Reviews

MRR #42 • November 1986

11th Hour Servation / Faster Than This 7″

Unfortunately, you have to make a comparison with HÜSKER DÜ/REPLACEMENTS with this record. The melody and hoarse vocals are too close not to. But still, there’s a creative element here that is just as charming as those other groups and that should be given some room to grow.

Abaddon Wet Za Wet LP

This Polish band recently toured Yugoslavia and while there, recorded this album which was then released in France—a truly international effort. Their style is generally thrash with good tunes and out-front guitar—a more melodic approach not unlike TOXIC REASONS or N.O.T.A. They are fine musicians, and on a dub tune you can really hear that well.

Adrenalin OD A Nice Song in the Key of “D” / Return to Beneath the Planet of Adrenalin OD vs. Godzilla Strikes Again, in 3-D 7″

The A-side will bring a smile to your face—a great, ripping punk song, more melodic than their previous material yet still powerful. The flip builds from power crunch to absolutely raging thrash. Great.

Baby Astronauts All the Pancakes You Can Eat LP

These guys are very diverse with their influences and styles, varying from song to song: rock’n’roll, blues, funk, ballads… But regional similarities are too obvious to ignore. They have that distinctive Twin Cities sound (somewhere between HÜSKERS and SOUL ASYLUM). Vocal and guitar harmonies abound. Catchy and recommended. Each cover is handmade.

Baby Opaque Fugue in Cow Minor LP

This defunct post-punk band had a knack for the slow, somber songs recalling the best from bands like the SLEEPERS and TOILING MIDGETS. This album relies on the plight of cattle, check the title, but still manages to keep things fresh and interesting throughout.

Beefeater Need a Job 12″

Sadly, this may be the last record we see by this great DC band: it appears they too have split due to personnel changes. BEEFEATER was never a cliché normal thrash band and they proved it once again with the 12” with hard-hitting, really thought-out lyrics that stand out. Some of the songs have an experimental feel. But it’s the title track that rocks the best. They’re missed already by me.

Bored Cops Death Beach / Three Hearts 7″

The A-side is a tuneful thrasher that holds your attention with its pounding, building drive and lyrics. The flip is a ballad about growing up that starts out interesting but goes on far too long. Worth it for the “Death Beach” alone, though.

Brain Eaters Night Must Fall EP

Punkish fright-rock is performed adequately on this EP. While the ballad “Fiend Without a Face” lacks any measure of menace or melodic interest, the other two numbers boast an upbeat, riffy energy and sung choruses. Basically unmemorable.

Capitol Punishment Slum With a View LP

This outstanding Fresno band barrels along still relatively unknown after all these years, and undaunted by their lack of recognition, continues to produce hot material. Besides being some of the nicest folks in HC, they are among the most proficient, and on this LP, they’ve broadened their material to include blues, jazz, and other influences, as well as adding a lot more guitar work.

D.B.F. So Full of Lies LP

Political lyrics in both English and German accompany thrash with very tasteful speedcore influences. No guitar leads here—just fast hardcore, even though I would have preferred songs with more overall distinctiveness. D.B.F. put in a solid debut effort here.

Das Yahoos Sturm und Drang LP

From out of the ashes of late SIC KIDZ rises DAS YAHOOS, a CRAMPS-like “horror” quartet. Though it’s nothing new, their music is very well done, real pounding simplistic psychobilly stuff in five tracks, and one atmospheric, spoken-word track.

Dead Kennedys Bedtime for Democracy LP

This 21-song album may well be the DK’s swan-song, and ironically is one of their best releases. 95% thrash, this one rages from start to finish, but also contains some of those nice little touches which make some rock’n’roll a cut above. While I haven’t really gone to a DK’S album for quite a while, this one stands out, lyrically as well as musically. “Chickenshit Conformist” is the most accurate, no-bullshit analysis of the current state of punk on record to date, a must for all concerned.

Depraved Stupidity Maketh the Man LP

The DEPRAVED do it again! While there aren’t as many standout numbers here as their debut LP, there’s crunch and lyric spite to spare on this one. Imagine British thrash with catchy riffing and memorable vocals choruses, and you get an idea how special this record (and band) is. Very strong!

