GARBAGE CANNED

Finally, a brand new GARBAGE CAN has been completed, this time by our pal Levon from Canadian goth-rockers (I kid…) SEX CHURCH. Firstly, I think people should know Sex Church are supposedly recording their next LP as we speak, so you have that to look forward to. Secondly, I’d like to personally congratulate Levon for being the only man to complete the Garbage Can in almost four years (the last being our buddy Black Mike), and quite a few have tried. I’d estimate we have about a .225 or so average when it comes to The Can, so if you’d like to help us get a bit further above the Mendoza Line, please drop the editor a line. Serious inquiries only, but we need the help, as the garbage pile never ends. There’s currently one out on assignment right now which I have high hopes for (so if you’re reading this – you know who you are – get cracking with those pie charts and visual aids). While you’re distracted thinking about garbage, we’re going to finish editing a HUGE reviews section, plus some Printed Matter and a Demo Zone. Be back real soon.

PRINTED MATTER GIG VOL. 28

Ed.: With some time to catch up on “things” on this holiday eve here’s some info on zines that have been piling up around here. I constantly feel bad about how far behind on record reviews we are at most times, but I’ve even more severely neglected the zines that editors have been kind enough to mail us over this past year. Apologies to everyone, there are a bunch that were too old to even include here, and a lot of those included are far too late. I’m a shithead, I know.

savdam3SAVAGE DAMAGE DIGEST #3
Third issue of this classy West Coast digest-sized (duh) zine. Full color throughout, laid out effectively and peppered with vintage schlock ads that reinforce the retro viewpoint present. All interviews and articles for the most part, obviously dealing in rocking and rolling of the past, the majority of which are written by editor Cory Linstrum. The big article is a very in depth interview with Avengers guitarist Greg Ingraham that takes up a good quarter of the zine and also contains some killer pics and fliers (including a crucifixion centerfold). Other “punk” interviews are a nice little Speedies chat with guitarist Greg Crewdson (writer of “Let Me Take Your Photo” who went on to actually become a professional photographer) and a very short Jeff McDonald/Redd Kross Q&A (in which he confesses to being a Ty Segall fan, which will endear him to many Termbo readers I’m sure). For the moptops out there there’s a piece with Peter Daltrey of Kaleidoscope/Fairfield Parlor who talks more about his book and current band than what we want to hear about – which effectively teases the book I suppose – and an interview with Paul Muggleton of The Savages, the mid-Sixties garage band from Bermuda(!) responsible for the monster cut “The World Ain’t Round, It’s Square”, which is short but very very good for such an obscure band (as opposed to the Ugly Things approach of a three-issue spanning 30 page snoozefest dissecting what Cooper Bowman covered perfectly here in 3 pages). My favorite bit of this zine has always been the ‘Triple Threat’ feature, which in this issue tackles the immortal Larry Wallis in a well researched piece that was a great read. Linstrum hints that he’s running out of ammo for Triple Threats (Chuck Biscuits is supposedly next) so mail in some suggestions for him! The reviews section is barely existent (which I don’t mind at all), focuses on books/zines/films and only reviews three actual records (including Giuda, yuck) and is pretty disposable, but that’s no problem. I’m of a different breed than music fans like Cory who seem to ignore the present and live in the past, but to each his own, and I still enjoy Savage Damage very much. Worth a pick up for the Larry Wallis piece alone, plus it comes with a great Stiff Records button with Lazza’s image! An exceptional value at $6.50 ppd for 80 color pages and a badge. (RK)
(http://savagedamagedigest.blogspot.com)

droppings1DROPPINGS #1
The exact opposite of the Ugly Things Jr. approach of Savage Damage, Droppings main concern is the here and now. Brought to us from the masterminds behind Atlanta’s Scavenger of Death record label, it’s local-centric but not exclusive. The ATL scene report really comes in handy because it’s hard to keep track of all those damn bands Mike and Brannon from Predator are in. But seriously, there’s a high ratio of good-to-great bands in Atlanta, and it seems like there are more popping up daily – and I’m pleased to know that Ralph are still active. You get short-n-funny interviews with Joint D= and Gary Wrong but the real meat here is an in-depth chat with Total Control which is entertaining and intelligent enough to read a couple of times and a just-as-fantastic piece with Toronto’s Kremlin (who have crushed my heart and broken up recently). In between this you get some pics, SOD propaganda and the makings of an advice column for the next issue. I love the primitive B&W cut and paste layout and there’s a prevailing sense of good/gutter humor. Short and sweet. BUT THAT’S NOT ALL. This pup also comes with a 12 track cassette with songs from Gary Wrong (an exclusive!), a great live Total Control cut from their Atlanta show, a crusher from ATL newcomers Dasher, unreleased demos from GG King (“Thin Boys” cover!), GHB, Predator, a killer Ryan Dinosaur cut from an upcoming release, the GG King-related Slight Shivers, classic Eighties ATL punk/core from Crooks and Neon Christ and some mysterious suburban black metal from Beatifyx. An absolute steal at $6.75 ppd in the USofA. Get it from the new SOD shop, which is now also peddling the hottest in Atlanta demo tapes as well as their own merch. (RK)
(scavengerofdeath.storenvy.com)

rubberneck7RUBBERNECK #7
This is the first issue I’ve seen of this Austin-based zine, and I have to say that I’m impressed. Rubberneck is predominantly a photozine fleshed out with maybe 1/3 of words/interviews and I think it’s a perfect ratio. Packed with spectacular photos of both the live and portrait variety, featuring artists across the underground (from Bobby Liebling to The Impalers to Buck Biloxi & the Fucks), all of which are printed in high quality. And I should mention the entire 36 page zine is printed on some thick cardstock pages with a color cover. Very classy. As for the print section, King Khan & BBQ waste four pages talking absolute nonsense…but what would expect from those two lunatics? This is made up for by a couple of pages with our pals The Sleaze, an interview with the never-at-a-loss-for-words Scott Soriano who gives up his opinions on everything from downloading to the state of music zines and talks about the S-S label and bands as well – everyone (myself included) loves to bust Soriano’s balls about his uh…wordiness, would that be the word?…but the fact of the matter is he’s a smart dude who knows what he’s talking (a lot) about. I also love that Scott might be the only person in the world who misses Myspace. “Writing Editor” Miranda Fisher did a wonderful job with the SS interview and also gives us a good page of record reviews that actually have an opinion! Well done. There’s also a pretty funny bit where someone reviews a bunch of instructional records and a not-as-funny advice column with John Wesley Coleman. $7 ppd in the US is the nice price considering the production values here. (RK)
(www.rubberneckzine.com)

defiant7DEFIANT POSE #7/8
I feel like a real shitheel for having sat on these zines for so long without giving them a mention. I received three issues in the mail some time ago, and the amount of work spent on these is staggering. Based out of the UK (of course), DF #7 is subtitled “UK FANZINES 1977-84” and is just that – painstaking and in-depth coverage of classic print zines from Wales to Ireland to London and everywhere in between. Covers the heavy hitters (Sniffin Glue, Ripped & Torn, The Next Big Thing) but also delves DEEP into the countryside for hundreds of titles you’ve never even heard of. Things are arranged chronologically and regionally containing interviews with writers/editors, article reprints, reviews, some oral history type stuff and tons and tons of images – there has to be at least over a hundred zine covers included here. Layout is jam-packed in what had to be a massively time-consuming production – the pages are full of text and images to a nearly claustrophobic degree, which makes the reading rather exciting and lends some fitting chaos to the experience. This issue comes in two versions – a 77 page digest/A5 style version (which is the second edition and actually amends the scope to begin in 1976) and a 44 page full-size/A4 version which came out originally. Second pressing includes some info not in the first, but both are overhwelming works that fans of punk zines in general and/or UK first wave punk fanatics will find essential. There’s honestly enough material here for a book. The other issue I received is simply titled “LONDON GIG FLYERS 1977-97” (which I’m guessing at calling issue 8) and is 32 full-size pages of flyer repros, ticket stubs, Crass manifestos, newspaper clippings and more covering everyone from Gen X and Chelsea to Terminal Cheesecake and Conflict. I’m a sucker for flier art, and this is right up my alley. Contact Inflammable Material for copies and I believe Sorry State also has some for US distro. Startlingly good stuff that all of you should try and grab – no idea on the pricing, but whatever the cost, it’s worth it. (RK)
(mikeinflammable-at-gmail.com)

nix1NIX COMICS #1 & #2
Small-time Ohio record store owner gets out of the rat race and into an even harder racket…self publishing comic books. This new venture is two issues in and seems to be a quarterly outing. Nix reads a bit like an old EC horror anthology or even something more humorous and weird like Raw. And with all anthology works, there’s varying degrees of success that will differ in the eyes from reader to reader. What I’ve taken in personally, there‘s quite a bit good stuffs in here. It reminds me of Eightiess indie rack-jobbers like the pages Arrow and Caliber Comics used to produce. Not as outright violent or vulgar as the ones I still own (Gore Shriek anyone?), but there’s still plenty of morbid ink drops inside to keep the ghouls pleased. Stories
dealing with stuff that record scum folk understand also takes the read up a notch. You’ve got the wise old bluesman mistakenly selling his soul…to a demon that may or may not be a Mississippi Records exec. Did you know that Question Marks’ real mystery is that he’s a vampire hunter? There’s drummers vs. satanists. There’s the old shock-rocker (Coop) vs. the new (Manson). And my personal fave (that has nothing to do with music); A Rev. Phelps-like Baptist preacher who meets his match against an undead…and openly gay …soldier. Fuck that guy. There’s also a recurring character based on the true stories of a bus stop goon, which is actually an idea I’ve been toying with as a comic strip for almost ten years. Dammit.
Do ya’ need an artist? Any stories? I got’em!
Editor/writer/madman Ken Eppstein pulls from his R&R friends to get some serious artists on board. The biggest name in my eyes is Darren Merinuk, whose work has graced quite a few fanzines, punk singles and garage shirts over the years. He’s a real asset in these works. The stuff drawn by Ryan Brinkerhoff gives off a Charles Burns vibe, and that’s no slump either. On the technical side of things, I’m not a huge fan of the coloring style (computer work, I believe) and the layout seems a tad stiff…but that’s just the gripe of a B&W comic fan. There’s a little segment done in what I think is alcohol markers (by Patrick Roach) that would be a great direction to take things. Sure, it’s a little rough around the edges but it’s fresh off the press and like a rock zine at heart so I can only assume the future issues will get even better. (RSF)
(www.nixcomics.com)

SHORTER TAKES:

MONGREL ZINE #11 – latest ish of Canada’s finest zine, jam packed at 100 or so pages. Massive review section (live/record/books/etc), interviews with White Mystery, Chains of Love, Pork Magazine, La-Ti-Da Records, Weird Canada and tonnes more. My favorite bit is the “Tales of Montreal’s Seedy Underground” column by CPC Gangbang/Sexareeno Dan Pedro Dorito (aka Colonel Lingus). Obviously the coverage here is very Canada-centric and whatever they might lack in attitude they make up for with boatloads of enthusiasm. A super-sized read that covers not just music but filmmakers and graphic artists as well. I think you can probably get a package deal for the latest issue with one of their newly-started label’s 7”es as well. (RK) (www.mongrelzine.ca)

HENRY & GLENN FOREVER & EVER #2 – the publisher of this comic sent us some promotional e-mails so I asked for a review copy just for the hell of it. I didn’t really think this was a great idea from afar, and after seeing an issue up close it’s even less funny. A gag that should have been a two-pager in an issue of Cracked given way too much time and paper. Not funny in the slightest, and while I don’t necessarily have a problem with poking fun at Glenn or Henry, I think it would have at least been somewhat respectful to do it in a humorous way. I have no idea how the subjects of this zine feel about it in real life, but they should probably be insulted by the lack of yucks here. (RK) (www.microcosmpublishing.com)

LIMITED CONTRITION VOL. 1 – first issue of this Richmond based punk/hardcore zine (issue 2 is already done apparently, I’m way behind here…). Layout is clean and not very exciting visually, but I dig the stark aesthetic for what it is (i.e.something made on a computer). Mostly interviews (Pink Reason, Merchandise, TV Ghost, Rank/Xerox, etc..) with a short reviews section. There’s an emphasis on newer hardcore, in particular the Youth Attack scene, but with enough garage and other genres mixed in to make it appealing to most anyone. Some of the interviews aren’t particularly insightful or long (the YA-related stuff is done better than the “garage” stuff) and the reviews are a mixed bag (four reviewers, two of which seem to have a better grasp on things) but I like where their heads are at. They should be able to crank these out fast with this lo-frills aesthetic which should see them improving with time. (RK) (limitedcontrition.bigcartel.com)

NUTS FANZINE #11 & 12 – I’ve had a few issues of Nuts in the past. I appreciated the arty style but it was obviously very Olympia-centric – I wasn’t into a a lot of the bands they covered and some of the locals-only stuff would lose me. Plus, the newspaper-sized zine is a total pain in the ass to read even if the layout required the space. With the past couple of issues the Nuts-dude has relocated to NYC and I seem to think things have improved – or he just started covering stuff of more interest to me so now I’m paying attention. The layout is impeccable – art, photos and text all delivered with a trained and skilled eye for presentation. Combined with the NYC aesthetic I love – the Toxic State bands, Weird Luke, Crazy Spirit crowd – this makes for a visually impelling experience, the perfect subject matter for this zine. There are fold out color posters with each issue (Dawn of Humans poster!), an interview with Hank Wood & The Hammerheads in #11 and tons and tons more of interest for both reading and looking. I’d really recommend these issues to fans of the NYC weird-hardcore scene, as there might not be a better designed zine on the planet at this time. Now I just wish they could design it into a different size….(RK) (nutsfanzine.tumblr.com)

