Reviews

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Send two copies of vinyl (one for our archive, one for the reviewer) or one copy of CD-only or cassette-only releases to PO Box 3852, Oakland, CA 94609 USA. Maximum Rocknroll wants to review everything that comes out in the world of underground punk rock, hardcore, garage, post-punk, thrash, etc.—no major labels or labels exclusively distributed by major-owned distributors, no releases outside our area of musical coverage, no reviews of test pressings or promo CDs without final artwork. Please include contact information and let us know where your band is from! All vinyl records received are added to our archive, which since 1982 has grown to become the largest collection of punk records in the world.

Antimob II LP

First off, this is one of the most beautiful long-playing records I have ever seen in my life. Housed in a case-bound hardcover book-style sleeve, the cover and interior art consists of breathtaking, evocative photos taken by the band and a photographer comrade during a trip to the island of Gyaros, a traditional place of exile which most recently housed a prison for leftists and other opponents of a series of right-wing governments, culminating in the Junta (or “Regime of the Colonels”) between 1948 and 1974. These images are centered on the now-abandoned prison, starting with sweeping vistas of the structure and its bleak surroundings and becoming increasingly more granular as they focus on the interior, ending on images of individual details, haunting shots of the now-impotent rubble and rusted barbed wire that once caged human beings. Packaging also includes a gorgeous booklet, postcards, and huge poster, all printed with the highest quality materials. The amount of care and thought that went in to the presentation of this album is absolutely staggering and that’s just the impression the record makes before you put it on the turntable! The album itself, several years in the making, shows an equal amount of care and craftsmanship. Their 2012 self-titled LP was a blinder, a sweeping album that flirted with epi-crust without falling into the cliches and patterns that label suggests. The core of that sound remains, but there are many more spices in the stew this time around. The low-end is very MOTÖRHEAD, with a filthy bass tone and hard-hitting, understated, and precise drumming worthy of the Philthy Animal himself. Japanese-style massive group choruses collide with raw NYHC breakdowns that bleed into rousing melodic solos that never become self-indulgent. Listening to this album very much recalls listening to the first TRAGEDY LP in 2000, it is so impactful and so tight and fully realized. I have never wanted to be able to read Greek more than I do looking at the lyrics and longing to grasp the full meaning behind these songs, but the passion and intensity are very clearly communicated, and I completely understand that this is a record by and for Greeks about a time and a place that shaped their modern lives. While this album was technically released very late last year, I have no hesitation in saying this is the first truly great punk record of the 2020s.

  • Reviewer Andrew Underwood
  • Label Εξωτικός Παροξυσμός
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Protocol Bloodsport 12″

Ugly, blown-out primitive hardcore played with knuckles bloodied from both punching and being dragged on the ground. Hints of contemporaries like WARTHOG (the punchy, driving attack, the super-mean vocals) and URCHIN (the occasional massive, vicious breakdown) appear, though this is more raw than either band’s output recording-wise and it includes interesting ambient-ish electronica elements courtesy of the brilliantly-named INTERNET GF. The fadeout ending of the record-closing “Divinity” has a genuine creep factor that dovetails nicely with the opening synth drone, demonstrating the band’s adept incorporation of the electronic elements. Witty, nihilistic lyrics only amplify the band’s bleak presentation, as does the crude, thematically perfect artwork. Only 300 copies available on appropriately blood-colored vinyl, definitely recommended.

  • Reviewer Andrew Underwood
  • Label Dynastic Yellow Star / 11 PM
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Disclose Nightmare or Reality 12”

To be honest, the typically blunt and honest liner notes by Kawakami are pretty much the best review of this record available, but I’ll do my best to give a preview. Everyone knows (or should know) that DISCLOSE is that Japanese band that wrote songs in the style of DISCHARGE, but beneath the surface the story of DISCLOSE is an intriguing one, featuring constant evolution and innovation spanning dozens of releases. While early DISCLOSE was very much in the service of DISCHARGE, there were obvious influences from a range of post-DISCHARGE hardcore bands, most notably Scandinavian masters like DISCARD and SHITLICKERS. The early and mid-’90s material is often blown-out to the point of being challenging to listen to (viz. the first EP, or the tracks on the Meaningful Consolidation compilation). As time progressed, the band moved away from that more chaotic approach in favor of a more stripped-down and coherent sound, with the The Aspects of War and 4 Track EPs serving as trial runs for this, DISCLOSE’s attempt at producing their answer to Why?. The years and years of obsessive listening, study, research, practice, and attention to detail paid off in spades here, producing ten tracks (of course, guess which other record had 10) of pure DISCHARGE-fueled D-beat insanity, albeit with soloing that skews a little more towards ’CIMEX than Bones. It’s foolish to offer up apologies or explanations for Kawakami and DISCLOSE, either for the concept or the execution when it’s easy enough to say that there’s nothing one fucking amazing band taking inspiration from another fucking amazing band. True connoisseurs can argue for hours about which period of DISCLOSE was the best, but I don’t think any would handwave this record or its importance as a turning point in their body of work. As usual, La Vida Es Un Mus has given this reissue deluxe treatment, with the art fully reproduced in a heavy duty glossy jacket and inner sleeve, and a great sounding mastering job on thick vinyl.

