Reviews

MRR #5 • March/April 1983

Abrasive Wheels When the Punks Go Marching In LP

This band has a style that works well enough in a 7″ format, but is too unimaginative to sustain an entire album’s worth of material. There’s nothing really wrong with the ABRASIVE WHEELS. They have a fast, powerful, well produced sound and some good songs—it’s just that their music doesn’t normally reach out and grab you. Here, the possible exceptions are “Danger, Danger,” “Voice of Youth,” and a couple of the cuts from previous 45s.

Ad Nauseam Brainstorm EP

Despite the dumb heavy metal graphics on the pic sleeve, I think this is easily peculiar enough to transcend this month’s crop of standard Britpunk. It’s a weird mixture of common elements—real gravelly Oi vocals, staccato CRASS-like choruses, slow/fast guitar-heavy music—anchored by a distinctive fuzz bass. Description won’t suffice; you’ve got to hear this one for yourself. I love it.

Alternative In Nomine Patri EP

Nowadays, one opens a single on the Crass label with a little skepticism. Does the classic sleeve conceal another ANDY T? Well, you don’t have to worry about ALTERNATIVE, because they rip. The title cut is an excellent show song that may not appeal to the unrelenting hardcore type. The others are dynamite and should be played over and over, as loudly as possible. Great record.

Amebix Winter / Beginning of the End 7″

The AMEBIX are currently sounding very much like early KILLING JOKE. Both of these songs are characterized by ultra-heavy bass-lines, echoing drums, and the sort of agonized singing that Jaz is famous for. Now that KILLING JOKE has wimped out, there’s more than enough room for cool cats like the AMEBIX. The cover unfolds into a nice poster.

Anthrax They’ve Got It All Wrong EP

I’m not sure if the Small Wonder label is here to stay, but it’s real good to see this new record. ANTHRAX definitely has that CRASS-family sound, with its orchestrated highs and lows. This EP is musically and lyrically powerful, so watch for another soon on the Crass label.

Appendix Ei Raha Oo Mun Valuuttaa LP

Not quite as manic as the RIISTETYT album, but every bit as good. Although APPENDIX has a very powerful hardcore sound, their material is more varied and distinctive than the norm. As a result, the songs stick in your head after only a couple of listens, whether they’re thrashers like “Paniikkia,” mid-tempo punkers like “Kuitenkin Kuolemme,” slow noisemakers like “Nöyrät Nuolee,” or combinations of the above like “Ai?” If you like DC’s SCREAM, you’ll get a rush out of APPENDIX. And dig that psychedelic cover!

Bastards Harhaa cassette

This band must be the Finnish equivalent of DISCHARGE—metal meets thrash at 120 mph. There can be no winners of a nuclear war at that speed. Seriously, one side of this tape is studio and one side is live, but both are excellently recorded. Propaganda strikes again.

Beex Butch / Empty House 7″

Good second pop-punk effort from BEEX. “Butch” is a snazzy uptempo song featuring female lead vocals, one heavy guitar, one folk-rock guitar, and a nice overall drive. The flip is a more conventional rocker. The guitar interaction is what catches your ear; the gross cover catches your eye.

Black Easter Ready to Rot EP

Heavy metal punk with superficial Satanic overtones, only vaguely related to the the type of thing popularized by such LA groups as 45 GRAVE, VOX POP, CHRISTIAN DEATH, etc. Not my cup of tea at the best of times, but BLACK EASTER are far more turgid than most. Useless really.

Blitz New Age / Fatigue 7″

The best thing about this new BLITZ 45 is that it will piss off the more narrow-minded Oi-sters. It really breaks the standard “skunk” mold with a schizoid musical approach combining NEW ORDER (squeaky clean production, a dance-oriented beat, a tinkling piano) and GARY GLITTER (superheavy drums and repetitive sing-along choruses) influences. I long for the crunching guitars of their All Out Attack EP, but I’m thankful that they’re not just recycling their more derivative recent material.

Butcher On the Ground / Grow Up, Don’t Blow Up 7″

Haunting guitar progressions and an impressive wall of noise distinguish both sides of this debut single by BUTCHER. While “Grow Up” wins points for its breakneck, amphetamine-paced instrumental attack, the flip maintains more dramatic power and distinctiveness. Good, rowdy hardcore energy throughout.

Code of Honor What Are We Gonna Do? / What Price Would You Pay? 7″

Strong (and occasionally annoying) heavy metal influences punctuate both sides of this hardcore offering by SF’s own CODE OF HONOR. “What Are…” grapples with the important issue of passivity in the current punk scene, while the somewhat slower B-side addresses a variety of societal ills. Highly credible and articulate lyrics.

Conflict It’s Time to See Who’s Who LP

A very well produced record by a band heavily influenced by CRASS. The punk herein is sometimes slow, sometimes frantic, but always political. Most of the songs have that well-known militaristic sound, but a few are downright melodic. The multi-colored sleeve is unusual for a Crass-related label, and there are some real musical moments here. Don’t miss out.

Cringe Spit on Your Grave EP

Chunky Texas garage punk. Dorky singing and muscular guitars propel these basic rockers. The themes are typically inane, with “Toxic Shock” and “Secretary Spread” generating the heartiest guffaws. Tesco’ll be able to relate to these jokers.

Crisis Holocaust-U.K. 12″

A timely reissue of CRISIS’s first two 7-inchers. This band’s trademark is superb melodic punk powered by two guitars, one fuzzed-out, one cleaner. The melodies and hooks are irresistibly catchy, and the political messages have never been more relevant. If you missed out the first time around, don’t be stupid and ignore CRISIS now. They exemplify all of the qualities that made earlier English punk so great, so demand this record at your local store.

