Reviews

Dogtowne

Vultees Kick It Out / Live or Die 7″

One of my favorite young, unknown Australian bands. They have the same kick and drive of a group like the HARD-ONS but they’re not as goofy. More somber in the style of the GUN CLUB or DREAM SYNDICATE.

V/A Waste Sausage LP

A grand collection of Australian sludge/noise bands. Great names too — BUSH OYSTERS, PURPLE VULTURE SHIT, LUBRICATED GOAT. Also includes the last track ever by the now defunct GRONG GRONG.

Thug Dad / Thug 7″

A noisy and confusing blast of electrical air that throbs and throbs like a bad toothache. The only thing I could come close to comparing it to would be CABARET VOLTAIRE’s “Nag Nag Nag” era. Great.

Primevils Chicken Factory LP

After releasing one of the neatest garage singles of last year, “Saw My Name Written on a Tombstone” (included here), the PRIMEVILS went to record this album which showcases both sides of their musical styles. You get some fantastic, catchy instant-garage-classic songs as well as some slower, dirge-y drone songs. Great record.

The New Christs The Black Hole / Addiction 7″

Not quite as hard and loud as their other releases but because they’ve shifted their gears a little the sound here is less Detroit-styled rock and more slower, moodier that resembles the best of the FLESH EATERS and the GUN CLUB.

Lubricated Goat Plays the Devil’s Music LP

The best of the lot — the best name and the best music. The “Goat” manages to make a hideous, noisy rumble that can make you hum along. Really weird, very much inspired by the BUTTHOLE SURFERS and the RESIDENTS. They go from harsh and painful to strange and fun but it keeps you listening throughout.

The Joeys And Then I Kissed Her EP

I admit the thought of a RAMONES cover/tribute band sounds like a good idea, but this Australian configuration made up of some bigger bands there like the SAINTS and PAUL KELLY, doesn’t kick as hard as it should — so you end up with a limp shadow of the RAMONES.

Happy World Flowing Field LP

God these guys are great. After two 7”s and this, their second album, they’ve moved from blissed-out thrashers into a harder, less definable full bodied sound. Some of the structures here remind me an awful lot like some SST or Touch and Go band like KILLDOZER, SCRATCH ACID or DINOSAUR.

David Nudelman & the Wild Breed Sing Songs for Underage Kooks EP

From the same folks that released the insane Mexican Rumble compilation, a collection of all-Mexican ‘60s garage bands. Now this slice of life — basically Nudelman is touted as a genius or a madman, probably a combination of the two, and has this suburban garage band backing his ranting. Try imagining WILDMAN FISHER trying to front the LYRES while both parties are out of their skulls on PCP. A stone gas.

My Dad Is Dead Peace, Love & Murder LP

Not exactly a group, but the second LP by Mark Edwards of Pollution Control mag, and this release has the uncanny ability to sound like a real band—in fact, sounds a lot like some real cool outtakes of 100 FLOWERS with its finely directed and passionate post-punk sounds.

V/A At the Party! LP

I’ve never heard any of these cool, trash ‘50s bands featured here, but I’m sold on the fact that this is definitely a keeper in the tradition of other great oldies comps like the Back From The Grave samplers. Not so much heavy grunge guitar, but more swaggering, twangy rock’n’roll tunes. Loud, noisy, and fun.

The Stems No Heart / Lon Chaney Junior’s Daughter 7″

This Aussie garage psych effort comes with the new German zine Splendid, which exposes new and old bands alike. The two tracks by the STEMS aren’t exactly incredible but should satisfy followers of tough Aussie psych.

Lydia Lunch Hysterie 2xLP

This double LP chronicles ten years of work by LUNCH through her infamous work with TEENAGE JESUS, BEIRUT SLUMP, and the highly influential EIGHT EYED SPY. Also, a complete side is devoted to a few of her many collaborations, making a good sample of LYDIA LUNCH and the underground No Wave scene.

The Ex Too Many Cowboys 2xLP

The EX are a collective not unlike CRASS but their music is every bit as challenging as their message. This double LP takes intelligent topics and spreads them over SONIC YOUTH style drones into raw post-punk noises. With two exhaustive magazines.

Dust Collection 10 Til 13 O’Clock EP

Making no bones about their infatuation with melodic ‘60s style psych, this band blends smooth ZOMBIES type vocals with witty intricate music like ROBYN HITCHCOCK. Might be able to give off the MOFFS and DIED PRETTY a run for their money with pretty and complex pop-psych music.

Bl’ast! School’s Out EP

I’ve always liked BL’AST for doggedly keeping the BLACK FLAG sound alive, but unfortunately, their first release is one of the wimpiest, lamest covers I’ve heard in quite some time – like some stupid rock band down the street covering the ALICE COOPER classic. The two songs on the flip capture that classic My War grunge mix of blues and thrash.

Big Black Headache 12″

The warning label states that it’s “not as good as Atomizer” and that pretty much sums it up. They still do the best hammering sludgy rhythms but it seems like they’re not really challenging themselves to come up with something new.

V/A Smack My Crack LP

Another in a long line of compilations put together by poet John Giornio. While his early records tended to focus on writers and poets, he now seems to put together rock bands. Not only are there some nifty things by GIORNIO and WILLIAM BURROUGHS but there are some previously unreleased pieces by the SWANS, the BUTTHOLE SURFERS, DIAMANDA GALAS, NICK CAVE, TOM WAITS, and EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN.

Spot 1019 Spot 1019 LP

Similar to labelmates CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN, this band manages to blend their hayseed weirdness with some wonderfully scruffy weirdness to produce a garage band that’s not afraid to try anything. SPOT is a bit more aggressive than CAMPER, however and their brand of humor less esoteric and more just plain strange

Sick Rose Faces LP

One of the better garage bands, the SICK ROSE had a single out a while back and like this LP, they’ve got the ‘60s sound down but they also manage to throw in a taste of their own into the music so it’s not just an American ‘60s sound, just influenced by it. Maybe somewhere between the CHOCOLATE WATCHBAND and THE SEEDS.

Short Dogs Grow Short Dogs Grow LP

Fine people, these dogs, A Bay Area band that tirelessly supports their scene, play great shows and just “care” in general. They’ve added a new guitarist and lost their old singer, so they’ve got a beefier sound but they’ve lost a little of their great spazz quality. Still, this record rocks comfortably between punk and rock with a nice hayseed quality—friendly record and friendly folks.

Rifle Sport Plan 39 / Itself Sideways 7″

RIFLE SPORT had a record awhile back and it seemed that they had broken up. But now they’re back and while there’s still a nice, gruff Minneapolis punk sound in there, there’s also a new element. Probably due to producer Steve Albini (BIG BLACK), the sound is a little faster and more rhythmic, sort of a punkier BIG BLACK, okay?

The Offspring I’ll Be Waiting / Blackball 7″

Very good, early-style LA punk with clean hooks and straightforward melody. I don’t think it’s an insult to say they’ve got a sound that’s like early TSOL. Could use a full LP of this.

Hidden Charms History LP

I remember the first record by these guys as being real tough in the vein of the LIME SPIDERS or the NOMADS and while there are a few all-out screamers here, most of the songs on their second album are more somber, and maybe a little bit more bluesy. Not a bad thing, but if you believe a band is not as good when they get technically proficient you might want to pass on this cause they can play now.

Divine Horsemen Middle of the Night LP

I gotta fess up—I’m really a sucker for the FLESHEATERS sound and any related project but I was a little disappointed with the last LP by the DIVINE HORSEMEN, a little too clean sounding. On their latest record they’ve coupled four new tunes with some pretty respectable covers by DAVID ALLAN COE, the CRAMPS, ELVIS PRESLEY, and THE ROLLING STONES. This might actually be the right place to start with this group.

The Crucifucks Wisconsin LP

Not quite as manic as they’ve been in the past but still buckets of charm here. Doc’s vocals still sound like a cheese grater although when he slows down and just sings normal they sound like a slowed-down BUZZCOCKS. Still really cool, pointed lyrics and a lot of really good playing, nice to have these boys back.

Capt. Future and the Zapguns In Her Klaws / King of the Orient 7″

I sure don’t remember the first EP by this Swedish garage group being as tough as this. They start off with angry fury like the early NOMADS and finish it off with some great abrasive harmonic playing to prove they deserve their foothold as an international psychedelic punk band to watch.

Wilmer X Tungt Vatten LP

WILMER X has a good rep in Switzerland as a great live band on par with the NOMADS, with maybe a bit more of a rock influence. This new studio has a much more swinging R’n’B feel to it with some real neat harp playing.

Vandalen 1000 Götter EP

Here’s a good mid-tempo punk band that reminds me of the melodic sing–song French punk, and I hate French punk, but this is okay. The flip is kind of like MADNESS! Strange record, but a good group.

V/A Trans-World Punk Rave-Up, Vols. 1-2 LPs

Another excellent ‘60s punk series but this one deals strictly with garage trash from all over the world. Unfortunately, no liner notes, but the raucous sounds from Europe and Canada make up for it. Hot, hot, hot.

V/A Strummin’ Mental, Vols. 1-3 LPs

Kind of a companion to Garage Punk Unknowns. Here you get 58 instrumentals spread out all over three records, all from 1957 to 1965, and all really lean to-the-point rockers. There’s very little filler as you go from surf to punk and rhythm and blues.

V/A Garage Punk Unknowns, Vols. 1-8 LPs

One of the best of the ‘60’s garage punk series, maybe second only to the Back from the Grave set. Some really incredible finds throughout each volume, complete with hilarious and insightful liner notes. RECOMMENDED.

Moe Tucker MoeJadKateBarry 12″

It’s the first time that Moe Tucker has recorded since her solo LP and she managed to snap VELVETS fan Jad Fair of HALF JAPANESE to help out and produce. Out of the five songs here, three are VU covers, including a very respectable version of “Guess I’m Falling in Love.”

Rhythm Pigs Choke on This LP

Every time I see this band, they get tighter, but on this LP, too many weak songs just drive this record into the ground. Maybe it’s just a case of too little time to prepare for this album. In any case I’m still listening because I know just how good these guys can be.

Meat Puppets Mirage LP

This is their most polished record yet and will probably be the place that their fans of crusty, wild desert punk stop listening and where college radio goes apeshit. Some of this sounds like FLEETWOOD MAC. You decide.

Mars 78 LP

This retrospective release contains tracks from this band which was around during the No Wave scene, but the music is still pretty influential. By their slow churning sounds, you can hear where PUSSY GALORE, LIVE SKULL, and SWANS might be considered their offspring.

The Lime Spiders Weirdo Libido 12″

Now re-released as a 12” EP with four live tracks on the flip, including LOVE’s “My Flash on You” and a cover of “Mr. Soul.” Pretty much what you’d expect from the best Australian garage punk band.

Grundwasserabsänkung Unterwasser Stirbt Man Nicht EP

This six song EP tends to show off musicianship more than anything – some really good bass playing. Most of the songs are slower and come closest to HONOR ROLE or the RHYTHM PIGS in performance. Not thrash, but very good punk.

Droogs Anthology LP

This import collects all six of the early DROOGS singles which were impossible to find when they came out. The sound here is rougher and tougher than their last album, and a great collection of trashy LA garage punk by one of the best. Lotsa covers.

The Dizzy Satellites Crisis in Utopia LP

The slow, deadpan vocals remind me a whole lot of late ‘60s SF psych groups, but musically it’s in the same ballpark as a lot of Aussie garage music. This is even more amazing since this band is from Germany, which has a history of blowing it so far as garage/psych music is concerned.

