MRR #28 • September 1985

? and the Mysterians Dallas Reunion Tapes: 96 Tears Forever cassette

This reunion was recorded last year with all original members intact. This is the band that helped define the sweaty, cheesy punk sounds of the late ’60s which later inspired a ton of other bands. This recording is full of their old fire, and any true fan of the LYRES, FLESHTONES, or any new underground garage bands must have this tape.

Abreaction Prepare for War cassette

At times this is rather usual mid-tempo Brit-punk, with some of the intros being more exciting than the body of the song itself. But then at times they surprise with their sudden bursts of extra excitement and energy. Also, this is a live tape of this anarcho-punk band, and a studio might produce a much livelier product.

Agitpop Feast of the Sunfish LP

It took me a little time to actually follow this, but this band challenges themselves as much as their audience as they couple time signatures yet perfectly catchy, with weird percussion like bottles, bongos, scraping metal, etc. Reported to be the MINUTEMEN’s favorite new band.

Alien Sex Fiend Acid Bath LP

ALIEN SEX FIEND’s musical style concentrates on a gritty, vaguely spooky rock/post-punk approach without any discernable emphasis on songwriting. Nine songs appear here. Only the rockabilly-tinged “Boneshaker” connects with its up-front percussion and psychotic echo effects. Nothing special here at all.

Amebix Arise LP

As if a soundtrack for an ultra-bizarre horror treat, AMEBIX scorches down with a deep, haunting sound while the guitar and bass churn out some cauldronistic spells of eerie havoc. Vocals are booming and strong, pushing with character, and Arise is superbly recorded and shows the improvement of the AMEBIX sound still as powerful as ever. One of the best of 1985. Get it!

Anti Dynamite Kids EP

Highly produced and accomplished pop-punk with punch. Catchy songs are the hallmark, done in the older but quite powerful punk style; this four-songer from Japan (not the LA group) is excellent.

Bad Trip So Unkind EP

Lately, more bands have been adopting the nasty ’60s punk style (as opposed to the wimpy psych pop or folk approaches), and BAD TRIP are among them. Here the quality is a bit uneven, ranging as it does from a way hot original (“Never Had It Better”) to a fairly lame version of the REMAINS’ “Don’t Look Back,” but they definitely have potential.

Billy Bragg Life’s a Riot / Between the Wars LP

Again, Mr. BRAGG returns with more of his biting social commentaries set to punky folkish music. Whether the themes are overtly political (like the cover of “What Side Are You On”) or more personal (like “Richard”), the lyrics will delight, and unless you demand the full sound of a traditional band, you’ll probably find the music stimulating, too.

Blood Farmers Cranked Up EP

This one’s growing on me. Neat garage punk and thrash showing lots of imagination and diversity. There’s weirdness interspersed between tracks (must be a Midwestern tradition), in the tracks, and in the lyrics. Singer Eric Fund Fournier actually sounds like LOVE’s Arthur Lee on “Young and Restless.” Cool.

Braille Party Welcome to Maryland LP

It’d be simplistic to compare this combo to the HÜSKERS, but suffice to say that they both play extremely fast pop music. At that point the comparison ends, as BRAILLE PARTY play very cleanly, though they don’t sacrifice a lot of power for doing so…just a lot of raunch.

Brain Damage Kill Dan White Party Tape EP

The title track of this four-song release has a loose, angry, experimental energy that reminds me of Wednesday nights at the Mab in ’78. Synth and drums predominate on this one, but if you like diverse, almost-experimental pop, you might find this sporadically interesting. They also have a strange cassette out.

Camper Van Beethoven Telephone Free Landslide Victory LP

Eclectic really is an understatement; these guys go everything from ska to dirge to VENTURES-inspired instrumentals. There’s even a tongue-in-cheek hippie version of BLACK FLAG’s “Wasted.” This one’s not going to be easy to figure out, but it might just challenge you a little.

Cancerous Growth Late for the Grave LP

CANCEROUS GROWTH do a respectable, but by no means brilliant job with the mid- to fast-tempo thrash formula, replete with rebellious lyrics and gruff vocals. This kind of thing has been done before, but I really enjoyed their high-velocity numbers. Basically OK.

