Reviews

Wet Cassettes

Big Chungus Diarrhea Dog cassette

Take a look at the band name and tape title. Does the Bugs Bunny meme-name on a faux-feces-smeared cassette make you smile or roll your eyes? That’s all you need to know to tell whether you will be into this or not. This mutant collective from New Jersey plays rudimentary, snotty synth-punk about crusty underbelly topics like long pees, vomiting sandwiches, spiders—you get the idea. Sounding like a mix between an 8-bit LUMPY AND THE DUMPERS and ATOM AND HIS PACKAGE, these six songs are gross slabs of slime punk that are kind of catchy if you are in the mood to receive what they are offering. “Toothpaste” in particular sounds like an intense NES boss battle that repeats “I’m gonna squeeze ya!” over and over. It’s ten minutes of dumb fun, so check it out if you’re a diarrhea dog.

More Smoke Discografia Completa cassette

Eighty-plus tracks of shit-fi noisecore from Argentina. That’s the easy review. It gets harder when you try to delve into all of the different ways MORE SMOKE dissects the subgenre…how sometimes all you can focus on is the throat-shredding vocals or the percussive madness masquerading as drums, or sometimes you’re drawn in by the samples, or sometimes it’s just pure and inept noise and sometimes the guitar drops the most incredibly damaged half-riff for like three seconds before the band just falls the fuck apart. It gets harder when you try to explain to a casual listener the difference between “shit music” and “music expressly and intentionally created for the purpose of being shit.” MORE SMOKE is the latter, and I’m fukkn floored.

OK Satán OK Satán cassette

Second cassette from Copenhagen, Denmark-based, two-piece drum-machine-driven punk outfit OK SATÁN. Short, nasty, no-frills, no-bullshit songs. It seems everything was recorded on a four-track in their practice space, but it’s not as lo-fi as one might expect from that description. Everything is perfectly discernible, and were it less dirty, I think something would be lost with songs like this. “Stay on Drugs” is an absolute smash! Now to try and track down this band’s other releases…

Squelch Chamber Everything Turns to Shit cassette

This noisy, sludgy mess of a cassette made me wonder at first whether my tape deck was broken, or I got a damaged copy. Full of dissonant fuzz and feedback, there were tracks, like “Below Beneath” and “Instrumental” that seemed less like music than the soundtrack to a psychedelic nightmare sequence in an old Italian giallo movie. Other tracks, like  “A Wolf Alone” and “Drink to Survive” steer closer to hardcore and powerviolence. Their take on “Family Man,” one of BLACK FLAG’s Rollins-era spoken word pieces, smothers the spiteful lyrics in a thick sauce of industrial madness reminiscent of SKINNY PUPPY. SQUELCH CHAMBER seems to be trying to capture the unrelenting heaviness and static of life in the 2020s. Good stuff to disassociate to, especially “Interlude.”

V/A The Comp Vol. 1 cassette

One of my favorite things, when an unknown label does a compilation/mixtape showcasing what their label is all about. Wet Cassettes seem to have about twenty releases under their belt, and this comp has twenty tracks. To describe it the way they intended: “The Comp Vol. 1 features twenty previously unreleased songs from twenty Wet Cassettes artists of the past, present, future, and well, some that were just formed for this compilation.” This New Jersey-based label seems to dabble in a number of different genres, going from synth-punk to black metal to harsh noise to straight up grindcore. Personally, my favorite on the cassette is the Denmark synth-punk duo OK SATÁN whose cassette I also reviewed this month, or ARACHNID SALAD with their lo-fi cyberpunk track. There is a little too much emphasis on the pots’n’pans music for my personal taste (lo-fi grindcore, noise stuff, etc.), but all in all, this is a very cool introduction to a label I was previously unaware of.