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

A Full Cosmic Sound "El Infierno" cassette
Prog-pysch all the way from Chile. No vocals that I can recall, but I nodded out during this a few times, so I might've missed something. Contains trace amounts of psychedlia via some effects pedals or maybe a ring modulator, but mostly this sounds like New Age muzak or one of those 'Sounds to Help You Sleep' tapes. Repetitive drone and dreamy trance done with technical skill but what sounds like very little passion...or just huge piles of downers. The cover of this should be some clip art of a sunset with seagulls flying by, not the crude ink drawing it actually has. This will definitely help you saw a log though, so it succeeds on that front.(RK)
(E.T.C.S. Records // etcsrecord.blogspot.com)

Abandos s/t tape
No tracklisting at all, making maximum usage of the foldout j-card (totally blank). Not that I think Abandos are probably much for proper documentation. At least one of these tunes is on the 7" ("Cruise Control", in a different version), four tunes total that are all quality in both the music and recording sense. I'm more and more into this band the more I hear, there's one on here that I think is called "Speedball" that really drives hard, some real crisp echo on it and the bass playing all over this tape is really exceptional. I'll out myself as an amateur music pirate and admit that I downloaded some mystery Abandos folder from someone that has even more versions of some of these tunes on it, including the ultimate version of "Cruise Control" (that's not this tape's version or the 7" version) that is recorded loud and clear and just devastates. I'd pony up cash for an LP's worth of these guys right now. The next wave of skull music? (RK)
(Bruised Tongue // www.bruisedtongue.com)

AIDS "Demo 2013" cassette
Damaged hardcore punk from Sweden. Truly monstrous guitar sound, total tractor beam/death ray style, more reminiscent of Japcore over-the-toppery than anything from these guy's homeland...maybe they remind me of Fader War a little bit (that's Norwegian, but close enough, right?). Eight tracks sung in their native tongue, very loud and impressive recording, with the guitar and vocals pushed into the red while they rhythm section plays in the next room over. Good stuff, you could probably slice lunchmeat with this guitar tone which some Swedish maniac pulls some just lovely feedback out of. There's a few fast numbers but they fare better when they slow it down and pound pud. There's a quality 7" that could be made of these parts. Impessive stuff from the European front, who don't usually win me over on the hardcore stuff. Came with a condom, which shows they are sensitive to the plight of their name and I'll give them a bonus point for the Manowar reference.(RK)
(self-released // aidsgbg.bandcamp.com)

Ajax "Bleach For Breakfast" cassette
Ripping Totalitär-styled thrash full of hooks, tasteful breakdowns, and a MFing wall of guitar. Five tracks, all instant hits ready for your pogo 'n' air guitar needs. Great recording; they really could have skipped the demo phase and pressed this straight to vinyl. (DH)
(Self released // try Katorga Works for the tape on a 7")

The Chuck Alaimo Quartet s/t cassette
There are lots of fan club releases making the rounds on cassette lately, but the weirdest one yet has to be this discography of The Chuck Alaimo Quartet, compiling the five singles the band released in the late Fifties. I have to respect whoever dug back this far, as this is some serious excavation, but it's more a labor of love than anything. I mean the kids aren't exactly clamoring for some good time Fifties rockers for their next sock hop, no matter how much I wish they were. Ten songs here, with the big hits being "Leap Frog" and "Hop In My Jalop". Chuck and his band were good enough to make it to a major (MGM) after their first self-released local single, and it's a great example of Fifties sax wailin' and piano poundin' good time rocking. The liner notes tell the tale. Cool shit that no one will care about.(RK)
(Jelly Music // available via Media Schlitz)

Alpha Hopper "Let Heaven and Nature Sing!" cassette
More Power's mission is to act as the farm team for young (usually local) punk bands looking to get a cassette release out there in the world, going so far as offering to record them if need be. An admirable mission, driven by the desire of the two blasters running the label to find and document weird/outsider punk. The type of guys who do this just so they can listen to the tapes. Alpha Hopper are from Buffalo, and to show how not-plugged-in to the scene I am, I've never seen or heard of them before. Dual guitar/no bass line-up with a girl singing, nine tracks that get a little heavy and a little quirky at the same time. They got some riffs, they got some weird effects pedals, I think they might be sneaking a keyboard in there once in a while. Proper use of the two gits idea though, as they play off each other well, with one guy handling the riffage and the other doing some sharp/needly/feedbacky things. It's punk alright, informed with some indie rock dynamics, they throw some funky stuff in there, a little mathy/proggy stuff, weird breakdowns, and thankfully no poppy shenanigans. I guess I should see them live someday before I pass final judgement.(RK)
(More Power // www.feralkidrecords.com)

Astral Gunk "Straight Up James Dean" cassette
Astral Gunk have put out some decent recordings on cassette, nothing I remember too well, but apparently good enough that I had some interest in giving their new one a try. It's a ten song full length that is part of some cassette "series" (as if the "Singles Club" was a bad enough idea, we now have the tape equivalent...) and I was completely unprepared for the blast of sauce that erupted from this one. These dudes are apparently stoked on Junk Records and trying hard to get on the next Fistful of ROck'n'Roll comp. Lots of rawkin' and rowlin', totally over-the-top zany vocalizing and testifyin', seems to me like maybe they're going for a Supersuckers or Rev Horton Heat thing, with a little bit of modern day Segall-izing to get the kids pulled in. Gratuitous Cramp-a-billying, some country-ish blood-on-the-tracks moves, some more straighforward Estrus gee-rawge grease monkeying. I feel like I got sucked into a timewarp and these dudes just opened for the Cherry Valence. Ugh.(RK)
(Nervous Service Records // nervousservice.com)

BAUS “Idle Minds” cassette
(Pronounced “Boss”) Sharp n' skronky, punk-before-funk from this Oakland trio. Sounds firmly rooted in the ESG songbook, only more skill assured and aggressively No Wave. Danceable back beats with post-scrape guitars riding under a delirious Arto Lindsay vocal splatter. “Cheat Sheets” totally fucks with my equilibrium. I can't even comprehend how three people can pull off three individual sounds like that simultaneously and still stitch it together in the end, making for a stellar tune. The sputtering stop & go of “Don't Want It” and “Got3” should get the art party moodists a’ movin’. Folks with Liquid Sky hair-do's and a vast plastic bag wardrobe will pogo up a storm, like living in a lost Downtown ’81 outtakes reel. FUN FACTS: this features at least one G.Green member and a brief Lion King interlude. Not quite sure how many exist (or will, the bands tape duplicator busted) but the initial batch comes with a illustrated Michael Jackson-gone-vampire insert, straight out of the Silk Stalkings coloring book of the damned. Goot shite. New 12” EP delivering now. (RSF)
(self-released // baus.bandcamp.com)

Big Rich & Reese Beats "Red White N' Gold" cassette
Outside of my expertise by a couple of miles, this cassette is the debut mixtape by Big Rich & Reese Beats, the apparent brainchild of Rich (Psychedelic Horseshit) and friends. Lackadaisical rhyming backed by slow beat Casio-techno: the sound of Columbus hip hop? This comes across like an ironic goof, particularly the Youtube videos, which employ ample use of gold (teeth & necklaces) but I suspect the involved parties are genuine fans of the genre. (DH)
(Doin it Right // was available through Fusetron)

Birdsounds "Uncle Sam, Meet Uncle Tom" cassette
"Rock" music from many of the parties involved in Brown Sugar (guitar guy, singer guy and saxophone guy) making tunes to try and drive you nuts. Lots of keyboarding and synthesizing, someone playing drums who usually doesn't usually play drums I'd wager, a few lonely guitar parts, people singing and probably ad-libbing lyrics. No song info, but tune #2 has a cool retarded Neil Young vibe and enough guitar to make me happy, I think #3 is some sort of Doors remix for playing at your Halloween haunted house attraction, #4 is a cover of a shitty song that I'm sure had these guys falling off the couch laughing when they conceived it during a heated bong session, #5 is Christmas (w)rap jam time. This tape makes me happy in the sense that I'm glad these kids stuck to the grass and poppers regimen they were on and didn't get into hard drugs when they left town. There's supposedly a 7" in the works that should weed out the parts where they were super high and pissing themselves while laughing at their own jokes, and end up with what could be a really concise and cool weird "punk" record.(RK)
(Media Schlitz // mediaschlitz.bigcartel.com)

Beastman s/t cassette
The Rotcore scene continues to plug away less than an hour away from my house, which sometimes seems like the other side of the world. It's just a weird scene maaan, a bunch of very creative and very punk kids doing all they can to conquer the world and live in a bubble at the same time. There are bigger cities out there where you know every little shit side project that burps up a demo tape and is instantly all over the internet. Then you have Rochester, where there's an entire scene (and sub-scenes) of bands putting out tapes and records that people the next town over even have no idea about it. It's confusing and frustrating at times, but I've come to accept and enjoy their self-imposed obscurity and self-defeating ideals. It's like visiting another planet, but I'm lucky to have some inside sources that at least try and keep me current. Bad Taste, Insubordinates, Rational Animals, The Narcs, Brain Car, Flip Shit, Death Camp, all bands that were going to be the one to break out of WNY and raise the Rotcore flag over the country, but never made it (and I guess Manimals kind of did, but that also turned out to be their demise). All great bands though. The next band to add to the list is Beastman (who I can assure you are awesome live, and I've had a great CDR of their stuff for years now - that's how things move out there, these kids were killer like three years ago in a basement and are just now getting around to releasing a tape). Obnoxious hardcore punk with a great singer (name of Forrest Green, for real) and some mutants on instruments, including at least one of the crazy gingers you always see at Rotcore shows anywhere. Ten songs that approximnate the modern-style fury of Brown Sugar (without as good of a guitar player) when they're at their best, maybe closer to Bad Noids even, with some Germs, Necros, Circle Jerks, Ramones sans the bubblegum, a wee bit of Clevo style hardcore to to round out the stew. These guys are now playing dress-up in the live setting (loincloths, wigs, facepaint) and my sources tell me that their real goal is to now be the next Gwar. If any city could birth a new Gwar, Rochester is certainly high on the list. I often wonder if these Rotcore bands even know about half of the bands we think they sound like. I feel like they just sit around making this shit up without ever hearing a Necros record, for instance. And for more proof of my poorly articulated theory, take into consideration the design for this tape. More thought was put into a 200 copy run tape than most bands put into an LP. Full color j-cards with great graphics, a cut-to-size insert that has better design values than most LPs (again), labels that all appear to have been hand-typed (on a vintage typewriter I'm sure, in two different colors no less), plus Jelly Music sent an actual ad-sheet that again has more thought in it than most labels put into ten of their releases, plus one of the most "professional" press releases I've ever seen (no bullshit hype blurbs, just scum stats, purchase/wholesale info, ad rate inquiry and online presence), again done on a fucking typewriter. You have no idea what goes into these Rotcore releases. Puts a good percentage of bullshit out there to shame. Anyway, this is $4, and I bet they're barely breaking even, the least you could do is buy one you dickhead. Everytime one of these bands get out of town something goes wrong. Shit, even Cleveland didn't go well for any of them, and that's probably the one place in the world where they might find some mutant brethren.(RK)
(Jelly Music // reeltimerecords.bigcartel.com)

Black Boot demo cassette
Like the Deformity demo reviewed below, this was released by the band last summer and recently repressed by Toxic State. So it's old but not completely irrelevant to review. And it's awesome. Extremely raw, venomous HC. Reminds me of the Bone Awl double single (only BA release I have, others may apply) in that the simple, driving drum beat serves as a backbone for ultra, lo-fi distortothrash. Harsh, throaty vocals get lost a little behind the guitar, which is fine since it all bends into a mess of chaotic noisy HC. Not sure if this band is still around but I hope so. (DH)
(Toxic State // good luck)

Black Zinfandel demo tape
This tape is blank. Sorry guys, I tried.(RK)
(self-released // blackzin.bandcamp.com)

Black Cum "I$ The Be$t Band on the Planet...And Thi$ is Black Cum'$ Be$t Album" cassette
I don't know how long this has been sitting around the office, because the entire staff ignored opening it for some time because it came wrapped in a fucking flannel shirt and no one wanted to touch it. I finally gave in while trying to clean up one night and discovered it was a fucking band called Black Cum...I mean, you have to listen to it now, just for the hell of the name, right? It's obviously going to be terrible, the question remained was it going to be good terrible or terrible terrible? Every song except one has Black Cum in the title (and they use more dollar signs than Chris Lutzko). Favorite song title: "Black Cum's Been Playing A Lot of Basketball". Internet sleuthing tells me that Black Cum have actually existed since 2011, are from Salt Lake City (which I find unsurprising), actually have a few other releases, had a Kickstarter to release a split 10" at one point (a terrible fundraising scheme to release a terrible record format), are an "improvised anti-music/punk/hardcore/anarcho/thrash/etc./who cares" band. Sometimes you just wish you wouldn't have googled Black Cum, for more than one reason. There are some moments of interest, which wane rather quickly, overall it's just a couple guys yelling and/or talking ad-libbed (I assume) lyrics over guitar "playing" and some percussion/drums. As an art project it has some miniscule merit, but it's nothing even the most garbage-oriented mind (like mine) will feel the need to hear more than once. I feel like they might be taking this "anti-music" thing seriously, which turns out to be a drag, even though they come up with a decent joke or two.(RK)
(self-released // blackcumtheband.blogspot.com)