Cult Maniax Blitz / Lucy Love 7″

The second 7″ from this lot. Both tracks are in the medium-paced Britpunk style, but “Blitz” is a really superb song. The combination of a great sing-along chorus, drill-press guitar, and interesting lyrics make it a mini-classic. The flip is faster, less memorable, and rather dumb.

Dementia Precox S.C.H.P. 12″

A bit of a letdown after their first intriguing 7″. Here, only “Maladie d’Esprit” has as much subdued aggression. There’s a sinister undercurrent to DEMENTIA PRECOX, and they demonstrate that synths and drum machines can be used to intimidate rather than hypnotize, but they currently seem to be moving in an artier direction. Too bad.

Der KFC Knülle Im Politbüro LP

These jokers have been around for a while, and they’re still peddling the same unprofessional funnypunk that they began with. The main difference is that now they’ve incorporated diverse influences like “Oi-Oi-Oi” background vocals (in the title song), rockabilly beats (“Gratissex”), a quasi-funk bass (“Regardez-Moi”), and even some artiness (“Nachts scheint die Sonne”). It’s kind of fun to listen to this album, but it won’t exactly etch itself in your memory.

Destructors Exercise the Demons of Youth LP

This LP’s got some punch. The music is faster and snappier than the UK norm, and some tracks really roar (“Born Too Late,” “Hillside Strangler,” etc.). Inexplicably, there are good anti-drug and anti-violence lyrics standing side-by-side with others having an unfortunate fixation on sex and violence. The guitars could be a little louder vis-à-vis the snare drum, but on the whole the DESTRUCTORS album moves along at a brisk pace and keeps your attention, so give it a chance.

Detention Dead Rock ‘n’ Rollers / El Salvador 7″

Idiotic garage punk from New Jersey. The A-side has some of the funniest lyrics I’ve heard recently, while the flip features an absolutely atrocious bar-band guitar solo. These guys are so awful that I actually like them. Maybe they’ll tickle your funnybone, too.

Die Alliierten Ruhm und Ehre LP

An excellent release with varying punk styles and tempos, all the way up to thrash. It’s very tight and features good choruses, but the real strengths here are a great drummer and a guitarist who really cuts loose with some unusual licks and great, swooping chords.

Die Kreuzen Cows and Beer EP

Well, I liked DIE KREUZEN’s earlier cassette a lot, but even it didn’t quite prepare me for this outstanding slab of vinyl. All the noteworthy aspects of the former have been preserved, most notably the freneticism, but the band is tighter now and the recording is better. There’s a hint of the MEAT PUPPETS and CODE OF HONOR herein, but these Wisconsin guys are clearly originals.

DRI Dirty Rotten EP

Mix together the early CIRCLE JERKS, early BLACK FLAG, MDC, MINOR THREAT, SSD, TERVEET KÄDET, and GANG GREEN, and you have something approximating these DIRTY ROTTEN IMBECILES (so-called by their parents). What can I say—this is manic, intense, tight thrash with great lyrics, and I can’t wait till these Houston boys unleash themselves upon the rest of us deprived people. 22 songs.

Edith Massey Punks, Get Off the Grass / Big Girls Don’t Cry 7″

Two hilarious novelty tracks from the “Egg Lady” in John Waters’ cult film, Pink Flamingos. The music on this picture disc is basic hard rock with dumb guitar solos, but the arrangements and lyrics are a laugh a minute. “Punks” is addressed to all the punks who are going nowhere fast, and the 300 lb. Edie’s version of the old FOUR SEASONS hit takes on an entirely new meaning here.

Erazerhead Klub Foot EP

This live EP renews some of my faith in ERAZERHEAD. They’ve recaptured their earlier snappiness and guitar power here, which suggests that bad production was mainly to blame for their recent vinyl failures. Check it out if you like(d) the LURKERS, and have a good laugh during “Get Pissed Again,” a punky rewrite of CHUBBY CHECKER’s big hit, “Let’s Twist Again.”

Artificial Peace / Exiled Split EP

An admirable new release out of DC, with ten tracks, two bands on one 7″ EP. The EXILED have improved a lot since their recent tape. They do both thrashers and slow, grinding numbers with interesting effects that show versatility and imagination. They sound young but have potential—“Artificial Friend” is great. What ARTIFICIAL PEACE lack in production values, they make up for with some good lyrics and classic thrash in between the slower bridges and haunting background vocals. Hats off to “Think For Yourself.”

Fallout Conscription EP

The six short compositions on this EP suffer from badly mixed, garage-style production values, with the guitars pushed way into the back. Too bad, because the subjects covered on this record demonstrated a high level of political astuteness and credibility. “Conscription” and “Laughable Attack” are especially topical.

False Alarm I.W.L.P.I.F. cassette

This group hails from down near Monterey, and the music is fairly standard NorCal stop-and-go thrash. Pretty energetic, but not really original. The words are similar in all fifteen songs, expressing a desperation and emptiness that must make the writer a real joy to be stuck in an elevator with.

Flux of Pink Indians Strive to Survive Causing the Least Suffering Possible LP

I have a hard time finding fault with this album. Once again, if you don’t like your punk political, steer clear, because FLUX is dynamite. The whole LP is a marvelously orchestrated opera of poetic condemnations of our nuclear world that builds up to a climactic musical explosion. The production is superb, and a booklet is included. My copy’s grooves are already worn down.

Forgotten Rebels Rhona Barrett / Tell Me You Love Me 7″

Remixed versions of two songs from the FORGOTTEN REBELS’ LP mentioned in MRR #3. The guitars are mixed a lot louder this time around, and it sounds really hot. “Tell Me You Love Me” is an exceptional punky-pop cut with background vocals and a chorus that’ll stick in your head for days, maybe months. More of the same, please.

