V/A

Reviews

V/A Cleveland Confidential LP reissue

The rest of the world has never fully reckoned with the sheer genius per square capita from Northeast Ohio, which not coincidentally produced one of the greatest punk/weirdo DIY comps of the ’80s in the form of Cleveland Confidential—the original 1982 pressing of the LP has been going for close to triple digits lately, so this new wallet-friendly reissue is a little more in line with the true Rust Belt spirit. For me, the definitive track here has always been MENTHOL WARS’ contribution, a totally sublime organ-drenched take on garage-pop by way of arty post-punk called “Even Lower Manhattan,” even though they were actually based in New York (with No Wave scenester and noted artist/video director Robert Longo on vocals and guitar!) and their primary Cleveland connection was their drummer being ex-PAGAN Brian Hudson. Other highlights, among many: the warped minute-and-a-half pop rant “Love Meant to Die” by JAZZ DESTROYERS (featuring one-time ELECTRIC EEL Dave E.), some droning and VU-damaged Clevo-sleaze from EASTER MONKEYS via “Cheap Heroin,” and the STYRENES’ appropriately collapsing rendition of the ELECTRIC EELS’ “Jaguar Ride.” I heard that the Cuyahoga River caught on fire again this summer; it’s good to know that some things never change.

V/A Damaged by Dez EP

Six track compilation of Dez-era BLACK FLAG covers. MANIACAL DEVICE’s “Six Pack” is solid but unremarkable. JESSE BLANKENSHIP BAND turning “Jealous Again” into a country-western twanger is…well, it’s fine as a concept. “Rise Above” gets a modern metal treatment from Puerto Rico’s VIEJA ESTRIPE. “Gimme Gimme Gimme” turns into a schlock rockabilly lounge turd when MUMMULA gets their hands on it. Someone has to do “Damaged I,” and PURE HEEL basically regurgitate it as it was, which is fine because it’s a pretty regurgitatable song. BETTY MACHETE AND THE ANGRY COUGARS breath life into “American Waste,” easily the best rendition on the comp. I still kinda can’t believe this is happening though.

V/A No Banger Left Behind LP

An all-over-the-place compilation of tracks with seemingly no correlation other than the fact that they’re all culled from obscure cassette comps or demo tapes. It opens with a short interview clip with the WORST (Ohio, not New Jersey) and travels between South America and Italy for a few tracks, then on to the UK, Australia, Yugoslavia, West Germany, Scotland, and then back to the Americas. Most of the eighteen selections date between ’84-’91, and a couple as late as 2000. It plays much like a mix tape your cassette-hoarding nerd friend made, heavy on the raw Central/South American hardcore punk and UK anarcho unknowns. I don’t recognize a single band name on here. I did the Discogs investigation on each to confirm the title is half accurate; most of these bands don’t seem to have more than one or two documented comp tracks, nor any info additional info. The term “banger” is subjective, and while most of the material is pretty good I don’t know if I’d describe anything on here as such. The layout looks cool and I do think it’s an interesting project. Collectors may want to take this for a spin, but I’m not adding anything to the want list. Limited to 200.

V/A Days of a Quiet Storm LP

Days of a Quiet Storm is a compilation of recordings made by music producer Martin Gary between 1966 and 1973. Gary was the son of a record store owner who grew up immersed in the retail side of the music business. From there, he expanded to record producer and label owner by recording bands from his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. The tracks on this compilation feature some of his earliest recordings and some are unreleased. They are surprisingly polished for a kid who was just learning the ropes, though probably a direct result of his record store experience. In the detailed liner notes, Gary recalls his processes of bringing bands he enjoyed seeing into studios in Washington, DC and Delaware due to lack of studios in Richmond. Gary would then release the records on his own labels and after getting local radio airplay, with some even becoming hits on the stations, he would bring the records to major labels trying to get the bands contracts. Though he was ultimately not successful in doing so, he was successful in his promotion of and preservation of these bands who might otherwise have been forgotten. Included here are the HAZARDS, the BARRACUDAS, KING EDWARD & HIS B.D.’S, BERNARD SMITH & JOKERS WILD, GROUP NINE, DUCK BAKER and the BOSOM BLUES BAND. Most started as teens playing at dances and frat parties. The music included is rock’n’roll, soul and blues similar to other bands at the time. The album title track by the BARRACUDAS features early use of a Moog Synthesizer. Not surprisingly, the original records go for big bucks today. As a music connoisseur, I am always interested in the history of different scenes, what happened and why. Knowing next to nothing about the early Richmond music scene, I enjoy getting a sense of it through the ears of ones of its fans and participants. It is a nice collection.

 

V/A Molde Punx Go Marching Out 2xLP

Long-lost-tape-to-deluxe-vinyl reissues are about as common as overpriced novelty flexi-discs these days. My lengthy and committed romance with Norwegian punk and hardcore motivated me to aquire this one and I simply could not have been prepared for how great it is. Many of Norway’s best early punk offerings have been well documented through the Bloodstains series, Anarki & Kaos comp, all of the classic X-Port Plater releases, Tsjernobilly Boogie compilation and countless comp tapes and blogs. This collection of fourteen Molde bands from 1980-83 was allegedly limited to something like 30(!) copies, but despite what you might be thinking that should mean, the quality is fucking significant! You all know BANNLYST and hopefully ANFALL and mayyybe PSYKSIK TERROR, but not other pre-SO MUCH HATE/STENGTE DØRER bands like NEVROSE, STYGGE FØT, FORBUDT UNGDOM or SKABB. It’s really notable how great and varied in sound and approach all of these are. I can’t even pick highlights, there’s something for everyone, all youthful and full of formative punk excitement, though I must point out all members appear to be young men, not a single woman. A satisfying 12×12-inch booklet comes loaded with punk as fuck layouts for each group, complete with cute baby-punk photo layouts (including my guitar hero and absolute legend Børre Lovik) and lyrics, really giving the proper space and document to a thriving early scene from a city less than 300 miles from the Arctic Circle. I’m experiencing immense pleasure in spotting the names of some of my favorite players in bands that were previously unable to be heard! This recommendation certainly comes from a certified nerd but I would urge you to pay the $40+ if you can.

V/A …So This Is Progress? 001: Spring 2020 flexi 7″/zine

The zine is just as much a photo essay as it is the story of the creator’s move from Oxnard to outside Columbus, followed by discovering what was happening punk-wise in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and NYC, documenting it all with disposable cameras. Whether shots of bands or friends, the euphoria of the punk show—and in particular experiencing it in a new place—is captured and conveyed in a way that made me feel the excitement vicariously (perhaps especially since gigs are on hiatus until who knows when?) The five bands on this comp—all great, scuzzy hardcore with some grind-leaning moments, all except Pittsburgh’s PEACE TALKS being from Ohio—also fit into the greater narrative of being representative of making DIY punk happen in their given cities. Even with the bar for 7″ comps being somewhere in the Earth’s mantle, this is a keeper. Just press number two to actual vinyl, please!

V/A Th’ Gunk Stunk cassette

Experimental dirges, shit-fi noise and general sonic fuckery abound on this tape. Starting with a dose of formidable monotony from BONELIST, Th’ Gunk Stunk only gets weirder. Nine tracks in total, mostly enough outside the typical fray that it takes serious processing to even decide where to file them in your brain. One track is BRAINBOMBS through a Wheelchair Full Of Old Men filter, then before you know it you’re listening to no-fi no-wave DIY synth damage. As a sonic journey, this is exactly what you want out of a compilation tape.

V/A We Were Living in Cincinnati LP

Ohio’s punk pedigree simply cannot be fucked with, yet Cincinnati never gets nearly as much lauding as most of the state’s other major burgs. HoZac (with help from an esteemed CHROME CRANKS member) aims to change all that with this collection, assembling a wide swath of pretty killer punk to get our scholarly heads a-scratchin’. Lotsa seldom-heard stuff here—a even split between stray single Killed By Death style excavating and wholly unreleased nuggz. BEEF’s “Nosedive,” a rescued live recording from ’78, finds the obnoxo-teen singer mimicking some air-show sounds…What’s not to fuckin’ love? There are some recognizable names as well: the CUSTOMS, the ED DAVIS BAND and even TEDDY AND THE FRAT GIRLS, whose inclusion here strikes me as a tad dubious, but if a technicality allows the now-generation to hear “Clubnite” again, I’m all for it! The great and hyper-detailed liners really convey a whole lotta punk love for this city and scene as well. As if all this were not enough, there is a download component that serves up an additional fifteen tunes—more punk Cin-sanity than anyone would ever need! Top to bottom, an ace collection and document of under-reported punk racket.

V/A Stay Home CD-R

A compilation of RAMONES covers from a variety of bands that I’m completely unaware of (which I’m sure says more about me than said bands). One of the beauties of the RAMONES is that it’s really difficult to make such a great collection of tunes sound bad. While those folks doing more or less faithful renditions still sounds great, those doing something a little different (female backing vocals, a bit of slide guitar and a country twang, electronic drums and keyboards), or radical reinterpretations (CHRISTIAN BLUNDA’s “I Remember You” stands out) just further enhances the majesty of the originals. Indeed, the only disappointing (somewhat) tracks on this effort, all recorded under lockdown, are those couple of folks who did even less lo-fi iterations than the originals. Personal faves of mine are DRAKULAS “Carbona Not Glue” and HAYBABY’s “Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment,” but anyone that loves the RAMONES (which is everyone, right!?) will dig this, indeed.

V/A Oi! L’Album Volume 2 LP

Libertoi, égalioi, fraternitoi! Nearly ten years after the first installment, Nantes-based label Une Vie Pour Rien has put out a second course of delicious Oi morsels from the francophone world. Absolutely zero fucking about here, as the first track from parisian stalwarts BROMURE is straight in with the saxophone, because is it really French Oi without it? Stand-out tunes from ULTRA RAZZIA, BOGAN, COUPE-GORGE, follow and if you like your riffs hard as nails, your vocals gruff and your saxophone inexplicably present then this is the comp for you. Marchons! Marchons!

V/A Mutations from the Motor City LP

As the title says, this comp is a collection of bands from Detroit, MI. The record starts off with “Limelight” from TIMMY’S ORGANISM. It is a short, thrashy track from this wildly entertaining band. It sets the bar high for the rest of the LP, which is filled with manic, angry, silly, loose and harsh bands. They are WEREWOLF JONES, DEVIOUS ONES, the STRAINS, PRIMITIV PARTS, BUBAK, UDI, LOWCOCKS, ERODERS, THROWAWAY and more. If these songs are representative of what’s happening in Detroit, things are about to explode. Watch out.

V/A My Head Is Like A Radio Set: A Girlsville Compilation cassette

This is essentially a sampler cassette featuring a number of artists who have releases on Girlsville Records, based in Portland, OR. As per the label “…all new, novel, unreleased & unearthed tunes from our favorite bands.”. Stylistically the tape ranges from bubblegum-pop to garage rock to synth-pop—it’s all over the map but the bands all work together really well. This is super cool and fun as a way to expose oneself to a ton of new bands all at once and see what a label is all about. I love when labels do this kinda thing. The tape features a ton of bands: the MARDI KINGS, the PRISSTEENS, FREAK GENES, GERM HOUSE, SEABLITE, the DARLING BUDS, UK GOLD, COLLATE, DIE GROUP, UV-TV, BECKY & THE POLITICIANS, SPLIT FRICTION, COACHWHIPS, THEE THEE’S, and OUIJA BOYS. If any of these bands are on your radar, or you just feel like scoping out a bunch of new bands, give this tape a shot.

V/A Diamond Distance & Liquid Fury: Sonny Vincent Primitive 1969-76 LP

Sometimes when punx who exclusively listen to punk rock accidentally encounter music from somewhere else and it does not suck, in their confusion the review and redistribution of the modified definition of punk rock starts to tame their minds. This explains when some tried to convince the world that a certain type of fast, electronic music is the new punk, or free jazz is punk. Occasionally it gets real chaotic and hardcore is called folk music. Side note: right now it’s 2020 and even if you have the words punk and hardcore tattooed on your body it is fine to own parts of the Acutel series or microdose yourself at some contemporary classical music event and tell your fellow radical rockers: you had a great Tuesday evening at this gallery where the performance took place. You basically can do whatever the fuck you want and within this freedom I state: this record is not punk at all. Which does not mean it is bad, because it is decent music that my dad would appreciate, too—but don’t worry, he does not possess a leather vest, nor wears a man bun, instead he was jamming me MC5 and ART ENSEMBLE OF CHICAGO when I was around eight years old. This record sends me into that period when playing rock and roll was a radical act, tap water contained LSD, hippies started cults and robbed banks, and wars were either proxy or cold. Although it is a compilation of bands (FURY, DISTANCE, LIQUID DIAMONDS, TESTORS) which all had SONNY VINCENT, the proper curation made the record consistent yet varied enough not to ever become boring. Sound-wise the tracks are on the edge of psychedelic rock but no real chaotic mumbo-jumbo, rather large, extended solos. Everything is sweaty-face-in-trance-desperation tight, mostly mid tempo and big riffs accompany male sorrow. The atmosphere of the record is dirty, tired, coming down from a trip and looking either for epiphany while staring into the rising sun or for scavenging for an early breakfast before fainting onto a dirty mattress. It is closer to ROKY ERICKSON than to STOOGES, definitely not glam at all and also distant from the proto-punk art rock of the VELVET UNDERGROUND. In case you are done with the one-finger solos used on two-thirds of your hardcore songs, here is a whole catalog to lift ideas from, or in case you like to consume weed and get lost in classic sounding but still rocking albums or to be a rock dad with obscure knowledge, this can be your pick. It’s a fun listen.

V/A We Are the Flowers in the Red Zone LP

This is an absolute treasure! By 1988, Polish zine/label QQRYQ had created strong bonds with like-minded punks around the Eastern Bloc and compiled a tape with bands from GDR, Hungary and Poland. Stories of dedicated punks in this repressive state and time are always humbling and inspiring, and there are a few great ones in this package. Two booklets are included, one is a reproduction of the first (?) punk zine from the GDR, which had to be printed in Warsaw and then smuggled across the East German border either in a stinky beer-soaked backpack, or sewed into a giant teddy bear—there are two partially conflicting accounts. Either way, the Stasi inserted a spy into the punk community and managed to seize the zines before distribution! Needless to say, it’s ten beautiful typewritten and collaged pages covering DDR and Polish punk. The other booklet is focused more on the original tape of this release, with original layout reprinted nice and big and with added photos and retrospectives on the relevant scenes and projects. And of course there’s the music! The two opening tracks from ANDREA’S AUSLAF (GDR) are noisy, but awesome, but had me wondering if this would be another LP’s worth of hardly listenable live boombox recordings. Not the case! Quality varies but overall is enjoyable lo-fi, raw and passionate punk and hardcore from TRYBUNA BRUDU, DIE TROTTEL, KEIN TALENT + NAMENLOS, DEZERTER, BIZTONSÁGI TANÁCS, WARTBURGS FÜR WALTER, and closing with possibly the most ripping track by Poland’s A.P.S.F. If you are the least bit interested in punk behind the Iron Curtain, or even cool old punk ephemera of any kind, this LP is an absolute must.

V/A Killed By Meth #4: Rust Belt Rockers LP

This latest volume of Rust Belt scrap punk offloads fifteen tunes from the likes of the FURR, CLIBBUS, and TRACI AND THE FAUCET OF FUKS. While of course this ain’t an archival collection of lost obscurities, the ugly, trashy or just plain oddball cuts capture the KBD vibe regardless. Overall solid, and the excellent FACILITY MEN and DBOY contributions in particular make this worth checking out.

V/A Behind This Wall EP

A 7″ comp from the Mojave Desert in Cali. Bands included on this are RECLAIM, NOBLES BONES, MARRÓN, COUNTY FAIR, and CEL DAMAGE. Pretty much a hardcore collection that stays away from generic thrash. A good start for a lesser-known scene.

V/A Red Scare Industries: 15 Years of Tears and Beers CD

I guess if I’d have stopped to figure it out/think about it, I would have realized that Red Scare is only fifteen years young. It seems like they’ve been around forever, but I guess it makes sense that they are the sound of the new millennium. Certainly, they have consistently proven to more than emulate, and indeed, to help define what the more melodic end of punk and hardcore actually sound like over the last decade and a half. If Epitaph and then Fat both gestated and represented that 90s sound, Red Scare have picked up that blazing torch, reassembled and reinvigorated it, and hurled it headlong into this century, and then some. To celebrate, there’s fifteen artists, from the current Red Scare roster, with one track apiece. It’s hard to pick out standouts when the whole damn pack itself is leading, but I’ll mention my two faves. BRENDAN KELLY AND THE WANDERING BIRDS add a suitably genius twist to a LILLINGTONS standout, managing in this incarnation to channel the best of CAPTAIN SENSIBLE and ATOM AND HIS PACKAGE in a wonderful electro-pop gem, while THE BOMBPOPS channel BLINK 182 at their pop punk perfect pinnacle. Then again, it’s not as if the likes of the COPYRIGHTS, ELWAY, GARRETT DALE and RAMONA are also-rans. fifteen years to date, not a misstep to be seen, and they’re still reaching for the stars. Long live the comrades at Red Scare.

V/A Vent the Spew Vol. 1 LP

File under “I guess you had to be there.” This is a collection of Columbus, OH-area bands from 1993-95. A reissue of Burnt Sienna Label recordings featuring multiple tracks from five bands: PET UFO, CLAY, MOODY JACKSON, MY WHITE BREAD MOM, and HAIRY PATT BAND. On the upside, this is punk from a self-described “Cowtown” and it’s thrash-y and decent.

V/A DGHD-50 cassette

Why not celebrate your 50th release with a 30 track compilation? From freakout synth jams to jerky garage punk to… well, there’s lots of jerky hi-energy garage punk, but that’s fine. There are also several tracks that scream early ’90s college/alternative rock (SAWA MELON, RIOT PUNCH), but they scream it really well, and there are legit hardcore slammers like LECHE in the mix, too. Packed entirely with bands I had never heard of, including MEAT SWEATS, WASTE MAN, COUNTY BOYS, LUVWEB, UNCLE JESUS, BETTY GOOP, PROM THREAT and waaaaaay more. DGHD-50 packs a shockingly favorable ratio of excellent : interesting : forgettable for a compilation with 30 new-to-me acts. “Commodity” from LATE and KNIFE HAND’s “Big Rig” are among the killerest cuts I’ve heard this month.

V/A Warsaw’s Burning Volume 2 EP

In celebration of Refuse Records’ 150th release, they’ve compiled another nice-looking eight-band compilation of current Warsaw hardcore bands. The majority of the material is throttling and precise hardcore, namely from HEATSEEKER, NEGATIVE VIBES, JAD, and GOVERNMENT FLU. MORUS has a slightly more classic Euro crust vibe, BRAINEÄTER brings some powerviolence, and the GLAMOUR and CAST IN IRON (doing a DEZERTER cover) tracks come off more aggressive punk, minus the ’core. The 7″ is packaged in a beautiful booklet with attractive cover art, a nice reflection from Robert Refuse, and each band gets a page. High quality all around, and congrats to Refuse for prolific endurance throughout the years!

V/A Bekannt & Beliebt (28 Bands Spielen Notdurft) CD

The subtitle of this (so far as I can ascertain) all-German compilation translates to “28 Bands Cover NOTDURFT.” ’Tis all in German (both the liner notes and the singing, not to mention the names of the vast majority of the bands), so I really have no idea what they are going on about. But it does sound pretty damn good. CAMINOS quite wittily/cleverly weave in the defining riffs, melodies, and solos of “Holiday in Cambodia” into their track—the majority of which sounds nothing like the DEAD KENNEDYS stylistically. UGLY HURONS do the third-wave pop punk-with-horns ska thing very well, while the POST-ROFT offering wouldn’t have sounded amiss on the UK DECAY long player. The highlights for me are definitely HANS AM FELSEN, who sound like the driving melodic punk with male/female twin vocals of PARANOID VISIONS at their height, along with two of the synth pop offerings from EIN JAHR and GEN NULL, the latter of whom bring to mind the best of CAPTAIN SENSIBLE’s solo offerings. I’d never heard of any of these bands prior to this disc, but am delighted to make their acquaintance, for sure.

V/A A Tribute to Punk 2xCD

On the face of it, there’s not a ton of appeal to a collection of 25 punk covers from bands that are punk-adjacent at best. Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age, but this was actually a pretty easy listen. Mostly hailing from Europe, the bands included cover a wide range of styles that includes dub, cumbia, ska, tango, and the latest weird iteration of GUTS PIE EARSHOT. Highlights include DUBAMIX (anarcho-dub!) offering up a DJ SHADOW-esque mashup of CRASS, the CLASH, DEAD KENNEDYS and BERURIER NOIR, an impassioned take on “The Guns of Brixton” (“Armas de Barrio”) from Spain’s ESKORZO, Italian band ARPIONI proving that “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” is a much better ska song than it is a pop track, and KUMBIA QUEERS high-energy, tounge-in-cheek cover of LOS VIOLADORES’ “Una, Dos, Ultraviolenta.” As you can tell, most of the covers are of the CLASH and other big names, but there are some pretty cool curveballs as well. As a whole, this isn’t something that you’d play for your crustier acquaintances, but if you need a record to put on when you’ve got squares over, this is a pretty good choice.

V/A Chain of Karma CD

Break out your bandanna and knuckledusters, this CD is a cornucopia of metallic/NYHC-style hardcore bands from Japan. Six bands, each offering three tracks apiece, so you get a good dose of material from the bands you know, and a good sense of what the others are all about. The disc opens and closes with its strongest material, kicking off with the SUICIDAL-loving mosh masters CYCOSIS and closing with the Burning Spirits-meets-CRUMBSUCKERS crossover of SAIGAN TERROR (best known for their super-elusive EP on Bacteria Sour). In between you’ll find straightforward trebly hardcore from B SIDE APPROACH, some particularly weird joke-y black metal-style stuff from the reliably strange HARD CORE DUDE, some super-catchy riff-centered mosh from GAMY, and some very metallic and technical stuff from EEVEE. Not as great as some of the other Hardcore Kitchen samplers from the past (I highly recommend Destructive Decibel Domination and the N.E.K/ADA MAX split) but there’s plenty to like here, especially if you’re a fan of the heavier side of hardcore.

