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

Astral Gunk s/t cassette
These guys are from Sackville, NB, which is actually a real town. I had to check, because that totally sounds made up. Promo says they play garage-psych, but it's more aggro than that description implies. Certainly not mellowed out fuzzy West Coast/Oh Sees type stuff, it's fast-paced jammy sounding garage with busy and almost prog/jazz style timing and some wacked vocals. The tunes are driven by rubbery basslines and work the loud/soft dynamic, throwing on some weird synth effects and noise breakdowns. Sounds more Zappa than anything heavily psychedelic to me. Five tracks that sprawl over two sides, they're good players, a little zany/arty in the songwriting department, reminds me a bit of Wicked Awesomes. I wish I could think of a good Sackville joke...(RK)
(self-released // astralgunk.bandcamp.com)

Bad Noids "Songs Even A Mother Would Love" cassette
Most recent Bad Noids material, some of which will perhaps appear on the supposedly upcoming 12"on Katorga Works. They were selling this on their summer tour, and if you happened to catch them (and got to see Mikey set his head on fire if you were lucky) you might have noticed the band is at that point where they're starting to actually get good at writing songs and playing their instruments now, at least when they're not destroying themselves/venues/gear. They played some slowed-up riff killers at that show, a few of which are on this tape, along with a pretty damn good Pagans cover ("Eyes of Satan"!), two from the 7" and the last five or six songs on this sound pretty fucking dangerous. Off-kilter harcore punk, maybe on a Crucifucks or MM/TB Midwestern angle, and Mike's vox are starting to sound less like a drunk kid and more like a guy who has figured out how to deliver with some real spite. Recorded pretty well for a demo as well. The live side is exactly what you'd expect, lots of good banter and shoddy sound - listen to it once or twice and pretend you were there. This thing will treat you right if you're a serious devotee of modern Clevo-core, as it's got more and better tunes than the single and should tide you over until their next record, which I'm going to guess is gonna take forever to come out... (RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/badnoids)

Cacaw "Bat Skin Robes" cassette
Jesus, even Rotted Tooth tapes look incredible - this j-card has a five color (or more) screenprint, on both sides even. Looks sick. Cacaw are ex-Coughs, Chicago noiserockers who play a metallized version of hardcore that reminds me of Today is the Day. Screamed vocals, heavy riffing and a really slick gearshifting rhythm section that instigates lots of stop/start dynamics. Dramatic and pummeling and in-yer-face aggro for those of you who want to feel abused by the music you choose to listen to. (RK)
(Rotted Tooth // rottedtoothrecordings.com)

Bruce Cole "Oh Lou Lost The Elvis Tapes!" cassette
Screamin' Mee Mees "Comedy Hour" cassette
Rerun Records re-opens the Bruce Cole archives/basement with a duo of cassettes which pile on more sides to the Mee Mee's legacy, adding to the already massive catalog of oddities already unearthed by labels like Gulcher, Slippytown, Bag of Hammers and others. The 'Comedy Hour' cassette is from '69-70, which is nuts considering 'Live from the Basement!" came out in '77. Cole must have had a tape deck running constantly for 20 years. It really is a comedy tape too, and some proto-proto-punk tunes for good measure, with Side A being "TV Time with Bruce and Jon", a series of skits with Cole and Jon Ashline of the Mee Mees that comes together sounding like a drunken teenage version of a Firesign Theatre record. Side B is "AMC Javelin Cruise: Radio XP1" which is Jon and Bruce driving around Ferguson, MO and tape recording their conversation until they go back to the house and play 7-8 songs with guitar and coffee can drums, impromptu sounding jams like "Bringing in the Dog", "James Brown" and other examples of adolescent and good-natured humor. If you're looking for more of "Hot Sody", you're barking up the wrong tree, but if you're looking for a good tape for a long drive, here you go. The "...Lost Elvis.." cassette is all Bruce solo with guitar. A-Side is electric and from '89, with a selection of weirded-out covers (his wah-wah version of "Easy Livin'" is hilarious) and some goofball originals which would pair up nicely with the Dave Arvedon LP. B-Side is a selection of acoustic tracks from the '70s up to the '90s. I have to admit, the electric side is actually quite listenable. The acoustic side is a bit too honky-tonk for me, but shows off some surprisingly good playing and even a bit of a serious side. In all reality, the "Elvis" tape is for completists/superfans only (meaning if you haven't heard Cole/Mees Mees before you've got a lot of stuff to catch up on before you get to this point...), but I suppose 'Comedy Hour' doesn't require much homework to enjoy in a Dr. Demento/goofball humor vein. I will note once again though, that this stuff was a surprise quality-wise for a guy/band with a really deep barrel of work to get into. 100 copies of each with nice pro packaging and some brief liners with great old photos and other ephemera. (RK)
(Rerun Records // www.rerunrecordsstl.com)

Dr. Evilletown "Dirt" cassette
Bizarro bedroom music from the doctor. Drum machine/synth/guitar with various vocal effects, self-described as "barf metal" and "jenk city" if that makes any sense to you. A lot of the tunes are droney snippets with distorted drum sounds, vox are sometimes mouth fulla marbles mumbled, a few tracks have a distorted falsetto howl, no real evidence of metal but I do detect some barf. I guess you could say there's a riff on "Bags", so maybe that's the metal part. One track just sounds like they recorded some effects from a Tempest console. From Brooklyn you say? Hmmmmm.... (RK)
(Brainplan Records // brainplanrecords.blogspot.com)

