Dispair The Other Side cassette

With such a moniker, only a nincompoop could ignore that we are dealing with a D-beat band with a capital D. DISPAIR belongs to the category of D-beat bands that chose to adopt the prefix “dis,” like you-know-who. While I understand and don’t dislike the idea of dis-names during the first D-beat wave of the ’90s (although DISFORNICATE could have gone with something else, I suppose), the practice has clearly lost most of its appeal and charm some twenty-odd years later, and has arguably fallen on the wrong side of referentiality. I mean, why can’t you just pick the name of a DISCLOSE song? Finland’s DISPAIR has been going for a while now, since 2013 apparently, and delivers, well, D-beat raw punk with pissed, low-pitched shouted vocals (the singer also operates in the brilliant KERETIK). If some bands rely on blown-out distortion or a heavy metallic production in this genre, DISPAIR’s The Other Side EP intentionally chooses the (genuine) raw path of the post-DISCHARGE philosophy. I like the simplicity of the compositions, and the guitar sound is actually crunchy despite being too low in the mix. I am not a massive fan of the double-bass drum for the genre though, and at times the music sounds like it is plodding, and you do not want your D-beat to have that vibe—even raw D-beat should sound relentless. I am definitely reminded of a primal HELLKRUSHER or SLANDER, and Swedish bands like DISCOVER or DISPOSE could also be mentioned, but this does not quite work as well as it could here.

Pagans Pagans LP

A reprise performance by one of the great ’77-era American punk bands, Cleveland’s PAGANS. At first, I was put off by the “Recorded Live Spring 1983″ sticker on the cover, because a lot of their recent material has had an unappealing arty quality. But although there are some covers like “Seventh Son” and relatively subdued numbers (“Angela,” “Wall of Shame”) here, it also contains several raw garage punk blasts with exceptionally gritty vocals. Tracks like “Give Till It Hurts,” “Cry 815,” “Cleveland Confidential” and the classic “Dead End America” make this limited edition album well worth it, but I wish someone would release some older material from the vaults.

V/A Cleveland Confidential LP

Cleveland is a city of neuroses, both real and imagined. This record proves that the city still has the best psych-garage bands. An old PAGANS track is featured, as well as great stuff by the WOMANHATERS, OFFBEATS, MENTHOL WARS, and more. Even the “artband” track is gonzo.