sacrilege, etc, albeit with semi-polished sound quality (though not too slick). Things start off quietly and delicately for both sides, a sense of foreboding, before the crunch kicks in, along with the harsh vocals. The band is at its best when the pace is picked up, particularly for "Replacer," "Lost Road" and "No Arbiter." Not wallowing in sludge and with nimble musicianship throughout. (

KURRAKÄ-s/t (Trabuc, LP)
Dru Molina from Criaturas plays guitar and sings in this all-female trio. While there's still an abundance of echo on her vocals (and the lyrics are in Spanish), there's no guitar shredding and the compositions have a darker pulse to them. Amber's thick bass-lines have a lot of presence and provide the main thrust for the songs here. The majority of tracks do follow a d-beat blueprint but the closing trio of songs, "Histeria," "Bailando" and "Lunar Eclipse," have moodier, mid-tempo arrangements. More kick-ass sounds from Austin and offering a slightly different wrinkle. (


LONG KNIFE-Possession (Long Knife/Black Water, 7" EP)
FORWARD/LONG KNIFE-Split (Long Knife, 7" EP)
I'm sure Long Knife are getting tired of the Poison Idea comparisons but it's hard not to think of it when hearing Colin's very Jerry A-ish vocals and the dark, metal-tinged hardcore sound from that band's late 80s/early 90s period. Their "Possession" EP features two mid-tempo rockers and two thrashers and provides a potent kick. Feel the darkness. OK, I'll stop now. They just completed a tour with Japanese ragers Forward and, while there's a split 12", I only got the split 7" for now. Two more corkers from Long Knife, the hard-rocking "Rusted Shut" and speedier Rusted Shut," although the latter also rocks out at the end. The two Forward songs are no-less formidable--ravenous and raging. I need to get their other new stuff. Their show at the Middle East was pretty fucking great, by the way. (Long Knife: 715 NE 55th Ave., Portland, OR 97213; Black Water, PO Box 5223, Portland, OR 97208,

THE LOWEST FORM-Negative Ecstasy (Iron Lung, LP)
Mean 'n raw hardcore that has a thorny, feedback-laden buzzsaw guitar tone and rabid vocals. The Lowest Form are from the UK but they have a sound akin to a band like Hoax and there are noisier Finnish influences (Kaaos, for instance). Vicious blasts of speed and mid-tempo pound, all of it played with maximum intensity. The title track wraps things up with six-plus minutes of minimalist, sizzling/whizzling throbbing burn that will leave you drained, like the illness referred for "Some Horrible Bug"--maybe that could be used on the news reports about Ebola. Maybe not--why frighten the public even more? Pain of mind, pain of body, all wrapped up in an ugly package. (

MAD DOG-Demo (tape)
A new band with Garrett McGrath, vocalist of the late, great Nomos. Pounding, mid-tempo punk ala early Fucked Up. Harsh vocals and bright riffs and, while some of the lyrics exude personal turmoil, it's not always so serious, as with their street punk-tinged theme song ("We party all night/we live the life/we are MAD DOG). When referring to another band, someone once told me the band plays at one tempo, but they play it well. That's the case here. (

MANLIFTINGBANNER-Red Fury (Crucial Response, LP)
MLB's first album in almost 20 years (although they got back together a few years ago), with most of the old lineup, including the Van Den Berg brothers (Seein' Red, Larm). Intense political punk and hardcore with a strong (as you'd imagine) message and the songs are a mix of aggressive thrash and more tuneful moments, interspersed with sound clips. One is from Frank Sinatra and one of the stickers that comes with the disc quotes him as saying "Let's not forget we are all foreigners." Quite timely given Obama's executive order on immigration. I wonder what Ol' Blue Eyes would have to say about that, given that he became a Republican later in life. The tuneful element appears most prominently for "Riding High," with ex-Exploited guitarist Big John and the rousing "(Just Another) Union Song." With conservatism on the rise, especially in this damned country, it's a good time for some good old socialist punk. Pressed, of course, on red vinyl. Glad to have 'em back. (

MIDNIGHT CRISIS-s/t (Rindherz, 7" EP)
Midnight Crisis are from Germany, their vocalist (Janne, ex-Heratys) is Finnish and sings in his native tongue but it's not the raw style his former band played. This is something on the more tuneful side of the spectrum, albeit still played with speedy adrenalin. "Hunningolla" even throws in a few "oi"s. Enjoyable. (

MODERN DELUSION/CHRESUS JIST-Split (Doomtown, multi-label, 7" EP)
Modern Delusion are a Croatian band and have a post-punk/goth/punk mesh going on, coming across strongest for "Lost In Fear," which has an ear-grabbing synth hook and the other two tracks (one a cover by a band called Manmachine) are semi-catchy and energetic. Serbian band Chresus Jist sound as though they could have come from the late 80s/early 90s with a hazy/poppy sound. "Il Giorno Del Cobra" takes a surfier turn. "Kill" packs the strongest hook of their three songs. Nothing essential, although I'd give the edge to Modern Delusion. (

THE MODERNS-When She Gets Back (Ut/Feral Ward, 7" EP)
Recorded in '79 but unreleased until now. "When She Gets Back" mines the jangly power-pop sound that came into popularity during that time and is pretty lightweight. The two songs on the other side, "Escape Velocity" and "Run," are much, much better. Still melodic but crackling with infectious energy, especially "Escape Velocity," which would have fit in well on one of the Back To Front compilations. One of the these guys (Jim Bemis) went on to start the Bemisbrain label and play in Modern Warfare. (

NARCOLEPTIC YOUTH-One Nation Under Nothing (Dr. Strange, LP)
Pro-forma west coast punk that hits a middle ground. Melodic and peppy with stinging guitars and lotsa vocal harmonies and not going the complete pop/punk route. There's some lyrical wiseassery that's not quite as clever as they might think it is. They play their hand with a cover of Rikk Agnew's "Falling Out" (which appeared on both his solo album All By Myself and DI's Ancient Artifacts) and, truth be told, it's the best song here and I'd rather listen to the original material. Just OK. (7136 Amethyst Ave., Alta Loma, CA 91701,

NO PROBLEM-Already Dead (Deranged, LP)
No Problem's latest continues to mine a melodic west coast punk sound, as well as possessing some similarities to bands like Red Dons or Marked Men on a few tracks (truth be told, those are the weakest ones here). Charging and energetic, especially "Boots," the track that leads off the second side, the tandem of "Deprogram Me" and "We Got Secrets," while "After The Crash" is a full-on thrasher. There's a smoothing of the rough edges from their last album, 2011's And Now This (three years, already? Where does the time go?), which was one of that disc's more appealing characteristics but the songs have punch and power. (

NVs-Trust Fun Suicide (Big Neck, 7" EP)
GaragePunkRocknRoll that shows a poppier heart at times, at least on the two songs on the flip side. The title track, meanwhile, is a tough 'n catchy rocker and Sal Go has just enough menace in her voice to have you lookin' over your shoulder. (PO Box 8144, Reston, VA 20195,

RAJOITUS/RATSTAB-Split (Patac/multi-label, 7" EP)
A shredder of a split from Swedish hardcore ragers Rajoitus and Providence band Ratstab, who make their own hard-hitting racket. Rajoitus started in the early 90s and were on hiatus until recently. They've reconvened with a revamped lineup and tear through their five tracks with a focoused fury. Ratstab play in a slightly noisier and chaotic vein--something of a Siege influence in their sound and a few Swedish nods. (

