SNOTTYNESS... Punk Rock Classic - World Contender - Worth A Listen - Average - Plastic - No Future
Adri of the Voids
'The Voids' Tape 1998.
This early 6-track demo tape by the Voids from Fullerton, CA was passed onto me by Adri their singer. I think it's worth checking out even though they've changed their sound somewhat and lost a singer and guitarist since this was recorded back in 1998. The six frenzied songs on here give us a hint of what they are capable of. I like this demo coz it's different from most punk bands around today. The male vocal slots give it a new dimension. And I still can't understand the lyrics but 'Window Sill' has one of those menacing riffs that I personally can't get enough of. There's an early version of 'Signal' on here too, which naturally don't sound as cutting as their current version, and with 3 different vocals all bunched up together you can see why. So check out their superior version on the recently released split 45. Ex-guitarist and chief lyricist Social Dave makes his presence felt big style on this demo as the driving force behind the band at this stage in their career. He takes over a lot of vocals and the dual girl vocals sometimes seem secondary to his songs mysterious meanings. With Dave and Maria now long gone, the band are more streamlined giving remaining singer Adri (who has the more powerful vocal) a free range. The Voids however can sometimes be too clever for their boots, and it especially shows on songs like 'Seraph's Descent' which reads like it was written by Radiohead or some Oxford graduate...not a punk band. Maybe that's one of things that makes em so different from their punk contemporaries, they don't sound like no-one else...which is good ain't it? The Voids still have that speedy attack and tightness that currently propels em but this demo has a more varied guitar sound which I hope to see more of on the soon come album of new material. Great production too!
WORTH A LISTEN Contact the band at

Chelsea 1982
'The Punk Singles Collection 77-82' (ahoycd98) CD 1998.
This CD pays tribute to the very best moments of Chelsea from day one to the early 80's. And as the title says it's a singles collection and rightly so, coz
Chelsea were a definitive singles outfit! They recorded some good punk tunes on vinyl and although their LP's were always pretty patchy, this collection is all your ever gonna really need to hear by this band. Chelsea were a group who looking back on their catalogue, produced the goods pretty consecutively with the odd classic dose of punk rock emerging. Particularly on their early anthem's like 'Right To Work' and 'High Rise Living'. And surprisingly for 23 tracks there's only a few fillers on here namely 'Rockin Horse', 'New Era and the rowdy but basic 'Freemans'. But even with a completely different lineup apart from old barrow boy Gene October in their ranks, by the early 80's their songs still have that distinct Chelsea swagger amongst the guitars and arrangements, and this collection positively stinks to high heaven of '77 punk! Which I fucking can't get enough of!!! During the early 80's Chelsea put out a couple of 45's that even come close to their early '77 classics take the infectious 'Evacuate' and 'War Across The Nation' for example, with their anthemic demeanor. Yeah this is worth checking out it you wanna smell, feel and taste that original UK punk spirit and sound. UK CONTENDER (£8.99 UK or £10.99 R.OW.) PO Box 501 High Wycombe, Bucks, HP10 8QA,UK. or e-mail
NARCOLEPTIC YOUTH 'Classified' Tape (LMR-03) 1998
Now here's a punk band who are well worth your attention (where have you heard that before?). But seriously everything about Narcoleptic Youth sounds good. From the professional packaging down to the tunes and song content. It all adds up to what punk rock is or should be about today, if only the majority of bands had this much suss! 'Classified' kicks off the proceedings with a feed backing Dickies influenced stomper, and the crazy dumb "Crayon" vocal delivery is memorable done by main man and Narcoleptic dynamo Joey Bondage. Mr Bondage is the Leonard Graves of the 21st century on this recording. And like the Dickies, Narcoleptic Youth sing about a vast circle of subjects, ranging from the perverse to the diverse and anything else ending with a curse...I fucking love it! Any band with a mountain of songs and only a 4 track tape to deliver em with is gonna be frustrating, but this sampler just makes you wanna check the rest of their repertoire out. Songs like 'Smallpox Ebola Cocktail' points a paranoid finger to the newer more slyer methods of mass destruction, while also showcasing some rare lead guitar breaks from co-writer Jay Sin. Followed by 'McAnarchy' which is a blitzing diatribe that takes a snidey poke at the oh so serious and largely hypocritical anarchy squad. It's so fast even the lyric sheet can't keep up. Last track 'Banks Go Bust' lets the band stretch their musical dexterity to include a 'Fuck MTV' pastiche, complete with a cheerleader Anarchy Anarchy Anarchy, Rah Rah Rah". Speed and screams are seen as the only dip sticks in Punk these days, and if you want speed then these Corona culprits ain't no slouches but the big difference here is they do it with a lot more thought and ingenuity. Comes with a fold-out lyric sheet in colourful bondage style.. Unclassified?....definitely!

