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MRR Presents: Friday Fuckin' Funnies! #65

LIFE IS POSERS! Loads more at lifeisposers.com NOWHERE CITY by Vickie Smalls! More great comix by Vic at nowherecitycomix.tumblr.com Every Friday ...

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New Blood! ALLERGY, DESPERFECTO, and MODERN LOVE

MRR magazine's "New Blood" section is now a regular feature here on MRR.com! See below ...

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Video of the Week! Distorted: Reflections on Early Sydney Punk

This month's Maximum Rocknroll magazine features an interview with Des Devlin, the filmmaker behind the documentary Distorted: ...

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Record of the Week: CADAVER EM TRANSE LP

Based in São Paulo and featuring members of RAKTA and SPEED KILLS, this is a ...

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Guest Column: Sean Hocking on Genjing Records

Genjing Records: Connecting China's Underground with the World, One 7" at a Time Let's head off ...

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Show Review! OTDEL SAMOISKORENENIA live in St. Petersburg


September 17th, 2014 by

Soviet-era anti-establishment band ОТДЕЛ САМОИСКОРЕНЕНИЯ (Department of Self-Eradication) played their first show ever this summer. Here is a report from by MRR contributor Alexander Herbert.

Otdel Samoeskrenenia

Otdel Samoeskrenenia

When I told a group of modern punk rockers that I was headed to St. Petersburg to see the first show of OTDEL SAMOISKORENENIA (OS), they all looked at me as if my accent was pronouncing something incomprehensible. OS formed in 1982 before Gorbachev introduced Pepsi, McDonald’s and other symbols of Western modernity (or mediocrity) to the country. In fact, ’82 caught the tail end of Brezhnev’s years, in which censorship and anti-Western bullshit was reinforced by Yuri Andropov’s love affair with state discipline and propaganda. With lyrics as straightforward as “Reagan and Andropov fucked all of Europe from both sides,” OS fell victim to that censorship in 1984. KGB agents seized, interrogated and threatened front man Fedor “Feddy Begemont” Lavrov before the band ever had a chance to set foot on a stage.

But in 2014 they managed to book their first show, in a symbolic club called “Kamchatka,” located across the Neva River in St. Petersburg. When the band formed in 1982, Kamchatka was a boiler room in which Russia’s most famous frontman, and friend of OS, Viktor Tsoi worked and practiced with his entourage, KINO. The walls inside the venue are lined with portraits and busts of Tsoi and punk ledgend Yegor Letov from GRAZHDANSKAYA OBORONA (Civil Defense), who are commonly thought of as the USSR’s first major punk rockers. The historic occasion, coupled with the venue attracted punks both young and old who wanted to recreate the atmosphere of Leningrad’s early punk scene.

I was born in the USSR / And I am aware of the country I have to live in / Values are renewed but the system is the same / And it’s against the self-governing of citizens.
—Feddy Lavrov, OS

With former members of AVTOMATICHESKI UDOVLETVORITELI (AU), NARODNOE OPULCHENIE (NO) and more, the OS lineup was a powerhouse of Soviet punk rock veterans. They played a number of songs that spanned the subgenres of punk rock — ’77, pop punk, hardcore, and politically charged songs loaded with lyrics that recant the unique psychological struggles weighing down on the Soviet Union’s disenfranchised youth. They opened the gig with their theme song, literally translated to “Department of Self-Eradication,” which became a repeating montage throughout the set, reinforcing the point of redundant, overextended state departments in the band’s former country. The hits of the night included “Voennaya Monarkhiya” (“War Monarchy”) and a song that predated the advent of Russian hardcore called “Voiny dlya Voinov” (“Wars Are for Warriors”). OS also played covers of AU’s “Utrennichek” and Brigandy Podryad’s “Chuvak v Kaiv.”

Feddy’s enthusiasm on stage, his joking and talent made him seem like little less than a veteran punk rocker retaining his teenage angst and dissatisfaction with the system that cut short his band’s success. Rather than falling into the trap of washed-up nostalgic showmanship that some older musicians fall into, Feddy, Andrey “Yurskii” Chernov, and Gosha Solov’ev still kept the set fresh and relevant. Feddy even changed the lyrics of one of his songs to address the current political situation in Ukraine. All musicians, from the axe carrying veterans to the young drummer Kirill Pavlovskii (MURAV’EDY, SEGODNYA NOCHYU) played these songs like they were never forbidden and forgotten. In fact, the show was so successful that Feddy is looking to bring the music elsewhere.