Disorderly Conduct Amen LP

Like many hardcore bands today, DISORDERLY CONDUCT has incorporated growly metal vocals and some metal guitar licks into their song. They keep the “damage” to a minimum though, and the overall feel, both musically and lyrically, is punk with a sorta SoCal feel. Should be popular with fans of both ’cores.

Doccoi Cold Rain EP + flexi 7″

Was this DOC OI before? Hmm…anyway, nothing too oi here, mainly early punk sounds. Actually, 3 of the songs are on a vinyl 7”, the 4th track being pressed on an accompanying flexi—oh, those Japanese.

Enola Gay White Control Means Bloody Murder LP

A well-executed poster sleeve makes a nice introduction to ENOLA GAY’s highly committed brand of punk and thrash. The compositions vary in quality from song to song, but their best moments occur when their instrumental power conjoins with great hooks (as on “Wealthy Ones”).

Floorlords Black Ice Ride 2-Nite / Electrified Wet Mud Wall 7″

Hardcore energy melds with funkiness on this record, which sounds somewhat like a jazzier version of late BLACK FLAG. I didn’t care for the songs here, but there’s a certain catchiness and power that might make this band into a future contender.

Forethought Easy Life cassette

Ten songs from this new Bay Area band that has influences ranging from dirge to blues, rock, and punk. The simple melodies and complex beats add to the interest here but detract from the power, but an intensity can be felt through the raw, loud vocals.

Frightwig Faster, Frightwig: Kill! Kill! LP

Back again with their noisy brand of raunch’n’roll, these gals don’t disappoint. Most of their songs are slow-to-medium-paced and only occasionally drag—yet somehow maintain a special quality, be it in the lyrics (“Punk Rock Jail Bait”), singing (‘Freedom”), or that down and dirty pounding (“Crazy World”). Oh yeah, they’re even better live.

Gnä Gnä The Crawling Chaos Incorporation of Dark Music 7″

At first listen, it seems like a wimpy pop record and the B-side mostly is. But after a few listens, the A-side seems like it must be a lost and forgotten AVENGERS song. Melodic and simple with a bite of its own.

Godfathers Sun Arise / I Want Everything 7″

These guys write pop-punk songs so simple and catchy that you swear you’ve heard them before somewhere. Maybe you have, but the secret of great rock’n’roll is the ripped-off riff, reshuffled and redelivered in a new context. Both songs (one slow, one rocker) are top-notch. A special band.

Government Issue Government Issue LP

GI seem to alternate releases between Dutch East and Mystic, this one on the former. Excellent production and melodic punk tunes are the hallmark here, and while you can still pick out that DC sound, they’ve broadened to reach back to punk roots, as well as even earlier (the WHO?), all without losing that oomph or character of their presentation. Interesting.

Gray Matter Take It Back 12″

Underlying garage pop riffs and harmonies potently mixed with pounding drums and gut-wrenching vocals, the end result is nothing less than powerful. Six songs that are drowned in rawness and energy, and can’t help but grab our attention in one way or another. The lyrics lean toward personal concerns.

Happy Flowers Now We Are Six EP

This is the second release from this terrible duo resplendent with song titles like “Razors in My Apple,” “Daddy Melted,” and “The Vacuum Ate Timmy.” All are recorded live and have a sheer dimwitted glee of ugliness and howling fear. I loved it. File between FLIPPER live and the BUTTHOLES.

Manson Youth / Hostages of Ayatollah split LP

Two fine German hardcore bands share this platter. HOA clock in with some pounding thrash, tight as hell and powerfully delivered. Ah, but then MANSON YOUTH take their turn, and for a band with such a lame name they are quite a revelation—tight, great guitar, and one of the most urgent female vocalists I’ve heard in a while—great lyrics, too! Hard to go wrong with either side.

Inca Babies This Train… LP

It’s easy to complain that the BABIES are too much like the BIRTHDAY PARTY, but after some classic singles, this LP isn’t bad. While no one song really stands out, the total record is quite enjoyable, adding Southern-style blues and pickin’ to psycho post-punk.