LIMITED READERSHIP #4 – this issue has also been out for some time (yeah, I’m waaay behind, sorry again), but just wanted to say this is probably my second favorite current zine behind Distort right now. Great layout, great choice of bands/subjects and a very opinionated and identifiable voice to the writing (all by the same guy). A good mix of interviews, think pieces and reviews that all flow rather seamlessly much in the same style that DX uses in Distort. Buy all issues of this zine you can find immediately. (RK)(limitedreadership.blogspot.com/)

DEGENERATE #11 & #12 – I’ve only seen a couple issues of Degenerate but I enjoy their bad attitude and somewhat pretentious delivery very much. Layout is exceptionally neurotic, and it appears this guy owns both a typewriter and Xacto blade, which I appreciate fully. Interviews (Musk, Sex Church, MARS, Scraper and more) are mixed in with some very well done reviews and a lot of editorializing/essay writing, which I also dig. Issue #12 has what might be the most re-read article I’ve come across in some time via an extremely scholarly and well-researched thesis on modern “post-punk” (which is basically a takedown of Iceage, Merchandise and others of that ilk) that had me laughing as hard as I was thinking. I’m guessing this had to be written for college credit, but if not, I’m even more impressed. And speaking of impressed, both of these issues also come with a flexi (Musk in #11 and Scraper in #12)! You should get both of these issues ASAP – they’re a great value and a great read. (RK) (www.facebook.com/degeneratezine)

EVEN SHORTER TAKES: if you want to read a killer fiction zine I would suggest picking up Repos/Ropes singer Aaron Aspinwall’s ‘PEOPLE AT WAR WITH THEMSELVES’ (aaronandhisideas.bigcartel.com) for some high quality takes on the short story……if I haven’t mentioned HUMAN BEING LAWNMOWER yet, I’m sorry. Avi Spivak’s zine is one of the best in sport today- all 3 issues and Kicksville Confidential are must-haves (www.avispivak.com)…. DX will have a new DISTORT out soon according to the latest news blast (the biggest issue yet!) plus issue #2 of ‘LIFE STINKS, I LIKE THE KINKS’ is available now (with a contribution from Douglas P!) (distortcult.blogspot.com)… big news on the print scene is that PUT THE MUSIC IN ITS COFFIN #5 is now available (in bigger full size format) and it’s the largest and supposedly last issue! Ah, The Journalist, we hardly knew ye. At 84 pages and $10 ppd this guy is really putting his balls on the line. I’m excited to read what happens as PTMIIC was (and is) always top shelf reading material (ptmiic.blogspot.com/)…and the biggest news on the print scene is SUPERDOPE legend Jay Hinman coming out of hibernation (well, not really, as the guy has had like 13 different blogs/tumblrs) to release a print version of DYNAMITE HEMORRHAGE to show all you kids how it’s done. There’s of course a lengthy Flesh Eaters/Chris D piece planned, an interview with Jay’s modern favorites Sex Tide and lots of stuff about obscure all-girl DIY bands apparently. I’m looking forward to it, looks slick! (dynamitehemorrhage.com) (RK)

A good portion of this stuff can be found via our pals at FEEL IT ZINE/RECORDS distro….on deck we have more reviews (records, books and tapes) and a heap of interviews. Happy Thanksgiving to all and hopefully we’ll be spending more quality time together during the holiday season.

zinenov

PLUS BRILLANTS EXPLOITS

One of the biggest advantages of WNY living is our proximity to the True North, making quick strikes across the border for shows in Toronto (or Hamilton, London or even the rare hardcore matinee in St. Catharines) fast and convenient. There were times when the Buffalo scene was so dead that I’d be in Toronto 3 or 4 times a month to see touring bands that skipped us. I’ll always be grateful for having such fine neighbors and will always have a soft spot for Canadian rock bands, as spending a good part of my youth in places like Crystal Beach, Thunder Bay, Port Colborne and along the Welland Canal began a lifelong love affair with the country and its people. This blog update was heavily soundtracked by the Kremlin LP (which is one of the best of the year) and the reissues of Ugly Pop Records (the Canadian singles discussed below and more non-Canadian ones we’ll review shortly, and thanks for reminding me “All Out Attack” is one of the best punk EPs ever…), which I endorse heavily. And much as there is more to New York state than just New York City, there’s much more to Canada than just Toronto – great bands, zines and labels from Ottawa, Montreal, Hamilton, Vancouver, Halifax, Edmonton, Calgary, Sackville and more that I’ve touched on in past issues/updates, and aside from just what I’ve crammed into this short selection (and I’ve taken the liberty of including reviews of non-Canadian bands on Vancouver’s wonderful Sweet Rot label). As always, I’ve managed to shoehorn a reference to a certain Moncton artist into another Canadian record review, so watch out for that. Up next we have Australia, 1980s Rock’n’Roll and other big things.

Babysitter “Eye” LPbabysitterlp
Babysitter hit the full length vinyl stage after releasing a shit tonne of cassettes (I think at least six numbered volumes) and a seven-inch or two, so they’ve had plenty of time to tinker with their tunes and this LP is made up of re-recorded versions of the “hits” culled from their previous efforts. At a glance they seem to be an indie-rock band influenced by Nineties hitters like Pavement and Archers of Loaf and adding some modern garage-punk moves. ‘Eye’ starts off strong with a couple of punky anthems loaded with sarcasm (“Talkin’ ‘bout the New Generation” and “Real Wild Child’s Gone Totally Mild”) and then a couple trebly indie-rockers (“1969ties”and “Angel of Death”) that recall ‘Green Mind’-era Dino Jr. or Sonic Youth at their most conventional. The rest of the side is filled with some grungier rock’n’roll efforts that go down smoothly enough. The B-Side goes deeper into the tunnel for some loud pop-rock that wouldn’t have been out of place in mid-Nineties Seattle, with some Neil Young references and noise guitar passages as touchstones. None of this is all that bad, but after a full side this guy’s sneering “punk” vocal approach starts to grate and its incompatibility with some of the tunes becomes more apparent and less interesting. I can appreciate the rock’n’roller vibes they put into some of the music, but after a few trips to the well it starts to seem a bit schticky in a Mean Jeans-like way. The more sincere indie-rock tunes are the best parts of this, but I feel like they could’ve cut this thing in half and I would have liked it a lot more. Scum stats: 500 copies. (RK)
(Psychic Handshake // psychichandshake.bigcartel.com)

Bad Skin “We’re Dogs” 7” EPbadskin7
Archival release from the now defunct (or maybe not?) Bad Skin, young punkers who ran amok in Southern Ontario back in the olden days of 2009-13 or so, and somehow recorded these songs before dissolving. Originally from Gananoque (I had to look that one up! It’s about midway between TO and MTL), they relocated to the Big Smoke and inhabited a shitty punk house that the author of the (very enjoyable) liner notes recounts some stories of. It’s pretty raw and simple punk rock, perhaps Poison Idea with some Oi influences (anthemic choruses, beefy vocals). Demo-quality recordings that are cleaned up nicely enough, maintaining a stripped-down and aggressive feel. Both A-Side cuts burn by pretty fast (“We’re Dogs” was probably a real crowd pleaser) but I think the B-Side is what’s of interest here. “Commute” is a real hardcore ball-buster, but “Scab” is the fucking HIT – big punk guitar hook, vocals are ripe for a singlalong, and the tempo changes burst with energy. A really strong track (and again, very much PI-sounding in the rock’n’roll punkitude dept.) that demands repeat spins and would sound even better with a louder recording. Actually, this song is so good it makes the others seem pretty ordinary. Scum stats: no idea, but the liner notes are a riot (he makes fun of Hard Skin, Lost Sounds and Hunx & His Punx all in the same paragraph somehow) and I dig the sketched artwork. I wish these guys and Kremlin would come play Buffalo. (RK)
(Bad Vibrations // badvibrationsrecords.blogspot.com)

Bent Wind “Sacred Cows” 7” bentwind
Another uber-rare reissue of Sixties Canadian garage rocking, this time from Toronto’s Bent Wind (whose ‘Sussex’ LP is thought to be one the rarest Canadian records ever, supposedly fetching $3000 for a copy). Recorded in 1969 and released before the LP (and I should mention Ugly Pop is working on a reissue of that as well), “Sacred Cows” is the lead-off track from the full length, and this version is a bit shorter and less heavy yet still pretty crude, a Grade A choogler with a great guitar duel no matter which way you slice it. I always though “Castles Made of Man” was a hilarious song title, and also always thought it actually appeared on the LP, but just realized it was only a bonus track on some of the reissues of ‘Sussex’ and was originally exclusive to this single. It’s your standard drugged-out slow jam with the wah-pedal working so hard you can practically feel it crying. Psychedelic nonsense lyrics are a big plus. This 7” is a good teaser for the full length, but once you’ve heard the LP you’ll realize that tease is the word, but that’s no reason not to grab this. Scum stats: going into third press already, if you haven’t heard any Bent Wind yet you should start warming up with this now. (RK)
(Ugly Pop // uglypop.bigcartel.com)

Blue Cross “Mass Hysteria” LP bluecrosslp
This one’s been out for a while but the Shogun Records gent was nice enough to send us a promo pack, so I’ll travel back in time. I’ve actually had this one since it came out, purchased after digging their demo quite a bit. Hailing from Ottawa, they’re a new-goth two-piece, utilizing programmed drums, synths, guitar and plenty of reverb (of course), making the most out of the minimal line-up. The female vocals certainly put a Siouxsie slant on things, and having a background in the Canadian metal/crust scene pushes the vibes into very dark territories instead of going for simply shadowy Cure-like wave/postpunk, where a lot bands of this ilk end up. Only eight songs make this more of an EP, and they’ve since recorded another LP which I would like to hear, as even these early tunes show them well along their way to something good. “End Up Alone” is one of the creepiest modern efforts in this arena you’ll hear, the title cut is a great tribal thumper, both of which could have been A-Sides to singles. There’s some Christian Death swiping (“Headstone”) and “Bring Out Your Dead” and “Disconnect” could easily have been the B-Sides to those non-existent seven inchers. At their very best they remind me of what Pleasure Leftists or Australia’s Rule of Thirds do (and do well), but in a more traditonally gothic/Anarcho-punk (and Canadian) style. It seems like there’s not much chatter about this band, but if you’re into this genre they’re well worth investigating further, as they do it convincingly straight and without any irony or fashion-punk wanking. (RK)
(Shogun Records // www.burnoutzine.net/shogun/recordings)

The Bureaucrats “Feel the Pain” 7” bcrats
Recorded in 1979 and released in 1980, The Bureaucrats single is a deadly two-sider of Toronto mod-pop-punk that’s one of those rare punk singles that’s as good as it scarce. I know and love both of these songs from their inclusion on Smash the State Volume 3, a personal favorite of mine as far as Canadian-KBD-punkola goes (what a great line-up on that comp, with the ‘crats, Gentlemen of Horror, Da Slyme, Siggy Magic, Red Squares, etc…). “Feel the Pain” is the super-catchy modd-ish track which is like a punker Jam or simpler Buzzcocks, a great 80’s non-wimpy but still very poppy cut. Understated guitar work and authentic British vox enhance the UK-vibes. B-Side is “Grown Up Age” that reminds me of a poppier cut off of a Professionals record, tough but hooky with an anthemic chorus, and “Sid Wells” has a thick Steve Jones-y cockney sneer on this one which makes it sound extra snotty. An under-rated K(anadian)BD punk 7” – these guys supposedly recorded an LP later on that I’ve never heard, and probably never will, as not to taint my love of this perfect punk single. Scum stats: 100 copies on yellow with a color sleeve variant, plus a regular edition which is of the usual high standards Ugly Pop has maintained on all releases – pocket sleeve, insert, repro labels, etc. (RK)
(Ugly Pop // uglypop.bigcartel.com)

