Smoke Seven

Genocide / MIA Last Rites for Genocide and MIA LP

Here is one record that forces me to wax philosophical. If ever a release reflected the yin and yang of the punk scene, this is it. In one corner is MIA, a band originally from Las Vegas, the champions of punk’s positive side. They’ve managed to fuse a super tight thrash sound with enlightened attitudes—”I Hate Hippies” is obviously meant as a satire with a moral—and the results are absolutely stunning. In the other corner is New Jersey’s GENOCIDE, who exhibits all the mindlessness attributed to “punkers” by straight society. A dirty, metallic guitar and some catchy tunes can’t disguise their blatantly sexist (“Period,” “Teenage Girls”), reactionary messages. I only hope MIA doesn’t suffer too much from guilt by association.

Redd Kross Born Innocent LP

An amazing amalgam of ’60s punk and the infamous Johnny Thunders/HEARTBREAKERS school of dirty guitar sleaze. Distorted axes, humorous, socially unredeeming lyrics, and a remarkably trashy aesthetic make it difficult to relate this current incarnation of RED CROSS to the band that was once famous for quintessential teeny punk anthems. But if you probe beneath the new gutter exterior, you’ll find the same warped Southern California prism. With instant classics like “Linda Blair” and “Kill Someone You Hate,” this album has got to be bitchin’. Grab your wide bellbottoms and cop this sucker.

RF7 Fall In 12″

Musically, I like it better than their LP, but the words are, uh, confused, to say the least. They put it best in one of their own songs, where it’s admitted that they “haven’t the faintest idea what [they’re] trying to say.” And they prove it—”666 Head” contains some retarded racist shit; “Revolutionary Worker” attacks the RCP for all of the wrong reasons; “Vampire Lady (Coke Whore)” is just plain stupid. I could go on, but it might be contagious.

RF7 Submit to Them Freely EP

A strong three-track outing that displays more ’60s punk influences than I’ve heard in them before. The title song and “Not Now Generation” are hammering metal punk efforts that remind me slightly of what the STOOGES might sound like today; the other number (CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL’s “Fortunate Son”) is the most obvious ’60s connection.

RF7 ’87 LP

Well, Felix and company are back but there’ve been some changes. Side one if the more “punk” side, though only two of the tunes are really hardcore tunes, while the others are slower and go into metalish or post-punkish territory. Side two is decidedly lighter, sounding like a poor man’s LOVE. Lyrically there’s a lot of “regret” themes (mainly having to do with drugs), a few generally “outside view” tunes, and even two love songs. Glad Felix is turning it around, but I hope the next release shows more verve.

V/A Sudden Death LP

Yet another LA compilation, and like most of the others, this is well worth the cash. The sound quality is mostly good, and it features well-knowns like REDD KROSS and JODY FOSTER’S ARMY, barely-knowns like the SINS, YOUTH GONE MAD, and SIN 34, and unknowns like MORAL DECAY, CRANKSHAFT, SADIST FACTION, the DEMENTED, the NAUGHTY WOMEN, and DEAD YOUTH. My faves are JFA, SIN 34, and REDD KROSS.

V/A Lung Cookies LP

Originally released as a cassette compilation, Lung Cookies features an impressive collection of bands from all over America expressing a variety of styles. The recording quality varies from cut to cut, with most being quite garagy, but these compositions provide an intriguing view of the domestic underground music with an emphasis on hardcore. The bands include RF7, SACRED ORDER, RED MEAT, the REJECTORS, TEN MINUTE WARNING, and several others.

V/A Buried Alive: The Best From Smoke 7 Records 1981-1983 LP

If you’re familiar at all with the great Smoke Seven releases during 81-’83 and don’t own them, get this LP. Nineteen of the best from REDD KROSS, BAD RELIGION, MIA, JFA, etc. All previously released but all great punk rock classics.