Capitol Punishment When “Putsch” Comes to Shove 12″

More intense thrash from CAPITOL PUNISHMENT. They’ve been a unit for a long time, and it shows in the ultra-tight instrumental attack displayed here. The vocals are exceptionally gruff, lyrics are well-taken, and there are even glimpses of quasi-psychedelic elements (in “Elephant Man’) and Euro-thrash (the guitar riff in “Broken Home”). Check it out.

Caustic Defiance Enough Talk cassette

Those Stepe brothers will do anything to keep their names in print, even going to the outrageous length of putting a tape out. Decent garage quality sound here, and better-than-decent stop-and-go thrash. Funny “thanks to” and “a big fuck-off-and-die to…” on the enclosure.

Charta 77 Sista Dansen LP

This, CHARTA 77’s second album, continues in the fast punk/occasional thrash groove they’ve established. Mostly tuneful material with a steady (sometimes too much so) beat, chorus back-up singing, and every now and then a song that jumps out from the rest. Good, but not awesome.

Child Support Come to Amerika LP

When last we reviewed CHILD SUPPORT, we weren’t sure what direction they’d head musically. I’m still not sure; this is a pretty mixed bag of poppish-punk, new wave, experimentation, pop-rock, etc. Lyrics are above par in theme and intelligence, but this record will probably only appeal to the more open-minded or dance-oriented (not one and the same) folks.

Contrazione Cineocchio! Storia E Memoria 12″

As with many other of the current crop of Italian HC bands, there’s definite jazziness to their music as well as totally gnarly vocals, tight musicianship, and plenty of emotion and political awareness. Both male and female vocals lead the charge.

Deadless Muss I Will… EP

The ultra-gruff vocals on a lot of Japanese hardcore may seem tedious reading about or cliché to some, but you really have to hear them to “appreciate” this new standard. DEADLESS MUSS provides a good example, backed by a wired and loose aggregation. Good.

Declino Eresia LP

Utterly frenzied, like most Italian bands DECLINO utilizes a guitar sound which is somewhat less full than the typical power-chord thrash approach. Song quality varies from cut to cut, but the best material (like the live version of “Vita”) shows the class of this distinctive outfit. Committed and often pleasing.

Descendents Bonus Fat 12″

Not only do you get the DESCENDENTS’ classic Fat EP on this one, but also the two songs from their rare Ride the Wild 45 and an additional compilation track. This is hard-edged SoCal funnypunk at its best, and a welcome return to vinyl. May be the band’s best record.

Didjits Whoop My Head cassette

The second tape from these folks contains five studio tracks and some live material, and is no letdown from the high quality inventiveness of their premier outing. Punk with guts but incorporating weird changes that most post-punk bands utilize at the expense of rawness and exuberance—these guys keep it all.

DNA A Trip to the Land of the Dead… and Back 12″

Swedish exhilaration, wild and chaotic delivering speedy punches with gruff, raunched-out vocals. In the tradition of the SHITLICKERS and ANTI-CIMEX, D.N.A. pushes a rapid pace with enough energy to keep it all together, odd guitar leads and strong bass surges are the prominent highlights as this outfit terrorizes in mayhemic melodies.

Doctors’ Mob Headache Machine LP

This band can be lumped somewhat into the same style as the WILD SEEDS, ZEITGEIST, NOT FOR SALE, and the TRUE BELIEVERS. In reality, this band is just a real cool guitar band with an excellent sense of melody. Personally, I wouldn’t mind at all if they turned their raunch guitars up a little, but with their songwriting quality, it isn’t that necessary.

DRI Dealing With It! LP

The layoff and new drummer has not daunted DRI a bit. They’re back as powerful as ever, with 25 songs as wickedly sharp as ever. There are a couple of slower metalish tunes (DRI are big with headbangers), but most are short sharp shocks, and include a couple of reworkings of tunes off their debut release.

Effigies Fly on a Wire LP

This band is walking the tightrope of trying to delve more and more into rock and post-punk while maintaining the punk power of their earlier years. Overall, they manage to pull it off here, with the one or two less exciting tunes made up for by a tasteful cover of early JOY DIVISION’s “No Love Lost.”

EMG EMG cassette

Unusual hardcore, where thrash meets industrial noise with sometimes inspired moments. There’s straight thrash too, as well as FLIPPER-esqe music. All in all, a band to reckon with, despite their garagy live recording. Very intelligent lyrics, too showing that thrash can indeed be creative and manic today. Hey, they even incorporate surf music into it.