Das Damen Jupiter Eye LP

I liked their earlier EP, but I didn’t fall over myself like some people who thought their brand of scruffy ‘70s rock was manna from heaven. Basically, this is just some pretty cool rock sounds with a surprisingly flat production.

Chocolate Factory 45 Minutes Out of 3 Years LP

While I wasn’t impressed by their debut single, this album is really something to crow about. Strip down to a hard-edged bluesy sound, all the songs have that really fervent sound similar to DMZ/LYRES. Very cool.

GG Allin Biggest Tits 1980-1983 EP

Shitty adolescent cover, great shitty rough production, and this six song “best of” 7” is probably already rare. If you can’t get it – don’t sweat it – he’s got a tape coming out on ROIR as well as a full LP on Homestead soon. Jesus…

Skeletones Pothole / So Much to Say 7″

Heavy on the twangy guitar and vocals lush with harmony, this group cuts a delicate balance between pretty pop songs and tougher guitar based garage sounds. Good songwriting, like softer tracks by the CELIBATE RIFLES, or the harder stuff by DIED PRETTY. Good, though.

Pussy Galore Exile on Main Street cassette

A cassette-only release in a limited edition of 500, doing an entire and complete cover of the STONES’ heroin masterpiece. However, tongue is firmly in cheek as half the songs are done straight and half are completely trashed. Yes, a classic.

Primevils I Saw My Name (Written on a Tombstone) / Hammer Yourself Senseless 7″

Easily one of the coolest garage trashers from Australia for a while. Rough-edge vocals with a great hook and anthemic lyrics — a future classic. Just a true slide of sludge with a heart of gold.

Phantom Opera / Secret Hate A Cut Above split cassette

Here, we have coupled the previously available PHANTOM OPERA EP, a group that rose from the break-up of the criminally underrated SECRET HATE, whose EP is also featured here. Both bands combined heavy riffing punk with everything they could get their hands on, from metal to surf. Too cool.

Painters and Dockers Bucket LP

This great new live album should dispel any ideas about this band being a wimpy, light pop band, and prove that they can hold their own with the likes of “Detroit-style” rock bands from Australia like the CELIBATE RIFLES or the SCIENTISTS.

King Pig Deathcell / Oblivion 7″

This band manages to take up all the space they can with their mixture of JESUS AND MARY CHAIN dissonance and SONIC YOUTH meets BIG COUNTRY melody. The instrumental on the flip is one of the most incredible production jobs I’ve heard in a long time.

July 14th Australian Bite LP

Another band that’s hard to peg. It’s a very lean sound, somewhat akin to early English bands like DR. FEEDGOOD. Quite a few slower, more somber tunes along with a good cover of JOHN CALE’s “Mercenaries.”

Itchy Rat Train of Death / Silent Footsteps 7″

A great record that just pumps out of your speakers — full adrenalin charged rocker with no let up. Much more to the point than their earlier single; the flip shows down a little more for a more conventional rock-type song with cool saxophone breaks.

Foundation Voyage LP

Don’t expect a simple, straight ahead punk rock record here. From the brooding, dark passages that explore into full passioned screams to their mixture of psychedelic and metal, this debut comes across as a mature, well thought-out sound. You hear something new every time you hear it.

The Deadly Hume Passenger Blues / Bed as Big as a Boat 7″

This band has a big tribal beat like GUN CLUB, punctuated with heavy, fuzz soaked swoops that kind of recall the BIRTHDAY PARTY. There’s real tension throughout where it seems the band is as confused as you as to where they’re going next in the song.

The Celibate Rifles Kiss Kiss Bang Bang LP

I’m a moron. The RIFLES come clear across the world to play in America, and I’m too busy to see them. Fortunately, I’ve got this live show recorded on that tour at their CBGB’s performance. Must have been an incredible show, because these tracks just blaze full of a hard-edged guitar sound.

Caroliner Rainbow Hernia Milk Queen The Rear End Hernia Puppet Show cassette

This Bay Area band has been around for a few years and have built up a small, but growing and devoted following. Musically, it’s a tough call but I’ve a sneaking suspicion these folks think the BUTTHOLE SURFERS are too wimpy and normal. A good taste of their weirdness, and each tape comes especially packaged — some packed in chopped onions, others in old nylon stockings.

The Wet Ones It’s a Premoistened World 12″

I was pleasantly surprised to see this witty group making just good standard trash rock with funny and biting lyrics that ring a little bit like old DELTA 5 or TV PERSONALITIES. A lotta fun, but certainly not wimpy.

V/A Dirty Water: The History of Eastern Iowa Rock, Vol. 2 LP

While this label put out the great Surfin’ in the Midwest compilation, this sampler suffers from a little too much of the “folk rock” sound and not enough of the great ‘60s garage fuzz. Still, some respectable tracks from UNCLE AND THE ANTEATERS and DAYBREAKERS.

Toxic Reasons Bullets for You LP

This is actually the domestic pressing of their latest EP. The import, reviewed in a previous issue, contained some tracks from the American release “Kill by Remote Control,” so they’ve replaced those tracks with the import 7” “God Bless America.” If you don’t have the import EP or 7”, snap this up.

The Trilobites American TV / Legacy of Morons 7″

This has all the components of a great Aussie garage record. There’s a great underlying melody that never gets in the way, some tough guitar slashing, and everything moves along at a pace reminiscent of the FLAMIN’ GROOVIES and SCIENTISTS.

The Subtones Boys Want Fun LP

I’ve always dismissed this band as a wimpy neo-’60s band, but not after listening to this. Anyone could be impressed with the hard-edged guitar sounds while maintaining a melodic pop charm. Sounds like a long-lost LP from the era that brought us the YARDBIRDS, ZOMBIES, and THEM.

Special Ed Special Ed LP

Another one of those strange post-punk releases that instantly reminds you of a thousand bands. Their taut, murky music and oblique lyrics reminded me of the MINUTEMEN, PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH, even the BLOODY MANNEQUIN ORCHESTRA.

Skin Yard Skin Yard LP

This band does a dark, rolling sound and also has a lot of instrumental finesse. Some of the guitar…uh..“hoodling” sounds a lot like GONE and the vocalist has a touch of NICK CAVE without being obnoxious about it.

The Original Sins Just 14 / Sugar Sugar 7″

Basically, this sounds like the STOOGES trying to do a cover of a JESUS AND MARY CHAIN song they just can’t get a handle on, so they make up for it by laying out a full-out aggressive noisefest ending. Truly inspiring.

The Lizard Train Thirteenth Hour Daydream EP

Heavy on the sludge from this now-defunct Australian garage band. You get a lot of nasty, crusty guitar riffs that pound insistently over and over in your head with just a touch of psychedelic melodies to mix things up.

Fungus Brains Fungus Brains LP

The second record by this group is a wonderful and curious mystery. A little bit of an early CURE guitar sound, a little GUN CLUB rhythm and a lot of weirdness. The singer has a tendency to gulp for air and lyrics at the same time like the singer for FEEDTIME. Strange MINUTEMEN style rockers that end very abruptly.

Whipping Boy The Third Secret of Fatima LP

Over two albums, WHIPPING BOY has moved from straightforward punk into something a little less defined. Their latest has an air of mystery about it. The vocals have a number of influences, including BIRTHDAY PARTY, VIRGIN PRUNES, and PSYCHIC TV, but these don’t get in the way of the band’s changing progressions.

Stickdog Stickdog LP

An unexpected pleasure, this debut vents out a demented, ugly vertigo that uses LIVE SKULL and RAT AT RAT R as a starting point but along the way still spits out an excited hardcore industrial din.

Ruts The Peel Sessions 12″

The RUTS were one of the early, and best, of the English punk bands. These five tracks, although recorded in a bland studio atmosphere, still have the bite and punch of that era. Nice little document of punk from 1979.

fIREHOSE Ragin’, Full-On LP

This is the new group arising from the untimely death of D. Boon, and MINUTEMEN fans will be neither too surprised nor disappointed. The music is softer in places, and even though the guitarist only picked up an electric guitar a year ago, this is a good start.

Didjits Fizzjob LP

Jesus… noisy little thing. Try to imagine the CRAMPS on speed. The music here is a pretty wild trashy guitar romp but the best thing is the pretty irreverent humor in the same vein as the ANGRY SAMOANS, MENTORS, and DICKIES.

Daisy Chain Do What Thou Wilt LP

This German garage band has crunchy guitar and a frantic rhythm section from the start, but after the singer kicked in, it became painfully obvious where the weak link was. If you can stomach the “soulful” NANCY SINATRA vocals, you’ll still get groovy psych in the vein of TELLTALE HEARTS or CHESTERFIELD KINGS.

Texas Instruments The Thing in Apartment B / Good Times in Rhythm 7″

I liked this band’s debut EP last year for its twanginess and scruffy vocals. Here, they have kept just a little bit of that while concentrating on the musicianship. “Thing…” is basically a somber instrumental, and the flip has a charming shit-faced singalong feel to it.

Screaming Trees Clairvoyance LP

This is a tough upbeat debut by an accomplished young band. There’s lots of heavy guitar sounds with swaggering melodies. At different times, I heard elements of the DOORS, LOVE, and the first record by the FLAMING LIPS.

Satanic Republicans Radioactive Roulette LP

A bunch of great country bumpkins with a swell sense of humor. There’s a goofy garage quality that made FLAMING LIPS so cool. They have a slight tendency to slip into ZZ TOP guitar riffs but the spirit of these guys make it forgivable.

Minuteflag Fetch the Water 12″

This is one of those things that looks better on paper. Basically a jam between the MINUTEMEN and BLACK FLAG back in early 1985. The one song written by Boon manages to hold its own, mainly because of the structure there, but the rest end up like some late night jam fest with nothing getting accomplished.

Mike Runnels Tell Her Again / I Never Stop 7″

More fun for the fuzz-heads. Here, MIKE RUNNELS overloads the guitar distortion with a really good, catchy melody and manages to get the JESUS AND MARY CHAIN sound without the wimpy melancholy – and though I don’t think I heard any drums, you don’t really miss it.

Meatmen Rock ‘N’ Roll Juggernaut LP

The best thing about all the MEATMEN recordings were the sharp, bullseye humor. Here, the MEN skimp on the humor in favor of the hard-fought macho-metal sound, and it just doesn’t sound like parody anymore. I’m sure if someone offered the spot between ACCEPT and TWISTED SISTER on the HM hierarchy, he’d jump. Me, I’m bailin’.

The Marshmallow Overcoat Groovy Little Trip / Stop It Baby 7″

A groovy little neo-’60s psych band from Arizona that sports some great fuzz guitar. The A-side has a slight plodding feel to it but both tracks are redeemed by the anxious, crusty sound of their vocalist. Should be another 7” out by this group.

Grey March Something’s Missing 12″

From Maryland, this nice little surprise carries an interesting and slightly mysterious sound. Some of their slower, more plodding tunes recall JOY DIVISION and DIE KREUZEN, and faster material has that murky, bewildered sound like DAS DAMEN. Very groovy.

Divine Horsemen Devil’s River LP

When I first heard this, I thought it was a great mix of Chris D’s tough-as-nails lyrics with a good, classy production. But as I play it more and more, I’m afraid he must have left a lot of drive and fire of the early FLESHEATERS music for smoother production. Really commercial stuff.

Vultees Heaven / Breaks My Heart 7″

A prime example of hard-driving, snot-nosed, heavy-on-the-melody Australian garage bands. Truly a great debut—starting from the FLAMIN’ GROOVIES sing-a-long style to the tough-edged guitar sound. This group needs an album, now.

