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DEMOS/TAPES WINTER 2009-10

Key: (RK: Rich Kroneiss)(DH: Dave Hyde)(BG: Brandon Gaffney)(RSF: Rob Vertigo)(JC: Jesse Conway)

Talbot Adams “Weekend” CD-R
Unpretentious confessionals gracing near-catchy electrified pop-rock with jangly jang jang percussion. Like KK/BBQ but from the angle of town-perusing, daydreaming of snuggling with a scarved, rosy-cheeked virgin instead of stealing some tastebuds from her pie hole with your fun pole. Rudimentary garage trotters, clean and simple, with that refreshing honesty Home Blitz delivers and the lush and flowery wallpaper the Fresh & Onlys have gracing their garage as well. The good of the bunch (“Not Even Europe”) transport you to the stupored state of Euro-travel and recreational pharmaceuticals lamented therein, while those coming up short (“Friday Night”) sound like Elvis washing dishes at an Outback Steakhouse in 1997. Those fond of the OMB aesthetic applied to very, very emotional tunes will dig it. (BG)
(self-released // myspace.com/talbotadams)

Balaclavas "E.P." cassette
Houston post-punks with a reissue/remix of their debut five-song tape from 2007. I remember not really being into the 12" they put out, but I also don't remember it sounding a lot like this. Minimal and dark, very atmospherically paced songs that combine Goth moves with a dub-like sense of rhythm. Manages to be theatric yet minimal as well, almost Birthday Party-esque when the sax kicks in on some songs but without so much agression. Release the bats and just mellow out. Bass playing slides and bumps to good effect, drumming is rather jazzy. Vox don't get in the way either. Really d-r-a-w-n out compositions lull you into some not necessarily bad dreams but somewhat uneasy ones. For night time listening only. Not totally my bag, but a quite unique sounding band. Interesting enough to make me want to go back and listen to that record again and see what was up. 100 copies.(RK)
(Skrotup // www.skrotup.blogspot.com)




La Banda's "EP" CDR
This is the gang that set up the Pink Reason tour of Chile, so you know their hearts are in the right place. Global DIY or die community and all. If you've seen any of Kevin's reports from his South American jaunt, you know they apparently hold Spacemen 3 in high regard down there in Santiago. And here's the puddin' for proof. Only two cuts, one clocking in at around 25 minutes, the other around ten. Recorded live and I'm assuming a little bit of improv going on here, it's ethereal and thick guitar drone and rhythm. They just pick a riff/beat and totally ride it into the ground. Maybe not setting shit on fire, but they get a good smolder going. Honestly, the 25 minute cut seemed to go by a lot quicker. Good stuff to play while you're doing housework or tripping balls. It's good to know that this sort of music exists in South America, it's at least comparable to some lesser Wooden Shjips action and other modern day psych revivalists, and I imagine the heads over at Aquarius would get at least a chubby from this. The second track is little more aggro, less dreamy, but still drooooooooney. No vox either. Don't need 'em.(RK)
(Las Dand'srcrds // ???)

Black Tar demo cassette
This self-released and home-dubbed job starts out really strong by blustering right out of the gate, with some nearly Skull Music sounds/vibes. Tough-n-dumb sounding mid-tempo garage-punk, buffoonishly monotoned/spat vox, great shitty drum sound/playing, loud and clear guitar stroking. Real gutsy and primitive, almost like a Homsostupids playing Pissed Jeans songs for a really lame comparison. The first three tracks are good falling-all-over-themselves punk with the singer stumbling around some creatively moronic drum/guit/bass racket. Fourth song turns instro, trashy yet eerie, almost an FNU Ronnies feel to it with an ominous one-finger synth line. The last cut gets a little queer though, just guitar twiddling with some ambient backing murmuring. Seems out of place, like they had to throw in another "weird" track or something. Fuck track 5. But, I will say the first four songs on this would make a 7" worth talking about.(RK)
(self-released // parick4uy-at-gmail.com)




Bloodclot Faggots demo cassette
Ain’t the most memorable tunes, but considering the band might not be able to remember them either, it’s appropriate. I like this. The vox are at times outrageous (how often can you say that with regards to something with sensibilities as leveled as hardcore punk circa 2010?). Total busted-vein squeals a la H-100s grace a more ‘core interpretation of subversive city rock like Shoot It Up. It’s possible we’ve finally stumbled upon a new Out With A Bang, only they can’t sing as much about blowing lines for days straight as they can being genetically subpar Aussie asshats getting their wieners caught in shampoo bottles I guess. LOL. If I were in these guys’ shoes I’d really commit to the mid-tempo mongo-jamz, ‘cause fidelity/ethos wise they’re kindred spirits with, uh, maybe, Spike in Vain, and could pull off some heavy-hitting I-just-drank-the-fluids-under-the-sink dirges. Do it dudes. Pull your shafts outta the goats residing in the barn you recorded this in and hypnotize all us wiggers. Best packaging ever too, and it looks like it was ripped open by customs in light of the female power-rangers’ desecration.(BG)
(No Patience // www.nopatience.org)

Blood Wing s/t cassette
Militant Native American themed synthy punk from Washington state. I'm assuming this is a newly sprouted branch of the Spits/Spider/Black Orphan family tree. Or Blood Wing just borrowed some of their synth/drum tracks. "Your Turkey Is A Fool", "Red Blood In The Snow", "Proud Eagle" and three more. "War Cry" is the punk tune, with dum-dum vox and a side order of Livefastdiesque guitar-star moves. On "Mountain" he sounds like he's doing an impression of the Alice in Chains guy. Then the vox get even more theatric in an Eighties metal way and there's some heavy riffing and hot dog solo action to be had as well. Crunchy. Six cuts ripe for a vinyl release on Solid Sex Lovie Doll. I bet the joke is funnier if you're in on it though. Tape is limited to 100 copies and has good looking fold out card.(RK)
(Skrotup // www.skrotup.blogspot.com)

Brain Damage s/t cassette
Eight song tape from Swedish synth-punker. All electronic, no guitars or drums in evidence it seems. "De Stirrar" sounds like Stephen Hawking's cold wave band. From there they just get into instrumental cuts, mostly on the doomyside with some distorted vox here and there, occassionally and accidentally evoking a Pink Noise-like sci-fi vibe. Most of it sounds pretty friggin' corny. Not good and limited to 100 copies. That's all I got. Next.(RK)
(Skrotup // www.skrotup.blogspot.com)