Jim Jones and the Kool-Ade Kids Trust Me LP

A torturous, grinding experience that occasionally lurches into third gear, only to slam back into first, not to mention reverse. Metallic gears of guitar driven onward by the pounding, crunching rhythm section and the howled-over grated vocals. The ants will get you! Hey, somebody’s got to do this since Pus ain’t doing it here anymore.

Kiwisex Devil is My Name 12″

The percussive edge of SPK and later EINSTURZENDE NEUBAUTEN springs up on this 12”, which has less power and dementia than it really should. This is industrial noise filtered into several distorted rock compositions, making for some repetitious listening. Below the standard.

Marc Riley with the Creepers Baby’s on Fire / Another Song About Motorbikes 7″

Marc Riley and company break a bit out of their FALL-like beat mold (at the same time as the FALL do with their cover of “Mr. Pharmacist”—interesting) with a cover of BRIAN ENO’s “Baby’s on Fire”—a pretty exciting version. On the flip, they return to their usual rolling form with a jangly, driving tune.

MDC Smoke Signals LP

The long-awaited MDC LP is an interesting release. Thematically, they cover South Africa, cops, food, bullies in the pit, soup kitchens, nukes, skateboards—the gamut of HC themes. The mix isn’t quite as full or noisy as it could’ve been, but a cover of “Big Picture” (Canada’s SUBHUMANS) is a treat, and the rest of the material is pretty much thrash, though country, R’n’B, jazz-metal, and even rap influences sneak right in. Dave’s voice seems a bit straight at times, but that may have been intentional to make the vocals clearer.

Melvins Easy As It Was EP

Slow, grinding punk with a metal influence. This band relies less on annoying solos, though, and more on a crunching pace to knock you down. Victor loves these guys, but then again, Victor is crazy—so test these waters ourselves.

Moving Targets Burning in Water LP

Boston has given us some great pop-punk like STRANGLEHOLD and the NOT, only to see them slip away largely unappreciated. OK, Boston’s giving us another chance in MOVING TARGETS, whose debut is quite a gift. Hope you try this one, and you’ll find there’s more to this city than metal.

Mr. Bungle The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny cassette

This tape will blow Pee Wee Herman’s house down, no problem, OK? Eight metallic thrash numbers in the same vein as ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT, ACCÜSED, etc. Keep the adrenaline flowing at an accelerated rate. Check ’em out, another hot unknown from the Northwest!

No Fraud The E.P. EP

The passion comes through on this frenzied EP of high-velocity thrash. A pummelling guitar and drum attack combined with harsh vocals makes each of these songs decisively effective, as well distinctive and dynamic in their own right. A winner!

Not For Sale A Taste of Honey / Nuevo Laredo Sincerity 7″

Yes, it’s the same HERB ALPERT song that your mom and dad listened to, but these Austin garage pups mix it up a little bit more for a pleasurable trip down the muzak/noise road. Flips does a double-take on the so-called “New Sincerity” movement in Austin. Maybe this is the Austin band to watch.

Phantom Tollbooth Jack of All Phobias 12″

This seven-song job rocks hard, but also contains a number of instrumental and vocal over-indulgences that infect even the more promising tracks. It’s like the MINUTEMEN in terms of song structure, with lots of guitar wankings and awkward vocal intrusions. Basically unappealing, for me.

Rövsvett Ett Psykiskt Drama I 7 Akter EP

Gruff vocals accompany discordant, biting hardcore and thrash on this hard-rocking seven-track EP. A lack of variety in songwriting is about made up for with the grinding guitars and overall vocal intensity. A good follow-up to their excellent debut EP.

Ripcord The Damage is Done flexi EP

This is a nine-song 7” of pretty raging thrash and hard-edged punk. The drumming is mixed kind of weird so it sounds a little tinny at times, but otherwise this band delivers short, fast blasts of anger with early DISCHARGE-like ferocity.

Schliessmuskel Komm, Setz Dich Zu Uns EP

SCHLIESSMUSKEL tries a little of everything on their debut EP: “Klaus E.” is a blast of catchy thrash in the gritty tradition of HEIMAT-LOS; “Nachigedanken” has an almost RAMONES-y appeal; “Rita,” with its wonderful vocal choruses, qualifies as appealing pop-punk. A varied, and very good, EP.

