Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 Top Ten Lists

2014 Top Ten Lists

Jay's 2014 Top Ten List

Speaking only for myself of course, I love music, all kinds of music. My soul is influenced by so much it’s hard to go through and pluck 10 releases out of the past year that I loved the most, it was agonizing in fact. So I narrowed it down to not only the records I loved and was obsessed over but also the records that were sent to the Audio Ammunition stronghold that collectively spent the most amount of time on my various radios.   ~ J Castro

1)    Impo & the Tents – Peek after a poke LP (Alien Snatch Records)

Late 1970’s style power pop punk like The Undertones or Buzzcocks mixed with a splash of The Dickies: Super enjoyable, super amazing record that commands repeat listens. 

2)    Average Times – S/T LP (Hosehead Records)
A dazzling debut LP: Monumentally catchy and loud bursts of 77 punk-pop inspiration!
These are sons and daughters of punk from the last 20 years; they gathered everything that was great about so many bands from that time and discard the dead weight!

3)    New Trocaderos – Kick Your Ass EP (Collectors Club Records)
Some of the best rock n’ roll songs produced by human hands; exciting, exhilarating, exceptional: all understatements when describing this record!

4)    1-800-BAND – Diver Blue 12” EP (Almost Ready Records)
They learned to channel 1980’s romanticism and inject it into undeniably catchy songs similar to the Pretenders and The Cars. 1-800-BAND do what so many rock n’ roll bands wish they could accomplish: they make something old sound new again! 

5)    Dinos Boys – Last Ones LP (Die Slaughterhaus Records/Oops Baby Records)
Dinos Boys create a riotous sonic stew of bands like the Damned and Menace with a power pop execution, it absolutely enslaved my mind.

6)    Ricky C Quartet – Recent Affairs LP (Wanda Records)
RCQ effortlessly evolved from an acid spewing ‘77 style punk band to a stripped down, super infectious pub rock style similar to the 101’ers and Dr Feelgood on Recent Affairs that’s impossible to resist. 

7)    Blind Shake – Breakfast of Failures LP (Goner)
A few words came immediately to mind: massive, ominous, destructive and glorious. I imagine a squadron of B-29 Superfortress Bombers roaring overhead and then suddenly begin laying waste to my hometown.

8)    The Rich Hands – Out of Our Heads LP (Fountain Records/Burger Records)
The Rich Hands sound like early Rolling Stones covering Buddy Holly with a bit more dirt and fuzz collected around the edges, which just adds warmth and charisma to their music.

9)    Golden Pelicans – S/T LP (Total Punk Records)
Ultra tight, break neck rock n’ roll that reminds me of Radio Birdman mixed with the Testors. Yes it’s wild, yes it’s sweaty, and if you spend enough time with this record it will probably take a swing at you. Consider my ass kicked!

10)    TV Freaks – Leeches EP (Hosehead Records)
TV Freaks discharge a furious, shot out of the sky and coming down hard in flames style of fuzz punk/post punk/hardcore. It’s so great when I can find remnants of bands like The Stooges and Swell Maps among the wreckage.

Honorable and most distinguished mentions:

Scraps – S/T EP (No Front Teeth)

Space Raft – S/T LP (Dusty Medical Records)

The Estranged – S/T LP (Dirtnap Records)

Maniac – Demimonde LP (La-Ti-Da)

Ed's 2014 Top Ten List

As if Top Ten lists need a qualifier, but I threw one in anyway. In the making of this list, I stuck to bands that we either interviewed or reviewed here at the Audio Ammunition fortress of doom. Unlike Jay, who is far braver, I did not number them, but just listed them. – Ed Stuart

Average Times – S/T LP (Hosehead)
A hot mess of early Briefs, Jay Retard, Ramones, and ’77 punk all rolled into tightly wound package. Average Times are quirky and fun mixing blues, garage, raw distortion and spreading it over their simple pop songs hidden underneath. Sometimes simple is good and Average Times S/T LP is simply good. 

Barreracudas – Promises, Promises 7” (Oops Baby)
“I have a pocket full of quarters now and I’m your Donkey Kong” is arguably too clever to be just a throwaway lyric and that’s only part of what the future classic “Promises” has to offer. “Promises” is the song you swear you have heard before, but you were only just envisioning it your mind. “Young and Dumb” is full of Dictators tongue in cheek pop mixed with Ramones pop and teenage wisdom. The Barreracudas had been absent for a while and this is a most welcome back. 

The Cry! – Dangerous Game LP (Top Shelf/Taken By Surprise)
This is a no brainer and I’m sure Dangerous Game is on a million 2014 Top Ten lists and it’s well deserved. The CRY! might be the hottest power-pop band on the planet. The Portland guys have followed up their S/T LP with a whole lot better which was no easy feat. Dangerous Game is so chock full of punk/glam/power-pop that if this LP were a stew you would be full after the first bite. The alliteration song trifecta of “Smirk,” “Shakin’,” and “Seventeen,” has probably cemented these guys as the heir apparent to Exploding Hearts.

Faz Waltz – Kids Are Wild 7” / Move Over LP (Contra/Surfin’ Ki/White Zoo)
When you were studying all the proper subjects in school, Faz Waltz were studying T. Rex, Slade, Sweet and other obscure ‘70’s bovver rock/glam. While Giuda may get all the press, Faz Waltz has been delivering the goods for years. “Change” sounds like “Instant Karma” as if Marc Bolan wrote it and played it; while “Working Class Teacher” has Slade’s anthemic touch and silver boots all over it.

Feral Trash – Trashfiction LP (Dirt Cult/Mammoth Cave/P Trash)
There is a scene at the end of Ratatouille, where the highly skilled chef, that is also a rat, is faced with the challenge of wowing the infamously famous and cynical critic. The rat chef feeds the critic ratatouille, against the advice of the rest of the staff, but to the wonderment and amazement of the restaurant the critic falls in love with the dish, not because of the dishes intricacy, but it’s taste hearkens the critic back to a poignant and emotional connection of his childhood. Trashfiction is much the same way. Feral Trash doesn’t play fancy stuff and isn’t filled with hooks galore, but their simple melodies and sound remind me so much of Posh Boy era that I cut my punk teeth on. It’s where teenage kids bashed out classics in suburban housing divisions that are so full of youthful confidence and energy that they never faded even as the years went by.

