Key: (RK: Rich Kroneiss)(NG: Nick Goode)(BG: Brandon Gaffney)(RSF: Rob Vertigo)(EEK: Erick Elrick)

A Full Cosmic Sound s/t cassette
Chilean band that throws around long improv jams that simultaneously channel early industrial music, the Dawn Of The Dead filmscore, and the Spaceman 3 or Spiritualized camp…sans an organic rhythm section. Dreamy one minute, yet it can be quite creepy if you pay close attention. Songs would just breeze by, floating along; danger unnoticed if it wasn’t for what sounds like a dozen cheap Christmas toys jangling/buzzing away in the forefront. Guitars chime in like Chatham or Branca cutting an Emeralds cover. It’s all background “chill”, but it’s pretty worthy/heady stuff. 100 pressed up and looking pro-gear. From the label that brought you the much anticipated TG reissues. (RSF)
(Fabrica Records // www.fabricarecords.wordpress.com)

Adults “Demo” cassette
SF or Oakland band playing sloppy and immature punk/hardcore recorded with the (world famous) Crazy Spirit shit-filth filter knob turned all the way up. Sometimes it sound like the Carbonas tearing through the Zero Boys discography or maybe lost Redd Kross demos. Short and catchy tunes, but blown out to the point that even White Load fans will dig. What else to say? Look for it. Not bad. Hope they don’t loose it in the “production”. How many? Uh…limited? (RSF)
(self-released // chiesaram-at-yahoo.com)

Atom Mouth Gimlies “Ram The Bulb” cassette
Simple but stoopidly good stuff, sent all the way from Finland. A bottom heavy, rumble-thumper of an EP that sounds like that guy from Rusted Shut barking over some primo primal Aussie rhythms. Imagine if the Lamps were dick-swinging along in the studio and the tape deck recorded at 3/4 the proper speed. There’s a Ramones cover ("I Don’t Care") tucked in here that sounds like it belongs on 'Cooper-S'. The drummer keeps the same beat for almost the entire set and the rest of the gang sounds disgruntled after a long hard day of fieldwork. Real knuckle draggers for the feedtime, X or hog-grunt lovers out there. Fave song title: "Too Scared To Shit". Not sure how many were made, but mine came with Zambian ca$h. I do love a good bribe. Try to find a copy. (RSF)
(TNT Tapes // www.tnttape.blogspot.com)

Babysitter "II" and "III" cassettes
Canadian carport-punk from a band who I think are up to cassette IV or V at this point, but here we get a couple of the earlier efforts. It's lo-fi indie-rock that isn't at all unpleasant musically, although the singer's schticky "rock" vocals grate on you a little. Maybe that's what he's going for though, as these guys definitely have a sarcastic streak as evinced by song titles like "Nineteen Sixty Nineties" or "Angel of Death" (not a cover). I can't say any one song really sticks out, but as a whole they have a decent vibe that veers from Nineties college rock to to honest garage-punk to even a little bit of pop-punk, all run through a trebly lo-fi filter. I dig their attitude and sloppy musical approach, if this guy could change his vocal delivery up a bit I think they'd be better served, as he makes them sound a little schticky at times when they don't really need it. Not too bad for Canadians.(RK)
(self-released // babysitter.bandcamp.com)

Bad Aches s/t cassette
Melbourne punks that fall somewhere between the UV Race's monotopunk and Chinese Burns' brasher style of garage bangin'. They certainly have the attitude right, as the singer snarls and stutters his way through eight pounders, but maybe lacking a bit in the charisma department (something that a band like UV Race has in spades). Decent lo-fi recording (vox could maybe get turned down a little, but I guess this guy drooling all over the tunes ain't so bad either), guitars are crisp and trebly, drums sound decent and are played without fanfare. The sneak a pop song in towards the end of Side Two, but the rest are pub-punk meat-n-taters. Not quite thunder just yet, but maybe a minor cloudburst from down under. A few of these just sound like the same song. Mix it up a little next time and maybe reel the singer in a bit. But that's just me...100 copies only.(RK)
(Get Gone Records // www.getgonerecords.com)

Bad Indians "Sounds from the Big Room" cassette
The "Live from the Burial Mound" LP got these guys on my radar, and sadly, it's been diminsihing returns since then. That LP was packed full off sickly psychedelic modern guitar fry and fantastic z-grade garage covers. Since then, it seems they rode a pony from MI to NYC, taught it one trick and are now riding it into the ground. 14 songs on this tape and they come in two varieties: the ones the girl sings, which have that dreamy loft-pop air to them, and they one the guy sings which have a lazy modern garage-psych premise. Maximum echo on everything. It's two decent songs/ideas that you end up not liking so much after you hear them both repeated a half dozen times or so. Slightly variant factors make little difference: organ, harmonica, a little country, a little VU drone, Suicide cover, etc...I think they might have a few good ideas, they just need a lot of editing here.(RK)
(On the Make Music // baadindians-at-gmail.com)

Bad Indians "Not Having Any Fun" cassette
This one is a lot shorter and obviously fares better due to its brevity. They're still trotting out the same tricks, but eight songs is a bit more palatable than 14. Again, it's Velvets gone garage in slight variants for the most part here, more harmonica playing, a few more upbeat rollers that don't apply the sleeper hold to you like the dronier repeaters on the other tape. Dreamy, but in a distant way, where you don't really connect with it so much. Guitar playing is a bit more hot on this effort. It's a tough call, at least this one didn't lull me into submission as much by having Some more frequent pop moments, even if one happens to be a lazy Clean cover.(RK)
(Life Like // friendswitheveryone.blogspot.com)

Michael Beach “Mountains & Valleys” cassette
Dude from Electric Jellyfish (yep, that’s an actual band) drops a short player on dead format that runs all genre specifics thru the wringer. The production is aces, and possibly the best recorded tape I got this time ‘round. It’s a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. Well mostly country. Things start off sounding like Mission Of Burma with a hint of Wayne Rogers’s softer side poking about (diggin’ the screwy time shift, mush-thing that happens in “Straight Spine” especially). Wire with acoustics. Pop-edelics gone jagged. After that the No Depression alt-country swagger begins to take over. Songs are threaded together with tidbits of off-kilter noises, drone and little guitar spikes. Hell, it got me to keep paying attention. Mr. Beach sounds a tad like a Greg Cartwright by the time the last track (“So Said The Bird”) drives by. Not bad at all. Quite pleasant stuff that could speak to the garage softies who finally matured and dig on the Andre Ethier solo stuff and the likes.100 of these made. Comes with a download.(RSF)
(Twin Lakes Records // www.twinlakesrecords.com)

Beastman demo CD-R
Young pisspot hardcore bands grow on trees in Rotchester, yet Beastman are one of the better ones I've seen in a bit. I was handed this disc for free after a basement show where these kids showed up the touring band (The Creamers, if you must know) and would have stole the whole show had Brown Sugar not completely destroyed that night. This is just six songs of demo quality hardcore-punk with a really good singer along the lines of a Chavo-type, no idea what the song titles are but the one where he's yelling "I want to die!" or some shit is really good. Early eighties corepunk that evens treads on Samoans ground a little bit. A great live band to see if you're in the area, and one to watch for future Rotcore releases perhaps.(RK)
(self-released // ???)

Beware Of The Knight “Some Songs about Some Street” demo CDR
This got lost in the shuffle sometime over the summer of 2011. Finally got around to giving it some props. Sacramento bunch of wack-i-dudes playing a budget-y type of punk that owes a heapin’ helping to the Eels, the Ickys and the Blitz. There’s a good chance they might not know it though…and that’d make ‘em even better. Positively inept stylings with a drummer that make Peg O’Neil seem complicated. Tambourine clatter can overtake the guitar at points. Keys pop up. Sounds like Keith Morris guests on a track or two. How odd. Weird. Punk. Still. Exists? Good dumb shit for fans of Gulcher records and weird-ohs who don’t know what they’re doing. Or do, but don’t care. 100 “pressed” on CD-r. Has a lyric sheet (but damned if I know where mine went). They’ve got 4 other records up for grabs at Bandcamp even. Whooza-thunk? Wax some of it. (RSF)
(self-released // www.bewareoftheknight.bandcamp.com)

Big Black Cloud “Shitty Vibrations EP” cassette
It’s been a while since I’ve had any B.B.C. releases to yammer about, so welcome back! This stuff is darker and even more primal than their other records I’ve accumulated over the years. They’ve also slimmed down the line-up to a power trio, dumping most of the hippie-psych and their arty commune vibes along the way. “Human Host” rattles off a rhythmic death rock that sounds like a later Blowtops tune...so, yeah…I dig it. “Black Friday” opens up a XL can of instrumental whoop-ass with some of the best slide-messed guitar play I’ve heard since the Cows crapped out. “Medussa” is a wretched piece of the always popular sludge-rock pie stomped out around a Paul Leary guitar wank and the Scratch Acid song structure. The title track starts off the flip and sounds the most like their past tunes with its “Stepping Stone” played through an aluminum foil f/x unit and layers of indie damaged caterwaul. It sprawls out over buzzsaw leads and a blooming onion of an ending. Ah-sid. More guitar necks are choked like geese during a warbly untitled instro and “Mazes” stinks like a TV Ghostly variation of hillbilly music. “Cocaine World” wraps it up with twiddled beats all dubbed out and layered under radio squeaks and theremin cries. Not much to it, but after the doozy of a ride beforehand…it was gonna’ be hard to top. Man, that A-side is tits. I loved the Cramps-gone-carny aesthetic they once had, but I think this is a real game changer. Shit. This’d probably made my year end list had I gotten it before the second week of January. Oh wells. (RSF)
(Stankhouse Records // www.stankhouserecords.com)

Birdeggsnake "The Doctor Says, 'It's Hank Aaron'" CDR
The only reason I'm even mentioning this is because these guys addressed a letter to me directly, and hand-writing the 35 song tracklist for this must have taken a few minutes. When you get a 35 track CDR, you know you're in for some shit one way or another. This seems to be more of a comedy project than music, but it fails at both for the most part. Spoken word bits, some found sound manipulation and shit, jokes and skits of the bad variety abound. Hearing this once was more than enough, and I will admit they had a decent line or two here. It's just too much to expect anyone to digest in one serving and just becomes tedious. Best song title: "Last Time On Everybody Loves Raymond". Best lyric: "Pau Gasol plays for the Lakers...". I can't say that anyone else on the planet really needs to hear this, but it is far out and bizarre enough that I can't totally dismiss it. I do appreciate the effort guys. Perhaps condensing this or maybe just joining an improv comedy group would be a better utilization of your talents?(RK)
(self-released // birdeggsnake-at-gmail.com)

Bloodhuff s/t cassette
Friends of The Shearing Pinks, eh? This could be a damaging ride. Femme-controlled jangle and skronk that owes its existence as much to the Raincoats and Slits as it does the Oly, WA riots. Full of creepily harmonized choruses and primitive structure that brings early Fuzzbox to mind. Fuzzbox channeling Manson Family Jams. Dark, dark lyrics chanted over screeching street-busker violin play. Cheery stuff. If yer down with the UK DIY or that Vegetable single mentioned last time around, give'er a go. 100 copies exist. I dare you to glance over the bands website. Eyes. Gouged. Out.(RSF)
(Price Tapes // www.pricetapes.bigcartel.com)

