U.K. Subs

Alongside their contemporaries, London’s never-say-die UK Subs’ 1977-vintage punk sounds old-fashioned, yet Nicky Garratt’s wall-of-sound rhythm guitar and Charlie Harper’s chanted/sung vocals make for highly enjoyable charged rock’n’rage. Maybe it’s the familiarity of their style that makes the quartet more listenable than, say, the early Exploited; whatever the case, the Subs play high-energy, fast-paced rock…

Count

The Count — Joseph A. Viglione — has been a visible and important fixture on the local Boston scene ever since the mid-’70s. Besides recording and performing his own material, he’s published fanzines, promoted concerts, produced other bands and operated the Varulven label. Oddly enough, his first two albums have never been issued outside France.…

Discharge

As the class of ’77 faded into the past (or the mainstream), England’s punk banner was taken up by a generation of harder, faster, tougher, less intellectual or arty bands, many of them far more politically outspoken than their predecessors. Oi. Discharge, from Stoke on Trent, had been playing around for several years by the…

Nuns

For a brief moment in the late ’70s, it seemed as if the Nuns might be the catalyst for a successful new wave/punk scene in San Francisco. Instigated by Alejandro Escovedo as a college project, the band quickly earned media praise and garnered a rabid local cult following. But time quickly passed them by. Aggressive…

Roger C. Reale and Rue Morgue

With infectious melodies and clear-cut hooks, this has to be classified as pop, but Reale’s rough, tough vocal style makes it difficult to do so; the contrast is what makes the record so appealing. Reale, who also plays bass on the album, was part of the late-’70s talent pool that developed around Wallingford, Connecticut’s Trod…

Alternative TV

The hipness and success of London punk-explosion photocopy fanzine Sniffin’ Glue was almost entirely due to the irreverent, pugnacious sincerity of its founder/sparkplug Mark P(erry). That Perry should form a band seemed a natural progression; that it was any good at all a surprise; that it maintained a stance utterly disdainful of compromise a small…

Vice Squad

Formed in ’78, Bristol’s Vice Squad grew to become one of the most successful bands of the second British punk era. They made powerful music with bitterly intense lyrics and had — until she departed, following a disagreement over animal rights — a major focal point in lead singer Beki Bondage. No Cause for Concern…

U.X.A.

The album by United Experiments of America (U.X.A.) reeks of self-indulgence. The lyrics are inane, and the dirgelike music doesn’t have enough clout to keep from blurring into a jumbled mess. This SoCal quartet pales compared with the overwhelming power of the hardcore bands all around them, although one track, “No Time,” shows some promise…

Krayolas

Kolored Music was an impressive start for this Mexican-American pop group from San Antonio, Texas; their music has a joyous, unpretentious quality that makes every cut a treat. Basing their sound on the ’60s — there are traces of Paul Revere and the Raiders, the Box Tops, Monkees and, of course, the Beatles — the…

Dark

Two things conspired to keep England’s Dark from finding the success they deserved. First, they didn’t fit in with the trendy Britpunk image of the early ’80s — they just were not fashionable enough in a land of mohawks. Second, Fresh Records was going out of business at the time of their debut’s release, and…

Sound

It’s hard to understand why this London quartet never found commercial success. At their best, the Sound’s excellent neo-pop bears favorable comparison to the Psychedelic Furs and Echo and the Bunnymen. Jeopardy has a stark, beautiful quality, with the material given direct exposure rather than a production bath. Adrian Borland’s vocals are sincere and gripping;…

Nikki and the Corvettes

Nikki Corvette is a squeezably cute Detroit gal with a sweet innocent-but-coy voice who should have had hits. Her trio album has a spare, rockin’ sound that goes against the Phil Spector tradition that still applied to girl groups in the days before the Go-Go’s and the Bangles. There are plenty of blatant ’60s pop…

Adolescents

Adolescents is one of the better longplayers to come out of the early Southern California hardcore punk scene. With the legendary Rikk Agnew on guitar, the first album by this high-energy Orange County quintet (drawing some of its teenaged membership from Agent Orange and Social Distortion) has a crisp, metallic guitar sound and clear, comprehensible…

Plan 9

Outside of its art college, Rhode Island hasn’t exactly been a storehouse for modern rock music. But the state has a group to be proud of in Plan 9, whose Frustration is exciting garage psychedelia. The swirling, mesmerizing effect of four (!) guitars recalls the best of the late ’60s and gives able support to…

True Sounds of Liberty (TSOL)

Without True Sounds of Liberty (and Agent Orange, for that matter), it’s safe to assume there would be no Offspring. In its prime one of the top five or so punk outfits this country has ever produced, the pioneering California group degenerated from a tight, rippling hardcore quartet to a lame hair metal band with…

Peter Dayton

After leaving Boston’s La Peste, Dayton formed a group under his own name and placed a track on the Sharp Cuts compilation; this Ric Ocasek-produced EP followed. But even with the Cars frontman at the helm, it just doesn’t cut the mustard: Dayton’s pop-rock isn’t offensive, but his songwriting needs to be sharpened and the…

Felt

Aided at the outset by a second guitarist, a rhythm section and little more, Birmingham singer/songwriter Lawrence Hayward fashioned a career in homage to Tom Verlaine without once attempting to play his music. On Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty, Felt patterns itself after Television’s guitar interplay, with occasional understated vocals that cross Verlaine and Lou Reed.…

Exploited

Standing tall as a long-running paradigm of British hardcore, the Exploited — a name emblazoned on the backs of countless leather jackets — is musically harsher, darker and cruder than the Edinburgh band’s ’77 forefathers. With an unstable lineup led by spike-haired shouter Wattie Buchan, these gruff yobbos vent unrestrained and bottomless anger against their…

Last

Although heavily indebted to the sounds of the ’60s (they touch freely on surf-rock, psychedelia, folk-rock, etc.) Los Angeles’ Last — formed in 1976 and led by three Nolte brothers — play with modern-day punk intensity. L.A. Explosion! is a near-perfect debut, marred only by flat production. The performances are stunning, with Vitus Mataré’s authentic…

New Order (US)

Early American punk fanzines had little to write about, which is probably why New Order (the first/American one) got a lot of press. But just because the group featured Ron Asheton (ex-Stooges guitarist), Scott Thurston (ex-Stooges keyboardist and future Motel) and Dennis Thompson (ex-MC5 drummer) didn’t mean its music had to be worthwhile. The New…