Reviews

MRR #10 • December 1983

1st Offence Night the Punks Turned Ugly EP

A real abrasive, guitar-heavy mid-tempo punk record. The title song, which they’ve borrowed from a newspaper headline, concerns a punk “riot” and has an amazingly cool Oriental-flavored guitar bridge. Real hot! The other cuts are more typical.

A-Heads Dying Man EP

Engaging mid-tempo Britpunk. The female vocalist has a voice rather like Exene of X, and the musical backing is more melodic and imaginative than the norm. The title track is a bitter critique of glue-sniffing. A good debut.

Absurd Blodig Stad EP

This is the kind of chaotic, sloppy thrash that’s appealing in short bursts, but hard to take for extended periods. Although this EP has raw guitars and emotional vocals, the rhythm section sometimes falters and leaves only a grinding mishmash. The ABSURD need to tighten up a bit.

Agent Orange VD EP

Holland’s AGENT ORANGE continues to flourish with rambunctious cranks of intense mayhem. Whining guitars leap forth as a savage ensemble engages in sudden rages of rigorous combat. A whirlpool of alarming breakneck speed and forcefulness, especially in blitzing cuts like “Herpes” and “K.K.K.”

Agnostic Front United Blood EP

A. FRONT’s music is ultra-frenetic, intense, and to the point—they sure don’t waste time with any unessentials. What distinguishes them from other New York groups like the MOB and URBAN WASTE is their apparent Oi influence, which manifests itself particularly in their growling guitar, their appearance, and—possibly (but hopefully not) in their ideas. I can’t really tell what the hell they’re talking about, but this EP is downright nasty.

Alien Sex Fiend Lips Can’t Go 12″

ALIEN SEX FIEND would like to lead all those innocent young STRAY CATS fans into the bottomless pit of crazed rock ’n’ roll fire. The only trouble is that they’ve just taken a crash course in rock ’n’ roll trash where sex, cars, booze, and music all get confused and the metaphors get real slippery. There’s a lot of Iggy’s sexual and comical influence, as well as a weird disco accujackabilly track that gives the finger to the rock ’n’ roll purist. But I’ve gotta feel that rock ’n’ roll in my face, nice and cold. Try again, boys.

Amebix No Sanctuary 12″

The AMEBIX are not a thrash band, but they’re not wimps either. Their music is a blend of tense drama and plodding seriousness that gives me a feeling of impending doom. With its great production, distinctiveness, and angst, I think this 12” is the best thing they’ve ever done. “Progress” and the title song are exceptional tracks.

Angelic Upstarts Not Just a Name / The Leech 7″

The ANGELIC UPSTARTS are one of those bands that write about one great song per thirty throwaways. Amazingly, both of these cuts are great punky pop jams with real catchy hooks, fine guitar leads, and fairly thoughtful lyrics. Does this mean we’ll have to put up with sixty mediocrities before the next winner?

Angry Red Planet Too Much Knowledge Can Be Dangerous EP

An uncommonly intelligent garage-flavored EP by a new Michigan band. “Apathy” and “Going Nowhere Slow” are loud, mid-tempo garage punk cuts; “You’re One Too” is a chunky semi-thrasher with outstanding lyrics; and “Mummy From Hollywood” is a fast blast with an unbelievably catchy chorus that gives anti-Reagan sentiments a new “wrinkle.” Highly recommended.

Buckets They Kicked It cassette

Assorted forms of experimentation can be found on this indie tape by the BUCKETS. There’s repetitious guitar figures, quasi-industrial noise, flowing classical fugues, primitive blasts à la SENSELESS HATE—you name it, it’s on here, except for rocking beats. Op and Another Room should be able to make more sense of it.

Circle Jerks Golden Shower of Hits LP

Live, the C.J.’s are fast, powerful, and immensely entertaining, but they’ve had difficulties capturing those qualities on their recent vinyl offerings. This new album ranks somewhere between their great debut and its so-so follow-up, Wild in the Streets. Here, the songs range from vintage JERKS—short, tuneful blasts like “In Your Eyes” and “Coup d’Etat”—to boring mid-tempo rockish numbers (like “When the Shit Hits the Fan” and “Rats of Reality”) that seem to be aimed at a crossover hard rock/heavy metal audience. But despite their confused lyrics and lame business practices, these guys always manage to produce some amazingly catchy material.

Cold War The Machinist / Illusion 7″

This is good English post-punk with hints of early GANG OF FOUR. Both sides feature a rhythmic bass/drum attack, a powerful, tasteful guitar, and semi-anguished singing. It may not be earth-shattering, but it’s surely uncommon enough to deserve a listen in this day and age.

Combat 84 Rapist EP

Ugh! The title song urges capital punishment and stronger government action (to deal with rapists), whereas “The Right to Choose” accuses the C.N.D.—British peace organization—of facilitating a Communist takeover, supports the installation of American nuclear missiles, and appeals to people to honor the British Falklands casualties. This band backs up these amazingly reactionary views with fairly common Britskunk. Wanna buy my copy?

Conflict Last Hour LP

This bracing album by Tucson’s CONFLICT pairs piercing female vocals with a thrashy guitar assault; the result is both unique and exciting. Rockers like “Fester” and “Human Cargo” rate as my favorites, but CONFLICT are also quite adept at change-of-pace and slower punk numbers. The lyrics, which sometimes emphasize women’s concerns, are particularly refreshing.

