Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Suburban Voice blog #121--The Best of 2016

No one wants to read yet another intro about how shitty a certain year was but, alas, 2016 really, really sucked. Two friends of mine—Brandon Ferrell and Shawn Wenzel—passed away this year, as did some other people I was acquainted with, including John Stabb and Barker Gee. Good people, all of ‘em. Then there’s what happened in early November. At least on a personal level things are tolerable and I always try to stay cautiously optimistic. What else can ‘ya do? And there’s still lots of good punk rock to help me (and many of you, I’d imagine) get through it.

Note: this list has a few changes from my list for Maximum Rocknroll. I had to submit that in early December and came across a few other releases since then that deserve to be in this top ten. I've also appended it with other choices for 12"s, 7"s and demos, as well as live performances...

Happy New Year!


1. BLOOD PRESSURE-Need To Control (Beach Impediment, 12”)
As much as hardcore has become predictable and perhaps a bit stale, there are bands who push the envelope a bit and Pittsburgh’s Blood Pressure are one of them. Nothing complicated—loud as fuck rage, from the vocals to the music’s relentless nature, imbued with a Swedish/d-beat tilt. It’s over before it hits the 13 minute mark but to use the cliché, it’s quality, not quantity. Best live band I saw in 2016, as well, as they ripped apart the late, lamented Boiler Room.

2. REPOS-Poser (Youth Attack, 12”)
A pain in the ass tracking down a vinyl copy of this but worth it, as this is the best Repos material since their first two 12”s. As with Blood Pressure, there’s nothing complex. Blistering, aggressive hardcore done right and the production brings out the band’s ferocity without making it sound slick. Only a few songs top the minute mark and it’s one rager after another.

3. JOINT D≠-Intelligence (Scavenger of Death, tape)
I didn’t know there was going to be a new Joint D≠ album, as it’s been a few years since Satan Is Real Again, Again. That was a fine effort (and their first album Strike Gently topped my list in 2012) and this one is even better, packing much more of a wallop. A burning and intense sound, with a complexity in the arrangements while maintaining a straight-forward forcefulness. I love the clever nod to the Swell Maps, with the titles of two instrumental passages, “The Weather ///” and “/// The Leather,” which comes from that band’s “Vertical Slum.” “Atlas Rote” is a nice little dig at Ayn Rand and that’s reinforced by a burning copy of Atlas Shrugged on the cover. Just available as a tape or in the digital format for now, although Sorry State is doing a vinyl pressing in 2017..

4. QUANGO-Fatality (Danger, 12”)
This is technically a 2016 release, although the songs were originally released in demo and 7” forms in 2013, with a few different permutations. Got that? Anyway, there’s a certain sepia-toned quality to the songs here—an aged, vintage feel. The title track is a total earworm, a stinging guitar hook accompanying a spoken word narrative about someone getting hit by a train. Punk and post-punk mixed together, in glorious low fidelity, inspired by Swell Maps, Buzzcocks and Joy Division's Warsaw era. A heady bash throughout.

5. VIRUELA-s/t (Runstate, tape)
Two people from Mexico, one from Montreal (who played in Dead Wife) and they've already come and gone but left behind one hell of a demo. A thick, blistering and pounding punk sound with buzzing guitar and bass. The lyrics take no quarter at all, especially on "Gettin' Home," telling predatory misogynists to fuck off--"if you touch me, I'll fuckin' kill you." "Never Enough" is about sexual assault. In a time where sexual violence is as much a fact of life in the punk scene as well as the "real world," those are words to be heeded and they're reinforced with a good swift musical blow to the skull.

6. RUNNING-Wake Up Applauding (Castle Face, LP)
Kind of an unheralded band, in my opinion, although I'm kind of out of the loop as to what's heralded or not. Third album from this Chicago three-piece and it's another furious, howling bit of drill-press rock. A screechy, squalling ultra-fuzzy guitar tone ala Helios Creed and you can hear bits of Chrome's harder-edged material, without the experimental impulses. This is very much a punk concoction, if your conceptions of punk branch beyond the ordinary.  

7. NOTS-Cosmetic (Goner, LP)/Cold Line (Goner 7”)
Memphis’s Nots conjure up a scintillating concoction of post-punk and cold wave on their second album. Percolating compositions with synth washes, guitar effects and sarcastic vocals. This isn’t a goth revivalist unit by any stretch. The best qualities of the band come together for the 7+ minute mind-numb of “Entertain Me.” There was a single released beforehand, with a different, slightly more minimalist take on album track “Cold Line,” backed with a driving, repetitive cover of The Normal's “TVOD” and that’s also worth seeking out.

8. NANDAS-s/t (Toxic State, 7”)
This NYC band have the Crazy Spirit/Dawn of Humans sound down pretty well. Four quick songs with buzzing guitar and bass and thumpa-thumpa-thump drums, presented with barbed-sounding production. One slight change is Anahit's vocals are breathier than on their 2014 demo. While some of the musicians who developed this sound are moving on to other things, Nandas keep it alive.

9. LEISURE WORLD-s/t (demo)
Leisure World are a band who don’t really fit any sort of set hardcore or punk genre. Their seven song demo has them carving out their own path, with sputtering and frayed guitar licks and a manic intensity topped off with nightmarish vocals. Outsider hardcore? Yet another genre? Just listen to the demo. They make their own nervy sort of noise, with the axe-mangling accompanied by a thick, propulsive bottom end. It’s kind of along the lines of what Bill Bondsmen or NASA Space Universe do and one can hear some Pissed Jeans-ish touches, as well. The gut punching recording brings out those attributes in bold, head-grabbing relief.

10. LUMPY AND THE DUMPERS-Huff My Sack (Lumpy, LP)
I was laughing like a junior high kid when I saw the album’s title and cover. Lumpy’s 12” debut (besides the singles comp) revels in its bad attitude, driven by Marty’s nasally vocals and a prickly (sorry) sonic dust cloud. Brief, thorny blasts save the epic “Spider Bite” and moody, nasty cover of the somewhat obscure UK band Slime’s “Loony,” a band that included the Damned’s Captain Sensible. Scabrous punk at its best.


EX-CULT-Negative Growth
MONGOLOID-Plays Rock and Roll
REACHAROUNDS-Hunter Gatherer
SCUZZ-Songs Of The Sordid

ANCIENT FILTH-Earth Brains (flexi)
DYE-Savages With Power
G.L.O.S.S.-Trans Day Of Revenge

GROTTO-Manic Evil
MACE-Tour Tape
TRASH KNIFE-s/t and Trash Life



Friday, October 07, 2016

Suburban Voice blog #120


Since our last installment, one of Boston's most vital DIY spaces has closed. The Boiler Room had quite a bit of longevity, lasting just a little over three years until it closed in early June—the last show was actually in late May but  that wasn't the intention. For those of you who never got to visit the Boiler Room, it was in the basement of a delapidated building in the middle of a truck lot in Allston. The relatively isolated location probably allowed it to last as long as it did. The shows there had a generally late starting time. I used to refer to it as "Boiler Room O'Clock," which usually meant about 2 1/2 hours after the listed starting time--that's when you would know about the shows in the first place. The people running the space eschewed and discouraged creating on-line events and if you weren't "in the loop" or got a flyer, you often didn't know about the shows. But word of mouth was effective since almost every show was full. And the shows were crazy--loud, smoky and it wasn't surprising to be bombarded by showers of beer or various types of fireworks. Even with all the chaos, everyone seemed to get along, for the most part. I don't recall seeing any serious altercations, although I guess there were a few from time to time. And the acoustics were better than most clubs I go to, although if there wasn't a good PA, the vocals were sometimes tough to hear.


A few months ago, there was an investigative report on one of the local TV stations, about how there was an “illegal late night party” in a loft building around the corner from where the Boiler Room was. The reporter, Mike Beaudet, who also teaches journalism at Northeastern, sent in three “undercover” students, to conduct an investigation as a class project. They’d found out about the “concert,” as one of the reporters described it, on-line and there was actually an advance ticket sale, with the location being disclosed a few hours beforehand. With techno music thumping in the background and ominous narration, hidden-camera video was taken and it showed a cash bar (with no ID required—oh nooooo!!!”). It showed people using marijuana and cocaine (the HORROR!). The report also said that there had been more than 30 of these underground events in the last two years. I guess the people behind this report don’t get out that much. The city inspector talked about “inappropriate use of space that puts people in a dangerous situation.” Is he sure he isn’t talking about city hall?

This was the same building where three DIY spaces were shut down at the same time in 2013. They’d hosted shows with bands that probably wouldn’t have been booked in local clubs and, truth be told, the shows would have been a lot lamer in those venues. There were never any problems, just people getting together to see bands and have a good time. Something the city officials apparently consider to be a serious crime.           

Same as it's always been... a big game of venue whack-a-mole and I'm sure another one will emerge at some point. 

... that was the original name for the Albany based Loud Punk label and Mr. Chris Lawrence continues to release a steady stream of records from bands around the country and overseas. Beginning in his neck of the woods, there's the debut album from ScuzzSongs of the Sordid. following a few demos, a 7" and split with Male Patterns. Over the course of 18 or so minutes, they unleash the hardcore fury with few breaks between songs. Bringing back pleasant memories of bands like 9 Shocks Terror or even their Albany forebears The Jury. Fast and frenetic, without going completely out of control, just a buzzcloud of pure energy and the penultimate track is a successful stab at The Mad's "I Hate Music." I Maniaci is basically the Neon Maniacs incognito. This two song, one-sided 7", Clone My Cock" and "Snoopy Is A Paedophile," w recorded in 2010. A pair of enjoyably-scabrous, snotty, guitar-driven rockers.