Crosss “Obsidian Spectre” LP crossslp
Somewhat intriguing stuff here from Crosss, a trio from Halifax that are blending/blurring microgenres and creating some mystic Canadian rock with varying results. In their best moments they take the nature-infused psychedelica of a Rick White band, the evil folk rock of Witchcraft, the heavy riffage and the desolate drone of doom bands and shape it into their version of stoned rock’n’roll. “Lucky Loki” is the sort of playful lysergic rock you might have heard on an Elevator demo cassette, a seemingly pleasant tune with darkness ‘round the edges and mythological lyrics. Heavy woodland fantasy rock. “Smoke” sounds like forest grunge with predominant hippie vibes. “Bones Brigade” is glacial doom with the riff and drums falling into step with each other, sounding on the brink of an avalanche that never explodes down the mountain. “Witching Hour” and “Sacred Cow” veer too far into modern Bay Area garagedelica, and the Segall vibes are a bummer after they had built up a good head of steam. “Mountain King” meets us half way – it has a bit of a heavy riff at least, but the vox are still too West Coast if you follow my drift. They do finish the side well with “Old Sound”, which sounds like a slower SST-era Soundgarden tune without Cornell’s vox and with more psyched-out guitar. After running through this side a few times, I realize the guy’s voice makes or breaks them. He doesn’t sound tough enough to really get over the Scandanavian-seeming weed, furs and campfires heavy doom/rock thing they achieve musically on some of the tunes, but it’s peculiar enough to give it a weird Canadian backwoods-vibed version of that style when it works (see the first three tracks) – when the tunes become a bit too conventional, it just leaves him sounding like a Segall/Cronin/Melton clone (the three middle tracks). All of that action happens on the A-Side. The B-Side is one long piece (“Will-o-the-Wisp”) played live in 2009 at a place called Drones Club, with a different line-up than the studio tracks, aside from one Andy March, who is revealed as the brains behind Crosss. Seems like a loose improvisational jam-out with lots of guitar drone and atmosphere – sounds like Sonic Youth stretching out a Neil Young-inspired experiment. Certainly nothing wrong with it, but it’s not exactly on fire either. I enjoyed some of this LP, where they sounded heavy and not like the dozens of bands on the West Coast (or anywhere else now that the trend is ripe for hopping) playing in this style – that’s the pitfall of trying to play “psych” these days, a lot of bands have ruined it for everyone else, so the minute you start sounding similar to them you’re fucked. This one’s half good enough that I’ll try and hear what they do next. And the mysterious “art” at least makes it look like a Factums record and not the latest LP on Castleface. (RK)
(Telephone Explosion // www.telephoneexplosion.com)

Greenback High “Bombs Away” 7” greenbackh
Greenback High (no relation to Jeff) have members of Von Zippers (who had a couple of good moments), DOA (the drummer from a recent “reunion”) and Vicious Cycle(s?) in their line-up and use that experience to play some really generic powerpop. Recorded slick, hooks you’ve heard dozens of times re-heated and played real tight – it’s just assembly line produced “punk”. “Bombs Away” is boring powerpop with corny bomb-drop sound effects, but “All of us Or None” is certainly the more offensive tune with its cloying “We’re all in this together!” sentiment. I liked the look of this record with its stamped and stickered DIY-looking sleeve, and was hoping for some inept teenage garage punk or apsehit frat rock or just anything interesting to match it. I was certainly disappointed. Scum stats: 330 copies. (RK)
(Greenback High // greenbackhigh.bigcartel.com)

Hassler “Amorality” 7” EP hassler7
Heavy duty hardcore from Hassler, who feature members of Career Suicide, Bad Skin, Brutal Knights, Toxic Holocaust(!) and more vets of the Toronto scene. I think this is where the singer from Bad Skin ended up. Fairly well polished HC with gruff vox, simple yet effective riffs, and plenty of moshable breakdowns. Reminds me a bit of Urban Blight and one of those bands with Violent in their name (there are so many I lose track). Honestly, it sounds generic to me, but for fans whose main focus is HC there are probably some intricacies I’m missing. I far prefer what the kids in Kremlin/School Jerks are doing, I’ll say that. Scum stats: 100 on green vinyl for mailorder out of the first pressing of 500 – which are now all gone. Second pressing with red/yellow labels still available. (RK)
(Beach Impediment // beachimpedimentrecords.bigcartel.com)

Kremlin “Drunk in the Gulag” 12”kremlinlp
Kremlin is the finest Canadian punk band going right now and really one of my favorite punk from anywhere over the past year. Their debut EP was one of the better short players of 2012 (just reissued domestically by Grave Mistake for all you sleepers), setting expectations high for this 12”, a split release between Beach Impediment and the band’s own Bad Vibrations imprint. Their music is simple punk at its essence – sharp and trebly guitars, head-down rhythm section, vocals heavily echoed – with a hard-charging drive given added personality from their low budget recordings. I thought the sound on their demos was wonderfully bad, and even though this LP was recorded as a record proper, it still sounds raw as can be. That lo-fi dimension adds extra frenzy to the aggression, making it seem more desperate, as if they’re wringing every little bit of life out of the instruments to the point where the equipment is straining to stay alive. An even ten tracks of exceptional guitar shred and manic pacing, and I was thrilled to hear reworked versions of “Duped” and “Kremlin” in particular, two standout tracks from their self-titled cassette. I was stuck on the killer riff from “Duped” for a bit until I realized it was borrowed (unintentionally I’m guessing) from a Homostupids song, and there’s no finer band to nip some tricks from, although Kremlin turn it into something far different anyway. Once when trying to describe this band to someone I said they play some sort of degenerated version of d-beat, and much of it is built on that bulldoze drum approach, but there’s more influences from all over the map – touches of UK82 style sloganeering in the vocals/choruses (vaguely politcal at times and certainly arnarchic/anti-society), some savage Scandanavian-style buzzsawing and song construction, and added USHC muscle for good measure. “Steel Case” is a Motorheaded bomber (and a good model band they reference often as a punk trio), “Buried” and “Doomed Youth” open up the songwriting to tunes over two minutes long with time for shredding solos and breakdown twists-n-turns. There are wonderful little bits of lo-fi nuance all over this, like when this guy’s amp starts to cut out, giving off that screaming bottle rocket sound that makes you want to duck, not knowing where that thing’s going to take off to (at the kick-in part on “Kremlin” for example), or when the crackle makes it seems like part of the riff was missed, or the super echoed “Ugggh”s from the singer, all lovely little warts left in the mix that keep me going back. Every track here is a great punk tune, but it’s the primitive recording and unabashed use of distortion and reverb that really adds to the excitement and ferocity. It’s not really sloppily played (these three are locked in quite well), and not necessarily shit-fi either, but crude and vital sounding – the squealing solos become extra piercing, the slip-n-slide fret noise sounds like it’s melting strings and speakers, the cymbal crashes sound like the mic was placed too close making for a great effect, the bass sounds almost trebly and undistorted, giving the propulsion an edge that some of the burlier hardcore bands lose when wading too far into the low end. I’m all for covering everything in layers of reverb, and the coating here is thick yet doesn’t seem excessive. The vocals echo but don’t turn into mush and the continual sparks of static keep you engaged and on edge. Hardcore punk with heavy Euro influence, deceptively simple but creative songwriting and the sound quality of ‘The Intern’ – I can’t recommend this record enough. Now I just need to see them live. Scum stats: 520 pressed = 410 on black, 110 on red and there’s also a European press on Hardware Records. (RK)
(Beach Impediment // beachimpedimentrecords.bigcartel.com)

Magic Shadows “Sunburned Mind” 7″ magicshadows
Modern garage-psych from Hamilton, Ontario that I’m guessing are named after the TV show. “Sunburned Mind” has an evil drone and dark vibes accented greatly by a good-n-muddy recording job – the guitar sounds cracklingly great and this guy does some nice amp-smoking work. Well done. “Under the Stairs” continues the heavy repetition, the tempo is weighed down with reverb, and there’s a certain ominous quality to the riff which they really hit you over the head with just to make sure you get it. Pretty good material here, I think “Under the Stairs” is the better tune. I feel like this is what Demon’s Claws might have sounded like with all the folk/country hippie shit replaced with dark psycho-garage. A Canadian version of A Feast of Snakes perhaps. (RK)
(self-released // magicshadows.bandcamp.com)

The Northwest Company “Hard to Cry” 7”northwestco
Ugly Pop Records expands their reissue scope back into the Sixties for one of the rarest Canadian garage singles, The Northwest Company’s 1967 debut. “Hard to Cry” is a killer Kinks-influenced punker with a ripper solo, big time hook and a really monstrous rhythm section for the time. Great wild vocals and rave-up outro are included, and help make this a standout cut. “Get Away From It All” on the flip is slower and heavier, more Seeds or even Animals a bit, with a deeper vocal and darker guitar vibes with some vocal testifying closing the door. I was familiar with this one by name only before hearing it and it lived up to its rep. I know it was compiled on some regional Canadian/Vancouver-centric titles, but either side would certainly fit in just fine on any of the more popular non-regional reissue series. Scum stats: already going into its third press. (RK)
(Ugly Pop // uglypop.bigcartel.com)

A Passing Fancy “I’m Losing Tonight” 7” passingfancy
Freakbeat out of 1967 Toronto that supposedly charted at the time of release. I’d say that’s due to the completely wicked screaming guitar sound on this one. High energy stuff with a pretty sticky hook. B-Side is an eponymously titled jangler with some organ and nice-guy harmonizing. Classic sounding stuff, but not as wild as Northwest Company or crude as Bent Wind – so if you’re on a budget I’d go there first. (RK)
(Ugly Pop // uglypop.bigcartel.com)

Pointed Sticks “What Do You Want Me To Do?” 7” pointedwhat
I’m not a big Pointed Sticks fan, but I still can’t deny that their debut 7” should be in the conversation when discussing great early Canadian punk/wave singles, even if I might steer that conversation to other bands eventually. “What Do You Want Me To Do?” is classic powerpop and just the type of hook-filled and sugary treat that makes the Japanese go crazy for them. I far prefer “Somebody’s Mom”, the kind of hyperactive and quirky punk song that made sense of them signing to Stiff Records. Powerpoppers rejoice. Scum stats: 550 copies with a new insert that has a really great band pic. (RK)
(Ugly Pop // uglypop.bigcartel.com)

Purity Control “Adjusting” 7” EP
Purity Control “Coping” 7” EPpccoping
Purity Control is Toronto powerviolence/grind who also seem to be the city’s representative mysterious guy/Youth Attack outfit. The “Adjusting” EP is self-released and jams six tracks of heavy styles onto two sides. You have straight PV stuff, a few grinders and some metallic hardcore. Tightly played, loudly recorded, it’s textbook stuff done all the right ways – heavy, brutal and dark to a meatheaded degree. The music becomes a machine over which lyrics about alienation, isolation, paranoia and basically feeling like life sucks are belted out. And this guy belts shit out alright, with a bellow somewhere in-between Sam Kinison and Phil Anselmo. The “Coping” EP is a split release between No Idea and Chris Colohan’s (Left for Dead) High Anxiety label, which certainly ups their profile. Musically, it tells the same story, but with perhaps a bit more songwriting savvy. Even when I was a misguided teen I didn’t feel this bad about life, but I know there are some out there that might find catharsis in this sort of bottled rage. I can’t take the singer seriously and this is all pretty plain black-and-white stuff musically, but that might be the point in this genre nowadays. And when I made the Youth Attack mention earlier, these guys have the B&W visual design and edgy aesthetic down pretty well (and you could make a case that this is just business as usual for powerviolence aesthetics, which YA/MGHC borrows from, but let’s argue about that some other time), including some vaguely sexual and sinister photos and songs, and lyrically they sink to the lowest common denominator, with songs like “Bedroom Eyes”, “Bite Marks”, “Swallowing”, etc… There’s something to be said for being edgy and even creepy/mysterious in a creative way, but it’s cookie cutter stuff like this that really brings the price of rent in the neighborhood down. (RK)
(High Anxiety/No Idea // puritycontrol.bigcartel.com)

Sida s/t 7”sidasweet
The French Glue Wave scene and La Grande Triple Alliance faction of bands is such a deep well of music that even though it seems that dozens and dozens of bands and records have been documented already, there’s a steady stream of untapped material still flowing. This EP by Sida was recorded back in 2011 by Seb Normal (who else), and although I’ve been of the thinking that we’re getting down to the bottom reaches of the Glue Wave barrel, “Apollo 13” is a song that makes me think otherwise. Female vocals that sound like they’re intoning some sort of ritual, an anaconda of a live drums-n-synth snake that creeps with muscle over which the guitar player adds squealing and oscillating noise. It goes on for a long time, achieving maximum drone-out hypnotics. The B-Side offers three shorter efforts – “Budokai” is a condensed summary of the A-Side style, “Mighty Max” is the best of the trio and sounds extra damp and cavernous and “4” is weird-garage with a martial beat. Not sure what other bands these players have been involved with, but I think they’re Strasbourg-based, and I can appreciate this more than some of their drum-machine riding contemporaries from that scene (Anals, Teledente 666, etc…). Recommended for Francophiles and weird-punks. Scum stats: 300 copies. (RK)
(Sweet Rot // www.sweetrotrecords.com)

Solid Attitude “Dash-Ex” 7” solidsweet
Iowa punkers whose LP and 7” on Rotted Tooth I was on the fence about – I liked about half of what they did, but the other half just wasn’t clicking with me. The 7” in particular was pretty good trash, but just not good enough to keep in steady rotation. I don’t remember there being saxophone on that single (or the LP for that matter), but there’s plenty of it here and it helps the band out a good bit. “Dash-Ex” is rabid post-punk, with extra raw vocals and the band finding a jagged groove and spreading the rhythm sax over it. Sounds like a rogue Tyvek tune or maybe even a really dirty Protomartyr – and I hate to make such a reference, but there’s something Stoogey about the ending. I always thought SA had a bit of the weird-Detroit sound in them and they fulfill that idea on both cuts. “Creeping Quilt” sounds like a more restrained Druid Perfume (meaning no bizzaro carnival moves), a slow build of strum-n-bleat that erupts into a howling and feral noise. These are the two best songs I’ve heard from this band, without a doubt, and I’m left pleasantly surprised and hopeful for future releases. More sax, please! Scum stats: 300 copies, in the mandatory and beautiful Sweet Rot textured pocket sleeve as usual. (RK)
(Sweet Rot // www.sweetrotrecords.com)

