Split 7"
(Gold Standard Laboratories)

Portland's lunatic Monitgrrrl Bats have crossed the line, and this 7" will have you asking the Big Q: "So, which part is the art, and which part is the music?" Sax, guitar, and drum skronk with androgynously high-pitched vocals deliver a demonic, high-modernist knuckle-fucking-sandwich. If you think music always has to be pretty (or, for that matter, coherent on any human level), stay away from the chaos of "Die!" Monitr Bats, cause they come off like a gang of Eagle Scouts with dribbles of chicken blood on their plastic fangs, as they scream for the "NURSE!" Far less "batty" is the B-side to this mini disco plate, by Seattle's abstracted art-punx Chromatics, who sing the line "Cough up a Karma" over a super-tight, opium party dance beat. Adam's agitated vox are so uncomfortable, it's giving me a urinary tract infection just thinking about it, like he's gonna blow up from boredom and singing about the karma-cough is keeping him together. It's all very "of the now." JULIANNE SHEPHERD

Heart Full Of Napalm 7" EP
(Vinyl Warning)

This is it! Just when you thought all the good three-chord punk rock was dead and gone, a new record label comes along to resurrect if from the grave. Fred (the Punk Rock Barber) Landeen's Vinyl Warning gets a jumpstart with its first release by a great new band called the Diskords, who have the ability to write amazing songs at such a young age. They understand the beauty of using simplicity in chord progression, lyrics, and harmonies. These 12-to 14-year-old kids have managed to write better songs than most of the jaded, older punk rock crowd who have been in bands for years. On this record, you get four scorching tunes that are reminiscent of the Ramones, the Stooges, and the Heartbreakers, and clearly a lot of heart and soul has been put into this music--is something that has been missing in this genre for quite some time now. JOEL JETT

((EM) Records)

This is a very solid, good example of esoterically political hardcore--the kind that comes from really pissed-off, smart kids who refuse to become cynical. It's straightforward, aggressive, and raw, with screaming vocals that belt out like a call to arms. The melodies are pretty simple, and nothing you haven't heard before (mostly due to the guitar sound they're getting from the trebly, metallic distortion pedals) but Reserve 34's sound as a whole is exceptionally tight and full--especially considering that they're playing so frigging fast, you have to check to make sure your record player's not on 45 instead of 33. The newer songs are tougher, meaner, oi-er, and more unique; their lyrics are poetic and strong in the way you'd expect: "When did we give up/stop giving a fuck...?" JS