The other three Loud Punk records are of varying vintage--Lower Class BratsPrimary Reinforcement Plus covers this Austin band's 7" output from 1995 to 1999. A lifetime spent watching A Clockwork Orange and The Warriors (their label is Orphan music and they had a song about that gang on another record) and listening to a steady diet of 80s-era UK punk 'n Oi--Last Resort, Blitz, etc. That was the blueprint for the earlier songs but they eventually added more of a driving rock 'n roll element. Some fist-pumping, singalong rousers here, particularly their final salvo, "Rather Be Hated." This is an expanded version of a 1997 compilation of their first three 7"s.

Slightly less-enticing is a reissue of Scottish band External Menace's 1997 album The Process Of Elimination, appended with a few unreleased songs. Instead of the rough 'n scrappy punk produced by the earlier lineup of the band, the songs here have a lighter touch, with bits of reggae and funky bass parts. The bass parts are overplayed and are more prominent than the guitars at times. It's still energetic on occasion--"The Process Of Elimination" and "Bullet Of Persuasion" are punchy punk ravers but there's not enough raw energy.

That's not the case for another Scottish band, Last Rites, with the re-release of their 1984 7" (their second) Fascism Means War. '82 in '84, keeping the ragtag punk spirit alive when some other bands were "evolving" a bit. Mainly loud 'n fast and "Convicted Without Trial" adds an oi-ish element to the buzz. A worthwhile unearthing. (PO Box 6115, Albany, NY 12206,

... and more noise...


ANCIENT FILTH-Earth Brains (self-released, flexi)
Well, six years in and Ancient Filth still haven't released a 12". There have been two 7"s and some demos and the band's latest installment is this three song flexi and it's another ripping effort. Full-tilt hardcore with sputtering guitar lines and kickass drumming to go with Matty's vocal rants. But he's not just mindlessly ranting--the title track is a riff on a passage in Kurt Vonnegut's The Sirens Of Titan--yes, I looked it up--and the refrain is "terror grief desolation comes to every earthling nation." There are feelings of helplessness and that's often been expressed through this band's lyrics. Still one of Boston's best and with the usual quality packaging, with this release including a lyric booklet and poster. (

ASCEND/DESCEND-Murdock Street (War Fever/Dead Tank/Tor Johnson, LP)
Driving hardcore fusing thick riffs and heaviness with Scandi-thrash but there are melodic nuances, such as the guitar tone on "Murdock," which is named after a street in Allston but is thematically about personal turmoil.That applies to a number of songs here. "Trigger Warning" throws the currently disparaged and mocked term back in people's faces, dealing with the aftermath of a rape--so the next time someone makes jokes about safe spaces, perhaps this song should played back at them at full volume. Michelle pours out her heart with plenty of anger and emotional heft and the latter applies to the music, as well. (

BARRICADED SUSPECTS-s/t (Closet Landscapes, 7')
"Fuck This Shit World"... yeah, I'd say that fits the attitude of this Nashville band. Barricaded Suspects, who I'm guessing take their name from the old Toxic Shock compilation album, come storming out the gates with a simple, straight-forward hardcore attack. Loud, fast and pissed and I doubt they'll be playing the Grand Ole Opry or any other "respectable" venue anytime soon. (PO Box 60294, Nashville, TN 37206,

BILL BONDSMEN-Until The Razor Cuts (Mastermind, LP)

The Bondsmen have been around for over ten years and Until The Razor Cuts is only their second full-length. In fact, it was culled from two recording sessions, one in 2011 and one in 2014. Some of the non-LP selections from the 2011 session already appeared on various 7"s. Another dark and intense collection of electrifying, nightmarish punk. The latter also perfectly describes Tony's cutting, soul-purging vocals, which have just enough distortion on them to enhance the effect. In addition to the straight-ahead fury for the bulk of these songs, there's new territory explored. "Gears" has a sinister aura, adding some spooky-sounding organ to a deliberate, mind-messing excursion. The knife pictured on the cover and the title give you a pretty accurate picture of what's on the vinyl. (;

BLACKBALL-Visions Of The Third Eye Undone (Sorry State, 7")
Bone to pick, eh? That's not only the first song on this record but the overall feel from this band from Richmond and Raleigh. Ericka emits pure bile and the sound mixes slam-bang US hardcore with some Scandinavian influences along the lines of a band like Talk Is Poison. Rage you can feel. (

BORN WRONG-s/t (Schizophrenic, LP)
The first 12" release for this somewhat unheralded band from Hamilton, Ontario. Blistering hardcore full of pent up rage and enough off-kilter ear damaging properties to separate it from the mundane. That lasts from the floor-pounding stomp of "Nailed" until the all-out speed-driven onslaught of "How Will I Survive." Lamentations of a harsh existence--for instance, anyone dealing with a soul-sucking job will be able to relate to "Disposable" and those words are delivered with a pain-drenched howl. The accompanying poster is an illustration of a pretty winter scene, children playing in front of a mansion. But flip it over and you're confronted with a drawing of genome surrounded by "your life is a prison" and the front side seems to be but a fantasy and not real life for many people. If you haven't been paying attention to this band and the likes of Hoax, Glue or Gag float your boat, you will love Born Wrong. Limited to 300 copies. (17 W. 4th St., Hamilton, ON CANADA, L9C 3M2,


THE BROOD-October Dreams (tape)

Another strong (their third) release from Philly's Brood. In case you forgot, this band includes people from Witch Hunt, Lost Cause, Endless Nightmare and many others. Plenty of burn, embracing Swedish hardcore and some UK anarcho punk (particularly on the title track). And, with age, optimism continues to fade, if it was ever there to begin with. "Dying Futures" sums it up succinctly, beginning with Ned's howl and everyone exulting "Nothing to hope for, no one to care, nowhere to go, no one is there" although the message is more that this is the only life and there isn't anything beyond that. Make the most of it, I suppose. This at least provides a cathartic release. (

COMFORT-No Hurt (tape)
Power-packed hardcore from down under--Brisbane, to be exact. (do Aussies call us Americans "up over"?). Comfort shift easily from thrash to heavier, moodier, darker shadings, with a pulverizing instrumental skill and full-throated vocals. Taking a few moves from Bl'ast, such as occasionally whispered vocal on opening track "Grief Toilet" and the driving "Not About You," which also adds a haunting guitar lick. Nothing comforting here. (

DEVILS-s/t (Voodoo Rhythm, CD)
A fierce two-piece garage punk dynamo from Italy and boy do they make a racket with such a minimalist lineup. Ten songs varying between revved-up ravers and bluesier stompers, three of 'em being instrumentals. Satan's on the thank-you list, of course, and the song titles reflect the devious subject matter, poking fun (pun intended) at the Catholic church, in particular, as the guy and gal who comprise the Devils dress in religious finery. Both contribute vocals although drummer Ericka Toraldo takes the mike most of the time. Fuzz and bash that's formidable enough to shake up your very soul. (

FLESH RAG-s/t (Schzophrenic, 7")
While listening to this, I was thinking these guys sound a little like the TV Freaks and it turns out their drummer Nathan is in that band. Actually, I like this better than the most recent Freaks material--this is ass-kicking garage punk delivered in no-nonsense fashion. "Stay Away" is acting kind of Childish, if you can read between the lines. "Tonight" is a butt-shaking rocker and "Watch It Burn" is brief and furious. This is how 'ya do it. (17 W. 4th St., Hamilton, ON CANADA, L9C 3M2,

FRIED EGG-Delirium (Negative Jazz, 7")
A hammering hardcore concoction and the title is fitting, with the ranting vocals, which are similar to Aaron from the Repos, delivering the words in a machine-gun cadence. In fact, a song like “Second Fiddle” isn’t far off from what that band does. “Mixed Feelings” has a rock ‘n roll flavor in the guitar shadings but there’s a dark intensity, especially on the pounding “Eggshells.” (

GET OFF THE COP-Lipstick Tim (Schizophrenic, 7")
Brooding, tension-filled bash centered mainly around thick-as-molasses bass-lines and cymbal-smashing drumming, to go with the Yow-ish vocal emanations. "Beef Babe" is a dose of stop 'n start squall but the other pair of songs (one of 'em, "Golden-Hair/Making Love" is actually a two song suite, I guess) follow a more deliberate path to your skull. (17 W. 4th St., Hamilton, ON CANADA, L9C 3M2,


GLITTER-Toy Of A Toy (Lumpy, 7")
I caught this Calgary band at a basement show in Jamaica Plain a few years ago. I hadn't heard of them before and they turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. Their 12" was a feisty delight and it's more of the same for their debut on Lumpy. Yowling vocals and a mesh of barbed guitar and loping bass lines, compressed in a morass of trebly garage-punk-noise and the guitar and bass lines that start the songs on each side--"Garden" and "Merry Xmas"--have an ominously haunting quality. Lumpy is the perfect home for them. (

HERO DISHONEST-Liha Ja Teräs (Peterwalkee, LP)
The album's title translates to "Meat and Steel" and Hero Dishonest continue to dish out fast, frenetic hardcore that's never fit any pat category. When they stay away from the pure thrash, things get a little more interesting. The likes of "Suomi On Rasistinen Perahikia," "Sepalusten Laskija" and "Donitsit" all have a snaky intensity that show off muscular, edgy chops to go along with the harsh-tongued vocals. Even in a speedier track like "Viulut Vireeseen," the instrumentation is tight and dynamic. Not the best album I've heard from them, but still quality stuff. Only 100 copies for the first pressing. (

IMPULSE-Backbreaker (To Live A Lie, 7")
Not your typical grinding stuff at all. If anything, Impulse lean more towards floor pounding hardcore and the songs come and go in a flash--11 of 'em jammed onto this 7". There's the occasional blast-beat but it's used sparingly and all of it is tightly-executed. (

