Being from Oklahoma NOTA is like Black Flag or Agnostic Front for me. They were/are that important, and had a huge impact on me and my friends. I didn’t really start paying attention to punk until around 1981, after all, everyone was saying it was dead. I knew of the Sex Pistols, I caught the news story about their show at Cain’s Ballroom on the local OKC channel 5 10pm broadcast, and it was the craziest thing I had seen at that point in my life. As the teen years started to come on, and the need to define myself among the masses, The Clash was the first punk band I got into. The whole notion of punk happening in a place like Oklahoma seemed inconceivable to me. That would soon change though. By 1982 I decided it was time to get off the fence and be punk, thinking I was probably the only one in the state. My best friend down the street, Dallas Vickers, got on board, so that made two of us. A short while later we discovered KGOU one night while looking to see if there was anything else on the radio other than the crummy top 40 stuff. We suddenly discovered we weren’t the only punks around (though we were not dressing the part at that moment in time). I stayed up listening to see what else there was, and discovered shows like My Tunnel, which played hardcore punk, and would inform listeners of shows in the area, and what local bands were up to. My mind was blown. There was a punk scene happening in Norman, just south of me, and in Oklahoma City, and Tulsa. Local bands like No Direction, Brown 25, Diet of Worms, Death Puppy, and others. On top of all that, there was this band from Tulsa, None of the Above, or more casually, and shortened, NOTA (pronounced No-duh, but say it quickly so you don’t sound like you’re saying, “No duhhh…”). All the previously mentioned bands were great, but NOTA were on a “whole nother level.” They had an intensity that blazed like no other. They’re on the classic Welcome to 1984 comp with bands like Rattus, Stalin, Raw Power, Upright Citizens, BGK, Crucifucks, and Terveet Kadet , so that’s says something of the level they were at. I’m of the opinion that everything this band did is worth picking up. Their output from Live at Crystal Pistol (you can get the vinyl and CD versions through Prank) on to that first album on Rabid Cat are essential.
Moscow was their first release on vinyl, and it wastes no time getting down and getting loud. Kicking off with “This Country” and keeping it at 11 all the way through “The Enemy,” “Taking Away Your Rights,” and the title track (check out that guitar riff!). It never lets up for a second! The guitars roar and snarl, and the vocals match. The bass is heavy and dark, while the drums are surprisingly catchy, despite the speedy tempos. I remember the day I got this and listening to it over and over, and my friend Dallas coming over and we cranked it until my mom pulled up in the drive way. There’s a reason we adorned our clothes with their name, and copped the art from Rusty Short to put on the back of our jackets and Oxford button up shirts. Timeless music right here.
Artcore fanzine fortunately rereleased Moscow, remastered from the original tapes. The sound is more full, and somewhat heavier than on the previous pressing(s). The packaging is pretty sweet as well, with a history of the band, some flyer art and photos, as well as lyrics and the back cover art for the original Unclean pressing included (though slightly altered). It’s part of issue 40, which includes interviews with Strike Anywhere, The Chisel, Vicious Dreams, and Septic Death, Jawbreaker, and Iconoclast in the Vaultage section. You gotta get this by all means. (MA)
Despite some slightly goofy cover art by Oxx (AKA Simon Cooper) that’s slightly reminiscent of Adam Siegel’s Infectious Grooves lizards, the two records and assorted bonus tracks shine spotlight on a metal scene and band I have never heard or thought about before. Not that I’m fully well versed in all things international metal—my knowledge of Australian rock was pretty much limited to INXS, Midnight Oil, and the Hard-Ons before listening to this double CD—but the ‘80s Sydney metal scene is a scene with a history worth exploring. So explore I did.
The two-CD reissue includes Addictive’s 1988 five-song demo, Ward 74; 1989 album, Pity of Man; and the delayed 1993 album, Kick ‘Em Hard (perhaps a riff on Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All); as well as an unreleased cover of “Crazy Train”—Kick ‘Em Hard producer Bob Daisley co-wrote “Crazy Train” with Ozzy Osbourne and Randy Rhoads—a 1990 demo of one of the first songs the band ever wrote; and the 1995-96 demo of a song intended for an unreleased third album.
