MRR #443 • April 2020

Affect Profit Victim cassette

Noisy D-beat raw punk from Sweden. Five songs of frantic, chaotic, crusty punk with vocals barked over top and a constant squeal making me think my tinnitus was acting up. I was equally as shocked to read in the insert that this was actually recorded at a studio, not on a boombox, as I was to read that the band has only two members, the vocalist also playing the drums. I’m not sure if this is just a recording project or if they play live, but the songs are pretty cool and I would certainly like to see two people pull this off live.

Alien Nosejob HC45 EP

The first hardcore record I’ve heard in a long time that instantaneously made my eyes bulge. I’ve been brushing off every ALIEN NOSEJOB release as some quantity not quality shlock but this exactly the bright, rigorous, exciting hardcore I love. The vocals sound like Mike D. on the Aglio E Olio EP and the spastic, eye-twitching BAD BRAINS-style hardcore found on that ’90s BEASTIE BOYS release certainly lends some influence here. Reminiscent of bands like SOCIAL CIRCKLE, BIG ZIT and LAFFING GAS but it definitely sets itself apart.

Arseholes PHL 2019 EP flexi

American band consisting members of POLLEN, MAUSER, etc. with a demo tape beside this flexi, sounding like Raped Ass-era ANTI-CIMEX. It could be an educational example of how to play that sort of destructing and non-stop chased hardcore. Normally I find the idea of ANTI-CIMEX riffs cheesy but I do love it when played by its inventor and ARSEHOLES is able to pull out this Excalibur and swing it with confidence. Like scientists or instinctive craftsmen, they apply the rules of thumb for playing such simplified music, that are: it has to be tight, loud and super noisy. The main feature of this record is that it sounds as a huge collapsing building and everything crackles and clatters in a large space. They sacrifice solos at the altar of lo-fi, shit-sound that is always a nice gesture because it keeps treasure hunt for later replays and I am rather interested in the unique production sound than how well could random people play their guitar. By the mixing they have created enough space for the horrific sound that is rumbled all around, so riffs have more room to fall on your brain. Even if everything is familiar here, it’s a short flexi that solely has killer tracks, and due to the format of music the sound will significantly disintegrate by each play, making the record harsher and harsher.  

Attack SS Mask of Those EP

Oh, wow. Wall-of-noise, energy-rush, noise not music, spiked hardcore. An advanced seminar of sound production, due to its on-full spotlight. ATTACK SS is not always fast on this record but even then the loudness, the blasted-echo cave drums, the grooves shaking the room of the record from wall to wall are making the whole 7″ so dense it is overloading my senses and places me into the middle of their own chaos. Although ATTACK SS’s chaos is not confusing, it solely operates with huge objects to test my impulse control that tends to surrender. All four songs are bit different enough to make the EP an adventure while a 45 with this production level would be easy to get away with, though they put enough creative energy to the writing as much as only the final number contains an LP-full of ideas. They prove their capabilities in different fields, whether it be a machine-gun-like tempo race in the opening track or a groovy, heavy-crusher mid-tempo number. This is a beast and they are able to control it, with a precision demonstrated by the stop and go parts of the aforementioned closing track. ATTACK SS is up there on the same shelf as FRAMTID, GLOOM, D-CLONE. Buy this and wish for a full-length. 

Beating Beating LP

Punk is an expansive category, but there is also a lot of music that is not punk and this record feels like it falls outside even that blurry boundary. It is artsy, experimental, and a bit psychedelic, with emotive vocals, unorthodox rhythms, open-ended synth solos, and textural sound collages. The track “Slow Burnt” is almost seven minutes of ambient noise, fading into shimmery dreamscape, pop-soul ballad, then shifting back into a proggy, grunge dreamscape (this time with drums). The more cohesive songs do sound kind of like a tripped-out meandering style of post-punk, like the CLASH on quaaludes.

Biting Tongues Live It LP reissue

1981’s Live It was this Manchester post-punk band’s second album, originally released on cassette only due to financial constraints by the BUZZCOCKS’ New Hormones imprint. These dense, tightly wound tracks are marked by prominent basslines—like GANG OF FOUR, stripped of any pop sensibilities—keening saxophone, and an abrasive, art-tinged assault reminiscent of the POP GROUP. Punk in sensibility but drawing from a wider palette of influences, Live It is dark and claustrophobic music; when it lets loose, it channels ALBERT AYLER more than, say, the PISTOLS. This first-time vinyl reissue features liner notes from guitarist Graham Massey (later to make it big with 808 STATE etc.) and a handful of bonus tracks.

Blinded Humanity Mind Control EP

Chucky and extremely aggressive gore-core from Australia. The intense speed reminds me of BASTARD filled out with the crustier rage of COP ON FIRE. Six tracks of inferno-core reminiscent of DEATH TOLL 80K with vocal hopelessness and a maniacal regurgitation/choking reflex on every track, which tranforms this EP even further into a bitter pill to swallow.

Bona Rays Poser / Getaway Blues 7″

The backstory to this record is amazing: a teenager named Chas was singing to herself while tearing down a poster in a UK tube station in 1978 when a passerby spotted her and suggested that she try out as the vocalist for his friend Tony’s new project. That band quickly became BONA RAYS, who went into a studio to record a single after just a few weeks of rehearsals, but when they weren’t able to find a label to put it out, the acetate wound up sitting in a box in Chas’s house for the next four decades. During a move in 2018, Chas takes a box of records to sell to Flashback Records in London, who discover the abandoned acetate inside, start playing it in the store, and ask her about the mystery recording, a serendipitous connection that ultimately leads to the shop’s in-house label giving the single its first proper vinyl release. The A-side “Poser” is a jumpy delight, adding buzzing new wave synth to some classically hyper-charged three-chord punk, while the lyrics deliver a pointed scene critique (not entirely unlike the TELEVISION PERSONALITIES’ “Part Time Punks”) directed toward a privileged art school girl performatively wearing “Rock Against Racism on her lapel”—Chas was a woman of West Indian descent fronting a band in a predominately white ’70s UK punk scene, and the rescue of these lost recordings is playing a significant role in finally giving her some much-overdue recognition for her role as an early Black punk heroine. The glossy synth-wave by way of punky reggae number “Getaway Blues” on the B-side doesn’t quite live up to the firecracker impact of “Poser,” but that still leaves one solid belter that would fit in perfectly between BLONDIE and X-RAY SPEX at your next ’77-’82-themed DJ night.

Carnivorous Bells The Upturned Stone LP

Kudos for the self-invented label Cave Prog. Although CARNIVOROUS BELLS is not a BUTTHOLE SURFERS cover band but a new group of known names from CULT RITUAL/SALVATION circles. Bands who peaked a decade ago and the bits and pieces of hardcore-foreign influnces are testifying that in the past few years these guys might went further in their playlists than MECHT MENSCH and UNITED MUTATION. There is a lot of guitar playing that is experimental and moody enough to evoke some meaner Flying Nun bands while the rhythm section is swinging between jazz and Amphetamine Reptile/Touch & Go noise-rock broken beats. Poured down with hardcore tension while kept in a less distorted, raw-by-loudness enviorment. Occasionally they forget to remain within a song and rather start to jam, and it’s interesting how the influences are laid parallel, never really emulsifying with each other but somehow all adding up to an interesting clamor of adventurous hardcore. Should I go back and check the late-era of SST or October File? I get that CARNIVOROUS BELLS likes hardcore the idea as much as they do enjoy strange sounds from different scenes and they are very confident and successful to blend these alien worlds together. It creates an interesting album. Is it for everyone? Hell no, that would be like recommending Antonioni to a devoted fan of the Die Hard series, and if you do not get what the fuck I am talking about then just leave this record alone. 

Cat Scan In Nature LP

This LA band has been kicking around for a few years, and this LP apparently hit the streets last September—glad we’re finally getting around to reviewing it! Luckily, it was worth the wait: CAT SCAN delivers the goods. An unrelenting torrent of hyperkinetic, danceable nerd-punk at the sonic intersection of YUMMY FUR, MINUTEMEN, 100 FLOWERS, and DEVO, a Venn diagram sure to provoke uninhibited perspiration: nimble toes and elbows akimbo, pausing only to push eyeglasses back up the nose and sweep the fringe back. Musicianship is not generally something we put too much stock in here at MRR towers, but it would be remiss to not mention how all the members of this group are pulling their weight here: the rhythm section “locks in” (clichés have their roots in truth) to allow the guitars to trill and squall in a jagged ballet of staccato figures.

Choked Up Dichoso Corazon CD

Up until now, I’ve only heard CHOKED UP’s previous EP from two years ago and I feel like the subject matter was more cute and light-hearted. This first full-length is considerably more despondent. There’s no songs like “BeBop and Rocksteady Together 4-Ever” which gave off a real “fuck the whole world—all that matters is us” vibe to it. This record is much more centered about broken hearts and empty bottles. Their sound hasn’t changed much, which is great. I really enjoy the guitar riffs, built-in melodies, and mid-tempo yet pounding drums. It’s pop punk that’s a little rougher around the edges. And this time around, those sounds come through so much sharper. The record was recorded at Sonic Iguana by Mass Giorgini and I have yet to hear a bad-sounding song come out of that studio. My only negative is that I just don’t care for the singing style most of the time. I don’t feel good saying it because I truly love everything that Cristy Road does, this band included. Yet a lot of times it feels pretty off-key to my ears. The lyrics are solid, the leads are sharp, all the songs inspire at the very least a head bob and some pogoing. Some of the songs are in Spanish and I’m left wishing I hadn’t taken three languages and instead just gotten decent at one of them. Spanish would be my first choice. My own personal gripe aside, I still enjoy listening to this release.