There are bands like Bill Bondsmen and NASA Space Universe who don't fit into any strict hardcore genre, hewing to their own muse. This usually encompasses sputtering and frayed guitar licks and a manic intensity topped off with nightmarish vocals. Outsider hardcore? Maybe I just invented another pat description but it fits. Anyway, that's how I'd describe Leisure World. Beholden to no specific group, just making their own nervy sort of noise, with the axe-mangling accompanied by a thick, propulsive bottom end. You can hear bits of Pissed Jeans in there, as well, especially on the closing "Real Manly MEN." And the gut punching recording brings out those attributes in bold, head-grabbing relief. (

I had a nice Beavis and Butt-Head-type laugh when I saw the title of this album, as well as the scatological artwork. Martin, er, Lumpy is one provocative character and I'm risking getting slapped by his nutsack by writing this review but so be it. "HMS" is Lumpy's first 12" opus (get your mind out of the gutter), not counting the previous anthology, and it's scabrous punk at its best--nasally vocals and a prickly (sorry, again) sonic dust cloud. "I'm Gonna Move To New York" mentions being like Thurston Moore but sounds more like a tribute to Crazy Spirit. The cover song here, "Loony" (he spells it "Looney") is an obscure '78 b-side by the UK band Slime. If the guitar line sounds like the Damned's "Suicide," that's because Captain Sensible played guitar on the original and Lumpy's version sounds even nastier. Brief, thorny blasts, except for the aforementioned "Looney" and epic (all 3+ minutes!) "Spider Bite." (

MAD EXISTENCE-s/t (Vinyl Conflict, 7")
Mad is RIGHT... these guys sound mad, ticked off, enraged and whatever other adjective you wish to use. Hardcore with a brawny, stomping vibe along the lines of Wasted Time and 86 Mentality. "My Richmond" is a parochial lament or--more accurately--an unhinged expression of anger about losing their city to police oppression and an annoyingly transient population. That'd be my guess, anyway. Whatever the case, this is pummeling fodder, as subtle as a boot to the face. (324 South Pine St., Richmond, VA 23220,

MONSTERS-The Jungle Noise Recordings (Voodoo Rhythm, CD)
A collection of mid-to-late-90s material from Voodoo Rhythm patriarch Rev. Beat-Man Zeller's longtime band. "Jungle Noise" was a 10" release and the remainder is culled from various 7"s, etc. The Monsters started as more of a rockabilly style band but eventually embraced a tougher garage focus, although they embrace different shades here--bare-knuckled fuzzbusters, heavier blues ("In Hell") and rootsy, pre-British Invasion rock 'n roll. At the center of this is Beat-Man's razor-sharp rasp and he sure ain't no crooner. Even with the occasional dud (their cover of Ricky Nelson's "Lonesome Town" falls flat), there's a good amount of rantin' and ravin' quality to be found. (

NANDAS-s/t (Toxic State, 7")
This NYC band have the Crazy Spirit/Dawn Of Humans muse down pretty well. One song is titled "Dawntown" and perhaps that meant to be tongue-in-cheek.The four quick songs feature buzzy guitar and bass and thumpa-thumpa-thump drums, with barbed-sounding production. One slight change is Anahit's vocals are breathier than on their 2014 demo. Comes with a fold-out poster and small lyric book. More New York punk goodness. (

OBEDIENCE-2016 Demo (tape)
Some ripping hardcore from this Austin band, which features ex-Tear It Up frontman Dave Ackerman, along with people from Breakout, Severed Head Of State, Critaturas and more. Drummer Chris Pfeffer provides a formidable engine to this band's full-tilt sound, throwing in d-beat bash, although Obedience don't strictly fall into that category. It's just high speed pillage from start to finish, with Dave barking out the words with as much anger as always. And without naming names, there's plenty of disgust with what's going on in the contemporary political universe and, sadly, some things never change. (

OPEN WOUNDS-s/t (Refuse, 12")
A Dutch band that includes Vitamin X vocalist Marko on guitar. Pretty straight-forward old-school, melodic hardcore, mainly hewing to a loud/fast approach, although they go for more of a singalong punk style on "Shades of Grey." Peppy and well-played, with bright, energetic arrangements, although they don't really push it to the next level. (


PRAGMATICS-No Rules, Just Fashion (Prax, 7")
Four songs of brawny, catchy punk rock 'n roll with people from such Boston bands as Fruit Salad, Garbage Strike, St. Ripper and plenty more. Sentiments worn on the sleeve--OK, I'm using a bit of a pun for the title track, about fashion punks and scene status and these guys have been around long enough to know exactly what they're talking out. And they also know how to keep it simple and play with a lot of heart. (

RAKTA-III (Iron Lung, LP)
Rakta have pared down to a three piece, eliminated guitar as an instrument, and have moved into more of an experimental realm for their second full-length album. An entrancing effort, a collection of soundscapes, with lengthy instrumental passages, tribal drumming, propulsive bass-lines and an array of vocal, synth and keyboard effects. Don't let this fool you into thinking it's soothing, ambient music--there's still a directness in some of the compositons but not as much as on the debut and I have to admit that their first album, with more of a straightforward goth flavor, will probably remain the go-to one. But for those times you want something more sense-enveloping, "III" more than does the job. (

RIK AND THE PIGS-Life's A Bust (Feel It, 7")

These guys have been around a few years but I’m late to the party and his/their latest, Life’s A Bust, is my introduction. Turns out Rik is :Lumpy's older brother and, although the Pigs aren’t really sonically similar, it’s still against the grain stuff, from the artsy garage/post-punk of “Vile Order” to Conheads-ish “Nothing” to the slow-burn swamp blues of the title track, which kind of pales in comparison to those sharper, briefer tracks. It’s enough to make me go back and explore earlier releases. (

SEX HOGS II-Part One (Diaper Cake, tape)
An excursion into 50s and 60s-inspired rock 'n roll, with rough 'n tumble vocals, accompanied by guitar, drums, tambourine and occasional sax, plus bass on one song. Energetically-executed (except for the slow-dance ballad "Sacrifice") and while it's far from polished, if it was a lot dirtier-sounding i.e. even lower fidelity than it is, it'd probably hold more interest for me. (

SLANG-Devastation In The Void (Prank, LP)
Long-delayed US release for the latest album from this longtime Sapporo, Japan band (home of the 1972 Winter Olympics! Japan scored three medals) and it's a scorcher. Slang started out, many years back, as a NYHC-inspired hardcore band but that's long in the rear-view mirror. Their sound is an assimilation of Burning Spirits hardcore--hoarse, agonized vocals and a hard-charging attack. That means there's a fair amount of crossover metallic riffage, taking a few bows in Slayer's direction. Relentless and furious. By the way, it turns out that Sapporo is in the running for the Winter Olympics in 2026 or 2030. Maybe Slang can play the opening ceremonies. (PO Box 410892, San Fransciso, CA 94141-0892,

TRASH KNIFE-Trash Life (Endless Daze, tape)/Trash Knife (tape)
A pair of releases from this Philly band. "Trash Life" is the older of the two and has since been released on a 7". Anyway, some tuneful punk/rock'n roll. Not pop-punk but the songs are infused with a bit of garage snarl. The vocals have a sing-songy sarcasm (how's that for alliteration?) but there's a subtle anger. "Kill Your Selfie" is a well-aimed barb at self-absorbed smartphone snappers and "Tips" deals with the frustration of restaurant work. On the more positive side, "Ronda," about the UFC fighter, is a bouquet to the former champ and it's one of the catchiest songs here. Engaging stuff. (;

TV FREAKS-BYOT/The Pits (Schizophrenic, 7")
What happened? This band's first two albums were killer but the third, "Bad Luck Charms," was something of a letdown (I never got a copy, just heard MP3s)--not awful, in fact some of it grew on me a bit, but some songs lacked the kinetic spark of before. Sad to say this single isn't that hot, either. "D.Y.O.T." is four-minutes-plus of mid-paced rock that never really takes off. "The Pits" is better--some wild 'n wooly, stompin' slop but still not quite up to previous levels. (

UROCHROMES-s/t (Lumpy, 7")
Six of the eight songs from their "Get In Line For Mental Decline" demo and these Western Massholes have a somewhat unclassifiable sound. Loud and boisterous with different strains of punk, hardcore and garage filtered through and it's a thoroughly rockin' concoction. To add a different wrinkle, they use a rhythm machine and it adds quite a wallop, along with the snarling and sneering vocals. (

VAASKA-Futuro Primitivo (Beach Impediment, 7")
Nothing new to report here--Vaaska keep cranking out one solid d-beat hardcore disc after another. Truth be told, I kind of miss the semi-melodic warm guitar tone from the early records since that added a different wrinkle but this is still sturdy, streamlined, floor rattling stuff. They also stand above the pack a bit by merit of Victor Gutierrez's formidable guitar shredding. Originally released in Japan for their tour there and now given a US pressing. (

VARIOUS-No Sun Shines Here (Ryvvolte, 7")
The sleeve is a bit of a riff on the Mob's "No Doves Fly Here" and this collects six of the current crop of Philly hardcore bands from the more aggressive side of the spectrum, bands that operate in heavier, crustier realms. The Brood get things off to a rattling, d-beat infused start. Dronez, Alement and Incisor have heavier crust inspirations, while Dopestroke (the one defunct band here) have a more traditional hardcore sound. Interloper wraps things up in a fast, stripped-down fashion with the cleverly-titled "Rizzo Baby Attacked By Rats," as in Frank Rizzo, the fascistic former police chief and mayor. Nothing terribly groundbreaking but a good representation of one part of Philly's vibrant scene. (

X45-EP2 (tape)/EP1 (tape)
This Hamilton, ON band, with people from School Jerks and Born Wrong, kick out some tough rockin' n' rollin' stuff. Their first tape, released earlier this year, somehow got lost in the pile and that shouldn't have happened because both of 'em are pretty damned good. It has a proto-punk feel ala Crime, possessing an insolent swagger to go along with the Thunders-punctuated buzz. Attitude to spare. (


Descending Memphis by Robert R. Moss (Valor Books, 195 pages)

Rob Moss's roots are in the DC hardcore scene, having played in Government Issue and Artificial Peace but this novel doesn't touch on his punk roots--at least on a superficial level. Descending Memphis is a gritty crime story with a slight musical twist that's set largely in Memphis in 1956, at the dawn of the rock 'n roll era. Told in the first person by the novel's protagonist Tommy Rhodeen, it's a tale of his yearning to follow a passion for music, having recorded a demo for Sun Records but he's ended up working as a private investigator, mainly employed to retrieve people's property--cars, jewelry, etc. His Aunt Norma is trying to convince him to become an auto mechanic, something he doesn't desire to do because he fears it will trap him in a dead-end life.