Frantix Face Reality EP

Hardcore from Denver. The FRANTIX have a nice chunky guitar attack which sounds very PISTOL-ian on their mid-tempo songs especially “Sharin’ Sharon.” The semi-thrashers have an awkward feel to them, as if the band just started playing real fast, but the grungy guitar cuts through all the confusion. A nifty record in the ’77-’78 punk tradition.

Gang Green & the Amputators Racin’ for the Pink / I Hate You 7″

A real dumb garage punk record by a geeky rock band from SF. “Racin’ for the Pink” has lots of sleazy power chords, some supercool but over-long lead solos, and background soundtracks of hot rods or cycles accelerating. Great for crusin’ with the top down! The flip combines raunch and self-explanatory grammar school sentiments. For G.G. ALLIN fans.

Genocides Come Again (You Make Me Wanna) / Born to Lose 7″

I don’t have much good to say about this. The GENOCIDES sound like a bunch of headbanging rockers that decided to go punk in an effort to gain an audience somewhere. The A-side is every bit as stupid as it sounds, and the HEARTBREAKERS cover tries hard to make up in speed what it lacks in interest. The only saving grace is that they managed to get a searing treble sound out of the guitars.

GG Allin No Rules EP

Hey, this is even better than G.G.’s usual garage punk offerings, being faster, tighter, and minus sexism. Amazing! The background choruses turn “No Rules” into a classic, but this guy still serves as a constant reminder of how absurd people can be. That’s a recommendation.

Harnröhrer Manchmal Habe Ich’s Satt EP

Somewhere in between CHAOS-Z and DAILY TERROR we got HARNRÖHRER. They are a German garage band with heavy guitar sound similar to that of early U.K. punk. The production may not be great and the songs are rather monotone, but they are charming. Is this the real German underground?

Hates Panacea 12″

This band has been around for a long time—that’s the good part of this review. This EP isn’t as bad as their last 7”—that’s the so-so part of this review. This records isn’t as good as their earlier releases—that’s the bad part. The pop-punk sound and almost falsetto vocals here are too close to new wave, but there are some good lyrics and a couple of cuts that rock out pretty hard (“Punk 1301” and “What Am I Living For?”).

Honkas Das Lied Für Fritz EP

HONKAS are a very raw punk band from Germany, and the production on this record only accentuates their primitivity. Some of the songs here almost degenerate into an undefined mass of guitar distortion, but others (like the title track) have more focus and drive. Pretty sharp.

Iron Cross Skinhead Glory EP

This slice of American Oi drags a lot but the drill press guitar sound is hot. The lyrics are about fighting and at face value seem confused if not downright reactionary. Vocalist Sab told me that aside from ex-bassist Wendel’s “Psycho Skin”—a retarded homophobic diatribe—most of the other songs are based on specific incidents and advocate self-defense not mindless violence. Unfortunately that isn’t at all clear from the enclosed lyric sheet. When dealing with sensitive subject matter, it would be helpful if bands included more information on what it is they’re trying to say. After all isn’t the object of music to communicate feelings and ideas?

Kraut An Adjustment to Society LP

A potent mixture of ’77-style powerchord punk and more contemporary thrashers can be found on this excellent debut album by KRAUT. It is far more riveting than their two EPs, and should serve to silence many of their critics once and for all. Solid production, loads of tight guitar power, abundant energy, and huge hooklines are all showcased here. I don’t really accept Tim Sommer’s suggestion that KRAUT are the punk group of the ’80s, and for all I know, they might actually be the would-be rockstars that their enemies contend, but they sure as hell won’t need ex-PISTOL Steve Jones to give them credibility next time around. Highly recommended.

Lepers Evil Music / So We Can Talk 7″

The thing I like most about both cuts are the vocals, which are eerie but not pretentious. The A-side is the song I like musically; it sort of reminds me of the more upbeat, listenable side of PERE UBU. Great bass runs.

Limbo Race Down and Backwards / What It Is 7″

OK post-punk from Boston. A loud, clean guitar combines with a heavy bass/drum sound and fine singalong choruses in the engaging “Down and Backwards,” but the lead vocals are too pretentious and the saxy B-side is weak.

Lixomania Violência & Sobrevivência EP

LIXOMANIA sound a bit like some of the better new English bands, but with an edge and vocal rawness more reminiscent of Finnish groups. There’s one thrasher and a bunch of mid-tempo punk songs covering themes like punk not dying, massacres of innocent people, etc. The lyrics are in Portuguese, the language of Brazil.

Lost Cause Forgotten Corners 12″

TSOL may have mutated into something barely recognizable, but their great original punk sound lives on in the material of many current SoCal bands, including the VANDALS, NO CRISIS, and, as this record indicates, LOST CAUSE. That’s certainly not a bad thing, except that here the material lacks the punch of LOST CAUSE’s 7″ debut. There are a few hot moments in “Living in Hell” and “Firing Line,” but somehow I was expecting more from these guys.

Malcolm McLaren Buffalo Gals EP

If you enjoyed the classic 12″ by GRANDMASTER FLASH, chances are that you’ll favor this scratch version of “Buffalo Gals” by SEX PISTOLS creator and music entrepreneur Malcolm McLaren. Demented, confusing, and very funny, this collage of tape loops and dubs definitely hits the mark.

Meatmen Crippled Children Suck EP

Once again, the MEATMEN have managed to provoke “orgasms” of laughter. The same scrungy guitar and chaotic garage approach that stood out on their classic debut serve to propel these here garish songs about a variety of sexual hang-ups. It might be offensive if it weren’t so damn funny, and even though Tesco’s member shrivels up every time he thinks about “human rights” punks at MRR, we still like the silly savage.

