Reviews

MRR #15 • July 1984

7 Seconds The Crew LP

Yaaaaahhhhh!! Not since those hot MINOR THREAT releases has a record displayed so much charm that you become an alley cat howling at the moon in sheer excited pleasure. Well-placed melodies and sing-along harmonies sharply deliver 7 SECONDS to the forefront of energetic fun, and a quality production really adds credit to the Brandt brothers’ total dedication. Kevin’s songwriting and impelling vocals yodel the gigantic brilliance, while younger bro Steve plucks out the bass with rambunctious might, and the rest of the band knocks out another superior performance. This one’s stuck on my turntable.

76% Uncertain Estimated Monkey Time LP

Former members of CIA and REFLEX FROM PAIN combine to form a new band with a sound that reminds me somewhat of DIE KREUZEN. Bones’ vocals are intense and backed up by a very tight sort of medium-paced thrash that’s delivered with power and hooks. Definitely recommended.

Aerobic Death ESG cassette

Galloping drums, weird structures, and snarly-ass vocals are the hallmarks of AEROBIC DEATH’s thrashy attack. They sound sort of like the early MEAT PUPPETS, right down to a slight GRATEFUL DEAD influence. “Ten Minute Fart” is the best song title.

Alien Sex Fiend R.I.P. / New Christian Musick 7″

Despite my obsessive fondness for horror films, I’ve never been overly impressed with the pretentious, image-conscious crap called “horror rock” or “death rock.” But this recent ALIEN SEX FIEND release is terrific, with its pounding drum rhythms, abrasive metallic sound, and raw vocals. Both of these songs have enough drive and punky power to disinter some moldy bodies.

Anti God Can’t Bounce LP

This selection of material, recorded between 1982 and ’83, both reveals ANTI’s strong points and suggests areas for improvement. The upbeat compositions (like “We Will Die”) and the short thrashers seem to burst with energy, while others (like “Media Scam” and “Backfire Bomber”) seem lethargic and just sort of sit there. A decent, though inconsistent release.

Anti-Cimex Victims of a Bomb Raid EP

Ferocious speed thrash that continually displays that disorderly early DISCHARGE attack, but it smashed forth much faster. Hardcore guitar soloing whines generate electrical volts, as ANTI-CIMEX spews out an intense onslaught of clamorous nitro-laced aggression. Jonsson’s vocals get rawer with each release. ANTI-CIMEX, the kings of chaos in Sweden.

Atrox Hit the Oxide cassette

Some well-intentioned and intelligent slow-to-medium-tempo punk that doesn’t quite spur my interest. While consciously striving to stay away from predictable three-chord thrash, they haven’t really created something in its place that generates comparable excitement. They do perform a cool version of ALBERTO Y LOS TRIOS PARANOIAS’ “Kill,” though.

Attila the Stockbroker Sawdust and Empire LP

Astonishingly original. ATTILA’s latest album adapts Renaissance instrumentation to clever, satiric views of contemporary British life. At times, the amalgam seems tiresome, but some novel tracks—the slow, moving title song, the somewhat thrashier “Dies Irae,” with its exciting mandolin work, and he hilarious “Boadicea Über Alles”—make the record interesting enough to appeal to those with broader taste.

Authentic Virtues Authentic Virtues cassette

Sort of a modern-day rhythm-machine version of a band one might have found on the bizarre ’60s label E.S.P., along with the FUGS, the GODZ, and especially PEARLS BEFORE SWINE. Rhythms and electronic organ dominate their garage-level instrumental attack, with lots of noticeable ’60s tinges. Actually, I think there are vocals, but just off-mike.

Avskum Crucified by the System EP

Another boiling speed-merchant band in the tradition of ANTI-CIMEX, right down to the guitar solos. Maniac snarls overbite into brutal distortion and missiling quickness, which belts this hammering havoc into a forceful bombardment of chaotic punches. Great, but not unique—if you ordered this and ANTI-CIMEX, and the records got mixed up, you’d never know.

Bastards Siberian Hardcore LP

More basic metallic thrash from Finland’s BASTARDS. They’ve slowed down a bit and added more metal-tinged guitar parts on this flatly produced album (which is only available on a German pressing at this time), but some melodies and stronger hooks would really help a lot.

BGK White Male Dumbinance EP

This is as strong as their album, featuring one unrelenting thrasher after another. “Action Man,” the title cut, and “Bite the Hand That Feeds You (Shit)” have especially great hooks and breaks, and all seven songs contain some biting attacks on conditioning in modern society. This one is a must, and don’t miss them on their US tour this summer.

Breather Loves and Disloves LP

I think this falls into the industrial category because of its starkness, repetitive rhythms, loops of breaking glass, and obsession with radiation death, but it’s much more musical than most industrial music. “Maya” has a wonderful rhythm (even if the vocals sound too much like JOY DIVISION’s Ian Curtis), but it was this song that got me to listen to all of it, many times. A compelling effort, eerie and rather listenable.

Brutal Verschimmelt Brutal Verschimmelt LP

BRUTAL VERSCHIMMELT’s debut album reveals them to be a garagy band that specializes in playing fast punk (as in “6 Millionen”), but they’re also capable of playing thrash (“Hey Mann…”) and slower, driving numbers (“Kenein”). Most of the songs are catchy, the lyrics are both political and satirical, and the ultra-raw, trebly production accentuates all of their strong points and, in the process, makes them stand out. Look for this one.

Chaotic Dischord Don’t Throw It All Away 12″

I’ve changed my mind about the value of this band about ten times, so I’ve decided to give up trying to figure them out and just let myself enjoy their powerful and funny music. This 12” may well be their best release yet. Side 1 has some terrific ’77 punk parodies and some famous guest punks (KNOX, CAPTAIN SEN*I*LE), whereas the flip has more of their roaring, satirical thrashers. Great fun.

Charlie Pickett & the Eggs Cowboy Junkie Au-Go-Go 12″

Most of the five songs here are well-produced C&W ditties with a good beat and punch, sort of like a combination of RANK & FILE and LOU REED. But one track (“Marlboro Country”) is more R&B-ish, with a great “Louie Louie” beat and some tough guitar, making the whole effort worthwhile.

