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DEMOS/TAPES WINTER 2010/11

Key: (RK: Rich Kroneiss)(NG: Nick Goode)(BG: Brandon Gaffney)(RSF: Rob Vertigo)(MH: Mike H.)


Avon Ladies "Demo 2012" cassette
Now this here, this is what hardcore punk rock should be sounding like in 2011. I know little about this impeccably named band, excpet that they are from Arizona, possibly have one or more members of Pigeon Religion in their ranks and are fronted by Clev-O expatriate Chris Erba, he of H-100s, Ruiners, Upstab and more. One of the most wonderfully violent sounding frontmen of all time, hearing him scream lines like "Eat your fucking face off!" gives these tracks the real menace the music sets the table for the proper serving of. Guitars infested with high-pitched feedback that take squealing excursions on off-kilter solo lines, a sickening bass gurgle that provides balls for the twisted "riffing", knock-out drums...total package. Guitar work is really splendid, sometimes ripening into a cutting death-ray potency and/or your basic, yet always effective, walking-headfirst-into-a-buzzsaw sound. A perfect storm of bloody ripping. It's great to hear Chris letting the hate fly again and he has a powerful band behind him. Pure fuck-shit-up music for stomping anything...Intimidating, a little weird, a lot violent. "Fire Ants" and "Go Fast Go Frontside" are my personal favorite cuts to bleed to as of writing, but all seven tracks provide plenty of fuel to destroy anything to: your living room, some guy's head, most other hardcore bands, let'er rip. Just put this thing on vinyl right now. Fuck. This is the good shit right here. 200 copies, buy or get fucking killed.(RK)
(Circle of Shit Records // circleofshit-at-gmail.com)




Bad Indians "Don't Hang That (On Me)" cassette
The Bad Indians' "Live At The Burial Mound" LP is one of the best value purchases you could have made over the last couple of years. They were (and I think still are) practically giving away a great full-length jammed with shit-fi garage-psychedelia slop-n-swirl. Druggy as hell and blown-out (and in) to the gills. It went a little overboard at times, and bordered on straight noise/static at moments, but that disregard for lucidity was what made it a winner. The band seems to have relocated to Brooklyn from Michigan, which doesn't bode well in my book, but I live in fucking Buffalo so what the hell do I know...This self-released tape still lingers in shit-fi land, but doesn't quite match the overkill damage of the LP, though they do give it a hell of a shot. Rail-thin recording style with vox sounding like they were recorded at the end of a long hallway. ECCCHHHOOOO. They lapse into some passages of "dreamy" girl-vox passages that are a little too "hip", but temper that with some blasted harmonica interludes and crappy organ moans. One thing I really hate about cassettes is that it's a fucking bitch to keep up with tracklistings - but the last few tracks on Side A get gnarly with some wah-pedal mistreatment and the stew starts sounding like a swarm of insects. I start to get the feeling the girl's vox are detouring into Slumberland, but I don't think they're intentionally going there - I'm just thinking the worst since this was done in the girl-fuzz capital of the world. But "Dead In My Head" sounds far more like Black Lips than Vivian Gurls. Actually, it might sound a little like Girls at Dawn, but they're more garage than dreampop anyway. Hey, they're on fucking Norton Records, maaan! Fourteen tracks on this, maxing out the C-60 format, delving far, far down into the rabbit hole...pretty excessive, but I think that's their plan - the melding garage-twang to an almost S3 or krauty sense of continuous drone - a good amount of these cuts sound alike, giving off an out-of-time sense of deja-vu and disorientation. It's effective album rock, and when they break formula they show off some glimpses of pop-song length charisma. Not quite the treat of that first record, but I don't mind where they're going on this at all. 50 copies only.(RK)
(On the Make Music // badindians-at-gmail.com)

The Big Drum In The Sky Religion "War Party" and other bullshit CDRs
Triple pack of CDRs from a band with an awful and terribly long name from Virginia who are some sort of melange of a noise band and hippie drum circle. One of these discs sounds like a stoned girl playing bongos while deciding what sort of vegetarian dish to make for the commune's dinner. Another one sounds like 20+ minutes of my furnace kicking on. I would say at least they took the time to make some decent looking DIY packaging, but who really gives a fuck?(RK)
(self-released // www.dont-fucking-bother.com)

Bipolar Bear s/t cassette
A running joke at TB HQ is for me to send Rob all Bipolar Bear releases, which for a while there seemed like a weekly affair. These guys aren't a terrible band by any means. Just really mediocre, particularly so for a band with a pretty vast discography on some "hip" labels. Practioners of modern indie-rock, sometimes going for a Monorchid/DC post-core thing, sometimes pulling from the textbook Sonic Youth guitar-centric style, sometimes sounding more in line with your Pitchfork-approved acts like No Age and other Smell-y LA scene-stars. This one is more in the SY-worship vein. Meh. Limited to 100.(RK)
(Scotch Tapes // www.scotchtapes.ca)




Black Traitor demo cassette
Five(?) tracks of "mindless plod" from the heavy dudes in White Load, a band who I like more with each release. Black Traitor are riff-monsters in the Kilslug vein, guttural vox, a thick overdriven guitar churning out the goods, and drums played with all the finesse and talent of a silverback gorilla during mating season. No track titles, but I feel like they get a little metal on the B-Side opus, with the A-Side being more bludgeon-rock. No idea what the lyrics are about, but I think one of them is their theme song where he growls "You're a black traitor" repeatedly. That's really all I can give you on that front. Guitarist adds some extra fuzz on the B-Side too, which turns into a real slugfest they jam-n-chug out for minutes on end at a few different tempos. Is it all one song or a few played back-to-back with feedback segues? I dunno, but I like how they did it. As a whole this sounds really fucking great and shitty, blowing mud all over your deck, complete with a couple of fuck-ups and a few different flavors of riff. Comes in a neat little stamped manila envelope, limited to 25 copies or so I believe and free if you ordered the recent Leather Bar quad-pack of one-sided singles. I don't know if Black Traitor are destined to make it past side-project status, but as a demo tape, it delivers.(RK)
(Leather Bar Records // myspace.com/leatherbarrecords)

Blanch Blanche Blanche "Tragic Bios" cassette
One guy with a casio and some half-baked ideas releases a tape of his "songs". Sends it to TB. Gets me bored, then angry, then bored again. A ridiculous and inconsequential series of events.(RK)
(OSR tapes // osr-tapes.blogspor.com)

Bloodhouse s/t cassette
I have a soft spot for rock from the Maritime Provinces for some reason...it's one of those seemingly far out-of-the-loop areas that I like to think breeds weirdness. I might also just be romanticizing it because of my fondness for Rick White and Elevator and the Moncton scene of the Nineties. Bloodhouse hail from Halifax (home of Sloan...and Jale, if you got that deep...) and do a pretty convincing take on Thee Oh Sees variety of psych-rock, except far heavier and plodding, and without so much of Dwyer's guitar eccentricities. More riff based and without any West Coast folky touches, but the vocal treatment is almost identical. Six tracks, I found this pretty enjoyable for what it is: a darker and rockier Canadian version of...Thee Oh Sees, who I seem to like a lot more than many Termbros these days. Pro tapes/cards with a nice stark black design.(RK)
(self-released // ourbloodhouse-at-gmail.com)




Brimstone Howl "Singles Collection" cassette
We're big fans of the Howl here at TB HQ, and it's been fun watching them bang it out for a few years. Shameless plug, but if you want some real insight into these guys, there's a great interview with them in Scratch'n'Sniff zine #2. Numerous singles and three LPs (four if you include that early CD-only thing) so far, and they have a good handle on their place in the underground hierarchy. I think they've done pretty well for themselves, and I imagine they could be contenders for something a little bigger than Alive/Total Energy, but I'm not sure what that would be...I think a lot of TB readers might find them too traditional. Not weird enough perhaps, and this may be the same thing that keeps them in the upper-middle-class of a Bomp offshoot label, but not quite on the hipster radar of your Pitchfork/Vice crowd that dig on the Black Lips and such. Or maybe it's because they haven't really written a complete knock-out of an LP (but still have penned two very good ones). Sometimes I think it's their "straightness" that causes them to stand out for me and actually makes them "weird" in their own right. Who knows. Fact is, they're one of the best true rock'n'roll bands on the planet, capable of writing catchy and honest songs that actually rock pretty fucking exceptionally. This cassette compiles most of their singles action, including bonafide smash hits like "Lynne", "In the Valley", "Uptight" and "Tunnel of Love"- fifteen tracks total, plus one unreleased cut. A lot of this material is probably still available on wax if you look close enough, and all of their seven-inches are worth owning if you ask me. Still, this is a handy compendium and a great intro to the band if you're unfamilair and a far better starting point than any of their full lengths. Honestly, I wouldn't mind having this pup on wax...pro tapes, with download, first pressing of 100 is (rightfully) sold out, but it's wisely been re-"pressed", albeit in a shorter run.(RK)
(Rainy Road Records // rainyroadrecords.bigcartel.com)

The Buk Buk Bigups "big big fuckups" cassette
Not sure what the band name means, but who gives a shit, right? I imagine it's not a Chinaski reference. I don't know what to call this. Is this chill-wave? I don't really want to know. Dancey digital drum/synth beats, zany compressed vocals, some wacky noisy stuff and a bunch of tracks that sound like the lead-in music to the local 11:00 news. No self-respecting music fan will want this within a few miles of his or her tape deck. I'm mad I had to type out this band's name.(RK)
(self-released // bukbukbigups-at-gmail.com)




The Cobwebbs s/t CDR
Huntington Beach garage kids who are low on talent but overflowing with bad jokes. Wilford Brimley humor, Simpsons samples, nonsense like "Doob Da Do"...this is all fine and dandy for a tossed-off high school band, which I'm hoping they are. They somehow manage to come up with a few songs worth of painfully simple textbook garage-punk amidst all the cornballing. But they seem more concerned with being "funny" than playing music. Again, which is fine and all if you're just goofing off after school. I really hope these kids are juniors or seniors at HB High and not too serious about this. Not really fit for consumption for the general public. These kids should go hang out at the Burger Records shop and see how things are done.(RK)
(Mannie Kid Records // myspace.com/thecobwebbsmusic)




Cogs "Afternoons" 2xCDR
A double CDR with 44 tracks is certainly a great way to introduce someone to your art, and also a great way to put people off due to sheer overkill. We don't need to hear every single idea you've had over the past few years. Trust me, not all of them are that good. Especially the ones with you playing casio and "singing" about there not being anything on TV or the ones where you play guitar badly and for far too long. Or the bleep-bloop "artscape" things. Just give us a good sampling of your best stuff. Like that lengthy spoken word piece, with the girl talking on one channel and you making some incidental noise on the other. Actually, I'm partial to most of the spoken word bits - there's just something intriguing about hearing a British accent speak about mundane topics over a low key instrumental. And you do have a couple decent DIY-slash-artpunk tunes here too. If you'd made a disc with a dozen of these better cuts, I'd be more willing to overlook the junk surrounding them. As it stands though, it's too much gristle and not enough steak. Some decent and very British artsy/DIY/fartsy bits lost in a sea of excess.(RK)
(Art Music Records // myspace.com/cogsartmusic)

