7" Reviews

Absurdo - Tots Sants Ep (Discos Absurds) (5 euro)
After a solid demo tape I totally slept on until I read about it in Distort's last installment, Barcelona's Absurdo returns with a self released six song Ep. It's all new material. I feel like a chump for ignoring the band back when their demo came out, because it was a really good release. At the time I figured Absurdo were just another Spanish band doing dbeat or raw punk or whatever you want to call it. Not the case. Absurdo plays pretty clean yet very fast hardcore punk with an obvious nod to the early 1980's without coming of as a retro act. Supposedly they pay homage to GBR, but I can't say I would have heard it had I not been told.
What immediately struck me when I first played this record was how Absurdo's singer reminds me of Martin Crudos in his younger years. His vocals are manic and energetic and you can hear he's tearing his chords. It's got that rasp, you know. Manic and energetic would also be fitting adjectives for the music contained on this piece of vinyl. But perhaps even more important is that Absurdo plays fast. They don't resort to blastbeats or other modern tendencies. Instead the band makes use of a traditional hardcore template which in this case consists of frantic trebly guitar playing without much distortion, a nice not so clean but full bass sound, hard lightning fast drumming – the snare hits will make your brain shake inside of your skull - and the aforementioned manic on the mic. I like it best when the singer is quiet for a few seconds and the instrumentation runs a little wild with a song. I'm not arguing the band is better off without their vocalist. I just think it's in those parts Absurdo shines. Those moments give the band a quality that most hardcore bands lack. The guitar player throws in short catchy solo's in a lot of songs, which I found really enjoyable. None of these tunes make it to the 1:30 minute mark, but that shouldn't be a surprise or a problem to any of you kids.
This Ep comes in a nice sleeve with what looks like a manifesto on the back. A beautiful booklet is to be found inside. It includes the lyrics – all in Spanish of course – and shows a collage with imagery of urban landscapes and traffic jams. Absurdo seems to be a political band criticizing the modern capitalist world. I'm pretty sure they're anarchists, but I can't be sure due to my lack of knowledge of the Spanish language. Which brings me to a point of debate. On the one hand I think it's great that Spanish bands prefer their native tongue over fake American accents – just a little stab at my local scene right there. Yet on the other hand I can't help but feel a bit left out here. I'm interested in what these guys have to say, but as a non Spanish speaker I am not invited to their revolution! Then again I know I hardly ever read translated lyrics when they are included so perhaps I'm full of shit. I'd like to think I would have read them if Absurdo had included them, but I guess we'll never know.

Ajax - Ep (Static Shock) (5 euro)
Review up soon...

Alerta - Ep (Trabuc, Discos Enfermos)

American Hate - Dead Squeeze Ep (Not Normal) (5 euro)
Debut Ep by this Oklohoma hardcore outfit which was somewhat snowed under by the simultaneous release of the Big Zit Ep everybody lost their shit over. In my opinion this Ep was better one of the two, but you're free to disagree. I will not hold it against you if you like both records either. On ‘Dead Squeeze’ American Hate delivers four originals and one cover. I ain’t too big to admit I thought ‘Mr. Kamikaze/ Mr. DNA’ was the strongest track here without knowing it was written by Devo even though it says so on the fucking sleeve! You live and learn, right? On a side note, I always had a hard time getting over those silly hats those Devos wore, but I’m coming around.
American Hate plays hardcore that’s neither throwback nor modern. Somehow I’m reminded of the first Raw Nerve Ep, their only record I enjoyed. ‘Dead Squeeze’ has got that same nervous energy. The word immediately coming to mind when listening to this Ep is claustrophobic. The music is ugly, the lyrics drenched in depression, self loathing and agony. If that’s what you’re gonna yell about, you better make me believe you’re not posing. Anthony has no trouble convincing me and lines like “Moving too fast/ Not moving at all/ Waiting for my chance to fill a six feet hole/ Coughing and spitting/ I laugh when I bleed/ I’m fucked forever/ Maybe that’s all I need”, don’t go by without leaving an impression. I probably wouldn’t have been able to figure out those words without the lyric sheet, so thumbs up for including one. Every hardcore record should come with a lyric sheet, okay! Although there’s some echo on the vocals, it’s kept within reasonable limits and fortunately stays clear of the trend a lot of contemporary hardcore outfits have fallen prey to. You just know most of that shit is going to sound dated in a couple of year.
Although I sometimes wonder whether I need another negative hardcore band like American Hate in my life, these kind of bands will always be important to fellow misfits out there. The lyric sheet thanks “everyone that has ever felt alone, been rejected or abused…”, a message I fully back. Not Normal just released a full-length by the band, which I’m sure is great and intent to stock soon.

Andy Human and the Reptoids - Refrigerator 7" (Total Punk) (6 euro)
Review up soon...

Angkor Wrack/ the Monoliths - Split Ep (Mastermind) (5 euro)
Review up soon...

Anxiety - Wild Life Ep (La Vida Es Un Mus) (5 euro)
Review up soon...

Astral Travel - Bodymelt 7" (Vertex) (6 euro)
This single is the second record by this all girl four piece from Australia's most desolate town better known as Perth. This makes it probable that you have no idea whatsoever what kind of sounds can be found on this 7”. Or maybe you think you do, because all those girl bands sound alike to you? Whatever you think, bands consisting of ladies only tend to get thrown in together, which is sexist, but at the same time understandable. I could liken Astral Travel to some women only bands you might know too, but I don't think it would be appropriate. These girls have something else going. The two songs on this single are both dreamy pop tunes with sweet melodies, very impressive vocals and awesome driving basslines. The latter is what I personally like most about Astral Travel, but the vocals are what sets Astral Travel apart from their peers most. This dame can sing. While the music has this sweet amateur charm, the vocals border on the professional and yet it doesn't annoy me. There's something hypnotizing to the singing and the basslines add to that atmosphere.
Supposedly Astral Travel are labeled indie rock by some and although I get where that's coming from it's not the way I'd describe the band. These songs are more reminiscent of late 1970s DIY music from the UK. I imagine four childhood friends hanging out every night, bonding over a mutual love for music, art and everything they consider beautiful. They start a band, play music in the shed in their parent's backyard and record the songs to tape so they can listen to them at home alone. The quality of the recordings isn't low by any means, but the music is bare and minimal, stripped of everything unnecessary. The songs radiate a shared sense of loneliness. They are dreamy and breath a certain absence of mind. Punk this is not. There's no grit and there's nothing vile about Astral Travel, but I like the band regardless. It all comes down to the songs and both of those are good. The B-side is the better track in my opinion. The bass playing is almost too good to be true. Accept that your body is melting away and take the lyrics to heart by just relaxing. Let the bass line carry you all the way to the end of the song. There are a few bridges along the road, but you'll enjoy your trip despite them. This record kind of exists in between worlds and I hope that will result in people from different musical backgrounds listening to it. It's good and should appeal to many.

It turns out the drummer is actually a guy. In my defence, he does have long hair and you know what the Dogs sang about that. It's confusing.

Astryd Lindgren's Great 5 - Ep (Ken Rock) (5 euro)
This is a new lo-fi garage punk band from Sweden with former members of the Ydils. I never heard or even heard of that band, but looking at the artwork these guys have been kicking around for a while. They sure ain’t youngsters anymore and there’s nothing wrong with that. But let’s talk about the music. Astryd Lindgren’s Great 5 deliver, you guessed it, five, supposedly great songs on this Ep - not counting the opening instrumental that is. Like I said the music is garage punk rock. I’m guessing these guys were pretty into whatever was on the Rip Off roster in the first half of the 1990s. The songs are all straight forward with simple two to three chord guitar riffs and dumb bashing drums. After the instrumental the band delivers a cover of Freestone’s ‘Bummer Bitch’ kicks in, a classic if there ever was one. The band gets away with it surprisingly well. The final song on the A-side is the anthem here. The chorus to ‘Retard Rock’ states that ‘There’s a retard in the band!’Although I can't say I disagree, the number might actually be on the low side. There are three loonies here at the very least. The recording quality of this Ep is intentionally shitty, but not to the point you can’t make out there are songs in the mix somewhere. Although this won’t be the most memorable record you’ll lay on your record player, it’s not a bad record either and there are some good songs here. If catchy garage punk still floats your boat, and I don’t see a reason why it shouldn’t, you’ll like this. The artwork is atrocious, but I think the Ken Man has a soft spot for ugliness of this sort - check out the artwork on that Rivercity Tanlines Ep he did and you’ll know what I mean. Also 7”s with different rpm each side should be forbidden. That shit is annoying. That aside, not a bad record.

Bad American - Ep (Bad Recordings)
Debut Ep by this newish hardcore band from Pensylvania which isn't exactly known for its amazing hardcore scene. And yet this hardcore record doesn't disappoint. Bad American deliver eight tunes on this Ep. The band has been compared to many contemporary bands for some reason, but I think none of the made comparisons do this pack much justice. This band sounds harsh and angry. The bass sound is heavy and drives the songs. The guitar wails and cries over the solid rhythms layed down in these eight tunes. Some feedback adds to the nastiness of the songs, but fortunately the band's use of this effect is modest. Bad American's singer sounds pissed. His voice is raspy, his lyrics hateful. 'Snake Doctor' would be my personal pick, because of the hypnotizing change of pace in there. I guess it's fair to say that this record is a product of its time. Bad American plays hardcore with some noisy elements, but what's important here is that they do it really well. This is a repress of the first Ep with alternative silkscreened artwork. The band just released their second Lp on Shogun Records which is a scorcher. Check it out!

Bad American - Bruises Ep (1124)
Review up soon...

Bad Daddies/ Lögnhalsmottagningen - Split Ep (Emotional Response) (5 euro)
Review up soon...

Bad People - Pearls Before Swine Ep (Feeble Mind) (5 euro)
Debut record by this Buffalo hardcore punk outfit, which consists of some veterans from the Buffalo scene. Those who have been paying attention, know Buffalo has proven itself to be fertile breeding ground for punk rock in recent memory. Most noteworthy about Bad People is the inclusion of Mr. Biffaro on bass. It's cool to see him back on four string shortly after Brown Sugar's demise. It's hardly a surprise though. This guy is probably in more bands at this point than I've been in in my entire life.
Musically I'm really into what this band is going for. Although I don't want to overplay the Brown Sugar connection, I think there are similarities between the two groups. The outro of 'Piss + Shit' could have been lifted from an unreleased Brown Sugar song. It's the final track on the A-side of this Ep. Turn the record over and you're in for a surprise. The very same riff is opening the flip. That's a smart little twist right there. It's as if the needle leaves the A-side in mid-song and you need to turn the record over immediately to hear the ending. Nice! Like Brown Sugar Bad People don't shun experiment and unorthodoxy. Both a saxophone and synthesizers can be heard on this Ep. This I applaud. At some points the band makes a change for fast and straightforward hardcore, which doesn't really suit them in my opinion. Bad People shines at mid-pace. The fast stuff makes them sound bland and choppy in comparison. The weakest link in the band is their vocalist – sorry Josh... His constant bark sounds aggresive enough, but I wish his vocals would show some more dynamic throughout these songs. This record is a bit of a mixed bag, but let's not forget it's the band's debut. There's a lot of promise in these songs and it's cool these kids are trying different stuff. They might still be trying to find their way. This record makes me wonder what their second Ep is like. I hope Bad People's next move will be a 12” Ep. That should be the format for these guys.

Bad Noids - It's a Doggie Bag World Ep (Feel It) (5 euro)
Third Ep by what seems to be the most prolific Clevo hardcore band of their generation. Bad Noids get sold short in my opinion, because they exist in the shadows of late 1990’s titans such as H100’s, Cider and Inmates. I had to see them live to really get what they were about and have been a fan ever since. Most of their appeal is in their attitude.
‘It’s a Doggie Bag World’ is somewhat different from the band’s earlier material. What I loved about Bad Noids’ previous releases remains intact: smart lyrics, frantic vocals and shitload of the just mentioned attitude. Their songwriting however has improved. Opening track ‘Into the future’is musically the most memorable of the three songs on this Ep. It revolves around a blunt Stooges like riff over which crazy guitar noodling is going on. This brings to mind James Williamson guitar work on ‘Raw Power’ as well as the Pure Hell Lp. A nice surprise and good song. On the flip we find two more straightforward tracks. The vocals in the fast hardcore tune ’12 years old’ make it great and the final line ‘I hate water/ it gets me wet’ never fails to make me giggle. Funny and true! ‘My friend Greg’ is punkier, more upbeat and flat out stupid. As you might have guessed the song is about the singer’s friend Greg, who he refers to almost every line. Both B-side songs are short yet effective and enjoyable. I’ve read reviews praising this record for the A-side alone, but to me that’s elitist bullshit. If you can’t enjoy the flip of this 7”, I don’t know what you want to hear from a hardcore band. Then again maybe you’re wearing a Totalitär shirt as you're reading this in which case it's save to say we're looking at hardcore from different angles, which is fine. Each his own, right? I came to accept we can't all be on the same page. Some never make it to mine.
Bad Noids are able to produce memorable hardcore tunes with a shitload of personality and wit. Writing funny lyrics is no small feat and I take my hat of for these gents in that respect. After hearing this Ep I’m curious what the future will bring for the Bad Noids. I hope they’ll soon get around to another 12” and keep experimenting with styles like they do on this Ep. Great band. Cool record. Neat artwork. Feel It always delivers on that front. Basically this is a nice record allround so why not pick it up?

Bad Taste/ Brain Car - Split 7" (Reel Time) (5 euro)
Review up soon...

BB Eye - Ep (Lumpy Rex) (5 euro)
Review up soon...

Beastman - Ep (Reel Time) (5 euro)
Review up soon...

Beatniks - Ep (Goodbye Boozy) (5 euro)
Four songs by this Bay Area outfit that is somehow connected to Andy Human and the Reptoids. They do not have Mr. Human in their ranks unless he’s using an alias though (eds.: this is the case).These four tracks are well written punk rock songs. On ‘Heat Creatures’ the band even slants towards post-punk not unlike the underrated Synthetic ID, who, come to think of it are/were also from the Bay, but the groups do not seem to be connected.
Beatniks’ songs are catchy, have character and stick with you after the needle has left the grooves making them memorable to these ears. The recording is pretty minimal, which fits the style. The guitar playing is trebly and the bass sound a bit blown out. The way the guitar and bass interact makes for interesting tunes. My personal favorite is ‘Friends/Enemies’ – kids speak of frenemies in this context, I think. The fact that I mistook the chorus for “All my friends are deadbeats” instead of enemies probably says a lot about where I’m coming from. Remember smoking weed isn’t a criminal offense in this beautiful country. I can relate to all my friends being deadbeats a bit more than all of them being enemies, I guess, but I back the Beatniks either way.
Although I enjoy listening to this Ep and keep returning to it, I somehow feel like it lacks something. However that very fascination keeps me spinning the goddamn thing. It is weird how that pans out. What would make me appreciate this release more is probably context. An insert with lyrics and some info would have been cool, but I know that’s not the way Gabriele runs his label. Regardless I think: “Who are these people? Why did they do this record?” At the moment the thing sort of exists in a void for me. Four good songs. That’s it. That ain’t bad by any standards, but I wouldn’t mind having some background. So basically I should stop bitching and start investigating, which I will  do after wrapping this review up. Who doesn’t need four more good songs in his/her life? That’s right! Nobody! So give the Beatniks a shot.

Bed Bugs - Ep (Shordwood) (5 euro)
Bed Bugs is a relatively new band from Aarhus, Denmark, the city that has discreetly taken over the torch of Danish punk from Copenhagen. This Ep is the band's debut released on the little known Shordwood Records also hailing from Aarhus. Upon first listen Bed Bugs struck me as another post-punk band. “Great...”, a spiteful voice in my head said, but let's not jump to conclusions. Yes, the world's been drowned in post-punk acts lately and a lot of the groups that jumped said bandwagon aren't good, but that's no reason to dismiss the genre in its entirety. There've been numerable recent post-punk releases worth a listen.
Bed Bugs' sound is fairly customary for the style: shambolic high end guitar, cold but full driving bass lines and a desperate vocal delivery. Nothing particularly striking there although I do like the way the guitar was recorded and have my doubts about the vocal delivery. I've got nothing against a deep dragging voice, but Bed Bugs' singer sounds as if he's on a slightly lower pitch than the rest of the band in places, which I find somewhat annoying. What sets Bed Bugs apart from their peers is their song structures, which are urgent and aggressive. The chorus of opening song 'Tainted Eyes' is a case in point making it the best song on this Ep. The other three songs are less captivating, but not bad. Although not blowing my mind, Bed Bugs' debut record shows potential. I'd give their next release a shot fur sure. If they're still a band that is. Either way it's cool people are documenting their local scene. The Dutch should take note. The small stapled lyric booklet coming with this record is a nice touch.