The Droughts "Unknown Human Sights" cassette
The Droughts have to be my favorite cassette-only band in the world. I can't understand why they don't have an actual record out yet. Maybe they don't want a record out? Who knows. I've tried to tell everyone I can about them, as I think they deserve vinylization more than many bands with multiple records in play. Maybe they should just buck up and do it themselves, as I'm sure many of you would suggest. The last I heard from them was early 2011 (it was actually a CDR that time), and it was a bit of a letdown (probably because it wasn't a tape!), but they're back with two sides worth of bummer jams just in time for your seasonal depression to kick in. Side A was recorded live to tape, seven tracks, and a mixed bag again. It sounds like a transitional period (which is kind of a funny thing to say if you've ever listened to the band), and they do a couple of their standard go-nowhere droners, but also try out some folksy touches on a track or two and on another they actually pick up the pace a bit from say like 10bpm to maybe a brisk 15bpm. Blazing. I like a couple songs though, and I also like that they're trying new things on for size. The B Side is an odds-n-sods collection from 2008-2011, and is the real meat here. It starts with a 9+ minute version of "The Crawl" which is insane...it drones and repeats for so long it becomes some sort of zen like endurance test, which is even more remarkable when the credits let you know it was live with a drum machine and just one guy playing along. Must've been an out of body experience. The rest of the side has variations on that "solo" technique and some full band treatments, and the varied recording styles really help things sound more textured and exciting, which you need when a lot of your songs sound like slow mush (good slow mush, but it's a lot to take at once...). The scratchy and lo-fi full band stuff sounds like Cheater Slicks as a Fifties rock'n'roll band ("In the Bushes"), a few of the solo cuts ("Chicken Scratches" in particular) have background noises and wandering vox that almost give off an accidental weirdpunk vibe, "Guitar" adds a one-note keyboard drone for a really desert/peyote sounding bit of minimal psych and all seven cuts are some of their best. This is what The Droughts need to do, present their material in some different framings and settings, change up the recording techniques and fidelity a bit and you end up with a great sounding set of tunes. I didn't want this side of the tape to end, whereas the A Side became too much after 5-6 songs, which is what a lot people must feel. I love their endless bummer drone-outs, but throwing some other themes alongside and between them will do wonders. This is the side that people interested in them should check out first, then go back to the first couple of tapes and hear some epic messes. There could be a beautiful comp made of the best of their tapes right now, and I'll tell ya what, these guys aren't that far away from what Mad Nanna or even Mordecai are doing.(RK)
(self-released // thedroughtsmusic.com - Permanent Recs has these as well)

Drug Lust "Eat Pills and Kill Your Friends" cassette
Evil punk from Pittsburgh, I've dug their past demo efforts and this tape is a teaser for their 7" coming out this winter. Three tracks of no-fi metal-punk mayhem, guitars crunch up riffs and squeal through solos, rough vox wear a hooded cloak of reverb and there's a good coat of static on the recording. Mid-tempo bruisers buffered with plenty of soundbites that sound pulled from Springer, giving the tunes a white trash meets black metal vibe. Poverty metal that reminds me the earliest Midnight material but in a sloppier fashion. I'm buying the single when it comes out, and if you're as much of a trash hound as I am you should also keep an eye out. I'm sure the packaging will be a winner as well, as everything these guys have ever sent in usually comes with a nice blood covered poster or letter and primitive stickers of some sort.(RK)
(self-released // villegas66q-at-gmail.com)

Feelings s/t demo
Feelings debut cassette features a boombox recording (or so it sounds) of the variety where the lack of fidelity is fighting a victorious battle against the music it ought to be enhancing. In the good ol' days, before slick sounding cassette-only releases, we called tapes with those qualities "demos"! I love 'em. From what I can gleam, Feelings can actually write a good tune and the songs here sound like embryonic versions of a quality album to come. Stylistically, they dance around between garage and grunge while maintaining an interesting viewpoint (i.e they pull off the 1-2 punch where BFTG and Nirvana sounding tunes are back to back without a hitch). I'm digging this one and look forward to more.(DH)
(Gold Tapes // goldtapes.blogspot.com)

Frank Holly and the Fullertones "Too Many Burgers" cassette
Rumor has it this is a side project/parody band done by Francis Harold and the Holograms, but that has not been confirmed as of this writing. Cover shot might make you think that though. Anyway, this thing is an assault on the "Garage rock revival" and in particular Burger Records. Firstly, when did this latest garage rock revival start? Isn't garage rock in a perpetual state of revival? Secondly, who gives a fuck. I guess I can understand some of the criticisms against Burger, in particular if you're a young man with a lot of hate inside you need to exorcise. Burger Records is exactly what hardcore kids should be rising up against, it's the natural order of things. Like punkers vs. new wavers or mods vs. rockers. You gotta have an enemy when you're in your twenties and full of piss, a rallying cry for the scene. Kids being kids, man. I got no beef with Burger, they fill their niche, no matter how much I might not dig some of it, there's some wheat amongst the giant mounds of chaff. I'm so far off topic right now. This tape has a half-dozen or so burgers and fast food inspired songs, none of which are really funny or mean, so Frank Holly (or is it madholly...) and his crew sort of fail on this one. If this was an incredibly witty screed against the Burger Empire or at least had a few legit laughs it would have been worth their time and mine. Sadly, it just sounds like hastily thrown together drum machine punk that's not really worth a listen. I'm all for shit-talking and diss records, but at least make it funny...hey, wait a minute, this might actually be slightly humorous if it's a Burger Records parody of Francis Harold...(RK)
(Too Many Burgers // toomanyburgers.tumblr.com)

Frustrations "Negative Reflections" tape
Gold Tapes is doing their darnedest to ensure that the world is not without access to the sounds of the Michigan underground on cassette. As an enthusiast of the medium, I applaud their efforts. And so, here's Frustrations second LP delivered on a wheel of magnetic plastic. As noted below in a review of the Terrible Twos, there is a very distinct regional sound among the bands from the land of Coney Island and Disney Land (Lafayette and Hamtramck, that is). As such, "Negative Reflections" is definitely a Detroit record, but it is the most eerie, moody release from the scene that I've heard. There is a creepy vibe here—caused/enforced by occasional use of scratching (as opposed to strumming) guitar strings, spaced out use of wah, general brooding pace, etc. - exploring an abandoned building at dusk, which is appropriate enough. Although this is never HC, I feel a resemblance to Peni/Part 1 with this (and at a recent live show) that I don't recall with prior releases (perhaps I just need to revisit). Be sure your walkman is loaded with this when out exploring the cemetery this Halloween, OK?(DH)
(Gold Tapes // goldtapes.blogspot.com)

