Reviews

MRR #21 • January 1985

4 Thousand Million A Small Dose of Anticipatory Retaliation cassette

One of the most politically aware and intelligent bands to spring forth in a while. They aren’t slouches musically either; there is a strong UK/CRASS influence at work, but they are their own band, with songs addressing many local issues, as well as international ones. Comes with posters, a zine, and other info—all of which is comprehensive and inspiring. A good job.

Aburadako White Wolf 12″ EP

A powerful effort that crosses sonic punk with a frenzied, bizarre quality, yet lacing all the different elements of punk into the sound. Chanting vocals with background screams are added for an interesting effect, as the up/down, stop/start chord changes make this Japanese group unusual but enjoyable. Mysterious slices of doom to haunt and taunt at your swelling brain.

Anti-Dogmatikss Rompan Filas!!! cassette

Boomba! This is a pretty terrific debut. While the drummer seems to lag at times from sheer exhaustion, this band blazes from beginning to end, delivering not just wicked blasts of thrash, but tuneful, catchy, and intelligent songs as well. Hot!

Aram and Die Schaffner Zieh Nur Alleine / Mörder Mörder 7″

Slick packaging on this Kraut 7” sounds like a rehash to me with all those jangly guitars. Occasionally, they lapse into intense playing, but for the most part this looks and feels something like RED ROCKERS would have done three years ago.

Arto Lindsay / Ambitious Lovers Envy LP

Arto is a veteran of more experimental/no wave jazz groups (DNA, LOUNGE LIZARDS, etc.) and he’s been heading toward jazz lately. This record’s kind of slick and subdued, but he’s one of the few improv dudes who can make you laugh. Some Latin stuff, sardonic dance music, and some of what he’s known for—but you can’t hear his guitar. Cool lyrics and vocals.

Barrance Whitfield and the Savages Barrance Whitfield and the Savages LP

Heard this was a truly rockin’ ’50s-ish band (maybe the LYRES?), with a front-man and honkin’ sax added. It’s OK, but not the rip-snortin’ thing I was expecting. The exception to the rule was their cover of MICKEY HAWKS AND THE NIGHTMARES’ “Cotton Pickin’.”

Böhse Onkelz Der Nette Mann LP

This may appear to be a typical troglodyte Oi album, but it’s both more and less. On the plus side are the now-traditional gravelly vocals, an uncharacteristically rich guitar sound, and some surprisingly accomplished songwriting; on the debit side are overly long, metallic guitar solos (as in the title song), some bad reggae-influenced numbers, and a penchant for writing somewhat retarded lyrics (e.g., “Dr. Marten’s Beat” and “Fussball & Gewalt”). Entertaining.

Belfegore Belfegore LP / Belfegore in Roma 7″

Why these two platters in tandem? Because they graphically reflect before and after. Now that some A&R man has taken them under his wing and has sent them out on the road with HANOI ROCKS, will things ever be the same? They have some fuckin’ killer platters like this 7”, but their LP pales by comparison; it’s still up front and to-the-point, but they lost me when they started singing in English.

Bill of Rights Meltdown ’85 EP

Bone-crunching punk (without being metal), these guys deliver intelligent lyrics to boot. This, their second 7”, is produced by Dave Gregg of DOA, and there are some slight similarities in their punk “rock” approach. Powerful.

Black Flag Live ’84 cassette

A superior quality live tape showcasing an evening with a seminal, legendary, masochistic, poignant, chaotic beast of an outfit who have not lost one iota of aggro. Will the years catch up with BLACK FLAG? Will they cease and desist this rampant high-speed lurch? Hope not…

Bobby Fuller The Bobby Fuller Tapes, Vol. 2 LP

Culled from demos left behind after his death in 1966 (he was rumored to have been killed by the mob—gasoline poured down his throat and lit!), most of these tracks are tame compared to his classic “I Fought the Law,” but do convey his evolution from the heir to BUDDY HOLLY to a ’60s rocker. Surprisingly, I like his version of “Miserlou” the best here, as surf music wasn’t what he was noted for. For fanatic collectors only.

Butthole Surfers Psychic… Powerless… Another Man’s Sac LP

Touch & Go is on a real winning streak here, what with the DIE KREUZEN LP, and now this. By now, most people know how dynamically weird the BUTTHOLES are, so I’ll skip the intros and just say check these walking, talking Texas nightmares out…dudes.