Brain Idea demo cassette
Post-punk-ish demo from Chicago three-piece. Gang of Four semi-funk meets emotional indie rock. Echo-ed out vocal treatment isn't doing them any favors, makes them sound like dozens of other generic bands. They should move to Brooklyn and get huge.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/brainidea)

Broken Neck s/t cassette
Raw and nasty hardcore punk with those male/female interplay screaming vox that I hate so much. For something that's going out of its way to be dirty and brutal, it really comes off pretty tame due to zero style or substance. Next.(RK)
(Fan Death //www.fandeathrecords.com)

Brown Sugar "Deportation EP...and some other trash" cassette
These meatheads are pretty much Buffalo's best band right now, at least until Plates return to action and the two of them battle it out for WNYHC supremacy. Brown Sugar have done great things for the Buffalo scene and they are loved by all. This tape repeats their long OOP debut 7", along with a collection of demos, living room jackoffery and live cuts from throughout their brief yet fruitful existence. If you haven't heard the EP, it's fantastic, and one of the finer hardcore-punk slashers of the past couple of years. The guitar kid really knows how to riff it up, I enjoy the lackadaisacal but effectively raw performance of the foreigner on the vocals, and the rhythm section is a blur of rage and facial hair. The bonus tracks they tack on are an audio biography of a bunch of kids messing around in a basement and their evolution into a bunch of kids messing around on a stage. the american dream on cassette. Look out for their 2XLP to be hitting the shelves sometime this year, supposedly a concept album based on the works of James Joyce, and check this tape out until then, since they have no other merch for sale anyway! Nicely screened slipcovers and insert. I have beef with them repping the West Side though, as their turf is strictly Northwest B-Lo. Get in where you fit in fellas.(RK)
(Feral Kid Records // www.feralkidrecords.com)




Butcher Cover s/t cassette
What a wonderful, wonderful collection of songs. Truly brutal shite from an ex-Tractor Sex Fatality bro and some like-minded Bay Area hatemongers. Two sides and a dozen tracks of scuzzzscreeee, drawing influence from every paint-peeling band since the dawn of time. You'll recognize some of the relentless Stoogian repeat-o-drive of Los Brainbombs, a flicker of mashed-up Japanese hardcore intensity, Whitehouse-esque electronoise, straight-up grindcore blastbeat Napalm Death head nods, Flag-meets-AmRep riff-kill a la Drunkdriver, Drunks with Guns power drone, power metal, power electronics, power bombs....it's all there. Like I said, a really wonderful bit of tape that succeeds on many levels and pulls off many different appraoches to ugly. Shit, I would commit this right to vinyl with some mastering to snip off some of the split ends. It would have people drooling. Great guitar sound, drums have just the right sheen'o'shit on them to make them sound both loud and crap. And even though he's a pal, I have to say Robbie V puts up some of his best gutspewing vox here, even better than his "voice" from TSF. Old school violent-rock brought into today's vernacular, lovingly strung together with movie soundbites. This and the Landlords tape are gonna be duking it out for cassette of the year.(RK)
(Military Radio // myspace.com/butchercover)

The Chickens "The Chicken" cassette
One man insanity from Philadelphia's Street Kyle, also known as the drummer from FNU Ronnies. Five quickish songs, drum machine and synths, a little bit of the feel-bad paranoia vibe from the Ronnies 'Golemsmoke' EP, but nothing quite as good as the Chickins cut on the Siltbreeze 10". Last song on Side 2 is the winner, real rubbery rhythm and a direct to the dome synth line, plus I really dig it when he does the rapid-fire jabbering vox treatment. Decent for a tape, I'd expect there's gonna be a full-fledged Chickens record soon enough, but I would think it should be better than this. (RK)
(Fan Death //www.fandeathrecords.com)

De Hoje Hale “Franskbrod” cassette
Charmingly tone deaf vox gracing tight ‘n clean, psychically tense KBD dark-wave-meets-The Kids style punk from Denmark. Not quite as frayed around the edges as the drunk & demented Scandi bands they’re caressing the grundle of, and practice space recording adds to the demo-status tape, but the songs are good. The whole scene of Nordic-spin-on-da-Buzzcocks, a sliver of which was documented by makeshift comps like KBD, is still one of the most engaging footnotes in punk and its good some bands are still into the shit. This doesn’t reach the bizarre heights of a “Hitler’s Barn” or a “Das Jazz,” but what does? Similar to their buddies Mig & Min Ven. Yay. (BG)
(Dead Kids Records // www.deadkidsrecords.com)

De/V/Oid s/t CDR
Jesus. After listening to a half dozen or so CDRs wrapped in black and white sheets of paper with semi-interesting imagery and song titles and having them turn into nothing more than time-wasters I start thinking about instituting a no CDRs policy. I know that if you at least took the time to put out a cassette you're sort of serious. Any joker with a PC now thinks they can send this crap in for review. Seriously folks, think about it before you send this shit in. Fucking ridiculous. This is drone-ish bleep-bloop minimal wave electronica from The Netherlands that I honestly don't think anyone ever needs to hear. You owning a computer does not mean you have "a band" and releasing CDRs from your living room does not mean you have "a label". You know what? Me and my friend Jaymie had "a band" when we were in third grade, we released a cassette on our "label" of us covering various Fat Boys tunes and telling jokes based on the film Ghostbusters. We recorded it on a boom box. You didn't see us thinking anyone other than our mothers wanted to hear it. So what's your excuse? HOME RECORDING IS KILLING ME.(RK)
(Chaos Sex and Death // myspace.com/devvoid)




Feral Children "Hits & Improv" CD-R
"Drum machine psych". Yep. One guy kinda riffing over top of some canned beats and laying whiny echo-vox on top. A pretty gruelling forty minutes that I had to throw the towel in on at around the half-way mark. Weird Canada? I wouldn't even say this is all that weird. Perhaps ill-conceived or aggravating or forced, but this is just too genuinely bad to be called weird. Weird is Dave E. or Timmy Vulgar, not "artists" aspiring to be on Not Not Fun.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/feralinchildren)

