Reviews

MRR #50 • July 1987

Bad Beach Cornucopia LP

Musically, pretty good sounding mid-fast tempo punk and HC, but when the vocals kick in, it’s a whole new thing. Unless you’re into the latter day TSOL “singing,” these voices may really bother you. Different? Yes. Annoying? Yes.

Big Black Heartbeat EP

Just when I thought the world didn’t need anymore WIRE covers, here comes a great one. BB meets WIRE is a great combo and the two on the flip are great as well. These three aren’t on the new 12″, either. BB fans won’t be disappointed.

Big Black Headache 12″

The warning label states that it’s “not as good as Atomizer“ and that pretty much sums it up. They still do the best hammering sludgy rhythms but it seems like they’re not really challenging themselves to come up with something new.

Bl’ast! School’s Out EP

I’ve always liked BL’AST for doggedly keeping the BLACK FLAG sound alive, but unfortunately, their first release is one of the wimpiest, lamest covers I’ve heard in quite some time — like some stupid rock band down the street covering the ALICE COOPER classic. The two songs on the flip capture that classic My War grunge mix of blues and thrash.

Caroliner Rainbow Hernia Milk Queen Rear End Hernia Puppet Show LP

There hasn’t been as wholesome a release in SF since BLACK HUMOR did their Love One Another LP in’82. What we’re talking here is hand made box sets” with presents in each and, well, the record. CAROLINER are one of a kind noise. Hearing is believing, love it or leave it, trash and bake, or is it hear and fry? This is for all voyeurs, acid heads, or collectors of rare species. Don’t rent…own.

Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers Into the Void LP

CCM finally achieves their musical peak with this album, which often approaches the intensity of early GERMS — both musically and vocally. A few songs lack that total punch, but chilling numbers like “Feel Like” and the excellent title track make up for occasional weak points. Very, very good Italian HC.

Comando Suicida AL K.O. EP

Argentine Oi music, with a decided anti-capitalist bent. But there is the all-too-typical skinhead cry for “fighting” here, and too often that emotional response is poorly aimed. Musically, very credible and catchy.

Condemned 84 In Search of the New Breed 12″

I guess these guys are here to give Wattie a run for his money in the dumb lyrics department, with “Up Yours,” “Boots Go Marching,” “Kick Down the Doors,” etc. I think you get the picture.

Crazy Best of… cassette

This comp features material from CRAZY’s out of print LP and 12″, and from the sound quality I’d guess this was recorded directly off those records. Good ’77-’79 style rocking punk with political lyrics.

Culture Shock Go Wild LP

A good example of this band’s punk/ska/reggae sound, the material ranges from slow dub-mixes to upbeat tunes filtered with a wide range of tempo changes, all of which are backed up by great lyrics. The three best songs were originally on their first demo, and the remainder lack a certain catchiness.

Doc Wör Mirran Falling to Achieve Freedom EP

Akin to TALKIN’ TO THE TOILET (see review this ish), but more on the industrial side and not as goofy. Joe Raimond and friends turn out rhythm machine slow punk with layers of noise and guitar.

Dog Faced Hermans Unbend EP

Strap yourself into the old time machine and set the controls for 1977/NYC/Lower East Side. Zap! Now you’re at a CONTORTIONS and TEENAGE JESUS gig. Lots of saxes, jazz punk, screeching vocals and funky bass. If this is ’87, it must be Scotland.

Dust Collection 10 Til 13 O’Clock EP

Making no bones about their infatuation with melodic 60s style psych, this band blends smooth ZOMBIES type vocals with witty intricate music like ROBYN HITCHCOCK. Might be able to give off the MOFFS and DIED PRETTY a run for their money with pretty and complex pop-psych music.

Fiends GynecÁ¶lÁ¶gy LP

A lot more “rock’n’roll” than their ancient debut, this one has your metal/rock feel to it, and despite the usual dumbo lyrics, the music don’t cut it (the West Coast MEATMEN?). Amazingly, they do one “punk” tune, a cover of…BAD POSTURE’s “GDMFSOB.” Not worth the wait.

Green River Dry as a Bone 12″

This band is still a mix of styles on this second 12″. Although there’s no apparent “hit” here, each song has a different signature; gloomy, rock’n’roll, metalish ballads, etc. And each is powerful in its own right. It’s a little hard to get hooked on these buys, but they’re good.