Gentlemen "Sex Tape" demo cassette
Melbourne hate-rocker's demo tape, which has been lodged in the deck for the good part of a week. Nasty street level scumrock that exists in the netherworld between Drunks With Guns and King Snake Roost, full of madman vocals and riffs that delve deep into the abyss and stare back, guitars of the mandatory paint-peeling and/or skin-flaying persuasion. Fucking raw shit right here. Even the song titles are exceptional: "I Wanna Be A Closer", "Military Style Massage", "Wild Action Jazz"...I could go on. Side B starts to get even more motivated, sometimes bubbling in a Piranhas way, sometimes sounding like a collison of Flag power riffing and Midwestern Tar Babies rail jumping. Towards the end there's even a Clevo-style facemasher. The great thing is, there's not a ton of feedback/reverb either, this is just in yer face dick-kicking heavy rock. The singer sounds a lot like the Bits of Shit guy, but maybe all tough Aussie fucks have the same delivery. Recorded in the dirt, this is another tape that would probably make your eyes water if they get a shot to do it pro. Recommended for dirtbags everywhere. (RK)
(self-released // sects.tape-at-gmail.com)

Guilt Party "Topical Depression" tape
After taking in the black metal artwork and evangelistic soundbite that lead things off, I was braced for only the darkest HM, but alas, that familiar soundbite was pulled from Another State of Mind, which should have provided a clue. This is SoCal not Norway! Well, Houston, actually, but Guilt Party blast through five cuts, none significantly longer than a minute, of HC styled in the early 80s LA Metro variety. It's stripped down, angry stuff — write a riff and play it fast, throw in a breakdown on the long song, no overwhelming distortion — and while I don't know the lyrics, I'm going to guess they ain't so fond of the church. Solid release from the Gulf Coast.(DH)
(self-released // guiltparty.wordpress.com)

Guilty Parents "Slimewave" cassette
Surprisingly tough cassette release from Nottingham, England. I'm still shellshocked enough from the post-Blank Dogs deluge where every tape with a found photo manipulated for a cover has me worried it's gonna be some bedroom artist wanker, but man am I still thrilled when it's an actual band, and doubly so when they're as mean as Guilty Parents. Hardcore jammers with a bit of a burly AmRep twist, guitar playing is sharply angled with effective use of crunch and scree, vox are echoed out but still teeth-gritting, bass/drums are whiteknuckled and propulsive. Could be the less weird UK counterpart of NSU. Last song is a droning drag, but the five movers before it are not too shabby at all for UK hardcore. (RK)
(self-released // guiltyparents.bandcamp.com)

Hank Denim and the Genes "Hank's Fames 7 1/2 Inches" cassette
These fellas obviously love pants, a theme that is cute enough, I suppose. Hank Denim's tapes are wrapped in a hand sewn pants pouch, include a rear-pocket shaped insert, not to mention all of the dungaree wordplay. I feared some sort of pantaloon power-pop but was greeted instead with a pretty straight-ahead and aggro style of punk. Hollered vocals and loud guitars aplenty. You can almost smell the stale remains of cheap beer emanating from the Indiana basement where this was recorded. Limited to 50 copies.(DH)
(In and Out of Jail Recordings // inandoutofjail.blogspot.com)

Heavy Air "Cold Vomit #9" cassette
The hook here is that Heavy Air are one of the post Dry Rot projects along with the exceptional Uranium Orchard. "Levitate the Pentagon" off of their flexi was a real hit around these parts last year, and this six-song tape effort changes up their original "power duo" line-up to a trio with the addition of a keyboard player. A bit more straightforward than the flexi songs, but still not like much else out there. Heavily blown-out guitar sound - I've seen mention of Jordan playing an "octave guitar", and I have no idea what that is or if that's what is actually going on here, but to me it sounds like a bass played through a blown amp. Vox are monotoned yet almost anthemic, and there's even some hooks in the tacklebox. Weird-grunge maybe? The organ gives the tunes an extra layer bringing it closer to a synth-punk thing in passages, but also giving off weird carnival organ vibes sometimes or just echoing the riff for an offbeat breakdown. Some jazz/jam elements at play as well as some straight HC-style songs turned on their head. "Missing White Woman Syndrome" is upbeat pop somehow. "Dig to China" would be a monster metal riff, but gets distorted into something new and bizarre as played with this instrumental set-up. Very interesting and heavy in strange ways, this leaves me wanting to hear more. (RK)
(Cold Vomit // coldvomit.bigcartel.com)

Herpes demo tape
A brief but exciting six-track showing from Upstate New York. Herpes blast out intense raw USHC – short, distorted and to the point. That they cover of Poison Idea's "Pure Hate" should give a point of reference, and the fact that they do it well is proof enough to be on the lookout. The band's debut 7" should be forthcoming and the tracks that I heard are substantially better than this demo (which is itself substantially better than most of their contemporaries).(DH)
(self-released // herpestheband.blogspot.com)

Let It Bleed "Vol. 1" demo cassette
Hard rockin' garage from Oakland, with former members of Annihilation Time and Wild Thing, which is an interesting pairing. Standard semi-sleazy mid-tempo chug, but it's the guitar leads that make this thing worth listening to. Could be the modern version of a band like The Mullens, a no-bullshit garage rock gang, but these guys are a little more wild than your average garage turkeys. Almost sounds like punked out Stones/Groovies takes (with moronic lyrics) when they're at their best. A band that I have no problem describing as garage PUNK. This thing gets better as it goes on, they definitely grow on ya and there's probably a decent single here.(RK)
(self-released // letitbleedoakland.bandcamp.com)