RATOS DE PORÃO-Seculo Sinistro (Alternative Tentacles, CD)
Still shredding away after 30 or so years, RDP return with their first full-length since 2006, save for a split release with Looking For An Answer, and it's in a decidedly metallic vein (they'd returned to more of a hardcore sound in the late 90s/early 00s). They still play like a well-oiled machine and, with the squealing guitar tandem and precision drumming, there are several songs here in a Slayer-ish vein, with Gordo's gutteral bray still at the center. No ballads, no acoustic guitars, no extended multi-part songs, just fast and in-your-face crossover aggro. Includes a cover of Anti-Cimex's "Progeria Power." Blazin'. (PO Box 419092, San Francisco, CA 94141,

RAVAGE FIX-s/t (Rinderherz, 7" EP)
This one's been out awhile but just got sent to me--a band with German and Swiss members and a couple of them used to be in Civil Victim. Muscular hardcore that's a bit darker-sounding than their old band and throwing in a few Swedish HC twists but there's not a major departure from a straightforward sound. Not bad. (


SEE YOU IN HELL-Odvolej/Proti Proudo (self-released, flexi)
Two new tracks from this longtime band from the Czech Republic, their first new disc since 2010. Blazing Japanese-inspired hardcore, one fast, one a mid-tempo pace and pushing all the right buttons. Flexis need to be handled with care, of course, but the sound quality is fine and the packaging--a heavy stock cover and foldout insert with flyers from shows they've played all over the world. Long may they rage. (

SEX DRIVE-s/t (Crucial Response, LP)
Aggressive old-school hardcore (more late 80s NYHC, without the chug)--a thrash-driven emphasis although there are a few floor-pounders along the way, as well. A beefy guitar sound, with some heady pyrotechnics for the final song, "Bag Of Hammers." Standard-issue 'core but with energy and venom to spare (

S.H.I.T.-s/t (Iron Lung, 7" EP)/Generation Shit (Lengua Armada, EP)
Two 7"s by this Toronto band (four songs on each), recorded at the same session and it's their long-overdue vinyl debut.  This band slayed live when I saw them last year in Worcester and there's no disappointment here. Charging d-beat hardcore with the requisite reverb on the vocals. The recording, by Career Suicide/Fucked Up's Jonah Falco, is rough and basic, without sounding blown-out. New 'n original? No. Hitting all the right buttons? You got it. Well-packaged, with fold-out sleeves for each disc. The Iron Lung release has ominous and creepy grayscale artwork. The Lengua Armada record has a modification of the (in)famous napalm raid photo in Vietnam in 1972, with a naked Kim Phuc running down a road. Provocative in both a musical and visual sense. (Iron Lung,; Lengua Armada,

SILVER SCREAMS-Creep Joint Scratch (self-released, CD)
A pretty good 5 song EP by this Boston band that embraces older art-punk/post-punk with a harder edge. The opening guitar lines for "Infinite Mirror" (the best song here) have a Burma-esque quality, although these guys operate in more of a straight-ahead vein. There's a dark hue but no wallowing in the murk--the songs are lively and forceful. Includes a cover of TSOL's "Wash Away" (from Beneath The Shadows) sans keyboards. Worth a listen or two. In fact, more than a listen or two. (

SLUMS OF THE FUTURE-Demo 2014 (Compressed Thought, tape)
Noisy, thrashing hardcore that stops, starts and squeals with torrents of feedback, coming to a head for the lurching closer, "Build and Kill." A lyrical cynicism, to the point of being fed up enough that it's desensitized them to the point of not being able to "empathize with the misery I see in other people," as is stated on "Systematic Failure." That's kind of sad although, admittedly, it's easy to just throw ones hands up at what's going on around them. That said, this San Diego band tear into their songs full-tilt and full-speed a good amount of the time. (

URBANOIA-Psykisk Terror (Solar Funeral/D-Takt & Rapunk, 7" EP)
Four rippers from Norwegian band Urbanoia--pure thrashy hardcore that doesn't bring anything new to the sound, to be honest, but just provides a good 'ol fashioned throttle session. No heavy distortion, just ravaging guitar riffs and straight-ahead drumming that successfully mine the classic Scandinavian style. (;

SONNY VINCENT-Cyanide Comsomme (Big Neck, CD)
SONNY VINCENT & SPITE-Spiteful (Ultramafic, CD)
Two recent releases by punk vet Vincent, who cut his teeth in the Testors before most of you were born. Cyanide Consomme, the better of the pair, has a revolving lineup of musicians where he handles guitar on most tracks and widely varying sound quality, obviously recorded at different times (a few of these songs appeared on a German album, Ultramafic, that came out last year). No surprise that the opener "James Brown's Evil Son" has a Detroit tinge, with Steve Mackay from the Stooges on sax (that's the only track with that instrument) and the MC5/Stooges axis runs through a number of these songs, from straight-up rock 'n roll to some speedy thrashers. There are some real lo-fil rippers here--"Snort My Snot" (lovely) and "Super Nova."

Spiteful has Vincent in a band setting, joined by Mackay, once again, along with the Pistols' Glen Matlock and Damned's Rat Scabies, although it was done in piecemeal fashion. Mackay has a more prominent role on this album and it's a more coherent package, although not always packing the napalm-like scorch of "Cyanide Consomme." And only a handful of the songs pack much of a punch--"Shameless Face," in particular, along with "Borders" and "Bad Superstition." The ballads and songs that have a bluesier feel aren't nearly as successful.

In all honesty, if you really want to hear Sonny Vincent at his best, you should check out a Testors anthology, such as the one that came out on Swami in 2003. "Bad Attitude" is a song for the ages. (Big Neck, PO Box 8144, Reston, VA 20195,

WARTHOG-Prison (Iron Lung, 7" EP)
Warthog had a top-notch demo in 2013 and played at one of the best shows I saw last year, with Missionary and Green Beret (how's that for a lineup?). And now we have their first vinyl offering. Nasty and dirty hardcore with scabrous vocals. A potent two guitar attack and plenty of buzz on the bass. Just relentless. (


WHO KILLED SPIKEY JACKET?-Beerstorm Trooper EP (Headcount, 7" EP)
The WKSJ? gang are back with four new tracks. Punks taking the piss out of the spiked ‘n studded scene (“when you fail to wear studs you are a failure”) although most of them have played in those types of bands over the years. Catchy UK-82 inspired punk providing beer-fueled fun—three of the songs mention beer, in fact. All hell usually breaks loose when they play, like the time someone set off a mortar inside a club at one of their shows, though nothing like that happened the one time I saw them. In any case, here's a way to experience their music without dodging flying debris or fireworks. (324 South Pine Street, Richmond, VA 23220,

X-RAYS-Jameson Shot (Big Neck, 7" EP)
Back from the grave or wherever they've been lurking--a new three songs EP by these UK garage punk maniacs. Just blown-out enough to keep from sounding slick and it's rip-roaring good time. If you miss bands like the New Bomb Turks or bands on the X-Rays' old label Empty, this might do the trick. (PO Box 8144, Reston, VA 20195,

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Suburban Voice blog #111


Hey, a mere month and a half this time. Maybe I'm finally getting my shit together. Maybe not but i'm working on it.


