Reviews

MRR #16 • August 1984

Active Ingredients Service With a Smile EP

I half-expected this to be another uneventful American thrash record, but this EP contains some weirder material with unusual vocal inflections and some spastic structural shifts. “Service with a Smile” is particularly distinctive musically—dig the screaming guitar—whereas “Take from the Poor, Give to the Rich” provides some food for thought.

Adrenalin OD The Wacky Hi-Jinks of Adrenalin OD LP

These little imps from west of the swamplands have come up with a really dense, “live” two-guitar sound here. Recorded while the band was in their underwear, they still manage to thrash wildly, humorously, and sarcastically. In the process, they prove without a doubt that there are more great items than pizza in the Garden State.

Akutt Innleggelse Echos From the Asylum EP

A raw, mid-tempo three-track EP from Norway. On their first vinyl release, AKUTT INNLEGGELSE displays a primitive, amateurish punk attack. It kind of slouches along without noteworthy choruses, but the lyrics are good and the guitar lead in “Superstjerne” is awkward enough to be really cool.

Artless How Much Punk Rock Do You Hear in Russia? EP

No further explanation is needed about our dear friend Mykel Board’s insulting intent here. The title song is a droning yet rockin’ cover with a sax that isn’t bad at all; “How Much Punk Rock Do You Hear in Russia?” and “We Want Nuclear War” are remixed from the previously released German ARTLESS/GG ALLIN split EP. They sound much better here, and will probably go down in history as the two most witty punk rock things Mykel has ever done.

Belfegore Belfegore 12″

Big production showcases an awesome range of style. Ethereal, enigmatic, and all the while defying an adequate label. Without the “follow-the-leader” instincts of the Yanks and the trendy posturing of the Limeys, many a Kraut combo is finding its way into my heart. BELFEGORE is numero uno, so check this one out, pongos.

Bloody Mannequin Orchestra Roadmap to Revolution LP

This is the third weird-ass art-damaged band I’ve reviewed lately, but I find them to be more hard-edged and unique (and less self-indulgent) than the others. They remind me at times of the CRUCIFUCKS, SWELL MAPS, SACCHARINE TRUST, etc., as they utilize many types of instruments, tempo changes, breaks, moods, and styles (including jazz and rock ’n’ roll). There are also lots of eclectic lyrics that parody soldiers, heads of state, and people that think they’re cool.

Brave New World Something New cassette

On BRAVE NEW WORLD’s tape, uplifting and intelligent lyrics about overcoming our societal problems are coupled with intense, driving, middle-paced music. The result is a punk/post-punk combo that hits home—they’re abrasive, musical, disturbing, and different.

Broken Bones Dem Bones LP

BROKEN BONES manages the British metal-punk sound more effectively than most of their peers, but many of these compositions blend into one another, much like recent GBH material. “Big Hard Man,” “Terrorist Attack,” and the humorous “Dem Bones” qualify as solid hardcore, yet the repetitious song structures and guitar solos detract from this record’s overall charm.

Chronic Disorder Fred EP

Perhaps not as continuously energetic as their fabulous debut EP, but CHRONIC DISORDER still manages to connect with some impassioned thrashers like “Eileen’s” and “I See Red.” My favorite, however, is a whacked-out send-up of JOY DIVISION’s “Isolation” (“Point/Counterpoint”), that shows this band to be quite versatile indeed.

Civil Defense Gun Control 12″

What we have here is a bunch of medium-speed punk tunes with a melodic orientation. Songs like “Gun Control” and “Capital Punishment” (which has simplistic “law and order” lyrics) are straightforward numbers with good, strong hooks, but certain other songs are less memorable and lacking in energy. An uneven debut, but CIVIL DEFENSE has potential.

Cobra Break Out EP

In contradistinction to most new Japanese bands, COBRA is sticking to their punk origins rather than speeding up. This record showcases a basic mid-tempo guitar-heavy assault with melodies and backing choruses. “Oi Tonight” is particularly engaging.

Crawling Chaos The Big C LP

After a long layoff, a second LP. Their best product to date is the tough-to-find Homunculus Equinox cassette gem. That tape evidences more insanity than one can handle, but the albums seem to layer their intent within the vehicle of the song itself, most times coming out on top. Fans of the obtuse revel.

Cult Maniax Full of Spunk EP

This three-track EP of mid-tempo British punk delivers little in the way of excitement or clever songwriting. “Psycho Rocker” has some diverting power-chord progressions, but the other compositions are strictly routine stuff. The lyrics, too, are pretty lightweight, as they primarily satirize old youth fads.

Dead Cops Kill the Cops flexi EP

A Japanese band that seems to be heavily influenced by MDC in terms of both moniker and lyrical concerns, though they’re far more superficial if not fatuous. Their sound, however, is a dense metallic buzz underlying raspy, zombie-like vocals (especially on the title song). I think the singer is American.

