MRR #481 • June 2023

Advoids Advoids cassette

The Los Angeles punk scene seems to be going through an atypically fertile period. New interesting bands are sprouting up all the time these days, a lot of which seemingly center around a handful of hyperactive weirdos who can’t help but compulsively start new projects. Take for instance this act, brought to you by the same folks behind DIODE and the FREAKEES. They play a cool mix of classic L.A. punk, funky hardcore, and jazzy no wave, sans saxophone. The five tracks on the release zip by in less than ten minutes, but they’re jam-packed with ideas and generally well-executed. I really dig this vocal performance, too—kind of a mix of Darby Crash, James Chance, and I’m even detecting a bit of Dave E., though every so often they throw a little more affect onto the delivery and it dips a little into Ian Svenonius territory, which I’m less into. Still, this is a solid release, and I’m stoked to hear more from them!

Alerta Roja Punk Rock En Dictadura EP

This is killer. ALERTA ROJA was supposedly the first Argentinian punkers to record punk. Thanks to the do-no-wrong Texas punk label Esos Malditos Punks, we get this reissue of their first wax, along with some extra tunes from the session. This was recorded in 1982, but like other punk bands from the continent, they were still in the ’70s in all the best ways. Along with peers like LOS VIOLADORES, they were kicking out some high-powered, ’77-style punk jams. There’s a lot of EATER and of course the PISTOLS here, much like MUTANTEX if they had better equipment and recording studios. Lengua Armada Discos did another essential reissue some time back, but definitely track this one down or cry later.

Amygdala Besitos Para Todos Mis Haters EP

Here is a brief little three-song EP from the San Antonio-based AMYGDALA. Some parts on here sound like a typical fast hardcore band, some parts have mental blastbeats, some parts sound like melodic stadium crust, and some parts sound like weird 2000s metalcore. It’s a lot of stuff squeezed into just under four minutes of music, but I think it’s cool. Would recommend this if you’re into any of those things I mentioned.

Anxiety Spree The Vinegar Pageant cassette

Third release from upstate New York’s ANXIETY SPREE, which has turned into the solo project of Dominic Armao. Compared to the band’s last release, this is a little more focused, with no signs of the upbeat pop sound found on A Party For the Garden Rats. The instrumental intro to “The Price” reminds me of something you’d hear on a SLINT album, with mostly spoken word, to boot. Even though the lyrics are included, I find myself a bit lost in the metaphors, but that’s OK; I enjoy the syncopated vocals over the angular guitar lines. This self-released project will make you a copy of the tape by request—for four bucks this can be yours!

Arrest Pobre i Perrillos EP

Barcelona has one of the most enigmatic, powerful, and unique punk outputs in my opinion, and ARREST is no exception. ARREST presents with a straightforward streetpunk flair that is mid-tempo and melodic under gravelly vocals and vibrant chords. Part the BUSINESS with a vocal rasp à la SPITE UK and the dissenting tones of DESENTERRADAS and earlier BELGRADO. ARREST is enigmatic, as they sound somewhat UK82 with a gothic post-punk sheen. Percussion tumbles through and the rhythm remains constant throughout, yet the pace never tires, with maniacal laughter taunts throughout similar to INYECCIÓN. My favorite track is a seething, circle-pitting romp called “Fakin Many Nen,” which really rounds out a very solid, mid-paced anthemic punk EP. Recommended for its trashy attitude and classic crudeness that feels familiar and well-versed in an older Oi!-meets-post-punk scene. ARREST definitely pulls this balance off.

Ass Life 3 LP Discography CD

I’m not sure if I fully get this L.A. band’s mix of D-beat, stoner riffs, and surreal humor, but maybe I’m not supposed to. This CD compiles three ASS LIFE tapes into a thirty-one-song endurance test. The tracks (especially the older ones) are heavy—mostly blistering D-beat assaults with occasional forays into MELVINS-esque sludgecore, with lyrics that often read like inside jokes without a punchline. For instance, “Sildenafil Penis” links Viagra with the war-torn city of Aleppo (I think), and I’ll leave “Shapeshifting Lizard People,” “Gape It,” and “Boofing w/ Chris Farley’s Ghost” up to you to investigate. But then, there are other moments that seem almost sincere, like the lines, “I used to party / I don’t do cocaine / My son is my drug / My son is my drug” in “My Son is My Drug.” In “Serious Man,” we have “I’m a serious man / And we’re a serious band.” So, who’s to say what is irony, or if it even matters. The songs all rip pretty hard with full-throated hardcore and borderline metalcore chugging. The playing, thick production, and fat distortion tones are all top-notch, and the vocals, as disconcerting as the lyrics can be, fit perfectly. Near the end of the most recent collection, there are some interesting left turns. “Vomitive Hues” opens with a distorted, monotone rendition of the BEACH BOYS’ “Barbara Ann,” and “Really Cool Cars” surprises with clean guitars and sung vocals about “Pretty cool cars / Dependable, safe cars” that highlight L.A.’s economic disparities that allow some people to flex Lambos while others must use their cars as shelter. It goes from BILLY BRAGG folk to heavy alt-rock like FAILURE without sounding contrived. Weird and recommended.

Baby Tyler Imposter cassette

Fourth full-length coming from Tyler Fassnacht’s solo project BABY TYLER, and it’s got all the energy, grit, and unpolished punk that’s only getting better with age. This is one of those COVID bedroom endeavors that has carried on and proved to be something special; the brazenness of ALIEN NOSEJOB and hooky songwriting skills of (fellow Tetryon-er) RICHARD HAMILTON. Speaking of the label, Tetryon is a cassette-only subsidiary of Feral Kid Records and has lots of fun up-and-coming artists, even encouraging bands to submit demos, so check them out! Back to BABY TYLER: for a taste, listen to the closer “E.E.L.” with the chorus “And it feels as though I’m caught in the undertow / Of everyone else’s life,” which rings like an anthem. This music makes me want to take out the trash. It makes me want to stomp around and feel good. Get your hands on this one.

Belgrado Intra Apogeum LP

La Vida Es Un Mus never ceases to impress, especially when it comes to the diversity of albums they put out. The latest case in point: BELGRADO’s Intra Apogeum, a stunning eight-song long-player that is so assured in its style that you’d be fooled into thinking you’d heard it before. BELGRADO wears their influences on their sleeve, and in this case, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It’s icy and clinical but catchy, danceable, and full of romance, not unlike Berlin-era BOWIE, NEW ORDER, and most certainly Siouxsie Sioux. Each song’s propulsive auto-drum beat bops along with bouncy synth effects, rubbery bass lines, and vocalist Patrcyja Proniewska’s ethereal voice, all coming together to create a rich and cinematic sound that makes for an unforgettable listen. A year-end top ten album, to be sure.

Beton / Beyond Description split EP

Two bands that at first glance have nothing to do with each other, but does it even matter?  Slovakian deathbeat machine BETON opens this split with their terrifying brand of death metal punk assault—think DISMEMBER, but with a punkier edge. Crude and moldy, just like old-school Scandinavian death metal, and there is even a banjo solo on the second song (take that, TAAKE!). Japanese crusty legends BEYOND DESCRIPTION, who have been around since 1988, deliver two hardcore songs in the fashion of GAUZE. Fast and energetic, bringing to mind the good old crossover days. Splits don’t always have to make “sense,” as they offer new listeners a chance to discover or enjoy two bands at the same time.

Bina Utlåst EP

Following their single “Död Svan Blues,” BINA released a three-song, ’77 punk rock-inspired gem by the name of Utlåst. BINA strives for melody creation, as all three songs are super catchy and get stuck like glue in your head, and the energy is always to the max. Don’t believe me? The first and last songs have freaking harmonica solos, for god’s sake! Did I convince the redneck in you yet? This is pure Swedish punk rock à la KSMB.

Blessure Blessure cassette

Here’s another one to add to the growing number of emerging Oi! bands: BLESSURE from the Basque Country. BLESSURE is refreshingly female-fronted, and plays a post-punk brand of Oi! with wiry guitars, rumbling fuzzed-out bass, and leftist lyrical content (at least that’s what you’d gather from the “A-C-A-B!” chanting chorus on opener “Ils Sont Partout”). BLESSURE keeps it sparse and simple, even cold at times and bordering on deathrock; check the icy synth on “Ça Suffit.” Overall a solid effort, although I can’t help but feel like if they leaned into the deathrock/goth sensibilities more, they could stand out a bit more from the crowd. That said, I’ll be looking forward to hearing what BLESSURE puts out next.

Bull Shannon Chill Power!!!!! cassette

Here’s a few minutes of lean punk fun. Most of the songs are fast, bare-bones, and accompanied by a nasal whine. Did I mention it’s fast? The whole thing was over before I could finish this review. “Owl Wings” is the exception, with a sluggish beat and a group chorus complete with “whoa-oh-oh”s. The cassette’s no-frills, bass-heavy sound could be a work in progress, or maybe BULL SHANNON always sounds like this.

Chill Parents Context Collapse cassette

Absolute monster release from DC trio CHILL PARENTS—a steady, four-on-the-floor hardcore hybrid that’s heavy and relentless. I realize that as a generational subgenre, this is not unusual, but it still strikes me when I hear modern anthemic hardcore/punk mingling with early ’90s Sub Pop hooks. I prefer when the band opens up (see “Dissipate”). but it’s the contrast that sets them apart (see “Migraine”). Only 25 copies on cassette, but there’s a CD, too (and a digital version of course, because it’s 2023).

