Reviews

MRR #26 • July 1985

Active Ingredients Bringing Down the Big Boys EP

The sneering, cynical thrash on this EP should appeal to fans of bands like JACKSHIT, despite special studio effects which hurt some of these songs. “I Hate MTV” rates as a rousing thrasher, though this record falls beneath the standard of their ripping debut EP. Above average.

Alternative If They Treat You Like Shit, Act Like Manure LP

Entranced by this album, its stylings, approach, and aggressive musical attack makes for a very positive creative slice of energetic combustion. Dueling male and female vocals, sometimes either together or solo, make interesting harmonies as the lyrics really charge home the truth. A great piece in the tradition of ANTHRAX, INSTIGATORS, or the SUBHUMANS. Ravings galore.

Asbestos Rockpyle Festival of Fun, Vol. 1 cassette

A retro-collection of jabs and jibes from these fun-loving troublemakers. While punk in attitude, there’s only one really punk song here, the rest being acoustic or rhythm-machine backed—but somehow that doesn’t matter too much given the lyrics to such gems as “Pastaman Vibration.”

B-Strife Tears of 56 EP

For the most part, this is a pretty unaccomplished outfit, ragged around the edges. But on two of the four tracks, especially on “Fuck the Clumsy Metal,” their charm (and special effects) come through.

Beton Combo 23 Skiddoo 12″

BETON COMBO represents an earlier style of German hardcore, in which the power and hooks are more subdued than the work of their contemporaries. A solid piece of work; still, only the textured thrasher “Ich Krieg Dich” leaves a real impression on multiple listenings. This EP’s not as impressive as their best recordings.

Chronic Disorder Chronic Disorder LP

Finally an LP full of raw CHRONIC DISORDER melodies. But these guys are only making 300 copies. Fast and fluid, yet not thrash, with a STIFF LITTLE FINGERS feel to it. Something went wrong on the mixing board, so the recording lacks, but the effort is really there. Good luck with this one.

Crap Detectors Cut the Crap LP

Even though the artwork on the back tries to tie the songs into a concept album, this is just another cool effort from a band that keeps cranking out trashy records. This one is a little more mellow than their last disc, but it’s still worth the effort of finding.

Damage Jay Walk EP

A different kind of thrash band, consisting of vocals, drums, and… lead synth and bass synth. Does it work? Almost. It’s an interesting change, but the power just isn’t there. Synth worked great in some early punk (SCREAMERS), because the tempo was slower and the power came across better. In this case, perhaps better equipment and recording would enhance their impact. Hope they keep experimenting.

Deja Voodoo Too Cool to Live, Too Smart to Die LP

I have to admit that I wasn’t all that impressed with this Montreal duo’s first record, but this new one really floored me. It’s a low-budget mixture of the CRAMPS and SUICIDE. They only use guitars and drums to get an eerie, psychotic sound that makes all their songs sound like old trashy covers. Self-described as “sludgeabilly.”

Dementia Dementia 12″

Powerful sounding but emotionally unstimulating mid-tempo UK punk. It’s all quite competent, but there’s little gusto to separate DEMENTIA from the pack. I’d like to feel their anger through the music as well as hear it in the words.

Direct Action Trapped in a World LP

Full speed ahead, this gem changes with a rapid beat packed with storming drum action and quick metallic guitar licks. From Canada, it’s not what you’d expect, as each number is laced with energetic appeal and hollow vocals. For those who like it raging in the speedcore tradition, this baby sets the stylus afire.

Disper-Azione Sempre Immutata Fede EP

Italian speed merchants going all out to zoom out the power chords in the rising Italian fashion. Gritty guitar sound with quick whacks and those tongue-in-cheek twisting vocals. Raw, intense, and to the hilt, this is one good record.

Eater The History of Eater, Volume One LP

This collection of classic ’77 UK punk is not to be missed by those who were too young by accident of fate to enjoy such classics as “Thinkin’ of the USA,” “Outside View,” and tons more. Get this!

End Product Fun on the Day After cassette

For a band that claims to be “from nowhere,” they certainly are “somewhere.” There’s a lot of accomplished and powerful HC on this tape, and while most is fairly generic, there is ample evidence of future distinctiveness.