Interestingly, the CD set leads with Kick ‘Em Hard, a 1991 recording finally released in 1993 after 18 months of delay—and after the band’s heyday was perhaps over and done. While an able effort, it is the 1988 demo and 1989 album that make the CD worth checking out. Both are excellent local examples of late ‘80s thrash and hint at what must have been an interesting—and very fun—time for metal in Sydney. There are definitely discernible influences in the music, particularly Metallica and Megadeth (which shouldn’t come as a surprise; Greg Smith’s vocals at times remind this listener of James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine), but other influences can be gleaned from the T-shirts worn by band members in photographs featured in the insert. Such bands include Iron Maiden, Megadeth and Metallica (natch!), Sacred Reich, S.O.D., Def Leppard, Cycle Sluts from Hell, Destruction, the Australian band Slaughter Lord—also from Sydney—and the underground comix character Mickey Rat.
Local record store Utopia Import Records—opened in 1978 by record collector John Cotter, and still active today—served somewhat as an epicenter for Sydney metalheads because the shop imported most of the NWOBHM and similar metal that inspired the Sydney scene. Bands active at the time included Detriment, Mortal Sin, Fester Fanatics, Massive Appendage, the Hard-Ons, the Melbourne-based Hobbs Angel of Death, and others. Shows occurred at local venues such as the Seven Hills Inn, Lewisham Haunted Castle, Kardomah, Springfields, Penshurst Den, Marquee, and Sutherland Royal. Mortal Sin might have been the biggest metal band to emerge from the scene, opening for Metallica in 1989 during the Damaged Justice tour and featured in Australian metal magazine Hot Metal, as well as the British magazines Kerrang! and Metal Hammer. Addictive, in turn, toured with Mortal Sin multiple times and rehearsed at the same studio—earning its own coverage in Hot Metal.
Four band members recorded Addictive’s demo and first album—Joe Buttigieg, Matt Coffey, Smith, and Mick Sultana—and Coffey left after Pity of Man to be replaced by Steve Moore for the 1991/1993 album. Both recorded at Sound Barrier Studios in Sydney, Ward 74 and Pity of Man are excellent recordings—and the highlight of this release. The demo—released in two pressings of 500, one hand labeled—featured cover art by Oxx depicting two healthcare workers and a long-haired, straitjacketed patient. A sign states, “You are now leaving Ward 74. Have a nice day.” One of the two workers says, “Why do you spose he keeps tryin’ to escape, Doc?” The doctor responds, “Beats the shit out of me, orderly. I love this place!” The original Survival issue of the Pity of Man LP featured a fantastic painted cover by John Marten depicting a robot dropping people into a giant hourglass as a woman consults a glowing orb in the distance on a desert planet. (The people might even turn into worms at the bottom of the hourglass; email Bad Transfer and let us know what you think is going on!) Despite deprecating comments in Vlad Nowajczyk’s interview with the band in the CD’s liner notes, the songs—and sound—are awesome.
Lyrical content and song themes on Pity of Man addresses conformity and control, the End Times, ozone depletion and the greenhouse effect, the Holocaust, mental institutions, parental expectations, alcoholism, and the threat of nuclear war. The instrumental introduction to the song “Come Before the Storm” is wonderfully energetic, and “The Forge”—ending the first side of the album—is itself a worthy instrumental. All five songs on the Ward 74 demo were rerecorded and included on Pity of Man.
Based on enthusiastic response to the demo and first album, later reissued on CD with new, less interesting cover art at the behest of the European distributor, the band’s second album—Kick ‘Em Hard—was fully intended to help Addictive join the ranks of Mortal Sin in terms of international attention. Mortal Sin even name dropped Addictive in a Hot Metal article, and Addictive opened for Motorhead in June 1991 at Hordern Pavilion as part of the Legendary Muthas of Metal Australian Invasion, or MetalFest, as part of Motorhead’s 1916 tour.
