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Tapes of Wrath: The Cassette Review Column

"It's cool in the way shit used to be cool. You know, with drugs and tits and violence and fire."

Sorrows NYXHC


Female-fronted New York hardcore, but not the kind where lunatics with neck tattoos wander backstage and stab their old bandmates. I mean, Sorrows are angry, for sure, but they probably also own a kitten. Anyway, this is a six song cassette demo, and what I really like is that the lyrics and everything are typed up. Like on a typewriter. Now that is some serious fuckin’ dedication to dead technologies. The jams are short and tight and kinda melodic with punchy choruses. It would be lazy of me to say they sound kinda like Agnostic Front, but it would also be accurate. Anyway, I’m into it. And even if I wasn’t, it’s over in six and a half-minutes, so whatever.


Paul Jacobs

I Need a Place to Keep My Stuff

yeah baby records

It’s probably not true that all one-man bands have serious mental issues, but it almost always sounds that way, doesn’t it? And doesn’t the whole notion of being a one-man band seem kinda suspicious in the first place? You can’t find anyone to play with you? Most of the worst people I’ve ever met have been in bands, and yet, as objectionable as some of those piss-jars are, they still find a stooge or two to make a racket with. So I am generally afraid of guys like Paul Jacobs, or at least afraid for them, and opening up his tape with a song like Waiting for My Grave does nothing to quell my unease. Still, hells bells, what an album! Thrashy, catchy garage-punk, not unlike The Cramps, but with an added dose of outer space what-the-fuckery that suggests Mr Jacobs is craftier than he is crazy. Comes on a bright red cassette slathered in loony cartoons, as you might hope/expect.


Church Shuffle

_13th Month _


This is what I miss about the 80’s. Not the parachute pants or girls in acid-wash denim mini-skirts or even my horribly wasted youth. I miss weirdos with synthesizers making the noisiest bullshit they can and slapping them on cheap cassettes. Church Shuffle is a psychedustrial noise outfit out of LA. If you are deep into noise culture than you’ll know Shuffle is an offshoot of Gauze/Traag. I’m just a piker so I have no idea who anybody is, but I dig this greatly. It’s not a cacophonous wall-of-noise, more of a slow-burning soundtrack to an experimental black and white horror flick shot on super 8 by some creep in a black leather jacket starring his stripper girlfriend. Or like Chrome if their drum machine broke. It’s cool in the way shit used to be cool. You know, with drugs and tits and violence and fire.


**Bozmo **

Leather Umbrella

Peaking Pear

Bozmo knows what’s up. Hooky-heavy psychedelic-pop that never devolves into fake drug-haze bullshit. That’s not to say Bozmo’s not on drugs, he probably is, he just doesn’t drag that shit into work with him. There’s two distinct flavors here: lip-smacking sunshiny pop tunes, like insta-hit Wig Strut, and heavier bummer-jams like Open Wide. Both are equally groovy. This one’s pretty can’t-miss. Bozmo is like Donovan with a smoke-belching motorcycle. Leather Umbrella is available in a limited (100!) run from Peaking Pear, so snatch it up quick.




Headless Guru

Wow! UK punk that zips by so fast, most of the songs are only thirty seconds long. It’s like getting sucker-punched five or six times, and before you’re even aware that your eye’s been knocked out, the perpetrator has made a clean getaway on his skateboard. It’s over so quick I’m not even sure it happened. But if it did, I liked it. The drums are huge, the riffs meaty, and the moshy parts are metal-as-fuck. Brevity punk for teenage werewolves. The cassette is spray-painted yellow and marked with a plastic label maker. As an added bonus, if you buy one in person, they will sock you in the stomach for free.


Classic Rock contributor since 2003. Twenty Five years in music industry (40 if you count teenage xerox fanzines). Bylines for Metal Hammer, Decibel. AOR, Hitlist, Carbon 14, The Noise, Boston Phoenix, and spurious publications of increasing obscurity. Award-winning television producer, radio host, and podcaster. Voted “Best Rock Critic” in Boston twice. Last time was 2002, but still. Has been in over four music videos. True story.