Layla Gibbon

The Nerves Hanging on the Telephone EP reissue

What is there to say about one of the most classic 45s of all time?! Up there with the UNDERTONES Teenage Kicks for total power and feeling and pure hooks, with a desperate message direct from the heart to the minds of the youth ready for new sounds and visions. A deconstructed pop dream made with just the bare essentials; that nervous guitar and shattered rhythm and Nuggets/Bomp! California take on the ’60s invasion sound. A wild combination of ideas and ideals somehow making old dreams sound brand new. Anyway this is a pretty perfect reissue, a close to exact replica of the OG with a much lower price tag attached, except of course by the time you are reading this the reissue has sold out! And the really cool looking Japanese language version they made is long gone!

Patois Counselors The Optimal Seat LP

I loved the last LP from these art damaged miscreants; its wild snarl and catchy slump brought to mind strange adventures in anyone-can-do-it-core, a lineage of SWELL MAPS-ian slither. This one moves with a different feeling, sort of less imminent collapse pop rambunctiousness and more a tense architecture of synth and guitar scrawl that maybe matches our unnerving era, relentless horror mapped out in a series of flatlining rhythms. It somehow reminds me of the RAINCOATS Kitchen Tapes meets TOTAL CONTROL?! Something about it is less immediately compelling to my mind—the sort of collapse in on itself pop fervour of the first record was a fever dream whereas this one is much more spectral somehow?! It’s a great record, but feels more distant music from the room next door than the immediate savage hammer to my mind of the first. I think this will become a record I return to relentlessly but right now it’s more of a question mark.

Culture Shock Forever + Ever (+ Ever) EP

Apparently one of the rarest Canadian punk 45s ever. This is the sound of people figuring out that they can do punk—plaintive almost sorta Jonathan Richman vocals over sludgy attempts at BUZZCOCKS guitar. A mod punk vision that feels very of its era. Lyrics are all desperate paens to a girl who just won’t succumb. If you are into Good Vibrations outta Ireland this will definitely appeal, feels more rudimentary than, say… RUDI but a similar sensibility! Worth checkin out.

Vintage Crop Serve to Serve Again LP

This is cool, and really sounds Orstralian, that sorta post-COUNTRY TEASERS-meets-post-punk/UK DIY with a sense of humor world that has been the Australian underground for the past ten or so years. The thing that sorta holds me back from fully throwing my frenzied love and adoration is this feels so cheerful and good, and the world doesn’t. It’s sorta not got the vigor and venom needed for my mind, at least. I would rather throw on a FIRE ENGINES 45 or the aforementioned COUNTRY TEASERS or even PATOIS COUNSELORS for a modern/wild take on such things. This feels contained and like a student’s essay on their summer rather than something necessary in the face of endless plagues and fascisms. Of course everyone wants a good time, even in the face of death and horror, but this is not really that either?! It’s not bad! At all! In any way! It just isn’t what I want.

Siggy Magic and the Hey Hoe Band Commercials for Free EP

KBD raer that would go straight to Graham Booth in MRR days of yore. Apparently this is a fake punk band put together for a movie soundtrack; it just sounds like a shambolic but thuggish rockarolla work out to me. No hooks or charisma, just brash falling apart clang. I can see this having appeal to certain wild minds for sure though but it is not really something I would ever listen to again?! I prefer the freaky sounds of REMO VOOR or ELECTRIC EELS for this feeling. If you liked BLAST (the Belgian proto punk band not the SST band) you might like this?

The Umbrellas Maritime EP

Dreamy warm pop from San Francisco, sounds like it could be from Glasgow or some secret Paisley Underground jangle enclave; that warm California psychedelicate sound for fans of the PASTELS, CAMERA OBSCURA and BARBARA MANNING…music made by and for cool girls who work in record stores. If you are seeking out something effervescent-yet-melancholy for these trying times, this might be the solution, at least for a little while. I think this might be sold out but check distros! They have an LP coming out next year on Slumberland, too.

Ribbon Stage My Favorite Shrine EP

A true and total dream! A lot of the time, the C86 sound is a little too twee and contained for this girl; you want something that has the longing of “Where’s Clare Grogan Now?” with the dreamy snot of the SHOP ASSISTANTS or why get outta bed in the morning?! Well, finally after years of frustration and punishment, RIBBON STAGE has stepped up to the plate with actual hooks, and vocals that are plaintive without sounding saccharine, whilst maintaining the dream pop appeal. Obviously with a snip of punk underpinning all proceedings. This sounds like something that woulda come out on thee Subway Organization in 1985, a beautiful shambolic and also perfect popscape for our falling-apart times! Every song is a masterpiece! You will wish you had one of those ’50s record players that just plays 45s over and over again until time stops! Pop music made by NYC punks that you probably know. I am obsessed.

MSPaint MSPaint cassette

Maybe this is aiming for some Wax Trax!-style industrial damage, but the singer should straight up be in a COLD WORLD tribute band. It also kind of reminds me of this early ’90s British rave crew called the SHAMAN. Hazy political aphorisms rapped over some mild keyboard jams. It’s hard to take stock of the music because the vocals just make everything sound like open mic night with some LIMP BIZKIT fans tearing it up.

Noi!se Price We Pay 7″

This is truly a document of how humans ate the earth. A one-song 7″ by a oi!-inflected pop punk band from Seattle. Save the planet and think of all the wasted resources! Just because you can doesn’t mean you should! How many fans of this band are gonna play this thing more than once?! I assume the song is also on the LP or whatever? I don’t know. Maybe they aren’t pop punk?! It’s generic festival band music, package-tour-ready sounds for people that crave marketing gimmicks.

