Reviews

MRR #36 • May 1986

A Noise Agency Mom’s in Your Kitchen LP

Fully expected this to be terrible from the dumb-looking cover, but I was surprised by the flexibility of this band. Somewhat similar to the MINUTEMEN, they have good song ideas and interesting melodies. A good embryonic start and I’d be interested to hear what they sound like in a year.

Angor Wat General Strike LP

This Norwegian outfit displays their political commitment in a highly distinctive HC style: gruff vocals bark over a mid-tempo series of smoky minor-chord progressions, with a very occasional hook to sustain interest. This album tends toward unpleasantness, though the band’s desire to communicate makes this an effort well worth supporting.

Anti-Heroes It’s Time to Change EP

This four-song slab has a sound very similar to STIFF LITTLE FINGERS due to the melodic, raw mid-tempo music and harsh gravel vocals. The lyrics on the other hand stress political awareness and action like England’s CONFLICT. Combined, these influences blended with originality makes an entertaining and inspiring record.

Big Thing Some Guts cassette

Rockin’ garage punk with slight pop influences, but great unrefined sound. The lyrics are rebellious and presented in a good-hearted, humorous manner. A close comparison might be an early garage version of the DICKS. Watch for vinyl because these guys rock!

Bum Kon Bum Kon LP

Eclectic hardcore that combines power with offbeat influences, changes of pace, funky bass playing, SoCal-sounding punk vocals, and the eccentricities usually associated with Sun Belt bands. Should establish them with fringe-freaks everywhere.

Butch Willis & the Rocks Forthcomings LP

Second LP by these goofy garage greats. These trashy tunes are cool all right, but there’s something different about them. They’re just a little bit off-kilter. Fits real nice between the BEEFHEART and LEGENDARY STARDUST COWBOY records.

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

Finally, the long-awaited second piece of vinyl by the Connecticut trio gets released. For the most part, the tunes rip but don’t have as many magic moments as their debut EP. However, the band does put their all into this record, creating a strong, tight, melodic 15-song punk LP.

C.O.T.C. Better Alone Than in Bad Company cassette

Ten fast, aggressively raw guitar thrash songs combined with a deep, pounding drum beat. Each is constructed of speedy chaotic riffs which are interspliced with slower tempos. A young band, but they have the ability to punch it out. Good first effort.

Cancerous Growth Today’s Society EP

I was warned that this would be “too metal” for me, but far from it. While there’s a slight bit of metal guitar action (no obnoxious leads though), for the most part this is speedy thrash. Though generic at times, there are a few touches, overdubs, etc., that break it up. Five songs, good lyrics.

Capital Scum Clutch the Flag EP

Really cool raging five-song EP from this Belgian four-piece. The music can closely compare to early DISCHARGE minus the poor production and adding a lot more American thrash influence. For the most part, all the songs rip and have enough power to blow out any pair of speakers. Good stuff!

A State of Mind / Chumbawamba We Are the World? split EP

A split 7” by England’s CHUMBAWAMBA and America’s A STATE OF MIND. The latter’s two tunes vary between melodic parts and punk rushes, all in an English anarchist vein with heartfelt political lyrics. CHUMBAWAMBA, too, deals with subjects of war/fear and state control, and musically, similarly, rave yet intersperse with “pretty” aspects. Comes with an incredible amount of info/opinion. Get this!

Conflict Only Stupid Bastards Help EMI LP

A live “benefit” LP, this one to help various centers aiding in riot defense zones. The target here is unnamed (a band who “sold out” to EMI), but should’ve been since it’s not obvious to most people I’ve asked. Recorded at the Olympic in LA, the sound is appropriately live, and quite energetic with 22 songs. Anyway, CONFLICT, after you get done ranting about other rip-offs, why not send MRR the $30 you owe us for your ad of last year?

Corruption of Peace Confusion LP

Now we’re talking—hot Japanese speed thrash with an American singer, and 16 tracks of wailing madness has you ripping your hair out. Great classic intensity in that frenzied vein of DIE KREUZEN and C.O.C., with fast guitar work and slashing drum action, while the vocal has the definite Japanese appeal still spitting at ya. Fab, so find it.