Coachwhips Night Train LP

This is a reissue of the first COACHWHIPS tape with a bunch of demos and out-of-print extras from their entire history of a band—an odds ’n’ ends greatest collapses or something. COACHWHIPS were one of the bands that everyone was talking about when I moved to SF in the early ’00s. I’d seen John Dwyer’s earlier, more experimental group PINK AND BROWN and was obviously intrigued by witnessing that destruction force in the context of garage music. Obviously Dwyer repaved SF music in a significant way with THEE OHSEES before moving to LA when tech attacked, but for me at least COACHWHIPS is just more what I want out of this sound and scene. Uncontained destruction force sound where rock is a myth that must be destroyed! This is a cool overview of a specific era, investigate?

Conducta Erratika RepresiÁ³n demo

This release is among the very few best new music. I stopped being optimistic about wonderful-demo bands but dealing with the present, this tape is the essence of great radikal hardcore. It is falling apart between the battle of enthusiasm and pace, therefore it’s as urgent as it grabs and drags you; anger-based total chaotic music from Chile that recalls manics like WRETCHED and ANTI-DOGMATIKSS or the bands and their collective sonic mind fuck of La Ciudad Podrida Vol. I comp or ephemeral group VIXENS. CONDUCTA ERRÁTIKA is unique because they recall and not replay the aforementioned names. Either they understand or relive equivalent frustrating conditions that they are able to translate to music in a similar approach but indistinguishable style. Therefore their music becomes free of the burden of the history of hardcore since it does not have to fit into any templates. The music is raw and careless, raging in each track, its purpose is to create noise that here equals reprisal. The quality of the recording coats each number well, and tells about the circumstances of the band. Everything here integrates into one swirling thunder that aimlessly rumbles. This tape embodies CONDUCTA ERRÁTIKA via all possible features. This is the noise of their lives and I am happy they share it with us. Highly recommended.

Corridor People Corridor People LP

This is a new project from Stockholm, Sweden featuring Dan Gräns, former member of garage power-poppers IMPO AND THE TENTS, but this time going in a very different direction—heavy on synths, and banishing all mirth (but not without a retaining a significant amount of cowbell). Brooding yet upbeat, the vocals approach incantations, with intelligible points emerging from the reverb like distant mountain crags piercing a dense fog. The coolest thing about this record is the dance beat. I could definitely picture the dance party in Blade (the ’90s vampire movie) going off to this record, screaming along with the lyrics, “At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul.” Yes, my vampire friends, you will.

Crudez Jungle Jeopardy EP

CRUDEZ looks and plays punk like you imagine the enemies of Robo Cop would prefer. Nasty, Riot City Records soundmark sonic jet guitars, as a pipe of fuzz, laid on a solid but simplified beat. Although the combination between the music and vocals reminds me a lot of classic Swiss bands: the KICK, GLUEAMS sort of distant emotions as the singer exists in her own world, far from the language she sings on, far from the dirty, jiggly guitar sound an inbred mix of MANISCH DEPRESIV and CHAOTIC DISCHORD. It blends great with the additional variety of pogo melody and street blitzkrieg-vibes. The songs do not differ from each other, therefore nine of them in a row is a bit stifling although each song could be 7″ material. Let them be your daily dose of international punk!

Cuero Todo Hierro 12″

Somehow CUERO’s crusade to the vinyl format has completely escaped my grasp, even though their 2019 demo, Black Metal Skinheads, was my go-to release last summer. Maybe the meaty title was the reason why it didn’t exactly catch people’s attention, even though all the elements of this generation of punk snobs was very present. Pumping, mid-tempo Oi! in simplistic, anthemic lyrics in Spanish, an in-character self-irony you rarely see matched and UK82 riffs played in a slightly more sinister key, similar to a lot of recent bands such as PMS 84 and SAVAGEHEADS, but a bit slower. The black metal thing seems to be more of an attitude thing than an actual musical presence, which doesn’t really bother me. Todo Hierro just sounds like an extension of that extremely tasty three-track tape. I wish there were more songs, because all six leave me longing for more. It never overstays its visit. All the tracks from the demo are also here. Released on the excellent label Mendeku Diskak, responsible for, among others, the CINDERBLOCK LP. You get what you sign up for.  I really hope we get to hear more from CUERO in the future.

Deadream Deadream cassette

Fast hardcore punk. Five short songs, each clocking in well under a minute in length, most of which still finding the time to have a tough breakdown. Picture something mixed between LEFT FOR DEAD-type spastic riffs and tough CHAIN OF STRENGTH breakdowns.

Décima Víctima En El Garaje LP

Compelling archival release of a studio-quality 1983 garage four-track recording from this Spanish post-punk band. This was a demo for their second and final album, Un Hombre Solo—basically, a skeletal version of that work. To my (Anglo) ears, DÉCIMA VÍCTIMA sounds here like a cross between JOY DIVISION and the GREG SAGE album Straight Ahead—dark, melancholy tunes that take their time to reach their final destination. The heavy reverb and the hint of a rock’n’roll twang somehow brings to mind visions of a nightclub scene in a David Lynch movie, equal parts menace and mystery. Recommended.

Eva Ras Meni Nije Svejedno… It’s Not Whatever cassette

EVA RAS is a solo screamo project from Belgrade, Serbia. Musically they would fit in very well with the likes of ORCHID or PG.99, etc. It is spastic, chaotic, and unsettling, so I think it very much achieves the goal of the genre. The band uses the term “emoviolence” to describe their sound, and I admittedly had to look that one up. I’m not sure when screamo started being referred to as skramz, and when bands sounding like that adopted the term emoviolence, but as far as I can tell it’s all pretty similar. This is apparently the first half of a double EP, the second half forthcoming, and the cassette is limited to 12 copies.

Ex-White Disco cassette

Nasty, weird, driving, gross, shit-eating punk from Germany. Musically this rips. The catchy clean guitar licks really get stuck in your head, and some of the songs are awesome, specifically “It’s Me, The Shit” and “Hooray Henry.” On some of the songs, the barked vocals are a bit overly affected which makes them come off teetering on the brink of being novelty songs, which, depending on how that statement rubs you, can be viewed as a positive thing. The lyrics that I can decipher are just dumb enough to make me scratch my head wondering why the hell I didn’t think of them. “I want to piss in your face, I want to beat you with my bat.”

Farmaco Hasta Que Valga La Pena Vivir 7″ flexi

This four-song demo flexi from FARMACO (“Drug”) from Argentina trawls mid-tempo hardcore, somewhere in between the fist-pumping of EXIT ORDER and classic Eastern Euro slow-burn marathon rampaging, with just enough tried ’n’ true crustcore metallic riffage and a pinch of moody Japanese-style guitar flair. Female vocals pierce over top with haunting efficiency; the lyrics are in Spanish but song titles translating to “Everything Dies,” “Failures,” “Future” stage a bleak enough picture. The final track is a more upbeat cover of the opening track of the Argentinan band SOBERANÁA PERSONAL’s 1988 cassette album Lider, which is more dialed in but maybe loses a little without its charming original sloppiness. Great debut!!! Limed to 110 copies.

Fuck It… I Quit! The War Ritual LP

Vicious mad blasts of retro-crust hardcore fueled with defiance and rage. Recalling the sounds of REACT, CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE, LOGICAL NONSENSE, AUS-ROTTEN, BOILING MAN, focused on themes of veganism, animal liberation, and a strict stance against the capitalist corporate masculine hypocritical system. Several shared furious vocal duties nail-gun through each track, which clock in under a couple minutes each on average, a brief harsh slap of reality like DROPDEAD. A few songs explore into the three- or four-minute range, thinking of ANTISCHISM, PROVOKED, ZERO HOUR but for the most part, on this 22-track LP laced with several unsettling interludes, the band delivers their message concisely. FUCK IT… I QUIT! is the sound and constitution of the inherent punk culture fight and the uncensored non-metaphoric, straight-to-the-point voice we need again.

Genogeist Genogeist LP

Hailing from PDX, GENOGEIST plays tidal waves of crushing static hardcore crust. Two levels of vocals are presented: a choking guttural dense layer, and a clearer digital affected top layer sort of reminding me of ACCION MUTANTE. Songs end and begin seamlessly sutured together. The compositions are at their root punk, branching out with cyber-botanical metal briars. That is to say they bang, hard, but are smothered in distortion. The guitars slice out with AGE accents. The drumming is exceptional, constantly holding a steady mid-tempo crust beat, then all of a sudden cascade and explore into a ruthless fit.  This album moves fast with its attack, but covers all areas of expert songwriting and never seems repetitive. Engaging riffs, punctuated vocal moments, D-beat piledriving, ghoulish momentary death metal solos. GENOGEIST haunts shit up from beginning to end. An epitome of crust’s origins while offering contemporary fresh individuality. Favorite track: “Systemic Shroud.”

