V/A

Reviews

V/A Sharptone Records Presents LP

It’s confusing why this is called a compilation when it is actually the band BLUE ECHO backing a few different singers, some of whom are also in BLUE ECHO. But hey, everyone is entitled to refer to their record whatever they want. Side A is the better of the two, featuring songs from CLAY SMITH (two songs), JAMES GARCIA, MANSFIELD SHARP, and NIK SEDAN. The songs are power pop with a heavy ’80s style. SMITH has more of a bluesy country twinge to his songs. Side B has another song from SMITH and GARCIA, plus one each from BLUE ECHO and DAN GARCIA. This side sounds more hippie-ish with that rambling country rock style that immediately brings to mind the GRATEFUL DEAD, except for BLUE ECHO’s track which is appropriately an instrumental surf song. Everyone involved has been playing music for decades, but there is nothing too exciting here.

V/A Nuestra América Hardcore Punk Vol. III cassette

A very interesting diagnosis and snapshot of the state of the South American punk and underground music scenes, with bands from Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Brazil. As with any compilation, there are tracks that you connect with better than others, but I dare to highly recommend the hardcore metallic tinge of Argentina’s ASESINATO EN MASA, the brutality of DL50, the raw crust of Brazilian veterans TERROR REVOLUCIONARIO, and the honest and politically charged funk-metal of Bolivia’s AMUKINA NUNCA MÁS.

V/A Chaos in Basque Country LP

Another dip into the thriving Euskaran punk ‘n’ Oi! scene, taking inspiration from the classic Chaos En France series this time. Those who are already familiar with bona fide Basque hit factory Mendeku Diskak will know luminaries like the mighty STA. CRUZ, IRMO, and REVERTT who are all stand-outs, but the rousing gang vocal choruses of TAXTERS (like REICH ORGASM in their pomp) and the feral stylings of ATTURRI are also a treat. Not much to discover if you’ve already heard the excellent Kaosa Euskal Herrian LP from a while back, but a great intro to one of the more interesting scenes going at the minute.

V/A Radio Dood LP

An LP reissue of a long out-of-print 1986 compilation tape of Dutch hardcore, used to raise money for the all-punk, by punks, and for punks radio station Radio Dood. Notably, this tape contained the final recordings of LÄRM before those eventually found their way on the band’s discography CD. This sounds like a tape from 1986 pressed to vinyl, so unless you are a Dutch HC completist and you love tape hiss and blown-out low end, I’d say this release works better as a historical document than as a home audio experience.

V/A Mendeku Diskak Promo Kasetea, Vol. 2 cassette

If I hear anything as good as the opening BRUX track this month, I might fukkn faint. But it’s good that I steeled myself, because this sampler is bursting at the seams with track after track of infectious gruff Oi! from MESS (Mexico), SELF INFLICT (USA), ZIKIN (Basque Country), and the CHISEL (UK), and while every single track is excellent, “Nagusikeri Faltsue” from KOLPEKA will make you stop and check to see if you’re still alive. The folks from Mendeku Diskak have set an extremely high bar with this collection of tracks from upcoming releases (some of which are already out) – and I am definitely paying attention. 

V/A Demons Inside Us: 20 Years of Phobia Records LP

If you’re looking for a fantastic, frenzied collection of contemporary Scandinavian and Eastern European hardcore punk, here is your comp. Twenty-one tracks of blistering heavy käng-and-roll, classic crust, and D-beat, comprising various levels of speed and distortion, yet compiled thoughtfully in pace and tone. All your favorites are rumbling the pots off your speakers here: PARANOID, EARTH CRUST DISPLACEMENT(!!!), ABSOLUT, PARASIT, DISSEKERAD (you need Dis LP), UTSATT, WARCOLLAPSE, SVAVELDIOXID, VOIDFILLER, SLUTET (you need Dis LP), and much more. Several decades of Scandi-beat punk-tuated melody and passion come though over the course of this LP, covering a bit over two decades from the Czech Republic’s punkest label. An excellent sampler from Phobia Records. Sixteen-page zine and poster included. Only a few are left on gold vinyl. Comp is a ripper, zero slouch tracks, and I enjoyed it even more while revisiting it to write about it.

V/A Thesaurus, Vol. 6: Panorama Punk Rock France 1982–1984 2xLP

If you haven’t gotten hip to Cameleon’s series of Thesaurus comps yet, there’s no time like right fucking now to rectify this grave oversight. The kingdom of heaven is within your reach! Your golden ticket is nearly 90 minutes of world-beating punk rock contained herein, slathered thick and heavy across four sides of wax. (Will this be the only culinary reference? Stay tuned.) The hit ratio over the course of these 34 songs is shockingly high, with almost nothing dipping below “fairly sick.” Who knew France’s punk bench was so deep? I mean, sure, there’s some classic early ragers and a couple of game-change type bands that pop up, but this particular installment covers the early-to-mid-’80s, so we’re wandering into uncharted territory. This era, of course, is prime time for hardcore, but the styles presented here cover the gamut. Just a smidgen of the greatness contained within includes: CRISE DE NERF uncannily predict PUSSY GALORE’s dented tin can approach to punk, even ANGRY RATS won’t survive these “New Clear Days” so they rage against the dying of the light, while MOPO MOGO advise you to “Fuck Off.” HUMAN BEING sounds righteously disgusted, much as ELECTRONAZE are full of piss, vinegar, and probably smoke 100 cigarettes a day. OMG ain’t text speak, heathens, but they are deadly punks whipping a drum machine and feedback guitar into a frenzy, while ELECTRODES play fast, urgent punk that reimagines DISCHARGE as a garage band. Speaking of garage rock, VONN’s “Bubble Gum” should have been an international hit. I dare you to remain still while this chewy little bastard plays! There are quality CLASH rips from HEROS and BRIGADES, killer rock‘n’roll rave-ups from BALL’S and TED DESTROYER, weird punk from KARNAGE on “The Cops Are Coming,” and it just keeps going. You might be able to dig up a lot of these gems if you spent a couple years in France, rummaging through every record store and thrift shop in the country. Or, you could just pick up this—excusez mon français—fucking awesome compilation.

V/A Good Times RnR Compilation, Vol. 3 2xLP

What I believe started as a few of the Sydney rock mutants (RESEARCH REACTOR CORP., GEE TEE, and SET-TOP BOX) fartin’ around and playing some covers has now morphed into a full-blown spectacle. After recruiting a bunch of like-minded bands and fleshing the project out into legit comp (2020’s GTRRC II), we now find them pooling their resources with labels Erste Theke Tontraeger, Legless, and Under the Gun to bring you 46—46!—tracks across two whole damn LPs from pretty much every band in the contemporary egg-leaning punk scene. And, look, there are some cool bands on here and some cool songs, but you already know you don’t need this. It’s basically the punk equivalent of a giant sack of Halloween candy. There’s plenty of good stuff in here, but there’s also quite a few Tootsie Rolls, some generic-ass orange and black wrapped taffies, and even a few toothbrushes and pennies. Some sickos are going to sit down and eat the whole bag, and some fun-haters are going to steer clear of it entirely. But most folks are going to pick at the good stuff, setting a few things aside to come back to later. For me that good stuff—the Snickers and Almond Joys, if you will—would include SPODEE BOY (covering STICK MEN WITH RAY GUNS’ “Hell to Pay”), C.O.F.F.I.N. (FUNKADELIC’s “Super Stupid”), SCIENCE MAN (ZZ TOP’s “Sharp Dressed Man”), MUTANT STRAIN (the GERMS’ “Strange Notes”), and SPINAL CRAP (I’m pretty this is SCHIZOS playing ROSE TATTOO’s “Nice Boys”). I’m sure your pile would look a little different.

V/A Bonded as One, Volume 1 2xLP

Running the gamut of styles, mostly made up of melodic punk bands with some street punk, hardcore, and ska-punk peppered in here and there. This compilation is ambitious in its attempt, and the fact that this is “Volume 1” means that, in theory at least, the folks at Dead At Zero have plans for future volumes. While there’s not really a bad song in the bunch, perhaps they could have trimmed this down to the best of the best, made this an LP’s worth of songs/bands, and saved the other LP’s worth of material for a potential “Volume 2.” Not a bad first outing here. Definitely would recommend to anyone who grew up on the Punk-O-Rama and Fat Wreck comps, as this definitely has the same feel. There are a handful of well-known bands on here, although I’m not sure if any of this stuff is unreleased as there is really no info other than track listings. Additionally, when trying to get a bit more info on this thing, I scoured the internet and could only find an Instagram page, but no ordering info. So good luck with that.

V/A Amenaza Mexicana Vol. 2 cassette

The International Anti-Capitalist Punk and Hardcore Union presents Amenaza Mexicana Vol. 2 (“Mexican Threat Vol. 2”): ”Noise to Survive Capitalism in the Third World.” This is a twelve-song compilation cassette showcasing Mexican underground punk. A wide array of genres make appearances on this tape. Kicking off with a couple tracks of melodic punk rock, it changes gears and brings us some goth-y deathrock and hardcore punk before spinning on its heels, taking us back full circle. The B-side gets a little less predictable, immediately kicking you in the face with back-to-back hardcore tracks before delving into driving, metallic crust punk and some sort of metal-infused shoegaze, switching back to the easier digestible hardcore punk and more melodic punk before the weirdness gets a little too weird. There is a bit of something for everyone on this compilation, the Union really doing their part to try to unite the different punk factions. All in all, a cool compilation with an even cooler message: “Ama La Musica, Odia El Fascismo” (“Love Music, Hate Fascism”). Bring on Vol. 3!

V/A Inkstains Across Atlanta cassette

Tired of digging through a wobbly stack of 7”s to find music by your favorite Atlanteans, only to put on a record that you then have to get up and flip a minute and a half later? There has got to be a better way! Introducing Ink Stains Across Atlanta, a collection of every Total Punk 7” by an Atlanta-based artist—fifteen songs on a single cassette! Total Punk? More like Total Convenience! Set adrift down the river of despair with GG KING’s “Joyless Masturbation,” soak in the healing aura of SLUGGA’s “Parasite,” experience pure ecstasy as the music of any one of a myriad of Brannon Greene-fronted projects (PREDATOR, NAG, HOSPICE) fills your ears, or journey into the unknown with a handful of unreleased and non-Total Punk tracks. To order this collection, take $7, wad it in a ball and put it in a bag with a SASE, and send it to Total Punk HQ, or simply log on to totalpunk.com using the browser of your choice.

V/A Let’s Bubblegum the Punk! Volume 1 LP

French label Pop Superette has put forth a compilation of vintage (1975–1985) North American power pop featuring a roster of bands that flew well under the radar at the time, but were on par musically with more recognizable contemporary acts like the NERVES, the DB’S, and the RUBINOOS. Despite the title, there’s not much punk to be found here—these are by and large sugary sweet songs lacking the edge of even the most pop-oriented of punk bands. Still, there’s a charming DIY spirit imbued throughout, alongside a strain of American ’60s Merseybeat worship that was already anachronistic by the late ’70s. Selection is great and surprisingly varied in mood, with highlights including “Conditional Romance” by New Brunswick, NJ’s ROCKIN’ BRICKS and “She’s Hifi” by the TREND out of Columbia, MO. After a while, though, the noticeable lack of any women in these groups (besides as lyrical subject matter) sent me off to listen to the SHIVVERS instead.

V/A Vol. 2 CD

The title might not say much, but Vol. 2 is a stunning 1985 collection of punk, primitive hardcore, and pure energy rock’n’roll from more than a dozen different bands from Peru. Legendary acts like EUTANASIA and PANICO share space with the stark, otherworldly delivery of EXCOMULGADOS, the inept shit-fi chaos of CONFLITO SOCIAL, and FRENTE NEGRO’s ferocious pogo. There are more favorites to be sure (ERUCTO MALDONADO and SOCIEDAD DE MIERDA, for example), but every minute of this disc is essential listening that highlights how totally varied and diverse the punk scene was in Peru. Contents: tape hiss, ultra-raw recordings, ramshackle punk, booklet with lyrics and info solo en español…what more could you ask for? My only complaint is that I’m never going to find an original copy of the tape.

V/A Rapsodie En France LP

I’m not sure if I’m the right person to be reviewing this; it kinda feels like I got some spiky punk’s mail by accident. This is a reissue of a French hardcore comp from 1985, and its essentially nine bands of the UK82/DISCHARGE type but en français—so expect buzzsaw guitar, rubberband bass, and you-know-what drum beats. The recording quality is demo at best, not a lot of power, and with vinyl pressing being such a hard-sought, time-consuming commodity right now, I have to ask if pressing this on LP was necessary? If it was a tape originally, I feel like the diehards for this would’ve been fine with a cassette and a zine, and honestly it would’ve been more true to form for this type of punk. But to be real, I’ve never owned a leather jacket or worn a shoestring ‘round my dome, so perhaps I’m the wrong person to ask about this.

V/A The Buntingford Long Playing Record LP reissue

The late ’70s/early ’80s UK DIY scene turned the locals-only comp into an art form, committing countless one-and-done regional obscurities to wax and priming the pump that the Messthetics series would return to again and again in the subsequent century. Buntingford is never going to be mentioned in the same breath as Manchester or Leeds when recounting the era’s post-punk boom, but it still fostered enough of a scene to produce the seven bands immortalized on this 1981 LP collection; for a tiny market town of a couple thousand people, Buntingford was apparently punching above its weight by measure of bands per capita (although as in most small, close-knit music communities, some overlapping personnel between projects was definitely going on). There’s relatively straight rock’n’roll with a smudge of the UNDERTONES (the OTHERS) and vaguely CLASH-inspired post-pub-rock sounds (the RUN) in the mix, but the more off-center and unpolished contributions are the undisputed winners of The Buntingford Long Playing Album—the INFINITE LOTS do warbling retrofuturist synth punk like the SOUND re-envisioned as a Subterranean Records act, the nihilistic clatter of “Sheltered Life” by RIVERSIDE ROCKY sketches out the sort of (SWELL) maps that the SUBURBAN HOMES would unfold three decades later, the DEBUTANTES charm with two scrappy twee-punk songs in a DOLLY MIXTURE/GIRLS AT OUR BEST fashion, with airy teenage femme vocals straining at the upper register limits that make it all the better, and the CHOKE offers up a pair of totally ace, TELEVISION PERSONALITIES-esque naive mod-pop numbers (the lopsidedly catchy “Top Man” could be their own “Jackanory Stories”), although the completely collapsing drum beats of “Concrete Buildings” carry them into an echelon of shamble far beyond the Dan Treacy realm; I’m here for it.

V/A Anti Human Trafficking Benefit Comp cassette

Literal twelve-year-old AJ Cortes, label boss over at the Miami-based Gravity Hill Records (a cassette label), has compiled sixteen slime-covered tracks from whatever strain of mutants have evolved in this post-LUMPY AND THE DUMPERS world. As you probably gathered from the title, this comp is meant to combat human trafficking in some sense. Although, it’s unclear whether the proceeds are going to a particular organization or if this comp is just meant to “raise awareness.” In any case, at just $4 for the digital release, you’re getting a pretty big bang for your buck. The compilation features a lot of folks who you’ve likely already heard and have opinions about—M.A.Z.E., PRINT HEAD, BILLIAM, and NEO NEOS to name a few. But it also features even more artists whom you’ve likely never heard of (or you’ve had your ear way closer to the ground than I have). We’re getting tracks from WWW, YOKE, GEORGE CRUSTANZA, MAYGE, and the SUXX—if you don’t like the first set of bands I named, you won’t like these either. Mr. Cortes supplies at least three of the tracks on here as well with his projects AJ CORTES AND THE BURGLARS and BENNY AND THE BOYS, the latter of whom cover two tracks by the WAD. You absolutely have to give “Nog Bag” a listen—the bass sound that starts the track is so insane and great that I might actually prefer this to the original. And it wouldn’t be a punk comp without a seemingly out-of-place/shitty track, and unfortunately that is provided here by HEARTLESS FOLK—this sounds like GOOD RIDDANCE or some other Fat Wrecks grunty pop punk. Anyway, this release really reminded me of what I loved about those early days of Lumpy Records—just a bevy of weirdo bands I’ve never heard of, not all of whom I like, but all of whom make me sit up and think, “Whoa! What the hell is this?!”

V/A Sheffield is Burning: Lughole Benefit Comp LP

A crucial DIY punk collective venue in Sheffield, England, the Lughole was forced to close its doors in 2018 when local officials imposed capacity restrictions that effectively made gigs there illegal. Artists and supporters of the Lughole have since banded together to relaunch and expand the venue in a new location, and this comp was released to raise funds in order to make it happen. Showcasing tracks from twelve bands associated with the original Lughole, this comp provides a nice slice of the current UK hardcore landscape. With bangers from STRAY BULLET, RAT CAGE, HOWL, and many more, including a mangled version of “Banned From the Pubs” by SKIPLICKERS, Sheffield is Burning is a solid slab for a worthy cause. Grab your copy and help UK punk continue to thrive.

V/A The First 100 2xLP

Ah, the glorified label sampler disguised as a compilation. Oh, how I loathe these. I mean all of these songs have been previously released, so other than different variants for the collector nerd, there’s really no reason to obtain this album. Unless…you are unfamiliar with the roster of bands and looking to discover some new-to-you bands and releases. Like every compilation, this has its hits and misses for me, although the misses outweigh the hits. That may sound a bit negative, but there are two reasons for that: I prefer more of the current releases from Triple B, and the lack of diversity in style here. I realize that Triple B is a hardcore label, it’s just that more often than not, a lot of the stuff here starts getting monotonous—with 50 tracks of hardcore that’s bound to happen. That’s not to say there isn’t some killer stuff on here, because there is, it’s just a bit much to wade through to uncover. That said, this is a tremendous undertaking to try and document 100 releases, so that in and of itself deserves a bit of praise.

V/A Greetings From a Late Stage Capitalist Wasteland LP

The first thing that struck me is that this compilation, for whatever reason, comes off as more of a label sampler than an actual compilation album. I don’t really know why that is, nor do I actually know if it is indeed a label sampler, it just gives off that vibe. Fourteen bands contributed either new or previously unreleased tracks. The collection of bands on here really is a mixed bag, as you have everything from acoustic acts, instrumental stuff, hardcore-adjacent stuff, stuff that would appeal to The Fest crowd, and even some borderline nu-metal-sounding stuff. Perhaps this is what is adding to my suspicions of this being a label sampler. It doesn’t really flow in the way a compilation should, and everything just kinda seems thrown on here just for the sake of having enough material. I will say that the last half of this album is the strongest, but even that really doesn’t make me want to check out anything from the label or bands.

V/A Tarantula Tapes Presents: Tracknaphobia, Volume 1 cassette

A format that I am absolutely always a fan of, an introductory mixtape/sampler for a record label. Tarantula Tapes is a Canadian-based cassette label that began as a “pandemic project” for the people who started it. This cassette marks their one-year anniversary of being a label. My sincerest congratulations! Now onto the music! While not everything on this 21-song cassette is exactly my cup of Caesar (that’s what everyone drinks up there, right?), I love the idea of an eclectic, all-over-the-map tape label just putting out music because they believe in it and are helping cultivate their local scene. We’ve got catchy pop punk, rockabilly, some rendition of hardcore, twangy lewd folk-country, instrumental surf, heavy stoner rock, and that’s all just on the A-side! When I was younger and starting my record label, I used to make tapes of my releases and keep them on me at all times, giving them out to anyone vaguely alt-leaning. Skateboarders, mall punks, ween-bags in ironic punk-adjacent shirts, all in the hopes that it would get people more excited about the killer bands we had coming out of my hometown. I imagine this technique would be a top-notch move in Barrie, Ontario, and if this mix were given to young budding punkers, it would likely have a huge impact on them. Being from just south of the border and regularly touring through Canada, I definitely plan on hitting up Barrie once that is a possibility again.

