Thursday, June 15, 2017

Suburban Voice blog #123



We're almost halfway through 2017, the reich, uh, presidency of a certain Mr. Trump is underway and, goddang it, punk's going to be GREAT again! Even a few of the discs reviewed below have a timely nature to them. DOA's once again recycling their "fucked up" song into "Fucked Up Donald" (sad to say, it's not very good). Green Day did a riff on a line from MDC's "Born To Die," inserting "No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA" into the song they played at the Grammys. That might be the last time you see that band mentioned in this space, by the way. It might even be the first time I've mentioned them since reviewing one of their albums in the 90s... yeah, I used to review stuff like that.

But since the day the country died (I'm sorry), last November, you keep hearing people say about how we need lots of anti-Trump songs and to go back to the 80s. That punk will be relevant again. Such a fucking myopic view. It also presumes that, since&the Reagan era, there hasn’t been much in the way of punk that has inspired criticism of the political and sociological realms. Also, this is the wake-up call you need? Where have these “make punk great again” people been while people of color, the LGBT community, Muslims and the economically-disadvantaged lives’ have been made a living hell? It’s always been with us but really got ratcheted up after 9/11 and especially after Obama’s election. Trump just brought it out in the open even more. People didn’t have to try to disguise their prejudices anymore. Someone I know also pointed out that it discounts what’s been going on with all the punk movements and communities in the rest of the world.

But, hey, we might as well try. Maybe some of the records reviewed here will inspire some kind of rebellion--starting with personal rebellion. Small steps, my friends...

THE MUSIC PILE...

CAPITLE-Melodies of Capitle (Cacophone 7")/Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (Cacophone, 7")
Capitle were an early 80s Albany, NY hardcore band who only recorded a few demo tapes and appeared on a compilation. Following the death of original bass player Phil Samuels, Capitle returned with a revamped lineup and a pair of newly recorded 7" EPs and it hardly sounds like some lame attempt to recapture past glories. Not fitting any pat category, although there are a few similarities to the Circle Jerks (post-"Group Sex"). Vocalist Jim Romano has a Keith Morris-like cadence at times. Herky-jerky and kinetic, as the words are spat out in semi-narrative fashion, sometimes breaking from the songs’ meter. If this is a mid-life criss, well, let’s hear it for mid-life crises. (www.cacophone.com)

CLITERATI-s/t (Tankcrimes, 7")
Cliterati is the new band with ex-Voetsek vocalist Ami Lawless, who relocated to Portland awhile back. While there are a few grindcore moves here and there, Cliterati favor a crustier hardcore/thrash attack than Ami’s former band—bruising riffs, propulsive drumming and vocals barking out the harsh sentiments. The song was written before the election but “Make America Hate Again” could be a mantra for the new dark age. “Virtue” takes on sexuality—the hypocrisies for people who pledge purity but their actions and fantasies are anything but--“preach purity while practicing perversions.” Powerful, both musically and lyrically. (www.tankcrimes.com)

CONNOISSEUR-Over The Edge (Tankcrimes, LP)
Stoner music i.e. every song is about the joys of smoking weed and, while it’s done with a knowing wink and sense of wit, it’s kind of a one-trick pony. Musically, it’s not your typical stoner metal. It’s a heavy sound with both high-pitched and cookie monster-timbre vocal tradeoffs, but they also have an ugly punk edge to go along with the metallic elements.   I’m actually kind of surprised the vinyl color was pink and not green—the price of the digital download is $4.20 (natch). Maybe if I was high… who knows? (www.tankcrimes.com)

DIRTY & HIS FISTS

DIRTY & HIS FISTS-East Coast Tour 2017 Tape (demo)
High-energy punk rock ‘n roll at a sturdy mid-tempo clip from this LA band. Thick riffs chock full of buzz and burn. “23rd Century” adds some spacey guitar effects to the fray. It’s not wild or out of control but their volume-driven, not too slick-sounding attack does connect. They'll have a 7" later this year on Feel It. (shoutrecordings@gmail.com)

ELIX-R-Six Hours (demo)
Raw and abrasive punk from this Denton, TX band, with yelping vocals buried into a din of buzz-burn instrumentation. There’s a Rudimentary Peni feel, with the thumping repetitiveness. The guitar tone for closing track “Higher” has a bit of a death rock feel. In glorious low fidelity. (elix-r.bandcamp.com)

FATHER FIGURES-Heavy Lifting (Slope, LP)
Another solid offering (their fourth album overall) from the Father Figures, who include JFA's Michael Cornelius in their ranks. A post-punk framework but, instead of jabbing angularity, it’s subsumed into a percolating melodicism, with stinging guitar lines and a high degree of rhythmic dexterity. It’s not sedate—the vocals pack a good deal of emotional intensity and the music has a potent presence. “Rigged” packs a wicked punch, the hardest-edged song on the album, while “USS Destroyer” has a Fugazi-ish pulse to it. More of a sneak attack than a bombardment and an effective one. (www.sloperecords.com)