Cruddy "Negative World" cassette
Austin Texas punkers who are a little miffed we failed to review their 7" like a year ago. One of three things happened to that single: 1) I gave it to a staffer to review and they didn't bother/forgot, (2) I lost it or (3) someone did listen to it and thought it didn't merit the space/time to review it. I couldn't tell you which in this instance, but shit happens. We do apologize and thank you for trying us again. Cruddy play frantic and bouncy rock with bass-driven post-punk angles. Recorded medium-fi, pretty clean guitars and vox, which are delivered in a wordy talk-tone and occassional call-n-response type stuff with a gal. Some mid-tempo breakdowners, some busy mathy parts, drummer is quite adept and glues it all together. Rather serious in tone, reminds me a bit of post-core DC bands aesthetically. DJ Rick of Art for Spastics digs these guys a lot ("best cassette release not on vinyl" or something to that extent). I can't say I'm quite as fond them as he is, but they seem like they'd be a serviceable opening act for Austin punk shows. I'd watch them instead of going outside to smoke, at least for a few songs. Nice packaging though, with a see-through j-card in a clear plastic case that looks good against a white cassette.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/cruddysux)




Cum Stain s/t cassette
After a few Kill/Hurt label releases (ed.: you'll hear about them further down the page...), Cum Stain sound like musical fucking geniuses. Jesus, at least these guys know what rock'n'roll is. Hunx and His Punx/Nobunny style budget-pop, but singing songs about jacking off...well, wait, I guess Hunx and Bunz sing about that too...Cum Stain just do it with a lot more juvenile gusto. Shit-fi garage punk "about gross things" sums it up pretty well. Has the tracks from the single plus seven or eight more - sometimes it even sounds like a crappy Moonhearts or Segall. Breaking no new ground, but at least they're stupid and having fun. Party. Yeah. Usual pro-packaged Burger job.(RK)
(Burger Records // www.burgerrecords.com)

Dead Head s/t cassette
Olympia at present is brimming with great punk of all stripes. It’s reached the point where I’m willing to take a shot on anything Nuts! zine endorses and the Perennial label releases or recommends, which brings us to the cassette by this Olympia four-piece. Let’s start with the superficial: (a) the band is called “Dead Head,” (b) their tape’s artwork cops the Grateful Dead aesthetic (stylized skeleton, roses), and (c) they slapped a pot leaf on both small folds of the J-card. If you guessed that these folks are on a stoner-rock trip, you’re most of the way there—although opening track “Black Despondency” kicks off and concludes with a raging SSD-style chord progression, switching momentarily midway to a hypnotic 3-note bass riff over which singer Caroline Motley despondently moans (providing the tape’s most musically compelling moment), the remainder consists of bass-heavy, Sabbath-inspired stoner jams, which fall a bit flat heard on tape. While interesting and not an entirely un-novel aesthetic, I get the impression that this band would make much more sense in the live setting, plus the tape is so quiet that I had to crank the stereo considerably to get a proper sense of what was going on. These guys sound like they have the potential to make a record as focused and powerful as those by any of the other great bands in the Oly area, but as it is, they sound like they’re still working out the kinks. Promising, and definitely worth a shot, but unlikely to be something you’ll have a hankering to listen to again and again. There are three lengthy songs here, with the program repeating on both sides. Write them at P.O. Box 835, Olympia, WA 98507 or email deadhead42069666@gmail.com.(MH)
(self-released // )




Dipers "Pronounced Diapers" demo cassette
There was a great and under-rated band from Seattle called The Dipers from not too long ago, you know. Maybe not a lot of people are hip to them unless you were a really devout follower of the A-Frames/Dragnet Records family tree. I'm just sayin'. And they didn't have to hit you over the head with the joke either. We could figure it out without the Wipers parody logo and all. These Dipers are from NYC and wear their Yankees pride on their sleeves j-cards, which just makes me want to toss thing right out the window. But fair is fair...it's four songs of goofball sloppy punk about lighting farts, "Dog Mosh" and other dumb shit. The guy's got a good vocal growl and they have some riffs that work even if the whole thing is corny as hell. Musically it's decent hardcore-punk, aesthetically/lyrically it's just a string of bad jokes. For fans of The Trashies and other stupid shit that thinks it's funny. 100 copies.(RK)
(Eat the Life // eattheliferecords.blogspot.com)

The Droughts "They'll Grow All Over" cassette
Second tape from the mysterious Droughts, whose first cassette was one the best things I've heard all year, tape or otherwise, and still deserves some vinyl treatment as far as I'm concerned. I've sleuthed out that they are apparently from somewhere in the Bay Area (but this is absolutely not confirmed), although none of my sources there have any idea who the hell they are. There's something that sounds slightly familiar here, but I can't put a finger on it...honestly, I think it's the guy's vox...and I think he might sound like the singer from an LA band I don't really like. But I'm probably wrong...Ten tracks on offer here, lacking some of the downer-drive that I liked so much about their first tape, but embarking on some more DIY excursions into Bummerville this go-round. Singer still sounds like he's staring despondently at the floor on every song, with barely the motivation to enounce the lyrics at more than a self-doubting mumble. Rudimentary drumming again attempts to give some backbone to the invertebrate songs, and succeeds in providing just the slightest of slouching posture to prevent everything from sliding completely off the table in a single cell mess. Guitars are still begging to be tuned, I think the wheezing sound on "New Disease" is the shittiest organ ever built, "Venders" has some sort of Fahey-folk determination executed with fetchingly minimal skill. Two songs into side two and they sound totally lost at sea again, playing through a haze, grasping at strings of song concepts, looking for the glow of the lighthouse lamp to bring them into shore but sounding more and more like a ghost ship doomed to ride the fog for eternity. "Repeating Scenery" and "Roman Nose" bring the beloved Slicks to mind again, if the Shannons were totally fucking zonked out on ludes. This is the type of music that is very close to being absolutely terrible but instead becomes befuddlingly engrossing. Phantom songs delivered with so little energy it saps your will, yet somehow has an undeniably attractive pull. I'm very into this band and whatever it is that they're doing, because no one else is really close to doing the same thing. Fascinating downer moves that need some wax pronto. Hand painted/stencilled cassettes that I imagine they dubbed themselves. Zero-fi.(RK)
(self-released // thedroughtsmusic.com)




Fake Teeth s/t cassette
As bad as my attitude starts to get after reviewing a nice stack of crappy singles and LPs, it's nowhere near the pit I feel myself sinking into after a batch of cassettes. Nothing makes you feel like you should be doing something better with your time than listening to a dozen or so tapes of "lo-fi pop" made by "one dude with a sampler" and stuff of this ilk. It really makes me start thinking my life is fucked.(RK)
(Hidden Fortress Tapes // hiddenfortresstapes.blogspot.com)

Florida=DEATH cassette
Warped tape, organ tones, shit banging snare hits and some real fugged out manipulated vocals. Boombox to boombox recorded/edited porch psychedelia. I wanted to hate this…mostly because it took a day or two just to squeeze the ill fitting fucker from its custom made slipcase (a paper koozie that seems to have been glued around it). Fought the urge to chuck the dumb sonafabitch in the trash, but enjoying it immensely now that it's on the stereo. Tends to rock (not like ROCK, but more of a seasick sway) now and again, leaving the listener in need of sniffing salts or a vomit bag. Creepy and peeling, misshapen shit that haunts the ether like Slicing Grandpa's somewhat folk cousins. Inbred cousins. It can get pretty noisy at times. Those of you who bought and dug the Puerto Rican Crime tape I mentioned last issue might wanna’ grab this for proper bookending. Not bad. If you order a copy (find a copy, have a copy) dispose of the damned outer sheath NOW. Don’t make the same mistake I have. I may never get to listen to this again now that it's stuck like an 8 year olds dick in a shampoo bottle. Sad. Ghetto-fied recycled tapes in an edition of who-the-fuck-knows. (RSF)
(Amod Records // myspace.com/amodrecords)

Free Radicalz cassette
Raging young band from PDX that's running with the same crowd as Nerveskade et.al., but shunning the Chaos Non Musica philosophy and playing something fairly wild and unique. Saw them last year and was blown away, singer is a somersaulting madman (named Wolfgang!) and the guitarist is a very beguiling reincarnation of Chelsea, they really killed live. (And they have an incredible airbrushed backdrop curtain that puts, uh, all other punk backdrops to shame). These songs are well-crafted, catchy, "melodic" is the obvious (and trite) word that comes to mind over and over, but it truly has a smart, crafted sense to the whole thing. Really lush and pleasant, memorable songs that get fast and RIP… Free Radicalz are building a bedazzled bulldozer. There's an odd part out every other song (usually towards the end) that gives it that awkward demo feel, and I hope (I'm sure) they'll soon streamline and strip off the excess. It'll just level people. Reminds me a bit of what the Necro Hippies would have done if they kept existing, but with much more of that weird dissonant Pat Smear melody. Just imagine a Don Bolles-less "Land of Treason" with some guy that sounds exactly like the vocalist from ZOUO(!). It's really lovely to hear a great Portland band that does not sound like they've even been there. Please write a record SOON.(NG)
(self-released // www.myspace.com/pdxrads)

Ghost Coast demo CDR
Does Ghost Coast really sound like a good band name in this day and age? Really? You couldn't have come up with something more generic? "TX Country Music". Yep. Good ol twangy guitar paired with reverbed vox that are delivered with zero personality and a (possibly fake) hillbilly accent and the worst bass sound ever. Sounds like a fat man farting, and I don't mean that as a compliment in any way. Poorly played, poorly recorded, just an abundance of shoddy ideas. On the last track they approach unintentionally humorous levels of incompetence, a ten minute turd called "Son of Sam", but it all winds up just being terrible in an unamusing way. (RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/ghstcst)

Green Screen Door s/t cassette
Four songs of zero fidelity punk rock on this water testing demonstration tape. Recording quality is so anemic it's hard to make anything out. Sometimes I think it's a girl singing. Maybe that's a dude. I dunno. The shit-fi recording isn't really doing them any favors here, even if it creates some weirdly interesting atmosphere. Seems like they might have a good buzzsaw guitar going against the trebly twanger that sticks out in the mix. Drums have the consistency of wet cardboard boxes. Starts sounding pretty evil on "Brooding Giants". I now realize it's a guy and girl trading off lyrics. The chick has that bored yet sexy Kim Gordon delivery. These guitars become quite viciously staticky when given a chance too. The guy's vox are a little blowhardish, in a trying-to-be-really-visceral way, but they seem to work more often than not. "Psychic Rape Machine" sounds more than sick enough (for almost inaudible noiserock) and "Parallels Cross" ends with a strange DIY-hookiness. I honestly think if this was better recorded they could be onto something, and this is coming from a guy who loves crap-fi efforts. Reminds me some of the Bad Indians stuff in its hazy shitstorm recording sesh vibe, but going in Crampsian and NYC-noise/scumrock directions. I'd like to see them give this another shot on the 4-track, keeping it crappy sounding but with more volume. As it stands this still has me interested enough to keep an eye out for future efforts.(RK)
(self-released // greenscreendoor-at-gmail.com)




