Thursday, June 15, 2017

Suburban Voice blog #123

We're almost halfway through 2017, the reich, uh, presidency of a certain Mr. Trump is underway and, goddang it, punk's going to be GREAT again! Even a few of the discs reviewed below have a timely nature to them. DOA's once again recycling their "fucked up" song into "Fucked Up Donald" (sad to say, it's not very good). Green Day did a riff on a line from MDC's "Born To Die," inserting "No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA" into the song they played at the Grammys. That might be the last time you see that band mentioned in this space, by the way. It might even be the first time I've mentioned them since reviewing one of their albums in the 90s... yeah, I used to review stuff like that.

But since the day the country died (I'm sorry), last November, you keep hearing people say about how we need lots of anti-Trump songs and to go back to the 80s. That punk will be relevant again. Such a fucking myopic view. It also presumes that, since&the Reagan era, there hasn’t been much in the way of punk that has inspired criticism of the political and sociological realms. Also, this is the wake-up call you need? Where have these “make punk great again” people been while people of color, the LGBT community, Muslims and the economically-disadvantaged lives’ have been made a living hell? It’s always been with us but really got ratcheted up after 9/11 and especially after Obama’s election. Trump just brought it out in the open even more. People didn’t have to try to disguise their prejudices anymore. Someone I know also pointed out that it discounts what’s been going on with all the punk movements and communities in the rest of the world.

But, hey, we might as well try. Maybe some of the records reviewed here will inspire some kind of rebellion--starting with personal rebellion. Small steps, my friends...


CAPITLE-Melodies of Capitle (Cacophone 7")/Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (Cacophone, 7")
Capitle were an early 80s Albany, NY hardcore band who only recorded a few demo tapes and appeared on a compilation. Following the death of original bass player Phil Samuels, Capitle returned with a revamped lineup and a pair of newly recorded 7" EPs and it hardly sounds like some lame attempt to recapture past glories. Not fitting any pat category, although there are a few similarities to the Circle Jerks (post-"Group Sex"). Vocalist Jim Romano has a Keith Morris-like cadence at times. Herky-jerky and kinetic, as the words are spat out in semi-narrative fashion, sometimes breaking from the songs’ meter. If this is a mid-life criss, well, let’s hear it for mid-life crises. (

CLITERATI-s/t (Tankcrimes, 7")
Cliterati is the new band with ex-Voetsek vocalist Ami Lawless, who relocated to Portland awhile back. While there are a few grindcore moves here and there, Cliterati favor a crustier hardcore/thrash attack than Ami’s former band—bruising riffs, propulsive drumming and vocals barking out the harsh sentiments. The song was written before the election but “Make America Hate Again” could be a mantra for the new dark age. “Virtue” takes on sexuality—the hypocrisies for people who pledge purity but their actions and fantasies are anything but--“preach purity while practicing perversions.” Powerful, both musically and lyrically. (

CONNOISSEUR-Over The Edge (Tankcrimes, LP)
Stoner music i.e. every song is about the joys of smoking weed and, while it’s done with a knowing wink and sense of wit, it’s kind of a one-trick pony. Musically, it’s not your typical stoner metal. It’s a heavy sound with both high-pitched and cookie monster-timbre vocal tradeoffs, but they also have an ugly punk edge to go along with the metallic elements.   I’m actually kind of surprised the vinyl color was pink and not green—the price of the digital download is $4.20 (natch). Maybe if I was high… who knows? (


DIRTY & HIS FISTS-East Coast Tour 2017 Tape (demo)
High-energy punk rock ‘n roll at a sturdy mid-tempo clip from this LA band. Thick riffs chock full of buzz and burn. “23rd Century” adds some spacey guitar effects to the fray. It’s not wild or out of control but their volume-driven, not too slick-sounding attack does connect. They'll have a 7" later this year on Feel It. (

ELIX-R-Six Hours (demo)
Raw and abrasive punk from this Denton, TX band, with yelping vocals buried into a din of buzz-burn instrumentation. There’s a Rudimentary Peni feel, with the thumping repetitiveness. The guitar tone for closing track “Higher” has a bit of a death rock feel. In glorious low fidelity. (

FATHER FIGURES-Heavy Lifting (Slope, LP)
Another solid offering (their fourth album overall) from the Father Figures, who include JFA's Michael Cornelius in their ranks. A post-punk framework but, instead of jabbing angularity, it’s subsumed into a percolating melodicism, with stinging guitar lines and a high degree of rhythmic dexterity. It’s not sedate—the vocals pack a good deal of emotional intensity and the music has a potent presence. “Rigged” packs a wicked punch, the hardest-edged song on the album, while “USS Destroyer” has a Fugazi-ish pulse to it. More of a sneak attack than a bombardment and an effective one. (

