Fielding a five-man wedge of rhythm guitarists, the Afrika Korps was a casually constituted underground supergroup whose fifteen-person lineup included fanzine writers, Slickee Boys and other assorted Washington DC-area garagepunks. Music to Kill By boasts 22 songs (including the Slickee Boys’ “Jailbait Janet,” covers of the Kinks and Yardbirds, and such culturally profound outpourings as “Iggy,” “Death to Disko!” and “N.Y. Punk.”). Although badly recorded and mastered — the guitar army often sounds more like one kid playing through a Pignose amp — the band’s unflinching musical integrity and enthusiasm make this a significant memento of punk’s early independent label surge.
Reuniting on a smaller scale five years later, the Korps roared back into action with a punchy second album. Solomon Gruberger (who does a pretty good Joey Ramone imitation on “Tonight”) shares lead vocal duties on the half-dozen songs with ex-Slickee Boys singer Martha Hull and SB guitarist Kim Kane. The clear production is certainly welcome, but the energetic performances are squandered on weak original material.