Reviews

Rotten Ron

Panic, Inc. Weight EP

From the city of my birth comes this Oakland hardcore-ish bunch. I’m not sure who’s in this and I can’t say I’m overjoyed by the name, but it’s some decent BL’AST-like ferocity with some later BLACK FLAG jazzy rhythms. Not fantastic, but not a bag of turds either. Maybe good live?

Tony Matura Riding the Secret Subway EP

This New York punk old-timer was a member of the mid-’80s band the OPTIC NERVE. They were a decently well-known 1960s folk/psych/garage revival band when bands like the CHESTERFIELD KINGS and the L.A. Paisley Underground bands were a thing. This, however, is a reworking of songs he wrote for his teenage Queens punk band SECRET SUBWAY in ’79/’80. The songs are catchy, with a ’60s garage feel that seems to have been a passion for TONY like many punkers of the day. The song “Nightmare” was supposedly directly inspired by the MISFITS after opening for them, and it’s maybe the best tune here, but sounds nothing like the Jersey ghouls. My only complaint is that the songs are a little stiff and slower than I’d like but, hey, that’s just my teen thrash metal mind speaking. Fans of bands like the NERVES or even the UNDEAD might dig this and, hey, these old dudes are dying off by the minute, so pay attention while you still can.

Beautiful Delilahs The Reason Why LP

An entertaining slice of Texas cowpunk/rockasilly from Austin players that have been around long enough to do it right. The guitars are just dirty enough and the vocals achieve the tobacco-shredded quality to keep this from being wimpy like a lot of this genre can be. You could see Texacala Jones hoppin’ on stage to belt one out with these boys, and at times they’re reminiscent of a young REVEREND HORTON HEAT or DEXTER ROMWEBER, and others maybe a less punk POISON 13. It’s all that punked-up WILLIE DIXON vibe like much of this ilk, but never quite as damaged or unhinged as I would like. Still a nice listen, though.

Rath & the Wise Guys Rude, Crude, and Socially Unacceptable CD

Big Florida dudes who make baseball jerseys with their band name on it. Beards, full-sleeve tattoos, probably an occasional cigar or a blunt when the kids have gone to bed. Retirement skate punk. Every song sounds like a cover of a cover band playing 2000s MOTÖRHEAD or DAMNED material with out-of-tune, off-time vocals. Yes, it’s real.

The Harry Anslingers Go Tranquility Base cassette

This German band named after the controversial first drug war Nazi of America plays noisy garage punk with songs crafted with an apparent love for the American space program. Fast, trashy, and fun, it reminds me of the NO-TALENTS, SPOILED BRATS, or TYRADES. Fun and confusing all at the same time, I leave it to you, kind reader, to figure this one out. Prost!

Leaking Head Demo 2021 cassette

This Rochester band has been playing around in some form or another for a minute. Slapping the odd rectangular piece of plastic into the appropriate device, I was hit in the face with the best dirty, mean, spoiled brat-led hardcore I’ve heard in a least a day or so. Constantly teetering on the line between a sludgy metallic beatdown and a fast-as-fuck snotty thrashfest, they remind me of the SCHOOL JERKS and SHEER TERROR, or JUDGE and REAGAN YOUTH, the latter which is covered with an atypically refreshing choice of song. The other cover is the STOOGES, and I know you’re thinking “how can I ever hear another cover of ‘TV Eye’ ever again” but, I shit you not, they do a damn interesting job of it. Mastered by the master of mastering, Will Killingsworth; you know it’s going to be a big, beefy-sounding, plastic-spooled joyride. Hoo-ha! 

Mujeres Podridas Muerte en Paraíso 12″

Austin TX’s MUJERES PODRIDAS return in time to end your plague-filled summer with the perfect feel-good record for a vacation in hell. Their sound is fuller, the vocals and musicianship are stronger, and they veer out of the land of shred into some post-punk, surf, and darker themes of misery. Don’t get me wrong. You’ve still got members of CRIATURAS, VAASKA, and KURRAKA, so you know it’s still punk as fuck. They might  be compared by soft minds to SoCal’s STRANGERS and MACABRE, or they might easily be matched on a bill with Oakland’s DESEOS PRIMITIVOS or Brooklyn’s EXOTICA. Still, there is a certain weirdness and bleakness that only a band from Texas can provide, setting them in a class of their own and carving a deep cavernous path that lesser bands can sink in as they attempt to follow.  From the Craig Lee-like guitar thrasher “Te Odio” to the maybe JOY DIVISION-inspired hit single “OVNI,” you’ll be wearing out needles of all kinds from repeated listenings. Hot-ass packaging with a nauseating color scheme that only the sickest of minds can dream up makes this a must-buy for new loves and future enemies, so grab one up now.

Mourning Noise Mourning Noise CD

At long last, these Lodi, New Jersey legends get a proper retrospective release. You may have heard some of this previously on the Grand Theft Audio CD from long, long ago, and I guess there was a fan-released cassette comp at one point as well. This band’s claim to fame, at least in modern terms, is that they were the project of a young Steve Zing, drummer for SAMHAIN and current bassist for DANZIG. There’s even liner notes from the pint-sized master of darkness himself. As you might guess from these previous facts, there is a certain resemblance to the MISFITS in songwriting and lyrical content. Bobby Steele even lends some guitar tracks here. They are no clones, though, which you’ll see on some tracks from their hard-to-find 1982 classic EP included here, showing them going towards a darker sound that Glenn Danzig would later explore in SAMHAIN. Then there’s the goofy sing-along horror shlock of “Monster Madness” which seems to be a crowd favorite, appearing four times in different forms here. You get great-sounding demos, an unreleased LP, and a great WFMU set from 1982. There’s surf, punk, hardcore, metal, and of course MISFITS(!) influences throughout. What more could you want? Buy it and go grave-robbing in your local boneyard.

Don’t Touch My Stuff No One Likes Me CD

This one’s really puzzling and hard to say anything nice about. I’ll try to be constructive and not destructive. Really stupid band name, horrible artwork, songs with titles like “Cumma Back to Me”?! I would classify this as bedroom grunge. It’s like NIRVANA’s Bleach album if one 40-year-old guy living with his mom recorded it in one of those basement rooms where you end up living when you’re 40 and living with your mom. Hey, I’m no saint and I’ve been there too, but I never chose to subject people to stuff like this or waste valuable resources on making a CD that’s going to end up in a landfill. The music’s bad, the singing is monotone, and the lyrics aren’t even dumb in any redeemable form. Is this constructive? How ’bout save the planet and stop making music, please!

Chaos Day Doult / Get Out of My Pocket 7”

This is a nice little piece of history. CHAOS was one of Austria’s first punk bands and this is their half of a long-ago split with Swiss band the SICK. I’m not much of an Austrian punk connoisseur, but CHAOS was closely tied with the Swiss punk scene of the day. You can hear the resemblances to Swiss peers like the NASAL BOYS or TNT. “Day Doult ” is definitely more of the razor rager here in snootiness and speed, but “Get Out of My Pocket” is the catchy Euro gutter trash-pop number that’ll be glued to your brain. There’s really touching liner notes from a young relative of one of the band members who seeks out his kin, Slaughter, in the ’90s and gets a lesson in punk. It’s a nice slice of ’77 Euro punk and if you’re itchin’ for a new reissue, this could be the one.

Double Fisted 1979 CD

This Phoenix three-piece plays metallic, noodly, slightly prog old-guy punk. With song titles like “Hookers & Blow” and “Drunk All the Time” you might get an idea of what to expect, but it’s not all as offensive or unintelligent as you might think. The vocals are mostly done in a deadpan El Duce style, but the lyrics are well-thought-out, even if not at all my thing. The band can play and they seem to be having a swell time melding styles and jamming. I abhor “jamming,” but maybe a couple microbrews and a doobie will make you like this just fine?

Boozewa Deb / Now. Stop. 7”

This is kind of an interesting one. Sludgy, doomy heaviness from small town Eastern PA with a love for the late ’80s Seattle sound. It’s primitive and ploddingly heavy but attempts to be on the mainstream side vocally. Maybe like the more polished MELVINS projects or STONE TEMPLE PILOTS crossed with EARTH. They even got Tad Doyle mastering. Definitely a throwback to a time I don’t necessarily want to remember, but it could be a delightful new experience for yourself?

OC Rippers Wasteland Blues CD

Aptly named album for a rock’n’roll band hailing from the toxic wastelands of New Jersey. Trashy garage punk noise with one foot in the shadows of Jersey legends like ELECTRIC FRANKENSTEIN and CHRONIC SICK and the other in classic ’70s garage punk like DMZ and LYRES. There’s a lot of material here, but with great songs like “Piss!,” “Vomit-Pig,” and “Rock’N’Roll Til I Die,” you can imagine what you’re in for. Jump in your IROC-Z, put this baby in the tape deck, and you’re in for a quite a swell ride.

Guldsjakal Guldsjakal LP

This feels like a record where the weird/shitty production makes a mediocre band so much better. I could be wrong and Copenhagen’s GULDSJAKAL could be the most unhinged live band since GG AND THE SCUMFUCS, but judging by their band photo, album cover, and songwriting, I’m not really convinced. The songs are plodding riff rock with not much variation between tunes, but the strange reverb-filled production putting the mega rawwww noisy guitar up front and center really helps them out, taking this up to something akin to early LEATHER NUN mixed with GLUECIFER. The vocals echo in that growling, screaming mass stuck in a cave way, giving this almost a primitive black metal sound, maybe like the first BURZUM record. Is this a good review? Is this a bad review? Fuck, I don’t know, but this is worthy of a listen.

The Dumpies Flamed Out EP

These guys fall in the “they’re really nice people” category of music. Pretty unoriginal pop punk and garage from what looks like record collector types. I guess this series of records requires bands to record while fucked up. Whose brilliant idea was that?! If you’re not the GERMS, why would I care? Three uninspired originals and a cover. Why? It looks like they’re able to schlep this act all over the world and somebody’s watching so don’t listen to me. Zzzzzz.

Reglement Reglement LP

This was a little hard for me to get through. REGLEMENT is a two-person synth industrial punk band from France. Their music is a throwback in its primitiveness of beats and synth sounds. I feel like if my French was better (or even existent?), this would be more interesting, as the songs are focused around the consistent barrage of one member’s loud vocal tracks all sung/spoken with the same tone and inflection. While I love some primitive ’80s and ’90s electro punk, this goes on for far too long. If you purchase it online you can get the whole record sans vocals tacked on for nothing. Maybe more interesting? I do not have the energy. Early NINE INCH NAILS, STEREO TOTAL, NERVOUS GENDER, and a smidgen of METAL URBAIN. There, some very kind comparisons for those who care.

Deficit Staggering Toward False Light cassette

This is a one-man-band solo project for the drummer of Virginia Beach’s STREET WEAPON. You wouldn’t guess it at all with the non-bedroom project beefy production and big gruff sound. I’m feeling a lot of BLOOD PRESSURE and DIRECT CONTROL here, as well as some classic Midwest-by-way-of-D.C. bald-noggin roar. “Uphill” and “Fear of Nothing” are my faves here. I’m looking forward to the live full-band version of this. Cool.

