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

Acrylics "Lovely's Slideshow" cassette
I suppose this is to be digested as one tune/concept over two sides ("Part 1" and "Part 2") and they mash quite a few styles together over the duration, all of them having plenty of needle-guitar stabbing. Panicked vocals ride over twists and turns from a thrash break, regular ol' hardcore, to some math-rock steps, post-punk, post-hardcore - I started thinking it sounded like crossover, but who would do that intentionally - I dunno, I liked the schizo-ness of it all, but I dont feel like listening to it any more either. Let's call it a draw and move on...(RK)
(self-released // acrylics.bandcamp.com)

Alexander "Norton St." cassette
David Alexander Shapiro records under the Alexander moniker as an outlet for his acoustic guitar compositions. "Norton St." compiles works recorded while living on said street, preceded by a tape called "Mellen St." I know nothing of the "acoustic guitar" (or just folk in general) genre aside from the basics - I love John Fahey, like Robbie Basho a lot and have dabbled in some Leo Kottke. Never felt the need to go much further. It's one of those things where once you've been floored by the master it's hard to bother looking any further (in this case Fahey, or say in the stoner rock genre once you've heard 'Dopethrone' why even bother continuing...). In my limited range, it seems pretty good, all instrumentals of course with just guitar. Americana I would suppose, folky, home recorded and not too delicate sounding, maybe a bit of bluegrass. But hey, what do I know.(RK)
(C/Site Recordings // csiterecordings.storenvy.com)

Alienation "Alienation Time - Promo 2016" cassette
Promo tape for the new Alienation 7" on Warthog Speak (which is out now), five new songs here (that I believe are half of the new EP) plus a cover of "Lifetime Problems". Many seemed to dig their 12" more than me, but I still dug it enough - same build here, maybe more raw (but that might just be the dub job on this too), fast hardcore with a singer that sounds like a barking dog, Poison Idea velocity taken to even further Swedish-influenced extremes. Less blast-beaty than I remember the 12" being which is a plus for me, but they don't seem to have lost any speed either. I don't have to tell you this is what the youth are calling a "total banger". Annihilation Time parody artwork is very funny as well.(RK)
(self-released // alienation902.bandcamp.com)

Basement Rat “Pura Mujer” cassette
I continue to marvel at the breadth of the current scene in Buffalo, which, as documented by this reviews page as one example, is thriving and boasts an impressive diversity in approaches to underground music. On “Pura Mujer,” Basement Rat make their mark with nine tracks of Spanish-language punk that can veer from the dark and melodic into bombastic HC with crushing screams. Good stuff. (DH)
(Drug Party // drugparty.storenvy.com)

Blobs demo cassette
This new band from Buffalo blasts through seven cuts of quality punk, somewhere between the lands of Killed By Death and Killed by Hardcore, with solid hooks and shitty production, the way it should be. Most songs come in at around a minute, whip up a blur of energy, work in some air-guitar worthy noodles and fist-up singalong vocals, and vanish in an instant. This one’s a keeper. (DH)
(More Power Tapes // morepowertapes.bandcamp.com)

Blobs "Shame" cassette
Six song second effort from Blobs before they met their end. A pretty decent snapshot of the better end of Buffalo punk of the time (late 2015 here - and the core of the band has now moved on to Radiation Risks) - meaning they take off where Brown Sugar left things off (with a touch of Rotcore) on their best tunes, which are the first three burners. The impressive sick and tired female vocals are the highlight. Throwing everything, perhaps including the kitchen sink, in the mix doesn't always work (sax, kazoo, synth flourishes, is that a xylophone?) and the concluding trio of songs suffers from the quirkiness - "Shame" is nearly prog-punk and the surf-guitar inflected licks aren't exactly my cup of tea. Still, the requisite sense of punk energy and fun exists here, even if the edge is lacking. This band may still however have their day in the sun should the 'Buffalo New Wave Day' film ever be completed and screened.(RK)
(More Power Tapes // morepowertapes.bandcamp.com)

Bog Bodies "Where Do The Nether-Velvet Slashings End & Where Does Orgasm Begin?" cassette
Calgary weirdos that I reviewed previously, and I mistakenly accused them of playing synths on that tape. Baby claims there are no synths. Just drum machine. Im not sure Baby isn't pulling my leg here. Bass/git/drum machine only Baby says. Okay. Anyway, it's pretty zany canned drum programming with lots and lots of processed guitars that sound a lot like synths. I'll give em credit for being really weird, but it's not really a listenable weird in my book. Their visual/lyrical aesthetic is some sort of combination of Japanese horror/tentacle porn, Giallo, Carcass and the Meatshits.(RK)
(Crimson Ward Trhauma // bogofbodies.bandcamp.com)

Booji Boys "Demo 2016" cassette
Calling yourself Booji Boys and borrowing Devo imagery is sort of setting yourself up for failure. Six tracks here, and I'm generally a fan of poor recording values but it isn't doing them any favors here. Some of these tunes are straight pop-punk ("I Dream Of Booji") which I can't hang with, and the way they burn through these six tunes and the fact that the one song on this tape I like a lot ("New Reich") reminds me of Coneheads, who at least were a bit more subtle in their borrowing of certain de-evolutionized things. I want to like these guys (they're from Halifax after all) but I'm going to have to pass on this one.(RK)
(self-released // boojiboysfuneral.bandcamp.com)

Brain Bagz "Demo" cassette
Salt Lake City's other punk band. I mean there's probably at least three including Foster Body, but I'm gonna' hold these folks in higher regards than most. The isolation of Utah evidently breeds a hateful, filthy spew that could easily be mistaken for early Blowtops demos ("Books" and "Trash Bitch") or some forgotten Pussy Galore funpack ("You Look Like A Corpse"). Synths sprout up prominently on the flip and flavor their caustic shit with a Gary Wrong sorta' haunting the "TV Casualty" vibe ("All Videodrome") and a long warped brooder built upon a Warsaw chassis (can't read this one's blurry-ass name. Sorry, kids.). I'm totally OK with all of this, mind you. It's pretty much built on the template of Termbo approved sound. The band warned me in advance that this would sound like total shit when it was personally handed over to me - so I'm more than pleased to report this as inaccurate. There's actually instrument separation and a decent mid-fi practice production firing at me from my speakers. To quote one of the finest poets of our time (Oscar The Grouch): "I love trash! Anything dirty or dingy or dusty!" Keep it coming. Let's party like it's bin day. (RSF)
(self-released // www.brainbagz.bandcamp.com)

Casual Hex "Fleshed Out" cassette
Fidgety punk of the post variety - sorta like a basement birthed and organically grown, less mechanical Erase Errata. Chock full of really distorted bass lines, stunted guitar spikes and dueling co-ed vocals. Weird guitar flavor that bends with a Spray Paint disjointedness. I'm at a loss to come up with a shit ton of hype here, but I will say that it should please fans of Stickers, Shopping, Screature and probably some other bands that start with letter S that I've forgotten. (RSF)
(Halfshell Records // halfshellrecords.bandcamp.com)

Chemos "Petite Dog" demo cassette
Billing themselves as "Portland's Only Band" is the type of braggadocio I can get into, and to make it even better they have a pretty good case for it being true. Straight forward hardcore punk at first glance, but there's a lot of little weird things bubbling up through the cracks. In particular there's this effect where it sounds like Satan is doing backing vocals on most of these tracks - there's just this guttural groan in the background throughout if you really listen - or maybe it's just a shittily dubbed tape, but it works either way. Guitar playing here is remarkable - just simple but really perfect punk riffs on these songs, with an added bonus of off-center solos/shreds. "Petite Dog" is really about dogs, and I appreciate Chemos going out for our canine friends. The lyrics to "Raw Frat" are sharp as is the tune. All five songs rip, highly recommended, and even better that they have member(s) of Heartattck Jizzers in the fold. Excellent recording and art design as well, right down to the obi strip.(RK)
(Babys World // no idea.....)

CHILL "Take it From the Blindside" cassette
I was going to lead this off by calling this an unexpected rap release from Jeth-Row, but if anything the Jeth-Row label has never made any sense (in the best possible ways), and when you bring Quintron into the equation things make even more (non)sense. Chill himself is a blind man, a rapper/poet that Q and Gary Wrong became acquainted with after he was relocated to the 9th Ward near the Spellcaster Lodge after Katrina hit. I dont know the story in full (aside from the liner notes) but he apparently frequented the same corner store as Quintron and members of Gary Wrong Group and a bond was formed. Official production duties are billed to Quintron and Benny Divine (an amazing multi-intrumentalist in his own right, and I think the ony person I've ever seen play drums and synth live at the same time and actually be incredible at it) and the tracks of course take full advantage of Quintron's drum programming capabilities (Drum Buddy included) and Divine's array of talents (credited with "samples, drums, tympani, bass, organ, clavinet, tape delay and good ideas"!) with assists from most of the NOLA family we're familiar with (Gary Wrong, Miss Pussycat, John Henry, Weird Steve and more). Chill's lyrics are gritty as hell, tales from the street about death, hard life, more death, missing the lives the streets have taken from him ("Dead People" parts 1 and 2 are just shout-outs to these deceased), fighting, being tired of fighting, and goes straight to the issue with "Is It Because I'm Blind". Chill is not a young man spitting out a lot of bragging and trying to keep up with whatever is happening in the 2016 rap game, but a wizened older man who is more of a poet than anything, his delivery more spoken word, his lyrics more free verse - but do not doubt his agression either (opening cut is "Fuck You Nigga"), as this is about as real as it gets. The music is equal parts Memphis sounding eerie/spooky shit and funked Nineties West Coast lines, using a lot of live drums/instruments on top of samples and programmed beats, and adding all the weird touches you'd expect from the producers here. Incredibly well put together stuff by Quintron and Divine, the real deal feel right down to the braille on the labels.(RK)
(JethRow/Rhinestone // jethrowrecords-at-yahoo.com)

