Reviews

MRR #11 • January/February 1984

013 Takaisin Todellisuuteen LP

This isn’t what one expects from a Finnish punk band. 013 play guitar-heavy rock ’n’ roll that’s greatly influenced by both early UK punk-pop and ’60s-ish garage rock. I think the early UK-type material is the strongest, but all their songs are delivered with power. If you like raunchy punkish rock, check this album out.

10,000 Hurts Punishment EP

Goofy old-style punk with a pronounced garage flavor. “Punishment” has a heavy guitar attack, silly male/female backing vocals, and some metal-damaged leads; “In Crisis” is a short, fast cut with screams and a fuzzier guitar tone. A fun debut from a new SoCal band.

A-Heads Forgotten Hero EP

The three mid-tempo rockers on the A-HEADS second EP explore distinctly personal concerns related to love, disillusionment, and isolation—and with some success. “Love or Pain” features rich female vocals and catchy musical changes of pace, while the other tracks are more workmanlike. Nonetheless, it’s a punky, thought-provoking, and heart-felt disc, so I recommend it.

Abrasive Wheels Banner of Hope / Law of the Jungle 7″

The anthemic “Banner of Hope,” with its fast guitar work and melodic background choruses, recalls a more rock ’n’ rolly “classical” punk style, while the flip tends toward a slower, rockabilly-tinged flavor. Neither track really ranks with steamrollers like “Burn ‘em Down,” but the material on this single is pleasant enough, I guess.

Action Pact Question of Choice / Hook, Line, and Sinker 7″

This is the best thing I’ve heard from this band in quite a while. They still trot along in the wake of the BANSHEES, although “Hook…” is very catchy and the fastest, most aggressive song since their debut. The other two cuts are OK pop-rock numbers. Semi-interesting.

Actives Kick It Down LP

A really powerful, exciting album. The ACTIVES have developed into a somewhat Americanized thrash-style band, and the results represent an improvement over their earlier EP. The guitars and drums are way up front in the mix, and if there’s any fault here, it’s that the agonized vocals are somewhat buried. Recommended.

Agent 86 Protect the Earth EP

A five-song job that really does it! Most of AGENT 86’s material is raunchy garage punk, but there are also a couple of thrashers. This group has been struggling in the wilds of far northern California for a while now, and it’s gratifying to see that their efforts have finally paid off. Get their zine Counterpeace, too.

Agent Orange When You Least Expect It… LP

AGENT ORANGE again clock in with that irresistible ’60s surf-rock sound on this new EP. Two engaging instrumentals spice up the package (“Out of Limits” and “Bite the Hand…”), but the real surprise here is a rockin’ rendition of the JEFFERSON AIRPLANE’s “Somebody to Love,” which AGENT ORANGE make uniquely their own. Solid, catchy, and fun.

Antisect In Darkness, There Is No Choice LP

ANTISECT’s song structures ripple with hypnotic guitar riffing and a truly nasty instrumental sound, counter-pointed with lyrics that range from diatribe to poetry. What results is mesmerizing—radical and highly distinctive hardcore with an intensity that perfectly complements the album’s mood of outrage and horror. An exceptionally powerful release.

Appendix Huora EP

Some of the well-known Finnish thrash bands are running out of ideas and getting more and more generic, but APPENDIX are not one of them. This tremendous EP maintains the diversity and panache of their fine album. “Huora” is a tense medium-speed track, and both songs on the B-side are terrific thrashers with hooks and/or sing-along choruses. Don’t overlook this.

Arroganta Agitatorer Arrogans EP

Another hot new Swedish release. I must confess that I think Sweden has a higher proportion of killer thrash bands than any other country these days, and ARROGANTA AGITATORER are among them. Along with the standard adrenaline instrumental attack, they produce some damn good hummable tunes and choruses. Send away today.

Bitter Peace Unexplained Pain cassette

Classic, well recorded thrash with excellent lyrics. The hallmarks here are the solid guitar work and the unusually gruff vocals. A good buy.

Blitzkrieg Complete Disarmament LP

This is a Dutch anarchist band that’s been strongly influenced by the approach of their cousins across the English Channel, but they’ve also added some American-type thrash in a few songs. Each track is in a different style, and some are quite innovative, though most are derivative. I personally enjoy listening to this well-executed and well-meaning album. Still I can only give it a “not bad” rating, so check it out for yourself.

Bob Blackburn Bombsights Over Amerika / Black Leather 7″

Spooky, sparse punk that’s only slightly marred by double-tracked vocal harmonies. The A-side is a hypnotic grabber; the flip is less exciting, but has really cool screeching guitar work. Interesting, especially for VELVET UNDERGROUND fans.

Boy Elroy This Is Not Art LP

Some very intense metal/thrash in the fine Minnesota tradition of HÜSKER DÜ. BOY ELROY certainly aren’t imitative, but there are certain noticeable similarities, which is OK by me. This disc is quite well-recorded, original, and very powerful.

Cani Guai a Voi! EP

A new Italian band that reminds me a lot musically of a rawer EXPLOITED. I mean that in the positive sense, because CANI have a growling singer, double-tracked guitar power, and the kind of singalong tunes you can have fun joining in with. The lyrics concern important issues, as is common with Italian groups.

Carnage All the Sad People / Dismal 1984 7″

This debut combines a garage recording, psychedelia, and an early UK punk sound with a modern anarchist stance. It has spunk and scathing, cynical lyrics. Not exceptional, but raw and spirited.