V/A Kinda Sorta Music 2019 CD-R

20-band compilation CD-R—a format that I simultaneously curse and adore. The disc starts with garage punk, then raw hardcore, then blackened grind/crust…so you know you’re in for a wild ride. There’s weird industrial (FUTURE SCUM), pure noise (O.S. D’VIL, OLIGARCHY OF MEGALOMANIA), shit-fi garage (the GREAT SADDNESS), psychedelic drum machine party punk (HURT HAWKS), some lost BAUHAUS shit (UFO WHISPERER) and plenty of straight hardcore and/or punk burners (the RIGHT, DEAD BABIES). Literally something here for everyone, and I missed more than a few highlights in this review. Kinda Sorta Music is all over the place in the best way, and well worth the two or three emails to kindasortamusic@mail.com that it might take to get a copy into your own hands.

V/A Fast Beats In A Slow Town Volume II: The CCHC Demos Edition (1987-1991) LP

A sequel of sorts to the first volume: the S.U.S. / ONE TRICK COBRA split EP, also released by the long-running TFC Records in 2009; this is a seventeen-track collection of largely raw demos, practice recordings, and a few live tracks from mostly unknown and unheralded late ’80s Corpus Christi, TX hardcore bands. DEMORALIZED, SUBVERSION, BRUTAL POVERTY, PURE HATE, JOYWAN, the KRAYONS, KILLJOY, the HERSHEY SQUIRTS, BIG MOUTH, and POETIC NOISE contribute one to three lower-fi songs apiece. In a way, it could almost be a snapshot of anywhere in the US at that time, though the speedy turns of ultra-quick thrash—a Texas hallmark cemented by the likes of DRI, DRESDEN 45, and MANCHURIAN CANDIDATES—do both date and location stamp the recordings. There’s a wonderful nascent energy here, with SST / CRUZ records-style quirkiness, deigns to ’80s singalong hardcore, thrash, and melody all being stirred in self-expression without any pretension beyond playing a vets hall as an opener for NO FRAUD or DESPERATE MINDS. And that rules. It’s like a paean to a simpler time where people didn’t really do bands with much ambition beyond having fun and entertaining their friends, because the overarching larger hardcore scene had collapsed and a smaller, stronger DIY culture hadn’t splintered and solidified to a point to give you many more options beyond that. So these tracks ring pretty earnest and fun. You might not find your new favorite band here, but you’ll hear a lot of bands that remind you of that friend’s band that was pretty good but just did a demo you totally wish you still had a copy of. Pressed on mottled transparent brown vinyl, and includes a brief insert with short band descriptions and photos. Fun listen.

V/A Into The Outro: Swingin’ L.A. Sounds LP

This is an interesting compilation of L.A. bands. The genres include garage, surf, pop, metal(-ish), and there’s even a RAMONE (Richie). The LP flow is a bit disjointed, and some tunes are too slickly produced, but there is probably at least one song everyone will like. Some of the standout bands are KID FLAMINGO, the 7 AND 6, the NIGHT TIMES, the AZMATICS, the OSTEOBLASTS, the TURBULENT HEARTS and the SLOP.

V/A Western KY Music Through the Years 2002-2017 CD-R

Five Kentucky bands, mostly on the early garage and/or proto-grunge end of the spectrum. VASELINES, EUGENIUS, a little bit of SCREAMING TREES maybe…that brand of laid back action. Not bad, and it definitely grew on me.

V/A Our Voltage CD

This is a cool comp of modern garage rock bands. The bands are lo-fi, fuzzy, surfy, laidback, etc. Includes THE PRISTEENS, MR. AIRPLANE MAN, FREAK GENES, UK GOLD, DAMAGED BUG and more. The title is appropriate: Our Voltage is whatever feels right in the moment, and every band hits it perfectly. Even the covers of SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES’ “Christine” (the MYRMIDONS) and BO DIDDLEY’s “Who Do You Love?” (ATOMIC SUPLEX) manage to sound fresh. Nice.

V/A Peace, Unity, Noise And Having Fun: Tekken Tribute & Remixes LP

So this compilation LP is apparently a tribute to the French fastcore band TEKKEN. I regret to announce I was not familiar with TEKKEN the band, but it looks as though they were around in the late ’90s and early ’00s, and with some video research, I have realized that they were pretty good! If you like to blast off with CHARLES BRONSON, SPAZZ, DAMNABLE EXCITE ZOMBIES, AGATHOCLES, or even FANTOMAS, or any bands that were forming when fastcore was really breaking into its stride, I have this recommendation for you! There’s also some really bizarre MIDI carnival music, which I must admit I am entertained by, if not perplexed.

V/A Live Your Gimmick Vol. 1 CD

Four-band comp that goes like this: 1) The DRIVIN’ BEATS play early ’80s sounding late punk vs. early college radio rock and/or legit new wave rock ’n’ roll; 2) SOURPUSS sound like if the SPITS were trying to sound tough and/or offensive—also if the SPITS were actually a bad grunge band; 3) The DOWNSTROKES are classic ’80s Midwest punk; 4) The XILES are like the SEX PISTOLS if Johnny’s exaggerated accent kept falling out of line and / or any heartfelt, determined bar punk band in any town in North America—and “American Nightmare” is the best song on this comp. That is all.

V/A Live Your Gimmick Deuce!!! LP

A compilation of four bands whose collective goal as described by the CD’s narrator is to “take back punk” from the people who impose the punk rules. Isn’t that supposed to be MRR? NEVER SAY DIE plays rockabilly-ish redneck rock. SUPERMEN are macho ANTISEEN types. THE RUNZ play anthemic hard rock. LONG LOST ENEMIES are poppy hardcore. Eh. Good luck.

V/A Pulsebeat LP

As we witness the decay of the physical parts of punk, like the disappearance of the printed word and the records we used to hold in our hands, one of the earliest casualties was always going to be the compilation LP. These motherfuckers are hard to make good, you know? It’s like going to those goddamn ten band bill shows, where five people watch the band they came to see, and everyone goes outside to smoke during the rest of the night. So when I hear a comp LP in 2019 of bands I’ve never heard of and find it to be completely listenable and varied, I get pretty fucking stoked. Slobbery two-finger metal, tolerable Fat stuff, pop punk, dark synthy post-punk, drooling robo punk, cleaned-up crust, and even some fucking ska metal. I gotta hand it to these fine folks, as this is all over the place and still not fucking terrible. There’s a shit ton of sneer and bile in almost all the vocals, like every singer went to the same laryngitis-inducing singing school. Seventeen tracks, and financed by seven different record labels, which is kinda goofy, but hey, that’s the price you gotta pay to put out records in a time when nobody is buying. Definitely worth checking out.

V/A Live at Raul’s LP reissue

Despite being a Texan and a Texas punk enthusiast, I never heard Live at Raul’s. I always assumed it was more important to be equipped with the BIG BOYS / DICKS Recorded Live at Raul’s LP (it is). Raul’s was a club in Austin that accidentally became a hub for new wave / punk in the late ’70s through the early ’80s, and these tracks were crisply captured via mobile studio. Five local bands, two tracks each, many of which were unreleased at the time. The EXPLOSIVES, TERMINAL MIND, and the SKUNKS tracks are all edgy rock, the latter two being the punkest. STANDING WAVES are more new wave, while the NEXT is the most confrontational and best, as I expected. With the exception of the NEXT tracks, it all errs on the side of pop rock. This reissue is limited to 500 copies, and has a reproduction of the flyer for the gig, and some decent live band shots. Live records are polarizing but I am happy to report that it’s easy to forget this is live until the applause at the end of the tracks. Essential? No, unless you’re a completist.

V/A Paris Is Burning CD

Paris might be burning, but it sounds pretty damn good to these ears. Ten Parisian punk bands grace us with a couple of tracks each. Whether it’s the UK SUBS-esque HUMAN DOG FOOD, the GBH-inflected BREAKOUT, or the ever-ebullient techno pop punkers LOUIS LINGG AND THE BOMBS, the standard is uniformly astonishingly high for a compilation. The moody goths yearning for the days of ALIEN SEX FIEND even have HARASSMENT to keep ’em happy. I guess this does make them all a bit European sounding. But then again, it is Paris for fuck’s sake. Even better, this CD, brought to you by the trifecta of labels Sick My Duck, Sheekiz,and General Strike, is available for free from any of the featured bands, with a purchase of any of their other records. Given that this was sent in by LOUIS LINGG AND THE BOMBS, you ought to get it from them!

V/A What Doesn’t Hurt Us Makes Us Stronger LP

I’m a bit confused by the sentiments of the title, but not by the music that appears here. It’s had to go wrong with the likes of DRI, MDC, INFERNO, MANIACS, CCM, PORNO PATROL, ZERSTORTE JUGEND, etc. Lots of powerhouse punk and thrash here. It’s a good one!

V/A Hideous Headchop’n cassette

A thrash extravaganza from stem to stern. An international comp, this includes ANTI-DOGMATIKSS, LÄRM, MOB 47, CERESIT 81, CÓLERA, CHRONIC SUBMISSION, NEGAZIONE, BURNING WITCHES, KROMOZOM 4, DECLINO, BRISTLES, SKULLDIGGERS, NIKOTEENS, and more. Quite powerful, excellent production, and high fucking energy.

V/A France Profonde LP

Most of the bands here pump out pretty decent mid-tempo punk, but there are a few real gems interposed. KIDNAP turns in a wonderful sing-along, L’INFANTERIE SAUVAGE hits with a real up-tempo Oi number, and LES PORTE-MENTAUX turns in a really great pop-punk number that combines HEARTBREAKERS guitar riffs with a classic ’77 English punk-style tune. A good release from a new label.

V/A Dawn of a New Age cassette

A benefit tape comp for the Animal Liberation Front, this is a co-release from Bluurg and Sabotage tapes. Artists contributing are the SUBHUMANS, ATROX, INSTIGATORS, REALITY CONTROL, PSYCHO FACTION, POLITICAL ASYLUM, KULTURKAMPF, and several others. Good sound quality and good music and information.

V/A Thrasher the Cat’s Favourite Tunes cassette

A comp that features many cuts each by the likes of LEGION OF PARASITES (UK), EX-HUMANS (Greece), DETONATORS (US), ANEEB (Germany), and many more newcomers like NEGATIVZ, OBSCENE FEMALES, etc. Okay.

V/A Tales From the Western Shore cassette

An all-Vancouver tape, this baby contains mostly live recordings of varying quality (mostly decent to good). Includes BILL OF RIGHTS, IMMORAL MINORITY, A.O.T., UNKNOWN FIBRES, DEATH SENTENCE, FITZ, SPORES, and more.

V/A Schweinerei cassette

NIXKONNER, ANNEXION RUSKI, and SEX TEENS, and the recording is fairly good. Basic thrash and punk is featured on this one, nothing particularly astounding, though there is some up-and-coming underground talent evident on this cassette.

V/A The Raw Power of Life 2 cassette

An all-Eurpoe compilation that features, surprise, RAW POWER, along with HEIMAT-LOS, MOB 47, SUBHUMANS, WUT, GEPØPEL, BOIKOTTZ, CAPITAL SCUM, and more. Good sound quality, and there are 30 songs.

V/A Noć nad Jugoslavijom cassette

An all-Yugoslavian compilation featuring a shitload of HC bands, most of whom you’ve probably read about in reports here before. Sound quality is okay, but not great due to difficult circumstances, but there’s still lots of noise to enjoy—both studio and live.

V/A The Punx: Street Movement cassette

Very strange. This package is incredibly elaborate: sturdy box enclosure, 84-page book detailing the history and discography of Japanese punk/hardcore in color, and typically wonderful Japanese punk graphics—all leading up to…a six-band cassette? Yep. Two songs each by LAUGHIN’ NOSE, GAS, GISM, WILLARD, LIP CREAM, and COBRA. Not that the music is bad (it’s not), but somehow I’d have expected the tape itself to be as comprehensive as the literature. Still, a collector’s item.

V/A Graveyard-Hits cassette

A variety of underground German HC bands share this tape, including TIN CAN ARMY, IDIOTS, ANI(X)VAX, and eleven others. The sound quality is adequate, the songs respectable, and the tape’s a good value for those curious about the prolific German hardcore scene.

V/A Garage Goodies, Vol. 1 LP

On first listening, I didn’t think that many covers on this neo-’60s garage collection cut it, but I’m changing my mind right now. Classy acts like the CANNIBALS, X-MEN, and MILKSHAKES are joined by equally raw outfits like KILLED IN ACTION, VERTEX, and BAD KARMA BECKONS. How could a record with a band called LEGENDARY VEGETARIANS on it be bad?

V/A Suicide Omnibus 8″ flexi EP

No name to this Japanese collection, but at least the bands are identifiable : the SEXUAL, CONFUSE, JIGA, and M78 (actually a “fuck” band with members of GAS, GASTUNK, GHOUL, and SYSTEMATIC DEATH). All the tracks on this EP shred, with noise thrash and DISORDER-type thrash prevailing. Great!

V/A Disorder cassette

Mostly high-quality recordings of high-quality bands, like UPRIGHT CITIZENS, BEDRÖVLERZ, DEPRESSION, CHRONIC SUBMISSION, AOD, EXECUTE, DEZERTER, HEIMAT-LOS, SOLUCION MORTAL, OFFENDERS, SVART FRAMTID, etc. Good collection.

V/A Deflagration, Vol. III cassette

Quite an international line-up, starring UNDERAGE, DEZERTER, KROMOSOM 4, SCAPEGOATS, UNNATURAL SILENCE, FOAD, NEON CHRIST, BLOEDBAD, PROTEST!, INFERNO, and more. It’s non-stop thrash, for the hyper among us.

V/A Sin Alley LP

This collection of early recordings (1955-’61) presents a clutch of wild rockers plunging into the roots of the genre. ROY CAINES, TONY CASANOVA, MEL MCGONNIGLE, RHYTHM ROCKERS, and CRAZY TEENS provide raunchy, rockin’ fun in a distinctly ’50s style, though some of the other tracks are less impressive. A treasure trove of obscurities.

V/A Rippling Flesh #1 cassette

One side is entirely US up-and-coming outfits, with the likes of PUNKS, KNOCKABOUTS, CAPITLE, PSYCHO, NO IDENTITY, ART THIEVES, JERK WARD, and TOE JAM. The other is an all-German line-up, starring R.A.F. GIER, RANOLA, RAZZIA, MOTTEK, EA80, BLUTTAT, and a few others. Sound quality is usually good.

V/A Big City’s One Big Crowd LP

A NY-Metropolitan Area compilation featuring the UNJUST, ARMED CITIZENS, ULTRA VIOLENCE, SHEER TERROR, PSYCHOS, SHOK, KRIEGKOPF, PLEASED YOUTH, SACRED DENIAL, BODIES IN PANIC, BEDLAM, A.O.D., 76% UNCERTAIN, VATICAN COMMANDOS, CHRONIC DISORDER, VIOLENT CHILDREN, and more. With a line-up like that, I’m sure you know what you’re getting—no saxophones!

V/A Back From the Grave, Vol. 5 LP

Once again Crypt has come up with an above-average selection of snotty ’60s obscurities for our listening pleasure. Most all of the tunes are punk with that mid-’60s English R’n’B influence—guitar-oriented with snarling vocals. Bands such as the KEGGS, FEW, NOBLES, ILLUSIONS, and lots more deliver that real “intellectual” stuff that makes the EXPLOITED look like real geniuses.

V/A Winnipeg 1965-66: The Best of Eagle Records LP

Nothing especially mandatory here, although it’s not a poor collection either, with tracks from the QUID, SHAG, SATAN & THE D-MEN, and others. In 20 years, will Greg Shaw be documenting the current punk scenes as methodically? Will kids in 2005 even care what’s happening now?

V/A I Thrash, Therefore I Am cassette

Most of the bands here are from Scandinavia, with a smattering from the UK, Germany, and Belgium. There are anywhere from one to nine tracks each by such manic luminaries as MOB 47, EXISTENZ, ANTI-CIMEX, MODERAT LIKVIDATION, MOTTEK, ENOLA GAY, AKUTT INNLEGGELSE, and several more.

V/A Broken Frontiers / Broken Chains cassette

A European sampler featuring XPOZEZ, ANTI-DOGMATIKKS, KINA, WRETCHED, VARUKERS, UPRIGHT CITIZENS, MG 15, NEGAZIONE, and more. Sometimes rough sound quality, but comes with a neat magazine.

V/A Never Mind ’77… & …This is ’84 cassettes

This altogether surprising duo of cassette compilations features well-known outfits like FRITES MODERN, PEGGIO PUNX, MOTTEK, and OLHO SECO—plus a variety of cuts from a clutch of promising new bands. The breadth of punk and hardcore styles represented on these two tapes, in addition to the general quality of the music, helps make these cassettes highly recommended additions to your collection. Intelligent and well-conceived.

V/A Hardcore Power Music Part 2

A storming German sampler with all your faves and some new faces. Lots of different attacks with creative approaches, it’s a good slap of Deutsch hardcore. With the incredible INFERNO whose track “Ein Tag im Schatten” really shows their intensity, plus some classic tracks from the MANIACS, MOTTEK, TIN CAN ARMY, and RAZZIA. And new entries by the IDIOTS, LUSTFINGER, KSF, AUSBRUCH, and SCHLUCKSPECHTE. Well done musically, but why do these German labels always rip off Wrightson for cover art? Thanx Winni!

V/A Beware of the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing LP

An incredible comp from Holland featuring seven bands with a good selection of several songs each. Lots of good Dutch thrash from NO PIGS, who continue the madness evident on their blasting EP, sheer havoc from S.C.A., power and energy of NOG WATT, the split second attack from GEPØPEL, the sonic thrust of DEADLOCK, and good tracks from HIROSHIMA NOODUITGANG and INDIREKT. In the tradition of Dutch samplers like Als Je Haar… this is a fine release.

V/A Another Crummy Comp cassette

The title of this comp isn’t strictly accurate, nor could it be with the likes of AVSKUM, XPOZEZ, SCAPEGOATS, and 15 other international bands. In fact, the song quality is quite good, with a political backbone braced with sincerity and honesty. Sound quality’s fine, too.

V/A Underground Bullshit, Vol. 1 cassette

A garagy and nifty area collection of some of SoCal’s thrashing young outfits. There are tracks by FATAL ERROR, MAD PARADE, CHAOTIC NOISE, S.O.S., ARTISTIC DECLINE, BAD INFLUENCE, MOX NIX, BLACK LABEL, PLAIN WRAP, LOVE CANAL…22 groups in all. Put out by FFF fanzine, and comes with mag insert.

V/A Terminal! Flexidisk No. 2 8″

I’ll skip the one track each by EXPERIMENTAL PRODUCTS (funky weirdness) and TIMI (reggae), and flip to side two, which contains a track each by RAT AT RAT R and LIVE SKULL. The former delivers a brutal blow of semi-noise music, NY art style. LIVE SKULL take that genre a bit further, less noisy but more depressing.

V/A Speed Trials LP

A nifty little live compilation that features the musical side of a five-day art festival held last year in New York. Lotsa homeboys on this one, like LIVE SKULL, SONIC YOUTH, SWANS, and the BEASTIE BOYS. Also includes two tracks from the FALL.

V/A Not Yet Decided cassette

An international compilation cassette put out by Brian Walsby. Such luminaries as C.O.C., NO POLICY, UGLY AMERICANS, SLUGGO, ACCÜSED, UNIFORM CHOICE, VICIOUS CIRCLE, SCARED STRAIGHT, UNACCEPTED, etc. present anywhere from one to seven songs each, and there’s lots of raving thrash.

V/A Mystic Sampler #2 LP

The latest sampler LP from the most prolific sampler label, this one contains tracks from some previous records (GRIM, DR. KNOW, Nardcore, Slimey Valley, Party Animal, SUBTERFUGE, etc.) and some future releases (AGGRESSION, HOLLYWOOD NOISE, Let’s Die, Cop II, Return to Slimey Valley). Can anyone keep track of all this?

V/A Godfodder cassette

Some names on this comp you’ll immediately recognize as quality acts, like HOMO PICNIC, CHRONIC DISORDER, DEAD MILKMEN, DROOLING IDIOTS, CANCEROUS GROWTH, ASBESTOS ROCKPYLE, etc. And many others are relative newies, such as STATE OF THE UNION, PUBLIC ENEMA, etc. Lots of variety of punk sounds, and lots of intelligent lyrics.

V/A Dial-a-Trance cassette

A Chicago-area comp, this features CERTAIN DEATH, GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS, TORPEDOS, SPRAY PAINT, UNINVITED, RING 13, NO MORE WARS, BLATANT DISSENT, and GARAGE BODIES. Quite good sound quality, and varied but strong material. Good.

V/A Covers LP

Neat idea, not-so-neat results. Cover songs are a tricky business—you either gotta change and update ’em (like the MEMBRANES’ “Super Freak”), or out-energize the original (SWA’s “100 Bottles of Beer”). But most of the others, turned in by the likes of SCARED STRAIGHT, RKL, FALSE CONFESSIONS, ILL REPUTE, SADO-NATION, DON’T NO, NOFX, VOA, PLAINWRAP, G.I., etc, etc., don’t make you forget the originals. They should.

V/A Highs in the Mid-Sixties, Vol. 15 LP

Somehow omitting Vol. 14, this series of ’60s obscurities lurches on to Wisconsin, Part 2. While mainly on the softer, poppier folk-rock side, many of these tunes are pretty cool, with lots of vocal harmonies and an occasional freakout. Decent.

V/A Vote No in ’85 cassette

Two to five songs each by ten intense hardcore bands. ACTIVE INGREDIENTS, UNEXPECTED, PSYCHO, RED BERET, U.S. DISTRESS, URBICIDE, WHITE PIGS, KNOCKABOUTS, HOMO PICNIC, and DEFORMED (the only non-US band, being from the UK). Excellent.

V/A Stars Vomit Coffee Shop

All the tracks here contain one Frank Kogan, whether singing with his guitar, or in accompaniment by bands (that include former Cleveland weirdos associated with X BLANK X and PRESSLER/MORGAN). Results: singer/songwriter goes VELVETS meets JAMES BROWN in the garage singing those “Subterranean Homesick Blues.”

V/A Godfodder cassette

Many well-knowns and lesser-knowns of various punk styles are combined for stimulating listening. CHRONIC DISORDER, HOMO PICNIC, ASBESTOS ROCKPYLE, DEAD MILKMEN, DROOLING IDIOTS, and tons more appear on this one. Worth checking out.

V/A Garage Sale cassette

The cassette equivalent of Voxx’s Battle of the Garages, this collection put together by Goldmine magazine lures such contemporary garage groups as the VIPERS, GRAVEDIGGERS V, TELL-TALE HEARTS, PANDORAS, FUZZTONES, CHEEPSKATES, UNCLAIMED, and more. Can’t really go wrong there. Gnarly.

