Reviews

Rotten Ron

Era Bleak Era Bleak LP

What a great fucking name for a band right now. This is Candy and Justin from the TRIGGERS, SLEEPWALKERS R.I.P., and DARK/LIGHT so you know you’re getting a quality product. This release is more on the punky side as opposed to some of the gothier post-punk of some of their previous bands, and it rips. A really nice balance of classic Dangerhouse style slam and pogo and bit of SADO NATION combined with that classic only in the Northwest WIPERS-like dreariness. Zach from PISS TEST does some serious Sage channelling on songs like “Struggle” and pretty much rages throughout this record. The lyrics are brilliant—bleak and optimistic at the same time, if that even makes any sense. Just listen and sing along to some of my favorites here, like their theme song “Era Bleak, “MRI” and “Opinions,” and you’ll get a nice “we’re all gonna die but it’s kinda fun” vibe that’s pretty swell. Not a stinker here and as we brace for the coming military state and poisoned planet we now have a nice soundtrack as we sift through the rubble. Now go vote.

Home Birth Enjoy CD

These San Jose bros smoke big weed. Seriously. Think big joints, high fives, and inside jokes. It’s like ANDREW W.K. meets FRANK ZAPPA, the RESIDENTS, S.O.D., and SKATENIGS. It works for me on the moodier, noisier numbers like “Donner, Party of 4,” but most of this is past my caring. They could share a bill with M SECTION (reviewed last month) quite nicely. Cool.

Silent Era Rotate the Mirror LP

Oakland. City of my birth and one I often take for granted with its shinier sister across the Bay where I grew up. SILENT ERA is just so Oakland (sorry Greg) with its dreary WIPERS-ness layered under Matt’s East Bay thrash metal axe attack and a rhythm section as thick as the morning fog off the lake. The title track comes on, I close my eyes and I’m zooming past the warehouses on Mandela Parkway in the early dawn, then cranking it on as I turn down East 14th into the high numbers. Michelle really does have the perfect post-punk anarcho voice, the kind that can really sing and not just shout. This time I’m hearing a little Penelope and especially Theresa from the BRAT on songs like “The Hook” and “Future Dreams,” two of my favorites here. Seriously taking it up a notch with this release and…hell…these are some of the best people I know. Booz Ullrey may be the finest example of what a smart, strong punk person should be, and Greg! Greg is fucking legend! (And he rescued me by letting me live in his house when I was a wreck.) But it’s the music! …and while this is short and sweet, it’s truly a beautiful piece of art and rage and well worth several minutes of your precious time. Pardon me…I need a tissue now…

Blood Bags / Brain Bagz split LP

How do you suppose two such bodypart and fluid “bag” bands from opposite sides of the world came to know each other and share a slab of vinyl? A random internet search? A blind “Hey, I think you’d dig my other ‘bag’ friend” sorta thing? Dunno, but lucky for us, this SLC and Auckland match came to fruition and even a US tour at some point. New Zealand’s BLOOD BAGS (they use the S bags moniker?) play a much less druggy and less noisy CHROME CRANKS and SCIENTISTS meets KYUSS swagger flavored dirge. It’s damn decent and “Quivering Violence” is pretty rageworthy. That’s all fine and nice but let’s talk about SLC’s BRAIN BAGZ (thats with a Z, folks). Totally unoriginal CRAMPS and MAD DADDYS worship but they’re young, they pound, they stomp and they love love love what they do. I have zero real clue but it’s a total delinquent-like feeling and that fuzz is just lovely and the lysergic beeps and squawks are all timed just right. “Look a Bit Sick,” “Dracula Sam,” “Haunted”…so tired right? But no! This shit kills and not a limp tune in the pack. Worthy much very of your time! (Not a typo.) Primitive.

Noi!se Lost 12″

I can’t say I’ve been a fan of this Seattle Oi!/modern rock hybrid band in the past and I’m not much of a supporter of Pirate’s Press’s one-song UV-printed picture 12” format. Seems really wasteful and I don’t get the point. This release finds the band continuing in the slicker, bigger sound vein than earlier releases so it’s not really making me a convert, but their lyrics are well written and their musicianship and songcrafting are undoubtedly talented, veering this release into almost radio-friendly territory. I could see some fans of later DROPKICK MURPHYS or even the USED taking a liking to this one. Not for me.

The Usurpers Future Wars LP

This SLC band comes at you hard and fast with a socially conscious UK82 style and strong DIY spirit. They’re so DIY that you are provided with a full album download complete with make-your-own CD and tape covers free of charge on their website. Musically, it’s a cross between latter-day EXPLOITED and something that would be at home on the Pogo Attack comp of yore. The singer has an off-time shouty/talky voice that reminds me of the singer of the PIST crossed with El Duce. There’s a lot of material here with lots of unfortunately ever-relevant anti-cop lyrical content provided. Pick it up.

