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

Abuseman “Greatest Hits” cassette
A fairly eclectic mix of dated Middle Eastern radio music and Esplendor Geometrico-esque machinist monotony. Occasional dips into spaceship bridge beeps and pulses, underwater droning, and nightmare rhythms. A nice field trip to all things Smithsonian. Wildly impressive screened and fold-up packaging, which appears to be the norm with this label. (NG)
(Drid Machine // www.dridmachine.com)

Animal Hair “Love is Real” cassette
Trancey, very low p on the profile psychedelic rambling - extreme Spacemen sleeve-wearing with vocals that sound like a chemistry teacher doing an Iggy impression. Sounds certainly borne of a desert, though it seems to be Texan (despite some vaguely Australian snotiness). Works pretty damn well, especially O.W.. Eleven minutes of music to eat popsicles to, in the best way. (NG)
(Bummer Tapes // bummertapes.bandcamp.com)

Animal Teeth demo cassette
Holy crap. Semi-inept and lovably sloppy "anti-punk" from what has to be a bunch of high school kids. Total dumbed-up junk-punk vibes, guitar has a great crackly shit-fuzztone, songs/lyrics are as stupid as possible, drums rattle like coffee cans. "Sewer Gas" sounds like a Midwestern stab at sounding like The Penetrators, "Fake Punk" is just so awful it's quite great, a trend which continues into "Bad Adult" - it's like The Germs at their absolute drunken worst. So out of time it seems impossible. "Small Talk Fever" approaches inept Red Kross territory, with a great breakdown/crackup part. All of these songs, if they were released 30 years ago, would be heralded as KBD classics. What does that make them now? "Gun Control" has what I think might be a bass solo?! Fucking retarded. "CHUD punx" is what they're calling themselves. Makes sense I suppose. My copy of this was dubbed over a Celine Dion Christmas tape and has a lyric sheet that's more than welcome. Oh shit, they tracked the CHUD trailer on the end...and then some sort of spoken word over a bassline version of "Fake Punk". These guys are just great. Highly recommended.(RK)
(Lumpy Records // spottedrace.bigcartel.com/)

Atlantic Thrills "Summer Tour 2013" cassette
Tour release teaser tape from Almost Ready's newest favorite sons, six songs previewing the debut LP to be ready in early 2014. A-Side of the single is included, along with five more I'm expecting to see on the LP - "On My Mind" is a DMZ-ish stomp, there's some Diddley-beat shakers, some Kinks/Troggs beaters. No frills from the Thrills, some great hooks, "Light Shines" reminds me of a more rockin' Jacuzzi Boys - real hooky rock'n'roll, great plucky guitar sound. I've really warmed up to these guys - the single wormed its way into my good graces by sheer force of will, and I'll admit I tried to resist. I'm getting the feeling these guys might release a pretty damn listenable straight garage-rock LP. Nothing new musically here, but their affable lack of pretension is actually really refreshing. Sure, its clean enough for the Underground Garage - but it's also done well enough to sate the die-hard garage-punk fan. 50 copies. (RK)
(Almost Ready // www.almostreadyrecords.com)

The Backhomes "Only Friend" cassette
I'd rather listen to any member of Spacemen 3 or Spectrum take a loud shit.(RK)
(Shake! Records // www.experienceshake.com)

Bathhouse Boys demo cassette
One of my (many) fave non-Lumpy Spotted Race tapes. I'm guessing there might be some shared membership, but who really knows for sure with these slimeballs? This is really brutish and cavemannish dirge-tempoed hardcore punk with a vocalist who has an almost ridiculously deep troglodyte growl. It really gives the tune that extra personality necessary, and it's not completely unintelligible - not so much metal-esque growling as just trying to go for the lowest possible baritone he can. Songs are smart and funny too - "Mixtape Club" plus three more, all of 'em have a pretty stomping mosh part mixed in, playing is comepetent enough and bolstered by shit-fi recording. "I'm Well Aware" and "Infect Them" should be the flipside of the single. Fuck, this is better than 90% of actual HC records these days. Fuck, I say.(RK)
(Lumpy Records // spottedrace.bigcartel.com/)

Bel Argosy “Let’s Hear it For” cassette
Bright and cheery quasi-powerpop, self-described “indie punk band” from “the Brooklyn scene”. The first track is cheesy in a way that many Termbros would probably dig, modern private press weirdo ballad material. Also included: five more songs of rocky pavement, palatable, glossolalia-filled songs leaning in a much more college rock vibe. More exciting than a mention of “the Brooklyn scene” would imply - there’s too much going on to compare this to Captured Tracks’ current suite of aural wallpaper - but a bit too sterile for the casual odd listener. First song is probably up a lot of saccharine powerpop alleys, though… worth a listen. (NG)
(Bel Argosy // www.belargosy.com)

Black Panties "Graveyard Sale" cassingle
Part of the 2013 Halloween Cassingle series, "Graveyard Sale" is a spooky garage vamp that's a goofy enough gag for the theme. "I'm A God Damn Trash Can" is the feature attraction, a modern day Dwarves with reverbed-out vox and buzzsaw-trash dynamics. Pretty sick but not absolutely necessary. With lyric insert and holiday greeting.(RK)
(Lumpy Records // spottedrace.bigcartel.com/)

Black Panties "Dead and Gone" cassette
Full length from one of the more prolific of the Spotted Racers (at least two EPs plus this full length and more on their bandcamp), it's raw garage-punk that sounds like some of the turn-of-the-decade's brashest and trashiest outfits - something about it reminds me of Epileptix maybe - abrasive punk rock that owes everything to the Dead Boys and Stooges. Simple and dumb tunes, with snot-caked vocals, lots of "I don't give a fuck" lyrics and lashing out/anti-social bahavior that I heartily approve of. Another fine example of the intersection of hardcore and trash-punk, "Shrink Ray" is an anthem with the chrous to go with it ("I CAN'T WIN!"), "I Don't care About the Punx" is total annihilation and its "All I want is rock'n'roll!" mentality reminds of the Dirtys total abandon and reckless velocity. Shitheaps of distortion and dead-end vibes. It's just mind boggling that this exists as a cassette only when I look at the piles of garbage that are released on vinyl. And there's the thing about this family of bands I suppose, they're doing it for themselves, on their own dime, in their own style, by their own rules with little outside interference so far - maybe now that Lumpy is blowing up (at least in my mind...) some of these other bands will get their time to shine as well.(RK)
(Lumpy Records // spottedrace.bigcartel.com/)

Cal and the Calories demo cassette
Lumpy & the Dumpers offshoot action. "Some of these riffs were written last May at the same time as the Lumpy demo, but were too poppy"! He said too poppy?! "Jackhamma" is a total anthemic punk rock hit, a mongo combo of "Sex Bomb" and some blues tune or something I'm too stunned to properly articulate right now. Super nassally vox are a plus ("Jayckheammah!"), "My Calorie" actually is (kinda retardedly) poppy and "PHD" continues the trend with some meat-themed ("I'm a bologna brain!") punk. Recorded like garbage. Wonderful stuff, even these side-projects are better than most other bands out there. There's more uncredited stuff tacked on the end of this that continues the buzzsaw approach with a glue-mouthed singer along with the rest of the Aerosmith album this was taped over.(RK)
(Lumpy Records // spottedrace.bigcartel.com/)

Cane! “Cum In Your Heart” cassette
Italio synth punk duo (but playing at least 4 instruments) that genre hops from track to track. While some songs are worthy of unspooling, others seem a tad too precious to my ears. The opener ‘Tramidol’ reminds me of Blondie or the Epoxies, only with dimestore Dickies vocals making it even less palatable. Not the way to kick things off. ‘She’s Got Boobs”, “Do You Love Me’ and ‘So Pink’ are slop-poppers of a lesser and forgotten Nobunny outtakes variety. Strictly for the Burger kids. With the bad out of the way, there are some scrappier, punk parts in the mix. ‘Boring Youth’ and ‘Sex Love & Threesomes’ are more in synch with Volt or Spider (or is it Black Orphan? I forget…) and that’s much more pleasing. Songs take to murkier territory with darker instrumentation during ‘Affair in Havana’, ‘Remote Control’ and ‘Your Brains Are Dead’. None too original and cut from the Lost Sounds or Static Static cloth, but a few more tracks like this and a few less sticky confections wouldn’t hurt them any. The Reatards ‘Blew My Mind’ cover is obvious but well executed, and makes sense when you think of the Memphis madman’s imprint left on this tape. ‘Don’t Like You’ is classic Destruction Unit before the desert settled in on ‘em. It’s an interesting (kinda?) mix, to say the least. There’s a good EP’s worth of material to be found in the wreckage. I just want them to dump the sugary pop, get past the Jay-Jay hero worship and bloom out on their own. (RSF)
(Fleshwave // www.fleshwave.bandcamp.com)

