MRR #35 • April 1986

76% Uncertain Gitargodz Suk Tour ’85 cassette

This blazing 20-song cassette was recorded live on the band’s summer tour, and features a well-rounded sampling of the band’s old and new material—with a vast majority to be released. Production and mix are clear, and holds a hard edge which adds that great “live” feel to the band’s music and vocals. Recommended.

Aggressive Dogs Dead Janky Girl EP

Raspy vocals hurl themselves over this wall of abrasive power, pushing with shrilling guitar licks and a rapid-paced melody keeping it all chaotic. Enjoyable tracks that are well organized and crank out the energy. Fast, without overdoing it for their style. Japan rages again!

Amateur Gynecologists Gynecore cassette

A good example of generic suburban hardcore punk. This band falls into the “We’re pissed off at something and we don’t know what it is, but let’s still form a band” syndrome. The music isn’t that bad, and with time it should develop. The lyrics, on the other hand, are meaningless and don’t have a bit of fun quality to them. The best thing about this tape is that this band was formed, give them time and hope for the best.

Asexuals Contemporary World LP

I suppose it would’ve been unfair to expect this LP to strike me as their debut did (my fave LP of last year), but perhaps with many playings it will come close. There’s still that great, distinctive voice, super-tight and fast melodic thrash delivery, clean production (perhaps a bit too clean here), classy hooks, and that rare sing-along quality, so… Catch ’em on tour and sing your heart out (great lyrics, too).

Bad Beach Bad Beach cassette

Gothic punk that hails from the depths of England. Simplistic rhythms and aggressive melodies come together with a sound very close to early TSOL or the DAMNED. Definite “eerie” overtones present, resulting in a hard-edged image and making this tape nothing more than healthy entertainment.

Band 19 Dictate 12″

A frustrating record. This is the same band that’s on the Mr. Beautiful comp, and their style is a sharp guitar/pop/garage sound that, at least here, manages to waste most of their good ideas by wimping out on vocals. There’s a live track here with a nice harsh guitar sound that gives you a taste of their real strength.

Barkhard Barkhard LP

In the tradition of skate HC bands like AGRESSION and the FACTION comes from Texas a raw, gritty barrage of garage mayhem called BARKHARD. Their members throw all the gusto of grinding, twangy guitars and abrasive vocals into a crazed assault, mixing up a variety of different influences.

Brutal Assault Screaming Urges cassette

Pretty cool hyper aggressive thrash produced by this Florida three-piece. The band’s method for success is to play as fast as possible, slip in several clever speed changes, and spit out a clean, pissed-off vocal style. Fifteen ragers that are simple in nature, but have the ability to make an impact.

Buzz and the Gang Buzz and the Gang cassette

A three-song job, pop-punk is the style, with female vocals not unlike early BLONDIE. It’s got that Boston rock’n’roll sound, clean but rockin’ with guitars and drums up front with the singing. More power-pop than punk. it’s still a punchy effort.

Camper Van Beethoven II & III LP

This band gets even more eclectic, excessive, and mellow on this second LP. They do have some great melodies, goofy lyrics, a variety of instruments and styles: blues, country, folk, etc. They also have some dull moments. Fans will definitely rejoice; hardcore fans veer the other way.

Charlie Pickett Route 33 LP

This is the first record from PICKETT since he split up with the EGGS, who went on to release a record as the PSYCHO DAISIES. Here, he gets a refreshing American sound of blues, country, and rock with the help of Jim Duckworth on guitar. Also features Mo Tucker of the VELVETS on drums.

Cosmic Psychos Down in the Farm 12″

COSMIC PSYCHOS employ a riff-laden punk style with very prominent guitar solos, as well as a strange arty edge that mixes poorly with the punk elements. I’m uninspired by the songwriting, and hope that the self-indulgent wanking doesn’t get in the way of future releases.

Cretins Man Between Walls 10″

Very slick rock with pop/punk influences, kinda like X. Weirdest part is that they dedicate the record to DICK DALE, CLIFTON CHENIER, and HOUND DOG TAYLOR (among others), none of whose grungy blues or surf influences appear at all.

Crow Who Killed Dove? EP

Fast mayhemic thrash that rips with aggression in the norm of Sweden or the US, this accelerating disc packs a mean bass whallop with loud splashing of the cymbals. Thrusting power keeps CROW alive and attacking with every note.

Dead Silence Stress LP

A band whose lyrics matter a lot, who have put on benefits to back up their beliefs, and who rock hard as well. Really cool fast, grungy punk with tough committed vocals. Neat fuzz guitar fits well with thrash, too. Excellent, exciting debut.