The Gaggers – Blame You LP (Wanda)
While Marco (Terminal Gagger) and Brandy Row put out more music in a year than most bands do in their career between Miscalculations and Brandy Row’s solo stuff and a host of other NFT bands, which are all really good, but The Gaggers are the pinnacle. Blame You is like a razorblade kiss for your ears. It’s so good that it could pass for a lost ’77 UK punk LP and “Instant Low” could toe to toe with any song from that era.

Maniac – Demimonde LP (La-Ti-Da)
As if the other bands these guys are in (LA Drugz, Images, Cute Lepers) aren’t good enough they decide to form this all-star band and wipe the floor with everyone. Hello LA, these are your new all-stars. Demimonde is a mish-mash of influences from The Dickies, Weirdos, Briefs and even Wire that these guys blend so effortlessly. 

Neighborhood Brats – Recovery LP (Deranged)
Neighborhood Brats is a musical runaway locomotive and Recovery is no different. Recovery is full of classic late ’70’s/early 80’s punk hardcore influences. While earlier singles were a Molotov cocktail, Recovery is a slow burn with planned gasoline trail to ensure no traces left behind.

The Number Ones – S/T LP (Deranged/Static Shock)
Northern Ireland’s scene was much overlooked compared to its UK neighbors England. While England gets the punk glory, Ireland produced some of the era’s most seminal bands, Undertones, Protex, Rudi and Good Vibrations label. The Numbers Ones is the combination off all these great bands and their S/T LP is picks up where these bands left off. 

Sugar Stems – Only Come At Night LP (Dirtnap)
Sugar Stems may appear to be sweet and soft (especially considering the LP artwork), but they have a mix of sour in there as well. Sugar Stems could be the modern day equivalent of The Shivvers and Only Come At Night could be the proof. If the modern kids liked music with guitars as much as they like music with autotune, “We Only Come Out At Night” would be a mega-hit, but this hasn’t stopped Sugar Stems from writing hits and this shouldn’t stop you from listening to them. 

Honorable mention

Needles//Pins – Shamebirds LP (Dirt Cult)

Sonic Avenues – Mistakes LP (Dirtnap)


Arctic Flowers – Weaver LP (Deranged)
Weaver is Arctic Flowers second LP and has the traces of mid ‘80’s melodic punk all over it, most notably Killing Joke. Arctic Flowers while self-billed as peace-punks seem to be musically more interested in Joy Division’s moody dark sound with Killing Joke’s penchant for haunting melody. Early goth punk fans perk up your ears because Arctic Flowers are here to hear.  – Ed Stuart

Atlantic Thrills – Atlantic Thrills LP (Almost Ready)
The Atlantic Thrills are a band with the reverb on their amps turned to 10. Box Tops, Small Faces, Yardbirds, Nuggets and other assortments of those era bands. “Day At The Beach,” the previous single does have the listener reminiscing for the summer, but Atlantic Thrills will not be simply not be content to billed as another party band, a la New Swears. Atlantic Thrills is rock n’ roll dressed in sharp suits, played through Twin Reverbs with the neckties loosened.  – Ed Stuart

Bang 74 – High Flying Dreams LP (Self-Release)
Spanish power-pop rock n’ rollers Bang 74 put out High Flying Dreams in 2013, but we at the Audio Ammunition Fortress of Doom just got this sent to us. Bang 74 are a mix of Big Star melody, some early Cheap Trick and a touch of ‘60’s California pop like The Byrds. Bang 74 is far more pop than power, which won’t bother the pop lovers one bit.
– Ed Stuart

Barreracudas – Promises, Promises 7” (Oops Baby)
Is it me or does it seem like we haven’t heard from the Barreracudas in a while? Well, thanks to Oops Baby this problem has been solved. “Promises” is the song from the first note you felt like you have heard before, but you really haven’t. If someone were to ask you what power-pop is in the modern age, I would play this song and that should answer the question. “Young and Dumb” is a throwback to all those great Ramones pop songs from their early LP’s with a Dictators tongue-in-cheek attitude and lyrics. This single could have fit anywhere in ’79 power-pop catalog, but thankfully for us this bubblegum gem is available now!  – Ed Stuart

Batman & Garagekid – I’m not a monkey (I’m a bat), but I like bananas too! 7” (Bachelor)
This might be the longest title for a 7-inch ever, but that doesn’t matter because by the time you finish reading the 7-inch title, the songs will be over. Let me guess the origin of this partnership, after Robin graduated to Nightwing, Batman decided to give the Robin character a break and went with Garagekid instead. In our non-DC universe, Batman & Garagekid are like The Sonics meeting The Oblivians at all night garage house party. This is where Supercharger became a no-budget rock n’ roll mainstay and the kids were looking for razorblades to slice up their cheap pawnshop amp speakers to get that blown out sound. – Ed Stuart

Cause of Death – S/T EP (No Front Teeth)
This is the debut EP from this Southern California PUNK band. They use to be called Final Solution (which if you recall NFT released their EP as well) but are now known as Cause of Death and features former members of Shattered Faith. This is their debut 7” as Cause of Death and this is one raging slab of wax through and through! This has all the raw brutality of your favorite early SoCal punk bands that recall early Bad Religion, Shattered Faith of course, and Adolescents. This record has four songs that were indeed influenced by the bands and era mentioned above but you’ll hear at first spin that these songs contain that particular new brand of rage that can only be brought out of people living in 21st century society.  ~ Jay Castro

Cheating Hearts – Another Lover EP (Self Released)
This German duo consists of the debonair Stu Black that comes off like a mix of Johnny Cash and Nick Cave belting out vocals and passionately strumming that guitar. The lovely Viva Valli meanwhile feverishly pounds on the drums and lends her vocal talent as well with a flawless Jayne Mansfield meets Nancy Spungen look. The music is very minimalistic Rock n’ Roll that straddles the sound of Rockabilly and the wild 1960’s garage sound of bands like the Kingsmen or The Troggs. Cheating Hearts let the guitar drive the bus on their short song bursts about losing love, wanting love, and making love.  Get on the bus and search for your soul in the darkness with Stu and Viva. You may not ever find it but you’ll have a lot of fun looking!  ~ Jay Castro

The Chemicals – S/T EP (Meanbean)
Also not to be confused with current Portland punk band The Chemicals, this band called the Chemicals were also from Montreal and this particular record originally came out in 1985. Meanbean does a really good job and plucking records out of the black hole of obscurity and giving them an all new look so these records shine brighter than they did back when they were originally put out, this release is no different. Maybe a bit less punk than The Wipers, the Chemicals have a bit more of a British Invasion feel to them. They definitely do great pop-infused rock songs, but I can hear how they might have been a bit too rough around the edges. This may have been a bit too much for folks around the mid 1980’s, but perfect for people that appreciate the frayed edges or great, timeless melodic Rock n’ Roll!  ~ Jay Castro