Marshmallow Staircase "Gunfighters" cassette
One-man-psych-band from a gent named Jeff Gilotti, with ties to Kid Icarus (a band I've never actually heard) and the NE PA (Scranton) scene. Deep cuts, with some slick drumming, tasteful use of organ and plenty of oscillators and synth effects. A concept album based on the Old West via Sam Peckinpah movies, but you probably wouldn't realize it on the A-Side if weren't spelled out for you on the cover. It's more space-rock than anything, and it's good he stayed away from the obvious Morricone spaghetti-style he could have went with. There is some grit on the guitars in places, which gives off a bit off 60s/70s exploitation soundtrack vibes. B-Side starts off with the most "Western" sounding track ("Gravestones") which is a fever-dream banjo jig, like Hawkwind with Louis L'Amour instead of Moorcock. Some Krauty motorik vibes and more digitized effects and drums on this side, leading into a version of "Shall We Gather at the River", which ties in the Bloody Sam mention if you remember the first bank robbery scene in the Wild Bunch. Quite impressive for a one man effort, and just as good as any Plastic Crimewave record I've ever heard, if not better. (RK)
(Summersteps Records // www.summerstepsrecords.com)

Mallwalkers "Out of the Malls and Into the Streets" cassette
As I said in a review of their split 7", the Mallwalkers concept looks terrible on paper, but they pull it off surprisingly well. Funk/soul/post-punk/New Wave genre mashing, with a horn section (3 or 4 pieces, depending on the evening) and a handsome frontman. Bass-led groovers with diversions into surf/spy dynamics, post-punk angularity, No Wavy whitefunk, dancefloor anthems, a girl-group-esque slow dancer even and a handful of locals only jokes. "Making Funk A Threat Again" should be taken literally, as the "breakdown" on it is quite ballsy. Ten tracks here, it's a bit more hit and miss when spread out over this length, but there are also more ideas than they explored on their side of the split. Not sounding like much else out there, which is a good thing, and to repeat myself yet again, that they pull this off at all is a victory, but that they actually sound really good doing it is remarkable. Certainly not gonna be for everyone, but if the idea sounds like it might appeal to you, you're in for a treat. One of the most fun bands in the city. (RK)
(Drug Party // drugparty.org)

Milk Music "Almost Live" cassette
Recorded during their US tour last summer, Milk Music's session for Brian Turner's WFMU radio show has been cleaned up and tightened into a solid, seamless six song cassette. The set list that afternoon, repeated on both sides of the tape, consisted of two from the "Beyond Living" LP, their cut from the Nuts! flexi, and three that were new to me. The tape captures the live in the studio vibe well – more informal sounding that a proper studio session but excellent quality nonetheless. MM hail from the Pacific Northwest and their vibe aligns with that of their locale: fuzz guitars, big riffs, brief solos, howled vocals, flannel (one can only imagine)…reminiscent of the better tier of the turn-of-the 90s underground and certainly one of the better bands going today.(DH)
(self-released // milkmusic.bigcartel.com)

The Narcs "The Year 192012" CDR
Seven songs from Rochester's finest, all material that hasn't appeared on their singles to date, but hopefully will soon enough because "Bad Spot" is a live fave and should be out there on wax. Throw "Part Deux", "Meet Me In The Cut" and maybe "Trephanation" on there as well and you have a great third EP. If you haven't heard em yet, think sketchball surf-garage-punk made by petty criminals and not-so-juvenile delinquents. A local fave, also watch out for the new Utah Jazz/Narcs side project called The Tyrds coming soon....(RK)
(MKDS Nightmare Recordings // myspace.com/totalnarcs)

Nubians s/t demo
This'n packs a powerful punch. Nubians hail from Montreal and offer up eight high energy tracks of gnarly, chaotic punk. I was tempted to make a comparison to some of the top-tier lofi garage 45s of recent vintage (Kirks, Motards, Sexareenos, et al) but that would not be fair as this is more intense, replete with extended, blown out solos and moments of 'My War'-esque dirge. An awesome debut — one to throw in the tape deck, blast a few times and get revved up before heading out on the town to cause some mischief (i.e go get sushi and not pay). Sharp looking artwork on the tape, to boot…I anticipate we'll hear more from these chaps in the near future.(DH)
(Rice Toys // nubians.bandcamp.com)

Numbskull Action "All The Action" demo
Time machine rock that sets the dial for '93. Numbskull Action offer up 12 songs that sound to have been inspired by The Statics, Spoiled Brats, Armitage Shanks and the like. The result is, well, a bit retro and lacking the escapement I'd have hoped for. Numbskull Action don't match that era's finest, but if you're feeling nostalgic this may rouse up some feelings of the good ol' days.(DH)
(No*Teen Records // noteenrecords.blogspot.co.uk)

Party Plates "2012 Demo" cassette
Heavy Clevo-ness from members of Inmates, Cider, Puncture Wound, Boulder, No Peace and other ballsy outfits. Four beefed out tracks of metalpunk. Some NWOBHM gallop, some devil worshipping downtuned doom riffing, a bit of thrash, some Motorhead, some mongo-metal. Vocals have the throat shred turned all the way up, the wah pedal gets a good workout, obviously sounds tougher than leather but tracks like "Happy Thanksgiving" show they're not taking themselves too seriously. Brief yet effective. Bleargh! (RK) (self-released // noncomrecords-at-gmail.com)