V/A Red Mass/Cindy Lee split 7” redmassmongrel
Debut vinyl release from the Mongrel Zine Records label out of Vancouver who have been cranking out a pretty great fanzine for the past five years. A very Canadian-centric zine with an emphasis on garage always done with great enthusiasm. Each issue I’ve read contains some great interviews and features with not just musicians but visual artists, writers, film-makers and more. It feels like I haven’t reviewed a Red Mass record in a long time, which is a bit shocking considering their voluminous output. Perhaps Roy is slowing down (which I doubt). Their side only has one tune, but it’s quite good, especially so when you take into consideration their massive back catalog. The Red Mass line-up for “Candy” will surely get fans excited – Roy is joined by Mark Sultan and King Khan, with help from Saba Lou, Hannah and a French lass on violin. It’s a good and long acoustic freak-out, with bongos, shakers, theremin, keyboards, strings, children’s toys and more instrumentation making for a real jam session feel. Something about its flowers-n-dope Sixties vibe reminds me of Love. Gang vocals, with a lot of harmonizing from the gals, which enhances the party feel (and I have to mention the exceptional harmonica playing) and there’s even a bit of a Doors-esque instrumental break towards the end. So good I wish they were on both sides of this record. Cindy Lee is a band, not a person, a two piece with ex-members of Women and Yung Mums. It’s a very quiet and wispy piece of acoustic melancholia, guitars plucked so gently and vocals laden with such soft echo that it barely exists. Sounds olde-tymey and twee, I suppose they’re going for a haunting feel, but there’s nothing here that grabbed me. The Red Mass side is killer though, and makes this record another in the long line of split singles with one good side. That would make a great theme for a comp LP – all the great songs no one has heard or remembers because they were buried on splits. Ah well. Kudos to Mongrel for getting this released though, as this is a half of a great record, and I wish them luck with their next release. Grab this if you’re jonesing for a new Red Mass cut and pad your order with some Mongrel zines. Scum stats: 650 copies with fantastic art by Bob Scott. (RK)
(Mongrel Zine Records // www.mongrelzine.ca)

THE 90s CALLED…

Despite what some people seem to recall, the Nineties were a great era to be into indie/underground music. Or at least I’m forced to remember it that way, as those were my twenty-something years of age, the time when I think most find their direction as far as music/culture go. It’s remarkable to still be reviewing records from guys like Ron House, Timmy Vulgar, Eric Davidson, Fink and others who made a big impression on me back then (and I’ll admit to shoehorning some of these artists into the timeframe via their beginnings in the very late years of the 20th century). It’s also fantastic to see a guy like Andrew Lersten still making vital music and still carving out his own niche, perhaps not achieving the acclaim of a band like The Oblivians, but maybe even doing more in his own way to keep the underground vibrant, alive and weird. I love new music and hearing kids out there bringing the now sounds, but I’m also a slave to nostalgia, for better or worse, and here’s a brief update with a heavy whiff of it. It’s strange to realize I’ve been listening to records on In the Red for over 20 years, more than half of my life. I would never have thought that in 2013 that I’d see an Action Swingers 7″ released on Total Punk. It’s amazing to think that one of the Shadowy Men made a record with members of Fucked Up, Elevator and The Curse. It’s heartwarming that guys from the early Rip Off roster are still active. Twenty year old me would’ve been mindblown to know I’d be getting a record in the mail from members of Truman’s Water nearly 20 years later. As always, thanks to everyone for sending in review material, and we’ll have a bunch more up real soon…

Action Swingers “Miserable Life” 7″miserablelife
Honestly, I think this is the most totally punk record on Total Punk because Rich Evans proved he is one of the most daring record execs of all time by going into business with Ned Hayden and coming out of it alive and with a record that is actually available for sale. I’m somewhat shocked that Ned agreed to his end of it as well, as I never would have thought he’d want to work with a current label. I guess finding someone that was excited about releasing songs that are almost 20 years old got his attention. And all joking about Ned Hayden aside, Action Swingers did some absolutely killer stuff, with these two songs being some prime examples. “Miserable Life” is an absolute classic of misanthropy and belongs in the canon of hate with Fang, Drunks with Guns, Big Black and whatever other bile-spewers you have on your list. Just a repeated riff that swirls around the bowl that is your mind just waiting to be flushed. Such a beautiful tune. “Losing My Cool” is a bit rawkier and NYC-sounding but still has Ned and his all-star band wallowing in their own mess. I always wished someone would put ‘Quit While Your Ahead’ on wax, but I guess if you just pick up this single and the “Bum My Trip”/”Kicked in the Head” 7″ up you’re going to be all set. I again have to extend kudos and a certain degree of astonishment out to Rich at Total Punk for pulling this off. I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY. Scum stats: 500 copies, one and only pressing, DO NOT SLEEP ON THIS ONE KIDDIES AND/OR JOHAN KUGELBURG COMPLETISTS. (RK)
(Total Punk // www.floridasdying.com)

Autodramatics “Emotional Static” LPautodramaticslp
Debut full length from Autodramatics, the post-Horrors (whose first record came out in ’98!) vehicle of Andy Caffrey, backed up here by members of Diplomats of Solid Sound and Rib Cage (and a few other bands I’d guess), with the rub being two female back-up singers belting out the call-n-response/harmonies. It’s an interesting dynamic, with Andy on lead vox and lead axe, a rhythm guitar player and a guy playing a stripped-down drum kit – taking the trad 3-piece garage-blues line-up and adding the sexy/tough girl vocalizing. It works enough to keep my attaention, the tunes don’t get too bloozy (“There’s no blues in this explosion!”), and Caffrey’s songwriting here reminds me a bit of Bassholes or even the Slicks at times, with a healthy dose of Oblivians and Fireworks as well. The gals’ singing is tastefully used – just some harmonizing coos and woos at times, delivering the chorus or echoing the verses and sometimes just belting it out. Soulful, but not annoyingly so, like if the Bellrays were a really trashy band instead of a slicked up rawk-n-soul revue. Someone said this could be where The Dirtbombs ended up if they took a different turn after ‘Ultraglide…’ and I like that idea too. The record sounds great (having Mike McHugh and John Golden on board helps a lot), fittingly grimy and loud. “Treble Addict” is a cool experiment (and is the most Junkpile Jimmy-esque), “Find the Gun” sounds like a full blown Doo Rag (with harmonica!) and “Children’s Song” is the big soul-rock number with a strong vocal from the gals (although I think it borrows from The Hunches catalog a bit too much, as do some other moments on the record). The bad thing about this is that there isn’t a huge home run of a song on this that has me hooked – it just sounds decent as a whole. I hear they have a second album finished which will be ready in time for their Gonerfest appearance, so maybe that one will have a couple dingers on it. (RK)
(Damn Easy // try In the Red or Goner)

Bunny Skulls “Your Life EP” 7”bunnyskulls
Andrew Lersten has been releasing music since the mid-Nineties under the Vilently Ill moniker, a “band” (Andrew and a drum machine) you need to catch up with now if you’re unaware (start with the “Where is The Next Wave?” EP and work backwards). One of the true heroes of the underground, both via his music and his Knot Music label (home to the Speed Freaks comps and other fine releases), a guy who seems to play music because he has to, audience be damned. I’ve heard that when Mr. California and The Grabbies toured the US they insisted that Vilenty Ill play their MI show – that’s a pretty good recommendation if you have similar (shitty) tastes as me. Andrew has zero web presence (that old Knot Music site seems to have disappeared from the internet) and still runs things via letters and a PO Box. You have to respect that kind of determination. Bunny Skulls are basically Vilently Ill as a full band – 30 second punk songs hammered out one after another, but they’re GREAT 30 second tunes with killer riffs and verses and choruses somehow. This isn’t garbage noise bleats, we’re taking genuine punk rock here, done humorously (but with serious guitar playing) and with a message too (basically fuck “the scene”, fuck trends and eat shit). Nine songs (including an Exploited cover) packed on one side, this might even be better than Vilently Ill just because real drums are better than programmed beats any day. I strongly urge you to drop $5 (and that’s ppd) in an envelope and mail it Knot Music HQ now – and ask what else he has available as well. Scum stats: 300 on black, 50 on yellow. (RK)
(Knot Music // PO Box 501, South Haven, MI 49090-0501)

Connections “Private Airplane” LPconnectionslp
84 Nash were the first non-GBV release on Bob Pollard’s Rockathon Records, and that fact certainly colors not just that band’s work but also this LP from Connections, which features Kevin Elliott and Andy Hampel from 84 Nash along with members of El Jesus de Magico and Times New Viking (Kevin’s brother Adam). Unless you lived in Ohio or were a GBV fanatic, I don’t think you were listening to much 84 Nash in the Nineties. They’re a fine example of an unheralded under-the-radar band that coulda been contenders (depending on who you ask and where they’re from). I’ll be honest, I barely have an opinion on the band – their records were middle-of-the-road college radio fare at the time, and I think I might’ve heard some of their tunes on WBNY. While Connections aren’t the same band, ‘Private Airplane’ is certainly the evolution of the noise-pop the band was crafting then – and it sounds a lot better to me today than it did to a far younger and more punk me over a dozen years ago. Whether that’s my fault or theirs, I do not know, but if you want to hear a pretty damn good GBV-inspired record today here you go. There are hooks all over this thing, it sounds just scrappy enough production-wise and I wouldn’t mind having a single of “1980 Called” (the one song I think is truly great on this LP) b/w “Totally Carpool” (which I will call the best of the half-dozen or so really good songs on this), both of which have that wonderful Ohio stink all over them. With 15 songs in about 35 minutes it goes by so fast you can’t really say anything bad about it. I can’t help but think (or hope) that this would be a huge hit on college radio today, if college radio today wasn’t a fucking joke. (RK)
(Anyway Records // www.anyway-records.com)

Counter Intuits s/t LPcounterintuits
I’ve never met a Ron House record I didn’t like. And talk about a guy who has a great Nineties discography: the TJSA catalog, the Ego Summit LP, the “New Wave as the Next Guy” CD, and we can even drag Great Plains’ Eighties output into the convo, but that would be overkill. Counter Intuits are House and Jared Phillips from Times New Viking (another in the long line of bands I finally got into after they pretty much called it quits) playing loose with the already loose DIY principle – Phillips provides the music, House the vox (natch), and anything goes. This LP (which I believe is self-titled, although some are referring to it as ‘Sheet(s) of Hits’) is what I had hoped just about every record labeled as DIY/post-punk released over the past few years would have sounded like. No formulaic “sound” where every tune is the same except for a different guitar pedal, there’s just no formula at all. Unlearned/sloppy guitar playing (the pretty damn funny “No Computer Blues”), faux-folk Americana (“Oxycontin Blues”), loping bass-n-synth (“Stickin Pins”), fake punk turned real (“Anarchy on Yr Face”), no-fi pop (“Time Was Update”), what sound like lost (Sebadoh-style) Nineties tape-rock classics (“Study Hall Art” or “Non-Essential Personnel”), out of tune free-form wackiness (“Lather and the Din”)…every song is a revelation. I loved the Psandwich record, but this one trumps it with some of Ron’s finest lyrical turns since the TJSA days. It’s the type of record where a different tune will run on a loop in your head after each listen. And just so you don’t think it’s all weirded out, there are raw rockers like “Stolen Souls” to settle your brain. If you haven’t already bought this you are out of your mind, because they are practically giving this away for free ($10 from most distros?!) and it’s one of the best records of the year. The screened/pasted sleeves are as DIY as it gets, and this has one of the best inserts of recent memory if you need even more reasons to not be a dick and pick this up. (RK)
(Pyramid Scheme Recdords // try Fusetron or Indoorsman)

Fatal Figures “Caterwaul” LPfatalfigslp
Late Nineties Buffalo was actually a pretty happening spot in the garage scene, believe it or not. We were home to one of the best labels (Big Neck Records), the preeminent music fest of the day (Rust Belt Revolt), great record stores (Home of Hits and New World Records), great venues (and bookers) that made it easy for touring bands to stop (Sanctuary, Mohawk and others) and some of the finest bands of the era, the Blowtops being one of them. A dozen or so years later, all of those venues and stores are closed, Bart and Big Neck (along with the fest) were run out of town and relocated to Virginia and all the bands from that era have either left the city or broken up. (I should note we had another great run a couple of years ago, but that’s another story…). The Blowtops persevered through it all, closing up shop some five years ago after European and US tours, four or five full lengths and at least a dozen singles. Fatal Figures were borne from that last Blowtops line-up (Adduci/Tracy/Scott/Creepy Dave), with Aaron taking over vocals from the departed Creepy and streamlining into a trio. Sadly, this debut LP might also prove to be their last, as serious health issues have made Scott unable to play drums any longer. ‘Caterwaul’ is a vast improvement from their debut 7” (in regards to both sound and cover art) and surely continues the Blowtops sound somewhat but bringing the NYC noise rock tendencies to the forefront (Chrome Cranks) and putting the garage vibes in the backseat. It’s really not that far off from some of the burl emanating from Australia these days, a strong bass backbone, Scott’s drumming sounds a bit more reined in but still powerful and this is honestly some of Aaron’s best guitar playing and he turns in a surprisingly great vocal turn as well. The LP is a concise nine songs recorded by Diamond Jim Diamond, “Go Down” brings to mind labelmates The Mistreaters, “Televison” seriously swings, and the 1-2 closing of “New God” and “Get Out” is the band’s finest moment. A good and loud record for noise mongers everywhere. (RK)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)

