Betong Hysteria Spontan Abort EP
Norway’s BETONG HYSTERIA takes a base of gruff ’77 punk drive and overlays it with pulsating quasi-psychedelic guitar playing. The effect is both very appealing and somewhat unique, so look for this one.
Norway’s BETONG HYSTERIA takes a base of gruff ’77 punk drive and overlays it with pulsating quasi-psychedelic guitar playing. The effect is both very appealing and somewhat unique, so look for this one.
A bunch of 13- and 14-year-olds, bored with the beauty of the Monterey peninsula, crank out some primitive, amateurish thrash. The production on this homemade tape is so bad that it’s hard to decipher the songs, but there’s plenty of compensatory youthful spunk. For fans of recording in a breadbox.
CAPITOL PUNISHMENT finally raised enough money to put out an EP, and it’s well worth the wait. Musically, there’s three strong thrashers and one slow, measured mood piece (“Jody Is My Bloody Love”), all distinguished by Ralph’s amazingly raspy singing; the lyrics alternate between personal introspection (“Wrong Direction”) and the kind of straightforward political critiques that invariably drive the apolitical wimps into a frenzy. Hooray!
Blistering thrash with positive, idealistic lyrics. This is one of the best new bands I’ve heard since DRI. CAUSE FOR ALARM have the type of intense, committed attack that leaps out of the speakers and slaps you in the face to get your attention; then they get you thinking. You can’t expect any more from a punk band, so don’t ignore this EP.
Spunky teenage hardcore from Connecticut. CHRONIC DISORDER blast out fast semi-thrash punk which is infused with a garage aesthetic, youthful Rotten-esque vocals, and common sense. A real appealing limited edition debut.
This is a raw ’77-style punk EP characterized by teenage vocals and an overall naive quality. At first, it seems laughably amateur, but after awhile, it really begins to grow on you, especially the cool title song. I like it, but listen for yourself.
Damn, those HÜSKERS sure can play! Their new EP elevates the musical brilliance of their last album to dizzying new heights. Not only are these songs loud, powerful, and creative, but Bob manages to produce the most extraordinary guitar sound—it actually shimmers. Buy this and keep yourself entertained for months.
This new IRON CROSS EP represents a step forward for the band. For one thing, the lyrics are vastly better, especially in “Wolf Pack,” where a stand is taken against mindless violence. For another, the songwriting is more developed. Finally, the production is much improved from a technical standpoint, though I personally prefer the gravelly guitar sound on their debut. “You’re a Rebel” is an amazingly catchy Oi chant.
This geek probably wishes he could be David Lee Roth, but he ends up sounding more like GG ALLIN due to sheer ineptitude. “Beer” is dumb old American garage punk , which is somewhat marred by a tacky synth solo; the rock ’n’ roll flip is too horrible to contemplate for more than two seconds.
This is weird but ultimately unsatisfying. The A-side consists of a medley of old soul songs done in a neo-psychedelic style, but these LOVE CIRCUS versions pale before the great originals (“My Girl,” “Car Wash,” and “Sex Machine”). The flip, which starts out slow and druggy, then snaps into a jangly overdrive, is considerably better.
A fuzzed-out bass and guitar are the musical hallmarks here, along with real echoey drumming. These guys unfortunately seem to have it in for hippies, who are the targets of three of the five songs on this EP, including a retarded racist diatribe against Yoko Ono (“Oh No”). Pathetic in the thematic department.
As most of our readers already know, the MINUTEMEN have a very innovative sound that combines funk, jazziness, and disjointed semi-thrash. On this new EP, they add some atmospheric psychedelic guitar and other forms of weirdness. I like some of it a lot, especially “Cut,” but most of it is too experimental for my tastes.
The MORAL MAJORITY DANCE BAND present raunchy slow-to-mid-tempo garage punk on their debut EP. The vocalist sounds demented, the production is nice and raw, and the lyrics to the title song are very provocative: “There’s a little bit of a Nazi / In all of us.” Unfortunately, that’s all too true, in the sense that everyone has occasional attacks of righteous intolerance. A pretty damn good record.
The long-awaited NAKED RAYGUN EP has finally been released, and musically it’s a beauty. The songwriting is extremely imaginative, the vocals are unbelievably catchy, and the unique fuzzed-out guitar work sounds wonderful. The only problems here are one klunky track (“Swingo”) and some suspect lyrics in “Tojo.”
Even though I don’t always agree with their opinions, the NIHILISTICS provide more food for thought than 90% of today’s hardcore bands. And their music is as brutal, uncompromising, and cacophonous as their lyrical assault. This great album is jam-packed with raw, intense blasts of a furor borne of futility. It certainly doesn’t make for easy listening, but it rivets your attention and makes for provocative listening, which is ultimately a hell of a lot more important. A mandatory purchase.
A lot of Boston bands sound great, but few—if any—have the political sophistication displayed by the PROLETARIAT on their debut album. I would liken them to the early GANG OF FOUR, both musically and ideologically, though the comparison shouldn’t be overdrawn. They create equally complex structures, but they replace GANG OF FOUR’s sparseness with a full-bodied sound and punky guitar power. In fact, they’ve mixed several straightforward punk blasts (like “Torn Curtain”) in with the other stuff. A fabulous record that renews my faith in Bosstown.
This self-produced debut album is a 50/50 proposition. Half of it consists of adolescent punky pop with a bit (like “Do to Me” and “Lady on the Radio”); the rest is made up of wimpier stuff, including ballads (“Something for a Friend”) and awful commercial rock (“Every Love Song Ever Written”). I sort of appreciate the SCORE’s blatant amateurishness and naïveté, but I’m not sure if you will.
This is an example of creative guitar-oriented post-punk with real drive. It’s forceful and engaging in its own right, and it marks a welcome change from today’s standard punk formats. ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN should sound so good. Recommended.
Two bands with pervious tapes of their own team up to share this one. VIOLATION offers standard thrash, rather thinly produced; ZERO MENTALITY stands out more, thanks to better production, more imaginative arrangements, and a great bass player. Definitely worth the investment.
Superior guitar-oriented post-punk with psychedelic overtones, sort of like the SCREAMING DEAD’s newer material (but not quite as good). This is really powerful stuff, and the eerie guitar effects add an additional touch of class. The vocals are a bit too restrained and calculating, but ACTIFED are also quite capable of cutting loose when they want to (as in “Exit”). Produced by ex-GEN Xer Tony James.
By now, everyone should be aware that the DESTRUCTORS generally combine thrash speed with some metallic twin guitar action. Their new album features live versions of many of their earlier hits and, unlike most live efforts, is actually more hard-hitting than some of their studio releases. It’s too bad they disbanded, but at least they’ve gone out with something of a bang instead of a whimper.
More 24-track mundanity from DISCHARGE. They’re getting slower and more metallish these days; “Anger Burning” is hardly more than a standard rock song. It’s OK for a band to change styles, but why follow the same boring route that so many others select? Give me DISORDER any day.
Another FITS release with a mixture of fast and slow songs. I like the thrashed-out “Breaking Point” the best, but the slow, measured title cut manages to create quite a build-up of tension.
Despite the ponderous tempos and predictably narrow Oi themes, this release rises above the vast majority of its Oi-boy contemporaries by virtue of an exceptionally primitive guitar sound. “Run from You” is especially raw and appealing, except for the dumb lyrics.
At first, I couldn’t believe that this beautiful dance-oriented post-punk music was even produced by the OUTCASTS. However, once I got over the initial shock, I began to enjoy it tremendously. All three versions of the title song feature a hypnotic rhythm, extraordinarily evocative guitar frills, and a haunting overall effect heightened by chimes. The punked-out version of KENNY ROGERS’ “Ruby” is more pedestrian.
The PARTISANS are getting slower and slower with each new release. On this EP, there are two plodding numbers and one better mid-tempo ditty (“Change”). Aside from an occasional quirk, none of the songs are particularly memorable.
A brilliant mixture of modern punk and psychedelia. Despite SCREAMING DEAD’s trendy horror rock trappings, they manage to deliver highly distinctive songs with clever arrangements, strong hooks, and plenty of overall power. The frequent inclusion of mind-expanding organ runs adds personality, and the guitar playing is extraordinarily fine. One of this issue’s best.
Although this here album resides spiritually in the glorious British funnypunk tradition (which includes such diverse luminaries as the ALBERTOS, JILTED JOHN, the TV PERSONALITIES, JOHN COOPER CLARKE, the NOTSENSIBLES, the GONADS, JOHNNY MOPED, etc.), it’s more in the goofy ska vein from a musical standpoint. There’s too little raucous punkish stuff to appeal to the bash brigade, but anyone with a bemused sense of the ironic should enjoy SERIOUS DRINKING’s understated English wit.
It shouldn’t be necessary to describe the UK SUBHUMANS’ basic approach. Once again, their combination of semi-thrash tempos, peculiar guitar embellishments, and radical lyrics hits home, and in a 12″ format, the production accentuates their power. There’s a couple of turkeys on this record, but the roaring “Get Out of My Way” and the psychedelic “People Are Scared” really stand out; “I Don’t Wanna Die” is an OK Yank-style thrasher.
Well, the SKEPTIX seem to have found a label in their own country, and this new release again displays their tasty thrash attack. “Born to Lose” is slow and metallic, but the others zip forward and feature some nice lead fills. Their level of sincerity remains impossible to discern, but I have my doubts.
Anyone who promotes this hokey, moronic heavy metal shit has no fucking business criticizing any punk bands for their supposed “6th-grade naïveté.” Know what I mean? The sad part is that these assholes have more energy than a lot of current British punk groups.
A “Britskunk” record from Sweden. The BRISTLES combine Oi and thrash musical backings with English-style vocal phrasing, and the recording has a lot of abrasive power. The “Bristles Song” would make a classic Oi satire, but I think it’s meant to be serious! Loud and proud.
The proceeds from the sale of this 45 are going into the Vancouver Five’s defense fund, so that’s enough reason to buy it. Still, it’s a mixed bag musically. “Burn It Down” is a slow, boring rock song that I prefer to ignore, but their version of the SUBHUMANS’ “Fuck You” (written by Hannah, one of the Five) has spunk and power, which makes this a worthwhile audio investment.
This is basic meat-and-potatoes ’77 punk from Spain. Although ESKORBUTO sound slike dozens of older bands, the vocalist is exceptionally belligerent and the songs contain more highly memorable choruses.
Piledriving Swedish thrash in the SHITLICKERS tradition. This is the kind of record that makes you want to bash your head repeatedly into a wall. Brutal and uncompromising—one of the year’s best.
Well, Yrsa’s going to be irritated again, but I think this EP is exceptionally cool. It’s a fine example of fast ’60s garage psychedelia with that distinctive squeaky organ and a modern punk guitar attack. Like their countrymen the GATECRASHERS, FRESHLY RIOTS successfully evokes the rawest and most chaotic elements of the mid-’60s. Fuckin’ A!
Although the production here isn’t as guitar-heavy as it was on their Disinfection EP, this is another stellar HEADCLEANERS (HUVUDTVÄTT) release. They play thrash that’s manic and brash, but also very catchy and full of weird, searing guitar parts. “No Sense” is awesome.
The INOCENTES present brutal ’77 punk on the A-side of their first solo effort, while the flip contains three very powerful thrashers. All the cuts feature a roaring instrumental attack, and “Apeñas…” also contains some quick bursts of searing lead guitar. Excellent.
This German release dates from ’81 and mainly features ’77-style medium-to-fast-tempo punk. However, it also has elements of post-punk (“Heil Satan”), reggae (“Verboten”), garage rock (“Ersatz”), and funny commercial intros (“In der Nacht”). It’s well produced, engaging, and—in all seriousness—lots of fun. We’d like to hear more.
’60s-influenced garage punkedelia from Canada. “Getting in the Groove” has that ’68 sound, with its raw, distorted guitars and arching vocals; “Oh No” is slower, “heavier,” and more rock ’n’ rolly, but features a terrific psychedelic lead break. A hip debut with a handmade cover.
NONCENS offer a relatively full spectrum of punk styles, ranging from a ’77ish approach (the title song) to blistering thrash (“Istid,” “Don’t Give Up,” etc.) to slower contemporary Britskunk (“Afghanistan”). It’s pretty uneven in terms of quality, but it does have its shining moments (“Nattsvart,” for example).
Genuine garage punk from north of the US border. Most of it is basic, raunchy, and medium in terms of tempo, though there are also spurts of thrash (in “How High?” and “Gleaning Ground”) and some rather disjointed pieces (“Q”). The lyrics are critical, and you can even hear a famous religious retard’s voice at the beginning of “That Number Again, Folks.”
Another release from South Africa! Like their fellow citizens RIOT SQUAD, POWER AGE plays mid-tempo older-style punk rock. They have a real chunky, bass-heavy attack and snarling vocals, but the most unusual thing about them is their appearance in the land controlled by the super-secret neo-fascist Broederbond.
I don’t understand why reputed anti-Nazis would adopt a name with SS in it, but TAMPERE SS’s EP lives up to the high expectations generated by their choice cuts on the Propaganda ’83 compilation album. The band members have DISORDER and CHAOS UK logos on their jackets, so you can easily surmise that they produce raging thrash in the respected Finnish tradition, except for an occasional slow number like “Taisteluhymai.”
This is the most contemporary sounding release that we received from Spain. ULTIMO RESORTE blast out raw thrash with a garagy sensibility and rough female vocals, along with an occasional post-punky number (“Johnny Mofeta”). “Cementerio Caliente,” with its irresistible “Hey, Ho” chorus, is especially hot. Recommended.
Standard ’77 punk. Spain’s LA UVI offer unexciting yet listenable material. Some of the lead breaks are cool, but overall this band needs a lot more energy to make in impression in 1983.
A fine example of raw ’77 stuff with dense, growling guitars and female vocals. The A-side is a take-off on the STOOGES’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” and it’s modified title—“I Wanna Be a Prostitute”—and iconoclastic lyrics apparently cause quite a stir among conservative Catholics in Spain. Musically speaking, I find the original composition on the flipside even more appealing.
A Spanish compilation album that mainly features the better-known, commercially oriented punk bands, according to our sources. Old-fashioned ’77 punk rules supreme here; the best examples of this genre are songs by KGB (“Maroto”—dig that ROTTEN-esque sneer!), URGENTE (the first half of “Dispuestos a Matar”), NO (“Chalado”), and the ESPASMODICOS (“1943”), whose singer sounds rather like Biafra. N.634’s thrashers provide the only evidence of a transition to musical modernity. Still, it’s a good sampler from another corner of the world.
The A-side has feedback and a bit more spunk than their last offering, but its catchy riff could benefit from even more oomph. “Rock” vocals and banal themes mar the measured flip. This band never quite lived up to their potential.
An absolutely stunning EP by the BARRACUDAS, wherein they finally live up to the enormous potential hinted at in “Somebody,” a classic track from their first album. This is brilliant mid-’60s garage rock with elements of ’60s punk (the vocals and fuzz guitar) and folk-rock (the chords and jangly guitar). A must for aficionados of that era’s music.
These guys may be youths, but I certainly wouldn’t describe them as chaotic. The music here is predictable mid-tempo Britpunk with no real edge; its only saving graces are the presence of some catchy choruses and good lead vocals.
Enough is enough! Entertaining scams soon run out of mileage when people see through them and the perpetrators make no effort to compensate by producing something of real value. Such is the case with CHAOTIC DISCHORD, who’d dearly love to get rich off satirizing thrash. The music is hot but unoriginal, and the themes are in the idiotic ANTI-NOWHERE LEAGUE vein. I say stuff these jokers along with Beki.
Melodic mid-tempo Britpunk. Some of it’s all too typical, but the INSTIGATORS have a nice dense guitar attack and a few notable tunes. “Monkey Man” is a sharp critique of the macho goons who go out looking for trouble at someone else’s expense.
Now this is more like it! After a great debut 45 and a disappointing 12″, the LYRES have returned to top form with “Help You, Ann.” It’s a great ’60s punk-type number with an ultra-cool tremelo guitar; the flip is another nasty cut with one of those endlessly recycled ’60s guitar riffs.
This band is based in Florida, but they sound exactly like a British “skunk” group. Normally, that wouldn’t be a cause for celebration, but these guys manage to pull it off by virtue of a fast tempo and an extremely raw, unprofessional sound. Although marred by phony English accents, this is actually better than the standard UK release.
The “No” side contains two maniacally intense blasts in the KILLING JOKE vein; they have a whiny, abrasive guitars, a heavy bass/drum sound, and layers of crazed vocals. The “Trend” side has a musically uninteresting ballad with exceptionally clever and perceptive lyrics. You’ll either love them or hate them; we love them.