Impact Attraverso L’Involucro EP

Jolting, mind-blowing HC in the great Italian tradition which will bowl you over. Tempo changes galore, amazingly great production, and impassioned “us vs. them” lyrics. Brain-shattering music from the heart, get it!

Konsum Terror Fahrt Zur HÁ¶lle LP

It’s rare when a HC band can sound tighter and better on their faster material than on the slower tunes, but that’s the case here. While 50% of this LP is average, the other half is definitely a cut above, showing real snappiness. Lots of promise.

Lärm Untalented After All These Years cassette

Christian hard rock not unlike STRYP…oops, wrong tape! No way, these loonies play the more urgent, frantic thrash, it’s insane. 72 songs in 60 minutes. DRI, eat your heart out.

Lydia Lunch Hysterie 2xLP

This double LP chronicles ten years of work by LUNCH through her infamous work with TEENAGE JESUS, BEIRUT SLUMP, and the highly influential EIGHT EYED SPY. Also, a complete side is devoted to a few of her many collaborations, making a good sample of LYDIA LUNCH and the underground No Wave scene.

Macabre Grim Reality 12″

Frantic speedcore with the shrieking intensity of Italian HC. Although “Hot Rods To Hell” reveals intelligence, the rest is riddled with HM clichés: 2nd grade horror lyrics, self-indulgent musicianship, etc. Pass…

Melvins Gluey Porch Treatments LP

How can I describe this? How bout manic mind music that pegs the needle on a seismograph. How bout punk rock, metal, thrash, dirge, post-punk, schizophrenia, depression, and happiness twisted into a music shrink’s worst possible nightmare. Excruciating yet so beautiful, this is amazing. P.S. Cute cover, Victor.

MFD Music for the Deaf LP

Very well done melodic HC with roots in ’77 punk and the DC sound, and they even do a T. REX cover. Tight, tuneful, and songs that can be remembered.

Offbeats Evolution of the Stickman LP

Surprisingly rockin’ pop-punk/thrash. Based on their last 7″, I thought the OFFBEATS were wimping out, but on this LP, they deliver a lot of wallop as well as catchy songs. No lyric sheet is always a bad sign: either the band puts little stock in their message, or the label could care less.

Pagans Dead End America 87 / Secret Agent Man 7″

A reworking of the A-side by this reformed early punk outfit, and it’s got the guts and great bass riffs of the early version. The flip, a cover of the JOHNNY RIVERS classic, is as garage-y and raw as I’d hoped. Basic punk rock.

Paranoid Visions Schizophrenia LP

For most of this LP, we’re floating along in a very pleasant ’78-79 type of political punk with both male and female vocals. But then, just to show us they’re not completely stuck in the past, they lash out with a terrific thrasher. Very good release, and much more gripping than on their EP. From Ireland.

Perfect Daze Bubblegum 12″

Aptly named, this is largely lightweight pop punk, a much-cleaner REVILLOS. The beat is there, but the insipid lyrics and too-sterile production keep this from really grabbing me. Main feature: Wolfie of the STUPIDS is the bass player.

Raging Slab Assmaster LP

This band has spent altogether too much time listening to AEROSMITH. RAGING SLAB’s music shows a saturation in that most dreaded of all genres — rock —without the healthy self-parody that made the WILD, and early MENTORS and PLASMATICS so enjoyable. I’m surprised this is on…

Rites of Spring All Through a Life EP

Four songs from this now-defunct D.C. outfit are slow-tempo, simplistically melodic and clear of any hard edge this band had in the past. What remains the same are the personal poetic lyrics and raw vocals. Overall, this band seems to be restraining the energy they had on their debut release.

Spermbirds Get on the Stage / My Brother 7″

A good showing by this West German act. The A side is a catchy mid tempo basher with good lyrics and powerful guitars, while the B side alternates between thrashy and reggae. Hot stuff.

SS 20 Vincent Goes to Tchernobyl EP

This French outfit has a great sound, combining a melodic early pop punk style with dominant guitars and politically oriented lyrics. Reminds me of the music that warped my mind back in my formative years, so check it out.

Stiv Bators Story in Your Eyes / Have Love Will Travel 12″

The KINGSMEN cover is good compared to the recent DEAD BOYS release, but pales when compared to the NOMADS version. The flip too is a tame soft rock tune. Not happening.

Tall Paul Blue Army / Silver Horses 7″

This band opts for an atmospheric approach not unlike the more moody UK outfits, with excellent production on both tracks. “Blue Army” has interesting filtered vocals, but the material here does not grip.

