MRR #45 • February 1987

Big Black The Hammer Party LP

Actually, this is a re-issue, one side containing their first EP Lungs, and the other presenting their Bulldozer 12″, both of which came out in 1982. Lots of driving darkness here, though the Bulldozer side has a lot more power to it.

Brigandage Pretty Funny Thing 12″

Varied female vocals are featured on these seven songs, most of which plumb a poppish vein with the hooks on the subtle side. Moments of rockin’ energy emerge from time to time, but the predominant style is soft and mid-tempo. Adequate, but I’m not convinced.

Chumbawamba Pictures of Starving Children Sell Records: Starvation, Charity and Rock & Roll – Lies & Traditions LP

A little bit of punk, folk, dance, and pop appears here, but the message remains the main interest. A combination of thought-provoking lyrics, written information, tape commercials, and acted-out situations has been done before, but there is still a need for this type of effort and this band is doing their part.

Coneheads Barn Burnin’ EP

This strong three-tracker exploits a riffy, rock’n’rolly approach to the kind of music perfected by bands like the LIME SPIDERS and CELIBATE RIFLES. “Action,” with its rambunctious energy, rates as the standout here. A very good showing.

Daisy Chain Do What Thou Wilt LP

This German garage band has crunchy guitar and a frantic rhythm section from the start, but after the singer kicked in, it became painfully obvious where the weak link was. If you can stomach the “soulful” NANCY SINATRA vocals, you’ll still get groovy psych in the vein of TELLTALE HEARTS or CHESTERFIELD KINGS.

Depression Big Brother EP

A speedcore instrumental edge, featuring hard, fast guitarwork, underlies the three songs here, which operate in a faster HC vein. Powerful, but lead breaks and lackluster songwriting detract from this effort.

Didjits Fizzjob LP

Jesus… noisy little thing. Try to imagine the CRAMPS on speed. The music here is a pretty wild trashy guitar romp but the best thing is the pretty irreverent humor in the same vein as the ANGRY SAMOANS, MENTORS, and DICKIES.

fIREHOSE Ragin’, Full-On LP

This is the new group arising from the untimely death of D. Boon, and MINUTEMEN fans will be neither too surprised nor disappointed. The music is softer in places, and even though the guitarist only picked up an electric guitar a year ago, this is a good start.

Forethought Dejenlos Cruzar Las Fronteras EP

The instrumental work on this EP, which sounds the work of an undisciplined MINUTEMEN, tends to lack focus and drive. While “Sunburn” sustains energy, the other four tunes use more complex, “funk” guitar figures that left me unexcited.

Gash The Lesson EP

GASH turn in four songs here, showcasing a mid- to fast-tempo hardcore format with excellent lyrics and strong female wailing. A real progression from their debut LP, sacrificing nothing in the way of power or drive.

Germs The Lion’s Share LP

One side of this fan club record has five unreleased GERMS tracks recorded in 1981, none frankly up to their highest standards, while the flip contains a number of songs from their last show at the Starwood in L.A. A good memento for fans of this once great band.

Groupoem What You See Here, Hear Here, Say Here, Stays Here When You Leave Here 12″

The band’s name says it all: this is a series of demented versifications backed by a kind of improvisational MINUTEMEN style. An eccentric concept with interesting results, but not astounding.

Half Life Under the Knife EP

One of the better sounding domestic HC releases in a while. Good power and production on all four tracks, and although it’s mainly generic metal-influenced hardcore, there’s a gripping urgency that carries it off. Lyrics are pretty bleak, although “Consider the Alternative” offers some hopeful thought.

I Deny Anonime Persone EP

Musically, this is fairly unimaginative Italian HC with four grinding mid-to-fast-tempo numbers, and one ripper, “Non Per Me.” Lackadaisical production and playing buries most of the material here.

I.D. Under The Lords of Nothing 12″

Some pretty basic rhythmic punk rock here. The recording is well-done, and probably shows them at their best, but there’s no real imagination at work yet. This is a young band and there’s evidence of future specialness.

Instigators Phoenix LP

With an almost entirely new lineup, the music here is a mixture of their early sound with a “progressive” U2 feel which hangs some of the time, but I did find myself picking the needle up before a couple of songs ended. The vocals are also hard to deal with, carrying out each word with too much attention.

