MRR #55 • December 1987

69 Tribe Bikers / Summer Years 7″

Jesus…who are these guys? B-side sounds awful, like a bad BLUE ÖYSTER CULT pop song. But “Bikers,” sheesh…in-your-face hard crunch fuzz, almost like having IGGY POP’s grandson doing STEPPENWOLF covers in the garage. Ow! 

Agnostic Front Liberty & Justice For… LP

Full-on speedmetal now, losing most all previous distinctiveness. Lyrics remain angry but vague. Some are anti-state, or at least what it does to the individual, others are critical of those who oppose. Last time we talked, they said that they were getting away from the stupidity of what the skin scene became, yet here they cover the IRON CROSS anthem “Crucified.”

Angelic Upstarts Blood on the Terraces LP

New material from these aging upstarts, and pretty decent stuff at that. As with most of their previous material, the tunes are slow-to-mid-tempo with the accent on lyrics and understated Oi-type songs. The interesting tune here is “I Don’t Wanna Fight the Soviet,” showing quite a bit of insight from a so-called “working class” outfit.

Anti-Heros That’s Right! LP

A skinhead band that’s not bald, praising the glory of being young and not too bright. Their claim is being “famous through slander”; pretty much of an overstatement for a decent sounding but uninteresting Oi band. No lyrics included. From Georgia.

Attitude Kein Schlaf Bis Deutschland 12″

Actually a really good record from this S.F. band. While the metal influence is apparent, it’s not as dominating as when they play live, and on these five cuts, it’s the power and energy that rule. Also, the lyrics are excellent and serious, which is surprising considering singer Andy Aeroplane’s normally non-stop wise guy personality. No U.S. release planned.

Child Support Is LP

On their second album CHILD SUPPORT have pared down to a three piece and left behind their garage/punk sound for a more mature sound. There’s a stamp of later-period BEATLES experimental pop all over this but It’s not obnoxious like some pop bands. Still a few hard guitar numbers but mostly it’s relaxed, well thought-out pop.

Couch Flambeau Models 12″

This fourth record is more esoteric musically by being thematic blues in “White Boy Blues,” metallish in “Satan’s Buddies” (great song!), and funky in “Song with a Message.” But the jokes are just as poignant lyrically and musically as they’ve ever been. I’m glad the rumors of this band breaking up weren’t true. Their classic humor and skilled playing are as great as ever.

Cows Taint Pluribus Taint Unum LP

Took a little bit but I’m convinced that this noise/sludge band from Minneapolis will take their place alongside such dignitaries as KILLDOZER, SCRATCH ACID and even the BUTTHOLES in the ugly-noise heaven. Wild, frenzied cover of “Koyanasquattsi.”

Dark Age Kali-Yuga EP

This four song EP sung half in German and half in English leaves me wanting a translation, and the two English ones, “Remember Soweto,” and “Man vs Nature,” have simple but admirable lyrics. There’s one mid-tempo punk song, one slower ballad, and a couple catchy, crunchy songs with gnarly vocals and a stab at originality. Pretty good.

Default Faith or Fraud cassette

Now that 7 SECONDS has gone on to “other things,” these guys may be able to take their place, judging by their solid thrash energy with singalong choruses and words stressing equality and social change. Really good—now watch for vinyl. P.S. Some profits go to No More Censorship Defense Fund.

Falwells We Suck cassette

Rough and tumble old style punk rock here, very spirited, similar to the VANDALS, LOVE CANAL, etc. Slap in the face lyrics deal with religion, society’s problems, and some very backwards lyrics on “SLUT,” the title tells the story.

GG Allin & the Holy Men You Give Love a Bad Name LP

What a cool guy, huh. He rapes girls, shits on the audience, does drugs and pukes all over himself—anything he wants. He plays grungy-ass rock’n’roll—really punk. But I’m still disappointed. G.G. let me down. If he was really the heir to Jerry Lee and Iggy, he’d have made this a scratch’n’sniff record.

Godfathers Birth School Work Death / S.T.B. 7″

Their first major label release shows their usual pop flair and basic beat, though both tunes are more blues-based than previous releases. Catchy, but I wish they cut loose a bit more with that ever-cool guitar.

