Speed Creamer

All Beat Up Quarantape 2020 cassette

San Diego’s ALL BEAT UP were fine tuned and ready for tour when COVID shutdowns shit all over their planned excursion, so they did the punk thing and went to their practice space and bashed a set out to an audience of microphones. Fierce and heavy apocalypse hardcore, as powerful when they slowly pummel as they are when they unleash—only critique I can make is that I usually wish the fast parts lasted longer, but there always seems to be another one around the corner, which lessens the sting somewhat. Erratic start/stop vs. fast/slow sonic assembly nods to ’90s SF bands like BLESSING THE HOGS, or CUTTHROATS 9 with an extra dose of speed, but it’s clear when they put their foot in it that ALL BEAT UP are harnessing pure D-beat hardcore fury. We do what we can—and we can do a lot. Maximum volume and wear a fucking mask.

Blinding Glow U.X.O. cassette

Wildly powerful debut from San Diego’s BLINDING GLOW. They make their point in four short D-beat-tinged bursts—furious hardcore wound up supertight with piercing femme vocals, drums pounding underneath a wash of distorted cymbals, and a recording that blows everything out even before it reaches your ears. They get straight to business with the no-bullshit “Apologist,” and then before you know it….it’s over.

Closedown Fucking Spent cassette EP

Nasty, gritty, sloppy hardcore punk from San Diego. Gruff vocals barked over mostly driving mid-tempo (with occasional fast spurts) hardcore punk. Very cool. Very angry. Four songs, short and sweet, same program on the A and B sides of the cassette.

Gritos Gritos cassette

New band from San Diego, CA. The writeup that was included with the demo refer to them as being a raw punk band, and while there are certainly aspects of that style peppered throughout this tape, it comes across to me as a more straightforward hardcore unk band with peppered in metal riffs, but in a good way, ya know? Four songs, lyrics sung in Spanish.

L.I.C.E. L.I.V.E. L.A.U.G.H. L.I.C.E. cassette

When I was first sent this cassette for review, even after doing some research I would have sworn that this was a split cassette by two bands: MID CITY SHIT ROCKERS and ASYMMETRICAL INSURGENCY. Turns out those are the names of the two digital releases put out by the band L.I.C.E., compiled onto a single cassette tape. Alright, now that we’ve gotten to the bottom of that confusing puzzle, let’s try to make sense of the music! Mid City Shit Rockers was released in November of 2020, and the songs are super fast, aggressive hardcore punk teetering on the brink of but never quite crossing over into the powerviolence realm. Fast-forward a few months to January of 2021 and the release of Asymmetrical Insurgency, which dives right over that fence, into a world of blastbeats, sound clips, heavy, plodding slow parts, and nothing in-between. Absolutely crushing.

Riita Absolute Santa Rosa Cassette

A note attached to this cassette informs me that RIITA has changed their name to LÖCKHEED since the release of this demo. RIITA/LÖCKHEED is a heavy crust punk band in the vein of early TRAGEDY records. The songs aren’t bad, and they’re probably cool to see play live. This, however, is a style that has been done to death over the last few decades, and there isn’t anything particularly standout about this recording. Part of that could be due to the tape itself having a significant warble to it, making it slightly difficult to differentiate everything going on, and messing with the listener’s equilibrium. Crank it up and pass the Dramamine.

Rival Squad Tierra cassette

From San Diego with hate. Tierra is a six-song, blastbeat-infused hardcore EP as intense and as thrashy as RATOS DE PORÁO and as vile as good ol’ American powerviolence. The guitar and bass tones are ear-crushing, drums are tight AF, and the screeching vocals help to get that aggression through. A straight killer cassette that hits that sweet spot.

V/A Fear Of Noise: 2020 Compilation cassette

Fear Of Noise was released for (or, instead of) the San Diego gathering of the same name, and it’s a devastating collection of current West Coast DIY hardcore. FUTURA, THERAPY, SCREAMING FIST, ETERAZ, VIOLENCIA, AGONISTA, MEMBRANE, GRITOS…there’s no sense dissecting the comp because literally every fucking track bangs and every one of these bands is on point. But of all of the things I’ve listened to in the last year, of all of the records and tapes I’ve reviewed in the last year, nothing has made me miss live hardcore more than hearing Oakland’s PROVOKE open this comp with “Basura.” Period.