The Filthy Gaze of Europe “Domestic Accidents” 7″filthygaze
In another example of “How did these guys get to this sound?”, we have Toronto’s TFGOE. One part Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet and one part Sadies combine with some guest vocalists (including Pink Eye, Amanda Schenk, Mickey Skin from The Curse and the guy from Left for Dead) to make what the label aptly describes as “electronic thrash” – think Suicide if they had formed thirty years later in Canada. Industrial strength drum programming, harsh synths, heavy basslines and guitar scree. The Sadies were never a favorite of mine, but they were a fine band who I always felt rose above their “genre” and were honestly great live – plus, Dallas Good did a tour of duty with Elevator, who might just be my favorite Canadian band of all time (and one of the most under-appreciated acts ever). Don Pyle was in Crash Kills Five (whose excellent 1980 single was reissued by Ugly Pop) before going on to SMOASP, who most will simply recall as the band who did the Kids in the Hall theme and write off as a goofy surf band, but who were actually an excellent instrumental group who (along with Man or Astroman?) transcended the surf tag and made three great LPs that were as funny and witty as they were rocking and were just great music regardless of genre. Their debut LP ‘Savvy Show Stoppers’ was recently reissued on Mammoth Cave and comes highly recommended. So yeah, how did those guys get here? “Domestic Accidents” is the better side, almost reminds me of the paranoiac future-punk of The Pink Noise, but far more aggro. Includes a Casio bongo(?!) solo and has the better guest vox (Skin and Colohan). “On Fire” is the B-Side and has an even harsher instrumentation and overblown vocals from Damian and Schenk, who sound like they’re really hamming it up here. This one might be more for fans of digital hardcore or breakcore (am I just making these genres up?) than traditional punk, and was definitely not what I was expecting. Scum stats: 200 copies each on green, white and red wax. (RK)
(Ugly Pop // uglypop.bigcartel.com)

FOOD “Four Pieces From Candyland” 12″ EPFOOD
FOOD is an acronym for Far Out Old Dudes. I’m not kidding. And the old dudes in question are a veritable Nineties uh…what’s the opposite of supergroup? Led by Ed fROMOHIO of fIREHOSE backed by the bass player from Gumball and the drummer from The Cynics, this is four songs of what is of course described as “stripped-down, straightforward, no bullshit” rock’n’roll. Punk rock is mentioned in the press release more than a few times as well. It’s standard alt-rock made by dudes in their fifties, with the only truly cringeworthy moment being the hokey country-rock of “Jesus and Johnny Cash”. There’s one slow song, one rocker that sounds like a Goo Goo Dolls tune and one other that reminds me of that “Closing Time” song. Adult contemporary bar rock, but I suppose we should give these guys credit for writing new music, as opposed to some old-timers out there still trying to play punk songs they wrote when they were 18 years old. Thankfully these guys kept the fedora wearing to only one in the band photo. (RK)
(Phratry Records // www.phratryrecords.com)

The Hot LZ’s “Bringdown Comedown Putdown” 7” EPhotlzs
I first thought this band’s name had something to do with hot lesbian action, but it’s actually a reference to Vietnam-era military slang for a hot landing zone. Huh. Hot LZ’s are the latest Mark Death band, a guy who has been playing shitty garage rock (both the good and bad kind) since the mid-Nineties in The Halfways, who had some really good tracks on their singles (especially the ones Matt Odietus played on). Then there was the Moneychangers, who did some fine shit-fi work of their own (the ‘Missed Chords..’ EP in particular – “Burnside Trash” was a personal fave). There was also a band with Scott Drake I think, but maybe that was just a guest shot on the Wittdrawls record (which wasn’t so hot). Anyway, it’s all B-team stuff, but sometimes the B-team is more fun, especially when it’s borderline incompetent. Hot LZ’s carry over some of the Moneychangers line-up for this four song debut EP. “Margins of My Mind” is mid-tempo garage plod with awkward vocal phrasings galore, “I’m A Bring Down” busts out the wah pedal for some really dumb garage-punk with lyrics so bad you’ll love them (“I’ll bring you down/make you look like a clown/I hope you drown…” etc..). It’s the hit, if this record has such a thing. “Wrong Side (of Right)” is like a really slow Loli & The Chones song, more dumb lyrics and songwriting so plain/basic it hurts. Listening to Death shoehorn the lyrics into these songs starts becoming really interesting on this one, which also includes the most blistering solo (meaning it’s rudimentary at best). “Dumb it Down” closes up shop, and this is song is pretty terrible, some kind of weird Humpers/Dolls jungle rhythm with shakers and an organ. I’m not sure what to say here – this is certainly not a good record and hardly even a so-bad-it’s-good record. It’s just a bad record, but I might be so far down the rabbit hole at this point I’m starting to enjoy listening to legit bad records just because they’re usually more interesting than average/good. It’s sort of fascinating to hear a bad band try and dumb it down even further (or are they even dumbing it down at all?). I listened to this like seven times in a row and I’m just confused about life at this point. Good job guys? Scum stats: 200 copies with some bizarre covers. At first I was wondering why the fuck anyone would coat the sleeves of their records in wax, but then I realized this thing glows in the dark – and it works great! Talk about DIY packaging. The screened art looks like a fourth generation photo copy in classic budget rock style and it comes on garbage colored vinyl with one of those built in center spindles that looks cool. I also really enjoyed the Mark Death business card (MARK DEATH – SHOW BUSINESS). (RK)
(Hate Street Records // mark_death_giveup-at-yahoo.com)

Human Eye “4:Into Unknown” LPhumaneye4
Human Eye are certainly of of the top five bands operating in the solar system today and you could easily make a case to put them on the top of that list. They’re absolutely incredible both live and on record, and this fourth LP shows them taking their sound to even further reaches. If ‘They Came From The Sky’ was Vulgar and his crew battling slime creatures from outer space for dominance over the planet Earth, ‘Into Unknown’ has them comandeering those alien spaceships and blasting off into space for further adventures. This isn’t as full of all-out psych-rock blasters, although it still has a few (tracks like “Buzzin’ Flies” still have them in heavy monster sound mode), but shows the band going off on some more Sixties/Seventies indebted space rock and even prog excursions. There’s still plenty of Motor City rock action, and “Juciy Jaw” and “Alligator Dance” are the type of Detroit-style rockers that the Clone Defects perfected. “Gettin’ Mean” opens the record with some intergalactic strut that is the bridge between the band’s past efforts and this LP. “Immortal Soldier” is an epic outer space ballad, and songs like “Surface of Pluto” and “Outlaw Lone Wolf” really show off the prog moves including some flute playing, Vulgar crooning out the vox and some extended passages of instrumental work doing some non-verbal storytelling of a sort. “Faces in the Shadows” has a classic Seventies stoned-rock feel to it (Sir Lord Vulgar perhaps) and the title track closes the record with their most Hawkwind-esque song to date, shooting them into the wormhole, bound for the outlying reaches, leaving us to wonder if we’ll ever see them again. Vulgar could have easily blown our heads off with another devasting splatter-psych record but instead chose to show off some different (and more technical) approaches to melting our minds. There is still plenty of blasting guitar work from Timmy, Johnny LZR’s synth squeal adds sci-fi scope (as usual) to the more “out” passages and Colin Simon (from Fontana) is such a great drummer that you forget that Billy Hafer is no longer manning kit (although he and Thommy Hawk do appear on “Immortal Soldier”). Even though there are some mellower vibes at work here, this is by no means a sedate album – it’s always moving and changing forms, coming out of the speakers as viscous sound. A fantastic voyage of an LP that gives us more than we could have asked for. The first Clone Defects 7″ came out in 1999, and here we are in 2013, with Tim Vulgar rocking no less hard, but somehow even weirder, and the the closest thing we have to a modern rock god. He’s real fucking deal all the way, as are Human Eye. Scum stats: 100(?) copies came on white vinyl with red streaks that looks just like an eyeball (which I need a copy of) and the Vulgar/LZR artwork is top notch – and it’s about time someone gave them a gatefold to work with.(RK)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)

Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds “Conjure Man” 7”kidcongo7
Kid Congo will forever get a pass from anyone with good taste for his service with The Cramps, Gun Club and Bad Seeds. A true legend. The Nineties weren’t his best years, however, as Congo Norvell weren’t much to write home about and I always thought The Knoxville Girls were a letdown. But for as goofy a band name as Pink Monkey Birds is, that ‘Dracula Boots’ LP was pretty cool (and was actually recorded in a high school gymnasium) as is this 7″ teaser for the upcoming ‘Haunted Head’ LP on ITR (I should note there were two records in between ‘Dracula Boots’ and this that I have not heard). “Conjure Man” is Southern swamp Americana, could have been on the ‘Wild at Heart’ soundtrack and fit in perfectly. The flip is a cover of The Seeds’ “Lose Your Mind” which sounds like Diddley-gone-psych with some weird theremin/synth/guitar sounds and deadpan Kid vox with some female back-ups. Maybe a bit of a toss off B-Sider, but “Conjure Man” I dig a lot, and I’d maybe wait to see if it shows up on the LP if you’re on a budget. Scum stats: 500 copies with 100 on red, and I did not expect to get a great looking sleeve silkscreened on the back of a Hamm’s 12 pack from this label or artist. Nice.(RK)
(In the Red // www.intheredrecords.com)

Livids “Your House or the Courthouse” 7″lividsslov
This counts as either the second or third Livids 7″ depending on the order you bought this and the Goodbye Boozy one I guess. Title cut is action rock with a prominent bass sound and a pretty subdued vocal coming from a guy as energetic as Eric Davidson. The hook is there and I enjoy the crisp guitar sound and Jami Wolf’s backup vox. “Zilch” sounds way louder, sharper and faster, and even if it’s about a minute long, it’s a great 90s throwbacker. New Bomb Turks always excelled at cover songs, to the point where I was excited to hear who they were covering as much as their originals. Eric seems to be trying to do the same with Livids, but this drab run through “New Values” isn’t at all exciting. This one has a decent A-Side, but the worst artwork of the Livids records so far. (RK)
(Slovenly Records // www.slovenly.com)

MOTO “Bolt!” LPmotobolt
MOTO “E Pluribus MOTO” LP
If you haven’t been keeping up, aside from their great KBD and STL reissues of late, Rerun Records has also taken up the task of reissuing much of MOTO’s back catalog on vinyl (and even starting up a fan club soon…), and these two LPs are just the beginning. In regards to MOTO, I think everyone has a soft spot for them somewhere in their heart. A truly cult band, Paul Caporino (and whoever he has playing with him) has been at it for over 30 years now, with a MASSIVE catalog of hits (and shits) behind him that I’m sure it’s daunting to the uninitiated. If you’re new, you might as well start with “Bolt!” (which I never knew stood for Best Of Lent Tapes – as this cassette album was recorded during Lent 1986), which itself starts with one of the most classic MOTO tunes, “Dick About it”. You couldn’t pick a better song as your first MOTO experience – killer pop-rock dick jokes as social commentary. The rest of ‘Bolt!’ is 45 minutes of top notch lo-fi punk, garage and rock’n’roll with a surprising amount of melodic hooks and songcraft for so early in the game. The guy’s just got a knack for these tunes, and I have to say I always appreciated that MOTO always keeps the rock at the forefront and rarely if ever could be classified as pop-punk. There’s something goofily Richman-esque about Caporino’s tunes at times, sort of waxing nostalgic about babes and b-movies in the same ways. Personal faves: “Big Black Boots” is damn punk, “Catholic World” hits home, I love the sentiment of “California in the Summertime” and it was fun to see a Barry Goubler songwriting credit here (for those of us who remember Goubler’s Goner Board persona). emoto“E Pluribus MOTO” was first released in 1993 and is Caporino playing along with a drum machine (like most early MOTO records are) and this one has a big hit (like most MOTO records) in “It Tastes Just Like A Milkshake”. I always thought this one sounded a little too drum-“machiney” (if that makes sense, and ‘Bolt!’ is a good example of non-drum machiney for reference), but “Cancer In My Dick” is one of Paul’s funniest and “Transformoto” is wacky spoken word/comedy skit stuff that I wish there was more of. Just in case you didn’t know, both of these were released on vinyl in Euroland back in the Nineties and were getting some insane bids on eBay, so good on Rerun for hitting back at the machine. If I had to pick, I’d choose ‘Bolt!’ everyday, but fanatics will need both. Scum stats: limited to 500 copies, and watch for more MOTO from Rerun soon.(RK)
(Rerun Records // www.rerunrecordsstl.com)

Negro Spirituals “Black Garden” 7″negrospirit
The Nineties rub on this one is that A Wicked Company is a new label from the guy who used to do Vertical Records. Look ’em up on discogs, and you’ll see that Vertical released early Sebadoh, Royal Trux and Cop Shoot Cop records along with stuff from weirdos like Merzbow, Caroliner and Lisa Suckdog. That’s a pretty decent label. Negro Spirituals is the first record under the AWC banner, and I have to question restarting a label in 2013 to release this one, as it comes off like a sloppy version of the neo-goth sound so popular with the kids today. I love excessive amounts of reverb more than most, but these guys didn’t even get that right. It just seems muddy and confused, amps sound blown in a way that is not good. It’s as if the idea here was write a post-punky bassline, then plop some echoed out vocals and synth on top and voila, here’s our new goth band. Pretty lame. The fact that this is a Tenement side project is not surprising, because that band kinda sucks. This sounds like a poorly dubbed tape of a bad Rayon Beach (or some other Woven Bones side project) single that isn’t even on Hozac. Not a great debut release for the label (or the band), but their next single is from G. Green so I’ll stick around. Not being into Merzbow didn’t stop me from buying the “Spike Cyclone” 2×7″, if you know what I’m saying…(RK)
(A Wicked Company // awickedcompanyrecords.bandcamp.com)

