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

Aaron & The Burrs s/t & "II" cassette
Buffalo basement surfers with two tapes worth of treble-instrumentals. Clean and low key recording with a couple of spy moves (including a Gray Matter cover) amongst mostly seaborne themes. Best song title: "Davy Jones' Hurt Locker". More SMOASP souding sharp-pickers than washed out reverb-twangers. "II" has some darker vibes and a Spotnicks cover. Well played and traditonal surf from a non-surf locale. The exact opposite of Thee Cormans. With member(s) of Space Wolves, go to the UT Records site for free downloads of this and the rest of their catalog.(RK)
(UT Records // www.ut-records.com)

Acid Freaks demo cassette
Acid Freaks are yet another band with Brannon and Mike from Frantic/Predator/etc, and if you're a non-ATL native like myself you probably first heard of them via the 'Land of Nod' comp. This demo has the rough version of their comp track plus five more, and has been out for over a year already with surprisingly little fanfare. If you're into the Predator tunes, Acid Freaks songs are similar but with nastier vocals and a more evil sounding West Coast HC streak. The recording quality here is a bit raw, but there's definitely a couple more tracks here worth your time ("Acid Freaks" and "FS ES" would be my picks) that could probably make a killer single with a good cleaning up. This label also has a Manic tape (and God's Balls too) along with other local delicacies if you're looking to round out your ATL punk collection.(RK)
(Big Blonde Records // bigblonderecords.com)

Adults "1" / "Vol. II" / "Vol. III" cassettes
Adults from Oakland manage a hat trick by sending in three demos of respectable quality. These are meat'n'potatoes demos that, taken in at once as I have, demonstrate a band that's quietly managed to throw together a decent body of work. There are twenty two songs, all told, most of which hit a straight-ahead, catchy style that would be at home on Douchemaster or some such reputable label. Hints of melody, some "oohs", a few good hooks and, though recording gets progressively better on each subsequent tape, it's never polished or slick. You could wander around town with a lot worse blasting out of your headphones.(DH)
(self-released // chiesaram-at-yahoo.com)

All Blood “Someone Else’s Ocean” cassette
From the label I always assumed stood for aggressive sounds and skull splits (XO Press) comes a plastic trap of a gentler hiss. Y’all really fonked me up this time around. Nowhere near as nihilistic or blunt as its roster mates, All Blood serves up experimental bedroom glue and baroque beats muddled within blown tape decks and crapped out f/x pedals. Some of it sounds like Ty Segall giving that Sacred Bones outsiderdom a go. Other times it peels back its pep and exposes things similar to the Red Mass damaged blues or Kinks pop, but with beatbox and electronics in tow. I guess you could call it the Mac Blackout of the Kansas City scene if you gotta’ pin it on something. The liner notes mention this is a concept album on human eating habits and being buried alive. Sure, a rock opera if you will. Anyway you slice it, it’s an interesting listen. Definitely not what we’ve come to expect, given the Kansas City output heard around TBHQ, but change can be good. Not sure how many pressed, but I hope mine’s one of the hyper limited copies as it ran out of tape before the final track finished. Whoops. (RSF)
(XO Press // www.xopress.bandcamp.com)

Astral Gunk "Street Level" cassette
Sackville's finest come back at us with a cassingle containing two songs of psych-o-delic garage. The ingredients: wacky vocals slathered in a coat of echo, fuzz-wah guitar in bountiful portions, rumbly rhythm section. The two song tape isn't exactly a value added format, but thank god they're easy to review. Reminds me of that Soupcans band a little bit. I'd rather listen to these guys blubber about for five minutes worth of wacky garage-rock with lots of effects and energy, than have to sit through a tape of a band doing stock post-Black Lips moves with zero character. That being said, can I honestly recommend a cassingle in 2013? Astral Gunk ain't a bad band and all, but shit....(RK)
(Craft Singles // craftsingles.bandcamp.com)

Brainstems "Styrofoam" cassette
Swingin' garage from St. Louis with some post-punk touches, sort of an X! Records vibe maybe with a bit more Southern style fry instead of Motor City punk. Recorded well (I think this was a radio show), scratchy guitar sounds with a decent rhythm section. "L.U.V." reminds me of some mid-Eighties quirky wave band, like a less weird Wall of Voodoo or something. One of tunes sounds like really early Fleshtones (when they were a great band), sometimes it's like a modernized Tav Falco with the 'billy toned down ("King of the Swamp"). There's someone they REALLY remind me of, and I can't put my finger on it. "Sweat" sounds like a post-Urinals band. Pretty surprised by this one, it touches a lot of bases and does it well. Weird, but not trying hard to be weird I think. Perhaps this just sounds odd to me because they're doing things that other bands aren't really aren't right now. I mean, their dumbest punk song sounds like Tyvek. That's good. The Gories cover at the end shows their hearts are in the right place and they actually do a reverent and raucous version and don't fuck it up. Do these guys have records out? Why not?(RK)
(Don't Touch My Records // donttouchmyrecords.blogspot.com)

Car Phyte "Mix Tape" cassette
There's very little info on this tape, no titles for any of the 20 or so songs, just a lil' sliver of paper with some email/blogspot/myspace(!) addresses that themselves offer very little information. But, these cats must be from Brooklyn; if not, contagion is upon us. The sounds here are so prevalent in Brooklyn that they are inescapable—programmed dance beats, blues-rock crooning, tape trade experiments—sometimes a mix of any and all of the above. There are occasional hints of Jim Shepard followed by bits of what my chorophobic brain can only erroneously label as bouts of techno. I can't say this did much for me, but I know there's a crowd for this.(DH)
(Brain Plan Records // myspace.com/brainplanrecords)

Cold Circuits demo cassette
Four tracks of icy, jagged post-punk with a Wipers-meet-Wire thrust and a nasal n’ rasp vocal delivery that I enjoy immensely. On initial play, the first thing that came to mind was Synthetic ID – as it should - they share at least two members. But unlike Synthetic ID, there’s a bit of a buzzsaw (belt-sander?) approach to these tracks that I dig even more. “Much Better” and “Sate Jackets Required” have a simplified/no frills Daily Void vibe and “Concentration City” seesaws back in forth in a dizzying slush of guitars, nodding to their Synthetic ties. After this spastic trio, there’s a break from the hyper-drive with “Easy Opportunities”. They put the moody little fucker at the end and it’s a goodun’too. Let the listener breathe for a second…then end scene. A fast, furious taste test of a stellar new local outfit; just what a demo should be. Evidently they’re dropping 7” wax shortly and those tracks thicken the broth with a richer, fuller sound. Good shit. If you live in the SF area, I suggest seeking ‘em out. (RSF)
(self-released // www.coldcircuits.bandcamp.com)

Dads "An Evening With Dads" cassette
Omaha no-fi indie/twee rocking. Heavy on the organ grind backed with trebly guitar and tape hiss. A baker's dozen of poppers with a few varieties: most sound K Records style, some in a more garage-influenced Sixties pop direction, some are straight power pop tunes done up in the lo-fi tradition. Certainly some pop-punk good-natured spirit as well, the off-key vocals keep it just quirky enough. I feel like these guys would've got along well with the Very Small Records family of bands pretty well or fit in on Secret Center. They're no Nar, but they would get along well on a bill with them I'd imagine.(RK)
(Slum Goddess // dadsomaha.bandcamp.com)

Demon Horse “War Is Here If You Want It” cassette
More sonic vomit from the land of the mighty Meat Mist. Scrappy, barely together structures that careen in and outta’ tune and should satisfy fans of the recently reviewed Divorce LP or any other “fuck punk - let’s art” band. Memories of Fort Thunder and its related fudge-lumps flood my brain as the guitars hiccup and squeal along like long lost Pink & Brown outtakes, buried beneath a bludgeoned banshee shriek. I think she’s barfing up a lung. A coherent Harry Pussy? For a while at least, until the sound of Bikini Kill’s early practices circle the clogged drain whilst a Butthole Surfers cut-up collage tries forcing it all down like Liquid Plummer. Train = wrecked. Not for the faint hearted or squeamish lady-boys around these pages, but I’m willing to bet a dollar or two a few of you design school dropouts will get stiff-dicked upon first “spin”. Kansas City, you hardly ever fail. (RSF)
(XO Press // www.xopress.bandcamp.com)