Didjits Signifies My GO-T cassette

Heavy rockin’ garage sounds are the main element that makes up this nine-song tape. Twangy guitar leads complemented by delightful distortion make for some catchy riffs while a steady drum sound holds the backbeat in control. There’s also a strong humorous side to the band’s warped view of life in the lyrics.

Dissension Why Work for Death LP

From out of nowhere (well, actually Long Beach) come DISSENSION, and their “generic thrash” sound is done with conviction and power. While their message may be generally in the new “positive” school of HC, their lyrics range a bit wider than many such bands. Line-up includes ex-TARGET OF DEMAND guitarist. A promising debut.

Doc and the Pods Sometimes EP

Rockabillyish rock’n’roll on this 4-song EP, occasionally sinking its teeth in, but not really blasting like it could. This is best seen on their cover of the FLAMIN’ GROOVIES’ “Teenage Head,” which just doesn’t have the bite of the original.

Eugene Chadbourne Country Protest LP

Yet another release from this man among persons. This isn’t unlike so many other recent releases. Lots of goofy cover songs, done Á  la carte or in medley, straight or crooked. Plus spoken word, original psychoticness, folk protest songs, and country pickin’. Oh, Eugene…

First Offense First Offense cassette

One studio side (originally intended for release by Mystic, and is classic SoCal melodic thrash) and one live side (more recent material with a definite metal edge). Both sides are good sounding, though I prefer their earlier sound by far.

Flesh D-Vice Secrets of the Estranged 12″

Reminiscent of the first RED ROCKERS LP, this changes and burns with a strong medium-paced feel. Grinding twangs from the guitar are the focal point in the mix and the work’s choice. Well-delivered with a fluid drive, the compositions are musically thought out and catch harmonious notes soon to bounce around the brain.

Force Majeure Hundarnas Månskensserenad EP

Really melodic sing-along punk with good drive and bounce. This sounds more like French punk than Swedish (in fact, I could swear it’s French because they’re singing in—actually, it isn’t). Good production, good singing, and tight pop/punk playing with tough guitar.

Fourwaycross Fill the Sky LP

As followers of the JOY DIVISION school, these guys really impress me with their attention to sequential detail, rhythmic style, and moodiness. Although they have slow moments, this first vinyl offering is well done and combines the aforementioned plus a smattering of industrial starkness, some noisy blockbusters, and melodic meanderings.

Gastunk Mr. Gazime EP

GASTUNK fires it up again with the metallic storm of HC excitement as Baki’s vocals dominate the entire affair, as they should. Heavy and fast, the production is strong, leaving your ears open to the wild attack. Hardcore riffs with metal leads is just one of the reasons this band has risen so fast in Japan.

GBH Midnight Madness and Beyond LP

As expected, a lot more metalish leads and chords present here. Of the twelve songs, there are maybe only a couple that find their roots in that classic upbeat punk style that this band had years ago. Oh yeah, in case you’re wondering, the lyrics haven’t changed a bit.

Generic For a Free and Liberated South Africa EP

An intensely politically motivated record whose message is augmented by information on the sleeve and in the lyrics. The five songs are made up of a high-speed pounding thrash and harsh, gravel-voiced vocals. All in all, worth looking into. Shreds.

Germs Rock n’ Rule LP

I’m not a GERMS fanatic. I liked some of their songs and there were a few I didn’t care for. Same situation here…live show recorded by Gexa X at the Masque in LA. Shitty quality but that never really entered into the discussion with the GERMS. Except for the long wait between each song, this is a fairly good document of the band before they broke up.

Ghoul Jerusalm EP

GHOUL’s second EP gets heavy as an apparent VENOM influence brings the harsh power down, but the band still has chaos in their blood and slashes at those ears with fast chords biting hard. Gnashed out vocals spit out as this combustion explodes into a disorderly zoomfest. Ace stuff.

Grong Grong Grong Grong LP

That weird ol’ Jello has a passion for dementia (FLIPPER, BUTTHOLES, etc.) and after seeing these guys Down Under, decided to get ’em released domestically. Like the aforementioned bands, though a bit more frantic (at least on vinyl). Sure to go over big with both punks and the art crowd.

Guilty Bystanders Broccoli Rules cassette

Mid-tempo thrashed-out funnypunk. The music becomes a diverse punk sound set to hilarious lyrics helped out by a classic snotty vocal style. With song titles like “She Only Loves Me When She’s Stoned,” there is a lack of depth in the material, but it does bring on a nice demented chuckle.