Childe – Living or Dying LP (Padded Cell)
Childe is Phillip Elliott’s (Zen Fuck-Ups) other punk effort. Where Zen Fuck Ups plays a fast UK punk more Partisans, Childe takes a more fuzzed out approach with heavy UK ’82 influences like Blitz and Chron Gen. I realize I’m splitting hairs here with the band differences. UK ’82 style always had an assault quality in its simplicity and Childe is no different. If UK ’82 is for you, check out Childe. – Ed Stuart

Chumped – Teenage Retirement LP (Anchorless)
Back to the 90’s again, only this time we’re setting the Wayback Machine dial to the late 1990’s. Hey I don’t mind, these were my High School years, back when I was just discovering indie/underground music with wide eyed enthusiasm.  hink back to a time when bands like Discount and Tiger Trap mixed twee with the fractured noisy guitar sounds of Sonic Youth. Back to an era when bands like J Church and Superchunk straddled the sounds of Pop Punk and what was then called “Alternative,” and before the word “Emo” was a household term. This record not only sounds like albums that came out then but has a similar all around feel too. It radiates intellectual slacker kinda like Ethan Hawke’s character in Reality Bites. ~ Jay Castro

Cross Wires – Your History Defaced EP (Self-Release)
Cross Wires take some your favorite bands like the Buzzcocks, early Who and some ’79 mod revival to combine to make Your History Defaced a pretty good EP. I’ll admit the EP starts a little slow with “Modern Art,” but really takes hold with “Shades of Light and Dark.” In some ways, Cross Wires reminds me of The Adored which for those unfamiliar was a punk-pop-powerpop band from LA that had a song they co-wrote with Pete Shelley. – Ed Stuart

Dirty Fences – Ladies Choice EP (Oops Baby)
Sludgy, powerful, and highly melodic are some of the thoughts that immediately came to mind after hearing this new EP from this New York City quartet. It’s got that NYC sleazy feel like the New York Dolls had but it also has a lot of Detroit’s MC5 and Stooges groove and power to it as well. Like a hard rock band that grew up listening to Motown would have. The record has a very 1970’s production and tempo to it. The choruses are super catchy, they make you want to raise your fist and shout along, the guitars find the hooks floating around in the air and redirect them at your face, the rhythm section pounds away on your eardrum and they got a scrappy singer with a raspy style and charisma to spare. ~ Jay Castro

Duncan Reid and the Big Heads – Difficult Second Album (Wanda)
In 2012, the former bass player/co-lead vocalist of London Punk legends The Boys quietly self-released one of my favorite albums called Little Big Head. It was one of those albums where you drop what you’re doing in amazement because you can’t believe how good it is. It’s an album you want to immediately call all your friends to tell them about it. Now the year is 2014 and Duncan has gotten himself a regular backup band calling themselves The Little Big Heads and they’ve been relentlessly touring since the first album came out. Difficult Second Album picks up where Little Big Head left off and Little Big Head picked up where Boys Only left off back in 1980, all without missing a step.   Duncan Reid and the Big Heads continues to make remarkable soul searching power pop songs with singer/songwriter warmth and intimacy and on their second album and I hope they continues to do so for many more albums to come. ~ Jay Castro

Dwight Twilley – Always LP (Big Oak)
Dwight Twilley might just be the elder statesman of American power-pop. Twilley and collaborator Phil Seymour were a force to be reckoned in the mid to late ‘70’s with such hits as “I’m on Fire,” Twilley’s own mid-‘80’s hit “Girls” and the recently rediscovered “Looking For The Magic” thanks to the movie You’re Next, was a piece of karmic luck considering the previous label headaches and near misses he had in the past. On Always, Twilley hasn’t lost his touch for penning the same kind of Beatle influenced melodic rock n’ roll tunes that made him a critical success in the first place. – Ed Stuart

The Dying Shames – S/T EP (No Front Teeth)
This band, like a lot of bands on the famed No Front Teeth label, is a mixed bag of members of other bands from the London area. The Dying Shames consist of members of The Gaggers, Miscalculations, Ricky C Quartet, Los Pepes and more. This record however doesn’t sound like any of the above-mentioned groups. This is brilliant (and yes I mean that in every sense of the word you disbelievers!) 1960’s Mod/R & B Rock n’ Soul! These punks jump into the Kinks/Small Faces pool of cool water holding on to 800, 000 volt live wires. Four original songs of melodic, hook driven rock n’ roll recorded in all analog so you can really savor the flavor. These songs aren’t just played like hyper, long lost cover songs from back in the day either. These tunes you can tell are well crafted from five lads with heart and soul and who have the utmost respect for the genre.   My hat’s off to these boys: one of the best 7”s I’ve heard all year!  ~ Jay Castro

Edward Rogers – Kaye LP (Zip)
Rogers is been a prolific songwriter as Kaye is his fifth solo effort. On Kaye, Rogers has the elder statesman of mature songwriting down. At times, Rogers reminds me a lot of solo Lou Reed, earlier than later. Kaye is dedicated to Kevin Ayers (founding member of Soft Machine) and psych legend and this heavily influences Rogers as well. Rogers’s mixes an array of songs like “Copper Coin” melodic balladry to Reed influenced glam-pop of “After The Show.” – Ed Stuart

Eleanor Rigby – The Best Of Eleanor Rigby Vol. 1 LP (Future Legend)
Eleanor Rigby’s life sounds like it could be a TV show premise, What Happed To Eleanor Rigby? Rigby’s story goes like this ‘80’s mod singer/starts singing career, releases controversial catchy single “I Want To Sleep With You,” single gets banned due to condom giveaway along with single, she releases one LP, disappears and achieves cult status. In true artist fashion, her LP and singles trade for big money now the she is no longer active. Rigby is arguably the UK Debbie Harry, a singer known as much for her looks as for her voice. Listening to “Love On The Phone” reminds of early Blondie. The Best Of Eleanor Rigby Vol. 1 is a collection of singles, covers and other assorted tracks from Rigby’s career. Most of the songs range from ‘60’s pop to mod revival in both sound and recording. While you may never know what happened to Rigby, this LP will give you an idea of what all the hubbub is/was about. – Ed Stuart