Der Todesking “Real Bomb” cassette
Swear to Christ - Kansas City has gotta’ have more local cassette releases than they have functioning physical bands at this point. With the exception being Martina McBride wannabes and the Paw barroom knock-offs, of course. This Buttgereit named outfit brings on a scrappy metal and busy hardcore mash that isn’t too far removed from the local line-up over at XO Press. Like a less vulgar/visceral Meat Mist or beyond feeling anything emo variation of Regret The Informer. It jumps between thrash attacks and sputtering punkprog, with the occasional trip down atonal Jehu avenue. Or is that a Born Against back road? Either way, my brain takes some time adjusting to the shifts, but by the fourth & fifth tracks it’s starting to get real comfortable around here. The whack attack double pack of “Agents of Change” and “Playing With Knives” are the real kickers. Nice and grotesque wank with a wink of humor that’d give the Upside Down Cross or Kilslug folks something to favor. It also pays tribute to the SST catalog on the aptly titled “Blacked Out”. The guitar mangler is quite a bruiser and doesn’t mind showing off his Ginn (or even Leary) chops. Skatepunk sounds are delivered in the final chunk o’ tunes with some hostile crossover thrash weirdness. Neat. Fancily folded art-sleeve packaging wrapped in binding twine with a toe-tag/library card insert. Self released, but they seem to be in cahoots with the XO folks, right? Right. (RSF)
(XO Press // www.xopress.bandcamp.com)

Dyscontrol "Mo'ai Melodies" cassette
New Halifax outfit with members of Bloodhouse and Career Suicide playing stripped down indie-rock with punk drive. Solemn vocals and lyrics, mid-tempo pacing that sits between Husker Du emotive/melodic post-hardcore and Wipers introspective guitar wander. 11 songs which I'm guessing the best will be culled for their 7" due out later this year. This is certainly more for fans of the Bloodhouse name drop (who I think are great) than the Career Suicide one (who are also obviously great). Very clean recording, no overdriven guitar effects or reverbed-out vox, they're letting it all hang out without any cloaking devices. Refreshingly clean, but still needing a bit of time in the oven. With some time I feel like they could eventually do what The Men have been trying to achieve.(RK)
(Sewercide // sewerciderecords.bigcartel.com)

Eel demo cassette
I guess this is titled "Drill Mess Madness Violent Punker Scum Cassetti". Or maybe not. I think this was recorded live, or they just had some people hanging out in the practice space yelling while they taped this. This is the latest from the Drug Lust/Free Clinic crew (which I'm a big fan of), and I think Jimmy Rose is in this band too, making for a double whammy. Four songs that sound like the artwork - a gibbering mound of crusty Japanese noise, d-beat, Italo-core and power electronics. "Bars is Prisons"! Pretty funny. Absolutely maniacal and recorded with maximum squelch and minimum fidelity. I'm into most things these guys have done. This is brief, but dangerous. Bring on some records. Insanely Japanese. (RK)
(self-released // teenagemutilator-at-gmail.com)

Eets Feats “Seafoam Chaffa” cassette
Previously this band was reviewed on a split single with Texas bros-in-arms, Low Times. The Feats handed over this cassette last fall along with that said vinyl and I’m just now getting around to letting it spin. Modern garage, much like the Low Times (who also have a tape up in here), but laying down more surf to their swamp. An impressive feat, since I’m fairly positive these cats ain’t never even seen an ocean beach. You could say they’re like an early 00’s grrr-rage response to the So Cal punker-pop of Audacity. Vocals and choruses kinda’ rub like that, but it’s not causing any horrible chaffing. This is a pretty good ride. Repetitive thumpers like “We’d Burn” and “Idc/Ins” bring on a Sweet Rot or SS catalog overtone that has me rethinking the last couple of lines I just wrote. Making some art out in the tool shed, down Texas way? Whatever it be, they’re pulling it off and papa is pleased. Stuff gets pretty hairy towards the end, beastly almost. “Gravity Drag” closes things on a high note like a Necessary Evils interlude…until they start shouting over each other in a ragged clusterfuck. But you already know that, cuz it’s on that previously reviewed single as well (so is their best track, “We’d Burn”). Does that mean this tape isn’t essential? Are any tapes really essential?!? I’ll just say the best tracks are on the split 7” (and the Feats are aware), but there’s still pleasant times to be had with this little TX sunbake.(RSF)
(Aye Aye Aye Records // www.ayeayeaye.com)

Electric Jellyfish “Trouble Coming Down” cassette
A two song tour cassette from a Melbourne, Australia cum S.F. transplanted terror unit. The name misleads me into expecting some fun time sunshine fare. Not at all. This Jellyfish stings and prepare to get pissed on if yer gonna’ survive it. “Trouble Coming Down” is for the dank scum lovers who feel Lubricated Goat, King Snake Roost and their moderne equivalents continue to trump the sounds of Royal Headache or any Eddie Current. “Trouble Coming Down” is a gross slurry or masculine drift of sewage that would probably eat away at your shoes if you dip your toes in it for too long. Swing, man swing. Heartbeat bass throb, discordant string stabs and an aggressive storytelling like someone got Michael Gerald really, really pissed and sentenced him to life imprisonment at a meat packing facility. The rolling tribal kit bash continues through “Nothing” and slathers it with shards of scree and that Birthday Party chunky pummel. Things sprawl out and decay near the end, letting the instrumentation drawl and drone like dying cattle in a tarpit. The only thing wrong with this tape is its too fucking short. I want an LP. There was one a few years back that sounds a smidge more like Crime & The City Solution than this hulking beast they’ve become, but and I need that one too. BALLS. A tragedy we here at Termbro sat on this for well its expiration date, as the 100 copies unleashed were snatched up like Hostess ding-dongs at a fat camp. If you’ve been digging The Stabs, The Cuntz and Exhaustion, look for this tape. Pronto. (Seems that Aquarius might still have some!) (RSF)
(Twin Lakes Records // www.twinlakesrecords.com)

Estrogen Highs "Live at Cafe Nine" cassette
Live show from early 2012 featuring mostly material from 'Irrelevant Future' with a couple from 'Friends & Relatives' as well. Exceptional sound quality and the band is in fine form playing on their home turf. I enjoy these guys very much, and this batch of material (plus the songs off the 'Cycles' EP) is my favorite of theirs, so I enjoyed hearing the songs worked out in the live setting as I've not had the chance to see them in person yet. Obviously live records/tapes are not everyone's favorite thing, so if you dig E-Highs, this is a great sounding live documnet, if not, move along. (RK)
(Safety Meeting // safetymeeting.net)

The Floor Above s/t / "Some Life" / "Backyards" cassettes
Three demo tapes of furious hardcore spanning 2011-12 from Nashville's The Floor Above. Going chronologically the first s/t tape is lof-fi blister with strangled guitar moves giving it the off kilter lurch of Midwest favorites of times past. On this one, the low fidelity provides character for the tunes that still seem to be forming. They step up the game more than a few notches on 'Some Life' which gives the guitar a Japanese sheen of distortion, at times getting into Inservibles levels of chaos, but the songs have a more deliberate and menacing pace than the almost ridiculous spazz our Mexican heroes get up to. Not that they slip into overly sludgy pacing at all though, as all of these tapes have more song titles than minutes on them, which works to their advantage. The soloing and riffage on this one is about as jagged as it comes - picture a circular saw with the rustiest, toothiest blade you can imagine. This brings us to the 'Backyards' tape, which shows further progress. They work in an aggressive bass sound on this one, vocals are still being howled from the devil's echo chamber, guitar tone gets a little bit cleaner and the playing starts showing some skilled Ginn-esque solo moves alongside the jugular-grabbing riffs. Eighteen songs in about fifteen minutes here, I like how a lot of the songs don't really have "endings" they just sort of run out of guitar parts and then the rest of the guys stop playing. Most definitely the best batch of songs here and most dynamic lower-fi recording style. It's the punishers on this tape and their hand-written and DIY aesthetic that I imagine cemented an LP release with Kevin Failure's Savage Quality label. Vital and dangerous sounding hardcore with an aggressive spirit and ferocious guitar action that sounds unlike many of the popular styles in the genre today. Perhaps it's the lo-fi murkiness enhancing the outsider vibes, I'm not sure - hardcore sometimes seems like a style where you're trying to be "one of the gang" and fit in with a certain label or popular style, and The Floor Above seem intent on distancing themselves from that. And speaking of "them", there's no band member info on any of these tapes so I'm left to wonder if this could possibly be the work of a lone gunman. All I know is that Side B of the 'Backyards' tape is one of the best hardcore punk EPs I've heard in recent memory. (RK)
(Closet Landscapes // closetlandscapes.com)