V/A Väterchen Frost LP

There are some cool experimental tracks here, mostly by English groups like YEAH YEAH NOH, FLESH PUPPETS, and the BUMBITES. Also, a couple of good German punk tracks by RANOLA and HUNGRY FOR WHAT, plus plenty more – even a cut by APPLIANCES-SFB from Wisconsin.

V/A Sub Pop 100 LP

Smartly divided between the “guitar” side and the “machines” side, this sampler has a K-Tel greatest hits feel to it. Aside from a STEVE ALBINI spoken word track and songs by NAKED RAYGUN and the WIPERS, all of this is previously released. Still, it’s nice to have a listen to SONIC YOUTH, SCRATCH ACID, BOY DIRT CAR, and others all in one sitting.

V/A Don’t Adjust Your Set… There’s Nothing Wrong With Your Needle! LP

This sampler from the Cryptovision label goes to great pains to capture that trashy, one-take sound. The most successful at this are the DISTRACTION BOYS, MOD FUN, and STEPFORD HUSBANDS. The other groups have a more forced, contrived sound.

The Throbs Proud to Be Loud LP

At first, I thought this trashy Canadian group was trying to mine the same area as REDD KROSS, but after a few listens it became pretty obvious that they play a lot better than the McDonald brothers. And as they have some pretty cool hooks, too, I’d have to recommend this to folks who dig both the DESCENDENTS and STOOGES.

SS-20 / Sky Saxon Paradise EP

After hearing the LP with RED KROSS and this EP, I have to say anything connected with SKY SAXON is pretty much doggy doo. Only two songs of four actually have SKY on them, the rest are strictly SS-20 (not the Ohio punk band) and if you’ve heard their LP on Voxx, you know how wimpy that can get. Sounds like outtakes from some DOOBIE BROTHERS record.

The Sonics Live / Fanz Only LP

Pretty much lives up to its title. The A-side is an early live show from 1966 and the performance is as dismal as the recorded quality. The reunion show from 1972 on the other side fares a little better. Except for the annoying tape drop-outs, the performance shows just why these guys are hailed as one of the best garage bands ever.

Not For Sale Not For Sale LP

I like this group a whole lot and I think they’ve got some great sounds with them, and that’s why I’m just a little disappointed with this debut LP. They really thrash out here with some cool ideas, but there just aren’t enough great ideas and it suffers a sameness throughout. A good record, but not a great one.

The Impotent Sea Snakes Too Cool for Rock and Roll LP

The second record by Florida’s twisted answer to the MEATMEN has a mix of arrogance and humor that tries and will annoy and insult just above everyone. While I chuckled the first time I played “Pope John Paul Can Suck My Dick” and “I Wanna Fuck Your Dad”, I just don’t think I’m going to go back to this record. It’s a little like a little kid saying “booger” for the first time – the shit gets old fast.

Hasil Adkins Haze’s House Party EP

Wild and woolly don’t even come close to a description to this gent. Here’s a scruffy singer/songwriter whose music is so wild and spastic he can’t teach a band his changes – so he goes it alone on the acoustic and cuts loose with his stylish rockabilly weirdness.

The Apparitions She’s So Satisfyin’ / In the Midnight Hour 7″

One for the collectors. A garage combo from Kansas City in 1966 – did a pretty good demo, a raving original and a smooth cover of the WILSON PICKETT classic, but only a few acetates. On white vinyl, and nifty, if you’re into ’60’s garage.

Adrenalin OD Humungousfungusamongus LP

The funniest thrash band from New Jersey have cooked up a sheer fireball of a second LP. Some of these tunes rip so fast I thought I was listening to some foreign release – couldn’t really make out the words, y’see. My only trouble is deciding which is funnier, the “traditional” song “Surfin’ Jew” or the blazin’ cover of the Masterpiece Theatre theme.

V/A Trousers in Action EP 2 EP

This is a special limited-edition four-song EP that comes with the latest issue of Trousers In Action fanzine. The fanzine is good for the low-down on the Australian underground—a little more punk than what you would read in B-Side. This EP features a gritty punk tune by CHAOS, a sheer fun noise-fest by FEEDTIME, a quirky track by EXAMPLEHEAD, and a great BUZZCOCKS-like song by TOYS WENT BERZERK.

V/A God’s Favorite Dog LP

Jesus…a sheer noise museum here with previously unreleased tracks by BIG BLACK (sounding strangely like the FALL), HAPPY FLOWERS (very twisted noise), HOSE, KILLDOZER, SCRATCH ACID, and the BUTTHOLE SURFERS (with plenty of horns—jazz damage?). Horrible cover, but this is one comp I find myself returning to over and over.

Ten Tons of Lies The Seeds of Next Season / You Lie 7″

Both tracks are labeled with the same title, but I know for a fact that they’re two different songs. Good stuff more in the YARD TRAUMA/FUZZTONES style of hard-driving psych/punk with a good sense of melody, a nice use of the whammy bar on guitar.

Slovenly Thinking of Empire LP

On their second release, they have shed their gloomy post-punk shadow and their tendency for arty experimentation in favor of a harder two-guitar edge. There’s a delicate interweaving of rhythms that should excite guitar fans of TELEVISION and even the SOFT BOYS.

The Scenekillers A Scarey Love / Sheila’s Boom Box 7″

A side project for COUCH FLAMBEAU and the APPLIANCES, this pretty much sounds like a side project. “Scarey Love” has an experimental feel with dark, brooding vocals, and the flip is funkier, sort of novelty. Interesting, but…

Not For Sale A Taste of Honey / Nuevo Laredo Sincerity 7″

Yes, it’s the same HERB ALPERT song that your mom and dad listened to, but these Austin garage pups mix it up a little bit more for a pleasurable trip down the muzak/noise road. Flips does a double-take on the so-called “New Sincerity” movement in Austin. Maybe this is the Austin band to watch.

The Leopards Psychedelic Boy / If You Come Back 7″

This is a Kansas-to-LA transplant that manages to capture the KINKS “Waterloo Sunset” era—not an easy thing to do right. The song also manages to effectively poke a little fun at the LA psychedelic scene. Nice bit of pop.

The Leaving Trains Kill Tunes LP

They’re not going to like this comparison, but this is better than anything the DREAM SYNDICATE have ever done. The TRAINS use the same approach as the SYNDICATE, but are much looser in their approach, they rock a lot harder, and their subjects aren’t as tired. For fans of GUN CLUB and RADIO BIRDMAN.

Happy Flowers Now We Are Six EP

This is the second release from this terrible duo resplendent with song titles like “Razors in My Apple,” “Daddy Melted,” and “The Vacuum Ate Timmy.” All are recorded live and have a sheer dimwitted glee of ugliness and howling fear. I loved it. File between FLIPPER live and the BUTTHOLES.

The Funseekers We is the Funseekers EP

On repeated playings, I figured I liked the idea of this retro-’60s disc more than the outcome. All the right trappings—good sense of humor, some interesting melodies. But the juices never really flow and I can’t really recommend it against hardworking prole dough.

11th Hour Servation / Faster Than This 7″

Unfortunately, you have to make a comparison with HÜSKER DÜ/REPLACEMENTS with this record. The melody and hoarse vocals are too close not to. But still, there’s a creative element here that is just as charming as those other groups and that should be given some room to grow.

Beefeater Need a Job 12″

Sadly, this may be the last record we see by this great DC band: it appears they too have split due to personnel changes. BEEFEATER was never a cliché normal thrash band and they proved it once again with the 12” with hard-hitting, really thought-out lyrics that stand out. Some of the songs have an experimental feel. But it’s the title track that rocks the best. They’re missed already by me.

Baby Opaque Fugue in Cow Minor LP

This defunct post-punk band had a knack for the slow, somber songs recalling the best from bands like the SLEEPERS and TOILING MIDGETS. This album relies on the plight of cattle, check the title, but still manages to keep things fresh and interesting throughout.

White Zombie Pig Heaven / Slaughter the Grey 7″

The second release by this band is not an easy one to peg. It’s god that heavy rock-fuck-you-we-do-it-this-way sound that you hear in bands like BLACK FLAG and DAS DAMEN, but some of the vocals really remind me of SACCHARINE TRUST with their strange poetry. I like this… but I still like BLACK FLAG.

Volcano Suns Sea Cruise / Greasy Spine 7″

Both songs on this single are fun but not really substantial. They feel more like outtakes in the studio than full-fledged songs. Fact is, with any other band, they would have sounded terrible, but the SUNS could play the phone book and make it sound cool. Hope the LP has more for it than this.

Vertebrates Near Water / Lust>Money? &/Or Art+Truth=Answer 7″

A heavy 10 on the psych/mind fuck meter. A swirling twist of real aural mind-fuck. All this done by one person, Marc Casey, formerly of the New York REACTIONS. Try to imagine GEZA X if he had a real problem with LSD.

V/A Shindig! LP

A couple of live tracks from Canadian punk bands like NG3, DEATH SENTENCE, and MY THREE SONS as well as darker, art damaged like RHYTHM MISSION, RED HERRING, and NERVE TUBES. This is a good mixture and a nice way to hear how the bands come off live.

V/A Beasts From the East LP

Here’s one where I liked the idea better than the final outcome. Take the best East Coast and Midwest garage bands and showcase a couple of their tunes—should be a great collection, right? Well, they started off right by getting the right bands—from Chicago, DWARVES, CUNTS, GREEN, from PA, the CYNICS and the ENDORPHINS, and also tracks from the LIBERTINES and others. But the whole is mixed horribly and just ends up a limp mess. What a disappointment.

Squirrel Bait Kid Dynamite / Slake Train Coming 7″

These songs chug along at a decent pace but they don’t really hook like the ones on their LP. This is more of a holding pattern until their next album. I guess I’m still with ‘em… for now.

Painted Willie Live From Van Nuys 12″

This band does at times have a bit of a mid-period BLACK FLAG sound to them, but I can also hear some groovy part of REDD KROSS and CIRCLE JERKS in there. They got a pretty rippin’ version of “Little Red Book,” too.

Couch Flambeau We’re Not So Smart / Mississippi Queen 7″

Brother in kind to Midwest bands like KILLDOZER, BIG BLACK, etc., this group has always had a strong streak of inspired lunacy but still rocked hard. Here they poke some serious fun at how stupid it is to be in a rock band. The flip is a near perfect rendition of the MOUNTAIN classic—complete with cowbell.

Claw Boys Claw Indian Wallpaper / Dirty Dog 7″

Apparently made up of former members of another Dutch band, L’ATTENTAT, these guys have a great snotty garage sound and a singer who sounds halfway between ecstasy and death. Musically somewhere between the CRAMPS and the FALL. Gimme some more.

Ciccone Youth Burnin’ Up EP

Mike Watt (ex-MINUTEMEN) teams up with Ethan James and Greg Ginn for a hard, heavy, and thoroughly funky version of the MADONNA song. SONIC YOUTH gets their chance on the flip with a weird, dreamy version of “Into the Groove.” Too cool.

Cargo Cult Strange Men Bearing Gifts LP

Formed by Randy Turner after the break-up of the BIG BOYS, this moves more into the funkier, dark side of rock, but I just wish there was a little more bite to it. Maybe it’s just a case of testing the waters before they really let loose.

The Broken Jug William LP

Another unexpected pleasure from the Netherlands. An excellent crunchy garage/psych band in the same vein as WILMER X or the NOMADS. Some cool covers from the STOOGES to the OUTCASTS. Lots of fun involved here, not just a ‘60s necrophilic trip.

Antietam Until Now / Rain 7″

Critics have been falling over themselves for this band, but frankly it’s some of the worst music I’ve ever heard. I keep going back just to double check, but to me, it sounds like MARIA MULDAUR singing with a bad new wave band. On top of that, the BEATLES cover on the flip is just inane. Pass.