Electric Mess – House On Fire LP (Soundflat)
A little bit of a new twist added to this New York City band’s third LP. Their first Self Titled LP released in 2010 and their second LP, Falling off the Face of the Earth had a straight up Mod R & B feel. The opening song “Better to be Lucky than Good” has a harder edge to it, like maybe Esther Crow and her assembly of impeccably dressed gentlemen have been listening to The Humpers and The Devil Dogs a little bit. Even the song title sounds like it could be a lost tune from Steve Baise and the boys. But don’t worry; there is still plenty of the old Electric Mess you know and love on the rest of the album: keyboards bouncing around every which way and tambourines and hips shaking all over the place! ~ Jay Castro

Eric Barao – S/T LP (Self-Release)
Eric Barao is the former singer/songwriter/co-founder of The Cautions who in their heyday wrote some very critically acclaimed power-pop LP’s before calling it day. Now, Barao is on his own and writing songs that lean heavily towards the pop side. There is a heavy ‘70’s pop influence to Barao’s songs most notably ELO without the effects, but also not too far from early New Pornographers territory either. This is a pop LP for pop lovers who aren’t afraid to follow Barao down to melody lane. – Ed Stuart

The Estranged – The Estranged LP (Dirtnap)
If you are looking for a typical Dirtnap release, you are searching in the wrong place, but shying away from The Estranged will only hurt you in the end. The Estranged is the dark underbelly of Dirtnap, well that might be arguable, but what they are is a darkly melodic T.S.O.L., mixed with Gun Club and hints of Christian Death sprinkled in. The Estranged is at its heart Dance With Me and Beneath The Shadows T.S.O.L. era where goth and punk were just starting to date and was an exciting new musical couple. – Ed Stuart

Faz Waltz – Kids Are All Wild 7” (Contra/Surfin’ Ki/White Zoo)
While Giuda may get all the press and attention like a first-born child, Faz Waltz is like the little brother in the Italian glam scene that shouldn’t be overlooked to due their age. “Kids Are All Wild” is a teaser single for the upcoming Move Over LP, but for me “Change” is the standout track. “Change” sounds a lot like Lennon’s “Instant Karma!” but played the way Slade or T. Rex would have played had they wrote the song. Both songs on Kids Are All Wild have all the stomp, swagger and catchy hooks you would expect from Faz.  – Ed Stuart

Faz Waltz – Move Over LP (Contra/Surfin’ Ki/White Zoo)
Faz Waltz grew up on a daily diet of Slade, Sweet, and T. Rex and did their school research projects on ‘70’s vintage glam amp sound and songwriting. While their parents might have been upset because they weren’t studying proper subjects, all that research definitely paid off on Move Over, the band’s fourth LP. Faz Waltz is at the top of their game and writes catchy songs so effortlessly they can afford to put them out as B-sides. If you ever loved UK glam and bovver rock, Faz Waltz is the band that would have been on constant play in your 8-track machine or wore out the needle on your turntable. – Ed Stuart

Feral Trash – Trashifiction LP (Dirt Cult/Mammoth Cave/P Trash)
This Canadian trio belts out some really catchy, up-tempo punk rock with a bit of pop to it. It’s too tough to call power-pop, but a smidge too melodic to really call it straight up punk rock. I think you know what I’m saying. Their music does however possess a sense of urgency and a manic punk energy. This is their debut LP following last year’s stellar Dead Eyes EP, two of those four songs can be found here on this LP. The guitars are there, but not in your face and coupled with the female backing vocals give the songs a light, breezy feel to them. Feral Trash goes really well with Radioactivity and Low Culture. Terrific LP, the band sounds confident and sure footed with their sound, very rare these days epically on a debut LP!  ~ Jay Castro

The Flinettes – File Under POP! 7” (La-Ti-Da)
Wow you would think after a while, the power-pop well would run dry up in Canada or at least freeze with winters they get up there, but the Canadian pop invasion continues and this time it’s The Flinettes. File Under POP! is more on the pop side (hence the title) than on the power. “What Was One” sounds like a lost Northern Soul track with some girl group back-up vocals. “It Could Have Been Love” is a song that The Flinettes could have secretly put on any Powerpearls comp and you swear it’s from that time period and the title track is a hybrid mix of Dexy’s Midnight Runners meets ’79 mod/power-pop revival meets early Costello. Oh, Canada you have done it again.  – Ed Stuart

The Great Explainer – The Great Explainer LP (Panic State)
Billed as punk, but leaning more to the hardcore side. In actually, Great Explainer plays, for the most part, a straight head punk with a singer that reminds me of Fucked Up’s vocalist. The Great Explainer does have its moments of stop/start urgency and melodic breakdowns, but not a lot of them to slow the overall LP tempo down. I would call this melodic hardcore, but I’m sure the kids have some other term for it now. The Great Explainer has heavy vocals with the musical muscle to back it up all the way from hardcore mainstay New Jersey.  – Ed Stuart

The Greater Wall – Whatever, Feels Right EP (Self-release)
Whatever you think of Bandcamp or the cassette revival, I think we might be able to agree that is has definitely expanded the playing field for bands and has provided a greater access for bands to be heard. Case in point, The Greater Wall. In their other life, two-thirds of this Vancouver band performs some sort of stoner rap hybrid, but The Greater Wall is a mix of punk and post-punk. Whatever, Feels Right is influences from both coasts of the US. ‘90’s melodic pop-punk like Down by Law mixed with some Dischord touches (Grey Matter, Dag Nasty).  – Ed Stuart

The Ha-Rang#! – She Wants Pretty EP (Self-Release)
The Ha-Rang is all over the place and I mean that in a kind way. She Wants Pretty has its musical toe in garage, ‘70’s-era Rolling stones, psych and general organ fueled mayhem. The Ha-Rang#! are not for the folks that want to hear two to three minute songs. The listener is to give the songs time to develop and let the music invite you in much like a nice grandmother who has been simmering soup on a hot stove all day long.  – Ed Stuart

Hassler – Fed, Worked and Watered LP (Deranged)
Punk, Oi!, UK 82, metal and all-out hardcore. Hassler is pulling out all the influences in Fed, Worked and Watered. Hassler is made up of members of Bad Skin, Career Suicide, School Jerks and numerous others. Songs are short, powerful, a sonic punch with growling vocals over top that throughout the LP float between straight up hardcore and harder edge punk. – Ed Stuart

Institute – S/T EP (Deranged)
Hardcore guys from Wiccan, Reside and Glue are doing anything but with their band Institute. Their S/T EP right off the bat reminded me of Christian Death with the snotty (arguably affected) So Cal vocals and suspiciously reminiscent Posh Boy/Frontier sound. Institute is from Austin, but you could have fooled me. Institute mixes Christian Death, early Siouxsie, early Subhumans and Warsaw to make this early goth/deathrock/post-punk EP a current blast from the past.  – Ed Stuart

