MRR #39 • August 1986

7 Seconds Walk Together, Rock Together LP

This new English pressing of the infamous 12″ contains all the original tracks, and on the flipside there are six previously unreleased and one new song, all which were recorded live. The sound quality is fair for a live recording and it sounds very much like the vocals were overdubbed, and if that’s the case, the whole side loses credibility.

Barn Av Regnbuen Det E’kje Nåkka Artig Længer EP

A hot new Norwegian thrash release. It’s no secret that I am totally bored with generic thrash these days, but this release rises far above the 1986 standard by virtue of its exceptionally tight instrumentation, outstanding bass playing, and hooks. It is also raw in that cool HEADCLEANERS way.

Big Black Atomizer LP

I love BIG BLACK and this LP is no exception; the only qualm I have is that a couple of these songs sound so much like the BUTTHOLE SURFERS that they should’ve declared an ode to them so as not to be called plagiarists. Still, this material is strong in melody, rhythm, lyrics, and production. Classic songs as always.

Blyth Power Junction Signal 12″

This is just as good as the British pop we all used to love before hardcore became fashionable. Three superior guitar-pop ditties are here: the distinctive lyrics, delightful hooks, and unusual, almost archaic arrangements are clearly done with care. Even better than their fine debut release; the track “Sordid Tales,” with its surfy guitar, is especially appealing.

Brain Dead The Brighter Side of Life LP

Though there’s nothing new musically, this mid-tempo hardcore platter is well done, has clean (perhaps a bit too much) production, really audible vocals, and really good lyrics. Always glad to see a good band emerge from mid-America.

C.N.T. Mitaleja EP

I found myself getting caught up in the dynamic thrash of CNT—hot guitars, passionate vocals, the typical Finnish speed attack—so much so that the intrusion of speed-metal licks bothered me all the more. Too bad; otherwise, it’s a cool record.

Cas Prawde Last Hour of Warning EP

CAS PRAWDE is one of those bands with an upbeat punk attack, abetted by riffy song structures, but without much in the way of hooks or memorable tunes. The power’s OK—where’s that added punch that wants to make me listen to it again?

Chaos UK Just Mere Slaves 12″

The boys went a rampaging in Japan, shocking the minds with their chaotic fits, and recorded some new smoking tracks that send quake waves throughout Japan. Great straightforward bites of feedback and distortion in the crazed tradition meet you with the four new bits on side A. Side B was recorded live at one of the Japanese crunch shows.

Circles The Defenestration of Prague cassette

Although these dudes are pretty sedate compared to modern HC outfits, they play some enjoyable twangy garage punk. The lyrics dwell on personal and political matters and “War Heroes” is destined to be an underground classic.

Contraband Girls of All Nations LP

This intriguing album contains textured and highly varied guitarwork and an emphasis on good songwriting I found refreshing. Not all the songs are memorable, but there’s a poppish edge to CONTRABAND’s best songs, combining mid-tempo punk with harmonic vocals to make for an LP that grows on you. Good, solid release.

Crass Best Before… 1984 2xLP

An outstanding compilation of CRASS material most of which is taken from past singles. But there are three previously unreleased songs that document the band’s musical growth. Recorded interviews and conversations are included, as well as a complete lyrics booklet that contains an essay about the band’s history. Overall, very inspiring and highly recommended.

Culture Shock Reality Stop No. 44 cassette

Ten songs from a new band made up of members from the ruins of Wessex punk bands, the outstanding one being Dick from the SUBHUMANS on vocals. The band surrounds itself with a strong reggae punk/ska sound that is based on flowing melodies and very catchy rhythms. Very refreshing and interesting without making compromises.

Dag Nasty Can I Say LP

Tight musical compositions plunge headlong into some serious topics of personal beliefs. A few good riffs that harmonize rather well and keep a steady pace as vocalist Dave Smallee croons his way with such an exceptional flavor. This man’s voice makes the record. He has a craft with his voice and uses it so well, the A-plus of this slab.