Altar De Fey The Insatiable Desire… For More LP

Flawless deathrock that so closely mirrors the premier bands of the early ’80s, you’d think that this was a DISCLOSE-like tribune to CHRISTIAN DEATH. While that would be awesome, the truth is even better: they’re actually original gangsters! While their first recordings didn’t emerge until the 21st century, the original lineup of the band gigged around San Francisco between ’83 and ’85, and even this, their second album contains songs written during that period. While there are touches of gothic influence present in the aesthetic, the instrumentation, eschews the synth ’n’ sax overkill of full-blown goth in favor of a leaner, more punk-oriented style. Founding guitarist Kent Cates is the centerpiece of the band, with the songs being built around his elaborate, often oddly-tuned compositions, supplemented by vocalist Jake Hout whose singing echos Rozz Williams’ sleazy charm. A couple tracks linger for a hair or two too long, but to be fair that kind of comes with the style. In pretty much every other aspect, this is as good as it gets when it comes to deathrock, past or present. Hell, even the cover art is so vintage that just looking at it makes you smell like cloves and patchouli for days.

Mock Execution Reality Attack EP

Pissed off raw punk from the streets of Chicago by way, at least in part, of Singapore! Anchored by Thalib (of such Singapore luminaries as VAARALLINEN, SNÄGGLETOOTH, CHARGED C.B.H. and DAILY RITUAL), MOCK EXECUTION are another excellent addition to his already brilliant resume. The heart of the sound is early Finnish hardcore with all the quirks of tempo and delivery that entails, but there isn’t a slavish devotion to one particular band or even the style as a whole. Short, frantic solos are scattered throughout, a particular highlight being the one that ends “Protest Is A Way of Life” while mostly-barked vocals are augmented by group choruses. The recording is just right, a little boom-y and raw—perfect ’80s vintage sound that is especially appropriate for the closing KAAOS cover. Silk-screened covers and a very cut-and-paste aesthetic complete the package. Killer.

Krake Streitkultur LP

Aus Deutschland, KRAKE play sorely-produced raw hardcore punk nodding to ’90s-era breakdowns and sinister maelstrom interludes of metallic radiance. Short blasts and enigmatic, vicious riffs and scathing vocals seethe through in German. Tracks like “Fries Scheiße” pack a fucking wallop. I really like how pulled-in KRAKE keep their songs. A few hooks on guitar, a break, an even more dismal break, some fade out, then over. KRAKE are not fucking around. Songs max out at three minutes, but seem to have all the elements of a solid hardcore song, with some ballad moments and even more battle moments.

  • Reviewer Jason Ryan
  • Label Sengaja / Subzine
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Jack Acid Gutless / Lo-Hi 12″

“Turn down for what?!” JACK ACID play GREEN JELLÖ-style SLAYER-ish rap that reminds me of SLIPKNOT or BILLIE EILISH. I do not know much about either, but if you’re into AGATHOCLES, BAD RELIGION, and you think you might be coming “down with the sickness,” this two-track psychedelic slab of disconformity is for you.

  • Reviewer Jason Ryan
  • Label Slope
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Geiger Counter Nuclear EP

I am so happy to be assigned this vicious EP, that I’ve been spinning personally a lot late last year. What can I say about this dank crust release? This is up there with the stench-dragging psychedelic brutality of HORRENDOUS 3D, EXTREME NOISE TERROR, DISRUPT, the more upbeat aspects of MISERY, with riffs advanced as DESPITE. GIEGER COUNTER truly embrace the origins of late ’80s/early ’90s crust when it may have even been called “grindcore.” HIATUS, DOOM, and DETESTATION come to mind—the Nuclear EP resonates with sonic destruction, yet with slightly more metal virtuosity than all these said examples. Crust fans: do not fear this word “metal.” Tasty, tasty, bits of shrapnel, right here.

