Key: (RK: Rich K.)(NG: Nick Goode)(DH: Dave Hyde)(RSF: Rob Vertigo)

A.D. Skinner "Dicksweat EP" cassette
Second tape from AD Skinner (they have a decent 7" as well) and this is their most accomplished outing yet (mixed and mastered by Mikey Young!) from this post-ECSR band. Starts strong with "Bad Taste" and "Beggar's Pride" both of which are thuggish and rowdy Antipodean rockers that will fit in with Cuntz, Bits of Shit and the gang. Singer is a bit of tuneless shouter, which does add a brutish element but also doesn't distinguish them much from the pack (the vocals and delivery are what makes or breaks a band of this ilk, as musically they're definitely quite techincally competent), by the third/fourth tune my mind is wandering, but they blow by so quickly (five songs total, each clocking in well under two minutes) I don't have time to get too far off the script. I'm handing out bonus points for an excellent EP title.(RK)
(3XReaper Records // adskinner.bandcamp.com)

Animal Plant “Demo 2014” cassette
A quartet of primal HC bursts from the American South. Snotty vocals and satisfying basement ‘core feel to this one. Songwriting is a bit primal, a bit scattered with all out thrash riffs segueing into mismatched mosh breakdowns (or, perhaps, this reviewer’s bias against mosh breakdowns is on display - you decide). Worth keeping an eye on these kids to see where they develop into but a decent enough blast for this initial outing. (DH)
(Ten Feet Tall // tenfeettallrecords.bigcartel.com)

Ausmuteants "Power Hour Value Pack" cassette
To begin, let's take a moment to reflect on the fact that not only is Lumpy the leader of one (if not two) of the finer punk acts currently operating in the Midwestern US, but is also a rather savvy record label CEO to boot, overseeing not just his and the Spotted Race's offerings, but also branching out into international waters here with Ausmuteants. You're really getting the value described in the title - 32 tracks of demos, alt takes, rehearsals of material from both LPs and the singles, and not repeating anything from 'Split Personalities' that I can tell. Quality varies but is never unlistenable. If you're a fan (and you should be at this point) this is one of those "lifting the curtain" moments - songs you already know and love in different forms, still being worked out, under different titles or with different lyrics and presentation. Cool shit like a slowed down take on "Felix Tried To Kill Himself", unreleased gems like "Fran Drescher" (!), what sounds like a practice space recording with some flubs left in (I love human shit like this, in particular when you're as fanatical aboout these guys as I am), "Jake & Bill's Fall Rip", synth takes on songs without synth, different vocal treatments, etc...did I mention 32 TRACKS yet?! This could be a double LP. 100% worth getting and last time I checked still available at Lumpy's place. And if you look closely at the cover, you can turn it inside out and have the art for what I imagine the band wanted to call this - "Spares" - until Lumpy got his hands on it. Buy two copies and have one of each.(RK)
(Lumpy Records // spotterace.bigcartel.com)

Barricaded Suspects s/t cassette
New Nashville-core with "people from The Floor Above" (I thought it was just one guy anyway?), and fittingly so since Closet Landscapes has ony released Floor Above tapes thus far. Far more traditionally "hardcore" than the paranoid aesthetic FA had, but it's still all dark and fucked. "Guns In Trunks" is the feature ripper, but all six tracks show promise, the vocals have a certain unhinged-screaming ferocity and there seems to be a bit of a scent of thrash-crossover in the riffing here. Real solid drumming, guitars have good crunch. Raw recording shows some grit, but it's not shit-fi. "Inside Job" destroys in a very Cleveland-like way as well. Not sure if Floor Above are finished or not, and it's a shame if that's true, as Barricaded Suspects are OK and all for a Hardcore 2015 band named after an Eighties punk compilation, but certainly not as original sounding as their predecessor.(RK)
(Closet Landscapes // www.closetlandscapes.com)

Black Randy & The Metrosquad "Pass The Dust, I Think I'm Bowie" cassette
Blacck Randy deservedly becomes one of the few artists whose discography I own in three formats now with the release of this cassette. I've also come to the realization that "Pass the Dust..." is probably the best title for an LP in history. You know what's really funny? I read somewhere on the internet that there might actually be some kids out there who DON'T love Black Randy? What the fuck?! Anyway, this thing has a beautifully pro-printed, dubbed and packaged job that the material deserves, made even better with a proud disclaimer on the j-card: "NOT RELEASED BY BURGER RECORDS". Hilarious. And though Elective Affinities Corp sounds like some shadowy Cryptic Corporation entity, they are apparently authorized by and affiliated with Dangerhouse folks (and have some future projects upcoming to be very excited about, so buy this tape and fund the next release...). This collects all of the tracks from the LP and singles with slighty different sequencing than the 2XLP on Vinyl Countdown (what happened to those guys? They did good work...) and the SFTRI CD, adding an "I Wanna Be A Nark" outtake "previously only available on a reel from some scumfuck in the Moreno Valley"...which might be the Artifix guy (who defintely did NOT do good work). This thing arrived just in time for blastage in the yard/garage for late night sessions and if you're smart you can get a "blister pack" with a shirt, button and poster. Do the right thing, get on up and get this instead of blowing your money on another dodgy Screamers "bootleg". Scums stat: 323 copies only!(RK)
(Elective Affinities Corp // electiveaffinities.bandcamp.com)

Black Time "Walkman Abortions" cassette
The ultimate raid on Lemmy Caution's tape closet, this ties up many a loose end on the Black Time story via the subtitle "Demos/Dubs/Disasters 2004-2013", with outttakes from all periods of the band's existence. Obviously, this material is fantastic and necessary and shows even further facets of one the greatest of modern bands. A-Side highlights: their cover of "Rockabilly Drugstore" (a 'Midnight World' leftover) sounds scarily like The Hunches, "Asleep at the Wheel" is a tightly built punker that should have been on an album (it was supposed to be the A-Side of a tour single on LVEUM that didn't quite make it in time), "Pills" is an early 2004 demmo that is wild and shambolic indeed, "Automatism" the "Black Time car chase theme" is a delicious bit of 2009 outtake instro fun pitting organ vs. guitar in a steeplechase, "Upsetter" a fine example of the influence sleeve-wearing Black Time excelled at (dub vs. "funk"), Caution's take on "House of Books" says it all: "imagining an alternate dimension where Una Baines era Fall made library music"(!). B: "Big Takeover" is eerie spoken word/collage commissioned for some sort of DIY exhibition, "Eyes on the Prize" is a scathing manifesto from Caution accompanied by one-string twang and a whining synth, their cover of Childish's "I Don't Like The Man I Am" is fittingly heartfelt, as fitting as the masive closer "Bo Diddley Is Dead", which carries the beat proudly to the grave. Even the tracks I've not mentioned are killer (no filler - and including a couple of comp cuts), it sounds lame to say this again (but this might be the last chance I'll have) but it's remarkable that even their outtakes/demos are this good. (RK)
(Forbjudna Ljud // forbjudnaljud.bigcartel.com)

Bobby Peru s/t cassette
I've been wondering what's happened to the mighty Big Black Cloud, and this here tape could be the answer. Or maybe it's just an offshoot during their down season? Either way, Bobby Peru is of a similar vein. They're a little more snotty, a little less arty and have heaped on a metric ton of snap-back, repeato-riffs that could remind folks of the early Unnatural Helpers or possibly the A-Frames if they'd been cured of their robotic kitchen utensil fascination. Don't worry, kids - there's still plenty of that Big Black Cloud whammy bar overdose and a Cows sorta' slather lovingly slopped on top. Bobby P and friends display some of the better shimmy n' swagger I've come in contact a of late - following the NW bummer garage pathway betwixt Rob Vasquez-era everything and the mighty Hunches "Yes. No. Shut it." days. Thanks to this, Rik and the Pigs and Piss Test, there's still a fighting chance for the fucked rock in a town full of coctail beardos and Decemberist clones. (RSF)
(self-released // bobbyperupdx.bandcamp.com)

Bog Bodies "Could she? Could you?? Grope Swollen Whispers From Erogenous Zones Past???" cassette
Electro-punk from Calgary way with a weird sort of Cronenbergian bodily fluids/body horror aesthetic that results in ultra long song titles about polyps and malignancies and other scientific words. Eleven songs, all digital, there are some interesting ideas floating in this congealed mess, some "sick" synth sounds, but also a lot of bad digi-drumpad and limp Casio presets. The drum sound is make or break here - it works in the moments when they almost sound like the action music to an Eighties side scrolling arcade game, but more often sounds a little too zany. Vox are phased up and out, often going for the insectoid feel. I lost track of the songs, but there's one toward the middle that's pretty punk and has a good guitar riff which is followed by another good one that's essentially digi-doom rock. Notable/funny song titles: "All Spores Spending Moist Night" and "Worm Burden" are my favorites. I give them credit for really going all-in with the gimmick/aesthetic, it's a bit overbearing at eleven tracks, but a couple of songs at a time can make it palatable. I've often ragged on Calgary bands for being lame mirror-images of whatever's trending on Hozac at the time, but these guys are original at the very least and took some care in the large cut-n-paste foldout sleeve/insert.(RK)
(Crimson Ward Trhauma // bogofbodies.bandcamp.com)

The Brown Bottle Flu "Jimmy" cassingle
The Brown Bottle Flu released three records from 2011-13 and this cassinge wraps up the discography of this now extinct beast with two tracks destined for a split that never happened. I never heard any of their previous output (or I just don't remember hearing it) but the A-Side of this is a real hardy Midwest garage-punk stomper built on a massive bassline that sounds like a dumptruck and delivers a fitting payload. Sharlene Birdsong's vox carry well over the oomph as the guitar dodges in and out of traffic with dexterity and drops a rather punk sounding solo. The flip sounds like a competely different band, more of a cornfed girl-a-billy crooner that's slathered in sauce, and connects the dots with her current band, Thee Tsunamis, who I am not a fan of. "Jimmy" is a good crusher though, and whether it was buried on a split 7" or a cassingle, it will sadly remain equally unheard. (RK)
(Crush Grove // crushgroverecords.bandcamp.com)

Cal and the Calories "Greatest Asssssssssss" cassette
All of Cal's greatest - the demo, both 7"es, cassingle, the applicable tracks from Marty vs. Marky (and the track from the Coneheads LP he sings on) plus the bonus of two as yet unreleased tunes. A dozen cheesers in total, I will never tire of "Jackhamma", or "PHD" for that matter. Unreleased cuts are worthwile too - a cover of "Matter of Time" from the obscure Psychic Forever (turned into "Matta A Time" in Cal-speak, and you can hear the original on the new Lumpy Mixtape) and fucking sludged-out Robert Palmer cover (wait for it..."Addicted to Spuds"!)!! So dumb you gotta believe. Here's something wild to think about: Lumpy Records is up to like release #45 these days and Cal and his droogs have been in action for going on three years now. Man, it seems like just yesterday I was frothing over the first Lumpy demo that his big brother sent to me. (Slime)time flies and there's no reason you shouldn't have this in the stack of tapes next to the jambox (you probably never even listen to, you dick). Includes a nice fold out cover with fliers (Cal & The Calories World Tour '13! Coneheads vs. The Calories!) that will probably be blown up to full size when some crazy European label decides to press this on vinyl...(RK)
(Lumpy Records // spottedrace.bigcartel.com)

Caucasoid demo cassette
Latest punk-rock band from everyone's favorite Italian! No, not Ciccolina...that Anus fella, from Grabbies, OWAB, Trichecos, Folded Shirt...man, this guy has built a pretty immpressive resume somehow. Here he is joined by members of Romantic Robots (who released a couple dirty garage singles a few years ago) for what is perhaps a re-imagining of the Out With A Bang formula, with less hardcore and more rock'n'rolla this time around. Lyrically, he's really progressed, and these sensitive tunes convey the sense of a man who is in touch with his emotions and willing to share them with his audience. He sounds vulnerable and endearingly human, and the existensial dilemma that is human life and human love is explored with great insight throughout these six songs. I didn't know a human being could care so much until I heard these heartfelt tunes. "Smile When You Die" is the big hit here, add it to the tracklist of the Greatest Anus mixtape you should be making in your spare time. Scum stats: 150 copies, with insert and some bullshit spray paint on the tapes/sleeves. Rumors of a seven inch on a certain Minnesota label are totally unfounded.(RK)
(Blow Blood // available in the US via Feel It)

City Yelps "Cheap Psych" cassette
What ever happened to The Real Losers? I'm not sure what became of Hot Dog and Shake but The Hand is still among the living, here fronting City Yelps (as an aside here's a Real Losers factoid I did not know, provided by discogs: "In early gigs and recordings they were joined by Phil Todd of Ashtray Navigations on saxophone"). This one's almost a year old, and they have a 7" out as well that I was unaware of. Ten songs of DIY-jangle and ramshackle garage-pop via the Flying Nun sound that makes for some quite listenable free range ramble. Trebly but not painfully so, it's a swell (maps) (ouch, sorry for that but I couldnt resist) and cheap sounding ten tracks that carry on tradition and echo Modern Lovers and VU records being played in store at Rough Trade circa-'83 while young post-punks shopped, perhaps reflecting the gloom of Leeds with that feeling of hope when the clouds break sort of thing. Not sunshine-pop in anyway, but also not overly melancholic. Some understated organ fills out the sound nicely on "Nothing", clean guitar and Brit-accented vox (duh) fit the bill perfectly. Almost like a far less dour and modern Hygiene, and not too far off from the newer US-DIY sounds a la Protomartyr or Tyvek. "Veterinary Centre" is a perfect tune in all ways - does it get more UK-DIY sounding? Shades of the most straight of Black Time and very far from the zaniness of the Real Losers. A very cool item with fitting cut-n-paste "notes" that seem designed for release on Guided Missile.(RK)
(Horsey Music // cityyelps.bandcamp.com)

