No Front Teeth

Angerboys How to Profit From the Panic LP

I’m going to make a food analogy here, sorry in advance. Hardcore, like food, is best prepared from the best ingredients and prepared simply with proper seasoning. No fuss in the mixing booth, the right blend of influences and new ideas, and mastered properly. While ANGERBOYS have some of the ingredients right, namely speed, this full-length just doesn’t sound right. For one thing, it’s not mastered properly. I’m not a sound engineer or a snob, but when there are differences between the overall volume from track to track, it’s not a “who gives a fuck” punk ethos, it’s annoying. Combined with the fact that everything here sounds way too upfront, with no room to breathe in the instrumentation, and the vocals isolated and unnatural (not to mention some truly irritating lyricism)—this is just an unpleasant record altogether. Whatever happened to “community not competition,” when you have a song like “Your Band … Sucks!” (yes, punctuated like that). They even reference Bandcamp in said ten-second “fuck you” to other, presumably local, bands. Mirror, meet band, where do you think I listened to this thing?

Appaloosa No Hope for the Kids EP

Full transparency here, my buddy Ben McIsaac plays drums for this band. But I was assigned this review, not solicited. This means I have carte blanche to trash it, but I couldn’t possibly find anything bad to say about it. The first track is called “No Hope for the Kids,” which immediately makes me think of the Danish post-punk band from the mid-2000s who came up with acts like MASSHYSTERI and GORILLA ANGREB. However, they sound nothing like those bands. Instead we get this sugary-sweet power pop with beautiful melodies. Having two guitars really takes them to the next level. They’ve got these rad riffs with weird time signatures, all the while the rhythm guitar holds the harmonies just underneath rich and breathy vocals. They remind me a lot of another Seattle band called GAZEBOS. Their songs are soft and sweet, but pack a helluva punch.

Bart and the Brats Bart and the Brats LP

Lo-fi and trashy garage punk from La Rochelle, France. BART AND THE BRATS take us back to the ’90s when bands played to have a good time with their friends in a cavernous, sub-street-level, dingy club. They are humorous without being too silly. For a good time, check out “Records I Used to Hate,” “Constant Nonsense,” and “A Boss is a Boss.” But skip “Predictable,” which rhymes the title with “suck my dick-table.” Yikes.

Appaloosa / BBQT split EP

The APPALOOSA side is a surfy number with conversational vocal delivery and a modern power pop ballad in the style of HAYLEY AND THE CRUSHERS, with some elements of the GO-GO’S as well. I think fans of modern garage rock with a melodic pop sensibility are the target audience here. It may come off as a bit tame for those who prefer the raw, punk-adjacent side of the power pop coin.

Cold Callers Dressed to Die LP

I hate to judge a record by its jacket, but the antiseptic early-2000s radio rock vibe of this full length’s cover betrays the contents therein. There is nothing outright terrible about these twelve well-packaged tracks, but overall it lacks depth. The production is thin, for a start, with guitars that don’t so much crunch as gently chew and vocals that sound like they’re put through a digital telephone filter. The songwriting itself is power-pop-by-numbers—a genre that when done well can be transcendent, but so often it feels like an oversaturated market. It’s hard to say which facet of COLD CALLERS’ sound needs the biggest touch-up. If it were recorded nastier, maybe it could bang with the best of them. If the songwriting were really top-notch, maybe the squeaky-clean contemporary rock production wouldn’t matter. As it stands, this album just floats in purgatory—it’s not good enough for heaven or egregious enough for hell.

Dead Meat II EP

Meat-and-potatoes garage punk’n’roll out of London. As the title of the EP suggests, this is their second release. It’s also their second issued by long-running UK label No Front Teeth. Their Bandcamp page paints them as a modern KBD/Bloodstains act, but this sounds more like mid-aughts leopard-print shoes/bullet belt punk. It’s hard to find anything across these four tracks that really stands out positively or negatively—it’s a thoroughly fine record. It sounds like the NEW BOMB TURKS slowed down about 20% or one of those non-GG KING, post-CARBONAS bands where the songwriting isn’t quite up to snuff. The first pressing of the record comes packaged in a spray painted leather sleeve, so that’s something. If you’ve been jonesing for the sounds you’d get from some of the lower-tier Rip Off Records acts (not the easiest thing to come by these days!), this would probably scratch that same itch.