Chappaquiddick Plus Five The Election Day Tapes cassette

A fairly professional and distinctive effort for a band that just came out of nowhere. The CHAPPAQUIDDICK PLUS FIVE deliver very tight punky mod stuff with varying tempos, melodies, numerous subtleties, and an emphasis on singing. Depending on the cut, that approach can be a strength or a weakness.

Chronic Submission Sick of Reality cassette

There are some rippers on this tape, but CHRONIC SUBMISSION mainly produces mid-tempo punk. The high-quality recording highlights the guitarist’s fine licks.

Concrete Predictions cassette

A morbid, metallish melange meets a mental breakdown in a dark basement. Not unlike horror rock in sound and content (if the translated titles are accurate), it’s a bleak scene generated by Johnny Concrete and friends. If you like that genre, this is a well-done example.

Da Stupids Alien cassette

Some good psycho thrash noise with distinctive vocals, reminiscent of the MEAT PUPPETS, the BUTTHOLE SURFERS, and the CRUCIFUCKS. The recording is fine, and it makes for interesting listening, but the lyrics are as goofy as their band name indicates.

De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig Wij EP

A rifling blizzard from Belgium rivets into intense bolts of heavy turbulence, jumping outward with immediate attacks of noise, insistence, and maniac brilliance. Emergent guitar leads and volleys of frenzied vocal clamoring thrust out flames of flooding fury and ignite this explosive combustion of harmonious Belgian punk.

Dead End Youth Now cassette

Another mostly mid-tempo punk band from Canada. DEAD END has more of a skunk sound. Some of the songs are quite long and rockish, which isn’t to my personal liking, but “No Rights” is totally great.

Dead Man’s Shadow Another Year / One Man’s Crusade 7″

This single won’t win any awards for power, but it’s still rather engaging in an inoffensive sort of way. The melodic “One Man’s Crusade” has evocative lyric concerns and catchy guitar progressions, but neither of the mid-tempo tracks here boast any of DEAD MAN’S SHADOW’s former abrasiveness or aggression. For fans of subdued pop-punk.

Dead Pledge Don’t Sign Up cassette

Stop and go thrash with very good vocals from the foothills above Sacramento. They’ve got that early Greg Ginn guitar sound too, so a lot of this is pretty gnarly and distorted.

Death Row Burn This Town cassette

If the VOIDOIDS played noisy thrash, this is what they would have sounded like. DEATH ROW plays very intense music with unique vocals and lyrics. Recommended.

Destructors Cry Havoc and Unleash the Dogs of War 12″

It looks like this really will be the last from these guys. I’ve always admired their simple, dreary, and repetitive style, as well as their double guitar sound. Although their cover of “I Wanna Be Your Dog” is uninspiring, and the intro to “Nerve Gas” sounds like a Lydon rip-off, the rest is fine. “Khmer Rouge Boogie” is a great song.

Die Wut Armutsstaat EP

A fairly average Oi release from Germany. Most of the songs are in the medium-tempo vein and the guitar could be a lot grungier, but the speedy “Skins” and “Freiheit” are catchy little blasts with ambiguous lyrics that make it worth a listen.

Discharge The Price of Silence / Born to Die in the Gutter 7″

DISCHARGE’s patented wall-of-noise guitar sound seems inextricably entwined with severe heavy metal influences on this single, which admittedly has its moments of power. But those tasteless lead breaks, combined with utterly lame heavy metal vocals, help make these two medium speed offerings as disappointing as their recent 12” effort. Adequate lyrics, but they can’t save the show.

DOA Bloodied but Unbowed LP

This is probably the last DOA release I’m going to like, so I decided to review it as a gesture of friendship and respect for a band that’s made some great music and raised a lot of people’s consciousnesses throughout the years. Bloodied But Unbowed is a retrospective greatest hits album featuring re-mixed versions of material culled from most of their earlier (now out of print) 7” records and LPs, so it serves a very valuable purpose. And a lot of classic stuff is on here—from “The Prisoner” to “World War III”—so it would be positively stupid not to pick it up if you never got the originals. If you can find Hardcore 81—their finest hour—grab it; otherwise, this is essential.

F.O.A.D. Destroy Radical Political Poo cassette

Retardo garage punk and thrash in the DAYGLO ABORTIONS tradition… that particular Canadian sense of humor. Unfortunately, the sound quality is not the greatest. Funny.

Fixed Up Take a Look at Me EP

A guitar-oriented R’n’B band with a real basic approach, in the tradition of LITTLE BOB STORY and the SEAN TYLA BAND. This old-fashioned type of music requires a raunchy, almost “live” sound to really hit the mark in this day and age, and FIXED-UP don’t always achieve it here. “I Can’t Sleep” and “Miss T” are cool, though.

Razor Blades / Flere Dode Pansere Forhadt Ungdom EP

These two bands thrash to the max, although they are a bit ragged around the edges. But that sloppiness is more than made up for by their intensity and excitement. FLERE have a wailing female vocalist, the RAZOR BLADES a gruff male singer; both have hot guitarists and plenty of potential.

Flesh Columns Schweigew Vor Dem Sturm EP

Buzzsaw fuzzed-out guitars, pounding tom-toms, nimble bass playing, echoey singing, slightly metallish arrangements, and “destroy the system” lyrics characterize the first release by this Windsor, Ontario band. Most of the songs are more punk than thrash, though the tempos do pick up at times. This record has a ’78 feel to it, which makes it a nice alternative.

