Artificial Joy 100% Pure Joy LP

Woooofffff, this one lands just right. How did ARTIFICIAL JOY inject ’80 Sunset Strip energy into snotty, femme-fronted modern hardcore stomps? I don’t know and it doesn’t make sense (though I did blast RATT for a solid six hours the other day), but ARTIFICIAL JOY makes me feel like that even though they sound like a ripping 2020s DIY punk act. And this, my friends, is wonderful.

Modern Man Modern Man cassette

Mysterious guy hardcore is back with an absolute vengeance. Five songs of pummeling hardcore punk with a vocalist who seems to have taken a page out of Max Ward’s SCHOLASTIC DETH book. Sounds just like him at times. The similarity pretty much ends with vocal stylings and amount of feedback, though. MODERN MAN isn’t blistering fast, but instead ranges from mid-tempo down to plodding breakdowns. There’s no lyric sheet included, but judging from the band’s internet presence, they have no shortage of things to be pissed about. Not gonna find this on any streaming services other than the Bandcamp site—hard stance against Spotify and pro-Soulseek. Respect.

Repeat Offender Summary Execution EP

Sharp stuff here as REPEAT OFFENDER continues to hone their unique, catchy raging on their second 7”. Bestial vocals and a thumping rhythm section make a fun pairing, and across these six songs they shift seamlessly between menacing hardcore, anthemic street stomping, and a blend of the two. A lot of the Oi! stuff that has come out in recent years has leaned in the direction of post-punk, so I appreciate that this band has opted for a demon singer and a raucous and pointed sound instead.

S.O.H. Life on Edge EP

L.A. bands are so fucking good. There’s something in the smog and sun that consistently spits out the best rage and primal energy. I was awaiting this one eagerly like a hungry animal, as this is last year’s ass-ripper of a cassette put to wax and unlike the usual waste of resources out there, this one deserves it. SYSTEM OF HATE is what those initials stand for, but it could easily be SICK OF HUMANS from the amount of carnage left in this band’s wake. Featuring a member of the excellent PRISION POSTUMO as well as other notable SoCal all-stars, this all-too-short, six-song steamroller is driven by the fiercest vocalist I’ve heard in some time. The COMES, ULTRA VIOLENT, VARUKERS, blah blah…totally stands on its own and shouldn’t be diluted by old man comparisons. Cover art of the year. Don’t be a fool, fool. Pick it up.