MRR #3 • November/December 1982

Angry Samoans Back From Samoa LP

The best garage punk album of the year. The SAMOANS have once again produced a brilliant amalgam of 60s punk, 80s punk, and heavy metal. The punchy uptempo sound, buttressed by three guitars and extremely belligerent mid-60s lead vocals is so dense that it’s well-nigh impenetrable, but it’s the SAMOANS’ exceptionally retarded sense of humor that really accounts for their perverse appeal. This brain-damaged approach is vastly better than the commercialized punk and self-conscious Satanic crap which currently dominates the LA scene, so don’t miss out.

Atila Atila 2 EP

More demented experimental punk from this bizarre fellow’s band, though the punk element is only pronounced on “Guncontrol” and “The Army Is Calling.” “Africa” has, as might be guessed, strong African and reggae influences, while “Star” is a slow psychedelic piece. Interesting, but not for everyone.

Bad Brains I and I Survive / Destroy Babylon 12″

Like their Alternative Tentacles 12″, this new EP has three metal thrash attacks on one side and a reggae composition on the other. The outstanding punk cut is the blistering “Joshua’s Song,” and the BRAINS are finally improving their previously poor reggae style. Politically, this record reveals the typical Rasta mixture of progressive (opposition to the Establishment) and reactionary (repressive religiousity) values.

Bastards Maailma Palaa Ja Kuolee EP

Super fast thrash, the characteristic Finnish hardcore sound. The BASTARDS have strong vocals and a nice wall of noise, but the weak drumming occasionally lessens the punch and the tunes tend to blur together. That doesn’t keep me from recommending it.

Beast Possessed / Wolfbane Nite 7″

The long-awaited return of ex-CRAMP Brian Gregory. Does his new band also feature primitive punkabilly? Unfortunately not. Instead, we get an atmospheric post-punk sound complete with haunting female vocals, a sax, synthesized sound effects, and a squeaky clean guitar. The horror themes alone remind one of the CRAMPS, so listen to this before you buy.

Charge Perfection LP

This is perfection? No way, it’s a thoroughly unsatisfying debut album from CHARGE. And sneaky, too. First, they put out a brace of punk 45s and then lure everyone into buying a long-player’s worth of very different material. Herein lies rhythmic music with annoyingly precious vocals that should be placed somewhere between post-punk and experimental punk, the closest comparisons being UK DECAY, THEATRE OF HATE, and (gasp!) ADAM & THE ANTS. These guys have played punk rock like “Gasman” here since ’78, so they’re entitled to change styles if they want to. On the other hand, we don’t have to keep listening to them.

Cracked Actor Nazi School / Judy in Disguise 7″

This New York outfit pounds out a stirring anthem directed against the stupidity and regimentation of our “educational” system (along with a mouldy JOHN FRED cover song). It’s medium-fast older-style punk rock with great lyrics and catchy choruses in the early SHAM 69 vein. You’ll flunk unless you give it a listen.

Crass How Does It Feel? EP

Coming so close on the heels of their Christ — The Album, it’s almost too much to digest. The title song is a catchy headbanging attack on the jingoistic British attitude towards the Falklands/Malvinas crisis. It has created a hoopla in the English press, who amazingly have supported CRASS against Parliament’s cries of “treason.” The flip features Eve and will please fans of Penis Envy. CRASS may be accused of preachiness, but their unrelenting critiques are having an impact.

Discharge State Violence State Control / Doomsday 7″

Surprise, surprise! This record sounds just like DISCHARGE. Actually, only “Doomsday” does; the flip is much slower, but structurally the same. You either like DISCHARGE and can’t get enough of them, or you say “never again.” They sound a lot better on record than they do live.

DOA War on 45 12″

The band now includes Joey and Dave from the other line-up, plus Dimwit and Wimpy Roy from the “other” famous Vancouver band, the SUBHUMANS. This record isn’t as frantic as Hardcore ’81, but it’s more typical of DOA’s live rock ’n’ roll, somewhat reminiscent of the old MC5. They also do some reggae, and covers of “war” songs by EDWIN STARR and the DILS.