Got a batch of four demos from a Buffalo label called More Power Tapes and each have their own unique punk take. Pissing Match offer 10 blasts of ripping hardcore punk in under four minutes--the longest track, "Inflated Balloon," clocks in at 49 seconds. Tight as fuck, with angry 'n pointed lyrics, even taking a shot at people who preach atheism on "Atheist Evangelist," indicating they're just as insufferable as those who preach religious evangelism. Misanthropy never sounded so succinct.

Gillooly is named after Jeff Gilloly, the ex-husband of figure skater Tonya Harding. Mr. Gilloly (now known as Jeff Stone) got in a bit of hot water when he conspired to attack Tonya's arch-rival Nancy Kerrigan and one of his cohorts smacked poor Nancy across the knee with a baton. I suppose I could say that this band are the aural equivalent of such an action but it's not completely true. They do come storming out of the gate with the stripped-down hardcore of the song "Jeff Gilloly," but soon take other turns into intricate realms. They do this quite well, throwing in surfy and art-punk guitar lines while maintaining the hardcore framework. They even interrupt one song to go straight into another a few times. "Magenta Lion" has a nearly D. Boon-type cadence in the vocals. Biff from Brown Sugar/I Object/Plates etc. plays guitar in this band and Gillooly have a similarly diverse nature.

As for the other pair of tapes, Flesh Mounds's You're Welcome is the most-abrasive sounding one in the batch and that's for both good and bad. Jarring and off-kilter rock somewhat along the lines of Pissed Jeans, although it's in a snakier vein than a punishing wall-of-sound and the drums don't have the necessary pummel to drive this musical style. Pity because I could see some of these songs working better with a heavier approach. Finally, there's the aching pop/punk of Glamour Girls. Guitars buzz but it's doesn't have much oomph in the sound and I still haven't decided if the vocalist's yearning croon is a piss-take or not but a little goes a long way, if you know what I'm saying. Whatever the case, it's not anything I really need to hear again. (

Even more demos from Buffalo--the debut release on Bitch Face Records comes from Hot Tip, who have a cacophonous clamor (ah, alliteration!) that emerges from the outset. Loud and abrasive, squealing guitar dueling with thick bass lines and powerful drumming. There's a relentlessness in their approach but little melodic snatches sneak in here and there. Not all that often, though--this is a mainly-jarring excursion. (359 Parkdale Ave., Buffalo, NY 14213, hottip.bandcamp.comSperm also make a heady, noisy racket. They have a couple of demos under their belt and the most recent one, Yahweh Brings Us To This Hell, is a throttle session. They have an abundance of bombast but there are subtle shadings--the Greg Sage-inspired guitar lines at times. There's a Rudimentary Peni feel for "Mortality, Christianity, Suicidally," although that also throws in the Wipers inspiration and that's in bolder relief for the instrumental "Hyperboria," I'm not quite as enamored with that song nor the guitar/vocal-only "Animal Life In The Demiurge" but the rest is pretty solid scree. (223 Lafayette Ave., Buffalo, NY 14213, spermbuffalo.bandcamp.comFacility Men, with the always-busy Pat Shanahan (most recently in White Whale, Empty Room and Cold Comfort) on bass, follow a surging post-punk route, working best on "A History of Self Sabotage," with a jabbing guitar signature. They just uploaded four new songs on their Bandcamp page that continue in a similarly quality vein. (

Meanwhile, approximately 75 miles east of Buffalo, the Rochester band Beastman have something of a schtick-filled concept going on, judging by the caveman-inspired costumes on the tape's cover. There's something in the water in that city, as the bands I've heard from there have a dementedly-loopy approach to their version of punk. There are members of Flip Shit involved in Beastman and it's something of a similar take as that band. Mainly fast compositions played with devil-may-care abandon. Guitar lines that sputter and slash with trebly aplomb and perfectly accompanied by unhinged, ranty vocals. (Jelly Music, [130 Winton Rd. N], PO Box 10512, Rochester, NY 14610,


Closer to (my) home come a pair of demos from bands who won't be together by the time you read this because members of each are moving away. In the case of Baja Blatz, they've already announced their demise (or "expiration date," as they put it). Any band with Chris Strunk (Conversions, Vile Bodies and many more) on drums already has plenty going for it as he's one of the more skilled sticksmen (yet more alliteration--somebody stop me!) around here. They cover Showcase Showdown's "Tonight Tonight" and there are some similarities in the way they fuse speed with irresistible, catchy punk energy although Jen's vocals are nastier and raspier. Some wise-assed lyrics but with a point, such as "Fuck Street Harrassment." "Joe Sly" is a true story about an undercover cop who went on various social media sites to find out where DIY shows were and then they'd get busted. Loud, fast fun. (bajablatz.bandcamp.comRash Tongue's aren't actually breaking up but going on hiatus--more recording and touring are in their future. Their tape has been out for awhile and it's a corker, operating in a d-beat/Swedish hardcore vein (both fast and slower tempos), with some feedback in the guitars but eschewing a noisy/blown-out sound. Nothing new or revelatory but just good thumping hardcore packed with more-than-enough ferocity. (

Finally, there's the debut demo from Chicago's Udüsic, who connect with some rough, dark sounding hardcore. A gnarled 'n prickly musical attack, punctuated by the occasional metallic guitar touch and Sarah's scathing vocals. Includes a not-too-bad cover of Out Cold's mid-tempo "It Went Bang." (



BAD DADDIES-Negative Fun Singles Club 2014 (Negative Fun, 7" EP)
The latest from the Bad Daddies is part of the Negative Fun label's singles club (in case you weren't paying attention). Some of their best stuff to date, especially "You Ain't Right," which clocks in at over 3 minutes and is a relentless whirlwind with squalls of feedback and a numbing progression that sounds a bit like the Germs' "We Must Bleed." Three shorter compositions comprise the flip side. "Teenage Hell" has a synth drone bracketing the main part of the song (which lasts all of 20 seconds or so). Dishing out the noisy punk and it's a good kind of noise. (;

BLOOD PRESSURE-s/t (Beach Impdiment, 7" EP)
Eric Montanez has played in a number of killer bands over the years--Direct Control, Government Warning, Sickoids and, these days, with Pittsburgh band Eel. Add this band to the list. Kick-ass hardcore punk mixing up Scandinavian and Poison Idea influences. The vocalist is Ed Steck, formerly of the late, great Brain Handle, but this band has a rawer edge to it. Coming at you full-bore and packing an unrelenting punch. (

COMBAT ZONE-s/t (Side Two, LP)
"This record is for the ugly people rejects outcasts freaks monsters punks and skins..." OK, there's a lack of punctuation but that's a pretty good description of the desired audience for the Combat Zone's first vinyl outing. And they proudly proclaim that "violence is real" and "hate is a driving force." It's hard to miss that message with the bellicose sentiments barked out by Eric. Boot stomping old school hardcore with a similar vibe as a band like 86 Mentality and the early Boston bands. A straight-forward, basic sound with catchy guitar riffs and a thumping bass-drums tandem reinforcing everything. Punch In The Face had a song called "Not Here To Make Friends" and that fits the bill here. (6 Wadleigh Place, Boston, MA 02127,

DEATHWISH-Six Bullet Roulette (Profane Existence/OSD Press, 7" EP)
Deathwish feature Wartorn vocalist Bitty, who doubles on bass here. When Bitty sent this 7", he described it to me as being "Motorcharged" and that's a decent enough description. It's a looser rock 'n roll sound fused with Scandinavian hardcore and I think I actually prefer this 7" to his other band's most recent album Iconic Nightmare (which came out last year on Southern Lord). Wartorn are a good band, especially live, but this is more in my wheelhouse. The two faster-paced songs, "As The Fire Rises" and "6 Bullet Roulette," are total scorchers. (;

