HOMEREVIEWSCONTACT LINKSARCHIVES FORUMS

DEMOS/TAPES SUMMER 2010

Key: (RK: Rich Kroneiss)(NG: Nick Goode)(BG: Brandon Gaffney)(RSF: Rob Vertigo)(MH: Mike H.)(JCO: Jim Colby)(BK: Dicky Butler)


Abortion Eve "Rae" cassette
"Pedaless 1 track guitar into a dictaphone". Yep, that's what this is alright, cling-clang pretense from Melbourne that goes on and on. I don't "get it", but really have no desire to anyway. It is what it is, and what it is is not music. Plinity plink goes the avant artiste and I'm falling asleep while he strokes his beard and experiments.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/abortioneve)

Alvarius B "Blood Operatives of the Barium Sunset" cassette
Tape reissue of an apparently out-of-print LP from an Alan Bishop psuedonymn, he of Sun City Girls legend. I'll confess, I'm barely familiar with the Girls recorded works, which may put me in a bad position as a reviewer here and sure to make some readers question my credentials. Honestly, it's just something that's slipped through the cracks for me, perhaps subconsciously instigated by a fear of their daunting catalog. On the other hand, maybe it's helpful for me to bring no baggage to the party. I donlt know how similar this really is to the work of SCG, but it isn't quite what I was expecting. I'm no expert on the avant/experimental fields, but to me this is describable as high end outsider music offering up some twisted and perhaps even tackily hateful lyrics and concepts, but attention fetching regardless. He sounds like a really mean-spirited folk artist, spitting his words with true contempt against acoustic accompaniment with an unnerving and strange darkness. "Mr. 786" is superb storytelling with a desert/Western theme and the standout performance here. The perverse country-tinged vibe that links everything together is carefully crafted with covers of both Frizzi (an interpretation of a piece from a Dracula film) and Morricone (and other spaghetti moments of lone gunman whistling and subtle braggadocio) culminating in a closing cover of "Shenandoah" and carried throughout with originals like "Missy Undertaker" and "The Feel" and the twang and drawl of both Bishop's voice and guitar playing. Moments of gentle depression play out through death-longing ballads and harrowing western tales delivered with spite and resignation. The musical equivalent of 'Blood Meridian' perhaps, a rather astonishing piece of work with a poetic Chris D.-like deathwish. I'm depressed I only have this on tape, and also sort of upset I never paid attention to Sun City Girls for all these years. I've got some work to do.(RK)
(Plus Tapes // www.plustapes.com)

The Baths s/t cassette
Baths is the new band from SF-based musicians Jigmae Baer and Jeremy Cox, both formerly of the now-defunct Tea Elles. This tape, their debut full-length following a single for Rad Key, sounds nothing like their old band, instead bearing more of a resemblance to the slower, more psychedelic early period of Thee Oh Sees, for whom Baer used to play drums. That and side one of 'White Light/White Heat' (the title track excepted) — the guitar leads on “Pleasant Feeling” channel that record's sound with drugged-out grace. It’s all catchy, no question, despite every tune’s slow pace and cramped production, bass guitar and floor toms right up front alongside Cox's husky falsetto and Baer's flat, deadpan vocal. Every song kind of blurs together, but since when was that something to complain about? “Nikki Don’t” is an especially good song, boasting the record’s most memorable melody, and “Bad Heart,” with its resigned recollections of an ex-girlfriend, a philosophy professor, and a visit to SFMOMA, is likewise remarkable. The whole tape is worthwhile — eight songs, grinding through about five minutes each — and it’s only 5 bucks from the reputable Wizard Mountain. Gets better with more listens too. Baths will undoubtedly be released on vinyl pretty soon, but if you don’t mind cassettes, get on the bus! (MH)
(Wizard Mountain // www.wizardmountain.org)

Black Wyrm Seed s/t cassette
Sort of a half-baked (bwahahaha) stab at stoner rock. Not actually heavy in the slightest, more like stoner jazz-folk or something along those lines. No raging bong-rippers here, this has a more "let's smoke a doobie and listen to nothing but the mellowest of Kyuss tracks, dude..." vibe. That's a bit of a harsh review toke I guess (just wanted to shoehorn that in here), as there's some decent guitar noodling here in a Robby Krieger-esque style and this isn't bad if you just want to get low and zone out and listen to this guy whisper his vocals. They actually get evil on the last track and remember to add the bottom-end most dopesmokers demand and they pull out a gong instead of a bong. Good getting ripped tuneage I suppose, but what isn't?(RK)
(Plus Tapes // www.plustapes.com)

Blasted Diplomats s/t cassette
Blazingly average indie-garage band from Chicago. Some studio, some live (in a basement), all unremarkable. They make the Mannequin Men sound like the Stones. NEXT.(RK)
(Plus Tapes // plustapes.com)

Bombon "El Party Con Bombon" cassette
Three chicks from San Pedro playing twangy surf-style pop-punk, mostly intrumental, with some subtle Mexican spice. Sounds like a pretty tame party. Cute and all, but really nothing more than ordinary. For fans of Josie y El Pussygatos. A good fit for a happy-go-lucky Burger tape, but I wouldn't think this would need to be released in any other format on any other label.(RK)
(Burger Records // burgerrecords.webs.com)




Brain Flannel "TAPE" cassette
North Carolina punk band playing it weird and dank. Mix of male/female vox on five tracks about drugs and sex. Decent demo-quality stuff, the trade-off vox have a lot potential and I like how they're working it, with the chick totally deadpanning it against the more prominent dude voice. Mix has the vox way up front burying the band a bit, but it sounds awlright, songs are sort of bass-driven with scratchy guitar work, a mix of garage-punk with some leftover hardcore leanings. Tough hooks. Hilarious band name and a good start. Members of Grids, Logic Problem and more. 100 copies.(RK)
(Statuestory Tapes // statuestorytapes.blogspot.com)

Buck Gooter "Dogfood Towers" cassette
Wacky metal-punk hybrid shit from nowheresville Virginia. Whacked out amateur-hour rocking, it's one old dude on guitar and some younger kid on the screams, drum machine, theremin and whatnot. I wish I could say they're the next White Boy. Actually, I probably shouldn't wish that. They're not anyway. It's like Antiseen meets Ween or or some other hideous combo. I guess there's a movie about them, and I'm sure they're local characters and all and have supposedly released ten albums already. This one here is on a home-dubbed Maxell, but the session was done with Don Zientara at Inner Ear. I can't beleive Don couldn't get these guys on Dischord. No really, it's not terrible. Well, maybe it is sometimes. Riff, bad drum machine beat, howl, throw in some Gameboy sound effects, and you have a tune. It's just a couple of dudes from the country getting weird and probably playing awful shit-punk fests and local gigs with whoever will have them, so I can respect their hobby. It's cool to think they're probably the weirdest dudes in town. Just make sure you stay there fellas. Blow off some steam after putting in a long shift at the diner and keep everyone in Little-Pond, VA thinking you're a couple of big freaks. You know who will probably appreciate this stuff? Euros. I'm thinking the Germans would probably go for this.(RK)
(self-released // www.buckgooter.tk)




Cave Kids "You're Awesome" cassette
Blow-out garage-punk from Nebraska, I imagine they run in the same Omaha scene as The Yuppies. Only three songs, they somehow managed to capture a wonderfully shitty drum sound and the rest of the mix is just in-the-red fuckery. "Babies Come From" starts it out with an average but energetic punk blast, but then they go and get all arty and the second cut is just backmasked tape nonsense. "A Tribe of Lights And Colors" on the flipside is about half-good, a slow-n-rough yet catchy sprawled-out country/prairie rock shooter in the vein of Golden Boys, at least until they queer it up a little too much with a poppy chorus part. They finish it strong though and then add some more tape speed-shifting crap at the end. Hey, at least they got the drum sound right. Try and focus next time kids. 100 copies with unique painted cases and hand-etched tapes.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/thecavekids)

Ceiling Stares s/t cassette
Morose-side-of-classic-indie fare I reckon… almost. Frankly, I don’t know what the heck this Pittsburgh outfit’s going for. Which isn’t a bad thing. “The Upside” offers thunderous percussion meeting some adventurous fret-travel and a reverence for aura that brings to mind a sinister Pixies sorta’ angle T-boning faux-charming hair-over-one-eye outta-tune yawping of the Modest Mouse/every “folk-punk” band persuasion. Yes? No? “Repossessed” juxtaposes a sordid progression with some sugary vox, while their best tune “A Tunnel Through the Air” is tucked away at the end – marching drums, a minimal two-noter with some wank-transgression coalescing with an infectious, less ethereal Fresh & Onlys type of harmony. Pretty. Covers many of the bases in the field of post-post-punk, which is a foreign arena to this dipshit, but it isn’t shabby ennyways. Yay! (BG)
(self-released // www.theceilingstares.com)

Cointel Bros s/t cassette
These guys have no idea what the fuck they're calling themselves. Cointelbros (is it one word or what?), 2 Dollars Out The Door (I remember reviewing their 12", not as bad as their then band name, but that band name is pretty fucking bad) or the amalgam 2DOTD/COINTELBROS. Guess what? This isn't good enough to be spending that much time deciding what your name is. You guys got bigger fish to fry. Less confusing baggage, more tunes. Hyperactive bass and drums duo from San Fran (they had a keyboard player too at some point, blahblah...), arty and quirky and fast, I will give them points for recording this thing good-n-shitty. The drums sound like crap in a way that I enjoy. Too bad the rest sounds like I'm listening to it with cottonballs stuffed in my ears. Actually, it's not all that bad, they hit the tight grooves and all that shit, has an almost dark spy-surf vibe at times. But when you're describing yourself as "anarcho forty ounce molotov jazz", I have to walk the other way. Too wacky for their own good. 60 copies, I hate it when bands spray-paint tapes. Put a cool name on this and wipe my memory of any previous knowledge and I might like this a lot more. Right now it just makes me think of shitty bike messenger dudes with terrible beards.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/twodollarsoutthedoor)




Constant Mongrel "Go Fuck Themselves" CDR
Raw-dawg two-man Australian band doing the blues-stomping and the garage-punking. Scratchy riffing, low-frills drumming and some dude vocal harmonizing makes tracks like "Leaving Today" pretty damn catchy. "Shoot The Ball" is damn funny and makes effective use of tuning peg twisting. Seven tracks that have all the energy and audacity that I always wish Digger & The Pussycats would bring to the table. They have a split tape out with John Sharkey III faves Taco Leg out as we speak which I do not have a copy of for some reason.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/constantmongrel)