Erazerhead Teenager in Love / All for Me 7″

A disappointment. Over their past two singles, ERAZERHEAD had developed a pleasant, hard rock sound reminiscent of the LURKERS/RAMONES. In place of this, they do an awful cover of the old DION AND THE BELMONTS song, while the flip tries for a more upbeat approach. Unimpressive.

Forgotten Rebels This Ain’t Hollywood… This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll LP

The second album from an old Toronto punk band known for its cavalier offensiveness. Compared to their classic In Love with the System LP, which was filled with unforgettable satire like “Elvis Is Dead” and “No Beatles Reunion,” this new release is rather tame. Despite the personnel changes, the group retains its infectious pop-punk sound and its absurdly ironic quality, but the themes are much more pedestrian and much of the obnoxiousness is gone. I guess that’s “progress” for you.

GBH City Baby Attacked by Rats LP

You have to get beyond the tacky cover on this LP. It looks like an Oi or EXPLOITED album, but GBH play one ripping headbanger after another. They even utilize blues riffs in thrashers like “Bellend Bop.” Most of the lyrics are about war, poverty, and madness, but there’s one song about getting drunk and fucking a “slut.” Needless to say, that makes me wonder about these guys.

Green On Red Death and Angels 12″

The third release on the Down There label is by transplanted Arizonans GREEN ON RED. Like ex-labelmates the DREAM SYNDICATE, GREEN ON RED play intense neo-psychedelic music. While the DREAM SYNDICATE use guitars to propel their madness, GREEN ON RED use keyboards and guitars together for a more textured sound, sort of like TELEVISION meets ?.

John’s Children The Legendary Orgasm Album LP

You could easily become poor purchasing all the great records being reissued these days, and this one’s no exception. One of the most sought-after ’60s LPs, Orgasm is a great collection of English psychedelic pop music. Take some good songs and dub in the screams from A Hard Day’s Night and you get one of the most intense “live” albums ever made. Included are the original studio versions of “Smashed, Blocked,” “Just What You Want, Just What You Get,” and fantastic liner notes.

Killer Pussy Teenage Enema Nurses in Bondage EP

After reading the hype about this Arizona band, I expected to hear great garage punk. Instead, I found wimpy new wave music with cutesy-pie female lead vocals. The uptempo “Pump-Rama” and the title track are OK songs in the B-52’s tradition, but the only things really interesting about KILLER PUSSY are their name and their trashy lyrics.

King Kurt Zulu Beat / Rockin’ Hurt 7″

This is weird. “Zulu Beat” has conga-style drumming, XTC-type vocals, a bass run lifted from any number of ’60s psycho-punk songs, a restrained sax, and a couple of instrumental rave-ups. The flip pretends to be noisy rock ’n’ roll. Nothing to lose sleep over.

Kohu-63 Valtaa Ei Loistoa 12″

The missing link between LAMA and the younger Finnish thrash bands. KOHU-63’s newer material is considerably faster than the tracks on their ’77-like “Pelimanimusaa” EP. They certainly haven’t lost any drive or power, though some of the melodic hooks may have been trampled in the stampeding tempo. Still, a fine record, and check out the COCKNEY REJECTS/EXPLOITED parody (“Härpsälä Kids”) for a good laugh.

Lama Väliaikainen EP

Fast classical-style punk with a chunky instrumental attack. It’s really good but not as awesome as some other Finnish hardcore releases. “Paskaa” is the standout cut, with its throbbing bass and drum beat.

Lockjaw Shock Value EP

A new hardcore band from Portland. The material ranges from thrash to garage punk and their sound, while not terribly original, is nice and gritty. Unfortunately, the lyrics are really stupid, being sexist (“Devil”), violence-prone (“Pop Your Head”), and, despite their protestations, racist as hell (“Go Back”). These guys could be good after a few consciousness-raising sessions.

Major Accident Massacred Melodies LP

Yet another in a seemingly endless line of British punk records. Though this new group doesn’t really break any new ground, better songwriting ability lifts them above the pack. If you insist on rehashing a ’70s punk format in 1982, you’ve got to write memorable tunes to hold anyone’s interest, and MAJOR ACCIDENT occasionally succeed where innumerable others are failing. Cool recording, too.