Car Phyte “Fail” cassette
Electro-tarded mulch that resembles a botched pro-tools dump, initiated by some forgotten 90’s dance punk band. Too much time spent sitting at Guitar Center, trying out digital pedals and dated Chrome sounding f/x filters. Their drum machine has the Shaggs timing down, I’ll give ‘em that. ‘Fail’ as a whole could be a loose attempt at covering the second Slits LP; except I’m not willing to injure my brain going deep enough to find out. ‘Schizm’ tries to bring the rock after meandering for a smidge too long. Their Tronics art project side shines on ‘Back Seat Driver’, which actually has some interesting industrial noises in the murk…I’m just not certain any of it is utilized to full effect. The vocals range from are an Oxy-slurred mess to yelps of incoherency. The non-linear anti-song tracks within are much more appealing to me; ones like “Butter Face” that just pulses along under threadbare string plinks and a budget dub. But for the most part it’s just a blurry and already forgotten roll through caterpillar-thick under-fidelity fuzz and badly compressed computer scree. Sorry kids, ya’ lost me. (RSF)
(Brain Plan Records // www.brainplanrecords.blogspot.com)

Cold Comfort "Sometimes It's Nothing" cassette
Buffalo's entry into the post-punk/gothwave sweepstakes. Not sure if this was done as a lark or not, and I feel bad if I'm interpreting this wrong. The recipe is followed properly: monotone vocals w/reverb, sharp/angular guitar lines, watery bass, stoic drumbeat. Five songs certainly influenced by Iceage/Lower and Pleasure Leftists. I feel like these guys wore facepaint or something which made me think it was kind of a gag. The songs aren't bad but aren't really any more than a recitation of the ingredients list. "Nothing" I enjoy the most because it reminds me of a Horrid Red song. (RK)
(Subject // subject1.bandcamp.com)

Classhole "Demos" cassette
Metal demos from New Orleans' Classhole, whose members' pedigree extends to such NOLA metal legends as Mangina, Tirefire, Outlaw Order and Eyehategod. Eleven tracks of full bore crush-n-crunch, sometimes sounding like metallic hardcore, sometimes going for a straight thrash attack, sometimes even getting into a crusty grind and incorporating globs of sick sludginess as well. Riffs are USDA approved, Matt Muscle's vox are delivered with enough fucked-up conviction that you realize he means what he's saying. Song titles like "Corrupted", "Frustrated", "Gunned Down", "Full of Hate" - there are some fucking issues that need to be dealt with here. And by dealt with, I mean matched up with some superior riffing and blasted out of some shitty speakers into a living room full of beer and weed smoke. Recorded loud with a ballsy amount of low end, this is primo shit especially when they lay into those slow and punishing riffs. Best cut: "Taste the Chaos"! Music made for gun owners by gun owners. (RK) (self-released // fullofhate504-at-gmail.com)

Cool Piss "Cool As Piss" cassette
Six songs of not-too-shabby garage from Houston. Singer has what I can only describe as a "dumb" sounding voice (sorry dude, no offense) which I think makes things more interesting than they might be with say some reverbed-up bullshit that you might hear from any other band in this style. Also, I should note there is zero evidence of "psych" here, which is a good thing, it's pretty much just direct drive garage-rock with some better-than-average hooks, smart/dumb lyrics and aesthetics and some good lo-fi production that goes for more of a low end sound than trebly squeal. Pretty sloppy at times, which is diguised nicely by the mid-tempo cruise control. Somewhere in between the Spits, Oblivians and Buck Biloxi, which is a pretty wide berth. "Living Outside", "Infiltrators", "FTBS" - shit they'd have a pretty decent single that wouldn't be out of place on Goner. "Nah Dowgg" is more than just an awesome title. Pretty good, glad I stuck with it.(RK)
(Bummer Tapes // bummertapes.bandcamp.com)

Dethfox "Demo 2103" cassette
Eight track demo from Montreal's Dethfox, a town whose punk often tends to run towards the crust/chaos variety, and Dethfox have a bit of that but seem like a more traditional punk unit overall. Sure, the Motorhead is there but there's not so much crust, which is ok by me. These guys have a real weird way with words - "Ghostbird Haze", "Fearpop Departure", "Runstate Wrong" - like some kinda bizarre random song title generator. Anyway, they have some riffs, the slower tunes burn well, lots of it is simple Ramones structures given the KBD-scuzzbath, not quite fast or aggro enough to be called hardcore though. Sounds a bit Scanadanavian at times, maybe it's the staticky vox and dark turns. Tunes are all glued together with soundbites/noise. Not bad for a demo tape, but maybe not good enough for a record yet. A little bit Cola Freaks-ish, maybe some Cali-punk angles a la the K-Town bands. (RK)
(Runstate // dethfox.punk.mtl-at-gmail.com)

Doog "Water Brothers Trust" cassette
This tape comes in an envelope, inside which is a plastic baggie, inside which is hand-stitched slipcase with a multicolored booklet tied together with a string. Fucking hippies, fuck off. Someone go to the "wilds of Bushwick" and kick this guy in the nuts for me. (RK)
(fuck you // hippie)

Dribble s/t cassette
Formless psychedelic sludge from Melbourne's Dribble, an evil punk band with members of Gutter Gods. Pretty gross sounding, just a vortex of blahhhllllllll. Honestly reminds me some of the slimiest Lumpy cuts (but maybe I just always have Lumpy on my mind) but there's some similarities I'm fairly sure. Total speakers-melting recording, instruments are complete distortion but the vocals maintain some clarity (a reverbed and slurred clarity, sure) but it's all pretty exceptional sounding slop. Kilslug seems like a logical reference. The real "music" parts are just drums/bass, sometimes the guitar seems to be playing along a little bit but it's mostly just a thicket of feedback the singer is picking his way through. Creepy sex themes abound with a side order of drugs and sci-fi. Yes please, I'd like some more.(RK)
(Cool Death Records // cooldeathrecords.blogspot.com.au)

Eroders demo cassette
Early DC scrappiness, grunted vox, mutant sounds. Admirable levels of ineptitude throughout, though “Use Your Eyes” takes the cake for the most stellar retardo-teenage wank-job solo. They’re not on the level yet, but this lies almost exactly between the Retainers and Tyvek, they’ve certainly got the upper-midwest garage blood in their veins, and they’ve certainly heard Tyvek. “I Just Don’t Care” sounds a lot like “I Need Cocaine”, so bonus points for that. Trebly, to the point, propulsive, and who wouldn’t love the fact that all of the members play guitar on this? Would go see, would pick up a single. (NG)
(Flesh Wave // fleshwave.bandcamp.com)

Fake Surfers s/t cassette
Really good two-piece punk rock from Detroit. Six songs, nothing too fancy, just energetic and driven guitar shred and drumsmash. Just enough distortion on the guitar, guy's vox have a good bored punk feel to them. The songs remind me a bit of both The Left and The Wipers at times and there are moments of classic SoCal-style punk. Not your typical Detroit band (they occassionalyy have a trebly Tyvek-ness to them, but that's about it), these kids aren't all that weird but are just a quite ripping duo that are far more punk than garage.(RK)
(Flesh Wave // fleshwave.bandcamp.com)

Family Pet "Thirty Second Murmur" cassette
A reemergence from Family Pet, who released a trio of single-sided releases in '07 and then disappeared, at least to the outside world. It is not clear to me if the band was on hiatus during the intervening years or just did not bother releasing any material, but their return is thrilling. A duo from Maine, Family Pet specialize in raucous free jazz and have, in one four song cassette swoop, doubled their catalog of released music as each prior record had but one song. Musicians A.M. Haines and Will Berdan II create a world of chaos that is consistent across this release despite widely varying instrumentation. Indeed, the title track is scored primarily with voice but lacks none of the intensity of the tracks that feature bombastic percussion and saxophone. In a review of their first releases, I mentioned that Family Pet were in the spirit of Ayler, Mars, Demo Moe, and Sun Ra, which I think holds true all these years later.(DH)
(Foreign Frequency // www.jm-gd.com/foreignfrequency/index.html)