DRAIZE-s/t (Bad Teeth, 7" EP)
The latest from this long-time Boston band (they started around 2008 or so) who haven't released much on vinyl over the years. This is their first 7", following a 12" in 2010. Ripping hardcore/powerviolence that's played with power and precision, due in no small part to drummer Mike Read, who is an absolute monster behind the kit. Tom's harsh and gutteral vocals provide the perfect accompaniment, as do the bleak lyrics. As I've always stated, I'm not a big powerviolence fan but these guys mix up the tempos well and the riffs are crushing. (

EEL-Endless Fucker (Mind Cure/Konton Crasher, 12")
Drunk with power tools and obsessed with death... that's the motto of Pittsburgh's Eel, whose vocalist is Jimmy Rose (ex-Annihilation Time/GSMF). Mixing in electronic effects and featuring Jimmy on lead angle grinder, Eel concoct a stew of punk-ala-Chaos UK and Disorder, along with more tuneful touches. It's noisy but not blown-out or covered in sheets of distortion. It wraps up with the experimental sonic collage (with a beat) of the closing track "Jisatsu Noisy." A new wrinkle on raw punk. (3138 Dobson St., Floor #2, Pittsburgh, PA 15219,;

EXTERNAL MENACE-Coalition Blues (Loud Punk, LP)
A somewhat more obscure early 80s UK punk band (they were from Scotland, actually). An excellent compilation of recordings from 1982-1984, with various lineups, including two different vocalists who have a similarly raspy style. External Menace came down on the more tuneful side of the equation ala the Defects or Blitz (the guitar sound for "We Wanna Know" had me thinking of the latter). The earlier songs, with their original vocalist Wully, do have somewhat more punch to 'em--those were the songs that were used for their first two 7"s. Lots of buzz and burn to go with the hooks and these guys hold their own with some of the better-known acts of the day. It includes a four song bonus 7" with two rough-sounding demos that pack a primitive appeal along with a couple of not-as-hot live tracks. (PO Box 6115, Albany, NY 12203,


FLACCID-s/t (Nothing Is Real, 7" EP)
Boston's North Shore suburbs (my neck of the woods) hasn't exactly been fertile ground for quality bands over the years but here's an exception. Hard-hitting, fast-paced punk mixing old school US and UK influences. As with some of the newer crop of local bands, there's a bare-knuckled, pissed-off vibe. Nothing positive, just an outpouring of bile punctuated by a "leave me the fuck alone" attitude. Nicely packaged in a hand screened cover and with 12 page lyric booklet. 19 Green St. Unit #1, Salem, MA 01970,

GOOD THROB-Fuck Off (SuperFi/White Denim/Sabermetric, LP)
The album's title should give you a pretty good idea where UK band Good Throb are coming from. Jarring post-punk with throbbin' (yep) bass, jagged guitar, a pounding backbeat and caustic vocals and lyrics. Bands like Kleenex, Delta 5 and the early 90s riot grrrl scene are easy touchpoints but they're accurate. In-your-face sentiments dealing with the day-to-day harassment and abuse that women deal with. Spot-on musically and lyrically and Ellie's voice sounds positively scathing. Incidentally, one of my favorite tracks by them, a cover of Puke Spit n Guts' "You Ain't Never" isn't on here but on the Welcome To 2013 comp. I loved the way Ellie matter-of-factly sings "you ain't never gonna fuck me in my ass." I've been kicking myself for missing them when they came through here earlier this year and hope I might have another chance to see them. (;

HERO DISHONEST-Kaikki Hajoaa (Peterwalkee, 7" EP)
This longtime Finnish band never disappoint and that's the case with their latest five song EP. And there's another foreign-language cover version--on the last album, it was Die Kreuzen's "This Hope." This time they take on the Proletariat's "Religion Is The Opium Of The Masses," retitled "Jumalan Selatys" (which actually translates to "God's Annihilation"--thank you Google Translate) and substituting the jazzy break of the original for something spacier-sounding. A bumpy ride navigating through hammering, thrashy terrain to the ferociously rockin' title track,  Despite the title translation of "All Decomposed," there's no decomposition in their sound. As for the world at large... (


MISSIONARY-American Strike EP (Warthog Speak, 7" EP)
Mean 'n nasty hardcore by this NYC band, following a killer demo last year--and they're an ass-kickin' live unit, as well. Reed has a harsh, in-your-face vocal cadence and the band's approach is no-nonsense old school US bootboy fodder. Matt from Social Circkle and Green Beret plays guitar and the other guys have played in other past/present quality NYC punk bands. Rage you can feel and will make you want to start stomping the floor. (

NEUTRON RATS-Bomb Worship (Loud Punk, 7" EP)
Second EP of maximum hardcore punk pillage for Albany's Neutron Rats. Raw, feedback-laden, spark-sputtering guitars, club-like drumming (as in the weapon, not some lame dance music) and all the hoarse-voiced fury you can manage. Very ugly-sounding--view that as a compliment.  (PO Box 6115, Albany, NY 12203,

NIHILIST CUNT-Everything Falls Apart (Suburban White Trash, 7" EP)
Nihilist Cunt are so fucking punk, it hurts. Becca, the rough-voiced frontwoman, sounds like she wants to hurt a lot of people and states as much on "Killing Spree"--well, certain people, like ones who have kids they're unable to support. There's the whole "you had a kid and stay home and I'm supporting you with my tax dollars" attitude that almost sounds like "Public Assistance" by Agnostic Front. Although, after spending afternoons at the YMCA pool and dodging annoying kids, I can kind of see their point. And, despite all the anger 'n rage they muster, the music isn't bombastic but mainly fast and catchy in spots, while maintaining plenty of burn. (PO Box 270594, Fort Collins, CO 80527,

RESIST CONTROL-Cessation (Feral Kid/Peterwalkee, LP)
Resist Control have been around since the late '00s (I saw them with Hjertestop back in 2008) but this is their first 12" vinyl offering. Rippin' hardcore with some ultra-fast drumming as well as shifts in tempo, such as for the slightly more anthemic (for want of a better word) "Reality Check." You can hear bits of DRI, Offenders (the vocals are somewhat like JJ's from that band) and Siege. Sometimes, it does come across as speed-for-speed's-sake but the band sound tight and powerful throughout, before the slower, four minute plus instrumental "Dissipation" that wraps things up. Lyrics that observe the often-dispiriting nature of our existence, both personally and politically. I like the Ayn Rand reference in "Traditions," which takes issue with the so-called American dream. Pretty solid release and the screened cover on heavy stock looks great. (;

RF7-101 (Smoke 7, CD)
Still going strong after god-knows how many years (over 30 at this point) and RF7's latest is a mixed bag, with some solid tracks and a few semi-clunkers along the way. That's been the case with most of their albums over the years--they seem to reappear every five or so years with a new one (the last two were in 2004 and 2009). One thing that remains constant is Felix's rough-as-sandpaper vocals and, at its best, a slammin' west coast sound connecting best on a track like the brief "Bu Yao" or "She's Not My Jesus." On the other hand, the reggae-inflected "Sunshine Lady" and draggy rocker "Wasted Is The World (Again)" don't work as well. Good production by studio vet Earle Mankey. As always, RF7 remain a band that have their moments but not a lot more than that. (