Danny and the Doorknobs Poison Summer LP

Here’s a new group formed from members of the URINALS/100 FLOWERS and the LAST. It’s a stupid name, but it’s one of the classic slow, summer psych/garage records. Neat clear vinyl and there’s a 7″ out there by these guys with only 300 pressed. Collectors?

Dead Silence Stress LP

Driving, angry mid-tempo punk with rhythmic, distorted, upbeat sounds blended with good sing-alongs and politically minded lyrics. Several treats show up on this, as some memorable basic guitar and vocal arrangements make a very loud release from this band that does not live up to their name.

Dogmatics Everybody Does It 12″

Half the tracks here are really listenable garage rock’n’roll, while the rest tend to be too rockabilly-ish or poppish in derivation for me. Obviously, they’ve got power and roots, but I hope they don’t get stuck in the past.

Dwarves Horror Stories LP

This band recorded one LP under the name SUBURBAN NIGHTMARE, and I recall it being fun and just a little on the snotty side. With this release, they get down and dirty with their hard-driving garage/grunge punk. Some great covers of bands like CALICO WALL, AVENGERS, and LARRY AND THE BLUE NOTES. This puppy smokes.

Extreme Noise Terror Extreme Noise Terror cassette

The sound ripped my teeth from their gums as my mouth gaped open wide in astonishment as to the full-front ferocity of extreme power smashing my face. This is the best new blast of damaging explosions to rock the brainwaves as an assault of growling vocals bark over a maniac lashing of speedy thrash pushed in with raw, loud distortion.

Fear Itself Demo cassette

Does “horror thrash” exist? If so, FEAR ITSELF plays it well, complete with metallic tinges and spooky lyrics. This contains ten cuts of whizzing thrash with slower rockin’ parts, resembling ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT. Don’t be afraid to buy this tape.

Front Line Outside Your Window 12″

Now here’s a young punk band from San Jose who has a good sense of melody and writes some pretty catchy thrash in the style of SOCIAL D or D.I. Even though they have one of the stupidest, most immature covers I’ve seen in a long time, I think they have a future.

Gai 1981-1985 cassette

Obviously influenced by the noise kings of the UK, GAI runs with deadly barrages of distorted thrash, crazed with a total no-holds-barred approach. This is a collection of GAI tracks and the transition into the SWANKYS (which they become, since both bands shared the same members). A multitude of mayhem!!

GRB Estoy Tan Contento EP

An offbeat mixture of melodic mid-tempo awkward punk and hyper-speed thrash accented with heavy Spanish vocals. Tempo changes are quick, powered by demanding, clever guitar licks. Seven songs that are kept to a fast pace and a potent foreign hardcore feel.

Krapotkin Förrädaren EP

An interesting new Swedish band. KRAPOTKIN have a heavy guitar attack, and the song structures are quite diverse. “Vallum” is too slow, “Temor i Teheran” is too arty, but the EP is saved by the title track, which as a rougher sound, a driving beat, and a great hook.

Last Sacrifice Acid Rain Dance / Suspended 7″

The A-side is a rapid-paced tune that combines the charm of early PENETRATION with UXA’s power—both female vocals. The flip is very POISON GIRLS-like. Whoops, just noticed that this should be 33, not 45. Still OK, but now it’s a male vocalist sorta STOOGES-like and not early as fun. Oh well.

Lethal Gospel Martian Whores LP

This band has been one of San Francisco s premiere doom-and-gloom bands for years and this new LP deserves some notice. They haven’t completely eliminated the gloom, but they have become much more musical and the arrangements shine over and above previous material. Some great rockers here and a variety of styles, instruments, and lyrical material.

LSD Jast Last EP

Intense shouting damaging these vocal chords raunch out a wailing voice over an extreme beset of raw unrelenting guitar buzzing with crackling fury. Yet it break into a few acoustical-type riffs, then the madness explodes, the members fully delivering a mayhem so true to hardcore.