Coordinated Suicides s/t cassette
Hey, I think these guys played a basement in my town the other night. Looks like I missed it, sorry, my bad. From the sounds of this tape, what I missed were a noise-rock outfit from Madison with a fucking screamer for a singer, this dude just wails almost the entire time. Exhausting. On their bandcamp page they say this stuff was mixed and mastered by Steve Austin, which I'm guessing is thee Steve Austin (no, not the Rattlesnake you dummy, the dude from Today is the Day), which makes a lotta sense, as Coordinated Suicides are really mining the same sort of ore wrought back in the Nineties, I'm just not sure there's much left to extract from it. Unsane, Melvins, TITD, Tar, veering toward the artier/math-ier end of the spectrum instead of the wild-n-woolly Cows and such. These dudes sound like technicians. They get some killer buzzo-sludge effects going, even retreating into Don Cab-esque atmosphere at times. At least until this guy starts wailing again. Makes em sound like a screamo band. They churn up some good ice cream on this one, but the vocal toppings make this cone a bit unpalatable.(RK)
(Kitschy Manitou // coordinatedsuicides.bandcamp.com)

Different Methods "Demo #1" tape
Some dudes from Buffalo go carpetbagging down to NOLA and start a new band, call it Different Methods (get it?) and I'm tempted to make a joke where the punchline is "same result". But it seems like some distance is doing these guys good. I have to say White Whale songs were all starting to sound the same (but that's only one of these guys) and the more "indie" influence of one (or more?) of these dudes is really showing through. Did I mention ex-Skate Korpse too? Anyway "I Want An Enemy" is the best song here. Almost rips off "Lonely Planet Boy" a bit but turns left into a more indie-core tune. "The Whole Tongue" is all indie, no punky. "No Love" is not a Big Boys cover, but some jive ass warbling folk done over a record playing (sounds like the Mable John version). First song was pretty alright though and I wish our Buffalo brothers godspeed and goodwill out there in the wilderness.(RK)
(Subject // turnuptuneout-at-hotmail.com)

Doberman "CBoo4" cassette
Second cassette unleashed from Doberman, an experimental drone/noise concern from the Midwest. I dug the first one, and even though this sort of klang is not always my thing, Doberman is somehow my thing. Were not talking zany power electronics stuff where it's thirty minutes of static masquerading as a "noise project", this is more of a song-based approach that has some thought behind it. One tune per side, "Circular Feeding" is a drone-based deal that gets progressively more opressive, with some firing synapse electronics and near ambient backing atmospherics, a bit of dominating cyborg vocalising as well, after which the song starts drifting into the black hole. This would be effective as a movie score, with its claustrophobic sci-fi tendencies. "Brain Waste" on the flip is on some more weird space tripping, like someone walking on the surface of a distant planet, recording the whispers of some kind of psionic being...those synths are crackling just enough to get you on edge, chirps here, Daleks there, eerie zips and streaks of synth. This is what I always wanted those bands on Bulb with cool record covers and names to sound like (Mind Flayer and Forcefield come to mind). This dude has a 7" out on American Tapes now, so you know he's legit if Olson approves. Elevens minutes per side, totally worth it if you want to get weird and it looks classy as hell.(RK)
(Castle Bravo // castlebravotapes.bandcamp.com)

Domestic Worker “Agoraphobia” cassette
Sometimes I wonder if Blank Dogs gets a commission on every one man bedroom act to pick up a synth, fire up Garageband and unleash onto an unsuspecting world. BD’s themselves were feeding off of decades of tradition but instantly created a new world. As Myspace became cassettes the cycle refreshed, what’s old is new. From Melbourne, Australia, Domestic Worker churn out about a dozen loose, minimal jams. Laid back synth, low-key guitar, and digital drums programmed at half-speed. Genre freaks call this “4 AM Noir”. (DH)
(Comfort Cassettes // comfort35.tumblr.com)

Drippy Guys "The Roger Calanis EP" cassette
Saskatoon? Punk? Hey, it's not bad either. Drippy Guys are Canada's answer to Livefastdie, with a lil' Spits thrown in. Riffs and jokes, man. No idea who Roger actually is ("he's a foot doctor"?) but his EP is A-OK. "I Wanna Icky Girlfriend" is dumb, "Stoned at the Library" is dumber. I think all these songs might use the same drum track. A little bit of a goofy Mean Jeans vibe too, but don't hold it against them, these dudes aren't that corny...yet. "Smoke Crack and Listen to Creed" might be closer to the ultra-dumb of The Mans. There's a little bit of a Geege edge to it as well. I like where their heads are at. Side B has the (fake) live "Suck My Dick 4 Wheel Drive" which is a killer and the one that most recalls the heroics of Camero Werewolf and his band of brothers, and they close, of course, with "Drippy Guys Theme". Did I mention this is dumb yet? Ok, yeah, but it's dumb-good just in case yr dumb too.(RK)
(Pee Blood // peeblood.bandcamp.com)

Excess "Escape From Brisbane" cassette
Conceptual recording project from Matt Kennedy (Kitchen's Floor) under the name Excess, that acts as a document of the current (2014-15) Brisbane independent music scene. Recorded over the course of six months, Kennedy created the music for this imaginary soundtrack (an audio documentary?) and recruited a different vocalist(s) for each of the 12 tracks from various local acts, encompassing all genres. Names you'll recognize: Leighton Craig from Primitive Motion/Lost Domain, Andrew McLellan of Cured Pink, Wonderfuls' Bobby Bot, the brothers from Multiple Man as well as members of Gravel Samwidge, Blank Realm and more. Musically it's all synth-based and rather atmospheric, and the roundabout reference to a John Carpenter film certainly has you thinking in that direction, but it's more melancholic than menacing. Very liad back vibes for the most part, almost dreamy in passages and creates an overall feeling of witnessing a mirage. Highlights are the humorous "Introduction for Listening" which gives you actual instructions for optimal listening pleasure and specs for the recordings, "Body Control" with vocals from someone simply named Lizley from a band called Bitchratch that is sort of a cough-syrup dance tune, the brothers Campion on "Home" whose own band's style fits in perfectly here and the closer "I Used to Live In Brisbane" with spoken word vocals from Nicola Morton of Club Sound Witches over a Kennedy loop that send you off with a kiss. Certanly an interesting idea that is executed with skill, it's good for a few listens. It will stand as a fine historical document, but it's not going to be something you repeatedly go back to (like, say, a Kitchen's Floor record). Released on Australia's Virtual Cool label.(RK)
(Virtual Cool // virtualcool.bandcamp.com)

Exit Bag "Wonky Heavy..." cassette
"...songs that we didn't write the endings for..." or something like that is the subtitle, except they use purposefully stilted grammar for weird points. More shittiest-fi recordings from the Oakland Bummerpunk scene (I guess I understand that moniker now), Exit Bag are more punk than their comrades Scrapies (reviewed below), and slightly less forgettable. A bit more competent, but not enough to make this really good, but they have some moments here if you can sit though it all. On one song they steal Mr. California's butterfly guitar sound from Folded Shirt, most likely on accident. The third or so song in has an awesome untuned bass sound - like maybe the guy just loosened all the strings. Sounds cool. And they're not lying, these songs have no endings, they just stop. Not a bad concept. Ten songs that are somewhat of a trial to get through, and again, an example of garbage recording style that I love in essence, but without some actual tunes underneath it all it becomes somewhat tiring.(RK)
(Albacore Records // albacorerecords.bandcamp.com)

Fucking demo cassette
Fifteen tracks of nonstop aggressive hardcore, buzzblurraaargh. Bedroom circle pits will ensue from the first note until the final yell which concludes in less minutes than there are tracks. Fucking distills the ‘fast parts’ (and fast parts only) into a satisfying bit of no frills USHC that does not relent. Punishing stuff. (DH)
(self-released // fuckingpunks.bandcamp.com)

Gary Wrong "L’Alabama e Ancora Dannata" cassette
Hopelessly limited European tape from Mssr. Wrong and his group, hopefully you grabbed a copy on their brief spring tour. If not, you messed up. Somme of GWG's smoothest stuff here, more of a mindbender than a facemelter of an affair, though he is still going to smash your dreams. The tape begins with "Who Killed Joe Cain? (Act One)" a quite effective instrumental interlude linking the sides with an atmospheric death riff/moan. "Loupgarou" is a hypno-riffer with a downer hook that sounds almost pop, some background synth zing and echo-chambered vox. There's supposedly a third song on the A-Side ("Stuck Inside Again") but I'll be damned if I can find it here. Or maybe I'm just stupid. B-Side begins with act two of "Who Killed Joe Cain?", then "Vatdag" a possible precursor to the Vatican Dagger band itself (the tune is of the nyah-nyah punker variety), then it's a twisted-up cover of "Police in the Cars" that's all guitars and balls and ending on "Alabama Is Still Doomed", effectively covering himself, and updating the 2009 original with extra treble and reverb whilst maintaining the same satanic hook. I'll tell ya what, some might say this thing is recorded poorly, but I think hearing the band in this setting makes for a nastier punk affair than the dominating synth-skulk that permeates their recent records (which I love as well), which is a nice change of pace, and I'm sure we'll see these tunes all fleshed out on future vinyl releases. Scum stats: 75 copies with sticker and insert.(RK)
(In the Shit Records // welcomeintheshitrecords.blogspot.com)

GG King "Unending Demos" cassette
Ten tracks of total kill that were apparently not good enough for that perfectionist GG King. Shiiit. A remarkable complimentary release to one of the best LPs of 2014 (and the decade thus far) and a testament to the talents of Greg King. Demos from around the time of 'Esoteric Lore' (including a chopped and screwed version of "Parameciums"!), aborted demos from other/earlier sessions, a rough version of "Mephitic Hallways" from 'Unending...', a cover of Aragorn's "Black Ice" and my personal fave "Midsomer", a self-described Bulldozer rip that Greg supposedly wrote the riff for in high school?! Anyway, ten tracks of further darkness from one of the most talented dudes out there. I hope you have this already.(RK)
(Scavenger of Death // scavengerofdeath.storenvy.com)

Glitter "Cry On Command" EP
"2015 Promo Cassette" from Glitter, one of the best and least talked about "hardcore" bands around today. I guess it doesn't help they're from Calgary instead of NYC or Lumpyville, and their "Self Titled Mini LP" from 2014 should have gotten more play from people, myself included. The big drawback here is that this tape sounds like shit (and you know I love shit), but I think maybe it was duped poorly? It's so thin sounding it hurts, but if that was the intent, I applaud such excesses of shit-fi. The good thing is, it's still great despite the shoddy fidelity. "Cry On Command" has needles for guitars carried by a strong lope of a bassline and the singer totally goes for it, sounding like he's screaming with his jaw wired shut. Hooky and powerful with some great guitar squealing and squirming on the extended jam-outro that goes on and on until the tape runs out. Massive. Side B has a hot shit garage-P-U-N-K smoker called "Wash Up" that could be mistaken for a punker Motards cut if you let your mind wander. Total feedback solo action slays. "Sewer Rat (Pee Blood)" has the singer really belting it out on the screaming chorus, the band double-times it for some serious smash-n-crash action. The fourth "mystery cut" is the same song, but with a girl deadpannning the vocals. They both work. These guys are doing just fine up there on their own it seems. (RK)
(Pee Blood // peeblood.bandcamp.com)

God K “Superforce” cassette
Equal parts Kyuss stoner desert rock and OZ swamp punk. Heavy, sludge that has a few extraneous samples and crunches on for 8 tracks. They never really dig into a riff like the boys from Joshua Tree nor do they approach the depravity that the Scientists or Cramps did with fucked up psychedelic raunch. So this remains a surface experience, not unpleasant but evoking thoughts of other times. (DH)
(Exxe // hexxerecords.bandcamp.com)

Graham Repulski “Maple Stag” cassette
Music for those who felt that there was a shortage of material available by Guided By Voices in the world. With every artistic decision, Graham Repulski have decided to pay homage to Bob Pollard - short song fragments that hit their mark then stop abruptly, stylized collage artwork, hell, the vocals are affected to mimic our man from Dayton. This is actually really good stuff but, geez, all I can think about while listening to this is some other band and that is not the hallmark of a successful group. There are bits here and there that are unique to Graham Repulski and I’d love to see them explore those more; I’ve got enough tapes of unreleased GBV to last a lifetime. (DH)
(self-released // grahamrepulski.bandcamp.com)

The Hamiltones s/t cassette
The mysterious Hamiltones, arch-enemies of Buffalo's Aaron & The Burrs in the all-out surf war that is being waged across the WNY shores of Lakes Erie and Ontario. Six tunes of surfed-up punk and garage from this rockin' trio. Are they better than the Burrs? Hey, I don't want to make any enemies here, but I think this is a really close race. "Church Key" is twang central and hits some sweet spots. "Monstraphobia" is a fantastic can-opener of a kickoff cut. I'm always a fan of the "Batman Theme", I feel it's a real classy thing to cover, and the 'tones have a good sense for the soundbite, as should any surf band worth their salt. Somehow these dudes get a real vintage sound in the recording which has some mono-punch that I dig. Again, I can not weigh in on who is better, but I definitely dig the Hamiltones a bunch. I just hope no one gets hurt when these guys run into each other at Woodlawn Beach...(RK)
(More Power // feralkidrecords.com)

Homostupids "Sleepytime Music Man Tape"
Singles comp (sort of) on tape from America's Greatest Rock'n'Roll Band (and I've heard they have a new single coming out someday soon!) with everything from their 7"es (except their single from the Burning Hell box set) - the full slate of hits from 'Brutal Birthday' all the way through the 'New York Jammin'' EP, also including five tracks from the 'Strawberry Orange Peach Banana' sessions. B-Side is a live set from December 21st 2009 from an undisclosed location (that I should also mention is completely different than the 'Live! Somewhere in Time!' cassette) that actually sounds great and includes about five minutes of post-show room recording. A must have for the loyal fan and a nice tape for the jambox when you're hitting the beach this summer. Wonderful artwork from Mr. Steven Peffer. Scum stats: 100 copies, I think four different color covers.(RK)
(Outsider Tapes // idontbelonghere84-at-gmail.com)