FEEDERZ-WWHD: What Would Hitler Do? (Slope, 7")
Frank Discussion and his merry band of Feederz return for their first new recordings in 15 years. Maybe they'd been planning it for awhile or perhas the election of you-know-who inspired it. Anyway, age hasn't brought subtlety, not the with a drawing of Cheeto Benito (I can't take credit for that) dressed in a Nazi uniform. "Stealing” is an ode to looting, delivered with a punk-meets-samba rhythm, while “Sabotage,” with the refrain “Time to put this country out of our misery,” packs rhythmic tension with a catchy chorus and is the better of the two. Just so-so and not anywhere close to the classics. On orange vinyl, of course. (www.sloperecords.com)      

FRIED EGG-Back and Forth (Beach Impediment, 7")
Fried Egg continue to exhibit a frenetic hardcore sound, punctuated by ranting, nearly-unhinged vocals going along perfectly with the fast-paced riff attack. Dynamic instrumentation, with intense guitar textures sharing space with nimble bass-lines and hammering drumbeats. No wheel reinvention, just succinct, well-executed rage, with the damaged-sounding “Side By Side” the standout. (beachimpedimentrecords.com)         

FUCK YOU PAY ME-Dumbed Down (Tankcrimes, LP)
This album was actually in the can for a couple of years before its release.. About time because it’s their most kick-ass effort to date. A detonation of rampaging Clevo hardcore that’s raw, fast and relentless and goddamn does Erba sound pissed off. As he says on “Douche Chills,” “Everyone around me puts me in a rage.” You do reach a point in your life where there’s no tolerance for people with hipper-than-thou obnoxious attitudes, to say nothing of shitty work situations or garden-variety knuckledraggers. That latter is the topic of “Ammosexual,” railing at Fox News-loving gun fondlers, while “50 Dudes With Machetes” is pulled from the Cleveland news headlines after some tough-guy gang-banger violence at a hardcore fest there. “Steubenville City Limits” is about college football playing rapists getting protected. And all of this is from 2015. I can only imagine what the next installment could be like—and I hope there is one because we need this kind of punk rock scream therapy. It could make this album sound like soft-rock. (www.tankcrimes.com)


FUTURO

FUTURO-A Torre da Derrota (demo)
The title translates to The Tower of Defeat and, after hearing this, I’m kicking myself for missing this São Paulo band on their recent tour. It would have meant a four hour round trip through a rainstorm but, still… Surging, impassioned vocals (lyrics are mostly in Portuguese, with a few in English) and stinging arrangements incorporating melodic punk, hardcore and a little goth. Includes a cover of Sado Nation’s “Mom and Pop Democracy” that fits in well with their musical style and it’s a band that hasn’t been covered to death. As of now, available on tape and download. (futuro.bandcamp.com)

HVAC-Mentality (demo)
HVAC are another nasty NYC band, albeit in a slightly different vein i.e. they’re not d-beat devotees but still play in a savage ‘n visceral style on their “Mentality” demo. After a tribal-type intro, “The Fuckening,” they kick into overdrive with a full-on blitz and shrieking, ranting vocals. They bash their way through the songs with a blunt aggressiveness, working in thrash and more pounding elements. (hvacnyc.bandcamp.com)

INFANT MORTALITY-Infamous (Violated CD)
Old-timers from Dover, DE who started this band back in the 80s and, after a hiatus in the 2000s, reformed a few years ago. Pretty basic fast, snotrag hardcore punk with metallic guitar leads. It gets a bit monotonous after awhile, although there’s a wise-assed sense of humor. They also tack on the tracks from their 1994 split with Violent Society and a few extras and there’s an enjoyable scrappiness to those songs, which include a cover of Bad Posture's “GDMFSOB.” (violatedrecords.com)

INTERCISION-Their Names (demo) 
Intercision's tape has a fold out insert that says “No Ban/No Wall/No Registry/No Trump… Fuck White Supremacy.” Thing is this tape could have come out at any time—timeless lyrics about misogyny, religion, police abuse, as well as a poignant letter to a childhood friend who got killed in one of this country’s endless wars. Those words and some of the other lyrics read more like prose or essays than rhyming lines. The demo’s title track reads off the names of people murdered by the police in recent years. Unfortunately, some more names will have to be added soon. Full-on, power-packed hardcore punk—reminds me of Aus-Rotten a bit. Includes a Pist cover. (intercision.bandcamp.com)

