Reviews

MRR #23 • March 1985

149 Dead Marines Genius Animals cassette

There’s a decidedly jazzy feel to the thrash this band delivers. I can’t really put my finger on it, but it does set them apart in a way. No, it’s the guitar and drumming; though they’re both frenetically fast, it is jazzy as well. Hear it for yourself, because this is something of a breakthrough, different from the MINUTEMEN.

Amor Fati 2 or 3 Nights EP

This is definitely independent and underground. This guy records on a low budget with a $15 mic and gets a sound that is 100% better than anything PUBLIC IMAGE has released in five years. Even though it’s basically a one-man show, the playing here is surprisingly cohesive and loose at the same time.

Anti-System No Laughing Matter LP

The second UK 1985 release to completely blow me away. This vinyl slab runs rampant with excessive energy, speed, and intensity. Lyrics are strong and abrasive with critical beliefs worked into each song structure. Has the continual power approach found on the ANTI-SECT LP, yet there are more speedcore traces here—fast, blistering chaos, raging with incredible might. Their 7” was great, but this is ANTI-SYSTEM’s best yet. An “A” for music and ideas.

Antwerp The Mole: Let Me Out! cassette

What’s happening to America when high school kids begin producing industrial music? It has to be an encouraging trend. I didn’t much care for their voice-oriented material; yet, the instrumental sections here are sometimes haunting and effective, spanning a wide variety of experimental styles. More, I say!

Bannlyst La Dem Ikke Lure Deg EP

I reviewed their split cassette a while back and loved it. This is pretty cool fun, full of powerful speed thrash. While it’s generic to a degree, it’s really slammed home. Pretty hot, with really good translated lyrics to boot.

Billy Bragg Brewing Up With Billy Bragg LP

The punkest record I’ve heard in a while, and it’s not even “punk rock.” Englishman BILLY BRAGG is heir apparent of the great PATRICK FITZGERALD (of “Safety Pin Stuck in My Heart” fame) in that he too mixes biting social and political commentaries with a heartfelt solo guitar-vocal performance. The edge and spontaneous communication characteristic of his live show are inevitably diminished on vinyl, but the integrity shines through. Folk punk at its best.

Bitousha Hiromi’s Party Part 1 7″ flexi

Absolutely demented vocals appear on two of the three tracks here. It’s again that metal-punk style of GISM, but lighter in the guitar work. Complex and evil-sounding.

Blackouts Lost Soul’s Club 12″

Three very long songs of the rhythmic, depressing post-punk variety. These guys have been around for quite a while, so they pre-date many bands doing this genre, but I have to say I like others who aren’t quite as jazzy, such as BIG BLACK. From Seattle.

BPA Moving and Storage LP

More loose and dodgy music from this group who can be favorably compared to both the MONOCHROME SET and PERE UBU’s Art of Walking. Although there isn’t a lot of ground being broken, it still gives you a little buzz, like when you first heard UBU or the BIZARROS.

Brigade Fozzy Lebenslang EP

There’s a decidedly ’77 feel to this (they cite the LURKERS as an influence), but it’s not plodding at all, delivered in a snappy, fast way (perhaps due to their liking of MDC, MINOR THREAT, etc.). Enjoyable, old-fashioned punk with verve.

Cólera Tente Mudar O Amanhã LP

Hey, a good sounding recording from Brazil! Ataque Frontal Records is kicking off their label with 20 hot, tuneful thrash and fast punk numbers by this excellent band. Really cool bass and tight instrumental playing are prime features here, so pick this one up. From the makers of Alerta Punk zine.

Clox Probably One of the Longest LP Titles in the World LP

Just when I thought we’d never have to hear the CLASH again, we get hit with this. Sounds like studio outtakes from the CLASH’s second or third LPs, but no—it’s the CLOX from Germany, whoever they are.

Cub Koda That’s What I Like About the South LP

Former BROWNSVILLE STATION-er supposedly recorded this prior to his stint with that band. It’s pure rockabilly and rockin’ R’n’B done in that mid-’60s interpretation style, similar to, say, JOHN HAMMOND (but not quite as exciting). Better than most of the current rehashes.