This new political punk band from Southern California is sort of like a cross between MDC and the HATED. Perceptive lyrics and primitive production add strength to these gruff thrash and punk ditties, but they could use a bit more originality. Still, these are the kind of patriots we need more of.
REAL ENEMY combines fairly unusual thrash structures with a distinctive treatment of subject matter, and the result is a very worthwhile debut. Although the music is engaging, the really unique thing about this tape is the thoughtful explanation of some of the songs, an approach other bands could benefit from.
More psychedelic exotica from SAVAGE REPUBLIC. “O Adonis” is a Mediterranean-influenced instrumental which lies somewhere between Greek bazouki music and the KALEIDOSCOPE. “Film Noir” is slower and more atmospheric, and combines haunting vocals with similar “oriental” guitar sounds. Unique.
More garage punk from Florida’s U-BOATS, though this time around the production is better. The lyrics are a little goofy, but the music is very appealing in a real basic sense and the grungy guitar adds a nice touch. I like it.
Clever modern rock with some post-punk elements. Tasteful and distinctive twin guitars combine with a fluid bass and tight percussion to form engaging, tuneful material. CIRCLE SEVEN certainly won’t appeal to the hardest core, but anyone who appreciates groups like the EMBARRASSMENT should enjoy this.
Extremely raw and intense thrash from a new New York-area outfit. Unfortunately, the lyrics are on the Quincy-punk level, as in “Slam Dance”: “You fake fuckin’ punker… Get on the floor and take a chance. Just slam, slam, slam, slam dance.” Yeah, right. If the ideas expressed here were even half as appealing as the raging music, these guys might be serious contenders.
The debut release by DETOX showcases older-style mid-tempo punk. “Beer Gods” has some unusual embellishments and interesting lyrics, but overall this 45 needs a bit more spark, and doesn’t quite convey their live humor. Geza X helped with the recording.
Another tenth-generation punk band from America’s suburban wasteland. The DEAD VIRGINS produce good “classical” punk with a garagey sensibility on the A-side; “Rape Capitol Hill” is particularly appealing. Side AA has slower, rockier cuts, but “Emotional Strain” has a nifty mid-’60s melody line.
An excellent guitar-driven post-punk attack. “Dressed” borrows a riff from the STOOGES’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and places it in a distinctive new context; “Hardcore” is alternately quirky and forceful. The lyrics in the former are also extremely good. This debut deserves your attention.
The FLESHTONES have enormous potential, but they’ve rarely lived up to it since the release of their debut single over five years ago. They either put their great ’60s punk-influenced material aside in favor of R&B and more poppy stuff, or take the raw sneer out of it by settling for a wimpy production. Hexbreaker suffers especially from the latter problem; great tunes like “New Scene” and “Screamin’ Skull” are emasculated by a slick, squeaky-clean sound. C’mon, guys! Kick the IRS lackeys out of the recording studio and do it right next time, or you’ll never break the hex.
Heavy bass- and drum-oriented post-punk with rich guitar frills. “Quiet” inexorably advances like a slow-moving freight train, whereas the flip is more up-tempo and guitar-heavy. Though not as abrasive or reminiscent of KILLING JOKE as their live show, this record is quite good.
I like this new GI EP a lot better than their recent 12″. “Teenager in a Box” is a particularly brilliant track combining power, hooks galore, and good lyrics; “Sheer Terror” has some psychedelic effects; the others are supercharged thrashers in the DC tradition. Highly recommended.
I hate to admit it, but the SLADE cover song on the A-side is a surprisingly effective merger of punk and metal-glitter styles, with its wall-of-noise guitar and catchy background vocals. The B-side is an excellent fast Britpunk number which already appeared on the ONE WAY SYSTEM album. Much better than anticipated.
Melodic Britpunk at its contemporary best. The UNDERDOGS combine a rich, powerful guitar sound with strong tunes and come up with a winner on their debut EP. “Dachau” is a timely reminder that medium-tempo punk songs can grab you when they’re infused with imagination and a slight poppish sensibility; “Dead Soldier” is fast and eminently hummable.
A very hard-to-find English debut. POTENTIAL THREAT are one of a new generation of British thrash bands that get ridiculed or overlooked by the “established” critics over there. Too bad! Though they’re not as intense as DISORDER or CHAOS UK, this EP contains some solid material and features a female vocalist.
Like their first 7″, this new SERIOUS DRINKING release contains a mixture of cool sing-along funnypunk (the title song) and silly quasi-ska ditties. The former is what makes this a worthwhile investment. Eye-catching cover, too.
“Let’s Be Free” leads in with a modified guitar riff from CRISIS’s classic “UK ’79,” and stands out for that very reason. The other tracks are tasteful, mid-tempo punk songs with political lyrics and good melodies. I particularly like their critique of the Special Air Service (S.A.S.), Britain’s rough equivalent of our Green Berets.
Mono-dimensional but well-produced German punk. BLITZKRIEG favors a basic mid-tempo attack with some join-in background vocals and a female lead singer, but the amateurish drumming puts a bit of a damper on the proceedings. “Auschwitz” has well-taken lyrics criticizing popular inertia in the face of genocidal horrors.
Reasonably fast Britskunk that sounds a bit too much like GBH for my taste. Still, the title song is particularly hot, with its great sing-along choruses and classy guitar frills; “No War No More” is almost as good. Likable, but not groundbreaking.
HALSABSCHNEIDER remind me of a sloppier German version of the NEOS. They play 78-rpm garage thrash which stutters along incoherently and with considerable humor (except on the slow “Unser Lied”). NACHDRUCK, on the other hand, have a more controlled ’77-style punk attack with engaging choruses, more serious lyrics, and a occasional post-punk flourish. A good contrast.
CANALTERROR produce diverse hardcore material on their debut album, including full-tilt thrash (“Multis,” the title cut, etc.), Oi-influenced stuff (“Bonn-Duell”), ’77 punk with melodic guitars (“100 Mann”), reggae-punk mixtures (“Mallorca”), some cool rock ‘n’ roll (“Hey”), and even a funnypunk version of “My Bonnie.” The guitars should have been emphasized more in the mix, but this record is still entertaining as hell.
Having lambasted Nazis and neo-fascists on their first two albums, OHL now turn their venom against the Soviet Union. I have no objection whatsoever to anyone attacking documented Soviet repression, but they’ve adopted an extreme right-wing approach worthy of Bavarian minister Strauss by including a sleeve cartoon suggesting that independent peace demonstrators are under Russian control. The remixed punk and thrash songs here sound great, but such ignorance doesn’t deserve support.
Copycat Oi from New Zealand. That wouldn’t necessarily be bad, except that NO TAG end up with a glossy, overproduced sound like the 4-SKINS rather than the down-and-dirty growl favored by the likes of IRON CROSS and NABAT. The two cuts on side two far overshadow the band’s theme song.
The A-side here consists of crude straight-on thrash-and-bash, whereas the flip contains two raw Oi-influenced numbers. STOSSTRUPP have really improved since their appearance on the Die Deutschen Kommen compilation LP, and the screaming guitar mix on this record should be the envy of every hardcore band.
A really unique German record. SOILET GRÜN employ a disconcerting combination of chaotic drive, shrieking vocals, raw production, and an undistorted guitar tone. The songs vary a lot, and the overall effect is vaguely reminiscent of the MEAT PUPPETS.
This is a good basic album. Most of the songs are fast punkers with catchy choruses and a buzzing guitar wall, though there are also thrashers (“Teenage Frust”), songs with slow breaks (“Traumer”), and slower numbers (“Führer”). “Vakuum” sets the musical tone for the remainder of the record, and the lyrics range from broader subject like police states to more immediate, personal topics like teenage frustration. Recommended.
A very strong new release from Ohio’s NECROS. This album contains a few slow-fast metallic numbers; the rest consists of power-charged thrashers, including a remix of “Police Brutality” from their long-out-of-print debut EP. I don’t understand why Barry devoted so much lyrical attention to petty in-scene squabbles when he’s obviously capable of writing highly intelligent critiques with broader themes (like the title track), but this record should nevertheless appeal to all fans of forceful hardcore. Way cool!
Real fine thrash from New England. It’s high-powered, creative, and fairly intense, but the melodies and semi-sung vocals still manage to escape obliteration. Add a strong production and some memorable hooks, and you end up with a release rivaling those of the LOST GENERATION and CIA in overall quality.
Five Florida bands share this record. HATED YOUTH are full of clichés, but have a really intense thrash sound; SECTOR 4 do both thrash and fast punk; MORBID OPERA are simultaneously weird, melodic, and garagy, and have female vocals; RAT CAFETERIA offer thrashy punk with gruff singing and some cool guitar leads; and ROACH MOTEL (who put out this entertaining EP) return with more garage thrash, including “My Dog’s into Anarchy,” the best funnypunk song to have appeared so far this year.
“Bad Boy” is an incredibly boring CLASH-type “rock” song which is best ignored; the flip is a much faster pop-punk number with some sparkle to it. I still think the ADICTS are rapidly in decline, but it’s a bit too early to be certain.
CONFLICT return with more CRASS-like pile-driving punk on “Berkshire Cunt,” along with a very heavy anti-vivisection theme throughout this EP. Both are immensely powerful in their own distinct way, and the gruesome pictures should stimulate some animal lovers into action. Not for the faint of heart or weak of ear.
A fine garage debut from a band out of (relative) nowhere. The LATIN DOGS specialize in chunky ’77-style punk propelled by an abrasive sheet-metal guitar sound, though some cuts have a more accelerated tempo. Their themes are predictably anti-establishment, but the lyrics reflect more awareness and sensitivity than the norm. A-OK.
Excellent guitar-oriented rock and roll. This EP contains three well-crafted pop-rock songs with good quasi-’60s hooks (all of side one and “Micro-Wave Mother”) and one faster punkish number which rips heavy cocaine users (“Kola Sketch”). Clever and not easily classifiable, the TAZERS deserve your attention.
Entertaining garage punk from Florida. If “Nixon” is a satire, it’s a good commentary on gross ignorance; if not, these guys must have gotten A’s in the right-wing “Americanism” course that all Florida high school students have to take in order to graduate. “Dead Air” is faster and considerably better.
An excellent DC compilation which deserves a much wider distribution than it has so far received. It contains diverse material from a number of relatively obscure bands, including garage thrash by MEDIA DISEASE, raw experimental punk by CHALK CIRCLE and the NUCLEAR CRAYONS, powerhouse thrash in a Dischord vein by SOCIAL SUICIDE, NEOS-type 78 rpm thrash by UNITED MUTATION, and garage rock by HATE FROM IGNORANCE. The gritty production accentuates the good music, so look for this.
A cool collection of skateboard bands compiled by Thrasher magazine. The pure “skatecore” sound—thrashed-out music with melodic teenage vocals—is represented here by the FACTION, JFA, and the SKOUNDRELZ; LOS OLVIDADOS and Canada’s RIOT .303 offer powerful older-style punk, the former fueled by a truly bone-crunching guitar, the latter by engaging choruses; MINUS ONE have a great ’60s pop approach (especially on “I Remember John”); the BIG BOYS present an awful throwaway “rock” cut; and the DRUNK INJUNS favor slow metallic songs with built-in tension.
If this release is representative, the ABRASIVE WHEELS are already in decline. The A-side is a pathetic punky cover version of ELVIS’s old hit; the flip is a pedestrian Britpunk song with a decent chorus. Whatever happened to kickers like “Burn It Down”?
The A-side here includes slightly modified versions of two songs that appeared on their recent Forces of Law 7″ (reviewed in MRR #6); the flip has three fine new thrashed-out cuts that have that distinctive DESTRUCTORS mix, with its highly exaggerated snare drum and hi-hat. Add a Pus cover and better sound quality, and you end up with a damn good show.
Really powerful thrash with pronounced metallic lead breaks. CIA may not break any new ground, but with this debut they prove themselves to be one of the East Coast’s best new entries. Lyric-wise, “Commie Control” is pretty inane, but the other titles make a lot of sense, which they backed up by playing at the DC “Rock Against Reagan” show.
The music on the CLITBOYS’ debut is solid straightforward stop-and-go-thrash, but it’s the lyrics that stand out here. In this era of widespread punk jock attitudes, it takes a lot of guts to belt out songs like “Gay’s OK” and “Slogan Boy,” but this Milwaukee band isn’t afraid to tell it like it is (or should be) and face the consequences. More power to ’em.
A fine sounding debut. It’s got the classic SoCal punky thrash sound a lot TSOL and BAD RELIGION, mixing hard attack with pop sensibilities and clean production. They come off better on record than the time I saw live, when they indulged in some retarded sexist banter.
I really like this debut release by Atlanta’s DDT. They do two charged thrashers, two deranged post-punk numbers (side two), and an absolutely fabulous ’60s-style psycho-pop song (“Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood”) That reminds me of the early LAST and is vastly better than most of today’s self-conscious neo-psychedelic music.
An eclectic mixture of material can be found on this EP—CLASH-type rock with horns and spiffy backing vocals (the title track); snappy punk with clever lyrics about future “punk” politicians (“Vice Presidente”); and a harsh critique of military recruitment set to slower CHELSEA-style material (“Professional Killer”). Multidimensional and thoughtful.
This new JONESES EP is a 50/50 proposition. Half of it is really lame rockabilly-type swill that seems to be aimed at the STRAY CATS’ trendy audience; the other half consists of raunchy guitar-oriented blasts in the HEARTBREAKERS mold, and it makes it worth hearing. Still, it should have been a 7″.
“Inside My Head” is an excellent example of ’78-era power-pop, with enough guitar punch to justify the “power” half of the term. It succeeds in generating a bit of misty-eyed nostalgia, but the lame flip features disposable white reggae-rock.
Strong ’77-type punk appears to be the LITTLE GENTLEMEN’s stock-in-trade. Side one contains two engaging guitar-heavy numbers with brain-damaged leads (“General Hospital”) or sing-along choruses (“Rant Rant Rant”); the flip has a more experimental number with a scratchy psyched-out guitar laid over a rhythmic bass and drum. Atypical.
A reprise performance by one of the great ’77-era American punk bands, Cleveland’s PAGANS. At first, I was put off by the “Recorded Live Spring 1983” sticker on the cover, because a lot of their recent material has had an unappealing arty quality. But although there are some covers like “Seventh Son” and relatively subdued numbers (“Angela,” “Wall of Shame”) here, it also contains several raw garage punk blasts with exceptionally gritty vocals. Tracks like “Give Till It Hurts,” “Cry 815,” “Cleveland Confidential” and the classic “Dead End America” make this limited edition album well worth it, but I wish someone would release some older material from the vaults.
The new MISGUIDED EP is louder and more powerful than their debut, but the off-kilter drumming tends to interrupt the momentum of these somewhat disjointed thrashers (especially “Defy Standards”). Mixing problems are involved, though a spirited amateruish quality characterizes the entire record. “Blacklist” has lyrics of considerable contemporary relevance.
Two songs in a fast, powerful thrash style (seemingly augmented by an organ), and two in a slower yet engaging style. Some of the lyrics are incomprehensible, even after reading them, and their live shows leave a lot to be desired, but this record is good.
Yahoo! The most remarkable thing about this fine album is that the production is every bit as raunchy as it was on their four-year old debut EP. When you add that extra-grungy edge to the DICKS’ absorbing mid- to fast punk songs, heavily distorted guitar work, and gruff Texas vocals, you’re bound to have a winner. The drunkenness and political commitment come across clearly in the music, but gems like “Bourgeois Fascist Pig” deserve a lyric sheet.
A reissue of the provocative FEEDERZ EP with a new picture sleeve. In case you never heard it, it’s got innovative song structures, memorable hooks, and some of the most biting, “subversive” lyrics around. The easily offended should steer clear and stick to the trite and predictable; all others should rush out and buy it.
Another superb 7 SECONDS release. This new EP highlights all of their traditional qualities—raging thrash music, great tunes, intelligent and inspirational lyrics (more personally-oriented this time around)—and adds more guitar power, some new musical twists, and improved production. There’s a very noticeable MINOR THREAT influence in the vocal phrasing, but this is still Skeeno hardcore at its finest.
Disappointing. The new B. ARNOLD EP isn’t nearly as appealing as their old “Kill the Hostages” release. Stylistically, these humorous songs range from garage punk (“I Hate Sports”) to ’60s jams (“Hollywood”) to silly ska (“White Boy Sings Ska”), but the biting satire and an innovative cover concept aren’t quite enough to compensate for the lackluster musical attack.
