Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Suburban Voice blog #136



CHANGES AT MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL... PLUS A COLUMN YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

I'd imagine many of you have heard the news that MRR will be ceasing the print version of the zine with the May issue, after nearly 37 years of publishing. It's a tough time for print zines. I haven't done a print issue since 2003. A lot of it has to do with procrastination or, as somewhat less benevolent might say, pure laziness. I know a blog isn't the same as a print zine and I DO want to return to print for at least one more issue and some kind of book that people has asked me about for years. I just don't know if I have the dedication, ambition or perseverance to do that again. Cost is another consideration, with printing and shipping rates having increased astronomically since I last published. I'd have to sell some advertising, like in the past, but might find that a bit more challenging. That's one of MRR's problems--a large decline in print sales. There are other problems, as well, but that's one of the biggest. 


I'm sorry to say that there will never be a 100+ page issue of the zine again. It's not all that necessary since this (sporadically published) blog features record reviews. I know it lacks the interviews and live reviews that the print issue featured. I haven't done a band interview in several years at this point and the last few I did weren't really up to snuff and I never even bothered transcribing them. Maybe someday I'll see what I can salvage. 

Getting back to MRR, I've been reading it since almost day one. My collection starts with the second issue and I have every single one of them up to the present, except for issue #1, which I have a copy of. Those of you who have spent your entire lives gleaning musical knowledge strictly from the internet might not understand the importance MRR and other print zines. I touched on that in my tribute to Tim Yohannan that ran in SV blog #129 from last year. I'd scour the interviews, record reviews and ads looking for new records to order or try to trade my zine for. I connected with penpals all over the country and around the world from the classifieds in MRR and Flipside. I even found romance (briefly) through one of those ads. I still have the tapes, records and flyers I received in trade--many of my classic Finnish and Swedish hardcore records come from those penpals. 

EIGHT BOXES OF MRR 

I sound like a fossil but there wasn't the instant access to information that you have now. I love that too... best of both worlds. I'll read a review about a band in MRR and if it piques my interest, I'll hop on-line and try to find their music. Within a few minutes, I'll be putting the good ones on my iPhone, plugging it into my home or car stereo and playing it nice and loud. If I like it, I'll try to track down a physical copy. The process is definitely streamlined. I fully support instant gratification but I also love perusing the stack of various books and magazines next to my recliner, although I do have a tablet and now read digital books in addition to printed ones. 

Anyway, as of now, MRR will be increasing its online content, including the records review. I'm not sure what other content will be moving there--I'd like to continue my monthly column but that's up in the air. They'll also eventually be launching an on-line digital archive that will include "the complete print run of the magazine, dating back to 1982. Each issue is meticulously catalogued to the article level and presented as a high-quality searchable PDF, completely free of charge."

So, yeah, it's the end of an era but, whether people like it or not, MRR isn't going away. I just hope I'm part of their future.


In the meantime, here's a column you might have missed... let's just say...


YOU CAN’T PLEASE EVERYONE


Putting one’s opinions in print—or online, for that matter—occasionally leads to criticism or objections. It goes with the territory, of course. It’s been intensified in this era of social media. Such things moved a bit more slowly back then. Instead of jumping on-line, you had to write letters to the editor. This publication used to have a very lively letters section, with people going back and forth over several issues.

The thing is, some people hang onto their resentments. I know a few people who have carried grudges for that long over perceived slights I gave them in the 80s. One of them admits he’s still a dick to me because I didn’t give his band enough respect back then. In fact, he crossed the line once, meddling in my personal life but I’d rather not go into it. And all over a fucking review. Sheesh, get a life, will ‘ya?