Cowabunga Babes s/t cassette
Five song tape that I think might just be the tracks from their 7", which I don't own to actually check into. Austinites sort of doing the Slumberland-into-Captured Tracks foggy dream-pop DIY-gal thing (though there's a couple dudes involved, all the vox seem to be of the female persuasion excepting some Fresh & Onlys-ish trades-offs on "Youngest Grandma"). Lots of harmonies and back-up cooing, lightweight tunes and concepts ("(I Feel Like A) Teenager" is a winner), simple instrumentation and rhythm with ringing guitar and lower-fi recordings and sloppiness, in a cute and mannered DIY-fashion, not lo-fi savagery. They have a bit more character ("LLydia Lunch" is a cool tune) and are a lot less obscured-by-fuzz than most pandering to this genre, so I give them a leg up on the pack. A lighter-hearted and more listenable Brilliant Colors perhaps.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/cowabungababez)

Criaturas demo cassette
A rip-roaring, not to be missed debut from down in Lone Star country, Criaturas’ demo introduces a band that is not tentative at all in what they have to offer. Furious hardcore with a big, full sound and songs with well-crafted hooks that are supplemented by Dru’s banshee screams and wild guitar leads (some of these are a bit too HM for my tastes but even those don’t drag on). Eight tracks on a pro-printed tape. A Termbo pick of the month. (DH)
Eight songs of injurious hardcore punk, fronted by a chickadee belting it out in espanol. Blazing twin guitar attack with plenty of riff damage and solo action keeps you listening and mile-a-minute rhythm section makes for maximum blastitude. Members of Deskonocidos and Fully Coherant and more of Austin-town's finest real rockers bringing the multi-cultural Texas-core raging. I'm sure these kids are going to get signed at SXSW and end up on Matador in the near future. Nah, just kidding. I imagine they'll release some singles with black-and-white covers and shit, drink a lot of beer and continue to rip harder than most of the bands on Youth Attack. Pro-printed tapes/j-cards with fold out insert. Unholy rock'n'roll.(RK)
(self-released // waldocide-at-gmail.com)

Day Creeper "Exposed To The Universe" CDR
Sampler platter from C-Bus outfit apparently floating under the radar down there, as they seem to be the only band in the city without a release on CDR. Well, they do have member(s) of Outer Spacist on board, so that sorta counts. These cats released a split with Night of Pleasure a bit back that was decent, and this seems to feature a more fleshed-out "line-up" (or recording style at least), but I was under the impression it was one fella recording most everything himself and adding some members for the live show. Basically, it's powerpop-influenced garage-style stuff (Nerves and Chiffons covers included) that floats in that vague neo-indie-rock space that a lot of band in Columbus inhabit at times. Not particularly punk or outright "rocking", but still rock'n'roll in a mellower vein, that's what I'm attempting to say here and probably making little-to-no sense doing it. Indie-garage, lo-fi pop, whatever you'd like to codify it as. Title track and a couple others remind me of Fresh & Onlys with that unquantifiable "Columbus sound" adding some guts and subtracting the West Coast hippie-dippiness. Slightly touches on the out-of-time Home Blitz neurotic pop style combined with some Cartwright-esque adult rock moments as well. I'm a big fan of the xylophone use on this thing, just for the record. Word on the street tells me some of these recordings are being cherry-picked for the vinyl treatment on Tic Tac Totally soon which should turn some ears for the more pop-savvy listeners out there.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/daycreeper)




Dead Gaze "End of Days, Why Not You?" cassette
Wow. I would've bet money someone from Brooklyn made this. But it's from Mississippi of all places, with some sort of tenuous link to Flight I'm guessing. Most of this sounds like bedroom recording gone New Age. Like a young Yanni getting his start on Garage Band. Atmospheric, maaaan! Psychedelic music for people who have no idea what psych is. He kicks into "band" mode for a few cuts that sound like any mumble-fuzz bedromm artiste out there. Indistinguishable from most other assembly line lo-fi dreck. I think this might be considered "chill-wave" or something, but whatever you wanna call it, this has no business being in my tape deck. EJECT.(RK)
(Mirror Universe Tapes // mirroruniversetapes.blogspot.com)

Dean Dirg “The Tape” cassette
The Tape. There’s a name! Here’s “The Review”: Side A’s a collection of little-size rex by this tight, high-strung pack of German malcontents, some of whom are pals of the Henry Fiat thing. Kapooey! goes the sound of these slam-beckoning box-riffs. They choose topics… like hating widdle kids… and cholesterol… then they sing (sometimes in anthem form) about the shit over pentatonic rock-roll jammers. And that’s what they do. Excited??!! Riff-2nd riff-riff-2nd-riff-other-little thing… truly the synthesis of short-attention-span punk from the Ramone/Angry Samoan germ to fruitful growth bearing sustenance for this hyperactive age. Sound department: clean and crunchy and choppy. Up and down and up and down pogos the Euro-interpretation of Americano punk-graduating-to-hardcore, ringing out the little mistakes since grown men don’t have to put themselves through that sorta’ thing. Get me? A very even, linear projection of head-bobbing no-payoff riffage and wide-eyed throat-inverters that seems standard with them across the pond, though “Real Good Stereos (But No Place to Go)” has a pretty epic finale worth a few listens. Side B’s more of the same, this time live at Side Two studios in Bahston with a Reagan Youth cover in tow, displaying just as infallibly tight-knit a sound with a rougher edge and the smug almost-aggro feel of their racial kin the Regulations. PUNK. (BG)
(Feral Kid Records // www.feralkidrecords.com)




Dirtbag "Reverse The Curse" cassette
The fucking cassette "comeback" has inspired some truly insipid acts to think they're being all cutesy and retro by releasing their crap on tape. This is some serious garbage. And it's from Melbourne, ugh. You're better than this Australia! Annoyingly "quirky" pop awfulness from a member of Beaches. It pains me to see Aussies attempting to emulate the hipster sounds of Williamsburg and The Internet. A blatant stab for a Captured Tracks multi-record deal and a support slot on The Beets tour of Oz. Four songs, one of which is called "Who Do Voodoo" that makes me want to set my tape deck on fire. An edition of 75 copies that should all be destroyed immediately.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/gilltucker)

The Droughts "Stopping A New Start Again" cassette
The Droughts actually sound like they're trying to emulate the Cheater Slicks somewhat, which I guess is a noble pursuit. That's an unfair statement to begin with I guess, but "Floating In The Lake" has that unmistakable world-beaten and triumphantly sadsack quality, but with the drive slowed to a crawl and any aggression totally sucked out and dragging behind the pick-up truck. These guys are doing more than just worshipping at the altar of our Columbus heroes though (if they really even are at all outside of my mind), giving us six tracks of depressed and sometimes confused-sounding droning rock with a wonderful lo-fi recording style. The guitar and bass sound clumped together and muddy giving it a percussive quality with another high guitar adding the sharper texture. Monotone vox manage to mopingly emote and the muffled drumming stumbles about in the dark. It's a great mix. Rudimentary and often out of tune playing from all angles, the music sounds totally lost in the woods at times but is absolutely engaging and possessed with the most basic and primitive of hooks. Listening to some of these songs seemingly saps the energy from you, as the bummer vibe gets real strong. Then there's some inspirational moments of stilted upbeatness ("Fang For A Shave"), like you can keep knocking this guy down, but he'll just keep getting back up only to be pushed over again. A feeling of resigned yet fruitless determination. The songs don't really have endings, the band just sort of stops playing at some point, as the rhythms would just go on forever if they didn't. Five songs on the A-Side and one on the flip, which you think is going to be a side long epic, but ends up being a lingering and deconstructed shamble with the playing just falling off the bare bones structure. No info on the web or with the tape at all obviously makes it all the more intriguing. The singer does sound a bit familiar, but I can't tell you any more than that. Artwork recalls the out-of-focus tropical landscape of 'Hairdryer Peace' given a Middle American telephone poles and heavy machinery slant. Finally, a tape worth listening to, and the one that made slogging through this whole section worth it. The best tape of this entire update, give it a chance.(RK)
(self-released // thedroughtsmusic.com)




Drug Lust "Evil Punk" demo CDR
Over-the-top "EVIL PUNK" from Pittsburgh, PA with a six song demo containing some degree of brutality. Snarling vox over some bottom-heavy metal-punk mayhem containing choice riffage and distortion, with plenty of between-track sound bites and some sick mosh parts. From the same camp as Free Clinic, I like where these kid's heads are at, although I can't tell if they're doing a bit of schtick here or not. Actually scarier sounding than anything on Youth Attack and reminds me aesthetically of The Accused a little bit and strangely sounds not unlike the very early Cannibal Corpse demos. Really, it's about as "punk" as 'Speak English or Die', so make your decision based on whether you're on Sargent's D's list or not. Sheer adolescent savagery, I would bet this makes for a ridiculous live show. Again, well worth the $3ppd it goes for, and it comes in a "bloody" ziploc to enhance the evilness.(RK)
(self-released // druglust.info)

Ehrgeizig "Live 2009" cassette
Live recording of New Haven, Connecticut's premier black metal outfit at their first show. Fidelity actually isn't too shabby, one "song" per side, I think the second is preferable ("III"). Not much else I can report on here. Members of Estrogen Highs, Dead Uncle and Iron Hands. If you like blown out black metal, this is for you. Might actually sound better than the demo.(RK)
(?? // thompsonb3-at-southernct.edu)




FNU Ronnies cassette
I don’t really know what the deal with this thing is—it was on FNU Ronnies’ merch table when I saw them a while back, but contains no information and only two songs, clocking in at just over three minutes combined (one song per side, which I thought was a nice touch). So, I’m not sure if this was some quick project to have something to sell at gigs or if it had non-show distribution, how many were made, if the songs will or have been released elsewhere. But, the tape is fucking awesome, and those three minutes have been replayed in a loop many times since that gig. Both tracks take the same approach, balancing noise and distortion with speed and a dirty recording that amplifies the chaos non musica. A manic bizarre-core gem. (DH)
(self-released // myspace.com/fnuronnies)