V/A Can It Be? cassette

Put out by Metrozine, this compilation contains mostly DC area bands like MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, JET BOYS, GRAY MATTER, GREY MARCH, ASYLUM, B.M.O., UNITED MUTATION, G.I., REPTILE HOUSE, VELVET MONKEYS, NIKE CHIX, PUDWAK, and one one-of-a-kind group, CERTAIN DEATH of Illinois. A tunefully varied musical earful. Solid effort.

V/A Aha 3 cassette

Opening this cassette package is like Christmas! I got a Q-Tip, two slides, a plastic fruit-fly, one cellophane “mystery fish,” a bunch of neat booklets… I, for one, am excited. There’s also a cassette, which features some OK “sensitive” pop by TERRIBLE PARADE, and a lot of arty compositions, mostly in a very, very slow mode. Great packaging, but the music’s not too enthralling.

V/A We Don’t Want Your Fucking Law! LP

The second volume in Fight Back’s We Don’t Want…, and like the first, the ensemble of bands is a good earful. Featuring new and released tracks by 16 UK and German bands, the music is much softer than the first, yet still potent and powerful. The line-up includes the APOSTLES, INSANE, PARTISANS, RUBELLA BALLET, VORKRIEGSJUGEND, UPRIGHT CITIZENS, WARDANCE, POSITIVE IMPACT, and more. A good sampler and a nice effort.

V/A Transmission Sampler 01 EP

This over-the-edge zine presents one side of garage weirdness (ERIC HYSTERIC, SNOIDS, and BROKEN LIMBZ); and a more accessible side (SAVAGE REPUBLIC and RUGGEDY ANNES). Varied and interesting, it’s worth it for RUGGEDY ANNES’ pop/punk track alone.

V/A Putrid Evil flexi EP

Aha, the first of hopefully many exciting flexis containing some of the up-and-coming bands around the world. Dig and Kalv have initiated this project with CIVIL DISSIDENT from Australia, SEPTIC DEATH from the US (both hot!), and several tracks by the STUPIDS from England, who bring GANG GREEN-type attack to the Isles. Snap it up!

V/A Deflagration, Vol. II

An international thrasher with VORKRIEGSPHASE, SP CAOS, HEIMLAT LOS. EU’S ARSE, SIEGE, WRETCHED, RAZOR BLADES, STRESS DA, and much more; 15 bands, 48 tracks. Good sound quality overall, and intense material.

V/A Dark Sampler #3

Nine bands and 29 tracks, including some hot bands like MURDER INC. III, INDIREKT, GEPØPEL, M.O.G., the FILTH. Most of it is live, though, and not the best way to hear these Dutch groups.

V/A Διατάραξη Κοινής Ησυχίας LP

An excellent compilation, featuring six Greek punk bands in a variety of sub-styles. Not only are the bands more that competent, but the recording quality is surprisingly good, too. Besides EX-HUMANS, PANX ROMANA, and STRESS, there’s no other information in English as to who the other bands might be. As you might guess, it’s all Greek to me.

V/A Asleep at the Wheel

I think it was a prerequisite for all twelve bands on this Melbourne comp to have two words in their titles, like CORPSE GRINDERS, CRUSHED BUZZARDS, TOMBSTONE HANDS, HAREM SCAREM, etc. It’s a mixed bag of neo-’60s, neo-blues, neo new wave, neo-billy, etc., etc., etc. My fave though is a catchy pop/punk song, “Mohawk Baby” by PAINTERS & DOCKERS.

V/A Alle 55 Kort cassette

These 55 bands (one track each) all hail from the Low Countries: Belgium and Holland. And needless to say, this compilation brings home with force just how widespread hardcore has spread in this region. Both live and studio tracks, mostly well-produced, and comes with a zine.

V/A Stockholm’s Mangel

Three powerful young Swedish thrashers share this tape. While I’ve heard MOB 47 sound more powerful than this before, they are still a plus here. And so are CRUDITY (more fast thrash) and AGONI, who are along the lines of DISORDER.

V/A The Last Supper cassette

We’ve got the mandatory SPK and TEST DEPT, who are featured on every one of these tapes. Clever packaging, however, belies the Sominex inside; poor quality sound, too. Well, three strikes and you’re out, but that’s only two. OK, then there’s this band called MUSLIMGAUZE easily qualifies with their incredible suckiness.

V/A We Don’t Want Your Fucking War! LP

I hear this is the first of many politically oriented “unity” HC compilations to come out of Mortarhate. (I think it’s Mortarhate; it’s hard to tell from the disc and cover.) It’s an admirable sentiment, unifying activist punks with other movements, but it’s not the sentiment alone that’s good here. The tracks shred. Excellent, it includes BROKEN BONES, POTENTIAL THREAT, INSTIGATORS, VARUKERS, LOST CHERREES, MALINHEADS, DEZERTER, and lost more, many previously unreleased.

V/A Really Fast Vol. II LP

Incredibly powerful Swedish compilation that features 37 songs by 14 bands. Hard-hitting with lots of thrash rhythms, you’ll experience variations of hardcore from fast, turbulent explosions to raw, gut-crunching scorchers. Furious fun from INGRON HUTLOS, MOB 47, NYX NEGATIV, ASOCIAL IRTS, SOTLIMPA, KRIXHJALTERS, DISTRUST, and more. This is one to check out. Really good.

V/A Hold Up Omnibus 8″ EP

Some very poor recording mars what were probably some very exciting live moments for the four bands that appear on here; SYSTEMATIC DEATH, GHOUL, GASTUNK, and the CLAY turn in several tracks each, but…too bad.

V/A Fun’s Not Dead LP

Action packed chaos grooved into spasmic colored vinyl. Quick charges of lightning-paced thrash with jubilant tempos and grinding assaults featuring eight German bands doing fourteen sonic bursters. INFERNO, ROTTING CARCASS, CERESIT 81, BOLKOTTZ, WOT, MANIACS, and more deliver some crucial sounds that exhilarate to the fullest.

V/A 4 Per Ⓐ//ⒶⒶ Per Tutti EP

Like most compilations, a little spotty. RAW POWER starts off and blows away all the competition. Their sound here is sooooo much better than their first LP, as they showcase their breakneck stop-and-start sound with vocals literally spit out through your speakers. RAPPRESAGLIA and PEDAGO PARTY both go for a more popular thrash sound. The other band, RIVOLTA DELL’ODIO, has a slower art-damaged sound.

V/A Eat Your Head 2xLP

The Melbourne, Australia equivalent to Bullshit Detector, where you get good recordings by eleven of Australia’s hottest hardcore performers. The prizes include double tracks by CIVIL DISSIDENT, who undoubtedly are one of the three best Australian bands, and intense stuff by I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVY, who thrash it with humor. Plus excellent tracks by END RESULT, VICIOUS CIRCLE, BODIES, MURDER MURDER SUICIDE, and more. A very quality effort, you can see the heart behind this!

V/A Compilation EP

It’s that punk/Oi (skunk) sound that’s so popular in France. Here we have a muddily recorded indie release with four bands, two of which produce mediocre examples of the genre (DISTURB and TOXIK), one a good example (OFFENSIVE), and the other an excellent example (KIDNAP). The song by the latter is “1984,” the song Jeff wanted to put on our Welcome to 1984 LP.

V/A Cleanse the Bacteria LP

Pus and I often have minor musical differences, so I was hoping for the opportunity to take a friendly swipe at the old headbanger’s international thrash-oriented compilation. But I’m having a hard time because it’s a fucking good record. Some of the groups here are among my favorites (like 7 SECONDS and MOB 47) and the selections are usually up the best of each band’s standard, so I’ll just have to bite my tongue and get into these vicious slabs of cranium-crunching mayhem, etc. Kudos to GENOCIDE EXPRESS, SIEGE, and even HOLY DOLLS.

V/A We Begin Bombing in Five Minutes cassette

A good value, this cassette features a clutch of Cleveland bands (CIVILIAN TERRORISTS, LURID, JIPPO, PESTILANCE, and PLAGUE) and just under 30 songs. The sound quality’s good, the music even better—and this tape (as well as future ones in this series) comes with a fanzine, stickers, etc. if you send $1.35 to No Fun.

V/A Phantom Takes cassette

This is a really quick overview of the SoCal industrial/difficult music scene. You get just about everything on this tape, including psychos like JOHN TRUBEE, DEBT OF NATURE, and BRENT WILCOX to CABARET VOLTAIRE/CHROME-sound artists like PIERRE LAMBOW and RANDALL KENNEDY. Comes in a real classy cardboard package with booklet.

V/A Billboard Vandals cassette

Four bands share this first release by Depression zine. LATIN DOGS (political thrash) and TOXIC ATTITUDE (garage thrash) are both recorded live at a “lawn party.” THE LIPS ARE BACK (older punk) and EDDIE & THE WOLFGANG (garage) round out the release. LATIN DOGS are definitely the best of the lot.

V/A This is White Noise EP

With lines like, “It don’t matter how we win, even murder is no sin” and “Nigger nigger, go back home,” the National Front promotes their nationalist and racist ideology through 4 bands they’ve signed to their label : SKREWDRIVER, DIEHARDS, BRUTAL ATTACK, and ABH. Sad, and dangerous…

V/A Spanish HC cassette

Six bands share this compendium of Spanish hardcore, including the likes of ULTIMO RESORTE, SHIT S.A., and MG-15. R.I.P., however, shame their competition with 13 ripping live songs in a well-orchestrated thrash style; their tracks alone make this compilation especially attractive. Give it a listen!

V/A Propaganda Live LP

A live release of ten Finnish hardcore groups with a major emphasis on the BASTARDS and POIKKEUSTILA. Good sound quality gives this the right edge, as it is gritting and raw, yet uncompromising in energy. Interesting listening from Rock-O-Rama.

V/A P.E.A.C.E. 2xLP

A compilation of Finnish hardcore on Germany’s Rock-O-Rama label. The music is generally strong (though some is overly generic), but there is a problem raised by this album—the appearance of so many tracks that have already been released on earlier Finnish (or even German) records. Although it’s great to witness the “internationalization” of the punk scene on vinyl, I wish that the organizers of these projects would try harder to get only unreleased cuts or songs on records that are out-of-print or otherwise impossible to get ahold of. Here, the ratio of easily-available material is close to 50%, and that’s too much.

V/A Finnish Spunk / Hard Beat LP

A compilation of Finnish hardcore on Germany’s Rock-O-Rama label. The music is generally strong (though some is overly generic), but there is a problem raised by this album—the appearance of so many tracks that have already been released on earlier Finnish (or even German) records. Although it’s great to witness the “internationalization” of the punk scene on vinyl, I wish that the organizers of these projects would try harder to get only unreleased cuts or songs on records that are out-of-print or otherwise impossible to get ahold of. Here, the ratio of easily-available material is close to 50%, and that’s too much.

V/A Keine Experimente! Vol. II LP

An excellent follow-up, this compilation features some of the hot current crop of young German hardcore bands, with some great tracks by TORPEDO MOSKAU, AGEN 53, PORNO PATROL, EA 80, CHOAS Z, NEUROTIC ARSEHOLES, TIN CAN ARMY, CRETINS, and VOLXFRONT. A fine recording, on colored vinyl.

V/A The Third Chainsaw Flexi EP

Although the previously released tracks by MORNINGTON CRESCENT and BGK make for a shred-fest in themselves, the two songs by BUTCHER are also worthwhile. Their cover of T. REX’s “Get It On” is a delightful pop-punk version, but “Psycho Trend” seems a tad more lively. Available with Chainsaw zine.

V/A Basic Sampler cassette

CCM and I REFUSE IT from Italy; FARTZ and SOLGER (R.I.P.) and REJECTERS from the Northwest; MEAT PUPPETS, PART-TIME CHRISTIANS, and MAGGOT BRAINS from all around. Lots of live tracks and decent sound quality, but what’s most unusual about this release is…no accompanying booklet with lyrics, addresses, etc., a rarity these days.

V/A Abt Nr 409 / Copvlation / Xerxes Von Munshrein LP

This trio of Swiss experimental bands channels their ideas through traditional rock song-structures. COPVLATION are the punkiest here, adopting an early CABARET VOLTAIRE sound, albeit with more power in the drums; XERXES VON MUNSHREIN have definite potential, though this band is decidedly more synth-oriented. No truly great songs here, but let’s hear more from the country that used to be the creative center of first-rate post-punk.

V/A Twisted Youth cassette

This comp represents past and present bands from the North Bay of the SF area. Side one, the “well-recorded side,” is somewhat within that definition, and contains some cool tracks by LUDAVICHO TECHNIQUE, CRYPT, UXB, PUKES, and SACRIPOLITICAL. The “not-so-well-recorded side” is “live” mateial, with a track each by 13 bands. Kent likes all this “warped stuff.”

V/A Their Eyes Don’t Lie EP

Produced by Student Action Corp for Animals, this 7”er comes with a fold-out sleeve that contains all sorts of animal justice information and addresses. The disc itself contains a spoken word track, one musical track by D.C.’s SUBTLE OPPRESSION, and two songs by the Bay Area’s late ATROCITY. Those two tunes, highlighted by twin female vocals and atmospheric but driving punk instrumentation, are the musical treats here, and, unfortunately, are the only released testimony to that great band.

V/A Painful Haircut cassette

A nice little collection of young US bands featuring MINISTRY OF TRUTH, F, FALSE LIBERTY, ANGRY RED PLANET, CHRONIC DISORDER, NO MORE WARS, STUKAS OVER BEDROCK, E-13, HOMO PICNIC, ART THIEVES, MUSICAL SUICIDE, FUTILE EFFORT, BABY ASTRONAUTS, JUVENILE TRUTH, and MDC. Quality isn’t bad. It sounds like a lot of basement demos, but the effort is well thought out and delivered. A good compilation.

V/A Numb Tongue, No Taste cassette

An international compilation of the known and a few newcomers—BORN WITHOUT A FACE, ARHIVISKA ZABAVA, DICTATRISTA, BRAVE NEW WORLD, UNIFORM CHOICE, CRASH BOX, ASBESTOS ROCKPYLE are among the former, while GLORIOUS DIN, BABY ASTRONAUTS (hilarious), ST-37, FAITH NO MORE, DOC WOR MIRRAN, and ARCATA BOYS CHOIR head up the latter. Enjoyable listening.

V/A Let’s Breed! LP

This buoyant sampler of Boston-area bands concentrates on accessible, up-tempo power-pop and punk—and manages it with surprising consistency. The FLIES, EDGE, and UNDERACHIEVERS vie for top honors, but the odds-on favorite is a slice of country swing (!) by SCRUFFY THE CAT. No thrash here; just agreeable, aggressive hard pop and punk—the kind you listened to and liked way back in ’79.

V/A Brain of Stone cassette

23 bands from all over the world contribute to this compilation, though a sound problem on the first side (is it just my copy?) works against some of them. First-rate efforts by the ACCUSED, NOT MOVING (from Italy), YOUTH KORPS, VICIOUS CIRCLE (from Australia), and Denmark’s DISRESPECT make for some rousing moments; el Demento award goes to HAPPY FLOWERS for “Mom I Gave the Cat Some Acid.”

V/A Battle of the Garages, Vol. 3: The Paisley Underground LP

This latest Greg Shaw reliving-his-teens comp contains all contemporary SoCal neo-’60s bands. The accent is on punk here, with just a dash of folk-rock, psych, and Mersey. And a good one it is—solid rockin’ from beginning to end by all 16 bands (most previously unreleased). Recommended.

V/A Yalta Hi-Life LP

Aaa-haaa! here it is! A Finnish compilation with the best TERVEET KÄDET song yet, smokes while the stylus shoots out sparks. Great collection with KAAOS, VARAUS, APARAT, AIVOPROTESTI, KANSANTURVAMUSIIKKIKOMISSIO (say that three times…slow!). Don’t miss this!

V/A Not So Humdrum LP

The second Sydney compilation from that hard-working Bruce Griffiths (Trousers in Action zine), and it’s full of good material. While there is only one semi-thrasher (VIGIL-ANTI), there’s lots of garagy stuff (ROCKS, WRONG KIND OF STONE AGE) and other classic punk styles performed by SUICIDE SQUAD, EXSERTS, HAPPY HATE ME NOTS. But the most zapping tracks belong to ITCHY RATS, who’ll really grow on you. Super book-type cover, too.

V/A Izgubljena Alternativa cassette

This is a surprisingly strong representation of several Yugoslavian hardcore bands. While it’s hard to tell who’s who, nearly all of the material (tape EPs) by U.B.R., NECROPHILIA, SOLUNSKI FRONT, QUOD MASAKA, DVA MINUTA MRZNJE, and DISTRESS is a cut above the norm. There’s some real originality and flair here, along with lots of power. Excellent.

V/A Holland Hardcore 3 cassette

This is pretty much of a rave. All the bands thrash out wildly, with most of the bands turning in those noisy live tracks that remind me of S.U.M. In this category goes PUINHOOP, LAITZ, M.O.G., CHLORIX, ECHTE BOTER, G.V.D., ORGASM, and A. RELAXT. Top honors on this regional Dutch comp go to GEPØPEL, who present two studio tracks that remind me of 7 SECONDS more than a little. Keep it up, all of you!

V/A Déflagration Vol. 1 cassette

This all-thrash comp is yet another international effort, and despite some relative unknowns here, it’s pretty consistently powerful. There’s EXTERMINO (Brazil), RÖVSVETT and MOB 47 (Sweden), BLANK SS (Heimat), and HERESIE (France), SAUKERLE (E. Germany), ONSLAUGHT (UK), THELLAY (Japan), END RESULT (Australia), SCAPEGOATS (W. Germany), and MELLAKKA (Finland). The compiler will take money ($2.60), but prefers a C-60 tape of bands from your country in trade.

V/A We Got Power: Party or Go Home LP

This Party Animal follow-up is not quite as overpowering as the initial installment, but it’s still an excellent sampler. You get 41 bands from all over the US, with SoCal being predominant. Too many bands to even begin to list (see ad this issue), but there are lots of debuts here, as well as other recently recorded up-and-comers. And, there are grooves between the songs this time!

V/A Objekt No. 2 cassette

An eclectic conglomerate of obtuse sound and vision, some of it extraordinary, some self-indulgent grunt, but that’s the case with all compilations in this genre. It’s refreshing to see Americans pumping out intensity of this nature. This is quite similar in approach and content to the Rising from the Red Sand series from England, although the sound here is much better. Highly recommended.

V/A Shoot ‘Em All cassette

Outside of some weak Britpunk material from BLABOIZ, we’re presented with some excellent tracks (studio and live) from the VANDALS (not the US band), INTENSIFIED CHAOS (again, not the US combo), and SABOTEUR. Vigorous stuff!

V/A Have a Rotten Christmas LP

The up-and-coming Rot Records label presents largely unreleased tracks for your holiday “enjoyment.” Good, strong material from ANIMAL FARM, VARUKERS, NO CHOICE, SKEPTIX, RESISTANCE 77, ENEMY, PARANOIA, and RIOT SQUAD. What, no BOBBY HELMS?

V/A Four on 4 EP

One cut each by four excellent rock ’n’ roll (in the good, teen rave-up sense) combos. The MILKSHAKES, PRISONERS, STING-RAYS, and TALLBOYS all turn in crisp, up-tempo rockers with varying influences (R’n’B, psych, mod). So don’t be no “skwayer,” and pick it up.

V/A Music to Kill Brain Cells, Vol. 1 cassette

Band #1 is BROKEN TALENT, who, after the pornographic intro (Mykel Board, get this one!), indulge us with some classic garage punk. #2 is VERBAL CIRCUS, and they deliver some really weird shit (again M.B., take note). POP CRUDS bring us back to reality (ha!) with more garage retardedness. And that leaves it all up to FONZIE’S NEPHEWS, who polish us off in a demented fit of idiocy. “Weird shit,” as the liner notes say.

V/A Highs in the Mid-Sixties, Vol. 13 LP

Supposedly a return to the “punk” side of Texas ’60s music, it’s not quite the wailer I had hoped for. While there’s some killer stuff by the BRIKS, FANATICS, and BARONS (MOUSE AND THE TRAPS rip-off), there’s also an awful lot of filler here. Hope that’s it for the Texas series.

V/A Highs in the Mid-Sixties, Vol. 12 LP

Part two of the Texas retrospective in this on-going series has dug up a mixed bag. Side one is the “ acid-punk” side, and it’s a 50/50 proposition: highlights are by the REMAINING FEW and STEREO SHOESTRING, the rest being too far gone on the lighter weight psych side. Side two is the “pop” side, and it’s less than a 50/50 deal.

V/A Desperate Teenage Lovedolls LP

The soundtrack to We Got Power‘s video extravaganza, there’s lots of great rock ’n’ roll. REDD KROSS appropriately dominates this disc, not only with their own tunes, but with members sitting in with WHITE FLAG as well. They are joined by BLACK FLAG, SIN 34 (WGP‘s “house band”), NIP DRIVERS, and DARKSIDE (?). Cool teen stuff!

V/A Back From the Grave, Vol. 4 LP

More primitive ’60s punk from pimply faced pubescents who couldn’t attract a “gurl” if their lives depended on it. And it’s a damn good thing, too, or they wouldn’t have been mad enough to produce these raunchy misogynistic rants. Almost everything here is primo stuff, maaaan, but I especially dig the CYCLONES, RED BEARD & THE PIRATES, the HALLMARKS, and the AZTEX. Can’t wait for future volumes.

V/A Attack of the Jersey Teens LP

No headbangin’ ’60s punk here, with most of this anthology concentrating on the Mersey/folk rock side of things (WHAT-NOTS, FRIEDLES, YOUNG MONKEY MEN)—but CALLIOPE and LOVED ONES do turn in an excellent rocker each. I suspect most of these bands hailed from South Jersey, hung out at “the Shore,” and would love to be BRUCE STINKBEAN.

V/A Rullustiginn cassette

When I think of modern Icelandic music, I think of moody post-punk and some experimental stuff. That’s exactly what we get on this tape. Only one or two groups (VONBRIGDI, for example) really play driving punk.

V/A Primitive Air-Raid LP

An excellent cross-section of Montreal-area bands, most of which haven’t released any vinyl before. From the thrash of DIRECT ACTION and NO POLICY to the chunky pop-punk of the NILS to AMERICAN DEVICES’ weird, rockin’ stuff to fast punk by GENETIC CONTROL, the ABSURDS, and FAIR WARNING to the garage punk of PORCELAIN FOREHEAD to MORBID FIRE’s experimental garage thrash, this album provides listening enjoyment. The only musical letdowns are art- damaged numbers by ≠ and IAGO NEON. The ASEXUALS, on the other hand, provide the lyrical low-point with their imbecilic pro-contra chant; their line “political morons without a fucking clue” must be autobiographical, since they apparently know nothing about Nicaragua, American foreign policy, or the circle-A which they employ in their moniker.