Minor Threat Out of Step 12″

Exploding turbulence thrusts forth eight new MINOR THREAT proficient arrangements. Increase the velocity of their first two powerful releases, step Brian up to second guitar, add new bassist Steve, and still more potent lyrical blitzes, and this 12″’s non-hesitant progression outbursts into the blazing best Dischord yet. Don’t miss.

Necros Conquest for Death / Take ‘Em Up 7″

“Conquest for Death” is a raw uncontrollable rage of rambunctious combustion. A fast, forceful frantically paced flailing stormer against competitive nature. An outrageous single venture before they release the upcoming LP.

No Choice Sadist Dream EP

This offbeat record displays a good hand for social satire on the title track, which is basically a spoken poem over an acoustic backdrop. The flipside, however, compensates for a throwaway number with a vaguely wimpy, but nonetheless engaging pop-punk composition (“Nuclear Attack”). Interesting.

OHL 1000 Kreuze LP

The second LP from German punk veterans OHL is much hotter than their uneven debut. The production is crisper, the group has become a lot tighter, and the songs are much more memorable. Though not really a thrash band, OHL do produce some speedy slabs of guitar-heavy power that’ll strain your speakers at high volume (like “Schrei, Schrei” and “Warschauer Pakt”). I’ve heard rumors that these guys have right-wing proclivities, but they should lay the rumor-mongers to rest here with “Nie Wieder,” one of the most vitriolic anti-Nazi songs I’ve ever run across. Recommended.

One Way System All Systems Go LP

This album contains at least one track from each of their three previous 7″s. ONE WAY SYSTEM focus on the more traditional punk styles, which they handle well, but they also play a few thrashers. A pretty good record, though not exceptional.

Out of Order Open Prison LP

Infinitely better than their weak debut EP. OUT OF ORDER now have a much more powerful guitar sound, a tighter instrumental attack, a faster tempo, and decent production. There’s a real mixture of punk styles here, ranging from the ’76 numbers with Rottenesque vocals (“Royal Wedding”) to ’78-’79-era Britpunk (“Ministry Bureaucracy,” the title cut, and a cover of CRISIS’s “Holocaust”) to more modern “skunk” anthems (“Politicians” and “Wasted Youth”), to pop-punk (“Inside Out”), and their occasional use of an organ can be refreshing. All in all, this LP represents a sizable step forward for these German punks.

Part 1 Funeral Parade EP

The realm of death. Frenzied punk creative guitar feedback frightfully shrills terror and morose. Echoing drums pound shimmering insanity, evil. Haunting vocals taunt vivid lyrical descriptions of fear, anti-God, and anti-system. True music to reality’s horror show. Sullenly slower but poses the same brilliance as RUDIMENTARY PENI. Psychotic fold-out cover art is exceptional. Worth your interest.

Pressure You Talk, We Talk / Shoot 12″

Strong guitar pop with some superficial post-punk effects. This 12″ is somewhat overproduced, but the ringing guitars and overall catchiness make it more than worthwhile. PRESSURE’s sound reminds me of early FINGERPRINTZ, and that’s A-OK.

Protozoas Stereo Types EP

An uneven garage rock band from the hinterlands of Illinois. Their faster semi-punk cuts (“Tell Me Where” and especially “Too Easy”) have a loud and primitive drive that’s rather appealing, but the others are very boring songs in the traditional hard rock/heavy metal vein.

Psycho 8-Song EP

Really cool. This band does a cover of the SONICS’ classic, along with other tunes ranging from straight-on thrash to thrash meets power-pop (in the good sense of the term). Great hooks, sharply delivered, and more gas than a bowl of Boston beans can produce.

Rabid Bring Out Your Dead 12″

This 12″ sounds simultaneously over-produced and under-recorded, but the good music still makes it through. There are a couple of dragged-out mid-tempo numbers, but there’s a find dirge (“Holocaust”) and a few real kickers.

Ramones Subterranean Jungle LP

More explorations into the territory they’ve been staking out over the course of their last couple albums. Even without Phil Spector, they’re still aiming for that Spectorian Wall of Sound, and they manage to get it. The material ranges from great new guitar-heavy pop tunes to lame versions of earlier classics like “Little Bit o’ Soul” and “Time Has Come Today.” I think it sounds real good, but if you’re only interested in “Blitzkrieg Bop Part 75,” this LP isn’t for you (except maybe “Psycho Therapy”).

Rattus WC Räjähtää LP

I’m getting tired of repeating myself, but this is another great Finnish thrash record. RATTUS are as fast and powerful as anybody, but not quite as chaotic or extreme in the vocals as some newer bands. There’s more musical control in evidence here, probably due to a longer period of musical apprenticeship. Still, it’s hard to find a more intense song than “Miesten Koulu,” so don’t overlook this Pus-covered baby.

Red Alert City Invasion / Negative Reaction 7″

Noisy and somewhat annoying, this latest effort by RED ALERT fails to approach the standard set by themselves or most other “skunk” bands recording in Britain nowadays. Both compositions here are musically undistinctive and, surprisingly, quite messily produced.

Rejectors Struggle cassette

If you had the good fortune to come upon their EP, you know what this new four-song “live” cassette is like. If not, it’s not too late to pick up on this bone-crunching attack. Note, as go the FARTZ (now 10 MINUTE WARNING), so go the REJECTORS. This means that there are some heavy metal guitar licks on this tape.