Faded Glory Death Zone cassette

Garage thrash meets industrial noise. Primitive sounds whacked out with rock’n’roll gusto, includes both studio and live recordings. Some songs are actually catchy, and I got to (I think) feel complimented by the tune “Reagan Dropped the Bomb (on Tim Y).” Crude, rude, and rockin’.

G.R.B. G.R.B. cassette

Positively awesome attacking thrash Á  la DRI or MDC. This band is highly politically motivated (see Spain report this issue), and their music reflects their anger and commitment. Send $2 for the tape and $1 for their zine, Drama Del Horror. Nails.

Gang Green Skate to Hell / Alcohol 7″

The new refined GANG GREEN has a lot more metallic influences in this approach. A new band with Chris’ vocals sounding different, is this still GANG GREEN?? Maybe GANG GREEN meets AC/DC, but no longer is the maniac speed evident. Good guitar work, but craving the old band. You decide.

Gargoyle Sox As the Master Sleeps… 12″

This band explores the same territory as England’s SCREAMING DEAD—this is atmospheric horror rock, albeit with much less of a rock energy. Of the five songs here, only “Pink Little Playhouse” combines catchy post-punk arrangements with GARGOYLE SOX’s trademark twisted lyrics. A novel release.

Gepøpel Paracide EP

GEPÁ˜PEL doesn’t beat around the bush; they beat the bush to death. Ultra-high energy thrash with virtuosic chord changes is this band’s stock-in-trade, and this eight-tracker consistently plumbs that style with skill. Easily up to the standards of the better Dutch outfits. In other words, first-rate.

GG Allin & the Scumfucs You’ll Never Tame Me cassette

GG will never change. Rockin’ early punk-style garage numbers and every combination of obscenity and sexual depravity. We decided a woman should review GG to see if he really is offensive, and I think that if you are offended with such absurdities as “I Wanna Fuck Myself” (“cause I’m the best”) or “Needle Up My Cock” or “Kill the Children, Save the Food” and don’t see the obvious ridiculous satire, you’re just as sexually repressed as GG. If you like to hear strings of cuss words for 45 minutes, find this tape.

Government Issue Give Us Stabb or Give Us Death 12″

G.I. is flooding the market with quality DCHC. “Plain to See” is awesome, and though these live tracks vary a bit in sound quality, most are rippin’. Only minor metally digressions, as the pure punk sound predominates and dominates.

Grand Mal Binge Purge 12″

Abrasive, driving post-punk. Lots of guitar, sparse but full production, rhythms, and depressed lyrics. Is there something “D.C.” about this still? Perhaps, because despite the “down” aspects mentioned above, there is still an upbeatness to it all. Can’t put my finger on it—not sure I want to.

Heavy Mental Atomic Shockabily 7″

This hand includes late ’60s pop-psych and rock influences, as did many fellow Midwestern bands of that era itself. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. On the single, it doesn’t really click (too poppish), but on the free promotion tape you can write away for, the garage side does come out much stronger. Different (now).

High Circle Rabbia EP

HIGH CIRCLE sticks to a well-disciplined mid-tempo thrash style on most of these six songs, resulting on listenable (and rather staid) hardcore. But “Lucida Follia,” the standout track here, approaches the domain of RAW POWER with its frenetic instrumental attack and spirited vocals. I’d like to hear more of this power in future recordings, but I still recommend this 7″.

Krunch Mys & Kel LP

The second release from this Swedish group really clears the sinuses. On the “Blapopsida,” they produce more of the killer thrash that characterized their debut, although their head-numbing instrumental attack, gravelly vocals, and short, piercing guitar solos are occasionally undermined by too much chaos or too little tunefulness. The “Bopsida” combines this approach with lengthier and more innovative musical sections; a crunching wall of noise and hilarious lyrics make “Free Fuck” sound like BELFAGORE meets the MEATMEN.

L.D.S. On the Cross EP

LDS straddles the fence between two genres: portentous horror rock and mid- to fast-tempo thrash. Certainly a tight outfit, this band doesn’t seem to have that sense for unique HC compositions—probably because they don’t really exploit the possibilities of either genre. Uneventful.

Laitz Balance of Power cassette

The stereo guitar sound adds interest to this tape of incendiary thrashers, which boasts first-rate songwriting, good lyrics, and a shitload of excitement. In fact, the instrumentals remind me of DIE KREUZEN’s first EP. An exemplary effort!!