Watch the whole damn show right here!



Wow what a show! SUDOR/KURRAKA/ REPLICA at El Rio, SF 5/25/13


June 1st, 2013 by

After a long absence, our show review feature, Wow What a Show! is back. Today, Andrew Underwood reviews:

Sudor, Kurraka, and Replica at El Rio in San Francisco, CA, 5/25/13

Sudor (photo by Andrew Underwood)

Sudor (photo by Andrew Underwood)

It’s about time for Chaos in Tejas, and you all know what that means — well, some of you do anyway: a lot of your local punx are suddenly MIA and there are a ton of awesome bands from far away and overseas gigging to and/or from their gigs in Austin. Last weekend, SUDOR (from Spain) came through San Francisco’s El Rio with tour mates KURRAKÄ (Austin, TX) and support from local ragers REPLICA en route to their own Tejas engagement. With so many stalwart local punx out of town and the venue itself being half given over to some kind of DJ night, the crowd was an interesting mix of Mission regulars, dance aficionados and leather-clad punkers, all mingling amicably in the large courtyard over drinks and smokes as the night wore on.

Replica (photo by Andrew Underwood)

Replica (photo by Andrew Underwood)

I doubt much more needs to be said about REPLICA in the pages of MRR (digital or otherwise). We cover a wide range of punk genres, and there are a lot of punks with strong opinions in the mix, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who wouldn’t at least grudgingly admit that Replica is one of the best bands going, Bay Area or otherwise. Even on this evening, faced by a (let’s say) slightly-less-rapturous-than-usual response Replica brought the absolute goods. Driving, heavy, spartan hardcore played by a band that usually look like they’re having a ball doing it.

WhatAShow18_Kurraka1

Kurrakä (photo by Andrew Underwood)

KURRAKÄ was new to me, though their demo had been generating some buzz at the MRR compound. They seemed to be a bit put off by the aged hippie sound guy who is unfortunately a fixture of the El Rio, and has served as the terrible, amateur hour, uninvited emcee of every show I’ve seen there. Frankly, I don’t blame them. But when they were finally able to play it was a satisfying blend of pared down, minor-chord punk and Rudimentary Peni-esque spookiness.

Finally, SUDOR. Now, I don’t mean to say that the other bands weren’t good. They absolutely were. But fucking Sudor performed with the fervor of a Pentecostal revival revue dedicated to the worship of Spanish punk. It was a blazing, fantastic set delivered at maximum volume and energy, and included a note-perfect Eskorbuto cover that fit more than comfortably alongside their originals. Every once in a while a band comes along and lifts my faith in punk even when I didn’t know it was flagging and Sudor definitely did that for me with their set. Hopefully everyone else in the states who’s been gifted a chance to see them has felt or will feel the same.

Sudor (photo by Andrew Underwood)

Sudor (photo by Andrew Underwood)

Mick Jones—er, I mean SUDOR (photo by Andrew Underwood)

Mick Jones—er, I mean SUDOR (photo by Andrew Underwood)



Wow What a(n Art) Show! The Grotty Hand of Wilf


December 31st, 2011 by

MRR.com’s Wow What a Show! presents a review by Adam Farrar on the late legendary UK anarcho-punk artist Wilf… Thank you, Adam!

“The Grotty Hand of Wilf” opened at the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil (South West, England) in October 2011 to a great deal of interest. The show was part retrospective and part tribute to late local artist Stephen Wilmott, affectionately known as Wilf. His credits include illustration and design for a number of bands, including many associated with the anarcho-punk movement, such as The Mob and their own independent record label All The Madmen (ATM) which released material by Blyth Power, The Astronauts, DAN, Thatcher On Acid and many others.