Jackson Reid Briggs & The Heaters Waiting in a Corner LP

There isn’t much better than a really good Aussie punk record. It’s equal parts boozy grit, hazy dreariness, and urban beach angst. JACKSON REID BRIGGS & THE HEATERS have some of that going for them, minus the really forgettable band name. There’s a little SAINTS “Know Your Product” bigness of sound, a hint of RADIO BIRDMAN’s guitar theatrics, and a touch of the beautiful melancholy of “This Week” by CELIBATE RIFLES. Unfortunately, this is like the PAT BOONE version of all that, lacking the subversive kick and weirdness of all their possible influences. There’s no character or desperation here, nor even an accent present. There’s some moments like the aptly named “Feel It” where they almost get it, but it’s just not enough. They have a fuck-ton of releases and there is no lack of writing on them via the internet. I imagine you’re either a fan or not by this point. I’d sadly be in the latter group here.

V/A Welcome to Pittsburgh…Don’t Move Here LP

Damn, this one kills. John Villegas has long been booking shows, running the punkest record store in Pittsburgh, playing in killer bands, and putting out great records including, now, this amazing compilation. Like all the best comps (Process of Elimination, American Youth Report, Cottage Cheese From the Lips of Death, Not So Quiet on the Western Front, etc.) it has that special insular feel, like being suspended in a moment in time. You can practically smell the motor oil and solvents of Babyland or the choking clouds of stale smoke and sticky sweat of the Rock Room or Gooski’s. Sure, there’s three of John’s bands present here, but you go make your own fucking compilation and then you can do what you want. It plays at 45rpm like all good punk records should, and it has one of those nifty zine things with a page for each band. There’s some diversity here with the artfulness of S.L.I.P. or the pseudo-Oi! of NO TIME, but basically, this is hardcore and it’s mean, it’s dirty, and raw. I’d be bananas to try to pick favorites here and I don’t know how John managed to get every band’s best song committed to his project but we’re all stoked he did. As I type this now I’m really feeling LIVING WORLD, PEACE TALKS, RAT-NIP, INVALID, and CHILLER, but in a minute it could easily be SPEED PLANS, LOOSE NUKES, WHITE STAINS, or NECRO HEADS. Every song is a keeper and unique in its own special way, just like that Mr. Rogers guy said. It’s not the whole scene here and there’s great bands like MOWER, EEL, BIG BABY, CONCEALED BLADE, or MEDIUM UGLY not present, but it’s a real nice thick slice of a great punk scene that you should definitely admire from afar and keep your distance.

Wolfhead59 Power is Not Yours LP

I, for one, am always appreciative of any band in the punk world that attempts to break the guitar/drums/bass rock band format. The recently reissued SCREAMERS demo is a prime example. WOLFHEAD59 is a UK duo that plays hardcore techno punk, which at its best can be compared to L.O.T.I.O.N., LE TIGRE, and ATARI TEENAGE RIOT. At its worst, it’s shitty video game music overlaid with distorted, shrieking vocals. I’ll say this one’s about half and half. They do a really interesting cover of AGNOSTIC FRONT’S “Gotta Go” and I enjoyed some of the trippier numbers like “Na Zawsze,” but this is hard for me to get through in one listening, much as some of the late ’90s clubs I suffered through in order to score hard drugs. Overall worth a listen, though.

Speedbilly Raise Hell, Praise Dale! CD

NASCAR punk from Minnesota! No really, it’s a thing. Most folks looking at this would be expecting some hard ZEKE and NINE POUND HAMMER worship, which isn’t that far off, but there is an element of pop punk flowing through this well-worn manifold and it’s not such a bad thing in this context. The lyrics to “Doin’ It for Dale” are pretty funny. Oh hell, I have to say it…give it a spin!

V/A Racism Sucks! S.H.A.R.P. Compilation CD

Yeah, racism sucks. Duh. In case you’re not convinced or want to beat the dead horse into the ground with some mediocre international Oi!, here you go. There’s a few passers like RECKLESS UPSTARTS’ “No Spirit,” “Proud Boys, Proud of What?” by FATAL BLOW, and Germany’s CURB STOMP doing “Sharp,” but most of this is pretty forgettable. This label does really good charity work for good causes, so what do I know? Give it a listen yourself.

The 69 Cats Seven Year Itch CD

Man, this is some hokey shit. Spooky rockabilly-tinged rock featuring members of HEADCAT and NEKROMANTIX. “Graveyard Blues,” “Vampire Shuffle,” “Teddy Boy Boogie”…you get the picture. The vocals are done all deadpan talky style like a cross between ELVIS, ORVILLE PECK, and the guy from DEADBOLT. The musical backing sounds like a BLUE ÖYSTER CULT or STEVIE RAY VAUGHN house cover band at some awful L.A. rock club, but maybe not even that cool. Predictably, this is on the masters of washed-up spooky label, Cleopatra Records. Make me die now! And not in any kind of black-clad, makeup-wearing kind of way.

The Chisel Come See Me EP

Fucking alright, yeah!  Your favorite yobbos from various UK bands unite for the best kind of good-time, feel-good classic Oi! You know…REJECTS, ABRASIVE WHEELS, 4 SKINS…ANDREW W.K.(?). Every song is the dog’s bollocks, even the cover of the original CRIMINAL DAMAGE’s “Criminal Crew.” Brilliant! It’s on Beach Impediment so, what the fuck, don’t be a wanker. I’m out of cliche British colloquialisms. Just buy it already.

Skism 2021 CD

This is kinda the solo project of Wynn Skism, the bass player for the KRAYS and other New York bands. It has that intimate feel of a bedroom punk project even though, I believe, it’s a full band. There’s personal introspective soliloquies like “Knocked Down With a 40,” political songs  about chemical warfare, the token “kill Nazis” number, and even a two-part serial killer rock opera. The guitar is an excellent buzzsaw tone and the vocals are shouted and enunciated  reminding me of LIMECELL. Good effort for one who’s been around the block a few twenty times. 

Eat Shit and Die The Early Year CD

In case you can’t tell from the band name, these guys are pissed! With members like Moe Pain and Ben Worse(!), you get a little warning of the intense Massachusetts modern floorpunching hardcore/grind meld pummeling you are about to receive. Not to be confused with the Ojai powerviolence grind combo of the same name, this band treads along similar waters with more of an East Coast DISASSOCIATE kinda vibe. There’s lots of shocking sound bites as they gun more for the offensive side of grind, such as on masterworks like “Fart Out My Dickhole.” They definitely have a sense of humor and I can’t really picture any of them being under 250 pounds, but these four EPs fly by in no time. I’m not really left wanting more, just empty and vacant and that’s not the worst thing.

Spastic Panthers Complete Pantherography LP

I can’t say I’d really heard anything by these Calgary thrashers since their Rock and Roll Beasts EP. Now I and maybe you can catch up on their complete six-or-so year career all in one sitting. Looking at their discography, I was struck by how cool most of their releases look with great artwork and bitchin’ splatter-colored vinyl, and this collection is no slouch, either. Musically, they reek of long-ago skate rock masters like JFA, SNFU, DAYGLO ABORTIONS, or even a little CIRCLE JERKS thrown in there. They don’t take themselves too seriously, thankfully, and this shows on songs like “(Party Like a) Ninja Turtle” or their cover tune choices, of which the BODY COUNT one is the funniest. Sadly the PANTHERS rock no more, but you can flick the light switch on and off as you slam to this platter and long for what might have been. Good times.

Char-Man Power of the Night LP

These self-proclaimed legends of Ojai punk (since 2003?!) feature Zarayn from LECHEROUS GAZE and his brother, along with Tony Melino from ANNIHILATION TIME. While being a much more restrained affair than the previously mentioned combos, this rocks in a good-time warm fuzzy way, like an Andy Shernoff-sung DICTATORS tune or the UNDERTONES. There are rougher moments like “War World,” but mostly this is all smiles and lukewarm cans of beer, and really, that’s not such a bad thing at all these days. Pick it up.

Toro Bravo Tik į Priekį CD

This Lithuanian band has been playing tight, melodic Oi! since 1997. It’s catchy sing-along fun and I have no idea what they’re saying, but you know it’s positive and non-racist. COCK SPARRER, PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES, and SHAM done all modern and bristle-free. It’s a fun bit of ruck and I’ll probably not listen to it again but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Į sveikatą!

Governess Never Coming Home LP

Jeez. I feel like I’ve reviewed this same band nine zillion times. TURBONEGRO was an interesting band, at least in the Ass Cobra days, because they had crazy record collections for influence, had members who were well-entrenched in the ’80s Norwegian punk scene with some of them being genuinely insane characters, they had the POISON IDEA connection, and they were doing something fairly original and funny after years and years of failure. Now some 30 years later, some Buffalo yahoos think they can slap on some stiff denim and runny eye makeup and think I’m even going to give a shit. GOVERNESS has the obvious DICTATORS and DEAD BOYS influences, and they are really decent musicians. They write some OK versions of glammy guitar punk and and put their pierced tongues firmly in butthole with the customary gay innuendo humor, such as on “Midnight Swordfight.” Fuck, I don’t know. Maybe if I was younger and less jaded I might be more aroused by this, but instead I’m left bored, tired, and limp in my jeans. Zzzzz.

Sacripolitical Shove It Up Your Ass! / Gogol’s Nose 7″

This really isn’t very good. The music is plodding and not very interesting. The vocals are stiff and deadpan and the lyrics attempt to be witty but fall flat. It’s dads playing hardcore and that’s all fine, but what’s really interesting is reading the band’s history on the internet. SACRIPOLITICAL is a Marin County mainstay that’s been playing on and off since 1982! They’ve played with all your favorite bands in lots of long-forgotten bars, clubs, and in a glass warehouse with FANG!? They’ve been written up in this very magazine and were even interviewed on KPFA for the radio show. Sure, you’ve probably never heard of them, but their band history is hilarious and makes me nostalgic for another time. For that I think you deserve to give these people an honest listen, and maybe even throw them a couple bucks or chat them up at a future show.

The Diapers Diaper Full of Love CD

I’ve often used the “dad” term as a derogatory cut-down for the endless aged punker dribble unleashed on me monthly, but it is actually the truth on this one. Self-described as a punk band for kids that wears diapers on their heads and has a baby for a lead singer (no, it’s not the new DWARVES album), they play a cutesy kid/parent-friendly combination of the RAMONES and CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN that’s fairly tolerable. You get songs like “Under My Bed” and “ABC’s and 123’s” to meld along with your favorite Sesame Street jams. I am in no way encouraging procreation, but if you’ve already made such a mistake, you could do a lot worse than picking up this CD. All the money goes to support kids at the border, so skip the organic baby slop for a month and pick this up instead.

TVO Alive! EP

Really great mutant swamp rock out of Philly. Post-it punk in theory reminding me of a fucked and angst-ridden SCIENTISTS, FALL, VENOM P. STINGER, SWELL MAPS, or more recently FREAK VIBE. “Watchlist” will eat you for lunch. Bad drugs for bad times. Kick me.

Caligulas Mamma Dansa På Min Grav EP

This is a weird one but interesting at least. This Stockholm band plays nice bouncy, energetic punk with electronic overtones and is extremely Euro. There’s music here to dance and/or pogo to, often reminding me of early LEATHER NUN. There’s a side of beef on the cover. I don’t really get it but who cares. Skål!