Ex Humans Ανώφελη Επιβίωση LP

A pretty unexciting debut, with an unenergetic ’78-’79 punk and post-punk sound. Perhaps some of that might be made up for lyrically, as they are quite prominent, but alas, it’s all Greek to me. Then, inexplicably, there’s one thrash song that leaps out at you, breaking through the doldrums. Hopefully, their upcoming LP will be more challenging.

Exit Stance While Backs Are Turned 12″

Mid-tempo English “peace punk” sound, heavy on slick production and cockney accent. Lyrics are tough, but the music rolls off the turntable too well-mixed and without any roughness to match. Good, but not great.

Gakidou Pandora No Hako flexi EP

This band seems influenced by British post-punkers LEITMOTIV, and the two faster songs here represent good examples of that taut, expressive style. The other two numbers mine a languid mood I found sleep-inducing.

God and the State Ruins: The Complete Works of God and the State LP

One of the more accessible releases Happy Squid has put out in a long time, this band existed briefly in early ’83, then they went the way of the buffalo. Musically, and even lyrically, they are so close to early GANG OF FOUR that it’s not funny. I doubt it was meant to be, though.

Green On Red Gas Food Lodging LP

This second LP by GREEN ON RED pushes the guitar sound up front and uses the keyboards only for emphasis. This is one of the few bands lumped into the “American Western” style (TRUE WEST, LONG RYDERS, etc.) that really go after their own style, using other influences (NEIL YOUNG, BOB DYLAN, even LITTLE FEAT) as reference points.

Kaaos Sätkynukke EP

If you haven’t heard this band by now, where have you been? KAAOS has lots of vinyl and tape out, and now add yet another quality release. Powerful HC.

Kenzi Hotニキメチマエ EP

Hard-driving pop-punk strikes again via KENJI. Two of the four tunes are too lightweight ’78 for me, but the two others rip pretty good, in, say, the tradition of CH3. Better than their first release.

Kimaira 13日の金曜日 EP

The vocals are on the ghoulish side, deep and echoey. The music is slow- to mid-tempo punk and relatively uninspiring, but not incompetent by any means. Better at droners than punkers.

Lost Generation Victim LP

A chunky punk instrumental attack characterizes the latest LOST GENERATION LP. Despite some overly rockish parts, Victim’s solid mid-tempo sound, multi-dimensional songs, strong hooks, sung (rather than screamed) vocals, and sometimes thoughtful lyrics make it the best release by this band since their awesome debut EP.

Mau Maus Fear No Evil LP

The MAU MAUS display an adeptness at a wide variety of punk and hardcore styles from thrash to sing-alongs, pop-punk, and slow/fast numbers. Happily, they perform it all with authority and intelligence; I can recommend this varied album without reservation.

Meatmen War of the Superbikes LP

Outflanked by G.G. ALLIN on the outright perv side of punk, Tesco and co. uphold the intelligent irreverent side of the genre. And even if musically they venture into metal, flamenco, and other forms, this is really humorous/satirical punk (attitude) at its incisive best, although there are some pretty dark overtones and self-indulgent meanderings (musically and lyrically). Wish I could play most of this on the radio.

Mental Abuse Streets of Filth LP

MENTAL ABUSE performs thrash within some longer punk song structures, and what results is a gritty, kinetic, and highly enjoyable album. It’s difficult to pick standout tracks here, though “Rat Race” works well in the ’77 mode. Rambunctious and a hell of a lot of fun.

Minutemen Project: Mersh 12″

A semi-serious stab at making hit records. So once you get past the shock at hearing horns, guitar breaks, and longer songs on a MINUTEMEN record you discover that they’re writing incredible songs. “King of the Hill” is the centerpiece with a full, complex structure and lyrics that bring politics onto a more personal level. Also a nice mantra-like psychedelic feel to “Tour Spiel, Part 2.”

Miracle Workers 1,000 Micrograms of the Miracle Workers LP

With a title like that, I was expecting to end up on Jupiter after listening, but instead ended up asleep in bed by 10 P.M. Must be weak acid cuz I didn’t hardly get a buzz. Very tame shit, cut thin. Gonna complain to my dealer… Gimme Swedish or Australian for a real flash… this ain’t pure ’60s Owsley!

Mod Fun 90 Wardour Street LP

MOD FUN had an earlier single that had a sharp, snappy sense of fun. Therefore, I was really looking forward to this. The band seems more contrived now; the press release describes them as a cross between the CREATION and the JAM, but I hear more of the SMALL FACES and 3 O’CLOCK. Some good hooks, but all pretty bland.