V/A Tuatara LP

This New Zealand comp pretty much consists of dark and somber guitar bands. It’s also pretty obvious that more than a few have used the VELVET UNDERGROUND as a starting point, but that’s not a complaint. Some of the tracks by the CLEAN, VERLAINES, CHILLS, and GORDONS are beautiful progressions from both VU and the Scottish Postcard label. Good stuff.

The Stomach Mouths I’m Going Away EP

More ‘60s retro from Sweden – actually pretty cool stuff here, with rave-up vocals, trashy sound and even… a Farfisa organ that doesn’t sound nu-wave. “Eegah” is fully charged instrumental that has the sound of going right over the edge. Very cool and on blue vinyl.

Springtoifel Tanz Der Teufel LP

Sadly, I didn’t really pay attention in my high school German class otherwise I would be able to figure out just exactly what these punters are singing about. Still, the music and the feel, a strong early sing-song oi feel – like SHAM 69 are both driving and passionate. Most of the stuff marches along at a good clip, both the harder thrash tunes and the slower bigger punk sounds.

The Sinners Hotshot / I Won’t Take That From You 7″

One hot little smoker from Sweden’s neo-psychedelic side. There’s an angry, gruff vocalist who can keep his own over the hard fuzz charging garage anthem. He does this because he can sound like both the singer from the PRETTY THINGS and even VAN MORRISON rough rhythm and blues side. Just great.

Pushtwangers Here We Go Again LP

I like this smooth mix of pop and garage sounds but again, I think it’s a case of not really working up a sweat. I know this band can do better as evident on the track they released as a single, “Love for Everyone” – complete with stinging guitar lines and an effortlessly smooth melody. I’m still on their side but we’ll have to see after the next one.

The Maryland Cookies Don’t Lie to Me! / Into the Primitive 7″

This has a much fuller sound than most Swedish garage bands. But the thing that impressed me the most about this record is the fact that this band doesn’t try to sound like they live in the United States. This is the one neo-psych band from Sweden, besides WILMER X, that doesn’t mind having an accent. And musically it’s a little more hard-edged, like WILMER X or the NOMADS.

L’Attentat King of the Neighbourhood LP

I liked their single a whole lot, especially the way it mixed the hoodoo-based blues into a hybrid of both the CRAMPS and the BLASTERS. And even though all the songs here are the same straight-up bullshit, I get the feeling this sound is better on a 7”, where on the LP it seems just to go on too long.

Four By Art Four By Art LP

A respectable start by this Italian neo-psych combo that leans heavily on harmonies and organ-based melodies. A nice little change, as most garage bands tend to be heavy on the guitar – that has a feeling more like QUESTION MARK & THE MYSTERIANS mixed with early SALVATION ARMY. Bears up to repeated listening.

Dr. Yogami Plastic Surgeon / Flamin’ Groovies 7″

Though DR FEELGOOD didn’t really use too much of the electric organ in their bluesy pub rock sounds. Only trouble here is that their tribute to the FLAMIN’ GROOVIES on the flip is just pedestrian at best. Classy but not a classic.

The Creeps Enjoy the Creeps LP

Positively lives up to its title. This is a must for any fan of Swedish garage, or any garage music. This swirling, howling mess of psych/R&B power has all the elements of a classic. I can hear the best bits of the YARDBIRDS, VAN MORRISON, and THEM, even the ZOMBIES, but these are all brought up to date to make a sound that should have the NOMADS looking over their shoulder for a long time to come. Essential.

The Celibate Rifles Mina Mina Mina LP

This is the second LP by this Australian band and it contains some remixes on certain songs. Very different from the LP (their third) reviewed last issue. Anyway, this band follows all the great traditions set down by bands like the MC5, STOOGES, RADIO BIRDMAN, and the SAINTS. Some outstanding, hard-hitting rock with even some soft ballads thrown in.

Tripod Jimmie A Warning to All Strangers LP

The second LP by the group led by ex-PERE UBU guitarist Tom Herman. The trick here is a sharp, clear mix of the early UBU paranoia and the driving punk/funk edge of the MINUTEMEN. All the hooks and melodies are feinted and stick with you long after the music’s over. Tasty.

Sand in the Face Sand in the Face LP

SAND IN THE FACE have a hard-sounding DOA structure to begin with but they’re not afraid of diversity and melody. They seem to mix both HC and thrash with mid-tempo early punk sounds that recall the best of the ALLEYCATS and X.

Prevaricators Détente LP

Because some people can’t really appreciate the fine act of sarcasm and irony, the PREVARICATORS have been too easily dismissed as a joke band or maybe just jerks. Too bad, because this is one band that consistently gets better with each new release. With both their sharp, pointed lyrics that attach stupidity and their full-charged guitar thrust, I keep getting reminded of NAKED RAYGUN at their best.

My Dad Is Dead …And He’s Not Going to Take It Anymore LP

Basically this is a one man show by a guy named Mark Edwards who had drummed with a number of Cleveland punk and garage bands. Normally I tend to hate these one-man solo albums but this is a kicker. If you’ve ever heard bootlegs of very early JOY DIVISION before they discovered the recording studio, then you have an idea of what this sounds like. Rough, murky guitar sounds with great shitty production.

The Iguanas Living in a Vacuum / Night of the Iguana 7″

This is the second record by the IGUANAS who were also on the Fresh Sounds Compilation #3. And again they bring out the heavy sound of the early STOOGES into the eighties. Sometimes the singer slips into a SISTERS OF MERCY tone, but that can be forgiven for the simple grunge that’s accomplished. One of the neatest records I’ve heard this year.

The Blue Up? We Are the Garden / It’s My Life 7″

Could this be the coolest all-female psych band from Minneapolis? Maybe the only? I like this mixture of the LYRES, FUZZTONES, and even SALEM 66 just fine. I just wish they’d kick up more of a ruckus – I get the feeling they may be holding back a little here.

V/A Big City First Three LP

A reissue of the first EPs on Big City Records. If you don’t have them, you’re safe by snagging this because of the great tracks by REFLEX FROM PAIN, VATICAN COMMANDOS, ARMED CITIZENS, CIA, SAVAGE CIRCLE, ULTRAVIOLENCE, and others.

Social Unrest Before the Fall LP

I’m impressed. This band was around for ages before finally spewing out a great debut LP last year. This time, they’ve decided to scrap a lot of old, tired ideas in favor of stretching out lyrically and musically. There’s a fuller, inspired sound here without seeping into a pap wimpiness. Good.

Manimals Blood is the Harvest 12″

This group is chillingly similar to the MISFITS, even down to the creepy stage look and gorefilm lyrics. They still manage to blend it with a hard-driving and cleanly recorded hot records—somethin the MISFITS always lacked was production. So, if SAMHAIN doesn’t do it for you and you still need that hit of gore, these guys are your find.

The Laughing Soup Dish Teenage Lima Bean / Rainy Day Sponge 7″

Neo-psych from Mammoth Beach, NJ, and judging from the photo they’re not too ashamed to whip out the old paisley. Truthfully, this isn’t so bad—nice mix of fuzz guitar and droning hypnotic vocals. And the flip has one of the best sounding SMALL FACES rip-offs ever. Very enjoyable, thank you.

Front Line Outside Your Window 12″

Now here’s a young punk band from San Jose who has a good sense of melody and writes some pretty catchy thrash in the style of SOCIAL D or D.I. Even though they have one of the stupidest, most immature covers I’ve seen in a long time, I think they have a future.

The End If You Still Believe 12″

A little too weird for my tastes. Starts out with catchy SoCal punk but, hey, what’s with all these goofy Top-40 keyboards? It’s too bad, because the words don’t really anything and in the end (geddit?) the music doesn’t either, just a musical candy bar.

Dwarves Horror Stories LP

This band recorded one LP under the name SUBURBAN NIGHTMARE, and I recall it being fun and just a little on the snotty side. With this release, they get down and dirty with their hard-driving garage/grunge punk. Some great covers of bands like CALICO WALL, AVENGERS, and LARRY AND THE BLUE NOTES. This puppy smokes.

Danny and the Doorknobs Poison Summer LP

Here’s a new group formed from members of the URINALS/100 FLOWERS and the LAST. It’s a stupid name, but it’s one of the classic slow, summer psych/garage records. Neat clear vinyl and there’s a 7” out there by these guys with only 300 pressed. Collectors?

V/A Woodshock 85 2xLP

Double-LP that documents a big Austin music festival with bands like the OFFENDERS, POISON 13, HICKOIDS, NOT FOR SALE, and more. It’s a good record—just kind of hard to sit through the whole thing—like Woodstock, I guess.

Wasted Youth Get Out of My Yard 12″

At six songs, it’s kind of skimpy for an LP but still a pretty good return to form from this early California punk band. Only one original member, but that shouldn’t distract you from rocking out this nifty little slamfest—for fans of VANDALS, MAD PARADE, and SOCIAL D.

The Untold Fables Every Mother’s Nightmare LP

Debut LP from this LA fuzz band who takes more than just a nod from the early PRETTY THINGS sound. Still, it’s better than the MORLOCKS but not as good as the CHESTERFIELD KINGS. And that’s a pretty good place to be. Cool snotty vocals.

Out of Order Paradise Lost LP

Hard and fast and in your face. Great big thunderous sound with maniacal gravel-style vocals. All this is coupled with very good musical ideas that keep away from the boring tried-and-true riffs. Excellent debut record.

Mod Fun Dorothy’s Dream LP

This pop/psych band from Jersey always had the knack for going right up the edge of wimpiness without falling in. This has catchy harmonies, nice melodies, and lots of influences from the ’60s—namely ZOMBIES and early STONES. Nice second LP.

Jungle Studs Jungle Studs LP

This is a side-project with various members of the DKs, FLIPPER, and SLUGLORDS. That’s probably the only reason for buying this mess. Basically, real dopey, hokey male bravado rock and funk—something like RICK JAMES playing with GRAND FUNK RAILROAD. Punker beware.

Dr. Bombay Bound and Gagged / Alone for You 7″

Great noisy record with former members of SIC KIDZ. CRAMPS meet GUN CLUB with swirling sheets of guitar distortion. The flip is not as great, but it’s hard to match the aggression of the first track. Interesting.

Cortex You Can’t Kill the Boogeyman LP

Swedish neo-psych band that relies heavily on dark guitar passages and gloomy percussion. Nice cover of ZAPPA s “Trouble Everyday.” Less psych here than just plain old guitar pop.

White Flag Feeding Frenzy LP

More goofiness from the FLAG. Their satirical songs recorded live all over the country with special “guest” artists and lame in-between song banter. This is supposed to be all-live but side two has a special groove cut to make it a three-sided record.

76% Uncertain Nothing But Love Songs LP

One of Connecticut’s finest thrash bands pops up LP #2 full of whirling hardcore that packs an introspective message. Both celebrating the positive notion of the underground and also pointing a finger at its failures. Musically, it’s a little more melodic this time, something like the catchiness of the DESCENDENTS. A must.

Little Gentlemen Broken Toys LP

This is the second album by this group and again pushes for the UK punk sound similar to the DAMNED. Clean production shows how they opt for more melody than sweat in their sound. It’s OK, but it could move a little bit more.

Wilmer X I Din Klinik / Nere Pa Knalgen 7″

One of the best and roughest of the Swedish neo-psych bands gives the NOMADS a run for their money. Both tunes are sung in Swedish, but that doesn’t lessen any of the power, and like their previous records, there is a wild harmonica that matches the fury of the band.

Pilsner I Refuse / Sleep With You 7″

Another hard-rockin’ Swedish garage band, this one produced by Jerry Nolan of the NEW YORK DOLLS. Both songs have that loose, sloppy feel, kind of like an outtake from a JOHNNY THUNDERS record.

