Reviews

MRR #2 • September/October 1982

7 Seconds Skins, Brains & Guts EP

Great songs, great band, great people! 7 SECONDS were almost single-handedly responsible for creating the enthusiastic, intelligent Reno hardcore scene, and that same enthusiasm and intelligence are the hallmarks of their primitively produced debut EP. Most of the tracks are speedy thrashers propelled by soccer choruses and an exceptionally trebly guitar, though a couple (“Racism Sucks,” “We’re Gonna Fight”) have a slower Oi-type sound. “Anti-Klan” is destined to become one of the great punk anthems of the ’80s. Buy this one.

Agent Orange Breakdown 12″

Mostly stuff you could find on other 45s or compilations, but nice to have with the 12″ sound quality. Title track is the only cut with vocals and is more contemporary; other three cuts—“Mr. Moto,” “Pipeline,” and “Miserlou” are Surf City Specials.

Amebix Who’s the Enemy EP

Four songs—one hardcore shorty and three more post-punky sounds, none of which are lightweight at all. Very raw, choppy guitars, raspy vocals; slightly dissonant. Along with CHAOTIC DISCHORD, one of the few new UK bands to break the mold.

Anti-Pasti Caution in the Wind LP

Definitely not as gritty and hardcore as ANTI-PASTI’s first album, Caution in the Wind opts for a greater emphasis on melody in the mid-to-fast-tempo compositions. This “classical punk” sound adds a new dimension of distinctiveness to the songwriting (especially in standout tracks like “Get Out Now” and “Mr. Mystery”), even if it does occasionally wimpify some of ANTI-PASTI’s best songs. Entertaining, but not particularly energizing.

Beastie Boys Polly Wog Stew EP

Thrash garage punk with amazingly snotty vocals. The instrumental raunch perfectly complements the singer, who sounds like he’s right on the edge of sanity. You’ll be singing the chorus to “Beastie Boys” for days after hearing it, and the psychedelic (“Jimi”) and country (“Michelle’s Farm”) satires are really silly. The best of the new crop from New York.

Blitz Warriors / Youth 7″

BLITZ limps into their third single with two Oi anthems of only passing musical interest, especially in comparison with their past triumphs. Predictably, “Youth” whips through the familiar turf of teenage rebellion, but “Warriors” remains the far more disturbing of the two cuts; its lyrics, surprisingly, almost condone British gang warfare. Avoid.

Bomb Squad Tomorrow the World Ends EP

A new punk EP with a sound reminiscent of some of DOA’s earlier material. The production is real basic and the songs grow on you with repeated listenings, but the overall delivery is too restrained for the angry anti-fascist lyrics on songs like “US Police State.” Enjoyable but not earth-shattering.

Chaos UK Loud, Political & Uncompromising EP

The incessant, no-holds-barred thrash on this EP surpasses on all counts CHAOS UK’s serviceable debut, Burning Britain, with a strong combination of intense vocals and a blistering guitar sound. All three songs set fairly high standards of quality, but fans of the VARUKERS should take special note of the vitriolic rocker “No Security.” This is loud, political, and uncompromising.

Chaotic Dischord Fuck the World EP

CHAOTIC DISCHORD have fortunately stepped into the vacuum created by the demise of DISORDER, thereby showing that the English are capable of producing first-class thrash punk if they decide to. All these tracks are monstrously raw, and “Sold Out to the GPO” may even be too fast.

Chelsea Evacuate LP

CHELSEA finds the groove with an upbeat collection of melodic 1977-style punk anthems. Often inconsistent in the past, CHELSEA’s latest lineup orchestrates classics like “Cover Up,” “War Across the Nation,” and the incredible “Evacuate” with flair and authority. Best of all, the band fuels their political sentiments with a higher level of literacy than most rock outfits can muster. There is only one bad song in the bunch. Snap this record up.