FEEDERZ-WWHD: What Would Hitler Do? (Slope, 7")
Frank Discussion and his merry band of Feederz return for their first new recordings in 15 years. Maybe they'd been planning it for awhile or perhas the election of you-know-who inspired it. Anyway, age hasn't brought subtlety, not the with a drawing of Cheeto Benito (I can't take credit for that) dressed in a Nazi uniform. "Stealing” is an ode to looting, delivered with a punk-meets-samba rhythm, while “Sabotage,” with the refrain “Time to put this country out of our misery,” packs rhythmic tension with a catchy chorus and is the better of the two. Just so-so and not anywhere close to the classics. On orange vinyl, of course. (      

FRIED EGG-Back and Forth (Beach Impediment, 7")
Fried Egg continue to exhibit a frenetic hardcore sound, punctuated by ranting, nearly-unhinged vocals going along perfectly with the fast-paced riff attack. Dynamic instrumentation, with intense guitar textures sharing space with nimble bass-lines and hammering drumbeats. No wheel reinvention, just succinct, well-executed rage, with the damaged-sounding “Side By Side” the standout. (         

FUCK YOU PAY ME-Dumbed Down (Tankcrimes, LP)
This album was actually in the can for a couple of years before its release.. About time because it’s their most kick-ass effort to date. A detonation of rampaging Clevo hardcore that’s raw, fast and relentless and goddamn does Erba sound pissed off. As he says on “Douche Chills,” “Everyone around me puts me in a rage.” You do reach a point in your life where there’s no tolerance for people with hipper-than-thou obnoxious attitudes, to say nothing of shitty work situations or garden-variety knuckledraggers. That latter is the topic of “Ammosexual,” railing at Fox News-loving gun fondlers, while “50 Dudes With Machetes” is pulled from the Cleveland news headlines after some tough-guy gang-banger violence at a hardcore fest there. “Steubenville City Limits” is about college football playing rapists getting protected. And all of this is from 2015. I can only imagine what the next installment could be like—and I hope there is one because we need this kind of punk rock scream therapy. It could make this album sound like soft-rock. (


FUTURO-A Torre da Derrota (demo)
The title translates to The Tower of Defeat and, after hearing this, I’m kicking myself for missing this São Paulo band on their recent tour. It would have meant a four hour round trip through a rainstorm but, still… Surging, impassioned vocals (lyrics are mostly in Portuguese, with a few in English) and stinging arrangements incorporating melodic punk, hardcore and a little goth. Includes a cover of Sado Nation’s “Mom and Pop Democracy” that fits in well with their musical style and it’s a band that hasn’t been covered to death. As of now, available on tape and download. (

HVAC-Mentality (demo)
HVAC are another nasty NYC band, albeit in a slightly different vein i.e. they’re not d-beat devotees but still play in a savage ‘n visceral style on their “Mentality” demo. After a tribal-type intro, “The Fuckening,” they kick into overdrive with a full-on blitz and shrieking, ranting vocals. They bash their way through the songs with a blunt aggressiveness, working in thrash and more pounding elements. (

INFANT MORTALITY-Infamous (Violated CD)
Old-timers from Dover, DE who started this band back in the 80s and, after a hiatus in the 2000s, reformed a few years ago. Pretty basic fast, snotrag hardcore punk with metallic guitar leads. It gets a bit monotonous after awhile, although there’s a wise-assed sense of humor. They also tack on the tracks from their 1994 split with Violent Society and a few extras and there’s an enjoyable scrappiness to those songs, which include a cover of Bad Posture's “GDMFSOB.” (

INTERCISION-Their Names (demo) 
Intercision's tape has a fold out insert that says “No Ban/No Wall/No Registry/No Trump… Fuck White Supremacy.” Thing is this tape could have come out at any time—timeless lyrics about misogyny, religion, police abuse, as well as a poignant letter to a childhood friend who got killed in one of this country’s endless wars. Those words and some of the other lyrics read more like prose or essays than rhyming lines. The demo’s title track reads off the names of people murdered by the police in recent years. Unfortunately, some more names will have to be added soon. Full-on, power-packed hardcore punk—reminds me of Aus-Rotten a bit. Includes a Pist cover. (

ISS-Endless Pussyfooting (State Laughter, demo)
The third tape from ISS—the collaboration between Rick Ivey from Whatever Brains and Edwin Schneider from Brain F≠--is another ear-grabbing excursion of electro-punk/new wave mania. It’s fun picking out the samples they use—the Cure’s “Jumping Someone Else’s Train,” X-Ray Spex's“Oh Bondage Up Yours” and even the yell that starts Faust’s “The Sad Skinhead” are woven into the kinetic musical tapestry. “Peniss Envy” has a chaotic industrialized fervor, while “Hot Boi” mixes in gothy textures and “(919) Sui-Cide” has a downright danceable rhythm. Experimental, yet completely unpretentious. (