Free Clinic s/t cassette
New-to-me PGH sludge trio showing some potential, recorded with all levels set to shit-fi at a place called the Helter Shelter. Eight crawling dirges, with vocals on some tracks by an irate gentleman shouting with what sounds like a sock in his mouth and on a few other tracks by a young lady who sounds equally pissed off (the guy's songs work better, but I'm not generally a fan of grrrl vox anyway). Minimal and blunt instrumentation that's surprisingly low on the distortion, clean and simple bass throb is the predominant sound with sluggish drumming adding to the no-tempo churl. Guitar is mixed in the background, painting some riffs and feedback on. The pacing makes for a Drunkdriver 45 played at 33 feel and disguises any shortcomings in the "talent" department nicely. Not quite there yet, but they seem to have plenty of bad vibes to keep working with, and they're so slooow it's actually intriguing. "Drunktank" and "Tarman" skulk the best. "Angle of Death" is sort of clever as well. If they sharpen the ideas (or idea really, as they're essentially working the same angle on every song) a little bit here, I can see some vinyl-worthy moments forthcoming that will appeal to Drunks with Guns, Load Records and Watery Love boosters. Interesting and well worth the $4ppd they're asking.(RK)
(self-released // 4924 Hatfield St., PGH, PA 15201)

Galena “Grave News For You” cassette
Atmospheric and somewhat space-y trip through the bedroom mind of Billy Sprague, local Oakland Artist/ Sanity Muffin label co-founder. Stuff has quite a bit going on for the minimal damage it lays out before you. All the tracks (or elements) flow together in an unreturning pattern. Tape loops, synths, guitar noodles and other manipulated devices come sneaking up on you only to creep off, retreating to the shadows. Runs the gamut from a VoD electronix vibe to faint Resident worship…all the way to the otherworldly styling of Sun City Girls, Scenic or some lost post-rock landscape. Mostly instrumental but a voice does sprout up occasionally and ethereally bounces along…It could be sampled. Hell, it could be my mind playing tricks on me. There’s a drugged out vision going on in here I’ve yet to totally comprehend. Willing to try, though. Nothing holds you down in the bog for long….it just floats from one tidbit of experimentalism to the next. Pretty excellent job of bedroom editing. Packaging is as important as the music when it comes to the Muffin crew and the artwork, insert and labels are some of the nicest I’ve seen. An expansive 45 minute ride, and well worth the bucks for you quality controllers out there. How many? Unsure. 100? The best answer. A lot of great looking stuff on their site if you go for this kinda’ thing…buy up! (RSF)
(Sanity Muffin // www.sanitymuffins.blogspot.com)



Ryan Garbes “Raw Flower” Cassette
A laid back home recorded psych-strum from a Rac-oo-ooo-oooo-oo-oon/Wet Hair duder that I know very little about. This shit is hazy. I’m kinda’ enjoying its blurry sounds as they float on by, thoughtlessly. Repetitive, pulsing and muddy acid casualties brought on by one man journeying towards attempted astral projection. Mostly folksy-drone but it tends to rock when it’s shaken. Organ fueled fuzz takes over at the ¾ mark. I’m trying to reach the stereo dials. Finding it hard to move. Where was I? How long was this tape? I think my foot is asleep. For fans of Wood Shjips home demos or Kurt Vile freaking out in his bathroom alone. Wavy Gravy said citrus was the answer. Label site says there are 5 copies left. How many initially? Scotch Tapes is a busy bee. You see the upcoming roster? I didn’t think there was that many blank cassettes left in the world… (RSF)
(Scotch Tapes // www.freewebs.com/scotchtapes)

Garbo's Daughter "Goes Pop!" cassette
"This is a private girls-only party!" That's for sure. An all gal Floridian three-piece at the time of this recording (now there's only one gal left, and they have Rich of Florida's Dying on drums), they run through four songs of high fructose pop syrup (two covers) with a bit of girl-band dynamics. They're certainly the sum of their influences: Cub-esque, hand-painted cover portrait of the band with plenty of bright colors, liner notes with "likes/dislikes", Gidget soundbites, Crystals cover, "He Makes My Heart Go Pop!", lots bay-ya-yaby-ing and the whole thing is topped with sprinkles and whipped cream. The only thing missing is a picture of one of their bedrooms with a bunch of glam singles and issues of Archie comics laying around. The recording helps, it's hi-fi enough to give them a semblance of a budget Spector-esque sound, and the vox are certainly sweet. Definitely a good fit with Burger, not exactly in the tough-chick mold of a Luchessi band, but more in line with the Make Out Party's over-the-top pow(d)er(puff)-pop. I think they're aiming for a Shangri Las with Nikki Corvette thing, and they are/were cute enough to make a run at it. The perfect tape for all you gals with Scott Baio posters on your walls and subscriptions to Teenbeat who aren't quite sexually mature enough to handle Nobunny or Hunx yet. 250 copies, same program on both sides, pro-tapes/j-cards in blazing full color.(RK)
(Burger Records // burgerrecords.webs.com)

Grids “The First Year of Garbage & Noise” cassette
Let it be known - I like both kinds of music. Pigfuck and Scum Rock. Well on this tape here you get both for your dollar value! A thug punk sampler of killer demos and outtakes served up by these North Carolinians. Bottom heavy tub thumpers that hurl enough feedback and grit to secure a place along side the New Flesh and Landlords tapes of today. Grungy Hazelmeyer worship and that Noiseville terrorism continue under a thick glaze of NYCore and art Damage. Standout tracks such as "Sinner & Sinker" (hell, the whole flipside) sound like distant cousins of Pissed Jeans or something of that filthy ilk, yet engorged on heavy platters of elder haircut metalers Helmet or even skuzz-kings like Slug. Their cover of Bikini Kill's "Rebel Girl" is equal parts dumb as fuck as it is awe-inspiring. Two versions of the track "My Own Parts" (a great 7” recent track that’ll I’ll get to review real soon) are included and are night and day of each other. From what I’ve heard from the upcoming 12” EP, shit’s only getting better. Lots o' great noise put to good use. (RSF)
(Statue Story // www.gridsnc.blogspot.com)

Hari Kari s/t cassette
Three-piece indie-rock demo from Olympia, WA. Muffled demo/practice room sound overall, playing loose with some Nineties alt-vibes, they should send this thing to Sub Pop in 1993. Lack of info on ye olde internet and a dead web address leave me with little biographical info to go on, which would help me appraise the worth of this item. If they're semi-incompetent teenagers giving it the old college(rock) try, I'd say this is a hoot in a Sebadoh-on-K (the label, not the drug) stab. The guitar player gets it right some of the time, the vox are terrible and they really milk the loud-soft-loud dynamic for all it's worth. Enjoyable in a bad-good way. If it's older dudes trying to be a serious band, then they're in trouble, because these lyrics need to have been written by someone who was only recently able to drive after dark without an adult in the car to not be completely cringe-inducing. Cool cover and logo though. 150 copies, color j-card and pro-done tape.(RK)
(self-released? // hari.kari.harikari-at-gamil.com)

Heater "God and Hair" cassette
Jangled indie-rock from members of Cave, California Raisins, Jerusalem and The Starbaskets and that band The Sneakers. Who would name their band The Sneakers in 2010? C'mon kids, try a little harder. At least they got a Ya Ho Wa reference in this time. Permanent Recs really loves the Columbia scene apparently. Mid-tempo rock, going for a Nineties guitar-rock dynamic but not really getting there, recorded in the lower-fi spectrum, pretty quiet. The guitars and vox sound a little too hollow to muster up any feelings out of the listener. Sadly, it all sounds a bit generic, the flat recording doesn't do them any favors, particularly when trying to play in a style that requires pulling some emotional resonance out of the guitar to get over. Like any band trying to play pop-flavored rock in this decade they drop The Clean as a touchstone and they manage to force out some hooks but nothing too fetching. The instrumental that closes the first side might be the high point. B-Side sounds a little rougher and works better, the guitars actually sound a bit alive and they get into some grungified places. I don't know, much like these guys other bands I mentioned in the first sentence, there's a whole lot of average grade stuff here. There's just something missing. Limited to 100 copies, vinyl coming as well.(RK)
(Permanent Records // www.permanentrecordschicago.com)

Hobocop demo CDR
Not digging the band name so much, and not digging this disc so much for the first few tracks either. Real goofy Oakland lo-fi garage-pop that treads in the dreaded "quirky" direction. Retardo-mumble on the vox, some electric piano, they get garagey and a little punky. "Good News" sounds like a low rent Bay Area reinterpretation of the Black Lips covering Foghat covering "Hey Joe". Same schtick applies for the next number, then they do some sort Spits mime. Things pick-up about halfway though, "Ponzi Scheme" is a groovy little lo-fi burner that utilizes that damn electric piano in the right way for a soulstrutting little punky Yolks thing. "Big Deal" is big-bottomed punk. "Berkeley Is A Biodome" sounds like a Fifties commercial jingle and "Chump School" reminds me of a really primitive meld of Spits and Lost Sounds somehow, if both of those bands existed in high school and were playing a talent show...I'm really stretching this one, I know, but it's there. "Little Green Bills" is real nifty too, like first 7"-era TV Ghost doing a spy-theme. This thing turned out okay, pretty unique sounding but more than a little gimmicky as well and a bit too cutesy in an Oakland garage scene way. They run with the Oaktown Nobunz/Clamdiggers/Matt Melton Inc. crowd it appears, so I'd wager there will be a 7" out on 1-2-3-4 Go! or a tape on Burger sometime soon. I listened to a half-dozen of these tracks more than a few times though, I'll admit.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/hobocopmusic)

Hospitals “2002-2009 R.I.P.” cassette
Man, I’m not even sure if this is considered reviewable. I know it’s been OOP since the day it was up for pre-order...and that was eight months ago. If you got it, you know if you like it or not. If you still want it, tuff titties. That stupid long wait aside; was it worth it? Well…that all depends on: A) How much of a Stonehouse super-fan you are and B) How stoned you are when you first listen to it. I’m split 50/50 on the above. Going in stone sober, but ailing of an incurable Stoney fixation. It’s sad to see a fave band die (they did play my wedding, for Chrissakes!), but not everyone, including me, is gonna need every practice take, demo or hand-held recording that collects in Adam's sock drawer. To the average Joe, this is far from essential. But to the completist schmucks…?! You get two sides of tape with four songs…or “movements” each. Some are just practice squiggles…a Chris Gunn solo or some indecipherable noise. Others are pretty good or even borderline crucial. "In Public Stations", taken from the early-ITR era, was used as gap filler on their first LP. It’s here in its entirety, and it’s golden. The "BPPV" demo and the Rod Meyer "I Say Go" riffin' also hit pretty hard. But the ridiculous live stuff from 2009 is so blown to fuck and buried in hiss even I can barely listen to it. It all comes to an end with a field recording of "R&R Is Killing My Life", which should rule yr face…but the tape abruptly cuts out around the minute mark. The End. Joke's on you. Wastered. So if you scored a copy, congrats! Keep it, nerd. 100 exist. Don’t press it to wax…you idiot. RIP.(RSF)
(self-released // gone, check eBay)