Napalm It’s a Warning EP

Cockney kids from Hamburg? Jawohl, mates! German teens from that city were highly influenced by the Brits in the ’60s—the BEATLES played the Star Club and the RATTLES emerged. In the ’80s, it’s NAPALM’s turn, right down to the accents and soccer chants.

Nolla Nolla Nolla Oodeja Simasuille EP

Unlike most Finnish bands, which pursue their chosen genre with a single-minded and frenzied dedication, 000’s debut is a mixed bag. Their crunching sound is applied equally well to thrash, mid-tempo punk, and even a couple of engaging post-punk numbers. It’s good to see experimentation, but I still favor the straight and nasty.

Normahl Verarschung Total LP

Mid-tempo ’77 punk from this German hardcore band. If the guitars were turned up twice as loud and the vocals were more raspy, the NORMAHL might have something going here. This isn’t the case, so the results are less than satisfying. These is an appealing amateurishness evident here, but it’s not enough to overcome the above-mentioned shortcomings.

Rattus Rajoitettu Ydinsota EP

The newest release from these scene veterans, and they’re getting faster and more intense each time around. Given the youthful competition, it’s not surprising that this EP showcases heavy thrash stuff, and it’s well worth your attention. Watch for an LP soon.

Really Red New Strings for Old Puppets EP

Five new songs in REALLY RED’s very distinctive style. After four 7″ records and one LP, if you don’t know what they sound like, you’re really blowing it. Great driving, rocking, hypnotic songs with political lyrics as sharp as they come.

Ribzy Invasion cassette

Five songs by this San Jose group, consisting of two women and two men. Great snarly vocals in the snotty tradition of ’60s punk and Darby Crash. The arrangements are snappy and the sound is distinctive, maybe as a result of their five-string guitars. Look for a record soon.

Riistetyt Laki Ja Järjestys EP

More ultra thrash from Finland. On this EP every individual song is manic and would sound super if played by itself, but it’s hard to distinguish between the various tracks when they’re all played back-to-back. I guess distinctive songwriting is what separates great thrash from good thrash, but this stuff is still pretty wild.

Rikk Agnew All By Myself LP

This LP by an ex-ADOLESCENT has all the pitfalls of the decaying rock scene of the early ’70s—overproduction, solo instrumentation, sappy love songs, and self-indulgence to the max. I hope this doesn’t bode ill for the future direction of the LA punk scene. The lyrics are either romantic, tragic, or suicidal—Leonard Cohen, move over. The weakest release on the normally strong Frontier label.

Riot .303 Crowd Control EP

Hey, it’s punk rock that sounds very much like the Canuck SUBHUMANS, even down to the Wimpy Roy-style singing. Most the punk bands in the US either wimped out or went thrash, leaving the last bastion of the older sound in England and the wilds of Canada, whence this group emerged. Fellas, it’s ’83, but your record is darn nice in a nostalgic sort of way.

Ritual Mind Disease / Nine 7″

Great roaring post-punk with an abrasive sax, horror themes, and frantic drumming, especially on “Mind Disease.” “Nine” is more arty and hence less effective, but these guys have real potential. For early KILLING JOKE fans.

Ronnie & the Ray Guns Nancy’s China / Let the Pigs Run Wild 7″

Radical teacher at local school is let loose in a recording studio and manages to produce a politically astute critique of Reaganomics within a humorous garage punk format. Pretty good for amateur hour, but grittier guitars could have turned these entertaining ditties into minor classics. Maybe next time.

Sacred Order Crankin on a Straight Edge cassette

Pretty standard thrash, although sometimes it breaks the norm. What really stands out here are the lyrics. They’re standing out right now… from my garbage can! It’s where they belong, sexist, homophobic macho goon-squad bullshit better left to the rockers and metal crowd.

Screaming Dead Valley of the Dead EP

This exciting British import combines the trashy songwriting of the CRAMPS with atypical hardcore energy and bite, resulting in a disarmingly effective debut EP. While all the songs are very good, “Valley” sets especially high standards in Halloween-style noisemaking. Also note the cheap price.

Senseless Hate Mechanical Death cassette

Extremely abrasive metal noise supposedly stimulated by listening to the STOOGES played “backwards, forwards, and sideways.” Well, I believe it because this is definitely brain damage material. The lack of real vocals won’t help them commercially, but I doubt if they’ll give a fuck.