ISS-Endless Pussyfooting (State Laughter, demo)
The third tape from ISS—the collaboration between Rick Ivey from Whatever Brains and Edwin Schneider from Brain F≠--is another ear-grabbing excursion of electro-punk/new wave mania. It’s fun picking out the samples they use—the Cure’s “Jumping Someone Else’s Train,” X-Ray Spex's“Oh Bondage Up Yours” and even the yell that starts Faust’s “The Sad Skinhead” are woven into the kinetic musical tapestry. “Peniss Envy” has a chaotic industrialized fervor, while “Hot Boi” mixes in gothy textures and “(919) Sui-Cide” has a downright danceable rhythm. Experimental, yet completely unpretentious. (statelaughter.storenvy.com)

KALEIDOSCOPE-Volume Three (Feel It, 12")
After some tape releases and one 7”, Kaleidoscope’s Volume Three 12” features a somewhat more accessible take on their experimental punk approach. Mastermind Shiva Addanki has also played with the likes of NYC bung rockers Ivy, JJ Doll and Deformity, so there’s a dirty ‘n gritty vibe to these songs, a lowdown bluesiness harnessed to expansive sonic elements. There’s a concept at work, perhaps a cautionary tale of sorts, where man bows to machine but the machines end up inheriting the less-savory elements of the human condition, which makes one wonder who or what is controlling who. (feelitrecordshop.com)


LONG KNIFE

LONG KNIFE-Sewers Of Babylon (Beach Impediment, 7")
Yeah, they still kind of sound like Poison Idea and Colin certainly channels Jerry A. There’s no denying it but they're good at it. High energy hardcore punk with searing guitar licks and metallic flourishes. Sticking to a loud/fast blueprint, although “The Tower” is a fired-up mid-tempo rocker. Keith Testerman (Hellshock, Warcry, etc) now mans the drum kit and provides a potent backbeat that really fires the engines. Floor-rattling. (beachimpedimentrecords.com)

MIRROR-Universal Dismay (Erste Theke Tontrager, 7")
An Austin aggregation including members of such heavy hitters as Vaaska, Criaturas, Glue and others. Needless to say, their Universal Dismay 7” provides a reckless excursion with spacey guitar tones to go with the noisy roar and ranty vocals. Kind of a Finnish hardcore feel at times, particularly Kaaos. Six songs of sonic dynamite. (Erst Theke Tonträger, ersttheke.de)

MOD VIGIL-s/t (X-Mist, LP)
The cover of Mod Vigil’s disc is a tribute to the sleeve for Gang Of Four’s debut 7” “Damaged Goods,” adding a few scientific symbols. They definitely have a semi-angular post-punk pulse in their sound, with the nervy, jabbing guitars but it’s a punkier attack. Surging and stinging, accompanied by nasally, distorted vocals, driving a hole through your skull with the driving “Trout Casualty,” “Driving Is Easy” and “Bad Day,” while “Rare Au Pair” has a stop-start moodiness to it. “K-Hole” provides rhythmic, whirlwind frenzy. As far as I know, this is this Australian band’s debut—no previous demo or 7”, jumping straight to the 12” format and it’s a bold splash. (www.xmist.de)


NEW CROSS
     
NEW CROSS (demo)
Debut demo from this Boston area band that includes Nate Thompson from the late, great Flaccid on vocals. This six song tape starts with a tough, floor-pounding intro and they play no-BS hardcore with a street punk undertow, ala 86 Mentality. It was recorded straight to cassette and, truth be told, these guys need to get into a real studio because these songs deserve a much better recording. (300 Lafayette St, Apt. 4, Salem, MA 01970, xnthompsox@gmail.com)

NURSE-s/t (Scavenger of Death, 7")
Nurse's sophomore 7" is just as potent as their debut. Nasty, scalding hardcore punk but there’s also haunting guitar textures to go with the onslaught. These guys actually sound like Out Cold with darker musical shadings, especially on opening song “Foreign Objects.” Also, like that band, the lyrics reveal a tortured, tormented soul. Ear-rending sounds. (scavengerofdeath.storenvy.com)

POLITICAL CRAP-Slow Death (Slope, 7")
Political Crap was Duane Peters’ first band and the three songs on this disc originally appeared on the 1981 compilation "Who Cares." Young, loud and snotty (where have I heard that before?), capturing the essence of early 80s southern California punk, especially for the brief, hard-hitting “Slow Death”—funny to see the reference to reading a 1991 obituary. The other songs are in more of a tuneful, mid-tempo vein. Duane’s vocals have a snarling quality that’s quite different from the weathered emanations that would come later with US Bombs. A worthwhile unearthing.(www.sloperecords.com)


RAD

RAD/CROISSANTS-Split (Sacramento, 7")
CROSS CLASS-Reflection (demo)
Two Sacramento bands, RAD and The Croissants, have hooked up for a split 7." They're quite different stylistically yet it works. RAD are back with 11 songs of trebly hardcore with no breaks and they do it with a lot of precision, with hairpin tempo shifts. 10 originals--before you finish reading the title of the song, they're on to the next--plus a well-done cover of Jerry's Kids "I Don't Belong" that's longer than the rest of the tracks put together. The songs are laced with humor as well as rage. Lory's vocals have an endearingly-sarcastic cadence The Croissants offer noisy, melodic buzzy, fuzzy punk that's pretty rockin.' "Everyone's A Rocker" sounds like a slowed-down minimalist take of the Ramones' "I Just Wanna Have Something To Do," accompanied by a rhythm machine (or it sounds like it) (sacramentorecords.com)