Beekeepers - Pallet Stacking Ep (X!) (5 euro)
Strap yourselves in, kids, we're in for an odd one. Beekeepers are a new group from Detroit defying all classification. I consciously avoid the term 'band', because this bunch strikes me more as an art collective. This record doesn't sound like any release I've got on my shelves. Don't take that the wrong way though, it's a good thing in this case, a pleasant surprise, a record I craved for without realizing it until I heard it. Whether this is punk is up for debate, but in my opinion it totally is. It's punk the same way I always considered Druid Perfume a punk band.
Detroit's (garage) punk scene is known for its artistic inclinations. Have a look at any release Timmy Vulgar has been involved with over the last decade and you'll see what I mean. Even Bill Bondsmen, a traditional Detroit hardcore band at root, really stepped up their art game with their recent slew of 7”s. What I'm trying to convey here is Detroit has got something unique going. Punk music interacts with multiple other artistic disciplines. This is all great in my book. It makes for a music scene that is willing to look over the horizon, experiment and cross boundaries drawn up by the squares.
Squares Beekeepers are not! Art punk this definitely is and minimal art punk at that. What we get here is three stripped down somewhat jazzy tunes with clearly intelligible lyrics. Jazzy, because of the use of horns. In a way this record brings to mind the Dave E. and the Marriage Counselors 7” although there's less snot to this one. Of course it doesn't hold a candle to said single - what record does? – but it's aesthetic is somewhat reminiscent. The words furthermore seem important to whatever it is Beekepers are trying to convey. The lyrics are dry observations of post-modern life. 'Pallet stacking' is someone connecting all his daily endeavors to his day job of stacking pallets. Smart, but also sort of depressing. My favorite line here is: “I cast my ballot down the drain when I voted for John McCain”. Overall the lyrics are alienating. They seem to take a passive stab at consumer culture and identity shopping in my eyes, but maybe that's more in the ear of the beholder. This release is definitely for the more inquisitive listeners that are not too rigid to listen to something outside of their comfort zone. I highly respect X! Records for putting this thing out, because it is without a doubt a tough sell with today's message board culture where people don't seem to be willing to investigate and step over genre barriers. Their loss...

Bill Bondsmen - Overcrowded Control 7" (Self Released) (5 euro)
It's been a while since we heard from Bill Bondsmen. If I'm not mistaken the last record these boys released was the Local Cross single, which according to discogs dates back to 2010 already. Time sure flies. The Bondsmen were already getting a bit more experimental on their last release and they continue to walk that path on 'Overcrowded Control'. It's hard to put the finger on what makes these new songs different from their earlier material. They're not blending new styles into their sound nor do the song structures get more complex, which I thought was the case at first. No, there's nothing too crazy happening on that front. “What's the difference then?” I hear you think. Well, the songs have gotten less straightforward for lack of a better word. You can hear the band worked these songs hard. Perhaps that explains the two year gap between this release and their previous one. However Bill Bondsmen has not mellowed out one bit. Their music is still ferocious and the vocals are as in your face as ever. Tony's delivery guarantuees no listener will mistake Bill Bondsmen for anything other than a hardcore band. Both him and the rest of the band still sound pissed. Although I have no degree in psychoanalysis I've got a feeling the day these guys stop being angry will be the day they die. What probably makes these new songs a bit different as well is the band just got better at playing their instruments over time. This makes perfect sense when you consider that the Bondsmen have been kicking it for about a decade now. By now they outlasted the bands that probably made them pick up their instruments. They are lifers in a genre where most classic bands didn't last more than a few years or in some cases months. With this in mind it makes sense the band is moving away from hardcore's most elementary basics. My favourite track on this single is 'Overcrowded Control'. The walking bass lines in the chorus of said song are awesome. The four string is stealing the show on this one. The song gets wrapped up by Tony letting out one final scream shortly after his last verse: “Welcome home/ It's like you never left/ And this time... you won't.” Nice. 'Untitled' on the flip has a long intro in which the bass player plays one note over a simple drum beat while the guitar feedbacks. During the song one guitar player plays a simple two note line while the other runs wild with some spacey effects. The drums demand more attention in this song than on the opener. Also a good tune. The band released this record themselves and the sleeves are all silkscreened making this a nifty little hardcore single you shouldn't miss out on.

Bill Bondsmen - Nineteen 7" (Self Released) (5 euro)
Here's the second self-released single by the hardcore band everybody loves to ignore, the Bill Bondsmen from Detroit! It has gotten to the point that it feels sad to say this band doesn't get the credit they deserve. I mean, how many times can you repeat such a statement without it getting pathetic? It's like how everybody says that Out Cold never got their dues. That band kept playing regardless. They didn't give a fuck and neither do the Bondsmen. More power to them.
So I'll quit the fucking whining. Instead I'll say this is a good single by an interesting hardcore band you should check out if you generally like hardcore punk. With the number of years these guys have got under their respective belts it shouldn't be a surprise that their musicianship – yes, I said it – is a cut above that of most groups. The guitar playing in particular is captivating, but the bass player also has some tricks up his sleeve that show he's been around the block and likes to do a bit more than your average man on four string. Furthermore Bill Bondsmen are not trying to rip off the sound of any particular band from any particular town in any particular year, a quality that seems to get sparser by the day. Instead the Bondsmen are on a path of their own, developing a style of their own. By now they just sound like Bill Bondsmen and that's a point most bands never even get close to.
Although still a hardcore band, you hear more stylistic influences seep into the Bondsmen's sound on this single without taking away any of the band's urgency or anger. There's still plenty of hate in these songs. How could there not be with Tony's vocals? I'll keep repeating that his voice is fucking great. Both songs on this single have a solid riff at their core, but there's more to them. The Bondsmen have undergone an impressive development on the song writing front. If you give this single a decent listen, you'll hear the band put a lot of thought into crafting these two tracks. So get off your high horse and ignore those bands desperately trying to sound like whichever Boston band from the early 1980s. Play this record instead and you will realize not everything has been done before and bands today can be interesting if you're only willing to give them a shot.

Bill Bondsmen - Dead 7" (Self Released) (5 euro)
Third single in a series of self-released 7” by this hardcore band from Detroit. I’ve written so many reviews about these guys' music it’s hard to come up with anything new. It’s the same band after all. They would have made life a lot easier for me if they had just released their four self released 7”s as a 12” instead, but you gotta appreciate singles. They force you to listen to songs.
It shouldn’t be a surpise that ‘Dead’ is in line with the two singles that preceded it and the split 7” that came after. The songs could be recorded in the same session. Perhaps they are. The Bondsmen have really grown into their own skin since their 2008 full-length ‘Swallowed by the World’. The days they could be qualified as a traditional hardcore band paying hommage to Negative Approach are long gone. Their song writing chops have grown and Amado’s static guitar playing demands ever more attention. In my opinion Bill Bondsmen are lightyears ahead of most hardcore bands playing today, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering the number of years these guys have under their belt. Even though the Bondsmen have clearly made the decision to approach their songwriting in a less straightforward way than the days they started out, they don’t lose any of their urgency. Tony’s voice is an important factor in this. I love his gnarly bark to bits. He’s got one of the best set of pipes in hardcore. It’s his voice and delivery that keeps the Negative Approach reference valid for there’s definitely some John Brannon in there.
I could describe the two songs here, but don’t feel like it. They’re good. If you don’t believe me, give them a hear yourself. If you liked the Bondsmen before, you’ll like them now. Does the world need another Bill Bondsmen release? Hell no, but the world doesn’t need you either. So go fuck yourself! I like everything this groups has brought out and am glad they’re still kicking it. Guess what? I’ll buy their next record too! 

Bill Bondsmen/ SBLC - Resurgent Cinerbus Split Ep (Rust on the Blade) (6 euro)
'Resurgent Cinerbus' showcases two veteran hardcore outfits from Detroit, Michigan. Both Bill Bondsmen and S.B.L.C. have been around for over a decade. Bill Bondsmen have been kicking it since the mid-2000s without interruption. S.B.L.C., previously going by their full name Screaming Bloody Leper Children, apparently started out in the late 1980s and have been dormant since the early 1990s playing the occasional local show, but not releasing anything until now.
I never made a secret of loving Bill Bondsmen. In my opinion they're one of the more interesting contemporary hardcore bands from the States. These guys are great song writers and have an impressive discography, the latter being something few hardcore outfits can say for themselves. Somehow this band never got picked up by the masses, which might have to do with their hometown not being known for its hardcore scene. The only Detroit hardcore band I can come up with next to the Bondsmen (and S.B.L.C. now) is Negative Approach. The Bondsmen track 'Terrible Diagnosis' picks up where their previous single 'Dead' left off – review cliché alert - leaving the 1980s hardcore template further behind and coming more into their own. Although there is no mention of a second vocalist in the info, I'm pretty sure Tony hands the microphone to someone else halfway through the song. The guy has a flat angry bark reminiscent of the late Mark Sheehan.
The S.B.L.C. side of this split also delivers one song called 'Wired', which is fairly straight forward. Up until the bridge I was annoyed by the uninventive drum beat, but the bridge saves the song by both changing the tempo and creating an opportunity for the kids to punch each other in the face – read: it is very moshable. The Bill Bondsmen track definitely takes the price in my opinion, but the S.B.L.C. track is no stinker either. It's nice to see two bands with guys over thirty team up and do a release together. I always considered it important to have older people involved with punk, because it proves it to be more than a phase. The artwork on this thing is great. The back of the sleeve is stuck together by a wax seal, a very nice touch. My only complaint is the absence of an insert, because I always have a hard time making out Tony's lyrics yet I am interested in what he is saying. That's just a minor grievance though. If you're into the Bondsmen, do yourself a favor and pick this one up. The S.B.L.C. track is a nice moshable extra.

Black Panties - Prophet of Hate 7" (6 euro)
Review up soon...

Blood Pressure - 6 Song Ep (Even Worse)
Blood Pressure are a new hardcore outfit from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. These six songs were originally released as the band's demo, but Even Worse and Beach Impediment Records considered the tracks good enough to press them to wax. I can't say I disagree. These tracks are all fast frantic hardcore tunes rooted in 1980s USHC. Opening song 'The Facts' actually has me think of Direct Control with a different singer. Not too bad a comparison it turns out, because apparently their former bass player Eric is on six string duty here! Blood Pressure's riffs are strong and the drumming is solid, but what sets this band apart from their peers is their vocalist. This isn't the first band 'Gutter' is fronting and it's good to hear him back on the mic. His previous band, Brain Handle, threw in the towel after a very good single, which was a huge disappointment for me at the time. I got over it, but I still hear myself think: “Such a waste.”, whenever I play the Smiling 7”.
For those who appreciate traditional hardcore music, this record should be a no brainer. If you file yourself under that umbrella, you already know you can count on Even Worse Records for a fix. Noël is all about keeping his releases affordable and I appreciate that, but in this particular case I'm bummed there's no lyric sheet included. I'm curious what Gutter is getting off his chest here. 'Peace Sucks', 'Have you ever Seen Death?' and 'Screaming and Laughing' are promising premises. I guess I'll have to listen more closely to the words belched out next time I give this record a spin.
A Pittsburgh inhabitant recently told me Gutter moved outta Pennsylvania and has been replaced since. Their new singer has a huge void to fill, but I'm not saying it can't be done. I'd give the next Blood Pressure record a shot for sure. It's fitting that Gutter flunked on another project I appreciated. Asshole... Onwards to the next blow. That's hardcore for ya.

Brain Car - Rock 'n Roll Bologna Ep (Reel Time) (5 euro)
The Rochester punk scene got a lot of praise, but it seems to me that most was coming from the States. The Euro crowd still needs to wake up to the Rochester sounds for some strange reason. Life is full of mysteries, I guess, but instead of breaking my head over this matter, I'll dedicate this review to setting the record straight.
First things first, Brain Car plays punk rock. Their songs are short, chaotic and played in a rather sloppy way. The singer's vocals are off key and screechy as hell. His voice cracks a lot, which I consider a quality if due to a lack of vocal skills, which is the case here.You get your money's worth with this record. The band crams no less than nine songs onto this piece of plastic. That's right, nine dumbass tunes that are all over the place. There's even one track in the Fearless Iranians From Hell tradition!
Coming across a 7” this stuffed with tunes still warms this bitter man's cold heart. Purists might argue not every song on this record is a keeper, but to them I say: “Get back to your messageboards to debate Black Flag's reunion!” This record works. It's got a shitload of personality and biting humour to boot, both things your average purist and punk band lacks. The artwork is great too. The record originally came with a piece of bologna stuck to it, but due to customs restrictions, my copies are meatless, which is rather fortunate in retrospect. Had there been meat included, not only these records but probably my entire living room would be mould covered by now. Let's rejoice there are still bands like Braincar bringing punk rock goodness in this day and age. Laugh your ass off and get stupid. I hope these boys are still around and will do another record. For those interested in the Rochester punk scene, I recommend picking up the Rotcore compilation tape and fanzine, which includes Braincar too.

Bukkake Boys - Second Ep (Sorry State)
Here is Bukkake Boys' second titleless Ep. These guys are from Atlanta, "City of Pop", famous for Goner Records and its catchy punk bands. Bukkake Boys don't fit in with that crowd at all for they play hardcore punk. I picked these guys' debut  up last year and although I remember liking it, I didn't listen to it a whole lot. It didn't really grab me. With that in mind I'm blown away by how good this follow-up is. Bukkake Boys aren't rewriting the books here, but they sure deliver a strong harcore release with this record. What strikes me is the relentless drumming and the pissed as hell vocals. This Ep delivers seven short, fast and angry hardcore tunes. This band is harsh as hell! There are/were so many bands going for this style and few pull it of as well as these boys. If I haven't convinced you yet,  you'll just have to take my word for it. This record is a keeper. 'Female Dog' is my favorite song on here, but all tracks are solid. Time to dig up their first Ep again to give it another shot.

The Bums - Do it all Night 7" (Big Nose)
Debut record by this band from Atlanta and although the artwork is highly reminiscent of the Carbonas, the Bums don’t sound anything like them. The three tunes on this single are classic rock ‘n roll songs with simple but catchy guitar riffs. There’s not much dirge to them, but the band makes up for that with a lot of swing and swagger. Every song includes the instrument each punk rock loves to hate, the saxophone. I’d like to remind said haters that the Stooges weren’t averse of including some horns on their records so stop whining already. Bums singer’s vocals are raw and though and get scarily close to cock rock city at times, but fortunately don’t quite get there. In a way his vocal delivery fits the music, but I still find it hard to stand sometimes. The lyrics are repetitive and stick as do the songs in general. Both the title track and the B-side are cool tunes. I especially like the singer’s manic laughter in ‘Man of this Town’. The weak link on this record is the second song on side A. Although ‘Lost in the City’ is not a bad song, I think the record would have been better without it. This would have been a nice classic little two-track single that way. Maybe that’s just me being a purist, but I can’t help but think it would have made more sense.

Cannomen - Science Studies the Black Hole Ep (Flat Black)
So Nashville isn't exactly on the map when it comes to punk rock as far as I know, but the Cannomen might just change that. The band released a demo about two years ago that got much praise, but everything went quiet after that. Somehow this Ep didn't get a whole lot of attention. It might be the label? Fat Black mostly releases 1980s styled hardcore if I'm not mistaken. The Cannomen don't really fall under that category. They play punk rock with maybe a slight hardcore influence. The vocals have a malicious cling to them. The singer sounds depressed and mean. I'm really into the lyrics. There's some cool bass lines as well as some nice simple guitar leads in these songs. Three of the tunes on this record were previously released on their demo and are all great. The new song on the A-side is cool as well. The whistling in that tune still cracks me up. These kids are mining the same ground as some of my favourite classic bands did and they do it well. I'm not gonna drop names since they're not going for a particular band's sound (thank god). Just listen to it and you'll know what I mean.

Cannomen - Sex on the Bleach 7" (Fat Sandwich)
Second Ep by this Nashville four-piece. The record kicks off with a somewhat surfy three minute jam called 'Tidal Waves'. The song is build around a driving bass line. The guitar stays pretty much in the background. The chorus has whoooooahooooaa's and hand claps. I wasn't a fan of that at first, but grew to like the song anyway. 'Tidal Waves' is definitely different from their earlier material, but I like it when bands try something else as long as it doesn't suck and this song sure does not. On the flip there are two punk rockers more in the vain of the Cannomen's previous 7". The songs are faster and shorter than the A-side. 'No Sex' is a good song. I think the vocalist totally fits this song ('Hey little miss perfect/ I'm mister worthless'). The bridge in the song is a cool addition and is hella catchy. 'I Drank the Bleach' is the shortest song on here and it's probably my favourite. I like the fast three chord hardcore riff and the angry back ups. Another cool record by this overlooked band. I think these cats have a lot of potential which I'm sure will flourish even more with a next release. The band has been meaning to release a Lp forever, but somehow it hasn't happened yet. Let's hope that record will come to be someday.

Caucasoid - Ep (My Mind's Eye) (6 euro)
Debut by this Italian by way of Cleveland, Ohio outfit fronted by aging enfant terrible Alessandro better known by his nomme de plume Anus. These six songs were originally released on cassette by Australian label Blow Blood Records, the record releasing branch of Stitches in my Head Zine. Now Cleveland's My Mind's Eye made the unwise decision to press this recording to wax making it available for consumption for tape hating idiots worldwide.
For the few unfamiliar with Alessandro's previous projects Caucasoid's artwork, a crippled globe wearing a German helmet, and their name itself draw a clear picture of what's to be expected here. Caucasoid is politically incorrect for the sake of being politically incorrect. They're out to offend. However they do this in a lovely spiteful way. Caucasoid is probably Anus' punkiest project thusfar. The songs are bouncy and, dare I say it, fun. Furthermore I like the guitar sound a lot. It's very catchy. Even the bass shines occasionally, 'Sunday Morning', not a Velvet Underground cover, being a case in point. Musically this is a nice and fine punk rock record, better than I expected actually, but Caucasoid aren't about good songs. In their case music takes a back seat to attitude and a bad one at that.
Back in Italy Anus seems to have rediscovered his bile. I was glad to see there's not a song about cocaine to be found on this record. Maybe powdering your nose is more expensive on this side of the pond than in the land of the free? I don't know. Whatever the reason his Clevo days were clearly too much fun and it's good to see him back to his miserable self again. Topics covered on this Ep include hating babies, hating yourself, hating people that stare at you when you're wasted and of course hoping they all die. Perfectly punk subjects all wrapped in black humor and delivered with wit. Without wanting to give away too much a line like “Shove that baby back in your cunt!” in opening song 'Isn't she cute?' makes my day. Tasteful? They hope not! If you're like me and think what's lacking in today's hardcore punk scene is humor, you need this record. If you're more involved with the current situation in Syria, it's probably a good idea to skip this one.