Cocoonitude s/t cassette
Hazy, warm, and intelligent - this tape brings to mind Skull Kontrol and Box Elders in roughly equal amounts. These guys also play in Quailbones (recommend both of those 7”s!) - who are pretty similar, just a bit faster most of the time. This record similarly gets the meatiest when they pick up speed, as “Cartoon Slap” and “Here Before” are the best tracks. Googling this offers the suggestion “Coccoon tube”, which unveils a genre of pornography I can’t recommend. (NG)
(Ghost Orchard Records // ghostorchardrecords.bandcamp.com)

Cold Meat "Sweet Treats" demo tape
Female-fronted punk action from Perth. Six tracks that sort of plod along, including a cover of "Full of Shit" just so you know where their heads are at. Vox are pretty raw, recording is good and rough but it feels like it never really gets into gear - I can appreciate the simple/primitive songwrting/playing approach, but sounds like they're still working it all out. Which is fine, that's what demo tapes are for right? A nice package though, great drawings/lyrics on the foldout j-card and sealed with a real kiss. (RK)
(Helta Skelta // heltaskeltarecords.bandcamp.com)

The Croissants s/t cassette
Locals scoffed at me for buying into the narrative put forth by the SF tourist bureau, but goddamn, it bears repeating that Tartine Bakery’s croissants are truly unparalleled and worth every marked up, overpriced cent. With that out of the way…I was immediately surprised that this band was not fluff 50’s rockabillly influenced neo-garage nor was it Plan-It-X pop punk. I’d have bet a Bastone it’d be one of the above. This cassette compiles out of print material from this Sacramento band whose members have logged time in the Riff Randalls and Sneeze Attack, as well as with Sacto local Charles Albright. This tape is loaded with tracks—no listing provided and I wasn’t counting, but perhaps a couple dozen—of straight-ahead grungy punk. Deconstructing, you can hear more than a bit of Ramones but also Government Issue, and I thought more than once of the Pink Lincolns. I’ve found myself coming back to the bands of this Sacto scene kind of often lately and this is another cool one to add to that pool. (DH)
(Charles Albright Records // )

Cretins “Collection” cassette
Packaging the vinyl discography of Richmond’s finest HC act into one tidy, Walkman-ready release for your on the go needs. Gnarly USHC here, big and burly and mean. Side A has their first EP, released in 2014 on Vinyl Conflict Records. Six songs, eight minutes, and at least one nice breakdown perfect to get a circle-pit going. Over on the flip is their “Meat” EP, released in 2015 on Deranged. Six songs, seven minutes, and they really upped their game on this one. Maniacal sounding stuff, way more over the top. Reverb on the vocals is up to eleven, riffs are full-on blazing. Limited to 150 copies, have at it. (DH)
(Cretins Cassettes // try www.feelitrecordshop.com)

Cruelster “First Demo 2006” cassette
…“Written and recorded in Feb. 2015.” It’s like my dad’s answering machine message, “Hey! What’s up, Dave? …… I’m not home now but please leave a message.” Gets me every time. But I believe this is a new release with a retro title and not a ten year old recording done at a studio with a time portal. Cruelster dish out a batch of tunes in the Clevo tradition of Sockeye-influenced weirdness. A bit quirky and weird, shitty recording, no song titles or lyrics provided but I’d bet they lean toward the wacky. FFO Darvocets and Bad Noids, which would for sure make a fun bill at Now That’s Class. (DH)
(More Power Tapes // morepowertapes.bandcamp.com)

Dallin Kapp "Unoperator 2016" cassette
Alright - pet peeve time. I've got so much beef with bands these days who flat out refuse to put their name on a release. Not just on the front cover, but anywhere. At all. This here cassette is of such species. Evidently the artist on deck is Dallin Kapp. I know this because of the badly pixelated Bandcamp address, printed huge on the back of the J-card. This address also contains no clues of who's playing on this damned thing. Neither the word Dallin or Kapp are muttered, scrawled or even hinted at throughout the entire fucking package. I've stared at the seven words written within for nearly an hour now. This "Unoperator 2016" - which I wrongly assumed was the name of the project at first - may contain the best goddamn music I've heard since - I don't know - hearing Mudhoney for the first time in '89 while mowing my families lawn. Or maybe it would remind me of the excitement I felt when I shoved Bad Brains into my cars tape deck on that initial joyride. It doesn't. I'm getting more electronic dance jams. Maybe they're are the best underground synth disco hits of this century, but at this point I honestly couldn't give two shits. My time here on earth is precious. People I know and pets are dying. I have a tour to finish booking and a band to promote. A band that has a name and likes to use it. Not be coy and hope that someone magically/mistakenly stumbles upon it by accident when it's next in line on a Soundcloud mix. You broke me, Dallin Kapp. Congrats. I'm sure you're fine members of the human race. But the fact you can't be bothered to even magic marker your name somewhere on this stupid fucking thing says it all for now. The wastebin awaits. (RSF)
(Tingo Tongo Tapes // facebook.com/tingotongotapes)

Desmadrados Soldados De Ventura "A Pint Of Wine / You Should Write That Down" cassette
A live recording from DSDV - one 48-minute track that conveniently repeats on both sides of the cassette. For those unfamiliar with this guys, they're a UK band with an often revolving lineup headed by Nick Mitchell who also runs the Golden Lab label and writes in some zines (Wire, Bull Tongue Review) that are likely familiar to those reading this. Definitely not a band for everyone - while they have a bit of variety among their many releases, they tend to do one thing in a very undistilled manner. And that is kick out long, heavy, improvised jams. Sometimes with as many as 6 guitarists at once. Likely to appeal to those who enjoy the more extreme releases on labels like Twisted Village and PSF. I could also see those who get into free jazz and other improvisational music enjoying them. This particular show/release finds them with a relatively stripped down line-up - only 5 members and 3 guitarists. It also sees them operating in a bit more of a straight-up rock mode. At times, this almost reminds me of the epic Monster Magnet track "Tab", though less malevolent in nature. While most of their releases tend to be instrumental, there's actually some vocals that manage to rise above all the riffing - though if there are actual lyrics, I sure haven't got a clue what they are. And while the highlight of any DSDV release is the RIFFS, I gotta give credit to Andrew Cheetham for really putting his drumset through some abuse, he must've been exhausted after that workout. Don't make the mistake of thinking this release is any lesser than their various live releases on vinyl just cuz it's a tape, it holds its own no sweat. And since it's more affordable than their LPs imported from the UK, it could make a damn good starting point.(RR)
(Very Bon // verybon.bigcartel.com)

Doberman "Alley Walkers" cassette
I don't really fuck with "noise" - had some bad purchases/reactions in my youth which really bummed me out and I never recovered. The thing with the noise genre is, the releases almost always look cool as fuck, so to a young RK who had no internet and knew jack shit, if something looked that cool it must sound cool too, right? Fuuuuck no. In recent years I have dabbled a bit with some Dilloway and some Olson, and have been rewarded. I feel okay about noise again. Hey, this Doberman tape looks cool as hell - and it delivers the goods too. 40+ minutes in the zone. I mean, I'm not jamming this on the regular, but it's a good go-to when you wanna get gone. First half or so sounds like youre trapped inside an iron lung - that's the trick with noise shit right, trying to put yourself in the tune and figure out some scenario as to what's emotions/imagery it brings out for you - at least that's how I do it. The second setion half is some industrial sci-fi nightmare zapper and the last part is me watching the sun set on Mars. Or walking through a masoleum waiting for a Phantasm ball to get me. Fuckkkkk.(RK)
(Castle Bravo // castlebravotapes.bandcamp.com)

Dr. Identity s/t cassette
First cassette from Dr. Identity, puzzlingly named, haunting and ethereal, downbeat Portland-based “minimal post-punk” graduates from the Wipers school of Portland. Much like Wipers, neck pickup guitar and vocals are at the forefront, but DI’s vocalist kind of whisper croons like if Siouxsie were struck by lightning, or was fronting a 90s alt-pop group - the nearly whispered vox are really endearing and coolly idiosyncratic. Kind of like if Alison Statton was a dude (and the whole tape has some definite Giants vibes). Topped off with a smart recording that puts it out of any discernible timeframe - “The Roche Limit” especially would work on any weirdo late 80s/early 90s downer rock mixtape. Intriguing and catchy, just off-kilter enough to bring you back for repeated listens. (NG)
(self-released // dridentity.bandcamp.com)

Dudes "Ultra Vague" cassette
'Dudes' is a really good underrated 80s movie. This Dudes demo tape isn't as good and also doesn't have Lee Ving in it. Or Flea. The recording is pretty murky, music-wise is somewhere in between stoner rock and sludge punk, there's some wanky guitar lines and they make some stabs at humor that dont really hit. Vox overall are not great and that muddy bass sound turns things to mush. Bummer.(RK)
(More Power // feralkidrecords.storenvy.com)

Equipment Pointed Ankh s/t cassette
Experimental/avant garde project from Louisville's Jim Marlowe, also part of Tropical Trash and Sapat (who in Louisville isn't in Sapat?), released on Ryan Davis' Sophomore Lounge label (also of Tropical Trash and State Champion as well) - it's one big happy family down there. In EPA Jim has help from a couple other locals, and although this has seven tracks, I feel like it all gels together as a whole - or at least each side can be taken as one longer work. It's built on the drone, and then layered from there - lots of guitar, which is a plus, synth, some tape effects, I'm fairly sure I heard a flute, differing means of percussion (not a lot of drums - if any - but lots of sleigh bells, tambo and such) and some subliminal vocals here and there (I think!?). Not really what I would call noise (not that I'm an authority), it's more trance-like and mental than the rawer textural components I feel a lot of noise works with. Very cosmic, not completely hippified tribal stuff, but there's definitely some of that there. The opposite end of the Skullflower spectrum perhaps? I dig the vibe wherever it's emanating from.(RK)
(Sophomore Lounge // www.sophomorelounge.com)