Glaükoma 4 Track 7″ flexi

Vol. II of Symphony of Destruction’s Flexickers series. GLAÜKOMA is from Belarus, an exotic place when it comes to playing raw hardcore punk. Listening to this record does not differ that much from the experience of attending a basement gig of a foreign band visiting from afar, with the main intention to consume a couple of this and that, then the band starts to play and by the second song all your preconception transforms into enthusiasm, so you leave with their tape and a great memory. The best feature of GLAÜKOMA is how sloppy they are, because these songs could not be better if played tighter, the air in between each one makes the band great and uncommon. It is a visceral attribute, whether luck or talent, it just works. The uncertainty why this is good, the constant chances of failure keep the flexi interesting. To not leave you in the dark, GLAÜKOMA plays threatening, raw but desperate hardcore, coated with the Eastern-European metaphysical sorrow. This is a short flexi with an OK band from an interesting place, I guess if you buy it, you will support Symphony of Destruction’s great mission to release more bands from lesser known places.

Goon Natural Evil LP

GOON is one of a number of noteworthy hardcore bands coming out of Denver as of late. For the first few songs, the primary sound is, but not limited to, the intersection between a stompy yet heavy contemporary hardcore sound—I’m not going to use internet-conceived genre descriptors, but, um, S.H.I.T. might be one reference point—and more abrasive and outright mosh-ready hardcore. Things get a little more free-form from the relatively more sparse and jangly “Spit” through the eight-minute(!) closer, but all the pieces of the puzzle: the flow of the songs, the frequent change-ups, the pedalboard noise accompaniments, and the art-damaged visual aesthetic all form a cohesive package.

Grey C.E.L.L. Grey C.E.L.L. LP

This record smokes. The former members thing is really going to help out here because it does totally sound like folks from CITIZENS ARREST, NEMA and HELL NO play in this band. Straight, up-tempo hardcore filled in with heavy breakdowns (well, it’s all pretty heavy) and a slight nod toward the metal side of things without ever really getting there. What differentiates this from those folks’ old bands is that it has a brightness in the guitar sound (and recording in general) that really makes it pop. Not saying it makes it better than that old stuff, it just makes it feel fresh. Did I say that this record smokes?

Groinoids Lost LP

This record was quite a surprise for me. Most of us know the GROINOIDS from their tracks on Boston Not LA and Unsafe at Any Speed. Those tracks and the later released Radiobeat Sessions feature some fast, demented hardcore with snotty/wacky vocals and sarcastic lyrics. One formed the impression of a goofy group of misfits who were into playing fast and not too seriously. This opinion was reinforced by contrasting them to the tight, heavy and powerful mesage-driven hardcore bands like SSD, DYS and JERRY’S KIDS. This Lost LP is in a completely different style than I envisioned. The riffs are heavy and sludgy. They swing from an evil heaviness you might expect from a band like CAVITY or BUZZOV•EN to a more rockin’ form of heavy like, say, HIGH ON FIRE or FU MANCHU. But—and this is a big but—the vocals are still the whiney, juvenile, sarcastic snarl of the early hardcore days. It’s almost as if they are asking us not to take this new heavy direction seriously just as they seemed to with their hardcore material. Some practical joker decided it would be uproarious to place a locking groove at the beginning of record so you actually drop the needle about an inch in from the edge rather than on the outer edge of the slab. I would say if you are into heavy post-hardcore stuff this record might be a real missing link for you. For hardcore fans I think it is more of historical and academic interest.

Handle In Threes LP

Rhythm-minded clatter and clang from a trio that mutated out of the Manchester band D.U.D.S., whose particular union of scratchy dancefloor funk and taut, minimal post-punk had first been set into motion by late ’70s angular UK firebrands like GANG OF FOUR and early ’80s post-No Wave downtown dwellers like LIQUID LIQUID. HANDLE clearly shares some of that same genetic material, while operating with a paired down set of tools (bass, drums, keyboard, voice, no guitars) and some adventurous tendencies that give their debut LP a more distinct musical identity. Leo Hermitt’s vocals bounce from punctuated yelps to monotone narrations to abstracted wordless noises, matched by snapping bass throb, mutant disco beats, and washes of warped and feverish synth that collectively add up to something vaguely approaching an all-night, bleary-eyed nightclub version of THIS HEAT. The more linear, sharpened moments amidst the experimental detours here are the ones that have the most immediate impact, like the monotony of modern life commentary “Life’s Work” that twists into a delirious 99 Records-style infinite loop groove with a repetitive chant of “Definition, definition / Useless, useless information” pulling the the underlying rhythm even tighter. Maximum agitation!

Hellbastard Hate Militia CD

The crustiest raw war metal punk. Loose triplet drumming, doom droning disgusting riffs. Headbangers all the way through. Octaves upon octaves of crust basics that sharpened its axe on the blackened stone of Northern England crust madness. Passionate ecological political lyrics spat over anarcho-metal with a goth-like undercurrent and thrash moments. Rather unique combination at a time when bands with a similar aesthetic were much more stripped down to a CRASS/AOA/ICONS OF FILTH style. The thanks list alone says it all: “To all the animals on earth, all the insects on earth, all the mammals and trees, birds, rivers and seas. Forests, lakes, ponds and woodlands—everything else can fuck off.” HELLBASTARD fucking yes. Full-color booklet of photos and lyrics. This is a nice appetizer, stay tuned for a HELLBASTARD 2020 album, as announced on these liner notes.

Hondartzako Hondakinak Bruiarta 12″

Terrible album cover—sorry, I bet a lot of efforts were invested into it, but even if I do appreciate some forms of landscape art this is still off-putting. I knew HONDARTZAKO HONDAKINAK already, enjoyed their previous 7″ and i was glad for crazy hardcore coming out from France. It might be a concept to place alienating elements as first and second impressions because the pointless and gawky intro, with an artificial-theme attempt just aggravated my confusion. Suffer it through, it all worth it because this chute slides you into a pool of sonic madness that recalls Dutch hardcore bands who mixed melody and neckbreak speed fluently well, such as JEZUS AND THE GOSPELFUCKERS, the BLOEDBAD/JETSET split or early FUNERAL ORATION. On this record speed becomes an effect, at its best shape the pace reaches a level when it sounds duplicated and inexact, which generates beautiful disturbance. Then they slow down but unlike in their intro, they can maintain the tension built previously by speed, and the swirling gravity of their songs capture all your attention. When they stomp with the beat, the guitar still wanders off to tangle riff fragments and create entertaining randomness. By melody, imagine even harsher tunes than the fastest HÜSKER DÜ tracks, something close to early OUTPATIENTS. HONDARTZAKO HONDAKINAK is a unique band with a broad spectrum of musical ideas and great skills to incorporate them to create something new, instead of a mix of multiple, and navigate their music around all genre rules. All checked out for a great record.

Ignorados Comediantes Roy LP

I had the great pleasure of seeing this Puerto Rican band when they rolled through Pittsburgh earlier this year. I actually went with zero beforehand knowledge of their work, simply on the fact that seeing a band sing in Spanish is a bit of a rarity here and makes me homesick for California. Upon arrival at the Rock Room, I was taken aback on discovering they were a pop punk band!?! After a couple songs, though, I was completely won over by their honesty and sincerity as it seems like most other punks were as well. They simply rocked like that QUEERS or SCREECHING WEASEL show you saw in a shithole way back and hate to admit you loved. This record is a fine representation of what I witnessed, minus the sticky smell of spilled beer and much secondhand smoke. Good work, people!

Influënzia Kønflik cassette EP

Scorching Malaysian hardcore blisters through five tracks of manically guitar soloed splatter-drummed, echoing distortion with Finnish influence and contemporary depth. Initially the presentation sounds like it’s going to be especially fast, but is surprisingly mid-tempoed with layers upon layers of distortion, harsh noise and grit, and “Ughs!” added at all the right moments. Some longer, lo-fi riff exploration reminds of blackened metal. Constantly ascending riffs pull you higher and higher over the gallows branch. Until it ultimately cuts you off wanting more. I’m reviewing a cassette called Kønflik, from Black Konflik, Malaysia. This rodent of audio media oozes with frustration and organic solidarity. Favorite track: “Isolasi II” into “Kriminal” into “Tragedi.” But they all sort of blend together one after the other. The entire play feels like a story in chapters. An unassuming introduction that grows on you by the end. Well done.

Isotope Soap An Artifact of Insects 12″

Surreal synth-punk from Sweden that’s not as blatantly DEVO-core in its intentions as a lot of their recently devolved contemporaries, but I wouldn’t rule out a Booji Boy mask hiding in the back of one of their closets, either. The electronically altered vocals (sometimes high-pitched and robotic, sometimes deep and theatrical) and the general sinister sci-fi aesthetic clearly owe some debts to late-’70s/early-’80s San Francisco synth-wielders like the RESIDENTS and CHROME, except ISOTOPE SOAP is very much a product of the dystopian, technologically-addled hell that we’re currently living in and that those earlier bands could only speculate in their creative visions.

Ixna Knotpop LP

IXNA was a duo operating on the fringes of the Bay Area’s experimental music scene in the early 1980s, and their only release while they were active, a 1981 single on the Dumb Records label run by DIY glam weirdo extraordinaire NOVAK, took the art-damaged synth-punk of their local peers—think the UNITS,  LOS MICROWAVES, PINK SECTION, etc.—into an even more fractured and out-there direction. Knotpop is the group’s lost LP, recorded in the same 1981 session at the Mills College Center for Contemporary Music that yielded both tracks from the 7″ (which are also included here) but left unreleased until last year. The warped new wave opener “Fun Fun Fun” almost approaches a West Coast translation of the whole ZE Records/New York mutant disco sound, with pulses of melting electronic textures, ominous bass, and Marina La Palma’s animatedly flipped-out vocal recitations, while the hypnotic, cut-up audio collage vibe of “Black Shirts” more closely recalls the FLYING LIZARDS’ expertly crafted avant-garde/pop synthesis. Best of all is “Mi Ne Parolas,” the original A-side of the Dumb Records single, which has gained a certain level of notoriety as probably the only ’80s post-punk jam with lyrics delivered entirely in Esperanto (everyone’s favorite international auxiliary language), with LaPalma’s sing-song chants backed by some staccato guitar, throbbing bass, hallucinatory multi-tracked tape loops of a CHUCK BERRY guitar riff, and scissors that have taken the place of cymbals in the pair’s percussive arsenal. Absolute art-wave brilliance, definitely not for the more narrow-minded punks out there!

