Archive for 'Consumer Report'

I got some nice feedback on the first Consumer Report post last June, wherein I listed some underappreciated punk/hardcore singles that were available for purchase on Discogs for under five dollars a piece. It’s January now, and we’re all living fat on our holiday bonuses (or unemployed and nihilistic, so same difference really), so here are some more fantastic records available on Discogs for under the five-dollar mark (at least at the time of publication). Who needs new albums for $18.99 and up when there are so many great old records ripe for the picking?

Boy In Love The Peehole Sessions 7″ (Wheelchair Full Of Old Men, 1995)
Everyone loves Sockeye, that much is true, but it can be difficult to navigate their dozens of side-projects, related joke bands and demo-only friends’ bands (although there is certainly no harm in trying). This Boy In Love single is a personal favorite from the Wheelchair Full Of Old Men discography, and if you are familiar with Pissed Jeans, I can tell you that the Boy In Love track “My Bible Is A Boy” (featured here) was more influential than any Birthday Party or Jesus Lizard tune (perhaps one day we’ll get around to covering it). I know Boy In Love have also released a CD or a tape or two, filled with dozens of songs, and I have never checked them out, mainly out of fear that it won’t be as fantastic as this. Boy In Love hit that perfect level of intentional-stupidity on The Peehole Sessions, rocking hard and mocking everyone in the process. Isn’t that what punk is all about, anyway?

Huren Tinseltown 12″ (Zhark, 1999)
Evil industrial techno sure is hot these days, but did you know that people have been making it for years? I’ll admit, I first heard Huren maybe a year or two ago, and I was shocked at how fresh and intense his Tinseltown still is – it’s scorching, monotonous, feverish techno that will make your nose bleed if you stand in one place for too long while listening. All of the Huren I’ve heard is great, but the fact that he looks like a Sin City comic character on the center sticker (that’s Huren, right?) makes this one special, as does the title track’s monstrous groove. With the cost of international shipping, you might as well just snatch up all of Huren’s EPs (they’re all pretty cheap) and utterly destroy your next DJ gig.

Girls At Our Best Politics! / It’s Fashion 7″ (Record / Rough Trade, 1980)
For all the twee, poppy post-punk that has been celebrated in recent years, I’m surprised that Girls At Our Best haven’t gotten more of their due – their cover art is some of the best that early ’80s post-punk singles had to offer, and their songs are short, catchy and sharp… it’s like they were just as frustrated and bitter as Kleenex and The Slits, but they opted for a smooth bubblegum flavor to mask their spite. All their singles are fantastic (although my favorite, Getting Nowhere Fast / Warm Girls seems to be the priciest), their album is solid (if a little harder to track down), and Girls At Our Best are really just one Slumberland retrospective collection away from being the hot new old band of the month with the record nerd cognoscenti. And there are copies of Politics! for a paltry two dollars on Discogs, right now!

Them, Themselves Or They Ribbons & Bows….Angel Dust & Magick Wands 7″ (Malt Duck, 2008)
Here’s a fairly recent single that seemed to fly under most peoples’ radar, and it’s a shame, because it’s one of the weirdest, most uniquely great singles to come out of the previous decade! From their weird name to the obnoxious title, it’s clear this isn’t an ordinary group, and their music is even more bizarre – imagine classic stoner riffs played on a clean-channel bass guitar, modest backing drums, random space-ship gurgle and whimpering vocals… it’s as if the best aspects of Wooden Shjips and Titmachine were combined into something entirely new. I could listen to these songs all day long and never tire, as they’re the perfect combination of DIY punk fuckery and smooth stoner bliss, and the whole thing reeks of true artistic insanity, not a calculated approach to being cool (as the many copies of Ribbons & Bows….Angel Dust & Magick Wands on Discogs for under two dollars may attest). Pick it up now, or get ready to hunt it like a fiend thirty years from now, once the rest of the world catches up…

97a Better Off Dead 7″ (Teamwork, 1996)
It’s funny how the history of hardcore re-writes itself over time… there was a point where this 97a EP was considered one of the most blazing, intense EPs (and coveted by collectors for its multitude of limited versions) by the general hardcore populace. And now, there are enough cheap copies on Discogs that you can buy a bag’s worth for like $25 and use them in place of Halloween candy. To this day, 97a’s debut EP still sounds vibrant and raging – they bridged the gap between the second-wave youth-crew and power-violence scenes, blasting and screaming but still allowing plenty of space for toe-touch jumps and stage dives. Many of these songs are oddly structured, where a fast intro will quickly fade and never be replayed, or a breakdown will pop up in the wrong spot, or never materialize when it’s needed most, and it’s that sort of musical uniqueness that really sets them apart. 97a kinda veered into self-parody toward the end of their existence, but this one is a ripper through and through. Plus, there are more hilarious 97a stories than any other hardcore band out of the late ’90s – I was there when the singer slapped the promoter of their last show for talking during his pre-show speech!