Brain Tumors s/t cassette
Loud, drunk, and irate weirdos from Minneapolis, including one of North Carolina’s foremost hardcorepunk enthusiast-nerds, staining the carpet with a pretty insane regurgitation of all kinds of record nerdery. Hints of esoteric Japanese riffs dominated by catchy Midwest hardcore rhythms (the Japanese vibes are ramped up on the “Sexless & Reckless” side - second song is total Systematic Death with a sprinkle of Crück or something). Refreshingly (and oddly), there are a lot of Post Regiment-y guitar tricks on top of the whole thing that really “sell it”. Inventive and weird while still being unhealthily raging. The vocals are wild and unhinged, and everything is pretty damn killer. Best thank-you list I’ve seen in a long time. Seek out the 7” on Fashionable Idiots, too, it’s a winner. (NG)
(Pass Judgement // www.passjudgementrecords.com)

Brazilian Money “This Is Not A Dream” cassette
Offbeat bedroom pop that’s weird and a bit noisy, but leaning towards being just plain ol’ weird in the long run. First things that come to mind (esp. during “Then You’ll Know”) are the latter Jay Reatard singles played sloppier or something akin to Young Governor, but that all fades into a haze as other genres blur things over the next 30 mins. The vocals in “Put Out The Cig” hit a high pitched funk stride that stinks of Prince, Shawn Smith (Brad/Satchel) or god-knows-what as the tune swings by. “Party Til I’m Dead” is a rollicking good time to be had. Imagine Lou Reed fronting a Blank Dogs mishap and sloggin’ it out thru a stuttered and slurred rockabilly stew. A hell of a lot better than Lulu, that’s for damn sure. The press release mentions Red Mass, and I can see why. The Mass’s fluffier stuff could be referenced here. You could also throw about Helios Creed, Joe Jackson, The Feelies, Violent Femmes and even friggin Modest Mouse as references during certain points…and it would all make sense. I think there’s even a Pussy Galore instro break in the middle of a neo-soul track on Side B (the one with the calliope solo). Colored me good and confused. (RSF)
(Totally Disconnected // www.totallydisconnected.com)

Buck Gooter “Beyond the Rotting Leaf” cassette
This outsider duo has been working its limited appeal jams for quite a while now. I can assume that this is their only frustration outlet…other than, say…smashing away at broken riding mowers. Probably while fucked-uppered on paint flakes and moonshine. Gooter gives off a gruff n’ tumble attack thru sample heavy drums and garbage punk that cuts it dangerously close to being both straight up comedy and/or a thugged out loony-bin act. An industrial noise unit on an Appalachian deathride that doesn’t even know how strange they’ve become. It’s as though members of Rancid Vat and other scum numbers down south got together with Junkpile Jimmy or Avatars Of A Badman (Google that’un) to paste-up a strangely stellar Demo Derby/Pit’sbull release. Deranged hodge-podge shit. I figure if you’ve got at least one Rusted Shut LP, laugh with whatever Grandpa Slices or find Happy Flowers a solid good time…this is yer kinda’ damage. I’m thinking about hunting down the back catalog now. In 20 years, collectors will be paying top dollar for this kinda’ smegma. Trust me. (RSF)
(self-released // www.buckgooter.tk)

Comprehend "Comprehend This" s/t CDR
I'm a sucker for anything Shoot It Up related, a band who sadly seem to have packed it in, as they were one of the brightest lights in the past decade of punk rock. Comprehend are Deerok's pre-Shoot It Up band, a three-piece who were later joined by Joe from SIU on guitar as well. They're not quite as incredible as SIU, and few bands these days really are, but these Long Beach delinquents still deliver the punk rock goods in a more cohesive form. Straight ahead Cali-punk, with Deerok on vox/guitar instead of behind the kit, Dcupp on bass, Jizzum on lead axe and Brat Boy on drums. Scratchy guitars, anthemic choruses, a definite beach-punk sound on a few cuts, some Agnew/Adolescents moves. Far from the avant-slop of SIU, this stuff is recorded and played tightly and they throw some off-balance rhythms in to keep you guessing. Not that dissimilar to some current ATL bands mining similar territories, there's a good single here for sure. (RK)
(Signal Ranch // comprehendmusic-at-gmail.com)

The Connies “Wounds” CD
This could go under the legit releases, I suppose…but it feels like a CD Baby or demo recording to me. I just lumped it on in here. Scene vets from somewhere making a gruff power pop and goin’ for more punk than usual. There’s some John Doe southern swagger to it and occasionally it hits an Elvis Costello jive. You want a beefy and burly Plimsouls? Looking for a better and meaner Smithereens? This Buds for you, bud. They probably play beer swilling biker meets and holiday parties for older gearhead dudes. Bordering on a straight up bar rawk, but they're good at what they shovel. If you liked the very limited handful of Perfect Fits releases…and I did …you might get into this just fine. (RSF)
(Radio Galaxy Records // www.reverbnation.com/theconnies)

Cool Graveyards "Music By Magic" CDR
Another entry from Flesh Wave, home to Terminal Girls, Sex Objex and others making up this Detroit collective, all of which share members and a similar vision. They have a cohesive aesthetic running through their releases and art (which is always pretty decent for CDRs), and Cool Graveyards are the gothy "haunted garage" outlet for these kids. Four tracks with what sound like programmed drums, sharp guitar work, some ghostly reverb effects, some stark post-punk rhythms and monotoned creep vox. Again, it's slightly above average, but not quite good enough that I'd say this should be available on anything other than a CDR. The bad thing here is that all four of these tunes sound pretty much the same and recycle the same beat and idea. They should keep plugging away though, as I think throughout all of these Flesh Wave projects they're getting close to something good.(RK)
(Flesh Wave // terminalgirls.bandcamp.com)

Cops demo cassette
It's really a shame when there are more than a few labels around releasing handfuls of 7"es doomed to become instant landfill, and then you have a label like Scavenger of Death whose past three or four cassette releases would make better singles than 90% of what's out there on vinyl today. This Cops demo is an excellent example, a new ATL-punk trio led by Gentleman Jesse with GG King on drums and Ryan (Dinosaur/Bukkake Boys) on bass. Jesse reminds us he's not just a moustachioed power-pop songsmith, and leads the boys through five songs of raw and aggressive punk rock in the purest sense. The band shows the knack for a hook that The Carbonas had, but the riffs have a darker edge, the rhythm section paced a bit more maniacally. Jesse gets pretty aggro on the vox, and the aesthetic reaches real clarity on a Christian Death cover/reimagining (the pluralized "Spiritual Cramps"). Simple and effective and pretty much ready for vinyl if you ask me. Maybe they add the requisite Dave Rahn mastering job and this pup is ready for wax. Exceptional and highly recommended, as is pretty much anything coming out of Atlanta at this point, as the city has seemed to cope with the loss of Carbonas well enough that I'm no longer worried about its inhabitants.(RK)
(Scavenger of Death // scavengerofdeathrecords.blogspot.com)

Day Creep “Underneath The Mess” cassette
Side project of Day Creeper (duh) playing a pleasant enough brand of off-kilter indie-pop. The kind of indie-pop that real record nerds collect: Rough Trade singles, Messthetics comp-ables and the like. Not the Decemberists or shit like that. He may be from Ohio, but this Creep is giving off an English vibe I can’t quite place. Robyn Hitchcock or something like a solo Kinks outing, perhaps? Only more so warped on acoustic folk-punk and art-wave. There’s some pretty good musical trip-ups and unusual corner bends on this that keeps it from being too straight foreword. I’m struggling here, I know…I tend not to listen to this kinda’ thing very often, but I’m not offended by what I hear. If you’re into the newer Jeff Novak records or even the lighter side of 80’s post-punk…you might find this worthy of a spin. (RSF)
(Snow Cone // www.tapesprogressadministration.blogspot.com)

Day Creep “Death Bell Chimes” cassette
More odd pop and quirk from that solo Day Creeper, influenced by everything and anything ever recorded. Kinks meets Home Blitz meets Thurston Moore meets Dan Melchior meets Ramones meets… what ever the else he had time to study. This round seems more focused and well thought, like he’s learned a thing or two about home production. I can say of the two tapes this one is the one I enjoy the most. Similar. But different. Read the above review. Cut & Paste. Add here. It’s good pop though. (RSF)
(Snow Clone // tapesprogressadministration.blogspot.com)

Death Wish 3 "Death Threat" demo cassette
It's difficult to take something trying so hard to be offensive at all seriously, but sometimes I guess you need to be willing to look beyond the juvenelia and listen to the music. I might warn you, and say if you were played this cassette blindy, without seeing the cover/lyrics/titles, you might take it a bit more...seriously? This thing starts with a (capital S) Sick metal riff intro (think SOD meets DWG) and then just vomits out of the speakers with an abrasive hardcore/metal/grind mash-up. This is what a Youth Attack band (and its fans) could create if they weren't made up of kids who used to be edge/screamo scenesters, but dudes who actually listened to Deicide and Napalm Death and liked it while growing up. The only thing really offensive about this in the end is that 4-track recording quality really does the riffs no favors, but as shit-fi goes, it serves its purpose: destroy everything in sight. Tunes range from mid-tempo thrash to blastbeat slobbering to sludge riff worship, the slower the better if you ask me. Even if it sounds shitty, it still sounds nasty, vox are straight clorox-gargling, drummer sounds like he has some junkyard items in his kit, riffs are simple and absolutely effective. Honestly, this outdoes a lot of "heavy" (metal or otherwise) bands out there out there on many levels. If the Bat Shit guy released this as a 7" (or edited a couple tracks out for a nice 12" EP platter), I think he'd have people begging for copies...as a limited cassette it will languish in obscurity, and perhaps rightfully so. Shit's too raw to live. Great placement of exploitation movie soundbites (including a Street Trash theme), there's at least a seven or more keepers out of a dozen here. Even sounds like the extreme end of Japcore at times, or Inservibles reimagined as a metal outfit, or White Load if they knew how to play guitars. Really, one of the best "metal" recordings I've heard all year, the riffs just don't quit, and I'm no cocksucker. 40 copies only, you lose. Member(s) of Butcher Cover, big surprise.(RK)
(Tapeworm // flyingrodentfecalmatter.blogspot.com)

Den "Bronze Fog" cassette
Verrrrry interesting noise rock effort here, from this bass/drums/noise hailing from the outer reaches of space. Really well done apocalyptic sci-fi vibes that are very reminiscent of Hammerhead's "Duh the Big City" era and some of the Vaz stuff that came after. Drummer is a seriously sick dude, the bass tones lead the attack on this and are thick and meaty and will reverberate in your brain until it goes mushy, and they flesh out the sound with heaps of distorted pedal effects, reverbed synths and damaged noise-making things I don't know the names of...primitive analog-sounding circuitry frying and cathcing fire, static guns, death rays, laser saws, I don't know what else, but this is a heavy hitter we have here. Vox are shouted into a black hole, the bass is really interplanetary sounding, drums carry the load to warp speed and back to ominous space cruiser crawl. Reminds me a bit of that HEBV 12" from a year ago in its grandiose sci-fi aesthetic and feel, and is also something that sounds like it would be a perfect summation of the AmRep sound of today. The only thing that really threw me about this is halfway through the second side where suddenly an acoustic guitar appears out of nowhere and they start playing what sounds like...I dunno, a prog-folk jam or something...it's really off-putting and almost lessens the impact of the wall of noise shitstorm they put me through thus far, but it winds up pretty quickly and the bass wanders off into a sort of sludge-stoner aside. I dunno, maybe it works? Definitely adds a freakfest Hawkwinded Sixties vibe to the whole thing. They follow with a noisescape recorded from inside a robot beehive, so they keep it weird. I highly recommend this one, it hits on all levels, visceral, intelligent and scuzzy. 100 copies only, and a very worthwhile way to spend 24 minutes.(RK)
(Retrograde Tapes // retrogradetapes.blogspot.com)