Jackal Jackal EP

On first listen, I disregarded this as just another AGNOSTIC FRONT/NEGATIVE APPROACH/CRUCIFIX rip-off but it’s got a lot more going on. They definitely have some nods to the aforementioned groups but JACKAL cohesively twists and turns to layer their songs with changes of pace that AF and NA didn’t have the patience to attempt. D. Boon said there should be a band on every block, and I say every city should have a band that sounds like AGNOSTIC FRONT. At this point JACKAL may blow the rest out of the water. Four songs in under five minutes. It’s been ten years since URBAN BLIGHT released More Reality. It’s time to check back into hardcore reality.

Jenny Driver El Rock De La Década 7″ flexi

A fucking cool seven-song EP from Mexico City, claiming inspiration from REVOLUCION X, BIKINI KILL, TERVEET KÄDET, ATOXXXICO and BROWN SUGAR, and to be honest those are fine comparisons! The juxtaposition of thrashing hardcore and pop/melody is magical, and sort of mirrors the nihilistic DIY-punk party aesthetic. “Long live anarchy! Long live anarchy! Fuck Marx! Fuck Marx…” is a bit confusing, but maybe I’m not supposed to be taking it too seriously? The last track “Perreocore” sounds like a mix of lo-fi reggaeton and children doing karaoke. The recording is lo-fi and it’s pressed onto a shitty flexi so it’s thin and scratchy sounding. As a product the photocopied sleeve and lyric sheet have drool-worthy presentation, I just wish it was pressed onto harder plastic because it would sound a lot better and I wouldn’t have to make adjustments to the weight on my tonearm to get it to play properly. But don’t let my flexi-hatred outweigh my recommendation because this rules!

Jim Shepard Heavy Action 3xLP

JIM SHEPARD, who committed suicide in 1998, produced an enormous body of work, much of it excellent and challenging, in his 44 years on earth. The musician and poet from Columbus, Ohio, was best known for his bands EGO SUMMIT, V-3, and VERTICAL SLIT, but he recorded and released music prolifically under his own name, though all of it is currently out of print. Heavy Action covers a wide swath of his career, encompassing live and unreleased material, scraps of spoken words, voicemails, tributes from the likes of DENNIS CALLACI, ROBERT POLLARD, DON HOWLAND, and NUDGE SQUIDFISH, and covers of BOB DYLAN, the GUN CLUB, and LEONARD COHEN. Shepard’s oeuvre is shot through with a red-hot fury—both lyrically and sonically—and this collection is heavy on the darkness with songs like “Loaded Gun” and “Star Power.” Listening to three LPs of his music at once was emotionally overwhelming, and I don’t think this is a great starting point for someone unfamiliar with his work (that would be V-3’s 1992 CD-only album Negotiate Nothing), but considering the scarcity of his numerous tapes and CDs and records, this is a place to start. Nicely packaged with liner notes by Tom Lax of Siltbreeze.

Kalle Hygien Absolute Bomber EP

The A-side sounds like a weird mix of quirky electro punk and CRESS. Drum machine, distorted guitar and some minimal electronic and synth stuff. Cool, upbeat punky songs with a good drive and hook that sticks. Side B slows down, retains some of the same elements, but loses the urgency. The fourth track has no beat to speak of at all. Fans of HEAVY METAL and AUSMUTEANTS or thereabouts should check it out.

Kong Kong Raw and Primitive EP

Picture in your mind the singer of LAIBACH or a hard-growling Ian Stuart fronting a band made up of BIG COUNTRY, PROCLAIMERS and SLADE members. I really hate conceptual reviews like that but I’m not shitting you. That’s what this sounds like to me right now. I feel like I huffed a whole case of whip-its cause this record is fucking hilarious and great at the same time. Probably not what they were going for, but it has a nice glammy streetrock vibe and I dig it nonetheless. Thank you.

Laffing Gas It’s a Beautiful Day in the Gulch LP

Everything from the music to the artwork reminds me of early ’00s Danish hardcore punk, except this is a current band from the middle of America—Bloomington, Indiana to be exact. Musically this is most reminiscent of AMDI PETERSENS ARMÉ, who were themselves doing their best rendition of first wave LA/DC hardcore punk, so LAFFING GAS has got some of that as well. The songs on this LP contain what you’d expect given those influences—tons of energy, snotty and engaging vocals, some quick, cool guitar skronks here and there but nothing too polished or fancy, thankfully. The riffs are good and the songs have enough dynamics to avoid being generic. The endless cycle of hardcore punk continues, may it live an endless life.

Less Miserable Insufficient Funds LP

These four Canadians like playing with their genre and their tempo to keep from being easily described. This is like a new, long-awaited HAGFISH album in that way. With the upbeat, fast “let’s go, let’s go” opening, you’d be forgiven for assuming you’ve stepped into a pretty straightforward pop punk album, but as it proceeds, you really get to see how dexterous this band can be. The vocalist can expertly dive from monotone talk-singing (“Functional Embarrassment”) to country-style crooning (“Sleepwalker”) to that strained shout where you have to lean back two feet from the mic to not peak all the levels, seemingly without slowing down. The elevator music bridge on “The Last Lonely Boy” is unexpected but wonderfully refreshing. The triple vocals on “Soul In Progress,” especially the back-and-forth male/female interplay, are excellently balanced and gratifying. This band excels in the dark, sad lyrics set to super fun and happy sounding music realm. This is particularly apparent in the ska-laced “Almost Fun.” There is a lot of goodness going on here, and it seems like they’re just getting started. Also, they’re pretty funny.

Los Honey Rockets Asco en el Escenario 12″

Bouncing between driving, dark punk riffs and psychedelic, proto-punk detours, Mexico City’s LOS HONEY ROCKETS has a lot to offer here. The record integrates divergent sounds and comes up with something that sounds nostalgic and original all at once. This would have fit in on Alternative Tentacles’ early oughts roster, with bands like the PHANTOM LIMBS and the CAUSEY WAY that didn’t really fit into punk but had an undeniably punk attitude and were pushing the limits aesthetically. Expand your consciousness and listen to this record, punks!

M80 Apathy cassette

Holy hell, this rips! Oakland, CA’s M80 plays super driving and catchy hardcore punk of an incredibly timeless nature. It would be difficult to pinpoint a timeframe that this came out if I just heard it playing somewhere. The five-song cassette instantly feels familiar, like I’ve been listening to it for years, without sounding like any one specific band. This might be as close to perfection as a demo can get, in my book. Not satiated with listening to the tape three times in a row, I did a little searching and found a live set of theirs on the internet and it’s totally worth a watch.

Modern Love Ensomhet Vet EP

Let’s break this up. The first tracks on each side are both real cool, mid-tempo, jangle punk head-nodders. It feels like early CURE songs played through a modern Australia indie/punk filter. It’s bouncy, sing-along stuff (if you know Norsk) that maintains just enough of a punk edge. The other two tracks are more typical up-tempo, melodic punk with a heavily drenched guitar sound and little bits of hardcore that almost cut through. Still catchy and all but a little generic.

Muro Pacificar LP

Unsurprisingly, an amazing record. It seems like Bogota’s MURO has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue since their last LP from 2017, along with touring/live appearances to crowds of eager hardcore punks worldwide. Every aspect of Pacificar is appealing. Sound, layout, the printing of the sleeve, songwriting and its overall impact. “Fantasia del progresso,” “Clasismo domino…clasismo, estructural,” and “Mundo infesto” are some churuses that should provide lyrical context. I’m not going to do them a disservice by interpreting the meaning of their songs with my shitty understanding of Spanish. MURO sounds more unhinged this time around, like a not-sloppy WRETCHED. They play with different counts and timing in a way that adds intrigue and unique power. The approach is stripped down and direct thrashing punk, but there’s something epic going on. The angst is authentic and infectious. A rare band that lives up to the hype. I hope this virus succeeds at permanently debilitating the entire worldwide right-wing/fascist movements so we can contain it and start punk again and I can see MURO do their thing in the flesh. In the meantime, if you are a punk definitely buy this record.

Nag Dead Deer LP

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

Nervous Aggression Demo 2020 cassette

Thrash-metal riffs mixed in with melodic punk, sludgy emotional parts, incredibly loud sound clips, and occasionally rapped lyrics. The main riff in “School Shooter” sounds a lot like that one really cool HOLIER THAN THOU song, but the rest of the song unfortunately does not. The last thing I ever want to do is misinterpret people, but I will say that if you’re going to have a song entitled “Slut Shame” where the only easily decipherable word in the song is “whore” yelled twice, you may want to consider including lyrics with your demo in order to avoid drawing the wrong conclusions.