Fenkoff "Sleewp Dirwms" cassette
Another Tingo Tongo outlier of the headscratch variety. So experimental that even the label can't be bothered to spell the release title the same twice. Some strange carny ride is on display here, bent on bedroom electronics, off time clank and bleep-boop key spew that lands on the terrain between Gerty Farrish cuteness and creepy-tater Aphex Twin on slow burn. It really hits a stride when the damn thing sounds like outtakes from the "It Follows" film score. Neat?! Sure. Whatever it's called. (RSF)
(Tingo Tongo Tapes // facebook.com/tingotongotapes)

The Floor Above s/t cassette
New one from The Floor Above (well maybe not so "new" now, but...) featuring five tracks that blaze by in less than ten minutes yet still manage to make an impression. Floor Above continue to make some of the most frightening hardcore in sport today - "Mess" is mid-tempo damage via Cleveland's history of sounds, "Trespass" is like a blastbeat with Ginn-like riffage on top of it, "Microchip" continues in that vein with amazing guitar work, just the right sort of "off"-timed riffing and bending - it's a shame the side is over so fast. These three tunes are recorded a bit louder than usual and it works, the vocals are perfectly echoed and slightly distant sounding. "Falseteeth" kicks off the B-Side sounding like Finnish hardcore squeal and he lets out a great bellow to end it. "Rip the Center" is the last tune and the really fucking scary one - there's something truly evil sounding about it, and not in some corny "death metal" way. The riff/shred is so visceral and violent, the vocals are oppresively yelled and the breakdown is justSatanic for lack of a better word. I guess I wish these songs were longer, but would it lose that black magic if things weren't so desperate and racing, over before you can catch your breath? Perhaps so. One of the more underrated bands in hardcore 2016 - the best in lo-fi hardcore. LP #2 coming soon on Not Normal.(RK)
(Not Normal // notnormaltapes.storenvy.com)

Found Drowned "Spooky Sounds" cassette
A novel theme for a twangy instrumental band that makes perfect use of the format - a tribute to the Hallmark 'Spooky Sounds' cassette from 1989, which you might remember as something a Mom would pick up at the store to play during your grade school Halloween party - spooky sounds on one side and another side of "Monster Mash' and other classic monster rockers. For their version Found Drowned make up their own gruesome batch of a half-dozen instrumentals ("Nobody Here But Us Spooks") which inhabit Side A - then Side B repeats the program, this time with Spooky Sounds over top of them (this is the preferred side of course). Very cute (and way too cute for a lot of you, I'm sure) and family friendly and more MoAM? than SMOASP.(RK)
(More Power Tapes // morepowertapes.bandcamp.com)

Hard Bodies demo cassette
Dublin-based solo synth project from a gent who previously called Australia home and was a member of Danny Whiten's Veins and Big Richard Insect. Droney gloomers with a self-professed Factory Records influence, sounds rather lush for a bedroom recording. Not up to the BPM rate of stuff like Minimal Man, vocals get all distorted and murkily echoed, but the forcefulness of the delivery makes you think he means you ill (as does the ski mask imagery and distorted headshot insert). One of the tunes isn't that far off from Teenage Panzerkorps, and the ender "Highway Control" moves like a glacier in a well-done fashion. The music itself is actually very well put together, but I think the whole aesthetic muddies the waters a bit.(RK)
(self-released // hard-bodies.bandcamp.com)

I Know I'm An Alien "I Know I'm An Alien and I Want To Go Home Sometimes But then I Remember I Gotta Try and Understand You" cassette
The project name and release title, combined with some very wacky song titles had me thinking this might be a tough listen - a gimmick that would surely grow old after 16 songs. But it was actually a pretty good listen...a one-man project based out of the UK, by a man (alien?) calling himself Walter Weirdheadd. Very strange electronic experimentation with occasional guitar/bass, reminds me of the Factorymen project at times. But perhaps even a bit more disorienting. The "alien observing humanity" gag doesn't get old due to the fact that there are few vocals on the cassette - the vocals that are there are electronically distorted, and sometimes vastly overpower the rest of the track, sometimes the opposite. Tough to understand (even keeping an eye on the track titles), they mainly just make the whole affair more disorienting. More than anything, this tape reminded me of some of the obscure Sockeye side-projects...ones where they eschew their reliance on crude, absurd humor in favor of weirdness and social commentary. This guy's Bandcamp is worth checking out if you're a fan of this type of oddness. 50 physical copies made.(RR)
(self-released // iknowimanalien.bandcamp.com)

Erick Hart is Nervous "Shipshewana Swimming" cassette
Five tracks here from Lumpy Recs roster member Erick Nervous/Hart, a loner from Kalamazoo with artwork that looks like it came from the NWI camp. This stuff is already out on a 7" as well (not via Lumpy but Warm Ratio, which could be his own label). The three originals are quite alright, with "Nothing Is Happening" sticking out to me in particular - it's broken up by pauses between every verse, took me a couple of moments to realize he was just chopping one song up - pretty clever construction, and it's a good tune that reminds me of a kinder Urochromes. The other originals are a great examples of the new breed of punk kids who might have grown up via Reatards/Teengenerate along with their pop-punk and learning the 70s punk canon - somewhere between Liquids and CCTV, and aside from being very Nervous, Erick also seems to be a very nice kid. The 2X4s cover is pretty straightforward, although he makes it sounds more pop-punk/sing-songy than the original. Not a fan of this cut (but I do dig the 2x4s 7") and the closer is a Urinals cover/pisstake which might be the most aggro thing here, but it's pretty scattered. The originals are very worthwhile though, so feel free to jump right to the 7" version. Five minutes of music on a recycled 90 minute tape! (RK)
(Lumpy Records // spottedrace.bigcartel.com)

Heaps demo cassette
Noting that Heaps are from Brooklyn has me on the defensive (I still tread carefully), but they put together a nice looking package here - hand-typed labels, small lyric booklet, poorly drawn artwork. Their steez is shit-fi black metal punk - a duo, one guy on wacky vox and riffs, the other on drums. They're no Raspberry Bulbs that's for sure. Maybe a little Junkpile Jimmy though, but I feel like the zany vocals that pop up show this to be a goof instead of some serious attempts at lo-fi rocking - it's on the fence musically, maybe some Melvins schtick in there too. This is one of those situations where if this was a serious attempt it might be pretty good, but the looming thought of it just being a gag makes any of the elements that cause it to be redeemable (sloppy playing, some good over-the-top drumming moments, no-fi recording) insincere and therefore not good. That being said, the lyrics aint bad and they do some good things here - just don't feed me bullshit. Sex Scheme related??(RK)
(self-released // theheaps.bandcamp.com)

Kaleidoscope "Zone Explorers" cassette
Subtitled 'Vol. 2 No. 2', this being the fourth Kaleidoscope release to date following the 'Vol. 1" and 'Through the Looking Glass' cassettes and the 'Vol.2 No.1' 7" (which is already a contender for record of the year) that was released in tandem with this tape. Shiva's work with this "band" (which is him and one other guy in studio, and the full live band pulling other cohorts from JJ Doll/Ivy from what I saw) is, for me at the least, one of the most exciting happenings in modern music. Deformity were an underrated cog in the NYC machine, Ivy shone brightly until snuffed and I enjoy JJ Doll well enough, but Kaleidoscope is certaily something very special and well beyond the scope of those bands and much other punk in the world right now. Drawing from the outsider hardcore perspective of those other bands and creating a space totally their own via touches of Chrome and MX-80 Sound, jazz and "world" music, and a healthy dose of outer space vibrations. This could be the weird punk we've been searching for. Sonic landscapes from a strange world, the capability here to switch from hardcore punk agression to outre drone and off-center rock without losing any intensity is startlingly proficient and completely transfixing. Listening to this is like entering a dream, an enveloping presence, and zone explorers is the correct title. Six (or so) songs with untitled "themes" as bridges, there's absolutely nothing here that isn't amazing, including Shiva's guitar playing, and theres an undeniable sense of groove to everything, whether it's the opression of "Simulator" or the hallucinogenic hardcore of "Zone Explorers". Quite honestly the most exciting music I've heard this year (and possibly in many years), the type of stuff you hear and begin to be excited again by (or reminded of) all the unreachable places that music can go when exercised with this type of rare vision combined with talent. This is the music that we should all be excited by right now. This is the now. Sixteen stars, a million thumbs up, c/u = entire pressing, whatever. The real fucking deal. This is why I listen to music. Dionysian.(RK)
(D4MT Labs // d4mtlabs.storenvy.com)

Kharlos "Don't Even Think Of Dying At My Party" cassette
Shit, I can't even think of the last time I went to a party! The cover image with a bearded guy with a button-down shirt half-open while someone shoves a $5 dollar bill towards his nipple isn't doing much to make me regret my lack of party-going. Kharlos are actually a 3-piece band (no one named Kharlos in the band) playing fairly typical modern garage-punk. They're not terrible musicians, and I'm sure plenty of younger kids would enjoy seeing these guys at a local house party. The tape doesn't do much for me though - I could imagine with slicker production, and few less idiosyncrasies, they'd have a pretty mainstream modern rock sound. The lack of slick production at least gives it somewhat of an interesting sound - the rather strange vocals being buried in the mix and mostly unintelligible lyrics don't do them any favors though. Nor do the occasional backing vocals or organ. The main problem here though is the near-complete lack of hooks, which is pretty unforgivable in this genre. Only the sole cover song (of Sweet) stands out. 100 physical copies, or a free download.(RR)
(More Power Tapes // kharlos.bandcamp.com)