Death Ridge Boys Boots on the Streets cassette

Portland’s hairy exponents of leftist Oi! return with four new ones and three covers. This may be the best thing I’ve heard from them so far. The songs are catchy as hell, especially the excellent 4 SKINS-inspired, menacing “Let Them Know.” They feel like a more tuneful CRIMINAL DAMAGE that’s less obsessed with BLITZ here. The drums are snare-heavy, up front, and the wailing guitars are nice and buried and shitty-sounding like a proper Oi! mix. “Always Darkest” excelles with pandemic-inspired lyrics like “Can’t go out without wearing a mask / Cuz people are in fear for their lives / You see me on the street / But you’d never guess I’ve been wearing one my whole fucking life!” LOL. The covers (BIG BOYS/7 SECONDS/WIRE) are pretty straightforward and don’t add much to the originals, but are well-thought-out and untraditional while remaining street in spirit. The overused term “banger” could be apt verbiage here, but without a side of mash it falls flat as pavement. See you fucks at the microbrewery!

Polyester Dipsomaniac / Bite Me 7”

Pretty decent shocking pink hard-wave from Sweden that looks and sounds damn fine under a black light. EPOXIES, X-RAY SPEX, the DAMNED, and VAGEENAS are good places to look if you’re needing that feeling of control by comparison. The title track excels and smokes on this platter and being a former “dipso” myself, it gives me that fuzzy feeling inside. “Bite Me” has a much bigger and theatrical sound and is no slouch in itself making this EP flow like luminous paint down the gutter.

Prision Postumo Amor, Salud, Y Dinero LP

This one actually had me stoked to pick up a laptop and attempt to type with the rudimentary skills of an ’80s public high school student. Instinctively, I pressed the “buy me” button the minute I knew this was out and so should you, as it’s probably almost gone.  Santa Ana’s rough trade crooners return after two amazing cassettes, with one even being put to vinyl. I feel blessed to have seen them tear it to shit live before leaving Cali and I hope they make it East if the world’s still here. This is the perfect balance between the sing-along tunefulness of their first tape and the harder, faster stomp of their second. I’ve heard the ADICTS and DICKIES being dragged out for old people to grasp onto in reviews, and I see the songs they’re going on about, but I don’t much like those bands and I think they deserve better. I hear a lot of French Oi! like R.A.S. or maybe newbies CONDOR on songs like the opener “La Realidad” or “Castigo.” Not surprising as peers and forerunners like DRAPETOMANIA and AUSENCIA had tread these waters before. Really, though, this is a pure Southern California creation with the PLUGZ, ALLEY CATS, and ZEROS leading the pack of this style of head-bobbing, hard as nails, sun-drenched urban punk. If you’re not singing along to “Isla De Vagabundos,” or crying as you pump your fist to “Cuantos Espantos,” I don’t know, man…not much love is left for you in the world. I mean, “Cazcos Apretados” and Solo Por Hoy” are majestic and fucking epic. Bashers like “Ful Yo” and “Desperdicio” thrash it out right there with other local greats TOZCOS, FUTURA, and MACABRE. So yeah, you get it all. Too early for Album of the Year? No way, man. I’ll carve their placa on your skull. Ha!

A Bunch of Jerks The Dead CD

First response I had to this was to be a real fucking ”jerk.” Then I thought, what the hell? They’re probably a good time, like that friend’s band you reluctantly drag yourself to see and end up having a pretty nice evening. There’s most likely some ironic Hawaiian shirts, funny headgear, and a couple of people even bring their kids. Somebody has one too many well bourbons and tells that bad uncle joke over and over. All get to bed in time to make it to work the next day. Sorta wholesome in a weird way. Musically, they remind me of a much less punk WHOOSIE WHAT’S IT’S with some competent musicianship, elements of punk, garage, and surf and a rowdy singer that can belt it out just fine. The title track is the winner and there’s even an ALICE COOPER cover to get your tipsy office pal dancing on the table. Just swell.

TMA What’s For Dinner? / Beach Party 2000 / Just Desserts Super Deluxe Edition 2xLP+7” reissue

“Who are these guys?” That’s not me talking, but our beloved creator Tim Yo in his 1984 review, and I wholeheartedly agree. Maybe the best 1980s New Jersey hardcore band you’ve never heard of? I’ve been really nose diving into the toxic cesspool of Jersey punk recently, reading the No Slam Dancing No Stage Diving No Spikes book as well as the excellent Hard Times zine anthology but still there’s nary a mention of these goombahs anywhere. TMA stands for Tom Mike Al, the names of the original trio that expanded with a singer and later returned to form on their second platter. Too Many Assholes is the other name chosen, which is just as Jersey as the hilarious photos of these guys. New Jersey always seemed to be the Orange County of the East without the credit, providing solid melodic hardcore with RAMONES sensibilities. The Just Desserts EP and What’s for Dinner? LP are definitely my faves here, with a harder sound almost like a less offensive CHRONIC SICK with the humor and speed of ADRENALIN OD. They cover the Mary Tyler Moore theme; legend has them opening for HÜSKER DÜ who mysteriously adopted the tune at a later date. “Beach Party 2000” has the band maturing(?) and honing their songwriting into an almost BAD RELIGION or SOCIAL DISTORTION polished melodic-ness but still being able to slam it out on songs like “Slack.” If Epitaph Records had been in New Jersey, you punkers might be wearing their backpatches right now, but sadly with no fame or credit, TMA faded into the Jersey wasteland. Luckily we now have this lavish reissue all packaged in a spiffy slipcase on colored vinyl with extra inserts and new Charles Burns-like comic artwork. Truly a labor of love and with it being limited to 100 copies, you better jump on it, chump.

User Unauthorized Pigs Got Ahold of Me / Puerco Me Atrapó 7″

As a rapidly dying old punk, it will always warm my tepid, inflamed heart hearing a melody chastising the racist frat boys we’re supposed to call cops. What will really jumpstart my aorta faster than a hot defibrillator is an anti-cop ode sung by high school kids! Austin’s USER UNAUTHORIZED returns with a venomous EXPLOITED-meets-BLACK FLAG-style anthem that screams “piggy” enough times to make even Manson smile. You get it in English and again in Spanish on the flipside, which may seem like a burn, but trust me you’ll have this masterwork on repeat for days.

Fastplants Grosso / Super Stoked 7”

This is a nice tribute to recently deceased skater legend Jeff Grosso. The music is fairly competent skate rock and more on the rock’n’roll/garage side of the half pipe. The guitars shred(!) and it’s catchy in more the SCOUNDRELZ or JONESES side of the genre. It’s short and fast like life should be. Pick it up. It’s already too late.

Slugs Long Live the New Flesh cassette

Pretty damn great sleazy, leather-clad GBG garage punk. Maybe a little SPITS-like mainly for the vocals, which could also owe a bit to Wendy O. One could easily see this band on a bill with New Zealand’s the CAVEMEN; it’s nice and dirty, primitive, and would fit nicely on a Killed By Death volume. “Drug Eyes” and the Videodrome-inspired title cut rise to the top of this cesspool of punker joy, and it comes to a close with the wonderfully droning post-punker “V.A.T.” Shower-worthy bliss for shure.

Pódium Pódium LP

This is cool. Super bouncy and fierce dayglo-style punk from Valencia, Spain. This was once a one-person show and now it’s a full-on steamroller of fun (that’s a full band to you). My mandatory attempts at comparisons may liken them to the SPITS, EPOXIES, TYRADES, and ALASKA Y LOS PEGAMOIDES. Favorite tunes me like are their theme song “Pódium,” “Magia Negra” (of course), “Psicopata,” and “La Noche.” The whole package is what one needs in their headphones as they ride a motorcycle down the coasts of Spain. If you stare at the cover long enough you see God. What more can you possibly want?

The Binges Bunny / Be You For Halloween 7”

Fuck, this blows. Total aged Silverlake hipsters from like fifteen years ago playing mega-annoying alterna/horror rock. I could totally see suffering through crap like this at someplace like The Echo or Silverlake Lounge and, surprise! That’s where their Facebook page says I can go to soak up this masterwork. The opening track is an ode to a “bad bunny” (!?) with the extra whiny chorus of “bunny cut his ears off” again and again; I’m sure this a metaphor for society’s evils or some garbage that’s way over this guy’s head. Right. Well, that’s the good one. “Be You For Halloween” is an unlistenable modern rock garbage pit about identity theft with a horror twist. The singer kinda sounds like an uninteresting Mike Patton and the guitar on the first track has a nice tone—that’s about all that’s nice that I can say. Kill me. Give me COVID now.

Violent Christians New Blood for a Dead City EP

Following last year’s amazing sold-out-before-it-existed No Speed No Punk tape, Austin’s VIOLENT CHRISTIANS make the long-lasting commitment to wax thanks again to Roachleg Records. They continue with their classic yet modern take on ’80s US hardcore via JERRY’S KIDS, NEOS, DIE KREUZEN, and a bit more of the almost but never totally falling apart rhythms of VOID on this release. You can almost hear Jeff Bale’s whiny voice saying “totally thrashing stuff,” as this would be right at home on the old KPFA show. Kicks ass throughout, and can’t wait to see them live if that’s ever a thing again. Now get away from me. You’re way too close.

Melting Walkmen Pelikan cassette

This was a nice surprise. I first heard Copenhagen’s MELTING WALKMEN from their track on the very enjoyable This is Copenhagen comp. They also seem to have a wealth of older material to check out via the idiot box (internet). The title track “Pelikan” is more of the excellent post-synth-punk hoo-ha à la NEW ORDER or maybe XMAL DEUTSCHLAND as heard on the aforementioned compilation. They are extremely Euro, and I mean that in the most endearing of ways. This tape is eye-opening to me in the fact that it reveals a punker and more rocking side of the band than one could maybe hear by checking out their back catalog. In fact, the second track starts off with a riff so familiar as being “Alcohol” by GANG GREEN that I was instantly thrashing from muscle memory. It’s not a straight rip-off though, but a pretty swell original tune which, along with the other two, makes this a worthy purchase to listen to on future rail adventures in Scandiland. Skol!

V/A GTRRC II LP

This is a little more interesting than your average covers comp, of which most are complete sewage fodder. G.T.R.R.C. is a band made up of members of GEE TEE and RESEARCH REACTOR CORPORATION, both from Sydney, Australia, who love to get together and cover their favorite molden oldies. I believe I got that right but excuse me if I’m mistaken. Also included are many of their international friends, some known and some not so much. The covers stick mostly to ’70s punk, ’80s pop/new wave, and classic and modern garage. The most faithful ones are competent and dull as shit. As with most of these labors of love, the ones that shine a light through the muck are the weirdest and are covers in name only. Favorites here are the two THIN LIZZY covers by SICK THOUGHTS and SPODEE BOY, SNOOPER doing ELO’s “Don’t Bring Me Down,” ERIK NERVOUS’ gut-busting cover of “Raining Blood,” the always great SCHIZOS covering the PERSUADERS’ “Heart Of Chrome,” and BELLY JELLY tearing up the SWINGIN’ MEDALLIONS’ “Double Shot Of My Baby’s Love.” Honestly, it all makes a pretty great party record for gathering with friends or enjoying alone in soul-crushing isolation while enjoying one’s favorite beverage. Drink up. End of days.

The Derelicts Life of Strife LP

Wait…what?…this is that DERELICTS?! Then I put on the song “Life of Strife” and it all comes back. The DERELICTS were one of the go-to bands for hard-drinking and drug-taking punks in the late ’80s/early ’90s who were tired of the endless grunge singles coming out, especially as those bands were becoming the dull classic rock bands they used to parody. Without them, the DWARVES, the SUPERSUCKERS, and probably L7, I might not have made it through those few years. Totally hard to believe from the endless crap those bands have puked out since (except maybe L7) and, yes, this sounds dated as hell, but they sound…great! This is a spattering of new songs along with many re-recorded old ones which I don’t get the purpose of but the new songs fit right in and that guy can totally still sing like that! The revisited songs are strong and comparable but I much prefer the rougher-recorded old versions. How do I know that? Because I went back and listened to each and every one of them so you don’t have to. Cheers to these old men for surviving and being able to still pull it off, but you can pick up the great Going Out of Style comp as well as most of their old singles for pretty cheap if you care. This has a definite time and place for me and I can’t really see going back, but maybe there’s a Pabst-swilling, meth-shooting bad teen out there just waiting to discover this. Yay!