Oblaka Insight 7″ flexi

OBLAKA is from Yakoutsk, which is proclaimed to be the coldest city in the world. When I listen to a band coming from such an uncommon land I am most interested in how it is to live in such a place, and I look for the bands to tell me via their music, instead of wanting the music to be elevated by its location. OBLAKA sounds isolated, damaged, weird; all attributives based on the liberating hopelessness, which is: they can do whatever they want at the end of the world. They remind me of less experimental TORPUR from current times and occasionally a less-evil SEXDROME. Sound-wise it’s loose, rock and roll-ish primitive punk/ignorant black metal with a lot more punk, and drops of metal in the vocals and rudimentary tempo. The mania and beat also recalls KURO and the SEXUAL, especially the flow of the record. During research I have found their 2017 tape that contained a VILE GASH cover. When a band does such a thing, it means they are out of reach from some main world, so they have to recreate it for themselves. OBLAKA not only did that, but due to their energy, they have escaped from their shell and now the world knows about them. It is a good story because their music is great. 

Ohyda Koszmar 12″

OHYDA’s songwriting is more experimental than most D-beat bands. The rumbling bass, heavily reverbed vocals, guitars shrouded in distortion, pace changes and a thick drum sound switching between D-beat and plodding, KILLING TIME-like primitivism strays far from the typical DISCHARGE worship. The blown out sound rings in my head like Finnish classics but the style is undoubtedly Polish with a driving attack that’s not afraid to sway into varying directions. The album includes two covers, one by an old Polish band called ABADDON and the other by PESD but if you hadn’t read the liner notes you wouldn’t have guessed these tracks weren’t originals, as both songs complement OHYDA’s style. Overall it’s a cool album that pushes things into an interesting direction and showcases the quality and ingenuity that these Polish bands retain.

Out Cold Living Is Killing Me LP

OUT COLD was labeled underrated throughout their whole career—it made them enter the category of your favorite band’s favorite band. Although right now I cannot really name particular bands they have influenced. How Living Is Killing Me sounds has become unique in today’s hardcore as it is raw in a different sense than what the meaning of raw has transformed into. OUT COLD reaches for the purest, unfiltered form, just turning on and up the amp and adding a little distortion, not making it thin, sharp, clean; behind which probably is a thought that this is going to be enough to sound harsh and hard. It’s a brave and wild idea even if a significant part of this LP was recorded at least ten years ago, before Mark Sheehan, their vocalist/guitar player, tragically passed away. How trends circle, this record feels alien today, as if it travelled through time. Although it does not make it ridiculous or even clumsily nostalgic but a lonely beast, something OUT COLD was called in their whole career. It reminds me of those classic USHC bands that are gateway drugs to this culture, but unlike being influenced by predecessors OUT COLD has worked themselves into this established sound that now feels as their own. The tempos are divided between straight-ahead fast and mid-tempo with tension which tracks wander away to rock-ish territories. As an achievement it is wonderful this record has been released. It is the final chapter of OUT COLD but isn’t it silly to always expect that at the end something amazing will happen? It adds to their story but as in life there are peaks and lows and mostly that sedating middles, still it worth to make it through and release everything we can because what is the worst that can happen? Even if you fail at least you fucking tried.

Permission Organized People Suffer LP

I think more of PERMISSION than I listen to. While they are one of the most reliable current bands in case of ripping hardcore, they also project outsider energy, not mysterious or edgy but very different from their contemporaries. Their music is pure hardcore; this purity carries a lonesome determination that puts PERMISSION’s music into a frame—one that could contain their cover art, too—that separates them from whatever goes on in today’s punk. I already liked NO, their previous bands, and just as the incredibly heightened speed of their music, neither did my attraction ever stop. I dig their consistent aesthetics, it does not feel alienating due to their art-lean, although makes me think that hardcore could connect to other sources than to its own historical self-references. Thus, whenever I hear PERMISSION, they sound as the fastest band alive. Which they are not, but they let me forget about the world outside their music, and while their speed could refer to HERSEY, RIPCORD or NEOS, PERMISSION does more than rebuild their idea from known elements. They practice discipline with never slowing down for mid-tempo stomps or bridges; no, they exist on a hyper-level and whatever idea they have, it must be solved within their self-created physics. While this discipline avoids a cheap show-off of some meticulous precision, even if the songs feel thought-through they are able to disintegrate even when performed in a recording area, which is the biggest achievement when someone is this fast and mostly plays linear riffs, instead of free-form guitar juggling. Each song connects and slips into each other, therefore the whole record makes up one chaotic organization, as their record covers are different caught moments from another single alien world. If the Bruegel-crowd had a soundtrack it would be PERMISSION. Buy their whole discography!  

Physique The Rhythm of Brutality 10″

If you aren’t already familiar with this band from their LP or 12″, they play raw, blown-out hardcore in the style of Japanese bands like FRAMTID or KRIEGSHÖG, who were in turn playing a more distorted version of the hardcore style of Swedish bands like CRUDITY and ANTI-CIMEX. Here you will revel in a thick and distorted guitar sound, but thankfully not overly distorted where the riffs are buried in a wall of feedback. The bass has a raw, chunky clunk and the drums are hammered like obstinate nails. The coarse vocals have the just the right amount of reverb on them to sound like they are being shouted at you from the bottom of a well but not from another dimension. In total, the compositions, production, and overall vibe of this release are outstanding. It doesn’t fall into any of the traps or excesses of the genre but remains finely balanced between total raw noise and something more musical. Powerful and invigorating, the intensity of the music contrasts somewhat with the lyrics’ bleak outlook. There is an underlying current of despair and misery in the lyrics while expressing the yearning to break free and rebel. As with many bands of this genre, I find the music really gets the blood pumping and forms a direct mental and emotional link to a desire to break free and run wild. But the lyrics about depression and despair keep bringing us back to what we are rebelling against rather than the freedom we are striving for. I was out of town when these guys played Minneapolis and really regret not seeing them live.

Primo! Sogni LP

Australia has been reigning supreme for the last several years when it comes to exporting scrappy pop perfection, with Melbourne’s PRIMO! being one of the best bands going in a scene with no shortage of heavy hitters. Sogni continues further down the path set by their 2018 debut LP Amici, with dreamy, intertwining harmonies and spartan rhythms that can be traced back to a number of spiritual antecedents: the ramshackle spirit of the K Records-affiliated international pop underground in the late ’80s and early ’90s, the kaleidoscopic jangle of classic Flying Nun bands like LOOK BLUE GO PURPLE from neighboring New Zealand, the stark minimalism of YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS-style post-punk. These are all charmingly threadbare pop songs at their core, but with enough of a jagged, off-kilter edge to keep things from becoming overly twee and sickly sweet—wiry guitars intersect with airy group vocals in the economical “Perfect Paper,” and “1000 Words” is an stop/start rush of insistently catchy anxiety-punk in the mold of recent Aussie DIY combos like UV RACE and TERRY (the latter, not coincidentally, happen to share half of their line-up with PRIMO!). An absolute joy!

R.E. Seraphin Tiny Shapes cassette

A solo album from the singer of Bay Area/Austin power-poppers TALKIES. Shimmering guitar jangle and sunny ’70s hooks are contrasted by SERAPHIN’s subdued, melancholic vocals, which share the “can’t be bothered” drawl of JESUS AND MARY CHAIN or maybe LOU REED. For all the pop sparkle of the music, the lyrics conjure feelings of loss, betrayal, and pain, especially on tracks like “I’d Rather Be Your Enemy.” On first listen, “Fortuna” caused me to double-take, as it could be a cover of GRANT HART’s “All of my Senses,” but I believe it’s an unintentional lift. And anyway, didn’t HART himself nab “2541” from DREAM SYNDICATE?

Rank/Xerox Servants in Heaven / Cradle of Life 7″

RANK/XEROX were my fave local band when they still lived in SF, making super sick PROLETARIAT-meets-Leeds post-punk sounds for desolate minds… I think they live on different continents nowadays, so was surprised to see this 45 on my review sheet. It’s a dark, somber burner, kind of less vital sounding than the earlier recordings but maybe just a different feeling?! Repetitive driving doom, it feels darker and more contained. Worth investigating if you were a fan of their other works.

Reagan Youth Regenerated: A Collection of Alternative Classics LP

Looking back with the benefit of hindsight, REAGAN YOUTH seemingly stood a step apart from their early ’80s NYC contemporaries: what they lacked in the brute-force pummel of a band like A.F. or the tweaked-out intensity of URBAN WASTE or ANTIDOTE, they made up for in simple, catchy riffs and personality. I mean, countless teenagers have answered the call of underground punk rock, but how many of them had the sarcastic wit of Dave Insurgent? While the other recently released REAGAN YOUTH LP (It’s a Beautiful Day… for a Matinee!) is essentially a vinyl reissue of the Live & Rare CD from the late ’90s, this collection on Puke n Vomit features completely unreleased demo recordings from 1981-1983 (plus a ripping live cover of “Ace of Spades”). Granted, aside from one instrumental cut sounding like a work in progress, you’ve probably heard all these songs before, but the sound quality is solid and this is sure to please anyone who’s worn out the grooves of their copy of Youth Anthems for the New Order.

Remissions Ultra Vires CD

Brooding, metallic crust out of Finland that is likely to please both stenchcore freaks and thrash-holes alike. The agonizing dirges will have you clutching your head as if that’s the only thing keeping it from bursting, while the driving verses come at you like a runaway eighteen-wheeler, begging you to get out there and fuck shit up. The lyrics follow those lines, and are as well crafted as the music. If you’re looking for a soundtrack to the current apocalypse then give this one a spin.