Juvie – Chugga Chugga Bang 7” (Surfin’ Ki)
The A-side “Chugga Chugga Bang” is a straight up boot stomper in much the way of T. Rex, Slade and other Bovver Rock. The B-Side songs “Everybody’s Rockin” and “You Did It Again” owe more to Chuck Berry/Little Richard 1950’s rock n’ roll meets the Real Kids. This is the kind of music that played loudly in the kinds of cars that you only see at car shows where the pairs would stop at the drive-ins before hitting the all night basement party. I might have mixed decades, but after listening to this catchy single, it won’t matter. – Ed Stuart

Juvie – It Ain’t Love EP (Surfin’ Ki)
Singed my ear canal this record did!!  This Minneapolis band launch wild, catchy Rock n’ Roll that’s wrapped tightly in guitar hooks that take cues from 1970’s rock monsters like the Rolling Stones, T. Rex and Gary Glitter. The A-Side is a tall shiny monument erected in the name of Marc Bolan himself with an ultra catchy bluesy riff that burrows in your brain and begins to take over your senses. The B-Side is an instrumental that makes you wanna strap on your white platforms just to stomp to the beat of this tune! The absolute icing on the cake is the production. There’s a sound that rock records in the 70’s had that makes them sound powerful, like a jet engine. Juvie pretty much nailed it here!  Terrific record can’t wait to hear more! ~ Jay Castro

Kama Kama – Shift LP (Self Released)
Sometimes I hear a record and I am at a total loss. I hear so many influences in some bands it’s hard to describe in just a few sentences. Once again I will try my best to give describe what I hear and feel when I listen to this Bloomington, IL band. It definitely has a Post Punk era Manchester, England/Jangle Pop feel to it. It’s got traces of early Echo and the Bunnymen melancholy, Johnny Marr style guitar hooks and all of this seems hurried and uneasy like some Joy Division songs without the sheer misery and sense of disparity. Now imagine all of that modernized with a clearer production than any of those other bands ever had. Kama Kama continues the unique and infectious sound they laid down on their 2012 debut EP The Tiled House.  ~ Jay Castro

LA Drugz – All Burned Down 7” (Self-Release)
LA Drugz’s last release Outside Place was showered with glorious reviews like the best EP of 2013 from Lord Rutledge, the band could have retired and much like the Nerves lived on per that one EP. LA Drugz didn’t do that and returned with All Burned Down. At first, All Burned Down is not power-pop follow-up you might think after Outside Place, but this single hides it’s hooks inside the more punk bite. “All Burned Down” has an intro and breakdown that any indie-dance band would be jealous of and “Runnin’” takes a Heartbreakers style riff and turns into a punk-pop gem. I’m a little surprised this single hasn’t scooped up yet.  – Ed Stuart

Legendary Wings – Do You See LP (Dirtnap)
Legend has it that this Kalamazoo, MI band sent in a demo tape to Dirtnap Records (who have their hands full already and are said to not be accepting demos anymore) but made an exception due to the full frontal radness assault that they heard in Legendary Wings.  Jeff and his Kalamazoo crew mix ultra catchy melodies, loud guitars and earnest vocals like the Ramones, Real Kids and The Beat do and Legendary Wings are every bit as captivating. The band has matured a bit since their 2012 debut Making Paper Roses (also on Dirtnap) but in a good way I assure you. They took their sound and tightened a bit here, fortified a little there and made a superior sophomore effort, something few bands are ever able to accomplish.  ~ Jay Castro

Life Like – Savages 7” (Deranged)
St. Louis 4-piece hardcore Life Like has taken the NYHC sound and used it as their sonic template for their debut 7-inch Savages. 6-song 7” EP, that has all the classic heavy hitting parts mixed with the slower pit inducing breakdowns. Lovers of ‘80’s NYHC should check this band out.  – Ed Stuart

Los Pepes – Los Pepes for Everyone LP (Wanda)
London, England’s Los Pepes for everyone indeed! I couldn’t agree more with this statement! Their debut LP should be given out with every Dole check, every Civil Servants exam and made available at every polling place so that anyone in any free nation should have access to it. If more people would bask in the sounds of Los Pepes then this world would be a better place to live in. They sing and romanticize about things that we can all relate to: loneliness, guilt, and falling in love with the wrong people. Its classic sounding power-pop laid on a heavy foundation of loud Rock N’ Roll guitar hooks and energy. It sounds as if it could have been a lost gem from the late 1970’s. I’m just glad this gem was unearthed at all for the entire world to enjoy!  ~ Jay Castro

Lovesores – Focke-Wulf vs. Spitfire 10” (Hound Gawd!)
Is there such a thing as a rock n’ roll A-bomb? If there were such a thing, the Lovesores would be it. While Focke-Wulf vs. Spitfire, starts with a slow burning “Waiting For The Man” meets New York Dolls style riff, it burns red hot afterwards. Lovesores in just a short time went from punk rock n’ roll contender to its arguable champion. Scott “Deluxe” Drake (Ex-Humpers) leads the Lovesores into the ring and at this point the band has not even reached their potential. Drake has the Lovesores in top form and as previously done with The Humpers, the rest of the band is killer. So far Lovesores have been sparing with the songs on previous releases and this release is no different, just four songs on this 10-inch in as many minutes. If you can get your point across in less than ten minutes, why spend thirty minutes doing it? – Ed Stuart

Low Culture/Needles//Pins - Split EP (Dirtnap)
First off the skillet is Low Culture, which deliver more of their critically acclaimed brand of fast strumming, ultra catchy and up-beat punk energized music. Chris Mason definitely brings that Marked Men charm into whatever band he’s in. And speaking of critical acclaims, next onto the plate come Vancouver’s Needles//Pins who just dropped a fabulous LP onto the masses via Chris’s Dirt Cult records. Needles//Pins has a somewhat similar style to LC only with a bit more Ramones street toughness to it. If you’re a fan of high energy, ridiculously melodic punk rock (and let’s face facts here: if you aren’t you’re a total sap and you have no business even reading this blog in the first place) then this record comes highly recommended. ~ Jay Castro