The Dictaphone “Past. Future. Void.” cassette
Arty, angular toe-tappers from France that has more to do with the Factums/A-Frames side of things than the Cheveu glue-wavers. At their best they come across like a foreign TV Ghost thru their bleak mechanical landscapes, but I’m starting to grow weary of the clatter, squeal and repeat. They're good at it (and the Tronics cover rules), for what it’s worth. The grating high end. The odd electronic swirls. Swell Maps damage. Fall riffs. Maybe if I could scrub the past ten years away from my brain and listen fresh, I’d find more merit to this than just being OK. If you’ve recently started listening to Swell Maps and The Fall and stumbled upon this site by accident, give this a go. Might be yr fave new band...until you hear the S-S Records back catalog. 150 copies exist. 50 came with a tarot card. Mine didn’t. I gotta’ big fold out insert poster though… (RSF)
(Tolmie Terrapin Press // www.tolmieterrapinpress.blogspot.com)

Ryan Dinosaur demo cassette
Collab tape with Ryan from Bukkake Boys and Lord GG King himself, which inhabits the same plane of existence as 'Esoteric Lore' in essence, but with a more traditional hardcore-punk execution. More slop, zero pop and some humorous metal influence to boot. Something like "Slob" operates on a Vom/Nubs angle, "Banned in 3D" is a ragged and rough punker, "Spectral Snack" is the Black Metal Go-Nuts ("Visions of nougat/parfait of misery/spirit of malice/candy corn") and the two Lord of the Rings-influenced songs are damn good, and played with enough of a straight face that you'll wonder if they're taking the piss or not. There's a decent 7" here for sure, especially for fans of the ATL/Southern punk scene. The lyrics (and footnotes) make this one even better than it should be. 100 copies, pro dubbed with insert.(RK)
(Scavenger of Death // scavengerofdeathrecords.blogspot.com)

Patrick Donohue "Straight From the Dragon's Mouth" CDR
Solo recordings from the frontman of the awesome Heroes of History (reviewed below), recorded in his Columbus bedroom between D&D sessions and trips to the comic shop most likely. Same aesthetic as HoH, delivering on high school swords, sorcery and horror movie themes. Not at all as rocking as his full band, Patrick goes for more of a weirdo acoustic pop and/or folk-rock style here, maybe influenced by Bob Pollard if anyone. Off-key acoustic ramblers, some electric rockers with drum machine, there's a New Romantic/medieval synth number about wolves, "Castle Wall" honestly sounds like a Tommy Jay song, "You're A Ghost" is a surprisingly sweet fuzzy pop song, "Steel Steadies My Hand" is the pick of the bunch with a tough and crunchy guitar sound that makes for a fine piece of lo-fi hard rock. Eight tracks (plus a bonus punk rocker about America at the end) that were good enough for a few listens, making a good companion piece to the Heroes of History disc. Certainly not as necessary (and a bit more on the just a little too goofy side of the fence) or as needing-of-vinyl-release, but this was more entertaining than a lot of shit I listened to for this update. It at least proves this guy is of the bizarro rocker lineage that Columbus breeds like rabbits. But seriously, get that Heroes of History disc.(RK)
(self-released // pdonohue53-at-hotmail.com)

Drone Throne "Everybody Dies Alone" cassette
Heavy metal act from the Arizona desert attempting to do the impossible: "play a hybrid of stoner metal and punk". I don't think the two genres can really be combined in any way, and this doesn't convince me otherwise. This thing straddles traditional thrash and Sabbath-derived stoner rock. Plenty o'riffing, some of which is hot when it's not too derivative, vocals are on the growly side, lyrics on the Bongzilla side ("Contact High", "Bud Clot", "Fatal Rips From the North"...). It's certainly a well played stoner-thrash hybrid, and I liked the song with all the movie soundbites the best of the lot. The guy's vocals aren't bad either, keeping it gruff without getting all death-metal on it. As I've said many times before, I just don't see how any stoner rock record/band can make a difference at all since Electric Wizard pretty much demolished the entire genre with 'Dopethrone' and the records that led up to it. Perhaps fervent fans of the genre will want to check this out though, as they're doing some things right. They also sent me their demo from 2008, which sounds like Alabama Thuderpussy covering Hatebreed. They've gotten better since then...(RK)
(self-released // dronethrone.bandcamp.com)

The Droughts "Pile Sessions" CDR
This is the first Droughts release I haven't been completely in love with. Five songs recorded live (in the practice space I imagone) in May 2011, two of which I think are pretty good: "Strut" which shows a little more movement than what I've heard before, and "Override" which is 6+ minutes with an actual hook and some freek-out guitar parts. Other than that, basically the same rhythm/riff repeated throughout the first three songs actually gets boring/frustrating quickly instead of inducing a trance. This is not the release of theirs I'd recommend you hear, go back and get the earlier tapes instead.(RK)
(self-released // thedroughts-at-thedroughtsmusic.com)

The Ether “Craft Singles 002” cassette
Three tracks of jerkabout No Wave and sonic guitar explosions. “Dead Scene Politics” and “Tickle Pink” are slinky, repetitive and kinda’ funky. Not booty-shake funky. Like gone sour, skewered in an Uzi Rash or 'Hairdryer Peace' sorta’ way. Lee Renaldo guitar tones give into what may be a very, very, very loose rendition of “96 Tears”. A big Question Mark for all those involved. A cattle crying dirge featuring mud, dirt and a sorta’ mud-dirt hybrid. Highest recommendation for those who like to use vacuum attachments on their genitals. Comes in a snappy lil’ screened sleeve and has a download card. 90 made. Gone? (RSF)
(Craft Singles // www.craftsingles.com)

Evolutions “Outtakes & Demos Vol.1&2” cassettes
The Rape Ape of Wisconsin pushes his cats outta the way long enough to sift through his crates (external hardrive) of old tapes (mp3s), and comes up with this stellar back catalog. The Evolutions were like my gateway drug to all this blown-out shit-rock madness…or at least on the bedroom label level. I was already well stocked on Crypt, Estrus, In The Red and the like, but a friends’ punk-ass boyfriend (who always wore a Dwarves shirt) handed me the first Kryptonite single by these boys and that was that. Suddenly I was trolling ‘zine ads and fledgling inter-web distros for more crappy looking photocopied sleeves and wasted plastic than my milk crates could handle. And for every goddamn Blank Dogs wanna-be or lush dum-dumb girlie pop 45 I’m offered, I wish…oh how I WISH…there was a trashy pissed-as-fuck sounding party platter like these Evolutions used ta’ put out. Much like a bunch of Swedes at the time, Evolutions had a boner for The Oblivians and other blues-punkers, but who in their right mind didn’t? Abrasive, vulgar and inept by choice. Sneaky to a degree…because they could pull out the “hot licks” when they wanted, yet still beat you over the head with an atonal hammer blast. All while buried under tape hiss and cheap gear like the good lord intended. This is a whopping collection of stuff. Like 60 songs. You want the history? I’m sure Officer Brad will give it to ya. Some related band was on the cover of MRR, or so I hear. You get rehearsals, 4-track demos, live cuts, outtakes and alt mixes…and then it follows up with various re-groupings and offshoots featuring the same members. Tunes range from evil, hyper KBD-esque dunderpunk to trashed aesthetic Sixties nugs and even some borderline Queers-style pop. And a whole buncha covers (Wire, Oblivians, Huns, Misfits, etc). Essential shit to those who collect the DNA of 90’s/00’s gay-rage. The sound may quaver now and then, but who fuckin' cares. They had a ferocious attack, and tape warble isn’t gonna stand in their way. An attack that is sorely missing in most acts today. Blah, blah, blah…old guy babble…blah, blah…“back in the day”…etc. Just do yourself a favor. Help Brad buy some new litter and beer. Crucial tunes for lackluster timez. (RSF)
(Brad X Tapes On Demand // www.bradxtapesondemand.webs.com)

Family Stoned s/t cassette
Stone-n-drone quartet from Olympia, playing a side's worth of blues-psych jam-outs. My first impression was that the first track honestly sounds a lot like a lo-fi version of a stoner rock band, but they change up from there. They jam it out in a more (Hawk)winded way though. Second track starts out like a Pentagram rip, but breaks into some semi-inept Crazy Horse sounding bum-out shuffler. The vox might need some work - sometimes they turn to outta tune hippie ramble non-singing that betrays the heaviness of the tunes and the lyrics themselves often fit into the songs awkwardly. At other times I feel like they're working a Fred and Toody forest-rock thing (big felt hats included) and things seem to work out better then. They get a little bit country for a spell in the middle, a little Southern-rock even. It's all played pretty loose - sometimes they stumble into something fantastic, and some of the time they just stumble. There are points where they reach a noise-rock level of cacophony, but I get the impression they just arrived there accidentally. One of the songs (there's no track list provided, and this could just be one long composition) could even be considered a far less proficient Major Stars. I like what they're trying to do, they're just not quite there yet, except in a few moments (in particular the extended instrumental passages). This is what tapes are for though, right? Sort of the dank Pac-NW version of blues-rock as it stands, and pretty decent at that. Great looking artwork too. (RK)
(Wild Animal Kingdom // www.thefamilystoned.blogspot.com)

Father In Law s/t cassette
This is a screwed up take on that Negativland type-o-jive…melding (quite sloppily) a bunch of found sound bites, pre-corded songs and other shenanigans. The opener is a good time, giving a simple 80’s dance-beat room to stroll around Manson family jams, Crispin Glover and Chucks’ better interview tidbits. Then you get some soft 70’s-style soul(less) Spice Girls ballads fuckered over by glitchy electronics and pedal feedback that sounds like dinosaurs gurgling around or some shitzz. ??? Kubrick’s back catalog is raped and Paul Simon calls YOU Al Swearengen (a character from Deadwood, I hear). More records are scratched and melted onto old VHS tapes (more likely newer DVD keepers) and collected infomercials. The Joe Meek / instructional LP mash-up at the end is probably my fave. Hooked on Classics. It’s no Plunderphonics or Evolution Control Committee…but it is FREE. (RSF)
(self-released // www.fatherinlaw.bandcamp.com)