Chron Gen Chronic Generation LP

CHRON GEN’s debut album derives most of its influences from CHELSEA circa ’78, though without as many of the catchy melodies to depend on. Originals like “Reality,” “Chronic Generation,” and “Mindless” are the class offerings here, but it’s odd that all of these appear on past singles. Nonetheless, the bonus free live EP is excellent, hinting at the excitement of their tight, powerful live performances.

Conflict The House That Man Built EP

Of the four tracks on this record, “Wargames” blazes through familiar hardcore territory, anti-war protest, with economy and splendid production values, while “I’ve Had Enough” connects with a poppier approach. The other two numbers, more workmanlike and less inspired, still hold enough requisite punk energy to be recommended. A fine debut.

Crass Christ the Album 2xLP

Two albums, one poster, and a splendid 28-page large-format booklet (all in a sleek boxed set) seems all too much to digest—especially from England’s most astute punk outfit, CRASS. The studio LP, ranging from unrestrained thrash to sophisticated post-punk, contains some of CRASS’s most astonishing compositions to date; especially exciting are “The Great Working Class Rip-Off” and “Tribal Rival,” two impassioned attacks on Oi violence, and the superbly written “Reality Whitewash” which exposes vicious sex stereotypes and roles. In addition to a delightful live LP, Penny Rimbaud’s extensive article in the booklet provides a historical background for CRASS that’s spellbinding, perceptive, and lyrical. This release is incredibly mandatory.

Crucial Truth Darkened Days EP

A split package by these transplanted Floridians—two metallic rock songs and two thrashers. Although the vocals on the former pair remind one of the late Jim Morrison, the real strength of this EP lies in the others. “Male Domination” is a particularly outstanding cut, with its adrenaline kick and vicious anti-chauvinist lyrics.

Current Obsessions Faceless Rite EP

Don’t ask me how an unknown band from Wales emerges with a winner like this. Songs like “Woe-Man” succeed modestly in a slow, atmospheric vein, while “Fish” and “Faceless Rite,” mining the territory of light pop, deliver totally original melodies with complete finesse. I especially enjoyed Debbie’s unpretentious, nonchalant vocals, though the novel use of woodwinds was probably the deciding factory on this EP.

Dead Kennedys Bleed for Me / Life Sentence 12″

A-side is very reminiscent of the earlier DK’s sound—words you can hear, slower but extremely powerful and clear instrumentation. B-side is more thrashed out, and again very strong production. The excitement generated by them at live shows comes across on both cuts. Great graphics too. Should be out domestically on Faulty.

Die Kreuzen Sick People cassette

Wisconsin thrash punk with more structural complexity than usual. Choppy rhythms, fluid guitarwork, and spastic vocals are the distinguishing characteristics here. DIE KREUZEN (formerly the STELLAS) provide further proof that the Midwest is no longer slumbering, so give them a listen.

Drongos For Europe Death’s a Career EP

Despite a rather dreary B-side, DRONGOS FOR EUROPE injects genuine passion into the anthem like “Death’s a Career,” an angry tirade against military conscription. True, war is a rather easy subject to rebel against, but the message is important—even if this sub-genre needs more particular targets (take your pick) in the future.

False Prophets Good Clean Fun / The Functional Song 7″

Hard-edged experimental punk with a lot of intelligence, the second release from this New York crew. Vocalist Stephan Ielpi is one of those rare individuals who doesn’t allow himself to be restricted by conventions, punk or otherwise, and it shows in the grooves. “Fun” is loud, fast catchy, and highly critical or ignorance and violence; “Functional” is slower and filled with romantic bitterness. Strongly recommended.

GBH Sick Boy EP

Judged in comparison to their first two records, this latest EP by GBH is bound to register as a major letdown. Yet, in its own frantic, trashy way, songs like the rather hilarious “Sick Boy,” as well as the more serious compositions on the flip, grab your emotions by virtue of their sheer vigor and enthusiasm. While by no means a great record, this EP remains undeniably effective in its modest way.