Charlie & the Lesbians - The Lost Boy Ep (Monomentum Collective Music) (7 euro)
Vinyl debut by this four piece from Eindhoven. Their name might me too edgy for some, but some should get the fuck out of punk anyways. You know who you are! I’ll come out of the gate and say it, I’m biased reviewing this record for one because I consider Eindhoven my hometown despite the fact I’ve never actually lived there, also the reason I am still to see the band perform live, but have no fear: change is on its way. Furthermore I’m stoked there’s a band in the Netherlands playing captivating punk that’s actually exciting. I sure didn’t see that coming. Did you?
Charlie & the Lesbians have been around for a couple of years now. They label themselves a garage band, but to me they’re not. Kids are redefining words us oldies think we know right under our noses and there's nothing we can do about it. For example I no longer understand what the term ‘crust’ refers to, but I digress. To me Charlie’s troop exists somewhere in the realm between noise rock, punk rock and Stooges hommage, in a way not unlike Pissed Jeans of which these snots probably own more than one record. Compared to the Jeans Charlie and the Lesbians are still a young, and snotty crew and therefor more punky. The guitar playing on this Ep is excellent. Mees could do without some of the effects he’s employing, but it doesn’t get tedious and is not getting in my way of enjoying the tunes so I’ll let it slide. The drums are mostly simple one-two-one-two stomp, which has always done the trick for me so it shouldn’t be a surprise it also does the trick here. What can I say? I’m a simple man! Charlie’s vocals are off key, off kilter and in your face. Did I mention snot already? The word comes to mind. I wonder what Mr. Hoeben is like on stage. I can definitely see him being a strong front guy. Lastly the songwriting should  be addressed. Every song on this Ep is coming from a different angle, making ‘The Lost Boy’ Ep a diverse listen. ‘Leave me Be’ is a straight up punker, ‘Fuck You Up’ is more of a psychotic jam including a saxophone at the end – thumbs up for that, ‘Lost Boys’ is a slow drone of a song and ‘Lucifer’ wraps the record up with a strong blown out rocker.
All-in all a solid first record that should especially the Dutch stoked. Only thing I’m a bit bummed about is the artwork. It looks good, but doesn’t fit the music. The cover makes this record look like a post-punk release nodding to the Chameleons. Then again no other than Charlie himself is behind the art so who am I to say what’s fitting and what’s not. This is his band! The record comes with a sticker, which is cool. Next time throw in a lyric sheet too. That’d make it even cooler. Now get on with it, do a 12” and save Dutch punk rock whilst burning churches and banks along the way!

Cheap Drugs - Ep (Hardware) (5 euro)
Review up soon...

Cheap Drugs - W.D.C. Ep (Hardware) (5 euro)
Review up soon...

Cheap Time - Other Stories 7" (Sweet Rot) (6 euro)
This is Cheap Time's fifth single as the attentive reader might already have noticed after a quick glance at the sleeve. It's cool to see Cheap Time return to Vancouver's Sweet Rot Records for another single. The very same label released their second 7” way back when few people were paying attention to this band. Since then Cheap Time has turned plenty of heads. In the meantime they've already got three full-lengths under their belt. The line-up has changed throughout the years with Jeffrey Novak being the only constant member. On this 7” we see a new guy jump in on bass. The band started out with a girl on four string who later got replaced by a guy who dressed as a girl and now there's a new guy. I'm not not in the know about his fashion preferences, but I'm sure he's a sharp dresser. But enough about clothes already! Let's get to the music. This single brings two new songs to the plate. For a moment I thought it was an appetizer for the 'Wallpaper Music' Lp, but neither of these tunes is included on that longplayer. Novak, the man with the stoned look and disinterested stare, has proven himself a great songwriter throughout the years in various projects, but Cheap Time has been his main focus for quite a while now. I was a bit disappointed by the band's second Lp, but 'Wallpaper Music' restored my faith in this Memphis group. It might just be the best thing they did so far. Opening song 'Other Stories' on this single would have fitted in on the full lenght perfectly. It's bouncy and catchy as hell. The addition of key chords in the chorus gives the song some extra swing. The drummer lays down some nice drum rolls in the verse and Novak's vocals in this song are really cool. The little bridge where he just speaks over the guitar playing is a nice touch. The song gets wrapped up with a simple but effective guitar solo. Good song. On the flip we find 'In this World'. This is typical B-sider. It's rougher, has more stomp and rocks more than 'Other Stories'. It's basically a sequence of several two chord riffs with Novak singing over it. The drummer is having a blast with those drum rolls again and a short guitar solo is included here as well. I might make the songs come across as alike, but they're not although this is obviously the same band. I don't really know what else to say about this one. If you like Cheap Time you should pick this up and if you don't there's in all probability something wrong with you.

Condenada - Mother Tongue Ep (Thought Crime)
Third record by this all-women feminist hardcore band from Chicago and it's without a doubt their best so far. Condenada's songwriting is damn good. The music is inventive and dynamic. Overall this band has a mighty fresh sound. I really like some of the bass work on this record. Something that I don't really enjoy about this band however is the singing. The vocals are passionate and at times very tough. It gets a bit too much for me here and there, but perhaps I'm just a bit intimidated... Apparently the lyrics cover feminist topics, but unfortunately for me two out of the four songs delivered here are in Spanish so I do not know what they're about. The other two songs are about depression, subjection and gender issues. I'm inclined to say this is hardcore music for the femmes and I mean that in a good way. Definitely a hardcore release worth picking up. Great artwork too.

Cop City Chill Pillars - Gift Shop 7" (HoZac) (5 euro)
Review up soon...

Crazy Spirit - 2015 Ep (Toxic State) (6 euro)
Review up soon...

Crooked Bangs/ The Secret Prostitutes - Split Ep (Erste Theke Tonträger) (5 euro)
Review up soon...

Los Culitos - Estoy Aqui Por Error Ep (Self Released)
Third Ep by this Finnish outfit singing in Spanish, which remains an odd fact to yours truly. The band was recently interviewed in Maximum Rock 'n Roll, but I don't think the topic was addressed. A missed opportunity, I say! Although loving Los Culitos' debut record, I had mixed feelings about their previous Ep somewhat. It was cool, but two of the four tracks were covers, which was a bit too much in my opinion. I wanted to hear more new songs. My wish has been fulfilled on 'Estoy Aquí por Error'. No covers this time around, just six new originals.
Those already familiar with Los Culitos' earlier material, are not in for any spectacular surprises with this new release. Although the band has added a bassist to its line-up and switched drummers, their style remains unchanged. Los Culitos still play upbeat punk rock with the occassional excursion into bluesy territory, mouth organ and all. Their music should appeal to anyone that can dig a catchy tune. The songs on this record all revolve around Miguelito's abrasive yet playful guitar work and Yvonne's snappy vocals. She sounds like a sassy lass. A vocalist should give a band character and Yvonne definitely does that for Los Culitos. Miguelito's guitar playing furthermore seems to have improved since previous releases. He mixes simple stomping three chord riffs up with short solo's and smart guitar lines. At no point do these songs get repetitive. There's always a twist moving them away from their template. You can tell Los Culitos have become better songwriters.
To me 'Estoy Aquí por Error' is the best Los Culitos record to date. Anyone into Juanity Y Los Feos or the late Los Coprolitos should give this group a shot. Not because they sound the same, but because they're doing the same kind of thing and they're doing a good job at it. Los Culitos released a tape containing 8 songs shortly after this Ep with a rougher sound, which is pretty good too. Word on the street is the band has enough material to fill a full-length, but is still looking for a label to release it. Someone should step up and put that stuff out already!

DD Owen & Shitty Life - Ep (Goodbye Boozy) (5 euro)
Another day, another record Drew Owen is involved with. This Baltimore kid has without a doubt been the most prolific guy in punk for a couple of years now. Drew is in a shitload of bands of which Sick Thoughts is probably the most well known, and has released an incredible number of records in a very short amount of time. His discography is growing faster than the most malicious of tumors. This is clearly rubbing the punk rock elite the wrong way. Some claim the overall quality of Drew's stuff is deplorable. Although I'm willing to agree not everything he has put out is as much as a banger as the next, I think it's cool this kid just keeps pooping out records and doesn't give a shit about what the critics think. He's creating an universe of his own accessible for anybody willing to investigate. Isn't that what makes music exciting?
This particular Ep is a collaboration between Drew and the Italian band Shitty Life. The latter I had never heard of before picking this record up, but apparently they've been around for a while and are also performing in their native country without Mr. Owen. I'm guessing this whole thing came together without the two parties ever meeting each other in the flesh. If I recall correctly Drew had an escapade like this with some Australians not too long ago as well. Thanks to the interwebs anything's possible these days.
If you've heard any of Drew's projects this record will probably bring no surprises. It's three fast and sloppy punk rock tracks with scummy self-deprecating lyrics. You've heard the subject matter before one way or other, but that doesn't make the words any less real or sincere. Lyrically fellow self-haters Black Panties are a good point of reference although they're more spiteful and their tendency towards destruction is more fun. There's nothing playful about Drew's hatred and contempt in a way not unlike the Action Swingers. Pick this thing up if you're willing to investigate whether this Drew Owen record is one of the better ones. Don't if you're an elitist prick who spends his days moaning on message boards.

Défaite - Comme des Rates Ep (Mutant)
Défaite, meaning, you guessed it, defeat, hail from Lyon France. There's definitely some somberness to Défaite's tunes so their name seems apt enough. When I heard this band's demo tape their songs immediately brought to mind Criminal Damage. Flo's rough and strained vocal are one reason for that comparison, but that's not where the similarities end. Défaite's tunes are basically all mid paced punk songs with a tendency towards oi. Although my knowledge of oi music is fairly limited, I do know that there were a lot of French bands playing the style in the late 70s and early 80s. So I wouldn't be surprised if Défaite are tapping into some great French classics unknown to me. Perhaps they'll curse me in their silly language for comparing them to an AMERICAN band! Fair enough, but do know that I will call you a bunch of chauvinistes cochons for it!
To label Défaite as just a punk outfit would sell the band short though. There's way more going on. It is hard to label these four songs without taking away their uniqueness. Each song brings an unexpected yet interesting instrumental twist to the plate. During these excursions you can tell the band knows their instruments. They can play, which makes it all the more cool that they generally stick to simple but effective songwriting. Défaite's music does not turn into a musicians' wankfest. They efface their skill for the benefit of the songs, which is a sign of class. The fact Défaite can not be categorized ten seconds into this Ep makes this band a cut above most acts considered brilliant at the moment. Sad but true. This record is definitely a grower. It is one of the more wayward releases I've heard in a while, but it's good.

Deformity - Ep (Katorga Works) (5 euro)
Review up soon...

Disparo/ Demenzia Kolectiva - Split Ep (Trabuc) (5 euro)
Review up soon...

Disparo - Ep (Trabuc) (5 euro)
Review up soon...

Druid Perfume - Don't Eat Them, They're Poison 7" (X!)
After two 7"s and an awesome Lp Detroit's Druid Perfume are back to unleash their madness once again. This single was released around the same time as the Weird Worlds single on Italy and M'Lady which by now is long gone. Fortunately for you X! Records did a less limited pressing of this here record. If you've heard Druid Perfume before you should know what to expect by now. Describing this band is not an easy mission whatsoever for Druid Perfume are one of a kind. This band plays some pretty rocking punk with an organ, a saxophone and (I think) some other horns thrown into the mix. Don't expect any catchiness on their part though. They're only there to make the band's music more of a mess than it already is. At times the sounds on this 7" can barely be called music and if it wasn't for the heavy bass keeping the music together it would be easy to classify this record as pure chaos. Add a singer who sounds like a drunken preacher strung out on pills announcing the apocalypse over the top of his lungs and you should have an idea of what you're in for. The A-side of this record opens with a women's choir singing "Don't put 'm in your mouth/ don't put 'm in your teeth/ they're poison" in acapella after which the dirgy title-track of this single kicks in. The flip is more of a song than the A-side, but it's still out of this world. This is not a 7" you'll find yourself spinning over and over unless you've got some serious issues, but hell I sure love these two songs every single time I play them.

Erik Nervous - Ice Cream 7" (Total Punk) (6 euro)
Not much I know about Erik Nervous except he’s running a one man project here. It seems Erik gets thrown in with the army of Devo-inspired lofi bands that have been popping up all over the Midwest over the last couple of years if not by you then apparently by me. Coneheads copycats? Maybe… That’s a call for you to make and arguably not that interesting a call at that. While you ponder it, I’ll turn to the music, okay?
The subject matter of the A-side has me reminisce ‘Cool Ice Cream’ by Eddy Current Suppression Ring, the last ode to this beloved cold delicacy I remember from the top of my head. To me ‘Ice Cream’ is all about the guitar lead the song opens up with. It’s catchier than the flu and has a classic quality to it. So much so in fact you can’t help but wonder whether you haven’t heard it before or if Mr. Nervous lifted it from another song. After giving this some thought I think it reminds me of a Protomartyr song. Either way it’s very catchy and makes the song. The lyrics of ‘Ice Cream’ are dumb and sorta funny, praising ice cream. The last two couplets are shouted and violent, which makes it impossible to figure out what’s being said. Unfortunately there are no lyrics included. I’m hoping the last part of the song conveys he frustration of your delicious ice cream being all gone after eating it, a painful experience we all have dealt with in our lives.
On the flip we find ‘Children stabbing things’. It is less punchy a track in which the bass takes a more important role, giving the song its drive over which the guitar plays static riffs. It brings to mind Synthetic ID, although they’re more of a post punk band. Erik keeps it punky. This song revolves around the playfulness of the instrument interaction - the one cowbell hit half way through had me snicker. ‘Children stabbing things’ might be the better song actually. It’s well written. It’s no hit ike ‘Ice Cream’ though and therefor a perfect B-side, making this a single hard to dismiss. Two good songs, each with their own appeal, cool artwork. What else can you ask for? There’s way more Erik Nervous material out there and if half of it is as good as these two songs, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to track it down. I will.

Flip Shit - Outgoing Rockers Ep (Reel Time) (5 euro)
This right here is the vinyl debut by this Rochester punk rock outfit. I like the band name! Kinda stupid yet it has a cool cling to it. I read about Flip Shit somewhere and the only material by them I could find at the time was their demo tape. That recording left me unimpressed to say the least. There was way too much guitar wankery on there. I'm talking constant heavy metal guitar solos. The band even played a Poison Idea cover of Feel the Darkness, which I think no band should ever do.
So I did not like the band's demo and yet I picked this Ep up for the mailorder. Great was my relief when I first played this Ep, because it's a lot better than the demo material. Out are the heavy metal tendencies. Thank goodness! The guitar player hasn't mellowed out. He's still doing solo's all the time and even his sound is still pretty heavy on the side of 'rock'. However this time around his playing serves the songs instead of the other way around which takes down the wank factor some much needed notches. On this record Flip Shit basically sounds like a punk band with a guitar player that rather listens to rock music than the Killed By Death compilations, which isn't a bad thing really. We all have our vices, right?
Flip Shit doesn't sound 'schooled in punk rock' overall. They seem to be a young bunch that just started a band for the hell of it and this is what it ended up sounding like. The band seems to have the right attitude down. The singer's vocals are bit muffled and obnoxious – in the good way that is. His lyrics are clever, which is always a plus. The drums and bass lay down basic song structures, fairly traditional punk stuff really except for 'End it all' where they get a bit funky. Over this the guitar player can wank away. The bass sounds pretty blown out and clatters which is good, because the guitar sound is on the shrill side. The six songs on this record all have got a nice pace.
To wrap things up, the artwork is really nice. The sleeve is made out of thick carton. I like that the band made the insert look like a torn page from a high school notebook. There's hearts, tokens of love and doodles scribbled in the margin. They even perforated the thing! That must have been a blast, perforating 500 inserts - I know you can do multiple at a time, but I like the image of these kids doing them one by one. Don't spoil it! I really like this record and definitely didn't see that coming. I wouldn't mind another Ep.

Fontana - Not A Leg To Stand On 7" (Milk 'N Herpes)
Fontana did their first release on Detroit’s X! Records when they were barely housebroken. Their introduction to the world of vinyl, the I Feel Like A Jerk Ep on the very same label, did not get them much attention despite some good reviews. Hopefully this 7” and their Lp on X! will change that. The A-side of the single starts out with vocal melodies that are obviously stolen from Black Flag’s “Six Pack”. Then it stumbles into some subtle guitar work with the singer whinging how nobody understands him after which the song takes a more manic turn before it reaches its end. Yes, this song is all over the place, but Fontana gets away with it. The B-side is more of a straight forward punk anthem although the band shifts from fast to slow in this track as well. There’s a cool guitar solo at the end of the song. Soloing bores my pants off 90% of the time, but this is good stuff. Fontana plays blown out punk rock with mean sounding off key vocals. This band has edge. If you like your punk rock raw (and you should), you’ll love Fontana.

