Jason Harding

Consensus Madness 2023 Demo cassette

Sharp little tape here from these Chicago up-and-comers. Their pointed punk conjures up a tasty first-wave spirit and dabs it in artsy splashes of modern mettle. The sound is stripped-down but rich, smart, and antagonistic. I’m also hearing a vague lineage to Windy City legends like the EFFIGIES in tunes like “Attention.” Respect.

Virus X 1983 Vol. 2 (The Final Vinyl) LP

Originally formed in the early ’80s in Niagara Falls, New York, VIRUS X lives on. One side of this record has some old recordings from 1985, and the other has new tunes from 2023. The ’85 tracks showcase an ominous, outsider rock sound that leans into ghoulish themes in the vein of early T.S.O.L. and the FREEZE, and the band carries their strange sense of humor into the new songs as well. They’re sounding like old pros on the new stuff, and the songs are more densely-composed, but these guys are obviously still having fun.

The Real Losers Good Clean Fun LP

Rescued from obscurity by the esteemed Total Punk, it’s the unreleased intended second album from the REAL LOSERS! And it’s an old-fashioned smoker for all you garage freaks out there. Fed on ’70s sleaze and forged in the apex of the budget rock movement back in the early ’00s, these fourteen blown-out tracks deliver raucous and rocking ’90s-style punk in the lineage of early MAKERS, REATARDS, the REDS, CHINESE MILLIONAIRES, et al., channeling the likes of TEENGENERATE and CLONE DEFECTS in places. It’s down, dirty, and to-the-point rock action. They’ve got a real knack for making their simplicity so filthy, and they’re not afraid to shake a tambourine. Just when I thought the well had run dry on this kind of stuff, I get smacked with this banger. It’s easily one of the greatest revelations of the year thus far, right next to realizing that the fantastic KÜKEN are the same dudes from later-era Rip Off Records act the KIDNAPPERS! Who knew?

Blessure La Maniere EP

Serving up some tight and tense cold Oi! from the Spanish city of Bilbao, BLESSURE channels old school street punk with an anarcho vibe on these four florid tracks. Painting their driving backbeats with a post-punky feel, the band’s guitars take on an ethereal quality that works particularly well with the soft and direct tone of the vocals. Even though it’s dressed up in modern fashion, you don’t need to understand Spanish to recognize this as classic punk protest music.

Dead People / Disthroat split LP

Cool two-creature feature here from two great Spanish bands. DEAD PEOPLE from Barcelona plays simple and slick hardcore with a thumping bass, sing-along choruses, and an overall fun feel. They tie their six solid songs up in a neat bow with a surprising cover of “Suffragette City.” Flipping it over, Zaragoza’s DISTHROAT comes in sounding completely crazy with “A World in Decay,” and their portion continues in a barrage of brutish DISCHARGE-inspired riffing and ripping. Fans of DECADE will likely dig this side.

Choncy 20x Multiplier LP

Those groovy weirdos from Cincinnati CHONCY are back with a 12” vinyl follow-up to last year’s hit tape. Decked out in glitchy scratch-off ticket chic, this rollicking record further demonstrates the band’s “kitchen sink” style, in which elements of punk, post-punk, and hardcore are pieced together to create an ambitious sonic collage. Smart, uninhibited, and overflowing with ideas and energy, this set of songs defies succinct description, offering a poignant surge of originality in each track. Foaming at the mouth one moment and snapping into a friendly guitar jangle the next, there’s never a dull moment. Having an average weekend? Put this on the turntable and monotony doesn’t stand a chance.

Shitty Halfpipe No Comply LP

Wearing their “unabashed skateboard band” status proudly on their arms where sleeves used to be, SHITTY HALFPIPE lays down a dozen spunky numbers on this LP. It’s raging skate punk from Tennessee with sharp, metal-y guitars and lyrics about skating and other hassles. But mostly skating. Turn it up and let it rip.

Hero Dishonest Flat Society LP

Helsinki’s ever-prolific HERO DISHONEST is back again. This veteran band’s pummeling hardcore punk approach remains intact, complete with politically-charged lyrics and an overarching darkness shadowing their meaty sound. This album is overflowing with angry energy, and these dudes can really rip it up when they want to. Switching between Finnish and English lyrics, the universal language of disgust and frustration comes through loud and clear, especially when the singer forgoes words in favor of straight shrieking. Truth be told, this is as solid of a hardcore record as you’re going to get these days, and if the wordier tracks lose you, simply turn to the fantastic “Brick Wall” for a speedy assault with an unmistakable message.

Güeros Darker Days Ahead CD

Out of Piedmont, Italy, GÜEROS have an early melodic hardcore sound like 7 SECONDS. Fast and steady beats power their youthful charge through these ten songs, and seldom do they stray from the formula. With a strong bass presence, gang vocals, and a penchant for soundbites, these crazy kids are carrying torches that were originally lit in the ’80s and ’90s, god bless ‘em.

Pet Mosquito Overalls EP

Here’s a fun blast of freaky rock’n’ roll from Carbondale, Illinois four-piece PET MOSQUITO. This chunky lathe-cut EP presents four cuts of what the group has described as “thrift shop thrash”—a rather fitting self-assessment. The opening “Ashamed” has a homespun punky charm in the vein of Hippies-era HARLEM, along with a cheap bubblegum feel à la Burger Records circa 2009. Next comes some screaming riot grrrl hilarity in the form of “Is There a Man Around?” Side B kicks off with the all-too-brief KING KHAN-style stomper “Two Flies” before launching into the excellent title track, which somehow manages to be foreboding and reassuring at the same time. This thing is awesome and I’m happy to have it on the shelf. Be sure to check out last year’s Live at the Lamplighter Lounge for more nasty garage grooves.

Demoted Shit for Brains CD

Brooklyn’s DEMOTED has a rough and immediate DIY sound. Simple, but carefully composed, these tracks range in themes from the juvenile self-deprecation of the title track, to the atmospheric dread of “Twitching Eye,” to the personal, Rollins-style lament of “Not Myself Today.” Standard punk misanthropy.

Necrotic Society DCxPC Live & Dead, Vol. 2 LP

NYC’s NECROTIC SOCIETY delivers some slamming hardcore infused with blastbeats for a hell of a headache. Hyper and aggressive, the songs incorporate political themes and an overall vibe of unrest and agitation. This album has a live session on the A-side and studio recordings on the B-side with no repeated tracks between them, and it’s all raucous, heavy shit to get you fired up.

Hacker Psy Wi-Fi EP

On this latest EP, HACKER from Melbourne sticks to their marriage of tech themes and pounding hardcore while showing an updated approach to their songwriting. It’s just as tight as their Pick a Path 12” from 2021, but these four tough tunes feel a bit more creative and catchy than the band’s previous output. It seems like these guys are becoming the diabolical machine they allude to in their lyrics and artwork, and “Scammer” is a real jam if you’re looking for something snappy to get stuck in your head.

Alamoans Licking the Boot EP

More Pittsburgh power here from ALAMOANS, contributing to the Steel City’s steady rise to becoming the hardcore capital of the US. Comprised of members of SPEED PLANS and EEL, this configuration eschews the pure violence of those two brands in favor of a more distorted and atmospherically foreboding approach. There’s plenty of punch to these tunes, but everything is covered in cobwebs of eeriness that create a distinct persona for the band. With five tracks in about eight minutes, it effectively whets the appetite.

Judy and the Jerks Total Jerks LP

JUDY AND THE JERKS haven’t reinvented the wheel, and truth be told, they may have even dinged it up a bit while taking it out for a spin. But they’ve done so in an undeniably  infectiously fun fashion. Assembling tunes from a handful of previously released tapes into one giant long-player party, this LP provides a comprehensive taste of JUDY & co.’s unique brand of rag-tag punk ruckus. Sometimes agitated and pointed, and often playfully warped, the group’s lo-fi approach and weirdo song subjects ring true as the sound of these guys having a great time. Also, I can’t help but feel a kinship with a band that opts to cover BUZZCOCKS, AGENT ORANGE, GORILLA BISCUITS, and the GO-GO’S (among others)— clearly they have a wide and well-studied spectrum of appreciation. It’s a joyful celebration of all things punk, complete with an MRR reference on “California.”

Blue Elephant and the Seven Snakes Still Waiting for Flying Cars EP

While the band name and artwork deceivingly give off a vibe of silliness, this EP actually has a pretty straightforward ’90s California skate punk sound. It’s fast, tight, and driving punk rock in the wheelhouse of early the OFFSPRING or bands like JUGHEAD’S REVENGE, spiked with some extra heaviness and breakdowns and with humorous themes and lyrics mixed in generously throughout these fourteen tracks.

Hell is Here Hell is Here cassette

Bringing gruff punk stylings out of Columbus, HELL IS HERE shifts between metallic D-beats and traditional USHC energy on this seven-song tape. They have a penchant for brevity, with songs clocking in at run times of twenty-six and even eleven seconds. They paint bleak pictures in their brief lyrics, and the music is hard but basic. It feels like an embryo that has potential to grow into a monster like Portland crushers NEGATIVE PRAYER or something like that.

Asbestos Wishful Thinking EP

Some nasty and dark hardcore here from Denver’s ASBESTOS. This 7” delivers a speedy, pummeling, and unforgiving punk assault with chunky bass lines and exasperated, raw-throated vocals along the lines of TOTALITÄR. They were considerate enough to separate the six songs with an interlude in the middle that allows you to regain composure from their blunt force pounding.

NLK Oldbones NLK Oldbones LP

Old-fashioned Cali skate punk here in the vein of early OFFSPRING with a bit of TSOL mixed in. A tight band that I imagine kills at ramp jams, NLK OLDBONES should totally team up and play with BLUE ELEPHANT AND THE SEVEN SNAKES if they haven’t already.

Diall Rut EP

Six cuts of the hard stuff from the UK. Loaded with swirling and ominous riffs, bestial growled vocals, and a powerful stomp, DIALL’s gnarly hardcore is embellished with a smooth and pointed sound on this 7”. It’s got that dark, distorted, dystopian vibe laced with feedback like BIB, HOAX, GLUE, and the like, done pretty well and complemented by the apt production. Solid debut.

Gnats Sucker All Thing I’ll Never Say 1988–1991 CD

A retrospective compilation on the Malaysian Black Konflik label, this CD showcases the recorded works of Sapporo City’s GNATS SUCKER. These upbeat Japanese punks took cues from traditional American hardcore and NYHC bands, and sounded a bit like 7 SECONDS at times. Collecting material from the band’s 1991 demo, songs that originally appeared on an old Japanese hardcore compilation, and unreleased tracks, it’s a thorough glimpse at an obscure old school band with great broken English titles (“With Say” is a personal favorite).

Flash Mongrels Good Time Dole Line EP

Ah, the late ’70s, when suddenly everyone wanted to be a punk. These lads from Kingston upon Hull used to also sometimes go by the boring moniker “the GUS WILSON BAND,” and their sound on this 7” of songs recorded in 1978 smacks of classic pub rockin’ punched up with a fashionable punk infusion à la FU2 and the like. The title track, with its electrified R&B groove and “I’d rather be poor and happy” sentiment, is quite good and undeniably catchy. The slightly less spirited “Thoroughly Nice” is a smart and succinct number and the most convincingly “punk” of the three tracks. The bright, kaleidoscopic keys on the power-poppy closer “Hat” end the record on a jubilant note along the lines of the DICKIES’ “Waterslide” or MADNESS’s “House of Fun.” But, by ’79, the group was defunct. While not exactly revolutionary, this short-lived band of Johnny-Rotten-come-latelys managed to get John Peel’s attention during their brief run, and this newly-issued EP provides them with some belated justice.

Bug Paralysis LP

This is the debut 12” from BUG out of Victoria, British Columbia. With their earnest and romantic sound, the songs are reminiscent of ’90s grunge and indie with a pinch of deathrock stirred in. Warbled vocals with an obnoxious punk affectation deliver poetic lyrics over eleven tunes that could possibly pass as lost entries from the earlier Sub Pop catalog. It’s the kind of thing that would have found an enthusiastic audience on a property located directly between the Lollapalooza and Warped Tour admission gates. Check out “Heads are Gonna Roll” for one of the finer moments here.

The Zeros Don’t Push Me Around / Wimp 7″ reissue

It’s pretty wild that this classic record hasn’t been reissued in almost forty years, until now. Originally released on Bomp! in 1977, this debut single from first-wave Southern California punks the ZEROS is blueprint punk at its most iconic. Values of early pressings have made this one a bit elusive for most, so here’s a chance to finally snag an essential.

Cidadão Todos os Dias EP

CIDADÃO from Chicago keeps it rough and simple. These four rugged, skinhead-style tunes are played raw and prone to boiling over into a hardcore punk-level ferocity. The lyrics are in Spanish, and there’s a baby wearing Doc Martens eating the world while being protected by a snake and an eagle on the cover.

Küken III LP

Hamburg’s KÜKEN (“Cock”) showing up like the neighborhood kid you haven’t seen in a while, and suddenly he’s all grown up and muscular and shit on this third self-titled LP. Their previous efforts have been great, delivering some of the best garage punk of our time, but now they’ve evolved into certified killers, playing top-tier dirty rock’n’roll to rival even the finest moments of classic Rip Off Records and such. The eleven sharp tunes here carry an effortless swagger, and every song is a banger. The band’s signature shambling groove established on tracks like “Stick Meat” from their debut LP turns up polished and perfected on tunes like “Off The Track” and “Goatleather,” flooding my brain with dopamine every time it hits. There’s an obvious RAMONES homage at work in these songs, along with a rare degree of sophisticated juvenility that reminds me of ’90s French punk heroes the SPLASH FOUR, and overall they’re just really in-the-pocket on this shit-hot thumper of a record.  It’s a perfect soundtrack for exhibiting poor judgment, risking it all, or just, you know, getting over-excited while driving home from work.

Gino and the Goons Live at the VFW Post 39, St. Pete, FL CD

The rootsy racket of GINO and co. is always welcomed, and here it is as captured at a random show at a VFW in 2022. The band plays hits like “I Don’t Care” and “Baby Doll,” as well as some deeper cuts, all strung together by GINO’s wholesome banter and urging of the audience to hit the dance floor. The recording is raw, but everything comes across pretty clear and it’s a solid set. Good times, rock’n’roll.

Little Angels Psycho Summer EP

Okay you cheeky monkey, I don’t know if that’s a bum on the cover, but this LITTLE ANGELS EP is a sexy slab of ruckus nonetheless. This rocking hardcore ranges from chill mid-tempos to unforgiving brutality in the spirit of fellow Pittsburghians SPEED PLANS, all delivered with the rough and choppy sound of nine tracks crammed onto a 7”. It’s a ripper.

El Sancho Heads Up! LP

Here we have some quirky and lighthearted pop punk out of Hawaii. It’s a friendly kind of rockin’ with just enough weird themes to make it appropriate for Halloween time. Musically, if the likes of MXPX were a little too rough and jarring for you in the ’90s, this should be about your speed. But who am I to hate on these dudes playing fun music in paradise?

The Judges Judgement Day LP

Every once in a while the universe presents me with a collection of sounds that resonate as if they were made specifically with my tastes in mind. Such is the case with the phenomenal debut LP from this screaming Australian blues-punk unit. The JUDGES obscure their scorching electricity with a smokescreen of soul-stirring riffage to create quite an addictive din. Distortion-laden stomps and jumping, jaded laments pour freely from these ten tight tracks, recalling old favorites and breathing new life into classic cult-rock concepts. If the first couple of jams fail to convince you, jump ahead to “Top Gun,” and that should do it. I hope the dude didn’t really trade his guitar for a bottle of booze as suggested on the cover, because I’m looking forward to seeing how this particularly hot shit evolves.

Glowing Orb Subterranean Prison cassette

There’s some sinister chain punk coming out of this band from Montreal. Their demo from 2022 was a solid blast of whipping, mean hardcore, and this 7” continues the assault. The four tunes here put a darker and bleaker feel to the menace with compelling results. I love the premature fade-out on the closing track, it makes the record feel like some type of unfinished riddle that I immediately need to play again to figure out.

Money Money LP

Collecting material from the band’s two previously released cassettes, the new 12” from MONEY features some of the most blatant cocainery I’ve seen on a sleeve since the first GANG GREEN EP. Lo and behold, behind the geeked-out demon on the cover lies a fittingly fast and gnarly eight-track attack. It’s a chaotic sound of blackened metal punk, loaded with distortion, chainsaw guitars, wailing leads, and the singer’s cracked growls and bellows. A solid documentation of this nasty Texas hardcore band, the record is also offered in a limited edition on powder white vinyl, because of course it is.

Sick Thoughts Born to Blitzkrieg 12″

After last year’s hit full-length, the new EP from Drew Owen (a.k.a. SICK THOUGHTS) feels like a victory lap, showcasing four strong tunes from a guy who’s been on a snowballing creative roll for a while now. Gracing the cover for the second consecutive release, this time greeting us with a boozy lounge look and a promising wink, he starts this one off by revealing a raging theme for this decade-plus-old project in “Sick Thoughts.” Then we lean back and loosen up a bit with the ’70s switchblade and bandana vibes of the rockin’ “I’m a Hellraiser.” The pace picks up with “Schoolgirls in Chains,” a jittery and jacked-up garage number that almost sounds like it could have been an outtake from JAY REATARD’s Blood Visions LP. And then, just before he leaves the saloon doors swinging behind him, he kicks out the sickeningly sweet “My Heart is Breaking Over You,” an epic, killer, and uncharacteristic power pop ballad that he pulls off with incredible panache. My favorite track on the album, its crooning and keyboards on the outro are especially bonkers. Cheers to another solid ripper, Drew, and maybe just take it easy on those olives a little bit.

Desenterrados Christine EP

Reuniting members of early ’80s Spanish punk act LARSEN, DESENTERRADOS serves up two different styles on this four-song EP. You get some bouncy, low-budget power pop on the catchy “Christine” and Too Many Fights,” and some sinister and rousing street punk on “Revolución” and the closing “Siempre Lucharemos” for a cool little combination plate.

Marode Risse LP

Based in Düsseldorf, MARONE hits us with fourteen snappy tracks on their debut LP. This record is a bleak and uncomplicated take on a classic ’90s melodic hardcore approach. With lyrics sung in German, It’s something like an emo cousin to fellow Deutschländers WIZO who had records out on Fat Wreck back in the day, with a similarly polished and upbeat sound but a darker and more organic mood (if you’re into that sort of thing).