To produce Kick ‘Em Hard, the band enlisted Bob Daisley, an Australian musician who played with Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Uriah Heep, and other notable bands. Daisley’s songwriting credits with Ozzy Osbourne would later be the impetus for a dismissed lawsuit seeking back royalties. A video of the band playing the song “Crazy Train” with Daisley is available on YouTube. The resulting album, however, was delayed for 18 months, arguably causing the band to miss its window of opportunity for wider spread attention and success because of mysteriously missing master tapes. The tapes might have been taken to the United States by an engineer—on the encouragement of the band’s management—in search of a better recording contract. (Absconding with those tapes also led to legal action.)
With its higher production values, Kick ‘Em Hard is more polished and professional, which—though fun—isn’t always necessary. The differences between Pity of Man and its successor are as stark as the differences between the ‘80s and the ‘90s. Being recorded in 1991 and not released until 1993, the second album sits at the cusp of the decade, serving as a bridge between the two. And the band is in fine fettle. Perhaps slightly more Megadeth-like now than Metallica—Smith’s vocals are a little more pronounced and affected—the band’s technical chops are also more polished.
Song content on Kick ‘Em Hard addresses societal injustice, personal strength, medical experimentation, the environmental impact of overpopulation, addiction, uncertainty, military action and natural disasters, suicide, and relationships gone wrong.
After Addictive folded, Buttigieg and Sultana eventually joined Mortal Sin, and Moore joined Dungeon and played in other projects, including Dark Order, Enticer, Ilium, Redeemer, and Vaticide. Oddly, vocalist and bassist Greg Smith, the front man of the band, was not included in Nowajczyk’s interview. Where is he now? What is he doing? Despite Moore’s extensive band lineage, Smith seems to be the driving force behind Addictive—even if band members shared songwriting credits. (That might not at all be the case, but if any readers know where he ended up, I’m curious. I’m especially curious who wrote the lyrics.)
The band’s artist, Oxx, is also interesting creatively—and seems to have been a lynchpin in the Sydney metal scene. An artist and musician, Oxx drew cover, flier, and poster art for multiple bands, including Cruciform, Dearly Beheaded, and Fester Fanatics. He also frequently contributed artwork to Hot Metal and played drums in multiple bands, including Fester Fanatics and Massive Appendage. He was profiled after his death in Unbelievably Bad #10.
All in all, this is a wonderful archival release by a little-known (outside of Australia) band that could have been bigger globally, perhaps, had the timing of the release of their second album been better. As it is, we have labels like Tribunal and Divebomb—and fans such as Nowajczyk—to help bring bands like this increased attention, even if well after their most active days.
I find that kind of fan archive activism… addictive. (HR)
This is a reissue of the 1988 CM chet 7″ ep that originally came out on Lookout Records, but with 5 extra songs from that same demo session. This version came out on Lavasocks Records. It’s been remixed and remastered and somehow nobody fucked it up. These guys were hands down my favorite Bay Area band ever. Yes EVER! They were able to cross metal and hardcore in a perfect way that others were trying way to hard to make work. It was organic, and didn’t reek of trying too hard. They were formed out of the Bay Area metal band Desecration with Bob Yost (RIP) on vox. CM was basically Desecration without Bob on vocals.
I was lucky enough to see them a ton and got to know Joel Wing (the bassist) a little while helping to build the stage at Gilman street in maybe 86-87? This stuff sends shivers down my spine, and thirty years later I still know all the lyrics. These dudes were super political, and really helped to change a crossover metal heads way of thinking a little. I traded Joel my old band The Romper Room Rejects demo for the first CM demo.
The only thing that ever bummed me out about these guys was that about five years ago I’d tracked down the singer (Rik) for an interview. He said he’d do it but he just kept stiffing me to the point where it felt as though I was harassing him. Oh well… Still a fav for sure. Track this down if you can, it is great. (NW)
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the THEE ELDER GODS – Kill ‘EM All LP 17 songs in all!