Fleshies “Brown Flag” cassette
The Fleshies enter their one-millionth year of Bay area pop-punkitude…and they still sound like you’d expect. Somewhere between Superchunk and Jawbreaker, but mixed with a 70’s cock rock and arena metal swagger (and the occasional Springsteen songwriter attempt). Not really my bag, but glad to see they can persevere for so damn long like this. I saw them play once. I think with Toys That Kill. It was a chaotic and dare I say “fun” show. This is the Fleshies at their most mall-ternative. Epitaph records ready, but with more of a working mans grit under the nails. What is up, Berkeley? There’s like a giant bubble that holds the Bay Area scene (Gilman, Cometbus, etc.) in a state of frozen time suspension. 1993 could be 2003…or 2013 for that matter. What a weird world I live in. (RSF)
(Small Pool Records // www.smallpoolrecords.bigcartel.com)

FZ "Surreal Exit" cassette
Tape-full of loner feedbacking. I'm imagining it's one dude tripping balls in his attic with a guitar and a blacklight. Artwork has a primitive grade school metal aesthetic (like a less sophisticaed Dwarr perhaps), tunes have an underlying grunge current but don't really flaunt it. "Faith Is A Lie" turns into haunted folk with sax bleat, and this tape gets better as it progresses. They get tricky with an extended bit of blank tape before the last song on the first side belches forth with some weirdo no-fi rock sounds with a metallic taste to them. Cacophonous at times when the songs are just repeating feedback and half-baked ideas, but when there's an actual song idea it sticks with you instead of making you reach for the FF button...which only happens once or twice. I guess this could be described as experimental and/or amateur, depending on how you look at it. For stretches I think it's just someone taping themselves turning their amp on and off for a few minutes. I'd say it's drug music, but no one on acid could stand to listen to most of this. "Faith Is A Lie" was the high point on this one.(RK)
(FZ International // fzinternational.blogspot.com)

Fuck Eyes "Complicator" CDR
Four song CDR from the Terminal Girls/Flesh Wave team of bands hailing from Michigan. I'm giving points for the band name. The tunes are mid-tempo punk with montone vox, a little bit plodding but in a mongoloid way that passes muster. "Control Ray" reminds me of a Le Shok vs. Spits duel, "Non Natus" and "Social Death" recall some of the Houston punk sounds, like a less leather No Talk perhaps. Not too shabby for a demo-type thing, it's above average and thankfully has no synth. Worth a look on bandcamp or whatever the fuck that shit is the kids are using these days. (RK)
(Flesh Wave // terminalgirls.bandcamp.com)

German Army “Body Linguist” cassette
Odd soundscapes of minimal workings (a duo I hear). Rhythmic noise, yet sparse as a dripping tap and somehow able to keep my attention. Definitely for fans of the TG studio-take songbook. Muddled synth and muted drum patterns. It’s like a gentler run on the Liquid Sky soundtrack. Like hazy leftovers and outtakes. I find it soothing. Not mind-blowing…mind-soothing. Not an everyday listen or for hard partying. But if yer building a model airplane on a rainy afternoon; open a bottle of dope and bolt the windows shut. This’ll do the trick. 50 numbered copies exist. Mine came with film negatives. SCANDALOUS. (RSF)
(Skrot Up // www.freewebstore.org/skrot-up)

Good Throb s/t cassette
One of my favorite tapes of the year - four great Britons mining Nixe territory with a meaner and more serrated edge. Lots of this reminds me of Hudiksvall’s most infamous export without the need for a shock factor. Lots of bizarre vocal patterns, some A+ grunting, confusing guitar playing, and a rhythm section that knows how to plod in all the most best ways. It sounds so English, it sounds so right. The song about working in a Tesco is a flawless representation of the idle madness that cashiering fosters, “Animal Fuck” is my second favorite chorus of 2011, and the “arrgh I’m gonna go to the British Museum” line on “Culture Vulture” out-Hygienes Hygiene. Go ahead and just infer a stereotypical slight influence of Messthetics, TVPs, Maps, Utreg Punx, et al. to get your hopes up. Highly recommended.(NG)
(self-released // goodthrob-at-gmail.com)

The Guilt “Worth Nothing” cassette
This thing’s got beaucoup parts played coherently that don’t mesh together too well, at least for my tastes. “Tough” group vocals and a lead singer whose vocals insinuate a certain moshiness turn me off, but they do seem to have crafty tunes for this kind of style. It ain’t one that I can say too much about these days. If you’re desperate for a bad analogy, it’s more than a bit like a personal pan pizza at a Wolfgang Puck’s or something. But with American cheese, I guess. (NG)
(Cosmic Debris Records // jamesdoubek-at-gmail.com)

Guilt Party "Basement Church" cassette
Hardcore punk rock from Houston, a place that seems rife with decent bands these days. As if Texas wasn't represented well enough by everything coming out of Austin and Denton already. These kids sound young and full of piss and snot, and they blaze through four tracks of trebly punk-core with skill, drummer keeps the pace tightly wound, riffs buzz on by and the singer has a good motor-mouthed punk delivery. Not your usual growler or "crazy guy" antics here, which is always appreciated. Looking at the art and song titles ("Church Burner", "Clergy of Disgust") I was expecting some heavy mysterious guy stuff, but they actually sound more LA-punk and early Eighties hardcore. Fast paced stuff that isn't weighed down by trying to sound like Void and/or hammer riffs like they're a black metal band. Pretty refreshing and 100% punk. I'm on board.(RK)
(Bummer Tapes // guiltparty.wordpress.com)

The Hemingers s/t cassette
Zero-fi garage rock from Michigan way, featuring artist extraordinaire (and Termbo alumni) Ben Lyon and some pals goofin' off with two guitars and some limited drumming and a shitty tape deck. "Taco Tuesday" is a hit in the budget-food-rock pantheon, and this thing as a whole should fall right in line for all you Nobunny and Personal and the Calzones fans, not to mention just about any band Russel Quan or Boom Boom Luchessi have ever been in. I like that they marked a couple of the tracks as just "Filler!". By the books garage-turkey-necking, including "Justine" cover that sounds like it was played on a toy piano and a guitar strung with rubber bands, with the garbage recording quality adding some..."nuance" perhaps. Party rockin' that I'm sure is a big hit live, or even when they're just playing for themselves in the living room after a few too many PBRs. 100 copies.(RK)
(Pink Fuzz Novelty Records // )

Heroes of History "Lightning and Thunder" CDR
I was pretty impressed right off the bat by the artwork and lo-fi promo material sent along with this. The kind of aesthetic and attention to detail usually reserved for high school notebook covers or Dungeons and Dragons character sheets. Then you notice that this was actually recorded at Used Kids by Mike Rep?! I thought that was odd, but after you listen to this you realize it does have whatever you want call the Columbus "vibe", which is just another way of saying this is music made by weirdos. Semi-inept garage-rocking with a heavy metal influence. The Gizmos if they wrote songs about swords and sorcery instead of muff diving and partying? Early Rep/Jay catalog if they were more concerned with horror movies and fantasy novels instead of Lou Reed? Midnight doing Penetrators covers? Only in Ohio, I'll say that for sure. Mid-tempo rockers with dum-dum riffs, an eccentric singer who actually pulls this shit off sounding great and just goofily enough to make you really like his style. Backing vox are wonderfully dumb as are most if not all of these tunes. Rep gets the most out of these guys, making it sound just cruddy enough, guitar is solid, drums have just the right trashy sound, bass holds it all steady. There are at least ten songs here I love out of fourteen, which are all listenable at the very least. "A Quarter Werewolf" is the hit, "Zombies Gots To Eat", "Witch" (not a cover), "Welcome to My Grave", "Wormhole", all winners. "Rock Assassins" is their tough guy statement, and I'm a believer. Loner-outsider-whatever garage-punk rock, this thing is really likeable for obvious reasons. I don't think they're trying really hard to be funny-dumb here, I think they're just trying to kick ass and fucking succeeding at it, with maybe a few laughs along the way. I'd buy this on vinyl in a second, as long as they include the lyric sheet and band photo (pictured), which are very entertaining in their own right. Another one of those bands you could mistake for a KBD-punk classic if you didnlt know they were modern. Recommended to the highest degree! CDR needs to get these guys signed ASAP.(RK)
(self-released // pdonohue53-at-hotmail.com)

Hue Blanc’s Joyless Ones “Live in Algoma 2005” cassette
More random goodies found crashing around in the Brad X hard-drive, available for consumption at an affordable price. This is a prime (and damn fine sounding) set of the Hue Blanc kids from back in their fledgling years. Live in Algoma? I think I’ve been there. There’s a real nice flea market set up in the local high school. At least way back in the 80’s. This is the sound of two drum thumpers and no bass to speak of. Still a pinch of The Strong Come–Ons or Tears bleeding through the waves, but filtering more of a southern dandy swag meets a Modern Lovers storytelling to the mix. Possibly the most drunken and well read act around these parts. Their set ender that night bleeds out of my speakers with some terrifying white noise and panning effects. Train dun wrecked. Good to hear such an early stack of tracks from this sadly overlooked band…and from a more sadly overlooked forgotten (or downright lost) import LP. Get this and feel the WOW of what ya’ll missed the first time and then pony up the pounds, francs, chickens or whatever foreign currency it takes to import a copy of 'Fait Accompli', dagnabbit. Better than most bands. That’s for damn sure. Note to Brad: Don’t let the side run out in the middle of a track. Clean that up, dawg. Daugs? Otherwise…great stuff. (RSF)
(Brad X Tapes On Demand // www.bradxtapesondemand.webs.com)

Andy Human "Red Plastic" cassette
I liked the Andy Human 7" a lot. The A-Side at least. Same goes for this tape. I like the A-Side a lot. At least the first three songs. This opens with "The Day That Never Ends" which is a pristine piece of overwrought Eigthies synth-pop that is absolutely decadent blend of ABC, Spandau Ballet and Jan Hammer. I want to dye a blonde streak in my hair and head down to Merry-Go-Round to go clothes shopping every time I hear it. "Ice Cream" has a terrible lyric (which isn't uncommon for music actually made in the Eighties either) and takes a slightly more serious and slighty gothy persona on. "Girl in Green" is a convincing Smiths swipe. Any of these three tracks would have made a great B-Side to that first single, or even a single unto themselves. After those three gems it goes quickly downhill into self-indulgent synth noodling and bad androgynous vocals - these songs (and there's a good 7 or 8 of them left on this) just drone on forever with little in terms of a hook or even a good idea. If you're going to mimic Eighties pop, then write pop songs - precise, succint and hookily direct. Brevity is your friend, not this wanky noodling about. I love the first three tracks, but the rest is dreck. Maybe this project doesn't have the legs I thought it might - or maybe some people should just try concentrating on being in one really good band instead of a few fair to middling ones.(RK)
(Burger Records // www.burgerrecords.com)

The Instigation demo CDR
Strangely enough, we received two submissions from China this go-round, the noise-rock of Pairs reviewed below, and this demo from The Instigation, a self-professed Eighties-style hardcore band who hail from Shanghai as well (some googling reveals the two bands have played together with Digger & The Pussycats). Billed as "Shanghai's only hardcore band", they're actually pretty damn good at American punk-rock. I might not call them Eighties hardcore myself, it's more along the lines of really fast garage-inluenced hardcore-punk along the lines of a Dean Dirg or HFOS or maybe even Wiccans. Fourteen sub-two minute blazers here with haphazard playing that strays just enough outside the lines with the slop, the guitarist rips off some killer solos, the rhythm section is great and it's all recorded lo-fi enough, live in the practice space I imagine. Singer does have a hardcore-style shout (in English) that pairs well to the music. Tunes cover all the punk topics ("No Rules", "No Way Out", "Brainwashed", etc...) and they slip some great shout-alongs and excessive cursing in. I'm very impressed by this, pretty ripping and fun, played just well enough, and I have to say again that this guitar player is damn good. I would rate this high even if they weren't Chinese, which makes it that much better. Fuck, someone should do a record with these kids, for some reason I'm thinking of Stefan Ken Rock here. They sent me three copies of this, if someone wants a copy drop the editor a line. First come first served.(RK)
(self-released // toshipunk-at-gmail.com)