Black Traitor s/t cassette
Black Traitor are the sister band to White Load, the guitar player and drummer (who also sings here) doing a less punk and more noisy version of their "thing", just super loud riff worship and super simple drum smash recorded with a good layer of filth. On this, their second outing, they really don't sound too far off from the first Watery Love record, except played with a far lower skill level. I like this one a lot, it's almost their effort at going pop. "Organ Donor" is American style pummel and pud pulling, then they do a super dumbed down cover of "Way of the World", because why the hell not. Flipper songs seem like they would be pretty easy to learn, and they do a a great job of fucking that up. Hey wait, is this an all covers tape? You never can tell with these guys. Fuck, "Who Wants to Live Forever" is great and I have a sneaking suspicion these guys are big Highlander fans (it was probably on Fox after Simpsons reruns...), and then they do an absolutley brilliant "Don't Fear the Reaper"! Genius shit right there. I was gonna say this tape isn't as good as the first BT tape, which left scorch marks on the wall that are still there (and was also the genesis of White Load's finest moment "Little Black Pig"), but after hearing that BOC cover I'm not so sure. The thing that pains me most about all of this is, again, that stuff this good is stuck on self-released cassettes, when it's more deserving of sapping our natural petroleum resources than a good 75-80% of the singles we get sent for review. There's no justice, there's just us. (RK)
(self-released // fuck off)

Bloodkrow Butcher "Nigh Hell" cassette
Final, definitive, exceptional recordings from Boston's Bloodkrow Butcher. Five tracks that would have been the basis for their album had they stuck it out, but, alas, the band called it quits and we are left with "Nigh Hell". Driving, explosive Swedish HC with a heavy emphasis on "Anti-War" themes that work well in 2-3 word choruses designed to be shouted mid-pogo. In lieu of lyrics, the artwork features a "Decontrol"-styled photo collage of the dudes rockin', chillin', shittin', and drinkin'. By any reason war is unnecessary but after the gig this is my lifestyle (six pack, blood spit night). (DH)
(Boston Cassette // try Sorry State or Grave Mistake)

Brave Radar "Message Centre" cassette
The subtle sounds of Montreal's pop scene can be heard on Brave Radar's "Message Centre" demo, a disarmingly quiet batch of twee. Recorded as a duo, the tracks here retain minimal qualities, not much in the way of building up expansive instrumentation, preferring instead to allow much of the melody to come by way of harmonized vocals. "Message Centre" is sweet, reserved music played competently and interestingly. Also, it is not for me and not for the short-attention span set who looks for music to encompass some sort of release, energy, movement, which I had hoped would come after noticing the hype sheet mention of no-wave as an influence. (DH)
(Fixture Records // fixture-records.com)

The Cats "Relax on Everyone" cassette
I am deathly allergic to cats. If I stop by my brother's house for a couple of hours (he has like five fucking cats), I look like I sparred with Cassius Clay by the time I leave: puffy face, sluggish movements. I get that the internet thinks they are cute and evil, but they can all go to hades if you ask me. These Cats, the band from Philly, sound like "The 90's"—some Team Dresch, a dash of The Breeders, the essence of Ebullition. Funny enough, their label, Manondor, has a Matador lookalike flag as their logo, so perhaps it is not just me that is thinking of that glorious decade. This is a long-player, more than a dozen songs, and it scratches a certain nostalgia itch but doesn't really rile up any strong feelings. Unlike cats, I do not despise this, but it is not a savior to that particular four-letter word. (DH)
(Manondor // thecatsusa-at-gmaildotcom)

Citizen Blast Kane "Lobster Dinner Demos" CDR
I've known about these guys for some time just from hearing their name from NYC pals and seeing them on flyers. Great fucking band name at the very least. So they sent me this jam-packed CD of demos plus a full blown film on DVD called 'Value One' that I have not watched yet, but the artwork looks like an Aqua Teen Hungerforce episode. This review deals strictly with the demo CD, which is jam-packed with so many "gags" I can't even begin to start. There seems to be at least ten people in this band, all using pseudonymns, the best of which are Travis Dickle and Rick More Anus. Yeah, low hanging fruit, I know. The 13 tracks here are all jokes to some extent, lots of pop culture takedowns ("Jaws HD", "Sweatpants Lament"), food schtick ("Sandwich Time", "Salisbury Shake") and a Nubs cover. They supposedly share a member with Liquor Store, also hail from New Jersey, but where LS are serious fucking rockers, CBK are goofball punks, and there's nothing wrong with that I guess. Maybe like a far kinder and gentler LFD, low-fi punk with some wacky vocals at times, it's all good fun for fans of The Simpsons, South Park and Family Guy. The three live cuts at the end sound like they were performed in front of an audience of 8. Even the goofiness is somehwat tepid, I was hoping for more.(RK)
(Reduced Lunch Records // cbks.bandcamp.com)

Civil Union s/t cassette
I can't believe these Kiwi kids came all the way to the States, just to tour on this barely released (especially then) demo release. The whole thing seemed crazy; doomed from the start. A long haul US tour that kicked off with a police pullover, two total van breakdowns and having their personal shit stolen via broken window - all within the first 48 hours. Adding final injury to their already hobbled last leg, a mechanic warned that they would die if they continued to drive their rolling deathtrap of a vehicle. For all I know they probably had to hitchhike forth, playing on borrowed gear near the end. Fucking misery. If anything bright came from all this bummer, it would be the full frontal rawness of how they played their downer pop nightly. From every hollowed hall to every half empty, beer soaked dive bar – the Union was fueled with honest pain, seething hatred and an understandable American disdain. These New Zealanders carried the downer dope torch with a certain strained pride. A lowly and stinging tone, originally delivered across the pond by folks like Crime & The City Solution and The Stabs. Swells of sonic shimmer drenched in gothic brood and a post punk posture. The frail and mumbled voice just adds to the whole dreary overlook, not unlike the finer moments of the Nikki Sudden and Roland S. Howard collaborations. Well constructed, well produced and way beyond their years as a band. Opening track “Cradle” definitely swings the heartache around, within biting reverb and chirp. “Brownlee” is achingly beautiful and nearing ballad territory, with a Bad Seeds vibe apparent in its final instrumental break. Guitars continue to reek their maelstrom throughout the back n’ forth, seasick rolls of “Waxed Shroud”. “We Are People On A Mission” is like one of Lee Renaldo’s finer moments, circa 1988. “Don’t Wring It Out” wraps things up with cracked voice and a cold finality. All of this should appeal to those NGL'sters out there, especially those who bit on the Low Life or Circle Pit releases. I hate to go on comparing them to a bunch of Aussies, but those seem like the easiest (laziest?) points of reference - and much more applicable than the usual Flying Nun Sounds. Not that Civil Union is as piercing or thug battered as the down under bunch, but the jangle that their native turf is known for isn’t very apparent. I hope everything is looking up for them, now that their back in the homelands. Someone should press this up; it’s far too good to be lost in demo obscurity. Maybe it’ll ease their pain a bit. I’ll just wrap this up by saying one of the best bands I played with this year, and one of my favorite releases. (RSF)
(self-released // civilunion.bandcamp.com)

Crazy Spirit "2014 Demo" cassette
Alley Punk's progenitors bestow their second demo, which, many years later, aesthetically mirrors their first release. The fellow on the cover is older, more scarred, more bizarre. As we all are. Precious little else has changed: the galloping drums, vocals leered or almost as often provided by samples, songs bleed into one another to form a block rather than a mix of tracks. Influenced by South American and Italian HC and Peni—intoxicating, scuzzy riffs that lurch along for a minute or two before exploding into the next song. Five songs here, less fidelity and polish than their recent album (which should go without saying as this is a demo) and totally essential. (DH)
(self-released // papertowncompany.bigcartel.com or dripperworld.bigcartel.com)

Creep demo cassette
Unlike most of the new breed of Ground Zero hardcore bands, Creep does owe a debt to "NYHC", the genre, perfected by ruffians on the same streets decades earlier. Six tracks plus the requisite "Intro"/"Outro", musically this is true to NYxHC in a way that most modern groups who claim to carry the torch aren't. Near-metallic guitars, heavy, floor-punching breakdowns, vocals delivered (so it sounds) by a giant who is not pleased you're fucking with his beanstalk. But like the best NYHC, Creep is ultimately a punk band at their core and their forays into metal are as tasteful as the circle pit at a CBGB's Sunday matinee. Word is the band broke up, which is a shame, but at least they did so before they could sign to Combat Core. (DH)
(Electric Assault // electricassaultrecords.com)

Danny Whitten's Veins s/t cassette
Judging by the band's name you might think they're some young try-hards going out of their way to offend, and we all know the world doesn't really need another Flipper-inspired act, but thankfully they prove to be none of the above...at least most of the time. Supposedly sharing members with Big Richard Insect, DWV are more indebted to Aussie manglers like King Snake Roost, Sick Things, Grong Grong and the like. There's not enough finesse to make me believe the Venom P. Stinger mention though. This is 100% bluster and babble, and it works out just fine when they keep the tempos moving fast, achieving a bulldozer-ish momentum on tracks like "Harold Holt" and "Suffocate City", which work the crushing rhythm section with gratuitous guitar feedback over top it all angle pretty decently. The slower numbers are too slow and too long and reveal a little too much of the bands shortcomings - the vocals are far too over the top when not partially concealed in the blur and the guitar playing not quite sick enough no matter how much pedal they slap on it, making something like "Tick the Boxes" nearly unbearable to listen to. "Sex Starved" almost sounds like powerviolence - blastbeat drums and gargled vox, which they offset by slithering into an AmReppish kinda groove-sludge. This tape has some good moments, and is certainly punishing in several different ways. Best part is when it sounds like they borrowed Gutter Gods harmonica for a few beats. I think it's the vox that make it veer off course - when the band just works out those extended hammer-jammers, it's hypnotically great. This could certainly use some work, but there are a few remarkable moments scattered throughout.(RK)
(Major Crimes // easterbilbyrecords.bigcartel.com in the US)

Deformity "2013 Demo" cassette
This demo was released last summer, then more recently reissued as a pro-press tape by Toxic State, making a review at this point only marginally late. Whatever, this is fucking phenomenal, so a season or calendar year late, IDGAF. Expect me to review again in the winter of 2017. Documented on Maxell C-60s over the last 4-5 years, Deformity has evolved from a totally decent Confuse-d noisecore band into one of the more unique voices in HC with their "2013 Demo" being the high-water mark of the journey. Wild, primitive, punk—this release is a celebration of excess as thin, scratchy Part-1 guitars screech out discordant (yet penetrating and instantly memorable) "melodies" over the mutant thump chugging metronome that is the Deformity rhythm section. (Genocide Express meets The Cramps! Buxf & Pat join Shotgun Solution!) J-card folds out a 4-panel drawing b/w lyrics (on the original release, at least…the TS re-release uses new art, not sure if they maintained this aspect of it). Sublime release, essential, yadda yadda yadda. (DH)
(Self-released // reissued by Toxic State)

Dime Runner "Race to Nowhere" cassette
Holy Stitches, this could've been on Vinyl Dog records—a heavy dose of O.C. punk/rock on this one. "Dime Runner" is the name of a U.S. Bombs song, so I guess they're wearing it on their sleeves. With 11 songs including a cover of "Warsaw," this feels like more of an album proper than a demo. "Snotty" vocals, group "whoa" backups, rocknroll solos throughout. One of the riffs sounds a lot like "Cars of Today", as, oddly, does this version of "Warsaw" (more Johnny Thunders than Ian Curtis here). If you're feeling a void due to a lack of Stitches records in your life then perhaps this could fill the hole. (DH)
(Resurrection Records // getresurrected.com)

Dismal Light "Critical" cassette
An Arizona baked C-32 from this R. Rousseau project. Instrumental synth & electro-beats music (and not in any way rock based) that is more orchestral than ambient though both apply. Like the soundtrack to a strange and, at times, tense movie, each song plays well as a scene building on itself until…fin. A couple of other tapes exist under this moniker on the Ascetic House label, where they seem to crank out releases of this variety at Gang Green speeds. (DH)
(Cactus Man Records // etsy.com/shop/cactusmanrecords)

Doberman "CB001" cassette
Deeeep kling-klang from some Lafayette heads with a flair for cool graphic design. Maximum synth and electronics soundscaping sans vocals but with heavy enough vibes that these tunes will start talking to you. Fifteen or so minutes of drone and droop recorded live. Heady stuff for late night sessions. Comes with patches and/or posters that look pretty awesome.(RK)
(Castle Bravo // castlebravotapes.bandcamp.com)

Electric Dates s/t cassette
Warbled mess of a practice tape that bleeds out a garage mud falling between a Muffs-style pop, the occasional Dead Moon rocker and a budgeteer act throwing about Pleasure Seekers moves. Mostly femme fronted, but there are some sing-a-long sha-lang-alangs with a dude to spice it up a bit. Their cowbell really tears through the tape hiss, that’s for sure. Tracks like “Barney Mugging” cut loose a fairly good stomp. Nothing too special or standout, but they probably got room to grow. It could use a smidge o’ production but that’s what a demo tape’s for, ain’t it? Some dude with a closet full of micro-pressed singles (and probably a healthy stack of Husbands 45s) might plunk down some change to press up somthin’ proper. Long Gone John, where art thou? The Electric Dates could use you and your checkbook. (RSF)
(self-released // theelectricdates.bandcamp.com)