Impediments s/t cassette
The Impediments are an up-and-cumming Oakland gang of creteens and you can get this thing on wax via some label called Happy Parts. I might have to give it a shot, as this is almost good enough to own on vinyl. Catchy and dirty Seventies punk moves that a zillion Bay Area bands have done really well already (Time Flys, Apache, whatever band Matt Melton is playing in this week), but The Impediments seem to do it with a lot less posturing and sans costumes (I hope). Pretty righteous and swaggering rock'n'roll beholden to the Three D's: Dictators, Dolls and Dead Boys. A pretty tight band, they mix some piano and hand-claps in there at the right moments along with some nasty lyrical escapades ("Vom" isn't about the band, but it's a ripper nonetheless..). "LeAnn" is probably the one everyone's gonna pick to click (about boning LeAann Rimes), but I'm partial to "2012", a slower tempo strutter with a deadly hook/chorus. Eleven songs in less than 30 minutes, a good half-dozen keepers with a welcome real-rock vibe overall. Turned out to be better than their single had me thinking they were. 250 copies, mandatory Greg Ashley production included on all of them.(RK)
(Burger Records // burgerrecords.webs.com)



Jack Stands "Box of Feelings" CDR
A dozen tracks from one Jack Stands (aka Robin Pack), Goner celebrity, member of The Staags if I'm not mistaken (an old-man hardcore band whose 7" I quite enjoy) and a guy I think has something to do with Rocket Science Audio. Guest shots from Memphis names like Scott Rogers, Bruce Saltmarsh, Kyle Johnson and even John Paul Keith. Some cuts are from a band called Heavy Beagle, including "You Suck" which is wild heavy-chugging wah-damaged demi-metal, like Monster Magnet go garage and "Black President" a blast-beaty jammer. "Chico Is A Cop-Caller" gets some more mileage out of that wah-pedal for a funny down-tempo punker. "Four Track" brings some more funny in a brief lo-fi style. "Huffin Stuff" is slide-guit blues-folk subtlety. "Sweaters" is takin-the-piss easy listening goofery, "Sensitive Guy" is mock-folk and "Weird Is Just Psych..." brings up a good point. Good humor all around here. Not necessary listening, but a fun enough documentation of one guy's spare time. I think he just gives this thing away, and apparently it comes with some "bead work"(?) as well.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/jack_stands)

Kommie Kilpatrick "Weird City" cassette
Detroit punk band running with some of the X! Records crowd these days. I've struggled through this thing like three times and I just end up zoning out after a couple songs and forgetting that I was listening to anything...it's not that it's bad, it's just really nondescript. Generic. Absolutely average, and no better. Mid-tempo, mid-fideltiy, mid-punk in the Angry Samoans mold, definitely garagey and not hardcorey. A bit reminiscent of the Estrogen Highs sound, but not at all as good. I can't even pick a song off this, they're all equally unmemorable.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/kommiekilpatrick)

Leftwaffe demo CDR
Two-year old set of demos from this cleverly monikered Brisbane trio with future members of Chinese Burns and Feelin Lucky. They've graduated from the Supercharger worship of FL to a more Rip Offs influenced pace, particulary the poppier Jon Von-ish numbers. "Hardcore Casual" actually sounds unnervingly like The Fingers brand of no-talent pop aspiration. "Hate You" is your prototypical Nineties garage-punk anthem done to a T with a fuzz-guitar break in place of the the usual one-string blistering guitar solo. "Duckdivin" could be a more fidelic Statics number and they throw in a "blazing" cover of "You Can't Be Trusted" with a whopping guitar sound that puts the Aussie stamp on the Rip Off sound. "Lucinda" mates Headcoats snarl with Drags downbeat distortion making for a great end product. This shit is pretty fucking swell, and some Aussie-centric label could do well to think about releasing this shit on the sly. If you don't mind putting out a record by a defunct band that only existed for a couple of months, that is. I heard punk rock is making a comeback and all though...(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/leftwaffe)



Literature "Hello Berlin" cassette
Jingle jangle zero-carb pop poop from Austin, TX. Apparently Woven Bones' (and their now numerous "side projects") slow climb up the indie ladder is inspiring to these guys. Great. I mean, I like Woven Bones enough, they have a few good cuts, but hey, they're no Blank Dogs. Actually, these kids sound nothing like the obscured-by-fuzz garage of the Bones. It's just banal indie-pop with effeminately precious vocals and empty-handed attempts at writing memorable hooks. B-Side goes for a hip no-fi recording style, A-Side is practice room live taping. Absolutely unremarkable, I bet they KILLED at SXSW.(RK)
(Voice Academy // www.voiceacademyrecords.com)

Luciernaga "Life Passes Away Like Idle Chatter" cassette
Analog "field recordings" filled with samples and loops of guitars and keyboards and such, striving for the creation of eerie atmospheics, which they succeed at doing. Definitely useable for scoring more than a few black and white avant-garde student films. As I said, it is successful in that regard. But we review music here, folks. I don't have much else to say about this except that it's from Brooklyn (ugh), has track titles such as "Mushroom Clouds of Bliss" (ack), quotes Ocatavio Paz (yep) and utilizes a mysterious National Geographic/native image, the effect of which is nullified by the fact that The Factums already used it a couple of years ago (doink). Please keep your art out of my peanut butter. Thanks. 100 copies.(RK)
(Fabrica Records // fabricarecs-at-gmail.com)



Maine Coons "Ghetto Queen" CDR
Traditional one man band stomp from one dude with a hankering for the Sultan sound. Guitar and drums crooning, with a garage-punk with some soul dynamic that BBQ does so well. Maine Coon(s) deliver a decent emulation, but without Sultan's pipes and songwriting chops it just sounds ordinary coming from a mere mortal. The vulgarity helps a little, but not enough.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/themainecoons)

Mattress "WFMU Session" cassette
Minimal, buzzing toywave thriftcore with a stab at Ian Curtis/Nick Cave croonery. Lines like “I thought about this song a long time / I thought a long time about what I mean to say to you.” I ain’t buying it. I like buying toy keyboards at Salvation Army as much as the next guy, but I’m not kidding myself that anyone wants to hear it. To hear riffs like: bwaaaaaaa bwaaaa. Bwaaaa. That’s side A. To misquote Mark E. Smith: They’ve got the repetition in the music and they know how to abuse it.(JC)
I’d like to add that said repetition is Stoogian boogie minus the sex. Perhaps it’s too frigid out. Translating the scaling of that Fender jazz master to a heartless, plastic set of chatty keys and ending up sounding like the 10th not-so-hot Joy Division ape you’ve heard this year. Toy gun sounds. Side B sounds a little like John Sharkey jamming with a 110 year-old Martin Rev. And that’s being very, very generous. (BG)
(Eggy Records // www.eggyrecords.blogspot.com)

Montoyan Artesian Connection s/t cassette
Synthetic bedroom psychedelica from Chi-town. Sounds really Chrome influenced to me, and for a modern day comparison it's pretty close to the sci-fi soundscaping of Pink Noise. A bit more agressive than your standard solo "artiste" so common these days, and I appreciate that it doesn't sound neutered like so many acts of this ilk. But it's still obviously reliant on the echoed-out vocals and the drum-machine drone that are par for this constrained course. Most enjoyable when he's playing guitar over the synth and using uptempo rhythm tracks for some moving psych-punk and when he creates Goblin-esque moments of soundtrack-like bleakness. You've got a lot of options when it comes to this "genre", and this is a bit better than most. 100 copies.(RK)
(Plus Tapes // www.plustapes.com)

Motormouth Mabel "Catch The Fury" cassette
Self-professed "sloppy rock'n'roll" band from South Carolina. It's too bad about the band name. Forced raunchiness and heavy punk moves slurping the leftover warm sips from beers left behind by legends like Candy Snatchers and Antiseen. Songs about GG Allin and PBR and a cover shot taken from Female Trouble, so you know where we're coming from here. Dicks cover was a bit surprising. Not a good band at all, but at least these guys probably have no idea we're in the midst of a bedroom-pop renaissance.(RK)
(Tick Tock Records // www.ticktockrecords.com)



Naive "Puberty Kisses" cassette
Bewitching and bewildering cassette from somewhere in Arizona's badlands. And by badlands I mean the suburbs of Tucson or some other AZ city. Really gangly and gawky tunes that have an almost cringe-inducing amount of emotional awkwardness placed on them, but it's very likable in that way. Musically, it's poorly recorded, yet I feel they were trying to get the best possible sound they could instead of purposefully going low-fi. The attempt at multiple guitar tracks just ends up turning into rhythmic warble, which gives the songs a shitty-sounding Spacemen 3-like wall of distortion. The tunes, they're somewhere in-between Dinosaur Jr (or Barlow-written Sebadoh jams) and The Replacements at their most soul-baring and neurotic. Lyrical concepts seem to revolve around beating off, getting caught beating off and things to beat off to. The whole thing has a hard-to-follow vibe that brings the feel of River's Edge, but soundtracked by the Homestead Records roster instead of hesher metal. Six tracks that are unlike pretty much anything else out there and I really enjoyed going 'round a few times with. The extreme clumsiness (both in the playing and the general aesthetic) is attractive and this thing actually does rock in a unique way. Sometimes you think the hand-drawn penis-n-boobs art and juvenalia are at odds with the music, but it all makes sense in the end. Music for losers. I'm interested to know how old these kids really are though. Comes in a nice DVD-sized case which allows for bigger-sized art and a fold-out lyric sheet (I could do without the Hubert Selby and Jim Carroll worship but they make up for it with a Leaving Trains name drop). Worth a listen or three, I'm glad I got this.(RK)
(self-released // pubertkisses.blogspot.com)