Hanging Coffins s/t cassette
I'll tell you what, I don't recall Hanging Coffins being this good. I remember them standing a little taller than some of the other bands that were part of that whole Jerkwave cassette series, but I had them written off as your average weird-tape band who would do something on Night People or some other label that releases Raccooooooon (or however the hell you spell it) stuff. The sort of "noise" avenues I don't really stroll down too often. "Bombers and Bridges" will obviously get you thinking they owe Ben Wallers a royalty for this one (who himself may owe Mark E. a couple quid anyway), but it's done quite well. "These Little Creatures" turns to distorted underwater anti-folk. "Ladies Upstairs" shows an agressive psych-punk side, "A Willing Trigger" revisits the country tease in a mumblemouthed manner, and "Narcoleptic Shock" is lo-fi synth-pop that sounds a bit like Flight. There's a definite "voice" here that has some more personality that I think (perhaps unrightfully due to general ignorance of bands that run with labels that release stuff by Wet Hair or Raccccccccooooon...such bad names...) other acts running with this mysterious pack lack. Plays well on the long format, and there's a lot worse things out there than sounding like The Fall-via-Teasers, and this guy does show he has a couple of other looks in his bag as well. This tape is only available with the first 100 copies of their 7" on Malt Duck, so you'd probably want to act fast. Promising stuff.(RK)
(Malt Duck Records // www.maltduckrecords.com)

Homostupids "Great Music Collection" cassette
Twenty-something songs from America's Greatest Rock'n'Roll Band. Have you heard these songs before? Well, I fucking hope so. Are some of these unreleased versions of their Greatest Hits? Maybe. Are these radio ads made by the Jerky Boys? I don't think so. Have we heard "Back With The Wolf" before? You tell me. Do you need another permutation of "Sixths"? Yes you fucking do you son of a bitch. In these unsteady and sometimes frightening times, we should all be thankful we have the music of Homostupids to fall back on and make us feel better about being alive. As existential as it is essential. These guys should be playing on American Bandstand or at least halftime at the Super Bowl.(RK)
(Fan Death // www.fandeathrecords.com)




Induced Labour s/t cassette
Three song tape from Toronto hardcores. Not sure what division of 'core this falls into, it's bass-heavy and fast and metallic - deathcore or something. Technically savvy. Vocals are ridiculous. Sounds like the zombiewitch from Evil Dead. I'll pass on this one, No Trend cover or not. Bleargh.(RK)
(self-released // www.inducedlabour.com)

Kitchen's Floor "Too Dead To Notice" cassette
I think Kitchen's Floor might be Brendon NGL's favorite Aussie band. I know he "roadied" for them on a recent tour, and also mentioned they had some personnel shifts/issues wherein Kitchen's Floor now have some different members and there was a one-off outfit called Dirty Mattress where KF mainman Tim Kennedy was playing their songs with members of Blank Realm backing him. I don't know for sure how it all got sorted out, but KF are still together as a band, this much has been confirmed. And the fact that a guy as deep in the Aussie underground music trenches as Mr. Annesley gives them such a firm endorsement should speak volumes regarding their talent. On this live tape they seem to playing in front of a rather polite art gallery crowd or something. And the band sounds downright soothing here. Recorded in the summer of 2010, with just the slightest bit of haze to give it a real homey quality, they strum and percuss their way through nine tracks with an added organ player augmenting the Matt/Julia duo for the performance. Things stay rather low key and mid-tempo, they run through a few album tracks, vocals sound wonderful and they sneak in some bottle clang percussion and a couple of other odd bits of nuance as well. Sounds very New Zealand in this setting, sometimes like Tall Dwarfs when the percussion sounds homemade and the harmonies are a little off and sometimes tipping their hat more to the Verlaines sharpness. A bit different in feel from the LP, which I liked in itself, but here they sound a bit more...soulful perhaps and less depressed. I can see them drifting across the ocean and landing on Woodsist or Sacred Bones even, the upper echelon of labels that cater to weird and pop equally. I refuse to call them Aussie shitgaze, because Kitchen's Floor are better than that. Although it does ring a little true...This is supposedly getting the vinyl treatment soon as well, and it's one of those rare live performances that actually deserve the wax.(RK)
(Negative Guest List // uptheshitter.blogspot.com)




Knifey Spoony “Animal Pleasures” demo cassette
A sweet little love letter to simpler times, long past. Grungy 'Bleach' structures, metallic riffs and some almost stoner-like thud back up desperately yelped vocals and an occasional cowpunk vibe. Man, if I was 16 again and living out in Nowhere, Illinois...this would be ruling my face. I’m older, wiser and more jaded now, but secure enough to say this is probably some local kid’s favorite band playing the house party circuit. I’m glad for them. Really. It’s stupid fun and recorded just strong enough to get by within today’s industry standards (that 4-track crap-tacular sound). There’s even a wack-job Creedence cover and some pop stuff going down at the end (oh shit, it’s a Husker Du tune!) These boys have some talent, whether doing the ruff n' tumble Northwest riff repeat or a catchy punk chorus. They seem to be playing everywhere in the US at any given moment and now share a member with Uzi Rash. Huh. Not bad. Go get ‘em tigers. 200 made (on tinted BLUE cassettes!). Fancy little homemade case with insert booklet. (RSF)
(self-released // knifeyspoonyoakland.blogspot.com)

Lab Coast "wilding" CDR
Mid-fi Canadian folk-n-pop, sounds at times like Sic Alps if they were from Calgary, at other times like Sebadoh (i.e. Lou's songs) and at even other times like some Elephant 6 style rock wimpery. Eleven songs that do breeze by pleasantly, rather fragile sounding and making me recall the soft side of Nineties indie-rock and Lab Coast (very clever) do show a concern for writing emotionally fulfilling songs in that awkward sort of bespectacled college radio DJ/dork way. They could certainly do well in the middle rungs of indie-rock given a good chance and some hip press, but perhaps not really fitting in the realm of Termbo-centric music.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/labcoast)




Limbs Bin "Familiar Combatants 2008-2010" cassette
One-man noise band "worshipping Infest and Hanatarash/Torture Garden". That sums it up about as well as I could. Programmed drum blasts (but not blast beats), dude screaming, industrial/synth noises. Bleak outlook. Vegetarian. "No Messiah!". I do admire the tenacity to which he adheres to the aestheitc he's laid out, but there's no way anyone is going to want to listen to this stuff. Well, I'm sure there's a scene built around this noise somewhere, but I'm fine not knowing where it is. The blown-out sound is interesting for about one "song" to someone not into this "genre". Am I using enough "quotes" for you? It does have a nice little saddle stiched j-card/book though, these DIY-noisester folks are always pretty crafty.(RK)
(Tickled Meat // jel08-at-hampshire.edu)

Little Slutzz demo CDR
Brief six song demo from Madison, WI. Lo-fi aggro shit with ties to The Hussy. "Come To My Place" has a weird church-key synth effect that reminds me a little of Pink Noise, "I Told You So" has a mean Tokyo Electron-ish thing going on, "Hard to Erase" reminds me of Bassholes a bit, "I'm Alive" reaches Wizzard Sleeve levels of acid-synth. These are all rough generalities of name-drops of course, but for a demo that I'm not even sure this guy wanted me to review it's pretty damn promising and already better than a lot of shit out there. PS: the upcoming Hussy LP sounds pretty cool.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/thehussyknowsall might get you in touch...)




Lot Lizards "Live At The Old School Studios" CD
Lot Lizards have been at it for a spell now, with more than a few smaller sized releases on Yakisakana on other discerning Euro-garage labels. A husband/wife bash-n-bang duo, they do Crampsian-styled twangers and deconstructed Black Time-like takes on the modern garagepunk idiom. Maybe a UK version of The Intellectuals or Magnetix (but coming nowhere near the guitar scorch of Looch Vibrato). Recorded live for a radio broadcast, recording sounds great, and it's an enjoyable set. Not exactly an A-list band, but a solid B-team act. Fourteen cuts, limited to 150 copies. Way better than you think it will be. GG and Meg also have their hands in other projects like Subway Slims, Los Raw Gospels and other permutations of the London scene. These two would probably get more attention if Black Time didn't steal all the thunder...(RK)
(Tokage Records // myspace.com/lotlizardslondon)

Low Life s/t cassette
Nasty business from the wrong side of the Sydney tracks. Combines a dead-cat Christian Death thing with some Bobby Soxx/Stickmen sonics. Five tracks of guitar icicles, a rambling and loose, yet somehow serious-business rhythm section and deadpanned deadman vox. "Ice Attack" is a monster masher with inter-dimensional guitar scree and a sickening latex-rubbery tempo. "O. Lyon" sounds like incidental music from The Thing (John Carpenter version)...a disturbing snowblown tundra soundscape. "Filth and Hate" is just that, "Bloodline" will pierce your ears and swallow your soul. "Low Life" actually has a little bit of a hook, but a depressing and haggard one. Dark stuff, and evidence that's it not all sun and suds over there in New South Wales. 100 copies, pro tapes/j-card.(RK)
(Harbour City Tapes // alowlife.tumblr.com)




Meat Thump "Neck Tattoo" cassette
The force of nature that is Brendon Annesley has expanded his NGL empire from ruling the current state of zinedom into a budding record label, kicked off officially with a couple of cassettes this update, and with plans to soon expand into vinyl. Along with the Kitchen's Floor live tape (a band BA has "roadied" for and gives his utmost support to) we have this Meat Thump full length. The Thump are Brendon's latest ragtag band of "rockers" (and the wonderfully terrible White Cop seem to be over and done with, leaving only one of the most glorious cassette's worth of hiss and piss to remember them by), and the man himself has told me that this release doesn't even represent their "current hard rock sound". Compiled from various demos I had no idea they'd already released, it shows the band as a loose guitar act, sipping healthily from the VU cup (including a riff on "Sister Ray") and reflecting on NZ-like indie-pop as well. Personable vocals hide inside hearty twin guitar strum, both acoustic and electric, building layers upon layers that border on cacophony at times and at other times give off a rather likeable and jangly rough-hewn pop sensibility. Far hipper than I'd imagined. The B-Side turns on the listener like a starving dog, a feedbacking and evilly rhythmed drone-jam with sharp guitar squelch that carries on for far longer than it has a right to, but really just barely overstays its welcome, as "jams" are prone to do. Full of surprises, this guy and his henchmen.(RK)
(Negative Guest List // uptheshitter.blogspot.com)

