Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Suburban Voice blog #101


Damn, nearly two months again? Apologies for suffering from severe procrastination. Incidentally, this month is the 30th anniversary of Suburban Voice, which began as Suburban Punk in 1982. I don't know the exact date but I'm going to be making the entire issue (all four pages!) available in another post. I want to find some way to mark the occasion in the not-too-distant future and I have some ideas but you're just going to have to "stay tuned," as the cliche goes.


BAD AMERICAN-Pretty/Ugly (Bad Recordings, LP)
I always find it interesting that some bands get hyped because they're on a certain label or embraced by various elitist hardcore cliques. I get the impression that since this album isn't on one of the hip/happening labels, it might get overlooked. Pity, because Bad American manage to fuse aggressive hardcore with brain-damaged elements and turn ugliness into a virtue. This band had a 7" a couple of years ago that I described as sounding pissed off. That hasn't changed with this album. Agitation, agitation, agitation from the opening salvo, a pounding song entitled "Dirty Waters." At other times, they're reminiscent of Out Cold, such as the back-to-back "Joe Ego" and "Blink," which is preceded by the howling build-up of "Pre-Load." Their theme song "Bad American" takes a page from "Lost" by Jerry's Kids. Bruising, bare-knuckled and definitely more ugly than pretty. (852 N. Clewell St., Bethlehem, PA 18015,

BAD JESUS EXPERIENCE-s/t (Tuska & Ahdistus/Kamaset Levyt/multi-label, 10")
Don't let the cute kittens on the cover fool you. Bad Jesus Experience don't play anything cuddly. This is fast, ravenous raw hardcore with stinging guitar lines and harsh female vocals that repel the words with a machine gun-like cadence in time with the thumping drumbeat. Listen closely and there's some dexterous muscianship propelling the band's howling attack. (T&A:

BATTALION OF SAINTS-Second Coming/Live At CBGB'S 1984 (Taang, CD)
Reish of BOS's first full-length album and it's still a scorcher, riding the ridge of thrash and metallic touches at a time where the term crossover was just coming into existence. A relentless pillage of razor-sharp guitar and thrash speed, along with a good amount of lyrical cynicism. The studio album wraps up with one of the better covers of Motorhead's "Ace of Spades" set to vinyl. There's also a warts 'n all set from CB's with most of the songs from "Second Coming," a few older ones and a cover of the Damned's "New Rose." Pretty good, sloppy in spots but it doesn't add much. I also wish the CD packaging was better. No booklet, just a four panel fold out with no lyrics, liner notes, etc. Reissues such as these should provide perspective, reminiscences, history, etc and someone needs to fire the quality control department because there's a glitch between "Intercourse" and "Solitary Is Fun." Incidentally, if you ever get a chance, check out the 7" version of "Second Coming," because it's way wilder/crazier-sounding than the one here. And, yes, this is recommended. (3830 5th Ave., San Diego, CA 92103,

BRAIN KILLER-Third EP (Vinyl Rites/Framework, 7" EP)  
Same stun-effect but a few different wrinkles on Brain Killer's latest EP. There's the usual feeback-drenched Discharge-inspired assault they're known for and that's as formidable as ever. But it''s "Controlled Reality" that's the centerpiece here, with a stutter-step rhythm and an instrumental segment that creates a cacophony of demented chaos. Sheets of guitar noise before going back into the main riff and cascading into the finale of "Desperation." Brain cells will definitely perish when played at the appropriate volume. (Vinyl Rites: PO Box 341, Athens, GA 30603, 4 Elm St, Ipswich, MA 01938,