Children’s Crusade Children’s Crusade cassette

Two former members of thrashers STARVATION ARMY and another group called PARIS IN THE SPRING team up again (one on vocals, the other on all instruments), this time to produce some ominous, dirge-like STOOGES material. I found it somewhat less than moving, as is usually the case with studio projects.

Combat 84 Send in the Marines LP

One side of studio and another of live cuts can be found on this typical-sounding British Oi release. Some of the studio material has previously appeared on 7” EPs, but aside from the intriguing “Violence,” most of their medium-speed compositions leave a lot to be desired. The live side is particularly poor, and the lyrics on a number of cuts are backward. Buy at your own risk.

Conflict Increase the Pressure LP

The A-side is smashing—full of power, anger, and determination. Excellent stuff that’s superbly produced! The flipside is taken from a live performance; I have a general dislike for live recordings, and this one is no exception.

Corrosion of Conformity Eye for an Eye LP

Wild, abrasive power that blares out with growling punches of intensity. Snarling guitar distortion and rapid chord changes smack down crucial crunches of feverous exertion, as vocalist Eric rasps out harsh grumbles of throat-bursting ferocity. Fast thrash with raw sonic slaughterings of chaos, thrusted with convulsions of strong lyrical stamina. Only a few bands can excite with C.O.C.’s tough-sounding power. Earth-shattering and ear-blasting.

Dash and the Rip Rocks Live Angst cassette

The drawbacks of a live release—low fidelity and unclear sound—come to the fore here, but DASH and company have lots of power, which will hopefully come to the fore if and when they go into a regular studio. They play snappy and sometimes creative thrash, with lyrics geared toward making the average coal miner as angry as he ought to be.

Death Piggy Love War EP

An unusual release, both musically and lyrically, DEATH PIGGY’s sound is discordant and diverse, and ranges from relatively straightforward funnypunk with weird vocals (like “Fat Man” and “No Prob Dude”) to off-the-wall raps (“Eat the People”) to brief acapella chants (“G.O.D. Spells God”) to permutations of the above (“Mangoes and Goats” and “Splatter Flicks”). Not at all typical.

Diamanda Galás Diamanda Galás LP

DIAMANDA GÁLÁS is a performance artist who relies on multi-layered vocal effects à la LAURIE ANDERSON, but whereas the latter speaks in soothing tones, GÁLÁS screams, gags, and shrieks in the piercing ONO-esque tones of an animal being electrocuted. While smoother and less intense than her previous 12”, this album is essential for addicts of the truly primal. Besides, it’s the only record I’ve heard lately that’s left me standing in the middle of my bedroom sweating and staring at the wall.

Die Kreuzen Die Kreuzen LP

This is fucking great! This is fucking great! This is fucking great! This is fucking great! This is fucking great! This is fucking great! This is fucking great! This is fucking great! This is fucking great! This is fucking great! This is fucking great! This is fucking great!

Discharge The More I See / Protest and Survive 7″

Yecch! “The More I See” of DISCHARGE, the more nauseous I become. That song is unbelievably pathetic—both the music and the vocals have a full-out metal sound. The B-side, taken from one of their earlier 12”s, demonstrates just how much they’ve declined over the years. A complete waste of vinyl.

Disorder Under the Scalple Blade LP

“Make Homebrew, Not War” serves as the motto of the second pummeling DISORDER 12”. And they must live by it, judging from the production here, which is too weird and primitive to have been created while sober. That’s not a criticism, but a statement of fact, as fuzzy guitars scream out from toilet bowls, drums are hollow and loud as shit, and trebly bass licks rumble around, all complementing DISORDER’s absurd brand of thrashing noise perfectly. Drunk and disorderly.

Disrupters Bomb Heaven EP

Fairly mundane mid-tempo punk characterizes this new DISRUPTERS release, except for one spoken piece (“Make a Baby”). The bass tends to carry the melodies, and there’s a particularly gruesome, thought-provoking back cover, but there’s little else to comment on here.

Droogs Change Is Gonna Come / Waitin’ for My Man 7″

This new DROOGS 45 features a classic ’60s-inspired original with belligerent singing, loud guitars, and boss background vocals in the choruses. The B-side has a suitably raunched-out live version of the old VELVET UNDERGROUND chestnut. “Change Is Gonna Come” is truly wonderful.

East Bay Ray Trouble in Town / Poison Heart 7″

The first solo effort from DEAD KENNEDYS guitarist EAST BAY RAY, and it’s a good ’un. “Trouble in Town” would make a good theme song for a spaghetti Western, with its plucky Spanish-flavored guitar, siren-like backing vocals, and plaintive singing; “Poison Heart” is a bittersweet, atmospheric number with some semi-psych guitar. Tuneful and original.

Effigies For Ever Grounded LP

On this album, the EFFIGIES continue to develop musically, though not everyone will view this development positively. The material here is pretty diverse. Most of it has a post-punky feel and emphasizes Earl’s metallic guitar playing; only a few songs are in the traditional EFFIGIES vein (“Patternless,” “Rather See None,” etc.). I personally prefer these latter, but the other cuts have grown on me with repeated listens.

Exotic Hipsters Surf on the Rocks cassette

A garagy tape from a garagy band. There are a couple of instrumentals in the surf style, two other tunes that borrow heavily from ’60s garage pop, and a bizarre cover of NO ALTERNATIVE’s “Johnny Got His Gun,” which they make almost unrecognizable.

Final Warning Out of Sight, Out of Mind EP

Maximum exhibits of brutal force zoom in turbulent aggression, as this Portland-based band savagely grinds out a storming spasm. A vibrant, discharging guitar sonance drives raucous melodies, swift and fluid, with metallic decibels that piledrive a crude invasion of exhilarating iron licks. A tight new outfit with outrageous appeal, so don’t pass this one up.

Fish Karma To Hell with Love, I’m Going Bowling cassette

Finally, an heir-apparent to the DRIVING STUPID! What is it about Arizona that creates such warped people? Their music is your basic FUGS-style electric grunge-folk, and their lyrics feature some of the meanest put-downs of American consumer culture that I’ve heard in years. Includes “God Is a Groovy Guy,” “Pieces of My Poodle,” and “Cow of My Dreams.”