From the very beginning, ATM’s existence as a record label and increasing involvement with local and national music scenes helped develop great opportunities for Wilf to collaborate closely with an associate named Steve Batty. During this time they worked under the pseudonym of Cracked Image Graffix to create unique, original and memorable designs using their skills to interpret visual identities for the gritty lyrical content emanating from this new crop of bands. Wilf was based in the sleepy market town of Yeovil in the South West of England. (The city of Bristol is located 45 miles north.) The town’s biggest exports are gloves and helicopters (you might notice these references in some of his artwork, especially if you are familiar with flyers and posters featuring The Mob). The very essence of the anarcho-punk movement was born out of the need to get up and make some changes, however small, like starting a band with a message or supplying informative flyers on a range of subjects relevant to the time period. It was a pocket of positivity that Wilf became part of, especially with his early roots in the hippie subculture, which had ethical values similar to this movement. In fact, Wilf played in the Psycho Daisies where he performed and wrote vocals, and he was part of an early incarnation of Bikini Mutants, which featured Debbie Googe who would later be a member of shoegaze pioneers My Bloody Valentine. As an artist it was a perfect creative outlet.

The Mob "Let the Tribe Increase" original concept art by Wilf

Curated by Graham Moores and Joanne Childs, the exhibition comprised of works from a number of sources, including band mates, friends and relatives. Initially acting on a suggestion that it would be an excellent idea to put together an art show as a celebration of the artist’s life, Joanne ultimately ended up spearheading the project. Much of this task was a daunting prospect as it was common knowledge that Wilf had a tendency to give away much of his work. But contacts on the internet and a general call for help spread within the community resulted in a number of leads and people offering to loan out their pieces for inclusion in the show. (Much of the material supplied was not even known to exist before this exhibit was put together.) As a result of their efforts, Graham and Joanne collected enough artwork to span the entire top floor of the Octagon Theatre. This unique exhibition will most likely be the biggest collection of Wilf’s work ever seen, totaling approximately 80 pieces, running the gamut of material documenting the early Yeovil punk rock scene right through to his time exploring experimental paint techniques and screen printing at Magick Eye.

The restaurant and bar hosted paintings, illustrations and screen printed T-shirts centered around Wilf’s activist work protecting his beloved Wyndham Hill (a recognized beauty spot located right next to the country park in Yeovil). This area has been marked for controversial supermarket expansion and road bypass projects a number of times throughout its history. To this day Wyndham Hill still stands, no doubt in part thanks to the hard work of Wilf and his associates in the Wyndham Hill Action Group. I’m sure he’d be glad to know that no developments have since infringed on this area.

Subsequent material contained in this room gave a glimpse into Wilf’s later practices, which focused on almost spiritual surrealism (possibly harkening back to his hippie roots). But that’s not so say at this point in his life Wilf didn’t try his hand at more traditional pieces, as was evident by his selection of beautiful watercolour landscapes and “old English” style cattle painting, the type of which can be seen in establishments in various villages throughout the UK. There’s also some superb stories transcribed in the form of A4 comic panels, which adorn the same wall.

A glass cabinet located in one of the theatre’s side rooms collected together examples of published work, the originals of which have unfortunately been destroyed, or their whereabouts are unknown. In the interest of consistency the actual final product appeared in place of original artwork, such as the case with many of the record covers on show. Other items like cassette tapes, zines, cards, pottery and other crafts filled the remaining shelves, showing the artist’s sheer diversity in range, and offering a wonderful insight into what was at the time a thriving underground “Do It Yourself” scene.

Particularly exciting was the inclusion of unreleased record cover artwork for the band The Mob from 1982/83. The  art is extremely striking, with firm focus on characterization, and is typical of the artist’s early work as seen on the band’s “Crying Again” and “Witch Hunt” singles. Other notable works include the original cover art for the debut LP by The Mob (Let the Tribe Increase) which was sadly scrapped in favour of a linear, cost-friendly reproducible cover. As was the case with much of this material, it was fascinating to see the ideas and the end result for pieces that you’ve become so acquainted with over the years. Located in the same room was a series of gig and promotional posters for The Mob, which perfectly blends watercolours and traditional illustration. This was a visual feast for those interested in art or music.

Unpublished ink and Letraset illustration of Ian Curtis (Joy Division) by Wilf

The finale of the two-week show brought together friends from throughout Wilf’s history to celebrate his life. I was invited by Pauline Burr (arts development officer at South Somerset District Council) to take photos and converse with guests and friends at the end of show event. There were many anecdotes about the life and times of Wilf: inspiration, history and education of the artist as well as touching tributes to this well loved local character — a great footnote to an already excellent show.

On the same night, the recently regrouped Mob, with its original lineup of Mark Wilson (vocals/guitar), Graham Fallows (drums) and Curtis You’e (bass), arrived from South West England and Wales to play in the town where the band had originally formed. Throughout their performance they were flanked by projected visuals of Wilf’s artwork, photographs, and flyers associated with the band’s history, leading to some very atmospheric moments.