Cierń The Emperor Rx LP

The Berlin punks of CIEŔN have discovered the secret to darkwave punk rock by featuring chunky, dirty bass guitar so far forward in the mix it creates an instant need to dance, while the vocals deliver real messages in whispers, shouts, and harmonies. The lead guitar occasionally drifts far into space but returns with a stabbing vengeance to highlight key lyrical moments. There are a lot of “influences” that I hear on this album and naming a few would belittle the wealth of it, so check it out and find out what you hear. I definitely recommend the song “Glass Houses.”

Claimed Choice Conséquences / La Part des Choses 7″

Following up their killer mini-album from last year, CLAIMED CHOICE return with two bruising cuts of stripped-down French Oi! The top-side track, “Conséquences,” eschews the Bovver glam of their previous effort for a dour mid-tempo stomper replete with straightforward, effective guitar leads and gang vocals. While this should make fans of RIXE begin to salivate, the flipside contains the real gem. “La Part des Choses,” is a bonafide earworm with catchy guitar lines and anthemic choruses, picking up right where We Won’t Give In left off. Gritty, melodic, and tougher than steel-toes, this song epitomizes the appeal of French Oi! in the 2020s. I love a proper 45, and this one does not disappoint!  

Clarko Welcome to Clarko LP

Histrionic vocals and naughty guitar riffs coming from Reno, NV on this ten-track new wave brain-punk LP. DEVO-energy synth punk with a catchy, eggy garage twist, and even some early TELEVISION vibes in terms of tension, pauses, and the use of high notes. Synth and loop effects hit hard on this, achieving great balance (check the intro and the song “Alien Touch,” where the full spectrum of sounds and instruments merge and greet each other), but it also has a spacious sound filled with instrumental experimentation. Pretty much straightforward lyrics that verse on existentialism, with “Stifled” and “Your Time” being my favorite tracks on this release.

Confusion Lo Que No Es Simple Y Fácil De Entender No Puede Ser La Verdad cassette

Really fun stuff here from this Chilean group. Upbeat, rocking, poppy, wild, space-y at times, kinda garage-y too. The two vocalists complement each other well via backing vocals and their individual songs. The one thing that kinda throws me is that on a couple tracks, when the song ends, they throw in an interlude that sounds like the start of a new song but it just ends. I think that could have been done differently, but it’s minimal so it’s not really a big deal. All in all, this is a really fun listen. Also, there’s puppies on the cover. Puppies will win me over every time.

Counterweight Sculptured in the Flames of Victory and Blood LP

Vegan straightedge hardcore band from Poland that existed in the late ’90s. This LP collects two separate releases—the first five songs have a noticeable difference in sound quality from the latter ten, which leads me to believe the first release was a demo and the second was the album. This is very metal. Like yeah, they band is described as a hardcore band, and the album cover has camouflage and your standard “singer among the crowd” picture, but this is full-on metal. Not something I’d really find myself revisiting often or at all, really.

Cutters Modern Problems LP

CUTTERS go straight for the jugular with six blasts of quintessential Australian punk. Mid-tempo, yet still driving, the anger and tension builds with each song, portraying a worldview fraught with paranoia of impending doom and destruction. The refrain in the title track’s chorus states it best: “I don’t know where I’m supposed to live!” CUTTERS would fit well on a mixtape with ROSE TATTOO, COLOURED BALLS, and COSMIC PSYCHOS…the soundtrack for a vicious pub brawl or a rowdy house party. “Surveillance Drones” is a particularly gnarly tune, the pinnacle of LP’s angst and aggression with a hardcore bent. The whole affair is bruising and unsubtle, featuring a tightly locked rhythm section, screaming guitars, and burly shouted vocals. CUTTERS are like the CHATS’ scary cousins, and they’re here to wreck your night.

Da Slyme If There’s No Rubble, You Haven’t Played: Collected Recordings 1977–1989 LP

This is one for the collector nerds. DA SLYME was Newfoundland, Canada’s first punk band, and it’s one of those deals where biker hippie-ish outcasts heard the SEX PISTOLS and decided to drop any RUSH aspirations to stick safety pins in each other’s body parts. I’d compare them to the CHILD MOLESTERS or even the FUGS. They appeared on a Smash the State comp and copies of their original double album goes for mega bux, causing many nocturnal omissions for the Graham Booths of the world (love you, Graham). They did the homemade spray-painted thrifted record cover thing that San Francisco’s BLACK HUMOR did so well, and they repeated the art for a limited number of this new collection. I do appreciate the existence of such a historic artifact, but It’s honestly really hard for me to get through. There’s definitely moments, like “Violence, Anarchy, Baby, Mother, Daddy-o, Dig,” but it’s pretty dated and a lot of the jokes fall flat. It’s a nicely put-together “labor of love”-type package that’s definitely worth looking at, but it’s already sold out everywhere, of course!

Data Unknown Cylinder 1 cassette

Indianapolis oddballs drop their fourth or fifth release since they began putting out stuff in early 2021. This time we’re getting six tracks of the fucked synthwave you’ve come to expect from this mysterious act if you’ve been following along. If you haven’t, it’s probably time to get on board—this thing is great! At times they sound like CHROME trying their hand at drum machine egg-punk, at others they sound like one of the weirder Ralph Records acts (probably SNAKEFINGER) covering, like, “Let’s Have a Party” by PSYCHOTIK TANKS. If only more acts were this eager to annoy while being this unbothered by trends!

Deathfiend Beyond Life LP

Sizzling doom metal punk from Birmingham. This reminds me of when members of DOOM went in a more dismal SABBATH style in a doom project called GLOOMY SUNDAY. Speed-wolfing HIGH OF FIRE riff addiction with sinister, blackened vocal tones like SCOLEX. Tasty riffs without a bunch of technical mumbo jumbo, just all-around killer D-beaten crusty doom metal. Vocals at times recall BOLT THROWER, but are much more evil. Clearly pronounced and gnashing (ex-DOOM, POLICE BASTARD, SORE THROAT—ahem). Parts ENTOMBED, parts BRAINOIL, songs clock in at around three to four minutes, with an abbreviated intro track and an epic outro track. Paces are full of variety but groove throughout, never getting overly aggressive, mostly filled with despair and world-eating interstellar gloom. DEATH STRIKE also comes to mind. I am only halfway through and the production and sharp changes have me hooked. Definitely check this out if you enjoy grizzle-charred death punk metal played sturdily as the old oak tree. Tie a black ribbon for good ol’ DEATHFIEND, kudos on this LP.

Demand Nearly Human EP

DEMAND delivers a very by-the-numbers, pro run-through of early ’80s USHC with some of the anthemic qualities of Japanese D-beat. Nearly Human has a satisfyingly thick, grimy sound while still allowing the band to show off. They really have an ear for hooks and beats, the essential ingredients for a mid-song breakdown. I pointed my finger, pumped my fist, and windmilled straight through this record.

Dezerter 1986 Co Będzie Jutro? LP

DEZERTER has roots in SS-20, a young punk band formed in 1981 in the Warsaw region, named after a then-made-illegal nuclear weapon, a very provocative name for their time. After several run-ins with censorship, they had to abandon the name and settle for DEZERTER because it was an ordeal just to get their name on a show. This time they went towards a hardcore punk sound with several influences ranging from post-punk and funk. In 1986 they had the opportunity to record songs for the Jak Punk to Punk compilation authorized by the censorship agency and, with the help of the sound engineer, they were able to secretly record the eight songs that are on 1986 Co Będzie Jutro?. Thrity-seven years later and still sounding great, DEZERTER provides a piece of punk history, and it was a big “fuck you” to the establishment and also the last recording by singer Scandal. Stories like this make this band legends.

Dinos Boys Holy War / Don’t Mind 7″

Atlanta punks DINOS BOYS’ 2022 single “Holy War” / “Don’t Mind” gets the vinyl treatment on Crossbar and boy, what a treat! Two straight-outta-’77 tracks that bring to mind any number of CBGBs mainstays. Both sides are super catchy, but  A-side “Holy War” is truly an earworm, with a chorus that will be rattling around inside your head for days and an outro that would make the RAMONES bop their heads in approval. Side B is a cover of obscure Japanese power poppers the RAYDIOS’ “Don’t Mind,” and while I can’t speak on the original, this version is like Stiv Bators fronting the HEARTBREAKERS (those guitars!). Highly recommended!

Display Homes What If You’re Right and They’re Wrong​?​ LP

Debut LP from this Sydney three-piece following a couple of EPs, the earliest of which came out back in 2017. And this thing kicks off with quite a track! “Nitty Picky” starts out as a energetic post-punk number—the rhythm section provides a bit of a bounce but keeps things relatively stern, while jagged guitars stab into the track, and the vocalist blurts out her lyrics in a shout falling somewhere between NOTS’ tuneless contralto and WARM BODIES’ manic, sing-songy yelp. But about twenty seconds in, the track shifts gears. The bass line gets busier and more tuneful and the guitar launches into a shimmering melodic chorus—like Andy Gill and Dave Allen morphing into Bernard Summer and Peter Hook mid-song. The remaining nine tracks on the record also more or less teeter on that same seesaw with GANG OF FOUR on one end and something closer to new wave on the other, but it’s never as balanced as it is on that album opener. Nevertheless, it’s an extremely listenable record by a band that clearly reveled in the act of making music together and seemed capable of growing and delivering a classic in the near future. Tragically, this will be the last we hear them. The guitarist passed away suddenly about a year prior to the album’s release—something I was devastated to learn after spending so much time listening to the record and thinking specifically about how much life his guitar breathed into it. I can’t imagine the toll this loss has taken on the surviving band members or the scene that was touched by their music. It’s made subsequent listens tough. Still, I encourage you to give the record a spin. It’s music you can’t help but enjoy.