Meercaz “Rough Around the Edges” cassette
Night People pressed up some rock music again. In between their usual vinyl platters of free-form caterwaul, wall-o-synth scree and cold blip tape releases, they’ve gone and unleashed this easily digestible portion of space-meat. These are Muzz Delgado’s home recordings; mostly solo and pre-dating the self-titled CD/LP (methinks). Demos for new and used tracks play out side by side for those hopelessly trapped in the collector’s mindset of "gotta gotta have it!". Some of the songs rip-snarl along, more punk than anything I’ve heard him do before. The "Moving at the Speed of Sound" demo sounds like Icky Boyfriends tackling the weird punk movement. Muzzie’s voice is pretty loud and in the foreground, burying the militant snare hits and rhythm fuzz in the back pocket of his flared cords, until the solo overdub comes in all backwards…or some shit. A crazy outsider mess. Offputing as it is inviting. I like to feel this unsettled. The "Unbreakable Song" and "Space Hate" demos move things closer to the familiar Twinkeyz-psych being filtered thru the JTIV junkshop glam we know him for. Just a little more ruff-n-tumble at the seams (hence the title). He even drops a sickly sweet ballad or two on ya. A nice (cheap) companion piece to the TTT 12” and Sweet Rot single that contain newer, finished versions of most of these songs. Both have their merit. Speaking of Sweet Rot, the usual Night People j-card looks classy in that kinda’ way. Cheap thrills for the Walkman sect out there. I’m gonna’ go clean my spoon.(RSF)
(Night People // www.night-people.org)




Mmoss "i" cassette
What would a tape/demo section be without a few Burger tapes? That god for 'em. Mmoss are from New Hampshire, where I didn't know they had rock'n'roll bands, and execute this full length with the utmost skill, teeming with Beatles-esque pop complexity and beautiful production. They throw everything in the bathtub here, lots of flutes, pipes and winds, sitar, timpani, cello and other many-stringed contraptions, farfisa, and instruments I don't even know the names of. Pretty stunning album rock, sounding like authentic Nederbeat at times, baroque popsike at others, one cut of straight up Doors-style "The End" atmosphere, some Kinks-y rockers, Caravan like proggy stuff, grandstanding pop a la The Move. Sunshine psych gives way to shadowy journeys to the center of your mind. Backwards guitar interludes, fucking glockenspiel, experimental hippie rock dives, pitch-perfect vocal harmonies up the ass. Grandiose and with just a fittingly slight amount of pomposity. I really can't say anything bad about this record, it's frighteningly vintage sounding, without any sort of nod to modern times. Trapped in 1967 or so and doing well with it. Astonishingly well constructed, recorded and played, having the right hooks and right moves in all the right places. One of those records you could have played for me blind and passed off as a reissue of some lost Sixties gem. 18 tracks deep (and I mean deep), they even get the song titles right: your "name" songs ("Molly Molasses", "Marianne Rising", "Brians Trip"), your cryptic generically titled "think" pieces ("Part One", "Part Two", etc..), your herbage song ("Thyme"), a spiritual ("Epsitle to Shon") and the ominous woodsy magik handful ("Hedgecreeper", "Woolgathering"). It's actually a shame this is on cassette...but those ever-smart Burger dudes supposedly have a vinyl press upcoming, which is definitely worth a look if you need something to space out to in a nehru jacket while smoking out of a hookah and sitting on a beanbag. Perhaps even talking to your pet rock. Groovy. 250 copies with your always nice Burger pro tapes/packaging.(RK)
(Burger Records // www.burgerrecords.com)

Mouse Heaven s/t cassette
Whispering acoustic folk with female harmonies from some Oakland neo-hippies. Some dreamy pop moments, some back-porch tonk style stuff, I'm going to have to compare them to something like Sandwitches, but ten times more boring. The Sandwitches gals have had a moment or two and at least come up with some good ideas and energy. This shit will just put you to sleep. Worst dubbing job ever on this, you'll need to crank the volume knob to even hear this at a whisper, which you really don't need to anyway. I'm also thinking they might have done this on purpose as it seems they're cultivating some kind of jive-ass ghost-like aesthetic here with all black design and a vintage b&w double exposed photo of some anonymous phantom bride.(RK)
(1019 Records // 1019records.com)

Pizza! "Bogus Rimshots From The Fourth" cassette
Fuck, if Kill/Hurt isn't one of the most despicable labels of recent memory. I can not believe this shit. I think the batch of releases they sent in have done more to make me hate doing the Demo Zone than even the Roman Candles, and are pushing me to want to refuse any tapes from here on in more than anyone else in Termbo history. An honsetly painful listen. And to just rub my face in the shitstain like some dumb dog, fucking Pizza! don't even play pizza-rock, which would be a welcome respite at this point. What do Pizza! sound like? Fucking lame ass shit, that's what, pardon my fucking French.(RK)
(Kill/Hurt Records and Tapes // www.killhurt.com)

Porn Persons "Walls of the World" cassette
Weird-noise-punk from Quebec with a "concept" record about walls. Man, talk about a city with a non-existant punk scene. I wonder what they have going on up there? Since it's practically France, I'd imagine a lot of arty-farty noise. Like Porn Persons. Cutesy art school mumbo-jumbo, with a girl chicken-squawking shrill vox through a megaphone and a "loose" guitar/drums band behind her. Inept playing/rambling, a Kleenex cover, some Slits-y bash-n-yell. Occasionally veers into moments of actual songs, where they accidentally whip up a post-punk-a-billy beat or some dum-dum punk cling-clangor. Occasionally unlistenable. Makes sense as a part of the Savoury Days brand of new school DIY, I guess. These vox are a fucking dealbreaker for me though.(RK)
(Savoury Days // savourydays.blogspot.com)




Port Said “01/14/83-09/03/1982” cassette
This is an archival release of live sets from an obscure minimal synth band out of NY (pronounced Sa’ id – after the Egyptian city). The initial recordings are shockingly clean and probably from a soundboard mix. They fooled me into thinking there was a couple of unreleased studio tracks tacked on at the front. A lost single? Nope. Just really well done. The instrumentals on here remind me a bit of the early Future (pre-Human League) or those little ditties that spring up on TG records betwixt the industrial bombasts. Nifty. Some crowd noise occurs after a few songs and my query of it being really live or not is set straight along with the member introductions. Port Said had more going on than what the minimal moniker would suggest. Warbled vocals interact with acidic guitars around uncluttered keyboard sounds. Some worldly beats throb along side real solos, not just the skronky art-fried stuff. Cluster/Neu Krautisms spring forth from these polyrhythmic drones and churn out sprawling dance numbers. An occasional ambient tone gets buried by slow building layers of oscillating synth-play. Maximum minimalism. It’s all pretty kewl if yer a fan of stuff with electro-ethno-psych leanings and early fried Roland cables. This is the first of what I believe to be a large pile of genre reissues by the Oakland tape label. Looks like VoD has a box set coming out of the bands four studio LPs as well. Nice (and cheaper) companion piece, right here. (RSF)
(Sanity Muffin // www.sanitymuffin.com)

Mark Prindle "My Wife Left Me Because These Songs Are Terrible" CD
Mark Prindle seems like a good guy. I've made many enjoyable visits to his website, Mark's Record Reviews over the years, and I recommend it to any discerning Termbo readers. He's been around the block a few times, and being a few years older than myself, spent some prime music-listening years in the Nineties, so I appreciate his AmRep/Touch&Go/post-hardcore sensibilites quite a bit. But he also covers a ton of classic punk, indie rock, noise, and everything else a rabid music fan would get into. Great interviews abound on his site, and he continues to review records to this day, although he's pretty much still stuck in the Nineties. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's an interesting perspective, once you understand he's not really into "modern bands", pretty much sticking to reissues, Nineties rockers still active and major label releases. He also bares his soul via his stream-of-consciousness writing style in various uncomfortable ways (see the title of this CDR for a good example...his wife really did leave him, and he talks a lot about it), which adds another fold to his peculiar persona. Definitely check out some of his writing. Maybe not this CD though.(RK)
(Nute Records // www.nuterecords.com)

Radons "Radiation Summer" CDR
Got a healthy batch of CDRs from this Flesh Wave "label" based out of the Detroit area showcasing a bunch of bands I imagine share members within their particular circle of friends. Scene in-breeding and such. Radons are the outright punkest of the gang. Crunchy guitars, raw vox, some live drums..."Teen Freeze" sounds a little like a Lost Sounds demo CDR track with more macho vox. "Don't Come Close" seems like a more aggro version of the Dirtnap/Pac NW synth-rock sound. Not overly remarkable, but pretty tough and snotty for this type of deal. "Chlorine" is definitely catchy in a dunderheaded punk way. I think these guys have the most legs out of any of the Flesh Wave outfits I've sat through here...(RK)
(Flesh Wave // fleshwave.weebly.com)




Raspberry Bulbs "Lone Gunman" cassette
I'm not going to pretend to be an expert on modern black metal, but I think Bone Awl and the Black Twilight Circle collection of bands have "opened up" the genre to fans of punk and garage that might not usually be flirting with the current US metal scene. I try and keep up with what these guys are doing, and though some of it is too deep in the genre for even an ex-high school hesher like myself, I think anyone (coremen, adventurous garage turkeys and just plain old punks) who saw Bone Awl on their summer tour last year found something to like. If Bone Awl were a gateway band for many, I think Raspberry Bulbs, a one-man project of BA drummer He Who Crushes Teeth, will make for an even more comfortable listen for fans of lo-fi heaviness in general. It's essentially a shittily recorded punk record. Made by a "metal" guy. Simple and riff-heavy songs with animalistic vocals, but not as unintelligible and growly as your typical black/death metal release. Like I said, I'm just dabbling in a genre outside my general sphere of knowledge here, but there's not too much distance between this and say some really raw Reatards demos or something. Heavier and perhaps a bit sludgier, but mucking about in some of the same puddles of low fidelity nastiness. Recommended for fans of metal bands with ties to garage-punk like Tirefire and Mangina and such. This is the third RB tape as well, I'd recommend working backwards from this one. As usual with these bands, it's limited and probably already sold out, but a little sleuthing can probably still get you these for non-horror prices. Comes with a manifesto zine/booklet as well that will remind you that all this "Mysterious Guy" genre stuff is really derived from the metal scene first and foremost.(RK)
(Seedstock Records // www.seedstockrecords.com)

Roman Candles "Punk Belongs To Us" cassette
God, you guys are killing me. This is just terrible. Please stop sending me tapes. It's not funny.(RK)
(AZT // ugh)