Icons of Filth The Filth & the Fury EP

Three loud crashers that for the most part live up to this band’s sound but fall short due to an obviously repetitious beat and continuously distorted guitar. The echoing vocals have problems coming across clearly and seem hidden behind the wall of the music. The artwork and written material is interesting, however.

Ikkashinju Slow Down EP

Eight rapid tracks that spit and crack, sending chills with the frenzied overdoses of disorderly parts. Guitars are all over this disc, screaming at you with grinning craziness. Radical is a small word for the mayhem that grinds from this unique Japanese band.

Johnny Thunders Que Sera, Sera LP

Whereas I just had written JOHNNY THUNDERS off as poopoo on toast last issue, I’m now glad to report that he’s now just plain poopoo. Lots of songs about all the girls throwing themselves on the boy, done in his traditional R’n’R style. Would’ve been happy, though, if he at least rocked out, but most tracks are fairly tame, with very clean playing. Miss that nasty guitar. OK at best.

Kambrones C’est Toujours Ca De Gagné LP

Decent successor to their earlier recordings. Over half of the songs have that enjoyable, melodic ’77-punk sound with heavy guitars, though there are others, including post-punky and pseudo-rockabillyish material, that make one worry about their future direction. But the LP has some killer cuts, like “Marie-Janee” and the title track.

Khadafy Youth Allah Fall Down cassette

Loud, distorted, sizzling guitar and dirge-oriented bass beats dominate the majority of this thirteen-song crazed dosage of thrash. The rawness of the music is representative of the anger that this band feels toward the typical punk rebel topics. Heavy, rough garage-type production but loud as hell. Watch for vinyl.

Kluged Kick, Scream, and Shout cassette

A nine-song good-sound-quality tape. “KLUGED” apparently means jerry-rigged or thrown together in a really quick, sloppy manner. It doesn’t appear so to me, as the playing is tight and powerful angry thrash, cleanly and energetically delivered. Lots of changes and non-metal guitar work (extended at times) and strong vocals. Good debut with an early SoCal HC sound.

Last Bomb Firing EP

Raw, savage guitars scream out madly with very American-sounding vocals. LAST BOMB continues in the new Japanese form, yet more of a garagy GASTUNK sound that cries for more. Fast drumming overpowers a bit, but the noise is intense.

Love Canal It’s a Dogs Life So Blow It Out Yer Ass LP

Quite some progress since their early demos; the humor is still strong, but isn’t as strong when mixed with the high-speed melodies, with rockin’ guitar leads and smooth production. A little too serious? Maybe just a little bit coming from this band, but still, this platter is made up of a lot of talent, energy, and potential.

Madame Edwarda Lorelei Étranger Héliogabale 12″

Reminiscent of English atmospheric pop (VIRGIN PRUNES, etc.), MADAME EDWARDA succeeds moderately with the title track, although as with most examples of this genre, the poppishness and hooks get stretched too thin for the sake of mood. OK.

Maggot Fodder Sudden Death cassette

Their fans call it “acid punk,” which brings to mind the BUTTHOLES, but this is nothing like that. Much more melodic, with “harmonic” vocals and a decent medium-paced beat. Not really too psych or crazed, just moody with a raw guitar.

Maimed for Life Maimed for Life EP

Surefire, hard-hitting assault of turbulent thrash storms your way via this Salt Lake City three-piece. Six power-stroking songs that thrust quickly with barking vocals, snapping out some good lyrical content as occasional metallic leads whine across the atmosphere.

Mark Stewart As the Veneer of Democracy Starts to Fade LP

This LP includes material from the last 12″, and even the new material sounds like a rehash of his past few records, though it’s more thickly layered and more difficult than before. However, ex-POP GROUP’s Stewart and Adrian Sherwood still create some of the best haunting wildness and lyrical nightmares. Still will keep the fans happy.

Massacre Guys The Rider EP

Slow- to mid-tempo garage rock which musically and lyrically is laced with feelings of doom. The music does at times have a healthy raunchy feel to it, but never really cuts loose and expresses the potential power that would produce something that’s memorable.

Mod Fun Hangin’ Round EP

On this release, MOD FUN has updated their sound from ’64 to ’66, incorporating ’60s fuzz punk into their pop mod sound on one song, going pop-psych on another, and fairly straight pop on the longest track. Like the two uptempo songs better than their previous efforts.