Old Fake "Covers" cassette
Chicago indie band do six covers, Stones, Bowie, Elevators, Nerves, "Tell Me, Mama", and one I can't identify, probably some old "punk" band one of them was in or something cute like that. They couldn't decide on whether to use the Slint or Neil Young parody sleeve so they threw 'em both in there. Sounds about as good as any frat-boy bar band would doing these songs, but I'm sure these guys have some sort of indie-scene pedigree, or at least think they do. I'm not averse to covers projects like this, I actually kind of enjoy them when they're done well. Which this one isn't. Probably a lot less dull than hearing these guys play originals would be though. I give this one a solid "meh".(RK)
(Plus Tapes // plustapes.com)

Ordinary Men and Women demo CD-R
Here’s a review for your bedroom wall of local-hip-heavy-indie-hip-local band, Ordinary Men and Women. A local band from the Rochester scene, a little birdie once described them as “The Urban Outfitters’ Eyehategod.” Now, I don’t care much about Eyehategod, or anything else for that matter (I’ve got a dangly earring), but the Owl made a funny…and eye laughed. Everybody must get stoned, but the grass ain’t cheap. We call it “weed” and say, “is not” alright? Are you ignorant? I’m flaccid. I’ve been around for decades – ever since I got my first digital six-six-sixteen track, in fact. Your band’s heavy, right? Right. Groups that are naturally very good or very bad, those whose determinable blatancy deems further analysis totally unnecessary (other than the obligatory *clap clap clap* of course), are the groups whose collective worth equates that of the saltwater sponge. And I have nothing to say about the saltwater sponge. Yes, these bands are the stinkers of today! Uh-ohhh! Laughing out loud. Whoop-seee! When I finish fine-tuning this review, I’ll consider listening to Ordinary Men and Women’s worldwidewebut for the very first time. If you missed it, I’m sure it’ll turn up on 45 sooner than later. PS: Which version of Photoshop do you currently use? (BK)
(self-released // www.myspace.com/ordinarymenandwomen)

Outer Minds s/t cassette
Finally, something decent from this Plus Tapes package. This band used to be called Sang Des Loups, a name you might recall from some degree of Victim of Time hype-spew in the past. A couple gals on tambourine, organ and back-ups, guitar player from Black Beauties, the legendary A-Ron on bass and none other than Sweet Ronnie Coz on the kit. Four-song EP of jangly and kinda dark Jones-Stones rocking, easy-on-the-ears garage-twang, lots of gang chorusing and harmonizing, a bit of Sixties-echo and drawl. Mature rock. Short and sweet, I'm sure they have a single coming out on HozAc at some point.(RK)
(Plus Tapes // plustapes.com)



Palm Yard "Craft Night" cassette
"Shitgaze band from Santa Cruz CA". If you're publicly stating you are a shitghaze band, you got problems. I mean, this genre killed itself off a few years ago anyway. Actually, I don't think it really ever officially existed. It's all about half-assed fuzz-pop and lame bedroom psychedlia now. Get on the ball, dudes. Wait a second...they actually have CLOWNING ON BITCHES written in the credits on this tape. Is this some kind of prank? Who sent this? I'll find out which one of you it is. I don't really know who to blame for this tape, which is atrociously bland on many levels. I guess I should point a finger at Psychedelic Horseshit, but I think ol' Bob Pollard deserves some of the credit for this shit-fi disaster as well. And they spray-painted the tape gold. Thanks for nothing.(RK)
(1019 Records // myspace.com/palmyard)

Pier "Know How Now No Punk Plan" cassette
Fifteen minutes worth of tape from a pack of Spaniards doing free jazz noise splooge. A heap of out of tune guitar and drums wanking with some artist yelping now and then. Experimental "jamming". Oof, ack, blech, meh, fuck this shit.(RK)
(Gaffer Tapes // gaffertapes.blogspot.com)

Part Time s/t cassette
It's official, I fucking hate cassettes completely at this point. If they're not punk, please don't send them anymore. Fuck this shit. This "band" is from San Francisco and they fucking suck. Ironic retro Eighties jackoffery, the next step up (or down, actually) from the types of people who were probably buying Pablo Cruise records last year and thinking they were clever for telling people they really liked them. Just a waste of everybody's time.(RK)
(Voice Academy // www.voiceacademyrecords.com)

Pinche Gringo s/t cassette
Southern garage-blues rock recorded solo on a four track with a couple live tunes on the B-Side. Recording quality is pretty damn good, he's got a lost-in-the-desert trip going on here instead of a muddy delta-blues thing, some guitar effects/delay, a slight bit of organ, vocals have a nice sheen to them. Really, the guitar playing puts this thing over, as he does some good slidework on a couple tracks and gets a little psychedelic and spooky at times. Drumming doesn't resort to that tired OMB beat that I dread hearing on a lot of this type of shit. There are even some female vox on occassion, the guy's got a good yelp himself and avoids sounding really cliched by investing some weird energy to some well-copped song styles. Really, some of this shit is like a less cartoony Haunted George, and it works well. Exhibits some lysergic tendencies, a little bit o'punk energy, a cool "Youngblood" cover that takes the song into C&W territory and wasn't at all boring over a dozen cuts. Nobody's going to care about a tape in a genre as out of vogue as this, but I honestly liked this quite a bit. Better than Mosquito Bandito and every random Euro band trying to cop the American way. 100 copies with a cool cover drawing.(RK)
(Zap Cassettes // www.zapcassettes.com)



Pipsqueak "Debut" cassette
Trashy and shambolic rural garage from the Burger stable of stars. Pipsqueak are a rangy outfit from the prairies of Orange County, playing bluesified country-tonk'n'roll and doing it skillfully enough to run with a Demon's Claws comparison (or whatever Jeff Clarke is calling himself these days). Nine songs, program repeats on both sides, and I have to admit they really do have some chops and there's more than a handful of sticky tunes here. "Ain't That Sad", "Throw Me Away" and a few more down-n-out but tough rollers go down real smooth. They mustered up a nicely done medium-fi recording and they're just sloppy enough to add a boozy brown-liqour coating to the tunes but without sounding like slobs. Good enough that it probably could have warranted some vinyl, they would play great alongside Goodnight Loving (or Jail or Midwest Beat or whoever else is smoking weed and listening to The Band in Wisconsin) and are even nonchalantly hooky enough to hang with your Harlems/T-Functions. They have a single coming on Bachelor, which makes a lot of sense. Solid tape from the Burgers. 250 pro copies with hand-drawn/colored j-cards.(RK)
(Burger Records // burgerrecords.webs.com)

The Pizazz "Get Out of My House" cassette
I thought this was a Pizzas tape at first glance. Bummer. Dreamy pop from Detroit, mixing some Beach Boys summer-style with guitar heavy Sixties garage moves. Keeping it mid-tempo throughout, they even tackle some complex and Move-ing baroque arrangements with piano and other fancy-boy stuff and dip into the folky Byrd-bath for a jangly spell at times. Recorded by a member of The Go. You know the Burger guys love their sweet, sweet pop, and this thing could certainly get serious play in the indie-college scene, wherever that is. It takes balls to try and sound like The Move, and they don't do a terrible job of it. I still would have preferred a Pizzas tape though.(RK)
(Burger Records // burgerrecords.webs.com)

Prehistoric Fuckin' Moron "They Look Alike" cassingle
I'm the moron here. Australian "nosie" bands plays a flute and tunes in a radio while you waste your time listening. Hey, just because we like Aussie music over here doesn't mean we want to hear your bullshit "art". Fuck off.(RK)
(Spanish Magic // spanishmagic.blogspot.com)



Puerto Rican Crime s/t cassette
A mystery meat long player of warped tape, bent folk and rambling southern styled porch ghoulishness. A lot of different ideas splat like mosquitoes on a windshield, and most of them are pretty great. Others are the type o’ head scratchers that can only make sense after huffing turpentine (or so I can assume…). Haunted field recordings from moss covered tool sheds. Reverb’d insanity of the overmedicated elderly and underfed youth. Guitar and organ tones are left to trip over one another. I still can’t figure out who or what is singing…but they play a pretty mean flute solo now and again. There’s some ghastly/ghostly creaking/crying that comes n’ goes between the looped instrumentation. It all floats somewhere between Factums-like experimentalism and lost Folkways horrors. Sounds of rural isolation, swamp rituals or some forgotten nursery crime…all brought forth by the outside-sounds of the mentally challenged. It may be pretty, but I’m feeling creeped the fuck out. I assume 100 copies exist? Nice little hand stamped sleeve with no info what goes on. Who is H.K.? He should do soundtracks…(RSF)
(Sanity Muffin // sanitymuffins.blogspot.com)

Radar Eyes s/t cassette
Turn of the decade sounding (I'm talking '89 to '90 here kids) alt-rock, heavy on the reverb, but not really offending me like the multitudes of other bands strip-mining the shit out of the shoegaze-influenced musical fields these days. Darkly post-punk at times, guitar drive I can definitely work with, the songs have some hooks that work. Vox aren't totally submerged in echo and the intrumentation gets good enough separation where it doesn't just blend into an unmemorable mess of fuzz. And they rock a little harder than most of the new wave of shitty bands doing this style, but I guess these guys have been at it for a few years, so they're ahead of the game. One of the dudes is in Cococoma as well. Five songs, they do a decent job. Workmanlike. Nothing I'm overly excited about, but I didn't mind a couple runs through the deck either. They've got a single lined up for HozAc Singles Klub Year Two, so good for them. (RK)
(Plus Tapes // plustapes.com)

Roman Candles "The Stowaways: A Compilation of Songs: 2007-2009" cassette
Shit, these guys tricked me into listening to another one of their tapes. Cloying and silly acoustic folk and soft-rock. With a fucking accordion, fusing the absolute worst parts of Half Japanese and the Dead Milkmen into one abominable creature. A genuine waste of time. Once again, fuck cassettes.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/romancandlesmusic)

Signals "Maleficia" cassette
Synth-rock from Philly. The opener is a monotone death-punk driver, but it goes on a bit too long and lacks a Digital Leathery hook, instead opting for driving the beat right into the dirt. It's not that great of a beat. I think they're coming from a more industrial angle than a New Wave one though, which is fine by me. The rest of the tape veers off into more experimental territory though, which they're definitely better at, especially the moody Eighties horror soundtrack stuff. They do put the creep on fairly well with "Through Dead Eyes". Not too far off the avant edge, decent enough for what it is, but nothing to elevate it to make it interesting for someone not into the genre.(RK)
(Linear B Tapes // www.linerabtapes.com)