Decry Falling LP

This is an excellent debut album that mixes and matches the best of the SoCal punk tradition. DECRY has that powerful, cleanly produced two-guitar attack and a knack for writing catchy melodies. Careful listeners will soon discern the musical influences of great bands like the ADOLESCENTS, THE CIRCLE JERKS, and M.I.A., and certain songs remind one of BLACK FLAG (“My Bloody Dream”) or the TOXIC REASONS (“Asylum”), but these guys are not mere borrowers.

Dictatrista Preavvisati… Ma Non Premuniti cassette

This “live” quality tape gives you a decent idea of what this band is capable of—a lot. Their melodic material has good hooks and vocals, whether delivered fast or slow. Wait until they get into a studio.

Endorphins Fringe Benefits flexi EP

This four-song release came with the June/July issue of The B.O.B. The material is reminiscent of LOU REED’s early solo efforts—restrained, melodic rock ’n’ roll with lyrics that are on the esoteric side.

Folk Devils Hank Turns Blue / Chewing the Flesh 7″

Long-term followers of the UK music scene are well aware of the strict regimentation that has been firmly established there, and they should be equally aware of the increasing rarity of bands that actually dare to ignore all the predetermined guidelines for acceptance. It seems like the FOLK DEVILS are one such band. These guys play furious, uproaring rock with a very hard-edged R&B feel. Not overbearing, but simply destructive in an almost subtle way. A real band concerning itself with real music… not empty words.

G-Zet 99 Sheeps 12″

Like GISM, G-ZET straddles the line between metal punk and speed metal, but definitely tend more toward the metal side. Moreover, their guitars aren’t as piercing and their vocals aren’t as demented, making this a less impressive effort all around. Headbangers should go for it; others won’t be as enthused.

Gas The Day After flexi EP

The GAS is another brutal Japanese metal-thrash ensemble, and they blast right along without hesitation. There’s a lot of instrumental power here, not to mention irrepressible choruses, but the production is too heavy on the mid-range to highlight the guitars and vocals.

Gay Cowboys In Bondage Owen Marshmallow Strikes Again EP

A classic US garage band with seriocomic themes dealing with adolescent life. The GAY COWBOYS have that irresistible mixture of precocious wit, raunched-out guitars, and demented vocals that I find irresistible. The primitive production and wacked-out guitar leads provide additional bonuses, and how can you ignore songs like “Big Fat Baloney Sandwich”?

God’s Will Hey! You’re on My Property Now, Son EP

The eleven tracks on this EP plow into a maniacal thrash attack with frequent metal lead breaks. The lyrics are remarkably funny, but the song structures aren’t as memorable as they should be. “Rock Jam” and “Zombies” are solid rockers, though I feel that GOD’S WILL can more effectively develop musical distinctiveness in the future. Pretty good.

Government Issue Joy Ride LP

This album witnesses an evolution in G.I.’s style from thrash to a decided “rock ’n’ roll” approach, and is not the band’s best moment. Their hilarious cover of “These Boots Were Made for Walking” aside, the songs here are largely un-catchy and lacking in punch. The lyrics provide intelligent commentary on social/political issues, but I’m still disappointed.

Guitardoz Fast Attack EP

Hmmm. These guys are a guitar pop band with some psychedelic pretensions. They’re pleasant enough and a bit clever, but the songs don’t quite stick and the guitars could be heavier. The biggest problem, though, is that the songs often shift into a weak commercial pop mode just when they start rockin’ (as with “Double Standards”).

Happy World Cold River EP

Garage punk from Colorado. The drummer seems to be incredibly young (judging from the cover pic) and the guitar lead in the title number is so lame it’s cool, but the songs have entertaining lyrics and plenty of primitive drive and spunk. For fans of unprofessionalism (like me).

Happy World Sad Gesture cassette

A live recording with ten songs. It’s somewhat garagy in terms of sound quality, and since it’s live there’s a lot of wanking going on. The music is sort of jazzy, metallish thrash, with quirky parts and post-punky vocals that remind me a bit of SF’s old WOUNDZ.

Inca Babies Big Jugular 12″

The INCA BABIES’ songs cop the BIRTHDAY PARTY’s maniacal dementia almost to a note; the song titles, lyrics, and cover jacket all aim for the same impoverished slant; and they even attempt the same silly kind of haircuts. Fans of the BIRTHDAY PARTY will find it hard to forgive these transgressions, but may also find themselves immersed by this band’s considerable mimicking skills—their blare is pretty substantial, but not very original in conception.

Stalag 17 / Irah Nè Buoni Nè Cattivi… Soltanto Incazzati EP

These two Italian bands describe themselves as anarchists, and from what I can gather, they are to be admired for their dedication and efforts. STALAG 17 play pretty good thrash and slower, ballad-type songs; IRAH do pretty intense, fast songs that are catchy. Even though translations of the lyrics would be nice, musically this is a record worth tracking down.