Japanese Women "Order" cassette
Dark hardcore-noise from Alabama of all places. I didn't think this shit flew down South. The have the mysterioso vibe to them, and deliver on the harshness and filth to go along with the imagery. Guitars sound pretty raunchy, which I can get down with, and there seems to be a layer of static/noise coating everything. Song titles are bit Charles Bronson-like, but the music itself is pretty serious pummel and sludge. The whip up a mosh-pace at times, in almost an anarcho-punk discordant fashion, but for most of this tape they're just laying riffs at the altar and worshipping the almighty. There's a sicko Upsidedown Cross vibe or something seeping through it all, I like the mid-tempo songs where the bass player leads the charge best. When they're just on riff-repeat mode it gets a little plodding, in particluar with this guy's drooling blood vocal harshness. The further outside the box they go, the better. Not a huge fan of the vox, but they do some interestingly abrasive things musically.(RK)
(Tapes of a Neon God // tapesofaneongod.com)

Kam Kama s/t cassette
Minor league post-punk/indie-rock from Bloomington, IN. Moody, bass driven and synth accented stuff that takes its time getting where it's going. I appreciate the sentiment, but this is strictly dullsville.(RK)
(Sister Cylinder // kamkamaband-at-gmail.com)

Lantern “Deliver Me from Nowhere…” cassette
Link Wray in slow motion, this kind of sounds like one (of the thousand) guitar tracks on a slower Chris Gunn outing. Kinda boring. Hazy and dreamy, a little bit plodding, highlight for me was the Apple error noise on the first song. Probably a good soundtrack for a death trip, if you’re into that sorta thing (NG)
(self-released // lntrn.tumblr.com/merch)

Lower Plenty "Mean" cassette
Acoustic Australian ensemble featuring members of Deaf Wish, UV Race and other less well known acts. Operating on the same emotionally fragile and haunted ground that the the first Dutchess & Duke LP traipsed upon, these ten tracks dissect painful relationships and difficult times for the most part. Compostions are construced very well: multiple acoustic guitars, minimal and creative percussion (slight drums, maracas, wind chimes, bongos, bells and just about anything else...) and some very pretty and very sad vocal harmonies. The vocals themselves are split three ways (two male, one female), I'm assuming whoever wrote the song sings it, and they all resonate rather well. The girl's songs might have a little more hope in their expression, the guys' have a bit more worldbeaten/downtrodden feel. A little K Records at times, a little New Zealandy at others, it's dreary music for recalling grey days done rather skillfully. Look out for vinyl on Easter Bilby records in the '12, you know it's quality if it gets the Saltmarsh seal of approval.. 100 copies.(RK)
(Radio Records // radiorecordsmelbourne.tumblr.com)

Meat Mist “Bleak Bisque” cassette
Last minute entry (entrée?) for this here review column. It arrived this morning: hot off the press, stinking of fresh spray paint and served up in a lil’ T-bone shaped meat sock. What what? Kansas City boys after my own heart. A serious pile of filth is delivered here. Hardcore/pigfuck amalgamation that reeks of trash heap kit bashing, sociopathic vocal styling and grossly outta’ whack gee-tar strangling. The bass chords just dangle about loosely, trying to give semblance to all the madness. Recorded perfectly/pathetically for the self abusers out there (like myself). The best thing Youth Attack didn’t put out (thank Christ). A better Francis Harold? Butcher Cover sans blast-beats (and better lyrics)? If 'Groovy Hate Fuc' was recorded by some tards that really dug Napalm Death's first demos. The metallic side of scum rock…like White Zombie did so well before they went on to suck. If you went gaga over the Landlords or Avon Ladies tapes, then jump on this nutsack with yer squishy-boots. Pronto. Bonus points added for gratuitous ten minutes of chewing sounds and The State samples. Pleasant surprise and a contender for tape of the year. Friends of (ex-) Fag Cop? Welcome to the fold… (RSF)
(self-Released // meatmist.blogspot.com)

Mole People s/t cassette
Good blown-out, bottom dwelling recordings by yet another Ohio group. A bit of grungified ugly pop that should be a hit with college kids, circa 1989 or 2009…whatever year this is. There's a catchy, “classic” sound on here that hints of an in-tune Pixies or an even more damaged Meat Puppets one moment and a sludgy riff-monstered Eat Skull the next. Quiet/loud psych/punk. A heavier and more together Sic Alps? There’s a metallic gallop rumbling along, setting them apart of any aforementioned acts. They even hint at early Rush (I hear "Cygnus X-1" in this…seriously) and 'Live at Pompeii'-era Floyd at a few turns. Might seem like that's a bad thing to you garage-punk bozos out there, but I'm diggin' the trip. 100 made with a lyric booklet and other random trash. This is where those film negatives came from!? Whoops. I accredited them to the German Army tape by accident. (Sorry, duders.) Both first & second press of this is OOP, but they got’s it all up on Bandcamp for you late-bloomers out there. (RSF)
(Tolmie Terrapin Press // tolmieterrapinpress.blogspot.com)

Arsene Obscene "RVB" cassette
I've listened to some of this guy's records before, and they never really did much for me. Neither does this tape. I'm generally a supporter of punk roque Francais, and that's usually because the French bring something strange to the table or reinvent American rock'n'roll for their own purposes. I'm talking about bands like Volt, Feeling of Love, Cheveu, Crash Normal or whoever. Artistes. Or even traditional rockers like Fatals, No-Talents, Splash Four or whatever whose spirit trumped many American acts of the time. And this is why Arsene Obscene doesn't resonate with me: this has been done a million times before and better. If you're just going to play blown-out garage (in France or anywhere else for that matter) you better be writing some fucking great songs or have some sort of gimmick that's gonna put you over. This guy has neither. Sorry.(RK)
(Rainy Road Records // www.rainyroadrecords.com)

Omma Cobba “Craft Singles 001” Cassette
Two tracks of drug hazed pop along the lines of the Sic Alps and their SF related worshipers. There’s a VU sweet nothin’ melded to the opener (“Policeman”) that sounds like “Gimme Shelter” might take over as the percussion trips along...but no such luck. It just kinda’ floats away. No harm done. The flipside (“Up & Run”) has an organ zoning over its drear-psych. Those Shjips have a lot to answer for. Again, it’s not bad…but not much bang for the buck(s). Wish it woulda’ headed for a good crash or something more interesting. Comes in a snappy lil’ screened sleeve and has a download card. 90 made. Gone? (RSF)
(Craft Singles // www.craftsingles.com)

Otro Mundo “Jellied” cassette
Peppy and oh-so-hyper noise-pop that's recorded far, far down in the rabbit hole. "All In Time" is a fast, skyward aiming tune that's phasered to hell. "Midnight Oil Burner" has a Ty Segall/Oh Sees feel, but they still hold their own. "Heart-Thrush" is sludgy balladry shoved thru the shoe-gaze filter with a riff that has me missing my roaring twenties. J Mascis shows up to bury things in a feedback/solo haze near the end of this track, but it continues to scorch through "Jellied". This is where thangs really melt into a muddled blob. Think of a gooey MBV putty mixed with Sebadoh's 4-track tape dust. Gimme’ indie rock, gone full circle. "Fading" sounds like The Treepeople being slaughtered under a rack of pedal f/x. Take that as you wish. A few were made. Mine came with a download. Stick that in yer flannel pocket, longhair. (RSF)
(Ascetic House // www.theotro.blogspot.com)

Owl s/t cassette
Not totally sure what to make of this one. Intro is a loose cover or reinterpretation of "Anasthesia/Pulling Teeth" for some reason. The rest is demo-quality recordings of early Eighties proto-thrash revisionism, with some sweeping Maiden/NWOBHM-esque flourishes, the most Diamondheaded sounds off 'Kill 'em All' and maybe a little bit of early doom sounds. It's honestly kinda great. Side B turns into a Tolkien mythos based heavy prog epic in eleven(!) parts the highlights of which are numerous retardedly panned drum and guitar solos, boookended by some of the heaviest riffing you'll find on this mixed with some total wank-off moves all recorded in vivacious shit-fi. Over the top and back again, you'll love this and hate it equally in different measures throughout. Supposedly this band is a trio of three brothers (the guitar playing being 16) operating out of some hippie commune (aka pick a city) in California. There are moments where I think they're playing it tongue-in-cheek a la Glitter Wizard, but multiple listens have me hoping I'm way wrong and this is an authentically twisted retro-metal outfit made up of teenaged outsiders who have actually read The Silmarillion. Fingers crossed.(RK)
(Magick Hermit // magickhermit.blogspot.com)

Pairs s/t CDR
It's not often we receive review materials from Asia in general, and I think this is the first time we've ever received something from China, so I was quite interested to see what this was going to sound like. Pairs are a two-piece from Shanghai and I think this is just a CDR of a 7" they released in 2011, which is a practice Termbo generally frowns upon but since this thing came a long way to get here I'll give it a shot. It's a guy and gal playing drum-n-guitar noise-rock, I imagine they're into Lightning Bolt, but it's not quite as far out as that, more or less based in garage-punk and such. Seven tracks all under two minutes except for the 5+ closer, whichever one is drumming has some chops and they blaze ahead and shift gears with precision. Guitars sound sharp and create a decent wall of noise without resorting to ham-fisted riffing. Walkie-talkie style vox are delivered in what sounds like pretty decent English...I think. They're not all that audible, but have a really punky sneer that sounds remarkably like Hot Rodd Todd somehow. Not what I was expecting at all, I figured any punk in Shanghai would be of the mall or crust variety, but what do I really know about it anyway. I suppose I'm giving this a geographic bias, but even if this were American it's decent rock.(RK)
(Douban // wearepairs-at-hotmail.com)

Peace of Shit s/t cassette
Nebraskan sounds from one of The Shanks, who had some above average moments put to tape in their time. This guy is also a part of the current Digital Leather line-up (Foree has relocated to Omaha, if you're not up to date) and obviously learned a thing or two from the experience. Mostly it's Mr. PoS running through his influences, which is a whole lot of Reatard/Rousseau/Foree regurgitation infused with some of the ol' heartland in a few of the garagier cuts, and some mongo-Spits moves on the punker stuff. Something like "Panic in the Streets" and others work as dum-dum shit-fi spectacles. There are also quite a few moments where he's just aping DL stuff, right down to the vocal delivery and phrasing, even putting on some stock affected intontation. Not that good. Then he fires back with "Let it Go" which is a really honest sounding and sloppy garage-punk tune. Ten tracks, you get a good grip on this guy finding his way around, and it's encouraging to listen to him try as he gets it right maybe half of the time, and there might be something there in the mix of melodramatic synth-punk and corn-fed garage he's flinging around here. I just hope he realizes we need more new sounds, not more mimicking. 100 copies.(RK)
(Rainy Road Records // www.rainyroadrecords.com)