Et On Tuera Tous Les Affreux Mange Tes Morts LP

Brilliantly crafted hardcore from Caen, France. ET ON TUERA TOUS LES AFFREUX delivers intense and tightly played punk much in the vein of La Vida Es Un Mus bands. They kick and scream against the masculinist clichés of the hardcore scene with ferocity, and they have the songs and the attitude to make serious damage. Excellent release.

Ex-White This is Future LP

If you had told me this band came from the late ’80s/early ’90s Chicago punk scene, I wouldn’t have doubted you for a second. Hailing from Germany, EX-WHITE’S first full-length ranges from dance-driven post-punk to raw, Midwestern melodic hardcore similar to NAKED RAYGUN and LEATHERFACE. Very much in line with some of the classic No Idea bands. I can’t lie, there’s a little bit of AC/DC thrown in here as well, especially on the titular track. Catchy as all hell, and released at the right time. This is a summer jam right here, folks. Give it a spin, you won’t be disappointed.

Faucheuse Faucheuse demo cassette

Been listening to lots of interesting and vicious D-beat and Oi! coming from France lately—something must be happening in the streets and local DIY/underground scenes in that European country, you can feel a very exciting effervescence incomparable to other places of the so-called First World. For yet another example, we have this brilliant demo cassette from FAUCHEUSE, an excellent hardcore band from Bordeaux, a city which has already become one of the world’s D-beat powerhouses. This band presents five absolutely thrillingly addictive tracks; please pay special attention to the tour de force that is “Ville Interdite.” It’s a brutal but deeply melodic D-beat sound with a pub-rock or generally dirty and fun rock’n’ roll vibe that I really dig, and that refreshes that ol’ D-beat sound that we love.

Flop Machine Machine Beat Rock and Roll cassette

Nine songs of mid-paced, synth-driven garage punk out of Norway. If geography is indicative of genre, I would’ve guessed FLOP MACHINE to hail from Memphis, ‘cause this cassette has that Goner Records sound nailed. The vocals, in particular, feel very JAY REATARD-inspired. The layered yet lo-fi production is fitting, the guitar hooks are working, and there are some spicy little phrases being banged out on the keys, but my attention started to drift after a few songs that seemed to have the same tempo. After a closer listen, it became apparent that literally every song has the exact same BPM. Ah, the perils of drum machines! Gotta give that tempo knob a twist!! Setting that aside, FLOP MACHINE is clearly on to something. If you need more bleeps and bloops in your life, or just can’t wait for the next DIGITAL LEATHER album, flip on some FLOP MACHINE.

Fuck Sorry! Eat Shit LP

Femme-fronted hardcore group from Vienna, Austria with their debut LP. I can’t decide if I like the band name or the album title better, but needless to say, they’re both amazing. Very politically-minded, they start us off with “Prime Time War,” singing “They all stare at the TV in awe / Disgusted but fascinated / And excited by the spectacle and the misery.” The song is laden with clips from newscasts and the sounds of machine guns repeating. I’m not usually into sampling like this, but it works here, reminding us of the buzzing, distracted nature of media consumption that leads to confusion and apathy. The following track “Eat Shit” is a fucking ripper, and refreshingly short after the long opener. The you-are-what-you-eat adage is put into focus with a pummeling reminder of how much plastic has made its way into our food and water systems—“Finally we are eating our own trash.” If you’re looking to get pissed à la CRASS listening, then tuck that napkin into your collar and get ready to Eat Shit with FUCK SORRY!

Futura V cassette

As one might be able to guess from the title, V is the fifth release by Los Angeles-based hardcore punk outfit FUTURA. Four fast, raging tracks of metal-infused hardcore punk. I almost used the word “relentless” to describe it, but upon further listening, there are a few instances on this tape that let up a bit with a spooky or somewhat introspective interlude, so maybe a bit of relenting, but each instance only lasts a moment. Half the songs sung in English and half in Spanish, with high-pitched vocals that sound somewhat reminiscent of Christina from the mighty VANILLA POPPERS at times. Looking forward to VI.

Gee Tee Vee Halloween 21 EP

You know who they are, you know it’s good, but still allow me to dive in with my big critical brain to this freaky little handful of tunes from TEE VEE REPAIRMAN and GEE TEE (more accurately, frontman Kel Mason). These tracks are lo-fi, crunchy joy bombs that sit precisely in the uniformly excellent discographies of both artists. Killer originals, cracking snares, and buzzing guitars—there’s even a trick ‘r’ treat of a cover of the BOYS’ “First Time” to put in your bag and check for hidden razor blades. It’s always good to see this loose coalition of bands keep the spirit of early ’00s garage punk alive and supercharged into the now. I won’t throw around the usual references, but this is the type of attitude that first turned my ear to this style and it’s just getting better.

Global Thermonuclear War Seeking Mastery cassette

Based on the band name and cover art, Portland’s GLOBAL THERMONUCLEAR WAR had me thinking D-beat/crossover, and was I ever right. If you like that particular strain of super-fast hardcore with thrash riffs and clean-ish vocals, check this out immediately. This relentless seven-track bombing raid starts with the slow, crusty intro to “The Rich,” shifts into pounding one-two-one-two drums, and doesn’t let up until it’s over. “Violent Settlements” increases the pace with deliriously fast blastbeats and killer, everything-turned-to-eleven production that creates a wall of pissed-off anti-government, anti-war, anti-meat sound that is staggering. I don’t think it could get any faster without a drum machine or something, and it harkens back to the glory days of D.R.I. and CRYPTIC SLAUGHTER. Just fucking in-your-face hardcore punk that demands your full attention. “Industrialized Meat Production” wouldn’t sound out of place on SLAYER’s Reign in Blood in its ferocity and riffs. Final track “B.T.H.A.T.A.” has a racing D-beat that leads the band into prime raw DISCHARGE mode. Highly recommended, but I need a breather after this one.

Goblin Daycare Q: EP? A: EP!! cassette

Really digging this debut cassette from Istanbul, Turkey’s GOBLIN DAYCARE. “Mama Goblin” does it all in this project, combining bedroom synth waves with garage punk and resulting in an equation that reaches the highest level of egginess that weird punk could reach. Lo-fi punk maniacs and DEVO-core worshipers casting sounds with deranged guitars quite in line with the Spanish band PRISON AFFAIR, good mashing synth mayhem, and heavily reverbed electronic drums, plus an on-point distorted voice that’s still audible with non-stop ranting in the fashion of cyberpunk band WWW (and even reminiscent of Jello Biafra’s vocal register) and a bit of DEVO’s stop-and-go songwriting. Imagine if DEVO and Jello were fighting in a steamy basement and add it all to the experience of surfing space in a videogame. Suggested tracks: “Coup De Grace” and “Officer Down.” Things are getting quite eggy in the realm of weird punk.

Gumm Slogan Machine LP

Oh my. This is one hell of a record here, folks. Melodic hardcore coming to us straight out of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Akin to the SUCIDE FILE and very early EVERY TIME I DIE, this album just feels like it’s from the South. I mean that in the best way possible, attributing this to their heavy use of twangy, jammy guitar leads. Bouncing between groovy, catchy, dissonant, and downright violent, Slogan Machine features some of my favorite lyrics I’ve heard all year—a lamentation of a lack of community within a “community.” At least that’s how I interpreted it. Maybe I’m just jaded. Great stuff here, and very much recommended.

Hozomeen The Void LP

There’s an identifiable type of noise rock that sounds, above all else, weary: beaten down by life, just about keeping its exasperation from boiling over. That doesn’t really read like a compliment, but it’s intended as one, certainly in this case. HOZOMEEN, a one-man project from northeast England, has this sound locked down. At its most effervescent, it sounds like the JESUS LIZARD after they got big but before they signed to a major label; elsewhere, the riffs are similarly big and hulking, but slower, like when you drag your own sagging carcass out to face the day. Not doom metal or slowcore, but on speaking terms with those things, and “One Kilohertz” is on an unmistakable MELVINS tip. There are some guest trumpet parts and unorthodox, maybe even dub-influenced production touches if you listen carefully. Graham Thompson, who is HOZOMEEN, has been in a solid list of bands over twenty-something years (thrashcore in JINN and NEUROSIS-via-hardcore in GRACE are the two I’m most familiar with) and has hit on something really neat here.

Huomio Demo ’23 cassette

How many hardcore bands does Finland produce in a year? If the embassy’s website does not say anything on the subject, it is however adamant that Finland is the happiest country in the world, and with hardcore bands that are as good as HUOMIO, it is hardly a surprise. Still, I’m sure you will find knobheads who’d rather visit Santa Claus’s village than sing along to KAAOS on the streets of Tampere while absolutely plastered. What an odd sense of priorities. I did not know of HUOMIO before this review, and I have to say that I really enjoyed this Helsinki lot’s first demo. I don’t think the members are the happiest punks in the world (but who knows?) because the music sounds seriously pissed and is everything you are entitled to expect from a good Finnish hardcore punk band (or just a good punk band, really). If the influence of traditional Suomi hardcore is undeniable (think BASTARDS or MELLAKKA), I can hear some Italian hardcore too (it does have that intense touch), a vibe typical of contemporary raw, wild hardcore punk acts, and the unhinged-sounding, rapid-fire vocals of the singer definitely give the music an additional edge. I love how demented and threatening she sounds. Some effects on the guitar and vocals are used, but it is not overpowering the energy of their classic hardcore songwriting. The recording is not perfect, but still very promising. It’s old-school without trying too hard, if you know what I mean.