M.O.G. Radio Rock EP

This very strong release almost seems like a Dutch version of DIE KREUZEN, with the emphasis on high-speed thrash and the occasional guitar squiggles (and sometimes more than squiggles). I liked several of the tracks here, which at their best, seem to combine all of the elements. Recommended.

Manimal Manimal LP

Not to be confused with the Ohio outfit, this Italian band presents fast, aggressive, utterly tuneless punk and HC in a suitably non-descript style. Tempos are fast, energy high—it just doesn’t connect.

Manimals Blood is the Harvest 12″

This group is chillingly similar to the MISFITS, even down to the creepy stage look and gorefilm lyrics. They still manage to blend it with a hard-driving and cleanly recorded hot records—somethin the MISFITS always lacked was production. So, if SAMHAIN doesn’t do it for you and you still need that hit of gore, these guys are your find.

Mielenhäiriö II EP

Their second release (first was a one-sided 7″), this one flexing some muscle. The three A-side songs are slightly-better-than-average pop-punk, but it’s on the flip where they really cut loose. Three more tunes, much more energetic, both thrashy and imaginative.

Mighty Sphincter The New Manson Family LP

At first, I thought there was something different about this band and I couldn’t put my finger on It. More metal? Slower? More doom and gloom? More rock? Well, yeah, all of the above and produced by ALICE COOPER. Very gothic, slow, tired, and staid. Are the ’70s back or were they here all along? Yawn.

No Fraud Demo Tape No. 1 cassette

A great consistent tape of rapid HC not unlike POISON IDEA or JERRY’S KIDS, while still maintaining some identity. Good lyrics, clean production, and lots of songs make this a necessary addition to your collection.

Not Moving Sinnermen LP

Poppier than I remember their previous efforts, there’s a lot of psych guitar and feel here, though rarely crunching. With the female vocals, they at times sound like some early UK pop-punk outfits on the rockier tunes.

AOA / Oi Polloi Unlimited Genocide split LP

A mass exhilaration of fast melodic thrash with a flare for noisy guitars all wrapped up the complete raw package greets you to the latest C.O.R. split effort. Sturdy and lasting with all might, both bands peel off a collision of chaotic riffs. A.O.A. storms wildly at a rapid pace, while OI POLLOI pushes a sonic wave of harmonious velocity, fast and fun.

Phantom Opera Zoo 12″

This band is one of the new “eclectic” post-punk outfits that seem to be pouring out of SoCal. They mix punk power and intensity with other genres, borrowing from hard rock, funk, etc. This one works better than many I’ve heard, though I’d like to see more of these bands harken back to early punk’s appreciation of economy in length of tunes.

Prevaricators Jihad EP

This strong release shows this Virginia band at their near best: distinctive vocals blend with flailing rockish punk on the four songs here, of which the title track seems the most memorable. Production is hot, making for a ripping release. The only drawback is the sporadic guitar leads.

Pussy Galore Groovy Hate Fuck 12″

In this day of slick releases, this may seem pale. But this band is pure garage aesthetic in both sound and words. This is dirty rock’n’roll and as dirty as it gets, too. You may be offended by “Just Wanna Die,” “Pussy Teen Power,” “Cunt Tease,” or “You Look Like a Jew,” but I say that these guys get four stars for bravery.

Seizure All Hail the Fucking System EP

Four tunes that are centered around a very catchy, steady, pounding beat and a nice guitar buzz. The lyrics deal with simple political statements but remain interesting, which is complemented by the deep-throated vocals. Good stuff.

Sex Complex Class 幽体離脱 flexi EP

A pulsating beat full of melodic musical structures pushing forth a steady pace with grinding vocals and good harmonizing. Very tight with a raw appeal for this three-piece from Japan, making a fun, enjoyable sound that sticks. Good guitar effects work with the right charm. Good stuff from the MCR label.

Social Unrest Before the Fall LP

I’m impressed. This band was around for ages before finally spewing out a great debut LP last year. This time, they’ve decided to scrap a lot of old, tired ideas in favor of stretching out lyrically and musically. There’s a fuller, inspired sound here without seeping into a pap wimpiness. Good.