Conflict The Serenade is Dead EP

The three very militant, confrontational, and positive songs on this EP demand that we take back what should already be under our control, be it our governments or the punk scene. The reason I say “positive” is that they stridently demand these rights. CONFLICT represent the real positive punk, and they are therefore justified in launching a spirited attack on bogus “Positive Punk,” the new trend fanned by the British music papers. The music here is also strident and powerful, making this an excellent acquisition all around.

Crucifix Dehumanization LP

Yeah! Non-stop killer thrash that burns everything in its path. These boys make good by putting most of their repertoire on one album, including remixes of their 1984 EP. The layers of sound and lyrics get more and more revealing after a few listens, and it includes a beautifully done CRASS-style fold-out sleeve. Don’t miss this one.

Cult Maniax Cold Love LP

On their debut album, the CULT MANIAX seem to be veering toward a slicker post-punkish sound, though the guitars are still loud and punky. Most of the material here is slow- to mid-tempo, but there are enough good hooks to keep you listening, and there are re-recordings of some of their old chestnuts. The singer’s voice is quite a bit like that of T.O.H.’s Kirk Branden. An uneven release.

Declino Rivolta e Negazione EP

DECLINO present an EP’s worth of powerful thrash with sound political lyrics. The guitar could have been recorded louder, but the songs have flair and the band is exceptionally tight. In sum, the best Italian hardcore outfit since INDIGESTI.

Deep Wound I Saw It EP

The first vinyl from western Massachusetts’ DEEP WOUND. Stylistically, their songs follow one of two basic patterns—a stuttering 1000-mph thrash assault with a vague NEOS feel, or a slower, metallish approach (as in “Video Prick”). “Sick of Fun” and “Deep Wound” have strong recognizable choruses, but some of the thrashers kind of get lost in the shuffle during initial listenings.

Depression The Death Squads cassette

Fifteen songs are on this tape, but because of the poor sound quality, it’s hard to hear one of Australia’s best thrash outfits wail away. Despite this, DEPRESSION exhibit some real mania here. Fortunately, they’re about to release some vinyl, so hold tight.

Der Durstige Mann This Is Frankfurt Not Boston (Fuck Off LA) EP

More raving, unchecked psychosis from Hysteric Eric (of VOMIT VISIONS and ESOTERICS fame) and company. Here, completely garaged-out grunge meets thrash with that bathroom recording sound. “Hectic Epileptic” sums up this group’s approach.

Drunk Injuns My Dad Butch cassette

A five-song tape from this mysterious rampaging tribe. Appearing only occasionally in public, these guys pound out some real primitive, throbbing punk rock, with traces of the HEARTBREAKERS, PISTOLS, ZEROS, and others. In other words, it’s powerful slow-to-medium paced material to dance around the fire to.

Espasmodicos Recomendado Para Molestar A Su Vecino EP

Boy, these Spanish bands are really sticking to the ’77 sound, but the ESPASMÓDICOS add some new twists. The title cut has an annoying sax break, and “Ni eficiencia, ni progreso” has an awkward, disjointed feel. The best cut is definitely the speedy “Están deseando que te pongas a temblar.” OK, but not destined to become the talk of the town.

False Alarm Self-Destruction cassette

Not to be confused with the defunct Monterey group of the same name, this band has more in common with, say, SUBURBAN MUTILATION in terms of noise, distortion, and intensity—garage to the max! I can’t hear the words for shit, as they’re spit out at 150 mph and subjected to the kind of recording techniques that were probably used in the 1920s, but there’s one song called “Fags Suck” which they “oh-so-intelligently” dedicate to the CLITBOYS. This is followed by “Live Your Life!” Sheer genius, right?

Fatal Rage Fatal Rage LP

An eminently likable new album. The music here fluctuates between primitive mid-tempo punk (“Jump and Die”, “Fatal Mistake”), faster punk (“Struggle”, “Yelling”), and semi-thrashers (“V.O.A.”, “Copy Bands”). FATAL RAGE has a chunky guitar assault and a knack for writing tunes with a hook you can grab onto. Although the lyrics are a little cryptic and hard to decipher, they seem to be generally OK; one exception is the aforementioned “Copy Bands,” which is just plain dumb. Still, I definitely recommend this record.

Frantix My Dad’s a Fuckin’ Alcoholic EP

Surprising. The tuneful ’77 punk on the FRANTIX’ “Face Reality” debut has given way to a grungy garage style here. The title song builds up slowly to a distorted guitar crescendo in the choruses. The other songs are equally raw, but fail to reach the same standards (except maybe “My Dad’s Dead”).

Artless / GG Allin & the Scumfucs split EP

A suitable mixture of retardation, one natural (G.G.), one contrived (ARTLESS). G.G.’s SCUMFUCS belt out a couple of sleazily recorded garage guitar classics like “Drink, Fight, and Fuc.” Mykel Board’s ART and ARTLESS perform some fast, tightly wound punk with a sarcastic Republican/Reaganoid stance. If anyone takes either of these “shocking” characters too seriously, they must be “dense-packed.”