Eunuch “Ouais Salope” cassette
Well, I sat on this for almost a year. Go Team! Ugh. Sorry again, Kansas City Contingent. What to say? Eunuch continues to be as acidic as ever throughout the nine tracks within. The opening cut “Pay The Price” is like a fucked chromosomed sibling to the Segall/Dwyer axis of evil, but with a meaner spirited tribal thump under it all, leading to some scratchy guitar scrambling. Their dry, thick hate rolls on with “I Want I Want Right Now” - a frantic death waltz could get the elder Blowtops fans (if there’s any still alive) knockin’ their knees. Repetitive, plodding and grande. The Lamps comparison still adheres, especially with tracks like “Nothing” or “Smashed Brains” and tunes like “Eat Shit & Die” will make a nice chaser for the Watery Lovers out there as well. The femme fronted “Moody Judy” could be a lost Gorls or Man-Tee-Man demo. Crunt! No one ever talks about Crunt. Someone should. “Psychotic Delusion” has a Pussy Galore throttle to its swing, just not as spastic or frenzied. The pairing of “Mercy Fuck” and “Give Me Drugs” at the end is lovely touch, sure to keep them out of the Still Single or YellowGreenRed yearly top ten. Fine by me. I’ll continue to embrace their filthy spittle alone in my interntetz mancave. I fear what kind of rumble and scree they could develop in a situation with more than a 4-track. Maybe they should get Larry Hardy on the horn and make this a reality. (RSF)
(XO Press // storenvy.com/stores/59172-xo-press)

Facility Men s/t cassette
Facility Men "Futility" cassette
Two parts Plates, one part White Whale/EFA, one part engineer who has recorded many of the more notable Buffalo punk records of recent vintage. Facility Men are an extension of the Rust Belt workin' man vibe that Plates expressed well, this time with less of a hard-punk/AmRep lurch and more of a sense for the melodic (a la Hot Snakes I'm thinking, but the guitar playing also has a Shellac-like coldness to it as well). First demo hits a high point on "Top Gift" wherein Mr. Lazar lays down a great example of his everydude vocal/lyric approach. Only three tunes and it sounds like they're still trying to find their footing. On 'Futility' they sound far more assured, the songwriting shows more depth musically and lyrically, and they seem to be honing in on the sound. "The Whip" is their best number out of both tapes, a strong rock tune that ties in some post-hardcore DC feel. "Strange Place" balances the melodics with some punk muscle, "Spring" is a slinky exercise in the heavier side of indie-rock dynamics. Get 'Futility' if you want to dial in to their strong-man indie-Rock (I'll give it the capital R, as they're certainly not wimpy). Recording sounds great, as they generally do when the guy running the studio is in your band. (RK)
(Subject // subjectrecords.bigcartel.com)

Failed States demo cassette
Four tracks from yet another new band from NYC. Failed States stand apart from a lot of their peers in that this is music not noise, crafting melodic songs of the "Post-(punk/HC)" variety with no real gut-punch but plenty to contemplate. I'd suspect the band was on a heavy listening diet of Wipers, New Model Army, Dischord's "Revolution Summer" era. Someone mentioned The Observers as a touch-point, which I think is pretty spot-on. Worth checking out if that's your thing. (DH)
(self-released // failedstates1.bandcamp.com)

Fat Vegan "Music To Eat Tofu To" cassette
Cleveland's food service workers unite to create a band made for the bar stage at Now That's Class. With members from acts as diverse as Inmates (Cleveland's second best British band - and the guitar player was also in Cleveland's best and third best ones as well), Lucha Eterna (sadly now-defunct hardcore pisspots) and The Wingtones (chicken wing themed instrumentalists), Fat Vegan belch forth four meatballs of juiced up hardcore stomp with the typical Cleaveoh sense of absurd humor. I'd say Mr. California was an inspiration as much as Sockeye or Sloth in that department. Pretty close to Inmates-style heavy hardcore with some Party Plates-esque diversions into metal. "Meat is Burger" and "Three Course Meal/More Meat For Me" hand you your lunch, but I feel like the most savory item on this menu is "Pupusa", a tasty re-make of The Flyin' T-Bones "Noseblocker" deciated the delicious Salvadorian treat, a favorite menu item at NTC on Wednesdays. My friend Steven tells me they're delicious, and I believe most of what he says. I mean I've had pupusas before, just never at Class. Someday. Released on Saucepan Records, a new Cleveland-based label, and an effort I heartily applaud (also check out the Real Regular LP, the final Lucha 7" and upcoming tasty treats from Bad Noids, Mr. C and more...). I'd say they're pretty good for a joke band, but there's no joking when it comes to American rock'n'roll in the capital of Ohio. And please don't try and tell me Columbus is the capital, people have been telling that joke for years now...(PS: I love Columbus almost as much as Cleveland).(RK)
(Saucepan // saucepanrecords.bandcamp.com)

Fleshy Mounds "You're Welcome" cassette
Buffalo's most exciting new band by a long shot, but I also don't get out of the house much. A band made up of three girls who can barely play their instruments and fronted by a token male creep. Think of Matt Korvette fronting the very earliest Germs recordings, if the Germs were really the Slits or some bullshit like that. These girls really can't play, like not even close to semi-incompetent, and they sound fantastic. Tempos can only go as fast as the drummer can whilst staying in some kind of time, one string basslines, randomly plucked guitars - it's like you just point them in one direction, and they go, and do a fine job of it...well not really, but you know what I mean. Bass is usually out of tune, just the most simple structure you can think of. And I mean simple. They just thud along until the words stop. Not sure what the sex angle they're working is - the girls seem to have stage outfits consisting of leather hot pants and bras, the singer guy just seems like your average creep, lyrics about stalking, bootlicking, fucking...they're jumbling up the dominant/submissive thing here making their "concept" as confusing as the music, which I suppose works out just fine. The one band I always recommend as local support when anyone asks.(RK)
(More Power // www.feralkidrecords.com)

Frau demo cassette
London's Frau provide one of the more exciting demos to cross my path in a while. A steady, reliable bass-driven melody is ever-present and provides an anchor for some brilliantly discordant noise full of angular, distorted shredding. Ashley yells along, voice cracking at times for effect, with gripping lyrics that combine the personal and political—feminist, pissed off, punk. Their style runs the gamut of the DIY underground, reminding me at times of No Wave, Evening Outs, Lebenden Toten, Crass, riot grrrl, Discharge, that sort of thing. 8 short tracks with the program repeated on both sides for better walkman listening while you skate. Sharp color-copied insert with lyrics to help you sing along. If rumors are to believed, this has recently been reissued as a 12" on an American label. (DH)
(Tuff Enuff Records // riotsnotdiets.bandcamp.com)

Freak Vibe "Demo I&II" cassette
One of probably five bands currently performing on this Big Blue Marble that I consider godlike. Big words/big shoes/big mouth. A gross gang of young Seattle Neanderthals doing the right thing; whether fueled by drugs or coconut water, it's still hard to tell. At least one member of Nudes is up in here, so that should get someone’s goat. These kids are really fucking up the hardcore house party circuit by dragging out old U-men singles, snapping a Cramps button or two on their lapels and diving head first into the wardance. Watch them as they drool, spit and scrap their knuckles on the cellar ground. When the dirt cloud dissipates, pick ‘em up, dust ‘em off and send the Freaks straight to the top of the death-punk heap. This tape has both of the earlier cassettes combined, so don't cry if the originals are long gone. Demo number one is primal as hell. A tribal scunge that scurries about like the early Inca Babies hunting for soiled doll heads with a rusty grocery cart. The John Bigley grunt and belch vocal delivery is apparent, and spot on. Ferocious twists abound. The drums are sparse and deliberate, yet so brutally attacked you’d think the floor tom was slowly being pushed through the studio’s concrete floor. Demo number two has them maturing their sounds a tad, honing their swing even more than thud, upping the gallop and occasionally blasting away, high speed. Bass threads steady as the guitar belches forth spikes of reverb like an elephant vomiting thick clots of blood. Fanboy-blah-blah-fucking-bleaurgh. The only contemporaries I can relate them to would be the Cunts or the sadly lamented (by me at least) Woman (NYC), but comparing Freak Vibe to anyone right now would be wrong. They are an unequaled force live. Reviews are lame. Just buy this on sight (site). (RSF)
(self-released// freakvibe.bandcamp.com)

Gas Chamber "Kairos Will Erase" cassette
I'm hesitant to call any hardcore/punk band "artists", but Gas Chamber are more than deserving. One of the most interestingly visceral bands in Buffalo (and anywhere else for that matter), they make music that I feel is sometimes too advanced to even be called "hardcore". It feels like such a belittling term for a band that I hold in such high regard. Yet they are a hardcore band in the purest sense: rage, honesty, power. It is these characteristics that fuel the fires of any good band, yet Gas Chamber do so much more with it. Back to the "hardcore" thing, again, they are hardcore by definition much of the time (European hardcore in particular), but I could also call them an ambient noise group, progressive rock, industrial (band members have cited Einstürzende Neubauten as a major influence), powerviolence, some genre strain of metal I would only embarrass myself by trying to name. Technically sound to a frightening degree, their compositons, no matter what "style", are imbued with an intelligence and integrity that is uncommon. "Thinking man's hardcore" seems like a trite thing to say about them, but it's a true statement. They are a band who I would play to challenge people who look down their nose at the genre and I'm fairly sure I would win. Their aesthetic leans towards the dark, but it's never an exercise in bottom dwelling or exploitation, as the darkness is always cut through with the fire of exploration and experimentation, their reflections on the human condition still retain some hope, some desire to move towards the light. Musically, they are often surprisingly tuneful or melodic in their archictecture, but also capable of brute force and excessive outbursts of noise. One of my favorite bands to see live. 'Kairos Will Erase' is heavier on the experimental side, many tracks are soundscapes and noise experiments taken from various permutations of Gas Chamber line-ups, plus the 'Corpse with Levity' record in its entirety. Sixty minutes worth of work from one of the most innovative and exciting groups around, you won't get more bang for your buck anywhere else. These come in beautiful silk screened slipcases with art from Colossus of Roads.(RK)
(Peterwalkee Records // www.peterwalkeerecords.com)

Generation Loss demo cassette
This Bay Area trio belts out a promising full length demo, ten tracks of straight-on garage/punk with m/f vocals, fuzz guitars, and the occasional solo thrown in. Recorded live or at least it sounds like it (solo on = rhythm off, trio without overdub style), with plenty of energy abound. Kind of reminds me of Wipers/Spits/early Vee Dee at times, in the way they can be aggressive and dark and melodic at once. "Enter the Void" seems the likely candidate for the A-side of their eventual debut single, firing on all cylinders, interesting through repeated listens. "Turnaround" was perhaps written for the next K records cassette comp, with a heavy dose of Milk Music & Sleater-Kinney (rounded out with a lovely inept-ish guitar solo). Overall interesting if a bit uneven (ten tracks is a lot for a demo!) but I'm curious to see where they go from here. A numbered edition of 500 cassettes, which seems like an ambitious number for a debut cassette release but I think there may be some "ex-members of" and "recorded by" considerations that will attract a certain amount of attention. But all of that is beyond the limits of my attention so I'll just ignore it. (DH)
(Cut Rate Records // cutraterecords.com)

Glamour Girls demo cassette
If you told me that these were lost recordings from the late 70s I wouldn't blink. Glamour Girls' sound is rooted in the early, pre-HC days of punk, bands influenced by harder, cooler rock and glam. The type of local punk era records you can still find in long forgotten bins tucked away at record stores that have weathered the decades. Records that you always hope are long lost gems but turn out not wild enough to draw any "KBD" comparisons. That's about where Glamour Girls fall—a competent glam rocker that doesn't quite go above and beyond. Probably not worth writing home about unless you're a diehard genre freak. Five tracks that include a healthy dose of "woo-hoo" vocal melodies, a ballad, and a couple of pro-wrestling samples. (DH)
(More Power Tapes // morepowertapes.bandcamp.com)

Gowanus Mutant Kommandos demo cassette
Gowanus Mutant Kommandos "Blitzwolves of Thunder" cassette
GMK are part of the Ground Zero NYHC scene, Gowanus chapter. Led by Weird Luke (designer of incredible action figures and VHS enthusiast), there's a heavy post-apocalyptic visual aesthetic (Mad Max soundbites included) and musically it's sloppy and angry punk rock with all the trimmings: feedback galore, shitcan drums, shitcan recording, supposedly a keytar involved, somehwere between the Ramones, Motorhead and/or Spits. I feel a Meatmen/Angry Samoans thing too. And a dab of classic NYHC. The demo has no song titles, sounds like it was recorded live and is shittier-fi. The 'Blitzwolves...' tape has a big old insert/lyric sheet and some more "accomplished" songwriting - meaning they wrote some riffs and choruses this time around. These tunes are actually trashy New Wave sounding pogo-ers, just an awful keyboard sound, but it sounds fun ("Werewolves of London" cover) and I can dig on the garbage. I've been told that while GMK might not be the most musically inclined of the bunch, they're visually one of the best (I've seen reference to them by "critics" as performance art). I'm all in on Weird Luke and his band ain't too shabby, the 'Blitzwolves...' tape could have been The Mummies if they were into the Road Warrior and Eighties synths instead of The Sonics and Voxx gear. (RK)
(Mutopia Records // resintrashdistro.bigcartel.com)

Heart Attack Jizzers "Same Program Both Sides" cassette
I have not heard a better band name than Heart Attack Jizzers in some time. Picked this up on the recommend of some bands that have played with them while passing through Indianapolis, and am not disappointed by this in any way except for the fact that I wish there were a few more tracks. "No Reason" boldly recycles a classic title, slaps a really good riff on it, some multi-tracked vocals to fuck with yer head a little bit, and reminds me of a killer and short Clone Defects vs. Dwarves kinda number. Shockingly good. "Try To Understand" is some real existential shit lyrically, and musically it's a bizarro-world blend of psychedelic rock and pre-teen punk (another Dwarves reference, but it's the Voxx years this time), the babbling voices/vocals and the fact they get some really psych-y feel without gross guitar effects is exceptional for the form. A real cool time, color me impressed. Fuck, press this up on seven inches right now and I'd buy a couple copies. I hope they have some more tunes to flesh out a B-Side. Bonus points for printing the j-card and insert on fucking tracing paper. Recorded real fucking good too, the Midwest hardcore scene is just ablaze right now.(RK)
(self-released // mediaschlitz.bigcartel.com)

Hot Tip demo cassette
Three punk ladies plus one dude demo-ing some hardcore lurch from the basements of Buffalo. These are some of the gals that can be seen around town wearing those cool looking "West Side Gash Crew" jean jackets. Six songs (best tune and song title: "Weird Meat") of subterranean crawl with prominent basslines, effectively shrill guitar feedback and mid-tempo force. The gal singing does a fine job of not sounding too screamy and the songs with gang vox are the best. Good to see these gals getting aggro and not going for the twee DIY sounds. Touches of anarcho-punk, the harder side of indie-rock and a slight smear of sludge. A fine feminine counter-point to Rust Belt cavemen like Plates (RIP), Facility Men and White Whale.(RK)
(Bitch Face/Drug Party // hottip.bandcamp.com)

Huffer "Love Songs" cassette
A riddle, Huffer providing only the song titles and band name on their release, without any geo- or biographical info for context. While Huffer maintains a website at the dot-info exchange, its only contents are an email address and a video clip of this demo. Not much help, although the video's description on its hosting site mentions that this was recorded in Los Angeles. So maybe the band is from there. Mysterious Guy Shitgaze, to do some genre mapping, with flowery wallpaper in place of high contrast b&w photos. Lo-fi indie rock that references Pavement and The Fall and maybe even MBV as songs weave in and out of various styles and trade out of tune melancholic acoustic guitar strumming for heavy reverb'd vocals and some stray sax solos. Nothing here really stands out to me—once I turn off the tape and leave the room, none of the songs stick with me—although it's not like it's offensive to listen to either. This is the type of band I could easily see gaining a little momentum, getting a cult following, signing to Captured Tracks, opening for Dinosaur Jr. Swing for the fences and Mysterious Guy Shitgaze for prez! (DH)
(no info available - www.huffer.info ?!)