Damage Sins of Our Fathers LP

DAMAGE connect again and again with a nasty, no-holds-barred thrash style on this, their debut album. Apparently recorded live at CBGB’s, this platter has the sharpness of a studio effort with high marks for tightness, production bite…and some very different lyrics (some partially in German!). A very pleasant surprise.

Disaster Area / Die Schlimmen Finger split EP

“Mommy, can I go out and skate tonight?” starts off the DISASTER AREA side, a German punk approach with a complete MISFITS appeal to it. Probably the first German skate-oriented band, DISASTER AREA doesn’t thrash, but just brings up a good, powerful assault with lots of choruses. DIE SCHLIMMEN FINGER are very similar to DISASTER AREA, yet more melodic with good, creative harmonies; an English Oi sound is close to their sound. Both bands are fun listening and deserve their own respective releases.

DOA Don’t Turn Yer Back (On Desperate Times): The John Peel Session 12″

Four tracks, a couple of which have appeared elsewhere, but these versions done a year ago really burn. “Race Riot” is in the vein of Hardcore 81, while “A Season in Hell” and “Burn it Down” also cook. “General Strike,” which appeared on DOA’s “limited edition” 45, is the most “rock “ of all tracks, but its sentiments, along with all the other cuts, are DOA at their political best.

Don’t No The Real World EP

DON’T NO recalls the high-velocity antics of the better Boston outfits before they went metal, and there’s some fabulous stop-on-a-dime thrash on this one, powered by ripping drum-work. A potential classic. Get it.

Farmers Farmers ’85 cassette

Completely unrestrained weirdness, this tape is guaranteed to fry your brain after a mere ten minutes. Strongly reminiscent of early-vintage RESIDENTS, albeit with considerably more dementia, both lyrically and musically. Though inconsistent from cut to cut, FARMERS are fairly good at what they do on this tape.

Fearless Iranians From Hell Fearless Iranians From Hell cassette

Featuring a real live Iranian on vocals, this live tape gives the listener an echoey idea of what power thrash FEARLESS IRANIANS FROM HELL can deliver. And judging by the lyrics I could discern, they’ve got a lot to say, as well. FEARLESS IRANIANS FROM HELL, get thee to a studio, or off with your hands!

Flesh D-Vice Some Blood Stained Morning LP

This New Zealand punk band maintains some real drive through many of their songs, which plumb a style emphasizing a diversity of punk approaches, fast and slow. Nevertheless, the compositions themselves rarely impressed me with any measure of catchiness or inventiveness; but there’ s no denying that the title track is a highly worthy kinetic thrasher. A mixed bag.

Flower Leperds Has Hate Been Kind Enough? EP

Now this is interesting. This band treads a line somewhere in between metal and thrash. And even though their cover of “Eighteen” is a bit pedestrian, a comparison with the ALICE COOPER BAND isn’t too far out. They’ve managed to tone down the typical LA metal sound with an edge of psychedelia. I’d like to see what they can do with a full LP.

Gasmask Massatu EP

Medium-paced thrash in a sort of English style, with those gruff Japanese growls attached. Most of the Japanese bands that play whatever type of punk do seem to add some complexity to them, making for some gripping tunes; plus, as with this band, they’re good musicians.

GG Allin & the Scumfucs I Wanna Fuck Your Brains Out cassette

Do you think that if I give this a bad review, G.G. ALLIN will stop sending me something new to review every issue? Probably not, but it’s worth a try. Here goes: The only thing smaller than this guy’s brain is his dick, which he tries to overcompensate for by writing pathetic songs (four of ’em here) of sexual degeneration. Wishes he were IGGY, but his ego’s too big to accept such “small-time” status. Okay, G.G., send the next one…

Glenheads Glenheads cassette

GLENHEADS definitely have the requisite weirdness to succeed in the experimental biz, but none of the talent for creating noise that eats away at your cortex. Tesco would know what I mean. Basically, it’s self-indulgent pop-influenced experimental material with a lot of vocal treatments. I don’t like it.