M Section Pastrami Salami LP

The “silly guy hardcore with schizophrenic musical styles and influences” is a genre much ignored and not one I have been presented with for quite some time. Having once been in such a band, I can understand (to a point) while also being thoroughly perplexed by the all-over-the-place-ness met with showboating musicianship as a chosen mission. Elements of jazz, country, metal, prog and of course punk are the backdrop for adult contemporary masterpieces with titles ranging from “Where’s the Beef” to the epic “Lobster Dog” whisked along by precision drumbeats, noodling guitar stroking and pop-punk whoa whoa whoas. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Oh sorry, pardon my nod. The reference points for me would be FAITH NO MORE, MR. BUNGLE and SUM41 so Santa Rosa’s burning. Give it a whirl.

The Persecuted Terrorist USA EP

These Austin punks know how to ruck it up UK82 style, making a mess of it for the squares and keeping their hair charged proper at evening’s end. Nice ’90s-style polico/street/drunk punk style graphics and an attitude right up there with early TOTAL CHAOS. Their singer has one of the best pirate growls as evident on mid-tempo numbers like “So Many Lies,” but they also have a nice SHAM sense of melody such as in the title cut. Numbers like “The Prisoner” would be welcome in any VARUKERS set, and the lyrics, while nothing new, are manic yet cerebral and well-written. I could see these folks on stage with the ELECTED OFFICIALS as well as in an ’80s London squat. A well-thought-out and packaged release.

Frente Norte Luchar y Ganar LP

A ripping slice of wax from this Toledo, Ohio punk/Oi! hybrid band. Not unlike fellow Midwesterners FUERZA BRUTA, who also know how to tear it up with chants and sing-alongs in Spanish, FRENTE NORTE adds a little extra jolt of positivity into the equation and even treds into pop on songs like “En La Esquina” without getting wimpy. There’s separate lyric sheets in Spanish and in English for the not so linguistically proficient such as myself which is very appreciated. Ranging from primitive NABAT-style gruff ragers like “Punk Sistema Alternativo” to AUSENCIA-like catchy fist raisers like “Atomico” to all-out feel good orchestrated COCK SPARRER anthems like “La Patrulla” there’s not really a dud here and it’s a good sell on a future trip to Toledo for this punker. Salud!

GoGoGo Go Golden cassette

From the home of much delightfully weird-ass punk, Bloomington, IN, comes this aged punker duo. It’s just bass and drums and like other fave two pieces—MENTAL PYGMIES, C AVERAGE and QUEEN COBRA (well technically they had a drum machine)—the sound is upfront and raw. Lend some CIRCLE JERKS-esque hardcore hooks to some DESCENDENTS pop sensibilities and add a positive message or two to the mix and you got a damn good Tuesday night. Beautifully packaged tape. “O.A.D.” is brilliant.

The Elected Officials Death for Sale LP

Austin, Texas’s the ELECTED OFFICIALS are punk as fuck. I may not totally be into what they’re doing always musically but there’s zero doubt that this band works and plays crazy hard and is completely for real. They’re also down with all the right causes and put up their hard earned cash to prove it. As we quietly (or not so quietly) sit here mid-apocalypse, it’s ever more important to pick a side and the OFFICIALS have and they’re putting in the work globally to fight the escalating war on shit. Slap this plastic disc on and be greeted by pounding charge-yer-hawk punker splendor that would be comfortable sharing a beer with the likes of VICE SQUAD, NO THANKS, the RESTARTS or even the Austin/SF kings of politico punk MDC, who I see they’ve done a bit of work with. Their singer Sophie Ruckus (how punk is that?!) has a powerdriver of a voice that’s a cross between Wendy O, Cliff Hanger, and Kurt Brecht. The lyrics are printed much too small on this CD for my old eyes but they come through loud and clear, educating the listener on a surprisingly wide range of causes and topics. Favorites are “Battle Inside,” “Derrumbando Las Fronteras” and “Kill and Cure.” So pick this one up even if it’s just to support the good fight and remember to kill a cop or a Republican along the way.

Schizos Schizos LP

This Nashville band has been on my To Listen To list for awhile and thanks to the Supreme Gods of Punk at MRR, I’m enjoying this hot piece of teen angst in this comfort of my isolation cell. Pissed off, blown out to hell and over in minutes. Just how I like it. Think “Blowjobs” by GG AND THE SCUMFUCS but angrier and faster, this kicks off with the 2:17 minute magnum opus “Driller” and proceeds to burrow a happy hole from your skull to your spine. “ATF,” “BAR”, “Juice Is Loose”…minutes feel like seconds until this rectal lobotomy leaves you a warm puddle of soil and blood. The last thumps of “Banned In Birmingham” blows my system. Fuuuck. It’s young, it’s bratty, and it’s annoying as all fuckall. I love them. I hate them. I want to be them. SICK THOUGHTS, early OBLIVIANS…blah, blah. Buy it. Take it to the grave.

Eyes and Flys Coastal Access / Black Flowers 7″

This band is a mystery to me in credentials and style. They come from Buffalo and play an earnest melding of classic rock and 100 FLOWERS-style reverbed artiness. Unfortunately the atonal vocal style is distracting and not too pleasant. Musically, it’s an intriguing listen and exudes a dark, paisley-coated dreariness with lyrics that border on poetic. A beautifully silkscreened cover envelopes it perfectly—all back and covered in flowers. I maybe could see them on a bill with COME HOLY SPIRIT but I’m just not so crazy about those vocals.