Maniac – Demimonde LP (La-Ti-Da)
In a Los Angeles land there is a star around every corner or so it seems, and while using the term all-star might be redundant, I’ll use it again. Yes, LA already has Crazy Squeeze, but Maniac is the city’s next all-star band. Featuring members of Cute Lepers, LA Drugz, Images, and Clorox Girls to name a few. Maniac’s debut single, Dim Sum, only gave listeners a taste of what was too come like a musical movie trailer and now Demimonde is the feature film. Demimonde is a mish-mash of influences from The Dickies, Weirdos, Briefs and even Wire. Maniac is a high-energy thrill ride that brings some angular leads to match it’s straight ahead tempo that is accomplished so well you can the tell the band members can do this in their sleep. How does it feel to be a star? Ask Maniac. – Ed Stuart

Meenk - Scamu Scau EP (Self Released)
Clever and catchy wallflower jangle pop with a splash of melancholy softly radiates from this Brooklyn, NY outfit’s new record. This EP was produced and engineered by Julian Fader and Carlos Hernandez of hyper punk/funk band Ava Luna with recording help from NY experimental folk singer/songwriter Ben Scherer. The three definitely succeeded in creating a distinct and charismatic mood that envelops the entire record, similar to Scherer’s 2007 folk instrumental Rooms EP. You can almost see vocalist May Rio slink and sway in an intimate dimly lit NYC club like Hope Sandoval crossed with Emiliana Torrini with the rest of the band leisurely and masterfully backing her every move.  ~ Jay Castro


Mike Hudson & The Pagans – Hollywood High LP – (Ruin Discos)
What’s This Shit called . . . all right I’ll stop. Now that I got that out of my system, Hudson and The Pagans are finally back. He has been writing books in the meantime since his musical career was put on hiatus, most notably Diary Of A Punk. Hollywood High is the return effort and is inspired by Evita Corby, the girl from Iggy’s Kill City LP. If you are looking for Shit Street, look again, but this LP does have Cleveland stamped on it whether in the loud rock n’ roll of the Dead Boys or the more medolic stuff like Stiv and Iggy’s solo stuff. This round of Pagans is still rough around the edges, but is more of a musical sniper shot instead of the buckshot of youth.  – Ed Stuart

Ministers Dead/The Bleach Boys – Split EP (No Front Teeth)
Ministers Dead are from London and Hertfordshire and play a straight jump kick to your face, hard hitting, melodic hardcore with a “call to arms” style lyrics that you don’t hear much from No Front Teeth. The sound has more in common with the Southern California in the 1980’s than it does with 1977 and the UK. The Bleach Boys (who are THE Bleach Boys from back in the late 1970’s) serve up a good complimentary style of music to this split 7” but with a different lyrical approach. Where Ministers Dead want to rile up the masses and ignite the revolution, Bleach Boys are older blokes that express their distaste for western society by writing lyrics full of sarcasm and dark humor. Think of them as the George Carlins of Punk Rock! Not only is the music great, but the cover art is killer and like most No Front Teeth releases has different variations of it.  ~ Jay Castro

Neighborhood Brats – Recovery LP (Deranged)
The Brats return with their debut LP after a slew of well-received singles and EP’s. Neighborhood Brats still have their Avengers meets LA Dangerhouse sound, but on Recovery, the Brats are armed with a new rhythm section (most notably from Gestapo Khazi) and a more controlled musical temperament. The old Neighborhood Brats might have opened your front door with an explosive and stayed for the party afterwards; the new Brats show up with their invitation in hand only to poison the drinks and watch the guests squirm in the aftermath. Recovery doesn’t start with the knockout punch of a rookie boxer, but hammers you down with a series of well-timed musical jabs and body shots before applying the finishing uppercut.  – Ed Stuart

The New Flesh – Absurd LP (Deranged)
What a great name for a band! The New Flesh name sounds like it’s ripped right out of a Hellboy/B.P.R.D. comic storyline or an ingenious new horror movie idea, but I’m getting way off track. The New Flesh is one of Oakland’s newest and more promising bands. Absurd has the hallmarks of Christian Death, T.S.O.L. and Joy Division all mixed together for a wonderful post-punk/darkwave stew. Absurd the official follow up to their demo tape that was successfully making the rounds. While sadly Neon Piss might be no more, its members have risen again in The New Flesh.  – Ed Stuart

No Problem – We’re Already Dead LP (Deranged)
Don’t let the cover art for We’re Already Dead fool you, on first glance it might give the impression of a crust/hardcore band due to the number of jacket spikes, but this is not the case. Now, while I’ve read other descriptions of No Problem being labeled as hardcore I might have to disagree on the basis of what the term has currently come to embody. Hardcore as it was used in the early ‘80’s to describe bands like early D.O.A., Circle Jerks and Bad Religion may be right on, but in today’s world I would consider We’re Already Dead punk. No Problem is the singer from Wednesday Night Heroes new project and in some ways it’s not that far off from WNH, but definitely leans to early D.O.A. style of punk.  – Ed Stuart

The No Tomorrow Boys – Bad Luck Baby Put The Jinx On Me LP (Hound Gawd!)
Is switchblade rock n’ roll a term? I’m sure I have heard it or read it somewhere before. If there is ever a band this term could apply to, it’s the No Tomorrow Boys. The band looks like quintessential ‘50’s bad boys from The Wild Ones and play the music of Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Link Wray, and Chuck Berry, but with so much danger that while listening to the LP you have to keep your eye on the turntable’s arm so it doesn’t cut you for fun. Bad Luck Baby Put The Jinx On Me was born in dive bars, played by teen rebels and brought from town by the street bikes they rode in on. This is roots rock n’ roll done so well you might just forget the originals; No Tomorrow Boys took their influence from.  – Ed Stuart

The Number Ones – The Number Ones LP (Deranged/Static Shock)
This band also goes by the name of #1’s so as too avoid any confusion. I first heard The Number Ones (or #1’s as they are listed) on the Big Itch Compilation 7-inch that came out a year or so ago. “Sixteen” is a power-pop smoker, and the arguable stand out song from Big Itch, is fighting to be a standout song on a LP that is full of them. The Number Ones sound like a missing Good Vibrations band that somehow, perplexingly, never made the compilation. Rudi, Undertones, Protex influences are all here on this self-titled LP that sounds as fresh as any genuinely heartfelt and unpolished power-pop gem from the aforementioned era.  – Ed Stuart

The Parrots – Loving You Is Hard 7” (Bachelor)
While The Parrots are from Spain, they share a similar taste in sound and songwriting to some better-known western contemporaries like New Swears, Fidlar and Black Lips. “Loving You Hard” could practically fit into one of those aforementioned bands catalogs without missing a beat. While I can’t verify the affinity for partying like the other three, The Parrots are off too a good start with writing some catchy jangle-garage-pop that should not be ignored.  – Ed Stuart