Period Bomb / Rosé Perez Born in a Bag split cassette

This was my first exposure to ROSÉ PEREZ, and I don’t think I fully understand it. It sounds as if the YEASTIE GIRLZ wrote a musical in an attempt to make close-minded masculine dudes uncomfortable. I have, however, previously been exposed to the performance art piece known as PERIOD BOMB more than a few times. While I do respect the never-say-die attitude they have to constantly tour despite losing members, making more merch from the road, etc., I just wish more time and effort went into finishing the product before it was exported. This is essentially just noise parading as a band. The drums and bass occasionally have a comprehensive groove they lock into and repeat, but the guitar is just used as a noise-maker, which was particularly evident the one time I saw them play where rather than using a guitar pick the singer/guitarist played her instrument with a corncob. I am sure this has appeal in the art-noise-punk circle I am not familiar with, but the constant question of “how much art can you take?” regularly echoes in my head, and the answer for me is “not this much.”

Rubber Blanket Our Album LP

Pre-listen interest piqued by the accompanying notes mentioning the involvement of members of the INTELLIGENCE and WOUNDED LION, along with a check of the credits noting TELEVISION PERSONALITIES and CAPTAIN BEEFHEART covers, proved something of a red herring. A pleasant surprise, then, to uncover a twisted collection of distorted synth un-pop. Mechanical rhythms and analog blurts (accompanied by occasional organic instrumentation, including a sax break provided by MIKAL CRONIN) are the foundation for the dejected laments and spoken word passages of an artist’s soul at odds with modern society. (The Casiotone update of the TVPs “Jackanory Stories” is a listenable enough version of an already-fantastic song.) Glitchy and unprocessed, an homage to bedroom tape experiments and the first dabblings of ’70s/’80s synthesizer pioneers, Our Album crackles with surface noise and ideas.

Scavengers Circle Beyond Repair CD

Changed motor-kang from Sweden. Dual vocals grate through the play with anguish and a sort of jovial punk attitude. After NASUM, BASTARD PRIEST was the most impressive Swedish two-piece I had heard exhume from a Swedish death metal scene. SCANVENGERS CIRCLE is ready to join the feast. These songs seem from that experience while being heavily influenced by the punk scene as well. Reminded of the GURKA/MALIGNANT TUMOUR split, in the way the songs seem like a reply to each other. Favorite track: “Endless Winter.” Second: “We Summoned a Demon.” This one is parts DISRUPT, parts MASTER. Great stuff.

Sex Dwarf Sensou Hantai EP

Here’s some noisy as fuck, raw punk chaos out of Stockholm. The guitarist employs the always-on wah pedal technique to deliver an intermittent low/high pitch harsh noise tone that sounds like a chainsaw slicing through a dumpster. It’s the perfect sound to scratch your eyeballs out to. Back that up with ferocious proto-Euro-crust smashing and you’ve got a real ripper. Check it out!

Sheer Mag A Distant Call LP

I’ve got mixed feelings on this release. I was first put on to SHEER MAG five years ago when I was chatting with some locals and ex-pats on the patio of the Ramones Museum in Berlin. We got to talking about THIN LIZZY and one of them championed SHEER MAG so hard that I sought them out as soon as I had another wi-fi connection. Holy smokes, they’re great at power pop. Christina’s voice is so fucking incredible and like no other. On “Silver Line,” she belts out “I need a siiiiilver line” and it gives me chills to hear those notes stretched out over several beats. I also particularly love the mellow vibes of that song as well as the transition into a anxious melody in “Hardly to Blame.” Plus those THIN LIZZY distorted guitar lines punch through in the verse. “Blood From a Stone” is another that brings more of the well-worn method of songwriting that SHEER MAG has given us over the years. While I don’t like to pigeonhole bands into a sound, I don’t always love when I’m hit with something totally out of left field. So the opener “Steel Sharpens Steel” threw me for a loop with Christina’s power metal wail breaking through and the palm-muted guitar riffs. Songs cover subjects like classism, body positivity, and human rights, among others. Overall I like this record, though personally I could stand for an entire catalog of songs like “Fan the Flames” and “Nobody’s Baby.” Glad that the band is growing, but I’m happy to have them fly close to their roots.

Code of Honor / Sick Pleasure Fight Or Die / Dolls Under Control LP reissue

After being out of print for 30 years, one of the best—if not the best—records to come out of the early ’80s Northern California hardcore milieu has finally been reissued. I imagine many readers may also know these songs by heart, but for anyone needing a quick summary: SICK PLEASURE was the earlier band of the two, with a fun, dumb antisocial vibe, and whose singer Niki Siki later joined VERBAL ABUSE and took some of his lyrics here with him. CODE OF HONOR came shortly after, had the same backing band but with vocalist Johnithin Christ, were more accomplished musically, and whose personally and politically earnest sentiment served as a contrast to Siki’s irreverence. While SICK PLEASURE was singing “Destroy / Destroy / Destroy the human race” and writing songs about killing the Muni driver, CODE OF HONOR was saying (literally saying, in this example) “Kill all the politicians and no one else will die,” and urging listeners to question who and what they were living for. Radiation Records deserves a good deal of credit for putting together what is mostly a faithful reproduction, so that band-approved inspiration and/or stupid fun can be had to these songs on the proper analog medium for $20 instead of $100. However, there is a slight but very noticeable difference in the font used for the band names on each band’s side of the split. I imagine this was done for logistical reasons, but it’s still a bit disappointing. All of that said, it’s great to have these songs back on vinyl, and not a moment too soon.

Sleeper and Snake Junction & High LP

I pulled the trigger and bought this after only hearing “Sugar and Gold” which was enough to convince me it was worth it. This is a beautiful album that touches on some country, folk, lo-fi and experimental properties all written and performed by Al of TOTAL CONTROL, UV RACE and every other Australian band, plus Amy of CONSTANT MONGREL, TERRY and others. I’m definitely not worldly enough to be able to tell you about the various influences but it just feels very well balanced and has tracks that put me at ease. It seems like they used every instrument at their disposal from guitars to horns to synths and electronic drums. They’ve got those SQUEEZE-like high and low vocals going on and overall it feels complimentary to old Flying Nun stuff. It doesn’t come across too kitschy and strikes a balance between simple melodic tunes and more experimental sounds. “Flagged” is probably my favorite here.

Slum of Legs Slum of Legs LP

The debut LP from the UK’s foremost six-member psychedelic art-punk group, finally realized seven years after their initial demo (which included rougher versions of three songs that reappear here) and five years since their last release, a two-song 7″ on the now-defunct label Tuff Enuff. SLUM OF LEGS’ squealing violin lines, knotted rhythms, and slightly askew overlapping harmonies will draw some obvious and inevitable (although not entirely inaccurate) comparisons to the RAINCOATS, but they’re really pulling from a much more disparate and complex set of reference points—kinetically droning Krautrock pulse, the more experimental and boundary-pushing bands to come out of ’80s UK anarcho-punk, the anxious sprawl of early VELVET UNDERGROUND (especially apparent in the chilly and dramatic NICO-esque edge in lead vocalist Tamsin’s delivery). Some of the best moments of an all-around great album include the band’s theme song “Slum of Legs,” a collision of tom-heavy drumming, frantically bowed strings and ecstatic group chants, and the more sharp-angled “The Baader-Meinhof Always Look So Good in Photos,” which is pushed along by an ominous bassline and blurts of synth before unwinding into urgent, desperate shouts reconciling wavering self-image with feminist anger. Serrated sounds for society’s slow collapse, more timely than ever.

Spraut Det Smutsiga Livet EP

Wish I could judge a record by its first 30 seconds. Then I would be head over heels with SPRAUT since the chaotic, psychedelic start is so good, it would be great to have a record as its extension. I had to collect myself from the shocking moment when they turned it into D-beat and never really came back to experimental-core. Few minutes later I was no longer disappointed—despite the classic gestures of the genre are all here, SPARUT dug backwards to DISCHARGE’s rare moments when their beat turned into rock and roll and you rather care about moving your limbs than ventilating over the Falklands war. Which does not make SPARUT a rock and roll band but the width of their sound is not as expanded as most bands at their playground and this introduces a great contrast between the frightening/threatening atmosphere and the bouncy rhythm of the music. The focused vocals are unique, as it rises over the music and rages on the edge of hysteria. As a matured version of the singer of HUL. Another great thing is the vibration, the way the whole music moves along the record. Overall a solid EP that draws a lot from early European hardcore but self-concious enough to cherry pick the finest parts of it as a modern interpretation.  

Sudor Causa General 12″

It surprised me SUDOR still exists and records. Causa General is hard to pin to a specific sub-style that generously offers its relics to successors, it is balancing on the edge between fast punk and low-key hardcore. The exceptional thing about the record is how it has nothing to prove—it’s not trying to be anything—and within this rail-lacking zone, they have to stand on their own. While the autonomy drips from every chord, and likely there is a huge archive as an inspiration, I am seeking for something to hold onto. Nothing is under or over-portioned and while it could be mediocre, the record avoids that trap, too. SUDOR sounds dry, which peaks in a scratching rawness, closer to a sandpaper than a chainsaw; a simplified but energetic straightforward momentum pushes all songs; among the polished riffs they tastefully place tiny bits of solos; the beat speeds but never blasts; their sober-angst eschews any goofiness, chaos, collapsing sounds, tension overdrives. The formless aesthetic of the record floats unmarked, within territories where we are spoiled with distinctions and culture related references. How draft-like they sound, the idea of other bands could fill the frames of SUDOR songs, although the act would feel forced. It is not a drawback to be untag-able. It’s more fun for me too to be challenged to figure out what the fuck to write about the record, while I do enjoy hearing it. Judging on the loudness and prominent role of the vocals I bet lyrical messages are relevant. This is suggested by the pamphlet-looking lyrics sheet and the postcard-like cardboard piece that illustrates church and military people waving together. While obviously I am sweating over this review, as a listening experience it truly is unique and might offer a lot more food for thought then anything that is precisely tailored to my taste.