Gay Cowboys In Bondage We’re Not Gay, But the Music Is cassette

The talk of Florida, these adolescent people come across in the funnypunk garage tradition. Their music is mostly in the PISTOLS and MODERN LOVERS vein, with dashes of Country & Western and thrash.

GBH City Baby’s Revenge LP

While the highly abrasive, metallic sound of this album has its own rebellious charm, most of the songs veer toward undistinctiveness, a problem traceable to the lack of musical changes of pace, and vocals which eventually become tiresome. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the stormier numbers like “Diplomatic Immunity” and especially “Rally of Death,” as well as some of the more inventive guitar figures on the mid-tempo cuts. Definitely a mixed bag.

Gogol Premier Et La Horde Hencor’ Pir 12″

LA HORDE have gained a lot of notoriety in France by peddling ’77-style punk shock value; one of the songs here (“Adolph mon amour”) was reputedly banned on French radio for its exaggerated Nazi imagery. Nevertheless, this superficially offensive record seems pretty harmless by today’s standards. The music includes catchy “classical” punk (“Ce n’est pas un probleme,” “Adolph mon amour,” and “Mesdames…”), tongue-in-cheek post-punk (“Les punks africains”), goofy political raps (“Campaigne Presidentielle”), and a satirical disco tune. Entertaining.

Hagar the Womb The Word of the Womb 12″

Musically, the six tracks on this intriguing EP are reminiscent of early KLEENEX, but the women in this band possess an encouraging independence of thought which other punk outfits should pay attention to. While hardcore fans will sure find favor with the rich guitar sound and some fascinating compositions, HAGAR THE WOMB could improve some of their melodies by deviating from the tonic of their chord progressions.

House of Commons Patriot 12″

HOUSE OF COMMONS play a mixture of punk and thrash, and have great lyrics to boot. The echoey, gruff vocals, atypical guitar work, solid rhythm section, and powerful production make for a fine debut.

Human Sufferage No Place Like Home 12″

These guys have a great crunching garage punk and thrash sound here, and they come down hard lyrically on middle class mores and problems ranging from the effects of Reaganomics to psychiatric conditioning. The production is hot, and the record comes with all sorts of weird inserts.

Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers / I Refuse It! Sfregio Permanente / Permanent Scare split cassette

Now released in the U.S, these excellent Italian bands provide further proof that Italy is producing some of the most exciting and powerful hardcore bands around. The sound quality is excellent, so each group has the opportunity to really kick ass. C.C.M.F.’s “400 Fascists” is a minor classic.

Impact Punk Christmas EP

IMPACT’s undistinctive brand of skunk lacks any discernible punch, and that absence of power hurts the title cut, an otherwise fast and engaging original with loads of X-mas cheer. Of the two songs on the flipside, “Law of the Land” musters some spunk and energy but, quite frankly, I expected more from this lackluster offering.

Ism A Diet for the Worms LP

More warpo thrash and punk from this weird combo, featuring some bizarre arrangements, pianos, and synths. Musically, it all comes together rather than being disjointed and annoying, but the lyrics leave a lot to be desired. Their earlier humorous approach has given way to some downright reactionary sentiments in songs like “White, Straight, and Male.” Too bad.

Jerry’s Kidz This is Albuquerque, Not Boston EP

I know it’s gonna be hard to keep track of another band named JERRY’S KIDZ, even though this one formed first and ends with the letter “z”. It’s doubly difficult since both are tight, ferocious thrash bands. Got the picture? Now get the record.

Killroy 99 Bottles EP

Shouting and screaming, lunging out with harmonious melodies and musical chording at foot-stomping speed, KILLROY charges forth. A Southern California outfit that definitely pushes forward chanting energy with twin crooners, thumping drums, and an overall sound that will remind you of rejoicing Englishmen like the COCKNEY REJECTS or LA’s YOUTH BRIGADE and ADOLESCENTS.

La Souris Déglinguée La Souris Déglinguée LP

A mediocre band that mixes mod, punk, pop, reggae, and traditional rock ’n’ roll elements. The overall effect isn’t very exciting, though there are a couple of driving, melodic songs that click (like “Coeur de Bouddha” and “Salue les copains”). This record might have made a splash in ’78 or ’79, but nowadays it just doesn’t hold up.

Les Electrodes No Flag EP

On occasion, we’ve carelessly labelled contemporary varieties of mid-tempo punk as ’77 punk styles, but France’s LES ELECTRODES exemplify the real ’77 sound, with their melodic guitars and well harmonized background vocals. The driving “Black Flag (No Flag)” is the best of this bunch, although the slower “Reflexion in a Cold Eye” has a nice acoustic guitar and tends to grow on you.

Memorial Voice Stakanof est Mort EP

An unusual release. The music on it ranges from rhythmic bass-heavy post-punk overlaid by a scratchy guitar (“Dance” and “TTA c’est finis”) to short bursts of raw semi-thrash (“Tes Bombes” and “New Rose”) to airy classical pieces (“Memorial Stakanov”). Adventuresome but rather awkward.

Misfits Earth A.D. LP

In contrast to their former grandiose ’77-style punk, the MISFITS have adopted an all-out thrash sound on this intense nine-track album. Nevertheless, their traditional horror-rock trappings remain, resulting in a consistently powerful, dynamic, and politically neutral effort. And on that level, the compositions here are marvelously effective, embodying the blistering speed and thunderous production values which complement their occult themes.