Moose and the Mudbugs Milk Crate Takeover 12″

MOOSE AND THE MUDBUGS recall the halcyon days of power-pop with these four songs. Most of this EP is unnotable—instrumentally adept but somewhat geeky in the vocals department—though I enjoyed the Farfisa/guitar combination on the pleasant rocker “20 Ashford.” Somewhat below the standard.

Neurotic Arseholes Angst LP

At their best, the NEUROTIC ARSEHOLES display some stylish and melodic punk compositions supported by clever instrumentals. While less aggressive than their debut LP, this one connects most of the time it remains in that melodic mode; happily that’s the majority of the time, and classy ditties like Du Russe” and “Kern Tag Ohne Liebe” attest to that.

Neurotics Repercussions 12″

This seven-song effort from the (NEWTOWN) NEUROTICS once again demonstrates their adeptness at the ’77 punk style, though with less consistency than past efforts. “This Fragile Life” boasts a strong melody buoyed by a brass section, but it’s the high point in a selection of more subtle pop-punkers. Pretty good.

NRK NRK cassette

Really quite good for a debut. Their sound is charging hardcore, but with plenty of melody and full guitars, not unlike fellow Midwesterners HÜSKER DÜ. That touch of psychedelic/metal adds a lot to thrash when it’s not overbearing.

October Faction October Faction LP

It’s gonna be really hard to be kind on this one. What you have here is a live “jam” recorded last year in San Francisco. Basically this constitutes an SST supergroup with members of BLACK FLAG, SACCHARINE TRUST, and the DESCENDENTS. And the music is pretty much sludge, making this probably a lot more fun to make than to listen to.

Offbeats I Can See Your House From Here EP

Good production really helps sometimes, and it’s nice to finally really hear this band. All four songs, whether thrash or punk, feature plenty of melody and musicianship, making for hot listening. Really like “Sad.”

Olympic Sideburns Olympic Sideburns LP

Quite a turnaround from this band’s earlier flaccid release. Don’t be fooled by the rockabilly image of the cover or title; this baby’s got some classic Australian R’n’R, containing elements of ’60s punk, BIRTHDAY PARTY, RADIO BIRDMAN, etc. Rocks out, and comes with a free 12”. Cool, and right up there with the NOMADS. Coming out soon in the US on Sounds Good.

Poison Girls Songs of Praise LP

I’ve been a POISON GIRLS fan from the beginning, but even I have to admit that this album is their first really poor one. The song structures are funk/new wavish and unfortunately lack the melodic or rhythmic punch of past efforts; there’s no real heart on this LP, either. Ultimately, nearly all of this album is uninvolving, despite some subtly written lyrics.

Raging Fire A Family Thing 12″

Two of the four tracks here are pretty eclectic, utilizing jazzy and rock structures, and punctuated by occasionally tough female vocals and sudden up-tempo punk surges. The other two are a lot more ballsy, especially “You Should Read More Books.” The super-clean production turns me off a bit, but the singer’s snarls and intelligently cryptic lyrics save it a bit.

Reptile House I Stumble as the Crow Flies EP

Very aggressive post-punk might be the best way to describe this four-song release. These medium-paced songs are driven by punk singing, backed up by a melodic yet ravish guitar-oriented band. The lyrics are pretty cryptic/bleak, but the music is a bit less depressing especially due to the sometimes snappy drumming and ringing guitar.

Revulsion Ever Get the Feeling of Utter… Revulsion 12″

Six screams of revulsion make up this debut, and welcome shouts of frustration they are. Most are poppy thrash tunes, straightforward in delivery, and done with lots of energy and commitment. While the songs do tend to run on a bit long, they are still quite enjoyable.

Rich Kids on LSD Keep Laughing LP

Ripping! These RICH KIDS ON LSD whip out thrash with some slight metal tinges, lots of changes, and tight musicianship. The production is excellent, too, which along with the occasionally special effects really helps out matters. Great live band, too.

Rudolf’s Rache Unrasiert EP

Hey, you! How about some more goofy punk from Germany? The music? Well, it’s pretty much the standard balls-to-the-wall thrash band. Still, they’ve got a song called “When the Beer Was Forbidden” that’s pretty cool. And they steal from guitar riffs from the MONKEES, and that’s pretty funny. And they label the record sides Hansel and Gretel…and… Hey, come back!…

Schweinepest Wir Wollen Leben EP

Hot German thrash with instrumental punch and gravelly vocals à la INFERNO. Also, the songs have good hooks and incorporate elements off other styles, e.g. a reggaefied break in the title track and a rockabilly-tinged lead in “Bruno.” The results are excellent.