Oblivians “Desperation” LPoblivsdesp
The big deal with the first Oblivians studio record since ’99 (if my math is right – and obviously not counting live records, ‘On the Go’ or their side of that Scion split) seems to be people saying something along the lines of “It’s no ‘Soul Food'” or something similarly dismissive. And of course it’s not ‘Soul Food’ redux, nor should you expect it to be. It’s a new record from a band whose first single came out twenty years ago – and it’s hard to realize “Call the Shots” (and myself in relation) has been kicking around for that long. This is a damn good record regardless of whatever baggage you want to bring into it. I think it was Eric who summed it up perfectly in the excellent Goner/Oblivians feature in a recent issue of Thrasher, saying something to the extent of instead of them recording at 2:00 am fueled by booze they recorded this one at 8:00 am hopped up on coffee. People and bands age, and some do it tastefully as Greg, Jack and Eric have. 14 songs, six of them being Greg tracks, two Erics, three Jacks and three covers (“Lovin’ Cup”, “Call the Police” and “Mama Guitar”, all impeccably chosen and played). I’ll admit that the Greg songs that open both sides sound like Reigning Sound played through the Oblivs filter (“I’ll Be Gone” and “Come A Little Closer”), but he backs that up with a real fun rocker (“Pinball King”), one his classic garagers-’bout-a-girl (“Em”) and two great punkers (the title cut and “Oblivion” – which was their song from the Scion split). Jack really comes through on this one with what might be the two best songs – the slow and dirty “Back Street Hangout” (killer solo, and maybe the most desperate sounding cut on a record called ‘Desperation’) and the freight-train garage-punk of “Run for Cover”. Eric handles the two most punk cuts (“Fire Detector” and “Woke Up In A Police Car” – which makes a great 1-2 bunch with “Call the Police”, which in turn might be one of their best covers ever, with help from Quintron once again). It’s very hard to look at this record in regards to their back catalog – songs that are ingrained in our consciousness after over a decade of marinating. It’s not them blazing through “Kick Your Ass” or “And Then I Fucked Her” haphazardly in their twenties, and I hope that’s not what you want out of this record. This is the record I hoped they would make in 2013 as three guys who have done a hell of a lot in between this and 1999. There’s not a bad song in the bunch, as expected, and I’ll say my only minor complaints are maybe wishing there were a couple more Jack or Eric tunes, and I wish they would’ve got D’lana for a cover model just for old time’s sake. If you want some dickheaded record review spew, I’ll say I like this record better than any Reigning Sound record since ‘Too Much Guitar’ and I might end up listening to it more than ‘Play 9 Songs…’ in the long run. A fitting return from one of the greatest garage-punk bands ever. Scum stats: there’s a limited blue vinyl mailorder version that people seem to be fond of…(RK)
(In the Red // www.intheredrecords.com)

Octa#grape “As Long As I Forget” 7″octagrape
The terribly named Octa#grape are a group of major players from the Nineties San Diego scene – two guys from Truman’s Water (including the guy who was also in Soul-Junk! Oof!) and the guitar player from Olivelawn (and fluf), plus a guy from a band called Vytear that I’m not familiar with, but who apparently play “chillwave”. Truman’s Water were a tough band for me to get into (although recalling some of their album/song titles, the name of this band makes a little more sense), for awhile I felt they were Pavement apers and then they became a band that was too arty/free for me to dig fully, but I really tried. A telling moment in my relationship with the band is that I’ve owned at least five or six of their records, and right now none of them are still in my possession. Olivelawn and fluf, I’ll confess to thinking of them as SD’s version of grunge (Jack Endino production included), and they had a song or two I’m sure I was into back then – and it should be noted that O(tis) is a real renaissance man, also moonlighting as a skate photograpaher, a “famous” roadie, producer (of Blink 182’s first record most notably) and record label CEO among many other things. Thinking about all this history, I’m very surprised at what this sounds like – and what it sounds like is Flight (the band – remember them?) right down to the vocal effect and recording, with some Woven Bones and SF-style “garage” touches. Maybe they’ve been hanging with the Volar Records guy or the kids from The Beaters or Ale Mania. I have no idea how these dudes got to this sound from where they were twenty years ago – I almost thought whoever wrote this note was fucking with me about the band members until I internetted this shit. Neither song is bad if you’re into this sound, there are certainly a coupla hooks here and the playing is tight, but fuck, that kid from Flight should get his lawyers on this. It should also be noted that these dudes are playing songs in a genre “created” over the past few years by a bunch of kids and doing it better than most of those kids, for whatever that’s worth. (RK)
(Thing Thing Thing // thingthingthing.bandcamp.com)

The Raydios “Do You Wanna Walk With Me?” 7”raydioswalk
The latest from the revived Raydios, who’ve been pretty busy the past couple of years since the demise of Firestarter (four 7”es and an LP by my count). I’ll admit to not being aware enough to get the last couple of singles they did on Mangrove, but this one is pretty hot and shockingly tough. “Do You Wanna Walk With Me?” reminds me of The Dictators first and foremost, perhaps with a slight glam-stomp to it, but it’s a banger with a gang chorus and catchy riff. Fink’s vox sound great here, and it even has a bit of a Ramones-y hard-pop breakdown as well. “Lies” is again tough stuff, but cooks with some more Teengenerate fire (“GO!”), upping the tempo with a thumping bassline, scratchy guitar and another killer break-up – and again, it gets all ‘tators-NYC-ish at the end, which I’m liking a lot. The best Raydios record I’ve heard since the Nineties. I’m serious. (RK)
(Target Earth // www.ne.jp/asahi/target/earth)

The Shirks s/t 12″ EPshirks12
After a few singles, DC’s The Shirks step up to 12 inches in size for this eight song EP. If you’ve been following the story so far, this is Al from The Problematics new outfit for all you Rip Off Records aficionados, but it’s certainly not rehashing the old sounds so much as it is punking it up more. Some of these tunes sound like Devil Dogs blasting through hardcore tunes, others sound like a modern buzzsaw-guitar version of New Bomb Turks. Faves include “9:30 Dicks”, which takes a jab at the DC venue, and “I Don’t Want to Work It” which is somehow a great modern take on junkie-punk. “Bad Area” ends up sounding a little Fat Wreckords-y, but I guess it’s a fine line to walk when you try to play anthemic punk rock these days. Decent enough throwback stuff here, and I hate to say it but I think the best tunes on this are what I was hoping The Livids were going to sound like. Scum stats: first 100 copies on red vinyl. (RK)
(Grave Mistake // www.greavemistakerecords.com)

V/A “Big Neck Record Store Day Compilation” 7”bigneckrsd
Bart Hart jumps into the RSD game for the first time with this four band compilation with some new acts and some Nineties players as well. The Livids song on this might be my favorite of theirs so far, as “Stop Bleeding” is just straightforward punk blaze with no frills and it goes down with some good burn. Then the X-Rays show up on this thing for a total Nineties flashback (yes the UK band who did the ‘Double Godzilla With Cheese’ LP), and “Six Pack Style” sounds so much like a vintage New Bomb Turks tune it’s remarkable – I don’t ever remember them sounding this good? I guess they have a new LP coming out soon as well. The Nineties really are back. The B-Side has Ireland’s Cheap Freaks, who have members of The Things, a band I never really thought were very good but I’m guessing they sold a decent enough amount of records in Europe. Their tune is passable Euro-garage with gruff vocals. The awkwardly named Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb from DC close it out with a treble-charger of Rip Off-style punk that pays tribute to White Castle, and there’s definitely nothing wrong with that. I think most people will be interested in this to satisfy their Livids jones, but the X-Rays track is surprisingly good and SWALTB are better than their name has you thinking. Scum stats: 600 on mixed-color vinyl. (RK)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)

UP NEXT: The 80s call, Australia and Canada drop by, and Termbo Giant Size Annual #36….

hotlzsglow

 

REVIEWS MARCH

It took a bit longer than I’d hoped, but here are this month’s reviews. Some older records, some newer, and we’ve still got more. Up next is a very needed Demo Zone//Tape Delay update and then more record reviews after that. Maybe some actual “blogging” as well. We’ll see how it goes. Three weeks behind instead of three months behind is a victory at this point. We’ll have some interviews and other surprises soon as well. Thats all for now, we’ll be back real soon.

BAZOOKA VS. BAZOOKA

Forgot I had this one sitting in the “to finish” stack. I have a few more blog posts to get off the desk this week and then we’ll post some stuff about our favorite records of 2012. This one was (or is) going to be the first in a series where bands with the same or similar names square off…and don’t forget to check the new reviews section out while it’s still warm…

bazookafuckBazooka “I Want To Fuck All the Girls In My School” 7”
Slovenly Records continues their European campaign of releasing garage records from countries that are notorious for not having the best in…taste, for lack of a better word. Italy, The Netherlands and now Greece. I wasn’t entirely impressed by the Acid Baby Jesus record, who are apparently the best Greek band since uh…fuck, can anyone out there even name a fucking Greek band? Socrates Drank the Conium is all I can come up with off the top of my head. For some reason I think there was a Greek metal scene of some size…whatever, not important. Bazooka have some ties to ABJ obviously, as how many garage-punks can there actually be there? The title cut takes a Fang riff and plays it through an A-Frames effects-pedal to give it that robot sound and cut it with a poppier chorus part that breaks in with an Intelligence-like vibe. The guitar part gets a bit hypnotizing/nauseating after repeated listens, which is good. The singer really hams it up to fit in with the wacky title concept. Not bad, and easier to remember than any ABJ song. “Monkey Town” is a more straightforward rocker, although they didn’t forget to add copious amounts of reverb. Let’s call it a European approach to Thee Ohsees style. B-Side (“Tingle”) goes for more of the same, with a…get this…TINGLY guitar part, but it has a more rocked out and hookier chorus which makes it the best song on the record. When put up against some of the other bands on the Slovenly roster (The Anomalys, Sultan Bathery, JC Satan) or their pals Acid Baby Jesus (and their side project Gay Anniversary, who are as bad as their name suggests going by their bandcamp songs), this is actually pretty rockin’. If you’re a fan of bands that have two drummers that makes them sound just like a band with one drummer, then this is right up your alley. Or if you’re huge fan of Italian garage-rock and want to step up your game to B level rock, this is all you. Ah, I’m being too harsh, I know…I’m just fucking around, this is a pretty good Eurorokker worth a few of your drachmas. (RK)
(Slovenly Records // www.slovenly.com)

bazookadustyBazooka “Jupiter” 7”
Thomas Function had a moment or two, I’ll admit, but then I think they kind of got beat at their own game by Harlem. Bazooka have the singer (Josh Macero) from T-Func (whose voice was an acquired taste when faced with extended listening time)playing alongside one of those kids from Amber Alerts (whose 7” was a nice slice of gutter-slop on Jeth-Row), and “Jupiter” sounds a lot like Thomas Function’s pop-rock and regrettably not like Amber Alerts snot-rocking, but what can ya do. It’s a well-written and played garage-popper, without the weird little touches TF peppered their songs with early on. The B-Side, “Back To You” (jeez, no one’s ever used that song title before…), is so fucking jangly you might mistake it as being from Wisconsin before the “na-na-na” chorus kicks in and drives a nail into your forehead. Fuck this shit. I feel bad for the chicken on the sleeve of this. That guy had no say in whether or not he wanted to be associated with pseudo-country hogwash like this. It’s not right. (RK)
(Dusty Medical // www.dustymedical.com)

WINNER: Greek Bazooka win this one by a wide margin, because they rocked OK and the B-Side of Alabama Bazooka’s single made me want to take a lighter to it. The Greeks also got points for better artwork and being on a label with a guy named BAZOOKA JOE as its manager/distro dude. I liked that ‘bama ‘zooka had an Amber Alerts connection (because any band on Jeth-Row Records is pure gold), but they squandered that opportunity. The Greeks bring one home, I wish them the best with that economy thing as well. Tune in next time for Fag Cop vs. White Cop…

LOCALS ONLY

V/A White Whale/Mallwalkers split 7”
White Whale side has two short ones with a rougher recording quality than the ‘No Solace’ 7” that fits the rapid-fire tunes and shows off the punker side of the Whale. The idea behind Mallwalkers sounds terrible on paper – a six-piece collision of funk/soul, New Wave and Post-Punk with a horn section and a guy singing into a telephone handset. Recipe for disaster, but I shit you not when I say it works out great. “Won’t You Dance With Me?” combines surfy guitar, bubbling bass and full-on brass attack (with a saxbleat solo that evens gives it a little No Wave flavor) into a herky New Wave whiteboy-groove that will definitely get things moving on the floor. I think the singer sounds just like the guy from The Hates, and the lyrics are certainly not going to blow minds, but danceable hits like this need that simple phrasing. “Lo-Fi Losers” exceeds expectations again with an organ grind that suddenly morphs into a guitarline that leads this punkified horn stomper. This one’s a real fist pumper, with more A-plus bass playing towing the party boat. This isn’t the cheese-funk or lame ska-style shinola your mind might be conjuring up images of. It’s not even Big Boys covering Kool & the Gang. It’s post-punk dance music, I guess…my difficulty coming up with a handy description should be seen as a good thing. That they execute these songs with good taste is quite a feat. I’m glad they’re up to the challenge, and I eagerly await more. Scum stats: 330 copies. (RK)
(Feral Kid // www.feralkidrecords.com)
(Subject // www.subjectrecords.bigcartel.com)

