Reviews

Subterranean

Arkansaw Man Every Job/Mark Twain 7″

Good production and fascinating song structures distinguish this new release by ARKANSAW MAN. Post-punk influences are softened by lively tempos and the addition of a brass section, and there’s certainly more than enough originality on this record to make it a solid contender.

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.

Code of Honor Beware the Savage Jaw LP

Some people can’t stand this record, but I think it’s quite good. Jonithin’s voice is still pretty snotty, Mike’s guitar playing is better than ever, and the rest of the band doesn’t miss a beat. Even more importantly, the songwriting is more accomplished, and there are all kinds of textures that one normally doesn’t find on a “punk” album. Although a couple of turkeys here make me wonder about their next release, this one’s expansive.

Flipper Album – Generic Flipper LP

The hype surrounding FLIPPER has already reached nauseating proportions, and I have no intention of adding to it. If you’re downed out, you’ll like their abrasive slow numbers and if you’re straight-edge, you’ll probably prefer the fast abrasive tracks (“Living for the Depression,” “Nothing”) that they seldom do these days. FLIPPER was much better back when this album was recorded, before they started taking themselves too seriously. After all, any joke—no matter how effective—ceases to be amusing if it’s told too often.

Flipper Get Away / The Old Lady That Swallowed a Fly 7″

Even though I think that everyone in FLIPPER is an egotistical, self-indulgent asshole (except the ever-cool Ted), I’ve got to admit that they’ve put out some truly great singles. “Get Away” is no exception, with its powerful driving beat, noise guitar, and clever, venomous lyrics. The 33 1/3 rpm flip is another humorous, annoying novelty, but “Get Away” makes this one a must. Amazing cover, too.

Flipper Gone Fishin’ LP

Highly polished FLIPPER? Yup, their parting shot contains all the usual FLIPPER ingredients, but with a “clean” production that takes the heart out of their dire messages. “In Life My Friends” comes the closest to their previous approach, but most of the rest leaves me cold. Where’s the feedback, Ted?

Flipper Public Flipper Limited 2xLP

A potpourri of live recordings from between ’80-’85. The recording quality definitely varies, but it is truly a fan’s edition. There are a few songs that have never been available elsewhere and some rare early recordings. Most notable is the foldout and cut touring game/sleeve which is good for at least three plays. Not bad.

Frightwig Cat Farm Faboo LP

This band has, with some justification, been labeled an all-girl FLIPPER. And FRIGHTWIG does have rather loose arrangements, but their sensibilities are more rock’n’rolly than arty, and there are some good songs on this LP (especially “The Wanque Off Song” and “I’ll Talk to You and Smile”). There are also some awful songs. Still, this record is recommendable through the sheer force of the band’s personality.

Joe Pop-o-Pie Joe’s Third Record LP

Mr. Pie continues to annoy everyone again while he shows us how stupid we are. I would have liked a few more songs, but basically the good songs are crunchy, ugly, and actually have a message, and therefore make up for the stupid backwards version of “Sugar Magnolia.”

Negative Trend We Don’t Play, We Riot 12″

NEGATIVE TREND was one of the most exciting bands to emerge from the early SF punk rock scene. This is a reissue of their 7” EP from 1978, and the music is as intense and immediate today as it was then. NEGATIVE TREND was more than just a band—they were a different way of seeing things, a mirror to the brutality of everyday life, and a vision of what could be. Every budding young rebel should do their homework and check this record out.

Pop-O-Pies Joe’s Second Record 12″

More humorous sense and nonsense from Joe Pop-O-Pie. This time he does another version of the DEAD’s “Truckin’,” explains the real story of the POP-O-PIES, and embarks upon a series of rap, punk, thrash, and noise satires, all of which are well-produced. A definite cult item that should be in the Rhino label.

Code of Honor / Sick Pleasure Fight or Die / Dolls Under Control split LP

Glad SICK PLEASURE bit the dust, this being a posthumous release—too heavy metal for my taste, with lyrics of equal mentality. CODE OF HONOR side is much better—still traces of metal (Mike Fox being guitarist in both bands) but the thrash cuts are tight, with interesting variations. Jonithin Christ’s (ex-SOCIETY DOG) lyrics and vocals make all the difference here—he’s graduated from nihilism to advocacy of peace, unity, and political action.

Sick Pleasure Speed Rules EP

A historical curiosity more than a musical necessity. This band went on to become CODE OF HONOR with the addition of a new singer, and evolved out of the TOOLS and X-ILES. SICK PLEASURE’s vocalist is now in VERBAL ABUSE. The music here is metallic thrash punk that sings the praises of shooting speed, killing parents, and mental breakdowns; the dark side of the SF scene.

The Leather Nun Primemover / FFA 7″

The newest 7″ from Sweden’s LEATHER NUN features two compositions mining an atmospheric post-punk vein. “Primemover” uses a basic metal riff to underline restrained, understated vocals, while the flip maintains a slower tempo and showcases more demented lyrics. No revelations here.