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Reviews

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!

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

  • Reviewer Jeff Bale
  • Label Hit Ranking Fanzine / I Thought It Might Shock You Tapes

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Annoy Your Neighbor With This Tape Cassette

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

Our Voltage

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.

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.

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.

Is That All There Is? Cassette

Akron and Cleveland hardcore including ZERO DEFEX, URBAN MUTANTS, and the OFFBEATS. This stuff exemplifies why the Midwest is fast becoming the center for intense music.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Systeemi Ei Toimi EP

LAAHAUS and KAAOS have four songs each that shred to the max. (I’m getting desperate for adjectives here.) Really rad. VAPAA PÄÄSY, on the other hand, pale in comparison due to their wimpier sound.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Britannia Waives the Rules 12"

One cut each by EXPLOITED, CHRON GEN, and INFA-RIOT. All I can say is, “Bring back SHAM 69!” Secret must have the worst taste in punk.

Als Je Haar Maar Goed Zit LP

This compilation from the Netherlands features seven bands, the hottest being the OUTLAWS, NITWITZ, and AMSTERDAMNED. Runs the gamut from ’77 punk to full-tilt thrash.

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.

Punk Ei Ole Kuollut Cassette

Twelve groups from Scandinavia presenting punk and thrash, including the great TERVEET KÄDET and KAAOS. Finland rules, OK?

Punk Is…. Cassette

26 hardcore punk and abrasive post-punk cuts from Sweden, Finland, Italy, Brazil, Norway, England, and the US. Sound quality varies. A must for those who want to keep up with the worldwide spread of the punk plague.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

  • Reviewer Jason Ryan
  • Label The Age of Venus / Alchimia / Amertume / Arabesque / Arrache Toi Un Oeil! / Aspidistra / The Attack of the Degoulinous Lombricus / Attila Tralala / Au Fonde de l'Impasse / Bad Card / Bad Karma / Bande Noire / Bonanza / BoomBoom / Boum Coeur / Brainless / BTK / Burning Emptiness / B.U.R.T. / Buzz Off / Chimeres / Coexistence Obscure / Concert Ou Pizza / Corn Dog / Crapoulet / Creepozoïd Productions / Deviance / Diabolik / Donnez-Moi du Feu / Echo Canyon / Emergence / Enterprises Marcel Daron / Eternel Détour / Et Mon Cul C'est du Tofu? / Exutoire / Fake Inc. / Fla-kultur / Friday Feeling / Gestalt / Guerilla Asso / Happy Dick Milk / High Hopes / I Feel Good / Jackhuze / J'apple les Flics / Kawaii / Kid for Life / Label Brasseuse / Langt Ner / Les Disques de Géraldine / Les Dictions de l'Ascenseur Mou / Los Discos de la Bestia / Lubic / Maison Acid / Major Threat / Molaire Industries / Mr Marcaille / Murder / Nagawika / New Wave / No Reason / No Way Asso / Offside / One Person Party Prodz / Orange Juice / Overcome / Palmipède Graphics / Paradoxicommanie / Paska / Peace & Noise / Perspective / Place St. Anne / Positively Negative / Pouna Disques / Puzzle / Radar Swarm / Rock’n’roll Masturbation / Rotten Eggs Smell Terrible / Rudeboi / Ruin Co. / 75 Records / Shinya / Slow Death / Small Budget / Solitude / Subversive Ways / Suicide Commercial / Tocsin / Tomaturj / Trahison / 213 Records / Unhurt / Up Front / Uproar for Veneration / Up to Eleven / Various Multiplex Multiformis / Waiting for an Angel / Wee Wee / Zone Onze

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.

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.

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.

  • Reviewer Ryan Modee
  • Label Boss Tuneage / Brassneck / Kibou / Little Rocket / Pumpkin / TNS / Urinal Vinyl

Live at Raul’s LP

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.

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!