Mistaken Identity Gomer Pyle cassette

A fun-oriented South Bay bunch emerge with a rough-sounding 14-song tape. Although there’s no new ground broken here—just some suburban kids thrashing about in their garage to things like “Gomer Pyle” and “Drunk Fight”—there’s a lot of cool guitar work.

Morbid Opera Jesus Loves You… So Give Us Your Money! EP

The eerie, discordant compositions on this EP call to mind girl-bands like the SLITS and the RAINCOATS, but MORBID OPERA have their own varied musical styles and distinctly American lyric concerns. Most of these six tracks are quirky and unusual, but “Liar” probably ranks as my favorite. The open-minded will undoubtedly find much of interest on this garage-y and original release.

Mourning Noise Dawn of the Dead EP

I’m not sure why, but I didn’t think I’d like this. So imagine my surprise when it turned out to be a unique amalgam with semi-thrash tempos, sung vocals in the NY style (like the MISFITS and the UNDEAD), horror imagery, synthesized sound effects, and a real fuzzed-out guitar backing. A sharp EP that breaks the mold by effectively mixing and matching styles.

Neurotic Arseholes …Bis zum bitteren Ende LP

Ach du Lieber! This is a shredsational record that mixes some incredible thrash songs with punk and post-punk numbers, and manages to pull it off. Sometimes the guitar work gets a bit too cute for me, but normally their stuff is killer. I bet the NEUROTIC ARSEHOLES are a hell of a live band.

NV Le Anderen A Way to Spend Your Life LP

Much stronger than their first release, this Dutch ensemble now drives to the hilt. Quick, effortless, and savage shrills of gut-grinding stormers with bulldozing power chords combine to create a vivacious delight. NV LE ANDEREN come off like BGK, without so much speed and closer to the VOPO’S metal edge. Interesting rhythms and concentrated riffs.

Oberkampf Couleurs sur Paris 12″

OBERKAMPF have an archaic punk sound with traces of the NEW YORK DOLLS (the title song), the DEAD BOYS (“Maximum”), and PLASTIC BERTRAND (“Poupee de cire” and “Tout ce fric”). The latter song is an especially appealing pop-punk number, but nothing here is likely to cause much of a stir.

Offenders We Must Rebel LP

The spirited thrash attack on this album recalls the work of the very best Texas bands, and reveals lyric concerns which mine a blend of youthful outrage and rebellion. “Fight Back” and the LP’s title song rate as my favorites, but the entire record demonstrates remarkable consistency—a factor in no small part due to the wild, raucous production. An exciting and distinctive release.

Omega Tribe Live at the Clarendon cassette

A must for OMEGA TRIBE fans. The production isn’t great, but this tape includes most of their classic punk stuff (like “Profiteer” and “My Tears”) rather than their later psychedelic material. Since there’s little chance of seeing them live again now that they’ve broken up, this release is as close as you can get. Recommended.

Pajama Slave Dancers All You Can Eat cassette

More weird punk rock from Western Massachusetts, where kids seem to be without a care in the world. Lyrics aside, this is mostly unstartling mid-tempo stuff, but they deliver one song (“The Last Angry Man”) which is quite unique and memorable.

Paris In The Spring Demo cassette

This five-song demo may eventually appear on vinyl. It’s got hardcore intensity, but slowed-down, ominous instrumentation. Paris is almost FLIPPER-ish, especially in the vocal sound and lyrical darkness.

Peggio Punx La Citta è Quieta… EP

The second EP from Italy’s PEGGIO PUNX features frenetic, disjointed thrash. It has an exceptionally loud snare drum track (à la DESTRUCTORS), intense paint-stripping singing like that of TERVEET KÄDET’s Läjä, a relatively clean guitar tone, and a stuttering rhythm reminiscent of the MEAT PUPPETS. A weird record that could use a louder guitar track.

R.A.S. Rien à Signaler EP

Oi from France. Although derivative from a stylistic standpoint, this EP has an appealing garage quality. The songs are almost evenly divided between mid-tempo numbers and real fast singalongs. I prefer the latter, especially “Chasse à l’homme.”

Razzia Tag ohne Schatten LP

RAZZIA were one of the better German hardcore bands on the Underground Hits vol. 1 collection, and their first solo album continues in the same basic direction. They produce medium-speed punk, fast punk, a bit of thrash, and one weird rhythmic tune (“Barriere/Karriere”). Overall it’s a solid release, and some songs really stick in your head (like “Kriegzustand” and “Nacht im Ghetto”).

Savage Beliefs The Moral Efficiency of Savage Beliefs EP

Speedy garage grunge from Chicago on ARTICLES OF FAITH’s new label. Although SAVAGE BELIEFS’ material is real primitive, both production-wise and structurally, I have a certain weakness of that type of thing. The lyrics make some clever social observations, and both “Pink Shirt” and “Big Big Sky” have special appeal. Listen before you buy.

Shotgun Solution Shotgun EP

Frantically paced thrash, with traces of metal guitar and structures, and wild vocals. This band exhibits finely controlled madness, and will run you ragged. I don’t know what their message is, but SHOTGUN SOLUTION shred musically.

Sick Pleasure Aids LP

West Berlin’s SICK PLEASURE produces a raw style of punk with cynical lyrics about desperation and street life. They combine gruff vocals, heavy guitars, and distinctive song structures which steadily build in power and intensity. Down and dirty.

