RECORD REVIEWS?!

Hello everybody. It’s been too long, I know. Here are quite a few reviews of records that we’ve been compiling for some time now. Please note that further reviews/commentary on releases (some also included here, some not) are/were available via the 2015 recap from the staff as well Termbo print issue #3. I’m trying my damnedest to get caught up and organized for more frequent spring/summer updates. It’s well known the worst thing about zines is the editor making excuses why the new issue is late, and even worse than that is saying about how lame it is then doing it anyway. Let’s just say that it’s been a pretty rough stretch at Termbo HQ. Forging onward, demos/tapes are getting ready to go as we speak, and there’s another heap of record reviews coming soon as well, along with an interview with Marcia Clifton of The Klitz. And Termbo print #4 ready for summer beach reading. Apologies to all for the tardiness, drop the editor a line with comments/questions/outrage. RIP STABB.

REVIEWS

PRINT(ED) MATTERS

While we put the finishing touches on the reviews update (as if it wasn’t big enough) we found some items to clear from the desk before we shutdown to observe Independence Day – some zine reviews and a brief Horriblefest recap the editor scribbled on some White Castle napkins during his trip – hey, it’s not like we’re known for our punctuality. Record reviews are on deck, followed by a huge Demo Zone/Tape Delay and an incredible take on the Garbage Can (hey, we’re two for two this year! We’ve got a couple more in circulation as well). After that we have some interviews and other treats. See you soon and be careful with those fireworks kids.

Many of the zines below can be had from FEEL IT, the finest zine distro in the land. Sam also has a great selection of records and tapes often not available elsewhere – including what are probably the last copies of the Gutter Gods LP in the US, which you’re fool if you don’t own.

Brain and Scalp – Issue 001 -28 pages, half size. First issue of this mini-zine covering the Alabama punk scene(!). Looks like they spent a few extra bucks on some color ink for the printer, but then rendered it useless by making all the photos inverse/negatives with some kind of pink/purpley hue. Weird. Anyway, this issue covers live shows in Mobile (Peelander-Z, Wizzard Sleeve, Paint Fumes and lots more including Hibachi Stranglers, who I am really glad to hear still play out – now let’s get that LP recorded fellas) and has a lengthy review/short interview regarding the two Cuntz LPs and US tour. The best part of this one is the Gary Wrong reviews column (“Wrong Way”!). Other than Gary’s section, this one’s not so hot, but it has lots of ads from the Southern scene (Holotrash, Jeth Row, Total Punk, Pelican Pow Wow, etc…) (brainandscalp@live.com)

JERK_STORE_13
Jerk Store – Issue 13/Jan 2014 – 30 or so pages, B&W, half-size, paper is off white for a nice effect and laid out very well, although this guy should bump the font up a size or two or start going to a larger size sheet, because it’s a squinter of a read. This is the first issue of Jerk Store to be passed around Termbo HQ, and it’s pretty decent. Best stuff: the live show pictorials which spread over two pages and have the flier for the show, a shot of each band and some action shots of the crowd. A really cool way to cover live stuff with no words – makes me wonder if a show sucked if they would put in pics of the crowd looking bummed instead of pitting. The Daylight Robbery tour diary of Australia was a good read, even though I’m not familiar with the band. Cool interview with 1981 – I’m not into Finnish crust it, but it was laid out great as well as having good questions. The record review section looks better than is to read, but at least there’s enthusiasm even if all the reviews are positive. Not a fan of the personal/day-in-the-life column stuff either, keep that shit in your journal, pal. Cool Aussie zine overall though, I’m gonna steal some ideas from this guy’s layouts. (jerkstore.bigcartel.com)