Forced Laugh "Mass Iconoclast" / "Zero Return" cassettes
Smart-dumb UK-DIY messes on cassette from Vancouver's (?) Forced Laugh. The worst thing I could say about this band and these tapes is that maybe they have too many ideas. It's a bit much to wade through, but that's what tapes are for, eh? 'Mass Iconoclast' has a great soundbite from what I imagine is a college radio show DJ who mistakenly played them and says "I don't get it. Keep art out punk, keep it raw and savage.." (to paraphrase), obviously missing the point entirely. There could be up to a dozen songs on this tape (I gave up keeping track) all with very clever titles and incredibly sloppy guitar playing, a rather competent rhythm section and plenty of echo on the vox. Very nasty post-punk, nothing fancy about it. Free range guitar playing with excessive feedback, talked/shouted vocals, some mongo backing vox at times, just a complete jumble. Songs just stop dead and bleed into tape hiss and found sound interludes. Was it worth taping this over a copy of Sisters of Mercy's 'Floodland' LP? Definitely yes. If you figure they took their name from an A Certain Ratio song, you could connect some dots (sans the funk) and there's the expected Fall-isms (but what good band doesn't rip a page from The Fall these days) and maybe even some Crass but without the hippie shit. 'Mass Iconoclast' is ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag. 'Zero Return' is more recent and has a clearer focus, maybe a bit less feedback and more rhythm. Less assaultive perhaps, but just as biting. Total DIY Destruction. If these tapes would have been made 30 years ago they would be on some sort of "I Know About This Shit and You Don't" Kugelburg list in the next issue of Ugly Things. More found-sound interludes, I think someone is sharpening some knives at some point while they listen to Radio France broadcast. They venture into some darker Anarcho-type stuff here as well, some RP vibes stuck to the cobwebs. A lot of stellar tunes here with sharp and really weird guitar playing, for lack of a more clever way to say it. The covers/packaging for these are an equal part of the presentation, 'Zero Return' comes with two massive collage fold-outs with some band info and tons of cryptic cut-n-paste imagery. This isn't your plucky-n-chirpy TVPs shit, this is pretty vicious stuff. These guys would be giving The Pheromoans wedgies and sending them crying back to their mums. Very worthwhile cassettes from a band people would probably love on record (and they do have a good 7" already) - I think the tough bit here is editing this for vinyl. I don't know if a 7" can hold what they're doing. It'd probably have to be an LP with a massive 'Death Church'-style foldout poster sleeve for maximum effect. It would probably sell about 50 copies, and I'd buy at least two of them. But seriously folks, give this stuff a go if you want to immerse yourself in a band who really have some gusto - it's an undertaking, and maybe a bit excessive, but that's part of the charm. I'd suggest 'Zero Return' and then see if you have enough hair for the other.(RK)
(Gold Records // forcedlaugh.wordpress.com)

Freedom Club “Rather Be Blind” cassette
When I lived in Seattle, there was a downtown joint called Gibson’s that let the locals flaunt their action on a carpeted stage, liquor soaked and piss-funked to perfection. Bands would play right in front of the sliding glass windows, sound-proofing be damned. This nightly entertainment menu was on deck for whatever hobo or crackhead was brave enough to watch. Tall boys and Ramones shirts. Dancing on tables and vomiting chicks. SG’s held together with duct tape and six-pack straps. Even the infamous Reatard/Retard fisticuff incident went down there (RIP to both ya’ fucknuts). The kinda’ stuff Eric Davidson’s dreams are made of. Well, this tape and band are totally in sync with that unforgotten dive. Freedom Club is a gaggle o’ Portland punkers that continue to work within that Pac-Northwest gutter rock soundtrack. The soundtrack to my sloshed twenties. On Rather Be Blind, you get crisp Spot production values with a Wipers hittin’ the garage vibe floating to its gruff head. A C20 worth of two minute benders and tight riffitude (You heard me) that should satisfy fans of the tougher modern Texan outfits, the old Motards-style stomp and other scrappy fuckers like fellow Oregonians The Therapists or Chemicals. What is it about Southwest/Northwest? They just come to party. Fuck you up and get high. Bless ‘em for that. So thanks Freedom Club, for the flood of memories. I miss those days, no matter how much my liver may bitch.(RSF)
(Bulkhead Records // www.freedomclub.bandcamp.com)

Godspeed 209 "Live on KDVS" cassette
A couple of live-on-the-radio sets from Stockton, CA's Godspeed 209 are sandwiched together here for this release. I appreciate the joke that G209 are playing with imagery on this; with a bubblegum pink ice cream cone on the sleeve and sprinkle cookie as an insert, I was prepared for a nice lil' happy listening experience. To the contrary, Godspeed have more in common with Pissed Jeans or some such sludge-punkers. Heavy stuff that mines from the AmRep/SubPop sound. Well recorded stuff, btw, KDVS producers are no slouches. Both sets are similar, though, so you'll hear a bunch of the same songs on each set. I'm gonna go eat a cookie now.(DH)
(Squirmy Records // squirmyrecords.bigcartel.com)

Golden Pelicans "Live at Wiggly World" cassette
What was to have been the first in a series of live tapes documenting in-store performances at Orlando's Wiggly World, which will most likely be the only volume in the series now that Rich has closed up the shop. If you ever were at the store, it's pretty amazing that they fit a four member band with gear in there for a show in the first place! Anyway, Golden Pelicans rule and this tape is the only other recording aside from their monster 7" that we have by them for the time being, which makes it worth it's weight in something - not gold, maybe aluminum or brass. I had the pleasure of seeing the Pelicans live on their home turf last year, and they brought the party and then some. One of my favorite bands going right now. This one has both the hits plus soon-to-be-classics like "Chained to a Dumpster", "Dingo Boots" and more. Recording actually doesn't sound too bad aside from some drop outs, and I feel the need to say I'm really a fan of Erik's singing on this. Uncle Lou for president!Scum stats: 65 copies.(RK)
(Wiggly World // www.floridasdying.com)

The Gotobeds "Fucking in the Future" cassette
Mysterious guy indie rock!? I enjoyed the band tagging themselves in this genre on their bandcamp. I can feel it. Gotobeds are from Pittsburgh and have ex-members of Kim Phuc and Brain Handle, and what's mysterious is that they sound nothing like those bands. Five song tape with great sound showcasing the band moving about in Messthetics-styled DIY/postpunk areas, there are some classy and not cheeseball early-Eighties Fall moves (I hear some MES riffing on the vox) paired with some Kiwi-popping verging on indie-rock but very Anglo-centric about it. Loud guitars make it more butch than many playing with these influences and the vocals are convincing enough that they could have mailed me this from a UK address and I would've believed it. A couple tunes even have a Swell Maps churn to them. Very promising, I've heard there a couple 7"es in the works. Pairs nicely with Real Numbers. Scum stats: 50 copies with multi-panel foldout j-card.(RK)
(self-released // thegotobeds.bandcamp.com)

Guilty Parents "Noro" cassette
Second tape I've heard from these UK rockers whose love for occult imagery I can appreciate. Sonically it's sort of on the borderline with AmRep-styled murk with some modern hardcore moves and muscle flexing metal elements. A less weird Today is the Day. Very slick and tight, with dark druggy vibes, they make some noise that might sound like a less interesting Vaz at times, and more or less sound more like a metal band than anything else in the end. Five tracks, four blasters and one beep-boop remix. Indie-metal that is good for what it is, I imagine, but not anything I'll be remembering once I type this period.(RK)
(self-released // guiltyparents.bandcamp.com)

Han and The Solos "Teenagers from the Black Lagoon" cassette
A truly tragic story here. Han and The Solos were a gang of high school kids from the outlying sticks of WNY (Olean to be exact) who just started coming to shows out of nowhere. Real energetic and excited to be part of things. Eventually someone in Brown Sugar found out they had a band and asked them to play a show. I think they had all of their gear packed in one of their parent's cars and if I remember right they had to have the car back home at a certain time. Real charming stuff. So, Han & The Solos were their band, and they were pretty great. These kids knew how to play a bit but were still young and dumb enough to be completely entertaining. There was some garagey and surfy type stuff, but mostly it was just crude Samoans/Circle Jerks styled punk jammers. One song sounded like Germs, I remember that (it's the 4th song on this tape...and a lot of the songs have the kid singing Darby style) and they were wise enough to nick the riff to "Not Now No Way" for one of their songs, unintentionally I'm sure. "Everyone Thinks I'm Gay" is a complete fucking classic and should end up as the A-Side of a single someday. So, the sad conclusion to this story is that these kids' (there were two or maybe three brothers) house burned down, and from what I've heard, lost some family members and less importantly all of their gear to the blaze and they ended up moving out of state, to live with other relatives I imagine. The end. So, this tape exists as a document of teenage punk trapped in time. I'm happy I got to see some of their shows and I wish them the best wherever they are. If you're into zit-punk, Rotcore and songs I wish I would've been cool enough to write in my first band (if I had ever been in a band at all), then this 8 song cassette should be purchased immediately.(RK)
(Feral Kid // www.feralkidrecords.com)

The Hoagies "Cold Cuts" cassette
Orange County joke-punk from The Hoagies, who cram as many bad jokes as they can into these dozen tunes. "Gimme Gimme Grilled Cheese". "Pastrami Mommy". "I Wanna Grinder". It's mostly Fat Wrex style punk-pop and Queers pop-punk, although they do a Hot Snakes cover and call it "Midnight Pork", which is pretty good. These guys put a lot of work into this gag and I can't tell if they really think it's funny or what, but they really went all out lyrically, pro recording, slick packaging and all that. I enjoy the band name carved into slices of ham on the "gatefold" and it was witty to send me a note written on a napkin (but it should have been a Subway napkin, not McDonalds). I mean, this sucks no matter what, but I'm interested in why they did this for some reason. They seem to play live with masks on, so perhaps this is the alter-ego of a more famous band? Ah, who cares. I'll stick with the Go-Nuts.(RK)
(self-released // thehoagies.bandcamp.com)