Leben Und Leben Lassen SÁ¥ledes Elskede Gud Verden… EP

LEBEN & LEBEN LASSEN exploit a nifty and unique guitar sound on this EP—it’s all refined treble, and remarkably effective. Unfortunately, the band doesn’t do as much with their sound as they could; “Nightmare” rates as a cool change-of-pace HC number, but the other tracks don’t fare as well. All in all, an OK record.

Lone Cowboys You Light Up My Life / Skulls Have Eyes 7″

Yes, it’s really the DEBBIE BOONE schlock classic, but here adopted to a neo-rock format—and with no small success. The flip, however, has a driving guitar sound and stands on its own as solid alternative rock. (They also have a recommendable cassette, Streets of Poison, available; good material and excellent sound quality.) Good band.

Mau Maus Nowhere to Run 12″

Well-produced, mid-tempo punk that’s both emotionally unmoving and unmemorable for me. None of the four tracks made flail in any way, although “In Unity We Fall” did have me moving my hands in the air with its upbeat airs and choruses.

Miracle Workers Inside Out LP

A 100% improvement over their recent 12″, this rocks out. Lotsa fuzz, cool tunes, and even the organ isn’t had. Only beef I have with all these neo-’60s bands is the lyrics—dumb boy/girl stuff. Otherwise, this is boss.

Murder Inc. III There is No After 12″

Start off with a blistering attack of grinding guitar and total speed composition in “Uniforms,” to the powerful grinding surge of “Why I” which is reminiscent of early IRON CROSS. Then over to the start/stop chaotic action of “Stoer Zonder Stud” and this Dutch band really catches your attention. They’ve combined lots of variations and different styles to make this a highly enjoyable record.

N.O.T.A. N.O.T.A. LP

Hot shit! You thought their past records were great, well here’s 19 tracks that are rockin’, thrashin’, imaginative, and catchy. The slower songs have a catchy early ’77 pop-punk sound, and the thrash just rips. A good mix that shows that NOTA are expanding their boundaries and coming of age as a style to US hardcore.

Negative FX Negative FX LP

Even though this is ancient material from a band long gone, it is representative of one of Boston’s finest outfits at its time. Holding the distinct Boston characteristics heard in GANG GREEN, SSD, DYS, and more, NEGATIVE FX packed strong musical combustion with hoarse vocal deliveries. Rapid, powerful, and totally enjoyable, NFX is a classic Boston band but this should have come out at its time before all the duplications arose.

Negazione Condannati A Morte Nel Vostro Quieto Vivere EP

Banzai! Italian thrash merchants explore the realm of 1000 MPH momentous speed and aggression. Zazzo’s vocals scream and cry out in a wild frenzied manner as the zooming mayhem is dished out in sonic drum smashings and well delivered guitar licks. The total blitzkrieg approach of DRI, it has rhythm and quickness. Great release.

NOFX Live Your Life EP

At times metallish thrash, at times straight-ahead. Young and undeveloped as far as individual sound goes, this is a fairly generic Mystic-type release, giving a new band a starting chance to get some attention and develop. OK.

Otto’s Chemical Lounge Spillover LP

Is this the “fusion” music of punk? OTTO’S CHEMICAL LOUNGE pounds out these eight songs, and depending on whether or not you view this as a plus or minus, incorporate funk, jazz, rock, etc. into the tunes. Personally, I find it a bit annoying, especially on the covers of the GROOVIES’ “Slow Death” and the classic rocker “Shakin’ All Over.” I’ll take the originals, straight up, thank you.

Outlets If I Were the One / Can’t Cheat the Reaper 7″

The OUTLETS are aiming for FLAMIN’ GROOVIES territory on this one, but it didn’t really hit it on the nose. Instead of the songs charging along with melodic leads and galloping rhythms, it gets mixed up in its own tweeness and gets nowhere fast. Check out their comp tracks first.

Pandemonium Wir Fahren Ins Grune EP

The third release by this Dutch thrash ensemble, this EP continues the full-tilt, no-holds-barred, 10,000 MPH barrage of rapid fury that holds a meaner pace than DRI. This is what you thought was fast when you turned up the speed on the turntable. Quick and exhilarating.