  • Reviewer Jason Ryan
  • Label Profane Existence
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Leopardo Is It An Easy Life? LP

Psychedelic rock from Switzerland in the vein of the VELVET UNDERGROUND. The songs are generally on the upbeat side of things, but not necessarily poppy. They’re a little weird, a little off-kilter, the vocals run toward the TINY TIM side of things. Head noddable, yes but not exactly danceable. The two best songs on here are the ones that don’t really fit. “Happiness” is a slow, sparse, ambient, folkish thing that reminds me of a song by one of the Kilgour brothers. It’s followed by the catchy as hell, “I Wanna Tame You,” a pop gem. I’d listen to those two songs over and over.

  • Reviewer Pete Avery
  • Label Le Pop Club / Montagne Sacré / We Don't Make It
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Polo Pepo y Sociedad Corrupta San Felipe Es Punk / Es Delito Ser Punk 7″

By some standards, Polo Pepo’s two-song 1988 7” is little more than a historical oddity. It barely made an impression on the global punk and hardcore scenes on its release, and its crude mid-tempo songs don’t fit in particularly well with the vicious political thrash of most Mexican hardcore of its era. Yet to me, this record—not to mention this loving reissue—is a minor miracle. The A-side track, “San Felipe Es Punk” is a truly magical (and utterly raw) ode to the modest and evidently punk as fuck Mexican neighborhood that Polo Pepo called home. It’s a rudimentary song with a simple message but it’s one I’ve listened to hundreds of times (and put on almost as many mix tapes) since I first heard it. It’s hard to find a more honest tribute to underground culture or to punk rock anywhere. There might be those who listen to this and just don’t get it, but to me this record captures the essence of what I love about DIY punk.

  • Reviewer Golnar Nikpour
  • Label La Vida Es Un Mus
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Absolut 2019 Demonstration EP

Double kicking, mad-blasting metal-charged käng punk from Toronto. ABSOLUT have melded their sound from an ASOCIAL or SVART PARAD delivery to more of a GISM, BOMBRAID, HAWKWIND experience. And this EP rips raw and flourishes with wild technicality. More breakdowns, more crude hissing metallic tones, less of what you’d expect from this originally hyper-echoed D-beat band.

  • Reviewer Jason Ryan
  • Label Schizophrenic
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Dewityourself Dewityourself LP

It’s an interesting idea. Niels de Wit, who has been playing in bands and putting out records for four decades, picks out fourteen songs that he wrote from over the years, and rerecords them. The songs encompass stuff done by hardcore bands like GEPØPEL as well as alternative pop rock like JOHAN. The thing is that he makes most of them sound like the power pop/punk of his more recent bands. Even some of those hardcore songs are given a catchy, upbeat touch. On its own, it feels a little dated, like a ’90s pop-punk version of ELVIS COSTELLO. It might be more interesting to those familiar with his previous work.

  • Reviewer Pete Avery
  • Label self-released
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Shiners Club Wires in the Water EP

If you’re a fan of straightforward throaty hardcore, you’ll like this one. These guys crank out four songs in just under ten minutes. There’s nothing game changing or earth-shattering or groundbreaking about it, but it’s a good example of what it’s trying to be.

  • Reviewer Kenny Kaos
  • Label Cazzo Duro / Savage Magic
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Dekonstrukt Dekonstrukt 10″

What if TANGERINE DREAM played crust songs? DECONSTRUKT have concocted oceanic and hypnotic, anthemic bangers that hastily move into the chorus. Each track ends with harsh conviction. Abruptly composed attacks with long landscapes of melodic bridges threading through the more intense moments. Minimal strained and screaming vocals over thin reverberated guitars harken to both ’80s post-punk and ’90s blackened crust.

  • Reviewer Jason Ryan
  • Label Subzine
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Autarch The Light Escaping LP

Dark, gloomy transcendent crust with galloping beats and minimal vocals spate fourth with pithy apprehension. I appreciate the concentrated pace of the lyrics here, accented with harsh screeching backing vocals set back in the mix. The basic formula is epic neo-crust, but AUTARCH stand out with hypnotic fluidity. The songs are like a lucid fairy tale. This is no generic sketch. Acoustic moments and bow string instrumentation contrast powerful blasts with a soothing nature. Like warm storm waves on cold sharp rocks. AUTARCH deliver a heavy LP that is hardcore punk, and will probably be filed under metal based on the celestial aesthetics and song titles alone. The album doesn’t demand attention, but they have mine.