Riistetyt Valtion Vankina LP

The biggest problem with RIISTETYT’s earlier EP was that the vocals didn’t quite mesh with the musical backing, a discomfiting effect that made it difficult to distinguish between the various 1000-mph songs. That problem has been largely, though not completely, overcome on this intense LP. The drummer gets an incredible workout, and sometimes you can’t keep up, but Valtion Vankina is a great record if you like uncompromising thrash with good political lyrics.

NV Le Anderen / Riot Here’s the Sounds of the Streets LP

This album features two new Dutch bands, one punk (RIOT), the other skin (N.V. LE ANDEREN), but I can’t figure that out from the lyrics or music. Both play similarly fast punk or thrash, and both have intelligent songs about similar subjects. An excellent release, but I’m still confused. The beautiful cover doesn’t help matters.

Roach Motel Roach & Roll EP

Classical-style punk from Florida. The songs are catchy and the recording is raw enough, but the lyrics are about as retarded as you can get, even though they’re meant as jokes. “Wetback” is chauvinistic if not actually racist, and then there are your typical misogynistic, anti-gay, and anti-hippy songs. “More Beer” is a gas, but I bet Anita Bryant would be proud of these “punkers.”

Scream Still Screaming LP

This is bound to be one of the best releases of ’83. Dischord has really got their production down—it’s the best in punk. An unrelentless record, musically and lyrically, containing powerhouse thrash with great hooks, choruses, and vicious guitars. I don’t care much for the few reggae-ish cuts, but otherwise I can’t say enough good about this one.

Screaming Dead Children of the Boneyard Stones cassette

A primitive, garagey sound permeates this 6-song cassette by horror rockers SCREAMING DEAD. Perhaps not as stirring as their Valley of the Dead EP, this tape still contains abrasive standouts like “This Is the End of the World” and “God of Love.” It comes complete with a ghoulishly illustrated booklet and a SCREAMING DEAD button.

Sic F*cks (Take Me) To the Bridge 12″

A lame garage rock record which might have seemed funny back in ’76, but now sounds pathetic and out of date. “Rock or Die” and “Chop Up Your Mother” are pretty entertaining, but on the whole this is too calculated to be good garage punk. It comes off more like crass in-joke commercialism.

Silver Abuse Fall from Grace EP

A real potpourri of styles here, ranging from weird, disjointed, punked-out numbers (“Cuban Homo Farm” and “Plastic Rows”) to rhythmic African chants (“Jumping Through the Jungle”) to awful art-damaged shit (“Rats Tied to Trees”). You’d have to be schizoid to like everything on this EP. Maybe SILVER ABUSE ought to try playing at mental hospitals.

Skrewdriver Back with a Bang! / I Don’t Like You 12″

You’d never know that over five years had gone by from listening to these two skinhead anthem by reformed proto-Oi band SKREWDRIVER. They still sound the same, though perhaps a little less melodic in the guitar arrangements, and their seminal influence on the modern Oi groups is everywhere apparent. Singer Ian Stuart practically wrote the book on the sandpaper sneer that’s so omnipresent today; unfortunately, he also set the ideological tone for the more reactionary groups around now (the LAST RESORT, the 4-SKINS, SPECIAL DUTIES, etc.). I detest SKREWDRIVER’s values, but I can’t stop singing along with these damn songs. What a dilemma!

Sluts 12 Inches of Sluts LP

A raw garage punk album by a band out of New Orleans. The music is exceedingly primitive, with fuzzy two-chord guitar, nasty vocals, and a very fast tempo. I’d recommend it without hesitation on that basis, but the lyrics cross the fine line between scatological humor and gross ignorance on more than one occasion (especially the racist “Poor Blacks”). Still, how can you criticize a record with a song called “Mom’s Cunt” on it?

Splodgenessabounds Mouth and Trousers / In Search of the Seven Golden Gussetts 7″

“Mouth” is one of SPLODGE’s typical novelties, in this case a goofy ska song with absurd lyrics. The B-side retains the goofy lyrics, but shifts into a fast funnypunk gear. Entertaining as usual.

SS Decontrol Get It Away 12″

The second full frontal assault of raw, rigorous rapidity from SSD. Seven more classic attacks of persistent manifestation. Springa’s harsh garroting vocals onslaught wild power as the band, now featuring a second guitarist, delivers some intense unrestrained material. The year’s best so far.

Suspense Murder with the Axe EP

A four-song release by a young Dutch band. There’s a lot of different styles here, including a semi-post-punk track with a synth, a punk cut with a strong ’77 influence (“Heroin Child”), and a thrasher or two, “Crazy Sod” being the fastest. Pretty raw and catchy.

The Abused Watch Out cassette

Some heavy metal licks laid over really powerful thrash. The songs are short and well punctuated, with strong drumming. I can’t hear many of the words, but if “Nuclear Threat” and “D.F.Y. (Drug Free Youth)” are indicative, they’re fine. Highly recommended.

The Adicts The Sound of Music LP

A fabulous cover design on the ADICTS’ second album doesn’t help an affable, yet insignificant, collection of pop-rock ditties reminiscent of a cross between the early ADICTS and ADAM & THE ANTS. The single (“Chinese Takeaway”) is catchy enough but most of the songs have a cloying style and no thematic depth or personality. It’s OK for parties, I suppose.

The Alarm Marching On EP

The second strong pop single from the ALARM. Their main claim to fame lies in an inventive, jangling guitar sound, though decent hooks and an unprepossessing organ also add distinction. Not up to the best ’60s standards, but much better than the TEARDROP EXPLODES and their ilk.

The Bangles The Real World 12″

A few people I know rave about the BANGLES, but I just don’t understand why. Some of their originals do have a ’60s feel (“Want You” and “Mary Street” on this EP), but most are examples of overproduced new wave pablum à la GO-GO’S. Even their LA-DE-DA’S cover (“How Is the Air Up There?”) is lame.