Gape Attack s/t cassette
More dreary and wet synth-works from the Pacific Northwest. It’s got the glue wave/dark wave locked down tight on side one’s four tracks, but when side two kicks off with "Zombie Attack" they’re more amphetamine fueled than cold med stoned. This track's vox comes across all hiccup-y like a Gibby Haynes. Nervous, rambling and darn right worthy of some praise. Then it slows back to a lull. Some low-buck Cure instrumental play carries the tape onward ("Dunne"), which I like quite a bit. Pretty good for what it is…just wish there was more of that zombie track! Where are they hiding/keeping these bands up in Seattle? Machine Works/The Mercury? Private entry can hurt the sales. 25 minute tape. 100 made with color tray cards, proof of purchase and color labels. Comes with a screened oversized poster of cover art. (RSF)
(Skrotup // www.skrotup.blogspot.com)

Geezer in the Olds "Hits' mini-CD
Archival release from defunct Quincy, MA obscure garage band Geezer in the Olds, who existed from 2005-2007 according to the liners. How it ended up being released on 3" CD via a London-based DIY label is anyone's guess. Eight tracks of Sixties reverential garage rock, lo-fi and trebly, I'm thinking these guys didn't venture too far out of their basement. Painfully simple tunes and lyrics, what you might expect from a bunch of dudes in their very first band, and you do start to find yourself rooting for them, but that soon turns to general disinterest. Really sounds a lot older than 2005, but I guess these guys were actually active in the Eighties Boston scene (in some band called The Lincolns), which explains a bit. You can tell these aren't kids playing this stuff. No youthful exuberance in evidence. They lift parts from various garage hits, do some faux-blues moves and awkwardly work their way through eight rudimentary tracks. It's like a not funny or punk version of The Penetrators in a few moments. "Old Milwaukee" is their ode-to-suds hit, and the only one on this I'd go back for. Realistically, it just sounds like a bad garage band playing bad garage songs badly. Not as good as that description makes it sound at all. Puzzlingly bland. 50 copies with mini-poster.(RK)
(Savoury Days // savourydays.blogspot.com)




Glitter Wizard "Rawiz" cassette
I raved a bit about the Glitter Wizard 7", and made some claims about this tape as well. I've since heard some commentary that these guys are a "joke" band, lampooning a la Spinal Tap or some shit. Like they wear capes and are goofing on the genre. Firstly, I'd be kind of upset if these guys didn't wear capes. And if they're taking the piss, they're doing it real well, and this genre is generally so over the top anyway I'd be more turned off if they were trying to be too serious. All that crap aside, you really get your money's worth here. Each side racks up at least twenty minutes of heavy jams, all recorded live at their practice space or a Bay Area venue. Both tracks from the single show up, plus more prime movers such as "Like It Rough", "Motorcycle Highway" and "Mirror Man". A baker's dozen overall, and the loose-n-live vibe plays out really well. Extendo space-jams, they sound a lot more like Hawkwind than Monster Magnet on much of this, and the deep space drive ventures into the outer reaches for sure. Lots of guitar wizardry and pedal mayhem, abundant swooshing and oscillating, but on a few tracks they actually attain more of a straight heavy rock vibe as well, a bit like Vee Dee perhaps. Baloney or not, I still dig this, whether I'm on drugs or not. If this is a gag, they should just go balls out and get Mike Lucas to play the Michael Moorcock role and really get weird. And if you didn't see the 7" review, I feel obligated to mention this is member(s) of Nothing People, Liqourball and Monoshock. Well worth the money.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/glitterwizard)

Grave Babies “Deathface” cassette
Death pop for the one arm swingin’ Goth dancer out there. Highly enjoyable throwback to the 120 Minutes-style alternodaze, but with extra bedroom strum and tape static. Feeling a bit of Q Lazzarus (y’ know, "Goodbye Horses…") in this hiss. Also weird Sixties downer psych and chamber music. Electric Prunes’ "Mass"? The Zombies? The band, not the monster. I’m a big fan of film samples and movie nods on tapes, but they shoulda’ dug a little deeper than NOTLD. That flick is played out in segues. Otherwise, surprisingly enjoyable musique. If ya don’t like it, hand it over to the girl pulling coffee in the Red Lorry Yellow Lorry shirt. She’ll thank you later. 11 tracks and some noise. Half hour. 100 made with color tray cards, proof of purchase and color labels. Swank! (RSF)
(Skrotup // www.skrotup.blogspot.com)

Grown Ups s/t cassette
Now, this is what I like to see from a tape. Never heard of these guys, but they have some sort of Archie-meets-Garfield cartoon character drawing on the cover which makes me laugh. Grown Ups pack seven tunes on one side (no flipping over, and enough music to keep you entertained), and it's a charming little hand-dubbed job, with insert, home printed labels and photocopied/hand-numbered j-card. See, shit doesn't have to be too flashy, just show that you took some care...anyway, the tunes are real good. Research shows they're from Alberta, home to the recently hot scene with bands like Myelin Sheaths, Wicked Awesomes, Sharp Ends, etc....Edmonton or Calgary, not sure which. Reminds one a lot of the Estrogen Highs, sort of no-frills garage rock, but Grown-Ups have some poppier moments and sound a little heavier as a whole. Maybe a little more punk than garage, good sound on the tape, recorded well. I listened to this a few times through, and honestly, I think they have more personality than some of the dour post-punk bands that hail from the same province and have records being released on high profile labels. Limited to 100.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/wearegrownups)




Heavy Times s/t cassette
Rollicking poppy garage-rock lo-finess from "a mid-twenties burnout". Five tunes, the three on the A-Side are real quick movers, actually pretty hooky, especially "Good Looker" and "Stoned in the City". Just simple and well written songs. Pretty good vocal harmonies too, the drums sound like cardboard, clean and crisp guitar sound. Sort of playing on the same field as Eric & The Happy Thoughts with a bit of Fifties vibing, he'd fit right in on a bill in Lafayette with Boy Toys and Romance Novels. On the B-Side there's two more mid-tempo songs, and while not as immediately rocking, they still get a barb or two lodged in ya. Good for a few fun and lightweight spins.(RK)
(Dinosaur Club // www.dinosaurclubrecords.com)

