World Gone Mad

Crispy Newspaper Ой Дуораан LP

Cool release from Siberian band CRISPY NEWSPAPER, who write songs in their native Sakha, a Siberian Turkic language. The songs are short blasts of politically-charged righteous anger that are sonically rooted in US hardcore but energetic and passionate enough to stand out on their own. Lyrical themes range from traditional punk fare like trouble with authority and personal freedom to political violence like the Charlie Hebdo killings. Most interesting are the moments of insight into local issues, like the desecration of Sakha land detailed in “Алроса,” and standing up against a rich and disconnected political regime in “Тобурах.” It’s fascinating to hear from members of a culture that is so geographically remote but still experiencing many of the same issues that punks everywhere can relate to. Great release that is highly recommended.

Crispy Newspaper Судургу Тыллар LP

There’s so much to say about this record, but a few short sentences will have to suffice. Судургу Тыллар is all over the place in the best way. “Соҕотох” is a brooding, melancholic number, the title track has adrenaline-fueled RADIOACTIVITY energy with wild hardcore vocals, “Буор босхо” is a wild, psyched-out timeless punk number, “Эн олоҕуҥ” packs a powerful Aussie punk punch—there’s straight hardcore, there are drug-addled guitar freakouts, awkward stomps, uncomfortable sounds. Dirty and dangerous. It’s everything I want from a punk record and it only cements my admiration for the punks in Siberia. The DIY punk scene in the Sakha region of Siberia has been “discovered” a few times over the last several years by mainstream “press,” but the punks in the capital city of Yakutsk just keep cranking the punk that they want to make…which is probably why music, and the people who make it, are so compelling. Hats off to World Gone Mad for (finally) bringing these sounds to the West.

Cult Objects Secrets of Pain​-​Free Living cassette

Secrets of Pain-Free Living is the first official release from Philadelphia’s incendiary post-punk/noise rock trio CULT OBJECTS. Swirling shoegaze-y guitars are combined here with Lauren Leilani Iona’s raw, ragged howl, a powerful match for her honest and emotionally vulnerable lyrics. There are moments where all the clangor reminds me of none other than SONIC YOUTH. The noise is at its harshest and most uncompromising in “Glue Trap,” with its layers of piercing guitar squall, while tracks like “Sea Foam” and “When Will a Fire Come?” sound downright poppy by comparison. “Scorpion Grass” is perhaps the most captivating moment on the record, a six-minute experimental epic anchored by a hypnotizing rhythm section. This is pretty potent stuff.

Eat That Dirty Roach! cassette

Over many years I’ve come to realize that I do not give a shit about a ten-minute guitar solo. Seriously, if you ever find yourself on a stage slappin’ that ol’ six-string for longer than it takes to get through airport security, it might be time to become a banker or something. EAT, on the other hand, has no time for noodly guitar solos; in fact, I don’t think they’ve ever written a song that’s longer than two minutes. This batch of songs are short flashes of unrestrained noise and aggressively poetic lyrics. The band pulls off a really interesting mix of genres here. It’s partly pure No Wave and another part straight hardcore. Think the CONTORTIONS or TEENAGE JESUS AND THE JERKS if they were twice as fast and twice as loud. The drums are chaotic, the guitars are angular,  and the saxophone wails in the background. Honestly, I really hope this is where the Philadelphia punk scene is heading, because this cassette is experimenting with punk, noise, and No Wave in a really unique way.

Hez Problemas EP

Oh fuck yeah! Dark, atmospheric punk from Panama that doesn’t rely on bullshit deathrock and goth tropes to carry their songs. And this is one of few bands to successfully use delayed vocals to aid mood instead of as a crutch. Nothing here ever goes faster than mid-tempo, but each song still maintains an intensity that most punk bands would die to have.

