Cromo En Otro Lugar EP

This Spanish three-piece puts out a strong effort here. Kinda poppy, kinda dark, hella catchy. Musically this has elements that bring to mind the MARKED MEN, the LILLINGTONS, and SCREECHING WEASEL while remaining original enough to keep the listener interested. Six songs in total, one of which sounds like SCREECHING WEASEL’s “Hey Suburbia” with the chords slightly switched and in a different key, and one entitled “P.I.D. (Paul is Dead)” which has the vocal pattern of the BEATLES’ “Help” during the verses, which now makes me wonder if that was intentional?

Enemic Interior Enemic Interior cassette

Amazing cassette with five songs in Catalan. I feel like they have some post-punk moments and some Oi! moments, and I really, really appreciate that. The track that really catches me from this tape is “Les Vies,” ‘cause I love some hardcore drums and then some “tupa tupa,” but I mean, every song on this cassette is fucking great.

Finale Vision de Futuro LP

If you check out their Bandcamp page, you’ll see Valencia, Spain four-piece FINALE tagged as DEVO-core or egg-punk. While I’m certainly a fan of bands that have borne those labels, it was refreshing to dig into this LP and find neither to be appropriate. This lacks the hallmark herky-jerkiness of DEVO-core and isn’t really wacky enough to qualify as egg-punk (though, to be fair, I think I heard a faint mouth harp on one track—that’s pretty wacky, I guess). There are a couple of tracks on here that flirt with some funk rhythms, but for the most part this LP is full of loose, garage-y KBD punk with some great quacky vocals. It reminds me of BITS OF SHIT with cleaner guitars or, on the slower tracks, EDDY CURRENT SUPPRESSION RING. I’m into it!

Hogar Todos Contra Todos LP

It’s just like me to wait until the end of summer is in sight for the perfect record for the season to fall in my lap. This tight ten-tracker is bright, fast, and sharp, with more hooks per capita than I can keep track of. Firstly, the bassist is a mad scientist. So many bass players forget how much melody they can pack their toolbox with. Not so with mononymously-credited Javato. I’m spending a lot of ink (or RAM, I guess) to focus on this because he’s so goddamn good. The bouncy tunefulness of early GREEN DAY in the least corny way possible, and it anchors the whole three-piece’s sound, which is chameleonic in how it can slip from hazy, golden hour heavy pop to necksnappers from track to track. Highest marks, though, go to a song the repeat button was made for, “Intruso.” It’s that riff we all love, you’ll know when you hear it. But it goes places with it you don’t expect, and with the whole band backing up the vocals you can’t help but shout along. This is a joyous blast of punk with the faintest whisper of garage—if this were a martini, the garage would be the vermouth and have just rinsed the glass, but I’m damn glad it’s there. Celebrate the end times of summer with this stunner from Spain.

Mausoleo Absolución LP

MAUSOLEO it’s a post-punk band from Valencia. They call their sound “devotional punk” and certainly there’s a spiritual quest quality to their music: super melodic and dark arpeggiated riffs, deep and throbbing bass lines, and pounding drums. It’s Andrés Sanabria’s voice that gives the band an almost ethereal idiosyncrasy. Sonically, they thrive in the space created by their hometown’s ANTIGUO RÉGIMEN and the legacy of Spanish bands like DÉCIMA VÍCTIMA, or, at least in vocals and lyrics, GOLPES BAJOS. The record is great. “Mausoleo” is a hell of an album opener, somber and beautiful, “Paredón” quickly takes us to a sort of celebration of personal dismay. My favorites: “Sodomizado” with that irresistible SISTERS OF MERCY type of guitar riff and “Dogma,” with a crystalline guitar tone and a fast and interesting riff, like KILLING JOKE without the metal leanings. They also have a pretty cool cover of Valladolid’s punk band QLOACA LETAL. Get the vinyl, the artwork is awesome. You won’t regret it.

Nunca Nada Discordia LP

This was a total surprise. Composed of two ex-members of Spain’s darkwavers ANTIGUO RÉGIMEN and another one from TERCER SOL, Discordia is NUNCA NADA’s first album. It has a really stern sound: lyrics are direct, pointing out the futility of life, while guitar, bass, and drums sketch impressionistic sketches of gloom. Love the way the band allows each instrument space to breathe. It makes the sound truly expansive, like the songs could last forever and nobody would mind. The band takes its cues from WIRE’s precision and their less-is-more approach, the more melodically rich end of British post-punk guitar, and the doomy tones of the always magnificent WIPERS. They manage to make a personal and distinctive sound out of these key influences. Discordia is a pessimistic record you can dance to. A really good companion to the long night of capitalist decay.

Satélite Otra Era LP

SATÉLITE is a Spanish band with a dark, melodic, and beautiful post-punk sound. Otra Era was released in February but it missed my radar. The album’s second song “Estado Hipnótico” condenses the themes and sounds of the whole LP: prominent bass lines, chorus pedal guitar, gorgeous melodies, and vigorous drumming with lyrics that paint paranoiac landscapes of capitalist desperation and the urge of getting the hell out it, into a new era, with new ways of living. There’s a sense in all of these songs of trying to escape the new systems of control. Some of my favorites are the pretty “Otra Era” and the disquieting “Nuevas Maneras.” If you’re into Spanish post-punk bands like DÉCIMA VÍCTIMA, or early CURE, this is for you. You can get it both digitally or on vinyl. Really cool cover design, too.

Tentáculo Cansados de Esperar LP

Straight from Triana and Nice (Spain/France), TENTÁCULO is a punk band that treads a fine line between mid-tempo melodic punk and hard rock, or NWOBHM and post-punk, with the chops and attitude of those great working class heavy metal Spanish bands from the ’80s. Whatever, we don’t need to pinpoint TENTÁCULO down anywhere: these eight songs give no-frills rock’n’roll with existential dread-themed lyrics and hook after hook after hook. “Extrañas Luces” shines with an old-school hard rock riff in contrast with the bleak pessimism in the lyrics and the energetic singalong of the chorus. Have to highlight the guitar work on this record: simple at times, but extremely melodic in a HÜSKER DÜ kind of way. The three last songs on the B-side are some serious bangers: you can imagine yourself singing with your pals in a sweat-drenched embrace at a dark small club or spitting this street poetry into a hot and humid night after a really bad day at work. Beautiful cover and design work. 

Tord Epònim EP

TORD is a solo recording project of Barcelona artist Blai Subirats Nuez, and this release appears to be their first solo effort (after a couple of splits). The EP is made up of four tracks of drum machine post-punk, pairing CURE-esque guitar atmospherics with industrial-ish beats. Some quacky vocals and a dash of eggy quirk help to keep this from being a totally rote affair, but it’s hard to say this packs any big surprises. This stuff ends up sounding best when they opt for harsher textures like on the track “Què Faràs Demà,” but everything here is listenable. A perfectly OK record!