Ida E Os Voltas Demo 1986 12″

This was truly something I wasn’t expecting to see come to light! IDA E OS VOLTAS existed from late 1985 to 1988 as part of a highly art-minded underground scene in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte which has been relatively under-documented, and consequently under-celebrated, compared to São Paulo’s concurrent post-punk output (you won’t find any Soul Jazz collections focused on Belo Horizonte bands). I first heard them on a 2018 digital-only comp of avant-garde Brazilian sounds (Colt 45, big-time recommendation) and I was completely spellbound by the art-punk mystique of their track “Jovens Raptados,” driven by tom-heavy percussion, sneaky guitar/bass interplay reminiscent of the CURE circa Seventeen Seconds, and perfectly flat-affect dual girl/boy vocals chanted in Portuguese. Aside from their two contributions to that comp, there was precious little trace of IDA E OS VOLTAS to be found in the internet ether (recordings or otherwise)—this six-song 12” reproduces their 1986 Samambaias Voadoras demo cassette in full, and what a gift it is. Textbook post-punk bass propulsion locks into sparse scribbles of bright guitar and Ida Feldman’s sing-song vocals like a Brazilian take on BONA DISH for the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it “Deus,” the instrumental “Samambaias Voadoras” dances around the edges of scratchy 99 Records-style mutant funk, and “Anti-Progresso” recalls SOLD SPACE’s dreamy, homespun electro-pop, while lo-fi Casio stabs and the anxious tick of a drum machine give “Cadê a Embaixatriz / Revolta” a similar roughed-up ’80s DIY charm. I only wish there was more where this came from!

Illiterates No Experts LP

The newest release from Pittsburgh’s ILLITERATES does not disappoint. These guys have been releasing quality hardcore punk music for a while now, and No Experts is absolutely no exception. Featuring twelve tunes blazing by in about as many minutes, ILLITERATES know how to do this type of thing right. Fast for the sake of it, loud for the sake of it, and dumb because it’s all they know how to be—just like so many of the classics. Recommended!

Illvilja Mörkret 10″

Since its beginnings, neocrust has always walked hand-in-hand with black metal. The sense of gloom approaching is prevalent in both genres, so it only makes sense that one should combine the two—HIS HERO IS GONE had one of the blackest riffs the crust world has ever heard in “Headless/Heartless.” It’s all about the atmosphere! ILLVILJA does exactly that, melancholic neocrust with a black-as-night atmosphere. And it makes even more sense since they are Swedish, they are born with melody in their veins.

Inyeccion Vicio EP

Creeping, raw, and vicious is how I’d shortly describe INYECCION’s sound. Hailing from Chile and Argentina, these punks create a form of hardcore that is an absolute blast to listen to. Bashing drums, chaotic vocals, and grinding guitars are perfectly arranged to create a form of punk crudo that I want more of. This EP maintains a similar sound to INYECCION’s earlier demo, but with a tighter and more refined presentation. A collaborative release between Barcelonian label Discos Enfermos and Japanese label Record Shop A-Z, this EP is well worth adding to your collection as the packaging is a work of art on its own.

Komatiite Komatiite cassette

You know when you spend a couple of hours listening to and reviewing some interesting and unique records and you think “man, punk is so varied and it’s cool that bands keep pushing the envelope and finding new ways to create and project sound!,” and then you pop in a tape from a band from Maine and it’s like four-and-a-half minutes of raw, distorted noisy D-beat hardcore recorded in a fukkn barn with the wildest guitar solos ever and you think “nah, fuck that, I just want to have my ass blown out of my speakers repeatedly until I can’t walk straight.” That’s what just happened to me. It can happen to you, too. Listen to KOMATIITE.

Kosmetika Illustration LP

Melbourne-based art-punk/new wave band that bends the genres to their will, blending industrial noise with shambling dream pop that’s gone goth, maybe? Vocals are sung half in English and half in Russian, Veeka Nazarova’s native language, the harsh Slavic nature of which adds to the angular and industrial sound of the tracks. Fans of obscure ’80s new wave/darkwave/no wave will like this. I hear similarities to STRAWBERRY SWITCHBLADE in pop-driven songs like “Eighty Four,” or to contemporaries DELIVERY (who I reviewed a while back). On the other hand, the two opening tracks “Strawberry Needles” and “Psycho TV” remind me of—and I’m sure this is a stretch—the clamoring FOETUS, with noisy and experimental brushes throughout. This just came out in April, so if any of this interests you, get your copy of the limited pressing before it’s gone.

Late Shift Late Shift cassette

LATE SHIFT is a one-person hardcore band in which Patrick Baxter, also of SPAM CALLER, plays everything himself. The results, on this debut tape, remain within the realms of blown-out HC, but change the formula up a bit. There’s a really appealing ignorant bootboy vibe to the arrangements, especially when they slow down a bit—sometimes I get NEGATIVE APPROACH, sometimes ’90s Cleveland scene bands like H100S—and a possible noise/industrial influence comes through the guitars on “Bummer.” Black metal-lookin’ logo, but no metal on these three songs really, nor will you feel like you need any.

Le Jonathan Reilly 7″, Demos & Other Rarities cassette

I guess we’re getting to a point where forgotten garage punk releases from the mid ’00s are ready to be rediscovered. Better start collecting those Douchemaster, Tic Tac Totally, and Boom Boom 7”s now while they’re just a couple bucks—it’s only a matter of time before some comp appearance really drives up the price! Valencia-based label Discos Peroquébien is doing their part to get the trend started by issuing this odds-and-sods collection from hometown heroes LE JONATHAN REILLY. It’s an eighteen-track cassette pulling songs from their two split 7”s (with TYRADES and CHRISTMAS ISLAND), as well as some compilation tracks and demos. They also put out a full-length album and a split LP with BLACK SUNDAY, but neither of those releases are represented here. The brand of garage punk these folks peddled was part CHEATER SLICKS’ detuned lurch and part COACHWHIPS’ aggro one-two stomp, but they managed to skirt straightforward turkeydom by letting just enough FALL and URINALS influence shine through. They’re also not afraid to stretch out a bit and let their guitars carry a melody—“A Question in the Answer” almost sounds like it could have been pulled off Daydream Nation. I don’t know that any of these tracks quite approach “lost gem” status, but I bet most folks (particularly in the US) were unaware of this act, and there are certainly enough cool tunes on this collection to make it worth your time.

Lethal Hate Demo ’22 cassette

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

Leuk​é​mia K​í​v​ü​l cassette

This is one for the historians, for those of us who dig, excavate, exhume, dust, analyze, and present to the (often ungrateful) masses. Of LEUK​É​MIA, I had only vaguely heard their 1987 demo tape, a prime example of fast and raw, angry ’80s hardcore from what was then called “the Eastern world,” at a time when punk wasn’t exactly welcome there. However, I had no idea that the band had kept going until the mid ’90s in a rather prolific fashion. Kivül is a tape reissue of the band’s 1991 demo (there was a vinyl reissue last year). Gone is the hideous original cover (thank fuck), as this tape has a cracking new visual that looks much more enticing. Like many hardcore bands at that time, LEUK​É​MIA had left the “play fast or die” approach to their music, and this recording saw them go in a decidedly crossover thrashcore direction with plenty of changes of paces and riffs. To be honest, I actually like the faster, pummeling, thrashing metal-punk moments, as the many progressive technical moments are completely lost on me—there are just too many things happening and, as granny used to tell me, “you’re a simple man who loves simple things.” It is pretty obvious that at this point LEUK​É​MIA had become good musicians and strove to progress. I guess you could file this between ANARCRUST and ACID RAIN DANCE on one side and late ’80s US crossover on the other (for my ears untrained in thrashcore). An interesting piece of punk history from a scene we hear too little from.

Life in Vacuum Lost LP

LIFE IN VACUUM is very much alt-rock of the ’90s: a big guitar sound with a touch of punk in its louder moments. The songs can take a minute to arrive at the big, stick-in-your-ear chorus. Before that, you’ll get some very pro, pretty verses to provide the build-up. LIFE IN VACUUM could coast on that alone, but they keep the arrangements and guitar lines novel enough, which I appreciated. It’s not a gimmick, but it’s not a cover…they’re bolstered by the singer’s ability to carry both a tune and an anguished roar in equal measure.

M.O.A.B. Massive Ordnance Air Blast cassette

A raw assault of D-beat fury from Brooklyn. Early DOOM vocal pitch with the drum clobbering of more modern ASPECTS OF WAR. Loads of chaotic feedback carries you through these classic hardcore punk attacks. Guitar riffs are cosmically higher in register than usual, making for an even more anxiety-ridden track. As a demo it totally delivers, similar to the impact of a recent tape from REALM OF TERROR. Everything stands out here: great vocals that bellow out longer than expected, wild guitar that reaches higher than expected, a massive drum sound in a classic tempo, grueling bass holding it all on the rails. MASSIVE ORDNANCE AIR BLAST, simple as that. Quite killer and just the way you like it.

Masque Demo 2023 cassette

Weird and messy crust punk with no surprises coming from Portland, Oregon. An angry, non-stop screaming voice with no direction, plus an overlap of noisy guitars and ranting drums. An eight-track demo where intrigue and mystery are promised, but I still got none of it.