C.I.A. C.I.A. LP

If you liked the original line-up of the band, or if you’ve ever liked the CIRCLE JERKS, then rest assured you’re going to like this one. While there’s a bit of tedium in the uniformity of their thrash, it’s more than compensated for by the overall power and tightness. Good.

Cock Sparrer Running Riot in ’84 LP

I’d say they were the heirs to the early COCKNEY REJECTS and other “working class” “football chant” UK bands, but this band actually predates most of them. I don’t know how long they disappeared, but their return is most welcome, especially on this disc. All the tracks are catchy, exuberant, and powerful. A good one.

DDT Broken Toy LP

The songs on this debut album hallmark some fine elements of the DDT style: exceptional lyrics, passionate vocals, and compositions that emphasize thrash with tasteful guitar breaks. Although some of the tracks do tend to lack distinctiveness, “Last Train to Athens” rates as a classic satiric rocker. Pretty good.

Defy Parent Ownership cassette

While this new band hasn’t developed any new style yet, they are enjoyable and inspiring for a couple of reasons. First, at least two are women (we need more in bands!), they play a good, intelligent brand of garage thrash, and finally, hail from East Oakland, where no punk bands had hitherto come from. Keep it up.

Der Durstige Mann Bier 4 Tot: Frankfurt Jukebox Hits LP

ERIC HYSTERIC and his friends again treat us to some garagy, off-beat punk; here, however, the mid-tempo ditties utilize synth and rhythm machine to augment their hard guitar sound—and add a bit of dementia. The songs are better than ever, too, though my inability to understand German left me out of a lot of the fun. Then again, if you get drunk enough, anybody could understand this music. Good stuff.

Der Riß Der Riß cassette

This German band has quite an “Americanized” thrash sound, not unlike the FREEZE, SOCIAL DISTORTION, and others that utilize a melodic yet driving thrash approach. All the tunes are excellent, tight, and powerful. Watch for vinyl soon; I know I will.

Deutsche Trinkerjugend Scheissegal EP

Likeable, garden-variety thrash are DTJ’s stock-in-trade, though the lyrics on this one definitely push this outfit into the growing ranks of “drunkcore” bands. Five of the six songs on this EP have energy and spunk, especially the upbeat rocker, “Die Schwarze Else.” Pretty good record.

Didjits Durga! Durga! Durga! cassette

I guess what’s “underground” is relative to where you’re from. For these guys from Central Illinois, this form of pop/punk/funk they practice is pretty radical. For me, though, it’s a bit too close to much “new wave,” although there are moments that attract me. Needs more edge.

Direct Action Direct Action cassette

It would be unfair to characterize this band as something between DISCHARGE, DOA, and MDC—because although there are some tinges of each influence, DIRECT ACTION is their own band, slashing out with one intense song after another, all of which are powerful, intelligent, and well done. Get this tape, and their hopefully upcoming 12”, but they have had some problems with the mail (it’s the name), and many sent out never arrived. They’ll send you the tape and cover in separate packages to avoid such problems.

Disarm Regerings Stödda Mord EP

While the drumming is a bit sloppy, the rest of the band churns on. I like the other aspects well enough, but I keep hearing the drumming; sounds like it’s from someone else’s record…maybe some jazz track mixed in for kicks. Unfortunate for me—maybe it won’t irritate you as much, because the rest is cool.

Dogmatics Thayer St. 12″

Boston garage rock in the tradition of the REAL KIDS. Those who enjoy the REPLACEMENTS will probably take to this, though I found it a bit too slick and poppish and not rockin’ enough. There are a couple of kickers, but the ballad-y side (augmented by the dreaded sax) is more than I can take. Also, “Hardcore Rules” is a backhanded slap at the scene.

Droogs Stone Cold World LP

Probably the first of the neo-psych and neo-’60s bands (they were putting out indie 7”-ers back in ’75), they haven’t lost their feel for the genre at all. The great production by Earle Mankey doesn’t hurt either; they churn out nine songs that are more on the psych side than punk (though not always), but are packed with plenty of punch nonetheless. The title cut is excellent!

EA80 2 Takte Später LP

EA80 delivers melodic punk and post-punk. It’s really clean stuff, super-produced, and that sterilization process detracts in a way from the overall effect. This is especially true with the vocals, which seem so separate and almost operatic that it’s annoying. So-so.

