Monday, September 30, 2019

Suburban Voice blog #140

DOTS (photo: Cam)

I know, I know, where the fuck 'ya been, Al? Story of my life. Onward! And it won't be as long until the next one.

ADRENALIN O.D.-Let's Barbeque (Beer City, 12")
Super-duper deluxe 12" reissue of AOD's debut EP from 1983 and also including the first vinyl appearance of "Scare Tactics" (previously on the 1995 Grand Theft Audio "Sittin' Pretty" compilation CD), plus five unreleased demo recordings from 1982. During the Reagan era hardcore, uh, era, AOD didn't engage in any sort of political diatribes. They were ranting about what was going on in their suburban environment--annoying well-to-do showoffs, annoying senior citizens (BINGO!) and then taking revenge on "Mischief Night" where they smash all that shit up. Something like that. This is fast, let 'er rip, revved-up buzzsaw hardcore punk, with the tongue dug deeply into the cheek.  BINGO! (PO Box 1759, Milwaukee, WI 53201-1759,


ALPHA HOPPER-Aloha Hopper (Radical Empathy/Swimming Faith, LP)
Spacey, abraso-punk and post-punk, accompanied by against-the-grain, nearly taunting vocals. Guitar tones that are heavy and snaky, with a lot of effects, including a synthy-sounding one on "Once Again With Feeling." Hints of 90s AmRep rock, Drive Like Jehu, Jesus Lizard, etc, where the six string slam is underpinned by solid rhythms. Furious, but also nuanced, as the songs don't crush under their own weight. (

BLOWBACK-Great Again (Collateral Damage Limited, 7")
In case the title isn't a giveaway, Blowback ain't too fond of the man in the Oval Office, in case you weren't paying attention to the lyrics of the title track or "Don't Need Advice." Nor is it possible to miss the anger expressed on "Out Of Control Bullshit," since the lyrics pretty much boil down to those words. Muscular hardcore but there's a little post-punk mixed into "Frog Trolling" and "A Brief History Of Genocide" The heart's definitely in the right place but it gets a bit overwrought at times. (

BONEFIRE-Fade and Decay (FTWNU2, LP)
Thrash/metal/hardcore from this Minneapolis band that includes a few former members of Misery. Overarching sentiment? That's stated on opening track "Conceived The Same"--"the world is fucked" and there's plenty of reasons for that. Racism, xenophobia, drugs, mass media control and so on, but there also seems to be a willingness and determination to fight back against all of that. Musically, there's an abundance of speed along with heaviness and a few melodic touches. These guys have been around the block a few times in various bands so the music is executed with a seasoned, lethal skill. The clicky, double-pedal drum sound is a tad distracting but made up for with the mighty riffage and harsh vocals. (PO Box 822, Hopkins, MN 55343,


BRUISED-Rotten Codex (Chicago Research, LP)
Moody post-punk delivered with an energetic kick. The latter is particularly evident for "Psychic Strain" (with clinking percussion), "Satisfying Texture" and closer "Ceramic Dish," the latter of which attacks with a hardcore ferocity. "No Neutral Architecture," with a lumbering bass-drums signature, creates a burning and hypnotic effect. If bands like Institute, Rank/Xerox and Marbled Eye float your boat, Bruised will have a similar effect. (

That's a sample of Dee Dee's "1-2-3-4" that starts the record, it crashes and then the real crush begins. Richmond band Cement Shoes kick out some jams, motherfucker, taking rock 'n rollitude and harnessing it to a hardcore punk engine. Or maybe it's the other way around. In any case, this is high energy stuff. I might be breaking punk omerta, since they use pseudonyms, but the guitarist is Brandon Gaffney from Brown Sugar and that band's muse definitely informs Cement Shoes. Grunted vocals that sound like the descendant of Mike Brown from United Mutation, reinforced by hot riffing, rubbery basslines and strong drumming. Also, any album that starts with a song called "Unite The Right In Hell" is alright with me. So is one that ends with someone cursing out a sample of Willy Wonka. They've got 'yer musical golden ticket right here. (