Tommy Jay and Friends "Live at the Barn" cassette
Like "Lovingly Fucked With…", spotting "Recorded Live at Tommy's Barn in Harrisburg, OH" is a telling label, a genuine trademark of quality. Tommy Jay and his pals have congregated in his barn for decades, writing, recording, jamming on each other's songs, sessions that have resulted in countless brilliant releases—comp tapes on Old Age/No Age and related subsidiaries, Ego Summit, so forth. And the tradition continues with the session captured here. Jay is joined by some long-time regulars (Mike Rep and Nudge Squidfish) as well as new blood (Kevin DeBroux and Rich Johnston) as they put their collective spin on five old favorites/deep cuts—a couple of songs from Jay's oeuvre plus one each from Rep, Pink Reason, and The Styrenes. This incarnation of the Harrisburg Players brings a slow, driving intensity, a prominently featured air organ and lovingly lo-fi recording that make this tape a pretty great addition to the Harrisburg legacy. As always, I will be looking forward to the next release from Tommy and his pals, they never disappoint. (DH)
(Doin' It Right/Snow Clone // available via Fusetron)

JLK & Babysitter "II" cassette
This demo shows the fruits of a collaboration between the two bands ampersanded together and presented under this unified title. I was not familiar with either, so cannot say how they complement each other (i.e. is the colab an improvement on the sum of its parts?) The music here bounces around, jambandnoiserock style with experimental bedroom recordings. Q: All first takes? A: Sounds like it as JLK&BB can meander through their songs for quite some time more feeling like they're lost and looking for a destination than gifting you with the scenic view. The cover art pays homage to "A Humument", crudely blocking out passages from a larger text to leave only bits to tell a new story. I am left feeling the same technique could be applied to the music as well. There are very interesting passages, "Super Highway", for instance, evokes thoughts of Meat Puppets II as played by Meat Puppets I, but with several tracks nearing the ten-minute mark, I'm left wishing they'd presented their tight-five on this and edited down. (DH)
(Resurrection Records // getresurrected.com)

Killer Blow "Drunk and Afternoons" cassette
Excellently named two-piece band from Omaha, former members of Shanks, Baby Tears and Box Elders. Girl singer/drummer, dude on guitar. Not bad, not great, just sort of there. She's got a good voice, guitars sound decent, it's just so difficult to play this style and do anything of interest. Closest comparison would be Mr. Airplane Man. They do a bunch of covers in the middle, most of which you can see coming (Oblivians and the world's ten thousandth cover of "I'm A Bug"), which speaks to the fact that this is not the band that's going to invigorate this genre, although the Pens and Marine Girls covers were nice touches. (RK)
(self-released // killerblow.bandcamp.com)

La Hell Gang "It's Live in My Soul" cassette
In my opinion, the very best of the bands to come from the Chilean rock scene based out of Santiago. Along with La Bandas, Cindy Sisters (Hozac), Holy Drug Couple (Sacred Bones), Follakzoid (Sacred Bones) and The Psychedelic Schafferson Jetplane, La Hell Gang are the most rock'n'roll minded of the bunch, a scene that has been surprisingly well documented by US record labels. Their LP 'Just What Is Real' is one of the better "classic" rock burners of recent vintage, out American-ing most American bands. Total Stooges/MC5/Blue Cheer guitar smoke. This tape is "hidden recordings" made in 2010, around the time of Kevin Failure's Johnny Appleseed-like Pink Reason tour of South America, all recorded live in the studio in various sessions. The songs here are way more arid, more of a dry heat than the chemical fires of the LP. Laid back and dirty biker rock jams, really reminds me of the Granicus LP with drugged out vocals, with tons of extended guitar solos/jams (heavy on the wwwwwaaaaaaaaaaahhhh) while the rhytm section zones out in the pocket. There's a little Hendrix, maybe some James Gang, "Gimme" gets hot with the Motor City blaze, and there's a distinct and welcome lack of heavy-handed blues wanks that often ruins "biker rock" for me (the Josefus LP for example). A good dozen tunes of remarkable hard rock that gets its psych edge from the guitar jamming and repetition. I didn't even know they had a new record out on Mexican Summer. This thing ends with a fucking cover of "Freebird" with Kevin on vox and guitar.(RK)
(Yellow Moon // www.yellowmoonrecords.com)

La Misma "Indentifika O Xintimento" cassette
I guess this is more of a pre-release sampler than a proper demo of its own, so I'll be appropriately brief. Packed in a black envelope, stenciled in gold and sealed with a sunburst sticker, this cassette was released at the Varning fest as a teaser for La Misma's now released 7". "Indentifika O Xintimento," from said record and presented here as side A, is a killer side of mid-tempo, melodic raw punk with some memorable solos. On the flip, "Palavraha" is an otherwise unreleased a cappella chant. No instruments on this cut, but some intriguing melodies and good, existential lyrics. All around cool release. (DH)
(self released // try Dripper World or Katorga Works)

Leather Lickers demo cassette
I've listened to this tape a bunch the past month and have come to the conclusion that it's fucking great. Recording is absolutely jagged as are the vox, which sit right on the edge of being too much, but I think it ends up sounding Japcore influenced in the end (and not that far off from young Jay Reatard's vocal approach either). There are moments here where it sounds like Annihilation Time if they were from Italy in 1984. Some real Poison Idea touches too. The Ropes for a modern touchstone maybe. What I'm saying is there are serious fucking rock'n'roll riffs here given the hardcore treatment, that perfect balance of crunching guitar and full throttle acceleration. Really identifiable and sick guitar playing that avoids the distorted blur lesser hardcore bands devolve into. Five tunes, all crushers, "Smell the Glove" is the weirdest and has the best breakdown(s), "Masked" is the hottest blazer, string melting shred offset by a riff that sounds like Ginn playing the "Courageous Cat" theme. I didn't like the vocals for the first few minutes, but then it all made sense. Absolutely recommended.(RK)
(Cool Death // easterbilbyrecords.bigcartel.com in the US)

Dan Melchior "Live at Philly Record Exchange" cassette
As prolific as Melchior has been over the last few years, I have almost entirely avoided him. Not quite sure how that's happened although I tend to be a bit prolific-phobic. So I'm listening with relatively fresh ears and, frankly, am a bit surprised. I was expecting Childish styled garage but was misled and instead was served a dose of thuggish, moody rock, with a steady and throbbing rhythm section backing the sweeping guitars, no shortage of solos. Am thinking that he's been on a kick of NZ/OZ downer punk while writing this set as this stuff could suck the life out of a cotton candy convention (and that is a plus). There's much more depth here than I was expecting when I hit 'play'. And this is a live record, though the sound is impeccable, better than most can do in the studio. I don't know that I have the energy to go digging through his back catalog but after this I won't be afraid to drop by from time to time. Also, Philly Record Exchange rules, stop by and spend big bucks. (DH)
(Stale Heat // staleheat.bigcartel.com)

Midnight Mines "Dancehall Style" cassette
DIY/soundscape/noise tape from Londontown, made by a couple of pseudonymns - Private Sorrow and Baron Saturday. You might remember these "guys" as performing under different a name(s) in an old band called Black Time...but I'll let you figure a little of that out for yourself. Midnight Mines is of the kling-klang genre, heavy on the tape manipulation - I picture a fella in the living room after his family has gone to sleep, patching bits and pieces together, adding some instruments to those tapes when they're out shopping or at the park and he has some alone time. There are noisy interludes, drone/repetition passages and some very interesting experiments in dub. "Noise" with some substance, filled with texture and themes somewhat similar to Black Time - grey cities, "rotting kingdoms", midnight sounds all overlaid with a veneer of wartime UK olde-ness. Do not look here for the rock, but do come here for further exploration into the reaches of the mind(s) that created those other midnight records. Oh, and a bit of news for those of you hanging on - word from Lemmy Caution that a posthumous Black Time LP (recorded in 2009) is soon to be released on a mysterious "Swedish label". (RK)
(Mystery Plane Tapes // therhythmhive-at-hotmail.com)

Mojo Hand "The Complete Mojo" cassette
This opens with a cover of "Wipe Out" and, really, that's all you need to know. But for due diligence: a thirteen track full length cassette of fairly pedestrian but competent 60s frat-rock recorded in Oakland during the 2009-2010 NHL season. Also features covers of Chuck Berry and Rolling Stones. Could play a wedding without offending your great aunt and your CFO uncle might do a little dance and sing along to some of the oldies. Is this the revival of garage-rock revival? If you can get down with a true-to-original cover of "Wipe Out" recorded during the first term Obama administration, have at it. (DH)
(Resurrection Records // getresurrected.com)

Mongering Cocks "Girth" cassette
For those with their head in a hole, the Ascetic House collective out of Arizona has been doing some serious work over the past two years. The thing you may most identify them with is Destruction Unit in its current incarnation, as all those involved seem to be the major players in this collective, who have released an incredible amount of cassettes (there was even a 2014 cassette club of some sort where they released a tape every week for the first few months of the year I believe) and extending their media output to include tracts, art, pamphlets and other "ephemera" by members of their cult. I think Pigeon Religion were the first band I'd heard from this scene (and who weren't really that great), which went on to involve Avon Ladies, Gay Kiss, Marshstepper and scads of other related projects and side-projects from those invovled. That Ryan Rousseau hooked up with these guys in the desert and they helped him (or he helped them) turn into the monolith that is Destruction Unit Mk. II was fortuitous for all of us, because it's the finest work he's done and revitalized and given him some new comrades after Jay's passing. Not that he needed the help I'm sure, but this pairing has borne exceptional fruit. They've now formed allegiances with other higher profile compatriots (Iceage and Sacred Bones most importantly) which will allow them to sow their seed even further. They certainly have impeccable aesthetics (harharhar), from the visual to the literary. The fact that this Mongering Cocks cassette is not even on Ascetic is irrelevant (but it was from their distro). It is a dark synth-punk project from Steve Sleaze, who you may remember from Reatards Mk. II, Tokyo Electron and the Sexual Slurs, that owes much to Skinny Puppy and Digital Leather. A bit perverse as the name suggests. Pretty evil. Available via Ryan's Cactus Man distro/shop.(RK)
(TransCon Cobra Recordings // www.etsy.com/shop/cactusmanrecords)

Mongoloid "Live from Studio H" cassette
Portland's Mongoloid go live to cassette from a December 2013 show featuring a couple older tunes and a few newer ones from the "...Slampig" demo. Six (seven?) tunes that sound gnarly but still qualify as a very listenable live recording. Mongoloid have improved immensely from last year's demo to the recent Slampig recordings, and this stuff sits closest to the imporved side of the fence. "Not Punk" is a killer tune that I hope shows up somewhere else, I feel like they stole a Brown Sugar riff somewhere in here (that the Shug probably borrowed as well), and Side B is basically all the recent songs ("My Friends", "Weasel Perm", etc...) done up really purty. There are times when I like this recording better than the 'Slampig' demo, but that's neither here nor there. You should definitely cop a copy of this if possible, as I think the Mongoloid 7" (on Media Schlitz/Feral Kid soon...) is gonna be a real hot ballbuster and don't forget to cath these maroons on tour in the fall.(RK)
(self-released // I think I got mine from Spotted Race?)

