Reviews

MRR #53 • October 1987

Amebix Monolith LP

This record is on a label called Heavy Metal Records, comes without a lyric sheet, sounds laden, but somehow has a glint of individuality. I had a hard time with the length of the cuts and their ponderance, but hopefully beneath all this weight and silliness lies some good lyrics and intentions. Hopefully.

Angry Samoans Inside My Brain 12″

Another in a spate of reissues, this one containing some classic retardo garage punk from 1980. Remixed a bit (not to its detriment) and powerful, it contains “Right Side of My Mind”, “You Stupid Asshole,” “Get Off the Air,” and two more gems. Get it.

Atavistic Life During Wartime EP

Very loose mayhem thrash. Rapid speed dirge guitar and machine gun drumming are joined with harsh, scrambled vocals. All the songs are fast and raw, putting this band in the ranks of DISORDER, NAPALM DEATH, and CHAOS UK.

Attanas Joulupukki EP

The latest EP by ATTANAS shows considerably more finesse and style than before, with occasional melodic concessions, but losing none of the high-sped HC power. These songs are short and to the point, and show some songwriting quality. Very good effort.

Christ on Parade A Mind is a Terrible Thing LP

A full 17 song LP from this durable Bay Area band. They’re varying the pace more these days, and in this case it really works well. Excellent recording, great passionate vocals and screams, and definitely worth a listen. Cool label, too. Support this!

Conflict Turning Rebellion Into Money 2xLP

This live recording of the Gathering of the 5000 features a good selection of CONFLICT material plus several CRASS numbers done by CONFLICT and Steve Ignorant. For the most part, all 32 songs have a good sound, but the band does have some problems with the CRASS music. Included is a lyric booklet that contains a full explanation of the event. Both ups and downs.

Damage Recorded Live Off the Board at CBGB LP

One of “Live at CBGB” cassettes comes to vinyl life, and life it reverberates. Very powerful hardcore that doesn’t stop, and that might be the only complaint here — the on-going similarity of the emotion you’re being clobbered with. But if you want a dose of sledgehammer HC, you know where to find it.

Eugene Chadbourne LSDC&W: The History of the Chadbournes in America 2xLP

“I’ll take my Chadbourne and make it a double.” Four sides as crazed and priceless as always. From goofy Martin Mull-ish “In A Sentimental Mood” to BEATLES, BURL IVES, ROGER MILLER psych-out medleys. These records feature bits and pieces of other tapes and even early lost SHOCKABILLY material. There’s the regular dose of insightful, folksy guitar — diddling, singalongs, psychedelia, and political prowess.

Genöcide Submit to Genöcide LP

These Quincy punks shared the Last Rites For… LP with MIA way back when, died, and are now back to make you gawk in disbelief at their passé stud/skull look. Equally dumbo lyrics and metallish approach make this a joke, unintentionally I’m sure.

Government Issue You LP

Edging ever-closer to rock music, GI employs a big sound, usually powerful beat, and big production to get it across. But the lack of a cohesive, unique sound and catchy tunes make the package relatively unmemorable, making them sound like just another slick band on a bigger label.

Happy Flowers My Skin Covers My Body LP

Manic vocals set to sporadic musical mayhem — sort of in the BUTTHOLES spirit. I thought you had to be from Texas to do this kinda stuff, but these lads are from Virginia. Will interest the fringe freaks and art trendies.

Henrietta Collins and the Wifebeating Childhaters Drive By Shooting 12″

Henry’s kinda joke, I guess, as the “concept” here is a bogus title, “Henrietta Collins and the Wifebeating Childhaters.” Ok. Musically, a new wave tune and a mandatory (he was from DC) WIRE cover on the A-side, and four tunes on the flip, which are more like what I thought would be on the LP, sorta rap/spoken word set to music, including a thrashing of “We Will Rock You” only it’s “I Have Come to Kill You.” Liked the LP better.

Kud Idijoti Bolje Izdati Ploču Nego Prijatelja EP

Ultra-catchy Yugoslavian pop-punk appears on the tracks here — really, it’s quite a departure from the typically messy, thrashy style popular in this country. KUD IDIJOTI have great melodies on three of four tunes, with nifty choruses in a mid-to-fast tempo style. Fine record.