Homeshake s/t cassette
Sample heavy and toppling Canadian slacker pop. Well played and recorded (especially for a bedroom release) and sounding a little like Pavement meeting up with the softer side of Yo La Tengo. Even that old band Swell comes to mind, and I haven’t listened to (or thought of) them since 1998. A hazy, Sunday morning coming down, post-binge listen. Not afraid to let the freak flag fly, neither. Chiming guitars and codeine slurred vocals intermingle through warbly f/x rack play. It’s not so bad overall - I do actually like stuff like this from time to time - but I’d like to slap main man Peter Sagar around a bit, just to work him into a lather. I’m afraid he might nod off if we don’t shake him up. 200 copies were made on turquoise tapes. All come with a thick book of notes and a photo, unless they were just trying to woo us reviewers with extra tchotchke? (RSF)
(Fixture Records // www.fixture-records.com)

Human Grooming s/t cassette
Melbourne quartet wearing their influences on their one-sheet, forming "after taking a big interest in the band Sick Things." Not a bad place to start, although you might not guess Sick Things were their inspiration had they not declared it outright. To me they sound more like a hardcore band utilizing the noise guitar approach, but I guess Sick Things were pretty fast when they wanted to be. Middle-fi recording with prominent bass in the mix, sheet-of-feedback guitar approach that is certainly good at what it does, vox are more of a hardcore growl with some static laid on for emphasis. Reminds me of something on Rotted Tooth (I'm thinking Shaved Women). The rhythm section is dialed in and well lubed and gives this thing force, guitar player sounds like he's barely using a pick and just rubbing glass on his strings. Ten tracks that go by in a blur, they have a good sound and break up the speed intake with some crusher breakdowns, but I'm a bit hung up on the vox. Seems like Aussie-style mysterious guy hardcore a bit, and I feel like that Gentlemen tape gets what they're going for more than Human Grooming actually do. They have a single coming out this year (with a Lee Hazlewood cover) that I'd still give a shot, as I do like this style of overblown rock-core.(RK)
(self-released // soundcloud.com/#humangrooming)

Illegals demo cassette
Pittsburgh hardcore with ex-members of Annihilation Time and Radio Beats. How's that for a pairing? Also ex-Rot Shit, which is not something to publicize. I kid. Not to sound like a dick, but I'm pretty shocked the vox on this sound as tough as they do. I didn't know this cat had this much rage inside him. Mid-tempo USHC moves with some screeching guitar parts/solos and a bit of a downer vibe. Pretty burly and not too shabby at all, they've probably got a good single's worth here.(RK)
(self-released // illegalspgh.bandcamp.com)

K-9 Sniffies "Dehydration Guys" cassette
Ann Arbor punk upstarts, this is my first hearing them. Note says they're ex-Telephone Callers, but I can't even remember who that is. Six tracks, first one is experimental tape warping stuff, almost sounds like they're slowing down a SRV guitar solo. The we get into some shit-fi home recording. Cardboard box drums, barely audible vocals, lots of extra hiss and slop. Third(?) song sounds like The Fells practicing. Sound quality on these sessions varies from song to song, with only that first one being total garbage. Flipside starts with a Pheromoans-like DIY tune, followed by a Tyvek-like DIY tune, followed by a Hygiene-like DIY tune. I'm gonna talk some shit here, but those three tunes right there could be a record. As all over the place as this tape is, I'm going to buy their 7" right now. I also suggesting downloading their "Live at Taco Bell" digital release. These kids seems to be on to something...(RK)
(All Gone // allgone.bigcartel.com)

Kommie Kilpatrick “Sex Party” cassette
Detroiters I ain’t ever heard of doing some sorta’ dum-dumbed down KBD inspired stuff. They keep it real simple and not overtly phlegmy. Tracks are also fairly short so not to cause any nerve damage from gratuitous toe tapping or repeat-o head bob. Most of the A-side tracks are from the Samoans/Vom school of stripped down/over soon variety. Until you flip it. The title track is slathered across the entire B-side’s running time (a full five minutes) and it’s what you’d expect, given the name. A slightly surfy, jangled variation of the famous Flipper staple. They introduce a harmonica and some Van Morrison-isms to keep the flow a-goin’ sideways. An easy and pleasant un-spooling. Packaging is king here. I’m sure the die-cut j-card and Charles Burns lookin’ art should get the RAW comic geeks all worked into a frenzy.(RSF)
(Gold Tapes // www.goldtapes.bandcamp.com)

Lazee Lavenders "Cassette E.P."
I imagine a lone fellow sitting on a piece of large driftwood overlooking the Pacific as the sun is setting. He's got a guitar or two and a small practice amp, reverb turned all the way up, and is serenading the seagulls. That is, more or less, the vibe going on this one. The music is laid back, low energy wind down stuff, typically just one guitar track and vocals…sometimes a solo or light percussion kick in but there is not much in the way of building up a layered sound. If that sounds like your thing or if you're a fan of mysterious surfer imagery, pick this up and hang loose.(DH)
(Baby Carrot Records // babycarrotrecords.blogspot.com)

Low Times s/t cassette
Moody and bent full length by these Austin boys who made an impression on me with their Eets Feats split 7” already. A dark ride thru swampy terrain that should speak volumes to those who collect Thee Oh Sees (but want them to be uglier) or of the Demon’s Claws (but wanted them to be even bleaker) platters. Vocals are ‘verb blurred, guitars are tweaked and the rhythms (when not slogging in molasses) chug at a rump shakes pace. “Oh There’s No Way Out” and “I Don’t Belong” from the said single appear here as well. I’m glad those joints made it to wax, since the first of the two is one the finest of its ilk I’ve heard in a long fool time. Others that reach out for repeat are “I Don’t Wanna’ Be Caged” with its refurbished Sonics riff, aggressive pummel and early Lips-ian velocitude. “Trash Mouth” brings on a sickly downer, shoved within its marble-mouthed walls. Slovenly style jangle-punkers and In The Red’s more worldly affairs get a referential nod as well. Vocal fidelity kicks it up a notch on the closer – a Flamingos cover – that also shines quite bright. Slurred and hazy, this tapes a good thing…even for a played out genre. There’s plenty enough skill and surprise to keep my jaded ears ah’listening.(RSF)
(Aye Aye Aye Records // www.ayeayeaye.com)

Lumpy and The Dumpers demo cassette
Really great shit-fi demo from Lumpy and The Dumpers, a blown-out punk band of punk from St. Louis. Ex-member(s) of Sweet Tooth, three songs here repeated enough times to fill one side of a tape. Think a hardcore Fag Cop or maybe a garagier Hank Wood. Teenaged mayhem, with voice-cracking vocal howl, filthy recording and some surprisingly killer riffs. "Face the Meat" is an absolute hit and the other two aren't far behind. "Eel Goo"?! I'd buy this on a 7" as is, but I like it shitty. Either way, one of the better things I've heard from this section's tapes, highly recommended.(RK)
(self-released // lumpythedumpers.bandcamp.com)

Mean Bikini demo cassette
All girl London punk band with the new Rough Trade sound. Or the now Damaged Goods sound. Super loud and booming drums/bass recording style, a little post-punk rhythmically with droog-like gang vocals. Quirky and semi-cute tunes about animals, bed bugs and monkeys. "Sick of Love" is an A-Side (and they have a single coming out this year), a real post-garage banger. "Bed Bugs" is almost Slampt-label-esque (Lung Leg maybe?), sort of out of tune and angularly artastic. There's certainly a bit of Headcoatees to them as well when they push the garage ("Monkey See Monkey Do"). Not a bad female foil to Hygiene/Pheromoans or a less abrasive Good Throb.(RK)
(self-released // meanbikini.bandcamp.com)

Meat Mist “Sludged Blood” cassette
More Misty additions to the tape rack are always welcome in my panic room. Sludged Blood is just that; fidelity here is shot to shit and the Misties couldn’t care less. The aural equivalent to a fifth generation snuff flick. More herk ‘n beef jerky that I assume contains rough variations of upcoming LP tracks (it does). Spastic splatters of sonic buggery bump up against slime coated going nowhere riffs and total instrumental stall-out. YOU SUCK. YOU SUCK. YOU SUCK. Quite a mantra. Love these potatoes a whole lot. I’m still hearing that Tom Five metallic guitar slop within their Bastard Noise cum Swans-on-a-thrash-binge styling. Pleased as punch. Not much else to yap about. I’ll hold off on any major expletives until I get my grubby mitts on the overdue full-length. In the mean time, buy some of their homemade pottery (seriously). Strongly recommended for those individuals who still find enjoyment shoving ball bearings up their urethra, well past their thirties. SPORTS!(RSF)
(XO Press // www.xopress.bandcamp.com)