This new EP showcases A.O.F.’s musical versatility. “I’ve Got Mine” is a relatively slow CLASH-influenced song with great dynamics and a quasi-psychedelic guitar that sporadically breaks into full-tilt thrash; “Wait” and “Buy This War” are intense, distinctive thrashers with innovative guitar interaction. A big step forward.
Despite the silly cover, this is probably the best ENEMY release to date, mainly due to the excellent B-side. “Why Not” is a double-time blast with a distorted guitar backing that leaves the A-side spinning its wheels in the dust.
Though named after a group of 19th-century rebels who went around sabotaging industrial machinery in Britain, these LUDDITES have adopted a quasi-industrial post-punk approach in their music. Herein one can find measured tension, a heavy bass, interesting drum flourishes, and a somber overall attitude.
’80s Britpunk at its unimaginative worst. This band plods forward uneventfully, spitting out hackneyed lyrical clichés along the way. It sounds like they don’t care, so why should anyone else?
The MAU MAUS provide a strong argument in favor of the benefits of speed in modern punk music. They have fairly typical chord progressions, generic themes, and a rather annoying vocalist, but somehow the frenzied tempo compensates by keeping your arms and legs flailing about. “Facts of War” is a killer track.
Can old hippies still produce good music? MICHAEL MOORCOCK proves that they can rise to the occasion with “Dodgem Dude,” a wonderful psychedelic blast with loud guitars and haunting background vocals. A really excellent cut, not equalled by the flip. Flicknife is an innovative little label.
RED LONDON plays older-style melodic punk that sounds better by virtue of its relative rarity today. The guitars have a clean ’60s tone (courtesy of Attila?), but ultimately the material fails to impress itself on your consciousness. Decent lyrics, though.
A fine new British thrash band. The strong production enhances their tight, powerful instrumental attack, especially on “Dead Generation.” Riot City has surpassed No Future as a quality label.
Standard mid-tempo UK punk. There aren’t any real surprises here, but the title track has a catchy chorus and “Boys in Blue” has a wee bit of drive. OK, but nothing to write home about.
An exceptional ultra-thrash attack can be found on ANTI-CIMEX’s second EP. The production is much better, and the band is much more cohesive this time around. These songs rank right up there with those of the SHITLICKERS and HUVUDTVÄTT (the HEADCLEANERS) in the Swedish “shred” sweepstakes. A must.
This debut by Italian band FALLOUT consists of three fast ’77-type numbers and three thrashers. The sound is driving, the choruses and tunes stick in your craw, and there are some nifty little lead parts, so check it out. Good effort.
Noisy guitar-oriented music from Holland. Most of it falls within the droning post-punk category, but there are also a couple of faster punk-style numbers. Abrasive, but not energetic enough.
The newest (and possibly final) release from LAMA displays a reversion to their pre-thrash sound—powerful mid-tempo punk with a heavy guitar attack. I suspect that it was recorded before their album, but it’d be a super addition to anyone’s collection.
Mutated thrash from Italy. PEGGIO PUNX play fast and have good choruses, but the most distinctive features of this EP are the clean, undistorted guitars, sudden structural shifts, and an exaggerated drum mix that sounds very bizarre. Unusual but worthwhile.
Like Italy’s WRETCHED, Denmark’s RAZOR BLADES play sloppy, spirited thrash. Though their hearts are in the right place, I find this tape hard to listen to. There aren’t any distinctive hooks, and the musical backing is just too undisciplined to generate body-shaking power. They need to develop a bit.
An album’s worth of blistering political thrash from Canada. Structurally, there’s a lot of imaginative little quirks that serve to break up the tempo, so the high-powered songs don’t all run together. Very tight, very intelligent, and very worthwhile.
A droning Finnish garage punk record. RUTTO’s songs are extremely basic and not too fast, the recording seems to be taken from a portable cassette, and there aren’t any outstanding hooks. The most exceptional thing here is the presence of a female vocalist.
Believe it or not, TK has done it again. Although side two drags a bit (in relative terms), and the vocal and guitar mix isn’t quite as piercing as it was on their peerless Ääretön Joulu EP, this album is exhilarating in its intensity. The distinctive combination of paint-stripping vocals, flailing guitars, and tightly structured blasts of concentrated power lift TK into a realm occupied by a few awesome musical entities like INDIGESTI and DIE KREUZEN. As M. Bowles would say, this is “shredsational,” so buy the fucker immediately.
A reissue of the first two TK EPs (reviewed in MRR #3). If you missed them the first time around, here’s your big chance. An amazingly raw sensory assault.
Two 60-minute tapes containing all the previous and soon-to-appear Brazilian vinyl releases. These include the Grito Suburbano LP (now out of print), the Sub LP, the LIXOMANIA EP, the OLHO SECO EP, the upcoming O Começo do Fim do Mundo live compilation LP, and the INOCENTES EP. Anyone who can’t afford to get the individual records should send for this at once. Note: The song order listed on the insert isn’t completely accurate.
More great thrash from OLHO SECO. The high end of the mix is less piercing here than on the Grito Suburbano album; the guitar on “Muito Obrigado” suffers a bit for it, but the other two tracks blast along like a speeding bullet train. Hot!
Intense adrenaline blasts with some choppy, discordant lead breaks. URBAN WASTE creates quite a guitar wall-of-sound, and the songs start to click after only a couple of listens. They also deserve to win an award for the funniest and cleverist “sexist” song in ages (“Banana-Nut Cake”). Get it.
Experimental stuff with a vague punkish sensibility and some left field BEEFHEART-like effects. It might precipitate epileptic fits, but it probably won’t appeal to the more intolerant hardcore fans. Tough! The lack of fuzzy, distorted guitars is one of END RESULT’s more distinguishing characteristics.
This is good and sloppy. Youthful exuberance, chaotic instrumentation, and half-serious, half-silly themes are the main characteristics of NEGATIVE ELEMENT’s entertaining debut. The guitar could have been mixed a lot louder here, but I’ll bet they’re great live. Version Sound does it again.
A neo-’60s band dominated by a psychedelic organ and irritating female lead vocals. Although both songs have good melody lines and rather nostalgic instrumental parts, something just doesn’t click. Haunting, but not particularly memorable.
A split EP featuring two New York bands. STRIPSEARCH present a great garage punk sound with a blistering fuzztone guitar and female vocals. This marvelous cut is paired with EMILY XYZ’s weird quasi-poetic rhythm thang which I find rather unlistenable. At least both groups are originals.
I’m not sure why, but this reminds me of JEFF HILL’s old UK single, “I Want You to Dance with Me.” It’s basic guitar-heavy rock with a fuzzy synth and a spiffy sing-along chorus that’s damn hard to forget. The flip is a faster, buzzing version of the old Top 40 hit. Good no-frills music.
Cool, maan. “I Always Call” is a hopping psychedelic rockabilly blast that’s beyond all criticism. Imagine Sky Saxon and Tav Falco in the same band, and you’ll get the idea. Despite the quintessential ’60s punk vocals, the flip is an incredibly boring blues number, but the A-side is mandatory.
A live tape from this Chicago-area band. Their material is basic garage punk with some heavy metal guitar riffing and fairly thoughtful lyrics. They have too much or a rockish bar band quality, but their songs are occasionally excellent (especially on their earlier demo). Time will tell.
More excellent DC hardcore, but with a Southern California feel. It’s got soaring guitar work, great touches of feedback, and bent notes. The production is also up to the high Dischord standard.
“Dead Beatles” is one nifty satire. It’s a raunchy garage punk offering with altered snippets of BEATLES lyrics, off-key vocals, and exaggerated psychedelic effects. The other song is faster, equally powerful, and just as funny. Extraordinarily brilliant, in my opinion.
The first release by this South Bay band. It reminds me a lot of CODE OF HONOR, with the instrumentals going from thrash into reverse gear, and the vocals mixed way up front to accentuate the strong lyrics.
Old G.G. doesn’t give up, but then why should he? This unclear live recording doesn’t quite pack the punch of his studio offerings, but it does feature some imbecilic between-song raps by way of compensation. You’d probably have to see G.G. in person to get the full effect of his tastelessness.
Another release by the wild Hungarian with the bizarre material and the searing production techniques. All three songs here are dissimilar—the title cut is a churning metallic anthem that builds in intensity; “Hungarian” is a ballroom satire with hilarious lyrics; and “Mean Mr. Mommy Man” is an arty but profoundly creepy song.
The third and reputedly final EP form LA’s HATED. Once again, they offer fairly standard older-style punk with good lyrics. The production is a bit flat here, but I’m sorry to hear that they’re breaking up.
The punchy, evocative sound of the HECKLERS is really cool. Though eclectic—one can discern pop, thrash, rockabilly, and country influences—it’s got drive, imagination, and a well-defined rock ’n’ roll aesthetic. The occasional harmonica also adds distinction.
A weird mixture here. The geetars on the old NANCY SINATRA hit are restrained and tasteful, but on “Ego,” the MYSTERY GIRLS really cut loose with dirty rock ‘n’ roll riffing à la JOHNNY THUNDERS. Cool as hell.
Like their previous releases, this album evokes the ’60s, but their earlier fixation with surf music has been replaced with a folk-rock obsession. There’s some great material here, especially “Grammar of Misery,” “Shades of Today,” and “Eleventh Hour,” but there’s also quite a bit of chaff. If you like FLAMIN’ GROOVIES, you’ll go for the BARRACUDAS.
Strong production highlights these melodic mid-tempo punk songs. At first, they sound pretty generic, but for some reason they grow on you with repeated listenings, especially the title cut and “British Summertime.” Decent effort.
A one-sided neo-psychedelic record anchored by a basic rock ’n’ roll chord progression. What makes it interesting are some hot acid-damaged lead guitar parts and the harmonized background vocal chants à la BEAU BRUMMELS. I’m not wild about the lead singing, but it’s still a pretty sharp record.
More mid-tempo political punk from FALLOUT. The lyrics are extremely perceptive, and the songs start to click after a couple of listens, but they don’t exactly make you jump up and take notice. The music could use a shot of adrenaline.
Good basic Britpunk. Nothing here is quite up to the high standard set by EXTERNAL MENACE on the Total Anarchy compilation, but “Don’t Conform” has exceptionally heartfelt lead singing, and there’s a great chorus in “Someday.” Worth several spins.
“Discipline” is a great post-punk cut with a riveting drumbeat, a buzzing, distorted guitar, an irresistible chorus, and lead vocals reminiscent of the FALL’s Mark Smith. A super song, which isn’t even approached by the lazy B-side. The best GOD’S GIFT release yet.
This band has not relation to the great ’77 punk group that released “Johnny Won’t Get to Heaven.” It’s a newer pop group that’s very similar to dozens of bands from the pop-oriented ’78-’79 period. It is a bit enjoyable, but it would need a heavier guitar attack and less mundane vocals to really be recommendable.
Excellent standard thrash from Jersey. The mischievous lyrics and ultra-dense guitar whoosh really set this EP apart. “Status Symbol” is all-around great, and “Trans Am” is a hilarious put-down of the spoiled rich brats who go cruisin’ in their shitty gas guzzlers. I’m definitely looking forward to their next barbeque.
Better than their varied debut EP. Now, they have a denser, more rhythmic post-punk orientation. “Waiting” evokes Bauhaus in their early “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” period; the flip is equally powerful, and includes some eerie sound effects. Interesting.
If BEAST were English, they’d undoubtedly be big hits among the “positive punk” set (see UK section for more). As it is, they’re American and will probably be subject to well-deserved ridicule. If you add sax and a glossy horror image to a basic post-punk approach, you’ve got BEAST.
If you’re one of those people who aren’t wildly enthusiastic about BLACK FLAG’s current metal orientation, this should be like a manna from heaven. It might even be the last BLACK FLAG record you’ll actually kill to buy. The records include all unreleased material and feature each of their first three vocalists. Keith’s (“Johnny’s”) vocals may be the most distinctive, and Greg’s guitar tone might attain the most piercing extremes in the Dez era, but I personally prefer the almost ideal balance achieved during Ron’s (“Chavo’s”) tenure as singer. Enough bullshit, this is a mandatory purchase that demonstrates why BLACK FLAG once headed the US punk pantheon, so buy it and pin your ears back.
Politicized garage punk from Vermont. The A-side has three good traditional garage punkers, while the flip contains seven much accelerated tracks that nevertheless retain an awkward garagy flavor. The lyrics are unusually thoughtful for this style of music. Recommended.
Three slices of garage psychedelia from San Berdoo, all of them instrumentals. The songs themselves are too mellow and repetitive, but WINDOW PAIN showcase some nice textured guitar in “Mind Bender,” as well as a nifty fuzztone and mind-expanding energy lead in “Underworld.” They need Wheaties for extra energy, though.
Like WHITE CROSS, YOUTH KORPS have that extra umph that thrash bands need to stand out in this day and age. Most of the tracks here are really intense thrashers, but there’s one anguished metallic cut that sounds a lot like BLACK FLAG’s “Damaged” (“Need a Fix”). This is real strong, so I hope they release it on vinyl.
Clever, medium-weight pop with occasional psychedelic effects and annoying vocals. Some of the songs are subtly appealing, some are driving and straightforward, some are innovative, and a few artsy numbers are best avoided. A little better than the BONGOS, not as strong as the SHOES.
This is an extraordinary album, a marvelous example of the politically oriented ranting poetry coming out of England today. ATTILA is sort of a cross between Lenny Bruce and John Cooper-Clarke, in that his incisive political views are wedded to biting satire and sung/spoken in a dense (though comprehensible) English accent. There is a bit of funnypunk music here, manifested in exemplary songs like “Away Day,” “Hands Off the Halibuts,” and “Russians in McDonalds.”
Is a bit of success spoiling the TEST TUBE BABIES? They’re still sporting a wacky sense of humor, but they sound so much more restrained here. Maybe the overly clean production is to blame, but this EP could use some undisciplined spunk. Great cover, though.
The first vinyl from these Northern Irish punky-popsters since One by One, their classic four-year old release on the Good Vibrations label. “Capital Letters” has a real heavy guitar sound, rawer singing than before, and very memorable melodies and choruses. Really great. The flip is slow and undistinguished, but I’m still looking forward to future RUEFREX releases.
The earliest studio recordings by the late Malcolm Owens’s RUTS, made way back in ’77. And hot damn, the title track is a totally classic chunky punk rock song that ranks right up there with “Babylon’s Burning.” It’s a marvelous cut that isn’t equalled by the two songs on the B-side. The latter suffer from vastly inferior production, but are also poorer compositions. A must for fans of original UK punk music.
The third DIY EP from SIX MINUTE WAR, who’ve now incorporated a drum machine into their primitive mid-tempo material. The song structures are a bit more experimental, but a wistful amateurishness serves to lighten the doom and gloom. “Weathermen” is haunting and exceptionally appealing.
More “positive punk.” Again, the heavy treated drums stand out, but this time the undistorted quasi-psychedelic guitar takes precedence over the bass. The singing is in that really awful New Romantic style that’ll appeal to new wave disco trendies. All in all, it’s OK post-punk, but certainly nothing to lose sleep over.
An unexciting band that shouldn’t be mistaken for Scotland’s TWISTED NERVE. This record showcases a basic punk-pop-rock sound, but lacks drive, hooks, and, ultimately, interest. Sluggish is the most appropriate word.
Oh no, the VIOLATORS have followed BLITZ down the path toward JOY DIVISION-clone material, with some imitation SIOUXIE vocals thrown in for good measure. I love the ’60s melodies on the A-side, but it’s sad to see all these recent punk bands adopting a slick, gutless sound. I vastly prefer their last 45.
Great thrashed-out noise from Holland, with just the right amount of raunch and sloppiness. The driving music picks you right up and slaps you around the room. There’s a bit of heavy metal damage at the end of “Feminist,” and the extraordinary female vocals are kind of lost in the rush, but this EP is hotter than scalding water. “Nothing” is best described as awesome.
A blur of indecipherable thrashing noise. KAAOS seem to have caught the germ that RIISTETYT just got rid of—lack of integration between the vocals and the instrumentation. The amazing “Uskonsota” really tears up the pavement, but most of the songs get lost in the jet-stream, and the guitars should have been mixed louder.
Garagey punk with thrash and experimental overtones. The songs may be sloppy, distorted, and poorly-recorded, but LAST WARNING have plenty of spirit. I dislike some of their post-punk material, but this tape is worth a listen.
This is what the IRON CROSS EP sounds like on 45 rpm. The same drill press guitar is joined to gravelly singing and primitive production, a combination that’s light years ahead of crap like the BUSINESS. NABAT almost change my mind about Oi with this nasty entry.