Cross Class features Craig from RAD. Their six song tape is taken from a future 14 song release. Raw, fast, hardcore punk with the occasional blastbeat and also incorporating some floor-pounding properties. Only one song, the heavier-sounding title track, breaks the one minute barrier. Angry-as-hell sounding but a little kind of goes a long way. (craighancock2011@gmail.com

RANK/XEROX-M.Y.T.H. (Adagio830, 12")
It’s been quite awhile since Rank/Xerox released anything, 2011 to be precise, and their self-titled album was one of that year’s best. It was a wiry, angular post-punk attack that conjured up memories of early 80s Boston art-punk bands like Native Tongue. Their new four song 12” M.Y.T.H. fucks with that formula, a bit. In fact, it’s something of a departure. The title track works in synth bleats and it’s got a mutant pop feel ala Total Abuse, as does “Ingenue,” which also cross-pollinates Devo and 154-era Wire. “Zero Hour” and “Deletation” do harken back to what they did on the first album—two edgy and mind-numbing compositions. It did take a few listens but all four songs have an engaging presence, with different shadings. (www.adagio830.de

SEEING SNAKES-For Who? For What? (Violated, CD)
Seeing Snakes come from the melodic punk side of the street, with beefy riffs, heartfelt vocals and boisterous backups. They sound like they’d fit perfectly on one of those TKO Records "Punch Drunk" compilations, sharing space with the likes of The Forgotten or Hudson Falcons. Tuneful without devolving into anything saccharine. Nice ‘n loud. (violatedrecords.com) 

SIAL (demo)
Raging stuff from Singapore. Sial generate a buzzsaw fury, both at a fast ‘n ripping clip and songs that have more of a pounding, tribal feel. Guitar and bass riffs that are thick as molasses and Siti’s piercing, urgent sounding vocals with a bit of echo on them that bring to mind Spanish bands like Destino Final or Una Bestia Incontrolable. It’s a big, sense-enveloping sound. (sial.bandcamp.com)

SILVER SCREAMS-Defective Machines (self-released, 12")
A dose of hard-driving, rockin’ melodic punk. Silver Screams are at their best when they plow straight ahead with a volume-soaked attack, as with “Dead Air” and “Brownbagger." Those both connecting with a feisty west coast punk fervor, packing some scorching guitar riffs. The cover of Joy Division’s “Disorder” is well-executed, if fairly faithful. The only real misfire is the more down-tempo, slower-burning “Straightjacket.” (silverscreams.bandcamp.com)

SLIMY MEMBER-Ugly Songs For Ugly People (Drunken Sailor, LP)
It should come as no surprise that Slimy Member, who take their name from a Rudimentary Peni song, would draw at least some inspiration from that band. Their debut album isn’t complete tribute but the latter’s influence can certainly be heard on songs like “Revelations” and “Age Old Time.” Still, it’s the not the whole story. This Dallas band emphasize a goth-tinged ambiance with shimmery and slashing guitar layered over nimble, somber bass-lines and a solid rhythmic kick. The pace is picked up for the fast and furious “No God” and “Destroy and Resist.” While there’s a bleakness, it’s not really dark wave and there aren’t any keyboards. Slimy Member definitely come down on the punk side of the equation. (www.drunkensailorrecords.com.uk)

UBIK (demo)
Melbourne, Australia continues to crank out quality bands and Ubik is one of the latest. A tuneful post-punk meets anarcho-punk sound. Ash’s vocals have an engaging quality, with a passionate cadence. One song is about a right-wing Australian crank named Andrew Bolt, who seems to be a racist, down-under counterpart to the Breitbart acolytes that pollute the political stream in this country. A stirring message and stirring, sharply-played music (ubikpunk.bandcamp.com)

UNA BÈSTIA INCONTROLABLE-Metamorfosi (La Vida Es Un Mus, LP)
The latest from this Barcelona band has them continuing to fuse repetitive tribal rhythms to a powerful, numbing, guitar buzz, a sound they hone into a fiery concoction. Propulsive and explosive, particularly for “Estic Buit Per Dins” (”I’m Empty Inside”), with a relentless burn. “Tot Sol” (“Alone”) is a short, industrial excursion ala Ministry or Young Gods. To paraphrase Killing Joke (a band these guys certainly draw from), it’s time to go the fire dances. Smoothing off the rough edges a bit, perhaps a tad more melodic/accessible but still mighty powerful. (La Vida Es Un Mus, lavidaesunmus.com)