Sluglords Trails of Slime 12″

Not your standard thrash fare by any means, but thrash nonetheless. Combining lightning fast and super-tight rhythms, vicious leads, and out-front singing (fine back-ups too), these SLUGS blaze their way onto the punk scene. Guitarist Steve DeMartis (ex-BAD POSTURE, and bass sub for a FLIPPER tour), a real vet of the scene, brings his metalish (but not grossly so) roots into play, which makes this debut both professional and distinctive. A good one.

SS Kids Humans Punks EP

The most thrashed-out French group I’ve heard. Songs like “Chemical War” and “Why Not” have a drum-heavy rhythmic emphasis, while others (especially “Disorder”) really rip. The music is pretty hot; too bad about the stupid shock value band name.

SS Ultrabrutal Monstren, Mumien, Mutationen LP

With a name like SS ULTRABRUTAL, I at least expected an ultra-hardcore sound, but it was not to be found anywhere here. They should change their name to SS ULTRAWIMPY, because most of this is boring ’77ish stuff with flat guitar tone and few hooks. There are a couple of strong songs (like “1236Y-Atom”), but not enough to make this album worthwhile.

Teenage Warning Thoughts of War cassette

A seven-song demo with excellent lyrics. It’s on the raw side sound-wise, but otherwise it’s a fairly dynamic representation of this exciting new thrash combo. I hope they put out some vinyl soon.

The Accursed Up With the Punks LP

This limited-edition album features punk music with a deliciously trebly guitar mix, some offbeat song structures, and a lot of musical variety. The mid- to thrash-tempo material here also boasts an engaging garage quality rare in British releases these days, and though I would have preferred more standout tunes, this LP still contains much of merit. Give it a listen.

The Apostles Blow It Up, Burn It Down, Kick It Till It Breaks EP

This EP precedes the one reviewed in MRR #10, and, as stated then, the APOSTLES are a very interesting band. Musically, they play slower, powerful punk with some distinctive variations; lyrically, they ooze with radical commitment. But one track (“Fucking Queer”) displays some confusing contradictions—self-hate?—which fly in the face of their otherwise virulent progressive and anti-fascist stances.

The Blood False Gestures for a Devious Public LP

I thought their first few singles made them seem like silly Oi boys, but this album is so well done that it’s given me faith in their ability to play gripping rock ’n’ roll. They have an English skunk style with heavy metal overtones, but the gruff vocals, sing-along choruses, and demented lyrics turn many of the songs into instant classics, especially “Degenerate.”

The Brigades Bombs ’n’ Blood ’n’ Capital 12″

The BRIGADES seem to be one of the few politically concerned bands in France, and songs like “(There Are) No Communists in the Kremlin” and “State-Controlled Paranoia” show considerable awareness. But the music, which is mired in the mid-period CLASH tradition, doesn’t do the lyrics justice. Aside from some shimmering guitar work and an occasional strong song (like the aforementioned “…Paranoia” and “Saturday Night Murder”), this EP is pretty uninspiring.

The Dimensions From All Dimensions LP

Listening to this reissue, I‘m sure the DIMENSIONS used to terrorize high school dances in the Chicago suburbs back in the swinging ’60s with their crude re-workings of yesterday’s hits. The songs, such as the KINKS’ “I Need You,” the Stones’ “Empty Heart,” and the RAIDERS’ “Just Like Me,” are all familiar, but the DIMENSIONS’ spirit makes them worth adding to your record shelf.

The Dream Syndicate Tell Me When It’s Over 12″

This UK-only release offers the title cut (taken from their LP) and three live tracks. I’ve heard them play a lot wilder than this. “Tell Me When It’s Over” presents the band in one of their earliest and probably tamest performances, as if they’re afraid they won’t hear each other if they turn up the volume. So you gotta play this loud enough to make any sense of it. Here, they kiss their garage band days goodbye, and the comparison to the VELVET UNDERGROUND holds less water. Great liner notes, though.

The Drooling Idiots When I Fall Down cassette

This tape features mostly mid-tempo melodic hardcore, not unlike the characteristic SoCal sound. The straight-ahead rhythms, hard-hitting drumming, and committed vocals make the DROOLING IDIOTS quite listenable.

The Eat Scattered Wahoo Action cassette

Pop-punk cum rock from an old Florida band that has already released two 7” records. There’s nothing too exciting here to my ears; get their vinyl if you can find it.

The Ejected Press the Button EP

Although this EP lacks the clever humor of past efforts, the EJECTED have opted for a resonant, bassy guitar sound to infuse their extremely catchy punk compositions. Of the three tracks, “Russians” and “24 Years” contain especially melodic instrumentals, and although this isn’t terribly vitriolic, it makes up for its lack of emotion with finesse and good arranging. Good basic record.

The Exploited Let’s Start a War Said Maggie One Day LP

Despite the confusion caused by their apparent change of attitude, and the hostility justifiably aroused by their rip-off of Pushead’s artwork for the cover, the EXPLOITED crank out some gruff, blistering thrash on side 1 of their new album. The other side is a lot weaker, but EXPLOITED fans will surely find this a worthwhile release.

The Freeze Land of the Lost LP

One of Boston’s most inventive and aware punk outfits, the FREEZE connect on this album with a clutch of viciously satiric youth anthems. Land of the Lost is chock-full of cleverly written melodic thrashers (all superbly produced), but “Megawaki Cult” and the hilarious “Food Lava” rate as my favorites due to their sheer kenetic abandon. Too hysterical and wild to be true!

