Reviews

Push My Buttons

Benni Diamond Man / Heavy Metals 7″

BENΝI is Ben McCullough from WIZZARD SLEEVE, NATURAL CHILD, and HEAVY LIDS. He plays the synthesizer in a rollicking tribute to KRAFTWERK. I enjoyed listening to this on repeat while walking the still-empty streets of San Francisco, taking in the post-apocalypticness of the first anniversary of the pandemic. It’s just the right soundtrack. On the cover, BENΝI is wearing a chainmail hood and black sleeveless shirt, looking like an extra from a Monty Python film. That juxtaposition is just another part of the fun.

Caligulas Mamma Dansa På Min Grav EP

This is a weird one but interesting at least. This Stockholm band plays nice bouncy, energetic punk with electronic overtones and is extremely Euro. There’s music here to dance and/or pogo to, often reminding me of early LEATHER NUN. There’s a side of beef on the cover. I don’t really get it but who cares. Skål!

Corridor People Corridor People LP

This is a new project from Stockholm, Sweden featuring Dan Gräns, former member of garage power-poppers IMPO AND THE TENTS, but this time going in a very different direction—heavy on synths, and banishing all mirth (but not without a retaining a significant amount of cowbell). Brooding yet upbeat, the vocals approach incantations, with intelligible points emerging from the reverb like distant mountain crags piercing a dense fog. The coolest thing about this record is the dance beat. I could definitely picture the dance party in Blade (the ’90s vampire movie) going off to this record, screaming along with the lyrics, “At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul.” Yes, my vampire friends, you will.

Isotope Soap An Artifact of Insects 12″

Surreal synth-punk from Sweden that’s not as blatantly DEVO-core in its intentions as a lot of their recently devolved contemporaries, but I wouldn’t rule out a Booji Boy mask hiding in the back of one of their closets, either. The electronically altered vocals (sometimes high-pitched and robotic, sometimes deep and theatrical) and the general sinister sci-fi aesthetic clearly owe some debts to late-’70s/early-’80s San Francisco synth-wielders like the RESIDENTS and CHROME, except ISOTOPE SOAP is very much a product of the dystopian, technologically-addled hell that we’re currently living in and that those earlier bands could only speculate in their creative visions.

Isotope Soap In Need of Systematic Entropy LP

The glorious synth freaks from Stockholm are back, and ISOTOPE SOAP has outdone themselves here. SPITS, TG, SCREAMERS, DEPARTMENT S vibes all collide with a heavy emphasis on bizarre structures and a timeless sound that refuses to fit in any decade past or present. If anything, In Need of Systematic Energy is slightly more accessible than some of their previous efforts (with a title track that belongs on every mixtape you make this year), but you still never know what to expect from one track to the next. Worth noting that RAPED TEENAGERS and PUSRAD personnel are behind this genius…which is not even remotely surprising.

Kalle Hygien Absolute Bomber EP

The A-side sounds like a weird mix of quirky electro punk and CRESS. Drum machine, distorted guitar and some minimal electronic and synth stuff. Cool, upbeat punky songs with a good drive and hook that sticks. Side B slows down, retains some of the same elements, but loses the urgency. The fourth track has no beat to speak of at all. Fans of HEAVY METAL and AUSMUTEANTS or thereabouts should check it out.

Kalle Hygien Songs About Chuck LP

KALLE HYGIEN is a Swedish electro-punk band with a singer who sounds like he should be in COCK SPARRER. He’s got that tough guy, plain-spoken style and an English accent. The music is high-energy and futuristic. It’s like listening to the music of multiple amusement park rides while in a nightmare. All the songs on this record are really catchy and the catchiest is called “Nazi”. KALLE HYGIEN is weirdly fun. Highly recommended.

Kerosene Kream Look Mom EP

Quirky new wave from Stockholm for the now-times. They’ve got a quirky vibe, not in an arty or weirdo way but fun, like if GORILLA ANGREB was really the B-52’S. All four songs are upbeat and have strong pop hooks, elevated by multiple charismatic vocalists and a layer of electronics that liven up the whole production. It’s okay and even healthy to have a little fun every once in a while, so if you’re brooding as much as I am these days look no further than KEROSENE KREAM if you need a little pick-me-up.

Polyester Dipsomaniac / Bite Me 7″

Pretty decent shocking pink hard-wave from Sweden that looks and sounds damn fine under a black light. EPOXIES, X-RAY SPEX, the DAMNED, and VAGEENAS are good places to look if you’re needing that feeling of control by comparison. The title track excels and smokes on this platter and being a former “dipso” myself, it gives me that fuzzy feeling inside. “Bite Me” has a much bigger and theatrical sound and is no slouch in itself making this EP flow like luminous paint down the gutter.

Polyester 100% Polyester LP

A super fun and dance-y record—the voice, the music, the lyrics, everything about this band makes me wanna start dancing and jumping. I just love when punks make music like this, because we don’t hear stuff like this really often. I can’t decide what song is my favourite one, because they really, really have a super interesting formula in all of them. “Dale Dale” is maybe the one that surprised me the most, because it’s so fucking good and it has some Spanish lines, so I obviously get excited about that. Also “Sue Me,” it’s fucking fire, the changes in the drums are crazy and the chorus sounds really retro, it’s amazing.  Definitely a band to check out, so different from what most punk bands are playing these days, absolutely love it.