Speed Plans More Hardcore LP

Fuck. Getting assigned this record to review makes me realize my misstep in not including SPEED PLANS in my yearly top ten. Forgive me. I shall sing their praises here. Describing Pittsburgh’s SPEED PLANS to someone who hasn’t seen them live is challenging.  Looking at them, one may be doubtful that this unlikely bunch of characters with the odd band name could be any good. My good friend Collin H. once remarked that the singer looks like the actor Will Arnett. Not that far off as he’s really funny and can often crack you up with wicked between-song banter. The bass player may look like someone who just rode his bike back from a PHISH concert (George is cool as hell), and, shit, the whole band is such a wonderful tossup of personalities such as which makes a lot of Pittsburgh bands so great. Once they start playing, I guarantee, you’ll be scraping your jaw off the sticky Rock Room floor by the end. These guys can play and are tight like Joe Biden’s butthole. They completely won me over one night by doing the most amazing cover of “Rambling Rose” I’ve ever witnessed. But what about the record, you say? This, I believe, is their second tape put to vinyl (they have a third, I’ve yet to hear) and like their live set, does not let up from beginning to end. Musically I’d say they’re  a semicoherent mix of classic thrash like NEOS or JERRY’S KIDS with some ANTI CIMEX 12″ EP and bits of Japan’s MOBS with modern day sounds of, say, S.H.I.T. All this is overlaid with crazy guitar antics in the style of the aforementioned Wayne Kramer/Sonic Smith variety with maybe a little GRAND FUNK thrown in. Favorite moments are hard to choose but if pressed I’d say “Four Letter Word” for its killer guitar breaks and the epic “Kill Us Both” into “Green War” into “Revenge” for sheer ferocity. Hell, most of the songs run into the next and the longest is a minute-five. How can you get any better than that so why are you lagging? Pick it up chump.

Blind Ride Too Fast for a Sick Dog CD

This is a hard-rocking power trio from Campobasso, Italy. There’s a nice primitive lo-fi sound to this that makes it all work and brings out the heaviness and energy that only a tight three-piece can have. They love heavy rock as well as punk and horror movies like an Italian band should. Maybe like a meaner, heavier GROOVIE GHOULIES listening to a lot of early BULLDOZER? Really was not expecting to like this but I find myself totally nodding along. “Passive Ways” and “Afraid of Losing Nothing” are my most bang-worthy moments here. Go on. Give it a chance.

Dirty Burger Part Time Loser LP

From the home of the SHITLICKERS (Gothenburg, Sweden) comes this psychedelic poppy punk powerhouse. Well, maybe not a powerhouse, but that flowed really well. Elements of the 13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS, the HIVES, HUBBLE BUBBLE, JESUS AND MARY CHAIN, and the ADVERTS are present here.  Really cool Zap Comix-style artwork. I think it’s their love of Lemmy-led HAWKWIND that I find most interesting. It  starts subtly on the second track “Video Violence,” and becomes slowly more apparent until climaxing full bore on the 8-minute 45-second closer “Purpose” with distorto bass and bubble machine raging. The vocals get a little poppy at times but mostly it’s a pretty swell trip. They have a song named “L.S.D.,” of course, that’s pretty great as well. So tune in, drop out, keep on truckin’ or whatever you want to call it and give it a whirl.

The Lungs Psychic Tombs LP

Man, this is really not my thing and hard for me to get through. To give them credit, they are good musicians and their passion for their message and music comes through. Fuck. I just have no taste for jazzy, nu-metal-style post-hardcore…er…whatever. Maybe compare them to RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, FAITH NO MORE, DISTURBED? From the atrocious cover art to the doubled and tripled melodic vocals, this screams anti-me in every way. Uh…great musicianship…feeling…did I say that already? Please make it stop!

Sneaky Pinks Sneaky Pinks LP

Man. This brings me back. The first SNEAKY PINKS EP was on like non-stop rotation on my turntable for almost a year. Well, you get that classic and more on this new compilation LP. While none of the rest quite lives up to that EP for me, this is still a raging example of super trashy, non-wimpy, ultra-bratty garage punk. Think greats like PANTY RAID, BABY JAIL, the SPITS, and HUNX AND HIS PUNX. I think you get all their recorded output including some great and not-so-great covers here. You’ll be dancing it up in your padded confinement cell for sure. Ring the bell. It’s Jello time. It should be noted that Justin “Nobunny” Champlin has contributed to this band. While I have known and enjoyed his company in the past, sexual predation is unforgivable, hurtful, and deeply traumatizing on so many levels.  It is seriously fucked up and is in no way condoned here.

Editor’s note: After Justin posted and then deleted his statement, at least two survivors came forward about their experiences with him, which are available to read at the @lured_by_burger_records Instagram account (heavy trigger warning for sexual assault and for grooming of underage kids), and which do not seem to be adequately encapsulated in Justin’s supposed admission. Goner has pulled the two Nobunny records they released, and it is disappointing that Almost Ready has not done the same with this LP.

Devil’s Den Barbed New Religion LP

Ferocious outta-the-gate hardcore from Kansas City. Definite Japanese ZOUO-like influences, as well as contemporaries like GAG, S.H.I.T., and CONCEALED BLADE. Trippy, slowed-down soundbites in between songs. Works well on songs like “Obsession and Disorder,” “D.O.T.M.,” and “God Off,” and it’s mastered really fucking loud. Never been much of a fan of the echoey reverbed vocal style, but hey, that’s just me. See you in the virtual pit.

Ghetto Blasters Point Blank EP

I wonder if it’s OK to use the term “ghetto blaster” these days. Never really thought of that until now, but who cares when you’re hearing some high-powered rock ’n’ punk from the gateway to the South, Chattanooga, TN. HEARTBREAKERS, DEAD BOYS, and a lot of ELECTRIC FRANKENSTEIN are heard in this reviewer’s head, and…holy shit…this features motherfucking Buddha on guitar. Yes, that Buddha from CHICKENHEAD, LOS CANADIANS, STUN GUNS, and a zillion other bands fame. Justin Savage has the perfect razorblade squeal for this kind of rock, and you get two excellent mid-tempo grinders that are followed by my favorite, the short fast shock of “Let It Rock.” Middle-aged dudes rock! Nap time.

Cross Class / Rad split LP

Last will and testament of two great Sacramento hardcore heavies sharing the same drummer. CROSS CLASS is the better of the two for me, with their NEGATIVE APPROACH meets GEHENNA bordering on but never quite going full-on grind. These are unreleased tracks from 2017, the year they called it quits. Brutal, unrelenting, and quite enjoyable. RAD plays their brand of tongue-in-cheek, high energy thrashcore with nods to D.R.I. and HERESY. Definitely a fun band to watch live, and these unreleased tracks from 2016 do a good job of capturing that speed and intensity with humor and wit, such as on songs like “Hold Your Own Jacket” and “Next Band.” The Bandcamp download includes two awesome bonus covers of Sack-a-tomatoes greats REBEL TRUTH. All proceeds go to The Movement For Black Lives organization, so you have no excuse not to get off your ass and click the purchase button on your chosen electronic device.


Spike Pit Maniac of Torment LP

I didn’t really get the full appreciation for Clevo punk and hardcore before moving to PGH. It’s like equal parts brutal, primitive, moronic, and brilliant, sorta like lunch meat core. My foggy brain seems to remember just missing seeing this band before lockdown hit and, crap, did I lose out. Eloquent song titles such as “Life Is Piss,” “Asshole,” “Bitch Stealer,” “Laundry,” and “Cool”  are met by free-flowing lyrical soliloquies such as “25 but I feel like 9 / Pissing the bed makes me feel fine” (from “Wetted Da Bed”). Musically, despite the obvious comparisons to contemporaries like WET BRAIN and the INMATES, they remind me of a more metallic ANGRY SAMOANS, sort of like Metal Mike fronting DR. KNOW. It’s beautifully packaged as well, complete with a lyric sheet(!) and poster of the excellent HAWKWIND-meets-Jack Kirby artwork. Makes a great Christmas gift for your weird cousin or exiled relative that nobody talks about. What more could you want.

V/A This Is Copenhagen: A Punk Rock Manifesto 2009-2019 LP

It seems odd to me having such a lavish scene retrospective for only the last ten years. It also seems crazy when the essays included within speak of bands like GORILLA ANGREB and NO HOPE FOR THE KIDS as those classic bands of yore. This is, of course, my age showing and what a beautifully packaged labor of love this record is. Clear vinyl and a top-notch book included with gorgeous photography and well-written essays from notable scene participants make this a must have for punk enthusiasts. The essays speak of a widely diverse scene and this record does a fair job in its portrait of such. Besides NIGHT FEVER, I can’t say I’m very familiar with the artists on this comp but it’s very diverse from the beautiful darkwave of MOTH to the slam and dance of MOTORSAV. From the ADVERTS-style melodic ‘77 punk of BIG MESS to the lush feminine synth-punk of KOLD FRONT, you get a nice mental photograph of a diverse and welcoming scene. My personal favorites are the freight train to the face core of NIGHT FEVER, the ENO-esque robotic jams of CHAINSAW EATERS, the URINALS-style art-punk of EVEN DWARVES, the D-beat thrash of DEATH TOKEN, ’80s Brazil raw punk of JUNTA, and the refreshing post-punk of MELTING WALKMEN. You can just feel the sticky-floored, smoked-filled rooms ripe with the sour stench of old Dutch lager. I say dive on in.

Deadlow Listen Up! EP

Massachusetts NWOBHM-tinged battle Oi! Sort of like a more restrained SHIPWRECKED with some later SLAPSHOT and early DEF LEPPARD thrown in. It works on faster numbers like the opener “Spinning Wheels” but some of this plods on into mediocrity. Still overall not the worst thing you’ll listen to today, hopefully. Rock on mates!

Dictator Ship Your Favorites CD

From the really unfortunate band name and the label where this Swedish band resides, I was expecting yet another HELLACOPTERS/GLUECIFER worshiping band of posers. The kind with the fringe suede vests and iron crosses tattooed on their respective cocks. Instead I was maybe sorta kinda pleasantly surprised to find that in lieu of the usual STOOGES and MOTÖRHEAD worship, these Swedes choose to take their cues from the likes of FREE and classic-era UFO. With a singer capable of doing the Paul Rogers or Phil Mogg thing and a band that can play those licks, they are punk only in the fact that the longest song barely cracks five minutes. Imagine that great ’70s hard rock record you hide behind your “Dis” band collection. Instead of long, sprawling jams with flute and tabla solos, every song is condensed to an easily digested format barely clocking in at 20 minutes total. Favorite tracks are “In the Heat of the Night,” “Just For Fun” and “Eat the Poor.” A lot of this is cliche and self-indulgent but still, it’s nice to hear some “rock” in MRR.