Hoodoo Gurus Tojo / (Let’s All) Turn On 7″

The A-side is OK power-pop in the better sense of the term, but the flip is more up-tempo and harder. Both are in a ’60s vein, with great choruses, sharp lead guitars, cool structures, and an occasional harmonica. Plus one of the members looks exactly like Brian Jones from the STONES. Unreal!

Inferno Gott ist Tott cassette

A fiery eruption of clamorous urgency, storming out insistent pursuits of turbulent aggression into crushing unrestrained power. INFERNO boils over in flailing thrash excitement. A blazing outfit of riveting nitro speed and amplified havoc, much like the BASTARDS or the NEOS. Crank this one into the reels and explode.

Jerry’s Kids Is This My World? LP

An adventure into hyperactive, full-tilt, bulldozing quickness and thundering power. This overwhelming supply of burning rapid-fire speed destroys the mold, exploding into maniac doses of invincible strength and energy. Bolting drums, high-velocity crooning, and hysterically blistering wild guitars (featuring ex-GANG GREEN axeman Chris Doherty). JERRY’S KIDS totally shred the eardrums to mincemeat. For the fast fanatic’s cravings; the essence of what other will try to duplicate.

Kilslug Necktie Party EP

Twisted stuff that’s mystical, dark, depressing, maybe even fascistic. Like the darker side of FLIPPER, KILSLUG’s noise is slow, falling, and nauseating. They’re undoubtedly worth checking out live, if you want to be set on edge.

La Broma De Ssatán La Broma De Ssatán 12″

LA BROMA DE SSATAN offer pretty well done punk, of both the ’77 and more contemporary varieties. The song titles, which include (in translation) “Pogo on a Nazi” and “You’re Gonna Die in El Salvador,” indicate their thematic concerns.

Major Accident Leaders of Tomorrow EP

More catchy pop-punk from MAJOR ACCIDENT. Despite their occasional faster-than-usual tempo, all these songs have hooks galore. “Dayo” is particularly distinctive, with its repetitive sing-alongs and stampeding drum assault. Their best so far.

Maniacs German Tanks cassette

The MANIACS play a combination of Finnish-influenced thrash and English-style punk. Some of the songs are somewhat garagy, while others have a steady ’77-style beat. Gruff vocals and a heavy bass make the MANIACS quite likeable, especially “Weltkrieg” and “We Want You.” Very catchy stuff.

Mark Stewart and the Maffia Learning to Cope With Cowardice LP

The old POP GROUP singer meets Adrian Sherwood, and the result is absolutely incredible. Is it my speakers blowing out or was the studio burning down? I’ll never know, but I do know that the blend of Stewart’s killer voice and worldview with Sherwood’s distinctive dub editing and bass-heavy style is hard to match. Whether or not you ever liked the POP GROUP, this one is recommended.

Mayhem Pulling Puppets Strings EP

More exciting mayhem from MAYHEM. “Gentle Murder” and “Lie and Die” are tense mid-tempo numbers with loads of power and dynamism; “Clean Cut” is a roaring thrasher like those on their debut EP. Stunning.

Minuteman Voodoo Slaves / I Wanna Be Your Minuteman 7″

Two fantastic warpo psychobilly-tinged ’60s-ish thangs. The A-side has an irresistible rhythm punctuated by a tambourine, along with twangy guitars, dynamisim, tension, and some amazing screams; “I Wanna Be Your Minuteman” is reminiscent of some of the more hoppin’ cuts on the first GUN CLUB album. This 45 really grows on you—I already love it.

Misguided Population Live cassette

This is one of the worst things I’ve ever heard, and the sheer awfulness of it accounts for whatever value it might have. These two guys take a punch of punk and heavy metal covers and totally trash them. I mean, they are so noisy and unmusical, they make SUBURBAN MUTILATION sound like studio musicians. You decide if that’s a compliment.

Mystery of Sixes Mystery of Sixes EP

Unlike the Sydney garage bands, this Brisbane band is a little more on the post-punk side. They definitely live in their own little world, especially when the Arabic-style vocals on the title song are taken into account. The lyrics have Satanic overtones.

Naked One Step Forward Towards Reality EP

Most of the five tracks here don’t really grab me, though they’re not bad examples of mid-tempo Britpunk. However, “Frightened” has some real strength in its brooding, menacing development, and “Evil Faces” has nice drive to it.

No Response More Pollution from Green Bay cassette

Did some alien spores from Outer Space land near a farm outside this Wisconsin town some twenty-odd years ago, and impregnate the helpless local population? That’s the question I must ask after hearing this tape, which in the S.U.M. tradition combines twisted vocals, psychotic instrumentation, and a raw sound quality into a wonderfully deranged listening experience.

The Not Break Free tape

Hard-edged power-pop with definite Mod influences. The vocals are a bit reminiscent of early Jonathan Richman, and the music also has traces of those MODERN LOVERS, along with the early Jolt and Jam. Unfortunately, they try to cover the TROGGS’ “Lost Girl,” which proves to be a disastrous failure, but then nobody is quite like the TROGGS.

Not Moving Movin’ Over EP

The second EP from NOT MOVING has a less experimental and more pronounced ’60s quality. It’s mainly the twangy guitar that gives it that effect, but the melodies, chord progressions, and some of the vocal emphases add to it. “Behind Your Pale Face” is the most rockin’ cut, “Double Mind” the most psychedelic. Evocative.