Far fuckin’ out, maan. This is a groovy psychedelic piss-take by a bunch of Nehru-jacked Aussies. The A-side parodies bubblegum psychedelia by loosely covering “Crimson and Clover,” the old TOMMY JAMES & THE SHONDELLS hit, while the flip treats that song in strange studio ways, turning it into a real mind-blowing flashback. Wow!
Jagged post-punk with some poppy vocal elements. These Danish women are sort of reminiscent of British groups like DELTA 5 or the early PASSIONS. The music is angular and the guitars have that nice raw quality which alone makes post-punk bearable these days. Good first effort.
A strong Canadian release by Winnepeg’s STRETCH MARKS. The material ranges from thrash to classical punk, and it has some heavy metal guitar embellishments. I think it’s real entertaining, especially the hilarious “Dog’s World.” Don’t miss out.
A pop-punk classic, especially “Reisefieber,” which sorta sounds like a male of LILLIPUT’s “Die Matrosen,” with its unbelieveably catchy melody punctuated by whistling. And dig those bagpipes! The flip is almost as enjoyable and memorable, so look for this.
Another Dutch basement tape from Er Is Hoop, this one featuring three bands. TOTAL CHAOZ are a methadrine thrash group with a female singer; the PUKES are a messy, unformed punk band; and the ASPERITYS are basic punksters that do too many covers. OK for a first effort, but all these amateurish outfits were recorded a bit prematurely.
A sharp Danish band that specializes in raw, nasty garage thrash. The recording is ultra-primitive, the lyrics are strong, and the vocal delivery is intense and committed. In other words, a must.
A good follow-up to the great Grito Suburbano compilation. CÓLERA return with more nifty punk sing-alongs; the other three bands—PSYKOZE, RATOS DE PORÃO, and FOGO CRUZADO—don’t seem quite as distinctive on first listen. For one thing, their basic thrashing power is so weakened by the poorly mixed guitars that it’s really hard to judge their potential power. It’s always better to err on the side of an overly loud guitar mix, but this is still an inspiring effort.
A real potpourri of styles here, ranging from weird, disjointed, punked-out numbers (“Cuban Homo Farm” and “Plastic Rows”) to rhythmic African chants (“Jumping Through the Jungle”) to awful art-damaged shit (“Rats Tied to Trees”). You’d have to be schizoid to like everything on this EP. Maybe SILVER ABUSE ought to try playing at mental hospitals.
Four bass-heavy songs that combine elements of earlier metal-punk and thrash. A couple of them are real good, and the lyrics are surprisingly decent. The production is chunky, but a bit inconsistent. Not to be confused with the defunct band from South Lake Tahoe which appeared on the Not So Quiet compilation.
Goofy California beach nerds put out an absurd amateur record. “Surf” is a mildly entertaining “rap” rip-off, but it’s the flip that makes this one worthwhile. “Boyfriend Girlfriend” is a chunky, bass-heavy rocker with stuttering speeded-up background vocals and a pronounced echo, similar to “Criminal Mind (Duddle)” by Chicago’s MEATY BUYS. I hope that’s helpful.
For some reason, this New York punk group sounds more English than American. Maybe it’s the somewhat restrained drumming, or the deeper guitar hum. In any event, the YOUNG & USELESS aren’t too tight yet, which gives them a certain charm. The lyrics are very questionable, but hopefully age will bring more wisdom—these guys are real young.
“Twist” is mid-tempo post-punk with a quasi-psychedelic feel, but it’s neither atmospheric nor punchy enough to satisfy me. The flip remedies the latter problem with a ringing ’60s guitar, and consequently comes off better. Still, I’d wait till their next release before coming to any definite conclusions.
Good basic Britskunk with no real surprises. I mean, the chorus on “New Punks” actually has “Oi, Oi, Oi” in the background. ANTISOCIAL show off some drive and a nice dense guitar attack, but nary an original idea.
This band has a style that works well enough in a 7″ format, but is too unimaginative to sustain an entire album’s worth of material. There’s nothing really wrong with the ABRASIVE WHEELS. They have a fast, powerful, well produced sound and some good songs—it’s just that their music doesn’t normally reach out and grab you. Here, the possible exceptions are “Danger, Danger,” “Voice of Youth,” and a couple of the cuts from previous 45s.
Tedious metal-punk with annoying double-tracked female vocals. To put it another way, mundane muzak for punk people. I’ll take GIRLSCHOOL any day, and that’s not saying a helluva lot.
Despite the dumb heavy metal graphics on the pic sleeve, I think this is easily peculiar enough to transcend this month’s crop of standard Britpunk. It’s a weird mixture of common elements—real gravelly Oi vocals, staccato CRASS-like choruses, slow/fast guitar-heavy music—anchored by a distinctive fuzz bass. Description won’t suffice; you’ve got to hear this one for yourself. I love it.
If you ever wondered what would happen if Pete Stride’s punky-pop compositions were recorded in a 24-track studio, this single provides the answer. The result is good snappy tunes driven by DISCHARGE-like power, a hot combination. The lyrics on the A-side are well taken. ERAZERHEAD, make a note of the change.
Northern Ireland’s OUTCASTS have been carrying the punk standard since ’78, and I’ve always been a big fan of theirs. So it really hurts to say that their second album is something of a letdown. Their earlier punky pop sound has gradually mutated into a churning, militaristic, metallic juggernaut with lots of hooks and inherent power, but little humanity. Moreover, eight of these twelve tracks have already been releases, their new versions of old classics like “Frustration” really pale in comparison, and “Sex and Glory” is the only newer song that really stands out. The OUTCASTS have lost their innocence, and the results are at best mixed.
Strong guitar pop with some superficial post-punk effects. This 12″ is somewhat overproduced, but the ringing guitars and overall catchiness make it more than worthwhile. PRESSURE’s sound reminds me of early FINGERPRINTZ, and that’s A-OK.
You’d never know that over five years had gone by from listening to these two skinhead anthem by reformed proto-Oi band SKREWDRIVER. They still sound the same, though perhaps a little less melodic in the guitar arrangements, and their seminal influence on the modern Oi groups is everywhere apparent. Singer Ian Stuart practically wrote the book on the sandpaper sneer that’s so omnipresent today; unfortunately, he also set the ideological tone for the more reactionary groups around now (the LAST RESORT, the 4-SKINS, SPECIAL DUTIES, etc.). I detest SKREWDRIVER’s values, but I can’t stop singing along with these damn songs. What a dilemma!
“Mouth” is one of SPLODGE’s typical novelties, in this case a goofy ska song with absurd lyrics. The B-side retains the goofy lyrics, but shifts into a fast funnypunk gear. Entertaining as usual.
A surefire hit. On this album, all the VIBES’ old trademarks—precise staccato drum rolls, classic riffing guitars, and excellent songwriting—are embellished by elements absorbed from other rock genres, often in unusual, effective ways. For examples, note the psychedelic guitar segments in “Sleeping” and “Kick It,” the combination of thrashed-out music and Jaggerish vocals on “Watch Out Baby,” the exaggerated Oi sing-along on the rap-style “We Name the Guilty,” etc. Only “A Dot Ain’t a Lot” is truly lame, so give this a listen if you can accept that there are many fine groups around who don’t sound like DISCHARGE or GANG GREEN.
The second URBAN DOGS 45 is a lot like the first—boring rock ’n’ roll with a punky tinge. Knox’s guitar tone on the A-side almost saves the day, but he and Chas Harper are certainly capable of better things. Why rehash old riffs and songs?
Good second pop-punk effort from BEEX. “Butch” is a snazzy uptempo song featuring female lead vocals, one heavy guitar, one folk-rock guitar, and a nice overall drive. The flip is a more conventional rocker. The guitar interaction is what catches your ear; the gross cover catches your eye.
A few people I know rave about the BANGLES, but I just don’t understand why. Some of their originals do have a ’60s feel (“Want You” and “Mary Street” on this EP), but most are examples of overproduced new wave pablum à la GO-GO’S. Even their LA-DE-DA’S cover (“How Is the Air Up There?”) is lame.
I’m not sure at what point brilliant evocation becomes slavish imitation, and I don’t think the CHESTERFIELD KINGS have figured it out, either. Ultimately, such semantic or philosophical questions are begged by one’s emotional responses, and this album connects with me because of its authentic ’60s punk feel, even down to the production. My one complaint is that these tracks are all covers. Even though some of them are better than the originals—“Outside Chance” leaps immediately to mind—I wish they’d apply that ultra-belligerent ’60s style to new compositions. Eminently cool.
A bit of a letdown after their first intriguing 7″. Here, only “Maladie d’Esprit” has as much subdued aggression. There’s a sinister undercurrent to DEMENTIA PRECOX, and they demonstrate that synths and drum machines can be used to intimidate rather than hypnotize, but they currently seem to be moving in an artier direction. Too bad.
Chunky Texas garage punk. Dorky singing and muscular guitars propel these basic rockers. The themes are typically inane, with “Toxic Shock” and “Secretary Spread” generating the heartiest guffaws. Tesco’ll be able to relate to these jokers.
Idiotic garage punk from New Jersey. The A-side has some of the funniest lyrics I’ve heard recently, while the flip features an absolutely atrocious bar-band guitar solo. These guys are so awful that I actually like them. Maybe they’ll tickle your funnybone, too.
Hardcore from Denver. The FRANTIX have a nice chunky guitar attack which sounds very PISTOL-ian on their mid-tempo songs especially “Sharin’ Sharon.” The semi-thrashers have an awkward feel to them, as if the band just started playing real fast, but the grungy guitar cuts through all the confusion. A nifty record in the ’77-’78 punk tradition.
A real dumb garage punk record by a geeky rock band from SF. “Racin’ for the Pink” has lots of sleazy power chords, some supercool but over-long lead solos, and background soundtracks of hot rods or cycles accelerating. Great for crusin’ with the top down! The flip combines raunch and self-explanatory grammar school sentiments. For G.G. ALLIN fans.
An unanticipated mixture of styles on this, the JONESES’ first 7″ effort. “Jonestown” is an instrumental with a slight tinge of disco bass and reggae guitar; the flip is a garagy slice of mid-tempo SoCal punk that kind of reminds me of REDD KROSS in the verse and RADIO BIRDMAN in the chorus. Not at all generic.
A potent mixture of ’77-style powerchord punk and more contemporary thrashers can be found on this excellent debut album by KRAUT. It is far more riveting than their two EPs, and should serve to silence many of their critics once and for all. Solid production, loads of tight guitar power, abundant energy, and huge hooklines are all showcased here. I don’t really accept Tim Sommer’s suggestion that KRAUT are the punk group of the ’80s, and for all I know, they might actually be the would-be rockstars that their enemies contend, but they sure as hell won’t need ex-PISTOL Steve Jones to give them credibility next time around. Highly recommended.
OK post-punk from Boston. A loud, clean guitar combines with a heavy bass/drum sound and fine singalong choruses in the engaging “Down and Backwards,” but the lead vocals are too pretentious and the saxy B-side is weak.
TSOL may have mutated into something barely recognizable, but their great original punk sound lives on in the material of many current SoCal bands, including the VANDALS, NO CRISIS, and, as this record indicates, LOST CAUSE. That’s certainly not a bad thing, except that here the material lacks the punch of LOST CAUSE’s 7″ debut. There are a few hot moments in “Living in Hell” and “Firing Line,” but somehow I was expecting more from these guys.
Two hilarious novelty tracks from the “Egg Lady” in John Waters’ cult film, Pink Flamingos. The music on this picture disc is basic hard rock with dumb guitar solos, but the arrangements and lyrics are a laugh a minute. “Punks” is addressed to all the punks who are going nowhere fast, and the 300 lb. Edie’s version of the old FOUR SEASONS hit takes on an entirely new meaning here.
Once again, the MEATMEN have managed to provoke “orgasms” of laughter. The same scrungy guitar and chaotic garage approach that stood out on their classic debut serve to propel these here garish songs about a variety of sexual hang-ups. It might be offensive if it weren’t so damn funny, and even though Tesco’s member shrivels up every time he thinks about “human rights” punks at MRR, we still like the silly savage.
An uneven garage rock band from the hinterlands of Illinois. Their faster semi-punk cuts (“Tell Me Where” and especially “Too Easy”) have a loud and primitive drive that’s rather appealing, but the others are very boring songs in the traditional hard rock/heavy metal vein.
More explorations into the territory they’ve been staking out over the course of their last couple albums. Even without Phil Spector, they’re still aiming for that Spectorian Wall of Sound, and they manage to get it. The material ranges from great new guitar-heavy pop tunes to lame versions of earlier classics like “Little Bit o’ Soul” and “Time Has Come Today.” I think it sounds real good, but if you’re only interested in “Blitzkrieg Bop Part 75,” this LP isn’t for you (except maybe “Psycho Therapy”).
Classical-style punk from Florida. The songs are catchy and the recording is raw enough, but the lyrics are about as retarded as you can get, even though they’re meant as jokes. “Wetback” is chauvinistic if not actually racist, and then there are your typical misogynistic, anti-gay, and anti-hippy songs. “More Beer” is a gas, but I bet Anita Bryant would be proud of these “punkers.”
A lame garage rock record which might have seemed funny back in ’76, but now sounds pathetic and out of date. “Rock or Die” and “Chop Up Your Mother” are pretty entertaining, but on the whole this is too calculated to be good garage punk. It comes off more like crass in-joke commercialism.
The second strong pop single from the ALARM. Their main claim to fame lies in an inventive, jangling guitar sound, though decent hooks and an unprepossessing organ also add distinction. Not up to the best ’60s standards, but much better than the TEARDROP EXPLODES and their ilk.
The AMEBIX are currently sounding very much like early KILLING JOKE. Both of these songs are characterized by ultra-heavy bass-lines, echoing drums, and the sort of agonized singing that Jaz is famous for. Now that KILLING JOKE has wimped out, there’s more than enough room for cool cats like the AMEBIX. The cover unfolds into a nice poster.
Heavy metal punk with superficial Satanic overtones, only vaguely related to the the type of thing popularized by such LA groups as 45 GRAVE, VOX POP, CHRISTIAN DEATH, etc. Not my cup of tea at the best of times, but BLACK EASTER are far more turgid than most. Useless really.
A timely reissue of CRISIS’s first two 7-inchers. This band’s trademark is superb melodic punk powered by two guitars, one fuzzed-out, one cleaner. The melodies and hooks are irresistibly catchy, and the political messages have never been more relevant. If you missed out the first time around, don’t be stupid and ignore CRISIS now. They exemplify all of the qualities that made earlier English punk so great, so demand this record at your local store.
The second 7″ from this lot. Both tracks are in the medium-paced Britpunk style, but “Blitz” is a really superb song. The combination of a great sing-along chorus, drill-press guitar, and interesting lyrics make it a mini-classic. The flip is faster, less memorable, and rather dumb.
Not as bad as one might have expected after hearing their two dismal 7″ releases. The DEFECTS’ lyrics are generic at best, and their material certainly isn’t innovative, but the production is excellent and some of the songs on side one have catchy guitar parts or choruses (especially “Dance” and the title track). This album’s neither an upper nor a narcotic.
This LP’s got some punch. The music is faster and snappier than the UK norm, and some tracks really roar (“Born Too Late,” “Hillside Strangler,” etc.). Inexplicably, there are good anti-drug and anti-violence lyrics standing side-by-side with others having an unfortunate fixation on sex and violence. The guitars could be a little louder vis-à-vis the snare drum, but on the whole the DESTRUCTORS album moves along at a brisk pace and keeps your attention, so give it a chance.
I must confess that I like the new EJECTED EP, just as I liked their debut. It’s bouncy, catchy, loud, an all-around enjoyable. Nothing original, mind you, but boisterous and entertaining Britpunk.
This live EP renews some of my faith in ERAZERHEAD. They’ve recaptured their earlier snappiness and guitar power here, which suggests that bad production was mainly to blame for their recent vinyl failures. Check it out if you like(d) the LURKERS, and have a good laugh during “Get Pissed Again,” a punky rewrite of CHUBBY CHECKER’s big hit, “Let’s Twist Again.”
“Ignore Me” is a hopping guitar-heavy pop song with a chorus you just can’t get out of your head. It sounds a lot like a much louder JAM from the All Mod Cons period. The flip is OK, but not up to the same standard. The GAS may be one-hit wonders, but this here A-side is it.
I don’t have much good to say about this. The GENOCIDES sound like a bunch of headbanging rockers that decided to go punk in an effort to gain an audience somewhere. The A-side is every bit as stupid as it sounds, and the HEARTBREAKERS cover tries hard to make up in speed what it lacks in interest. The only saving grace is that they managed to get a searing treble sound out of the guitars.