Sex Pistols And We Don’t Care EP

The SEX PISTOLS re-emerge from the vaults on this three-tracker, which features the guitarwork of CHRIS SPEDDING. Mainly a curiosity (better demo tracks appear on their A&M sessions), this EP boasts good sound quality and some interesting instrumentals on “No Feelings.” A nice item for PISTOLS fans.

Shattered Faith Volume 2 LP

SHATTERED FAITH’s first LP was an embarrassing try at punk arena rock with its live recording and obnoxious MC. They’ve come back with a sturdy line-up and a respectable hard, fast sound. They’re aiming for that 1980 UK punk sound that has eluded SOCIAL D for years. Even a nice cover of the VIBRATORS’ “Baby Baby.”

Subculture I Like Girls, I Love Nature cassette

Hmmm…they remind me of a slightly rougher ADOLESCENTS—definitely that SoCal thrash with shredding music, teen snotty vocals, and melody, too. If they keep working at it, they’ll put out some wonderful vinyl.

Terveet Kädet The Horse LP

Even though I find the drumming a bit distracting, the great guitar work and vocals make up for it. There’s TK’s usual short blasts of thrash, as well as some metal-influenced slower tunes and even a cover of the STOOGES’ “Search and Destroy.” Go see ‘em this summer in the US.

The Apostles Smash the Spectacle EP

The fifth incredible barrage of music and ideas from at least some of the APOSTLES. Public airings of internal splits, extreme swings of hate and love, self-pity and vicious projections, diatribes against Left and Right, phony anarchists, women who’ve hurt them, drugs—you name it, it’s written about at length and in depth. Schizophrenic—maybe too sane—maybe…whatever it is, it’s one intelligently and intensely.

The Blackjacks Dress in Black LP

This outfit is from Boston and this is their second LP. They have it over a lot of garage type bands in that they have a good sense of melody that usually generates into snazzy little hooks. Unfortunately, they’ve decided to go more in that area and leave in little of the great driving guitar sound that made their first LP so cool.

The Buttocks Fuckin’ in the Buttocks LP

This veteran German band treats us to a selection of mostly live and some studio material ranging from 1978-’81. Most of these tracks showcase the BUTTOCKS’ no-nonsense amalgam of aggressive punk and hardcore to good advantage, though the superior sound quality of their studio recordings (from their two EP’s) shames the rest of the LP. Limited edition of 1000.

The Clyng-Onz Hide Your Eskimos cassette

Imagine Doc Dart of the CRUCIFUCKS (his sharp wit and bizarre voice) singing for the VANDALS with a ’60s punk guitarist and a little ANEMIC BOYFRIENDS thrown in for good measure. The result: totally enjoyable punk and thrash, with intelligent and satirical lyrics.

The Dukes of Stratosphear 25 O’Clock 12″

Interesting. Like early PINK FLOYD meets middle ELECTRIC PRUNES meets late YARDBIRDS. In other words, highly produced but still abrasive pop/psychedelia. Other influences are BEATLES (Revolver), EASYBEATS, BEATLES again (“I Am the Eggman”). Okay, ’67 was a pretty good year, but ’68 blew, guys. Head back towards ’66.

The Form It Happens That Way / All the Young Dudes 7″

With the exception of the SUICIDE COMMANDOS and the REPLACEMENTS, Twin/Tone has had a reputation for releasing really wimpy pop records. So it’s good they’ve picked up a band like the FORM. This is just a straight guitar garage band that makes no excuses but does make catchy, driving songs. I can even forgive the pedestrian cover of MOTT THE HOOPLE.

The Idiots They Call Us: The Idiots LP

This band opts for longer song structures and a pop style with moments of instrumental invention and even ingenuity. While the majority of this album sustains a melodic approach, there are welcome blasts of thrashy energy from time to time; too bad the compositions tend to fall into an earlier, less accessible German style.

The Scene is Now Burn All Your Records LP

Here’s an eccentric little oddity. Their earlier 45 had a charming mid-period KINKS sound, but this debut LP is just chock full of quirky songs and odd time-signatures. The real good spazzy melodies here might interest JONATHAN RICHMAN or BONZO DOG BAND fans.