The Dry Heeves What’s Inside? 7″

Side One is “LSD,” a news story about the stuff set to a slow, psychedelic pulsing accompaniment. The flip, “Maggie,” is a slow, buzzsaw of a tune about Margaret Trudeau. Graphics insinuate Nazi b.s., but given the twisted nature of the music, I’d guess it’s just bad drugs at work.

The Ex Too Many Cowboys 2xLP

The EX are a collective not unlike CRASS but their music is every bit as challenging as their message. This double LP takes intelligent topics and spreads them over SONIC YOUTH style drones into raw post-punk noises. With two exhaustive magazines.

The Insane Picnic Magistrates and Saints 12″

Maybe I haven’t been reading my NME and Sounds lately, but I could swear this is the FALL incarnate or a formula for coolness. No apology for the comparison here. The only difference is that the FALL didn’t get this type of production or push on their first singles. Too bad.

The Leeches Urban Camouflage 12″

Garage, punk, garage ska, and just general garage, done with a flair—the lyrics are sharp, but not dogmatic. At a few points, there’s a dash of FEEDERZ here, but that’s not really what they’re about. Good debut.

The Lorries Crawling Mantra 12″

These guys used to be RED LORRY YELLOW LORRY. At least they figured out how stupid that was. This new one is “late 80s gloom disco” music. You’ll hear it at all the cool clubs. Heavy on the beat, rhythm, and somber BAUHAUS-ian vocals. If you go on for this kind of thing — it’s pretty damn good. Otherwise, beware.

The Nomads Hardware LP

Again, cleaned and prettied up. The tunes are still cool, but the bite and raunch just isn’t there, that extra spark of rock’n’roll that heads a band over the line into madness. Too reserved.

The Raunchettes Tell Me Why 12″

This rockin’ all-female foursome kicks out five songs, nearly all with a chunky guitar sound and plaintive vocals. This band really connects when their humor and personality comes through (as on “What? Scuz Me?”), but this is still an enjoyable slab.

The Spanks Lucille 12″

What the SOUP DRAGONS are to the BUZZCOCKS, these guys may be to early SAINTS, with a dash of 60s punk and perhaps Belgium’s KIDS thrown in. Really rockin’ pop punk with great guitar and good snarly voice. We’ll know better after their next release.

The Stalin Stalinism LP

I think this is a reissue of the STALIN’s first two 7″ records, as well as the track they put on MRR’s international comp LP. This is nice to have as a collector, although this relatively primitive punk doesn’t hold a candle to their subsequent material, which raged.

The Stems No Heart / Lon Chaney Junior’s Daughter 7″

This Aussie garage psych effort comes with the new German zine Splendid, which exposes new and old bands alike. The two tracks by the STEMS aren’t exactly incredible but should satisfy followers of tough Aussie psych.

The Stupids Van Stupid LP

Well, the little skate geeks are back with another dose of U.S. hardcore a la U.K. Fueled on pure root beer, Tommy and company indulge in a few longer tunes this time, including a hilarious scratch song. Why go to L.A. when you can have the VANDALS meets D.I. in the UK?

The Tesco Vee Experience Twisted Road / American In Me 7″

A novelty here, as Tesco of the MEATMEN indulges in a little punk rock nostalgia. While his covers of the AVENGERS and FLESH EATERS are nothing special, this is the kind of one-off thing I wish there was more of. Credit for persistence goes to Jimmy Johnson for getting this out, a freebie for subscribers of…

The Tranques Heavy Whispers / Bleedin’ Eyes 7″

Three-quarters of the old WILLFUL NEGLECT play metal-riff rock on side one, almost too much to take. On the flip, the metallish aspect is still there, but the basic tune is good, as well as the singing. Lyrics aren’t very important here, and the guitar is a pain.

The Zolge Catholic Day / Solid After 7″

Professional punk that just barely maintains its roots after all the production and arrangements. Kind of like the Japanese equivalent of the DAMNED. Slightly better tunes appear on the 12″ of “Catholic Day.”

This Bad Life Reading Other People’s Mail 12″

A textured guitar sound fronts the four mid-tempo songs on this EP, which opt for a pop-punkish approach — paradoxically without much in the way of hooks. The slower “Everything Turns Grey” is the best track here, but this band has to eventually decide whether it wants power or melody.

TNT Remember ’77 cassette

This postmortem release brings us previously unreleased material from this early Swiss band. Twelve great punk tunes with female vocals of the same caliber as the AVENGERS, BAGS, early SIOUXSIE, etc. Good stuff!