That’s right, an addition to the Yellow Green Red family! The first Consumer Report post. Let me explain: see, I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling retail fatigue when it comes to new records (since when did over $20 become the norm for a full-length LP?). It just doesn’t seem right or fair! And just as that has been setting in, I’ve been spending an unhealthy amount of time on my new favorite website,, buying records and occasionally selling them and just getting a feel for the digital marketplace that exists. If you’ve been on there yourself, you’ve probably also noticed that A: 80% of all records currently reside in Europe, B: those European sellers expect top-dollar, and C: there is no limit to the human’s ability to be a nerd. In my recent online digging, I’ve come across some really great deals, and plan on sharing those here when the mood strikes me. This post is about hardcore/punk/garage from the ’90s, and I think the next will be techno! Why waste your time chasing the latest ‘manufactured rarity’ when you can grab five killer singles for under $25, right now? If you are reading this post, and these records are no longer available on Discogs for less than five dollars a piece, it means my work here is done.

Code 13 A Part Of America Died Today (Havoc, 1998)
You probably know Felix Von Havoc as the standard for what an American punk rock lifer is – self-made, never sold out even slightly (you won’t see him in a Scion), massive record collection in custom-made shelves, leather jacket, MRR column, was chased out of a window by cops while Gordon Solie Motherfuckers played, etc etc etc. His band Code 13 was always good, and always under-appreciated, but their last single A Part Of America Died Today is an absolute monster. In a subtly-conceptual presentation, one side is full of blasting thrash tracks, speed-core that rivals anything on Slap A Ham, and the other side is the “punk” side, raging just as hard but with a focus on memorable choruses and circle-pitting (“Give The Kids” sounds like a 7 Seconds song performed by Jerry’s Kids). You probably need their whole discography (it’s just three singles and a split), but this is the place to start.

Humpy Humpy (Beer City, 1996)
Make no mistake… yes, it’s that Beer City Records! I know people love to joke about this, well, joke-worthy label, but I bought some of my first 7″s from their Thrasher magazine ads, thank-you-very-much, and when it comes to suburban gutter-punk, there is no finer stamp of approval. Humpy kind of side-steps all of that though by just being a completely out-of-control, violent-sounding punk band, accidentally stepping into a d-beat puddle and flailing with drums that just don’t quit. There are eight songs here, one of which is called “America Online” (which you’ll probably have to explain to your children one day), and it rages too. Plus they are from god-damned Montana and called themselves “Humpy”. What else do you want?

Jellyroll Rockheads Intense And Mild EP (625 Productions, 2000)
Okay, so it’s from 2000, but I’m not gonna let this heat pass because of a technicality. There was a great little window of time where hardcore bands were still willing to try something new, just as wacky thrash was rearing it’s brim-flipped head and kids were starting to learn about the multitude of amazing ’80-’82 hardcore that was utterly obscure before the internet came to town. Jellyroll Rockheads were hyped at the time, and for good reason – their music is utterly manic, possessed and hyper-fast (in that way that only the Japanese can do), like they took the concept of Melt Banana and applied it strictly to hardcore-thrash. They’re the sound of hardcore suspended in mid-jump. Plus, the 625 Productions label (later dubbed 625 Thrashcore) is full of overlooked dollar-bin gems just waiting to be enjoyed (among a large assortment of stinkers, to be sure). And furthermore, there is currently a copy available for $1.55… skip your lunch-time Twix and grab this instead!

Sad Sack Heinous Bitch (ERL, 1991)
Out of the five records I mention today, this is my top pick. When the Killed By Death series finally catches up to the ’90s, “Heinous Bitch” is going to be the first track on side A. Imagine a recording of Bobby Soxx singing for Flipper and released on the Siltbreeze label, and I say that with very little hyperbole! Can’t tell if the drums are a human or a machine, it’s just so damn trebly and painful, and the vocalist absolutely slobbers all over these songs like he’s rabid and about to die and just doesn’t care. All this with a guitar solo that’d make Watery Love blush! ERL is a pretty cool and frequently overlooked noise-rock / punk label from the ’90s, and this is the finest piece of art they’ve ever bestowed upon us. Mandatory listening, I say!

Unholy Swill Tapeworm In My Head (Noiseville, 1990)
Unholy Swill have a thick and meaty discography, and while some of their records are valued in the double-digits, you can still get this killer slice of fuzz-crusted belligerence for cheap. Imagine if GG Allin never got famous, and instead got married and had a couple kids, restricting his utter contempt for humanity to the shack in the backyard where he keeps the lawnmower and a room-temperature case of beer, and you’re close to the miserably-masculine suffering of Unholy Swill. The vocals are so burly that it occasionally sounds like a Muppet-ized El Duce, but there’s just so much distortion and ugliness to the recording that it still sounds great today. They’re like the miserable security guard that would confiscate Drunks With Guns’ beer and drink it themselves, and I will forever love them for it.