Castillo Pleasure and Pain LP

Los Angeles guitarist Alex Zambrano (COMBAT FORCE, CRIMINAL OUTFIT, REPEAT OFFENDER) started CASTILLO during the lockdown of Spring 2020. Enlisting a buddy on drums, he assumed all other duties (including songwriting and vocals) on the initial self-titled EP, creating some of the strongest Oi! the world has heard in decades in the process. Fleshed out as a five-man band on Pleasure and Pain, the unit delivers traditional street style with a clean and rugged sound, pinning seven solid tracks to a 45 RPM 12”. After kicking down the door with the savage stomp of the title track, songs like the wistful “Endless Days” and “I’ve Learnt Today” recall O.G. acts like the BUSINESS at their anthemic and inspiring best, adding in their own rough charms to toe the line between tough and melodic in brilliant fashion. Even when they go full lovey-dovey on the bright and saccharine “Call Lane,” they still come off as impeccably cool. With this potent platter, CASTILLO maintains their flawless track record—the outfit has yet to release anything less than pure class.

Castillo Promo Tape cassette

Of the incredibly rich and fulsome Mendeku Diskak back catalogue, CASTILLO is certainly one of my favourites. First formed as a lockdown project, the now fully-formed band follow off the back of their debut with a promo tape that acts as an amuse-bouche for the future, and if this is anything to go by, what a tasty treat we have in store. Chiming, anthemic guitars, barked furious vocals à la NEW YORK HOUNDS, and even a riff on the second half that sounds like nos amis en RIXE produced it, and there’s very little higher praise for the contemporary crophead.

Castillo Faded Memories 12″

I greet each new Mendeku Diskak with a fervour matched only by a kid knowing they’ve got a pair of Copa Mundials wrapped neath the auld tannenbaum on Crimbo morn; they simply do not miss. This 12″ from CASTILLO is another in a long list of belters. Another sensational project from Alex Zambrano, the mastermind behind COMBAT FORCE and REPEAT OFFENDER, dancing merrily between sheer lumpen heft and melodic riffs you can imagine a binman whistling. It’s got hints of the ROYAL HOUNDS, the vocals especially sounded like you’ve spilled their pint, as well as RIXE and MESS, too; it’s a stomper from start to finish. Please sir, I want some more.