Headless Headless 7″ flexi

Maniacal Japanese speedcore with raw vocals in the vein of GISM, MOBS, or ZOUO. Tight, quick blasts of forging power with metallic leads and splashing cymbals. One of the better Japanese releases, it carries its weight with good musical melodic structures, worked together in an undeniable thrash attack. Worth finding, both sides featuring three ferocious doses.

Hexenhaus Ikiyö / Katakombi 7″

This is post-punk with an abrasive punk edge. The A-side changes pace several times, making it more interesting than the more repetitive flip. Neat psychedelic touches here and there.

Hip Heaven Songs of Darkness and Disgrace EP

All three songs on this Danish EP go on too long for their own good, and opt for restrained guitar progressions and lyrics heavily influenced by spaghetti westerns. Hypnotic; in fact, I’d better finish this review before I’m lulled to sleep…

Hostages of Ayatollah Voulez-Vous EP

This German outfit, not unlike fellow countrymen the NIKOTEENS, sustain thrash-tempos without sacrificing their fundamental commitment to distinctiveness and even melody. The two songs on side A, with those tasty choruses, are especially appealing. A treat.

Hula Fever Car 12″

The title track of this record is a giant of a song; it must be heard through huge Cerwin Vega speakers driven by a 200-watt amp. HULA is definitely more commercially viable with this release, but previous tunes displayed a benign but invigorating quality. Nevertheless, this is excellent.

I Spit on Your Gravy St. Kilda’s Alright! 12″

This band combines many different influences into a semi-original and interesting sound. I hear traces of skunk, rock ’n’ roll, rockabilly, ’77 punk, and weirdopunk at various times on these six tracks. These recordings have a live feel to them, but that doesn’t detract from their listenability. Fun and crazy.

Imminent Attack Element of Surprise 12″

This band opts for a metal-thrash approach incorporating a power-chord orientation with the strong influences of SSD (in some of the squiggly guitar solos), DIE KREUZEN (the anguished vocals), and DISCHARGE (in the basic song structures). The compositions on this 12” exhibit fine energy and commitment, though they only occasionally assert any degree of originality. Basically OK, I guess.

Konstruktivists Psyko-Genetika II cassette

The tail end of an acid trip all us used to see Uncle Sam ridin’ a skyrocket, yeah, and just before I cum I get deja vu and my chick turns into Marilyn Monroe, an’ fuck, when I play this tape none of that shit happens…fuck…

Legion of Parasites Prison of Life LP

Just got this off Sean and does it wail. Great energetic thrash with an American flavor. Well thought-out speed attacks that thrust blazing instrumentals with feverous havoc, still comprehensible with wild screeching vocals. Head-bopping fury continues the pace with nice sing-alongs and interesting leads, it shows you what can be created when a scene falls apart and the music gets more enthusiastic. A great UK release—this could be the UK comeback!

Les Collabos Les Collabos LP

This band returns with more of the same fast guitar riffs that help make their songs on The First Sonic World War compilation so good. This French group has an excellent sense of melody but doesn’t sacrifice their power for it. Their choruses are similar to Oi bands but without the mindless lyrics. I want to hear more from them.

Lunatic Fringe Cringe With the Fringe EP

LUNATIC FRINGE employs repeating guitar figures to create an effect of intensity and drive within their songs, not unlike ANTI-SECT, but without all of that crushing power. Still, much of this EP works by sheer insistence—especially the fine rocker, “Con-formity.” Good British HC.

Manifest Destiny We Love Our Country—It’s the Government We Can’t Stand EP

Three of these four tracks really make it, as they are strongly laced with power. Two are slow/medium paced, but deliver a great dose of punk, musically and lyrically. “Whose Power” is a faster cut, but still maintains that depth of strength. Good job.

Mushroom Planet Some Other Day EP

The singer reminds me of a bizarre cross between IGGY, Gary Floyd of the DICKS, and Fritz of the MUTANTS. The band itself is a bit of all those, too, but more in the line of ’60s punk done with ’77 verve. Good Australian rockers.

Naked Raygun Throb Throb LP

This band consistently defies categories. More than hardcore. More than rock. More than experimental. And this LP blazes out with a fury that’s sharp, clean, and loud as fuck. The sound on this release is more concise and focused than earlier stuff but doesn’t sacrifice any of their drive. Possibly one of America’s most important bands.