GG Allin You Hate Me and I Hate You 7″

The undisputed king of New Hampshire raunch rock returns with yet another trashy garage offering. G.G. may be predictable in his excesses, but when the results are this loud and absurd, it’s OK with me. This type of bone-crunching guitar-heavy stuff is as American as mouldy apple pie, but don’t expect the Reaganoids to invite G.G. to perform at the White House.

Hypnotics Indoor Fiends LP

A hot garage punk album by a hitherto unknown bunch of nerds. Their uptempo sound, which is driven by two or three guitars and a synthesizer wall-of-sound à la METAL URBAINE, is extremely dense and chunky. The lyrics are satirical and usually funny, thought some songs (“Nazi Snotzy”) go too far and make them sound like insensitive geeks. The final verdict? Entertaining as hell!

Jeff Dahl Powertrip EP

Rock and roll retard JEFF DAHL is at it again! The guy may be a jerk, but it’s hard to fault this nifty garage punk record. “Power Trip” is older-style gutter rock, while the others are real fast punk blasts in the recent ANGRY SAMOANS vein. In fact, I’ll be anything it is the SAMOANS backing him up here.

L-Seven Insanity EP

The first release on a Touch and Go subsidiary label (Special Forces) that apparently will not be restricted to hardcore punk. Detroit’s L-SEVEN has a unique neo-psychedelic sound that features an exceptionally fluid, almost jazzy guitar style. It works especially well on “Clear Visions,” which begins with an annoying sort of art damage before kicking into high gear. Interesting.

Legal Weapon Death of Innocence LP

This well-produced debut album by LA’s LEGAL WEAPON presents a solid collection of hard rock numbers in the same general style as 45 GRAVE, but without the satanic overtones. Compositions like the kinetic rocker “Daddy’s Gone Mad” utilize Kay Arthur’s rather plaintive voice to good advantage, even though the highlight of Death of Innocence is probably the haunting “Wanna Be”—a ballad. This album definitely grows on you.

Genocide / MIA Last Rites for Genocide and MIA LP

Here is one record that forces me to wax philosophical. If ever a release reflected the yin and yang of the punk scene, this is it. In one corner is MIA, a band originally from Las Vegas, the champions of punk’s positive side. They’ve managed to fuse a super tight thrash sound with enlightened attitudes—”I Hate Hippies” is obviously meant as a satire with a moral—and the results are absolutely stunning. In the other corner is New Jersey’s GENOCIDE, who exhibits all the mindlessness attributed to “punkers” by straight society. A dirty, metallic guitar and some catchy tunes can’t disguise their blatantly sexist (“Period,” “Teenage Girls”), reactionary messages. I only hope MIA doesn’t suffer too much from guilt by association.

Newtown Neurotics Kick Out the Tories / Mindless Violence 7″

After a two-or-more-year vinyl hiatus, the NEUROTICS are back with a stirring critique of both the reactionary Thatcherites (“Tories”) and assorted violent headcases. They’ve abandoned their earlier garage quality in favor of more melodic, well-produced sound, but without completely sacrificing their appeal.

Nihilistics After Death EP

Ultra-primitive thrash from New York. Lyrically, the NIHILISTICS live up to their name, but the instrumentation sounds like a runaway vacuum cleaner and can be strongly recommended for that reason. This record is guaranteed to make musicologists puke, which increases its value substantially.

No Crisis She’s into the Scene 12″

The kind of quintessential California beach punk that usually appears on Posh Boy’s label. The songs here range from slower pop-oriented numbers (“Scene”) to fast bursts of punk, but all of them have enough strong hooks to accommodate a large wardrobe. Cool music for a hot summer.

One Way System Give Us a Future / Just Another Hero 7″

After their first dismal 45, I’m amazed to report that ONE WAY SYSTEM’s new release features great Oi music. The excellent production highlights their soccer-chanting and twin-guitar-powered songs, one fast (“Future”), and the other slower. A good buy.

Peter and the Test Tube Babies Run Like Hell / Up Yer Bum 7″

This respectable funnypunk entry by PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES doesn’t have quite the innate charm of their last single, yet it’s still enjoyable hardcore fun. “Up Yer Bum,” with its driving guitar attack, rates as a fine example of hate-rock, though “Run Like Hell” strikes an amiable compromise between hard pop and Oi—with hysterical lyrics to boot. Recommended!