KALEIDOSCOPE-Volume Three (Feel It, 12")
After some tape releases and one 7”, Kaleidoscope’s Volume Three 12” features a somewhat more accessible take on their experimental punk approach. Mastermind Shiva Addanki has also played with the likes of NYC bung rockers Ivy, JJ Doll and Deformity, so there’s a dirty ‘n gritty vibe to these songs, a lowdown bluesiness harnessed to expansive sonic elements. There’s a concept at work, perhaps a cautionary tale of sorts, where man bows to machine but the machines end up inheriting the less-savory elements of the human condition, which makes one wonder who or what is controlling who. (


LONG KNIFE-Sewers Of Babylon (Beach Impediment, 7")
Yeah, they still kind of sound like Poison Idea and Colin certainly channels Jerry A. There’s no denying it but they're good at it. High energy hardcore punk with searing guitar licks and metallic flourishes. Sticking to a loud/fast blueprint, although “The Tower” is a fired-up mid-tempo rocker. Keith Testerman (Hellshock, Warcry, etc) now mans the drum kit and provides a potent backbeat that really fires the engines. Floor-rattling. (

MIRROR-Universal Dismay (Erste Theke Tontrager, 7")
An Austin aggregation including members of such heavy hitters as Vaaska, Criaturas, Glue and others. Needless to say, their Universal Dismay 7” provides a reckless excursion with spacey guitar tones to go with the noisy roar and ranty vocals. Kind of a Finnish hardcore feel at times, particularly Kaaos. Six songs of sonic dynamite. (Erst Theke Tonträger,

MOD VIGIL-s/t (X-Mist, LP)
The cover of Mod Vigil’s disc is a tribute to the sleeve for Gang Of Four’s debut 7” “Damaged Goods,” adding a few scientific symbols. They definitely have a semi-angular post-punk pulse in their sound, with the nervy, jabbing guitars but it’s a punkier attack. Surging and stinging, accompanied by nasally, distorted vocals, driving a hole through your skull with the driving “Trout Casualty,” “Driving Is Easy” and “Bad Day,” while “Rare Au Pair” has a stop-start moodiness to it. “K-Hole” provides rhythmic, whirlwind frenzy. As far as I know, this is this Australian band’s debut—no previous demo or 7”, jumping straight to the 12” format and it’s a bold splash. (

NEW CROSS (demo)
Debut demo from this Boston area band that includes Nate Thompson from the late, great Flaccid on vocals. This six song tape starts with a tough, floor-pounding intro and they play no-BS hardcore with a street punk undertow, ala 86 Mentality. It was recorded straight to cassette and, truth be told, these guys need to get into a real studio because these songs deserve a much better recording. (300 Lafayette St, Apt. 4, Salem, MA 01970,

NURSE-s/t (Scavenger of Death, 7")
Nurse's sophomore 7" is just as potent as their debut. Nasty, scalding hardcore punk but there’s also haunting guitar textures to go with the onslaught. These guys actually sound like Out Cold with darker musical shadings, especially on opening song “Foreign Objects.” Also, like that band, the lyrics reveal a tortured, tormented soul. Ear-rending sounds. (

POLITICAL CRAP-Slow Death (Slope, 7")
Political Crap was Duane Peters’ first band and the three songs on this disc originally appeared on the 1981 compilation "Who Cares." Young, loud and snotty (where have I heard that before?), capturing the essence of early 80s southern California punk, especially for the brief, hard-hitting “Slow Death”—funny to see the reference to reading a 1991 obituary. The other songs are in more of a tuneful, mid-tempo vein. Duane’s vocals have a snarling quality that’s quite different from the weathered emanations that would come later with US Bombs. A worthwhile unearthing.(


RAD/CROISSANTS-Split (Sacramento, 7")
CROSS CLASS-Reflection (demo)
Two Sacramento bands, RAD and The Croissants, have hooked up for a split 7." They're quite different stylistically yet it works. RAD are back with 11 songs of trebly hardcore with no breaks and they do it with a lot of precision, with hairpin tempo shifts. 10 originals--before you finish reading the title of the song, they're on to the next--plus a well-done cover of Jerry's Kids "I Don't Belong" that's longer than the rest of the tracks put together. The songs are laced with humor as well as rage. Lory's vocals have an endearingly-sarcastic cadence The Croissants offer noisy, melodic buzzy, fuzzy punk that's pretty rockin.' "Everyone's A Rocker" sounds like a slowed-down minimalist take of the Ramones' "I Just Wanna Have Something To Do," accompanied by a rhythm machine (or it sounds like it) (