Metrics Demo 2022 cassette

High-energy hardcore from Spain that teeters on the edge of egg-punk thanks to their inclusion of a keyboard. Speaking of which, I’ve been listening to this EP on repeat for the last couple of weeks or so and only just realized there were synth leads layered in throughout the entire demo. In fact, the guitar overpowers almost everything, including the vocals. Otherwise, the production here is solid and crisp. I would just suggest they be a little more careful with the mixing next time around. All in all, a decent debut from METRICS. It makes me look forward to what they’ll do next.

Miseria y Kompañía Mundo Muerto LP

This is a reissue of the last album by this Barcelona punk band, originally released in 1997. Formed towards the end of the ’80s, MISERIA Y KOMPAÑÍA created a body of work that is already considered a classic among Spanish punk connoisseurs. I suggest you listen to their fierce 1989 demo called …Y En Un Mal Día, and also give their split with SPATEK a chance. Unlike their early work, which had a more lo-fi and frankly brutal intensity, Mundo Muerto has better production values and more inventive arrangements that give it a very interesting creative variety and make those blastbeats harder. There is also a more marked melodic turn and even forays into ska. If you like Latin American punk, MISERIA Y KOMPAÑÍA is a band that definitely influenced the sound of that region, and this final album is a good entry point to their work.

Optic Nerve Angel Numbers LP

Impressive debut LP from this Sydney band that mixes elements of post-punk, deathrock, and classic country instrumentation into a great punk record. Songs like “Bird Bath,” “Gargoyle,” and “Bead Shop” pulse with energetic bass, stabbing guitars, and vocalist Gigi De Lacy’s poetically cut-up (and cavernously reverbed) lyrics. The record would be a worthy listen if it stopped there, but the band crosses into cowpunk-inspired lands with twangy, bent-note guitar lines and rolling, snare-led drum beats reminiscent of the GUN CLUB and ICEAGE that give the songs a rollicking “tight but loose” sound. “Tonic” surprises with acoustic strumming and blues riffs like country-fried deathrock. “Trap Door” adds heavy-distortion alt/rock vibes for an even thicker sound. Imagine Factory Records existing in the American South, and you get the idea. Always engaging with unexpected influences and diversions from genre expectations, OPTIC NERVE is a band to watch.

Optic Sink A Face in the Crowd / Landscape Shift 7″

This is the new single from OPTIC SINK, a band that takes a very minimalist approach to synth punk and who released their debut album in 2020 through Goner Records.  Side A, “A Face in the Crowd,” reminds me of OMD’s “The New Stone Age” being channeled by the URINALS, while Side B, “Landscape Shift,” could have come straight out of Mute Records in the late ’70s, but not really, because it’s timeless—it actually inhabits a dimension of its own where some transhumans invited you to dance in a club that is a white room floating in the eternal ether of creation. It is really good.

Paint Fumes Real Romancer LP

These guys deliver a really tight, high-energy earful of what I think is a nice combination of punk’n’roll and power pop. It’s mid-tempo, but it’s really driven, like they’re coming at you. It’s got a cohesiveness that is remarkable, like everybody is on the same page. It’s obviously catchy, or I wouldn’t even be listening to it. Time for an air drum solo. Thanks. This is their fourth LP, but the first I’ve heard of them. I feel like I’ve been missing out. This is an excellent record. Highly recommended.

Phosphore Phosphore cassette

Nowadays, when people abroad refer to “the French scene,” it often entails Oi! bands with bowel issues modeling for Fred Perry. Fortunately, we have Bordeaux, which has been our national haven for proper dis-studded hardcore punk for almost twenty years. Over there, D-beat bands can mate and prosper freely without interference from the outside world. PHOSPHORE is one of the latest typical examples of this Bordeaux punk subspecies. With current and former members of GASMASK TERROR, NAATLO SUTILA, FOSSE COMMUNE, and many others, the new breed does not fail to deliver the expected goods, namely Swedish-inspired raw hardcore punk for faithful käng-inclined punks. This is pretty much flawless and baked to a D. If the genre is to your liking, this is tailor-made. It would be a little pointless to drop names in order to describe them, but doing pointless things is pretty much my leitmotif. The core of PHOSPHORE is obviously rooted in traditional ’80s Scandi hardcore (say ASOCIAL or SOUND OF DISASTER), but if they always stick to the classic soundtrack, they have several tricks under their sleeveless jackets, from the classic fast pummeling käng scorcher to the canonical D-beat cruise, and delightful DISCHARGE-loving, mid-paced numbers like “Marche ou Crève” or “La Proie.” On that level, they are not unlike contemporary bands like PROFOSS or EXTENDED HELL, for instance. The vocals are hoarse and direct, without dodgy effects, the lyrics are mean, the no-frills production packs a direct punch to the gut, and it is just a strong recording. Eight songs in twelve minutes, no arsing around.

Plague Thirteen Healing Ground LP

Neocrust is the perfect soundtrack for a post-pandemic world in which darkness seems to engulf every aspect of our day-to-day lives—there is always a glimmer of hope in the lyrics and songwriting, with its heavy-to-melodic riffs. PLAGUE THIRTEEN plays heavy and sludgy crust that leans towards the more melancholic spectrum. Filling the void left by neocrust agitators LINK (their previous incarnation), they follow the steps of TRAGEDY to early NEUROSIS. Soundtrack for the days of no hope.

Pleaser Demo ’21 cassette reissue

On the second edition of their 2021 demo, Copenhagen’s PLEASER blasts out three sub-two-minute bangers. If you put a guttural metal singer up front, this would be a straightforward thrash/crossover band, but it’s not. A mix of shouted and melodic vocals from the two frontwomen form a menacing yet playful sound. Vocals ride over deathrock guitars, drenched in reverb, and super splashy drums—there’s a jitteriness at work, paired with catchy lyrics and downright push-and-shove rhythms. Kind of a riot grrrl thing, but more metal? BABES IN TOYLAND come to mind, or the more current band MAUDIT DRAGON who I reviewed a while back. This has the making of something very good. And before you ask—yes, their debut is on the way. Look for the self-titled LP this September and pre-order now!

Public Interest Spiritual Pollution LP

Second album from Oakland’s PUBLIC INTEREST, with their take on dark post-punk. The only musician credited is Chris Natividad, so whether this plush, full-band sound is coming from him and him only, I can’t truly say. If you’re familiar with his other band MARBLED EYE, you will like this variation on their theme that is more pop-driven in its beat, while still providing those reverbed-out, languishing guitar lines. The vocals are as if Thurston Moore is singing in a monotone baritone the whole time, which works with the steady, mid-tempo drums and repetitious bass chugging and synth strokes, best exemplified on “Falling Ash.” The dark aura of MORPHINE or TYPE O NEGATIVE comes to mind, but as a punk outfit. Erste Theke Tontraeger hasn’t led me astray yet, and this record is no exception.

Punter Punter 12″

In 2020, Melbourne, Australia had a particularly rough nine-month COVID lockdown policy that has left PUNTER with plenty to yell about. On their self-titled 12”, the Aussies play charged-up hardcore punk infused with rock’n’roll, and while this MOTÖRHEAD-influenced style of hardcore usually has a sex-and-drugs party vibe, here not so much. Not far beneath the surface of rabid vocals, riffs on riffs, and galloping drumming is a record largely about the systemic assault on lower-class people by a government under the guise of precaution and safety (it should be said that PUNTER is vehemently pro-vaccination). This isn’t a boneheaded diatribe about losing “freedom,” it’s about feeling robbed of your culture and autonomy for the sake of a false sense of security, a feeling that most people (especially young people) can likely relate to. Closing track “A Year’s Silence“ sums it up a little too perfectly with the heartbreaking line “I don’t wanna stream another funeral again.” If you need a cathartic purge of any lingering COVID-induced anger, give this one a spin.

Quinn Rash Death Devotion cassette

A solo release from the singer of Charlotte noise-poppers ACNE that revels in scruffy, romantic pop gems with noisy punk edges. Like a mix of the best parts of GUIDED BY VOICES, early NO AGE, and maybe even the CURE, QUINN RASH captures an intangible feeling of nostalgic emotion perfectly with these four tracks. “Reincarnate” opens the tape with gruff but melodic vocals, woozy, shoegaze-y guitars, and carefully layered production. “Me and Van Gogh” dips into SST-era SONIC YOUTH dissonant guitar lines, layered and laced with melody. Every song is a heart-tugging hit. I recently saw QUINN play live, and it was a fairly confrontational affair, heavy on noisy electronics. So, this tape comes highly recommended, but I am also curious about what he does next.

Ratos De Porão Al Kasal LP

This LP consists of live soundboard recordings of RATOS DE PORÃO from the mid-to-late ’90s at various squats and venues in Mallorca. The tracks are from the band’s crossover era (Feijoada Accidente? and Carniceria Tropical), with a few covers for the punks. Perhaps the audio isn’t the greatest quality, but it successfully captures the pure aggressive live energy and the tension in the air that would not be able to be replicated inside any studio. May not be the most representative era of the band (such as Crucifados Pelo Sistema), but is when the band decided to cater to a wider audience while still staying true to their roots. Something to add to your RATOS DE PORÃO or Brazilian HC collection.

Recedent Somnia Incoming Nightmare LP

Mid-paced metallic hardcore with melodic tweaks and crusty vocals from Rennes, France. Filled with the sounds of classic 2010s melodic hardcore with soft touches of crust. On their second work included here (the Incoming Death EP released in 2021), they cling to even more melodic sources and even slower cadences, resulting in redundant and similar songs in-between. The anthemic choruses kind of in the middle of some of the songs just haven’t worked out for me. Suggested tracks: “Our Destiny” for slightly faster tempos, and “Inside Madness” for some sludgy tunes.