Do any of you remember the 1990 movie Night Breed wherein a bunch of misfit friendly monsters are living underground, terrified of humans, until one day they boil over and take a stand against us…the dreadful standard humans? There was more junk going on than that, but at the core of it is how I feel about the Thee Elder Gods. The Thee Elder Gods are nice monsters trying to coexist, but folks just keep pushing them until blamo!! And the wreckage they leave in their wake is beautiful, unsettling, and compelling.
Lyrically and musically they hit the 80s classic HC but with nods to Th’Inbred, NOMEANSNO, Rhythm Pigs, and even a little bit of Schlong. It’s easy to follow along with the lyric insert and then a surprise musical uppercut just floors you. Starting off the LP with the song “Don’t Have a Cow”, “Senators in Love”, “I Am Satan”, into “Well-Heeled Baron” sets the pace for a truly one- of-a-kind experience. The lyrics are frightening and poignantly filled with a palpable and beautifully and sometimes misguided rage. Most of the time you’ll hear a band shout out some vague angry shit like “I’m broken and I’ll take you to the crusher” or some junk like that. However, when the Thee Elder Gods belt out “I got so mad when they remade Ghostbusters, that I went outside and burned down a cop car” you can really feel it. Eloquently putting a face to something that actually is irksome (like remaking a classic) vs someone yelling some vacuous junk like “my anger is a cancer to destroy your rules”. Take into consideration that we’re all trapped in this very peculiar time, an album like this swoops in and carries the precise amount of first human “thump thump” thinking and acting without consequence eg. “there are two reasons to go out after dark, first reason is to make the neighbor’s dog bark, the second reason is to turn into shark and eat up all the girlies selling hand jobs in the park”. Follow that up with “You might never be Lee Harvey Oswald but can still be someone’s hero” from the song “1981” and that gives you a reasoned sense of where they land on issues. “Well-Heeled Baron” starts right in with the gut kick of “A circumcised and well heeled baron, had it sweeter than a blowjob from the ice-cream man’s mother” and then the song takes a dark(er) turn. I won’t even get into the lyrics for “Octopus Hands” because I don’t want to give anything more away.
This album is the most unabashed, yet unpretentious, and the quintessential grey skied Middle West record I’ve heard since maybe Negative Approach’s “Tied Down” and an essential addition to everyone’s plastic stacks. This is going to be one of those records that in 20+ years you are going to say you had….but, in truth, you didn’t because you slept on it because you weren’t comfortable stepping outside your box. Look, give it a shot. If you get it, play it, hate it, shelve it for 5 year and try again, and do that 4 times and if it still hasn’t connected with you then in 20+ years you’ll be able to sell it for a ton of cash to someone much more musically evolved than you. (JD)
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Dropdead both musically and as long time friends. Interaction with them helped change my life for the better and helped form some of my opinions in the 90s. Yes, I will forever gush about them (and this new album). I don’t think it’s much of a secret that I’ve been a pretty apolitical person for a good few years now. I must say though that this is maybe one of the most raging of political records I’ve heard in forever and I fucking love it! Lyrics are printed big enough for old timers like me to be able to read ’em (unlike the past). This shit is so catchy.
I’ve often worried about Bobs vox for a little bit (sounded like he was really straining and losing them). Whatever has happened to them has made them have a great metal crossover feel to them. I love the idea of metal heads picking this up and it changing their musical outlook forever.
This might be their best album to date. I know this is blasphemy to say, but the songs, the production, the layout… everything about it is just tops. It’s not a short 45 rpm LP, it’s straight up 33.