Insane Fear cassette
Aside from leading the league in hardcore-punk batting average, the Nuke York scene has birthed everything from "The Alley" where the bad kids hang out at Dripper World, some of the best in fliers/graphic design via guys like Eugene Terry, Sam Ryser and Emil Bognar, the action figures of Weird Luke, and have now stepped into the books on tape field with Insane Fear. A collaboration between Mateo Cartegena and Ryser (both of whom are in Dawn of Humans amongst other things), it features Cartagena narrating five horror stories - three from young adult horror kingpin Alvin Schwartz (writer of the 'Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark' series), one fromm Norman Partridge (who I was not familiar with, but rose to prominence in the Nineties weird-fiction scene) and the classic 'Mirror of the Night' from E.C. Tubb, who was more well known for his sci-fi, but like a true pulper wrote across all genres and was a favorite of Michael Moorcock. Occassional sound effects and mood music are provided by Ryser. The narrative voice works just fine (and reminds me a bit of Fred Norris for some reason) and they get a good dry and vintage radio sounding voice recording. The sounds are mimimal and well placed. The reading of 'Mirror of the Night' is punctuated with a nice drone outro that really lends it some menace. A pleasant diversion and an effectively done and interesting little project. Play it at your little sister.(RK)
(self-released // dripperworld.storenvy.con)

Jamie & The Debt "No, Life Isn't" cassette
One of the more interesting musical presences in the greater Buffalo area. Jamie sings in Mallwalkers (and was also in the too-good-to-last Sexist for the brief week or so they were together), performs with local legend Bill Nehill as Bill & Jamie's House and has her "solo" thing here as Jamie & The Debt. All tracks built on drum machine and loud guitar with personal lyrics delivered in your face, but not annoyingly or totally aggro. I was thinking it might be a bit like Sentridoh, if Lou had a drumbox and wasn't such a wimp. It almost sounds like a Big Black backing track for a second. A confident performer with a sense of vulnerability apparent, all delivered with plenty of angst and it's exciting to hear her take the opposite track of the wounded-rock-folk thing prevalent with the kids these days - this is loud and proud. And there's only one really annoying song out of the bunch. Plus she quotes Elizabeth Bishop, definitely in my top ten or fifteen poets of all time. (RK)
(self-released // jamieandthedebt-at-gmail.com)

Janitor Scum demo cassette
Pee Blood are onto something this update and are improving Calgary/Alberta's rep around here by the sheer volume of d-u-m-b punk tapes they sent us this month. Janitor Scum will be sure to offend all practicioners of the custodial arts and maybe a few other people as well. Is it possible to start off a "punk" recording with a soundbite from Teen Witch? I guess so. "You're a dogggggg". Four songs of lo-fi dumassery, both A-Siders get by pretty well - "Gummequin" sounds like something off a Cool Bands comp, and "I Dont Wanna Be Mee Mee (I Wanna Be GG)" is actually ok enough to forgive the title and has some very likeable blabbermouth vocals. The high water mark is "Downtown" which has an obnoxious Spits-like synth-fart-rumble and great wavey gal vox that have a lot of moxie. It's a little bit like a Canadian Coneheads at moments. Is this girl singing in English? Or is it Canadian? Hah! Then they cover Anorexia's "Pets" and go out in style. I feel like this girl is singing in German. Wait - is this a girl? I think so. Really retarded synth/guitar solo and the garbage synth noises they utilize here are very commendable. Out of tune. Out of time. Outta site. I feel like Pee Blood might be the Canadian answer/version to Spotted Race or something...hey waitaminute...(RK)
(Pee Blood // peeblood.bandcamp.com)

Kaleidoscope ""Volume One" cassette
My review of this was going just be "holy shit this is good!" but I suppose it deserves more. 2/3 of Deformity (the most underrated band in the NYC/Toxic State scene), mainly Shiva (also now ex-Ivy guitarist) and I'm betting this is already sold out but you can internet-glom it here and just let it crack your skull open like a soft-boiled egg and let yer brains ooze out slowly. There are 11 tracks/interludes/themes here (I think they sort of defy being called "songs" - they're even better than that) that I've people say they hear everything from V-3 to Royal Trux in. Its not hardcore, thats for sure, although it maintains that gritty NYC feel (it's hard on the streets) and reminds me of how early Chrome could put you right on the weird streets of SF of their time. It's punk, I suppose closest to Dawn of Humans if anything. Serious vibes, jazz, acid, sax, tapes and synth, noise, beauty and fear, maybe a little hate and love too. It's the evolution of (a) punk unfolding as you listen. I coudn't be more excited about a band/project right now. Daniel from Sorry State dropped a Paul's Boutique reference on this, and I kinda get it. Genre redefining and a seamless portrait of a place and time. Big old fold-out lyric sheet/art thing just adds to the genius.(RK)
(self-released(?) // soundcloud.com/inter-scope/sets/kaleidoscope-volume-one)

Kappa Chow "Tour Tape"
Straight outta Sackville. Merch table item from a recent tour (with Purple Knight?!), eleven tunes recorded nice and rough, jus how we like em 'round here. KC records/tapes are always enjoyable, and I like this one fine too. Gritty but not total-shit recording, they use some primitive electronic stuff on some tracks that adds some charm, a lot of the tunes are bashed out Gories-style, a few are in a more punk Nineties Spoiled Brats/Rip Off fashion, dual guy-gal vox thing is cool when they intertwine/comingle/echo each other. Might be their most favorable outing yet, no repeats from the 7"es, nice "packaging" too. The "I Don't Like You"/Out the Door" close-out is real nice and gets you motivated to flip it again. Wise sequencing or coincidence? Support New Brunswick punk. (RK)
(self-released // kappachow.bandcamp.com)

The Ladies "...Blow Your Mind" cassette
Complete discography from Richmond's The Ladies, a band who were born about ten years too late. These guys furthered the proud Mid-Atlantic sleaze-rock tradition of Candy Snatchers, Black Lung Records and Dirty Fingers (who Ladies frontman Tony Bitch served time in), and if they had been releasing records in 1998 instead of 2008 they'd have certainly been more appreciated. You know the formula: 'BG&P'-era Dwarves basically, with some New Bomb Turks moments (Bitch's delivery reminds me of Davidson more than a bit), Zeke, Hookers and assorted other Nineties speed-garage merchants. Serving as counterpoint to the fertile Richmond HC scene (Government Warning, Direct Control, Wasted Time), I'm sure they injected local shows with a well needed sense of trash. I enjoyed them as much as one could, their singles always featured great artwork and they did what they did well, and of course they found their home-away-from-home in good old Clevo and I had the pleasure to see them at a Horriblefest or two. This tape compiles all of their four singles, which ended up being their entire output, remastered here and with some good reminiscing liner notes. It blows by in what seems about fifteen minutes (I'd say "Retard Stockboy" and "Dirty Picture of Your Mother" were the hits, tunes which obviously got them rave reviews at MRR) and I can't find fault in it other than the fact I lived through this "sound" in the Nineties, but I hope it meant more to the locals and youngsters who got to see a band carry on in the grand scum-rock tradition. Scum stats: 150 copies, classy pro packaging.(RK)
(Grave Mistake // www.gravemistakerecords.com)

Laffing Gas "Demo 2" and s/t cassettes
With all the attention people are paying to the NWI bands, the Bloomington "scene" should be included in that gaze (and there's some overlap between), Laffing Gas in particular. I've been fortunate enough to catch these kids live twice (I think the first time I saw them every member was wearing some sort of Big Zit clothing) and they add one more band to the list of Midwest hardcore punk units to be excited about. No vinyl yet, but the nine tunes over these two tapes are a good EP's worth of slighty off kilter and frantically paced punk.Strings squeal and slash with trebly delight, they didn't forget the riffs, the songs have an interestingly bent sort of construction vacillating between fast-n-slow with creative guitar parts and they're not afraid of a quick solo. Almost a bit like Ooze with a less drooly singer and punkier riffs (as opposed to Ooze's - much appreciated - blatant rockism). Everyone freaking over Coneheads and the Big Zit would do themselves a favor to look at LG, and you should actually be able to purchase these tapes. Yellow tape is the newer one and shows a more realized version of their sound, the "Demo 2" is a rawer and heavier vision of the band with more hardcore headsmash than the great finesse shown on the second tape (this tape does have the hit "Dunce" though which is somewhere between Mystic Inane and a Spotted Race outfit), but both are surely essential listening for 2015-core.(RK)
(self-released // turdworld.storenvy.com)

Liquids "Matt's Demo" cassette
More from the unbelievably productive and equaly elusive NWI scene. Another incestual effort with members of Coneheads, Big Zit and others I'm sure (if I'm getting my facts right, this is actually the project of the Coneheads drummer and not an all Marky project), and it's more of the high caliber lo-fi punk they're tossing off like it's their job. It's just an endless stream of punkitude out there. Liquids are more '77 influenced than most, pretty straight ahead LA-punk style, almost like a super dumb and trebly approach to Zeros or Avengers perhaps. Scratchy guitar work, compressed sounding recording, no keyboards, no song titles, just 15 minutes of garagey stuff thats also a bit Teengenerate/Reatards-esque at the end of the day. Not the best of the bunch thus far, but still pretty fucking good. (RK)
(Kev'n'Mark Record Ark // good luck)

Love Moon "Hocus Focus" cassette
SF has Hornss riding on the Melvins tip, so the East Bay gets this greasy, Orange powered mayhem to even out the lopsided weight. Hard pumpin' stuff that lies on the metal-gone-pop side of the tracks. Love Moon sounds a tad like the Zig Zags tougher brother or even a un-psych Fuzz at times, but then goes for the throat with a stoner Sleep freakishness or loses control in a gruff Karp blowout. "Born Ready" kinda' bulldozes over the listener with a metallic space rage from the far off planet Failure. "Starstuff" could actually be a hit with the modern radio rock demographic. It's a good introduction of the band for those holdouts who could use a little taste o' the underground that cuts deeper than - say - a bootleg copy of those Man's Ruin Queens of the Stoneage EPs. Gnarly shit like " Hocus Focus" might be enough to get 'em on the Southern Lord roster. When those denim cooch demons start to cry 'cuz yet another pressing of Holy Mountain has sold out, just shove this in their quivering maw and tell 'em it's time to move on. A solid meat-beat demo and much b etter than a bajillion White Fangs or likewise acts who think their beach jams are heavy, brah. Then again, these longhairs are originally from Indiana and not the left coast - just to let ya' know it's not the sand in their shoes that influenced them. Izz goot, mang. (RSF)
(self-released // www.lovemoon.bandcamp.com)

Marty "Marty Plays Marky - Part II: Marty Bites Back" cassette
Some fucking conceptual shit here. Two of the Midwest's biggest boneheads/geniuses in action, this is a response tape to "Marky Plays Marty", which had Mark (the guy who is responsible for just about every NWI band from Big Zit to Coneheads to Ooze to two dozen others) covering Lumpy/Cal tunes. Lumpy fires back with this four song salvo - taking a shit on the Coneheads ("Electric Hell"), puking on the rarely heard Hot Beef (who appeared on the 'Cool Bands 3' comp - and those comps are hot fire, purchase on sight), the real moment of genius is his deconstruction of "My Butt Part 2" (another number from 'Cool Bands 3' as MWI) as "My Spud" and the final is a Z-Turds "cover" whom I've only heard of in name (I imagine them as Marky's Japcore band, but I'm probably wrong). Certaily not the most essential piece of either of their discographies, but a document that shows how much creativity (and competition?!) these kids have going on in the heartland's most vital music scenes. (RK)
(Lumpy Records // spottedrace.bigcartel.com)

Meter Men demo cassette
Wait, where’s the guitar? This began with a hard sounding intro and I was thinking it was going to burst into all-out Nihilistics worship but when the song kicks in the guitar is totally buried in the mix and all I hear is the snare & bass? It’s not working for me. Definite thug core vibes, though, not unlike their fellow countrymen Gutter Gods or those enlightened fellows from Boston, Vile. Impressively angry sounding material and a pretty good demo but would be better with more guitar in the mix. (DH)
(Helta Skelta // heltaskeltarecords.bigcartel.com)

Mett “2” cassette
An eight track release from Scandinavia that reminds this correspondent of the soundtrack to a performance art installation. Imagine: a video projects on a wall, an artist wrestles alone on the ground below, with this tape blaring from a boombox chained to the wall. With its plodding, imprecise bass thuds and ambient noises, the skeletal elements of Mett “2” conger up a creepy and industrial aesthetic. You are in a giant, empty warehouse with who knows what lurking around the corner. During the journey, we encounter some circus organ, Swedish lullaby vocals, stray guitar noodling, so on. Most of this is inept, atmospheric, instrumental music that does not come with many surprises or the depth that could make something like this really stand out. (DH)
(Drid Machine // dridmachine.com)

Midnight Mines "Mother's Mod Lament" cassette
Latest cassette from the UK's Midnight Mines, the current outlet of Lemmy Caution post-Black Time, under the nom de plume Baron Saturday (or is it Private Sorrow?). DIY lo-fi bedrooom recording experimentation/insanity, still maintaining the shadowy London streets-at-night feel of his previous band but tackling in it some less traditional ways. Live instrumentation is combined with tape loops/manipulation, sometimes massive amounts of harnessed feedback, all recorded in a closet echo chamber. Instrumental excursions, found sound collage, the spectre of dub lurking and rubbing shoulders with sheer noise. The use of live drums on most tracks is welcome, as it keeps the songs grounded instead of becoming digital exercises and has them sounding as if they're being transmitted from the past on phantom radio waves. "Corners of the Cell" could be called a primitive Spacemen 3 experiment, "Needle Points" does the same with Hawkwind (or is it Chrome?) with a heavy rock backbone bleeding through an interstellar communication. "Cuntsville USA" sounds as acerbic as the title suggests. "Psychic Vietnam" reminds me of what Vee Dee could have done if they were DIY art-punk weirdos. "Innocent Sorcerers" somehow utilizes a funky drum beat and turns it evil by adding a Flipper bassline and layers of feedback and drone - just incredible. Shit, this is miles ahead of that first tape already, this would honestly make a great and weird LP. Sometimes this sounds exacty what I wished The Rebel recordings would sound like. Fascinating, richly textured and all-across the board style-wise but still a coherent album overall. Top notch stuff, I imagine some records have to be coming soon, or they at least should be if there's any justice.(RK)
(Mystery Plane Tapes // therhythmhive-at-hotmail.com)

