THE PSYCHOS • One Voice LP

THE PSYCHOS • One Voice LP

Radio Raheem

psychos_1

This band was legendary to most of us who missed them in the early days.  I recall my buddy Telf had a cassette of the demo with zero info… no song titles, nothing… just the cassette tape. He’d play it for us all (a small group of hardcore buddies in upstate NY), but he would never allow any of us to copy it. He held it closely like it was the only copy.  That just sort of added to the legacy and mystery of this early New York Hardcore band.  All I really knew about them was that both Billy Milano and Roger from AF played in the band at different times.  That along with holding onto and trying on the classic T-shirt my buddy Jim MacNaughton’s wife owns were what I knew.  

Cooch and company over at Radio Raheem did a great job cleaning this shit up… I can only imagine what they had to work with as far as tapes, graphics etc. go. 

psychos_4

psychos_3

In my opinion, this is an absolute must for anyone who deep dives into New York Hardcore.  Musically, this is very sloppy but also super catchy with a ton of heart and sometimes out of tune classic NYC hardcore.  It has everything a fiend might be scouring for… Good mosh parts, Don Fury recordings, a couple tracks with Tommy Rat on vox,, and some very cool images many of us have never seen of the band before now.   The booklet that comes with this vinyl is pretty incredibly put together. It looks cherry.  

psychos_2

The one take I took out of this record was that It seems that the only two constants in this band over the years were the drummer and guitar player.  Singers and bassists seemed to be a rotating cast of characters.  

Don’t sleep on this.  (NW)

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Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA

BUFFET • All American LP

BUFFET • All American LP

Knw-Yr-Own, All You Can Eat, Resurrection

Buffet cover

When I first looked at the cover to this record I thought it was going to be some crummy pop punk band, or “folk punk.” Well, dear reader, the Buffet cover is very misleading. Instead of vapid pop punk, or “folk punk,” what these guys are cranking out reminds me of 7 Seconds (the vocals and some of the speedy parts), Clit Boys (strictly in the vocal delivery at times), and mid to late 1980s hardcore when bands started to experiment with structure changes and slowing tempos down to accentuate the faster parts. I hear traces of the later 80s Dischord sound in this too. Lyrically, they tend to be goofy with songs about pizza, shopping, material items, and things of that nature. But scratch just below the surface and these songs are observations on pressing issues of today, it’s just that they’re not bashing you over the head with the message. Clever tactic.

This is pretty good for a debut, and I wonder if there will be more to come. (MA)

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Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA

UNKNOWN RIVER DIRVER / RATIONS NOISE • split 12″ EP

UNKNOWN RIVER DRIVER / RATIONS NOISE • split 12” EP

86’d Records

URD:Rations Noise

Unknown River Driver sonically spin the control dials of the WayBack Machine, taking us back to 1991/92 with their mix of Jawbreaker (especially in the vocals) and Drive Like Jehu, but in place of love songs and who knows what exactly Drive Like Jehu were singing about, Unknown River Driver address the turmoil and politics of life, delivered in a poetic fashion and not with a bludgeon. The instrumental, “Song of the Cicada” stands out for its morose mood, but it’s the closer, “Misery & Liberty” which I like most, and it really sounds like a lost Drive Like Jehu track with the heavy drumming that gives more lift to the strong riffs. These five songs are an excellent introduction, and hopefully there’s more in the works. 

Rations Noise is just that. These five pieces are sound collages culled from live, practice, and studio recordings and reworked into sounds mostly unrecognizable. The purpose is to raise awareness, and hopefully inspire action in regards to the effects of the US using drones in war. It’s a grim and unsettling listen throughout, which I imagine is the intent. This could easily be a soundtrack for a documentary on the subject. It could be interesting to see if Rations continues to experiment with their sound in the future. Why not?  (MA)

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Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA

 