V/A Noget På Dansk EP

A split EP, on white vinyl no less. ENOLA GAY and WAR OF DESTRUCTION share this effort. E.G. are good, gruff fast punk (two songs), while W.O.D. are DISCHARGE-like on their one entry. The flip features LE CRAP, who are abrasive post-punk. The real surprise, though, is VI, who shred on their two tracks, sort of GISM meets CAPITOL PUNISHMENT. Good release.

V/A La Notte Dell’Anarchia cassette

An historical document of sorts, this live tape is dedicated to those courageous and dedicated punks of Milan, who managed the Virus collective (now defunct by force). Besides the many bands (ALTERNATIVA, KOBRA, F.D.M., WRETCHED, STRAGE, M.A.F., RAPPRESAGLIA), there are interviews with various people (in Italian), speaking about an action of occupation they did (where this was recorded) to protest, where eventually they were dislodged by ten tanks! Raw as reality, but the fight goes on.

V/A Hauptkampflinie cassette

An international collection starring PLAIN WRAP, SVART FRAMTID, PANDEMONIUM, MOB 47, WRETCHED, TIN CAN ARMY, SIEGE, CRASH BOX, INFERNO, and several newcomers. It’s a solid thrash release—you know what you’re getting.

V/A Hardcore Unlawful Assembly LP

Another savage onslaught of that brutal Japanese hardcore. Featuring those masters of growling ferocity, GISM, with two power-crazed cuts. OUTO speeds rapidly with harsh vocals. BAWS come off as an aggressive COCKNEY REJECTS, with lots of chants and Oi stylings. ZOUO plunge into some metallic pieces like a young GISM, with lots of effects. LAUGHIN’ NOSE strikes with a melodic punk appeal, like current YOUTH BRIGADE numbers. MOBS is GISM Jr.—grinding, growling, with all that iron grit edge. COBRA hits with some early garagy punk sounds. And LIP CREAM charges forth with some manic thrash assaults, fast and furious. A great compilation where most songs are longer than what’s in “fashion.” Thanks, Hannah!

V/A Goot From the Boot LP

Here we have a new Italian compilation distinguished by its diversity and general quality. The “green side” features a few experimental punk bands (GREY SHADOW, NOISENOISENOISE, and MIND) that illuminate some paths that can be taken out of the generic morass “hardcore” often finds itself in; they adopt unusual structures without losing bite and guitar power (except maybe MIND). The “orange side” features somewhat more conventional punk and thrash groups (CANI, JUGGERNAUT, and PUTRID FEVER), and one rhythmic synth duo (FUNNY FASHION).

V/A Two Ninety Nine LP

A whole lot of current UK bands (eleven to be exact), each with a track or so, and bizarrely, one US band (KILLROY). We get some mid-tempo tracks from ANIMAL FARM, SICK VICARS, ENEMY, RESISTANCE 77, THOSE OBNOXIOUS TYPES, and PARANOIA. Not earth-shaking, but solid Brit-punk.

V/A Bullshit Detector Three 2xLP

41 underground acts delivering the message of peace and their anger about the corrosion of society. A variety of musical styles, ranging from readings and folk to punk. Loud and aggressive, it carries it all and holds strong. The poster cover features an informative segment on each artist’s lyrics and beliefs. As the cover states, “Don’t expect music when the melody is anger, when the message sings defiance.” With a haunting illo by Naomi!

V/A Beating the Meat LP

Welcome to the X-Centric Noise Cassettes’ “greatest hits” LP—all their best stuff grooved into a fiery wax platter. Many of your favorites first appeared thru X-Centric, and now you can experience the storming energy of TERVEET KÄDET, UPRIGHT CITIZENS, NEOS, HUVUDTVÄTT, OLHO SECO, PROTEST, RATTUS, POWERAGE, CÓLERA, CULT MANIAX, and more. For fanatic and neophyte alike. Support Shesk’s efforts (he’s helped popularize international music for years) and help keep that energy flowing.

V/A Revenge of the Killer Pussies LP

The follow-up to Blood on the Cats, this comp again features trash/garage/rockabilly/R’n’R. There are a few well-known bands (METEORS, SIC KIDZ, MILKSHAKES), a few up-and-comers (KING KURT, STINGRAYS, TURKEY BONES AND WILD DOGS), and absolutely no manic psychobilly. Just OK.

V/A Texacore 1 cassette

A real gnarly, kick-ass compilation consisting of such luminaries as PUNK FLAMINGOS, PRENATAL LUST, BILLY BOB FAGGOTS, FEARLESS IRANIANS FROM HELL, TOEJAM, and three others. It has good sound quality, too. More than decent.

V/A A Midnight Christmas Mess LP

Other than a few too-pop or rockabilly clunkers on side one, we are left with an excellent ’60s-punk-type compilation of various contemporary groups. There’s killer stuff from YARD TRAUMA, NADROJ & THE WOLRATS (doing the SONICS’ “She’s Waiting” with new lyrics), CHEEPSKATES, among others. There’s even Midnight owner, JD, doing his tribute, à la Phil Spector’s Xmas LP, to the season.

V/A 4 Old 7″s on a 12″ LP

So you’ve been crawling up the walls trying to get these classic 7” EP’s, paying five times the original price for a copy, and now here it is for you all to experience. These are the roots of the original DC sound, with the TEEN IDLES (with Jeff and Ian of MINOR THREAT), S.O.A. (with Henry of BLACK FLAG), GOVERNMENT ISSUE, and YOUTH BRIGADE (not the LA variety ; this one had Bert of DOUBLE O/SECOND WIND) in their debut EP’s. Still classics, and should be part of your collection!

V/A Buddha Was Fat cassette

Eight songs (five bands) from upper NY State. The WRONG CROWD are like late-period VELVET UNDERGROUND, the PLAGUE are garage, RELIGIOUS INSANITY are mercifully short-song oriented, SUICIDE POETS are mysterious, and THRASH HAPPY are the furthest thing from thrash imaginable.

V/A Big City Don’t Want No Pity EP

This third Big City compilation EP features solid, aggressive material by ULTRAVIOLENCE, ARMED CITIZENS, UNJUST, and in particular, NO CONTROL, who delivers a gripping mid-tempo blast reminiscent of the AVENGERS live. Some rowdy, biting material here (although some has been previously released, and all are slightly dated)—so give it a listen!

V/A Scum of the Earth LP

Yet another ’60s punk compilation, this one primarily dealing with the pre-psych influence on the genre. What this means is a lot of ’64 or so sounding stuff, with an accent on surf, R&B, and British Invasion garage sounds. Not as wild as I’d hoped.

V/A Pebbles, Vol. 14 LP

No “theme” or “geographic” orientation here—just a smattering of more obscurities from the seemingly endless ’60s archives. No real losers here, and the highlight for me was the GOLDEN CUPS cover of “Hey Joe.” Just what we need, right? But this has gotta be the ’60s equivalent of a thrash version!

V/A Highs in the Mid-Sixties, Vol. 11 LP

Awright, baby, this is part one of the Texas entry into the Highs series, and I think it’s the standout so far. It’s even better than the much rarer and highly-touted Flashbacks volumes. LARRY & THE BLUE NOTES do an incredible blast, as do the BUCCANEERS, KIT & THE OUTLAWS, the BY-FIVES, and NOBODY’S CHILDREN. (Note; CHAZ & THE CLASSICS’ amazing psychedelic punker is the third song on side two). Total gold.

V/A Highs in the Mid-Sixties, Vol. 10 LP

Volume 10 of the Highs series covers Wisconsin. There’s too many bluesy rhythms, pumping saxes, and DYLAN rip-offs for my tastes, but heavy fuzz guitars from the likes of the SHAG and the WANDERER’S REST, and unbelievable rave-up at the end of the MOSSMEN’s cut, and some sharp British Invasion-style singing by JACK & THE BEANSTALKS are definitely worth hearing.

V/A Nardcore LP

Yet another Mystic compilation album! And again, it’s a hotly produced disc featuring material that ranges from the inspiring (RKL) to the uninspired, though most is good. This one features relative oldsters like ILL REPUTE, AGGRESSION, DR. KNOW, and STALAG 13, as well as newcomers such as SCARED STRAIGHT, RAT PACK, HABEAS CORPUS, FALSE CONFESSIONS, and AFU. There’s somewhat more punk (vis-à-vis thrash and speed metal) on Nardcore, but the most noteworthy developments are the apparent strength of the “straight edge” philosophy in the Oxnard area and the reappearance of the sublimely inane ROTTERS. Good show, Doug!

V/A Boulders, Vols. 9 & 10 LPs

The two latest volumes of this ’60s punk series contain largely good stuff and little wimp-rock. While the sound quality isn’t as good as some series, the material is still of the impossible-to-find type, making them indispensable for collectors. Volume 10 contains a purported Jerry Mathers (the Beaver) punk release—bizarre.

V/A Rising From the Ashes cassette

A four-band comp of current NZ bands, one (FIVE YEAR MISSION) that goes as far back as ’79. K-4 are pretty experimental, à la PREFIX, CORRECTIVE TRAINING are fairly standard ’78 punk, REX THE FISH have a female vocalist and a moody post-punk sound, and the aforementioned FYM, who are the speediest, but are still within a traditional punk beat.

V/A The Raw Power of Life cassette

Some pretty well-known bands from around Europe are featured here: INFERNO, NEUROTIC ARSEHOLES, NUCLEAR, M.A.F., RAZZIA, and J.R.’s MOTHERFUCKERS AND THE HOLY GHOST from Germany; PANDEMONIUM from Holland; DESTRUCKTIONS and RATTUS from Finland; ANTI-CIMEX from Sweden. There’s some live, some studio—my faves are RATTUS and PANDEMONIUM.

V/A Pebbles, Vol. 15

This one concentrates on the Dutch scene (’65-’68). Just as today there is great punk in Holland (BGK, PANDEMONIUM, etc.), there was a flourishing scene back then, too. We’re given some hot tracks by the OUTSIDERS, MOTIONS, JAY-JAYS, etc., and a few klunkers, but it’s overall a worthwhile addition for collectors.

V/A Larmattacke 2 cassette

An intense thrash tape, with mostly German bands (TODISCHER, M.A.F., SCAPEGOATS, SYPHILIS, LOBOTOMY, SAOBOYS, etc.), some from Holland (FUNERAL ORATION, M.O.G., MURDER INC. III, etc.), England (PANIC STRICKEN), US (DIET OF WORMS, SADISTIC EXPLOITS), and Sweden (CRUDE SS, AVSKUM, MOB 47). Sound quality is basically good.

V/A Kloak Skrål 2 cassette

This compilation is put out by a Swedish alternative studio that supplies free time for recording. This contains hot stuff by E.A.T.E.R., NYX NEGATIVE, BRISTLES, GUNNER ZIDE, AVSKUM, S.S.G., SIX-TEN REDLÖS, and SVEA SKANDAL. Some of it has been already released on vinyl, but it’s still a good representation of today’s powerful Swedish punk/HC.

V/A Get Lost cassette

A very lengthy compilation that alternates between studio demo tracks and barely recognizable live recordings. There are a few better-known bands (SUBHUMANS, DESTRUCTORS, BRISTLES, HATES, etc .), and a lot of younger outfits (DECEASED, ACID ATTACK, NO BRAIN CELLS, DEATH ZONE, and countless others). It’s a decent buy, if you can stand the changes.

V/A Complication: A Danish Compilation LP

This recent Danish compilation is a real letdown. While it does contain some hot tracks (one by WAR OF DESTRUCTION, another by ELECTRIC DEADS—same one as on MRR’s comp), a decent SODS cut, and one passable FRESHLY RIOTS track, the rest is post-punk/new wave drivel that’s unlistenable. Too bad.

V/A Daffodils To The Daffodils Here’s The Daffodils LP

The latest Pax compilation contains mostly unreleased material, and some killer tracks by the likes of the MAU MAUS, DESTRUCKTIONS, ONSLAUGHT, and the post-punkers LEITMOTIV. 20 songs, most of them good to excellent, and yet another thought-provoking editorial by Marcus Featherby on the back cover.

V/A The Oi! of Sex LP

This latest in a long series of so-called Oi compilations features some classic early punk sounds (which now often pass for “Oi”), folk rock, ska, and poetry. It’s all pretty progressive lyrically, accentuating the intelligent side of the perspective of working class youth. Among those featured are COCK SPARRER, the GONADS, NICK TOCZEK, PROLE, CROSSED HAMMERS, the BURIAL, ABH, and VICIOUS RUMOURS. Sounds good.

V/A You Pick One: A Michigan Sampler EP

Five bands and six songs is what you get here. Most of the groups (ANGRY RED PLANET, the ENFORCERS, PRIVATE ANGST) turn in slower, heavier Michigan-style punk, while the GEMS and the FURY pick up the tempo with a bit of thrash. Nothing really stands out, though.

V/A Nobody Gets on the Guest List! LP

With its typical pop themes and music ranging from pop to pop-punk to ’60s punk, this anthology covers another side of the Boston scene. There are a couple of wimpy tracks, but most stand up pretty well if you like powerful guitar pop at all. My faves are by JOHNNY & THE JUMPER CABLES, CHAIN LINK FENCE, HOLY COW, the UNDERACHIEVERS, HOPELESSLY OBSCURE, CHRISTMAS, and 21-645.

V/A The Middle of America Compilation LP

This regional compilation put out by WNUR radio’s Fast ’n’ Loud crew showcases most of the more active, hardworking Chicago-area bands, including NAKED RAYGUN, SAVAGE BELIEFS, NADSAT REBEL, OUT OF ORDER, A.O.F., R.O.T.A., BIG BLACK, and the EFFIGIES. All varieties of punk are represented, and the recording is generally powerful, making this a welcome addition to anyone’s record collection. NAKED RAYGUN particularly excels, but I like almost every band here.

V/A Flipside Vinyl Fanzine, Vol. 1 LP

There’s some first-rate American hardcore on this compilation, easily enough to compensate for an occasional so-so track. The FREEZE, BLACK MARKET BABY, KRAUT, GOVERNMENT ISSUE, and F.O.D. come across with some intense tracks, though my favorite may be the great live version of the DICKIES’ “Gigantor” that opens the album. I hope Volume Two of the series is as good.

V/A Bouncing Babies LP

This is a diverse DC-area compilation featuring bands from the ’81-’83 era, some of which are still around. You’ll get tracks from BLACK MARKET BABY, REPTILE HOUSE, 9353, LAST MINUTE, BRAILLE PARTY, VOID, G.I., DOVE, the CRIPPLED PILGRIMS, SCREAM, UNDERGROUND SOLDIER, and other lesser-knowns. My faves, other than SCREAM, are the mouldy oldies turned in by BEAVER, ASSAULT & BATTERY, and ARTIFICIAL PEACE.

V/A Blazing Wheels and Barking Trucks: Skate Rock, Vol. 2 LP

Cowabunga! Volume numero two of Skate Rock slashes the vinyl terrain with some surfy-punky-metally-rocky sounds. None of this is thrash—it’s straightforward noise by JFA, the FACTION, Mcrad, TSOL, ANVIL CHORUS, the KINGPINS, BORSCHT, the BIG BOYS, and more. Fun, enjoyable stuff enhanced by good recording, but keep it for after the skate session. Good job, Mo!

V/A World Class Punk cassette

Mykel Board compiled this for ROIR, and the outcome is by far the best and broadest international compilation yet. Not only does it have a wide variety of styles, it also has a wider variety of countries represented (27 in all), including the Eastern Bloc, South Africa, and South America, but excluding the US and UK. There are excellent hardcore and garage bands on side one, and on side two are some really great pop-punk and post-punk groups. A new wave band from Columbia is hard to get through, but I can’t think of any other bands here that I don’t like. Check this out.

V/A No Aarhus—Live ’83 cassette

A variety of modern bands and styles can be heard here. Denmark is amply represented by CRAP (post-punk), the RAZOR BLADES (thrash), the DEFORMED (punk), ENOLA GAY (thrash), WAR OF DESTRUCTION (thrash), and DIE KAPELLE (noisy post-punk); Finland showcases the thrash of the BASTARDS and RATTUS; Germany contributes GORILLA ACTIV (post-punk) and DER MODERNE MAN (jazz-punk); then there’s England’s DESTRUCTORS V with some punk. The sound is OK for a live effort.

V/A AJZ Live Thrash cassette

A shitload of German bands (HAWAII 5-O, ENOLA GAY, SICK PLEASURE, INFERNO, the NEUROTIC ARSEHOLES, PORNO PATROL, the UPRIGHT CITIZENS, BLUTTAT, and others), along with Italy’s WRETCHED, recorded at the AJZ. The sound isn’t great, which is too bad, because most of these groups are. The project itself is of an admirable non-profit nature.

V/A Raptus: Negazione & Superamento LP

The second Raptus compilation is superior to the first edition. The production is better, and it contains material by REIG, the WRONG BOYS, STIGMATHE, the CRAPPING DOGS, RAW POWER, the ACID COCKS, and CANI. Once again, RAW POWER dominates the record—check out their awesome “Army”—but REIG and CANI can also burn, and the CRAPPING DOGS have a couple of sing-along Oi-type chants. Blue vinyl.

V/A Mutti’s Muntere Melodei LP

A new German compilation out independently by the former singer in SICK PLEASURE (now in PORNO PATROL), and it’s one of the BRD’s best so far. It shifts from high-powered thrash (the REST and PORNO PATROL) to good standard punk (TOXOPLASMA and T.B.C.) and back again. The big surprises here are the increased speed of BETON COMBO (though they still write catchy numbers), and the REST’s blistering roars. Look for this.

V/A Meet Cafe Compilation cassette

Nine bands and 24 songs worth of punk/hardcore from around Canada and the US. While the sound quality is a bit fuzzy, there’s tons of hot stuff here from the likes of FATAL EXISTENCE, RED TIDE, IMMORAL MINORITY, POLKAHOLICS, BILL OF RIGHTS, SILENT MAJORITY, DEAD END, and others. All the songs are of a serious/political nature.

V/A Lasta EP

Great Finnish thrash storms in unparalleled savagery, as this little 7” delivers twelve slices by ten bands. Urgent commands of chaos scream as TERVEET KÄDET, HIC SYSTEEMI, RIISTETYT, KANSAN UUTISET, SEKUNDA, the BASTARDS, and more thrust a brutal display of effective stamina and potential. A well-chosen effort that serves as the prelude to an upcoming album.

V/A Jenseits vom Bundestag cassette

Several German, Austrians, and Swiss bands appear here and, like those on many of the sampler tapes I’ve heard lately, most are releasing material prematurely. The exceptions are MOTTEK (again) and the NEW BORN BABIES. Other groups include KNALLSCHOTEN, A-GEN 53, DIE REGEL, VOLKERMORD, etc.

V/A Inferno 2: Spandauer Punk cassette

Most of the bands herein are at an early stage of development… too early to be recording, I think. The exceptions are HALSABSCHNEIDER (appearing before on one side of a split EP) and the FUCKERS, both of who come up with some cool blasts.

V/A Homokohu 84 cassette

Seven bands (the DESTRUCKTIONS, TUOMITTUJEN JUHLA, KIIMA, W.D.M., KESKILUOKKA, P.C.B., and KÄYTTÖOHJE) share time on this tape. The first have already released a great album, but the others are younger whippersnappers. Some still have a way to go, although KESKILUOKKA has an outstanding screamer going for them.

V/A Holland Hardcore 2nd Attack cassette

The second in a series of good Dutch hardcore tapes features the mighty PANDEMONIUM and their brutal thrash assault, FUNERAL ORATION and their crafty manifestations of aggression, plus INDIREKT, C.K.N., SESAMZAAD, BLOEDBAD, and the ASPERITYS. Even though the sound quality is low, the effort allows the zesty music to be heard.

V/A Hau Weg Die Kacke cassette

A mixed bag of various punk styles and recording qualities, but with no real surprising gems. My faves are MOTTEK, who now appear on vinyl too. This tape has eighteen bands, each of who do two songs, including INFERNO, DIE MIMMI’S, and a host of lesser-knowns like NOTWAR, AUS 98, SPERRFEUER, etc.

V/A Chaos en France, Vol. 2 LP

The second installment of this French skunk-oriented series is infinitely better than the first. For one thing, the production is generally more powerful; for another, there is more musical diversity. Along with the many “skunk” (a fusion of skin and punk styles) outfits, one can find thrash (MOPO MOGO, NO CLASS, and NANA BONNARD), CLASH-inspired ’77 punk (the BRIGADES), rock ’n’ roll-punk fusions (LES COLLABOS), pop-punk (the RATS), and Oi (SK NIX). Recommended.

V/A Roodwitzwart LP

This can be quite a confusing record. It features four Dutch bands of different varieties, but the organizational layout makes it difficult to find where and who (although there are booklets and info sheets about the groups). JETSET has a belting punk sound with female vocals and lots of diversity in the rhythms, like a quick CRASS or DIRT; whining guitars and repetitious drumbeats are the musical highlights. BLOEDBAD hits hard with an anti-war/anarchy thrash attack, using basic drum boomings that are mixed too high. MASSAGRAF and BARBIE’S BOYFRIEND both have a slower post-punk sound that utilizes different effects with strange results.

V/A On the Street LP

A whole host of young bands debut here (PRIMITIVE, VICIOUS HAMPSTERS, ACID ATTACK, OI POLLOI, DEVOID, ABDUCTORS, CATCH 22, CRIMINAL JUSTICE, FUNGUS, 4 MINUTE WARNING, CLERGY, DEAD ON ARRIVAL, OBSCENE FEMALES, and ROUGH JUSTICE). The hottest, most powerful tracks belong to OI POLLOI, DEVOID, and CRIMINAL JUSTICE, while the rest are not great/not bad. This label, Sane Records, is a non-profit, dedicated to releasing unrecorded bands.

V/A Shed Your Pride cassette

Only contemporary Clevo bands are featured here. Many have appeared before on other compilations on their own releases (the PAGANS, the AGITATED, PARIS IN THE SPRING, the OFFBEATS, and the PINK HOLES), so I’ll just say a few words about the rest. ONE MAN’S HEAD has a female screamer, and she sounds good on the two faster songs; FAITH FACTOR plays garagy post-punk; and JUNGLE PARTY are a fun garage pop-punk band with potential.

V/A Rat Music for Rat People, Vol. 2 LP

Somewhat better than volume 1 of this series, this compilation contains material by the DICKS, the BIG BOYS, JFA, DRI, and MDC, along with a few others. The MINUTEMEN have a winner with “Fake Contest,” but DRI’s “Madman” and the MDC tracks rate as the highlights on this varied sampler. Inconsistent but still worthwhile.