Red Gaze Healing Games 12″

I love it when a band takes very particular references, makes them their own, takes their time to digest them, and vomits out something totally personal. A sound that takes you back to different places in the punk timeline, but makes them coexist in a permanent autonomous zone parceled out of our post-everything reality. Austrians RED GAZE are creating their own impregnable fortress in the very crowded field of modern post-punk, and on this 12″ they do it with songs so well-written that it feels like they were always there in the ether, waiting for some guys in tight pants and with gloomy looks to come along and take those ideas and make them their own. You can understand that they started from a more militantly dark post-punk style, to which they have managed to incorporate arrangements, and above all, an impetus and attitude more married to hardcore, but without becoming the typical aggro band on the block. Not at all—on the contrary, here the references take me to CONTROLLERS, METAL URBAIN, and in general, bands from the mythical Bloodstains compilations…I didn’t want to finish this review without mentioning that “Messy Bundle” is a timeless anthem and that you should leave everything you are doing to listen to it the way it should be listened to, loudly.

Reo Sobre Las Ruinas EP

Hard-stompin’ debut from these Spanish boot boys. Those familiar with the Tough Ain’t Enough catalog won’t be surprised by the four tunes on this EP. Big, meaty guitars with harmonizing leads lay the brickwork for gruff half-sung/half-shouted vocals, replete with anthemic choruses meant to incite a beer-drenched sing-along. The production is more polished than your oxblood Docs, which doesn’t exactly benefit the source material, but it doesn’t detract from the overall experience either. Do skinheads go to rodeos? If so, this certainly ain’t the first for the members of REO, having served in prior street rock acts like SHERRY SOLDIERS and SECOND DIVISION. “1880” is the standout for being the catchiest number, and would make a good candidate for inclusion on your next Oi! themed mixtape. Sobre Las Ruinas falls on the melodic side of the spectrum, but otherwise doesn’t stray far from the traditional sound of the genre.

Shadow 15 Days of Innocence 1983–85 LP

When it comes to the Twin Cities’ biggest punk exports, I hold the following apparently incorrect opinions: the REPLACEMENTS peaked at Stink (and fell off a cliff after Let it Be), and HÜSKER DÜ was better prior to joining the SST roster. Yes, part of that is due to being a compulsive contrarian. But I also just prefer punk and hardcore to the alternative rock these guys were better known for. So, when I saw this compilation hailed as “a hidden gem of alternative American alternative rock [sic]” by an outfit being compared specifically to those two bands, I braced myself for a bummer of a time. Thankfully, it’s not that bad! SHADOW 15 was a four-piece out of Nashville, TN and this ten-song LP compiles their total studio output (culled from an eight-song cassette and 12” EP released in the mid ’80s). And while it certainly is alternative rock that bears quite a resemblance to those aforementioned acts—it actually sounds a little like Paul Westerberg fronting New Day Rising-era HÜSKER DÜ, maybe with a bit of early R.E.M. in the mix—they’ve got enough of a punk edge to keep them from drifting too far off into emotional post-hardcore or proto-GOO GOO DOLLS territory. It’s also a little generic-sounding, like a band made up for a mid-’80s teen movie. Still, there are a couple of songs that bordered on being good, and the overall squishy production alongside a super snappy rhythm section added enough amateurish charm that I ultimately enjoyed my time with the record. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a hidden gem, but it’s probably worth your time if you like indie rock of the time period.

Siekiera Róbrege ’84 EP

I put this record down on the turntable thinking what a treat this will be. I hadn’t given it a good look yet, and realize now it is a live sampler from 1984. The SIEKIERA Demo Summer ’84 repressing was a very top record for me in 2021—one of the best reissues I’d ever heard, that was initially recorded when I was seven years old, and I had never heard until a couple years ago. So all you need to know: track down the Demo Summer ’84  record. Track down this blistering fast and tight live recording (maybe first, as it’s probably cheaper). Totally powerful and a raw, bass-driven example of their relentless hardcore punk sound, similar to VORKRIEGSPHASE if you’d like a comparison. There are four live tracks on this EP, they all destroy at the highest caliber, and only two of these songs are on the demos record. SIEKIERA was on fire in Poland 1984! Treat yourself to both!

Spam Caller Habituation cassette

“Mysterious guy hardcore” hasn’t been an approved descriptor for, what, a decade now? And I’m not going to try and turn that outgoing tide. On the other hand, the actual spam callers of this world are some of its most mysterious guys, so can we suppose their hardcore band namesake follows suit? SPAM CALLER is from Novato, CA and this, their third tape in ten months, is some blitzin’ nihilistic hardcore on that “disaffected suburbanite sicko” tip. It’s got reverb-heavy vox and freaky psych guitar (“Waste It” being the real gem in that department) for BIB and GAG kids, but also unfettered rage and powerviolence-ish compactness of, say, the REPOS. Really cool foldout sleeve art designed by Mark McCoy too, the likes of which you rarely find on a tape release.

Spitting Image Full Sun LP

Great collection of snaky, noisy post-punk jams from this Reno, NV band. Instrumental opener “Intro” gives a table of contents of sorts with strummed indie guitars that build with shimmering distortion and chiming, atonal layers à la SST-era SONIC YOUTH. This is punk, but it’s been soaking in psych, desert-dirge country, and deathrock, and left in the sun to bake. “Spirit Trouble Flash” builds and releases heavy guitars along syncopated drum beats until the chorus hits, and it really hits. Tracks like “Not This, Not This” and “Devil’s Bloom” pound a menacing bass and drums cadence until serpentine post-everything guitar lines creep in and hover over the sound like dripping icicles. “In Menace Meadow” takes us to the dunes with clean strums and slide guitar twang. Check this out when you’re in the mood for expertly produced dark, knotty punk.

Split System Bullet / On the Street 7″

Rock’n’punk done right, as only Australians can do. Tattoos, bad haircuts, and repetitive solid riffs. HEARTBREAKERS and STITCHES amphetamine swagger with COLOURED BALLS, SAINTS, or POWER street smarts. I had to send this down under to former MRR punker Adam Caine, as his line of work is HVAC and maybe their name is a reference to such? Can’t choose the better song here ‘cuz they’re both sick as fuck. It’s already sold out, so break into your neighbor’s house and get one. Bonzer!

State Run Radio State Run Radio 12″

This is OK. Kinda boring, nothing particularly attention-grabbing about this record. Generic, homogenized melodic punk. Kinda similar to, say, NAKED RAYGUN, but with all the cool parts left out. Only six songs, so at least there’s that.

Surrogates Surrogates demo cassette

Holy shit, this is a white-hot ripper from Minneapolis’s SURROGATES. If you like some nasty metallic hardcore punk à la WARTHOG, ELECTRIC CHAIR, and FAIRYTALE, you’ll dig this. Lead singer Lulu delivers frantic vocals over crunchy guitars and furious hardcore beats, letting up on the gas exactly zero times throughout the entirety of the cassette. I recommend “Waste” and “Repellent” as standouts, but every track here is worth a listen.

Sympos More Sympos EP

What an absolute joy this was to discover. From the most un-Oi!-like choppy, angular guitar stabs to the distinctly Waterfordian accent, I was immediately shaken from the malaise that a thousand crappy “Oi! in name alone” releases that are farted out by labels that should know better will sink you into. As indebted to the first-wave ’77 mob and anorak-clad post-punkers as traditional skinhead fare, it’s undoubtedly more musically complex than one might expect. However, the lyrical content, with tongue embedded firmly in cheek, covers topics as broad as “fighting down the pub,” “drinking down the pub,” and “car insurance”—it’s a lot of fun crammed into its all-too-brief runtime.

Terror 83 Demo 12″

Brazillian-style harcore from Sweden? OK, let’s go. This disc has five tracks of original music and five covers of tunes by PSYKOZE, MERCENARIAS, and OLHO SECO. I wish I knew Portuguese because this shit rips! Two of my favorites are PSYKOZE’s “Buracos Suburbanos” (“Suburban Holes”) and “Santa Igreja” (by MERCENARIAS.) Both have catchy choruses and great bopping rhythms. Musically, TERROR 83 plays crisp and clean with crunchy guitars and a solid rhythm section.

Terror Y Miseria Destruyendo y Sembrando LP

Anarcho-punk project heavily linked with crust and hardcore, from a collective of members that are from Spain and Argentina. Destruyendo y Sembrando was recorded between 2020 and 2021 in both countries mentioned, and features artwork illustrated by Max Vadalá, a graphic artist active in punk subculture mostly in Argentina and Latin America. The album compiles ten tracks about anarchy and the present state of the oppressive system of state domination, the media’s dominance over the population, immigration and anti-terrorism politics, and the everyday struggle against the capitalist status quo. Favorite tracks: “Destruyendo y Sembrando,” with a powerful poetic evocation about monotony and inertia and alienation, and “Urubu,” more aligned with a street punk tempo. Full of passion and heart, enthusiastically recommended for those who believe in and want a better world with no oppression or state violence, and are willing to stand and give the daily fight against government power.