The Nothings Alot to Learn 12”

If you thought the SEX PISTOLS’ sound was dead in 1983, you’ve got “a lot to learn,” because this Southern California group is the mirror image of the PISTOLS stylistically. They’ve got the same crunching rhythm attack and wall-of-sound guitar (courtesy of Steve Jones’ production?); on the Rotten one’s vocals are missing. Highly recommended for nostalgia buffs.

Nuclear Crayons Nameless EP

Experimental punk from out of the grave. The NUCLEAR CRAYONS’ sound is dense and abrasive; their tempo is slow; their aesthetic is similar to FLIPPER’s; their musical structure is somewhat arty; and their lyrics are rather cryptic (especially in “Political Punk”). All in all, I prefer their more focused cuts on the Mixed Nuts Don’t Crack compilation.

O.X. Pow Esperando En La Calle EP

O.X. POW are a very powerful “classical” punk band. The guitars are really loud, the songs are dynamic and filled with creative frills, and the vocals are simultaneously anguished and belligerent. A great record in the mid-tempo punk style. Definitely go for this one.

Offbeats Why Do You Hang Out? EP

Ohio’s OFFBEATS provide eight lunging melodies of eager exhilaration and swiftness. Strong voltage carries a cargo of stimulation and singalong strutters with scorching boom-crazed guitar. Action-packed juices flow wildly with each agile OFFBEAT firebolt. Like the label states, “Smell the fun.”

One Way System Writing on the Wall LP

An excellent second album from these guys. It mostly consists of medium and fast-tempo Britpunk, and all the songs are delivered with great power. “Corrupted World” and “Nightmare” really kick ass, though the latter is also on their recent 45. Recommended.

Personality Crisis Creatures for Awhile LP

While PERSONALITY CRISIS’ style of hardcore exhibits a number of influences, the most notable is heavy metal, which appears predominantly in the highly abrasive chord progressions. The music on this album, however, is very fast and aggressive (if rather uneven)—if you can get used to the distinctively gruff vocals, chances are you might grow to like it. I found it a hit and miss affair.

Poison Girls Are You Happy Now? / White Cream Dream 7″

The first song is a blend of tribal disco-pop sounds and good lyrics. It reminds me of 10 CC, but the flip is in the early P. GIRLS style, with its stark, dissonant, and poetic attack on male sexual attitudes. Maybe they aren’t yet completely lost to the pop circuit.

Political Asylum Fresh Hate cassette

Slower-paced, sparse, and more post-punk than punk, the music performed by this band is very foreboding. It’s often punctuated by longish guitar solos, but they aren’t annoying or egotistical, and actually add to the effect. The lyrics, while superficially offering nothing but a bleak view of the future, are certainly intelligent, and ultimately do encourage resistance to the 1984 horror show.

Progression Cult New Blood EP

A real primitive-sounding EP from one of Australia’s few politically oriented bands. Musically, PROGRESSION CULT has that plodding, medium-tempo Britpunk approach, with occasional sing-alongs and a certain degree of sloppiness. The songs on the B-side have more punch, and the lyrics are quite good, but they need to cohere more to sound contemporary.

Public Disturbance Public Disturbance LP

Another new Mutha record. PUBLIC DISTURBANCE has a somewhat incoherent stop/go semi-thrash style. The faster songs often sound thin and occasionally degenerate into mediocrity, but the band’s slower material (“Caged”, “Intro”, and “Russel’s Ramp”) sticks in your head. Overall, though, this release seems a bit premature; these guys need to develop more.

Rabies Buzzing Sound / You Could See Her Tits 7″

RABIES are an exceedingly primitive Dutch punk band with a ’77-ish style, a tinny snare drum sound, and older-type vocal inflections. I like the music a lot, but the themes are pretty silly. For “classical” punk fans.

Deniz Tek / Radio Birdman 100 Fools / Alien Skies 7″

DENIZ TEK was the brains behind RADIO BIRDMAN; unfortunately, the A-side is not his best effort by any means. What makes it interesting is that the rhythm section consists of REALLY RED members, and it was recorded in Texas. The flip is an instrumental out-take from RADIO BIRDMAN’S Living Eyes album, and is a must for fans of the VENTURES or LES BAXTER.

Reality Control The Reproduction of Hate EP

This group has a traditional UK anarchist band musical approach and stance, and they seem to be firmly committed. “Man” is a dramatic and unique song with an intense build-up that culminates in tense, maniacal thrash; the other two cuts are slower, but just as tense/intense.

Reig Disarm / Violent Charge 7″

A new thrash band from Italy. The song structures are appealing (though somewhat basic), and the anti-war lyrics are well-taken, but thin guitar production really takes away from REIG’s power. That problem can be easily remedied next time.

S.C.U.M. So Much Hate cassette

A three-song demo from Canada. It’s powerful, slower punk stuff with very strong vocals and intelligent lyrics. Even though S.C.U.M.’s music isn’t too contemporary-sounding, their commitment makes this tape sound very up-to-date.