Don’t snooze on this. This will def be a top 10 for me and 2021. (NW)
This is LMI’s third LP (first two were CD only, but whatever) and I feel that this band is at a very intriguing point in the ark of where the band started and where they are now. This is a style of hard-core that has a crossover metal tinge with some surprisingly great upbeat hooks and LMI do a very good job of it. I feel as though they’re at a point where if they stay exactly where they are, with the slightly muddy production, great bass playing and dual vocals that they will add fans. However, if they decide to overextend themselves and get a little more technical and add clarity to the production, they might collapse from rising start to black hole. Lyrically, it’s the sort of angry poems that a kid would write in high school and the delivery is dependable. Here’s where I struggle, it’s a great record, there’s no doubt about that. However, compared to some of the other Handstand Records releases I’ve heard, and combined with the overall latest batch of stuff that I reviewed, there’s nothing about it that stands out. This is a very good record to put on while you’re doing stuff and it will definitely keep your heart rate up and moving through the day. If you’re trying to get your 10,000 steps in or you have to prep for a dinner party and you just need your chopping skills amped up a bit, then this is the record for you. Conversely, if you’re looking to sit down with something and read along and feel like you’re part of the experience, this doesn’t quite have me connected in that way. Some of the guitar lines are melodic and catchy for the style of music and for a power trio, it’s uniquely complex. Let me be clear, I’m not an expert on this but I do know what I like, and I think a very simple thing that could connect me to this are the lyrics. I like to sit down and read along with the record and with the vagueness of some of these, it’s hard for me to really find an attachment to the band. Musically, I think that they are great and if the singers could just maybe consider adding something personal about themselves, their day, or to be more precise, identify a theme of a song whether, specifically what you don’t like, what you do like, the way a tree looks in winter, a crush on Jessica Rabbit…I dunno. It’s that the constant anger and sorrow pushed off in vague ways with the standard adjectives isn’t quite grabbing me like it usually something like this would. I felt that somewhere along the way there wasn’t really that suffering and anger they are trying to express but moreover they are trying to stay within the sonic guardrails of the music is that they are making. Again, this is a great musically thoughtful record but could it have been more moving and captivating as an instrumental record for me, maybe. I like words and I appreciate when lyrics are authentic even if they are silly or hurtful or uncomfortable.
I do recommend you check this band out and decide for yourself. The musicianship is terrific and it’s entirely possible that I’m being overly critical considering I am well aware that overall lyrics in hardcore have become uninteresting and less evocative. (JD)
The gatefold cover, the printed inner sleeve, the download code card and the he creamy yellow of the vinyl are all visually stunning. I feel like this record should have come with a set of game pieces, rules and directions to uncover the mysteries held within the elaborate artwork. I was so distracted with the gatefold that I didn’t look closely at this record and put it on at 33. I was so struck by the opening guitar that I had to sit down. My first thought was that their opening song was a cover of “Mercy Seat” by Ultra Vivid Scene. What a way to start a record, with an obscure cover of one of the best Shoegaze songs ever written and with both bands being from NYC, it made perfect sense. However, as the song played on I realized that it was similar to “Mercy Seat” but the song was their own. No matter, I still liked it. It was around the last song on side A, “Animal” that I started to think that the singer was dragging a bit and there could be two reasons for this: 1. The dude drank a bottle of Robitussin and it’s starting to kick in. or 2. I have this on the wrong speed. Sure enough I looked at the spinning 12 inch record and saw a bright red 45 spinning at 33.
Restarting from the beginning this record now has a completely different feel and it’s catchy as hell. Imagine taking all the great Shoegaze songs and speeding them up to a Buzzcocks velocity and whamo! you’ve got Kissed by an Animal. Now that these songs are at the proper speed and have the hooks hitting in time doesn’t mean that it’s all sunshine and flowers. There is a subtle sorrow and darkness to a few of these tunes, a longing and lamented mistakes vibe, yet playful at the same time, as if to reassure the listener that mistakes are ok and keep making them. There was a label called Plan-it-X Records in the mid-90s (a little research shows that they are still a label…well what do you know … ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ) that filled out their catalogue with bands that parallel the sound of Kissed By An Animal. However, where the difference lies is that, well, let’s say a bunch of Planet X bands found a pot of gold, they would return it to the leprechaun and ask him if he wanted to join them in a meadow to play kickball. I get the feeling that if Kissed By An Animal found that same pot of gold they would ring the doorbell, leave it on the porch of the leprechaun, watch and giggle from the bushes as he realized that all of his lost gold had been peed and farted on. This is another Killer release from Handstand Records and if you mix up the speeds, like I did, you get two records for the price of one! (JD)
Drilling for Blasting – Fingers Are the Best Eyes LP This record knocked my socks off. I’ve been a fan of Doug Ward since, I guess, 1986 when I heard the song “Bella Lugosi’s Not Dead (You Are)” on a mix tape from my cousin. After hearing that, I couldn’t find flaws with anything he’s touched and that includes a collaboration with Ben Weasel, from the band Screeching Weasel. The times I saw 8-Bark left me staggered but let’s get to the band at hand, Drilling for Blasting.