V/A It’s An Action Benefit Comp cassette

It’s An Action Tapes is a new non-profit label out of Michigan with a focus on effecting positive change via good music, and this comp puts them off to a solid start. 100% of the proceeds of this release go to help out local families who are housing kids formerly detained at the US/Mexico border as they try to reunite them with family. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it’s a great tape filled with favorites from the current punk landscape. There’s bangers from MUTANT STRAIN, NYC’s KALEIDOSCOPE, WHITE STAINS, CHRONOPHAGE, and more, as well as special treats like URANIUM CLUB live in Italy and a weird scrapped instrumental demo from Austin’s INSTITUTE. Great stuff, they’ve raised some decent money so far, and it looks like you can still grab one at the link below.

V/A He’s Bad! 11 Bands Decimate the Beats of Bo Diddley 6×7″ box set

Garage goes to the future. Black Gladiator’s fuzz-covered tribute to “the originator” features a mix of covers and what could better be described as DIDDLEY-based sound experiments. About half of the tracks are pretty straightforward, while songs from acts like ATOMIC SUPLEX and ANDY CALIFORNIA take the primitive stomp to more imaginative places. Highlights include HAUNTED GEORGE’s shamanic interpretation of “Mummy Walk,” an epic two-parter from TRUE SONS OF THUNDER, and, of course, “Down Home Special” from GINO AND THE GOONS. After all, it was GINO who sent me the dime bag of actual dirt from BO DIDDLEY’s grave with their 2018 Rip It Up LP. Anyway, if you like old-timey rock and also techno, this record was made for you.

V/A Diggin’ Up the 90s, Vol. 1 LP

Here we go…the collector scum are starting to figure out that the ’90s weren’t the lost decade after all. In the spirit of the KBD and Bloodstains comps, Amok delivers a collection of unheralded ’90s DIY punk and hardcore gems. OFFICIAL HOOLIGANS, MENSTRUAL TRAMPS, BLOODY MUTANTS, STALINS ORGAN, Japan’s the HECK, France’s BETTY BONDAGE, and ten more. Grab this shit, do your homework, and start scouring the bargain bins, because these are the bonzers of the next decade!

V/A Youth Crew 2020 EP

This compilation features eight bands from across the globe that are keeping the youth crew flame burning. While each band shares similar styles here, there is enough difference between them to keep things interesting. Standouts for me are HOMETOWN CREW from the Netherlands, NO EXCUSE from Indonesia, and TIDES DENIED from Germany (if only for the riff at the end that kinda sounded like the theme from The A-Team). By no means is this compilation gonna go down in the annals of hardcore classics, but it’s worth a listen.

V/A End of the Corridor: A Compilation of Belgian Cold Wave and Post-Punk 78-84 LP

There’s always room in this house for another compilation highlighting one of post-punk’s most overlooked scenes. End Of The Corridor is a journey through some of the best that Belgium had to offer in the late ’70s and early ’80s. You’ve got some of the more recognizable names (DE BRASSERS, CULTURAL DECAY, SIGLO XX) mixing it up with lesser-known but crucial outfits like STRUGGLER, SUSPECTS, and PROTECTION PLUS. Belgian post-punk tends towards monolithic, bass-heavy grooves that bask in a sort of fatalistic charm. In other words, these are life-affirming odes for the downtrodden. As most of these tracks are unreleased, this is an excellent collection for both the neophyte and those already familiar with the skills of the old Flemish masters.

V/A …So This Is Progress? 004 flexi EP + zine

Short and sweet—five Ohio bands with tracks recorded during Thee Time Ov Covid. TV DRUGS (meaty punk rock), HUMAN LAW (ugly, downtuned drum machine noise/sludge), STALL (vicious hc/grind), LOCKED UP (even more vicious grind), and JACK KNIFE BEAT DOWN (blinding lo-fi thrash punk). Delivered with issue #4 of …So This Is Progress? fanzine.

V/A Heroes of the Night: Punk, Pop & Wave from the UK Underground ’79–’83 LP

I’ve seen more than one reference to this new collection of femme-fronted UK obscurities as being a “female new wave Killed By Death” or some variation on that theme—sure, most of the 45s from which these tracks were pulled are certified triple-digit bonzers, but the content here would more generously qualify as “punky” (rather than “punk”) and the unfulfilled commercial aspirations on display across the board are much higher than scum stats would suggest, so don’t expect to find any raw and messy new wave counterparts to TEDDY AND THE FRAT GIRLS included. My take? If you flipped your lid for those Subnormal Girls comps from a few years back and you’re as down with skinny-tied guitar solos as art-schooled clatter while trawling the scattered histories of women making music in the post-punk era, you probably already know that this is a required pick-up. A couple of standouts therein: the soft-glow power pop of the RUSSIANS’ “No Title” essentially détournés (and one-ups) the BOYS’ canonical “Terminal Love,” CHEAP CINEMA’s “Fade Away” splits the difference between Bomp!-ed new wave bounce and early Paisley Underground melancholy, “Love is Necessary” by the CRY pairs delicate vocals with some slick and very ’80s keyboard action (YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS gone synth-pop?), and THREE PHASE brings sugary-sweet hooks to retrofuturist minimal wave on “All I Want to Do Is (Fall in Love With You).” I demand a second (and third, and fourth) volume.

V/A Presence Not Absence: A Benefit Compilation for Trans BIPOC Housing Assistance cassette

This comp dropped last year, but the purpose is (sadly) more appropriate now than ever. Musically all over the place, much like the communities it is meant to support and lift up; driving electropop (NO NO BABY), ethereal dance (DOVE ARMITAGE), dark conscious hip hop (the UHURUVERSE—whose opening track “Obey” is an absolute stunner), noisy post-punk (VAGUESS), experimental vocals (UNO LADY), and the list goes on. Quality level is extremely high for all genres and musical modalities represented, and proceeds are going to the right place(s).

V/A Paid By Rock cassette

This one is all over the place, and I’m all over it. Pulsating ’80s hard industrial dance, ’90s grunge punk dirges, stripped-down art-punk, a stunning PRIMITIVES cover, outsider electro-pop, bombastic nasty garage punk…this comp just fukkn grabs you and then slams from start to finish. Highlights include the MAXINES, FREAK GENES, THREX, ADULKT LIFE, and GERM HOUSE, but it’s the whole damn thing that deserves your attention.

V/A Kinda Sorta Music 2020 Compilation CD-R

A compilation of ten bands “from the Los Angeles area.” No song titles, just band names, and that’s about it in terms of packaging and whatnot. Definitely of the demo tape/mixtape quality, aurally enhanced (or degraded, depending on your view of such things) by four of said tracks being live. Most of the bands range in the thrash/grindcore/noisy/sore throat/industrial end of things. The two standouts (certainly for me, partly because they don’t fall into those areas) are the early ARTICLES OF FAITH fury (and melody) of SCREAMING COWBELL, and the female-fronted TRAP GIRL, who similarly manage to sound driving and raging while keeping that sense of melody, like TILT covering the POISON GIRLS.

V/A La Masacre Continua cassette

The great tradition of solidarity through punk compilations is one of the most profoundly beautiful, selfless, and powerful actions this type of music is capable of. Not only do they constitute forceful allegations in songs about, almost always, the repeated use of violence in social conflicts, they also map routes of musical scenes, establish lists of ethical companions in this twisted planet, and generate snapshots of crucial moments of youth culture. La Masacre Continua (“The Massacre Continues” in English) follows this line. It’s a fabulous compilation of 21 bands, mostly from the vital Colombian scene, but also from France, Spain, and the United States, united by language, all singing in Spanish, and by the urgent need to denounce the terrible state violence unleashed against social movements in Colombia this year, which has caused dozens of deaths. The selection of bands is impeccable, and just as a sample we’ll mention titans such as MURO, SYSTEMA, PRIMER RÉGIMEN, PORVENIR OSCURO, and LUMPEN. As for the sound palette, we have street punk, noisy hardcore, DIY lo-fi greatness, D-beat fury, Japanese-style madness, cavernous violent screams, powerviolence, and much, much more. Buying the cassette or downloading the album means supporting Colombia’s worthy fight against the state. You can also make a donation if you like. Either way, it is important that the message is heard. From Colombia to the world.

V/A Unearth’d: Underground Deathrock, Post-Punk, and Darkwave LP

This is surely a collection of 1988 goth club classics, right? These are certainly some the CULT and GENE LOVES JEZEBEL B-sides that have been forgotten to history? Nope! This is some new shit and it’s just that good! While leaning heavily on Athens, GA and North Carolina, this compilation throws in a few acts from various other states, Europe, and Canada as well. It’s like when Suicide Girls released that classic goth comp in 2005 and everyone suddenly thought they were an expert on the genre, except this is bands that are up-and-coming and actually need the attention. SOLEMN SHAPES provide “Concealed” to the mix, and its industrial drumbeat acts counter intuitively to the slow, anxiety-inducing build of whispers and chants that end up going a little wild on you.  If Bologna, Italy’s HORROR VACUI’s “Lost,” probably the strongest jam in the mix, doesn’t make you flail your limbs and lose control in a darkened room, then you have a soul. Deathrock is alive, no, dead and well, and this compilation proves it.

V/A OCCII ~ DiY Comp Ltd EP

Excellent four-song freak collection from the Netherlands. Some dreary slow synth/No Wave from LANGE NIEZEL, followed by a whirling D-beat detonation from OUST (check their 12″ from last year if you haven’t already) on the A-side. As solid as that pairing is (and to be clear, it’s great), the flip features a stellar KBD rocker from GIF, and fans of AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS rejoice upon hearing “Comfort Zone,” because your shit just got punker. Then PONYTAIL TARTIFLETTE closes the record with an eponymous monster, a noisy track that channels the Trim Tab Tapes catalog while tripling down on chaos. “I make horses look like the police,” whispers the vocalist before the band launches into a jerky assault that descends into MELT BANANA-meets-free jazz and then just…stops. Fucking gorgeous pink wax, risograph cover, and a nice educational poster inside—the 7″ comp format catches a lot of flak, but this one is damn near perfect.

V/A Paul Henry’s Benefit Compilation cassette

Twenty-six-song cassette compilation benefiting Paul Henry’s, an art gallery and performance space in Hammond, IN that’s played an important role in nurturing the NWI punk scene. The cassette features tracks from a bunch of NWI bands and some other like-minded weirdos. You can expect plenty of the egg-punk/DEVO-core you’ve come to associate with the area, but there’s also some more straightforward punk, ripping hardcore, shoegaze, power pop, and more. Not all the tracks are great, but all the bands are interesting at the very least, and the variety is nice enough in of itself to make for a compelling listen. The physical cassette, which is housed in a handsome cardboard outer box with artwork from LIQUIDS’ Mat Willams, will only set you back $10. That’s less than 40 cents a track! Definitely worth it, especially when you consider how influential the NWI scene has been to punk in general these past five years or so! Highlights include tracks from LIQUIDS, RESEARCH REACTOR CORP., previously unreleased stuff from C.C.T.V. and BIG ZIT(!), and a song called “Jesus Christ Super Hard” by a band called WATERWORKS. Label says tapes will be available until people stop buying them, so go grab one!

V/A Fuselage cassette

Austin indie/post-punk project with a ten-song cassette featuring “guest” vocals from their friends…it’s a good concept, and the result is something that sounds more like a comp than a “release.” From the dreary indie shoegaze of “Needle” (ft. MIND SPIDERS’ guitarist) to the dark “Absolved” (I’ve lost my faith in God) and the angular post-punk of “I Chase Cars” (ft. WARP’s Tika Hall). Throw in a couple of instrumentals, and a poem set to music (“Early Morning Cigarette”) and I’m going to want to spend some time with this one. Also—I stayed in the drummer’s mom’s house like twenty years ago…punk is weird, y’all.

V/A Demolition Derby Vol. 2 LP

A collection of raging rock-punk that includes the always great HIP PRIESTS, the DRIPPERS, BLACK GREMLIN, STACY CROWNE, GRINDHOUSE, and the EMPIRE STRIKE. Two tracks by each band in the vein of later TURBONEGRO, HELLACOPTERS, and MOTÖRHEAD. Euro bands on this Italian label’s comp.

V/A Seaside Sickness EP

This is an excellent regional punk compilation that documents an under-reported scene, the East Coast of Canada. We can tell it is a small but highly active and creative scene. The 7″ includes exclusive tracks from the ferocious MISANTHROPIC MINDS, the KBD style of ANTIBODIES, the brutal chaos of FRAGMENT, the primitive fun of DARK DIAL, WARSH’s sharp blast of rage, BRAIN POLLUTION SYNDROME’s gutter noise abuse, and the unique genius of the BOOJI BOYS. Absolutely no filler. 

V/A Welcome to Pittsburgh…Don’t Move Here LP

Damn, this one kills. John Villegas has long been booking shows, running the punkest record store in Pittsburgh, playing in killer bands, and putting out great records including, now, this amazing compilation. Like all the best comps (Process of Elimination, American Youth Report, Cottage Cheese From the Lips of Death, Not So Quiet on the Western Front, etc.) it has that special insular feel, like being suspended in a moment in time. You can practically smell the motor oil and solvents of Babyland or the choking clouds of stale smoke and sticky sweat of the Rock Room or Gooski’s. Sure, there’s three of John’s bands present here, but you go make your own fucking compilation and then you can do what you want. It plays at 45rpm like all good punk records should, and it has one of those nifty zine things with a page for each band. There’s some diversity here with the artfulness of S.L.I.P. or the pseudo-Oi! of NO TIME, but basically, this is hardcore and it’s mean, it’s dirty, and raw. I’d be bananas to try to pick favorites here and I don’t know how John managed to get every band’s best song committed to his project but we’re all stoked he did. As I type this now I’m really feeling LIVING WORLD, PEACE TALKS, RAT-NIP, INVALID, and CHILLER, but in a minute it could easily be SPEED PLANS, LOOSE NUKES, WHITE STAINS, or NECRO HEADS. Every song is a keeper and unique in its own special way, just like that Mr. Rogers guy said. It’s not the whole scene here and there’s great bands like MOWER, EEL, BIG BABY, CONCEALED BLADE, or MEDIUM UGLY not present, but it’s a real nice thick slice of a great punk scene that you should definitely admire from afar and keep your distance.

V/A The Stowaways Presents: Listen Up! A Benefit For Democracy Now! LP

Fifteen-band collection of catchy punk/indie/alt to benefit, as the title suggests, a public radio news program. The only artist I was familiar with was the FYP dude (yo, Todd—I’m still down to look after Boris if anything nasty happens), but I got turned on to loads of new shits. JASON ANDERSON wrote a straight commercial pop hit in “Buzzin,” PASTEURIZED MILK and RX are both minimal and addictive, LAYMAN and POST LIFE are favorites as well—the record cruises along between lo-fi indie and shoegaze and would-be mainstream songwriters with ease. All put together by a schoolteacher and zinester who uses independent reporting and media in the classroom to (hopefully) help a new generation of non-shitty humans find their collective voice/s, with art from Sophia Zarders, liner notes from Donna Ramone, and an issue of The Stowaways masquerading as a lyrics booklet. Thumbs up.

V/A Racism Sucks! S.H.A.R.P. Compilation CD

Yeah, racism sucks. Duh. In case you’re not convinced or want to beat the dead horse into the ground with some mediocre international Oi!, here you go. There’s a few passers like RECKLESS UPSTARTS’ “No Spirit,” “Proud Boys, Proud of What?” by FATAL BLOW, and Germany’s CURB STOMP doing “Sharp,” but most of this is pretty forgettable. This label does really good charity work for good causes, so what do I know? Give it a listen yourself.

V/A Unsolved Mystery cassette

A quick peek before I pressed play and I noticed tracks from LETTUCE VULTURES and FOSSIL FUEL so….well, I’m guessing this sixteen-band comp is gonna be a wild ride. I wasn’t wrong. Non-music, outsider dub, improvisational nonsense, outsider funk, damaged Americana, lo-fi psych…if it’s weird then it fits. “Sixteen musings on the unknown,” according to the cover. Pretty much sums it up. PEPPERMINT TEABAG, NIKOLAS KUNZ, TOXIC PILGRIMS, STILL LOOKING FOR COSMO, PIMP OF PERVERSION, and so much more. No contact information though, so the mystery is even deeper for you, dear reader.

V/A The Comp Vol. 1 cassette

One of my favorite things, when an unknown label does a compilation/mixtape showcasing what their label is all about. Wet Cassettes seem to have about twenty releases under their belt, and this comp has twenty tracks. To describe it the way they intended: “The Comp Vol. 1 features twenty previously unreleased songs from twenty Wet Cassettes artists of the past, present, future, and well, some that were just formed for this compilation.” This New Jersey-based label seems to dabble in a number of different genres, going from synth-punk to black metal to harsh noise to straight up grindcore. Personally, my favorite on the cassette is the Denmark synth-punk duo OK SATÁN whose cassette I also reviewed this month, or ARACHNID SALAD with their lo-fi cyberpunk track. There is a little too much emphasis on the pots’n’pans music for my personal taste (lo-fi grindcore, noise stuff, etc.), but all in all, this is a very cool introduction to a label I was previously unaware of.

V/A Sweet Time RNR Comp 2xLP

This compilation double-LP was put together by Nashville-based Sweet Time Records after their annual Sweet By Sweet Time Festival was cancelled last year due to COVID. Label boss Ryan Sweeney complied 26 tracks on vinyl including local Nashville bands like SCHIZOS, MODERN CONVENIENCE, and SNOOPER, with outside standout tracks from PERSONALITY CULT, MIDNITE SNAXXX, ZOIDS, SICK BAGS, FRESH GRAVES, a great garage rocker from Johnny Otis Dávila of the defunct San Juan band DÁVILA 666, plus a ton more. It’s like an anthology for the syntho-weirdo-punko-garage scene. Also, all proceeds are going to support the venues that lost money from the festival cancellation.

V/A Amenaza Mexicana cassette

Nice comp tape that grabs twelve current Mexican bands from all over the sonic DIY spectrum for consumption and consideration. A few bursts from the more polished and melodic side (RUFFLES, SYNESTHESIA, HOLLYWOOD BABILONIA) some raw hardcore (AUTOMATAS, BRIGADA ROJA, MALARI), bouncy punk (TRABAJO SUCIO, FLORES Y FUEGO), plus tracks from AFTERBOLTXEBIKE, COOPERATIVA PASCUAL, FILERO, and a killer low-end HC slammer from ROMPE EL CONTROL. Excellent quality throughout, from bands that were mostly new to me—which is why well put together comps (still) rule. Cheers to Rebel Time for making this one happen.