Killroy Believe in the Ruins 12″

Here are some rousing numbers that prove to be a good follow-up to KILLROY’s previous 7”. They have a mid-tempo, somewhat ’77-ish English style that combines good arrangements, choruses, and that LA spirit (especially in “The Battle,” the title cut, and “The Scream,” which sounds like YOUTH BRIGADE). A little derivative, but an enjoyable effort.

Klaxon The Kids Today EP

KLAXON breaks with the Italian thrash and Oi traditions by adopting a poppy punk sound. Songs like “Prisoners” have a ’78-’79 punk approach with their medium speed and hummable backing vocals. Decidedly different in this day and age, but really refreshing.

KUKL The Eye LP

This fascinating release presents inventive, discordant post-punk with poetic lyrics. While some of the songs have a lilting, unmelodic approach that goes nowhere, “Dismembered” is a chilling aural composition, as are the instrumentals that finish both sides of the album. Not for the closed-minded, for there is some really beautiful music here.

Forced Tradition / Lamos split cassette

Put out by Spamm fanzine, these are two of the current crop of Sacramento hardcore bands. FORCED TRADITION weighs in with their sarcastic, FLIPPER-metal “fuck you” approach; good noise. The LAMOS thrash out more, but the recording isn’t as clear. A pretty enjoyable excursion.

Lethal Gospel Penetrating Tales 12″

A weird debut that ranges from abrasive, punkoid blasts (like “Terminal Art” and “Action Speaks”) to the worst excesses of atmospheric pretension in the later ZAPPA vein (“Now What Have I Done?”). Most of their material falls into a less than satisfying middle ground that combines elements of UK post-punk, horror rock, and soft San Francisco psychedelia. They need more focus.

Manisch Depressiv Manisch Depressiv 7″

Some ex-members of Switzerland’s TNT come up with a totally unique and powerful sound. It’s mainly just a couple of raw guitars and female vocal harmonies, interspersed with weird and abrasive breaks, eruptions, and outbursts. One song runs through both sides, and it represents punk at its most innovative.

Masturbation 死顔 flexi 7″

On this two-track flexi, MASTURBATION does one slow, steady punk number and one basic thrasher. Once again, the Japanese display some considerable power, but these guys aren’t as original as some of their compatriots.

Mental Decay Run and Hide EP

MENTAL DECAY specializes in a raucous, somewhat raunchy hardcore attack reminiscent of A.O.D. and BEDLAM. The themes here are alternately humorous and rebellious, but I found clever numbers like “You Suck” and the near-classic “Love Story” the highlights of this entertaining disc. Fans of aggressive, stop-and-go thrash should snap this one up pronto.

Michiro Endo 仰げば尊し 7″

The singer for the STALIN appears here on his first solo vinyl effort. The A-side is a fine driving mid-tempo punker, whereas the flip is a slower, more unusual number with spoken vocals. Both cuts have crisp production.

Misfits Die Die My Darling 12″

The title cut here exemplifies the earlier MISFITS style, with its distinctive combination of melodies, roaring metallic guitars, and clear singing, whereas “We Bite” and the live version of “Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?” reflect their newer, thrashier attack. Together, they constitute an undeniably impressive slab of vinyl for ghoulies and ghosties and beasties that go bump in the night to party with.

Mottek Hypnose LP

MOTTEK are one of the new generation of high-quality German hardcore outfits. They combine full guitar power, an extremely tight instrumental backing, and good songwriting. Whether thrashing or punking out, MOTTEK manage to come up with memorable hooks, and the crisp production on this album only accentuates these qualities. Very good indeed.

Murder Murder Suicide Murder Murder Suicide cassette

This Melbourne band was likened to the FALL or KILLING JOKE, which isn’t too far off, but they also do songs that sound like CRISIS or some of the more raw, inspiring ’77 punk bands. A couple of these five cuts (like “Atom Age”) are especially likable due to the killer drum and bass lines; the others are more poppish but still really good. Recommended.

No Class Rien à Faire EP

Despite their thrasher on the Chaos en France 2 compilation, NO CLASS concentrates on fast skunk on their solo debut (except for the slower “Jah”). However, their sound isn’t quite as chunky as it could profitably be at this point. Pretty good.

Oberkampf PLC LP

I’m sure that OBERKAMPF feels that this new album represents “progress” in relation to their earlier sleazy punk style, but the addition of overly slick production, echoey BAUHAUS-type vocals, sound effects, and unoriginal post-punk rhythms only leaves me cold. Aside from an occasional glimpse of their former straightforward power (in songs like “Au present,” “Johnny sois mauvais,” and the classic “Tout ce fric”), this record is a step backwards into pretention. Sigh.

Outrageous Outrageous LP

Not a thrash album, but a good old-fashioned punk LP. Holland’s OUTRAGEOUS displays a fast, heavy, two-guitar punk attack with strong hooks on most of this record, but they also play occasional poppish ditties (like “Beziers”), rockabilly thangs (“British Bikes”), or thrashers (“Say Cheese”) to mix up the stew and keep things interesting. I found myself happily singing along with many of these tunes, which is as good a recommendation as most.