Midnight Mines "Insect Doom" cassette
This is the third Midnight Mines tape I've heard, but I think it's the second chronologically. "Insect People" could be a Black Time outtake, but it gets progressively weirder from there. Noise-rhythm experiments, atonal garage bleating, distorted electronic soundscapces, dub flirtations, deconstructed garage rock. It's the most "out" or avant-garde of the MM tapes thus far, and also the noisiest and most aggro. I'd grab the other two first and work your way into this one.(RK)
(Mystery Plane Tapes // therhythmhive-at-hotmail.com)

Mr. California "Unlucky 13" cassette
New Mr. California material is always welcome around HQ, and 'Unlucky 13' has Mr. C turning the drum-machine up to hardcore velocity for the punkest batch of songs I've heard from him in a long time. Side A has...13 tunes! Really blazing stuff perhap showing off more Clevo influence, almost reminds me of a Vilently Ill tape at times. This is Mr. C venting for sure...shit are these covers? I dunno could be, but it's all blasters (and a "Fever Blister") that blow by in about five minutes. Four songs on the flip side, which are a real treat though, showcasing some new gems. "I'm Gonna Live Until I'm Dead" is doom-synth dementia, "English Tea" is schizophrenia as music (or just about listening to Led Zeppelin), "Go Figure" is stream-of-consciouness for sixty seconds and the real mmasterpiece is "Dont You Mess With My Mullet", the latest classic in the Mr. C tradition and a surefire sing-along crowd pleaser. The most entertaining ten minutes I spent this evening and one of my more favorite Mr. C offerings of late. One you have to have if you're a Mr. California devotee and a pretty good one to snag if you're just a casual fan - but is there really such a thing as a casual Mr. California fan anyway? Scum stats: 100 copies.(RK)
(Hollow Eyes // hollow-eyes-imprint.bandcamp.com)

Modern Delusion “Wateland” cassette
It’s always a thrill to see new releases appear in the mailbox from far off lands, so imagine my excitement upon the discovery of this Modern Delusion demo, all the way from Zagreb, Croatia. And while the region has a very rich history in producing great punk rock, I must admit that the only bands I know from Zagreb are first wave punks Prljavo Kazalište and prolific grindcore shockers Patareni. And so Modern Delusion (and probably a million other bands) are keeping the flame alive. This demo has seven tracks including a cover of Crime’s “Piss On Your Dog”. The cover choice may be a bit of an indicator - this is very straight-ahead Americanized punk circa now with a nod to the past, KBD influences and all. The synth can evoke Spits or even Epoxies at times, although these tracks have a bit more gloom than either of those fun lovers. (DH)
(Doomtown Records // livinginadoomtown.blogspot.com)

Mongoloid "Me Loco" cassette
Tape version of the 7" that is now out on Media Schlitz Records, with amazing artwork and insert. They sold this on their US tour because the single wasn't ready yet...but it is now, and you should go buy one, because it rips. Can you believe people are giving them shit for naming their band Mongoloid? That's some weak shit there. Get Mothersbaugh on the horn ASAP, he's apparently been offensive all this time and I want to give him a piece of my mind...(RK)
(Media Schlitz // mediaschitz.bigcartel.com)

Moss Lime "July First" cassette
Cute, but not too painfully so, twee post-punk trio of international gals, none of whom had been in a band before. Two of them sisters from France, the other from Toronto, all come together in Montreal for a summer, write some songs, play a couple gigs and record this EP before parting ways (although I feel the original "temporary" aspect of the band is now permanent). Obviously a bit of a Europop/YeYe feel, these five songs (four originals and a "version" of a European dance club song) are recorded crisply, befitting the minimalist compositions. Dreamy songs about food ("Ice Cream Sandwiches" is not as saccharine as it sounnds, and "Fish n Chips" is far from greasy), it's all very nice and indebted of course to Marine Girls, Flying Nun (the label!) and The Slits. Pretty "pro" sounding for some gals who had never been in a band before though...(RK)
(Fixture // fixturerecords.bandcamp.com)

Muff Divers demo cassette
I'll pretty much buy anything that goes up for sale on the Spotted Race bigcartel, as you have a pretty good chance that it rips even if you have no idea what it is. But sometimes you get a pop-punk band. So it goes. Muff Divers certainly aren't Lookout Records bullshit, but they are pretty pop-punky nonetheless. The drum machine helps it go down a bit smoother though, and it's goofy juvenile delinquent fun with high pitched "funny" vox and more punk than pop at least. Tempos are super fast and they drop in some soundbites for chuckles. Members of that Nancy band who I didn't think were so hot either. Not terrible, but not slimy either.(RK)
(self-released // spottedrace.bigcartel.com)

Mysterious Skin demo cassette
Mysterious Skin’s demo marks the latest entry from what seems to be a scene of sustained goodness in the Pacific Northwest, with Hysterics (RIP), Vexx, Broken Water, Nudes, White Wards, so on. Eight songs here of heavy, slightly metallic, female fronted HC that reminds me a bit of Bay Area ragers Look Back and Laugh. A whole lotta fury on this one, which I’m sure translates to a rad live show as well. (DH)
(What We Do is Secret // mysteriousskin.bandcamp.com)

N.I.V. "DMNSN SLUM" cassette
Multi-media offering here from Winnipeg's N.I.V. - six song tape that commes with a ten page collection of photocopier collages (titled "NIVisions" if I'm following) and a large fold-out with the tape as well. Experimental art-rock noise and drone-space rock, wherein they visually reference some religious wackjobs, John and Yoko and The Red Krayola and sonically remind me of some of the more conceptual Buttholes stuff and that Forced Laugh band in some aesthetic way (although F.L. were a far better "band"). This thing is at least interesting overall, in particular when they stumble into some kind of zero-fi caveman A-Frames throbby thing like on "Animal God" and "No Hang-Ups". I can't even tell if "Way of the World" is a Flipper cover or not, but it's probably better to think that it isn't. Lots of weird effects and tapefuckery - one tune features some instrument/device that sounds exactly like someone cranking a fishing reel. Pretty fried and I kind of dig it, those basslines will really drive a nail in your head and they do have a decent sense of songs underneath all the artastic trappings. Internet info says they have a split release with Sod Cocks, which was an early Satanic Rockers-related band if I'm remembering correctly.(RK)
(self-released // nivpeace.bandcamp.com)

Nandas “World” demo cassette
Nandas third tape to date provides yet more evidence that they can, indeed, deliver a masterful sounding demo. Perfecting the art of the tease as the world awaits their imminent vinyl debut. This recording more or less runs through the band’s setlist, including songs previously released, and is a good place to start if not willing to wait for their upcoming EP. So… The “Nandas sound” as the kids call it, lies at the intersection in the Venn Diagram containing Velvet Underground, Lovecraft, and Disorder. Eerie songs and unreasonably loud distortion. The muddy recording serves the band well here, as it conveys the feeling of seeing the band in an overcrowded loft space - a blur of maniacal energy. PS - I need the Nandas 2014 tour tape, please send ASAP.(DH)
(self-released // try Dripper World or Papertown)

New Doubt demo cassette
Very promising demo from Tucson's New Doubt, with a local Brown Sugar/Birdsounds connection, but this new band isn't so much of the hardcore blaster you might think from those sonic references. It does reference this guy's (I'm talking about "sax guy" fromm Brown Sugar here) other bands (more arty outfits, and he did a stint in Pengo) and frames them in a more rock template, and reminds me very much of his obscure local act called Golden Buffet who had one killer song on a Feral Kid Mixtape years ago (a song I like so much I would call it one of my favorite local tunes of the "modern era") that gets re-done here. New Doubt sound a lot like Male Nurse (vox and that sort of lanky post-punk thing) though I'd bet they've never actually heard them, and even a bit like Country Teasers (without the country) and do an impeccable job of getting the seemingly lazy/sloppy, but not intentionally so, approach down. Plenty of angles and shifty moves, murky rhythms executed skillfully and repeatedly, there's a strange synth/piano thing that acts as an additonal lead guitar at times, lyrics are smart and delivered with the perfect mix of lethargy and contempt (or frustration). I really wish I could find a bandcamp to link you to. There's some free-form sax damage on a track or two, and the closer is a cover of a tune by local cult leader Gabriel of Uranita. This is heavily recommended for people who want to hear some great and talented new music that isn't hardcore or from the Midwest.(RK)
(self released // newdoubtband-at-gmail.com)

Nodolby "Organic/Metallic Dynamic" tape
"Here's some nosie from Italy" says the note stuffed in this tape. That's exactly what it is. A tape full of actual noise (bleep-blopp-zirch-fzzzzz-brrr-ping) sent to me from Italy. Thanks?(RK)
(Babes in Arms // babesinarmsrecords.bandcamp.com)

Norembeyra s/t cassette
Polish punkers with a member of Kurws in their fold. Much more abrasive than the Kurws type of math-clatter is served up in this package. Almost like an Iron Cross neanderthal drag getting forcibly shoved through the mystery guy meatgrinder. Pepper that pulp with the vacuum-suck, blackened throat vocals the metal kids eat up these days. Brutal shit for dumbfucks. "Szympans" alone makes the whole thing worth a spin. It's like there's a dirt caked Confuse recording buried between segments of clear guitar strum and a gruff amp crackle that just sounds batshit in the end. A swarming guit-fit called "Osiedle Piastowski" is a highlight, bringing an uphill churn and battle charge that's woozy and terribly unnerving. These merry pranksters evidently love nature enough to leave you listening to the mating call of a whippoorwill for nearly seven minutes smack in the middle of the cassette before getting back to the bash. The ear-rape returns with a syrupy screeching spunk infused instrumental reminiscent of Coltrane's "Ole" - only it's being performed with a collapsed lung and no horns are present. Things just got jazzy, Jeff. So wrong it's right. Perfectly gnarled. Worth a clutch if you own a few Japanese flexi discs or have a tattoo of the shit-fi radio turd logo somewhere on your pasty sack of flesh. (RSF)
(B.D.T.A. // www.bdta.bandcamp.com)

Nothing Band “Selfs” & “True Refrigerator” cassettes
Maximum ineptidude and ramshackle noise on full display here. These demos compile a couple dozen tracks of solo recordings performed in extreme fashion. Roll out of bed and grab whatever instrument is nearby - an acoustic guitar, frying pan, keyboard, whatever - hit record and bang away with whatever stream-of-conscience blah is on the mind at the moment, “100% Human Hair”, “A Vacuum Cleaner, A Sense of Justice”, etc. Sometimes these bursts take form as angular punk songs, sometimes like a bazaar Dylan/Beefheart/Ubu mashup. So on. Not easy listening, or even listening that you’ll want to experience again, but more interesting than most. (DH)
(24/7 Tapes // nothing-band.bandcamp.com)

Nothing Band "True Refrigerator" cassette
More singular visions from the Nordillie-dallie/Reverend Bingham school of pie plate ping and bedroom beat-punk to lay upon thee. Some of you have already stopped reading. The strong survivors stay and take note; this would nestle up on a soft sofa spot near solo Davey Eel, the Capn' (Beefheart, not Jazz) and probably some long lost song poems that went all pit-sweat soggy. Either the deepest undergut of Cle-punk past or the bastard manchild of the elder Detroit splat masters has been exposed - and it has been living in a fetid pile of cabbage mold somewhere in the vicinity of Oakland CA. Who'da thunk? "Today's Grossest News" could be what the earliest demos of a then still unnamed Residents might have barfed up circa: 1970. "Nub Dream" answers the question of what goes on between ones ears, nostrils and brain meats after a long eve spent in a dank cellar, constructing paper mache rat-heads out of cheap Chinese take-out menus while using various shoe glues of uncertain toxicity levels. Never once did you stop to think of adequate ventilation. We've all been there. Pop. Ping. Bzzt. Do you like Jimbo Easter and his Garbage River? This here is a kinship. Like spirit animals found fighting in a fungus flaked sports sock. Not for everyone. Not for even most of those who are leftover from everyone. But those who get it, will get on it. Dig in with a dirty KFC spork. Nothing Band is the fifth basic food group they refuse to tell your children about. (RSF)
(self-released // www.nothing-band.bandcamp.com)

The Pink Noise "Decay" cassette
I know I've said it before, but of all the one-man-bedroom recordings artistes that emerged during the Blank Dogs boom of 2008-09, The Pink Noise (aka Mark Sauner) were by the far the best, and as history has shown, the longest lasting, as I don't think any of those others are still going (Blank Dogs? Gary War? Dead Luke? All gone...) The reason Pink Noise were most appealing was you could tell Sauner was a legit weird dude (no disrespect intended there either) and really felt passionately about what he was doing via his music (briefly discussed in this interview I did with him). He's also remained somewhat of an outsider, bouncing from label to label, moving from Toronto to the US to Montreal and a constantly rotating cast in his live band. His current material remains of a high caliber (the last I heard before this was the 'Greedy Heart' LP from 2013, and I believe there's been another full length and a split 7" between that LP and the tape reviewed here) and continues exploring his very unique lo-fi approach which I always liken to sci-fi themes. He's pretty agressive on 'Decay' with an intro that comes off like some sort of hardcore rap manifesto - background sound effects, what sounds like the mood music to a Forties mystery radio serial sampled over a live bass and drum loop, as he dictates at the listener for a good 2-3 minutes and then some cartoon sound effects (like Wil E. Coyote hitting a brick wall maybe) are looped underneath with keys and I really wish there was a lyric sheet here, but it's called 'Finite Space' and gets pretty metaphysical and/or existential - especially when the second part of the tune appears, sort of a response to the first part(?). A finger-snapping sample, his vocals are double tracked with the second voice slowed down and then adds some guitar shards and a jazzy scale of a bassline and ends with a heavy piano coda. Yeah, it's a hell of a start. The other A-Side cut is "Gross Crime" which is an extremely catchy slice of Eighties sounding...everything I guess...he throws No Wave, New Wave, funk punk, cocaine jazz, and post-punk in the shitcan and comes up with a jittery dance hit. A definite scratchy funk guitar line, some free roaminig jazz sax, a Gang of Four-ish p(f)unk bassline, some shimmery New Wave synth, and the dude just raps over it basically. Fuck man, that's a hit. Side B gets harsh, the title track is built on an incredibe blown out synth beat (at least I think it's a synth, or a bass with the strings so loose they can just barely be played), then there's some UFO sound effects and warped Casio moves thrown on top and his vocals seem to be getting particularly cocky on this album, really stretching out some words and being intentionally nasally/snotty, or at least moreso than usual. It's the least interesting song on the record though, and overstays its welcomme by a minute or two. "Delusion" seems to be built using some of Eno's blueprints - an easy bassline that seems deconstructed and put back together with a piece missing, guitar riff looped up, a couple different synth patterns, some shreddy guitar for the chorus -it all makes for an easy-to-like poppier effort that sounds equally 1979, 1989, 2009 and 2019. He ends with a cover of "Promises Promises" that he apparently disassembled then put back together with airplane glue, most of which ended up in his sinuses. Live drums really set it off nice as do the Wurlitzer preset sounds. Remember when you were a kid and there was a store in the mall that just sold organs? What the fuck happened to them? Anyway, this cover reminds me of that. As usual, Pink Noise records are always worth a listen and this one is no different. (RK)
(Not Unlike // notunlike.com)