Mess Folk "Indifference to Life" cassette
Mess Folk were one of Canada's more prolific bands for a spell so I imagine most readers of this site are at least passingly familiar. For the uninitiated, MF was primarily a one-man band, who recorded gnarly garage-core on a Tascam up in the middle of nowhere (Sydney, NS). Seemingly mad, mad, mad at the world, the music of Mess Folk took the ugly and offensive approach. Sometimes it worked, often not so much, and this cassette is consistent with that. After a couple minute track of lame noodling, this settles in with some loudnangry punk, 8 tracks in all. It's pissed off, it's fairly aggressive, but it's not especially memorable or compelling, so while I was able to appreciate this, there's nothing drawing me in for repeat visits.(DH)
(Hamburger Tapes // hamburgertapes.tumblr.com)

Mr. California & The State Police "Live on WMBR" cassette
Mr. C live on the radio in Boston from waaay back in 2003. I had a copy of this a couple years ago and lost it before I could listen to it. Then this showed up in mailbox. Thank you. So, Mr. California is a genre unto himself, and if you are a fan of this genre (I am) this a great tape. Mr. C does a bit of intro spiel, promo-ing the 'Audio Hallucinations' 10" on Load which was just coming out. Fuck, that was ten years ago! Holy shit. 22 tracks of vintage Mr. C insanity, including a Sockeye cover and a personal favorite of mine in "Sexual Robot" amongst many others. Just banging 'em out one after another, guitar, drum machine, and insane (inane?) lyrics and concepts. I imagine he's got someone playing synth with him here. Maybe. There's enough going on where I don't think he could be doing it himself, but he also might just be playing along with a tape. It might even be Ben Load with the assist? Anything can happen in Mr. California's world. "Black Flag Tattoo"! Some people think this stuff is ridiculous. Some people might call it genius. I call it somewhere in between, and that's just perfect. I saved this to listen to after I was burnt out on lame garage and bland hardcore tapes, and Mr. C's music revitalized me like a gust of fresh air. It might be too much at times, and taking it in small doses is key, but too much Mr. C is at the very least more interesting than most other shit out there.(RK)
(Hamburger Tapes // myspace.com/hamburgertapes)

Mongoloid demo cassette
PDX-punk of the non-crusty variety that I can dig. An ex-Sweet Tooth on guitar and an ex-Pigsticker(!) on vox make six songs of aggro that sound like early Flag interpreted through a Clevo-HC cipher. Certainly some Erba (Chris) band moves in evidence, with quality riffs backed up with great soloing (and a welcome and rather clean yet ballsy guitar tone) that keeps it from becoming mundane hardcore rehash. I like the recording for a demo, good separation on things gives it some punch, vox are more than tough enough. "Kick Your Tits Off" and "Dick in the Dirt" give you some idea where these guys' heads are at. Definitely a demo worth picking up, and it's a step up on the bands namedropped a few sentences ago (who were good in their own brief existences). (RK)
(self-released // 7063 NE Garfield, Portland, OR 97211)

Monster Treasure "MT EP" cassette
Loud indie-pop-rock with dreamy vocals. I feel like they maybe sound like Weezer with tougher guitar playing on the first one, second song is straight Sonic Youth worship. A lot of these are SY-ed out. I think they're throwing some Dino Jr. vibes around too, because everyone is going for that these days. Now they sound like Geraldine Fibbers. Melodic female vox'n'harmonies offsetting the grunge guitars. "I Dont Give A Shit" = these gals sure are tough. Straight outta Stockton, CA. I feel like they want to do a Breeders/Pixies thing, but they're not pulling it off. Veruca Salt maybe. This band would have been on DGC twenty years ago with a song in an indie movie featuting Janeane Garofalo.(RK)
(sef-released // mnstrtrsr.bandcamp.com)

Adam Mowery "Four Track Mind" cassette
Mr. Mowery has culled through a decade's worth of home recordings to assemble "Four Track Mind". The cassette, in 21 tracks, covers quite a bit of ground: a fair bit of acoustic folkish songs are met with minimalist pop, a garage rocker, and even a bit of a downer dance track. "FTM" has a pastiche feel, somewhat similar to "Alien Lanes", which helps keep the playlist varied enough to remain interesting throughout the 60 minutes of music. The thread that runs throughout, whether somber or cheery, minimal or involved is that Mowery has a knack for well-crafted, deliberate, thoughtful songs.(DH)
(Hamburger Tapes // hamburgertapes.tumblr.com)

Mustat Kalsarit s/t cassette
Dreary psych/downer pop from someone I assume to be part of the Räjät camp, though I could be horribly wrong. The opener (“Sykay”) has instrumentation similar to the Sex Church soar and peel, but it’s leveled below a strained, shouted vocal run. Other songs (like “Rotta”) struggle with galloping pop, albeit pop with an outsider angle. I could totally see some Jim Shepard or Pink Reason fanboys going along for the ride. Heavily influenced by their homeland folk sounds, it should also speak to those who buy deep into the reissue catalogs of Nigerian rock comps and various world guitar gods. The B-side starts off a bit less overdriven and even more melancholic with a Neil Young cover (“Cortez the Killer”), and that should tell you what yer in for; pastoral strum and warbly outta-tune mouth. Things slowly crank up again towards the end with the return of the sonic bummer via f/x rack. Fuckin’ kool. Who knows if you’ll ever see any of this floating stateside, but if you do, I suggest grabbing a fishing net and trying to catch one. (RSF)
(TnT Tapes & Record Services // www.tnttape.blogspot.com)

Mystery Date s/t cassette
Demo tape from Mystery Date (singular, not plural), a power-pop outfit from St. Paul, MN, whose membership I can't verify, but they run in the same circle of super tough bands like Boys Club, Real Numbers, Cozy and other hard-hitters who bring the mosh. But seriously folks, this is good stuff, more of a Brit-styled version of power-pop that overlaps a bit with Who-ish late Sixties mod-rock. Very reverent to the genre (almost reminds me a little of an American First Alert even), and with enough talent to keep the hooks coming over all nine tracks. Loud guitars, classy backing vox and it's not overly whiny - these guys seem like they actually get the girls sometimes, instead of just wishing they were getting laid. Singer sounds cool and just a bit aloof. Extra helping of power on the guitars, no slow jams and a bass player that can really go. "Talking and Talking" and "The One You Really Want" stood out to me, but "Light Speed Romance" is fucking fantastic, and so good I'm convinced it's a cover. And they have a 7" coming out soon on Three Dimensional with all new stuff. If you're a power-popper you should be listening to this instead of that limpdick Burger shit. At least these guys sound like they have some hair on their balls. $5ppd in the US, send them a check!(RK)
(Midway House // 1637 Hewitt Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55104)

Neutral Fixation "Are Esoteric Counseling" cassette
Demo cassette from Western Mass hardcores playing self-described "acid violence". Seven songs of lo-fi 80's hardcore with some spaced-out guitar sounds, recalling a slighly less violent Upstab perhaps. Not much more to say about this, they have records coming out soon, get on board with the demo to avoid future posing. I dig the fidelity on this, a more traditional/slicker HC recording might make this sound less savage, and they've got some rippers here. Lots of clever shit on the side: shorten their name to Neu Fix and you can use the logos for those two bands for the tape. I also really like the picture of the space shuttle smoking a joint they sent. Nothing mysterious here. (RK)
(Tampered Reels // /tamperedreels.bandcamp.com)

Olde Shame "Griz on the Sidewalk" cassette
A bunch of noise/experimental dude's side-project hardcore band. Going heavy on the scumpunk vibes ("King of Scum"), the vocals are bellowed overkill, it's mid-tempo and mid-fi gooey punk that's not that nasty in the grand scheme, although they give it the art-school try. I kinda feel like this is some dudes dumbing it down. Not that you have to be a real scumbag to play scumpunk. And I've met some smart and well dressed scumbags in my time. I think it's the vox that kill it for me. Makes it all sound kinda goofy. Marginal Man and Dicks covers included for cred just make it seem more like a lark to me. Again, punk music is certainly nothing to be taken overly seriously, and I bet these guys are doing this for "fun" and there's nothing wrong with that, but it's no fun to listen to either.(RK)
(Flish // somewhere on the internet)