  • Reviewer Jason Ryan
  • Label Profane Existence
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Facility Men It’s Fun to Disappear LP

Twelve songs of WIPERS-style punk, or you could call it hardcore garage music. It’s mostly up-tempo, with vocals that sound like they are yelling at you in particular, and guitars that lean a little too heavily on classic rock’n’roll riffs (and solos). A couple songs in and it starts to sound a little stale. It’s unfortunate that you have to get halfway through the second side for the record to be broken up by the mid-tempo, not so yell-y “Morning Business” that will have you bobbing your head in no time. More of that please.

  • Reviewer Pete Avery
  • Label Big Neck
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Khiis Bezoar LP

KHIIS is a four-piece hardcore punk band hailing from Oakland, CA; their latest release, Bezoar, is sung in Farsi and English. Good riffs, catchy yet well-crafted songwriting, and simply a brutal, raging hardcore punk record that raises your fist up in the air. Reminds me of a modern DIY punk version of mid-tempo driven UK82 bands like GBH and the EXPLOITED. It’s not necessary UK82 revival pogo/street punk (but somehow sounds much more UK82 than most street punk bands out there), and whether intended or not, there are similarities with contemporary Bay Area hardcore such as NO STATIK, TORSO, REPLICA, and others. The Earhammer recording production is clear and dynamic sounding, reminding me more of the TOTALITÄR material or ’90s Japanese hardcore production (something recorded at Our House or from the Selfish Records or Bloodsucker Records catalog) than some basement demo recording. No bullshit, great hardcore punk, not just for punks, but also hardcore fans of all. Great cover artwork done by Ji Hwan Ryu of SCUMRAID.

  • Reviewer Daiki Kusuhara
  • Label La Vida Es Un Mus
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Swan Wash Swan Wash cassette

Brooding goth with an underlying ferocity that exposes punk roots—at least I hope that’s what I’m hearing. If you deconstruct, some of the tracks tweak components of outlying commercial genres and present them as Faith or Juju-derived darkness, and it totally works. If simple, stripped-down, murky dirges with Pearl Thompson guitar melodies floating in the aether are your cup of chamomile, then Indiana’s SWAN WASH have got you in their sights.

  • Reviewer Robert Collins
  • Label Sister Cylinder
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Poison Boys Out of My Head LP

You wouldn’t get any arguments calling this punk, but you could for sure make an argument that this is pub/street rock’n’roll. It’s catchy and mid-tempo and solid. Certain cuts bring a classic rock’n’roll/bluesy element that reminds me of stuff the Chiswick label was putting out in the late 1970s. Nice.

  • Reviewer Kenny Kaos
  • Label Dead Beat
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

The Rare Forms The Rare Forms LP

I’ve been going back and forth on this one. There are a lot of things to like about it. It’s catchy and melodic, and also has an underlying eeriness that permeates the whole record. The female vocals are strong and remind me of MENSEN, high praise. It’s punk and rock’n’roll and new wave and goth at the same time. That’s pretty cool. “Vampire Blowjob” even reminds me just a bit of the first GO-GO’S record. Here’s the thing: part of me wonders if they’re maybe trying just a little too hard, like it’s contrived. That could totally be unwarranted criticism, and I do wonder if that will pass for me. I hope it does, as I want to embrace this without lingering doubts.

  • Reviewer Kenny Kaos
  • Label Casino Trash
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Tap Water Straight from the Tap cassette

I swear that before I looked at the internet, I thought “These freaks sound like they’re from Buffalo.” Turns out, these freaks are from Buffalo. Total tripped-out post-punk, but in the truest sense of the term, like “this is what happens after punk.” Like TRAGIC MULATTO with ska parts (and also with a trombone, like not just as an accent instrument, but like a full-time trombone), TAP WATER are the genuine article.

Raamattu Anno Domini EP

Raging!!!!!!!!!!! RAAMATTU (“Holy Bible” or “Scriptures”) play ten super quick blasts of the UUTTUS-style intensified skew-on-the-jackhammering KANSAAN UUTISET branch of Finnish hardcore. This Turku band’s debut EP completely nails the style, with caustic shouts that burn into haunting scowls, riveting drumming, raw guitars, and then the slow rhythmic drum beats on the toms that punctuate this style. Less noisy than their 2018 demo and sharper in delivery, It’s perfectly recorded with the clarity this level of speed needs, and just the appropriate enough update to not sound particularly dated, nor particularly modern, but timeless. The tenth track is an UUTUUS cover. The lyrics apply the urgency of ’80s hardcore to modern problems of global warming, welfare for the rich, factory farming, and sexism with blunt crudity and abrupt power. Killer EP!