Holy Cobras s/t cassette
Psych-punks from the capital of Canada, which is actually Ottawa, not Toronto or Montreal, you dumb American hillbillies. "He Is Rubber, Not Real" is torn from the Wooden Shjips songbook. "Age of Reptile" and "Mama Jihad" are bubbling with weird synth oscialltions and gurgles and outsounds and make me think of outre Detroit skronk, like Human Eye or something, but not as punk. Or rock. Or good. Not bad though. Three more cuts on Side 2, recorded by Choyce in Montreal. Spaceship-synth overload with tribal beatings, singer sounds a bit like Hot Rod Todd. "Drugstore" is The Distraction reading a PK Dick novel. These guys have a bunch of tapes out and a single upcoming on Telephone Explosion.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/holycobras)

Human Race "Duality EP" mini-CD
Another entrant in the recent UK punk/garage onslaught that has brought us winners like Pheromans and Hygiene so far. Human Race fit in just fine, playing some hearty frills-free punk rock with the requisite DIY-UK flavor. It's rather exciting what's going on over there, it seems like this scene erupted from nowhere and they're slinging some quality goods. Twanged-out guitar playing, very British monotalked vocals that border on disinterested-sounding, quite simple and direct playing with proud mid-tempo drive, loose but controlled rhythm section. Five songs of droning punk action that are absolutely enjoyable, "Cage Fighter" is one hell of an anthem with a surfy guitar line, "Woke Up This Morning" gets a little wild, but these guys never totally blow their cool. "Brain" and "Incantation" are rumbling thumpers revolting against ennui and modern problems. I also love the fact they list World Domination Enterprises an influence. Very pleased to have made this little disc's acquaintance. 50 copies with mini-poster.(RK)
(Savoury Days // savourydays.blogspot.com)

Jayne Mansfield Death Cars "Light As A Feather Stiff As A Board" cassette
Wacked weirdo home recording project from the wilds of Michigan. Instead of the one-man-band routine, this is actually two or three people getting strange on tape. A dozen tracks of budget weird-punk utilizing distorted guitar pluckings, primitve percussion, dime-store electronics, the occassional snotty/muffled vox/yelping, found sound clippings and tape manipulation. A real raw flea market punk rock dynamic here. No super catchy songs or overly identifiable stuff that you want to go back and listen to again and again, but overall it does do the job of providing some out-of-the-ordinary background music while you read comics or look for that fucking Cosmic Psychos 7" you can't fucking find in all these piles of records around here. I like it. 100 copies, with poster and download.(RK)
(Skrotup // www.skrotup.blogspot.com)

Los Knock Knock's "EP" CDR
This one came along with the La Banda's EP, and it's more of a conventional synth record. No vox, seven cuts of all electronics. The first few cuts are passable enough and have a catchy dub-like quality to them. A few of them are just goof-off fun-n-games where someone's playing with presets and sounding like some video game background tunes. And then for a few moments it will sound like a Pink Noise track....must be the vintage synth aroma. Cool to see this coming from Chile though, but other than the exotic locale it's rather pedestrian.(RK)
(Las Dand'srcrds // ???)

The Krunchies "No Dice" cassette EP
Tour tape from Chicago's cutest punk trio. Three basement jams, and one studio outtake, which is actually a Bananas cover that they pull off well. Really quick punk tunes, pretty lo-fi, and realistically, even though I think the Krunchies are an under-ratedly good punk outfit, this thing is over so quick it's sort of not worth it. It seems like it's four minutes long. They should've piled on all the other singles and shit. Even though the record buying public has been conned into thinking tapes are once again a viable/cool format, the "cassingle" is still a waste of time. $4 is $4, maaaan. At least give me fifteen minutes of material. Or a 7". Limited to 200 copies, comes with a button.(RK)
(Bloodstain Records // records-at-localcross.com)




Landlords "Wheelchair Night" cassette
Holy shit! What a fucking monster of a tape. And band! From somewhere on the East Coast (NYC? Mid-Atlantic?), these five cuts are supposedly their early material, and it's pretty god damn massive. Industrial strength hammering. Hellish, but not hammy. "Indian Giver" is one of the heaviest fucking songs I've heard in a loooong time. Guitar scree, fathoms deep bass/drum wallop, tastefully yowled vox. Monolithic. These guys blow Pop. 1280, New Flesh and Twin Stumps out of the water and can probably take the Pygmy Shrews too. Not that I think those bands aren't any good, but Landlords really deliver on the promises I hoped those bands would fulfill. "Crimson Cream" is more hot-n-heavy assault and battery. And these songs are on the B-Side! Truly brutal, how do these guys not have a record out yet? Fan Death or Parts Unknown must have a boner for these guys. I know I do. "Vanity Plates" sounds like Buttholes if they were an industrial band. Sick as hell phaser vocal effect on this track and outta control slide guit. No smoke-n-mirrors art school noise-wank here, sounds just like straight from the gut(ter) unholy rock'n'roll. And the industrial rock influence is there in spirit all over this tape, but sans the drum machine and white noise electronic bleating. "Eye Contact" is their experimental number, real rubbery and damaged with some metal sounding (as in sheet metal) percussive elements. "Bite Me" is more oppressive ear-boxing animosity. Rob Vertigo, order this tape now! Would play well on a bill with Drunkdriver, Kilslug and Rusted Shut. Recording is well done and super fucking loud. One of the best tapes I've been sent this year, I'm excited for this band to get on vinyl. Limited to 150 copies.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/landlordsny)

Manual Zombie "Autumn LP" CD-R
I was hopeful heading into this one. Zodiac imagery might be played out, but it had a nicely crafted little fold-up paper sleeve and looked like it had some potential to be mean-sounding. First few cuts had me listening close. Dark and thick sounding weird-punk, obviously indebted to the psych/kraut influenced guitar rock of Creed/Edge, and not coming off too bad with their interpretation of it. Cacophonous and dense, they do some good layering of noise along with live guitar and drums. Vocal treatment = hazy, slurred, and recorded from the next room. They keep this up at a good clip for the first six or seven tracks, mixing in some movie soundbites to break up the songs. But after that first initial burst you're stuck with ten more tracks that get progressively less interesting. The vox start to get annoying, the songs get wimpier in a Captured Tracks bedroom style and they lose any sense of doom the earlier cuts might have tricked you into feeling. Listening to this whole thing makes me like the first few cuts that I thought were good even less. Hopefully they'll work things out for future releases, and I think they might be trying to pull some Goblin-esque soundtracky moves off as well, but they're getting too bogged down with the vox and bullshit and need to stick to the darker and ballsier material. Too much too soon. Just checked their Myspace page: they're from Brooklyn. Strike two. And I see they have like six other CDs out as well. Strike three. Thanks for playing!(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/manualzombie)