BUKKAKE BOYS-s/t (Sorry State, LP)
Once you get through chortling about this band's name (if you don't know what people are chortling about, look up the first word), prepare to be assaulted by some unfettered hardcore rage from these Atlantans. After a few 7"s dating back to 2008, here's their long overdue 12" platter. At the outset, a big swell of feedback builds and the terror ensues. All fast songs, except for the mind-melt of "Weakness," which closes side one and, after the feedback whizzle-frenzy, abruptly cuts off without a fade. One of the songs is called "Ugly World" and, well, it is an ugly world. I'd imagine that would apply to their home state, with the hot, humid summers and retrograde environment, except for a few small pockets here and there. Maybe I'm off-base but that's this MassHole's perception, anyway. This isn't a political album, it's more of a universal expression of disillusionment and disenchantment and it really comes through in the nettled-sounding music and harsh vocals. (

CLAW TOE-s/t (Criminal IQ, 12")
There's something rather sinister-sounding about Claw Toe. It started as a solo project by Darius from Criminal IQ and has been fleshed out into an honest-to-goodness band. The songs have familiar elements but are imbued with a darkly-enticing freshness. "Another Saturday Night" sure as hell isn't the oldie by Sam Cooke. It's a hard-edged rocker with a post-punk pulse and synth texture percolating through. "The Drug Song" pushes into a clambering, experimental/industrial realm. "Geriatric Stalker" is flat-out creepy, telling a tale of, well, you probably figured it out, riding a mechanized rhythm and buzz-press guitar and seething vocals. "Kamikaze," a cover by the underrated Chicago band Functional Blackouts, pounds its way into your consciousness with a numbing, twisting guitar line. "Panic Attack" wraps things up with a Big Black-ish rhythm and a fired-up nerviness.Moody, brooding and electrifying, embracing various musical shadings and strokes. (

COPS-s/t (Rob's House, 7" EP)
Atlanta amalgamation with former Carbonas Jesse Smith and Greg King and Ryan Bell from Bukkake Boys, joining up for some slam-bang, gnashing and catchy punk. Not the standard three chord burn, either. There's a nervous, jumpy quality with slashing guitar and thumping bass/drums playing off each other. Squiggly and wah-wah driven guitar lines are occasionally layered on top of the slash 'n jab, as well. Taut and energetic. (

CRANK-s/t (self-released, CD)
A NY power trio playing some ugly 90s Amphetamine Reptile-inspired swill with beefy aplomb. Big, rubbery bass lines--which comes across as the lead instrument at times--jabbing guitar and crashing drums, accompanying gravelly vocals. While a song like "Another Dead Place" gets a little lumbering, the direct attack of such songs as "(You Bought Your Ticket) Take The Ride," "Sour" and opener "The OrganGrinder" have no lack of throttle. And the cover choice of the Crucifucks' "Democracy Spawns Bad Taste" is inspired although, let's face it, no one's going to come close to Doc Dart's inimitable vocal. Quite an immense sound. (

CRAZY SPIRIT-s/t (Toxic State/Ground Zero, LP)
Here's this NYC band's first longplayer and it's a killer, from the superb packaging to the musical contents. This disc comes tucked inside a heavy stock, screened sleeve and is accompanied by a poster and booklet.with some eye-catching sketches and artwork. They also have a unique, fresh musical approach. Sick 'n raspy vocals--sometimes buried in the mix--buzz-stun guitar and clattering, galloping beats that turn this into something of a hardcore hoedown. For a change of pace, "What Have I Become?," the penultimate song, features creepy-sounding instrumentation with weird percussion and nearly subliminal vocals. This record is just about certain to end up in my top 10 of 2012. Crazy Spirit's (and this label's) records can be tough to find but it's worth the effort.  (


CREEM-s/t (Katorga Works, 12")
Out of the ashes of Nomos comes Creem (hmmm... maybe I should re-phrase). Tough and rockin' hardcore punk all irritable and pissed off sounding but there's more to it than that. Sure, there's the speedy blaze of "Never End" but they also throw in some No Future Records guitar trills for "The Wrong Man" and cover an obscure early 80s punk song, "What The Fuck," by Black Easter. At its heart, though, Creem bash through their songs with bruising aplomb and pay equal attention to US strains, such as the the "City To City" (DYS) tribute for "Lucid." 7 songs to get the foot stomping and head banging. Can't wait to hear more. Great live band, too. (