Mongoloid "Birth of the Slam Pig" cassette
As I've already said, this material represents a massive leap forward for Mongoloid. That first demo was ok, but didn't sound overly inspired. These tunes (four or five depending which way you slice it...) are a creative shift and also sound a million times better (actually recorded and mastered in a studio), guitar sounds thick in the air, blasting out cast iron riffs or creeping death crunch, there's some fucking cowbell, I feel like they dig into a bit of Sabbath for some of these riffs, they do some real crunchy guitar things, vox are just great (tough, assertive, but not cornball meatheaded), sometimes I get a Poison Idea vs. DWG vibe, some of their aesthetic reminds me of Brown Sugar now (incorporating some real rock'n'roll moves into their hardcore), which bodes well, as the Shug were really onto to something if they could've kept their shit together. Facts: Feral Kid and Media Schlitz are combining forces to release the Mongoloid 7" (coming to a store near you soon...), both labels run by ex-Brown Sugar members (hmmmm...), and for the unaware Mongoloid is ex-Sweet Tooth and Organized Sports (underrated rippers both) and has Lumpy's big brother in the band if you're buying anything with a Spotted Race connection (which is probably a good policy on your part).(RK)
Supremely cool demo, the second from these Portland shredders. Raw USHC, a lot of Clevo here—H-100s vocal growls are employed to the max, the way his yells last a second longer than they should. You don't want to get caught in an alley with these fellows—whips and chains, man, I am sure of it. Last track has some overdone wanky guitar solo 'n' cowbell jam that is just about perfect, seriously.(DH)
(Best Before 84 // bestbefore84.storenvy.com)

Mower "Bastard Brothers" cassette
Taking one look at this tape you know exactly what you're getting. These guys like Motorhead and Discharge. And that's ok. Mower are from Pittsburgh, probably have a few patches sewn onto their jackets, probably some muttonchops or a Lemmy beard/stache style combo, maybe some crust flaps or some shit. This shizz's actually alright, the variation to the d-thrash style they play being that they're a duo, and the two of 'em get by just fine. The low-fi recording makes things even more appealing, adding some crust to the tunes. Straight ahead chargers, no true d-beat, but a good bastardization of all things dis. Harsh vox, some double kick, no holes barred guitar shredding. A cartoon of a concept, but you can't argue with the thrash. Best song title: "Motorcharge Me" - seriously! The only really annoying thing about it is the twenty minutes of them recording themselves tuning in classic rock radio stations. (RK)
(self-released // mower.bandcamp.com)

Nandas demo cassette
The honor of Best New Primitive Raw Punk: Brooklyn (BNPRPB), a distinction that changes hands at rapid fire pace due to the quality bands popping up in Kings County, was awarded to Nandas mere minutes after this demo hit the street. Female fronted with a superb distortothrash guitar style and metronome bashing drums, Nandas have a killer early International HC sound (perhaps not as wild as some early Italian bands but a similar vibe). Five tracks, over in a blur with a "leave 'em wanting more" mentality, but, as a bonus, they do pull off a stellar Beatles impersonation by backmasking the entirety of the demo on the b-side (I think). Well done (Paul is dead)…or my tape is fucked up. Rounded out with a couple of cool collages on the cover and lyric insert and this makes for a nice package. Well worth your immediate attention. Also worth checking out was their recent set on the essential Distort Jersey City radio program (RIP) which contains the same five songs in the same order as here; it's only an internet search away. (DH)
(self-released // nandas.bandcamp.com)

Narcoman demo cassette
Solid demo from NC that showcases four songs of well-built USHC. Think Effigies, NOTA, or maybe the grungier of Husker Du's output. Burly vocals that are shouted measuredly over tuneful riffing, solos sprinkled throughout to accent the melodies. Narcoman pull off ambitious HC songs that never veer off into pop or metal territory, a tight line to toe for bands of this style. Nice to hear a new group who can pull off this style with such élan. (DH),br> (Sorry State Records // sorrystaterecords.com)

Nemesisters "Not All People Are God's Children" cassette
I found it really dumb that these guys called themselves Nemesisters when I wasted a minute thinking about it. When I thought it could maybe be a bunch of girls playing thrash metal I was sort of excited to hear it. In reality it's three guys playing "metal" influenced by the Nirvana and Soundgarden catalogs.(RK)
(self-released // nemesisters.bandcamp.com)

Nervous Trend s/t cassette
Really bummed out I haven't heard this sooner. Nervous Trend hail from Perth and do the goth/post-punk/hardcore thing that's popular these days, but in a novel twist, they actually do it really well. Sounds like mid-Eighties vintage, Jen has a phenomenal set of pipes (and is an American living in Australia), they have a really Wiry rhythm section that is quite fast, recording is a superior studio effort, guitars aren't distorted to ridiculous amounts but just have that very pointed edge (ice cold) to them for penetrating the rhythm section's foundation. Reminds be a bit of a way less goth/theatric Rule of Thirds or Pleasure Leftists with a less weird/more agressive girl singing. I will bet that just about anyone who likes those two bands will dig this if they hear it. The bad news = these tapes are long sold out. The good news = some smart little American label I've never heard of actually pressed this to vinyl already (1859records.bandcamp.com), which I just ordered. You should do the same.(RK)
(self-released // nervoustrend.bandcamp.com)

No Balls "I'm So Happy I Can Die" cassette
Mono-riff noise-rock instrumentals from a couple of Brainbombs. Their third full-length, which does not diverge far from the expected path; repetitive and almost hypnotizing at times with only the stray trumpet solos to help snap you out of the trance. No Balls lack some of the brutality of their previous project—gone are the lyrics, which existed to bait for reaction. But more than that, there are some lighter, groovier passages here that one would not think to find on a Brainbombs release. Maybe that's the progression: as the 'Bombs have grown into the 'Balls they no longer feel the urge to keep the listener aware, offended or enthusiastic. Seems they are content now with allowing one to get lost in the music, which at times can be pleasant background noise. (DH)
(DMR // dridmachine.com)

No Master s/t cassette
Yet more Kansas City shenanigans. Possibly Meat Mist related (aren’t they all?). D-beat buried beneath the sounds of a thousand rusty bolts being sucked up into a wetvac. A whole buncha’ Japanese influenced feedback and skuzz. Total chaos; like trying to decipher cricket chirps whilst caught in an aluminum tool shed during a hailstorm. Not certain whether it’s coming or going, No Master blurs by without letting me know when, why or where things start or stop…and they (it?) doesn’t care. Good time shit for the Dis-worshipping crust pants out there. (RSF)
(XO Press - AGAIN! // www.storenvy.com/stores/59172-xo-press)

No More Panic! "Demos" cassette
Outstanding synth-punk action from NYC with an eerie science fiction aesthetic that is quite effective. All electronic - synths, samples, drum programming and they get some great sounds out of their equipment - never too fancy, but not exactly minimal synth either, a good medium-fi balance. "Space 202" is my current favorite cut, a punkily rhythmic chase through a spaceship with sampled monster sounds and a Hal-like omnipresent computer voice. It's like being trapped in a Robotron console. "Chaos Theory" is a good drugged-out droner. Side B has the punkest moment in "Lord Burn" which borders on the industrial - think post-apocalypse and maybe the very earliest White Zombie without the metal (that reference is for those of you who recall pre-fame Rob Zombie), very killer. "The Web" has a sort of cheap Eighties New Wave/action film thing happening, sort of laid back and sleazy. There's only one real dud on here ("RTFM' which is a little too "nice"), other than that I think they're on to something good here...(RK)
(TREX // nomorepqnic.bandcamp.com)

People Problem demo cassette
I'll keep this brief, as I'm out of my league here, but People Problem are Australian and play the old powerviolence, sounding to me like Extortion taken the furthest extremes and adding a bit of metal to it all. Six songs of savagery that will give you some kicks if you're into this kind of noise. Not my bag, but they sound good at what they do.(RK)
(Helta Skelta // available in the US via Sorry State)

Pissing Match demo cassette
Clocking ten songs in about 3 1/2 minutes, Pissing Match is economical in their vitriol. Each song a minor rant telling off or shutting down someone, almost all lyrics directed at an invisible "you" (one possible exception: "I can't get a job / without pissing in a cup / and I'M NOT PISSING IN A CUP" - entire lyrics to "Piss Test" but I feel like there is an implied "so fuck you" at the end). Musically, this is retro-USHC and has a pretty slick, modern recording not dissimilar to Pusrad (a member of whom makes an appearance on their thanks list). Pissing Match isn't pushing any musical boundaries but is a reminder that the spirit of DRI is alive and pissed. (DH)
(More Power Tapes // morepowertapes.bandcamp.com)

Pleasure Gallows s/t cassette
Full length tape release with some pretty impressive packaging - super thick chipboard slipcases with a letterpressed/foil embossed front (a girl being shot by penis bullets maybe?), silkscreened back cover and spines, a cool little mini-comic insert with artwork somewhere in the realm of Pettibon/Clowes/Jonny Ryan juvenalia. PG are from Oakland (where all the cool Bay Area bands apparently live now) and peddle some sleazed-up garage-punk stuff with some unwholesome lyrical content delivered in a goofy way. A-Side has some dum-dum punkers that are pretty good. "Insect" is the hit, good gurgly bass sound, a weird synth line in the background, spoken-style vox and a good punk hook. Same goes for "Syphilis" a mongo-repeater and "Idiot Savant" has some Junk(ie) Rock appeal with weird fringe. B-Side stuff has more of a primitive Dictators/Dolls rock backbone (there's some sax wailing involved as well) that sounds a bit like other Bay acts like Glitz, Apache and the like, but given a Dwarves-like sleaze aesthetic without the velocity. The four tracks on the A-Side are cool and could make a good EP, the B-Side was pretty bland. (RK)
(Dead Wax // pleasuregallows.bandcamp.com)

Power promo cassingle
Members of Cool Death recording acts Soma Coma, Kromosom and Dribble combine forces to create a ferocious hybrid of Aussie yobbo rock and NWOBHM, think Coloured Balls at their meanest, AC/DC at their fanciest combined with Maiden circa 'The Soundhouse Tapes' and maybe a little Venom thrown in. Absolutley sick. Two songs, the first is thoroughbred butt-pounder that should be able to assist your next drunken stupor/satanic ritual nicely, and the second rides a speeding Priest riff into oblivion, leaving your face in the dust. All of this obviously done with a touch of the Cool Death aesthetic (savage vox, sick guitars, raw edges) so it sounds new, not like some retro horseshit. Frighteningly impressive stuff. Get this one ASAP.(RK)
(Cool Death // easterbilbyrecords.bigcartel.com in the US)

Prag demo cassette
This demo has already been released on cassette twice and pressed as a 7", so this review is way late, but Prag are good enough that I have to say something. Consider them the Australian counterparts to the Toxic State scene and aesthetic with a little bit of Mexico/Inservibles in the mix as well. Static-laden hardcore with a Midwest US influence (plus Void, as always), recorded in the lower-fi spectrum but sounding absolutley vital. Vocals are croaked from the bottom of a well, guitar sound is fried to a crisp, just the way we like it. The best hardcore band in Australia not on Cool Death? They have a new 7" coming out soon on No Patience that I'm very much looking forward to. A+.(RK)
(Space Ritual // sspaceritual.blogspot.com)

Process "Demo 2013" cassette
Not the most over the top or innovative band to throw their chaos pouch into D-ring but Process deliver 7 songs of solid Discharge worship (or, if you got my tape, 3 songs and a blank b-side). Unlike a lot of music, I think this is a style that can work even when done in a very strict, by the books, throwback way. War still is a blackhole to avoid, you know? So, this isn't expanding the genre the way, say, Disclose did, but is nonetheless powerful. They have a new 12" just released that I am excited to check out. (DH)
(Urgent Warning Records // urgentwarningrecords.com)

The Punks demo cassette
The Punks?! How stoned were these kids when they came up with this name? Five songs of ye olde Rotcore, with some of the haircuts from Death Camp, a couple of the gingers from Flip Shit and the longhair hippy who played guitar in Brown Sugar putting in some overtime on the riff machine. Audacious (and stoned enough) to reinterpret "Tobacco Road" before launching into four "originals" ("Whitey on the Moon"!) that remind me of the Shug's stellar mid-tempo excursions in rock'n'roll with a less charismatic lead singer. Songs about love, songs about girls, songs about drugs, songs about loving girls on drugs while doing drugs. As is usually the case with American guitar rock'n'roll, the guitar playing is really the focus here, and it's jam-packed with clean as a whistle and confident solos and riffs, the type of which kids should try more of these days. Don't hide behind your pedals! I'm into this tape quite a bit, but I'm a homer for this type of chugging made by kids who dig The Byrds, Blue Cheer and Black Flag in equal measures. I'd say this is the finest post-Brown Sugar outfit yet, but then I saw Tapehead live and witnessed the future of punk. Limited to 45 or 70 copies depending on who you ask.(RK)
(Rock Records // mediaschlitz.bigcartel.com)

Pura Manía "Ratas De Dos Patas" cassette
Another great new band mining sounds from the early-mid 80s worldwide punk scene—traces of Los Violadores and Blitz and Leuzemia can be heard. Melodic, timeless punk, I am tempted to grab a magnifying glass and stack of old MRRs to see how many leather jackets I can dig up with "Pura Manía" scrawled on a mohican's sleeve. You can literally hear the empty bottles of beer tumble over after being pogo'd into on this recording. From Vancouver, although apparently one of the fellows was in Fracosa, a great recent HC band from Venezuela. Eight tracks, full color artwork, rad as hell. (DH)
(CV Recs // cvrecs.storenvy.com)

Purling Hiss "Live on WKDU - 2011" cassette
I am a sucker for Purling Hiss. I cut my teeth with grunge, had the SST back catalog on cassette in high school, spent a lot of time with Dinosaur and Sabbath in my post-college days. Big guitars, wah petals, extended solos, droning riffs. I love it all, and over the past few years, I've seen Purling Hiss a half dozen times, always enraptured by how well they can pull off a style that so many fail at. The band has long been prolific, which is compounded lately since some of the earlier demos are now being reissued on vinyl alongside proper albums. It's raining Purling Hiss (hallelujah). And so this demo falls amidst all that, six tracks recorded live on the radio, a good sampling of tracks that span most of their releases (greatest hits, staples of the live set). I don't think any version here beats the proper releases or ear-bleeding live for real experience, but if you just can't get enough or want a Purling Hiss omnibus this is worth checking out. Nice silk-screened package, too. Cassette limited to 150, CD-R limited to 300. (DH)
(Silver Current // silvercurrentrecords.com)