The Stems She’s a Monster / Make You Mine 7″

While both tracks here are fine examples of fuzzed-out ’60s punk, “Make You Mine” is the real stand-out. With strong influences by raw R&B rockers like THEM, this one totally wails. Excellent.

The Suburban Nightmare A Hard Day’s Nightmare 12″

There’s a fair amount of goofing off here, but when these guys get serious they turn out some great Texas-style ’60s punk like “You Need Love,” “Every Night,” and “Mad” with a great psych feel. Their cover of “Brand New Cadillac” shreds, too.

The Tweeds No More / Part of the Game 7″

Every now and then over the last seven years, the TWEEDS have re-emerged with a tasty slab of pop vinyl. This latest release features an A-side that incorporates snarly ’60s punk vocals and sentiments with a pop-punk structure and harmonica wailing. The flip is more pop, but still okay.

Toy Dolls A Far Out Disc LP

The TOY DOLLS return to vinyl with a display of outright mania unlike I’ve ever quite witnessed. While the general song quality is a bit lower than on their classic debut album, the band’s crisp pop-punk style and Olga’s unforgettable high-pitched vocals make this record a must. “She Goes to Fino’s,” “My Girlfriend’s Dad’s a Vicar,” and the hilarious “Commercial Break” are classics. Hysterical.

U.S. Chaos Eye for an Eye / Don’t Wanna Live 7″

Both sides of this EP are excellent sounding punk rock reminding me of classic NO ALTERNATIVE stuff. Lyrically, these guys are no geniuses. On the A-side, for example, they seem to be advocating capital punishment with a chorus of “Kill the killers”…I think. I say “I think” because it could be (no lyric sheet) “Kill the coloreds.” Hard to really tell. That wouldn’t be on purpose, would it…guys?

V/A Dawn of a New Age cassette

A benefit tape comp for the Animal Liberation Front, this is a co-release from Bluurg and Sabotage tapes. Artists contributing are the SUBHUMANS, ATROX, INSTIGATORS, REALITY CONTROL, PSYCHO FACTION, POLITICAL ASYLUM, KULTURKAMPF, and several others. Good sound quality and good music and information.

V/A France Profonde LP

Most of the bands here pump out pretty decent mid-tempo punk, but there are a few real gems interposed. KIDNAP turns in a wonderful sing-along, L’INFANTERIE SAUVAGE hits with a real up-tempo Oi number, and LES PORTE-MENTAUX turns in a really great pop-punk number that combines HEARTBREAKERS guitar riffs with a classic ’77 English punk-style tune. A good release from a new label.

V/A Hideous Headchop’n cassette

A thrash extravaganza from stem to stern. An international comp, this includes ANTI-DOGMATIKSS, LÄRM, MOB 47, CERESIT 81, CÓLERA, CHRONIC SUBMISSION, NEGAZIONE, BURNING WITCHES, KROMOZOM 4, DECLINO, BRISTLES, SKULLDIGGERS, NIKOTEENS, and more. Quite powerful, excellent production, and high fucking energy.

V/A What Doesn’t Hurt Us Makes Us Stronger LP

I’m a bit confused by the sentiments of the title, but not by the music that appears here. It’s had to go wrong with the likes of DRI, MDC, INFERNO, MANIACS, CCM, PORNO PATROL, ZERSTORTE JUGEND, etc. Lots of powerhouse punk and thrash here. It’s a good one!

Verdun Verdun cassette

Despite Gerard’s rave about them in this issue, I find this tape good, but not overwhelming. Since I can’t understand the French lyrics, which admittedly would have a lot to do with a true appreciation of VERDUN’s impact, I can only comment on the music, which is power punk with buzzsaw guitars, mid-tempo speed, and good female vocals. Sound quality is OK.

W.D.M. Democracy? EP

Containing all the good characteristics of Finnish hardcore, this young band is coming into its own. Powerful and tight, this release has fine production that accentuates their wild vocals with neat echoes and underscores the fine guitar work. Excellent, with both thrash and slower tunes.

X-Creta 13 Recepten Voor Een Hersenbloeding cassette

Pretty decent but somewhat stilted thrash. I say stilted in that the drumming is so repressed in a chunky kind of way that the real power here doesn’t quite come across. Otherwise, it’s quite all right with excellent lyrics and some occasionally interesting changes.