There is a recurrent problem with people who stay in a music community for a long period oftime. A.) Staying relevant. B.) Keeping the same level of torment and fury that you had in your teens and have it be authentic and compelling. Drilling for Blasting manages to do that with a message and delivery that hits with each note and syllable. Doug’s guitar is at times, very direct (what you’ve come to expect from a punk veteran) however, at other times, there is a blues influence that jolts in, adding to the angst and anger of the lyrics. For me, what gives this superiority over peers and the general quagmire of music these days is the drumming of Kammy Lee. Her drumming has me on the edge of my seat. There’s a mountain of weighted tension waiting for things to fall in line but she’s staggering her rhythms, adding punch precisely where it’s needed and not backing down. She lets off the gas enough to let you know she’s in control of this ride. The song “Run Out” has my favorite drummer rock trick of all time and that’s the sound of clicking wood on metal. Then this bass line that’s seems to be from outer space drops in (although they have no bass player, like The Doors). Lyrically it’s encapsulating everything I’m feeling right now in these peculiar times; sarcastic, dumfounded, hollow, unsteady, bored, busy, anger, confused, etc. There are a few more surprises on this but I want you to enjoy your own discovery. I’m floored by this record. Please go buy all the copies. (JD)
Do you remember that husky fella that ran the magazine that made fun of everything? Well as it turns out, he doesn’t just have a speaking voice that seems a higher pitch than you think would come out of a person that displaces that much air in the room but he also does a record label. I recently grabbed 9 of his releases and we are going to go through them right now in 3 parts.
BLACK HELICOPTER – I’ve never heard the band Black Helicopter but I listened to an MP3 of the cover of the good Bullet Lavolta song, “Dead Wrong”. I like that good Bullet Lavolta song so I decided to take a chance on it. When I dropped the needle I was surprised to hear a relatively clean 90s pop song with a female vocal and nearly Ted Leo(ish) when Ted hits those high notes. This Black Helicopter band was great from the start but I began to notice that her phrasing seemed a little off and by the end of the song. I consider that maybe this two song record is actually a 33 instead of a 45. As it turns out, this record is supposed to be on 33 and now I feel like I got 4 songs for the price of 2. Everything is coming up roses. On 33 it has a little bit more of a swing feel like a more upbeat Codeine. There’s some beautiful and haunting guitar work on this. So now I’m curious to flip it over and check out their version of the good Bullet Lavolta song “Dead Wrong”. I love it when a band takes a cover song and truly makes it their own. However, usually there is a little part of the original that you can latch on to but I don’t recognize this song at all. I listen through it a few times to see if maybe I just didn’t remember the lyrics or how that good Bullet Lavolta song goes. As it turns out, I contacted the record label and there was a mistake. This band isn’t even Black Helicopter. This mystery band with Black Helicopter labels in a Black Helicopter sleeve and not being Black Helicopter or the good Bullet Lavolta song, this band has a new fan in me. In defense of the label, they did say that if I wanted to send it back they might be able to dig up a proper Black Helicopter record with the one good Bullet Lavolta song on it. However, I chose to just keep this. I haven’t heard Black Helicopter but because of their name, I’m hoping that they are a bunch of drunk uncles sitting around band practice talking about how the JFK assassination was an inside job. I want to keep that thought with me and maybe never hear them. I’m completely happy with this record and If I get a hankering to hear the good Bullet Lavolta song, I’ll just grab the OG from the shelf. The Real Black Helicopter
A DRUG CALLED TRADITION– Warning Lights b/w Cotton Fever I put this on and it sounds familiar because guess what… this is what had Black Helicopter labels on it. So please see the above Black Helicopter review to read about what this sounds like and how to get more bang for your buck. The not Black Helicopter but still great
A couple of these records were for a birthday party In Athens, GA for the band H2O and their 50th release on Revelation Records or something like that. I get the event details mixed up but what’s important is how they sound.