Dead Meat I’m an Infection EP

I’m not a big fan of record descriptions like “no frills” or “back to roots,” but I think either of those are pretty applicable to this EP. DEAD MEAT pulls inspiration from punk classics like X or the GERMS, and they do it well. True to fashion, none of the four tracks are longer than two minutes; plenty of time to get your aggression in, but not enough to tire you out. Although this record is pretty straightforward and familiar for most, the songs are still catchy and gnarly enough to get your kicks in. Classic punk done right.

Deseos Primitivos Deseos Primitivos LP

This is the premiere full-length LP from Oakland’s DESEOS PRIMITIVOS. With all but one clocking under two minutes, these songs don’t overstay their welcome. This record will shake you out of your complacency. Full of pit-worthy bangers, in keeping with early West Coast punk and proto-hardcore styles. Some songs have an almost anthemic quality, inspiring ESKORBUTO comparisons with shared vocal choruses that you can raise a fist to. A moment or two felt like a sped up version of the CURE’s Three Imaginary Boys, but that might just be me. DESEOS PRIMITIVOS play with many different sonic angles, and it’s a joy to hear their sound captured so effectively. A few songs are carried over from previous releases, and benefit from their reimagining here. These recordings feel cleaner and louder, while retaining the raw energy that makes this band what it is. Lyrics tackle  issues like colonization, gentrification, and homelessness. This release is one of the standouts of the year. If this has somehow slipped past your radar, be sure to remedy that.

Eel Men Are You There God, It’s Me / Meantime 7″

Smart and snappy art-punk out of London featuring members of TEN-O-SEVENS and THEE SPIVS. “Are You There God, It’s Me” is a piece of catchy mid-tempo power-pop-punk beholden to groups like ADAM AND THE ANTS and the MONOCHROME SET, while the B-side “Meantime” is more angular, with some delicious GANG OF FOUR-style slicing guitar. As their first single it shows promise, but it doesn’t do quite enough to set the EEL MEN apart from the current crop of clever UK post-punk guitar groups. That being said, I’m excited to see what they do next and if they incorporate a bit more of that nervous energy heard here on the B-side.

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.

Illegal Leather Raw Meat LP

Anyone who has followed Marco Palumbo’s exploits over the past couple of decades with his bands the GAGGERS, DISCO LEPERS, and others, knows that the London frontman has mastered the art of crafting catchy ’70s-style garage bangers, and ILLEGAL LEATHER’s cold and caustic sound pulls this classic energy into the modern age. Equipping their simple and snotty approach with digital drums and dual male/female vocals, the band makes some of the least boring pop music ever to dabble in the realms of “new wave,” keeping it urgent and never crossing into “cute.” Right from the mechanical melancholy of the anthemic opening track, I can’t help but be reminded of the SPITS. It’s timeless style delivered with machine precision and a fun sci-fi edge, grounded firmly in reality by the gun-toting gimp who graces the cover.

Illegal Leather Hate Crime / We Don’t Sleep 7″

At it’s core, this 7″ is as hardcore as hardcore can be, but there are lot of elements of industrial music, too. ILLEGAL LEATHER really strikes a good balance with just enough blasting out of their recordings to still kick a lot of ass. There are some moments where you can hear the Oi! punk influence shine bright. The vocals really do sound like they would fit well on a CRASS or DAMNED record. The industrial instrumentation sounds a lot like SPECIAL INTEREST or ZEIGENBOCK KOPF. Check this one out, it does not disappoint!

Irmans Hermano / I Wanna See You 7″

Wearing the SPITS’ influence on your sleeve is a curse, especially when you’re cranking out squeaky clean, lightly keyboarded songs like these. When the drums build up on the lead song and the keys underline the bass in true SPITS fashion, the head bobs almost as muscle memory. But these tracks, no matter the leather jacket look on the cover, have none of the meat-in-teeth maniacal energy that the band is promising. The B-side “I Wanna See You” is more satisfying, and seems truer to the band’s actual mission. It’s a jangly, melancholic sad pop song with nimble fretwork and a good hook. Stick to ’80s revival guitar pop, IRMANS, it suits you.

Klazo ‘Demik Dementia LP

Hard to believe that a two-piece can create a racket like this…also hard to believe that this particular duo just keeps getting wilder. But they do. You’ll be muttering “you fucking hippies you need your ass kicked” under your breath for weeks after you hear the opener, but the rest of this 12” slammer is even better. The very embodiment of garage hardcore, because KLAZO is decidedly both. As much as I want to blast the shit out of ‘Demik Dementia, I want to live in the world that is the morning after this kind of mania is unleashed, because I feel like KLAZO is the equalizer. Filthy, monstrous fuckery of the highest order…like if M.O.T.O. wanted to kick your ass instead of wanting to drink your beer. That’s KLAZO. They’re gonna drink your beer too, though.