Red Mass "Sadness" cassette
The opener "Mule" is as close to a stoner gem as these Canucks are gonna’ hand you. It starts off with a crushing Sleep or Electric Wizard intro, and then lets up on the heavy as Roy starts crooning. From there on out, the guitar noodling never lets up. It sorta' obscures the song in a fuzzy wank after a bit. A syrupy slide creeps in to add some drool to the hillbillies jawbone. Jesus. The freak flag flies high. A solid start, fer sure. Now follow that up with a minute or so of free form practy-space clatter. No reason. Just because. The epic (I do mean EPIC) and evil (I do mean EVIL) Roller-controlled "Arlis Perry" delivers harsh electronics layered over a true crime story that is quite damaging to the psyche. The unsolved grisly murder of a young girl who was found before a church alter at Stanford University, stabbed with an ice pick and violated with mass candles. Not a bedtime story for the kids. It all happened a day before my birthday, 1974. Mean sounding shit for the Hospital Records or Come Organization collectors out there. Heavy handed, true. Ear-piercing too. But much more enjoyable than another fucking "eat-pizza-on-the-beach" tune to these ears. End side one. Go scrub up.
The flip begins with "Work of Mercy"; some downer creep-folk that's holdin' up the religious overtones nicely. This guy is on his way to knocking Nick Cave from his gilded throne. That jag-off is too busy trying to be Leonard Cohen nowadays, anyhow. Plus Roy has better hair. Some random French TV garble plays in the background until Bloodshot Bill takes the reigns, leading into a slop-abilly tune called "Mamie's Got The Moves". This here's a Hasil Adkins loving mess. Mad Daddy dumb fun and surfin' turds. "Sick Sick Sick" comes next and punishes you in sparse strum, radio chatter and other implements of clang stolen from the local soup kitchen. A long, long pairing piece for the A-sides outsider horror story. How to loose a fair-weather fan: part II. Only thing is, I love shit like this. Well, it could go somewhere...but I'm not hitting the fast forward. "Hearts of Age" leaves you with a bit o' mandolin and whistling to bring it to a halt. I'm not positive, but I feel like Jodie the Pig is whispering unsavory thoughts to me quietly within the outgoing tape hiss. Better say ten Hail Marys before lights out. And there you go. Another piece to the Red Mass puzzle. Except this piece has corners that are water damaged, or chewed clean off. Disfigured and not fitting anywhere. When those of you hate it (and some of you will), feel free to send me the copies. Great demented stuff.(RSF)
(Bruised Tongue // www.bruisedtongue.com)




Romantic States s/t cassette
There seems to exist some sort of cassette underground in the US I thankfully have no real knowledge of, where people record themselves making the most banal and preciously trite synth/sampler compositions and release them in editions of 50 or 100 on "labels" with names like Tater Junction, Happy Go Lucky Tapes or fucking Chimney Sweep Records or some other dumb shit. They sometimes seem to think sending them to TB is a good idea because we review cassettes. Which is wrong. We review rock music, which might come on a cassette at times. Please do not send us any more bullshit...TATER FUCKING JUNCTION. JESUS CHRIST.(RK)
(Tater Junction // myspace.com/romanticstates)

The Scrams s/t CDR
Garage rock from New Mexico way. I remember their 7" having a little something going on...run-of-the-mill garage done with some good attitude. On these 11 tracks they sound a little hokey though. The singer turns out to be a real hambone and the organ gets a bit arduous. The first half-dozen tracks are just an exercise in mediocre bar rock until they finally hit their stride for the last few tracks, "Goat Throat" and "Chimp Necropsy" have some bite to them and the organ actually adds some edge instead of the cornball touch it lends to other tracks. That being said, those tracks aren't even all that great, just the cream of a sub-par crop. At least they took the time to handcraft some sleeves.(RK)
(self-released // www.thescrams.com)

The Second Homeowner "Life At The Old Blue Last" CDR
Yet another CDR entry in Savoury Days' documentation of the modern day London-DIY family of "bands" at which The Pheromoans stand at the centre of. Second Homeowner are actually the Pheromoans incognito (with members of Human Race and La La Vazquez subbing in) playing Pheromoans "covers" to what sounds like a crowd of fifteen. Sound quality gets a little murky, but it's not terrible. You still get a good impression of how they come off live. They do some "classics" from the singles like "Wedgie Cubist", "Suburban Despot" and "Penis Envy 96" and throw in another half-dozen I don't think have been officially released as of yet, including a very loose J.Richman cover. As cruddy as it sounds at times, it's still the best non-vinyl release in the Savoury Days catalog that I've heard.(RK)
(Savoury Days // savourydays.blogspot.com)




Sex Killers s/t cassette
Holy cow! Outstanding garbage-fi punk ineptitude from Sacramento. Guitar sounds like it's recorded through a toy amp, drums have the worst(best) sound...wait, I don't even think these are drums, it's just someone banging on a tabletop or plastic bucket with their hands. No cymbals or snare or anything. Just thumpity-thumping. Singer is convincingly disinterested and drunk sounding. Surly. If I'm deciphering this insert properly, this might just be two guys. One named J.Beer and the other name of Bob of Death. Yup. Oh, now they're doing an Eastern-inspired instrumental called "13 Cigarette Night". It's like a terrible Shadowy Men on A Shadowy Planet. Genius. Now they're playing "City of Rock" (?!) and I think maybe they found a drum kit and a real amp, but still sound terrible somehow. Terribly good, that is! And that's just the first side. Side B kicks off with "Leave Me Alone", and here they start to sound like the worst Angry Samoans cover band of all time. "Die Like A Junkie" reinvents the riff from "Bloodstains" and turns it into a massive piece of crap that I just listened to like five times in a row. And it keeps getting better! "California Murder"? Yes please! There are dozens of bands across the country that wish they could sound this shitty but just can't do it. Whether the Sex Killers are just honestly bad or are smarter than they're letting on and dumbing it down matters not. What does matter is they've done it right, right down to the club-me-over-the-head-with-it Germs rips on "Couch Surfin' USA" and the out-of-sync back-ups from some girls who suddenly appear for the last cut. There's no way these guys know any girls. I'm not willing to bet against this being Scott Soriano and DJ Rick fucking around with a broken four-track after smoking some hippie love weed. However, I am hoping that this is a fresh bunch of dumb kids ready to cause some trouble. Or perhaps or our old pal Martin Backslider having a piss. We'll see how it turns out. In the interim, secure a copy of this tape at all costs...I haven't smelt trash this fine in ages.(RK)
(self-released // thesexkillers-at-gmail.com)

Sex Objects "Negative Batshit/Cathedral Fever" CDR
More keyboarding from the Flesh Wave gang. Sex Objex are the "creepy" synth-punk band of the bunch it seems. Or at least trying the hardest to be weird. Male/female vox over eight tracks, recording gets pretty raw, lots of shitty synth/drum/guitar sounds, some fast punkers, some noise/drone parts...lo-fi electropunk that's at least going for dark and menacing aggro instead of retro-New Wave cheez. Like I said in some other review, Digital Leather are so good they can draw outside the genre confines of synthpunk. B-level bands like this are for synth-heads only, which ain't a bad thing, but ain't my thing.(RK)
(Flesh Wave // fleshwave.weebly.com)




The Shanks "I'd Fuck Me" cassette
Part of the cornbelt Nebraska scene that birthed Brimstone Howl, Spread Eagles, Fag Cop and more Termbo favorites, The Shanks have perhaps been overlooked in comparison to some of their scene brethren, but have still dished good material here and there. A couple of singles on Boomchick (the flag waver for this little geographical niche, and a label that had a good but brief run) would have made one really good 7" if you combined the best songs (like "Cut Me" and "Dead Flowers"...), and I swear there was a split 7" or a tape or CDR in there somehwere...but their most recent EP on TTT ("Backstabber") was a great effort from start to finish and made me glad to see them back in the ring. This tape is all unreleased, from two different sessions, the A-Side sounding a little more polished, and the flip some rawer leftovers from a Brooks Hitt session at Boomchick HQ. Fifteen cuts of pissed off heartland punk rock, somewhere between the misogynistic Dead Boys-influenced slop of The Reatards and the darker and less weird moments of The Feelers. Dirtbag stuff like "Sex Feels So Good", "Throwaway Girls" and "I Got Fleas" really scratch that scumpunk itch if you're feeling the need. Sloppy shit with zero pop influence and maximum attitude problem. I'm not going to say this qualifies as great, but it's quite good for the form and I just listened to it three fucking times, so there's something there. 100 copies, pro tapes, and I really like the cover design.(RK)
(Rainy Road Records // rainyroadrecords.bigcartel.com)

Shape Denter "Demo'O" CDR
I always harp on how bad a lot of the cassettes we get sent in are, but in the end even the worst cassette is a higher life form than a piece-of-shit CDR. At least you have to do some minimal leg work to release a shitty cassette. The shitty CDR can just be spit out of disc burner and plopped in the mail. Shape Denter are a wacky outer space-themed band that play "cleverly" titled instrumental snippets and songs, often with cheezed-out metal guitar, slap bass, maybe a theremin...or maybe it's just a bunch of Garage Band-recorded horseshit. They might unintentionally make a few seconds worth of actual spacerock, but it's honestly just a half hour of bad idea after bad idea. These demos/tapes columns are really starting to break my spirit.(RK)
(Hot Dog City Record Co. // www.hotdogcityrecords.com)

Sharp Right s/t CDR
Cutesy band does a cover of "Die When You Die" mixed in with a half-dozen other pieces of lo-fi generica and packages it in a homemade greeting card style sleeve with a cartoon turtle and rabbit. Yes, yes, very clever, nudge-nudge wink-wink...Just because you're from London doesn't mean you have a license to sound like shit and call it "DIY" though. FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK, why do I this?(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/sharpright)




Sister Ray "Holga" demo cassette
I always felt Sister Ray were much better than the limited amount of press they received. But then again, I've got a soft spot for dumb garage bands from Ohio. I always thought they broke up in the early Nineties, so I was shocked to receive a new demo tape from them in the mail...jokes, jokes. I dunno, maybe this Sister Ray are too young to remember Youngstown's finest. I'm sure they're not the only other ones to comandeer the name. It does still bug me a little...do a little homework. Sure, there's a twenty year gap between usages here, but even so, it's not a great enough name to recycle. Think of something better. I have no idea where these fellas are from, as I refuse to "look you up on facebook". I do have an idea that this demo is kinda....shitty, is perhaps the word I'm looking for? Look, I love incompetent and primitive music as much, if not more, than most. And this is surely incompetent, the sort of sounds that make you think the band doesn't really know how to play their instruments. Rudimentary at best. Sometimes this type of shizz comes off great when there's energy and character percolating alongside the lack of skill. Sometimes it comes served colder than a dead fish, when it's lacking those needed characteristics. I understand they're going for a "minimalist" angle here, but this is just ploddingly dreadful. Deadpan vox, mid-fi and flat recording and zero excitement. Four tracks of one-note guitar and someone hitting a drum whilst falling asleep. I think I get where you're trying to go, but I refuse to get in your car. Dylan covers are not my favorite thing in the world either. Am I being harsh? Sorry, but this is about as exciting as going to work every morning. Limited to 25 copies. Vinyl forthcoming. Wow.(RK)
(Baby Carrot Records // babycarrotrecords.blogspot.com)