Psycho Baits "Kills Your Boyfriend" cassette
I think these dudes might run with the Drug Lust crew outta Pitt, and they share the same trashily misanthropic attitude and shit-fi ethos. This tape sounds like complete garbage, first and foremost. Five cuts of bottom feeding hate-punk, along the lines of Drunks with Guns, Fang or any other cheap drugs and bad vibes scuzz outfit you can think of. Vocals fluctuate from nasal sneer to snotty slurring, and the tunes wallow in the dirt, not as overtly metal as Drug Lust but still worshipping the goat in their own way. Who knows what their story is, but they put out the drug abusing nihilist loser vibe real heavy, and the songs are simple and dumb, but gutsy and primal as well. That they wrote originals called "Alcoholiday" and "Kill Your Boyfriend" speaks volumes about their not giving a fuck about anything, or being aware of "the scene" or whatever else would concern a lesser band who just want to get a record out on some shitty hip label. Five songs of real deal no-fi punishment with zero pretension and heavy and sloppy riffs a lot of bands would pay good money for. I'd say someone should get these guys to record this shit clean, but I think that might betray the perfect storm of garbage they've caught on this tape. Ah, fuck that, throw this on a loud slab on vinyl and it would have most hardcore punk outfits throwing in the towel. How can you not love a band whose thank list includes Cleveland, Pig Champion, Cliff Burton and "the youth of america, you are the future." To summarize one last time, totally great fucking garbage and "I Kill Your Boyfriend" is absolutely incredible. I just wish this tape was louder. Limited to 100 copies, and I'm not even sure there's 100 of you out there worthy. Comes with jumbo fold out insert/lyric poster and a bunch of handmade stickers.(RK)
(self-released // try here: societybleeed.bigcartel.com or send $4 to 4936 Harrison St., Pittsburh, PA 15201)

Pure Scum demo cassette
Stellar demo tape from this Raleigh outfit of teenagers, who sound way too heavy to be 15-16 years old. "To Hell With School" is the meanest I-hate-school track you're gonna hear this year. Vox are so burly I find it hard to believe this is a high school kid. The riffs and songs themselves are painfully simple, but therein lies the beauty. "Road Rash" is absolutely maniacal and one those songs you have to listen to at least three times each sitting. Nine songs in about ten minutes, very NA-influenced, but done well for a change and with the bonus of lyrics about hating the mall, your family, your friends and just about everything else. Great recording, guitar sounds tough, pretty tight for a bunch of youngsters. Scum stats: two pressings already, first with green covers, second is red. Screened j-cards look sick. (RK)
(Sorry State // www.sorrystaterecords.com)

Quaaludes s/t cassette
The gimmick here: every song (five of them) is played over the same drum beat. They manage to sound like an ultra-distorted The Spits through most of it and somehow shoehorn a version of "Connection" into the rhythm, which was clever. I love the cover image, the song writing credits "key" on the j-card and the fact that these MI kids are keeping the Quaalude legend alive. What's the modern equivalent of a lude anyway? Cool story bro: my Dad's lucky number was 714. Based on Babe Ruth or 'ludes? Who knows, dude. The joke gets kind of tired after "I Don't Like You" and "I Don't Care About You" back-to-back, but then they get you with the Stones cover. Cool concept, but I'm not so sure it can hold up to repeated listens. Scum stats: 100 copies. (RK)
(Gold Tapes // goldtapes.blogspot.com)

Roman Candles "This One's for Terminal Boredom" cassette
When I last left the Roman Candles, Christopher had just graduated and told me that that he had sent their last tape for review. End of story, thank god. But the kid is a liar and has also name dropped us in the title of their latest and greatest. Thanks a lot bud. Just make sure to remember me if you become the next Mountain Goats or whoever. This one is all acoustic whimpering, recorded in a post-college depression. My only advice this time is, yes there is life after college, but you sound like a total pussy here. Get tough buddy. You live in SoCal, I want you to go to the Burger Records shop and hang with those dudes, get some trim, party and take some notes on what they're doing. They can help you out of your funk, I'm sure, and also show you how to make tapes that will sell. Power pop, pizza punk, surf garage, whatever, you just gotta do something other than this...(RK)
(self-released // fuckthestowaways.blogspot.com)

Raccoon demo cassette
Four song demo out of Orange County, CA from Raccoon, a band I have zero info about aside from the credits on the tape listing them as a four piece. Their singer is named Rocky. A tough one to describe, but I do know that I like it. Low talent/low energy tunes that crawl along determinedly, sluggish pacing from a drummer who seems to know what he's doing, guitar and bass playing sounds like they're just learning or really dumbing it down. Not lo-fi in the slightest though, recorded really clean and there's no distortion on anything making for a really odd and dry sounding mix that actually works well. To vaguely generalize, you have to mention Flipper in describing a song like "They Say It's All Right", but with zero bottom end. Singer actually reminds me of Albini's ranting/talking style on Big Black tunes where he was doing the Ugly American bit. Also sounds like he might have a cold. "Sit On My Face" contains the genius verse "Some like it loose/some like it fast/my face was made/for your ass" and is the only song you could even sort of call energetic here, bass sounds like a fart and the guitar solo could be a ukulele. "Haunting Calls" has his most pained sounding delivery and could be described as a Pissed Jeans song stripped of all the sludge and bombast, amps turned to 2 if they're even actually plugged in. "We're So Bored" is an even more simplified and Americanized UV Race. Far better than any of my half-assed comparisons make it sound and also better than many of the vinyl singles I've been reviewing lately as well. Very much worth the $2ppd they're selling it for. Don't be a cheapskate. (RK)
(self-released // 35lbraccoon-at-gmail.com)