Enola Gay Demos cassette

The second tape release from this hot Danish band, and it’s no let-down. Although it’s of the tuneless thrash variety, it’s pretty rugged stuff, with buzzsaw guitar and unrelenting energy. Contains both studio and practice tracks.

Generic Youth Fuck Reagan cassette

Yep, here they are, performing their generic hits like, “Nuclear War Is Awful,” “Peace Is Where It’s At,” “Slam, Slam, Slam,” “Government Is Lame.” Actually, the only way I can tell it’s really them is from the flyer, because musically it’s all just one big “live” blur, making them sound like countless other generic YOUTH imitators.

The Gravedigger V All Black and Hairy LP

Another hot new neo-’60s release. This now-defunct outfit was from San Diego, and they knew how to mix original and cover songs to achieve the right mid-’60s feel. The high points here are an amazingly snot-nosed vocalist with sneering ’60s inflections, some strong original songwriting, an appropriately tinny “mono” production, and an above-average choice of tunes to cover. Although the fuzz guitar could be louder, these guys have obviously been inspired by primo stuff.

Great Plains Born in a Barn LP

Maybe if you’re from the Midwest you might relate to this record, with its geographical themes (there’s even a song about Woody Hayes) and garagy appeal. But it’s pretty folky overall. Erikka says it sounds like “bad NEIL YOUNG.”

Homo Picnic Blood on the Walls cassette

A self-admitted silly name, but the music and lyrics aren’t. While sometimes metallic, they are pretty energetic and straightforward instrumentally, with lyrics that are well thought out and somewhat political, though not dogmatic.

Human Sufferage Thank You, Mother Dear 12″

The production on these acidic thrash compositions is extremely basic, as on their debut LP, but HUMAN SUFFERAGE earn high marks for improved songwriting and a sense of passion that’s almost tangible. “Take It for Granted” is a snappy hardcore number worth special mention, but the lyrics on all these songs show that this band is extremely articulate, too. A must-get.

IV Reich Primera Maqueta cassette

I believe this tape is several months old and has now gone into a second edition. It’s melodic but abrasive thrash and punk—very appealing. I just realized that I like most all of the Spanish thrash bands. There is something very believable about their message, and the urgency of the performance.

John Fogerty Old Man Down the Road / Big Train 7″

After reading some articles and reviews that this first release in years by the former CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL frontman was the “real McCoy,” I was psyched for some great straightforward rock ’n’ roll. What I got was some so-so straightforward R’n’R, more reminiscent of CCR’s dying days or their BLUE RIDGE RANGERS incarnation. Shit! I’m disappointed.

Junge Front Politick EP

This three-piece band deals us a three-song EP, and a weird hand it is: there’s some really fuzzed-out guitar, crazed ranting vocals, and almost jazzy, snappy rhythms. It’s a little arty, but most definitely punk. Different…from Germany.

Linkmen Every Inch a King / Manic Depression 7″

The LINKMEN sound for all the world like a poor-man’s NOMADS: rich production values, that riff-happy ’60s punk sound, and a genuine instrumental aggression abound here. All that’s missing are the great songs. “Every Inch a King” lacks melodic punch, though the HENDRIX cover on the flip has some moments of power.

London Terminals We Killed cassette

Around for five years, they finally broke up due to lack of a strong local scene. This posthumous release contains live and studio tracks, both fast punk and thrash, which shows these TERMINALS to have been a highly committed, powerful outfit. Could they be persuaded to re-group? Ask ’em.

Sonic Youth / Lydia Lunch Death Valley ’69 / Brave Men Run 7″

A match made in hell? Actually, this single is pretty enjoyable. While I haven’t really liked LYDIA LUNCH since TEENAGE JESUS & THE JERKS, the focus of SONIC YOUTH forces her into a structure that makes the result a lot more accessible. Almost sounds like PATTI SMITH.

Nobody’s Favorite Worse Than Live! cassette

The first couple of tunes would lead one to believe this band is firmly rooted in the early ’70s sound of the STOOGES/DOLLS. But further on they display their punk and hardcore side. Since this is a garage quality tape, it’s hard to tell exactly how together they are, but I suspect they’re a good outfit live.

Nod Death to the Boss cassette

This live tape is characterized by long songs, with somewhat of a slow STOOGES influence, and perhaps a bit of early TELEVISION mixed in. The sound quality is decent for a live recording, but some of the wanking and effects get a bit obscured, as this is moody stuff.