Naked Raygun All Rise LP

This is a bit different than previous records in that there’s only a couple of songs with their distinctive bass licks and chunky melodies. So instead of bordering on redundancy, they prove their diversity by being more melodic, rockin’, and even pop. This LP is more challenging than before and really great.

No Idea Class War 12″

New Zealand uptempo punk that sounds British circa 1980. Seven songs that toe-tap their way through a variety of styles with ska time beats, medium-paced aggression, and quick dance-step drumming. A fun record that keeps a good momentum.

Pagans Buried Alive LP

Finally! Other than hardcore collectors, most of today’s punks have never heard the awesome power of Cleveland’s PAGANS. These blasts (seventeen of ’em) include the seven tunes off their four 7″ records, as well as ten unearthed studio tracks from ’77-’79. The single tracks still seem the hottest, but there are no throwaways here. Get it!

R.A.F. Gier R.A.F. Gier cassette

Pounding, unrelenting high-energy music made up of awkward chords intermixed with several tempo changes. The 28 songs are a good blend of studio and live recordings, all of which have strong production and loads of power. Cool stuff.

Rattus Live in Denmark cassette

Even though the sound quality is not the best, one can get off on this release because of the sheer energy put out by Finland’s RATTUS. I wasn’t too excited by RATTUS’ last vinyl (a more metallic direction), but there’s no hint of it here—just blazing, ripping, and sometimes tuneful thrash. The pace is awesome.

Raymen Going Down to Death Valley LP

Here is a fascination with the CRAMPS and early American pop and blues. In any case, there are lots of covers that are rockin’ and dirty. “Haunted House” really rips, as does most of the rest of the record.

Rebels and Infidels Young, Gifted, and Black cassette

Interesting new material from this long-time Bay Area band. With this effort comes a lot of different influences, both musically and lyrically. One song may be upbeat funnypunk, and the next edging into slower-paced post-punk. Diverse, and very enjoyable.

Rhythm Pigs Rhythm Pigs LP

Excellent debut album by the PIGS that shows they’ve grown by leaps and bounds in both their lyrics and music. Everything from a tough western feel to a punchy, fuzzy funk song gets attention here. I could actually imagine their song “Human Drama” getting airplay on regular radio. Very cool and very recommended.

Rigor Mortis The Conveyed Message LP

Heavy-sounding punk/metal crossovers combined with painful throat-cancer-type vocals. Tempo is kept down to a medium pace which compares them to English notables like EXPLOITED, MOTÖRHEAD, and UK SUBS. Some ear-catching riffs and choruses here, but nothing comes out and grabs you.

Running Stream Running Stream 12″

A neo-’60s band that plays punk and pop-psych. Nothing too startling here, and as you can judge by some of the covers (“Gloria,” “I Can Only Give You Everything”), not too much delving into the musical past. OK.

S.H.Draumur BensÁ­n SkrÁ­msliÁ° SkrÁ­Á°ur 10″

This four-song release is well produced, featuring medium/slow-paced moody post-punk. There’s a decent amount of power, but the excitement level never quite boils. Also, given the language barrier, a lot is lost in this music where you can hear the singing so clearly, and where, I’m sure, the lyrics set the whole mood.

Salamander Jim Lorne Green Shares His Precious Fluids 12″

I don’t want to imitate Tim’s brief analysis, but this record really does sound like BIRTHDAY PARTY. (Old members are present, I believe, but name changes make it hard to be sure.) Great screamin’ blues, rockin’ moments, and other dementia. If you can find it, get it.

Samhain November Coming Fire LP

The horror continues and in a fine way as SAMHAIN’s third release really paves the way for this unique harmonious outfit of creeping pleasure. Danzig vocals are in fine form, and there is a slight MISFITS aura here. The pace is even good tempos, and sing-alongs ever present—this disc really grows on you.

Seeing Eye Gods Seeing Eye Gods LP

The coolest thing about this record is that it’s a two-sided paisley pic disc. Musically, they’re most definitely Marc Bolan/Donovan influenced, i.e., very sweet and melodic psychedelia. Well done for that and OK for those special moments, but wimpy for the rest. Still, I’ll keep it.

Sex Mutants The Right to Be Left Alone cassette

Pretty angry stuff! With song titles like “Angry Youth,” “Society Sux,” and “I’d Rather Be Dead,” you can tell these guys spend too much time thinking about the bad and not enough time trying to create some good. I hope their ideas will expand and their grungy punk music will develop into something creative.