I’ve been pretty fortunate over my writing “career” to have not received all that much in the way of harsh criticism, abuse or threats. Maybe I’m doing something right or maybe people just don’t care all that much or have the fortitude to call me out. Anyway, it’s happened from time to time, starting with one of my early issues. One of my writers at the time, Kathi Whalen, did a review of a show where she said the Boston band Stranglehold “tore through a typical hardcore set that actually wasn’t too bad at all, just a little on the predictable side.” This apparently inspired the members of the band to call me—collect—to take issue with what she’d written, even though the criticism was mild. Of course, being an idiot, I accepted the charges. It sounded like they were a bit more than inebriated while giving me grief and asserting that Kathi’s assessment of them being a typical hardcore band was far off the mark. They did have a point. After hearing their music later on, which came from more of a hard-driving melodic punk impulse, it’s obvious that Kathi’s review wasn’t entirely accuarate. She was a good writer, though, and eventually parlayed her talents into a “legit” writing career with the Washington Post and City Paper.


I got a call another time—not collect, thankfully—from a woman who objected to a review I gave of SSD’s third 12”, How We Rock. You know, the one where they “went metal.” She didn’t identify herself but we went back and forth for a good 20 minutes, debating the accuracy of my assessment that the album was basically second-rate AC/DC. In retrospect, that’s not completely accurate but it’s still mediocre rock with incessant guitar wanking and really awful vocals. Anyway, neither of us convinced each other to change our opinions and, while the conversation was spirited, it never devolved into nastiness. I eventually realized who it probably was some time later—someone close to the band—although she claims she doesn’t recall it and/or flat-out denies it. I’m not buying it but I won’t name names.

Annoying phone calls aren’t as bad as physical threats, of course. I was only threatened physically one time. There was a small group of Nazi-wannabes who came to shows in the mid-80s and would engage in sieg-heiling. I called them out in the ‘zine. The main instigator, a guy named Flea (not to be confused with the bass player from the west coast), confronted me in the parking lot of the Channel club in Boston. He basically said bad things would happen to me if kept saying bad things about them. I told him I wasn’t going to stop and, wouldn’t you know it, nothing ever came of it. I’ll admit it made me nervous.

Speaking of skinheads and Nazis, one of the biggest incidents involved a skinhead zine in the early 90s called Under Siege. The issues the publisher sent me featured interviews with racist bands like Stormwatch and Straw Dogs (the UK one) and other bands who flirted with sketchiness. There was also a pathological hatred of gay people. In fact, there was a pathological hatred of anyone who didn’t embrace their nationalist right-wing ideology. Their slogan was “Burn Fags, Not Flags.” One columnist who said he was a kindergarten teacher suggested that his readers “Bash fags. Bash satanists (sic). Bash homeless winos. Bash feminists. Bash drug dealers but most of all, bash liberals! Let them know that we will not give into their pseudo-hippie ways.” I could go on but you get the idea.

Unfortunately, I published an ad for this zine in issue #32 of Suburban Voice, before I’d seen it. I’d been assured by an acquaintance whose band was also interviewed (a non-racist band, I might add) that there wasn’t anything objectionable in it. Oh boy was I embarrassed. More than that—it made me sick. I actually sent a letter to MRR that was published in issue #113 (October 1992) where I offered a mea culpa, stating that I’d been taken and felt like a sap. I followed that up in my column in the next issue of SV. Well, needless to say, the individual behind Under Siege didn’t take it too well. I made their “no thanks” list, where I was listed as “Al Queer” and the review of SV said it was a “fag rag.” (I think I detect a trend here).

Not only that, but I got a letter from one of the ‘zine’s fans, a gentleman named Joe whose nickname, if I remember correctly, was “Animal.” He was writing from a prison in New York state where he was apparently doing 6 to 12 years for what he said was a “bullshit” charge, namely that he “stabbed a cop like 30 times, and then his friend 20 times at a biker bar.” Now I’m not saying the Animal is guilty—I wasn’t there after all—but he did send me a rather nasty missive. Yes, I keep all of my fan mail, good and bad. It was addressed to “Dickie Do aka The Traitor, Commie” and the salutation was, “Hey Al, you mother fucking commie, cock sucking…” um, I think I’ll leave out the rest except to say it was two pages of every gay slur you could possibly think of. Once again, I think I detect a trend. Animal definitely had some anger-management issues. I hope he was able to eventually overcome them and once again become a productive member of society.  