Vaxine Leeches EP

This ones a total no-brainer. After an absolutely bulletproof demo in 2019 that I just listened to ten minutes ago, Brooklyn’s VAXINE returns to slay with their debut platter. A real fucking super group with members of PMS 84, SPETSNAZ, and SAD BOYS among zillions more of your favorite bands. You know what you’re in for with all that and the best of UK and Bristol by way of Osaka…CHAOS UK, the SWANKYS, EXPLOITED and I want to say a little classic UK SUBS. Kicks off with “Leeches” which is what I’m sure feeling right now and does not let up. Song titles like “Less Than Human,” “Never Ending Fight,’, “In Decline” and “Mundane Life” beg you to wonder if this is a cry for help or a legitimate expression of the shit we’re in?!  Plenty of vocal echo and chaotic guitar mayhem with a pounding tribal beat and Anya’s bass which just makes everything… fun! I don’t want to say you’re lame for not liking this, but you’re definitely a little less of a good time in my eyes. The world needs VAXINE now! (Yeah, I had to say it.)

Bloodshot Bill Get Loose or Get Lost LP

I’m not too familiar with the countrified one-man rockabilly stomp of this Canadian crooner, but I see that he’s collaborated with a who’s who of modern garage rock heavyweights. Much less unhinged and more restrained than personal favorites of this genre like the mighty HASIL ADKINS or even contemporaries such as LIGHTNING BEAT MAN, Mr. Bill (lol) adheres to a more traditional and stiff variance of Sun Records worship. It’s quite good, though, with scratchy, old timey production effects that could have this being sandwiched between CHET ATKINS and DUANE EDDY without making a staunch purist cry fowl. This reminds me of some of the stuff ex-skinheads were getting up to in the ’90s and being that is when he got his start, I might not be far off in my comparison. What are you waiting for? Grab your gal of any or non-gender variance, jump in your jalopy and head to the hootenanny.

Total Rejects Total Rejects LP

This is pretty rad. A not-at-all-modern-anymore noisyasfuck take on the garagecore genre permiates this band’s tainted soul. With the amount of screech and distortogration dripping from this wax, I want to immediately cry “Japan!” typing out random blurts of TEENGENERATE, Bag of Hammers-era GUITAR WOLF and even CONFUSE and GAI. This would sorely miss pinning this band to the mat in any kind of style or substance though. From their photos, the thin moustached hipster look of fourteen years ago has not been lost, but seeing that these gents are from Russia, I am left humbled by their mighty Euroness and ten-years-behindness. Total Rejects begins and ends with a spooky synth soundtrack to a Russian monologue not of my easy deciphering but surely having clues on how to control the president. Sandwiched in between are wonderfully angst-ridden psalms easy for one to slam spit or dance to, often precluded by a Ginnlike squeal of feedback. The REATARDS might be an easy go-to comparison but this mind is whisked back in time to days and lost evenings listening to the likes of the CARBONAS, BEAT BEAT BEAT, GAYE BLADES and the late BOBBY UBANGI if only for their spirit, attitude and facial hair stylings. Love it. Buy it!

Glitter Tacos They’re Afraid of the Tacos CD

This San Antonio band is one big, sloppy party. Like all good Texas groups such as BANG GANG, they are hard to pin down in any square hole category. Musically ranging from hardcore to prog to metal to “Wooly Bully”?! Yes, it’s that kind of party. Personally I prefer the weirder numbers like “Backpage (Saved My Life)” but there’s something here for the whole dysfunctional family in your life. These are big men with big musical ideas and while it might not totally be what I’m into, a taco is a taco nonetheless.

Living Rigormortis Medusa and the Kiss EP

While this band hails from the Rose City, it feels like their hearts are in a mid-’80s New Jersey wood-paneled basement lounge with a TV cranking out horror classics and a mom screaming “keep that racket down” in a thick Jerseyesque accent. Think SAMHAIN, MOURNING NOISE, KRYST THE CONQUEROR, and the BEAST with some early OFFSPRING thrown in when they were still on the spookier side of things. It’s not super punk, but spooky and catchy nonetheless, and they have an adorable YouTube video for the superior opening track as well. Crawl out of  your basement or cozy condo and pick up a copy.

Methmatics Methmatics LP

This band appears to consist of mostly aged punkers with probable knowledge of the Ohio classics they emulate, as well they should, since they hail from Columbus, home of the NEW BOMB TURKS. The PAGANS and RUBBER CITY REBELS, as well as non-Ohioans like the LAZY COWGIRLS can be felt here, but in a lukewarm Burger Beer sort of way. Totally competent, but never quite moving one from a shoulder dance from a barstool. Pittsburghers often hate on their neighbor state, but I’m pure Californian and this just doesn’t rock me out of the lazy Midwest coma it induces. Better luck next time.

