A few more recent punk 7"s to have crossed my path....
LOOK BACK AND LAUGH "Street Terrorism" EP Five songs of rather tedious flailing about from this Northern California thrash band, playing it fast and direct but ultimately coming up with little that sticks to the ribs. Reminding me of crucial outfits like Talk Is Poison, Deathreat and Life's Blood, this certainly should work as at least a competent genre exercise, but the similarities are all in the concept, and the execution unfortunately fails to realize the strength of the style. The guitars have a nice, raw sound and sometimes indulge in slightly more interesting melodicism, but they're nowhere near as overwhelming as they need to be for this style, and the vocals are simply terrible, sounding less angry than just forced. Above all, the record lacks any real spark, any tangible dynamics, memorable hooks or particularly impressive displays of power that might cause one to remember it twenty minutes after listening. By no means a truly bad record, just generic and forgettable. (Deranged; www.derangedrecords.com)
THE PETS "Sticky Situations" b/w "Never Ask For Help" 45 There are inarguably some bad band names represented in this post, but these Oakland cats have to take the cake for worst of the bunch...."The Pets"??? Christ, who won that particular bet? Luckily, the record is a hit despite the distressing self-handicap imposed by their inexplicable choice of moniker. A-side's a quick, punchy blast of pure American punk rock circa 1977 (similar to what Time Flys have been doing but referencing the point a few minutes later when people realized that yes, in fact, you DO need short hair to be punk), fast, simple and catchy as hell, while the flip is even better, a driving mid-tempo stomp that sounds like a primitive early Dictators track (not least of all due to the heavy Handsome Dickisms), or maybe something the Foreign Objects or Gizmos would've coughed up. This band is destined to record a great song about professional wrestling, I can just feel it. (Sweet Rot; email@example.com)
THE VICIOUS "Obsessive" EP Picked up this band's much-hyped first single last year and really didn't dig it at all-- very much in the vein of such current and recent fellow Scandinavian '77/'82 punk/hardcore retro acts as Gorilla Angreb, Regulations, Young Wasteners and Knugen Faller, but nowhere near as good as the standard consistently being set by the aforementioned, and somehow seeming a little less genuine, a little more contrived-- so I didn't bother with the LP. As with the LBAL EP reviewed above, I picked this one up primarily on the basis of strong reviews, here promising a real improvement over the debut, and that's definitely the case. Predictably reliant on now-stock Scandi influences, ie early West Coast American bands like Adolescents, Dead Kennedys, CH3, TSOL and the Dangerhouse roster, but even more slavishly than usual-- I had to return the needle to the beginning of the fourth song several times before giving up on identifying the no doubt totally obvious riff that it steals, and in the process realized that the riff fading out from the end of the third song is similarly borrowed-- although I'm once again unable to pinpoint exactly where I've heard it before! Anyways, original or not, all the elements of melodic California punk circa '78-'81 are here, from the clear, undistorted guitars and pummeling rhythm section to the snotty vocals and ultra-catchy, hook-laiden songs, and that's far more important to me than a little bit of unveiled inspiration from the right sources. Please note: it's becoming increasingly clear that this label can do no wrong. (Feral Ward; www.feralward.com)
I used to do a punk rock record label that released nearly 20 records over the last few years (all vinyl, all the time!) and since I've been asked this stuff so often, I decided to sit down and write up a proper discography of our releases. The punchline-- I've taken the label off hiatus and will soon be consistently releasing punk vinyl once again on Ugly Pop, so take this as the story up until today, but not the definitive history.
UP001 V/A "Reproach: Eight Modern Hardcore Bands Cover Negative Approach" EP (w/ DROP DEAD, SPAZZ, RUPTURE, CHOKEHOLD, MAN IS THE BASTARD, VOORHEES, UNION OF URANUS and KOPS FOR CHRIST) First pressing November 1998, 3000 copies with black and white labels, first 500 on grey marble vinyl. Second pressing around January 1999, 1800 copies with yellow labels. Insert. Approximately 6 test pressings.
Salvaged from the wreckage of a projected LP that should've come out on Dysgusher circa 1993, this record isn't good, but Brannon liked it, so I'm happy, and selling nearly 5000 of your first release is a hell of a way to start a new label.
UP002 LEGION "Hell at Last" EP
1000 copies, June 1999. Approximately 6 test pressings.
I'm still pretty embarrassed by this record's idiotic label artwork; taking it into the plant was a real treat.
UP003 MARILYNS VITAMINS "Meanwhile During the Class War" EP
First press June 1999, 600 copies. Repress of 500 copies, November 1999. Approximately 6 test pressings.
Great record from an excellent band with the worst name in the world.
UP004 RAJOITUS "Systeemiin Naulittu" EP
1000 copies, November 1999. Possible repress of 300, late 2006? Approximately 6 test pressings.
Later included on the band's discography CD on Hardcore Holocaust, but I really should press 300 more to fill the remaining sleeves, because it's a great little slab of pure '83 Finnish hardcore (via Sweden 1998).