Scratch Acid Just Keep Eating LP

SCRATCH ACID shed some of their BIRTHDAY PARTY influences on this LP, which contains an assortment of powerful, gritty rockers mixed in with a few artier numbers. More of a rootsy rock approach is evident here, and the overall variety makes it recommendable.

Slam End of Laughter LP

Out of the 15 mid-tempo punk songs here, most are made up of delicate guitar leads, simple drum beats, and droning vocals that lean toward the dark side. Maybe the songs are too long, maybe the band doesn’t live up to their name, but this slab just doesn’t stand out.

Slapshot Back on the Map 12″

These seven songs are nothing but classic melodic power, as the music comes across as early UK BLITZ backed up by the Boston HC sound that until now was lost in a fog of stupid metal. Gravelly vocals are broken up by catchy sing-alongs, and the production is slick yet only enhances the band’s sound.

Slovenly Thinking of Empire LP

On their second release, they have shed their gloomy post-punk shadow and their tendency for arty experimentation in favor of a harder two-guitar edge. There’s a delicate interweaving of rhythms that should excite guitar fans of TELEVISION and even the SOFT BOYS.

Stiff Little Fingers The Peel Sessions 12″

These early recordings with one of the greatest UK punk outfits contain four songs, all finely recorded and performed. While lacking in the immediacy and power of their first LP, these slower alternate versions have their own charm. “Barbed Wire Love” is especially good.

Ten Tons of Lies The Seeds of Next Season / You Lie 7″

Both tracks are labeled with the same title, but I know for a fact that they’re two different songs. Good stuff more in the YARD TRAUMA/FUZZTONES style of hard-driving psych/punk with a good sense of melody, a nice use of the whammy bar on guitar.

The 3-D Invisibles Jump Off the Screen LP

The nifty 3-D album cover (glasses provided) presages this band’s lyric compulsion with horror movie themes. The songs are all presented in a stripped-down, punkish format, with good melodies and arrangements, but very little in the way of power. A little dumb, and only a little better than average.

The Damned The Peel Sessions 12″

Four ripping early blasts by the DAMNED are featured here, versions formerly only available on bootleg tapes and records. Several of the tracks, like “Sick of Being Sick,” are actually superior to the previously released versions. A must for fans of ’77 punk.

The Exploited Jesus is Dead 12″

On the faster tunes here, I don’t think this latest version of Wattie and Co. do as well as before, but on the more adventurous tunes, they come off very well, with a fuller sound. They can still put out some good sounds, as hard as that is to admit.

The Funseekers We is the Funseekers EP

On repeated playings, I figured I liked the idea of this retro-’60s disc more than the outcome. All the right trappings—good sense of humor, some interesting melodies. But the juices never really flow and I can’t really recommend it against hardworking prole dough.

The Gruesomes Tyrants of Teen Trash LP

“Teen trash” is right—this neo-’60s garage outfit presents a clutch of primitive, upbeat rockers on this one. We’ve heard it all before—and that’s the problem. Montreal’s GRUESOMES don’t recycle their riffs to sound new or different, though there are a few nostalgia moments here, like “For All I Care.”

The Hated No More We Cry EP

Besides a pair of folk-tunes, what you get from this young band is a thrashing, HÜSKER-ish folk rock sound. Complex yet straightforward, these tunes show promise, though the various members are strewn around the country in colleges.

The Leaving Trains Kill Tunes LP

They’re not going to like this comparison, but this is better than anything the DREAM SYNDICATE have ever done. The TRAINS use the same approach as the SYNDICATE, but are much looser in their approach, they rock a lot harder, and their subjects aren’t as tired. For fans of GUN CLUB and RADIO BIRDMAN.

The Leopards Psychedelic Boy / If You Come Back 7″

This is a Kansas-to-LA transplant that manages to capture the KINKS “Waterloo Sunset” era—not an easy thing to do right. The song also manages to effectively poke a little fun at the LA psychedelic scene. Nice bit of pop.