Benny and the Roids Predictions EP

I am soooo stoked I get to review this. My favorite tape of 2015, and maybe one of my favorites of all time, gets committed to vinyl so it doesn’t get all warbly and warped in your crappy boombox. Originally released on the unequaled Silenzio Statico label, this is now given the deluxe treatment by the supreme folk at Discos MMM. I was lucky enough to see this band tear it up in the backyard of the Poor Kid’s Mansion in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles back then, and the singer cried and crooned the whole time, wearing a twelve-pack box over his head. Touching and memorable for sure. This release, to me, cries out classic late ’70s/ early ’80s LA punk: the EYES, PLUGZ, ALLEY CATS, and BAGS are all represented in spirit. There’s also a big helping of ’79 UK working class shout and melody thrown in, like SHAM or CHELSEA, even though I kinda hate CHELSEA. I guess super street and super LA is what I’m trying to say here, and if “Passive Aggressive” doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, you’re too fucking hard, man, and should chill. Buy this now! And someone please send me a decent burrito. I’m dying.

Sky Tigers Eulorgy LP

This Massachusetts band loves ’80s thrash, or more closely, early 2000s retro ’80s thrash. They are as tight as Mitt Romney’s butthole, and take their cues from D.R.I., MUNICIPAL WASTE and later MOTÖRHEAD. Like a less punk SPEEDWOLF, this lacks the grit and grime I so strongly crave with this sort of party. The singer has a constant one-tone scream, and almost nü-metal style that berates and makes this reviewer want to call for the check. Still, songs like “Truth Decay” and “Nobody Puts Baby in a Dumpster” are fantastical shredwork, so give it a spin and see what you decide. I need more coffee.

Ignorados Comediantes Roy LP

I had the great pleasure of seeing this Puerto Rican band when they rolled through Pittsburgh earlier this year. I actually went with zero beforehand knowledge of their work, simply on the fact that seeing a band sing in Spanish is a bit of a rarity here and makes me homesick for California. Upon arrival at the Rock Room, I was taken aback on discovering they were a pop punk band!?! After a couple songs, though, I was completely won over by their honesty and sincerity as it seems like most other punks were as well. They simply rocked like that QUEERS or SCREECHING WEASEL show you saw in a shithole way back and hate to admit you loved. This record is a fine representation of what I witnessed, minus the sticky smell of spilled beer and much secondhand smoke. Good work, people!

Kong Kong Raw and Primitive EP

Picture in your mind the singer of LAIBACH or a hard-growling Ian Stuart fronting a band made up of BIG COUNTRY, PROCLAIMERS and SLADE members. I really hate conceptual reviews like that but I’m not shitting you. That’s what this sounds like to me right now. I feel like I huffed a whole case of whip-its cause this record is fucking hilarious and great at the same time. Probably not what they were going for, but it has a nice glammy streetrock vibe and I dig it nonetheless. Thank you.

The Nerv Standard Deviant LP

I don’t recall ever seeing this San Francisco band. Not surprising as they started up about the time I could no longer afford to live there. They seem very much to have their hearts in the right place with songs about the aforementioned high rents and other important issues of the day. Hard-chugging locomotive-driven punk marked by a huge theatrical element complete with a singer worthy of a Broadway musical. They even do a Wizard of Oz cover!?!  At times I’m feeling the GITS and others it’s the punk opera aethstetic of the PLASMATICS’ Maggots album, especially on songs like “Mitochondria of the City.” San Francisco is doomed for sure but these folks are putting up a fuss.

The Drowns Under Tension LP

Slick, big production Oi! from the Emerald City. I’d heard their Hold Fast single previously and if that got your sta-prest hard then you’ll cream all over this one. Catchy and upbeat to the point of nausea. If you like your street rock in the vein of the OLD FIRM CASUALS with a hint of STIFF LITTLE FINGERS and a little leprechaun dancing thrown in, then it’s almost payday. What are you waiting for?

Ghoul Squad Necrodoll LP

You might pass over this one at your neighborhood shoppe by simply judging it for the unspectacular “spooky punk” band name and album cover. You might even slap it on and yawn at the prospect of yet another bunch of MISFITS-worshiping goons. Those in the know, though, (read: nerds) will recognize one vintage ’80s black-clad Cape Cod unit once championed by former shitworker Brian “Pushead” Schroeder on his label comps and personal volume of the Thrasher Skate Rock series. A little digging around Discogs will inform you, the eager consumer, that this album was to be released way back yore before Pushead folded his label and only megabucks test presses existed…until now! That being said, this record is pretty decent and not simply a MISFITS wannabe but also throws post-punk, goth, skate rock and metal into the pot. Equal parts SOCIAL DISTORTION and MOURNING NOISE as well as SAMHAIN and the JONESES. You get “Devilock”-style thrashers like “House of Mirrors,” headbanging anthems like “Cemetary Seniors,” and sing-alongs like the title track that will keep you whoa-whoa-whoaing into the midnight hours. Not worth the megabucks but it’s a good time for sure like bad kids in the cemetery, cheap beer and a little headstone tipping.

Piss Test Hookup Holiday EP

Not to be confused with the excellent Portland band, these Gainesvillers play speedy tongue-in-cheek punk in the style of the LUNACHICKS or BUTT TRUMPET. Maybe I’m tripping on that, but from their pics, they definitely know how to play dress-up and put on a show. Songs ranging in topic from indiscriminate sexual liaisons to gentrification to getting hassled by the man. Not overly politically correct but not dumb as nails either. Play it for your kids.