MAXIMUM TREMOLOMaximum Tremolo – Issues 1 & 2 – “Making Surf A Fucking Threat Again”! Wait, was surf music ever a threat? I kid! B&W printing on color stock, half size, #1 runs 16 pages, while #2 bumps it up to a big time 40+. Full disclosure, this zine comes from the surf metropolis that is my hometown of Buffalo, NY and I know a couple of the sketchy characters involved in its creation. The good news is that these weirdos have a genuine passion for the often maligned genre and I know that the authors of most of the articles herein are principled individuals who will call a turd a turd when necessary. Issue 1 is a quickie, setting up the recurring columns: ‘Look What the Tide Washed In’ dealing with weird/odd surf (King U and Cousin Al so far), Ask Dr. Surf, Dollar Bin Rippers, What The Heck Are You Playing? Etc… Interviews range from Mike Hunchback to Feral Kid Records to La Luz and more. Live reviews, show reviews, zine reviews and #2 has a pretty extensive records section. The best surf zine out there, and that includes that piece of crap The Continental (see issue #2 for more on that). These dudes are also in a band called Aaron & The Burrs who you should check out if you’re thinking of getting in the modern surf game. Available for the nice price ($2) or trade. (utrecords.storenvy.com)

organ grinderOrgan Grinder – Issue #3 – full color, full size, 22 pages. A rare puzzle/comics/humor mag with a punk/pop culture bent. Crosswords, sodoku (sic), jumbles, word search, math, matching games and more interspersed with semi-reviews of stuff, eccentric columns and comic strips. Best parts of this issue were the linguistic analysis of the word “oogle” in regards to crust culture and the ‘Canadian or Scientologist’ and ‘Gay or Adopted’ quizzes. Pretty goofy, sometimes funny and some of these quizzes are actually a bit tough. (www.organgrindermagazine.com)

rubberneck 8Rubberneck – Issues 8 & 9 – full size, full color covers, 36 pages, pro-printed. I’ll admit I’ve not historically been a fan of the “photo zine”, but Austin’s Rubberneck has changed my opinion, as it’s probably one of the best zines out there right now. The photos are spectacular (usually by editor Jon Chamberlin, with help from his staff), a mix of posed and action shots of bands from all ends of the garage-rock spectrum. There are some well done interviews in each issue now (the Cheetah Chrome, Russell Quan and Head interviews are good examples of the short form) and my favorite part is Miranda Fisher’s record reviews section, because get this, she actually has an opinion! There’s usually a couple of goofy columns you can skip over (although the Ask Wes Coleman column will appeal to fans of the guy) but Issue #9 marks the appearance of ‘Get Quapped’ written by Termbo’s favorite son and Liquor Store legend Sarim Al-Rawi, which I hope to see a lot more of. Shit, just have the guy write captions for the whole zine! I also think the ‘Popular Oblivians Favorites’ article wherein they ask some garage-rock kingpins (Nobunny, Buck Biloxi, Useless Eater, OBN, etc.) about their favorite ‘blivs cuts was a great idea. I would subscribe to this publication if I were you. (www.rubberneckzine.com)

degenerateDegenerate Zine – any/all issues – just wanted to mention Sam Lefebvre’s Degenerate again because I finally caught up on some back issues and I sadly believe that the zine might now be defunct. You should definitely track down all issues you can find (in particular the later full sized issues that came with flexis from Scraper and Musk) – I believe some Bay Area stores still have them (1234! Go at least) online for non-CA residents. Intelligently written and razor sharp criticism combined with a great eye for cut-n-paste layout made it one of my favorite US zines of modern days and possibly the US equivalent to the Distort/NGL standard, covering a good cross section of hardcore-punk both old and new. The website has disappeared but maybe you can e-mail degeneratezine-at-gmail.com and look here: http://degenerateephemera.tumblr.com/.

cretinsCretins of Distortion – Issue #3 – full size, 54 pages, B&W. Sloptastic zine action from the Midwest hardcore scene, this zine is based out of Columbus and I’m pretty sure is written by a young lady. Covers bands/records/shows centering around cretins like Big Zit, Lumpy & The Dumpers and the rest of the Spotted Race, Gas Rag, Culo and anyone else from STL to Detroit to NWI and even dipping into Clevo. Good article on 26/Doc Dart, lots of tape reviews and coverage a scene that’s got tons of interesting shit going on. Cut and paste layout is as obnoxious as the bands covered here (that’s a compliment), great use of stick-on lettering, the writing is sometimes a bit young but very energetic and the fact that this monster issue sticks to covering one (albeit rather geographically wide) scene speaks to the fact that there is some serious shit going down in the Midwest. This one comes bagged and tagged with a “The Midwest Is Alright” decal and includes a button, sticker and poster. Issue #2 is equally as gross/awesome and has a cool tye-dyed cover. I still need tapes from Ooze, CHUD and Big Zit if anyone’s holding! Still available via Grave Mistake it appears. Go there now. (www.gravemistakerecords.com)