The Ain’t No Mountain High Enough This is Going On LP

From Washington, DC, the AIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH plays melodic hardcore in a ’90s vein, with a singer who sounds vaguely like the guy from APOCALYPSE HOBOKEN. If this group’s name doesn’t immediately tip you off to their unabashed goofballery, the Pootie Tang quote in the first song will. Unfortunately, this album suffers from a weak mixing job in which the vocals seem to be competing with the music. Otherwise, it’s some funny, punchy skater-punk for you knuckleheads.

Britney Fears Britney Fears cassette

Considering the dark aura of these formidable D-beats, BRITNEY FEARS was an interesting choice of name for this great Greek hardcore group. These ten sharp songs are manic and macabre, with echoed vocals ringing out over melodic raw riffs and hard, machine-like drums. It’s a tough sound with a haunting feel and an overall unique presence, perfect for scantily-clad dancing with knives in your hands on Instagram.

Hypnotics Indoor Fiends LP reissue

How have I never heard of this before? Is Indoor Fiends supposed to be a play on the word “endorphins”? And just exactly what the hell is happening on this album cover? I’m left with these questions and more after listening to the reissue of this HYPNOTICS LP from 1982. Packing 22 songs that fill up a full 34 minutes and change, this thing is a straight-up KBD monolith showcasing a slew of sharp tunes. As much avant-garde art as it is outsider rock, the music uses subtle synths to beef up its quirky punk sound that calls to mind bands like Minneapolis first-wavers the SUICIDE COMMANDOS and San Francisco’s legendary NUBS. Subject matter here spans the realms of strange, offensive, personal, and sometimes even poetic, and they cap off this barrage of off-kilter toe-tappers with two fantastic back-to-back instrumentals (“Wild Kingdom Safari” and “The Quest”). It’s a fun ride that warrants many replays. Led by a guy that called himself “Marky De Sade,” this Long Beach band was known for their chaotic live shows, and the comments section on a YouTube upload of this album is filled with fond memories from locals who were there. If you’re into the oldies, you oughta have this one, and now you can own it on “Grimace purple” vinyl, no less.

Chrome Spiders Kitten’s Whisper cassette

Best known for his stints in the DIRTBOMBS and BANTAM ROOSTER, veteran Detroit garage guy Tom Jackson Potter put together his own group, the CHROME SPIDERS, in the ’00s. Playing smoky, blues-battered rock with a tasteful touch of ’60s swagger, the group released a 7” in 2009 and then, just before calling it quits, recorded this album which is just now finally seeing the light of day. With eight original songs and a faithful rendition of “Jumping Jack Flash,” it’s a smooth and understated garage affair with just the right amount of kick, showcasing the group’s knack for creating hypnotic pools of immersive sound. They’re at their best when they allow themselves room to breathe on expansive tracks like “Outta Time” and “Waydown.” There’s a unique synergy at work across this album, where the band’s effortless dimly-lit bar-rock is circled by surges of glowing electricity, and the resulting cool din is just begging to be accessorized with a stiff drink and a dark pair of sunglasses.

Total Nada II EP

Following their self-titled 7” from 2021, II features seven new tunes from Montréal’s TOTAL NADA. With lyrics in Spanish, the bands’ taut hardcore approach is cast in looming post-punky shadows that lend an heir of dread to the spirited music. It’s fiery, battle-cry-laden punk slathered in dark moods that range from jaded dissatisfaction to full-on impending doom. Powerful and pouty, this would make a perfect soundtrack to being trounced by a gothic MMA fighter.

Slan Skiter i Allt EP

How nasty of SLAN from Gothenburg to title this ghastly five-song käng  assault Skitr I Allt (“Shit in Everything.”) With a cover that’s painted in the color of stains, depicting some stinking dirtbag in his rotten little apartment, this diabolic EP is filled wall-to-wall with caustic hits, including the charming title track, “Svälj Skiten” (“Swallow the Shit”), and more. This is a ripping, raw, and rabid D-beating that occasionally drops into some head-bobbing punk rocking, and it kills. As it turns out, they were spot on with the name, as this is absolutely the shit.

Phase Demo 2023 cassette

From Germany, PHASE sounds pretty well-polished on their introductory four-track demo. This tape emits a brief and tidy blast of straightforward punk that’s just tough enough to be called hardcore. The songs have a clean and triumphant sound that is in contrast to their lyrics that paint a bleak picture, commenting on the conflict between a world drowning in capitalism and one’s own self-worth. It culminates in the reassuring “A World Unknown,” with its promise that “if your heart is breaking, I’ll be on your team” and encouragement to “seize the day.” In a genre that has always been abundant in depictions of struggle, adding in a glimmer of hope can be a nice touch.

V/A Skate Ratz, Vol. 2 LP

Very much in the spirit of Thrasher magazine’s old Skate Rock comps, Skate Ratz Volume Two brings us fourteen tracks from seven different “skateboard bands” from across the USA. It’s a diverse assemblage of skate-friendly styles, packed complete with a little zine that tells a little bit about each band. Arizona goof-punk veterans DEPHINGER throw down some high-octane, low-brow stoner rock on their two tracks. STREET FREAK plays melodic So Cal-style hardcore with metallic guitars à la the OFFSPRING. The SM PROJECT, solo project of Shane Medanich from cool-ass NYC punkers PEACE SIGN, closes out Side A with the stripped-down and catchy “Satan Was a Hippie,” and then opens up Side B with the weird march of “Crestroy.” The laid-back, blown-out grooves of Portland’s LÁGOON hit a vibe that lands somewhere between Dirty-era SONIC YOUTH and the most recent WEREWOLF JONES LP. From Boston, LABOR HEX emits some angsty ’90s indie rock that ends up sounding like the FOO FIGHTERS on the closing track. It’s a cool spin, and it looks like there’s another volume with a whole new set of bands lined up for 2024.

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.

No Reality Daddy Longnose EP

A new project headed by Blaine from SMIRK, SPIRITUAL CRAMP, and others, NO REALITY’s debut 7” gives us a little taste of this Bay Area outfit’s weighty and weird hardcore. Covered in rumbling, meaty vocals, their tough punk sound bounces and jerks around, seemingly leaving trails of drool hanging in its wake. The closing “Fashion Rocker” has an interesting “egg meets chain” type of aura that makes more sense once you learn that it was originally a SMIRK outtake. I have no idea who the hell “Daddy Longnose” is supposed to be, but there’s surely promise on this here rough little EP.

Meat House Meat House 12″

Comprised of players based in North Carolina and Pittsburgh, MEAT HOUSE brings us seven cuts of biting and rocking punk with belligerent vocals on their debut 12”. This band is a gathering of modern hardcore veterans, featuring members from WHITE STAINS, PUBLIC ACID, SCARECROW, MUTANT STRAIN, and more. The sound here is strong and agile, flipping from loose, head-bobbing rock stomps to ripping speed on a dime in a way that kinda flaunts and celebrates the group’s collective pedigree. They really nail the ideal balance between fresh and classic. The music snarls and snaps, the lyrics are slurred, and it’s a home run from these “Punk Stars.”

Bad Anxiety Demonstration II cassette

Straight smoker of a tape here from BAD ANXIETY out of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. These five songs are all A+ jams. It’s sharp and frantic hardcore punk played in intervals of whipping speed and head-bobbing stomps, feeling like a frenzied blend of original DC and NY style with bratty vocals along the lines of the ANGRY SAMOANS. When it first comes on, as the opening bass line on “Big Dumb” rumbles in, an overdubbed voice lets you know that “this is gonna rule,” and then it does.

Rabid Assault We Are Party LP

The cover depicts the band playing at a skatepark flanked by cartoon skeletons enjoying beer, pizza, and blood, the album is called We Are Party, and the first song is called “Curbs and Coping”— this is straight-up skate punk out of Bakersfield that’s completely devoid of pretense or posturing. These guys are what they are, and what they are is some hardcore thrashers having a good time playing the soundtrack to sick ramp sessions. It’s fast, metal-ish, and gauche in the spirit of early SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, except it’s 2023 and I’m too old and jaded to really appreciate it.

Hot Earth That’s Hot cassette

Amazing crust-caked madness on this smoker of a tape from Atlanta’s HOT EARTH. They let you know right where you’re at as soon as the opening “BAFII” (which stands for “Burning Alive and the Floor is Ice”) hits your ears—a chaotic and cracked realm of hardcore hell. While endowed with a bit more plunky bass and a slightly lower degree of caustic burn, the band’s battering attack reminds me of Missouri favorites PROTON, which is among the highest endorsements I can currently offer. As an added bonus, all of the songs are overdubbed with a sample of infamous brat heiress Paris Hilton delivering her vapid ’00s catchphrase “that’s hot,” with some of the tracks featuring this, uh, enhancement multiple times—an effective added blast of “what the fuck” that just makes this situation even greater. I’m going to need another round of this ruckus ASAP.

Curbsitter Grip on Reality EP

CURBSITTER from Milwaukee is coming in ferocious and funny on their debut 7”. The band is sounding well-honed, playing surging and vibrant hardcore with an inherent daffiness that comes from the singer’s unique voice and delivery, although some of the songs have subjects of a more serious nature. These six tunes are fast and melodic, and the obnoxious, mildly-warped vocals are a little corroded in places, spouting lyrics with a humorous lean that are often repetitive to pleasant effect (as expressed to the extreme in the stand-out track “4 Years of Repetitive Motion.”) The sound, at its core, is interesting and weighty punk with old-school sensibility and a bit of slapstick edge that may endear it to fans of FEAR, VANDALS, and other jokesters.

Ex Parents Ex Parents LP

Out of Roanoke, Virginia, EX PARENTS are a hardcore band with a diverse sound that draws from a range of influences. This album starts off with the D-beating of “Mania,” whose lyrics are a direct DISCHARGE homage, and after that it expands into a bunch of other directions, all accompanied by vein-popping screamed vocals. Out of the ten tracks here, I dig the classical-sounding chord progression and surprisingly bright finish of “Void” and the unexpected post-punk vibe of the closing “Perpetual Bliss” the best. Simultaneously fibrous and beefy, if this music was a literal dinner, it would be pot roast, which can be pretty tasty when prepared well.

Heihaizi Heihaizi LP

With the ski-masked dudes on the cover, the charging sound, and some of these lyrics, I’m wondering if HEIHAIZI is intentionally continuing the charming trend of “breaking and entering-core” (as demonstrated on FOSTER CARE’s killer El Abuso LP.) This two-man “rap-punk” group is from Zagreb, Croatia, and this record is loaded from front to back with simple, explosive, and addictive songs. One minute they’re spitting fast vocals like a kid who’s super excited to tell you something and can’t get the words out fast enough, then the next thing you know, they’re leaned back, sounding like a punk RUN DMC and rhyming about how bad they stink. Then back to the “EMINEM-on-speed” vocal attack, pounding drums, and ripping guitars. This is some unique cool-kid hardcore if I’ve ever heard it, and it slaps.

Electric Eels Spin Age Blasters 2xLP

To say that the ELECTRIC EELS were ahead of their time is at once a statement of the obvious and a vast understatement. Pressing play on the new Spin Age Blasters double LP compilation, I’m struck by the gut feeling that we still haven’t quite caught up to the unintentional proto-punk prodigy of John Morton & co. They created in a way that was shockingly free at a time when even the supposedly uninhibited hippies were largely constrained by popular conventions. This monster 27-track collection is a “best of the best”-style follow-up to 2001’s The Eyeball of Hell, which was the most thorough EELS experience up until this point. This one plays like a connoisseur’s guide to the group, showcasing the finest representations of the band’s greatest hits plucked from previous comps and expertly sequenced to deliver a gourmet spread. To me, the band’s jazzy, ragtag sound computes as a mix of rock as art, art as art, and rock as weapon of provocation to baffle and fascinate in the best way possible, and it’s wild to think that these tunes were captured in 1975. They were ruder than the STOOGES, more flamboyant than the NEW YORK DOLLS, and violently unconcerned with what you thought of them. We’re lucky that this brief and brilliant blaze of original punk glory has been preserved with such meticulous care.

Jerry’s Kidz Well Fed Society EP reissue

This is not the Boston band, this is JERRY’S KIDZ from New Mexico, and this is a reissue of their 7” from 1984. Featuring four tracks of standard issue O.G. hardcore, these guys do some tough skate-rocking with clear vocals in a range of tempos. The cadence and foreboding chords of the blazing opener “Marionette” bring the CIRCLE JERKS’ “In My Eyes” to mind, and the introspective sound of “B.R.S.” (apparently meaning “Brandon’s Rest Song, as its slower parts gave the singer a chance to chill a bit between the faster tracks) reminds me just a little bit of the ADOLESCENTS’ “Kids of the Black Hole.” So yeah, this lesser-known artifact fits in alongside some of the best early USHC, and is well-deserving of the reissue.

Cutre Cutre cassette

CUTRE is from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where this tape originally came out in 2020. Thanks to Open Palm Tapes out of Chicago, we now get to grab one in the US. Playing raging hardcore powered by a steamrolling D-beat with speedy fills, it’s a solid set of beefy jams for all you hessian-types. I don’t speak Spanish, but this guy is clearly pissed.

Lovebite Demo II cassette

With winding, menacing riffs and the acerbic vocals of an escaped mental patient turned carnival barker, Michigan’s LOVEBITE is sure to warm hearts and forge lasting friendships with their second demo effort. Driving and distorted, this is some scrappy hardcore scuzz that swings the ol’ chain in a manner similar to GAG, BIB, and other grizzled punk acts of the last decade. It’s a major step up in aggression from their melodic and post-punky The Last Thing You Want to Hear demo from just a few months earlier this year, and the band is tapping into a darker and more pissed-off power now.

Spells Loose Change, Vol. 2 LP

If you’ve never heard of Denver’s SPELLS before now, that makes two of us. They’ve apparently been at it since 2013, playing alongside a diverse roster of contemporaries that includes both the SPITS and FACE TO FACE, and this LP compiles material from various tapes and 7”’s that they’ve put out over the years. Calling it “vacation rock,” the band offers a sound that’s simultaneously timeless in a classic rock’n’roll sort of way, and also reminiscent of ’90s rock/punk bands like the B-MOVIE RATS at times. More “fun” than “fierce,” it’s bright, garage-y pop rock that consciously keeps a goofy little bit of dirt caked around the edges. Closing on a high note, their dual male/female vocals are put to logical good use on the last track, a reverent cover of X’s “We’re Desperate.” If that sounds like a good time to you, your official summer jams have arrived in the form of this eighteen-song collection.

The ID 2004 Demo cassette

Just in case you missed the crazy little demo from Illinois’ the ID the first time around (you did), it’s back. This is some devilishly juvenile punk that sounds like it’s being played and recorded on Fisher Price equipment by mental hospital escapees. It’s three songs of gloriously haggard KBD action, and the increasingly rabid opener “The Kids at School” alone makes it worth a place in your tape collection, if you can find one.

Ortopedia Técnica Sentencia cassette

A unique fusion of sounds here from ORTOPEDIA TÉCNICA, out of the Spanish province of Castilló. The majority of these songs are a driving post-punk with stomping beats that flirt with an OI!-type feel, but softer moments like the chill “Mirame” and the wistful “Rosas, Cruces, y un Cenicero” (“Roses, Crosses, and an Ashtray”) add depth to the album. Singing in Spanish, the band has a penchant for clean, anthemic head-bobbers aided by spectacular wailing guitar leads, but my favorite track is the infectious closer “Sociedad Industrial,” with its rousing chorus and warbled hook that eventually descends into a digital madness. Everything here is very well done.

Atentado Terrörista Demo Irrits CTM!! cassette

ATENTADO TERRÖRISTA (“Terrorist Attack”) are some energetic punks from Temuca, Chile. This is upbeat, pissed-off pogo with lyrics in Spanish, singing about various injustices, getting drunk, and skateboarding. For best results, play this tape in a boombox with a 40oz somewhere near it and get hyped.

Old Old LP

It’s pretty funny for the guys from OG Toronto hardcore outfit YOUTH YOUTH YOUTH to do this “reunion”-type project and call the band OLD. A few decades after dropping their Sin EP in 1983, Rick and Brian from YYY are back to bashing out some straightforward, tightly-wound hardcore. The eighteen songs here continue the classic YYY tradition of calling out bullshit from various sources, but there’s a sense of humor present that they didn’t display back in the day, most pronounced in the name of the band and the song “Old,” in which they bemoan the timeless punk curse of physically aging when you still feel young. For completists, this will go nicely alongside the reissued Sin (and extras) LP that Blue Fog also put out recently.

G.U.N. G.U.N. LP

When I first heard the demo from Nashville’s G.U.N. a few years ago, it was a “whoa” moment, the kind that compels immediate second and third listens. It sounded much more like something I’d catch on an ’80s skate video than a tape that came out in 2019, and the band officially had my attention. So, when I saw their LP was suddenly up for pre-order earlier this year, I pulled the trigger without hesitation. As it turns out, that sharp little four-song demo did little to prepare me for the misanthropic masterpiece that would eventually show up at my house. Wrapped in the gritty cartoon artwork of Reed Kavanah, the album is a refreshing blast of nastiness in the often too-careful climate of today. Brutish with the blunt force of classic BLACK FLAG, the music is audible frustration, loaded with riffs out the ass, and paired with a savage and satisfying dark honesty. The lyrics paint grim and realistic pictures, revealing the primitive thoughts and urges of the hidden sociopath inside all of us and at times teetering dangerously close to BRAINBOMBS levels of depravity. On songs like “Sadistfaction” and the punishing “Dangerous Game,” they’re really not pulling any punches, holding a mirror up to the inherent perversion and violence of our “Sick, Sad World.” If it all gets a little too thick, you can zoom out and disregard the particulars of the content, and it’s still some freakishly gripping punk noise. This is ripping, hook-heavy hardcore laced with an unabashed ugliness, and it’s an addictive combination, a promising debut, and an obvious pick for best of 2023 lists.

Youth Youth Youth Sin LP

The sole record from early Toronto hardcore unit YOUTH YOUTH YOUTH, 1983’s Sin, was originally a seven-song EP, and it’s been remastered and re-packaged by Canadian label Blue Fog with nine additional songs to create a comprehensive archival LP. Powered by amazingly tight, rapid-fire drums, the music of the original EP has a sharp clarity and immediacy to it. Infused with the youthful energy advertised by the band’s name, the songs seem to take a lead from groups on the Dischord Records roster of the era, offering an impeccably polished take on classic DC style. Lyrically, it’s very thoughtful and intelligent, sometimes sounding like a precursor to the headiness that BAD RELIGION would be cooking up a few years later. A sophisticated effort all around, this solid debut’s actual worst “sin” might be its overarching maturity. The bonus material, spanning recording sessions from ’83–’84, mostly showcases an earlier, slightly rougher version of the band. The first of these B-side songs, “Made In England,” is outspokenly anti-British. As he wholeheartedly cheers “E-N-G-L-A-N-D sucks!,” I have to imagine that there was some context of the time to this sentiment that I am missing. Jealousy? Anyway, this collection closes out with two final tracks that are more in line with the EP. The bluesy and then blazing “Blue Stain” and spunky “Domination” are a couple of the better tracks on the album, showing promise of a future for the group that was never realized. Fortunately, they found us here on this worthwhile preservation of an important little chunk of Canadian hardcore history.