Romskip Dagens Ungdom 12″

Pretty interesting garage/psych/rock/punk band from Bergen, Norway. Treading the preverbal tightrope between the sleazy underground and higher aspirations, they fall a little too far in the middle for my taste. A worthwhile listen, though, as they walk through musical territory once covered by the HIVES and the LEATHER NUN with plenty of Euro ’60s pop sensibilities thrown in…but still a little safe for these ears.

Death Ridge Boys (Don’t Let Them) Divide Us / Working 7″

You could easily file this under the “Hairy Guys Playing Oi!” category, but that would be a great disservice and you’d only be robbing yourself of a real kicker of a record. This is the guy from TALK IS POISON’s anti-fascist working class street rockin’ quartet from the mean artisan-coffee-drenched back alleys of PDX. The title track here is a complete “War on the Terraces” vegan leather boot stomping anthem. “Working” is little more of a hard rocker: regaling the woe-filled tales of clocking in yet another hard day at the bicycle collective. All jokes aside, this a scorching little platter with well-thought out lyrics and is well worth your wages.

Erik Core Last Call LP

I’ve never been a big fan of acoustic punk, but it seems to be coming up more in my life lately. I witnessed an excellent set by my friends’ band RENT STRIKE the other night, showing me there can be some merit to the genre. Not having much to compare this to besides the aforementioned band, BILLY BRAGG, AGAINST ME!, DAVE DICTOR, or that time my old band got our equipment stolen and we had to wing it, this is a fairly entertaining album of socially aware and politically charged music. “Jacked Up” and “High Noon” are my faves, featuring a heavier country sound and biting commentary about my old home town. Erik has been around the Bay for a long time, and this record is even mastered by the guy from the LEWD and METAL CHURCH, so dim the lights, pull out the incense and bourbon, and give it a try.

Stank Voor Dank Where Seagulls Dare 10″

You’ve for sure seen these knuckleheads around if you’ve spent any time in the past twenty years or so at shows, skateparks, or the local dives of Frisco. Boasting prime members of the TEXAS THIEVES, HIGH AND TIGHT, and FRACAS, among others, you get exactly what you’d expect here, and more. It’s hardcore skate rock with a tinge of Oi! and a heavy leaning on early BAD RELIGION and Nardcore like ILL REPUTE. You could totally imagine this blasting out of the old Jak’s house in the Lower Haight on a Tuesday afternoon. Foz’s vocals are seriously on point here, and the song titles, while tongue in cheek, lyrically express some thought out social and political commentary. Go figure. There’s more than Pabst and shots going on with these fellas. Of course there’s also some wonderful no-brain-cells-required party anthems like “Blackout Drinking” and “Evel” to round out your last call at Benders. I’d probably lose the meth vs. cocaine argument with these barflys, but oh well. Buy the guys a shot on me.

Universum Heavy Metal Gefahr LP

This is really fucking great and totally not punk at all. Featuring member(s) of German punk band PISSE (not Piss) and some other Berlin bands I’m not familiar with. Not sure if this is a parody, tribute, or what, but the album and title track is “Heavy Metal Danger” and, by all means, that is what you get here. Totally channeling early ACCEPT (you know, the band with the five-foot growling German lawn gnome in bondage gear singer) and also going into some proggish territory of Taken By Force-era SCORPIONS and early-ish UFO when they first went metal. Raging wind-in-your-hair, blazing-down-the-Autobahn heavy metal insanity—not for wimps. There’s a few post-punker moments and baselines on songs like “Nightcrawling Boneheads,” but this is 99% not for shorthairs. Put up signs of the horns here.

Mick’s Jaguar Fame and Fortune LP

Bar rock’n’punk from NYC, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Definitely more on the rock side than punk. I guess they started out as a STONES cover band, but you can also hear a lot of classic New York swagger, the likes of MANITOBA’S WILD KINGDOM and the SIC FUCKS on this. Going back to a long-gone time in the late ’90s where glam-y, sleazy rock’n’roll was a thing, and rents were cheap(er). You could easily see them on a bill with STISISM and SUICIDE KING at the Continental. “The Real Boss” and “Call the Guy” are the bomb (note my dated ’90s slang). Buy it!

Phorids Mean Street CD EP

This Fort Worth, TX band plays some beefy ’80s style US hardcore with hooks galore, sort of like the OFFENDERS, LOCKJAW and CONDEMNED TO DEATH. They could easily share a bill with the current versions of FANG or POISON IDEA. Songs ranging in subject matter from socio-political commentary to not paying for a shitty haircut. “Wasted Time” is the winner for me here. Sweet and sticky coated in hairy bits. A nice first effort. Keep it up.

Liquid Assets SNC Lava Lamp EP

This is a lovely little slime-filled short sharp shock of a vinyl hangover. Slurry, sloppy Oscar the G. vocals over a wonderfully technically proficient heap of musical viscosity. Slam your head in a car door several times and listen to “Let’s Fuck” by DOA, “UFO Dictator” by TAMPAX, DAYGLOW ABORTIONS and the more hardcore SPITS tunes, and it won’t sound anything close to this masterpiece. Leaves a well-defined shiny trail as it rolls down the street to pummel the next listener.