The Gynecologists A Goat… You Geek cassette

If you ever heard their classic “Sex Orgy with the Brady Bunch” from an earlier EP, then you know what a great garage punk band the GYNECOLOGISTS are. On this tape, they crank out ten more growling, grungy slices of Midwest dementia.

The Henchmen I Got a Right / Rock ’n’ Roll Attack 7″

The only Sydney-style STOOGES devotees to be found in New Zealand. “I Got a Right” is a pretty good version, maybe even better than that of the MICRONOTZ, while the flip is a decent slab of DEAD BOYS-style garage stuff.

The Nikoteens Aloah-Oehh LP

Boy, what a turnabout! The NIKOTEENS used to have a slow Oi/punk approach, and now they’re out there thrashing with the best of them. The guitar tone here is extremely trebly and piercing, and the general sound quality is hot, so their stronger material (like “Frieden”, “Cowboy Song”, and “Geisterfahrer”) really blasts off the turntable into your gut. This album proves that musical changes can lead to major improvements.

The Nomads Where the Wolf Bane Blooms 12″

This Swedish four-piece must have problems getting gigs, as their sound is pure ’60s-style garage punk. Their main influences seem to be from the Pacific Northwest, most notably the SONICS and the WAILERS, yet the NOMADS also display some rockabilly tendencies. They are modern masters in the war of distortion, and fans of the CHESTERFIELD KINGS, the UNCLAIMED, and the FLESHTONES should check them out.

The Oppressed Victims / Work Together 7″

The newest release by these English Oi-sters stands head and shoulders above their debut EP. The lyrics have made a 360° turn from a focus on violence to calls for interracial unity, and the music is much improved as well. “Victims” is a strong fast Oi number, but the slower flipside, with its staggered anthemic chorus, is tops here.

The Remains Live in Boston LP

These tapes have been rumored to exist (and been lost) for years, but, miracle of miracles, at last they’ve been located and pressed. The remains were perhaps the hottest US band of the British Invasion type in the ’60s, yet never got the recognition they deserved and split up. This album showcases their strong points—early Jaggeresque vocals, soaring punky guitar work, and an incredible rhythm section; only one track, the bluesy “Gonna Move,” is boring.

The Slickee Boys Cybernetic Dreams of Pi LP

These guys have been at it since at least ’76 (when they released their first EP), and they continue to produce some of the greatest garage/’60s punk/psychedelia ever. This latest effort contains a few tracks off recent compilations and EPs, but most are new and exhilarating. It may be too “pop” for some, but there’s a real bite underneath that format.

The Three O’Clock Sixteen Tambourines LP

A classic case of a band softening up with age. It’s too bad, ’cause it’s not like they can’t pull out the stops if they want (as in “Jet Fighter”). This isn’t psychedelic music, but that prettier ’60s paisley pop that degenerated into the “Up with People” movement. I’m certain that they won’t get that lame, but if they think their SALVATION ARMY period was kid stuff, then modern corporate rock has a new group to chew up and spit out.

The Vibrators MX America / Shadow Love 7″

Back again with fervor. This is what got me listening to punk in the first place—powerful, unrelenting rock ’n’ roll. “MX America” is a great song with heavy production, good lyrics, a breathtaking bass line, and a drumbeat that whacks you upside the head; the weaker B-side is more of a ballad. Pick it up anyway.

The Wops Nervous Breakdown cassette

Very militant, political punk and thrash that comes with a bilingual lyrics booklet. The A-side of this tape is a little tinny-sounding, but the other side has a full production sound and really blows out the windows. It’s like night and day—weird!

Thee Katatonix Valentine’s Day EP

A loud garage punk band from Maryland. The title song here is a chestnut, with its sneering vocals, dense guitars, and ultra-basic rock ’n’ roll structure; “Basket Case” is similarly down and dirty. For fans of crudeness.

TNT Gilmore 77 / Guernika 7″

More older-style punk from Spain’s TNT “Guernika” isn’t too exciting, but “Gilmore 77” has charm and drive. The bass playing is excellent.

Toy Dolls Alfie From the Bronx / Hanky Panky 7″

More funnypunk from these jokers. I don’t like this one quite as much as some of their previous records, though the vocal symphony on the A-side is delicious. The flip (not the TOMMY JAMES song) sounds like a JILTED JOHN outtake and is appropriately ridiculous.

United Mutation Fugitive Family EP

A truly amazing record. UNITED MUTATION have combined the speed and intensity of basic thrash with some highly distinctive structural changes, a couple of nasty guitar leads, and the scariest vocals I’ve heard in a long time. Today’s trendy horror rockers will crap their pants and go into convulsions when they hear the singer’s raspy growl, which bears a striking resemblance to that of the demon in The Exorcist.

USA Today Freedom Isn’t Free cassette

Some very intelligent and imaginative thrash from a band of Colorado college students. Named after that pathetic excuse for a national newspaper, these guys proved—they split up after graduating—that hardcore can be both incisive and energetic.

V/A Barricaded Suspects LP

A shitload of bands from the far corners of the U.S. and Canada submitted their tapes, and these are the results—eighteen groups playing a variety of punkish styles (punk, garage, thrash, noise, post-punk). Some of the virgin-to-vinyl bands are RED TIDE, the KNOCKABOUTS, SEPTIC DEATH, DULL, the MASSACRE GUYS, B.I.U., DECRY, ABSCESS, and MAD PARADE. The album comes with a booklet and a Pushead cover.