Nubile Spyral Totem Toler Than East Poll / Tranceyse Discow Veryall 7″

Don’t ask me what language the titles are supposed to be in, but this band hails from Japan. The A-side is a quirky, slightly ambient number that sounds like Jello somehow got his ass down to Asia. The B-side sounds like BIRTHDAY PARTY got their butts there.

Orgasm Orgasm cassette

Weird. These are lyrically “sensitive” songs about animal torture or human ignorance, and then a “skinheads rule” song. Perhaps it’s a satire of that mentality, but if not, this Oi/thrash band is quite schizophrenic.

OXZ Vivian 8″

Four very primitive and basic slow punk songs by this all-female aggregation. Sort of interesting, but not really as stimulating as I had hoped. They’re in-between the thrash of the early SLITS and the catchiness of GIRLS AT OUR BEST. I’d rather see one or the other. From Japan.

Partners in Crime No Big Deal 12″

Some very classy hard-ass punk on these here six tracks. Fronted by a tough-sounding femme vocalist, I am most reminded of UXA at their old hottest. Metal damage is kept at a minimum, power is upped, and off they rock. The female equivalent of G.G. ALLIN?

Positive Outlook The Truth Shall Prevail cassette

A rather ironic name for this band, as most all the lyrics reflect someone desperately fighting their own growing disillusionment with the punk scene and its competition, peer pressure, etc. as it replaces the initial enthusiasm and collective struggle. Musically, it’s mostly mid-tempo thrash, with some instrumentals and touches of not unpleasant pop sensibilities thrown in. Hope, for all our sakes, that the songwriter wins his struggle.

Prevaricators Snubculture LP

PREVARICATORS specialize in mid-tempo punk rock with highly distinctive vocals and disciplined power-chord arrangements. The music is largely solid, but lyrically, this LP is variable from cut to cut. Commentaries like “Snubculture” and “Jesus H. Falwell” are well taken, but the apparently anti-gay song “Jesse’s a Girl” is in very poor taste. Some songs are sexually oriented à la early PORK DUKES. A problematic record, for me.

Problemist 9 Times Sanity LP

PROBLEMIST are a San Francisco group that quietly makes tapes and communicates with experimental bands around the world. Organized religion is the target here, not only as a big business, but also on its subtle effect on people’s fears and behaviors. But this isn’t a noise band; it’s a mixture of electronic and rock that is aggressive, eerie, and not too arty.

Ramones Howling at the Moon (Sha-La-La) 12″

“Howling at the Moon” is by no means the strongest track from their current album, but the two songs on the flip are very good and non-LP. “Smash You” is a return to vintage ’77-RAMONES, while their cover of the STONES’ “Street Fighting Man” is equally irresistible. I guess I still like these guys a whole lot.

Rövsvett Jesus Var En Tomte EP

Incredible Swedish thrash mercenary action at it again, this time from Jerker and RÖVSVETT. Split second bursts to lightning-fast turbulence with raw, gruff vocals make this an exceptional platter. Eight manic quakes of mayhem and speed to stir some braincells. Interesting and uplifting.

Reagan Youth Youth Anthems for the New Order 12″

The long-awaited REAGAN YOUTH record is finally out, and it’s well worth the wait. They’ve produced an ultra-primitive, trashy attack with an amazingly raw guitar sound that reminds me of Florida’s F. Add to that a social consciousness willing to confront both reaction and apathy, and it’s impossible to fail. Their anthemic theme song “Reagan Youth” brilliantly captures the mindless idolatry of today’s young Republicans, and the other tracks are almost equally appealing. A must.

Ruggedy Annes Jagged Thoughts EP

The trouble with reviewing all-girl groups is that people tend to separate them as if their simple existence is an act of feminism. Yes, rock is male-dominated, but it’s not going to change by making a spectacle of these groups. This Canadian group makes no excuses, and delivers with an individual, uncompromised sound. Just about all of the songs have hard-edged rhythms and good playing. Excellent start.