Flaccid s/t cassette
Super heavy hardcore from Calgary that somehow ties into Teledrome and The Shrapnelles, both bands that were pretty disposable formulaic outfits. Flaccid play in the field that could be called mysterious guy hardcore; savage vocals, punishing beater-tempo sludgery, guitar abrasiveness pulled from Japcore records, pretty big recording sound that still sounds raw. Don't get me wrong, this stuff is pretty devastating, but there's also nothing much to differentiate these tunes from a dozen other bands, many of whom seem to have the word Raw in their name. Good enough to run in the pack but not great enough to rise above it. The clusterfuck collagework on the tape cover deserves to be blown up to at least a 7" cover I guess. Seems like everyone wants to be the Tar Babies now instead of Void. I will say that if these guys were from Buffalo they'd probably be the best band in town by a long shot though, so who am I to talk shit. Like I said, good enough if hardcore is your bread-n-butter, not outstanding enough for dabblers though.(RK)
(self-released // rockandrollorgasm-at-gmail.com)

Folkicide “A Night At The Opera” cassette & “Genocide Is Mean” CDR
Why the fuck is this happening?! This sounds like an acoustic Muppet jamboree tag teaming a under practiced They Might Be Giants. This very special cassette features the total deconstruction of a classic Queen album into an insufferable, nasally space-folk travesty. Street corner busking fuck-shit-piss. You’d think they were members of The Squirrels for Christ’s sake. Ride your unicycles home and eat your vegan spring rolls. I can’t hang. Maybe their target audience is made up of huge Ween fans or something? I’m gonna’ have to pull the plug at the halfway mark; my feet are starting to swell. Please don’t make me listen to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ ever again. Any version. The original, karaoke or Folkicide’s. Stab my face off. The CD EP that accompanied this little analog atrocity fares better, but that’s not saying much. I believe this is what Andrew Jackson Jihad fans put on when they’re trying to impress their lady friends. Purely made of snuggle party material. Retch. (RSF)
(self-released // www.folkicide.bandcamp.com)

Fuck Eyes "Complicator" cassette
Great band name, I'll give them that. 'Complicator' is a full length "LP" on cassette from this Detroit duo/trio - the credits are a little vague - I think it's a drummer and one other dude who plays all the other instruments. Twelve songs that are all pretty mediocre garage-punk, mostly mid-to-slower tempos, occassional female backing vox. Below average playing and songwriting, there's just not much of interest to anyone here. Packed with duds. Is that April Novak on the cover? Not sure what to make of that.(RK)
(Flesh Wave // fleshwave.bandcamp.com)

Ghost Gums "Vertical Slum" cassette
Melbourne cling-clang trio with ties to Mad Nanna (which makes sense) and Bird Blobs (not so obvious). Each side documents a different live set, and just sounds like a band tuning up for about 10-15 minutes on each side. Completely ridiculous and a total waste of time for me, but there are people who love this kind of stuff somehow. (RK)
(Vacant Valley // vacantvalley.blogspot.com)

Glitter "Spinning Ballerina" cassingle
Crusher-core from Glitter, a real promising bunch of knuckle-draggers out of Calgary. "Spinning Ballerina" is neanderthallic ground-n-pound that is cruddy and cool. Their singer sounds like he might actually be a dog and the tune thuds with intense purpose and just enough outta tune sloppery to keep the edges frayed. "Perfect Day" picks it up a few beats for lively circle-pitter, musically a little more trebly and the vox/lyrics sound ludicrous in a good way. "Glitter Theme Mk II" is a great no-fi digital sidebar, killer shitty casio/drumbox tooling with deadpan vox. These guys do pretty much everything right here, great punk/core that fits in swell alongside yer Spotted Racers and Toxic Staters. Very much worth $3 plus postage. Limited to 25 copies.(RK)
(self-released // peeblood-at-gmail.com)

Hellkite “Fun Kite” cassette
Ruff n’ tumble, midpaced and anthemic hawdcore. Ragged and gruff stuff that sounds as if Iron Cross almost learned how to play before they decided on pressing up their debut. Hellkite has totally got the English cider pounding tuff guy approach nailed to ground. Tracks just plow by, occasionally letting out a pick scrape or two. The bummer being nothing is really sticking with me when the tape ends (except for Reptile Eyes, that one is kind of a banger). I don’t think there’s even a solo or a lead break until the ‘Shit Or Puke’ track that comes around the 3/4 mark. It really jumped out since it breaks from the total bulldoze approach. But otherwise, I’m left want something more. (RSF)
(self-released // www.hellkite.bandcamp.com)

The Horrors "Drunk/Drunker" cassette
Odds-n-ends compilation of primo scree era Horrors (pre-'Vent' years, the "classic" first LP line-up) that compiles the tracks off the split with Pee Pees and versions of songs from the first LP via basement sessions that sound pretty fucking killer. Junky four track smokers from the hurt locker, outta tune feedbacking and shit-fi run-n-gun bluestrash that makes that genre name not sound like such a bad thing. At the time this stuff was recorded these guys were at the fore of the pack, the then next-generation of ITR bands that were the nasty side of the tracks along with Necessary Evils. That first LP still stands as one of the pillars of the ITR catalog. Sometimes I think that LP was one of the things that young Hunches might've listened to a lot. Who knows. This tape actually seems to be a dubbed copy of the "Drunk/Drunker Tape" that supposedly got them Larry Hardy's ear. It just showed up in my mailbox unannounced and I really couldn't be happier about it. The live stuff on here is just fucking steamrolling shit and something anyone wanting an exercise in what R-A-W garage-punk sounded like. All balls. Hearing that second LP and seeing this band live touring for that record was such a disppointment that it just speaks volume about how fucking great that first record and the material contained herein was/still is. What happened? I've heard say that Paul Cary sabotaged the band/record, that could make sense, since Andy Caffrey is at least still making good music today, while I'd opine that Paul hasn't made a good record since. Who knows, I'm probably wrong....anyway, no idea where to get this, try hunting an ex-member down...(RK)
(self-released // ????)

The Ills "Tuning Out" cassette
By-the-numbers Rip Off Records punk rock from The Ills, straight outta Iowa City. Limited tape version of the upcoming full length (vinyl on Big Neck Records?! C'mon Bart...), 15 tracks of plodding mid-tempo punk with bratty vocals from Erika Ebola, sometimes trading off with guitar player Danny Dysentery. Sounds like a less inspired Dirty Sweets (whose LP I still say is ok nth wave Rip Offery), a far less interesting Spoiled Brats or whatever. I loved Rip Off Records more than you, and I still don't want to hear this. Greg always said talent = boring, but in this case no talent also equals boring. (RK)
(Shake! Records // www.experienceshake.com)

Japanese Furnace s/t cassette
Upstate NY (and for those who are unaware, Upsate is places like Syracuse, Albany, Troy, etc...Buffalo is NOT upstate, it's Western NY, despite what everyone in NYC thinks) harrrdcore from some ex-members of White Guilt and other sluggers. Four tracks of abrasive facemashing with an odd recording quality I like - super thin/trebly, almost too thin for the heavy riffs here, but it just makes things sound weird - and weird is good. As if the name isn't a signifier, it does have a Japcore acidity to it. Vox are a hoarse yell, but have to be to keep up with the noise - Upstate was long a stronghold of the Edge, and I feel like most bands from there always have some remnant of metalcore construction by genetics, but these guys give the familair tropes a bit of stylistic flair via the production and some really agressively squelchy guitar tones. Also not that far off from the Iron Lung "sound" in their more thunderous moments. Always enjoyable when one of the guitars sounds like it's just feeding back and not even being played. Gas Chamber-esque at moments as well. Dark stuff. Four tracks.(RK) (self-released // try www.sorrystaterecords.com)

Jiffy Marker "Winston" cassette
I bet Winston is the name of the dog on the cover of this tape. He looks like a cool dude, I'd like to meet him. Jiffy Marker are a shitty pop-punk band who Winston should separate himself from as soon as he gets a chance. Is Shake Records really the Burger Records Canadian division or just trying to be?(RK)
(Shake! Records // www.experienceshake.com)

Kappa Chow demo cassette
Sackville, ON is one of the best named cities in the world. Kappa Chow is members of Astral Junk (whom I've given fair-to-middling reviews to before) and this is actually two different demos, one on each side. They are a pretty decent good timey garage band, a little zany, multi-gendered vox, uptempo tunes that have a lot of sax, which is always a positive. Recorded pretty clean, the girl has a real nice voice too. Crunchy guitars. Very nice people I'm sure, this demo did not ruffle my feathers at all and sounded like the fucking Stooges when compared to those garbage Shake Records bands. If Nobunny ever plays Sackville, these guys should open.(RK)
(Killer Haze // killerhazerecords.bancamp.com)