V/A Burger Corpse cassette

Most of the current batch of younger Minnesota bands are represented here with a few tracks each. Burger Corpse contains garage punk, thrash, noise, and styles in between, and includes groups like GROUND ZERO, CHURCH PICNIC, the HYPSTERZ, BOY ELROY, and SKELTER HELTER. The sound quality is pretty good for this type of thing.

V/A The Chosen Few Vol. 1

This compilation of ’60s sounds has been an instant hit among experts of the genre, and for good reason. The quality of the material is uniformly high, from the opening number by the GONN to the closing one by THEE WYLDE MAIN-IACS. Most of the bands here possessed the knack for creating a mad mixture of mind-blowing psychedelia and teenage garage punk. Pay close attention to the TIDES IN, the SHAMES, and the aforementioned WYLDE MAIN-IACS.

V/A Hipsville 29 B.C. LP

A personal favorite. What’s nice about this new compilation, besides the usual amazing obscure groups like the SPARKLES, the WHAT-NOTS, the HANGMEN OF FAIRFIELD COUNTY, etc., is that it shows just how widespread the ’60s garage revolution actually was. For example, included are the Kings of Wimp, the COWSILLS, with their intense “All I Wanta Be Is Me,” and BEAVER (Jerry Mather, the Beav) & THE TRAPPERS’ “Happiness Is Havin’.” I wonder what Ward thought of this longhair nonsense! An added plus is the two tracks by the VAGRANTS from Long Island.

V/A Nice and Loud EP

Another good Big City compilation. One side consists of New York bands (NO CONTROL, DISORDERLY CONDUCT, and ULTRA VIOLENCE); the other features groups from Connecticut (REFLEX FROM PAIN, C.I.A., and the VATICAN COMMANDOS). Even though these aren’t the best tracks by these bands, they’re all good thrashers. The great songs by NO CONTROL and the VATICAN COMMANDOS definitely make this record worth checking out.

V/A Train to Disaster LP

This neo-psych compilation is more out in left field than the Rebel Kind collection, but what it gains in weirdness it loses in raw power. There are some ’60s punkish sides (the LEFT—who are great—YARD TRAUMA, and BILLY SYNTH); some bluesy sides (SPLIT, the DOOTZ); a poppy side (the SLICKEE BOYS); and the predominant way-out psychedelic sides (the MAD VIOLETS, BEN WAH, BEATNIK FLY, the VELVET MONKEYS, and the LAST POETS). Despite its lighter overall punch, this album has its moments.

V/A What a Way to Die LP

Here’s a wild ’60s garage punk compilation that’ll liven up any party. There are plenty of frantic rockers here, but what makes it a vital purchase are songs like RICHARD & THE YOUNG LIONS’ powerful “You Can Make It,” “I’m Gone” but the MAGIC MUSHROOMS, and the title track, an early B-side from the PLEASURE SEEKERS, an all-women band who’d rather drink beers than hang out with the guys. Neat stuff.

V/A T.O. Hardcore ’83 cassette

I missed this when it first came out a few months ago, but better late than never. Six of Toronto’s best bands contribute two-to-four songs each, and it’s well worth getting. The bands are APB, CHRONIC SUBMISSION, DEAD END, DIRECT ACTION, the YOUNG LIONS, YOUTH YOUTH YOUTH, and ZEROPTION. A real good sampler.

V/A Second Time Around cassette

By the look of things, Punk Etc. will put Belgian hardcore in the minds of all dedicated fanatics. This is an outrageous cassette collection of six bands (MORE ACTION, ZYKLOME A, SUBVERSION, KRANK, FIXATION, and the DIRTY SCUMS), featuring vigorous approaches to power and speed, each exceptional in its own way. Support this label, because their attitude is what punk is all about.

V/A Paris Mix LP

As the title indicates, this compilation contains a mixture of Paris bands. Stylistically, it ranges from loud, tasty post-punk (GUERNICA, ZONA, and PEGGY LUXBEURK) to funny Oi with mutated rockabilly beats (the SWINGO PORKIES) to strong fuzzed-out mid-tempo punk (PROP SACK) to pretentious new wave (ICE). All in all, a “mixed” blessing.

V/A Keine Experimente! LP

A potpourri of modern punk styles can be found on this fine new compilation, from thrash (the UPRIGHT CITIZENS) to older-style punk (the BUTTOCKS, SS ULTRABRUTAL) to rousing funnypunk (DEUTSCHE TRINKERJUGEND) to Oi (DAILY TERROR). Many of the best bands—BOSKOPS, RAZZIA, ZSD—play more than one type of punk, but it’s their thrashers that really stand out. An illuminating introduction to some old and new German hardcore outfits.

V/A Back From the Grave, Vol. 2 LP

For my money, the most essential ’60s compilations beside the Pebbles series and Nuggets are the two Back from the Grave collections. Unlike other releases, there’s never any psychedelic sounds, just primo teenage punk served up with plenty of guts, enthusiasm, and anger. Reams could be written about classics on this album like the UNRELATED SEGMENTS’ “Cry, Cry, Cry,” the BANSHEES’ “They Prefer Blondes,” the LYRICS’ “They Can’t Hurt Me,” and “The Crusher” by the NOVAS. Not a duff cut, but plenty of fuzz. Truly amazing.

V/A The Possibilities are Endless cassette

A mixed bag of punk (very little), rockabilly, post-punk, blues rock, etc. CRANK is the only real standout.