Sniffany and the Nits The Greatest Nits EP

If fucked up bashed out guitar snot gets your brains blown out, if you run out the grooves in yr HONEY BANE ’n’ GOOD THROB 45s, if you seek lyrics that are savage class ’n’ gender disintegrations for pogo punks, then this is for you. It almost sounds like a weird combo of NO TREND and something on Crass Records in places?! I mean this is CRASS worship with a hardcore ferocity, so I think by now even reading my puny words you know whether you wannit or not… Do a runner!

Kissed by an Animal Kissed by an Animal LP

Driving rock music from Brooklyn. I guess I understand why people like these kinds of reassuring sounds—not everyone wants ELECTRIC EELS or ALBERT AYLER or DISCLOSE or whatever—but this is the most bland possible NPR-core. Reminds me of a pop-punk YO LA TENGO for dads who golf? But YO LA TENGO is light years better/more interesting than this boredom! Something about this record makes me think of that goofy pop-punk/emo collision that happened in the late ’90s/early ’00s, when people were ready to tie their DIY dreams to a package tour featuring a bunch of bands who exist only on Warped Tours.

Static Static The Future as Dark LP

Cool doomed synth punk from New Orleans, has a post LOST SOUNDS sneer but is less rock’n’roll. Only synths! No guitars to pollute the bleak vision. If you wanted a window into what a nihilistic QUINTRON would be, then this might just hold the key… Frantic nightmarish energy for falling apart minds.

Vanity Anticlimax / A Seat at the Table 7″

I think this is the most interesting thing they’ve put out? This version of VANITY features one of the most exciting/inventive guitarists of the past few years whose prior band VEXX was one of my faves. Definitely adds a sharper/wilder edge to their OASIS impulses ’n’ woozy rock’n’roll, and it feels more like a band than an attempt to recreate a sound which I think is the curse of the modern age! But…. I am still not sure I would reach for this again? It was a good time! But now it’s over.

Coachwhips Night Train LP

This is a reissue of the first COACHWHIPS tape with a bunch of demos and out-of-print extras from their entire history of a band—an odds ’n’ ends greatest collapses or something. COACHWHIPS were one of the bands that everyone was talking about when I moved to SF in the early ’00s. I’d seen John Dwyer’s earlier, more experimental group PINK AND BROWN and was obviously intrigued by witnessing that destruction force in the context of garage music. Obviously Dwyer repaved SF music in a significant way with THEE OHSEES before moving to LA when tech attacked, but for me at least COACHWHIPS is just more what I want out of this sound and scene. Uncontained destruction force sound where rock is a myth that must be destroyed! This is a cool overview of a specific era, investigate?

Nag Dead Deer LP

Dark fucked-up doomed sounding punk that’s steeped in early ’80s SoCal HC death rock ’n’ more modern REATARDisms. This sounds like exactly where it comes from, Bloodstains Across Atlanta Georgia, snotty and lean, frantic and apocalyptic. Dead Deer reminds me of a more self-aware RIKK AGNEW solo LP mixed with Blood Visions, or like a hardcore band discovering the second ADVERTS LP. This isn’t epic, though—it’s contained and vicious, and a demonstration that Atlanta punk may be created by different combinations of the same people endlessly but they are very good at what they do! Buy or die, fools.

Rank/Xerox Servants in Heaven / Cradle of Life 7″

RANK/XEROX were my fave local band when they still lived in SF, making super sick PROLETARIAT-meets-Leeds post-punk sounds for desolate minds… I think they live on different continents nowadays, so was surprised to see this 45 on my review sheet. It’s a dark, somber burner, kind of less vital sounding than the earlier recordings but maybe just a different feeling?! Repetitive driving doom, it feels darker and more contained. Worth investigating if you were a fan of their other works.

The Barbies Introducing The Barbies 12″

Oooo I like this! Charming post-BLONDIE power pop girl sounds with a serving of Bomp! This was supposed to come out in 1980 or so, but only a test press ever emerged, so here it is, some shiny new wave pop punk just in time for the end of the world… Rikk Agnew’s liner notes are a li’l confusing but I think this is a Fullerton-based brother/sister band, both vocalists have killer voices in a JOSIE COTTON/TONI BASIL/DEBBIE manner, and the farfisa and guitar sound are super sick. “Boys Will Be Boys” was properly released on a compilation but I think the songs that demonstrate their love of BLONDIE are my faves over the more SoCal waver ones…. Totally worth picking up! No filler, all killer…

Fitness Womxn New Age Record LP

Acerbic but pleasure-filled art punk from NC. Nervous frenetic spasms of sound, got that 99 Records feeling in spades! An investigation into the post-Leeds post-punk sound with significant early-’80s NYC LES dancier side of no wave additions. Really great, almost pop songs but fucked up in a good sorta end times, imagine early ’80s Athens new wave art school mannerisms. If you are into FRENCH VANILLA, BUSH TETRAS, ’n other wilder art school sounds expounded upon in Erika Elizabeth’s MRR columns this will indeed suit yr needs!