Sleepies s/t CDR
Don't send us CDRs when you have an actual vinyl version out if you really want a review. It's insulting, in particular when you make it a point to mention you have LPs but decided to send us a CDR in lieu of an actual record. Oh wait, you're from Brooklyn?(RK)
(self-released // www.ican'tbebotheredtolookupyourwebsite.com)

The Spook Lights s/t CDR
Psychobilly garage rock from Lawrence, Kansas. Every town has "this band" - they throw an annual Halloween show, wear costumes on stage even when it isn't October, love The Cramps, maybe play on the local B-Movie public access show. The Spook Lights are a decent enough example of this breed, singer does a passable Lux croak, guitars actually sound pretty good-n-reverbed. The guy probably has great gear. They sound better than Buffalo's resident creeps, The Rabies, for what that's worth. In the grand scheme of things, unless you live in Lawrence and are dying for a cover of "Nervous Breakdown" (not the Flag one) while you nurse a beer at the local garage club surrounded by Betty Page haircuts and dudes wearing creepers, there's no need for you to ever hear this.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/thespooklights)




Strawmen "Loud & Mean at The Aberdeen" cassette
Strawmen are Canadian roots-rockers (I'm not going to call them cowpunkers, because that is the worst genre name ever...) who parade out their influences proudly and without shame (Gun Club, Compuslive Gamblers) via their choices in covers during this 11-song live set recorded for posterity in July 2009. Recording quality isn't too shabby, it has the guitar way out front, vox are loud'n'clear and the drums try and punch their way out. At least it's not an audience mic job. The music itself is very well-versed in American country-rock and garage standards, played with plenty of hayseed spirit in a straightlaced way that's a bit reminiscent of Brimstone Howl but driven by C&W twang-n-strum instead of the Heartland rock'n'roll power of Nebraska's finest. Aw-shucks-style is what I'm sayin'. Nothing too special, if you look closely there's probably a band just like this playing a dive bar in your town this coming weekend. Go see them and buy them a beer, they need the support. Let Halifax or wherever these guys are from take care of their own.(RK)
(Hamburger Tapes // hamburgertapes.blogspot.com)

Tax & Leisure Corp. "0854701502" CDR
The bar coded on the cover of this CDR from Seattle post-punkers TLC (harhar) should hint a bit at their steez. I'm gonna reckon they're ex- or current members of some bands we've heard of, but they're not telling. Six tracks of crisp and rhythmic rock, with a prominent bass current chopped by guitar angles. Singer has a nasal sneer that matches up well with the musical architecture. Lyrics are a little silly at times, trending things a little more to the goofy side than what you usually get from a unit playing in a genre of music that tends be seriously technical in its execution. Reminds me some of a less aggro and less wacky Mclusky blended with some Nomeansno-style "smart punk".(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/taxandleisurecorporation)




Terminal Girls "Invisible Ills" CDR
Synth-pop stuff with a rather clunky analoggy sound...budget drum box, Casio wheeze and thick keys, dark lyrical themes, droney vox and tempos...sounds like one of the lesser Digital Leather offshoot bands. Just pales in comparison. FDH Records is doing an LP with them it appears, and it fits into the current synth-punk aesthetic the label sometimes caters to. If you're into stuff like Dr. Scientist or Gape Attack, have at it...Comes with lyric book.(RK)
(Flesh Wave // fleshwave.weebly.com)

Terminal Girls "Discophobia" CDR
The gals sound a little more appealing on this one, a little tougher and more aggro. Canned drums have a nice smack to them, driving organ sound, recording gets kind of boxy/compressed giving the songs some tautness. Again, like a lesser Digital Leather. Not bad if you're really into synth-punk, but not rising above the genre like Foree & Co. Has a nicely done color lyric booklet again though, so they have their arts and crafts skills going for them...(RK)
(Flesh Wave // fleshwave.weebly.com)

Terraform “Temporal Junk” cassette
A frantic batch of post-punk skronk and pound from these unknown PDXers. Abrasive, repetitive jazz-damaged carny rides with a yelping front man whose vocals land squarely between art (think Boys Next Door-era Cave) and indie (think that femme-bot who fronts Frog Eyes mixed with a tad of Fat Bob). So that’ll probably make it or break it for most. It can be a bit much in the initial sitting, but it does alright by me the more I listen. The sax player is what really steals the show tho’, snaking in and out of the drum and bass herky-jerk and guitar scratch. Teenage Jesus confronts the Dog Faced Hermans in a slum alley scrap? Mix in some spazzy, overly caffeinated Fort Thunder alumni and what you end up with ain’t half bad, folks. The A-side repeats on the flip and the print job on the cassette and tray card looks aces. I hear this is already in its second pressing…well, well. Suckle the sweet berry of success, kids.(RSF)
(Karamazov Recordings // karamazovrecordings.blogspot.com)

Temple "1st Movement" cassette
Trigger-on-the-Dutendoo is one hell of a label. This guy runs perhaps one of the most fringe operations I've ever seen, releasing Wisconsin-centric stuff from the most marginal of grind, noise, hardcore, punk, metal, you-name-it bands that I imagine few people outside of the actual band members are aware of. Groups with names like Raging Dickbrain, Coreyfukkinfeldman, Prualogsusan Pentagram and other over-the-top monikers. Even the (rather good) pre-Pink Reason metal outfit Hell on Earth. His dedication to documenting such obscurities via limited run releases with creative homemade packaging (including using vinyl floor tiles as 12" sleeves) is admirable, even if the music is of sometime questionable merit to those outside the circle. I'm ashamed I don't get around to reviewing some of the stuff he sends in, but sometimes there's just not much to be said other than "Wow, I can't believe someone released this...". Even so, it's encouraging to know there are weirdos like this out there in the world. I guess Temple would be called a "noise" project, of the somewhat ambient variety. This "1st Movement" has three parts ("Desecration/Invocation/Ascension") recorded "live", which amounts to what seems like a C-30 worth of a lo-fi synth drone that doesn't vary much for the duration. Atmospheric and creepy enough, what you might expect from the Lovecraftian scene depicted on the envelope this tape is carried in. I have no idea who will want to listen to this, but it exists in an edition of 100 copies.(RK)
(Trigger on the Dutendoo // trigger.on.the.dutendoo-at-gmail.com)




Terrible Feelings demo CDR
New band from Malmo, Sweden with members of Sista Sekunden and Pretty Whores. Four tracks of well produced and well played pop-punk with a dark (E-M-O) edge and rough female vox. Like a lot of Swedish bands, they're technically proficient, yet lacking in the personality department. Brutally boring.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/terriblefeelings)

Torture Unit demo cassette
WEST BAY HARDCORE. Total early-Eighties throwback style here, but this is a fucking ripper, mates! Heavy and fast US-style blaze, a la early DRI at times, a little bit of metallic-crossover stylee and getting into some powerviolence moves too. Seven ugly two-gun hardcore blisterers about war and America and other classic themes, recorded raw and bloody. Members of Spazz, Funeral Shock, Plutocracy and other heavy West Coast hitters if you need to see some credentials. Singer reminds me of Sam Kinison when he really yells, which I think is great (and shouldn't be taken as a joke either, he just sounds really fucking pissed). Pro-tapes with foldout j-card/lyric sheet, limitd to 200. I found this to be a refreshing blast of steaming hate that was just what I needed after listening to and attempting to review a half dozen pieces of cling-clang art shit. BALLS.(RK)
(self-released // tortureunit.blogspot.com)

Tough Troubles "Illnesses" cassette
London trio making with the DIY electronics-n-strings racket. Concept album about disease. Song title examples: "Cancer Survivor", "Foreign Accent Syndrome", "Weed Psychosis"...a little bit of the piss-taking, obviously. Sounds like Catatonic Youth for some tracks - canned drums, guitar, reverbed voxxx with some clipped oscillator effects. They go into some Pink Noise future-drone here, some Cure-like Blank Dogs synthery there. There's even some Tubeway Army dark subway tunnel stuff...hey, they call subways "tubes" in the UK, don't they? A few Gothic and shadowy post-punk moves to boot. Straight-up dentist drill noise and clang-foolery round out the bunch. 15 tracks that are smart, very British and well assembled, but not in any way you've never really heard before. The unifying concept makes it a bit more interesting, but it also falls victim to the "song-titles-are-better-than-the-actual-songs" pitfall. Pro tapes/cards.(RK)
(Geneva Lake Records // genevalakerecords.bigcartel.com)




TV Freaks "Demo '10" cassette
Punk-rocking from Southern Ontario, with members of Rocket Reducers and Burning Love. Recorded raw (it is a demo after all), a little bit sleazy but I do detect some pop-punky background amidst the slop'n'snot. A half-dozen cuts that straddle the line between the Denton, TX sound (Wax Museums vs. Marked Men...) and the Atlanta, GA sound (Carboners, Predator...). Hasn't a band used the name TV Freaks already though? There has to have been at least one named this already...anyway, a pretty solid demo, has some muscle, good gang vox, songs about skating, losing, drinking and the fucking cops..."Co-Worker Blues" is the anthemic winner here. More interesting than these fellas other groups, an enterprising label could probably cull a decent single out of this for the kidz. 200 copies, pro tapes/j-cards, and this real good idea: comes with a 8.5x11 "insert" that they folded up skinny and wrapped around the tape obi-strip style and sealed with one of those little round price tag stickers. Great and cheap idea! They should be expecting a letter from Howes' lawyer regarding their label name though...(RK)
(Last Laugh Tapes // lastlaughtapes.blogspot.com)

UV Race "Homo" cassette
Anyone who’s been following UV Race knows that they’ve been great since the start. Each of their releases crackles with restless, giddy personality and a compellingly oddball sense of craft. The Australian ensemble’s singles have all been killer, but it was their self-titled LP on Aarght! that proved especially exceptional, a party-kindling collection that occasionally careened into realms transcendent. Homo, sold as a cassette on last year’s US tour and soon to be released by Aarght! and In the Red as the band’s second full-length album, is virtually flawless and their finest release yet, showcasing a group bashing together gut-wrenching pathos and a joyous creative spirit into an incredible new shape.
Homo, while still sounding much like the UV Race we’ve met before, is impeccably recorded, with all recording/production duties taken care of by Eddy Current’s Mikey Young. The band dispenses with any material less than absolutely airtight, and they’ve let up on the velocity driving much of their earlier material—the songs here are, for the most part, slower and more contemplative, plodding along at a mid-tempo pace or slower—but the band have considerably upped their attack, crafting their most rewarding, exciting songs yet. “Burn That Cat” is as fun of a nightmare vision as I’ve ever heard or seen – a chugging Swell Maps-style tune that merits an obnoxious blast of confetti each time it’s played. The side B opener, “Down Your Street,” operates in a similar mode, encasing singer Marcus Rechsteiner’s flat, deadpan delivery in a brilliantly infectious whirl of melodica and guitar. I’m constantly waffling about which of these 10 songs is my favorite, but lately it’s been “Nazicistic,” a ballad of clever wordplay for which the tempo is set by a clomping that sounds an awful lot like a goose-step march.
The one live show I’ve seen UV Race play was late last summer at the Eagle Tavern in San Francisco, and it was terrific, but real loose and unpracticed-feeling, making the sheer tightness of this new batch of songs all the more surprising. With this set, they’ve gone from excellent to absolutely fucking stellar. This is the best band in Australia, and while I’m willing to bet they have more music in the way, this is already seriously timeless stuff we’re looking at here. Can’t recommend this enough.(MH)
(Hidiotic // theuvrace.blogspot.com)