Pregnancy Scares – Mind Control EP (Deranged)
After reading about many other bands and projects each member of Pregnancy Scares is involved in, it’s amazing that they have the time to practice, record or play shows at all. Members of Steve Adamyk Band, Crusades, and Mother’s Children, founder of Bruised Tongue Records and the main man behind the Ottawa Explosion somehow have carved out time to make one mean punk/hardcore EP. Mind Control’s opening track “Master Race” is a sizzler and a burning opener. The rest of the EP is on the more menacing side of hardcore with throat scraping vocals and aggressive riffs. While Ottawa is more known for it’s poppier, Pregnancy Scares is a reminder there is a darker side lurking in the cities pop underbelly.  – Ed Stuart

Red Dons & TV Smith – A Vote For The Unknown 7” (Deranged/Taken by Surprise)
I’m not sure who originally thought of this combination, but kudos to whoever did. TV Smith (Adverts) and the Red Dons (who had have members from Clorox Girls, Estranged most notably) have teamed to make A Vote For The Unknown a definite listen. I could say this reminds me of Adverts, but actually its reminds me of Skids meets mid-80’s melodic punk/post punk. Originally recorded in 2011, this release is finally seeing the light of day. – Ed Stuart

Road Rage – Road Rage EP (Self-Release)
With a name like Road Rage, you have to figure the songs are going to be more rock than roll. That’s Rock > Roll for all the mathematicians out there. Road Rage could be a graduate of the two guitar Les Paul/Marshall attack from the Turbonegro/Backyard Babies school of rock that has served them well. – Ed Stuart

Scraps – S/T EP (No Front Teeth)
For anyone who read my interview with Bobby Passion from the Scraps that posted earlier in the month on these here illustrious pages, you know how much I like these guys and you have an idea of what they already sound like based on my two cents above the interview piece and your copy of their EP is currently flying over the mighty Atlantic in a cargo plane from No Front Teeth. If you haven’t then I will give it to you briefly so you can still catch Marco at the NFT headquarters and he can still get your EP out today.  This is killer late 1970’s Brit Punk inspired music: raw, feral, melodic and minimalistic punk rock. Reminds me a lot of the Damned, Eater and Slaughter & The Dogs. Not total mindless throwbacks though, this is music made by three young guys with plenty to say about the here and now and have the talent to say it their own way.  ~ Jay Castro

Sex Crime – S/T EP (No Front Teeth)
Portland, OR’s Sex Crime also does a brand of Punk Rock with synthesizers as their weapon of choice but these boys and girls have yet another unique take on this particular wild animal. First off, this band consists of current and former members of bands like The Epoxies, The No Talents (yes THE No Talents from France), Suicide Notes, The Rickets, and more I’m sure I’m leaving out. They’ve only been around for a couple of years yet have already released a handful of EP’s and have toured Europe. This ain’t your goofball band of smelly kids that can barely see their adolescents in the rear view mirror.  The members of Sex Crime are punk rock lifers and they all bare an impressive résumé.  They’re not here to impress anybody, they’re here to bring exciting punk rock with an element of danger that will melt the flesh from your face and that is exactly what this EP does!  ~ Jay Castro

SGNLS – 2 LP (FDH/P. Trash)
Gary Numan would be proud. His legion of synth-punk followers and driving force has taken hold especially in bands like SGNLS. 2 is full of Tubeway Army and Gary Numan synth-punk songwriting and atmosphere, but fans of Screamers will be pleased too. Credit to the writer of SGNLS’s bio for the witty crack at the use of the “punk” suffix on synth-punk because the band can’t really play keyboard, but with SGNLS this is not the case at all. SGNLS uses the keys to full atmospheric effect while contrasting clean melodic guitars especially on the intro of “Horizon.” FDH seems to becoming home to bands of this genre with Bad Doctors and now SGNLS. Solid! – Ed Stuart

The Snookys – Junk Food LP (One Chord Wonder)
We first heard of The Snookys at the Audio Ammunition flying fortress from the Steriods 7 inch the band submitted for review. Now The Snookys are back with Junk Food. On Junk Food, the Snookys have turned down some of the vitriol without losing the bite. The Snookys still at their core are a garage-punk band, but they have slightly moved away from the Rip Off records influenced songwriting to add a lot more punchy and outright catchy songs like “Stab You” that are reminiscent of early Hives while “Down In the Basement” and “Fire Alarm” are part Saints and UK ’77 era punk. Sometimes when you take your foot off the gas just slightly a whole new world opens up. – Ed Stuart

Sonny Vincent & Spite – Spiteful LP (Ultramafic)
This is one wild disc! I sat there reading who was in this band and had to read it three times over to convince myself I wasn’t just seeing things. The Spite are of course Sonny of the Testors on guitar/vocals, Steve Mackay of the Stooges on sax, Rat Scabies of The Damned on drums and original Sex Pistol Glen Matlock on bass! The music however is the REALLY amazing part: loud, mean, trashy Rock n’ Roll! From the first song “Dog on The Subway” the whole album gives the feeling of an uncontrollable wrecking ball swinging around your head. The mammoth 14-song record does have some slower numbers in it, but even those have a sensation of barely controlled energy waiting to explode. This goes to show you if you still have the rage, age don’t mean squat!  ~ Jay Castro

Stalin Video – Vivisektion EP (No Front Teeth) 
Stalin Video comes to us partly from South Carolina’s Now in 3D and London’s Gaggers and sounds like a perfect blend of both. The songs are quick, razor sharp ditties of ultra bratty synth/doom punk. There are a few bands doing this sort of thing like Australia’s Ausmuteants and No Front Teeth label mates Miscalculations but none have this kind of jittery uneasy feeling of organized chaos and good ol’ fashioned ‘77 punk snootiness.  This 7” is one sided but its 5 songs of relentless laser blasts that don’t skimp on manic energy. So run and take shelter behind a pile of rubble or a smoldering vehicle because Stalin Video are slowly moving forward and are scanning the perimeter for all remaining life forms: they will destroy whatever or whoever is found alive.  ~ Jay Castro

Steve Adamyk Band – Dial Tone LP (Dirtnap)
The only problem with being a fan of Steve Adamyk Band is trying to keep up with all of their releases and if you’re a fan, you want to. I have heard (as far as I know) all or most of these Ontario wild men’s records and I am never disappointed, Dial Tone is by no means an exception. This record continues to let us follow Steve Adamyk Band on their journey to perfect their own unique brand of aggressive, trashy, angst filled power pop punk. This time the band enlisted the help of Warm Soda front man Matthew Melton for the recording and it definitely adds a new depth to their sound. Every time you think SAB has hit peak perfection their next record comes out and you realize they’ve just set the bar higher for themselves yet again!  ~ Jay Castro