S.C.U.M. Born Too Soon LP

This is really weird. Here’s a really great debut from this Canadian punk band who is socially and politically aware, and they inject all that into their songs. The thing I can’t get used to is the vocalist, who sounds amazingly like a clear-headed Darby Crash. Weird but cool.

Joe Pop-o-Pie Joe’s Third Record LP

Mr. Pie continues to annoy everyone again while he shows us how stupid we are. I would have liked a few more songs, but basically the good songs are crunchy, ugly, and actually have a message, and therefore make up for the stupid backwards version of “Sugar Magnolia.”

A Noise Agency Mom’s in Your Kitchen LP

Fully expected this to be terrible from the dumb-looking cover, but I was surprised by the flexibility of this band. Somewhat similar to the MINUTEMEN, they have good song ideas and interesting melodies. A good embryonic start and I’d be interested to hear what they sound like in a year.

Butch Willis & the Rocks Forthcomings LP

Second LP by these goofy garage greats. These trashy tunes are cool all right, but there’s something different about them. They’re just a little bit off-kilter. Fits real nice between the BEEFHEART and LEGENDARY STARDUST COWBOY records.

V/A Chicago Garage Band Greats: The Best of Rembrandt Records 1966-1968 LP

Very good collection of Chicago bands from 1966 to 1968 recorded on the Rembrandt label. Most of the material here is either unreleased or different versions from bands like the LEMON DROPS, NITE OWLS, and NICKEL BAG. Nice mixture of blues, folk, and psychedelia.

Swans Time is Money (Bastard) 12″

This NY industrial band is known for playing at a horribly slow pace and most of their songs deal with sex, violence, and pain. This time out they stick with the same subject matter but speed up the tempo to an almost rock beat. For the more adventurous.

The Service America’s Newest Hitmakers LP

Great overlooked scruffy band from Chicago just loaded with talent. There’s a full-bodied guitar sound, scratchy Midwestern vocal drawl, and cool but not cheesy organ fills, and throughout all of this there’s good, honest hooks. Great record.

Rhythm Pigs Rhythm Pigs LP

Excellent debut album by the PIGS that shows they’ve grown by leaps and bounds in both their lyrics and music. Everything from a tough western feel to a punchy, fuzzy funk song gets attention here. I could actually imagine their song “Human Drama” getting airplay on regular radio. Very cool and very recommended.

Charlie Pickett Route 33 LP

This is the first record from PICKETT since he split up with the EGGS, who went on to release a record as the PSYCHO DAISIES. Here, he gets a refreshing American sound of blues, country, and rock with the help of Jim Duckworth on guitar. Also features Mo Tucker of the VELVETS on drums.

Germs Rock n’ Rule LP

I’m not a GERMS fanatic. I liked some of their songs and there were a few I didn’t care for. Same situation here…live show recorded by Gexa X at the Masque in LA. Shitty quality but that never really entered into the discussion with the GERMS. Except for the long wait between each song, this is a fairly good document of the band before they broke up.

Band 19 Dictate 12″

A frustrating record. This is the same band that’s on the Mr. Beautiful comp, and their style is a sharp guitar/pop/garage sound that, at least here, manages to waste most of their good ideas by wimping out on vocals. There’s a live track here with a nice harsh guitar sound that gives you a taste of their real strength.

Ghoul Jerusalm EP

GHOUL’s second EP gets heavy as an apparent VENOM influence brings the harsh power down, but the band still has chaos in their blood and slashes at those ears with fast chords biting hard. Gnashed out vocals spit out as this combustion explodes into a disorderly zoomfest. Ace stuff.

R.A.F. Gier Kiss Me Goodbye LP

An excellent blend of tongue-in-cheek humor and youthful positive thrash from this band. They sing in both English and German and show a lot of diversity in their music. Good swipe at both John Peel and jaded punkers on “John Peel Said.” Good record.

Exploding White Mice A Nest of Vipers EP

More cool crusty psych from Australia. This time around it’s a band that has listened to a few RAMONES albums. But instead of the RAMONES/Spector sound, it’s more like the RAMONES meets RADIO BIRDMAN or the SAINTS. They do a pretty cool job of “Pipeline.”

V/A SF Unscene LP

Not exactly a perfect overview of the SF scene, but a good sampler of the more shaggy-type bands like the CATHEADS and XTAL and some psycho-funk from FAITH NO MORE and THREE MOUSE GUITARS. Not earthshattering, but fun.

V/A Message From America: Hardcore Has Come of Age LP

Sadly, the two biggest names score very low overall. MENTAL ABUSE for being too long and metal, and the tracks by AGNOSTIC FRONT for being too dumb. Younger hands like SEIZURE, VIOLENT IMAGE, and SUBURBAN FLASHBACK come out with some real cool songs, though, for the real surprise of the album.

The Iguanas The Only Sound cassette

They say they’re one of the best bands in America. Well, I can honestly say they’re the kind of band you’d like to have in your scene. They straddle the line of sludge/garage music and weird spazz sounds. Kind of like having IGGY sing with the BIRTHDAY PARTY in the bad part of town, during a thunderstorm, without a decent PA and not enough beer. You get the picture.

D.C. 3 The Good Hex LP

I took a lot of grief for liking the first DC3 record, but it was OK because it had memorable hooks and riffs. But there isn’t much to defend here. They’re guilty of all the retro-rock behavior that people have been dumping on them. Too bad.

Running System Running System LP

This Austrian band mines the same territory that the NOMADS do, and well-thought-out originals, but they do it on a less frantic level. There’s an overall enthusiasm that helps with the sound, but it might come over a little bit better if they’d work up a sweat.

V/A It Came From the Pit LP

This excellent Northern sampler has something for everyone. You expect great tracks from SNFU, STRETCHMARKS, and NOMEANSNO, but this LP showcases other positive young bands like MY DOG POPPER, S.C.U.M., SUDDEN IMPACT, and the RUGGEDY ANNES. Entirely recommended.

Pere Ubu Terminal Tower: An Archival Collection LP

This is an ambitious overview of the lifespan of PERE UBU. From the early acid garage sound of their early singles, to the final, more jazz-influenced release, this labor of love contains extensive liner notes about each phase of the hand and each recording.

The Nils Sell Out Young! EP

On the NILS’ debut solo release, their music is distinguished in that they can easily shift from all-out ripping hardcore to a more poppy song with cool harmonies and nifty melodies. A very good record from a band that doesn’t sound like anybody else.

Necros Tangled Up / The Nile Song 7″

More of the muscle/hair punk rock that they approached on the Flipside comp. Doesn’t really bother me, but those who are rebelling against the NUGENT guitar riffs might want to stay clear. PINK FLOYD cover on the flip…hmmm.

Minutemen 3-Way Tie (For Last) LP

This is the most blatant, consciously political effort yet by the MINUTEMEN. From the painting on the cover to their choice of covers (CCR’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain”), they attack war, Central American repression, and political apathy—and all the while still pumping out, fast and furious, the thrash/pop/jazz/rock sound they’ve honed to an edge.

V/A The Waking Dream LP

This is a sampler of little known, or even unknown “psychedelic” English bands. MAGIC MUSHROOM BAND and SLEEP & THE CREATURE VAMPIRES have something going, but the rest of these bands play uninspired marshmallow music. To top it off, most of these bands don’t even exist anymore. Consumer beware.

Tactics Fatman / Sharkbed Rally 7″

Instead of the wild trashiness, this band has a murky, melodic charm to them very similar to SALEM 66 or even the GO-BETWEENS. The flip moves more towards a psychedelic nature, but more in the area of, say…DONOVAN? Not too shabby.

Melting Skyscrapers Strange Device / Beyond the Grave 7″

This has a really full and smooth feel to it, just like some of the music released in England around ’78-’79. The vocalist manages to sound a little like GRAHAM PARKER while the band churns out a sleepy, dreamy sound similar to the tunes by the HOODOO GURUS.

Died Pretty Next to Nothing 12″

I’m really locked on the DIED PRETTY’s latest. Some of this is very similar to the early attempts by the WHO and KINKS at psychedelia. Real nice, catchy melodies with haunting vocals, not really muscular but the little flourishes make this record.

V/A More Coffee for the Politicians LP

Another Phoenix compilation with JFA, MIGHTY SPHINCTER, and the SUN CITY GIRLS, but better than that are tracks from the new bands like BOOTBEAST CARNIVAL, HARVEST, HELLFIRE, and the very raunchy DIRT CLODS. Lots of instrumentals, strange industrial stuff, and best of all, raspy garage sounds.

Squirrel Bait Squirrel Bait LP

Now that the REPLACEMENTS have wimped out, where do you go for that great, snotty, teenage garage music? Louisville, KY, apparently, the home of these young’uns who not only manage to capture the snarling adolescent howl but also have a sense of structure and melody in all their songs. Highly recommended.

Soul Asylum Tied to the Tracks / Long Way Home 7″

Perfect. Just perfect. This is exactly what I wanted this band to sound like when they released their first EP; here, they’ve tightened up the sound with engaging melodies wrapped around a ripping Midwestern Bob Mould production.

Green River Come on Down 12″

From Seattle, where heavy metal is a big force to reckon with, comes this debut. I’m not really sure about this record yet, but they stray a line very close to mid-period BLACK FLAG while tending to go for a more infernal, personal side to their lyrics.

Death of Samantha Porn in the USA 7″

Although too many bands get compared to the BIRTHDAY PARTY/NICK CAVE these days, here you have to make that analogy again. There are these great, loopy, tribal rhythms and general trashiness that begs for the comparison. I like this record.

Eugene Chadbourne Country Music of Southeastern Australia LP

Counting this release, there have been three CHADBOURNE/SHOCKABILLY LPs within a month. Here, you can hear him perform your favorite spazz country/psycho/experimental ditties that he recorded on his trip to all of the finest prisons in Australia. Really.

Mike Alvarez The Night I Watched You Sleep / Orphan Aged 7″

From the opening riff rip-off of the UNDERTONES’ “It’s Going to Happen,” to a strange but cool mix of the KINKS and X, this single has all the best of those mysterious singles that pop up now and again from Texas. Great shitty production.

The Squirt Men and Their Masters LP

This gang from Switzerland has done a damn good job at fooling me with their neat 1980-’82 Los Angeles punk sound. All the songs are sung in English and, believe it or not, there’s a bit of bands like DEAD BOYS, DETOX, BIG BOYS, and early TSOL. Really cool.

Turbines Last Dance Before Highway LP

Seems like the TURBINES are a one-way proposition; either you love ’em or hate ’em. Myself, I could listen to their twangy, garbage-can guitar tunes over and over. Kind of like if you drained the sleaze off the CRAMPS.

Silver Chalice Evil Birds LP

Here you have Don Bolles of 45 GRAVE, VOX POP, etc. and GEZA X in their new band. SILVER CHALICE put out at least one single in the early days of LA punk, but I don’t think these are the same members. Anyway, pretty bland punk rock with a little sensitive ballad or two thrown in for ballast. Even the normally cool GEXA production can’t save this one…

Poison 13 First You Dream… LP

While I could’ve used a full album of this steamy mess, I can settle for seven songs of great Texas thrash guitar music. We’re talking nasty business trash with songs about strange movies, dying young with a smile on your face, and other general bits of inanity. Great bluesy creepiness on “Parchman Farm.” I say check it out. Four stars.

Otto’s Chemical Lounge Spillover LP

Sadly, there’s talk about this psycho-delic garage band breaking up. If that’s so, at least they’ve left behind a killer 7” and a nice, full-bodied album of frenzied HENDRIX riffing, bluesy vocals, and staunch, tight rhythms. Not as crazy as their single, but still worthy.