Lux New Day EP

I’ve always meant to pay more attention to this band so I don’t have a ton to compare this to. Surprising for me since I’m generally a big fan of Barcelona punk. Definitely my loss, for this is a sheeringly ripping slice of buzzsaw Riot City punk. Kills from start to finish. The guitar sound is a brilliant little headache and you’ll hear SUBVERSIVE RITE, VICE SQUAD’s first EP and SACRILEGE demos if you squint just right. All this while sounding like fresh music for the future revolutions and marches in the street. Death to Fascist Pigs! or something like that.

Musk Animal Husbandry / The Floor 7″

This is some seriously depraved shit in the best of all possible ways. You can picture these people drinking babies’ blood from a goat’s head chalice instead of morning coffee. Stu-Spasm-like vox over a delightful cacophony of sludge and those trippy HAWKWIND-like squirps and swirls, and that’s just the title track. “The Floor” is a roadhouse anthem in Hades bludgeoning forth from the nether regions to drag the lost testicals of the Lizard King back down with its last notes. Like a long night of smoking wasp spray. I am spent.

Messrs Keep Scrappin’ 12″

The press sheet compares this Columbus, OH band to the AmRep and Touch & Go bands of yore, and for once I’d say it’s pretty right on. This harkens back to many nights spent watching such bands at the Kennel Club and I Beam in the late ’80s/early ’90s when there was a lack of real punk in town. These guys definitely lean more toward JESUS LIZARD than to personal faves like KILLDOZER and LUBRICATED GOAT. I’m having bad flashes of yet another night with a sweaty, bloated, half-naked David Yow jumping on my head, but really it’s not that bad and songs like “Royale” are the shit so give it a shot. Oh…and the cover is disgusting and quite beautiful.

NightFreak Blade of the Knife EP

This nice looking record has the visual aesthetics of an old PENETRATORS EP I have, or some of the many trashy rock’n’punk discs from the past. Flip it on and while those elements are there, you also get a heaping dose of NWOBHM or classic East Coast or Midwest hard rock like early RIOT. Sorta like a JAY REATARD vehicle hitting dead on with SAXON. Odd but works. “Shitting Bricks” is an absolute rager.

Werewolf Jones Tequila Meltdown EP

This is some delightfully dirty backwoods Michigan barn punk. I don’t know how much of that is actually true, but the sheer scuzzy GG, CRAMPS, and MAYHEM picture cloud in my brain makes me shit a grin. “Coke Exploder” indeed. Buy this now!

Eroders Eroders LP

This Detroit band is a bunch of nerds for sure, but the fun kind that you spend the good part of a crappy party talking to. I think these guys were more of a straight-up Estrus Records cock suck previously and while they’re still wiping their lips with a couple DRAGS-like numbers, they get much deeper here with the kind of dark Mansonish psych sounds the likes of SONIC YOUTH, TELEVISION, and HUMAN EYE would be proud of. Shit, there’s a harp and viola on this?!? Maybe not so punk and a little long winded at times but a really interesting listen that will get you ignorant punks a-thinkin’.

The Crawlers Planned Obsolescence 12″

This unknown-to-me PDX band existed in the first half of the 2000s for all too brief a moment. These tracks from 2010 have only seen the light of day on a not-so-seen CD comp previously. This band comes barrelling out the gate with fire and ferocity and an obvious worship at the church of Pig Champion and Slayer Hippy. That’s maybe a copout from where this band hails from but you could also compare them to GOVERNMENT WARNING, BLOOD PRESSURE, or most directly DIRECT CONTROL for the power trio factor. Don’t miss out on this super limited blast from the past.

Iena La Morte Chiama LP

This one completely caught me by surprise and knocked my Docs off. Some unspectacular cover art and an inner sleeve photo of some Italians with too much hair gave no warning for the hardcore boot-to-the-face Oi! onslaught to come. I don’t know if these Florence blokes are familiar with RIXE, but I’ve no doubt they’re well aware of the buzzsaw guitar assault of early NABAT, both of which are well-represented here. I believe the band name means “Hyena,” and the album title translates to “Death Calls,” which is totally fitting as this little slab wails and wails til you’re left calling for your madre, with not a loser track in the bunch. Slay your neighbor appropriately.

The Drowns Hold Fast Demons 12″

Really, really mediocre Oi! pop pressed on a really wasteful one-sided, digitally-printed, partially transparent piece of slop. Seems more like a business card for Pirates Press than an actual release. I’m not super familiar with this Seattle band, and maybe they have a lot to offer, but it sure ain’t showing here. For fans of mid-period DROPKICK MURPHYS or BOUNCING SOULS. Kill me.

The Shame Friendly LP

I reviewed these guys’ first album some time back, and if you’re a fan of that one, I can’t say they’ve really excelled or regressed since. They’re plodding along, doing some just OK songs about football and beer. Features a member of Tulsa legends BROTHER INFERIOR, who I never really cared for. “The Struggle” is about the best here, reminding me of THOSE UNKNOWN. I’d compare them to some of the ’90s TKO bands on their 200-band CD comps. If you’re looking for a really so-so night out at an Oklahoma pub with your mates, look no further.

