Bibione Quattro Formaggi 12″

Riot grrrl, post-punk, darkwave, surf guitars—whatever you want to call it, it’s a delicious four-cheese blend that will drip gooey sass and pizza(zz) all over your turntable and into your ears. This threesome (with occasional help from a possessed trumpeter) comes from Prague, Czech Republic and achieves a softness and rage wrapped all together, best actualized on “Spin It,” which is tragic and droning and fucking amazing. BIKINI KILL anger mixed with CRIME OF PASSING iciness. If after this quick listen you’re looking for more, BIBIONE’s self-titled release from 2021 is also fantastic. Keep it coming.

Fotokiller Eerie Nostalgia LP

Femme-fronted band FOTOKILLER of Berlin comes out with their debut LP.  Eerie Nostalgia features some songs off their 2020 Lenses demo, two singles from along the way, as well as some new material. This three-piece is concise yet full-bodied, playing driving post-punk, pointing it straight down an icy road, with bass lines way up on the fretboard and rarely ceasing, clean guitar riffs breaking way to distorted chords, then rests that let beautiful vocals float over drum and bass verses. 1980s post punk fans apply within. This is my first time hearing of the label Order05, but if you like the stuff coming out from Cintas Taciturnas or Symphony of Destruction, I think you’ll enjoy this. For a quick taste, try the catchy-upon-first-listen “Stop the World.”

Imposition Man Resilience LP

Lo-fi post-punk from Berlin featuring all your favorite details: antiquated electronic drums, chorus-soaked guitars, and vocals that sound like an evacuation announcement broadcast to the subway platforms of hell. It works because they bring some real urgency to these short little ditties. Even in their most danceable, digital handclap-punctuated moments, IMPOSITION MAN doesn’t jettison their overall bleak vibe. “Resilience,” the title track and recurring refrain that I’m going to go out on a limb and say is ironic, bookends this release nicely, giving a unified vibe to a surprisingly short LP. If you recently dug CONSTANT MONGREL or DIÄT, this will scratch that itch.

Mop Buckets Mop Buckets LP

MOP BUCKETS is an L.A group comprised of scene veterans from bands like DEAD CROSS, RETOX, and FIELD DAY. This is a very “what you see is what you get” kind of record. Six straight-up punk tracks that hold their own any day of the week. MOP BUCKETS bring an aggressively angular style of punk. Something like the JESUS LIZARD or DRIVE LIKE JEHU, leaning heavily into post-hardcore at times. I wouldn’t go as far to say that this LP is the most inventive or original record in the genre, but it certainly holds up.

Astio / Nag split 7″

This is a fantastic lineup of chilly, deathly punk. Following this year’s excellent full-length on Convulse, NAG brings in two more spiky little treats of heavy, rhythmic post-punk that do their own thing, while also dipping a wing in the airstream of erudite acts like the CHAMELEONS as well RUDIMENTARY PENI. It’s a blend of educated graveyard music that shakes your bones. On the flipside, ASTIO tackles a more anthemic sound in a similar sphere, with a slightly more straight-ahead bluntness. Italy has been bringing us a lot of beauts like this lately, replete with reverb-drenched, doomy leads and a tinge of black lipstick. All in all, great cuts from two acts across the ocean from one another who should be on your radar.

Skeleton Glove Skeleton Glove LP

I wanted to like this German blackened hardcore punk band. I’m down with the sinister feeling of shrieked/howled vocals over reverbed punk, and the artwork is cool. A skeleton hand hammering a nail into a bleeding Earth is perfect visual mayhem. And while I get the feeling they were going for a BONE AWL or FUNERAL CHIC or even DEVIL MASTER vibe with these short songs, they miss the mark. They run together a bit, mostly fast with pretty basic punk chord changes and the wraith vocals on top. I never quite feel the menacing black metal attack enough with the music, and definitely not with the lyrics. If your band puts on the blackened armor, I want to hear about some demons or violence or end-times prophesying. Not “Gimme Chocolate,” which starts out, “Gimme all your chocolate, 1, 2, 3, 4!” Lyrics and songs like this (and “Gimme All Your Money” and “Booze Ghoul”) make the whole thing feel like a joke or gimmick, more spooky than evil. Without the grimness this music calls for, it’s a pass for me.