Flag of Democracy Love Songs EP

An incredibly intense thrash blast from F.O.D. The guitar buzz is piercing, the overall instrumental attack is ultra-tight, and the Biafraesque vocals are exceptionally demented. Along with DRI, GANG GREEN, WHITE CROSS, and a few others, these guys leave the rest of America’s current thrash bands spinning their wheels in deep ruts.

Flesh D-Vice 12 Inches of Hard Flesh 12″

Raging fury from New Zealand. A raw, lightning-fast explosion of boisterous momentum, delivered in a quicker skunky fashion. Strong guitar and bass keep a continual movement of booming force spurting out in flaming vigor, as exerting vocals buck out sonic assaults. Young and compelling.

Contrazione / Franti split LP

This is an album shared by two Italian bands. CONTRAZIONE are a raw outfit with a punky instrumental attack, straightforward rocking beats (including a couple of thrashers), an occasional post-punk frill (like the inclusion of a sax in “Nausea”), and incredible male/female vocal interaction. FRANTI cover a variety of musical bases, from punk (“1984”) to SIOUXSIE-like post-punk (“Questa e l’ora”) to sparse, arty numbers (“Io nella notte”).

Gism Detestation 12″

Churning metal-punk, or perhaps even speed-metal, depending on where you draw the distinction. GISM are undoubtedly a heavy metal band who’ve been heavily influenced by hardcore, but the music is so intense and the vocals so ominous that even I’m in a state of shock. These guys make VENOM sound like the KNACK, especially on side one.

Gone-Heads 6 Lame Songs cassette

They claim to be some former GRIM REALITY members, but I’m pretty sure Jello slipped in some rare early HALF JAPANESE tape to fool me. It has that totally primitive, raw, and untogether feel… that “we suck and we don’t care” attitude. Bonkers.

Hüsker Dü Zen Arcade 2xLP

A totally impressive release! Most bands have a hard enough time putting out a single album without filler, but these guys have managed to fill all four sides here with catchy, powerful, and musical songs… real songs. The singing wails, the Oriental psych guitars shine, and the rhythm crunches. It also sounds as if they’ve been listening to the psychedelic-period BYRDS lately, because there are a few reversed tracks for instrumental background included. Tremendous!

Hoodoo Gurus Stoneage Romeos LP

There are a couple of pop clunkers on here, but most of the GURUS’ songs are fairly powerful in a style combining T. REX and SAINTS influences. Like many Oz bands, they’ve adopted that earlier ’70s punkoid guitar sound, but lay it over somewhat poppier song structures. At least one person we know thinks that the GURUS are God!

Ipso Facto Noir Dior / Craving 7″

This is definitely from the whiny Bat Cave genre, but it has that extra punch that few such bands have. It’s catchy enough to warrant a review, but insipid enough to be easily categorized. “Craving” is the best cut, due to its KILLING JOKE beat.

Johnny Forever Rock the Cemetery / Youth Drug 7″

This is what happens when garage rock ’n’ rollers try to make a post-punk record, and I’m not sure whether I like it or not. The flip is more straight-ahead, so it could appeal to closet Jeff Bale types.

Kalashnikov Læderhalse EP

A new Danish outfit that specializes in tasty mid-tempo punk with an interesting post-punky flavor. The overall sound is heavy, the lyrics are political, and there are some cool rhythmic shifts and guitar frills. “Laederhalse” has especially catchy vocal arrangements, whereas “Schlüter’s Kabinet” is a thrashed-out blast.

Kaos Adding Insult to Injury cassette

There’s quite a lot of variety to this garage band (outside of the overused name). The songs sometimes have real neat hooks, and are enhanced by quirky things like harmonicas! Interesting topics, too.

Karnage Total Terminus EP

With a name like KARNAGE, I expected this band to play full-tilt thrash, but such did not prove to be the case. In fact, they produce aggressive post-punk with loud, punky guitars, steady, slow rhythms, politicized lyrics, and some interesting keyboard effects. Improves with increased familiarity.

Krunch När Varje Steg är Ett Snedsteg cassette

Rapid-fire speed in the common new Swedish tradition. Enchanting doses of uproarious thrash at a non-stop pace that shovels up thundering fury and belts out some bellicose blows. KRUNCH’s invasion is exultant in invigorating, with simpler musical work that’s nevertheless effective and fast.

Huvudtvätt / Kurt I Kuvös Vårt Fria Land split LP

A fine release that’s shared by two Swedish bands. By now, everyone should know how great HUVUDTVÄTT (the HEADCLEANERS) are—the only question is whether the rough production here complements their gruff, careening thrash, and I can assure you that it does. KURT I KUVÖS are new to me, and they do punk and thrash with some peculiar vocal melodies that may represent an attempt to bring Swedish folk music into the ’80s.

Last Rites This Is the Reaction LP

A pretty snappy release with lots of tuneful thrash. This Scottish aggregation has some of the drive of early DISCHARGE (especially in the guitar sound), and some of the hooks of, say, SOCIAL UNREST. In my book, that’s a damn good combination.

Legion of Parasites Undesirable Guests 12″

A ripping new English thrash release (except for one slower sing-along called “Savages”) with hot production, flailing guitars, and accelerated tempos. The vocals are in the more traditional Britpunk vein and the stuttering drumming occasionally doesn’t mesh, but it’s a bloody good record anyway. The “No!” choruses make “Eroded Freedom” a mini-classic.

Los Violadores Los Violadores LP

This is the only Argentine punk record to date, and although it came out in 1983 and is definitely in the classical style, it’s a fine beginning. The production is of a very high quality, enabling LOS VIOLADORES to get across their anti-repression lyrics and guitar-heavy sound in the most powerful manner.

M.A.F. Hau ab… LP

Yeah! M.A.F. plays fast punk—not thrash. A fist-full of energy with good hooks and speedy beats makes me want to sing along, even though I don’t understand German. Like many German bands, they have that ’77 UK influence in some of their songs, but it’s very energetic, like the best from that era. “Gefangenschaft” and “Alkoholiker” are great blasts; they also do a spirited cover of “If the Kids Are United” and some mock drunken rousers. Recommended.

Massacre Guys Behind the 8-Ball EP

I was anticipating a jazzier sound from these Utahans, but this strangely produced EP contains fast thrash with periodic, unexpected stops and starts and fluid instrumentation. The lyrics are political but not simplistic, and some of these songs have a distinctive, hard-to-define quality.