'Brum Scum' Tape
This is a mixed bag and pretty dated dose of Birmingham's underground punk, metal and hardcore sounds. I have to say though, it came in last year so it's partly my fault it ain't been reviewed earlier. And also it has to be a first for Birmingham, coz I've never seen a compilation covering the local punk outfits in the 20 odd years I've been listening to punk! So fair play to the geezers who put it out. All the bands get two tracks a piece to show their wears. Which includes some good stuff and some mediocre and decidedly metal offerings. Amongst the intense, hardcore and metallic crossovers on show are openers Spineless who have a Black Sabbath feel in the guitars. Especially on the epic 4.22 'Born To Breed'. Next up is the Damned
inspired Bride Just Died with their fiendish mid- paced punk. I seen these once supporting Contempt in Wolverhampton and thought they were a good laff to watch, but on here it's pretty much average Joe stuff. Intention are up next and play that kinda stop-start powerful noise, that easily loses my attention span. But they do have some hilarious screamy "my gonads are in a vice" type of vocals, which were very funny! Spithead give us the token two-tone tracks. And with that vox organ, duel vocals and crisp production made a pretty big impact amongst all the beefy guitars and growlers on show. Their best track was 'Personal'. First I'd heard of Ackbar who hail from Northfield (with a name like that I was expecting a Black Country mob), and they didn't do much for me apart from give a good take on Agnostic Front. Oldbury's
P.O.A. (who seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth?) crash in with their best number, the powerful, addictive rifferama of 'Blackout'. Those strangled vocals by Martin and that killer guitar riff really grab you by the hand and throw you around their Black Country wasteland! Definitely the standout track of the tape! Eastfield follow next with a tongue in cheek punk sound that seems to be their calling card. They come across far better in a live situation and the duel vocals ain't in sync much on these tracks, which spoils their sound quite a bit. The aptly named Massive Head all the way from Brum's red light district are another new band to me. Probably coz they straddle that cross- over metallic school of hardcore. I can just see their ponytails or backward baseball caps rocking in the breeze. I.O.D. are an amalgamation of local bands and pretty experimental. They beat us into existence with 'Gob' that sounds similar to T.B.A.C. in the thrash incorporated vocal department. Pity the drumming on their first track was so one-dimensional it was like a drum machine getting stuck. I'd heard a lot about Rotunda on the West Midlands punk grapevine, and they let rip with a couple of very basic punk riffs accompanied by some 'heard it all before vocals' and a muddy production. Very disappointing! Lastly we get Police Bastard who treat us to a couple of their protesting tracks best being the rough shod bootleg of 'Lessons In Human Control' from a brilliant Walsall gig a few years back!!! On the whole a pretty AVERAGE comp. from the second city. Brum Scum #2 should be out by now and if you wanna be included in further productions send your 2 tracks under 7 minutes preferably on CD to the following address.£3 postpaid from 5 Melrose Avenue (Off Woodfield Road), Sparkbrook, Birmingham. B12 8TG.