Special Duties Bullshit Crass / You’re Doing Yourself No Good 7″

Another great-sounding Oi record from SPECIAL DUTIES, but regrettably they’ve exhibited completely reactionary values on this one. “Bullshit Crass” is an anti-CRASS diatribe which might be funny if these clowns did even 1/100th as much as CRASS to generate intelligence and help other bands. And what can you say about goons who consider CRASS—the ultimate anarchist group—to be “Reds”? Embarrassingly stupid.

Special Duties ’77 in ’82 LP

Ditto for this long-player. SPECIAL DUTIES have everything—ripping guitars, amphetamine speed, sandpaper vocals, catchy choruses—except the all-important brains. This time they rail against the “Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament,” asserting with jingoistic passion that they don’t want to die for a weak England! (Fellas, you were born about a century too late.) If the imbecility quotient wasn’t so high, this would be one of my current faves. As it is, I can’t recommend it.

System System! LP

Basic ’77 punk with no surprises. I’m not sure why, but most German hardcore groups are still mired in the slow ’70s punk tradition. The SYSTEM display little power, no intensity, and undistinguished songwriting. “Knall sie ab” is the best of this batch of material, but someone should send these guys a MINOR THREAT or NECROS EP to show them how it’s done in the ’80s.

Television Personalities They Could Have Been Bigger Than the Beatles LP

The third and final LP from this soon-to-become-legendary band. They Could Have Been Bigger Than The Beatles is a collection of outtakes spanning the whole TVPs career, a great collection of wimp pop gems, neo-psychedelic favorites you’ve never heard, and two CREATION covers, “Makin’ Time” and “Painter Man.” The price is worth the admission into Daniel Treacy’s mind. Buy and make them “bigger.”

Terveet Kädet Ääretön Joulu EP

With this release, T.KÄDET come of age and prove they’re among the world’s best hardcore bands. This well-produced record has everything—ultra tight thrash power, join in choruses, and lead vocals so demented they make the MEAT PUPPETS sound like the BEE GEES. The hottest punk EP released thus far this year, really.

The Creation How Does It Feel to Feel? LP

A great re-release from the near legendary ’60s band. Distortion and power chords are the staple of this group’s sound, along with some great psychedelic guitar breaks. References: the early WHO, the mid-period YARDBIRDS, the MISUNDERSTOOD, etc. Includes great liner notes.

The Crucifucks I Am The Establishment cassette

One of the finest underground bands I’ve ever heard. The CRUCIFUCKS have more going for them than any group could ask for, including amazingly sharp lyrical barbs, insane Jerry Lewis-style vocals, sheet-metal guitar, innovative bass and drum interaction, and unique overall arrangements. The tempos vary, but every song is brilliant, especially “Establishment” and “Hinkley Had a Vision.” Mark my words, you’ll be hearing a lot more about these guys in the very near future.

The Dream Syndicate The Days of Wine and Roses LP

The first album by this Southern California band lives up to and exceeds previous expectations. The sound has been polished since their first EP, but you still won’t find a better metallic guitar attack anywhere. New favorites for old fans are “Halloween,” “Until Lately,” and the title track. A “punk” record.

The Enemy Punk’s Alive / Twist and Turn 7″

The basic riff is familiar, but “Punk’s Alive” remains a pleasing enough cut, with sentiments to warm the heart of any hardcore aficionado. Even though the B-side doesn’t meet the standard, an abrasive guitar mix and orange wax make it all quite worthwhile. Recommended.

The Meteors Mutant Rock / The Hills Have Eyes 7″

Psychobilly, that unique blend of rockabilly style, punk energy, and modern sound has produced a few outstanding records—some CRAMPS, GUN CLUB, PANTHER BURNS, and METEORS cuts. This latest single is a continuation of their great LP. Boss.

The Mob Upset the System EP

Nine-song debut from NYC. Furious-paced hardcore laced with heavy metal guitar solos and extremely short songs, much like the first CIRCLE JERKS LP. And like the latter it has confused lyrics which condemn much and beg for unity—but around what and for what? All in all, enjoyable.