MDC Chicken Squawk EP

MDC deliver a funnypunk classic in “Chicken Squawk,” an uproarious C&W thrash tune which belies a more serious argument for vegetarianism—it even has banjo lead breaks! On the flip, “Kleptomaniac” rates as a strong, catchy thrasher, although “Death of a Nun” suffers from lackluster performance and production values. A mandatory EP, however, and the foldout sleeve is extremely interesting and informative.

MG-15 Caos Final cassette

Formerly called SLIPS Y SPERMA (see interview elsewhere in this issue), these guys play a DISCHARGE-like form of thrash with few hooks, repetitive riffs, and growling vocals. You either like this form a lot, or you get bored fast.

Mighty Sphincter Heathouse EP

Phoenix, Arizona, the depraved city that gave us ALICE COOPER, the FEEDERZ, and the MEAT PUPPETS, has struck again. What crosses are to vampires, SPHINCTER is to music. Even some BUTTHOLE SURFERS fans would gag in horror at the sight of this band. Their sound is a bit more pet-metal than punk, kind of like CHRISTIAN DEATH and VENOM played backwards through a jet engine.

Miracle Workers Hung Up EP

This is the first solo effort by one of the outstanding bands on The Rebel Kind and Battle of the Garages Vol. 2 samplers. Again, they come up with some fuzzed-out jams with belligerent vocals and psychedelic effects. I only wish they’d do more originals and less covers (here, songs by the SONICS and the 13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS).

Mission The Last Detail 12″

A haunting, evocative ’60s-influenced band with loud, quasi-psychedelic guitars and vocals occasionally reminiscent of the ONLY ONES’ Peter Perrett. Most of their songs are hard-edged and atmospheric—like the distinctive version of “Steppin’ Stone”—but MISSION sometimes “rock out” too much (as in “What Goes Around” and “The Girl Next Door”). Worth listening to.

Mob 47 Kärnvapen Attack EP

The Swedish equivalent of GANG GREEN! MOB 47 plays rip-roaring ultra-fast thrash with incredible tightness, thereby differentiating themselves from the legions of hardcore bands that disintegrate at 1000 mph speeds. Every song is like a flesh-gouging bullet (except the slow “Animal Liberation”) making this EP one of the year’s best.

N.O.T.A. Moscow EP

A long overdue vinyl release from these Sooners, one that fully demonstrates their power and punch. This is a four-songer with fast and medium thrash, all of which hits you right in the gut. Let there be more!

Negative Trend We Don’t Play, We Riot 12″

NEGATIVE TREND was one of the most exciting bands to emerge from the early SF punk rock scene. This is a reissue of their 7” EP from 1978, and the music is as intense and immediate today as it was then. NEGATIVE TREND was more than just a band—they were a different way of seeing things, a mirror to the brutality of everyday life, and a vision of what could be. Every budding young rebel should do their homework and check this record out.

Neon Christ Parental Suppression EP

Snotty teenage thrash with a creative spark. Some of the guitar intros are real unusual (as in “Parental Suppression” and “It’s Mine”), the vocalist has a great youthful sneer, and the overall feeling is exuberant and innocent. “After” is a particularly unique and atmospheric post-holocaust number that captures NEON CHRIST’s hard-to-define flare.

Normahl Der Adler ist Gelandet LP

Proficiently recorded and executed new material that sounds distinctly German. It’s filled with anti-war themes, ’77-style three-chord riffs, and Oi-type choruses—without an Oi “attitude.” Side one utilizes humor and funny little musical intros and breaks, so it sounds a bit disjointed if you don’t understand German. Side two, while less imaginative, is more rocking. Not bad at all.

Normahl Ein Volk Steht Hinter Uns 12″

Although DIE NORMAHL sometimes plays considerably faster these days (as in “Morganstunde”), they’ve retained their sense of irony, their bouncy punk sound, and their ability to write the occasional slower, catchy tune (like “Liebeskonsum”). Nothing here is extraordinary, but this 12” makes for enjoyable listening.

Null & Void Still… It Must Go On EP

This band features members of UK groups RUBELLA BALLET and the MOB, and it has that type of temperament. It is folksy yet intense, and they add little tidbits like a piano solo at the end of the first side. I especially like the catchy melodies and the clean, grating guitars in “Camp,” and the well-done rhythmic poetry in “Cold War”; the lyrics are of course strong and intelligent. Recommended.

Nurse Nurse II EP

NURSE is a unique Japanese ensemble with a female singer and an eclectic, guitar-heavy approach to punk music. On this EP, they produce poppy punk with a rockin’ beat (B-2); post-punk (A-2); slow, hook-laden punk (B-1); and two thrashers, one (A-1) with screeching “nyah nyah” vocals, the other (B-3) with a pummeling beat and shit-hot guitar breaks. Marvelous.

Nussivat Nunnat Nunnia Lepakon WC:SSÄ cassette

A three-song demo by yet another new Finnish group. These guys play raw-sounding punk and thrash with raspy Oi-ish vocals, but certain songs (especially “Liukuhihnan Orjat”) reveal a budding imagination more advanced than their current musical abilities.

Offenders I Hate Myself / Bad Times 7″

More high-powered thrash from the OFFENDERS. This time, they’ve managed to capture an incredible guitar sound, one that reminds me of HÜSKER DÜ’s. “I Hate Myself” just careens right along, whereas “Bad Times” has a slow, lengthy, half-spoken intro. Ace.

Painted Willie Ragged Army EP

A goofy garage punk effort from some ex-members of SIN 34. The tempos are medium-speed, the guitars are crude, the themes are seriocomic, and the vocals are rough and semi-psychotic. Entertaining, but not outstanding.

Panik Les Troubadours du Chaos 12″

Midnight had this French release listed as “thrash” in their catalog, but in fact PANIK falls into the mid-tempo skunk category. Although they have blasting guitars, an excellent singer, and some driving songs, they have a more experimental bent and concentrate less on the “cast of thousand” background vocals than other skunk outfits. There’s even a reverse mystery track at the end of side A for psychedelia’s sake.

Plain Wrap Time to Change cassette

Another very hot tape from this fine SoCal band. Intelligent lyrics and blazingly fast thrash that’s tight, cleanly recorded, and filled with good hooks and some neat vocal work. Some of these songs are new, while others are re-done versions of material from their earlier cassette. These guys should put out a record as soon as possible.