Ruts Cold Distant Lights (Why Not Vote Socialist) LP

This limited edition bootleg (200 copies) showcases the live performing talents of this early English punk band through a variety of vintage performances. The sound quality ranges from poor to pretty good, but only about one-third of this album captures the excitement of this band. I suppose one’s desire to find this disc depends on how much of a RUTS fan you really are…

Samurai Turning Point 8″ EP

For such outrageous-looking guys (mohawks and spike city) and such a sharp-looking cover, their music is relatively tame. For the most part, it’s uneventful poppy punk. Only on one song, “No Man’s Land,” do they exhibit any real creativity or zip. Too little too late? Let ya know next record. From Japan.

Satans Cheerleaders Bark Twice for Freedom cassette

Thrash that makes up in intensity and super-psychotic vocals what it lacks in melodies or hooks. The lyrics are strong if a bit obtuse, “Fondly, War” has a sharp ’60s-ish structure, and the CHEERLEADERS’ overall mania is enough to carry them through some peculiarly discordant parts.

Second Auschwitz Agent Orange & Zyklon, Belgium cassettes

Tapes #3 and 4 in what may turn out to be an endless series of cassettes from SECOND AUSCHWITZ. The Agent Orange tape, like the rest in the series, contains zillions of songs, while Zyklon, Belgium seems to be a live recording with even more zillions of songs. Well, this band certainly gives you volume.

Shoutless Insane / I Tell No Lies 7″

This neo-? record from Sweden has an OK A-side, but “I Tell No Lies” is buoyed by a delightful pop sensibility, layered vocal harmonies, and good instrumentals. This combines the accessibility of modern rock with the stylistic elements of ’60s punk. A strong release.

Skinny Puppy Remission EP

This studio group is made up of people from the synthesizer band MOEV. This project, unlike MOEV, has a gritty, harsh edge to it. Very similar to early CABARET VOLTAIRE and METAL URBAIN. There are pounding rhythms fighting against the vocalist who sounds like he’s choking to death. A dance record.

Skoptzies Live Tape / Studio Sessions cassette

Repetition is used effectively here. This is a hard one to pigeonhole, and it ain’t my style to categorize. An interesting, occasionally exhilarating collection of diverse tunes that fare better on studio tracks where the band ranges from austere to downright savage.

Slovenly After the Original Style LP

Count the influences: WIRE, MEKONS, the FALL, JOHN CAGE, MINUTEMEN, TALKING HEADS, JOY DIVISION, even LEONARD COHEN. But what makes this record so much better than their earlier EP is that the group finally has the ability to digest their influences and discard ideas to create their own exclusive sound. At times the music is tense and obsessed, while other times it’s loose and reflective. This is a great step forward for this band.

Smersh Make Way for the Rumbler cassette

Music must exhibit intensity and drive to enter any real or imagined vanguard status—and no copycat Brit-electro-hoedown will do the trick. This tape is devoid of all that is redundant; absolutely the most vibrant thing I’ve heard from an American group in the genre of late. Genuine, surreal, unmitigated craftsmanship here.

Snare and the Idiots Recycled Garbage EP

A fun, adolescent sense of humor infects this garage punk EP from SNARE AND THE IDIOTS. Semi-catchy instrumentals, primitive lead guitar breaks, and some R’n’B-ish song structures supply most of the charm here; the lyrics, too, are goofy enough to win my affection. Loose, rock ’n’ roll fun. Recommended.

SNFU And No One Else Wanted to Play LP

Rigorous energy pushing the limits of power with knocking flurry and extreme excitement. One of the best Canadian releases in a long time, this album carries a weight of potent hardcore rhythms with some metallic riffs and overall variety of punk harmonies. Dynamic sing-alongs all combined with forceful vocals and an ensemble delivering well-produced ‘goods. This is a scorcher.

Sonic Youth Bad Moon Rising LP

Once again, bravely mixing their snotty garage sound with all-out noisefests, the new SONIC YOUTH LP is full of careening walls of sound and mixtures of delicate and uncomfortable tension. “Ghost Bitch” is one of the creepiest songs I’ve ever heard. Some gore filmmaker better grab these guys while they’re still cheap! This also includes their duet with LYDIA LUNCH on “Death Valley ’69.”