Borrowed Man Borrowed Man cassette

BORROWED MAN does six point-blank punk killers on their first tape. After a misleading little garage rock intro, the band rips into speedy, brooding, and gritty pounders in the vein of early DC hardcore like MINOR THREAT and YOUTH BRIGADE. The songs are covered in exasperated shouts that remind me of a young Ian MacKaye, and punctuated in places by these awesome, piercing, spectral guitars. The songs are concise and potent, and it gets pretty wild. On “Circus,” he talks about wanting to kill a clown, and even starts barking a little bit. Where the hell did these guys come from? Oh yeah: Jackson, Mississippi. It’s good, and they’ve got my attention.

Richie Ramone Live to Tell LP

First they put something in his drink, and now they’ve gone and stolen his wig. I’m talking, of course, about RICHIE RAMONE! This talented drummer/songwriter/singer is still out here rocking all these years after he began his iconic tenure with the RAMONES back in 1983. Live to Tell is his latest solo LP, containing twelve jams that showcase a fresh take on his classic punky sensibilities. With songs like the smoky and haunted “I Sit Alone (Yeah, Yeah)” and the catchy riffs of the stellar “When The Night” (love those backing vocals), to speedy blasters like “Suffocate” and “Who Stole My Wig,” and even a decent cover of the Lost Boys anthem, “Cry Little Sister,” there’s plenty to chew on here. It’s a smooth listen and a nice follow-up to 2018’s also very good Cellophane LP, proving that the guy is still at the top of his game. Fans of the Animal Boy/Too Tough To Die era should especially dig it.

Lethal Hate Demo ’22 cassette

Germany’s LETHAL HATE plays stormy hardcore of the bludgeoning variety, eschewing nuance in favor of blunt force trauma. Fast and tough with brooding breakdowns, they lean towards the more maniacal side of early NYHC influence without much concern for adding to the recipe.

Abscess Political Vomit LP

Iowa’s first hardcore band ABSCESS recorded this ten-song session back in 1983, and it’s just now seeing the light of day, in proper LP form, no less. Time-capsuling the band’s early Midwest punk style, this record showcases a mix of mid-paced and fast melodic tunes, all bass-heavy and delivered with an endearing clunkiness. While not exactly revelatory, this release unearths another forgotten piece of the USHC story and is a solid example of the genre in its formative stages.

Brody and the Grodies / The Minor Inconveniences A Grody & Inconvenient Split cassette

Pairing a Connecticut one-man band with a campy garage quartet from Seattle, this tape showcases two types of homespun punk action. The MINOR INCONVENIENCES is a gentleman by the name of Zach Fontanez playing bass, guitar, and vocals on some digital drum-assisted hardcore punk tunes with a ’90s type of lean. He follows two solid tunes that ride the line between melodic and maniacal with a cover of POISON IDEA’s “It’s An Action” that’s equipped with a razor guitar sound that’s pretty sweet. BRODY AND THE GRODIES come next with “Who Drank All the Beer,” a goofy-ass stomper with an intentionally obtuse attitude à la PERSONAL AND THE PIZZAS. They continue the juvenile party rockin’ with their band theme before wrapping it up with a SUPERCHARGER cover that’s somehow even more “budget” than the original. Good, clean punk.

Rövsvett We Are the Roadkill LP

Some smooth käng-ing here from the small town of Tranås in southern Sweden. This sprawling LP features nineteen tracks of pounding D-beats, rocking guitars, and gang vocal choruses presented with shining clean production. While not particularly inventive, the music is rather accomplished, and this would be a fitting soundtrack to any gathering of tough guys with long-ish hair in black T-shirts.

Kolpeka Amorruz Beteta flexi EP

KOLPEKA’s debut tape is refreshingly bleak in all the right ways. Playing rugged and dark punk with ominous overtones, these teenagers from Spain offer a caustic, punchy take on early NYHC styles. There’s also a bit of devilishness to the melee that reminds me of G.I.S.M., and I like how the three songs on this tape become increasingly more deliberate and hostile as it progresses. The members were only between sixteen to nineteen years old at the time of this recording, so let’s hope they’ve got plenty of juice left in ‘em to keep pumping out cool and inventive music.

Body Cam Promo cassette

Hot new tape from BODY CAM. Their flexi from a couple years ago was pretty great, and here they’re grimier and sharper than before. It’s three songs of whipping hardcore with rocking riffs and a dirty, distorted sound. The warped groove of “R.T.S.” is the winner for me here, but the whole thing rips. I’ll be looking out for more of this.

Senata Fox Discography cassette

Croatian punks SENATA FOX started in the late ’90s and lasted through the ’00s, and this tape collects the entire recorded works they left in their wake—47 songs on the gnarlier side of the spectrum, with relentless pounding drums and dual screaming/monster vocals. With a thrashy and rabid attack, the band plays a type of hardcore that toes the lines of neo-crust, powerviolence, and grind. In this career-spanning collection, you can hear the band evolve from more of a straightforward fastcore style into the sarcastic, blastbeating beast they had become by the time they recorded “Death Metal Diet.” Kudos to Doomtown Records for preserving the carnage.

Uliczny Opryszek Na Zwasze Punk 3 LP

The final entry in a massive three LP endeavor, Na Zawsze Punk 3 is Poland’s ULICZNY OPRYSZEK doing covers from old and obscure Polish punk bands spanning 1978–1998. Throughout the three albums, they deliver a whopping 79 songs, most of which were never recorded to any acceptable degree or previously released in any format. Instead, the band relied on tape recordings from the Jarocin festivals they grew up going to as source material. Jarocin was basically an annual Polish punk version of Woodstock that lasted throughout the ’80s and into the early ’90s and was a vital part of the genre’s existence in the Warsaw Pact nations during that era. They’re essentially resurrecting and documenting an entire forgotten timeline here for posterity, which is a wildly admirable effort. The music itself is a jungle of punk rock that leans into the various styles of the legion of bands who originally played it. There are some grimy old-school punk tunes, moments that wouldn’t be too out of place on a Fat release, Oi!, tinges of ’80s metal, and even a dub-style jam—it’s all over the place, as to be expected. As an added touch of class, each of the twenty songs on this record features a snippet of the original live recording of it before it, presenting it with a direct nod to its authors. The record comes with a dense booklet with info on the bands as well (presumably in Polish), completing the package. Nice little chunk of history.

Cell Deth Cell Deth demo cassette

The pissed-off punk clatter of Canada’s CELL DETH is pretty damn sharp. It’s old-school hardcore with an urgent and authentic feel, and the raw sound on this demo, with the intense vocals competing to be heard over the music, complements the style. My favorite moments here are the off-kilter stomp and cartoonish riffage of “Disposable Culture,” the blastbeat-laden “Climate Crisis,” and the furious closer, but the whole thing just rips on by and leaves a good taste.

Silent Drama Silent Drama cassette

Sick Italian hardcore here from SILENT DRAMA. On this ten-song tape, the band mixes Japanese and USHC influences into their stripped-down approach, and the whacked-out vocals cement it as a memorable experience. “Ignorance is Blissing” is the stand-out track for me, sounding like a cross between Fuck Heads-era GAUZE and early BAD BRAINS. Snotty as fuck.

Headcheese Demo 2022 cassette

Kamloops’s HEADCHEESE is planning an LP, but in the meantime, we get this unhinged little demo. The band swings back and forth between sounding playful and pissed as they run through four speedy tracks of schizophrenic hardcore. These beefy tunes are centered around start/stop dynamics and often drop into spats of sparse, jerky instrumentation, not unlike the CONTORTIONS. If you like ‘em heavy and weird, this one’s for you. There’s a great hoe-down-style song called “Loss Prevention” on here, too.

O.C. Rippers Happy Hours Air Travel Club LP

O.C. RIPPERS have been grinding for a few years now, and these Beachwood, New Jersey boys are coming in hot on their second LP. The opening “Mean Streets” sets the tone for the record with a NEW BOMB TURKS-type rock energy and a vocal delivery that falls somewhere between “Nervous Breakdown”-era Keith Morris and “Search and Destroy” Iggy. From there, it continues down familiar roads of ’90s punk’n’roll paved with sleazy ’70s attitude and it’s a hell of a ride. While a lot of bands who tread this territory these days are content in delivering pastiches, the RIPPERS are writing good tunes, some of which would play pretty smoothly in between classics from the likes of the NEW YORK DOLLS, the HUMPERS, the DEAD BOYS, and ZEKE. The songs shift between smoky and bluesy moods, to shambolic ’60s garagery (see the ethereal organ that appears on “Murder” and “Late Night TV Lover”), to soulful and sinewy electricity seamlessly, all played with unabashed lowbrow finesse. I’m thinking it will sound great on Friday nights with a cigarette lit.

Ghidrah Invincible Deluxe LP reissue

Blessing GHIDRAH’s ’96 CD with a vinyl release, this record commemorates the 25th anniversary of the veteran New Zealand band’s debut. With a sharp new remastering courtesy of Dead Air Studios, this slab showcases 21 blasts of rowdy hardcore that are punctuated by random TV, movie, and video game sound bites. That structure was typical for powerviolence albums in the 1990s, and while the music here touches on that style with a few healthy blastbeats, there are other flavors at play that are hard to ignore. This is more of a primal and expressive sort of chaos in the vein of SUN CHILDREN SUN, complete with a good bit of brass cacophony. It’s a heavy, heavy racket that goes into a range of moods. There’s also a baked-in sense of strangeness that makes me think of the BUTTHOLE SURFERS, and the song “Can’t Undo” with its yearning indie melody and spoken-word overlays reminded me of the closing “Tugena” on the DEAD MILKMEN’s Big Lizard LP. An unlikely stew, but it’s a raw and original document that deserves the celebration.

Speed Plans Statues of God LP

It’s always cool when bands can go super old-school without sounding like a wishy-washy imitation, and Pittsburgh’s mighty SPEED PLANS hit that description right on the noggin with whiplash-inducing results. These sixteen tornados of meaty hardcore are strewn with restless guitars and captured with a basement sound that makes this killer LP worthy of a spot right behind your favorite O.G. ’80s records. Commanding tracks like “Jesus Christ” and “Make Them Watch” are an instant win, and this type of authentic fury only gets better with every spin.

Memory Ward Memory Ward cassette

Phoenix’s MEMORY WARD really leaves a mark with this cracking debut tape. Filled with blown-out agile and angular riffage, and pounding, primitive drums, this is some red-hot noisy hardcore. The warped thrashing partially buries the vocals that are bellowed, gnashed, and dripped through a broken bullhorn, resulting in a raw and caustic sound that’s reminiscent of Virginia rippers BLACK BUTTON at their nastiest. Great stuff, I’ll be looking out for more.

Thought Control P.M.R.R.T.W. EP

Damn, THOUGHT CONTROL has been eating their Wheaties since releasing their 2021 Shock to the System 7”. That record was a solid slice of old school, but on this new EP, the band has grown into an even sharper and more formidable unit. Titled P.M.R.R.T.W. (“Psychos, Murder, and Rape Rule the World”), this six-song 7” does the neat trick of making that old classic hardcore style fresh again for a few minutes. They rock back and forth between blazing fast numbers and chill mid-paced head-bobbers, sounding a little bit like Atlanta’s underrated JOINT D≠, especially on the excellent “Violence for Violence.” Good to have you back, THOUGHT CONTROL—always a pleasure. “Aunt Suzi Has An Uzi” has some real hit single potential, if you ask me.

Exploatör Blind Elit LP

Comprised of ex-TOTALITÄR members (three out of five) and other high-ranking käng veterans, EXPLOATÖR are simply kings of the genre, sounding better than ever on their third release. The formula remains the same – heavy hardcore punk with a manic D-beat backbone and raw vocals, and here it’s executed flawlessly. The sound is full and scorching, with some direct DISCHARGE worship in tunes like the title track and “Skiter På Allt,” as well as songs like “Ingrid Framtid” and “Dags Att Dö” that echo the almost-jazzy energy of TOTALITÄR’s swan-song Vi Är Eliten LP. These guys somehow make that rough shit go down so smooth. Special props to Poffen for stubbornly refusing lozenges since the 1980s.

Piss Me Off Scam of a Lifetime cassette

Continuing the legacy of loud and lurid Cleveland punk, PISS ME OFF follows up their ear-scorching demo with this tape that’s equal parts tough and artistic. The band’s heavy sound appears to be inspired by old-school stormy Midwest hardcore and the ingestion of hallucinogens, as well as the stark weirdness of fellow Clevos CRUELSTER and PERVERTS AGAIN. These ten songs are mostly straight pounders, but then in the last three they expand into a less compressed, more rocking style with lots of soulful and piercing guitar soloing. Nice.

Burn All Flags Burn All Flags 12″

Collecting songs from three different early 2000s recording sessions, this small-batch, lathe-cut release shines a spotlight on Manchester outfit BURN ALL FLAGS. It’s seventeen tracks of fast, politically charged late ’90s-style punk. At their best, they sound like a snottier early ANTI-FLAG, and at their worst, they sound like RANCID. I’m sure this will be a solid nostalgia trip for some, I’m just not sure who.

Personal Damage Ambush cassette

If you were to distill the essences of the CIRCLE JERKS and DEAD KENNEDYS into a cocktail, I would drink of it heartily, and L.A.’s PERSONAL DAMAGE is the closest I’ve come to tasting such a concoction. Playing fun and catchy mid-tempo punkers, this combination ends up sounding like something akin to classic FEEDERZ, and I mean it in the best way possible when I say this cassette bumps on by like something I’ve played a million times. They even close out the tape with a cheeky cover (“Stepping Razor” by PETER TOSH), a signature move of both of those aforementioned perceived influences. This was a great little introduction to the band, and I’m hoping that next time they serve up a double.

Phantom 7 Song Demo cassette

New Brunswick, NJ’s PHANTOM provides seven tracks of spun-out, rabid hardcore on their debut cassette. Breathing a weird mania into simple song structures, these guys touch on a number of different styles throughout this speedy and unhinged set, including a cool grooviness that surfaces on tracks like “Canker” and “Business Man.” This wild little ride will likely appeal to fans of ANTIBODIES and MUTATED VOID.

Kettenhund Tarnen Und T​ä​uschen EP

Austria’s KETTERHUND plays weighty, mid-tempo hardcore with post-punk and Oi! infusions, led by passionate, raw-throated vocals. Following up their debut single from 2017, this four-song EP has a dark and desperate atmosphere to it, pinning angsty and tortured sentiments to a steady-rocking backbeat. The high point for me here is the ominous third track, “Nacht,” but this is all solid work.

Mongrel Life Unlived cassette

Trusted purveyors of formidable crust action Phobia Records introduce us to MONGREL, a noisy and rugged hardcore unit out of western Ireland. This tape (their sophomore release) contains five tracks driven by a simple, barbaric stomp and covered with chaotic, off-center vocals. While the songs seem to relish in their primitive composition and dystopian feel, they’re also a bit polished for what I feel best suits the style. I’d probably get more of a kick out of a muddier and more mangled MONGREL.

Rottweiler Nie Ma Spokoju LP

This second tape from ROTTWEILER originally came out in 1997, by which point this Polish band was a well-honed unit. Bringing mischievous and menacing hardcore with a skate punk lean, these tunes are fast and sharp with tight, rapid-fire drum precision, metal-edged guitars, and the type of pronounced bass lines that were so popular in that era. And they just keep coming for 48 minutes and change, so if you’re into this, there’s lots to chew on.

Flower City Maggots Consume EP

Ripper of an EP here from FLOWER CITY out of Austin, Texas. These six songs recall the darker side of classic old-school SoCal like early TSOL and DI. Embellishing their menacing riffage with a drummer who plays like MINOR THREAT’s Jeff Nelson and an echoed, spectral vocalist who wails over each song like a different section of a carnival spook house, this band has an awesome, memorable sound that I’m hoping to hear more of. One of the coolest new 7”s of the last while, for sure.

Zero Function Zero Function cassette

From Wyoming, ZERO FUNCTION plays dense, dark hardcore with a fuzzy finish. On this eight-song tape, the songs are effective in painting bleak and frightening pictures, like with the noisy, stretched-out intro and warped lyrics on “Pull,” and the interspersed system-failure-like wreckage on “Serve No Purpose.” I keep seeing this producer Will Killingsworth’s name on new projects, each time accompanied by a solid sound, and this continues that streak. Its aura of hopelessness scratches the same itch as an artsy horror flick.

Leaking Head Better Homes & Gardens EP

Rochester’s LEAKING HEAD follows up their strong 2021 demo tape with a nice slab of wax. Bashing out six snotty rippers in about nine minutes, these guys put a no-bullshit ferocity into their bouncy and brutal modern hardcore. Check some of their live footage on YouTube to get a further taste of what these heads are drippin’.

Ribbon Ribbon demo cassette

The aesthetics of punk music packaging have evolved to a baffling place where a band called RIBBON can put crude, cherubic figures and a crumbly castle on the cover of their tape that’s filled with spindly splashes of rugged hardcore, and somehow it works. This Indonesian band’s bare-bones approach is bolstered by a cool vocal performance, and the style is hardcore punk in its original configuration—’70s attitude with the ferocity knob turned up to eleven. Their sound is striking enough that if I were to walk into a record shop where it was playing, I’d ask “who is this?”. Remember JJ DOLL? They kind of sound like the short-lived, post-IVY NYC act JJ DOLL, minus Shiva’s hypnotic guitars and with more of a straightforward Oi!-type influence.

L’Odi Social Que Pagui Pujol EP reissue

Formed in 1981, L’ODI SOCIAL from Barcelona was one of Spain’s first hardcore punk bands, and this 7” is a facsimile of their much-revered 1986 EP with a fold-out cover and complete original artwork. This is some old-school, DC-style hardcore filtered through a European lens. It’s fast and fun, delivering five speedy tracks with a devil-may-care attitude. While a lot of their contemporaries used English language in their music, these guys opted to pen everything in their native Catalan tongue. I no hablas, but the spirit of this classic record still comes across loud and clear.

