Neck Chop

Baby’s Blood Everybody Looks Like A Fucking Idiot EP

Four songs of nasty, bad attitude rock courtesy of DREW OWEN and his Finnish compatriots. I thought the quality of life was better there. Why so pissed off? It’s fast and furious sped-up thrashy garage punk. It’s ugly, mean, and even a bit funny. Right, “Sex Punk”?

Judy and the Jerks Friendships Formed in the Pit LP

I went to see this band knowing nothing about them beyond their incredible name, lost my mind and bought every single tape. Now they have a perfect EP (on Thrilling Living) and this LP, which is a compilation of songs from the cassettes, so even if your walkman doesn’t work anymore, you can listen to their sick SIN 34-style attack from the comfort of your home! An indescribably charismatic singer that is like circa 1981 Keith Morris meets Debbie Harry! For real! I usually find reproduction music to be a dull and tiresome endeavor because for the most part it is! Hardcore has gotten tired and boring, a perfect simulation of something real made by modern archivists; but why would you listen to an imitation when you can just listen to something from when the sound was invented/perfected?! Like who is choosing a modern simulacrum band over the original sound?? You know we are at the end of the world and punks do not give a fuck about wasting resources on reissuing a 1985 demo of a 10th rate band on vinyl with a crappy live set on the other side… So in the face of all of that noise and disdain comes a band with total spit-in-your-face fuck you joy, a band that takes sounds from that first Decline of Western Civilization movie and edits out the stuff they don’t need and makes something cool and charismatic and explosive. It’s called personality, folks! Most repro-HC bands are wax works! These punks are from Hattiesburg, Mississippi and are making an incendiary sound that, yes, is adjacent to the first RED CROSS record, but it’s full of wild pleasure and ideas and kicks! And yes the B-side of this LP is full of cover versions (from FLOORPUNCH to DIE KREUZEN to the GO-GO’S!) but this record is a good time, it’s losing your mind at 3AM at a rest stop with your best friends, surreal jokes you’ve forgotten the origin of, and the reality of walking while female in a small town…

Lost System Left Behind LP

Doom and gloom rain-soaked goth punk here, drowned in atmospheric synth and chorus-inflected bass. Blank, disaffected vocals intone over a downward spiral death-disco of chopped and sped-up CURE riffs, the concoction owing much to contemporaries like DIAT or TOTAL CONTROL. “You Won’t Find Me Now” builds into a chaotic maelstrom of psychotic drums and sax blurts that for some reason reminds me of the first ICEAGE album, more in the claustrophobic feelings generated than actual sound. The album closes with the nine-minute-long epic title track, which, rather than take the group into new sonic dimensions, simply takes the ideas of the previous seven songs and spaces them out, murdering one riff and repeating to infinity. A bleak but not unenjoyable listen for these dark times. 

Natural Man Band Electrical Man EP

The first song seemingly intentionally quotes directly from a DEVO song in the intro, then speeds into a birdcrash explosion of UKDIY Midwestern art school relentlessness. This definitely feels like a band that would have played with the EMBARRASSMENT in 1982. The second song is too funky for this hater, but I like the lyrics a lot: “Don’t ever trust your city to take care of you.” Watch out for that Michigan water, no one else is! The music is a total wash over sound: there’s no space, just a swathe of chants and sax and guitar tumble. Seems like the Midwest is alive with pleasure and here’s some audio to take you there?

Neo Neos Kill Someone You Hate LP

Really obnoxious, generally speedy, one-man band type garbage can pop from the impressively—perhaps destructively—prolific NEO NEOS. Generally speaking, some songs are so purely conceived, they would sound great in any setting, with any kind of production value. These are not those songs. The joy (or anger) of this record comes from the fact it sounds like shit: a cacophony of useless punk made useful by sheer volume and repetition. It’s a feat of will and hubris that’s commendable. A good record.

Nosferatu A Field of Hope: Two Years of Decline & Decay LP

Imagine if a band worshipped (and studied, or just felt) KORO the way that DISCLOSE was obsessed with DISCHARGE, but in addition to being able to write songs that do justice to all the idiosyncrasies of the 700 Club EP, they also attempted to hypothetically fill in the gaps as to what a few subsequent KORO records might have sounded like if they had expanded on their initial sound (think DIE KREUZEN’s EP to LP transition, for one), but not lost any of what made them vital. I don’t think that’s what NOSFERATU has actively set out to do, and I’m not about to project any mythology here, but it damn sure sounds like it. I believe this LP collects everything not on the Solution A LP, which is not only great to have in one place, but my sole complaint about their Sounds of Hardcore EP was that it was mastered too quietly, and so it’s nice to have it at the volume it deserves. We are lucky to exist at the same time as these manic masters.

Penance Hall Covered in Shit / Take Me to the Bar Fight 7″

PENANCE HALL is a lo-fi downer/synth-punk duo made up of Robert Watson Craig III (a.k.a. BUCK BILOXI or GIORGIO MURDERER) and Michael He-Man (TRAMPOLINE TEAM). And each dude seems to get a side on this 7″. The BUCK side, “Covered in Shit,” sounds like GIORGIO MURDERER doing a chopped and screwed remix of a SPITS track. If you’re not a big fan of Mr. MURDERER’s work, this track likely isn’t going to do it for you, as it’s just a slight tweak to his usual formula (which I happen to love). But you have to give this Michael He-man side a spin! “Take Me to the Bar Fight” is a catchy little number that gives off seedier and more pessimistic vibes than a song about literally being covered in shit. Just absolutely stellar work!

S.B.F. Same Beat Forever LP

Damn, they really weren’t kidding. Programmed drums pretty much stick to the same beat the whole time, but this sounds raw and punk as fuck. Drum machines can create chaos; I don’t know why some people aren’t convinced of this. I’m hella in it when they do a more hardcore vibe, but sometimes they lose me with the more standard rock stuff. Luckily, this only happened twice, and this record goes hard as fuck pretty much the whole time. I would really love to hear this sound further developed and experimented with. I like this record a lot, but I’m even more interested to see where this could go.

The Suburban Homes The Suburban Homes EP 3

Originally intended as their second release, and as such a bit on the older side, this EP nevertheless represents one more broadside in the HOMES’s attack on modern punk complacency. Definitely utilizing all the tools in the DESPERATE BICYCLES repair kit (the track “City Life” in particular borrows liberally from “Advice On Arrest”), they still manage to create something that feels now and vital.