Painted Willie My Fellow Americans 12″

A musical departure of sorts for PAINTED WILLIE, this topical release incorporates aspects of rap, funk, and slower rhythmic forms. But the accent here is on lyrics, with title track zeroing in on Reagan’s “We begin bombing Russia…” “joke,” and going on from there. It’d be nice to see more bands using vinyl as “current events” ways of communicating opposition.

Part Time Christians Rock and Roll is Disco 12″

This remarkably consistent eight-track effort shows the PART-TIME CHRISTIANS at their quintessential best. Scathing, DIE KREUZEN-style vocals blend with grinding thrash (metal overtones included) on most of these songs here, though “Bowling Pin Massacre” parodies rap effectively. If they bowl as good as this record sounds, they’d probably hit a near perfect score.

Plastic Fangs Cloak and Dagger cassette

Seems like I’ve heard more and more new bands lately that are borrowing heavily from the early ’70s proto-punks like the STOOGES, HEARTBREAKERS, etc. This band is in that vein, although other less appealing aspects of ’70s rock creep in, too. Overall, a nice nostalgic departure.

Port Huron Statement Maggie’s Farm / Lay Down 7″

A current band with a ’60s fixation, copping their name from the SDS 1962 statement of purpose, and a cover of BOB DYLAN’s classic. Actually, I’m surprised that no British band has done this (have they?), because Maggie Thatcher is plastered across the record sleeve. The music itself is a slightly more bluesy version; the B-side is a funky throwaway.

Psychic TV N.Y. Scum LP

There are three off-shoots of THROBBING GRISTLE. As this is Genesis P. Orridge’s group, it will also be the most dangerous. Their experiments in video and live performance may tell more about them than their records can. Anybody (Genesis) who sticks needles through his penis deserves needles through his penis.

Psycho Motor Effect Psycho Motor Effect cassette

Folk, mutant psychedelia, and experimental influences abound on this debut cassette. Acoustic and electric guitars predominate over lilting vocals in these improvisational-sounding songs; I felt that this band needs to apply more structure and invention to their output.

Public Enema Public Enema cassette

A young Berkeley thrash outfit that sports some keen bass playing and guitar work that are sometimes disconcerting (it’s the weird tone, which is both good and bad). Good vocals, too, but they have a propensity to break into rock ’n’ roll/R’n’B riffs in the middle of songs.

Rattus Kun Pommi on Pudotettu cassette

The incredibly prolific RATTUS presents 25 songs, some already released in different versions, on this “live in studio” tape. The sound quality is very good to excellent, and the selections give you a chance to hear this band branch out musically; note the cover version of “Police and Thieves.”

Riistetyt / Rattus split cassette

Both sides are “live” recordings from mid-’84, and while the sound quality is decent, there certainly has been plenty of other material (both live and studio) by both bands. In fact, I’d say that they’ve glutted the market—between tapes, Finnish releases, German releases, US releases, etc. I certainly can’t keep track any more of what’s what.

Rolands Gosskör Genom Barriären EP

This is a great melodic punk record that’s almost up to the awesome standard established by fellow Swedes ASTA KASK. Loud guitars, huge hooks, and catchy background vocals combine to make these songs stick in your craw, particularly the pair on side A. Highly recommended.

Ruin Proof / Life After Life / White Rabbit cassette

A three-song goodie. The production on these rockers is really fine, calling attention to this band’s musical expertise and attention to arrangements. Although there are tinges of “rock” guitar, it’s kept to a minimum, making way for the powerful overall effect. Their version of the AIRPLANE classic is totally enjoyable.

Salem 66 Across the Sea / Pony Song 7″

Really nice stuff here from SALEM 66. “Across the Sea” features some cool guitar and vocal interplay which is highlighted by a super chorus. The B-side falters in its vocals and length, but it’s still strong. Play it for your Mom.

Social Outcasts Tears of Death cassette

Five songs recorded in both ’82 and ’84, and are well done trash and punk with good melodies and execution. It’s either a live or garage tape, but quality is pretty decent. Catchy tunes, with a slight NEW YORK DOLLS influence on the slow numbers.

Solger Solger cassette

If you were never lucky enough to pick up the SOLGER EP (one of the earliest NW thrash bands), then pick up this tape. It contains 15 tracks, down and dirty, recorded in 1980, that make the FARTZ sound pop. Well, not really, but you get the idea.