V/A Asiztyt: Korrupted Beggar cassette

Another installment of a four-way split cassette on a 30-minute tape from Philippines-based label Prevail Records. The release self-identifies as “Cyber D-beat Crust Rumble,” and who am I to argue with that description? This time up we have DYSTOPIATE, who are a real nasty, crusty, black metal type of band. DESASTYR, who was also on the previous one of these comps I had heard, with more of their noise/No Wave weirdness. DISGARCHE, who are the most straightforward band on the comp, playing nasty crust punk. And finally, TERMINATOR1, who seems to be based in Hungary and is real nasty, lo-fi, sloppy crust punk. Same as the last volume, a tape run of 35 copies with little to no internet presence. If this is up your alley, act quickly!

V/A Fear Of Noise: 2020 Compilation cassette

Fear Of Noise was released for (or, instead of) the San Diego gathering of the same name, and it’s a devastating collection of current West Coast DIY hardcore. FUTURA, THERAPY, SCREAMING FIST, ETERAZ, VIOLENCIA, AGONISTA, MEMBRANE, GRITOS…there’s no sense dissecting the comp because literally every fucking track bangs and every one of these bands is on point. But of all of the things I’ve listened to in the last year, of all of the records and tapes I’ve reviewed in the last year, nothing has made me miss live hardcore more than hearing Oakland’s PROVOKE open this comp with “Basura.” Period.

V/A Kaosa Euskal Herrian 2xLP

Taking inspiration from the classique Chaos En France series, this compilation of some of the leading lights in the incredibly healthy Basque Oi! and punk scene is a genuine joy to explore. Sung mostly in Euskara with a few potted exceptions, it’s a truly unique document of a clearly vibrant and overlooked community. Some of the names such as CUERO and REVERTT may be familiar to those of you who, like me, think the sun shines out of the fantastic Mendeku Diskak’s arse, but perhaps the most rewarding part is uncovering some of the lesser-known bands, too. BLESSURE has the speed and sneer of RIXE, whereas TEARS & BEERS can craft an ale-spilling chorus to rival BATTLE RUINS any day of the week. It’s not all boots and braces for any of you long-haired scruffs out there, though; GADAFISTE BROTHERS are pure bubblegum RAMONES-worship power pop as well. Extremely worth your time!

V/A Matado Por La Muerte Vol. 3 LP

I remember quite well the first time I listened to Matado Por La Muerte Vol. 1. I think it was 2008. It just felt like being hit in the face by a brick and just laughing about it while you bleed. It became an instant classic. This is the third volume (the second was released in 2015), with 21 exclusive tracks from eighteen Spanish-speaking bands. As always, the comp is full of gems and styles, all sharing the same iconoclast spirit. Here are some of the songs I enjoyed the best: CAMPAMENTO RUMANO’s PEGAMOIDES-meets-REZILLOS sound, the lo-fi fun of FINALE, the fury of Mexico’s CREMALLERAS, Peru’s MORBO’s street knowledge, Spanish SATÉLITE’s gothic notes on modern life, and the anthemic “EspaÁ±a Me Pertenece” from TENDIDO CERO. This a really good introduction to current Spanish-speaking punk, hardcore, and post-punk if you’re interested in getting into it.

V/A The Dog That Wouldn’t Die CD

A fascinating look into the worldwide punk underground circa 1986, this compilation was originally released as a 90-minute tape that came with a 32-page zine. Now, a resurgent C.I.A. Records has slapped this sucker onto a CD so that you, dear reader, can relive the glory days of MRR-classifieds-sourced comps. While most of the artists involved come from C.I.A.’s native Texas, there is a wide-range of sounds and ideas spread across The Dog That Wouldn’t Die. Hardcore punk, trashy rock’n’roll, and raw, lo-tech sample collages all find a place on this canvas. As for “big names,” not sure that these qualify but someone out there will thrill to hearing PAIN TEENS, MYDOLLS, THREE DAY STUBBLE, CULTURCIDE (who contribute the epic “Atomic Bomb”), and even FRED LANE. ANDERSON COUNCIL gives us the mellowest SEX PISTOLS cover ever with their acoustic “Apathy In The USA.” PARTY OWLS live up to their name with the lunkheaded punk of “Check Your Dick For Spots,” while PROBLEMIST takes a noisy deep dive into “Reagan’s Colon.” SOLID WASTE DIVISION throws down a cool sax-laden grinder that is followed by NAKED AMERICA’s spazztastic “Corporate Society.” Other highlights include MEAT & GLASS going off like HARRY PUSSY, POISON GAS RESEARCH unnerving feedback manipulations, and EKU’s bedroom rock concoction. The Dog That Wouldn’t Die is a time capsule that deserves a second look.

V/A Paper Doll: The Very Best of Sister Tiffany Lee Linnes cassette

This is a great collection. It is an assortment of songs from Linnes’ bands the STUCK UPS, ROYAL PAINS, the BUFFETS, the PAPER DOLLS, and the KILLER-DILLERS. Each one is a rollicking, garage rocking fun time. Linnes’ vocals are full of life, high-pitched and powerful. She’s my favorite kind of singer. You just want to sing along. Humorously, the STUCK UPS’ “Suicide” from their debut LP suggests drinking bleach. Hello 2020 from 2001!

V/A Vertigo: Synth Punk Blasts 1978–1984 LP

Well, first things first: compared to the unrelated but similarly-themed Killed by Synth LP that preceded it, this new comp at least succeeds in only including bands that actually used keyboards, so no BIG BOYS, OIL TASTERS, or BOB this time around. In true KBD tradition, the focus here is on the the flipped-out and the fucked-up—in the words of the compiler(s), “no synth pop, no new wave, no experimental music”—and despite (presumably) being named after the SCREAMERS song, Vertigo skips over the usual synth punk suspects in favor of some deeper and less obvious cuts. Highlights include the Bloodstains-via-Red Snerts snot of “Sophistication” by PLASTIC IDOLS (Houston’s answer to DOW JONES AND THE INDUSTRIALS), organ-smeared mutant new wave with wild femme vocals from Santa Cruz’s SCHEMATIX on “Nothing Special,” the dark, frenetic end-times robo-pulse of “Happy Funeral” by Sweden’s KITCHEN AND THE PLASTIC SPOONS, the jarring juxtaposition of sparse minimal wave and intense, unhinged vocals in German from DER KÜNFTIGE MUSIKANT’s “Es Ist Kalt”… also, totally bold move with the inclusion of “Food Fight” by the VILLAGE PEOPLE (yes, really)—in the post-disco early ’80s, they revamped their image to pass as New Romantics and recorded this one-off, utterly dumb but kind of amazing slice of PLASTIC BERTRAND-esque punksploitation with the former “construction worker” channeling his inner Tomata Du Plenty, now officially enshrined as the first dollar bin KBD bonzer. Not a predictable comp by any means, and that’s very much to its credit.

V/A Distort Midwest cassette

I love compilations; getting a chance to dive into a whole scene via one tape is fuckin’ joy, allowing someone like me, a thousand miles away from the US, to voyeuristically pry into the underbelly of whatever the fuck is happening in Midwestern HC. This tape covers an absurd amount of ground, at over an hour in length with fifteen bands providing multiple tracks, giving a fair amount of time to newer, lesser-known acts and some that are more firmly established (Detroit’s SHROUD and Missouri’s MENTIRA, for instance). Genre-wise though, a majority of this is hardcore, on the grimier, D-beat side of things. If anything’s going to make you miss rubbing shoulders with filthy, fucked-up crusties at shows, it’s this tape. A shame to have been released in a year where shows were impossible in the Midwest.

V/A Cat Cerebrations cassette

Serious statement: I don’t know if you can take it. Eleven bands delivering some of the most distorted, blown-out, freaked-out punk jams in recent memory. I’m talking “jams” as in a bag of weed and your singer is late to practice “jams.” And I’m talking blown-out like everything sounds like it’s breaking down the wall of the studio next door and you can’t even hear yourself think. Cuts from SIBERIAN ASS TORTURE, BASTARD NOIDS, RACCOON COMPLEX CONTAGION, CLANDESTINE BRONTOSAURUS, TLCWATERFALLS, CRUST KAPPA RAMPAGE….jams from NO COMADRE!, DIABLO CON CARNE, OXYGEN DESTROYER, and GEORGE CRUSTANZA that all cram themselves into one shell to morph into smoke and vibrations and volume like PHARAOH OVERLORD and KALMEX having a session. If noise punks could jam, then….well, Cat Cerebrations says they can. Now: can you take it?

V/A A Country Fit for Heroes, Volume 2 LP reissue

Another musical dose of twelve-hole Doc Martens shoe leather up the hoop for those of us who never stopped fighting Maggie Thatcher. The follow-up to the much-beloved first volume in the series is actually an improvement, should you dare to believe it. The untouchable CRIMINAL DAMAGE’s “Criminal Crew” is a perfect slice of rowdy bovver, ON PAROLE offers some choppy Hiberian aggro, and Cwmbran legends IMPACT’s “Storm Trooper Tactics” is a taut and frantic polemic against the follies of joining the army. Really does not come highly recommended enough, save up your pocket money for this one.

V/A American Idylls 2xLP

When I was a kid, a good compilation record was like a ticket to another world. In the pre-internet universe, these were often a crucial gateway to discovering new bands, and in this far-away and oft-forgotten dimension, finding a monster double-LP collection like American Idylls would be nothing less than a fucking miracle. Packing 49(!) songs from the cream of the current North Carolina punk crop, the musical styles represented here range from spastic DIY (FITNESS WOMXN), to punishing thrash (PUBLIC ACID), and lots in between, making it a real “something for everyone” affair. It’s mind-blowing that this eclectic variety of great bands exists at once on the planet, let alone all in the NC area. With the party crushers of DRUGCHARGE, the steely post-hardcore of SILICA, the dystopian dirges of NATURAL CAUSES, the strong and snotty rockers from MIND DWELLER, and much more, the majority of this stuff pushes boundaries and challenges categorization, as good music should. Adding to the orgasm, the vinyl package comes with a 32-page booklet documenting the scene. I hope there’s at least a couple young’n’s out there who somehow find this record between TikTok sessions and truly get their shit rocked forever.

V/A A Country Fit for Heroes LP reissue

Reissue of one of the seminal UK82 compilations; time to dust off the donkey jacket and the “Coal Not Dole” badge. Some of these names will inevitably be known to you, having been scrawled onto school books and pencil cases since time immemorial, but this compilation assembles some of the lesser-celebrated names of the UK scene, too. It’s an uneasy truce between skins, punks, and their scruffier anarcho cousins to dizzying effect. DISTORTION, CRUX, and the VIOLATORS are the stars of the show for this installment; a great document of the time and some real gems uncovered.

V/A …So This is Progress? 003 flexi EP + zine

The zine part of this fine package is a collection of show fliers from all over Ohio, going all the way back to NECROS and DR. KNOW in 1985. There are a bunch of sick ones from the late ’90s/early ’00s that took me back. It’s amazing how many ways you can draw someone’s head exploding. The flexi part is a compilation of solo COVID projects by punks from all across the US. All the best styles are represented, from MOTÖRHEAD scum crust to bong-ripping glam thrash, and all the hardcore grinding violence in-between. In all seriousness, all these tracks shred, and the glossy print, hand-numbered zine is hella clean! Grab one while you can!

V/A Thesaurus, Vol. 5 2xLP

The fifth installment in the Thesaurus series, which presents a cross-section of what was happening in punk/punk-adjacent spheres in France from ’78—’86. Focusing on punk, post-punk, garage, and coldwave, the material ranges from bands like RAVACHOL and ACTEURS who play dark, synth-heavy punk in true Killed By Deathrock fashion, to COCKPIT, who sound like the FEELIES collaborating with the NORMAL, to SURPRISE’s manic No Wave noise with spiky guitars and elephant-like sax interludes. Still others, like STRIDEUR, fall somewhere between JACQUES DUTRONC and the CRAMPS with keyboards. There are 25 songs on this double album, and though there is variety, there are some throughlines. A lot of the songs are pretty synth-heavy. There are loads of strange guitar sounds and other cool noise shit that could be filed under “experimental.” Not much straight up ’77 punk, but that’s not really what the French are known for anyway. Comps like this can be a gamble, but I would recommend this one (if you are able to snag an affordable copy)—it’s a period piece with a lot to say, and a chance to get familiar with some of France’s more obscure artists.

V/A Four Stars (****) LP reissue

For all of the indisputable awfulness of 2020, it did provide some minor end-of-year redemption in the form of a reissue of 1980’s Four Stars (****) comp, originally pressed in a criminally small edition of 250 copies and long one of the most sought-after/prohibitively expensive records in the entire canon of NZ DIY. The whole Flying Nun/Dunedin axis has obviously become pretty synonymous with the ’80s Kiwi underground, but this collection centers on four bands from the era’s less-heralded Terrace Scene in Wellington: LIFE IN THE FRIDGE EXISTS, WALLSOCKETS, NAKED SPOTS DANCE, and BEAT RHYTHM FASHION, with the former two groups only ever appearing on record here. The four NAKED SPOTS DANCE tracks are absolutely primo art-punk, easily on par with anything in the FALL/AU PAIRS continuum of similarly-oriented UK outfits—that caustic, needling guitar and those matter-of-fact femme vocals cutting into the sparse, measured rhythm of “Secrets”? Fucking perfection. LIFE IN THE FRIDGE EXISTS applied a flipped-out performance art angle to deliriously falling-apart punk, and of their three cuts, “Have You Checked the Children?” stands out as an unassailable Kiwi By Death all-timer. From BEAT RHYTHM FASHION, there’s two fairly standard, no-frills post-’77-style melodic bashers (“None in the Universe” and “Not Necessary”), and last but not least, WALLSOCKETS contribute four slightly shambolic, anarcho-adjacent songs very much in the spirit of an Antipodean FATAL MICROBES, from the almost dub-damaged “Snerl” (which could be their own “Violence Grows”) to the wound-up anti-cop anthem “Blue Meanie.” A mandatory purchase, no hyperbole—this new pressing is limited to the same number of copies as the original and it might be 40 more years before another run comes around; hesitation is not an option.

V/A GTRRC II LP

This is a little more interesting than your average covers comp, of which most are complete sewage fodder. G.T.R.R.C. is a band made up of members of GEE TEE and RESEARCH REACTOR CORPORATION, both from Sydney, Australia, who love to get together and cover their favorite molden oldies. I believe I got that right but excuse me if I’m mistaken. Also included are many of their international friends, some known and some not so much. The covers stick mostly to ’70s punk, ’80s pop/new wave, and classic and modern garage. The most faithful ones are competent and dull as shit. As with most of these labors of love, the ones that shine a light through the muck are the weirdest and are covers in name only. Favorites here are the two THIN LIZZY covers by SICK THOUGHTS and SPODEE BOY, SNOOPER doing ELO’s “Don’t Bring Me Down,” ERIK NERVOUS’ gut-busting cover of “Raining Blood,” the always great SCHIZOS covering the PERSUADERS’ “Heart Of Chrome,” and BELLY JELLY tearing up the SWINGIN’ MEDALLIONS’ “Double Shot Of My Baby’s Love.” Honestly, it all makes a pretty great party record for gathering with friends or enjoying alone in soul-crushing isolation while enjoying one’s favorite beverage. Drink up. End of days.

V/A Killed by Meth #5 LP

It’s Trash! Records’ annual compilation Killed by Meth is always an eye-opener. This year’s installment (the fifth) continues to highlight some of the filthiest offshoots of rock coming out of the US Midwest, including the always-excellent ERIK NERVOUS and recent Goner signees ARCHAEAS. There are no duds here, though the standouts steal a lot of the glory. The best song of the bunch comes from Cincinnati’s BLACK PLANET. Their contribution, “Crimewave,” is a total earworm of pounding rhythms and acidic vocals that demands you pick the needle up and play it again once it’s done. The rest of the compilation keeps it eclectic with the likes of urgent synth-punks MONONEGATIVES before and closing everything out with a new nihilist anthem—”Flies on Shit” by AU SHOVEL. All in all, it’s another solid entry in the ongoing series of killer punk comps.

V/A Southend Punk Volume 1 CD

Another micro-scene gets the archeological dig treatment. Best-known to most as a place where Londoners go to the seaside, Southend and its Thames Estuary neighbors punch above their weight in rock’n’roll pedigree, as home to influential acts that pre-date this comp (such as DR. FEELGOOD and EDDIE AND THE HOTRODS), so it’s no surprise there was a burgeoning punk scene buzzing along there as early as 1976. For some reason, few of the no-hit wonders collected here made it to larger exposure. MRR readers are most likely to be aware of the SINYX or KRONSTADT UPRISING for their appearance on CRASS’ Bullshit Detector comps, but this album demonstrates that the Southend scene was home to punk bands of every stripe, from the gothic post-punk of AFTERMATH to the NEUROTICS-sounding progressive punk of the PREY. Fun fact, the VICARS here feature the vocal stylings of Alison Moyet, who went on to fame as the singer of YAZOO (sounding here more like Feargal Sharkey.) There’s honestly not a dud on this whole record. A great collection, lovingly compiled.

V/A Whole World vol. 1 cassette

Tasty little collection of five lo-fi garage freaksters from Berlin. Some nice No Wave eccentricities, some raw stomps, some drugged-out, wild-ass sweaty punk, even a coupla doses of shaky melancholic pop—NUNOFYRBEESWAX, FREAK GENES, TOP DOWN, the BUGS, and the DO NOTHINGS offer up a varied and feisty sampler of Berlin (circa 2019).

V/A Nitalect: Abandoned Meaning cassette

A four-way split cassette on a 30-minute tape. DESASTYR really lives up to their name playing some strange combination of noise/jam/punk/No Wave/free jazz/something or other. It’s kind of like hanging out at Guitar Center, to be honest. I do love the photo of Weng Weng on their portion of the insert, however. DOWN//OUT is more discernible, playing post-apocalyptic crust-infused metallic punk. BOZGOR keeps it the most straightforward of the bands on this comp, delivering fast D-beat. DREKAVATZ closes out the tape with a mixture of cheesy metal riffs and mid-tempo black metal, revving up a little faster from time to time. It’s actually the most enjoyable of the tape and I couldn’t help but bop around to it a bit. All in all, an incredibly bizarre four-way split. I can find no information about this online, but with the tape being a run of only 35 tapes, once all four bands had their copies and review copies were mailed out I can’t imagine the label would have had many to sell.

V/A Achtung ADK cassette

Thirteen tracks of synth-heavy weirdo punk from Berlin, Germany. If I’m understanding things correctly, all the songs were recorded specifically for this sampler. This is incredible and all over the map within genres that I thoroughly enjoy. There’s fast punk stuff, raging hardcore, No Wave weirdness, and post-punk dirges, with synth being present on a majority of the tracks. After a few listens, I think my favorite tracks are by DIE BONZEN, GESTURE, and NIGHTMARE. I can’t wait to do my research and find out if any of those bands have more to offer as their tracks are super good.