Peach Kelli Punk s/t cassette
I have a soft spot for ideas so ridiculous they probably shouldn't be attempted. The premise here is one guy covering the Peach Kelli Pop LP in its entirety, recorded and played by himself the same week the record itself was released over a year ago. There's not much more I can say in this review than that. A lo-fi version of an already fairly lo-fi bubblepop record. It's not bad, sort of goony and charming in its execution, perhaps admirable in its stalker-like devotion to concept. I guess you can get a chuckle out of a dude singing a girl's songs, it's a little sloppy but not totally inept and just mongo enough in the vox and execution. Gets a little more funny when you figure out this guy is/was in Germ Attak and Schizophasia. I can't believe this isn't on Burger Records. 100 copies.(RK)
(Status People // statuspeople.bigcartel.com)

Pine Hill Haints “Evening Star” cassette
I come from a bluegrass and country loving family and was raised on stuff like this. It would play endlessly on the car stereo/tape player during summer road trips and Ozark mountain vacations. Part of the charm to that original hill music is the grit that’s caked onto those early field recordings or the fact that the beat down 78’s are filled with honest hard workin’ Joes and desperate God-fearin’ folk. This here is scrubbed free of such hard times, agony and despair…it comes off just too gosh dern squeaky clean. That college radio indie clean. It’s not bad, they can play the shit out this southern twang and seem well versed in the history of it all, but it still rings out as gimmicky. The Decemberists and Avett Brothers. The Squirrel Nut Zippers and Old Crow Medicine Show. All are competent players/performers of what they do; all are plundering through the old weird Americana songbook. Some pull it off more successfully than others. Modern takes on country that are still better than all the modern country out there, but it’s still safe and inoffensive enough to play those aging hipster retirement communities (Portland?) and craft fairs full of those who say they’re getting back to their roots. I realize I could be inserting my own foot deep down into my gullet when I sit here and preach about the greatness of rehashed blues and garage riffs so often. But you can be noisy and fucked (The Oblivians) or primal and broke (Doo Rag) so not to come off safe and unauthentic (Clapton era-Black Keys) or staunch and watered down (The Fuzztones). Stuff of this ilk needs to be seen and heard outside at barn dances, hill stomps…or at the least…busking on street corners (shudder) if it’s gonna’ effect me at all. Also: You should be old enough to collect Medicare or have subscription to AARP Magazine. Either that or bury these youngins recordings under that Kentucky mountain soil to be excavated in 30 odd years. Like I said, not bad, just not better. For those olde tyme people out there who used to listen exclusively to Ernest Tubb, Flat & Scruggs and the like …but now think the O’Brother soundtrack sounds better to their failing ears. (RSF)
(Burger Records // www.burgerrecords.org)

Pink Reason “Live In Manitowoc” cassette
Another quickie just to keep reminding folks about Brad's dirt cheap box of field recordings he’s trolling ‘round these parts. This time out it’s a Pink reason show from way, way back. Kevin Failure goin’ solo in nowheresville, Wisconsin. This short but sweat (er, sweet) set consists of a bunch of acoustic punk covers (Fear/GG Allin/Agent Orange/Fang/Stooges) that are drugged down and out and giving off the same warm feelings as listening to those late-era Swans releases. Goddamn the sunstroke. The simple and bleak sounds of a coffee house in hell. If yer a collector, there’s really no reason NOT to grab this. The production does have a few audio gaffs/pops and muted string scrapes as it rolls by…but shit on it…this is PUNK we’re talking about. For bonus love there’s a wasteoid improv Stooge-like jam sesh tacked on at the end. Brad X and Kevin struggling about some tunes on a four track that I’d kinda’ like to hear fleshed out and see what’d happen if they took it on the road, KK & BBQ style. Fights a plenty. But when it gels, fuck yeah. Thanx for not sucking. (RSF)
(Brad X Tapes On Demand // www.bradxtapesondemand.webs.com)

Pregnancy Scares “Demo” cassette
From Ottawa, Canada. Already out of print, it seems. It is available via download from the band's site, so I’ll give ya a rundown anyhow. This is some scathing, messy shit punk that rides between Born Against aggro-in-the-raw, art-wracked Circus Lupus styling and newer Crazy Spirit retro-nastiness. Nine abrasive attempts to crash thru a brick and mortar wall are displayed here for your displeasure. All under a minute a pop. For fans of elbows to their collarbones or those who witnessed the final Battleship show. The one where they tore-ass through a pile of sloppy Black Flag covers. I’d say more, but my brain is having a hard time registering what just crossed its path. Impressed and hurting. 50 made on black tapes with classy J-cards. 50 made on red tapes with less classy J-cards. And like I said, all used up. Do the Discogs shuffle. (RSF)
(self-released // www.pregnancyscares.tumblr.com)

Pretext s/t cassette
Go back to the review I did of that German Army tape. Use that as a rough framework. Muddy, melted beats and computerized blip-bloops. Now drape that simplistic styling with some real nutter guitar, one note key bashing, faded in and out bass tones, and some crazed shouting noisepunker over the top. Build to an atonal cacophony. You’ll end up with something like this. Reminds me of a Prurient show I witnessed moons back, but with a wash of newer-No-wave instead of Whitehouse feedback and amplifier tomfoolery. Halfway through the landscape shifts a bit into a post-punk not unlike This Heat losing its footing and searching for guidance thru the recent Sacred Bones catalog. The flipside jettisons most of the abrasiveness and shoots for a more moody cut n’ paste film score vibe. Noise collagists deconstructing Irvin Berlin inside a jar of buzzing flies. Jungle jazz bent on B-flick sci-fi. Confusing, seasick, spacey and definably interesting. I can’t really think of anything else to compare this too. I guess I just did. Each tape has handmade insert cards. How many? Not a clue. Find out for yourself. (RSF)
(Candy River // jxxitt-at-gmail.com)

Pretty Bullshit s/t cassette
This shit rocks in the way Annihilation Time or Brutal knights do. Bands that ain’t afraid to pick scrape now and again, knowhutImean? Mid-tempo, mean and spirited. “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off” starts with a recycled Accused riff (I assume not on purpose) before it rolls out some hard-edged street punk. That's punk from the street, not street punk. More Vans than Doc Martins. I'm diggin the black-leather nastiness of “Out Of My Head”. There's a hint of an all-ages scene staining this, but it's still filthy with a Laughing Hyenas (nah, Easy Action) drunken reckless abandon. Fuck the kids/Fuck everybody. It does veer towards mass punk-by-numbers here n’ there…but they’re good at it and could probably hold their own opening for some bigger who-the-fuck-knows. Shit, one track even sounds like Seaweed. ?!?! Much more worthwhile than the stuff I heard blaring from the local Sam Goody...Fo’ damn sure. (RSF)
(self-released // www.prettybullshit.bandcamp.com)

Primary Colors “Fading Collapse” cassette
Industrial dance music reminiscent of when industrial dance music still had some sorta’ soul…y’no, prior to the movements’ total electro-tardation. A glorious throwback to when you could break a sweat listening to early Test Dept and not be embarrassed coming home at 6AM. The type of power Neubauten used to wield before Blixa got fat and started wearing berets. The label honcho mentioned Portion Control as a mighty influence, and after some RE:search, I can hear it in there…but with a much heavier hitting rhythm section. A rhythm section built around bed post banging and a scrapyard full rusted farm equipment. Lots of pulsing tones and synth glitches that repeats and rolls around this underlying drive. It’s a groove thang. You won’t understand. Pleased as punch to know this was recorded last year. Also glad it’s got really upfront and laid bare vocals. Not hiding behind a wash o’ pedals or any other hip shit these days. It’s only a duo but it sounds like twenty or so hyper-skinny pale folks (with funky hair bits) pinging away on stuff in a European sqat/loft space from back in the day. Funny how the afternoon I got received this I was listening to Hunting Lodge’s “Tribal Warning Shot”. It seems like a natural progression from there. Releases on Sacred Bones should be a must…or at least a West Coast tour with Pop. 1280. Good stuff. Seriously.(RSF)
(Sanity Muffin // sanitymuffins.blogspot.com)

Puffy Areolas "Funk Your Head Up" cassette
Like, say, Monoshock before them, Puffy Areolas are the premier psych-punk heavy-skronk noise-blasted rock n’ roll ensemble of their time. There’s (parking) lots of pretenders out there, but I’d like to see any of these new-jacks match the Puffys in either drug use or wah-overload. This 5 song off-the-cuff tour tape seems like a bit of a check-in, songs in progress, and just an excuse to make some more noise and weirdness. “1982” is a scorcher; is Damon referencing one of the prime years of hardcore (the cut is short and fast), or is that the year he was born? I dunno, it rules tho. “Gentlemen’s Grip” killed live, but here it’s a little too blown-out, it really is hard to discern what’s really going on under the mess of in-the-red cymbal hammering and slobbery vocals. Let’s hope this one shows up on a proper release with a better recording. Side 2 leads off with an untitled jam that shows potential, a sludgy riff straight from the ‘70s is down there somewhere, waiting to lumber out of its pen. “Funk Your Head Up” is prime Areola, a basement Hawkwind smoke-out that could last for days.(EEK)
(self-released // )

Puppy Mill “Demo 2011” cassette
First things first: way into this band name. A new fave. This is a pretty well done, mid-fi produced cassette. One that could swing a vinyl release. The Puppies (from Boston) sling about an early KRS style grrl-power (only one femme tho’) or even a bit of 7Year Bitch/L7 in the riffage. Not overpowering, but has a total grunge-punk vibe. It ain’t all Nineties wrapping around the heads, though. There’s a good amount of thrashiness, early hardcore and late Seventies (esp. since there’s a Rings cover) as well. Songs about cats (purring included), trying to get laid, and being drunk on a bike. All things on the minds of the young adult today. Vocals are breathy and mostly sung with an eXene (or even a bit of Romeo Void) kinda slur. A coherent Jenna Tyrade? Pretty grande, either/any way. 100 copies exist. B-lank B-side so you can record Art Bell or something for a long drive.(RSF)
(self-released // www.puppymillcore.blogspot.com)

Ratmask "Demo 2009" cassette
Posthumous release from one of the more interesting Buffalo hardcore acts of the past few years. I say this because I don't think they're active anymore, and their run seemed fairly brief at that back in 2009-10, but these recordings are pretty great and as good as anything you'll hear in HC land this year. Heavy guitars, unhinged vox, slick drumming, they alternate bewtween chugging riffs and ramming speed core with ease, very Midwestern/Rust Belt mid-tempo work done with heads down and fists flying. They could have slugged it out with heavies like Slices or Kim Phuc and kept pace with the Youth Attack roster if they had lasted I imagine. Drummer now hits skins for Plates. Eight songs, $3.50 ppd is the ridiculously nice price as well. I gotta find out where they're having these drug parties though....(RK)
(Drug Party // www.drugparty.org)