Stoic Violence – Chained 12” (Deranged/Video Disease)
No holds barred, in your face hardcore from Long Beach’s Stoic Violence. Long Beach is tough and gritty and so is Stoic Violence. While there are umpteen bands nowadays with violence in the name to give a sense of danger, Stoic Violence Chained provides danger with their pummeling drums and mean guitar riffs. Stoic Violence, mainly compared to Hoax, reminds me of Poison Idea, Reagan Youth and other bands of this ilk.  – Ed Stuart

Sugar Stems – Only Come At Night LP (Dirtnap)
First of all my band was lucky enough to open for these guys and girls. Sugar Stems live are amazing and their lead guitar player is smoking, but since this isn’t a live review I’ll get back on track. Only Come Out At Night opens with the best Blondie song that Blondie never wrote, but after that it’s pure Sugar Stems. Sugar Stems is a power-pop band through and through and the only real change for this LP is the addition of a keyboard player. If you were a fan of the previous Sugar Stems releases, nothing here is going to stop you continuing on as a fan. “Haunted” sounds like a lost Dave Edmunds/Rockpile song. “Only Come At Night” would and should be a hit if there ever was one and was KEXP’s Song Of The Day. Sugar Stems are not all fun and light though as they add some heartache into the mix like a musical sweet and sour that satisfies your pop-felt soul.  – Ed Stuart

Sunken Monkey – Party Scars LP (Self Released)
From the town of Burnley, England come four burley chaps singing about love, life and all the woe and splendor than accompany both. Their music sounds like they would have earned a prominent set time during the Warped Tour heyday of the mid 1990’s right in between Pennywise and Down By Law. Thick guitars, shout along melodies with “all the ooos and aahs in all the right places.” I can easily imagine this band on an old Plan B skate video. The record is well produced and despite the goofy band name these guys wear their hearts on their sleeves and sing, play and sweat like they mean it.  ~ Jay Castro

Teen Death – Crawling EP (6131 Records)
Whoa, I haven’t heard new music like this, and done this well, in a very long time.  Heavy, fuzzed up mucky guitar riffs with reverb dripping all over the place similar to early Nirvana and a singer that shouts with a snotty tone in his voice similar to Mudhoney’s Mark Arm. A tremendous debut from this, not Seattle or anywhere in the Pacific Northwest, but by way of Baltimore, MD trio of young, bratty, vigorous musicians ready and eager to resurrect the Jimi Hendrix and Pete Townshend inspired guitar decadence of 1990’s grunge! These are people that see this type of music as a jumping off point and if they continue are sure to take it to all new heights! ~ Jay Castro

TIT – S/T EP (FDH Records/Volar Records)
The Philly boys at FDH bring you a new project from Shawn of Digital Leather and Bobby of The Hussy. Anyone that’s heard either of these bands (and if you haven’t, you really should!), this sounds pretty much how you would expect a perfect amalgamation of these two minds would. It’s wrapped in dark monotone vocals and mechanized drumming all while riding on a vessel of synthesizers and guitars that take you through a dark demented Charlie and The Chocolate Factory type tunnel to an unpleasant future filled with rotting buildings and the smell of smoke in the air. TIT goes well with Stalins of Sound, Ausmuteants and Miscalculations; TIT: bringing you the now sound for the no tomorrow!  ~ Jay Castro

Vampires – Every Kind of Light EP (Self Released)
Thanks to Stephanie Meyer and her horrendous interpretation of Vampires, the mere sight of the word now makes me cringe and bury my head. I thought this was going to be some kind of grind core/goth/industrial parade of crap like something they’d play at a fetish ball or something, but I was actually pleasantly surprised. The first two songs are a bit on the dark side, but it kind of reminds me of Gish era Smashing Pumpkins with a bit noisier/chaotic production. Loud, heavy guitar hooks rule over vocals that willingly submit to its supremacy. The third song “Winnipeg Song,” which is where the band is from, begins with a Death Cab for Cutie inspired riff before it starts to kick into a higher gear. Good, solid release that kept my interest though all four songs of the EP.  ~ Jay Castro

Venomous Pinks – Exes & Whoas EP (Self Released)
The four Phoenician ladies in Venomous Pinks play tough Punk Rock N’ Roll for you scrawny humans to admire and aspire to be someday if you can keep up.  Their new EP is crammed full of sweat, beer, tattoos, and even Agnostic Front’s Roger Miret’s head pops up a couple times in the skirmish as well. Some of the other hard rocking ladies that come to mind when listening to this are Civet and Distellers’ Brody Dalle. The band has just released their second EP and has been around since 2011. They play in Phoenix/Tempe area quite a bit. What does that tell you? This band likes to play live better that sitting around tinkering with some silly recording machine. Venomous Pinks gain strength from your weakness and feed off of your nightmares, soon they will be coming around and you will be powerless against them!  ~ Jay Castro

Voight-Kampff – Last House on the Right 7”  – (Deranged)
For those of you that think guys in hardcore bands only live and breathe hardcore, you are dead wrong. My first two cases are Marvelous Darlings and Smartboys, which involve members of Fucked Up, No Warning and others. The next case would be Voight-Kampff. VK is a two-piece duo from two hardcore guys that sounds nothing like hardcore at all. One member of Life Like and the other from Damage Deposit take a musical 180 and make Last House on the Right an ode to the goth/darkwave era of early Bauhaus with pieces of The Normal and top it all with Samhain’s ambience and atmosphere. – Ed Stuart

The Wipers – Nome Noma EP (Meanbean)
Not to be confused with Portland’s Wipers, this band is from Montreal and sadly this was their one and only release. It originally came out in 1980 and re-released in 1981 and that’s it. The crate was shut, sealed and placed in that enormous warehouse they showed at the end of Raiders of The Lost Ark. Thankfully Meanbean found it, dusted it off and presented it back to civilization and boy I sure am thankful they did. This is a killer two song 7” of new wave/power-pop/punk which was obviously put out at the wrong time.  This reminds me of The Vapors or The Normals which are two of my favorite bands.  The original version was just in a plain white sleeve and Meanbean prepared a killer picture sleeve and the record now also comes with liner notes from some of the band members and available on color vinyl: definitely giving it the royal treatment it deserves.  ~ Jay Castro