Death of Samantha Strungout on Jargon LP

DEATH OF SAMANTHA opts for a discordant and somewhat arty approach to mid-tempo DIY rock. That may be the problem; in presenting a style rather than ace songs, this band evades any real appeal for me. Good, hard guitar sound, though.

Foe Life After Christ cassette

Hard-driving punk and thrash with an accent on singing and melody. Could’ve done without their DEEP PURPLE cover, but the other tunes on this six-song demo are powerful, guitar-heavy rippers. Contains ex-MALIGANT TUMOR members.

Forbidden Beat Driving You Insane EP

If there is such a thing as a “Vancouver vocal sound” (D.O.A., DEATH SENTENCE) then this band has it. With former members of BILL OF RIGHTS and HOUSE OF COMMONS, you’ll find four largely mid-tempo punk songs, lots of guitar, and plenty of drive. It rocks.

Fuck Shit Piss Call Me Paranoid cassette

Offbeat, mid-tempo punk from the hot sands of Vegas. Awkward, distorted leads cut loose every so often and high-pitched trebly bass make six strong, catchy tunes—but they for the most part take the back seat when the raspy vocals come into the light and question stereotypical, political actions. Good first effort.

Gerry Hannah Songs From Underground cassette

Recorded in prison, this seemingly professionally produced cassette proves without a doubt that this Vancouver Five member can really sing the blues. I don’t doubt any word of this acoustic folk endeavor. Mellow, pretty, and not punk…but I like it anyway.

Godfathers This Damn Nation 12″

Some former SID PRESLEY EXPERIENCE members come up with a powerful, catchy three-song release. The title track has great guitar hooks, fine drumming, and tough singing. Wish it wouldn’t end. On the flip, we get more of a rock’n’roll song and a tribute to John Barry’s James Bond-type theme songs.

Hüsker Dü Candy Apple Grey LP

The HÜSKERS’ premier major label effort finds them displaying some of the most depressing/unsure lyrics yet. Musically, this album is no departure from their pop direction, some delivered with power, some not. There’s a 12” out now, too, containing one track from this LP, as well as another studio track and a live (but unsensational) “Helter Skelter.”

Heresy Never Healed flexi EP

The new gods of speedcore thrash on a double-sided flexi, pushing six choice tracks into your lungs, but not letting you exhale. Rapid chaos gone berserk with thousand-MPH riffs and lightning-fast exertion. To say it all, this boils to the brink. And for $1.

Honest Injun The Rosenthal Effect 12″

This band covers familiar territory—mid-tempo hardcore with dark, sarcastic lyrics—without much in the way of originality. Still, this record boasts good production, full guitars, and solid lyric concerns. I just can’t get excited over it.

Indigesti Osservati Dall’Inganno LP

Non-stop intensity comes from this longtime Italian outfit. The powerful music is complex and at times awkward due to the band’s capacity in integrating leads and riffs that create some great, hard-hitting melodies. BAD BRAINS-type vocals add to this tight, original, impassioned release. This puppy shreds!

Joe Pop-o-Pie Joe’s Third Record LP

Mr. Pie continues to annoy everyone again while he shows us how stupid we are. I would have liked a few more songs, but basically the good songs are crunchy, ugly, and actually have a message, and therefore make up for the stupid backwards version of “Sugar Magnolia.”

Lärm No One Can Be That Dumb EP

Holland’s version of a young DRI. This band whips out 16 simple generic thrashers on this one. Strong vocals are the center of the music, and an undistinctive guitar sound relies too much on distortion for the frantic riffs and stop-and-go songs.

Les Thugs Radical Hystery 12″

Awesome! As with their incredible 7”, these eight songs combine the power and freshness of ’77 punk with the pop songwriting mastery of the VELVET UNDERGROUND, producing crunching, up-tempo, and harmonious ravers. They’ll knock your socks off.

Levelors Last Supper 12″

A real split personality here—of the six songs, two are soft rock, two are hard rock, and two are punk. Since those are the only two I could stomach, I will only speak of them…and they’re quite good—real driving punk with good hooks and singing. Odd.

Lip Cream Kill Ugly Pop LP

As expected, this slab rips most intensely with wild fast blasts of excited energy and raging ferocity. A classic choice speedcore howler with growing vocals and an overall explosion of musical power. One of the ten best bands to come out of Japan that rips with every riff and eats away at your brain. A+ OK.

