Astio / Nag split 7″

This is a fantastic lineup of chilly, deathly punk. Following this year’s excellent full-length on Convulse, NAG brings in two more spiky little treats of heavy, rhythmic post-punk that do their own thing, while also dipping a wing in the airstream of erudite acts like the CHAMELEONS as well RUDIMENTARY PENI. It’s a blend of educated graveyard music that shakes your bones. On the flipside, ASTIO tackles a more anthemic sound in a similar sphere, with a slightly more straight-ahead bluntness. Italy has been bringing us a lot of beauts like this lately, replete with reverb-drenched, doomy leads and a tinge of black lipstick. All in all, great cuts from two acts across the ocean from one another who should be on your radar.

Nag Human Coward Coyote LP

If you’re looking for straightforward hardcore or punk, maybe look elsewhere, but if you’re in the mood for that creepy, kind of surreal, Outer Limits-inspired punk, then stick around. NAG from Atlanta, Georgia released Human Coward Coyote earlier this year as a fresh addition to their growing catalog. This new album pushes the punk element deeper with a bit more raw production and in-your-face drums. If you’ve ever enjoyed the work of A FRAMES, then you’ll like this. There’s even elements that remind me of the ADOLESCENTS and a bit of AGENT ORANGE. Overall, it’s a fast, fun blend of darker punk interspersed with some intergalactic noise.

Nag Halloween 3 cassette

They say that when you’re a punk rocker, every day is like Halloween. At least, that’s what Al Jourgensen said back before he heard BIG BLACK. For the Atlanta punkers in NAG, I bet every day is like Flag Day. BLACK FLAG Day. Actually, maybe Veteran’s Day. Cuz these cats have been around for a minute now, and they slay every time they press record. As you can surmise, this live set was recorded last year on October 31st. Fuck it, let’s call it a “dead” set, and while there’s no Jerry in sight, it is full of satisfying jump scares. All of the songs come from last year’s Observer full-length, and while this is definitely FFO (for fuckfaces only), if you ain’t down with NAG’s vibe, then you can show yourself out.

Nag Observer LP

NAG is very close to the tip-top of the best punk bands in—at least—the United States. Ever since their 2016 demo, I’ve been all ears for anything this combo puts out into the world. Observer is the second NAG full-length, and it keeps the streak writhingly alive. These cats are all in other great Atlanta bands, but NAG crams all the influences into such a deadly and efficient package. NAG is the assassin at the party. Sometimes they sound like A FRAMES doing ADOLESCENTS covers and I’ve got plenty of time for that, but more often than not they are stalking the fringes, biding time until they can explode like on the astral plane murder punk noir of “Sweeping Observer.” “The Drum Demands Order” and “Present Time” have a lockstep dystopian bent, Philip K. Dick guest-ghost-writing lyrics for DIE KREUZEN. Lovecraft gets a reference on a slammer of a cut, but I’m more into the dust-in-the-eyes Rowland S. Howard sweep of “The Darkest Veil.” They even pull out “Identify” from the demo, an eerie and defiant hardcore ripper that raises the same neck-hairs as SPIKE IN VAIN. “Dead Air” and “Vomit” are beach-punk-as-black-metal, something I just invented but actually NAG did. Thanks, NAG.

Nag Red Panda cassette

Three-song self-released cassette from Atlanta, GA. For those of you not yet familiar with NAG, they have already released a slew of releases, including a single on Total Punk Records. Choppy, spastic hardcore punk that also mixes in mid-tempo garage aspects, and does it damn well. These three songs are awesome and it seems that since this tape was released, there is a new LP out now as well. Gonna be getting my hands on that ASAP.

Nag Dead Deer LP

Dark fucked-up doomed sounding punk that’s steeped in early ’80s SoCal HC death rock ’n’ more modern REATARDisms. This sounds like exactly where it comes from, Bloodstains Across Atlanta Georgia, snotty and lean, frantic and apocalyptic. Dead Deer reminds me of a more self-aware RIKK AGNEW solo LP mixed with Blood Visions, or like a hardcore band discovering the second ADVERTS LP. This isn’t epic, though—it’s contained and vicious, and a demonstration that Atlanta punk may be created by different combinations of the same people endlessly but they are very good at what they do! Buy or die, fools.