There were two songs that had my name attached to them. One was “Al Quint Is An Emo Pussy” by Tiltwheel and the other was “Mr. Quint” by the Connecticut thrash band Atrocity. The former, on TILTWHEEL’s Hair Brained Scheme Addicts, wasn’t meant to be anything malicious, it was just their guitarist/vocalist Davey poking fun at me for thinking that Uriah Heep was better than Thin Lizzy. Davey’s a real diehard fan of Thin Lizzy—he has a tattoo of their logo. In recent years, I might come down on the Lizzy side of things. Maybe not—depends on the day. In any case, the lyrics don’t even mention me. The entirety of them are “Wonder why I’m so depressed? Fuck the world and then I’ll take you with me.” People have sent me messages over the years asking for an explanation and why Davey would write a song with such a nasty title.

 
On the other hand, the Atrocity song wasn’t any sort of love bouquet. Nope, it was pure malevolence and a response to a negative review I gave the band when they played their first area show, at TT the Bear’s in Cambridge. This was confirmed by their bass player Rich, when I contacted him on Facebook. I wrote that they had the stage presence of a “sack of potatoes.”       

I didn’t even know about this song until the early 2010s, when Brian from Dropdead told me about it. It appeared on their 1988 demo Mangled. I tracked it down on YouTube. 40 seconds of grind/thrash bile that breaks down into a riff on the “Mr. Grinch” song from Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Here are the lyrics: “Quint, Quint can't you see?/Your opinion means shit to me/We don't play to please you/Take your fucking rag and screw/He's a dickhead—Mr. Quint/He's an asshole—Mr. Quint/You talk shit—Mr. Quint/You maggot Mr. Quint…”


Anyway, Rich and I had a good laugh about it. He also said I was probably right and that they always found the review to be “funny as shit.” The demo even came out on vinyl in 2016. Rich was nice enough to send me a copy and it’s still available. Let’s just say it falls into the unnecessary reissue category but if you can’t get enough of late 80s thrash/death/grind mayhem, go to www.foadrecords.it. In all honesty, it’s fairly entertaining.

I’m always open to constructive criticism, though. And I’ve set up a special email address for it. Share your thoughts with me at HeresADimeCallSomeoneWhoCares@gmail.com.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Suburban Voice blog #135


GLUE TRAPS (photo: Punk Betty)

ANOTHER STAB AT MY NEVER-ENDING ATTEMPT TO KEEP UP WITH THE DEMO PILE...

Glue Traps have Tony Pence from Deep Sleep on vocals but, instead of Descendents-inspired punk, they go for a traditional loud, fast hardcore punk style on their Future Shocks demo. Five songs in under four minutes and it's pure burn. Except for brief "Nuke DC," the lyrics veer more towards the personal, just getting through life theme. Doing it well. And plenty of blank tape to fill it up with your own hardcore mix, just like I used to do. (celebratedsummerrecords@gmail.comgluetraps.bandcamp.com)

Bloomington, IN band The Bills have a taut, minimalist punk sound on their Take Two demo. Not cutesy and while there's a hint of new wave, there's not a keyboard in sight. The tape also includes their Take One demo. One of the songs on there, "Isolation," has a slightly more post-punk feel. No excess, no fucking around, just short songs with a good amount of sarcasm in the vocals. (bill.bandcamp.com)

London continues to produce a promising crop of young bands and Naja are one those. Their self-titled EP has a snaky goth/dark hue to it but also dips into the Rudimentary Peni well. Hitting a sturdy mid-to-fast clip, with a slight amount of echo on the vocals and a thick yet textured guitar tone. (najaband.bandcamp.com)