CHRONIC SUBMISSION-Sick of Reality (Schizophrenic, LP)
Schizophrenic released this Toronto band's 1984 demo "Empty Heads Poison Darts" awhile back and now they're pressed Chronic Submission's '83 demo. Loud 'n fast hardcore punk with an abundance of youthful piss 'n vinegar. It's a rougher-sounding take than the other demo and the musicianship was also a bit more primitive but they rip their songs out with a snotty, malevolent glee. There's a four song "medley" songs that checks in at just under a minute. No doubt they were influenced by much of what was going on in the US at that point, especially midwest bands. Some of the songs veer into territory staked out by The Fix. Not bad for a bunch of teenage troublemakers. (


CONDOR-Singles 2017-2018 (Beach Impediment, 12")
Condor is a solo project by Maxime Smadja (Rixe) and the two recordings that comprise this 12" were actually cassette singles. Presented in glorious low-fidelity and the roughness is a huge attraction here. The hooks of the songs come ringing through, especially for "Que Jeuenesse Se Passe" and "Chacun Pour Soi." There's an Oi flavor but he also takes a UK-82 turn for "Condor." The disc includes one extra track, a punchy cover of 80s band DEM's "Vengeance." A rousing good time. (

CRISIS MAN-The Myth of Moderation (Digital Regress, 7")
Ranty, snotty hardcore punk with Ross Farrar from Ceremony on vocals... this is real back-to-the-roots stuff for Ross, as Ceremony moved away (evolved or devolved?) from the punk ferocity of their masterwork "Rohnert Park." Ross punctuates his vocals with painful interjections, like someone's giving him a hotfoot. Gnashing, slashing guitar lines create a heady, twisted effect that goes straight for the skull. (

DERELICTS-Life of Strife (Digital Warfare, CD)
The Derelicts are back with their first new album in 30 years, although there were a few 7"s after that. Still, a long fuckin' time. Two originals return--vocalist Duane Bodenhemier and guitarist Neil Rogers and their new drummer is Donny Paycheck from Zeke. The 14 tracks include re-recordings of old stuff and a handful of new material. Their forte remains snotty, high-powered punk rock 'n roll. The Supersuckers certainly learned a lesson or two from this band... Zeke, too, for that matter.A no bullshit style with vocals that sound like a cross between Mark Arm and Stiv Bators. They can also be surprisingly melodic sometimes, as with "Boxed In" (which was one of my favorite Derelicts songs back in the day). Middle-aged punks with all the "get off my lawn" attitude they can muster. (

DESPERATE TIMES-Peace At Last (tape)
Both their 2018 and newer "Peace At Last" demos on one handy tape and the newer recording benefits from better recording quality, as well as tightening up as a band. Rough, raw crusty hardcore with anarcho punk overtones. There are Møb and Flux covers and, while they don't slavishly mimic either band, Desperate Times (who are from Nova Scotia) lean towards the latter in terms of the harder edge. And they don't show a whole lot of patience towards crustfund" kids and privileged college students (although I do think secondary education can be a useful thing--unfortunately, it's out of reach for a lot of people). A lot of passion here. (

photo: Lisa Putignano

DIRECT ACTION-Tomorrow Is Too Late--Complete 1984 Tape (Schizophrenic, LP)
Another vinyl pressing of an old demo from a Toronto band. Direct Action's song "Hate Generation" was a stand-out on the "Primitive Air-Raid" compilation LP, where they were the only non-Montreal band.  Some of these songs were on a Bitzcore release that combined them with songs from their "Trapped In A World" LP. I always liked this demo a lot more because of its rawness. Pure thrash-driven blitz with Bones-y metallic guitar squeals, threatening to run off the rails, taking you with it. They navigate those hairpin turns with instrumental mettle. Underneath the six string slam, there are sick bass runs and thumping drumming, accompanying Tim's over-the-top vocals. Pulverizing. (

DOTS-s/t (Dirt Cult, LP)
Two people from Bad Daddies (Camylle and Matt) are in this band and it's a strong debut. Dirty, fuzzy punk with echo on the vocals and spacey keyboard swooshes to go along with the gnarled guitar/bass/drums attack. Jabbing compositions that also sneak in the occasional hook. And the album keeps picking up steam throughout. Some real potent bashers, especially "Surfs Up" and "Spinal Tap," with the closing track "Judgement" taking a Chrome-ish turn. Not far removed from what their former band were doing--mixing driving punk with quirky elements. (