Th’Inbred Studio Demo cassette

TH’INBRED rely on songwriting finesse and the basic HC trappings to hybridize an effort that’s very special. Their off-beat humor melds with the music quite effectively—resulting in thrash with an unusual and likable difference. I look forward to their upcoming record.

The Adicts This is Your Life LP

This album features the upbeat pop-punk of the ADICTS with 15 tracks recorded in 1979. These songs possess the same aggressiveness as the material on their debut LP, though the truly outstanding material here is re-pressed from their fine debut EP Lunch with the Adicts, long out of print. There’s a fair allotment of strong material on this album, and that should be good news for ADICTS fans.

The Birds These Birds Are Dangerous LP

A half-dozen tracks of this British-based band are highlighted here, and they’re a lighter-weight CREATION or EASYBEATS. Of historical interest is the presence of Ron Wood, who later went on to JEFF BECK GROUP, FACES, and STONES fame. OK, but if you’ve got a chance, try to find CREATION re-releases.

The Brood The Brood cassette

What happens when members of SUICIDAL TENDENCIES break off and form their own band? Well, it’s called the BROOD. Metallic HC with excruciating guitar whacks totally in a MOTORHEAD school of raw energy. This is a good dose of awesome exhilaration. Check into what looks to be a quick up-and-coming band.

The Cunts It Came From Out of the Garage LP

These CUNTS have been around, and their newest record carries over more of their cheesy ’60s psych/trash sound. Even though it’s not going to set the world on fire, it’s still nice to hear that creepy electronic organ.

The Flaming Lips Bag Full of Thoughts EP

Hold the phone, Jesus is back! Mannnnn…. This be a hot-shit record. Not only is this the first release for this band, it’s also the first time they’ve recorded themselves. What REDD KROSS are to the NEW YORK DOLLS, these guys are to the CRAMPS. All over this record you can hear great fuzzed-out, burned-out riffs and spooky lyrics. Incredible.

The Flies Get Wise LP

The last time I heard the FLIES, I thought they were just an OK garage band from Boston. This record has them turning up the fuzz and feedback to a really nice effect. While there’s still a poppier side to them, even strains of country in there, they’ve got a good handle on the future if they keep in those rough edges. VELVET UNDERGROUND fans should check out “All Hung Up.”

The Harlots Did You Ever / Conviction 7″

Two snappy slices of power-chord rock here, neither of which caught my fancy. Both songs boast mildly appealing choruses, but very little else aside from the hard guitar work to recommend them. HARLOTS need more sustained songwriting to satisfy a die-hard pop fan like me.

The Jesus and Mary Chain Never Understand EP

Sadly, this pretty much proves that this band is over-hyped. While their first 7” was promising, this record is fairly bland and sounds like “product” rush-released to take advantage of the “buzz” in England. The only really good song here is their cover of Vic Goddard’s “Ambition.”

The Landlords Hey, It’s a Teenage House Party! LP

Virginia’s answer to ADRENALIN O.D. This is wild, crazy stuff that is abrasive and raw, yet still maintains an exhilarating power. Lyric content is sometimes hilarious to uproarious laughter. Then, there’s the serious side. Effective guitar work with good drum arrangements adds special punches along with a Keith Morris-vocal screaming that makes this entire 21-song LP a fun release. One of the better US releases of late from a new, up-and-coming band.

The Mumbles Live in the Shed cassette

About half of the songs on this tape are carbon copy covers of IGGY POP (“Five Foot One”), JOY DIVISION (a priceless version of “Dead Souls”), and even the likes of BUTTHOLE SURFERS and BLACK FLAG. The original numbers are sporadically funny, too, sounding something like a R’n’R version of the MENTORS. This tape is almost so bad, it’s good.

The Outnumbered Why Are All the Good People Going Crazy? LP

This is a good garage pop band that doesn’t come off obnoxious. They manage to switch easily from an early PAUL REVERE ripping guitar sound to an easy chiming BYRDS sound. Although I like this record a lot, I’d still like to see a little crustier production.

The Varukers No Hope of a Future / Never Again 7″

Both sides contain that old VARUKERS power, although a bit tighter but more restrained before. A good comparison of past and present comes by playing the B-side back-to-back with “Never Again” from their 1981 EP. Something’s gained, something’s lost.