Capricörn Lost in the Shell CD

These French blokes obviously worship at the sacred altar of Eurosleaze giants such as TURBONEGRO, GLUECIFER, and the HELLACOPTERS, as well as the well-known band from whose song they took their name. Pernod-drenched, hard-iron-forged Marshall stack mayhem with a huge hard-on for American muscle cars. Some of the songs are damn catchy, too. Check out “Asphalt Digger” for noted reference. It’s a little generic at times, but when you’re doing 160 km/h it’s really hard to change the tape. Go on. Give it a spin.

The Drippers Action Rock LP

Well shit, it’s 1997 all over again and certain punkers are donning skintight denim and mirrored shades, feathering their hair and applying glitter selectively. The Scandi-death-glitter-punk sounds were coming fast and hard through labels like Sympathy for the Record Industry and Man’s Ruin, and San Francisco was dead center for the action. We’re talking BACKYARD BABIES, HELLACOPTERS, TURBONEGRO, and GLUECIFER, and now some 23 years later (it was really hard to do that math) we have the DRIPPERS picking up the torch.They even dug up the moldy glitter-ridden corpse of the guy who produced some of those classic records to mix this gem of a recording. Like all of the aforementioned bands (except for maybe TURBONEGRO), the weak spot is the vocals. I don’t know what it is, but the Scandis can rock like a mutha but the singers are icy and emotionless. The best cuts here for me are “Langgatan,” “White Light” and “Finskt Blod.” Now, like then, the influences are HANOI ROCKS, the STOOGES, MC5, MOTÖRHEAD and the ROLLING STONES. Hopefully this band rocks harder live than the disappointing shows witnessed by those other bands (except for TURBONEGRO) back in the day. Still, it’s a pretty smokin good time.

Special Interest The Passion Of LP

I gotta say it. SPECIAL INTEREST make me horny as fuck. Really. It’s the music I want to hear in the backroom of the leather bar instead of the endless tired techno and classic rock. Just get out your old Crisco-coated VHS copy of Cruising, put on any bar scene (not the GERMS one), turn down the volume, slap on “Disco III” and let the poppers fly. Spiraling was totally one of the best albums of 2018, and while The Passion Of may be a little less raw and primitive, it is still punk as fuck and fierce as hell. For the uninitiated or blissfully ignorant, SPECIAL INTEREST is the band you wanted to hear when all the glossy rags were blowing air about the second coming of No Wave, the Lower East Side in the ’90s, and posers like the YEAH YEAH YEAHS. It makes me think of groundbreaking queer punk like the SCREAMERS, LE TIGRE, or NERVOUS GENDER with some TANGERINE DREAM thrown in, backed with a trunk-thumping Miami bass beat and a Southern charm that makes it all sweet and OK as your head is bludgened in. To me, The Passion Of sees the band finding its confidence and creating a fully realized piece of art. The ominous openings of “Drama” slap into the hard thump of part three of the “Disco” trilogy (hopefully more?), followed by the breakout hit of the plague, “Don’t Kiss Me In Public.”’ “All Tomorrow’s Carry” is a slow drive-by headbanger while “A Depravity Such As This” is a delicious druggy sin. They educate you with the stomping-on-whitey anthem of “Homogenized Milk,” while “Head” is a personal B&D psychodrama. “Tina” is chemical Hades. “Passion” is synth violence. “Street Pulse Beat” drags you through the gutter looking gorgeous, and lastly, “With Love” kinda magically pulls it all together leaving you spent of fluids, vacant and smiling. Multiple showers and a good therapy session may be needed after listening. I can see SPECIAL INTEREST getting really big from this one and lord, they deserve it.

The Zits Back in Blackhead LP

Hands down the winner for “Most Adorable Punk Record of the Year.” The ZITS are well (or not) known for their Killed by Death masterpiece, the “Sick on You / Beat Your Face” single, which the band pre-sold to their friends to get the dough to make. Both songs appear here remastered from the original eight-track tape, along with tons of surprisingly good-sounding demos and live tracks with hilarious in-between song banter. While the rest of the country was embacing the sounds of hardcore, these Oakton High School teens were cranking out sugary, innocently offensive numbers like “Bertha Was a Slut” inspired by early RAMONES and UNDERTONES (they cover “Can’t Get Over You” here). Other greats like “Opera Show” and “Euh Baby Euh” are criminal in the fact that they weren’t released until now. Feel It Records spared no expense in packaging and content, and there’s a great band history that I won’t bore you with here. Needless to say, the ZITS tragically ended when high school ended for these boys. If you can picture Ralph Malph and Richie Cunningham starting a punk band, you’d get an idea of what to expect here. It’s a clear sell, or is that Clearasil? Har har har.

Ill Fit Who Am I? EP

From Malmö, Sweden comes this hard-rocking hardcore punk outfit with some familiar faces—namely, members of SLOA KNIVAR, BEYOND PINK, and HAG, among others. Patricia from SLOA KNIVAR chooses to be restrained (not) behind the drums for this outing, but Jessica is more than competent in expressing the necessary rage involved for this release. ILL FIT is very similar to the aforementioned bands with maybe a notch up on the hard-rock scale, and songs like “The Chain” even have a little ZZ TOP boogie in them. I’d have to say MOTÖRHEAD is a driving force here, especially in the ripping opening track, and NEGATIVE APPROACH is maybe behind some of the rage in “Mamas Boy” and “Consequences.” There’s a little classic Swedish hardcore here, but I’d say the influence is more American and British than anything. It’s a good time orgy and that pizza on the cover is making me hungry. Gotta go.

Era Bleak Era Bleak LP

What a great fucking name for a band right now. This is Candy and Justin from the TRIGGERS, SLEEPWALKERS R.I.P., and DARK/LIGHT so you know you’re getting a quality product. This release is more on the punky side as opposed to some of the gothier post-punk of some of their previous bands, and it rips. A really nice balance of classic Dangerhouse style slam and pogo and bit of SADO NATION combined with that classic only in the Northwest WIPERS-like dreariness. Zach from PISS TEST does some serious Sage channelling on songs like “Struggle” and pretty much rages throughout this record. The lyrics are brilliant—bleak and optimistic at the same time, if that even makes any sense. Just listen and sing along to some of my favorites here, like their theme song “Era Bleak, “MRI” and “Opinions,” and you’ll get a nice “we’re all gonna die but it’s kinda fun” vibe that’s pretty swell. Not a stinker here and as we brace for the coming military state and poisoned planet we now have a nice soundtrack as we sift through the rubble. Now go vote.

Home Birth Enjoy CD

These San Jose bros smoke big weed. Seriously. Think big joints, high fives, and inside jokes. It’s like ANDREW W.K. meets FRANK ZAPPA, the RESIDENTS, S.O.D., and SKATENIGS. It works for me on the moodier, noisier numbers like “Donner, Party of 4,” but most of this is past my caring. They could share a bill with M SECTION (reviewed last month) quite nicely. Cool.

Silent Era Rotate the Mirror LP

Oakland. City of my birth and one I often take for granted with its shinier sister across the Bay where I grew up. SILENT ERA is just so Oakland (sorry Greg) with its dreary WIPERS-ness layered under Matt’s East Bay thrash metal axe attack and a rhythm section as thick as the morning fog off the lake. The title track comes on, I close my eyes and I’m zooming past the warehouses on Mandela Parkway in the early dawn, then cranking it on as I turn down East 14th into the high numbers. Michelle really does have the perfect post-punk anarcho voice, the kind that can really sing and not just shout. This time I’m hearing a little Penelope and especially Theresa from the BRAT on songs like “The Hook” and “Future Dreams,” two of my favorites here. Seriously taking it up a notch with this release and…hell…these are some of the best people I know. Booz Ullrey may be the finest example of what a smart, strong punk person should be, and Greg! Greg is fucking legend! (And he rescued me by letting me live in his house when I was a wreck.) But it’s the music! …and while this is short and sweet, it’s truly a beautiful piece of art and rage and well worth several minutes of your precious time. Pardon me…I need a tissue now…

Blood Bags / Brain Bagz split LP

How do you suppose two such bodypart and fluid “bag” bands from opposite sides of the world came to know each other and share a slab of vinyl? A random internet search? A blind “Hey, I think you’d dig my other ‘bag’ friend” sorta thing? Dunno, but lucky for us, this SLC and Auckland match came to fruition and even a US tour at some point. New Zealand’s BLOOD BAGS (they use the S bags moniker?) play a much less druggy and less noisy CHROME CRANKS and SCIENTISTS meets KYUSS swagger flavored dirge. It’s damn decent and “Quivering Violence” is pretty rageworthy. That’s all fine and nice but let’s talk about SLC’s BRAIN BAGZ (thats with a Z, folks). Totally unoriginal CRAMPS and MAD DADDYS worship but they’re young, they pound, they stomp and they love love love what they do. I have zero real clue but it’s a total delinquent-like feeling and that fuzz is just lovely and the lysergic beeps and squawks are all timed just right. “Look a Bit Sick,” “Dracula Sam,” “Haunted”…so tired right? But no! This shit kills and not a limp tune in the pack. Worthy much very of your time! (Not a typo.) Primitive.

Noi!se Lost 12″

I can’t say I’ve been a fan of this Seattle Oi!/modern rock hybrid band in the past and I’m not much of a supporter of Pirate’s Press’s one-song UV-printed picture 12” format. Seems really wasteful and I don’t get the point. This release finds the band continuing in the slicker, bigger sound vein than earlier releases so it’s not really making me a convert, but their lyrics are well written and their musicianship and songcrafting are undoubtedly talented, veering this release into almost radio-friendly territory. I could see some fans of later DROPKICK MURPHYS or even the USED taking a liking to this one. Not for me.

The Usurpers Future Wars LP

This SLC band comes at you hard and fast with a socially conscious UK82 style and strong DIY spirit. They’re so DIY that you are provided with a full album download complete with make-your-own CD and tape covers free of charge on their website. Musically, it’s a cross between latter-day EXPLOITED and something that would be at home on the Pogo Attack comp of yore. The singer has an off-time shouty/talky voice that reminds me of the singer of the PIST crossed with El Duce. There’s a lot of material here with lots of unfortunately ever-relevant anti-cop lyrical content provided. Pick it up.

M Section Pastrami Salami LP

The “silly guy hardcore with schizophrenic musical styles and influences” is a genre much ignored and not one I have been presented with for quite some time. Having once been in such a band, I can understand (to a point) while also being thoroughly perplexed by the all-over-the-place-ness met with showboating musicianship as a chosen mission. Elements of jazz, country, metal, prog and of course punk are the backdrop for adult contemporary masterpieces with titles ranging from “Where’s the Beef” to the epic “Lobster Dog” whisked along by precision drumbeats, noodling guitar stroking and pop-punk whoa whoa whoas. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Oh sorry, pardon my nod. The reference points for me would be FAITH NO MORE, MR. BUNGLE and SUM41 so Santa Rosa’s burning. Give it a whirl.

The Persecuted Terrorist USA EP

These Austin punks know how to ruck it up UK82 style, making a mess of it for the squares and keeping their hair charged proper at evening’s end. Nice ’90s-style polico/street/drunk punk style graphics and an attitude right up there with early TOTAL CHAOS. Their singer has one of the best pirate growls as evident on mid-tempo numbers like “So Many Lies,” but they also have a nice SHAM sense of melody such as in the title cut. Numbers like “The Prisoner” would be welcome in any VARUKERS set, and the lyrics, while nothing new, are manic yet cerebral and well-written. I could see these folks on stage with the ELECTED OFFICIALS as well as in an ’80s London squat. A well-thought-out and packaged release.