NEUTRALS • Kebab Disco LP

NEUTRALS • Kebab Disco LP

Emotional Response

Neutrals_2_Jason_Hendardy
Neutrals, not Swiss! Photo by Jason Hendardy

The more I listen to Kebab Disco the more I think it’s a brilliant record, and one that will stand the test of time. The Neutrals (members from Airfix Kits, Terry Malts, Giant Haystacks, Magic Bullets, Razz, and Cocktails) play angular and jangly post punk drawing influences from the usual suspects and deftly manage to not be a knock off fan band. There’s a huge pop element in their sound that elevates them high above the crowd in a genre that can be too po’ faced, and ridiculously dour at times. This pop side emphasizes the herky jerky rhythms, and those herky jerky rhythms emphasize the pop side. I’m in the moment of absorbing these songs as I type up this review. You know how it is. You’re trying to do two things at once, but one is more interesting and appealing than the other. In this instance, it’s the music, and I’m listening while at the same time searching for the combination of words to convince you that this is a record you need run out and get. But songs like “Food Court”, “Swiss”, and “Half Knife” come on and I’m knocked prone because these are great songs, and I prefer to be in the moment listening and wishing it could go on for a couple minutes longer. The rhythm section is the balm to the jagged guitar, but what really stands out for me are the lyrics. Twelve short stories with clever turn of phrase, introspective without being self absorbed, at times nostalgic without being defeated. This album is somewhat of a concept album in the sense that these songs are Allan MacNaughton (vocals, guitar) relaying autobiographical stories about his youth in Scotland to his move to San Francisco on the mid 1990s, reflecting on the changes that come with time and age. The one constant theme is looking for one’s place in the world, whether it’s finding yourself among the structures and codes of youth culture, to the changes a city undergoes to be somewhat unrecognizable in comparison to its more interesting past. There’s an anger and resentment here, but these songs do not descend into the void of despair and defeat. Despite it all there’s this sense of the need to keep on going and carving out one’s niche no matter what else is happening around you.

If I were to keep a list of “the best of 2019” records without a doubt Kebab Disco would make that list, perhaps at the top. Many an evening has been spent listening to this over and over and over, and the songs have run through my minds in the following mornings. You will fully understand when you get this. Go on. (MA)

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Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA

DEAD OF NIGHT self-titled 7″

DEAD OF NIGHT – self-titled 7″ single

Red Menace Records

Dead Of Night

Getting a random record in the mail is like answering a phone call from an unknown number; that call could be a long lost friend wanting to catch up or a person trying to get you to do a survey about your insurance. In the end, it’s all a bit doomed but one of them is easier to stomach and the other you fuck with or hang up on (you decide).  However, that wasn’t the case on either side with this Dead of Night 45. I really needed this stamp right now. It hit on all the sorrow and anxiety I was already feeling. It amplified it and then calmed me in knowing that these fellas are sad, too. Musically it sorta reminds me of that one Amebix LP that’s really sorrowful for the past lyrically and drags you from ditch to ditch in with a concussive sonic attack.

Here’s the thing though, it is so heavy and hopeless that I want to find these fellas and pet their hair and tell them that everything is going to be OK. You know what I mean? Like maybe just a hug, some eye contact, and a sincere “I like you, you’re worth it”. But if I do that, they could lose the thing that makes this so great. Also, let’s be honest, if you listen to this it is pretty obvious that these guys are adults. To be clear, I’m referring to the misery that comes through losing a parent or child, a car crash, losing a job, having friends OD, no longer living in a punk house and having to pay bills, break ups, back togethers, realizing your vote means nothing, ideas and dreams crushed under the yoke of everyday life, prolly growing up going to church for a while and having an internal conflict over being in a country that is on the Lord’s side but also responsible for so much suffering, having a kid and not knowing how to protect her/him from what you know is coming… or whatever, all cool. So on and on, I guess. I’m just saying that I felt a connection. Those Amebix folks were young and they made a record around what they thought the world was, wherein Dead of Night is living through that world and their commentary isn’t hyperbole or fiction, it’s truth.

Look, Dead of Night, I’m headed to Maryland Death Fest this week with my pals Will T, Keith H, Kyle H, Mario T, and David M.  If any of you from Dead of Night are there too, I’ll give you a big hug, tell you it’s all going to be OK and then I’ll pull you close and whisper in your ear something like “in these 30 seconds we took to meet, 1000 puppies were gutted and twice as many children lost their fingers in machines making shoes for you” just to fuel the fire for your next record.

My only critique, and it might be the style that I’m not familiar with, but for anyone that gets this melancholy heavy banger, it’s cut a little quite and bass heavy so I turned up the treble a bit and cranked the volume.