Modern Convenience "Artificial Light" mini-CD
3" CDs really freak me out for some reason. I always feel like they're gonna get lost in the player or something. But I overcame my debilitating fears to review the three-pack of discs sent over from the folks at Savoury Days, because I think they really have a good thing going over yonder in Old Blighty. But the joke's on me, as Modern Convenience are actually from Memphis. One man in the studio stuff, seven tracks of garage rock with synth, reminds me of something from Seattle or the Dirtnap roster. A little bit'o punk with some romantic sounding neo-New Wave parts and corny garage swipes too. Everything is played and recorded just fine, but the songs don't manage to rise up anywhere above average. The guy sings in a warbly out of tune near falsetto on a few tunes, and it's not a good move. Bummer. 50 copies with mini-poster.(RK)
(Savoury Days // savourydays.blogspot.com)




Mordecai "Hugo Ball/Two Rooms" CDR
Absolute cacophony from fucking Butte, Montana of all places. The definition of a "noise band", not some hipster flagrinos playing with laptops or pretentious concept artistes calling themselves "noise". This is an actual guitar/bass/drum band making fucking noise. It's as if they're learning how to play their instruments while you listen. And they've apparently still got a ways to go. Ridiculous really, but give me this as a "concept" over any of that art-school crap. And I shouldn't really say this is a thought out concept, it just seems to be some young kids fucking up. Is this an enjoyable listen? Barely. Viscerally. It's so disjointed you can't even tell what's happening most of the time, vocals sound like they're being relayed through a walkie talkie, it's like a free-rock project gone to hell. Twenty-two tracks, they almost cover 'Funhouse' in its entirety, somehow forgetting "LA Blues", and they're the most unidentifiable Stooges covers you'll ever hear. I was trying to figure out what they're doing by tracking them through something familiar like "TV Eye", hoping that might lend some insight into their approach, and I came up empty handed. I don't think there is an approach here, they're just playing the songs to the best of their ability. At least I hope that's what's going on. I have no idea why I keep listening to this. It doesn't make sense at all. The second half of this was apparently "engineered" by someone. What? Crazy kids. Remember when the Watertown scene was all the rage? This is sort of like that, except these kids' heroes are the Electric Eels and not Creed. The note they sent stated "hopefully we aren't on the same paige" (sic). I have no idea kid, no idea at all what just happened here.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/gangoffourripoff)

New Flesh “2003 Demo” cassette
What would you get if you remove the garage from the Monstertruck005 singles and gutted the hardcore leanings from Unsane’s post-Charlie period? This here. White static and pummel all rumbling along in a haphazard production that’d make the Homostupids blush. Noise rock one-upping the noise quotient but still rocking like mutherfuckers. Ugly and smart. Well, not too smart. Let’s say…better versed in song structure than the brutal hillbilly savant stylings of Rusted Shut. Thick and ugly mess. Five years old and these saw blades still sound wet. New Flesh recorded with Mr. Ski Mask?! Quit holdin’ out on me in the Jesus Shed, Richie. 200 pressed. Re-issue. (RSF)
(Fan Death // www.fandeathrecords.com)

Outdoorsmen "Summer of Hate" cassette
Summer tour/Budget Rock fest cassette release with four new Outdoorsmen cuts. "Sock Puppet" and "Summer of Hate" have some real punk snarl to them, nasty garage a la Spider Babies. Chad's vox sound particularly ferocious and they have a real meanstreak here, eschewing the more swinging BFTG-attack from the singles. Flipside has two cuts originally done by Soap Scum, who I'm assuming are a pre-Outdoorsmen outfit. "You Smell Dumb" and "Rat Bite" are both simple one-two dummies with a poppy-punky feel. Juvenile high school antics. A-Side of this is pretty ace though. More 7" action coming from these dudes, one on Milk-n-Herpes, one on Goodbye Boozy and maybe another self-released number. "Peel slowly and see" packaging concept is quite clever (and pornographic, perhaps influencing my Spider Babies name drop above...). Limited and spray painted.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/theoutdoorsmenmusic)




Picayune "Fucking At The Altar" CDR
You know, I guess it isn't hard to burn a CDR of yourself fucking around with Pro Tools or a four-track, a guitar and some electronics for a half hour. It also isn't hard to find a cool looking black and white image for a "sleeve" and make up some intriguingly vague song titles. I have stacks of evidence in the archives to prove this. The hard thing for me to understand is why you would think people want to listen to it. At least write some passable songs. Or write some lyrics and then actually sing or at least yell or talk, instead of just mumbling and breathing heavy. Throw me a bone here. This is not music. You know this. Really, it's just kind of rude to send this crap out for review. Guess where it's from? Brooklyn! FUCK, I'VE BEEN HAD ONCE AGAIN.(RK)
(Calypso Hum // myspace.com/calypsohum)

Red Mass “Scars” cassette
Glad to get my hands on this little six-songer. It took some effort. Hell, it takes a lot of effort just to keep up with this band. They’ve got releases available in Canadian gumball machines…and I’m not even bullshitting. From what I gather this is a Choyce solo outing in the more garage side of all things Mass. The opener ("Scars") is by far the odd man out, flailing about in a metallic guitar loop with layered vocals dealing with…well, scars. And killing lovers. Long, repetitive and for the Suicide fan out there. Ghastly with an affected crazy-person vibe, and yes, I’m totally down for it. From there you get some great tracks that would fit in nicely on Goodbye Boozy or even some old CPC recordings. Shit hot leads and bust a nut vocals. "Guns" is the Black Flag flying over Necessary Evils territory. "Demons" has 68’ Comeback style running on pure Diddley power. There’s the punk punch of "Ghosts"; a song that preaches the devil's word until it's shot down midway in a No NY guitar fit. A chant-ified and droning cover of "Tupelo" & the porch strummed amplifier shorting blues of "Daggers" closes it on a loose screw note, book ending the release in a weird wraparound. 100 copies made with a nice color tray card. Last time I looked, Florida’s Dying was holdin’.(RSF)
(Campaign for Infinity // www.campaignforinfinity.blogspot.com)