Plasticland Colour Appreciation / The Mushroom Hill 7″

Third release from this Milwaukee band on their own label. “Mushroom Hill,” while not as strong as their first 45, is a good ’60s psychedelia-inspired tune with great guitar feedback. Live, it’s probably awesome. Look for it.

Poison Girls Total Exposure LP

The POISON GIRLS, easily one of Britain’s finest post-punk ensembles, have translated a sense of rawness and snarling intensity onto this live LP which hasn’t yet been heard on their studio efforts. Commanding songs like “Persons Unknown” and “State Control” stand on their own, but familiarity with their material helps in appreciating this album. Elegantly packaged.

Red Alert Take No Prisoners EP

This second single by UK’s RED ALERT would have been fine if the tracks had appeared on an album. The recording is powerful, the themes politically astute, and the songs above average; unfortunately the three Oi songs are far too generic-sounding to be on a single. “Take No Prisoners,” the best track here, is only mildly catchy.

Redd Kross Born Innocent LP

An amazing amalgam of ’60s punk and the infamous Johnny Thunders/HEARTBREAKERS school of dirty guitar sleaze. Distorted axes, humorous, socially unredeeming lyrics, and a remarkably trashy aesthetic make it difficult to relate this current incarnation of RED CROSS to the band that was once famous for quintessential teeny punk anthems. But if you probe beneath the new gutter exterior, you’ll find the same warped Southern California prism. With instant classics like “Linda Blair” and “Kill Someone You Hate,” this album has got to be bitchin’. Grab your wide bellbottoms and cop this sucker.

Six Minute War Six Minute War EP

The reissue of SIX MINUTE WAR’s first EP provides fans of intelligent political punk a great opportunity. Production here is very garagy, but more than compensated for by its thought-provoking lyrics and inventive arrangements. Standout songs like “Strontium 90” and “Camera” contribute to the integrity of this abrasive, mid-tempo record.

Social Unrest Rat in a Maze 12″

SOCIAL UNREST has been one of my favorite Bay Area bands since they formed, and this EP reveals why. The mix is a bit too piercing on the high end, but the songs are fast, tight, catchy, two guitars loud, and lyrically sound. I personally prefer the older straightforward wham-bams (“Mental Breakdown,” “General Enemy”) to their more recent slow-fast numbers, but all the material packs a wallop.

SPK The Last Attempt at Paradise cassette

Deathly industrial noise abounds on this well-recorded tape, a document of SPK’s last American tour. Simply the best band of its type, SPK runs through their disturbing pop music parodies and every manner of human atrocity, and always with that dynamic tribal beat in the background. The show must have really fried their brains in Lawrence, Kansas. This cassette is extraordinary.

SPK Leichenschrei LP

SPK, utilizing their encyclopedic knowledge of sound and its relation to specific emotional states, hit the bull’s eye with this landmark industrial music release. Leichenschrei takes perfectly orchestrated chunks of noise, modulates them with a powerful percussion section, and even adds little shreds of humor for the hell of it. The result: industrial music-making that, instead of isolating the listener, involves them. One of the three or four best LPs of 1982, no question about it.

Subhumans Religious Wars EP

Like their last single, this latest EP by the SUBHUMANS (UK) offers one excellent ’77-style punk cut and three good examples of filler. There’s no doubt that “Religious Wars” has it all. Inventive guitar-work, manic velocity, and scathing anti-religious lyrics; unfortunately, the other songs imitate generic Brit-punk.

Television Personalities Three Wishes EP

The TV PERSONALITIES (a.k.a. the TIMES, the GIFTED CHILDREN, TEENAGE FILMSTARS, etc.) perform a truly charmed version of “Geoffrey Ingram” here, a perfect pop song from the HERMAN’S HERMITS camp of pop music. The wry human commentaries which made their early singles so disarming, however, are missing from “And Don’t the Kids Just Love It” and the mildly catchy, psychedelic “Three Wishes.” For TVP fans.