Plasmid Lust for Power cassette

A sonic crossfire of furious mayhem. Lightning-fast guitar riffs storm with raging thrash appeal, as PLASMID strikes hard with torpedoing speed in the vein of CHAOS UK or ASYLUM, perhaps the fastest disorder to come out of the UK yet. Strong political and personal beliefs are thrusted forth in this maniac barrage and, though the sound quality lacks slightly, this effort is sheer exhilaration for a four-song demo.

Play Dead From the Promised Land LP

PLAY DEAD have tempered their approach, but the basic elements of that approach are tried and true. Yes, perhaps the lost bravado of optimism rears its unsavory head. But feareth not, loyal “blacken clad in a blue funk slaves”—the dank death dirge marches on into the abyss of the human struggle with a grunt and some grunge for all ye open-minded enough to sample a sip.

Pleased Youth Sure, We’re Pleased cassette

A.O.D.’s drummer, members of NEW JERSEY’S FINEST, and other point some fingers at various outrages perpetrated on us all, ranging from New York’s “Lunkheads” to the corporatization of a town (Johnson & Johnson’s takeover of New Brunswick). Thrash that’s not generic, and delivered with oomph and wit. Excellent recording, too.

Eskorbuto / R.I.P. Zona Especial Norte split 12″

ESKORBUTO and R.I.P. share this slab of vinyl. The former has a chunky, mid-tempo punk assault with sing-along vocals and some nifty, unpredictable guitar portions. R.I.P. has a heavy semi-thrash style and equally catchy join-in choruses; they’ve included a better mix of the song that appeared on our 1984 compilation (“Anti-Militar”) along with their other three cuts. Recommended.

Raw Power You Are the Victim LP

Aaargh! RAW POWER’s debut album clearly demonstrates that they’re among the world’s best hardcore bands. It also shows that they are more versatile than one might have been led to expect—along with ripping thashers with paint-stripping vocals in the tradition of “Fuck Authority” (like “Repression”), there are some slower, more controlled cuts (such as “Hate”). Although the production here is too muddy to bring out their full power—you’ll have to see them live to witness that—their merciless lyrical and aural assault should not be missed.

Rövsvett Hunden Beskyddar Människan, Men Vem Beskyddar Hunden?? cassette

Summoning Swedish insurgence that discharges a quick spasm of invasioning disorder and brawling vigor. Jerker’s throat vibrates in growling wails as he wrings out a forceful vocal assault. Compelling guitar structures keep the action alive with hammering drum exertions, as these reels spin off alerting mayhem in that Swedish acceleration tradition. Good stuff to watch for.

Riot Squad No Potential Threat LP

This new RIOT SQUAD release may display more of their standard Britpunk attack, but the amazingly powerful production lifts it head and shoulders above the norm. The guitars roar, the drums beat on your head, and their ringing choruses pick you up and drag you right along. Surprisingly strong.

S.A.S. Sing Along Songs cassette

Raw guitars grind and repetitious drums beat, as a raspy vocalist shouts out intelligent lyrics. S.A.S. has a sound similar to early Finnish thrash, with more deliverance added for the foot-stomping pace. Not rapid, but powerful and with a capacity for sing-alongs. Good.

Salem 66 Seven Steps Down 12″

Lightweight semi-psychedelic pop. SALEM 66, who appeared on the Conflict sampler, manage to produce some delicate, tasty tracks with folky guitar strumming. It can be downright pretty at times, but they’d need a lot more guitar firepower and punch to really move me.

Schund Schund EP

Austria’s SCHUND launches into a mid-tempo garage attack on their debut EP, combining a totally raw guitar sound, a female singer, and a tuneless, amateurish approach. The crude production also adds something, and “Aufstand” has special appeal.

Severed Heads Since the Accident LP

What we see is Aussies passing Weird 101, but hold off on the ground-breaking ceremony. Here’s pre-recorded between-song gibberish (à la the WHITEHOUSE bunch), vocal frivolity (à la the LEMON KITTENS), and occasional pounding electro-chop (à la S.P.K.). Redundancy is no modicum for change, but since stuff from the land “down under” is “in”—C+. (PS—their 12” sucks.)

Siniestro Total No Somos de Montforte / Luna Sobre Marin 7″

Lightweight pop-punk from Spain. SINIESTRO TOTAL appears to be trying to mine a funnypunk vein, but “No Somos de Montforte” lacks sufficient power and panache. “Luna Sobre Marin” is a straightforward cover of the DK’s “Moon Over Marin,” sung in Spanish and lacking accreditation on the label.

Slam Ingens Slav LP

SLAM’s first album is a self-produced release limited to 500 copies, with silk-screened covers made by the band. The music has a forceful presence that captivates as it catapults out impressive rhythms. Twin guitars electrify and head-bopping drum splashes keep a pace that puts the control of the ensemble in high-velocity zest-appeal. Not a thrash record, but a musical bonanza of headlong excitement.