Son Of Dinosaurs “Wolf Food” Cassette
What we have here is nine tracks of Buffalo practy space mess under a really awful moniker. Primordial thump-thump and shittily played guitar trash that has an almost metallic Clevo-jazz-punk destroyer thang going on. Some references they keep closely nestled under their broken lizard wings. Up front it’s much more dumbed down. Howling and strained shouting duke it out for vocal superiority. The cymbal crashes almost bury the damn thing in static. Is this recorded in a grain elevator? These guys probably fall down a lot live. Or just in general. Slowly but surely its starting to sound like the handicapable lil’ brother of AKE. Did the Dead Hookers forget how to play? Not a bad thing to my ears. File this in the bad = good attempts at rocka rolla. I gotta’ say though, the tape runs a tad long. Most of the hardest hitting “compositions” are used up by the time side 2 rolls over the heads. It does pick up a bit in the end. A good single or something could be pulled from the wreckage. If you eat up the Zip Code Rapists, Art Phag, or the Happy Flowers stupidity, ya might find something to chew on. Hand colored tray cards and its dirt cheap. (RSF)
(self-released // myspace.com/sonofdinosaurs)

The Stud demo CDR
No-talent experimental tracks from Sydney Australia utilizing the misogynist porn angle. First cut is Schooly D meets art-school punks. From it just devolves into the parties involved playing guitar badly and looping no-fi drumbeats and synth sounds and making up braindead lyrics and singing in wacky voices. One track actually musters up an actual rhythm while the singer does a bad Prince impression or something, perhaps some attempt at covering/interpreting "Pretty Woman", but subtitling it "All Over Your Face". Seven tracks of this, I donlt even think it's an actual attempt at being avant-garde or anything, seems more like an attempt at simply being annoying and/or funny. They nailed one of those.(RK)
(self-released // no contact info, which is for the best)



Sucio Poder demo tape
An Australian (Melbourne) band, singing in Spanish, with a cassette release on a Canadian label (Toronto). Well, you got my attention. They do a great job of replicating dark mid-tempo Eighties Spanish-style punk crushers that are heavy as hell. Singer is actually Columbian, giving the lyrics an authentic and ominous political charge. Members of Pisschrist and SJN, they achieve a murky and bottom-heavy tone with barked refrains that gives the four cuts a certain Discharge-like quality, but not exactly playing the ol' d-beat (though I'm only a dabbler in such genres, and perhaps not qualified to make such comparisons). Either way, it's good shit, possessing more character than many American dress-up acts going for the same sound. Includes a cover of "Un Dia En Texas" by Spanish post-punkers Paralisis Permanente, whom I'd never heard of before. A choice demo tape, and I even learned something. Thanks again, Australia!(RK)
(Combat Action // combatactiontapes.blogspot.com)

Superstitions "If This Is A Game, I'm Winnin' It" cassette
No-fi country-western garage from the kids over at Wizard Mountain, tape label and stepping stone for the likes of Ty Segall and the Traditional Fools. Seven tracks of convincing honkytonking, you get a "Police Chase Boogie" and a "Lot Lizard Blues" and covers of Buck Owens and the Pleasure Seekers. Played sloppily and recorded with the same (appreciated) disregard for quality, it sounds like they finally got all four tracks working on the tape deck for the songs on Side B which have a bit more "punch". Certainly listenable and having a likeable truck-drivin' son-of-a-gun wholesomeness to it, maybe these guys can hop on Ty's coattails for a ride. There's a lot of European bands that wish they could pull the Americana shit off this well. USA = #1! (RK)
(Wizard Mountain // www.wizardmountain.org)

Sweet Tooth demo cassette
Christ. Lock up your daughters, lock up your wives. Wear a cup ‘cuz this one’s aimed at yer scrotum with the steamroller precision of Jap and Midwest HC’s long term relationship. Not that this sounds like Nine Shocks, but this lil’ 8-song tape proves that they’re students of where those Clevo heavyweights applied The Fix’s incessant pummel to Jap-extremity and shot up with very disturbing guitar solos for good measure. Just a weird brew of extreme frequencies and cathartic violence that would probably put to shame a good portion of churlish bore-fest rehash that we who’re buckled to the bandwagon keep having to duck from. A bit more complex than members’ partaking in the first wave of the ‘00s’ ‘80s revival (ex-Cardiac Arrest), me thinks a result of succumbing to Dry-Rot’s wolf-in-the-garden gospel, which manifests itself in both the bilious chipped-tooth vocal paroxysms and polluted channels of masturbatorial fluidity (take a sonic peek into the tape’s dissociative whirlwind of a send-off). It’s no secret that impressive hardcore rests on the ingredient of a bombastic drummer, but it helps when the guitars take as much from the Bad Brains as they do Hawkwind, with vox sincerely faithless with all. Most cuts are prime beef disturbo-hardcore thanks to ventures up into fucked octaves and tangential anti-human spots. Some of the best ‘core I’ve heard in quite some time – I’d be surprised if there isn’t wax in the works… (BG)
(self-released // girlproblems-at-hotmail.com)



Tenement "demo" tape
First of all, Tenement are from Appleton, WI...and we all know who has all the fucking stroke in the Appleton area, and that's my brother Richard Fucking Adventure. I have no idea if these cats know RFA or not, but if they don't, then they better get on the ball. Actually, RFA should find these kids and show 'em how to harness their talents for the forces of Total Fucking Rocking, instead of wasting it playing Fat Wreckords punk-pop. Seriously dudes, smoke some fucking wind with Richard and let him verse you in the ways of the Rock Table, or be forever stuck playing second banana to Chinese Telephones. Home-dubbed tape, I guess these dudes have actual records out so it's anyone's guess as to why they just didn't send those...I bet they're selling like hotcakes.(RK)
(home-made // myspace.com/tenementwi)

Tyvek “Demos”, “Live on Cass(ette)”, & “Blunt Instrumental 2” cassettes
MORE TYVEK DEMOS!!! You know where you stand in regards to Tyvek’s prolific outpouring of demos, practice recordings, live recordings, live recordings of boombox jams of practice tapes, vinyl pressings of sixth-gen dubs, and, of course, tape releases of playbacks of scratched vinyl pressings of the above. There is no need to comment on any of that other than to say that I absolutely, enthusiastically adore the band’s punk vérité approach, and have enjoyed listening to cruddy recordings of their farts as they develop in many stages along the way. It is a testament to the band that the songs remain interesting to me in so many states of decay, with a ceaseless rotation of players and by-any-means-necessary technique of getting and duplicating the tunes. If you do not share this view then you should skip these tapes. With that out of the way, the “Demos” tape was recorded with a new iteration of the band, with Heath from Fag Tapes (who released this) on second guitar. The material here is mostly new with some oldies mixed in (“Frustration Rock”, “Mary Ellen Claims”, and so on) and overdubbed on a spray-painted Marty Stuart tape that, like a fifth member, added plenty of its own in the form of audio drop-outs and fades. Like recent tapes from No Fucker and Sex/Vid, “Live on Cass(ette)” is monumentally blown out, almost to the point where the band is incidental. For a couple of years in my days as a young punk, I’d bring a handheld taperecorder to shows, stuff it in my pants, and make recordings that sound a lot like this, so I can understand the appeal though I’m not sure I can understand why anyone else would. But it’s the sequel, “Blunt Instrumental 2” that is the best of the bunch, a slate of new tracks demoed. Tomorrow’s hits today and while I look forward to hearing more refined in-studio versions of these, I’m also eager to hear blown-out live and single mic rehearsal takes as well.(DH)
(Fag Tapes // www.myspace.com/fagtapes - Excite Bike // www.exbxtapes.com)



V/A Eric & The Happy Thoughts/Midwest Beat split cassette
A split cassingle! This could be the worst format ever! Eric & Co. do "Sweet Dirty Love" and it's obviously quality for the style, but ya know, after you hear a half-dozen or so of these they all start sounding the same. Transistor radio pop sweetness, hook, tinny guitar, barely there drums, blahblah, etc...It's at least a previously unreleased number for all you fanatics. Midwest Beat song is sure nifty, aw shucks. A little organ Fun-Aid dip in the Sixties chewing gum style with gang(ly) vocals and a cherry on top. Cute. I liked it. 100 copies, released in conjunction with some shows they teamed up for. I think Midwest Beat have an LP out soon, could be some good summer jams for you kids.(RK)
(Chopper Tapes // etsy.com/shop/chopperchioda)

V/A "Judge's Cave: The Hidden Sounds of New Haven" 4xcassette box
Four tape box featuring eight New Haven bands put together labor-of-love style by Stefan of Estrogen Highs, Sudden Walks and more. Pro cassettes, one side per band, good-looking and clever zine with band info and New Haven history, which is also the theme for the j-card artwork, put together in a velcro-sealed silk-screened mailer/box (the velcro is a real nice and cheap idea that could've helped the Blank Box look a little more cool, by the way). Bands are seem to be thematically paired. Bible Frost give us some guitar-tech one-man-metal, Ehrgeizig (who get their name spelled three different ways in this package) are lo-fi black metal from Stefan and members of Iron Hands which will excite fans of Klaxon Records on the "metal" tape. Colorguard is avant DIY tomfoolery (i.e. atmospheric lo-fi tape manipulation) from some arty gal, and Female is more of the same from some dude (with more synth and actual instrumentation) on what I will dub the "artschool" tape. Next up: the bedroom-band tape, with Permanent Feels doing some nice lo-fi indie-garage stuff with a weird-folk angle ("Kaleidoscope" is one of the best of this set) paired with the minimal-synth soundscape stylings of one Roman Wolfe. Last but definitely not least, we have the money tape, featuring Termbo faves Medication doing full-band versions of four tracks from the records. "Don't Die", "Fog" and "Didn't Wanna Know" sound great rocked out a bit and it puts a different emotive spin on the songs, which is pretty exciting for a fan like myself. Mikey Hyde has written some great tunesand they stand up to the arrangements, which take some of the eerieness of the solo recordings away but add a welcome bit of energy and perhaps anger. Great stuff. Sudden Walks pack their side of the tape with eight cuts from an aborted LP session, which is the last we'll ever hear from the band. I still pull their debut 7" out for spins, and there are some quality garage-punk corkers included here in a Dwarves-if-they-were-on RipOff-Records style. Lewd, rude and rippin'. Best song: "The Way I Sound" (or "Let it Down" maybe...these are all pretty good). Best Song Title: "You're As Good As Stabbed". It's a shame they didn't get to finish this stuff off, for real. Every small town "scene" should wish they have a lightning rod like Stefan in their midst. The one who cares enough to document everything, sets up the shows, runs the label, is in a ton of bands and is just "that guy": the one who keeps things moving and energizes everyone else. Even though I'm not 100% into everything here (the Medication/Sudden Walks tape is all killer and Permanent Feels stuff rules though), it's an impressive creation and something all these kids should be proud to be a part of.(RK)
In four tapes, Judge’s Cave sets out to define and document one web of the American Underground near and dear to the compiler. As is often the case in active small town scenes, the ratio of band-members to bands is closer to one than four as folks incestuously lend each other a hand with drums or theramin. In this set, eight bands from New Haven—either in the physical or home is where the heart is sense— take one side each making for a diverse snapshot of a hyperactive locale. Represented are Bible Frost and Ehreizig (black metal), Female, Roman Wolfe and Colorguard (noise, soundscapes-CG was one of the nicer surprises for me), Permanent Feels (solo stuff from Stefan, who released this and plays in more bands than not here—does that make this a vanity project or is it that those with their hands in the cookie jar most often wind up with the most cookies?), Medication (first and only extant full band recordings), and Sudden Walks (songs from what was to be their album). My favorite side here is Permanent Feels, who had a tape release of their own last year, but may be bettered here. As a one-man band, the Feel’s songs seem to be influenced by the full scope of their author’s interests, and listening to through this compilation it is obvious that he is of New Haven.(DH)
(Never Heard of It Records // myspace.com/neverheardofitrecords)