DEATH BY SNOO SNOO-Tasta Saat! (Creative Class War, CD)
This Finnish band with an odd name have created an album with an odd and charming quirkiness. They flow easily from roiling punk to sweeter moments to moodier rock to bouncy, poppier material. Hanne's vocals have a girlish, over-the-top nature and there are times where a little goes a long way but damn it if she doesn't hook you in. She also adds melodica on some songs--a mouth instrument kind of similar to a harmonica only it has a keyboard. Gang of Four used it on some of their songs and I wonder what my melodica-tooting grade school music teacher Mr. Boujoukos would have made of this? A spirited romp and an unpredictable one at that. (

DRY HUMP-s/t (Cowabunga, 7" EP)
I'm playing this back to back with the Creem 12" and it makes sense since they come from a similar muse--PJ's harsh vocals are much the same as the vocalist from that band and it's not standard-issue old school hardcore. Their latest four song EP pushes things into a harder-rocking direction with the floor-pounding "Fist Your Heroes" (a near anthem) and "China White." Same for "Everybody Loves You." "Mein Herr," meanwhile, is in more of a traditional thrash vein. Ryan Straker's piercing guitar lines stand out, adding a distinct element and the lyrics come from dark, sometimes deviant regions. One of this area's best bands right now. (

FLIP SHIT-Outgoing Rockers (Reel Time, 7" EP)
The opening song on this disc is a power-packed snot-punk rocker called "Amerika" and, if you didn't realize the tongue was very deeply in cheek, you might take lyrics like "This is my land/go get your own/call it ethnic cleansing/I call it cleaning my home," something that was conjured up by a performer at a teabagger rally. And I'm sure at least some of the people attending the recent Republican convention would shake their heads in agreement, completely missing the point. I know they shook their heads--I heard the rattling. Most of these songs explore speedier territory and they create some heady hardcore punk rocknrollarama. Oh yeah, rock is definitely part of it--check out the scorchin' leads on "Stoop Rock." Incidentally, I need to read record labels more closely--I've been referring to this band as the Outgoing Rockers before realizing this was the title of the disc and the band is actually called Flip Shit. Oops.(1087 Clinton Ave. S, No. 3, Rochester, NY 14620,

FRENZY-Noizey Trouble (Distort Reality, 7" EP)
Noizey indeed but not a complete sheet of noise. There's no doubt about Frenzy's DIS-tort leanings but the drumming doesn't always stick to that pattern and there are additional elements, such as the odd, space-like sonic effects for "Nightmare Convulsions" and "Daily Indoctrination." And I imagine that the title "SS Control" might be a tip of the hat to a certain Boston band since there's a whiff of early 80s US hardcore for that song and "Calls From The Grave." Or maybe I'm wrong. Whatever the case, these 7 tracks provide a potent buzz-bomb. (

GOD EQUALS GENOCIDE-Rattled Minds (Razorcake/Dirt Cult, LP)
After a plethora of 7"s, splits, etc, God Equals Genocide make their "long playing" debut and it's just so goddamned likable. GEG gleefully bang their way through their compositions and manage to be aggressive without the slightest hint of a tough-guy/gal ambiance. The lyrics aren't always that sunny, either, although "You're Different" is a bit of self-affirmation. You'd expect angry vocal emanations but Adrian and Daryl intertwine their voices in quite the opposite fashion. Adrian, in particular, strains to go as high as she can and all the windows in the house threaten to shatter, especially for "Wasting Time." And it's perfect--this is about as unaffected as it gets. There's also a "bonus"--a song to end each side by Dumbag Daryl & The GEG Bags that I would gather includes the same personnel but they feature jolly-sounding organ and a bouncy pop flavor. The whole thing is punk as fuck but with their own personality stamped all over it. (Razorcake: PO Box 42129, LA, CA 90042, Cult: 713 Stagecoach Dr., Las Cruces, NM 88011,