Halo of Flies Garbage Rock! 12″

More guitar raunch garage punk here, though it’s a bit more eclectic than in the past. Side one rocks hard with that “just a little off” quality that makes it special. Side Two is a bit too disjointed for me, but it’s still hot.

Isocracy Welcome To El Sobrante demo cassette

An audiovisual introduction to El Sobrante and “Sobcore;” an hour’s worth of catchy spastic punk tunes with surprisingly serious lyrics, plus plenty of zaniness and personality. Includes a lyric booklet and miscellaneous objects from El Sobrante. You’ve heard the name, you’ve seen the pictures, now get the tape—all for the very low price of…

Justice League Reach Out 12″

With the exception of one song, this record is comprised of five slow/medium tempo melodies and, when mixed with the sappy vocals, it becomes obvious that power was compromised for a very clean mainstream sound. It seems the riffs and emotions were made secondary to production. I can’t help but compare this band to a tame, underground version of the SMITHS. I would “reach out,” but there is simply nothing for my ears to hold on to.

King Face King Face 12″

Because of its producer, roommate and all-around good guy Ian MacKaye, I expected a later period Dischord “sound” like DAG NASTY or RITES OF SPRING. But I was really surprised to hear a very modern blend of rock and blues and some real classy harmonica playing. Not thrash but it rocks like a mofo.

Lyres Live at Cantones LP

A collection of live radio broadcasts, featuring this organ-dominated garage/frat party neo-’60s band. Out of Boston and having roots in the early punk band DMZ, these guys do lots of covers as well as a few tasty originals. Basic rock’n’roll.

McRad Absence of Sanity LP

Sort of a whiter BAD BRAINS (newer material), utilizing rock, metal and reggae influences. Most songs are slow-to-medium paced, with only one straightforward thrasher. This is somehow a skate band, whatever that means.

Misfits Max’s Kansas City EP

Six fast live songs from their later period, the standouts being “Last Caress” and “All Hell Breaks Loose.” Good sound quality, nice package which includes a cool poster, make this a nice collector’s piece.

My Sin They Rode Me Out of Town on a Rail cassette

A barrage of programmed synthesizer hardcore post punk intensity, seven songs that pack quite an interesting punch. Not for the musically timid or narrow-minded.

Naked Raygun Vanilla Blue / Slim (The Second Coming of Christ) 7″

A powerful but very pop sound on Side A, one that should prove palatable to both punk and commercial audiences. The flip is a novelty number, a country-ish tune with vocals that sound like SLIM PICKENS on STP.

Nazgol Good Demons 12″

Driving mid-tempo punk dominated by very raw guitar and intense male and female shouters. It’s faster than FLIPPER, but has the same level of grunge and abrasiveness. One side’s studio, and the live side seems faster-paced. Both sound good.

Pailhead I Will Refuse / No Bunny 7″

Unmistakably Ian MacKaye on vocals, teaming up with a member of industrial/dance band MINISTRY. Both tunes combine elements of each person’s forté, and it works. Post-EGG HUNT industrifunk punk. Lyrics seem interesting, but no sheet to clarify.

R.I.P. No Te Muevas! LP

Out of the Basque region comes this hot release. R.I.P. produce melodic thrash and punk with lots of catchiness, and, as might be expected from a band out of this controversial area, highly political lyrics. Comes with a huge foldout insert, translated lyrics, and lots of good music. Get this!

Rawtones Are U Raw 12″

This record comes with a free condom to promote “safe listening,” and the material on this EP is fairly infectious, with some hard, up-front guitar work. The style, however, is distinctly ’79 flailin’, rockin’ new wave—the lead vocalist even has an English accent. Fairly good, I guess, but it definitely grows on you.

Raymen From the Trashcan to the Ballroom 2xLP

A pretty energetic release that ranges from CRAMPS-type trash to punkability to Robert Gordon/Jack Scott deep-throated ballads to classic punk. All songs are crazed in some way, be it by voice or instrument distortion, speed-crazed pacing, or just enthusiastic x 10 playing. Boss.

Sister Ray Survivors EP

I’m usually a sucker for a Midwestern group that blends ’60s psych with hard garage rock, but here they lean a little too heavy on the ’60s stuff. A bit too much CHOCOLATE WATCHBAND and BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD for my tastes.

