Reviews

For review and radio play consideration:

Send two copies of vinyl (one for our archive, one for the reviewer) or one copy of CD-only or cassette-only releases to MRR, PO Box 3852, Oakland, CA 94609, USA. Maximum Rocknroll wants to review everything that comes out in the world of underground punk rock, hardcore, garage, post-punk, thrash, etc.—no major labels or labels exclusively distributed by major-owned distributors, no releases outside our area of musical coverage, no reviews of test pressings or promo CDs without final artwork. Please include contact information and let us know where your band is from! All vinyl records received are added to our archive, which since 1977 has grown to become the largest collection of punk records in the world.

Tuhoon Tuomitut Nälkä Kasvaa Syödessä LP

I am very glad that I was assigned that one, not just because I am quite good at pretending I speak Finnish (it is not that hard, you just have to make up sentences with the names of Finnish punk bands while looking very stern, but note that it does not work when there are actual Finns in the room), but because I had the pleasure to see TUHOON TUOMITUT live this summer. Their name means “doomed,” and the band certainly delivered despite playing first at a festival when it was too early for people to be pissed yet and everyone was therefore still discerning. The Tampere-based TUHOON TUOMITUT plays punk-as-fuck thrashing anarcho-punk with furious dual-female vocals arranged in the classic trade-off style, with the demented, high-pitched screams and rabid hoarse screams discussing important political issues. The music is reminiscent of the ’90s and early ’00s crusty anarcho-punk wave, including bands like SOCIETY GANG RAPE, STRADOOM TERROR, JOBBYKRUST, and even WITCH HUNT or PARAGRAF 119, and I just love that unpretentious old-school feel. The songs are not formulaic, either—you have some tuneful moments and mid-tempo numbers as well as full-on hardcore thrash attacks, and I think the relentless vocals work very well with each other. I guess you could argue that the production is lacking a bit in power and is pretty basic, but it works with a style of punk that was once popular but seems to have gone a little out of fashion, so TUHOON TUOMITUT sounds almost fresh.

U.N.E. Sin Esperanza cassette

A collection of recordings from Toluca, Mexico, dating back to as early as 1994. According to the cool little booklet included with this cassette, UN NUEVA ENEMIGO played their first gig in ’94 with LOS CRUDOS after starting their band mere months earlier “without experience or knowledge of music.” Pretty damn cool. It’s a little rough around the edges, as one would imagine from a band who started without any experience. Lo-fi, repetitive, sloppy punk riffs with vocals passionately delivered in Spanish over the top. A cool collection by a band that apparently never played out of their hometown. My only gripe is how overwhelming the flanger effect on the guitar is on half these tracks. Sure, it was the ’90s and that effect was absolutely everywhere, but it comes off incredibly distracting to the overall song whenever it’s engaged. A minor gripe for a neat little piece of history in the form of this collection cassette.

Witches Broom Witches Broom LP

Kind of a surprise here. This isn’t punk and would fall more under the straight ’60s psych/garage category, but it’s really good. While not groundbreaking at all, it’s a nice interpretation of the Nuggets/Pebbles compilations done in a not-at-all-modern vein. Unlike more recent revival versions of this music, from the MUMMIES era to more recent stuff like Ty Segall’s projects, this is less punk or trash and more pure ’60s, like some of the Paisley Underground bands or maybe Northwest heroes like GIRL TROUBLE and the NIGHT KINGS. Mostly it’s just pure SEEDS, and how bad could that be? More to come, I hope.

Zero Function Zero Function cassette

From Wyoming, ZERO FUNCTION plays dense, dark hardcore with a fuzzy finish. On this eight-song tape, the songs are effective in painting bleak and frightening pictures, like with the noisy, stretched-out intro and warped lyrics on “Pull,” and the interspersed system-failure-like wreckage on “Serve No Purpose.” I keep seeing this producer Will Killingsworth’s name on new projects, each time accompanied by a solid sound, and this continues that streak. Its aura of hopelessness scratches the same itch as an artsy horror flick.