Terry Call Me Terry LP

There’s a fairly crowded field of modern OZ DIY bands trafficking in jangly pop with post-punk smarts that owes more than a little to their nation’s ’80s greats (the GO-BETWEENS, the CANNANES, the PARTICLES, etc.), and TERRY has been one of the best of that bunch. Call Me Terry is their first full-length since 2018’s I’m Terry, which was itself the third in a rapid-fire succession of three LPs in three years, and even though previous TERRY efforts have always been skillful exercises in contrasts (the blurring of macro and micro lyrical concerns, perky melodies laced with darker subtexts, meticulously crafted pop song structures that still retain a feeling of shambolic looseness), it’s even more dialed-in this time around. With their multi-part guy/gal harmonies and non-stop carousel of hooks, tracks like “Centuries” and “Gold Duck” could have tumbled straight out of the International Pop Underground convention, but listen closely and the lyrics will shatter any lightweight twee fantasies—TERRY turns their focus to subjects ranging from colonialism to bodily autonomy to late-stage capitalist wealth disparities, and does so in a brutally honest and direct way without ever being didactic or clichéd. “Excuses” is a fuzzed-out stomper calling out the toxicity of privilege (“Blazer boys take after father / No excuses, knowing loopholes / Excuses for the entrenched”) before collapsing into a jumbled skronk of horns, and “Jane Roe” continues a dialogue that was started on an identically-titled but completely different song from the band’s previous LP, with playfully buzzing keys and shuffling beats circling a deceptively sugary-sweet chorus (“Baby, baby, baby / It’s a choice / It’s yours / You choose”) that’s more timely than ever. The most understatedly punk album of 2023.

The Boyfriends Wrapped Up in a Dream LP

From NYC in the late ’70s, this is rock’n’roll that is clearly influenced by the likes of the NEW YORK DOLLS and the HEARTBREAKERS on the one hand and power pop of that era on the other hand. Overall, it’s damn good. It looks like some of these cuts were released as singles while others come from demos and other recordings. While overall very good, there’s definitely a range in the quality of individual songs. The title cut and “Voice on the Line” are standouts for me, but there are others right up there. Others are a little too rock’n’roll-y for me.

The Breath Promo 2021 cassette

Yokohama’s the BREATH’s Promo 2021 cassette consists of a unique blend of thrashing fast hardcore, an eclectic approach to hardcore punk that includes breakdowns and rule-bending styles that doesn’t resort to the tradition. Everything from YOUTH OF TODAY to SDS to contemporary hardcore punk like GLUE to NEGAZIONE/RAW POWER Italian hardcore style. Their fuzzed-out, blown-out speaker-style guitar resembles LINK WRAY’s blown-out speakers instead of the CONFUSE/GAI Kyushu noisecore approach. Despite its musically challenging approach, the lyrics are pure direct political expressions of the struggles of marginalized communities, as well as a more constructive, positive approach to working to achieve a brighter future.

The Dark Dressing the Corpse LP

The songs on this album were recorded by Cleveland punks the DARK in 1984. If you like T.S.O.L. circa “Code Blue” or early MISFITS, then you should absolutely listen to this album. The riff-heavy, freakout-style hardcore blends seamlessly with the deathrock atmosphere and creates a haunting realm similar to partying in a cemetery after dark.

The Hell The Hell LP

The latest LP from Cleveland’s the HELL consists of ten tracks of pure fast and furious hardcore punk, like a sober, Darby Crash-fronted Pick Your King-era POISON IDEA, but too Midwestern to avoid DIE KREUZEN-ness. With energetic bursts of ferocity, the guitar sounds like they stole their vintage guitar enthusiast uncle’s amp and blew out the speakers because they couldn’t make it sound loud enough. No-frills, no bullshit, no metal, straight-ahead hardcore attack.

The Neanderthals The Neanderthals in Space LP reissue

It’s funny to me that punks have always been so drawn to the kitschy. When bands do it, it worries me that it will only distract from the overall quality of the music they’re making. There’s definitely a space/universe theme going on here. Also noteworthy is that they choose to cover some legendary rock’n’roll songs. Musically, there’s a huge lean towards ’50s and ’60s rock’n’roll/rockabilly/garage/surf. A good number of the songs are instrumentals. Originally released in 2005.

The Neanderverbs The Neanderverbs CD

From Virginia comes this plodding guitar rock combo. The vocals are monotone and recorded in that “sing a line, punch in another” style to give a “singing at yourself” vibe. The songs are mainly all the same tempo, and there’s some nice reverb-laden guitars and maybe a tambourine in there. I would give them a DEADBOLT or DMZ comparison. It’s thankfully only six songs, and one’s a not very interesting L7 cover. Move it along, fellas.

The Obsessions The Obsessions LP

Skuzzy, tough punk from Vienna. Not as fast as REGULATIONS or as tuneful as the VICIOUS, the OBSESSIONS are still somehow reminiscent of both. They keep things tight in the pocket with mid-tempo but propulsive beats, a wooly thick guitar tone, repetitive vocals, and driving bass lines. A sense of exasperated frustration cuts through in the stark choruses and punctuated hooks. I kept waiting for a blazing fast face-melter to kick things up a notch…but that never materialized. That’s just as well, because the OBSESSIONS still rip in their own way, trading in speed for attitude and anxiety. Best kind of bad vibes.

The Passengers Coming Down / What Lasts Forever 7″

This lathe-cut 7″ is the latest single from San Diego’s the PASSENGERS. The tracks sound like a continuation of their 2021 full-length Under the Cruel Light: emotionally charged, synth-heavy goth rock with catchy, deep-end crooning. The two songs offered on this record are much the same, with layers of synth playfully dancing with drifting and distorted guitars. The baritone bass vocals are featured right in front and help to balance the tonal range. Both tracks are totally danceable, and either would make a great addition to your favorite gothic playlist.

The Reflecting Skin II cassette

Another three songs and nine minutes of rank sludge punk to sit with this Leeds band’s first tape from early 2022. They’re faster and more hardcore-leaning this time out compared to the BRAINBOMBS vibes sloshing around the debut, though I still catch a black metal street punk influence, especially on “Irreversible Damage.” The goth-y guitar refrain on “Grimace” totally works too, cutting through the mire without cleaning anything up in doing so. Suspect the REFLECTING SKIN hasn’t gotten in enough faces live for the word to really spread yet, because this is blown-out, sloppy, and brutal in all the best ways.

The Wasps Punkryonics: Singles & Rare Tracks 1977–1979 LP

The WASPS were an East London act who got together in 1976. They played a mix of ’77 punk, histrionic glam, and new age power pop (imagine a fairly organic mashup of EATER, the QUICK, and the POINTED STICKS). They put out one pretty great single (“Teenage Treats” / “She Made Magic”) on an independent label in 1977 that garnered modest acclaim. Then they spent the next couple of years tweaking their lineup and sound trying to court a major label, which they managed when they put out their less-great single “Rubber Cars” on RCA in 1979. It wasn’t particularly well received, despite the band claiming it was RCA’s fastest selling single the week that it was released (…OK) and was destined to be a number one hit had the label backed it (impossible to prove, but seems doubtful). In any case, the band imploded shortly after the record came out. This release is a vinyl reissue of an odd-and-sods collection that came out on CD back in 2003, now expanded with a couple of bonus live tracks. It features all of their studio recordings, some live tracks, and maybe some rough demos—seventeen songs in total. The studio cuts are pretty fantastic and are definitely worth your time if you’ve never heard the band. The rest is probably nice if you’re a fan of the act, but won’t be much of a selling point to anyone else.

Tick Ignorance is Bliss cassette

From what I can gather, TICK is from New York City, a town that is apparently somewhere on the East Coast of the US of A and I’m told is a bit famous, but I couldn’t tell you for sure. They are a three-piece and Ignorance is Bliss is their third cassette recording, with eight songs. I am not sure what to really think about the band. The music has a raw punk energy and I can imagine them being very enjoyable live. I like TICK best when they deliver short, sharp shocks of direct, snotty tupa-tupa UK82 punk with delectable sing-alongs, as the very primitive production and the clear guitar sound work well with that style. Early US hardcore and deathrock are also very present influences and I guess they lose me a bit along the way with these, but then it might have to do with the fact that the other songs made me expect old-school UK punk to drink cider to. Not bad at all, and I think TICK might appeal to a lot of punks because they are energetic and have great sarcastic lyrics, but they are just too much on the US side of the hardcore spectrum. And is it me, or does the logo look like the Transformers logo?

Timmy’s Organism Lone Lizard LP

I never much got into TIMMY’S ORGANISM, and not for any good reason. I listened to Timmy Vulgar’s other combos EPILEPTIX and CLONE DEFECTS, but kinda drifted off about the time the whole Horizontal Action zine scene was no longer. Well, seven albums and a zillion singles later, I’m rocking this pretty hard. The description of the STOOGES meets HAWKWIND is one I can’t really argue with, though I’d put a little BLUE ÖYSTER CULT and GRAND FUNK in there as well. Purely a ham-fisted, Midwest sci-fi wah-wah experience like only Michigan can provide. It’s a little long, but really, this should be a big gatefold LP complete with a dayglo poster for your bedroom wall. Catch them when they play your town or don’t, as I think Mr. Vulgar is gonna be at it for longer than his hearing lasts.

Completed Exposition & Blackphone666 / Transient & Bastard Noise split EP

Nothing makes me happier than seeing BASTARD NOISE still active and evolving after over thirty years of making ears bleed. Their most recent reincarnation has them teamed with Portland grindcore vehicle TRANSIENT, a partnership that has blossomed over the last several years. This pairing takes up the A-side, and it’s pretty much what you’d expect. Brutal powerviolence infused with classic industrial. COMPLETED EXPOSITION takes up the B-side and continues the flow with a style of death-grind that mirrors CARCASS mixed with MAN IS THE BASTARD. Go figure. A wonderful slab to add the collection for any extreme music fan.