Komintern Sect Les Uns Sans Les Autres 12″

That basic French pop-punk style, complete with those trademark vocal choruses, seems to be the order of the day on this release. Unfortunately, though, the songwriting is un-notable except for the catchy “Maurice,” which opens this seven-track 12″. The other songs have hooks that are predictable, and songs with little if any staying power.

Kwik Way Kwik Way LP

The music here ranges from dirge thrash to pop noise, but the lyrics are the high point, raging on subjects like hair length and old people, with classic stupid humor. Much like early AOD but in a more seriously obnoxious manner. Worth a laugh.

Live Skull Pusherman 12″

Don’t know what the big deal is over this band, at least after listening to this three-song release. I found the tunes boring, lengthy, and exactly what I’ve been trying to avoid in music for a long time. Maybe live they make it.

Malinheads Medical Fame EP

This four-tracker from the MALINHEADS has all the elements of great thrash: stop on a dime instrumentals, passionate, throaty vocals, ripping production, and roller coaster energy. The fact that nearly every song here is distinctive doesn’t hurt matters, either.

Mongo Mange Gatoo Death Can Be Hazardous to Your Health LP

This Dutch band seems to model itself after outfits like PANDEMONIUM, who specialize in ultra-fast thrash with political lyrics. The harsh, speedmetallish vocals are way in the front of the mix, which unfortunately pushes away the great instrumental sound here, but this is still a respectable debut.

Musta Lammas Noidankehä EP

MUSTA LAMMAS straddle that boundary between hardcore and thrash, adding a loose Finnish sound and ending up with nothing too grabbing. The songs mine a gritty, medium- to fast-tempo style, and it was difficult to remember much in the way of riffs, much less songs, when the EP ended.

Phlegm Pretty Hideous Little Elves Get Munched LP

This LP has a mixture of tiresome mid-tempo punk and melodic hardcore. The music has potential, but this effort fails to create anything outstanding — the fair melodies lack force and the vocals seem to be very forced. The effort is there; maybe next time.

Herraids / Rapt Deflagration Vol. 5: Do the Pogo on A Nazi split cassette

Side One features RAPT who belt out 25 songs, while Side Two has HERRAIDS (Sweden), spewing out 27 songs. Lives up to its advertising as an ultra-noise and thrash comp, not for the weak of heart. Hang on! It’s wild!

Ruts The Peel Sessions 12″

The RUTS were one of the early, and best, of the English punk bands. These five tracks, although recorded in a bland studio atmosphere, still have the bite and punch of that era. Nice little document of punk from 1979.

Seminal Rats Omnipotent 12″

SEMINAL RATS owe some of their stylistic nuances to fellow Aussies the CELIBATE RIFLES; this seven-track EP rocks hard, especially on standouts like “Rat Race” and “Change.” While none of these tracks will revolutionize rock’n’roll, this release is solid. Very decent, and very Aussie, if you know what I mean.

Sham 69 Angels With Dirty Faces: The Best of Sham 69 LP

This is yet another “Best of…” compilation, and a fine one it is. SHAM 69 were the original singalong Oi style band and they pounded out lots of catchy, memorable rockers, most of which are captured here. If you don’t have this stuff yet, get it now.

Shell Shock Whites of Their Eyes LP

It’s taken quite a while, but they finally got their LP out. Though both the music and lyrics tend to be unexceptional hardcore, SHELL SHOCK is to be congratulated for sticking with it, especially as they hail from the heart of Klan Kountry.

Sherwood Liberté LP

This French band shows a real skill at fast-tempo thrash with punk overtones. Guitars are in the front where they belong, leading a ferocious instrumental attack, and the vocals are extremely strong and characteristically French. A fine effort, and very recommendable.

Sponge Born Under a Bad Sponge LP

This band used to be the X-MEN… the Chicago ones. I’m glad they changed their name, too. They are an eclectic group showing diversity in their mix of aggressive and twisted pop songs that range from frenetic pop punk to bare and goofy melodies. A weird band.

