The Smog


The Smog First Time, Last Chance / Noise Noise 7″

I almost thought I was listening to a reissue when throwing on this release by Osaka’s the SMOG, and that’s not to say it sounds dated. It’s power pop with a major emphasis on power, but feels a part of the pantheon rather than an echo. In just two songs, this single has got hooks and teeth—beautiful songwriting that sounds like it’ll step on your neck if you get in the way. “Noise Noise,” the B-side here, hits like a chain but also has a disarmingly vulnerable melody—the perfect intersection between late ’70s-indebted sneering punk and heart-on-your-sleeve lyricism that will never wear out its welcome.

The Smog Set in Stone / Lost My Mind 7″

People be loving the SMOG! This is the Japanese group’s third single and they’ve built a modest buzz based on their sharp, tuneful punk rockin’. “Set in Stone” threw me for a sec as it opens like GIRLS AT OUR BEST’s “Getting Nowhere Fast,” but then settles into a flavor profile that is closer to the JAM stirring a spoonful more garage into their mod stew. “Lost My Mind” gets slightly more angular and approximates what BLOC PARTY would sound like if they had any punk demos.

The Smog In The Wasteland / Dusty World 7″

Second single from the SMOG: a burning bright light from Japan’s now-time punk scene. Their prior single checked all my obsessive boxes: ace design, an absurdly limited pressing, and excellent songs, each traipsing across both spirited DIY and razorblade punk in a way that made it difficult to pigeonhole. This second single follows in line but in much more confident fashion. There’s this dark, forward-falling sound in the SMOG that recalls heavies from Tokyo Rockers, but then “Dusty World” appears and their sound brightens toward near-danceable post-punk. The shift is not jarring at all, just serves as an indication of adaptability and proof that they’ve got plenty to play with. Another drool-worthy offering. Seek this out!