Foreign Objects - Mammonism 7" (Cut the Cord)
Another single by Boston’s Foreign Objects. The band recently did a small Euro tour that went by totally unnoticed by me, because they didn’t come through the Netherlands. Quite a shame, because I would have loved to see Foreign Objects perform live. Despite a lot of praise for the band’s demo and debut single I didn’t care for them until I heard their full length on Vinyl Rites. ‘No Sensation’ was a solid release. Note to self: I still need to get a copy of said record. I’ve noticed that the post punk card is drawn a lot when describing the sounds of Foreign Objects and reviewers also keep bringing up Dangerhouse Records. I never got around to investigating that label much outside of Black Randy and the Metrosquad, so whether that remark is off or on, I do not know. The post punk reference on the other hand makes sense to me. There’s definitely a post punk quality to Foreign Objects’ songwriting. When I say post punk, I mean as in fun like Wire and not depressing like Bauhaus or Joy Division. Moody introspective music seems to be getting more popular in hardcore circles by the day and I don’t like it at all. So instead of labeling Foreign Objects a post punk band, I’d rather call them punk which they basically are. The songs are a bit more complex than your average punk rocker, but that’s pretty much it. Both songs on this single are upbeat and well written. You can tell these kids have some years of playing in different bands under their belt. The musicianship is definitely way above average. Although the lyrical content is very serious – what the songs are about goes mostly over my head to be honest - the songs are catchy and danceable. Terry’s vocals are great and remind me a bit of the singer of Nuclear Family minus the theatrics. On the A-side we find ‘Mammonism’. The song has a cool driving bass line. The chorus, ‘Domination is the game/ But penetration ain’t the same’, sticks with you. I like the discordant bridge at the end of the track. On the flip we find ‘Fable’ which is more of a bouncy tune. The part where the whole band sings is a cool addition. This is a nice 7” by a band that knows its way around a song. Come back to Europe and play Amsterdam, please.

Fried E.M. - Ep (Lumpy Rex) (5 euro)
I bought this record thinking it was a new Fried Egg release. WRONG! Instead of traditional US hardcore this record contains 5 Lumpy inspired tracks so expect nothing but slime, slime slime. The recording is crappy. If somebody mixed these songs he’s not done much or consciously made them sound blown the fuck out. This record sounds like it came straight from the practice room. The drums are loud. The cymbals are impossible to ignore and sometimes overwhelm the rest of the instruments especially the guitar, which is pressed back by the bass as well. Poor sod! The drums seem in a constant struggle for domination with the vocals, which are much in the vein of Lumpy’s in his material with the Dumpers. Perhaps that’s why the actual Lumpster is trying to outdo the singer with those cymbals? That’s right, Martin is on skins here under some weird alias. I didn’t know until I saw him in the picture on the insert. Can you consider a band a Lumpy clone if Lumpy is in the band? That’s one metaphysical matter right there! I don’t have an answer to that question, but maybe you do.
Fried E.M. plays rudimentary hardcore punk that’s at the brink of falling apart. The lyrics are a bit predictable, but hating cops and normalcy, using drugs and feeling depressed are topics punks are drawn to and for good reason. On ‘I’m Wrong’ the band hits a subject that’s always interested me. It’s about mental health, normalcy and conformity. Academics can enter Foucault here. My guess is Fried E.M.’s members do not know who that is and they’re probably better off that way. I’ll go Bruce Roehrs style here and quote half a song: “[…] who is sane in the current world? It’s a fucked up world/ who are they to say who’s right and who’s wrong/ I’ll take an endless nap/ at the bottom of a bag/ that’s my diagnosis for a useless purpose.” Well put!
Whether one classifies this record as more of the same from the St. Louis camp is for the listener to decide. A Lumpy Rex essential this is not, but it’s a record I enjoy. Mixtape material? Sure. What’s essential anyway? Your children won’t know about Black Flag unless you force the band upon them in which case they’ll think of Henry and Ginn the same way you think of your dad’s boring musical heroes. Nietzsche was right. Time is repetition. Don’t you forget it. Listen to his record or don’t. It’s probably the same to the band. I could use your money though so feel free to pick it up.

Fright Eye - Ep (Raum Eins Records & Press) (5 euro)
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Frustros - A L'attaque du Rien Ep (Mutant)
Vinyl debut by this French four piece hailing from Lyon. Contrary to malicious rumours spread by crooks and idiots, no synthesizers are used by this band. Their line up is traditional; one bass player, one drummer and two guitar players of which one sings in native tongue. Frustros music is hard to label for me, but I guess post-punk sort of does the trick. That said I don't think this bands sounds like anything but themselves. A cliché perhaps, but that doesn't make it any less true.
Upon first hear the Frustros sound very different on this Ep than on their demo tape, which I loved. These four songs are a lot cleaner, which takes away the agony and viciousness I appreciated so much in the demo recordings. Out is the 'nails scratching over a blackboard quality'. That doesn't mean this record is 'well produced', or worse, slick though. Frustros' songs are close to falling apart at every turn so the band's shambolic and off key appeal remains intact. These recordings mainly present the band as good songwriters. They employ their two guitars in a recognizeable way at times creating a dense sound, while coming across light hearted at others. I like Julien's vocals a lot and dig how they interact with the guitar lines. It makes for interesting song. The best example is Fête et mepris', which is the best track to me.
There's an emotion running through these songs that I find hard to grasp because of the language barrier. If only my French didn't suck so bad. Melancholia? Perhaps. The tunes are moody and far from upbeat, but there does seem to be a sense of optimism hidden in them. The music has got a 'despite everything we're still here doing what we like even though you might not think much of it' feel to it. Yes, I just made that term up, but it speaks for itself, doesn't it? Both the Frustros tape and this Ep are good though for different reasons. The big question now is: Will they do a 12” and if so what will that be like?

Fucking - Atomic Orgasm Ep (Self Released) (5 euro)
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Fucking - Intimacy Issues  Ep (Self Released) (5 euro)
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Gen Pop - On the Screen Ep (Upset the Rhythm) (5 euro)
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GG King - Another Dimension 7" (Scavenger of Death) (5 euro)
A new GG King 7”? Yes, the record is new, but these three tracks trace back to 2016 which the initiated will recognize as two years after ‘Unending Darkness’, the last GG King album. Being part of the Atlanta incrowd from a 5000 mile distance, I know the band wrote a shitload of songs for that record and many didn’t make the cut. Apparently the band is still rearranging their old songs too, making one wonder how much unheard material there is in the GG King vaults.
‘Another Dimension’ was the most memorable track on ‘Unending Darkness’. This 7” opens with a different take on said song. This version is a bit slower and dronier, but keeps the catchy chorus intact. The band is toying with back up vocals and effects and a weird guitar riff kicks in at the end, which seems to be played in reverse. The song is an enjoyable listen giving you some insight in GG King’s songwriting process. After that a goofy hiphop intermission wraps up the A-side on which GG Queen, IQDIRTY2 and Sir Marxalot make guest appearances and lay down some rhymes. I’m guessing this was recorded after the consumption of several marihuana cigarettes and the participants had a blast at the time. Maybe the listener will find enjoyment in the track as well. It’s probably best listened to high. This 7” is really about the B-side though, because ‘Gilliam Park’ is a track not heard before. Good song. It’s got the same vibe as the ‘Unending Darkness’ tracks. It’s sinister and exploring the margins of punk without losing any urgency or catchiness.
This record is almost metaphysical. It fits the punk idea of cutting shit up and putting it back together in a different way, which is what creativity boils down to. Don’t let anybody tell you any different. Nobody ever thought of something new. Instead of taking cues from others, why not take cues of yourself taking cues from others, right? It’s like that movie Inception. The hiphop intermission is ridiculous, but cool. Acting stupid and having fun should be part of being in a band and I like the idea of including the listener in these kind of moments. This 7” is for people already familiar with GG King, craving for new material. People like me. Consider it something to keep the taste papillae active and saliva production at a level ready for the consumption of that upcoming GG King full-length. According to the insert it’ll be ready in 2025. I’ll be counting the days.

Gibbous - Mortal Crust 7" (Lumpy Rex) (6 euro)
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Gino and the Goons - Love & Hate 7'' (Total Punk) (6 euro)
Two more low fidelity garage punk bangers by this self proclaimed rock and roll outfit, the band's second single on Total Punk Records. Gino and his Goons are harking back to the 1990's, when this style was being played in garages all over the United States and Rip Off Records was releasing some of it. Back then I was playing what's considered one of Metallica's worst album's in the band's history on a daily basis and was yet to discover punk rock. So to me the whole garage punk thing is something I can only see from the rear view mirror perspective. I wasn't there when it happened. Let's give contextualization a shot though.
The 1990's were the decade in which the music industry got involved with the underground whilst labeling the music as 'alternative'. Bands got signed to major labels, got fan bases and fan clubs, in short they became businesses. Garage punk was opposed to all that. While Greenday and the Offspring became successful and Bad Religion got a manager, studio time and according to many crappy, bands like the Fingers and the Mummies kept it raw and gritty in the garage. To say those bands went back to the essence of punk is ludicrous, because its abandonment had only been made by a sparse few.
Little has changed in the sound and aesthetic of this style since its days of yore, but it's strength is as powerful as it was over twenty years ago. I fully back the minimalist and raw approach Gino has to song writing. The production makes this record sound like just another garage punk record, because it is. So I'll say it again: two more low fidelity garage punk bangers from this self proclaimed rock and roll outfit. No surprises (although the guitar solo on the flip is cool), but an entertaining listen. The kids tell me this is great music to get wasted to and I take their word for it. You already knew whether you were going to buy this record before reading this fucking review so let's just get it over with. You know where to find me.

Glitter - Joy of a Toy Ep (Lumpy Rex) (5 euro)
Review up soon...

Good Throb - Ep (La Vida Es Un Mus) (5 euro)
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Happy Hookers for Jesus - Ep (Erste Theke Tonträger) (5 euro)
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Hassler - Amorality Ep (Beach Impediment)
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Henry Fiat's Open Sore/ Spider Babies - A La Italiana Split Ep (Proud to Be Idiots) (5 euro)
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Herds - Michigan Ep (Residue)
What's left to say about this hardcore band from Milwaukee that hasn't been said before? I ordered both their Ep and Lp from Fashionable Idiots and still think both are great records, but somehow they haven't been selling all that well. I don't see what the problem is. Herds is one of the most crushing hardcore bands playing today. They are heavy as fuck. I'm a total sucker for their bass lines. The band exclusively sang about nature on their previous releases. They still do on the 'Michigan' Ep, but I'd say there's a slight difference. Three songs on this record cover stories of human casualties from the brute forces of nature. The last song is about us people wrecking nature and as you might have guessed, all events occur in the state of Michigan. My favourite track on here is 'Iron Mountain' which is about a mining accident that killed several workers. There are agonizing guitar cries in the tune that evoke the wails of death from the depths of the mines. Great stuff. This band destroys everyhing in its wake and won't restrain from trampling you.

Hungry Gayze - Roadkill 7" (Florida's Dying) (5 euro)
Both debut and swan song by this short lived Florida outfit. The band seems to be no more, which is a damn shame if you ask me for this is a perfect record. The 7” serves three songs of which none is a stinker. Opening track 'Roadkill' is synth heavy and somewhat reminiscent of Los Reactors. The music consists of drums played by a human being, a throbbing bass line and a shitload of noise coming from what I assume to be a synthesizer or some other futuristic electric device I never touched. Over all of this the singer repeats the same lines over and over: “Look in its eyes is it really alive? Look in its eyes is it really alive? It's so small. It's alive. I'll take you in. Now I feel like a God.” Her delivery sounds somewhat bored and her high voice give his her vocals an obnoxious quality too many punk bands lack. I love it. 'Pins and Needles' is more of a bouncy punk rocker without any synths. Alice sounds brattier on this one than on the previous track, but that might have more to do with the music backing her than with her actual singing. On the flip we find '8th grade hair cut', a rather slow cut on which the synths make a return. The synthesizer gives this song a spooky feel, which creates an interesting contrast with the song title. Vocals are delivered by Rich, a dude, on this one. I love the line “8th grade hair cut, 12th grade brain”, haha.
It's too bad this band is gone. They had a cool take on synth punk by keeping it snotty, fun and not too serious. Their band name is rather stupid, but it fits the music so I won't go on a political correct crusade here. I dig the artwork. The image of Mickey Mouse spread out on the asphalt, would sure have put a smile on old Buck's pock marked face had he been alive today. With him gone I'll try smirk some more. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up.

Ilegal - La Vida Es El Producto de Nuestra Esperanza Y Las Visiones Irreales Ep (Todo Destruido) (5 euro)
I remember writing Ilegal's guitar player, here listed as 'Marmite', a handwritten postcard and some cash for copies of their demo tape years ago. That might have been the only time I ever ordered records that way. Oh, memories, sweet memories... The songs on the cassette were rerecorded later and rereleased on their debut Ep on Lengua Armada and this here 7”, which was their second release.
I'm not sure about the status of Ilegal at this point in time, but this raw punk outfit hailed from Montreal, Canada. Supposedly all band members were living in Montreal ilegally when the band started out. Whether that is fact or myth I do not know but it's a nice story either way. The group consisted of musicians from different nationalities. I know the drummer is Finnish. He handled the skins in Kyklooppien Sukupuutto before. Those of you who know that band also know that their drummer knew his way around a drumkit. The ferociously wild drumming is one of Ilegal's main appeals in my opinion. Add 'Marmite's' hissy buzzsaw guitar attacks and short but catchy solos to the mix and you've got my favourite raw punk outfit in recent years. But to be honest, I was never into the genre all that much, haha.
What sets Ilegal apart from the recent crop of 'raw punk bands' is that they're not just raw. The band also writes memorable songs, something a lot of those 'raw' bands forgot. 'Una Dia Mas' is my personal favourite here due to the bass playing. However all five tunes on this Ep are manic, fast and very well executed. I'm pretty sure these guys all did a fair amount of time in other bands before this one. I bet they could school most of you on obscure classic hardcore records from all over the world. 
So if you like it raw. Check this band out. If you don't, don't let the label scare you. This band transgresses genre definitions. I'll leave it to the true connoisseurs – read elitist pricks – to label this band's exact influences – South American supposedly. I'll just say this band delivers a hardcore record that should appeal to people interested in non-US hardcore in general. I highly recommend picking up Ilegal's full-lenth on La Vida Es Un Mus up as well.

Inmates - Now We Talkin' Hardcore Ep (Even Worse)
This record has been out for quite a few years, but I decided to stock it anyway. Cleveland has been talk of the town of hardcore for years now and this band has been much praised in several channels, especially Distort and Counterfeit Garbage come to mind, over and over and over. The Inmates are able to blend violence, stupidity, malice and humour into a perfect hardcore cocktail, petrol drenched piece of cloth hanging from the bottle and all. Not every Inmates' song is as good as the next. I don't think many listeners get excited about 'Ode to Henk and Noel' except for Henk and Noel themselves for example. Nor is every song as funny as the next. 'Ode to Henk and Noel' could make one smile had he/she ever met these men, but 'Rub & Tug' is nothing but dumb to me. 'Fainting Goat Never Die' isn't a funny song either yet when my mood is right, it makes me laugh regardless. 'Now We Talkin' Hardcore' isn't even the best record by these guys by far – for those not yet in the know I highly recommend checking out 'Assholes Unanimous Presents the Inmates'. Despite all these demerits however, this Ep is still worth picking up if only for 'On the Dots' which still makes me lose my shit even though I've heard it many many times. The lyrics are so vicious and yet so good. I wish more bands had the balls to come up with lines like “Do the world a favour/ Kill yourself today!” and “Everytime I go outside/ All I see is fucking slime/ Everytime I go outside/ I just want them all to diiiiiiiiiie!” And what better way to wrap a song up than manically screaming “Slit your wrists!” over and over again? 'Jogging in Place' is also a good song. To me those two tracks make this record. The rest is filler in my opinion, but perhaps you'll laugh your ass off at 'Rub & Tug' so by all means don't make my feigned sense of good taste keep you from enjoying the rest of this record.

In School - Cement Fucker Ep (Thrilling Living) (5 euro)
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Los Inservibles - Uno Vida de Tristeza Ep (Shogun, La Vida Es Un Mus) (5 euro)
First time we hear from these Mexican crazies again since their European tour last year. They didn't play the Netherlands back then and I still cry myself to sleep about it on a weekly basis.
There are five new songs here and they're all good. If you heard the band before and did not like them, chances are slim you're gonna change your mind after hearing 'Un Vida de Tristeza'. The band's approach to writing songs hasn't changed one bit. It should go without saying that I don't mind for I was already hooked on the chaos this bunch calls music.
Los Inservibles play some of the vilest and filthiest punk around. You could label this band a hardcore outfit, because of the song structures, but that'd sell these guys short. The band is far beyond categorization and that's what makes them so great. Their songs are a total mess and seem to be recorded in as crappy a way as possible. There's quite a bit of feedback throughout the record and once every band member is playing and Yecal, the singer with the lovely sideburns, opens his mouth, it's hard to make out what the hell is going on. The whole record sounds trebly and hissy as fuck because of the way the cymbals were recorded, but also because of Yecal's venomous vocals.
Like earlier recordings 'Uno Vida de Tristeza' is not for the nice. This band sounds mean and ugly. Evil even! Think rusty screwdriver stabbings in dirty alleys over unpaid drug money and you're close. Los Inservibles are the undisputed kings of dirt. Their music is violent and destructive, but it can bring sweet satisfaction to those who let the madness in. Do it now and get all their other records, because this stuff is sick. Yecal's linocut artwork really seals the deal.

Insomnio - Walking on the String Ep (No Way)
Insomnio from Zaragoza, Spain are a bit of an ugly duckling in the No Way catalogue. Unlike most No Way bands they don’t trace their roots back to a random early 80s hardcore band. Unlike most of their label mates Insomnio doesn’t go for fast. Instead they play some mid paced melodic punk rock with a lot of guitar soloing. The songs on this Ep were taken from the same recording session as the No Escape Lp that preceded this 7” so if you liked that record you’re bound to enjoy this as well. Insomnio’s not reinventing the wheel with Walking On The String. They do however play some catchy simple punk rock you’ll catch yourself singing along to despite their awful English. What more could one ask for?