K9 Sniffies "Living Off Reds" cassette
This CS was my first exposure to these guys, though I've heard their name bandied about alongside other lo-fi odd-ball punk bands out of Michigan. Even so, I knew this release wasn't typical of them. The concept here is that the K9 guys put together a 4-guitar lineup, headed to a bar having a jam night with Grateful Dead cover bands. Free beer, free burgers, and then they take the stage to perform a 30-minute version of the Dead's "Dark Star". DS is an always-changing improvisational jam even when performed by the Dead, but gotta admit, I don't think I would've guessed the tune if I heard the K9 version which takes up the A-Side of this tape. It's a very heavy, noisy mess of a jam, and pretty enjoyable. I was glad to hear some polite applause at the end, sounds like a good time was being had by musicians and attendees alike. The B-Side of the tape consists of a version recorded at their practice spot, which is more recognizable and from the banter at the end sounds like the band was enjoying this change of pace and having fun. Unfortunately for those who enjoy Michigan weird-punk and the Dead, this tape seems to be sold out from the source. Ain't it a shame? (RR)
(All Gone // allgone.bigcartel.com)

Kool 100s "Diet Black" cassette
Kansas City garage rock that ain't too shabby. Nothing too fancy, but it's just wild and sloppy enough to keep you entertained. Taking influence from the obvious classics (Oblivians, Slicks, Reatards, Norton/Crypt rosters) and with enough sense to not just do a Black Lips knockoff, it's nine tracks of Midwest rock'n'roll with that geographical tendency to be rather heartfelt and honest sounding. Would have fit in somewhere between the awshucks corn-fed rock of Brimstone Howl and the balls-out burndown punk of Spread Eagles (still one of the most slept upon bands of that era). Perfect mid-card talent right here, recording is just low-fi enough to give em a bit of grit, solid players, singer has a hearty shout, they don't sound like jive garage-turkeys but an energetic bunch of rockers, tunes are all uptempo and punky. Plus, they have a kool name (sorry). I would like to note here that these guys sent me a 7" for review as well, but it got mangled by my mailman so bad it was rendered unplayable. Sorry dudes. Good tape though, I wouldn't mind having these guys as an opening act in my town.(RK)
(Rainy Road // www.rainyroadrecords.com)

Lazarus Death Cult "Lazarus" cassette
I honestly kind of like this. It's sounds like semi-inept minimal synth or some shit. Two people, one gal mostly doing casio presets and one finger lines/riffs, a poorly recorded drum machine (and questionably programmed as well) and a dude who just mumbles shit into the mic (with a LOT of reverb) for the duration. It's really shitty, but makes an attempt at being serious (maybe that's the rub) with some fancy lyrics and aesthetics (cryptic logo, using fucking "v" instead of "u"), but then they throw in "Xanax on Viagra" and you think there's a bit of a goof here. Might just be another case of me getting it totally wrong - but if this is a parody of some of the modern bullshit synth/goth stuff going down, it's fucking excellent. And these half white/half black tape shells are pretty sick looking.(RK)
(self-released // lazarvsdeathcvlt.bandcamp.com)

Lesiure World demo cassette
Seven song demo from Fullerton, CA. Smart hardcore, very determined and calculated which has its pros and cons here. Sounds great, I feel like I just got pushed around for 15 minutes = pro. Lacks a bit of spontaneity and/or flash = con. Sort of trying to take the same path as maybe NSU and/or Condominium maybe, and getting some of the execution right - the guitar player can go and isn't hesistant about letting fly with the needly solos. Vox have a slight echo but are mostly just gravelly yell. They're halfway there, or a little more - and they can really bang out the slowdown mosh parts. Can't go wrong with artwork by Abraham Diaz!(RK)
(self-released // leisure-world.bandcamp.com)

Lemonade demo cassette
Four song demo from Minneapolis' Lemonade, who deserve the talk they've been getting. Wait, are they getting talk? They should. Ex-member(s?) of Uranium Club (and Pisswalker, meh), plus a gal on vox who sounds like a goblin (and I mean that in the best possible way), the demo is pretty raw but good enough for me to dig, and the tunes are rampaging punk rock that reminds me some of Brown Sugar in its more rock'n'roll moments or maybe a Midwestern counterpart to Mozart or JJ Doll. Lyrics have what I'm guessing to be a Mexican influence ("Xtabay", "Atzlan") but you can't really tell via the delivery anyway. Total whirlwind, and the shouted outro to "Forced Sterilization" made me think twice about that shit - one of the better up-n-coming bands in the HC scene I'd say.(RK)
(self-released // mnlemonade-at-gmail.com)

Bobby London "Classified: Top Secret" cassette
This jokester tries real hard to fool you into believing some solo sax warfare is up for grabs during the opening thirty seconds or so - but then it cuts loose through a Hunting Lodge/SPK creep from there on out. Nightmare fueled soundscapes running on power electronics and that sorta' metal guitar riffage that should leave a few Hanson Records/American Tapes fans sweating in their gym shorts (attn: Hank Rollins). Elsewhere there's bits of depresso funeral organ tone and the beauteous deterioration of manipulated loops. Toy Casio's tinkle away, chiming in like the digital cuckoo clocks of hell as underwater infomercials incoherently babble through a tide of Prurient-like blackening. I am the jaw - indeed. Well worth your time if you dig on any of the other stuff mentioned here. Bonus points added for the little label decals that remind me of the old Savage Republic stamps. (RSF)
(Tingo Tongo Tapes // facebook.com/tingotongotapes)

Lumpy & The Dumpers "Lumpers Storm Curd Country" cassette
Another rare one from the Lumpy catalog. Live side is from two shows, Milwaukee and Appleton, in August of 2013. It's all the classic early stuff, maaaaan....but seriously, that's what is - all the demo tracks plus "Bat". Recording quality is fair-to-middling, Milwaukee show sounds a little better, stage banter is great as expected ("This one's called cheesehead stomp!" - "Go Packers!"). Six songs total. But the best part of this tape is Side B, titled "Intellectual Hour" which is just Lumpy, the Dumpers, Amos from Tenement and various others talking shit while on tour and taping it. This is a fucking great idea, and "The Legend of Rantoul" is pretty funny as is "The New Drummer of Culo". Seriously, it's shit like this that stands out. Fucking goofball kids having a good time. A+++.(RK)
(Lumpy Records // spottedrace.bigcartel.com)

Mac Blackout Band "City Lights" cassette
Mac should definitely be a familiar name to Termbo readers, it's been almost 15 years since Functional Blackouts first started terrorizing Chicago. And he's kept himself plenty busy since that band's dissolution with bands like Daily Void, Mickey and some completely solo releases. With MBB, Mac brings along some familiar names like Rob Karlic and Christmas Woods from his past projects. And MBB's sound falls somewhere between the weird-punk of Daily Void and the power-pop of Mickey. I can't say this 6-song CS (released for Cassette Store Day 2015) is as great as his prior projects' best releases. His former bands could be hit-or-miss for me as well, with some real classics (usually in the 7" format) and stuff that was merely good. And the stuff here is good too. While obviously not as abrasive as the Functional Blackouts could be, MBB are still a little rough around the edges which suits them well. Glad to see this crew still at it, I didn't realize I had missed out on a 7" and LP after their debut single and catching them live (Mac is always entertaining to see live regardless of what band he's performing with). Fans will definitely want to pick this up, as all tracks are exclusive to this tape. And I hope to hear more in the future too, there's plenty of potential for these guys to put out a killer. Limited to 200.(RR)
(Rainy Road Records // www.rainyroadrecords.com)

Medication "Daily Affirmations" cassette
The "Dont Die" 7" may very well be my favorite Hozac release of all time. A perfect single, the image of Mikey Hyde sitting with his guitar in his attic facing the the window has been an image that I carry with me and recall every time I hear Medication. It's lonely music, and seeing the artist alone in an attic looking to the outside through that glowing window is the perfect visual match. This tape is the first we've heard from Mikey since his 12" on Sacred Bones nearly five years ago. I don't find it surprising, as I imagine songs in this vein take time coming along, and I never pictured Medication as a project that needed to be pushing constantly, but more of a waiting for songs to come ordeal. This is by far the best material since that first 7". The sounds of true outsider music and one of those rare artists whose emotional connection and conviction to a song you never doubt - while not as prolific, I put him in the same circle as Stefan Christensen and Daniel Dimaggio in that regard (and perhaps Richard Papiercuts and Kevin Failure as well in a bit of a different way). And as depressing or lonely the songs may be, what makes them special is the faint glimmer of hope they often have in between the lines. The A-Side is superb, with "Count Me Out" spectral and sounding like the filtered light through the window (and the "yell" he lets out halfway through is great) with percussion giving some physical form to the layers of ghostly vocals, "Not A Man" is as angry as Medication can sound and reminds me of a minialist Cheater Slicks composition somehow in its misanthropy (much like the Slicks, this misanthropy is self-dirercted) and slighty off rhythm/composition and "aggro" blowoff, and "Broken" with injurious hardstrumming might be the high (low) point of the EP. B-Side is the brief title compostion, the cracklingly loud and hard-edged "Power/Money" befitting it's title, "Unintelligible" and the instrumental "Untitled" pulling strings with multiple guitar parts. Remarkable stuff. (RK)
(C/Site Recordings // csiterecordings.storenvy.com)