Slovenly Even So 12″

More geeks from San Pedro! Yeah! At first, their pop guitars make them sound as though they’d like to get on MTV, land a big recording contract, or imitate insipid Euro-pop bands. But you’ll soon see that this is just another bunch of self-indulgent weirdos (including Rob Holzman of SACCHARINE TRUST) playing a mixture of pop, post-punk, and jazz, with a slight dash of psychedelia and occasional keyboards and saxes. If you like TRAGIC MULATTO, you’ll love Slovenly.

Sodom St. Requiem cassette

I’m not sure if this is actually the name of the band, since most of the writing is in Japanese, but they really fucking shred—wildly and adventurously. The tape comes with a sleeve appropriate for a 7” EP, making it even more confusing. World class.

Sovjet War It Became a Problem / Guns for Fun 7″

SOVJET WAR is a Belgian band with political lyrics and a sound incorporating punky vocals, fuzz guitar, synth, and post-punk rhythms. They remind me somewhat of the early EX or ABWÄRTS, and I’d recommend them unreservedly to fans of those groups.

Star Club Live Hot & Cool LP

A live recording of a trashy ’77-style Japanese punk band. The tempo is generally fast to medium, the guitarist sprouts some tasty licks in the HEARTBREAKERS vein, and the themes are mainly satirical and silly. Some of these songs (like “Middle Class Freaks”) are superior examples of an increasingly rare punk style, and are thus bound to have a certain nostalgic appeal, but Tokyo won’t be reduced to rubble by STAR CLUB.

Tatuerade Snutkukar Hardcore Trash ’83 cassette

It sounds like these guys recorded pretty early on in their existence, since the drumming is way repetitious and the sound is primitive and sloppy. But as with many Swedish bands, the guitar is gnarly and the vocals are raw and powerful, which provides a glimpse of their future.

Terveet Kädet Black God LP

Here it is, the craziness of TERVEET KÄDET with their speed-merchant approach and Läjä’s frenetic vocal ramblings. This album consists of material that was supposed to come out in Finland as two 12” EPs and a live side of escalating cuts. It features the late Walde on drums, and his superb participation gives the “lightning” to the TK sound on this record. This licorice pizza continues the savage invasion of hectic seizures and spewed-out speed that makes TK so classic.

The 4-Skins From Chaos to 1984 LP

This live 4-SKINS album has far more excitement than any of their studio releases, perhaps because the band is feeding off audience participation. The production is remarkably good for a live recording, bringing out the dense guitars and vocal growls fully. Although some of the banter and lyrics are predictably imbecilic, you might want to give it a listen.

The Bangles Hero Takes the Fall / Where Were You When I Needed You 7″

I have always been a sucker for the BANGLES and their clean Rickenbackers and harmonies, so I therefore dig these vinyl grooves as well. No way as cool as their early stuff, but still enjoyable, to say the least. Also, considering that this is their first release on Columbia—”boo” says Tim Y—they could have done a lot worse.

The Bristles Ban the Punkshops cassette

This tape isn’t up to the quality of their Don’t Give Up EP, since it lacks a bit in the production power and the vocal choruses aren’t quite as tight. They do a strangely British form of thrash with lyrics in English and cool chants. A new EP is on the way.

The Damned Thanks for the Night / Nasty 7″

Hey, I like the DAMNED as much as the next person, however, their latest single is no great shakes. It seems as if the DAMNED, of all bands, are in some sort of musical rut. Both songs seem to be out-takes from the Strawberries sessions. In fact, “Thanks for the Night” strikes more than a striking resemblance to “Ignite,” the opening track on that LP. Nevertheless, I’m still looking forward to their upcoming album.

The Girls Sally Go Round the Roses / (Instrumental Version) 7″

Cutesy-pie pop version of the old JAYNETTS’ classic. The GIRLS are an all-female band who do pretty straightforward vocal and semi-instrumental adaptations. It’s not really bad, just unnecessary.

The Honeymoon Killers The Honeymoon Killers LP

Another New York noise outfit in the same ballpark with SONIC YOUTH, LIVE SKULL, and HOSE. The guitars put out a fearsome wall of metallic buzzing, while intense vocals spout off above the din. Personally, I like this band more than both their peers and their mentors (FLIPPER). Headache city.

The Johnnies Who Killed Johnny? EP

Whoa! This is a terrific medium-speed punk release from New Zealand. The guitars are really dense, there are good sing-along parts, and the lyrics are very radical (particularly in “Govt. Don’t Care”). One of the better old-style punk records I’ve heard.