Human Touch s/t 7”
Newer Buffalonian quartet, playing fastpunk jammers with off-the-rails girl vox. A-Side packs in four tracks on the more hardcore side, velocity-wise. “Youth Prison” has some agile tempo-changes, “Skeletons” sounds like the young lady laid down her vocal track in the midst of a nervous breakdown (which is a good thing, at least music-wise, but I hope she’s okay though), “Cold Hands, Cold Hearts” has a touch of keyboard and a lil’ breakdown for semi-hard pitting and “Blank Page” finishes with a brief mosher. The B-Side has only the (theme?) song “Human Touch”, a more mid-tempo indie-rocker that seems a bit restrained. Recording is clean, almost too clean – the guitar sound is pretty bland and something tougher or even louder would have given this some needed bite. As it stands, it’s the vocals that save this from being pretty generic. The band can certainly play, but I wish they sounded as wild as the vox so she doesn’t have to shoulder so much of the load. Scum stats: 320 copies, silkscreened sleeves. (RK)
(Feral Kid Records // www.feralkidrecords.com)
(One Percent Press // www. onepercentpress.com)

White Whale “No Solace” 7”
Third single from White Whale, the current full-time project of the driving forces behind the now defunct Everything Falls Apart. One song per side, with “No Solace” being another of their Hot Snakes-esque guitar rockers, full of angsty riffing and having a decent hook. B-Side (“Waxing”) slows things way down for an emotive and mature indie tune. I’m never a fan of bands slowing down or maturing, but I also think White Load released two of the best records of the year, so you know my head is in the shitter. It’s recorded wonderfully, but I’d still recommend either of their earlier singles if you want to give them a shot. This one does have their best artwork though, with a clever obi-strip-like presentation that actually serves a purpose instead of just being a strip of paper that gets in the way when you want to listen to the record. Scum stats: 320 copies, silkscreened art and insert with a picture from a show I actually think I was at, which is always cool. (RK)
(Feral Kid Records // www.feralkidrecords.com)
(One Percent Press // www. onepercentpress.com)

Rational Animals “Gabrielle” 7”
Rotcore’s most popular act (outside of Monroe County at least), with their first release since their breakout LP from last year. A-Side is their song-about-a-girl, and it’s mid-tempo chug with a lackluster solo, at least for the standard Will has established on previous outings. Seems like one of those formulaic songs where a band decides they need to write a catchy A-Side, but just doesn’t execute it well. One of the few times these cats have let me down. “Eating My Words” makes up for it on the flip, with a slowed down thrash riff and the type of guitar chug I expect from this guy, full-on whammy bar action, dropped/cracked note soling and a tripped out overall feel. It starts off slow and then they slow it down more for a real queasy finale. Creeping and crawling. Now that’s a song. If you’ve been dying for a new record by these kids, this is still a winning situation for you – even if the A-Side’s a bit of clunker, it ain’t terrible, and the flip is a choice cut. This record looks fucking great too, with the front being Nic’s version of the Sub Pop singles club aesthetic and the back cover designed by Rotcore overlord Brett “Bad Taste” Kucharski himself. Scum stats: part of Cowabunga’s Sick Club (full details here), which means a single press of 500 (which will surely sell out), with 100 on color for subscribers only. (RK)
(Cowabunga Records // www.cowabungarecords.com)

The Narcs “Long Hot Summer” 7”
Second EP from Rotchester sketch-lords The Narcs. I never really thought their first single did them justice (and they’ll forever be one of those bands whose live presence will never be rightfully captured on wax), but this six-song outing does them much better. Title cut is all riffs and snot, “High Robot” is hilariously dumb “concept” punk (a retarded A-Frames take from a band that I’m 99% sure have never heard the A-Frames) that could even pass for a younger and dumber Spits, and the epic “Rat Bone” is a live set favorite with a bouncy guitar/bass thump rev-up that turns to total level 11 punkitude (“I don’t grow up, I throw up!”) and then devolves into a sleaze jam breakdown. One of their best songs, lyrically and musically. Shwag Side kicks off with the retardo-blues-punker “Mobile Jail” which has terrible harmonica playing and a slip-n-slide solo. “R.O.T. Blood” is another live set shit-kicker and “Slime” is guitar punkola ala Livefastdie, but these kids aren’t joking. A far better sampling of The Narcs’ wares this time around, if you were let down by the first single this one is a far better representation of Rotcore’s most dangerous outfit. And do not ever miss them should they play within 100 miles of your town. Scum stats: first 50 on blue flavored vinyl.(RK)
(Cowabunga Records // www.cowabungarecords.com)

Flip Shit “Outgoing Rockers” EP
Debut vinyl from young shavers Flip Shit and the first record released by the Reel Time empire in a bit, and I’m glad to see the label back on track. Brett must have spent the downtime saving up money for the packaging on this thing: brown paper company sleeves that must have been a pain in the ass to get printed (including a clever “hooks” graphic and ‘The Quality Cut’ logo), inserts that were printed on loose leaf paper to look like they were scribbled with a pencil during study hall (complete with individual lipstick kisses on each copy) and the outer sleeves themselves have three-color screening on the absolute thickest pocket sleeves I’ve ever seen. Musically, Flip Shit are Rotcore incarnate. Young, loud and sloppy. Six songs spread thick over both sides, full of rat-a-tat drumming and guitar shred, some of which carry the mandatory Rotcore surf-twang inflection, jabber jawing vocals and bucketloads of piss and drool. From “Stoop Rock” into “Watch Your Mouth” they remind me of the modern WNY version of Suicidal Tendencies, barfing out anti-authoritarian hate-anthems perfect for dropping into either the pit or the pool. B-Side opener “America” has the hottest licks as they try to play fast enough to spontaneously combust. “End It All” is Living In Darkenss-era Agent Orange on poppers and “Shit Out of Luck” is DK-influenced punk without any of the smarts. Hailing from the outlying Rochester burg of Hilton, where the “real punks” apparently live, and which is home to two more of my favorite current Rotcore acts (sharing members with Flip Shit), Beastman and Crue Pie, who I hope have records out soon (or just someday at all). Scum stats: 300 copies only, with aforementioned bonkers packaging which is worth the price of admission alone. (RK)
(Reel Time Records // reeltimerecordss.bigcartel.com)

Gas Chamber “Modern Vision of the Erect Nightmare” EP
I’ve never been a fan of much power-violence, and even though Gas Chamber’s lineage comes from some of Buffalo’s most legendary acts in that particular frame of reference (They Live, Slavestate, Running for Cover), they’ve gone beyond whatever genre confines that nametag might apply to music. Their last EP was a stunning example of what can (and should) simply be called brute force hardcore. Truly heavy music, with an attention to aesthetic that I admire and wish more bands possessed. Deep thought taken with thetotal package is evident here. Painstakingly detailed art and design that is relevant and part and parcel to the music. The cover image, taken from a 1970s suicide at Buffalo’s city hall where a jumper impaled himself on a flag pole, is immediately striking. The insert is a panoramic photo, shot from the observation deck where the dead man probably sat before hurling himself into the wind. The music, well it’s all atmosphere and concept. Wrapped around both sides is one long “song”, beginning with some circuit-bending noise, nearly industrial, which cuts off into a metallic dirge with violently barked vocals (one thing I’ve never understood is taking the time to write some profound words, and then bark them out nearly unintelligibly, but I guess that’s what lyric sheets are for) about uh…violence and suffering and the futility of life and architecture. Common themes for a band operating in this arena, sure, but done with more gravitas than just pulling images of war atrocities from some history book and rendering them in black and white. The piece segues back into the noisy echo which bridges the sides, becomes a bit less industrial and more of a haunting electric hum, with more bloody gargling of lyrics over this moody subliminal electric pulse and an ominous sound that begins to make its presence felt, like girders bending or the creaking of a submarine’s steel hull that you’d hear when all is quiet twenty thousand leagues under. The record then bleeds out into a delicate acoustic guitar coda. It’s quite ambitious, and more of high concept art project than the hardcore of their previous efforts. I admire the tenacity with which they brought their ideas to fruition, and the last time I saw them live my jaw and mind were totally dropped by what I can only refer to as prog-power-violence. This is not a record I will be spinning when I’m in need of some tunes, but it is a work of art I’m glad to own and can see myself re-visiting. If more bands had the attention to detail and depth of vision that Gas Chamber have I’d have a lot less to bitch about in most of the reviews I write these days. Scum stats: 500 copies.(RK)
(Nerve Altar // nervealtar.blogspot.com)

Utah Jazz s/t 7”
Long-anticipated (‘round these parts at least) debut waxing from Buffalo’s wyldest three-piece unit. For non-locals, you’ve got one part Brown Sugar, one part Mayday and one part gal drummer who played in some heavier-style outfits the names of which will just go over yer head if you don’t live in the 716. If you were hip enough to grab their demo, you get some tunes from that re-done and a couple more winners, five knockouts all told. Twin-guitar twang instrumental “Lookin’ Like Howwywood” hits a lead-off single which they drive home with “Florida”, here given the deluxe treatment with some flute soloing that’ll have people thinking the Jazz have listened to an Ohsees record or two, and I can assure they have, but this is more rock than psych – guitars run lines in and around each other while, get this, the girl actually sings(!). Stellar stuff. B-Side gets all punk and shit, “Media Schlitz” has some real shitkicking drum action under the guitar dueling, “Contact Low” keeps the pace manic, “Seeing the Eye Doctor” is garage-jam-punk-tastic. These kids have a ton of tunes in the can, expect more action soon. There are times when I think the Jazz are better than any of the participant’s “main” bands. Which is a tall order, and certainly makes the record one of the best Buffalo has to offer for export these days. Scum stats: 500 copies, 25 copy special edition record release sleeve. (RK)
(Media Schlitz // mediaschlitz-at-gmail.com)

CANADIANA

This time around: Canadian reissues from two recently reinvigorated Canadian labels. Some classic pre-punk sounds from Supreme Echo (who did the Jerk Ward retrospective and Polski Punk comps a few years ago), who also have a Neos discography LP, Dishrags comp LP and more Twich on tap, as well as the now-available reissue of Arctic Inuit-rockers Northern Haze. More details here, ordering info for the below singles is located here and you can e-mail the label direct at kwiateczku-at-hotmail.com or check their not really updated website.

Simon Harvey’s Ugly Pop has been delivering the goods for many years, whether it be crucial Japcore (Paintbox, Warhead), Raw Power/Fratricide/Dream Dates reissues, early 2000’s Canadian hardcore and punk from his time in both Toronto and Vancouver, but he’s recently started work on a incredible Canadian garage and punk reissue spree, the first two batches of which are reviewed below. First wave was Dream Dates/Arson/CK5, second wave is RNR Bitches/Hot Nasties/Spys and the third wave will be comprised of Sixties garage rock 7″ classics from A Passing Fancy, Bent Wind and Northwest Company and will even later lapse into modern day punk with a Hygiene single, a Hackamore Brick reissue(!) and even more in the works. Watch this page for more news.

The Twitch “Things” EP
Four tracks from obscuro 1973 Vancouver rockers who graduated from the Sixties teen garage scene, compiling their first two 45s over two sides. “Things” is the centerpiece, a brooding bad-trip sounding proto-punker that bridges the gap between Sixties garage and psych (even if the band held the burgeoning “psych” movement in disdain) which was backed with the biker-rock “Pickup Is Illegal on 401 (Hitchhiker’s Blues)” that certainly brought their dreams of being a true hard rock power trio to fruition, with what you have to call a stone-groove of a drumbeat interrupted by tough vox and power moves on the chorus. Their second 45 fills the less-essential B-Side, with “Sweet Thursday” being an uptempo and sunny rocker that reminds me a bit of the brighter moments of CCR with a poppier bent and the joke of “Country Tune”, which could be the early equivalent of the 70’s anti-disco punk tune which they fry out at the end with some fuzz pedals and a squealing solo. I imagine Stompin’ Tom Connors was none too pleased if he ever heard this. The accompanying booklet provides a great history, repros of early newspaper clippings and vintage pics. The striking group you see on the sleeve is what the band evolved into later on in ’73, cribbing from Alice Cooper or Roy Wood, and seeking to push their already “ear-splitting” reputation further they adopted the make-up and costumes, two of them looking like Norwegian Death Metallers twenty years ahead of their time while the drummer opted for impersonating the In-Betweener. According to the liners, they went into a “Dark Years” phase which had them turning into some sort of proto-doom band, with heavier tunes and imagery, which I would love to hear based on the Stooges/Pentagram description dropped by the label for the forthcoming LP compiling this era. Well packaged and researched, this is a pretty choice package for the A-Side alone. There’s supposedly a limited version that comes with full color trading cards as well.(RK)
(Supreme Echo // www.supremeecho.com)