V/A A Tribute to Really Red Teaching You the Fear…Again 2xLP

It’s a double LP of bands covering REALLY RED songs! But you already figured that out from the clunky title. Boy oh boy…let’s get some stats out of the way: 39 bands, three versions of “Teaching You the Fear,” two versions of “Pig Boy,” and a big-ass poster with a square for each band credit. It must have taken hours to enter this release into Discogs. Big names like DICKS, VERBAL ABUSE (twice!), the BELLRAYS, MYDOLLS, SUGAR SHACK, HICKOIDS, MUDHONEY, the HATES, 50 MILLION, JESUS CHRIST SUPERFLY, and beloved Randy Biscuit Turner’s last band the TEXAS BISCUIT BOMBS all contribute. REALLY RED is fucking classic on all accounts and many of the versions here are fine, some even interesting, but it’s a bit much. They’re certainly a band worth honoring in some way but I don’t see the point of a 39-song 2xLP released by CIA Records (the same label that released the REALLY RED records forty years ago), unless it’s a benefit or something? Nope, doesn’t seem to be. I could see curious fans wanting to check out some tracks via streaming (you can also buy a weird T-shirt), and maybe the most compulsive vinyl-hoarders lining up to purchase, but this is not nearly as essential listening as an actual REALLY RED record.

V/A Tape Dad cassette

Tape Dad is a cassette label from Fayetteville, Arkansas, and this is their first compilation release, with plans of doing a new one to be released every year on Father’s Day. Very clever, Cassette Daddy! “It’s a crazy hodgepodge of different genres, styles, cities of origin, and friends” (per the label’s Bandcamp discussing the compilation), and I couldn’t agree more. With twenty tracks, I could go on about this forever, but rather than that I am going to focus on the handful of standout tracks from the punk/punk-adjacent realm that readers of MRR may care about, ignoring the jammy/college rock/singer-songwriter/indie/art stuff and leaving that for another place to review. PONO A.M. kicks off the comp with a killer driving track of garage-infused insanity not unlike THEE OH SEES. MUSCLEGOOSE has a weird, spastic, cow-punk kind of feel to them. BIG GRUMP, whose cassette I also just reviewed, is some cool, nasty noise rock. The PHLEGMS play a cool mixture of driving garage rock and post-punk. There’s a lot of cool stuff on this comp, and a lot that is very much not for me. Give it a listen and decide for yourself!

V/A Be Gay, Do Crime!: A Girlsville Benefit Compilation for Prism Health cassette

Girlsville hits it out of the park with this one. A benefit for Prism Health, which is such an important cause. A little about them from their website (find out more at prismhealth.org): “Prism Health offers a safe, affirming, and non-judgmental space where all members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community can obtain the compassionate and culturally effective health care they need and deserve.” A+. Now onto the music. This comp is absolutely killer and features such heavy hitters as GEN POP, STIFF LOVE, and even a new track by OSEES (the newly renamed/revived OH SEES), as well as sixteen more tracks. It’s impossible to pick a favorite track off of this as it hits a lot of different bases. I was most surprised by how driving and gritty the OSEES song on here is, though; haven’t heard that band sounding this nasty in a while and I absolutely love it. Listen to this comp, make a donation to Prism Health if you can, and perhaps most importantly do what the label says: be gay, do crime!

V/A Pandemic Sampler CD

I have to say, I’m feeling quite energized by the state of (presumably) “political” punk these days. This is a compilation in honor of Switzerland’s ggs31 squat/concert venue, going strong now for 22 years! Given that for obvious COVID reasons there’s no live music currently, the collective that runs the squat decided to bring the music back out to the kids (and adults too, I reckon). Fifteen bands have donated a track each, half of them Swiss, with a couple of German, Belgium, Croatia, Mexico and the Czech Republic also providing a band/track a piece. The styles range from hip hop to traditional Mexican folk (no guessing which combo provided the latter). Fortunately, most of it remains within the remit of MRR, and is all the better for it. My personal faves are the late-’70s-sounding power pop of 100 MAD and the MIKE STAINDER BAND (both Swiss), Germany’s ALTER EGON! who turn in a superb song that would have taken pride of place on CRASS’s “Penis Envy” and the glorious melodic punk of the Czech ROSA PARKS. The overall quality of songwriting throughout is exceptional. Well worth tracking this down, in anticipation of visiting the squat, ah, next year!

V/A This Is Copenhagen: A Punk Rock Manifesto 2009-2019 LP

It seems odd to me having such a lavish scene retrospective for only the last ten years. It also seems crazy when the essays included within speak of bands like GORILLA ANGREB and NO HOPE FOR THE KIDS as those classic bands of yore. This is, of course, my age showing and what a beautifully packaged labor of love this record is. Clear vinyl and a top-notch book included with gorgeous photography and well-written essays from notable scene participants make this a must have for punk enthusiasts. The essays speak of a widely diverse scene and this record does a fair job in its portrait of such. Besides NIGHT FEVER, I can’t say I’m very familiar with the artists on this comp but it’s very diverse from the beautiful darkwave of MOTH to the slam and dance of MOTORSAV. From the ADVERTS-style melodic 77 punk of BIG MESS to the lush feminine synth-punk of KOLD FRONT, you get a nice mental photograph of a diverse and welcoming scene. My personal favorites are the freight train to the face core of NIGHT FEVER, the ENO-esque robotic jams of CHAINSAW EATERS, the URINALS-style art-punk of EVEN DWARVES, the D-beat thrash of DEATH TOKEN, ’80s Brazil raw punk of JUNTA, and the refreshing post-punk of MELTING WALKMEN. You can just feel the sticky-floored, smoked-filled rooms ripe with the sour stench of old Dutch lager. I say dive on in.

V/A …So This Is Progress? 002 7″ flexi

This flexi mini-comp is included in a 16-page zine of disposable camera photos taken between 2001-2007 in California featuring 38 bands! So let’s get right to it; KIRITIERRA remind me of a more metallic NEGAZIONE; SACRIFYX recall CRUDE SS and FINAL CONFLICT; JEFFREY DONGER brought me back to LACK OF INTEREST and PLUTOCRACY. KRATOM seemed very OP IVY at first, then laid down a more BLACK FLAG sound. NERVOUS AGGRESSION plays like CAPITALIST CASUALTIES with the A-political voice of AXIOM. Pretty damn good and the photo zine is no slacker either. Photos of AFTER THE BOMBS, DYSTOPIA, MUNICIPAL WASTE, MELT BANANA, ANNIHILATION TIME, INSECT WARFARE and many others. A nice like celebration piece in a year where we can hardly see each other’s faces.

V/A Unten links: Solidarität gegen Zensur und Repression CD

Well, there’s lots to say about this here compilation. Firstly, it’s a “Soli-Sampler für Indymedia Linksunten” as the Germans would have it. Indymedia Linsunten was a website, part of the international Indymedia network, that was open access and used by a wide range of the anti-parliamentary Left to post about actions, events, and suchlike, and hence was taken down by the German state in 2017. Thusly, I’m guessing that the 29 bands contributing to this compilation would come from the more “political” (i.e. anarchist/explicitly left) end of the ol’ punk spectrum. Which makes it a fascinating snapshot of international (I’m guessing from the non-English names of the bands that at least half of them are from Germany and/or Northern Europe—y’know, all them umlauts and suchlike) more or less contemporary political punk. Several things immediately stand out. Well over half of the vocalists are women, and often where there are male vocalists there are also female. I’ve only actually heard of one of these bands before (the UK’s AUTONOMADS, whom I love dearly—and unsurprisingly, have a female vocalist—and a male one too!), though that probably says more about my knowledge of international punk than it does the “state of the scene.” And I use the term “punk” deliberately, because hardcore most of these bands certainly are not. Twenty years ago, one would safely presume that such a political compilation would be full of crusty DISCHARGE-esque bands, with perhaps the odd raging thrasher to break up the metal and grind. There’s nary a single song that would fit any of these descriptions. Indeed, the early CURE, or SISTERS OF MERCY seem to be more of an influence than RIISTETYT or BOLTHROWER. I guess with the German tradition of ’80s legends such as RAZZIA and SLIME, it’d be no surprise that driving melody is the norm here, with barely a sore throat amongst them. Other than the aforementioned AUTONOMADS, standouts for these ageing ears are SJU SVARA AR, LITOVSK and 100BLUMEN (who do the rather fine SISTERS OF MERCY impersonation), but really, the entire compilation is of a really high quality throughout. There’s not a duffer track to be found, and the cause, of course, is outstanding. Comes with a thick booklet about the German state and its nefarious actions, though all but some of the lyrics are in German. Top notch.

V/A Rock n’ Roll Manifesto 7″ Series Vol. 1 EP

One cut each by TIGER TOUCH, FRET RATTLES, JJ AND THE REAL JERKS, and MISSILE STUDS. This 7″ appears to be the first in a series of records we can expect from the Stamp Out Disco label, a name that is presumably a tip of the hat to RAZAR and their classic tune. This one features four real rockers. All are certainly punk, but each also clearly draws from their rock’n’roll roots. The one thing that I think they’ve all got in common is that they’re straightforward, melodic, and pretty catchy. Each of the four tracks is worthwhile, and to find them on a single slab of vinyl is a treat. This really is an excellent record.

V/A Cleveland Confidential LP reissue

The rest of the world has never fully reckoned with the sheer genius per square capita from Northeast Ohio, which not coincidentally produced one of the greatest punk/weirdo DIY comps of the ’80s in the form of Cleveland Confidential—the original 1982 pressing of the LP has been going for close to triple digits lately, so this new wallet-friendly reissue is a little more in line with the true Rust Belt spirit. For me, the definitive track here has always been MENTHOL WARS’ contribution, a totally sublime organ-drenched take on garage-pop by way of arty post-punk called “Even Lower Manhattan,” even though they were actually based in New York (with No Wave scenester and noted artist/video director Robert Longo on vocals and guitar!) and their primary Cleveland connection was their drummer being ex-PAGAN Brian Hudson. Other highlights, among many: the warped minute-and-a-half pop rant “Love Meant to Die” by JAZZ DESTROYERS (featuring one-time ELECTRIC EEL Dave E.), some droning and VU-damaged Clevo-sleaze from EASTER MONKEYS via “Cheap Heroin,” and the STYRENES’ appropriately collapsing rendition of the ELECTRIC EELS’ “Jaguar Ride.” I heard that the Cuyahoga River caught on fire again this summer; it’s good to know that some things never change.

V/A Damaged by Dez EP

Six track compilation of Dez-era BLACK FLAG covers. MANIACAL DEVICE’s “Six Pack” is solid but unremarkable. JESSE BLANKENSHIP BAND turning “Jealous Again” into a country-western twanger is…well, it’s fine as a concept. “Rise Above” gets a modern metal treatment from Puerto Rico’s VIEJA ESTRIPE. “Gimme Gimme Gimme” turns into a schlock rockabilly lounge turd when MUMMULA gets their hands on it. Someone has to do “Damaged I,” and PURE HEEL basically regurgitate it as it was, which is fine because it’s a pretty regurgitatable song. BETTY MACHETE AND THE ANGRY COUGARS breath life into “American Waste,” easily the best rendition on the comp. I still kinda can’t believe this is happening though.

V/A No Banger Left Behind LP

An all-over-the-place compilation of tracks with seemingly no correlation other than the fact that they’re all culled from obscure cassette comps or demo tapes. It opens with a short interview clip with the WORST (Ohio, not New Jersey) and travels between South America and Italy for a few tracks, then on to the UK, Australia, Yugoslavia, West Germany, Scotland, and then back to the Americas. Most of the eighteen selections date between ’84-’91, and a couple as late as 2000. It plays much like a mix tape your cassette-hoarding nerd friend made, heavy on the raw Central/South American hardcore punk and UK anarcho unknowns. I don’t recognize a single band name on here. I did the Discogs investigation on each to confirm the title is half accurate; most of these bands don’t seem to have more than one or two documented comp tracks, nor any info additional info. The term “banger” is subjective, and while most of the material is pretty good I don’t know if I’d describe anything on here as such. The layout looks cool and I do think it’s an interesting project. Collectors may want to take this for a spin, but I’m not adding anything to the want list. Limited to 200.

V/A Days of a Quiet Sun LP

Days of a Quiet Sun is a compilation of recordings made by music producer Martin Gary between 1966 and 1973. Gary was the son of a record store owner who grew up immersed in the retail side of the music business. From there, he expanded to record producer and label owner by recording bands from his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. The tracks on this compilation feature some of his earliest recordings and some are unreleased. They are surprisingly polished for a kid who was just learning the ropes, though probably a direct result of his record store experience. In the detailed liner notes, Gary recalls his processes of bringing bands he enjoyed seeing into studios in Washington, DC and Delaware due to lack of studios in Richmond. Gary would then release the records on his own labels and after getting local radio airplay, with some even becoming hits on the stations, he would bring the records to major labels trying to get the bands contracts. Though he was ultimately not successful in doing so, he was successful in his promotion of and preservation of these bands who might otherwise have been forgotten. Included here are the HAZARDS, the BARRACUDAS, KING EDWARD & HIS B.D.’S, BERNARD SMITH & JOKERS WILD, GROUP NINE, DUCK BAKER and the BOSOM BLUES BAND. Most started as teens playing at dances and frat parties. The music included is rock’n’roll, soul and blues similar to other bands at the time. The album title track by the BARRACUDAS features early use of a Moog synthesizer. Not surprisingly, the original records go for big bucks today. As a music connoisseur, I am always interested in the history of different scenes, what happened and why. Knowing next to nothing about the early Richmond music scene, I enjoy getting a sense of it through the ears of ones of its fans and participants. It is a nice collection.

 

V/A Molde Punx Go Marching Out 2xLP

Long-lost-tape-to-deluxe-vinyl reissues are about as common as overpriced novelty flexi-discs these days. My lengthy and committed romance with Norwegian punk and hardcore motivated me to aquire this one and I simply could not have been prepared for how great it is. Many of Norway’s best early punk offerings have been well documented through the Bloodstains series, Anarki & Kaos comp, all of the classic X-Port Plater releases, Tsjernobilly Boogie compilation and countless comp tapes and blogs. This collection of fourteen Molde bands from 1980-83 was allegedly limited to something like 30(!) copies, but despite what you might be thinking that should mean, the quality is fucking significant! You all know BANNLYST and hopefully ANFALL and mayyybe PSYKSIK TERROR, but not other pre-SO MUCH HATE/STENGTE DÁ˜RER bands like NEVROSE, STYGGE FÁ˜T, FORBUDT UNGDOM or SKABB. It’s really notable how great and varied in sound and approach all of these are. I can’t even pick highlights, there’s something for everyone, all youthful and full of formative punk excitement, though I must point out all members appear to be young men, not a single woman. A satisfying 12×12-inch booklet comes loaded with punk as fuck layouts for each group, complete with cute baby-punk photo layouts (including my guitar hero and absolute legend BÁ¸rre Lovik) and lyrics, really giving the proper space and document to a thriving early scene from a city less than 300 miles from the Arctic Circle. I’m experiencing immense pleasure in spotting the names of some of my favorite players in bands that were previously unable to be heard! This recommendation certainly comes from a certified nerd but I would urge you to pay the $40+ if you can.

V/A …So This Is Progress? 001: Spring 2020 flexi 7″/zine

The zine is just as much a photo essay as it is the story of the creator’s move from Oxnard to outside Columbus, followed by discovering what was happening punk-wise in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and NYC, documenting it all with disposable cameras. Whether shots of bands or friends, the euphoria of the punk show—and in particular experiencing it in a new place—is captured and conveyed in a way that made me feel the excitement vicariously (perhaps especially since gigs are on hiatus until who knows when?) The five bands on this comp—all great, scuzzy hardcore with some grind-leaning moments, all except Pittsburgh’s PEACE TALKS being from Ohio—also fit into the greater narrative of being representative of making DIY punk happen in their given cities. Even with the bar for 7″ comps being somewhere in the Earth’s mantle, this is a keeper. Just press number two to actual vinyl, please!

V/A Th’ Gunk Stunk cassette

Experimental dirges, shit-fi noise and general sonic fuckery abound on this tape. Starting with a dose of formidable monotony from BONELIST, Th’ Gunk Stunk only gets weirder. Nine tracks in total, mostly enough outside the typical fray that it takes serious processing to even decide where to file them in your brain. One track is BRAINBOMBS through a Wheelchair Full Of Old Men filter, then before you know it you’re listening to no-fi no-wave DIY synth damage. As a sonic journey, this is exactly what you want out of a compilation tape.

V/A We Were Living in Cincinnati LP

Ohio’s punk pedigree simply cannot be fucked with, yet Cincinnati never gets nearly as much lauding as most of the state’s other major burgs. HoZac (with help from an esteemed CHROME CRANKS member) aims to change all that with this collection, assembling a wide swath of pretty killer punk to get our scholarly heads a-scratchin’. Lotsa seldom-heard stuff here—a even split between stray single Killed By Death style excavating and wholly unreleased nuggz. BEEF’s “Nosedive,” a rescued live recording from ’78, finds the obnoxo-teen singer mimicking some air-show sounds…What’s not to fuckin’ love? There are some recognizable names as well: the CUSTOMS, the ED DAVIS BAND and even TEDDY AND THE FRAT GIRLS, whose inclusion here strikes me as a tad dubious, but if a technicality allows the now-generation to hear “Clubnite” again, I’m all for it! The great and hyper-detailed liners really convey a whole lotta punk love for this city and scene as well. As if all this were not enough, there is a download component that serves up an additional fifteen tunes—more punk Cin-sanity than anyone would ever need! Top to bottom, an ace collection and document of under-reported punk racket.

V/A Stay Home CD-R

A compilation of RAMONES covers from a variety of bands that I’m completely unaware of (which I’m sure says more about me than said bands). One of the beauties of the RAMONES is that it’s really difficult to make such a great collection of tunes sound bad. While those folks doing more or less faithful renditions still sounds great, those doing something a little different (female backing vocals, a bit of slide guitar and a country twang, electronic drums and keyboards), or radical reinterpretations (CHRISTIAN BLUNDA’s “I Remember You” stands out) just further enhances the majesty of the originals. Indeed, the only disappointing (somewhat) tracks on this effort, all recorded under lockdown, are those couple of folks who did even less lo-fi iterations than the originals. Personal faves of mine are DRAKULAS “Carbona Not Glue” and HAYBABY’s “Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment,” but anyone that loves the RAMONES (which is everyone, right!?) will dig this, indeed.

V/A Oi! L’Album Volume 2 LP

Libertoi, égalioi, fraternitoi! Nearly ten years after the first installment, Nantes-based label Une Vie Pour Rien has put out a second course of delicious Oi morsels from the francophone world. Absolutely zero fucking about here, as the first track from parisian stalwarts BROMURE is straight in with the saxophone, because is it really French Oi without it? Stand-out tunes from ULTRA RAZZIA, BOGAN, COUPE-GORGE, follow and if you like your riffs hard as nails, your vocals gruff and your saxophone inexplicably present then this is the comp for you. Marchons! Marchons!

V/A Mutations from the Motor City LP

As the title says, this comp is a collection of bands from Detroit, MI. The record starts off with “Limelight” from TIMMY’S ORGANISM. It is a short, thrashy track from this wildly entertaining band. It sets the bar high for the rest of the LP, which is filled with manic, angry, silly, loose and harsh bands. They are WEREWOLF JONES, DEVIOUS ONES, the STRAINS, PRIMITIV PARTS, BUBAK, UDI, LOWCOCKS, ERODERS, THROWAWAY and more. If these songs are representative of what’s happening in Detroit, things are about to explode. Watch out.