The New Christs Like a Curse / Sun God 7″

There’s something downright pure and mystical about the straight-ahead, no-frills rock that originates in Australia, and this thoroughly powerhouse slab of vinyl by the NEW CHRISTS amply demonstrates that magic. Both tracks display forceful, ringing guitar plowing over an amazingly propulsive rhythm section that creates a wailing, detonating attack. A perfect loud and crunching record that even humbles the SAINTS, the LIME SPIDERS, or anything else of that sort.

The Rutto Ilmastoitu Painajainen EP

An extreme thrash barrage with screeching female vocals that scorch out rapid bulletins of TERVEET KÄDET-ish madness. Featuring TK bassist Piäsky, it’s not surprising that the sound is similar, with roaring drum smacks and driving guitar speed. RUTTO’s second EP is a half-sider packed with three songs that push the frenzied energy outward, but Känä’s vocals steal the focus, as she speedily cries out in shrieking agony. Wild.

The Standells Rarities LP

This collection of B-sides, non-LP singles, etc., is really aimed at the hardcore garage fanatic who has to own everything (like myself). There’s obvious trash here (like “When I Was a Cowboy”), but there are plenty of others that are sheer genius, most notably “Riot on Sunset Strip,” “Get Away from Here,” and “Rari.” But, looking back, that’s what the Standells were usually like, brilliant one moment and mediocre the next. For what it’s worth, I’m glad this STANDELLS record exists, but if you’re not totally blown apart by the sounds of ’60s punk, then try to hear it before spending your hard-earned cash.

The Things Coloured Heaven LP

This new garage-psych band might be a bit too laid back for most readers of MRR, but I hope a few brave souls will venture out and pick it up. The Things have obviously been influenced by the likes of the BYRDS, LOVE, and maybe QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE, yet they retain a raw garage sound that keeps them from sounding mushy. Steve Crabtree has a knack for writing infectious tunes that make excellent use of his voice and melodic guitar style. A gem of an album.

The Varukers Another Religion, Another War 12″

Nothing but intense, powerful British thrash can be found on this excellent eight-track EP. The VARUKERS mine that middle-peroid DISCHARGE sound and do an even better job of it, especially in vitriolic streamrollers like “The Last War,” “Deadly Games,” and the superb “Seek Shelter in Hell.” The best vinyl yet from this consistent band.

The Vermines Sometimes EP

The VERMINES are a French group that performs more than one contemporary style. “Sometimes” is an English-sounding guitar-oriented post-punk song with a steady beat and a bittersweet chorus; the two cuts on the B-side are fast punkers with sing-along parts and an exuberant, satirical feel.

The X-Men Do the Ghost / Talk 7″

This could be the 45 of the month. “Do the Ghost” is an amazingly great punky-pop song with a driving tempo, loud guitar riffing, animated singing, and classy join-in backing vocals; “Talk” is a bit less frantic and basic, but still rockin’ and fun. More, please.

TNT Manifesto Guernika LP

This debut album from Spain’s TNT is a mixed success. It contains a brace of melodic mid-tempo punkers with bouncy appeal, but there are also a couple of catchy pop ditties (like “Deberías tener cuidado”), silly commercial numbers (“Radio crimen Charleston”), post-punk things (“La noche…”), and even synth muzak (“El jardin extranjero”). “Habitácion 101,” “Sin futuro,” and “Nadsat” are the most appealing of the previously unreleased cuts.

Tommi Stumpff Mich Krieg ihr Nicht / Contergan Punk 7″

Picture a warped-looking sicko in a wheelchair, name of TOMMI STUMPFF. Hear my fave 12” of 1983 and so far in ’84. Vicious electronics are splattered onto this sucker’s twisted screeching, like mental treatment with a backbeat. Fucking incredible… produced by Conny Plank even.

Toy Dolls We’re Mad / Deirdre’s a Slag 7″

Well, you can’t spend too much time analyzing the TOY DOLLS, and they’re as humorous as always here. “We’re Mad” isn’t a typical song for them; it’s a bit heavy-handed with lots of reverb and a metallish guitar solo, but I’m sure that’s part of the parody and it’s starting to grow on me. “Deirdre’s a Slag” is remixed from the Strength Through Oi! compilation. Still great fun.

V/A Highs in the Mid-Sixties, Vol. 8 LP

It’s been a tough chore for ’60s punk fans to learn about the Southern scene, and this volume from one of the best of the reissue series helps to fill in a few of the many holes. A lot of Southern bands were pretty lame, as they concentrated on a more soulful approach with dopey horn arrangements. This release proves that there were also some tough punkers, like the RAVIN’ BLUE, the GAUNGA DINS, the ROGUES, and the HAZARDS, whose funny version of “Hey Joe” is alone worth the price of the album.

V/A Highs in the Mid-Sixties, Vol. 9 LP

I’ve always had a fondness for Ohio ’60s punk, and this is a wonderful collection. One can hear all kinds of wild sounds—pure punk, folk-rock, psychedelia, British beat style, instrumentals—that reveal that Ohio was one of the more interesting scenes. Some of the stars include the DEADLYS, the SQUIRES, the CHYLDS, and of course, Cleveland’s “BEATLES,” the CHOIR, one of the finest groups this country has ever produced. Please, A.I.P., we need more volumes from Ohio!