Ampachen / MBP split cassette

M.B.P. is a noisy yet melodic thrash outfit who hit the spot—no complaints here, as they play an American style hardcore, energetic but tight. Turning the tape over for AMPACHEN we find a less frantic but nonetheless equally enjoyable and imaginative band. They too have wild vocals, great guitars, but are a bit more tuneful. Good buy.

Menticide Bathroom Ideas Exhibition / Wedding Jerk 7″

The A-side is a jaunty post-punk tune with punky vocals, somewhat reminiscent of early CURE, while the flip lags pretty much. I found the topside to be pretty catchy, though I imagine wimpiness is just around the corner.

Ministry of Truth Significant Others LP

Heavy on the melodic side which supports the band’s early SoCal punk influences. The music is held together by clean guitar work and a constant fuzz bass beat. The vocals at times are way overproduced, but nevertheless whip out classic harmonies while ranting about personal and social issues. Good first effort.

Neuroot Right is Might EP

Grrrrrr, perhaps the hottest debut yet to smash yer face into the mirror with fast fast crazed rhythms and straightforward lyrics. Intense speedcore chunks of insanity rip this new Dutch ensemble into a stormfest of sonic mayhem. Four songs that slice at the jugular vein and suck all the blood out. This is the best dose in ages.

Obscurity Age I’m Only a Child 12″

Fairly rockin’ folk rock with female vocals, like a less-slick (no pun intended) early JEFFERSON AIRPLANE. Part of the Milan underground scene of Leoncavallo and Virus, this band is dedicated to the autonomous movement, opposing commercialism and rockstarism.

Outcry Far Cry 12″

A younger, thrashed-out version of MARGINAL MAN, with melodic rawness mixed with personal and social outbursts in the lyrics. Each of the seven songs are filled with simple, fast tempo power riffs and harmonizing vocals with choruses, resulting in a very impressive debut release for this Minneapolis band. Good stuff!

Painted Willie Mind Bowling LP

This band (includes some ex-SIN 34ers) seems to be moving away from their more explicit political origins towards a mix of politics and personal love/hate songs. Musically, it’s mid-tempo punkish stuff with early-’70s rock influences. Not yet well-formed personality-wise.

Pilsner I Refuse / Sleep With You 7″

Another hard-rockin’ Swedish garage band, this one produced by Jerry Nolan of the NEW YORK DOLLS. Both songs have that loose, sloppy feel, kind of like an outtake from a JOHNNY THUNDERS record.

Protes Bengt In Bengt We Trust EP

This band is a hybrid of the Swedish outfits MOB 47 and FILTHY CHRISTIANS, and they pack in 32 songs on this 7”er. The ditties range in the under-30-second category, with ultra-raw production, not unlike the early NEOS, and I only wish I knew Swedish so I could understand the humorous lyrics. Real fun!

S.C.U.M. Born Too Soon LP

This is really weird. Here’s a really great debut from this Canadian punk band who is socially and politically aware, and they inject all that into their songs. The thing I can’t get used to is the vocalist, who sounds amazingly like a clear-headed Darby Crash. Weird but cool.

S.F.B. Get Set for Another Shattered Dream!! cassette

Featuring ex-members of CATATONICS and SUBURBAN REBELS (from upstate NY), this posthumous release features driving melodic guitar punk and thrash. While it doesn’t always sparkle, there’s lots of energy and potential…but alas they hung it up—Belvy moved to Reno, Bob to San Diego, etc. Another sad story, but that’s rock’n’roll.

S.H.Draumur Itch cassette

As featured recently in MRR, this Icelandic band plays a somewhat energetic brand of post-punk, though it’s somewhat restrained. The sound quality here is decent though thin, but given the lack of availability of their native recordings, collectors of the unusual might want to check this out.

Scapegoats Kopflos EP

Much along the same lines as CRUCIFIX or the VARUKERS, this has loud smashing guitars topped off with metal-edged leads. Vocals are in the infamous gravel style and the lyrics possess political awareness. Speed is kept fast, making this a very tasty platter.

Septic Death Now That I Have the Attention What Do I Do With It? LP

A sort-of reissue. Side B is the same as the original—speedcore wailing and frantic Pus vocals. The A-side, however, is another story: three tracks are from the original release, but have new guitar and vocals; three are completely new tunes; and three are songs that appeared on various comps, again redone. Beautiful packaging.