V/A My Head is Like a Radio Set: A Girlsville Compilation cassette

This is essentially a sampler cassette featuring a number of artists who have releases on Girlsville Records, based in Portland, OR. As per the label “…all new, novel, unreleased & unearthed tunes from our favorite bands.” Stylistically the tape ranges from bubblegum-pop to garage rock to synth-pop—it’s all over the map but the bands all work together really well. This is super cool and fun as a way to expose oneself to a ton of new bands all at once and see what a label is all about. I love when labels do this kinda thing. The tape features a ton of bands: the MARDI KINGS, the PRISSTEENS, FREAK GENES, GERM HOUSE, SEABLITE, the DARLING BUDS, UK GOLD, COLLATE, DIE GROUP, UV-TV, BECKY & THE POLITICIANS, SPLIT FRICTION, COACHWHIPS, THEE THEE’S, and OUIJA BOYS. If any of these bands are on your radar, or you just feel like scoping out a bunch of new bands, give this tape a shot.

V/A Diamond Distance & Liquid Fury: Sonny Vincent Primitive 1969-76 LP

Sometimes when punx who exclusively listen to punk rock accidentally encounter music from somewhere else and it does not suck, in their confusion the review and redistribution of the modified definition of punk rock starts to tame their minds. This explains when some tried to convince the world that a certain type of fast, electronic music is the new punk, or free jazz is punk. Occasionally it gets real chaotic and hardcore is called folk music. Side note: right now it’s 2020 and even if you have the words punk and hardcore tattooed on your body it is fine to own parts of the Acutel series or microdose yourself at some contemporary classical music event and tell your fellow radical rockers: you had a great Tuesday evening at this gallery where the performance took place. You basically can do whatever the fuck you want and within this freedom I state: this record is not punk at all. Which does not mean it is bad, because it is decent music that my dad would appreciate, too—but don’t worry, he does not possess a leather vest, nor wears a man bun, instead he was jamming me MC5 and ART ENSEMBLE OF CHICAGO when I was around eight years old. This record sends me into that period when playing rock and roll was a radical act, tap water contained LSD, hippies started cults and robbed banks, and wars were either proxy or cold. Although it is a compilation of bands (FURY, DISTANCE, LIQUID DIAMONDS, TESTORS) which all had SONNY VINCENT, the proper curation made the record consistent yet varied enough not to ever become boring. Sound-wise the tracks are on the edge of psychedelic rock but no real chaotic mumbo-jumbo, rather large, extended solos. Everything is sweaty-face-in-trance-desperation tight, mostly mid tempo and big riffs accompany male sorrow. The atmosphere of the record is dirty, tired, coming down from a trip and looking either for epiphany while staring into the rising sun or for scavenging for an early breakfast before fainting onto a dirty mattress. It is closer to ROKY ERICKSON than to STOOGES, definitely not glam at all and also distant from the proto-punk art rock of the VELVET UNDERGROUND. In case you are done with the one-finger solos used on two-thirds of your hardcore songs, here is a whole catalog to lift ideas from, or in case you like to consume weed and get lost in classic sounding but still rocking albums or to be a rock dad with obscure knowledge, this can be your pick. It’s a fun listen.

V/A We Are the Flowers in the Red Zone LP

This is an absolute treasure! By 1988, Polish zine/label QQRYQ had created strong bonds with like-minded punks around the Eastern Bloc and compiled a tape with bands from GDR, Hungary and Poland. Stories of dedicated punks in this repressive state and time are always humbling and inspiring, and there are a few great ones in this package. Two booklets are included, one is a reproduction of the first (?) punk zine from the GDR, which had to be printed in Warsaw and then smuggled across the East German border either in a stinky beer-soaked backpack, or sewed into a giant teddy bear—there are two partially conflicting accounts. Either way, the Stasi inserted a spy into the punk community and managed to seize the zines before distribution! Needless to say, it’s ten beautiful typewritten and collaged pages covering DDR and Polish punk. The other booklet is focused more on the original tape of this release, with original layout reprinted nice and big and with added photos and retrospectives on the relevant scenes and projects. And of course there’s the music! The two opening tracks from ANDREA’S AUSLAF (GDR) are noisy, but awesome, but had me wondering if this would be another LP’s worth of hardly listenable live boombox recordings. Not the case! Quality varies but overall is enjoyable lo-fi, raw and passionate punk and hardcore from TRYBUNA BRUDU, DIE TROTTEL, KEIN TALENT + NAMENLOS, DEZERTER, BIZTONSÁGI TANÁCS, WARTBURGS FÜR WALTER, and closing with possibly the most ripping track by Poland’s A.P.S.F. If you are the least bit interested in punk behind the Iron Curtain, or even cool old punk ephemera of any kind, this LP is an absolute must.

V/A Killed By Meth #4: Rust Belt Rockers LP

This latest volume of Rust Belt scrap punk offloads fifteen tunes from the likes of the FURR, CLIBBUS, and TRACI AND THE FAUCET OF FUKS. While of course this ain’t an archival collection of lost obscurities, the ugly, trashy or just plain oddball cuts capture the KBD vibe regardless. Overall solid, and the excellent FACILITY MEN and DBOY contributions in particular make this worth checking out.

V/A Behind This Wall EP

A 7″ comp from the Mojave Desert in Cali. Bands included on this are RECLAIM, NOBLES BONES, MARRÁ”N, COUNTY FAIR, and CEL DAMAGE. Pretty much a hardcore collection that stays away from generic thrash. A good start for a lesser-known scene.

V/A Red Scare Industries: 15 Years of Tears and Beers CD

I guess if I’d have stopped to figure it out/think about it, I would have realized that Red Scare is only fifteen years young. It seems like they’ve been around forever, but I guess it makes sense that they are the sound of the new millennium. Certainly, they have consistently proven to more than emulate, and indeed, to help define what the more melodic end of punk and hardcore actually sound like over the last decade and a half. If Epitaph and then Fat both gestated and represented that 90s sound, Red Scare have picked up that blazing torch, reassembled and reinvigorated it, and hurled it headlong into this century, and then some. To celebrate, there’s fifteen artists, from the current Red Scare roster, with one track apiece. It’s hard to pick out standouts when the whole damn pack itself is leading, but I’ll mention my two faves. BRENDAN KELLY AND THE WANDERING BIRDS add a suitably genius twist to a LILLINGTONS standout, managing in this incarnation to channel the best of CAPTAIN SENSIBLE and ATOM AND HIS PACKAGE in a wonderful electro-pop gem, while THE BOMBPOPS channel BLINK 182 at their pop punk perfect pinnacle. Then again, it’s not as if the likes of the COPYRIGHTS, ELWAY, GARRETT DALE and RAMONA are also-rans. fifteen years to date, not a misstep to be seen, and they’re still reaching for the stars. Long live the comrades at Red Scare.

V/A Vent the Spew Vol. 1 LP

File under “I guess you had to be there.” This is a collection of Columbus, OH-area bands from 1993-95. A reissue of Burnt Sienna Label recordings featuring multiple tracks from five bands: PET UFO, CLAY, MOODY JACKSON, MY WHITE BREAD MOM, and HAIRY PATT BAND. On the upside, this is punk from a self-described “Cowtown” and it’s thrash-y and decent.

V/A DGHD-50 cassette

Why not celebrate your 50th release with a 30 track compilation? From freakout synth jams to jerky garage punk to… well, there’s lots of jerky hi-energy garage punk, but that’s fine. There are also several tracks that scream early ’90s college/alternative rock (SAWA MELON, RIOT PUNCH), but they scream it really well, and there are legit hardcore slammers like LECHE in the mix, too. Packed entirely with bands I had never heard of, including MEAT SWEATS, WASTE MAN, COUNTY BOYS, LUVWEB, UNCLE JESUS, BETTY GOOP, PROM THREAT and waaaaaay more. DGHD-50 packs a shockingly favorable ratio of excellent : interesting : forgettable for a compilation with 30 new-to-me acts. “Commodity” from LATE and KNIFE HAND’s “Big Rig” are among the killerest cuts I’ve heard this month.

V/A Warsaw’s Burning Volume 2 EP

In celebration of Refuse Records’ 150th release, they’ve compiled another nice-looking eight-band compilation of current Warsaw hardcore bands. The majority of the material is throttling and precise hardcore, namely from HEATSEEKER, NEGATIVE VIBES, JAD, and GOVERNMENT FLU. MORUS has a slightly more classic Euro crust vibe, BRAINEÄTER brings some powerviolence, and the GLAMOUR and CAST IN IRON (doing a DEZERTER cover) tracks come off more aggressive punk, minus the ’core. The 7″ is packaged in a beautiful booklet with attractive cover art, a nice reflection from Robert Refuse, and each band gets a page. High quality all around, and congrats to Refuse for prolific endurance throughout the years!

V/A Bekannt & Beliebt (28 Bands Spielen Notdurft) CD

The subtitle of this (so far as I can ascertain) all-German compilation translates to “28 Bands Cover NOTDURFT.” ’Tis all in German (both the liner notes and the singing, not to mention the names of the vast majority of the bands), so I really have no idea what they are going on about. But it does sound pretty damn good. CAMINOS quite wittily/cleverly weave in the defining riffs, melodies, and solos of “Holiday in Cambodia” into their track—the majority of which sounds nothing like the DEAD KENNEDYS stylistically. UGLY HURONS do the third-wave pop punk-with-horns ska thing very well, while the POST-ROFT offering wouldn’t have sounded amiss on the UK DECAY long player. The highlights for me are definitely HANS AM FELSEN, who sound like the driving melodic punk with male/female twin vocals of PARANOID VISIONS at their height, along with two of the synth pop offerings from EIN JAHR and GEN NULL, the latter of whom bring to mind the best of CAPTAIN SENSIBLE’s solo offerings. I’d never heard of any of these bands prior to this disc, but am delighted to make their acquaintance, for sure.

V/A A Tribute to Punk 2xCD

On the face of it, there’s not a ton of appeal to a collection of 25 punk covers from bands that are punk-adjacent at best. Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age, but this was actually a pretty easy listen. Mostly hailing from Europe, the bands included cover a wide range of styles that includes dub, cumbia, ska, tango, and the latest weird iteration of GUTS PIE EARSHOT. Highlights include DUBAMIX (anarcho-dub!) offering up a DJ SHADOW-esque mashup of CRASS, the CLASH, DEAD KENNEDYS and BERURIER NOIR, an impassioned take on “The Guns of Brixton” (“Armas de Barrio”) from Spain’s ESKORZO, Italian band ARPIONI proving that “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” is a much better ska song than it is a pop track, and KUMBIA QUEERS high-energy, tounge-in-cheek cover of LOS VIOLADORES’ “Una, Dos, Ultraviolenta.” As you can tell, most of the covers are of the CLASH and other big names, but there are some pretty cool curveballs as well. As a whole, this isn’t something that you’d play for your crustier acquaintances, but if you need a record to put on when you’ve got squares over, this is a pretty good choice.

V/A Chain of Karma CD

Break out your bandanna and knuckledusters, this CD is a cornucopia of metallic/NYHC-style hardcore bands from Japan. Six bands, each offering three tracks apiece, so you get a good dose of material from the bands you know, and a good sense of what the others are all about. The disc opens and closes with its strongest material, kicking off with the SUICIDAL-loving mosh masters CYCOSIS and closing with the Burning Spirits-meets-CRUMBSUCKERS crossover of SAIGAN TERROR (best known for their super-elusive EP on Bacteria Sour). In between you’ll find straightforward trebly hardcore from B SIDE APPROACH, some particularly weird joke-y black metal-style stuff from the reliably strange HARD CORE DUDE, some super-catchy riff-centered mosh from GAMY, and some very metallic and technical stuff from EEVEE. Not as great as some of the other Hardcore Kitchen samplers from the past (I highly recommend Destructive Decibel Domination and the N.E.K/ADA MAX split) but there’s plenty to like here, especially if you’re a fan of the heavier side of hardcore.

V/A Kinda Sorta Music 2019 CD-R

20-band compilation CD-R—a format that I simultaneously curse and adore. The disc starts with garage punk, then raw hardcore, then blackened grind/crust…so you know you’re in for a wild ride. There’s weird industrial (FUTURE SCUM), pure noise (O.S. D’VIL, OLIGARCHY OF MEGALOMANIA), shit-fi garage (the GREAT SADDNESS), psychedelic drum machine party punk (HURT HAWKS), some lost BAUHAUS shit (UFO WHISPERER) and plenty of straight hardcore and/or punk burners (the RIGHT, DEAD BABIES). Literally something here for everyone, and I missed more than a few highlights in this review. Kinda Sorta Music is all over the place in the best way, and well worth the two or three emails to kindasortamusic@mail.com that it might take to get a copy into your own hands.

V/A Fast Beats In A Slow Town Volume II: The CCHC Demos Edition (1987-1991) LP

A sequel of sorts to the first volume: the S.U.S. / ONE TRICK COBRA split EP, also released by the long-running TFC Records in 2009; this is a seventeen-track collection of largely raw demos, practice recordings, and a few live tracks from mostly unknown and unheralded late ’80s Corpus Christi, TX hardcore bands. DEMORALIZED, SUBVERSION, BRUTAL POVERTY, PURE HATE, JOYWAN, the KRAYONS, KILLJOY, the HERSHEY SQUIRTS, BIG MOUTH, and POETIC NOISE contribute one to three lower-fi songs apiece. In a way, it could almost be a snapshot of anywhere in the US at that time, though the speedy turns of ultra-quick thrash—a Texas hallmark cemented by the likes of DRI, DRESDEN 45, and MANCHURIAN CANDIDATES—do both date and location stamp the recordings. There’s a wonderful nascent energy here, with SST / CRUZ records-style quirkiness, deigns to ’80s singalong hardcore, thrash, and melody all being stirred in self-expression without any pretension beyond playing a vets hall as an opener for NO FRAUD or DESPERATE MINDS. And that rules. It’s like a paean to a simpler time where people didn’t really do bands with much ambition beyond having fun and entertaining their friends, because the overarching larger hardcore scene had collapsed and a smaller, stronger DIY culture hadn’t splintered and solidified to a point to give you many more options beyond that. So these tracks ring pretty earnest and fun. You might not find your new favorite band here, but you’ll hear a lot of bands that remind you of that friend’s band that was pretty good but just did a demo you totally wish you still had a copy of. Pressed on mottled transparent brown vinyl, and includes a brief insert with short band descriptions and photos. Fun listen.

V/A Into The Outro: Swingin’ L.A. Sounds LP

This is an interesting compilation of L.A. bands. The genres include garage, surf, pop, metal(-ish), and there’s even a RAMONE (Richie). The LP flow is a bit disjointed, and some tunes are too slickly produced, but there is probably at least one song everyone will like. Some of the standout bands are KID FLAMINGO, the 7 AND 6, the NIGHT TIMES, the AZMATICS, the OSTEOBLASTS, the TURBULENT HEARTS and the SLOP.

V/A Western KY Music Through the Years 2002-2017 CD-R

Five Kentucky bands, mostly on the early garage and/or proto-grunge end of the spectrum. VASELINES, EUGENIUS, a little bit of SCREAMING TREES maybe…that brand of laid back action. Not bad, and it definitely grew on me.

V/A Our Voltage CD

This is a cool comp of modern garage rock bands. The bands are lo-fi, fuzzy, surfy, laidback, etc. Includes THE PRISTEENS, MR. AIRPLANE MAN, FREAK GENES, UK GOLD, DAMAGED BUG and more. The title is appropriate: Our Voltage is whatever feels right in the moment, and every band hits it perfectly. Even the covers of SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES’ “Christine” (the MYRMIDONS) and BO DIDDLEY’s “Who Do You Love?” (ATOMIC SUPLEX) manage to sound fresh. Nice.

V/A Peace, Unity, Noise And Having Fun: Tekken Tribute & Remixes LP

So this compilation LP is apparently a tribute to the French fastcore band TEKKEN. I regret to announce I was not familiar with TEKKEN the band, but it looks as though they were around in the late ’90s and early ’00s, and with some video research, I have realized that they were pretty good! If you like to blast off with CHARLES BRONSON, SPAZZ, DAMNABLE EXCITE ZOMBIES, AGATHOCLES, or even FANTOMAS, or any bands that were forming when fastcore was really breaking into its stride, I have this recommendation for you! There’s also some really bizarre MIDI carnival music, which I must admit I am entertained by, if not perplexed.

V/A Live Your Gimmick Vol. 1 CD

Four-band comp that goes like this: 1) The DRIVIN’ BEATS play early ’80s sounding late punk vs. early college radio rock and/or legit new wave rock ’n’ roll; 2) SOURPUSS sound like if the SPITS were trying to sound tough and/or offensive—also if the SPITS were actually a bad grunge band; 3) The DOWNSTROKES are classic ’80s Midwest punk; 4) The XILES are like the SEX PISTOLS if Johnny’s exaggerated accent kept falling out of line and / or any heartfelt, determined bar punk band in any town in North America—and “American Nightmare” is the best song on this comp. That is all.

V/A Live Your Gimmick Deuce!!! LP

A compilation of four bands whose collective goal as described by the CD’s narrator is to “take back punk” from the people who impose the punk rules. Isn’t that supposed to be MRR? NEVER SAY DIE plays rockabilly-ish redneck rock. SUPERMEN are macho ANTISEEN types. THE RUNZ play anthemic hard rock. LONG LOST ENEMIES are poppy hardcore. Eh. Good luck.

V/A Pulsebeat LP

As we witness the decay of the physical parts of punk, like the disappearance of the printed word and the records we used to hold in our hands, one of the earliest casualties was always going to be the compilation LP. These motherfuckers are hard to make good, you know? It’s like going to those goddamn ten band bill shows, where five people watch the band they came to see, and everyone goes outside to smoke during the rest of the night. So when I hear a comp LP in 2019 of bands I’ve never heard of and find it to be completely listenable and varied, I get pretty fucking stoked. Slobbery two-finger metal, tolerable Fat stuff, pop punk, dark synthy post-punk, drooling robo punk, cleaned-up crust, and even some fucking ska metal. I gotta hand it to these fine folks, as this is all over the place and still not fucking terrible. There’s a shit ton of sneer and bile in almost all the vocals, like every singer went to the same laryngitis-inducing singing school. Seventeen tracks, and financed by seven different record labels, which is kinda goofy, but hey, that’s the price you gotta pay to put out records in a time when nobody is buying. Definitely worth checking out.

V/A Live at Raul’s LP reissue

Despite being a Texan and a Texas punk enthusiast, I never heard Live at Raul’s. I always assumed it was more important to be equipped with the BIG BOYS / DICKS Recorded Live at Raul’s LP (it is). Raul’s was a club in Austin that accidentally became a hub for new wave / punk in the late ’70s through the early ’80s, and these tracks were crisply captured via mobile studio. Five local bands, two tracks each, many of which were unreleased at the time. The EXPLOSIVES, TERMINAL MIND, and the SKUNKS tracks are all edgy rock, the latter two being the punkest. STANDING WAVES are more new wave, while the NEXT is the most confrontational and best, as I expected. With the exception of the NEXT tracks, it all errs on the side of pop rock. This reissue is limited to 500 copies, and has a reproduction of the flyer for the gig, and some decent live band shots. Live records are polarizing but I am happy to report that it’s easy to forget this is live until the applause at the end of the tracks. Essential? No, unless you’re a completist.