Mountain Movers "Sunday Drive/No Plans" cassette
Dan Greene and Mountain Movers have amassed a pretty deep discography thus far, and what I've heard of it I've liked enough where I'm not totally stoked enough to go back and listen to all the old stuff, but I am stoked enough to look forward to new ones and listen intently. Greene himself has a huge back catalog (going back to Butterflies of Love in the late 90s) before MM and is the driving force behind the band which now includes a former member or two of Estrogen Highs and also some of the "friends" that make up Stefan Christensen's backing band. I stepped into the MM discography around what is their 4th or 5th LP ("Death Magic") and the series of singles on Car Crash Avoiders (love those singles, the LP I didn't love so much) which those more well-versed in the New Haven scene will tell you was a turning point for the band and the beginning of the current (and longest running) line up. Each side of the tape is one long improvised rock jam. Once people start throwing around the work "improv" I usually step back - you know I'm too dumb for that shit. But there was nothing to fear here, a both sides are solid as a rock (I would've never guessed this was improvised) where they lock into a krauty groove and do their best impression of a Sixties psych band playing their way through an Acid test. Stefan cites Neu! and Ash Ra Tempel as touchstones, and I can't argue with that, and there's a kinship here with other American guitar rock acts of today as well (I'm thinking the Spacin'/Birds of Maya cats and maybe even those Burnt Hills dudes). My favorite MM tunes to date, and it really sounds little like the original incarnation of the band as indie-rockers. Nice artwork too.(RK)
(C/Site Recordings // csiterecordings.storenvy.com)

Mozart “The Tick” demo
As of this writing, I have listened to Mozart’s “The Tick” hundreds of times; traveled across the country and seen these fine tunes performed on the floor of a ballroom with a rowdy crowd huddled around the group; I have had lucid dreams of a modern day Void/Void split album with Mozart on one side and In School on the other; I have written in a fanzine about this tape and included it on multiple “Year End Top Ten” lists. It does seem a bit anti-climactic to say more, but I realize there has not yet been a review on this site despite the fact that my copy was submitted for that purpose! So, I will add to the record. This SF group has one-upped an entire genre of “noise-core” bands by ditching the script and building it up from the ground again—big riffs, charged guitar, impassioned screams, frantic musicianship that is on the right side of the inept—>precise scale (“we ain’t been to music school”). In the tradition of the world’s greatest hardcore, there is the one terrifying, slow jam that is nearly longer than the rest of the songs combined. In the tradition of the world’s greatest hardcore, these songs feel as if they are falling apart yet always manage to keep it together. Buy or die! (DH)
(self-released // m-o-z-a-r-t.bandcamp.com)

Nag demo cassette
Beat Beat Beat. GHB. Acid Freaks. Frantic. Predator. Some of the cream of the crop of Atlanta's last decade of punk, some you might have heard (Predator, Frantic), some you probably missed if you're not a local (GHB and Acid Freaks both released demo tapes that I doubt many copies of made it out of ATL), almost all of them underrated (I'm a lonely voice that still says that first Beat Beat Beat 7" is one of the best of that "era", the Frantic 7" and LP still don't get their due, and I feel like only now are Predator getting enough attention). So, the common thread of all these bands I'm mentioning is one man, Brannon Greene, quite possibly the busiest man in Atlanta (even beating out Ryan Dino and possibly GG King himself) and a voice you definitely recognize. Nag is Greene with some newer blood in the band behind him (and without his often partner Mike "Bison" Beavers) and it stretches the Predator sound down darker paths - think 'The Complete Earth' crossed with 'Undending Darkness' and replace GG's black metal fascination with a more US hardcore bent. Yeah, it's good shit alright. Seven tunes that all clock in at two minutes or less, Brannon's vox really add an extra layer of mania, "Dream Team" is my pick as the meanest of the bunch, and "A Place Before Life" is another masher that does some choppy/angled things that cut real good. Hoping a 7" on Scavenger of Death comes soon.(RK)
(self-released // werenag.bandcamp.com)

Nailhouse s/t cassette
Tough name for a tough band from Newcastle, with members of the now defunct Rat King (who released one of the best and un-talked about LPs of Australiana-grit/swamp of semi-recent vintage) and Whitney Houstons Crypt. Four song sampler of lurch-n-stab, vocals are unnervingly hoarse, slow-to-mid tempo pummel that creeps and crawls with martial beat rhythm section and guitar that buzzes sharply with an insectoid quality. Very slight dank swampness, mostly just black - more King Snake Roost than Scientists. Brutality, lacking slightly in the charisma department but these guys aren't here to make friends. (RK)
(self-released // nailhouse.bandcamp.com)

Name "US Love Tour 2015" cassette
It takes a full five minutes before the fidelity on this disaster finally lifts its head out of the shit-clogged and muddled sewer, clearing the muck away to expose what might be considered "songs" - but after all the initial nothingness I've already endured, I can't be bothered to care. Muffled and inept Casio fuckery of this sort can be fun time wasters when your sitting home alone, though it should probably be honed in before unleashing it as a sale-able product. I mean any skill, nuance or art in this janky piece of plastic is lost in the complete lack of proper home recording. It would've stood a better chance being received and dubbed via iPhone. I even checked their Bandcamp to see if maybe I just got a bad tape out of the batch. Nope. There's a earlier rambling, shambling release available on there called "Batmagic" that fares much better. Sounds are being made and I can actually decipher them. Kudos. There's a weird Daniel Johnston/Wildman Fischer shenanigans coming across along with some loopy clangor I could possibly get behind. I suggest folks starting there and then come to an abrupt stop after. As for this "US Love Tour" mix, I can only hope that a full crate of them fell out of the back of the van somewhere near Vernal, Utah to save further embarrassment. (RSF)
(Tingo Tongo Tapes // facebook.com/tingotongotapes)

Negative Rage "If You're A Punk I Don't Wanna Be One" cassette
Ok, here's a good one from Halifax - that Cody kid from Booji Boys/Science Project's hardcore band. Thirteen lo-fi plowers with maximum snot, sneer and a good sense of humor. Nothing that's going to have you rethinking your list of greatest Canadian Harcore Records, but it's a very spirited and fun slap in the face from some young kids having their say. Pretty creative for HC as well, there's some sax, some sound-collaging, barely any effects, they do an awesome cover of The Mob (NYC). And it's hardcore informed by garage/punk, so it sounds more like Los Huevos or HFOS than the million soundalike hardcore bands out there. Plenty of Angry Samoans in these kids diets, and this singer sounds like the dude from the Faction. Great working man's recording quality, clever tunes, good vox, sentiments I appreciated on the insert: "Fuck Punk, Fuck Local Rockers, You're Not Original, Fuck Off" and I like the "no lyrics, figure them out" challenge as well - this is the Halifax band I enjoyed the most this go-round fellas.(RK)
(Self-released // cody_cross-at-hotmail.com)

Nixon Tooth "For Our Blessed Ignoble Dead" cassette
Disjointed, awkward punker skronk by a two piece outta' Seattle with some really nutter vocals and a jangle-fuck of a gee-tar. Sorta' like a Black Lips brat packer take on the whole Lumpy St. Louis sideshow. At its best - like during "Things Death Taught Us" - it sounds like a Ron House project we've never known of, but Ron would have a built on a much stronger backbone. It's pretty pedestrian for starters - like baby's first band. I keep waiting for a solo or something to change up to differentiate one song from the next. It does creep up on me as it goes along and I find myself enjoying later tracks more. The bottom end gets a good reworking, thickening up like The Fall suffering a dangerous hiccup fit during the closer "Ya Me Canse". There's some creaky genius at play on this'n and things peak as the track sputters into a repeato-reverbed Eels-ish plod. Picking at the scab. It's all just too much, too often. If this joint was only the best two or three songs - even pressed up as an EP - it'd work in favor of both the band and listener. Sharply housed in a full color sleeve with painted insert and a lyric book. All proceeds go towards benefiting Syrian Refugees - which is a great and worthy gesture - but seeing as this was limited to less than fifty copies, I can only hope they scored enough dough to at least deliver a few 4-packs of tube socks. (RSF)
(Halfshell Records // halfshellrecords.bandcamp.com)

xNoBBQx "Alpha Gal" cassette
46 minutes of two Australian guys turning the tape recorder on and proceeding to bump into a drumset and brush up against some guitars. Then they rearrange some furniture, turn on an amp and then forget about it, I think the guy tightens his snare drum, then the other guy tries tuning his guitar some. They still have the amp on, feeding back. Randomly tapping cymbals with a pencil. Playing guitar with his feet. Somehow in the last ten minutes or so I actually liked it a little bit, but I think that's just because it melted into the background while I looked at the baseball scores. These guys are like an instrumental version of the Shadow Ring without the hooks. I kid, I kid. But really, this is that klng klang stuff I love to hate.(RK)
(C/Site Recordings // csiterecordings.storenvy.com)

Nothing Band ""Infinity Style" cassette
Oakland based outfit from the Nordile/Rev. Bingham camp. Eight tracks of carnival organ wheezing through a veneer of static, some percussion and guitars bleeding in from the next room over. Odd mix where the music only comes through one channel, and the vocals come through both making for a sort of annoying effect, but I suppose that's the point. Pretty annoying. (RK)
(24/7 Tapes // nothing-band.bandcamp.com)

Numbskull Action "Action & Reaction" cassette
11 songs of 4 track garage punk that mean well, but is coming around about 20 years too late. Rip Off-esque, with a bit of a pop-punk touch and a slight bit of the Childish spirit (but not quite enough). Look, this stuff it fine and all, they do some catchy choruses, they're a pretty tight unit, but this has little to no audience in 2016.(RK)
(No Teen Records // numbskullaction.bandcamp.com)