One day he get summoned by a wealthy businessman to retrieve something quite a bit different--his daughter Helen, who has vanished, seemingly into the seedy underbelly of Memphis's music scene. Tommy spends a lot of time pursuing Helen, coming up empty and getting himself into a whole lot of trouble along the way--drugs, murder and political corruption all play a part in the story. There are racial elements, as well, and while Tommy uses terms like "colored," he doesn't come across as a racist as it's revealed that a black laborer at his house was the person who taught him how to play guitar and planted the seed for his musical passions. There's a wariness between the races, a lot of (understandable) mistrust, but it's not a main part of the plot line.

It's not too tough to figure out the gist of what's going to ultimately happen and the threads of the story seem a bit disjointed at times. There's an undercurrent of finding one's way in life, figuring out the path to follow. Is this all Tommy is going to be doing with his life or is there something more? A fun, pulpy read.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Suburban Voice blog #119


ADVLTS-Black Bile (Toxic Pop, 7")
Baltimore band (and, yes, the spelling is correct) who have apparently revamped their lineup since their first EP and brought in Mike Riley (Paper Dragons, Pulling Teeth) on vocals and Brendan Bartow (Fuses--an unjustifiably overlooked band) on guitar. Driving punk but there's a nervy, semi-post-punk feel to it, as well. Not just straight powerchords, but an edgy jab in the guitar lines, along with a strong bass/drums tandem. The basslines on "Fortune Teller" provide a strong thrust. The most straight-ahead rocker is opening track "Do The Adult," spitting out the facts of grown-up living--losing jobs, wives, kids, hair, teeth and, ultimately, your mind. Not a band soundtrack to listen to while a lot of that inevitably happens. (

ANEURYSM-Veronica (Tor Johnson, 7")
Dark 'n scary rock that's tick and tumultuous and, yes, there’s a whiff of early 90s heaviness (notice I didn’t say grunge) but it’s more twisted-sounding. “Dio, Priest and Maiden” won’t make you think of any of those bands, as this ain’t no NWOBHM trip unless you want to call it New Wave Of Bashing Head Music. A chaotic mess and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. (

BANDAGES-North Carolina Singles Series (Sorry State, 7")
Bandages includes former members of Double Negative and Pollution. Both songs, “All Extreme Measures” and “Tokyo Car Wash” are riff monsters and the former balances the heaviness with a burst of speed. A merger of Bl'ast, Melvins and early Helmet? Maybe. Intense stuff. Their guitarist Scott Williams they've moved beyond this already and also recorded an album that ended up shelved. Curious to hear what follows.

BLOOD PRESSURE-Need To Control (Beach Impediment, 12")
One of the best records and best live bands I've seen so far this year. Nothing complicated—this is just full-tilt hardcore bile with a Swedish/d-beat drive. Savage riffery, full-throated vocals and executed with a single-minded relentlessness without a break to catch your breath, except when flipping the record over. In short, it kicks fucking ass. I think that pretty much covers it. (

COMMANDO-Come Out Fighting (More Power, tape)
Punchy, catchy rocknrollinpunk by this Western NY band, who have already broken up. Along the same lines as the Marked Men, although there's a tougher edge to it. It also doesn't hurt that Brandon Ferrell (Direct Control, Government Warning, etc) is behind the drum kit, because he adds a huge kick to the proceedings. They work in some west coast punk moves, as well. And being from that part of the state, it makes sense they'd have an ode to Genesee. Sorry they came and went so quickly. (*note: this review was written before Brandon's untimely death--R.I.P.) (PO Box 467, Buffalo, NY 14226,

CØNDITIØN-Actual Hell (Iron Lung, 12")
Pulverizing sonic devastation from this LA band. A relentless Dis-inspired frenzy (although you can hear some Japanese touches in there, as well. From the opening drumbeat that sounds like it could be pulled from Disorder's "More Than Fights" and the primal yell, there's no looking back. A wall of thunder and the vocals are buried into the mix a bit. Seven out of the eight songs are fast rippers and the sole slower one, "Indictment," has an otherworldly guitar line--or maybe it's keyboards, I can't tell. And the bombastic conclusion doesn't end until you drag yourself off the floor or away from the wall you've been pinned to after this album's aural bombardment. Yep, 'tis pretty damned good. (

CRAZY SPIRIT-s/t (No Patience, 7")
Crazy Spirit's first vinyl release since their 2012 album (there was a demo in 2014) and third self-titled 7” release overall. You know the deal by now—nasally vocals and a fuzzy, buzzy punk attack, underpinned by clattering, galloping drums. The tempo actually seems a bit sprightlier than usual. Six tracks that run together (three per side) and it’s not so much any distinction between songs as it is the overall effect—and that’s still plenty ear-messing. (; released in US on Toxic State)

DÖDLAGE-s/t (Sac red Plague/multi-label, 7”)
Painful emanations fused to an encrusted d-beat attack. "Stench Of Death"! "Man Made Hell"! "Life In A Cage"! Ten expressions of pure unharnessed rage, done with ruthless precision. What more do 'ya want? Stud it up!(1741 SE Franklin St., Portland, OR 97202,

DRONEZ-Corporate Funded Terror” (Ryvvolte, 7")
Scandi/d-beat musical terror. Four blazing tracks with harsh/howling vocals with a bit ‘o reverb, a wall of guitar noise and basic drumming getting the job done. Not a lot of variation in song structures here but the four tracks create and fast ‘n ugly firestorm. Their guitarist/vocalist Jay Collins also sent an earlier flexi that features more of the same. Inspired title: “Fuck You and All You Don’t Stand For.” Both of them are tucked inside hand-screened sleeves. (


EXIT ORDER-s/t (Side Two, 7") 
Exit Order's debut vinyl features far superior production to their demo and it brings their no-nonsense hardcore punk into bold relief, adding a few other elements. A slight effect on the guitar, along with pumping bass and quick-handed drumming accompanying Anna’s pealing vocals. Exit Order includes members with long resumes--No Tolerance, Leather Daddy, Limp Wrist, Green Beret, Brain Killer and others and not sounding specifically like any of those bands. Closing track “Order” has a slightly more anarcho punk feel and that’s filtered through other songs as well. (6 Wadleigh Pl, Boston, MA 02127,

FANTASY ARCADE-s/t (Too Old To Die, 7")
This San Diego band counts people from Life Crisis and Death Crisis in their ranks and, on their self-titled 7" EP, it’s a heavier, doomier sound. Big riffs and laying down a rhythmic thud, interspersed with bursts of speed, The tongue is planted into the cheek a bit and I didn’t even recognize their piss-take thrashed up version “Poison Arrow” as a cover song from 80s lightweights ABC. Or more accurately, they take the lyrics from that song and add their own music. Unfortunately, all this adds up to something not terribly enticing. (

FUCKING/INVINCIBLE-I Hate Myself and I Want You To Die (Atomic Action, 7")
Blasting/grinding/lurch on F/I's latest Vicious and savage and the howling vocals express anger and contempt. While there's no denying the music's ferocity, only the relatively straightforward, Swedish-inspired thrash of "Like A Child" makes any sort of connection. (

KILSLUG/DRUNK IN HELL-split (At War With False Noise/Lupus, 7" 
Kilslug have been kicking around in one form or another since the 1980s and their latest disc is a split 7” with UK band Drunk In Hell, with each band contributing one track.Kilslug’s “Sick Sick Sick” (or “666”) is a rockin’ crusher, with Larry Lifeless’s nasal whine accompanied by a formidable heaviness that also has a groove. It doesn’t hurt they have a strong lineup these days, with John Kozik (ex-Out Cold) and John Darga (ex-Wrecking Crew) in the fold. Drunk In Hell’s track, “Hungry For Blood,” is slow and heavy as fuck, although it gets tedious after awhile. (

LANDLORDS-Fitzgerald's Paris (Feel It, LP)
Before they were the Happy Flowers' Mr. Anus and Mr. Horribly Charred Infant, Charlie Kramer and John Beers were two of the four members of the Virginia hardcore punk band the Landlords. They released one album called "Hey! It's A Teenage House Party!" in 1984 before, I'd guess, Charlie and John ultimately decided to concentrate on the Flowers, although it turns out they recorded Landlords stuff after the first album (a bit of research reveals there was a 7" in 1987). Anyway, 30+ years later, there's a second Landlords album, consisting of sessions from 1986 and 1987, but not the songs from that second 7".The download includes another '85 session and live set from CBGB. Landlords were ostensibly a hardcore band but worked in melodic touches and some metallic shredding (the liner notes claim an affinity for Tank's "Filth Hounds of Hades" album). There are even a few abraso rock excursions for "Stigmata," "Press The Bar" and "The Strange House" that showed them moving into something a bit darker. Maybe not 100% essential but still worth seeing the light of day. (