Isotope Soap - The Wow! Signal Ep (Levande Begravd) (5 euro)
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KIT - Dreams are Burned Ep (Upset the Rhythm) (5 euro)
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Kitchen's Floor - Regrets Ep (R.I.P. Society) (6 euro)
Debut record by this now fairly well known art punk outfit from Brisbane, Australia. Kitchen's Floor are not easy to peg. I wouldn't be able to compare them to any other band. However there's definitely something artistic about Matt Kennedy's music so we'll keep it at art punk for now, alright? R.I.P. Society Records has kindly been keeping this record in print since 2010. The band has released three full-lengths since. 
Kitchen's Floor have never sounded optimistic. One could argue the driving force behind this band has always been depression and the alienation and feeling of loneliness that goes hand in hand with it. However there's a clear development in Matt's take on life throughout Kitchen's Floor discography so far. What strikes me about this Ep is how sad it sounds. Matt neatly sings “just alone in this world” over and over in 'Still Night'. Even though the lyrical content is sad, his voice shows little emotion giving the song a resigned vibe. This is in huge contrast to Kitchen's Floor later material in which Matt often sounds angry and frustrated. I'd argue there's more spite to what the band is doing these days.
Musically there are some differences between the then and now as well. This Ep sounds similar to 'Loneliness is a Dirty Mattress', the album after. Striking are the use of tambourine and what I assume are empty bottles used as percussion, which give the band a distinct sound. The three songs on this 7” sound like home recordings and I wouldn't be surprised if Matt played everything on this record himself. Another interesting aspect of this record is the artwork. It demonstrates how Kitchen's Floor already had a defined aesthetic down with their very first release. The art on all their following releases elaborate on ideas laid down here. All in all this Ep is an essential chapter in Kitchen's Floor's history. Both 'Orbit' and 'Regrets' would later reappear on 'Looking Forward to Nothing', but 'Still Night' can only be found on this record. Fans should already own this. Those late to the party can still get one from me.

Krigskade - Nar Alt Gar Til Helvede Ep (Kontortid) (6 euro)
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Lemonade - Pink Ep (Not Normal, Thrilling Living) (6 euro)
Debut Ep by this Minneapolis band. I like the name. Lemonade did a demo tape before this record, but I didn’t hear it. I remember the band being plugged for sharing members with C.C.T.V., but they were from Indiana and according to Discogs there’s no actual connection between the two bands so I guess my mind is playing tricks on me. Discogs can’t possibly be wrong after all. Records that are not on there were never released, can’t exist and something didn’t happen if it hasn’t been posted on Facebook. These are all facts you kids are aware of. I’m just stating them to myself.
There is a connection between Lemonade and the Uranium Club, which makes sense. Whether you can hear it is up for debate. At times there is riffing going on that brings to mind the Coneheads and all their afterbirth, but overall Lemonade are not going for that particular style. You could mention Devo as an influence, but you could just as well not mention them at all. Actually, Lemonade don’t seem to consciously aim for any style. That can go two ways, but it works here. I find it refreshing. ‘Pink’ does not have a consistent sound, but that’s what keeps the listener involved. Every song is different from the next although they’re all uptempo and falling apart at the seams. One of the guitar players is doing the blunt in your face riffs that could be considererd an hommage to a young Greg Ginn, while the other guitar player noodles melodic excursions over the stomp when he’s not playing along. There are galloping drums hitting the cymbals to accentuate the end of most lines Gabrielle’s yells. Her lyrics are hard to make out, but fortunately there’s a lyric sheet included. Topics include rape, mental illness/depression and alienation, all that good stuff us punks love so much. The recording quality of the entire Ep is pretty rudimentary, but that adds to the spontaneous vibe of the songs, kinda like you’re getting your ears ruined whilst sitting on some torn up couch, 40oz or cup of stale coffee in hand, in the band’s practice room.
I like that the record is called ‘Pink’ and that the sleeve is actually pink. I also like that the sleeve reads ‘Pink Lemonade’ and the label reads “Lemonade... was a popular drink” and the other side reads: “and it still is”. Funny cunts. Those with more street cred than myself might recognize a Gangstar line in that. I wish the actual artwork would have been as witty. It’s not that I dislike the artwork – the insert looks pretty rad, but it could defintely have exhibited some more personality. That said, I like this record and if you’re into hardcore punk chances are you’ll feel the same.

Lipkick - Selftitled Ep (Kink, Monkey Sounds,Sengaja, Spastic Fantastic)
This is Lipkick from Gemany’s first proper release. These four girls play some straight ahead here and there thrashy hardcore. The guitars are loud. Their two singers both sound angry. I love how their German accent comes through in the English. I can’t help but think it’s kinda cute which obviously isn’t intended. There are some German spoken samples in between songs that I can’t really comprehend. This is a nice debut, although nothing groundbreaking, but if you're looking for groundbreaking, you might as well drop out of punk and start listening to electro. What's really cool about Lipkick is that all these kids are just in their late teens! I'm guessing this is their first band ever. With that in mind I’m sure Lipkick can develop a sound of their own over time. I love the zombie artwork. The record is on pink for those who care.

Logic Problem - No Center Ep (Grave Mistake)
This North Carolinan band called it quits a year or two ago or maybe they just decided to take a break. Either way they're not playing anymore which is a shame. Logic Problem somehow seems to have fallen through the cracks despite good reviews and some big tours. To me Logic Problem always seemed 'that band that everyone kinda liked but no one really seemed to care about'. They started playing when the 1980s retro hardcore thing was at its peak and the band didn't really fit in. Logic Problem's sounds are bigger, heavier and darker. The band's rythm section was  powerful. The drumming on this Ep is wild whithout skipping a beat. The drummer lays down cool accents to keep your attention. The bass is very dominant and drives the songs. To top it all was the singer's raspy vocal delivery. Around the time that this Ep saw the light of day they released an excellent Lp on a Belgian label that never got that great a distribution as far as I know. All of that's too bad, because Logic Problem were an excellent band and you could do far worse than spending some euros on this piece of vinyl.

Long Pigs - Ep (SMRT) (6 euro)
Another record from the much praised New York hardcore scene that brought you all Dawn of Humans, Hank Wood and the Hammerheads and the possibly even more lauded Crazy Spirit. Supposedly Long Pigs even share members with some of these bands, but I don’t exactly know the ins and outs there. The guys in this band also do Toxic State Records. Wow, that was a lot of name dropping, right? If I had a real webshop half of you readers would already have clicked on the ‘Buy-Now-button’ by now. You know it’s true. Don’t you deny it! I haven’t even mentioned a thing about the music yet. Think about that for a second, punk rock consumer. I’ll end my criticism here and will just do what a review is supposed to do i.g. say something about what’s to be heard on this Ep. The Long Pigs play noisy hardcore. I remember liking their demo, but apart from that my mind is a blank. The bass is blown out and the guitar is squealing throughout the entire record. Yes, there’s a lot of feedback to be heard, but it’s not in that contrived way that a lot of modern hardcore bands seem to go for. The drums are pretty loud too, but it’s hard to hear what the drummer is exactly doing underneath the guitar wailing. All six songs on this Ep are very chaotic. They’d have been falling apart if it wasn’t for the bass keeping the riffs going over the drum beat. I like what these guys are going for, but I have one complaint about this style. The songs don’t really stick. I like spinning this record. It has a nice messy, angry vibe, but I hardly remember what I’ve heard after the needle leaves the vinyl. Maybe it just takes more listens before this stuff sinks in entirely. Time will tell. I know there are plenty of people who don’t care about songs. So if what you’re looking for is some pissed off hardcore with lots of noise, you can hardly go wrong with this Ep. The artwork - screen printed cardboard sleeve and insert - matches the music well and like the Toxic State releases this Ep looks beautiful. You gotta give these kids credit for putting so much effort in their artwork. By now it doesn’t even come as a surprise anymore, but don’t you dare take it for granted!

Lucha Eterna - Asceroso Ep (Saucepan) (5 euro)
Apparently this is not Lucha Eterna's first release, but it's the first time I heard of them. This band is from Cleveland, Ohio. They play straight forward hardcore in Spanish tongue. There's nothing you haven't heard on 'Asceroso', but sometimes that's a good thing. In my opinion that's the case here. This Ep is basically a bunch of angry kids playing fast and loud balls to the wall hardcore. These eight songs are all raw and pissed off. Richard raspy vocals are a perfect match with the music: ugly and intense from start to end.
Listening to this record makes me daydream about seeing this outfit live. You can hear Lucha Eterna can create a ruckus. Their shows must be mayhem. With them being from Cleveland they had the opportunity to learn it from the best. Those in the know, know what I'm talking about. When one unfolds the sleeve this record comes in, there is a picture showcasing Luch Eterna in live setting. There's a pile of junk in front of the stage and dressed up people including Super Mario are keeping a safe distance from the stage, ha. That must have been a fun show! I know a picture can make a boring show look exciting, but somehow I don't feel like that applies here.
If only we had bands like these in this shitty country. Oh well, the grass is always greener on the other side, right? As unoriginal as this record might be, it's a real hardcore record. The lack of originality is more than made up for by the sheer energy and anger coming from this piece of wax. They wrap the whole thing up with a Cleveland classic, 'I'm not Right', by the Guns which is arguably that band's most memorable song. Although I'm no fan of cover songs on records this one is in good taste so I'll shut my face. Not that these kids would care either way. Supposedly this is the band's final release. Richard started Saucepan Records to put it out and has been releasing a lot of new interesting stuff coming from Cleveland and I'm sure we'll hear some of these fellers in new bands soon enough. Oh yeah, despite what everyone says, I think the artwork is funny.

Mala Leche - Ep (Lumpy Rex) (5 euro)
Debut Ep by this St. Louis synth punk outfit which is a project of one of the nameless Dumpers. This Ep was originally released on cassette, but the Lumpster wanted the tracks to reach a wider audience and rightfully so. Before turning to the music, it needs emphasis that this 7” contains eight, yes 8, songs. As a youngster I used to feel cheated by singles. I’d calculate how many euros each song would represent and curse bands for ripping me off. It took me years to fully appreciate single songs. Sure, I came around, grew as a person, but part of me still loves it when a band crams a shitload of songs on one 7” so hats of to Mala Leche for that.
Now, the music. I’m reminded of Mexican punk bands such as Los Inservibles and Ratas Del Vaticano. The latter more than the former although there’s a bit of Yecal in the singer’s delivery. Second track ‘Risas’ brings to mind the Feelers, which are not bad a reference for the music overall. There’s a similar retardo vibe to the songs. The vocal department is where this record is at in my opinion. The style Mala Leche plays is en vogue. I won’t hold that against them, but it does make one look for things that distinguish the band from their peers. That’s where the vocals come in. See, the songs are all fun, well written and combining mechanical sounds with sloppiness in a very charming way. That’s all swell. It’s the wild and vicious vocals that give the songs the extra swagger that elevates Mala Leche above other groups in their corner though. The lyrics are in Spanish so I have no clue what they’re about, but they sounds intense. There’s a line on the insert claiming that there’s ‘mal humor’ to be found on this record and I believe it. Too bad it’s lost on me. I also do not understand what all the clown imagery is about. Maybe Spanish would have been of help on that front too. As for now I’m clueless.
All-in all this is a good debut that’s worth picking up if you’re into the sounds coming from St. Louis in recent years. If you’re tired of the stuff Lumpy’s putting out, I won’t go out of my way to call you a dismissive elitist prick. Punks should get off their high horses and support local scenes like the one in Lumpy Land. Cherry picking is for critical consumers and people trying to impress through online posturing and feigning good taste on message boards. Fuck all that! Give this record a shot. Hell, you might even enjoy it!

Male Nurses - Wanna Play Doctor? 7" (Cowabunga)
Two previously unreleased tracks by this Boston bunch. I remember people were wild about the Male Nurses´ demo recordings a few years ago, but when I heard their debut Ep on Deranged I wasn't too impressed. This single is Male Nurses' second 7” and it sounds a lot more appealing. Male Nurses blend hardcore and punk in a lovely way. Whether this is hardcore with a punk edge or punk with a dash of hardcore is a matter I'll leave to the elite to decide. What's important here is that both songs are well written, catchy and memorable. "G.I. Jock" is a great anthem with snotty vocals, beefy drumming and nice simple bass lines moving underneath the guitar riffs. I like how the bass clatters in the opening and bridge solo parts yet sounds full when the rest of the band kicks in. The flip, “Wanna Play Doctor?”, is more all over the place. The song starts with a slow intro, moves on to a breakneck hardcore pace and gets wrapped up mid-tempo. Nice drums, nice bass lines, nice guitar playing. It's a cool track, but the other side delivers the hit here.
The dual guitar setting works well for these guys. One guy is playing riffs and the other one is doing simple catchy solos most of the time. The whole record just sounds superb. The recording really favours the group. Male Nurses don't sound old or new. They just sound now. These two songs are timeless and should appeal to jaded fucks listening to the Freeze all day as well as kids who just found out about punk rock and are a bit tired of listening to NoFX all the time.
I'm not sure what Male Nurses current status is. Last thing they did I know of was that split cassette with the Sublclinix, but that was quite a while ago. I'd like to hear more by these guys and will give their first Ep another chance. Also, I like the artwork and don't care that the band is posing in front of the American flag. I remember the MRR reviewer of this 7” whining about that and it was sort of like Tim Yo's beef with Agnostic Front in a 2010s setting. Come on, people...

Manateees - Dumbesticated 7" (Goodbye Boozy) (5 euro)
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Marbled Eye - Ep2 (Erste Theke Tonträger) (5 euro)
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Messrs - Ep (Savage Quality) (6 euro)
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Mirror - Universal Dismay Ep (Erste Theke Tonträger) (5 euro)
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The Monsieurs - High School Star 7" (Goodbye Boozy) (5 euro)
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Moralens Väktare - Konsumera! Ep (Sweken) (5 euro)
This is the second Ep by this young punk rock band from Sweden. No they’re not from Umea! Moralens Väktare delivers four short songs on this record. All of them clock in under two minutes except for the last which just crosses that mark. There are no stinkers on here, but the title track is probably the best song if only because one can sing along to the chorus without any knowledge of the Swedish language whatsoever. I can only guess that ‘Konsumera!’ means something along the lines of ‘Consume!’. This might have you think that there’s a political message in the song, but this band doesn’t strike me as the type that’s trying to get a message out there. Perhaps they are. The language barrier keeps me from saying anything decisive about this matter. Fortunately music knows no language. One thing is clear from the moment the needle hits the plastic; Moralens Väktare can craft a punk rock tune. All these songs are filled with hooks. The guitars are jangly and the songs are catchier than the flu. This record is bound to get people dancing and I imagine the band is an absolute blast live. Looking at the pictures on the sleeve these kids are still young which makes this Ep all the more impressive. Basically these four tunes are a ton of fun and if you like punk rock in a foreign tongue, you really can’t go wrong with this Ep at all. Same goes for their first 7", but I think that's sold out. Ask the Ken Man. There also is a split 7” out there, but I've heard mixed stories about that one. The band just released a full length on Dead Beat Records which you should definitely pick up. I'm sure it's killer. If only I had the money to pick me up a copy.

Moralens Väktare/ Röda Sten - Split Ep (Self Released) (5 euro)
This is Moralens Väktare’s third 7” output if I’m not mistaken. I’ve been into this band’s previous stuff and their side of this split is no letdown either. The band plays punk rock with a bit of rock ‘n roll thrown in. Their songs are catchy. Of the two songs the band delivers on this Ep the first is definitely best. You gotta love the dual guitar one note solo in that one. It made me chuckle. Punks need to wake up and embrace this young Swedish band. Whenever I read about them people seem a bit lackluster, which doesn’t make any sense. People lose their shit over so much mediocre shit from Sweden and a good band like this remains in the margins. Punks can be a tasteless bunch… On the flip we find Röda Stens who I had never heard of before. From the first few chords it’s clear that this band is more in the rock ‘n roll camp than Moralens Väktare. They’ve got that Motörhead vibe going. You know the deal. Steaming riffs backed by a pummeling bass and a lot of guitar solos. I never liked Motörhead – call me a Luddite. All of their songs remind me of ‘Ace of Spades’, but perhaps that’s the attraction? - and I don’t like Röda Sten’s song either. I was ready to write Röda Sten off, but then the second track kicked in and it’s way different. This could have been a different band, but it is not. This song is more of a bar rocker with a shitload of swagger and driving piano chords. It’s nice. Very catchy. Why isn’t the other song like this? I’d have preferred that. So the Röda Sten side of this Ep is a mixed bag, but the opening song of the Moralens Väktare side should be reason enough to get this record. Make sure you pick up their Lp on Dead Beat. Maybe I’ll stock that one at some point myself. Who knows?

Mr. Wax - Waxing Ep (Lumpy Rex) (5 euro)
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Munchausen - Ep (Darby)
Debut Ep by Munchausen from Philadelphia. I'd call them a hardcore band, but I've seen them being labeled as grunge – ugh... Hardcore will do fine for me. It's nasty, angry music made by frustrated desperate individuals so there you go. Munchausen got my attention after I read about their first tape in MRR's demo section. The demo was pretty good. Gritty in the best of ways. This recording is better, but still miles away from sounding clean.
The first song 'Suburban Squares' was also the demo tape's opener. It's the song that sucked me in actually. The backup vocals in the chorus are sort of odd, but they totally make the song work. They make it memorable somehow. The next track is a new one, but doesn't really impress although the guitar noodling is nice. The flip opens with another song previously heard on the demo. It immediately struck me as familiar because of the recognizable guitar riff at its core. It's a good song. The best track on this record, however, is the one that wraps it up. 'White Walls' takes the pace down a couple of notches and turns into a lovely dirge. There's a short excursion to a faster pace, but the slow and pounding bass line and noisy guitar playing with lots of string bending and atonality are what makes this track great.
I love this sort of music and hearing this Ep made me realize how long ago it has been since I've heard a band do this style well. Now that it's no longer the flavour of the week, I'm glad bands like Munchausen are around to bring ugliness like this to damaged ears willing to suffer some more. Nobody seems to know about this band and I'm sure they could care less. Marginal as they may be, they got me stoked. I hope Munchausen stick to it and do a 12”, because I feel like they've got a solid long player in them.