The Thirsty Pirates Thirsty Pirates 7″ flexi

If you look into this band’s history on the internet, you’ll find some pretty interesting and cringe-worthy stuff. This is aged punk with band members deeply entrenched in Chicago and New York punk history. It’s not a pretty sight, but this nifty two-sided flexi has an undeniable KBD charm. Comically offensive fart joke-caliber lyrics sung gracelessly and out of time over lo-fi garage punk clanging. Not garage like the ’60s, but like in actually dirty grease stained car parks. Reminds one much of early MENTORS, VOM, or the CHILD MOLESTORS. Good stuff for bad folks. Slurp it up.

Los Huaycos Savage Monstrosities LP

I fucking love the Spanish language in punk. I don’t know what it is, but it sounds so primal and raw. Every year, I swear that I’m going to bone up on my languages in order to understand much of my record collection. Oakland’s LOS HUAYCOS has been tearing it up for some time now, with their mix of classic Spanish thrash and gnarly skate rock. They remind me of DESGRACIA JUBANIL or LOBOTOMIA combined with something off the Skate Rock Volume 3: Wild Riders of Boards comp. Shreds from start to finish. Pick it up.

CR Dicks Go In LP

These Iowa noisey garage punkers channel equal parts CRIME, the OBLIVIANS, and most directly JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION. It’s not as horrible as you’d think from the awful band name and cover art, but ain’t all that either. Give it a spin if you dare.

Sore Points Not Alright EP

Slovenly Records and Sticker Guy Pete never fail to release some no-frills, hard rockin’ garage punk. Vancouver’s SORE POINTS are no exception and rage here through four songs that could compare to the best of the INFECTIONS, USERS, or Canada’s SUBHUMANS. “Not Alright” is a current personal anthem, but “Not Coming Back” is the one that kills it for me. Thanks Pete.

Power The Fool / Give It All to Me 7″

Motherfucking POWER is back! I have to admit, I lost track of these Aussie faves after their supreme Road Dog EP. and heard rumors that they’d even broken up?! But fret not, for our heroes haven’t faded to dust, they’ve simply metamorphosed from mullet-headed Lobby Lloyd worshipers into a two-wheeled, leather-clad, NWOBHM loving monster. No poodle heads or spandex here, though. “The Fool” is fucking MOTÖRHEAD. Like if MOTÖRHEAD went on a three-day bender and had to sell a bass drum for speed money. Shredding. “Give it All to Me” is SWEET SAVAGE, FIST, and the first BLITZKRIEG single all rolled together, but hard and street, maybe a little like “Shylock” by BUFFALO. Totally great record that I’ve been spinning nonstop for almost a month now. I should try to sleep, but I can’t wait to see what these mates have in store next.

Dust Bugs Don’t Belong EP

I was really set to trash this one. Dumb band name and a photo of some dad-looking white men on the back. On further research, they’re some Danish dads playing garage punk—big sigh. Well, fuck, if this isn’t some of the best early MISFITS blown-out guitar dirty punk I’ve heard for at least a day. Don’t Belong is a fucking classic, and worthy of many needle-wearing repeated listens. The rest is pretty damn swell as well. It looks like they have a full LP and another EP that I just might seek out, too. Probably not, but that’s a good solid maybe.

Slump Flashbacks from Black Dust County LP

It’s funny. Since I quit doing drugs some time back, I find myself drawn more and more to dirgy, druggy music, especially of the lysergic variety. While this RVA band is nothing that I would listen to while tripping balls, this is a pretty great record. LSD-fused music rarely hits it right, as one person’s idea of what good acid rock is usually completely different from another’s. While mine is the BUTTHOLE SURFERS, ROKY, the FROGS, Saturday morning cartoons, or the sound of a running toilet, yours may be HAWKWIND or SPACEMEN 3, to which much of this platter definitely pays tribute, with all the endless Moog effects. CAPTAGON did this on their excellent demo tape a few years back but, alas, rocked much harder than these guys. Side two picks up the pace a little, and catches the ears a lot harder, but overall I really dig this record. For fans of the aforementioned bands, and ’90s favorites like the FLUID or CULT. Dare I say groovy. Ughh.

Wall Breaker Wall Breaker EP

Straight out the gate, you know what you’re in for here, from the band name to the WASTED YOUTH/VERBAL ABUSE/YOUNG WASTENERS-style logo with a big ugly straight edge X smack in the middle. This is meat and potatoes (or lentil loaf and kale for the vegans) dumb and basic East Coast hardcore with heavy guitar breakdowns galore and an almost going into high pitched Springa style wailing vocalist. A wicked hard-pounding rhythm section completes the picture, featuring veteran members of COKE BUST and CHAINSAW TO THE FACE, so you know they’ve been around the hard city block before. They’re not exactly breaking any new ground with originality but, hey, the new Coke is back and it still sucks. For fans of SSD and CONCEALED BLADE. More sprouts on my veggie burger please.