Rib Cages “Will Beg For Money” Tour Cassette
Here we are, before their first legit release (though the band already has their copies of the Lemon Session singles club record for grabs), and they’ve already done switched it up some. It’s not like they really messed with the formula. They just went and got a bass player, possibly as response to Soriano’s Z-Gun review. Who knows? They were already a whip-tight act with a damn good crooner. Now there’s a bunch of beefy lows in the mix so the guitar can janglefuck away at its leisure. Blown out practice space fidelity just adds to the immediacy. Fast FAST buzzsaw garage punk that lends some H.B. Strut© to the classic Don Howland sound. Violent redneck fist pumping action. Man, this would be a good demo for a Crypt record. Ag-i-tated. If you’ve heard the 7” tracks and dig on ‘em, this bonus rumble will make ya fuzzy. If ya haven’t heard the 7” you should. Total barnstormers of the Horrors or Revelators tribe. (RSF)
(self-released // myspace.com/ribcages)

SFHHH s/t cassette
Cassette EP of tunes that, stylistically, are all over the punk/noise map. "Fake Stress Neuroptera Grab" (!?) has a repetitive sonic scraping reminiscent to early Sightings, but this time female fronted. Following that up is a breakaway pop hit called "Day Care". Some garbage rock of a space-aged cave dweller or possible B-52’s fan. Next is a lumbering anthemic punk tune called "Last Wanks". No Wave buried in some serious crushed & blown drums. Ending the side off with looped shortwave signals (or possibly a locked tape groove) is "True Stench". Some barely audible vocal passages sprout up after a couple of minutes. Flip and repeat. Nope. It’s got a blank side. Here’s where you put yer Dead Kennedys. Tape 100 made in color tray cards, proof of purchase and color labels. Comes with a screened oversized poster of cover art. BOOBS! (RSF)
(Skrotup // www.skrotup.blogspot.com)

Slaughter House Death Kamp demo CDR
Six tracks of raw hamburger garage punk from the OC scene that brought us unheralded but pretty damn good singles from Discreet Doll Band, Bobby Nobbit and others on Rich Bitch Records. They're not the best at picking out band names, but they get the rockin' right on target. Nothing here that's reinventing the punk rock wheel, but the vocals are hilariously hoarse and vicious and they're playing some pretty savage shit. Shit-fi and barely competent, the type of band that stinky basement shows were made for. More hardcore than a lot of modern hardcore. "Warrior Battlefield" is the winner of this half-dozen, and "Cocaine Werewolf" is the runner-up, even though it sounds like they ripped the title from LFD. An enjoyable demo, probably not ready for vinyl just yet, but a little more tweaking (of different kinds) could result in something that would go over big in Cleveland, i.e. ignorant and crude coke-fueled scumpunk. Keep me posted fellas. Ziploc baggie packaging and werewolf imagery were much appreciated.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/sltrhsdthkmp)




Socialistic Jonny Goblet “Audiodiablerie” cassette
I’ve never been a noiser. My logic is that if I’m yearning for disjointed, uncoordinated bagoulash sound I can hang out downtown, or at a construction site, or at an Italian wedding or something. No thanks. SJG is noise (eject now if you're one of those people that like music), but at least it offers an exalted viiiiiibe. It’s not harsh penetration on a monolithic, go-nowhere, contrived drama bend begging for appreciation. I’ve indeed employed the Heart of Darkness reference in a previous review, but were Conrad transported to the epoch of film, “Oceans of Timelessness” would be a contender for his rowing-into-primitive-territory scene, and even the bird-sounds accent the foreboding implications of modern, surplus-minded conquest. The psychic orchestration of correcting innocence. If “Sadistic Uprising” didn’t have growls atop, it’d sound like a Futurist teen shooting speed for the first time. “Emerging Demonic Power” displays tape manipulation of a recorded sermon. Eight ordeals of slow-burning aura-builder-uppers (aside from throwaway faux-grind towards the end), droning on and on into a poisonous pulp fit for any horrendous cinematographic pursuit.(BG)
(Incoherence Society // 622 Seminary-W’Burg Rd., Collins, MS 39428 USA)

Spettro Family cassetta
Here we’ve some good new fashioned “apocalict prog from the deep south,” but by “south” they mean the nether-regions of Italia, and by “prog” they mean horns and drones and computer-generated sounds. Drums that double as a cacophony of bees buzzing around makes way for some inaugural hornery and then some eyelinered metros peruse the eurodance runway, after which some cheesy bleep bloop caresses minimal electro-drums, Michael Myers stalker-tunage and television static to close out side one. Excited yet? Y’know, fascisto-synth and undulating cyborg stuff follows, sounding like Spock and Picard entering a cave. I’m gonna go get something to eat. (BG)
(Vade Retro Records // www.myspace.com/dottordark)




Spits s/t cassette
A-Side of this one is the 'Schools Out' LP with a slightly different track sequence. B-Side has three of the tracks from the Slovenly 7" ("Army Life", "Beat You Up" and "Pain") plus three more unreleased tracks which obviously kill ("Liars" and "Piss On Your Skull" in particular) and ends with a bonus remix of "Beat U Up" with hot licks from the mighty Camero Werewolf laid on top like a laced joint. Killer? I think so. Limited to 200.(RK)
(GGNZLA // myspace.com/ggnzla)

The Telephone Callers cassette extravaganza
36 killer hits on this one. Summer Jamz ’10 for sure. It bugs me to compare everything tasting more like improv than existing compositions to Sockeye and Icky Boyfriends, and that’s because I like those bands. This is buggin’ me because the improv-intentional ratio is so unapparent… time signatures are on point, catchy chord progressions meet fumbling percussion abominations, bass lines are nervous as angular uncooked-noodling hides in the background. Oddly enough, there’s some bright glimmers on here, some folky, keyboard-winkle discordant Dicks type glee, spastic lo-fi jerking off and Pere Ubu-ish tinkling forays, particularly when who I’d assume is the one jerk belonging to the hit-record-and-see-what-happens camp falls asleep on the couch after stealing the drummer’s mom’s quinine water and reading greeting cards in the corner of the basement for hours. Minutes upon minutes of what seems a recorded jam-sesh of youth-punk endearment with simple slop-fest highlights littered throughout. Someone should get fascist on these Ann Arbor wankers. (BG)
(self-released // myspace.com/telephonecallers)