Sötlimpa Löften EP

Chunky Swedish thrash. SÖTLIMPA have an attack that’s distinguished by a solid punchiness rather than shrill freneticism. “Öi” and Miljöproblem” have nice anthemic choruses that stick with you; “3:e världskrig” is good straight punk.

Secret Syde Hidden Secrets LP

The SECRET SYDE is a high quality neo-’60s band. Unlike the wimpy approach taken by so many California ’60s revival bands, they borrow many of their better elements of that era. Specifically, they write well-crafted songs containing melodic hooks, without sacrificing the drive and power. Most of the tracks here have a solid rhythm and loud guitars, there are a couple of extended psychedelic jams, and “Hurt and Pain” is a minor ’60s pop-punk classic. Go for this one.

Send Help You Don’t Fit EP

This is a real spiffy debut. “You Don’t Fit” is a supercharged punk rock song with an irresistible chorus, “Suburbia” is a slow, sarcastic attack on middle-class superficiality, and “Sex With Sheep” is one of the year’s best funnypunk efforts. Impressive all around.

Sex Aids Back on the Piss Again! EP

A new scam by some members of CHAOTIC DISCHORD. Musically, the “SEX AIDS” play sing-along funnypunk with a rather PISTOL-ian guitar sound and COCKNEY REJECTS-type vocals on the title cut, and they do actually succeed in generating a few guffaws if you’ve had a couple drinks.

Sexy Bollocks What’s in a Name? EP

Belgian records aren’t very numerous or easy to get ahold of, but here’s one for you. The SEXY BOLLOCKS mainly perform medium tempo punkers with a certain rawness, but “(Oi) Stay in Hurt” is a chaotic, adrenaline thrasher. You’ve heard it all before, so why does it still sound good?

Skrewdriver White Power EP

Well, these lunkheads have finally come out of the closet and revealed themselves to be blatant neo-fascists on vinyl. Unlike many others, I don’t use the term “fascist” lightly, but SKREWDRIVER are fascists, pure and simple. With titles like “White Power,” “Smash the IRA,” and “Shove the Dove,” it’s easy to surmise that they have ultra right-wing views on every important issue. The fact that they’ve written three catchy Oi chants is unfortunate, because some misguided souls will pick this up just for the music and inadvertently support these regressive attitudes.

Skunks Scratch ‘n’ Sniff EP

This Aussie EP is sort of a mixed bag. The SKUNKS do a sleazy modified version of “Silent Night” entitled “Violent Night,” a fast punk blast with sarcastic lyrics (“Dance with the Führer), a dynamic mid-tempo punker (“Mad Song”), and a totally mundane ’77-type number (“Persian Radio”). It’s hard to make an overall judgement when faced with such unevenness.

State No Illusions EP

It’s hard to believe that this nifty little record comes from Ann Arbor, a laid-back town that has never been a fertile environment for hardcore punk. The STATE present thrashed-out stuff characterized by a primitive metallic guitar, commonsense political lyrics, and a certain degree of instrumental sloppiness. “Attention” is especially hot, with its roaring stop/start structure and singalong “Yes sir/No sir” chorus. A fine debut effort.

Story of Failure Negative Fulfillment on the “83” Spitting Circuit EP

On side one, a FALL influence is celebrated, with a similar lyrical distain for tribes and trends. They tackle the pitfalls of suburban life in a direct and humorous way with no wasted words. They let loose on side two with a more original sound; “The Long Ride” is particularly great. It’s fair to say that they’re musically in synch with MISSION OF BURMA and the MINUTEMEN.

Strange Fruit Abiku EP

This band really is strange. Distinctive, too. The A-side consists of a long, arty dirge punctuated by a scratchy slide guitar; the flip has one slow moody piece, and one fast, rhythmic number with a punky aesthetic that saves this release for me. Definitely not for everyone, but that’s probably good.

Subculture Loud and Clear EP

Working class punk rock, chants and all. The guitarwork is tasteful and melodic, sort of like the early CLASH, and the vocals also have some Strummerisms. It’s funny to hear a band with that style today, but I’ll bet they don’t think it’s particularly funny.

Swans Filth LP

The best of New York’s art-damaged bands. They play plodding, dissonant noise with industrial overtones, a demonic dirge that’s almost unlistenable for the most part. It’s precisely that unlistenability that makes them so great. Aggressive and abrasive as hell.

The Abused Loud and Clear EP

Pretty intense power thrash. Some songs have those slow metal intros with Handsome Dick Manitoba growls, and then launch into straight-ahead crunching stuff. It’s nothing original, but it hits hard, especially “Nuclear Threat,” which is a killer.

The Apostles Rising From the Ashes EP

The APOSTLES are enigmatic. They are one of the most articulate and politically oriented bands I’ve ever heard, but despite their obvious intelligence, they’re a bit ominous. Their political philosophy is a strange amalgam of progressive (anti-establishment, anti-government, seemingly anti-racist) notions, and they advocate violence to overthrow the system. Musically, this record is raw, abrasive, punky, folky, experimental, and atypical, but the APOSTLES’ significance lies in their provocative ideas.