Rule of Thirds demo cassette
Five piece rock band from Adelaide, named after a Death in June record but sounding nothing like them. Female fronted goth done properly, at a crawl and oozing with sex and depression. An Australian goth band has to have some sort of Birthday Party presence, you'd think, and maybe the guitar playing has a bit of RSH to it. I always have some notion that Aussies are playing whatever genre they're into rougher than their American or Euro counterparts, maybe it's true, maybe it's in my head. Either way, this thing is recorded a little on the lo-fi side, which doesn't hurt at all, and it might even cast some darker shadows on their efforts. The band they sound the most like is The Cure, the watery guitar lines making shapes on the walls, subterranean bass currents pulling your hand along while the girl (her name is Freya) sings to you about the moon and disappointment in a voice perfect for black lipstick and lace. Five tracks and they're all very, very strong, Freya's voice carries them with subdued and overt passion whenever needed, sometimes matching words with one of the guys but never sounding bored or dull, as can happen when dealing with the darkside. Synths and guitar set the mood well and there are actual hooks and emotion to all the songs. "Northanger Abbey" (Jane Austen reference?) ends the tape with force (and an unexpectedly loud and raw guitar solo) and will have you rewinding as quickly as you can. Bits of Christian Death, Joy Division and Banshees float to to the top of lake as well, and this is what I want (and expect) to hear when someone says they're a goth band. Well done on all fronts, this will be a real stunner if they get a chance to redo it for vinyl. Highly recommended and being repressed in the US on Video Disease. (RK)
(Major Crimes Records // majorcrimesrecords-at-gmail.com)

Running "Change the world" cassette
Another nice piece of artwork from Rotted Tooth, it must be a real pain in the ass to silkscreen j-cards. Running's records have been better to look at than listen to for the most part, and for some reason Clockcleaner are always mentioned in their press releases/hype sheets from their label(s), but aside from heavily reverbed vox I don't get it. That and their name has always rubbed me the wrong way a bit, but they're not a terrible band. Seems like noise dudes doing an update on AmRep sounds with shitloads of reverb as their "thing", but the tunes aren't really that great. Not even as interesting as Francis Harold & The Holograms. (RK)
(Rotted Tooth // www.rottedtoothrecordings.com)

Sadicos demo cassette
Straight outta Compton (sorry, I had to), Sadicos demo is the latest release on the impressive Silenzio Statico label. The trio belts out six tracks of d-beat HC, trading vocals between male and female members. Lyrics are in Spanish, and while I'm less than fluid in the language, song titles like "Massacre", "Te Quire Destruir", and "Traumas Y Asicciones" make it clear where their hearts are. A solid debut from a band I'd love to hear more from.(DH)
(Statico Ponx // www.staticoponx.com)

Secret Tombs "Homemade Braces" cassette
Another heavy Pittsburgh band, this time of the stoner/classic rock variety to generalize, but that's kind of selling them short. I'm not 100% sure how the tracks divide up here, but within the first five or so minutes they, at different times, sound like a lo-fi Led Zepplin, Kyuss demos, a garage band covering Rush, Mcclusky practicing with Fred Cole singing...shit, they have a lot going on. Versatile would be the word, I believe. POWER trio. Tunes stop and turn abruptly into different styles and variations, there's heavy riffing, total wankfest guitar solos and just about every kind of rock you can think of gets touched on: blues, punk, prog, grunge, biker, you name it pal. As I mentioned, I don't know whether there are ten different songs here or it's just a side long epic, as there's no tracklist and the lyric sheet is no help. The guy really does sound like Fred Cole, when they rock it hard they fly high and hard, and when they wank it, they wank it to death with just as much conviction. Skilled musicians for sure, there's a lot to follow here and it definitely gets your attention. The make a few turns into progsville and wanktown I could do without, but aside from those diversions, this is gonzo rock of a pretty high caliber and when they're "on" it can be rewarding. This is exactly the type of stuff that would be well served by a good cleaning up/studio treatment and maybe a little self-editing. I'm sure a heavy label, say Tee Pee for example, has already released a couple records that aren't even as good as this tape already this year. Supposedly has an ex-member of Pissed Jeans, so if they have to flash some credentials to get in the door, there you go. (RK)
(Braddock Hit Factory // secret-tombs.blogspot.com)

Sick Rats demo cassette
Promising demo from ex-Sweet Tooth member(s), now relocated to the PDX. Ten tunes that really remind me of The Tyrades, but coming from a hardcore background instead of the KBD closet. Sharp guitar angles, jerky and slightly post-punky rhythms and an angry girl singing. There's a little twang to the guitars giving it a surfy/LA vibe as well, but still keeping it dark and out of the sunlight. Vox get to be a little much after a half dozen tracks, but they could cut a single out of this with a little practice. Pitbull breaking through a brick wall artwork reminds me of an old NYHC demo. (RK)
(self-released // 7063 NE Garfield Ave, Portland, OR 97211)

Slurpee Stains "Demo 2012" cassette
No-fi garage that sounds like it was recorded off of a ham radio with terrible reception. Vocals are echoed out so much they start to sound squishy, instrumentation is barely audible over the constant hum of static. When you can make things out it's basic guitar strum and fuzz bass in an indie-rock fashion, and not really the pizza-punk I was expecting. "Vague Ideas" or "Burn All Night" sound like they could be totally shit-fi First Base songs without the childish pop affectation, and the instrumental closer "White Mold" is the best thing as the vocal effects don't totally drown everything else out. That track and "Moonlit Smog" veer close to sounding UK-DIY stylish. The songs themselves are really only interesting because of the layers of fuzz and static laid on them, and they're all are around a minute and a half long, too short to really get into much, but appealing to my predeliction for things that sound like shit. Fair game for a demo, but nothing you need to hear just yet. (RK)
(self-released // slurpeestains.bandcamp.com)