The Bix Bigler Band Amtrack cassette

Here, a former member of Reno’s party band, the THRUSTING SQUIRTERS, joins with members of 7 SECONDS and SECTION 8 to put out a rockin’ rolly four-song tape with scatological lyrics that would make Tesco Vee wince. The classic here is “There’s a Scientific Name for Your Dick.” Retarded to the max.

The Chesterfield Kings Here Are The Chesterfield Kings LP

I’m not sure at what point brilliant evocation becomes slavish imitation, and I don’t think the CHESTERFIELD KINGS have figured it out, either. Ultimately, such semantic or philosophical questions are begged by one’s emotional responses, and this album connects with me because of its authentic ’60s punk feel, even down to the production. My one complaint is that these tracks are all covers. Even though some of them are better than the originals—“Outside Chance” leaps immediately to mind—I wish they’d apply that ultra-belligerent ’60s style to new compositions. Eminently cool.

The Defects Defective Breakdown LP

Not as bad as one might have expected after hearing their two dismal 7″ releases. The DEFECTS’ lyrics are generic at best, and their material certainly isn’t innovative, but the production is excellent and some of the songs on side one have catchy guitar parts or choruses (especially “Dance” and the title track). This album’s neither an upper nor a narcotic.

The Eu’s Arse Lo Stato Ha Bisogno Di Te? Bene, Fottilo EP

Uncontrolled DISCHARGE-like thrash from Italy. This EP has loads of raw spirit, a chaotic instrumental attack, and really weird garage production—right in the middle of a song, the vocals or guitar will suddenly get louder and softer without rhyme or reason. It must be that world-famous MANIAX influence.

The F.U.’s Kill for Christ 12″

This is the second release on the X-Claim! label, and it’s no letdown. Some of the songs here are reminiscent of the super-fast sound associated with Boston; the others are slower, more distinct or melodic, but still rough, raw, and tight. Snap it up.

The Freeze Guilty Face EP

More “Boston-paced” music from this Cape Cod outfit, no letdown from their previous material. The playing is solid, tight, and inspired, with good hooks all around. As the liner notes say, “this record has been inspired by warmongers, social pressures, police oppression, and rednecks… their necks are getting redder.”

The Gas Ignore Me / Do It, Don’t Tell Me 7″

“Ignore Me” is a hopping guitar-heavy pop song with a chorus you just can’t get out of your head. It sounds a lot like a much louder JAM from the All Mod Cons period. The flip is OK, but not up to the same standard. The GAS may be one-hit wonders, but this here A-side is it.

The Gonads Peace Artists EP

Despite Dig’s valuable warning that the GONADS are a phony Bushell non-band, I can’t help liking this ridiculous funnypunk offering, with its soccer choruses, punky guitar, and cocktail-party piano. All Bushell is good for is a few laughs over a beer, but this is clearly the best medium for his antics. A knee-slapper from a double-dealing rip-off artist; it should be taped, not purchased.

The Joneses Jonestown / Criminals in My Car 7″

An unanticipated mixture of styles on this, the JONESES’ first 7″ effort. “Jonestown” is an instrumental with a slight tinge of disco bass and reggae guitar; the flip is a garagy slice of mid-tempo SoCal punk that kind of reminds me of REDD KROSS in the verse and RADIO BIRDMAN in the chorus. Not at all generic.

The Last Up in the Air EP

Wow! The LAST have finally reverted to their earlier fast and raw form on 2/3 of this EP. “Up in the Air” is a super cut with great ’60s organ swills and a short but sweet psychedelic guitar break. “Wrong Turn” is almost as good, but “Leper Colony” has an awful, pretentious chorus. Still, it’s good to see the LAST get back a bit closer to the roots.

The Lurkers Frankenstein Again / One Man’s Meat… 7″

If you ever wondered what would happen if Pete Stride’s punky-pop compositions were recorded in a 24-track studio, this single provides the answer. The result is good snappy tunes driven by DISCHARGE-like power, a hot combination. The lyrics on the A-side are well taken. ERAZERHEAD, make a note of the change.

The Outcasts Blood and Thunder LP

Northern Ireland’s OUTCASTS have been carrying the punk standard since ’78, and I’ve always been a big fan of theirs. So it really hurts to say that their second album is something of a letdown. Their earlier punky pop sound has gradually mutated into a churning, militaristic, metallic juggernaut with lots of hooks and inherent power, but little humanity. Moreover, eight of these twelve tracks have already been releases, their new versions of old classics like “Frustration” really pale in comparison, and “Sex and Glory” is the only newer song that really stands out. The OUTCASTS have lost their innocence, and the results are at best mixed.

The Partisans The Partisans LP

Both consistent and powerful, this debut album by the PARTISANS contains a bevy of fine composition exploring themes of social protest and youth rebellion. An exciting version of “17 Years of Hell” accompanies new streamrollers like “No U-Turns” and “I Never Needed You”—possibly the best material this band has ever committed to vinyl. A lyric sheet would have been appreciated, but it’s more than made up for by the twelve straightforward, unpretentious punk anthems here.

The Saints Out in the Jungle LP

The SAINTS’ current album is bound to be a disappointment to some and a surprise to all. The mid-to-slow-tempo numbers use acoustic guitars and even brass section at times, and the slick recording actually does justice to solid compositions like “Follow the Leader” and “Curtains.” Quite frankly, though, Out in the Jungle qualifies as nothing more than competent light rock—nowhere near past triumphs like “I’m Stranded.”

The Studs Warning! High Voltage EP

This sounds like earlier-style British punk and, although Dutch, has English lyrics. It’s funny how stuff that sounded so great three years ago now sounds so restrained, but “Electric Chair Execution” is fairly effective.