SAVAGEHEADS-s/t (X-Ploit/Twerp, 7" EP)
Finally, some vinyl from these MassHoles, who emerged with one of last year's best demos. People from Bloodkrow Butcher and Male Nurses playing thumping punk with a little bit of a UK-82 influence. Tough as nails and also catchy as hell, with sharp guitar riffs and spot-on drumming. Includes a full-sized poster on newsprint, suitable for framing. OK, maybe not. (

SELF ABUSE-Teenage (Loud Punk, LP)
Another early 80s UK unearthing from Loud Punk. Recorded in 1983 and originally released as a demo. Straight-forward, sturdy mid-tempo tuneful punk done with something of a light touch, although there's still rhythmic presence. The compositions are punctuated by tasteful lead guitar lines and plain-sung vocals from Andy, who doubles on bass. There's nothing inherently wrong with all of this but it's not overly-electrifying, either. (PO Box 6115, Albany, NY 12203,

SOKEA PISTE-Valikasi (Peterwalkee, LP)
US pressing of this Finnish band's second album. Read the review on Suburban Voice blog #105. Recommended. (

STERILIZED-Zero Sum Game (Warthog Speak, 7" EP)
From the opening bass thunder, thumping drums and ominous guitar riffs, it's obvious a rough ride is ahead and that's what you get from Sterilized. Raw d-beat hardcore treading well-worn ground but they do it right. The last song, their theme song "Sterilized," is a mid-tempo crusher that makes the floor shake if you play it loudly enough--and that's the best way to listen, of course. (

STRANGE WILDS-Wet (Inimical, 7" EP)
Noisy rock from Olympia by a band once known as Wet and have changed their moniker to Strange Wilds. This could have come out of that same region in the late 80s/early 90s and been pressed on a certain label whose initials are SP (or maybe it was one word but you get my drift) or maybe a Minneapolis one who were referred to as AmRep. Not a whole lot of hooks as they rely on an intense churn. It coalesces the best for the driving "Static Cage." Some good ideas but it didn't really connect. (

VALSE TRISTE-Sininen Hetki (Blame The Victim/Pupu's Bistro, 7" EP)
This Finnish band have been around since the late 80s but haven't released all that much new music in recent years--their Madon Luku album (reviewed in Suburban Voice blog #30 way back in early 2007) was their last full-length. Anyway, the passage of time hasn't diminished this thorny band's energy level one bit. A mesh of beefy bass-lines and guitar, along with two throat-rippin' vocalists, creating a sonic head rush. As I said in the older review, there are some similarities to NoMeansNo although this is coarser and harder-edged. Good to hear from these guys again. (;


WHITE PAGES-Bam Bam EP (Can't Stand 'Ya, 7")
Speaking of bands that kinda sound like Showcase Showdown (see Baja Blatz review above), White Pages have been dishing out that kind of fast 'n unaffected punk for awhile on their previous 7" and a split tape with Halfrican. Charging straight ahead with Joe's nervous-sounding vocals and a stripped-down appeal. Four new songs on a one-sided 7" flying by in rapid succession and it's like an enjoyable caffeine jag without the crash. (

ZOOPARTY-UpOn9 (Dead Lamb, CD)
Zooparty's original bass-player Per Karlsson passed away but they carry on to kick out some more rock 'n rollin' punk ala the Pistols, Professionals, etc. Brian James from the Damned once again adds guitar licks on several songs, although the cover of his solo single "Ain't That A Shame" isn't that great--just guitar and vocals dragged out to nearly five minutes--I'd rather hear a cover of the one of the songs on the b-side of that single, "Living In Sin." Anyway, no reinvention of the wheel here, nothing next level, just some really catchy punk tunes, especially the leadoff song "Angry-La." (

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Suburban Voice blog #110


TAANG! RECORDS--The First 10 Singles
I can't believe it's been 30 years since Curtis Casella handed me a test pressing of the first release on his new label, which he had named Taang! Records. That would be Gang Green's Sold Out 7', with the title track b/w (anyone use that term anymore? Backed with?) "Terrorize." He hadn't even printed up the sleeves yet. Not too shabby a debut and "Sold Out" is a hardcore anthem for all time. I remember visiting Curtis at a farmhouse in Auburndale, MA that served as the label's headquarters for a time. He was always a loyal supporter and advertiser for Suburban Voice although he could sometimes be a bit tardy in getting the ad copy to me. I remember having to stop by the farmhouse once or twice to pick up the ad while on my way to the printers--getting out the bottle of rubber cement and pasting the ad into the layout on the hood of my car!

The Gang Green 7" is part of a box set, The First Ten Singles, released for Record Store Day (which has become something of a contrived thing but that's another story for another time) that houses ten 7"s (natch), a CD with all of the songs and a glossy booklet giving Curtis's ruminations and reminiscences for each release. There's a bit of cheating, since Negative FX's recordings originally came out on a 12" (the first one for Taang!, in fact) but Curtis claims it was supposed to be a five song 7". And the Lemonheads Laughing All The Way To The Cleaners came out on a different label and Moving Targets Less Than Gravity EP was released on an Aussie label. Also, the claim that Taang! stands for "Teen Agers Are No Good"? I seem to recall there was a different genesis of the label's name, something a bit ruder, but Curtis says that's not the case so we'll just leave it at that.

Anyway, there's some classic stuff here--Gang Green's second Taang! 7", Skate To Hell, shows the band's punk-meets-rock 'n roll direction. Negative FX had all the hallmarks of the best of Boston hardcore--bellicose vocals from Jack "Choke" Kelly and a wailing, cyclone-like musical attack, although they could slow it down for the oi-tinged "Feel Like A Man." Choke's next band Last Rights, who played a grand total of one show, contribute "Chunks," one of the best hardcore songs to ever come out of Boston. And in case you ever wondered where they got that title from, the sister of guitarist Tony Perez once told me that he showed up at practice with a riff he described as "chunky" and it stuck. The Lemonheads already had the melodic element but it was rougher and scrappier in their early days. Bands like Last Stand (and their predecessors Noonday Underground), Stranglehold and the Oysters had a sound rooted in classic punk crossed with a rock 'n roll sensibility. An old friend of mine used to call those bands "Fenway Rock," since they'd play at such clubs as the Rat and Jumpin' Jack Flash, both within the vicinity of Fenway Park. Last Stand's "Scumguns" is particularly catchy, with a strong political message that was something of an anomaly in that era of Boston punk (save the Proletariat). I always thought Moving Targets were better live than on record but the three song Less Than Gravity EP catches their hard-driving melodic punk sound. Finally, Slapshot are represented with "Same Mistake" and the crowd-pleasing "Might Makes Right," originally a Negative FX song.

To use a cliche, this box set is a Boston hardcore and punk time capsule. Musically-diverse but all of these bands complemented each other well, with a kinship that transcended any sort of category. (

Since some labels are sending me multiple releases, I decided to spotlight some of them instead of doing individual reviews. Lazy? Me? Maybe... 


Four new reissues (although one features new material) from this label--a double CD anthology from German band Inferno, a reissue of Rev. Nørb Rozek's early band Suburban Mutilation's album The Opera Ain't Over Till The Fat Lady Sings, a CD/DVD set, Cancer Causing Agents by Massachusetts band Cancerous Growth, and a CD from MassHoles The Loud Ones, Time To Skate, that pairs new recordings with some older demos and live tracks.