Kool & the Gang Bangers Year of the Kool EP

This is lo-fi, snotty, and angry punk from Sweden. If you close your eyes and think about the SPITS, you’re probably pretty close. There are two songs about wishing someone dead (“Make You Extinct,” “Wish You Were Dead”), one that’s so blatantly RAMONES-inspired that it leans into it hard enough to come back around the other side and feel totally original (“I’m Not a Pinhead”), and one that’s just good ol’ fashioned shit-talking (“Talking Trash”). This is a two-piece that is loud enough to be four and sounds like they have the swagger to hold the stage as such. I hope to see this duo in a sweaty club or musty garage if they make it over US-ways.

La Rabbia In the Face of Atrocities LP

This is a good one. Get ready for 24 tracks of raw and in-your-face noise blasts from these London-based anarcho-punks. Formed by members of the GAGGERS, MISCALCULATIONS, and WARREN SCHOENBRIGHT, LA RABBIA (“The Rage”) contains the best bits of England’s punk; as they say in their Bandcamp bio, the classic ’77/’82 sounds. You have it all: hooligan sing-alongs, street punk defiance, classic razor-wired riffs, cool melodic sensibilities, and lyrics decrying the terrible state of the world in both English and Italian. “The Ends Don’t Justify the Means” has some really sick riffs, so vicious, almost atonal. The violent intro of “Professional Arrogance,” well, the whole damn song, gets me immediately into a frenzy. I also really like how they mix Italian and English in the song “In The Face of Atrocities,” they should do that more.  Keep an eye on LA RABBIA, they’re delivering the goods.

La Rabbia Ideological Weapons / Nostro Obitorio flexi 7″ / The Setting in Motion of Horrific Events EP

I’m so happy to review these two short blasts of inflammable devices by our favorite Italian-British band, LA RABBIA, both released last year. LA RABBIA is a London-based band with a really cool take on the sounds of anarcho-punk, with some more classic ’77 edge to it. Their last album, In the Face of Atrocities, was reviewed last year by yours truly, so I was pretty pleased by their new offerings, where they continue to explore and expand on their particular sound.  “Ideological Weapons” and “Nostro Obitorio” are two gems of pure political fury, like a goth EATER making really dark songs after reading Gramsci. Pretty neat. Now on The Setting in Motion of Horrific Events EP, the band keeps their characteristic tension but wraps it in a much more dynamic sound, somewhere between deathrock and street punk, and with a bonus point, a burgeoning ability to create great hooks and melodies. My favorite track was the one that closes the EP, “La Vulnerabilita,” with a huge, almost Oi! kind of chorus that you just want to scream at the top of your lungs. 


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 Niñas” is my personal fave. Like a slick, polished GRIMA with some ADOLESCENTS “whoa whoa”s and melodies. Cool-as-fuck artwork. Dig it.

The Freakees / Launcher split 7″

LAUNCHER plays manic punk that sounds more solidified, tighter, and crazier than their demo from last year, which was already good. They have hooks and melody, but also a wonky weirdness in the guitar that is part Greg Ginn and part just maniac energy. Total fucking bounce-off-the-walls punk. FREAKEES is more straightforward, with deranged, reverb-y vocals that are on the edge of a nervous breakdown at all times. They have an intense energy and rawness that I feel is lacking in much straightforward punk, and this is excellent to my ears.

Mala Vista Ruthless & Toothless LP

I don’t know about the rest of you, but power pop has always struck me as one of the most “dangerous” forms of music—even more so than hardcore and the like. Something about a bunch of tatted-up dudes having the confidence to play sugary-sweet rock’n’roll has one hell of an edge. Lovely album from this NYC quartet. Very reminiscent of EXPLODING HEARTS and EDDIE AND THE HOT RODS, especially with the vocals. They’re not reinventing the wheel here, but the songs are catchy as all hell and the guitars sound great with crisp, soaring riffs. Makes me nostalgic for my younger years, wandering the streets of Chicago after a couple drinks.

Miscalculations The Perfect Candidate LP

This London group is sometimes art-gothy, sometimes pop-punky, but always energetic. It often has a similar energy as the A.K.A.S (ARE EVERYWHERE!), especially in the electro/keyboard-like noises focus, or the less ska-ey end of the SUICIDE MACHINES. “The Blurred Line Between Art and Crime” is a great track to dip your toe into. It’s a danceable good time that feels unstoppable as it plugs along with juggernaut strength. “Brutalist Parade” almost feels like it’s about to bring you to an industrial show in a secret warehouse somewhere right before ending the album on one final and abrupt shout. This is a hip wigglin’ electro punk album for those that can’t help but dance when given even the slightest inspiration to do so.