METAL URBAIN-Panik/Lady Coca Cola (Alternative Tentacles, 7")
I know Record Store Day is pretty much a ripoff--overpriced, unnecessary reissues, ones that clog the record pressing plants and cause huge backups--but here's one that's worthwhile, if a bit pricey. Metal Urbain were one of the first French punk bands and "Panik," recorded in 1977, is one of the all-time great songs from that period. Razor-sharp guitar, synth washes and mechanized drums and harsh vocals. This song also has one hell of a screaming guitar solo. "Lady Coca Cola" is almost twice as long, repetitive and numbing but, once again, there's an ahead-of-its-time inventiveness. Metal Urbain truly didn't sound like anyone else at that time and still sound fresh almost 40 years later. (PO Box 419092, SF, CA 94141,


MOMMY-s/t (Toxic State, 7")
One of the more entertaining bands I’ve seen in recent months, an animated, raspy vocalist accompanied by drums and distorted bass. Kind of like early Rudimentary Peni filtered through the Crazy Spirit/NYC bung gene pool and that comes out brashly on their five song self-titled 7” on Toxic State. The typical top-notch packaging, including a fold-out poster and lyric booklet that intersperses the words (which read more like poetry than typical lyrics) with mental health reports. That’s the overall concept—someone going through a mental health episode and having to be hospitalized. I think that’s what it is, anyway. I’m not sure if it’s based on personal experiences but I think the Peni comparison is apt, given Nick Blinko’s mental health travails. (

MONGOLOID-s/t (Feral Kid, 7")
Being that Mongoloid are from Portland, hearing the Jerry A-inspired vocals shouldn't come as a shock, although I suppose I'm just talking about geographical coincidences. Three short rippers that do have a Poison Idea bent in spots and it's plenty mean-sounding. The flip is given over to the long, laborious "At The Moment Of Death," saxophone popping up at the beginning and conclusion and it's a not-too-enticing jazzy/rock/punk journey. Would have made a great one-sided 7"! (

MORAL PANIC-Your Decline (Heinous Fuck, 7")
As I’ve been saying a lot lately, fuck off to anyone who thinks punk/hardcore/what-have-you is just a youth movement meant to be played by young people to other young people. Moral Panic prove that point on their “Your Decline” 7”. With members from Sydney and Melbourne, some of these geezers used to be in AVO and the drummer was in Depression years and years ago. Pure malice and venom on their concise, blink-‘n-you miss it hardcore thrash songs that are executed with on-a-dime precision. And for a changeup, there’s a cover of the old LA punk band Skulls song “Victims.” Play loud and get the hell off my lawn. (

MUTANT SCUM-Field Recordings (Handstand, tape)
A concept of sorts... underground slime creatures forming out of industrial waste in a creek (so it says) to play boisterous, hard rocking metal and punk. If you're engaging in tongue-in-cheek schtick, it's always a good idea to have the musical chops and songs to go along with it and these Scum do have that. And read between the lines and it comes across like an environmental cautionary tale. From a musical standpoint, it's not primordial, sluggish ooze, even with a heavier, stomping song like "Sludge Castle." To use an awful pun, don't forget the sewers, don't forget the streets and watch out because these scummy beings are right behind you. (

I was surprised to see a new NSU record show up in mailbox, since I thought they'd broken up. Well, they did break up but squeezed one more release before their demise, this ten song effort. NASA Space Universe have never fit into any easy category. There's an abundance of speedy hardcore but they add edgier, nervier touches, mainly in the sputtery guitar playing, along with the nightmarish vocals. Some of the songs hit a punchier groove, especially "Building," "Infernal Recurrence" and the title track. They've certainly spent time listening to post-"Damaged" Black Flag and early Die Kreuzen, probably while reading books about both bio-devastation and devastation throughout history, as well. The production on this one is rougher than in their recent history and it ups the abrasiveness level. It isn't clearly stated in the lyrics (nothing is clearly stated--they tend to go for something more oblique) but 70 AD is the year the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, including the Temple. It does ask "have things really changed? Has the world shifted?" I suppose the answer to that would probably be no... same shit over and over again. Sorry to see 'em go. (

NO PAROLE-s/t (Mad At The World, 7")
A meat ‘n potatoes oi band from New Jersey and this 7" could have been on Headache Records back in the day. Your basic boot party with tough-sounding vocals and semi-tuneful arrangements. Pretty basic fodder, some catchy licks here and there, especially on “Grey Skies,” but there’s nothing all that outstanding about it. (


PARASYTES-Straight Jacket (Distort Reality)
Parasytes is the latest band for ex-Hellbound/After The Bombs/Hellbound vocalist Janick Langlais. On their “Straight Jacket” 7” there’s a slight difference from her other bands in that the guitar tone is somewhat cleaner, even adding some phasing for “Frantic.” For the mid-tempo “Paranoid Visions,” there’s a Discharge influence but not so much d-beat as that band’s “In Defence of Our Future”era and that’s the best song of the three. The others follow a traditional early 80s UK route with plenty of speedy burn (

QUANGO-Fatality (Danger, 12")
The story with Quango is it's a band with Richard from Hygiene that started in 2012. There was a four song demo, then three of the songs were pressed on a 7" and now there's this remastered 12" that restores the fourth song, "Viva Il Papa." I think that's the story. The version on this 12" is a different take from the demo. Whatever the case, the title track is a total earworm with the pealing guitar line ala Buzzcocks' "Breakdown" in the verses and an early Joy Division riff in the chorus. You can also hear echoes of the Swell Maps. They just sound old--and that's meant as a compliment. Old as in having a sepia-toned sound, something that could have come out back then. Punk and post-punk mixed together, in glorious low fidelity that increases the bash factor. "Living In A Shithole" and "Quickquid" have a slightly more '77 punk feel, while "Viva Il Papa" (about Pope Adrian IV, the only British Pope) spreads out over four minutes at a sturdy pace, with stinging guitar hook (

S.H.I.T.-i (demo)
It's called the "i" demo because all three songs--"Introduction," "Incorporation" and "Information" start with the letter I. That's my guess and, being that I've been doing this writing s.h.i.t. (sorry) for a long time, I'm confident that's the case. I'm also confident this is another fine effort for this Toronto band. They've had a willingness to fuck with the crust/d-beat formula a bit, such as the introduction that's a fist-pumping rocker with wordless vocal effects. Then it's back to faster, head-fucking thump. S.H.I.T. dole out their music in small portions--several 7"s and tapes and still no 12". Maybe someday. (

SICK WARD-Into The Future (demo)
An 8 song demo chock fulla hearty 'n catchy punk with full-throated, gruff vocals that bears something of a resemblance to Criminal Damage. In other words, this is coming from a UK-82 muse although it's a tougher edge to it. "Outside World" introduces a Blitzy guitar signature, while the speedy "RX Population" careens full-tilt. Deserves a vinyl pressing. (3429 15th Ave. S, Seattle, WA 98144,

S/ICKS-Cut Bait/Enemies List (Mind Cure, 7")/Pretty Plastic (Fair Warning, 7")
S/ICKS (or Sicks) are a Pittsburgh band including people from Kim Phuc (an underrated band you should explore), Caustic Christ and others. The two 7”s their guitarist Eric was nice enough to send me—“Cut Bait/Enemies List” on Mind Cure and “Pretty Plastic/Dose” on Fair Warning--came out in mid-2015 but it’s some quality swill. In a similarly nervy vein as Kim Phuc, with stinging and beefy guitar riffs and a solid rhythmic punch to go along with Rob’s cutting vocals, all of it at a steady mid-tempo clip, although “Dose” slows it down a bit. (Mind Cure,; Fair Warning,

SPAZZ (1997)

SPAZZ-Sweatin' To The Oldies (Tankcrimes, CD)/Sweatin' 3 (Tankcrimes, CD)
Two CDs, 131 songs, in a shade under two hours. Let's get rolling with a track by track breakdown. OK, maybe not, and I'm not quite sure why Volume 2 wasn't repressed as well. Anyway, these were both originally released on Slap-A-Ham )(Vol. 2 was on 625), run by Spazz's Chris Dodge. Collections of 7"s, splits, compilation tracks and some live recordings, as well. Anyone who's read this space for any length of time know that I'm not a real aficionado of powerviolence, grindcore, what-have-you but Spazz differentiated themselves by their ability to shift tempos effortlessly, going from blastbeats to more traditional thrash to crunchier stomp, sometimes in the same song. And it was done with a strong sense of wit i.e they never seemed to take themselves all that seriously. You can tell these guys grew up absorbing the entire oeuvre of hardcore, from US, UK and other overseas bands. Their various cover versions border are brilliantly-executed, from SOA's "I Hate The Kids" to Youth of Today's "Stabbed In The Back" (my favorite YOT cover ever, part of a trilogy of NYHC covers) to Negative Approach's "Lost Cause," which each musician getting a turn to add his own twist--there's even a funky break in it. All sorts of sound samples and there's even a fucking BANJO on "Spudboy." I know a lot of people hate CDs but these collections justify the continued existence of the format. (

SPITE HOUSE-Perfect Vision (No Patience, 7")
Some goth-style punk from this Austrlian band, although the guitar playing has fuzzy touches to go along with the shimmer, particularly on the title track, the best of the four. They definitely take a page from early Siouxsie, with Stina’s vocals having a similar swoop as Ms. Sioux’s. (

STRUTTER-s/t (Beach Impediment, 7")
Strutter are from Austin and have members from such heavy hitters as Glue, Vaaska and Impalers and it’s closer to Glue’s snotty hardcore punk thump, coming from more of an 80s impulse. Four loud ‘n fast rippers and tucked inside a colorful sleeve that would make you think it’s going to be a trippy excursion—well, the sputtering outro has a bit of a damage effect but that’s after you’ve been pummeled by the band’s straightforward aggression. (