wetworldWet World – Issue #? – 44+ pages, full size, B&W. Not sure if this still available anywhere, but it’s a must have. Firstly, this mostly covers the Midwest scene, but stretches the focus outside as well. Sloppy as shit layout actually works, mainly due to the use of a lot of hand drawn stuff. There’s a full length Officer Brad X interview recounting his LSOK days and also reprinting the N-Word Xmas story with great illustrations and snide comments added (which apparently miffed Mr. X after the fact). It’s honestly really funny from both sides of the story. Also includes a Brain Tumors interview (the band with the best tour blog ever), a VCR interview (the new Toronto band, not Vice City Rockers, but it’s still ok), the old “interview yourself” bit, illustrations from Lumpy, some fantastic Bill Murray criticism and what is probably the best reviews section I’ve read in years (records and films). This kid loves Big Zit, Kremlin, Neil Young, True Sons of Thunder and Lumpy. I like the cut of his jib. (you can download a pdf of it here)

56 flyersOver 56 Flyers Plus More – full size, B&W, 68 pages, with additional 4 full size posters and 12 page two color risograph printed half-size book. Title says exactly what it is – a compendium of flyers from the NYC scene from 2006-2013 from Eugene Terry (Dwan of Humans/Crazy Spirit) and Sam Ryser (Crazy Spirit/Dawn of Humans). The “Toxic State” aesthetic if you will. If you love these bands as much as I do you might want to foot the bill for this one. Cool as shit, plus Papertown has loads more interesting material, including more art zines, tapes, patches and dead bugs. (http://papertowncompany.bigcartel.com)

aggroAGGRO – Issue 1 – half size, 28 pages, B&W, color cover – from some of the same minds as Savage Damage Digest comes this zine subtitled “Observations from the Unpopular Era of Punk & Hardcore”, which apparently means anything from the late Eighties or Nineties in general. Short stories and recollections from seven authors with topics including an ’87 Bad Brains show, some SoCal scene reminiscing, a recounting of the incident when Jello Biafra broke his leg at Gilman St., going to shows in Tijuana, NY/NJ punk reflection and The Skinhead Menace. Lots of good pics and fliers used, it’s a quick and fun read – even if it gets a little too ‘personal zine’ style at times, at least it’s all about music. (savagedamagedigest@gmail.com)

distort 43DISTORT – Issues 43 & 44 – full size, B&W, 28 pages – there’s not much more I can say about Distort. The best zine of the modern age?One of the all time greats? One of the only publications that I actually look forward to (the others being Thrasher and Cinema Retro)? It’s all true. DX begins #43 with a sort of manifesto/restatement of purpose and also makes mentions that these will be the last ten issues of Distort. Bad news for sure, but 53 issues is a hell of a lot, and that’s a back catalog to be proud of. Plus, it’s not like the guy is busy with bands or anything. Anyway, the bar continues to be raised as far as quality goes. These are all interview/editorial issues, as Distort will not be doing reviews anymore. A shame, as I love DX’s opinions and take on whatever records/tapes he decides to discuss, but also understandable. Things also move into more literary realms here, both via interview subjects and the style in general. 43 talks with Lakes, author S.T. Lore, Oily Boys, Low Life, Dribble/Gutter Gods (a great companion/aid to understanding the LP), Prolife (ex-Slug Guts), Lucy Cliché (Half High) and Vanessa Amara. #44 has the rest of the Gutter Gods/Dribble interview, HTRK, Constant Mongrel, Jock Club, LokeRahbek (Lust for Youth/Croation Amor/Posh Isolation), philosophers Jon Roffe and Ray Brassier and some writing on/about Life Stinks I Like The Kinks. The best thing you’re going to read anytime soon. (distortmag.bigcartel.com or in the US via Feel It)