Party Owls Rock Out! EP

Hard, medium-tempo thrash seems to be PARTY OWLS’ forte, though I was far more enamored of their goofy/retarded lyrics. Of the five tracks here, “Competition Skank” kicks up the requisite energy to be a winner; the other songs just sit there. Still, an above-average, entertaining release.

Phillip Boa and the Voodoo-Club Philister LP

Tim might say that “this sounds like KILLDOZER meets COLIN NEWMAN watching an SPK video en route to a concert by KING SUNNY ADE.” Suitably confused? Join the club. This is highly original, intensely percussive music that defies categorization; some of the tracks, like “Ostrich” and “Soul on Ice,” have really grown on me. Real good.

Pin Prick Demo 1985 cassette

An enjoyable earlyish punk-sounding band containing two guys and two gals. Some of the tracks contain that characteristic French drum machine/punk sound, while others are more traditional—all of which are garage in nature and energetic. Fun and interesting, despite the sometimes 50/50 sound quality.

Psyclones Cult Leader Gang-Raped by Disciples cassette

Rapid-fire ’77-ish experimental synth punk Á  la SCREAMERS or early TUXEDOMOON. There’s a definite edge to both the music and lyrics, and although the songs are long and repetitious, there’s a mania that sustains interest. Dark, but not overwhelmingly depressing.

Ramones Bonzo Goes to Bitburg / Daytime Dilemma 7″

Continuing along with political/topical material, the RAMONES hit on Ronnie’s trip to the German cemetery with SS dead. The song (B-side is off LP) is a medium tempo rocker, a catchy tune that grows and grows and grows and grows and grows on you! Great!

Rattus Ihmiset on Sairaita EP

A bit more of the metalish power sound seems evident on this release. This doesn’t come across in wanking solos (none, thank God), but in the repetitive and somewhat slower (for RATTUS, who are still fast by most standards) song structures. Still, it’s a powerful, tight release, a prelude to their (hopeful) US tour next summer.

Roky Erickson The Beast / Heroin 12″

This 12″ single is reported to be going around at a pretty steep price, so people who don’t consider themselves fans may want to think twice. But it does have some pretty cool tracks recorded live: the LOU REED cover is a little bit better because it doesn’t seem to ramble as much. Nice psychobilly artwork by R.K. Sloan.

Samurai I’m a Person, Not a Number 8″ EP

This band consistently comes up with outstanding (and expensive to produce, I’m sure) picture sleeves and mediocre vinyl. Actually, the two A-side tunes are a bit better than previous tracks, but the flip and accompanying flexi are just so-so (at best) pop-punk.

Sex Mutants Escape from Society EP

This band combines the sneering sarcasm of punk with bursts of mid-tempo energy, and it’s the humor that makes this effort interesting. The frantic “Running Wild” contains some power-chord abrasiveness; the other five tracks lack a distinctive punchiness. Not great, not bad.

Shithaus Live Crush 84-85 cassette

Billing themselves as an “industrial hardcore half-breed,” I’d say they’re more on the industrial side of life. While there are some post-punk influences, the noise/mechanical factor is predominant. This is a “live” tape, and well-done if you’re into modern pain.

SS The Original LP

I’ve heard this is one of Japan’s earliest thrash hands, and this posthumous release was recorded live in 1979 to prove the point. Results: totally ripping, ragged-ass, no-holds-barred thrash. Besides the clear vinyl, collectors will seek this for its small pressing (500 made), but anyone else will want it ’cause it shreds!

Stevie Stiletto and the Switchblades It’s a Bogus Life EP

Another great Florida garage punk band. I don’t know if this breed of trashiness and psychosis is a by-product of the heat and humidity down there, but for some reason that state produces a lot of entertaining outfits with semi-retarded lyrics. These guys sound more than a little like the ANGRY SAMOANS, which is the highest sort of compliment.

Texas Instruments ¡More Texas Instruments! EP

Another guitar/garage effort from Austin and this one delivers more into the area of GREEN ON RED and a harder MEAT PUPPETS. I even detect a little bit of a Doug Sahm influence on the vocals. There’s a real nice mixture of raunchy guitars and psychedelic structure, but these guys are great live.

The Burnt Where’s My Head? LP

The BURNT recorded this album on an 8-track machine in a basement somewhere, and the songs explore a variable-speed thrash style with growling vocals. It’s a good piece of work, too; most of the songs are concise, to-the-point thrashers, and there’s at least one mini-classic (“Garbage Can”).