SUNSHINE WARD-Order (Feral Ward, 12")
In case you haven't been told (or weren't paying attention), Sunshine Ward include three former members of Brain Killer and they tear it up mightily on their debut 12" (following a demo that was also pressed onto a 7"). Following a well-worn path with a great amount of success, varying between hard-charging, d-beat infused ragers and medium speed tempos. Jordan has an effective, throaty bray to go along with the band's high-powered flay. The musicianship is sharp throughout, from Ryan Taylor's rumbling bass to Kyle Folsom's powerful drumming to Jeff Poot's arsenal of powerchords and singeing leads. Sunshine Ward on Feral Ward. Makes complete sense. (

TOTAL ABUSE-Excluded (Deranged, LP)
Total Abuse are ten years into their career of ear-damaging hardcore, having starting off as a more-or-less traditional-sounding unit but then they started expanding their sound into darker and abrasive realms. Total Abuse’s output in recent years has been real hit and miss but their latest, “Excluded,” marks a return to form. Heavy, barbed riffs are fused to explosive drumming, creating a sonic stormcloud and are paired with Rusty Kelley’s anguished vocals. Needless to say, the sentiments expressed are born of pain—there ain’t a whole lot of happiness in the outlook, the title track bearing that out. “Jealousy” states, at the output, “I’m not a nice person/I don’t claim to be/I have hate anger and jealousy/I fantasize about people under my boot/begging for release.” No, it’s not poetry but it’s sure succinct. Songs like “Eighteen” (not an Alice Cooper cover) and “Jealousy” wield an unhinged ferocity, while the six minutes plus of “Watching The Paint Dry” shifts from a sturdy mid-tempo clip into creeping, meandering territory. Sure, they’ve learned a few lessons from Black Flag and Bl'ast but there are worse influences and it still sounds fresh. (


TRIAGE-Power Beat (Larry Tony Produzioni, 7")
On the cover, it says, "fuck hardcore, this is power beat." When I saw them live, their vocalist Lia said they were youth crust. Their set featured the first drum solo I ever saw at the Boiler Room--which, sadly, is missing on this recording. Echo-laden vocals, metallic guitar leads popping up from time to time and there's a slight hint of Sacrilege in their sound. Label it however you want--it's just loud, fast and banging.(

VARIOUS-Sick Of Things The Way They Are (Atomic Action, 7")
7 band comp, with six of them from Mass. and Rhode Island and one from NJ. It's all high-energy hardcore but not in one style. Wokling, Wound Man, Some Nerve and Razorheads offer bashing takes. Razorheads' song is distorted and nasty-sounding, Symptom follow the Disclose blueprint, World Is Shit have a death metal flavor and Fucking Invincible (as usual) go from stomp mode into blinding speed. No info, except for a sheet giving their Bandcamp pages. Wokling make the strongest impression and their 2014 demo is pretty good. Unfortunately, they've broken up. (

VARIOUS-The Transcendental Maggot’s Revenge (Tsuguri, 7") 
Some good moments on this 7" comp, although old-timers the Ugly Americans’ mid-tempo “Pony Picture” oozes grunge era rock and not necessarily in a good way. The other veteran band, Flag of Democracy, fare better with their tuneful ‘n hyperkinetic hardcore and they’ve never lost a step. Toe Tag is Blaine from The Accused/Fartz's latest band and they dish out some passable metal-tinged thrash metal. Classhole's track has a bit of a Bl'ast feel and Beige Eagle Boys offer up some butt-shakin’ rock ‘n roll on their song. (9487 Holly Ridge Ct., Hildebran, NC 28637,

VCR-RIP Sportsboy (Murder City Video/Barfbag, LP)
Two of the people in Triage also play in this band, albeit on different instruments and it's quite a bit different. Head-spinning garage punk with whirling organ and playful percussion, to go along with the sarcastic sounding vocals from Sportsboy (aka Scott)--he could be Lumpy's Canadian cousin. Dare I say there's even a bit of soulfulness on the instrumental "Sportsboy 69." And, after the opening track, "Murder City Rules," there are barely any gaps between songs, except when you flip the record over. It's a wild, sometimes silly ride, even a blink-and-you-miss-it cover of the Bad Brains' "How Low Can A Punk Get?" or, more accurately, a snippet of the song. The line on "Shut Up" about pulling down ex-Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's pants, along with a zany sound effect made me laugh out loud. I hope the title track, which ends the album, doesn't mean there won't be another VCR release because this one's a lot of fun. (

VICTIMS-Sirens (Tankcrimes, LP)
Victims are coming up on 20 years as a band and "Sirens," their fifth album, is the first since 2011. Not much has changed. In the early days, Victims offered up Anti Cimex-styled rage. Over the years, the sound got thicker and heavier, while maintaining the speedy thrust and "Sirens" continues in a similar vein. There are a few songs here that up the velocity and trample over everything in its path--"Seven" and "Promises," the latter exuding "Never give up, never give in." Hope in a dreary world? Whatever the case, it's an anthemic ripper. Pro-forma Swedish crust-core but they've got it down at this point. (

VIVISICK-Nuked Identity (Tankcrimes, LP)
The latest from Japan's Vivisick is one hell of a wild ride. After a high energy gypsy music intro, the sound is spirited and aggressive. There are the traditional Burning Spirits trappings but they also work in some hearty UK singalong punk ala Peter and the Test Tube Babies, to go along with Sunao's high-pitched yelp. Some great titles (I'd imagine the English translations are a bit loose)--"Why Must I Grab My Penis?" and "Peter Pan Syndrome Melancholy" come to mind.. And the liner notes provide some inspiring reading. It's a statement about how, even if punk can't change the world, it can make a positive personal impact. They also talk about having toured other countries and having their preconceived prejudices destroyed. Nuking identity--destroying the old one and finding something new. That burns mightily through Vivisick's joyous musical expression. (

WHATEVER BRAINS-s/t (Sorry State, LP)/North Carolina Singles Series (Sorry State, 7") 
ISS-s/t (Loki, tape)
Whatever Brains were always an odd band (they just split up) and that’s no exception on this 7” or their new, self-titled album (their fourth). The a-side of the 7”, the engagingly-quirky “An Object,” is on the album, the ambient drone of the b-side “My Autumn’s Done Gone,” isn’t. “PUNK” is splashed across the top of the cover, in a font that looks like what you’d get from an old dot matrix printer and it certainly pushes the parameters of what one would consider punk. It’s a mechanized version of it, relying more on electronics than standard instrumentation and sometimes creating a woozy effect. “An Object” is probably the most “conventional” sounding track with “154”-era Wire pulse. Quite challenging—sometimes more than one might have the patience for. (

In the meantime, Rich Ivey from the Brains did a project with Eric from Brain F≠ called ISS and I actually prefer this two the other two releases, although I suppose you could say it's a matter of apples and oranges. Rich handles the vocals and guitar and Eric the music--guitar, bass, mechanized drums and samples. It's a heady, snappy, minimalist mesh and more accessible than the Brains, and there's also a sly, wise-assed sense of humor. I'm not sure if it's a one-off and the tape appears to be sold out but you can still snag the tracks on Bandcamp (

WHITE JAZZ-Modern Living (Atomic Action, 7" EP)
Full-on aggro but White Jazz have a few more tricks up their sleeve(s). There are some damaged-sounding twists and turns and some floor-shaking moments, as well. The latter is true for "Peace/No Peace." "Blank Generation" isn't (I don't think) a Richard Hell cover, even though he gets thanked on the record. It's one hell of a rager, though. Six songs that grab you around the throat. (


ADULT CRASH 2, compiled by Dave Brown (Vicious Circle/Six Feet Under)

The second volume of Dave Brown’s “Adult Crash” photobook has just been published, some 7 years after the first one. And, as with that volume, you get a 7” featuring four cover versions from Violent Reaction (Agnostic Front’s “Victim In Pain”), Barge (Youth of Today’s “Stabbed In The Back), Night Birds (Effigies’ “Haunted Town” with a surfy twist) and Government Warning (Circle Jerks' “Deny Everything”).

As for the book itself, it’s similar to the first one—a collection of photos laid out scrapbook style over a backdrop of flyers, interspersed with reminiscences of various “scene fixtures” musing about how they’re trying to carry on the punk inspiration and ethics in their lives as the years pass and adult responsibilities come into play. Some of the contributors are Kevin Seconds, Chris Boarts Larson, Eerie Von, Thomas Barnett (Strike Anywhere), Chuck Miller (“X-Claim” zine and Temperance Records) and others.

This time around, the photos and locations of the shows are dated and Dave brings in contributions from other photographers (including yours truly). Also, he uses larger photos, just a couple on each page, so they create a more striking visual image. And as you view the interactions between the performers and the audience members, you quickly realize that there’s a certain timelessness to hardcore. You could be cynical and say it’s just the same old shit over and over or take the opposite tack and think that it’s awesome that people continue to discover what’s special about it and it becomes an unforgettable part of their lives. I’m of both minds, depending on the day, but don’t deny it’s something that still means a lot to me. That won’t apply to everyone in those photos but it certainly does to the people who contributed to this book. The package also includes a digital download of the first book and the tracks form the 7” that accompanied that one. (



I was recently leaving a show in Salem that featured an all-too-brief 8 song Jerry's Kids reunion set (yes, that was a surprise last minute thing and quite a birthday present for yours truly and I’m sorry I’m gloating about it) and a gentleman by the name of Paolo gave me the two latest issues of his “Never Was Turned Has Been” zine and a homemade cassette compilation, “Section 12.” The two issues are half-size, cut and paste efforts. Issue #3 includes a diary of Paolo’s time spent in a psych hospital, as well as short interviews with Waste Management, Protester and Take Control, along with record, demo, zine and show reviews. #4 has an interview with Chris Wood aka Sid Sludge from Mental Abuse and more reviews.