DROIDS BLOOD-Be Free (Drunken Sailor, LP)/Bleaker Broadcasts (demo)
Droids Blood basically formed from the ashes of Broken Prayer in 2016 (taking their name from the latter's final album), with Scott Plant and Nick Donahue on board. Not far removed from that band, following a frenetic noisy-punk/synth-laden blueprint, although eschewing Broken Prayer's hardcore inclinations. Not that they've eased up on the intensity level, but there are also melodious moments. The title track, punctuated by funereal keyboards, has a brooding, numbing catchiness, as does "Sympathy." It's a head-messing clamor. "Bleaker Broadcasts" is a newer demo and deviates from the path a bit. It plays up an experimental side, veering into abrasive, industrialized realms. Only the pulsating bash of "Murder" sounds more-or-less conventional--we're talking matters of degree, of course. There's still plenty of other-worldly effects. An intriguing departure. (;

FLESHIES-Introducing The Fleshies (Dirt Cult, LP)
The first new Fleshies album in a decade and a band I've been listening to long enough that they were actually reviewed in the last few print issues of SV (the dark ages!). Embracing punk, thrashy hardcore and pop-inflected ravers, the Fleshies play everything full-tilt, storming right out of the gates with the 1-2-3 blitzkrieg of "Bruisee," "NOMaste" and "Comin' To Get Out Cousins." The melodic side shows up for "Hold Me Up" and "Stone Mason," without compromising the energy level. Buzz 'n burn... good to hear from them again. (


FUNERAL CONE-Kill A Ghoulie For Julie (100% Breakfast, 7")
Jabbing, hyper garage punk/new wave and there's a Buzzcocksian guitar line for "ABBA C.A.B." (clever title). Flip it over and you get hit with three frenetic quickies and more title/lyrical cleverness, delivered with twisted presence of longtime punk vet Dan Wars. Recorded a few years ago and finally given a vinyl pressing. (

GAME-No One Wins (Beach Impediment, LP)
Debut vinyl (finally) from UK-based band Game, which includes Ola and Nicky from Arms Race and Jonah from Career Suicide and Fucked Up. Booming production creates an ugly sonic detonation that brings out the band's heaviness, which is a combination of 80s UK metallic thrash (Sacrilege, for one) and Japanese hardcore. They go the full doom metal route for closing track "Foundation & Empire." Ola's vocals (in both English and Polish) have a nasty, from-the-gut fervor and the band's sonic roar is relentless. (

GLUE TRAPS-Future Shocks (To Live A Lie, 7")
I reviewed this Baltimore band's demo awhile back and now there's the full recording on a 7". 12 doses of power-packed hardcore, sometimes adding a catchy twist, as with "Bury Me" and "No Utopia." Songs for short attention spans. Why stretch things out? Hit hard and fast and move on. (2825 Van Dyke Ave., Raleigh, NC 27607,

GROSS POLLUTER-Cynical Scumbaggery (Rat Town, 7")
Most of the people from Smogtown playing similar high energy west coast punk rock 'n roll that their former band specialized in. Good 'n loud, somewhat catchy, although I wouldn't call it groundshaking. (

HARAM-Where Were You On 9/11? (Toxic State, 7")

Haram's latest missive features the same provocative punk as on previous releases, starting with the cover art showing the Twin Towers drawn with Arabic letters. Lyrics are also in Arabic, although it's tough to miss the point with titles like "Bomb In The Sky" or the title track. Haram's vocalist Nader happened to be in school that day and his life immediately changed, as he was subjected to abuse and harassment. Galloping punk with a slight industrial/tribal undertow and razor-sharp riffing. (

