Johnny Leach

Strange Attractor Good Boy Bad Boy LP

Drunken Sailor’s track record of killer material continues to burn the forward path. STRANGE ATTRACTOR brings the snotty fringe from the far-flung corners of Sadbury, hard rock (mining) capital of the world. Admittedly, Good Boy Bad Boy took a few listens for me to glom onto, but after letting this one settle in, I’m a believer. The whole record skips through eighteen tracks in under seventeen minutes of jaded and despondent garage punk. These people are devotees of the school of ANGRY SAMOANS, with a bit of Finish Your Popcorn-era F.Y.P. Call me crazy, but I am picking up on a little PERE UBU? Now go on tour.

Destripados Lenguas Venenosas LP

The Portland scene continues to churn out some of the best and most unique hardcore/D-beat. Case in point: DESTRIPADOS (“gutted”), a four-piece consisting of members from Peru and Columbia who have created a masterfully blistering, ear-bleeding record of hell on earth. A few of the songs are delivered in Spanish, and each one tears the world apart layer by layer. Throughout each track, the band’s delivery and sordid energy is punishing and does not leave a second to waste. Some CRUCIFIX and VARUKERS meets TOTALITÄR, with lots of songs ending with a persistent and desperate falling shriek. DESTRIPADOS do not slouch on a single track throughout the Lenguas Venenosas LP, with “Eat N Shut Up,” “Deadly Pathogen,” and the album’s title track being prime examples. I really, really dig this record. Please come and play in my hometown.

Maldita Maldita LP

MALDITA is a four-piece from Toronto, and this is the group’s first LP of raw, metal-tinged street punk with vocals sung in Spanish by Rosa Venerosa. Throughout the record, the themes stick to politics and the chaos surrounding them, all whilst being dispatched with an intense and annihilating intonation. There is the low-hanging fruit of ESKORBUTO to compare the band to, as well as some metal-tinged ANTI CIMEX sound brought to mind. The opening track “Trabajo” kills. The production is all I want to hear on a record (wiry, drowned vocals, crunchy).  Throughout the LP the band does not let up and pummels through all ten tracks, almost all of them over two minutes each. However, the only minor qualm is the slight repetition with both style and lyrics. To illustrate this I would point to “Todos Muertos,” which was a bit rough to get through, but nothing that takes away from the whole of the record.

208 Nearby LP

This is the first LP from 208, a guitar-and-drums duo from Detroit. The sound all throughout is swampy and completely blown-out, almost to the point of making the whole recording sound as one. Imagine Jet Generation slowed down and blasted through an overdriven bass amp. 208 has the key words that I am usually immediately drawn to: blues, basement, and Detroit; however, in this case it’s impossible for me to get past the mixing. It’s a “once you hear it you can’t unhear it” kind of situation. I am sure that underneath the wall of murk there is something very engaging to be had. I bet they kill it live, it’s all about context right!?!?

Science Man Nines Mecca LP

This band first caught my attention when it was just a one-person project. John Toohill (singer) has since put together a group of like-minded curiosities to record with him on Nines Mecca. The album connects the dots between MC5 and ELECTRIC CHAIR with some metal riffing to carry the weight. Might sound more interesting than it actually is? There is not a ton of variety, as the album’s tracks list all bleed into one another. Standouts for me would be the “The Sign” and “Old Timer,” which offer a bit of refuge from monotony and display a level of vocal terror that could chum around with a young Jerry A. Would be interested to see how the new group continues to formulate.

Mick’s Jaguar Salvation LP

MICK’S JAGUAR so generously bestows upon us the sound of the aged and imposing hipster. This group could easily be your weird uncle’s bar band with the local guitar hero. The album’s cover art of two horses mid-mount could only be their homage to the cover of BLOODHOUND GANG’s The Bad Touch single. From the start, Salvation kicks it into neutral and ghost-rides ten tracks downhill. This is pretty bad. The album is chock full of glammy and hackneyed sleaze paired with flashy guitar solos which don’t go anywhere. If you can imagine El Duce singing for a HANOI ROCKS cover band while listening to this body of work, the humor of that image will get you through the slog.

Z-Pak Z-Pak demo cassette

This demo is one distressing crash after another distressing crash. The sound is damp and a little off-time, with waves of reverb and squealing vocals that bring a lot of early LUMPY AND THE DUMPERS to mind right from the start. The band is from Philly, and this appears to be the first cassette out for them. I will for sure make time for this band with what comes next. Get into it.