I do have a bit of a bone to pick about his essay about 80s hardcore and him saying “most old punks are stupid.” And he also goes off on the FU’s “My America,” calling the members “plain ignorant.” Here’s the whole thing with the FU’S and “My America” once and for all. I’d imagine many of you figured it out by now but it was a total wind-up, some button-pushing. They weren’t jocks or rednecks or frat-boys. John Sox and Steve Grimes are both well-educated and quite liberal/left-wing in their ideology and had a wicked sense of humor. This will probably make Tim Yo’s head explode, wherever he is, but “My America” is the second best hardcore album to ever come out of Boston (Jerry's Kids's “Is This My World” will always be #1 in my book). The breakdown in “What You Pay For”? It still makes me want to wreck everything in sight. And they even say you’re fools to look to any punk band as some sort of savior.

Sorry I got sidetracked. Anyway, the cassette compilation is a throwback mixtape of ‘80s US bands, both well-known and lesser-known, with the more obscure Sluggo, Youth Korps and Killing Children sharing space with the likes of Articles of Faith, Freeze, Social Unrest and Die Kreuzen. If you’re interested, contact Paolo at

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Suburban Voice blog #118

BOSTON HARDCORE & PUNK FACTSHEET (1999-2000), compiled by Chris Wrenn (B9 press, 64 pg., $8)
Thin paperback volume compiling Chris from B9's short-lived mini-zine and included interviews, 20 question sessions with various scene "luminaries" (including yours truly--and my answers don't make me cringe, thankfully), show listings, news items, etc. It was the time of bands like In My Eyes, Ten Yard Fight, Proclamation, The Explosion, Blood For Blood, Ducky Boys and Dropkick Murphys, to give you an idea. It's fun looking through the show listings, remembering the ones I saw and realizing I missed some good ones. How could I miss Hot Snakes or a basement show with Intensity from Sweden and Dead Nation (pre-Tear It Up), for instance? If you want a time capsule about how things were around the turn of the century in Boston, here it is. (

I recently got ten (!) demos from the Buffalo label More Power Tapes. There's plenty going on up in that neck of the woods. Not every one of them is an artistic triumph or anything I'm particularly into but here's a rundown...

Facility Men's third demo plies more hard-edged post-punk rock that has a 90s vibe. Sharp, angular guitar riffs and sturdy bass-lines come to fore, particularly on "Parading," The band formed out of the ashes of the late, great Plates (their album "Salvation Morning" is well-worth checking out). Vocalist Teodor Lazar's bray (think JJ from the Offenders) soars over the intricate and energetic arrangements. This is the best-sounding recording to date for these guys. Hope we'll see vinyl at some point.

Blobs, a band with Biff, who must have played in dozens of bands at this point (Brown Sugar, Plates, Bad People, I Object, Aaron & The Burrs, to name some of 'em), have already released a pair of demos, a self-titled one and "Shame." They operate in a similar vein as Brown Sugar, mixing up hardcore with garagier and psych touches (particularly in the guitar playing), along with Amelia's against-the-grain vocals. Both have solid tracks although I prefer the first. "Shame" introduces sax and keyboards into the mix and it doesn't always work. Playing up the rock side a bit more and they're clearly moving into different regions, which isn't 100% appealing.

Kharlos is a band, not a person, a band with three guys, two guitars, keyboards, drums and no bass. On their 8 song "Don't Think About Dying At My Party," things get off to a very promising start with the psych/garage/rock of "Dreams" but the fired-up nature of that song isn't really maintained after that. A collection of snappy and tuneful songs that are listenable but not anything that grabs you by the throat, not even the cover of Sweet's "Little Willy."

Cruelster are actually from Cleveland and have a number of releases under their belt. The tape on this label is titled "First Demo 2006" but it was recorded in 2015, if that makes any sense. Fun, dumb punk, a little cleaner-sounding (?) than on the more raw-sounding fodder of their other output (including a newer 7"). Hard not to smile at a song called "Dumb Fuck" and there's a winningly obnoxious nature to it. There's plenty more swill on their bandcamp page (



¡DISCULPE!-s/t (Tadpole, 7" EP)
Bruising punk rawness that's not really in the d-beat category but it’s a wanton eruption, nonetheless. One song is called “Fuck-U-Therapy” and I imagine it’s a diatribe against psychiatric care but one could say this is its own kind of therapy, an expression of “fuck you” emotion. Bash-your-skull-in therapy? That works.

EASTERN BLOC-s/t (demo)
A new Mass. band with 3/5 of Dry Hump, plus Christian Pedro from Social Circkle on vocals. With only one guitar player, it sounds a bit more stripped down and Brian Herrmann's bass is given more prominence in the mix. Loud, fast and ripping hardcore, slowing it down for the stomping "The Mask." Doing it right. Good debut. (

THE EPIDEMIC-Losing Control (Loud Punk, 7" EP)
This was apparently supposed to come out years back on the label—the songs were recorded in 2006 and 2008--but got shelved until recently and then remixed. Good punchy punk and “Sanctified Youth,” in particular, is a total ripper. Guitarist Matt Frado sadly passed away in 2008. The other members are now in Cinderblock, Who Killed Spikey Jacket? and Sadist, to name a few. (PO Box 6115, Albany, NY 12203,

FUCK YOU PAY ME-Public Disgrace (Deep Six, LP) 
Tony Erba and crew are back with their second album and, as always, Erba has a bone to pick the world. “Pro Gear, Pro Attitude” could be an updated version of Gordon Solie Motherfuckers' “Closed Mind, Open E,” about music scene assholes, for want of a better term. “Jesus Loves You (Everyone Else Thinks You’re An Asshole)” is for people stuck having to deal with Fox News-loving fuckheads in different situations. Musically, as always, it’s no bullshit hardcore punk played at a fast clip. They throw in a few other tricks along the way, such as the Die Kreuzen-ish guitar lick for “Long Live The New Flesh” and they wrap things up with a cover of Subhumans’ “Religious Wars.” Their third album, “Dumbed Down,” is already in the can and due for release later this year. (

HALDOL-s/t (World Gone Mad, 12") 
Originally based in Nashville, Haldol have a few releases under their belts but this is the first since Geoff Smith moved from Nashville to Philly and reconfigured the band. It's also the best stuff I've heard from them. There were some hardcore elements in earlier recordings but those are gone as a dark ‘n gothy/post-punk sound is the main focus. Sound gloomy? Not really. It’s certainly not chipper-sounding but there’s a driving edginess to their compositions. The songs are powerful, driven by tribal rhythms, thick, fluid bass-lines and nightmarish guitar, coming across like a combination of Killing Joke and Part I. This is done at a fairly healthy pace, except for the intro to the languid “Beyond The Pleasure Principle,” which introduces early BANSHEES guitar tones. Definitely taking it to the next level on this one. (

KIELTOLAKI-Vapauden Illuusio (Feral Ward, LP)
Translating to "The Illusion Of Freedom," this is Kieltoalki's first release since 2011 and first full-length since 2009. This Finnish band sound as ferocious as ever. The production is somewhat cleaner than in the past but it comes roaring out of the speakers. Their earliest records were packaged similar to records on the Propaganda label in the 80s and there was an obvious affinity for their country’s classic sounds, but there’s always been something of a modern polish. One of the lamest things I saw in recent years was when they played a show at a skate park in Massachusetts in 2011. A lot of people who would have loved what they were doing didn’t watch them because their t-shirts and shorts didn’t fit the Scandi-punk fashion mode. Too bad, because they ripped it up and do the same on this album. (

LATEX-Losing Game (World Gone Mad, 7" EP)
Latex's second 7”  is a three song punk thumper with high-pitched, piercing, pissed-off female vocals and a blunt ‘n buzzing musical attack with a whiff of UK-82 in the mix. Critiques of lying politicians, lying media and people who just talk too fucking much, delivered in full rant mode. (

LONGINGS-s/t (Framework, LP)

Longings are a three piece with bassist Meghan Minior (Foreign Objects, Ampere, Vaccine and others) and guitarist Will Killingsworth (tons of bands including Orchid, Failures, Ampere and Vaccine and owner of Dead Air Studios) sharing vocals and this is a potent debut. Goth/post-punk/punk with an abundance of power and presence punctuating their melody-laden compositions. Lyrics asking a lot of questions about working ones way through life—“Tarnished” wonders “What’s it take to feel significant if even just to myself” and lamenting that goals feel out reach on “Trapped.” But it’s not a depressing-sounding album. As with many styles/genres that can get quickly oversaturated and stale, this sound is perhaps heading down that path but Longings transcend that—there’s a real sense of passion and barely-beneath-the-surface fury to be found in the songs on this album. (Framework, 4 Elm St., #1, Ipswich, MA 01938,

MALE PATTERNS/SCUZZ-split (Loud Punk, 7" EP)

As on their previous 7", Male Patterns tear through their songs with pissed-off vigor. They’ve got a bug up their ass about people glued to their phones or spending way too much money of punk gear. A Poison Idea feel, right down to the Jerry A-sounding vocals, plus a fun cover of Showcase Showdown's "Police Police." As for Scuzz, their three songs are a non-stop blitzkrieg of hardcore fury with slightly-distorted, angry-as-fuck vocals.(PO Box 6115, Albany, NY 12203,

MINNEAPOLIS URANIUM CLUB-Human Exploration (Fashionable Idiots, 12")