VIDEO FILTH

VIDEO FILTH/MUTANT ITCH-split (Dark Raids/Total Fucker, 7")
Video Filth have become one of the hottest live bands in Boston over the past year or so and their split release with Fresno’s Mutant Itch proves that out pretty well. Brian’s a soft-spoken guy but his vocals are harsh and guttural and it’s matched with the band’s meatgrinder Swedish-influenced hardcore. Mutant Itch have an ear-damaging sound that’s part noisy Japanese hardcore, part Disorder/Chaos UK-frenzy with the vocalist’s emanations basically being AAAAAAAAGGHH, as it says on the lyric sheet. (Dark Raids, darkraidslable.storenvy.com; Total Fucker, whokilledfucker.blogspot.com)

Hey, in case any of you have the urge to send me something the old-school way
Al Quint
PO Box 43
Peabody, MA 01960

and you can email at subvox82@gmail.com

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Suburban Voice blog #122


*Early last year, something I wrote for another publication was rejected, for reasons I'd rather not get into. Anyway, I'm finally getting around to sharing it in this space, with a few revisions to reflect recent events. I should note it's almost entirely non-music related. Enjoy...


Too early for Thanksgiving?

A MAN AND HIS LAWNMOWER (AND OTHER NEIGHBORHOOD TALES)

We’ve lived in our neighborhood for almost 20 years. While I’ve mentioned many times that Peabody isn’t a city with that high a collective IQ, our neighborhood’s nice, a quiet, dead end street with little traffic. I've looked out the window at the neighbors’ houses, and realize I’ve never even been in some of them. I don’t really consider any of our neighbors close friends, although most of them are friendly enough. I at least wave or say hi to the ones at our end of street. At the entrance of the street, at the top of the hill, I only really know one of the families. I’m friendly with the mother, Traci (we’re even Facebook friends), and her teenage son Chris mows my lawn sometimes and has done some yard work for me. He's polite and ambitious. 

I wish I could say the same for the kid at the other end of the street, who shall remain nameless. I admit I haven’t made it easy by having a total “get off my lawn” moment with him awhile back which really was a get off my lawn moment. He and a friend decided to set up a ramp on the sidewalk in front of my house to do some skating tricks. I was trying to sleep and came downstairs, opened the door and asked if they could do that someplace else. Yes, total grumpy old man reaction. How pathetic. This was a few years ago and let’s just say we haven’t been on friendly terms since then. Not that we ever were. It wasn’t helped when he and a friend decided to lob a snowball at my car when I was driving up the street a few years ago. I’m acquainted with his parents and they’re OK, although my opinion of them suffered a little when I walked through their house once and Fox News was on.

I used to be really friendly with the elderly couple who live between their house and ours. When I had my shoulder surgery in 2009, they raked the leaves in our yard and the woman used to bring us cookies around the holidays. My lawnmower has been busted for a number of years now and a few summers ago, I decided to mow it myself again and asked the man if I could borrow his lawnmower while mine got fixed (I never did do it, though). I did it a total of three times and by the third, he got pissed about it. “Why don’t you go to the store and get your own fuckin’ lawnmower?” He muttered something about having just had a heart attack. Whatever it was, he was in a foul mood. He still let me take it but didn’t seem all that happy. I might have fucked the mower up a bit when I hit a rock, unfortunately, but I didn’t mention it. I know that wasn’t the right thing to do but he’s used it since so maybe there wasn’t a problem. Anyway, ever since then, he’s been unfriendly. 

Things really went south a few months ago when I was cleaning out my garage after we'd had a drainage system put in and I leaned a few things against the fence that divides our yards. He came into my yard (twice) and knocked them over and then came up to the door and proceeded to scream and yell at me in a completely irrational manner. He'd really fucking lost it. He's really territorial about that fence. I imagine he might not have been pleased I've hit it a few times when backing out of the driveway. I guess I am a shitty neighbor. I thought maybe it was due to his age (I think he's over 90) but the neighbors on the other side said there didn't seem to be any cognitive issues. I guess he's just had enough of me. Oh well...

There were some neighbors—a brother and sister, Ron and Myra--that we were good friends with but they moved away over ten years ago after running into some financial problems. We've stayed in touch with Myra on Facebook but haven't seen them in years and I feel badly about that. Ron was kind of a Mayor of the Neighborhood type, always keeping a close eye with what was going on and always quick to lend a hand. He once helped me break into our house after I’d locked myself out. I’ll admit it was kind of entertaining watching Ron, who isn't all that thin, go through the second floor window but he did it. He also helped me when our house got flooded and when my snow blower wouldn’t start.