Reflex Demo 2022 cassette

Strong demo from these French punks. Don’t let the sterile artwork dissuade you—at its core, it’s melodic hardcore, but they keep it pretty dirty and loaded with tough riffage. I love the singer, as he sounds kinda like a French-accented version of early ’80s Keith Morris, and it’s endearing to me for whatever reason when he delivers vulnerable lines like “I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see anyone” on the opening track, or “I’m not afraid anymore” on “Any Decision.” In general, there’s an urgent sincerity to the songs and they feel personal and somehow relatable. I’d really like to hear more from these guys.

Public Acid Easy Weapons LP reissue

The debut LP from North Carolina’s PUBLIC ACID is getting some well-deserved love from the dependable La Vida Es Un Mus label. Originally released in a limited run of 300 copies in 2018, this is a welcome reissue of a straight banger that showcases the band’s twisted take on brutal Japanese hardcore and the speedy, primal poisonings of Italian bands like WRETCHED. It’s a corroded carnival of feedback, buzzsaw guitars, scathing rapid-fire drum beats, and distorted echo vocals, chewing the ears from start to finish. The intense fun doesn’t let up, and when it’s done, I’m instantly compelled to play it again—the mark of a classic.

Proton / Total Sham split cassette

These two Missouri bands make it hard to pick a favorite on this sharp, short split tape. On the A-side, PROTON from the city of Columbia unleashes their brutal brand of D-beat hardcore. A lo-fi bludgeoning that cranks the speed and ferocity of the traditional DISCHARGE formula up to “holy shit” levels, it’s raw, but not noise, keeping it squarely in punk territory and never crossing into metal, which is kinda perfect. These three pounding jams make a great appetizer for indulging in their scorching Imminent Collapse EP from earlier this year and 2021’s Men Behind the Sun cassette. Next is Kansas City’s TOTAL SHAM, and god, do they rule. Refreshing like an ice-cold 22oz of Olde English, I tell ya. Just a pure early hardcore sound, like Group Sex-era CIRCLE JERKS spiked with Pick Your King-era POISON IDEA and delivered with a palpable practice spot ambiance. Their tunes on this tape are addictive little rippers that get my head bobbing involuntarily every time, and their full length Life as a Total Sham cassette is an instant classic, offering nine more killer songs where these came from. This is all some of the coolest stuff I’ve heard in a while, and if you’ve caught me spazzing out behind the wheel of my car lately, these bands are the likely culprits.

Wasteland Want Not EP reissue

Reissuing the debut EP from 1970s oddballs WASTELAND, this 7” digs up a trio of forgotten pop curiosities. The opening “Ono,” a quirky and jerky number in the spirit of the BUZZCOCKS, is the punkiest of the lot, with a sound not unlike that of “Ride The Wild”-era DESCENDENTS. “Bombsite Baby” is a mellow tune that mixes the jangling sensibilities of the TELEVISION PERSONALITIES with the rocking flourish of EDDIE AND THE HOT RODS. Finally, “Radio Nation Burns” caps off the record with five minutes of bluesy, folky, and artsy weirdo rock. It’s a noble effort of preservation on behalf of the good people at Breakout Records, but this one’s best suited for those who are thirsty for every last drop of ‘77-adjacent hydration.

Problem Anti-You cassette

Oh yeah, they had me from the warped taunt of the opening chords. L.A.’s PROBLEM is the truth. On this tape, you get seven stripped-down hardcore slammers delivered with a with a thuggish Oi! mentality. They’ve got a cool blend going here, taking the anthemic simplicity of old-school street punk, pumping it up with the power of O.G. USHC, and slathering it all in a classic “fuck you” attitude (as spelled out quite clearly in the title track’s closing sermon). It’s a brilliant job that several different punk subspecies will find tasty.

Heaven Starless Midnight EP

Bashing out their own little cavity in the current hardcore landscape, HEAVEN from Texas keeps it heavy, fast, jarring, and dark. These tunes carry creepy melodies that sound like sped-up versions of UPSIDEDOWN CROSS riffs, which is appreciated, but it’s the East Bay Ray-esque lead guitar work and weirdo solos that really makes this thing pop. Factor in the agonized gang vocals and a dripping saturation of dread, and it’s a strangely alluring synergy. Just based on the day-and-night difference in styles of the two bands, I was surprised to learn that this group shares members with CHRONOPHAGE. If these guys have anything close to the ambition of that band, this debut 7” could be the start of something beautiful.

Rat’s Eyes Ростоталконтроль LP

I’ve mused here before about the perceived sub-genre of “Futurecore,” and Moscow’s RATS EYES take that concept to a whole new level. Not only does this record sonically follow in the chaotic dystopian footsteps of bands like S.H.I.T., these guys go as far as calling themselves “future punks” and even present this album as if it was recorded 1000 years from now. Talk about committing to a theme. That being said, the music itself is super solid, a tight and kind of candied form of this particular breed of swirling and menacing hardcore that retains its charm for the entirety of the ten songs. It’s a fully realized album and a great spin that I think will age quite well as it creeps towards its true release date in 3022.

The Comets The Comets LP

An archival release showcasing the entirety of short-lived central Florida act the COMETS’ recorded output, this record features ten spunky numbers spanning a period from 1981–1983. Acolytes of the British mod scene and fronted by the English-born Mich Shields, the COMETS excelled in crafting spirited and slightly off-kilter rock jams that fit right in with some of the brightest US power pop of the era. While sticking to the shiny and simple framework established by bands like the JAM, the songs carry a whiff of the working class rock of their early ’80s Philly contemporaries the A’S and mirror the sharp songwriting of the CARPETTES, culminating in a striking and addictive sound. Upbeat, soulful, and polished, this cool collection of tracks offers a range of hit-worthy hooks and memorable melodies. “Living the Answer” starts with an unexpected speedy chord pairing that reads like a blending of the iconic Twilight Zone and Munsters TV themes before springing into its hopeful and anthemic jaunt. “Foot of the Stair” shares the sparse urgency of the CURE’s “Jumping Someone Else’s Train.” “Everybody Loves a Hero” opens with the saccharine guitar shamble that would become a signature style of DINOSAUR JR. a few years later. The A-side of the band’s final 1983 single, “Big Business Jokes” pairs a frantic BUZZCOCKS-style jitter with its brief yet dramatic chorus punchline. All of these tunes resonate as thoughtfully-composed bursts of gleaming and easily digestible rock’n’roll romance; music that is well-worthy of the rescuing it’s been provided by this comprehensive discography LP. It’s an essential for shelves of a certain nature.

Exxxon Diesel Tape cassette

EXXXON is back with a third tape of fossil-fueled fury. This one kicks off with “Mavverick,” which pays homage to MINOR THREAT’s “No Reason” with its thumping bass intro and recurring “you say you hate me” lyric. Next up is the brief, head-bobbing blow-out “Connoco,” followed by the bratty, stomping closer “Chevrron.” While this one’s a little more driving and less funky then their previous efforts, their simple and smart shit-fi recipe remains pretty much the same. They’re going to run out of gas company names eventually, right? They’re already using ones I’ve never heard of, but then again, I’m not really a big gas station buff. I am a fan of uncompromising punk art, however, and that’s what this is.

Skrewball Wild Cats EP

With rough and snappy charisma, SKREWBALL from Plymouth, UK pumps out four solid youth crew pounders on their debut 7”. This mostly mid-paced “street punk” stomps firmly in between classic NY and UK hardcore styles, aided by an awesome sore-throated vocalist and bursting into fits of speed at the right moments. Maybe this will arouse fans of both GORILLA BISCUITS and ANTISOCIAL?

V/A Punks in Peoria LP

Taking a long view of the various punk and alternative bands to emerge from Peoria, Illinois throughout the ’80s and ’90s, this comp provides some cool snapshots of a small-town scene’s evolution. Starting off with goofy, KBD-worthy tunes from bands with names like CONSTANT VOMIT and BLOODY MESS & HATE, the tone of the collection progresses into some weird, later ’80s new wave/post-punk (peep the lo-fi sci-fi of DAED KCIS’s “Ghost Story Lane”) before eventually landing into a showcase of various popular ’90s styles. There’s archetypal indie pop in tracks from DOLLFACE and DISMISS, as well as what sounds like misguided NIRVANA-worship from FAST FOOD REVOLUTION, and many degrees in between. This will be a cool nostalgia trip for those who were there, and it’s likely to remind folks in various locales of bands they went to high school with.

Church Clothes Sacred Illusion EP

The cover of CHURCH CLOTHES’ debut splashed in rootsy, faded psychedelia doesn’t adequately prepare listeners for the flush and vibrant hardcore demonstration it holds inside. This NYC act weaves a tough tapestry of hardcore with inflections of both classic ’80s and grungy ’90s styles, with all four members of the group pouring all of their power into the songs. While fairly standard in structure, these tunes shine with organic fury, and a loose cannon lead guitar pulls things into a wild, psychedelic direction at times, lending a little “truth in advertising” to that trippy cover. Dig it.

Urn Urn cassette

A charge of hypnotic hardcore out of Dallas, the second full-length from URN is a unique beast. On one hand, it sounds like something their Austin neighbors GLUE might make after binging LSD to the point of paranoid delirium. These pounding tracks carry a sort of refined menace to them, and you pick up on the band’s psychedelic lean through both the tense, often spiraling and flanged-out riffage, and the lyrics (“Ride the wave / Now you see everything.”) That is, when they’re not just dropping straight gangster rap lyrics. There’s also a hip-hop influence to the record that’s most bluntly demonstrated by the TRAE THA TRUTH sample on “Grey Cassette,” but also pretty clear in the words to songs like “Stash Pot” (“Playing with my money makes my glock go pop / You think I’m fucking playing til I run up to your block.”) Themes go back and forth between reality-bending mind expansion and the realest of talk, and the whole thing rips. Recommended.

Baby Adam Baby Adam cassette

BABY ADAM is not an actual baby, or a solo act going by an infantile alias, but a trio from Florida with a noisy indie sound and very warped pop sensibilities. These songs sound almost like they could be primitive, lo-fi covers of ’90s groups like SEBADOH. It’s captured in the carefree and creative recording styles of that band’s earliest work, but it hits levels of unpolished, organic expression that are more in tune with the more melodic efforts of PUSSY GALORE. There’s also a youthful sort of earnestness present here, the kind that I associate with emo-type bands of the early 2000s. In the end, I mentally file this somewhere near (but not close to) Butte, Montana college rockers MORDECAI. Is it art, or ineptitude? Both? If you enjoy it, does it matter?

Money Final Bag demo cassette

A while back I called the Roachleg Records “hotline” in an attempt to get more info on the VIOLENT CHRISTIANS. A whiny, Jerky Boys-type character answered the phone, sounding confused and annoyed by my call. “Wild Christians?” he replied, “what about ‘em?,” as he went on to deny any knowledge of the existence of that band, or any other band for that matter. It was a hilarious, baffling exchange, and I’m not sure why I expected anything less. Over the past couple of years, this Brooklyn-based label has established itself as one that gets my immediate attention upon dropping a new release. In a world increasingly populated by copycats and cosplayers, Roachleg’s commitment to releasing truly abrasive and gnarly music has earned them a special place in my ever-blackening heart, and this demo adds to the filthy pile of perverse tapes that they’ve been steadily foisting on the unsuspecting public. Naming their band after “the root of all evil,” MONEY rips through three tracks of nasty hardcore rumbling. The band has a grim, noisy, and driving sound punctuated by madman guitar noodling and led by unintelligible, cretinous vocals, all dripping in the sonic scuzz that has become this prolific label’s calling card. In fact, the blurred and belligerent delivery of it all could easily distract one from the fact that there are some serious chops at work here. It’s hot shit, and I’m hoping we haven’t heard the last of it. Want to learn more? You better call Sol.

Illegal Leather Raw Meat LP

Anyone who has followed Marco Palumbo’s exploits over the past couple of decades with his bands the GAGGERS, DISCO LEPERS, and others, knows that the London frontman has mastered the art of crafting catchy ’70s-style garage bangers, and ILLEGAL LEATHER’s cold and caustic sound pulls this classic energy into the modern age. Equipping their simple and snotty approach with digital drums and dual male/female vocals, the band makes some of the least boring pop music ever to dabble in the realms of “new wave,” keeping it urgent and never crossing into “cute.” Right from the mechanical melancholy of the anthemic opening track, I can’t help but be reminded of the SPITS. It’s timeless style delivered with machine precision and a fun sci-fi edge, grounded firmly in reality by the gun-toting gimp who graces the cover.

Xui Xui demo cassette

XUI from Oakland plays a fast, filthy, and agile kind of hardcore that reminds me a bit of the mighty GLUE from Austin. Speedy and groovy riffs shoot out of this tape recklessly while the singer’s frank and frothy barking incites the melee, and all four songs hit the mark. A good start.

Eddie and the Subtitles Skeletons in the Closet LP reissue

A re-sequenced reissue of OC legends EDDIE AND THE SUBTITLES’ 1981 LP Skeletons in the Closet is an interesting artifact, in that it plays more like a compilation than a cohesive album. It’s a juxtaposition of diverse styles that seem to represent different eras and mindsets for the band. This record could be successfully disassembled to create three separate and distinct bodies of work—a brief KBD-esque collection of punk-tinged rock’n’roll procedures like the opening trifecta of “Zombie Drug Killers,” “No Virgins in Hollywood,” and “American Society,” a record of goth-y, synth-heavy pop tunes, and an album where EDDIE reveals his swingin’ ’60s rock roots, which gets very goofy. “Bobbin’ Little Bobcat,” for instance, makes the STRAY CATS sound like SLAYER in comparison. Some of this also seems to be a direct reflection of the band’s live shows playing alongside the CIRCLE JERKS and other heroes of the period, with the inclusion of covers like “Louie Louie” and “Movin’ On.” Rather than be choosy, it seems that EDDIE & co. opted to put in everything they had going on at the time here and wrap it all up in an awesome Shawn Kerri cover that makes this record worth owning all by itself.

Yambag Strength in Nightmares EP

Now here’s an aural equivalent to smelling salts. Hailing from Cleveland, YAMBAG transcends tradition by infusing their heartless brand of bumping punk with spasmodic, nerve-shaking blastbeats. The seven tracks here shift between rocking, stilted, and pummeling shards of hardcore that erupt into brutal, rattling bursts of relentless powerviolence when you least expect it, and somehow it all feels like a party. It’s a ruthless, calculated killer, and is easily the best record to feature bastardized versions of the McDuck family on the cover of all time.

Punitive Damage Strike Back EP

A powerful unit with members hailing from Vancouver and Seattle, PUNITIVE DAMAGE drops three all-too-brief bombs on this bright yellow 7”. This is some heavy and tight hardcore with a classic sound and a rabid singer that is absolutely pissed. If that murderous opening track “Legacy” doesn’t get your attention, don’t even look at me. More, please.

Government Clean-Up Plan Reality Confusion EP

On this seven-song 7” GOVERNMENT CLEAN-UP PLAN plays speedy and stormy thrashcore with earnest and straightforward vocals. These are essentially protest songs aimed at the usual targets: cops, work, the powers that be, and the conformists that condone it all. You may have never heard this, but you likely know the drill. It’s a strong modern delivery of ’80s mentality.

Scatterbrainiac Anti-Lethargic LP

From Porto, Portugal, SCATTERBRAINIAC plays heavy punk by numbers, replete with shouted gang vocals and simple song structures as outlined in the Official USHC Instruction Manual™. It sounds as if someone took a demo tape from 1984 and reproduced it cleanly through modern mixing methods.

Democracy Western Relaxation cassette

Five minutes of filthy hardcore rumbling from Milwaukee. It’s a smoker. Nasty, ripping punk that’s been vomited on by manic, monstrous vocals. I suppose you could obtain this tape from the esteemed Unlawful Assembly label via traditional mail order, but I believe it would be distributed more appropriately if copies were left to be found half-buried in the dirt in random spots around the country.

Repeat Offender Summary Execution EP

Sharp stuff here as REPEAT OFFENDER continues to hone their unique, catchy raging on their second 7”. Bestial vocals and a thumping rhythm section make a fun pairing, and across these six songs they shift seamlessly between menacing hardcore, anthemic street stomping, and a blend of the two. A lot of the Oi! stuff that has come out in recent years has leaned in the direction of post-punk, so I appreciate that this band has opted for a demon singer and a raucous and pointed sound instead.

Socoträ Born to Chaos cassette

Indonesia’s SOCOTRÄ brings us a stench-laden, damaged crust assault on their sophomore release, and it’s one of my most listened-to albums of the year thus far. It’s nine songs with no weak spots, just killer D-beat hardcore with all the spikes and patches. Covered in desperate, raw-throated vocals, these tracks have a ton of character and nuance, even tastefully delving into black-metalry a bit on “Disgust,” and “Toxic” is just an absolute crusher and one of the best songs of this style I’ve heard in a minute. The tape comes in a box set package along with a t-shirt, stickers, buttons, and a booklet with lyrics, etc. Fuck yeah.

Fogueo Sesion Ao vivo en Le Studio cassette

FOGUEO, oh FOGUEO, wherefore art thou, FOGUEO? “Argentina!,” they replied between violent bursts of rockin’ hardcore. The band dabbles in various styles, with the vocals being particularly schizophrenic. They start off with shouted battle cries on the opening track before switching to a sinister, crusty growl on “Armas,” interspersed noisy whispers on “Figuritas,” and clean, plain singing on some of the songs. It sounds like they had fun making this.

Simp Social Institutions of Malevolent Purpose cassette

The debut from two-man band SIMP out of Washington, this collection of songs presents a sound of traditional angry hardcore-ing with traces of the more modern S.H.I.T.-esque style. It’s decent. This guy swears to god he’s a Functional Human, but I won’t believe it until we get a proper LP to follow this up.

TV Drugs FFO: Everything Terrible / Instant Tenders cassette

TV DRUGS is a Cleveland hardcore band, playing fun shit with a lot of personality and being weird while also laying down a formidable thrashing. This tape collects their two releases to date (shout-out to Robert Collins, who already reviewed one of them), and captures fifteen tracks of unhinged hardcore. I’m always a fan of the Doc Dart vocal approach of coloring outside the lines, and this rad singer does that a lot. The band seems to have gone quiet for a little while now, and it’d be cool if they resurface at some point with a proper full-length.


Feral Dunce demo cassette

Atlanta’s FERAL is cooking up some complex shit over here. The songs pack a modern and manic hardcore pummeling of the Toxic State variety, punctuated by atmospheric, no wave-esque bass-driven parts that remind me of SONIC YOUTH in places. As the tape goes on it becomes increasingly spacey, with disco-y post-punk vibes that reveal themselves more and more before finally culminating in the groovy “Cycle.” There’s one last punky cool-down number after that, but then you’re beat. Very good.