Oil Wave Surfers "Oil Wave Surfers - II" cassette
2006 recordings given life via Stefan Christensen's new label C/Site. Oil Wave Surfers are an instrumental project from the mind of one A. Skufka of Wisconsin, whose past or current credentials are unknown to me, but that surely has no bearing. Deeply layered tracks of all analog buzz - guit/bass/drums augmented by various synths/keys, tape looping and other effects. 15 nameless tracks that draw from an array of punks and rocks - kraut drive, experimental circuit bending, hardcore blasts of fuzz, deep grooves of bass/drum rhythm, DIY ramshackle, all of which gel into a timeless sounding whole. You could tell someone this is twenty or thirty years old instead of ten and it would be believable - I guess I say this to make it known that this is far different from what we've come to expect from the modern era's bedroom recording virtuosos. The recording quality and the attention to detail here is quite outstanding, it's not quickly cobbed together lo-fi chicanery with some echoed out vocals on top. At its best it's reminiscent of Swell Maps' excursions into instrumentalism, having a truly adventurous feel. Quite a good find here, and I applaud the label CEO's vision in getting this made. A truly unique listening experience and a fine example of a tape that I honestly wish was on a 12" right now - and this is something that could be at home anywhere from Siltbreeze to Feeding Tube to Load. Killer artwork from Josh Feigert makes for a total package.(RK)
(C/Site Recordings // csiterecordings.storenvy.com)

Paint Thinner demo cassette
Five song demo from a newer Detroit project that combines members of Terrible Twos, Fontana, Frustrations, Human Eye, Growwing Pains and othesr into some sort of X! Records mega-band. Dials down some of the speedier weird-punk tendencies of the aforementioned groups into a more powerful and deliberate force - "Distortion" is a dense droner, "Fell Flat" keeps the slower pace and adds a bit of a Tyvekian weird-pop hook and a Vulgar-influenced wah-pedal jam-out. "Glistening Dots" is a fine bit of Detroit weird rock, very much like a reined-in Terrible Twos - a smooth little mid-tempo chorus/hook that breaks for guitar scree here and there yet is very succint. "Hidden Key" reminds me again of a Human Eye track without the mutants, it's a nice bit of shadowy adventurous rock with a great sci-fi sounding instrumental middle parts (in particular that stun bass line). I think the key here is their knowing how to keep it to the point - the first four tunes keep it tight to good effect, and they save the wandering for the last tune, which is more than welcome as well. Plenty of potential here, lets see how they keep their heads up in the crowded Detroit scene. Scum stats: pro tapes, Ilth artwork (even he acts with some restraint here on the visuals), 100 copies.(RK)
(self-released // paintthinner.bandcamp.com)

Bobby Peru "2 Live Peru" cassette
More solid n' slippery rock from the ex-Big Black Cloud miscreant. "Don't Call Me" opens things up not too far from the Vertigo/Tar/Janitor Joe turf laid down towards the end of AmRep's reign. After that the guitar pickin' gets more frantic, vocals start a' yelpin' and the whole shebang kinda' careens off to the gagging garage and stutter of The Drags. "Bath Salt Boogie" and "Billy Grippo" do the tantrum stomp quite well. "Everybody Knows" is the warped highlight up in here - a grotesque pedal war and ballad slurry sandwiched within the muck. That special golden turd stuck to the bottom of a litterbox clump. The Drifter even sounds a smidge like Bits Of Shit attempting to go all Dick Dale. It's a good ride, kiddos. A perfect dose of punker that should appease all awaiting the next Piss Test or Rik & The Pigs outing. They got a totally different CDr of magic floating around as well, looking for a label bite...ask DJ Rick about it. Someone with a bank account that isn't overdrawn should jump on that. (RSF)
(self-released // www.bobbyperupdx.bandcamp.com)

Poison Rites demo cassette
Four song demo from this Colorado outfit who traffic in high-octane rock-punk, waters previously sailed upon by heavyweights such as Zeke, Speedealer and various groups of Scandanavian origin. Dual guitar riffage given some dirty production values and distorted vocals. Maybe not that far off from say, No Talk without the gags. Blazes by fast enough but didn't really stick. I do dig their packaging though, rubber stamps always look great.(RK)
(Splattered! Records // poisonrites.bandcamp.com)

The Pringles demo cassette
Two song demo/teaser from The Pringles, a "dumbass solo thing" from a member of the St. Louis/Missouri punk scene - with ties to the Spotted Race/Soda Boys. "Talkin to Turds" should go on the A-Side of the single I hope results when someone with a punk label hears these tracks - not as gross as Lumpy, not as dumb as Cal, and not as catchy as Marky, it's just a perfect and sloppy 1-2 dumb punker with a hook, a nice little breakdown/bridge and a funny gag. "I'm A Vegan" got short-sheeted on the lyrics, but that's why it's funny and the geetar playing on this one is half-baked which of course makes me dig it more. Already better than the first dozen Sick Thoughts records. Anyway, this one came with a hand drawn cover and was taped over some hillbilly music that I have to turn off now because I fucking hate the banjo.(RK)
(self-released // thepringles.bandcamp.com)

Quitman "Demo" and "Demo 2" cassettes
Different Methods minus Alex Skate Korpse = Quitman. Acoustic punk rock from two Buffalo transplants living in NOLA (and I think one of them is back in Buffalo now) - first demo high point is them breaking out the saw (!) for the soundscape "Alex's Lament" and "Similar Methods" is a good tune with dual vocals and electric vs. acoustic guitars. I'm generally of the opinion that when punks start doing hippie shit (like playing acoustic guitars and fucking saws) it's a bad scene, but these two tracks somehow work. 'Demo 2' shows them honing in on their "sound" and I think all four cuts are pretty damn good. Raw on the edges, very punk in spirit and developing a real sort of cacophony that I like a lot - slighty out of tune which gives the songs a good texture -it sounds to me like a little like A-Frames and Jay Reatard's solo stuff on Goner before he slicked it up. They get a good full sound for a duo, I dig the soundbites they sew things together with - this is the best stuff from this camp and sounds much different than the formula I felt they were stuck in for a bit there. "Son, Housed" and "Lets See Your Gun" are clever as well as catchy, I feel good about recommending this one - (RK)
(Subject // subject1.bandcamp.com)

Radiation Risks demo cassette
Buffalo outfit formed from the ashes of Blobs, Brown Sugar (actually the same rhythm section here), Bad People and others that are probably Buffalo's best active punk outfit as of writing. They play themselves off as a bunch of goofy mutants, but don't let em fool you, they're actually a pretty tight unit. That Mike D drumbeat anchors things down as it did in the Shug, I think this is the best usage of the singer to date (who was in some other okay bands, but really feels right here), and the guitar/bass combo utlilze those chops they've been honing playing surf music for the forces of punk instead and the sax and keyboard flourishes are more than welcome here. For one of the very first times I feel like I can say something actually sounds like a Buffalo band to be proud of, which is cool. It's definitely punk rock influenced by a bit of just plain old rock'n'roll instead of the hardcore-lineage, and these guys just looove Geza X and you can tell (and they'll tell you too). The fact of the matter is that going forward (and backwards), Brown Sugar are the standard to which all other Buffalo punk bands will be judged by for years to come, and Radiation Risks are the closest anyone has come to that high water mark since. Eight tunes, just weird and punk enough that it doesn't sound contrived, tightly wound and ready to blast off. Good job fellas.(RK)
(More Power // feralkidrecords.storenvy.com)

Rik & The Pigs "Volume II" cassette
Nine prime cuts from Rikky & His Hogs, new recordings of some classics with a "full" band ("Pig Sweat") which I believe includes members of Vexx. The full band line-up I bore witness to in Florida totally slayed by the way. "Vile Order" (with plenty of sax!), "Nothing" and "Life's A Bust" from the soon-to-be-available 7" on Feel It, a version of "Teenage Bozo" (which I've always believed to be one of Lumpy's best tunes) that SLAYS, a couple of weird little new ones that I like a bunch (especially "Off/On") and a redo of "TV Bloopers" (one of my fave Rik jams) that I've heard will appear on the upcoming 12". I'm assuming the next 7" will be out by the time I get around to posting this (test press version was available on tour) and I'm predicting it will be blowing people away - the Pigs line-up is super fucking tight, and even though Rik is one of my favorite modern-era guitar men the guy he's got plaing with him is a blaster too, and the tunes are actually really sexy and slinky and show off another side of this band, which I'm hoping no one is dumb enough to write off as some sort of dumb-punk thing (not that dumb is bad, but this is also much more than that). Buzz buzz, life's a bust, buzz buzzbuzz buzz. More good news: Mongoloid are still a going concern, and the LP is coming soon!(RK)
(Chapel of Crimes // chapelofcrimes.bigcartel.com)

Rotten UK "Punk Cult Fetish Singles & rarities Vol. 1" cassette
I've often thought of this band as a joke - and there's a certain amount of intentional humor in a Rochester band calling themselvces Rotten UK, sure - as it's made up of members of Raunchy Sex (at one point the best worst band in Buffalo), "Lord Reverand Jimmi Sinn" who you might (or might not) remember from shit-metallers Bludwulf (or HRPS even) and a rotating cast of other Rotcore kids (Rational Animals, Brain Car and others) playing some really dumb punk rock. But I think they're pretty serious about the whole thing, and they just got signed to Hells Headbangers, so what do I know. Realistically, it's actually not bad, sort of a hybrid of death-punk, crust and peace-punk with some metal riffs and growling vox. They certainly dress the part and are the one band in Rochester actually getting out of Monroe County at this point aside from maybe Beastman. Scum stats: 250 copies, and a special edition that come with a bonus dangly skull earring?!(RK)
(Jelly Music // jellymusicinc.bandcamp.com)

Science Project "Demented Rock for Depraved Humans" cassette
More from this Devo-loving kid Cody from Halifax (also part of Booji Boys, Alienation, Grump and every other Halifax band I think - he's "the guy"), doing synth-punk here as a one-man-studio-band. I can dig where his heart's at, but the tunes just aren't there. Drums, synth blorp, monotone vox over four tracks - again, doing some of the same sort of stuff as NWI bands, but without the good tunes. I hope he keeps plugging away and finds his pocket, because he's real close - you know I hate to be discouraging to someone who is clearly energetic and excited about this stuff, but this is not ready for primetime in any way just yet.(RK)
(self-released // )