Spunk Bubbles Metal Wench / Treat Me Good 7″

They list DESCENDENTS, RAMONES, DEAD BOYS, MOTORHEAD, and early SAINTS as their main influences, but these two songs here lean more on speedmetal and MOTORHEAD than on the more melodic punk genre. Decent, but nowhere with lyrics.

Stickdog Stickdog LP

An unexpected pleasure, this debut vents out a demented, ugly vertigo that uses LIVE SKULL and RAT AT RAT R as a starting point but along the way still spits out an excited hardcore industrial din.

The Joneses Keeping Up with the Joneses LP

The JONESES seem to have glammed out, judging by the cover pics, and their music has definitely veered even more into a slicker, more generic rock direction. To wit, compare “Ms. 714″ and “Crocodile Rock” to the versions on their first 12″ — the rawness and immediacy are gone. Nice guitar mix, though.

Tupelo Chain Sex Record Breaker 10″

TUPELO CHAIN SEX are sort of a novelty rock’n’roll/horn ensemble that use a lot of cover material and are pretty goofy for the most part. And if that isn’t enough, this is a rare, collectible 10″ blue vinyl, limited edition that’s one of the worst recordings, quality-wise, ever. For fans and collectors only.

V/A The Foreign Object EP

Four bands, one song each, in a 60’s vein. Hottest track is from SPECTRE’S REVENGE, a tough rocker. Lighter material from BO WEEVILS, NO MAN’S LAND, and GAS BABIES. Comes with issue #2 of Foreign Object mag out of Australia, but I don’t have an address for them.

V/A Play New Rose for Me 2xLP

A double LP comp with a really wide mix of mostly known bands doing cover songs. And a lot of them are 60’s covers to make it even more fun. The highlight is the DK’s doing “I Fought the Law.” There’s also ALEX CHILTON, SKY SAXON, PANTHER BURNS, SLICKE BOYS, and 20 others. Pretty great!

V/A Open Mind Surgery LP

With such groups as DEPRAVED, INSTIGATORS, CULTURE SHOCK, SCREAM, CIVILIZED SOCIETY, and more, there’s a great variety of music on this worldwide sampler. Ranges from folk to punk, but there’s a nice edge to all tracks, and political lyrics. Recommended.

V/A On the Waterfront, Vol. 3 12″

This label really puts out the material these days, and most of the bands here have their own separate new release as well. Included are HARD-ONS, VULTEES, MASSAPPEAL, SPUNK BUBBLES, HEADSTONES, and a number of others. Good effort.

V/A Need or Greed? cassette

A nine-band benefit cassette for the famine victims in Ethiopia, all artists being from the UK. Fair to good live and studio recordings from such notables as OI POLLOI, BROKEN BONES, and the INSTIGATORS. Band info included.

V/A Oh! No! Not Another… Midnight Christmas Mess Again!! LP

Yet another Xmas comp of neo-60s bands, and this one is pretty decent. Tracks by the SLICKEE BOYS, VIPERS, PSYCHO DAISIES, IGUANAS, CHEEPSKATES, and more.

V/A Destroy the World EP

This EP is out of Germany and contains one track each by Germany’s STROMBERG POLKA (Oi), TIN CAN ARMY (punk), and the UK’s UPROAR (melodic punk) and CIVILIZED SOCIETY (thrash). Liked the latter the best by far, but overall a worthy effort.

Whipping Boy The Third Secret of Fatima LP

Over two albums, WHIPPING BOY has moved from straightforward punk into something a little less defined. Their latest has an air of mystery about it. The vocals have a number of influences, including BIRTHDAY PARTY, VIRGIN PRUNES, and PSYCHIC TV, but these don’t get in the way of the band’s changing progressions.

Wire Snakedrill 12″

Too many years have elapsed since WIRE’s prime to make this record an event. The four songs here seem more like a rock-ier extension of DOME than the kind of dense, rich songs WIRE and COLIN NEWMAN used to do. Nonetheless, “Drill” has a nice beat and interesting vocal rhythms.

Wretched La Tua Morte Non Aspetta 12″

I’ve always been a great fan of WRETCHED’s loose, powerful brand of hardcore, but I’m not as impressed by this release. Much of the manic energy is still there; yet, the “live” feel of this disc gives the production less density than usual, and the guitar wanking was a real annoyance. Still, “La Tua Morte…” is a powerhouse track.