The Mr. T Experience Everybody’s Entitled to Their Own Opinion LP

The MR. T EXPERIENCE definitely connects with an entertaining record here. This is simple and catchy punk rock, presented with biting guitarwork and high energy. What’s more, they address a variety of offbeat themes in a trademark funny/dumb manner I found winning. Good work, guys!

The Nuns Rumania LP

This band was great early on in the San Francisco punk scene, but before they split up they went way soft. Back again now, they’ve taken up where they left off, with soft pop. Unless wimpy BLONDIE meets bad NICO is your passion, avoid this.

The Reactions Cracked Marbles 12″

Decent but unoriginal power-pop on these six tunes. Jangly guitar and pounding drums are the cornerstones here, a more BEATLE-y version of the CHORDS or JOLT. I’d use the late, great QUICK as my standard in power-pop, mainly due to their guitar power and tunemanship—these guys’d get a 6 to the QUICK’s 10.

The Scenekillers A Scarey Love / Sheila’s Boom Box 7″

A side project for COUCH FLAMBEAU and the APPLIANCES, this pretty much sounds like a side project. “Scarey Love” has an experimental feel with dark, brooding vocals, and the flip is funkier, sort of novelty. Interesting, but…

The Soup Dragons Hang-Ten 12″

Their second release continues with their BUZZCOCKS-like pop-punk sound, though not quite as explicitly derivative this time. They combine tough lyrics, pounding beats, teen vocals, and a slight bit of experimentation with pop rock’n’roll tunes. It works.

The Squires Going All the Way With the Squires! LP

This time around, the label responsible for the great Back from the Grave compilations has decided to release a whole album by one band, the SQUIRES, who aren’t so much a ’60s punk band as a ’60s garage pop band. While most of the material isn’t as inspired as that classic “Going All the Way,” most of it combines an appealing mixture of raw instrumentals and strong melodies.

Tredje Könet Fyra Hits EP

Four nifty songs here, all in that irresistible Swedish pop-punk vein. The guitarwork is hard and well-fleshed out, the melodies more often than not memorable, and the entire record so buoyant that I recall the best work of ATTENTAT, 6-10 REDLOS, and other fine Swedish bands. Wonderful!

Ugly Americans Philadelphia Freedom EP

For the most part, a letdown from the band’s previous releases. The title track is laced with funk guitar and sing-alongs, and the remaining ones lean towards offbeat rock’n’roll. Musically, the material seems to be missing what the band was aiming for.

V/A Wipeout cassette

This 15-band world compilation cassette features 37 songs and fantastic sound quality. So, if international HC is your fancy, get this. My faves include the STUPIDS, HERESY, and LUNATIC FRINGE.

V/A Empty Skulls Vol. 2: The Wound Deepens LP

This installment, The Wound Deepens, contains a few tracks each from an international line-up. Hot stuff from E.A.T.E.R, STRANGLEHOLD, HALF LIFE, CÓLERA, PANDEMONIUM, LEGION OF PARASITES, and others. Excellent selections and fun listening.

V/A God’s Favorite Dog LP

Jesus…a sheer noise museum here with previously unreleased tracks by BIG BLACK (sounding strangely like the FALL), HAPPY FLOWERS (very twisted noise), HOSE, KILLDOZER, SCRATCH ACID, and the BUTTHOLE SURFERS (with plenty of horns—jazz damage?). Horrible cover, but this is one comp I find myself returning to over and over.

V/A It Came From Canada, Vols. 1 & 2 LPs

A mixed bag of punk, ’60s folk, rockabilly, experimental, and pop with Volume 2 being a bit better than Volume 1. Features the likes of GRUESOMES, DEJA VOODOO, MY DOG POPPER, ENIGMAS, and lots more.

V/A I’ve Been Hypnotized cassette

Basically, a pretty good comp containing mostly smaller US outfits. Musical styles vary a bit, but LIFE SENTENCE, LEGION OF DOOM, and PUNKS FOR PROFIT really rock out.

V/A Montreal New York Connection 85 Live LP

Contains SCAB, ULTRAVIOLENCE, and KRAKDOWN from NY, and ZERO, VOMIT AND THE ZITS, and GASSENHAUER from Montreal. All the tracks are live, but of good quality. Lots of great noise, thrash, and energy. Recommended for those who enjoy live recordings.