LĂ–GNHALSMOTTAGNINGEN-Gomorra Sverige (Kenrock, 7" EP)
This duo--one Brit who lives in the US and one Swede, with a very-tough-to-pronounce name (although one of them said I did a pretty good job when saying it on the radio show)--have a new-ish 7". This was originally released as part of a four 7" box set, Burning Hell Vol. III, in 2011 and now has a limited re-press. Rough old-school US hardcore mixed with '77 punk shadings. One of them plays all the instruments, accompanied by vocals that sound like Nikki Sudden from Swell Maps with a Swedish accent. In fact, early Swell Maps isn't a bad touchpoint, either. A fun, jabbing racket. And a new album has just been released. (

MALE NURSES-Wanna Play Doctor?/GI Jock (Cowabunga, 7")
Two new tracks by this not-exactly-prolific Boston band. The A-side is a scrappy west coast-style punk song and the b-side adds thrash for the first half. The rough production definitely works to their benefit. Two songs ain't enough. Get to work, guys! (

NEGATIVE APPROACH-Nothing Will Stand In Our Way (Taang, CD)
Another collection of rarities, demos and live recordings from one of the all-time great bands. NA were an absolute holy terror live and while recorded evidence will never completely capture it, you get a pretty good idea. The real find here is the 1981 Clubhouse demo, with good sound quality and raging runthroughs of the by-now familiar material. In fact, it gives the 7" recordings a run for their money, although original drummer Zuheir wasn't as accomplished as OP Moore. Also of note is a live soundboard recording of their 8/1/82 set at NYC's Mudd Club, recorded during the Process of Elimination tour (my first encounter with them would be less than two weeks later). There are also a couple of outtakes from the 7" session--"DABF" and a piss-take cover of the 4 Skins "Chaos" (those songs also show up other times, as well). Rounded out by two other gigs and very early demos that are more completist items. Some of this stuff has been making the bootleg rounds for years but Jim Diamond has done a great job remastering things. As with the Battalion of Saints disc reviewed above, the packaging is bare-bones but that's the only quibble. Hard to believe it's been 30 years and NA has inspired countless bands and hardcore fans during those three decades. (3830 5th Ave., San Diego, CA 92103,

NIGHTBRINGER-Fight Like Hell (self-released, 7" EP)
One blazing original on side one and three cover songs by Michigan bands on the flip--a snippet of the Amboy Dukes's "Journey To The Center Of The Mind," rudely interrupted by takes on the Necros' "Face Forward" and Cold As Life's "Addiction" (the original of which I'd only heard recently), both given thumping renditions. "Fight Like Hell" is a blitzing, boiling rager. Something of an older Japanese hardcore influence here and played loud and fast. (2715 Radcliffe, Ann Arbor, MI 48104,  


NITAD-Rastlos Och Vild (Mourningwood, CD)
Restless and wild, eh? No, this isn't an Accept tribute album, it's the latest from veteran Swedish band Nitad. Not that Nitad were ever exactly a soft rock band but they seem to have increased the aggression, increased the adrenalin, increased the intensity and made things more blown-out sounding. In addition to the thrash/fast trax, they verge into slower, psychotic realms with the opening title track and especially the closer "Tryggheten," a lumbering, clambering instrumental. "Vem Ska Lita Pa?" is pure rampage and "Raggare Is Still A Bunch Of Motherfuckers," a play on an old Rude Kids song, is a forceful rocker. Vild, indeed! (

D-beat following the blueprint to the letter--relentless cymbal-bashing drumming, maintaining the same fast tempo throughout, buzzsaw guitars with squiddly leads during the break, titles like "Killing Continues," "Modern Holocaust" and "To Hell and Back." Yep, this Indonesian band have it down pat and it's a faithful reproduction, no more or less. Not sounding all that polished works in their favor. You pretty much know what you're getting here. (3 rue du Lavoir, 51140 Bouvancourt, FRANCE,