HASH REDACTOR-Drecksound (Goner, LP)
Charlotte and Meredith from Nots join Alec from Ex-Cult and one other individual to form Hash Redactor. This is closer to Ex-Cult's loud punk/post-punk mesh. The bouncy "Floral Pattern" and "Lotion Poet Laureate" owe a debt to The Fall, more from a musical point of view than Alec's vocal cadence, although it's not completely absent. Some brooding properties are introduced for "In The Tank," with a bluesy guitar undertow. "Down The Tubes" goes straight for the throat with jabbing basslines and drum patterns and twisted guitar lines. A good balance of aggro and darker properties. (


IDIOTA CIVILIZZATO-Civilta Idiota (Static Shock, 7")
Idiota Civilizzato are from Berlin but the members are from all over the world. Their vocalist is Italian and that's where they come from musically, in a decidedly Indigesti and CCM vein (there's the occasional yelp in the vocals), along with some 80s-era US hardcore influences. Loud, fast and a bit twisted-sounding. (

JACKETS-Queen of the Pill (Voodoo Rhythm, CD)
Pretty standard garage rock/pop. Well-played, with an abundance of fuzz, psych guitar, tambourine and an in-the-pocket rhythm section, topped off with Jackie Brutsche's soulful vocals. They maintain a consistent energy level throughout, tossing off one brash and catchy rocker after another. It comes across like a revival of a revival, as this has the cleaner sound of the '80s era garage renaissance and not really the rawness of the original article. It hits hard, though, and Jackie's guitar has plenty of bite to go along with her confident vocals. (

KALEIDOSCOPE-After The Futures (Toxic State, LP)
Kaleidoscope's angriest and hardest-edged release to date. Anarcho-meets-2010s NYC bashing punk viciousness with shuffling, tribal rhythms and nasty, nervy guitar flail to go along with Shiva's hoarse-sounding, spat-out vocals. The instrumental "Suicide" pushes the limits with some free-form wreckery, leading into the throbbing "Exhaustion.' As with their earlier 12" "Volume Three," it's something of a cautionary tale or, perhaps more accurately, a fiery critique of global capitalism, surveillance and oppression. But maybe there's some light? Inside the booklet, there's a dedication to "all of those who are in despair and all of those who demonstrate the courage to fight for something better." Kaleidoscope have put together a pretty damned good collection of fight songs here. (


MACK ENEMY-s/t (demo)
Thorny punk from Philly with a Rudimentary Peni bent mixed with thrash. Buzzing guitar and bass, along with demented vocals. This is Mack Enemy's second demo and they've stripped away the occasional synthy flourish on their debut into something a little punchier. A dark, twisted journey brimming with high-energy fervor. The first demo's worth checking out too. (

M.A.Z.E.-s/t (Lumpy, 12")
A tad disappointing after their demos and split 7" although there's still a good amount of charm. The same merger of post-punk and trad Japanese music that sometimes gets a little cutesy, particularly on the wispy pop of "Eight Channels." The edginess is muted somewhat, but after awhile, the hooks find a way of sinking into the consciousness and, goddamn it, they've got you. (

MOCK EXECUTION-Reality Attack EP (Lengua Armada, 7" EP)
A relentless attack... there's plenty of noise but it's not a sheet of impenetrable sound. Howling vocals and a battering-ram approach as they flail away without let-up. A Finnish/Japanese cross-breeding and tipping their hand with a Kaaos cover. Intense, but still something I prefer experiencing in the live setting. (

Rough, tough and catchy punk and it's the first time the Brats have been heard from in a bit. Sticking to a high energy approach, with big powerchords and stirring melodies. Jenny's vocals echo Kat from Legal Weapon's and there are a few sonic similarities, as well. There's a little country/rootsy tilt to a few songs, particularly "Searcher" and "Touching The Void," although it's not in terms of the instrumentation--you don't hear a pedal steel or slide guitar--but from the arrangements. "Down 3rd" is sweetly poppy ala the Fastbacks. Pure west coach punch. (

NOTS-3 (Goner, LP)
The 3 has a dual meaning here--it's Nots third album and their first as a three-piece, with Natalie Hoffman handling all guitar and synthesizer/keyboards, complementing her detached-sounding vocals. Some songs eschew guitar completely, as the synth creates a heady sonic mesh--beeps, blips, washes sometimes generating a frenzy, as with "Floating Hand." The bass and drums lock in perfectly, moving things along at a frenetic pace. At its core, Nots remain a punk band and that's evident on hard-driving "Surveillance Veil" and "Woman Alone," both of which do feature guitar, as does the post-punk flavored "Persona." Paring down the lineup doesn't compromise Nots' sweeping sound one bit. (