Second Sight s/t cassette
Four song EP from Second Sight, which is Melbourne's Hubert Clay (also part of Theta and Rule of Thirds) doing some cyborg industrial EBM-goes-punk thing. "Tech-noir" says the NPR (that No Patience Records you dummy) blurb, and I like the ring of that. Unemotional vox against a massive backdrop of dark beats, massive synth crunch and an unavoidable knack for the big hook. All four of the tunes are bangers, and as a guy who doesnt generally fish in this pond, I will say it's pretty impressive. Blade Runner dance club vibes, Tubeway Army drills, lots of future/past synth sounds all put together without a seam showing. Maybe even tighter than Minimal Man. THis stuff should be coming out on vinyl in 2016, and rightfully so, because it's massive.(RK)
(No Patience // nopatience.org)

Shut Up, Stupid “One Sided Story” cassette
I just threw this on and it opens with a cover of “Can’t Tell No One,” slowed down a bit but it works. Its packaging is kind of elaborate, with a couple of stickers affixed to a reused TDK J-Card, then an insert on color paper wrapped around the end as a second cover. And there’s another insert on top of that. The final song on the tracklist includes the note, “(maybe, if the tape is long enough)”—the Melissa Etheridge cassette they used for my copy is, in fact, long enough that I also get to hear her live version of “Maggie May” after Shut Up, Stupid wraps. After unravelling the packaging, a blink or two later, there’s a cover of “Pressure,” the third song on this demo. Kind of interesting choice, but I dig it. So, two NA songs plus four more, scrappy throwback USHC in a way that feels extremely authentic to the source genre (“long lost demo uncovered” authentic, not “influenced by…”). And yes, in the tradition of the world’s greatest hardcore, there is the one terrifying, slow jam that is nearly longer than the rest of the songs combined. This one ain’t moving the ball forward but is a totally great bit of throwback ‘core and is recommended for your summer slamming. (DH)
(no address listed)

Sleep Terminal “Parasomnia Initiation Ritual” cassette
On this UK import, you are treated to five tracks and about a half hour of tunes. These long jams are thick with reverb, hypnotic drumming—sounds like a dose of tambourine in there at times—and one would s’pose the guitars are run through no fewer than six pedals each. Sound echoes from the basement, or cavern, or whatever dark place is just out of sight. “Psychedelic” rock pop punk, sourcing but not quite improving on ideas laid down by predecessors on 4AD, etc. An enjoyable listen that did not deliver the riffs to ping-pong around my brain after the cassette ended, but did not make me cringe while it did. (DH)
(Babes In Arms // babesinarmsrecords-at-gmail.com)

Slurs s/t cassette
Always glad to hear from Winnipeg. These Manitobans play pretty melodic poppy garage rock, very much more Denton-sounding than not. Recording sounds good, each instrument has a hot shit moment and they make all the right moves - nothing seismic going on here, but surely a well-executed outing. The riff on “Good Time” is pretty sick and sounds like something the Zero Boys would’ve come up with on those early tapes. In a late and unexpected stroke of genius, there is a one- or two-note saxophone solo performing some sort of out of time call and response that makes that track something more than the sum of its parts. The SA Spurs ripoff logo on the insert is the best band logo I’ve been exposed to in recent memory. Cool shit from the land that stole the Thrashers.(NG)
(self-released // slurs.bandcamp.com)

Joanna Swan "Memphis Hotel" cassette
Pulsing electro-dance music with bits of piano and ethereal Eno-isms tucked away in its crevices. I've never been to a circuit party or a warehouse rave, so I'm fairly green to this sorta' jive. I can say without a doubt I've never known how to chill, either - but I am totally aware of the coffee house scene and its voracious appetite for background music. Things should bop and groove but never get so abrasive that you'd possibly spill your latte. This would work in a pinch. I feel like I'm leaving a Virgin Airline flight and forgetting my carry on. An odd duck in the old Termbo mailbag, for sure. (RSF)
(Tingo Tongo Tapes // facebook.com/tingotongotapes)

Swords of Thought "Sandpapersoul" tape EP
Not sure why I am even bothering writing anything about this - maybe I'm just trying to justify the 20 minutes I spent with this tape, to make note of this brief moment of my long life, wasted listening to an alternative-pop-rock record. This guy can't decide whether he he wants to sing like Joe Strummer or just a guy with a bad cold. Musically, it's like uh....Bush if they sucked? Really bad. Even for the genre. They claim they pay indie rock, but I dont think they should insult indie-rock like that. Fooking terrible.(RK)
(Cave Aged Recordings // swprdsofthought.bandcamp.com)

Syrup demo cassette
These guys should have a name with the word Beach in it. Syrup Beach. Beach Snooze. Sounds like an easy listening version of the OhSees (and I like OhSees more often than not). Beach Muzak. (RK)
(self released // syrupcontact-at-gmail.com)

Teeth Gnashers "Queer Trees" cassette
Absurdist and garbagedly recorded bedroom black metal punk for fans of the lowest common denominator moments of noise such as Raspberry Bulbs, Bone Awl or other like minded fart blossoms. Highly enjoyable cookie monster-meets-Blaine Farts' Accused vocal gruffitude and muddled Hellhammer riffs paired up with Misfits apes ("Go Away") and a fucking brilliant X cover ("Los Angeles"). The bass sounds even more knucklehead than Iron Cross, somehow and guitars rumble along like a wet-vac sucking up thumb tacks on from the cellar floor. The occasional acoustic flares up, making me smile like I'm hearing Impaled Northern Moon Forest for the first time. "Queer Trees" looks to be a best-of compilation of their material and there's four more tapes full of goodies available on their Bandcamp site. Can't recommend this enough. I'm having way more fun than Teeth Gnashers want me to have over here. Whatever. Stay grim. This shit's a keeper.(RSF)
(self-released // teethgnashers.bandcamp.com)

Theta demo cassette
Goth-punk/death-rock/new-wave/post-punk - any of these hyphenated terms could fit Theta, a four piece out of Adelaide that shares members with the exceptional Rule of Thirds. All gals on vox, they switch off on each the four tracks here - "Eyes" is some meat-n-potatoes goth plod smothered in 45 Gravy (sorry! I had to do it...), "Teach Me" has the girl who did the wonderfully disinterested deadpan vox on the previous track doing some give and take with a more feminine wail here, very much like a RoT track or any other contemporary post-thing - watery bassline, smart/sharp guitar, 80s synth sound - par for the course, the vocals help it a lot though. "Bruised Fruit" trades out the deadpan girl and adds another husky voiced heroine to trade with the chirpy gal - they do the last two songs together, adding "Male Authors" and these two get a little more jittery, a bit more Slits/DIY-esque as well. The sneaky basslines work every time and the gals do a great job overall. It's a done-to-death genre at this point, but they do it well.(RK)
(No Patience // nopatience.org)

Tonawandas s/t cassette
Not to be confused with Canada's Towanda. I should mention Tonawanda is a name very familiar in my life- it is the town that borders mine, a suburb of Buffalo - and is also a local band of the Seneca Indian tribe. It was also the name of the main drag in the neighborhood I grew up in. I like to think these guys were driving through town one day and saw the name Tonawanda on a road sign and decided to use it. Who knows. Weird. These guys are from Cleveland (fun fact: there is a Cleveland Drive in the Town of Tonawanda...) and play synth-driven punk - not New Wave Devo stuff though, more along the lines of a less harsh Lost Sounds or Jay solo stuff. Spits-y monotone vox but dark instead of goofy. Not really goth-dark though, thankfully. Plenty of guitars in their thing too which helps a bunch. They have some catchy tunes ("Terrorist Eyes"), strong and slightly raw recording, and they don't get all cute/poppy. I mean, I fucking hate synth most of the time, and I liked this well enough. Good on em.(RK)
(self-released // tonawandas.bandcamp.com)

Towanda “Black Sheep” cassette EP
Seven tracks from Montreal’s Towanda - the note that came with this described the band as a trio, although on this recording it looks like it was just Rose and Rosie going it alone. And who needs a third, I guess, as they sure manage a full and powerful sound here. The bass, full of fuzz and very heavy, is up front and paired with off-kilter drumming/percussion and staccato shouts. This is not at all straightforward from a songwriting/performance perspective, and Towanda’s approach, which seems a pastiche of Flipper, The Pixies, and the DGC Sampler Vol.1, makes for a refreshing batch of songs. Very cool. (DH)
(Killer Haze // killerhazerecords.bandcamp.com)

Towanda "Plaything" cassette
Towanda are an all-gal power trio from Montreal (not to be confused with the new punk outfit from Clevo called The Tonawandas - and also not to be confused with the Town of Tonawanda suburb of Buffalo, NY) and this is the first I've heard (DH handles another tape above) and it's rather impressive. Starts off with a sludge-o-riffic Melvins-type jam and moves forward through some heavy iterations on what is really almost a Nineties alt-rock sound: Mudhoney/Tad and yer grunge all-stars, some L7/Babes in Toyland muff rock, a dash of Kyuss/desert rock, some Sonic Youth loud/soft dynamics and just a light perfuming of goth-rock aesthetics. This is definitely a three piece line-up, with Rosie on guitar/vox, Rose on drums and Claire on bass. Songwriting is strong and dynamic, Rosie's vocals are actually sung (with some screams for effect) with fitting back-ups from the others, guitar solos are twisted when they appear, much of this is headfirst mid-tempo charging in a true hard rock style - there's little evidence of hardcore in the punk here, which is a bit refreshing. Think of them as the polar opposite of Cub. This certainly won't be for everyone, but I dig the angle they're working here.(RK)
Canadian (Montreal) female (emphasis on) power trio that slugs it out in a Electric Wizard vs Melvins sludge-fuzz riff war one minute and a Babes In Toyland bratty battering the next. The biker rock grunt of "Hedonism" and "Love Is Wasted" locks my goat down by the horns, real good. The wife chimes in to add that vocal melodies and dissonance at hand remind her of the oft forgotten Canadian act The Organ gone metallic or even a mad(der) than hell Cocorosie. Odd choices, but I tend to not argue - and during tracks like "He's My Muse" I can hear that stuff peeking out from within their sonic wreckage. It may seem a weird fucking juxtaposition, but it works grandly. "The Future" moves in a more seasick fashion, washing about under hairy waves of slide guitar burl and the tunes towards the end like "Judge Me" and "No Time For Crisis" bowl you over in a punker damage that might prick the ears of any Silverfish fans left flailing. After moons of post-punk skitter n' jerk and all the haphazard dance mixes I've endured this time around the mailbag, I'm beyond thankful to say this tape just flat out fucking rocks. Thanks Towanda. I needed this. (RSF)
(Deface The Music // towanda.bandcamp.com)