The Damned Phantasmagoria LP

A beautiful cover photograph greets your eyes to this slice of horror harmony in gothic punk. Smooth melodic, with that big audience appeal yet still holding those eerie dealings of the DAMNED. The raw craziness might be gone, but what exists taunts you with robust rhythms. Surprising how a band that could do “Neat Neat Neat” does a spaghetti western-type ballad in “Shadow of Love.” Again, this isn’t punk—or is it?

The Delmonas Dangerous Charms LP

Backed by the MILKSHAKES’ raunchy guitar sound, this trio of shoutin’ femmes are a treat (except every song is about “boys boys boys”!). But in a way, this rippin’ LP is a rip itself, as eight of the sixteen tunes herein appeared on their two 7″ EPs. Why??! LINK WRAY’s title track is covered with gusto, making it the highlight of the previously unreleased tracks.

The Edge Alternative Allston EP

This one takes their last record one step further, because the band is harder and tighter than before. The title of this EP is ironic because the band does seem to have the same hard-charging structures as STIFF LITTLE FINGERS. Let’s see what they can do with an album, now.

The Insults Thrasher Go Home EP

There’s a clutch of manic, ultra-fast thrash on this EP—some of it well up to DRI speed and even faster. Admittedly, the recording could be hotter and much of the guitar wanking could have been excised, but this record contains enough unspoiled moments to make it well worthwhile. Good basic release.

The Leather Nun 506 12″

The NUN has done another one worth mentioning. They cover WIRE’s “506” and pull it off quite well, except it’s not the hottest WIRE song to begin with. But most noteworthy are the two songs on the B-side—”Fly Angels Fly” and “I’m Alive.” There are basic rock’n’roll riffs reminiscent of early STOOGES and RADIO BIRDMAN. Cool lyrics, too.

The New Breed 1001 Suburban Nights EP

One of the East Coast’s new wave of neo-mod groups. I personally like raucous mod blasting with a flailing guitar, but these are precisely the qualities that NEW BREED lacks. They spend too much time on melodies and harmonic vocals, and ignore the all-important crunching sound. Aspiring mods should spend less time listening to the late JAM and more time listening to the early WHO and the debut singles by the JOLT, PURPLE HEARTS, and CHORDS.

The Oigasm Enkele Reis Nunspeet cassette

Despite the band’s name, this resembles Oi only in the grungy arrangements. Instead, this tape features about a half an hour of inventive thrash with hilarious lyrics conveniently translated into English. The recording is basic, but clear and often quite powerful. I look forward to more from this outfit.

The Willard Vanguard / The End 7″

The first WILLARD record I’ve been able to get my mitts on, this picture disc displays power pop with early punk energy and drive. I get the feeling that DAMNED fans would appreciate this more than I.

Toiling Midgets Dead Beats LP

This band had former members of SLEEPERS and NEGATIVE TREND, and this record was released after they had broken up for a couple of years. A very hard band to peg, because they play too slow for the punks and too loud for everybody else. But they had a great thundering guitar sound that was mixed with delicate, chiming pieces that had a dreamy quality to it.

Tommy Dog Drop Dead! EP

Side one features a couple of slower punk tunes with gnarly vocals and somewhat metalish overtones. Side two is an unbearably long “freak out” Á  la IRON BUTTERFLY or some godawful downbeat hand.

V/A Alive and Kicking EP

This mini-comp proves the D.C. scene is indeed alive and kicking with six tracks, all by different bands. The standards are solid all-around, though the songs by MARGINAL MAN, UNITED MUTATION, and GRAY MATTER seemed especially impassioned. Good record.

V/A Bands on the Block LP

From the graphic look of the cover and band names, I would’ve thought this was a largely punk record. Not so. Fully two-thirds of it is various forms of new wave—some listenable, a lot not. It’s only with the last eight or so tracks on side two that we get some punk, with cuts from many bands previously not recorded such as HICKOIDS, SHOCKHEAD, CRIMINAL CREW, HAPPY DEATH, IDEALS, and JEFFERSONS (ex-DICKS minus Gary). Mixed bag.

V/A Cursed Earth cassette

A bizarre East meets West combo. One side contains D.C. area bands (EXHUMED LUNCH, SPASTIC RATS, MALICE, G.I., UNITED MUTATION, etc.) and the flip are all from Albuquerque, New Mexico (JERRY’S KIDS, AKA, WONGS, and more). Slightly uneven in sound equalization, but overall, it’s an enjoyable thrash/noise experiment.

