Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Suburban Voice blog #131


The poster accompanying the press release touts this as Washington vs. Indiana,with the former represented by Kid Chrome, Lysol and Stiff Love 7" slabs and the latter by odds 'n sods compilation LPs from Liquids and Erik Nervous. Neck Chop keeps cranking out a quality assortment of spirited punk sounds.

Out of the Pacific Northwest comes the latest from Lysol, two songs of slam-bang punk. "Teenage Trance" is a collision of hardcore and garage, throwing in a nod to Bad Brains' "Right Brigade." Meanwhile, "Chemical Reaction" has a purer garage feel, with a keyboard-less Hank Wood and the Hammerheads type arrangement. All you need to know is it fuckin' rocks.

The two other 7"s from that part of the country include people from Lysol. Kid Chrome is the nom-de-punk for Chad Bucklew's solo project. His latest musical ommunique features three re-recorded songs from earlier demos and the recordings are sharper and clearer but far from pretty or polished. The rhythm remains mechanized but the guitar riffs slash and burn and the vocals are full of soulful howls. Stiff Love has Lysol's Christine Lundberg (under the name Lazy Susan) handling guitar and vocals and their four song  Trouble 7" is a fun 'n brash garage punk excursion, with sneaky hooks and a whomping backbeat. What's not to love?

Northwest Indiana, as many of you probably know, has been a hotbed of quirky, weirdo punk for the past several years, an incestuous scene where it seems like everyone involved plays in multiple bands or have their own solo type projects. Liquids' Hot Liqs Revenge offers 20 rip roarin' tracks in about 30 minutes (19 are listed and the one that isn't is a rough 'n ready cover of Nick Lowe's "Heart In The City.") I can't keep up with the band's prolific discography but, as far as I can tell, this is the first time these songs have been on vinyl, although they've been available digitally. Liquids mastermind Mat Williams has a pure punk rock 'n roll heart and he takes the traditional trappings and lowers the fidelity, more on some tracks than others. "Don't Give A Fuck About You" is the attitude and that's there in spades. Almost all of 'em are loud, fast and snotty.

Erik Nervous (real last name Hart), who is actually from Kalamazoo, MI and not Indiana, has a similarly minimalist bent. He also orders listeners to "stop calling it DEVO-core." Well, Erik has a point, because these songs won't make you think of the Spuds from O-H-I-O. The closest he comes to that is synth-driven track "(Do The) Simulate." If anything, he draws from the Urinals (who he covers) and early Wire, along with jabbing post-punk ("Misfit Right In" sounds like Delta 5). "&&&" is near pop. There are some offbeat cover versions--the somewhat obscure "Bridgeport Lathe," by the Boston band the 2x4's, which is a longtime favorite song of mine. It sounds a bit off but I'm impressed he (un)covered it (pun intended). His dismemberment of blues chestnut "I'm A Man" is also quite entertaining. For bedroom recordings, the fidelity isn't that low, either. Taken from a number of demos and 7"s on Total Punk and Neck Chop plus a few unreleased songs and only a small sampling of what he's released over the years. Check out for a lot more. (



Deranged Records has been going strong for over a decade and a half at this point and label founder Gord continues to put out quality releases. The latest batch includes some gems, although not all of them fall into that category. Chicagoans Tarantüla maintain their full-bore power on their third 7" The Very Best of Sex and Violence. They could have added "drugs" to the title, as well, as three of the songs here deal with substance use and abuse. The musical attack remains muscular, mid-tempo punk rock 'n roll with gutteral vocals and, as I've written before, it sounds more complete and focused than Tarantüla's predecessor Cülo. 

Damagersself-titled 7" is a vinyl pressing of their demo from last year and provides a bruising hardcore punk assault with a bootboy undertow. Nothing new or different, just loud and energetic fodder with floor-thumping drumming and plenty of anger.
No Problem's third full length, Let God Sort 'Em Out, is their first in four years and they still offer urgent and earnest melodic punk. The title track is a collage of musical and audio samples, with the main rhythm coming from DYS' "Wolfpack" (cool) and that fades into their west coast-inspired sounds, albeit with a darker undertow at times. "Warpaint" comes on strong with a vintage Adolescents-tinged approach. "Eyes Of A Killer" and "Let It Bleed Pt. II" both have a sinister edginess. The heart-on-sleeve sentiment sometimes gets more than a bit obvious--"No Justice No Peace" comes to mind--but it's in the right place.