Frente Norte Luchar y Ganar LP

A ripping slice of wax from this Toledo, Ohio punk/Oi! hybrid band. Not unlike fellow Midwesterners FUERZA BRUTA, who also know how to tear it up with chants and sing-alongs in Spanish, FRENTE NORTE adds a little extra jolt of positivity into the equation and even treds into pop on songs like “En La Esquina” without getting wimpy. There’s separate lyric sheets in Spanish and in English for the not so linguistically proficient such as myself which is very appreciated. Ranging from primitive NABAT-style gruff ragers like “Punk Sistema Alternativo” to AUSENCIA-like catchy fist raisers like “Atomico” to all-out feel good orchestrated COCK SPARRER anthems like “La Patrulla” there’s not really a dud here and it’s a good sell on a future trip to Toledo for this punker. Salud!

GoGoGo Go Golden cassette

From the home of much delightfully weird-ass punk, Bloomington, IN, comes this aged punker duo. It’s just bass and drums and like other fave two pieces—MENTAL PYGMIES, C AVERAGE and QUEEN COBRA (well technically they had a drum machine)—the sound is upfront and raw. Lend some CIRCLE JERKS-esque hardcore hooks to some DESCENDENTS pop sensibilities and add a positive message or two to the mix and you got a damn good Tuesday night. Beautifully packaged tape. “O.A.D.” is brilliant.

The Elected Officials Death for Sale LP

Austin, Texas’s the ELECTED OFFICIALS are punk as fuck. I may not totally be into what they’re doing always musically but there’s zero doubt that this band works and plays crazy hard and is completely for real. They’re also down with all the right causes and put up their hard earned cash to prove it. As we quietly (or not so quietly) sit here mid-apocalypse, it’s ever more important to pick a side and the OFFICIALS have and they’re putting in the work globally to fight the escalating war on shit. Slap this plastic disc on and be greeted by pounding charge-yer-hawk punker splendor that would be comfortable sharing a beer with the likes of VICE SQUAD, NO THANKS, the RESTARTS or even the Austin/SF kings of politico punk MDC, who I see they’ve done a bit of work with. Their singer Sophie Ruckus (how punk is that?!) has a powerdriver of a voice that’s a cross between Wendy O, Cliff Hanger, and Kurt Brecht. The lyrics are printed much too small on this CD for my old eyes but they come through loud and clear, educating the listener on a surprisingly wide range of causes and topics. Favorites are “Battle Inside,” “Derrumbando Las Fronteras” and “Kill and Cure.” So pick this one up even if it’s just to support the good fight and remember to kill a cop or a Republican along the way.

Schizos Schizos LP

This Nashville band has been on my To Listen To list for awhile and thanks to the Supreme Gods of Punk at MRR, I’m enjoying this hot piece of teen angst in this comfort of my isolation cell. Pissed off, blown out to hell and over in minutes. Just how I like it. Think “Blowjobs” by GG AND THE SCUMFUCS but angrier and faster, this kicks off with the 2:17 minute magnum opus “Driller” and proceeds to burrow a happy hole from your skull to your spine. “ATF,” “BAR”, “Juice Is Loose”…minutes feel like seconds until this rectal lobotomy leaves you a warm puddle of soil and blood. The last thumps of “Banned In Birmingham” blows my system. Fuuuck. It’s young, it’s bratty, and it’s annoying as all fuckall. I love them. I hate them. I want to be them. SICK THOUGHTS, early OBLIVIANS…blah, blah. Buy it. Take it to the grave.

Eyes and Flys Coastal Access / Black Flowers 7″

This band is a mystery to me in credentials and style. They come from Buffalo and play an earnest melding of classic rock and 100 FLOWERS-style reverbed artiness. Unfortunately the atonal vocal style is distracting and not too pleasant. Musically, it’s an intriguing listen and exudes a dark, paisley-coated dreariness with lyrics that border on poetic. A beautifully silkscreened cover envelopes it perfectly—all back and covered in flowers. I maybe could see them on a bill with COME HOLY SPIRIT but I’m just not so crazy about those vocals.

Vaxine Leeches EP

This ones a total no-brainer. After an absolutely bulletproof demo in 2019 that I just listened to ten minutes ago, Brooklyn’s VAXINE returns to slay with their debut platter. A real fucking super group with members of PMS 84, SPETSNAZ, and SAD BOYS among zillions more of your favorite bands. You know what you’re in for with all that and the best of UK and Bristol by way of Osaka…CHAOS UK, the SWANKYS, EXPLOITED and I want to say a little classic UK SUBS. Kicks off with “Leeches” which is what I’m sure feeling right now and does not let up. Song titles like “Less Than Human,” “Never Ending Fight,’, “In Decline” and “Mundane Life” beg you to wonder if this is a cry for help or a legitimate expression of the shit we’re in?!  Plenty of vocal echo and chaotic guitar mayhem with a pounding tribal beat and Anya’s bass which just makes everything… fun! I don’t want to say you’re lame for not liking this, but you’re definitely a little less of a good time in my eyes. The world needs VAXINE now! (Yeah, I had to say it.)

Bloodshot Bill Get Loose or Get Lost LP

I’m not too familiar with the countrified one-man rockabilly stomp of this Canadian crooner, but I see that he’s collaborated with a who’s who of modern garage rock heavyweights. Much less unhinged and more restrained than personal favorites of this genre like the mighty HASIL ADKINS or even contemporaries such as LIGHTNING BEAT MAN, Mr. Bill (lol) adheres to a more traditional and stiff variance of Sun Records worship. It’s quite good, though, with scratchy, old timey production effects that could have this being sandwiched between CHET ATKINS and DUANE EDDY without making a staunch purist cry fowl. This reminds me of some of the stuff ex-skinheads were getting up to in the ’90s and being that is when he got his start, I might not be far off in my comparison. What are you waiting for? Grab your gal of any or non-gender variance, jump in your jalopy and head to the hootenanny.

Total Rejects Total Rejects LP

This is pretty rad. A not-at-all-modern-anymore noisyasfuck take on the garagecore genre permiates this band’s tainted soul. With the amount of screech and distortogration dripping from this wax, I want to immediately cry “Japan!” typing out random blurts of TEENGENERATE, Bag of Hammers-era GUITAR WOLF and even CONFUSE and GAI. This would sorely miss pinning this band to the mat in any kind of style or substance though. From their photos, the thin moustached hipster look of fourteen years ago has not been lost, but seeing that these gents are from Russia, I am left humbled by their mighty Euroness and ten-years-behindness. Total Rejects begins and ends with a spooky synth soundtrack to a Russian monologue not of my easy deciphering but surely having clues on how to control the president. Sandwiched in between are wonderfully angst-ridden psalms easy for one to slam spit or dance to, often precluded by a Ginnlike squeal of feedback. The REATARDS might be an easy go-to comparison but this mind is whisked back in time to days and lost evenings listening to the likes of the CARBONAS, BEAT BEAT BEAT, GAYE BLADES and the late BOBBY UBANGI if only for their spirit, attitude and facial hair stylings. Love it. Buy it!

Glitter Tacos They’re Afraid of the Tacos CD

This San Antonio band is one big, sloppy party. Like all good Texas groups such as BANG GANG, they are hard to pin down in any square hole category. Musically ranging from hardcore to prog to metal to “Wooly Bully”?! Yes, it’s that kind of party. Personally I prefer the weirder numbers like “Backpage (Saved My Life)” but there’s something here for the whole dysfunctional family in your life. These are big men with big musical ideas and while it might not totally be what I’m into, a taco is a taco nonetheless.

Living Rigormortis Medusa and the Kiss EP

While this band hails from the Rose City, it feels like their hearts are in a mid-’80s New Jersey wood-paneled basement lounge with a TV cranking out horror classics and a mom screaming “keep that racket down” in a thick Jerseyesque accent. Think SAMHAIN, MOURNING NOISE, KRYST THE CONQUEROR, and the BEAST with some early OFFSPRING thrown in when they were still on the spookier side of things. It’s not super punk, but spooky and catchy nonetheless, and they have an adorable YouTube video for the superior opening track as well. Crawl out of  your basement or cozy condo and pick up a copy.

Methmatics Methmatics LP

This band appears to consist of mostly aged punkers with probable knowledge of the Ohio classics they emulate, as well they should, since they hail from Columbus, home of the NEW BOMB TURKS. The PAGANS and RUBBER CITY REBELS, as well as non-Ohioans like the LAZY COWGIRLS can be felt here, but in a lukewarm Burger Beer sort of way. Totally competent, but never quite moving one from a shoulder dance from a barstool. Pittsburghers often hate on their neighbor state, but I’m pure Californian and this just doesn’t rock me out of the lazy Midwest coma it induces. Better luck next time.

Benny and the Roids Predictions EP

I am soooo stoked I get to review this. My favorite tape of 2015, and maybe one of my favorites of all time, gets committed to vinyl so it doesn’t get all warbly and warped in your crappy boombox. Originally released on the unequaled Silenzio Statico label, this is now given the deluxe treatment by the supreme folk at Discos MMM. I was lucky enough to see this band tear it up in the backyard of the Poor Kid’s Mansion in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles back then, and the singer cried and crooned the whole time, wearing a twelve-pack box over his head. Touching and memorable for sure. This release, to me, cries out classic late ’70s/ early ’80s LA punk: the EYES, PLUGZ, ALLEY CATS, and BAGS are all represented in spirit. There’s also a big helping of ’79 UK working class shout and melody thrown in, like SHAM or CHELSEA, even though I kinda hate CHELSEA. I guess super street and super LA is what I’m trying to say here, and if “Passive Aggressive” doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, you’re too fucking hard, man, and should chill. Buy this now! And someone please send me a decent burrito. I’m dying.

Sky Tigers Eulorgy LP

This Massachusetts band loves ’80s thrash, or more closely, early 2000s retro ’80s thrash. They are as tight as Mitt Romney’s butthole, and take their cues from D.R.I., MUNICIPAL WASTE and later MOTÖRHEAD. Like a less punk SPEEDWOLF, this lacks the grit and grime I so strongly crave with this sort of party. The singer has a constant one-tone scream, and almost nü-metal style that berates and makes this reviewer want to call for the check. Still, songs like “Truth Decay” and “Nobody Puts Baby in a Dumpster” are fantastical shredwork, so give it a spin and see what you decide. I need more coffee.

Ignorados Comediantes Roy LP

I had the great pleasure of seeing this Puerto Rican band when they rolled through Pittsburgh earlier this year. I actually went with zero beforehand knowledge of their work, simply on the fact that seeing a band sing in Spanish is a bit of a rarity here and makes me homesick for California. Upon arrival at the Rock Room, I was taken aback on discovering they were a pop punk band!?! After a couple songs, though, I was completely won over by their honesty and sincerity as it seems like most other punks were as well. They simply rocked like that QUEERS or SCREECHING WEASEL show you saw in a shithole way back and hate to admit you loved. This record is a fine representation of what I witnessed, minus the sticky smell of spilled beer and much secondhand smoke. Good work, people!

Kong Kong Raw and Primitive EP

Picture in your mind the singer of LAIBACH or a hard-growling Ian Stuart fronting a band made up of BIG COUNTRY, PROCLAIMERS and SLADE members. I really hate conceptual reviews like that but I’m not shitting you. That’s what this sounds like to me right now. I feel like I huffed a whole case of whip-its cause this record is fucking hilarious and great at the same time. Probably not what they were going for, but it has a nice glammy streetrock vibe and I dig it nonetheless. Thank you.