Also operating in somewhat minimalist vein are XL hell, whose Evel demo provides gnashing punk although they have a harder, faster, thrashing edge. Vocals climb the ladder up to a piercing squeal and the arrangements are really basic. Proving the point that the simple approach is often better. (xlhell.bandcamp.com)

Podium, from Valencia, Spain, don't have song titles on their demo--there are seven in all--but they're all sharp blasts of nervy, new wavey punk. From what I've been able to glean about Podium on-line, it appears to be a solo project that has just started doing live performances. Drill press guitar, synth shadings, mechanized rhythms and low-in-the-mix vocals, all generating some catchy hooks. Echoes of Devo, some Chrome, not really low-fi and it sounds like it'd be at home on Lumpy or Neck Chop. (podiumpodium.bandcamp.com)

Tired of Everything (are they pals with Sick Of It All?) hail from North Carolina and Will Butler fromTo Live A Lie Records handles vocal duties. Six songs of thumping, thrashing uptempo hardcore punk with strong words, among other things, about animal abuse and hypocritical "punk progressives" who commit sexual assault. Tired of Everything pretty much stay away from the grindcore and powerviolence that Will's label usually specializes in, opting for something at a more measured pace and they're good at it. (www.tolivealie.com)

A TASTE OF NEON

BOOTLICKER

Three recent 7"s on the Neon Taste label offer different slices of bruising hardcore punk. Chain Whip's self-titled EP starts off with a thrasher, "Self Destruct," but the rest operates in more of a mid-tempo oi-tinged, street punk vein. Brash and to the point and quite catchy at times. Another self-titled EP is by Cheap Appeal, featuring people from Vacant State, and they work in various shadings from Negative FX (the vocalist sounds like he could be Choke's meaner younger brother), Minor Threat and even some Motörhead. No excess, just meat 'n potatoes hardcore with a rockin' edge. 

Finally, Bootlicker's 6 Track E.P. is also rough 'n tough, starting with the martial drums and machine gun riffs leading into a good musical ass-whuppin'. The mentality can be summed up succinctly by a phrase from "Fragments"--the songs are, indeed, about "societies atrocities." In more of a UK-82 vein than the other bands. The only distraction is the production is a bit muddy. Not that one would expect high fidelity, of course. By the way, Bootlicker have another 7", Who Do You Serve on the Warthog Speak label in the US and it's just as ripping. (neontasterecords.bandcamp.com)

A CASE OF SCHIZOPHRENIA


Five, count 'em, five new releases from Schizophrenic Records, two of them plumbing the archives of 80's Toronto hardcore and the other three of more recent vintage. The older material comes from Chronic Submission and M.S.I. (aka More Stupid Initials). Chronic Submission's Empty Heads Poison Darts was originally released as a demo in 1984 (I have a copy in my collection). Brian Taylor from the old Toronto band Youth Youth Youth produced it and there are some musical similarities. Chronic Submission were young teenagers when they started the band in 1981. The songs on the demo are fast, peppy hardcore thrash with a sense of melody, as well as metallic flash. The record's accompanied by a booklet that features an a reprint of an extensive 2012 interview done by Stephe Perry from Equalizing Distort. In it, the members mention that Jello Biafra was interested in recording them for Alternative Tentacles and advanced them some money, which they proceeded to spend on glue to huff. Oh well. Better late than never. This is high energy stuff and, needless to say, this vinyl pressing was long overdue. 

Unfortunately, the M.S.I. material hasn't aged quite as well, although it's still enjoyable. Taken from 1986 and 1988 sessions and it's fast, peppy hardcore that doesn't take itself too seriously--how can it with covers by the Archies, Village People and a song taken from the "Wizard of Oz" cartoon series--although some of the lyrics express serious concerns. Slam-bang thrash with hints of melody, occasionally out of sync but with energy to burn. The accompanying booklet is filled with lyrics, photos, flyers and anecdotes, including the time they played with Slapshot and one of them was mocking Choke's hockey stick moves. 