The Dirts II cassette

Second album outta the Swedish band the DIRTS. From the start, this is a fuzzy and psychedelic reverb-riddled exercise in Garage 101. Songs move in and out of each other without much distinction, while carrying a looming and grinding bass guitar pounding that  keeps the whole ship afloat. Nothing great, but nothing to complain about either—you have everything packaged and delivered in the most comprehensive and indulgent way. I would listen to it all again if it came my way. Could the estate of JAY REATARD please get some royalties for this?

Ingrates Don’t Wanna Work / Leather Lover 7″

This EP has a slight transporting effect and breams with teenage eagerness. INGRATES hail from the cosmic, otherworldly desert of Joshua Tree and don’t want to work, to the extent of singing a song about the matter. Who the hell can blame them? The title track is the drunken, power pop-tinged record I want to hear in the damp, dark corner of a bar. The slightly longer B-side moves into more lo-fi pop harmonizing in the name of leather endearment. The EP summons a time when the BOYS screamed “Brickfield Nights” and does a good job doing so.  It’s the record I could see my thirteen-year-old self buying with saved lunch money.

Chainsaw When Will We Die? EP

Straightforward D-beat from Boston from members of BRAINKILLER and SUNSHINE WARD.  This is all very much by the book and does not disappoint yet does not provoke. Is that a bad thing? There is a bit of DOOM (Pickering-era), some smatterings of FROM ASHES RISE, and a heavy dose of SHITLICKERS. Add your stock dejected, grainy cover image (anarchy symbol required) and a track list replete with nihilistic song titles and away we go!!!

Frvits Stupid Era EP

A fluctuating debut EP from a Canadian four-piece that brings together what sounds like (and comes off as) unfinished song after unfinished song. This is rough, I can’t grasp any of it without pondering what the amount or type of substances consumed to produce this body of work could possibly have been. Each song becomes progressively more annoying throughout the six songs, with the climax at the end with “Your Shopping Cart Misses You.” Blag Dahlia is somewhere on this EP, but I could not make him out on any track. Bad apples.

Mutated Void Roses Forever LP

MUTATED VOID creates brilliant, foggy, and damp hardcore/terror on their debut fifteen-minute LP. To me, this record stands out and is a proven addictive substance. Who is this band? There is an odd and arresting mystery to them. They are a two-piece, right? They worship skateboarding, I think? Could it be that ABSU and DIE KRUEZEN (Cows and Beer-era) birthed an orphan love child who is now lost in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, screaming to be found? Its only hope of surviving in a cold cinder block basement is a headlong caterwauling in the form of Roses Forever

The Battlebeats You Don’t Know Me EP

This EP is a crusher, there isn’t anything that doesn’t work for me on this. Super catchy, hard and straightforward garage. Zero filler. You Don’t Know Me brings a lot of the RIP OFFS, the GORIES, and the DEVIL DOGS to mind. BATTLEBEATS are a three-piece band who hail from the verdant mountain city of Bandung, West Java. They have been at it for a seemingly brief period, which makes listening to this punky volcanic blast that much more powerful and fun. May they continue to destroy.

Crime Light crime​​/​​​/​​shame​​/​​​/​​illumination cassette

This is CRIME LIGHT’s debut five-song cassette. Each cut brings a very classic meat-and-potatoes hardcore sound with a touch of metal riff seasonings. The overall feel of the group and the samples they use throughout this tape brings to mind early INCENDIARY and HIS HERO IS GONE. The eponymous ending track adds a new layer of vocal harmonizing to the mix which is a satisfying left turn. Keep it coming. I wanna see them play now.

Foil Peruvian Coke flexi EP

Short and ferocious, Peruvian Coke is a wall of reverb and distortion-drenched spleen and spit.  KCMO’s FOIL has been kicking around for a few years, and the band has released a handful of demos and cassettes, some through the band’s lead screamer Jame Mendenhall’s Dirtbag Distro. All three tracks on this are very solid and bring Grown Up Fucked Up-era RETARDS to mind a bit. I need more.