V/A Paris Is Burning CD

Paris might be burning, but it sounds pretty damn good to these ears. Ten Parisian punk bands grace us with a couple of tracks each. Whether it’s the UK SUBS-esque HUMAN DOG FOOD, the GBH-inflected BREAKOUT, or the ever-ebullient techno pop punkers LOUIS LINGG AND THE BOMBS, the standard is uniformly astonishingly high for a compilation. The moody goths yearning for the days of ALIEN SEX FIEND even have HARASSMENT to keep ’em happy. I guess this does make them all a bit European sounding. But then again, it is Paris for fuck’s sake. Even better, this CD, brought to you by the trifecta of labels Sick My Duck, Sheekiz,and General Strike, is available for free from any of the featured bands, with a purchase of any of their other records. Given that this was sent in by LOUIS LINGG AND THE BOMBS, you ought to get it from them!

V/A We Got Party LP

The third in this sorta series, another monster with 41 bands, plenty of great punk, and of course, no info on any of the bands. I’m sure a lot of these tracks date back to ’83 and are by bands long gone as well as current groups like NOFX, MANIFEST DESTINY, CRINGER (who never sent in a tape and didn’t know anything about it till they saw the LP at my house!), LIFE SENTENCE, DEHUMANIZERS, CANCEROUS GROWTH, PTL KLUB, etc., and lots of vinyl virgins.

V/A We Can Change the World, Vol.II cassette

A solid comp with DISSONANCE, A.D.S., DEAD SILENCE, and more. Lots of energetic material (poetry too!!) with a message. Booklet included.

V/A Suuren Hiljaisuuden Jälkeen… EP

Risto Eronen has been doing a lot for the Finnish punk scene for years, but he’s now doing even more—putting out vinyl. This first release is a one-song-each comp featuring APARTHEID, IRSTAS, KUMIKRISTUS, VAPAUTUS, YTIMENJATKE, and NOJDANKENA. Lots of hardcore styles are represented, and I found the latter band’s slow but powerful attack the most refreshing. Watch for more.

V/A Sorry I Gave at the Orifice cassette

A great title, and a pretty darn good tape, too. Featuring DECLINE, SCREECHING WEASEL, DISGRACE, SOCIAL DECAY, and more US acts with fair to good sound quality. Booklet included.

V/A Shall We Dance? LP

Four bands that combine “tunes and speed” says the promo sheet. Well actually, what we have are four bands (JOYCE MCKINNEY EXPERIENCE, INCEST BROS, DECADENCE WITHIN, and NOX MORTALS) that play more traditional sounding punk—melody and medium-paced tempo. Female and male vocals on two bands, neat package, good stuff.

V/A Raw Cuts, Volume Five: Swedish Beat Two

This series’ second go-round on Sweden, covering neo-’60s garage bands. This one features the HIJACKERS, HIGH SPEED V, UNDERTAKERS, SUBTERRANEANS, PRESCHERS, BANGSTERS, CORNFLAKE ZOO, and CRIMSON SHADOWS, capturing a variety of mostly hard-edged guitar punk à la ’67.

V/A Oi! Glorious Oi! LP

COCKNEY REJECTS, ANGELIC UPSTARTS, and SHAM 69 from the older generation and a host of newer Oi! bands like INDECENT EXPOSURE, BRIAL, INTENSIVE CARE, SECTION 5, etc. Some OK lyrics, some shaky ones such as the Y.D.L. song, overall good catchy tuneage.

V/A My Meat’s Your Poison LP

A hot comp featuring OUTO, CHICKEN BOWELS, SYSTEMATIC DEATH, GUDON, S.O.B., and LIP CREAM. Raging from start to finish, the OUTO and S.O.B. cuts are definitely the highlights, especially the latter who are unbelievable.

V/A It’s Midnight Xmess, Part III LP

Their third twisted “holiday” comp, much in the vein of the previous LPs. Most of the bands are ’60s garage, blues, psych, featuring IGUANAS, GOREHOUNDS, SHARKY’S MACHINE, SENDERS, BROOD, etc., but my fave is the raunchy all-female STERILLES doing “Mrs. Claus has Menopause.”

V/A The Incredible Power of Darkness LP

Vol.1 of a worldwide HC comp series, with most of the songs being in a speedcore vein. Lots of the tunes have been released before, though several are re-recorded, and there are a few unreleased tracks as well. Included are VELLOCET, ACCUSED, DAMAGE (Finland), INFERNO, CAPITAL SCUM, STUPIDS (huh?), NO ALLEGIANCE, MANSON YOUTH, MANIACS, and G.R.B.

V/A The 11 Years On Zine Farewell Flexi EP

A three-song release that accompanies issue #10 of 11 Years On ‘zine. BLOOD AND THUNDER, HEAVY DISCIPLINE, and INSTIGATORS all do one, the latter being live. Last issue of this ‘zine, so pick it up now.

V/A Don’t Lose Your Head cassette

A pretty solid world comp of mostly wild punk and HC tuneage. Standouts included VISUAL DISCRIMINATION, EXTREMES, and more. Worth checking into. Booklet included.

V/A Censorship Sucks! LP

This is a No More Censorship Defense Fund benefit LP with a variety of styles and bands. On the punk side are OI POLLOI and CÁTERAN, while there are a host of aggressive-sounding post-punk bands like PASTELS, SHAMEN, MEMBRANES, PRIMEVALS, PALOOKAS, MEAT WHIPLASH, etc.

V/A Can a Butterfly Smash a Wheel? LP

This compilation is intended as a document of the underground rock scene in Bødø, a small Norwegian town north of the Arctic Circle. The music is incredibly diverse, ranging from pop-punk to grungy hardcore to syntho-disco to experimental art-noise to jangly guitar pop. There are also some rumbling synth “mood music” tracks which are quite relaxing. Production tends to be on the muddy side, but the concept is bizarre enough to make this one interesting.

V/A Welcome to the Nuclear Stoneage cassette

ATAVISTIC, DESECRATION, and CORRUPTED MORALS are the standout acts on this above average comp. Ten acts in all, good selection of tunes, comes with ‘zine.

V/A War is the Crime cassette

An above average comp of world HC/punk acts, including the VARUKERS, MANIACS, UPRIGHT CITIZENS, and more. Sound quality varies, but this is mostly good stuff.

V/A Super Seven Sampler LP

In their never-ending series of comps, Mystic Moody presents fourteen tracks by fourteen bands. All of these tracks are taken from previous 7”-ers. Cool cover and some classic SoCal punk rock.

V/A Schmurz-Pilation LP

Anywhere from three to five tracks each from Toulouse’s PIN PRICK, LE BLOB!, BLABLA SCHMURZ GROUP, JOZEFS ET LES PHILLES, and SWINGLE GARROTE. All the groups play various types of ’77 punk, most of which is infectious and peppy. JOZEFS and the band are an all-female group that shows its ’77 roots best, SWINGLE GARDEN are young and powerful, PIN PRICK rock quirky and French. Good stuff.

V/A Rat Music for Rat People, Vol. lll LP

Well, it’s finally here and it’s actually pretty damn good. A lot of bigger names here like CORROSION OF CONFORMITY, ADOLESCENTS, DOGGY STYLE, D.I., RAW POWER, ADRENALINE O.D., RAW POWER, and WHITE FLAG. The cut from MOJO NIXON about drug testing was a surprise but a welcome one. Some of this is available on other things but this is a nice sampler.

V/A Praise Grandma cassette

This tape is #4 in a series from Bad News Cassette Zines. Some of the eleven underground acts featured are: the PARASITES, DREAM SMASHES, and BLOWFISH. An interesting mixed bag, you won’t be bored. Buy or fry!

V/A Senseless Death LP

A good consistent compilation of HC and speedcore tuneage. Almost all U.S. acts; standouts include FEAR ITSELF, ATTITUDE, IMPULSE MANSLAUGHTER, and more. Mostly unreleased stuff, with a couple live cuts. Thumbs up.

V/A How Will You Know What This Record Sounds Like If You Don’t Listen to It LP

A benefit LP for a youth center in Germany, featuring German and Italian bands such as SPERMBIRDS, DUNKLE TAGE, SKEEZICKS, DIOXINS, JUMP FOR JOY, DISPERAZIONE, RESISTANCE, and more. Green vinyl.

V/A The Weird Weird World of Guru Weirdbrain LP

I wish there was more info on the bands included on this Irish comp, ’cause they’re largely excellent. Lots of pop punk, garage, psycho surf, etc. Fans of UNDERTONES, CRAMPS, REVILLOS, etc. will enjoy the CANNIBALS, PARALISED PURPLE RAYS, PARANOID VISIONS, GOREHOUNDS, BARRACUDAS, etc. Rocks.

V/A Flipside Tunes: Vinyl Fanzine Number Three LP

Big names are on this effort (7 SECONDS, ADOLESCENTS, CIRCLE JERKS, the BRIGADE, M.I.A., S.N.F.U., DOGGY STYLE, TESCO VEE & WHITE FLAG, C.O.C.) as well as medium names (LITTLE GENTLEMEN, VATICAN COMMANDOS, MAD PARADE, SLAPSHOT, 76% UNCERTAIN, LEMONHEADS, SHONEN KNIFE) and the newer names (BULIMIA BANQUET, PROBLEM CHILDREN, COPULATION). Tunes are both live and studio, of varying sound quality. Interesting notes: what does it mean when the BRIGADE rocks more than 7 SECONDS?

V/A Dis-Orderly Music? cassette

An hour’s worth of East Coast HC and metalcore. Bands featured are PRONG, CHRONIC FEAR, PSYCHO, LETHAL AGGRESSION, and many more. Consistently hot powercore stuff, not for the timid.

V/A Discpan Hands: A Philadelphia Compilation LP

A Philly comp featuring a variety of mostly mid-tempo punk and some thrash. Standouts include DEADSPOT, PAGAN BABIES, TONS OF NUNS, BLUE, SHE MALES, ANTHROPHOBIA, HOMO PICNIC, MCRAD, DAS YAHOOS, and more.

V/A Desperate Rock n Roll, Volumes 1-4

Can’t help it—this stuff just slays me. Wild, obscure white trash rock and rockabilly tracks from the ’50s and early ’60s. Although they all sound fairly similar the first volume has plenty of “outer space” songs that should please fans of the LEGENDARY STARDUST COWBOY. Yowsa.

V/A Dagger Killer Comp Vol. 1 cassette

A pretty good buffet of tuneage here from experimental punk to scorching thrash. Standout acts include PSYCHO, BOURGEOIS DISEASE, and CANCEROUS GROWTH. Worth investigating.

V/A Car Crash Music cassette

A new one from BCT with CHALLENGER CREW, FEAR ITSELF, YOUTHQUAKE, SUBTERRANEAN KIDS, and other quality acts. A great tape and it helps this dedicated bunch to get out of debt. Buy now.

V/A At Dianne’s Place LP

Kind of an after-thought tribute to a swell pool hall in Santa Cruz that experimented with live music for a while, and because of the location it’s leaning heavily towards SC bands like the WRESTLING WORMS, RAINING HOUSE, and the BARNACLE CHOIR, as well as related bands like CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN, SPOT 1019, TEN FOOT FACES, and the HOLY SISTERS of the GAGA DADA. Also some neat tracks with the CATHEADS, VOMIT LAUNCH, and the DONNER PARTY.

V/A What is Punk? cassette

Good question, don’t know if this will find the answer, but with righteous tuneage from DEVIATED INSTINCT, FRATRICIDE, LARM, & more, it certainly can’t hurt. Rad. All the proceeds go to the Toronto ALF Bust Fund.

V/A We Can Do Whatever We Believe In cassette

This tape features super hot stuff from STIKKY, ELECTRO HIPPIES, DESECRATION, RIPCORD & more, but the tape has completely atrocious sound quality: recorded too low with a loud hiss throughout the whole thing.

V/A Turn It Around! 2xEP

This package is a dedication to the spirit of the Gilman Street Project. Featuring 12 groups that participate regularly at Gilman (both as bands and individuals), there is plenty of music as well as a 14 page booklet. Bands include ISOCRACY, CORRUPTED MORALS, STIKKY, YEASTIE GIRLZ, NASAL SEX, SWEET BABY JESUS, RABID LASSIE, OPERATION IVY, CRIMPSHRINE, NO USE FOR A NAME, SEWER TROUT and BUGGERALL. My prejudiced view: hot!

V/A Skull Thrash Zone, Volume 1 LP

DOOM are terrible metal, SHELL SHOCK are decent metallic hardcore, X are enjoyable thrash, JURASSIC JADE are as bad as they sound, GROUND ZONE is boring metal, and ROSE ROSE make powerful thrash noise. And they all look like a punk version of KISS.

V/A The Savages Are Loose LP

This compilation covers a side of the greater DC scene that we rarely hear about. Other than MADHOUSE, PHLEGM, SARCASTIC ORGASM and ASBESTOS ROCKPYLE, most of these bands are new to vinyl, and deliver a variety of garage punk, thrash and grunge. Featured are MOTOR MORONS, PLATINUM SLUGS, BAD VIBES, SYBIL PURE EVIL and many others. Only problem is no insert/no info on the bands.

V/A Raw Cuts, Volume Four: Australian Nitro LP

This edition covers Australian neo-’60s garage bands, and there’s quite a bit of psych/gloom stuff as well (too much). But bands like LIZ DEALEY & THE TWENTY SECOND SECT. CONEHEADS and ASSASSINS do kick ass, making it worthwhile.

V/A Psychotic Reactions Caused by External Influences cassette

All right! This is the most manic group I’ve heard in ages, featuring acts from W. Germany, Peru, UK, US, and Finland, the standouts being DESECRATION, THE ELECTRO HIPPIES, LAST OPTION, 7 IRSTAS. Amazing!!

V/A Still Thinking Presents: Progress?! EP

A six (Canadian) band comp benefit for Aid To Nicaragua. Standouts include SONS OF ISHMAEL, M.S.I., and GUILT PARADE’s trashing of “Heartbreak Hotel.” A good record and an effort worth supporting. Cool.

V/A Oversea Connection LP

Don’t be put off by the cheesy cover, this LP don’t smell. Bands like FEAR ITSELF, DEPRESSION, A.P.P.L.E. TH’ INBRED, ATTITUDE, DEAD SILENCE, G.A.S.H., LIFE SENTENCE, PSYCHO and lots more add both live and studio tracks. A good selection of many punk styles.

V/A Mindless Slaughter LP

A 14 band benefit compilation where all profits go to the Hunt Saboteurs Association. There is a wide range of music here, which becomes obvious when you realize the contributing bands include CHUMBAWAMBA, ELECTRO HIPPIES, RUBELLA BALLET, MEKONS, STEVE LAKE, etc. Of course, all lyrical content is directed towards animal rights but the record itself lacks information concerning the topic, in fact there are only lyrics to five of the songs.

V/A The Iowa Compilation LP

A statewide comp of varying alternative musics. There isn’t any hardcore, but most of the pop stuff here has an edge, and bands like CLAUDE PATE, HOUSE OF LARGE SIZES and SHELLGAME do have quite a bite.

V/A (F-R-5) LP

A weirdly conceived LP, because other than a hot and previously unreleased LAW & ORDER track, a so-so version of SCREAM’s “Solidarity,” and a live G.I. track, the rest is very commercial wave stuff. Given all the DC bands whom we haven’t seen on vinyl yet, I was disappointed with this selection.

V/A Brainwashed Into Submission cassette

Heaven (or hell?) is here if you’re a speedcore maniac, because those “jugga jugga” axes are here in full force. Acts include NO REBATE, BLOODCUM, GENERATION WASTE, and more.

V/A 1984 the Third 2xLP

Quite an accomplishment. An excellent sampler of mostly not-famous bands, but bands that really put out. Lots of differing punk styles, fine choice cuts, lots of listening and most all are invigorating. Bands from Czechoslovakia, Peru, South Africa, Hungary, and just about everywhere else. Hot.

V/A 4 Bands That Could Change the World LP

Rully? OK, 7 SECONDS, AOD, WHITE FLAG and F come up with 4 or 5 tunes each, oddities, versions, live takes, etc. Pretty fun selection, plus bits of goofiness and experimentation.

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 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 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 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 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!

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 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 Where Birdmen Flew LP

One track each from thirteen primal Aussie punk bands, most being off 77 era singles and most being hot! VICTIMS, RADIO BIRDMAN, ROCKS, NEWS, PSYCHO SURGEONS, RAZAR, LEFTOVERS, X, THOUGHT CRIMINALS, SCIENTISTS, and more. As many U.S. bootlegs claim Australian addresses, this release claims a U.S., but don’t be surprised if no one’s home.

V/A Waste Sausage LP

A grand collection of Australian sludge/noise bands. Great names too — BUSH OYSTERS, PURPLE VULTURE SHIT, LUBRICATED GOAT. Also includes the last track ever by the now defunct GRONG GRONG.

V/A Step Forward #1 cassette

Three bands share this tape: BACK TO BACK (CA) who have a hot clean thrash sound, YOUTH UNDER CONTROL (AZ) playing positive HC with energy, and LAST OPTION (AZ) dishing out fierce thrash with personal lyrics. Live records with booklet, great stuff!

V/A Raw Cuts, Volume Three: German Underground LP

This selection of neo-’60s bands covers Germany. Bands like LEGENDARY GOLDEN VAMPIRES, the CHUD, BEATITUDES, SHINY GNOMES, and more drop all over the turntable for your delight. Nothing too raving here, just fifty mike doses.

V/A Shin Kankakuha Omunibus, Vol. 2 flexi 8″

NEW DRUGS, the 5.6.7.8’s, SHUFFLE, and another band whose name is in Japanese present cowpunk, SHIRELLES/DOLLS-style early 60s stuff, and 77 punk. Weird mix to say the least, though the SHUFFLES’s “Working Class” has SHAM catchiness.

V/A Not the Comfy Chair cassette

A six band comp which features the catch punk of ALLIGATOR PARADE, HALF OFF’s powerhouse thrash, and GOV’T THRASHER’s hot noise. A hot consistent tape.

V/A New York City Hardcore 1987: Together EP

Seven highly moshable tunes here, all showing some kind of searching attitudes. While there are still traces of the NY “hard” attitude, there’s much more of a human quality that’s replacing the naive “unity for unity’s sake” approach. Bands include YOUTH OF TODAY, SICK OF IT ALL, SIDE BY SIDE, BOLD, WARZONE, SUPERTOUCH, and GORILLA BISCUITS. Pick it up, and hope that as these bands mature they will prove less mercenary and display more emotional depth than the previous wave of NYHC.

V/A Future-Now! Presents flexi EP

This flexi comes with the first issue of Future-Now! UK zine and features one song each by HERESY, STUPIDS, and DEPRAVED (now called VISIONS OF CHANGE). All three songs are great, each with its own style of thrash, all backed by high energy and good intentions.

V/A Tsjernobilly Boogie LP

This album represents a variety of Norwegian HC styles, the most interesting being that by BRENT JORD, TMB, OVERLAGT DRAP, and KAFKA PROSESS. Production is good but basic, and the best material here demonstrates a richness of talent from this country that makes me hankering for more.

V/A This is the Life LP

An international comp featuring FUCK GEEZ, GLORY, B.P. THE PRISONER, UK JUNX, FREEZE and ASBESTOS ROCKPYLE from the U.S., SCRAPS from France, S.O.D. from Sweden and the DEFORMED from England. Varying quality and sound, and hopefully more international punk will get exposure there.