Uncontrollable Urge don't sound DEVO-esque, as you might have expected, on their debut album. Instead, it's a tandem of garage, punk and even a little psych No hippy-dippy excursions but tight and rocking, particularly on the hard-hitting "Never Now," "Never Mine" and "Dark Days." "Your Way Out" and "Faked It" have a knotty post-punk fervor. Former members of TV Freaks, adding vocalist/guitarist Angie Lanza and it's not far removed from what that band was doing. 

Flesh Rag's Inside Your Mind is pretty much straight-up rawk. Right from the outset, the influences aren't tough to figure out. The title track is an amalgam of the Stooges' "I Got A Right," "1969" and "Little Doll." "Just One Kiss" is MC5-ish. "Love Dump" starts with some AC/DC style riffing. It's on the ordinary side and "Ballad of Nova" is definitely a skip-over track but there are some good rump-shakin' moments here and there, "Bleed For Me" in particular. Checking out some of their back catalog, this album seems to have smoother production. Their debut, self-titled 12" has a lot more of a raw edge to it. I kind of wish they'd maintained that. 

No Blues' A Collection of Love Songs is limited to 100 copies on vinyl and collects their demos and 7" tracks, plus five previously-unreleased tunes. Masterminded by Scott Paige from hardcore band Born Wrong (he's also dabbed in Crime-inspired rock with X45), No Blues are quite a different animal. Unabashed power-pop-punk that's catchy as fuck. No high-fidelity and, even with the yearning vocals, there's enough distortion on it to avoid any saccharine OD. Most of you probably won't remember New Sweet Breath but they were a 90s band who did this sort of thing very well. And if you're into the Marked Men or Exploding Hearts (one of No Blues' songs has that title), you'll love this. 

IN RYVVOLTE

SYRINGE

Three (relatively) new 7"s from the Philly label Ryvvolte are by Syringe, Nightfall and a split 7" with two acts from South American, B.E.T.O.E. and Besthoven. The latter is a tribute to Swedish legends the Shit Lickers EP, where each band (or in Besthoven's case, one man project) offer their own interpretation of this classic EP. I'd give the slight edge to B.E.T.O.E., who come closer to the original's raw spirit, although both are played with affection. I wouldn't call it essential, though.

Nightfall's Deadly Game is a rampaging dose of encrusted Swedish hardcore, done in go-for-the-throat fashion and with Discharge-haiku type lyrics. Self-deseribed as "noise and distortion against the fucking bloodsuckers." That sums it up. Finally, Syringe's vinyl debut, the Rotten Cycle EP, features raw-throated twin vocalists and a fast 'n burning crust-core/d-beat assault, with feedback and wah-wah being part of the guitar aresenal. Syringe also have a new two song flexi, The Leash, on the Dark Raids label (darkraidslabel.storenvy.com) that continues in a similarly loud and raging fashion. (ryvvolterecords.storenvy.com)

BUT WAIT... THERE'S MORE...


VANILLA POPPERS (photo: Angela Owens)

BAD MOJOS-I Hope You OD (Voodoo Rhythm, CD)
This Swiss band have no doubt listened to more than their fair share of Spits records because that comes through both musically and vocally. Totally blatant, in fact, but they do it damned well. Succinct and to the point, avoiding deep lyrical poetry and just going for a knee to the groin. Plenty of snot, fuzz 'n buzz for your buck. (www.voodoorhythm.com)

BRANDY-Laugh Track (Monofonus Press, LP)
Big-ass riffarola noise-rock with one former member (Matthew Hord) of Running, who specialized in this sort of ear-splittery. While Brandy could very well have been on Amphetamine Reptile and the music is heavy, it's not metal. El distorto bass-lines pulverizing everything in their path, hornet-swarming guitar and whomping drums, to go along with the buried-in-the-mix vocals and everything turned up nice and loud. Chome, Unsane and Jesus Lizard could be some touchstones. "Blandy" is about as close to melodic as they come and even that song rages like crazy. Prepare to be wrecked. (monofonuspress.com)