  • Reviewer Ken Sanderson
  • Label Best Seller
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Actor / Moving Objects split EP

You really couldn’t have two different bands sharing a release. MOVING OBJECTS throw out a number so catchy and melodic, it’s almost criminal. It’s got a ’60s rock’n’roll vibe that is infectious. Stripped-down and raw, it’s delivered with a confidence that draws you right in. You can’t help but like it. You don’t want it to end. But it does. So you play it again and again. That’s followed up by ACTOR, who deliver a highly techno, drum machine cut that’s almost a spoken word piece. You’ve got to believe it’s a one-man show, but it’s actually a duo. It’s also very good, for sure, but I find the combo an odd one.

  • Reviewer Kenny Kaos
  • Label Good Times Rock N Roll Club
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Sonic Warhead Bleed Runner cassette

Demented raw punk stompers from Indonesia. SONIC WARHEAD embody that “everything is about to fucking die!” energy that so many bands try so desperately to conjure. The sound is honest, urgent, powerful, and the tracks are light years beyond sick. Everything sounds weird, sounds off; in other words, it all sounds perfect. This is the second offering from SONIC WARHEAD—guitarist Dovandri sadly passed away after these tracks were recorded, but there are more offerings in the future. Rest (and live on) in Power, and thanks for the riffs.

Cheap Perfume Nailed It LP

A remastered vinyl reissue of Colorado Springs’ CHEAP PERFUME’s 2016 debut CD, with fourteen tracks of strong, unapologetic, feminist punk powered by loose, occasionally sludgy and sturdy garage bashing. The lead vocals are pointed and direct, hurling political barbs and jarring take-downs reminiscent of the sharper moments of NAKED AGGRESSION. Echoed and backed by another set of volatile female backup vocals, sometimes shouted, sometimes sung, HEAVENS TO BETSY could be a reference point, but so could the jubilant chaos of ANTI-SCRUNTI FACTION. Like the music, it’s all kept inventive yet simple, recalling lots of different bands (at one song it took awhile for me to finally place what it sounded like—unexpectedly, it was EMPIRE!), but it’s personal in expression, with many different influences but no direct comparisons. The lyrics go between sassy and brutal, assailing sexism, Trump, male expectations of women, navigating relationships, defining consent, and their enunciated clarity pins with the music to make it all shout-along friendly. 300 pressed on red vinyl. The cover is basic but apropos, with a diagram of uterus forming the interior a punk skull!

  • Reviewer Ken Sanderson
  • Label Snappy Little Numbers
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

The Shitdels Shape-Shi[f]t Faces LP

If I had heard the SHITDELS sight unseen, I would have assumed it was the latest John Dwyer record. It’s got all the stylings: jangly guitars, childlike keyboards, reverb-laden vocals and female backing vocals. The songs are noisy, with a catchy dance-y quality. The vocals are high-pitched, and they holler and whoop along the way. The music is peppy and poppy, yet distorted and dissonant. Fun stuff.

  • Reviewer Carolyn Keddy
  • Label What's For Breakfast?
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Fail Sons demo cassette

Serious question: are they intentionally speeding up the chorus of “Americans”? Because it sounds so weird and so totally awesome that I really want it to be intentional. Anyway, FAIL SONS are catchy and urgent punk, seemingly fine-tuned for the club circuit (in a good way, it means that they are on top of their shit), with dual guitars doing the dance while layers of vocals alternate gruff and sweet harmonies all over the damn place. It’s a really straightforward formula, and it totally works. Also, it turns out the drums speed up awkwardly and for no apparent reason on a few other tracks too (most notably “BP Oil Spill Of Human Misery”), and I love how it makes everything feel kinda uncomfortable.

Union Jack Violence 10”

The melodic, rough (and annoyingly catchy) vocals clash with the jangly forceful UK alt/indie guitars and fit right in with the anthemic drive of the rhythm section. Too many “whoa-oh”s of course (it doesn’t take many to be too many), and the weird quirks in tracks like “Poison Me” serve to make Paris’ UNION JACK even more perplexing—also it makes them more interesting. Weird how something that presents this professional and this vanilla can ultimately sound this, well, weird. Choice cut: “Vasectomy.”

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Rip It Up Morbid Laws LP

Not sure how a record released in France this past summer so instantly reminds me of mid-‘80s Chicago punk…but it does. And not even in a way that I can quantify or really explain, it’s just something about how it hits me. It’s catchy, but the teeth bite you hard and sink in—vocals are gruff and urgent while the whole recording swings even while it rocks, like NAKED RAYGUN and LES THUGS collaborating. Good shit.