Side A The Culling
Side B The Scourge
(JD)

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Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA

PINOCCHIO self-titled 7″ EP

PINOCCHIO – self-titled 7” EP

Toxic State Records

pinocchio cover

I’m turning 50 at the end of this month, and I’m jaded, cynical, and grumpy for the most part, but that’s how life plays out. Despite all that, every now and then I hear or see something that makes me believe that things aren’t all that shitty. Things like this Pinocchio EP. Sure, the cover is pretty bland, and easy to overlook, but get past that and you will be far more than pleasantly surprised. When I listen to this record it makes me think we’re on the cusp of some great era in punk. Maybe we’re in the midst of it already, I don’t know. What I do know for sure is this is one of the fucking best punk records I’ve heard in years, possibly the past couple decades (not like there’s any real stiff competition, but let’s not split hairs in my excitement). Listening to this EP gives me the same rejuvenating rush I felt when I latched on to punk in 1981. A new world rife with possibility, and everything sounded fresh and great. It makes me want to be involved, instead of standing at the back or on the sidelines. I listen to this and wonder what their live shows are like, and I would love to had been there when they were writing and recording these songs. Every song on here is inspired. Pinocchio inhabit a sound somewhere between punk and post-punk, but they’re not nailing their feet to the floor to stay in one place. It’s in doing so that gives them life and keeps them from being a reenactment band. The woman who sings has a great voice, and never delves into histrionics. Her focus aids in the sonic impact with the rest of the band. Imagine the Slits and the Delta 5 without the reggae influence crossed with early American hardcore. “My Time Vol.1” reminds me of the Talking Heads with its walking beat, minimal instrumentation and lyrics. They wrap it up in the second volume on the second side by cranking up the energy before reverting back and turning tables with the close “Your Time.”

The “Light Speed” trilogy brings the faster tempos into the fold and tilt towards mania at times. “Behind You”, which sits in between volumes two and three, floors every single time. The tempo is at a boil, a catchy as hell beat, and the vocals are in fine form. “Trick Plane” is godhead with the tribal percussion, confrontational attitude, and it’s brevity leaving you wanting more. (MA)

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Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA

CITY HUNTER Deep Blood 12″

CITY HUNTER – Deep Blood 12″ 45

Youth Attack Records (YA 103)

City Hunter

I’ve been following everything Mark (McCoy) has been doing with Youth Attack Records since the beginning….yup day one, I was there.  For me to see the evolution of his label has been a pretty incredible thing to watch over the years. Its been awesome and makes me proud of an old friend.  I still can’t help but to wonder why, and how he still does it to the degree that he does.  He puts everything he has into the packaging, layout and the sound that many of the YA bands seem to carry. Then right after the record comes out, usually the bands break up.  

At any rate, on to the record review.  When I got this City Hunter 12” I was in awe just by looking at the complete package.  It looks like every single slasher film that I’d stay up late for in the 80’s to watch on USA’s Up All Night.  City Hunter are from from Colorado and feature members of Cadaver DogCivilized, and Creep Stare.  This seems to be a very incestuous scene that have put that region on the HC map.  

When I first put this on my turntable I had sort of the same feeling I had when I first heard Carcass.  I’m not sure why, maybe because its extreme in a way I haven’t been exposed to in a while?  I’m by no means saying these cats are as good as Carcass.  I do however find the band to have some what of a Carcass feel that is mixed in with Void, and then a black metal element in the guitar melodies.  The melodies have me able to hum along with the songs even though the music is so chaotic and rawly tuneless.  The beginning of the song Schizo really had me feeling the Void thing.  Fourteen killer songs that have had me listening to this on multiple occasions.  

Advice…listen kids if you want to get signed to YA you must worship Void.  Its a fucking no brainer!  

Get this City Hunter if you still can, everything about this record is beautifully ugly.  

The song titles…

01. Watching Blood Darken 

02. Living Nightmare 

03. Bind Torture Kill 

04. Beyond Recognition 

05. Crimson Streets 

06. Dark Descent 

07. Open Season 

08. Silhouette of Death 

09. Dying Out 

10. Stab and Repeat 

11. Slow Death 

12. Hollow 

13. Schizo 

14. One By One

(NW)