Despite Dig’s valuable warning that the GONADS are a phony Bushell non-band, I can’t help liking this ridiculous funnypunk offering, with its soccer choruses, punky guitar, and cocktail-party piano. All Bushell is good for is a few laughs over a beer, but this is clearly the best medium for his antics. A knee-slapper from a double-dealing rip-off artist; it should be taped, not purchased.
VIRUS’s debut is hardly noticeable. “Salute” is a reggaefied pop-punk song with a passable melody, but the B-side might be the most tedious punk version of “Stepping Stone” ever recorded.
A new English compilation tape featuring a couple of bands with vinyl out (AD NAUSEUM and RIOT/CLONE) and a bunch of young hopefuls. The HIDEOUS MUSHROOMS tickle feet with some neat-o funnythrash, the GLIMPO SAUCERS provoke laughs with demented funnypunk, APF BRIGADE intrigue with drum-machine Britskunk, REBELLIOUS YOUTH annoy with overlong post-punk dubs, and HEALTH HAZZARD kick ass with some raw garage thrash. The rest produce more traditional stuff—thrash (LOST CHERREES, X-CRETAS), ’77 punk (PANIK, TOTAL CONTROL), and modern mid-tempo UK punk (WARNING). Pretty varied sampler.
Uncontrolled DISCHARGE-like thrash from Italy. This EP has loads of raw spirit, a chaotic instrumental attack, and really weird garage production—right in the middle of a song, the vocals or guitar will suddenly get louder and softer without rhyme or reason. It must be that world-famous MANIAX influence.
Not quite as manic as the RIISTETYT album, but every bit as good. Although APPENDIX has a very powerful hardcore sound, their material is more varied and distinctive than the norm. As a result, the songs stick in your head after only a couple of listens, whether they’re thrashers like “Paniikkia,” mid-tempo punkers like “Kuitenkin Kuolemme,” slow noisemakers like “Nöyrät Nuolee,” or combinations of the above like “Ai?” If you like DC’s SCREAM, you’ll get a rush out of APPENDIX. And dig that psychedelic cover!
Remixed versions of two songs from the FORGOTTEN REBELS’ LP mentioned in MRR #3. The guitars are mixed a lot louder this time around, and it sounds really hot. “Tell Me You Love Me” is an exceptional punky-pop cut with background vocals and a chorus that’ll stick in your head for days, maybe months. More of the same, please.
More hot Italian thrash on a DIY EP. INDIGESTI are fast, tight, and powerful. They’ve got one slow-fast number with heavy metal guitar parts (“Mai”) amid the thrashers, and a good snotty vocalist. The WRETCHED are faster, sloppier, and right out of the garage, production-wise. The Red Brigades could have made General Dozier’s ears bleed with music by these two bands.
HONKAS are a very raw punk band from Germany, and the production on this record only accentuates their primitivity. Some of the songs here almost degenerate into an undefined mass of guitar distortion, but others (like the title track) have more focus and drive. Pretty sharp.
These jokers have been around for a while, and they’re still peddling the same unprofessional funnypunk that they began with. The main difference is that now they’ve incorporated diverse influences like “Oi-Oi-Oi” background vocals (in the title song), rockabilly beats (“Gratissex”), a quasi-funk bass (“Regardez-Moi”), and even some artiness (“Nachts scheint die Sonne”). It’s kind of fun to listen to this album, but it won’t exactly etch itself in your memory.
The second LP from German punk veterans OHL is much hotter than their uneven debut. The production is crisper, the group has become a lot tighter, and the songs are much more memorable. Though not really a thrash band, OHL do produce some speedy slabs of guitar-heavy power that’ll strain your speakers at high volume (like “Schrei, Schrei” and “Warschauer Pakt”). I’ve heard rumors that these guys have right-wing proclivities, but they should lay the rumor-mongers to rest here with “Nie Wieder,” one of the most vitriolic anti-Nazi songs I’ve ever run across. Recommended.
Infinitely better than their weak debut EP. OUT OF ORDER now have a much more powerful guitar sound, a tighter instrumental attack, a faster tempo, and decent production. There’s a real mixture of punk styles here, ranging from the ’76 numbers with Rottenesque vocals (“Royal Wedding”) to ’78-’79-era Britpunk (“Ministry Bureaucracy,” the title cut, and a cover of CRISIS’s “Holocaust”) to more modern “skunk” anthems (“Politicians” and “Wasted Youth”), to pop-punk (“Inside Out”), and their occasional use of an organ can be refreshing. All in all, this LP represents a sizable step forward for these German punks.
The biggest problem with RIISTETYT’s earlier EP was that the vocals didn’t quite mesh with the musical backing, a discomfiting effect that made it difficult to distinguish between the various 1000-mph songs. That problem has been largely, though not completely, overcome on this intense LP. The drummer gets an incredible workout, and sometimes you can’t keep up, but Valtion Vankina is a great record if you like uncompromising thrash with good political lyrics.
In-fucking-credible! This is a totally great hardcore compilation from Brazil. Three groups appear on this album: OLHO SECO is an awesome thrash band with a raw guitar that sounds like a pesky fly buzzing around your head; the INOCENTES have a more English-style punk approach; and CÓLERA play very fast hardcore with irresistible sing-along choruses. There’s not one boring musical moment here, and the mix really exaggerates the piercing guitars. I don’t know how they get away with the overtly anti-fascist lyrics in a repressive right-wing dictatorship like the one in Brazil. An absolute must for enthusiasts of gut-level music.
Another uneven punk compilation, this time from Switzerland. The contents cover most recent punk styles, from the CRASS-like assault of SURPRISE ATTACK (in “Banzai Attack”) to LAST EXIT’s basic Oi to PÖBEL’s slow punk with shimmering guitars to the sloppy thrash of R.A.K. to CHAOS’s ’77 punk with faster parts to ?X’s ska-punk fusion (“New York”). My personal faves are MICKEY UND DIE MÄUSE’s funnypunk with gravelly singing and NULL KOMMA NICHT’s cuts on side one, which highlight disjointed thrash with weird vocals that sound like a cross between THEATRE OF HATE’s Kirk Branden and Jello. It’s always nice to get a sampler of bands from another part of the world.
Not quite what I’ve come to expect from Finland. On this one, several Finnish hardcore bands develop a more individual style, and the results are very good indeed. MAHO NEITSYT perform another great medium-speed gravel-throated number; APPENDIX have cleaned up their noisy act and put together a couple of good hook-filled cuts; the ETUALA rely on a solid riffing guitar attack; ANTIKEHO provide a slice of nice standard thrash; and NATO do a ’77 punk number. Diversity without wimpiness.
Well, I liked DIE KREUZEN’s earlier cassette a lot, but even it didn’t quite prepare me for this outstanding slab of vinyl. All the noteworthy aspects of the former have been preserved, most notably the freneticism, but the band is tighter now and the recording is better. There’s a hint of the MEAT PUPPETS and CODE OF HONOR herein, but these Wisconsin guys are clearly originals.
A raw garage punk album by a band out of New Orleans. The music is exceedingly primitive, with fuzzy two-chord guitar, nasty vocals, and a very fast tempo. I’d recommend it without hesitation on that basis, but the lyrics cross the fine line between scatological humor and gross ignorance on more than one occasion (especially the racist “Poor Blacks”). Still, how can you criticize a record with a song called “Mom’s Cunt” on it?
I don’t know how astute these guys are, but they sure do play some mean thrash punk. Personally, I think WHITE CROSS blow away many better-known groups. They’ve got that extra intensity which separates great thrash from the increasingly common generic variety. Definitely get this one.
The best thing about this new BLITZ 45 is that it will piss off the more narrow-minded Oi-sters. It really breaks the standard “skunk” mold with a schizoid musical approach combining NEW ORDER (squeaky clean production, a dance-oriented beat, a tinkling piano) and GARY GLITTER (superheavy drums and repetitive sing-along choruses) influences. I long for the crunching guitars of their All Out Attack EP, but I’m thankful that they’re not just recycling their more derivative recent material.
I’m getting tired of repeating myself, but this is another great Finnish thrash record. RATTUS are as fast and powerful as anybody, but not quite as chaotic or extreme in the vocals as some newer bands. There’s more musical control in evidence here, probably due to a longer period of musical apprenticeship. Still, it’s hard to find a more intense song than “Miesten Koulu,” so don’t overlook this Pus-covered baby.
If the CONTRACTIONS were from New York and sung about typical teenage themes, this is what they’d sound like. The AFFECTIVES play inoffensive pop-rock with an occasional good hook, but there’s nothing here that’ll make you sit up and really pay attention. “You Hate Me” is a catchy teen lament.
Are the AMPS one of the missing links between the ’60s and the ’80s? Perhaps. “Flowers is ’60s-style garage rock with overlong guitar leads and anti-censorship lyrics. But buzzsaw guitars, a gradually accelerating tempo, and one of those goofy axe solos that only untutored musicians can produce make the flip a stronger and more modern song. Pretty cool record.
The most intense thrash album from LA in quite a while. The music is pretty generic, but it’s also plenty loud and fast. Lyrically, ANTI range from intelligent (“Fight War, Not Wars,” the title track, and “The Cycle”) to the semi-moronic WASTED YOUTH level (“Poseur” and “I Hate You”). Go for it if you can’t get enough thrash punk, but not if you’re searching for something unusual.
Hey, this is even better than G.G.’s usual garage punk offerings, being faster, tighter, and minus sexism. Amazing! The background choruses turn “No Rules” into a classic, but this guy still serves as a constant reminder of how absurd people can be. That’s a recommendation.
This Chicago band produce an original sort of quasi-industrial sound reminiscent of early PERE UBU and DEMENTIA PRECOX. There’s all sorts of weird frills and noises that suggest hammers hitting anvils and pistons driving machines. But don’t think these guys are arty—their music has a vague punky sensibility and primal hypnotic rhythms. If depressed factory towns like Gary, IN ever need a theme song, they should turn to BIG BLACK.
A garage rock record with punky and psychedelic overtones. Most of it is pretty uninspiring (especially Side 2), but they do come up with occasional nuggets like the punked-out “Let’s Go to Hell” and the catchy, scathing “Minimum Wage.” The lyrics are more intelligent than usual for this genre. Worth a listen.
A real mixed bag. The BIG BOYS are at their best when they play punk (“Fun…”), thrash (“Apolitical”), or jittery punk-funk like the MINUTEMEN (“Nervous” and “Prison”). When they branch out, they totally blow it. Here they butcher KOOL & THE GANG’s “Hollywood Swinging” and do awful PIG BAG imitations (“We Got Soul”) that must be aimed at audiences in New Wave discos or something. This gets a qualified recommendation at best.
An unexpectedly strong release. CRUCIFIX may look like English punks, but they definitely have that American intensity. “Prejudice” and “Rise and Fall” are two songs played at thrash speed that are both powerful and distinctive. Real great stuff! “Steelcase Enclosure” is far less interesting, and Sothira’s wonderfully raspy vocals are mixed a bit too low, but this 7” stands spikes and shoulders above their 12” debut.
Not one of the DK’s finer moments. “Halloween” is too rock-oriented and makes me long for the MISFITS’ song of the same name. “Holocaust” starts out like an art-damaged neo-psychedelic track on the WITCH TRIALS EP, then mercifully snaps into a fine older-type DK’s punk song. Good lyrics as usual, but…
Cool pop-punk, maybe the closest thing to hardcore that can be found in South Florida. All the songs except “Johnny” are real zippy and guitar-heavy, so if you’re looking for basic rock and roll fun, this is for you.
These two live songs by New York’s EVEN WORSE are a bit sloppy and incorporate some heavy metal guitar damage, but the band’s sheer exuberance and chutzpah easily manage to overcome such piddley faults. They’ve got a chaotic, amateur charm all their own, and the singer’s sarcastic onstage raps sound frighteningly like mine. Yeah, I like this record, especially “Mouse or Rat.”
Even though I think that everyone in FLIPPER is an egotistical, self-indulgent asshole (except the ever-cool Ted), I’ve got to admit that they’ve put out some truly great singles. “Get Away” is no exception, with its powerful driving beat, noise guitar, and clever, venomous lyrics. The 33 1/3 rpm flip is another humorous, annoying novelty, but “Get Away” makes this one a must. Amazing cover, too.
Wow! The LAST have finally reverted to their earlier fast and raw form on 2/3 of this EP. “Up in the Air” is a super cut with great ’60s organ swills and a short but sweet psychedelic guitar break. “Wrong Turn” is almost as good, but “Leper Colony” has an awful, pretentious chorus. Still, it’s good to see the LAST get back a bit closer to the roots.
A good pop album that could have been a great pop album. The songs still have a thousand hummable hooks and the background vocals are as coy as ever, but what the fuck happened to the heavy dual guitars that feature so prominently in the MUTANTS’ live shows? Unfortunately, they’ve been almost obliterated in a mix which overemphasizes Fritz’s weird voice. The same “wimpifying” technique turned the GO-GO’S into stars, but I wish someone would make a bootleg out of the MUTANTS’ earlier demo tape to provide a contrast and illustrate their real potential.
A spirited young band from outside Chicago. They play a variety of styles on this tape, ranging from the FLIPPER-ish “Fucking Fashions” to the thrashed-out “I.R.S.” to the funnypunk classic, “Burn, Jane Byrne.” The lyrics to “Morton Grove” are a bit muddled, but SEISMIC WAVES have potential. I just hope they get some gigs.
Alright! The REAL KIDS have ben resurrected for the benefit of all. Their forté—’60s pop-punk; their trademarks—heavy guitars, sizable hooks, and the plaintive voice of John Felice. Here the combination works best on the seductive “No Place Fast,” the driving “Senseless,” and the rock ‘n’ rollin’ “It’s Been Real.” The production could be dirtier, but this is still super bad Bosstown bop.
Musically, this is a neat garagey record with both punk and rock overtones. In the midst of all the new political thrash bands, the SILLY KILLERS actually sound somehwat refreshing, even though they employ older stylistic devices. But the lyrics—yecchh! I’m getting real sick of all this sexist and homophobic shit coming out now. Just because you guys are insecure about your own sexuality, you don’t have to foist it on others.
Help! The SUPER HEROINES fancy themselves the cutting edge of oh-so-trendy “horror rock” now emanating from LA, but despite their pretensions, this LP showcases little more than regurgitated heavy metal. In a word, awful. Bemisbrain should concentrate on releasing more MODERN WARFARE material.
A really unpleasant surprise. Musically, it’s more of the standard SHATTERED FAITH sound—mid-tempo punk with melodic choruses and occasional heavy metal guitar frills—but the production is too restrained and their newer material is less engaging. Worse, the live side is filled with standard rock and roll bullshit (Don Kirschner-like intros, artificially heightened applause, inane raps like “God bless you”), and the lyrics are unbelieveably stupid. The cliched songs about girls are bad enough, but “USA” plumbs the depths of ultra-patriotic retardation and makes it clear that earlier cuts like “Reagan Country” should be taken at face value rather than as satires. If this is LA, give me Boston.
A neat little garage pop record by some clever Chicago teens. Acoustic-type guitars create a bouncy background for the hilarious lyrics and catchy chorus in “Hardon,” which describes an all-too-typical situation facing males. “Dear One” has more of a ’60s pop feel. Not bad for a first effort.
The WHAT are an all-female group from the Midwest, and they’ve made one of those records that’s so band it’s good. You know, the SHAGGS syndrome. “Gloria” is an amateur but straightforward of the PATTI SMITH version (!); the B-side contains a complete hatchet job of the OUTSIDERS’ old classic, replete with out-of-tune guitars, off-key harmonies, and imprecise instrumentation. Yuk it up!
A letdown. The ADICTS’ newest funnypunk release is neither as funny nor as punky as their earlier efforts. The band is clearly capable of making entertaining music, but on this EP inferior material and overly clean production result in yawns rather than laughs. That doesn’t bode well for their new album.
This is a fine record. It’s very slow amateur punk, but it’s got haunting pop vocals and other distinctive qualities that make it stand out. For example, “Freedom Fighters” has a reggaefied structure and twin guitars, one sparse and one ultra dense, which complement each other perfectly. Way cool.
This one’s got little to offer except very nasty Oi vocals. “Fighting the System” is a reggae-influenced number that doesn’t really go anywhere, and “Soldier” is tedious Britpunk that wouldn’t even disturb your grandmother.
Long-lost proto-Oi band COCK SPARRER have unexpectedly returned. This new release showcases their peculiarly melodic, buzzing guitars, and high-pitched vocals that sound like like a cross between soccer choruses and the singing of certain glam-rock bands from the ’72-’74 era (SWEET, SLADE, etc.). Though “England Belongs to Me” is avowedly an attempt to take the Union Jack back from the extreme right and make it a symbol for all Englishmen, it still reflects a reactionary world-view where petty nationalism is glorified.