POOR LILY-Three Songs (self-released, CD)
One of last year's pleasant surprises return with three new songs (in case you weren't paying attention). High powered, high caliber wrecking-ball rock drawing from the well of NoMeansNo, Victims Family, etc. Vocals that channel the ghost of D. Boon and the songs are jarring, particularly the final, three-minute-plus "Third Rail," which rides a scintillating guitar signature into more of a focused frenzy. The other two song possess a chaotic, ripsaw approach. Definitely worthy of your attention. (

SUPER FRISKY-For Buddy (Burai Core, LP)
Hell-raising metal/hardcore/rock 'n roll by this Japanese band, consisting of members of Akutare, Judgement and Tetsu-Arrey (and the late, great Chelsea from Paintbox was an original member and wrote the songs). The lead-off song "No" mines "The Hammer" by Motorhead for all it's worth but this most certainly is NOT a tribute album and little else copies that blueprint, unless you want to consider the bass pulverization. Yoko's vocals soar and sometimes flutter and, after a deluge of Japanese bands with gravel-voiced growlers, her timbre is a refreshing and distinguishing factor. The band's full-bore attack doesn't mess with excess, either. High-powered, high energy rock that's meant to be cranked up really high. Yeah, I know some of you are groaning over that line but it's advice well-worth heeding. (

UPHEAVAL #15 (zine)
I've got to hand it to Craig Lewis--he manages to get a zine out on a much more frequent basis than yours truly. Actually, that applies to most people. Craig's latest installment is a 36 page half-sized effort and features a rather provocative interview with Keith Bennett (Wrecking Crew, Panzerbastard) where he candidly talks about, among other things, at one time declaring himself a "National Socialist," mental health issues, appearing on a short lived TV show about a moving company, "Deathwish Movers" and, of course, his long-lasting musical career. There's still something of a sketchy aura regarding his agreement with Nazi and white power groups but he denies he's ever been a racist. Moving on, there are interviews with Co-Arse, from the Philippines, Overkill For Profit from Azerbaijan (formerly part of the Soviet Union), plus a plethora of record, CD and demo reviews. Craig doesn't cover just the hip and trendy bands. Instead, he seeks to write about bands from all corners of the world, taking a truly universal scope and his enthusiasm is embedded into every cut 'n paste page. (

UTAH JAZZ-s/t (Feral Kid, 7" EP)
Not jazz but some offbeat, engaging weirdness from this band that includes Brandon from Brown Sugar. Don't let the hippie-looking front cover drawing fool 'ya. At the core, there's a wild garage punk influence and, I swear to god, I never thought I'd like a punk song that has flute on it, but that applies to "Contact Low." It also shows up on "Florida," which does have a psych-rock headiness. The opening instrumental "Lookin' Like Howwywood" sounds like Pussy Galore on a speed bender. Utah Jazz's trebly sound will gnash its way into your heart. (


All the college students have returned to Boston and Cambridge and it makes me think of this song (a Sonic Overload perennial!)


What's Mark E. snarling on about? Here's a sample:

"Hey student, hey student, hey student,
You're gonna get it through the head"

So welcome back, kids. And stay out of my way! 


. said...

Death By Snoo Snoo is a Futurama reference.

Al said...

Sorry about that... Thanks for the correction

. said...

sorry for what? not catching some random pointless cultural reference? haha.
i was only clarifying it for ya. tbh, i think its a really bad name for a band, but what do i know?
Death By Snoo Snoo is the act of being mercilessly humped to death by the giant Amazonian women of The planet Amazonia. funny episode but that's about it. haha.

regardless, keep up the GREAT work! thanks for all you do!

Al said...

wow, that sounds nasty!