Plates "Four Horsemen of Beauty" cassette
I might be biased and/or talking shit, but I give Plates credit and thanks for being the band that ushered in the resurgence of Buffalo's music scene around five years ago, which along with the Rust Belt Revolt years was the most exciting period of local action I've experienced. They were the band that bridged the gap between the Big Neck garage scene that was dying off (Furies, Blowtops, TPT) and brought it into the hardcore basements which begat bands like White Whale (and EFA before them), Mayday, Brown Sugar and others. While the death of Tha Shug was a major blow (as I was expecting them to carry the cross for a bit longer than they did), when Plates played their last show last month it was truly the heart of a scene taking its last beats. I feel a dark age descending upon us in Buffalo, now that these horsemen are not there lighting the way. We still have some fun bands, sure, but nothing's as vital as it was just a few years ago. Admit it. Things will come back eventually, and I'll probably too old to enjoy it when it does - fuck, I can barely go to house shows now without being fingered as a narc, much less another five years from now when the cycles renews. And I shouldn't let this review be about Buffalo's scene death, but a reflection on the life of Plates. Unjustly underappreciated, at least outside of Buffalo (and Cleveland). For whatever reasons, they might not have found what they were looking for outside of WNY, not for lack of trying - they toured more than once, played fests, shook some hands, did some networking I imagine. Maybe they were too much a part of Buffalo to translate elsewhere. Maybe their blue collar dirt was too honestly Rust Belt for the rest of the world. I feel like I didn't write about them enough, but it was too hard to distance myself from them. I saw their first show and last show and a lot in between. I saw them all over WNY and even a couple other states. They meant a lot to me as a band, they symbolized something about my city and the people who live in it. Something I can't put into words, but they were us. The ultimate injustice is that this tape kicks off with their last recording session, three songs that are probably the best songs they wrote. "The Privelege of Bordeom", "To Pieces" and "First Teacher" are songs you probably heard live if you caught them during their last year, and offer a more streamlined and cleaner attack which is no less powerful than their earlier and dirtier tunes. They'd really become masters of their sound, and it's a shame they pulled the plug at the top of the hill. Or maybe that's what they wanted. I know I want these songs on vinyl. The rest of the tape compiles their three EPs, adds two unreleased earlier tunes ("With Teeth" being particularly notable) and some songs from a live on the radio set that sound great (with OG bass player Ross Vegas). As it stands, you absolutely need this for the three "new" songs and the rest is gravy. Sweet sweet gravy. Plates, I miss you already.(RK)
(Feral Kid/drug Party // www.feralkidrecords.com)

Predator s/t cassette
Predator have come back from the dead via this release (which would have originally been posthumous), but the songs on this apparently turned out so good the band decided to give it another go, which is great news. The "new" songs here (with GG King on drums along with Brannon and Mike) were recorded throughout 2012 and might even be better than the batch from their last LP - a couple of them appear on the 'Land of Nod' comp and there's a couple more killers as well ("Skate Slime" and "Peter Poppoff" are the aces) along with a Remo Voor cover. The B-Side has outtakes from the 'Honest Man' 7" and first LP sessions and some Frantic demos (!). Great liner notes on the j-card document Mike and Brannon's musical journey from the pre-Frantic band Pill through Beat Beat Beat and into Predator which features cameos by just about everyone from the ATL scene. As I've said, great stuff, and a real tease for the new LP which should feature the A-Side of this tape backed with some all new recordings. Can't wait.(RK)
(Scavenger of Death // scavengerofdeathrecords.blogspot.com)

Raccoon "Demo II" cassette
I enjoyed the first Raccoon demo, as it was exemplary and sloppy lo-fi rabble rousing. They've written four more songs for this tape, which are a little cleaner and a played a little bit better. They're not "good" or anything yet though, don't worry. "All Things Must Ass/Raccoon" is lower-fi Estrogen Highs with a meaner streak. "Call in Sick" sounds like a really half ass Country Teasers via Male Nurse track somehow, and I love the running-out-of-breath vocal approach. "Put Up A Fight" is great US-DIY, sort of Tyvek vs. Hygiene or something. "Adulthood" is brief acoustic fruitiness and vocal sneer. Bonus points for humorous insert. I like these guys a lot.(RK)
(self-released // 35lbraccoon@gmail.com)

Räjäyttäjät “Räjä & Roll All Night Long” / “Jytämenot Päällä!” / “Räjäkevät EP” cassettes
This giga-normous stockpile of Raja-whathaveyou recordings was sent to me in response to the glowing (and totally worthy) words I gave their label mates, the Atom Mouth Gimlies. For some stupid reason, these reviewables were aged in my cold storage for a full two seasons. Whoops. Everyone ‘round these parts have done shat their Twinkies already, fawning over their actual vinyl, so this ain’t as much a review as it is a recap to get all you late-cum-Johnny’s up to snuff. Also, I’m not gonna’ even think of attempting a song by song breakdown. No chance in hell. My hands are permanently crippled just from typing their wonky band name alone. Jesus Christ –just call ‘em The Detonators already!
HERE WE GO: For those of you who’ve been living in a damp sock drawer (Pitchfork) instead of hanging out in our little hostile, chauvinist and racist community, what these fab Fins do is swallow their reference material whole – Pebbles compilations, the KBD series, Time Life mail order records and so on – then regurgitate it all up like some gooey Brundlefly mess. Something alien that assimilates and mutates, then throws back in your face everything golden about unpopular music since those white guys learned how to play the black man’s blues. Assimilate yes; but not an exact imitation. It’s more like how in the sixties so many teen combos tried to be the next Stones or Beatles and failed miserably. Because of their ineptitude, incoherent-ness or sheer audacity they became even better than their source material (at least to the booger eating, zit-bag collector scum). REAL PUNKS. Raja does this and does this swell. On these three tapes, they borrow from the minor-league masters, meld all the ideas and riffs together and come away with a gonzo, completely drunken (borderline retarded) really, really great time. In the way that Guitar Wolf emulated the Ramones blown all to bits or even Link Wray on a lost weekend; these clowns spit up phlegm balls that come nearest to the sounds of The Pack or The Kids. Only more fucked and definitely not in English. Betwixt their breakneck, piss n’ thwack originals; there is the occasional cover of the more obvious influences. A Stooges song here. A Sonics song there. A 4a.m. blackout induced barrel-roll through a Kingsmen or a Trashmen or a who-the-fuck-can-tell-anymore. Was that a blurred Doors chorus?! They also like to leave the remains of local news programs and infomercials in their native tongue peppered throughout. Much like the refurbished refuse cassette packaging, anything could and will get sandwiched in the mix. They are touring soon with Bäddat För Trubbel and that’s a nice fitting support that goes beyond the love of umlauts. These guys are the merry poo-flinging little broheims to Bäddat’s pub rockin’ ideals. I wish that tour would come stateside; we could use an injection of actual punk and rock over here.(RSF)
(TnT Tapes & Record Services // www.tnttape.blogspot.com)

Regret, The Informer “Haet Us” cassette
More Kansas City shenanigans from the XO label. Four tracks that get busy and emotional, like what happened to the late Eighties hardcore that didn’t go the thrash route. Emo from when you could call a band such and not do irreparable damage to their rep. It’s very reminiscent to an ass ton o’ groups I watched in Seattle back in the “I can drink as many beers as I want and still fit into my stretch jeans” phase. If I ever had one. “Haet Us” has found a way to take the post-sludge stoner rock, the Terrible Twos prog and bounce tendencies and the sounds of Embrace and make it into a soufflé of their own. Not the first thing I’d pull out when bragging of the XO label’s greatness, but when those guys I used to party with roll on by – the ones with Embrace tattoos, Rein Sanction shirts and are usually busy drinking on Spencer Moody’s bar tab - I’ll make sure to mention it. (RSF)
(XO Press // www.xopress.bandcamp.com)

Robert Plant’s Dingleberry s/t cassette
Seventeen minutes of Hanson Tapes-styled goods that could be compared to a kraut variation of Wolf Eyes or a more electro-powered Slice of the Grandpa. Instrumental pedal warfare and handheld experiments are cobbled/collaged into a meat pie of serious fuckadoodle-doo. If this qualifies as dance music, it’s dance music for ‘nam vets struggling with their shellshock. The long-form music video would play out like an Agent Orange public service announcement under the guidance of Eric Wareheim. I imagine midgets with suffering from hydrocephalic issues doing awful things involving rainbow ejaculates and talking porpoises. Some blown out Gibby Gibberish pops in to say howdy now and again, but then gets the heebie-jeebies from all the ping-ponging arcade horrors and high tails it back to the cave. Confuzzled; a terrifying muck. As this total shit-blast comes to an end, a not so subtle 'Thriller' loop plays you out until the spool runs clear. Why didn’t that 'Weird Revolution' LP sound like this? That would’ve been killer. An interesting hodge-podge barrage for all you noiseniks out there. Dig out yer dumpster salvaged boom box and break-dance like it’s 1985.(RSF)
(XO Press // www.xopress.bandcamp.com)