The Celibate Rifles Sideroxylon LP

The CELIBATE RIFLES present plenty of innovative garage rock on their debut album. Like many other Australian bands, they’ve been heavily influenced by the likes of RADIO BIRDMAN and, to a lesser extent, the SAINTS. Most of these songs fall into that raunchy guitar-oriented pattern and feature snotty ’60s vocals. But there are also a couple of lame oddball tracks like the semi-jazzy “Where Do I Go” and the rockish “Back on the Corner.” One other positive aspect of Sideroxylon is the politically aware lyrics; one negative aspect is the under-produced guitars.

The Cramps Smell of Female 12″

This is a live recording of new songs and a few covers. The CRAMPS understand real rock ’n’ roll so well that they write songs that can easily be mistaken for ’60s classics. OK, so the production lacks the usual CRAMPS punch. So what? It sounds great on my lousy stereo. You hopin’ that Jack Douglas will produce ’em? What makes this different from other CRAMPS records is that here you can follow and comprehend Lux Interior’s comic book scenarios with ease. The kind of rebellion the CRAMPS inspire is wanting to be a kid as long as you live. That’s cool.

The Escalators Monday / The Munsters Theme 7″

“Monday” mines a neo-psychedelic vein with fair success, though it compares poorly with the ESCALATORS’ past output and other contemporary ’60s-style bands. The real treat is the flipside—a surf-influenced cover of the theme from the Munsters TV show—which is probably a must for fans of novelty releases. Lots of fun.

The Exploited Rival Leaders EP

Have the EXPLOITED finally joined the “human rights” punk movement? Who can say for sure, but their first EP on the Pax label contains a sharp anti-Bushell tirade (“Singalongabushell”), plus two surprisingly strong anti-war compositions, “Army Style” and the title track. The latter are especially fast and thrashy.

The Faction No Hidden Messages LP

The FACTION are a bunch of typical California teenagers who are currently going through their “punk rock” phase. Musically, they have that entertaining skatecore-cum-beach punk sound, which is mainly divided here between crisp mid-tempo numbers with melodic teen vocals (like “Why Save the Whales?” and “Being Watched”), fast thrashed-out songs with a spunky quality (like “Running Amok” and “Fast Food Diet”), and a couple of slow rockers (like “Not Mine”). From a lyrical standpoint, the LP should be entitled No Important Messages.

The High Five Cold Steel Gang / Are You Happy? 7″

A new English group with a folk-rock sound closer to that of LA’s contemporary ’60s revival bands than the genuine ’60s article. Still, both sides are rather tasteful. “Cold Steel Gang” is an engaging little ditty with a nice folk-rock guitar; the B-side isn’t as good, but has a decent hook. Worth a listen.

The Lime Spiders 25th Hour 2×7″

Four songs which are definitely inspired by ’60s punk, specifically by Montreal’s HAUNTED, whose “1-2-5” gets covered here. The LIME SPIDERS play loud chord-oriented punk with tough vocals and fuzzy guitars. “25th Hour” is a killer song with the same guitar riff as the LIPSTICK KILLERS’ classic “Hindu Gods of Love.”

The Long Ryders 10-5-60 12”

The LONG RYDERS are a highly touted neo-’60s band from Southern California. Their debut EP contains a potpourri of ’60s styles, including folk-rock (“Join My Gang”), a rousing guitar-oriented rocker (“10-5-60”), and MASON PROFFIT-type country rock (the rest). They waste too much time on the latter for my taste, but the epic quality of the title song demonstrates that they’re capable of occasional greatness.

The Micronotz Smash! 12”

By some inexplicable oversight, the (MORTAL) MICRONOTZ’ neat debut album never got reviewed in MRR. That was a big mistake, because it was filled with raw garage spume that deserved to get more attention. In any case, their new 12” is even better—tighter, more solid, more developed, and just generally bitchin’. All the songs are coherent, the guitars growl, and the vocals have a snotty ’60s aesthetic.

The New Christs Face a New God / Waiting World 7″

A new band featuring Rob Younger, the singer from RADIO BIRDMAN. Their music is along the same lines—crunchy, no-frills garage rock. This band was a studio group, but the current aggregation is much better live.

The Pastels I Wonder Why / Supposed to Understand 7″

The PASTELS are a peculiar little psychedelic pop band in the late-period TV PERSONALITIES tradition. This release has a somewhat more solid sound than their earlier efforts, though it certainly won’t blow anyone’s speakers. “I Wonder Why” has a nice bouncy quality; the flip is wimp city.

The Rats In a Desperate Red LP

The third album from Portland’s RATS is slicker and better-produced than the first two, but it also suffers from inconsistent material. Their earlier semi-punk sound has almost been completely eradicated by a more rockish approach. Some of the songs are real good—”Deterioration” has lots of unsubtle drive, “Leave Me Alone” reminds me a bit of LOVE, “Broken Wire Telephone” is a catchy post-punkish track with a super guitar riff, “My Tragedy Behind” has a heavier ’60s punkadelic feel, etc.—but others are unbelievably atrocious. I like about 40% of it, but everyone should listen before buying.

The Real Traitors It’s a Waste EP

Remember when punk was supposed to be about moving in new directions? Well, here’s a punk band with no drummer. I don’t know whether this would appeal more to avant-punk fans or industrial aficionados, but both would probably like these long, scathing dirges. Not for the squeamish.