CELEBRITY HANDSHAKE-That's Showbiz, Baby! (Eastern Prawn, 7")
Two songs of noisy-as-fuck garage bash--just guitar, drums, barely-audible rinky-dink keyboards and unhinged vocals. About as primitive and tuneless as it gets, a wanton sonic excursion that's abrasive as fuck. In other words, it'll clear the people from any room... including me. (celebrityhandshake.bandcamp.com)

DEATHWISH-Rock 'N' Roll's One Hell Of A Drug (Beer City, 2xLP)
When I was much younger, you'd occasionally come across two-fer vinyl packages, combining two previous releases into one. There were a pair of them for early Who albums, as well as sets for Syd Barrett and Jeff Beck. Of course, the CD era made those types of pairings a lot more common. Now this Wisconsin powerhouse have put their first two 12"s (2015's Out For Blood and 2017's Unleash Hell) together for maximum kill effect and, of course, it's limited to 666 copies. The term "Motörcharged" is becoming overused but it's an accurate description for this loud 'n fast unit. Searing, blazing double-barreled guitar riffing along with a rumbling bottom end. At their core, Deathwish are just a fast 'n furious band. Songs like "Flat-Line," and "Six Bullet Roulette" and while "There Will Be Blood" rocks like a motherfucker. Rock 'n' roll definitely remains my preferred kind of drug. (www.beercity.com)

EXOTICA-Musique Exotique #03 (La Vida Es Un Mus, 7")
More noise from Casa de Rata, that is Dave Rata, who's played in a number of bands over the years (Ratas Del Vaticano, Muerte, Pobreza Mental) both in Mexico and NYC. Exotica keep the thumping and chaotic NY bung-punk tradition alive, with scampering drums and buzzsaw guitar (the sizzle-whizzle effects on "Desciendo" are mind-melting), merging it with anarcho touches. Pure burn.(www.lavidaesunmus.com)

LIÉ-Hounds (Monofonus Press, LP)
Everyone who bags on Maximum Rocknroll probably haven't read it in decades, if ever. One reason I'd read it, even if I wasn't a columnist, is that I still find out about new bands or ones I've missed. A recent interview with this band in those pages piqued my interest and "Hounds," their third, is a scorcher. Surging, jarring, jabbing rock with a dark edginess and a goth tinge. Ear-messing, swirling guitar lines, throbbing, distorted bass and hard-hitting drumming, along with vocals that pack both sadness and rage. You can hear a little Siouxsie Sioux, although the timbre is lower. Like a fierier version of White Lung. (monofonuspress.com)

MAN DESTROYS-Everything (Not Like You, 7" EP)
Pretty standard raw, fast and angry hardcore with Simon from Supermarket Trolleys and Jeff from Final Conflict. A vinyl pressing of their demo, it's a d-beat infused attack, accompanied by well-tread lyrical concerns--cops, war, puppies... OK, I'm kidding about the last one. Pink vinyl--maybe blood red would have been better? (102 Richmond Dr. SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106, www.notlikeyourecords.com)

NASHO

NASHO-s/t (Nopatience, LP)
This multi-racial, multinational band based in Australia have very strong feelings about colonialism, racsim and gentrification, to name a few things, on their first album. Nasho is short for nationalist, something that's on the rise in Australia (as in many places). Those sentiments are combined with a dark, power-packed sound. Echo and reverb on the vocals buried a bit in the mix, along with a dense musical ominousness. Hardcore, punk and goth, with Peni-esque shadings and it's a potent statement. (www.nopatience.org)