Roman Milk "Xarhakos, The Third Temple Of Roman Milk" cassette
LA sludgefeast with a Hologram (Francis Harold's) on drums, Lance from Permanent Records on bass and a mystery guitar player who is supposedly learning as he goes. Ten tracks recorded live to four track with everything bleeding profusely. Lyrics/vox are lost in the din, they're going for that heavy duty DWG/Flipper/Brainbombs thing and achieve it in all the most obvious ways. Thump thump thud thud bleargh. I enjoy the amateur hour guitar playing a bit, but it's not really wild so much as it is just trying to keep up. All the songs sound pretty much the same with slight variations in pace, and the absolute smear of a recording job makes it more like one long gooey whole. It's a pretty good song, but not good enough where I want to hear it ten times in a row. They certainly prove their point, and achieve a certain nihilistic vibe. I guess it does get pretty hypnotic after a while and their butchering of the Frantix hit song could possibly result in an attempted murder charge. Scum stats: 100 copies.(RK)
(Permanent(?) // romanmilkbeat-at-gmail.com)

Sand City “Long Gone” cassette
Somewhere between nineties indie stalwarts like Pavement and the less sprawling Built To Spill, lands this newer San Franciscan outfit. Long Gone is inoffensive pop schmeared with some actually catchy hooks. Three passes through and I’m reminded of Camper Van’s “Key Lime Pie” (Truth - I love that record) or even Dinosaur Jr’s major label stint. Can’t say it’s totally my bag, but they’re gonna’ go…somewhere. If you spent your college years buried under a pile of the 2nd generation Sub Pop cassettes (We all owned at least one by Sebadoh, right?) then this could be the gravy to yer biscuits. Something the little lady can play when she’s sprucing up for a night on the town. Sorry, I’m getting lazy here and you probably deserve better. If you’re hankering for well produced, written and played melancholic pop tunes that don’t suck, this should do nicely. Now please throw away yer Fresh & Only’s LPs, for Doug Martsch’s sake.(RSF)
(self-released // www.sandcity.bandcamp.com)

Sewers demo cassette
Brisbane fuckers with a demo tape they recorded in a storage space. Fuck garages. "Human Spray" is some hillbilly-punk shit, like Pogues if they were actually as cool as they looked in 'Straight to Hell' and were actually King Snake Roost and not The Pogues. But the guy still sounds like Shane drunk and singing, but probably with slightly better teeth. Music is surely rooted in the dirt a la feedtime or 3TS, more outback and dusty grime than swamp-n-muck. Excellent songs, with good titles even. "Grease My Chain"?! And it's a fucking hit too. Almost what I hoped Axeman's Jazz would be like. Screeeeeeee and jazz and trudge. "Human Spray"! "Fishing"! That bass player is fishing in some deep holes, I'll tell you what. I like the cut of these guy's jib for sure. "Ugly Party" is just that- a party with ugly broads, very martial and rat-a-tat drums. I don't think the singer is totally shitfaced though, I think he's got a good buzz going where his slurs sound sort of pissed but not unintelligbile. Tasteful slide-screech solo. "Sinkhole" is fucking country with live disco drumming or some shit - which they swerve into a take on "Bitches Fuck Off"....Whoa there fellas, pump the brakes...you don't cover Wallers, just like you don't cover The Fall or The Stooges. You guys got a lot of fucking balls trying that shit. I'll look the other way this time...These guys had a track on the NGL comp that wasn't even half as good as any of the songs on this if I remember right. They have an LP coming out on a label I can't figure out ("that old bastard"?), but it'll fit right in on Homeless next to the Cuntz LP. Some upper deck Aussie shit right here.(RK)
(self-released // sewers.bandcamp.com)

Slave Master s/t & "The Carnal Mind" cassettes
The self-titled tape is five or so songs of someone playing guitar loudly and poorly while some blowhard yells a bunch of shit. Might have religious overtones. Last track is a "soundscape" of sorts. "The Carnal Mind" might have some substance. Sounds like it was recorded in a high school gymnasium. Empty. With one mic on the opposite side from where the "band" is playing. Simple and evil basslines played over and over while someone mumbles and/or croaks cryptic lyrics for songs with names like "Servitude", "You Are All Perverts" and "Suffer Now, Rejoice Later". Pretty fucking scary at times. I think there's a synth in there somewhere. I've totally lost my grasp on the tracklist here, the recording is total shit, sometimes in a good way (the first five minutes worth or so), sometimes in an unlistenable way, even for a craphound like me. I feel like there's some kinda Kilsuggish thing happening at points. There's some seriously primitive shit here that I'm into about half of the time, the other half of the time I feel like they're trying too hard to annoy me. Some sick bass tones here for sure and I enjoyed the Twin Peaks reference in their correspondence. I feel like their aesthetic is best summed with this line from the insert: "There's a Gerald Sandusky deep down in everyone...don't let him out." Trying too hard or honestly fucked? You decide.(RK)
(self-released // slave.master.productions-at-gmail.com)

Space Wolves s/t and "II" cassettes
With Buffalo's shining lights fizzling out with alarming frequency of late (RIP Plates and Brown Sugar), there are thankfully other bands rising to the surface, making leaving the house for a locals only show still a viable option on a weeknight. Space Wolves are one of them. Sub-two minute power-pop tunes, with a croony J.Richman-like vocal style and trebly yet tight playing and recording. Peculiar twists to standard pop themes arise, along with oddball covers (Urinals, 7 Seconds), a dash of Fifties Crickets-like rock'n'rolling. Lots of guitar twang and seemingly wholesome vibes prevail, disarming songs about pizza and gurls will surely appeal to the Nobunny fans out there, but there's also something...weird...bubbling under the surface that all the popping seems to be concealing. There's some sugar on these tunes, but done cleverly so that it's not completely overbearing and the hooks are surpisingly big. While this type of good clean fun (and it ain't all that clean once you start picking the lyrics apart) isn't everyone's bag, these songs are well-written and smart enough that it becomes pop that's good enough to appeal to non-pop fans like myself. Once they get out of Buffalo basements they should be able to find a larger audience somewhere out there. I'd recommend they get in touch with Burger Records, but these guys already have the cassette market licked. Thankfully, I've heard a vinyl release is in the works which will hopefully get some more ears and eyes on them from outside of WNY.(RK)
(UT Records // www.ut-records.com)

Strange Attractor "Tour Sampler" cassette
Twenty song mixtape from previous Strange Attractor releases and some demos/unreleased action. I've heard most of their stuff, and these guys are a pretty great garage-punk band, and certainly amongst the cream of the crop for Canada right now. Not as power-poopy as many of the Ottawa scene bands and a million times better than Statues (whose main man is also the main brain in SA), this is obviously the perfect place to start. A big part of the sound is Jeff's shit-eating-sneer punkola vocals - musically, they're pretty tight unit that draws more than a bit from the Samoans catalog amongst other Cali-punkers, with some surf and garage licks tossed in as well. Any versions of songs like "Night Stick", "Night Banger" and "Nite Stalker" rule (they do good with the night moves), "Go Fuck My Brain" will peel your wig back right from the play button, there's couple Spaceshits-esque garage-rocquers, "Mutant Love" is a hit (and the title track from their LP on Red Lounge) and they do the base level punk stuff ("Eat Me Die", "Fuck Shit Up!", etc..) with a certain smarts that doesn't rub you wrong. Good stuff across the board, you really can't go wrong with any of their releases if you wanna hear hot modern punk-n-garage from North of the border. Comes with a download, like I wish all cassettes did. Sudbury Saturday Night, RIP Stompin Tom.(RK)
(Hosehead Records // hoseheadrecords.blogspot.com)

Sweet Bread s/t cassette
Sweetbread (one word or two, who knows) are from Ann Arbor, MI and share members with Bad Indians. This is some really recent recoring from the band and is better than the last Bad Indians LP I reviewed. Total spaced-out rock jamming, very krauty in the rhythm with some Skullflower-esque guitar drone over it. I think there are some vocals, bur they're so distorted and muffled it sounds like the other side of the tape bleeding through, which is a cool effect. I'd guess at least three guitar tracks are here, one bass, one doing some leads and one or maybe two just feeding back. Might be two percussionists as well. One long tune per side, B-Side has a little more form, but both are pretty killer, baked to a medium-fi crisp. This is what I want Bad Indians records to sound like.(RK)
(The Rosey Cross // theroseycross.bandcamp.com)

Tendril "Smear" cassette
Five songs of all-systems-go noise rock from Virginia Beach. They're really going for it hard here, nearly hardcore velocity, prickly guitar stuff that is backed with heavy riffs, a monster drum sound and of course some scuzz bass. They go for the nauseous breakdown/buildup, the queasy guitar sounds and they have the burl behind them to keep from slumping over. Singer sounds like the guy from Kim Phuc some, he's a crazy yeller but not in a hackneyed way. It's all pretty slick sounding, they somehow avoid using really noticeable reverb on this. What gives? This sounds mean and demented and all that, and they sound good doing it, but something's missing for me. It all just seems a bit too tidy.(RK)
(Tension Head Records // tensionheadrecords.bigcartel.com)