Stressed Out demo cassette
Hardcore punk from the province of Alberta, with members of Moby Dicks, Myelin Sheaths and other Mammoth Cave artists. Run-of-the-mill punk with an Angry Samoans styled humorous yet nasty streak ("Shit Safari", "School Shooter"), scratchy guitars, gruff vocals and not too much in the memorable tunes department. A pretty generic example of 80s hardcore punk revisionism, just mid-tempo slogging that doesn't have much going for it except for the one song that sounds a little like The Jabbers towards the end. Maybe I'm being a little too harsh, but with all the options out there, even if these guys are average hitters (and they are), that's still not good enough for a recommend.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/stressedoutab)

Submissions s/t cassette
Bobb Bruno and Ralph K. German are Submissions. Great names. Supposedly one of them is in Best Coast and one is in German Army. Six tracks of a drum machine slugging it out with atmospheric guitars, synths and heavily obscured vocals. Industrial sounding, but with a buncha sludge and guitarscaping instead of higher bpm banging and chugging. Almost dreamy at times, doomy at others, they traipse around the darkness, recalling Big Black and even Godflesh. Trance inducing perhaps, but nothing I'd put into steady rotation. (RK)
(Skrot Up // www.skrotup.com)

Teen Ax "Pure Soft Metal" cassette
Two-piece noise act out of Sydney that I think have some connection to Ghastly Spats, but I could just be guessing wrong on that. Guitar feedback and effects pedal manipulation with what could be a tape loop for percussion. The type of thing that in the live setting is probably two guys with masks on "playing" guitars with a zillion pedals and oscillators laying on the floor. I have zero point of reference for this sort of stuff to make a comparison, but for some reason I don't think it's terrible if you enjoy listening to noise, as this has some sort of rhythm to it's cacophony. One long track on each side, titled by their length ("8:10" and "9:46" if you must know). (RK)
(self-released // teenaxxx.tumblr.com)

Terrible Twos "Future Fags" cassette
Gold Tapes has taken the prolific singles output of the much revered Terrible Twos and rolled out this tidy twenty track compilation. This has everything and more: the early X! Records and Big Neck releases, their track from the tough to find tour-only split with Dirtbombs and Dan Sartain, 45s on Cass, Italy, and Lemon Session plus a couple of tunes that had previously never found their way onto vinyl. For the uninitiated, Terrible Twos are from Michigan, a land that even in the global-media era has managed to foster a relatively distinct regional sound, whose bands tend to balance aggressive, straight on punk with stop/starts, jazz breakouts, heavy usage of synths, and other weirdness culled from diverse influences. Like the coolest scenes, Detroit bands drink from the same pool without pissing out an identical soup. On side A of the cassette, the Terrible Twos fall on the hyper, spastic side of the spectrum where side B is more measured, dabbling more with prog. Consider this a rather handy way to play catch up or a way to enjoy the Two's singles without the godforsaken pain of having to get up to flip a disc every couple of minutes.(DH)
(Gold Tapes // goldtapes.blogspot.com)

Tyvek "Mutant Love" cassette
This latest Tyvek document is one of the more interesting in their string of cassette releases. Recorded at the Painted Lady in 2007 with the Kevin/Larry/Heath H. lineup plus some other folks helping out with a third guitar and synth. These additions open up the familiar set list for some excellent new interpretations. "Honda" sounds a bit like Hawkwind, "Air Conditioner" is hereafter a synthpunk classic, and Timmy Vulgar does one acappella. A very cool and atypical set that plays out a bit like an issue of "What If…?".(DH)
(Doubles Tapes // doublestapes-at-gmail.com)

V/A Mr. California & The State Police/Burger Boys split cassette
Burger Boys are total Cleveland retardation, slop-punk rife with butt and penis jokes, with assists from Kill the Hippies, Maccarone, Sloth, Kill the Hippies and Mr. C himself in various capacities. Live, they're half punk and half comedy act, and the singer is of the annoyingly funny breed. Pretty sure some of the Bad Noids and Lucha Eterna kids play in this outfit as well. Great for outdoor parties at Now That's Class, but I can't imagine needing to listen to this too often, especially 20 tracks of it. The Mr. California side is pretty good, and if you're at all a fan, you know what you're getting. Gonzo one-man banding with guitars and drumbox and a perverted sense of humor. Material is from 2009, recorded well and contains the hit "Smokin Crack". 26 tracks on his side, making this a real value if you're shopping for quantity.(RK)
(Cleveland Continental // look em up on facebook!)

V/A "Greatest City In the World Soundzine Issue #1" cassette
I've been listening to the old Bang Zoom cassette comps lately and have loved the format. You get to hear a song followed by an audio interview with them…find out what the music is about then get inside their heads a little. "Greatest City in the World" takes a similar format. The omnibus is a snapshot of US hardcore in the summer of 2011 featuring Double Negative, Iron Lung, Vaaska, Women in Prison, and Omegas. The interviews were conducted at Chaos in Tejas and the bands are typically light-hearted, goofy, and/or drunk but do hit on some deeper issues, particularly Iron Lung's story of touring Japan immediately after the tsunami. It's rad to see this format creeping back out into the world and hope for future issues.(DH)
(Shit Hawk Records // shithawkpunks.blogspot.com)

V/A "Sacramento Records Anthology: 1999-2004" cassette
Compilation cassette from Charles Albright's Sacramento Records label, Side A being a retrospective/best of from actual releases and Side B being coulda-been-released songs from the roster. Obviously heavy on the Sacramento brand of pop-punk (and some punk and even garage-punk), and including Albright bands Milhouse USA, Rock the Light and The Colonels mixed in with bands you know and love (Bananas, Horny Mormons, The Four Eyes) and some you might not know or love yet (The Gynas, The Cos, Lousy Bums and more). A great sampler for Sacto beginners, and the B-Side "rarities" will turn on hardened vets of the region. For me, The Bananas are the only pop-punk band I would say are worth your time (and I hate pop-punk) as they're that good at what they do, everyone thinks The Four Eyes' "Hat Nerd" is a classic but I've always been more partial to "Deathrace 2000" (I even know the lyrics), it turns out Milhouse USA didn't totally suck and The Gynas tracks are pretty cool grrl-punk. Take about half of this stuff and throw it on an LP and I would be happy. 26 tracks deep, there's something friendly for everyone here, tough guys need not apply. Scum stats: 250 copies. (RK)
(Sacramento Records/Pleasant Screams // www.pleasantscreams.com)