Kremlin "Last Last" cassette
Last last gasp from one of the highlights of this year's hardcore division and the best thing Toronto has spewn forth since Fucked Up were still making hardcore records and Career Suicide weren't a holidays-only band (and maybe the School Jerks LP too, which I have to admit was unjustly slept upon, probably because their singles were never that great). It's an absolute shame that these kids have already packed it in and moved onto whatever else. Motorheaded d-beat perversion and tales-from-the-reverb-zone vocals partnered with a drummer who must be taking sooooo much speed and guitars that crackle with youthful exuberance and enough static electricity I can see it from across the lake at times. The real secret weapons here are the instrumentals that hint at a maturity and melancholy beyond their years and betray the dumb-punk trappings of the genre they are part of by association. There was never anything dumb about this band except for the fact that they broke up. "Last Last" (the song) tugs at hearstrings instrumentally, a Greg Sage-esque guitar performance that has had me crying into my ginger ale more than once. This is a fucking JAM. "Never Sets" lights the fuse on perhaps their most aggronautic tune ever. "Waking E" is motorcharged brilliance that they seem to be able to toss off at will. A really sad cassette for me, as these guys made a couple of the best records I heard all year and this tape shows progression into even more complex song structures, an unnerving feel for mixing aggro assault with finessed power moves and perhaps the best guitar playing of any of their songs to date - this kid could shred HARD, riff HARD and even had an excellent sense for when not to play anything at all, leaving the bass/drums to churn it up while he plotted his next move. I am so pissed off that they broke up. Whoever releases this on vinyl (and someone better) has my eternal gratitude, because there were few bands better this year. The sun shines brightest on those who may not realize there's any sun at all. What?(RK)
(self-released // try some distros)

Loughton “Cheap Shot EP” cassette
Yet another SF band I ain’t ever heard of. The title track is scrappy mess of sorta’/kinda’ hardcore with Hank Wood garage stabs, recorded on the cheap and sounding perfectly shitty. Loving that pie plate and bucket thwack. Vocals are in a gurgled blur. After that it settles into mid-paced trappings and passable punkers, but nothing as appealing as the opener. I checked out their Bandcamp page and it seems they’ve sharpened their claws over the past year. Their new stuff sounds meatier, like a sonically challenged variation of what Grids, Avon Ladies, etc. where spreading around a few review updates back. That and there’s at least one weird stripped down synth song that makes me feel like they might’ve picked up a Cuntz or Total Control record with their lunch money. I look forward to what comes next. Yup yup. (RSF)
(self-released // www.loughtonpunx.bandcamp.com)

Low Tax demo cassette
Pretty crushing demo tape from Low Tax, which was available via Youth Attack for a second and now all record of it seems to have been erased from the internet. Another blink and you missed it cassette from Denver a la Cadaver Dog's demo. Incredibly gruff vox, haphazard drumming, blown-out bass and riffs. Hey, it's a good recipe that works if you follow it and these guys whip up a good serving. Four songs that pummel and leave, blowed-out recording that is heavy on the balls. Hard times stuff, reminds me a little bit of that Pure Scum demo tape too. Vocals give this the extra touch, not too shabby at all. (RK)
(self-released // ?????)

Lumpy & The Dumpers "Bat" cassingle
Here's the thing: this band rules, and "Bat" might actually be their best song. Not kidding. It's about being chased by a bat that is trying to vomit on you. It's got their sludgiest beat/riff yet and the guitars emit a steady stream of noxious feedback that should have your lunch coming back up. The sickest. Their cover of "X-Rod" is fantastic as well, dumbest bass tone, the guitar solo gets really retarded. A++++++. Deserves vinyl. Now.(RK)
(Lumpy Records // spottedrace.bigcartel.com/)

L.U.N.A.R. Revolt "III" cassette
These guys' tapes always look great - slikcreened foldup cardboard sleeve things with cool sci-fi art. Musically, it's like a Misfits-esque metal/punk hybrid thing, almost stoner-rock heavy on this one. Ghostly-echo vocals, sort of an action rawk thing, dude is doing a Danzig croon, laserbeam guitar, recorded real slick, heavy drum sound and metal riffing. Heavy shit, probably huge in Sweden or something. From Philly?(RK)
(No-Man Records // lunarrevolt.bandcamp.com)

Man Hands "Misadventures" cassette
Seven song tape release from Phoenix's Man Hands, the second from this female-fronted garage/indie/punk outfit. Angular guitar lines offset by twangy rhythm work, a prevailing dour mood, somewhat post-punky. Medium-fi recording job, at times reminiscent of a less punk Tyrades or maybe White Murder from the desert instead of the beach. Not that exceptional.(RK)
(self-released // soundcloud.com/jackie-cruz-2)

Mercenary "Demo 2013" cassette
A near-continuation of Bukkake Boys (reigning kings of American HC) getting off to a hell of a start on this sixer. Intensity is ratcheted up a notch here, with a more traditional style of drum-bashing. Ruby’s howls have a different, less spiteful-more tortured quality now. Same treble-overload guitar onslaught returns with occasional cameos by a phaser pedal. As with all things Scavenger of Death, you oughtta own this already. Violent and oppressive. Caveat: Notedly less sexy with the absence of Chris Van Etten, esq., though they’ve nabbed some of the young men from Ralph and Manic to make up for it. Great layout, too. Sauce on the burrito: recorded on 4/20. Mandatory listening. (NG)
Six-track rage party from ATL beastmen. It's the singer/guitarist from Bukkakke Boys paired with the Ralph rhythm section and it's ball-out scorch. Hefty riffs with industrial strength guitar tone over d-beat styled drumming only stopping for slow-pitting on occassion. Some sick Japanese guitar squeal pokes it's head out at opportune moments as well. Better than BBoys if you ask me, and a different international-HC styled beast than Ralph's murdering of USHC. This fucker is already sold out supposedly, but I'm sure they'll have a record out soon enough. Fans of Gentleman Jesse and His Men will absolutely love this. (RK)
(Scavenger of Death // scavengerofdeath.storenvy.com)

Messrs "Tape" cassette
In the raw cassette debut from Columbus' Messrs, made up in part of Guinea Worms and Necropolis dudes. I'm surprised at how paint-peelingly aggro this music is. As much as I love C-bus tuneage, it's not my go-to locale for scathing blasts of hardcore rock. Mind-altering and matter-melting guitar tones are bountiful, feedback is given free reign, distortion levels set for the sun. Recording is dirty enough to make a difference - loud and glorious low-fi. At their best these guys sound like an under-produced Unsane, the very earliest stages of the Amrep sound (think "Ethereal Killer" or "Daddy Had A Tail") or a very good example of a group that the younger members of the Youth Attack roster should be emulating. Hardcore played with a rock'n'roll sensibility. Garage rock played by a hardcore band. Whichever way you slice it, these guys got the goods. These guys really knocked the shit out this one - sounds like it could have been recorded in 1993 or yesterday. Limited quantities, you go buy it now.(RK)
(Savage Quality // www.savagequalityrecordings.com)

Monsterrapporten “Kun Snore” cassette
Anthemic, fidelity challenged scrap punk from Denmark. Catchy as it seems to be, I’m finding myself bored after a tune or two. Perhaps if I'd mastered their native tongue first, I 'd have found it more interesting? It’s quite obvious by the upfront mix and chanted group choruses that they’ve got something to say, but its soaring high above my head. “Hvid Larm, Hvid Lugt” stands out like some lost sluggish track by The Kids. There’s also a mildly interesting instrumental, jangling with unique regional flavor that's tacked to the end. Otherwise, if it weren’t for the occasional fleeting solo, I’d never be able to tell these songs apart. For world punk completists, native Danes and the overstuffed shelves at MRR only. (RSF)
(self-releasede // www.monsterrapporten.bandcamp.com)

Murderer "Let My People Go" cassette
Post-Hank & The Hammers action. Crazy Spirit, Hank Wood & the Hammerheads, Dawn of Humans, Goosebumps, I'll stand by most if not all of these Toxic State bands. These guys had the best song on the 'Ground Zero' comp (which turned out to be somehwat underwhelming as a whole), six tracks here and this certainly doesn't disappoint, but I also wish it was a little better. Imagine Hank Wood singing over the Crazy Spirit drum beat with pretty clean guitar riffs. "What Am I Supposed To Do?" sounds like it coulda been a Hammerheads tune. Not too much variance from song to song which isn't so great, but hopefully they're working on it. (RK)
(Toxic State // check Sorry State or Katorga or yr too late)