Libresse Krystvärkar LP

Boy this one’s kinda hard to figure. The sound here is slow and grungy like some mutant of ST. VITUS, if you can put up with that they do it fairly well. But they do manage to pick up the pace during a number of songs. Plus a vocalist who sounds like he’s constipated and he’s doing his best to “force the issue”. Not incredible but worth a listen.

Live Skull Don’t Get Any on You LP

This live LP showcases LIVE SKULL’s guitar-laden, atmospheric post-punk sound. Obstinately non-melodic, the songs on this LP, although excellently recorded, don’t excite (they’re too slow) and don’t stick to the ribs (they’re not catchy enough). Fans of the band will like this, though.

Loudspeaker Psychotic Machine / Living With the Dead 12″

In case you’ve wondered what Matt and Chris of CRUCIFIX are up to these days, here’s what. They’re in a band that plays pounding, rhythmic dance music with political/ominous overtones along with members of FLUX, I believe. Soon we’ll be hearing from Sothira’s new band, an entirely different thing.

Negazione Nightmare EP

This record is a re-release of NEGAZIONE’s classic Conannati a Morte… EP with an additional live track, and it displays this band’s absolute command of a fast, frenetic, thrashy, and memorable songwriting style. The live song is a tantalizing hint of how good this band must be live. Great record!

Pagans Live: The Godlike Power of the Pagans LP

It took me a few songs before I recognized the godlike quality here. But after they really start cooking, the reformed PAGANS recorded at the 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis, has all the charm and quality of a garbage truck as it speeds around trying to kill everyone in its path. Massive, so snag this ‘un and wait for the next studio album.

Pussy Galore Right Now! LP

More early ’60s garage meets mid ’80s noise. Can’t say it’s the best of both worlds, but when they aren’t being too arty (a third of the time), they do rock out some grungy crud like CRAMPS meets BUTTHOLES on bad DMT.

Redd Kross Annette’s Got the Hits 12″

Posh Boy’s been re-releasing their early catalog in various shapes and forms, and this is one classic you should really pick up. Great garage punk from L.A.’s McDonald Bros. plus Ron Reyes (later to go on to BLACK FLAG) and Greg Hetson (of later CIRCLE JERKS fame). A real treat.

Sharky’s Machine Let’s Be Friends! LP

The hardcore on this album goes in some original directions, especially in so far as the song arranging is concerned, but the ultimate effect is rather monochromatic and unappealing. Nonetheless, strong energy and power abounds here, and the lyrics are very strange.

Sloppy Seconds The First Seven Inches EP

Four tracks here, all in a bouncy pop-punk style with those irresistible choruses you can’t help but sing along with. What’s more, the lyrics are extremely funny, showing a real satiric bite and flair. I have a feeling that punks everywhere are going to be singing these songs to themselves for a long time to come. Terrific record!!

SS-20 Pope on Tour EP

The A-side of the 45 is a mid-tempo punk number boasting great hooks and lyrics in the best SS-20 style, with good arranging and even a nifty Beethoven guitar break(!). The two songs on the flip are faster and more powerful. Another excellent record from this consistent band.

State False Power LP

This band had a blazing HC EP out many years back, then did some recordings in ’83 and broke up before it was released. They’ve regrouped, I believe, and put out these sessions finally. While the new songs maintain their power, gone is the straight ahead approach, and instead they come on with a highly produced, sometimes post-punk approach, sometimes a bit MISFITS like. Very big departure.

Subhumans 29:29 Split Vision LP

Recorded a month after their final show, these 8 highly produced tracks are their last word. Many of their varied styles appear here: reggae punk, eclectic extended tunes, medium tempo punk, medium-fast tunes. While by no means throwaways, there are no immediate standout classics. And then came CULTURE SHOCK.

The Fucking World Human Rights EP

Instead of the typical Finnish piledriving thrash, this superior EP contains four finely crafted classic punk tunes, all in an anthemic vein. “Shout,” in particular, reminds me of the kind of nostalgic, melodic punk we all used to live. Highly recommended.

The Mice Scooter LP

Less overtly “punk” than their debut 12”, this album contains ten pop-punky tunes with the emphasis on the pop, in a style reminiscent of the early SHOES. Undeniably catchy, this record is best when guitars take precedence, but there’s still a good deal here for fans of cool pop music — though the style does wear thin after a while.