Prison Library "Prison Life: Live Recordings 2012-2014" cassette
Field Recordings from the Edge of Existence Volume 7. No idea what the other six volumes are, but I imagine they document more "Bummerpunk" bands. Seven different shows are documented here from what was a semi-competent noise-punk band, maybe kinda garagey as well. It's super sloppy and sounds really shitty, which I approve of, but again, zero tracks if you know what I mean. Well, aside from an Icky Boyfriends cover. They have good taste at least. Someone once commented these guys sounded like Sonic Youth? I dunno if I hear that, but there's not much nuance you can get here. This was actually the best of three tapes Albacore sent, but it's a plod sitting through like thirty songs from a band you don't know, including multiple versions of the same songs. I mean, I bet these guys were a riot live, and I applaud their shit-fi ethos, but I can't really get invested. I feel like there's possibly some promise here, which I might get into some other day, but for now I'm gonna pass. Reading the notes on the sleeve, apparently a guy in this band is now deceased, which adds some heft to the vibes here, and the guy who recorded this stuff gives a good explanation of why he recorded all of this stuff - and it's certainly a noble pursuit, whether outsiders enjoy it or not. If this was me and a bunch of my pals, I'd cherish this tape, but from a distance I can only say right on, brothers. (RK)
(Albacore Records // albacorerecords.bandcamp.com)

Psudoku s/t cassette
I’ll say this, the Drid Machine label has consistently great looking packages on their releases. Screen printed, fold-over cardsctock that envelopes the cassette and is adorned with a sharp looking design. I seriously dig it. That said, I detest this album. It’s an amalgamation of the worst elements of technical metal, prog, and grind. Death by proficiency times three. I need to listen to Half Japanese to cleanse the palate and regain equilibrium. (DH)
(Drid Machine // dridmachine.com)

Rathaus s/t maxi-single cassette
A caustic, aluminum foil chew that should prick up the ears of those who enjoy gasping for breath while listening to the New Flesh brand of noiserock. Switch-hitting male to female vocals and an excessive amount of cymbal crash. Drums thump. Guitars chug and detune. At least one Brainbombs record in their collective stacks back home. The last track "Do It Yourself" comes away clutching the top honors here with its bratty Arab On Radar abrasiveness and a Hairy Pussy-esque improv/earbleed going on. Finding it hard to grasp anything that will stick with me long term as it flies by on even the third listen - but Load Records has been on a slump as of late. Maybe hit 'em up and send them a crazy VHS tape of a live show? There's some like- minded stains out there clamoring for this sorta' thing to play their vegan potluck. (RSF)
(Brainplan Records // www.brainplanrecords.com)

Residuels "Valley of Fire" cassingle
Philly "dark rockers" who are the "distillation of rock'n'roll". "Valley of Fire" is somewhere between The Cult and Gun Club, but not in a really good way. On the B-Side they cover "I Got A Right". Sigh. (RK)
(self-released // residuels.com)

Rik and The Pigs demo tape
Five song debut from Rik and The Pigs fresh from the brain of Lumpy's older brother (aka the guitar guy from Mongoloid), featuring Rik himself on voice and Pig on all other instruments. Not as slimy as Lumpy and featuring expectedly exceptional guitar playing over wonderfully damaged bedroom 4-tracking with live drums and real a slugger of a bass sound. "Steve Be Good" reminds me of a wasted and no-fi MC5 with a so-dumb-it's-genius riff. No idea who the Steve in question is. "TV Bloopers" is some sort of punk-blooze hardcore thing, perhaps Brown Sugar-esque in its licks and having a definite hook as well. "Rib Meat" and "Leather Gloves" soar high on guitar soloing and genius lyrics. "I'm So Bored" is a well written garage-punker underneath the lo-fi action, actually reminds me of The Brides. So good that Total Punk has already signed them to a multi-million dollar contract, and please don't think this is just Lumpy and The Dumpers Mk. 2 - the basement ethos are still there, but this is actually a bit smarter and less grimy than a Dumpers record - and I don't mean that as a slight to either.(RK)
(Lumpy Records // spottedrace.bigcartel.com)

Rivener "Fires In Repose" cassette
The Twin Lakes label head honcho throws the beat-down in this 2 piece improv and drone unit. Lots of cymbal swells and feedback crash washing to and fro, cutting through treated string canoodle. Every time you think they're gonna' get lost at sea, a free form skronk finds footing and kicks up the sand pebbles. Slide guitar squeals, slips and teeters near heroin jazz arrangements or the filmscores of Krzysztof Komeda . Dark stuff heading for an even darker turf. Nice, long playing downer soundscapes for when you sit alone, peeling cuticle flesh back to the bone. There's probably bugs under there. Itch the scratch.(RSF)
(Twin Lakes Records // www.twinlakesrecords.com)

Rubber Mate "Hell Bent For Rubber" cassette
New wave of Clevo-sludge outfit that are a fucking mess in the ways we've come to expect and love from America's greatest music town. Wouldn't surprise me if some of the mutants from Real Regular are in the mix here, singer is doing his best to climb up into Doc Dart's nose, musically it's a stew of turgid out-of-tune basslines, what must be at least two or three guitars feeding back and a drummer that kind of holds it all together. No Trend/Brainbombs people-are-garbage/serial killer lyrical vibes, or Stickmen with Rayguns if they were awful. Five tracks of total music apocalypse. "I Am The Gun" really hits the sweet spot. Music for scumbags.(RK)
(Saucepan Records // saucepanrecords.bigcartel.com)

Scrapies "Breathe Dirt" cassette
14 tracks of semi-incompetent shit-fi garage-punk from Oakland's "Bummerpunk" scene, which also apparently includes Exit Bag and Dead Panzies and I feel like that whole Uzi Rash collective might be a part of. I think I remember Exit Bag. Maybe. I dunno. Actually, I remember Exit Bags, who are/were a Florida punk band who played the Fuck Off the year I went. They were ok. But that sort of sums it up. I kind of remember listeing to this tape too. It's a mix of different recorings, ranging from shit-fi to shittier-fi to unlistenable. As far as the "sonics" of this thing go, it's the kind of garbage sound I can appreciate, but as far as songs go, there's nothing remarkable or memorable aside from the shrill vocals. I mean, I love incompetent shit-fi bands as much as anyone, but there's nothing here to latch onto. It's not even "good bad", just kinda boring. I took a bullet for you guys on this one. Also, this is a good example of when printing the lyrics to songs doesn't really work to your advantage. (RK)
(Albacore Records // albacorerecords.bandcamp.com)

Self Help demo cassette
Attn: Self Help Quality Control Department. The tape I got was blank. Cassette culture can be like playing “Accidental Blank Tape” roulette; these are the perils of the world we live in. Sorry for lack of proper review but, well… (DH)
(DTMR // )

Selfies "Bad Blood" cassette
Two man band billed as Detroit/Baltimore....waittaminute....shit, this is the one and only Drew Owen here, with Mike who runs the Flesh Wave label making up the Detroit half of the equation. This was supposedly recorded (and possibly written) in a day. Sounds about right! Nah, it's not that bad, Drew does the instruments and Mike sings, basically they barf up Reatard-esque numbers from his earlier solo period (I'm hearing 'Blood Visions' into the Matador singles era) with some Angry Angles wave and maybe some Spits on the more dumb/uptempo numbers. Surprisingly serious vibes on some of these tunes. Not bad, but there are far better ways to spend your time and money. Scum stats: limited to 100.(RK)
(Flesh Wave // fleshwave.bandcamp.com)

Sex Objex "Unprotected Sex" cassette
I'm pretty sure I've reviewed this before, or the band/label keeps recycling the artwork. Flesh Wave is a Detroit tape label who've done a Timmy Vulgar solo tape and send us a package once a year or so that is usually pretty decent. I think Sex Objex are the "flagship" band or maybe just the band of whoever runs the label. I believe this a collection of previous EPs, which might explain the familiarity. It's synth-punk which takes a lot of its cues from Lost Sounds and Digital Leather but less punk and more synth-plodding. Not really great, not terrible and not very memorable.(RK)
(Flesh Wave // fleshwave.bandcamp.com)

Sex Tourists s/t cassette
Electronic music from Sydney (I believe?), three song debut, dark romanticism, Human League dragged into 2015, pretty sharp drum programming, somewhat seedy a la Low Life ("Birthday Party"), lower tempo/droney but not 'new goth" (or whatever it's being called) which is the most striking apect of this, they somehow dont sound retro or campy or whatever. Warm and cold at the same time. Not in my wheelhouse but I liked it anyway.(RK)
(Trackside Records // tracksiderecords.blogspot.com)

Jordy Shearer "Guide to the Presidents" cassette
You might know the name Jordy Shearer from the printed pages of Termbo zine, as he's that funny kid who did some live show and movie reviews the past coupla issues. Well, who knew this kid was an actual stand-up comic too?! I didn't. Color me not that surprised though, he's a real smart ass. Jordy's "guide" to the Chiefs is one joke/gag per president, from George Washington all the way to Obama over two sides (and including Grover Cleveland twice to insure historical accuracy) and I have to admit it's not too shabby. Mostly pretty dry and awkward in the Neil Hamburger style, but better than a good portion of the shit I hear on the Foxhole or whatever other bullshit stand-up channel I get on Sirius. I mean, it's not tearing me away from the new Longmont Potion Castle, but I'd give this a few runs through at work without question.(RK)
(Acid Kat Zine // adickatzine.tumbr.com)

Shit Blimp! demo cassette
That I have high hopes for a band called Shit Blimp says something, and makes me reconsider what I've done with my life. Hailing from Lorain, OH which is just down the road enough from Clevo, they certainly share that city's sense of "humor". Recorded over recycled Jehovah's Witness tapes, they do the slop-hardcore thing that isn't far off from bands like Cruelster and such - blown out hardcore-punk that probably goes over well in the NTC basement. "Upside Down Crosses Are Cliche" is a full-on rager, they call out Lorain Sheriff Phil Stammitti, call out frat boys in "Bro-B-Q", bitch about nine-to-fiving it ("Retail Betrayal") and then discuss the "Elyria Mosh Crew" scene, covering all the bases for fuck yous. I commend their energy and dediction to punk, they get some good mosh parts of their own going and I won't mind watching them at a (Not)Horriblefest in the future.(RK)
(self-released // shitblimp.bandcamp.com)

Sick Thoughts demo cassette
Sick Thoughts demo tape made and sent to me by Drew Owen personally. I hesitate to think what sort of vile things he's done to this tape - I mean, aside from recording Sick Thoughts music on it. HA! Thank you, I'll be here all night! But seriously, this kid thinks I enjoy giving him shitty reviews or something. Firstly, I do not enjoy giving anyone bad reviews - who wants to listen to shitty music? I wish everything I reviewed was awesome, it would make my weekends more enjoyable. I've commented on a lot of of his material thus far sounding like he's just aping Jay Reatard. It's hard to not notice that. "Oh it's cool though, he's only twelve and into punk at least...". Valid point I suppose. Thankfully, his records have gotten progressively better as he's found his voice and absorbed some more of the wide world of music into his brain (I feel like he's been listening to Clevo bands and Japanese hardcore a lot lately) and is starting to come up with some good and more original shit. The "Intro" here is really great, I'd walk out to the ring with this one playing. And I'll tell ya what - "Hope You All Rot In Hell" is such a good song I'm not even convinced he wrote it. Seriously great, has almost a Saints rock-flavor with some Pagans or something I can't quite place, but it's something good. His vox here are pefect and a bit understated, killer breakdown and the xylophone part is genius. "Put Me To Sleep" borrows a riff and forgets to return it and sounds like a tune Bradx wrote in his sleep when he was this kid's age. The next couple tunes are real good chuggers though, "Aborted World" seems to played with a blown bass amp, spiny guitar moves and lots of cymbal hits, which are all good things and favorably recalls Jay wilding out on the bedroom disaster tip without sounding exactly like a Jay song. "I Don't Care About My Brain" is great loser-punk, a needed update of the inanity of a song like Stipjes "My Brain Is Dead" - someone's gotta do these tunes, and Drew's taking this one for the team and going yard with it. "Leather" is quite a killer too - nasty downer-punk with insect swarm solo and huge fuzz bass effect and him just blurting out "Leather!" - might be his best lyric yet. A couple of these tunes are on the split tape with Black Panties on Lumpy (not to be confused with the split EP with Black Panties on Goodbye Boozy) and there's two that I don't see anywhere else yet, but I'm sure they'll end up somehwere. Like I said, this kid is getting better and I really like what he did here - so good I put it on this month's mix CD for the car.(RK)
(self-released // look under a rock in Baltimore)

Sloppy Kisses demo cassette
Eight song demo from Portland's Sloppy Kisses (sharing member(s) with Therapists) that I did not have high hopes for - I was thinking this was gonna be lame pop-punk at first glance - but it's just decent lo-fi female-fronted garage-punk with shades of the classic Rip Off sound, and some Avengers LA-punk stabs. Rose's vocals have a cool sort of detatched delivery, echoing classic punk heroines of the past (Penelope) instead of screeching or trying to sing outside of her range. Mid-to-lo-fi recording, pretty straight sound - clean guitars, nice and plain drum sound. Mostly mid-tempo movers, the guys provide back-up vox, songs run through the trials and travails of being a modern punk in PDX: "Office Drunk", I don't wanna be seen/go out with you, posers, a weird song about volcanoes (Mt. St. Helens reference?), fuck this and fuck that and a diss of "Party Rock" and whatnot. Hamfisted, yes, but whaddya expect? Nothing new, but they do the old okay. I suppose they fit in the Jonny Cat band mold a bit... Scum stats: 100 copies.(RK)
(self-released // sloppykisses.bandcamp.com)