Mundo Muerto - Rompe El Silencio 7" (Mata La Musica)
This is a repress of LA’s Mundo Muerto’s debut single that was released a few years ago on Que Punk? Records. It has been out of print for a while. The band has released a strong 12” Ep and even better full length since this 7” and with that came some more attention. Now that people know about Mundo Muerto they’re interested in hearing the first single, I assume, so Guss, the band’s singer decided to repress the thing on his own label Mata La Musica to make it available to all the sleepers after all. Reviewing this 7” is a bit of a call on my conscience, dear reader. I’ll be honest. When I first heard this single I wasn’t at all convinced. In fact when I tried to find my original copy to review this record I discovered I had filed the thing away in a purge not too long ago. I remember I was really pissed at the time that I had paid four bucks for only two songs, haha. Quite a thing to be angry about. Punks… I didn’t really appreciate a ‘song’ back then. After digging this single up and giving it some spins, I must admit that my judgement at the time was definitely harsh. This is a nice single with two cool anthemic hardcore punk songs sung in Spanish. The guitar riffs are simple, but catchy. Guss’ vocals are passionate. His voice is good, but all the ‘whoooaas’ on the A-side are a bit too much for me. Still that’s not that hard a thing to forgive. I could label this ‘raw ponk’ or ‘Latino punk’ for those of you who fall for fashionable terms like that, but to me this is just a hardcore punk band playing catchy hardcore songs. When I say catchy I don’t mean there’s no anger to these tunes, because there is. Still at the same time I think you can hear this band is having fun while playing. I can’t make out the words, but the B-side cut is called ‘Politicos Falsos’ so it looks like they’re political. The artwork looks like an old anarchist lino propagating the freedom of speech, which I like. If you want to hear this band at the top of their game get the ‘Entre El Kaos’ Lp, but if you’re already a fan or don't have the attention span to listen to a full length, adding this Ep to your record collection won't be a decision you regret.

Mystic Inane - Deep Creep Ep (Negative Jazz) (5 euro)
Debut record by this hardcore outfit from New Orleans. Mystic Inane came from the ashes of the much lauded Necro Hippies and started out with their singer Phil on the mic. He quit the band early on to start Vatican Dagger. Since then Mystic Inane's only remaining connection to Necro Hippies, is their guitar player Candice. She seems to be the engine of this outfit. Since Necro Hippies' demise Candice's guitar playing has moved into territories even further removed from the world most of you squares call home. Although you can hear her love for acts such as Spike in Vain, Saccharine Trust and Negative Trend in her riffs, she has undeniably developed a style of her own that's both discordant and ugly. The guitar work on this record is very inventive.
The three songs on this Ep are gritty and nasty as fuck. Their pace is slower than your average hardcore track, but that doesn't make 'Deep Creep' any less of a hardcore record. Overall Mystic Inane gives off seriously bad vibes. The singer sounds on the edge of sanity, spitting his lines with contempt for existence itself. He holds his own with Phil, which was something I couldn't have hoped for when I heard the latter was leaving the band. The bass is loud and carries the songs leaving the guitar room to pull off trebly excursions that make this band's sound incomparable to any band playing today.
To me Mystic Inane are unique. This is more than just music. This band has a shitload of personality and, dare I say it, vision. Their perspective is bleak. These songs are definitely not coming from a happy place, but showcase a vision that fits the world we live in. Mystic Inane might be the last true hardcore band the United States have left. Supposedly they're constantly on the verge of breaking up, which is fitting. 'Deep Creep' was qualified as the best hardcore release of 2014 by many and I like this record quite a bit myself. There are two new Ep's on the way, which I of course intent to stock. Whether there'll be more after that, only time can tell. I certainly hope they stick to it one way or another.

Nag - False Anxiety 7" (Total Punk) (6 euro)
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Nailhouse - Ep (Hope Followed by Despair) (5 euro)
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Nandas - Ep (Toxic State) (6 euro)
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Nathan & the Mean Streaks - Childstar Redemption 7" (Goodbye Boozy) (5 euro)
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Negative Lifestyle - Panic Ep (Deranged) (5 euro)
Negative Lifestyle’s first Ep was on Bat Shit Records. The thing was fairly limited. This might explain why the band hasn’t had much attention so far – not to my knowledge anyway. This seven song Ep on Deranged Records should change that. This Swedish hardcore band plays some nice stripped down 1980s hardcore punk sung in English. Obviously this has been done a million times before. In all probability more 1980’s USHC records have been released in the last couple of years than in the early 80s, haha. My point being that this genre has been saturated for quite a while now. That said I love classic sounding hardcore punk and I’m guessing you do as well - otherwise I don’t see any reason for you to read this really. So instead of dismissing this kind of music entirely, which seems to be the thing to do these days, it makes a lot more sense to separate the good from the bad, because there’s still plenty of gold buried in the piles of shit that is retro hardcore anno 2012. This is where Negative Lifestyle comes in, because this band is definitely worth your ears or what’s left of ‘m. What immediately strikes me about Negative Lifestyle is their minimalistic approach. The band is a three-piece; guitar, bass, drums and of course vocals. The guitar sound is very clean. I’d almost say wimpy, but that sound like such a bad thing while it isn’t in this case. In fact I really like the guitar sound. Anders’ vocals are urgent and the thick Swedish accent in his English makes me smile. ‘So far so good, but nothing special…’, I hear you think. WRONG! This band is able to create interesting and catchy hardcore songs with very little. The song ‘Trying to fit in’ is a perfect example. Forget about ‘retro-hardcore’. That sounds generic. This shit is timeless. ‘Panic’ is a cool record that should be a reminder there will always be good hardcore as long as you’re willing to give it a shot.

Negative Lifestyle - End Up Like Them Flexi (Signaler Fran Ovan) (5 euro)
This is Negative Lifestyle’s third vinyl output. ‘End Up Like Them’ serves the listener four new hardcore songs clocking in under six minutes. The first three songs are good mid paced hardcore punk songs. It’s obvious that these three guys have been listening to a lot of early 1980s USHC. Can you blame them? Opener ‘End Up Like Them’ is yet another anthem to alienation, which seems to be a returning subject in Anders’ lyrics. The topics Negative Lifestyle addresses are not new and fairly typical for the genre, but somehow they don’t feel played out when Anders sings about them. It all feels sincere. That all boils down to gut, I guess. Some bands are believable. Others aren’t. I don’t know why. It might be a very personal thing. ‘In My Head’ has a catchy and simple chorus that sticks with you. ‘Borderline/ I think I’m stuck/ Borderline/ It’s in my head’. This is probably the catchiest song of the four. The last track ‘Never Silence’ isn’t really a song. It’s a bass riff repeated for two minutes. The guitar player hits a chord every now and then and in the background we hear some indecipherable whispering. Scary! This Flexi was released around the same time as the ‘Panic’ Ep on Deranged and I remember the two records got reviewed by the same reviewer in one issue of MRR. He said this flexi was way better than the Ep. Perhaps ‘End Up Like Them’ is a bit more direct than the Deranged Ep, but overall there’s not much of a quality difference between the two releases in my opinion. Isn’t it typical that whenever there’s two things, one always has to be the better? But let’s not get too philosophical. I’d argue you should pick both the ‘Panic’ Ep and this Flexi up if you’re still among the people who like classic sounding hardcore with its roots in the early 1980s. Negative Lifestyle are really good at what they do. I think it’s time this band does a 12” Ep.

The Night Stalkers - Don't Talk To Me Ep (Ken Rock) (5 euro)
France's ambassadors of bad taste return with their third vinyl offering. 'Don't Talk To Me' takes a different angle than their previous two Ep's. This is the kind of music you get when a handful of teenagers from a smalltown with nothing to do obsess over later era GG Allin for years and years until they're well into their twenties. The love for GG Allin is beaming from this entire record, but musically the Night Stalkers aren't much like the late great king of scum rock. This Ep delivers seven scummy as fuck songs that exist somewhere in between hardcore and punk. The pace is turned down a couple of notches in comparison to the Night Stalkers' earlier material, but the songs are all still intense. Another change are Raph's vocals. His voice definitely turned worse over the years, but the record ends up sounding better because of it. Raph's vocals are hateful and desperate, the way a hardcore singer should sound. I had the pleasure to see the Night Stalkers live once and they were great. Nobody gave a shit about their show, but they gave it their all and fucked with the uninterested audience members. It was chaotic and uncomfortable. It was GREAT!
I still remember Night Stalkers' demo got dismissed in the pages of MRR's review section a few years ago. The complaint was that although the music was cool and Career Suicide like, the lyrics were bad and sexist. Oh, oh, oh! Hush, hush! The Night Stalkers have been on a crusade against political correctness from the very start. If you ever had the pleasure to read the fanzine these kids put together, you know they've got a soft spot for everything distasteful. The anti-PC card is often played as an excuse to be a brainless turd, but that doesn't change the fact that politcal correctness is the enemy. Playing by the book is for squares. To be able to make your own rules you gotta break theirs. That's what these Frenchies have consistently been doing. I hope you're offended by this one and so do they. I'm glad the band found a home on Ken Rock Records.

Nolls - Losing Game 7" (Lucked Out Tapes) (5 euro)
Review up soon...

Orden Mundial - Porque Las Drogas Son Veneno Ep (La Vida Es Un Mus) (5 euro)
Noisy as fuck hardcore punk from Mallorca Spain. This is the kind of music I instantly associate with La Vida Es Un Mus. Not every Spanish hardcore band Paco’s put out has rocked my world, but Orden Mundial I like. Although their first album left me unimpressed – might have been the album, might have been me, the second hit me hard, especially the tracks on which they slowed  things down and turned the song into a messy drone.
On this new Ep Orden Mundial delivers four intense new tracks with pounding and galloping drums that never let up, razor sharp guitar riffs out to make your ears bleed and burly bass lines to trample you. Over this outing of musical destruction Bernat delivers his vocals. His lyrics are simple yet abstract, but very to the point. Lines are repeated several times throughout a song. I still haven’t mastered the Spanish language, but I can piece a thing or two together. The title song translates to ‘why the drugs are poison’. Is this group straightedge? Could be. Or am I missing the point and is the band actually lashing out against their government’s drug policy? Also an option. We see a snake circle a wine glass on the cover of this record, which makes me think these guys associate alcohol with the devil, but perhaps I’m getting way to biblical here. I’m pretty sure this band is anarchist so they’re probably not too fond of biblical symbolism. Then again, Bakunin praised the snake in an essay for talking Eve into eating the forbidden fruit, because it made man shake off his animal nature and dependence on God, but enough anarchist history.
Apparently this record was released just before Orden Mundial head out to the States and Colombia. Go see them if you’ve got the chance, because I’m sure this band absolutely destroys live. These four songs will appear on Orden Mundial’s next 12”, but you can already hear them now so why wait? ‘Porque Las Drogas son Veneno’ is a solid release with great recognizable artwork done by the singer. For those keeping track: these guys used to be Cop de Fona so if you were into that band, check out Orden Mundial. If you dig Orden Mundial, you should give Cop de Fona a shot. I will. Same cool artwork.

Pedestrians - Killing Season Ep (Residue)
Killing Season is Chicago’s Pedestrians’ fourth and (to my knowledge) final release. This band played a style of punk that wasn’t covered much back then and in fact still isn’t. Jordan’s vocals give the Pedestrians a distinguished sound. I really like the way he sings. The four songs on this 7” are in the same vain as their previous outputs and they are all good. Although the Ideal Divide 12” remains my favourite Pedestrians release, this Ep is up the same alley. If you liked Pedestrian’s previous releases, you’re bound to enjoy this Ep as well. For those of you who’ve been sleeping on this band this release gives a final opportunity to get your hands on some of their vinyl. I’m pretty sure that their other stuff has been out of press for quite a while. The Pedestrians definitely had a fresh sound to them and they will be missed. I’m sure we’ll soon hear from new projects by their former members though.

Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivat -  Oma Rauha Ep (Mutant) (5 euro)
Six new tracks by everybody's favourite Finnish crew of handicapped punks. All four band members have developmental disabilities. Although I've heard and read about Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivat a lot throughout the years – after a movie called 'the Punk Syndrome' about these guys the group got a lot of attention even outside of the punk scene which has led to them being Finland's entry for Euro Vision 2015 with Sony releasing a full discography soon – this is the first time I'm giving them a proper listen.
Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivat play raw, simple, straight forward and downright blunt punk. The guitar sounds abrasive and fucked in just the right way. All songs on this Ep are played over a solid mid pace one-two stomp with the snare cranked all the way up. Kari's vocals are crude and guttural. His lyrics address topics more interesting than those most of his contemporaries lacking an extra chromosome are coming up with. They shed some light on the day to day of people living with disabilities. Translations are included in both French and English, which is helpful. 'Kehitysvammainen' is about as defiant a song can get. It claims the disabled are the only true punks, because for them there are no rules and they behave stupidly in all sincerity whereas a normal person can only pose. There's definitely some truth in that. The final two lines of 'Leipäveitsi' are hilarious and had me smirking. They're a smart twist that has to be unintended and probably more perfect for it.
What I like about Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivat is they prove punk is for everybody and how it can be an instrument to action. These guys took from it and made it their own. That's great, inspiring even! You can have a laugh with the band too. Pertti, Kari, Sami and Toni are funny dudes. This band makes for an amazing parable showcasing how punk still has meaning in 2015 regardless of what the cynics say. I have mixed feelings about Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivat going to Eurovision, but hope they'll have a great time.

Perverts Again - My Accident 7" (Total Punk) (6 euro)
Review up soon...

Pillage - Ep (Residue) (5 euro)
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Pink Nightmare - Ep (Compact Chaos)
This is the debut Ep from Boston's Pink Nightmare, an all female band that shares members with several Boston acts you might have heard before. If you wanna know who and what just google that shit. This Ep delivers four hardcore punk tunes with some bleak topics such as war, alienation and misogyny. I'm really into this record, but find it hard to put into words what makes it good. All the instruments come through well in the tunes and especially the vocals sound really cool. The singer sounds angry in a bratty way. The drumming is some super stripped down bashing at times which is awesome. The guitar playing is simple, but there are plenty of memorable hooks throughout the four songs. This record is excellent proof of the fact you don't need to be the next Hendrix to write some cool tunes. 'Misogynist' is the standout track to me. Pink Nightmare deliver a good debut here. Why? I guess the songs are just there. Too bad the artwork on both the sleeve and labels looks  pixilated. I don't know if there's anything on the agenda for this band, but I'd love to hear more, because this Ep is promising.

Pink Reason - I Ache For You 7'' (Savage Quality) (5 euro)
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Pizza OD - Second Ep (Self Released)
What I like about Pizza OD is that they are inept ‘musicians’ playing simple but catchy punk rock in their native tongue. A fun fact is that they started out with the intention to play wild raw punk in the vein of Firmeza 10, but fate had other plans with them. Some call this pop punk, but that term rubs me the wrong way. I’d rather call it punk rock. There are four new songs on this self released Ep and they’re all fun. Alex’s vocals are snotty and obnoxious. The songs on this Ep sound better than the ones on their previous record. It seems they turned that guitar up after all. Good! Somehow this band always leads me to the whole punk rock relevance debate. Let me try to explain. I ‘know’ two of the three people in this band and have been corresponding with them and they come across as good guys with the heart in the right place. Don’t you hate how that sounds dismissive? Anyway these guys being nice and all makes me want to like their band. So basically I’m biased. I like Pizza OD, but whenever I listen to them I wonder what makes them good, what makes them a band you should check out. That’s a hard question to answer, because honestly I don’t think I would ever have listened to Pizza OD had I not met Alex and Vinnie. Wouldn’t that mean that it’d  be full of shit if I were to tell you that you need this record? You don’t need this record. Let’s face it, despite that compulsive urge to get yourself a fix of vinyl constantly, you don’t need any records. Why are people going crazy for certain releases? It’s tempting to say it’s because the music they contain is worthwhile, relevant. Tempting, but I personally don’t buy it. There’s no such thing as quality, no such thing as relevance. It’s all make-believe. Punk rock is not relevant in 2012 and Pizza OD are not a band worth your time, but you can bet your ass they’ll be playing their irrelevant and disposable tunes all the same in front of disinterested wasted youth in squats all over France regardless and that, my friend, is pretty damn punk.

P-Nissarna - Ep (Reken) (6 euro)
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Predator - Drag 7" (Total Punk) (5 euro)
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Primates - Control Salvaje Ep (Thought Crime)
The Primates hail from Spain which seems to be the new breeding ground of punk rock. Eat your heart out Denmark! According to the Thought Crime site this band would’ve been gods in the US if they’d  have sported some Mohawks. I don’t know if that’s true, but this is definitely a good record. Control Salvaje is Primates’ second Ep and in my opinion it’s a lot better than their first which wasn’t bad at all. Primates’ drummer is fast and their guitar player has to keep up with that frantic pace yet is able to lay down some nice riffs. The music is very energetic and catchy. All the lyrics are of course sung in Spanish so I’m clueless as to what they’re singing about. Looking at the artwork of this Ep I’m guessing they do not like the big brother society we seem to be heading for. This is a solid release and it’s only their second output so far. It’s nice to hear a good new band from the continent. More please!