  • Reviewer Robert Collins
  • Label Donnez-Moi du Feu / Les Nains Aussi / No Gods No Masters / Perce-Oreille / Potato / Psychopathia / Tocsin / Up the Punx
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Sierpien Торжество (Triumph) cassette

Driving, mid-tempo dark punk recorded in 2015, almost like a missing link between ARMIA and the non-hardcore SIEKIERA record, but SIERPIEN are Russian and not Polish. The more you listen to this, the more their stripped down sound sinks in, and it’s nice to see that their recent material is even better.

SA90 Overkill EP

Three doses of California punk with spoken/shouted female vocals and a distinct cowpunk vibe driven by Billy Zoom-goes-hard rock guitar damage. The vocals are demanding, the band is loose in all the right ways, and I swear SA90 sound like NAKED AGGRESSION meets More Fun In The New World (sans vocal harmonies, of course). These are sounds made for being in the bar…and being drunk…and getting wild.

  • Reviewer Robert Collins
  • Label Screwball Productions
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Crime San Francisco’s First and Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Band: Live 1978 2×7″/DVD

The basis for this DVD is live footage Larry Larson shot of CRIME at San Francisco punk club the Mabuhay Gardens on June 24, 1978. The CRIME fliers shown at the beginning of the film contradict that date stating “one night only June 4,” so maybe someone is confused. Larson shot the footage for a planned television project on San Francisco punk. His intro and outro for the segment bookend the film. The footage is great. It’s multi-camera, 16mm shots of the band in action, and also conveys the atmosphere of the club. Larson ran out of money and became ill, so he never finished it. He left the footage to Crime drummer Henry Rosenthal (a.k.a. Hank Rank), and it sat untouched until a few years ago when another filmmaker, Jon Bastian, convinced Rosenthal to let him edit it. The result is a 35-minute document of CRIME performing live, surrounded by the various patrons of the Mabuhay Gardens, and lorded over by the Mab’s booker and resident jokester Dirk Dirksen. Dirksen heckles the crowd while they pose for the camera. Seeing the people who attended punk shows in the ’70s is always good for a laugh. There are also brief interviews with the members of CRIME—Frankie Fix, Johnny Strike, Ron Ripper, and Hank Rank—along with some backstage antics. Bastian’s editing keeps things lively, and although I would have liked him to stay on the band for at least one entire song, I realize most people might find that boring, so things have to keep moving. Plus, the introductory promise of a riot never materializes. There is some extra footage shot by Carola Anderson, inexplicably throw in, of CRIME playing their infamous show at San Quentin. It is quick and distracts from the seedy, dark nightlife attitude of the rest of the film. (I am sure a lot of people know that Target Video shot the San Quentin show, too. There have been clips included on Target VHS tapes and DVDs. After seeing this I just have to say, it’s time for CRIME and Target Video to sort things out and finally release that performance. It would be an excellent complement to this collection.) Overall, the DVD is a fascinating capsule of the time. The film probably won’t attract many new fans to CRIME, but those who already are will enjoy this journey back to when it was happening. The double 7” is the soundtrack to the film—eleven songs total. Playing the DVD and 7”s back to back, I am surprised at the difference in sound quality. The records don’t sound as good. I assume that is the result of cramming three songs on one side of a 45 RPM 7” (two on the fourth side). But I guess that doesn’t matter. Everyone knows the draw here is the film.

  • Reviewer Carolyn Keddy
  • Label Superior Viaduct
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Fever Dream Horror Scene Fever Dream Horror Scene cassette

More brooding goth from Indiana. See also: SWAN WASH in this section, who share a guitarist with FEVER DREAM HORROR SCENE, and I’m going to guess that said guitarist has a lot to do with the direction of both bands. Similar melodies circle around the tracks, but this one starts slower, gloomier, and is decidedly less danceable. Things pick up slightly after the two opening tracks, both in tempo and energy, and male/female vocals play off of each other more than at the start, but it’s almost like they are trying to comfort you after bringing you so far down. Distorted guitars and meandering ’90s college rock (MERCURY REV, Homestead Records fodder, MY DAD IS DEAD) play a greater role in tracks like “Relinquary” and “Nascar,” so much that the band feels like they are floating (or fighting) towards an unattainable crescendo. Spend some time here, it’s worth the investment.