Supercrush Never Let You Drift Away

Oh, what a pretty bunch of songs. This has all the sensibilities of a fuzzed-out dream pop record that I was surprised that the main songwriter comes from a hardcore and metal background. Mark Palm is the guitarist and vocalist here, but he also was in BLACK BREATH (RIP Elijah Nelson, love and miss you) for the last five years, along with a handful of straightedge hardcore groups, including GO IT ALONE. A band that was on Southern Lord and had major clout in the metal scene internationally has produced a musician who can pull a 180 and put out a collection of sleepy pop jams in SUPERCRUSH. Not that the metal band is what allowed him to make such drastically different music, just laying some foundation to why I’m more impressed with this band than others in this style. This record is a collection of their first singles and unreleased songs while they’re hard at work on a proper full-length. Had I not read that on the internet, I would never have known. There’s nothing about these ten tracks that feels disjointed or separate. They sound part of a bigger whole, and bleed into one another seamlessly. On the last song there’s some spoken vocal samples that sound like they were lifted off a landline telephone’s voicemail machine. Little touches like that, as well as the layered distortion and sleepy vocals, thrust their sound back to the late ’90s alternative scene. They’re soft and quiet like as if TEENAGE FANCLUB toned down MY BLOODY VALENTINE, yet still nail that wall of sound. I couldn’t tell you what the songs are about, but mostly because I was lulled into a dreamy sense of calm while listening, and the only shock was when the record ended. Glad to know this band exists in Seattle so maybe I can go see them when this new hell freezes over.

Teenage Cenobite Live cassette

Driving, nasty synth-punk. Richmond, VA has got something special here. Six songs recorded live and sounding better than a majority of demos I usually hear. TEENAGE CENOBITE originally began as a solo project, but after releasing their first cassette has become a full-on live band that, from the sound of this tape, are an unrelenting powerhouse. Not surprising that this is as good as it is having been released by Feel It Records, one of the most consistent labels these days.

Testbunker Verdomde Idioot CD-R

The first song had me thinking they were gonna go in a not-quite-D-beat direction—their sonic aesthetic immediately made me think of TOTALITÄR’s side of the DISMACHINE split specifically, albeit with a less metallic and a little more jangly guitar sound. They certainly would’ve done this style well given the guitar sound, vocalist’s pipes, and the drummer’s chops. But instead, Hamburg’s TESTBUNKER goes for a more straightforward but very timeless and salt-of-the-earth melodic punk sound that’s defiant, melancholic, and celebratory in different combinations, and sometimes all at once. Loose gang vocals abound, and the guitar might be slightly out of tune, but the latter only adds to this band’s charm. I imagine these songs are best experienced live in the kind of place that could get busted at any moment.

The Annihilated 6 Song cassette

Maybe I’m completely making this up but I recall reading or being told that OUT COLD had written a good chunk of their stuff without ever hearing NEGATIVE APPROACH and refuted the idea that they ripped them off. Again, I could be mixing things up but ANNIHILATED sounds as if OUT COLD had indeed heard NEGATIVE APPROACH and were blatant in nodding to their inspiration. I’ve returned to this cassette much more than I expected to. True roots American hardcore played by fuckin Brits who, if they keep this up, will be flagrantly stealing our culture and heritage.

The Barbies Introducing The Barbies 12″

Oooo I like this! Charming post-BLONDIE power pop girl sounds with a serving of Bomp! This was supposed to come out in 1980 or so, but only a test press ever emerged, so here it is, some shiny new wave pop punk just in time for the end of the world… Rikk Agnew’s liner notes are a li’l confusing but I think this is a Fullerton-based brother/sister band, both vocalists have killer voices in a JOSIE COTTON/TONI BASIL/DEBBIE manner, and the farfisa and guitar sound are super sick. “Boys Will Be Boys” was properly released on a compilation but I think the songs that demonstrate their love of BLONDIE are my faves over the more SoCal waver ones…. Totally worth picking up! No filler, all killer…

The Bombpops Death in Venice Beach LP

Since their Fat Wreck Chords debut in 2017, the BOMBPOPS have been popping up on everyone’s radar, and this is the album that should keep them there. They’d previously developed a mastery of the SoCal skate punk sound mixed with killer vocal harmonies that got them on Fat, so now they were able to use that and focus on their lyrics and storytelling. This album finds them in a scary place. Addiction, suicidal ideations, and interpersonal violence all pepper Death in Venice Beach like a fine spice. In the end, there’s a reluctant optimism to the overall feel of the album, but you might have a harder time finding it than you’d expect. There is a complexity here that demands your time. “13 Stories Down” is the perfected version of the sad song every punk kid wrote in high school when they thought they weren’t going to make it. “Notre Dame” and “Double Arrows Down” are some standout tracks that really complete this all-around superb release.

The Dumpies Jim Thorpe cassette

The most recent release by a band whose offerings seem to all be cassette releases named for various professional athletes. Here we have Jim Thorpe, Native American Olympic gold medalist. The DUMPIES may not be as versatile musically as Jim Thorpe was athletically, but they are not all that far off. Running through six songs in under six minutes, they touch all the bases and dabble a little bit in a number of sub-genres without it feeling forced. Mid-tempo garage, plodding punk, lo-fi pop, catchy pop-punk. The DUMPIES break up their pentathlon of original songs by tossing in a RED KROSS cover, and they totally nail it. Consider this reviewer’s eyes peeled for these elusive other athlete-themed cassettes.

The Nerv Standard Deviant LP

I don’t recall ever seeing this San Francisco band. Not surprising as they started up about the time I could no longer afford to live there. They seem very much to have their hearts in the right place with songs about the aforementioned high rents and other important issues of the day. Hard-chugging locomotive-driven punk marked by a huge theatrical element complete with a singer worthy of a Broadway musical. They even do a Wizard of Oz cover!?!  At times I’m feeling the GITS and others it’s the punk opera aethstetic of the PLASMATICS’ Maggots album, especially on songs like “Mitochondria of the City.” San Francisco is doomed for sure but these folks are putting up a fuss.

The Pornography Glows Pornoglows 12″ EP

Man this record is so fucking good. You know how those Life Is… comps on New Underground look really cool based on the art but then have like CHINA WHITE and they kinda suck? This sounds like what those records should sound like. Seven songs of timeless punk like early REDD KROSS or the URINALS, expertly executed but fun and loose. My favorite record of 2019! Get it, it’s so good!

The Smarthearts On the Line LP

If you like your power pop as crunchy, sugary and addictive as your favorite childhood cereal, On the Line will have you slurping the milk dregs from the bowl. Timeless riffs choogle along while guitar hooks interplay with effortless precision, as the vocals push ever-so-slightly into the red. The SMARTHEARTS fall somewhere between the retro revivalism of GENTLEMAN JESSE and the classic ’70s FM of early TOM PETTY. If this sounds up your street, you will probably not be disappointed. 

The Tits Great Punk Tits LP

Rare moment in contemporary living when a band that formed in 2016 and has around eight different releases is unavailable on the internet, so people like me have to wait until the post-demo section of their discography gets released on a compilation. It is also tricky how you think of a country’s sound in a historical perspective, and how it is represented by current bands. I spent a great part of the previous years listening to loud flexis coming from Japan and I have not always succeeded when I tried to find present bands with sonic similarities. TITS was promised to sound like a modern version of pre-Stupid Life-era CONFUSE. It puts their predecessors into context as well, because when noise-core is made in a studio that’s output is not limited to cacophony, it takes away the chaotic randomness and all its magical mystery of the music. I like the loudest, noisiest groups because their glory is based on the chilling risk of failure, and while for normal people it is terrible shit, for me it is a great cultural achievement. TITS’ music is not adventurous, although it is good, since them and us are mutual fans of the same thing. That thing is reduced to a certain sound, an era, instead of an approach or method of expressions, therefore all enthusiasm is curbed; adventures turn to rituals. Despite it being decent, and for today rare music, it exists within well established grounds. To detail those grounds: some tracks have both guitars on full blast, linked to a chain gang of pedals; other numbers let dumb melodies sneak in, carried by a less distorted bass, that is a great nod to the best/most ignorant contrasting sound; very traditional. The cartoonish evil voice of the singer pairs perfectly with the ridiculously exaggerated noizzze. You really cannot go wrong with TITS if you dig this type of hardcore, and being an extensive collection of different records it is divertingly amusing how the course of track-packs mutate. The band is overshadowed by their forerunners, but instead TITS being a paraphrase, they turn the spotlight on their subjects of worship.