Spiritual Cramp probably take their name from the Christian Death song but don't sound like that band and the lead off track on their Police State EP is called "Spiritual Cramp" but its not a cover version. It's also the best song by far, a feisty, energetic garage punk stomper. Unfortunately, the other three songs don't live up that--the lilting reggae of "850 Bryant," the reggae/rock of "I Feel Bad Bein' Me" and melodic "Blood Clot" are a complete letdown after that promising start. Strong lyrical messages, describing the grittiness of their San Francisco home, but the music doesn't match up.

Criminal Code are another band who haven't been heard from in a bit--2534 is their first album since 2013 and second overall. They continue to ply melody-driven punk mixed with goth but, while they had a shimmery rawness in the past, that's been cleaned up on this new collection. There are strong hooks on such songs as "Exiled" and "Cancer," but it seems as though some of the band's previous edginess has been lost. The expanded lengths on the closing tracks for each side tend to drag things out. Still, they exhibit solid tunecraft and, at times, you can hear echoes of a band like the Chameleons. It just doesn't leave all that strong an impression. (


... or FTWNU2 for short. That's the moniker for a relatively new label out of Minnesota. They specialize in brutal hardcore. Not a pop song to be found on the pair of 7"s or two CDs that showed up here. The Hive/No Skin split 7" is a rager. Hive have a crusty heaviness on their two songs, punctuated by soul-screaming vocals. But I prefer the flip. No Skin, in case you missed my review of their 12", includes Ben Crew from In Defence and Damage Deposit. Rabid, raw hardcore punk done the right way, boiling over with venomous intent.

Bonefire also pack a of rage into their Murderapolis CD. Energetic Motörcharged hardcore punk, pulling a few early Final Conflict tricks out of their collective amps. Nothing to change the world but the production is raw and the there's some nasty bass rumble underneath everything. Includes two somewhat unnecessary live tracks but the five studio tracks are worthwhile.

I'm not as enamored with Dissident Clone. Their Civilized CD is pretty much by-the-numbers grind/thrashcore/death metal created by two guys handling all the instruments and vocals. Blasting away in pretty much tuneless fashion. Creating The Consumed is a vinyl pressing of a 2014 recording, just guitar and drums, no bass, maybe a little more on the death metal side of things. (PO Box 822, Hopkins, MN 55343,



AQUARIUM-Hex (Lumpy, 12")

Jittery, wiry, garagey, post-punk from Minneapolis, but all the lyrics are in German. One of the band members played in the similarly-minded band Uranium ClubNo matter the language, the vocals are spirited and so is the music. It had me thinking of early west coast punk purveyors like the Urinals, Modern Warfare and the Plugz, in that the band favors a kinetic, trebly sound. An angular attack. (

BASEBALL FURIES-All-American Psycho (Big Neck, LP)

A reissue of the Furies' 1999 10" EP, adding on the four songs from their 1998 "Sounds Of Mayhem" 7" to add up to twelve inches of prime, raw 'n nasty garage punk. Distorted, nasally vocals and a gnarled and barbed mess of low-fidelity slop. I mean that in the best possible way. Sure, "Rapid Fire Attack" borrows a little from "I Got A Right," but they condense it to a minute and a quarter of fury. "Last Man," which was the last track on the original 10", is a cacophonous rave-up. And the four songs from the 7" are even rougher-sounding. To use a hoary reference from the movie where they took their name, time to come out and play. But watch out for the bats. (38977 Thomas Mill Rd., Leesburg, VA 20175,

BLANKZ-White Baby/Sissy Glue (Slope, 7")/(I Just Want To) Slam/Baby's Turning Blue (Slope, 7")

The gimmick for this Phoenix band is to release a bunch of 7"s and then press them on a 12". Here are the first two installments. Driving, catchy new wavish-punk with an early LA feel and also along the lines of the Briefs. Things do feel a bit forced and obvious at times but "Sissy Glue," in particular, has a winning charm, driven along by cheesy keyboards. I just wish it was a bit grittier-sounding. (