TAR/ MAN…OR ASTRO-MAN split 7in. Here’s a thing that I messed up on. Back in the 90s, I associated people with music that they liked and I ended up missing out on a bunch of cool stuff. For example, because Jordan was a total fucking jerk and Jordan liked the band Tar, therefore, Tar must be a band that only total fucking jerks liked. I know that the math doesn’t quite work out and because of that, I really missed out on the band Tar. Even though they were on a split with Jawbox, I never listened to the Tar side because, ya know, Jordan is a fucking jerk. So now I have my regrets and I’ve been trying to gobble up Tar records whenever I see them. The Tar song is called “Feel This” and it’s killer! It has all the elements that make bands like Crane and Jawbox terrific while never losing their identity by falling into milquetoast as some of their peers have done. As for Man…Or Astro Man, again I missed out on this band. To be honest, I don’t quite hate myself for it but I do dislike myself a little bit for not giving it a try. To be clear Jordan had nothing to do with why I didn’t give Man…Or Astro Man a shot. I had always assumed that they were a surf guitar band. The first song is a driving crazy garage rocker that is right up my alley and could be on any of the “Bloodstains” or “Killed by Death” comp records. Track two is that surf/polka thing I’d expected but completely listenable. It may have just been that my brain was on the same wavelength for their outer space surf rock. To be honest, who knows? If you get a chance to grab a hold of this record then you totally should. Tar/Man… or Astroman?
HONEY RADAR Bonus Show 7″ Side A … I listened to the first side and was jamming on the amazing upbeat tunes so I flipped the sleeve over because I didn’t remember them having a woman in the band. Guess what…they don’t. I had it on the wrong speed (again). So let’s give this another shot. Ok, there we go, a bit slower with a showgaze/Guided By Voices quality. Several of these songs were recorded live on WFMU In NJ and one song for that Athens, GA party I mentioned . All in all there are 6 really good tunes on here compiling a terrific cross section of some of the band’s best songs, very well done. Honey Radar – Bonus Show
HONEY RADAR – Psychic Cruise 7″ EP This 4 song record was recorded at home, probably in showers, closets, and maybe under a porch, I’m guessing. It’s amazing to hear a live record first and then hear the recorded versions and realize how true these guys are live to the actual sound of the recordings. I really do think that it is a notable feat for a band that is able to come close to the recorded material versus live material. It’s not easy. Some of my favorite bands are great recorded while also are/were a garbage fire live. Musically this reminds me of some of those early Jesus & Mary Chain and Felt records with a nod to a particular band from Dayton OH. This is a great little record with 4 great tunes. Honey Radar – Psychic Cruise
SHARK TOYS – 2 song banger (you get five tunes with the current preorder) This is total old school punk/new wave/art wave, Killed by Death disjointed herky-jerkywonderfulness. There’s so much going on in these two songs from the early 80s SO/CAL Minutemen, 100 Flowers, to a handful of influences from Hell Comes to Your House comps to the rest of the Bemisbrain Records bands. It could fit well on a Messthetics comp CD. I would love to hear a split LP with Shark Toys and the Neutrals. Shark Toys is my favorite record of this batch. Shark Toys – Out of Time 5-song-ep
REVERENDS – Divisadero B/W Still Well7″ single The cover is interesting because it’s either a sunrise (or sunset) with a silhouette of a person that has a booger coming out of their nose. So, I’m not really sure what to expect. “Divisadero”, something about this reminds me of Robin Hitchcock in all the very best possible ways. With clear eloquent vocals, pretty little guitar playing, song about a girl ….how could you go wrong? It’s a mid-tempo dreamy Pop song with lyrics that take you along for a ride. “Still Well”, this one is a bit slower and maybe a little more dreamy than the A-side. It has a quality to it more like, and I know I’ve mentioned this band already, the slower Felt songs. And maybe even a little Velvet Underground injecting itself, due to the music, reminds me of the song “Shiny Boots of Leather”. It doesn’t sound like that but has the feel of that song, it’s certainly haunting like that song. I really dig this and I’m hoping that someone handed the person on the cover a tissue by now. The Reverends aka booger guy