The World Reddish 12″

The swan song (unfortunately) from the Bay Area’s preeminent disciples of the ’78-’82 Rough Trade catalog, released in 2019 but collecting tracks originally recorded in 2015 and 2017—it actually sounds just as tightly-crafted as their First World Record LP from 2017, and I never would have guessed that this was the result of two pieced-together sessions from a few years apart. For the uninitiated, the WORLD’s take on spiky post-punk-funk combined shuddering dub-damaged guitar, hopscotch bass lines, fiery sax, propulsive drumming with a percussive assist from bongos and shakers, and coolly detached vocals, all delivered in urgent sub-three minute bursts designed with the express purpose of eliciting involuntary impulses toward the dancefloor. “Kill Your Landlord” and “Punctuate” dig into methodical and simmering skronked-out grooves, providing an ideal counterbalance to the more frenzied ESSENTIAL LOGIC/FAMILY FODDER-esque spiraling rhythms of “Last Rhodesian” and “White Radish” that bring Reddish to a high boil. A textbook example of going out with a bang, and we should all truly consider ourselves lucky to have existed in the WORLD’s world for even a brief moment in time.

Unarm The Voice from Forced Silence EP

UNARM is not a newcomer to the crasher game, this release is the 7″ version of a promo tape made for their Scandinavian tour in 2018. Took several listens to cut through the usual gimmicks of the style—the wall-of-noise sound, a pace so fast its density makes the rhythm billow, how overwhelming the whole production is. Which are great features when you would like to listen to modern crasher crust/D-beat/high energy hardcore played in boots, but without much else these easily do blur many bands into one featureless bunch. Then what is special in UNARM? They do not drench their whole sound in the noise-not-music aesthetics; instead they occasionally introduce a good amount of melody and their pedals are not only here to blur the guitar sound but to elevate it. I love how the bass sounds in the third song when it switches from being this huge physical thing that, along with the drums, rolls over everything to a groovy psych element. The chaos of the last song is great, almost makes the whole record a warm up for that. If you pay enough attention, there are pieces of a puzzle scattered all over the record that make it a bit more than a great exercise of an already solid artifact. I would like it to be more radical but fuck me, UNARM does whatever they want, and if you are up for exploring entertaining tricks within a sonic warfare, this record can be your field of experiment.

V/A Diamond Distance & Liquid Fury: Sonny Vincent Primitive 1969-76 LP

Sometimes when punx who exclusively listen to punk rock accidentally encounter music from somewhere else and it does not suck, in their confusion the review and redistribution of the modified definition of punk rock starts to tame their minds. This explains when some tried to convince the world that a certain type of fast, electronic music is the new punk, or free jazz is punk. Occasionally it gets real chaotic and hardcore is called folk music. Side note: right now it’s 2020 and even if you have the words punk and hardcore tattooed on your body it is fine to own parts of the Acutel series or microdose yourself at some contemporary classical music event and tell your fellow radical rockers: you had a great Tuesday evening at this gallery where the performance took place. You basically can do whatever the fuck you want and within this freedom I state: this record is not punk at all. Which does not mean it is bad, because it is decent music that my dad would appreciate, too—but don’t worry, he does not possess a leather vest, nor wears a man bun, instead he was jamming me MC5 and ART ENSEMBLE OF CHICAGO when I was around eight years old. This record sends me into that period when playing rock and roll was a radical act, tap water contained LSD, hippies started cults and robbed banks, and wars were either proxy or cold. Although it is a compilation of bands (FURY, DISTANCE, LIQUID DIAMONDS, TESTORS) which all had SONNY VINCENT, the proper curation made the record consistent yet varied enough not to ever become boring. Sound-wise the tracks are on the edge of psychedelic rock but no real chaotic mumbo-jumbo, rather large, extended solos. Everything is sweaty-face-in-trance-desperation tight, mostly mid tempo and big riffs accompany male sorrow. The atmosphere of the record is dirty, tired, coming down from a trip and looking either for epiphany while staring into the rising sun or for scavenging for an early breakfast before fainting onto a dirty mattress. It is closer to ROKY ERICKSON than to STOOGES, definitely not glam at all and also distant from the proto-punk art rock of the VELVET UNDERGROUND. In case you are done with the one-finger solos used on two-thirds of your hardcore songs, here is a whole catalog to lift ideas from, or in case you like to consume weed and get lost in classic sounding but still rocking albums or to be a rock dad with obscure knowledge, this can be your pick. It’s a fun listen.

Vanity Rarely If Ever / We’re Friends 7″

Two energetic new jammers from this gang of NY rockers. On these tracks, VANITY have tempered the glammy, foot-stomping hooligan rock’n’roll of their previous efforts with an emphasis on melody and hooks. Leaning into their power pop tendencies, “Rarely If Ever” especially bounces along on ’60s jangle, to the point that MONKEES references kept popping into my head (not a bad thing, in my book). “We’re Friends” is on the tougher side, but this single demonstrates that VANITY has clearly outrun any references to a certain Chiswick group… except I’ve gone and made one, oops.

Vivienne Styg Rose of Texas 12″

Effortlessly cool and deadpan art-punk done Lone Star-style, like a box full of PRESSLER-MORGAN singles and Keats Rides A Harley comps turned up in some dusty Houston shop and VIVIENNE STYG has made it their mission to bring a contemporary interpretation of those twin inspirations to the masses. If there had been a band like this (or if someone had been willing to start one with me) when I was living in Houston, there’s a good chance that I wouldn’t have moved away fifteen years ago, no joke. Tinny/twangy guitar, ramshackle galloping drums, and dry, conversational vocals with a palpable sneering edge, all held together with some abstract junkshop electronic textures between songs in a tried and true DIY hometaper fashion; a total scratchy nuevo-Messthetics dream. The lyrics are also brilliantly biting, largely centered from the perspective of whip-smart women putting ineffective men in their place and taking control of their own agency in a dull patriarchal capitalist reality—opting out of consumer culture, getting businessmen to pay your rent, one-night stands of leather-clad romance. The first vinyl edition of this came out in February and was limited to 100 copies that sold out almost immediately, but there’s a second pressing forthcoming and y’all would seriously be remiss to not jump on it when it’s available again.

Warm Swords War on Words Vol. 1 cassette

At first I didn’t realize that I was given both volumes of WARM SWORDS’ War on Words cassettes to review, and I listened to the second volume first. Whoops. This first installment seems to be more straightforward and is my preferred of the two cassettes. Minimalist, synth-heavy garage-y post-punk that meanders around a bit in an artsy direction, especially on the tape’s instrumental tracks. The first batch of songs are super driving and really do it for me. Those are where this project shines. The instrumentals lose my interest and the more pop-heavy songs don’t seem to be as memorable. There are lots of very cool aspects to this band, but two full length cassettes is a bit much to digest as an introduction to them.

Warm Swords War on Words Vol. 2 cassette

Try as I might, I cannot figure out where this band is actually from. It’s either New Zealand, Belgium, France, or Germany. Strange, minimalist, garage-y post-punk that leans a bit on the artsy side of things without being entirely off-putting, though it does teeter on the edge there a few times throughout the course of this tape. Despite the vocals being delivered somewhat lazily, the songs as a whole come across rather powerful and driving. It’s an interesting combination and I’m pretty into it. All the songs are recorded and mixed by the band, too, which is always an impressive thing. I was a little nervous that going into Volume 2 would be similar to seeing the movie sequel before the original and I would be lost, but all that has happened is I am all the more intrigued to visit the first volume.

Zodiak TKY 2020 7″ flexi

Japanese band with a singer from America, not in the vein of JUNK SCHIZO, rather distortion equalized to maximum noise-core, with echoed-howling vocals and trash-can drumming. When a bunch of people from solid former bands play in a style that is so distorted, it basically could camouflage all individual handprints laid on the music, which circumstance can easily create an effortless chapter in the codex of random bands who sound OK. Maybe ZODIAK does not reinvent the wheel, but they are able to be more than just convincing. Treat it as an exaggeration but they sound as DISARRAY or ZOUO on a faster speed with CONFUSE guitars. ZODIAK is able to push themselves through all the covering accessories and be more interesting even over a timespan of flexi 7″. I would listen to more.

Нови Цветя (Novy Tsvetya) Cold War Collection LP

I recall Bulgaria’s НОВИ ЦВЕТЯ (New Flowers) being arguably the first punk band in that particular country under Soviet control. Releasing punk music during this time was economically prohibitive, and basically illegal in the eyes of the state. So in that context, this collection being released and distributed in the West in 2020 by an independent US label is a testament to the enduring and undefeatable spirit of punk. The recordings date from 1979 (!) to 1995. Side A seems to be the earliest stuff judging by the lo-fi production, and a sound much more akin to early Yugoslavian punk than famous Western bands. Production quality and fidelity greatly increases on the flipside, but remains raw and is probably the most easily digestible material here for most listeners. Musically the whole collection is great to my ears, it’s just missing the context! This release desperately needs an insert of some info to provide background. I know it’s all on the internet but there’s a disconnect if you don’t have it all in one place. In the late ’80s a few punk/rock/new wave bands managed to release music on the label BG Rock, which was a subsidiary of the state label Balkanton. So curious Western collectors like myself have managed to track down records from bands like РЕВЮ (Review), КOНТРОЛ (Control), НОВИ ГЕНЕРАЦИЯ (New Generation), КЛАС (Class), АТЛАС (Atlas), and some others, but ÐНОВИ ЦВЕТЯ truly remained unable to officially release anything until after the fall of the Soviet Union. There have been other releases since then, but you know where to look for those. In the meantime, this is a really fun introduction for those interested in Bulgarian punk history. Just a shame about the lack of info!