Sex on TV Some Other Thoughtful View EP

Quite a variety of styles apparent here—two of the five tracks are synth-oriented new wave, two are ripping thrash, and one is an upbeat R’n’B-based rocker. Cool vocals throughout, lots of power on the three, and a change of pace on the remainder. Interesting.

T.P.U. T.P.U. cassette

A basic four-song cassette enlivened by cool buzzsaw guitar and clean bomping bass licks, developing a cross between the VANDALS and JFA. The band has a good sense of humor and the enjoyable rough production only adds to the potential of this band’s material.

Th’Inbred A Family Affair LP

With vocals reminiscent of Ian MacKaye or Kevin Seconds, combined with an almost jazzy hardcore band makes for interesting listening. This band is big on intros that are slow and different then rip into a thrash song with changes throughout. BEEFEATER fans will relate to this. Lots of challenging/thoughtful lyrics to boot. Great effort here.

The Apostles Punk Obituary LP

Finally, their first LP (after five 7”ers), and they continue with their scaringly personal and honest lyrics and liner notes, but the music itself (offbeat as ever) has toned down considerably, to the point of being almost folk. With this band, though, it’s their wordage and politics that matter, so…

The Backdoor Men Going Her Own Way / Dance of the Savages 7″

The A-side is a ballad, and gets tired in a hurry. The flip is an organ-dominated instrumental, a more crazed R’n’B-based tune. Though it rocks, I’d sure like to have heard some guitar on that baby, especially as this band’s name evokes the SHADOWS OF KNIGHT and rockin’ R’n’B.

The Brigades Costa del Dole LP

Much more rockin’ than their previous releases, the BRIGADES cut loose with powerful pop-punk. Their style is a cross between mid-period CLASH and ’80s Brit-punk, while their lyrics are unabashedly political. Driving, well-recorded punk rock.

The Dickies We Aren’t the World cassette

I can’t claim to be impartial about this band, but predominantly raw live tracks are mixed in with a few early demos on this one. New versions of all of your fave DICKIES songs will make fans delirious with joy, though this tape is not the ideal introduction to this great band.

The Krixhjälters Guineapig Assasinator 12″

This rather original Swedish outfit balances just a tinge of metal influences in some of the vocals and riffing with a definite punk sensibility everywhere else. The result: crunching, powerful punk delivered with HC energy. Another cool Swedish punk release…

The Primates We Are the Primates LP

Primitive 60’s punk that relies heavily on rhythms simple drumming, maracas, tambourines, etc.). Basic R&B punk with classic garage meets Mersey tones. They can fuzz punk as well, though, and that wimp Jeff (who was supposed to have done this review!) really likes this one.

The Stupids Peruvian Vacation LP

Can you dig a title derived of a stupid English punker’s desire to keep up with the hip MRR scene reports, but just being trendy? Yep, the STUPIDS stop at nothing to be bonkers, while the three-piece light the house on fire, then tell the firemen it was BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN who went thrash. Fast, fast, faster, the STUPIDS punch it all through the wall with that superb sound.

The Zolge Feel No Fear EP

On ZOLGE’s third release, that unique wall of sound is gone, replaced with a catchy pop-punk flavoring, still not losing any potent harmonies. Strong instrumentation with tight vocals and good production make for a very sharp delivery. Has a current ’77-punk feel to it. Crafty stuff.

Thee Mighty Caesars Little By Little 12″

This must be thee latest by THEE MILKSHAKES. It’s got that trebly guitar, it’s got the names of Childish and Hampshire on the songwriting credits, and it’s got thee overall sound of thee early KINKS in a dank basement. What this EP lacks is inspiration and the only song that came close to grabbing me was the title track—the rest sound like outtakes.

V/A Fresh Sounds From Middle America #3 LP

This sampler resents diverse sounds from some familiar (MICRONOTZ, BUM KON, IGUANAS) and mostly relatively unknown bands. While side one is composed of adequate alternative pop tracks, the flip really lets loose with hard-edged punky tunes spanning most of the punk/HC spectrum. Interesting comp—and worth your attention.