Snotty Babies cassette
This one came with no art or info (or at least one that I can find in this pile of tapes) but internet reporting says they're from Sydney and this probably has something to do with the Exxe label we received some other product from. Part of the crew that makes up Housewives, Mope City, Ghastly Spats and others, this just about an LP's worth of tracks that sound really damn good. Fronted by a pair of ladies, it has that Housewives/G-Spats franticity to it, deliciously slathered in copious amounts of reverb. A bunch of these tunes have a real Gun Clubby vibe to them, almost similar to the second Hank Wood LP with some real hard twang. At other times they sound like a KBD version of Beasts of Bourbon, or even a female fronted Human Jukebox as interpreted by Red Red Krovvy. Some serious Billy Zoom guitar work on a couple of these as well. Color me impressed. I would have to guess this is going to be a 12" sooner than later - I'd like to reserve a copy now please.(RK)
(Exxe Records ?? // soundcloud.com/snotty-babies)

Soda Boys demo casette
Another blind purchase made solely on the basis of the Lump Records name, and this one's a real winner. Five song demo from some St. Louis hotdoggers that sounds a hell of a lot like the Gizmos dragged into the modern age, real rock'n'roll sounds from the front edges of the KBD-era, garage-rock with fun hooks and a Penetrators-esque delivery. Recorded lo-fi, these dudes play their guts out, the singer actually sings, there are some ripping solos and riffs too - this kid can play. 'Go Girl Crazy'-era Dictators should be mentioned in this conversation as well as the Dolls without the make-up/glam. Outstanding stuff, all five songs are about girls, soda, burgers, hot dogs and America. I'm excited about this one. The singer is just called The Soda Jerk and the other dudes have awesome and dumb soda-punk pseudonymns. Great shit, get on it! Also, all covers come "hand stained with soda" and mine's still damp!(RK)
(Lumpy Records // spottedrace.bigcartel.com)

Sonny Blood “August” cassette
A Souther porch scorcher here, full of acoustic improvised folk guitar instrumentals. Quite an enjoyable listen, actually, good to throw on while whittling or easing back into the rocking chair. I’d never have sought this out, but I dig it. From a member of Apache Dropout, I believe, and limited to 23 copies. (DH)
(self-released // earjerkrecords.blogspot.com)

Soggy Creep "Worry Lines" cassette
Dark punk from Olympia with members of Criminal Code and Bone Sickness. Gloomy stuff that seems to be bountiful in Olympia, working the currently popular post-punk or death-rock "genres" that the kids love, but that I think has always been in vogue in OLY. Not quite as weird (or good) as say, Transfix, they have some metallic undertones to their thing in an "indie" way if that makes any sense. Not quite grunge, pretty clean cut sounding, but maybe a bit Soundgarden or something. Four tunes plus a "secret" bonus cut. Scum stats: 100 copies.(RK)
(self-released // soggycreep.bandcamp.com)

Space is Haunted “Demo 2015” cassette
Five tracks from this Buffalo duo. Quite a bit of noise for a two-piece, by the way…loud grungy rock with heavy reverb on the vocals. Once upon a time, this tape would’ve put you in contention for a Sub Pop Singles Club release or at least opening slot for Tad. At this point, it’s an atypical approach which made it stand out to me but none of the songs passed the goldfish test (after a short bit, can you remember what you’ve just heard?). Nonetheless, this is a full and heavy sounding tape that some may dig. (DH)
(Bitch Face // bitchfacerecords.storenvy.com)

Spitting Image "Icon Alive" cassette
This isn't what I expected at all. The band name brings back memories of ghastly looking political hand puppets. The cover is "spooky", I suppose. What's on deck is gruff mouthed, dark punk that sounds sorta' like the TSOL rubbin' side that The Observers once had. At least while "Heavy As Smoke" plays out. It doesn't take long after that for things to head for a more true black eyeliner/mesh shirt sound. "I Abject" and "Icon Alive" have a honest to gawd death rock dance-floor sound. "Return to Return" carries the punk weight a bit more with its brooding Wipers on a budget style. Or if The Wipers got pressed up on Sacred Bones. I wouldn't be surprised to see that happening soon. (RSF)
(Casino Trash // www.casinotrashrecords.bigcartel.com)

Staffers "Good Message, Poor English" cassette
Unread is one of those arty microlabels that has put out like 200 releases over 20 years, which is admirable in its persistence, but also makes you wonder about quality control. But what do I know, I just glanced over the catalog (and I know I've received stuff from them before) and I don't think I recognze one artist. They're just operating in an arena I'm totally unfamiliar/unaware of. Nothing wrong with that. Staffers play a strain of jangly indie-garage-pop with slightly off-tune/bent singing and home movie soundbites linking the tunes together. The weird art major guy who DJ'ed after you at the college radio station would have played this, a little slice of the deepest and forgettable reaches of the Nineties casette underground living and breathing 20 years later. Not bad/didn't hate it/can't recommend it. Nicely designed/printed j-card though. (RK)
(Unread // www.unread-records.com)

Steel Chains “Demo 2015” cassette
I haven’t been to Portland in a decade, probably, but there has always been a strong, vibrant scene of unapologizing DIY bands churning out melodic hc/punk cast from the mold of Post Regiment/Wipers/La Fraction/New Model Army/Leatherface. Steel Chains “demo 2015” is a seamless and solid entry into that tradition. Strong female vocals, melodic tunes tinged with some of that Portland gloom, remarkably pristine sounding recording. Six tracks that should have a built in fan-base for fans of the style or similar area bands. Catch them at a punkhouse living room show soon, for sure. Ace job on the packaging - two color linocut print + lyric sheet. (DH)
(self-released // steelchains.bandcamp.com)

Stickers "Swollen" cassette
Another dark punk outfit from the NW served up on Casino Trash (though their LP is available on End of Time). There must be something contaminating the Puget Sound besides Rainer Brewery runoff as of late, because a bunch of fine acts up there are delivering the similar goods. We already got Olympia's Vexx bobbing up and down near the shoreline and Seattle's Tracers are wadding not far behind. But Stickers goes a little more deepcut into the post-punk with a really hard and heavy bass throb and a shearing saxophone blurt that makes the whole thing flutter and screech to life (undead?) like a beastly No Wave infused Banshees. Or maybe that'd be just the early Banshees? Check out that militant pound behind the vocal flutter during "Jump Rope" and decide for yourself. This isn't a slight - I'm being sincere and liking this tape a whole bunch. Vocalist and sax squawker Gabi definitely has her forceful croon nailed down. It goes from a cold drone to Danzig-esque howl to a Carla Bozulich yodel, sometimes all within the same line of a verse. Possessed. The saxophone break on "Psych Jam" is so up in your grille and powerful it'll probably make your tear ducts dry out. Elsewere, the horn play snakes around the guitar, making for an interesting yet near nauseating combination. Not just skronk for skronk sake. The chunks of guitar dissonance are interrupted by damaging pedal f/x blowouts - stuff that'll make the Monty Buckles or Min Yee noise freaks take note. There's a mechanized drive that underlies "Elephant" - A tribal grunt of a tune that gets the death rock really swinging. A lotta' of bands try to do this scowl and prowl nowadays but just end up burying the half-assed outcome in lame reverb drenched haze and a shitty recording. It's as though they didn't have the confidence to show off their final wares. There's a long road to travel from the dingy house basement show to the sizable audience of something like a Savages gig. As for these youngins, they've honed their chops for a full five years in the dirt shacks and dive bars before delivering this full length and it really shows. Stuff is strong, road ready and played with conviction. Surprised they ain't juggernauts in the indie scene.They just signed to Kill Rock Stars,so time shall tell.(RSF)
(Casino Trash //www.casinotrashrecords.bigcartel.com)

Straight Crimes "Songs Dont Cry" cassette
Oakland based guitar and drums duo who released a seven inch not long ago that was okay but a bit too zany for me (Uzi Rash/Trashies related apparently), this one's a little bit wacky too, seven or so tunes that are just sort of there. Maybe if Godheadsilo were a pop-punk band...I dunno, I'm reaching there, as these guy arent even close to as good as Godheadsilo, who themselves were B-team at their best...dude does some wacky vocals things, guitar is tuned real low (or is actually a bass), it's not so much annoying as it is dull, which I guess makes it annoying to listen to in that regard...let's see, I've bullshitted for like five sentences now right? OK, next...(RK)
(self-released // straightcrimes.bandcamp.com)

Strange Stains "Anti Aging Formula" cassette
Strange Stains is Bruce Tiffany, a NZ performer with releases on Albert's Basement, the sort of stuff that Volcanic Tongue catalog readers would get worked up about (aka not my area of expertise). First song sounds like a Mr. California record played at half speed, has a nice gluey synth backing with slowed/slurred vocals suspended in the gel. From then on you get more variations on the theme: cough syrup synth tracks with varying degress of zaniness on the vocas (Bruce is a woman by the way), sometimes she's almost-singing in a regular voice (like on the the one track that sounds like her mumbling words over the theme to 'Assault on Precinct 13') sometimes she's doing sped-up yammering, sometimes slowed down gurgling. As usual with an "experimental" outing such as this (from my perspective at least) there's two or three good ideas/tracks/sounds buried by another seven or eight tracks of nonsene. The "music" on this tape is actually pretty nice - as I said, slowed up drones, usually mellow synth sounds and moments of film score atmospherics. It's the vox that either make it sound cool or corny (and there's a track or two with voices sampled from movies or spoken word recordings that work out okay). Favorite song titles: "Masterbating In Your Room" (sic), "John Key Is A Dick", "I'll Show You My Tits". Sometimes I think peddling stuff like this is what drove Volcanic TOngue out of business. Who really listens to this stuff?(RK)
(All Gone // allgone.bigcartel.com)

Swirly in the Fryer "King Allen Cobra Jr." cassette
Yeah, the band name isn't so hot, I know, but SITF are far better than their moniker suggests. They're from Cleveland after all. When I first heard of these guys I figured it was gonna be some kind of retardo-noise Sockeye thing, but these guys are a surprisingly rocking surf-punk influenced trio. Reminds me a bit of Buffalo's very own Mayday and Utah Jazz and Rotcore's own Televisionaries. The surf is apparently way up in Lake Erie these days. Not straight-on surf, but surf guitar whanging welded onto a garage-y punk chassis. Nine tracks of sloptastic twang-n-bang with fittingly Clevo songs/concepts. "Nazi Surfari", "Drugs In Prison Sex With Women", "Guns Gods and Gays"...wild and woolly but these guys have the chops, man. They go out on those winding and twisting twin guitar excursions like the U-Jazz ("My Neighbor's In A Noise Cult" in particular), some Shadowy (men...) noir-style instrumentals ("Swirly Theme (Friday the 14th)") and mix in some punk breakdowns that might even be pittable (insert crowd "surfing" gag here), most of the tunes have lyrics, and some fuzzed out garagers (that aren't far from Moonhearts stuff) go over well, and it's overall shockingly catchy and just GOOD. I fear no one's gonna care because of their name, but if someone played you this blind they might say it's not really too far off from the whole Traditonal Fools/(early)Ty Segall thing aside from the fact that these guys are funnier and a little bit rawer.. (RK)
(Itsinsodomy Records // swirlyinthefryer3.bandcamp.com)

Tapehead cassingle
Tour tape from their New York's Alright jaunt I believe, containing the rough mix of the A-Side of their now available 7", "My Life Shot On Vid", their best tune yet. Post-Brown Sugar and Rational Manimals punk rock that's more rock than punk in the best ways. Creative guitar playing not afraid to explore any facet of the rock'n'roll spectrum and one of the best rhythm sections in sport. B-Side is "What's The Story" from their flexi, their second best tune with some sneaky soloing and hot riffing - seriously, this kid's one of the best around and in true Rochester fashion they're focusing on the rock'n'roll action. It's like kids are now taking hardcore as the starting point and working backwards to the MC5. This is probablly OOP by now, but go get that 7" at Media Schlitz ASAP, these rockers are going places and have an LP almost in the can. (RK)
(self-released // mediaschlitz.bigcartel.com)

Teal “Flowers Will Lay Upon Me” cassette
The world of limited production cassette-only releases is awash with liner notes that state “written, recorded & performed by [name]”. It’s a lone gunman’s world, full of twin-sized beds, cats, and tape duplicators. Teal’s “Flowers Will Lay Upon Me” fits the bill (although this tape was pro-printed & sealed, proof that he cheated and left the duplicating for someone else). But this one stands apart from the pack a bit with a pretty big, layered sound and wall of guitar. Shoegazy, with a heavy dose of Kevin Shields worship, but a pretty unrelenting and interesting pop album. (DH)
(Casino Trash // casinotrashrecords.bigcartel.com)

The Technical Academy "...Plays -b0b-" cassette
OK, let me run this one down for you quickly. -b0b- is a computer programmer and musician, who in the early Nineties (or late Eighties?) somehow created a program/device that he called "bots", which were basically computerized musicians who could read music and "jam" via a Roland synth welded onto an Atari console or some shit. -B0b- would write music for them to play and then record the bots jamming out the tunes in real time. In 1991 he compiled the Technical Academy's 'Greatest Hits' and released them on Betamax or something. No, really. Now over twenty years later, all the Betamax players and Atari cartridges have been lost, but -b0b- still has his own copies of the cassettes the "band" made, which are here reissued on tape (where they belong) by Fixture. A dozen tracks (a side is "Mostly Electronic", B Side is "Mostly Acpustic") that make for good elevator music. Digital drums/bass with synth and more synth, it's like prog-jazz fusion or something. Yeah. There you have it. Oh, and the insert prints out some of the source code for the bots if you wanna get really crazy one night...(RK)
(Fixture // fixture-records.com)