V/A P.M.L. Compilation #1 cassette

A great compilation of eight Canadian and US bands varying from rocking garage punk to straight-ahead thrash. YOUTHQUAKE, PROBLEM CHILDREN, and SONS OF ISHMAEL are my favorites, but there’s something for any punk/HC fan out there.

V/A Quest for the Corn Girl cassette

A truly cool HC comp featuring the RAPED TEENAGERS, CANCEROUS GROWTH, LUDICHRIST, PSYCHO, and many more. Here the accent is on gruff thrash, but a few slower cuts break up the mayhem. Darn good.

V/A Fatal Response: Rescue Ladders & Human Barricade cassette

Pop-punk, thrash, Oi, are all present here. Hottest recordings are by DEAD ENDS and URBAN BANDITS (odd production), but if GEORGE IMBECILE & THE IDIOTS’ live tracks had been done in a studio, they’d have been tops.

V/A Rapsodie LP

Lots of great material from the current crop of French HC bands, and there’s enthusiasm as well as tight, hot music. Bands include ZOI, HEIMAT-LOS, FINAL BLAST, M.S.T., SCRAPS, RAPT, and more. These bands are not as distinctively “French” as previous waves of French punk, seemingly more influenced by US hardcore, which in a way is a shame.

V/A Trousers in Action EP 2 EP

This is a special limited-edition four-song EP that comes with the latest issue of Trousers In Action fanzine. The fanzine is good for the low-down on the Australian underground—a little more punk than what you would read in B-Side. This EP features a gritty punk tune by CHAOS, a sheer fun noise-fest by FEEDTIME, a quirky track by EXAMPLEHEAD, and a great BUZZCOCKS-like song by TOYS WENT BERZERK.

V/A U-Boats Attack America!!! LP

This American release showcases the greatest hits, as it were, of the German Weird System label. BLUT & EISEN, NEUROTIC ARSEHOLES, RAZZIA, CRETINS, and others serve up a series of blistering HC and punk cuts mandatory for those who don’t have the original German recordings. Excellent, varied sampler.

V/A Yugoslavia Maximum Hardcore #2 cassette

More, more, and even more HC for those thrash and burn addicts out there! Features STRES D.A., KZV, and PATARENI, to name a few, all of which deliver abrasive noisecore. Only for people with cast-iron eardrums!

V/A Your Chance No. 4 cassette

This international demo cassette comp from Germany features DISACCORD, CHALLENGER CREW, and many others. Varied but good sound quality plus a listing of bands’ addresses and demo tape prices.

Vicious Circle Reflections LP

This Aussie band once again delivers the goods: mid- to fast-speed hardcore with crunching guitars and an impassioned vocal attack. Occasional forays into slower velocities result in less power here, but there’s more than enough frenzied thrash for most HC aficionados. Good LP.

Victims Family Voltage and Violets LP

Known as a “musician’s band” in the Bay Area, this Santa Rosa trio plays tight, tight, tight and leaves the other local musicians in awe. Musically, they utilize jazz, metal, and HC in a manic combustion that breaks new ground, though traces of early MEAT PUPPETS seem evident. Lyrically progressive and musically intensive.

Volcano Suns All-Night Lotus Party LP

Still as great and still as diverse, this SUNS LP is almost as good as their first. It’s a mixed bag with half psycho rockers and half melodic country-type beats, which is OK but not as overwhelming as before. However, some of these songs are real standouts in terms of originality and intensity. Still worthwhile.

Wanda’s A State of No Mercy LP

This is their second LP, and there have been some changes. A few males are now in the formerly all-female line-up; the sound has gone from a rougher KLEENEX-type sound to a much slicker SIOUXSIE-influenced feel. What hasn’t changed is the lyrical radicalism, still inspirational.

Xband Pleasure of Life EP

It’s hard to pin down what it is that makes this EP so appealing. It may be the well-honed HC songwriting, the elaborate power-chord tracks, the added edge of accessibility, or the powerful vocals. Whatever it is, I enjoyed the four tracks on this record thoroughly. Another great one from Florida.