V/A Limited Potential cassette

A variety-pack of US punk hands from these zine makers: POETIC JUSTICE, LOOKOUTS, GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS, NASAL WASTE, DEAD SILENCE, YOUR FORM OF GOVERNMENT, and even the HATES. Most of the bands have this in common—you can hear the lyrics, meaning they’re more punk than thrash.

V/A Livin’ in Peoria cassette

Such names as CHiPS PATROL, CAUSTIC DEFIANCE, HATE, and UNACCEPTED show what they are all about through the two-to-three songs each on this Peoria scene benefit comp. As a bonus, there are live tracks by bigger acts that have passed through this town, making for 26 songs. Raw production, of course.

V/A City Rockers LP

A four-band effort from Japan hitting on a wide scope of tunes with the maniac punk from GAUZE, PiL-type goodies from ISOLATION and RADICAL, and dreamy stuff from NURSERY RHYME. Great collection to sit back and enjoy when the speed zoomfest is dry. Each band works at their best.

V/A Declaration of Fuzz LP

As good a neo-’60s compilation as you’ll find, this one covers the international scene with the likes of the STOMACH MOUTHS, BOYS FROM NOWHERE, MIRACLE WORKERS, CRIMSON SHADOWS, CORNFLAKE ZOO, and many, many more. High quality recordings, largely enjoyable punk and psych/punk.

V/A Devil Must Be Driven Out With Devil: Hold Up Omnibus LP

Hold Up Omnibus 2 is a speedcore delivery of grinding guitars and heavy power. Metallic licks and turbulent chords make this puppy hard. With the likes of LIP CREAM, GHOUL, UNITED, CITY INDIAN, and SAVER TIGER, the energy is ferocious and grits the teeth. Burly banzai beefcakes to smash at.

V/A Oi of Japan LP

Well, it had to happen, an Oi LP out of Japan, and it carries all those classic poundings from the English Oi hey-day. Chunky beats with sing-along chants and some wackiness, too. A wide variety of styles to choose from, with BAD VULTURES, COCKNEY COCKS, WANDERERS, BULL THE DOGS, and more. Fun and crazed.

V/A We Don’t Need Nuclear Force LP

A pretty good world sampler featuring mostly previously released material that falls under the ranks of punk, hardcore, and post-punk. Some of the talents in the limelight are BOSKOPS, VARUKERS, TOXIC REASONS, RATTUS, WHITE FLAG, BRISTLES, and many others. Comes with a free six-song EP.

V/A Words Worth Shouting LP

Along the lines of Bullshit Detector, this LP is a collection of mainly English bands (with German and French representatives), a benefit for hunt saboteurs. It’s quite good, and introduces some relative unknowns like AXE THRASHER, DEATH ZONE, REVULSION, etc. as well as the likes of DISRUPTORS, HAINE BRIGADE, and NICK TOCZEK.

W.D.M. Democracy? EP

An above-average noise thrash release, rife with buzzsaw guitar, raging beat, and gnarly vocals. All nine songs are sung in English, the intelligent lyrics driven home with passion and power. Hot.

White Zombie Gods on Voodoo Moon EP

This is stylistically not unlike a spacey KILLDOZER 85 vocally and in compositional structure; the thing I found continually annoying was the endless guitar wanking that attenuated all of this LP’s intensity and power. More discipline next time, guys. Boring.

Will to Live Lying in Bed 12″

This project is up-tempo rockin’, heavy on the industrial rhythms and hooks. What a find! Ranting poetic words that discuss a wide variety of relevant topics. Yer SPK-type deformation pics. I’d love to see ’em live.

Wilmer X I Din Klinik / Nere Pa Knalgen 7″

One of the best and roughest of the Swedish neo-psych bands gives the NOMADS a run for their money. Both tunes are sung in Swedish, but that doesn’t lessen any of the power, and like their previous records, there is a wild harmonica that matches the fury of the band.

Wrecking Crew Wrecking Crew cassette

Lots of metal damage here, which maybe would be decent sounding in the studio, but on this live recording (ten tunes) doesn’t come off that slickly. The power is evident (especially on the drums). Studio should produce better results.

Zyniker What Went Wrong? cassette

Seven politically motivated experimental noise songs held together by a rhythmic beat. The vocals are distorted and have a rough feel to them. The music has the ability to bring across a strong, powerful sound, but fails somewhat due to the production. Potential does exist.