Tunic Wrong Dream LP

I don’t think TUNIC has the roar or bluster of the noisiest noise rock. Under the screech and scream of the guitars are some almost emo/post-hardcore rhythms of the bass and drums, more FUGAZI than PISSED JEANS. But when there is dissonance, it’s used to great effect. It pushes against the catchier parts to create a disturbing, unsettling feel. This really shows on songs like “Disease” and “Protected,” which feature sharp, siren-like guitar sounds over a steadier, easier bass line. This record sounds intentional without being over-baked or clunky.

Ultimo Resorte No Hay Tiempo Que Perder LP

Here’s a delightful slice of punk history. ÚLTIMO RESORTE was an integral part of Barcelona, Spain’s punk-cum-hardcore scene in the early ’80s. Providing the connective tissue between the first generation of Spanish punk and the initial Spanish hardcore wave, ÚLTIMO RESORTE reflects this evolution in three releases compiled on one fat slab of wax. No Hay Tiempo Que Perder brings together the band’s seven-song self-titled 7” EP from 1982, their five-song 12” EP from the following year, as well as six bonus tracks from their 1981 demo. The band had quite a few lineup changes during their existence from 1979 to 1984, resulting in a hodgepodge of influences that pulled their sound in varying directions. Thankfully, their genre-dabbling produced killer results! Ranging from fast and gritty hardcore à la ELECTRIC DEADS, to more direct UK-inspired punk in the realm of VICE SQUAD, ÚLTIMO RESORTE managed to chart their own path with fierce vocalist Silvia Escario leading the charge. In an interview I read, Escario speaks of the impact that MDC had on the Barcelona scene, compelling the punks to play faster and write more politically-focused lyrics. Overall, this is an incredibly well-produced retrospective. The sound quality is great, even on the demo tracks, and the material holds up beyond its significance historically. Punk rules! Check this out if you need a reminder.

Ultra Razzia Jusqu’au Bout de la Nuit LP

Very little warms the cockles of this cynical old herbert more than a good ol’ fashioned slab of Francophone Oi!, and ULTRA RAZZIA has done so in spades. Not quite as brickwall as broader scene contemporaries FORCE MAJEURE or FUERZA BRUTA, instead a slighter darker take on the genre, without fully slipping into the type of glacial post-punkery that has snuck in round the fringes. Certainly on the heavier end of the scale for Oi!, with riffs like treacle and bass that could cause a hazard to shipping, but never quite losing that “get your mate in a headlock” sing-along chorus that keeps us coming back for more. Keep it coming.

Unified Action Unified Action LP

Hailing from around Newcastle, United Kingdom is UNIFIED ACTION, a band whose members boast an impressive resume that includes bands like EXTORTION, TIED DOWN, and CONTROL, among others. As one may suspect from this lineup, UNIFIED ACTION delivers straight, fast hardcore punk. Originally released on cassette tape, this demo has gotten the vinyl treatment, which I would say it has earned. All the tunes here are solid, filled with aggression and fast semi-blasts. The INFEST cover is neat, if a bit unnecessary in my opinion. Definitely one to check out if you’re into bands like the aforementioned INFEST, or VOORHEES and the like.

Grawlixes / Unknown Liberty Chaos NY split EP

If you love CONFUSE, you will adore GRAWLIXES precisely because, just like you, they also love CONFUSE, and therefore loving GRAWLIXES is like loving the love for CONFUSE, if you know what I mean. The band is from Albany and some of its members played in NEUTRON RATS, if that rings a bell. There are four songs on their side, very well executed given the template: it’s fuzzy, loud, distorted, fun, a bit silly and delightfully pogoable. Proper punk music. Ten or fifteen years ago, there were a lot of bands doing the Japanese noisepunk thing (like the WANKYS or SAD BOYS, for instance), and I reckon GRAWLIXES do it with gusto. On the other side, we have UNKNOWN LIBERTY, who are mostly unknown I guess, from nearby Kingston—a band that I had noticed with their rather good Chain of Madness demo tape last year. They also have a Japanese hardcore punk influence, but they don’t rely as much on the Kyushu tradition as GRAWLIXES, although there certainly is a noisy distortedness about them and they do love some feedback in their punk. On that level, I am reminded of CFDL and crasher hardcore bands like (Osaka’s) ICONOCLAST or DECEIVING SOCIETY, but UNKNOWN LIBERTY also has a more versatile side and they do add some nice dissonant guitar leads, not unlike some Italian greats maybe. The vocals are harsh and insane-sounding, and as the crude dove logo suggests, they obey the peacecrust doctrine. This is a split that I would love to own.

Verzet Verzet demo cassette

This is the first demo tape from VERZET, a brand new band from Belgium, and I have to say that, sadly, I am unconvinced. It is just not my cup of tea. Not that the band sounds terrible—they don’t, and I’m not just saying this magnanimously to not hurt their feelings and get my ass kicked—but I don’t really understand what they are trying to achieve. I can hear a lot of old-school American hardcore, especially in the upfront vocal flow and tone. The music sounds energetic but the songwriting tends to lose focus in the process (as do I). This said, I can imagine people into the US hardcore school of thought enjoying this demo. And I imagine them wearing bandanas. Definitely wearing bandanas and trainers.

Warkrusher Epitaph / Victims of Mortality 7″

This is a record I have been anxiously awaiting since I first heard the band’s convincing 2019 demo. If the tape’s cover was pretty much unreadable, the content was certainly more clear and unambiguous: stenchcore for the unwashed. I suppose the rather unoriginal name did give it away, and an experienced linguist would have easily hypothesized that WARKRUSHER would probably sound like a cross between BOLT THROWER’s War Master and HELLKRUSHER. Not bad at all professor, thanks for dropping by. WARKRUSHER is from the prolific Montreal hardcore punk scene, and the members have played in a bunch of other bands that you have probably heard of like NAPALM RAID, PMS 84, and PARASYTES. This is the band’s first endeavour into the world of vinyl and it is, as I hoped, an absolute winner. The production is much better, crunchier and groovier, than on their previous recordings (and I do really enjoy the Pils Session, and not just because it is a terrible pun I wish I had come up with)—it just sounds heavier and more aggressive without falling into the merciless “we wish we were a death metal band” trap which is the equivalent of the Odyssey’s Sirens for crust bands. WARKRUSHER loves filthy metal, but they are in essence a punk band. There are two songs on this 7”; the A-side is a classic mid-paced stenchcore track reminiscent of early HELLSHOCK, SANCTUM, and early ’10s CANCER SPREADING. On the other side, “Visions of Mortality” opens with some AXEGRINDER-esque synth which always gets my attention straight away; it is the equivalent of a whistling toy for crusties. This one is probably more epic and I can picture myself riding a war horse (or more realistically a friendly pony) in the wasteland. What I especially like about WARKRUSHER is that they play the genre exactly as it is supposed to be played and write proper songs instead of just offering a D-beat version of BOLT THROWER. One of the best old-school crust bands around, without a doubt. The tape version of this gem has three additional tracks, two covers from AXEGRINDER and COITUS and an original.

Warm Girls Warm Girls demo cassette

A GIRLS AT OUR BEST-referencing band name and a cover of a LUNG LEG song? This new Richmond, Virginia group sure had my number! That pair of reference points had me fully expecting some spiky, effervescent girl-gang post-punk from their demo, only for it to take a decidedly tougher and darker turn—half of the members of WARM GIRLS also played in the RVA noise punk band GUMMING, so add some gnarled SST damage to the Rough Trade/Slampt equation and you’ll be getting much closer. A rumbling bass grind stabilizes the rhythmic lurch of tracks like “Moonsick (Claire’s Song)” and “Maila Nurmi,” topped with petulant, punctuated shouts that recall NOTS or early PRIESTS, while the more animated vocal delivery and wiry guitar jabs thrown into “Inertia” and their take on LUNG LEG’s “Kung Fu on the Internet” (a cover choice worthy of a chef’s kiss) add some bright, charmingly messy strokes of art-punk color to the WARM GIRLS landscape. Solid!

Wired Up A Little Somethin’ EP

I’ve always had a fondness for daft yobbo music; the harder end of glam, the sort of garish dopey nonsense for people like yours truly that consider Noddy Holder as sort of totemic figure in their life. “Take your brain out” tunes. So I was encouraged to see a release from a band called WIRED UP, clearly taking inspiration from the HECTOR classic. The opening promised so much, swaggering hard glam being the name of the game, but like so much contemporary bootboy-adjacent music, the vocals emulated a cartoon bullfrog and immediately cast me into an existential crisis for the next 45 minutes. Lyrically, it isn’t much better, with one tune in particular focussing on that noirest of bêtes for skinheads, People Who Aren’t Proper Skinheads. Which is all well and good, except that I heard a presumably grown adult using the word “cosplay” and immediately turned the fucking thing off for good. Still, nice to hear a BRONSKI BEAT mention in 2023.

Wound Man Human Outline LP

This is a monster of a powerviolence album. Brutal, pummeling and unrelentingly hurtful. The short songs are so chaotic and frenetic that feel like being hit in the face and loving every single blow. But what I really love about WOUND MAN is how they manage to handle the riff-a-rama and all the violent spurts of noise (what a hell of a drummer they have, btw) with more sinister-sounding slow tempos that are incredibly heavy and tense and violent. This album is on repeat in this writer’s house.