Shell Shock No Holds Barred EP

The second (and very long-awaited) single by SHELL SHOCK contains four examples of straight-ahead HC done in a no-nonsense style. While lacking the unintentional humor of their debut, this one piles on fair amounts of aggro in its best moments, as on the aggressive title track. Basically OK, though unexceptional.

Shop Assistants Safety Net EP

This combo shows promise on two tracks, where their individualistic pop songwriting melds with their pleasant female vocals; and they connect solidly with the EP’s title song—a gritty, melodic mid-tempo track that sticks in the memory. Not hardcore—just good independent-minded pop/rock.

Slow Against the Glass 12″

Noted for their frantic live act, this 12″ captures that energy as well as their variety. Using funk, rock, and other influences, galvanized by punk energy and attack, they pound out six pop/punk/garage rippers. Great singing, too.

Sonic Youth Flower / Halloween 12″

This one is even more of a drone than ever. “Flower” is upbeat in their classic noise style while the title track is lyrically provocative and musically sedate. Still, both songs are good. Not my fare, but I wouldn’t be without.

Spineless Yesmen Gotcha Boss cassette

Down and dirty gothic rock along the same lines as 45 GRAVE and TSOL. The songs are kept to a slower pace and become a bit overbearing at times with their habit of dragging on. The guitar riffs add a nice touch and create good melodies but the rough production keeps this one together.

Swans Time is Money (Bastard) 12″

This NY industrial band is known for playing at a horribly slow pace and most of their songs deal with sex, violence, and pain. This time out they stick with the same subject matter but speed up the tempo to an almost rock beat. For the more adventurous.

Terminus Catalog of Crimes cassette

Despite the four-track quality, the eight songs here are pretty listenable. Thoughtful, melodic, medium-paced punk with interesting guitar work and, at times, post-punk singing. Not ordinary.

The Cannibals The Rest Of… LP

This LP contains session material from 1977-’79 (largely unreleased) of this groundbreaking UK trash outfit. Lots of rockin’ blues, ’60s rock’n’roll, etc. from their various aggregations (several of them went on to form the INMATES). Early STONES sound.

The Cramps A Date With Elvis LP

The big difference on this release is that Ivy finally steps out with some clean guitar soloing, and I like it. It’s straightforward and simple, and reminds me of something, like a slightly more souped-up JOHNNY BURNETTE TRIO/BO DIDDLEY. Some real chances get taken here, and the results: their best record in years, though many don’t like it.

The Cynics No Place to Hide / Hard Times 7″

A bit stronger than their debut EP. This band has a punkish ’66 sound with a singer who almost sounds like Gary Floyd of the DICKS. The A-side is the superior track, with cool fuzz and lead guitar.

The Golden Horde In Reality 12″

Liner notes state: “This record will perhaps be one of the greatest rock’n’roll records of a generation.” Hardly, but this is decent boppin’ folkish rock. Six tunes, the hotter ones owing more to psychobilly than anything else.

The Mumbles Resurrected From the Shed cassette

This ten-song tape is made up of a twisted mixture of hard-hitting garage blues, psych rock, and wailing vocals. The pace is kept to a slow, steady, bass-dominated speed with a clean guitar sound. Low-down and dirgy, but very entertaining.

The Service America’s Newest Hitmakers LP

Great overlooked scruffy band from Chicago just loaded with talent. There’s a full-bodied guitar sound, scratchy Midwestern vocal drawl, and cool but not cheesy organ fills, and throughout all of this there’s good, honest hooks. Great record.

The Zapruders Hanna Barbarian / Trash Night at the Jewelry Store 7″

Folk-rock/singer-songwriter stuff with the accent on audible lyrics. While the music is pretty meager and fairly light, the lyrics are crypto/critical DYLAN-esque without being too pretentious. Wish the music rocked more, but otherwise it’s intriguing.

V/A Bleeding Between the Lines cassette

Wally and the Beav comes up with another hot new comp, a prelude to their first vinyl effort. Band like LUDICHRIST, PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH, SHELL SHOCK, HYPE, A.P.P.L.E., DIRECT ACTION, RED TIDE, REST IN PIECES, and lots more supply the more-than-ample power. Overall fine sound, comes with booklet. Rips.

V/A Chicago Garage Band Greats: The Best of Rembrandt Records 1966-1968 LP

Very good collection of Chicago bands from 1966 to 1968 recorded on the Rembrandt label. Most of the material here is either unreleased or different versions from bands like the LEMON DROPS, NITE OWLS, and NICKEL BAG. Nice mixture of blues, folk, and psychedelia.