Plan 9 Dealing With the Dead 12″

While PLAN 9 are much better than the bulk of today’s lightweight ’60s revival groups, they don’t touch certain other outfits in terms of snotty vocals (the OUTTA PLACE, the CHESTERFIELD KINGS) or raw guitar power (the NOMADS). I find the latter inexplicable, since they have five guitars! In any case, they write some strong songs and have an atmospheric organ, but everything is just too professional sounding to evoke real teenage angst.

Pyhät Nuket Tää Yö on Meidän / Sokea 7″

PYHAT NUKET is a second band for some of the guys in RIISTETYT, and it’s a real departure for them. This ensemble has a highly polished post-punk sound with strong guitars; I’d recommend it to fans of the early CURE.

R.A.S. 84 LP

An excellent album that mixes that irresistible French skunk—melodic mid-tempo numbers with soccer choruses—with a few contemporary thrashers that also have sing-along vocals (like “LVF”). The production is very powerful, and the lyrics reflect both a healthy cynicism about promises made by established political parties (including those on the left) and an obvious hostility to neo-nazi groups. Recommended.

Rat Patrol The Last Offensive / Rat Rap 7″

This looks like a typical punk record, but it’s not. What it is is a fusion of political punk sentiments and black musical influences. “The Last Offensive” is a clever ditty with a reggae-ish beat, a steady build-up, and some interesting guitar work; the flip is a rather lame rap number. RAT PATROL is now known as WESTWAY, perhaps for commercial acceptability.

Rattus Uskonto on Vaara 12″

RATTUS has evolved a lot since the release of their early self-produced EPs, and have improved very dramatically since the appearance of their WC Räjähtää LP. Their new vocalist Annikki is much hotter, their instrumental attack is tighter and even more intense, and, best of all, most of their newer songs have terrific hooks in the choruses. This baby is awesome!

Razor Blades Plastic Messiah EP

Another chaotic thrash-oriented release with good lyrics from the RAZOR BLADES. They’ve improved quite a bit over the last few years. Some of their songs now have strong hooks (especially “68”), and they’ve branched out into more diverse structures without sacrificing their crude guitar power or nasty vocals. “Precipice” totally shreds.

Räkä Helka Virsijä cassette

RÄKÄ is a young band from eastern Finland. They have an exceptionally primitive approach, with almost every song consisting of a single simple and repetitive riff overlaid by nasty vocals. Rude and pile-driving.

Red Tide Kelp and Salal EP

After all the trouble we had getting a decent-sounding remix version of “Incubator Slide” for our 1984 album, I half-expected the production on RED TIDE’s EP to be terrible. But they’ve ended up with a chunky drive and a lot of edge on the guitars so, despite the occasionally weird vocal sound, this record turned out pretty damn well. The guitar parts are really cool, and “Santa Mari Marushi” is hotter than hell.

Rhythm Pigs Boring Orgy cassette

An extremely hot “live” tape that demonstrates why so many people have raved about these guys. It’s highly energized and even thrashy at times, but always innovative, tight, and powerful. And they found a good use for Falwell’s propaganda tapes!

Riistetyt Nightmares in Darkness LP

Another Rock-O-Rama bonus album with a side each of studio and live compositions. All of the studio material (some of which was previously released on their last Finnish 12”) exudes that trebly thrash feel that one associates with CHAOS UK, and special mention should be made of acidic rockers like “Brainless Violence” and “Skitzophrenia.” The live side varies in quality, with occasional vocal drop-outs, but it’s still entertaining. A fine release.

Saccharine Trust Surviving You, Always LP

SACCHARINE TRUST’s new album has an artistic approach that reminds many of the MINUTEMEN, although they seem even more demented and experimental. It exhibits a marked unevenness from cut to cut—the faster rockers (like “The Giver Takes” and the wonderfully scratchy “Craving the Center”) add a level of accessibility to the proceedings, but a number of the slower, artier pieces (such as “The Cat Cracker” and “Our Discovery”) don’t take long to become tedious.

Saturnalia Inside the Devil’s Circle / The Promise 7″

I passed this up for ages because I thought it was a reissue of a British ’60s band. But no, this goes way beyond most past and present psych outings into the uncharted realms of hammering acoustic guitars, cave-echo vocals, and just the right sprinkle of tinkling piano. Add sax to the B-side for a taste of the best of John Berry’s spy movie soundtracks, and you end up with something truly spooky.

Second Auschwitz Your Pet cassette

SECOND AUSCHWITZ are self-admitted novices (they recorded one hundred songs in a studio, forty of which are here, without ever having played an instrument or practiced before) who produce five-to-ten-second “songs” that are crude and idealistic. Decidedly different.

Shockabilly Colosseum LP

The new SHOCKABILLY fare isn’t as accessible as their earlier stuff, which was more R&B-oriented. They are either returning to the early days of the MOTHERS OF INVENTION or doing lots of LSD. They do everything from “freak outs” to DOORS’ acid jams to sweet southern ballads to a wild version of “Homeward Bound” (God forbid!) to songs with a fuzzed-out guitar and Eugene trying to blow his nose. Whoooaaa…

Sic Kidz I Could Go to Hell For You 12″

The SIC KIDZ are a Philadelphia-area band who’ve been around for awhile and, despite deaths and other obstacles, have finally managed to attract the attention of an English specialty label, perhaps with the help of the CRAMPS. Their sound is indeed heavily influenced by the latter, though it expands from a narrow psychobilly base into the ’60s for inspiration. So if you like nasty, ringing guitars and echoey singing, give this a listen.

Slaughter House 4 Four More Hours EP

A six-song effort that reminds me somewhat of ’78-era stuff, in that it incorporates funk and pop elements into a punky aesthetic. It’s fairly aggressive, with biting social commentary and a female vocalist on some tracks.

Special Forces World Domination LP

A basic thrash album by a newer Berkeley band. It features a very tight instrumental attack, some catchy multi-voice choruses, anti-establishment lyrics, and standard gruff singing. The main problem here is a general lack of musical variation, something which will no doubt be overcome with time. Fun with beer.