Nations on Fire Death of the Pro-Lifer LP reissue

NATIONS ON FIRE was an important part of the European SXE scene—the Belgian part of which emerged around the Vort’n Vis squat—and was more radical politically than maybe what you think of when you think of “Edge People” now, who seem mostly engaged with clothing choices and high kicks, an aesthetic 1988 reenactment activity. This record was made in response to a moment when bands/kids that came out of that VEGAN REICH hardline goofus reality were making anti-choice “pro-life” records and zines and I think it’s important to acknowledge that. Such a bleak time! I saw this band play sometime in the early ’90s, but didn’t really remember what they sounded like, just that they were smart/engaging (I think I got some zines from them?!). Musically this reminds me of pre-emo ENDPOINT—the lyrics are radical, feminist, left-wing, also very straightforward and earnest in that way every SXE band can’t seem to help. It’s a time capsule from the early ’90s, the artwork/layout reminds me of zines from back then (Kill the Robot/Simba/Positron, etc. etc.) even the way the drums sound is really distinctive to this time?! This is a glossy reissue as is typical with Refuse Records, has extra live tracks from the same era of the band the LP was recorded, and I think if you saw this band/are nostalgic for this era of hardcore it’s worth checking out…

Nine Circles The Early Days 2xLP

NINE CIRCLES formed in the early ’80s after all the men in a broken-up band formed new bands with their girlfriends to compete for a radio station competition. NINE CIRCLES won, and listening to this you can see why. Awkward, dark, damaged monotone art wave synth oscillations that sort of hover in the space between paranoia and irony and dreams… Lidia has a cool voice and this has an ominous, doomed feeling, that decay-of-the-cities style of the era encapsulated in sound. NINE CIRCLES became a minimal synth cult long after they broke up, and this reissue has a ton of never-properly-released stuff. I think if you are into synth-tinged damage from an underground/DIY punk perspective this would very much work for you…

End Result The Seven Year Locust Returns LP reissue

I first heard about END RESULT maybe about ten years ago when that documentary about Chicago punk of the early ’80s came out. They were easily the most exciting band in the movie, a multi-racial falling apart teenage fuck you to regimental rules-based hardcore with shades of FLIPPER and NO TREND, but made with their own ingredients. In case you want to read someone else’s contextualization of the group, here’s Albini: “END RESULT was truly a band apart… Alan tuned his guitar like a cello… END RESULT had no drummer to keep the beat, because (in Alan’s immortal words) we think our audience can count.’” I immediately took it upon myself to find some recordings, and picked up their LP, Ward, which was not quite reflective of the footage from the movie that was so intoxicating to me. Chicago people kept talking about these mythical tapes from that earlier era that were going to come out, but despite my mania and constant badgering, reader—it never happened! Until now! Here they are! The 1982 tapes I have been hunkering for since 2008! A no wave band at a hardcore show isn’t shocking in 2020, but imagining a legion of Reagan Youth gazing and trying to understand the strange wonders of this mutant sound in between one-two-fuck-you bands is a quiet pleasure! I might be misremembering this, but END RESULT considered themselves a HC band, not a no wave band. What is hardcore, or no wave? And how can we change it so it makes sense at the end of the world? END RESULT has the answers and the questions; this record is a destructive/constructive demonstration of what is possible when you have an idea and are baffled by genre exercises…

B’schißn / Ponys Auf Pump Split LP

PONYS AUF PUMP fall in the BÄRCHEN UND DIE MILCHBUBIS style (particularly the vocals!!) with added punker/waver synths, which is to say they write sharp punk hits that seem effortless and snotty and a good time?! Super catchy and pleasurable! B´SCHIÁŸN are more scrappy, not as immediately appealing, more fucked up sounding, def have that eternal Euro art squat punk attack. Both bands complement each other which is all you can ask for from a split! I thought this was cooler than it looks, the art is sorta goofy?!

Dolly Mixture Other Music LP

Last time I was in London (where I am from), there was a showing of the DOLLY MIXTURE documentary, and the movie theater was full of former indie pop girls, aging mods, and other subcultural types of an age to have been shaped by the first wave of British punk. There was an indignant mod who complained during the Q&A about the lack of evidence of their participation in the mod revival, which was the first time I thought about their band in that context. I always just assumed they were cutie pie C86 anorak types, but they actually formed in the ’70s, inspired equally by punk and ’60s girl groups. A total anomaly, they basically sort of invented a genre no one was ready for, and thus were relentlessly mocked by the punks and by more mainstream rock press. They toured with the UNDERTONES and were drenched in gob every night. As the mod revival happened, a space opened up for them, and their first 45 was released by none other than Paul Weller himself, but they clearly were not contained by that genre either, even if they fit in more in terms of the fan reaction. What does all o’ that mean in the face of this collection?! Unreleased DOLLY MIXTURE music?! I lost my mind and ordered this the second it was announced! Well it turns out most of it has been compiled before on CD, but there are a couple unreleased tracks! A different version of “How Come You’re Such a Hit with the Boys, Jane?” (supposedly about Jane from the MODETTES!?) and the beautiful “Same Mistake” which were supposed to be their first 45. The VELVET UNDERGROUND cover is really beautiful/cool, “Femme Fatale” really making the Brill Building roots of that group clear in a most Spector-ish fashion. The MOTT THE HOOPLE cover is also really charming/goofy, sounds almost like a cartoon theme song but in a good way! If you are at all intrigued by three cool teenage girls actualizing their vision of a girl-group punk-adjacent reality in the late ’70s/early ’80s, you need this! It’s a dream!

Avengers The American in Me EP

A reissue of two songs from the LP sessions (“Uh Oh” and the title track, which I think is a different version) with the addition of my favorite AVENGERS song “Cheap Tragedies,” which was on the Rat Music for Rat People comp. It’s so catchy and eternal! Crazy it was just a throwaway comp track! The lyrics are powerful and relatable, yet totally mysterious in a way that feels universal somehow. The AVENGERS are so corny and inspiring simultaneously, they wrote perfect punk anthems, and anthemic songs can veer into that territory in the blink of an eye! But these songs are incendiary glimpses into what is possible when the world is on fire and everyone around you is ready for a new idea.