BROWN SUGAR-Long Strange Drip (Feral Kid/The Loki Label, LP)/Adumdum (Feral Kid/The Loki Label, tape)
Two compilations and over an hour and a half of music (35 songs stretching over almost an hour on the 12"! Talk about bang for your buck...). "Long Strange Drip" collects the band's various 7"s and flexis, plus a few unreleased songs, starting with a rockin' cover of "Hey Joe." The tape features live material and various demo songs, including a cover of Antidote's rather racist "Foreign Job Lot." What makes it funny is the fact that their vocalist, Eddie, is an undocumented immigrant. Brown Sugar were always a wonderful mess, a cascade of punk, hardcore, garage and rock 'n roll with a devil-may-care wittiness. Not that there wasn't a message with the madness--"Deportation" certainly deals with a serious topic. The sharp wit also comes out in the detailed liner notes written by their guitarist Brandon. There was an evolution over time as a good chunk of the earlier material had a thrashy emphasis but still exhibited a good amount of musical skill. They eventually broadened their horizons a bit, while always having a manic and frenetic edge. The live set on "Adumdum," recorded in Cleveland, has them going full-tilt but never falling into disarray. Considering that Eddie was usually charging around like a madman during their sets and I'm sure that it was a wild scene, that's quite an accomplishment. Never predictable and always potent. (

FIRE HEADS-s/t (Big Neck, LP)

Another band with the involvement of the ever-busy/ubiquitous Bobby Hussy, who also recorded and mixed it. Fire Heads incorporate strains of punk, garage and even country/roots music. No acoustic guitars, though, except for the last track "Night Comes Again," an almost Jandek-type solo guitar/vocal piece that eventually gets subsumed by feedback. Most of the songs are at a high-energy clip, providing a headlong rush, while also maintaining a melodic sensibility. Pretty good. (38977 Thomas Mill Rd., Leesburg, VA 20175,

GALLERY NIGHT-s/t (Big Neck, 7")

Big rock-riffarola by this Milwaukee three piece, including a former member of the Baseball Furies. A whoop 'n holler, AmReppy Stooges-meets-Jesus Lizard inspiration fused to a propulsive grind and they pound their way through your senses. Ugly and heavy, but with plenty of rhythmic drive. (38977 Thomas Mill Rd., Leesburg, VA 20175,


GELD-Perfect Texture (Iron Lung, 12")/Demo EP (Nopatience, 7")
A wild hardcore ride. On Australian band Geld's 12" debut, there's an ominous lead-in for about half of opening track "Cleaver" and then the sonic eruption begins. Razor-gargling vocals mixed into a relentless attack but they mix odd guitar effects and phasing in there, along with some formidable shredding. Pronounced echoes of 80s-era Italian hardcore turned into something fresh. It's a twisted concoction, leading to the sputtering, cataclysmic conclusion of "Parasitic Fucker," where everything fades out except for Al's vocals, howling right 'til the end. Meanwhile, Nopatience Records has pressed their 2016 demo onto vinyl. There's not as much of the swarm effect but they still leave behind a wanton trail of destruction. Fast 'n raw. (;

GEN POP-II (Feel It, 7")

Olympia band with Maryjane and Ian from Vexx. The first two songs, "Oh No" and "No Change," are loud 'n fast hardcore chargers and just when you think this is going to be pure rage, they go do a near 180 into the moody 'n brooding "Plastic Comb" and follow that with the art-punk attack of "Waxing State." Then it's back to the hardcore races for "No Identify" (part of it, at least) and then another dose of jarring art-punk. Quite a ride and it keeps you guessing as to what will come next. (PO Box 25045, Richmond, VA 23260,


GIANT HAYSTACKS-This Is All There Is (Mistake, CD)
This Is All There Is is an anthology of this Bay Area band's singles and EPs, plus one song recorded live on WFMU. A post-punk pulse but there were always melodic underpinnings, accompanying the dynamic, jabbing interplay. There's a familiarity in what you're hearing (Minutemen, especially, but it wasn't a reenactment of their influences. Giant Haystacks mixed those with observational lyrics done in a non-sloganeering style. Singing instead of shouting out any sort of obvious buzz phrases. It's hard to believe it's been over a decade since this band existed but the material still sounds fresh and brash. (

INSINUATIONS-Prompt Critical/US Muscle (Feel It, 7")

Obscure, quirky punk from Richmond ca. 1980. Punk is kind of a misnomer, so would be art-punk or post-punk but Insinuations don't follow your standard KBD blueprint. Two offbeat, engaging compositions with male/female vocals and barbed, minimalist instrumentation. Satirical lyrics about a nuclear meltdown on the a-side and a poke at the so-called American dream on the flip. (