Skullhead White Warrior LP

The system robs us all of identity and power, and encourages us to fight amongst ourselves to maintain their grip. So, it’s always lovely to see working class people (oi, mate) take out their frustrations on people who are even more fucked over and vulnerable. What can you say about a singer who has his favorite footwear tattooed on his cheek?

Slub Slub cassette

Wonga. Six-song cassette from Melbourne by a young…uh…noise group. This is the sound, along with groups like THUG, LUBRICATED GOAT, and the god-like FEEDTIME, that will deliver the goods on a new Australian (or anywhere for that matter) music. Using the BUTTHOLE SURFERS/SONIC YOUTH sludge as a starting point this group slowly trudges into their own voice with a great sense of doom and humor. Shit—just get the goddamn thing as soon as possible.

Soundgarden Screaming Life 12″

First heard from on the Seattle sludge-rock compilation Deep Six. This is a sound that’s growing in popularity every day—a big, full rock sound. Not slick enough to warrant major label attention but powerful enough to grab punkers. See also JANE’S ADDICTION, GREEN RIVER, and SKINYARD.

Spacemen 3 Sound of Confusion LP

A seven-song guitar/beat record. Slow tunes, lots of raw guitar, straight beat, psych feel, but not enough rage in the vocals (a touch of SUICIDE would’ve appealed) or feedback noise in the guitar. Otherwise, decent.

Subterranean Kids Los Ojos de la Victima LP

This came out earlier this year, but we just now got wind of it. And I’m glad we did—this is raging US-type non-metallic thrashcore, dudes, and while not the tightest or best-produced record in the genre, it’s a totally enjoyable slab. Sparks of distinctiveness should develop with the next record.

The Flamin’ Groovies One Night Stand LP

Recorded in Australia in ’86, this latest incarnation of the GROOVIES contains originals (dating back to ’67) Cyril Jordan and George Alexander. Included are reworkings of “Kicks,” “I Can’t Hide,” “Shake Some Action,” “Slow Death,” etc., as well as some WHO and r’n’b covers—all inferior to either their own previous versions or the originals. While I admire their rock’n’roll dedication, there’s a real lack of spark or insanity here.

The Great Scouts Diamond Boat EP

I get the feeling of potential greatness here. Like the very first recordings by HÜSKER DÜ, this has a rigid, almost experimental guitar atmosphere. Mostly instrumentals and some of the driving guitar sounds grab at that amphetamine push of early URINALS.

The Gruesomes Steal This Tape cassette

Metally HC, but often more metal than HC, with the cheesiest DEF LEPPARD/JUDAS PRIEST vocals I’ve heard in a while. Lyrically, “Nazi Baptist Commando” is good, but the rest blow. Lyric of the week: “I masturbate, ejaculate, and wipe it on the wall.”

The Ophelias The Night of Halloween 12″

These S.F. homeboys are akin to the CAMPER school by using acoustic instruments and a soft approach. Each of these three songs is different. The title track is an eerie, partially acoustic, witch thing. Then there’s a beer barrel polka song, and a psychedelic T. REX imitation. Almost interesting.

The Thrown Ups Smiling Panties EP

Spew number two for these…uh, Seattle “sound-sculptures.” Actually, this is some of the ugliest, noisiest, hairiest all-out garage wonk ever to see daylight. Three songs, but it might as well just be one. Along with the HELLCOWS and the U-MEN, these guys are making the great Northwest a pretty scary place. 600 pressed.

The Tribe of Benn Filthy Clean / Cattle Market 7″

The mid-tempo punk style here is assisted by a good feeling for melody in their power chord structures, and the two songs on this 45 are undeniably good at what they do. The vocals are gravelly, with lyrics that seem to have a certain humor to them. Very good release.

The Trilobites Night of the Many Deaths / Living by a Different Yardstick 7″

The second release by these guys before their debut album once again has a tough, hard-edge rock sound that recalls bands like the CELIBATE RIFLES, RADIO BIRDMAN, and early SAINTS. Nothing too earth-shattering, just heavy sounding guitars melded with layered melodies.