Acid Mikvah Acid Mikvah demo cassette

Directly from Chicago, Illinois comes ACID MIKVAH, a group of Jewish punks who released this cassette in June 2021 (extra credit for the lyrics on their Bandcamp page). Reverbed vocals over political, garage-y, fast punk rock, with quite catchy riffs led by a heavily distorted guitar that has resemblances of early raw punk mixed with classic hardcore. With songs that speak against apartheid and religious birthrights and take a stand against nationalism and hatred, they create freedom punk to fight against Israel’s war and sieges against Palestine (“Call everyone an antisemite, the establishment got your back / But we fight back, with Palestinians, for a just world”). Interesting political punk, you may like them.

Bootlicker Lick the Boot, Lose Your Teeth: The EPs LP

The first BOOTLICKER material I heard was their fourth EP, 2020’s How to Love Life. As soon as the opening track “It’s Beautiful” started I knew one thing for sure: this was some of the gnarliest drumming I’d heard in a minute. Crunchy, brutal, and unrelenting, like a machine gun ripping through clips of ammunition. That’s all I needed to become a believer. BOOTLICKER is putting out some of the best D-beat hardcore punk at the moment, and this collection of their first four EPs (from 2017–2020) showcases the band’s ascent from their first 6 Track EP towards the aforementioned How to Love Life. To get the full scope of the band’s output, listen to all 37(!) minutes, but as I mentioned, I highly recommend the track “It’s Beautiful” to hear the band at full power. 

The Contortions Buy LP reissue

What more can be said about this classic? Where their fellow no wavers DNA and MARS were abstractly recreating music and rewriting the rules from the ground up, the CONTORTIONS were fusionists, starting with a bedrock of funky, airtight bass and drums, layering the slashing, sliding guitars of Pat Place and Jody Harris with James Chance’s holy terror tenor skronk and nihilistic madman yelps into infectiously freaky dance music.

Curtains / Swift Knuckle Solution DCxPC Live Presents, Volume 7 split EP

I’m not a big proponent of live albums from the listener’s standpoint—most of the time, they don’t measure up to a band’s other releases. Even when they’re good, they’re often issued in order to fulfill a label deal or to make some cash for defunct bands (no judgment, punks gotta eat). I can’t say this record is better than either of the featured band’s studio recordings, but it’s not bad either. CURTAINS are right at the stylistic crossroad of pop punk and hardcore (think LEATHERFACE or LIFETIME). SWIFT KNUCKLE SOLUTION is a more cut-and-dry hardcore affair. This is a good showcase for each and a good excuse to give DIY bands some more cash.

Desiccate Desiccate demo cassette

Man. I love this. DIY to its fullest. No-bullshit, heavy noise punk from the Great White North. Not a lot of nuance to their songs, but they don’t need it. DESICCATE isn’t here to be flashy. They’re here to fucking rock. Honestly, that’s what I like to see from bands these days. Energy that transcends the medium. No over-the-top production, no more than three takes. There’s no need for any ego-stroking solos here. Just the white-knuckle grip of a barre chord, the howl of indecipherable vocals, the grounded melody of a bass run, and a steady but powerful drum beat.

Electric Frankenstein / Savage Beat split EP

Each band gives us one original and one cover on this split effort. SAVAGE BEAT covers the TUFF DARTS, while ELECTRIC FRANKENSTEIN covers the RUBINOOS. Those cover selections tell you a lot about the influences going on here, both in terms of musical style and also in terms of eras. Both bands are drawn to the late ’70s rock’n’roll version of punk. This isn’t good or bad, it just is. Both bands deliver music that is mid-tempo and catchy. In that way, they are very similar. I’d say the SAVAGE BEAT vocals remind me of the DICTATORS, while the ELECTRIC FRANKENSTEIN tracks tend to employ a little more lead guitar. Good stuff.

Fuera De Sektor El Mundo Segue cassette

FUERA DE SEKTOR pulls off an impressive genre-bender with El Mundo Segue. The songs are bright and succinct, replete with catchy guitar riffs and superlative bass lines, but somehow they’ve cultivated a perceptible darkness as well. CHAIN CULT may be a good reference point, but FUERA DE SEKTOR is not nearly as dense or gloomy. Musically, I’m reminded of a bit of EASTER AND THE TOTEM, though here again FUERA DE SEKTOR eschews comparison by introducing subtle new wave influences and delivering vocals in a higher-than-expected register. Of the four songs on this tape, “En La Oscuridad” is the one that grabs me most, but they are all bangers. Barcelona has produced some extraordinarily fresh and innovative bands in recent years, and FUERA DE SEKTOR is clearly continuing that trend while adding to La Vida Es Un Mus’ ongoing hit streak. Recommended.  