More snappy pop-punk from the DAMNED, complete with organ, synthesized marimbas, and music-hall singing. This may be a far cry from “Neat Neat Neat,” but it’s got an undeniable charm of its own. There are even—dare I say it?—some tasteful guitar licks amid the overall silliness.
Surprisingly good for these normally boring Oi-sters. “Low Life” is twice as powerful as anything on their awful LP, and damn catchy to boot. Louder guitars and soccer choruses pull this one up by its braces.
This release ranks right up there with those of the 4-SKINS and ANTI-PASTI (Caution in the Wind LP) in the contest to see which English band can put out the worst album. Mediocre material, a mundane instrumental attack, flat production, and generic Oi themes make this duller than an overused razor. “In for a Riot” and “Boot Boys” are decent new tracks, but you know something’s wrong when a hoary old MOTORS’ cover like “Emergency” sounds real strong. Zzzz…
Speed alone would make the MAU MAUS’ second EP noticeable among this month’s UK releases. Both tracks on the B-side are firmly in the DISCHARGE/GBH tradition, but the title cut is almost ruined by an atrocious heavy metal intro. Basic thrash—nothing more, nothing less.
This band’s name must refer to resistance to the ’77 spirit of creativity and original thinking. Actually, that’s not entirely fair, because this EP is better than much of this month’s English crop. “Nottingham Problem” and “Nuclear Attack” have a bit of raw, foot-tapping spunk.
Typical medium-to-slow Britpunk. RABID have a nice raunchy guitar tone, but it doesn’t compensate for the generally listless material. “Police Victim” sounds like the DAMNED’s “New Rose” at times, and “Glory of War” has some energy, but not enough. Note: label is incorrect.
One more plodding Britpunk record that makes me wonder how I got into punk in the first place. The title song has a passable poppy chorus, but the others are big zeros—no tunes, no intensity, no originality, no nothing. How much more of this shit do we have to hear?
Standard ’80s Britpunk. Some of these songs stand out by virtue of their higher speed and/or catchy choruses (especially the title cut and “Dead End Depression”) but most lack any distinguishing features. The 12″ contains three more tracks than the 7″ version.
Another great funnypunk release from the TOY DOLLS. “Nellie” is a disposable novelty song, but “Dig” finds the band in their real groove, baby—fast, guitar-heavy punk-pop with hilarious lyrics. It’s almost as neat as “Tommy Kowey’s Car,” and that’s saying a lot.
Northern Ireland’s VICTIM return with a bang on this wonderful punky-pop EP. The title song is the best track, with its heavily reverbed double guitars, BUZZCOCKS-ian vocals, and strong hooks. It’s a classic cut that’s not matched on the flip, though “Junior Criminals” has its merits. If only the UNDERTONES and RUDI still used this style!
This must be reunion season or something. The VIBES have returned to their original form after several years of wanking off. The re-recorded version of “Baby Baby,” one of their early hits, is inferior and thus totally unnecessary. On the other hand, the flip has traces of their classy old songwriting, and suggests that their upcoming album may actually be worth waiting for.
Scene veterans the WALL were always somewhat inconsistent, even as a fledgeling punk band, but this tendency became more pronounced as they entered their post-punk phase. Now, they are consistent—consistently bad, if this 12″ is representative. Only “When I’m Dancing” has a semblance of a hook; the rest are just ponderous, boring dirges.
Well, I didn’t know that “total anarchy” was a marketable commodity, but here it is. And the usual show, tedious punk-by-numbers in the grooves exudes the safe, commercialized form of “anarchy” that punk is increasingly coming to represent—all stylized form and no real content, all superficial slogans and no real ideas or action. The only cuts with any punch are the two by Death Sentence (both already released), one by CHAOTIC YOUTH (“Don’t Take Their Shit”), and one by EXTERNAL MENACE (“External Menace”). Otherwise, yecchh! Anyone want some cheap coffee-table anarchy?
As the band themselves say, “Never mind the SEX PISTOLS, here’s B. TRUG,” because this is a really superb punk LP with plenty of garagey raunch. Most of their material consists of short blasts of buzzing noise that evoke an oncoming locomotive; the rest has a pronounced rockabilly rhythm and sounds like early demos of the CRAMPS must have once sounded. The abrasive recording definitely captures the raw power that B. TRUG must generate live. My fave new German release.
A mediocre, very primitive punk album. In fact, the poor recording and amateur musicianship are COTZBROCKEN’s only real strong suit. Since most of the material plods along and lacks any hooks, good production would only make these guys sound like any run-of-the-mill English band. Aside from the hoarse vocals and an occasional song with spunk (“KZ” and “Hey, Punk”), this can’t be recommended.
Another excellent punk album from Finland. As we’ve already indicated, LAMA aren’t one of the young thrash bands, but an older-style punk group that started in ’78-’79. But that doesn’t mean that they sound like today’s boring English clone groups. They have musical muscle, songs with great dynamics, tightness, and they play pretty damn fast for a bunch of old-timers. Their new thrashed-out version of “Tavastia” is a classic, the high point of this LP. Rumors has that they’re breaking up. What a shame!
Radical protest music from the belly of the beast. RIOT SQUAD are South African punks who play slow, catchy ’77 stuff, but their real significance lies in their very existence in such a repressive country. Vicious anti-apartheid and anti-government lyrics are featured on this EP, so let’s hope that these brave lads don’t end up in jail or dead. Incredibly inspiring.
Mid-tempo German punk in the increasingly tedious Britpunk tradition. Still, PUNKENSTEIN are a lot more powerful than most of their cross-channel peers, especially on “No School.” Nothing exceptional, but loud and not without humor.
Again, flat production and mundane material make for an unsatisfying German punk album. This record is positively laid back, the worst possible attribute for a hardcore release. Much of the problem here is no doubt due to the wimpy recording, but the songs themselves don’t show much promise, either. There are rare glimpses of potential, but they never develop into anything substantial.
Not quite up to the standard set by their debut EP, but still excellent. Some of the thrashers run together indistinguishably, and slower metal songs like “Hero’s” and Black SABBATH’s “Children of the Grave” don’t cut it, but in general, the same qualities that made their 7” so great—sneering vocals that could strip the paint off walls, raging instrumental power, and perceptive lyrics—are well in evidence on this 12″. If you play it loud enough, you can a) make the Silent Majority wilt with “Battle Hymn of Ronnie Reagan,” b) do agit-prop work on the R.C.P. with “Don’t Want No Gun,” c) put fascists on the run with my fave “Take a Stand (Against the Klan),” d) drive your nosey neighbors crazy with any of these 16 tracks, or e) manage all of the above. This record’s an all-purpose ass-kicker, so use it.
An Italian band that occasionally sounds like the REACTORS or—dare I say it—a smarter VKTMS. A feisty Englishwoman belts out some modern rock material—punk, reggae, and post-punk. With such a wide stylistic approach, it’s not too surprising that S.I.B. don’t really excel at anything. The best songs here are examples of classical punk with real power, like “My Secret Life,” “Listless,” and “You.” A few worthwhile moments, but nothing earthshattering.
Nifty garage punk from the real Northern California. Some of it’s fast and some of it’s slow, but all their material shows potential. “Raygunomics” is a definite classic.
More demented experimental punk from this bizarre fellow’s band, though the punk element is only pronounced on “Guncontrol” and “The Army Is Calling.” “Africa” has, as might be guessed, strong African and reggae influences, while “Star” is a slow psychedelic piece. Interesting, but not for everyone.
One of the finest underground bands I’ve ever heard. The CRUCIFUCKS have more going for them than any group could ask for, including amazingly sharp lyrical barbs, insane Jerry Lewis-style vocals, sheet-metal guitar, innovative bass and drum interaction, and unique overall arrangements. The tempos vary, but every song is brilliant, especially “Establishment” and “Hinkley Had a Vision.” Mark my words, you’ll be hearing a lot more about these guys in the very near future.
The long-awaited return of ex-CRAMP Brian Gregory. Does his new band also feature primitive punkabilly? Unfortunately not. Instead, we get an atmospheric post-punk sound complete with haunting female vocals, a sax, synthesized sound effects, and a squeaky clean guitar. The horror themes alone remind one of the CRAMPS, so listen to this before you buy.
This New York outfit pounds out a stirring anthem directed against the stupidity and regimentation of our “educational” system (along with a mouldy JOHN FRED cover song). It’s medium-fast older-style punk rock with great lyrics and catchy choruses in the early SHAM 69 vein. You’ll flunk unless you give it a listen.
This Maryland punk band lies on the wrong side of the fine line between endearing primitivity and musical ineptitude. Still, the lyrics are strong and the vocals are great, so all these guys probably need is more time to practice.
After reading the hype about this Arizona band, I expected to hear great garage punk. Instead, I found wimpy new wave music with cutesy-pie female lead vocals. The uptempo “Pump-Rama” and the title track are OK songs in the B-52’s tradition, but the only things really interesting about KILLER PUSSY are their name and their trashy lyrics.
This is a great Bay Area garage band. I mean, this is such a good example of the genre it could be from the Midwest! Hilarious lyrics and a grungy sound make the MOHAWKS appealing as hell.
A new hardcore band from Portland. The material ranges from thrash to garage punk and their sound, while not terribly original, is nice and gritty. Unfortunately, the lyrics are really stupid, being sexist (“Devil”), violence-prone (“Pop Your Head”), and, despite their protestations, racist as hell (“Go Back”). These guys could be good after a few consciousness-raising sessions.
This is weird. “Zulu Beat” has conga-style drumming, XTC-type vocals, a bass run lifted from any number of ’60s psycho-punk songs, a restrained sax, and a couple of instrumental rave-ups. The flip pretends to be noisy rock ’n’ roll. Nothing to lose sleep over.
A great new New Jersey group with an intense female vocalist, slashing guitar chords, and top-notch lyrics. “Fuck the Past” proves that NO THANKS rank right up there with the best.
Radical teacher at local school is let loose in a recording studio and manages to produce a politically astute critique of Reaganomics within a humorous garage punk format. Pretty good for amateur hour, but grittier guitars could have turned these entertaining ditties into minor classics. Maybe next time.
Extremely abrasive metal noise supposedly stimulated by listening to the STOOGES played “backwards, forwards, and sideways.” Well, I believe it because this is definitely brain damage material. The lack of real vocals won’t help them commercially, but I doubt if they’ll give a fuck.
A much faster and more enthusiastic follow-up to this Ohio band’s kwiet KINKS-ish debut. Great ’60s pop vocals, hooks aplenty, and heavy guitars make this a sterling record. Really impressive, but I wish to hell Bomp would do a better job distributing their subsidiary labels—you can’t get Voxx 45s anywhere in the Bay Area and the situation probably isn’t much better elsewhere.
An amazing garage psychedelic 45. The bittersweet vocals, simple chord progressions, and crude guitar tones on “I Want…” remind one of innumerable underground classics from the mid-60s without plagiarizing any particular band. The flip is more “psychedelic” in the modern post-punk sense of the term. Great debut.
A new sampler of mostly unknown New York groups. It features stuttering thrash by the MOB and SQUIRM, but most of the music and themes are rooted firmly in the garage punk tradition. The best garage group is ISM, who should get kudos for both their political lyrics and the best song title of the year—”Moon the Moonies.” The HEADLICKERS, BUTCH LUST & THE HYPOCRITES, and KILLER INSTINCT have more of a rock/heavy metal origin, but the latter are real fast. This record is uneven but it does contain some gems.
This is perfection? No way, it’s a thoroughly unsatisfying debut album from CHARGE. And sneaky, too. First, they put out a brace of punk 45s and then lure everyone into buying a long-player’s worth of very different material. Herein lies rhythmic music with annoyingly precious vocals that should be placed somewhere between post-punk and experimental punk, the closest comparisons being UK DECAY, THEATRE OF HATE, and (gasp!) ADAM & THE ANTS. These guys have played punk rock like “Gasman” here since ’78, so they’re entitled to change styles if they want to. On the other hand, we don’t have to keep listening to them.
An interracial Britpunk band that currently sounds too much like the EXPLOITED for its own good. DEATH SENTENCE are fast, loud, and a little rough around the edges, so they could come on strong if they develop more of an individual style.
The PURPLE HEARTS return with three fairly pedestrian pop ditties that make one long for their older neo-Mod classics like “Millions Like Us.” This stuff isn’t really bad, it’s just totally unnecessary. Oh well!
Yet another in a seemingly endless line of British punk records. Though this new group doesn’t really break any new ground, better songwriting ability lifts them above the pack. If you insist on rehashing a ’70s punk format in 1982, you’ve got to write memorable tunes to hold anyone’s interest, and MAJOR ACCIDENT occasionally succeed where innumerable others are failing. Cool recording, too.
Great roaring post-punk with an abrasive sax, horror themes, and frantic drumming, especially on “Mind Disease.” “Nine” is more arty and hence less effective, but these guys have real potential. For early KILLING JOKE fans.
Another great-sounding Oi record from SPECIAL DUTIES, but regrettably they’ve exhibited completely reactionary values on this one. “Bullshit Crass” is an anti-CRASS diatribe which might be funny if these clowns did even 1/100th as much as CRASS to generate intelligence and help other bands. And what can you say about goons who consider CRASS—the ultimate anarchist group—to be “Reds”? Embarrassingly stupid.
Ditto for this long-player. SPECIAL DUTIES have everything—ripping guitars, amphetamine speed, sandpaper vocals, catchy choruses—except the all-important brains. This time they rail against the “Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament,” asserting with jingoistic passion that they don’t want to die for a weak England! (Fellas, you were born about a century too late.) If the imbecility quotient wasn’t so high, this would be one of my current faves. As it is, I can’t recommend it.
A very lengthy reprise of the militaristic song that once appeared on the VIBRATORS’ second album, courtesy of original member Knox. The 45 rpm side has more punky spunk and guitar effects; the 33 rpm side is more brooding and bass-heavy. If you like the song (as I do) you’ll enjoy this, but it’s not exactly good value for money.
This is a cool punk record with pop overtones. The latter appear as melodic riffs laid over a buzzing mid-tempo structure, very reminiscent of the late, great CRISIS. The intro to “Never Say Goodbye” is lifted straight from “Boredom,” the Buzzcocks’ old chestnut. A little nostalgia never hurt anybody.
Well-recorded English punk. The guitars are loud and the sound is heavy, but the material is just too typical to sustain interest. Ho-hum.
The fourth and supposedly final Oi compilation LP is far from the best. In fact, I’d say they’re scrapping the bottom of the barrel here. Aside from fetching cuts by the BUSINESS, the OPPRESSED, ATTAK, SKIN GRAFT, and our own BLACK FLAG, as well as a magnificently funny poem by ATTILA THE STOCKBROKER (“Away Day”), the res is pretty disposable. Gary Bushell’s silly liner notes are well in character, but he’s got a lot of cheek trying to force BLACK FLAG into an idiotic Oi mold.
Like the LAST RESORT album, this compilation suffers from weak production and generally lackluster performances. Only TDA generate real firepower with their speedy instrumental attack. The ACCUSED and the SEDATED also have their moments, but almost all the other groups have trouble writing a memorable tune. The biggest surprise here is that the newly reformed SKREWDRIVER—a seminal ’77 proto-Oi band—display little of the obnoxious punch that made older songs like “You’re So Dumb” so classic. On the whole, disappointing.
Super fast thrash, the characteristic Finnish hardcore sound. The BASTARDS have strong vocals and a nice wall of noise, but the weak drumming occasionally lessens the punch and the tunes tend to blur together. That doesn’t keep me from recommending it.
The missing link between LAMA and the younger Finnish thrash bands. KOHU-63’s newer material is considerably faster than the tracks on their ’77-like “Pelimanimusaa” EP. They certainly haven’t lost any drive or power, though some of the melodic hooks may have been trampled in the stampeding tempo. Still, a fine record, and check out the COCKNEY REJECTS-EXPLOITED parody (“Härpsälä Kids”) for a good laugh.
Fast classical-style punk with a chunky instrumental attack. It’s really good but not as awesome as some other Finnish hardcore releases. “Paskaa” is the standout cut, with its throbbing bass and drum beat.
The newest release from these scene veterans, and they’re getting faster and more intense each time around. Given the youthful competition, it’s not surprising that this EP showcases heavy thrash stuff, and it’s well worth your attention. Watch for an LP soon.
A raw one-sided thrash record with vocals that sound like they’re coming out of a covered garage can. In other words an extremely nasty debut with loads of promise.
More of the same great sound. The material here is very much like early DISCHARGE, only more garagey. I defy anyone to try and surpass T.KÄDET’S primitive guitar leads. Highly recommended.