Yleiset Syyt Umpikujamekanismi EP

Finland’s YLEISET SYYT (“common causes”) plays a timeless type of punk akin to early BLACK FLAG paired with intelligent and poetic lyrics, as revealed to me by the ol’ Google Translate feature. It’s all good rockin’, covered with statements like “Painful things happen in the backyard of the creative middle class,” but also enjoyable with complete ignorance of its thoughtful messaging.

The Faction Corpse in Disguise EP reissue

The FACTION were O.G. skate-rockers, widely known as the band in which Powell Peralta legend Steve Caballero played bass. With the exception of a few song snippets from skate videos back in the day, I had never really heard much of their catalog, so this 40th anniversary edition of their 1984 EP was new to me. They sound kind of like a chilled-out TSOL on these four songs, which, by the way, are not the same four songs that appeared on the original release. So is it really a reissue? Either way, it’s still suitable headphones material for some casual ripping, and I really can’t hear it without picturing fat, fish-shaped boards with big wheels flashing at the top of vert ramps.

Werewolf Jones Terminal Velocity cassette

The eerie and dreary garage rocking of WEREWOLF JONES falls sonically somewhere between FLIPPER and the GORIES, giving off a vibe of being comfortably at home amidst the bad vibrations they emit. You have four tracks here, all heavy garage bummers that share a backbone with the likes of the DRAGS. I know that the band is named after a Simon Hanselman character, but I can picture an actual werewolf singing these songs, especially when he gets all riled up like on the title track. Crank it up and celebrate ennui.

The Hard-Crop’s For What Cause? cassette

I probably wouldn’t have guessed that the next best blast of real-deal “street punk” would come out of Kuala Lumpur, not that I’m complaining. The HARD-CROP’S play tough, unpolished Oi! with a driving sound that’s straight out of ‘83. This band could easily sneak onto any old comp featuring CRUX, the LAST RESORT, 4-SKINS, ANTISOCIAL, and the like, and few would notice. The nine songs on this killer tape showcase the band’s great taste in influences, re-collecting the above bands and more while making the style and sound their own. For instance, the frequent gang vocals have a bit of a LOLI & THE CHONES feel to them. It’s fresh and classic at once; a rare trick that’s always appreciated. Who cares if they’re not that handy with apostrophes, they’re handy with the Oi!

Skinned Pig Skinland Empire cassette

It slid right past me, but SKINNED PIG from Hesperia, CA dropped this hot little tape back in January, setting the bar for the year high right from the get-go. Combining ’60s pop melodies with classic punk sentiments and an Oi! mentality, the band plays sickly-sweet and garage-y hardcore punk with a timeless feel. I can hear everything from the DILS to the BUSINESS to the VINDICTIVES in their sound, and I would have dug this had it come out at any point in my life. C’mon, bud. Bump those first two songs quick and tell me not. Matter of fact, bump the whole thing.

D.F.C. Igreja Quadrangular Do Triângulo Redondo LP

Originally released on CD in 1996, this second album from Brazilian hardcore legends D.F.C. (DISTRITO FEDERAL CAOS) is an exercise in ’80s crossover style that echoes the sentiments of D.R.I. and RATOS DE PORAO in speedy thrashing laced with rapid-fire vocals, but there’s enough melody and breakdowns to keep the music squarely planted in the punk camp. With a penchant for cartoony artwork and parody album covers, D.F.C. seems more interested in issuing their metal-infused ass-whoopings than taking themselves too seriously. There are twenty brief, snappy songs here, and two of them are only four seconds long, making it an ideal soundtrack to any hessian morning routine. Get your day off to a strong start by brushing your teeth while listening to D.F.C. call people “putas.”

Invalid Invalid LP

And the ugliest cover award goes to…Pittsburgh’s INVALID! This tight twelve-incher is packed with very authentic old school hardcore echoing BLACK FLAG and NEGATIVE APPROACH with touches of POISON IDEA. Tough chugging, speedy thrashing, and brooding breakdowns are covered in stretched-out throaty growls and hey, is that the SACRILEGE “Life Line” riff on “Party’s Over”?

Billiam 8 Hours in Billiamville EP

While I have developed a general aversion to the unabashedly quirky and messy styles of what is commonly referred to as “egg-punk,” BILLIAM has managed to win me over a bit with this little eight-song garage banger. There’s a frankness to these frantic and grooving tunes that makes the weirdness quite tolerable, and songs like the synth-driven “Soup Season” and the dreamy “Metal Bed” are just so damn catchy it’s hard to resist. This is probably my favorite collection that he’s put out thus far. He’s got a number on here entitled “B-Beat” where he pounds out a rudimentary D-beat for a few seconds before flatly proclaiming “I don’t get D-beat,” which I can totally understand because I used to not “get D-beat” either, back when I was stupid.

Fatal 6 Songs cassette

Featuring members of SCARECROW and OUT COLD, Raleigh’s FATAL delivers a slick exercise in traditional USHC stylings on this aptly-named cassette. These six blasts of pounding hardcore are produced in a way cleaner fashion than their accompanying artwork would suggest. In a world increasingly inhabited by echoes, distortion, etc., FATAL opts to come through loud, crisp, and clear. Favorite track: “Ghost on the Shelf.”

Ammo Web of Lies / Death Won’t Even Satisfy LP

The fine, formidable hardcore of AMMO comes in with a rabid intensity that approaches TOTALITÄR levels, but this New Jersey band manages to apply that ferocity to traditional USHC song structures with beefy breakdowns and what have you. I’m hearing JERRY’S KIDS influence, maybe it’ll conjure up some other memories for you. Turns out this is the guy from NIGHT BIRDS getting some hardcore out, and it’s nicely done, with “Answer to a Lower Power” being my favorite cut of the bunch.

Lamictal Doctor’s Orders cassette

A groovy, garage-fueled egg attack, LAMICTAL is the solo project of a gentleman named Alex from California. Clearly he’s not lying when he states that he “doesn’t care what the doctor says” on “Doctor Says,” as this tape sounds like he’s abandoned prescriptions to create his own kind of medication.

Tetanus II cassette

I’m glad to see that TETANUS wasn’t just passing the time between sanitizing things and donning facemasks with their first cassette that was released amid the uncertainty of the height of the pandemic. They’re back with a new venom-drenched tape full of ripping hardcore that’s got more wreck and less effects than their previous cassette. With cool songs like the succinct and cutting narrative of “Winner” and the classically-foreboding stomp of “Borderline,” this second shot of TETANUS makes it clear that the band is gaining momentum.

No Future Death flexi EP

Serving up agile D-beats from Australia, slathered in olde English fonts and Xeroxed skulls and stencils as god intended, NO FUTURE leaves you longing for more after imbibing in this slick three-song flexi. The seething buzz of the title track alone is enough to get the thumbs up from me.

Glycerol Standing Over You cassette

This two-song cassette from Wichita brings us a two-minute and twenty-one second burst of claustrophobic hardcore pounding. The first track bites the genre it feeds with complaints about how so much hardcore sounds the same, and on the second one, I’m not sure what they’re talking about, but they sound pretty pissed there, too.

SFA The 87–88 Tapes LP

SFA (STANDS FOR ANYTHING) formed in 1984, joining the burgeoning NYHC scene to play alongside other early bands of the genre like TOKEN ENTRY and SHEER TERROR. During the twelve-plus years they stuck around, they’d share stages with the likes of AGNOSTIC FRONT and frequently play at the top clubs like CBGBs—this LP collects two sessions previously only released on cassette in 1987 and 1988, as well as some bonus live material. To differentiate themselves from the popular “posi-core” movement of their era, the band coined the term “hatecore” to describe their music. They definitely hated stuff, notably ska and Kurt Cobain (as expressed on songs from their ’90s LPs), but before that, they were pounding out tunes with a recognizable 7 SECONDS and MINOR THREAT influence that can be heard on the on the 1988 Tanks a Lot tape that occupies the A-side of this record. The 1987 demo on the B-side is a bit thrashier and gnarlier in nature, even when they cover BOBBY DARIN’s 1959 hit “Dream Lover.” This collection comes with a cool booklet with lyrics, interviews, and side-by-side pics of the band members then and now, and your NYHC collection is not quite complete without it.

Brutal Birthday Commotion 7″

Either the snobbiest of all punk record releases or an elaborate and well-executed joke on behalf of the band, this is a limited edition lathe-cut 7” of a single track recorded live at the Curtarock Festival in Italy, limited to just 25 copies pressed. Perhaps even funnier, this “piece of history” was not yet sold out at the time of this writing. Musically, it’s pretty cool. “Commotion” is a kind of nihilistic post-punk/no wave jam that reminds me a bit of Richmond’s stellar BLACK BUTTON. Get yours while supplies last.

Skid City Greetings From Skid City LP

SKID CITY’s debut LP brings us some wonderfully ugly pub grooves from Melbourne. This band plays a straightforward type of ’70s-style punk rock that’s slathered in attitude and perfectly fucked in all kinds of ways. There’s layers that remind me of motor-garage punkers of the late ’90s like B-MOVIE RATS and the SNAKE CHARMERS, there are parts that echo the grizzled graveyard blues of the excellent first GOLDEN PELICANS LP, and by the time we get to “Dumb,” they’ve gone full DEAD BOYS on us. The straight pub rock comes out on the album’s briefest track, “Alright With Me,” but it fits. Everything is laced with stand-out insidious guitars and raspy disaffected growls, and delivered with a jaded angst probably best expressed in recent decades by the amazing CARBONAS and the adjacent EX-HUMANS. Hitting a perfect ratio of grime and swagger, this is one of the brightest highlights of the year thus far, and the singer’s ragged jeers sound like he couldn’t care less.

Raw Breed / Video Prick split EP

This six-song 7” showcases cuts from Seattle’s VIDEO PRICK and RAW BREED from Denver—an appropriate pairing. The A-side is filled with speedy D-beating, ripping chainsaw guitars, and spastic, venom-spewing vocals that conjure visions of a raw punk version of Doc Corbin Dart at times. On the flip, RAW BREED brings more of a tougher, crust-flavored clamor with stomping hardcore songs that, to me, have a kind of a NYHC-type of sensibility to them. A decent racket here.

Ideation Blunt Instrument cassette

A blast of severe hardcore from Talahassee, this demo from IDEATION is full of bludgeoning USHC punk that’s so amped up that it crosses into raw punk territory, at times reaching a level of cacophony akin to DISCLOSE, etc. It’s a spirited effort for sure—the singer laces the tracks with battle cries of “let’s go!” and each time he says it, I’m down to ride.

Piorreah! Maquetas 84–85 LP

PIORREAH! was a Spanish band in the mid-’80s, and I believe this album compiles their complete recorded output. Playing in a classic, amateurish punk style, these dudes have the vibe of “local favorites,” somehow reminding me of the shows I used to go see at rec centers and the YMCA during high school. They sprinkle in ska bits more and more as the record goes on, lending further credibility to my “these guys sound kinda like the bands my friends used to make in the ’90s” evaluation. I can picture some Barcelona boomer stumbling across this collection and being super stoked to revisit the sounds of his youth.

Indre Krig Demo ’21 cassette

This fiery demo from London’s INDRE KRIG is over in a flash, but not before this tight and speedy band delivers solid nods to both original UK and So Cal-styled hardcore. They’ve got the motions and the power down, now I’d like to see a little more diversity and originality in the songs.

Idle Hand Six Ways to Tell Your Boss Off cassette

C’mon now, of course I like this. Pummeling old-school punk with snappy riffs, a nice touch of damage, some neat spooky parts, and an overall cool feel. It’s one guy from Philly playing all the instruments and an awesome female vocalist, and it rules. No immediate comparisons come to mind, and that’s always a good thing. Great tape. I was going to put a couple songs I like the best here, but nah, I like all these.

Socialcide Complete Discography 2006–2008 cassette

I had never heard of Virginia’s SOCIALCIDE, but this tape changed all that. This much-revered, short-lived band played “original recipe” USHC with a lot of early SoCal influence, and they were pretty awesome. Far from a one-dimensional copycat act, the band has a range of cool styles on display throughout the 32 tracks on this cassette. They thrash as hard as Dealing With It-era D.R.I., creep you out like TSOL in their heyday, and go into songs that sound like outtakes from the first SUICIDAL TENDENCIES LP. In other words, this would have been right at home in my fourteen-year-old self’s Walkman during any given skate session, but it also sounds pretty damn good today.

Decade The Impossible Scale of Increasing Slaughter EP

Few D-beaters out there stand out as much as Ontario’s DECADE, and the band’s unique range of styles is on display on this EP. We’ve seen a few different shades of DECADE over the course of their handful of releases, and this four-song record seems to have a hot little mix of everything. The chugging charge and ethereal vocals of the opener give way to the spaced-out, confusion-packed banger “Indifference” on the A-side. The flip opens with the crusty pounding of “Existence is Ignored” before the bass-heavy rocking swagger of the closing track, and the whole thing is painted with killer metal guitar licks. Some of the band’s best looks are when they pick up on less popular sources of inspiration like later ’80s-’90s DISCHARGE and FINAL BOMBS, and overall they’ve got an uncanny ability for forcing strange innovations into the genre with great results. If you haven’t heard their 2018 World Stops Turning LP or split with FATUM, you gotta check those too. These guys are killers.

Sect Mark Promo MMXXI cassette

For the sake of this review, let’s call it “futurecore.” I’m talking about the dystopian hardcore with menacing, spiral riffs, venomous echoed vocals, and borderline-mocking tone played by bands like S.H.I.T., FAZE, COAX, Singapore’s excellent C.H.U.TE., and others. That’s what this is, and it’s one of the better takes on it that I’ve heard. This promo tape of four songs was enough to make me check out the forthcoming LP.

Darby Trash Trashin’ II cassette

Do you like LIQUIDS? If so, you’re in luck, because DARBY TRASH from Chile does, too. So much, in fact, that everything from the artwork to the washed-out production of these egged-out songs mimics the LIQUIDS to a T. Originality is overrated, anyway.

Poison Idea Record Collectors Are Still Pretentious Assholes LP

I just checked, and the classic Portland punk of POISON IDEA still destroys. This sophomore release from the band captures a POISON IDEA that’s matured from the straight beatdown thrash of Pick Your King and is in the process of turning into the polished unit that would produce Kings of Punk, and it rules. This LP reissue pairs the original eight tracks from the EP with five more from the Drinking is Great and Cleanse the Bacteria compilations, including a cover of the STOOGES “I Got a Right,” and its humblebrag cover artwork remains intact (who the hell was thinking about JOHNNY MOPED in 1984?).

Baby Tyler Vol. 3 cassette

A solo artist from Madison, WI, BABY TYLER’s got some real songwriting chops. Apparently this guy does a whole acoustic thing in addition to the punk bile found on this cassette, which isn’t hard to imagine when you focus in on the thoughtful composition of these ten tracks. The songs have depth and complexity that will really draw you in if you let them. I didn’t, mostly, but in an ocean of so-so modern acts, BABY TYLER bobs above the surface.

Coax Coax cassette

COAX from Russia plays that heavy modern hardcore, feeding us foreboding riffs played tightly with a sense of urgency and a touch of dystopian angst. This one slides into the same category as S.H.I.T. and FAZE, but with a subtle element of grooviness packed into the sound. Every word of the lyrics is laced with hate, and I’d love to get the singer a glass of tea with some honey after all that rough hollerin’.

Bombardement Le Futur Est Là LP

When I reviewed the BOMBARDEMENT EP last month, I never saw this monster follow-up LP coming. On Le Futur Est Là, the band simultaneously pays great honor to and transcends traditional DISCHARGE-worship with their sharp and calculated panache. The guitar on this record gets increasingly bonkers as it goes on, soloing us all straight to hell with smiles on our faces. Hailing from the beautiful, wine-drunk city of Bordeaux, BOMBARDEMENT picks up on elements of the sound that most other D-enizens have neglected, such as the pared-down primitive menace and background cacophony of “Poison” and the build-up of chaos on “Predateur.” On top of all this madness, you can hear the singer literally throwing her entire soul into every performance. The best part is, it kinda feels like they’re just getting started. I haven’t been able to stop listening to this. It’s A+ shit, kids. The future is here, indeed.

Foodeater Foodeater cassette

A truly rabid hardcore attack from Athens, GA, FOODEATER comes in too fast for love on this tape’s first track and barely lets up for the remaining twelve songs. Rarely do we get this type of blistering punk at such volume, especially on a debut effort. What they lack in subtlety and nuance they make up for with rowdy relentlessness and conviction, and this cassette should come with a little packet of aspirin.

Necro Heads Mindless EP

NECRO HEADS bring us some brazen hardcore in the vein of NEGATIVE APPROACH and NEGATIVE FX. If you’re looking for artful nuance, keep looking. If you’re looking to thrash around like an animal for a few minutes until there’s spit and snot dripping from your beet-red mug, this aptly-named record will probably do the trick.

V/A Sheffield is Burning: Lughole Benefit Comp LP

A crucial DIY punk collective venue in Sheffield, England, the Lughole was forced to close its doors in 2018 when local officials imposed capacity restrictions that effectively made gigs there illegal. Artists and supporters of the Lughole have since banded together to relaunch and expand the venue in a new location, and this comp was released to raise funds in order to make it happen. Showcasing tracks from twelve bands associated with the original Lughole, this comp provides a nice slice of the current UK hardcore landscape. With bangers from STRAY BULLET, RAT CAGE, HOWL, and many more, including a mangled version of “Banned From the Pubs” by SKIPLICKERS, Sheffield is Burning is a solid slab for a worthy cause. Grab your copy and help UK punk continue to thrive.

Faze Content EP

FAZE brings us some sonic chronic from Canada in the vein of S.H.I.T. With echoed vocals over psychedelic hardcore droning, the music conjures images of a megaphone-carrying carnival barker in a tattered trench coat riding high on a sleepy-eyed elephant that keeps changing colors as it marches obliviously forward. Turn on, tune in, tap out.