Video Nasties "Amore E Rabbia" cassette
If you glance at the cover of of this upside down it looks like some sort of ICP dark carnival graffiti logo. So I of course needed to listen to it ASAP. Pretty disappointing. Minimal synth instrumentals and noise looping, slow and brooding and atmospheric. Nearly ambient when they're laying off the oscillators. Blah. Nothing much else to report. (RK)
(A Giant Fern // theylivewesleep.bandcamp.com)

Wetbrain "Deeemo 2012" cassette
I'll keep this simple. Buy this tape. Now that Folded Shirt have folded and left Clevo without a real supergroup, Wetbrain rise out of the darkness to take their place. The line-up is indeed super: Wedge on drums (one of the best drummers of the modern day, see 9ST, H-100s, Inmates, GSMF, etc...), Shaun Filley on guitar (one of the best shredders of the modern day, see Annihilation Time, Midnight, GSMF, Nunslaughter, etc...),. the inimitable Dr. Larry on vox (one of the best frontmen of the modern day, see The Darvocets and Folded Shirt) and Shelton from Upstab (and probably some other bands) on bass. This isn't some toss off goof-punk band of buddies who just get drunk and practice on Saturday nights (although I imagine they do ineeded do such things), these dudes RIP IT HARD. Some of the best punk guitar playing you're gonna hear these days, and Wedge is insane on the kit. They kick off with a Plasmatics cover! "This Is How To Occupy" and "They Live" are terrifyingly good. "Lady Die" will make you want to crash a car. Fast, anthemic and of course a bit funny. And for as great as this tape sounds, live they will just fry your face. Recorded wonderfully by Maccarone, as usual. This thing is just about ready for wax as is fellas, so look out for 12 inches on Painkiller soon. A must have for all punks and rockers. 150 copies, no posers. (RK)
(Bloodclot // dirtyrottenarmy-at-gmail.com)

White Pages "Tour EP" cassette
Limited tour tape from the Pages Southeastern trip earlier in the year. Recorded live and in the raw, three originals and three covers (Plugz, Authorities and Showcase Showdown for some local flavor) for a quick in-n-out. "Loose Lips Eat Chips" is the best of the orignals (and I think one of these tunes ended up on their 7") and I of course have a soft spot for any band who covers "Mindless Contentment". Live recording sounds like ass though, so I'd have to say this is unessential unless you wanted to have a souvenier from seeing them live on the tour.(RK)
(self-released // whitepageswhitepages-at-gmail.com)

Wooly Bullies s/t cassette
From the Wonderful Fest side of the Cleveland scene come Wooly Bullies, a garage-pop band who aren't bad at what they do. And what they do is sound a lot like Black Lips on most tracks. Jangly garage that they jam with hooks, sometimes giving things a KK/BBQ ramalama feel, some twangy surf guitar licks here and there, fuzz guitar leads, occassionally a Spacehists-esque punk jammer. They throw synth on "Annie Get Your Raygun" for a kinder, gentler Lost Sounds vibe. Instrumentally proficient, they sound best when they throw darker garage shades on the tunes, but when they go for the poppier approach they sound like they could be any Burger Records artist. Probably a good party band live, but there's a lot of acts already doing this just as good or better. (RK)
(Central Command Center // soundcloud.com/woolybullies)

Workin' Man Noise Unit "Drinkin Stella to Make Music to Drink Stella To" cassette
Total dunderhead rock action from London, ostensibly workin' man's blues made by workin' men, but of course these limeys have to be takin' the piss on something, whether it's the floor of the pub or the giant pile of skulls actually pictured being whizzed on in the poster included. Total feedback and phaser guitar puking with a pretty damn good drummer locking down what sounds like a modernized shit-fi version of Love 666, total beer and acid soaked overblown rock action. Completely dumb in the best ways, almost sounding like the mutant garage-scuz of the good early Hollywood songs for a few moments or even one of my favorite already-forgotten modern bands, The Mans. "Sweat it Out" sounds like them taking a shit on a Shellac record. Might even be some Killdozer vibes here as well, and they were a workin' man's band if there ever was one. I'm sure they're a spectacle live. Hard to believe these guys are from England and not the Midwest, this is music for dudes who have to wear steel-toed boots to work (or risk losing some toes) that also enjoy getting weird with some cold ones after their shift at the mill. (RK)
(Double Dot Dash // www.doubledotdash.org)
Workin' Man Noise Unit "Serious Power Hour" cassette
For as exciting as the tape above was, this one is equally tiring. There's serious power, sure, but not as much of the pissed and blown-out antics that made things a bit good-n-weird. I suppose this could be their jab at total wanked out heavy rock, but when it just sounds like heavy wank rock it's not much of a joke. At best it sounds like Killdozer covering Nugent, at worst it just sounds like some stoner rock band with a wah pedal. The drummer does some good work here, and they come up with some heavy riffs, but they sound a bit too "pro" on this one to be serious workin' men. It's as if they took a good Julian Cope review to heart and are trying to be a real rock band now. Maybe I'm not getting the joke, maybe there is no joke to get. It's getting too hard to tell these days. Get the "Stella" tape for sure, but skip this one. (RK)
(Double Dot Dash // www.doubledotdash.org)

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301 Tremaine Ave.
Kenmore, NY 14217


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

Nick Goode (NG)
1227 Rollins Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28205-6255

Dave Hyde (DH)
PO Box 301
Brewster, NY 10509