St. John’s Alliance Mark My Word / No One Sees 7″

The press kit that came with this 45 touted the band as the “heartbeat of young America today” and the most exciting record to pass through my hands… blah, blah, which almost made me throw it in the trash compactor. But then I decided to listen to it, and found two ’60s-oriented folkish pop songs with occasional BEATLE-ish vocal inflections and a trebly BYRDS-ian guitar. A decent record, but nothing extraordinary.

Stalag 13 In Control 12″

STALAG 13 demonstrates a sleek, clean thrash attack with occasional metallic lead breaks which remind me of SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, and their songs deal thematically with teenage identity and rebellion. “Black Stix/Silver Badge” is a chilling thrash number, and the unexpected changes of pace in “The Choice Is Yours” make for solid, inventive hardcore. Recommended.

Stranglehold Cause I’m Gonna 12″

Strong, crisply produced modern hardcore is showcased on STRANGLEHOLD’s debut release. Their overall approach—including sung, ’60s-inflected vocals, irrepressible tunes, tight instrumentation, and boisterous but controlled delivery—reminds me a bit of the great ZERO BOYS, which can’t be a bad thing. “’Cause I’m Gonna” is an epic blast with an anthemic chorus.

The Apostles The Curse of the Creature & The Giving of Love Costs Nothing EPs

Right, here we go. The APOSTLES have released two new self-produced EPs, one with highly intelligent rants (The Curse of the Creature), the other with both sensible and very misguided rants (The Giving of Love Costs Nothing). But since we’ve given them space elsewhere in this issue to air their sometimes inconsistent views, I’ll concentrate on the music here. They have a droning, mid-tempo punkish attack with primitive two-chord guitar and half-spoken, half-sung vocals. sort of like SIX MINUTE WAR’s old garagy, semi-experimental style. Some of the more basic numbers click (such as “Our Mother the Earth…”); others meander about too much and don’t do much for me.

The Calamities The Calamities LP

A folk-rocky pop-punk group from France with cutesy female vocals. The CALAMITIES are competent enough, but not really exciting or emotionally gripping. They do covers of songs by the TROGGS, the WHO, and the DOVELLS, and wish they could be the GO-GO’S.

The Celibate Rifles The Celibate Rifles LP

The second album from this politically aware/personally oriented Australian band, which I’m not as fond of as other people I know. Their music tends toward a ’70s rock style, with some songs on the soft side and others on the tougher, guitar-heavy side, not unlike some “Detroit rock” bands of past days. Off and on.

The Corsairs Today 12″

I can see Greg Shaw having multiple orgasms over this one! The CORSAIRS play soft, ’60s-inspired pop with some decent melodies and harmonies, but the wimpoid overall sound and obtrusive piano severely detract from their potential appeal. Someone should crank up their guitar amp and trash the keyboards.

The Enemy Last But Not Least / Images 7″

The ENEMY have never managed to generate much excitement, and this new 45 doesn’t break with tradition. “Last But Not Least” is a fairly boring rock-oriented number with a dull lead and mannered vocals; the live flip isn’t much better, though it has a more piercing guitar tone.

The Evasions Sun of Surf LP

Surf instrumentals are cool. Any hardcore musician who wants to branch out and play something besides heavy metal should check out this type of music. The EVASIONS’ 14-song semi-picture disc is part of a growing ’60s punk-style revival movement. These guys write almost all of their own material, unlike their better-known contemporaries like JON & THE NIGHTRIDERS. Banzai!

The Ex Blueprints for a Blackout 2xLP

This is an amazingly meaty package. A graphic/lyric book, a poster, and two discs make this ominous piece quite remarkable. They plunder, explore, and ramble through many hideous subjects and musical flavors, from Christ: The Album-type CRASS opera to frightening industrial rhythm electronics like KOSMONAUTENTRAUM. If you’re familiar with the EX and like their work, this new release must be experienced from start to finish; if not, check it out.

The Eyes Blink LP

The EYES are a British ’60s group along the lines of the early WHO—mod to the max—who never did manage to put out an album back then. And now the reason becomes clearer, as this one contains too much filler. But there are a few killers, including the haunting “When the Night Falls” and the hilarious “My Degeneration.”

The Faction Corpse in Disguise EP

“Corpse in Disguise” comes out as a MISFITS-influenced tune with an unrefined rocky sound. It’s got all the catches and hooks, but like most FACTION melodies it lacks something which is hard to put the finger on. The entire EP has a metal/rock flavor, though the lyrics are getting more intelligent with each release. The FACTION drives a powerful, energetic set live; in the studio, what emerges isn’t usually the same. A young band that’s bound to grow.

Peter and the Test Tube Babies / The Fits Pressed for Ca$h split 12″

The PETER & THE TEST TUBE BABIES track, remixed from their second album, boasts some great production values and inventive guitar figures, but still seems a bit uninspired. On the other hand, I found the FITS tracks at least moderately appealing, with its catchy guitar riffing and melodies. Nothing special, though by no means offensive.

The G.R.I.M. Getting Revenge in ‘Merica 12″

Living up to their name, the G.R.I.M. produce some very down and depressing stuff. Their dark outlook is projected by slowish metal-laden punk and an occasional thrasher, as well as negative-outlook lyrics. I guess they’re bummed out.

The Honeymoon Killers Uncut! Uncensored! cassette

A screeching pet rock cousin to New York’s current school of avant-noise bands. The difference here is their fondness for trashing ’50s standards. “Who Do You Love” and “Ubangi Stomp” have never been abused quite like this before. Nice packaging, too.

The Left It’s the World 12″

The best band on Bona Fide’s Train to Disaster album returns with their own 12” release. “You’re So” was a distorted ’60s punk blast, but here they merge elements from ’70s and ’80s punk in an extremely effective way. The production is crude enough to highlight their garage tendencies, and the songs are both powerful and original. A sure winner.

The Not What’s the Reason 12″

The NOT produce six more examples of their JAM-oriented material on their debut vinyl. In some cases, that approach doesn’t work too well (as in the overly rockish “In Trouble” and the slow “World War”), but elsewhere their clean guitars, bouncy rhythms, and Wellerish vocals combine in an engaging way. If they’d only absorb some influences from the JOLT—a ’78 “mod” group with more explosive energy and guitar power than the JAM—they’d really turn some heads.