VANGAS – Every Day Is The Same B/W Sandstone 7″ single I was not expecting this! It’s totally heavy and would fit perfectly on a show with the Jesus Lizard, Laughing Hyenas, Crain …etc. The sleeve says that this was recorded it in a cold dark basement. (and it completely sounds it.) It sounds like these guys were locked in a moist stone walled room and are pleading for their lives to get out. I bet you they had dog collars on and we’re chained to a wall and only fed spaghetti from a can. This first cut “Every Day is the Same” is perfect for this pandemic in the way that horror is continually happening all around us but I couldn’t tell you if it was Tuesday or Saturday. “Sandstone” starts with a repetitive guitar and drums that could start a fire with their panic and chaos. Then, as quickly as it started, it breaks into a very droning and hypnotic rhythm. The song is captivating in a way that I don’t hear a lot of these days. As the song continues there is a creeping feeling that grabs you by the back of the brain and then they just start stabbing with a guitar line that hurts me right behind the eyes, quietly singing just a few decibels too soft to be able to make out his mantra of good or evil. This very much reminds me of the Rye Coalition. This is terrific. Vangas = its terrifyingly accurate for how I’m feeling right now
V-GIRL – Recycler EP (4 songs) I like the cover and layout of this record quite a bit. I’ve always been a fan of record art that makes you feel like you’re only seeing part of something much larger and this hits that box dead center. Musically, this has a distinctly DIY 90s sound. I feel like this would have fit well on No Idea Records or maybe early Merge, and has a great Pohgoh feel. The songs themselves are pretty driving, upbeat and straddles the catchiness of 90s pop punk and interesting arrangements of 90s emo. Her vocals, like most 90s DIY records, have fallen into the trap of being mixed a bit low. Every band has a recording like this that were most likely done by a friend of the band with a 4-track in their parent’s basement. I would have loved a lyric sheet to be able to read along because this is one of those records that you’d want to sit down with and read along. Look, I like this a lot but I’m really doing a poor job of selling you on it. It has a very nostalgic feel to it and I’m happy that it’s bubbled to the surface. V-Girl – Recyler EP (JD)
For me Dropdead might be one of the most important 1990s HC bands. I first saw them shortly after the demos were released in 1992 with Taste of Fear and Disrupt at a Unitarian Church in Albany, NY. Bob scared all of us by strutting around, and getting in peoples faces looking like an insane drill instructor or something. They helped to change and shape me forever. Their politics, and love for all things living really hit home with me. On top of that the fast gritty raw noise that they made was always keen to my ears. A perfect match.
If you aren’t familiar with Dropdead they are from Providence, Rhode Island, and have been around for 30 years, or something ridiculous. These demos started it all… “At the Cost of an Animal” is a brutal classic anthem that thousands of punks world wide know and sing along to religiously. It’s sort of their “Breaking the Law”… they play it at every show no mater what.
At any rate this LP is a remastered version of the bands two 1991 demos. Seventeen songs on side 1, and another 8 songs on side 2 (including a cool Infest cover). I’m glad to see this finally come out, I’m really not sure how it hasn’t been booted already after all these years. It’s always been evident to me that the band was really influenced musically by Swedish and Japanese HC …No Security is who first comes to mind when I listen to Dropdead, but there are many other bands that influenced these guys. (NW)
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