The Shaved Pigs Breakfast is Served LP

Rampant sarcasm and a less than tight, ripping hardcore style are the trademarks on this debut LP by the SHAVED PIGS. The song structures are not always distinctive in these simple tunes, but their cover of the ISLEY BROTHERS’ “Shout” (here entitled “Slam”) is delightful. Good album cover, too.

The Stain I Know the Scam LP

I ordinarily wouldn’t review this kind of music, but because it’s on a “punk” label and looks like a “punk” package, I just thought I’d mention… it ain’t punk at all, it’s metal.

The Untold Fables The Man and the Wooden God EP

A pretty neat neo-’60s release. 4 songs in all, full production that makes the sound clear but not wimpified. Cool guitar, slightly echoey psych feel, and a good cover of the EYES’ (the 60’s UK band much like the early WHO) “When The Night Falls.”

Three Day Stubble Monster LP

The reigning kings of booger-rock transplanted from Texas to San Francisco debut their first platter. (Their first release was a home-made eight track tape, and this disc lives up to its spastic reputation.) It’s almost as if retarded children, discovering Captain Beefheart, decide to play in a rock band. Music to wet your pants by.

UK Subs A.W.O.L. LP

Circa ’82 SUBS, some released before, some not — all studio. Classic punk sounds from a band that dates back to ’77 and who sport a singer older than me. While they’ve never grabbed me, the SUBS have been a perennial fave on the East Coast. Eight songs.

Upset Noise Nothing More to Be Said!! LP

UPSET NOISE specializes in mid-tempo punk with distinct speedcore influences in most of the guitar riffing and some of the wanking. Good for the style, I don’t have much of a sensitivity for this kind of punk, though I have to compliment the fine acidy album cover.

V/A City of Thorns LP

A terrific idea: Mystic has decided to chronicle a series of local punk scenes in a “Sound of USA Cities” LP series, this one centering on Portland, Oregon. RANCID VAT, ANATHEMA, N.R.A., and other bands share this album, which varies severely in sound and song quality. Still, an interesting document.

V/A Die, Jerry, Die LP

A benefit LP for the Anthrax, the club which gave these early Connecticut hardcore bands their starts. All the songs were originally released as EP’s (long out-of-print), and included are C.I.A., VATICAN COMMANDOS, REFLEX FROM PAIN, LOST GENERATION, and VIOLENT CHILDREN. A limited edition release, this is the first for this non-profit label. Great stuff!!

V/A Jak Punk to Punk LP

A varied punk thrash and post-punk collection contains tracks from many of the bands you’ve read about in these pages. Included are ARMIA, DEZERTER, REJESTRACJA, ZENNA, SIEKIERA, ABADDON, and PROCESS. This is out on the state label, Tonpress, but might be available through…

V/A Save Your Ass cassette

A comp (whose profits go to Jello and Co.) featuring WIDE AWAKE’s powerful HC sound, BLOOD IMPULSE ACTIVISTS’ creative punk, MALCOLM TENT’s ranting poetry and more. Definitely worth getting.

V/A Salt in the Wound cassette

60 minutes of high quality HC power here. Outstanding tracks by ANGRY JOHNNY AND THE SNOTS, SHELL GAME, and CHRIST ON A CRUTCH. That’s a hint, so get this one, okay? Band info included.

V/A There’s No Message Like No Message cassette

A pretty swell comp featuring some big names (DEAD MILKMEN, INSTIGATORS, etc.), and a host of smaller acts like BILLY & THE WILLIES, CIVILISED SOCIETY?, etc. Good stuff.

V/A We Will Be Free LP

Three bands out of N. Ireland share this amazingly great record. ASYLUM, STALAG 17, and TOXIC WASTE absolutely kick ass, both musically and lyrically, delivery track after rack of powerful hardcore. Very convincing and necessary!

White Flag Live! Bleedin’ in Sweden 1986 EP

WHITE FLAG has, on this live EP, documented their European tour with a clutch of fast, funny, and hard-rockin’ songs. The recording quality is adequate, no lyric sheet is provided (this band needs one), and all things considered, this is probably a good documentation on their tour. Actually enjoyable.