Germs Cat’s Clause 2xEP+CD box set

The narrator-via-interview of the GERMS portion of The Decline of Western Civilization, Nicole Panter comes across as both calmly accustomed to the band’s rowdy antics and resigned to the custodial nature of her role as manager, regularly tasked with facilitating and then cleaning up the ramifications of the messes that Darby and co. created while onstage. Capturing the essence of those legendary messes, this collection delivers the dirt in a neat multi-media package. Spreading thirteen tracks of live GERMS recordings across two 7″’s and a CD, Cat’s Clause brings us a snapshot of the chaotic atmosphere that seemed to follow the band during its brief but well-documented tenure. In these ’79—’80 recordings, Darby’s distinct snarls can be heard decrying spitters in the audience, freestyling over a “never-ending” version of “Shut Down,” and demanding that the band be paid while refusing to perform on the five-minute non-musical track entitled “Germs Riot” that depicts some sort of incident at a spot called The Great Gatsby. The bulk of these raw performances are from the Hong Kong Cafe and the Starwood, and it finishes up with two rehearsal songs caught on tape at L.A.’s infamous Canterbury apartment building. Packaged with an arm-band patch, sticker, button, and 32-page color booklet filled with photos, lyrics, and more, this box has plenty of fun to sink your fandom into, and the CD containing all the 7″ tracks plus four more is pretty convenient as well. Anyone with nostalgia for this band or scene, whether real or imagined, is sure to find a good time in this sprawling archival set.

Tizzi Tizzi demo cassette

Another North Carolina bomber, this awesome demo from TIZZI has six songs with loads of variety and depth, mixing a UK82-like style with a vicious sardonic darkness. The singer has a similar energy as Ash of COLD MEAT, which is high praise, and she sounds awesome on top of these brazen elemental D-beats. The infectious “Brain Storm” is the hit here for me, but there’s a lot of cool moments, like that sneaky little spiraling backup guitar on “Bird Song,” the epic closer. Watch out for TIZZI.


Anti-Cimex The 7″ EPs Collection 4×7″ box set

A sharp set re-presenting a few of the best Swedish raw hardcore records, the ANTI-CIMEX 7” EPs Collection box set contains the band’s legendary first three EPs as well as the 1992 Fucked in Finland live 7″. Each of the reissues included in the set is presented with keen attention to detail, staying faithful to the original artwork and packaging styles. With an A-side that’s more driven by thumping guttural bass lines than the band’s signature drum style, and a more pronounced primitive D-beat pounding on the flip, this press of the band’s debut Anarkist Attack EP has a crisp, crackly crunch to it that’s more satisfying than the entire Lay’s catalog combined. Translating the lyrics into English to discover that the songs, while savage on the surface, are actually violent demands for peace, adds another appealing layer to it. The much-revered second record is where the band establishes their trademark “wall of noise” sound, marking the switch to English lyrics and giving us the debut of Jonsson moving up from bass to vocals, as well as the iconic “War Machine.” Their third release, Victims of a Bombraid, is peak CIMEX for me, and pretty much a perfect punk record in my opinion. It’s a hard act to follow, but the live ’90s-era EP performed in Finland sustains the energy surprisingly well. The records are accompanied by a 24-page booklet of photos and interviews spanning all phases of the band’s history, from the beginnings to postmortem. Here you can find the band revealing how they took their name, recalling near-death experiences, and confessing their appreciation for BLONDIE and BILLY IDOL, but my favorite exchange might be this one: “Q: Do you want anarchy? A: Yes.” These powerful discs paired with the book make for a pretty immersive experience. To follow it up properly, you’re going to need the Demos ’81—’85 LP, and a few hours to burn on the archive at and the Victims of a Bombraid blog.

S.H.I.T. Hidden in Eternity / Eraser III 7″

The songs ain’t new, but now they’ve been properly fastened to a 7″ you can add to your disgusting S.H.I.T. collection. Featuring two tracks from these Toronto-based purveyors of jarring hardcore that were previously released in digital format only, this record showcases the style you expect with a slightly different feel. The vocals are laid much flatter than usual, and the band’s signature twisted stomp is produced with a clean, futuristic sheen that rings as borderline industrial at times, especially on the first track. The second one, “Eraser III,” is the third part of a song that dates back to their first cassette, affirming that though they’ve been in it for a minute now, they haven’t lost the plot.

Peacemaker See You Dead / Greed cassette

It’s truly a gift to be able to make antisocial hardcore bile come across like top 40 hits, and Milwaukee’s PEACEMAKER has it. These two songs are unabashedly hateful and also catchy as hell, reminding me of some of Drew from SICK THOUGHTS’ best efforts of the last decade. “Alright folks, that was Need To Know’ by DOJA CAT, and now here’s a real toe-tapper from PEACEMAKER, See You Dead’!”

Tupperware Finicky EP

These Olympia punks (on a Wyoming-based label) have a knack for putting out releases where the artwork depicts the sound perfectly. The maze-dwelling, mace-wielding cretin from their previous cassette has been revealed as but one of many “X”-eyed demons, who have now progressed to menacing the world at large. The fact that they chose to illustrate their kitchen-convenience-invoking moniker sword and sorcery style also cracks me up.  Musically, much like the last one, this messy and manic hardcore tape is over before you know what hit you.

Big Jar of Mayo Cassingle cassette

This is actually quite good, but the name and packaging are way dumb, so I never would have heard it if not assigned for review. Everything’s a bit warped here, and I’m hearing something like if the FREEZE were art-punks with a splash of modern snot along the lines of LIQUIDS. Two solid songs in a little over two minutes. Mayo is fucking gross, though.

Living World Future Built for Self/Ubuntu cassette

LIVING WORLD is from Pittsburgh, baby, and they don’t care what you think about the majestic hoofed mammal on the cover of their cassette. They just want to hit you with the punk, which in this case is some messy, echoed vocals beamed over a frenzied hardcore thrashing drenched in panache. Unique breakdowns punctuate each distortion-strewn song and there’s a ton of character to these twelve tracks. One of them is a NEGATIVE FX cover, which should give you an idea of what we’re dealing with here. These guys have a knack for song titles too (“G-Bong,” “Crack Mountain,” “Crime Person,” etc.) Go listen to it, already.

V/A It’s An Action Benefit Comp cassette

It’s An Action Tapes is a new non-profit label out of Michigan with a focus on effecting positive change via good music, and this comp puts them off to a solid start. 100% of the proceeds of this release go to help out local families who are housing kids formerly detained at the US/Mexico border as they try to reunite them with family. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it’s a great tape filled with favorites from the current punk landscape. There’s bangers from MUTANT STRAIN, NYC’s KALEIDOSCOPE, WHITE STAINS, CHRONOPHAGE, and more, as well as special treats like URANIUM CLUB live in Italy and a weird scrapped instrumental demo from Austin’s INSTITUTE. Great stuff, they’ve raised some decent money so far, and it looks like you can still grab one at the link below.

Battlefields 4 Track Demo cassette

Ugh. Absolutely killer demo from Pittsburgh’s BATTLEFIELDS. This is a straight ripper material, nasty hardcore with blown-out (un)production that approaches the off-putting level of discordance found on the amazing VIOLENT CHRISTIANS 7″ from last year (check out the damage on “You Made You”!). These are the kind of riffs that could incite riots, and the grimy delivery wins it the fuckin’ chef’s kiss. On repeat.

Spräckta Spräckta demo cassette

This one’s a little older, but while digging around for info on Pittsburgh’s BATTLEFIELDS, I stumbled upon the related and equally awesome SPRÄCKTA’s 2019 demo. And boy, does it slap. Neck-breaking bouncy D-beats give way to old-school hardcore with a menacing mix of US and UK inflections for an effectively harsh and violent punk pounding. A very strong slammer.

Broken Vessels Do You See My Smile? flexi EP

Pressing play on the first track, you can appreciate the snappy grime of BROKEN VESSELS for its jerky, jaded surface. Listen a little deeper and you’ll find layers of post-punky aggression that recall the moody mania of the mid-’80s SST roster. The band has evolved, matured, and tightened up since their previous release in 2018, trading their sense of ELECTRIC EELS-esque candor for punchy distortion.

V/A He’s Bad! 11 Bands Decimate the Beats of Bo Diddley 6×7″ box set

Garage goes to the future. Black Gladiator’s fuzz-covered tribute to “the originator” features a mix of covers and what could better be described as DIDDLEY-based sound experiments. About half of the tracks are pretty straightforward, while songs from acts like ATOMIC SUPLEX and ANDY CALIFORNIA take the primitive stomp to more imaginative places. Highlights include HAUNTED GEORGE’s shamanic interpretation of “Mummy Walk,” an epic two-parter from TRUE SONS OF THUNDER, and, of course, “Down Home Special” from GINO AND THE GOONS. After all, it was GINO who sent me the dime bag of actual dirt from BO DIDDLEY’s grave with their 2018 Rip It Up LP. Anyway, if you like old-timey rock and also techno, this record was made for you.

Artistic Decline Random Violence LP reissue

German label No Plan digs up an interesting relic from the fringes of hardcore history with their reissue of ARTISTIC DECLINE’s lone 1987 LP. This is a sprawling, all-over-the-place record that ranges from artsy post-punk to sharp SoCal hardcore, with noisy bits and goofy KBD-esque numbers mixed in for good measure. The songs are a real mixed bag, and it’s all pretty solid. “One Shot” would go great on a mix tape between the NUBS’ “Job” and “Dad I’m In Jail” by WAS (NOT WAS). They remind me of HC pioneers MIDDLE CLASS on the speedy “Media Lies,” and I might not notice if someone slipped “Hinkley and the Law” in while spinning the first BAD RELIGION LP. You get 29 tracks including some bonus material, all wrapped up in a sleeve with the LP’s original Pettibon artwork.

Body Cam Booked flexi EP

Very convincing early hardcore vibes from Nashville’s BODY CAM. I’m picking up traces of influence that range from NEGATIVE APPROACH to MDC, and if someone told me this was a “lost” relic of classic ’80s punk, I’d probably go for it. I don’t know if this was intentional, but to me this hits the mark, right down to the artwork. Archetypal angst.

Total Defeat Dreg EP

Australia’s TOTAL DEFEAT has some tasty, timeless hardcore on their 7″ debut. In keeping with the band’s name, riffs point downward on every song, delivering tough little doses of “just can’t win” punk with a dark and bouncy feel. The band has evolved from the primitive bass-heavy dirges of their 2019 demo and emerged tight and energized. Think POISON IDEA if they were NYHC. Alright, I’ll take it.

Hüstler Hüstler cassette

Marrying the darling darkness of CHRISTIAN DEATH with creepy, metallic future-shock, New York’s HÜSTLER is on quite a unique trip on this ambitious cassette. The band lays out lengthy bouts of metal noodling over layered, menacing background clatter and robotic drums that create a borderline industrial feel at times. Production here uses seemingly all the knobs, lacing the record with countless effects that add to its chaotic persona. It’s even danceable at points, and somehow would still seem appropriate blaring out of an evil castle.

Subculture Live ’86 cassette

Here’s a little time capsule action from Sorry State. Formed in North Carolina in the early ’80s, SUBCULTURE is one of those bands that weren’t heard by a wide audience during their run, but those who were familiar with the group get a wide-eyed look when you mention them. I’ve read at least one article on the web where someone calls them “the best punk band in the world” of their era. I don’t know about all that, but they were a cool group and pretty original. They played hardcore, but with more depth and variety in sound than many bands of the time, to the point where it’s difficult to make a wholesale comparison. The music is speedy and thrashy, but with an unusual sense of vulnerability. This cassette captures a boombox recording of a show they played in 1986 in all its glory—there’s an audible crowd, the tape is chewed beyond recognition in spots, and the guitarist tells his girlfriend he loves her several times between songs. Big ups to Debbie. At one point the singer kicks into a lengthy rap in which he name-drops Henry Rollins and calls himself “the magic man.” There are previously unreleased songs in this set, and apparently, even the band was surprised to hear them, as they had no recollection of writing or playing them. All in all, it’s fun stuff. Puke N Vomit did a bang-up job on the reissue of their sole LP I Heard A Scream a couple of years back, and this tape is a nice companion piece to it.

Antidote Thou Shalt Not Kill LP

This hooked-up reissue of NYHC pioneers ANTIDOTE’s action-packed 1983 EP includes a bunch of early demo tracks as well as a full live set from CBGBs, making it a rather hearty meal. The original record is great, exemplifying the kind of raw vitality and anthemic energy that New York punks would echo for decades to come. Like all the best hardcore from this era, it sounds pretty fresh even today. Unlike some archival releases, the extra material here is well worth a listen. Recorded at BAD BRAINS producer Jerry Williams’s 171-A Studio, the ’82 demo sessions provide a glimpse at the group’s scrappy beginnings and progression into becoming the furious first-wave thrash unit we know them as. The CBs material is particularly compelling, as it showcases dimensions of their sound from that era that don’t appear to be captured on record anywhere else. Live, the band’s proficient ripping is strewn with sinister instrumental panache that adds some awesome and unexpected depth to their identity (check out that sick rendition of “Deadly Rain”). None of the bonus stuff has ever been released in any sort of official capacity until now, and the LP comes with a 12×12″ 16-page booklet with photos, flyers, and liner notes. There’s no denying ANTIDOTE’s rightful place in the hardcore hall of fame, and this record provides more proof than ever before. The reformed band is still at it too, and just played in Philly this month. 

Lipstick Killers Strange Flash: Studio & Live ’78–’81 2xLP

A garage-y quartet formed from the ruins of two first-wave Australian punk bands (FILTH and PSYCHO SURGEONS), the LIPSTICK KILLERS played the kind of spunky, glam-tinged rockn’roll that was popular among grown-up punks in the late ’70s. This collection takes the sole single released during the band’s active period and gives it the ol’ “as much bonus material as you can handle” treatment. In addition to the 1978 “Hindu Gods of Love”/”Shakedown USA” 45, this double-LP includes studio demos, an additional album-length unreleased demo session, two lengthy live shows, and some bonus PSYCHO SURGEONS songs as well. “Hindu Gods of Love” showcases the band at their best, with a crankin’ guitar that recalls DMZ and a sort of stripped-down jazziness that brings fellow Sydney rockers RADIO BIRDMAN to mind. On the single, this hit tune is pushed through a wall of flashy production that gives it a tint of psychedelia. You can compare it to the demo and live versions of the song that also appear in this set. These guys are really only putting in the tip in terms of punk, as most of their songs read as a “STOOGES-lite” kinda deal and often flirt with a commercial sensibility, though the singer does pepper it up with a good amount of growls and howls that you probably wouldn’t hear much on the radio in that era. The LIPSTICK KILLERS eventually made their way to L.A. and gigged with the likes of the GUN CLUB and the FLESH EATERS before calling it quits in 1981. If you’re clueless and curious about this hazy chapter of Aussie punk history as I was, this sprawling body of work pretty much tells the whole story.

Double Fisted The First Seven Inches EP

Here we have some mostly instrumental punk chugging from a couple of dads, pressed on a 7″. It opens with speedy skate punk and progressively gets slower, tossing out a few cool riffs along the way. On the last track, they finally decide to start singing and it’s some type of spooky theatrical ’90s rock number. It’s an interesting piece of work, but I liked this record title better when SLOPPY SECONDS used it in 1987.

Gutterskull Coldness of the Bunker cassette

Croatia’s GUTTERSKULL does grimy, blackened punk powered by raw D-beat banging. On this demo, all fourteen songs have the same beat, most of them are between thirty seconds and one minute long, and they’re all covered with raspy black metal whispers. These songs could be the battle hymns of some bizarre type of evil war witches. Straight sinister depravity. I find the dead drums of the funeral march-style opening to “Final Death Raid” to be a bit addictive, craving them as I sip my morning coffee on the way to work.

Nubs Job / Banana 7″

If you don’t already have it, here’s another chance at this always-in-style NUBS 7″ courtesy of the dependable Munster Records. The escalating nihilism of “Job” remains an especially tasty KBD delicacy. Spot-on punk. On the other side of the record, “Banana” is a song, too.

Blood Ties Make Me Sane EP

There’s no lofty concepts or deep poetry to be found here, friends; just a good old-fashioned ass-kicking courtesy of Vancouver’s BLOOD TIES. Raw and direct in terms of sound and substance, these eleven tracks are laid bare for the tribe to devour. This band does a good amount of heavy stomping on this debut EP, but their meaty hardcore is really at its best in the few moments when they kick into full-blown D-beat mode. This collection of songs feels more like an intro to the band rather than a complete body of work, but they manage to work up quite a sweat during this brief session. By the end of the record, the poor fella doesn’t even know where he is.

Night War Perversity of War Science cassette

With a pitch-black take on punishing D-beat in the “horrors of war” vein, NIGHT WAR from New Mexico takes us all the way to hell on this fiery debut tape. Crisp production makes these seven tight and terrifying tracks shine, and overlapping crusty death metal bellows and ghastly black metal shrieks create an awesome atmosphere of horror, putting you right into the “movie” (check out “Exploding Cemeteries” and you’ll get it.) With any luck, we’ll get a sequel soon.

Sperma Sperma 12″ reissue

An archival release of Swiss punks SPERMA’s 1979 12″ EP, this record features three tracks of charmingly inept first-wave clamor. Slightly out-of-tune, off-beat, and recorded with traditional production values that don’t do the tunes any favors, this is a pretty good example of the kind of homegrown punk that was sprouting up all over the place at the time. These kids might have been listening to the BUZZCOCKS or some SLAUGHTER AND THE DOGS, even. They weren’t the greatest at English but appear to have had a firm grasp on the F-word, which is important (see “No More Love”). This one has its charm, but it’s probably best suited for collectors who have to have all the ’70s punk.

Heavenly Blue Heavenly Blue demo cassette

A heavy dose of ’70s rock influence went into the recipe of these five neat lo-fi garage numbers from Nova Scotia. HEAVENLY BLUE lets their freak flag fly on the upbeat rock jams on this tape-hiss-laden cassette, and I can picture these guys wearing headbands and shit. Too hippie for MRR? It’s definitely pushing it.

Leper Ögat//The Eye EP

Right from the evil opener “Suckling Pigs,” LEPER’s second release on Germany’s Kink label spills out fresh-sounding, fast, and nasty hardcore. Crisp production gives a biting edge to the fury of explosive tracks like “Turn To Dust,” and there are some surprising little nuances to the band’s sharp and pounding sound, like a subtle ZERO BOYS influence, perhaps? Either way, this thing rips pretty good and rocks a little, too.

Stunted Youth We May Be Dumb But We Ain’t Slow cassette

From the sound of things, these Texas boys have captured a level-5 storm in a garbage can. On their debut tape, STUNTED YOUTH conjures up a Tasmanian devil-like swirl of chaotic thrashing, complete with surrounding dirt cloud. The songs themselves come from the same spiritual place as some of the coolest bits of O.G. acts like CIRCLE JERKS and BLACK FLAG, but with the added ferocious firepower of a truly insane drummer. The muffled production of the tape gives it all a claustrophobic feel that somehow works, but I’m gonna need an actual record from these guys ASAP.