Sonic Youth Sonic Death live cassette

We’re bordering on ambient slow-burn here, but I’m still drawn…no, sucked into this band’s whole thing. They simply can do no wrong. I’m the biased jerk who really shouldn’t be reviewing this babe. Not for everybody, but then neither is good taste.

Speed Queens Ballroom Blitz cassette

SWEET, MOTT THE HOOPLE, etc. While this outfit is more garagy than their influences, they do seem a bit out of place today (which “All the Young Dudes Are Dead” testifies to). “Prison Rape” is the most intense of the four songs, at least lyrically.

Star Club Hello New Punks / Bodies 7″

The A-side is the title track of the latest STAR CLUB LP, reviewed last issue. Needless to say, this band is still enamored with ’77, as their cover of the PISTOLS’ “Bodies” attests to. If that era’s punk musical style is your cup of sake, check this out.

Swans Cop LP

Words that once used to adequately describe the SWANS—like “grinding, crunching, noisy, and painful” are not obsolete. Nothing can describe the total off-the-wall intensity of this band. Everyone should hear an album like this at least once in their lives. Definitely the kind of music sloths reproduce by….

Terveet Kädet Knock Out cassette

This tape features a selection of live tracks by TERVEET KÄDET, most ranging in sound quality from fair to good. Remarkably, though, I liked the power of these performances much better than the ones documented on the live side of the Black God album; so, this cassette could prove an interesting addition to your TK collection.

Kaaos / Terveet Kädet So Much Fun split LP

KAAOS and TERVEET KÄDET split this German release. While most tracks are available elsewhere, the materal is very hot, and at least available to more people in the world. TK is in fine form, although their new drummer (replacing Walde, who died) is not quite as tight. KAAOS is consistently powerful and productive.

The Cannibals Bone to Pick LP

Mike Spencer is the only original member left of this R’n’B-oriented, rocked-out group (they date back to the late ’70s, and their cover of “Good Guys Don’t Wear White” on a single back then still rules!). While BO DIDDLEY or rockabilly riffs may be cliché today, they deliver with such verve that it becomes fun—especially the live side, which is much more crazy than the rather staid studio tracks.

The Fuzztones Leave Your Mind at Home 12″

One thing that bugs me about a lot of today’s neo-’60s bands is that they’re so concerned about projecting the “correct” image and musical format that they actually do a disservice to the creative spirit of the mid-’60s, and the FUZZTONES sort of epitomize that tendency. I know it’s unfair to single them out, because they do produce appealingly raunchy blasts with belligerent singing, fuzz guitars, and cheesy organ swells, but they are among the most calculated of the bunch. Still, this batch of cover songs rocks out, so who cares?

The Nomads Outburst LP

This debut US release of Swedish veterans the NOMADS contains four tracks from their recent Where the Wolfbane Blooms 12”, but don’t let that stop you from picking this one up. The NOMADS are without a doubt the best of the neo-’60s punkers today, with some of the nastiest guitar licks going. Killer!

The Pandoras Hot Generation / You Don’t Satisfy 7″

The PANDORAS present two rockin’ blasts of ’60s psych/punk on this one. “Hot Generation” opts for a slightly more commercial approach than past efforts, though the flip packs it all in—cheesy keyboards, thickly textured guitar riffing, and an unforgettable melody. The cover’s great, too.

The Soft Boys Wading Through a Ventilator 12″

This six-song job contains a bunch of their ’77 recordings, some previously released and others not. All the tracks contain their quirky pop/punk classic qualities, with genuinely psychotic lyrics. Catchy and wonderfully weird.

The Steppes The Steppes LP

With their folk-style vocal harmonies and sedate instrumentation, this band seems to have steeped themselves too deeply in MOR ’60s pop. Too bad; the rudiments of good songwriting are evident, but the STEPPES don’t develop their melodic hooks or arrangements with much originality. “Kathy McGuire” rates as an above-average moddish ditty.

The Wilde Knights Beaver Patrol LP

One of a seeming million early-’60s garage bands from the Northwest that paved the way for mid-’60s punk. This LP traces their progress from an only slightly more interesting later reincarnation as a pop/rock R’n’B-sounding band (while going from name to name). It’s a classic story, but not necessarily that interesting, musically.