The Outta Place We’re Outta Place 12″

Yeah! New York’s “cave teens” return with another raw ’60s punk attack. What makes them stand out isn’t the material per se—most of it consists of cover versions of old chestnuts—but their growling, screaming, trebly sound. And, they’ve got enough snottiness to carry this primitive stuff off in the ’80s, unlike so many of today’s “revival” bands. “Things Are Different Now” and their “theme song” are killers.

The Pandoras I’m Here, I’m Gone EP

A super hot ’60s-style punk release by a hitherto unknown female band. The fuzzy, distorted guitars and crude organ are emphasized in shrieking rave-ups like “I’m Here, I’m Gone,” and even their “mellow” folk-rock cut (“It’s About Time”) has that raunchy teenage snot-nosed quality that separates the punks from the calculated poseurs. Plus, they do a damn good cover of the DIRTY WURDS’ “Why”—no mean feat.

The Pandoras It’s About Time LP

After their great debut EP, I was afraid the ensuing album would wimp out, as often happens with this ’60s “teen punk” genre. No way! What we get are twelve killer songs, ranging from folk-rock to snarling ’67-era punk, all delivered with guts and drive. The music is tight and raunchy like that of their heroes the SHADOWS OF KNIGHT, and it’s hard to believe that all the members are female, because the vocals have such a deep, gruff sneer. Fucking excellent.

The Partisans Time Was Right LP

I’ve always been partial to the unique punk stylings of the PARTISANS, and their latest album, which contains one side of studio and one of live tracks, is quite strong. Most of the studio material has a richly arranged, dense rock ’n’ roll flavor, but with an abrasive hardcore edge. Their new version of “I Never Needed You” is much more raw and powerful, and the meaty, mid-tempo pop-punk title track is surely the best. The live songs are also excellently recorded.

The Primevals Where Are You / This Kind of Love 7″

If this 45 is representative, the PRIMEVALS are Scotland’s answer to the early FLESHTONES. Both of these tracks have that upbeat ’60s sound, with fake tough vocals, rockin’ beats, semi-fuzz guitar parts (in “This Kind of Love”), or catchy “hey” background vocals (in “Where Are You”). A great little debut.

The Rok Tots Situation Kid / Suicide Weekend 7″

Mix ’60s-laced pop-rock melodies with contemporary punk production values, and you’ll get an idea of how cool “Situation Kid” is. The B-side is an even better straightforward garage punk number with some blasting guitar parts. An appealing debut.

The Sid Presley Experience Hup Two Three Four / Public Enemy Number One 7″

A ’60s-style guitar band from Britain. Both songs here have rocking beats, heavy guitars, and irresistible riffs. “Public Enemy Number One” is an instrumental, whereas the flip has tough-sounding vocals. SID & Co. have some musical guts.

The Smashchords The History of the Smashchords cassette

The SMASHCHORDS are an unusual instrumental combo—just two guitars—who knock out some basic rock ’n’ roll tunes. While this tape is certainly unique, it’s also a bit frustrating, since their catchy rhythms make you hope they’ll cut loose in a real savage way. But they can’t, because they’ve got to keep providing the rhythm section—the Pete Townsend syndrome.

The Square Peg Echoes of War EP

A rock-oriented punk record by ex-EXPLOITED guitarist Big John’s new band. The title song is a slow but catchy little ditty with some tasteful guitar playing and anti-war lyrics; the flip contains one good semi-pop number (“Bad Connection”) and one awful pub rock song (“No Explanation”).

The Sting-Rays Dinosaurs LP

Strange. The STING-RAYS look rockabilly, act punk, and sound more ’60s than anything else (note their covers of the REMAINS’ “Hard Time Comin’” and LOVE’s “My Flash on You”). Actually, they are a rockabilly band in the instrumental sense, with their slapped bass, snare drum, guitar, and echoey vocals, but the material is more modern. Totally ungeneric.

The Windbreakers Any Monkey With a Typewriter 12″

This 12” from Mississippi’s WINDBREAKERS is vastly better than their debut 7” EP, mainly due to the presence of somewhat zippier material and louder guitars. They’re still attempting to mine the folky ’60s pop vein, and have managed to jettison the more tedious rock influences that marred their earlier effort. Pretty good, especially “Ya Gotta Go Away.”

The Zany Guys Party Hits vol. II EP

A very clever Phoenix band that mixes a couple of garagy thrash tunes (“Little Tuff Kid” and “Mr. Ackers”) with a slower boppin’ thang (“Paperboy Blue”) and an absolutely hilarious country-punk satire (“Hardcore”). The latter is one of the year’s outstanding funnypunk creations, and the whole EP will tickle your funnybone. Order it today.

Toejam Toejam cassette

TOEJAM lets loose a metal-punk blast with lots of noise and echoey, gruff, sometimes distorted vocals. A lot of the tracks here are too metalish for me (including guitar solos, etc.), but there is power to spare.

Toothpaste Palestine 12″

Raw, brilliant pop in the early EMBARRASSMENT’s ballpark. TOOTHPASTE’s music shifts between fuzzy, guitar-oriented blasts (like “Amerikan Beauties” and “Skinheads Are O.K.”) and unpredictable but generally engaging amalgams of funk, punk, pop, and post-punk. The lyrics are often both exceptionally clever and politically motivated (note “Palestine” and the live unlisted track, “R.M.N. Is Better Than Sex”).

Tower of Swine Pig of Anarchy cassette

Fine garage punk from the SF Bay Area. The guitars are raunchy, the singer is a smart-aleck, and the themes are often satirical. Songs like “Fellatio Sucks, It’s for Dicks” are real knee-slappers, whereas others (like “Senior Citizen”) are more sensitive and relevant.

Tragic Mulatto Judo for the Blind 12″

This 12” gives TRAGIC MULATTO more room to be weird than their earlier single. It sounds like physically disabled persons attempting to play jazz, blind people playing from sheet music, or some self-indulgent artists with saxophones. But since most of it has a hard, steady beat and a melodic guitar—not to mention peculiar lyrics—it’s tolerable and interesting for other weird-asses like myself. Likable in short doses.

Urge Overkill Portion Controlled cassette

A three-song demo. There are two lengthy sons (including a cover of the ZOMBIES’ “She’s Not There”) with funky rhythms, post-punk vocals, and instrumental overlays; the final track (“Lympdiccus”) is a rockabillyish thang with similar “cold wave” vocals.