UP005 THEY LIVE/COUNTDOWN TO OBLIVION split EP
1900 copies, April 2000. Approximately 10 test pressings.
Along with the Legion EP, this is is probably the fursthest we ever ventured from our purist hardcore punk focus, but it's still a good little record that sold well.
UP006 DREAM DATES "Moans on the phone" 45 600 numbered copies, December 2000. No test pressings.
This is honestly one of the best Canadian punk singles of all time, and it's incredible that it took over twenty years to see the light of day; we had no idea how it would go down, so pressed only 600 copies. Later licensed to Zurich Chainsaw Massacre, who proceeded to put both Dream Dates 45s on a 12" and have yet to send us any of the copies they owe us.
UP007 RAW POWER "Screams from the Gutter" LP
First pressing 1000 copies, February 2001, with insert and black/white labels. First 300 on clear splatter vinyl. Second pressing of 500 with red labels, replaces insert with printed inner sleeve, late 2001. Third pressing of 500 circa early 2004. Possible repress of 500, late 2006? Approximately 6 test pressings.
Our first LP, and a killer at that. Probably the best Italian hardcore LP ever, and a seminal crossover record by any standard. Totally different artwork to the Toxic Shock pressing, which sold around 40 000 copies in the '80s. It's true-- sometimes, all you have to do is ask.
UP008 STATICS "Original 1980 Punk Rock Recordings" EP
800 numbered copies, April 2001. No test pressings.
A really great, strong little punk single that deserved far more attention than it ever got.
UP009 PAINTBOX "Singing, Shouting, Crying" LP
First pressing of 1600 copies, April 2001. First 300 on white splatter vinyl. Repress of approximately 500 circa early 2004. Approximately 6 test pressings. This record never included an insert.
When all is said and done, people will very possibly say this Japanese hardcore monster was the best record we ever released.
UP010 DFA "Destined For Assimilation" 12"
First pressing of 600 copies, January 2002. First 300 or so on various shades of purple and blue, since we went to the pressing plant and added the colour pellets while pressing! Repress of 500 circa July 2002. Printed insert. No test pressings.
This was a straight vinyl pressing of the demo this Saskatchewan band sent us out of the blue.
UP011 DREAM DATES "The Mess You're In" 45
800 copies, March 2004. Seven test presses, mistakenly pressed on red. All regular copies on black.
Vinyl actually pressed in early 2003, but released when jackets printed.
UP012 CAREER SUICIDE s/t LP
100 test pressings with initial recording pressed for European tour, September 2003. Four used as test pressings, 96 stamped and given sleeves for tour. After rerecording and new mix, first pressing of 312 copies released November 2003. 500 more pressed a couple of weeks later, and third press of 300 around January 2004. Printed inner sleeve.
All regular pressings completely identical. Later repressed on 140 G vinyl with embossed jacket by Parts Unknown.
UP013 HAMMER "More Hammer" EP
1000 copies, March 2004. Insert.
Vinyl pressed mid 2003, held pending jackets.
UP014 WARHEAD "Kono Omoi Wo Dokoe" LP
First pressing of 1400, April 2004. First 111 copies on a beautiful blue/white marble swirl vinyl. Repress of approximately 500, July 2005, last 40 or so did not include printed inner sleeve. First set of approximately 12 test pressings, second set of same size from remaster.
After we traveled literally across Japan tracking down Guy Bloodsucker in Hiroshima to make this happen, it became a nightmare project plagued by rejected test pressings, broken plates, 2000 unusable LP jackets, wrong paper for inner sleeves, labels on wrong sides and missing text on sleeves. Our first and last Acme Records job.
UP015 FORWARD "Fucked Up" 12"
First pressing 500 on red vinyl May 2004, rushed out for summer 2004 US tour. Remastered for second press of 500 on black vinyl, circa July 2004. First set of approximately 12 test pressings, second set of same size from remaster. Printed inner sleeve.
Jacket has a file-transfer error from original CD cover, but we couldn't really care less.
UP016 HONG KONG BLONDE "Split Finger Fastball" EP
600 copies pressed, August 2004. First 100 on green marble vinyl.
Great Vancouver metal/thrash; some junkie recently stole the last remaining 40 from their car.
UP017 CCSS "Commun Chfeu Sa Soupe" EP
600 copies pressed, April 2005.
Ugly Pop essentially ended as this record was being released, meaning that both it and UP016 were never repressed (since our new pressing plant doesn't hold onto plates as MMS, which had done all previous 7"s, did). Both should've had represses of 400 more copies, and the jackets were printed.
UP019 TRANZMITORS "Look What You're Doing" 45
First pressing of 300, March 2006. Identical second pressing of 300, May 2006. Probable repress of 400 to fill sleeves, summer 2006.
This was originally meant to be the debut release on Cat Call Records, with the Ugly Pop catalogue number intended simply to facilitate distribution.
The future: Ugly Pop is back from the dead. Hopefully, a Teenage Rejects EP, as well as singles from local faves Fuck Me Dead and Vancougar. Also, represses of some still-in-demand earlier titles for which plates are available and unused print is still in stock.