Musk "Moments" cassette
2012 demos/roughs from one of my most-looked-forward-to bands/records of 2014. The short story, this is a group formed from the charred remains of the Bay's few authentic trash-rock bands from the past few years (via the PacNW), bands that were destroyed by friend rock and sunshine psych bullshit. Killer's Kiss (underrated for sure), Butcher Cover, Raw Nite, Slicing Grandpa, TSF, Born Petrified...names that will send shudders down the spines of bike messengers everywhere. These recordings were done with Kevin Lemon Session and all five tracks have since become part of the backbone of the LP that was just recorded with Woodhouse which will hopefully see the light of day on an appropriate label in 2014. I've heard the recordings, and what they've done to these songs since this tape is simply inhuman - I thought their beheading of the Bo Diddley beat here was gory, but they've since turned it into a complete bloodbath. These moments are more of a Scientists-infused dip into the swamp, and by all means I liked these versions. But the way the play them now...the only band even close to the scree they unleash is 'Sicko Inside Me' era Necessary Evils mixed with a bit of the first Horrors LP and dare I even say some of the nastier Hunches efforts. Absolutely ferocious guitar sound that's going to have some people jealous. With Woodhouse on the deck, it's of course a real stunner - some of Rob's finest voxxing with Woody giving em the perfect ratio of reverb-to-spit, trash-canning the drums perfectly and a bass tough enough to stand up to the nastiest guitar sound since...shit, I dunno. It's pretty bad ass. Watch out for these maniacs. One of these tracks appeared on the flexi that came with Degenerate mag, which you should hopefully already own.(RK)
(Lemon Session/Bugger Records // tsfvertigo-at-yahoo.com)

Mystery Girls "In the Meantime the Inbetween Time" cassette
The Mystery Girls were one the bands that sprung up in the tail-end of the period when Wisconsin was truly a hotbed of great garage-punk bands - Teenage Rejects/Catholic Boys, the Strong Come-Ons/Hue Blanc's Joyless Ones crew, Mistreaters and related projects, the Tony Sagger media empire, Kill-A-Watts, whatever BradX and Roy Oden were doing, the nascent Pink Reason and more made the region a formidale outpost in the underground punk scene. To listen to the locals, the Mystery Girls were absolutley incredible and they got enough hype that it seemed like they could have been the big one to break through - a bunch of gangly teenagers making exceptional garage rock that was good enough to get them on In the Red. The other side of the coin seemed to be that they were one of those bands that only those locals really got to see the incredible side of. I have no doubt that a lot of people saw absolutely amazing Mystery Girls performances. I saw them three times and they were mediocre twice and outright terrible once. I never felt the records were anything more than average. A completely competent and occassionally exceptional (the 'Under My Tongue' 7" is a bonafide scorcher and an essential piece of the WI rock puzzle) band of youthful garagesters. Victims of expectations perhaps? I don't know the whole story or how the band's demise came about (although I'm sure someone from Green Bay would love to tell you), I think one of them ended up in Montreal and did some stuff with Roy/Red Mass and I know Mike Zink records bands and is an associate of HBJO. But anyway, the A-Side of this is outtakes from the sessions from their two LPs on In the Red that have them sounding like a perfectly serviceable garage band. Nothing more or less. Pretty traditional, so much so I always thought they might have had a better home on the Alive! division of Bomp perhaps. The B-Side is a collection of live recordings from 2000-2003, the very early stuff from a Green Bay show sounds raw, energetic and pretty blown out and seems like the type of show that got them their rep. Honestly, all of these live cuts hint at the wildness I was always looking for in the records. This tape was released in conjunction with some reunion shows that happened earlier this year, and in that capacity this tape succeeds as a memento for those show goers. If you liked them more than I did, this tape will find a good home with you, and I'd listen to the live side more often than I would any of their studio LPs. Every one of us has a Mystery Girls - that absolutely amazing local band you saw kill 'em dead on numerous occassions but that no one outside of your town ever really "got". I know they were better than the local band tag, but that's how I feel about it. PS: I'd love for someone to release some of The Kind of Jazz Music That Kills recordings...(RK)
(Kind Turkey // www.kindturkeyrecords.com)

Narcoleptics demo cassette
Pummeling and blissfully chaotic hardcore from Chicago - brutal and stomping, hints of the crasher wave. Massive production for a demo coupled with a totally crushing attack -hoarse and intense vocals, and hell of a goddamn drummer. Fader War on ten pounds of amphetamines. A guitar tone in a sweet spot between RPA and Crude SS. “Paroxysm” has intermittent torrents of feedback that seal the deal for me. This is feral… absolutely relentless. Highly recommended.(NG)
(self-released // narcoleptics.bandcamp.com)

Needlecraft demo
Full-length demo from Missoula's premier Etsy-rock group. There's a cool, retro Girls in the Garage feel on this one…enough twang in the guitar and swing in the vocal melodies to woo the crowd at the next Enchantment Under the Sea dance yet fresh enough to warrant a 2" badge from the Burger Records crowd. The band name and imagery here show that these gals have a love of the crafty and handmade and I think that comes through in their music as well—it's not polished but better for it.(DH)
(Wantage USA // wantageusa.com)

Night Sides cassette EP
Solo Vancouver film-maker Zoe Kirk-Gushowaty builds homespun Art-sider themes and dreary soundscapes that run the gamut from lost Nicolas Refn scores, Suicide’s pulse sans Mart Rev or those infamous Sonic Youth tuning songs. All of the above is delivered in an icy chill, ethereal drone and with vocals washed out in a Les Raillizes haze. ‘Blue Light’ is the closest thing to a breakaway pop tune, sounding like a dreary Jessamine track trying to reach up from the netherworlds. Sorta’ soothing. The Everly Brothers even get shoved through the Lynchian filter and come out sounding like a lost psychiatric patient wandering the halls. Overall, not a bad thing…especially if you’ve still got that XXperiments comp in your crates. (RSF)
(Fixture Records // www.fixture-records.com)

Noxagt "Oslo 13.08.03" and "Stavanger 08.03.03" casssettes
I've enjoyed some Noxagt records in my time, the s/t one on Load and "Turning it Down..." are LPs I still have around somewhere. That they're on Load is generally good enough for me to give any band a try, and these guys were as good if not better than a lot of the more hyped Load roster members at the time. If a Norwegian heavy rock power trio with the sickest viola player you've ever heard (at least on the early records before they replaced him with a guitar player) sounds interesting, I highly suggest giving them a go. They're a very technically sound band but also sick as hell while doing it. These live tapes both have the viola guy (Nils Erga) on them and both of them sound great. The 2008 tape is from the instrumental days, the 2013 set has the singer. I forgot I liked this band, thanks for reminding me. (RK)
(self-released // kjetil-at-noxagt.com)

Nos Bos demo cassette
Another winner from Lumpy Rex, hardcore from STL with some of the guys from Trauma Harness. "Creeper Fever" is the obvious hit, hardcore with a big dumb hook. Five tracks in total, hardcore-punk that again isn't too far from a Reatards record - something like "Witches Cellar" in particular, good riff, savage vocals. Not really redundant or fast enough for HC, this is even better than that. Also not too far off from Culo maybe. "Orange Juice" has a great high pitch guitar squeal, this singer sounds more than a bit like Lumpy too. "Sloshing Footsetps" is all Cthulhu and shit. Great garbage. The only bad tune is the slow one at the end.(RK)
(Lumpy Records // spottedrace.bigcartel.com/)

Omino “No 1” cassette
One man phart-art garage unit from Italy making quite a homestyle racket. Bleargled in an early Goner-esque production values with bonus points for abusing Doo Rag’s beercase thump and frayed nylon string approach. It’s a barn-stompingly stupid eight minutes of Uzi Rash cum Beefheartian stewer, with plenty of jerked and junked attacks for the early Feeling Of Love fans. Not smart, but smart enough to not sound like every other garage punker out there. If the opener “Maria” and “For You” were a single, I’d gladly send funds there way. (RSF)
(Depression House Records // www.depressionhouse.blogspot.com)

Paranoias s/t cassette
Solid bangers from Philly that jump between the choice sounds of GG King/Carbonas, a less aggressive School Jerks or even the Adolescents (‘Beast Within’ and ‘What’s Eating You’ esp.). KBD infused or whatever you wanna’ call it…it’s pretty darn good. Could see Sorry State, Going Underground or one of those tastemakers giving ‘em a shot at the “big leagues” (y’no: a single pressing of 300.) (RSF)
(Self Released // www.paranoiasphilly.bandcamp.com)