V/A Highs in the Mid-Sixties, Vols. 1-3 LPs

Three amazing albums that chronicle the exciting musical history of the L.A. youth underground. Volume 1 (1965) presents the raw ’60s punk sound that once blew my young mind, and includes such items as the blasting Colony classic, “All I Want,” and the neanderthal sneer of the AVENGERS’ “Be a Cave Man”; Volume 2 (1966) features some overt anti-police teen protests by TERRY RANDALL and the “PEOPLE OF SUNSET STRIP” that’ll strike a familiar chord among contemporary punks; Volume 3 (1967) offers a mixture of trippy “flower power” cuts and nasty psychedelic punkers like the HUMAN EXPRESSION’s “Every Night.” And dig KIM FOWLEY’s philosophizing on “The Canyon People.” This stuff transcends nostalgia and serves as a timely reminder that cultural rebellion didn’t originate in 1977. Highly recommended.

V/A Apocalypse LP

An excellent well-produced sampler of new French hardcore bands. Although REICH ORGASM and KOMITERN SECT contribute some irresistible chunky mid-tempo punk, and the weaker NO PUB offers a splendid little ditty called “Viol-ence,” KIDNAP steals the spotlight with some amazing bone-crunching stuff. Their “No SS” is one of the most brilliant, dynamic songs of 1983, with its dense fuzz guitars, tense build-up, and haunting background vocals; their other tracks are also killers, and the politicized lyrics go straight to the heart of the matter. Much better than Chaos Productions’ earlier Chaos en France compilation, so order it and support a valuable independent label.

V/A A Town Without Pity cassette

“Underground” bands from Tucson, volume two. This runs the gamut from arty to wimpy, but has a healthy helping of neo-’60s psych and garage bands like the HECKLERS, ROTE KAPELLE, and YARD TRAUMA (yea!) to make it all worthwhile.

Vatican Commandos Just a Frisbee EP

Another poorly-recorded VATICAN COMMANDOS EP, but that’s where the similarities with their debut release end. Whereas the first consisted entirely of good basic thrash, this new record showcases a much slower, garage-oriented punk style (excepting “Let Down Again”). I like it, but the muddy sound again detracts from this group’s overall impact.

Vice Squad Black Sheep / New Blood 7″

Beki Bondage may adopt any pose in her efforts to become a rock star, but there’s no denying that the new VICE SQUAD single is an excellent one. In fact, it’s their best release since their first two EPs. “Black Sheep” is a melodic mid-tempo number that’s right up Jack Rabid’s alley; the flip is a more rhythmic cut with haunting Gregorian-style background chants.

Violators Die With Dignity 12″

This six-track EP contains material primarily from past singles and compilations, but it nonetheless represents some of the highlights from this skunk outfit’s intriguing career. “Die With Dignity” and the classic “Gangland” epitomize the VIOLATORS’ highly dramatic, accessible style—so if you don’t have the original releases, you should find favor with this inventive release.

War of Destruction Nazisvin EP

Mind-boggling growls of speedy Danish hardcore. WAR OF DESTRUCTION hit hard with a swirling rapid barrage that claws forth high, grinding vocals, abrasive guitar, and slashing cymbal splashes. This debut vinyl offering shows an inspiring promise of cranking aggression and quick sonic blasts, the type of sound that has made current Finnish, Swedish, and Dutch hardcore so earth-shattering. Put a check by this one.

Wipers Over the Edge LP

The WIPERS have put out two other albums and several 7”ers since 1978, yet they continue to go largely unrecognized. I don’t know why, because they’ve always turned out great material straddling the fine line between punk and ’60s rock ’n’ roll (not unlike the REPLACEMENTS, the MICRONOTZ, and ARTICLES OF FAITH). Here, they again pound out tasteful guitar-oriented rockers that just grow and grow on you. Try it.

Wunderbach Paris-Londres 12″

Extremely powerful French in the medium-tempo ’77 tradition. The guitars are really cranked up, the female singer adds a lot of spunk and color, and the tunes grow on you more with each listen. “Oublions l’Amerique” is terrific.

Yard Trauma Some People / No Conclusions 7″

YARD TRAUMA, featuring Tucson troublemakers Lee Joseph and Lance Kaufman, have managed to capture the essence and energy of ’60s garage psychedelia on this single. With a strong, upbeat, even danceable bass-line and an electric organ for flavor, they exhibit considerable madness. Good work.

Youth Youth Youth Sin 12″

Canada’s YYY play real fast punk rather than thrash. The tempos are driving, the guitars are plenty loud, the singing exhibits a lot of emotion, and the lyrics are very thoughtful. I like every song individually, but then played back-to-back, they tend to run together a bit due to the unusually consistent tempos and vocal inflections. It’s a high-powered debut, though.

Moral Demolition / Zyklome A Repression split EP

Manic explosions of blasting Belgian hardcore that fracture the sound barrier. ZYKLOME A quickly plummet into the realm of thundering chaotic excitement, as a frantic tearing guitar levigates the eardrums. If that assault isn’t enough, flip this monster 7” over and prepare for MORAL DEMOLITION. Zooming brain-blistering speed breaks out into a rampage of devastating headlong exhilaration. Tongue-tying vocal rushes zero in on this thrash treasure, and “Killer Cops” brings down the house. Just when you thought it was safe, along comes fantastic Belgian hardcore. Thanks to Bart.