VICIOUS CIRCLE: Self-titled: 12” EP + DVD

The legends and horror stories about this notorious L.A. proto-hardcore band still reverberate through the county’s underground, yet precious few of those tales are in direct reference to their music itself. The simple answer is that previous to this release, they had nothing tangible the great unwashed could get their grimy paws on. What’s been finally unearthed—essentially two garage rehearsal recordings—showcases a band worth the discussion three-plus decades later. It’s no doubt rough listening for modern ears attuned to even demos ProTooled into oblivion, but it’s nonetheless surprisingly clear considering the source, with the vocals being the only thing really getting lost now and again in the mix. The songs themselves (including a cover of Eater’s “Get Raped” and a version of “Cover Girls,” a version of which was recorded and later released on Posh Boy by guitarist Steve Houston’s next band, The Klan) are for the most part straightforward late-’70s suburban L.A. punk, yet if one listens close, echoes of ideas and rhythmic explorations that would later be explored by TSOL bubble just under the hail of barre chords. Vocalist/lead agitator Jack Grisham offers some historical context in a DVD interview included with the vinyl. In all, a nice addition to the underground’s historical record. 

 –jimmy (TKO)