U.T.I. Fleas EP

A 4-song debut that shows promise. Outside of the occasional wanking guitar leads, I like the mixture of fast and slow hardcore and the straight-ahead attack. Watch for more Orange County releases on this label.

V/A A Soldier Will Never Cry cassette

Another international comp from this Swiss label, this being a 90-minute barrage of HC. With such powerhouses as DEPRESSION, GISM, etc, it’s recommended for the thrashers out there!

V/A At the Party! LP

I’ve never heard any of these cool, trash 50s bands featured here, but I’m sold on the fact that this is definitely a keeper in the tradition of other great oldies comps like the Back From The Grave samplers. Not so much heavy grunge guitar, but more swaggering, twangy rock’n’roll tunes. Loud, noisy, and fun.

V/A Bloodsucker EP

This EP contains one good punk track each from FREEBORN, CRIMINAL SEX, BLOOD AND THUNDER, and NICK TOCZEK (the ranting poet backed by a rocking band). Nice to hear decent stuff from relative unknowns, and…bring back more 7″ers!

V/A Captain Best Selection 1 LP

The Captain musta been drunk when he chose these, because it’s one weird combo of eccentric pop and a dollop of HC to top it off. On the punk side, there’s GOD, WILLARD, CONTINENTAL KIDS, LOODS, and LIP CREAM.

V/A The 5th Dimension of a Fart cassette

Interesting title for a varied comp of mostly European acts. Music ranges from ’77-ish stuff to thrash and spacey punk. Relatively enjoyable.

V/A Let’s Get Fucked cassette

A nice mixture of garage punk from APPLE, SCAB, etc., and ranting poetry from Donny the Punk, David Hiberman and more. Pretty enjoyable.

V/A Lethal Noise, Vol. 2 cassette

A mega swell comp featuring a slew of hot upcoming Bay Area bands such as STIKKY, FORETHOUGHT, SHORT DOGS GROW, ISOCRACY, and mucho more. Great sound quality, a first class effort. GOOOOO!

V/A Murderous Hands Off Nature’s Beauty cassette

A great, diverse benefit comp for the Leeds Hunt Saboteurs. Music ranges from punk to folk, most of which is powerful and backed up with good meaning. Included are UPRISING, CHUMBAWAMBA, AUTONOMY, ELECTRO HIPPIES, and CIVILISED SOCIETY?. Worth looking into.

V/A New Zealand EP

A five-band comp that features one song each from groups that span the length of this island nation. ACID REIGN, HOLOCAUST, DEFIANCE, and MINDFUCKERS all have a ’77 UK sound, and all the recordings are amateurish, though the latter has a most interesting track. NAZGUL is in the thrash vein, and attacks! Good cut!

V/A On Our Way to Fools Paradise LP

Four Holland acts on this disc: LAITZ, BTD, KIKKERSPUUG, and LOUD WARNING. All take the hard and fast approach, with a bit of variation. Not too much originality shines through, but the intensity is present, especially on BTD’s material.

V/A Stop Animal Abuse cassette

Hot, hot, hot stuff here by UNSEEN FORCE, IMPACT, INFERNO, ELECTRO HIPPIES, and more. Informative booklet enclosed and this is a benefit for Animal Liberation Front. No excuses, get this!

V/A Trust Vinyl Compilation EP

Every one of these German bands (CHALLENGER CREW, UNWANTED YOUTH, SPERMBIRDS, JUMP FOR JOY, SKEEZICKS, PMA, and ANTITOXIN) deliver one song each, and great ones they are. It’s rare to find a comp that’s really consistently sold, but this one is. Put out by Trust fanzine.

Verdun Notre Combat EP

Mid-tempo punk with female vocals. While the lyrics are on the mark (anti-racism and anti-state abuse), the music is a bit repetitive. This is not to say it’s limp, but just that the tempo and structures are very similar on all 3 tracks, and given their length, a bit more change might’ve livened it up. Decent.

White Zombie Psycho-Head Blowout LP

The only thing likable about NY bands aside from SONIC YOUTH or even TEENAGE JESUS/LYDIA LUNCH was that their first few records sounded like this. A clean crunchy grind with raunchy vocals, dirty lyrics, and no noise — just garage-y and trashy psychoticness. Hope they stay this way.

Yard Trauma Music LP

Much of this material’s been out in the States before, but this is a good overall sampler for Europeans (or anyone who doesn’t already have their prior releases). Energetic 60s oriented punk.