Prison Moan - Parasite Hole Ep (Negative Jazz) (5 euro)
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Putas Mierdas - Extinción Ep (Trabuc, Metadona, Crust as Fuck)
Third Ep by this hardcore punk outfit from Mexico. Their debut dates all the way back to 2008. Damn, time flies! I remember Putas Mierdas' first record came out around the same time as the first Los Monjo record. Those bands are related. They're both from the same town, Guadalajara - I'll admit I had to look that up – and some of the band members are actually blood related. When this band's debut came out, I didn't care for it. I was still in that stage where I didn't listen to bands singing in a tongue I did not understand. In retrospect I missed out, because Putas Mierdas are a good band. Although my knowledge of Eskorbuto is limited, it seems to me this outfit is largely indepted to said group. The four Putas Mierdas' songs on this Ep are all anthems showcasing a lot of melody without ever losing their grit. Although I still speak no Spanish, I desperately want to sing along to these songs. The vocals are raw, the guitar riffs simple but effective and the drums are loud. The drumming sounds very beefy on this recording, which gives the songs a solid tribal backbone. Lastly the bass playing on this record is impressive. The bass player is basically playing lightning fast bass walks all the time. Very cool.
Whether this band is still around I do not know. 'Extinción' is already two years old.  Putas Mierdas still has an internet presence so they might still be at it. If so they're definitely keeping a low profile. Quite a shame if you ask me. It'd be cool if the band would produce a 12” at some point like their brothers in Los Monjo recently did. I think there was talk of such a release at some point. This Ep is a good record that should appeal to those who like their punk raw and catchy. It leaves me wanting more so make that 12” happen already.

Q - Ep (Lumpy Rex) (5 euro)
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Ras - Ep (Memoire Neuve) (6 euro)
Another (re?)release on France’s very own Memoire Neuve. This time around we get served some French punk rock that goes back all the way to the late 1970s. Ras, not to be confused with the contemporary Swedish band, was a band consisting of some French teenagers. They started out in 1977 and practiced in one of the band members’ room without drums so the rhythm section was played on pots, pans and Tupperware with wooden spoons from their momma’s kitchen at the time. Shit, that story makes me all warm inside even though I heard it before about other bands. When hearing the three songs on this record I feel like Ras’ main influences were probably their parents’ record collections. It’s nothing like say the Pistols or the Clash. If I understand the insert correctly – it’s in French yet again – the Beatles were a shared love at first. Later they found out about punk rock through magazines and turned punk without having an idea what the music actually sounded like. So they created something that they thought was punk. I love how this seems to be a common thing in the late 1970s. The first two songs were recorded during practice in 1978. The recording is anything but perfect. The drums, which apparently had been purchased in the meantime, sound pretty shitty and the singer’s voice is a bit too low in the mix, but that’s all part of the charm. The clean sounding guitars sound pretty damn sweet though. Both A-side songs are upbeat. The bouncy lead and solos in ‘Illusions calculées’ are really cool. It’s a great song. On the flip – don’t forget to change the rpm - we have ‘Tueurs de stars’ which is apparently a live recording from a radio session. This song is quite lengthy and way moodier than the two on the A-side. The song is build around a simple guitar line that will stick with you after listening to it. The accompanying bass line is simple, but it drives the song. The chorus has cool back up vocals. They’re actually singing. Nice. The B- side might just be the best song on the 7”, but I have to say ‘Illussions calculées’ grew on me as well. All in all this is a rad record. The pictures on the sleeve and insert are cool as shit and give you a nice look into the past. That kid smoking a cig on the left on the front cover looks so badass! Same goes for that guy pulling up his pants. Was I born too late to a world that doesn’t care? Ha!

Razz - Pleasantries 7" (Self Released) (5 euro)
Four songs by this new band from the Bay. This record was pitched to me by one of MRR's few remaining contributors who's musical opinion I consider relevant. You figure out who I'm talking about. Razz contains some Bay Area veterans, but this new project doesn't sound anything like their other groups so I'm not gonna throw around names. You figure out what other bands these gents are in.
What's the music like? Well, it's pretty damn slick. The kids call this power pop, but a band playing power pop is a band I wouldn't check out and you should give this record a shot, so let's dig a little deeper. The songs on this 7” are well crafted and well produced in the way the Nerves' songs were - the Nerves are a cheap shot, I know, but they're one of few if not the only power pop band I know and like so I've got little else to fall back on here. Bite me! I think what saves Razz from direct rejection on my part is that although their music is slick it never gets too sweet.
So sugary this record fortunately is not, but it sure is catchy. You can sing along to the first track 'No Time', admittedly the best song here, during your first listen before the first chorus is actually over. Razz's songs are more infectious than the bubonic plague in the late Middle Ages and although that reference is more punk than this entire record, you gotta hand it to these fellers they know how to plant a melodic seed inside of your skull. The wall of cynicism I build around my black troubled soul throughout the years proved itself defenseless against the life embracing vibes of these songs and I really couldn't help myself singing along to 'No Time' immediately. Whether there'll be shame involved with falling for a good tune like that is up to you. As I'm growing older I try to go more with the so called flow and enjoy things in life every now and then. That doesn't mean I don't still prefer my music gritty and mean. I'm just saying it's alright to take an occasional break from depression and misanthropy – maybe I'll soon binge on seasons of Happy Days shortly after pre-ordering the Beebs' new hit single on Itunes. Who's to say? Guilty pleasure or just a good record? I don't know. You decide!

Recide - Statues Ep (Even Worse)
After a well received demo tape on Not Normal, their second, Austin, Texas' Recide return with their vinyl debut. 'Statues' contains eight songs of which six were on the second demo as well. So if you already heard the band's tape, you might be disappointed by this Ep because there's barely any new material here. This record is for those who did not hear the demo or played the demo cassette so much that it has by now worn out and a vinyl copy is much needed.
This eight song Ep was released by Even Worse Records, which should give you an idea of what to expect; no bullshit, just solid straight forward hardcore. Recide plays fast hardcore punk with an obvious nod to the early 1980s and traces of the days mysterious guy hardcore was considered a genre – it is not. The band has been compared to many classics, but I'll abstain. You come up with your own comparisons! Saves us the disagreement. Nasty riffs, a fair share of feedback and fast drumming characterize these songs. The recording is rough. I like how the snare and toms sound muffled as fuck while the cymbals sound shrill and sharp. The music overwhelms the vocals, but the singer gives it his all to make himself heard. His delivery has that falling apart at the seams quality. Always a good thing. The more I listen to this record the more I hear cool twists in the songs. It's sad that people don't seem to give these kind of bands a shot anymore. Perhaps that's just my cynical take on today's hardcore scene though. Feel free to prove me wrong. The artwork reminds me of 'Landspeed Record', but that might be unintentional.

Replica - Ep (Cut the Cord that...) (5 euro)
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R.O.B.O. - Ep (Solo Para Punks) (5 euro)
Let's get something out of the way before it becomes the elephant in the room: R.O.B.O sounds a lot like Silla Electrica. They too play highly energetic punk rock sang in Spanish. They also employ the dual male/female vocals and Marta's voice is highly reminiscent of Clara's. I don't think it would make sense to hold that against her, but if you beg to differ that's your call. The production isn't all that far removed from Silla Electrica's sound either. The shrill guitar riffs carry the five tunes contained on this Ep. Upon further investigation I found out Mario, R.O.B.O.'s second guitar player is also in Silla Electrica which explains a lot.
One thing that distinguishes R.O.B.O. from the the aforementioned band is they have a bass player. You might think that's not all that relevant – some say the bass player is never important. For those I have only one thing to say: Screw you! – but I beg to differ. Inaki's bouncy bass lines really add something to these songs. He's not merely playing notes to the chords the guitars deliver. In fact his bass lines are pretty damn rad. I also think it's nice to have a bass evening out the high end of the trebly guitar attacks somewhat.
I hate this review makes R.O.B.O. come across as a band that only exists in relation to Silla Electrica, because it isn't all that fair. I think both bands are just following the same tradition and end up sounding alike. There's nothing wrong with that. There's no bandwagon jumping going on here. R.O.B.O. plays the kind of punk rock they like. They're not going to change the world, but their songs are good and will make you bop your head. That still does the trick for me. I dig the business man stabbing himself on the cover.

Rubber Mate - Cha Boi 7" (Total Punk) (6 euro)
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Rüz - Ep (Lumpy Rex) (6 euro)
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Satellites of Love - Ep (5 euro) (Milk)
This is the vinyl debut by Satellites of Love from London. A quick google search just taught me the band’s name is coming from a Lou Reed song. Really? Maybe all the good books have been written and all good names have been made up leaving bands today with no option left but naming their band after a well known song. But enough stabs already! After all, a name is just a name and one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Sattelites of Love have a really heavy Revolution Summer vibe going. Their music immediately has me thinking of early to mid 1980s DC, when bands started popping up that were coming from a hardcore background, but wanted to lift the music to the next level. The songs got more melodic and complex. Satellites of Love’s singer actually reminds me of Guy Piciotto, but maybe I’m way off there. I never liked Rites of Spring all that much. This music is what people used to call emotional hardcore before emo turned into a foul word associated with kids wearing eyeliner and caps with energy drink logos on it. It's not a style you hear a lot these days and these cats are really good at it. It’s obvious the band members know their way around a song and all of them can play their instrument. Each of the four songs on this record is intense. Although I can’t make out the lyrics well and there’s no lyric sheet included I’m pretty sure the texts are introspective, abstract and personal perhaps bordering on the intellectual. I think Sattelites of Love should be able to do an interesting full length, but I'm not sure if I personally would be able to sit through it. This brings me to my criticism, if not of the band per se but more of the style they’re playing. What the Revolution Summer bands gained on the depth and musicianship front, they lost in directness, which is something I personally always had mixed feelings about. Another complaint would be that this record grasps a period in time so perfectly that it gets awfully close to formulaic. Yes, I’m kind of saying it’s too good to be true. That’s me: always something to whine about. Basically this band is really good at what they do. I just don’t know if it’s for me, but as much as I’d like to deny it, there’s a right time and place for this kind of music even for a cynic such as myself.

The Secret Prostitutes - The Ken Rock 7 Inch Ep (Ken Rock) (5 euro)
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The Sentenced - Out For Blood Ep (Hardware) (5 euro)
For some reason Hardware Records has mainly been releasing records along these lines lately: hardcore bands going for that tough mid-paced style with a lot of stomp and a slight tinge of oi. That's right, music for the skins! The Boston Strangler got a lot of love for it and before that the hairless were wetting their pants over 86 Mentality all across the globe. There's nothing wrong with any of that, but this style has been overdone lately and personally I can only take this kind of music in small doses. That said I know some of you lap this kind of shit up as if it was your favorite alcoholic beverage coming from a pretty lady's tit. I'm only a few seconds into this record and think: “Great, another hardcore band like this. Thank you Boston Strangler!” By the way I also blame Daniel Distort – I refuse to call him DX – for he once claimed conservative hardcore was better than progressive hardcore, an interesting statement from a polemical point of view, but now most contemporary bands desperately try to sound like the X-claim catalogue, one can not help but doubt its assets.
Then near the end of the second song a loud as fuck ugly knucklehead guitar solo comes blasting out of the speakers. Where did that come from? Now I'm listening! The band pulls the same trick on the first song on the flip. Alright, this band brings a little extra to the table. When the guitar player drops the riff and plays a solo this band is really cool. Unfortunately this only happens occasionally. Overall the Sentenced are all about that one-two-beat-cave-man-hardcore and that bores me to tears, which doesn't make this is a bad record. It's just not something I'm interested in. If you love bands like the Flex, Vacant State and Shipwrecked, this record will be right up your alley. I'm afraid it's not for me, but then again I still have hair and no tattoos so what did you expect?

Sex Bunker - Elephant Skull Ep (Self Released) (5 euro)
Debut Ep of this new Chicago band. They did two tapes before this record and both were nice. The first was pretty straight forward hardcore that reminded me of Bill Bondsmen a bit. On the second tape they sailed into noisier territory. Things got weirder and horns were included on some tunes. One song was called ‘And Now You’re Gonna Die, Wearing That Stupid Little Hat’. I have no idea what the band was referring to there, but the song title made me laugh and stuck with me. On ‘Elephant Skull’ Sex Bunker takes one step further away from hardcore. The influence is still there, probably most of all in Mez’s vocals, but several other influences are seeping in. I don’t want to turn this review into a labeling fest so I’ll keep it at that. The five songs on this 7” are all twitchy. The song structures are angular and often go against your gut. This record makes me think of drinking too much coffee. You can’t concentrate and get paranoid. Those of you with a caffeine addiction know what I’m talking about. Sex Bunker shifts from one rhythm to another, one riff to the next in mere seconds which makes the listener feel confused and disoriented. The song structures are a mess, but the songs aren’t. Some might hate this, but I love it. Why else would I drink as much coffee? The guitar sounds thinner on this record than on their demos and is doing a lot of dissonant soloing. Sex Bunker is real about what they’re doing without taking themselves overtly serious. It doesn’t get much more diy than this band. The band members wear their politics on their sleeves, which seems to be a rarity these days and is, if not for that reason only, something that should be applauded. It also makes the idea that these cats grew up on independent music from the 1990s more plausible. Opening song ‘I’d Buy that for a Dollar’ takes a stab at consumer culture which unfortunately infiltrated the punk scene in a major way. My favourite song on this Ep however is probably ‘Sir, we are they/ Where I am from’ if only because of the line ‘I don’t trust anyone who thinks they’ve got it all figured out.’ It rings close to home. The artwork of this Ep rules and seems home made. There’s an insert and a sticker included which makes for a top notch packaging. This is a cool release that unfortunately seems to have a hard time finding its audience.

Sex Drive - Urban Predator Ep (Snack Boy) (5 euro) 
Sex Drive is a newish hardcore band from the beautiful Netherlands, the country I call home. I saw the band live with Crazy Spirit and Vaccine in July and was quite captivated by their set. Whereas the supporting band is often a part of the night you have to stand or sit through and forget about all together shortly after their set is done, Sex Drive made a lasting impression. Especially their balding barking singer demanded attention. He was strutting over the stage like a wild man. I was glad to see a Dutch hardcore band do a strong hardcore set. I’d argue they were second best next to Crazy Spirit that night. 
Stoked because of faux nationalist sentiments one gets fed in primary school and is never able to shake entirely, I felt a compulsive urge to stock Sex Drive’s debut Ep. Support the locals! Be the good guy! Everyone wants to be a hero. I’m no different. So I bought some copies. Here it is. This Ep delivers five tunes on 45 rpm. The songs are short. All clock in bare seconds over a minute. Sex Drive plays hardcore music and that’s perhaps all you need to know. The band mostly plays fast, but there are parts where they slow down and the guitar player lets the feedback wail. The music is not necessarily rooted in the 1980’s nor does it sound overtly modern. Someone said this band was tapping into what Youth Attack has been known for in past years, but it isn’t that noisy really. Actually I don’t think the band is tapping into anything except their rage and urge to play. Wasn’t that where hardcore was coming from to begin with? These songs are about the riffs and the ferocious drumming. I have to admit I was more impressed by these guys when they were playing right in front of me, but overall this is a strong debut. One minor complaint however would be that the insert’s layout is a bit shitty and I think the artwork, although not terrible, could have been more fitting. Those are just asides though, because this is a good hardcore Ep by a band that shows promise. Let’s hope these guys stick around. I’d love to hear more.

Sick Mormons - Why does shit keep falling from the Sky? Ep (Gummo Punx)
In case you didn't notice yet, I'm not all that much a fan of the Dutch punk scene. Everybody knows that the best bands are from someplace else, right? Well, Sick Mormons were from my beloved country and they weren't all that bad! Still my feelings about this band are mixed. They were going for that  late 1970s LA sound ala TSOL which you can hear best in their guitar and warm bass sound.  However the Sick Mormons always had less of an artistic vibe to me yet they do go for some epic synthy part on the second song of this record. The guitar sounds cool and the bass pulls off some nice lines in these four songs. Some of these tunes will stick with you partly because of the simple lyrics. Vork's vocals are perfect snot in dumbed down English at times, but at other times I find them lame and downright annoying. The fact that the band repeats verses in every song on this makes this complaint more agonizing than necessary. I think the songs would have been better had they been shorter. I could also do without the wimpy backups. My biggest critique, however, would be that their live shows were always a snoozefest, but guess what? You can't hear that on vinyl! So if you're into surfy melodic punk this could well be your bag. The artwork is funny, but giving your songs Japanese titles isn't.

Sick People - In My Nightmare Ep (Urban Rage) (5 euro)
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Silent Era - Ep (Doomtown, Sabotage) (5 euro)
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Silla Eléctrica - No Controlo Ep (Solo Para Punks)
If you haven’t heard about Silla Eléctrica by now you must have been living under a rock. Somehow this band seems to get more attention in the States than on my beloved continent, but that goes for practically every decent Euro band. The boys and girls at MRR headquarters have been in love with this Spanish three piece since day one. Haters say there’s nothing special about this band and that there’s no reason Silla Eléctrica is getting the amount of attention they got over the past years. If I had to pick sides I’d be in the MRR camp, because I enjoy this band’s music. Silla Eléctrica plays simple yet catchy three chord punk with a garage production. Not garage as in the style of music, but garage as in these tunes might actually be recorded in someone’s garage. They don’t sound like shit, but they sound minimal which is fitting. This is the band’s fourth Ep and it delivers four new songs of which one is also on their full length that was released around the same time as this record. It’s kind of like an appetizer being served at the same time as the main course, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it’s hardly a problem either. It’s just a bit weird. If you’ve heard Silla Eléctrica before, you know what to expect and this record will not be a surprise in any way. However, like on their previous releases, this band can craft a tune and these four songs are all good. There’s nothing new to be heard on this Ep and if you didn’t like Silla Eléctrica before, ‘No Controlo’ will not make you a convert. On the other hand, if you loved this band’s previous 7”s, you will like this one too and you probably won’t give a shit that the band sounds practically the same as before. I hate it when people say shit like ‘don’t change a working formula’, but in Silla Eléctrica’s case it’s more than apt. I liked this band before. I still like them. I like this record. Give it a hear. I love the artwork and the insert. The whole package looks great.