The Adicts Viva La Revolution EP

The three supremely infectious pop-punk compositions on this EP are matched, unfortunately, but rather generic themes of teenage rebellion. “Steamroller” and “Numbers” ripple with fast melodies and enormously clever lyrics, and undoubtedly “Viva la Revolution” could have been a classic if only they hadn’t run the chorus into the ground. Very entertaining, but not very important.

The Bangles Getting Out of Hand / Call On Me 7″

It could be the best girl group to come along since the SHANGRI-LAS. “Getting Out of Hand” is the standout cut with great vocals and sparse garage instrumentation. Sounds like everything you thought that “other” LA band was going to but didn’t.

The Barracudas I Can’t Pretend EP

A new release of old stuff by this English band on an American label. Two tracks are from the debut LP Drop Out with the Barracudas, but the best songs are previously unreleased trashings of the We Five’s “You Were on My Mind” and the Surfari’s “Surfer Joe.” The guitars and vocals are out of tune and the playing is sloppy. A must.

The Birthday Party Junk Yard LP

Not as accessible as the first two BIRTHDAY PARTY LPs, Junk Yard meanders into the nether realms of dementia, violence, and sex. The style here reminds one of the POP GROUP, but this is only a comparison of convenience; the predominately dirge-like song on this record captivate your attention with their originality and unusual lyric concerns. An acquired taste, though worth an investment of time.

The Cravats Rub Me Out / When Will We Fall 7″

After two disappointing singles, the CRAVATS almost return to their true 1980 form with a pair of mid-tempo post-punk offerings. While “Rub Me Out” opts for a more hypnotic effect, the real stuff appears on the flip, with its spooky changes of mood and entertaining sax work. Quirky, inventive, and original, this single also has the most hilarious lyric sheet I’ve ever seen.

The Dream Syndicate Sure Thing 12″

What more can be said about this record that hasn’t already been said? The power contained in this record is awesome. Guitar distortion and feedback, along with great songs make this one of the best discs of ’82. Reviewers have said it sounds like the VELVET UNDERGROUND, but your best bet is to listen for yourself. Watch for new LP soon.

The Ejectors Hydro-Head / Little Johnny 7″

Texas garage punk. “Hydro-Head” is sort of slow with a memorable chorus and one of the worst guitar solos I’ve ever heard; “Johnny” is a much faster and punkier song with a basic rock and roll bridge. Fun stuff.

The Lurkers This Dirty Town / Wolf at the Door 7″

They’re back? Yes, but with a new vocalist, and two incompetently written and edited ’77-genre punk rock-outs. While I admired the hard guitar sound, the songs here (especially “Wolf at the Door”) go on far too long, and with surprisingly primitive production to boot. Was this the same outfit who did “Freak Show” and “Last Guitar in Town”? The old LURKERS are nowhere in sight.

The Mob No Doves Fly Here / I Hear You Laughing 7″

The anti-war sentiments of this single are related with a good feeling for concise, compelling verbal imagery; too bad this effort veers into non-descript pop, especially on the flipside. While a song like “No Doves Fly Here” would have been right at home on the Wargasm compilation, its subject matter has been done more powerfully, lyrically, and eloquently elsewhere. Disappointing.

The Outcasts Angel Face / Gangland Warfare 7″

Probably the weakest single ever from this long-standing Northern Irish punk band. Nothing could salvage that putrid piece of muzak, “Angel Face,” though their militaristic rendition comes close. The flip is a remixed version of an already-released song. This band is capable of much more than they display here.

The Rain Parade What She’s Done to Your Mind / Kaleidoscope 7″

First release from the LA band shows Fifth Dimension BYRDS influence on both sides. “What She’s Done to Your Mind” has a great 12-string sound with good vocals, while “Kaleidoscope” is slower with a guitar-and-keyboards sound that’s mesmerizing. Tim says it’s so good you’ll flashback.