The Teleporters "Corsica Night Flights" cassette
Side-fling from the UK Pheromoans camp. Spoken word bits with subtly noisy tape damage collage and found sound cut-n-pasty. An avant-weird half-hour of limey canoodling with the DIY idiom. Off the cuff story telling, poetry reading, casual chat about porridge over a hazy English Channel field recording, random murmurings from the pub over pints recorded for posterity via a handheld tape machine snuck in a pocket next to a pack of fags. An interesting diversion from the best collection of chaps under the Queen's rule now that Agent Caution has hit pause on the Black Time. Limited? I'm not sure, but each tape seems to have a unique cover for all you collectros.(RK)
(Savoury Days // savourydays.blogspot.com)




Tusk Lord "Summer 2009" cassette
Collection of demos from Pittsburgh's Tusk Lord, recorded in days from 2005-2009. I've raved a bit about the Tusk on here before, and I think he's one of the best things the Steel City currently has to offer aside from those Rot Shit clowns, Kim Phuc and Slices (a band Mr. Lord also plays in). I've compared him to some of Eno's more earthly/green works in the past, and I'm sticking to it, although a lot of tracks on this tape grow into more acoustic territory. Reminiscent of some of Rick White's solo work and the dark folk feel of some of his Elevator tracks. Introspective and somewhat dour throughout, random field recordings and gentle synth tones bridge the gaps between quality songs like "Museum Fly" (written from the insect perspective), the chilly "Afraid of the Dark" and a cover of Brian Wilson's "He Gives Speeches". He even plays a bit of piano, making me want to place some sort of tickling-the-ivories joke here. Side A flows well as a whole, Side B gets a little stranger, with out-of-tune guitar plucking and some vocal trickery with a running outdoorsy current of birds and a breeze. The nature vibe is in place here as usual, and it's a facet to his work I truly enjoy, evoking naturalitistic settings from forest clearings with sunlight filtering through branches and subterranean caves where albino salamanders with no eyes roam. Why there isn't any Tusk Lord vinyl yet remains a mystery to me, as his best work from the various cassettes and CDRs I've heard so far could make a wonderful LP at this point. Limited to 50 copies, pro-dubbed tapes, full color card.(RK)
(Dynamo Sound Collective // myspace.com/dynamosoundcollective)

V/A "A Range of Great Dividing" cassette/CDR
Compilation from Aussie experimental label Great Dividing, who brought us the Exiles From Clowntown 7" and helped get the last copies of the Three Toed Sloth LP out and about. Nine tracks, I think a lot of it sounds a bit more New Zealand-y than Australian, if that makes any sense. Aside from the two previously unreleased Three Toed Sloth cuts (which are both good and raw), much of this reminds me of an old Xpressway comp or something. The EFC cut on this sounds more than a bit like The Clean. Rock Boycott remind me a bit of The Rebel's more experimental side on one track, then pull a Syd Barrett-ish childlike number as well. Shoptoprockers (recorded in '91) is a nice lo-fi bit of Tall Dwarfs-ish Flying Nunnery. Nine tracks from five different bands recorded between the years of 1990 and 2009, and it's all worth hearing. Americans don't really make music that sounds like this. Cassette is limited to 50 copies with hand stamped sleeves, I imagine the CDR version is plentiful (and more affordable to ship).(RK)
(Great Dividing // www.greatdividing.com)

V/A Michael Jordan/Rainbow Party split cassette
MJ play what seems to be some sort of melodic emo/moshcore hybrid. Rainbow Party are apparently a wacky lo-fi Zappa/jam band thing. I think they just played a ska song there. Nobody wins here. Myself included.(RK)
(Nervous Attack // myspace.com/omgtapes)

Wayne Shredsky s/t cassette
The cool thing about tapes/demos are sometimes you get some really cool looking shit with what appear to be clever concepts/ideas behind it and it turns out to be a good listen. The frustrating thing is when something looks good and actually isn't. Sure, Wayne Shredsky isn't the most brilliant joke ever, but I liked it. I like hockey though. Calling the songs "The Stanley Cup But Filled With Weed" b/w "Ice Bong" and "Puck Murder" and billing yourselves as "marijuana metal" is a great idea. The bad idea = the songs sound like three guys who aren't sure how to play their instruments improvising some "heavy jams". Not even good in a bad = good sense. Waste of a good idea fellas. Move along...(RK)
(1019 Records // www.1019records.com)

Whatver Brains "Trim-Jeans and/or Gross Urge Plus Ten" CDR
I wasn't quite impressed with their last 7", but it certainly wasn't a bad piece of modern semi-weird indie rock either. Spread out over this 11 song CDR I'm digging this band more. "What Happened to the Destructionaires?" really is a superb slice of nasally odd-pop, appearing here in an acoustic/demo form which I like to think has more character than the 7" version. "Cousteau on A Crutch" is overblown and bursting with teetering and wobbling guitar-garage moves. Choice covers can make or break a band, but they do a good lo-fi acoustic Donovan tune, whip out a surprising Double Negative cover ("Look at the Rats"), turning it into frantic and disheveled Intelligence-like rock-n-drool and they rock up a Jeff Mangum tune (not a fan of that guy, but I won't deduct points). A well played hand. "Love Taps" rocks quite hard and the version of "Summer Jammin'" here plays it cool and twangy, showing a good knack for switch-hitting tempo-wise. I guess "Gross Urge" is the centerpiece/title cut here, and it melds some Nineties indie dynamics with loping rhythms and sharp guitars. I feel like this disc is their best foot forward so far, some repeats/alternate takes of a few cuts from their tape and singles, but it feels like it's all new. A little too poppy/polished for say, the In the Red roster, but they could definitely score with a label that's a little safer/less raw, as there's quite a bit for indie-punks to like.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/whateverbrains)