Mr. Wrong Create a Place LP

I loved the 12″, but this is fantastic! What a record. A wild journey into art punk girl sound that’s exuberant, intoxicating, refreshing, and delightful! Sounds like it coulda come out in 1981 but also the sound of now! The joy of screaming fuck you at the gruesome specter of our current age. The way the three vocalists intertwine their vocals is so cool, sort of reminds me of the women from the B52’S where it’s almost unhinged but also pop?! It makes me think of listening to HONEY BANE and also the first GANG OF FOUR 45 all at once, just rambunctious radical transmissions!!! The lyrics are smart and insurrectionary, it’s such a pleasure to listen to. Just endless kicks and dance offs, but what they’re saying is off the pigs, bringing forth an anti-male-gaze reality you would only dream of!

Noxeema Last Gasp EP

Super sick scrappy punk that sounds like an outtake from one of those killer early ’80s Dutch comps, but also sorta like KLEENEX meets the RATS!? Katie B’s vocals are incredible, wild and snotty and dark and kind of reminding me of a punk-era GO-GO’S or wilder NEO BOYS or or or or even MANNISCH DEPRESSIV. “Close the Door” is the mix tape staple! A one-two punch followed by the killer “Time to Go” on the B-side. It’s a lo-fi pummel classique made by a collection of people who definitely feature strongly in your record collection, so you should just grab it ASAP!

Sun Cousto Satan and I Walk Under a Rainbow LP

Satanic VASELINES fans from Switzerland made a record! Playful DIY pop death for girls that are bored of VENOM? The guitar sound reminds me of NÜ SENSAE: kind of dirge skreee but this veers into cool bedroom-sounding naive pop ’80s tape trader sound too?! Less grrrrunge, more a wild journey with Satan! It reminds me of Scottish indie pop groups! Falling apart charm. They definitely have the self-aware cynicism the VASELINES had that is so absent in so many of their followers. This is not twee! Investigate!

The Anemic Boyfriends Fake ID / Bad Girls in Love 7″

A weird reissue of the B-sides from the ANEMIC BOYFRIENDS 45s!? Fake teen punk from Alaska circa 1981! You might know them for the monster anti-creep DIY classique hit “Guys Are Not Proud” (which is not on this), but this collects the more rockarolla faux-FOWLEY glam rockin’ underage teenager rocker songs. Can see why the rawk orientated HoZac would do it this way, but I think I would just rather spend a little more and get the OGs, because the combo of songs are freakier…

Exek Some Beautiful Species Left LP

Orstralian post-punk drone trip that feels like a slowed-down THIS HEAT nitemare with occasional FRIPP guitars and dubbed-out sorta POP GROUP incantations. A modern throwback to sounds made in another neocon fascist era, ominous horror is ours forever and here is the soundtrack… It’s bleak, dense, and not comfortable. This is obviously a great record, but I can’t decide if this paranoia sound is what I want right now, though.

Warp Traffic Control LP

I have heard people say if this band were part of the NWI crew they would be a so-called “hype band.” Maybe so, but instead they get to be seemingly the last punks existing somehow in San Francisco’s tech barf landscape of barbaric sharing economy lies ’n’ abandoned value systems. They are also my favorite live band right now, the combo of humans involved in this group makes for a dynamic experience! You think you are in for some art damage, maybe some sorta deconstructed B52’S but then somehow it truly sounds like it coulda come out on SST in 1981 (those fuckin destabilized Ginn guitars!!!! Also worth a look for fans of Pagan Icons!). However, this definitely feels like a product of now: smart acerbic lyrics that seem applicable to lots of end times capitalism scenarios but also could be from a game of Exquisite Corpse, vicious poetics in a most cool manner!!! Coolest group, best sounds, buy or die.

Solarized A Ghost Across Hell From Me LP

Wow!! Super sick Afro-futurist scrappy hardcore punk that reminds me of the MONORCHID or maybe CIRCUS LUPUS?! The guitar sound and those vocals take me straight back to my teenage obsession with CHRIS THOMSON bands! It’s got the wild lo-fi frenzy of the Chris Thomson/Jason Farrell FURY 45, too. Lyrics are cut-up incisive radical utopian/dystopian, like reading sci-fi poetry for insurgent minds. I love getting records like this, sorta nostalgic feeling (yes I was a teenager in the early ’90s, mail-ordering Gravity Records 45s and buying anything Dischord/Kill Rock Stars put out!), but also showing what is possible, how to refract an idea into something it wasn’t before, to make something new and old and wild and now.

Lithics Wendy Kraemer 12″

One of the best groups going, LITHICS makes taut yet nervous sounds that would make sense at a 1981 New York loft party or a 2019 Portland basement. This propulsive collection of fragments was initially released on cassette a couple years back, and here it is just in time for the end of the world in 2020, sneaky secret sounds heard from another room, scratchy instructional dream guitars, sorta SU TISSUE delivery over “You Taste Like the Tropics” rhythms. This feels like an invitation to something that isn’t clear yet (rather than a reenactment), at any rate get it or regret it! Limited to 500!

Pleather Wasting Time / Riot 7″

Another killer group from Hattiesburg, Mississippi! I assume they are somewhat aligned with JUDY AND THE JERKS scene-wise as a result, but their sound is totally their own thing. ’70s meets ’90s lo-fi power pop punk with cool monotone female vocals that remind me of a cross between like JOSIE COTTON and SU TISSUE, and like the kid from UNIT 3 PLUS VENUS in the most insane manner?! So in short, I love this record!!! Disaffected brat style. Is “Riot” about a cat or a girl? Doesn’t matter. Looks cool, sounds cool, it’s throwaway yet an earworm.