The Scientists Blood Red River 12″

Oh boy, six more tracks from these guys. Though none of the songs here grab me as much as the two on the single, all are still worthwhile. They’ve got a European tour in the works, so they may be the next Aussies to be heard on our shores.

The Scientists This Is My Happy Hour / Swampland 7″

The acknowledged leaders of the Sydney psychedelic revival scene. The SCIENTISTS seem to have more influences than just ’60s music, thought, as I detect a bit of BIRTHDAY PARTY and the CRAMPS here. Each song starts out kind of slow and plodding, but just when you think it’s not going anywhere, ka-boom!! That idea goes right down the drain in a mind-boggling whirlpool of leafy musical sewage. It’ll definitely grow on you.

The Turn-Ups Urban Blight LP

This is a pretty cool garage punk album. The TURN-UPS often serve as BILLY SYNTH’s back-up band, but here they’re (mostly) on their own, and the results are just fine and dandy. Essentially, they specialize in the sort of raunchy guitar-heavy jams that always make “nice” neighbors wince and cover their ears as they pass the basement practice room. And they’ve got great taste in ’60s cover tunes, too—the CHOCOLATE WATCHBAND’s “Meditation.” Alright!

The Web Walk on Glass / Sidewalk 7″

“Walk on Glass” is an outstanding song which builds on a basic rock ’n’ roll riff (like the one in the “Peter Gunn Theme”) and half-spoken female singing that explodes into a raw guitar frenzy when the chorus rolls in. Really cool! The flip, with its guitar rave-up, may be even better. This new SoCal band could be great if they don’t move in a more commercial new wave direction.

TNT 1984 (Euroshima) / Cucarachas 7″

A Spanish band that shouldn’t be mistaken for an identically named Swiss group. “1984” is a mid-tempo punkish cut distinguished by sound effects and a strong post-punk bass and drum attack; the flip is a more basic ’77-style number with a good melodic chorus which I quite like.

Total Chaos Fields and Bombs 12″

A real potpourri of styles can be found on this latest TOTAL CHAOS release. There’s a cool guitar instrumental (“Blood on the Roof”), a pair of slow, rather unusual punk songs (“Bank of England” and “Where is the Fellowship?”), and three great post-punk numbers that I really like. Given the name of the band and their earlier style, this 12” is really a surprise, but a pleasant one.

Toy Dolls Cheerio and Toodle Pip / H.O.! 7″

The TOY DOLLS are in top funnypunk form on their new single. Not only are the themes and sing-along choruses typically hilarious, but the up-tempo rhythm and crisp guitar assault add more oomph than usual. If this record doesn’t make you crack a smile, you’re already dead.

Underage Afri Cani EP

The most applicable adjectives here are rhythmic, savage, and raw. This is mainly fast-paced thrash that is driven by steady drumming, and topped off with a totally fuzzed-out guitar and insistent, intense singing. The UNDERAGE is an anarchist band and, judging from this, have an abundance of commitment. Excellent.

V/A We Got Power: Party or Go Home LP

Fuck! What can you say about this 40-band compilation organized by the editor of LA fanzine We Got Power? It has a bit of everything—intelligent bands, stupid bands, great bands, mediocre bands, unknown bands, well-known bands, bands from all over the US and Canada—but it’s great because all the songs are so short that even the few lame ones don’t have time to get boring. And most of them thrash to the max. It’s hard to pick faves, but I think WHITE CROSS, MECHT MENSCH, the ATHEISTS, JACK SHIT, the DAYGLOW ABORTIONS, and—dare I admit it?—WHITE FLAG have the standout tracks. All future comps should maintain a similar 1:00 limit in songs to keep things zipping along, but this platter unfortunately lacks both info on the bands and visible grooves between cuts—a DJ’s nightmare.

V/A English as a Second Language 2xLP

The follow-up to last year’s Voices of the Angels double-album, this is mainly a spoken word extravaganza. While some tracks have instrumentation (acoustic folk, electric noise, jazz, rap, etc.), the accent is always on the lyrics. This record features people from several alternative bands, including BLACK FLAG, the MINUTEMEN, X, the FLESHEATERS, D.I., the PLUGZ, the DREAM SYNDICATE, the LAST, and the BANGLES; it may be LA’s answer to England’s “ranting” poetry. I’d like to see this kind of stuff incorporated into live shows, perhaps between bands.

V/A The New Hope LP

Like most compilations, this one from Ohio has its ups and downs. My favorite groups here are the GUNS, who sound a lot like BLACK FLAG when Ron was their singer; NO PAROLE, who favor garagey semi-thrash and have a killer vocalist with a high pitched adolescent sneer; ZERO DEFEX, who have strong lyrics and an intense, awkward thrash style; and the OFFBEATS, who play super-fast garage HC. The rest consists of annoying experimental punk (SPIKE IN VAIN, P.P.G.), some medium-speed punk (the DARK, OUTERWEAR), and highly predictable thrash (POSITIVE VIOLENCE, the AGITATED, STARVATION ARMY).