V/A Black Mamba Beat vs. Wake Up Dead split cassette
Newish Milwaukee label Kind Turkey bring us a bit of a British Invasion here, hot on the heels of what we're all thinking might have been Black Time's last release (which I've since learned might not necessarily be true) and the recent Black Mamba Beat long player. Wake Up Dead feature players fromn the same little "scene" as the 'Time and BMB, recorded and played on by Agent Caution himself, with help from Stix and a couple other blokes (including one with a connection to the legendary Livefastdie). Their sound comes straight from the batcave in an interesting twist. The first few dingers come off like The Spits doing a good Misfits take, with Danzigian baritone vox and murky shitcan recording. "Zombie Love" is hook laden, sounds very much like the first 'fits recordings when Glenn was doing everything himself in his Lodi bedroom. Over their five cuts they slowly segue into a more synthetic dark years The Damned thing, the vox get a little more Vanian, the beats a little more throbby, ending with "Union City" and it's straight-up goth-club dancefloor vamping. A nice little side-trip, not to be taken too seriously, but this could have some legs if they wanted. Black Mamba Beat is Mr. Stix's current gang, again with Caution recording and even a Janie Too Bad guest shot. They do some low key DIY-punk, "Don't Care Show Me" is actually very relaxing, with comforting acoustic strum and an upscale little thump. "Hibernating" is a gentle bit of foggy pop with a friendly twang to the guitar and melodious vox smothered over a subtle hook. Huggy Bear-ish? "Who's Gonna Do It?!" really reminds me of Pheromoans in a good way, deadpan vox with a bit of surf-flavored guitar. "D.I. and Die" is a rude and scrappy post-pub-punker and "Note From the Moat" closes with arty panache. This is the type of shit that makes for a good tape: maybe not quite ready for prime time (i.e. demos or rough mixes or side/new projects getting some footing), but still showing some care in construction and aesthetic, absolutely listenable and getting you interested in the band(s) involved. 100 copies only, with insert, pro tapes/cards, first 25 tapes come hand decorated. (RK)
(Kind Turkey // www.kindturkey.com)

V/A "Bored in the USA" 4-way split cassette
A four way split cassette? Can you think of a worse format? Holy cow. All bands from the punk hotbed of Gainesville, FL. St. Dad go first, and I seem to remember them having a 7" someone here liked. I have no recollection of it, but the singer is just great, doing a good impression of the guy from The Panics, but taking it a bit more into psychoville. Two songs per band, and St. Dad's are pretty good TOTAL KBD DESTRUCTION, with "Permission" having a weird British-pop guitar flair to it. Sort of. Partial People are trying to commit suicide by drowning in reverb, but they're at least doing it with a pair of up-tempo dumpunkers instead of fuzz-pop. A little nondescript but not too shabby. Post Teens play catchy lo-fi poppy-punk with a rough edge. Their leather jackets and Chuck Taylors probably have some scuffs on them. They get to play three songs, all of which are simply okay. The Ex-Boogeymen play plodding bar-band rawk-n-roll and are all keerazy and creepy and shit. The only band of the four that honestly suck. The other three bands show a nice little slice of a scene from a town that probably doesn't see too much punk action, and they should be proud of what they have going there. Local pride and all. I guess this is the first in a series, which will further branch out into FL rock continuing to fight the good fight that the Van Zant family, Bob Suren and Rich Evans have carried on for years. You gotta love the moxie of these Floridians.(RK)
(Bored in the USA // boredintheusarecords.blogspot.com)




V/A Cowabunga Babes vs. The Zoltars split cassette
Cowabunga Babes play it semi-cute. Bouncy-jangly garage-pop with a little of the Austin, TX touch and a solid mid-fi sound. Alternating girl/guy/gang vox, passable for fans of Budget Rock, Burger Records and such. I could swear there was already a band called The Zoltars - like a surf band on Estrus or something, but damned if I can find any evidence. Maybe I'm thinking of the Zarkons, but they were post-Alley Cats. And not good. Ahem. Zoltars rep Austin as well, a two-piece mucking about in the no-fi reverb netherworld. Laborious slow-tempo attempts at droney/dreamy indie-pop with quirk, coming off like Wounded Lion with zero personality (as much I dislike that band, they at least have an original aesthetic/sound) and this recording sounds like mush, and not in any sort of good way. Unlistenable. Limited to 100 copies, pro tapes/j-cards.(RK)
(Kill/Hurt Records and Tapes // www.killhurt.com)

V/A Adam Mowery/30 Year Hex split cassette
Side Mowery is Adam doing acoustic folk with some slightly fried psych edges. Pretty simple amateur hour stuff, off-key vox, minimal 4-track sounds, barely competent guitar. Sort of oddly cute in the grand scheme of things, but nothing overly special. 30 Year Hex side is more solid, digging in to acoustic death folk themes with a nice percussive thump that sounds like someone hitting a punching bag at times and ragged guitar playing accompanied by bullhorned bluesman vox. I think the Hex is a OMB, and does sound like a kindred spirit of Haunted George, if not as adept at the style/schtick as the master. "Hotel Hell", "Vincent Price", "Pirate Standards"...all fairly good stuff that shows this guy heading in the right direction. Both acts are from Halifax it seems, showing two sides of local flavor. Guess which side is better....(RK)
(Hamburger Tapes // hamburgertapes.blogspot.com)

V/A Sanity Muffin Label Sampler Cassette
Holy bajeezus. More bang for the buck. A 90 minute compilation with 18 bands filling up both sides to the max. Is it worth it? Well, it is a lot to digest, but for roughly .27cents a track yer bound to come out ahead. Unless you only listen to twinkie-pop, Oi! punk or 70’s freedom rawk. Then, well…yeah, ya’ might wanna’ move along. For the open minded (all 10 of you) that troll this board, you get a bumper crop of known and unknowns running the gamut from droning soundscapes, post-punk/post-rock clatter, bird calls & field recordings, tape manipulations, semi-harsh noise, Kraut worship and even a Swans cover (I think). Ladies and gentleman, you are floating thru space...until something near the end of side two throttles and whacks you about to the concrete. Not a bad haul overall, though I do get a tad lost in the who’s-who due to the lack of song titles (all artists are listed in cryptic fonts; the tracks are untitled) on the non-descriptive, yet pretty (see below) insert. It flows nicely, building up from subtle scapes to static drones all the way to the heavy cacophony at the end of side two. Highlights for me? Glad you asked: The sluggish cathedral synths and low end lull of Odd Nosdam’s opener perks my gills. The haunting piano score, bass tones and delay of Travis Wyche does wonders too. Hondo + Galena hint at some lost Carpenter cinematic sci-fi and come out ahead. Engines drop some epileptic jazz-jizz tronics on this headscratch, yet it contains enough weirditude to entertain. The Itallio-beat cold post-wave groover that is Naked Lights sticks sweetly, complete with skronking horns buried in the distant mix. There’s Galena’s throb and glitch appetizer that leads into the scorched pedal and knob attack of Born To Kill’s Hansen Records vibe. Gruesome twosome. The Gog ender, with its Jesu-cum-Swans inspiration, ain’t no slouch either. Artwork rules the roost over at the Muffins compound, and this here is no exception. The fold-out J-card illustrates what a micro-busload of owl people wearing cowboy boots must look like after being dropped off at a nearby gravy buffet. ?!?. Tasty. If confusing. The first hundred copies come with a custom made label guitar pick. Key-yoot. (RSF)
(Sanity Muffin // www.sanitymuffin.com)




V/A Taco Leg/Constant Mongrel split cassette
Perth's Taco Leg lead off this doubleheader, and I think they might have learned to play their instruments somewhat since I last heard them on that Fan Death 7". "Somewhat" being the key, as things are still fairly sloppy, but it's not as befuddlingly incompetent as the single was. I like them a lot more here. Brutally simple garage-punk that shares some chromosomes with the UV Race but without the drone those subhumans favor. These are pretty catchy and tightly wound almost pop savvy tunes, "Find Me" and "Gossip Girl" in particular. Three or four songs in they start playing what could almost be hardcore - "Teac" actually has a fucking breakdown and a killer riff. It's a poorly played one for slo-mo pitting, but a breakdown nonetheless. Rather awesome. Did anyone bother to see these guys live when they toured the US? Fuck, I would've gone if they played my burg, I hope you did if they came near. The Constant Mongrel side has some tunes I've heard before on their demo/CDR thing, but these are live versions. They're a two-piece doing some blown out garage-stomp with an agreeably fuzzy guitar sound captured well here and they go after the songs with welcome bluster. "Shoot the Ball" is a holdover hit I remember. They end with a good 'un called "Want A Woman" that has some quality chug and the Mongrel do an admirable job trying to harmonize the vox, winding it up in smashing fashion. Hey, for a split tape this is pretty quality and it appears to already be in its second pressing (of 70 copies). Constant Mongrel are good, but Taco Leg really shine here.(RK)
(Wuss Tapes // tacoleg.wordpress.com)

Watching the Train Wreck s/t CDR
Nine song CDR from Nebraskan garage-punkers who had a pretty decent little 7" lathe-job in the last reviews section. Growing from the same branch as Brimstone Howl and The Shanks, WTTW aren't quite on the same level as those acts yet but they're hanging tough. They're more like a punker 'Howl, and they charge out of the gates with a trio of hard-chargers with some pretty nasty fuzz. Pretty straightforward stuff but they get by with some tough 'tude. Then they grind to a halt with a slow tempo'd keyboard clunker. Ech. After that they do some more BFTG rips and such, staying in mid-tempo mode until the last tune which is the slowdance honky-tonk number. I guess you have to have one of these in your repetoire if you live in the Corn Belt. Not too shabby, but they don't really hold your attention after a single's worth of tunes. There seems to be some potential here worth mining though. Or at least a damn good opening act/local band for all you hayseeds in the 'ha.(RK)
(self-released // watchingthetrainwreck.bandcamp.com)

Brendan Welsh "Night Vision Street Magic" cassette
I believe Brendan Welsh was a character from the Beverly Hills 90210 televison programme (played by Jason Priestly) and here he has created a six-song tape of generic lo-fi fuzzy indie-pop where he moans a lot instead of singing and utilizes one of the worst washed-out guitar sounds I've heard in some time to create a masterpiece so boring and devoid of character that it's not even putting me to sleep. It's that bad. It won't go away. It also seems to have nothing to do with David Blaine whatsoever. Fuck. This. Shit.(RK)
(Kill/Hurt Records and Tapes // www.killhurt.com)