V/A School Jerks/Negative Lifestyle split cassette
A split tape between Toronto's School Jerks and Sweden's Negative Lifestyle, three songs per side/band. I'm into School Jerks, thought they were pretty good live, and although the records aren't totally blazing, they are decent enough to keep around for now. The singer is a real slob, which I'm down with. He's got a good and drooly vocal presence, where you can just barely tell what he's saying but you know it's something punk. All three of their songs are juiced and loose Killed-by-Dumbpunk sloppery. Good sound. First time I've heard the Swedes, and they sound a bit Danish. Clean-guitar fast hardcore punk with a dark/moody edge on the first track. A bit sloppy in a good way. Not bad, but I'm giving the W to the School Jerks, who are building some steam up there in the T-Dot.(RK)
(H.R.S. Records // hrsrecords.blogspot.com/)

V/A "A Zap Cassettes Sampler" cassette
Not a real fan of comps on tape (or comps in general when you get down to it) because it's such a bitch skipping around tracks, as there's no way you're gonna get all hits in this scenario. The fast forward button was created for situations like this. You get some heavy hitters we already know: GG King ("Witching Hour", which we've heard before), Predator ("You", which we haven't heard yet), Bass Drum of Death (surprisingly punk-sounding here), Lil Daggers (a great psych-punk cut), and some new stuff we haven't heard yet: Thee Noise Explosion (guitar freakout-psych), El Fossil (heavy metal surf?), Pipsqueak (Lips-ian neo-garage), Pinche Gringo (fried desert-blues), The Humms (Neckbones-ish Southern rawk). Obviously there are plenty of duds in-between (who the hell names their band Vegan Coke anyway?), but out of a whopping 21 bands at least half are decent enough to sit through. Not a bad ratio for a comp these days, especially a semi-regional one (most bands are from Georgia and the surrounding states, with a couple Cali guests). Probably a half-dozen tracks I'd like to hear again, but to just belabor my point from the first sentence, I'm not fast-forwarding around this thing to dig 'em out. I'm disgusted to say it, but CD might have been a better format here, yet I probably would have never given this a chance in the first place if it was on disc. What can I say, comps are just doomed from all angles...(RK)
(Zap Cassettes // www.zapcassettes.com)



Verräterisch demo cassette
There’s a crude (but kinda cute) drawing of a cat next to scratched out lettering of “AAARGH!” on the spine of the tape that goes a long way in describing what’s in store (and the cover illustration says this even more blatantly, but I like the kitty on the spine). It’s not going to be typical, but it’s going to be P-U-N-K and, most important, it’s going to make old folks’ ears’ bleed. From Sacramento, these kids crank out a six track demo of raw and rabid hardcore. Making things interesting, Marilyn’s vocals are sung in German and the band plays as a trio without guitar. True to the “AAARGH!” whatever you’d think would be missing is more than compensated by enough distortion, reverb, and cymbal bashing that you wouldn’t know if I didn’t tell you.(DH)
(self-released // Verräterisch, 2426 33rd St, Sacramento, CA 95817)

Weird Party demo CDR
Brief two song demonstration sample from Houston's Weird Party. Pretty slickly produced for a "demo", but that's no complaint. Both tracks seem to be emanating from that weird mid-to-late Nineties heavy rock zone, before things turned too rawky and went overboard cartoony. Very reminiscent of The Didjits or perhaps RFTC/Hot Snakes, with a bit of Lee Harvey Oswald Band weirdness even. Multiple guitar jamming, sneering vox, very tight and pro sounding. Shows some smarts, I'm imagining these guys are vets of some experience from the maturity of the songwriting/hooks and the guitar chops. I certainly haven't heard a band sounding like this in a spell, Euros will probably love it and maybe a few Americans too.(RK)
(self-released // weirdparty.org)



Weird TV cassette
Wonderfully interesting, neighbour bashing, hardcore-as-in-angry-angry-punk punk from Olympia, WA, and just as all of their fellow Olympians, they've got the requisite weird late 80's SST guitars happening (which sounds way better on this four-track approach). Violent, mean, totally great Spanish vocals baked with aggression that switch to sung and back flawlessly. Great demo, the songs are long in the best way, where the drums keep the songs churning effortlessly and nonchalantly - suggesting that they take as many cues from The Pack as they do Último Resorte. Good noise jam at the end. A recipe for success, can't wait to hear more! Best name, too. (NG)
(self-released // distro through www.mladysrecords.com)

White Cop "Smack Based" cassette
Recorded live-and-direct demo from these Aussie fucks. Where this Brendon kid found time to be in a band inbetween writing issues of Negative Guest List, I have no idea. There's like two issues every month for fuckssake. Four tracks, barely competent, 100% punk rock. "Gambling Banshee" stumbles into a Gories-meets-Unholy Swill swirl, and tries real hard to keep it together. Primitive and loose like stool. He yells "Let's Rock!" and they just bang away for two minutes. "Blood Shirt" is a fucking mess. Out of tune guitar player might not even know how to play a chord, the drummer just bangs on the things with little regard for actual rhythm. There's supposedly a bass player too. "Pure Shit/Stoked (On Downers)" is a real fucking sore thumb. Cacophonous. That Icky Boyfriends feature in NGL makes a lot of sense now. They keep making the racket long enough to just about make it unbearable. "W.E.A.P." is as close to a real song as we're gonna get here, slathered in cowbell and bored hate. Guitar solos are directly influenced by Snuky Tate's "Can You Dance To It", but played at half speed and half drunk apparently. Death march hoarseness. Barely listenable yet attention grabbing. Accidental art punk. The start of something good? Or have they already broken up?(RK)
(NGL // dirtyalley-at-msn.com)



White Pages s/t cassette
Three-piece garage-punk slopsters from Massachusetts. They've got some goofy character, song titles are pretty clever, guy/gal vox work out just fine. "Don't Do Blow With Total Chaos" is a winner! Four humorous and autobiographical tunes (thanks for the lyric sheet), plus a Killjoys' cover ("At Night"). Overall, sounds like Krunchies subscribing to Supercharger's aesthetics. This one has some potential, a little bit on the cute side, but they play it fast and shitty so you hardly notice. Anti-hippe/Grateful Dead fan sentiment is appreciated and proof they have their heads on straight. A good start for a demo, I imagine they're honing their "chops" in various Cambridge basements and dorms as we speak. Not a lot of good bands emanating from the Boston area these days, so I'm rooting for 'em.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/whitepageswhitepages)

Devon Williams "Careerfree" cassette
Blazingly bright and upbeat AOR-pop arrangements with strings and some acoustic singer-songwriter stuff, some folky-jammy shit, some Eighties dance-pop. Pretty much covers every shitty genre in one fell swoop of tape. Really well done for awful and bland wimp-pop. This type of stuff only exists in Los Angeles. I'm sure he's gonna be HUGE.(RK)
(Burger Records // burgerrecords.webs.com)

VARIOUS OTHER BURGER TAPES
Say what you will about Burger Records and their myriad cassette releases and the reasoning behind them, but you have to admit they're well done. I really have no problem with them releasing kitschy stuff like this, and they're certainly cool to look at. This time around, we have Jail's "There's No Sky (Oh My My)" which BG reviewed back here, and there's no change to the artwork. The double-shot of Nobunny's "Love Visions" (I'd love to know how many copies this thing has sold over the past couple years in various formats...there's the original Bubbledumb press of 1000(?), then 1-2-3-4! repressed the fuck out of this thing (on CD too), I'd wager at least 2,000 more LPs and probably 1000 CDS, and 450 of these tapes...5,000+ copies maybe? Not too shabby Bunz...) and Hunx's "Gay Singles" comp look "sweet" and will make more than a few young girls out there happy. They even used the correct fonts on the Nobunny tape for maximum Ramones-ness and the Hunx tape includes a bonus track (which was an exclusive before the Florida's Dying Party Platter came out). This would have been a sweet trifecta if they had included 'Raw Pie' (the 'release' I dig the most out of these three), but alas...Nobunny's been touring non-stop forever on this record, so it's going to be interesting to see how the new LP on Goner ups the ante (although Justin is a hit factory, so I have no reservations about quality) and I'd love to see 'Raw Romance' on wax at some point (and I think rumor is that this is happening?). I think the Hunx thing might have run its course, but I'm probably wrong. "Good Kisser" is definitely his hit though. Lastly, we get the tape release of Box Elders' "Alice and Friends" with alternate artowrk. I think everyone knows how I feel about these goofs. But it's a perfect fit for the Burger stable. All of these are pro-duped, the tapes look great and have quality graphics and j-cards and are limited to 450 copies or less. As I said, gotta give the Burgers credit for cranking these out in such high quality and quantity. People are buying them, so they can tell the haters to fuck off. I'd like to see more alternate artwork, bonus tracks and/or cassette-only stuff, but I'm a dick like that. They do have some cool releases upcoming (not to mention some sick looking two-fer packages they did of Nobunny and Ty Segall) from The Oh Sees (more two-fer tapes!), Cave Weddings (hopefully some new material), Skipper, Milk'n'Cookies and The Quick on cassette (!), plus an actual vinyl 7" from Nobunny as well. If only all of you kids were this ambitious.(RK)
(Burger Records // burgerrecords.webs.com)