V/A Nuke Your Dink EP

This spirited sampler of Nevada bands features both the scene veterans (7 SECONDS, Urban Assault) and the relative newcomers (the REMAINS, SUBTERFUGE, the EXPELLED, JACK SHIT, NO DEAL, and the YOBS, who have an incredible singer). There’s some fine punk by SUBTERFUGE and the REMAINS, and some churning thrash from JACK SHIT, but most of the rest of the groups suffer from that perennial Skeeno problem—lousy production.

V/A It Came from Slimey Valley LP

Yet another cleanly produced compilation from Mystic/Ghetto Way and, like Copulation, it contains a well-balanced mixture of thrash, punk, metal, and their permutations. I especially like DR. KNOW’s “Boys Life,” CRANK SHAFT’s cuts, and RIGOR MORTIS’s metallish “In the Trenches,” but overall it provides a good introduction to current developments in the Southland. Marc Rude’s grotesque cover art provides an additional bonus.

V/A Metal Moo Cow LP

Now what the hell’s goin’ on here? Well, it’s an electric sampler containing a bunch of psychotic Texans doing all sorts of weird shit. The FEARLESS IRANIANS FROM HELL, NAPALM, FEAST OF FOOLS, and TOEJAM perform demented experimental thrash, then you’ve got some incredibly inane hard rock (HEATHER LEATHER), schizoid psychedelia (SCRATCH ACID and the TECHNICOLOR YAWNS), “country thrash” (the HICKOIDS), metallic sleaze (the JEFFERSONS), doodling (MEAT JOY), and powerhouse thrash (the OFFENDERS). This must be what the BUTTHOLE SURFERS listen to all day.

V/A Half Skull EP

A sampler with four SoCal bands, all of who have that crisp, melodic semi-thrash style. M.I.A. and DECRY are particularly excellent musically, and M.I.A. definitely make the most acute lyrical observations, but there’s nothing to be ashamed of on here.

V/A Highs in the Mid-Sixties, Vol. 9 LP

I’ve always had a fondness for Ohio ’60s punk, and this is a wonderful collection. One can hear all kinds of wild sounds—pure punk, folk-rock, psychedelia, British beat style, instrumentals—that reveal that Ohio was one of the more interesting scenes. Some of the stars include the DEADLYS, the SQUIRES, the CHYLDS, and of course, Cleveland’s “BEATLES,” the CHOIR, one of the finest groups this country has ever produced. Please, A.I.P., we need more volumes from Ohio!

V/A Highs in the Mid-Sixties, Vol. 8 LP

It’s been a tough chore for ’60s punk fans to learn about the Southern scene, and this volume from one of the best of the reissue series helps to fill in a few of the many holes. A lot of Southern bands were pretty lame, as they concentrated on a more soulful approach with dopey horn arrangements. This release proves that there were also some tough punkers, like the RAVIN’ BLUE, the GAUNGA DINS, the ROGUES, and the HAZARDS, whose funny version of “Hey Joe” is alone worth the price of the album.

V/A 1984: The First Sonic World War LP

This French sampler contains a wide variety of punk styles—classical, garage, thrash, skunk (big in France), and drum-machine/synth punk (which the French seem to have cornered the market on). HUMAN BEING and HEIMAT weigh in with some choice thrash, and there’s lots of other good stuff from R.A.S., ELECTRONAZE, LES CADAVRES, the SUB KIDS, and a dozen more. Tres bien!

V/A Deutscher Punk Sampler #1 cassette

This compilation tape features some fairly unknown bands (TIN CAN ARMY, KATAFALK, V.N.W., VOICES OF PROTEST, MILZBRAND, and the MANIACS) that predictably display varying degrees of competency and power. The MANIACS and KATAFALK really kick ass; the latter prove to be an especially fine thrash band with lots of zip.

V/A Der Vollsuff Sampler cassette

Some of these German hardcore groups are already reasonably well-known (INFERNO, the MANIACS, M.A.F., the SCAPEGOATS), whereas others are more obscure (ABZESS, VOICES OF PROTEST, TCA). Inferno leads a pretty good pack in terms of tightness and power.

V/A Hyvinkää EP

A self-produced EP with material by four young Finnish garage punk outfits (PURKAUS, SOTAKULTTUURI, TERRORI, and PAINAJAINEN). The raw production further highlights the DIY raunchiness of the bands, all of which play more-or-less tuneless mid-tempo punk rather than thrash. PURKAUS is the best of a fairly inept bunch.

V/A Life is a Joke LP

Not one of the New Underground series, but a new international compilation on Germany’s Weird System label. It contains two cuts each by RAZZIA, FANG, TERVEET KÄDET, RIOT SQUAD (South Africa), SAVAGE CIRCLE (Italy), SHIT SA (Spain), the INOCENTES, HYSTERIA (UK), and CIVIL DISSIDENT (Australia). The latter offers the most pleasant surprise—they’re a brutal thrash outfit—but the whole record smokes.

V/A Capitol Kaos

This New Zealand compilation consists mainly of live material by ’77-style punk bands. That’s not to say it’s bad, because there are some pretty cool tracks herein, especially by FINAL SOLUTION, RIOT III (who does some thrash), FLESH D-VICE, and ZYKLON-B.

V/A Afrika Corps cassette

Ten groups of varying punk styles and recording qualities appear on this compilation of South African bands. The most proficient and powerful are mid-tempo punkers POWER AGE, although the GAY MARINES, WILD YOUTH, and WILD JUSTICE also show promise. And, there’s an all-girl garage band called the LEOPARDS—Steve Spinali take note!

V/A The Animals Packet cassette

The cassette itself is only a small part of this package, which includes zines, literature, lyrics, pamphlets, addresses, etc., all relating to the horrors of animal slaughter. Even on the tape, all the tracks by the various bands (the INSTIGATORS, CHUMBAWAMBA, ANTIDOTE, ALTERNATIVE, ANDY T, and the LOST CHERREES, to name just a few) are interspersed with bits of information on this topic. Unfortunately, there’s very little punk music here; folkish and experimental stuff predominates.

V/A Mutopia cassette

A generally excellent sampler of Northern Virigina hardcore, metal, experimental, and ’60-inspired groups. It’s a well-recorded, non-profit project that contains band handouts by #1 PRIORITY, PUDWAK, MALEFICE, the STEEL KNICKERS, DEATH PIGGY, CONCENTRIC, MICHAEL, CAMP DAVID, YOM, and 007. Most of the material on side one is powerful and catchy, and PUDWAK’s “Boxhead” is a total classic with schizoid vocals.

V/A This Is the Central Coast, Dammit LP

A decent regional compilation from the California coast between SF and LA, very near the geologically unstable area where PG&E stupidly built its Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. The album includes various categories of contemporary music, from catchy teenage thrash (LOS CREMATORS, DEATH OF GLORY, and the CORRUPTORS) to garage punk (GROUP SEX, X-TORTION) to neo-psychedelia (PYRAMOD, MOOD ROOM) to ’77 punk (the USERS) to Finnish-style thrash (ASSAULT) to garagy mixtures of thrash and punk (the WIMPY DICKS and PEDESTRIAN ABUSE). The overall feeling is appealingly unprofessional, and the idea of giving new groups exposure is worthy of support.

V/A Inner Mystique EP

The first Pebbles-type collection of lost garage/psych bands from the ’70s and ’80s. Compiled by Rat Race Kid, it features unreleased tracks by BILLY SYNTH and Australia’s LIPSTICK KILLERS. The icing on the cake is the first-ever vinyl appearance by ROCKET FROM THE TOMBS, a seminal mid-’70s Cleveland outfit that would later spawn PERE UBU and the DEAD BOYS.

V/A Compost Pile Action cassette

This tape has a lot of hot material by the likes of MOX NIX, CANCEROUS GROWTH, ROSEMARYS BABIES, S.U.M., NERVE, N.O.T.A., the LEPERS, HUMAN SUFFERAGE, the CATATONICS, PSYCHO, and a half-dozen more. Some of it has been previously released, but it still adds up to fine listening.

V/A Back From the Grave, Vol. 3 LP

Among the many ’60s reissue series, Back from the Grave has been the best because of its focus on the snarling teenage punk emanating from suburban garages all across America between 1965 and 1967. And fortunately, Volume 3 maintains this tradition of basement quality by presenting more of the most heartfelt adolescent rants about problems with gurls, gurls, and more gurls, accompanied by two-chord fuzz guitars, squealing organs, and ham-fisted drum beats. The obscure pearls by KEN & THE 4TH DIMENSION, SIR WINSTON & COMMONS, and MURPHY & THE MOB are just as cool as they can be.

V/A Wir Schlagen das Imperium cassette

Ach, mein Gott! This is a surprisingly good-sounding collection of 47 (!) German punk bands, compiled by Flocky from Sputnick fanzine. His purpose is both to provide a more thorough picture of the punk underground in the BRD and to undermine the credibility and commercial success of larger labels like Rock-O-Rama and ARP. I’m not sure if he can manage the latter, since this is a limited distribution tape sold at cost, but efforts to put pressure on the more established indies from below are surely worthwhile. Plus, you get to hear some great, little-known groups here. Go for it.

V/A Senza Tregua cassette

A collective effort by eight bands (CCM, the WARDOGS, I REFUSE IT, the USELESS BOYS, STATO DI POLIZIA, JUGERNAUT, TRAUMATIC, and PUTRID FEVER) from Tuscano, otherwise known as Gran Ducato—ergo GDHC. I’d lave to say that CCM sounds the hottest to me, with their outrageously distinctive vocals and unusual arrangements, but there’s plenty more to enjoy.

V/A Outsider LP

Eight Japanese bands, all recorded live, appear in various states of sound quality here. Side one consists of older-style punk and some noise damage (MASTURBATION, FULLX, ROUTE 66, MADAME EDWARDA), while side two blasts forth with a more modern metal/thrash approach (GISM, the COMES, LAUGHIN’ NOSE, GAUZE). GISM is hot, but the COMES come off the best with their killer thrash. The cover is a CRASS-style package.

V/A Lopun Alku cassette

A good quality collection of Finnish bands with an adequate sound quality. Some groups are very well known (RATTUS, the BASTARDS, and TAMPERE SS), others are not as familiar (MARIONETTI, HIC SYSTEEMI, PROTESTI, FUCKING FINLAND), and one is completely new to us (the quasi-pschedelic KAHLITTU VAPAUS). Most produce high-powered thrash (especially the BASTARDS), but my favorites are HIC SYSTEEMI, who have ultra-gruff vocals and a flair for writing join-in choruses.

V/A Lärmattacke cassette

A nifty international compilation put out by Germany’s Anti-System fanzine. The sound quality is uneven, but it contains 40 songs by 20 punk bands from all over the world, including Germany (CERESIT 81, M.A.F., the SCAPEGOATS, ZÜNDELLÄNDER, DISASTER, KOMA), Finland (FUCKING FINLAND, TAMPERE SS, KUOLEMA), Sweden (the BRISTLES, ANTI-CIMEX), Italy (P.S.A., EU’S ARSE, the WRETCHED), Yugoslavia (U.B.R., STRES-D.A., and ODPADKI CIVILIZACIJE), South Africa (POWER AGE), Denmark (the RAZOR BLADES), and Poland (REJESTRACJA). Anti-System‘s purpose is to facilitate communication, not to make profits, so send away today.

V/A Great Punk Hits LP

On side one of this compilation, GISM lashes out with their metallic thrash attack—with the accent on metal—and nasty vocals, EXECUTE do ripping thrash, and ABURADAKO cross thrash with the POISON GIRLS’ quirkiness. On the flipside, LAUGHIN’ NOSE have one Britskunk song and one that sounds Finnish, while the CLAY adapt the early DISCHARGE style, and G-ZET close out with a slightly more melodic and metallic UK assault. All in all, this album has excellent sound quality and some songs that’ll knock you out.

V/A Fornekad Existens cassette

Outside of HUVUDTVÄTT, the BRISTLES, ZYNTHSLAKT, and E.A.T.E.R., all of the other bands featured on this collection (SNUE-SLAPP HJÄRNA, SVEA-SKANDAL, FAXE, PÖBEL-MÖBEL, SS PLEKTRUM, and ANTI HUND-MINA) are new to us. Most of these younger bands do standard punk (though some do thrash), but none seem that memorable, especially considering the high standards set by the likes of E.A.T.E.R.

V/A Collection Privée EP

A rewarding French sampler with eight underground bands. The styles represented here are diverse—straight punk (LES ELECTRODES, DIVISION LECLERC, FUCK WAVE), ’60s punk (LES CORONADOS), garage punk (STAKANOV SS), thrash (MEMORIAL VOICE), garage thrash (LES STILLERS), and abrasive synth-punk à la the great METAL URBAIN (DISKOLOKAUST). The latter is my fave.

V/A Holland Hardcore cassette

A Dutch sampler that states “Never Mind the Quality,” when you shove in 70 tracks of pure brutal mayhem and sonic thrash appeal, the results are raw and rambunctious, as nine bands haul their way into the speed record books. The SQUITS, ZMIV, STANX, ZWEETKUTTEN, the VIKINGS, GLORIOUS DEATH, LÄRM, KNÄX, and LA RESISTANCE all break out with full-tilt raptures of intense velocity. Yes, yes, yes!

V/A Angst cassette

Another Boston Tea Party tape from Denmark. An excellent collection of tasty bands featuring the awesome “Havoc Zest Appeal” by WAR OF DESTRUCTION, who terrorize with their unique stylings. Also present are Denmark’s RAZOR BLADES, ILLEGAL 80, and ACTINGS OF A MAD MAN, the forging thrash of BAYONET from Finland, and MELÖSA HEMORROJDER from Sweden. A nice dose of crafty melodies.

V/A Potential Migraine cassette

The recording quality here is pretty poor, so the potential of bands like CHUMBAWAMBA, the PASSION KILLERS, KULTUREKAMPF, the CHOIRBOYS, etc. is barely discernible. I know that a lot of the punks who put out such tapes are skint, but is it really worth the effort for anyone but fanatical fans? Maybe. I did like what I could hear of the INSTIGATORS, though.

V/A New York Freakout! flexi

Three bands appear on this flexi accompanying a recent issue of the ’60s-oriented 99th Floor fanzine. PLASTICLAND produce their delightful psychedelic pop, and the FUZZTONES do a more-than-adequate cover of the MOVING SIDEWALKS’ song “99th Floor,” but it’s the VIPERS that deliver the coup de grace with a wonderfully fuzzed-out ’60s punk rave-up.

V/A Mystic Sampler #1 LP

A highly varied selection of tunes, all from records already or soon-to-be released. Ultra-demented tracks by the likes of VOX POP and the MENTORS may not appeal to everyone’s tastes, but I was delighted by the compositions from the MINUTEMEN, SIN 34, and the hysterical reworking of “I Am Woman” by ACIDHEAD. Enjoyable, by and large.

V/A I’d Rather Be in Philadelphia LP

The non-hardcore equivalent of Get Off My Back. Not surprisingly, it ranges from the excellent (MOTHER MAY I’s moody psychedelic pop, PRETTY POISON’s haunting dance-oriented pop) to the decent (light ’60s-style pop by the IMPOSSIBLE YEARS, BOOK OF LOVE, and the RED BUCKETS, as well as BUNNYDRUM’s eerie post-punk) to the awful (SENSORY FIX’s annoying meanderings and the STICKMEN’s jazz-damage). The mixing and editing is courtesy of former LOS MICROWAVE David Javelosa.

V/A Hardcore 84 Fresno Compilation cassette

From that blast furnace they call the “Central Valley” comes this collection of bands on CAPITOL PUNISHMENT’s label. Besides them, the bands that appear here are THINK TANK, the PROBLEM FISH, PRIMER GREY, the PTL CLUB, HARSH REALITY, the SUBTRACTIONS, BURNIN’ BOB, DEATH CAMP, the MERE MORTALS, ASSAULT, KAOS, NO LABEL, the DIRT HEADS, and the WAWONA BOYS CHOIR. It mainly features modern hardcore sounds, but also includes some unusual stuff.

V/A The Sound of Hollywood: Copulation LP

A tremendous compilation of songs about the police, mainly consisting of Southern California bands that ought to know (except for the ostriches in WHITE FLAG). There are tracks from lesser-recorded groups like DR. KNOW, S.V.D.B., AMERICA’S HARDCORE, the GRIM, and NEW REGIME, as well as veterans like BLACK FLAG, G.I., and SADO-NATION.

V/A Code Blue cassette

A compilation put out by Last Rites fanzine that includes several Chicago-area bands (the NADSAT REBELS, R.O.T.A., A.O.F., OUT OF ORDER, NAKED RAYGUN, BIG BLACK), other Midwest acts (NO RESPONSE, S.U.M., DIE KREUZEN, SACRED ORDER, the FLESH COLUMNS, HÜSKER DÜ), and a couple of extraneous coastal bands. The NADSAT REBELS turn out some excellent songs, and are a new group to watch. About half of the tracks on this tape are live, so the sound quality varies accordingly.

V/A The Chosen Few Vol. 2 LP

Here’s a strong follow-up to the excellent garage punk compilation The Chosen Few. Again, we’re given some of the most primitive, demented, fuzz-drenched ’60s punk ever unleashed on vinyl. Like volume one, this is extremely consistent, and it should hold some surprises for even the most knowledgeable collector. Some of the groups include the SYNDICATE, the PRIMATES, TERRY KNIGHT, the LEGENDS, the PLAGUE, etc.

V/A Battle of the Garages Vol. II LP

The latest collection of neo-’60s bands to hit the record stores in recent months, and the second in a series. It’s about 50% lighter psychedelia and 50% punkoid stuff, with the gnarliest material emanating from the MIRACLE WORKERS, MYSTIC EYES, the ODDS, OUTNUMBERED, the FEZMEN, and the SHARP TURNS.

V/A Bands That Could Be God LP

Paradoxically, most alternative compilations are either too monodimensional or too multidimensional to hold the listener’s interest, but this Massachusetts collection put out by Conflict fanzine’s Gerard Cosloy avoids that common pitfall by presenting diverse yet forceful bands. What we have here is basically an engaging mixture of thrash bands with special intensity and/or quirkiness (MOVING TARGETS, the OUTPATIENTS, DEEP WOUND, SORRY) and highly structured neo-psych groups (BUSTED STATUES, the FLIES, SALEM 66, BEANBAG), although they really shouldn’t be classified rigidly. CHRISTMAS is too weird for me, but some of these bands are indeed Godlike. A worthwhile investment.

V/A Welcome to 1984 LP

Our second compilation showcases 23 bands from 17 countries, spanning the east, west, north, and south of this pathetic globe we inhabit. We can’t be too objective, but we think that most of the selections here are great, though three or four are only so-so. In any case, it provides a good introduction to worldwide punk and hardcore for those who are unable to purchase overseas releases. For those that are, there’s also plenty of unreleased stuff.

V/A Underground Hits 2 LP

The second lavishly illustrated volume of Underground Hits again features a mixture of German and American bands, but this time around, the production isn’t as good and the two punk groups representing Germany (CANALTERROR and SPUX) aren’t quite as impressive. Still, it contains material from some excellent US outfits (the ANGRY SAMOANS, YOUTH BRIGADE, the MEATMEN, HÜSKER DÜ, the FU’s, GOVERNMENT ISSUE, and ADRENALIN OD), and represents another positive effort to unify the international scene. AOD’s unreleased tracks are hot.

V/A Kass 2 cassette

Eight Swedish bands appear on this compilation. Most of them play thrash, but some traditional punk and industrial-type outfits are also included. MOB 47, the BRISTLES, and P-NISSARNA come off particularly well here.

V/A Vägra för Helvete LP

A Swedish compilation album featuring a variety of punk styles performed by new and not-so-new groups. The bulk of the record consists of basic ’77-style punk bands (SABOTAGE 81, the LIVIN’ SACRIFICE, ADRENALIN, ROLAND’S GOSSKÖR, HJARNDÖD, ASTA KASK, and DNA), the best of which are SABOTAGE 81, who produces some catchier-than-average tunes, and ASTA KASK, who have a driving, upbeat sound. ANTI-CIMEX, SUNE STUDS OCH GRÖNLANDSROCKARNA, and NYX NEGATIV present a more contemporary thrash attack, but the generally muddy production detracts from this collection’s overall power (as it did on the Really Fast sampler).

V/A Ingenting for Norge LP

An underground Norwegian compilation with four groups. ALLAHRM are a boring rock-oriented band with some traditional rock ’n’ roll elements (in “Vegspringar”); TEROR boasts a basic Britpunkish attack with a bit of edge and a loud bass; NORRRSKE BUDEIER have a female singer and a mid-tempo punk sound (except on the thrashed-out “Å Være”); and FADER WAR are full-tilt thrashers with an ultra-fuzzy guitar buzz and somewhat off-kilter drumming. Uneven as a whole, but it has some notable high points.

V/A 430 Años cassette

This tape features nine Sao Paulo-area bands—PSYKOZE, ULSTER, OLHO SECO, RATOS DE PORÃO, 365, HINO MORTAL, ETC, SP CAOS, and RUIDOS ABSURDOS—who do some proverbial ass-kicking. These recordings were done live and, unfortunately, the sound quality isn’t really very good (lots of vocals, but little clarity of instrumentation). As a result, it’s mostly the excitement and emotion that’s conveyed here.

V/A Belse Bop cassette

Three lesser-known Finnish bands share this tape. I’m tempted to say they are less well-known for good reasons, but I’ve been spoiled by the likes of TERVEET KÄDET. These bands—NUSSIVAT NUNNAT, LAPSILTA KIELLETTY, and KAUNEUS & TERVEYS—seem to be newly formed, as the predominant sound here is garagey. There are moments of experimentation amidst the punk and thrash mash, and given the price ($1 and I.R.C.), it’s a bargain.

V/A We Gots No Station cassette

This tape represents DC’s funky/arty/noise/psychedelic garage groups. The bands include HATE FROM IGNORANCE, BLOODY MANNEQUIN ORCHESTRA, CHALK CIRCLE, GREY MATTER, BLUE CROSS, the PSYCHODELIC TRASHCAN, etc. There’s a little something for almost everyone here.

V/A Who? What? Why? When? Where? LP

This compilation of anarchist and “human rights” punk bands from the UK is a strong, varied, and provocative selection, one that should be of major interest to hardcore aficionados. It’s somewhat uneven, as are most samplers, but the brilliant track by CONFLICT stands out, and is almost matched by those of some surprising new groups.