Technical Ecstasy "Rehearsal" tape
Supposedly this was recorded in 2005, but I don't believe that shit. Smells fresher than that. And who would sit on a rehearsal tape for that long? Someone from Upstate NY would, that's who - so who really knows what is fact here. Well I do know they've played some shows around WNY recently, though I've not had the privelege thus far. Three songs on this banger, all recorded like shit in the most captivating way possible. "Robotrippin'" is the best song title I think, but "Pit Exists" is the best song, a total blaster, all blustering and blundering guitar riffs and unintelligible vocals with real loud drumsmash. About seven minutes of music total, three tunes, it sounds like crap and I dig it. I mean, not like I'm listening to this every day dig it, but I gave this three or four turns in one evening and really apreciate their aesthetic and would put "Pit Exists" on mixtapes. Gutsy stuff here from a band living in the sticks that don't know any better, I'm intrigued to see them in the live setting someday soon. My sources tell me they're from Rome, NY - which is the absolute middle of nowhere, and which makes my interest in them grow. It takes some real moxie to be in a "punk" band in a place where no scene probably exists except the dudes in the room with you and the closest thing to civilization is fucking Syracuse (perhaps my least favorite city in New York state along with Albany). Well done, artwork is ridiculous, and this caveman in the matrix sci-fi angle I think they're working is exceptional. I'm keeping my eye on these mutants.(RK)
(self-released // pictureofthefuture-at-gmail.com)

Televisionaries "Freezing to Death" cassette
In case you haven't been paying attention to me (yeah, you!), you might want to know that there's a full-blown surf-rock renaissance happening right here in Western New York. No shit. Buffalo has Aaron & The Burrs (and their evil twins The Hamiltones), Mayday! (who are now on hiatus) were a long-standing surf-punk group, and Rochester's horse in the race are Televisionaries (and Insubordinates once filled in the surf-punk slot before disbanding), whose LP on Reel Time was not too shabby for the genre. "Freezing to Death" is a six song collection of instrumentals that did not make the cut for said LP. For as big a bunch of goobers those Rotcore kids sometimes are, most (if not all) of them are actually excellent musicians, and Televisionaries fit that bill - tight as hell for sure. Pretty classic sound given a bit of dark/punk flair, the title cut is the best of the bunch, but do we really need to hear a "Wipeout" cover?! I guess they think we do and they at least goof it up a little.(RK)
(More Power // feralkidrecords.com)

Thumbscrews “Life is Pure Joy” cassette
Just a guy guy alone in a room. That’s Thumbscrews, one fellow up in Providence doing a bedroom Man is the Bastard styled recording session. He got through five tracks including a dirgy instrumental (obligatory for this genre, no?) in respectable fashion. This isn’t a style that I’ve got a ravenous appetite for but I’d guess this should be on the radar of those who dig neo-powerviolence and mysterious guy hc. (DH)
(self-released // thumbscrews.bandcamp.com or try Sorry State as well)

Tino Grigio "Mary Magdalene" cassingle
Cassingles are always a bummer, I don't care who it is. Tino is the Pee Blood label's resident T.Rex/Bowie rocker, at least it's tough-n-sleazy glam, not all glitter and platform shoe goofballing. "Mary Magdalene" is a pretty good mid-tempo jammer, '73 style done in a lo-fi setting and not as campy as Bay Area Budget Rock either. Flip is "Yellow Children" which is more of a drone than a boogie and is therefore a drag. Sounds like a lesser Mike Donovan cut maybe. The A-Side could sneak onto some mixtapes though...(RK)
(Pee Blood // peeblood.bandcamp.com)

Tracers "Muscle Memory" cassette
Dark, femme-fronted punkers out of Oly Wa. A pretty punchy rhythm section drives it all into the R&R direction instead of just booger eating blasts and the other clunker d-beats that go about cluttering the recent hardcore scene. These kids have practiced a bunch, and it shows. Evidently there's a Sioux City Pete connection, which also gave me my heartthrobs (and label mates) Freak Vibe. Tracks like "Skully" and "Tracers" have the flavor of their nearby neighbors, Vexx. "Tulip" is the kinda' mud I like to wallow in. Knuckle drag sputter and flop draped within modulated guitar and tripped up soloing. Imagine a harsher Avengers, but still willing to have a good time loosey-goosing it during ace fever tantrums like "Snailed It". Bravo. J-card art looks like a hybrid mash up of that Big Zit / Ooze scrawl and the prison aesthetic of Alexander Heir - all that points in the right direction. Stand up and take notice. The new, new NEW wave of basement bands. Already sold out at the source, but I figure there are some hanging out at the respectable distros, somewhere. (RSF)
(Casino Trash // www.casinotrashrecords.bigcartel.com)

Ultralyd “Geneva 13.10.2010” ccassette
Ultralyd fans will flock to this one, recorded live in Geneva and presented here in a great looking package with impeccable sound. And for the rest of us, well, the tape is full of free-form rock, repetitive, trans-inducing drumming, and a surprising element of funk. It is an ambitious, unique performance that is surely wasted on the ears of this downstroke-only, one-note solo enthusiast. But I’d recommend to the more worldly, jazz & rock loving sect. (DH)
(Drid Machine // dridmachine.com)

Uniform demo tape
Get it straight: this is not the Berdan/Greenberg easy listening outfit called Uniform outta NYC, but the Southern Uniform comin' straight outta the ATL. Not unsurprisingly this band is one of the results of the co-mingling of the Alanta and Charlotte/CLT scenes, both incredibly strong in their own right, but together some wonderful things can happen. In this band alone we're talking members of Wymyns Prysyn, Slugga, Dasher, Brain F=, GG King, Double Negative and even more I'm sure. It's a strong debut, half hardcore and half weird punk, working a dark sci-fi via Rudimentary Peni angle. First, I'm a fan of the Prince of Darkness vocal effect they use, the production is perfect (I'm guessing Ryan Bell? Sounds a bit like the GG King "sound" with a little more bottom end) and this demo is surprisingly well fleshed out - eight tunes, all rippers that they know what they're doing with already. Drumming is exceptional and the guitars needle and prick their way out of the speakers, lyrics have a PKD/JG Ballard thing offset with some purely mongo punk words as well. "Marching Towards Depth" is straight Cthulhu-core. Shit man, just throw this on vinyl already, these guys are ready and sound a bit different than what's already come before them - or much else for that matter. Bonus points for having a band member named Cave Toad and for exceptional hand-made packaging: cloth "j-Card", stickers on both sides of the case (one which you have to cut to get open, a nasty trick that I always like to see used but secretly dread) and some hand-cut inserts all of which have an impeccable sense of design to them. I wish more people would realize that it's these little touches that separate the exceptional bands from the jobbers. (RK)
(State Laughter // statelaughter.storenvy.com)

V/A Black Panties/Sick Thoughts split cassette
Split tape that was supposed to have been a split LP at some point on some label (Windian maybe?) but that plan went awry somehow (go figure...) and is completely unrelated to the BP/ST split 7" comming soon on Goodbye Boozy from hat I've heard. Anyway, I'll use this space to tell you (again) that Black Panties are far better than you think (or at least I thought) and here we have what I imagine are some older cuts with Black Panties (which is the name of the singer) backed by drum machine, possiby self-recorded, but it's more similar to the material on the Lumpy tapes than the recent 7" - grimy, sludgy, shit-fi shitrock that the world can always use more of. "Born Into Shit" is total feedback fuckery destruction, "Prophet of Hate" is like a dumb Brainbombs song (that is a million times better and dumber than "serious" shit like Rectal Hygenics) and the rest of the five tracks are of equal merit. Drew Owen contributes five songs, most of which also appeared on a demo tape he sent in (reviewed above) that are definitely his best shit thus far ("I Hope You All Rot In Hell" might be the best song in his already lengthy catalog), also included are the intro and "Aborted World" reviewed above, and a Zouo cover ("Making Love With The Devil") which is a winner from your dinner and allows one to track Drew's record listening habits thus far. I have no idea what's going on, this would have actually been a great split 12", it should still happen. If not, I'm sure we'll get these songs on some other record by these two studs since they've never recorded a song they didn't like. And another fine document showcasing the new class of weirdos from across the country. It's a wonderful time for this kind of shit.(RK)
(Lumpy Records // spottedrace.bigcartel.com)

V/A CCTV/Ooze "Live" split cassette
Live sets from two of NWI's best recorded during Dumb Fest 3 in Springfield, IL. CCTV rip through all six of their tunes - the four from the single, their best song "Le Jom" from the Cool Bands comp and a closing instrumental - with somewhat quicker tempos than the record versions. CCTV single (by the way, did you realize all copies of the 7" have a different "definition" for the acronymn? Mine's Collect Call To Vietnam) might be the best of all the NWI records thus far, but it's a really close race to call just yet. The Ooze set burns with five songs which is most of their 7" (which I say is underappreciated in the scheme of things - those riffs!). If you ned a visual aid, both sets are here for your viewing pleasure. Fifteen minutes total, recorded very well and played with energy and precision - if you haven't noticed yet (duh) all of these NWI bands are dialed-in and tight. Also note that the bands share two members, at the end of CCTV set the guy from Laffing Gas takes over on guitar and the singers switch out. You could proaby put six people in a van and have a Big Zit/Ooze/CCTV/Coneheads mega-tour. I've sadly heard rumor that Ooze are now defunct (and possibly Big Zit as well) but I'm sure there are six more new NWI that started in the last week to replace them.(RK)
(Lumpy Records // spottedrace.bigcartel.com)

V/A "Feral Kid Mixtape Vol. 2" cassette
The old Feral Kid is back with mix tape volume 2, compiling 33 previously unreleased tracks from an assortment of entertainers, both local to WNY and international, all with ties to the Feral Kid/More Power media empire. This isn't just your average label sampler or bullshit assortment of junk, there are some real gems to be had here (as there were on vol. 1). The most notable entries are a track from the as yet unheard supergroup Nite School (7" coming soon on Saucepan) which combines the talents of members of Homostupids, Brown Sugar and Lucha Eterna, and speaking of Homostupids, we're graced with "Cannon Fodder Man (NYC Version)", not one but two appearances from local legend/weirdo Mr. Ski-Mask, an excellent track from Baltimore's Quitter, one from Buffalo's newest blasters Blobs...I could go on. The Fleshy Mounds track on this is one of their best as is the White Whale selection, plus you get a taste of some other local standouts like Gas Chamber, Hot Tip, the blink and-you-missed 'em Dudes, the dearly departed Skate Korpse and total unknowns like Caution. All punk, all the time...well, except for the surf...but this is as good as the comp game gets these days. It's not all local, it's not all rehash, but it's all linked together by that tenuous fiber that is the sub-underground music scene we love. Scum stats: supposedly limited and with a silkscreened Norelco case! (RK)
(Feral Kid // feralkidrecords.com)

V/A "Inhalation Compilation #1" cassette
Spectacular 13 band compilation from Exxe Records (run by members of Ghastly Spats and Julia Why) documenting some the best Australia has to offer (and there's a lot of the best) heavily featuring the Sydney scene. Snotty Babies (whose full tape reviewed above shreds) lead off with "Sewer People" which sounds like a female-fronted Scientiss-lurch. Sacred Product's "Green Is Just A Color" makes me feel a bit better about Satanic Rockers leaving us as it's possibly the best tune here, filled with bassline-doom, minimal drums with a bit of reverb and Lynton's deadpan vox. Fantastic. The Ghastly Spats up the ante further with "Wax" that has an electrifying springy laser-synth(?) sound that is just nuts, trashy drum and bass groove, obnoxious vocals, and it's all a wonderful mess of gonzo punkola that really has me jonesing for their LP. Mope City do their twee Gobetweens-thing which is certainly ok. Bad Guys play jangly college rock and King Tears Mortuary appear and make me continue to wonder why a zine thought they were good enough to merit a five page interview. Julia Why finishes the side on some enjoyable indie-rock with a bit of edge and female fury that's reminiscent of a Babs Manning outfit. Side B has the new-to-me Friendsters doing lo-fi folk-pop which gets destroyed in the undertow created by the Housewives cut ("Lazy Susan") which 100% brutal aggro punk rock that dropped my jaw - I really hope they have an LP coming sometime soon. Then a new Kitchen's Floor song ("Like") which is an acoustic guitar and tambourine repeater that again makes me glad they're back at it (new LP coming soon as well?!). Continuing the high batting average here is supergroup Drown Under (whose single was fantastic yet so limited I dont think anyone heard it) with Jack Mannix of Circle Pit (who also did the insert photo here) joined by members of Ghastly Spats and Snotty Babies. It's "Cash In Hand (Jobs)" from the 7", but it's a good one - an opressive and doomed slow train ride to reverb hell. Beef Jerk are the best band here I hadn't heard before - some sort of shit-fi yobbo garage-rock with great lyrics and a uniquely gruff singer that sounds far better than what I'm feebly attempting to describe. Sleep Debt close with some adventurous Nineties alt-rock. Eight killer tracks, two okay ones and three duds. Still, that's like a .750 batting average, not too shabby. I'd say this should be on vinyl, but I'm assuming most of these cuts are going to be appearing forthcoming records soon, and doing a vinyl comp is like throwing money out the window 90% of the time anyway. Still a must-have document while we wait. Scum stats: 100 copies. (RK)
(Exxe Records // exxerecords.bandcamp.com)

V/A "Lumpy Mixtape #2" cassette
As with the first installment, the ol' Lumpy mixtape is one hell of a way to hear some shit you've never heard before, old and new. As far as the new, it's one of the best samplers of what's happening on the fringes of weird American punk today and what you should be watching out for: Liquids (demo tape reviewed above), a gonzo blowout of a track from Joni Ekman of Achtungs, a KILLER exclusive cut from Rik and the Pigs that's as Eel-y as Lumpy says, fucking Urochromes from Boston of all places (record upcoming on Lumpy), Z-Turds - another NWI Mark-band (also mentioned above on 'Marty vs. Marky'), a bad simply called STEVE from Portland (that I believe is Mongoloid related?), another band I've heard of but now finally get to actually hear in Russian Top Gun and ends with a "song" via some guy from Iowa City called The Purpletrator (!) that I just scoured the interweb for and came up empty handed. Shit, did I mention Beefknocker yet?! Also good stuff from Mystic Inane ad Ausmuteants, and there's some old gems that exemplify the Lumpy aesthetic brought to light as well: Bent Bolt and the Nuts from '66, Kelly and the Beachcombers, an unreleased Wompers cut(!) and more, more, more that I won't get into (although I should ay I really like that Corpse Gas tune..). One of the best things in the world you can spend $3 on and at its essence, just a killer mixtape (including a couple pop-punk duds!) and the liner notes are entertaining on their own - just pretend that your pal Lumpy made it just for YOU and feel special...(RK)
(Lumpy Records // spottedrace.bigcartel.com)