Torpedo Moskau Malenkaja Rabota LP

Reminds me a bit of early SHATTERED FAITH, with its tuneful hardcore approach, yet there is a more heavy-handed European thrash influence at work, too. While not startling, the record is engaging and listenable. Do I sound like Steve Spinali yet?

Twisted Value Take It for Granted EP

Hailing from Smalltown, Michigan, there is something almost comical and naïve about this EP. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly; the music is punk/thrash, but it’s delivered in such a garagy, under-produced manner that it seems almost Quincy-inspired. But there are some serious lyrics, and although I don’t mean to be condescending, it’s just that I feel I’m back in ’78 again.

V/A Battle of the Garages, Vol. 3: The Paisley Underground LP

This latest Greg Shaw reliving-his-teens comp contains all contemporary SoCal neo-’60s bands. The accent is on punk here, with just a dash of folk-rock, psych, and Mersey. And a good one it is—solid rockin’ from beginning to end by all 16 bands (most previously unreleased). Recommended.

V/A Brain of Stone cassette

23 bands from all over the world contribute to this compilation, though a sound problem on the first side (is it just my copy?) works against some of them. First-rate efforts by the ACCUSED, NOT MOVING (from Italy), YOUTH KORPS, VICIOUS CIRCLE (from Australia), and Denmark’s DISRESPECT make for some rousing moments; el Demento award goes to HAPPY FLOWERS for “Mom I Gave the Cat Some Acid.”

V/A Let’s Breed! LP

This buoyant sampler of Boston-area bands concentrates on accessible, up-tempo power-pop and punk—and manages it with surprising consistency. The FLIES, EDGE, and UNDERACHIEVERS vie for top honors, but the odds-on favorite is a slice of country swing (!) by SCRUFFY THE CAT. No thrash here; just agreeable, aggressive hard pop and punk—the kind you listened to and liked way back in ’79.

V/A Numb Tongue, No Taste cassette

An international compilation of the known and a few newcomers—BORN WITHOUT A FACE, ARHIVISKA ZABAVA, DICTATRISTA, BRAVE NEW WORLD, UNIFORM CHOICE, CRASH BOX, ASBESTOS ROCKPYLE are among the former, while GLORIOUS DIN, BABY ASTRONAUTS (hilarious), ST-37, FAITH NO MORE, DOC WOR MIRRAN, and ARCATA BOYS CHOIR head up the latter. Enjoyable listening.

V/A Painful Haircut cassette

A nice little collection of young US bands featuring MINISTRY OF TRUTH, F, FALSE LIBERTY, ANGRY RED PLANET, CHRONIC DISORDER, NO MORE WARS, STUKAS OVER BEDROCK, E-13, HOMO PICNIC, ART THIEVES, MUSICAL SUICIDE, FUTILE EFFORT, BABY ASTRONAUTS, JUVENILE TRUTH, and MDC. Quality isn’t bad. It sounds like a lot of basement demos, but the effort is well thought out and delivered. A good compilation.

V/A Their Eyes Don’t Lie EP

Produced by Student Action Corp for Animals, this 7”er comes with a fold-out sleeve that contains all sorts of animal justice information and addresses. The disc itself contains a spoken word track, one musical track by D.C.’s SUBTLE OPPRESSION, and two songs by the Bay Area’s late ATROCITY. Those two tunes, highlighted by twin female vocals and atmospheric but driving punk instrumentation, are the musical treats here, and, unfortunately, are the only released testimony to that great band.

V/A Twisted Youth cassette

This comp represents past and present bands from the North Bay of the SF area. Side one, the “well-recorded side,” is somewhat within that definition, and contains some cool tracks by LUDAVICHO TECHNIQUE, CRYPT, UXB, PUKES, and SACRIPOLITICAL. The “not-so-well-recorded side” is “live” mateial, with a track each by 13 bands. Kent likes all this “warped stuff.”

V/A Abt Nr 409 / Copvlation / Xerxes Von Munshrein LP

This trio of Swiss experimental bands channels their ideas through traditional rock song-structures. COPVLATION are the punkiest here, adopting an early CABARET VOLTAIRE sound, albeit with more power in the drums; XERXES VON MUNSHREIN have definite potential, though this band is decidedly more synth-oriented. No truly great songs here, but let’s hear more from the country that used to be the creative center of first-rate post-punk.