The Stools Feelin’ Fine EP

Detroit’s the STOOLS have a trashy and bugged-out punk sound not unlike New Zealand’s the CAVEMEN, but with a tighter musicianship powering the more traditional garage styles behind it. The A-side tracks “Can’t Feel Good” and “Half Track Mind” clock in at a formidable speed, marrying ’60s-inspired flair with ZEKE-like tempos, which I dig. On the flip side, they go a bit bluesy on “Rockpile,” and then they go groovy, sounding a lot like NYC’s DIRTY FENCES on the closing chant of “Eyeball Crush.” Real rock’n’roll cretins will want to get happily involved with this modern Motor City mutation.

The Wind-Ups Try Not to Think LP

A California project dreamed up during the 2020 lockdown, the WIND-UPS’ debut album presents an interesting brew of styles wrapped in fashionably weathered production and distorted ghostly vocals. The first few tracks have a post-punk/no wave feel, and then it suddenly gives way to some syrupy lo-fi power pop and RAMONES-y rock. At some point it leans back into more artsy territory, before finally ending off the record sounding like the BEACH BOYS on Quaaludes. The songs are brief, yet the album provides a lot to digest, and if you like the MARKED MEN, etc., this is for you.

Kova Totuus Taistelu Todellisuutta Vastaan cassette

Translating from Finnish to “Hard Truth,” KOVA TOTUUS gives us some garaged-up hardcore with by-the-book breakdowns and boring vocals on this eight-track tape. It’s totally skippable, my dudes. How’s that for some “hard truth”?

Demokhratia No Religion, No States cassette

Originally released as half of a split LP with Tel Aviv’s MONDO GECKO back in 2012, this tape shifts the spotlight directly onto Algeria’s DEMOKHRATIA. With a band name that translates from Arabic to “Democrashit,” you get a pretty clear idea of what these guys are about, and political aggression can sometimes be more enjoyable when you don’t understand a single word of it. The pummeling drums and rapid-fire dual vocals give off a sense of urgency that sounds like the band has been holding these nine tracks in for too long and is finally getting them out. If you like this one, you’d probably like the HERO DISHONEST/YDINPERHE split EP that I reviewed a while back as well.

Imploders Dimwit EP

Made in Toronto, the unkempt punk of IMPLODERS saddles classic hardcore styles and sentiments with a modern-day level of jaded disaffection. Mid-paced ripping and stomping is delivered with a casual and sarcastic swagger that makes for a promising debut. Be careful with this one, as it sounds like it may stain your turntable.

The Geros Weird Dance 12″

Continuing their streak of concocting peculiar tunes with no regard for the current musical climate, Osaka trio the GEROS flex and expand their pure punk energy on this first 12″ effort. Released on the Tokyo-based Debauch Mood label, Weird Dance offers a twisted and eclectic bouquet of songs both sharp and satisfying. A powerful and unexpectedly spooky opening number, “Pressure” sees the group’s trademark spunky charm bent into a heavy, creeping, and hollow lament. This hypnotizing and sophisticated track provides us with a jaw-dropping standout right off the bat. And I’m not mad at all that they follow it up with a repeat in “Toxic,” an encore presentation of a great track from their 2015 debut Genocide or Suicide EP on the band’s own Killer Boy label. The evolved GEROS deliver the explosive bratty chugger with a little more swagger and speed this time around. Kicking off the flipside, “Be Bop A Noiz” brings us both the silliest name and toughest riff of the year in its refrain, adding a new entry to the list of the band’s best songs. The jazzy jump of the instrumental interlude “Ikue” ends with some spoken word, the only words of which I can decipher are “punk rock” and its title, which I believe is in reference to Japanese composer and musician Ikue Mori. Finally, the electric R&B-flavored title track “Weird Dance” wraps things up by setting conflicted and violent lyrical content to a snappy beat to get the kids moving and grooving, as well as leaving initiated “Flat Tire Punk” weirdos like myself drooling for more. A few years back I was semi-obsessed with the idea of going to Japan solely for the purpose of seeing these guys, the RAYDIOS, X-DISCOS, XL FITS, and other incredible bands live. The compulsion has long since left, but when the mailman brings me records like this I can start to feel that itch again.

The Dirts The Dirts LP

There ain’t nothing wrong with some dirty and desperate rock’n’roll, but I’m not telling you anything that the DIRTS don’t already know. Playing the type of static-shitty garage knockers that originated with the Teenage Hate-era REATARDS and were probably previously best emulated by Finland’s the ACHTUNGS, these self-deprecating Swedes nail the bluesy budget-rock style, complete with black-and-white Xeroxed aesthetics. Echoey, distorted vocals? Check. Songs about being a loser and hating stuff? Check. Earnest and amateurish guitar mini-solos? Check. Even the brooding “Getting Over You” and the damaged power pop of “Telling Me Lies” are in line with acceptable “look, we’re mixing it up a bit” styles for this type of loud lo-fi music. This is no Teenage Hate, or even Welcome to Hell, but I’m glad it’s here because we gotta keep this shit alive. I like to think Jay would be proud.

Exil Warning LP

With a front cover that looks like it was ripped straight out of a 1987 Thrasher magazine and a sound to match, EXIL drops in with an old school thrash punk assault on their debut LP. This Swedish shredder is full speed ahead and sounds something like what DRI might have evolved into had they not decided to pioneer the crossover movement. Though to be fair, there are tinges of crossover to these songs and some classic SoCal punk influence as well, which all fits the bill. Pairs well with headphones, a board, and a bad attitude.

Microbes Peace & Love cassette

Sounding much like the early DESCENDENTS with a little bit of the GERMS spilled on ’em, MICROBES open up this six-song cassette with a title track that could almost pass as a FAT EP outtake. A lot of the resemblance has to do with the singer, but as the tape progresses the songs veer into youth crew-y (“Bad Vibes”) and even hardcore thrash (“Faces”) territories that Milo and co. never aspired to. To confuse things even further, the artwork and lyrical content is very much in line with the Crass Records style of yore. I bet you these guys make a hell of a chili, too.

Hwanza 멘솔 EP

Stirring up a respectably chaotic din, HWANZA’s demo brings us rabid barking vocals over harsh and winding thrash melodies. The six tracks on this EP are punchy, direct, and prone to become a bit unhinged at any moment. Is this South Korea’s answer to Austin’s GLUE? If so, it’s a pretty good one. Favorite track: “F.Y.C.T.”

Vivisected Numbskulls 4 More Tracks cassette

I’m not sure what genre these devilish dudes from New York City would consider themselves. Death Oi!? Street Macabre? Boasting ghoulish tunes with fuzzy and buzzy guitars, hoarse ghostly vocals, and foreboding hooks galore, these NUMBSKULLS seem to be carving out their own grisly, jagged, and possibly infected path. The music is UK82 at its core, delivered via a decaying VHS tape bootleg of a banned movie. Whatever they call it, this band and the rest of the crew at the Chaotic Uprising Productions label are up to some wild shit, and I’m into it.

Direct Threat Direct Threat cassette

While DIRECT THREAT from Denver adheres pretty strictly to the USHC playbook in terms of songwriting, the distorted demo-quality recording puts a layer of dirt on it all that adds to their “no fucks given” aesthetic. The band’s messy stomp is driven by foreboding hooks and raw-throated vocals. The singer also has a one-man-band side project called REALITY COMPLEX, just in case this tape leaves ya thirsty for more.

Bootlicker Bootlicker LP

Playing hard and bouncy punk with a melting pot of influences, Vancouver’s BOOTLICKER is sharper than ever on this explosive full-length outing. Weaving classic hardcore and D-beat elements into their UK82-style songs, these guys come off as a bit more original that some of the more stringent ’80s-flavored bands that have been springing up as of late. This record from the CHAIN WHIP labelmates is loaded with catchy tunes (“Herd the Sheep”’ will get stuck in yer head) delivered with conviction through obliterated speakers. Taste the rubber, baby.

Assault & Battery The Complete Session, May 1981 LP

One of the earliest documents of the legendary D.C. hardcore scene, The Complete Session, May 1981 is the first ever legit release of ASSAULT & BATTERY’s only studio recording. Featuring members that would go on to play in bands like GOVERNMENT ISSUE, ARTIFICIAL PEACE, and MARGINAL MAN, these guys helped to sculpt the style that would come to define that era. The songs are short and savage, showcasing some primeval examples of the ripping and stomping D.C. sound, and it’s pretty great. This record includes songs that were previously only available via bootleg along with some outtakes and instrumentals that have never been released until now, all transferred from the original 4-track master. It’s “missing link” hardcore from a crucial time, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Tetanus Tetanus cassette

Sonically schizophrenic and riddled with digital fuckery, this tape from TETANUS was created in the wake of a couple other Charlotte bands that succumbed to the lockdown restraints of COVID-19. Bullhorned shouty vocals cover all six noisy tracks, including the sped-up rendition of the MENTALLY ILL’s KBD classic “Gacy’s Place” that closes it out. Chalk it up as one of the more pleasant repercussions of the pandemic.

Impede Digital Hell cassette

IMPEDE from Australia plunks down five slabs of grizzly and haunting punk on this debut cassette EP. The band draws from a diverse pool of influences, and they’re all a bit on the dark side. If the title of opener “Melissa” doesn’t give its source of inspiration away, the high-pitched wail near the end of the song likely will. Shadows of Japanese and Italian hardcore are all over the tracks, and the intro to “The Swarm” goes straight into black metal. Check out the atmospheric evil of “Super Computer” for a taste of how interesting this tape really is.

Morbo ¿A Quién Le Echamos La Culpa? LP

Twelve tracks of spirited and garage-y mid-paced punking from these Peruvian veterans. Following in the footsteps of legendary ’60s Peru rockers LOS SAICOS, MORBO has been playing their own unique brand of primal and direct music for over twenty years. The songs here encompass a range of different styles, with a lot of first- and second-wave flavor and some interesting surprises along the way. From the nihilistic dirge of “Poema de un Libro Escolar,” to the Spaghetti Western cowpunk vibes of “El Loco,” and even a weirdo synth track at the end, it’s a fun ride. Whenever I hear the great opening track “Aquí No Hay Nadie,” I can’t help but imagine that it’s being played by a band of angry, Spanish-speaking rat Muppets, but that probably says more about me than it does the record.

Hero Dishonest / Ydinperhe split EP

A double-feature EP starring two of the longest-running punk bands in Finland, this split is filthy with raw expression. HERO DISHONEST has been in the game since 1999, and they’ve changed with the times a bit throughout the years, but on this record they sound freshly pissed-off and unpolished in the best way possible. This violent sound pairs well with images of the band making breakfast, relaxing on the couch, and doing household projects in their video for “Pettynyt” (look it up). Less seasoned but just as potent, YDINPERHE comes in sounding like a pack of Finnish firecrackers. On this eighth outing since the band’s start in 2011, they lay out three dizzying tracks that take you from headbanging to hungover in about four minutes. Impressive, and it’s nice to see the infection is still festering strongly in Northern Europe.

Chainsaw Funny Feast LP

Collecting songs recorded between 1998 and 2002, Funny Feast reissues the (complete?) works of France’s CHAINSAW. Featuring original DOGS frontman Dominique Laboube as well as members of the VERMINES, this record showcases a reunion of sorts of these Rouen punk veterans. With a musical style that sways back and forth between earnest, old school Motor City-style rock’n’roll and a sort of unpolished power pop, CHAINSAW’s soulful, heavy, and garage-y sound was built on nostalgia. Influences of the STOOGES and NEW YORK DOLLS are apparent, and at times the singer reminds me of a French version of 1980s Iggy in his delivery. Once in a while some DEAD BOYS mojo surfaces, like on the lead track from the band’s 2000 EP Godzilla’s Got a New Toy, and they close out the album with a trio of solid RAMONES covers. It’s a love letter to the ’70s delivered through a distinctly ’90s lens, and these fifteen unabashed retro-rockers will surely appeal to proto-punk perverts around the globe.

Innuendo Losing Again demo cassette

Simple, straightforward, and brash, the head-bobbing hardcore on this three-song demo hits the spot. This Wisconsin band’s rockin’ mid-tempo style channels O.G. punk spirit in the vein of early BLACK FLAG and NEGATIVE APPROACH, and it sounds awesomely refreshing right about now. This one even slid onto my Top Ten for 2020 based on its pure potency, and get this—it’s just two guys: a vocalist and an everything-else man making this excellent racket. With any luck this strong little tape is just a teaser for a more comprehensive INNUENDO attack to come.

UNIT What’s It All For? 12″

A single-sided 12″ slab from San Antonio’s UNIT, What’s It All For is full of fast and angry punk with an urgent and agile aura. When compared to recent standout acts from the region like GLUE and INSTITUTE, UNIT has a more classic hardcore approach, but the modern Texas mayhem comes through loud and clear in their sound. Catchy hooks and chaotic anxious energy propel these five songs forward seamlessly with little pause in between, and the title track closes out the record with an all-too-relatable sentiment of aggravated existential dread.

Lethal Model Citizen demo cassette

Oof. If you needed a convincer on the virility of the current NYHC scene, this oughta do the trick. LETHAL’s barreling and pointed brand of punk is the kind that fills the air with tangible electricity. If I can feel it in my house, it must be pretty intense live. The music is vicious and urgent, and this guy is screaming his ass off in a way that sounds like it’s going to hurt later. “Model Citizen” is a brutal way to start the show. The last song, “Poison Age,” somehow actually sounds poisonous. These tracks just rip right through you. Let’s hope for another dose of LETHAL soon.

The Cybermen You’re to Blame / It’s You I Want 7″ reissue

Another necessary reissue from Italy’s excellent Breakout Records, “You’re To Blame / It’s You I Want” is an encore presentation of late ’70s pop punkers the CYBERMEN’s second record, originally released in 1979. A strong entry in the “UK pub-rock-turned-punk” category, the CYBERMEN were in a pub group called ESAX LUCIUS prior to catching the punk bug, and it shows. Sharp and clean with rockin’ grooves in the vein of the RADIATORS FROM SPACE or the CORTINAS, these boys played that catchy shit with a bit of commercial appeal. This single is presented as a double A-side (right on the sleeve!), but the actual A-side is the winner for me. “You’re To Blame” is a loose and spunky R&B number with a classic four-chord riff and ’50s rock character. “It’s You I Want” sounds a little more like an attempt at radio play and has more of a power pop feel to it (the handclaps are subtle), although there is some good ol’ twangy guitar jamming in there to help drive it along. Anyway, by the time I get to side two, I’m already sold on the record and ready to flip it back again. It’s great.

The In-Fuzzed The In-Fuzzed LP

A real-deal garage banger taking me back to my Rip Off Records-laden glory days, this self-titled long-player from Berlin’s the IN-FUZZED is not only some of the best garage rock I’ve heard in a while, it’s some of the best I’ve ever heard. With a killer, collage-like spread of great songs that all feel authentic, this is a real anomaly for this particular strain of throwback rock’n’roll. Rather than riding a single fuzzy groove-style all the way to hell, or taking on a campy retro pose like many attempts at garage over the last couple of decades, the IN-FUZZED seem to pop around and play in the best bits of all aspects of the genre. And it sounds like they’re really having a blast doing it, whether they’re freaking out a bit and reminding me of Dutch ’90s legends the STIPJES on “Lost Time Rock N’ Roll,” playing ’60s punk Á  la the MAKERS on “Like Nitroglycerine,” rolling like the BEACH BOYS comin’ down a dirty chimney on the charming “Xmas Night,” or even dabbling in psychedelia a little bit on “Wall.” Playing very much like a compilation of fresh new garage groups instead of the effort of a single band, this is truly an amazing record. I wasn’t expecting this in 2021, but fuck yes, I’ll take it.

Illiterates Illiterates LP

Imagine if the strong metal influence, basketball jerseys, and corporate co-opt never happened to hardcore in the ’90s. ILLITERATES from Pittsburgh have been hard at work keeping the grand tradition of making good, old-fashioned music-to-not-do-your-homework-to alive. Here we have twelve pure old-school U.S. hardcore blazers in the spirit of bands like JERRY’S KIDS, the F.U.’S, and ILL REPUTE, and it’s a job well done. My favorites on here are probably “LB Scheme,” “Stupid Privilege,” and closer “We’re Coming Out.” Turn your brain off and turn it up.

Repeat Offender Demo ’20 EP

Playing early U.S. hardcore that’s been spiked with a bit of the ol’ Oi! Oi! music, REPEAT OFFENDER terrorizes listeners with treble, distortion, and monstrous vocals on their first outing. Banging out raucous punk in the style of bands like NEGATIVE APPROACH and SSD, this new L.A. group packs equal parts melody and menace into their short and powerful songs. They really kick the shit out of you on a couple of these tracks, but I like this band best when they pull out numbers like the punky “Consequence.” Despite their ominous moniker, this 7″ demo shows promise, and I’m not offended at all.

B.S.B. The End is Near EP

These guys from Poland are all riled up, playing thrashing and pounding hardcore with gang vocal choruses and some howling guitar thrown in. There’s nothing here that strikes me as particularly memorable, but it goes down smooth. Easy listening for hard-asses.

Pedigree Connected? 12″

Coming through with a sound akin to EX-CULT on Valium, PEDIGREE has unleashed a monster of an EP upon the unsuspecting public. Beyond its loud and fuzzy post-punk exterior, this is complex music with a real cinematic quality to it. Each song is almost like its own little movie, conjuring up jittery images of frantic electricity webbing bleak dystopian landscapes. These tunes expand and contort in surprising and impressive ways as they unfold, like the awesome little bit of “Miserlou”-esque guitar play on “Blank Page” and the continuous escalation into madness witnessed on closer “The Nomad.” It’s strong stuff. Put this on and see where it takes you.

Gee Tee Atomic EP

We’ve got another winner from Sydney’s leading Gas Station Rock band, GEE TEE. Opening with lo-fi RAMONES-y vibes accented by warbly keys, “Kombat Kitchen” had me nice and cozy from the get-go. “Mutant World” serves up a buzzing garage groove. Laid-back title track “Atomic” sounds like it is wearing sunglasses while the world melts, and “Dudes In The Valley” ends it off by inducing both grins and the urge to start the record over again. Well-played.

The John Buxton Experience Portal to Heck 12″

The JOHN BUXTON EXPERIENCE is a one-man band from Wisconsin, and I bet this is the first time anyone has ever typed that name out in all caps. I kid—this guy has chops and writes some intricate shit in addition to being proficient at both guitars and drums. The vocals here remind me of M.O.T.O. a bit, and the music ranges from straight hardcore (“A Disastrous Introduction”) to rock epics (“Pillar of Salt”), to weirdness like “Goin’ Mad,” which seems to channel both KING DIAMOND and M.O.D. at different points. Despite the eccentricity of the songs, he manages to pull together a rather tight sound. In fact, you might never guess this was all just one guy if I didn’t tell you. Try it on a friend. Or don’t. Either way, something tells me we haven’t heard the last of JOHN BUXTON.