Quitter "Dark City Visions" cassette
The latest from More Power tapes, a new local label whose aim is to aid young and dumb bands in releasing demo tapes and distributing them to the masses. Quitter are some teenagers from Baltimore from what I've been told, and they seem to appreciate Geza X and the Dangerhouse scene as much as the dudes who run this label. The do some trebly synth-punk numbers alternated with some trebly snot-punk numbers. A shadowy, yet not entirely dark vibe here, as these kids sound too hopped up to go for the real dark stuff, much to their credit. You could go so far as to say a couple of these tunes sound like a less competent Ausmuteants and/or Lost Sounds with a bit of the slimy bodily fluid aesthetic of the Spotted Race. Sometimes they play too fast for the singer to even keep up, but he does break into a good Reatard-esque howl at times as well. Very much okay for a demo, I think these kids could be contenders with some more mileage under their belts, and as far Baltimore goes...shit, are there even any other bands from Baltimore anymore?(RK)
(More Power Tapes // feralkidrecords.com)

Rathaus "Freddy Krueger Sweater" cassette
This is an ugly looking release! The wraparound cassingle sleeve is a multi-color scribble pattern, like a long exposure of glow-sticks raving around at night, with some formalities (band name, song titles, bandcamp info) superimposed atop. So I was thrilled when I put this on and found two good tracks. The A-side, "Freddy Krueger Sweater", is the hit. Semi-distorted female vocals shout over a spastic, angular punk track for a minute or so. In typical Side B fashion, "Early Childhood Development" is more of a droning track, lyrics spoken softly over a slow, repetitive riff (male lead vocals this time). Wouldn't be out of place on S-S Records circa 2006-2007. (DH)
(Brain Plan Records // brainplanrecords.blogspot.com)

Rayos X "Ansiedad" cassette
A couple of years after their LP hit the streets, Rayos X have delivered a follow-up, the single-sided, six track "Ansiedad" tape. Recorded at the infamous East 7th Warehouse in Los Angeles, this has more of a blown out/garagey feel than with prior releases but despite the break, not much else has changed. Inspired by early Spanish punk bands (Eskorbuto, R.I.P., Toreros After Olé) their brand of punk is made for fists to pump high in the air and choruses—or "whoa"s—are brief and catchy enough for anyone to sing along to (or fake) despite any language barriers (Rayos X sing in Spanish). They even manage to deliver a couple of nice additions to the long punk-skeleton graphic tradition with their (screen-printed) sleeve. (DH)
(Silenzio Statico // staticoponx.com),/p>

Graham Repulski "Portable Grindhouse" cassette
Philly based home recording dude that I've never heard before but I kinda dig. The tape manipulation and backwards masking based songs are the best moments, sounds like he's doing some primitive drum sampling as well that gives things a slightly off feel. Compostionally he'll remind you of Barlow/Sentridoh/Sebadoh at times, I feel like one or two moments are certainly Wallers inspired, a bit of Rick White and some "classic" Floyd/Waters/Barrett weird-psych things. Sometimes his recording style fails him, as quite a few of the songs on Side B are so poorly recorded even I can't get into it - sounds like the mic is way too close to his face which makes the vox super annoying. The found sound collage portion that opens Side B is really great and even if some of his singer-songwtriter moments get a bit wimpy, at least they're weird too. Best song title: "D-Beat at Dawn"! I can't believe someone didn't use this already.(RK)
(Hope For The Tape Deck // hopeforthetapedeck.limitedrun.com)

Rotten UK "Back to War!!" cassette
The latest project from Lord Reverand Jimmi Sinn, who you might remember from Bludwulf, Rochester's premier vampire-metal act from days past and the guitar/vocals kid from Raunchy Sex, one of my favorite local worst bands. Lots of mohawks, biker boots, leather pants, studs, bullet belts and cider drinking. They have a seven inch out as well. As you might have guessed, it's straight UK82 worship/parody with GBH and The Exploited being the predominant factors. The soundbites splicing the songs together are well done, and musically it's a decent if uneventful recreation of the inspirations for their schtick and gives them a good excuse to wear costumes. Comes with dangly earring!(RK)
(More Power Tapes // feralkidrecords.com)

Rüz demo cassette
Three tracks of boombox thrash, packaged in a sleeve of equal Xerox (no-)fidelity. Mad at the world in every sense, there is a whole lot of catharsis packed into three minutes here. An excellent demo worth picking up, as (I assume) is their new flexi, but would suspect that Rüz is best experienced in a low ceiling/dirt-floor basement (do they have basements in Saint Louis?) while downing shitty beer and throwing the empties (and perhaps a bottle rocket) at the band. It's got that vibe. (DH)
(Lumpy Records // spottedrace.bigcartel.com)

Scuzz cassette EP
Upsate hardcore from Albany, NY - fast and ferocious stuff, plenty moshable, four tracks of velocity reminiscent of all that good stuff - Clevo, NA, Boston, NYHC, etc... that burn with a legitimate fire, are probably loud and tight live, but it's all pretty much textbook at the end. Nowhere close to bad, this is extremely competent HC, played to the gills, guitarist earns his stripes, but it's also not that remarkable on today's crowded playing field. Ex-Neutron Rats and some other Upstaters as well I'd bet. Great artwork though! (RK)
(Loud Punk // loudpunk.com)

Sex Scheme "Thruster" cassette
Sex Scheme are the new(ish) project from the marble-mouthed fella who was behind Mountain Cult along with various accomplices. We reviewed their 7" in the last update, which was pretty good and this tape delivers more of the groceries. Absolutely regressive Pussy Galore-inspired shit-rock blues vomit that I'm liking more and more. He dials the vox down to about a 12 here, which is right about where they should be (I feel like he was going for like a 13 or 14 on the 7", which became a problem). At least three different recording sessions here I would guess, and some of the players on this are the tightest band he's mumbled in front of thus far. It's here that I will remind you, a good percentage of your liking for this band is going to be how much you can take of the singer. But don't be scared. Eight tracks here, no repeats from the 7", some floor-crawling Stones-via-PG interpretations, some street level blues grooves, some total shitpunk NYC-grade scum rocking, totally primitive (and not really swampy) and skeletal music-wise, with this guy's moaning, groaning or breathing giving flesh to the bare bones and making them walk. "Cocaine" is a song Jon Spencer probably wishes he could go back and write in 1986. Less overt S&M/bondage gear stuff but still perverted in a Times Square raincoat brigade style. This guy sounds so messed up on glue it's just fucked. Get this one.(RK)
(Stale Heat // staleheat.bigcartel.com)

Sexist "Brought To You By Feminism" demo
All girl trio (yeah, you might've guessed that) from Buffalo that existed for like a few weeks, during which I had the pleasure of seeing them in a basement and completely rule. Totally incompetent punk rock at their best moments, of which there are three on this tape (out of six) - "Bad Feelings" is a great call-and-response DIY garage-punk tune. "I Am Woman" is sort of angular post-punk DIY with great gang-vox and some screeching and "Respect" is the big hit, totally sloppy punk rock like a Germs song played by three teenage Riot Grrls. "Honest" is some Riot Grrly preaching, built by someone who just learned hot to play a guitar. There are 2 songs that just outright suck and can't be saved. All of this sounded better live though, and they could've been a cool band to have around town, but of course they broke up. At best, they could've sent this into MRR and hope Layla reviewed it, but now that doesn't even matter.(RK)
(self-released // I have no idea, and I live here)

Skemata "Demo 2014" cassette
Hailing from the fertile grounds of North Carolina, where new and noteworthy HC bands seem to pop up with surprising frequency, Skemata make their debut release with this four song demo. Borrowing from Japanese and Finnish HC, Scandinavian Crust, and, I'm sure, C.O.C. they put together a pretty ferocious sound—dark, heavy, and blazing throughout with requisite pick slides, HM solos, and vocal growls buried under the guitars. Reminds me a lot of World Burns to Death, actually, albeit with more restrained imagery/song titles. Particularly well recorded for a demo, which helps add a little oomph. (DH)
(Sorry State Records // sorrystaterecords.com)

Zakary Slax "Teenage Mutant" cassette
Montreal/Sackville loner rock'n'roll from Zakary Slax, who wrote and recorded everything here. Garagey stuff with some NY Dolls crossdressing glam and a good dose of Nineties rocking - some garage-style Crypt-kicking and a decent portion of grunge (Mudhoney and Nirvana in particular). The finest moments here might bring to mind a less weird Clone Defects approach, some of the youthful exuberance and young Jay Reatard's (had he never heard the Oblivians or Fear) willingness to throw everything in the bucket. The amateur hour psychedlic moves sound like a Doors poster bought from Spencer Gifts come to life. Further listening gives way to Ty Segall comparisons, in a White Stripes trying to play a Pink Floyd cover style. Perhaps an effort at some junkie punk stylings. The obvious Sixties g-punk references abound but don't sound like dated Get Hip turkeying. There's some interesting stuff here that might someday congeal into something even more interesting...the guy shows some songwriting chops and blends genres in a way that seems "wrong" but comes out of it pretty well. "Take It" is a helluva weird-rocker, the grungy parts are actually some of the best, plenty of potential and more remarkable than a lot of records I listened to last reviews update.(RK)
(Killer Haze // distro.weirdcanada.com)

Softlines s/t cassette
Demo tape from Buffalo's Softlines, one of the lads from White Whale and another guy whose back catalog I'm not familiar with. This tape is these two recording in their practice room, but I believe this is a fully fleshed out band now (four piece? Don't ask me, it's not like I live here). It's melancholic indie rock with a good sense of melodics and hooks. I don't want to say this is emo, but it's a bit sensitive maybe. Or depressed perhaps? The flowers cover motif reminds me of Give, a band of hippies disguising themselves as hardcore band. I don't think Softlines are up to anything that nefarious though. This is ok stuff for all you indie rockers, and in fact, I would call this college radio rotation ready if college radio existed in any meaningful form anymore. (RK)
( self-released // softlinesband.bandcamp.com)

Space Wolves "The First Year" cassette
Apparently, in their first year of existence, Space Wolves wrote 50 songs that they felt were worthy of recording—that's one a week with Xmas & Thanksgiving off. THIS TAPE HAS FIFTY (5-0) SONGS! Space Wolves write pop-punk, maybe more like garage-pop actually, with a heavy dose of 60s sweetness. From Buffalo but I'd have believed Ireland if you'd told me. Girls and pizza seem to be recurring themes (upon consideration, maybe I redact my over-the-pond thoughts), judging by titles anyway, and they certainly go too far with "Pizza Ice Cream (Is My Dream)". That particular dream may be a roadblock to any girl obsessions. (I'll be here all week.) Competent pop/rock but nothing really moves me and as a true believer of self-editing I think there's way too much here to wade through. If "value" is something you value in your music, this should probably be on your radar as the songs per dollars spent ratio is through the roof. (DH)
(Ut Records // ut-records.com)

Spider Man demo cassette
Collaboration between a couple of folks who play in Sad Boys, Crazy Spirit, Dawn of Humans, and so on. And Spider Man flips the Ground Zero HC pedigree on its head and comes from a completely different place. This is not, unlike so many other local 'side-bands', a noise project nor is it punk. Musically, this is closer to the theme from Knight Rider than it is to Night Rider More Than Fight. Drum machine beats, synths, some stray samples. This demo was culled from two recording sessions, that actually vary in approach. "Spiderman 1-6", the bulk of the tape is synthetic music, sometimes in the form of a doomy 80s horror soundtrack, sometimes with canned raver beats. Between songs are a couple of movie samples (the only words spoken/sung on the tape) and a classic Crazy Spirit-style old-timey 78-played on-33 soundbite. I could live without the techno/dance tracks but there are some interesting sounds in there. "Spiderman 1A", the final track, was recorded a couple of months later and is a very different track. It comes in layers: a simple drum beat (an analog sample or better machinated drum part); a quick, catchy, repetitive guitar part or two; some white noise (wind/waves?). The Casio and its plastic sounds are either gone or kept at hand and the overall feel is much more organic. It is a moody, awesome instrumental track and I'd be totally on board for another full tape in this style. (DH)
(Spider Man // papertowncompany.bigcartel.com)

Surveillance "Stressed and Depressed!!!" cassette
Surveillance have somehow created a working time machine and gone back and become one of the better Canadian bands of the boom of 1994 indie-rockers-signed-to-Sub-Pop but somehow forgot to make sure they got a song on the 'Nevermind the Molluscs' comp. These guys/gal are from Halifax, which is close enough to Moncton to sound like they recorded at Stereo Mountain. Super cool fuzzed out and desperately melancholic sounding rocking, with a guy and a gal taking turns on the mic. Not soft at all, and the tunes certainly have an agressive punk edge (much like the much beloved Eric's Trip/Elevator, who I just love comparing bands from NS to), there are some rich/lush sounding tunes offset by a couple raw 4 track-sounding rippers. They have a good thing going here, a real fuck off vibe ("Fucked Up and Naked", "Nazi Not Again", "Irrational Depression"), some sick guitar fuzz and solo squalls, both of them can sing, and the tunes have hooks of the non-saccharine variety. I've listened to this a bunch, how the hell do they not have a record out yet? (RK)
(self-released // surveillance2015.bandcamp.com)