Hit the Streets Hit the Streets 10″

Super punk garage snot that’s more for the greasy than thee arty! Dual male/female vocals that remind me of a less frantic KRUNCHIES, this is sorta veering more towards Roehrs-core, if that means anything to you!!! I can visualize him at the front of the show pumping his fist to this straightforward meat ’n’ potatoes punker frenzy from Saskatchewan. The hit songs are “Skull Chain” and “Nothing”: both killer jams that stand out and if I was still a disc jockey I would play them on my radio show! Psyched they sent two copies.

Mope Grooves Desire LP

Portland seems to have a relentless line on cool art punk damage DIY groups. COLLATE and LITHICS spring to mind, and MOPE GROOVES! This is cool falling apart art fumble that feels urgent and desperate and real, it’s got a transcendent sounds-heard-in-another-room feel that only the best bedroom art has. Makes me think of AMOS & SARA and other HOMOSEXUALS offshoots in a refreshing manner rather than mere reproduction style. It sounds alive and now. Pop music for punk dreamers who want to watch and to be. Freedom sounds.

Trampoline Team Trampoline Team LP

Furious frenzy from New Orleans for those consumed by the TYRADES style. If that’s you, then you should immediately stop what you are doing and start doing this! Cuz you know that tough punk garage savagery with style and rigor can’t be beat! “Didn’t Wanna Come Here Alone” is so sick: sounds like a group the BAGS woulda played with. This is some true punk rock for fuck you types!!! A truly relentless record to lose your mind to. The cover is just as sick as the sounds within, looks sorta like a Man Ray body horror eye illusion but it’s a fly in a Venus fly trap. Repulsive glamor.

Parsnip When the Tree Bears Fruit LP

When I heard this band for the first time I almost got evangelical! Their first EP is a perfect meetup of the PANDORAS and MELODY DOG that I had no idea was possible, a true and total dream… Cool Australian mod girls making sounds that seem like something K would have put out in 1985 or 1993! This LP is definitely more towards that dreamy MELODY DOG meets raucous SWELL MAPS style though, so if you want the feeling of the first PANDORAS 45 played from memory from another room go straight to “Rip It Off.” What a song! So yes, this is twee. if you don’t have a dubbed copy of DOLLY MIXTURE Demonstration Tapes, you might not be able to swing to a full-length of this sound. To my ears, it’s true utopian possibility though; scrappy and playful like those Messthetics comps and Rupert Preaching at a Picnic. A record that creates its own world.

Judy and the Jerks Friendships Formed in the Pit LP

I went to see this band knowing nothing about them beyond their incredible name, lost my mind and bought every single tape. Now they have a perfect EP (on Thrilling Living) and this LP, which is a compilation of songs from the cassettes, so even if your walkman doesn’t work anymore, you can listen to their sick SIN 34-style attack from the comfort of your home! An indescribably charismatic singer that is like circa 1981 Keith Morris meets Debbie Harry! For real! I usually find reproduction music to be a dull and tiresome endeavor because for the most part it is! Hardcore has gotten tired and boring, a perfect simulation of something real made by modern archivists; but why would you listen to an imitation when you can just listen to something from when the sound was invented/perfected?! Like who is choosing a modern simulacrum band over the original sound?? You know we are at the end of the world and punks do not give a fuck about wasting resources on reissuing a 1985 demo of a 10th rate band on vinyl with a crappy live set on the other side… So in the face of all of that noise and disdain comes a band with total spit-in-your-face fuck you joy, a band that takes sounds from that first Decline of Western Civilization movie and edits out the stuff they don’t need and makes something cool and charismatic and explosive. It’s called personality, folks! Most repro-HC bands are wax works! These punks are from Hattiesburg, Mississippi and are making an incendiary sound that, yes, is adjacent to the first RED CROSS record, but it’s full of wild pleasure and ideas and kicks! And yes the B-side of this LP is full of cover versions (from FLOORPUNCH to DIE KREUZEN to the GO-GO’S!) but this record is a good time, it’s losing your mind at 3AM at a rest stop with your best friends, surreal jokes you’ve forgotten the origin of, and the reality of walking while female in a small town…

Hierophants Spitting Out Moonlight LP

A new LP from these synth punk Aussies, this sorta reminds me a bit of SCHOOL DAMAGE with less C86 and more Messthetics? Well, it turns out this features a SCHOOL DAMAGE (and a PARSNIP! I guess as with every other sick Australian group each member must play in fifty-nine other equally cool bands). Neat and witty pop constructions that have a basement band new wave feel, sometimes can have a background music quality, rather than “must listen to this and do nothing else.” This is unfair, because this band is obviously going for a different style/feeling, but I am thinking of when the last TOTAL CONTROL LP came out, and how totally overpowering it was. But then sometimes it feels like “Outdoor Miner” being played by FELT, which is a dream. “Pang” is perfect! More of this please! There’s an ironic playfulness with sharp radical underpinnings too, and while some of it blends into one, for the most part it is a really pleasurable blend?! Plus the LP title is beautiful/cool/gross…

Taiwan Housing Project Sub-Language Trustees LP

I really loved their first 7″, but the last LP sorta lost me a bit, had a circus punk veneer in my mind I couldn’t get past. This record is more what I wanted outta that! Incandescent noise fuck sounds from HARRY PUSSY and LITTLE CLAW past-lifers, this is a total and true sound, savage and unreal, destruction and love, lost in a dream. It’s intoxicating and also catchy, has an otherworldly quality, like watching something burn in a dream. Kilynn has an incredible voice…if you have vague TEENAGE JESUS-as-the-world-ends inclinations and seek out sound ideas that are A Totality, then this might scratch an itch.

Dots Dots LP

Cool yet wild spasm sound that is somewhere between NOTS and certain eras of RAKTA?! Though maybe DOTS are more sorta art punks unable to hide their BLACK FLAG roots… Vicious sounds! Wild looping collapsing rhythm sectional idea explosions! Theramin! GINN-ish guitars! Spaced-out vocal incantations c/o the punkest Camylle (also of MIDNITE SNAXXX and prob a million other groups?!). Doomed Bay Area sounds that will make you wanna dance and fuck shit up.