The Three O’Clock Baroque Hoedown 12″

Psychedelic pop without the acid flashbacks. While I prefer the guitar-heavy sound of earlier vintage SALVATION ARMY/THREE O’CLOCK, infectious songs like “With a Cantaloupe Girlfriend” and “I’m Wild” stand out as peaks on this EP of comparatively spare, vocal-oriented melodies. Some might find this record cloying, but it’s still recommendable.

The Vibrators Guilty LP

A surefire hit. On this album, all the VIBES’ old trademarks—precise staccato drum rolls, classic riffing guitars, and excellent songwriting—are embellished by elements absorbed from other rock genres, often in unusual, effective ways. For examples, note the psychedelic guitar segments in “Sleeping” and “Kick It,” the combination of thrashed-out music and Jaggerish vocals on “Watch Out Baby,” the exaggerated Oi sing-along on the rap-style “We Name the Guilty,” etc. Only “A Dot Ain’t a Lot” is truly lame, so give this a listen if you can accept that there are many fine groups around who don’t sound like DISCHARGE or GANG GREEN.

The Young and the Useless Real Men Don’t Floss EP

For some reason, this New York punk group sounds more English than American. Maybe it’s the somewhat restrained drumming, or the deeper guitar hum. In any event, the YOUNG & USELESS aren’t too tight yet, which gives them a certain charm. The lyrics are very questionable, but hopefully age will bring more wisdom—these guys are real young.

Twist & Scream Corporation cassette

This young band was pissed when they were described last issue as FLIPPER-like. They do have some similarity in the distorted, raunchy bass lines and vocals echoes, but they are much more spirited and furious in tempo. Sort of like the CHURCH POLICE (just kidding, guys).

UK Subs Shake Up the City EP

Despite their antics and posturing on stage, the SUBS are a good band. But not a great band by any means. All three songs here are solid rockers and represent some of the best aspects of ’77 Britpunk. A tip of the hat to Charlie Harper for keeping the faith (energetic), but so much has since changed.

Unaware Tear Gas Raid cassette

Now down to a three-piece, this outfit has tightened up considerably, producing a classic guitar-highlighted tape with good hooks, a thick sound, and plenty of tension. Not as funny but better produced, the Unaware sound good at slower paces and thrash speed.

Urban Assault Urban Assault EP

Four bass-heavy songs that combine elements of earlier metal-punk and thrash. A couple of them are real good, and the lyrics are surprisingly decent. The production is chunky, but a bit inconsistent. Not to be confused with the defunct band from South Lake Tahoe which appeared on the Not So Quiet compilation.

Urban Dogs Limo Life / Warhead 7″

The second URBAN DOGS 45 is a lot like the first—boring rock ’n’ roll with a punky tinge. Knox’s guitar tone on the A-side almost saves the day, but he and Chas Harper are certainly capable of better things. Why rehash old riffs and songs?

V/A Get Off My Guts cassette

Eight groups from the Berkeley area, all very young and in various states of existence or non-existence. The tape quality is very garagey, and the material includes some thrash and some pet rock or “mind rot.” The whole thing was recorded by Aaron and Jesse, those two youngsters who put out Tedium fanzine, and all other teeny zines that you literally need a microscope to read.

V/A You Can’t Argue With Sucksess LP

Another LA compilation with a lot of unrecorded bands and a few who’ve already released vinyl (like NO CRISIS, MAD SOCIETY, and the CONSERVATIVES). The first efforts by F-TROOP, RED BERET, the CREWD, SECRET HATE, NUCLEAR BABY FOOD, and New York’s EVEN WORSE are good. Most of them play unique thrash, and a number of the songs are quite memorable. The production is also decent, even on the live tracks. A fine effort off of the LA mainstream.

V/A Growing Pains cassette

There’s quite a conglomeration of styles and sound quality on this South Bay compilation. It’s got thrash, heavy metal punk, garage punk, pop-punk, old punk, etc. The eight bands featured are FACTION, GRIM REALITY, RIBZY, EXECUTIONER, the BRUCES, WHIPPING BOY, the UNAWARE, and LOS OLVIDADOS.

V/A Hudson Rock LP

This Albany, NY compilation is like the ones that used to come out two or three years ago. It’s got a bunch of local bands playing diverse styles of music—’77 punk, punky pop, punkabilly, post-punk, etc. There’s a lot of so-so stuff, some quality stuff, and one thrash outfit (CAPITLE). A sampler in the truest sense of the term.

V/A Noise from Nowhere EP

Just when I thought SoCal was getting a bit stale, along comes this great 4-song EP with one cut each from KENT STATE, MODERN INDUSTRY, MOSLEM BIRTH, and MANSON YOUTH. All four present intense, unusual, and diverse styles of contemporary punk, tinged with deep cynicism. This isn’t LA schlock horror rock, but the real thing—the horrors of living today. Buy and die.

V/A What Syndrome cassette

A compilation with most of the Seattle area’s great bands, past and present. Some of it is pretty garaged-out, but it’s all worthwhile, a necessary addition to anybody’s collection. Includes the FARTZ, the REJECTORS, SOLGER, the ACCUSED, POISON IDEA, FIRING SQUAD, etc.

V/A Punk Dead—Nah Mate, The Smell Is Jus Summink In Yer Underpants Innit LP

Start by reading Featherby’s tirade on the back cover, a great intro full of optimism about the achievements of punk. Then move on to the great music. The MAU MAUS appear with one new track, and ANTI-SYSTEM and XTRACT both debut some powerful songs. The rest of this varied LP contains material by the XPOZEZ, MANIA, and the SEPTIC PSYCHOS, some of which is fiercely melodic, some which is quiet and calculated, and some which is thrashed-out. All in all, it’s a pretty intelligent compilation.