The Raincoats No One’s Little Girl / Running Away 7″

This delightful post-pop single represents the RAINCOATS’ definitive vinyl to date. While the A-side, “No One’s Little Girl,” impressed me with its subtle melodic sense, the SLY STONE cover on the flip is quintessential RAINCOATS—good-humored, loose, and charmingly amateurish. Good stuff.

The Replacements Stink 12″

The third release from a truly inspired Minneapolis band. The REPLACEMENTS have managed to assimilate the best elements of rock and roll from all eras and fuse them into one high-velocity package. This EP contains real fast, raw garage music, and the wild recording has even more power than their great LP. “White and Lazy” sounds like CAPTAIN BEEFHEART, so this package is a must.

The Salvation Army The Salvation Army LP

This is the one that everyone (at least that I know) was waiting for, and it certainly wasn’t a disappointment. All the great ’60s riffs you want to see recycled, done up with enough modern sensibility to not render it dated. “Going Home” and “She Turns to Flowers” seem to be favorites, but it’s one of those records you have to experience for yourself.

The Sins Mood Music EP

Sleazy garage punk from San Berdoo. This is the kind of band that seems to thrive in America’s non-cosmopolitan hinterlands, and it has a kind of basic honesty that is often lacking in musical centers like LA, NYC, and San Francisco. Lead guitars flail away in a mid- to fast-tempo format, and the lyrics have an untutored quality without sounding stupid. Pick it up.

The Straps Brixton / No Liquor 7″

A brilliant punky follow-up to their excellent rockabilly-tinged debut. The double guitar power really grabs you, but the Straps also have a knack for writing dynamic, unforgettable tunes. “Brixton” is a mini-masterpiece dealing with Britain’s recent riots.

The Undead Nine Toes Later EP

The best release on the Stiff label in quite a while (except maybe for the DAMNED reissues). When you graft an appealing instrumental sloppiness and belligerent New York vocals onto an irresistable base of pop melodies and punky guitars, you end up with this boisterous debut from the UNDEAD. Definitely worth the wait.

The Varukers I Don’t Wanna Be a Victim EP

This record demonstrates improvements over the VARUKERS’ very good debut, and also a development from their early DISCHARGE influences. “Dance Till Your Dead” maintains a thrashy power with added melodic complexity, though “I Don’t Wanna Be a Victim” seems more ordinary. All in all, the VARUKERS mix energetic songs and powerful production with astute, intelligent lyrics.

The Wrecks Teenage Jive cassette

You probably won’t be able to get this garage-punk gem anymore, but suffice it to say this nine-song cassette is both funny and wise—with lots of hardcore thrills mixed in. Even though the WRECKS are no longer with us (sigh), songs like “Couldn’t Believe It” will live on in the annals of punk history. Mark my words.

The Xpozez 1,000 Marching Feet / Terminal Case 7″

Slow punk verging on post-punk. These songs are powerful and rather hypnotic, but they don’t match the band’s irresistible “No War” on the Punk Is… cassette LP. Singer Tez is dedicated to disseminating obscure punk through his Retaliation Records enterprise, so support him and buy this 45.

Tot Rocket and the Twins Security Risk EP

Basic garage rock with some punk influences seemingly gleaned from the CLASH’s Give ’Em Enough Rope period. Music of this type normally doesn’t have politicized lyrics, but to their credit the TWINS are exceptions in this regard. Low marks for musical originality, high marks for persistence and a sharp tongue.

V/A American Youth Report LP

A really strong compilation of old and new LA punk bands. Some of the material is unreleased, but even the stuff that appears elsewhere sounds much better on this LP than it did on the originals. The remixing is that outstanding. It’s really hard to pick the cream of this crop, but I favor the high-powered thrash of MODERN WARFARE, MIA, and LOST CAUSE. If this is the first volume in a series, its successors should also be killers.

