Impotent Fetus

C-Krit C-Krit cassette

Debut tape from new band, likely from Olympia (not that anyone involved lifts a finger in the service of biographical info) and delivering some of the wrongest-sounding hardcore I’ve heard in a while. Six songs, one an incongruous SCREAMING SNEAKERS cover and (most of) the others an absurd blizzard of teen-tantrum vocals, transistor-radio guitar tone, and drums that sound like someone trying to invent the blastbeat. They’ve called one song “The Kids Will Have Their Say Pt.II,” but come off like they’re trying to pay homage to “How Much Art Can You Take?” on the wilful sub-FLIPPER joint “Army Of Cru.” There’s another curveball at the end with “My Eyes Melt,” baked-sounding dub/synth-pop with no punk to be heard—but C-KRIT, whoever they are, makes the transition work. High recommendation for shit-fi stans!

Fugitive Bubble Fugitive Bubble cassette

As 2020 pulled up stakes, FUGITIVE BUBBLE shoved this butterfly knife of speed-racket jerk anthems into its ribcage with zero remorse. It’s getting harder and harder to sort out this type of punk—the kind that is impossible to nail down with regards to its immediate antecedents. Sure, there’s some C.C.T.V. in the DNA, but with a heaping portion of KBD to make sure all six songs leave a mark. Check the boxes—jackhammer drums, rusty razor guitar spray, somersaulting rhythms, and super-sarcastic vocals that sound so cool you almost hope that they’re making fun of you. This debut tape is, no doubt, Cool Fucking Punk, which is good for you, cuz you are a Fucking Cool Punk. Whew.

Fugitive Bubble No Outside cassette

Second release from this Olympia band, and second to be issued by the Stucco label’s cassette-only imprint Impotent Fetus. It appears they’ve been whittled down to a three-piece since their debut, with the bassist taking over primary vocal duties, but I think it’s resulted in a net positive for the band. Where their last release sounded like a cartoony take on WARM BODIES (not a bad thing!), the six tracks on this cassette find them tempering some of that egginess with a little post-punk flair and ending up with a more distinct product. The vocals are more restrained and sing-songy, though still pretty monotone, and they’ve been double-tracked and reverbed, calling to mind LITHICS or later NOTS records. The guitar is a little cleaner and drenched in surf levels of reverb, but the band is still playing the same quick, nervy hardcore punk. It’s a familiar collection of sounds, but it feels like a novel assemblage. Cool stuff!

Septic Yanks Septic Yanks cassette

Stupid back-to-basics hardcore punk that was probably made by children. You’ve heard this crud before but if you’re like me, SEPTIC YANKS (what a name—you’ve gotta love it) project images in your mind of a kid tangled in a microphone cord doing a nice back/forth strut before rolling around on the grimiest basement floor and getting tube lights smashed on their back. The opening of this cassette has me singing COMBAT ZONE’s “Untamed mind, mad at the streets, anti-social mentality” which is a good rip-off even if it’s not a rip-off and I’m being presumptuous. Stand out track is the closer titled “School to Prison” which they can barely seem to grasp. Forgettable in the long run but let’s breathe every breath and enjoy all that life has to offer us.

Youth Regiment Youth Regiment cassette

Geed myself up to wax posi about how the Stucco label (of which Impotent Fetus is a spin-off) is currently doing a killer job of chronicling all these new raw Olympia HC bands on tapes with badly photocopied inlays. Then I noticed that YOUTH REGIMENT, who would otherwise be a glowing example of the form, recorded these four songs in late 2017 and are presumably long done by now, with two (both?) members carrying on in ELECTRIC CHAIR. Youth Regiment is still a worthy document if you dig the Pacific NW scene or geeky mid-paced-and-above hardcore in general. They (and the people who buffed this recording, notably Will Killingsworth on mastering) get that cruddy bass sound and slightly too springy toms just perfect; the bursts of speed kinda remind me of ADRENALIN O.D. and a guitar part or two could grace a LIQUIDS record. In summary, glad this got dug up.