Reviews

Kibou

Froggy & The Ringes Soft ”G” EP

Who said garage is dead? FROGGY & THE RINGES are here to prove them wrong. Their style is like an uncut gem. You hear repetitive rock’n’roll riffs played to exhaustion, topped with sharpened guitar solos and a voice closer to street punk/Oi! than garage. Something like if they would’ve been listening a lot to the early HIVES records and then tried to play similarly while high on speed. In brief, a predominance of mid-tempos, dirty sound, an aggressive vocal style, and unhinged, humorous lyrics, that make Soft “G” a good and different record. For sure deserves a listen.

Hazard Profile Slime EP

Snotty hardcore from the UK that immediately reminded me of CHAOS UK and the more contemporary PI$$ER, and as it turns out they share members with both, as well as FUK, the WANKYS, and a slew of others. HAZARD PROFILE plays jangly, wanking blasts, kind of like a looser HARD TO SWALLOW meets SUICIDAL SUPERMARKET TROLLEYS with the maniacal energy of PLEASANT VALLEY CHILDREN. The attitude and grimacing is over the top, and this is a great pint-drinking, loud night kind of EP. Five tracks of boot-stomping, slightly crossover slam punk with blasts and palpable negativity. My favorite track being “Rubble & Bones” (“Nothing fucking matters / Nothing fucking matters / We”ll soon be…”), which starts out with a moment of THIN LIZZY-like intro soloing and immediately dominates into a nihilistic beating. HAZARD PROFILE is ugly, cold, and prickly on the ears; I imagine a live set to be significantly more embittered.

Körd Värld Total Distortion EP

I love to find out about new bands that get you excited about punk again, and it’s even more exciting when you find out that it is made by hardcore legends. Total Distortion is a killer hardcore debut from the two-headed monster that is KÖRD VÄRLD, featuring Charlie Claesson (of ANTI-fucking-CIMEX) and James Domestic (of the DOMESTICS). They already play together in the “hardcore gone jazzy” hybrid PI$$ER, but this time they went all-out hardcore. Equal parts ANTI CIMEX and POISON IDEA, this debut is a great show of hardcore, and how Scandinavia was always one step ahead from the rest. Great to see veterans in the game teaching the kids a lesson in hardcore.

Las Ratapunks Fracaso 2020 EP

Badass punkers via smalltown Peru tear you a new one. Fast, raw, and in your hole, LAS RATAPUNKS blaze through six songs in like two minutes. “Las NiÁ±as” is my personal fave. Like a slick, polished GRIMA with some ADOLESCENTS “whoa whoa”s and melodies. Cool-as-fuck artwork. Dig it.

Pi$$er Crushed Down to Paste LP

I’m certainly intrigued when the first track is called “Jazz Wasps.” Holy shit, I haven’t heard anything with horns in a while. And to hear it working in a punk record is wild and surprising. This is like if the poetic rhythm of INSTIGATORS played as hard as SPITE UK or POLICE BASTARD but with saxophones! The bold venture alone is worth acknowledgement, but damn, I’m really moved by this. Fire solos, steady D-beat with slightly snotty, slightly robotic vocals. Chaos ensues! Some tracks are as fast and outrageous as GAUZE, others as heavy and classically-driven as DOOM. As a saxophone player in my youth, I kind of always wanted to trill over hardcore punk or even ambient black metal, and I find PI$$ER hugely inspiring. The horns are complementary to both guitar and bass—not to be ignored, but in no way steer the intention away from punk. This seriously fucking works! And I’m going nowhere near the “S-word.” More like JOHN ZORN playing DISCHARGE, SORE THROAT, or PLEASANT VALLEY CHILDREN. War-siren, dismal alto octave dissidence as fuck. Lyrics about living and learning and gaining those experiences. “Life = Art / Art = Life!,” as it says in the liner notes. Agreed. I’m not going to get into the amazing band connections this group has, that is not the point. This is totally new. A rad project you’ve done here, PI$$ER.

V/A Pulsebeat LP

As we witness the decay of the physical parts of punk, like the disappearance of the printed word and the records we used to hold in our hands, one of the earliest casualties was always going to be the compilation LP. These motherfuckers are hard to make good, you know? It’s like going to those goddamn ten band bill shows, where five people watch the band they came to see, and everyone goes outside to smoke during the rest of the night. So when I hear a comp LP in 2019 of bands I’ve never heard of and find it to be completely listenable and varied, I get pretty fucking stoked. Slobbery two-finger metal, tolerable Fat stuff, pop punk, dark synthy post-punk, drooling robo punk, cleaned-up crust, and even some fucking ska metal. I gotta hand it to these fine folks, as this is all over the place and still not fucking terrible. There’s a shit ton of sneer and bile in almost all the vocals, like every singer went to the same laryngitis-inducing singing school. Seventeen tracks, and financed by seven different record labels, which is kinda goofy, but hey, that’s the price you gotta pay to put out records in a time when nobody is buying. Definitely worth checking out.