OBEDIENCE-MMXIX (Fair Warning, 12")
Relentless hardcore punk with a fuzzy rawness. Yeah, you've heard that a million times but, goddamn, this is the real deal. Not 80s US revival, not tough core, just a fast and furious sound. That's to expected when Dave from Tear It Up and members of the Austin Punk Rock Wrecking Machine are involved. One rager after another, with blowtorch guitar, rumbling bass and scampering drums. And as I sit here contemplating the latest news headlines (taking a break from them right now, though), "Snake Oil" perfectly captures the current situation--"we let a madman fabricate a reality of fear and hate/This will never go away when we listen to what you say." Dave could have yelled the same thing in the 80s--shit never changes that much, unfortunately. In the meantime, prepare to be obliterated. (

OUT COLD-Living Is Killing Me (Sorry State, LP)
The final salvo from Out Cold and done in similar fashion as "A Heated Display." Mark Sheehan (R.I.P.) and John Evicci recorded basic guitar and drum tracks in late 2005. Then, between 2013 and 2017, the remainder was finished--vocals by original frontman Kevin Mertens, bass and lead guitar from Mikey and Deuce, who were in Out Cold's final lineup, plus guest guitar turns from Bill Close from the Freeze and Michah Smaldone from Pinkerton Thugs. Got all that? Anyway, the same loud, energetic meat and potatoes hardcore punk Out Cold always traded in. Bruising speed burners, along with mid-tempo bashers like "Resentment," featuring duel guitar leads from Close. Even with everything done piecemeal over a dozen years, it flows well. I really miss these guys. It's a fitting epitaph. (


PANDEMIX-In Condemnation (Dirt Cult, LP)
There's an overarching seriousness in Pandemix's approach, a lot on the proverbial lyrical plate. This is music for the outsider, for those who feel marginalized by society and, to paraphrase the title of one of the songs, can't or won't assimilate. Sonically, Pandemix pump out loud, powerful melodic anarcho-style punk. There's even a reggae jab popping up for "Through The Night," although it's wed to the arrangement's surging fury. The disc comes with a booklet of drawings and collages to go along with the lyrics and a two-sided poster that also has striking visual images and quotes two lines from "Past Selves": "I've searched for light within the darkness, with no reprieve/I've searched for meaning in chaos--no clarity." Alienation remains a timeless theme and this album helps provide a coping mechanism. (

PHYSIQUE-The Evolution of Combat (Distort Reality, 12")
"Silence is death, we make noise" is stamped on the record's label, as well as the back cover of the fold-out sleeve and it continues to be Physiques modus-operandi. A relentless sonic assault, blown-out as fuck. You want noise? How about an unholy acid-bath of blown-out guitar mangling, to go along with rumbling bass and battering-ram drumming that doesn't change speed, save for the thumping "No Better Way," which is the best song here. This style of punk is still better experienced live, where there's no escaping the merciless volume but, underneath the noise, everything is executed with a ruthless precision. (

Straight-ahead hardcore punk mixing rat-a-tat thrash with different guitar textures--alien-like washes for both "On the Inside" and "Embrace The Freeze or the atonal, short "instrumental" "Reading Books About Zen.." The offkey vocals throw things off a bit but there are some good musical ideas here and there. (

PISSER-Breaking Chains (Schizophrenic, 12")
Thrash metallers from Ontario... six tracks on a one-sided 12" (with an etching on the flip) taken from two different sessions. A crossover blitzkrieg leaning on Bay Area thrash and darker strains. Exodus meets Possessed and vocalist Bonez, with her over-the-top growls could be Paul Baloff's younger sister. Maybe daughter. Hot 'n heavy. (