V/A Wet Dreams LP

A new collection of UK bands performing a variety of styles, including basic Britpunk (RIOT SQUAD, CHRISTIANITY BC, the X-CRETAS, DEAD MAN’S SHADOW, the CLOCKWORK SOLDIERS, and EXTERNAL MENACE), Oi (BREAKOUT), “classical” punk (RESISTANCE 77), and tense experimental punk (PARANOIA). RIOT SQUAD, the CLOCKWORK SOLDIERS, and the X-CRETAS each do one thrashed-out number, and RESISTANCE 77 have the most retarded lyrics. Although Wet Dreams represents a positive effort to give new bands more exposure, it doesn’t always satisfy from a musical standpoint.

V/A Trash on Delivery LP

The A-side contains bands that all, more or less, owe their chops to the NEW YORK DOLLS/HEARTBREAKERS school of rock ’n’ roll (except the BARRACUDAS). There are groups like the BAD DETECTIVES (a DOLLS song) and the BABYSITTERS (HEARTBREAKERS?), and songs like GENOCIDE’s “Private Hell,” which can be compared to the DOLLS’ “Private World.” The B-side slips into more mundane rock, and isn’t at all memorable save for the reemergence of former SWELL MAP NIKKI SUDDEN.

V/A Son of Oi LP

The fifth in the series of “Oi” compilations. Like the others, it contains a mixture of punk bands (COCK SPARRER, the ANGELIC UPSTARTS, PROLE, PARANOID PICTURES, and the NEWTOWN NEUROTICS), Oi groups (the BUSINESS, CLOCKWORK DESTRUCTION, the 4-SKINS, MANIAC YOUTH, and the VICIOUS RUMOURS), ranting political poets (PHIL SEXTON, TERRY MCCANN, MICK TURPIN, and the great GARRY JOHNSON, not to mention a cameo by ATTILA), funnypunk outfits (the GONADS, the ALASKA COWBOYS, the “L.O.L.S. Choir”), and assorted oddities. A lot of the music is appealing, so give this a listen.

V/A Eject It cassette

Another fine compilation contains fourteen bands of varying degrees of competency doing 22 songs of varying degrees of sound quality. You’ll find FLUX, POLITICAL ASYLUM, the BLOOD ROBOTS, LEGION OF PARASITES, IMPACT, and the ABDUCTORS, among others, most of which are mid-tempo punk bands. The best track is “The Race Is On” by CRIMINAL JUSTICE.

V/A Corporate Thrash cassette

Another fine compilation with both English and American bands represented. POISON IDEA really rips out some incredible stuff, as do LEGION OF PARASITES, the most intense UK thrashers yet. Other tracks are by the INFECTED, CRIMINAL JUSTICE, the WARDS, XOSET UK, the OBSCENE FEMALES, and STAGNANT ERA.

V/A This Is Phoenix, Not the Circle Jerks LP

An OK compilation of Phoenix rock and hardcore bands that features one side of studio and another of live tracks. MIGHTY SPHINCTER has a twisted psycho-punk style that I found quite interesting, but several of the songs by CONFLICT and SOILENT GREENE (especially the latter’s “Pledge”) provide most of the energy and excitement. An uneven, interesting release.

V/A Highs in the Mid-Sixties, Vols. 4-7 LPs

Volumes 4 and 5 are essential to any garage punk fanatic, as they give a good representation of regional scenes in the ’60s. #4 deals with Chicago and brings together a nice blend of pop/folk rock/R&B punk groups. Especially cool are the LITTLE BOY BLUES’ “The Great Train Robbery,” the REASONS WHY’s “All I Really Need Is Love,” BUZZSAW’s “Live in the Springtime,” and GROUP INC.’s “Like a Woman.” Volume 5 concerns itself with Michigan, and again the results are wild. Particularly hot are the BOSSMEN’s “I’m Ready,” the UNDERDOGS’ “Surprise, Surprise,” the LEGENDS’ “I’ll Come Again,” and, most of all, a super-rare radio ad by the RATIONALS. Volumes 6 and 7 just came out, with #6 dealing again with Michigan, and #7 covering the Pacific Northwest.

V/A From the Valley Within EP

This particular valley is the Silicon, home of GRIM REALITY, RIBZY, the FACTION, and MISTAKEN IDENTITY. All four bands contribute a pair of songs each, none of which are losers, and some of which are great (especially RIBZY’s). The FACTION deserves a lot of credit for putting out this EP, and the cover is great.

V/A Empty Skulls cassette

You’re probably already familiar with most of the sixteen bands collected here (including the OUTPATIENTS, N.O.T.A., NO LABELS, C.I.A., IMPACT UNIT, C.O.C., SEPTIC DEATH, R.O.T.A., and STALAG 13, among others. Each of them has donated two to four tracks which together add up to one fine tape.

V/A Cottage Cheese from the Lips of Death LP

First advertised here about a year ago, this Texas hardcore compilation has taken a long time to see the light of day. Was it worth it? Fuck yes—with tracks from REALLY RED, the OFFENDERS, D.R.I., MY DOLLS, the BIG BOYS, MARCHING PLAGUE, the BUTTHOLE SURFERS, BANG GANG, the DICKS, STICKMEN WITH RAYGUNS, the HUGH BEAUMONT EXPERIENCE, and others, it’s got lots of power and variety.

V/A Medium Raw cassette

An excellent long-player’s worth of British Columbia’s current crop of bands. The NEOS appear with some previously released material, but the rest (AUTOMATIC SHOCK, CHRONIC SUBMISSION, JERK WARD, LSD, HOUSE OF COMMONS, RED TIDE, the INFAMOUS SCIENTISTS, SS TOP, DA JEEP, and the cool DAYGLO ABORTIONS) all chip in with new material, most of which is fine. Very little filler.

V/A Flowers From the Dustbin LP

This limited-edition album from Sydney, Australia features seven bands (POSITIVE HATRED, VELLOCETTE, the KELPIES, QUEEN ANNE’S REVENGE, BOX OF FISH, WHAT?, and WORLD WAR XXIV) that push forth a certain energy, but swirls with that so-labeled ’77 sound. Raw and still humming with harmonies and chaotic knockabouts. WORLD WAR XXIV produces the standout tracks, with their raunchy vocals laced with heart-pumping aggression, spun into sing-along “skunk” chanters. For the connoisseur and collector!

V/A Reality Parade cassette

This provocative tape contains material from a variety of political English punk bands. Although the sound quality varies (sometimes drastically) from cut to cut, the material by the XPOZEZ, the INFECTED, and SCREAM & THE FITS provide enough moments of interest to present an effective cross-section of British underground music.

V/A It Came From Inner Space LP

This new Canadian compilation is very much like the English samplers that proliferated wildly in the ’78 epoch, in that it features a bunch of pop bands and one or two token punk groups. Of the latter, SNFU produces two powerful mid-tempo gems with crunching guitars and sing-along choruses (including the classic “Real Men Don’t Watch Quincy”), while DOWN SYNDROME offers a couple of raunchy garage punkers. Of the pop bands, the STANDARDS and the THIEVES stand out above the wimpy pack by virtue of a heavier guitar sound and an unobtrusive ’60s tinge. The overall effect is rather refreshing in our current era of musical segregation.

V/A Noise From the Garage cassette

A compendium of old and new Monterey-area bands. Different styles of punk are represented here, but raw thrash and garagey metal punk predominate. The recording quality is generally poor, making this more of a historical document than a listening pleasure, which is perhaps to be expected. The groups include FALSE ALARM, (another) C.I.A., PUBLIC PROBLEM, DON’T NO, E.O.T.W., (another) KENT STATE, (another) DEPRESSION, and the ever-lovable BIOHAZARD.

V/A Eat Me cassette

This compilation highlights some southern California bands (WHITE FLAG, KILLROY, and the WALLFLOWERS), and includes others from Tijuana, Mexico (SOLUCIÓN MORTAL), Seattle (DERANGED DICTION), and the Midwest (NO RESPONSE, CORRUPTED SERVICE). Most of this stuff gnaws your speakers apart, so eat this one up before it eats you.

V/A Last White Christmas vols. 1-2

Two more high-quality cassettes from BCT that further their effort to give more exposure to international bands. These were recorded in Pisa, Italy, just prior to 1984. Tape #1 is a C90 with nine bands. Most of them thrash away in a frantic rage, with those classic demented Italian wails, but one band (the USELESS BOYS) are in a ’60s garage mold. Other groups include BRONTOSAURI, RAW POWER, the WAR DOGS, JUGGERNAUT, STATO DI POLIZIA, PUTRID FEVER, the DEMENTS, and AUSCHLAG. Tape #2, a C60, highlights the CHEETAH CHROME MOTHERFUCKERS, I REFUSE IT, and TRAUMATIC. A must for the international collector.

V/A Chaotische Ostern cassette

A titanic spirit oozes from the reels of this live, exerting collection of raging friction and grinding fury. It features bands from Austria and West Germany, and was recorded in Vienna at an anarchist house during a three-day punk fest. Untamed ferocity devastates frantic spurts of driving disorder, which continually unleash a sonic flail attack. Frenzied, quick, and intense, this thrash compilation digs down with invasions of lightning squashers. Great stuff by INFERNO, KGB, the NIKOTEENS, K-70, and more from Germany, plus EXTREM, DER BRUSTKREBS, and DEAD NITTELS from Austria.

V/A Bijna 2000 Jaar Geleden cassette

This compilation features six young Dutch punk and thrash bands (ANTIDOTE, BLITZKRIEG, GEPØPEL, KNAKKERBROT, INDIREKT, and the HAEMORRHOIDS) and one new wavey outfit (the NOUS). There are varying degrees of competency, sound quality—mostly live—and excitement here, which sometimes makes for an annoying experience, but INDIREKT positively shred!

V/A Hell Comes to Your House Part II

A worthy successor to Volume 1. Eight groups contribute a total of fourteen diverse tracks on this compilation, ranging in style from straight-ahead rockers to power-pop and even Country & Western. While this album is a mite inconsistent from cut to cut, standout tracks by the JONESES, the MINUTEMEN, and the SCREAMIN’ SIRENS might make this eclectic, engaging record worth owning for some. I found its party mood delightful.

V/A Birth Defect cassette

An excellent compilation tape that takes a hot cut or so from many bands we’ve reviewed separately in MRR. Included are the OUTPATIENTS, N.O.T.A., PSYCHO, ZERO DEFEX, C.O.C., the LEPERS, NO LABELS, N.J.F., MOX NIX, the NILS, S.U.M., VIOLATION, RIGHT GUARD, EAT THE RICH, the MONEY DOGS, YOUTH KORPS, and the ACCELERATORS.

V/A Something to Believe In LP

YOUTH BRIGADE pays some homage to their native land by including many excellent Canadian bands (the NILS, YYY, the UNWANTED, SNFU, PERSONALITY CRISIS, the YOUNG LIONS, ZEROPTION, the STRETCH MARKS, and DOA) on this collection, as well as some LA newcomers (RIGOR MORTIS, the TOURISTS) and veterans like the BIG BOYS, 7 SECONDS, KRAUT, CH3, and themselves. A good sampling.

V/A Apocalypse LP

An excellent well-produced sampler of new French hardcore bands. Although REICH ORGASM and KOMITERN SECT contribute some irresistible chunky mid-tempo punk, and the weaker NO PUB offers a splendid little ditty called “Viol-ence,” KIDNAP steals the spotlight with some amazing bone-crunching stuff. Their “No SS” is one of the most brilliant, dynamic songs of 1983, with its dense fuzz guitars, tense build-up, and haunting background vocals; their other tracks are also killers, and the politicized lyrics go straight to the heart of the matter. Much better than Chaos Productions’ earlier Chaos en France compilation, so order it and support a valuable independent label.

V/A Highs in the Mid-Sixties, Vols. 1-3 LPs

Three amazing albums that chronicle the exciting musical history of the L.A. youth underground. Volume 1 (1965) presents the raw ’60s punk sound that once blew my young mind, and includes such items as the blasting Colony classic, “All I Want,” and the neanderthal sneer of the AVENGERS’ “Be a Cave Man”; Volume 2 (1966) features some overt anti-police teen protests by TERRY RANDALL and the “PEOPLE OF SUNSET STRIP” that’ll strike a familiar chord among contemporary punks; Volume 3 (1967) offers a mixture of trippy “flower power” cuts and nasty psychedelic punkers like the HUMAN EXPRESSION’s “Every Night.” And dig KIM FOWLEY’s philosophizing on “The Canyon People.” This stuff transcends nostalgia and serves as a timely reminder that cultural rebellion didn’t originate in 1977. Highly recommended.

V/A Back From the Grave, Vol. 2 LP

For my money, the most essential ’60s compilations beside the Pebbles series and Nuggets are the two Back from the Grave collections. Unlike other releases, there’s never any psychedelic sounds, just primo teenage punk served up with plenty of guts, enthusiasm, and anger. Reams could be written about classics on this album like the UNRELATED SEGMENTS’ “Cry, Cry, Cry,” the BANSHEES’ “They Prefer Blondes,” the LYRICS’ “They Can’t Hurt Me,” and “The Crusher” by the NOVAS. Not a duff cut, but plenty of fuzz. Truly amazing.

V/A Keine Experimente! LP

A potpourri of modern punk styles can be found on this fine new compilation, from thrash (the UPRIGHT CITIZENS) to older-style punk (the BUTTOCKS, SS ULTRABRUTAL) to rousing funnypunk (DEUTSCHE TRINKERJUGEND) to Oi (DAILY TERROR). Many of the best bands—BOSKOPS, RAZZIA, ZSD—play more than one type of punk, but it’s their thrashers that really stand out. An illuminating introduction to some old and new German hardcore outfits.

V/A Paris Mix LP

As the title indicates, this compilation contains a mixture of Paris bands. Stylistically, it ranges from loud, tasty post-punk (GUERNICA, ZONA, and PEGGY LUXBEURK) to funny Oi with mutated rockabilly beats (the SWINGO PORKIES) to strong fuzzed-out mid-tempo punk (PROP SACK) to pretentious new wave (ICE). All in all, a “mixed” blessing.

V/A Second Time Around cassette

By the look of things, Punk Etc. will put Belgian hardcore in the minds of all dedicated fanatics. This is an outrageous cassette collection of six bands (MORE ACTION, ZYKLOME A, SUBVERSION, KRANK, FIXATION, and the DIRTY SCUMS), featuring vigorous approaches to power and speed, each exceptional in its own way. Support this label, because their attitude is what punk is all about.

V/A T.O. Hardcore ’83 cassette

I missed this when it first came out a few months ago, but better late than never. Six of Toronto’s best bands contribute two-to-four songs each, and it’s well worth getting. The bands are APB, CHRONIC SUBMISSION, DEAD END, DIRECT ACTION, the YOUNG LIONS, YOUTH YOUTH YOUTH, and ZEROPTION. A real good sampler.

V/A What a Way to Die LP

Here’s a wild ’60s garage punk compilation that’ll liven up any party. There are plenty of frantic rockers here, but what makes it a vital purchase are songs like RICHARD & THE YOUNG LIONS’ powerful “You Can Make It,” “I’m Gone” but the MAGIC MUSHROOMS, and the title track, an early B-side from the PLEASURE SEEKERS, an all-women band who’d rather drink beers than hang out with the guys. Neat stuff.

V/A Train to Disaster LP

This neo-psych compilation is more out in left field than the Rebel Kind collection, but what it gains in weirdness it loses in raw power. There are some ’60s punkish sides (the LEFT—who are great—YARD TRAUMA, and BILLY SYNTH); some bluesy sides (SPLIT, the DOOTZ); a poppy side (the SLICKEE BOYS); and the predominant way-out psychedelic sides (the MAD VIOLETS, BEN WAH, BEATNIK FLY, the VELVET MONKEYS, and the LAST POETS). Despite its lighter overall punch, this album has its moments.

V/A Nice and Loud EP

Another good Big City compilation. One side consists of New York bands (NO CONTROL, DISORDERLY CONDUCT, and ULTRA VIOLENCE); the other features groups from Connecticut (REFLEX FROM PAIN, C.I.A., and the VATICAN COMMANDOS). Even though these aren’t the best tracks by these bands, they’re all good thrashers. The great songs by NO CONTROL and the VATICAN COMMANDOS definitely make this record worth checking out.

V/A Hipsville 29 B.C. LP

A personal favorite. What’s nice about this new compilation, besides the usual amazing obscure groups like the SPARKLES, the WHAT-NOTS, the HANGMEN OF FAIRFIELD COUNTY, etc., is that it shows just how widespread the ’60s garage revolution actually was. For example, included are the Kings of Wimp, the COWSILLS, with their intense “All I Wanta Be Is Me,” and BEAVER (Jerry Mather, the Beav) & THE TRAPPERS’ “Happiness Is Havin’.” I wonder what Ward thought of this longhair nonsense! An added plus is the two tracks by the VAGRANTS from Long Island.

V/A The Chosen Few Vol. 1

This compilation of ’60s sounds has been an instant hit among experts of the genre, and for good reason. The quality of the material is uniformly high, from the opening number by the GONN to the closing one by THEE WYLDE MAIN-IACS. Most of the bands here possessed the knack for creating a mad mixture of mind-blowing psychedelia and teenage garage punk. Pay close attention to the TIDES IN, the SHAMES, and the aforementioned WYLDE MAIN-IACS.

V/A Burger Corpse cassette

Most of the current batch of younger Minnesota bands are represented here with a few tracks each. Burger Corpse contains garage punk, thrash, noise, and styles in between, and includes groups like GROUND ZERO, CHURCH PICNIC, the HYPSTERZ, BOY ELROY, and SKELTER HELTER. The sound quality is pretty good for this type of thing.

V/A Barricaded Suspects LP

A shitload of bands from the far corners of the U.S. and Canada submitted their tapes, and these are the results—eighteen groups playing a variety of punkish styles (punk, garage, thrash, noise, post-punk). Some of the virgin-to-vinyl bands are RED TIDE, the KNOCKABOUTS, SEPTIC DEATH, DULL, the MASSACRE GUYS, B.I.U., DECRY, ABSCESS, and MAD PARADE. The album comes with a booklet and a Pushead cover.

V/A Sydney Australia cassette

This mostly live tape was recorded in early ’82, and features PROGRESSION CULT, NO SANITY CLAUSE, POSITIVE HATRED, ANIMALS IN DISTRESS, FEED TIME, and ANTI-HIERARCHY. It consists mainly of older-style punk, with some “skunk” material by ANIMALS IN DISTRESS. The sound quality is so-so, so this tape should be regarded primarily as an historical artifact. You had to have been there.

V/A Rotterdam Spunk LP

An intense formation of varied types of punk from Rotterdam, featuring different bands with unusual styles and approaches. From fast attentive thrash to early ’77 punk to strange punk, this piercing display of hectic vinyl features MORAL VIRTUE, DEBIELE EENHEID, FORMAUNE, the SCHIZOIDZRENICS, KOTX, BUNKER, SPIKED COPY, N.O.A.T.H., ENDLÖSUNG, and numerous others. Another good, interesting, and effective compilation.

V/A Korn Live – Ab Geht Er LP

This new German compilation album features six punk bands. Although the live recording is far better than the norm in audio-verite efforts, this isn’t a particularly satisfying release. Most of the groups perform ’77 punk with little imagination or originality. BLITZKRIEG and LE CRASH stand out as being the most powerful, but all the bands except KALTWETTERFRONT have their moments (KLISCHEE’s “Dalli, Dalli,” the ARISTOCRATS’ “Bullen…”, WUTSTOCK’s “Hardcore”). OK.

V/A Blood on the Cats LP

The first “psychobilly” compilation mainly features British “blood” bands. Side one is weird gothic post-punkabilly—the songs are miniature trash psychodramas that don’t really rock, ALIEN SEX FIEND track excepted. Side two has SCREAMIN’ LORD SUTCH, who sounds a lot like a local TV host for Chiller Theater; the STINGRAYS, OUTCASTS, and RICOCHETS, who rock out in a real punkabilly style; and the PANTHER BURNS, who thrash out an alternative version of “Red Headed Woman” recorded at a Memphis high school radio station with an orgone accumulator replacing the bass. SHOCKABILLY’s very best song (“City of Corruption”) closes the album.

V/A 20 Berkeley Bands cassette

A lot of the cuts on this Berkeley compilation tape could benefit from my musical ability, and that’s not saying anything at all. There’s too many FLIPPER-ish garage clones without that combo’s “charm,” although REVOLUTION THRU APATHY’s “I Had to Kill Some Ants Today” really stands out. At the same time, there are some real accomplished cuts here by SPECIAL FORCES, C.O.D., BLACK GUARD, and especially ATROCITY.

V/A Tarantula on My Cock cassette

An array of Virginia’s hardest core line up to thrash that sleepy state into the ’80s. Participating in this cultural attack are WHITE CROSS, HONOR ROLE, HOIT, GRAVEN IMAGE, FRONT LINE, GOD’S WILL, and the PREVARICATORS. The songs are generally excellent, the sound quality is fair, and the spirit is abundant.

V/A The Sound of Hollywood: Destroy LA LP

This is the long-anticipated Destroy LA compilation, but well nigh half of it is virtually unlistenable. Much of it consists of folk, metal, and regular rock ’n’ roll; the saving graces are S.V.D.B., RED SCARE, and two or three tracks by other bands. I guess if you’re really eclectic, you could relate to this. Personally, I think the F.B.I. ought to investigate this. (Just a joke!)

V/A The Sound of Hollywood: Girls LP

As the title indicates, this album consists of bands from greater LA with a prominent female component. Musically, it’s a mixed bag of styles ranging from punk (SIN 34, DE DE TROIT) to garage (I.U.D.) to various forms of pop (the L.A. GIRLS, TOXIC FUMES, the SKIRTS, HOT FOOD TO GO) to warpo country (the SCREAMIN’ SIRENS) to awful hard rock and heavy metal (BUTCH, HELLION, BITCH, SOLOMAN KANE). No one will like it all; the question is whether you’ll like enough of it to make it worth buying.

V/A The Rebel Kind LP

A very good collection of neo-’60s bands appears on this new compilation released by Sounds Interesting. The material ranges from the fantabulous—the SLICKEE BOYS’ guitar-heavy garage rock, the fuzzed-out ’60s punk of Sweden’s NOMADS and the MIRACLE WORKERS, the organ-dominated BLUES MAGOOS-ish psychedelia of the UNITED STATES OF EXISTENCE, and the ripping psych guitar jam by PLASTICLAND—to the VICEROYS’ abysmal attempt to recapture the dynamic power of the YARDBIRDS. Most of the rest, which includes the LAST, the SIC KIDZ, the UNCLAIMED, the FUZZTONES, TRUE WEST, the LONG RYDERS, the SHOUT, and the POINT, is also worthwhile. Turn on and tune this in.