V/A The Rebel Kind LP

A very good collection of neo-’60s bands appears on this new compilation released by Sounds Interesting. The material ranges from the fantabulous—the SLICKEE BOYS’ guitar-heavy garage rock, the fuzzed-out ’60s punk of Sweden’s NOMADS and the MIRACLE WORKERS, the organ-dominated BLUES MAGOOS-ish psychedelia of the UNITED STATES OF EXISTENCE, and the ripping psych guitar jam by PLASTICLAND—to the VICEROYS’ abysmal attempt to recapture the dynamic power of the YARDBIRDS. Most of the rest, which includes the LAST, the SIC KIDZ, the UNCLAIMED, the FUZZTONES, TRUE WEST, the LONG RYDERS, the SHOUT, and the POINT, is also worthwhile. Turn on and tune this in.

V/A The Sound of Hollywood: Girls LP

As the title indicates, this album consists of bands from greater LA with a prominent female component. Musically, it’s a mixed bag of styles ranging from punk (SIN 34, DE DE TROIT) to garage (I.U.D.) to various forms of pop (the L.A. GIRLS, TOXIC FUMES, the SKIRTS, HOT FOOD TO GO) to warpo country (the SCREAMIN’ SIRENS) to awful hard rock and heavy metal (BUTCH, HELLION, BITCH, SOLOMAN KANE). No one will like it all; the question is whether you’ll like enough of it to make it worth buying.

V/A The Sound of Hollywood: Destroy LA LP

This is the long-anticipated Destroy LA compilation, but well nigh half of it is virtually unlistenable. Much of it consists of folk, metal, and regular rock ’n’ roll; the saving graces are S.V.D.B., RED SCARE, and two or three tracks by other bands. I guess if you’re really eclectic, you could relate to this. Personally, I think the F.B.I. ought to investigate this. (Just a joke!)

V/A Tarantula on My Cock cassette

An array of Virginia’s hardest core line up to thrash that sleepy state into the ’80s. Participating in this cultural attack are WHITE CROSS, HONOR ROLE, HOIT, GRAVEN IMAGE, FRONT LINE, GOD’S WILL, and the PREVARICATORS. The songs are generally excellent, the sound quality is fair, and the spirit is abundant.

V/A 20 Berkeley Bands cassette

A lot of the cuts on this Berkeley compilation tape could benefit from my musical ability, and that’s not saying anything at all. There’s too many FLIPPER-ish garage clones without that combo’s “charm,” although REVOLUTION THRU APATHY’s “I Had to Kill Some Ants Today” really stands out. At the same time, there are some real accomplished cuts here by SPECIAL FORCES, C.O.D., BLACK GUARD, and especially ATROCITY.

V/A Blood on the Cats LP

The first “psychobilly” compilation mainly features British “blood” bands. Side one is weird gothic post-punkabilly—the songs are miniature trash psychodramas that don’t really rock, ALIEN SEX FIEND track excepted. Side two has SCREAMIN’ LORD SUTCH, who sounds a lot like a local TV host for Chiller Theater; the STINGRAYS, OUTCASTS, and RICOCHETS, who rock out in a real punkabilly style; and the PANTHER BURNS, who thrash out an alternative version of “Red Headed Woman” recorded at a Memphis high school radio station with an orgone accumulator replacing the bass. SHOCKABILLY’s very best song (“City of Corruption”) closes the album.

V/A Rotterdam Spunk LP

An intense formation of varied types of punk from Rotterdam, featuring different bands with unusual styles and approaches. From fast attentive thrash to early ’77 punk to strange punk, this piercing display of hectic vinyl features MORAL VIRTUE, DEBIELE EENHEID, FORMAUNE, the SCHIZOIDZRENICS, KOTX, BUNKER, SPIKED COPY, N.O.A.T.H., ENDLÖSUNG, and numerous others. Another good, interesting, and effective compilation.

V/A Korn Live – Ab Geht Er LP

This new German compilation album features six punk bands. Although the live recording is far better than the norm in audio-verite efforts, this isn’t a particularly satisfying release. Most of the groups perform ’77 punk with little imagination or originality. BLITZKRIEG and LE CRASH stand out as being the most powerful, but all the bands except KALTWETTERFRONT have their moments (KLISCHEE’s “Dalli, Dalli,” the ARISTOCRATS’ “Bullen…”, WUTSTOCK’s “Hardcore”). OK.

V/A Sydney Australia cassette

This mostly live tape was recorded in early ’82, and features PROGRESSION CULT, NO SANITY CLAUSE, POSITIVE HATRED, ANIMALS IN DISTRESS, FEED TIME, and ANTI-HIERARCHY. It consists mainly of older-style punk, with some “skunk” material by ANIMALS IN DISTRESS. The sound quality is so-so, so this tape should be regarded primarily as an historical artifact. You had to have been there.

Varaus Tuomittu Elämään EP

The A-side on VARAUS’ second EP represents a shift from all-out thrash to raw, fast punk, whereas the B-side continues their earlier thrash approach. Although the recording here is more garagey than most newer Finnish releases, and the songs aren’t as manic as we’ve come to expect from that extraordinary country, this record has an endearing primitive quality.

World War XXIV Azaria / Y Bother 7″

Fast ’77 punk with some pronounced ’60s influences in the chord changes and vocals. “Azaria” is a song about a mom whose kid was supposedly eaten by a dingo, and has some raw leads and high-pitched screams; “Y Bother” is a song in a similar vein with anti-political lyrics that may or may not be satirical.