Inferno were one of the finest German hardcore of the 80s, at least on their first two albums, Tod Und Wahnsinn and Hibakusha, along with their tracks on their split with The Execute. I had a penpal in Germany who sent me some of their records and they still get play after all these years. Frenetic, boiling-over hardcore coupled with melodic elements and, later on, less-successfully adding metallic flourishes. Hibakusha is their peak, especially the 1-2 punch of "7 Jahre" and "Ein Tag Im Schatten." I would like to register a complaint, though--they changed the running order for the albums and split and left off the acoustic intro for "Ein Alptraum" (that provided a foreboding sense of drama). Otherwise, it's a worthwhile package, with extensive liner notes. Inferno were good at pulling memorable hooks out of the chaos, like the singalong chorus for "Wodka" (which should have remained the opener for Tod Und...).

Suburban Mutilation were wild 'n woolly hardcore punks from Green Bay, WI featuring the aforementioned Rev. Nørb (legendary columnist, zinester and vocalist in Boris The Sprinkler) on bass and vocals and they put out a number of demos before unleashing their one 'n only vinyl waxing in 1984. I remember seeing a review in MRR that said they peel away all the noise on the demos and reveal even more noise. Well, it's not that noisy but it has an appealing rawness. While there was the 1-2-1-2 thrash, they added sputtering, noisy guitar and  a few different twists and turns--the damaged-sounding "Apathy" or singalong punk of "No Explanations," for instance. The demos are, indeed, on the rough side, showing how much they'd pulled things together by the time this album came out. My favorite release in this batch.

Cancerous Growth were from the outlying Boston suburbs of Woburn and Burlington and had shifting lineups over the years, with drummer Charlie Infection and Marc Tobio anchoring the lineups (Marc originally came in as their bass player but eventually became guitarist and lead vocalist). Their sound evolved from  raw, scrappy hardcore to a hybrid (more-or-less) of melodic hardcore and hard rocking impulses. They were at their best when dishing out the loud and fast stuff in the early days, on their demo and Late For The Grave album, which featured Mike Soares on vocals. Truth be told, their last album Hmmlmmlum... is pretty bad, both in terms of production and performances. They seemed rather directionless, at that point. The CD is paired with a DVD of four different live performances circa '85-86 and they do come across as fairly energetic at times. Overall, though, the Growth were never one of the area's top-tier bands.

The Loud Ones were also MassHoles, hailing from the Southeast part of the state and they've reconvened to record 15 songs (including a cover of Rhode Island band Vicious Circle's "Skate Death"), adding on demos from '83 and '85, plus three live tracks. These days, the Loud Ones play what you could call "middle aged punk"--cock-rock riffing and lyrics that show a case of arrested development (probably because they were written when they were kids). The demo songs have their moments--rough 'n tumble punk filled with a good amount of youthful snottiness. Once again, though, nothing all that essential.
(Beer City, PO Box 1759, Milwaukee, WI 53201-1759,


Man In Decline records, the label responsible for last year’s fine Concrete Cross album, have put out a passel of strong releases in recent months. The first pair come from the Swedish bands Dissekerad (a self-titled album) and Damaged Head (a one-sided, self-titled 12” EP). Both bands have veteran membership. Dissekerad have Totalitar vocalist Poffen and Pyri from Avskum on drums so you figure these guys know exactly what they’re doing and you’d be correct about that. Blistering, classic Swedish hardcore with repetitive riffing, sputtering leads and howling vocals. The playing is tight throughout, the production is sharp and, in short, they nail it. Damaged Head sound  more old school US hardcore-inspired, as interpreted by such Swedish bands as DS-13 or ETA. I also thought they sound a little like Nitad and, lo and behold, their vocalist Modde held the same job in that band. Others have played in Institution and Heratys, both of whom put out some raging discs in recent years. The sound is really basic and more-than-effectively executed.

The Nukes make a snotty, ranty punk racket on their six song Fascist Perverts EP. A rough, stripped-down sound played at a mainly fast clip, although they go for more of a damaged effect on “Stuck.” From Chicago and with the same sort of scuzzy appeal as their fellow Chicagoans Culo. 

Closer to (my) home comes the debut vinyl from Oblivionation, the four song Cult of Culture 7”. Trigger-finger rage with a good amount of agitation coming from the vocal chords of Mark Fields (ex-Proclamation), joined by drummer John Evicci (ex-Out Cold), Con (Male Nurses, Bloodkrow Butcher) on bass and Quinn on guitar. The songs are delivered with a bare-knuckled fusion of power and speed, except when they slow it down for the pounding “18 to 1,” dealing with the prison-industrial complex. The sentiments expressed on the other songs are no-less pointed, even offering a history lesson on “Poston,” about the internment camp where Japanese people were relocated during WWII. Incidentally, their first 12" has just been released and it's a scorcher. Review at some point. 
(Man In Decline,

Flo from HeartFirst Records in Berlin was kind enough to send his four latest releases--EPs from Nuclear Cult, Mulltute and Pig//Control plus a seven band 7" compilation, Berlin Tristesse. Nuclear Cult includes a few guys from Solid Decline. Their second EP Cruel Routine throttles and thrashes away in a more intense vein than Solid Decline (and that wasn't exactly a soft-rock band). Howling vocal emanations to go along with the fast and furious sounds--sometimes veering into blast territory, which is less appealing. The set-up for Pig//Control's second EP Trauma is the same as their first from last year--three quick blasts on side one and a lengthier single track on the flip. A go-for-the-throat approach although they throw in some dexterous tempo shits and it's driven by a shit-hot guitar tone. "Kein Frieden" stretches out to around four minutes, going through various tempos and moods, until the haunting fade-out. Mulltute's third self-titled EP maintains the band's high quality level. A two piece (guitar and drums) and their sound follows a stripped-down, old school hardcore blueprint. It's along the same lines as Amdi Petersens Arme, mainly due to the band's guitar sound. My favorite record in the batch.

All three of the previous bands appear on the compilation Berlin Tristesse, along with four other bands. Things get started with the full-on roar of Peacebastard and they sound tighter than on their 12" split with Dishonorable Discharge. Less-successful are the grind of Crack Under Pressure and the more melodic-sounding Bitter Crop. Earth Crust Displacement favor a raw crusty (surprise!) attack with reverb on the vocals. Five out of seven decent songs it comes in a great package, including postcards, a lyric booklet and a poster, to go along with the record. In fact, all of the records are packaged well and this label continues to crank out good releases. (Landsbergr Str. 146a, 80339 Müchen, GERMANY,



BRAIN F≠-Empty Set (Sorry State/Grave Mistake, LP)
Brain F≠'s first release since 2011’s Sleep Rough. In the interim, guitarist/vocalist Nick Goode’s other band Joint D≠ have released a pair of albums, so this is long overdue. In fact, it was recorded in 2012. Another fine effort by these guys/gal from North Carolina. As I’ve said before, the interaction between Nick and Elise Anderson’s vocals does make one think of X a bit and there’s always been an early LA punk influence but it’s hardly derivative. Jarring, energetic punk that’s flat-out rocking but also catchy and the hooks come from the vocals as well as music. There are some sonic similarities with Joint D≠ but Brain F≠ has always been a little more melodic, although “Headaches + Vomit” goes for a blistering hardcore attack. Definitely one of my favorite bands in recent years. There’s a headiness, a depth and density that makes them stand apart. (Sorry State,; Grave Mistake, PO Box 12482, Richmond, VA 232431,