The Nerv Standard Deviant LP

I don’t recall ever seeing this San Francisco band. Not surprising as they started up about the time I could no longer afford to live there. They seem very much to have their hearts in the right place with songs about the aforementioned high rents and other important issues of the day. Hard-chugging locomotive-driven punk marked by a huge theatrical element complete with a singer worthy of a Broadway musical. They even do a Wizard of Oz cover!?!  At times I’m feeling the GITS and others it’s the punk opera aethstetic of the PLASMATICS’ Maggots album, especially on songs like “Mitochondria of the City.” San Francisco is doomed for sure but these folks are putting up a fuss.

The Drowns Under Tension LP

Slick, big production Oi! from the Emerald City. I’d heard their Hold Fast single previously and if that got your sta-prest hard then you’ll cream all over this one. Catchy and upbeat to the point of nausea. If you like your street rock in the vein of the OLD FIRM CASUALS with a hint of STIFF LITTLE FINGERS and a little leprechaun dancing thrown in, then it’s almost payday. What are you waiting for?

Ghoul Squad Necrodoll LP

You might pass over this one at your neighborhood shoppe by simply judging it for the unspectacular “spooky punk” band name and album cover. You might even slap it on and yawn at the prospect of yet another bunch of MISFITS-worshiping goons. Those in the know, though, (read: nerds) will recognize one vintage ’80s black-clad Cape Cod unit once championed by former shitworker Brian “Pushead” Schroeder on his label comps and personal volume of the Thrasher Skate Rock series. A little digging around Discogs will inform you, the eager consumer, that this album was to be released way back yore before Pushead folded his label and only megabucks test presses existed…until now! That being said, this record is pretty decent and not simply a MISFITS wannabe but also throws post-punk, goth, skate rock and metal into the pot. Equal parts SOCIAL DISTORTION and MOURNING NOISE as well as SAMHAIN and the JONESES. You get “Devilock”-style thrashers like “House of Mirrors,” headbanging anthems like “Cemetary Seniors,” and sing-alongs like the title track that will keep you whoa-whoa-whoaing into the midnight hours. Not worth the megabucks but it’s a good time for sure like bad kids in the cemetery, cheap beer and a little headstone tipping.

Piss Test Hookup Holiday EP

Not to be confused with the excellent Portland band, these Gainesvillers play speedy tongue-in-cheek punk in the style of the LUNACHICKS or BUTT TRUMPET. Maybe I’m tripping on that, but from their pics, they definitely know how to play dress-up and put on a show. Songs ranging in topic from indiscriminate sexual liaisons to gentrification to getting hassled by the man. Not overly politically correct but not dumb as nails either. Play it for your kids.

Romskip Dagens Ungdom 12″

Pretty interesting garage/psych/rock/punk band from Bergen, Norway. Treading the preverbal tightrope between the sleazy underground and higher aspirations, they fall a little too far in the middle for my taste. A worthwhile listen, though, as they walk through musical territory once covered by the HIVES and the LEATHER NUN with plenty of Euro ’60s pop sensibilities thrown in…but still a little safe for these ears.

Death Ridge Boys (Don’t Let Them) Divide Us / Working 7″

You could easily file this under the “Hairy Guys Playing Oi!” category, but that would be a great disservice and you’d only be robbing yourself of a real kicker of a record. This is the guy from TALK IS POISON’s anti-fascist working class street rockin’ quartet from the mean artisan-coffee-drenched back alleys of PDX. The title track here is a complete “War on the Terraces” vegan leather boot stomping anthem. “Working” is little more of a hard rocker: regaling the woe-filled tales of clocking in yet another hard day at the bicycle collective. All jokes aside, this a scorching little platter with well-thought out lyrics and is well worth your wages.

Erik Core Last Call LP

I’ve never been a big fan of acoustic punk, but it seems to be coming up more in my life lately. I witnessed an excellent set by my friends’ band RENT STRIKE the other night, showing me there can be some merit to the genre. Not having much to compare this to besides the aforementioned band, BILLY BRAGG, AGAINST ME!, DAVE DICTOR, or that time my old band got our equipment stolen and we had to wing it, this is a fairly entertaining album of socially aware and politically charged music. “Jacked Up” and “High Noon” are my faves, featuring a heavier country sound and biting commentary about my old home town. Erik has been around the Bay for a long time, and this record is even mastered by the guy from the LEWD and METAL CHURCH, so dim the lights, pull out the incense and bourbon, and give it a try.

Stank Voor Dank Where Seagulls Dare 10″

You’ve for sure seen these knuckleheads around if you’ve spent any time in the past twenty years or so at shows, skateparks, or the local dives of Frisco. Boasting prime members of the TEXAS THIEVES, HIGH AND TIGHT, and FRACAS, among others, you get exactly what you’d expect here, and more. It’s hardcore skate rock with a tinge of Oi! and a heavy leaning on early BAD RELIGION and Nardcore like ILL REPUTE. You could totally imagine this blasting out of the old Jak’s house in the Lower Haight on a Tuesday afternoon. Foz’s vocals are seriously on point here, and the song titles, while tongue in cheek, lyrically express some thought out social and political commentary. Go figure. There’s more than Pabst and shots going on with these fellas. Of course there’s also some wonderful no-brain-cells-required party anthems like “Blackout Drinking” and “Evel” to round out your last call at Benders. I’d probably lose the meth vs. cocaine argument with these barflys, but oh well. Buy the guys a shot on me.

Universum Heavy Metal Gefahr LP

This is really fucking great and totally not punk at all. Featuring member(s) of German punk band PISSE (not Piss) and some other Berlin bands I’m not familiar with. Not sure if this is a parody, tribute, or what, but the album and title track is “Heavy Metal Danger” and, by all means, that is what you get here. Totally channeling early ACCEPT (you know, the band with the five-foot growling German lawn gnome in bondage gear singer) and also going into some proggish territory of Taken By Force-era SCORPIONS and early-ish UFO when they first went metal. Raging wind-in-your-hair, blazing-down-the-Autobahn heavy metal insanity—not for wimps. There’s a few post-punker moments and baselines on songs like “Nightcrawling Boneheads,” but this is 99% not for shorthairs. Put up signs of the horns here.

Mick’s Jaguar Fame and Fortune LP

Bar rock’n’punk from NYC, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Definitely more on the rock side than punk. I guess they started out as a STONES cover band, but you can also hear a lot of classic New York swagger, the likes of MANITOBA’S WILD KINGDOM and the SIC FUCKS on this. Going back to a long-gone time in the late ’90s where glam-y, sleazy rock’n’roll was a thing, and rents were cheap(er). You could easily see them on a bill with STISISM and SUICIDE KING at the Continental. “The Real Boss” and “Call the Guy” are the bomb (note my dated ’90s slang). Buy it!

Phorids Mean Street CD EP

This Fort Worth, TX band plays some beefy ’80s style US hardcore with hooks galore, sort of like the OFFENDERS, LOCKJAW and CONDEMNED TO DEATH. They could easily share a bill with the current versions of FANG or POISON IDEA. Songs ranging in subject matter from socio-political commentary to not paying for a shitty haircut. “Wasted Time” is the winner for me here. Sweet and sticky coated in hairy bits. A nice first effort. Keep it up.

Liquid Assets SNC Lava Lamp EP

This is a lovely little slime-filled short sharp shock of a vinyl hangover. Slurry, sloppy Oscar the G. vocals over a wonderfully technically proficient heap of musical viscosity. Slam your head in a car door several times and listen to “Let’s Fuck” by DOA, “UFO Dictator” by TAMPAX, DAYGLOW ABORTIONS and the more hardcore SPITS tunes, and it won’t sound anything close to this masterpiece. Leaves a well-defined shiny trail as it rolls down the street to pummel the next listener.

Lux New Day EP

I’ve always meant to pay more attention to this band so I don’t have a ton to compare this to. Surprising for me since I’m generally a big fan of Barcelona punk. Definitely my loss, for this is a sheeringly ripping slice of buzzsaw Riot City punk. Kills from start to finish. The guitar sound is a brilliant little headache and you’ll hear SUBVERSIVE RITE, VICE SQUAD’s first EP and SACRILEGE demos if you squint just right. All this while sounding like fresh music for the future revolutions and marches in the street. Death to Fascist Pigs! or something like that.

Musk Animal Husbandry / The Floor 7″

This is some seriously depraved shit in the best of all possible ways. You can picture these people drinking babies’ blood from a goat’s head chalice instead of morning coffee. Stu-Spasm-like vox over a delightful cacophony of sludge and those trippy HAWKWIND-like squirps and swirls, and that’s just the title track. “The Floor” is a roadhouse anthem in Hades bludgeoning forth from the nether regions to drag the lost testicals of the Lizard King back down with its last notes. Like a long night of smoking wasp spray. I am spent.

Messrs Keep Scrappin’ 12″

The press sheet compares this Columbus, OH band to the AmRep and Touch & Go bands of yore, and for once I’d say it’s pretty right on. This harkens back to many nights spent watching such bands at the Kennel Club and I Beam in the late ’80s/early ’90s when there was a lack of real punk in town. These guys definitely lean more toward JESUS LIZARD than to personal faves like KILLDOZER and LUBRICATED GOAT. I’m having bad flashes of yet another night with a sweaty, bloated, half-naked David Yow jumping on my head, but really it’s not that bad and songs like “Royale” are the shit so give it a shot. Oh…and the cover is disgusting and quite beautiful.

NightFreak Blade of the Knife EP

This nice looking record has the visual aesthetics of an old PENETRATORS EP I have, or some of the many trashy rock’n’punk discs from the past. Flip it on and while those elements are there, you also get a heaping dose of NWOBHM or classic East Coast or Midwest hard rock like early RIOT. Sorta like a JAY REATARD vehicle hitting dead on with SAXON. Odd but works. “Shitting Bricks” is an absolute rager.

Werewolf Jones Tequila Meltdown EP

This is some delightfully dirty backwoods Michigan barn punk. I don’t know how much of that is actually true, but the sheer scuzzy GG, CRAMPS, and MAYHEM picture cloud in my brain makes me shit a grin. “Coke Exploder” indeed. Buy this now!

Eroders Eroders LP

This Detroit band is a bunch of nerds for sure, but the fun kind that you spend the good part of a crappy party talking to. I think these guys were more of a straight-up Estrus Records cock suck previously and while they’re still wiping their lips with a couple DRAGS-like numbers, they get much deeper here with the kind of dark Mansonish psych sounds the likes of SONIC YOUTH, TELEVISION, and HUMAN EYE would be proud of. Shit, there’s a harp and viola on this?!? Maybe not so punk and a little long winded at times but a really interesting listen that will get you ignorant punks a-thinkin’.

The Crawlers Planned Obsolescence 12″

This unknown-to-me PDX band existed in the first half of the 2000s for all too brief a moment. These tracks from 2010 have only seen the light of day on a not-so-seen CD comp previously. This band comes barrelling out the gate with fire and ferocity and an obvious worship at the church of Pig Champion and Slayer Hippy. That’s maybe a copout from where this band hails from but you could also compare them to GOVERNMENT WARNING, BLOOD PRESSURE, or most directly DIRECT CONTROL for the power trio factor. Don’t miss out on this super limited blast from the past.