Preening Gang Laughter LP

Sputtering muscular no wave sax/drums/bass trio—No New York fans take note! This has that downtown New York sleaze funk jazz fuck urge down. But maybe with the politics of the CAMBERWELL NOW?! If GANG OF FOUR was free jazz? Mostly because of that bass sound. An Oakland abstract anti-gentrification-art-against-work sound. Alejandra’s vocals rule; she should definitely be the singer of all bands! No joke! Max’s wild wail interspersed with her vocals is some sort of wild planet where D BOON sings back ups for CASTRATION SQUAD, but it’s free jazz. This sorta sound could be punishing, but instead it’s a pleasure. Why not?!

Pscience Pscience LP

Truly delightful synth punk snot from New Orleans, featuring cretins from killer groups including BLACK ABBA, TRAMPOLINE TEAM, BUCK BILOXI, GIORGIO MURDERER and so forth! I love it when it’s the same people in all the bands! Clear evidence of a creative scene volcano hive situation. PSCIENCE is a lo-fi dream with throwaway dollar store guitar sound and synths from a bargain basement new wave-scape. This is not savage synth punk like say, SCREAMERS or LOST SOUNDS, it’s more like that footage of the B-52S playing a house party in 1979 or whatever?! Falling apart good times is all you can ask for as the world shudders to an end. This is great! Gimme more.

Cave Curse Buried / Trash People 7″

I put this on expecting wild destruction Á  la LOST SOUNDS, but after listening to the A-side I would say it’s low on the “end of the world” synth punk destruction sound?! “Buried” sounds like a goth MODERN ENGLISH to me. Maybe it’s the vocals?! The B-side is more savage and maybe more true to what I have heard about this Bobby Hussy band, but the A-side is almost like a pop song! Like I can imagine KROQ playing it circa 1986?? I would even recommend it to you if you were a fan of more chorus pedal darkwave/goth stuff alongside that Memphis wave sound…

Index Originals Vol. 2 (1969) LP

INDEX is the sound of the doomed dream of the ’60s. Intoning wild sound sculptures with a bedroom garage stance, a space/earth/forest lens but also a lonely gas station feeling, a wood paneled rec room to return to. Some of it has the impression of the spun-out doom of certain live VELVET UNDERGROUND bootlegs but without the avant-garde—more of an outsider art perspective?! Style in a most devastating manner though, true mystery and horror embodied in those guitar tones, an other worldly clatter that destroys and rebuilds rock’n’roll for those looking for a new way to drive thru the apocalypse. INDEX were responsible for two highly sought-after private press LPs from the late ’60s with a wild mix of end-times-sounding cover versions and originals reverberating the desolate sound of Michigan through the ages! This LP is the second in a two-part reissue series (the first is a compilation of the original songs from the two ’60s LPs) whereas this is all unreleased reels found in a band member’s closet! I didn’t get the first volume because part of the appeal of this band’s records are the insane cover versions, and skipping those seemed callous to the collector?! I mean, their version of “8 Miles High” from the first LP turns the song from a hazy LA dream to a desolate Michigan mushroom nightmare, clangy and desperate and much more real… A totally different trip. I advise buying all of the releases immediately and feverishly consuming them! If this doomed unrestrained vision appeals to you I would also recommend checking out Laguna Beach’s the ELECTRONIC HOLE from the same era—another earth-shattering trip.

Autoclave Autoclave LP reissue

The first thing I heard about AUTOCLAVE as a teen in the early ’90s was that they were an “emo” band, whatever that means! I mean I guess all music can be considered emotional? This is not paper-bag fall-on-the-floor flail, however! Featuring the otherworldly voice of Christina Billotte (SLANT 6, QUIX*O*TIC, CASUAL DOTS, etc.) and the wild guitar styles of Mary Timony (HELIUM, WILD FLAG, EX HEX, etc.) this is a DC supergroup in my mind, but this was their high school band I think!?? It definitely has a sincere seeking feeling, some sort of post-Revolution Summer dream haze, maybe that’s why the mailorder lumped it in with the early ’90s emo scene but I would place it in the realms of post-punk explorations if you must genre-ize every sound. For fans of ONE LAST WISH and WIRE?! Christina’s voice is truly beautiful, the lyrics are so perceptive and thoughtful and her basslines remind me of WIRE songs and Nikki’s and Mary’s chopped up guitars over it are a textural dream. They are able to create this urgent yet dreamlike quality that is quite a feat. This is a vinyl version of a CD that came out a few years ago that compiles the 10″ and 7″ with a couple unreleased songs, including a super sick cover of the Nintendo classic “Paper Boy!” This is truly the sound of my youth, a mixtape in my walkman skating round town, reading about the wild DC punk scene in Erin Smith’s Teenage Gang Debs and Tobi Vail’s Jigsasw fanzines and wanting to telepathically transmit myself to a zone where teenage girls knew about DEAD MOON and the WIPERS.

Hash Redactor Drecksound LP

A spun-out frenzy with smears of MARK E. SMITH vocals lift over a wild sorta FALL / GUN CLUB / SCIENTISTS guitar collision, and the sickest rhythm section in modern punk. This is a dense total sound, tastefully stealing from both classic Manchester and L.A. punk as needed! What else is there to do in these end times we are stuck existing within but make a sound that reflects your record collection with your friends? HASH REDACTOR features the rhythm section of NOTS and a couple EX-CULTers too, so Memphis maniacs you already know you need this right? It swaggers and goofs in a most endearing fashion: off-kilter and groovy, like trying to leave a crowded party and drunkenly walking into a swamp. One of those records where you wish the label had sent a reviewer copy!