V/A We Got Power: Party or Go Home LP

Fuck! What can you say about this 40-band compilation organized by the editor of LA fanzine We Got Power? It has a bit of everything—intelligent bands, stupid bands, great bands, mediocre bands, unknown bands, well-known bands, bands from all over the US and Canada—but it’s great because all the songs are so short that even the few lame ones don’t have time to get boring. And most of them thrash to the max. It’s hard to pick faves, but I think WHITE CROSS, MECHT MENSCH, the ATHEISTS, JACK SHIT, the DAYGLOW ABORTIONS, and—dare I admit it?—WHITE FLAG have the standout tracks. All future comps should maintain a similar 1:00 limit in songs to keep things zipping along, but this platter unfortunately lacks both info on the bands and visible grooves between cuts—a DJ’s nightmare.

V/A The New Hope LP

Like most compilations, this one from Ohio has its ups and downs. My favorite groups here are the GUNS, who sound a lot like BLACK FLAG when Ron was their singer; NO PAROLE, who favor garagey semi-thrash and have a killer vocalist with a high pitched adolescent sneer; ZERO DEFEX, who have strong lyrics and an intense, awkward thrash style; and the OFFBEATS, who play super-fast garage HC. The rest consists of annoying experimental punk (SPIKE IN VAIN, P.P.G.), some medium-speed punk (the DARK, OUTERWEAR), and highly predictable thrash (POSITIVE VIOLENCE, the AGITATED, STARVATION ARMY).

V/A English as a Second Language 2xLP

The follow-up to last year’s Voices of the Angels double-album, this is mainly a spoken word extravaganza. While some tracks have instrumentation (acoustic folk, electric noise, jazz, rap, etc.), the accent is always on the lyrics. This record features people from several alternative bands, including BLACK FLAG, the MINUTEMEN, X, the FLESHEATERS, D.I., the PLUGZ, the DREAM SYNDICATE, the LAST, and the BANGLES; it may be LA’s answer to England’s “ranting” poetry. I’d like to see this kind of stuff incorporated into live shows, perhaps between bands.

V/A America’s Dairyland cassette

Although the sound quality varies, this is one of those must-have regional compilations. There are plenty of keen tracks here from the likes of DIE KREUZEN, SACRED ORDER, the TAR BABIES, NO, MECHT MENSCH, the CLITBOYS, S.U.M., the CRUSTIES, and many more.

V/A Eastern Front LP

In general, this is much stronger than the first Eastern Front compilation album, especially in the production department. There are good performances by WASTED YOUTH, JFA, CH3, the FARTZ, CIRCLE ONE, BATTALION OF SAINTS, FREE BEER, the LEWD, and England’s CHRON GEN. The only drawback (again!) is the lack of an info sheet on the bands.

V/A First Strike cassette

Nine bands from all over the US are featured on this compilation tape from a new alternative label. Most of them are in the thrash vein—the CLITBOYS, VIOLATION, the VATICAN COMMANDOS, POISON CENTER, the SKOUNDRELZ, EAT THE RICH, and CULTURAL BREAKTHROUGH—but MR. EPP appears to provide some humor and variation. Good show.

V/A Bollox to the Gonads – Here’s the Testicles LP

The Pax label is doing some valuable work with the best of intentions. They’ve gone international on this, the follow-up to their Punk Dead? Nah Mate compilation. This time around, they include four uropean, eight English, and one American band (SAVAGE CIRCLE). Most of them are real strong, but CRUDE SS (Sweden), PSA (Italy), ANTI SYSTEM (UK), and the MAU MAUS (UK) really tear it up. There’s a total of thirty tracks, so don’t miss it.

V/A Alcoholic for the Evil One cassette

Another compilation tape from Italy. This one includes material by I REFUSE IT, the CHEETAH CHROME MOTHERFUCKERS, PUTRID FEVER, INDIGESTI, CHELSEA HOTEL, PSA, NABAT, and RAW POWER. Tape compilations seem to be the rage over there, presumably due to the high price of pressing records. Not surprisingly, the quality varies considerably.

V/A Concerto Punk – Torviscosa cassette

A live recording of what must have been an incredible show. The bands that appeared were the WRETCHED, TOXICAL WARFARE, PLASTIC SURGERY, UPSET NOISE, EU’S ARSE, ISOLATION, 5° BRACCIO, and IMPACT. The sound quality is predictably spotty, but the excitement comes through.

V/A Grevious Musical Harm cassette

39 ferocious tracks of initiative and unlimited distinction. A delicious meal that needs no silverware to swallow this spectacular cranium-crunching ensemble of unrestrained activity. Featuring bands the globe over… Australia, South Africa, Italy, France, Sweden, Poland, Denmark, Germany, UK, USA, and more with batter-ram assaults by POISON IDEA, RAZAR BLADES, UPRIGHT CITIZENS, POWERAGE, DESTRUCTORS, 5° BRACCIO, and the intensity continues. Pick this one up quick.

V/A Ljubljana Hardcore cassette

Four thrash bands at various levels of proficiency, recorded live at Ljubljana’s first-ever hardcore gig (see the Yugoslav report for more details). STRES D.A. are particularly awesome. A collector’s item, to say the least.

V/A Music on Fire cassette

Though released by an American label, this tape features some of Italy’s most awesome bands. There are plenty of cuts each by 5° BRACCIO, RAW POWER, the WRETCHED, INDIGESTI, STAZIONE SUICIDA, RAPPRESAGLIA, and CRASH BOX. A great introduction to a lot of hard-to-get material at a cheap price.

V/A Punk Que? Punk LP

A Spanish compilation album that mainly features the better-known, commercially oriented punk bands, according to our sources. Old-fashioned ’77 punk rules supreme here; the best examples of this genre are songs by KGB (“Maroto”—dig that ROTTEN-esque sneer!), URGENTE (the first half of “Dispuestos a Matar”), NO (“Chalado”), and the ESPASMODICOS (“1943”), whose singer sounds rather like Biafra. N.634’s thrashers provide the only evidence of a transition to musical modernity. Still, it’s a good sampler from another corner of the world.

V/A Raptus LP

Another Italian compilation on vinyl. It contains a few great thrash tracks by the WOPS, RAW POWER, UART PUNK, and the WRONG BOYS; DRULL, the U.D.S., PETROLIO, and LAST CALL provide some less interesting older-style punk. All in all, it’s pretty good, and it’s worth buying just for RAW POWER’s songs.

V/A Really Fast vol. 1 LP

Fourteen different bands demonstrate that Sweden has become one of the most intense centers for hardcore music in Europe, along with Finland, Holland, and Italy. There’s some killer thrash here from the likes of HUVUDTVÄTT (the HEADCLEANERS), DNA, MISSBRUKARNA, ANTI-CIMEX, and others. It’s also got a neat folding sleeve, so order it today.

V/A Ultra Hardcore Power LP

The title is stupid, but the music is definitely worthwhile. This album demonstrates that Germany has several ripe thrash bands, though it’s not quite up to the standard of Waterkant Hits. Here the NORMAHL offer slower, less distinctive songs; the HERBÄRDS do some funny Oi tunes; and INFERNO, CHAOS Z, and BLUTTAT produce some ripping thrash. A good value.

V/A Starving Dogs cassette

A Chicago-area compilation with lots of styles represented. There’s plenty of thrash, some experimental stuff, and some punky pop. The sound quality isn’t the best, which tends to hurt the impact of some of these groups, but garage outfits like EVIL EYE benefit thereby. The other bands are BLOODY NAILS, NEGATIVE ELEMENT (now defunct), END RESULT, POLITICAL JUSTICE, VERBOTEN, the SEISMIC WAVES, KGB, GROAN BOX, ROTA, AOF, the ANTI-BODIES, BLOODY MURDER, NO RELATION, and ONO.

V/A Life Is Morning, So Why Not Steal This Record? LP

The third in the Life Is series. This one’s got two live GERMS classics to its credit, plus neat stuff by the MINUTEMEN, MODERN WARFARE, ANTI, MOOD OF DEFIANCE, HARI KARI, SIN 34, ARTISTIC DECLINE, and MODERN TORTURE. REDD KROSS disappoint with their “metal” number, and SHATTERED FAITH is so-so. Then there are nine more bands that get into electronics, folk, jazz, etc., for the adventurous.

V/A Lung Cookies LP

Originally released as a cassette compilation, Lung Cookies features an impressive collection of bands from all over America expressing a variety of styles. The recording quality varies from cut to cut, with most being quite garagy, but these compositions provide an intriguing view of the domestic underground music with an emphasis on hardcore. The bands include RF7, SACRED ORDER, RED MEAT, the REJECTORS, TEN MINUTE WARNING, and several others.

V/A I’ve Got Those… Demo-lition Blues LP

Eighteen previously unrecorded young bands that range from ’77-style punk to thrash to current Britpunk to Oi. The quality of the material and sound varies, but most of it is absurdly predictable. I like SOLVENT ABUSE, the ABORTED, and DEVOID the most, but there certainly aren’t any classics here.

V/A Blender Mix LP

Eight bands from Ottawa and possibly Quebec. Some are thrash (OUTBREAK, HERGS CORPS), some are punk (RANDY PETERS, MODERNES PICKLES), one is garage (the LAST PRAYERS), and the rest are experimental or HALF JAPANESE-type noise bands. Another eclectic regional compilation for the archives.

V/A O Começo do Fim do Mundo LP

Raw, full of energy, recorded live from the punk festival in Brazil (November 27-28, 1982), and featuring nineteen bands scratching the vinyl in a brutal assault of blistering fury. Attacking, incinerating numbers by OLHO SECO, COLERA, LUZIO FINAL, HINO MORTAL, and FOGO CRUZADO surge forth in a stampede of bulldozing mayhem that is hard and abrasive, carrying a heavy momentum of unrelenting power. The live recording is the only thing that mars this effort.

V/A Waterkant Hits LP

Here are ten new hardcore bands from West Germany, without a sleeper in the bunch. Most of the bands thrash—E-605, RAZZIA, MASSAKER, SS ULTRABRUTAL, and HH MILCH are all great; OXENSCHWANZ is totally weird, and the others go off in a variety of directions. Well worth the time and money.

V/A Holland Hardcore cassette

Nine bands, only one of which—ZMIV—appeared on the Als Je Haar… compilation reviewed last issue. Yet all of these bands are terrific as well, and indicate the depth of the new Dutch hardcore scene. On this 70-song tape of varying sound quality, one can hear the SQUITS, LÄRM, ZWEETKUTTEN, the VIKINGS, STANX, GLORIOUS DEATH, KNAX, and LA RESISTANCE.

V/A Get Off My Back LP

From the City of Brotherly Love comes this great compilation. It features a few songs from ten bands (see the Philly scene report for a list), and includes all kinds of modern punk sounds. There’s out-and-out thrash, quirky punk, slower punk, faster punk, jazzy punk, etc. Mandatory listening.

V/A The Master Tape Vol. 2 2xLP

Double-LP, to be exact. Out at last, seemingly a year in the making, it features 19 bands, most from the Midwest, and a few from the East. There’s some great stuff, so so-so stuff, and lost of variety in aggressive, abrasive punk styles. It’ll take too long to run down who does what, but you’ll undoubtedly find out for yourself, as it’s really affordable, and definitely necessary. But it’s murder on disc jockeys (finding the correct tracks).

V/A Why Are We Here? EP

The STILLBORN CHRISTIANS, NO LABELS, BLOODMOBILE, and COC contribute about three songs each to this exceptional testimony to the variety and power of the North Carolina hardcore scene. Don’t miss out.

V/A Garage Music for Psych Heads Vol. 1 Cassette

Where did they find these recordings? This tape contains lots of long-lost original psychedelic bands, including the BAD SEEDS, the CHOCOLATE WATCHBAND, STILL ROVEN, the LOST TRIBE, and a bunch more. Anyone interested in obscure psychedelic punk from the ’60s should look for this.

V/A We Can’t Help It If We’re From Florida EP

Five Florida bands share this record. HATED YOUTH are full of clichés, but have a really intense thrash sound; SECTOR 4 do both thrash and fast punk; MORBID OPERA are simultaneously weird, melodic, and garagy, and have female vocals; RAT CAFETERIA offer thrashy punk with gruff singing and some cool guitar leads; and ROACH MOTEL (who put out this entertaining EP) return with more garage thrash, including “My Dog’s into Anarchy,” the best funnypunk song to have appeared so far this year.

V/A Mixed Nuts Don’t Crack LP

An excellent DC compilation which deserves a much wider distribution than it has so far received. It contains diverse material from a number of relatively obscure bands, including garage thrash by MEDIA DISEASE, raw experimental punk by CHALK CIRCLE and the NUCLEAR CRAYONS, powerhouse thrash in a Dischord vein by SOCIAL SUICIDE, NEOS-type 78 rpm thrash by UNITED MUTATION, and garage rock by HATE FROM IGNORANCE. The gritty production accentuates the good music, so look for this.

V/A Viva Las Vegas cassette

Five varied hardcore bands appear on this Nevada sampler. SUBTERFUGE play mid-tempo British-style punk; TWISTED MORALS OF AMERICA have a slow hard sound with a wicked raw guitar; the infamous MIA (who’ve recently reformed) employ their furious thrash attack; F-8 sound primarily like full-on DISCHARGE; and SELF-ABUSE attend the 7 SECONDS school of tuneful thrash. Great!

V/A Ohmigod! Hardcore cassette

There are eleven bands on this latest compilation from Chainsaw fanzine, mainly from New York state and Pennsylvania. It contains a lot of thrash, some punk, and some art/noise material. The musical competence varies from band to band, but most are good. They include the REVENGERS, NO THANKS, SOCIAL DISEASE, WASTED TALENT, the FATALITIES, SUBURBAN AGGRESSION, SMERSH, CRACKED ACTOR, NOTA, and others.

V/A Posh Hits Vol. 1 LP

A great compilation of tracks from the vaults of Poshboy Records. There are many gems here, but the CIRCLE JERKS’ “Wild in the Streets,” the CROWD’s “Modern Machine,” and TSOL’s “Peace Through Power” rank as highlights in an album that also includes chestnuts by AGENT ORANGE, BLACK FLAG, and UXA. Good variety and quality make this record mandatory if you don’t have the original recordings.

V/A Thrasher Skate Rock! Cassette

A cool collection of skateboard bands compiled by Thrasher magazine. The pure “skatecore” sound—thrashed-out music with melodic teenage vocals—is represented here by the FACTION, JFA, and the SKOUNDRELZ; LOS OLVIDADOS and Canada’s RIOT .303 offer powerful older-style punk, the former fueled by a truly bone-crunching guitar, the latter by engaging choruses; MINUS ONE have a great ’60s pop approach (especially on “I Remember John”); the BIG BOYS present an awful throwaway “rock” cut; and the DRUNK INJUNS favor slow metallic songs with built-in tension.

V/A Als Je Haar Maar Goed Zit… Nr. 2 LP

23 songs by eight of Holland’s many great thrash and punk bands. The bands include PANDEMONIUM, the HAEMORRHOIDS, ZMIV, the OUTLAWZ, NULL-A, the LAST FEW, the AMSTERDAMNED, and BGK (who have an incredibly hot debut LP of their own out), and there isn’t one lame track here. Get this today!

V/A Tropical Viruses double cassette

Two 60-minute tapes containing all the previous and soon-to-appear Brazilian vinyl releases. These include the Grito Suburbano LP (now out of print), the Sub LP, the LIXOMANIA EP, the OLHO SECO EP, the upcoming O Começo do Fim do Mundo live compilation LP, and the INOCENTES EP. Anyone who can’t afford to get the individual records should send for this at once. Note: The song order listed on the insert isn’t completely accurate.

V/A Chaos in France LP

Chaos Productions presents thirteen bands from France. A multitude of different noises ranging from hardcore to skin chants. Reminiscent of English punk circa 1981, sometimes too similar. Has a lot of power and ambition, but needs more creativity.

V/A Skins e Punks = TNT EP

Side one is real mediocre, with DIOXINA’s standard slow UK punk and a ska tune by ARRM, but side two is killer. ARRM returns with some blistering stuff, NABAT showcases some fast Oi, and RAPPRESAGLIA rips out strong thrash.

V/A Kaaos – Lehden Kokoelmakasetti cassette

Seven bands appear on this compilation put together by Finland’s Kaaos fanzine. It contains some studio demos and some live recordings, and includes both better-known bands (TERVEET KÄDET, the BASTARDS, RIISTETYT, KAAOS) and newer up-and-coming groups like PROTESTI, TAMPERE SS, and FUCKING FINLAND. Uneven but worthwhile.

V/A Hardcore ’83 LP

The latest compilation from Propaganda varies in quality from cut to cut, but seasoned veterans like RATTUS, VARAUS, and the BASTARDS deliver thrashed-out songs close to their best material. Of the newer artists, the MARIONETTI and TAMPERE SS seem to be the most promising, especially the former’s killer “Turha Armeija.” With 35 tracks by 18 bands, you just can’t lose!

V/A You’ll Hate This Record LP

Sorry, Mykel, but at best (worst) this record is so-so. G.G. ALLIN is good, the FUCK-UPS are the FUCK-UPS, ART is interesting, and the experimental and pop cuts could have been a lot worse. Even the liner notes didn’t incite me to slag. The best part may be the plastic barf on the cover. (Note: half of the material here has already been released.)

V/A Acid Visions LP

A compilation of ’60s Texas punk and psychedelic bands. There’s lots of good stuff here, including some real obscurities like the GREAT BELIEVERS, A-440, the THINGS, etc. If by chance you’ve already picked up Mindrocker vol. 4, then pass this up because there’s only a four-song difference, and the sound quality isn’t as good on this.

V/A Big City: Ain’t Too Pretty EP

Seven NYC bands cram cuts into this 7″er put out by Javi of Big City zine. All are either current, or recently split-up, and all thrash out to the max. The bands include XKI, the BETRAYED, ULTRA VIOLENCE, NO THANKS, the ARMED CITIZENS, FATHEAD SUBURBIA, and SAVAGE CIRCLE.

V/A The Columbus Compilation cassette

Columbus, Indiana, that is. There are four bands here, KILLING CHILDREN being the most proficient and thrashed-out. The others—the PATTERN, ANDROPOV’S ASSASSINS, and studio group COLBY—are definitely on the garage side of life. They have that unmistakable Midwest flair, best exemplified by the PATTERNS’ classic “Burger Palace of Death.”

V/A Out Blow Out cassette

A great collection of San Diego-area bands. Some are current, some are long gone, some are punk, some are thrash, all are raw. The bands include 5051, CATCH 22, BATTALION OF SAINTS, SACRED LIES, the MORAL MAJORITY, the INJECTIONS, the SKULLBUSTERS, etc.

V/A Life Is Beautiful, So Why Not Eat Health Foods? LP

An excellent follow-up to the Life is Ugly… LP. I like all of the punk side, which begins with a great old BAGS cut, and continues with ANTI, SHATTERED FAITH, CHINA WHITE, M.I.A. (not the group on the Last Rites LP), ILL WILL, and a live GERMS track. The B-side contains some experimental stuff by Gary Kail, as well as the B PEOPLE, VOX POP, the MINUTEMEN, and POWERTRIP. Good variation.

V/A A Country Fit for Heroes Volume 2 12″

Like those from the first installment, the bands here haven’t released any other vinyl yet. And true to the No Future label, this is a mix of punk and Oi bands. Some of them are mediocre, but CADAVEROUS CLAN and IMPACT make this record worth the £2.50.

V/A These Cats Ain’t Nothin’ But Trash LP

Three modern bands that revive the roots of punk. The MILKSHAKES have that early KINKS or Merseybeat sound; the STINGRAYS belong to the METEORS/CRAMPS school of psychobilly; and the CANNIBALS hearken back to the ’60s punk of the early PRETTY THINGS or maybe the SEEDS or maybe the SHADOWS OF KNIGHT. These aren’t just copies—they reflect the genuine spirit of those eras. Great record.

V/A Van U Wil Ik Zingen cassette

Another Dutch basement tape from Er Is Hoop, this one featuring three bands. TOTAL CHAOZ are a methadrine thrash group with a female singer; the PUKES are a messy, unformed punk band; and the ASPERITYS are basic punksters that do too many covers. OK for a first effort, but all these amateurish outfits were recorded a bit prematurely.

V/A Destroy Clones cassette

This tape features ten bands from Italy, some of them punk, some fo them thrash, and most of them Oi. My favorites are FALLOUT and 5° BRACCIO, who totally cut loose. The WOPS and NABAT bash out some Oi, if that’s your cup of campana.

V/A Papi, Queens, Reichskanzlers & Presidennti EP

From Italy with interesting sleeve packaging, a 7-song sampler that presents bands from many free-minded European lands. Italian bands SOTTOCULTURA, KOLLETTINO, and 5° BRACCIO jolt forth a monumentous thrash attack of havoc. Speed merchants STROMSPERRE wail from Germany and KAAOS fire a split-second barrage from Finland. Also, there’s TOTAL CHAOS from the UK and a slower, more relaxed song by IRAH of Italy. Impressive.

V/A Sub LP

A good follow-up to the great Grito Suburbano compilation. CÓLERA return with more nifty punk sing-alongs; the other three bands—PSYKOZE, RATOS DE PORÃO, and FOGO CRUZADO—don’t seem quite as distinctive on first listen. For one thing, their basic thrashing power is so weakened by the poorly mixed guitars that it’s really hard to judge their potential power. It’s always better to err on the side of an overly loud guitar mix, but this is still an inspiring effort.

V/A Get Off My Guts cassette

Eight groups from the Berkeley area, all very young and in various states of existence or non-existence. The tape quality is very garagey, and the material includes some thrash and some pet rock or “mind rot.” The whole thing was recorded by Aaron and Jesse, those two youngsters who put out Tedium fanzine, and all other teeny zines that you literally need a microscope to read.

V/A Growing Pains cassette

There’s quite a conglomeration of styles and sound quality on this South Bay compilation. It’s got thrash, heavy metal punk, garage punk, pop-punk, old punk, etc. The eight bands featured are FACTION, GRIM REALITY, RIBZY, EXECUTIONER, the BRUCES, WHIPPING BOY, the UNAWARE, and LOS OLVIDADOS.

V/A Hudson Rock LP

This Albany, NY compilation is like the ones that used to come out two or three years ago. It’s got a bunch of local bands playing diverse styles of music—’77 punk, punky pop, punkabilly, post-punk, etc. There’s a lot of so-so stuff, some quality stuff, and one thrash outfit (CAPITLE). A sampler in the truest sense of the term.