Wizard Smoke "Live Rock In Hell" cassette
Atlanta heavies playing in the doom/stoner spectrum. All riffs, adept soloing, pretty solid. I'm not currently up on the genre, so I don't know where these guys stand in the food chain, but they sound great to me. I don't recognize any of the other bands they've been in either (Maserati? Cassavetes? Dust Rabbit?). Formulaic sure, but they have some skill. Vox are pretty raw and the dude belting them out looks a like pretty gnarly guy. Songs listing is thus: "II", "I", "III", "IV" and "I (Reprise)". Clever. Recording is not as mammoth sounding as this stuff should be, but it is a tape after all. As I said, the guitar playing is good enough to get these guys over, I'm gonna say he has good "tone" even though I don't know what the fuck that means. I was really into this stuff years ago, but gave up on it after Electric Wizard released 'Dopethrone'. Where could the genre go from there? E-Wiz just killed it for any other bands when they released that masterpiece. Never really caught up with Om or Sun))))))OOOO or any of that fancy boy shit. Anyway, this stuff is in the EW vein of Sabbath induced head-bonging, and this is the kind of stuff I dig. Slow but not too slow, just riding the riffs without any wanky Zep-style moves or proggy bullshit. If this were a record, I would probably play it more than a bit. Wizard Smoke isn't the most creative name of all time, but I think you need to be a little boneheaded when it comes to this. Tape cover looks like an old Jason Jessee deck. Limited to 140 copies.(RK)
(Big Mountain Tapes // www.wizardsmoke.net)



BONUS PRINTED MATTER

I really appreciate all the paper-n-ink zinesters out there still fighting the good fight and sending us their wares to make us feel like inadequate sell-outs to the printed rock fanzine cause. But I digress. If you fancy yourself any sort of zine-reader these days, then you know that Australia is where it's at. I say this again and again, but the statement is such a truth it begs repeating. Aussie zines just kill. Leading the charge as always is Distort, the child of sometime TB contributor DX. Classic example of one man/one voice zine, so well done that new issues get repeat reading almost immediately. Issue 23 has a great introductory piece positing a punks-as-nerds theory that is just another example of DX's well thought out and riveting copy. This is what it's all about. The rest of the ish has a wonderful Straightjacket Nation tour diary, classy pics, a much-needed Watery Love interview, Wasted Time and Waste Management Q&A (what is it with W bands this ish?) and no reviews section, which shows how quality the rest of the content is. When you can get by without the backbone characteristic of any zine, you know you've got something good going. Issue 24 is a tastefully done cut-n-paste job compiling odds-n-ends from other zines, new and old, showing a true love for the form. Anyone without a subscription to Distort is severely lacking in common sense...DX is a swell guy and all, and has really helped me out with my Aussie musical pursuits, but I have to say, the kids doing Negative Guest List out of Brisbane might be taking the Oz zine crown from his head any day. Issues three through five are out and about now, and are amazing reads. Aside from them having the best reviews section since the glory days of Forced Exposure, their interviews are always irreverant yet informative, and so well done I'm honestly jealous. In these three issues they tackle US heavies like Rusted Shut, Eat Skull, Wizzard Sleeve and even do an oral history sort of thing about the pre-Pink Reason outfit Hatefuck, alongside meet-n-greets with the new Aussie vanguard as well: UV Race (with Uncle Sharkey), Native Cats, Straight Arrows, Deaf Wish, Kitchen's Floor and more and more great new bands you've never even heard of yet. They also toss in great stuff like "Fleece Reynolds Tackles The Hype" where he breaks down the latest slate of hipster buzz bands (a personal fave of mine), an article on the under-rated/unknown Aussie entity Big Bongin' Baby, an actual negative guest list and cool comics and graphics which you just can't get from the on-line format. These kids have it locked and loaded and it's aimed at your brain. I'll be saving these issues for my grandkids...Also from Orstalia is Mountain Fold Music Journal, the exact opposite of Distort and NGL: slick, packed with corporate ads and pro-printed, but still containing quality content. They get a little artsy (Sun Araw, Release the Bats), but issue 3 still keeps it punk as well, with wonderful pieces on Pink Reason and UV Race and a heartbreaking Rowland S. Howard chat which I had actually just read the day before he passed. Each interview segment features artwork curated by the band as well, which is an insightful touch. Free in Australia, but worth ordering to foreign shores....It's not often we get actual books to review, but the fine folks at Backbeat Books are always nice enough to send us their tomes, the latest being The Official Heavy Metal Book of Lists, by Eric Danville (alse the editor of Penthouse Forum), with an intro from Lemmy and Cliff Mott artwork throughout. The ultimate in bathroom reading, it compiles over 130 lists from some famous contributors (Ice T, Peter Grant, Oderus Urungus, Sasha Gray, Mike Edison, Vince Clortho and more...) and others from Danville himself. A great way to kill some time while laying cable, with topics from "8 Awesinne Dee Snider Quotes from the PMRC Hearings" to "25 Metalheads Who Appeared in Porn" to "Manowar's 10 Favorite Metal Cities" and more more more. You get the idea. Very well done and a great companion to Manitoba's Book of Punk Rock Lists. Also, look out for a book on the Nineties garage-punk boom from NBT hero Eric Davidson very soon, which I believe will be available on this imprint as well. As always, thanks to all above for sending your stuff, we need more! (see the below links for direct contact, and NGL and Distort can usually be found in the US via the distro sections at Fashionable Idiots, Goner and Florida's Dying)

(Distort Fanzine // www.culthardcore.org)
(Negative Guest List // myspace.com/brisbanefanzine and uptheshitter.blogspot.com)
(Mountain Fold Music Journal // mountainfold.com.au)
(Backbeat Books // www.backbeatbooks.com)


To read past reviews go here.

TAPES AND DEMOS SHOULD BE SUBMITTED TO:

TERMBO WORLD HQ (RK)
301 Tremaine Ave.
Kenmore, NY 14217

and/or

Brandon Gaffney (BG)
366 Ontario St.
Buffalo, NY 14207

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

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

Japanese Division:
Jesse Conway (JC)
Shikitsunishi 2-12-17-404
Naniwa-ku, Osaka 556-0015



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