LANDLORDS-Hey! It's A Teenage House Party (Feel It, LP)

Awhile back, Feel It put out an unreleased Landlords album, Fitzgerald's Paris and now there's a reissue of this Charlottesville, VA band's album from 1984. Two of the people, John Beers and Charlie Kramer, went on to do Happy Flowers. It's a joyous hardcore punk smorgasbord that incorporates the standard thrash of the day, along with some tuneful and heavy metal elements. Collegiate wiseasses making a fun racket. There's also a cover of Moving Sidewalks' (Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top's early band) garage/psych chestunt "99th Floor." Some of that wit showed up later on in the Flowers was certainly incubated in the Landlords, although there could be darker lyrical material, as well. Includes a booklet with lyrics, flyers, photos and reminiscences and the download tacks on another 18 demo songs. (

LITHICS-Mating Surfaces (Kill Rock Stars, CD)

Sharp, jabbing art-punk or post-punk or whatever hackneyed expression you want to use. Rock critic crutches for sure, but that's where Portland, OR band Lithics are coming from on their second album, following 2016's Borrowed Floors. Tightly-executed compositions with busy instrumental interplay and Aubrey Hornor's detached-sounding vocals. At times, there's a UK flavor to them. "Still Forms" is reminiscent of the Fire Engines, for instance. "Boyce," meanwhile, has a No Wave flavor. Sometimes, they go for more of a straight-ahead punk sound, as with "Flat Rock" or "Dancing Guy," the latter of which also has some stop/start no wavish-flourishes. Nervy and edgy, throughout. (

MALE PATTERNS-Headaches (Peterwalkee, LP)

Male Patterns had a song on their first 7" called "Pissed and Old" and you could say they're just as pissed. Maybe more so. Definitely older, as the 7" came out in 2015. Well-played anger-driven hardcore that's semi-catchy, like a cross between 86 Mentality and Poison Idea. The title track is a cogent expression of frustration and anger borne of life's monotony. Yup, life's a pain in the ass. So play loud and tell the neighborhood kids to get the fuck off your lawn. (

NEUTRALS-Promotional Compact Disk (self-released, CD)

Neutrals is Giant Haystacks guitarist/vocalist Allan McNaughton's latest band, following his stint with Airfix Kits. Two demos--one from 2016, one from 2016--on one CD, in case you weren't paying attention. This is a simpler, straight-forward and tuneful approach as opposed to the post-punk angularity of Giant Haystacks (although that's a subtle element). Instead, it's a mainly different strain, taking more from late 70s UK, Rough Trade bands. Lyrical wittiness, as well--"Swiss" points out that while the band are "Neutrals," they are not Swiss, while tweaking some of that country's traditions (neutrality, Swiss Army knives, Kleenex--the band, not the product). Once again, using the past as an inspiration but it's not a sepia-toned image. (

NO LOVE-Choke On It (Sorry State, LP)

Feverish and frenetic punk by this NC band (including Sorry State honcho Daniel Lupton). There's melody but there's also a high bash quotient that keep the songs surging along. I hear a little bit of White Lung (without the gothic trappings) and Brain F≠, the latter due to the sonic dustcloud effect, and these are thrown into a hardcore swirl. Re-recordings of the two songs from their 2015 7" plus a cover of ISS's "Back Taxes & Anaphylaxis," given a rocked-up reading and riding an engaging guitar line. Three years since the 7", worth the wait. (

OPTION-The Hour Of Action (demo)
This Boston three piece includes Dan from No Sir I Won't and Brain Killer and Sam from Innocent and Mundo Muerto. Continuting in a somewhat similar vein as NSIW, only sharper. Punchy UK-style anarcho punk with an urgent delivery and top-not playing--buzzing guitar and a pumping rhythmic undertow, along with outspoken lyrics given a forceful delivery. And it's all quite catchy, especially "The Front Page." (

PEZZ-More Than You Can Give Us (Truant, LP)
The songs on Pezz's latest were recorded in 2012 but are just now seeing a vinyl and digital release.This Memphis unit has always plied a melodic take on punk, along with impassioned lyrics that takes on societal concerns with a first person approach, such as with "Welcome To Palestine."    The title track is the best of the lot, providing an energetic surge of older Bad Religion-inspired power and closing song "Guilty" provides a speed-driven conclusion. About the only misstep is the nearly four minute ballad "Miss You So Bad" and, sorry, I'm in favor of keeping cellos out of punk. Not bad, otherwise. They've beefed things up with a three guitar lineup and everything meshes well, a combination of burn and tunefulness. (;