CRIMINAL CODE-No Device (Deranged, LP)
Criminal Code certainly have a doomy 'n gloomy ambiance but their songs are fiery and never plodding. A lot of shimmer and slash in the haunted guitar textures that do, of course, conjure up Visions of Sage (Greg Sage, that is) crossed with early 80s UK post-punk. I wouldn't call any of this overtly poppy but "Mocking Shadows" has a tuneful hook. Plenty of aggressiveness in the playing but the songs pretty much all have a melodic core. (

DAVIDIANS-s/t (Deranged, 7" EP)
Davidians include three former members of Double Negative--Cameron Craig, Brian Walsby and Justin Gray--but it's not really a stylistic continuation. Guitarist Colin Swanson-White does bring some Ginn-ish fray into the mix but the songs here are looser and have some swing in the rhythm, if that's the right term. That's especially true for "Leather (K)nights." "Bummer Tent" has a hard-driving directness, in comparison to the other tracks. Good start. (

DEAD ENDING-III (Bridge Nine, 12" EP)
Dead Ending switch over to Bridge Nine after two 12" EPs on Alternative Tentacles. For the uninitiated, this is Vic Bondi from Articles of Faith's latest band and the agitation remains in his voice and lyrics over 30 years later. Hardcore infused with melodic touches, not that far-removed than what he was doing in AOF. Of course, it's no where near as great as "Give Thanks" or "What We Want Is Free," but hardly an embarrassment, either. "All The Villains You Call Boss" have the same anti-greed slant that has informed songs going back to "I Got Mine" and "In Your Suit." Jeff Pezzati from Naked Raygun and Jake Burns from SLF are enlisted to do backing vocals on one song apiece. (

FORCED FEM-The Safe Word (Agro-Wax, 7" EP)
Despite the S&M overtones of the band's name and record title, those aren't the lyrical themes explored here, although there's a dark and troubled nature. Goth-inspired punk that possess a hard-edged pulse. Unfortunately, the low-timbred vocals sound affected and are a significantly detracting factor. Too bad, because it's musically solid. (

4 SIDS-s/t (Unicorn, 7" EP)
It takes balls the size of I-don’t-know-what to start an EP with a cover version but the 4 SIDS do just fine with their cover of ALBERTO Y LOST TRIOS PARANOIAS’ “Kill.” It also takes similar gumption to steal the logo of a certain well-known UK Oi band (if you wonder who, you’re not paying attention). Anyway, this is fun, rambunctious and noxious punk fucking rock, mixing up the ’77 inspiration with some garagey impulses. Scurrilous songs like “Gypsy Scum” and “Dog Shit” will warm your punk rock hearts and have you cracking a big smile. (4R Cooper St., Boston MA 02134)


FUCK YOU PAY ME-s/t (Schizophrenic, LP)
Debut album for the latest band featuring Tony Erba (9 Shocks Terror, Gordon Solie Motherfuckers, Face Value, etc) and it finds a middle ground between hardcore punk and rock 'n roll or, perhaps more accurately, mixes them together. There's a certain Gordon Solie-ish flair to the band's theme song, which comes storming out of the gate at a full-bore pace. "Driving Me To Drink" borrows from Black Flag's "Thirsty & Miserable." Tony's no kid anymore but he still sounds as pissed as ever and, on some of the songs here, turns his attention to the declining plight of the worker ("Scab City," "Factory of Sadness," "Smear Campaign". It's not a dissertation but a birds-eye view borne from personal experiences. Of course, he also laments the declining quality of pro wrestling on "Black Saturday." Power-packed and ass-kicking throughout. (17 W. 4th St., Hamilton, ON L9C 3M2, CANADA,

GAS RAG-Beats Off (Beach Impediment, 12")
 I’ve been craving more music by these guys since hearing both of their 7”s (one of which was a vinyl pressing of their demo) and seeing them completely destroy when they came through here last year. Well, the wait is over and Beach Impediment have unleashed their debut 12”. Full-tilt hardcore punk that will have you in fits of thrash-induced joy in no time flat. Drawing from the well of early US hardcore—Poison Idea come to mind and Zach’s vocals sound a little like Jerry’s, plus some older Swedish inspiration, as well. Absolutely scorching and over way-too-quickly, but leave ‘em begging for more, right? Production is a bit fuller but still has the requisite raw edge. It’s relatively early in the year but I think this will find its way into my best of 2014 list. And yes the title track really is about... well, you know. (PO Box 8335, Virginia Beach, VA 23450,

HARABALL-Half Tux (Fysisk Format, LP)
Another power-packed album (their second) for this Norwegian band. Their songs tend to follow a speedy, frenzied route but Haraball are a multifaceted band and there are darker tones in their approach, as well--"Spite" is an intense fireball fusing hammering drums with a searing guitar line. Same for the bash of the title track and "Mall Cop Dungeon." Lyrics are sarcastic and sardonic, getting out their frustrations without coming across as bombastic and, as in the past, there's a wittiness at work in places--"What A Way To Go" is about being bored to death (in the figurative sense, I'd hope) by seeing an allegedly "must-see" band. Hard-edged songs with depth and presence. (PB 8828 St. Olavs Plass, N-0130 Oslo, NORWAY,

LEXICON DEVILS-Vegetative State (Agro-Wax, 7" EP)
Agro-Wax generally just release Houston bands but label honcho Mike decided to put out this Italian band's five song expression of rage. Despite the name, they don't sound like the Germs. This is blitzkrieg hardcore punk driven by rumbling bass, sturdy drumming and more-than-adequate guitar blaze. Closer to Raw Power's muse than the other old-school Italian bands. A stellar debut. (

MURDER-SUICIDE PACT-Die Screaming (Give Praise, LP)
FAILURE FACE-Discography 1993-1996 (Give Praise, LP)
These discs have been out for quite awhile and both of these bands featured the bellicose vocals of Bob Suren. The band's hallmarks are still there but honed to a blunt object (stealing from a song title) to the bring out their strengths--mainly executed at a moderate pace, although "So Wrong" has a Voivod-meets-hardcore sound. Of course, there's no denying that the specter of Black Flag hovered over this band with a darkness in musical tone as well as lyrical. The latter provide intense sentiments that are born of personal experience in recent years, starting with "Invested." "Thick Skull/Blunt Object" notes that "subtlety is not my method" and warns about brains all over the floor. Laying it out there raw and unfiltered and accompanied by a forceful sonic thrust. "Die Screaming" is a fitting epitaph for this band.