Iena La Morte Chiama LP

This one completely caught me by surprise and knocked my Docs off. Some unspectacular cover art and an inner sleeve photo of some Italians with too much hair gave no warning for the hardcore boot-to-the-face Oi! onslaught to come. I don’t know if these Florence blokes are familiar with RIXE, but I’ve no doubt they’re well aware of the buzzsaw guitar assault of early NABAT, both of which are well-represented here. I believe the band name means “Hyena,” and the album title translates to “Death Calls,” which is totally fitting as this little slab wails and wails til you’re left calling for your madre, with not a loser track in the bunch. Slay your neighbor appropriately.

The Drowns Hold Fast Demons 12″

Really, really mediocre Oi! pop pressed on a really wasteful one-sided, digitally-printed, partially transparent piece of slop. Seems more like a business card for Pirates Press than an actual release. I’m not super familiar with this Seattle band, and maybe they have a lot to offer, but it sure ain’t showing here. For fans of mid-period DROPKICK MURPHYS or BOUNCING SOULS. Kill me.

The Shame Friendly LP

I reviewed these guys’ first album some time back, and if you’re a fan of that one, I can’t say they’ve really excelled or regressed since. They’re plodding along, doing some just OK songs about football and beer. Features a member of Tulsa legends BROTHER INFERIOR, who I never really cared for. “The Struggle” is about the best here, reminding me of THOSE UNKNOWN. I’d compare them to some of the ’90s TKO bands on their 200-band CD comps. If you’re looking for a really so-so night out at an Oklahoma pub with your mates, look no further.

The Thirsty Pirates Thirsty Pirates 7″ flexi

If you look into this band’s history on the internet, you’ll find some pretty interesting and cringe-worthy stuff. This is aged punk with band members deeply entrenched in Chicago and New York punk history. It’s not a pretty sight, but this nifty two-sided flexi has an undeniable KBD charm. Comically offensive fart joke-caliber lyrics sung gracelessly and out of time over lo-fi garage punk clanging. Not garage like the ’60s, but like in actually dirty grease stained car parks. Reminds one much of early MENTORS, VOM, or the CHILD MOLESTORS. Good stuff for bad folks. Slurp it up.

Los Huaycos Savage Monstrosities LP

I fucking love the Spanish language in punk. I don’t know what it is, but it sounds so primal and raw. Every year, I swear that I’m going to bone up on my languages in order to understand much of my record collection. Oakland’s LOS HUAYCOS has been tearing it up for some time now, with their mix of classic Spanish thrash and gnarly skate rock. They remind me of DESGRACIA JUBANIL or LOBOTOMIA combined with something off the Skate Rock Volume 3: Wild Riders of Boards comp. Shreds from start to finish. Pick it up.

CR Dicks Go In LP

These Iowa noisey garage punkers channel equal parts CRIME, the OBLIVIANS, and most directly JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION. It’s not as horrible as you’d think from the awful band name and cover art, but ain’t all that either. Give it a spin if you dare.

Sore Points Not Alright EP

Slovenly Records and Sticker Guy Pete never fail to release some no-frills, hard rockin’ garage punk. Vancouver’s SORE POINTS are no exception and rage here through four songs that could compare to the best of the INFECTIONS, USERS, or Canada’s SUBHUMANS. “Not Alright” is a current personal anthem, but “Not Coming Back” is the one that kills it for me. Thanks Pete.

Power The Fool / Give It All to Me 7″

Motherfucking POWER is back! I have to admit, I lost track of these Aussie faves after their supreme Road Dog EP. and heard rumors that they’d even broken up?! But fret not, for our heroes haven’t faded to dust, they’ve simply metamorphosed from mullet-headed Lobby Lloyd worshipers into a two-wheeled, leather-clad, NWOBHM loving monster. No poodle heads or spandex here, though. “The Fool” is fucking MOTÖRHEAD. Like if MOTÖRHEAD went on a three-day bender and had to sell a bass drum for speed money. Shredding. “Give it All to Me” is SWEET SAVAGE, FIST, and the first BLITZKRIEG single all rolled together, but hard and street, maybe a little like “Shylock” by BUFFALO. Totally great record that I’ve been spinning nonstop for almost a month now. I should try to sleep, but I can’t wait to see what these mates have in store next.

Dust Bugs Don’t Belong EP

I was really set to trash this one. Dumb band name and a photo of some dad-looking white men on the back. On further research, they’re some Danish dads playing garage punk—big sigh. Well, fuck, if this isn’t some of the best early MISFITS blown-out guitar dirty punk I’ve heard for at least a day. Don’t Belong is a fucking classic, and worthy of many needle-wearing repeated listens. The rest is pretty damn swell as well. It looks like they have a full LP and another EP that I just might seek out, too. Probably not, but that’s a good solid maybe.

Slump Flashbacks from Black Dust County LP

It’s funny. Since I quit doing drugs some time back, I find myself drawn more and more to dirgy, druggy music, especially of the lysergic variety. While this RVA band is nothing that I would listen to while tripping balls, this is a pretty great record. LSD-fused music rarely hits it right, as one person’s idea of what good acid rock is usually completely different from another’s. While mine is the BUTTHOLE SURFERS, ROKY, the FROGS, Saturday morning cartoons, or the sound of a running toilet, yours may be HAWKWIND or SPACEMEN 3, to which much of this platter definitely pays tribute, with all the endless Moog effects. CAPTAGON did this on their excellent demo tape a few years back but, alas, rocked much harder than these guys. Side two picks up the pace a little, and catches the ears a lot harder, but overall I really dig this record. For fans of the aforementioned bands, and ’90s favorites like the FLUID or CULT. Dare I say groovy. Ughh.

Wall Breaker Wall Breaker EP

Straight out the gate, you know what you’re in for here, from the band name to the WASTED YOUTH/VERBAL ABUSE/YOUNG WASTENERS-style logo with a big ugly straight edge X smack in the middle. This is meat and potatoes (or lentil loaf and kale for the vegans) dumb and basic East Coast hardcore with heavy guitar breakdowns galore and an almost going into high pitched Springa style wailing vocalist. A wicked hard-pounding rhythm section completes the picture, featuring veteran members of COKE BUST and CHAINSAW TO THE FACE, so you know they’ve been around the hard city block before. They’re not exactly breaking any new ground with originality but, hey, the new Coke is back and it still sucks. For fans of SSD and CONCEALED BLADE. More sprouts on my veggie burger please.

No-Heads Pressure Cracks LP

Big beefy guys playing big beefy hardcore guitars. That’s what I picture when I think of Richmond, VA for some reason, and this record does not disappoint the visions in my delusional mind. These are hardcore folks playing Oi! and not doing a bad job mixing left wing politics with a smoother but almost RIXE-like rock sound. I do enjoy the faster ragers over the attempts at traditional street rock. For example, side one closes with a fine shitdozer of a tune, “No Future.” With lyrics like “They take your benefits away / Because the scum don’t want to pay / You can’t leave, you need a check / Life’s got ahold of you by the neck” any self-respecting punk or skin today can relate to this. Why would any skin vote for Trump anyway? Oh yeah…Nazis!? A gem of an album cover featuring droog-in-a-tunnel artwork à la MAJOR ACCIDENT or MAD PARADE completes the package and you get a nice little slab that any 86 MENTALITY or NO TIME fan would enjoy. Cheers.

The Royal Hounds NYC God Bless The Royal Hounds LP

One of my not-so-favorite musical genres is Oi!-pop… Popoye? Don’t know, but call it what you like, when you start mixing the QUEERS with the 4-SKINS, I’m headed to the door. COCK SPARRER can pull it off, but it took them a long time to grow on me with every song sounding like a drunken Christmas carol sung by a muppet. The ROYAL HOUNDS NYC do not sound like any of the aforementioned bands. To give them credit, they do a nice job of mixing Oi! with Too Tough to Die-era RAMONES or even the DICTATORS, which comes to an apex with the song “I Just Wanna Live This Way”—really the highlight for me here. The singer has a nice, gruff vocal range in a class with Carl from the TEMPLARS, Lemmy and Handsome Dick. The super flanged-out guitar (maybe a nod to the TEMPLARS) endlessly soloing gets grating after a while and I am left dreading the possibility of any more Popoye records heading my way.

Grudge When Christine Comes Around / I’m Gonna Smash Your Face In 7″

I first heard LAURICE at MRR headquarters while listing to their excellent G.A.Y.D.A.R. LP. If you’re unfamiliar with LAURICE, let me just say that they’ve been releasing a ton of material: bubblegum punky glam, smooth jazz, even straight-up disco since the early ’70s under various names. Record collector nerds can probably give you way better insight to this (Mitch Cardwell, Graham Booth, are you reading this?) but this record consists of the earliest LAURICE recording under the band name GRUDGE. While I very much prefer the hard throbbing cock disco thump of G.A.Y.D.A.R., this song will definitely grow on you like a bad genital fungus. The flipside is a straight up Michael Nesmith-style MONKEES jammer under the LAURICE nom de plume. Young kiddie fans of HUNX AND HIS PUNX and old Partridge Family lovin’ pervs alike will groove along to this wax in the sticky summer months. Someone please get me a towel. I feel unclean.

Rotten Foxes Arrive, Raise Hell, Leave EP

With a name like ROTTEN FOXES, I was in full anticipation of a group of extremely attractive people. Alas, all I get is a bunch of ugly hairy dudes. Well, fret not, for this is some damn decent ugly hairy guy rock’n’roll, and I mean that in the nicest sense. They get the obvious comparisons to BUZZCRUCHER or MAD BROTHER WARD, as well as the token MOTÖRHEAD nod, all while being quite tuneful and carrying a melody or two in between shout-along choruses. You’d expect these guys to be from the South or Midwest, but these blokes hail from bloody England for fucks sake!?! While you ignore my lousy attempt at cockney slang, let me just say this is a mighty OK record. A little slicker than I like in this kind of band, and almost like MOWER, minus the crust punk influence, it’s still very worthy of ten or so minutes of your life. Cheers.

The Dogs Sick as a Dog 1994-1998 LP

Not that DOGS, but the best 1980s record not from the ’80s that I’ve heard in a minute. This OC band existed for four too-short years in the ’90s, most of whom went on to start BROKEN BOTTLES, who I’m not super familiar with. These guys came in a little too early, and much too close to the ’80s, as you could see them going over real big today. They most likely tore up house parties with the likes of the STITCHES, STARVATIONS, and the SPOOKY, but there is no pogo here. Just slaming and crawling classic OC hardcore punk. The big comparisons here are the ADOLESCENTS and DI, who they obviously worship, but also CHINA WHITE or even AMERICA’S HARDCORE. Leather-jacketed goons roaming the beaches looking for blood and trouble fill my head as I’m whisked away to Reaganland. They easily could’ve been included in the never-made Suburbia II soundtrack, but make no bones, this is from the ’90s, and the DOGS are sorely missed today.

Diphallia The 14 Inch EP

In case you don’t know or are too lazy to search, diphallia is a condition where one is born with two penisis. What would cause people to name their band after this could be puzzling, but when pondering the humor of this after a ton of beer in a backyard party in backwoods Florida, you might begin to see their vision. This is total backyard party punk that spans the globe from Fort Worth (where they hail) to Oxnard to Pinole (CA), with just the right amount of snottiness and fast parts to keep your dull thud of a buzz coasting along just fine. Not sure about a song called “White Trash Punk” in this current day and age, but “Slave to the Grave” is fucking cool. Think the band you never heard of on a 50-band Mystic Records comp, or the overloud blown-out track on a ’90s East Bay mixtape. Keg stands would probably be in order, or at least some poppers.