Shattered Faith
CD (GTA-O36) 1998
Good collection of this early 80's Southern Californian punk band, whose various members went onto get bigger exposure in more successful combos down the decades. This collection however spotlights the bands debut '1982' album. Featuring a 25 track live/studio slab, with a generous amount of bonus tracks. I must admit I'm way more partial to the studio side than the live set, but the live sound quality is very professional indeed. This is a band who play catchy well structured punk rock with tunes and an ability to create potential anthems. Some of these songs are as hard to shake off as the indelic ink S.F. logos that stained their jeans. However you get the distinct impression that Shattered Faith live and in the studio were going off half cocked a lotta the time. They have a handful of really good songs, but for the most part they leave you demanding more for your money. The mix especially, is lacking that killer punch. I'm sure your all a lot more familiar with these CA punkers than me? This is my first listening and I wasn't left feeling cheated, just a little annoyed they didnt go for the jugular. This album can't hide the fact that Shattered Faith along with early Bad Religion had a talent for superior tuneage and are probably very influential on their peers then, as well as now. Mr Grand Theft Audio has uncovered the goods here, show casing one of the less acclaimed bands of the era. Lead singer Spenser Bartsch asks the audience "Isn't it true that Right Is Right?" and he's got a point. As he offers a good clean-cut confident vocal that walks the tightrope between punk and pop. He's aided and abetted quite ably by future US Bombs guitarist Kerry Martinez, who's creative style shines through even at this early stage. Some potentially impressive songs get aired, like my particular favourite the addictive 'No Fun', No Friends', or the dark 'n' moody anti-authoritarian number 'Strange Daze'. 'Too Tense' makes good use of the atmospheric backing vocals, that gives this band a new dimension. While the jagged 'Darkside' sounds like a big crowd fave, if only the audience was miked up correctly. The slow paced 'Hard to be free' shows a very mature angle for a bunch of young punks at this stage in their career. Definitely WORTH A LISTEN Comes with lyrics and band history. Grand Theft Audio link was down last time I checked?        

THE MISFITS 'Static Age' CD Reissued 1997 Caroline
(1978 Mercury/Blank)
The debut release from seminal "horrorpunk" band the Misfits may just be my favorite punk record of all time. For one thing, the line up on this one, to me, is the REAL Misfits. The SOUND is the REAL Misfits. Everything ABOUT this record is what was great about the Misfits... dark lyrics, basing themselves around b-movie themes, science fiction, and 1950's American pop culture. The sound is like a raw take on elements of 50's and 60's pop, rockabilly, rythm 'n blues, and bubblegum. Not to mention the fact that Glenn Danzig's contribution to the band will never be matched. Both his lyrics and vocals made this album that much better. He recalls images of the Fonz, or the young Elvis Presley... Crybaby Walker... the Outsiders. Cool guys. Hepcats. The first 2 tracks, "Static Age" and "TV Casualty" are pretty similar, mostly one-chord except the choruses, very droning and slow. The next song, and probably my favorite, "Some Kinda Hate", picks up the pace, with a very early rythm 'n blues-style riff and all about feel to it. The words "bubblegum" and "feel-good" keep coming to mind, despite the lyrics, which include: "cats cry/little tortured babies in pain/cracked necks by severed limbs/they don't hesitate"... Also on the album are several classic Misfits songs, including "We Are 138", "Teenagers From Mars", "Hollywood Babylon", "Bullet", and "She", the latter of which didn't make the final cut at the original time of release. "She" and "Spinal Remains" were released on Misifts collections, and the last track, "In the Doorway" was NEVER put out until now, and ironically so, since it's probably the most marketable song on the whole record. Other great songs are "Last Caress", "Return of the Fly", "Hybrid Moments", "Attitude", and Angelfuck", all of which are pop at it's best. "Comeback" is in the same vein as the first 2 tracks, and "Theme for a Jackal" is very rockabilly-influenced. Just for the sake of context...*During the short course of recording, Glenn walks in with Ann Beverly, Sid Vicious' mother (the album was recorded in NYC around the time Sid OD'ed). Glenn, always the gentleman, explains that her son died the previous night, and he didn't think she should be alone. So she sat in. *Another visitor was the guy who wrote the music for One Life to Live and General Hospital, who hung around for an hour with the band. Iguess he was really hypnotised by it, but thought the music could be "a little softer". hahahahaha...*The band only had so many hours to record, as Mercury was giving them a runaround. So they only had a few takes for each song, but then again i guess that's what made the record sound so "punk rock". We won't bitch TOO much...Like I said before, this is one of my top 5 punk releases ever, and I would say a "must have" for any punk's collection. Give it a shot. You might just find yourself watching Ed Wood movies and cutting all the sleeves off your black t-shirts...