Roman Candles "Last Exit to Berkeley" cassette
Over the past years I've reviewed enough Roman Candles releases that these guys now seem like friends. Like that one guy you went to school with, that you weren't really all that fond of in the first place, but he was just always there since you grew up on the same street or whatever so you tolerated his presence. But you could do without as well. It's to the point where they send a short letter with each release now (I think the last one said "Suck on this Termbo."). I never like their music and say so in their reviews, but they just keep sending shit anyway. Love-hate relationship? Friendly rivalry? I dunno. They said in this package that this is their last one. I'll miss you guys, but I won't miss your corny acoustic folk music or whatever this shit is. Take it easy Christopher, you're a good sport, and congrats on graduating.(RK)
(Aztec Records // romancandlesmusic-at-gmail.com)

Quivers "< o >" cassette
Canuck alt-rock from Halifax with little in the way of guts or anything original. The soundtrack for a generic college rock experience. Perhaps what Dino Jr. and/or Meat Puppets could have sounded like, were they Canadian and not really that talented. I wish this was a Howard Stern themed tape from Ham Hands Bill instead. Did you know that Jale supposedly formed when they all met at the same Velocity Girl concert?(RK)
(self-relesed // quivers.bandcamp.com)

Selaroda “Synaptic Portals” cassette
Art wins out against the short song on this C30 release. Track titles are given but it all melds together in two long interwoven soundscapes/collages. Movements built of analog synth blip & drone, piano plinking, guitar pedals and possibly some tape manipulation and oscillation within the mix. I could be far off center saying this, but I feel a bit of Delia Derbyshire within. Early BBC electronic stuff. Like back when Wendy was still Walter. Lots of underwater echo, vibrating tones and bubbling key patterns. Nothing sticks around for very long as the sounds interplay like floating satellite transmissions. E.A.R damaged mayhaps? World rhythms arrive to weave in and out of the glacial sound planes. Experimental but not of the violent out-to-cause-nosebleeds variety. Its ambient, melancholic sounds aren’t bent on terrifying …though a troubled gloom can be imagined, looming at the end of the tunnel. Drugged out science fiction. Bad drugs that start the night off right but will leave you needing juice, aspirin and bleached rags in the morning. Only 75 made. Readily available? (RSF)
(Digitalis Ltd. // www.digitalisindustries.com)

Slow Walker “Good For Business” cassette
A totally unheard of (by my ears) Milwaukee band doin’ some 70’s inspired garage pop. It’s catchy with a hint of Mudhoney-ish fuzz (especially on “Clam Baked”), a tad of hard-hitting indie and smidge of that Kross songbook as well. “City Slicker” reminds me of the defunct (?) Impediments armed with a wah-wah. Shit gets pretty heavy and freaked for bit at the end of “File Under Deadbeat” and so on, just to keep you on yer toes. “Sourkraut”…along with some others on the B-side…will probably settle the stomachs of the OBN III lovers and Liquor Store bros until those next singles come along. Funny how in the late 80’s/early 90’s I had stacks n’ stacks of tapes like this. Most on Sub Pop or Twin Tone related. Here I am, slowly working my way foreward into my past. What’s next? Soul Asylum re-issues? Bring ‘em on. I ain’t totally against it. (RSF)
(Butterscotch Records // myspace.com/slowwalkerband)

Synthetic Id demo Cassette
Three song demo by Members of Face The Rail, Ecoli, and more do a weird guitar bending herky-jerk that oughta’ get fans of the Agent Orange surf, the Circle Jerk punk and the newer Cleveland bands something to nosh on. I guess it’s been pressed to wax since I was handed this. The label says The Observers (hmm…?) and Ubu as references. Maybe on the “Between the Lines” track…it’s my fave of the trio and definitely could be described of an Ohio flavor. Whatever it may be, it’s short but a fuggin’ sweet little package. 40 tapes exist. Just buy the damn vinyl. (RSF)
(self-released // www.synthid.blogspot.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)

Typewriter Drum Solo s/t cassette
I couldn’t find shit on these knee-knockers 'cept for a haphazard Myspace page, and who goes there anymore? Oh how I tried. It's a shame, this ain’t bad. Hell, it’s actually pretty good! The whole thing can be a bit long in the tooth, but there’s quite a few shining moments. Starting of with “Tick Tack Toe” you get a clean Urinals type-punk agitation that crank-cases about under a churning feedback. Vocals sound like a mix of Useless Eaters, Dave E. Eels and that weirdo from The Endtables, so I’m down. “Trail” is the closest I’ve come to hearing a Home Blitz tributary in a long while. If the Blitz was working his A-frames angles. The weirdness gets kicked up a notch during the end of Side A…leaving behind piano play and some art-dust that'll probably give you Subterranean 'Red Spo't fans a hard-on for a few seconds. Then it’s back to the Urinals-cum-Blitz bash and pop we go (see “Garbage Man” for points taken). Some of the instrumental tracks can be a tad too precious for me, though these could just be unfinished sketches of better things to come. That said there’s usually something around the bend that’ll jar me back into full enjoyment. When served up in appropriate bite sized portions, there are gems to be heard. Which brings me to this: if you live near T.D.S. (or want to travel long distances), this guy needs a rhythm section. Hey, he asked...I obliged. Look ‘em up. (RSF)
(self-released // myspace.com/typewriterdrum)

The Uptights "Live at the Worthersee Hotel" cassette
Debut release from Oslo three-piece of "not so young men", recorded to 8-track in their rehearsal space. Bum out rock obscured by a haze of static, intercepted radio transmissions and cheap mics (or expensive mics used poorly). References most modern styles throughout the songs, from garage-rock to West Coast neo-psych, to straight ahead indie rockers and modern shoegaze pretending, all run through the "eerie" recording treatment, and often with vox barely audible due to warble or whispering. The band does well at being moody, but it really feels like they're more concerned with atmosphere and gimmicky recording than the actual music/songs. Not something I immediately wanted to eject, but not something I'd recommend either.(RK)
(Keep Secret Records // www.keepsecretrecords.net)

Uranium Orchard "Four for Survival" cassette
Post Dry-Rot (I'm assuming the rumors of the band's demise are true) weirdness from Drew and Jordan, the driving forces behind the band, Cold Vomit Records and the zines/artwork that were related to it. Much like the Heavy Air flexi (which you must own for "Levitate the Pentagon"), there isn't much similarity to Dry-Rot musically but the outsider/weirdo aesthetic still perseveres. With Uranium Orchard (the name supposedly comes from a recorded extra-terrestrial encounter that occurred in the 1940s) they take on a new set of sounds: electronic surges, some UK DIY (This Heat in particular) post-punk noises, free range post-rock. The whole thing hums with electricity, weird oscillations, paranoic robot ramblings, found and manipulated sounds, out of tune guitars that somehow seem right, I think maybe some sort of electrified saw playing (I can't imagine how they got the quivering elastic sound on the third track, but that's my best guess), "The Savage Is Man" sounds like the theme to a real life video game, complete with ray gun shots and the feeling of running through a maze pursued by malevolent androids or some other threat. There's a drums and guitar background to everything, overlayed with synths and all of the mentioned effects. Absolutely weird and challenging in the best ways. I'll miss having a hardcore band as good as Dry-Rot around, but I just hope these guys continue making music of any sort, and the superior quality of this four (five? six?) song tape is not surprising at all considering the people involved, and is a good sign for future endeavors that will hopefully come sooner than later. Highly recommended, probably somewhat limited, and recorded on recycled tapes with religious sermons left on the remainder.(RK)
(Cold Vomit // coldvomitr.org)

Utah Jazz demo cassette
I love the fact that Buffalo has some genuinely great bands these days that I get to talk about without sounding like a total homer. The scene here hasn't been this good since the heyday of the Baseball Furies. Utah Jazz are a personal favorite of mine, featuring the combined forces of Brandon from Brown Sugar and Melody from Mayday on guitars with another gal named Britt on drums/bong hits. They do a great job of combining the surf punk guitar textures and twang of Mayday with Brown Sugar's sloppier/garage-punkier moments, really coming up with a refreshing sound that I think parallels some of the ideas of an outfit like Brain F=. Modern kids making modern punk that isn't beholden to a single set of genre influences. Hybridization, maaaan. Rocking twin guitar punk with trade-off vox that work well, drumming is exceptional and they even write some hooky tunes. Eight tracks here. And I love them all. You'll be seeing a few of these songs on vinyl this year, but these rough takes are great on their own. Buy this and get excited about their debut single.(RK)
(Drug Party // www.drugparty.org)

V/A Animal Eye/Green Screen Door split cassette
I was pretty stoked on this one, as I liked the previous GSD tape, and popping this one in the deck I was immediately impressed by Animal Eye. Opening cut really reminded me of Piranhas circa the first LP (meaning before they decided they were a jazz band), which is no small feat. Droney one-finger keyboard rides, a great drummer, aggro guitar parts and a singer who isn't trying too hard to sound insane but just might be. Seriously good future-punk for replicants shit, maybe on a similar trip as Le Face and NSU. Blade fucking Runners. "Protect Yourself" is holographic pop with phaser synths. "Christ Kill Love" is a traditional buzzsaw with some beach-punk moves, like a West Coast TV Ghost a bit. Three great tracks. Shit, and I thought Green Screen Door were good...and they are on their side. "Reckless Recluse" reminds me of Lost Sounds doing a death-punk tribute to the B-52s. "Endo Endo" goes for a desolate and rhythmic post-punk approach, really icy but cut by the rabid vocals of the male voice, "Red Arrow" actually has some attempt at harmonizing the vocals in a pop-like twist on post-apocalyptic sounding sci-fi-punk. Killer split tape from So Cal - Animal Eye are from Burbank? - and I think they're somehow allied with the Francis Harold circle of bands, who have been growing on me a little more themselves as of late. Recommended. (RK)
(Midas Recordings // midasrecordings.wordpress.com)

V/A Atlanta Demos cassette
An interesting artifact ripped from the vaults of the city that has given us some of the more popular garage-punk of the past few years. It certainly contains a few nice surprises within the four demos compiled here. Before the Carbonas were the well-oiled hit machine they later became, they self-released an LP that showed their beginnings as a sloppy traditional garage-punk act, which you probably ordered from Underground Medicine based on a description that compared them to The Dwarves. This demo contains eight tracks from 2001 (over ten years ago, shit!), rawer versions of most of the songs that ended up on that LP, played by an early line up of Dave Rahn, Greg (GG) King, Jeremy Thompson (pre-Busy Signals and Sing Sing Records) and a pre-Lids Bobby Ubangi (RIP). Songs like "Find You Out" sound a lot like Teengenerate, the vox and overall recording are pretty rough-n-tumble, and it's quite fun to listen and think about how much they ended up changing. I'll agree with the opinion stated in the bio that these versions are superior to the LP itself. Cold Stare demo is next and hails from 2004, and is the least interesting thing here, a pre-Bukkake Boys/Foundation late-Eighties hardcore outfit. Nothing you need to hear unless maybe you were there. Side Two begins with seven tracks from Die Ficken, a pre-Ralph outfit of teenage hardcores full of piss, funny ideas ("Nazi Sharks", mock PI 'Pick Your Queen' art with Freddie Mercury) and hardcore rippers with great crackly guitar and snotty vox sounds, almost sounds a little Clevo-like in its Americanized take on international hardcore. Pretty sick. Despot Hut are the final entry, a short-lived 2002-03 collaboration between GG King and Chris Van Etten (who would later join forces again on 'Esoteric Lore' and in the post-Gentleman Jesse Carbonas line-up) who play bizarro hardcore with a drums and bass only line-up. They manage to pull a couple chestnuts out of the fire despite the doomed-to-fail band concept, in particular on "Nothing's Changed" which is a thrilling low-end ride. Now go find some Quadiliacha records and you're all set. 100 copies, pro dubbed, with foldout sleeve/insert with hilarious liner notes that are worth the price of admission.(RK)
(Scavenger of Death // scavengerofdeathrecords.blogspot.com)