V/A Drinking is Great EP

Four of the Northwest’s best thrash bands put together on a 7″ with excellent, powerful production. POISON IDEA, still one of the raspiest, gnarliest thrash bands, careens through a track called “Laughing Boy.” And both LOCKJAW and FINAL WARNING have crunching, muscular tracks, while the song by E13 draws more from the ANGRY SAMOANS. Buy this record now.

V/A The Sound Of Hollywood: Du BEAT-e-o LP

From an underground movie that stars JOAN JETT, TEX (of the HORSEHEADS), Derf Scratch (FEAR), and El Duce (MENTORS). Includes incidental music, dialogue, and some pretty good tunes from SOCIAL DISTORTION, TEX AND THE HORSEHEADS, MENTORS, JOHANNA WENT, and a killer track from DR. KNOW. Although there are some cool tracks here, it’s not the kind of thing you’re going to slap on the turntable too often.

V/A No Enemies, Please! cassette

A domestic US comp featuring VATICAN COMMANDOS, VERBAL ASSAULT, CAPITLE, LOST GENERATION, SACRED DENIAL, PLASTIC BANGS, and CANCEROUS GROWTH from the East; BURNING WITCHES and MINISTRY OF TRUTH from the West; and TOEJAM from the Southwest. Good sound quality and good studio production are the call of the hours, as are the performances themselves. Well done.

V/A Sanitized for Your Protection cassette

A whole range of anarcho music, mostly in the British anarchist band tradition, but also including sparse post-punk, poetry, and semi-industrial—all of it coming off pretty well. R.A.F. PUNK, ICONOCLAST, INDIREKT, HAGAR THE WOMB, DECADENT FEW are among the choices. Some disparity in sound quality, but most is up to snuff. Good job.

V/A Thrasher’s Digest Fanzine Compilation #1 cassette

A US compilation consisting of IBEX, VOA, BUTT ACNE, JUVENILE BEHAVIOR, BEDLAM, A.O.D., MAGGOT SANDWICH, LONELY CROWD, and MUTES. Varying sound quality and musicianship, but overall an OK comp.

V/A Ground Zero cassette

Quite an undertaking, this tape contains 40 cuts of bands from just about every country where punk flourishes. The sound quality and choice of material is good and hot, and comes with a zine as well. A project well worth supporting and enjoying!

V/A Nå Eller Aldri EP

This is a superior hardcore release from Norway. It includes both relatively well-known bands (SISTE DAGERS HELVETE and AKUTT INNLEGGELSE) and more obscure outfits (KAFKA PROSESS, ANGOR WAT, LANDSSVIK and PSYKISK TERROR), but the musical standard is almost uniformly high. PSYKISK TERROR’s cut is particularly outstanding; it sounds a lot like TERVEET KÄDET’s better material.

V/A The Trousers in Action EP

A four-band, four-song sampler from the Australian zine of the same name (comes with issue #14). Most all of the groups (POSITIVE HATRED, SUICIDE SQUAD, BOX OF FISH, and VIGIL-ANTI) play slow punk/post-punk with rhythmic appeal and rawish yet clean guitar sounds. Good idea.

Vampire! Watashi-Wa-Vampire EP

While both sides of this release have that funkified dance rhythm, both are listenable in that they maintain an aggressive beat, fairly unproduced guitars, and good shouting. Reminds me of middle-period GANG OF FOUR. OK.

Volcano Suns The Bright Orange Years LP

This band features Peter Prescott of MISSION OF BURMA, and is indeed reminiscent of those days, but this is a little less tame and more likeable. They are being touted as the “new HÜSKER DÜ,” which I’d like to avoid doing but it’s incredibly hard not to. Nevertheless, the VOLCANO SUNS are unto themselves in imagination and talent. This record is fabulous.

Rotting Carcass / Wut split LP

ROTTING CARCASS showcases a bright, fast HC sound augmented by clean and basic production—resulting in a pleasant dose of good German material. On the other hand, WUT shows more inventiveness with their BUZZCOCKS-style guitar figures and spoken breaks, even though they mine the same general style. I enjoyed this LP, even though I find it difficult to pick out any standout tracks.