Sphex “Time” 7″
Absolutely killer reissue from small-town Ontario Seventies rockers Sphex, whose story is told in great detail in the booklet, but to paraphrase they obviously never got much recognition outside their hometown due to your typical bad timing/tough luck story. They recorded these songs as part of the soundtrack to a film, which were released as a small run single a little too late to save them, and then an ill-fated tour nailed the coffin closed. The proto-punk tag doesn’t seem so fitting for this one. What you can hear are some prog leanings, but they thankfully cater to the more space-rock side of the genre than sprawling Yes-like bores. They’re rockers for sure though, prog-style or not. Guitar player is a total cape-wearing nut and his playing carries the tunes all the way. “Time” certainly summons up some phased-out spacetime bliss, with teenaged hot licks splayed all over while the band steers the vessel with some surprisingly talented drumming and steady rhythms. “Leaving This Crazy City” might actually warrant the proto-punk tag, sounding like a more well-mannered Soggy. It’s a killer riff-driven hard rocker that chugs with a certain punk-like menace, and the soloing on this side sounds more Stoogey than the noodly work on “Time”. As I’m sure I’ve said 100 times before, it’s so rare these days to find unheard-of gems like this, and the quality of both tracks is pretty impressive. Singer might be a Seventies hard rock stereotype, but the thud on Side B is certainly worth a look. Impeccable packaging again, well done on all fronts.(RK)
(Supreme Echo // www.supremeecho.com)

Crash Kills Five “What Do You Do At Night?” 7″
Pre-Young Lions (! – who I’ve always been told were Toronto’s first hardcore band – and best along with YYY) and pre-Shadowy Men on Shadowy Planet (!! – and I should mention the Shadowy Men discography is being reissued on vinyl by Mammoth Cave this summer in conjunction with a couple of reunion shows – and Ugly Pop is releasing a 7″ from Filthy Gaze of Europe which features Don [Shadowy Men/CK5] and Dallas from Sadies/Elevator playing with guest vocalists…)!  These Toronto punk rocker’s only single from 1980 gets the reissue treatment here on the reactivated Ugly Pop label. Pop hooks and catchy choruses abound, title cut has a particularly Buzzcockian build, “It’s Always There” has a Ramonesy dum dum vocal and adept rock-n-pop mix, “Special School” continues with some more punk edge offset by backing harmonies. A fine compliment to The Diodes, Teenage Head and other hyperactive hook-driven Ontario punks of the era. Informative liners in a nice tri-fold insert presentation (an idea that probably could have saved insane Tim Warren from having to print a gatefold sleeve to cover all the Psycho Surgeons liners…) including the anecdote that after their remaining singles sat around the bass player’s apartment for years after band called it quits, he decided to give them away to trick-or-treaters one Halloween. Tasty treats indeed. (RK)
(Ugly Pop // www.uglypop.bigcartel.com)

Arson “White Folks” 7″
Faithful repro of this obscure ’79 punk jammer from Arson, a super group with members from Viletones, The Ugly and others, with “Coho! Coho!” being a favorite of mine from back on the first volume of ‘Smash the State’, a total guitars-blazin’ punk rocker with frantic and rough pacing and a great singalongable chorus. Sort of a friendlier (or just Canadian) Dead Boys approach that carries over to the B-Side as well, which is a slow burner called “(Livin’ With The) White Folks” where the singer shows off his well-honed sneering and leering Stiv-like delivery. Definitely my fave of this first batcch, and probably the most overtly punk. Both sides are more than worthwhile and this is the one to get if you only have enough lunch money for one of this inital round of pups. Nothing as far as liners, but does come with a lyric insert.(RK)
(Ugly Pop // www.uglypop.bigcartel.com)

Dream Dates “Surfer Joe” 7″
Not technically a reissue, but the release of the Dream Dates final single recorded in 1979, from the same sessions that gave us “The Mess You’re In” and “Moans on the Phone” 7″es which Ugly Pop unearthed some years ago (and were comped on a 12″ by Re-Force as well), so you know this is a special band as far as the label CEO is concerned, and rightfully so, as they’re probably one of the more well-rounded of the classic Toronto punk outfits – and one of most American sounding, if that makes any sense. Two covers this time around, which is a slight bummer, but they do a killer buzzsaw-guitar take on the Surfaris’ tune, which sounds like a way uptempo Dolls and even a bit like The Saints. They do “Tallahassee Lassie” on the flip (and keep in mind these covers made a lot of sense 30+ years ago) which has super crunchy guitars and sounds like a Heartbreakers/Dictators jam session/drinking marathon. If you have the others, there’s no reason to not complete the set. Insert features a promo shot of Beef Stu and Co., but no sign of the leather-catsuit wearing minx from “The Mess..” 7″ sleeve…(RK)
(Ugly Pop // www.uglypop.bigcartel.com)

Hot Nasties “Invasion of The Tribbles” EP
Fantastic 1980 punkola from Calgary’s Hot Nasties that isn’t so much young, loud and snotty as it is young, dorky and fun a la a more serious (and proficient) Gizmos or other nerdy rockers on the sci-fi referential “Invasion of the Tribbles” with some art school nods in the back seat. Reminded me a little of the best 63 Monroe cuts even. “I Am A Confused Teenager” is inspiringly angsty with lyrical content that belies the seemingly fun-loving tune, great cracked-voice “singing”, lots of UK-style bonehead plodding all over a good hook and pub-style singalong chorus. B-Side is the slowed up “The Secret of Immortality” that sounds quite British in a more serious DIY fashion for a change of pace. I should note that band “leader” Waren Kinsella is now a lawyer/politician of some stature in Toronto, but still acknowledges his punk roots. Only in Canada! Contains fold-out  insert with lyrics and humorous liners. My favorite of the very strong second wave/trio of the label’s reissues. (RK)
(Ugly Pop // www.uglypop.bigcartel.com)

Rock’n’Roll Bitches “Wild West” EP
Edmonton punker’s super-rare and only record from 1980 reissued. Teenage Head vs. The New York Dolls is the recurring theme, with some Thunders-esque guitar melded to a punker template throughout. “Someone Could Lose An Eye” is the sing-a-long anthem, “Broad Daylight” is frantic and buzzing with strong riff and vocals. “Welder’s Song” reminds me of Canadian City Rock, with a hearty Midwest feel to it even if the vox are a bit off (I think there’s a different – and not as confident- singer on this one), but it adds some charm. “Wild West” closes with some Maximum R&B infused Saints-esque raving. A real solid mix, all four tracks are worth a spin for a definite got-your-moneys-worth satisfaction. Comes with two inserts showing off vintage pics.(RK)
(Ugly Pop // www.uglypop.bigcartel.com)

The Spys “Underground” 7″
Two song banger from Windsor, ON, which is the Canadian burg directly across the water from Detroit for those of you bad at geography. There’s a definite Motor City buzz to “Going Underground” (Windsor also boasts a GM Transmission plant, by the way), but it’s also real deal KBD tough rocking with a bit of attitudical snot.  There are certainly plenty things punk about going underground, one way or another, and it’s a sneakily catchy number. Flipside is “Machine Shop”, complete with fake jazzbo intro which breaks into post-Groovies rock’n’punk, simple yet effective, very Ramones-esque as well. Repeat the same five or six words or so along with the title – “All work, no play, hey!”  – and you’ve got a winning formula. A strong single from 1980 that sounds like it could even be a couple years older than that. Comes with repros of both sleeves plus some unseen photos. The sleeper pick of the second batch, I don’t remember the A-Side being this great!(RK)
(Ugly Pop // www.uglypop.bigcartel.com)

ATL

GG King “Last of the Night Wiggers” 12”
Tour-only 12” (pressed for The Rockaround and Tejas shows) repacking of the ‘Last of the Night Wiggers’ six-song demo tape which preceded all of the records, adding a couple bonus cuts as well. 8 tracks, 4 per side at 45rpm for maximum volume. A-Side has the demo (and superior version, according to GG) of “Babbling Voices”, the never-on-vinyl “Head in the Clouds” which is one of my favorite King cuts, demo version of “Drug Zoo”, and the thrashpunk (and unwaxed) “Flowing Robes” , which is pretty sick. B-Side is rough versions of “Witching Hour” and the cover of “The Letter” from the ‘Drug Zoo’ EP, the previously unreleased (unless you own the ‘Chris Van Etten’s Last Stand’ cassette, which is possibly a fictional release) and live “Lord of Light” (yes, a Hawkwind cover) and a “sicker, slower” version of “Parameciums” from the LP sourced from another (again, possibly fictional) demo tape . There aren’t many bands I dig more than GG King’s outfit these days, and he’s supposedly working on a new LP as we speak. Great liner notes and budget paste-on sleeves make this an essential part of the story thus far. Scum stats: 165 copies. Good luck. (RK)
(Scavenger of Death // scavengerofdeathrecords.blogspot.com)

GG King “Joyless Masturbation” 7″
The concept of joyless masturbation is something that is familiar to men (or perhaps boys is the proper term) who have spent some time bottomed out, maybe on the booze or drugs or just on the unpleasant gifts life (and ladies) sometimes dump on your head with seemingly relentless zeal. A perfunctory habit that offers the absolute cheapest of thrills when you can no longer be thrilled or even care to be. Sometimes you just do things because you can. It’s something I at least thought about when spinning this single, a habit that itself can at times fall into the same rut. Sometimes I feel like I have to listen to records. Sometimes the repetition of reviewing these 7″ slabs of plastic has become like nothing but beating my meat out of sheer habit. Something once thrilling, now turned boring. But sometimes you get a return, and this song (which isn’t even the “hit” on this single), full of droning vox and a busy drum “beat” (yuk), is at the very least a forceful punk tune for banging your head (either one) against a wall. As on the ‘Esoteric Lore’ LP, Mr. King takes things a few steps forward content-wise than things ever got with the Carbonas. Dark places I’m sure we’re all comfortable in, perhaps awkward, but saying a little more than just your average punk-tune, which is admirable. A high quality A-Side that might be made forgettable by the seemingly inane virtue of the B-Side, “Bag”, which runs hot and spirited and is the finest song I think I’ve heard this year that I can at least remember. You ball it up, wrap it up, you wad it in a ball and you put in a bag….or something like that? What the fuck is he talking about? Everything, anything, who gives a shit. Maybe he’s talking about huffing glue, maybe he’s talking about storing away your feelings. I don’t care, yet I do. A great song that is surely fitting to be released on a label called Total Punk any which way you slice it. I love this guy, his band, this song, the ripping guitar part that sounds like a zip gun. My favorite single of 2012 so far. Scum stats: 85 mailorder-only copies with a sharp looking promo poster, and an undisclosed amount of the “Gary Wrong Killed Total Punk” edition (see the labels for explanation). The “regular” version (with the always classy hand-stamped Total Punk sleeves) should do you just fine as well.(RK)
(Total Punk // www.floridasdying.com)

] Wymyns Prysyn “Payday” 7″
Scavenger of Death are quietly batting 1.000 down in Georgia, and this single keeps their hitting streak alive. Title cut is an absolute blazer, taking the ATL sound and adding some bigger balls to it. Very bottom heavy, with some real macho guitar drive, seemingly derived more from US hardcore than the KBD-influenced bands we already know and love from Atlanta. The closest geographical reference might be The Frantic or Predator, but darker and faster and meaner. “Cat Pills” speeds by with catchy downer riffing and whiplash velocity. B-Side is an instrumental that switches gears into Wipers territory, a la one of Sage’s wandering spacey guitar jams with some crunchy breaks. Obviously allied with the ex-Carbonas crew (guess who mastered this one), but sounding little like them – which shouldn’t put off fans of that sound either, as I like most of the bands that sound like the ‘bonas anyway. Scum stats: 50 copies with alt sleeve.(RK)
(Scavenger of Death // scavengerofdeathrecords.blogspot.com)

Vincas “Blood Bleeds” LP
For his latest release the Douchemaster leaves Atlanta and travels up the road to Athens to bring us the debut LP from Vincas, a three-piece charting some territories we’re all quite familiar with already. I’m talking about the swamp-blues, sludgily rocking and heavily soaked with the influence of The Scientists and Birthday Party and other Orstralian meat-eaters and cavern-dwellers. Mix in some Gun Club death and desperation and a little bit of NYC Chrome Cranks garage-scum and you have the basic outline for what Vincas do. Most of the time the band colors things in exciting ways (even if we’ve heard them done before), and the way they stir the ingredients makes them come out sounding like the Necessary Evils (“Gravity”, “Hell Ride”) and/or The Beguiled (“Saw Her”,“Stone Girl”) more often than not. That’s not a complaint. “Deadache” is a pretty good hard-guitar garage-punk song in the Beasts of Bourbon mold. “Red Eyed” has a heavy psych-throb drone more aligned with modern rockers like Birds of Maya than anything garage. Sure, they slip up on a couple tunes like resorting to Cramps-a-billy on “Dead and Alone” or the regrettably hokey “In My Bones”, but you’re gonna break a couple eggs when playing in this genre. If I hadn’t listened to the last two tracks on the A-Side I’d have little to complain about here. I’ve enjoyed listening to this for a couple days now, particularly when the guy just sings instead of getting all Lux-y on us. They’re very tasteful with the reverb, and whip up a real fury on most of the tracks instead of hitting us over the head with trudging no-tempo downers or the aforementioned rockabilly schtick, managing to avoid thepitfalls of the style. Like I said, reminding me of The Beguiled is a good thing, and Vincas play the garage-creep card without getting overly corny or BBQ’ed. Heavy, loud and dark and worth a pick-up if you dig anything I name dropped above. Not for fans of the Hex Dispensers and pop-punk. Scum stats: self-released band edition of 100 with screened sleeves, with the Douchemaster copies in standard sleeves for a total of 500.(RK)
(Douchemaster Records // douchemasterrecords.blogspot.com)

thanks to Floridas Dying for the pic