The Velvet Underground VU LP

This is the great “lost” VELVET UNDERGROUND album, tapes of which have circulated since 1969. Finally, a major label has done something right, “seen the light,” and released this brilliant, clean classic. Many of these tunes were later redone by LOU REED when he went solo, but these original versions shut his down. Whether rockers, ballads, country…all are delivered with the VELVETS’ magic and verve. The only band that can make me cry.

The Xpozez Forcefed the Truth Drug EP

The XPOZEZ have been around for quite a while and still do not get the exposure they need. This four-song EP should do the job. It is well-recorded, -written, and -performed. Straightforward punk in the YOUTH BRIGADE/GBH category, but with a unique vocal styling that keeps your ears on the song. Good lyrics, good music, good record—what you expect from C.O.R.

Upright Citizens Facts and Views EP

A Swedish release from this German band could prove to be their best yet. Well thought-out English lyrics, and the song “Future Dreams” features crafty acoustic guitar work as the structure is close to that of the ALARM. The other four tunes all rage with clean riffs and rapid aggression. This is such an exceptional release, you should be demanding this in your stores all across the globe. UPRIGHT CITIZENS to tour the US this summer, this could be a band not to miss.

V/A The Last Supper cassette

We’ve got the mandatory SPK and TEST DEPT, who are featured on every one of these tapes. Clever packaging, however, belies the Sominex inside; poor quality sound, too. Well, three strikes and you’re out, but that’s only two. OK, then there’s this band called MUSLIMGAUZE easily qualifies with their incredible suckiness.

V/A Stockholm’s Mangel

Three powerful young Swedish thrashers share this tape. While I’ve heard MOB 47 sound more powerful than this before, they are still a plus here. And so are CRUDITY (more fast thrash) and AGONI, who are along the lines of DISORDER.

V/A Alle 55 Kort cassette

These 55 bands (one track each) all hail from the Low Countries: Belgium and Holland. And needless to say, this compilation brings home with force just how widespread hardcore has spread in this region. Both live and studio tracks, mostly well-produced, and comes with a zine.

V/A Asleep at the Wheel

I think it was a prerequisite for all twelve bands on this Melbourne comp to have two words in their titles, like CORPSE GRINDERS, CRUSHED BUZZARDS, TOMBSTONE HANDS, HAREM SCAREM, etc. It’s a mixed bag of neo-’60s, neo-blues, neo new wave, neo-billy, etc., etc., etc. My fave though is a catchy pop/punk song, “Mohawk Baby” by PAINTERS & DOCKERS.

V/A Διατάραξη Κοινής Ησυχίας LP

An excellent compilation, featuring six Greek punk bands in a variety of sub-styles. Not only are the bands more that competent, but the recording quality is surprisingly good, too. Besides EX-HUMANS, PANX ROMANA, and STRESS, there’s no other information in English as to who the other bands might be. As you might guess, it’s all Greek to me.

V/A Dark Sampler #3

Nine bands and 29 tracks, including some hot bands like MURDER INC. III, INDIREKT, GEPØPEL, M.O.G., the FILTH. Most of it is live, though, and not the best way to hear these Dutch groups.

V/A Deflagration, Vol. II

An international thrasher with VORKRIEGSPHASE, SP CAOS, HEIMLAT LOS. EU’S ARSE, SIEGE, WRETCHED, RAZOR BLADES, STRESS DA, and much more; 15 bands, 48 tracks. Good sound quality overall, and intense material.

V/A Putrid Evil flexi EP

Aha, the first of hopefully many exciting flexis containing some of the up-and-coming bands around the world. Dig and Kalv have initiated this project with CIVIL DISSIDENT from Australia, SEPTIC DEATH from the US (both hot!), and several tracks by the STUPIDS from England, who bring GANG GREEN-type attack to the Isles. Snap it up!

V/A Transmission Sampler 01 EP

This over-the-edge zine presents one side of garage weirdness (ERIC HYSTERIC, SNOIDS, and BROKEN LIMBZ); and a more accessible side (SAVAGE REPUBLIC and RUGGEDY ANNES). Varied and interesting, it’s worth it for RUGGEDY ANNES’ pop/punk track alone.