Whenever I showed appreciation for his help, he brushed it off and said he was just being a neighbor. I tried to find out his musical tastes and asked him if he’d like me to hook him up with some tunes but he didn’t hit me up on the offer, although I did burn him a disc of a Buffalo Springfield album (Ellen’s copy, not mine—she’s the hippie in the family). Speaking of music, I forget how it came up but he mentioned how he’d been on the stage when Jethro Tull played the Boston Garden in the early 70s and he’d partied with the guys from Ten Years After after the show. Maybe he was pulling my leg but it’s kind a cool story, bro.

Neighbors like Ron and Myra are hard to come by. Ron and I didn’t have a ton in common, except for both being passionate Boston sports fans and I suppose that’s a typical thing guys bond over. I miss having him around—and not just because he’s helped me out with stuff. It’s because there’s something comforting about coming home to a neighborhood where people look out for each other. That’s still true to an extent and some nice people have moved here in recent years. But to this day, when I look out of my window after I wake up in the morning, there’s still no red van, no hockey net in the driveway, no Ron walking around outside. And something doesn’t feel right about it…

PS—while I was working on this column, the kid from the end of the street and his equally obnoxious friend were outside making a racket trying to do tricks with his Razor scooter and tossing the pieces of a broken skateboard at the powerline in front of my house. Would it be mean to want it to come down and... ZZZZZAPP?  I guess it would. 

THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF RECORD REVIEWS...
 

BAD NOIDS

ALPHA HOPPER-Last Chance Power Drive (One Percent Press/Radical Empathy, LP)    
From Buffalo, Alpha Hopper's sound is a potent mesh of post-punk grind and heavier impulses. Loud and intense, with guitar lines that weave an often-nightmarish tapestry and that's reinforced with a rhythmic power-boost (given the space exploration theme, I'm not being very clever, am I?). Irene Rekhviashvili's vocals have the same sarcastic timbre as Natalie from Nots. Such songs as "Launch Pad Blues" and "Chief Of The Edge" have a NoMeansNo-sounding fury. Music to shake up your senses.(PO Box 279, Buffalo, NY 14213-0279, onepercentpress.com)

BAD NOIDS-Doggie Bag World (Feel It, 7")
Always thought this band had a few screws loose, especially when seeing them live and their singer set his hair on fire, made an awful joke about the Marathon bombings and jumped on my head. Anyway, they continue to ply loopy-sounding punk slop. "Into The Future" is some Crime-inspired rawk while, on the flip, they rant 'n rave their way through two quickies. They'd probably be at home on Lumpy. (www.feelitrecordshop.com)

BEASTEATER-s/t (Big Neck, LP)

Tom Potter has been kicking around the Michigan music scene for years, having played in Bantam Rooster, Dirtbombs and others. His new band, Beasteater, includes people from Blowtops and Fatal Figures, two loud Buffalo bands of note. Got all that? Their self-titled album provides plenty of loud, heavy, fuzzy riff-o-rama. Noisy, buzzy and boisterous and, yes, it’s got a garage rock pulse but it’s under a heavy cloud of distortion. More psycho than psychedelic and, to quote the lyrics on the lengthy “I Eat Scum,” they really do sound like they’re about to lose their minds. Cool cover choice in Swell Maps’ “International Rescue,” which is given a good battering. This disc will give your ears a good battering. (www.bigneckrecords.com)

CONCEALED BLADE

CONCEALED BLADE-s/t (Beach Impediment, LP)
A barrage of throat-grabbing hardcore. This crew was one of the best bands I saw last year. A speedy attack interspersed with some floor-pounding breakdowns. Not chuggy tough-guy hardcore, just a mean sound, guttural vocals and lyrics filled with plenty of rage and negativity. Sounds like fun, huh? Bruising, no-nonsense hardcore and few bands are doing it as well as they are these days. (beachimpedimentrecords.bigcartel.com)

DAUÐYFLIN-Drepa Drepa (Erste Theke Tonträger, 7”/demo tape)
This mostly-female Icelandic band includes three members of Börn, but instead of that band’s goth emanations, this is a thornier, abrasive punk take. I might give the edge to the 7” but the demo is also worth your time. Screaming vocals that could wake the dead and an unholy, feedback-laden musical attack. “Elthrellir” is punctuated by a sinister laugh and the atonal sax squall for “Við erum Daudyflin” is also quite jarring, in the best possible way. (erstetheke.de; daudyflin.bandcamp.com)

DAVIDIANS-City Trends (Sorry State, LP) 
Davidians debut album (following a demo and 7") is a potent dose of nervy, tension and release hardcore with an abundance of rhythmic complexity. There’s also a haunting guitar sound, eschewing power chords for something sinewy and sinister. Once again, a band that could fit into what I’ve been tagging “outsider hardcore”—a frayed ambiance, a sense of foreboding that doesn’t follow standard verse/chorus/verse structures. There’s also the willingness to experiment a bit, as with the minute or so of feedback damage bridging “Lousy With Hagar” and “Track Suit Glasses." Potent music not fitting in with any specific hardcore niche. (www.sorrystaterecords.com)