nix comicsDo You Remember Rock’n’Roll Record Stores? – comic, B&W – fantastic little comic, recounting a younger days tale from BelaKoe-Krompecher (of Anyway Records and Columbus scene-dude in general) that has to do with Used Kids, The Ramones, skinheads, booze and more. Illustrated tastefully by Andy Bennett, this is the sort of thing that could be really boring, but due to Bela’s writing and the subject material it makes for a great but brief read that’s sentimental and intelligent. Recommended. (Nix Comics – www.nixcomics.com)

pure entertainmentPure Entertainment – Issue 1 – digest sized, B&W, color cover, 72 pages – reprint of a 1983 issue of PE, which was the all rock issue. Pretty cool stuff, somewhere in between Zap and Dork, with a side order of Heavy Metal (the magazine). Most notable contributor is Mort Todd (the Divisible Man story) along with Bob Camp who went on to draw for the Ren &Stimpy show. 19 stories ranging from one page to ten, some serious and some in goofball commix style. Some points of reference: Roxy Music’s “In Every DreamhomeA Heartache”, Sonics vs. Wailers, Warren Zevon, Geza X and more music nerdery. Good stuff from Columbus’ Nix Comics, check ‘em out. (Nix Comics – www.nixcomics.com)

down and out  Down and Out – issue 31 – full size, B&W, 48 pages – fantastic issue of Down and Out from Sam Vince. This one features three long and very well done interviews with Michael Berdan (Drunkdriver, Veins, Uniform, York Factory Complaint, wearer of horror film t-shirts), Raspberry Bulbs and Breathing Problem (Rusty from Total Abuse). Massive reviews section that isn’t afraid of cassettes, focusing on hardcore, noise and Australia. All positive reviews though. I like the “Old Haunts” reviews he snuck in the section and there are more than a few releases here I did not know of/about, which is awesome. Worth it for the Berdan and RB interviews alone. (downandoutzine.blogspot.com)