Judy and the Jerks Music For Donuts EP

Watching JUDY AND THE JERKS play was one of the highlights of 2018! What a group! It’s a true and total brat attack like SIN 34 and Thrasher Skate Rock comps, but in a dream not a drab reenactment broscape. This is a sick hardcore 45: it sounds like the Hardcore California book in a cool and refreshing way, like stealing a soda on one of these end-of-the-world hot days. It’s a pleasure and it’s a punch in the face! You will like the feeling, you will imagine yourself in the crowd of Decline while listening to it… Every song is perfect, furious bratty hardcore for true punks. Can’t wait to get the LP!

Neutrals Kebab Disco LP

What is there to say about a record that somehow evokes the view from a teenage bedroom in some Scottish new town circa 1982 at the same time as a modern mall food court in modern-day San Francisco? Tightly wound sounds formed in the nucleus of UKDIY and the post-JAM mod revival—the music is nostalgic: painting a picture of youth trying to escape a drab existence thru art school or technical college, dreaming of Italian adventures as their friends become motorcycle cops and hippies park their BMWs where their revolutionary dreams once were. This record is a crafty cigarette in a stairway outside an indie disco that plays STRETCHEADS into SHOP ASSISTANTS. This record bridges Glasgow in some mystical undetermined past with San Francisco in a very non-nostalgic present. Allan McNaughton’s very distinctive vocals will sound familiar to fans of GIANT HAYSTACKS and AIRFIX KITS, but this record has less of a D BOON paint coat than those groups, and more of an UNDERTONES 45s and cheap charity shop parka glow. Comes with a super sick lyric booklet, which is a true visual delight. Recommended!

Tamara Luonto Made in China / Kirsikkapommi 7″

This is somehow both super polished and shambling DIY-style RUNAWAYS worship from Finland…. The B-Side is a “Cherry Bomb” cover in Finnish, and has a sick falling apart REMO VOOR fee. The flip side is super sincere sounding: more polished but still charming and cool—totally worth checking out! Cover photo of the band looks like it could have been taken in 1976 or 1982 or 1992 or last week and the record has that feel too.

Tazer Human A+ EP

The cover art is somewhere between prison art and high school drawing competition: a centaur straddles a police car as two puzzled police officers point their weapons his way. This disc contains some choice dollar store guitar ’n’ keyboard punk, with nods to KBD klassics. Sneering Danish synth punk that errs on the side of the sick with songs about mechanical human attributes from the womb to the tomb. If you are a Florida’s Dying mailorder freak, this is definitely callin’ your number.

Low Life Downer Edn LP

Bleak anthems that evoke a late-’80s post-hardcore musical landscape: dark shards of guitar and vocal intonations, with desolate lyrical incisions into the void of macho culture… A total sound, a wall of guitar where there’s something for people that want the big guitar sound somewhere between the CULT and BIG BLACK, but also require a punishing hardcore pummel. The post-punk flange sound is stripped of any aesthetic pose and used as another aural weapon. There’s a weary fury to this: what are men for, what destruction do they do to those stuck around them in the stands of sporting grounds, in the family home? There’s no respite to the totality, no answer, just a lived experience expressed through sound.

Invisible Teardrops Endless Winter LP

“96 Tears”-type organ pumps furiously over this teenage dream circa 1965. It has a real Naugahyde diner seat ambience, Archie comix, faux maple syrup, battle of the bands in the high school cafeteria—a nostalgic veneer kept on rather than fucked with. The final song on the LP gets a little wild, but it reminds me of a strange and not-enjoyable- to-me combo of the MISFITS and SCREECHING WEASEL. Pop punkers that are riding the Burger Records wave?! The teenage talent show band stuff is fine—a gentle dream, an estate sale photo of a time that never really existed—but I think I would rather listen to a Pebbles comp than this. The lyrical and song ideas are evocative and cool, but the musical execution is sorta AM radio oldies post-Happy Days.

The Embarrassment Celebrity Art Party 12″ reissue

One of the best examples of nervous college art damage to have graced this meager continent! The title track is a sprawling, taut catchy masterwork of tension, and VU / FEELIES / early TALKING HEADS / COME ON incantations that should make you wanna fervently consume this immediately! This wild scene was happening in Wichita in 1981! The cover art has killer George Grosz meets Zap Comix damage which is adds to the fact that this is a perfect 12″! Each song creates its own world you will want to root around in or observe ironically from yr detached, too-smart-to-art student drop out mind. This is pop music that deconstructs punk! Why not grab this reissue and use it as a guide book to do the same?

Sporten Är Död Sporten Är Död LP

This looks exactly as it sounds: three cool teenage punk girls making tremulous punk rock with songs dedicated to John Peel, Bruce from the JAM, and their favorite chocolate bar! This isn’t wild screaming KBD mania, they have a nervous restrained quality, which is not to say this sounds inept, just that it isn’t the manic punk insanity you might expect from a teenage Swedish band circa 1981. They called their band Sport Is Dead, and formed as a result of being fans of the BUZZCOCKS and the UNDERTONES, and you can hear the nervous pop sensibility! I’ve seen comparisons to DOLLY MIXTURE and LILIPUT, but I would say that is not the case here, they are not as polished as the former and not as wild as the latter. They have their own contained punk concept and identity that doesn’t sound like a collage of other ideas. This is a reissue of their demo tape with a live performance on the B-side. It sounds great and is definitely worth picking up for all fans of that underground girl sound, the sound of youth inspired by the DIY ideal…