No-Heads Pressure Cracks LP

Big beefy guys playing big beefy hardcore guitars. That’s what I picture when I think of Richmond, VA for some reason, and this record does not disappoint the visions in my delusional mind. These are hardcore folks playing Oi! and not doing a bad job mixing left wing politics with a smoother but almost RIXE-like rock sound. I do enjoy the faster ragers over the attempts at traditional street rock. For example, side one closes with a fine shitdozer of a tune, “No Future.” With lyrics like “They take your benefits away / Because the scum don’t want to pay / You can’t leave, you need a check / Life’s got ahold of you by the neck” any self-respecting punk or skin today can relate to this. Why would any skin vote for Trump anyway? Oh yeah…Nazis!? A gem of an album cover featuring droog-in-a-tunnel artwork à la MAJOR ACCIDENT or MAD PARADE completes the package and you get a nice little slab that any 86 MENTALITY or NO TIME fan would enjoy. Cheers.

The Royal Hounds NYC God Bless The Royal Hounds LP

One of my not-so-favorite musical genres is Oi!-pop… Popoye? Don’t know, but call it what you like, when you start mixing the QUEERS with the 4-SKINS, I’m headed to the door. COCK SPARRER can pull it off, but it took them a long time to grow on me with every song sounding like a drunken Christmas carol sung by a muppet. The ROYAL HOUNDS NYC do not sound like any of the aforementioned bands. To give them credit, they do a nice job of mixing Oi! with Too Tough to Die-era RAMONES or even the DICTATORS, which comes to an apex with the song “I Just Wanna Live This Way”—really the highlight for me here. The singer has a nice, gruff vocal range in a class with Carl from the TEMPLARS, Lemmy and Handsome Dick. The super flanged-out guitar (maybe a nod to the TEMPLARS) endlessly soloing gets grating after a while and I am left dreading the possibility of any more Popoye records heading my way.

Grudge When Christine Comes Around / I’m Gonna Smash Your Face In 7″

I first heard LAURICE at MRR headquarters while listing to their excellent G.A.Y.D.A.R. LP. If you’re unfamiliar with LAURICE, let me just say that they’ve been releasing a ton of material: bubblegum punky glam, smooth jazz, even straight-up disco since the early ’70s under various names. Record collector nerds can probably give you way better insight to this (Mitch Cardwell, Graham Booth, are you reading this?) but this record consists of the earliest LAURICE recording under the band name GRUDGE. While I very much prefer the hard throbbing cock disco thump of G.A.Y.D.A.R., this song will definitely grow on you like a bad genital fungus. The flipside is a straight up Michael Nesmith-style MONKEES jammer under the LAURICE nom de plume. Young kiddie fans of HUNX AND HIS PUNX and old Partridge Family lovin’ pervs alike will groove along to this wax in the sticky summer months. Someone please get me a towel. I feel unclean.

Rotten Foxes Arrive, Raise Hell, Leave EP

With a name like ROTTEN FOXES, I was in full anticipation of a group of extremely attractive people. Alas, all I get is a bunch of ugly hairy dudes. Well, fret not, for this is some damn decent ugly hairy guy rock’n’roll, and I mean that in the nicest sense. They get the obvious comparisons to BUZZCRUCHER or MAD BROTHER WARD, as well as the token MOTÖRHEAD nod, all while being quite tuneful and carrying a melody or two in between shout-along choruses. You’d expect these guys to be from the South or Midwest, but these blokes hail from bloody England for fucks sake!?! While you ignore my lousy attempt at cockney slang, let me just say this is a mighty OK record. A little slicker than I like in this kind of band, and almost like MOWER, minus the crust punk influence, it’s still very worthy of ten or so minutes of your life. Cheers.

The Dogs Sick as a Dog 1994-1998 LP

Not that DOGS, but the best 1980s record not from the ’80s that I’ve heard in a minute. This OC band existed for four too-short years in the ’90s, most of whom went on to start BROKEN BOTTLES, who I’m not super familiar with. These guys came in a little too early, and much too close to the ’80s, as you could see them going over real big today. They most likely tore up house parties with the likes of the STITCHES, STARVATIONS, and the SPOOKY, but there is no pogo here. Just slaming and crawling classic OC hardcore punk. The big comparisons here are the ADOLESCENTS and DI, who they obviously worship, but also CHINA WHITE or even AMERICA’S HARDCORE. Leather-jacketed goons roaming the beaches looking for blood and trouble fill my head as I’m whisked away to Reaganland. They easily could’ve been included in the never-made Suburbia II soundtrack, but make no bones, this is from the ’90s, and the DOGS are sorely missed today.

Diphallia The 14 Inch EP

In case you don’t know or are too lazy to search, diphallia is a condition where one is born with two penisis. What would cause people to name their band after this could be puzzling, but when pondering the humor of this after a ton of beer in a backyard party in backwoods Florida, you might begin to see their vision. This is total backyard party punk that spans the globe from Fort Worth (where they hail) to Oxnard to Pinole (CA), with just the right amount of snottiness and fast parts to keep your dull thud of a buzz coasting along just fine. Not sure about a song called “White Trash Punk” in this current day and age, but “Slave to the Grave” is fucking cool. Think the band you never heard of on a 50-band Mystic Records comp, or the overloud blown-out track on a ’90s East Bay mixtape. Keg stands would probably be in order, or at least some poppers.