THE PROLETARIAT-The Murder Of Alton Sterling (Bridge Nine, 7")
Yes, new stuff by the Proletariat, their first new recordings in over 30 years. 3/4 of the original lineup--Rick Brown, Peter Bevilaqua and Tom McKnight are joined by new guitarist Don Sanders. Not exactly picking up where they left off, after their somber-sounding "Indifference" album (which was culled from different sessions). The two songs here are aggressive, in-your-face punk, with the title track a sub-two minute rage session ripped from the headlines, as they say, about an unarmed black man being gunned down by the police. "Push Back" infuses a post-punk pulse into a rocking arrangement. A good return and they've got more new material already in the pipeline. (

RULETA RUSA-Viviendo Una Maldicion (Sorry State, LP)

First full-length album since 2013's Aqui No Es and featuring re-recordings of the 7 songs on their Euro 12" from 2015, plus three new originals and bashing covers of two songs by early 80s Spanish band Paralisis Permanente. A rough 'n tumble array of fast-paced hardcore mixed with tuneful punk ("Vivre Sin Ti" is damn near poppy), along with raspy vocals sung in Spanish. No translations but a title like "Todos Es Mierda" gives a pretty good indication where they're coming from--"World Of Shit." There's an anger in the way the words are projected but the music has an energetic, upbeat appeal. Scrappy and boisterous. (

STUN EVENT-s/t (Antitodo, LP)

Despite the fact that this band includes three former members of Out Cold--vocalist Keven Mertens, drummer John Evicci and guitarist Freddy Defecto adding some lead work (Kevin also plays guitar)-- Stun Event don't really sound like that band. The songs here are herky-jerky hardcore compositions with odd time signatures. There's a post-punk or even jazzy sensibility, but it's something they incorporate instead of it being an obvious element. There aren't always standard song structures or the brevity has them moving on to the next one just about when you've gripped what's playing. In other words it's fairly hookless but the playing is sharp and intense. (,


TOZCOS-Sueños Deceptivos (Verdugo, LP)
Rough hardcore punk en Espanol from this Santa Ana, CA band, although there are European punk influences, as well. Monse's vocals exude raspy rage and passion and the band sound muscular, with a warm, buzzing guitar tone. There's nuance, though, and darker, semi-goth shadings emerge on "Ritmo De La Muerte" and there's also a near-four minute, intense dirge in "Un Hogar." Most of the time, though, they play at a mid-to-fast clip and avoid having the "all the songs sound the same" syndrome. Solid live band too. (

TV SLIME-Slime Demon (Byaaaaaah!, 7")

The first release in three years from this Chicago crew and their second 7" overall and it's a riff monster, much heavier than their debut. Crushing, punk-driven AmRep style rock, in the same ballpark as a band like Metz, only meaner-sounding. Three sturdy mid-tempo blasts plus one speed bomb ("Timber"). Ugly and crushing. (


LIFE IS POSERS--Inflammable Metropolis
The latest installment of Mike "Rufio" Kadoyima's Life Is Posers comic series is about the return of Poserton punk legends The Opposers, about to play their first show in over 20 years. Needless to say, this creates much excitement for Bazz and Skuzz and their punk compatriots. In fact, Bazz is so excited that he can't wait the month until the show and enlists his friend Spit to create a time travel elixir, which is a "carefully crafted mixture PCP, crushed pills, lemon blast moonshine and formaldehyde." As you'd imagine, the results don't come out as expected. And having Frisbee and the Ratpunks opening the show creates other problems, big ones...

For this issue, Rufio has enlisted other artists to draw panels and there are multiple contributions at the end that capture a pivotal Posterton punk event and many of these drawings take a very dark turn. Another thing to look out for are the selections of Posteron's various food establishments. You can get Rudimentary Panini at UK Subs or Springa Rolls at the Chinese Takeaway food truck.

Entertaining as always and Rufio's created his own little on-line punk kingdom where not only can you check out his books but also sample the music of Posterton's various bands, including the Opposers. (