  • Reviewer Robert Collins
  • Label Sister Cylinder
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Destinazione Finale In Bilico Nel Reale LP

Blistering Italian hardcore, tight as a drum and just catchy enough. These thirteen songs are gone in a flash (the final track is the only one that touches the two minute mark), and the amount of awesome they cram into that lightning fast package is simply staggering. TOTAL FURY’s 13 Songs is a partial comparison perhaps—clean, ripping and uncompromisingly catchy hardcore punk with a subtle sprinkling of ’80s thrash. This was my first exposure to the band, and now I’m on a serious hunt for the demo that came out last year. Anyone holding?

Crystal Violet Violet Night

Hard-driving late night psych, somewhere between HAWKWIND, PHARAOH OVERLORD, and the WIPERS. High praise for this solo project from New Jersey, but CRYSTAL VIOLET focus their (his) vision before they pull back so when they (he) lets loose there is nothing lost or left behind. Even interlude passages like “Mercy Of The Mountain” and “Flux” serve as important components of the overall presentation. Repeated listens reveal even more nuances and encourage deeper digging. Recommended.

Antimob Ένα Μίσος Γεννιέται / Πριν την Παράδοση 7”

Greece’s ANTIMOB just keep getting better. Last year’s LP was incredible, but I swear that these two songs released in December are even better. Absolutely epic and mesmerizing hardcore punk. Roots in dark European crust and galloping Japanese hardcore have grown into a fucking forest of riffs and chugs and guitar hooks and desperate vocals, and ANTIMOB just sound massive on this single. The A side starts strong and ends with a clenched fist, and the B side is even better, even if (especially) because the last 30 seconds are spent just letting the instruments ring out, and it feels like you are floating. A splendid release throughout, mandatory for fans of thee black-clad heavy.

  • Reviewer Robert Collins
  • Label Εξωτικός Παροξυσμός / Antimob
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Execution South East Asian Tour cassette

Furious distorted hardcore kneeling at the altar of ’80s Italian hardcore, but seemingly incapable of shaking their modern raw fastcore tendencies. The result is completely unhinged in all the best ways imaginable: guitars are chaotic (I mean, the riffs are chaotic, if they even exist at all) and the drums defy description—listening to this is like listening to a good hardcore band fall apart. On purpose. And they do it within the construct of the songs themselves instead of relying on distorting everything just for the sake of chaos. Australia’s EXECUTION create the chaos. A demo from 2017 demo and a 2018 EP, both from Hardcore Victim, all crammed into a plastic shell for EXECUTION’s Asian tour by the folks at Pissed Off Records. This is a beast, please don’t snooze.

Irreal Fi Del Mon 12”

With a start that makes even the most casual listener take note and wonder if they are about to be washed away by a tsunami of ’82 Italian hardcore, IRREAL set their scene before they even make it through one riff…and then they get better. Relentless, pounding drums that dance (like, literally you will want to dance), as the band crashes into and through an array of Southern European punk influences and art-damaged DISCHARGE reinterpretations. So tormented are these guitars, it’s as if the person playing them is attacking with frustration, trying simply to make them sound like they are supposed to—and when you deliver breakneck D-beat (“Ruines”) with that kind of fury, the results are terrifying. IRREAL is the product of several stalwarts of the Barcelona scene, so it comes as no surprise that Fi Del Mon is good—and still when “Maisons” closes the show, there’s nothing I want to do except start from the beginning. Highest recommendation.

  • Reviewer Robert Collins
  • Label La Vida Es Un Mus
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Network76 Insanity cassette

It’s like late-’80s DC crashing full speed into late-’80s California. Like BEEFEATER and BL’AST. Heavy rock’n’roll vibes, but ferocious punk energy, and an enviably nasal vocal snarrrrrrl. Only four cuts here, but they close with “Tired,” which makes me anything but tired. No contact info on the tape, but these cats are from Amsterdam and are recommended!

Adderall Big Pharma vs. Adderall EP

Seven and a half(-ish) minutes of North American squirmy millennial hardcore punk. Manic, down-picked riffs played to straight 4/4 on (pharmaceutical) speed and loads of echo on the short, filthy vokills. The riffs are tiiiiiight, and if you like your shit to land between LUMPY and NOSFERATU, then this one is your 2020 banger, kids.

The Cavemen Night After Night LP

Traditionally, I would object to any band cleaning up their sound. I mostly prefer my records to sound like the live experience: distorted, messy, and lo-fi. Even though I love all the other CAVEMEN records, I have to admit I am glad they cleaned it up a bit for this one. Night After Night is filled with stronger songs and better melodies. The playing is top notch, and the vocals powerful and tough. The songs retain the attitude and tastelessness I expect. They’ve developed into a more thrash-y version of the DICTATORS and I like it.