V/A We Don’t Want Your Fucking Law! LP

The second volume in Fight Back’s We Don’t Want…, and like the first, the ensemble of bands is a good earful. Featuring new and released tracks by 16 UK and German bands, the music is much softer than the first, yet still potent and powerful. The line-up includes the APOSTLES, INSANE, PARTISANS, RUBELLA BALLET, VORKRIEGSJUGEND, UPRIGHT CITIZENS, WARDANCE, POSITIVE IMPACT, and more. A good sampler and a nice effort.

V/A Aha 3 cassette

Opening this cassette package is like Christmas! I got a Q-Tip, two slides, a plastic fruit-fly, one cellophane “mystery fish,” a bunch of neat booklets… I, for one, am excited. There’s also a cassette, which features some OK “sensitive” pop by TERRIBLE PARADE, and a lot of arty compositions, mostly in a very, very slow mode. Great packaging, but the music’s not too enthralling.

V/A Can It Be? cassette

Put out by Metrozine, this compilation contains mostly DC area bands like MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, JET BOYS, GRAY MATTER, GREY MARCH, ASYLUM, B.M.O., UNITED MUTATION, G.I., REPTILE HOUSE, VELVET MONKEYS, NIKE CHIX, PUDWAK, and one one-of-a-kind group, CERTAIN DEATH of Illinois. A tunefully varied musical earful. Solid effort.

V/A Garage Sale cassette

The cassette equivalent of Voxx’s Battle of the Garages, this collection put together by Goldmine magazine lures such contemporary garage groups as the VIPERS, GRAVEDIGGERS V, TELL-TALE HEARTS, PANDORAS, FUZZTONES, CHEEPSKATES, UNCLAIMED, and more. Can’t really go wrong there. Gnarly.

V/A Godfodder cassette

Many well-knowns and lesser-knowns of various punk styles are combined for stimulating listening. CHRONIC DISORDER, HOMO PICNIC, ASBESTOS ROCKPYLE, DEAD MILKMEN, DROOLING IDIOTS, and tons more appear on this one. Worth checking out.

V/A Stars Vomit Coffee Shop

All the tracks here contain one Frank Kogan, whether singing with his guitar, or in accompaniment by bands (that include former Cleveland weirdos associated with X BLANK X and PRESSLER/MORGAN). Results: singer/songwriter goes VELVETS meets JAMES BROWN in the garage singing those “Subterranean Homesick Blues.”

V/A Vote No in ’85 cassette

Two to five songs each by ten intense hardcore bands. ACTIVE INGREDIENTS, UNEXPECTED, PSYCHO, RED BERET, U.S. DISTRESS, URBICIDE, WHITE PIGS, KNOCKABOUTS, HOMO PICNIC, and DEFORMED (the only non-US band, being from the UK). Excellent.

Vex Transmutation EP

Two of the songs on this solid EP demonstrate adeptness at clever, mid-tempo punk with tastefully humorous lyrics. The other two ditties, however, remind me of the aggressive punk of early DEVO, with its addition of minimal synth. Not bad at all—VEX seems to enjoy re-expanding the sound of punk music.

Vice Squad Shot Away LP

Varied in sound, from classic VICE SQUAD to SUZIE QUATRO to punk lounge music to PAULINE MURRAY-esque material. Some songs are totally great, with neat choruses and subtle touches upon pounding rhythms, and others are doggie-doo. Better than not, overall, and sometimes it’s pretty funny.

Vorkriegsjugend Vorkriegsjugend LP

After releasing one of 1984’s top ten hardcore releases, it’d be difficult for any band to match the same exalted standard on an entire album’s worth of material, and VORKRIEGSJUGEND don’t quite manage it. But they do reappear with the same killer combination of blistering thrashers (like ‘‘Schöne neue Welt” and “Die Bombe”) and slower bone-crunchers (like “Die letzte Schlacht”), many of which showcase their distinctive sing-along choruses. Not all of the songs are as great as those mentioned above, and the muddy recording amputates their twin-guitar attack, but this LP is still excellent.