39 Clocks "Pain It Dark" cassette
Well, this is a real surprise. Never thought I would see a 39 Clocks tape, but here it is. I think about 39 Clocks often, because they constantly torture me via my Discogs wantlist e-mails, as apparently all copies of the 'Subnarcotic' and 'Cold Steel to the Heart' LPs are owned by European sellers with inflated pricing schemes. I fear I will never own them, at least until someone reissues them. At least I have 'Pain it Dark" (on two formats now - and even three if you count the MP3s I downloaded from good ol' FM Shades and listened to on CD until the LP was reissued, also by Luxury Products). If you're reading this review not knowing this band or record, go buy it immediately, any format will do. One of the best uh...I guess people are calling them post-punk, but I think they're really unidentifiable via genre (I think they called themselves a psych band even), maybe I'll just say it's on of the best German records ever (that isn't krautrock - although they do work that angle a bit too) to get some hyperbole in there. A combination of heavy Velvet Underground worship and realizing via Suicide you can make rock music with synthesizers (replacing the NYC hate theatrics with Teutonic cool) and an understanding of Sixties garage-punk. These guys were outsiders and hippie-haters and cut a strikingly cool figure on the cover - dressed in black and wearing sunglasses - and made a punk record that I'm sure all punks hated in 1981. Deadpan German-accented English delivers songs like "Shake the Hippie", "Stupid Art", "Psycho Beat"...I can't say enough good things. An incredible record everyone should own. Jurgen Gleue's story is a great one that goes on to Phantom Payne, Black Vial and other interesting punk footnotes. I'm actually thrilled to have this on tape too, because this a killer soundtrack for sitting in the garage late at night and getting weird with some drinks.(RK)
(Luxury Products // distro via Light in the Attic)

Tracey Trance "Live" cassette
The town where I grew up had, during my late teen years, one and only one bastion of culture, Boone Dog Coffee Shop. It was where the miscreants would congregate, sometimes to get a latte, sometimes to drink beer in the bathroom, and sometimes to catch a musical performance. In retrospect, some fairly successful artists logged time there on their way up (Moldy Peaches played more than a couple of times, for instance) but most of the time it was local oddballs looking for an audience. It was cool. Anyway, this tape reminds me of those days. Recorded live, somewhere in Chicago, to a polite audience who offers a smattering of applause between tracks. Sounds like it's just one, maybe two, folks playing the music, with a backline consisting of a guitar/practice amp/Casio keyboard (or something like that). Vocals are run through a pedal that gives them a trippy, underwater effect. Tracey Trance is firmly in the local oddball camp of the Boone Dog roster. And, like at so many shows back in the day, listening to this made me want to applaud the band, admire their vision (which, y'know, maybe was inspired by Ween & Daniel Johnston, a lack of sleep, and a lot of pot), but ultimately after a couple of tracks I'd find myself inching towards the door to go outside and hang with the smokers. (DH)
(Babes In Arms // babesinarmsrecords-at-gmaildotcom)

Trrash "Demo ‘14" cassette
Seattle's answer to the Toxic State sensation that's sweeping the nation. At least one members of Freak Vibe throttle about in violent outbursts of near-realized hardcore. Things are fucked sideways from the start as dive-bomb guitar goes splashing to n’ fro over a Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers gallop and a bunch of other random noise I've yet to discern. Female fronted violence - or so I’m told – but in all honesty, there’s so much chaos going ‘round the vocals they could be coming from an amplified weed-wacker. All the recording qualities of a "Swiss Cheese Back" is as good of reference as any. You know how it goes -garbage music, garbagely recorded, played by rotten cabbages for an audience of garbage eating, shit-fi collectors. I'm right there with 'em, standing in the fowl slush, wearing rubber waders. If this is their first transmission, I'm excited to see what comes around the bend. It's an ugly mess that will hone nicely. Mine has a partially dubbed radio transmission of a baseball game cutting in and out throughout. Maybe you’ll get lucky as well. Total slop gems for those who haven't been able to grip a Big Zit tape as of yet or miss retards like the mighty Vaginors. I know I do. You should too. (RSF)
(self-released // ASK A PUNK)

Tyvek "Domestic Five" cassette
"Domestic Five" may be the germ of Tyvek's next album, or perhaps just a documentation of the brainstorming sessions on the way there, but nonetheless continues their tradition of taping and putting it all out there. Recorded as a three-piece with Beren & Larry holding it together for Kevin, these five tracks were, according to the notes, "made up on the spot" and are not surprisingly on the loose & raw side. DIY jam band, perhaps not quite, but there is ample noodling and stretches that feel like the band spent some time riffing around looking for a place to land. Were they to play these tracks now, I'm sure those that were not discarded would be tighter, have honed the fist-in-the-air sing-a-longs and found the perfect dissonant solos. This demo packs 20 minutes of music on a 15 minute tape - both sides cut-off mid-stream, but perhaps that was deliberate. We stroll into Tyvek's practice space and lurk around long enough to see them flesh out some new ideas then mosey on out and leave them be. (DH)
(Doubles Tapes // doublestapes-at-gmail.com)

Uniform "Our Blood" cassette
Two song sampler from NYC's Uniform, the combined forces of heavy hitters Ben Greenberg (The Men, Pygmy Shrews) and Michael Berdan (Drunkdriver, York Factory Complaint, Veins) playing with some heavy hitting synth/electronics (maximum synth?) industrial-type stuff that has to be done really well for me to get invested, and this hits all the right spots. Oppressive drum programming, over-amplified synth power (how do you get a synth to feed back like this?!), and Berdan giving up the oral savagery. One of my favorite frontmen of recent vintage, a guy who truly gives it his all (physically and mentally) no matter what band/genre he's fronting. Both tunes work the "riff" to death, repetition = power, a real dedicated pace that just pulverizes you. Probably the loudest band I heard live all year (along with Unholy Two), if only for a few fleeting moments. Sounds massive and is not for the squeamish. Tape is sold out, but consider this an endorsement to buy their 12" now available on Beggar's Tomb. (RK)
(self-released // unifuckingform.com)

V/A "Another Subculture 1" cassette
I was tempted to call the audio-fanzine one of the lost articles of the DIY subculture, but I'm not really sure they were ever more than a niche item in the first place (and, should one argue that podcasts count, may be more prominent now than ever). Nonetheless, there is something brilliant about a C-60 filled with music, interviews, joking, and banter. And here is a fine entree into the genre, released to benefit DIY Space in London. Our host concludes his introduction "Ta, enjoy, form a band, bye" and kicks things off (I am always a fan of DIY by contagion and the producer's demands of their audience to join the party). There's a nice selection of songs from the London scene that includes tracks from Frau, Good Throb, Hygiene, The Love Triangle, Woolf, Cop, and more…most tracks taken from the band's demos (sometimes from 7"s) but a nice introduction to the scene that turned me on to a couple of bands I'd only heard of previously. But there's so much more than music! The real highlight here is a great, long interview with Mark Lancaster about his time with the Instant Automatons, which is fun and packed with good tales about the band. Also cool interviews with Matt who runs the essential blog Yellow Green Red, and "Made Possible by Squatting" organizers Matt & Bryony Beynon. Printed small, in the bottom corner of the inside artwork the host answers the Desperate Bicycles with a little dose of reality: "Not easy. Cheap." (DH)
(Malicious Telecommunications // anothersubculture.bandcamp.com)

V/A Buck Biloxi/Giorgio Murderer split tape
Brand new Buck Biloxi material, and it's super hot and steamy trash. Song that I imagine will surface on the upcoming "Culture Demanufacturer" 12" on Total Punk and/or the "Streets of Rage" LP due on Hozac. Starts with a smokin' instrumental ("Theme of Buck Biloxi"), guitar and drums only on these, "Earth Sucks" is a song about hating all of us, "Get Out Of My Face" manages to squeeze a few more minutes of genius out of a recurring Biloxian theme, "I Ruined My Life" is a song about hating yourself, "Police of Shit" is a song about hating the cops. Absolutely perfect as is (shitty), with some sneaky Ramones-esque super-loud cymbal crashes. This guy's the hottest thing in punk right now for good reason. Giorgio Murderer side begins with the experimental "Space War Intro" which shows he's been listening to a lot of Can and Neu! - nah, just kidding, it sounds like it was dubbed off of Cinemax at 2:00am. "Infinity Cunt" is really deep, at least as deep as the theme to a direct-to-video softcore porn version of the Bourne Identity can be ("The Pourne Identity"? "The Bourn Iden-Titty"?) and ends with some self-help coaching. Also contains more of the best-liner-notes-in-the-biz. I'll say it again = this guy is a genius, but seriously, these Buck Biloxi tunes smoke and bode well for the next few records. From what I've heard Buck is holed up in the studio with a shit-hot new band as we speak...(RK)
(Holotrash // holotrash.com)

V/A "City Baby Attacked By Bats" compilation cassette
Compilation tape of the finest of the Nuke York 2014 scene (also referred to inthese pages as Toxic State, Ground Zero NYHC, etc..) that does the job far better than the 'Ground Zero' comp LP. Just about all the essential bands are covered here, the only notable absences being Dawn of Humans, La Misma and Hank Wood (and some bands that are already gone like Sad Boys and Perdition). There's also some non-NYC bands involved but sharing that common ground of dirty punk'n'roll - most notably Freak Vibe (with a killer PG-inspired track), Razorheads and Sex Cross from Jersey and a Boston band or two. Some previously heard tracks, some new jive, but it's mostly all killer (there's maybe one or two duds, but mostly just that one track towards the end of side 2 with the samples of little kids giggling) and covers a lot of ground. Hardcores like Goosebumps and Warthog, the digital demolition of L.O.T.I.O.N., some of the best in post-punk gothing about via Anasazi, mutant punk (Weird Luke's GMK), all closed out by the Crazy Spirit fellas. Now I just need someone to rip this so I can listen to it in the car. Great little fold out poster sleeve, no song title info, just a list of bands. Also contains DJ Chi2 doing his best DJ Clue shoutouts and a prank call and even a rick roll. What more could you ask for out of a mix tape?(RK)
(Burn Books // burnbooks.org)

V/A "Cream of the Crop" compilation cassette
Extravagantly packaged international HC tape comp with 20 mostly unreleased tracks. I think that sums it up but I'll expand. "Cream of the Crop" comes housed in an oversized case just a bit shorter and fatter than your average DVD case (very unique, and I'm actually curious if they had to custom order these or if they're, like, everywhere in the book-on-tape community and I'm none the wiser) and stuffed with a multi-colored silk-screened poster with a Best Before 84 themed graphic plus inserts dedicated to the tracklist and thank-you's. The band selection is international only inasmuch as you consider Boston (9 bands), Portland (6), NY (2), St. Louis (1) and France (2) "international". So, a bit stacked for those two northern US cities. Standout tracks were submitted by Sunshine Ward (unreleased), Lumpy & the Dumpers (track off of the "Sex Pit" single, natch), La Misma (unreleased version of a track from their demo), Bloodkrow Butcher (unreleased), Mongoloid (unreleased), and, of course, the now-legendary cover of BKB's "Anti-War" by Digital Octopus (previously released on Youtube). Solid comp that should give a good glimpse into the Boston/Portland HC scenes plus a few other treats for kicks. (DH)
(Best Before 84 // bestbefore84.storenvy.com)

V/A Dime Sick Dan/No One Man Band “Split” cassette
More garbage spunk from Kansas City, Misery. Dime Sick is a bedroom solo project of one Meat Mist/Eunuch member, bringing forth a clatter reminiscent of Rusted Shut trapped in a drum machine thump and belting out barf over some retard-o-tron guitar wankery. Catchy, like the hep and toe-tapping in an A-frames “I’m-a-toaster-oven” or early Teasers sorta’ jive. Bad moods a’ throbbing. The No One Man Band side is some of the ugliest blues punk recordings I’ve heard in a while. One take/one track continual scrape that hints at traditional pickin’under a frantic Reatard or Junkpile Jimmy hoarse throat-coat. French garage stylings for those folks who miss the early Feeling of Love and maybe even the Jeff Novak’s caustic beginnings. Pleasing to the ears. Evil hoodoo. (RSF)
(XO Press // www.storenvy.com/stores/59172-xo-press)

V/A Sewers/Rat King "Leather" split cassette
Split tape in which Sewers and Rat King attempt to out knuckledrag each other on the beaten path through the outback. I'm a fan of what Rat King do, and I still believe that the 'Godsend' LP is one of the few records in this throbbing vein (KSR, feedtime, Scientists, VPS, BP, etc...) that has the nads to fit in as modern pretenders to the throne. Their two songs here (again mastered/recorded by the man known only as Beef) sound like they were recorded inside a coffee can and slither along rather nicely, truly feel bad music with vocals that reside in some range between young Cave and Interior. Sewers "Chinese Tommy" is a rubbery bassline floating on a sea of vocal reverb. Sounds more Texan (Scratch Acid) than anything from their own homeland. They then undertake an exercise in futility by covering King Snake Roost's "Japanese Train Driver". There have been better ideas, but covering the Country Teasers on their cassette certainly wasn't one of them either. Ballsy and dumb. In keeping with the silly ideas theme, the "Leather" component is a leather "wallet" that houses the cassette, insuring that I will put it in a box somewhere and never hear from it again. As much as I want to say good things, this is a bit forgettable in the end.(RK)
(Virtual Cool // virtualcool.com.au)

V/A Why Pick On Me? Mixtape Vol. 2 cassette
Exactly what it says, a mixtape "curated" by a Chicago record review blog featuring current garage rockers from the world around. I'll be fucked if I'm going to go track-by-track and I'm guessing most of these aren't exclusive cuts. A good cross-section of what I'll call "nice garage", a lot of bands indebted the trails the Black Lips and Nobunny have already blazed. An expectedly fine cut from Yolks ("$2 Out the Door", which we've heard elsewhere), other fare from bands you've heard of like Raw Nerves (not to be confused with Raw Nerve), Slushy, Sulphur Lights and The Sueves (Hozac). Catholic Spray track is alright. A fine car drive killer for your average Burger Records buying, Shake Appeal reading turkey.(RK)
(Why Pick On Me? // whypickonme.bandcamp.com)