V/A Half Skull EP

A sampler with four SoCal bands, all of who have that crisp, melodic semi-thrash style. M.I.A. and DECRY are particularly excellent musically, and M.I.A. definitely make the most acute lyrical observations, but there’s nothing to be ashamed of on here.

V/A Metal Moo Cow LP

Now what the hell’s goin’ on here? Well, it’s an electric sampler containing a bunch of psychotic Texans doing all sorts of weird shit. The FEARLESS IRANIANS FROM HELL, NAPALM, FEAST OF FOOLS, and TOEJAM perform demented experimental thrash, then you’ve got some incredibly inane hard rock (HEATHER LEATHER), schizoid psychedelia (SCRATCH ACID and the TECHNICOLOR YAWNS), “country thrash” (the HICKOIDS), metallic sleaze (the JEFFERSONS), doodling (MEAT JOY), and powerhouse thrash (the OFFENDERS). This must be what the BUTTHOLE SURFERS listen to all day.

V/A It Came from Slimey Valley LP

Yet another cleanly produced compilation from Mystic/Ghetto Way and, like Copulation, it contains a well-balanced mixture of thrash, punk, metal, and their permutations. I especially like DR. KNOW’s “Boys Life,” CRANK SHAFT’s cuts, and RIGOR MORTIS’s metallish “In the Trenches,” but overall it provides a good introduction to current developments in the Southland. Marc Rude’s grotesque cover art provides an additional bonus.

V/A Nuke Your Dink EP

This spirited sampler of Nevada bands features both the scene veterans (7 SECONDS, Urban Assault) and the relative newcomers (the REMAINS, SUBTERFUGE, the EXPELLED, JACK SHIT, NO DEAL, and the YOBS, who have an incredible singer). There’s some fine punk by SUBTERFUGE and the REMAINS, and some churning thrash from JACK SHIT, but most of the rest of the groups suffer from that perennial Skeeno problem—lousy production.

V/A Rat Music for Rat People, Vol. 2 LP

Somewhat better than volume 1 of this series, this compilation contains material by the DICKS, the BIG BOYS, JFA, DRI, and MDC, along with a few others. The MINUTEMEN have a winner with “Fake Contest,” but DRI’s “Madman” and the MDC tracks rate as the highlights on this varied sampler. Inconsistent but still worthwhile.

V/A Shed Your Pride cassette

Only contemporary Clevo bands are featured here. Many have appeared before on other compilations on their own releases (the PAGANS, the AGITATED, PARIS IN THE SPRING, the OFFBEATS, and the PINK HOLES), so I’ll just say a few words about the rest. ONE MAN’S HEAD has a female screamer, and she sounds good on the two faster songs; FAITH FACTOR plays garagy post-punk; and JUNGLE PARTY are a fun garage pop-punk band with potential.

V/A On the Street LP

A whole host of young bands debut here (PRIMITIVE, VICIOUS HAMPSTERS, ACID ATTACK, OI POLLOI, DEVOID, ABDUCTORS, CATCH 22, CRIMINAL JUSTICE, FUNGUS, 4 MINUTE WARNING, CLERGY, DEAD ON ARRIVAL, OBSCENE FEMALES, and ROUGH JUSTICE). The hottest, most powerful tracks belong to OI POLLOI, DEVOID, and CRIMINAL JUSTICE, while the rest are not great/not bad. This label, Sane Records, is a non-profit, dedicated to releasing unrecorded bands.

V/A Roodwitzwart LP

This can be quite a confusing record. It features four Dutch bands of different varieties, but the organizational layout makes it difficult to find where and who (although there are booklets and info sheets about the groups). JETSET has a belting punk sound with female vocals and lots of diversity in the rhythms, like a quick CRASS or DIRT; whining guitars and repetitious drumbeats are the musical highlights. BLOEDBAD hits hard with an anti-war/anarchy thrash attack, using basic drum boomings that are mixed too high. MASSAGRAF and BARBIE’S BOYFRIEND both have a slower post-punk sound that utilizes different effects with strange results.

V/A Chaos en France, Vol. 2 LP

The second installment of this French skunk-oriented series is infinitely better than the first. For one thing, the production is generally more powerful; for another, there is more musical diversity. Along with the many “skunk” (a fusion of skin and punk styles) outfits, one can find thrash (MOPO MOGO, NO CLASS, and NANA BONNARD), CLASH-inspired ’77 punk (the BRIGADES), rock ’n’ roll-punk fusions (LES COLLABOS), pop-punk (the RATS), and Oi (SK NIX). Recommended.

V/A Hau Weg Die Kacke cassette

A mixed bag of various punk styles and recording qualities, but with no real surprising gems. My faves are MOTTEK, who now appear on vinyl too. This tape has eighteen bands, each of who do two songs, including INFERNO, DIE MIMMI’S, and a host of lesser-knowns like NOTWAR, AUS 98, SPERRFEUER, etc.