As for Failure Face, they had a raw sound that had a combination of influences—Black Flag (again), Poison Idea, along with both heavier and double-speed thrash elements and things can be hit and miss, but, overall, there's an adequate amount of rage. The songs provide a release for plenty of pent up anger and aggression, punctuated by Bob’s angry and desperate vocals. The blistering and hammering "Human Cancer" is a standout, here. A collection of all of their studio recordings and accompanied with a booklet including a band history, lyrics, photos, etc. (PO Box 494, Barnstable, MA 02630-0494,

NARCOMAN-s/t (Sorry State, demo)
A new project for Dennis Duffy from Cross Laws, who is joined in this band by his old bandmate Daniel Lupton (who also runs Sorry State). An urgent and impassioned sound, fusing speed and burn with melodic guitar textures. “Bag Man” has an interesting theme, a first-person narrative about “holding a bag in a public place” and how it immediately raises suspicion. This has certainly happened in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, where large bags and backpacks are viewed warily and seem to have been outlawed in many public places. Looking forward to hearing more. (


NASA SPACE UNIVERSE-The Stars of My Destination (self-released, 12" EP/The Two Stigmata of NSU (self-relased 12" EP)
What we have here is a good chunk of the NSU discography to date--the "Stars" 12" pairs the new EGM EP and the ICE EP from a few years ago and "Stigmata" pairs their first two 7"s on one 12". Got that? Four sides of quality, innovative hardcore. The groundwork was laid on those early EPs but the more recent material shows them working innovative twists and further pushing the boundaries of their thorny hardcore sound. "Peeping Toddler" (from ICE), after its noisy intro, appropriates a riff from Sugarloaf's "Green Eyed Lady "of all things (a 1970 top 40 hit, if you don't know) into the song's stomping milieu. "Soup or Salad," a brief track from their first 7", is a nervy, Devo-esque ditty and its followed by "Apache Blood Overdrive''spacey 'n kinetic jam. Tight, dynamic instrumentation abounds, throughout. Die Kruezen-ish guitar licks have always been a key element in this band's approach and the pumping bass-drums tandem bring NoMeansNo's faster-paced moments to mind, topped off with scathing vocals from Kevin Rhea. Both of these discs were sold on a recent tour and have plain white labels and the packaging is barebones but it's what in the grooves that count, right? And there's plenty there. (

PISS PISS PISS-Never Heard Of Ambeix (Sacred Plague, demo) 
A Portland band who have a hard and heavy crust attack. “Never Heard of Ambeix” (they spell it that way) takes the piss (sorry) on “punk Gods” and “punk masters.” And if you’re assuming that “Pissless//No Piss” or “Hearts Full Of Piss” are meant to be expressions of punk-as-fuckness, the theme of the first track is about the demise of a clean water system and the latter is a metaphorical way (I guess) of describing living in a world of shit. I’m analyzing this way too much. A full-on musical blitz. (


REPLICA-Beast (Prank, 7" EP)
I just saw Replica play a ripping show in a Boston basement not too long ago—killer musicianship (their drummer B is incredible) and intense vocals from Dharma. Their new 7" continues in a similarly raging vein as their previous 7” and demo. A mix of tempos, mainly fast speed, with the occasional double-speed blast—until the lumbering wind-down of “Beast,” ending in a locked groove (god, I hate those!). Production is a tad muddier than their last EP but there’s still plenty of burn to be heard. Five new songs and a re-recording of “Becky’s Rite,” originally on their demo. (

SKEMATA-What Lies Ahead (Sorry State, demo)
A NC band with former members of Stripmines who operate in a raw ‘n angry Scandinavian vein, with formidable axe-mangling, a rampaging rhythm and helldriven howlings. Cameron Craig, the vocalist for late, great Double Negative, proves himself to be a pretty able sticksman behind the drum kit. Potent in the same way that Stripmines were, but taking a slightly different approach and it's just as intense. (

SPIKE PENETRATOR-Yeah! Yeah!... Baby! (Feral Kid, LP)
Eliot Kagan, aka Spike Penetrator, was a member of early Syracuse punk band the Penetrators ("Teenage Lifestyle" is probably their best-known song) but, in his real teenage days in the early-mid 70s, he was making his own kind of noise and it's gathered on this album, originally released in Europe on Rave Up and given a 100 copy US pressing by Feral Kid. Outsider, oddball fodder--if I'm allowed to invent a genre, I'd call this Record Store Rock, and this is exactly the kind of weirdo record that my former record store compatriots would play, right after Jandek (and I like this a lot more than Jandek). The title track grabs your attention right out of the gate, with its opening line, "yeah! yeah! baby, take a razor to your throat." A twisted amalgam of influences, from Lou Reed to Bo Diddley to Zappa to the Fugs and presented in glorious low-fidelity. I'm still trying to decide whether the songs here are works of genius, total garbage or a combination of both. Whatever the case, this one's slowly grown on me. (


STOIC VIOLENCE-Chained (Video Disease, 12")
Stoic Violence play hardcore the way it was always meant to be played--stomping, mean and nasty, an exultation of rage and anger. Not that there isn't room for uplift from time to time but sometimes you just want bile, you just want emotional release, you want to vent. And you want to do it without becoming bogged down in a tedious heaviness. When these guys slow it down for the concluding track "Empty Inside," you can hear vocalist Branden Hutchins howl his guts out, repeating the song's title until there's nothing left and it's been stripped down to his emanations being accompanied by an ominous bass-line. "Two Faced," "Choke" and "No Escape" are also bruising fist-pumpers. The whole thing's over in a bit over 10 minutes and, sure, it might have fit on a 7" but the full-blown sonics aren't compromised and the disc is packaged inside a gatefold sleeve and has a full-sized fold-out lyric insert. Everything they've released to date has been top-notch and they were a live monster. (

TRENCHES-2013 Demo (demo)
OK, so it's now 2014 but that's when I got this demo. Trenches are an Oakland band with former Massachusetts resident Boo Boo on vocals (he's married to Ruby from No Statik) and one of the members is Juliana from Replica. There's even a tribute to Boo Boo's MassHole roots with the appropriation of the MBTA (local transit service) "T" logo on the tape. This isn't the d-beat material favored by Replica but, rather, a bruising, rough and nasty hardcore punk approach mainly delivered at a fast pace although there are pounding elements as well, especially on "Safe In Shadows." (

VARIOUS-Bloodstains Across Buffalo (Extra-Evidence, LP)
This record mysteriously showed up at SV world headquarters one day. And although I have my suspicions about the source of this record, I'll keep it to myself because I don't want to mysteriously disappear for being a squealer. So here we have a comp of old 'n obscure punk and new wave from this Western New York city, home of four-time Super Bowl losers the Buffalo Bills and, among others, the home of the Goo Goo Dolls, who put out a few good punk albums in the early days. In fact, they covered one of the bands featured here, The Enemies, but it was a different song. The Enemies Heartbreakers-ish "Test Tube Baby" is far and away the best of the bunch. I was always partial to "X-Ray Spex" from their 12" EP but this one is a burner. I found my copy for 50 cents but you might pay a bit more these days. After listening to this comp (the first city-specific Bloodstains installment, by the way), it seems as though Buffalo wasn't as much of a hotbed of quality punk as other cities during that period but there are only a few semi-clunkers here, such as the tepid Mickey Mamp With Intro-Verse, The Stains (one of a million bands with that name) and Electro-Man. On the plus side, there's the proto-post-punk (that make sense?) of The Vores, doing a timely (at the time) song about the Love Canal disaster. The Jumpers get things started with a tough and rockin' track. Aunt Helen's song oozes sleazy, tawdry rock 'n roll attitude, The Fems have lots of attitude, as well, and their song is raw and primitive. Secret Savior's "First Love" is good bit of amped-up power-pop. Not a whole lot of mind-blowing fodder here but there are moments. I'd love to see a proper Enemies reissue at some point. (no address, but you can get copies at

VIOLENT OUTBURST-Survival Signs EP (Agitate/Tension Head, 7" EP)
This Virginia band have apparently already called it quits and some of them ended up playing with Mercy Killings (whose 7" is absolutely killer). Tough-as-nails hardcore with bellicose vocals and a muscular mid-to-fast paced attack, sometimes reminiscent of a band like 86 Mentality. Something to get the boots stomping hard, especially "Shoot 'Em Up." Just plain mean-sounding. (;