Extremely biting ’77 punk with rough sandpaper vocals straight out of a horror film. This is really strong stuff and, best of all, it doesn’t evoke any close comparisons with other groups. Laryngitis rules, OK!
More ultra thrash from Finland. On this EP every individual song is manic and would sound super if played by itself, but it’s hard to distinguish between the various tracks when they’re all played back-to-back. I guess distinctive songwriting is what separates great thrash from good thrash, but this stuff is still pretty wild.
Powerful Finnish thrash punk. The closest comparison is probably GBH, except that these guys are better. “Jos sota tulee” is the best of a bunch of great songs.
With this release, T.KÄDET come of age and prove they’re among the world’s best hardcore bands. This well-produced record has everything—ultra tight thrash power, join in choruses, and lead vocals so demented they make the MEAT PUPPETS sound like the BEE GEES. The hottest punk EP released thus far this year, really.
“Osat” is a great punk song in the classic late ’70s tradition, complete with choppy fuzz guitar and cool background vocals, added for punctuation. Only the handclaps are missing. The B-side is slower and far less memorable, but this band is mining a rich if overused vein.
Unlike most Finnish bands, which pursue their chosen genre with a single-minded and frenzied dedication, 000’s debut is a mixed bag. Their crunching sound is applied equally well to thrash, mid-tempo punk, and even a couple of engaging post-punk numbers. It’s good to see experimentation, but I still favor the straight and nasty.
The second album from an old Toronto punk band known for its cavalier offensiveness. Compared to their classic In Love with the System LP, which was filled with unforgettable satire like “Elvis Is Dead” and “No Beatles Reunion,” this new release is rather tame. Despite the personnel changes, the group retains its infectious pop-punk sound and its absurdly ironic quality, but the themes are much more pedestrian and much of the obnoxiousness is gone. I guess that’s “progress” for you.
Punky pop-rock from Germany. The songs range from the heavy PROFESSIONALS-like pop of “Pest Club” to the PISTOL-ian “Rote Masque,” but they all have dense guitars and hooks aplenty. A mixed bag, but definitely worthwhile.
Mid-tempo ’77 punk from this German hardcore band. If the guitars were turned up twice as loud and the vocals were more raspy, the NORMAHL might have something going here. This isn’t the case, so the results are less than satisfying. These is an appealing amateurishness evident here, but it’s not enough to overcome the above-mentioned shortcomings.
Basic ’77 punk with no surprises. I’m not sure why, but most German hardcore groups are still mired in the slow ’70s punk tradition. The SYSTEM display little power, no intensity, and undistinguished songwriting. “Knall sie ab” is the best of this batch of material, but someone should send these guys a MINOR THREAT or NECROS EP to show them how it’s done in the ’80s.
The best garage punk album of the year. The SAMOANS have once again produced a brilliant amalgam of 60s punk, 80s punk, and heavy metal. The punchy uptempo sound, buttressed by three guitars and extremely belligerent mid-60s lead vocals is so dense that it’s well-nigh impenetrable, but it’s the SAMOANS’ exceptionally retarded sense of humor that really accounts for their perverse appeal. This brain-damaged approach is vastly better than the commercialized punk and self-conscious Satanic crap which currently dominates the LA scene, so don’t miss out.
Reputedly the last release from ZOUNDS, this 45 showcases an appealing change of musical direction. From punk origins to their rather post-punk phase to this, an ennui-filled variety of pop music particular to the English. Pick this one up if you’re a TV PERSONALITIES or SOFT BOYS fan.
Experimental punk from Denmark. A raw guitar assault and excellent lyrics are wedded to quite varied arrangements—some are thrashed out, some are slow, some are staccato, some are unrelentingly driving, etc. “Government, the Biggest Enemy” hurtles along at a breakneck pace and comes in first on the Bale scoring system.
The third in a series of German compilation albums recorded live in Hamburg. All of them have been uneven, and this one’s no exception. Basically, it contains boring rockers (SALINOS), art damage junk (LIEBESCIER), and unimaginative punk (the CORONERS). Even groups that have previously produced something worthwhile (the RAZORS, ABWARTS) are unable to rise above on this platter. For collectors only.
Like their Alternative Tentacles 12″, this new EP has three metal thrash attacks on one side and a reggae composition on the other. The outstanding punk cut is the blistering “Joshua’s Song,” and the BRAINS are finally improving their previously poor reggae style. Politically, this record reveals the typical Rasta mixture of progressive (opposition to the Establishment) and reactionary (repressive religiousity) values.
A really solid guitar-bass-drum attack anchors these highly intelligent blasts by a new Chicago band arising out of the ashes of DIRECT DRIVE. The singing is gravelly as hell, the music fast yet tight, and the songs infectious. A sure winner.
Thrash garage punk with amazingly snotty vocals. The instrumental raunch perfectly complements the singer, who sounds like he’s right on the edge of sanity. You’ll be singing the chorus to “Beastie Boys” for days after hearing it, and the psychedelic (“Jimi”) and country (“Michelle’s Farm”) satires are really silly. The best of the new crop from New York.
A new punk EP with a sound reminiscent of some of DOA’s earlier material. The production is real basic and the songs grow on you with repeated listenings, but the overall delivery is too restrained for the angry anti-fascist lyrics on songs like “US Police State.” Enjoyable but not earth-shattering.
Rock and roll retard JEFF DAHL is at it again! The guy may be a jerk, but it’s hard to fault this nifty garage punk record. “Power Trip” is older-style gutter rock, while the others are real fast punk blasts in the recent ANGRY SAMOANS vein. In fact, I’ll be anything it is the SAMOANS backing him up here.
A split package by these transplanted Floridians—two metallic rock songs and two thrashers. Although the vocals on the former pair remind one of the late Jim Morrison, the real strength of this EP lies in the others. “Male Domination” is a particularly outstanding cut, with its adrenaline kick and vicious anti-chauvinist lyrics.
Wisconsin thrash punk with more structural complexity than usual. Choppy rhythms, fluid guitarwork, and spastic vocals are the distinguishing characteristics here. DIE KREUZEN (formerly the STELLAS) provide further proof that the Midwest is no longer slumbering, so give them a listen.
Texas garage punk. “Hydro-Head” is sort of slow with a memorable chorus and one of the worst guitar solos I’ve ever heard; “Johnny” is a much faster and punkier song with a basic rock and roll bridge. Fun stuff.
The undisputed king of New Hampshire raunch rock returns with yet another trashy garage offering. G.G. may be predictable in his excesses, but when the results are this loud and absurd, it’s OK with me. This type of bone-crunching guitar-heavy stuff is as American as mouldy apple pie, but don’t expect the Reaganoids to invite G.G. to perform at the White House.
Hard-edged experimental punk with a lot of intelligence, the second release from this New York crew. Vocalist Stephan Ielpi is one of those rare individuals who doesn’t allow himself to be restricted by conventions, punk or otherwise, and it shows in the grooves. “Fun” is loud, fast catchy, and highly critical or ignorance and violence; “Functional” is slower and filled with romantic bitterness. Strongly recommended.
A hot garage punk album by a hitherto unknown bunch of nerds. Their uptempo sound, which is driven by two or three guitars and a synthesizer wall-of-sound à la METAL URBAINE, is extremely dense and chunky. The lyrics are satirical and usually funny, thought some songs (“Nazi Snotzy”) go too far and make them sound like insensitive geeks. The final verdict? Entertaining as hell!
Bass- and drum-heavy post-punk from the state of New York. “Screaming” has a basic rock’n’roll-rockabilly influence, while “Naja” is a pulsating quasi-psychedelic chant. I’m surprised this band hasn’t received more attention.
The first release on a Touch and Go subsidiary label (Special Forces) that apparently will not be restricted to hardcore punk. Detroit’s L-SEVEN has a unique neo-psychedelic sound that features an exceptionally fluid, almost jazzy guitar style. It works especially well on “Clear Visions,” which begins with an annoying sort of art damage before kicking into high gear. Interesting.
The kind of quintessential California beach punk that usually appears on Posh Boy’s label. The songs here range from slower pop-oriented numbers (“Scene”) to fast bursts of punk, but all of them have enough strong hooks to accommodate a large wardrobe. Cool music for a hot summer.
Ultra-primitive thrash from New York. Lyrically, the NIHILISTICS live up to their name, but the instrumentation sounds like a runaway vacuum cleaner and can be strongly recommended for that reason. This record is guaranteed to make musicologists puke, which increases its value substantially.
An amazing amalgam of ’60s punk and the infamous Johnny Thunders/HEARTBREAKERS school of dirty guitar sleaze. Distorted axes, humorous, socially unredeeming lyrics, and a remarkably trashy aesthetic make it difficult to relate this current incarnation of RED CROSS to the band that was once famous for quintessential teeny punk anthems. But if you probe beneath the new gutter exterior, you’ll find the same warped Southern California prism. With instant classics like “Linda Blair” and “Kill Someone You Hate,” this album has got to be bitchin’. Grab your wide bellbottoms and cop this sucker.
The third release from a truly inspired Minneapolis band. The REPLACEMENTS have managed to assimilate the best elements of rock and roll from all eras and fuse them into one high-velocity package. This EP contains real fast, raw garage music, and the wild recording has even more power than their great LP. “White and Lazy” sounds like CAPTAIN BEEFHEART, so this package is a must.
Great songs, great band, great people! 7 SECONDS were almost single-handedly responsible for creating the enthusiastic, intelligent Reno hardcore scene, and that same enthusiasm and intelligence are the hallmarks of their primitively produced debut EP. Most of the tracks are speedy thrashers propelled by soccer choruses and an exceptionally trebly guitar, though a couple (“Racism Sucks,” “We’re Gonna Fight”) have a slower Oi-type sound. “Anti-Klan” is destined to become one of the great punk anthems of the ’80s. Buy this one.
Sleazy garage punk from San Berdoo. This is the kind of band that seems to thrive in America’s non-cosmopolitan hinterlands, and it has a kind of basic honesty that is often lacking in musical centers like LA, NYC, and San Francisco. Lead guitars flail away in a mid- to fast-tempo format, and the lyrics have an untutored quality without sounding stupid. Pick it up.
SOCIAL UNREST has been one of my favorite Bay Area bands since they formed, and this EP reveals why. The mix is a bit too piercing on the high end, but the songs are fast, tight, catchy, two guitars loud, and lyrically sound. I personally prefer the older straightforward wham-bams (“Mental Breakdown,” “General Enemy”) to their more recent slow-fast numbers, but all the material packs a wallop.
Basic garage rock with some punk influences seemingly gleaned from the CLASH’s Give ’Em Enough Rope period. Music of this type normally doesn’t have politicized lyrics, but to their credit the TWINS are exceptions in this regard. Low marks for musical originality, high marks for persistence and a sharp tongue.
The best release on the Stiff label in quite a while (except maybe for the DAMNED reissues). When you graft an appealing instrumental sloppiness and belligerent New York vocals onto an irresistable base of pop melodies and punky guitars, you end up with this boisterous debut from the UNDEAD. Definitely worth the wait.
A really strong compilation of old and new LA punk bands. Some of the material is unreleased, but even the stuff that appears elsewhere sounds much better on this LP than it did on the originals. The remixing is that outstanding. It’s really hard to pick the cream of this crop, but I favor the high-powered thrash of MODERN WARFARE, MIA, and LOST CAUSE. If this is the first volume in a series, its successors should also be killers.
A nice concept almost ruined by disorganization. Meant to be an aural chronicle of an ourdoor punk fest held in Berkeley in the summer of ’81, this LP unfortunately reflects many of the event’s shortcomings. There’s no list of songs on the cover, no sheet or booklet with info on the bands, and, worst of all, the original recording speed was way too slow. I don’t know whether the generator used to record the bands kept frying out or what, but I do know that all the singers have been miraculously transformed into slow-motion bassos and all the groups sound embarrassingly out of tune. No one gets away unscathed, but noisy thrashers WAR ZONE are really hurt, having lost velocity and been censored (an anti-Bill Graham rap before “Marriage of Convenience” is missing). Fortunately the punk (DOA, TSOL, LEWD, WAR ZONE, FLIPPER) and post-punk sides (OFFS, WOUNDS, TANKS, TOILING MIDGETS) have been segregated, but on the whole this LP proves that good intentions alone do not a good album make.
Here is one record that forces me to wax philosophical. If ever a release reflected the yin and yang of the punk scene, this is it. In one corner is MIA, a band originally from Las Vegas, the champions of punk’s positive side. They’ve managed to fuse a super tight thrash sound with enlightened attitudes—”I Hate Hippies” is obviously meant as a satire with a moral—and the results are absolutely stunning. In the other corner is New Jersey’s GENOCIDE, who exhibits all the mindlessness attributed to “punkers” by straight society. A dirty, metallic guitar and some catchy tunes can’t disguise their blatantly sexist (“Period,” “Teenage Girls”), reactionary messages. I only hope MIA doesn’t suffer too much from guilt by association.
Sub Pop is an innovative little magazine that deals intelligently with alternative American music, sort of a pint-sized version of its cousin OP. In place of the usual eclectic printed zine comes this equally eclectic aural zine. The variety of musical styles covered, in one sense a strength, also ensures that few will appreciate the entire LP. I love the ’60s garage punk of Wichita’s EMBARRASSMENT, the innovative guitar pop of DC’s NURSES, the powerful instrumental by Seattle’s PELL MELL, and Doug Kahn’s nastily edited version of a Reagan interview. The rest ranges from good post-punk, pop, and psychedelic to unlistenable art damage, but those interested in the best of the non-punk underground should look no further.
A good but somewhat disappointing sampler of New York punk bands. The main problem is that the compiler—Tim Sommer?—didn’t always use enough discrimination in selecting bands or songs. Especially impressive are KRAUT’s piston-driven punk, the BEASTIE BOYS’ primitive thrash, and intense experimental punk by both the FALSE PROPHETS and the long-defunct MAD; one should also note ADRENALIN OD’s ultrafast funnypunk and the female-led noise of EVEN WORSE. Most of the other groups should already be familiar (BAD BRAINS, UNDEAD, HEART ATTACK, NIHILISTICS), but there’s no excuse for including macho Misfits-clones like the FIENDS and leaving the great REAGAN YOUTH off this compilation. A lot of the material here is available elsewhere, but ROIR has provided a service by reissuing some hard-to-find and out-of-print items.
CHAOTIC DISCHORD have fortunately stepped into the vacuum created by the demise of DISORDER, thereby showing that the English are capable of producing first-class thrash punk if they decide to. All these tracks are monstrously raw, and “Sold Out to the GPO” may even be too fast.
This is fast, quasi-experimental punk with incredibly out-of-tune guitars with are bound to annoy the feeble-minded. The CLOCKWORK CRIMINALS transcend all Britpunk clichés and come up with a truly original sound. Hooray!
After a two-or-more-year vinyl hiatus, the NEUROTICS are back with a stirring critique of both the reactionary Thatcherites (“Tories”) and assorted violent headcases. They’ve abandoned their earlier garage quality in favor of more melodic, well-produced sound, but without completely sacrificing their appeal.
After their first dismal 45, I’m amazed to report that ONE WAY SYSTEM’s new release features great Oi music. The excellent production highlights their soccer-chanting and twin-guitar-powered songs, one fast (“Future”), and the other slower. A good buy.
Probably the weakest single ever from this long-standing Northern Irish punk band. Nothing could salvage that putrid piece of muzak, “Angel Face,” though their militaristic rendition comes close. The flip is a remixed version of an already-released song. This band is capable of much more than they display here.
Left-wing skinheads put out a great pair of untypical songs that deal intelligently with important political themes. “Peasant Army” is driving and anthemic; the flip is rhythmic and bass-heavy, almost funky. Recommended.
One of the few recent post-punk records that I like enough to bother reviewing. Sure, it has the standard JOY DIVISION-clone vocals, but the drum machine’s hypnotic beat and the powerful psychedelic guitar in “Adrenochrome” are irresistible. The flip isn’t quite as good.
A brilliant punky follow-up to their excellent rockabilly-tinged debut. The double guitar power really grabs you, but the Straps also have a knack for writing dynamic, unforgettable tunes. “Brixton” is a mini-masterpiece dealing with Britain’s recent riots.
Slow punk verging on post-punk. These songs are powerful and rather hypnotic, but they don’t match the band’s irresistible “No War” on the Punk Is… cassette LP. Singer Tez is dedicated to disseminating obscure punk through his Retaliation Records enterprise, so support him and buy this 45.
Classical punk from Holland. The vocals are nice and rough, but the guitar is too clean to scrape the wax out of your ears. Not as good as their well-rounded Dead Entertainment LP.