V/A Eastern Front LP

A nice concept almost ruined by disorganization. Meant to be an aural chronicle of an ourdoor punk fest held in Berkeley in the summer of ’81, this LP unfortunately reflects many of the event’s shortcomings. There’s no list of songs on the cover, no sheet or booklet with info on the bands, and, worst of all, the original recording speed was way too slow. I don’t know whether the generator used to record the bands kept frying out or what, but I do know that all the singers have been miraculously transformed into slow-motion bassos and all the groups sound embarrassingly out of tune. No one gets away unscathed, but noisy thrashers WAR ZONE are really hurt, having lost velocity and been censored (an anti-Bill Graham rap before “Marriage of Convenience” is missing). Fortunately the punk (DOA, TSOL, LEWD, WAR ZONE, FLIPPER) and post-punk sides (OFFS, WOUNDS, TANKS, TOILING MIDGETS) have been segregated, but on the whole this LP proves that good intentions alone do not a good album make.

V/A Life Is Ugly So Why Not Kill Yourself? LP

Another great compilation out of Los Angeles. Side one brings us the hard-edged side of some current SoCal bands, with RED CROSS and the DESCENDENTS leading the way. Side two has a lot of different styles with new tracks by the MINUTEMEN, 100 FLOWERS, SACCHARINE TRUST, PLEIBS, and an old URINALS gem dug out of the vaults, a track that makes Jumpin’ Jeff shed a tear for the old band. This is one to pick up.

V/A Unsafe at Any Speed EP

Follow-up to This is Boston, Not LA LP. More great raves from JERRY’S KIDS, GANG GREEN, and F.U.’s, and some slower material by GROINOIDS, PROLETARIAT (great put-down of Reagan called “Voodoo Economics”) and the FREEZE’s classic “Refrigerator Heaven” that schizophrenically jumps from slow ’70s rock to thrash.

V/A Sub Pop 5 cassette

Sub Pop is an innovative little magazine that deals intelligently with alternative American music, sort of a pint-sized version of its cousin OP. In place of the usual eclectic printed zine comes this equally eclectic aural zine. The variety of musical styles covered, in one sense a strength, also ensures that few will appreciate the entire LP. I love the ’60s garage punk of Wichita’s EMBARRASSMENT, the innovative guitar pop of DC’s NURSES, the powerful instrumental by Seattle’s PELL MELL, and Doug Kahn’s nastily edited version of a Reagan interview. The rest ranges from good post-punk, pop, and psychedelic to unlistenable art damage, but those interested in the best of the non-punk underground should look no further.

V/A New York Thrash cassette

A good but somewhat disappointing sampler of New York punk bands. The main problem is that the compiler—Tim Sommer?—didn’t always use enough discrimination in selecting bands or songs. Especially impressive are KRAUT’s piston-driven punk, the BEASTIE BOYS’ primitive thrash, and intense experimental punk by both the FALSE PROPHETS and the long-defunct MAD; one should also note ADRENALIN OD’s ultrafast funnypunk and the female-led noise of EVEN WORSE. Most of the other groups should already be familiar (BAD BRAINS, UNDEAD, HEART ATTACK, NIHILISTICS), but there’s no excuse for including macho Misfits-clones like the FIENDS and leaving the great REAGAN YOUTH off this compilation. A lot of the material here is available elsewhere, but ROIR has provided a service by reissuing some hard-to-find and out-of-print items.

V/A Lansimaisen Sivilisaation cassette

Another one for collectors. Sound quality varies a lot, but contains some unobtainable punk from Poland, Germany, Italy, Finland, etc. Including incredible hardcore from Brazil’s OLHO SECO.

Vice Squad Stand Strong Stand Proud LP

Some feel that VICE SQUAD is falling into the morass of contemporary post-punk. Not quite yet. Stand Strong Stand Proud, despite several throwaway numbers, clashes with social malignancies like vivisection (“Humane”), political passivism (“Freedom Begins at Home”), and the steady erosion of punk values (“Out of Reach”) with power and complete credibility. In addition, Beki’s point of view provides a welcome contrast to the typical male-dominance in modern-day hardcore. Highly recommended.