Padkarosda Sötét Végek LP

Posthumous release from probably the widest-known recent Hungarian band in DIY punk. As I know PADKAROSDA broke up and most of the members continued in a similar vein (but different enough in nuances) with a band called SÜLLYEDŐ VILÁG, it therefore has surprised me they still have new releases. They were one of the most consistent bands on the local Budapest scene—summarizing in a mean way, they wrote one really good song and played it a few dozen times. Construing my meanness, they went the rare extra mile, which is figuring out a signature sound. If you think about it, one of the key elements in great bands is that you are able to identify them even on a blind listen. So it turns out that it’s not the song which is the same, but rather their idea and craft is consistent. Speaking about the music, PADKAROSDA plays Eastern Bloc-flavored post-punk, which does not shy away from grabbing little bits from early European hardcore, either. On Sötét Végek (“Dark Ends”), they tame and stretch their songs, using tight mid-tempo rhythms and giving a generous amount of space for drums and bass while the guitars sometimes just assist for the evil-sounding and a bit dramatic vocals. When the guitars work then, they swirl as a vortex that sucks civilizations into an abyss. They remind me of CROW PEOPLE, because here as well, the atmosphere is the heaviest and there is just enough role for the guitars to snake through each song and get a good grab on the listener, instead spreading out in the whole sound spectrum. Based on records like this, I am not surprised PADKAROSDA was able to step out from the unknown mass of the local scene—they deserve this recognition, and if you are into super gloomy post-punk that is still very punk, you deserve this record, too.

Positronix Bad House cassette

POSITRONIX are from Philly and seem to be part of a network-of-friends/member-sharing kinda scene with ZORN and ALIEN BIRTH, although I live thousands of miles away and if I put in the internet detective work necessary to certify who’s been in what, it would basically feel like stalking after a while. Bad House, their second tape, doesn’t sound much like either of those bands, regardless. Its six songs are full of power chords (albeit with moments of weird atonal soloing, as in “Positivist,” that totally works nevertheless) afforded thicc production and containing DNA from dark post-punk, loud axe-hero indie Á  la DINOSAUR JR or SUGAR, maybe 2k10s riot grrrl inheritors like SKATING POLLY? It’s somehow both punkier and more rock-fan accessible than I’m making it sound, and I can envisage it landing well with a lot of different musical subcultures.

Soft Torture Soft Torture cassette

This is the first release from this veritable supergroup made up of members from some of Philadelphia’s best and brightest, including BLANK SPELL, DESTRUCTOS, and YDI. You read that last one correctly—bassist Chuck Meehan was in the original lineup of that legendary ’80s Philly band (and the SOFT TORTURE track “2021” is an updated version of “1983” from YDI’s seminal EP A Place in the Sun). The eight songs here (apart from the outro) showcase a fast and feral brand of rhythmically complex hardcore, with all band members firing on all cylinders at all times. The result is the kind of controlled chaos you can only achieve with a certain level of technical skill. Vocalist Jess Nicho has a unique delivery— at turns snotty, bored, detached, and deranged—that elevates the final product to something truly wild. “9.99” is a personal favorite, pairing an almost sing-song chorus with Jess’ typically twisted and visceral lyrics. Real freak shit!

V/A Rapsodie En France LP

I’m not sure if I’m the right person to be reviewing this; it kinda feels like I got some spiky punk’s mail by accident. This is a reissue of a French hardcore comp from 1985, and its essentially nine bands of the UK82/DISCHARGE type but en français—so expect buzzsaw guitar, rubberband bass, and you-know-what drum beats. The recording quality is demo at best, not a lot of power, and with vinyl pressing being such a hard-sought, time-consuming commodity right now, I have to ask if pressing this on LP was necessary? If it was a tape originally, I feel like the diehards for this would’ve been fine with a cassette and a zine, and honestly it would’ve been more true to form for this type of punk. But to be real, I’ve never owned a leather jacket or worn a shoestring ‘round my dome, so perhaps I’m the wrong person to ask about this.