Suck Lords Songs the Lords Taught Us flexi EP

Adding their own unique recipe of menace and mania to classic HC styles, SUCK LORDS from Portland are real men of the cloth as far as I’m concerned. Their sound draws comparisons to early POISON IDEA as well as some of the nastiest Japanese hardcore bands of the 1980s without being redundant. The five songs on this flexi come in so fast and ferocious sometimes that it feels like the beat is almost tripping over itself. They’re also able to impressively switch from this insane tempo to a more relaxed and rockin’ pace on a dime. This is sacrilegious and psychedelic old-school action on overdrive, and I support it.

Discovery Earth to Fucker EP

DISCOVERY does not mince words, as evidenced by the eloquence of this ripping EP’s opening track “Pig Shit.” These guys from the Bay Area go hard, playing tough, driving, and straightforward hardcore with plenty of tasty nuance. They take their cue from early US bands as well as classic Japanese hardcore without aping styles, and this 7″ is jam-packed with tight and heavy tunes to reflect on, revel in, and rage to.

Twisted Thing Sacred Cement EP

The ladies in TWISTED THING stir up an enchanting and chaotic buzz on their pounding sophomore EP. Displaying a new level of maturity compared to their excellent debut cassette from 2018, the songs on this 7″ are sophisticated and unforgiving. There’s some aspects to the sound that makes the record sound like it could have come out on a label like Sub Pop in the ’90s, but nah, maybe it’s a little too cool for that. They could probably play a great show with TANTRUM and maybe a couple of other bands in the city with similar dark and compelling auras. This is another strong entry in what seems to be a powerful new surge of female energy building in the NYC punk scenes, and I look forward to seeing how this particular plot thickens.

Zhukov EP II cassette

New Zealand fucking rules, doesn’t it? I present to you the latest in a long lineage of NZ punk winners: ZHUKOV. Playing garage-y hardcore tunes with grooving guitars and exasperated growls for vocals, this band gets your head bobbin’ to an authentic and original sound. With a blunt anti-establishment motif that’s illustrated quite vividly on the album art as well as in the songs, these Christchurch lads urge you to “Join the Brick Throwers’ Union Today,” and I’ve already submitted my application.

Pänika Demo 2020 cassette

This short dose of PÄNIKA is flush with a menacing and pounding sound. Blasting sparse riffs with a mocking tone, haunting echoed vocals, and overt political themes, its got all the ingredients for a captivating hardcore experience, even if it only lasts a couple minutes. They kinda remind me of a female-fronted version of Italy’s KOBRA, which is great praise, and I’m thinking this has got to be one of the hottest bands in Wroclaw, Poland.

Reek Minds Rabid EP

“Blistering” is an adjective that comes up frequently when describing hardcore bands, and it’s certainly the first one that comes to mind when considering REEK MINDS’ new EP. Powerviolence fury with croaking and growling vocals propels this record forward at breakneck speeds, with the occasional breakdown providing a little respite from the chaos. If you like em super-fast, nasty, and unforgiving, you’ll likely join the choir of enthusiasts who are saying that this is one of the best records to come out in a while.

The Dogs Teen Slime: Original 1973–1977 Recordings LP

Forgotten ’70s heroes the DOGS from Iowa played raw and primal guitar rock, minus much of the pretension that was so commonly paired with popular music of the era. Instead they opted for unapologetic expression with a beautiful “fuck you” feel. I guess it’s hard to be pretentious when you’re wailing and shrieking like a wounded animal over a decent percentage of the music, and the singer here has no shame in his vocal freak-out game. Riffs are dirty and direct, the themes are of youthful confusion and reflection, and their STOOGES influence is evident as soon as you look at the album’s cover. The songs sometimes take up a shamanic vibe, as in the bluesy “Man Is Not An Animal”, and at other times it sounds like every member of the band is doing whatever the hell they want with surprisingly rockin’ results (see: “Freakin’ on the Street”). In other words, this is proto-punk gold, and this collection features the band’s 1977 double A-side “Rot n’ Roll / Teen Slime” single, as well as five earlier songs dating back as far as 1973. I’ve been listening to this thing for months. The Breakout/Rave Up team-up is on a roll with excellent reissues of this nature, fingers crossed for the PUNKS LP next.

Misanthropic Minds Welcome to the Homeland, Greetings From the Wasteland EP

Holy shit, yes. Like a tornado of rusty razors, Nova Scotia’s MISANTHROPIC MINDS hit the ground ripping on this blazing EP. This particularly nasty strain of hardcore is fresh-sounding and severe, serving up a thorough and agile pummeling. The chainsaw guitar never stops screaming at the end of the first song, entering the second track as a wall of wailing distortion that just keeps riding the back beat. It’s a rad move that had me cracking up the first time I heard it. The relentless thrashing continues, and the brooding title(-ish) track “The Homeland” provides a nice breather before the closing track drags you back into the whirlwind for one more round. This is the kind of record that you blow on a little bit before you take it off the turntable, because you’re scared it might burn your hand.

Purple-X Pre-Tense EP

PURPLE-X delivers a unique brand of hardcore, swaying between manic and melodic with traces of deathrock influence on their debut EP. The singer stands out with snotty vocals that are just the right amount belligerent (due in part I’m sure to her Oslo accent delivering English lyrics), and the band displays the breadth of their capabilities over the course of these four surly songs. Dark, divergent sounds from Norway’s capital.

True Sons of Thunder Age Old Effrontery EP

With a diverse roster of seasoned players from bands like the OBLIVIANS, MANATEEES, RAT TRAPS, and more, TRUE SONS OF THUNDER are a supergroup of divine debauched pedigree, serving up scummy lo-fi indulgence with the weight of heady hardcore. The opening “Shake Rag” is a depraved freight train of STOOGES-style swagger that contains a shout-out to two-thirds of EMERSON, LAKE, AND PALMER. “Plastic Bat Attack” includes a refrain that sounds like the attack itself and provides instructions for creating your very own plastic weapon. “Toob Sock” ends things off somewhat abruptly with an urgent cadence that would not be out of place on a HOMOSTUPIDS record. These guys stir up quite a din, check out their Total Punk LP for further proof.

V/A American Idylls 2xLP

When I was a kid, a good compilation record was like a ticket to another world. In the pre-internet universe, these were often a crucial gateway to discovering new bands, and in this far-away and oft-forgotten dimension, finding a monster double-LP collection like American Idylls would be nothing less than a fucking miracle. Packing 49(!) songs from the cream of the current North Carolina punk crop, the musical styles represented here range from spastic DIY (FITNESS WOMXN), to punishing thrash (PUBLIC ACID), and lots in between, making it a real “something for everyone” affair. It’s mind-blowing that this eclectic variety of great bands exists at once on the planet, let alone all in the NC area. With the party crushers of DRUGCHARGE, the steely post-hardcore of SILICA, the dystopian dirges of NATURAL CAUSES, the strong and snotty rockers from MIND DWELLER, and much more, the majority of this stuff pushes boundaries and challenges categorization, as good music should. Adding to the orgasm, the vinyl package comes with a 32-page booklet documenting the scene. I hope there’s at least a couple young’n’s out there who somehow find this record between TikTok sessions and truly get their shit rocked forever.

Gutter Knife Boots on the Ground LP

Blending the punch and drive of O.G. hardcore in the vein of GOVERNMENT ISSUE with Oi!/UK82 sensibilities echoing bands like COMBAT 84 and the 4-SKINS, GUTTER KNIFE hails from the seaside slums of Brighton, England. These ten tough tracks range from relentless pummeling, to snotty speed attacks, to COCKNEY REJECTS-style “football” rockers, all painted with the perfect gruff and loose vocals to put em right over the top. The band wears their influences on their record sleeve, as every single song title sounds like something you might make up if joking around about “skunk” rock bands of this sort (“Hangman,” “No Justice,” and “Boots on the Ground,” for example). I mean that in the best possible way, as these guys strike all the right chords, giving France’s RIXE some stiff competition for the title of present-day Oi! Champions. Fingers crossed for more of this butter from the GUTTER.

Tantrum Get What You Deserve cassette

NYC’s TANTRUM delivers a steady D-beat pounding on some of this tape, and dark, smoky post-punk on the rest of it. It’s an interesting mix, especially when complemented by the tinny demo quality. The echoed female vocals add a layer of goth/anarcho vibes to these six tracks, working just as well over the thrashy hardcore parts as they do on the slower, more pointed numbers. While these elements may sound a little mismatched, TANTRUM makes it work fairly seamlessly.

Black Button I Want to Be in Control cassette

BLACK BUTTON really caught my attention last year with their short demo tape, so I was pretty psyched when I saw this release pop up. As I had hoped, it’s a hell of a ride. This formidable Richmond act plays intense, jazzy, angular, and cerebral lo-fi hardcore that creates a dense, disturbing, dystopian-like atmosphere to pull the listener in. The music is equal parts groovy and gripping, aided by a desperate, tortured, and venomous vocal performance spitting thought-provoking spoken word on top. Every once in a while everything seems to just fall apart, adding a dimension of No Wave clamor to the sound. I just can’t decide which version of the band’s self-titled “theme song” I prefer—the haunting live arthouse version on the demo or the tightly-wound, homicidal-horn-laced chaos found here. They’re both great, and so are the rest of these unique tunes. I’m pulling out the big B-word on this one—brilliant stuff. Don’t sleep on it.

Power Face Door Slammed Shut EP

Enthusiastic Stockholm Swedes POWER FACE play a turbo-charged kind of metal-punk, reminding me a little bit of SoCal skate bands from the early ’90s. If you strip away the wild, spit-caked vocals, the music is honestly pretty generic melodic punk/hardcore, which they play well. Are these guys signed to Fat Wreck yet, or what?

Cement Shoes A Love Story of Drugs & Rock & Roll & Drugs EP

This fuckin’ band. First they tear the ass out of 2019 with the killer Too LP, and now this Love Story makes the rest of the 7″ pile pale in comparison. I thought this Richmond, VA outfit might be done after they parted ways with their previous black-throated singer, but drummer Trevor jumped up to fill the slot with surprisingly great results. Here the SHOES stomp through three songs, each showing a different side of the band’s bizarre spiral of turbo-charged, trippy, and groovy hardcore punk rock. The record clocks in at just under eight minutes, but rumor has it that a carefully-timed bong hit will make it seem more like sixteen. Starts heavy, ends heeavvy. Highly recommended.

Johnny Thunders Live From Zürich 1985 LP

Exhumed and remastered from a tape that had been stored in a private stash box that JOHNNY simply labeled “Thunders Tapes,” Live From Zürich 1985 captures a live Swiss radio session recorded six years before his passing. Thanks to a sharp remastering job, the sound is super-crisp, and THUNDERS’ usual disaffected and snotty charm is on full display throughout. The fourteen songs here are a bit of mixed bag, ranging from highlights like the opening rocker “Blame It On Mom” and the Jerry “Needles” Nolan co-written “Countdown Love,” to obligatory DOLLS and HEARTBREAKERS covers, to duds like the ill-advised dub of “Cool Operator.” Die-hard fans will dig it, and this is the first of a series of these “forgotten” recordings to come, so they can look forward to digging more.

The Geros Freak Out / Dr. Hoo Hoo 7″

The GEROS from Osaka have an uncanny knack for channeling the pure mischievous spirit of early punk from the ’70s and ’80s. This talent, embellished by the mastering of GEZA X, results in an orgy of raw and snappy punk on the band’s third 7″. This single oozes KBD juice and memories of the MAD, and both songs have an addictive quality that’ll keep you flipping the Japanese wax til it’s well-worn. Enhance your existence with this and the other two excellent GEROS records at your earliest convenience.

Nutrition No EP

The chair featured on the cover of this Vancouver band’s record is the kind you typically see in welfare offices, police stations, and low-rent business waiting areas. The off-putting nature of this visual fits the existential displeasure that is the springboard for NUTRITION’s agitated grown-up punk. The band’s sound is pretty appetizing, delivering a dense and jangly sort of post-hardcore with a spirited vocal performance and even a whiff of HANK WOOD influence. As promised, there’s some sustenance here, but this aggressively pessimistic platter of short songs is a hearty snack at best.

The Spits VI LP

After a lengthy wait, the streets again run red with a fresh spill from Kalamazoo’s finest. In this eagerly anticipated episode of the SPITS, the band cranks out a few new classics whilst retaining their classic VHS Horror-esque groove, complete with 8-bit keys and sci-fi vocals. As soon as the opener “Up All Night” kicks into its unholy buzz, you know it’s on. Most of the songs tread in familiar SPITS territory, but some of my favorite tracks here are the ones where they break the mold a little bit like “Creep” and “They.” This thing is sold out all over with a second press coming soon, and rumor has it that the guys are launching a new fan club in 2021. Stay tuned for more spine-tingling adventures.

Death Cult Spiritual Conundrum cassette

The latest tape from San Antonio’s DEATH CULT delivers four cuts of menacing, metal-tinged punk with dark themes, thrashy guitars, and exasperated vocals. Interesting production makes every song stand out in its own unique way and these guys aren’t afraid to get a little weird with the effects. On the final track, “Flesh Prison,” the band flexes their eccentricity as we get some unabashed ACCUSED influence paired with a melodic chorus before the whole thing just collapses into an echo chamber of screams and feverish laughter. Good times.

Kobra Confusione LP

KOBRA brings us some no-bullshit Oi!-tinged hardcore with a fresh and gritty feel. On this striking debut 12″ from the Milan four-piece, some of the songs have this cool production where the “meat” of the music is blown-out and in the red, while other components like vocals and saxophone are dubbed in more cleanly (like on “Confusione”). And then on other tracks, everything seems to be turned up to batshit-loud in one big clamor (“Stella Morta,” for example). The lyrics are in Italian and the songs are generally about resisting authority, staying sharp, and thinking for yourself in a world enslaved by consumerism, which somehow comes across even without using Google translate. It’s a fucking good record.

CTRL Group Blood Sausage cassette

Armed with an awesomely warped buzzsaw guitar attack, Raleigh’s CTRL GROUP serves up a tight set of intense and creative hardcore on this tape. The singer’s got a strong set of pipes on him, which he uses to deliver repetitive lyrics with a maniacal melody Á  la Serj Tankian. Fun stuff, and I imagine this band is deafening live.

Sabre I Will Live Forever EP

Bay Area punks SABRÉ bring us a concise demo with UK82 energy tempered by looming post-punk/anarcho vibes. Gravelly vocals and dizzying guitar work propel these four short and sharp songs forward, and when it’s over in a flash you’re compelled to play it again. Cool. 

Eddie Criss Group Undertaker LP reissue

Originally released in 1980 on “King of Punk” DAVID PEEL’s Orange Records, the sole album from NYC songsmith Eddie Criss’s namesake group serves up a hot, greasy slice of forgotten rock history. More down-and-dirty, glam-tinged rock ’n’ roll than proper punk, the tunes on this reissued LP have been blessed with the distinct guitar work of the MC5’s Wayne Kramer! Kramer’s fiery lead licks are all over this thing, and tunes like the opening “Lady In Waiting” and “Witches Hour” are bona-fide blazers that will surely command the attention of any ’70s sleaze-rock hound. Production is properly thin and crispy, cracking to reveal pools of subtle psychedelia as demonstrated on “Sequences.” Undertaker is definitely a product of its era, and wasn’t exactly breaking any new ground. “Just No Use,” for instance, is pretty much “I Wanna Be Your Dog” with a different tempo and lyrics. There’s weak spots like the ham-fisted CHUCK BERRY impression on “Let Me Rock ’n’ Roll,” and at least one song that would cause Eddie to be promptly canceled were it to hit the mainstream today (“Schoolgirlz”), but those are overshadowed by the raw street soul that laces the majority of this once-buried slab. I’m glad they dug it up.

The Pigs Youthanasia LP

First-wave UK punk outfit the PIGS left us just one artifact in their brief existence, the venerable Youthanasia EP. Little did we know there were seven more songs from the same 1977 recording session lurking about in obscurity ever since! This excellent collection includes those plus the four tracks originally released on the EP as well for a total of eleven twangy and bangy OG punk thrashers. With infectious tunes covering classic punk topics like anarchy, racism, and nuclear war way before they became cliché, these scrappy Bristol lads unwittingly created a blueprint that would soon become well-worn. This is ’77 punk at its raucous, ramshackle finest. Essential.

Mutant Strain Mutant Strain LP

An (im?)proper long-player from Charlotte, NC’s Mutant Strain, this album was recorded live, three songs at a time, with no breaks in between. That’s gangster. Loaded with twists, turns, and plenty of catchy hardcore pummeling, the music of MUTANT STRAIN is infused with the fiendish spirit of DAWN OF HUMANS at times and the winding intrigue of the COLTRANES at others, with a healthy dollop of anarcho influence spread throughout (the elaborate sleeve and multiple inserts included with the record are done in the style of Crass Records as well.) The theatrical female vocals here get downright demonic, providing a nice contrast to the grinds and grooves of their hook-laden, bass-heavy backdrop. This is intricate work, from the cover art and packaging, to the concept of the recording and track arrangement, and right on to the dense and poignant songwriting itself. A hell of a debut.

Warsaw Pakt Needle Time LP+7″ / Lorraine/Dogfight 7″

Recorded live and straight to the lathe on Saturday, November 26th of 1977, WARSAW PAKT’s explosive Needle Time LP was on record store shelves by 7:00 AM the next morning. This legendary stunt serves a fitting metaphor for the fast and furious London group’s short and potent career. Active only from 1977-78, WARSAW PAKT was fronted by the uber-charismatic Jimmy Coull, and included some grizzled ’60s psych veterans and an ex-MOTÖRHEAD drummer amongst their ranks. This resulted in some truly unique, sophisticated, and rockin’ pub-punk that’s been largely unheard in the decades since. Due to its unique origin story, Needle Time really captures the power of the short-lived band’s live performances in the UK alongside the CLASH and the DAMNED, but really this would have been a great record under any circumstances. Packed with sharp, catchy, and high-energy songs from top to bottom, Needle Time showcases the band’s prowess for speedy, loose, and edgy rock while punk was still in diapers. There’s not a bad tune in the bunch. Lucky for us, the geniuses at Munster Records have given Needle Time an awesome reissue treatment, threw in a bonus 7″ with it, and even put out two previously unreleased studio tracks on yet another 7″ single (“Lorraine / Dogfight”)! As if that weren’t enough, further enlightenment can be found on the ROCKETS 7″ from last year which reveals the PAKT’s pub rock roots. It’s all top o’ the stack material.