Women In Prison "Demo" cassette
Pretty damn great demo from Austin's Women in Prison, a band I've heard has ex-Functional Blackouts (Mk.I) singer Brian Nervous and members of Total Abuse (don't hold it against them) and The Young (possibly the best band in Austin right now). This might be their second demo, or a repackage of the same tape I saw earlier in the year (but never heard) with different art. Seventies vintage sounding actual P-U-N-K R-O-C-K that I haven't heard pulled off this well in a coon's age or so. Sounds thuggishly Australian at times (but not sludgy - more in a ruff Razar/Leftovers dum-dum way) - vox are expectedly sneering and snotty, and I always thought the FBs were at their best with this guy singing. Nothing too weird-punk going on, just that pure raw shit - some heavy lunkhead riffs, wonderfully sloppy lead squeals, some TOTAL KBD DESTRUCTION, fittingly scrappy recording. Just the right amount of fuzz/reverb, meaning they're not hiding the songs under a mountain of it (a la Francis Harold or something) but using it wisely - to give some slight flavor to the vox and sling some nasty goop on the strings. Six or seven songs here (I forgot to count, and the tracklist is hidden inside the sleeve, very funny) of back ta basics punk rocking that I think we all need. Weird-punk is out, real punk is in. I hear HozAc has these guys tapped for something already, which is a good sign that those cats haven't gone totally soft on us. Highly recommended. Pro tapes with cassingle style slip-it-in sleeve.(RK)
(Sick Thought Records // trekbgh-at-yahoo.com)

Woozy Viper "Rock & Roll" CDR
NYC-via-Kansas duo playing indie garage-pop. Somewhere between a soulless Reigning Sound or maybe an even more whitebread Black Keys. Not lo-fi enough to be real garage-rock and not possessing any sort of personality or interesting hook to even consider imagining them breaking into the Woodsist pantheon of lo-fi hipsterism. At best, they could perhaps confuse some Pitchfork readers into a coattail ride on the Vice/Scion "New Garage" train. I think this record is a download-only thing that they sent out some actual physical promo copies of. If you're not even making actual records, you've got a lot of nerve calling yourself a garage band. Even if you use Garage Band to record yourselves. Musical douchebaggery of the highest order.(RK)
(self-released // www.woozyviper.com)

Youth Avoiders demo cassette
A French band that sounds surprisingly American, Youth Avoiders are punkers with pop leanings that find some combination of ground between your Euro punk/pop acts (Dean Dirg, Press Gang), your Canadian/Deranged stuff like Vicious Cycle and their kind and maybe a bit of the Ergs family of bands. Lots of international flavors blending together for an energetic and well-recorded demo that will definitely get them a release on P.Trash, I imagine. This is right up that guy's alley. Middle-of-the-road pop-punk that should be a hit with the kids but anyone not still in their teens will find tedious.(RK)
(Neagative Youth Records // www.negativeyouthrecords.com)




Yuppies "demos" CDR
I feel like I've listened to half dozen Yuppies demo tapes and CDRs over the past couple of years. Have they released an actual record yet? Six tracks from these Omaha scene dudes, lo-fi pop that sometimes sharpens to a punk edge. Trebly thin guitars, chirpy vox, sounds like they have something in common with Columbus bands like TNV or Horseshit at times, with some of the quirk of their local pals Box Elders. "Chips n Salsa" is annnoyingly child-like, "Tropic" actually gets nice and noisy with a pretty nutzo sounding guitar whoosh effect, "Black N White" is so treble laden it almost hurts backed by a great shit-fi drum sound and a damn good pop hook. "Let Me In" is convincing punk-chug and they close with the DIY ramble of "Lion". If this batch of songs isn't good enough to get them on Captured Tracks or Woodsist or something I don't know what more they can do. I actually like a decent portion of this (that fucking "ChipsnSalsa" tune aside) and I don't recall their previous efforts being this quality. Maybe recording all these demos is actually working out for them.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/yuppiesband)






BONUS PRINTED MATTER

The great Australian zine scene has seen a changing of the guard of sorts over the last year. Distort has been the premier zine for quite some time, but DX has scaled back his attack somewhat with his energies focused on his bands (that UV Race group are getting a bit popular from what I hear...), international touring and other writing/label gigs. That doesn't mean that he's stopped, of course, as I don't think Dan could possibly stop. Ink (or toner) is in his blood. Issues 31 through 34 have cone out since last update, and they're reprint jobs focusing on the early volumes (#1 through 13, that I'm sure more than a few of us don't own) and #34 is a UV Race "art" zine. You still get some quality editorializing and reminiscing from one of my favorite writing voices of modern zinedom to put things in perspective, along with the best of the early interviews and features with a loving focus on Clev-O hardcore. You should already be subscribing to this zine anyway. With Distort in a holding pattern for now, Brendon and Negative Guest List have taken over the premier slot, printing new issues at a meth-addicted rate. It seems like there's been at least a dozen new ones since we last discussed printed matter, and frankly, the last few issues have been some of the greatest zine issues of recent vintage. And I've finally assembled a complete run that I plan on selling to some young trust-fund punk for a few grand sometime in 2025. Just scope this shit: #15 has grunge fan fiction and a great Grong Grong "piece", #18 a massive Tractor Sex Fatality oral history and a Bruce Springsteen interview, #17 features Don Howland, Bits of Shit, Estrogen Highs and the always controversial Unwanted Christmas Presents, and #19 is the zine of the year with Dana Hatch's epic Cheater Slicks history, reprints of Prindle's vintage Cows and Killdozer interviews, and a great Kurt Vile chat. What happened to #16? And of all these features are backed with the finest reviews section this side of the internet and contributions from some of my favorite people: Mr. Steven Peffer, Richard Charles, Dinosaur Mahaffey, Clandestine Golf and more doing film reviews and just rambling in general. I feel like Brendon has really stepped up his game as far as his own writing during the past half-dozen or so as well, really adding a sharp point to the already finely honed attitude. He's also expanded the empire to include a new title called Undone, which is Aussie-only punk and #1 has Coloured Balls and Dead Farmers amongst others, and you know I'm sold on that. I think it actually has a better layout than NGL as well, but don't tell Brendon that...Oh, we also have to discuss the latest Mountain Fold Music Journal, now on Volume 2/Issue 1, and in this one they talk to some real hipster looking farts like Holy Balm but it's saved by the presence of a Peter Brotzmann interview and some talk with Liquid Liquid. Not my favorite artists or anything, but some interesting chatter with people who actually have something to say. And the Journal is always a treat for the eyes after staring at B&W photocopies for awhile. As dumb as it sounds, I don't mind the advertising assault, since I get to see what's "hip" in Australia and I actually found out about a God reissue (CD only though) from an Afterburn Records ad. I feel like MFMJ might be like the Aussie version of Yeti or something. Although I've never actually read an issue of Yeti...

Keeping things international, Issue #4 of Niche Homo out of the UK has landed and it's thick as a brick. "Superior Toilet Literature" with exceptional and lengthy interviews with Thee Ohsees and Sic Alps and a Pheromoans chat. Their Mix Tape Wars segment is the sort of gimmick I love, where two people make a tape for each other and then compare notes. Good stuff. Great 8.5x14 layout, but I think it has to be computer aided - which is cheating - or it's just one of the most meticulous cut-n-paste jobs I've seen. At 70 pages or so I can't blame them for taking some liberties though. Issue #9 of Canada's Mongrel Zine is also here, a lovingly laid out 8.5x14 tome that always does a great job of mixing music content with features on artists, photographers and other behind-the-scenes sorts. This one has a great and much deserved chat with Ben Lyon, who is one the nicest guys ever and among garage-punk-dom's finest artistes moderne alongside Eric Hone and Avi Spivak. There's also a HUGE Hell Shovel interview that delves into Montreal scene talk/history along with a Pat Meteor piece, a feature with photog Johannah Jorgenson, a great Gary Pig Gold article on the Stones, a Sled Island Fest review and tons more, including live/record reviews, cartoons and even more interviews. At least 70+ pages, with a half-n-half dual cover style that must be a bitch to keep straight during layout and the usual comp CD with featured artists, including some unreleased Red Mass tracks for all you completists! Well worth the toonies and so thick it literally burst the baggie it came in.

Stateside, we have some new stuff as well. Savage Damage Digest has stormed from the gates with a fantastic first issue, that ironically has a great piece on the Aussie Sharps scene, along with a Brinsley Schwarz appreciation that hit me at just the right moment, Teenage Head, Algy fuckin' Ward(!), David Kilgour and more. A great 8.5x14 folded layout with some splashes of color and a nice Seventies-ish fanzine feel. I hope they muster the strength to keep this thing going for more issues. Put The Music In It's Coffin debuted with a top notch Watery Love interview and some talk with Dead at 24, a band whose retrospective/reissue LP was a true gem, and a really well written opening editorial that I enjoyed immensely. 8.5x11 foldover with a color centerfold, looks good and it's a quick and easy format/size to utilize, so I expect more from this guy soon. Nuts! is a newsprint zine (same format/size as Z-Gun for reference) originating from Olympia and staying local for the most part. I enjoy regional affairs like this as it's a good way to size-up scenes you're not a part of and perhaps "get" the bands a bit more. Olympia does have a lot happening these days, and you get interviews with Gun Outfit, White Boss and HPP along with other local affairs and live reviews. Plenty of artwork, cartoons, collage and other eye candy. Very well laid out and the latest issue even comes with a flexi. And be sure to remember to renew your Roctober subscription, as the latest issue has a great Easter Monkeys piece by some dude named Eric Cecil that is one of the best things I've read in print this past year, a powerful artice on obscure underground cartoonist Jim Osborne (whose work you'll recognize even if the name doesn't ring a bell), and some Frank Frazetta talk along with the usual delightful stuff from Flamin Waymon Timbsdale, Gumballhead the Cat and Rockin' Ace. I'd be remiss if I didn't give a mention to Scratch-n-Sniff Propaganda #2 which has interviews with John Sharkey and Brimstone Howl that I like to think really turned out well and a ton of other content I won't self-promote too much. It's good though, trust me.

Book-wise, just read the god damn Cheetah Chrome bio A Dead Boy's Tale, as it's fucking fantastic.




(Distort Fanzine // www.culthardcore.org)
(Negative Guest List // myspace.com/brisbanefanzine and uptheshitter.blogspot.com)
(Mountain Fold Music Journal // mountainfold.com.au)
(Nuts! // perennial-at-perennialdeath.com)
(Undone Fanzine // dirtyalley-at-msn.com)
(Niche Homo // www.nichehomo.blogspot.com)
(Mongrel Zine // www.mongrelzine.ca)
(Put The Music In Its Coffin // www.ptmiic.blogspot.com)
(Scratch-n-Sniff // scratchnsniffzine.blogspot.com)
(Savage Damage Digest // savagedamagedigest-at-gmail.com)
(Roctober // www.roctober.com)
(Printhead Zine Distro // zinedistrodistro.blogspot.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



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