Reviewed by Sam Sinister
ATOMIC BOMBS 'Split In Your Face' (nigma888001LMR-03) CD 1997
"You wont find this on your FM dial!"...say the ghostly radio intro, which is a pity coz this is a good split here with two worthy Californian punk outfits who seem to have hit the right formula on this 25 tracker CD. Narcoleptic Youth take the lions share with 13 tracks and are familiar round these parts due to their impressive 3 tracks on the Voids split 45 reviewed elsewhere on this site. I was quite surprised at just how much product they've put out and I'm glad to have finally gotten hold of this (cheers Joey). For one thing it proves that they ain't just a one hit wonder. This CD dates back to 1997 giving us their early set of humour, political intrigue and the madcap bags of energy that can't be supplied by pharmaceutical aids alone. This collection is raw and from the heart of small town USA. How these off the beaten track towns manage to conjure up such sussed punk rock venom and insight never ceases to amaze me. Big Joey Bondage is the singer who spits out the sarc and putdowns and is built like a jock but with the sarc of Jello Biafra. They've got a buzz saw guitar approach supplied by Jay Sin (who lives down the street from Elvis). He's aided and abetted by the bands whipping post and elder statesman, Binky the elf, who supply's the rhythm.  If you like your bass tight and in a Klaus Fluoride twang, then Pep Rally is your man who also provides back up vocals. And finally providing the beat and web site duties we have Johnny Cat Scabies, Rats younger brother. There ain't really a bummer track on here, but the standouts for me had to be stage fave 'Barbi in Bondage' which reminds me of the nasty Sid kid in Toy Story. Mr Bondage turns into his alter ego and mutilates his kid sisters dolls, great fucking stuff. And the tragicomedy of 'Busted Condom' with it's blunt but true lesson in family planning and a good addictive punk rock riffing verse. NY pick up where the Dead Kennedy's left off with observant political observations, that juggles humour and facts. Something the more morose preaching outfits out there could do with. Narcoleptic Youth ain't afraid to slag their own government off or even their own scene when needed, which I think shows they have standards. So if you want your punk nicely ghettoized into neat little packages you won't find Narcoleptic Youth on any of your shopping lists. They're too diverse for that. There's also a big Dickies influence in their sound, which is another band who know a tune or too when they created one. So pedigree id prominent in this band. Summing up, Narcoleptic Youth are suburban America's pissed off underbelly, they're over the top, they're fun but they have a sinister message in their electric undercurrent! US CONTENDER Atomic Bombs are totally tongue in cheek and new to the Wolf's Lair. They are pretty much second on the bill on this split and can't compete with the multi dimensional Narcoleptic monster that preceded em. But having said that I'm glad to hear em and add em to my collection. In total contrast they kick off their 12 tracks with a lucid Strauss waltz but from here on in it's full pelt energetic sidewalk humour. They're not quite as extreme or lewd as the Macc Lads and maybe less drink inspired than the Test Tubes Babies, but your in the right genre. The start with a (I'm presuming?) good piss take of the Brits with the "Bloody Not Alright" which is totally manic. Resses Smooth the drummer has bags of energy but the drumming mix on this session is pretty biscuit tin in sound and seems to let the mix down. That apart 'Mr McGoo' really shows em off to be the exciting fun band that they really are, although they can kick it up in the power department when they feel the urge to. The Atomic Bombs other passion is Skateboarding which unlike a lot of serious hardcore outfits out there, gives us the snotty kid on the streets view which is fun. Lead singer Raging Reg Fast complete with dog collar, shouts out the jokes with just enough angst and enough Groucho Marx to make you laff. Their skating anthem 'Skate Or Die' has the line "I'll say it again 100 times, skatings not a crime!" which sums this song right up! They get a bit serious on 'World' with it's hippesque piss taking intro and social commentary, but not for long! I particularly liked the old circus pastiche (snigger). Atomic Bombs lyrics are totally throwaway and they border on the Rugrats view most of the way, but these Californian jokers can sink the punch line with some decent riffs supplied by Buster Haymen. "I Love big butts' says it all really wonder what their birds think ha! They remind me of a testosteroned Marx brothers in punk wigs, armed with skateboards and guitars pinching girls bottoms at the all ages shows for some reason?  Favourite track has gotta be the final epic 'We love beans' which crosses Red Indian chants with the explosive delicacy, backed with a great beefy guitar riff and handclaps, funny as fuck. So If you wanna escape the emotional, hardcore, no future syndrome of your daily punk diet then check these out for some light relief. WORTH A LISTEN