V/A At Dianne’s Place LP

Kind of an after-thought tribute to a swell pool hall in Santa Cruz that experimented with live music for a while, and because of the location it’s leaning heavily towards SC bands like the WRESTLING WORMS, RAINING HOUSE, and the BARNACLE CHOIR, as well as related bands like CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN, SPOT 1019, TEN FOOT FACES, and the HOLY SISTERS of the GAGA DADA. Also some neat tracks with the CATHEADS, VOMIT LAUNCH, and the DONNER PARTY.

V/A Car Crash Music cassette

A new one from BCT with CHALLENGER CREW, FEAR ITSELF, YOUTHQUAKE, SUBTERRANEAN KIDS, and other quality acts. A great tape and it helps this dedicated bunch to get out of debt. Buy now.

V/A Dagger Killer Comp Vol. 1 cassette

A pretty good buffet of tuneage here from experimental punk to scorching thrash. Standout acts include PSYCHO, BOURGEOIS DISEASE, and CANCEROUS GROWTH. Worth investigating.

V/A Desperate Rock n Roll, Volumes 1-4

Can’t help it—this stuff just slays me. Wild, obscure white trash rock and rockabilly tracks from the ’50s and early ’60s. Although they all sound fairly similar the first volume has plenty of “outer space” songs that should please fans of the LEGENDARY STARDUST COWBOY. Yowsa.

V/A Discpan Hands: A Philadelphia Compilation LP

A Philly comp featuring a variety of mostly mid-tempo punk and some thrash. Standouts include DEADSPOT, PAGAN BABIES, TONS OF NUNS, BLUE, SHE MALES, ANTHROPHOBIA, HOMO PICNIC, MCRAD, DAS YAHOOS, and more.

V/A Dis-Orderly Music? cassette

An hour’s worth of East Coast HC and metalcore. Bands featured are PRONG, CHRONIC FEAR, PSYCHO, LETHAL AGGRESSION, and many more. Consistently hot powercore stuff, not for the timid.

V/A Flipside Tunes: Vinyl Fanzine Number Three LP

Big names are on this effort (7 SECONDS, ADOLESCENTS, CIRCLE JERKS, the BRIGADE, M.I.A., S.N.F.U., DOGGY STYLE, TESCO VEE & WHITE FLAG, C.O.C.) as well as medium names (LITTLE GENTLEMEN, VATICAN COMMANDOS, MAD PARADE, SLAPSHOT, 76% UNCERTAIN, LEMONHEADS, SHONEN KNIFE) and the newer names (BULIMIA BANQUET, PROBLEM CHILDREN, COPULATION). Tunes are both live and studio, of varying sound quality. Interesting notes: what does it mean when the BRIGADE rocks more than 7 SECONDS?

V/A The Weird Weird World of Guru Weirdbrain LP

I wish there was more info on the bands included on this Irish comp, ’cause they’re largely excellent. Lots of pop punk, garage, psycho surf, etc. Fans of UNDERTONES, CRAMPS, REVILLOS, etc. will enjoy the CANNIBALS, PARALISED PURPLE RAYS, PARANOID VISIONS, GOREHOUNDS, BARRACUDAS, etc. Rocks.

V/A How Will You Know What This Record Sounds Like If You Don’t Listen to It LP

A benefit LP for a youth center in Germany, featuring German and Italian bands such as SPERMBIRDS, DUNKLE TAGE, SKEEZICKS, DIOXINS, JUMP FOR JOY, DISPERAZIONE, RESISTANCE, and more. Green vinyl.

V/A Senseless Death LP

A good consistent compilation of HC and speedcore tuneage. Almost all U.S. acts; standouts include FEAR ITSELF, ATTITUDE, IMPULSE MANSLAUGHTER, and more. Mostly unreleased stuff, with a couple live cuts. Thumbs up.

Vision Undiscovered EP

Catchy hardcore with a definite admiration for the DC sound. Buildups, tempo changes, breaks and heartfelt, seemingly sincere lyrics for all the “positive,” “unity,” and emo aware. Pretty refreshing in an attitude sense.

White Flag Wild Kingdom LP

A lot more pop than in the past (at times even power pop), this release puts the accent on harmony and melody. Sounds like the BEATLES meet early punk with some thrashy energy. Lots of short, goofing around tracks, as well as their usual good production sound. Guess this signals the end of this label as an indie.