Life After Death Worse Than You / Like a Soldier 7″

Cool band from North Carolina and they’re gonna be on an English comp of SYD BARRETT cover bands. Trouble is that their maniacal, wild sound gets pushed back on this release in favor of a more droning DREAM SYNDICATE feel. But the sound is still cool and they sound like a real contender.

Hickoids We’re in It for the Corn LP

Living up to their true potential, the HICKOIDS blaze a true path between the mud-caked rodeo music of the South and the craziness of cousins marrying. There’s a true strangeness here that rivals the best of early MEAT PUPPETS, and like the MP’s, they can smoke on their instruments. Besides, how many bands really look good with cowshit on their boots?

Overkill Triumph of the Will LP

This is like the WÜRM record, or one of those records on SST after the band has broken up. Too bad, because OVERKILL managed to blend equal parts of harsh metal and snarling punk. The vocals have a cool rasp sound that may give MOTÖRHEAD a run for their money.

Mission of Burma The Horrible Truth About Burma LP

BURMA’s sound meant a lot to me when they were around; swirling waves of guitar, nervous psycho vocals, and muscular bass and rhythm attacks. This live release lives up to the quality of previous recordings; all unreleased tracks, and if you think they might have been wimpy, check out their covers of the STOOGES’ “1970” and PERE UBU’s “Heart of Darkness.”

Live Skull Bringing Home the Bait LP

Eee-yowww! This I like…a lot. Comparisons with SONIC YOUTH are going to be made, because LIVE SKULL keeps charging with full-speed intensity. I can’t see these guys ever closing their eyes and just drooling.

The Lead It’s Thru You EP

Well, this was bound to happen sooner or later and boy, does it give me the creeps. Christian punk rock. Musically, it’s a mix of ’78 AVENGERS and a little SADO-NATION, but the lyrics are chock full of condemnation for not following the scriptures, anti-abortion, and questioning just who runs the liberals. Scares the shit out of me.

Killdozer Snakeboy LP

While this album has all the nervous energy of their Intellectuals Are the Shoeshine Boys LP, they’ve now progressed to a nice healthy psychotic rasp that mixes the best parts of the BUTTHOLES and the BIRTHDAY PARTY. Not to be confused with KILLDOZER 85.

Hüsker Dü Flip Your Wig LP

This is a great record. Although the songs are some of the best they have ever written, there is a certain flatness to the production that seems to have been mixed for a three-inch speaker in an AM radio. Vocals are way up front while the raw guitar and drum sound we’re used to are shoved back. Could be a case of experimentation or maybe a sign of things to come.

Ground Zero Pink LP

A strange, endearing record. They’ve got a heavy-rock garage sound, but the vocals have a cracked, psychotic bent. Musically on par with SOUL ASYLUM, the REPLACEMENTS, MEAT PUPPETS, and GREEN ON RED. I give up; you try to figure them out.

Get Smart World Without End / Back into the Future 7″

More great raspy garage rock from this criminally underrated Chicago trio. Two live tracks recorded at CBGB’s in NY; file under Midwestern garage like the EMBARRASSMENT and early PERE UBU.

Black Flag In My Head LP

I’ve tended to like their post-Damaged records a lot more than some people I know; here, instead of long, drawn-out solos, the songs are shorter and more concise, and therefore pack more punch. The cassette version contains three extra tracks.

The Fall This Nation’s Saving Grace LP

Mark E. Smith has always opted for making ugly, twisted music during the career of the FALL, so I expect him to be sacking just about everyone in the band after this record. They continue with hypnotic drone songs with sly pop melodies, with lyrical lashings against middle-class mores and attitudes.

Einstürzende Neubauten Halber Mensch LP

Another “noise band” that has managed to get better technically without sacrificing anxiety or power. Has the original mix of “Yu-Gung” that was released on an EP this year, and there’s even an angelic (or demonic?) choir style on the vocals that gives a neat haunting quality to their sound.

The Birthday Party A Collection… LP

The BIRTHDAY PARTY have left their mark on much music played today, and this comp collects some fine odds and ends, like “Release the Bats” and “Junkyard,” along with harder-to-find tracks like the unreleased “The Plague” or the alternate version of “Friendcatcher.” A treat for the true fan, or a good introduction.

Dioxina Nessuna Pietà LP

Well, maybe this is another case of wanting to like something more than you eventually do. Basically, a heavy, somber, dark thrash band with elements of metal hare and there. I don’t speak Italian, but it seems as though they’re flirting with Satanic overtones. Not incredible, but interesting.

The Damned Idiot Box / You Know 7″

“This one is for TOM VERLAINE… We hate him!” Geddit…? “Idiot Box”…? Never mind, what we have here are a couple of mid-period DAMNED live tracks that have fairly good production and performance. On the flip, they announce their musical progression, due to the fact that they use more than three chords. Great sleeve.

CCCP Fedeli Alla Linea Compagni, Cittadini, Fratelli, Partigiani LP picture disc

This Italian band describes themselves as “pro-Soviet,” and the LP rocks a bit more and harder than their EP, and shows a lot of diversity in the slower, mid-tempo punk songs. They seem to take a little bit more time and work to develop a sound that makes a statement that you don’t necessarily need to know Italian to understand.

Box of Fish Slap Em Round the Gills 12″

Another fine release from this great, fuzzy Aussie garage band. Although some of their stuff Is really comparable to KILLING JOKE, BIRTHDAY PARTY, and even FLIPPER, a lot of people might find them a little derivative, but I think they’re a whole mess of fun. Makes you feel dirty just slapping them on the turntable.

Jackals Jackals LP

This is a rockabilly band playing mostly originals, and features ex-members of SADO-NATION, LOCKJAW, and the RATS. Although the production is thin, they have their rockin’ moments. Probably more fun to see live.

Gray Matter Food for Thought LP

Excellent debut, full of hard-charging rhythms and catchy melodies. The clean and punchy production really helps to sharpen up their brawny attack. You can make favorable connections with MARGINAL MAN and 76% UNCERTAIN. A nice mind-blowing punk version of the BEATLES’ “I Am the Walrus.”

The Cynics Painted My Heart / Sweet Young Thing 7″

Live tapes of this group shows their affection for grungy CHOCOLATE WATCHBAND-style music, showing how hard and tight they can be. Instead, their first 45 pushes the more melodic and weaving guitar-pop side of their sound. Lots of cool playing, and their cover sounds like a cross between THEM and the STONES.

Couch Flambeau The Day the Music Died LP

An eclectic and variety-filled debut LP with rockin’ songs, psychedelic songs, thematic styles, eerie ballads and simple but precise lyrics about American life and scorn. Reminiscent of the DESCENDENTS and CRUCIFUCKS, but with more musical variety. Recommended.

Asbestos Rockpyle Hated and Despised: More Accumulations 1982-1984 cassette

A full-length tape of rantings in the truest cutting edge these guys have every mustered up. Most of the music borders on industrial, though some is thematic to the scathing verse. Their classic anti-establishment, anti-industrialist sentiments are put forward candidly, pointedly, and humorously.

V/A The Sound Of Hollywood: Du BEAT-e-o LP

From an underground movie that stars JOAN JETT, TEX (of the HORSEHEADS), Derf Scratch (FEAR), and El Duce (MENTORS). Includes incidental music, dialogue, and some pretty good tunes from SOCIAL DISTORTION, TEX AND THE HORSEHEADS, MENTORS, JOHANNA WENT, and a killer track from DR. KNOW. Although there are some cool tracks here, it’s not the kind of thing you’re going to slap on the turntable too often.

V/A Drinking is Great EP

Four of the Northwest’s best thrash bands put together on a 7” with excellent, powerful production. POISON IDEA, still one of the raspiest, gnarliest thrash bands, careens through a track called “Laughing Boy.” And both LOCKJAW and FINAL WARNING have crunching, muscular tracks, while the song by E13 draws more from the ANGRY SAMOANS. Buy this record now.

Toiling Midgets Dead Beats LP

This band had former members of SLEEPERS and NEGATIVE TREND, and this record was released after they had broken up for a couple of years. A very hard band to peg, because they play too slow for the punks and too loud for everybody else. But they had a great thundering guitar sound that was mixed with delicate, chiming pieces that had a dreamy quality to it.

Texas Instruments ¡More Texas Instruments! EP

Another guitar/garage effort from Austin and this one delivers more into the area of GREEN ON RED and a harder MEAT PUPPETS. I even detect a little bit of a Doug Sahm influence on the vocals. There’s a real nice mixture of raunchy guitars and psychedelic structure, but these guys are great live.

? and the Mysterians Dallas Reunion Tapes: 96 Tears Forever cassette

This reunion was recorded last year with all original members intact. This is the band that helped define the sweaty, cheesy punk sounds of the late ’60s which later inspired a ton of other bands. This recording is full of their old fire, and any true fan of the LYRES, FLESHTONES, or any new underground garage bands must have this tape.

Outlets If I Were the One / Can’t Cheat the Reaper 7″

The OUTLETS are aiming for FLAMIN’ GROOVIES territory on this one, but it didn’t really hit it on the nose. Instead of the songs charging along with melodic leads and galloping rhythms, it gets mixed up in its own tweeness and gets nowhere fast. Check out their comp tracks first.

Roky Erickson The Beast / Heroin 12″

This 12” single is reported to be going around at a pretty steep price, so people who don’t consider themselves fans may want to think twice. But it does have some pretty cool tracks recorded live: the LOU REED cover is a little bit better because it doesn’t seem to ramble as much. Nice psychobilly artwork by R.K. Sloan.

The Edge Alternative Allston EP

This one takes their last record one step further, because the band is harder and tighter than before. The title of this EP is ironic because the band does seem to have the same hard-charging structures as STIFF LITTLE FINGERS. Let’s see what they can do with an album, now.

Doctors’ Mob Headache Machine LP

This band can be lumped somewhat into the same style as the WILD SEEDS, ZEITGEIST, NOT FOR SALE, and the TRUE BELIEVERS. In reality, this band is just a real cool guitar band with an excellent sense of melody. Personally, I wouldn’t mind at all if they turned their raunch guitars up a little, but with their songwriting quality, it isn’t that necessary.

Camper Van Beethoven Telephone Free Landslide Victory LP

Eclectic really is an understatement; these guys go everything from ska to dirge to VENTURES-inspired instrumentals. There’s even a tongue-in-cheek hippie version of BLACK FLAG’s “Wasted.” This one’s not going to be easy to figure out, but it might just challenge you a little.

Agitpop Feast of the Sunfish LP

It took me a little time to actually follow this, but this band challenges themselves as much as their audience as they couple time signatures yet perfectly catchy, with weird percussion like bottles, bongos, scraping metal, etc. Reported to be the MINUTEMEN’s favorite new band.

Rabatz Schockiert EP

Sadly, the wall-of-mud production detracts from this powerful band. Their songs have an obvious energy to them, which kicks along songs like “Helden” with its skittering guitar parts. All in all, not too shabby, but it would be really nice to hear them.

The Fall Couldn’t Get Ahead / Rollin’ Dany 7″

The FALL are getting easier and easier to take on the first listen. This 45 chronicles a day in the life of a terminal loser over a scrappy, howling song with blasts of harmonica. This flip has the first cover tune they’ve ever done, and it draws more of a rockabilly sound out of this line-up.

DNI Wir Sind Lebendig EP

Upbeat German punkers with a great sense of humor. They sing about the walking dead like it was an outtake from a Disney film. Lots of sing-along-style tunes with quick step guitars. Should appeal to MISFITS fans.