Gen Pop The Beat Sessions cassette

It’s often an impossible balancing act to teeter between sounding smart and acting tough, but it’s all the more intimidating when you can pull it off. This Washington-based four-piece is pulling up from a lot of deep wells, from straight-ahead bruising punk with an old-school flavor to more jangly ’80s New Zealand pop, and it blends well. Their previous full-length (2020’s PPM66 LP) showed this off handily, but hearing them in a live session like this really demonstrates prowess. A flexile track like “Rough Slough Triptych” does an entire floor routine before planting its feet firmly in polka beat, fist-swinging garage punk to stick the landing. This set of tunes flows breathlessly from three-minute heartfelt anthems to forty-second-long floor burners, leaving a perfect snapshot of a band that is imposing in how much they can get done in how little time—an almost endlessly re-playable release.

Infra Riot Still Out of Order LP reissue

This out-of-print long-player, originally released on Secret Records, has finally been reissued and is sure to satisfy all of the bootstompers out there. INFA RIOT played Oi!-infused punk complete with gang vocals. It’s a similar vibe to their contemporaries the OPPRESSED or UK SUBS, with the boys of INFA RIOT using the elements of Oi! to amp up the anger of their punk rock by creating bigger choruses and heavier instrumentation. This LP certainly had a massive influence on later street punk bands, and moments of it can even be heard in contemporary Oi! bands like BATTLE RUINS.

Kitchen’s Floor None of That LP

Eternal Soundcheck and Petty Bunco once again team up to bring you some of the best racket found on the fringes of punk. This time we’re getting the fourth LP from this long-running Brisbane act. The ten tracks on the record are a mix of brash noise rock, downer punk, and slower (though still pretty noisy) acoustic numbers. The vocals are a little on the nasally side and often treated with pretty heavy effects—reminds me a lot of WHATEVER BRAINS or ISS. The slower cuts are great, particularly “Before Dawn,” and should appeal to folks who’ve been into the stuff DAN MELCHIOR has been putting out the past ten years. But I’m really into these noisier ones, which remind me of some of my favorite acts—UNSANE, the STABS, SATANIC ROCKERS/SACRED PRODUCT—without ever really sounding like any of them. Real cool record!

Leaking Head Better Homes & Gardens EP

Rochester’s LEAKING HEAD follows up their strong 2021 demo tape with a nice slab of wax. Bashing out six snotty rippers in about nine minutes, these guys put a no-bullshit ferocity into their bouncy and brutal modern hardcore. Check some of their live footage on YouTube to get a further taste of what these heads are drippin’.

Mutated Void Slash the Altar EP

Nova Scotia’s MUTATED VOID seemingly went full goblin mode last year by releasing two records—this 7″ EP on Sewercide Records and the Roses Forever LP on Iron Lung—a mere week apart from each other, an absolutely bonkers move (whether the word “bonkers” entails sheer genius or stupidity is entirely up to your own interpretation) that demands respect. But fuck if that matters, it’s all about the music…and this slays. Ripping hardcore thrash performed by two skate freakos! The production is harsh and ear-splitting, but if you only want to hear HC punk with super-polished production, you frankly should eat shit and die in my opinion. The band’s unofficial logo, a crude cut-and-paste job combining the UNITED MUTATION and VOID logos, should tell you just about all you need to know. Shove this and the Roses Forever LP down your tinnitus-ridden earholes immediately!

Nukies Can’t You Tell That This is Hell cassette

Fun fact: did you know that TOTALITÄR’s hit “Multinationella Mördare” was originally a very popular Swedish children’s song, one that all school kids have had to memorize since the mid-’80s? That explains a lot, doesn’t it? NUKIES —”nukie” being either the endearing term for a nuclear weapon or the name of a Star Wars creature—are a brand new band from Stockholm playing käng hardcore punk. Can’t You Tell That This is Hell includes nine songs of rocking and anthemic Swedish hardcore with a clear guitar sound and typical TOTALITÄR-ish blazing riffs. With the heavy rock’n’roll influence openly at the front, especially with the mid-paced headbanging numbers and the emphatic solos, SKITKIDS is an obvious point of reference, and I would locate NUKIES between them, INFERNÖH, and LARMA on the grand käng scale. This is definitely a hardcore ripper, the production is great for the genre, the catchy hooks are here, all very pleasant but I sometimes wished that it hit a bit harder. This was released on tape for some reason (quality-wise, it could definitely be on vinyl) by Adult Crash, a Danish label that was very active indeed on the hardcore front in 2022.