The Seize Everybody Dies EP

It’s been a long time since their first single and the SEIZE haven’t come out of the garage yet. In the great tradition of slam, crash, and slobber, this EP has a nasty edge and should be played at high volume. Four great ditties are included, but “In For Me” is the standout track.

The Times Theme from Dangerman / I Helped Patrick McGoohan Escape 7″

Two new releases by this relatively unknown band. “Dangerman” is supposedly from a forthcoming LP based on the Joe Orton screenplay, but this weak instrumental is not the TIMES’ finest hour. It’s backed with the fourth version of their cult gem, “Patrick McGoohan.”

The Wombats Bye Bye Baby / Give It a Number 7″

A much faster and more enthusiastic follow-up to this Ohio band’s kwiet KINKS-ish debut. Great ’60s pop vocals, hooks aplenty, and heavy guitars make this a sterling record. Really impressive, but I wish to hell Bomp would do a better job distributing their subsidiary labels—you can’t get Voxx 45s anywhere in the Bay Area and the situation probably isn’t much better elsewhere.

The Zero Point Fashion cassette

Experimental punk from Denmark. A raw guitar assault and excellent lyrics are wedded to quite varied arrangements—some are thrashed out, some are slow, some are staccato, some are unrelentingly driving, etc. “Government, the Biggest Enemy” hurtles along at a breakneck pace and comes in first on the Bale scoring system.

Total Chaos Factory Man EP

TOTAL CHAOS specializes in a terse, powerful hardcore sound when they so choose, and this four-track EP is quite distinctive stylistically. Songs like “Factory Man” and “She Don’t Care” contrast well with the brooding protest of “I Die,” making this an atypical, though by no means outstanding record. No major developments since their debut.

Troops of Tomorrow Troops of Tomorrow 12″

A very lengthy reprise of the militaristic song that once appeared on the VIBRATORS’ second album, courtesy of original member Knox. The 45 rpm side has more punky spunk and guitar effects; the 33 rpm side is more brooding and bass-heavy. If you like the song (as I do) you’ll enjoy this, but it’s not exactly good value for money.

Twisted Nerve Caught in Session EP

This is a cool punk record with pop overtones. The latter appear as melodic riffs laid over a buzzing mid-tempo structure, very reminiscent of the late, great CRISIS. The intro to “Never Say Goodbye” is lifted straight from “Boredom,” the Buzzcocks’ old chestnut. A little nostalgia never hurt anybody.

Tyhjät Patterit Osat Hukassa? / Ruuhkasaa 7″

“Osat” is a great punk song in the classic late ’70s tradition, complete with choppy fuzz guitar and cool background vocals, added for punctuation. Only the handclaps are missing. The B-side is slower and far less memorable, but this band is mining a rich if overused vein.

Urbn DK Mass Grave EP

A totally great debut. It’s not thrash tempo (unless played at 45, which sounds good, too), but it has very powerful, driving songs with doom-filled scenarios of the deterioration of human values. unfortunately, it’s all too true—this is the real “horror rock.” Too bad there’s no lyrics sheet.

V/A The Big Apple: Rotten to the Core LP

A new sampler of mostly unknown New York groups. It features stuttering thrash by the MOB and SQUIRM, but most of the music and themes are rooted firmly in the garage punk tradition. The best garage group is ISM, who should get kudos for both their political lyrics and the best song title of the year—”Moon the Moonies.” The HEADLICKERS, BUTCH LUST & THE HYPOCRITES, and KILLER INSTINCT have more of a rock/heavy metal origin, but the latter are real fast. This record is uneven but it does contain some gems.

V/A Cleveland Confidential LP

Cleveland is a city of neuroses, both real and imagined. This record proves that the city still has the best psych-garage bands. An old PAGANS track is featured, as well as great stuff by the WOMANHATERS, OFFBEATS, MENTHOL WARS, and more. Even the “artband” track is gonzo.

V/A The Master Tape LP

Great compilation of upper midwestern bands (except Boston’s F.U.’s). Some have previous releases—TOXIC REASONS, ZERO BOYS—but most are vinyl virgins (SLAMMIES, BATTERED YOUTH, DELINQUENTS, ARTICLES OF FAITH, REPELLANTS, LEARNED HELPLESSNESS, PATTERN, and DIE KREUZEN). More volumes are planned for the future. These regional collections of little-known bands are extremely important, so give the ZERO BOYS credit for organizing this project.