Mononegatives Crossing Visual Field LP

This album is great! Speed-fed, first-gen-styled punk that is noisy, fast, and catchy. Imagine an even more caffeinated TOY DOLLS with the amps turned all the way up. Or maybe it sounds like A FRAMES with more tonal variations. Perhaps this is SPITS-worship, but without any schtick. Any way it gets chopped up, Crossing Visual Field is an absolute must-have in my collection.

Mononegatives Apparatus Division LP

Smashing debut LP by this London, Ontario group. Twelve songs in just under a half hour—I like those numbers, those numbers bode well. And these are actual songs—Apparatus Division is modern punk done right. MONONEGATIVES posit a pretty straightforward equation: take ADVERTS-by-way-of-JAY REATARD, add a hint of CHROME, cut with some jacked-up A FRAMES, and you’re about halfway there. “Living in the Age” into “Neighbots” is as good a back-to-back as I’ve heard this year. “Trauma” is like hardcore punk TUBEWAY ARMY, but don’t assume it’s all android energy bouncing around, as MONONEGATIVES has got real rock’n’roll swagger behind the motherboard. After establishing a mid-tempo groove, “Circuits in View” erupts into a suitably swinging rave-up that hits like the speediest parts of ’77. “Career Attitude” is all pent-up energy but finds the space for a couple killer hooks, while “Today’s Adult” cracks a dozen egg-punk shells in the time it takes to lace up your boots. Apparatus Division has got a perfect balance between rock grit and synthetic pulse.

Mononegatives Sure Shock EP

This 7″ is really reminiscent of the new wave of LA hardcore bands like MEATBODIES or WAND. Heavy, pummeling riffs draped in a synthed-out wall of noise that just don’t let up at any point for any reason. The band doesn’t pull any punches here, just fast and loud punk. Simple as that. Perfect for headbanging your worries away or pissing off your neighbors.

Pogy et les Kéfars Dans Ton Rétro LP

Wow. This is very cool. It’s mid-tempo and super catchy power pop with a jangly guitar. Even if the lyrics are completely lame, I will never know because they’re in French! (They’re probably super cool.) Even while maintaining the melodic nature and the group vocals, it’s got a certain herky-jerkiness to it. They’re super tight. Head-bouncing is inevitable. You won’t be able to stop it. Four of the nine cuts clock in at under two minutes. None go over three minutes. This is heaven.

Scene Killers Rev It Up 12″

The debut EP from Nottingham, England’s SCENE KILLERS is a total ripper. Members of the CRIMINALS, the HIP PRIESTS, and TV CRIME come together here like a punk rock Voltron to bring us six songs of total punk rock’n’roll badassery. The kind of record that makes you wanna brown-bag a 40 and cruise around town at night smashing shit. There’s even a cover of the REPLACEMENTS’ “Color Me Impressed,” which is especially fun to listen to with singer Jesse Luscious’ trademark vocal stylings that give the song a nice little kick in the ass. I’ll be counting the minutes until these fellas are able to come stateside for what will undoubtedly be a hell of a live show! An extra tidbit for all you nerds out there: the record comes in a bunch of cool colors.

Sick Bags Only the Young Die Good 12″

Good rock n’ roll is like pie—even if I’m already full, I can always fit in one slice. Even if I’ve spent all day listening to the stuff, glutting myself on boogying beats and barroom riffs, along comes a swift six-song EP like this and I’ll happily throw it on. It’s not breaking the mold, but it’s fun and recorded well. At its best it reminds me of NEW BOMB TURKS, which is high praise in my book. Plenty of hooks and swagger abound, though I don’t know if I’d have seconds.

Slaughter Boys Slaughter Boys LP

This San Diego band cranks out the 1979-1984 UK-style punk. Think GBH, the two-string riffing of CHELSEA, and EXPLOITED. This is a pretty solid release song wise from this trio. Thirteen tracks on this debut full-length. Good stuff for Brit punk types.