Crime and the City Solution The Dangling Man EP

An interesting record from Mute, and definitely BIRTHDAY PARTY influenced. Did I say “influenced”? Why, it’s…Rowland Howard on guitar, Mick Harvey on drums, and Simon Bonny singing. There are some great tunes here: “Shaking Chill” is hopping and the rest grind on with apocalyptic moments characteristic of the style.

Eugene Chadbourne The President, He is Insane LP

Unlike his former band SHOCKABILLY, Chadbourne’s solo efforts steer away from the head-first fuzzed-out psychedelic trips and goes for more personal (and political) subjects. There are some incredible lyrics here about nationalism, pornography, and criminals in coats and ties all delivered in a folky, sometimes spastic sound that really connects.

V/A Pebbles 16 LP

I guess this is where we start hitting the dross of Greg Shaw’s collection. Instead of great, nasty fuzzy punk songs from the ’60s, we’re treated to wimpy pop bands masquerading as hip political folk rock (aargh!). Although the two tracks by the GRAVEYARD 5 are pretty cool, it’s getting harder and harder to recommend this series when there are excellent compilations elsewhere.

V/A Flipside Vinyl Fanzine, Vol. 2 LP

While most of these tracks fall into the category of “good; but weak production,” you still get some pretty rippin’ tunes from MIA, DECRY, ROACH MOTEL, and DISORDERLY CONDUCT. The tracks from NAKED RAYGUN, OUTPATIENTS. and D.I. are very hot. Special live recordings from the MISFITS, JFA, and the GERMS. Cool poster included, too.

Valley of Kings Victory Garden LP

Usually, I’m a sucker for murky, mysterious pop and I wanted to like this a lot more than I do. After their last 7”, I figured these guys would be ready to take on the likes of the EATS or LOVE TRACTOR, but this recording really wears thin after a couple of playings. Not necessarily bad, but maybe a little uninspired.

Greg Sage Straight Ahead LP

This Portland talent and brain of the WIPERS has filled this LP with ballads. Tough lyrics, as is his trademark, as well as strummin’ that ol’ geetar. I’ve always been one of Greg’s biggest fans and when I’m sad and need consolation, this will be on the turntable. I wouldn’t live without it.

Mighty Sphincter Ghost Walking Double EP

I really didn’t expect this from MIGHTY SPHINCTER, but I just know this will grow on me. Jumping, jolting, pain, torture, torment… gothic like JOY DIVISION, jerky like MINUTEMEN, moaning like…hmmm, SCRATCH ACID? Good God, I think it’s saintly…

Honor Role Judgement Day / Anonymous Cave 7″

Their first records will stay dear in my memory, but the new HONOR ROLE sound is much stronger and improved. Excellent production matched up with stuttering rhythms and great rough vocals make this a top-notch effort.

Happy World Happy World LP

Wonderful spaz punk rock from the boonies of Colorado. They have a nice style of going from a weird instrumental with raspy guitar sounds into a goofy, ragged tune about something like a worm or something. Nice cover, too.

Bad Checks Graveyard Tramp 12″

A fine slab of sludge rock from Durham, North Carolina. This music plants itself firmly in between the trashiness of the GUN CLUB and the garage sound of 100 FLOWERS. Three members dress in leather and one in paisley, and that’s pretty much the sound—3/4 punk and 1/4 psychedelic.

Rudolf’s Rache Unrasiert EP

Hey, you! How about some more goofy punk from Germany? The music? Well, it’s pretty much the standard balls-to-the-wall thrash band. Still, they’ve got a song called “When the Beer Was Forbidden” that’s pretty cool. And they steal from guitar riffs from the MONKEES, and that’s pretty funny. And they label the record sides Hansel and Gretel…and… Hey, come back!…

Deja Voodoo Too Cool to Live, Too Smart to Die LP

I have to admit that I wasn’t all that impressed with this Montreal duo’s first record, but this new one really floored me. It’s a low-budget mixture of the CRAMPS and SUICIDE. They only use guitars and drums to get an eerie, psychotic sound that makes all their songs sound like old trashy covers. Self-described as “sludgeabilly.”

Shattered Faith Volume 2 LP

SHATTERED FAITH’s first LP was an embarrassing try at punk arena rock with its live recording and obnoxious MC. They’ve come back with a sturdy line-up and a respectable hard, fast sound. They’re aiming for that 1980 UK punk sound that has eluded SOCIAL D for years. Even a nice cover of the VIBRATORS’ “Baby Baby.”

The Scene is Now Burn All Your Records LP

Here’s an eccentric little oddity. Their earlier 45 had a charming mid-period KINKS sound, but this debut LP is just chock full of quirky songs and odd time-signatures. The real good spazzy melodies here might interest JONATHAN RICHMAN or BONZO DOG BAND fans.

October Faction October Faction LP

It’s gonna be really hard to be kind on this one. What you have here is a live “jam” recorded last year in San Francisco. Basically this constitutes an SST supergroup with members of BLACK FLAG, SACCHARINE TRUST, and the DESCENDENTS. And the music is pretty much sludge, making this probably a lot more fun to make than to listen to.

Mod Fun 90 Wardour Street LP

MOD FUN had an earlier single that had a sharp, snappy sense of fun. Therefore, I was really looking forward to this. The band seems more contrived now; the press release describes them as a cross between the CREATION and the JAM, but I hear more of the SMALL FACES and 3 O’CLOCK. Some good hooks, but all pretty bland.

Minutemen Project: Mersh 12″

A semi-serious stab at making hit records. So once you get past the shock at hearing horns, guitar breaks, and longer songs on a MINUTEMEN record you discover that they’re writing incredible songs. “King of the Hill” is the centerpiece with a full, complex structure and lyrics that bring politics onto a more personal level. Also a nice mantra-like psychedelic feel to “Tour Spiel, Part 2.”

Green On Red Gas Food Lodging LP

This second LP by GREEN ON RED pushes the guitar sound up front and uses the keyboards only for emphasis. This is one of the few bands lumped into the “American Western” style (TRUE WEST, LONG RYDERS, etc.) that really go after their own style, using other influences (NEIL YOUNG, BOB DYLAN, even LITTLE FEAT) as reference points.

The Form It Happens That Way / All the Young Dudes 7″

With the exception of the SUICIDE COMMANDOS and the REPLACEMENTS, Twin/Tone has had a reputation for releasing really wimpy pop records. So it’s good they’ve picked up a band like the FORM. This is just a straight guitar garage band that makes no excuses but does make catchy, driving songs. I can even forgive the pedestrian cover of MOTT THE HOOPLE.

Crap Detectors Cut the Crap LP

Even though the artwork on the back tries to tie the songs into a concept album, this is just another cool effort from a band that keeps cranking out trashy records. This one is a little more mellow than their last disc, but it’s still worth the effort of finding.

The Blackjacks Dress in Black LP

This outfit is from Boston and this is their second LP. They have it over a lot of garage type bands in that they have a good sense of melody that usually generates into snazzy little hooks. Unfortunately, they’ve decided to go more in that area and leave in little of the great driving guitar sound that made their first LP so cool.

Triebtater Hass & Krieg LP

This one didn’t really set me on fire. Fast with crusty production, they trade vocalists with each song and one of the singers manages to sound a little like Joey Shithead. Could be compared to BGK or the OFFENDERS if their stuff were a little more catchy.

Tarnfarbe Heroes of Today LP

I like this record…a lot. This German outfit comes blazing out with great stuttering thrash guitar. Their overall sound is rough and raspy but still manages to keep a controlled fury. They sing most of the songs in English so that you can sing along.

Pervers / Deutscher Abschaum split EP

From what I can make out, they’re basically the same band comprised of three female German punks. Music is in that “sort-of-not-playing-their-instruments” style like the SLITS. The production is quite freaky with a spooky mix of echoed vocals and drums mixed way up front and guitars way in the back. I like it and I’m not sure why.

Tar Babies Respect Your Nightmares LP

This is the second release by the TAR BABIES and although you could compare them to the BUTTHOLE SURFERS because of their spazz quality, they seem to be drawing more from the early MINUTEMEN style. They’re all really good players and even though they drift into—gulp!—acid/burn jazz, it’s got a really cool sound. Nice tag-team production by Spot and Bob Mould.

Miracle Legion The Backyard 12″

Following hot on the heels of their labelmates, DUMPTRUCK, this Connecticut band continues to breathe fresh air into a dormant pop scene. They mix jangly guitars, good, tight songs, and a singer who sounds like a cross between Michel Stipe R.E.M. and a young LOUDON WAINWRIGHT. Real charming.

Earle Mankey Real World EP

MANKEY is the hotshot producer who did the last THREE O’CLOCK LP. Yawn…he’s heavily into pop and electronics, so you get quirky songs similar to early SPARKS stuff. One track, “Close Shave in Burma,” has a nice late-’60s English pop single sound, but one track doesn’t make an album.

DOA Let’s Wreck the Party LP

Sometimes when you go after a certain thing, you have to sacrifice something else along the way. DOA may be sacrificing a few of their earlier fans who don’t care or understand their new, cleaner sound. Or the sax. Or the keyboards. But they have a much more powerful sound than on their earlier records, and it is more of a “rock” sound. included: their cover of “Singin’ in the Rain” and “General Strike.”

D.C. 3 This is the Dream LP

This is the new band formed by ex-BLACK FLAG singer Dez Cadena; it also includes the rhythm section from the STAINS and Paul Roessler of TWISTED ROOTS on keyboards. This is really Dez’s baby, as he really stretches out into his roots and experiments. No thrash—just a big power trio sound from the ’70s with fuzzed guitar, ethereal keyboards, and rapid time changes. For fans of BLUE ÖYSTER CULT, HAWKWIND, VAN DER GRAFF, and KING CRIMSON.

GG Allin & the Scumfucs I Wanna Fuck Your Brains Out EP

Well, GG has once again risen to a new low… “I Wanna Fuck Your Brains Out”? “I’m Gonna Rape You”? I dunno, he might be able to get away with that shit if there was any streak of humor in there but instead there’s a really nasty streak of misogyny here. I’m not sure which is more disgusting, the songs or the pictures of ALLIN masturbating and shooting up. It’s not even intelligent enough to offend. Just pitiful.

Einstürzende Neubauten Yü-Gung 12″

This is the one band you gotta keep your eye on. After their all-out noisefests, they’ve decided to hit back with their version of pop music. The title track here is a neat little marching Arabic tune very similar to early CAN, and it’s been remixed by Adrian Sherwood to give it this incredibly heavy-footed rhythm. The two songs on the other side are a creepy Exorcist-style tune and a straight version of LEE HAZELWOOD’s “Sand” that would make NICK CAVE proud.

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.

Yo Charm World LP

This is the second record by this trio, and it mixes acoustic guitars, bagpipes, mandolin, and sax with great spartan-style punk. These guys could even make it hip to listen to folk music again. Overall, their singing and playing has improved dramatically to showcase their mix of folk, Gaelic, punk, and psychedelic.

Samhain Unholy Passion 12″

This one’s kinda frustrating. Danzig and crew still manage to put that wonderful frantic MISFIT yelp on “All Hell” and “Hungry End.” But it seems like they’re too comfortable. I’d really like to see them hook up with a new producer who would give them more of a challenge in the studio. Still great, but the possibilities make you want more.

The Queen Annes I Thought of You / This is That 7″

Respectable, hard-hitting, and melodic. Sort of an updated version of the early WHO sound (say, around Magic Bus). This clean recording helps out with the match-up of distorted guitar lines and good harmonica work. Flip is more melodic, Mersey-style. Pebbles No. 32 stuff.