EXTERMINATORS-Product Of America (Slope, LP)
When one hears about a band getting back together for the first time in 40 years, it usually sets of alarm bells. They’re louder when the band had never recorded before. Well, you can silence those alarms because the Exterminators' long-delayed debut album is pretty damned good. To make the story short, the band formed in Phoenix in 1977, contemporaries of the great (and also underrated) Consumers but fell apart fairly quickly and the members scattered into such units as the Germs, Bags and Feederz—drummer Don Bolles, who wrote the liner notes, was one of the members. Three of them return, with the late Rob Ritter replaced by Cris Kirkwood from the Meat Puppets on bass. So what do you get from four guys in their late 50s? Some damned fine loud, rowdy punk. It may not have the rawness of ’77 and some of the leads are on the metallic side, but the attitude remains intact. That comes out for songs like “I Hate You,” “I Don’t Give A Fuck” and “Bionic Girl” (a song later done by the Feederz). “Sometimes I Don’t Know” delves into thrash a bit. The closing songs for each side provide a change of pace—the brooding “Destruction Unit” and “Serena II,” a poem set to a mass of feedback that really doesn’t work. Otherwise, this is roaring good time. (sloperecords.com)

IN SCHOOL

IN SCHOOL-Cement Fucker (Thrilling Living, 7")
On In School's latest, there are no punches pulled, just a fuzzbomb attack of vicious guitar and bass lines, spot-on drumming and harsh lyrical sentiments—“making my plans for your destruction… “bloodlust is right”… “I have no pity for you anymore…” Those are just a few snippets and this is In School's most powerful recording to date. (www.thrillingliving.com)

JJ DOLL-s/t (Katorga Works, 7"), 
JJ Doll was formed out of the ashes of Ivy, shifting Sara from guitar to vocals. It’s not a major musical change, with the noisy stew of punk, hardcore and garage remaining intact. Sara’s vocals are something of an acquired taste, as she coos, squeals and yells around the songs but there’s a certain charm to their uniqueness. It just takes awhile. But the songs are vibrant and energetic and the personnel change hasn’t hindered anything. (shop.heavenstreetrecords.com)

MONGOLOID-Plays Rock And Roll (Deranged, LP)
  
Rock and roll is kid of a misnomer, although MONGOLOID’s brand of hardcore punk does have a slight rock ‘n roll undertow, if you count the “Louie Louie”-ish intro and rockin’ fervor of “Slam Pig.” If anything, there’s a POISON IDEA tilt to this Portland band’s sound and Sam’s vocals echo Jerry A’s. It’s all done with gleeful, chip-on-the-shoulder malevolence.

OMEGAS-Power To Exist (Beach Impediment, LP)
The rampaging drums for "Boom Boom" introduces the first Omegas album in over five years and, as always, they uncork thorny, high-energy hardcore in brief flashes of fury. Save the nearly three-minute creepy crawl of "Duster's Blues," only one other song breaks the 90 second mark. An off-kilter ride that shifts easily from one tempo to another--kinetic thrash, floor-pounding savagery and good 'ol rock 'n roll fodder, delivered with lurking around the corner, knife-behind-the-back menace. (beachimpedimentrecords.bigcartel.com)

POOR LILY-Dirt On Everyone (TV-Mayor, LP)
How did that Nirvana song go? Just because you're paranoid don't mean they're not after you? I know they got that from somewhere else but I digress. Poor Lily's latest (their third full-length overall) is a concept album about NSA surveillance and it plays as one long piece. The digital download is one long track.  It's not the type of record where you can drop the needle anywhere. The only way is to hear it from the beginning. As usual, they navigate through a dynamic and complex musical post-punk/rock/hardcore domain, as one composition flows into another. No hooks, so to speak, but an attention-grabbing sound and, in this era of Wikileaks, Ed Snowden and possible manipulation of the election, it's hard not to feel as though everyone is under constant surveillance, where whatever nefarious entity you can think of has "dirt on everyone." The album comes with a collage-style booklet that's a visual assault, a bombardment of disjointed words and imagery, although there's no missing the point of the Uncle Sam parody that says "You Got Nothing To Hide Until You Do." A riveting dystopian musical nightmare. (www.poorlily.com)

REACHAROUNDS-Hunter Gatherer (Push and Pull, LP)
There have been a few bands named the Reacharounds over the years--this one's from Springfield, MO and their album brims with a kinetic energy and a lot of rhythmic muscle. An instrumentally dexterous unit providing the soundscape for brash vocal emanations and pointed lyrics that ruminate on life's day-to-day struggles, getting more direct with the anti-police tirade of "I Can't Breathe." (the title comes from when Eric Garner was murdered by police in NYC). Stirring energetic post-punk/hardcore drawing from the well of the Big Boys and some late 80s DC hardcore and even a touch of Mission of Burma in spots. The blunt production, emphasizing the bottom end, really enhances the music's power. (511 E. Edgewood, Springfield, MO 65807, alwaysgodown.bandcamp.com)