V/A Basic Sampler cassette

CCM and I REFUSE IT from Italy; FARTZ and SOLGER (R.I.P.) and REJECTERS from the Northwest; MEAT PUPPETS, PART-TIME CHRISTIANS, and MAGGOT BRAINS from all around. Lots of live tracks and decent sound quality, but what’s most unusual about this release is…no accompanying booklet with lyrics, addresses, etc., a rarity these days.

V/A The Third Chainsaw Flexi EP

Although the previously released tracks by MORNINGTON CRESCENT and BGK make for a shred-fest in themselves, the two songs by BUTCHER are also worthwhile. Their cover of T. REX’s “Get It On” is a delightful pop-punk version, but “Psycho Trend” seems a tad more lively. Available with Chainsaw zine.

V/A Keine Experimente! Vol. II LP

An excellent follow-up, this compilation features some of the hot current crop of young German hardcore bands, with some great tracks by TORPEDO MOSKAU, AGEN 53, PORNO PATROL, EA 80, CHOAS Z, NEUROTIC ARSEHOLES, TIN CAN ARMY, CRETINS, and VOLXFRONT. A fine recording, on colored vinyl.

V/A Finnish Spunk / Hard Beat LP

A compilation of Finnish hardcore on Germany’s Rock-O-Rama label. The music is generally strong (though some is overly generic), but there is a problem raised by this album—the appearance of so many tracks that have already been released on earlier Finnish (or even German) records. Although it’s great to witness the “internationalization” of the punk scene on vinyl, I wish that the organizers of these projects would try harder to get only unreleased cuts or songs on records that are out-of-print or otherwise impossible to get ahold of. Here, the ratio of easily-available material is close to 50%, and that’s too much.

V/A P.E.A.C.E. 2xLP

A compilation of Finnish hardcore on Germany’s Rock-O-Rama label. The music is generally strong (though some is overly generic), but there is a problem raised by this album—the appearance of so many tracks that have already been released on earlier Finnish (or even German) records. Although it’s great to witness the “internationalization” of the punk scene on vinyl, I wish that the organizers of these projects would try harder to get only unreleased cuts or songs on records that are out-of-print or otherwise impossible to get ahold of. Here, the ratio of easily-available material is close to 50%, and that’s too much.

V/A Propaganda Live LP

A live release of ten Finnish hardcore groups with a major emphasis on the BASTARDS and POIKKEUSTILA. Good sound quality gives this the right edge, as it is gritting and raw, yet uncompromising in energy. Interesting listening from Rock-O-Rama.

V/A Spanish HC cassette

Six bands share this compendium of Spanish hardcore, including the likes of ULTIMO RESORTE, SHIT S.A., and MG-15. R.I.P., however, shame their competition with 13 ripping live songs in a well-orchestrated thrash style; their tracks alone make this compilation especially attractive. Give it a listen!

V/A This is White Noise EP

With lines like, “It don’t matter how we win, even murder is no sin” and “Nigger nigger, go back home,” the National Front promotes their nationalist and racist ideology through 4 bands they’ve signed to their label : SKREWDRIVER, DIEHARDS, BRUTAL ATTACK, and ABH. Sad, and dangerous…

Vice Squad Teenage Rampage / High Spirits 7″

Their cover of SWEET’s “Teenage Rampage” is a tiresome retread of ’70s rock I’d just as soon forget (is it meant as a joke?). The flip, however, is more in keeping with VICE SQUAD’s typically polished punk sound. Release by release, this band is sounding increasingly like LIGOTAGE (Beki’s band). Coincidence?

Wretched Libero Di Vivere / Libero Di Morire LP

Italy’s premier scorching attack delivers an outrageous LP’s worth of material. Packaging includes a nice cover illustration by Stiv (TVOR) and a lyric sheet insert, with the translations in English, showing some well thought out writings. WRETCHED continues their thrash barrage with powerful guitars and booming drums as vocals hoarsely growl through lung-filled vocals. Well-produced, for all fans of good, powerful international hardcore. Exceptional.

X-Tal Dub #1 cassette

There are three tracks here, all in the “angry young singer-songwriter vein.” It’s sort of a pissed, poetic stream-of-consciousness rap laid over driving rhythms, not unlike early LOU REED or JIM CARROLL (but with better lyrics). They’re an enjoyable (though sometimes both tedious and thrilling) live act, too.