Telegenic Pleasure Concentric Grave LP

Synth punk is a style that was born perfect. Distilled down to its most primordial elements, it can be taken and re-created over and over again, and you know what? It is made of such noble stuff, that the results are always highly enjoyable. In the case of TELEGENIC PLEASURE (a band composed of members of the GAGGERS, ISOLATION PARTY, MONONEGATIVES, and MISCALCULATIONS), in addition to the aforementioned genre potentialities, you can expect the great talent and experience of such prolific people to generate great songs. And there are plenty of them on this album. Think of the unbridled energy of LOST SOUNDS and the fun and snotty attitude of late ’70s bands from the San Francisco and Los Angeles scenes. Plus, they have an excellent cover of Canada’s the DEMICS that is sure to become a cult classic.

The Dialers The Dialers LP

These guys started out very strong on the first track. I thought I was gonna get an earful of solid power pop with fast beats and sharp leads, and I was excited. Turns out that’s just one version of what I was getting. The rest of this record never quite hits the same tempo as the first song, though it sticks with the power pop feel throughout. There’s plenty of strong material in here, but for a good portion of the record, I feel like it needs to be mined deeper or pushed a little harder. Some of the songs just feel like a watered down version of the TRANZMITORS, or the VIBRATORS. And the singer reminds me of JOEY CAPE at times. There’s nothing wrong with this music, but I wish they had more of a bite to them.

The Manikins Bad Times LP

Mostly due to their tour de force album Crocodiles, this Swedish band stood out from their peers in the mid-2000s stripped-down power-garage-pop period—thinking bands like TRANZMITORS, the SHOCKS, and the HEX DISPENSERS who were reinterpreting the BUZZCOCKS for a post-Bush world. Crocodiles came out in 2008 and I thought the band had hung it up. Over a decade later they are back with a batch of new songs, but had the supporting tour sidelined by the pandemic. The album lacks the production earnestness of Crocodiles, but despite cleaning it up, there is an angsty darkness throughout the album captured best in the tracks “It’s Not Gonna Be OK” and “Worse Than I”. The songwriting and change-ups have allowed the band to expand their sound and even style a bit. The standout track is the mid-tempo “Make a Run for It”. An excellent album that manages not to rehash or revisit a long-gone time but moves forward in a newly defined way.

The Missile Studs / Thee Evil Twin 10 Piece Feed split 12″

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I just have this bone in my ear that wiggles wrong when rock‘n’roll music comes in too squeaky clean. That bone is wiggling here for sure with Sydney’s THEE EVIL TWIN. The music is serviceable, well-done even, but it just has a sparkle to it that I have trouble getting past. I’m a grouch, I guess, I just want everything to sound like it was recorded in a basement in hell. The hi-def garage punk of a track like “Let’s Go Again,” with its crispy clapping hi-hats and compressed guitars, just doesn’t have the patina of evil I crave in this style of music. By contrast, the MISSILE STUDS kick things off with a sloppy melodiousness that locks into place. There are drunken backup harmonies, a mic-slobbering singer with proper gruff and grizzle, and the band sounds just right. Everything has an impact, the crunch of the guitar and the slightly wet tambourine/snare that boogies through the night. “Stockholm Love” hits hard with the tight drums keeping the band from slipping off the rails and the harsh guitar holding up the catchy “Hey! Ho!” vocals that will always feel timeless even as they echo the golden years of the late ’70s. I hate to pit side vs. side and band vs. band for a split, but sometimes there’s just a clear preference. The MISSILE STUDS are the nasty fun I’m looking for in garage punk.

X-Intruder Punished for the Crime of Lacking in Judgement LP

This is heartless punk with all the flesh melted off. Yes, it’s a Terminator on the cover. Yes, it’s a perfect metaphor for the sound. Sometimes a band’s clarity of vision makes my job that much easier. Guitars here are dialed in for assassination, and the rest of the band sounds cruel—especially the pummeling electronic percussion. The band isn’t without melody, though, with tracks like “Never Let Your Public Down” hitting like NO TREND with hooks. The vocals, though, are vicious. Catchy aggression will take you very far in this genre. Anyone can sound like they hate you—it takes a real mechanic to leave just enough heart to stick with the listener. The guitar leads that soar above the rest of the chaos do a lot of heavy lifting, but the engine running it all runs strong from start to finish.

Zuletzt Re//Action / A Thousand Ways 7″

A 7″ with two amazing songs. I haven’t heard about them before, but now I wanna know more—this is one of those bands that catches me in the first five seconds. I can say that this is my favourite band from the reviews I wrote for this month, and I also love that they have two vocalists and I like both of them, cause you know, sometimes when a band uses two or more voices, it is not always good. At the end of the second song, I was wanting more, I wish it was a full album—my favourite track is “Re//Action.”