V/A Back From the Grave, Vol. 3 LP

Among the many ’60s reissue series, Back from the Grave has been the best because of its focus on the snarling teenage punk emanating from suburban garages all across America between 1965 and 1967. And fortunately, Volume 3 maintains this tradition of basement quality by presenting more of the most heartfelt adolescent rants about problems with gurls, gurls, and more gurls, accompanied by two-chord fuzz guitars, squealing organs, and ham-fisted drum beats. The obscure pearls by KEN & THE 4TH DIMENSION, SIR WINSTON & COMMONS, and MURPHY & THE MOB are just as cool as they can be.

V/A Compost Pile Action cassette

This tape has a lot of hot material by the likes of MOX NIX, CANCEROUS GROWTH, ROSEMARYS BABIES, S.U.M., NERVE, N.O.T.A., the LEPERS, HUMAN SUFFERAGE, the CATATONICS, PSYCHO, and a half-dozen more. Some of it has been previously released, but it still adds up to fine listening.

V/A Inner Mystique EP

The first Pebbles-type collection of lost garage/psych bands from the ’70s and ’80s. Compiled by Rat Race Kid, it features unreleased tracks by BILLY SYNTH and Australia’s LIPSTICK KILLERS. The icing on the cake is the first-ever vinyl appearance by ROCKET FROM THE TOMBS, a seminal mid-’70s Cleveland outfit that would later spawn PERE UBU and the DEAD BOYS.

V/A This Is the Central Coast, Dammit LP

A decent regional compilation from the California coast between SF and LA, very near the geologically unstable area where PG&E stupidly built its Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. The album includes various categories of contemporary music, from catchy teenage thrash (LOS CREMATORS, DEATH OF GLORY, and the CORRUPTORS) to garage punk (GROUP SEX, X-TORTION) to neo-psychedelia (PYRAMOD, MOOD ROOM) to ’77 punk (the USERS) to Finnish-style thrash (ASSAULT) to garagy mixtures of thrash and punk (the WIMPY DICKS and PEDESTRIAN ABUSE). The overall feeling is appealingly unprofessional, and the idea of giving new groups exposure is worthy of support.

V/A Mutopia cassette

A generally excellent sampler of Northern Virigina hardcore, metal, experimental, and ’60-inspired groups. It’s a well-recorded, non-profit project that contains band handouts by #1 PRIORITY, PUDWAK, MALEFICE, the STEEL KNICKERS, DEATH PIGGY, CONCENTRIC, MICHAEL, CAMP DAVID, YOM, and 007. Most of the material on side one is powerful and catchy, and PUDWAK’s “Boxhead” is a total classic with schizoid vocals.

V/A The Animals Packet cassette

The cassette itself is only a small part of this package, which includes zines, literature, lyrics, pamphlets, addresses, etc., all relating to the horrors of animal slaughter. Even on the tape, all the tracks by the various bands (the INSTIGATORS, CHUMBAWAMBA, ANTIDOTE, ALTERNATIVE, ANDY T, and the LOST CHERREES, to name just a few) are interspersed with bits of information on this topic. Unfortunately, there’s very little punk music here; folkish and experimental stuff predominates.

V/A Afrika Corps cassette

Ten groups of varying punk styles and recording qualities appear on this compilation of South African bands. The most proficient and powerful are mid-tempo punkers POWER AGE, although the GAY MARINES, WILD YOUTH, and WILD JUSTICE also show promise. And, there’s an all-girl garage band called the LEOPARDS—Steve Spinali take note!

V/A Capitol Kaos

This New Zealand compilation consists mainly of live material by ’77-style punk bands. That’s not to say it’s bad, because there are some pretty cool tracks herein, especially by FINAL SOLUTION, RIOT III (who does some thrash), FLESH D-VICE, and ZYKLON-B.

V/A Life is a Joke LP

Not one of the New Underground series, but a new international compilation on Germany’s Weird System label. It contains two cuts each by RAZZIA, FANG, TERVEET KÄDET, RIOT SQUAD (South Africa), SAVAGE CIRCLE (Italy), SHIT SA (Spain), the INOCENTES, HYSTERIA (UK), and CIVIL DISSIDENT (Australia). The latter offers the most pleasant surprise—they’re a brutal thrash outfit—but the whole record smokes.

V/A Hyvinkää EP

A self-produced EP with material by four young Finnish garage punk outfits (PURKAUS, SOTAKULTTUURI, TERRORI, and PAINAJAINEN). The raw production further highlights the DIY raunchiness of the bands, all of which play more-or-less tuneless mid-tempo punk rather than thrash. PURKAUS is the best of a fairly inept bunch.

V/A Der Vollsuff Sampler cassette

Some of these German hardcore groups are already reasonably well-known (INFERNO, the MANIACS, M.A.F., the SCAPEGOATS), whereas others are more obscure (ABZESS, VOICES OF PROTEST, TCA). Inferno leads a pretty good pack in terms of tightness and power.

V/A Deutscher Punk Sampler #1 cassette

This compilation tape features some fairly unknown bands (TIN CAN ARMY, KATAFALK, V.N.W., VOICES OF PROTEST, MILZBRAND, and the MANIACS) that predictably display varying degrees of competency and power. The MANIACS and KATAFALK really kick ass; the latter prove to be an especially fine thrash band with lots of zip.

V/A 1984: The First Sonic World War LP

This French sampler contains a wide variety of punk styles—classical, garage, thrash, skunk (big in France), and drum-machine/synth punk (which the French seem to have cornered the market on). HUMAN BEING and HEIMAT weigh in with some choice thrash, and there’s lots of other good stuff from R.A.S., ELECTRONAZE, LES CADAVRES, the SUB KIDS, and a dozen more. Tres bien!

Weddings Done Cheap Special Occasion cassette

A somewhat garagy production that, in this case, doesn’t add charm to the band’s sound. But in a studio, their sparse attack could be filled in nicely, and some of the tasty guitar and bass tricks would sound really cool (like those in “Resistance” and “Un-American”). There’s potential here.

Zero Boys History Of cassette

Sixteen classy ZERO BOYS songs. A few have already appeared on their superb album, but the rest are hitherto unreleased gems that reveal why this band should be rated right up there with the CIRCLE JERKS as prime exponents of brisk, hook-laden thrash and punk. Excellent.