Judex The Cult of Judex / Witchface 7″

A couple of songs from this Philadelphia band. Rock’n’roll tunes with delay on the guitar, à la LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH and later DAMNED. Also has a goth-y rockabilly feel too. Decent.

  • Reviewer Ray Lujan
  • Label Fist of Soul / Kafadan Kontak
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Leopardo Di Caprio LP

LEOPARDO is a one-man band from Switzerland that plays dreamy, atmospheric pop music. The songs stretch and breathe. They are sophisticated, then childlike. I like what Julie Bugnard said about him: “Mais Leopardo se différencie par son romantisme lo-fi si particulier et son garage trash et naïf.” (“LEOPARDO is differentiated by his so particular lo-fi romanticism and his trash and naïve garage.”) Naïve garage is a great phrase, and sums it up nicely.

  • Reviewer Carolyn Keddy
  • Label We Don't Make It
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Eyes and Flys Eyes and Flys / Fall Asleep with the TV On 7″

Debut record from this Buffalo, NY one-man band. The theme song is a distorted, stomping rocker. Repetitive, pained vocals lend a nice sound to the straightforward musical track. “Fall Asleep with the TV On” is a slow, droney tune with acoustic guitar and lulling vocals. It could easily put you to sleep, TV on or off. Cool stuff.

  • Reviewer Carolyn Keddy
  • Label self-released
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Friends of Dorothy Where Are All the Pretty Boys? / I Don’t Know Anything About Love 7″

This is a synth punk release which features the singer of HENRY FIAT’S OPEN SORE. Although, through a little research, I found out this band has its trashy punk side and this is an alter ego. Of course I’m gonna go say DEVO and SCREAMERS for similarities. I’d like to hear a whole album of this.

  • Reviewer Ray Lujan
  • Label Lätta Bördor
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

The Phone Jerks 10×10 10″

This New Jersey band cranks out the up-tempo garage punk. Supposedly, a SUPERCHARGER cover band originally (major cool points there), this has a sped-up DEAD BOYS and SAINTS feel. Pretty rockin’.

  • Reviewer Ray Lujan
  • Label Alien Snatch
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Zurich by the Japanese Decoration Food Cassette

This is a strange one, for sure. ZURICH BY THE JAPANESE jumps from bedroom-pop to ambient-drone to experimental-noise to singer-songwriter folk to shoegaze to all kinds of other weird obscure sub-genres that I’m not sure I fully understand, all on one lo-fi cassette. It’s not particularly surprising that they’re able to cover such a wide range, considering there are 24 songs on this demo. It’s all pretty confusing, and some of the songs even completely change genre unexpectedly right in the middle of themselves, making it difficult to follow along to try to point out which, if any, of the songs are standout tracks. Perhaps it’s my small brain at fault, but it all comes off as way more of an art project than a band, and I think I need a nap after navigating my way through the entirety of this release.

  • Reviewer Biff Bifaro
  • Label self-released
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

TV Crime Metal Town LP

This British band plays tuneful, raw melodic punk. Yes, the vocals do have an ELVIS COSTELLO feel. Musically, this sounds very UK 1979 to me: CLASH, BUZZCOCKS, EDDIE AND THE HOT RODS… Yes, it’s been done before, but these guys do it well. Excellent.

  • Reviewer Ray Lujan
  • Label Alien Snatch
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Platinum Boys Raw Romance LP

Punky rock’n’roll with some power pop and twang in the mix. Think 1981 US type of stuff à la the PLIMSOULS and STIV BATORS’s solo stuff. This is decent, but it lacks the memorable material of the mentioned bands. Although I’m sure this band gets the local bar going on a Friday night.

  • Reviewer Ray Lujan
  • Label Dusty Medical
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

The Kegels Blood and Wine CD EP

This five-track effort brings back (fairly recent) memories of the majestic heights of the RED CITY RADIO Skytigers CD. Not as much rock as the aforementioned RCR, but they do have that anthemic, layered, melodic sound real down. And a little dirty. While this quartet (typical two guitars, bass, drums) would appear to hail from Southern California (figures), they manage to sound like No Division-era HOT WATER MUSIC having it out with SCREECHING WEASEL at the height of their powers (i.e. Anthem for a New Tomorrow). As you might have ascertained, this is really fucking good.

  • Reviewer Ramsey Kanaan
  • Label self-released
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020