Sun City Girls Grotto of Miracles LP

The GIRLS are off in many tangents and can be a little boring but they are still provocative. Here they have depressing psychedelia to lounge music to ethnic accents to the true LSD freak-out. Very musical, poetic, downright pretty, distinctively ugly, the great acid experience or background music.

The Apostles The Lives and Times of the Apostles

This LP brings together a good deal of APOSTLES material that is no longer available elsewhere. The songs are diverse stylistically, side A being more experimental, but they all share a primitiveness that is irrepressible. The lyrics remain provocative, if not always logical and free of contradiction. Recommended.

The Celibate Rifles The Turgid Miasma of Existence LP

It’s taken me a long time to like these Aussies, but this one has finally sunk in. This band has the traditional rock’n’roll Á  la BIRDMAN/SAINTS sound but with their own poetic style in both rockers and ballads. Great production, inventive arrangements, and topics ranging from world view to personal view. A fine release.

The End If You Still Believe 12″

A little too weird for my tastes. Starts out with catchy SoCal punk but, hey, what’s with all these goofy Top-40 keyboards? It’s too bad, because the words don’t really anything and in the end (geddit?) the music doesn’t either, just a musical candy bar.

The Laughing Soup Dish Teenage Lima Bean / Rainy Day Sponge 7″

Neo-psych from Mammoth Beach, NJ, and judging from the photo they’re not too ashamed to whip out the old paisley. Truthfully, this isn’t so bad—nice mix of fuzz guitar and droning hypnotic vocals. And the flip has one of the best sounding SMALL FACES rip-offs ever. Very enjoyable, thank you.

The Loods Loud Machine 12″

A pic disc 12″ in a regular color cover, and the weirdness doesn’t stop there. There’s one “normal” punk tune, one change-of-pace thrasher, one BLURT-type raver, and then a bizarro mix of that same title song. Quite a treat.

The Plastic Dolls Blindfolded LP

A refreshing yet rockin’ departure from HC, reverting back to early punk’s simplicity and yet maintenance of power. Just a drummer and guitarist who sings as well, this is rock’n’roll as it should be, though there are a few limp tunes.

The Velvet Underground Another View LP

Not anywhere as amazing and explosive as the recent VU release of similarly unreleased VELVETS material, this new batch contains a few moments of wonder. A studio version of “Real Good Time Together” is decent, the ridiculous “Ferryboat Bill” is a treat as is the original version of “Rock and Roll.” The real standouts, though, are the instrumental version of “Guess I’m Falling in Love” (a pounding experience) and version two of “Hey Mr. Rain” that contains some awesome John Cale viola noise. Again, a must for VELVETS maniacs, if only for the clean production of all those bootleg versions you’ve had to strain through.

Trial Moments of Collapse LP

This LP is a long time coming and they’ve come a long way since their single. It’s really easy to hear the JOY DIVISION in them and lots of it. But the production and rhythm sections are hot, the continuity flowing, the words integrating so that recognizing that distinctive sound becomes secondary. Dark, poetic, and proficient.

Urge Overkill Strange, I… 12″

Dare I say there’s a Chicago “sound” gelling, epitomized by a powerful punk approach to post-punk (BIG BLACK, NAKED RAYGUN) and joining their vinyl ranks is URGE OVERKILL. Big bass and drum sound, loud production, and cryptic lyrics are the ingredients. Of the five tunes, two appealed, three didn’t.

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

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

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

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

V/A The Shot Heard Around the World cassette

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

V/A Lovedolls Superstar LP

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

V/A Hanging Out at Midnight LP

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

V/A Big City First Three LP

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

V/A Expo Hurts Everyone EP

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

V/A Connecticut Fun LP

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

Wart Fun is Over 12″

On their first solo release, this band plays slow, plodding, early-style punk with a post-punk twist. Really stark and subdued but after a few listens even the seemingly boring songs sound melodic and catchy to me. And I haven’t heard anything as catchy as “New Clear War” since the OUTCASTS’ or CRISIS’ heyday.