Velvet Whip "Bronze Medallion" cassette
Insane noisy rock that reminds a bit of Vaginors mated with Gutter Gods, just for the sheer amount of weird ideas happening here. "Humbug" sounds like Hawkwind with a Dalek for a lead singer trying to cover something off the first Stooges LP maybe. Things get a bit murky, but there's an entire arsenal of sound effects floating about in a heavy stew of earth-moving space-rock action. "Wildfly" has them morphing into a more punk sounding affair, but still real loose and psychedelic, and still with the Dalek at the controls and staggeringly delicious and bountiful portions of synth-freaking and sound effects and even a Flag guitar bit jutting out. On the title track they pound a riff like Les Rallizes Denudes and/or GISM, complete musical savagery with some kind of space-psych moshpit breakdown, like Poison Idea playing "Masters of the Universe" or some shit. I'm salivating thinking about this stuff getting a bit cleaned up (but it still sounds beautiful here) and pressed on a 12". Fucking Cool Death, they got it all covered...(RK)
(Cool Death // easterbilbyrecords.bigcartel.com in the US)

Vial demo CDR
I don't usually give CDRs the time of day, but something about this one made me give it a spin. I think I'd heard Vial referenced by someone whose tastes I pay attention to. There's no info at all on this, just a disc inside a ziploc. Packaging I can appreciate at least. From what I can piece together Vial are from Los Angeles, seem to play with any good band coming through town based on the fliers on their tumblr page, and have a solid nine tracks in their repertoire here. Female fronted hardcore-punk that should appeal to people going nuts for Vexx right now, but they also make sense within the Bay Area scene of Mane and Pang. A bit more on the post-punk side of things, a little less hardcore than Vexx, a good inbetweener. Pretty tough sound overall, heavy on the low end, vox are real solid, this gal sounds tough and assured, they slip a little gang shouting in, musically they're just proficient enough, a little sloppy but not incompetent. Really loose yet driving tunes. A less arty Tyrades. I'm shocked they don't have a record yet or at least a tape. Looks like they have something coming on Cut Rate, already home to Scraper and Mane, two bands they share some common ground with.(RK)
(self-released // vial-band.tumble.com)

Vile Gash "Life-Rot + Deluded" cassette
Cassette compiling both Vile Gash records, the 10 track self-titled EP and the three tracks from the "Deluded" 7". One of the best hardcore bands on the planet, nothing more, nothing less. For completists only if you already own the records, or if you just need a tape version to jam. One the top bands on my list of "Bands I Wish Would Just Release an LP Already". Wait, did they break up? Shit, I don't know...(RK)
(self-released // ???)

Violations demo cassette
A Lumpy Records production that I don't believe was covered in the prior demo review. Like much of the music emanating from the Friends of Lumpy, this is old-school US basement 'core. Loudfastrules, three chords & a cloud of dust. Explosive thrash with gruff vocals and songs that blur by in a fury. Good stuff. (DH)
(Lumpy Records // spottedrace.bigcartel.com)

Violence Creeps “Demo II” cassette
If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: A good punk band that looks less like “punks” and more like some sorta’ post-Breakfast Club crime scene will always get my golden star. Anyone can dress the part - leather jacketed, Pork reading Fonzies to crusty-butted, grind maggots - but the real oddballs are legit. The eels. The Penetrators. Bobby Soxx, Spike in Vain and so on. What you get here in this Oakland quartet is a loose necked Gunner Hanson on buzzsaw, a bug smoking weirdo (usually drabbed in tie-die or baloney stains) bass bouncer, a drummer that could be your mechanic uncle (or weed dealer) and a fashionable blonde bobbed, five foot half-pint with a raging lady-bulge for John Brannon. Things were off to a good start even before they plugged in at their first practice. The noise they make falls between Negative Approach ‘core stylings (“Amber Alert” is their “Ready To Fight”), fast n’ fucked Fang (“Basement Boy” and “Ratskull”) that beloved Flipper cum Upsidedowncross dirge-works (“Sex Menace” and “Mental Vietnam”). Since their inception these tunes have taken a more artful bend, probably due to the new angular, less metal pounding drummer and tracks like “Scare Me” showcase this. This tape is basically a better quality demo of some choice cuts from last year, upping production slightly while adding a few of the newer line-up tunes as well. It's been great watching them get comfortable in their skins on the stage, in the basements and out on the streets. New studio recordings by Jackson YI around the corner, featuring SAXOPHONE. Hump, hump. Lastly, I’d like to add that “Everybody says fuck you/but nobody fucks me” is possibly the greatest lyrical couplet of all time - or at least since the first use of the “insane/brain” rhyme. Real talk. (RSF)
(self-released // facebook.com/Vcreeps)

White Load "Posthumorous" cassette
'Posthumorous' nails the coffin shut on White Load's ugly and all-too-brief life (or perhaps far-too-long depending on who you ask - band members included), leaving a gaping hole in my heart and in America's shit-rock scene. But it's better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all, right? If anything, I always respected the integrity of these guys. They never failed to deliver anything less than the loudest and shittiest sounding records they could possibly produce and I always appreciated them for that. From the earliest demo recordings, to 'My Wall' to 'Fuck Jams' to their clusterfuck of an LP to the pinnacle of the form that 'Pig Eyes' was, I never left a White Load listening session disappointed. Some bands aspire to provoke and alienate their listeners, but very few have ever done it with the dedication and determination of these three men. I don't want to spin some bullshit fantasy yarn that WL had some high-minded concept to challenge their audience to find the gold amongst the garbage or whatever some art student might dream up. I imagine they lack the faculties to even comprehend the level of pretension that would take. And I shouldn't let that lead you to believe these guys are total morons either. They simply excelled at making loud and obnoxious music by their very nature. It's what they wanted to do and they did it. For themselves, one has to assume. There's a certain virtue in amassing a catalog as unerringly "shitty" as theirs, that determination to keep pushing, even if no one else cared, they plunged headlong into the noise as far as their talent-level and gear could possibly take them. The equivalent of plunging down a precipice headlong with little to no care for the personal safety of anyone involved, no brakes, sparks flying and seeing the ground rising up to meet them and stomping on the accelerator even further. That's a lot of serious talk about a band who could probably care less and would even tell you personally that they sucked. But that's exactly what I found perfect about them - their willingness to suck. I put them in a similar pantheon as Cleveland favorites like Homostupids, Folded Shirt, Mr. California or other fringe acts like Vilently Ill or Shoot It Up. I guess just not giving a fuck is the common thread there. I'll miss these guys, most of you won't, but their records made my life a little better and I thank them for their service. Oh yeah, this tape collects their "final" recordings, which are actually almost clean sounding in comparison to where they left off on the vinyl front, but are no less craptastic in a particularly trebly tin-can shitbox fashion. As always, the riff reigns supreme on these tunes, a couple of which actually show the progression of maybe a second or third chord - for a second there on track three they fool you into thinking they might have written a "song" via the Wipers vibe on the intro, but then you realize it's "Steve's Dick Jam Pt. II" and they proceed to flail about, erasing any thought of songwriting maturity, thank god. "Acne" is an inspiring journey through the gutter of poor skin care via one of their sleaziest tunes. Side B fucks more jams, including a cover (or two?) or maybe a live track (or two? Gotta love a band that keeps you guessing). Sadly, a very inspiring effort from the death throes of a band too ugly to live any longer, I really wish this was a record, but no one would be foolish enough to do it at this point. RIP to one of the good ones.(RK)
(self-released // fuck off)

White Load "Horriblefest 2012 Tape Shits" cassette
Tour merch cash-in from when the Load travelled hundreds of miles to play a Horriblefest matinee at Mahall's bowling alley and completed bummed 98% of the crowd out (myself and Gary Wrong being the only two who seemed to actually enjoy it). I have two copies of this with different hand-made artwork, the first of which was a blank tape, which I thought was actually really hilarious, but Torri insisted they actually put music on the tapes and sent me another copy, which did have music on it, completely ruining the gag. "Ugly Wires" is the big beef on this hoagie, a real fuck-jammer in traditional White Load style. Pid sounds really yammery on this and Crimes gets the big feedback win. A fucking broken tune played by some broken people. The Mummies budget aesthetic taken to new extremes/lows. "Theme from White Load" also rules hard. The program seems to repeat itself on the AA Side, but with a "dance hit" remix, which sounds like they just played the A Side on a boombox and recorded it with another boombox. I love(d) these guys and this is some of their most primitive sounding shit. Listening to White Load tapes often makes me think my tape deck is taking a shit, and this one is no exception to the rule.(RK)
(self-released // get fucked)

White Load "Mick + David" b/w "Acne" cassingle
I think this might qualify as the very last White Load release, or at least it is for me, as this is the last one I listened to. "Mick + David" is super harsh and recorded with a shitbox of some sort. Not sure what a shitbox is, but that's what they used, I'm sure. Of course the riff is killer, the drums sound like shit and the singer spits blood. "Acne" might have turned out to be their big time radio hit had they stuck around long enough to reap such rewards. Super fucking catchy and druggy riff action and singer member's lyrics and delivery are impeccable here. "You've got acne!" There's some bonus batter tacked on the end as well that I'm not even sure is White Load. Full of mysteries, these heroes. I hope Stefan Ken Rock releases this posthumously as a fucking 7", because it deserves better than the fate of a cassingle limited to 100 copies packaged in tiny manila envelopes with rubber stamped titles.(RK)
(self-released // .............)

White Whale "Demo 2014" cassette
"The Haze" is my favorite White Whale song. Perfectly minimal, they've stripped it down to the essentials for a perfect tune. This is the path I would like to hear them continue down, and they stick to it for a good part of the rest of the three songs that make up their 2014 demo (which I think is their third or fourth tape). Some stark separation of the instruments makes for great tension/texture, things seem a bit darker, less melodic, sort of tapping a post-punk vein. I think "Mercy Nurse" succeeds as well. "Three" revs it up, but sounds more like a hardcore band than they have in a bit. "Complicated Medication" is a bit of trudge and doesn't really step forward, but it works their style well at least. Those first couple of songs show a progression that the band needed to make. I think their songs were starting to sound a bit samey, but "The Haze" is a pretty exciting sign of things hopefully coming. Two of these guys are in a half dozen other bands, which probably doesn't help the focus of each project, but hey, every town needs some workhorses like that.(RK)
(Subject // subject1.bandcamp.com)

Wild Hex "II" cassette
Heavy metal from St. Louis. Maybe like alt-metal is a better desciption, sort of like Melvins influenced but without so much sludge, a hardcore background used to make what sounds like the old AmRep sound at times. At least until all that guitar wank comes in. I dunno what this is. Shitty fake metal. Waste of time.(RK)
(DTMR // donttouchmyrecords.bandcamp.com)

Woodboot "Krang Gang" cassette
Rawky and rowdy punk rock from Brisbane, a bit of a throwback to early 2000's Aussie thumpers like Onyas, Powder Monkeys, etc... Rather straightforward punk rock on the heavier side with chunks of buzzsaw guitar and gladly citing hometown heroes like Leftovers, Saints, Young Identities and such. There's a certain simplistic Ramones-via-Spits charm, some pop hooks in evidence, yobby singalong choruses for the boys, recorded loud but their aggro is of the friendlier variety, some of these tunes remind me a bit of Video without the really shitty attitude. Tape is in its second pressing (first on Long Gone, second on Nailgun Murder), each having different art. Their continent is rife with great bands, making it difficult for this to stand out however.(RK)
(Long Gone/Nailgun Murder // nailgunmurderrecords.bigcartel.com)

Das Boots tapes - all of 'em
I'm just going to throw all of these under one header, the collective known as Das Boots Tapes has been busy cashing in on the "cassette revival" by brilliantly booting various demos/unreleased stuff from famous bands and dubbing them on recycled tapes. A really obvious idea they smartly jumped on. My favorites of the bunch are, of course, the Flipper "1982 Unreleasesd Studio Recordings" that are basically an early version of 'Gone Fishin'", the Vom "Spews On" tape that collects the "Live At Surf City" EP with the live set at the Mabuhay true believers have been trading for centuries, and a Cramps demos collection that puts most all of their sessions from the '76 recording with Miriam up to the '82 "Blind Vision" session with Terry Graham - all stuff we've heard before, but oh so handy to have in one place. There's also an edition of Television demos ("1975 Demos With Richard hell") which is the old "Double Exposure" boot, that has the Eno-produced Hell session plus the later Ork session with Hell being replaced by Fred "Sonic" Smith. Fear "The Demo" seems to be the "Lost in Paradise" '79 demo (or '77 or '78 as some claim) often circulated as the "Living with Fear" boot, which is live in the studio run throughs of early material from the first LP and some others that made up their live set (plus a song the Go-Gos supposedly stole). Oh yeah, and there's a tape of The Stalin's "Stop Jap Naked...", surely one of the best Japanese punk records ever. I don't think I've ever met a punk who didn't love The Stalin. The Rezillos "Peel Sessions" tape has their '77 and '78 dates with dear old John, and although I'm not a Rezillos (or Revillos) fan, you get your money's worth out of this one. Finally, their most audacious move thus far has been issuing Void's unreleased LP "Potion for Bad Dreams", a record that Touch & Go refused to release upon it's completion due to the band co-opting the popular "metal" sound of the day, a description which doesn't even do it justice - a record that has to be heard to be believed. All of these tapes sound as good as the source material allows, with fine looking art and no liner notes in true fanclub fashion. Again, I will admit that this is a really great idea for a fan club label, I almost wish I would've thought of it first. I've played the shit out of a couple of these already.(RK)
(available via feralkidrecords.storenvy.com or various other distros)

To read past reviews go here.


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PO Box 301
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