V/A Deep Six LP

Seattle-area bands here, mostly in the speed metal vein and no-so-speedy metal vein. You get two to four tunes each from GREEN RIVER, MELVINS, MALFUNKSHUN, SKIN YARD, SOUNDGARDEN, and one from U-MEN. Passable.

V/A Budget Ranch Box 3×7″ box set

A weird marketing concept—three colored vinyl EPs boxed together. You get one by PEACE CORPSE (country metal weirdness), WHITE ’N’ HAIRY (funk doodling weirdness), and PILLSBURY HARDCORE (droning FLIPPER-ish weirdness). Pretty goddamn weird.

V/A A Piece of Mind cassette

Put out by the guys from DEAD SILENCE, this sampler contains quite a variety of styles as represented by such bands as RHYTHM PIGS, DEHUMANIZERS, BLATANT DISSENT, GLORIOUS DIN, AGAINST THE GRAIN, INSURGENCY, RIPCHORDS, CRUCIFIED TRUTH, DISARRAY, and tons more. Check it out.

V/A Vile Vinyl, Vols. 1 & 2 LPs

The first of two volumes of a new ’60s punk reissue series is promising, though not quite up to the standard of the Back from the Grave series. It pretty much steers clear of the wimpy, flowing psychedelic snoozers and sticks to the rockers. Of these, the standout tracks are by the DIRTY SHAMES, CHANGIN’ TIMES, BELLES, NIGHTCRAWLERS, and GOOD FEELINGS. Volume One is better overall.

V/A Hard-Core Ljubljana LP

A bunch of Yugoslavian punk bands (U.B.R., III KATEGORIJA, EPIDEMIJA, TOZIBABE, ODPADKI CIVILIZAGIJE) present four to six songs each on this cool sampler. The mode of HC is grungy and loose, following the examples of the Italians, yet veering toward the speedier approach of the Northern Europeans. A very good sampler, and fairly consistent from song to song.

V/A Kaaos Zine Presents cassette

A Finnish-US effort (being sold in the US by BCT, in Europe by Kaaos). The US entries are ENTROPY, SPASTIC RATS, and CAUSTIC DEFIANCE, while from Finland hails MASSACRE, PRAVDA, and POLISTVALTIO. All I’m gonna say is HOT! Some of these bands never sounded better.

V/A Rebel Brain Factory LP

A 50/50 proposition. OK tracks from LOODS, ZOLGE, and the POGO; losers from SISTER RAY (yet another band with, this name that doesn’t have a VELVETS sound at all), and IKARI; and hot stuff from ROSE ROSE.

V/A 天橋立に来た岸壁の母 LP

A Kyoto-area comp featuring INFECT, SCABIES, WALTZ, FUCK GEEZ, SEX COMPLEX CLASS, and the SADIST. Mostly ’77 stuff except for ripping thrash from WALTZ and SADIST’s fast punk.

V/A On the Waterfront, Vol. 2 EP

A sampler from this mainly pop label. HAPPY HATE ME NOTS live up to that standard, EASTERN DARK clocks in with some cool psych noise, ITCHY ART come off with a driving dirge entitled “Attempting to Give Your Name to a Policeman While Tripping,” and TACTICS do a live folky punk ditty.

Spermbirds / Walter 11 split EP

These two bands are actually fairly much the same band, but with divergent styles. SPERMBIRDS indulge in an upbeat hardcore style with hilarious lyrics, while their alter-ego boasts a totally winning pop-punk approach, especially on “Kaiserslautern.” A very good record, and look forward to more.

Wards Armed to the Teeth cassette

Catchy guitar sounds and a straightforward beat form the backbone of this 25-song cassette, which is spliced with several tempo changes and sloppy vocals. At times, it sounds like the singer is half-asleep due to the drowned-out effect that tops his every line, but the lyrics are funny/serious and interesting.

X At Home With You LP

These Australians continue to put out interesting records. This LP contains tracks in their ’77 power-punk sound as well as more eclectic sounds that rock. Can’t say I like it all, but for a band that’s been around so long, they still pound.

Youth of Today Can’t Close My Eyes EP

Catchy choruses and rhythmic mosh beats combined with slurred gravel vocals make up the basic musical structures of this seven-song EP. The would-be power is kept down to a minimum due to the semi-poor production, and the lyrics stress a generic “positive” militant straight edge attitude, and if I never would’ve met them in person I’d have believed that the lyrics lacked the sincere depth which could lead them to be easily misunderstood. This band’s intentions are good, they just suffer from occasional foot-in-mouth disease—eh Ray?