P​ö​ls Instinto LP

This album starts with an instrumental track and then kicks into high gear with a pretty good blend of punk, hardcore, and a dash of emo for good measure. The vocalist has a sugary-sweet voice that compliments the music quite nicely, but it’s the backup vocalist(s) that really adds that extra something special that hooks me.

Private Lives Private Lives cassette

Debut release from this Montréal group that started as a husband-and-wife project during the pandemic. Now actualized as a four-piece, PRIVATE LIVES present five garage-y, post-punk songs with surf-pop drums and fuzzed-out guitars that drop into wiry riffs between distorted vocals, reminding me of CO-ED who I reviewed a while back. In general, this is hard to not enjoy: poppy enough to be catchy, heavy enough to be rollicking, rough enough to retain its edge. Looking forward to what’s next from these Quebecers.

Ribbon Ribbon demo cassette

The aesthetics of punk music packaging have evolved to a baffling place where a band called RIBBON can put crude, cherubic figures and a crumbly castle on the cover of their tape that’s filled with spindly splashes of rugged hardcore, and somehow it works. This Indonesian band’s bare-bones approach is bolstered by a cool vocal performance, and the style is hardcore punk in its original configuration—’70s attitude with the ferocity knob turned up to eleven. Their sound is striking enough that if I were to walk into a record shop where it was playing, I’d ask “who is this?”. Remember JJ DOLL? They kind of sound like the short-lived, post-IVY NYC act JJ DOLL, minus Shiva’s hypnotic guitars and with more of a straightforward Oi!-type influence.

Skarnio Horrores Da Vida LP

Fierce, metallic crusty hardcore from Brazil (of course). They’ve been tearing it up since 2009 or so and have not mellowed a bit. You could definitely give them the usual comparisons of RATOS DE PORÃO when they started to go a little metal or LOBOTOMIA if they didn’t suck when they got metal, but I’m hearing ANTI CIMEX and a little NO FUCKER as well. It’s all ripping from start to explosive ending and it’s not for a leisurely Sunday afternoon listen, unless you’re having morning tea in Ukraine. Check it out.

The Stools / Toeheads Watch It Die split LP

Filthy garage punk rock(’n’roll) in the finest Detroit tradition. Shit sounds nasty, like the shit is supposed to sound. The STOOLS come off like GORIES guzzling crack and distortion, then TOEHEADS add a seriously dark swagger to the equation when you flip the shit. Get fukkd up to one side, regret your life choices on the other—TOEHEADS’ “I Want to Be in Your Life (So I’ll Die)” is a devastating album-ender. Absolute killer on both sides; garage rock fans will eat it up, and pretentious punks will change their minds.

Varonas Instinto Animal EP

Given that there are Spanish labels involved here and the songs are sung in Spanish, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that these folks might be Spanish. Whether or not that’s true, if you’re a fan of female-fronted, sometimes up-tempo power pop with a focus on the vocals, this is likely for you. There’s nothing that says that your punk rock or power pop can’t come from someone with a pretty voice. Three quick songs, and just like that, it’s over. Well-played and well-produced. I wanted more.