Cross Class features Craig from RAD. Their six song tape is taken from a future 14 song release. Raw, fast, hardcore punk with the occasional blastbeat and also incorporating some floor-pounding properties. Only one song, the heavier-sounding title track, breaks the one minute barrier. Angry-as-hell sounding but a little kind of goes a long way. (

RANK/XEROX-M.Y.T.H. (Adagio830, 12")
It’s been quite awhile since Rank/Xerox released anything, 2011 to be precise, and their self-titled album was one of that year’s best. It was a wiry, angular post-punk attack that conjured up memories of early 80s Boston art-punk bands like Native Tongue. Their new four song 12” M.Y.T.H. fucks with that formula, a bit. In fact, it’s something of a departure. The title track works in synth bleats and it’s got a mutant pop feel ala Total Abuse, as does “Ingenue,” which also cross-pollinates Devo and 154-era Wire. “Zero Hour” and “Deletation” do harken back to what they did on the first album—two edgy and mind-numbing compositions. It did take a few listens but all four songs have an engaging presence, with different shadings. (

SEEING SNAKES-For Who? For What? (Violated, CD)
Seeing Snakes come from the melodic punk side of the street, with beefy riffs, heartfelt vocals and boisterous backups. They sound like they’d fit perfectly on one of those TKO Records "Punch Drunk" compilations, sharing space with the likes of The Forgotten or Hudson Falcons. Tuneful without devolving into anything saccharine. Nice ‘n loud. ( 

SIAL (demo)
Raging stuff from Singapore. Sial generate a buzzsaw fury, both at a fast ‘n ripping clip and songs that have more of a pounding, tribal feel. Guitar and bass riffs that are thick as molasses and Siti’s piercing, urgent sounding vocals with a bit of echo on them that bring to mind Spanish bands like Destino Final or Una Bestia Incontrolable. It’s a big, sense-enveloping sound. (

SILVER SCREAMS-Defective Machines (self-released, 12")
A dose of hard-driving, rockin’ melodic punk. Silver Screams are at their best when they plow straight ahead with a volume-soaked attack, as with “Dead Air” and “Brownbagger." Those both connecting with a feisty west coast punk fervor, packing some scorching guitar riffs. The cover of Joy Division’s “Disorder” is well-executed, if fairly faithful. The only real misfire is the more down-tempo, slower-burning “Straightjacket.” (

SLIMY MEMBER-Ugly Songs For Ugly People (Drunken Sailor, LP)
It should come as no surprise that Slimy Member, who take their name from a Rudimentary Peni song, would draw at least some inspiration from that band. Their debut album isn’t complete tribute but the latter’s influence can certainly be heard on songs like “Revelations” and “Age Old Time.” Still, it’s the not the whole story. This Dallas band emphasize a goth-tinged ambiance with shimmery and slashing guitar layered over nimble, somber bass-lines and a solid rhythmic kick. The pace is picked up for the fast and furious “No God” and “Destroy and Resist.” While there’s a bleakness, it’s not really dark wave and there aren’t any keyboards. Slimy Member definitely come down on the punk side of the equation. (

UBIK (demo)
Melbourne, Australia continues to crank out quality bands and Ubik is one of the latest. A tuneful post-punk meets anarcho-punk sound. Ash’s vocals have an engaging quality, with a passionate cadence. One song is about a right-wing Australian crank named Andrew Bolt, who seems to be a racist, down-under counterpart to the Breitbart acolytes that pollute the political stream in this country. A stirring message and stirring, sharply-played music (

UNA BÈSTIA INCONTROLABLE-Metamorfosi (La Vida Es Un Mus, LP)
The latest from this Barcelona band has them continuing to fuse repetitive tribal rhythms to a powerful, numbing, guitar buzz, a sound they hone into a fiery concoction. Propulsive and explosive, particularly for “Estic Buit Per Dins” (”I’m Empty Inside”), with a relentless burn. “Tot Sol” (“Alone”) is a short, industrial excursion ala Ministry or Young Gods. To paraphrase Killing Joke (a band these guys certainly draw from), it’s time to go the fire dances. Smoothing off the rough edges a bit, perhaps a tad more melodic/accessible but still mighty powerful. (La Vida Es Un Mus,


VIDEO FILTH/MUTANT ITCH-split (Dark Raids/Total Fucker, 7")
Video Filth have become one of the hottest live bands in Boston over the past year or so and their split release with Fresno’s Mutant Itch proves that out pretty well. Brian’s a soft-spoken guy but his vocals are harsh and guttural and it’s matched with the band’s meatgrinder Swedish-influenced hardcore. Mutant Itch have an ear-damaging sound that’s part noisy Japanese hardcore, part Disorder/Chaos UK-frenzy with the vocalist’s emanations basically being AAAAAAAAGGHH, as it says on the lyric sheet. (Dark Raids,; Total Fucker,

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Al Quint
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