Tropical Trash "Live At The Fillmore Etc." cassette
High quality live shit from Louisville's Tropical Trash, who are honestly one of my favorite bands of the past few years. 'UFO Rot' was one of the best LPs of 2015, and both singles are essential - the only thing missing for me is seeing the live deal, and this tape makes me want to see them REAL soon. Mostly material from the LP, they hammer through 40 minutes or so of primo jazzfry, and this is one of those cases where I'm happy to report they can actually sound like the LP when up on stage. In TT's case that might have been a bit difficult, as that record is pretty dense with sound. Their drummer can really go, which definitely makes the whole thing work. This stuff was recorded over a few shows in 2014 when they must have still been working this LP material into shape which is even more impressive. I'm of the opinion that casette is the perfect medium for live shows (I can probably count the live albums that are worth owning on my fingers), and this is one off the ones you should definitely get - even if you haven't heard 'UFO Rot' yet (which you really need to do) I'd say this is still worth a pick-up. Very few things deserve to be called facemelting, but this one comes reaaalll close. Now please come and play within driving distance of me. Full color covers, pro job.(RK)
(self-released // tropicaltrash.bandcamp.com)

Ugly Girl "Bad Weird" cassette
Ugly Girl are from Japan and not at all what I was expecting. I'd guess at least one or two of them are expatriates (the singer's English is too good/unaccented). Bass/git/drums trio with some effects thrown in at times, quality recording job. Ten tracks, that range from something like Cramps covering Friction, to garage-pummel that reminds me of the heaviest Tokyo Electron (or early D-Unit when it was just Ryan), some of it goes in a less messy Necessary Evils/Haunted George vein, some TSF/Blowtops-like splatter rock - it's a great mix of styles that all taste great together and a sound we generally don't get from Japan. Production does a great job of making them sound far bigger than a trio - loud, desperate, barreling. Singer keeps it together well (he sounds a bit like Ryan Rousseau when he's not howling), Hippy Jonny on drums is a great thumper, bass is fuzzed just right and the guitar plays it off sharply and with good technique. Well done.(RK)
(Control Group // uglygirl.bandcamp.com)

Unreal Thought "Amateur Comfort" cassette
"Obligatory 'post-punk' side project" from members of other Halifax outfits. For a side project, they write pretty fucking good songs though. It's tough sounding post-punk, none of that sissy goth stuff. Just dark straightforward bangers, seven of 'em, "Visions of Hate" remonds me a little of Killing Joke and is the choice cut here. Overall it's well above average for an overplayed and tough-to-do-right genre, leave it to Halifax to get it proper. Reminds me some of a more charismatic Manikin, instrumentation isn't shrouded in effects and neither are the vox, singer actually does some singing, and the guitar is pretty sharp. Recommended. (RK)
Some of the more rockin late SST frequencies are at play with these guys, much like their labelmates in Surveillance, but the bleak and disaffected vocals and bouncy bassist do a good job of making this sound more like UK anarcho than the plodding dance punk that riding the chorus wave usually implies. “Visions of Hate” is on the cusp of being a caveman stomper with an air of Spray Paint, but (along with a couple other tracks on here) it just begs for a more inept guitar sound. The title track is smart and nihilistic, and the tape as a whole work exudes what seems like a very youthful energy. Hope to hear what they come out with next.(NG)
(Various // variousrecords.blogspot.ca)

V/A "Tie One Off" cassette compilation
The pain in the ass about cassette comps is that it becomes a real chore trying to figure out the tracklisting, exacerbated when there's no tracklisting at all on the tape to begin with aside from a list of bands which I have no idea whether is in order of appearance or just happens to be alphabetical by coincidence. This is the 'Cool Bands' style scene comp from the Chapel of Crimes gang (and I do love the compass/calendar on their releases - I'm guessing it signifies vol/month in what I assume is a tape-a-month project - June 2016?). I was hoping to be able to use the Rik & The Pigs track(s) as a landmark, but that went out the window (althugh I think there's a new Rik song here) because I think ol' Rikky might be in a couple of these bands. Petty gripes aside, there's a lot music to love here - the band that sounds like the NWI version of acoustic folk, whoever is playing the 2-3 tunes that sound like Lux fronting a real trebly and Roy Orbison/Shadows obsessed early Cramps line-up, whatever band is playing those real upbeat shit-fi pop-rock numbers, one of these bands even sounds like The Sleaze, there's a tune that sounds like CCTV a bit...kind of. I'll tell ya what, there's probably a couple 7" worthy bands here, maybe more, and I get the feeling some of this stuff was just tossed together on the spot for this tape (which would explain a lot of the "lyrics" being mumbled/grunts). Roster: BB On Mars, Mother Pile, No Moss, Rik & The Pigs and Soft Cheek. If you figure out which is which, let me know. Good shit.(RK)
(Chapel of Crimes // chapelofcrimes.bigcartel.com)

V/A Scavenger of Death "Sumer Jams 2016" mixtape
Three Pedator songs and one GG King jam fresh for your beach boombox party pleasure all tied together by Ryan Dinosaur himself. Over these hot ten minutes you get three unreleased (thus far) Preator tunes, all of which of course rip, but "White Plague" stands out for me at the moment - it's like a Pistols tune done Brannon style. The GG tune is a rough of mix of "Another Dimension" off of 'Undending Darkness' - played a little bit slower, with some acoustic guitar and different backing vocals, and I'll be honest and say that King could release that LP again with the rough mix and it'd be great all over again. Ryan Dino does an acoustic outro for the punctuation. Essential if you're an ATL punk superfan. (RK)
(Scavenger of Death // scavengerofdeath.storenvy.com)

Vicious Dreams demo cassette
Eight tracks of lo-fi ’77-styled pop punk from Orlando. The guitarist has some chops that shine through at times, and Amanda’s vocals are killer, but the demo whips by in a haze of by-the-book tunes that fail to leave an impression. (DH)
(self-released // viciousdreams.bandcamp.com)

Watery Love "Nine Songs With Meg Drumming" cassette
The Richie Records label, as always, gives it to you straight here - this is nine Watery Love songs that Meg Baird played drums on, made up of their immaculate run of four seven inches, plus the tune from their side of the ill-fated split with Kurt Vile released on "Pitchfork Records". A handy and essential audio document for tape heads, chronicling the first phase of the band (which also included Home Blitz's Daniel Dimaggio on bass at times) before Meg went West and ended up in Heron Oblivion (also a wonderful band). It's all here - the blazing beginning of WL with "I'm A Skull", some of the most perfect cover tunes of modern times ("Sick People" b/w "I Don't Care") and the beginning of the recurring "dreamcatcher" theme. American Guitar Rock doesn't get much better than the stuff running on the tape inside this shell. Limited to 110 copies, with entertaining liner notes.(RK)
(Richie/Testostertunes // testostertunes.bigcartel.com)

Wet Drag "Silhouette Yeah" cassette
Four songs, three of which are pretty innaresting - sort of of a rubbery post-punk atmosphere, with squiggly lines instead of the angle, with detached vocals that support the musical ideas. Cool and somewhat non-human sounding, but not icy cold either - maybe a touch of Devo. The last track is sme accapella experiment/bullshit that had me rethinking the first three songs - but I guess they're still okay. Max wins on this one.(RK)
(Smart Brains // wetdrag.bandcamp.com)

The Wyrms "At Wizard Island" cassette
'At Wizard Island' finds the Wyrms creating some low- to medium- tempo fuzzy rock of a few ilks. They’re from the piedmont utopia of Carrboro, NC (one of my favorite places in the country, actually) and appropriately exude some positive 2016 college rock vibes, heaving with the popular San Francisco sounds of late. But every time this tape settles into something resembling that ubiquitous Segall wave of semi-psychedelic rock, really nice pockets of pretty smart and somber Yardbirds-y songwriting peek through (“Shadow” is really good song!).(NG)
(Negative Fun // negativefunrecords.bandcamp.com)

X45 demo cassette
Three song demo from Hamilton, ON punks X45 - I like the name, I like the art and the tunes are just about there too. No-frills punk-ROCK, and I would expect nothing less from some lads from a working class burg like The Hammer - all three cuts have the same head-down determination to them - tough stuff, some might call it plodding but I like what they're doing here. Slow and steady can win the race, and this isn't sludge, it's midtempo banging with a solid guitar sound, zero tricks/effects and some good riffs/hooks. It's almost going against the grain - everyone else is trying to be faster and slimier and weirder, but X45 stood out to me because of their simple and pure construction here - a tough sounding record and I'd like to hear more from these cats.(RK)
(self-released // exfortyfive.bandcamp.com)

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301 Tremaine Ave.
Kenmore, NY 14217


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

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

Nick Goode (NG)
Atlanta, GA 30316