V/A Coyote Slingshot/Caution (comma) Lemmy "Jumping Fences with the Roadkill" split cassette
Coyote Slingshot surprised me with some keyboard-driven Eighties-era Britpop, sort of playfully melodramatic, and depressingly upbeat somehow. The first song is great. Second song piles on some carnival organ that might drive you crazy, but it's still unique, schizo and quite alright. They have a ton of ideas here, and even if they're still trying to figure out how to execute, it's good listening for their two songs. Side B is apparently Agent Caution of Black Time doing some diagnostic tests on a broken synth. I have to grade this as unlistenable, even though I love the guy who made it.(RK)
(Sweat Power // sweatpowerrecords.com)

V/A Dipers/Cancer split cassette
Dipers side: Almost all these tracks are on the other Dipers split cassette reviewed below. This recording has the singer sounding a lot nastier, though. A little too nasty for songs about hating rain and texting and driving, but driving in New York sucks enough, I guess it's a believable amount of disdain. They lose me with the tough parts. Flipside is Cancer from Albany, who include someone from the great Acid Reflux (I think the guitarist is the only guy left in that town?) - they unload from a nice and lengthy intro into some early-00’s hardcorepunk. Sorrondeguy-esque shouts over four aptly played and untitled ditties that would’ve fit just right on one of the Histeria comps. (NG)
(Eat the Life Records // eattheliferecords.bigcartel.com)

V/A Dipers/Little Italy cassette
Little Italy side: Dumb garage, charming garage. The radio recording kind of kills any impact the songs can have at first, but I warmed up to it. Fall vibes on a couple of songs with cool stupid choruses, but the vocals keep making it return to a half-speed Chones. Lids-y at times - can’t wait to hear more. Dipers side: starts out pretty sludgy and dips in and out, when they’re moving fast it works best for me. Really hoarse vocals that I can’t quite dig with a real fuckin' Flag guitar tone. They sound pretty much just as you’d expect the writers of “Bodega Justice” to sound.(NG)
(Shit Hawk Records // shithawkpunks.blogspot.com)

V/A "Feral Kid Mix Tape Vol. 1" cassette
"A collection of unreleased songs from across the Feral Kid family". If you're not paying attention, Feral Kid Records (not to be confused with Feral Ward) is Buffalo's finest DIY punk label, who have released the finest local wares this city (and Rochester) has to offer, along with other artists from across the globe as well. This is a great comp of the local bands you need hear, with demo/alt takes of tracks from bands you should know of already: Plates, Brown Sugar, Mayday, Rational Animals, Resist Control, Utah Jazz, White Whale and more. But the real treasures here are tracks from bands that are already long gone (Skate Korpse, Jeff Gillooly) or are so new you haven't had a chance yet (Mallwalkers' post-punk-funk, Father Ignorant's femme-fronted punk, Area Denial's oldman-hardcore). My favorite morsel: Golden Buffet "I Bleed Cash" which is as close to to the Country Teasers that Buffalo is ever going to get...I'm hoping there's more. Also includes a cameo from the legendary Mr. Ski-Mask. A great sampler platter.(RK)
(Feral Kid Records // www.feralkidrecords.com)

V/A Ramlord/Condensed Flesh split cassette
A split tape of New Hampshire fresh faces. Ramlord starts by fooling me with a proto-metal, stoner riff-monster…then nosedives straight into a blastbeat n’ crusty haterade. Fans of MITB and Iron Lung should be riding high on the pony. Those who collect any/all records by bands with a Dis in front of their name, also take note. The only words I can make out on this here release are “Fuck You”. Summed it up nicely. It has a pretty good gallop goin’ when it wants to. Brew-tal. Good clean, yet gnarly production, as well. Flip the bitch. Condensed Flesh shows it ain’t interested in feedback ladened HC. They’re most def black metal slop of the early Midnight/Bone Awl variety. Covered in a fuck-ton of cemetery dirt and reeking a foul breath full of dead sparrows. Tape is distorto-dub’d to the max. Sounds much like every throwback US black metal offering these days, but that’s never a bad thing. 90 cassettes exist. That’s black. Stay Trve. Gorgeous looking color combo of putrid greenish-yellow cassette with red print and a nicely illustrated j-card. New Englanders, Keepin’ it classy! (RSF)
(Stimulation Addict // stimulationaddict.blogspot.com)

Vaz "Chartreuse Bull" cassette
Vaz has been around for well over a decade now. In that time, they have released many records, become somewhat of a low-key Brooklyn institution, and had many auxiliary members, but the duo of Paul Erickson (guitar/vox) and Jeff Mooridian (drums) still keeps plugging away. On this long-gestating full-length they are joined by second guitarist Tyler, and even though I wish Erickson would return to the bass (which he handled so well in Hammerhead), between the two they make up for most of the bottom end not filled by Mooridian’s still-powerful and inventive drumming. Vaz is all about relentless, mutated hardcore riffs twisted into oddly-melodic shapes, capped by Erickson’s haunted wail. He kinda sounds like someone who went insane in an encounter with a Great Old One, and he’s returned to warn you of the cosmic horrors that await. Lovecraftian hardcore? How did the Mysterious guys miss that one? Anyway, it’s impressive that Vaz can still sculpt new shapes out of their formula, and they have a sound that’s not easy to mimic, which seems in rare supply these days. There’s nothing here that they haven’t done just as well, as on, say, 2003’s 'Dying to Meet You', but it’s a strong document, and deserves to graduate from the tape format.(EEK)
(Damage Rituals // www.damagerituals.com)

Veuve SS s/t cassette
Heavy-duty, downer tunes from Versailles, the new wave of the crusty baguette. The sounds of a boar stuck in a tar pit, or Frenchmen wallowing in foie gras. Sort of slips into Siege territory a couple of times, but mostly stays mired in muck. The kind of band who probably plays shows where you would want to avoid all human contact, unless you are up for Magic the Gathering or something. Bleaker than Bob, but they do it well enough. Classiest release of this batch - wonderfully ornate and very black packaging.(NG)
(self-released // veuves.tumblr.com)

White Crime demo cassette
Houston punk-rock buzzsawing from members of Cutters and Talk Sick Brats. Melds the heavier leather-rock authority of No Talk with a poppier Denton or Atlanta-like sound, a slower and more hamfisted Carbonas even. The tunes blaze out of the barrel one after another, all mid-tempo chug and riff, having a pretty clean guitar sound for these days, which is admirable. I like this a bit, but then I realize the stuff I like about it is already done better by other bands. Certainly not bad, and having a couple good hooks, good and dumb sounding, but just not anything to remember much. Absolutley average, where I don't want to turn it off, but also remember nothing about this after three times through their 7 tracks. Pro dubbed orange tapes, cool logo, limited to 50 copies.(RK)
(self-released // whitecrime666@gmail.com)

White Mystery “Best of...” cassette
So you ain’t made up yer mind on buying those real deal White Mystery LPs yet? Here’s a cheep sampler to get you off your ass and hittin’ the Paypal buttons, already. Heavy riff-monsterin’ siblings bashing it out within reverb drip, cave drumming and vocals on par with the best She or Shocking Blue recordings. This sounds like as damn fine of an example of two piece American R&R as yer gonna’ find. Not since the demise of Bantam Rooster or even pre-wacko Jacko and his Stripes, I’d gather. A harder edged, less blues influenced variation of Mr. Airplane man, perhaps? I dug them too. Alex has been out there doin’ her thing since she was…what? Thirteen?!? What are you waiting for? This tape may not be essential, but if yer:
A.) A cheap dick refusing to shell out for the full releases
B.) In the need for a quick fix sampler now that illegal MP3 uploads have shat the bed
or C.) A “gingers in rock” completist …Then snatch it up. 100 made. (RSF)
(Burger Records // www.burgerrecords.org)

White Pages "Demonstration 2011" cassette
I liked a little something about a tape White Pages sent in a while back, and I like a little something about this. As I said last go-round, it reminds me of the hyper garage-punk of Krunchies, but with softer edges and no screaming. These kids are certainly clever ("Johnny's Moped Was Wrong"), and the songs seem a little busier this time. The bass player is playing his fingers off on these tunes. Mostly guy vox this time, and he has a personable and warbly out-of-key style that makes the tunes feel a little cozy. I feel a little pop-punk seeping in here, but maybe they're just hooks that I'm impressing that genre name on. Anyway, seven songs, it gets better the deeper you get, with the last three or four being the best of the bunch. Not too shabby, but not much of an improvement on the first tape either. Apparently they're Klyam approved, so take that for whatever it's worth...100 copies, with nice screened slipcase and insert.(RK)
(Thirsty and Miserable // whitepages.bandcamp.com)

Gary Wrong demo cassette
Three-song demo from the maniacal Gary Wrong, ex-Wizzard Sleeve/Kajun SS/Mangina/Loose Diamonds/Scrip+s/Headwoundz/Outlaw Order/8 Bomb IV and more, and if you could imagine a more satanic and drugged out and less aggro Wizzard Sleeve you have "Warlords Willing", the lead-off magnum opus on this tape. Guitars and synth dripping with cough syrup, vocals delivered by a Dalek on quaaludes, real drums played with shit-fi fervor and sound, and I do believe this is the extended nod-out remix version that you really just won't be able to get enough of. Sometimes I feel like this song lasts twenty minutes, sometimes it's only like five. I don't know what's going on, but about three-quarters in I feel like I'm listening to the modern equivalent of 'Space Ritual'. If that didn't make you want to freak-out, the B-Side really gets weird. "Post Natal" starts out sounding like a retarded march-of-the-robots thing but then you hear the slime dripping in the background and it becomes a weird organic sci-fi thing, the marching turns sinister and the multi-tracked vox start barking out orders like a drone. "heroin Beach" is fuggin' ridiculous, it begins with Wrong at the organ, decked out like Dr. Phibes or maybe the Phantom of the Paradise, amusing himself with the key which winds up becoming a krauty mororik beat, which then turns into that Dalek coming back and mockingly "singing" along with beat rhythmically whih turns into guitar licking which drives on and on into the moonlight...The really got the most out of the time on these cassettes. I imagine Wrong played everything on this tape, but I hear there's a live version of this band playing low key generator shows throughout the South with a membership that includes Quintron, Billiams, Benny Divine, Ryan "Wong" Rousseau and other scene luminaries. Watch out. Vinyl can't come soon enough, better and rather different than Wizzard Sleeve as well, if we're being frank here. Which I believe we are.(RK)
(self-released // garywrong.blogspot.com)

To read past reviews go here.


301 Tremaine Ave.
Kenmore, NY 14217


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

Nick Goode (NG)
1227 Rollins Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28205-6255

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