Pleasure Leftists s/t cassette
Compilation cassette with the tracks from the 12" on Fan Death, both songs from the Katorga 7" (which are also reprised on the recent Deranged 12" in different form) and two unreleased (at the time) tracks, one of which is apparently on the Deranged 12" as well (not sure of the difference - send us a copy Gord!) and a cover of The Cure's "100 Years". Not sure of the status of this band right now, but these guys were ahead of the trend when it came to revisiting the post-punk 80s and did it better than any of their contemporaries - flawless and inventive playing and a lead singer that made all the difference. Their more recent "upbeat" material is particularly engaging and as someone who lived through this "sound" as it happened they recreate the aesthetic and feeling so impeccably I often include alongside "vintage" bands on mixtapes for the car and they fit in seamlessly. Such a wonderful bass sound, Steven. Pop this in your walkman and tune out. 300 copies, please don't confuse Feral Kid with Feral Ward either. Thanks. (RK)
(Feral Kid Records // www.feralkidrecords.com)

Radium Girls "Isolation" cassette
Five tracks of demo quality hardcore grind. Vocals are screeched over some power riffs and loud drums. Hailing from the PGH, I'm guessing part of the Drug Lust crew, pretty dark and aggro but not that interesting really. Stock moves, the best parts are where they just sound like a thrash metal band until the start/stop grindage kicks in and ruins it for me. I guess this would qualify as "sick" to some, but it's not all that killer. Vox are a dealbreaker for me. Not a bad demo though, some "off" guitar moves/sounds make it a bit promising as do the hella dark mosh parts. Limited to 100.(RK)
(Cruel Noise // cruelnoiserecords.bigcartel.com)

Raw McCartney s/t cassette
Echo-garage-punk from Indianapolis, I think these guys could fall into the Hozac genre of rock moderne. Super-echoed vocals, motorik-style drumming, staticky guitars, synth play, real hazy production, weirdo vibes and cartoon drug aesthetics. Not toally unlikeable, but quite a bit similar to Woven Bones and pals, the Flight/Nerve City axis or even Chicagoans like Axis:Sova and some of the friendlier Rotted Tooth bands and certainly Pink Noise. Zone out rock, the "beats" are pretty good, they have the aesthetic down. Three songs in and I'm still interested, by the fourth I'm reminded why this "sound" gets pretty annoying in extended doses. They did not have enough songs for a good B-Side here, I'm hoping the 7" is culled from the 3 A-Side tracks. Not too bad I suppose, they have a seven inch coming out soon that I'm interested enough to want to hear. Cool artwork at the very least.(RK)
(self-released // rawmccartney-at-gmail.com)

Raw Nite "3 on a Meathook" cassette
Now deceased giallo-core trio from some Bay Area suspects, with our very own Robert Vertigo lending his vox to J.Laux guitars (Slicing Grandpa mainman and one of Rob's accomplices in Tractor Sex Fatality) and Kyle Runyon drums (also a co-conspirator in Butcher Cover). Surprisingly "tuneful" stuff from these three considering the backlog of static they have on their resumes, but keep in mind that tuneful for these guys means that these songs merely want to claw your face off in comparison to the disembowelment and defenestration that BC and TSF wished upon you. Four songs somewhere in the region between Pussy Galore and Slug. Fuck, I just realized this was recorded in 2011 - this thing has been getting plays on the deck for that long? How many years have I been sitting on this for? Jesus, I suck. Anyway, I give this one a hearty endorsement, Laux's guitar playing is fantastic in a less-is-more way here, they rev up some Mistreaters-like mayhem on a track or two and do a couple Beguiled-ish garage crokaers as well. Four songs that someone probably should have made a record of years ago (cough...BartHart...cough), but at least this exists in some format. The hesitation riff and needly noise guitar effects on "Victoria" are just fantastic. I've heard almost everything these guys have recorded (in this band and most others - seriously, I have an entire section of Vertigo bands on my shelf), and I honestly think these songs are pretty exceptional. This is how to do "noise rock" properly, not overwrought, just meat and nails, it's nasty but not ridiculously so with a sickening tunefulness on "Splintered" that will have you dancing nauseously. Since these guys weren't on Castle Face or recorded by Ty Segall you might actually be able to get a copy of this if you ask real nice. (RK)
(Lemon Session/Bugger Records // tsfvertigo-at-yahoo.com)

Real Numbers "What Was & What Is" cassette
Sixteen track compilation of what is the best of the available Real Numbers material - this tape contains all of the tunes from the 12"es on Three Dimensional and the Florida's Dying 7", and ignores the tracks from the first two singles. Which makes sense, in that all of the stuff included is where Eli really "found" the Real Numbers sound (and uniform art aesthetic) and shows off the completed idea for the band, with the Anglophilia in full bloom and songwriting really at it's cleverest. Those early singles, while certainly not bad, just don't seem like what the band was meant to be. Anyway, this thing is pretty handy to have around, the cassette format really is fitting for the best UK-DIY band from the modern day US, Eli wrote a shitload of hits over these records that all sound even better back-to-back. TVPs, The Times, Teenage Filmstars, even some Pooh Sticks perhaps. Delightful music. Scum stats: 100 copies.(RK)
(Almost Ready Records // www.almostreadyrecords.com)

S.M. “I Found The Wit Cult” Cassette
Is this what it sounds like when the hardcore youth of today start crafting pop songs? They infuse their tunes with Morrissey and Weezer schmaltz? It’s weird on paper and even weirder on cassette. S.M. is definitely glopping on the Euro eighties indie, but mixing it with…God only knows. Does that really count as shoegaze? They call themselves power pop (they’re not) and they look a bit like Iceage. It sounds like a well crafted ‘120 Minutes’ hit-to-be (the ones I never bought, but my Goth sister did). Maybe it’s like an uncluttered Merchandise? Canadian warehouse punks who skipped the black metal detour and went straight to their softy sides. I just don’t feel like the folks around here are their target audience. It looks like there’s a few fawning fans over at the B9 board, so they prolly don’t need are approval anyway. I wish them well. All joking aside, I’m stumped. This sound does not compute. (RSF)
(Photobooth Records // www.photoboothrecords.bigcartel.com)

School Girl Report "Success is Dating" cassette
Self-described "hestitation rock" from rural Australia. "Pedaless prepared guitar into an off sex beat". Sounds a bit more interesting that it actually is in practice, although at least they're doing something original. Songs based on "love letters from girls in high school". Cling clang shit that perhaps accidentally veers into Shadow Ring territory but is generally too aggro for such a comparison to hold much water, the experimentation here shows some sort of bizarre intelligence or art school yearning/learning. Sounds like a lot of improv/free moves but there are also moments of clarity where everything solidifies into actual songs that actually sound pretty cool, great unlearned/detuned guitar playing at times. There's one no-fi folk tune where the lyric is straight froma note passed in homeroom - "Will you go out with me....etc..", lots of stylistic ground covered, intrumentals, tape manipulations, found sounds, etc...Not exactly a party platter, but pretty fucking interesting for all you eggheads out there. Mikey Young involvement in the credits.(RK)
(Do Your Block // facebook.com/schoolgirlreport)

Kevin Sharkey “Disdain” cassette
Long form experimental drones and waves that make for a pleasing chunk of whirring, buzzing electronics. Shit that can really creep on you. Sharkey's like an old crotchety game hunter lost in the wilderness, snow-blind with nothing better to do than scrape the tiny rotten bits of flesh out of his unclean bear traps. This could be an alternative soundtrack to 'Ravenous'. Pleasantly unpleasant. Can't flip a guy attitude for naming one of his terror tracks after the most horrifying /glorious places on earth: The House on The Rock. Have you ever been there? Kevin has....and he's managed to capture the slow building doom, overwhelming claustrophobia and panic attack that occurs if you're ill-prepared for the journey. All eight hours of the average family vacation day condensed to an exhausting twelve minutes of sound. The gates creak to and fro and wind chimes ring out like rust scraping against rust. The calliopes play in disharmony as you stare blankly into the gaping mouth of the "Worlds Largest Sea Serpent". Mechanical timpanis bang off time and you can almost hear the bones rattling inside the oldest funeral coach known to man. It wobbles and rolls down the "Streets Of Yesteryear", right past the window full of tapeworm and hack medical displays. Bring a bottle of water and remember to take a break in the gift shop. Skip over the house of arms and Coca-Cola bears if you can. Spare what braincells you have left. A fire alarm is blaring, building to a blur. The lunging drones swell in your head. Why are there 300 merry-go-round creatures dangling from the ceiling, with their wooden eyes staring down at you? You should’ve taken the emergency exit through the gorillas maw. This tourism can be is deafening. It’s all too dark. Once you find the restroom, you crouch low in the corner stall hoping to have escaped the steely gaze of the stuffed mountain lion. Security is on to you. They can smell your fear. One of them drags you out into the open and props your spent husk up at the snack bar, waiting for the sweats to clear. END SCENE. Pay full admission for 'Disdain'. It's worth every fucking penny. (RSF)
(Minnesconsin Records //www.minnesconsinrecords.tumblr.com)