Minutemen Tour-Spiel EP

This one is pretty simple. Boon and the boys cut loose in the studio with four covers recorded “live” in front of maybe 15 people. These are the songs that floated in and out of their set on their last tour. You get so-so versions of VAN HALEN and BLUE ÖYSTER CULT, but real good versions of CCR’s “Green River” and the MEAT PUPPETS’ “Lost.”

Meat Puppets Up on the Sun LP

Album number three from the PUPPIES has them pretty much mining the same territory as their second LP. This should alienate the shit out of the punk rockers and make college radio writhe in ecstasy. All of this doesn’t negate the fact that this is an outstanding record with great playing. Not real fast, but curling-up-on-the-porch-after-a-long-hard-day LP.

Breaking Circus The Very Long Fuse EP

Basically, this is just a one-man band that features an ex-member of Chicago’s STRIKE UNDER. But because the sound here is so dense and cohesive, it sounds like a full band. With this release, they are a full group now with the addition of two former members of MAN SIZED ACTION. Some of the thick sound recalls the din of MISSION OF BURMA coupled with a light, dreamy pop atmosphere, but even so, there really is a definite and distinct sound here.

Skinny Puppy Remission EP

This studio group is made up of people from the synthesizer band MOEV. This project, unlike MOEV, has a gritty, harsh edge to it. Very similar to early CABARET VOLTAIRE and METAL URBAIN. There are pounding rhythms fighting against the vocalist who sounds like he’s choking to death. A dance record.

Ruggedy Annes Jagged Thoughts EP

The trouble with reviewing all-girl groups is that people tend to separate them as if their simple existence is an act of feminism. Yes, rock is male-dominated, but it’s not going to change by making a spectacle of these groups. This Canadian group makes no excuses, and delivers with an individual, uncompromised sound. Just about all of the songs have hard-edged rhythms and good playing. Excellent start.

The Jesus and Mary Chain Never Understand EP

Sadly, this pretty much proves that this band is over-hyped. While their first 7” was promising, this record is fairly bland and sounds like “product” rush-released to take advantage of the “buzz” in England. The only really good song here is their cover of Vic Goddard’s “Ambition.”

Les Collabos Les Collabos LP

This band returns with more of the same fast guitar riffs that help make their songs on The First Sonic World War compilation so good. This French group has an excellent sense of melody but doesn’t sacrifice their power for it. Their choruses are similar to Oi bands but without the mindless lyrics. I want to hear more from them.

Sonic Youth Bad Moon Rising LP

Once again, bravely mixing their snotty garage sound with all-out noisefests, the new SONIC YOUTH LP is full of careening walls of sound and mixtures of delicate and uncomfortable tension. “Ghost Bitch” is one of the creepiest songs I’ve ever heard. Some gore filmmaker better grab these guys while they’re still cheap! This also includes their duet with LYDIA LUNCH on “Death Valley ’69.”

Slovenly After the Original Style LP

Count the influences: WIRE, MEKONS, the FALL, JOHN CAGE, MINUTEMEN, TALKING HEADS, JOY DIVISION, even LEONARD COHEN. But what makes this record so much better than their earlier EP is that the group finally has the ability to digest their influences and discard ideas to create their own exclusive sound. At times the music is tense and obsessed, while other times it’s loose and reflective. This is a great step forward for this band.

The Outnumbered Why Are All the Good People Going Crazy? LP

This is a good garage pop band that doesn’t come off obnoxious. They manage to switch easily from an early PAUL REVERE ripping guitar sound to an easy chiming BYRDS sound. Although I like this record a lot, I’d still like to see a little crustier production.

Naked Raygun Throb Throb LP

This band consistently defies categories. More than hardcore. More than rock. More than experimental. And this LP blazes out with a fury that’s sharp, clean, and loud as fuck. The sound on this release is more concise and focused than earlier stuff but doesn’t sacrifice any of their drive. Possibly one of America’s most important bands.

Flower Leperds Has Hate Been Kind Enough? EP

Now this is interesting. This band treads a line somewhere in between metal and thrash. And even though their cover of “Eighteen” is a bit pedestrian, a comparison with the ALICE COOPER BAND isn’t too far out. They’ve managed to tone down the typical LA metal sound with an edge of psychedelia. I’d like to see what they can do with a full LP.

The Flies Get Wise LP

The last time I heard the FLIES, I thought they were just an OK garage band from Boston. This record has them turning up the fuzz and feedback to a really nice effect. While there’s still a poppier side to them, even strains of country in there, they’ve got a good handle on the future if they keep in those rough edges. VELVET UNDERGROUND fans should check out “All Hung Up.”

The Flaming Lips Bag Full of Thoughts EP

Hold the phone, Jesus is back! Mannnnn…. This be a hot-shit record. Not only is this the first release for this band, it’s also the first time they’ve recorded themselves. What REDD KROSS are to the NEW YORK DOLLS, these guys are to the CRAMPS. All over this record you can hear great fuzzed-out, burned-out riffs and spooky lyrics. Incredible.

The Cunts It Came From Out of the Garage LP

These CUNTS have been around, and their newest record carries over more of their cheesy ’60s psych/trash sound. Even though it’s not going to set the world on fire, it’s still nice to hear that creepy electronic organ.

BPA Moving and Storage LP

More loose and dodgy music from this group who can be favorably compared to both the MONOCHROME SET and PERE UBU’s Art of Walking. Although there isn’t a lot of ground being broken, it still gives you a little buzz, like when you first heard UBU or the BIZARROS.

Amor Fati 2 or 3 Nights EP

This is definitely independent and underground. This guy records on a low budget with a $15 mic and gets a sound that is 100% better than anything PUBLIC IMAGE has released in five years. Even though it’s basically a one-man show, the playing here is surprisingly cohesive and loose at the same time.

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 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.

Die Toten Hosen Unter Falscher Flagge LP

Basically, this German group mines that same lode that EDDIE & THE HOT RODS did years ago. Still, with the hard-charging guitars and nifty melodies you might find yourself singing along to these full-throttle rockers. This band has a simple but good formula on this record that works.

The Spores Meat Biproduct EP

With a side “Shit” and a side “Fuck,” it isn’t too hard to figure out the gist of their style; as the run-off groove says, “The SPORES are a bunch of fun guys!” Here, they’ve managed to take the better elements of English funnypunk and fuse it with a raw Canadian sound. On the title track, they sound something like Dave MDC singing with ISM.

The Nirvana Devils / The Legendary Golden Vampires Some Foreign Shore / Pure Fun 7″ | Creeping Poison / Rebel Woman 7″

This is great! These two releases are both from Germany and both attempt a fun sort of pop/psychedelic sound. It isn’t until you look really close at their pictures that you can figure out that they’re the same band. The DEVILS’ record is more fun in the area of LILIPUT or the REVILLOS, while the VAMPIRES give a heartfelt, humorous nod to early VENTURES-inspired spaghetti-Western themes; the flip is like the LYRES and DMZ.

Lustfinger Harte Männer Tanzen Nicht LP

A brawny type of German punk that switches easily from German to English lyrics. Some of the rhythms remind me a bit of the PROLETARIAT, but they still show a lot of diversity in their sound. All in all, a good ’79-style punk record.

Voodoo Idols Temptation LP

The IDOLS are from Florida and have had a couple of singles out before, most notably “We All Dig Nixon.” With this new LP, they blend a disjointed MINUTEMEN-like thrash with a nasty swamp punk sound. They also have a nice way of using a saxophone over the din to create a full-bodied sound.

Toiling Midgets Dead Beats LP

This is a posthumous release from this experimental guitar band. The two guitarists weave a chiming type of rhythm with burning, fuzzed-out leads that, together with rock-solid drumming, beat a lot of English bands to the punch. Mostly instrumental, these tracks should appeal to fans of SISTERS OF MERCY or JESUS AND MARY CHAIN.

Shockabilly Vietnam LP

Another one from the SHOCK-heads! These guys are to music what Hershel Gordon Lewis is to gore: cheap and great. Besides the fuzzed-out spazz cover of “Born of the Bayou,” we get treated to a wonderful cover of “Nicaragua” sung by Ed Sanders. The best thing is the poster inside that chronicles their last tour of the US and Canada that’s so strange you’d think they were making it up.

The Libertines Everybody Wants to be My Sister / Swayback 7″

A smooth and murky pop single in the area of BIG STAR and RICH KIDS. The B-side wears better over time because it doesn’t try to hit you over the head with a hook. With bands like DUMPTRUCK, LOVE TRACTOR, GREEN, and now these guys, there’s an encouraging sign of underground pop bands who don’t feel it’s necessary to wimp out to be good.

Killdozer 85 There’s No Mistaking Quality LP

This is not the same KILLDOZER from the Midwest that released Intellectuals… Instead, this is a debut by an enthusiastic NY thrash band. Give these guys some time and I’m sure they can come up with a psychosis that could rival even the BUTTHOLE SURFERS. Mix equal parts of thrash, psychedelic, country, noise, and ten pounds of mud, and you start to get the picture.

JFA Mad Garden 12″

This is where JFA comes back to releasing fast thrash with no apologies. “Mad Garden” is a tribute to the Madison Square Garden in Arizona, a wrestling arena/punk rock club that now sells plants. And I highly approve of the punk cover of the Charlie Brown Show theme.

Roky Erickson Don’t Slander Me / Starry Eyes 7″

The fog has lifted and ROKY is back. Or has it? ROKY sounds wide awake on this one and he’s got his Texas bar band racing to keep up with his nasty vocals. He’s sacrificed much of his psychotic edge to get a more controlled sound here, and fans of CREEDENCE rock should snatch this up. The flip is a smoother re-make of an earlier song he did.

DYS DYS LP

Well…forewarned is forearmed. So beware that DYS, like SSD, have changed and, yes, it is heavy metal. And yes, there is a ballad on this record. While far from being the worst metal record I’ve heard, it doesn’t set the world on fire, y’know? I mean, if you’re gonna do a goddamn heavy metal record…GODDAMN IT, make it knock down people, make walls shudder, and make it have women take their kids off of the streets because of it, for chrissakes! Look, if you need to hear the old DYS, change the speed to 45.

The Congo Eels Around Midnight 12″

A big, noisy psych sound from this Philadelphia group. The tunes are propelled by a driving sax that manages to stay out of the way when it’s important. Put these guys on the same bill as the LYRES, FUZZTONES, and NOMADS and the room would explode in spontaneous combustion.

Boy Dirt Car Catalyst cassette

This is a very strange, Dada-esque band from Milwaukee who use dildos for percussion and are heavily into pyro. There are even punk and heavy metal bands who ask them advice on how to blow up things on stage. Music here is slower and more dense than on their first cassette, Gravel on Urine. Lots of found vocals and scraping metal.

Beat Happening Our Secret / What’s Important 7″

This one’s a real left-handed gem. Basically, they’re a pop band from the Northwest who are saved from the wimpy pop graveyard by a cool and grungy production from Greg Sage of the WIPERS. One side sounds like JONATHAN RICHMAN on acid and the other like YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS punking out. Great!

Bad Religion Back to the Known EP

After releasing that ridiculous Into the Unknown LP last year, most bands would have broken up and hid their faces forever. But these brave fellows buckle under and come back with this five-song EP that has them on the road to recovery. While nowhere as good as their debut, it’s a promising restart. (New band has Greg Hetson of CIRCLE JERKS.)

Appliances SFB SFB LP

These guys have been around for a while and have a couple of records out. Once you get past the singer (who sounds too much like Jello Biafra), you get a pretty good band with lots of different textures. They still sound a little like early BAUHAUS, but the sound here has some rough edges that sort of remind me of the EMBARRASSMENT.