V/A Meathouse 1 cassette

The follow-up to Charred Remains. This compilation features 26 bands, including JFA, the CRUCIFUCKS, RED SCARE, MOURING NOISE, BATTALION OF SAINTS, MECHT MENSCH, RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED, SIN 34, NEGATIVE ELEMENT, the MOB, REBEL TRUTH, and on and on… You can’t go wrong here.

V/A This Tape Sucks cassette

A hot little tape put out by Oops! fanzine, featuring some great garage thrash by Clevo and Akron bands like the BEATOFFS, the OFFBEATS, LOUD AS FUCK, the DUMBSHITS, the DEFNIKS, the DISSIDENTS, and ZERO DEFEX. Only midwestern bands could come up with song titles like “Turds with Corn in ’Em.” Great.

V/A What Is It LP

Mostly re-issues, but with a few unreleased cuts from the What label vaults, one of the earliest LA labels. This contains gems by the GERMS, DILS, SKULLS, CONTROLLERS, EYES, and later stuff by KAOS. A must for those who missed these older California punk 45s, now impossible to find.

V/A Bullshit Detector Two 2xLP

Those who found Bullshit Detector 1 disappointing may be pleasantly surprised at the quality and intensity of this important double album set from the people at CRASS. The musical spectrum ranges from experimental and poetic right through to the trashiest of contemporary hardcore, and the tracks by BOFFO, RIOT SQUAD, and the SUSPECTS are worth the price of admission in themselves. In addition, you’ll find this to be the best document of the current British underground scene to date.

V/A Oi! Oi! That’s Yer Lot! LP

The fourth and supposedly final Oi compilation LP is far from the best. In fact, I’d say they’re scrapping the bottom of the barrel here. Aside from fetching cuts by the BUSINESS, the OPPRESSED, ATTAK, SKIN GRAFT, and our own BLACK FLAG, as well as a magnificently funny poem by ATTILA THE STOCKBROKER (“Away Day”), the res is pretty disposable. Gary Bushell’s silly liner notes are well in character, but he’s got a lot of cheek trying to force BLACK FLAG into an idiotic Oi mold.

V/A Punk and Disorderly: Further Charges LP

An American release of this, the second in the series of England’s best and most current independent singles. Contains cuts by VICE SQUAD, DISORDER, GBH, the EXPELLED, RIOT/CLONE, the ABRASIVE WHEELS, and many, many more. If you can’t afford to buy all the import 45s, this is the way to go.

V/A United Skins LP

Like the LAST RESORT album, this compilation suffers from weak production and generally lackluster performances. Only TDA generate real firepower with their speedy instrumental attack. The ACCUSED and the SEDATED also have their moments, but almost all the other groups have trouble writing a memorable tune. The biggest surprise here is that the newly reformed SKREWDRIVER—a seminal ’77 proto-Oi band—display little of the obnoxious punch that made older songs like “You’re So Dumb” so classic. On the whole, disappointing.

V/A Geräusche Für Die 80er LP

The third in a series of German compilation albums recorded live in Hamburg. All of them have been uneven, and this one’s no exception. Basically, it contains boring rockers (SALINOS), art damage junk (LIEBESCIER), and unimaginative punk (the CORONERS). Even groups that have previously produced something worthwhile (the RAZORS, ABWARTS) are unable to rise above on this platter. For collectors only.

Your Funeral I Want to Be You / Final Abyss 7″

An amazing garage psychedelic 45. The bittersweet vocals, simple chord progressions, and crude guitar tones on “I Want…” remind one of innumerable underground classics from the mid-60s without plagiarizing any particular band. The flip is more “psychedelic” in the modern post-punk sense of the term. Great debut.

Zounds More Trouble Coming Every Day / Knife 7″

Reputedly the last release from ZOUNDS, this 45 showcases an appealing change of musical direction. From punk origins to their rather post-punk phase to this, an ennui-filled variety of pop music particular to the English. Pick this one up if you’re a TV PERSONALITIES or SOFT BOYS fan.