Hard Finnish punk, ’77-style. “Totuus” is almost fast enough to be thrash; the others are slower. Nice buzzing guitar.
With a name like DISEASE and a song title like “No Future,” this record has to be punk, right? Wrong, it’s weak post-punk with squeaky-clean guitars. This is about as wimpy as ORANGE JUICE, so someone ought to sue them for false advertising.
This group’s first EP had a certain charm that they have now replaced with a leaden sound like that of label-mates ANTI-PASTI. The result is pretty nondescript.
A bona fide classic, manic thrash punk of the most intense kind. This EP demonstrates that DISORDER is the very best punk group in the UK and the only one that can even approach Yank outfits like MINOR THREAT and the FARTZ in terms of sheer power. If you get only one English record from 1981, this should be it.
The new release by the UK version of the PLASMATICS may contain the best song they’ve ever written (“Alternative”), with its snappy hook-laden chorus, raw power, and—perhaps strangest of all—intelligent lyrics. Unfortunately, the flip exemplifies their usual mediocre standards.
By no means special, but a vast improvement over their first heavy metal-punk release. Increased speed is the differentiating factor rather than improved songwriting.
RAMONES clones who sound more like the LURKERS except for some obvious vocal touches. Even so, these are the type of good poppy tunes that “da brudders” don’t seem capable of producing these days. I guess that’s a recommendation.
GBH are real fast and real powerful, but for some reason I’m not wild about them. Their songs just are not that distinctive and I have a nagging feeling that they’re all form and no content. Even so, “No Survivors” is one of their best efforts to date.
Disappointing. The sound is certainly heavy enough, but it’s too slow to keep up with their first thrash EP. Thematically sound but musically average, and I could do without another version of the HEARTBREAKERS’ “Chinese Rocks.”
A bunch of losers from the DAMNED, DEAD BOYS, and SHAM 69 band together and prove they’re not has-beens. This is a really original record featuring irresistible hooks, tasteful psychedelic guitar work and enough snottiness in the vocals to hold down the pretension. A pleasant surprise.
Very clever and very funny, but all too typical from a music standpoint. Except for the thrashed-out “Got Any Wrigley’s John?”, it’s the humor that makes this one stand out. (Not the award-winning title: “I Lost My Love to a UK Sub.”)
Medium-tempo SF punk with anti-war lyrics (I think), a few experimental touches (especially on “Mercs for Hire”), and a guitar that could use a helluva lot more distortion. The main problem here is the lack of any discernible passion.
Awesome thrash punk from DC. This band has the kind of power and commitment that most groups only dream about. Not only does this blast right off the turntable, but the songs really stand out. One of the two or three best releases of 1981, no doubt about it.
An extremely talented ’60s band from Riverside, CA that eventually immigrated to England to seek fame, fortune, and appreciation. This album, which contains some valuable unreleased material, showcases their evolution from a raw blues band with punk overtones (side 2) to a powerful, guitar-oriented group with Asian influences in the YARDBIRDS’ vein. Innovative records like this don’t age with the passage of time.
Weirdly-structured guitar raunch crammed with cynicism. Some of the cuts are fast (“Red Brigade”) and some are slower with herky-jerky rhythms, but all of them stimulate thought. The vicious critique of fashion-clone punks (“Mohawk Man”) is alone worth the price.
A really cool debut. “West Coast” is a satirical look at the California punk phenomenon which parodies the ADOLESCENTS’ “Kids of the Black Hole.” The flip is more strong mid-tempo punk with a short bridge that reminds me of the TURTLES! Recommended.
If you long for those great Irish punky pop groups like the UNDERTONES, RUDI, and the MOONDOGS, you’ll love this one. In addition, this Wisconsin bunch is that rarest of birds—a political pop band (“Make the Rules”). A minor classic in a currently neglected sub-genre.
Fast synth/drum-machine music with politicized lyrics, sort of like punk without guitars. Interesting, but not for the narrow-minded.
Power pop with real power. Loud, jangling guitars and exceptional catchiness make “Friends” one of the best examples of this style in a long time. The flip is more mundane, but the OUTLETS are getting better with each release.
Wild thrash punk in the FARTZ tradition, minus the distinctive songwriting. For some reason, only “Fight Establishment” and “Go Die” really stick in my head later, probably because of their strong choruses. Still, this EP is raw as hell and has great lyrics.
A thinking person’s punk 45 from Philly. Two politically sophisticated songs, one a thrasher (“Apathy”), and the other slow and measured with a focus on the half-spoken, half-sung vocals. Recommended.
“Wherewolf” is yet another entry in the SoCal shock-horror-punk sweepstakes. It’s pretty good if you like that genre, and I guess it was inevitable that LA punk would branch out somewhat. “Shapes” is a pedestrian punk cover of the old YARDBIRDS’ classic.
Representative English punk circa 1982, with gruff Oi-influenced vocals grafted onto a typical punk background. “No Escape” is fucking hot, the rest merely ordinary.
The best of the “skunk” bands comes up with a second terrific release. On this one the guitar sound isn’t quite as heavy and dense, but it’s more than compensated for by the accelerated tempo. A must.
Generic Oi with a five-year-old theme and a banal sound. Too little, too late.
Super lame. Boring songs, weak guitar, and a general lack of imagination make this a waste of vinyl. CHRON GEN were much better on their debut EP, before they allowed themselves to be overproduced. Live and learn.
A wild thrash attack makes this one a necessity. Better than 90% of the current crop of Britpunk. Why are there so few bands like this over there?
Like their first 7″, this is garage pop from the deep Midwest. I’d classify it as garage punk if the guitar overwhelmed the Farfisa-type organ, but it doesn’t so I won’t. Pretty good in an unremarkable way, and the critical anti-conformist lyrics to “Zombie” prove that these Okies aren’t from Muskogee.
Superior thrash punk from SoCal with a roaring sound and more punch than most in a genre known for hitting power. Need I say more? Highly recommended.
MDC, formerly the Texas STAINS, are one of the most politically-aware punk bands around today, and this record has enough food for thought to gorge the average listener with ideas. The music is exceptionally fast but much more complex than the typical thrash attack, a combination that can be disorienting until the material becomes more familiar. My one complaint is that the mix emphasizes the vocals at the expense of the guitars, but this is still one of the year’s best albums.
Garage punk at its finest. Only someone as smart as Touch and Go fanzine editor Tesco Vee could be responsible for something this trashy. With its gritty sound and themes like infanticide, repressed sexuality, and Beatlephobia, this EP is guaranteed to offend anyone with a speck of decency, so buy two and send one to the moral puritan of your choice. Me, I’m sending a copy to Senator Jesse Helms (R-North Carolina).
Great funnypunk with a powerful sound and Oi vocals. This is the kind of record that it’s uproariously fun to sing along with, especially if you’re drunk.
A mod-punk hybrid which is kind of catchy but too wimpy to have much impact. At least it’s different.
A new political punk group whose music isn’t yet wild enough to shake you up, though “Death to Humanity” comes close. “Bottled Oi” is notable for its ironic feel and its vicious critique of Oi mindlessness.
Depressing. Once a great guitar-heavy pop band, RUDI has now resorted to sickening keyboards. Just because the UNDERTONES added strings doesn’t mean that it’s OK for other Irish groups to get wimpy. Shoot the synth player.
The third 7″ from one of my favorite Oi bands. Though their amazingly gruff vocals and speedy tempo again lift them above the usual fare, none of these tracks is as irresistibly catchy as “Violent Society.”
An oddball release from a new funnypunk group featuring brilliant satire (“No Russians”) and a snarling song sans guitars and bass (“Revolution #10”). Atypical and recommended for that reason.
A strong debut for this group. Real fast standard punk throughout, none too original, but better than most.
A band that’s really deteriorated since their first two EPs. This new one, though not as bad as its immediate predecessor, barely halts the downward spiral. Beki seems bent on taking the same route as Siouxie, and the band appears content to follow lamely along. Only “Tomorrow’s Soldier” packs a real wallop because of its straightforward nature and louder guitars.
Whether you call this slow punk or fast post-punk, it’s got a certain flare. The buzzing guitars in “Fugitive” are attention-getting, and the melody line sticks in your head. Give it a listen.
Manic thrash punk with gravelly Oi singing. With its speed and intensity, this is probably the best record yet from Sweden. They thank BLACK FLAG, the DEAD KENNEDYS, DISORDER, and Dischord Records on their info sheet, which should give you some idea of their influences.
Possibly the fastest thrash garage punk ever recorded. So fast that the music cannot be structurally confined and sometimes degenerates into total noise. Some might think it’s too fast, but I really like the NEOS’ combination of aural chaos and political conscience.
Boston is happening! SS DECONTROL fired the shots heard ’round the world and generated a thriving hardcore scene. This great album shows why, with its ferocious thrash assault, committed delivery, and intelligent radical lyrics. Fan the flames!
A ska-ish band from SoCal. I was prepared to hate this, but it’s not all bad. “Disarm” is fairly straight ska, but “Destiny” is an engaging ska-punk fusion with a super fuzz guitar. Progressive lyrics provide a further bonus, so check it out.
A strong new release from the only real underground label in New Orleans. This EP offers ’77-type punk with a bite. Worth your attention.
“Life Is Cheap” is cool garage punk with hilarious lyrics, and “Expectations” is punky enough to be OK. The rest is basic rock of the most boring type.
LA Satanic chic by 45 GRAVE’s lesser shadow. “Become a Pagan” is a fast, haunting chant with spooky vocals that would provide an excellent soundtrack for pagan ritual dancing. The rest are slower dirges better suited to luded-out covens.
A huge disappointment. This is so lame it’s hard to believe TSOL put out one of the best punk EPs of 1981. “Man & Machine” is alright punk, “Statues” is embarrassingly wimpy and pretentious, and the others sound like substandard out-takes from the LP.
A fantastic group with a chunkier sound and a slightly slower thrash attack than MINOR THREAT. “Pay No Attention” is an awesome musical steamroller and this EP would be perfect if they’d included the classic “I Object,” but you can’t expect everything.
LA punk with female lead vocals. Stylistically, it fluctuates between modern thrash and more traditional punk. Surprisingly good for unknown band, and the song about Oki Dog—the infamous punk grazing ground—is hilarious.
The hype surrounding FLIPPER has already reached nauseating proportions, and I have no intention of adding to it. If you’re downed out, you’ll like their abrasive slow numbers and if you’re straight-edge, you’ll probably prefer the fast abrasive tracks (“Living for the Depression,” “Nothing”) that they seldom do these days. FLIPPER was much better back when this album was recorded, before they started taking themselves too seriously. After all, any joke—no matter how effective—ceases to be amusing if it’s told too often.
The best band from Hoosier territory since the PANICS and the early GIZMOS. The ZERO BOYS have managed to combine elements from the ’60s punk-STOOGES axis of their first EP (especially the great vocals) and ’80s thrash without losing anything in the process. This well-recorded album is varied enough to hold the interest of punk afficiondos from all eras, no small achievement.
The ZIPPERS return with a whimper rather than a bang, as might have been expected. This is undistinguished pop-rock without the faintest glimmer of originality. Ray Manzarek ought to be ashamed of his sickly production.
A strong release of exceptional historical interest, but one that’s a bit erratic and not always up to the standards set by Dischord’s awesome 7″ catalog. This record includes outtakes from all the core bands, as well as a sample of material by defunct bands like the UNTOUCHABLES and new outfits like those on side 2. The thrash material ranges from good to great (MINOR THREAT, YOUTH BRIGADE) and the experimental punk of RED C and VOID is noteworthy for its power and originality. Oi clones IRON CROSS are a bad joke and the grooves are too compressed to yield maximum power, but these are minor gripes about a hot compilation.
This one’s probably the best US hardcore compilation available. The material of course varies in quality, but all of it cooks. It’s pretty hard to choose, but GANG GREEN has the fastest and most intense thrash attack, though JERRY’S KIDS come close. On the other hand, the PROLETARIAT and F.U.’s (especially “Preskool Dropouts”) have the most perceptive lyrics. The FREEZE combine original music with intelligent content, and DECADENCE weigh in with a critique of mindless, ultra-violent slamming. All in all, a great introduction to Boston’s finest (excepting SS DECONTROL, who don’t appear here).
Another excruciatingly boring release from this overrated band. Their attack is a slow-motion one, and I can hardly stay awake till its conclusion. The wimpy pop sound on this 45 makes it even worse than their usual offerings.
Reactionary bikers posing as punks put out a second heavy metal 45 as pathetic as their first. All the record industry hype and rich backers in the world won’t make these do-dos popular unless punks have become as undiscriminating as conventional rock fans.
Standard UK punk, slow and passionless. “Future Girl” has a unique intro and cool ’60s guitar break, but on the whole this effort isn’t as strong as their 1980’s debut. The vocals sound like Gene October of Chelsea.
A new 10-song EP from the DC area. Half of it is the standard DC thrash—pretty good but not outstanding. The other half consists of short bursts of concentrated noise with a stop/start arrangement, sort of like the MINUTEMEN. Mail away for it, because you probably won’t find it in the stores.
Greg Prevost and company again comes through with great ’60s punk from the ’80s. The “monaural” sound and snot-nosed vocals give this 45 an amazingly authentic feel, so much so that I’m actually reminiscing. But you don’t have to have been a teenage asshole in 1966 to enjoy it today—it’ll still drive your neighbors crazy.
Cover your ears, the CHILD MOLESTERS have been resurrected! The band that brought you “I’m the Hillside Strangler” is back, at least on vinyl. This material, originally recorded in 1978, is like the movie Plan 9 From Outer Space—it has enormous appeal precisely because it’s so awful. With titles like “I’m Gonna Punch You in the Face” and the most amateur musicianship imaginable, I’ve got to recommend it.
Jim Jacobi, one of the American indie pioneers of the late ’70s, has come up with an eclectic mixture in this new incarnation of his CRAP DETECTORS. An underlying intelligence is evident throughout this album, but the music, which ranges from garage punk to garage rock to garage reggae (“Phenomenal Technical”), is only sporadically engaging.
What an anomaly! An English clone punk group from California. Even if the singer is English, and he’d better be with an accent like that, there’s no excuse for the other members aping their Britpunk counterparts when they’re from a state known for superior hardcore bands. “Truth Comes Out” and “When You’re Young” work pretty well due to their speed, but the others aren’t worth talking about.
A remarkably distinctive record, combining the best elements of the VELVET UNDERGROUND, LOVE, and the LEGENDARY STARDUST COWBOY. With these raunchy points of reference, this can only be described as “psycho-delic.” Wow!
My favorite release of 1981, and that’s saying a lot given the quality of the competition. The FARTZ thrash so hard and fast that they leave most hardcore bands behind in a cloud of dust, but they still manage to exercise a lot of brainpower. This EP is as intelligent, frenetic, and intense as any you’re likely to hear, so get it now before it’s out of print.
I normally hate heavy metal punk, but the EFFIGIES do it so well that categories become meaningless. “Bodybag” is appealingly straightforward while “Security” has a dance-oriented beat with layers of metallic guitar and an occasional dubbed vocal. The production here doesn’t compare with their earlier EP, but they do include some hilariously uninformed literature about punk rock by right-wing (U.S. Labor Party) and left-wing (Progressive Labor) retards.
Lightweight post-punk with sparse guitar and “modern” vocals. There are some interesting arrangements and hooks here, but they could use a heavier, more abrasive backing.
A strong debut by a young New York band, “God Is Dead” is the first thrash punk song from the Big Apple, unless you consider the BAD BRAINS a New York outfit. The other songs are fast but more traditional stylistically.
Phoenix skateboarders thrash out and come up with an EP full of classy teenage punk anthems. The guitar could be more grating, but the songs are fast, catchy, and pretty damn funny (“Beach Blanket Bong-Out”). Check it out today, and skate your troubles away.
I would have thought it premature, but here’s a band that’s inspired by VICE SQUAD. Even though “What Justice” is super fast and catchy, one VICE SQUAD is enough, thank you.
’77-style punk from Texas. It’s real good in a vaguely nostalgic way, with lyrics ranging from intelligent (“Fallout”) to stupid (“Scrungy Girl”). “Radio Anarchy” is a particularly catchy track with slightly muddled sentiments.
A marked improvement over their debut. This time around their influences—SIOUXIE, GANG OF FOUR, etc.—aren’t as obvious, so if you’ve got a hankering for sophisticated guitar-oriented post-punk, DA is for you. “Strangers” is an especially haunting song, and the guitar work is exquisite throughout.
Fast heavy metal punk with good political lyrics. The tunes are strong, but there’s a bit too much lead guitar wanking for my taste, especially on “I’m Gonna Make You Scream.” Still, it’s a promising debut.