V/A Mad Nanna/The Bibs split cassette
OH JESUS, IT'S MAD NANNA. The kings of going nowhere slowly. I'm just bustin' balls here man! But really, Mad Nanna - you want to say they're a band you either love or hate, but I don't think that's the case. The way their music is barely even there sometimes, they're a band you can either acknowledge or dismiss, I don't think their style of music is capable of summoning the passion love or hate imply...I mean I'm like ten minutes into "Farewell Gig" which takes up the entire side, and it's as if absolutely nothing has happened. It's the same almost formless shuffle of guitar strings being strummed in an untrained fashioned and some vocal mumbling. It's boring as shit, yet I also don't hate it. It's not so much boring as perhaps self-indulgent. It's like if the Shadow Ring were actually a Phish cover band. And I feel a Shadow Ring LP coming on next, because I need some excitement in my life...I'm in over my head here. Am I too dense for this sort of thing? Best part is someone yelling "yeah!!!" towards the end of the tune, like they were really bulding up into some sort of crescendo that just blew up. How did the guy even know the song was ending?! It was the same thing for fifteeen minutes. And people clapped at the end of it! I can actually see this being an interesting propostion live and probably drunk, some sort of mass hypnosis on the fifteen people in the room. Time-space continuum altering possibilites. It is drone music after all. I have amost the entire Mad Nanna discography and I don't know why. But I still feel I need it, due to possible revelations forthcoming somehow. I feel like there's something hiding here that I can not yet find. Who knows what that thing will be? Perhaps I'm just frustrated. Is that the Nanna's gift? A knack for stopping time - or is it making time seem longer? Fuck this. It's thought provoking alright. The Bibs are a buncha Detroit dudes (I'm going to guess one or two former or current members of Tyvek and at least one guy on an X! Records band's line-up card) and they do a very Mordecai-esque cover of the Rep/Jay standard ""Pop Another Pill" which actually goes somewhere! There's another original tune called "Already Gone" and fuck do these guys sound like Mordecai, just a bit less perfect. But they have the American guitar rock thing going okay, with a very understated drum presence for sure and some truly meandering vox. Pretty cool jive from these dudes, I want to hear more.(RK)
(All Gone // allgone.bigcartel.com)

V/A Monoliths/Fright Eye split cassette
A Danish double team tag up. Monoliths rattle off some scungy slug-punk stupidity that hearkens the Drunks with Guns hostility or even a feedtime stripped from all that trance inducing blues. Vocals are way too loud and gives off a Several Species (topical!) vibe. Hell, the vocal delivery on the opener "Throat Party" comes dangerously close to the Beastie Boys "Fight For Your Right" turf. "Horse" flat out kills all in its off rhythmic sputter and soloing from the Sector Zero/TSOT school of the masterfully inept . Mean-spirited and head-thwacking brutality like this is what I need from garage punk in 2015. Fright Eye on the flip churns out simple, spazz anthems along the lines of LFD or Da' Spits. It ain't changing the world none, but I'm not getting pissed off for having it play out either. The track "Pain" is a perfect little jammer lying in the near weirdpunk region. Still I'd rather just play the fuggin' hell out of that Monoliths side again and again. (RSF)
(Webmaster Records // www.themonoliths.bandcamp.com)

V/A "Serious Rockers" compilation cassette
Call me crazy, but if you're gonna name a compilation "Serious Rockers" shouldn't be filled with some serious rocking? Like punchy garage by the OBN III's or even a goddamn Molly Hatchet would suffice. It's a wide and varied parameter that's been set in advance, how can you foul it up? I'm not here to shit talk the various bands included (okay I am) but I'm not gonna' let the title of this compilation get a pass, either. Most of the included acts do what they do quite well and that's perfectly fine. But when 80% of a tape sounds like the 1986 Creation record roster or Matador's slack years, you might wanna' rethink the moniker. Was it a joke? Lead off tracks by the likes of Mike Pace and Kerbivore bring a radio friendly indie pop - the kind of stuff I'd never in a million years want to listen to. It may be competent and fun for others, but it most definitely does not rock. Seriously. Simple Circuit sounds like Johnathan Richman fronting Pavement or something else just as benign and fares okay. Bands like the Invisible Days, Carolee, and Sunshine & The Rain are the aforementioned Creation label worship I speak of. The wife and I are arguing over who Big Quiet snagged their riffs from more; The La's or Heavenly? Either or - you get the picture. This is what "garage rock" seems to be for those who liked The Girls, Smith Westerns or Fresh & Onlys way too much. Folks with more Stone Roses singles than Mummies LPs near their turntable. Other tunes like "Hemmingway" by synth punkers Shark Toys give the cassette a little less lofty, dream haze and the Gotobeds' "Glass House" glooms under a post-something Fall shroud, but it's still pretty laid back for my rockin' standards. Why is there a band called Snowmans of Love? Why are they allowed to attempt to rock? Jesus, it's like the Barbie Dream House commercial jingle going on for twice too long. Heavy Times is also along for the ride, trying out a glam stomper with robotic vocals that some of you will like. Somewhere. As for SERIOUS ROCK, there's a couple of gems buried within if you have the patience to wait it out. Actually The Golden Pelicans show up early on to quickly cleanse the palette, but the track "Chad & Stacie" is available on the first Totes Punk 12" as well. The main glue to grasp here is Life Stinks "Creepazoid" - an early tune by them that went unreleased and was kicked to the curb after a few early set appearances. A real charmer, this also happens to be the first song I ever saw them perform, way back in 2012 A.D. It may not be their greatest moment, but it does hold a dear place in my heart. And because of that one fucking track, I gotta' keep this goddamn tape, indefinitely. Repress/repackage this under the title "Now That's What I Call Indie Schmaltz" and move a few more units properly. Either that or stick some Black Oak Arkansas or The Nuge into the mix and stop lying to us Serious Rockers out there. (RSF)
(Unblinking Ear // www.unblinkingeartrecords.bandcamp.com)

V/A “Serious Rockers: An Unblinking Ear Mix-Tape” cassette
Unblinking Ear, who you know from guest slots on WFMU and the podcast of the same, joins the glamorous world of cassette comps with “Serious Rockers”. This comp crams in 28 tracks, covering a wide range of the rocknroll underground. Let’s run down some highlights: Golden Pelicans (TB faves!), Simple Circuit (new to me but I was not at all surprised to see that Lisa of Inhalents/Wiretaps is involved), Sunshine & The Rain (shoegazy pop), Gotobeds (America’s finest college rock band), Shark Toys (criminally underrated), Life Stinks (TB Faves!), and so many more. This is like sitting down with a solid radio program…going in you’ll know some, coming out you’ll hate some, but it was a pleasure to spend the time and hopefully you’ll get turned onto something in the process. I did. Tape is limited to 100 copies and probably all gone but worth it to throw the label a couple of bucks for a download and cherry pick your faves for your listening adventures. (DH)
(Unblinking Ear // www.unblinkingeartrecords.bandcamp.com)

V/A "Serious Rockers" comp cassette
28 song "Mix Tape" from a guy named Paul Bruno, who does a podcast/blog called Unblinking Ear and is an associate of Terre T/WFMU. Most of this deals with "indie rock" that is somewhat forgettable and some of the more popular bands in the garage-punk realm. The interesting Termbo friendly fare: Golden Pelicans ("Chad and Stacie" from the 12"), the underrated Simple Circuit from Austin, a Heavy Times song that I didn't hate, and the big draw is unreleased (thus far) tracks from Life Stinks and Sub Pop's latest signees Gotobeds ("Glass House"). Lame Drivers, Lazy, The Hussy, Shark Toys also appear side-by-side with blazingly mediocre indie rock from bands with names like Mike Pace and the Child Actors, Snowmans of Love and Sunshine & The Rain. I applaud the effort and hustle, lots of Austin/12XU and NYC area bands, but there's not really enough here to interest a boner like myself. I guess this thing's sold out anyway.(RK)
(Unblinking Ear // unblinkingearrecords.bandcamp.com)

V/A Sloth/FNU Clone split cassette
Woha, talk about a meeting of the minds here...Sloth and the FNU Clone (aka Jim V, the heart of mighty Skull Music artists FNU Ronnies) are a pretty good team-up I would've never though of. Sadly, the Sloth side of this tape is worthless, as "I Fukking Hate Music" is an entire side of static. Haha. The FNU Clone side is quite interesting though, and gives us some insight to where the mind responsible for the epic 'Saddle Up' LP has been since we last heard from him. The side/album is called 'Happy Kids' and begins on the morric(l)oney "New Age Death Prologue" and moves through some noisy/atmospheric instrumentals built on syth and tape manipulation and mostly instrumental, aside from one "track" towards the end which pitchshifts a voice into some elven falsetto register - eeevillll (I think it's "Uh Huh 1" maybe?). Even though this is predominantly noise experimentation, there are big hunks of songs that have some rock-based foundation and give up a glimmer of what could be a future Ronnies record if the band manifests itself physically once again. I wish I could keep track/figure out the tracklist here - but whatever song has the dubby synth bouncing all over a hard-driving bass line (that Kool Keith could use if you stripped off the noise) with the vox all ring modulated and then some guitar riffs...that's the good shit right there. EVen those noise parts are actually cool for what they are. I hope this means some more Ronnies someday...or even a more fully realized FNU Clone record. Sign me up.(RK)
(Cleveland Continental Records and Tapes // clevelandcontinental.bigcartel.com)

VHS "Vultures & Hungry Spirits" cassette
One of umpteen VHS monikered outfits travelling through the punkrock undergut these days, but at least these kids can go by Violent Human System if it gets too confusing (and it really has). Advert love and Jaytard goosepimples abound. Catchy, somewhat saccharine sounds that are rollicking in a field under some of that PacNW shitty weather. It does get a tad too pop for my taste, which makes sense since there's a Big Eyes member or two in their ranks. Pep problems aside, when those surf-y guitar licks kick up a wave, things really start to shine. Tunes like "Wolves" rates pretty high, coming off like a less NyQuil infused-gone-rocker worshiping Electric Bunnies or something of that ilk. Moody brooder "Starving For Vultures" is the best of the bunch, with nightdriver synths and a slow pound added to their burn, but all done on a shabby Tascam. Think Useless Eaters teaming up with those early Lost Sounds demos. Nothing too fancy on the plate, but enjoyable enough background fare for morning coffee & scone times (that's how I roll). (RSF)
(Casino Trash //www.casinotrashrecords.bigcartel.com)

VHS "Art Decay, Everything Looks Boring" cassette
Tape two from this NW brigade. Things seem a smidge better in the production arena on this one, or at least they've gotten a fuller than just bedroom-fi sound out of their deck. It's also much darker and burly in tone. There's been some bitter break ups along the line, I'd imagine. Guitars are stronger. I hear more Wipers influence this time around (a press release that actually gets something right!). Going back to the Adverts reference for the epic five minute depression called "In Noise Of Memory". Title track "Art Decay" has this middle-eastern influence about it, but lets it get trampled underfoot then offers a thugged beatdown that's making me fist pump as if I'm listening to Video, Golden Pelicans or something else as raucous. Sonically pleasing, loser tunes. Overall, this tape tears a hole through the first one. (RSF)
(Casino Trash //www.casinotrashrecords.bigcartel.com)

Wild Wings "World War Wild Wings" cassette
Seriously affected vocal hesh fronting absurd synth punk and freedom rawkers. Most of the stuff flies by like the early aughts Horizontal Action review column - back when stuff like The Wrists or LFD were about to take over our tiny little community. But their over the top metallic edge takes hold, leading to a ridiculous denim clad, Hatch-gloved fret play that screams goofball NWOBHM worship. The opener "Cherish" holds down the fortress in a degraded Deep Purple-ape with vocals way up front and the occasional Timmy Vulgar-style whah pedal & fuzz attack. The rock crackling away underneath like a deteriorating master reel holding a unreleased Glitter Wizard tune. "Knife Damage" lurks around in synthpunk squeal and "World War Wild Wings" brings a apocalyptic vision in two parts, thick with Helios Creed /Chrome coated influence. Not bad for a Saturday drive through the wasteland or just drinking beers alone on the couch. (RSF)
(Stale Heat // www.staleheat.bigcartel.com)

Wortz “Wortz Shortz” cassette
Half Japanese famously said they only played two types of songs: love songs and monster songs. Wortz may have a similar, more lowbrow philosophy. The eighteen tracks here are either ‘beer songs’ or ‘pun songs’. Ex. A: “Keg Thrash”, “Pregame 4 Lyfe”, “Drink It Up”. Ex. B: “Smells Like American Spirit”, “Live is the New Black”, “Tyrannosaurus Wrecked”. I guess that last one hits both! Sloppy basement thrash, with thrown together blasts of HC. Nothing here is particularly well crafted – the jokes fall flat and the fists never get pumping – but 18 songs should give a good start for your mancave, tailgate, or beer swilling playlist needs. (DH)
(Tick Tock Records // www.ticktockrecords.org)

Yakks s/t cassette
A quickie, twelve track, program repeats on both sides, cassette full of synth punk from Melbourne. These recordings feel of another era - 2005, if I had to put a year on it - as they smack of Spits and Digital Leather use of the synth. Simple, light sounding songs that sound as if recorded on a bedroom computer (don’t see ‘synth punk’ and go in expecting Screamers or Lost Sounds is all). While most songs fit the Spits mold (although not as anthemic or instantly memorable) the real gem is buried at track 11, “Electric Doors” which throws the trad punk song structure to the wind and is far more interesting and weird for it. (DH)
(Comfort Cassettes // comfort35.tumblr.com)

To read past reviews go here.


301 Tremaine Ave.
Kenmore, NY 14217


Rob F. (RSF)
415 Bellevue Avenue #22
Oakland, CA 94610

Dave Hyde (DH)
PO Box 1407
NY, NY 10163-1407

Nick Goode (NG)
80 Selman St SE
Atlanta, GA 30316