The Slabs "Feed Our Dirty Dark Souls" cassette
Live recording from The Slabs done on a "boombox" and it really does sound like shit, but the really shitty thing here is The Slabs themselves. Dumb "psych" rock that isn't funny in the slightest. That picture you guys took in your underwear? Just hilarious. I'm dying over here.(RK)
(Shake! Records // www.experienceshake.com)

Solid Attitude "No Sax" cassingle
Another in the Halloween cassingle series, SA are one of the few bands on the Lumpy roster we already know (and the only non-STL band on the roster I think), and they fit in with the family well. "No Sax" has no sax, is a mid-tempo thumper with pained vocals and some Halloween sound effects, pretty pretty cool. "Post Punk Beer" remembers the sax and is some sort of devolved skronk of angular fits and no wave rhythm pigging. This band keeps getting better and better to my ears. (RK) (Lumpy Records // spottedrace.bigcartel.com/)

Space Wolves "IV" cassette
Fourth volume from Buffalo's premier power-pop duo. More quirk abounds as do big swinging Seventies-inflected pop hooks. Owing a bit of a debt to Johnny Richman still, but also a bit creepy where Johnathan is pure of heart. Substitute stalking and drug use for the innocence. Choice of cover this time around is "Die Trying" by the New Math, showing off some local color. Not particularly better or worse than any of the 3 tapes before this, this fella just keeps cranking em out. Seeing them live is the way to go, there's probably a record due at some time. I'd imagine there's at least four winndrs from the tapes you could make a solid 7" out of. The question is, does the Burger Recods crowd buy in and make them stars? (RK)
(Ut Records // www.ut-records.com)

Surveillance "Go Fuck Yourself" cassette
Halifax indie-rockers seven song demo cassette. With a title like "Go Fuck Yourself" you might be expecting some punk rockers, but this is trebly indie-rock certainly informed by Halifax's rich indie rock scene - Eric's Trip (and SY), Sloan, Jale and Velocity Girl by extension, a band that inspired at least one of those bands very much. Girl/boy vocal harmonizing, precious melodies with the rub being (and I guess this is the punk part) it's recorded very much in the lo-fi domain, obscuring the lilting hooks in a haze of static and hiss. Very tinny drum sound, plenty of feedbacking, a coupla sprintingly upbeat rockers and some solid songwriting. Not bad at all, woulda been a huge hit with the guy who did the indie rock show before we did the punk show on WBNY. Gold Soundz. I'd be interested to hear some more, but I'm also a sucker for Nova Scotian indie-rock. These guys practically challenged me to write a bad review, and that I couldn't do it says something...(RK)
(self-released // surveillance2015.bandcamp.com)

Christian Taylor & Homeschool s/t cassette
Weepy alt-country-inflected indie rock with cello and violin and some trumpet. Pretty classy sounding, reminds me a bit of the dreamy vibe of Geraldine Fibbers, who were a pretty damn good band, but without a vocalist as strong as Carla Bozulich. Eh. (RK)
(Glory Hole // )

Total Trash “You Don’t Try” cassette
I’m so fucking behind with the tape reviews that this sold out (sadly) long ago and the band has already plowed through a couple more releases since. I’ll also admit that I purposely sat on Total Trash for quite some time, fearing the worst; a wretched Pork/Burger party punk that’d make my temples hurt on contact. WRONG. Really should have expected different from their type o’ cartoony aesthetic. It’s much more Dr. Suess the drug czar or Richard Scary(ier) than any pizza stoner fun. Sonically speaking, this Minneapolis crew (featuring a Brain Tumor, I hear) delivers a ragged riot that should move the White Murder or White Lung fan peeps into a froth. Guitars buzz in a skewered Dino Jr. buzz, or maybe it’s something more akin to a hyper Rein Sanction? (WHOAH.) Either way, the stop-n-go hardcore jolts remove any lasting grungy psychedelia from their grooves (er, tape) and the femme-fronted vocals drag it into the Portland/Oly basements of twenty years ago. Obnoxio-Grrl splatter all over these cellar walls. Check out perky butt-rumper “Bugs” and sluggish-crunch of “Know”. It's fun, sloppy and gross. This house show probably smells awful, but I’m still glad it’s happening. (RSF)
(self-released // www.totaltrash.bandcamp.com)

Trauma Harness "Dead and Loving It" EP
Part of the Halloween series, but definitely not a cassingle. Trauma Harness are the goth/postpunk arm of the Lumpy army and go all out here with a holiday themed EP, covering John Carpenter ("The Shape Lurks"), Siege ("Grim Reaper") and the Coop ("The Man Behind the Mask") along with four originals. "Devil Motor Omega" sounds like the name of a Guitar Wolf song, seems like it's dedicated to Christine (the homicidal car) and is a bass-y waveoid gother that's cool as shit. "Necropolis" is a riff on Eighties horror soundtracking (the Carp in particular), a really eerie analog keybroad droner that's incredibly well done. "Moving Swamp" is goth moderne that's jagged and wonderfuly dramatic, "Pumpkinhead" isn't about the creature film, but about a haunted jack'o'lantern or just moldy pumpkins or something. The Siege cover is exceptional and the Coop cover is done full on vamp-schlock style. Awesome and huge full-size foldout cover with lyrics and drawings. (RK)
(Lumpy Records // spottedrace.bigcartel.com/)

Trauma Harness "Leechman" cassingle
This was from the 2012 Halloween cassingle set, and "Leechman" is the tune that got me turned onto Trauma Harness. A real sick goth-wave tune that reminds me a little of Gary Wrong, with a huge bizarro hook and eardrum splitting guitar and a real good bass/drum gurgle with phantom vocals. "New Dark World" is a another catchy as hell bit of sicko-wave, and it's real cool to consider they're doing this neo-Goth shit without keyboards, just scalpel-like guitar and great bass tone. (RK)
(Lumpy Records // spottedrace.bigcartel.com/)

Thee Tsunamis "A Goodbad Man is Hard to Find" cassette
All girl surf/garage trio. Terrible title for the tape is matched only by how terrible the singer for the band is. Her voice made me tap out about three songs in. Just the worst in contrived sultry/husky singing. Total bullshit, I wouldnt even mention it but it's so bad I'm honestly offended. (RK)
(Magnetic South // www.magneticsouthrecords.org)

Ultrathin "Minimum Payout EP" cassette
Melty Montreal negative space punk more onna Blade Runner tip than a blast into interstellar overdrive; fun stuff like Monoshock, Simply Saucer and Chrome gets the bomb-shelter treatment. “Walk Into the Void” and the relentless/obsessive “Downward Spiral” seethe with frustration and noisy head-down effects-riddled riffage; not gazing at shoes, just trying to avoid the average citizen’s zombie stares. Didn’t everyone hear yours truly when I declared a moratorium on Urinals covers? It was on Twitter (j/k #notfunny). Despite being slightly gauche, the live “Black Hole” here acquits itself well, but we’re more keen to hear the ‘thin’s take on The Pagans’ “Real World,” which they killed on stage. “A.K.A” is the two-minute punker that makes the Pagans influence more than apparent, convincingly desperate and thoroughly rockin’. If Ultrathin only wrote songs like this, they could open for The Spits in Halifax. No surprise that the cut called “Cyborg Skin” is the Chrome-iest of the lot, but, despite it being a bit long in the tooth, I’ll be damned if it don’t scratch that itch better than anyone has in awhile. “Spaceman” gets loose and far-out, all 3 Ultrathinners going for broke, like Loop huffing gasoline in the garage. (EEK)
(Bruised Tongue // bruisedtongue.com)