HORRIBLEFEST 9 RECAP/RANDOM THOUGHTS

The biggest news of the weekend for me: an event that perhaps trumped the breaking of The Undertaker’s streak, Homostupids’ run of consecutive Horriblefests has been ended at 8 due injuries sustained to Dale’s back. Any involvement by Brock Lesnar or Paul Heyman is unconfirmed as of press time, and I guess Peffer owns the individual iron man streak now along with Paul (I need a Russ Romance fact check on this one)…Buck Biloxi &The Fucks tore down the house to end Night 1. If you can get over with the punks in Clevo, you know you’re truly 100% over. I think they played every song they (or at least Rob) knew, and the line-up that is now bolstered by John Henry from Detonations/Static Static and Lindsey from No Bails is absolutely destructive…Iceage have apparently been watching and listening to a lot of Gun Club and Nick Cave/Birthday Party videos and records. The new LP will be sure to alienate their current fan base. It was good listening, but not so good watching, if you know what I mean. I will give the singer credit for not breaking kayfabe while drunkenly wandering around the bar later that night…the Greenberg/Berdan tag team known as Uniform might have been the loudest band of the fest. So loud they blew the breaker in the bar and had to haul out their massive stacks after one song…Prostitutes (not the Secret ones) was a surprisingly good listen, but again, not so good watching, as most electronic music is when people aren’t dancing…Night 2 was full of heroes, starting with the Unholy Two, who probably should not have played first, but completely destroyed for the three songs I managed to get to NTC in time for. No blading or top rope maneuvers, but still more visceral and technically sound than any match on Smackdown that evening. I think a Lutzko vs. Dean Ambrose feud would be easy money…Mordecai also destroyed in a completely different way, as I’m sure anyone who saw them on their tour can attest to. There’s something very special about these Bodish kids, that much I already knew from the recordings, but live it was something else even more powerful. Any band that can make me enjoy Gratfeul Dead covers is doing something very right…Ron House is still more punk than all of us and Counter Intuits were my favorite set on a night full of five star matches. Look for “Password (Is Password)” to be the big hit on the next record, a classic in the House vs. technology mold. Looks like Jared has the new band whipped into fine shape as well…Pleasure Lefties filled in for Homostupids, which was the next best Plan B aside from a 9 Shocks set. This band should be much “bigger” than they are, but I guess they’re heading in that direction and I’m thrilled for them…Wetbrain reminded us all that they slay (what a novel idea for a band – get a bunch of guys who are amazing at their instruments!) and that Cooch guy is taking forever with their record. They supposedly played an acoustic set recently that people in the know were raving about that I wish I could hear…Secret Prostitutes were another surprise. As a not-fan of the records, live it goes over incredibly well. That skimasked drummer/singer is a fucking machine. In the running for best stage banter (and tattoos) as well…apparently Mahalls is now a “hipster” venue, so that means Horriblefest matinees get the shaft in favor of $30 shows with Swedish fruits running around in costumes…Castle Greatskull is in the middle of fucking nowhere across town, but I heard the party bus was a good time…I think we saw the very last Mangina show ever and last glimpses of Sambeaux’s penis that afternoon. I’m proud to say I was there…Hank &The Hammers were running late so the possible double-header was thwarted much to everyone’s dismay…Vile Gash made up for it. One of the best HC bands in sport. Why? Because the singer is scary looking and apparently legitimately pissed off at all times. Exactly what a hardcore frontman should be…Degreaser were another big time surprise. I mean, I had high hopes, and lI ike them on record, but they soared well above any expectations in the live setting. Drummer reminded me of a healthier Artie Lange, the guit/sing guy was a seven foot tall mass of long hair and torn jeans and the bass guy looks like most dudes in Aussie bands (kinda yobby). They looked the part (not that it mattered) and I felt like I was watching feedtime for a bit there. Really amazing. I’m ecstatic thinking about the new record…leaving Greatskull I realized I somehow missed Party Plates, which was a bummer…Saturday Night Show was a stone cold stunner. Bad Noids get the local heroes award and were fantastic on the big stage, Mikey dolled up as a ballerina and their “Let’s scram fellas!” stage exit was the best move of the fest…I’m glad I got there early to catch Classhole, and Matt Muscle was in fine form for an old giant…Hank and the Hammers showed up, relieving the crowd who were worried about a possible no-show, and they played the big stage with the extra percussion guy. Sound got a little wonky, but it was still beautiful and they played at least three new ones from the supposedly already recorded new LP which will have insane expectations heaped on it, which I think they can live up to. If you don’t think Mr. Wood is in the Top 3 punk front guys in the world right now you are a crazy bitch…by the way, the singer kid from BIG ZIT was there moshing like a mofo and pissing people off. I forgot to ask him for a tape though…speaking of expectations (again), Lumpy and the Dumpers delivered 100% with a ballsy small stage show. They also receive the fireworks medal (last year’s winner was Pink Reason for those keeping score). Martin/Lumpy is another top tier frontguy, a total sparkplug with some killer herky-jerky stage moves (I saw them again in Buffalo the next night and they were phenomenal again)…S.H.I.T. were not bad at all, but every time I see a Toronto band for the rest of my life I’m going to wish it was Kremlin instead…Gary Wrong Group could be in the running for Iron Man as well, or at least Chad is. Shit, is there a fest that GWG hasn’t played this year? Everyone loves this guy, for good reason. Never, ever disappointing…Destruction Unit: holy shit. Fog machine, a single red light, three or four guitar players, it was like seeing High Rise or Rallizes Denudes or some other Japanese heavies (and I’m pretty sure the guitar player at center stage was there with me). Unbelievable, in a completely serious shit way. Heavily deeeep psych-rock devastation, these guys are the real fucking deal live and an amazing show/fest ender….you’ll have to ask someone else how the Sunday AM show was, because I’m too old for that shit…. Best things I purchased all weekend: multiple steak tortas (La Plaza Supermarket), Fred Locks “Black Star Liner In Dub” LP (Hausfrau Records – your one stop shop for Jamaican jams) and a nice edition of Camus’ The Plague (Guide to Kulchur – an awesome bookstore that opened next to Hausfrau)…Russ Romance and Paul are my heroes, this was perhaps the best Horriblefest ever and sets the bar pretty fucking high for next year…perhaps Buzzard’s Luck can headline. Below is the only good picture I took out of about 100 attempts.

holt bodish

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….

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