Balcanes Gloria Eterna LP

From the sunny shores of a Spanish paradise comes a cruel and pounding noise. BALCANES wear their love for early-era SWANS and SCRATCH ACID on their sleeves, and it comes together in a way that makes it difficult for me to put down my headphones. Throughout Gloria Eterna’s nine tracks, the band combines bass-driven repetition and guitar loops along with harsh and ambient noise, layering the LP into a dark, sludgy stew. Standout tracks “Futuro @!&*#,” “Ciudad Campamento,” and “La Paz No Durara” show the range of sonic exploits that are in the band’s arson. All of the material comes off very real and genuine throughout the record, closing with “Bona Nit,” a piano-and-sax piece that could hold hands and kiss with Obey-era BRAINBOMBS. Live footage of the band that I found online gets my corroded arteries humming. Great record, get it.

Grimple / Logical Nonsense A Darker Shade of Grey split LP reissue

Reissue of the GRIMPLE and LOGICAL NONSENSE ’94 split; classic hardcore bands formed in New Mexico that stand up considerably today. GRIMPLE’s sound is so incredibly tight on this recording, there is a bit of metal and a lot of BORN AGAINST. The vocals that Greg Valencia brings and the effect of the production are incredible and bring back years gone by. “Infierno,” “System Fukers,” and “Forever Fuked” are highlights. LOGICAL NONSENSE brings a heavy set of rapid-fire grindcore to the B-side. All are drilling, guttural assaults in the best of all ways. The split ends with a killer WENDY-O MATIK spoken piece. Both bands are almost outdoing each other throughout, very killer stuff.

Mononegatives New Exit in Shards EP

Canadian synth punk with a heavy dose of MAGAZINE and COLIN NEWMAN. What starts off with a vivacious feel in the first steps of the EP soon becomes pretty disjointed and overexerted. The EP contains three minimal, bass-driven tracks with some synth-y backing. The B-side kinda reminds me of CHROME. Maybe I just need more time on this…I do remember stumbling upon Apparatus Division (their 2021 LP) and having a more positive reaction to the band.  

Satanic Togas / Zoids split EP

SATANIC TOGAS charge through this split with all the grit, dirt, and swag. The Sydney three-piece has the sound and feel of dusty, bluesy garage, all while being screamed through a telephone. I get PUSSY GALORE by way of Detroit. Great stuff from what I would expect of a Goodbye Boozy band, both songs carry the weight in under three minutes of ripping.   ZOIDS are a tough one to nail down, I can’t find any info on them for the life of me. On the split, they start where SATANIC TOGAS left off, but without any solid footing. There is nothing in their two songs that sync up, and at times I feel like I am listening through the walls of two different bands’ rehearsals. Rough.

The Templars La Premiere Croisade LP

Noted as the lost first TEMPLARS album, I was surprised to see that this even existed. La Premiere Croisade includes the band’s first EP Poor Knights of Acre, as well as a handful of songs from the same recording sessions. This is your classic Oi!, through the lens of mid ’90s teenage Long Island. It lands with chugging tempos, plenty of string bending, and faux-British accent growls. Comes off like BLITZ circa Voice of a New Generation, but more lo-fi and with less production. Cool to see this reissue happen and hear a scene from a time and place long ago—the LP satisfies the street punk itch and will have you in braces by the last cut.

DJINN Hell is Real cassette

DJINN, like the invisible spirits the band shares a name with, seems to be a mystery. They hail from Hammond, Indiana, but beyond that I am at a loss with any other details. Their Hell is Real cassette is straightforward harcore with a knack for horror themes and fury. There is definitely a slight metal influence within the band and a rabidly atonal hollering that carries the load.  The band keeps it tight, and the drumming in particular stampedes through twelve tracks in under fifteen minutes.  It adds up to something that in the end becomes a bit stale and dry. 

The Reflectors Faster Action LP

Cake icing. The REFLECTORS are sweet, almost cloying, but balanced, more like butter cream?  On Faster Action, the L.A. power pop foursome belts out a crisp twelve songs in the vein of the ZEROS, mixed with equal parts PHIL SEYMOUR. The band has done their homework and put an emphasis on riff-laden lead guitar, vocal harmony, and lyrics that Chrissie Hynde would approve of. The LP has some great standouts like “All Made Up,” “Radio Signals,” and “Can’t Sleep Tonight” that bring the aesthetic and sensibility that defines power pop. Throughout the cuts you can hear the REFLECTORS coming together and finding their sound, which adds to the appeal. Faster Action is catchy and yummy with a little filling, look forward to seeing what’s next for this band.