Holly Golightly Do the Get Along… CD

My favorite style of HOLLY! The cool ’60s garage / girl group update with her untouchable vocals! The title track is beyond… I spent my teenage years going to see THEE HEADCOATEES every month at various pubs in North London and having to leave before they finished playing because of having to get the goddamn last train! A true and total psycho fan, I own most all the solo records by each HEADCOATEE, but I sorta petered off with HOLLY GOLIGHTLY partly because of budgetary concerns (she has a lot of records my friends!), but also because she went country blues in a way that was a little dull to these ears at least. On the evidence of this and the last LP, she is back where we want her to be! We meaning me! This is totally what I want! Bruce Brand on drums!!! It’s like it’s my birthday forever. This is the sound of a sploitation movie set in Soho in 1965: that beat sound, with her cool fire voice—this is a dream! Makes me wanna grab my deerstalker hat and get myself to a dancefloor! A great record by one of the talents of our times.

Hand Grenades Demos to London 12″

Incredible reissue of a 1979 7″ with two extra unreleased tracks. The title track is absolutely incendiary: wild tense DIY skree that yes has some SWELL MAPS tones, but is probably one of the coolest Wanna Buy a Bridge-y songs I have heard. Anarchic nervous energy captured so totally: the guitar sound is perfect, otherworldly somewhere between an alarm and some ENO sound effect, then the way the rhythm section sort of rumbles and shambles creates this total sound of claustrophobia and freedom. How do you even do that all at once??? The vocalist sorta hits that HOMOSEXUALS note in a way you won’t be able to stop consuming. It’s wild how English this sounds for a NYC band, it just doesn’t sound like their contemporaries at all to me? But the first song sorta makes me think of a photo of the Lower East Side circa 1980, so what do I know. Just a total magic snapshot of one of the coolest sounds created in the wake of punk! The unreleased songs are incredible.

Des Demonas Bay of Pigs EP

The slinky ’60s organ on this will make you cry 96 tears, the rhythm section has a collapsing beat that almost feels like watching a movie about mechanical failure, the repetition inherent in the sound is hypnotic and eternal… and the vocals add to this mystery. Recommended for demanding cultists and mindless transcendentalists.


This doesn’t sound “influenced” by anything, it doesn’t seem like a replicant band idea or a recreation of a desired era—it seems more like a combination of people (from VIAL, TY SEGALL BAND and CAIRO GANG) that decided to make a total sound. Denee’s vocals definitely make the band: she has a classic, savage style that will make you dream of PENELOPE HOUSTON and DINAH CANCER, but with the fury of watching the SCREAMERS’ Target Video. The aesthetic of total devastation. I was a huge fan of her last band VIAL, who were truly incredible live, so I was really excited for this record. Watching them play last month was killer, and I would say if you have a chance to do so, take it! That experience gave different meaning to this record, which upon initial listen did not enthrall me totally. The bassonly attack made me think of that ’90s Touch and Go style, or maybe GODHEADSILO. But at any rate, I think the live experience altered my perception of the record.

Chandra Transportation 2xLP

I first heard of CHANDRA at the height of the Making Waves zine / tumblr explosion of about ten years ago, when all these cool girl-punk sound detectives started finding all these wild Subnormal Girls-style musics from 1977 onward. The first two CHANDRA EPs were reissued on a 12″ a while ago, but this is a deluxe reissue, remastered with two extra tracks, and anyone who would begrudge a super sick twelveyear-old girl circa 1981 fronting a no wave art punk downtown NYC group a deluxe reissue is a brain-free freak. The gatefold has a bunch of absolutely incredible images of CHANDRA performing and just being a kid, which is almost worth the price of admission. The music is dense paranoid art school wave, the sound of a band who would play the Mudd Club and The Kitchen. The lyrics are mean and cool like twelveyear-old girls and like NYC. Prior to writing about the nausea of riding the subway and girls called Kate, Chandra wrote songs about climbing out of a 60ft window and throwing babies in the trash! The music is truly the sound of downtown NYC, the backing band were previously released by John Cale’s own label. The second EP was recorded by an all-teenage band after a show Chandra performed where the audience was made up of her peer group, and it was clear that was the answer! It has a cooler, more lo-fi feel, punker. The unreleased songs are truly incredible and totally worth the price, paranoid lofi synth-punk for the ages! Beyond perfect. Buy or die. All teenage girls in bands now.

Parsnip Feeling Small / Winter 7″

The first PARSNIP 45 was a total moment of mind loss for me: a true and total encapsulation of C86/TVP, ’60s and ’80s Mod Girl Dreams, umm, DOLLY MIXTURE if they were way punker…and here with the second we have more of the same! The first song is a perfect DAN TREACY meets DOLLY MIXTURE dreamscape! My mind was a plastic bag before the song was over!!! It sounds almost like the song is sort of writing itself as it goes along in a totally pop freedom manner, like listening to a SWELL MAPS 7″ you dreamed of. Flip the disc over and there’s this fucking perfect BANGS/PANDORAS pop garage song about the tyranny and delights of winter, what more would you want out of a 7’?! PARSNIP are a true and total delight, and I want fifty more 45s like this immediately, OK punkers?

Natural Man Band Electrical Man EP

The first song seemingly intentionally quotes directly from a DEVO song in the intro, then speeds into a birdcrash explosion of UKDIY Midwestern art school relentlessness. This definitely feels like a band that would have played with the EMBARRASSMENT in 1982. The second song is too funky for this hater, but I like the lyrics a lot: “Don’t ever trust your city to take care of you.” Watch out for that Michigan water, no one else is! The music is a total wash over sound: there’s no space, just a swathe of chants and sax and guitar tumble. Seems like the Midwest is alive with pleasure and here’s some audio to take you there?