Singvogel - 8560 Forar 7" (Mastermind) (5 euro)
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Slender - Walled Garden Ep (La Vida Es Un Mus) (5 euro)
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Slugz - Suit and Tie Ep (Feel It)
Debut Ep by this young band from Virginia, an area that got known for producing some solid 1980s throwback hardcore over the past years. Slugz don’t really fit that mould, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if you can find these boys going through record bins at Vinyl Conflict in Richmond on a regular basis and perhaps some of Brandon’s bands convinced ‘m that they too could pick up instruments to start a band of their own. Slugz’s music can best be described as filthy rock ‘n roll with a major hardcore punk influence. It’s basically hardcore kids playing rock ‘n roll. The three songs on this Ep are played with conviction. There’s no holding back and you can tell they put thought in their tunes. Furthermore these dudes can all play their instruments well which makes for songs that are more interesting than your average hardcore tune. The opening track sounds pissed as hell and is kind of their anthem. Sure the lyrics are nothing you haven’t heard before, but that doesn’t make them any less true or relevant. Is anything in punk still considered relevant today apart from obtaining the right records? Furthermore I feel like these kids are sincere which seems to be a rare thing. The drumming is heavy as hell and pretty dominant. The guitar does cool memorable leads and some not annoying solos. Even the bass is lent some moment to show his chops which, being a bass player, always makes me feel warm inside. The most striking about Slugz however is the singer who has  a raspy and filthy vocal delivery. The guy is not sparing his throat one bit on this record. If you like your hardcore with some swagger this might well be your favourite new band. I’m not in the know about any future plans for the Slugz, but I’m guessing it won’t take long before we hear from them again.

Smertegraesens Toldere - Ep (Mastermind) (5 euro)
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Snob - Exploit Me Ep (Hardware) (5 euro)
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Spray Paint/ Exek - Split Ep (Homeless) (6 euro)
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Svart Städhjälp - Under All Kritik Ep (Halvfigur) (5 euro)
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Street Legal/ Frozen Teens - Split Ep (Shut Up!)
I picked up this Split Ep for the Street Legal side so let’s start off with that one. Kansas’ Street Legal did a mighty fine demo last year. It took a while before any vinyl saw the light of day, but here it finally is. Street Legal plays punk rock with a bit of hardcore blend in. Lauren’s vocals are great. She has a strong voice and she means what she sings. I like her lyrics. They cover how life sucks and yet always have a positive message to them. I don’t mean that in some bullshit youth crew kinda way, OKAY! Most striking about the band to me is the lightning fast bass playing. The guitar plays surfy lines over the bass attack. This combination gives the band a distinguished sound. It’s a bit of a shame that the two songs on this 7” were both on the demo as well, but the recording is a lot better this time around. Especially the bass sounds clearer and less fuzzy than before. Hopefully Street Legal will do another Ep soon, because I know they’ve got some great songs on the shelves. On the flip we find Frozen Teens who hail from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Their songs are on the poppier side of things. Pop punk? I don’t know… I think there’s a huge scene for this kind of music in the States; the Fest, Pabst beer, beards, all that. Although I’m no connoisseur when it comes to this kinda music, the two Frozen Teen songs sound alright to me. The music is somewhat sugary with a warm bass sound under jangly melodic guitar lines. ‘New Year’ is a cool song with bleak lyrics. The words make the tune for me. Their other song leaves me cold. ‘Support’ is just another love song I could do without. It’s too sappy. This is a cool split Ep by two bands that are friends with each other, released by one of their friends. The packaging is nice. I’ll take a release like this over some of the semi-professional ‘must-haves’ of this day and age any day.

Strutter - Ep (Static Shock) (5 euro)
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Sucked Dry - Falling Apart at the Seams Ep (Less Slow, More Go)
Sucked Dry from Missouri deliver their first vinyl output with this here 7". As soon as the needle hits the vinyl we get to hear a pretty rocking mid-pace intro, but don't be fooled. It's just a matter of seconds before the drummer hits his hi-hat four times and the band is of to go. Sucked Dry deliver some heavy, raw and fast hardcore on this Ep. These guys sure didn't try to make themselves sound better through some studiowork. What's striking about this record is the loud one-two-three-four snare hits. It's like getting your face kicked in. Sucked Dry's guitar sound is low and harsh. The same can be said about the vocals which somehow bring to mind the first Direct Control Ep although that's probably more in the direct delivery than in the guy's voice which is way more guttural. Unfortunately there are no lyrics included, but the song titles gives a pretty bleak impression; "Give Up", "Ready to Die" and "Living in my own Filth". The artwork doesn't look too optimistic either. Sucked Dry shreds through seven song on this platter and the only time they'll leave you to catch some breath is when it's time to flip this thing over. I'm sure plenty of people will dismiss Sucked Dry as being "just another retro band", but let's just leave them to their new challenging mysterious hardcore. I'm sure these guys could care less for they're just playing the music they love for the sake of it. So if you're looking for a band that plays some harsh hardcore without any bullshit or pretention, make sure you pick this one up.

Tarantüla - Ep (Erste Theke Tonträger) (5 euro)
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Tentáculo - II Ep (Mutant and a shitlad of others) (5 euro)
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Thieves - Positive Vibrations Ep (Suburbanite, To Live A Lie)
North Carolina served us some good bands over the past years. Double Negative and Logic Problem come to mind, but apparently there's a fair share of new young hardcore bands coming from this area as of late. Thieves is one of those and "Positive Vibrations" is their first vinyl output so far. These guys deliver no less than eight songs on this Ep and you better believe me when I say there aren't too many positive vibes to be heard on this platter. The tunes are more complex than your average hardcore track without the band trying too hard. Thieves change pace a lot which makes for interesting songs. Throughout the record every band member shows his skill at some point. The guitar does some nice leads, but it's the rythm section that's stealing the show here. Fierce drumming and great clearly audible bass riffing, which is always a plus in my book, make this record standout. Thieves' singer sounds a little more monotonous on this Ep than I remember him sounding on the demo. His vocals are pretty hoarse and intense which adds to rawness of the music, but some more dynamic to his vocal delivery would benefit the band's sound, I think. The lyrics are hateful and cover both their local scene and everyday life. This is a good hardcore release from a relatively unknown scene we'll hopefully hear more from soon. In the meantime I'll give this Ep another spin.

Timmy's Organism - Wild Humanoid 7'' (Urinal Cake) (6 euro)
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Timmy's Organism - Lick Up Your Town 7'' (Total Punk) (6 euro)
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Total Trash - Ep (Deranged)
Let's start of by stating that this is not the Total Trash from the States. This Total Trash hails from Toronto, Canada. Their brand of hardcore is very different from that of their Minneapolis' brothers and sister. A nice anecdote is that the two bands apparently shared a bill on Canadian Total Trash's US tour recently. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.
Toronto's Total Trash plays mid-paced knuckle dragging oi-influenced hardcore punk. The recording is really rough. I wouldn't be surprised if these four songs are practice room recordings. There'd be nothing wrong with that. I do however feel like the vocals could have been a bit higher in the mix. Said sentiment was reinforced after going over the lyric sheet, because the lyrics are smart and worth reading. The opening track is called 'Josef K' after the main character in Kafka's 'Process'! I definitely didn't see that coming! Stupid hardcore played by the intelligentia? Or maybe these are just kids in university acting smart? I don't know, but either way I like it. It's different and I'll take it over the dumbass machismo that dominates this genre any day. This record got brutally ripped in the review section of Maximum Rock 'n Roll. It got dismissed as a bad 86 Mentality ripoff. That stroke me as somewhat unfair. For one it would not have been a reference I would have made. Urban Blight would have been my pick. Furthermore if these guys are consciously tapping into the tough as fuck style of 86 Mentality, which is up for debate, I don't get why it's ruthlessly held against them. Each band has to start somewhere and I can't help but wonder since when taking influences is considered a sin for a hardcore band. Just consider the record people went the wildest over in recent memory was a blatant X-Claim catalogue clone... but let's not digress. This record is for those who like tough, rough, meat and taters hardcore and still listen to demo tapes on their shitty boombox. Although this is not one of the better recent hardcore releases on Deranged, I would check out this band's next release if there'll ever be one.

Tumor Warlord - Subway Gas Attack Ep (Ken Rock) (5 euro)
This is the second Ep by this Danish synth punk band. Their first was on Jeth Row Records which should give the initiated a bit of an idea of what they’re in for. Tumor Warlord – what a name – sounds mean and ugly. Most striking is their singer’s voice which you either love or hate. I find myself going back and forth on the matter. Which side you’re on will probably be decisive as to whether you’ll enjoy this record or not. ‘Subway Gas Attack’, a reference to the gas attacks by members of the Aum Shinirkyo cult on the Tokyo subway system in 1995, delivers four new songs. The title track is the slow opener of this record. The song had me wondering if I was playing the record on the wrong speed. Sure, the label says it should be spun on 33 rpm, but it wouldn’t be the first time the Ken Man fooled me there. In this case the label is right though. I understand the band is trying to sound creepy by playing slow, but I can’t help but wish the song would speed up. Unfortunately my wish remains unfulfilled. This gets accentuated by the slow repetitive guitar riff and the singer’s delivery. It gives the song a nagging vibe. We’re not off for a good start here, but fortunately things get better. The other three tracks are more enjoyable. They don’t drag like ‘Subway Gas Attack’. The simple guitar line in ‘Crimson Clone’ works and makes the song memorable. The chorus in ‘Flesh is Weak’ on the flip has a cool guitar line as well. ‘Womb Stalker’ wraps the record up and is the best song here. The band picks up the pace a bit and it looks really good on them. The music drives the singer’s voice a bit to the background which isn’t a bad thing either. I don’t mean to beat on the guy. It’s just that his voice is really dominant and it’s cool to hear the band demand some more attention. This record is a mixed bag for me. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t. I wonder what’ll be next for these guys?  A full length would be interesting.

Ultra-Violent - Crime for Revenge Ep (Static Shock) (5 euro)
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Uranium Orchard - Unchurched Shithead Ep (Cold Vomit) (5 euro)
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Very Mental - Misconstrued 7" (Total Punk) (6 euro)
Debut 7” by this Olympia, Washington outfit which I bought without even hearing it, because let’s face it, it’s on Total Punk Records so you’re gonna buy it anyway. I could be less cynical and say Rich’s picks are yet to let me down, but what’s the fun in that? Punk is not about being nice. Very Mental is composed of several people you might know from previous projects, but I couldn’t tell. Can you? The singer did sound familiar, but discogs tells me Claudia hasn’t done vocals before so I guess I’m wrong. According to discogs the band disbanded in 2017 so these two songs are probably the only two we’re ever going to hear from this group. You can read all about it on discogs. Why are you still reading this? Enter a discogs-has-ruined-all-record-nerd-fun-rant here.
The guitar playing on this single is very Stooges meets Sheer Mag, but has enough teeth to make the scale tip towards the former. The vocals help on that front. They’re more in your face and less melodic than Sheer Mag’s. ‘Misconstrued’ starts off with a very Stooges-like riff that carries the tune. On this track Claudia’s vocals are backed up by a guy, whose vocal contribution I could have done without. It makes me think of John Doe backing up Exene. Although John’s voice wasn’t much of an asset for X in my opinion, the dual vocals of him and Exene are characteristic for X, who I like more and more. Perhaps the same can be said here? The lyrics of ‘Misconstrued’ are smart in an almost literary fashion. The first verse is one person’s perspective on a conversation in which he or she does not feel understood by the other. The second verse switches to the other person’s perspective, which explains how he or she want to understand the other person, but can’t get it right. Lost in communcation. It’s a very cool construction in which I hate to admit the dual vocal approach actually has merit. I feel kinda bad the lyrics will probably go unnoticed by most listeners, but that’s how it goes. The song on the flip, ‘In the Morning’, is a shorter track. The back up guy is heard of less, which is a good thing. The lyrics are about having a hard time being in a relation, because of issues with yourself and other head trouble. They’re painful to read, but feel honest and therefor are relevant. The hope expressed is that things will be better in the morning; maybe I’ll be alright after tonight. ‘In the Morning’ is a nice and personal song, but ‘Misconstrued’ is the better track here. Too bad this band is done for, but this single turns them into a bit of a KBD-legend of the 21st century which is cool. Total Punk delivers again!

The Wad - Benny's Business Ep (Lumpy Rex) (5 euro)
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Wallrides - Bomb the Hills Ep (Sweken) (5 euro)
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Wetbrain - Ep (Residue Records)
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The Wharves - Naz 7" (Upset the Rhythm) (5 euro)
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White Load - Pig Eyes 7" (Ken Rock) (5 euro)
Yet another 7” from this Providence three piece. This is their fourth single and like their first it’s one sided. I wonder what made this band fall in love with the format. There are two new songs here so they might as well have made it a two sided single. Their decision to release the record as a one sided 7” instead, reeks of a certain nihilism that’s fitting when you hear the band’s music. It also saves your lazy ass the effort to flip the thing over. The theme on this record seems to be pigs. Why? I don’t know. Are we talking cops here? The sleeve shows us a pig with a nose ring, sunglasses and cum all over his chest. A punk pig? I’d like to think there’s a hidden message in the image, but chances are there isn’t. These guys wouldn’t admit there is either way. The opening track ‘Pig Eyes’ is White Load as we’ve come to know them. I guess one could label this band as hardcore, but there isn’t any Black Flag or Die Kreuzen worship going on here. I know the band has token cues from certain old bands, but I think instead of going for a certain sound they created their own which would be best described as loud, pounding and vicious. It’s nothing new, but they do it with a lot more vigor than most. This shit is primitive and stupid in the best way. The guitar and drums sound louder than ever on this 7”. I don’t know if they did something else recording-wise, but the band sounds more powerful than before. Bigger perhaps. It’s lovely that two guys can create this much noise. The vocalis are one of the things that make this band awesome to me. The singer sounds totally insane and so angry. The lyrics are near impossible to make out although the lyrics to the second song seem to be: “Little Black Pig! You make me sick!” Poetic! The last song was originally released by Black Traitor, which was basically a White Load alias. The track is different than most White Load stuff. It’s them playing one riff into the ground Brainbombs style. Although it’s the same formula (can you really call it that?) it doesn’t sound anything like those rape and murder loving Swedes. I love this band. This shit is probably more punk than ¾ of your record collection. They just did a full-length on Load. I’m actually going to leave the house for that to buy it in a record store. Man, that hasn’t happened in ages!

Woodboot - Black Piss 7" (Total Punk) (6 euro)
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Wooden Kimono - Ep (Perennial) (5 euro)
I should have written this review ages ago, but I couldn’t get myself to. This is without a doubt my toughest write up so far, because Wooden Kimono is not a band I would have listened to had I not picked up this 7” presuming it was a hardcore record. Wooden Kimono is not a hardcore band. I don’t think the word band is appropriate here either. The four songs on this record seem to be a one-lady effort. The constant throughout the tracks is the female vocalist. On several tunes there’s also a guitar included. The guitar sounds dreamy and hypnotizes you. At times it feels as if Wooden Kimono tries to connect to your subconsciousness through the music. The most impressive song on the record does not include any instruments at all. It’s just vocals delivered over a tapping foot. It’s as if you hear someone on heels walking down an empty hallway of an abandoned psychiatry ward. It gives the song a sense of deep sorrow and isolation. There’s a distance between the recording and the listener that feels unbridgeable. There’s something introspective about the music on this 7”. The record comes in a fold out sleeve which looks like someone’s notebook. There are sketches for drawings and lots of handwritten text of which none seems to be lyrics. The random sentences come across as ideas to be worked out later or perhaps mere thoughts. The abstract and artistic artwork fits the music on the record. In fact I’d argue that they are intertwined, two parts of one whole. This Ep raises so many questions and after listening to it many times I’m still not able to answer any of them. Maybe that’s the beauty of this release.

Xylitol - ... Is Toxic to Pigs? Ep (Thrilling Living) (5 euro)
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Year of the Rat/ Clocked In - Split Ep (Bird Law) (6 euro)
The two Canadian hardcore bands teaming up on this split Ep have one thing in common; a love for Black Flag. Now I can’t imagine a punk that does not love that band in one form or another, but supposedly such specimen exist. Let’s start off with Year of the Rat’s side, because that is the one I picked this record up for. The band did an excellent cassette last year and their four songs on this record are in the same vein as their other material. This is a hardcore band with a very thick bass sound and heavy riffing. There’s dissonant guitar work which brings in the Flag reference, but instead of trying to be Black Flag, which some hardcore bands of the last years blatantly did, they’re just drinking from the same cup. The band’s singer sounds angry as hell. Every now and then one of the musicians jumps in on vocals too. The songs are dark and the lyrics are bleak covering fairly typical hardcore topics such as suicide and angst. Although the band isn’t breaking new ground lyrically the quality of the tunes more than make up for it. It’s clear from the recording that we’re dealing with a contemporary band here and that’s fine. Year of the Rat’s four songs clock in around four minutes, but somehow it doesn’t come across as particularly short. The band reminds me of Rational Animals a bit, but there’s less dirge and desperacy and more anger to their songs. On the flip Clocked In delivers one song only. It’s slower and heavier than Year of the Rat’s stuff. The theme throughout the track is a Ginn like guitar lick that will nest inside your skull whether you like it or not. The vocalist gets buried by the music a bit, but that’s alright, because this song is about the riff and not the singing. The bass on this side of the record is heavy as well. A bit burly actually. There’s a lots of low end on this 7”, but you don’t hear me complaining. The guitar runs wild at the end of the track which is pretty cool. When I started writing this review I was planning to say the Year of the Rat side is the better one, but the Clocked In song shreds as well. So why pick a side? This is a really nice hardcore record for them long haired punks who like to bang their head to some rocking hardcore. Year of the Rat could pull off a strong full length and Clocked In should do a droney 12” or something. It’d work.

Yung - Ep (Mastermind) (5 euro)
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