Wilf’s influence on contemporary illustration, especially within the DIY punk scene, is immeasurable, as the iconic style he created for groups such as The Mob amidst the Crass-spearheaded anarcho-punk movement continues to influence a whole new generation of bands with similar ethics and visual communication, such as Signal Lost (Texas), Witch Hunt (Philadelphia), Battle of Disarm (Japan), 1981 (Finland) and countless other acts, who use bold striking visual depiction to convey ideas and messages. Gone but not forgotten.

Wilf (Photo by Matt Cornish)

Photos by Adam Farrar.



Wow what a show! Steve Lake of ZOUNDS & Tommy Strange in SF 8/23/11


September 6th, 2011 by

Steve Lake of ZOUNDS and Tommy Strange at the Hemlock in SF, 8/23/11

Reunion shows are always an emotional gamble. They offer a chance to see the great bands you missed but grew up loving, or an opportunity to relive the glory days of your youth when you felt every chord in your bones! When they live up to your expectations, reunion shows are transcendent. When they don’t they can leave a rotten spot on your heart for years.

Steve Lake and friends (photo by Mandy Lake)

So when word got out Steve Lake of ZOUNDS was playing all the best songs from the Zounds 7″s and the LP The Curse of Zounds! I was a little worried, so much was at stake. Zounds have played shows recently with different lineups throughout England and Europe, but have never played in the States. This is due, in part, to Mr. Lake’s deep fear of airplanes. But when he was let go at work, and given a modest severance package he figured the time was right, and he took an ocean liner to New York to see the country and play some shows. He played a house show in Berkeley where he met Jason Willer (Enemies, Alaric, Cross Stitched Eyes) who insisted on accompanying him on drums, and Jason got Dave Ed (Kicker, Neurosis, Jesus Fucking Christ) to play bass.

Steve Lake (photo by Mandy Lake)

So at the Hemlock last Tuesday night, Tommy Strange and Buzz Lee opened and played some nice angry ballads (Tommy is so great, and underappreciated as a lyricist) before Steve Lake took the stage, alone, with his guitar. Stripped down, with only a rhythm guitar, the songs took on a strange poetic intensity. What lyrics! They didn’t lose any of their power or profundity. After about six classic songs, he was joined onstage by Dave on bass and Jason on drums. They sounded great, and it was strangely emotional. Steve Lake was charming and funny, with sweetly self deprecating between-song commentary and insights. Mr. Lake is frequently asked to play these songs, but he has only recently started saying yes, rather than no. He says, “It brings me joy to perform them with a great deal of commitment, again, to the point where I have started to write more Zounds songs.”

A new record is out now The Redemption of Zounds. Did you know “This Land” was inspired by Woody Guthrie, and then inspired Christ on Parade? Of course you did.

More shows are coming up on the West Coast in September with a different lineup.



Wow, what a show! Black Rainbow/ Younger Lovers/Alabaster Choad/ Displeasure in Colma(!)


August 24th, 2011 by

Black Rainbow, Younger Lovers, Alabaster Choad, Displeasure, July 16, 2011 @ Serra Bowl in Colma, CA. Show review by Anna Brown, still from video by Sarolta Jane Cump.

Black Rainbow (video still by Sarolta Jane)

The bowling alley, it turns out, is a fine place for shows. If you clear a space in the arcade and set up a shitty P.A., the bands are pretty audible over the sound of crashing pins. You can get a grilled cheese and fries at the snack bar, or onion rings if you’re vegan, and belt out some Luther Vandross on the karaoke stage in back between bands.

Younger Lovers (video still by Sarolta Jane)

Serra Bowl was a weird scene on Saturday night. The punks, the bowling alley folk, and the professional karaoke singers all got along fine, though. And the bands were great.

Alabaster Choad (video still by Sarolta Jane)

Brontez was in the house with The Younger Lovers, celebrating their self-titled record release. Best record cover ever, BTW. And Black Rainbow played a loud and wild set in front of the Joust game. But, in an even more surreal moment, Exene Cervenka, (who was in town making a movie about Ivy Jean) sang acapella, old depression-era country songs, and even “The World’s a Mess,” wearing overalls and sounding just as tough as ever. There was a moment there when I was sure I was dreaming.

Exene Cervenka (video still by Sarolta Jane)