THE PROLETARIAT-Move (Radiobeat, CD)
The social conscience of Massachusetts punk has returned, even reactivating the old Radiobeat label. The first Proletariat album in over 30 years (preceded by a 7" last year) shows the band have no shortage of bones to pick, with both current and historical events. Critiques of the prison/industrial complex, the attempted smashing of unions with scab labor and looking back to the police bombing of the MOVE headquarters in Philadelphia in the mid-80s. That's just for starters and it shows that not enough has changed since their lengthy hiatus. 3/4 of the 80s-era lineup return, along with new guitar player Don Sanders. The music is just as driving as back then, albeit a slightly more rocked-out, cleaner-sounding take on their post-punk roots. Sputtering, sizzling guitar lines underpinned by the always-sturdy bass/drums tandem, topped off with Rick Brown's agitated vocals--he sounds even more pissed off than he did in the 80s. It's not "Soma Holiday" but The Proletariat are still a vital-sounding band. (

PROTRUDERS-Poison Future (Feel It, LP)
Skewed, sometimes meandering rock bringing together different strains--psychedelia and Clevo proto-noise for starters. The opening title track and "Hydrophytol" introduce some free-form elements. Squalling sax on both songs and widdly violin on the latter are subsumed into the aural mire, making for a heady racket. "Stabilizer" is a fiery sub two-minute rocker. Other songs, though, don't always have that spark, despite some outside-the-box musical ideas. The proverbial musical mixed bag. (

RECKONING FORCE-s/t (Not For The Weak, 7")
Pretty by-the-numbers hardcore punk from this Virginia Beach crew, which includes people from Socialcide and other bands. The thumping drums lead the way into the crossover-tinged "In My Head" and they stick to a fast, steady speed throughout, except when slowing down a bit for "Slip Away." Competently-played but not really rising above the ordinary. (


SAP-2 (demo) 
One of the best local demos I've heard in awhile.. one of the better demos from anywhere, in fact. SAP are a scrappy, high-energy punk band who mix different strains together--incorporating post-punk, hardcore, garage and melodic touches into their sound, accompanied by Alex's hyper, expressive vocals. Well-played--the bass playing, in particular, is stellar throughout. Some impressive runs on "Carrot and Stick" and providing a solid counterpoint to the stinging guitar on "Short Stick." Apparently, they're on hiatus for awhile as two of the people are moving to Philly. I hope it's not permanent--I'd love to hear more from them. (

SLANT-Vain Attempt EP (Iron Lung, 7")
South Korean band with one ex-pat in its ranks, namely MassHole Garrett Belair (Male Nurses, Zipperhead, Bloodkrow Butcher, etc) on drums. Straight-ahead hardcore punk, not off the mark from Garrett's old bands or Out Cold, particularly on "Dry Heave." Not reinventing the wheel but played with scalding rage, both musically and in Yeji's vocals. (

STACKED DECK-s/t (Same Side, CD)
Tough hardcore with some late 80s NYHC moshability. Mean, fast and pissed off and they're definitely sick of it all (pun intended). A couple of guys from used to be in Detroit bruisers Death In Custody about a decade ago and time hasn't softened the rage. (

UROCHROMES-Trope House (Wharf Cat, LP)
Ten songs, three of 'em covers on the latest from Urochromes. Mechanized/electro punk that's always drawn a page from Chrome, particularly for "Spy In The House Of Love" and "Trapped On Planet," although there's the occasional poppier touch ("Rumshpringa"). Their version of Bikini Kill's "Resist Psychic Death" and Leather Nun's "Ensam I Natt" ("Answer Me Not") hew semi-closely to the original, while given a manic thrust, while their take on the Lemonheads' "Style" takes a hardcore turn. Lots of buzz for your buck and, to use a cringeworthy Sonic Youth reference, taking an expressway to your skull. (


WITCHTRIAL-s/t (Beach Impediment, 12")
Another six song EP from the bowels of... well, Washington, DC to be exact. Scorching thrash metal, with more ominous passages. A definite early Celtic Frost feel on "Void of Form." and "Ripped To The Crypt." "Wait For The Reaper" has a Motorcharged fervor. Witchtrial press all the right buttons--meat-cleaver riffs, hammer-to-anvil drumming and vocals straight from the gut. (

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