BONUS PRINTED MATTER

Any zine review column these days has to start with Australia and breaking down the big publications coming from Down Unda. Distort is up to Issue 30 now, which is insane. DX has proven himself time and time again to be one of, if not the best zine guy of the modern age. His editorials are the best in the biz, layouts always look great and he keeps the coverage fairly hardcore oriented (past and present) with some diversions into more Termbo-friendly stuff (Homeblitz interview in #28 is quite insightful and funny). He's not afraid to joke around (See the Deep Wound interview) or reprint stuff he likes from "classic" zines of the past and he'll even throw full page flier reproductions and such in there. And there are usually no record reviews, which is a great move. Plus, you actually get records too (Issue #30 is the ECSR/Deathwish split doing Chosen Few covers)! One of the only zines on planet Earth I would say any self-respecting punk fan needs to subscribe to. Negative Guest List is already up to a dozen issues (and probably a couple more by the time I write this). In contrast to the "heavier" content on Distort, NGL is practically all irreverant all the time. Plenty of takin-the-piss, but dishing out the info and well-written as well. Interviews focus more on Aussie acts you've never heard of (and some you have, Issue 12 is all Brisbane bands) plus some international fare as well (Purling Hiss interview was a nice touch in #11). This zine might have the best covers in sport right now, it often comes with a comp CD, and has some of the better record reviews appearing in ink these days - there's only a few, but they're well thought out and have something to say. No five sentence say-nothing reviews here. Brendon has established himself as #1B alongside DX, and he's gaining steam. He has one of the best attributes a zinester can have (and one that few actually muster), and that's persistence. He's put out a dozen quality issues in what seems like less than a year. Now that's some real shit. On the pro-printed side of Aussie journalism, we have Issue 4 of Mountain Fold Music Journal, a high end publication covering a wide selection of acts. Each band interviewed gets to "curate" the artwork for their spread. The highlights are up-and-coming Aussie soul/punk jammers Royal Headache and Detroit's own Tyvek (who, instead of creating something new, just recycle the artwork from the 'Summer Burns' record, which I find hilarious for some reason...), and you also get good chat with Alastair Galbraith, the Twerps and more. A great read (with a lot of advertisements), beautifully done, professional in tone and worth picking up.




TB received a couple zines with two different singles by this Steve Admyk fella, so I'll review the print here. Standard Issue (clever name) is a free Ottawa punk publication, pro-done, B&W on newsprint, 30 pages deep. I doubt anyone outside of Canada's capital city has access to this (actually, it appears they have distro in most major Canadian burgs and the Bay Area in the States), but it's quite good! Record reviews section is splendid, they have a "Shitty/Not Shitty" ranking system (with "Kinda Shitty" in there as well) which makes for a fun read, and they review the album art separately from the music, which I can really get into. I tend to do this myself in Termbo reviews, as I think the album art is practically as important as the music. Well done and well written fanzine-style. They have some comedic non-music columns (including a "How To Shrink Heads" instructional) which is always a plus and interviews with Mean Jeans, Indian Wars, Dirty Donny and some local acts, and a SXSW report. Lots of local ads that were fun to look at as well. Good job and something the quality and scope of which I wish existed in my town. This is no hipster alterna-rag, but a good "real" music freebie. Corporate Rock Knockout is the second to tag along with a Steve 7", and it's the inferior of the two. A German publication, color cover, thick paper stock, 70+ pages, it looks great, but the content doesn't fare as well. Reviews section is pretty hacky, and they switch back-n-forth from German to English for maximum confusion. Crammed with 1-2 page interviews that don't say too much, focusing on the poppier side of garage-punk (Nobunny, Batman & Robin, Black & Whites, Loveboat, etc...) which also confusingly change language without warning. Limited to 500 copies, I think the Euro-to-American conversion hurts the content a bit, but my favorite bit was a NOLA travelogue from the mighty Herr Gimp himself (of Bachelor Records infamy) which is hilarious and features a disturbing photo of Matt Muscle costumed as a yeti?!

Not all zinesterism focuses directly on the tuneage as we all know. There's also the dreaded "art zine", which are generally pieces of pretentious crap. But we received a nice package from Drippy Bone Books which proves that there are some good arty-types out there too. The wide range of publications includes a "Government Issued" Coloring Book for the Deranged Mind from Keenan Marshall Keller, which sounds like a trite idea, but contains a couple good visual gags and some great art in a style reminiscent of the absurdist drippy/vein-bulging cartoon-style of 'Super Jail' on Adult Swim, if you're familiar. A nice little dozen pages of diversion, but Keller really delivers with the first issue of his Galactic Breakdown mini-comic, detailing the outer space adventures of a steroid-raging psycho in full color on thick slick paper. Funny and vulgar. Chandeliers & Piss is a photo-zine that is exactly what is says: pics of chandeliers opposite shots of piss-stained walls in B&W. Artastic. But the real feature here is their "compilation" zine Whore Eyes, of which we have the first three issues. Twenty or so color pages of underground art from three different artists per issue. Issue 1 has some great line drawing and collage work, but is the weakest of the three. #2 has some more stellar work from Keller (who also runs the Drippy Bone imprint) in color and B&W, some great collages from one Kristy Foom, and wonderfully disturbing and sexual animal-humanoid drawings from this Actually Huzienga chick. Also comes with a CD comp with music from some of the artists, plus Termbo faves like Wizzard Sleeve, TIREFIRE and more. These two issues come packaged together in an edition of 120 copies. Issue #3 is the must-have though, packaged in an envelope with three small zines, one for each artist, one of which is none other than Timmy "Vulgar" Lampinen. A dozen or so pieces from the man, some bizarro pen and marker drawings on looseleaf, looking like the weirdest high school notebook doodlings ever, a great ad for 'Universe Nurse' I don't remember ever seeing, some great collage fliers, and what appears to be the art for the 'Poison Frog People' record which is incredible. Is this record coming out? Shit. The two other zines are photo-appropriation and primitve inks from Eric William Pierson and some scary and erotic paint-n-ink work from a Polish girl, many animal-themed and many of which would look great on an Oh Sees record. Killer comp CD includes an unreleased Timmy's Organism track ("Ugly Dream"), good-to-great live cuts from Fey Gods, Wizzard Sleeve, Static Static, Toxin III(?!) and one from Buffalo sludge-metallers Haiti, who I had no idea anyone outside of their rehersal room even knew about as they've played maybe two local shows total in their entire history so far. They're really good, by the way. There's also Gut Reactions, Modern Witch and a couple more. Compilations like this are generally throw-aways, but this one has the goods. And the Vulgar "zine" is fantastic, I'd love to see even more and even own an original. The other stuff is cool and all, but this is the one worth plunking down for, and it's limited to a hurtful 75 copies only.




The biggest news of recent printage lately is the release of a few very Termbo-centric tomes. Everyone's talked their ass off about We Never Learn, Eric Davidson's history of the "Gunk Punk Undergut: 1988-2001". Firstly, I'm glad this thing exists, as someone said it's the first attempt at documenting an era of music we lived through and took part in. It gives some exposure to bands and labels that certainly deserve it from a guy who was there. There aren't a ton of great revelations (although I did not know Eric is credited with coining the Mike Rep "LFW" production credit), and the stories are actually a bit tame when you think about it. The narrative is rather scattered and NBT biased obviously, and I think he spends a bit too much time talking about the Supersuckers and Nashville Pussy and a lot of band/scene references seem crammed in. I think this thing might have worked better as a New Bomb Turks "bio" or maybe even a memoir from Davidson himself. It would make more sense. As a scene history, it just tried to cover too much and the parameters seem to be set too wide. I can't fault the ambition, but it just seems spread really thin. In reality, there could be a whole book written on Bay Area Budget Rock itself. The Billy Childish section seems really random and abrupt. The best parts are interviews with label guys like Long Gone John and Larry Hardy, and Tim Warren gets a ton of coverage/bias. My favorite moments are both the Kuge and Byron Coley taking credit for KBD 1-4 and Bloodstains on the printed record. Overall, a decent read (even if he does go overboard on the gonzo-hyperbole zine-crit style) with some shortcomings, but one hell of a college try at an almost impossible timeframe/topic. You know you have to read it no matter what. Hey, even Termbo gets a mention! Touch And Go: The Complete Hardcore Punk Zine compiles the entire run of the seminal mag, and is worth every fucking penny you'll spend on this, and it's very affordable from numerous outlets. You'll cry over crazy Dave Stimson record reviews/pans, there's some great forewards by everyone from Coley to Ian Mackaye to John Brannon and Rollins and more. Tesco Vee is one of my favorite zine writers of all-time, and this gives me plenty to chuckle over. Now we just need a Forced Exposure compilation, and we'll be all set. Pair this with Tony Rettman's Why Be Something That Youre Not, a concise and fantastically written overview of the Detroit punk/hardcore scene from 1979-85, and you've got a your summer reading list all laid out. Revelation Records released it somehow, and I've got no problem giving Jordan Cooper some dough, I'm just glad he stepped up on this one. More books like this, please! To close this out, I gotta mention Meat Is For Pussies, the latest from John Joseph, a "how-to guide for dudes who want to get fit, kick ass and take names"! I'm not kidding. Read it or get your ass kicked.

(Distort Fanzine // www.culthardcore.org)
(Negative Guest List // myspace.com/brisbanefanzine and uptheshitter.blogspot.com)
(Mountain Fold Music Journal // mountainfold.com.au)
(Standard Issue // standardissuemag.com)
(Corporate Rock Knockout // crkozine-at-googlemail.com)
(Drippy Bone Books // www.drippybonebooks.com)
(Backbeat Books // www.backbeatbooks.com)
(Bazillion Points // www.bazillionpoints.com)
(Revelation Records // www.revelationrecords.com)


To read past reviews go here.

TAPES, DEMOS AND ZINES SHOULD BE SUBMITTED TO:

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

and/or

Brandon Gaffney (BG)
174 Mariner St.
Buffalo, NY 14201

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



PREVIOUS PAGEHOMENEXT PAGE