V/A Pusmort Sampler EP

A unique and good looking package here, with a 7″ comp EP and flexi. Bands from the U.S., Canada and Japan include SEPTIC DEATH, FRATRICIDE, C.O.P., FINAL CONFLICT, NEGATIVE GAIN, GHOUL, OUTO, S.O.B., and GHOUL SQUAD. No info on the bands, but the needle jumps, and that’s the bottom line.

V/A The Wailing Ultimate: The Homestead Records Compilation LP

The greatest hits of Homestead. Can’t afford all those records? Get all the hits here. Included are: VOLCANO SUNS, BIG BLACK, NAKED RAYGUN, LIVE SKULL, DEATH OF SAMANTHA, DINOSAUR, SQUIRREL BAIT, SALEM 66, and many more.

V/A The 20th Anniversary of the Summer of Love LP

A fine collection of known and unknown, previously released and unreleased psychedelic and psychotic bands of 1987. Nothing “neo” about this. Just hit after love hit. Features among many: HALF JAPANESE, SHOCKABILLY, ARTLESS, BONGWATER, FRED FRITH, KRACK HOUSE, STEVE TAYLOR, and ALLEN GINSBURG. Absolutely wonderful.

V/A A Texas Trip LP

Compiled by the BUTTHOLE SURFERS, there’s two tracks each by said band. Steve Fitch, Daniel Johnston, and STICKMEN WITH RAYGUNS. It’s all Texas weirdness/bad acid stuff. Highlight is the latter band, whose sound is like the SCREAMERS meets FLIPPER.

V/A None Whatsoever LP

Sort of interesting comp of mostly East Coast pop bands. I’ve never heard of (except homeboys TEN TALL MEN). From pretty catchy to extremely droll. A little electronics and a little psychedelia. SIGNS OF LIFE, TEN TALL MEN, BIG DIPPER, and EXPANDO BRAIN are the highlights. So-so.

V/A Kani Ka Pilk cassette

A pretty solid world compilation featuring the INSTIGATORS, YOUTH QUAKE, UPRIGHT CITIZENS and more. Contains studio and live material. Good job.

V/A Budget Ranch Box 3×7″ box set

Three separate EPs, three different sounds, three different color vinyls. PILLSBURY HARDCORE, PEACE CORPSE, and WHITE’N’HAIRY get their individual say here. Made for collectors, comes in a box.

V/A Trust Vinyl Compilation EP

Every one of these German bands (CHALLENGER CREW, UNWANTED YOUTH, SPERMBIRDS, JUMP FOR JOY, SKEEZICKS, PMA, and ANTITOXIN) deliver one song each, and great ones they are. It’s rare to find a comp that’s really consistently sold, but this one is. Put out by Trust fanzine.

V/A Stop Animal Abuse cassette

Hot, hot, hot stuff here by UNSEEN FORCE, IMPACT, INFERNO, ELECTRO HIPPIES, and more. Informative booklet enclosed and this is a benefit for Animal Liberation Front. No excuses, get this!

V/A On Our Way to Fools Paradise LP

Four Holland acts on this disc: LAITZ, BTD, KIKKERSPUUG, and LOUD WARNING. All take the hard and fast approach, with a bit of variation. Not too much originality shines through, but the intensity is present, especially on BTD’s material.

V/A New Zealand EP

A five-band comp that features one song each from groups that span the length of this island nation. ACID REIGN, HOLOCAUST, DEFIANCE, and MINDFUCKERS all have a ’77 UK sound, and all the recordings are amateurish, though the latter has a most interesting track. NAZGUL is in the thrash vein, and attacks! Good cut!

V/A Murderous Hands Off Nature’s Beauty cassette

A great, diverse benefit comp for the Leeds Hunt Saboteurs. Music ranges from punk to folk, most of which is powerful and backed up with good meaning. Included are UPRISING, CHUMBAWAMBA, AUTONOMY, ELECTRO HIPPIES, and CIVILISED SOCIETY?. Worth looking into.

V/A Lethal Noise, Vol. 2 cassette

A mega swell comp featuring a slew of hot upcoming Bay Area bands such as STIKKY, FORETHOUGHT, SHORT DOGS GROW, ISOCRACY, and mucho more. Great sound quality, a first class effort. GOOOOO!

V/A Let’s Get Fucked cassette

A nice mixture of garage punk from APPLE, SCAB, etc., and ranting poetry from Donny the Punk, David Hiberman and more. Pretty enjoyable.

V/A The 5th Dimension of a Fart cassette

Interesting title for a varied comp of mostly European acts. Music ranges from ’77-ish stuff to thrash and spacey punk. Relatively enjoyable.

V/A Captain Best Selection 1 LP

The Captain musta been drunk when he chose these, because it’s one weird combo of eccentric pop and a dollop of HC to top it off. On the punk side, there’s GOD, WILLARD, CONTINENTAL KIDS, LOODS, and LIP CREAM.

V/A Bloodsucker EP

This EP contains one good punk track each from FREEBORN, CRIMINAL SEX, BLOOD AND THUNDER, and NICK TOCZEK (the ranting poet backed by a rocking band). Nice to hear decent stuff from relative unknowns, and…bring back more 7″ers!

V/A At the Party! LP

I’ve never heard any of these cool, trash 50s bands featured here, but I’m sold on the fact that this is definitely a keeper in the tradition of other great oldies comps like the Back From The Grave samplers. Not so much heavy grunge guitar, but more swaggering, twangy rock’n’roll tunes. Loud, noisy, and fun.

V/A A Soldier Will Never Cry cassette

Another international comp from this Swiss label, this being a 90-minute barrage of HC. With such powerhouses as DEPRESSION, GISM, etc, it’s recommended for the thrashers out there!

V/A Viva Umkhonto! LP

A benefit LP for the armed ANC resistance in South Africa, released by De Konkurrent in Holland and Mordam in the U.S. Besides coming with a really excellent (visually and content-wise) magazine, this LP contains some great stuff from SCREAM, SOCIAL UNREST, VICTIMS FAMILY, RHYTHM PIGS, and 76% UNCERTAIN in the U.S., and CHALLENGER CREW, THE EX, DEPRAVED, BGK, EVERYTHING FALLS APART, SCA, KAFKA PROCESS, and MORZELPRONK from Europe. Get this, for sure!

V/A Smack My Crack LP

Another in a long line of compilations put together by poet John Giornio. While his early records tended to focus on writers and poets, he now seems to put together rock bands. Not only are there some nifty things by GIORNIO and WILLIAM BURROUGHS but there are some previously unreleased pieces by the SWANS, the BUTTHOLE SURFERS, DIAMANDA GALAS, NICK CAVE, TOM WAITS, and EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN.

V/A God Bless America: Posh Hits, Vol. 1 LP

The CIRCLE JERKS, CROWD, UXA, TSOL, BLACK FLAG, SOCIAL D, and others show off mostly ace material on this collection of previously released tracks. Uneven, but mandatory if you don’t have the original pressings of the punk acts represented.

V/A Do You Remember Rock’n’Roll? LP

A new San Jose comp, featuring the FACTION, FRONTLINE, STIKKY, ORANGE CURTAIN, LOVING END (yech!), NO WARNING, JET CRASH MIRACLE, STEVE CABALLERO (yech again!). Wish there was more choice material from STIKKY and FRONTLINE, and NO WARNING show promise, too.

V/A Container Party cassette

Four bands share this comp: WOUNDED KNEES (twisted metal thrash), RESPIRATOR (mostly strange thrash), 7 MINUTES OF NAUSEA (inaudible noise), and NO IDEA (hot powerthrash). Mostly good stuff here.

V/A Chaotic Dreams, Life of Pain cassette

A solid U.S. comp with VERBAL ASSAULT, FALSE LIBERTY, HALF OFF, and a smorgasbord of other dandy acts. A great introduction to smaller U.S. HC bands, booklet included.

V/A Buried Alive: The Best From Smoke 7 Records 1981-1983 LP

If you’re familiar at all with the great Smoke Seven releases during 81-’83 and don’t own them, get this LP. Nineteen of the best from REDD KROSS, BAD RELIGION, MIA, JFA, etc. All previously released but all great punk rock classics.

V/A Apathy…Never! LP

An international sampler featuring DEPRESSION and GASH from Australia, SONS OF ISHMAEL, HALF LIFE, FAIR WARNING, and DEHUMANIZERS from N. America, FUCK GEEZ from Japan, and MOTTEK, K&T, SO MUCH HATE, and RAPED TEENAGERS from Europe. There’s little in terms of melody, lots in terms of pounding speed and intense lyrics.

V/A 77 Records Présente… LP

A mostly-French comp with BRAINWASH, BUTCHER, RAFF, and several more (including TOLBIAC’S TOADS, who we’ve heard nasties about), and then GOVERNMENT ISSUE. Mostly ’77 punk styles here, but Germany’s MANIACS’ thrash tune is the hottest track.

V/A Zivil-Courage LP

Relative unknowns like SCHLIESSMUSKEL, CRETIN HOPPERS, TARNFARBE, A.N.A.L., and others play punk, thrash, and post-punk. All bands are from Germany, and this is a fun, non-commercial effort.

V/A Trans-World Punk Rave-Up, Vols. 1-2 LPs

Another excellent 60s punk series but this one deals strictly with garage trash from all over the world. Unfortunately, no liner notes, but the raucous sounds from Europe and Canada make up for it. Hot, hot, hot.

V/A Strummin’ Mental, Vols. 1-3 LPs

Kind of a companion to Garage Punk Unknowns. Here you get 58 instrumentals spread out all over three records, all from 1957 to 1965, and all really lean to-the-point rockers. There’s very little filler as you go from surf to punk and rhythm and blues.

V/A Strong Bow Rules cassette

Thrash to the max from a number of Swedish acts, including MOB 47, RAPED TEENAGERS, AVSKUM, and many more. Lots of brutal stuff here.

V/A Stop the Fighting cassette

Ninety minutes of good stuff featuring many of the “Comp Tape Faves”: HALF OFF, FALSE LIBERTY, INSTED, and many more. Pick up this swell tape.

V/A Hagen: Melodien Einer Toten Stadt EP

A four-band, one track each regional comp from Hagen. Hottest tracks are by CZERNY SMIERTELNY (sounds Polish to me) and SJORBUT, but WICKIE and HEMMUNGSCLOSE EROTIK are both enjoyable. Good indie punk effort.

V/A I’ve Got an Attitude Problem EP

BCT bounces back with a hot EP featuring Italy’s WRETCHED and RAW POWER, Sweden’s MOB 47, QUOD MASSACRE from Yugoslavia, SATANIC MALFUNCTIONS from the UK, FUNERAL ORATION from Holland, and PSYCHO from the US. Get this one!

V/A Garage Punk Unknowns, Vols. 1-8 LPs

One of the best of the 60’s garage punk series, maybe second only to the Back from the Grave set. Some really incredible finds throughout each volume, complete with hilarious and insightful liner notes. RECOMMENDED.

V/A The First Cuts are the Deepest EP

An all-Welsh comp featuring one song each by CLASSIFIED PROTEST, I MOBSTER, BUGS, YR ANHREFN, ELFYN PRESLI, and HERETICS. Faves: BUGS (sounds like DESPERATE BICYCLES), ELFYN PRESLI (great pop punk), and HERETICS (charge old punk).

V/A Fight Back EP

Hey, yet another indie UK release, this one featuring the DISTURBED, LIVING DEAD, LEFT FOR DEAD, and SILENT COMMUNITY. One track each isn’t enough to drive any real conclusions, but these bands all convey a basic, unglamorized punk appeal. Honest.

V/A Breaking the Silence EP

An international comp with HOMO PICNIC (U.S.), KAZJUROL (Sweden), QUOD MASSACRE (Yugoslavia), and INSTIGATORS (England). Four bands, four styles (pop-thrash, speedmetal, pop-punk and thrash). Good selection, good production, a worthy effort.

V/A Zone No Nuclear cassette

All from Spain, most of the bands here favor a psychotic thrash sound, although a healthy dose of ska/reggae appears. Hottest tracks are from B.A.P., ANTI-DOGMATIKSS, and SUBTERRANEAN KIDS. Good job.

V/A Will Evil Win? flexi EP

A metalcore sampler, featuring ANNIHILATED, CIVILIZED SOCIETY?, LORD CRUCIFIER, and DESECRATORS. Unless you’re really into speed metal, this is pretty hard to take, with guitar wanking all over the fucking place. Only CIVILISED SOCIETY?’s cut is listenable, but a better version appears on their LP. Some good lyrics, and a collective effort.

V/A To Be or Not to Be cassette

A good sampling of West German bands (CERESIT, CIRCLE OF SIGTIU, etc.), a few U.S. bands (SEIZURE, BURNT, etc.), and more. This is mostly forceful stuff, so pick this up.

V/A 3rd Bombardment: Rescue Ladders & Human Barricade cassette

A 14-song, 8 band punk/hardcore comp tape from the Philippines. Some notable material from BETRAYED, PHILIPPINE VIOLATORS, and COLLISION to name a few. Nice package, lyrics, and band info included.

V/A Pebbles, Vol. 20: The Continent Lashes Back! European Garage Rock Part 4, Sweden LP

This on-going chronicle of unknowns swings to Sweden, 1964-67. Most of the tracks are Mersey, Mod, or R’n’B, with the hottest coming from the PALMES, HEP STARS, and TAGES. This volume, unlike the others, contains many live tracks, some of which aren’t the hottest sound quality.

V/A Necrovomit de Death cassette

Ahhh, some diversity — 14 bands, 24 songs, from Spain to the USA and over to Japan. Styles ranging from ska inspired pop-punk to speedy hardcore mix this international sampler up nicely. Great sound quality and some notables such as STEVE STILETTO and TARGETS plus a nice package make this a winner.

V/A Live it Live cassette

A blazing hot dose of live HC by the likes of BGK, LEEWAY, FALSE LIBERTY, and many more. Sound quality is generally good. Snag up this fucker.

V/A Katrina’s Live: “Tamana Away!!!” cassette

This Philippine comp features four bands, BETRAYED, PRIVATE STOCK, GI AND THE IDIOTS, and the WUDS, all recorded live at the last show at Katrina’s (a club at Manila). Good quality punk rock, includes band photos and has a nice package to boot.

V/A Fuck the PMRC cassette

A way hot tape starring CLOWN ALLEY, LEEWAY, RAPED TEENAGERS, VICIOUS CIRCLE, and many more. Ninety minutes of great material, so get this, dude!

V/A Another Shot for Bracken LP

This decent North American comp has something for every musical taste: powerful hardcore, funnypunk, melodic rock, reggae, a 70’s cover and a couple of mid-tempo standard tunes. F.O.D., A.O.D., DISSONANCE, and SCRAM stand out from the pack, but there could have been better tracks from the name bands overall.

V/A We Can Change the World cassette

Ninety minutes of acts like MDC, STATE OF MIND, A.P.P.L.E., FINAL CONFLICT, etc. all spewing out their strong lyrical sentiments. Informative booklet enclosed. Cool stuff.

V/A Risen From Obscurity cassette

An hour’s worth of blazing punk and thrash from the likes of FALSE LIBERTY, GUILT PARADE, and many others. Another great, consistent comp from this label.

V/A Notes From the Underground cassette

A sampler in the true sense of the word, with 19 NJ/NY outfits playing everything from psych to speedcore to melodic pop to 77-ish punk to comedy skits! For the diverse.

V/A Life is a Joke, Vol. 2 LP

An international comp featuring BLUT+EISEN, ANGRY SAMOANS, SUBHUMANS, KTMK, COC, FANG, I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVY, and lots more. Hot tracks from the DEPRAVED, NEUROTIC ARSEHOLES, FALLOUT. Many tracks previously released, but now largely unavailable.

V/A La Voix Des Gnomes Présente LP

A four-band project. LES GNOMES have a hard-hitting but quirky thrash/punk sound that’s distinctive without getting pretentious. DAMES are an all-femme band that have an English pop-punk sound with a slight post-punk flair. BARON ROUGE has a ’79 English arty punk sound that still has power. ZOI are a mid-temp band that occasionally lurch into thrash, all with SIOUXSIE-like vocals. Good variety on all tracks.

V/A Kenosha Basement Sampler cassette

This 90-minute sampler of HC and noise punk from Wisconsin contains no less than 30 songs from the likes of CHARMING DEVIANTS, IDK, 10-96, U.S. DISTRESS, and JOHN ADRIAN. Lyric booklet included.

V/A Dirty Water: The History of Eastern Iowa Rock, Vol. 2 LP

While this label put out the great Surfin’ in the Midwest compilation, this sampler suffers from a little too much of the “folk rock” sound and not enough of the great 60s garage fuzz. Still, some respectable tracks from UNCLE AND THE ANTEATERS and DAYBREAKERS.

V/A Battle of the Garages, Vol. IV: Tomorrow the World! LP

Current garage sleaze from both the U.S. and Europe featuring LES THUGS, CANNIBALS, LEGENDARY GOLDEN VAMPIRES, SICK ROSE and much more. One of the best neo-60s series going.

V/A Play New Rose for Me 2xLP

A double LP comp with a really wide mix of mostly known bands doing cover songs. And a lot of them are 60’s covers to make it even more fun. The highlight is the DK’s doing “I Fought the Law.” There’s also ALEX CHILTON, SKY SAXON, PANTHER BURNS, SLICKE BOYS, and 20 others. Pretty great!

V/A Open Mind Surgery LP

With such groups as DEPRAVED, INSTIGATORS, CULTURE SHOCK, SCREAM, CIVILIZED SOCIETY, and more, there’s a great variety of music on this worldwide sampler. Ranges from folk to punk, but there’s a nice edge to all tracks, and political lyrics. Recommended.

V/A On the Waterfront, Vol. 3 12″

This label really puts out the material these days, and most of the bands here have their own separate new release as well. Included are HARD-ONS, VULTEES, MASSAPPEAL, SPUNK BUBBLES, HEADSTONES, and a number of others. Good effort.

V/A Need or Greed? cassette

A nine-band benefit cassette for the famine victims in Ethiopia, all artists being from the UK. Fair to good live and studio recordings from such notables as OI POLLOI, BROKEN BONES, and the INSTIGATORS. Band info included.

V/A Oh! No! Not Another… Midnight Christmas Mess Again!! LP

Yet another Xmas comp of neo-60s bands, and this one is pretty decent. Tracks by the SLICKEE BOYS, VIPERS, PSYCHO DAISIES, IGUANAS, CHEEPSKATES, and more.

V/A The Foreign Object EP

Four bands, one song each, in a 60’s vein. Hottest track is from SPECTRE’S REVENGE, a tough rocker. Lighter material from BO WEEVILS, NO MAN’S LAND, and GAS BABIES. Comes with issue #2 of Foreign Object mag out of Australia, but I don’t have an address for them.

V/A Destroy the World EP

This EP is out of Germany and contains one track each by Germany’s STROMBERG POLKA (Oi), TIN CAN ARMY (punk), and the UK’s UPROAR (melodic punk) and CIVILIZED SOCIETY (thrash). Liked the latter the best by far, but overall a worthy effort.

V/A Tour de Farce EP

Six bands from around the world, one track each. AEMATRACK from New Zealand kicks it off with one of the better recordings, a slow/fast rocker. There are two GUERILLA URBANA’s here, one from the Canary Islands and one from Peru, both of whom turn in raw but exciting thrash. DOC WOR MIRRAN is from Germany, doing an experimental punk cut that works. NO LIP is from Japan with an okay tune albeit on the slick side, and BULK (Denmark) wraps it up with a post-punk CURE-ish song.