For a moment, I thought I had the wrong record, as the record labels said it was an album by Pencil called "Not Pen." I was all set to email the distro that I got it from before discovering a note inside the cover saying there had been a minor mix-up at the pressing plant in the Czech Republic. Wise-asses... and there's some wise-assery and cheekiness running through this band's debut (originally released as a demo tape). An offbeat, jabbing sound that occasionally brings Eddy Current Suppression Ring to mind i.e. a collision of garage-inspired rock with '77 Wire-y impulses given a modern polish and occasional bracing, hard-charging bursts of punk energy. The lyrics are cheeky but in a dark way--a sinister undertow to what might be a stalker tale for "The Collector" or the murder ballad of "The Misadventures Of Prissy Chrissy." A winning brashness throughout. Vocalist Brendan Wells used to be in Solid Attitude and they dished out the same kind of snotty swill so you might want to look into that band, as well. (

LA MISMA-Kanizadi (Toxic State, LP)
NYC's La Misma draw from the musical well of other Toxic State and Katorga Works bands--buzzing and pressing ahead at a steady but not-too-slow clip, adding post-punk touches on some of the songs A pealing and stinging guitar sound, underpinned by sturdy and versatile bass lines and drumming, along with high pitched vocals from Nay that are a combination of abrasive and endearing. They do slow it down for each side's closer, "Martiz e Vidro" and "Afirmacao," with stick-in-head melodies emerging from each. There's the usual quality packaging for this label, coming with a booklet that has English translations for the Portuguese lyrics and a full-sized poster. A strong effort. ( pressing on La Vida Es Un Mus,

MÜLLTÜTE-s/t (self-released, 12")

After three 7"s, here's the first 12" by this German band. Fast and basic hardcore with a trebly guitar sound ala Amdi Petersens Arme, to name one band. Short, sharp songs done in no-nonsense fashion, although the 3 minute-plus (an epic!) "Welle" has a gloomier, Wipers-ish feel with atmospheric female vocals, before the two brief blasts that wrap up the album. One thing I like about this band is they sing in their native German. When overseas bands sing in their own languages, it sounds more natural. And languages like German, Finnish, Danish, etc, have a certain harshness in the cadence that give the overall sound more of an edge. That's the case here. (

NIGHT BIRDS-Mutiny At Muscle Beach (Fat, LP)
Night Birds' latest album maintains the west coast via New Jersey punk sound but there's not as much of the surfy guitar. It does show up here and there but the sound is tougher, starting with the hardcore speed of opening song "(I'm) Wired," which careens straight into the Adolescents-sounding "Life Is Not Amusement For Me." The love for horror movies and TV are part of the lyrical content but it's in the context of facing life's struggles. "The Golden Age of TV," for instance, prefers "getting lost in fictional worlds" to watching cable news--maybe it's meant to be tongue in cheek but, truth be told, I'd rather watch the football game or a movie most nights than CNN these days. CJ Ramone pops up to lend backing vocals and, of course, a "1-2-3-4" for the driving and tuneful "Off The Grid" and there's also a cover of a somewhat obscure Kinks song (I didn't know it) called "King Kong," given a rockin' rendition. There's a hyper feel throughout and Brian Gorsgner's vocals fall into that description, as well. A spirited album that doesn't rely on just one songwriting approach. (

ONMACHT-s/t (Tadpole, 7" EP) Another Tadpole EP that's been out for awhile (like¡Disculpe!'s--see review above)Onmacht's four song EP is a loud ‘n furious hardcore expression, with a dark overtone. Screams from an agonized soul, accompanied by a nasty, brutish cacophony. Truthfully, a bit of this bile goes a long way (


PROTESTER-No Identity (Triple B, 7" EP)
Protester's second 7” “No Identity” maintains their mean-as-fuck hardcore sound. Nothing posi, just anger, reinforced with a beefy sound drawn mainly from late 80s sXe hardcore. Connor’s bellicose vocals mesh perfectly with the full-tilt compositions, executed with ruthless precision from burning speed to floor-rattling stomp. Nothing that hasn’t been done before, of course, but it’s convincing. (23 Bay State Rd., Apt. 2, Boston, MA 02215,

SNOB-s/t 7" 2 (self-released)
Four more bits of punk bile from London's Snob, on their second self-titled EP. A dense sound with razor-sharp guitar riffs and a thick, thumping bottom end. Two songs about hating work, one about litter bugs (with the great title "Litter Lout") and one ("Death Erection") about, well, I'm not exactly sure. The lyrics are done in a more or less conversational style i.e. these aren't singalong anthems. Dark and bristling. Hope they make it over here someday. (

SPLAT-s/t (Saucepan, 7" EP)
Eight songs of stripped-down, fuzzy-sounding no-nonsense hardcore punk. Splat aren't an angry-sounding bunch—they don’t sound like they take themselves all that seriously and there’s a semi-goofy appeal here.  Songs like “Negmo,” “Shitspew/Breakfast” and “Blankness” remind me a bit of 90s-era band Dead Fucking Last. Keep it simple, stupid. (11211 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, OH 44102,


SUDOR-Enamorado De La Muerte Juvenil (Todo Destruido, 12")
Despite the fact this full-priced 12" clocks in at just a shade under 13 minutes, I don't really feel like I've been ripped off here and will stop complaining. For now. Sudor's latest is another punk smorgasbord encompassing thrash, d-beat and more melodic Spanish touches, particularly for "Algo en Su Cabeza Hizo Crack." Sure, "De Madrid a La Vinagra" steals Discharge's "Decontrol" riff and "Mesuena a Mierda Tu Grupo de Punk" sounds like a faster version of that band's "Protest and Survive" but there's a winning catchiness throughout and energy to spare. (

TØRSÖ-Sono Pronta A Morire (Sorry State, LP)
The title for this Oakland band's album translates to “I’m Ready To Die,” from Italian (their drummer Giacomo is from Italy) and it’s a blazer. Driving d-beat hardcore that, yes, doesn’t leave a lot of room for originality and is a formulaic approach but they get it down perfectly. In-the-pocket drumming, shit-hot guitar riffs underpinned with big bass-lines and Ethan’s scalding vocals. The cover has a woman being burned at a stake in the shape of an X and they’re a self-described vegan straight-edge hardcore band, although the lyrics don’t really touch on that very much. Band members have also played in Holy, Punch, Neighborhood Brats, Neo-Cons and Ritual Control. (

210*-Extinction Event (self-released, CD)
Chris Barrows is a true punk rock veteran, going back to his days with Pink Lincolns in the 1980s and, more recently, Sack. Chris has put together a lineup with more punk rock veterans—Robert Lee Davidson (ex-Scream) on guitar, Rob Sexton (Slap of Reality) on drums and Scott Fagerstein (ex-Crucifucks) on bass. Still playing pure punk, as with Chris’s previous bands, although this one has more of a rock ‘n roll/metal tinge with Robert’s six-string lead work and it’s not quite as raw as Sack was. Truth be told, I liked Sack’s album a little more but this is still a high-energy good time and the sentiments continue to take a sarcastically observational tone—ruminations on religion, politics, addiction to social media and so on. (

UDÜSIC-s/t (Painkiller, 7" EP)
This Chicago band ply fainly fast-paced hardcore with an old-school Midwest inspiration, along with metallic licks and taking a mid-paced route for “Mature” and “Nice Try.” Sarah’s vocals have a sarcastic and cutting tone and the music is equally cutting—muscular, two guitar riffing and lots of rhythmic bash and the rough-around-the-edges recording gives it presence. (

USA NAILS-No Pleasure (Bigout/Smalltown America, CD)
Not from the US but from the UK and with a sound that'll nail your head to the floor, if I'm allowed to use an old Piranha Brothers reference. Loud and heavy music with huge, ominous riffing that creates a powerful swarm from the outset. They bring in some spacey effects for the lengthy "They'd Name An Age," add a burst of speed on "Laugh It Up" and "I Cannot Drink Enough" (also working in some spacey sounds) while "Automated Cyst" takes a lumbering Jesus Lizard-ish post-punk turn. A dark and menacing concoction and something you'll want to play at a high volume. (

WOODBOOT-Crime Time (Erste Theke Tonraeger, LP)
"Crime Time" will give you your daily dose of scorch and then some. It’s everything that’s right about punk—snotty and catchy, played at full volume and not giving you time to catch your breath between songs. Some Spits touches, without the new wave trappings, especially for “Trash Dump,” “Smash Your Face” and “Million Dollar Car.” So many killah punk bands from Australia lately and Woodboot are one of ‘em for sure. Three chord terrorists with a whole lot of attitude. (

YOUTH BRIGADE-Complete First Demo (Dischord, 7" EP)
Oh HELL yeah! I've had the DC Youth Brigade's demo on a bootleg 12" (backed with Minor Threat's demo) since the early 2000s and like it just as much as the "Possible" EP. If you need a history lesson, vocalist Nathan Strejcek was in the Teen Idles and when that band split, this band formed with a much meaner, beefier sound. Not as thrashed-out as SOA or Minor Threat, instead taking a pummeling mid-to-fast route and songs like "Bouncer," the anti-military "Snow Job" and "Last World" (which ended up on "Flex Your Head") hit you like a fist to the face. It all does, in fact. Eight songs, four of which weren't re-recorded later on. The sound of agitated teenagers at the dawn of the Reagan era. Dischord continues to do a great job emptying the vaults and the packaging is top-notch. Essential. (3819 Beecher St. NW, Washington, DC 10008,

ZEX-Fear No Man/I Didn't Know (Loud Punk, 7")
The latest from Ottawa band Zex (a band with Jo from Germ Attak) has them playing up the more tuneful side of the UK-82 equation, with a sound more along the lines of Vice Squad. “Fear No Man” is the stronger of the two, with a good amount of energy and catchiness. “I Didn’t Know” takes a poppier turn. To be honest, I’ve never been that blown away by anything I’ve heard from this band so far but “Fear No Man” comes close. (PO Box 6115, Albany, NY 12203,