V/A Abusive Stepdads/The Shithawks "Split E.P." cassette
Best I can tell, both the 'Dads and 'Hawks are from Sydney, Nova Scotia, which my cartographic skills lead me to believe is a relatively isolated town on an island in one of the easternmost points of North America. I only mention because I tend to think small-town bands make for inherently more interesting stories than those with established scenes and these kids are operating on another level as I don't imagine many touring bands make it even as far as Halifax, which is 400KM away. I'd guess it might be a lonely place with few likeminded comrades if I were a young punk coming up through the high school ranks. That all is what I'm imagining and projecting onto this demo, which features some gruff, angry and generic hardcore from both bands. The lyrics, what I can make of them, seem pissed but aimless, lashing out on those in their community who don't see the world as they do. The S-Hawks angle seems "I Hate You" whereas the Abusive Pops is "I Hate Society", a scumfuck yin and yang.(DH)
(Hamburger Tapes // hamburgertapes.tumblr.com)

V/A Fire Retarded/New Years Gang split cassette
Two fresh-faced Madison bands chuck their communicable pennies in the pot and buy a stash of 30 minute Maxells. Fire Retarded bring on a brutal trash that threshes around equal parts ‘Sconnie cowpunk and junker garage. Reatard-o attack, but more spacious and well, Midwest feeling. Mid-to-Shit Fi recordings that could be from a 4-track, but on these ghetto tape purchases (and with zero mastering) who da’ fuck knows…Still its descent slop for some youngins. Reminds me of newer stuff out here in Oakland like Burnt Thrones Club or The Molestations. The total polar opposite of the in vogue Oh Sees worship brewing around the globe, and I could commend them on that alone. The flip is New Years Gang and they fly closer to the Budget Rock slop, like Supercharger or something, but with a sturdy regional pop punk backbone. Less raspy in its delivery than the Retarded side – but not far removed, since the bands both share members. So repeat what I said up top here as well. Welcome to the Carousel, lads. (RSF)
(Kitschy Manitou // www.kitschymanitou.blogspot.com)

V/A Lovely Legs/Cannon 'Meatboys' split cassette
Split tape from two Brisbane bands. Cannon are completely unremarkable garage-pop with an overbearing singer. Lovely Legs are pretty decent Demon's Claws-esque cuntry-n-garage whose four songs make up for how bland the Cannon side of this tape is. Lots of guitar whammying and fuzzing, hickoid vox and stompy drumming. A fittingly savage and a bit swampy run through the genre Aussie-style, I like their style a lot. If they made this a 7" I wouldn't be disappointed at all. Tex Perkins would be proud.(RK)
(Long Gone Records // longonerecords-at-gmail.com)

V/A Meat Mist / Morse split cassette
You all know of Meat Mist, right? No?! Then read my fucking reviews, jerk off. Stop twiddling yer bippy lint and get to ordering their stuff. I will say that some of my favorite Mist moments show up on this tape. “Sukjob” is a swerving drunk dirge of fuck-all. Serious slaughterhaus swing. “Schizophrenia” is nothing like Sonic Youth, but does attack with blunt psychotic stabs. A simple battering repeat that’ll leave you with very few teeth. “Twerk Ultra” is as close to a straight up hardcore tune as they’ll ever give you. And it’s good. More dying cattle grunt ensues. “Hand Smoke A Mocking Bird” reminds me of Nirvana’s 'Bleach', if played by circus geeks, furiously strumming away their digits. Wearing knuckles to nubs. Leaving behind misshapen and flailing appendages. That kind of’ thing. Music to some. “Bloodlust” is good old fashion Venom-style shit metal meeting up with NYC art school dick swingers. All this in seven minutes and production kwality is aces. Over on the flip, Morse holds their own in a totally different realm. “Christie” is synth fueled post punk with co-ed vocals. It’s like a darker (real dark), early (real early) B-52s on a Francophile kick. “Muted” would/could find a home on a Sweet Rot record in no time flat. Has the Frustration or Cheveu robot rock at heart. I dig it, but I’d dig it longer…dig? It’s over so quickly and I really have to get back to the Meat Mist side. They’re calling me. Making me do unspeakable things (at least I look good in a dress). A real odd pairing but both merit listens on their own. I’m just biased at this point. (RSF)
(XO Press // www.xopress.bandcamp.com)

V/A Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs/The Shakey Aches "Banana Split" cassette
Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs are apparently Toronto's resident Black Lips tribute act with some Brimstone Howl Canadiana-roots added in. Let's throw a Demon's Claws reference in here just to cover that base. A solid dozen on their side that are recorded well, twangy guitars, sloppy gang vox, some acoustic hayseed roots moves. Safe enough for MuchMusic or a spot on the new Degrassi playing a dance or something. Wild in the safest way possible. Take all the edge off anything the Black Lips did and add some bland cowpunk moves. This tape seemingly went on forever. Shakey Aches are even safer still, but they actually sound a bit more garage-punk, but in a Little Steven's Underground Garage way. I'll give them a head up on Sammy & the Boys for having a bit more personality, even if it's the Black Keys' personality. A little bit of creative drumming, some hooks and all that, but also some terribly corny moves offsetting them. From Ottawa, I guess they win. Nothing to see here folks, move along.(RK)
(Hosehead Records // hoseheadrecords.blogspot.com)

V/A Wooden Wives/Lee Harvey Oswalds "Together We Make Sense of Life" split tape
Such a positive outlook, eh? Two friendly bands chipping in to make sense of life. One does get the sense that there is a community aspect to this release, with each band covering the other and sharing in the concept and title (a concatenation of WW's "Making Sense of Life" and LHO's "Together (We Make it Forever)", the two aforementioned covers). For the most part, both bands here are swimming in a retro-60s pool for their musical cues. LHO is more interesting to my ears as they dabble in psychedelia whereas I could see WW having a decent side-gig playing proms. I appreciate this release and would probably have a fun time at a shared bill show, but neither band kept the attention of this cantankerous reviewer.(DH)
(Hamburger Tapes // hamburgertapes.tumblr.com)

Water Temple "Guilford Hotel Was An Inside Job"/"One Genration's Tragedy is the Next One's Joke" cassettes
Water Temple are an instrumental rock unit from Perth that have ties to Taco Leg somehow. They couldn't sound any less like Taco Leg, but that's not a bad thing. "Guildford Hotel..." is on the heavy-side, sort of a combination of Gone/Rollins Band and early days Melvins. Heavy riffing with just some slight sludge and tight playing, but not annoyingly shiny or technical. There's still some raw edges, which is good. The make me very happy by covering a Death song off of the 'Human' LP, which was their last great record in my opinion. This was a surprisingly good listen, very 'Ozma'-like at times with some Bl'ast-y moments on Side B as well. The "One Generation's..." tape takes a hard left turn though. It's a concept album about Scream 4, done up in Residents fashion. Manipulated soundbites from the film with a score added by the band, some Zombi-esque moody tunes and a few gothy-punk tunes (vocals and intrumentals this time) a la The Faction and more Melvins grunge action. The band really put a lot of effort into this, and it's well done. The soundbites go on a bit long sometimes, but I guess concept albums are all about excess right? And the actual tunes on this show off many talents, in particular the ones where they break genre and just do weird arty shit. Tons of potential here on many fronts. Great packaging on these tapes as well, with band pics that look like they could have been on SST (or Boner) in the late Eighties. (RK)
(Heartless Robot // www.heartlessrobotproductions.com)

The Yolks "Songs the Yolks Taught Themselves Vol 1" cassette
All covers cassette of Chicago's The Yolks running the gauntlet of Fifties frat/rnb/soul standards and coming out of it sounding like a younger and whiter version of Otis Day & The Knights. I'll admit, this tape was a pleasure listen to, and I say that against my better judgement. I threw this in the deck thinking "Fuuuuck, they start off with a Beatles cover?", but by the end of this thing (slow dance to "I Don't Mind") I was ready for more. These kids do this shit very very well, and I would love to have them play my prom, wedding or special occassion. Singer has a smooth voice, the organ sounds so vintage it hurts, it's just real fun shit. I actually felt bad when their LP came out and I didn't think it was very good - their debut single was top notch, and if they could channel their love for the stuff they play on this cassette even further we could have another Sexareenos on our hands (which we might have already with Uh Bones). Anyway, cool tape, mind if we dance with your dates? (RK)
(Randy Records // randyrecords.blogspot.com)

Zink Tabletz demo cassette
Mystery KBD-punkola from some dank Buffalo practice space. Five tracks of primitive drum-n-guitar shred with some two finger keyboard added on their hit "Bloodbath at the Disco Prom". "Rawhead" (Rex?) has the hot guitar licks, "Idiot Box" reminds me a little of The Nubs and they do a decent Roky cover with what sounds like a caveman on backing vox. Not bad for a band that apparently only existed for a few days.(RK)
(Feral Kid Records // www.feralkidrecords.com)

To read past reviews go here.


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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