NIGHT BIRDS

NIGHT BIRDS-Roll Credits (Fat, LP)
A band steeped in the history of punk, trashy TV, real crime and also with a bit of a political conscience. You get all of that here, starting with the back cover parodying the Killed By Death comps and the Stiff Records nod for the record's label. Running the gamut from hardcore ("Onward To Obscurity, with backing vocals by Poison Idea's Jerry A and the anti-Trumpster rant "White Noise Machine"), tuneful west coast-inflected punk and opening and closing instrumentals--truth be told, the closing title track goes on a bit long. "Uranium Girl," underpinned by spooky organ and shit-hot guitar playing, is catchy as fuck and kudos for covering the Suicide Commandos, although I might have picked a different song than "I Need A Torch." Maybe "Burn It Down" or, if you wanted to keep in more of a sci-fi bent, maybe "Mr. Dr." Get on it, guys! (www.fatwreck.com)

PRIORS-New Pleasure (Slovenly, LP)
Nervy punk/new wave/garage from this Montreal band that have me thinking they're a more guitar-driven, less mechanized cousin to ISS. Gnashing guitar spearheading this band's heady attack, topped off with squiggly synth lines and echo-laden vocals bubbling just beneath the surface. A psycho-head blowout--yes, that's borrowed and you'll have to look it up--to mess up your mind. A new EP, Call For You is already in the pipeline. (www.slovenly.com)

TOMMY AND THE COMMIES-Here Come (Slovenly, 12")
Technically a one-sided 12", with the program repeated on the second side. Sneaky bastids! Anyway, this is unabashed bright 'n sprightly power-pop/punk although it's tougher than your garden variety skinny tie combo. Tommy and his Commies add a sharp mod revival flair, as well as Undertonesy guitar licks percolating through the hook-laden arrangements. Infectiously fun. (www.slovenly.com)

U-NIX-Nuke Portland (Feel It, 12")
Nuke Portland? But what about all of those cool record stores? Voodoo Doughnuts? Poison Idea Park? OK, I realize there is no Poison Idea Park but there should be or, at the very least, a Pig Champion statue. I feel 'em, though. I sometimes wish they'd nuke the city where I live. U-Nix's guitarist John Cardwell used to do the fretwork for the somewhat underappreciated Nasa Space Universe, who tread in oftentimes unpredictable off-kilter hardcore. U-Nix have some of those qualities but it sometimes sounds even meaner and more unhinged. Sputtering and angry, borth musically and vocally, negotiating hairpin time changes with ruthless efficiency. Threatening to fly apart at any second but they're too tight for that happen. Not even nine mutes long and you're left spent. Time to play it again! (feelitrecordshop.com)

VANILLA POPPERS-I Like Your Band (Feel It, 7")
Four more rockin' rollin' punk songs from the Poppers, who had one of my favorite albums of 2017. Christina Pap's vocals have a cutting, ranting quality and the lyrics are pointed, semi-satirical observations about human interactions and struggles (?). "I Am Adult Baby" shows how hard it can be to get your shit together while the title track is a wise-assed poke at scenester types. Big-ass riffs with plenty of fuzz and an abundance of rhythmic wallop. (feelitrecordshop.com)


WASTE MANAGEMENT

WASTE MANAGEMENT-Tried and True (Painkiller, LP)
Well, it's about time this longtime (as in over a decade) Mass. band got an album out and, to use the cliche, yes it was worth the wait. This is a primer in classic hardcore, both from early 80s Boston, as well as NYHC later in the decade and given a modern feel. SS Decontrol, Negative FX and Jerry's Kids figure into the equation from this neck of the woods. Craig sounds pissed off as hell and, while the lyrics express disgust, there's a surprising amount of positivity. Don't let anything stand in your way, fight through it. It's almost like a musical power of positive thinking course. Yes, I'm being a bit of a joker but this is well-played, powerful and urgent hardcore. (painkillerrecords.limitedrun.com)