V/A The Rise and Fall of Oma Hodel: Original Soundtrack EP

The soundtrack of a movie, I think, with six tunes, all in an older punk vein. All the bands were from Hamburg, including SPIEL 77, 100% DISKRETION and others. Liked MEINE SCHUPPEN the best.

V/A Sounds of Now! LP

Another cool neo-60’s recording put together by YARD TRAUMA’s Lee Joseph, this one international in scope. Overall, it’s kind of uneven, but there’s some top notch stuff here, including AL PERRY’s funny garage cut, the LAST DRIVE’s raw, folk-psych offering, the BROOD’s haunting number, and so on.

V/A Splitting Headache on a Sunday Afternoon EP

Four British bands share this compilation 45. SATANIC MALFUNCTIONS and ACTIVE MINDS play hot and heavy thrash, while basic punk and folky approaches are mined by INDIAN DREAM and RADIO FREEDOM, respectively. A respectable, interesting EP made recommendable by S.M.

V/A PML International Compilation cassette

This triple 60-minute cassette comp features 22 bands from around the world, all of which have good recording quality. Lots of favorites, such as: KGB, DEPRAVED, APOSTLES, KINA, and many more. Also includes a band info sheet.

V/A The Great Rock n’ Raoul Swindle cassette

Another great effort from this king of punk satire, a great, fun-packed 15 band compilation. Features such notables as PLEASED YOUTH, DEAD MILKMEN, and F.O.D., to name a few.

V/A Lima Esta Helada cassette

Here’s a Peruvian HC comp showcasing acts which range from frantic thrash to energetic ’77 punk, with varied sound quality. Most notable is LEUSEMIA, Peru’s answer to the RAMONES.

V/A Welcome to Ax/ction Island EP

Seven bands, including the SCAM, PSYCHO, GG ALLIN, and CANCEROUS GROWTH contribute a song each to this thrashy EP. Two songs rip (STUPIDS, SPASTIC RATS), one is pretty good (PTL KLUB), and the rest lapse into genericness.

V/A Väterchen Frost LP

There are some cool experimental tracks here, mostly by English groups like YEAH YEAH NOH, FLESH PUPPETS, and the BUMBITES. Also, a couple of good German punk tracks by RANOLA and HUNGRY FOR WHAT, plus plenty more — even a cut by APPLIANCES-SFB from Wisconsin.

V/A Thrash Til Death LP

First, the music of GAUZE, OUTO, LIPCREAM, and SYSTEMATIC DEATH comprise some of Japan’s best HC, a variety of approaches, all gripping. Now the cover—one of the best all time graphic jobs, both in layout and content. Impressive.

V/A Thanks for Writing Back cassette

Here’s yet another cool int’l comp with vicious, urgent stuff from LARM, MASS APPEAL, PESADELO, and more. Sound quality gets crunchy at times, but overall, this blasts.

V/A Sutura Eterna LP

This compilation is put out by Senzapatria, whose political magazine is included with this disc. Bands featured are MYDGARD, LINK LARM, DISPERAZIONE, and ANTISBARCO, who present different brands of hardcore. As with many of the Italian bands, their tastes run eclectic, and within any given song you’ll hear lots of changes and styles. Stiv art graces the cover.

V/A Sub Pop 100 LP

Smartly divided between the “guitar” side and the “machines” side, this sampler has a K-Tel greatest hits feel to it. Aside from a STEVE ALBINI spoken word track and songs by NAKED RAYGUN and the WIPERS, all of this is previously released. Still, it’s nice to have a listen to SONIC YOUTH, SCRATCH ACID, BOY DIRT CAR, and others all in one sitting.

V/A Fledgling Punx: Nouzui Omnibus Vol. 1 EP

This solid 4-track EP contains upbeat HC with a uniformly slicing guitar attack from the likes of GAGIZE, WEEDY EGGS (more pop-punkish), SWORD, and REZIST (excellent ripping thrash). Good record.

V/A La Planete De Tous Les Dangers cassette

A 60-minute compilation consisting of nine UK and French political punk bands, like ANATHEMA, FINAL BLAST, and PIN PRICK. Excellent sound quality, and includes a band information booklet. Nice job!

V/A Highs in the Mid-Sixties, Vol. 14: The Northwest, Part 2 LP

This latest in the series (which is not being issued in sequential order) covers the Pacific Northwest, home of many of the earliest U.S. garage bands like the SONICS, WAILERS, KINGSMEN, and PAUL REVERE AND THE RAIDERS, none of whom appear here. What does appear are a host of lesser-knowns, bands that would play bars/frats and rock out. Hottest are SIR RALEIGH, and the STATICS. The rest will appeal only to historians, with the usual fine liner notes by Lee Joseph.

V/A Don’t Adjust Your Set… There’s Nothing Wrong With Your Needle! LP

This sampler from the Cryptovision label goes to great pains to capture that trashy, one-take sound. The most successful at this are the DISTRACTION BOYS, MOD FUN, and STEPFORD HUSBANDS. The other groups have a more forced, contrived sound.

V/A Complete Death LP

This compilation contains a few tracks from already released LP’s (DR. KNOW, COC, MENTORS), some unreleased tracks (DRI, UGLY AMERICANS, BEYOND POSSESSION), and a few odds and ends (INSOLENTS, DEPRESSION, and CIVILIAN TERRORISTS). As you might guess, this is death/speed metal up the ass. Aargh!

V/A Your Chance No. 4 cassette

This international demo cassette comp from Germany features DISACCORD, CHALLENGER CREW, and many others. Varied but good sound quality plus a listing of bands’ addresses and demo tape prices.

V/A Yugoslavia Maximum Hardcore #2 cassette

More, more, and even more HC for those thrash and burn addicts out there! Features STRES D.A., KZV, and PATARENI, to name a few, all of which deliver abrasive noisecore. Only for people with cast-iron eardrums!

V/A U-Boats Attack America!!! LP

This American release showcases the greatest hits, as it were, of the German Weird System label. BLUT & EISEN, NEUROTIC ARSEHOLES, RAZZIA, CRETINS, and others serve up a series of blistering HC and punk cuts mandatory for those who don’t have the original German recordings. Excellent, varied sampler.

V/A Trousers in Action EP 2 EP

This is a special limited-edition four-song EP that comes with the latest issue of Trousers In Action fanzine. The fanzine is good for the low-down on the Australian underground—a little more punk than what you would read in B-Side. This EP features a gritty punk tune by CHAOS, a sheer fun noise-fest by FEEDTIME, a quirky track by EXAMPLEHEAD, and a great BUZZCOCKS-like song by TOYS WENT BERZERK.

V/A Rapsodie LP

Lots of great material from the current crop of French HC bands, and there’s enthusiasm as well as tight, hot music. Bands include ZOI, HEIMAT-LOS, FINAL BLAST, M.S.T., SCRAPS, RAPT, and more. These bands are not as distinctively “French” as previous waves of French punk, seemingly more influenced by US hardcore, which in a way is a shame.

V/A Fatal Response: Rescue Ladders & Human Barricade cassette

Pop-punk, thrash, Oi, are all present here. Hottest recordings are by DEAD ENDS and URBAN BANDITS (odd production), but if GEORGE IMBECILE & THE IDIOTS’ live tracks had been done in a studio, they’d have been tops.

V/A Wipeout cassette

This 15-band world compilation cassette features 37 songs and fantastic sound quality. So, if international HC is your fancy, get this. My faves include the STUPIDS, HERESY, and LUNATIC FRINGE.

V/A Quest for the Corn Girl cassette

A truly cool HC comp featuring the RAPED TEENAGERS, CANCEROUS GROWTH, LUDICHRIST, PSYCHO, and many more. Here the accent is on gruff thrash, but a few slower cuts break up the mayhem. Darn good.

V/A P.M.L. Compilation #1 cassette

A great compilation of eight Canadian and US bands varying from rocking garage punk to straight-ahead thrash. YOUTHQUAKE, PROBLEM CHILDREN, and SONS OF ISHMAEL are my favorites, but there’s something for any punk/HC fan out there.

V/A Montreal New York Connection 85 Live LP

Contains SCAB, ULTRAVIOLENCE, and KRAKDOWN from NY, and ZERO, VOMIT AND THE ZITS, and GASSENHAUER from Montreal. All the tracks are live, but of good quality. Lots of great noise, thrash, and energy. Recommended for those who enjoy live recordings.

V/A I’ve Been Hypnotized cassette

Basically, a pretty good comp containing mostly smaller US outfits. Musical styles vary a bit, but LIFE SENTENCE, LEGION OF DOOM, and PUNKS FOR PROFIT really rock out.

V/A It Came From Canada, Vols. 1 & 2 LPs

A mixed bag of punk, ’60s folk, rockabilly, experimental, and pop with Volume 2 being a bit better than Volume 1. Features the likes of GRUESOMES, DEJA VOODOO, MY DOG POPPER, ENIGMAS, and lots more.

V/A God’s Favorite Dog LP

Jesus…a sheer noise museum here with previously unreleased tracks by BIG BLACK (sounding strangely like the FALL), HAPPY FLOWERS (very twisted noise), HOSE, KILLDOZER, SCRATCH ACID, and the BUTTHOLE SURFERS (with plenty of horns—jazz damage?). Horrible cover, but this is one comp I find myself returning to over and over.

V/A Empty Skulls Vol. 2: The Wound Deepens LP

This installment, The Wound Deepens, contains a few tracks each from an international line-up. Hot stuff from E.A.T.E.R, STRANGLEHOLD, HALF LIFE, CÁ”LERA, PANDEMONIUM, LEGION OF PARASITES, and others. Excellent selections and fun listening.

V/A That Was Then… This is Now! EP

Four bands offer one song each on this nifty sampler. We get an intense, original HC offering from RUIN (with great lyrics); hook-filled pop punk by ELECTRIC LOVE MUFFIN; SCRAM performs an okay reggae-tinged number; and F.O.D. go completely crazy on their trashed out live track. Cool record; buy it.

V/A Smash Skate Rock, Vol. 4 LP

The likes of TUPELO CHAIN SEX, SCREAM, and several other artists offer largely mediocre tunes on this comp, which covers punk/rap, HC, pop, C&W, and even spoken word on the various tracks. Only MCSHRED connects with two high-velocity thrashers; I daresay it would be impossible to skateboard to the rest of this.

V/A Shindig! LP

A couple of live tracks from Canadian punk bands like NG3, DEATH SENTENCE, and MY THREE SONS as well as darker, art damaged like RHYTHM MISSION, RED HERRING, and NERVE TUBES. This is a good mixture and a nice way to hear how the bands come off live.

V/A Beasts From the East LP

Here’s one where I liked the idea better than the final outcome. Take the best East Coast and Midwest garage bands and showcase a couple of their tunes—should be a great collection, right? Well, they started off right by getting the right bands—from Chicago, DWARVES, CUNTS, GREEN, from PA, the CYNICS and the ENDORPHINS, and also tracks from the LIBERTINES and others. But the whole is mixed horribly and just ends up a limp mess. What a disappointment.

V/A Bay Mud cassette

Way rockin’ stuff here from two dozen Northern California bands displaying one or two songs each. Includes VICTIMS FAMILY, ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT, SHORT DOGS GROW, and more, contributing to 90 minutes of sheer insanity.

V/A You Are Not Alone! EP

A four-band, four-track comp featuring HEX, STALAG 17, OI POLLOI, and SYMBOL OF FREEDOM, all from the British Isles. All the bands are powerful as hell, though SYMBOL OF FREEDOM is the most traditionally Britpunk (though they’re from Wales) and the least dynamic. An excellent release.

V/A Smelling Just Another Bad Breath LP

For the most part, this international comp kicks out some classic fast-tempo punk and hardcore. With bands like the INSTIGATORS, DETONATORS, SONS OF SADISM, MOSKWA, and a dozen others, most will hear something enjoyable here. Good production, a well-rounded sampler.

V/A Really Fast, Vol. 3 LP

Okay, this latest volume of raging thrash contains more of Sweden’s finest. Included are AVSKUM, DISCARD, DTR, SSS, EXISTENZ, SLAM, DISARM, BEDROVLERS, and many more. As with the other Really Fast comps, you get really fast thrash with the usual Swedish flair for hooks, though this one tends to be more straight noise thrash.

V/A The Power of Love LP

A largely German comp (MOTTEK, R.A.F., GIER, COCKS, TOXOPLASMA, etc.) with a couple of tracks each. There’s also TOXIC REASONS, ARTLESS, and FRITES MODERN thrown in, making for an energetic, well-recorded sampler.

V/A Tuatara LP

This New Zealand comp pretty much consists of dark and somber guitar bands. It’s also pretty obvious that more than a few have used the VELVET UNDERGROUND as a starting point, but that’s not a complaint. Some of the tracks by the CLEAN, VERLAINES, CHILLS, and GORDONS are beautiful progressions from both VU and the Scottish Postcard label. Good stuff.

V/A There Is No Reason to Be Happy EP

WDM (Finland) clock in with a hot DISCHARGE-like ripper, III KATEGORIJA (Yugoslavia) have a “heavy” thrash sound on their three short blasts, MARITAL LAW (England) have a long, slow-tempo punk tune, and I REFUSE IT (Italy) finish it off with their jazzy HC sound. An indie international effort.

V/A Fledgling Punx: Nouzui Omnibus Vol. 1 EP

A sharp little 7″ with some hot Japanese bands. A mixture of gargling vocals, wild feedback, distorted guitar riffs, good melodies, and straight forward thrash. Crazed action all grooved into a slashing sampler.

V/A Meltdown on Media Burn LP

Many of the tracks on this garage/psychobilly comp are previously unreleased, many are covers , and most all rock. You get the likes of PURPLE THINGS, X-MEN, TALL BOYS, MILKSHAKES, CANNIBALS, STING RAYS, and more.

V/A Erkennen Sie Die Melodie? cassette

What a tape! 1-1/2 hours of bands like DIATRIBE, UPRIGHT CITIZENS, INSTIGATORS, PERDITION, RAZZIA, and a zillion more. Of course there are a few clunkers, but this still gets a thumbs up.

V/A The Dat After Judgement cassette

A consistently good sampler of some of Europe’s best acts, including RATTUS, SCAPEGOATS, ICONOCLASTS, BRISTLES, and RUNNING RIOT. The energy here is kept at a feverish pace, so check out this hour long thrashathon.

V/A Cage Omnibus No! 12″

Four bands here: HONEY DEEP WET, NO LIP, REAL, and MERRYGOROUND. Average of a couple of tunes each, and I found none of this material truly outstanding, though none is really boring or incompetent, either. Accent is on the message in lyrics, though, which won’t do much for most of us.

V/A Mystic Sampler #3 LP

Apparently Mystic does still consider these samplers necessary. This one includes tracks from other recent Mystic released by GOVERNMENT ISSUE, WHITE FLAG, PTL KLUB, ILL REPUTE, MENTORS, FACTION, AGRESSION and several samplers. Me, I’m unconvinced.

V/A It Came From the Garage! LP

A really great garage compilation featuring all Midwestern contemporary bands. Sounds range from 60s punk, surf, mid-70’s punk, psychobilly, and beyond. Hot stuff from MANGOS, ELVIS HITLER, MYSTERY BLUES, 3-D INVISIBLES, and lots, lots more.

V/A There’s a Method to Our Madness LP

A great collection of mostly unreleased tracks from North American bands like LUDICHRIST, DISORDERLY CONDUCT, SACRED DENIAL, ASSAULT, PSYCHO, and many, many more. There are a few speed-metal riffs here, but the common denominator is speed. Aggressive speed-thrash attack.

V/A Songs We Taught the Cramps, Vol. 1 LP

A fine idea, a compilation of original tunes that the CRAMPS have covered over the years. Both ’50s and ’60s songs, there are either whole songs covered, or songs the CRAMPS took the lyrics from or took the instrumental licks from. Given the huge amount of songs the tasteful CRAMPS have copped, we can look forward to Volume 5 in no time.

V/A The Shot Heard Around the World cassette

A politically inspired comp, this one contains such bands as LIFE SENTENCE, GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS, BORN WITHOUT A FACE, RAPED TEENAGERS, and many more. A really worthy project, plenty of good music, and lyrics that matter. Especially like the Missouri band LIKE A HORSE.

V/A Lovedolls Superstar LP

Clearly half of this soundtrack LP stars the LOVEDOLLS, who seem to mainly to do the vocal tracks (sounding like the RUNAWAYS), and backed by the likes of REDD KROSS, SWA, PAINTED WILLIE. Remaining tracks star BLACK FLAG, DK’S, GONE, MEAT PUPPETS, SONIC YOUTH. Fun, in a Hollywood sort of way.

V/A Hanging Out at Midnight LP

Various pop-punk and folk rock bands with neo-’60s flair. The bulk are 50/50, but there are at least three real standouts, coming from the MIGHTY MOFOS (formerly the HYPSTERS), the WIND, and the CAVEMEN.

V/A Big City First Three LP

A reissue of the first EPs on Big City Records. If you don’t have them, you’re safe by snagging this because of the great tracks by REFLEX FROM PAIN, VATICAN COMMANDOS, ARMED CITIZENS, CIA, SAVAGE CIRCLE, ULTRAVIOLENCE, and others.

V/A Expo Hurts Everyone EP

A one-off “instant record,” this EP is dedicated to exposing the scam of the Vancouver Expo and its effects on those who aren’t just profiting off of it. MECCA NORMAL, RHYTHM ACTIVISM, and another band do folk or dirgy noise, while DOA does a CREEDENCE-like tune, “Billy and the Socred.” A timely release.

V/A Connecticut Fun LP

This 28-song comp is made up from the likes of 76% UNCERTAIN, YOUTH OF TODAY, LOST GENERATION, VATICAN COMMANDOS—13 bands in all. The music ranges from powerful thrash to melodic late-’70s punk to hard-edged rock. Production is consistent, resulting in a fairly good sampler of what the CT scene has to offer.

V/A Varning for Os, Vol. 2 cassette

Eight bands, mostly murky sound, mostly thrash stuff. Standouts for me were the spastic psychotic thrash of BRAIN DEATH and DISACCORD, who spreads thick swirls of distorted guitar on an early-DISCHARGE base.

V/A Raw Cuts, Volume Two: Swedish Beat LP

Volume One covered French neo-’60s garage, and this latest volume covers Sweden. The bands emerge from punk to pop-punk to power rock, all with that zesty garage undertone. Grittiest stuff comes from the SLAMMERS and SLOBSTER, though fine stuff by HIDDEN CHARMS, SINNERS, and BOTTLE-UPS (among others) are welcome, too. Good work.

V/A Gadael Yr Ugienfed Ganrif LP

This label Anhrefn is dedicated to alternative bands who pride themselves in their Welsh identity, culture, and language, and this comp contains two tracks each from five bands. Two are punk (YR ANHREFN, ELFYN PRESLI), while the other three are best described as folk-punk, post-punk, and techno-pop. An interesting array.

V/A Emma 2xLP

Emma is a squat/rehearsal/recording studio/concert hall in Amsterdam that is run by and for bands and fans. This double-LP not only comes with a complete desc