Old City

Fatal State Estado Fatal LP

Combustable political hardcore from Portland. This eight song debut twists between mid-tempo metallic hardcore churn and full-tilt hardcore blasting, throwing back to that ’90s style where there’s less of a set template or direct influence, yet enough musical chops to incorporate different approaches and feel to the songs. Energetically raging, the overall impact might pitch towards a less NAUSEA-bent DESTESTATION mixed with the searing rampage of HEALTH HAZARD. Vocals trade off between scathing lead female vocals and brute male back-ups, with pointed lyrics in English and Spanish about gun violence, landlord evictions, immigrant rights, an apolitical punk scene, and more, while blistering leads and solos drop to punctuate the impact. Explosive both musically and in urgent, current message, backed by a collage of recent protest sign slogans on the back of the lyric sheet, and a tempered line drawing cover of a goddess staring downward at discarded ICE helmets. Killer!!!

Over To the Teeth LP

Sophomore album from Portland, OR’s OVER, with a high-gloss take on post-punk. They lean into longer-format songs, with fuzzed bass, hi-hat-clattering drums, and reverb-droning guitars used to create climaxes worth the wait. That said, the female vocalist doesn’t take a back seat during tracks that push past the six-minute mark, singing throughout with an impressive range. I hear moments of poetry, but wish they had included lyrics online! We’ll see what the vinyl copy includes. This reminds me of ESSES’ Bloodletting for the Lonely LP. Moody, ethereal, and certainly worth a listen.

Visions Visions LP

VISIONS is a post-punk band from Portland, Oregon formed by various members of the anarcho/post-punk goth band DEAD CULT. Great debut. Nine perfectly constructed songs of dark post-punk, very much in tune with the CHAMELEONS or SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES. There are expressive guitar riffs, punchy melodies, and a strong rhythmic base that brings a lot of energy to each track. Despite appealing to the dark side of existence and with a clear mission to explore the nooks and crannies of universal weariness, this album feels vital, full of life and contagious.  “Hidden Lake” and “Christian Militia” are the standout tracks in my humble opinion.