V/A Holland Hardcore 2nd Attack cassette

The second in a series of good Dutch hardcore tapes features the mighty PANDEMONIUM and their brutal thrash assault, FUNERAL ORATION and their crafty manifestations of aggression, plus INDIREKT, C.K.N., SESAMZAAD, BLOEDBAD, and the ASPERITYS. Even though the sound quality is low, the effort allows the zesty music to be heard.

V/A Homokohu 84 cassette

Seven bands (the DESTRUCKTIONS, TUOMITTUJEN JUHLA, KIIMA, W.D.M., KESKILUOKKA, P.C.B., and KÄYTTÖOHJE) share time on this tape. The first have already released a great album, but the others are younger whippersnappers. Some still have a way to go, although KESKILUOKKA has an outstanding screamer going for them.

V/A Inferno 2: Spandauer Punk cassette

Most of the bands herein are at an early stage of development… too early to be recording, I think. The exceptions are HALSABSCHNEIDER (appearing before on one side of a split EP) and the FUCKERS, both of who come up with some cool blasts.

V/A Jenseits vom Bundestag cassette

Several German, Austrians, and Swiss bands appear here and, like those on many of the sampler tapes I’ve heard lately, most are releasing material prematurely. The exceptions are MOTTEK (again) and the NEW BORN BABIES. Other groups include KNALLSCHOTEN, A-GEN 53, DIE REGEL, VOLKERMORD, etc.

V/A Lasta EP

Great Finnish thrash storms in unparalleled savagery, as this little 7” delivers twelve slices by ten bands. Urgent commands of chaos scream as TERVEET KÄDET, HIC SYSTEEMI, RIISTETYT, KANSAN UUTISET, SEKUNDA, the BASTARDS, and more thrust a brutal display of effective stamina and potential. A well-chosen effort that serves as the prelude to an upcoming album.

V/A Meet Cafe Compilation cassette

Nine bands and 24 songs worth of punk/hardcore from around Canada and the US. While the sound quality is a bit fuzzy, there’s tons of hot stuff here from the likes of FATAL EXISTENCE, RED TIDE, IMMORAL MINORITY, POLKAHOLICS, BILL OF RIGHTS, SILENT MAJORITY, DEAD END, and others. All the songs are of a serious/political nature.

V/A Mutti’s Muntere Melodei LP

A new German compilation out independently by the former singer in SICK PLEASURE (now in PORNO PATROL), and it’s one of the BRD’s best so far. It shifts from high-powered thrash (the REST and PORNO PATROL) to good standard punk (TOXOPLASMA and T.B.C.) and back again. The big surprises here are the increased speed of BETON COMBO (though they still write catchy numbers), and the REST’s blistering roars. Look for this.

V/A Raptus: Negazione & Superamento LP

The second Raptus compilation is superior to the first edition. The production is better, and it contains material by REIG, the WRONG BOYS, STIGMATHE, the CRAPPING DOGS, RAW POWER, the ACID COCKS, and CANI. Once again, RAW POWER dominates the record—check out their awesome “Army”—but REIG and CANI can also burn, and the CRAPPING DOGS have a couple of sing-along Oi-type chants. Blue vinyl.

Witnesses Easy to Criticize cassette

A six-song release that emphasizes poppy punk with lots of guitar and vocals, the sort of thing that was popular five or so years ago. At times it’s a bit too rockish for me, or maybe too laid-back, but on several tracks they really cut loose.

Yard Trauma Some People 12″

Lately, there have been a whole string of neo-’60s releases that have successfully captured the genuine punky spirit of the times, and this new YARD TRAUMA EP is among them. Although they’ve adopted that acetate organ-based approach rather than a fuzzed-out guitar assault, they have enough raw power and snottiness to compensate. “I Got a Girl” and “Over and Over” are modern teen classics, so get down with these swingin’ cats.

Youth Brigade What Price Happiness? EP

A melodic charge of harmonious exhilaration and robust energetic stamina. YOUTH BRIGADE continues the sing-along flavor with excellent musical ensembles, a highly professional approach to delivering a strong drum beat, hypnotizing bass plucks, flowing guitar chords, and the maturing of Shawn’s crooning. Some might say pop-punk, but what is handled here is a fresh, creative sound that will enter the hearts of a wider generation.

Zakary Thaks J-Beck Story 2 LP

Legendary Texas group ZAKARY THAKS were obviously inspired by British bands like the KINKS (they even covered “I Need You”), ROLLING STONES, and YARDBIRDS, as they delivered suburban R&B with a healthy dose of rhythm guitar, angry lead vocals, and some decent lead solos. “Bad Girl” was probably their best shot for national recognition, though other tracks are equally impressive. There are a few overly bluesy or psych numbers, but this is still a must for any collection of ’60s punk.