S.L.I.P.-Slippy When Wet (Sorry State, LP)
This band includes members of Concealed Blade and Blood Pressure, but they offer something different from those bands. It's a rockin-n-rollin’ concoction but not cock rock. This is something darker, along the lines of earlier Annihilation Time, punks scratching their rock itch although they don't completely leave the hardcore behind, as on "Not Your Prey." Twin-guitar riffing offering an arsenal of edgy, Ginn-inspired squalls. “There’s No Hope For The USA,” is a bit of protest music for the New Dawn, a comment on “the perfect storm of human trash.” “Trend Setter” packs a whole lot of sarcastic snark for its tongue-in-cheek putdown of every stereotypical punk subgroup you can think of. (www.sorrystaterecords.com)

UBIK-s/t (demo) 
This Melbourne band's demo has been logging a lot of time on my various musical playback devices. A tuneful post-punk meets anarcho-punk sound. Ash’s vocals have an engaging quality, with a passionate cadence. One song is about a right-wing Australian crank named Andrew Bolt, who seems to be a racist, down-under counterpart to the Breitbart acolytes that pollute the political stream in this country. A stirring message and stirring, sharply-played music (ubikpunk.bandcamp.com)

VIVISEKTIO-Ydintalvi (multi-label, 7") 
This Finnish band was around the in 80s and got back together in 2008. Their latest 7”, the title of which translates to “Nuclear Winter," is a power-packed outing. Four old-school Scandi-core rippers plus the more melodic, gothy title track, which is actually the highlight. An urgent, spirited male/female vocal tandem, along with the full-on musical attack. (band contact: vivisektio83@gmail.com)

WARTHOG

WARTHOG-s/t (Beach Impediment, 7")  
Four new tracks of brutal hardcore from this NYC wrecking machine. It's a fusillade of big guitar chords, pulverizing bass and drums and Chris Hansell’s rage-filled vocal howls. Three fast ones and then the brooding ‘n powerful dirge “Coward,” which was a set standout at the last Boiler Room show in Boston, and that song has a fast and blazing conclusion. Big and nasty-sounding. (beachimpedimentrecords.bigcartel.com)

WETBRAIN-s/t (Residue, 7")
Five new songs (including a cover of a song by one of guitarist Shaun Filley's old bands Possessor) and it's another dose of Clevo HC. Not as blown-out or raw-sounding as the old-time purveyors but these are still throttling songs with hot guitar licks. If there's any sort of theme, it's how people get anesthetized by their social media while staying in the dark about drone strikes and other political malfeasance. Cynical punk for cynical times. (www.residue-records.com)

X=-5 Walls (self-released, LP)
This Pennsylvania band have a number of releases under their belt, dating back to 2012, but “5 Walls” 12” is the first I’ve heard. Impassioned hardcore with lyrics that look at the state of the world, sometimes in straightforward fashion, sometimes a bit more obliquely. A mish-mash of fast hardcore, more melodic compositions (such as the ear-grabbing “Body of Evidence”) and some songs that stretch into a rock-meets-Fugazi vein, as with the title track. Makes me think of some of the late 80s/early 90s hardcore bands where they were moving into more tuneful realms. It’s not 100% successful but there are stirring moments. Beautifully-packaged in a screened sleeve with a screened lyric book and on clear vinyl. Only 100 of ‘em, too. (exequals.bandcamp.com)


BOOK REVIEW



Spoke
 compiled by Scott Crawford, Akashic Books
Subtitled Images and Stories from the 1980s Washington DC Punk Scene, this book is essentially a coffee table tome that provides a primer to that city's legendary punk legacy. Crawford has been immersed in the scene since he was a pre-adolescent in the early 80s, going to shows and publishing Metrozine. He also produced the documentary film Salad Days, which got some mixed reviews--I liked it but some found it a bit stylized, some were disappointed that it didn't have more of a hardcore emphasis--but DC's punk universe was always evolving and expanding. That's captured here. It's an oral history format, with quotes taken from the film, accompanied by striking black and white photography and a clean layout. The narrative is a little choppy but you do get different perspectives--I especially liked the candor from the various members of Dag Nasty. Done chronologically, starting with Bad Brains and the HarDCore bands, through the "Revolution Summer" period--Embrace, Rites of Spring, Beefeater and Gray Matter--and ending where things got much more diverse--Fugazi, of course, bands like Ignition and Swiz taking a page from the earlier era, the more rock-oriented, melodic sounds of Jawbox, Soulside and Shudder To Think to the provocative, unclassifiable Nation of Ulysses. Band members, photographers, label people and fans get their say, including an outsider perspective from the ubiquitous Thurston Moore. It's not a comprehensive history--that's been covered in other books--but Spoke works very well as a visual artifact. (www.akashicbooks.com)