V/A Pah! cassette

A new English compilation tape featuring a couple of bands with vinyl out (AD NAUSEUM and RIOT/CLONE) and a bunch of young hopefuls. The HIDEOUS MUSHROOMS tickle feet with some neat-o funnythrash, the GLIMPO SAUCERS provoke laughs with demented funnypunk, APF BRIGADE intrigue with drum-machine Britskunk, REBELLIOUS YOUTH annoy with overlong post-punk dubs, and HEALTH HAZZARD kick ass with some raw garage thrash. The rest produce more traditional stuff—thrash (LOST CHERREES, X-CRETAS), ’77 punk (PANIK, TOTAL CONTROL), and modern mid-tempo UK punk (WARNING). Pretty varied sampler.

V/A Wessex ’82 EP

Four punky bands from Wessex participate on this strong compilation EP. The SUBHUMANS connect with “No Thanks,” their vitriolic commentary on “making it” in the music biz, while the PAGANS’ track (“Wave Goodbye to Your Dreams”) provides the high-velocity excitement here. Even the A-HEADS mix a satisfying melodic approach with their anti-government tirade. A very fine effort.

V/A Grito Suburbano LP

In-fucking-credible! This is a totally great hardcore compilation from Brazil. Three groups appear on this album: OLHO SECO is an awesome thrash band with a raw guitar that sounds like a pesky fly buzzing around your head; the INOCENTES have a more English-style punk approach; and CÓLERA play very fast hardcore with irresistible sing-along choruses. There’s not one boring musical moment here, and the mix really exaggerates the piercing guitars. I don’t know how they get away with the overtly anti-fascist lyrics in a repressive right-wing dictatorship like the one in Brazil. An absolute must for enthusiasts of gut-level music.

V/A Attack LP

Another uneven punk compilation, this time from Switzerland. The contents cover most recent punk styles, from the CRASS-like assault of SURPRISE ATTACK (in “Banzai Attack”) to LAST EXIT’s basic Oi to PÖBEL’s slow punk with shimmering guitars to the sloppy thrash of R.A.K. to CHAOS’s ’77 punk with faster parts to ?X’s ska-punk fusion (“New York”). My personal faves are MICKEY UND DIE MÄUSE’s funnypunk with gravelly singing and NULL KOMMA NICHT’s cuts on side one, which highlight disjointed thrash with weird vocals that sound like a cross between THEATRE OF HATE’s Kirk Branden and Jello. It’s always nice to get a sampler of bands from another part of the world.

V/A Raw War cassette

The best international sampler cassette available, with bands from Brazil, Canada, Finland, Holland, Italy, Norway, and UK. Features TERVEET KÄDET, NEOS, OLHO SECO, INDIGESTI, RATTUS and more! A lot of jarring explosive doses of chaos from the world of punk.

V/A Pultti EP

Not quite what I’ve come to expect from Finland. On this one, several Finnish hardcore bands develop a more individual style, and the results are very good indeed. MAHO NEITSYT perform another great medium-speed gravel-throated number; APPENDIX have cleaned up their noisy act and put together a couple of good hook-filled cuts; the ETUALA rely on a solid riffing guitar attack; ANTIKEHO provide a slice of nice standard thrash; and NATO do a ’77 punk number. Diversity without wimpiness.

Varaus 1/2 LP

A 12″ with all the songs on one side. Once again, I’m forced to rave about Finnish thrash. This is one of the many bands from that country which inspire amazement. I hadn’t heard of these guys before, but they’ve obviously been practicing to achieve such power.

Virus Salute to the Afghan Rebels / Stepping Stone 7″

VIRUS’s debut is hardly noticeable. “Salute” is a reggaefied pop-punk song with a passable melody, but the B-side might be the most tedious punk version of “Stepping Stone” ever recorded.

White Cross Fascist EP

I don’t know how astute these guys are, but they sure do play some mean thrash punk. Personally, I think WHITE CROSS blow away many better-known groups. They’ve got that extra intensity which separates great thrash from the increasingly common generic variety. Definitely get this one.

Indigesti / Wretched Split EP

More hot Italian thrash on a DIY EP. INDIGESTI are fast, tight, and powerful. They’ve got one slow-fast number with heavy metal guitar parts (“Mai”) amid the thrashers, and a good snotty vocalist. The WRETCHED are faster, sloppier, and right out of the garage, production-wise. The Red Brigades could have made General Dozier’s ears bleed with music by these two bands.

Yam Slam Surf It Up / Boyfriend Girlfriend 7″

Goofy California beach nerds put out an absurd amateur record. “Surf” is a mildly entertaining “rap” rip-off, but it’s the flip that makes this one worthwhile. “Boyfriend Girlfriend” is a chunky, bass-heavy rocker with stuttering speeded-up background vocals and a pronounced echo, similar to “Criminal Mind (Duddle)” by Chicago’s MEATY BUYS. I hope that’s helpful.

Young Weasels Twist & Burn / Happy Feathers 7″

“Twist” is mid-tempo post-punk with a quasi-psychedelic feel, but it’s neither atmospheric nor punchy enough to satisfy me. The flip remedies the latter problem with a ringing ’60s guitar, and consequently comes off better. Still, I’d wait till their next release before coming to any definite conclusions.

Zmiv Banzai! Here’s “Zmiv” Beware! EP

Six songs from this sparsely recorded Dutch thrash band, combining some English sounds with U.S. and Finnish influences. The great insert has a weird picture of about 40 guys with mohawks sitting around in army clothes.