Utah Jazz "Green Tracks & Brown Notes" cassette
Utah Jazz are very much a guitar rock band at heart - the two guitars/no bass framework is most often used as a platform for blues-trash and garage re-hash, but the Jazz take it as launching point for guitar rides that are almost classic rock at heart, two guitars twisting and writhing in and around each other, taking punk rock and infusing surf and hardcore as well. These five "new" tracks are what I suppose will the base of their upcoming 10" (god, i really wish they wouldn't do a 10", but I suppose doing things differently is the point for these kids at times). "Growin' Stuff" takes the one high guitar/one low guitar tack and weaves them into a driving and understated punk blast, almost one huge intro (instrumental) which then deepens into a mellow vocal chant turning the guitars almost raga-like. "Dog Shoes" affects a goofball punk attitude, the sort of lysergic joking that bands have based entire careers on. "Moontan" is dark punk rock with a desperate edge that allows some hardcore roots to show alongside psychedelic guitar moves. The dual vocal capabilities of the band are a key element here - you don't just get the typical guy-girl call and response dynamic, they switch the roles up from song to song with Melody taking on the punk sneer, BG doing the dumbed down mumble, and on "Ching Chong" they go for a clever conversational style, the vox just them talking/arguing with each other, then BG does some Swedish Chef impression, gibberish devolving as the tempo plays on. "Contact $low" is a Butthole Surfers-esque experiment in remixing their own song by dropping it in a vat of Robitussin. I just worry sometimes that now that these kids have moved to Rotchester they'll become victims to that city's fascination with undermining their own success by becoming willfully obscure. Mayday + Brown Sugar + lots of weed = Utah Jazz. B-Side is a live-in-the-studio version of their big hit "Florida" which is one of those moments where a band has dialed in a tune so well they can throw in different twists, making for a valid re-interpretation of a song you already know by heart - the Oi backing vox the alternate guitar turns are hot fire. (RK)
(Media Schlitz // mediaschlitz.bigcartel.com)

Vacant Planet demo cassette
Had the pleasure of catching this live. A fine group of Raleigh weirdos: frontman/guitarist with the covers of Pick Your King tattooed on his forearm, the bassist played through home stereo speakers, and the drummer had at least six cymbal stands. “Religious Scam” is probably the biggest hit on here - total Jerry's Kids vibes - unreal vocals, shredding warbly riffs delivered only the way telecasters can. Slightly inept in all the right ways. “Pillbilly” is the early COC song (and song title) we deserved, but never received. Wildly promising, drawn-out screams over very well-put together songs with evocative riffs that stick with you. Straight up and off the charts hardcorepunk. Must-buy for anyone with leather. This shit rules. (NG)
(self-released // vacantplanet.bandcamp.com)

V/A Blodsprut / Freddie The Dyke split cassette
Freddie the Dyke’s side is somewhat freaky, heavy and droney dance-ish music, with some foreign tribal howling thrown in for good measure. An interesting mix of sounds. The Melvins on the Travel Channel. Blodsprut side is ENT-friendly grindcore with a few stops and gaps, nothing too remarkable. Very stellar screened and fold-up packaging, as appears to be the norm with this label, run by a dude from Noxagt - if you’re into them, the FTD side will appeal to you. Can’t say much for the grind, though. (NG)
(Drid Machine // www.dridmachine.com)

V/A Drug Lust / Liebestod split cassette
Tour tape from these two PGH harshers. I've been a fan of Drug Lust's work in the past, and these tunes are a pretty good representation of their savagery - acidbath guitars, sludgecore tempos and riffing, demonic vokills echoed from the bowels of hell. ".38 Dog Nights" is a great title, "Painkiller Blues" has appeared somewhere before perhaps (or maybe I just d'led it from somewhere) but it has a sick little ninth circle pit of hell break in it and "Wounded" is a crusher. Eighteen year old me would've been nuts for this stuff. I appreciate these guys for doing sick shit, it's pretty evil stuff if you're young enough to really be into it. It's a little too over the top a lot of times, but whatcanyado...Liebestod are a newer PGH HC band who are grindy and kinda corny. And speaking of corny, the art on this tape is just dumb. (RK)
(Cruel Noise // cruelnoiserecords.bigcartel.com)

V/A Halfrican vs. White Pages split cassette
The split cassette = a doomed format if there ever was one. Halfrican are sort of a surfy garage-punk act with some really trebly guitar squeal. White Pages are a serviceable garage-punk act with some poppy digressions. I like them and their ideas and aesthetic - "Loose Lips Eat Chips" is funny, "No Hair No Flair" sounds like a good match stipulation, and they do what might be the best "Get Your Woofing Dog off Me" cover I've ever heard (small consolation, I know). They're young, fast and scientific, the guy's vox are almost comical in their shrill delivery and you can't beat the artwork on this tape (Von Erichs vs. Freebirds). Their songs are GOOD, but not really great. That being said, this four song batch is quite good. (RK)
(Cant Stand Ya // cantstandya.storenvy.com)

V/A "Lumpy Mixtape" cassette
A true mixtape featuring tracks from the Spotted Race family of bands plus some shit Lumpy just likes. You get an unreleased Lumpy & The Dumpers jam ("I Was A Teenage Bozo" which is obviously fantastic), a pretty killer and saxy mongo-punk tune from Die Hausmiester, cuts from Mr. Wax (incredibly dumb Devo minimalism), Dem Scientist (I forget this one...), Big Zit (Chicago-core), Mongoloid (post-Sweet Tooth ragers, check out their demo as well), Totally Gay Cop (?!), Blotter (awesomely named HC band), Wompers (pre-Lumpy & The Dumpers pop-punk?!), Kowabunga Kid! (meh pop-punk division of Spotted Race), Nuke Cult (KC sicko-core), Trauma Harness ("Pariah" off one of their many tape releases you should investigate if you think you dig Goth/Death punk), Animal Teeth ("Sewer Gas" from the demo - love this band of mongos) and Shaved Women (live and unreleased instrumental). Lumpy faves include Kaka De Luxe, Billy Ford & The Thuderbirds (Lumpy loves Halloween music), Los Baraja (Lumpy also loves international HC), Van Morrison, The Defekts, Gruberger Brothers and Grauzone. Complete with liner notes. It's like Lumpy made this tape just for you! My copy was dubbed over a dub of a Little Feat record just to complete the picture.(RK)
(Lumpy Records // spottedrace.bigcartel.com/)

Timmy Vulgar “Center Of Saturn” cassette
A collection of Timmy’s home recordings culled from the past decade. It’s a mixed bag that aughta’ keep fanfreaks of the Sacred Bones-era Timmy's Organism satisfied. From oscillating noodles and shimmering keys to the free association, stream o’ conscience blathering; Vulgar makes you dead aware he's been eating the green moldy bits off the tree trunk. The instrumentals bring on a bridge mix filled with Emeralds-like froth, budget Eno and even Pete Townsend when he had a synthesizer hard-on. Stuff is deeply rooted in the works of LZR; Timmy’s coconspirator for quite some time now. There are some straight forward, yet very crooked psych rock moments peppered throughout (like 'Slavery Disrupter' or 'Chanceler Depantsler') and those march along like ragged Human Eye demos. Screwloose pisstakes are apparent, but always keep me covered in smiles. 'Dracula Sandwiches & Brunch' for one, is a Cheech & Chong mescaline skit gone horribly awry. If you’re a card carrying T.V. club member and need to prove yourself to those warehouse dwelling improv-niks that it’s not all about hard edged R&R, buy a few of these and pass ‘em around. “…Everybody loves me; I’m a beaver…” INDEED. (RSF)
(Fleshwave // www.fleshwave.bandcamp.com)

Wild Hex demo cassette
Five song demo from St. Louis three-piece hard rock outfit. Recorded live I'm assuming. Rawk action with wanky guitar and some "owwwwwwwwwwww" vocals. "I Killed Videodrome"? No, you didn't. (RK)
(Don't Touch My Records // donttouchmyrecords.bigcartel.com)

Winter Bear "Hibernation Songs" cassette
Winter Bear is Erin from Cave Weddings' new band and I'm glad she's still at it. Not so different from CW, these songs do seem to have a bit more of a rock'n'roll feel, maybe a little bigger-sounding production but still squarely lo-fi. Crickets led by a cute girl. One song here that also appears on their HozAc 7" plus two more rockers and a short little acoustic thing tacked onto the end of side B that hints at some solo music I'd like to hear more of. I usually don't give this rammalamma type of stuff a pass, but Erin does it with enough skill that I have to stop and appreciate it. Great voice, just a little sassy. Limited to 50 copies in a cool little fold-up box.(RK)
(Windy Overnight Records // )

Worried Mothers "Tape" cassette
Terrible post-"Bood Visions" Jay Reatard rip offery. (RK)
(Doomtown // www.doomtownrecords.com)

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301 Tremaine Ave.
Kenmore, NY 14217


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

Nick Goode (NG)
2043 Chesterfield Ave
Charlotte, NC 28205

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