V/A Noise from Nowhere EP

Just when I thought SoCal was getting a bit stale, along comes this great 4-song EP with one cut each from KENT STATE, MODERN INDUSTRY, MOSLEM BIRTH, and MANSON YOUTH. All four present intense, unusual, and diverse styles of contemporary punk, tinged with deep cynicism. This isn’t LA schlock horror rock, but the real thing—the horrors of living today. Buy and die.

V/A What Syndrome cassette

A compilation with most of the Seattle area’s great bands, past and present. Some of it is pretty garaged-out, but it’s all worthwhile, a necessary addition to anybody’s collection. Includes the FARTZ, the REJECTORS, SOLGER, the ACCUSED, POISON IDEA, FIRING SQUAD, etc.

V/A Punk Dead—Nah Mate, The Smell Is Jus Summink In Yer Underpants Innit LP

Start by reading Featherby’s tirade on the back cover, a great intro full of optimism about the achievements of punk. Then move on to the great music. The MAU MAUS appear with one new track, and ANTI-SYSTEM and XTRACT both debut some powerful songs. The rest of this varied LP contains material by the XPOZEZ, MANIA, and the SEPTIC PSYCHOS, some of which is fiercely melodic, some which is quiet and calculated, and some which is thrashed-out. All in all, it’s a pretty intelligent compilation.

V/A Wessex ’82 EP

Four punky bands from Wessex participate on this strong compilation EP. The SUBHUMANS connect with “No Thanks,” their vitriolic commentary on “making it” in the music biz, while the PAGANS’ track (“Wave Goodbye to Your Dreams”) provides the high-velocity excitement here. Even the A-HEADS mix a satisfying melodic approach with their anti-government tirade. A very fine effort.

V/A Pah! cassette

A new English compilation tape featuring a couple of bands with vinyl out (AD NAUSEUM and RIOT/CLONE) and a bunch of young hopefuls. The HIDEOUS MUSHROOMS tickle feet with some neat-o funnythrash, the GLIMPO SAUCERS provoke laughs with demented funnypunk, APF BRIGADE intrigue with drum-machine Britskunk, REBELLIOUS YOUTH annoy with overlong post-punk dubs, and HEALTH HAZZARD kick ass with some raw garage thrash. The rest produce more traditional stuff—thrash (LOST CHERREES, X-CRETAS), ’77 punk (PANIK, TOTAL CONTROL), and modern mid-tempo UK punk (WARNING). Pretty varied sampler.

V/A Grito Suburbano LP

In-fucking-credible! This is a totally great hardcore compilation from Brazil. Three groups appear on this album: OLHO SECO is an awesome thrash band with a raw guitar that sounds like a pesky fly buzzing around your head; the INOCENTES have a more English-style punk approach; and CÓLERA play very fast hardcore with irresistible sing-along choruses. There’s not one boring musical moment here, and the mix really exaggerates the piercing guitars. I don’t know how they get away with the overtly anti-fascist lyrics in a repressive right-wing dictatorship like the one in Brazil. An absolute must for enthusiasts of gut-level music.

V/A Attack LP

Another uneven punk compilation, this time from Switzerland. The contents cover most recent punk styles, from the CRASS-like assault of SURPRISE ATTACK (in “Banzai Attack”) to LAST EXIT’s basic Oi to PÖBEL’s slow punk with shimmering guitars to the sloppy thrash of R.A.K. to CHAOS’s ’77 punk with faster parts to ?X’s ska-punk fusion (“New York”). My personal faves are MICKEY UND DIE MÄUSE’s funnypunk with gravelly singing and NULL KOMMA NICHT’s cuts on side one, which highlight disjointed thrash with weird vocals that sound like a cross between THEATRE OF HATE’s Kirk Branden and Jello. It’s always nice to get a sampler of bands from another part of the world.

V/A Pultti EP

Not quite what I’ve come to expect from Finland. On this one, several Finnish hardcore bands develop a more individual style, and the results are very good indeed. MAHO NEITSYT perform another great medium-speed gravel-throated number; APPENDIX have cleaned up their noisy act and put together a couple of good hook-filled cuts; the ETUALA rely on a solid riffing guitar attack; ANTIKEHO provide a slice of nice standard thrash; and NATO do a ’77 punk number. Diversity without wimpiness.

V/A Raw War cassette

The best international sampler cassette available, with bands from Brazil, Canada, Finland, Holland, Italy, Norway, and UK. Features TERVEET KÄDET, NEOS, OLHO SECO, INDIGESTI, RATTUS and more! A lot of jarring explosive doses of chaos from the world of punk.

V/A You Can’t Argue With Sucksess LP

Another LA compilation with a lot of unrecorded bands and a few who’ve already released vinyl (like NO CRISIS, MAD SOCIETY, and the CONSERVATIVES). The first efforts by F-TROOP, RED BERET, the CREWD, SECRET HATE, NUCLEAR BABY FOOD, and New York’s EVEN WORSE are good. Most of them play unique thrash, and a number of the songs are quite memorable. The production is also decent, even on the live tracks. A fine effort off of the LA mainstream.

V/A Amuck LP

A compilation of Arizona bands. One side is arty/experimental, which I’m not competent to comment on. The other side is a mix of thrash, punk, new wave, and experimental. Probably an up-to-date anthology of Phoenix today. Faves are JODY FOSTER’S ARMY, SOYLENT GREENE, and the MEAT PUPPETS.

V/A Annoy Your Neighbor With This Tape

From Chainsaw fanzine, this collection ranges from hardcore to hard noise. On the noise side, we have SMERSH (a lot like the SCREAMERS), SENSELESS HATE, BLIGHT, and ATTRITION. There’s slower punk by ROACH MOTEL and the BAD SEEDS, and a few cuts that have already been out on record (CRACKED ACTOR, ANGRY SAMOANS), but the hit for me was Canada’s SUBURBAN MENACE, a totally great group.

V/A Rat Music for Rat People LP

Live recordings, ostensibly taken from various shows produced by Paul Rat around the Bay Area over the last six years. This contains cuts by the DKs, FLIPPER, DOA, CIRCLE JERKS, BLACK FLAG, TSOL, BAD BRAINS, CRUCIFIX, and the late, great DILS and AVENGERS (though the latter two’s cuts are from past their prime). Most tracks are good quality, so this album should do well.

V/A Mindrocker Vol. 1 LP / Vol. 2 LP / Vol. 3 LP

Three new releases of ’60s punk reissues, à la Pebbles. Volume 1 focuses on California bands like the BROGUES and the OTHER HALF; Volume 2 has mostly Chicago-area bands, including the DEL-VETTS and the great SHADY DAZE; Volume 3 is a potpourri and includes the MYDDLE CLASS and the classic BALLOON FARM cut, “A Question of Temperature.” These are the lesser-knowns, the equivalents of 90% of today’s punk bands, who managed to put out that one great single before fading into obscurity in one flash of purple Owsley. The sound quality on these records is stupendous, somehow enhanced to today’s standards. Now you can compare these old gems to today’s neo-psychedelic bands, and guess who pales in the comparison? Rave on!

V/A Kitten cassette

A potpourri of Minneapolis-St. Paul bands, all on the punk side to varying degrees. My faves are GROUND ZERO and WILLFUL NEGLECT. Thank HÜSKER DÜ, who also appear here, for this project. Unfortunately, the tape is already out-of-print.

V/A Valley Fever cassette

This compilation from Tucson is an admirable effort. The tape features good production and wide variety of bands. There are punk bands like CONFLICT, who have a strong thrash attack, and the URBAN GUERRILLAS, who have a garage tinge like the CHURCH POLICE—grinding, profound, and original. The defunct SELDOMS do a JAD FAIR imitation, GREEN ON RED have a live track that’s not as good as the stuff on their 12”, and the PHANTOM LIMBS have a track that sounds like Jello Biafra playing with the PANTHER BURNS. There are other pop, electronic, and psychedelic cuts that have a certain spark. Something for everybody, and a chronicle of Arizona’s musical history in one package. Let’s have some more, Lee.

V/A Sudden Death LP

Yet another LA compilation, and like most of the others, this is well worth the cash. The sound quality is mostly good, and it features well-knowns like REDD KROSS and JODY FOSTER’S ARMY, barely-knowns like the SINS, YOUTH GONE MAD, and SIN 34, and unknowns like MORAL DECAY, CRANKSHAFT, SADIST FACTION, the DEMENTED, the NAUGHTY WOMEN, and DEAD YOUTH. My faves are JFA, SIN 34, and REDD KROSS.

V/A No Core cassette

Four groups—COLCOR, NO LABELS, NO ROCK STARS, and CORROSION OF CONFORMITY—share this effort to show the world that hardcore lives in the American South. Well, if this is representative, it not only lives, it thrives! The cassette’s cover sums it up: it shows a Rebel flag being burned.

V/A Rodney on the ROQ Vol. 3 LP

Like the earlier volumes, one side is punk and one side is pop. Lots of the bands are new to vinyl, including KENT STATE, ILL REPUTE, CATCH 22, and RED SCARE. The vets are CH3, JFA, NO CRISIS, PARIAH, and RUDI from Ireland. Most of side one is anthemic, melodic punk. I won’t deal with the flip except to say that the BANGLES track is much rawer than their EP.

V/A There Is More cassette

A follow-up to Is That All There Is?, and from start to finish, it’s a blitz. Made up mostly of Ohio bands like ZERO DEFEX, the AGITATED, STARVATION ARMY, the URBAN MUTANTS, the OFFBEATS, the DARK, and the IDIOT SAVANTS, it’s a total joy. For only $2, you’re really a jerk if you don’t send away for it.

V/A Total Anarchy LP

Well, I didn’t know that “total anarchy” was a marketable commodity, but here it is. And the usual show, tedious punk-by-numbers in the grooves exudes the safe, commercialized form of “anarchy” that punk is increasingly coming to represent—all stylized form and no real content, all superficial slogans and no real ideas or action. The only cuts with any punch are the two by Death Sentence (both already released), one by CHAOTIC YOUTH (“Don’t Take Their Shit”), and one by EXTERNAL MENACE (“External Menace”). Otherwise, yecchh! Anyone want some cheap coffee-table anarchy?

V/A Die Deutschen Kommen LP

Five groups are featured here. FASAGA and COTZBROCKEN have a ’77 sound; Fluch have a CRAMPS feel; OHL are semi-thrash; and STOSSTUPP must stand 1″ tall and record in a matchbox. OHL rule this roost from a musical standpoint.

V/A Schiavi Nella Città Più Libera Del Mondo EP

Four hardcore bands from Bologna share this raw record. R.A.F. PUNK sounds like a cross between CRASS and DISCHARGE; STALAG 17 are a bit more primitive, with tremendously course vocals; ANNA FALK SS sound more like a typical Britpunk aggregation; BACTERIA make FLIPPER sound wonderfully melodic. A great EP.

V/A Propaganda LP

OK, you’ve been reading in these pages how great Finnish punk is, so order this compilation of almost all of the best bands (save RATTUS, LAMA, KOHU-63, and a few others). That’s all the proof you’ll need. One band after another comes charging at you and demonstrates why this relatively small and out-of-the-way country is the tops in European thrash. Includes cuts by the BASTARDS, ANTI KEHO, KAAOS, NATO, TERVEET KÄDET, RIISTETYT, 013, MAHO NEITSYT, APPENDIX, SEKUNDA, and DACHAU. A must.

V/A Underground Hits 1 LP

One side is all American bands, including BLACK FLAG (their first EP), BAD BRAINS and SACCHARINE TRUST (previously released material), and the ANGRY SAMOANS (one oldie and two unreleased cuts, including the infamous “Poshboy’s Cock”). The German side contains four strong hardcore bands, including TOXOPLASMA, RAZZIA, CHAOS Z, and the NEUROTIC ARSEHOLES. This is a great idea for linking international punk scenes. Bravo!

V/A The Big Apple: Rotten to the Core LP

A new sampler of mostly unknown New York groups. It features stuttering thrash by the MOB and SQUIRM, but most of the music and themes are rooted firmly in the garage punk tradition. The best garage group is ISM, who should get kudos for both their political lyrics and the best song title of the year—”Moon the Moonies.” The HEADLICKERS, BUTCH LUST & THE HYPOCRITES, and KILLER INSTINCT have more of a rock/heavy metal origin, but the latter are real fast. This record is uneven but it does contain some gems.

V/A Cleveland Confidential LP

Cleveland is a city of neuroses, both real and imagined. This record proves that the city still has the best psych-garage bands. An old PAGANS track is featured, as well as great stuff by the WOMANHATERS, OFFBEATS, MENTHOL WARS, and more. Even the “artband” track is gonzo.

V/A This Tape Sucks cassette

A hot little tape put out by Oops! fanzine, featuring some great garage thrash by Clevo and Akron bands like the BEATOFFS, the OFFBEATS, LOUD AS FUCK, the DUMBSHITS, the DEFNIKS, the DISSIDENTS, and ZERO DEFEX. Only midwestern bands could come up with song titles like “Turds with Corn in ’Em.” Great.

V/A What Is It LP

Mostly re-issues, but with a few unreleased cuts from the What label vaults, one of the earliest LA labels. This contains gems by the GERMS, DILS, SKULLS, CONTROLLERS, EYES, and later stuff by KAOS. A must for those who missed these older California punk 45s, now impossible to find.

V/A Oi! Oi! That’s Yer Lot! LP

The fourth and supposedly final Oi compilation LP is far from the best. In fact, I’d say they’re scrapping the bottom of the barrel here. Aside from fetching cuts by the BUSINESS, the OPPRESSED, ATTAK, SKIN GRAFT, and our own BLACK FLAG, as well as a magnificently funny poem by ATTILA THE STOCKBROKER (“Away Day”), the res is pretty disposable. Gary Bushell’s silly liner notes are well in character, but he’s got a lot of cheek trying to force BLACK FLAG into an idiotic Oi mold.

V/A Bullshit Detector Two 2xLP

Those who found Bullshit Detector 1 disappointing may be pleasantly surprised at the quality and intensity of this important double album set from the people at CRASS. The musical spectrum ranges from experimental and poetic right through to the trashiest of contemporary hardcore, and the tracks by BOFFO, RIOT SQUAD, and the SUSPECTS are worth the price of admission in themselves. In addition, you’ll find this to be the best document of the current British underground scene to date.

V/A Punk and Disorderly: Further Charges LP

An American release of this, the second in the series of England’s best and most current independent singles. Contains cuts by VICE SQUAD, DISORDER, GBH, the EXPELLED, RIOT/CLONE, the ABRASIVE WHEELS, and many, many more. If you can’t afford to buy all the import 45s, this is the way to go.

V/A United Skins LP

Like the LAST RESORT album, this compilation suffers from weak production and generally lackluster performances. Only TDA generate real firepower with their speedy instrumental attack. The ACCUSED and the SEDATED also have their moments, but almost all the other groups have trouble writing a memorable tune. The biggest surprise here is that the newly reformed SKREWDRIVER—a seminal ’77 proto-Oi band—display little of the obnoxious punch that made older songs like “You’re So Dumb” so classic. On the whole, disappointing.

V/A Geräusche für die 80er LP

The third in a series of German compilation albums recorded live in Hamburg. All of them have been uneven, and this one’s no exception. Basically, it contains boring rockers (SALINOS), art damage junk (LIEBESCIER), and unimaginative punk (the CORONERS). Even groups that have previously produced something worthwhile (the RAZORS, ABWARTS) are unable to rise above on this platter. For collectors only.

V/A The Master Tape LP

Great compilation of upper midwestern bands (except Boston’s F.U.’s). Some have previous releases—TOXIC REASONS, ZERO BOYS—but most are vinyl virgins (SLAMMIES, BATTERED YOUTH, DELINQUENTS, ARTICLES OF FAITH, REPELLANTS, LEARNED HELPLESSNESS, PATTERN, and DIE KREUZEN). More volumes are planned for the future. These regional collections of little-known bands are extremely important, so give the ZERO BOYS credit for organizing this project.

V/A Meathouse 1 cassette

The follow-up to Charred Remains. This compilation features 26 bands, including JFA, the CRUCIFUCKS, RED SCARE, MOURING NOISE, BATTALION OF SAINTS, MECHT MENSCH, RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED, SIN 34, NEGATIVE ELEMENT, the MOB, REBEL TRUTH, and on and on… You can’t go wrong here.

V/A American Youth Report LP

A really strong compilation of old and new LA punk bands. Some of the material is unreleased, but even the stuff that appears elsewhere sounds much better on this LP than it did on the originals. The remixing is that outstanding. It’s really hard to pick the cream of this crop, but I favor the high-powered thrash of MODERN WARFARE, MIA, and LOST CAUSE. If this is the first volume in a series, its successors should also be killers.

V/A Eastern Front LP

A nice concept almost ruined by disorganization. Meant to be an aural chronicle of an ourdoor punk fest held in Berkeley in the summer of ’81, this LP unfortunately reflects many of the event’s shortcomings. There’s no list of songs on the cover, no sheet or booklet with info on the bands, and, worst of all, the original recording speed was way too slow. I don’t know whether the generator used to record the bands kept frying out or what, but I do know that all the singers have been miraculously transformed into slow-motion bassos and all the groups sound embarrassingly out of tune. No one gets away unscathed, but noisy thrashers WAR ZONE are really hurt, having lost velocity and been censored (an anti-Bill Graham rap before “Marriage of Convenience” is missing). Fortunately the punk (DOA, TSOL, LEWD, WAR ZONE, FLIPPER) and post-punk sides (OFFS, WOUNDS, TANKS, TOILING MIDGETS) have been segregated, but on the whole this LP proves that good intentions alone do not a good album make.

V/A Sub Pop 5 cassette

Sub Pop is an innovative little magazine that deals intelligently with alternative American music, sort of a pint-sized version of its cousin OP. In place of the usual eclectic printed zine comes this equally eclectic aural zine. The variety of musical styles covered, in one sense a strength, also ensures that few will appreciate the entire LP. I love the ’60s garage punk of Wichita’s EMBARRASSMENT, the innovative guitar pop of DC’s NURSES, the powerful instrumental by Seattle’s PELL MELL, and Doug Kahn’s nastily edited version of a Reagan interview. The rest ranges from good post-punk, pop, and psychedelic to unlistenable art damage, but those interested in the best of the non-punk underground should look no further.

V/A Life Is Ugly So Why Not Kill Yourself? LP

Another great compilation out of Los Angeles. Side one brings us the hard-edged side of some current SoCal bands, with RED CROSS and the DESCENDENTS leading the way. Side two has a lot of different styles with new tracks by the MINUTEMEN, 100 FLOWERS, SACCHARINE TRUST, PLEIBS, and an old URINALS gem dug out of the vaults, a track that makes Jumpin’ Jeff shed a tear for the old band. This is one to pick up.

V/A Unsafe at Any Speed EP

Follow-up to This is Boston, Not LA LP. More great raves from JERRY’S KIDS, GANG GREEN, and F.U.’s, and some slower material by GROINOIDS, PROLETARIAT (great put-down of Reagan called “Voodoo Economics”) and the FREEZE’s classic “Refrigerator Heaven” that schizophrenically jumps from slow ’70s rock to thrash.

V/A New York Thrash cassette

A good but somewhat disappointing sampler of New York punk bands. The main problem is that the compiler—Tim Sommer?—didn’t always use enough discrimination in selecting bands or songs. Especially impressive are KRAUT’s piston-driven punk, the BEASTIE BOYS’ primitive thrash, and intense experimental punk by both the FALSE PROPHETS and the long-defunct MAD; one should also note ADRENALIN OD’s ultrafast funnypunk and the female-led noise of EVEN WORSE. Most of the other groups should already be familiar (BAD BRAINS, UNDEAD, HEART ATTACK, NIHILISTICS), but there’s no excuse for including macho Misfits-clones like the FIENDS and leaving the great REAGAN YOUTH off this compilation. A lot of the material here is available elsewhere, but ROIR has provided a service by reissuing some hard-to-find and out-of-print items.

V/A Lansimaisen Sivilisaation cassette

Another one for collectors. Sound quality varies a lot, but contains some unobtainable punk from Poland, Germany, Italy, Finland, etc. Including incredible hardcore from Brazil’s OLHO SECO.

V/A Riotous Assembly LP

Cuts by UK groups VICE SQUAD, ORGANIZED CHAOS, ABRASIVE WHEELS, COURT MARTIAL, CHAOS UK, DEAD KATSS, RESISTANCE 77, HAVOC, MAYHEM, EXPELLED, TDA, UNDEAD, LUNATIC FRINGE, CHAOTIC DISCHORD. A few previously released tracks, most not. Pretty good collection. Favorites are by HAVOC and CHAOTIC DISCHORD.

V/A Flex Your Head LP

A strong release of exceptional historical interest, but one that’s a bit erratic and not always up to the standards set by Dischord’s awesome 7″ catalog. This record includes outtakes from all the core bands, as well as a sample of material by defunct bands like the UNTOUCHABLES and new outfits like those on side 2. The thrash material ranges from good to great (MINOR THREAT, YOUTH BRIGADE) and the experimental punk of RED C and VOID is noteworthy for its power and originality. Oi clones IRON CROSS are a bad joke and the grooves are too compressed to yield maximum power, but these are minor gripes about a hot compilation.

V/A Not So Quiet on the Western Front 2xLP

We’re in no position to be objective about this one, since we compiled it. All we’ll say is that it features 47 Northern California and Nevada bands (a few known elsewhere, most not), and ranges from hardcore to garage. All cuts previously unreleased. Comes with 48-page zine on the bands.

V/A Someone Got Their Head Kicked In LP

An anti-violence compilation from the kids at Better Youth Organization—the folks that put on shows at Godzillas. Features tracks from LA, Santa Barbara and San Diego bands SOCIAL DISTORTION, JONSES, Youth Brigade, AGRESSION, ADOLESCENTS, BLADES, BATTALION OF SAINTS, and BAD RELIGION. Strong album, but not as thrashed-out as one might expect—tending more toward the melodic, but still hard. Great production. Pick it up.

V/A This Is Boston, Not LA LP

This one’s probably the best US hardcore compilation available. The material of course varies in quality, but all of it cooks. It’s pretty hard to choose, but GANG GREEN has the fastest and most intense thrash attack, though JERRY’S KIDS come close. On the other hand, the PROLETARIAT and F.U.’s (especially “Preskool Dropouts”) have the most perceptive lyrics. The FREEZE combine original music with intelligent content, and DECADENCE weigh in with a critique of mindless, ultra-violent slamming. All in all, a great introduction to Boston’s finest (excepting SS DECONTROL, who don’t appear here).