V/A Φωνή Διαμαρτυρίας (Voice of Protest) cassette

Now this is exactly the kind of project that gets me overexcited, almost to the point of hyperventilating. Φωνή Διαμαρτυρίας is a piece of punk archaeology. With more than four decades of punk music worldwide, in order to make sense of it all because the scope is vertiginous indeed, the global history of punk rock has to be polyphonic, like an endless, fluid, ever-evolving collection of specific stories. This Herculean task requires a quixotic nature to even contemplate engaging in such a perilous time-consuming endeavour. This compilation tape tells a particular story, one that can only be told from the inside: the rise and the stabilization of crust and extreme hardcore in Greece in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Many are not aware of the fact that Greek crust, with its distinctive apocalyptic and epic, aggressive, and melancholy metallic crunch, is an actual, proper style of crust music (try to remember it though, it is trivia-worthy), a branch on the proverbial scruffy crust tree like Japanese crasher crust or OC crust are, for instance. The man behind the label Extreme Earslaughter, Vangelis, is also the brain behind leading contemporary Greek crust act Παροξυσμός (PAROKSYSMOS), and many of his label’s tapes are great obscure stories of Greek crust, from the past and the present. This tape gathers twenty (very) rare songs (live or practice recordings) from brutal Greek punk bands, with some relatively well-known ’90s bands like Χαοτικό Τέλος (HAOTIKO TELOS), Αρνητική Στάση (ARNITIKI STASI) or Ναυτία (NAFTIA) as well as some genuinely unknown entities. I have to point out that the sound is mostly raw, if not rough, so if you have never dealt with that scene, it might be a bit of a tedious and tough listen, although it might prompt you and kindle the desire to check other works from the bands included. If you are already familiar with and fond of Greek crust, then it is pretty much a gift from the gods and the crust equivalent of finding the lost ark (but without the hassle of doing the research yourself or risking your life). The tape comes with a beautiful booklet with artwork and lyrics from each of the bands, which reminds me of the glory days of the ’90s anarcho-punk scene. This is what passion looks like.

Alien Nosejob Stained Glass LP

This band is everywhere I look. I swear, I had three friends text me this album the day it dropped. With good reason, too. It rips! Guitar-worship to its fullest out of Melton, Australia. The press-release for this slab likens it to AC/DC. While that may be true for tracks like “Coastal Living 2,” I think the majority of the record sounds more like the NEW YORK DOLLS mashed with ZZ TOP. And not even just early-era TOP. I’m talking about the ’80s shit where they took a lot of risks, especially with “Sharp as a Needle” where the rhythm section really comes out for the first time. Speaking of, the bass and drums are tight as hell. I honestly can’t tell if it’s real drums or the best drum machine I’ve ever heard. Bass stays in the pocket for the majority of the record, and really gives the guitars the time to shine. Fantastic album, but seeing as it’s from Total Punk, you may already know that.

Bart and the Brats Bart and the Brats LP

Lo-fi and trashy garage punk from La Rochelle, France. BART AND THE BRATS take us back to the ’90s when bands played to have a good time with their friends in a cavernous, sub-street-level, dingy club. They are humorous without being too silly. For a good time, check out “Records I Used to Hate,” “Constant Nonsense,” and “A Boss is a Boss.” But skip “Predictable,” which rhymes the title with “suck my dick-table.” Yikes.

Bricks Bricks demo cassette

Stone me, what an early Chrimbo present this was for yours truly! Four tracks of raging Indonesian Oi! boiled down to the bones of what makes the genre so much fun. Rough around the edges, aggy, unhinged, and as direct as a steel toecap to the spuds, it’s all you’d want from a demo. A promise of good things to come. Fans of RIXE will not be disappointed.

The Clue The Clue demo cassette

Five-track demo in seven minutes by Denver’s the CLUE. Egg-punk with heavily distorted vocals that are almost unintelligible. Electronic gags and some guitar riffs are interesting. Great synths and overexposed noisy drums. The non-stop confusing lyrics may be annoying if you are not familiar with this subgenre. The cover of “Sunlight” by TINY TIM at the end of this demo is bananas. If you like frantic, rotten egg-punk, this might be right up your alley.

Cosme Demo No. 2 cassette

Short synth punk demo from Mexico that often sounds like Tim Armstrong singing karaoke. The first track has Nintendo keyboards with gruff Spanish-language vocals. It’s way too slick and toothless for me. The third track, named as the Cancer zodiac symbol, is the turning point from keyboard oddity to punk. It’s a heartfelt street-punk song that doesn’t sound too far from RANCID’s best, with sparkling keys on top. The repeated line “Time heals, some might say all those years that are gone now” gives it a wistful, nostalgic feeling, and is worth repeat plays. “Cosme,” the last track, is the most traditional, fast punk song here and ends the tape on an anthemic, fist-pumping high. I would listen to another tape from COSME, but I definitely prefer the second half to the first.

Desolat Elegance is an Attitude… To Shit On LP

Massive and fierce debut full-length from Austria’s DESOLAT. Ghosts of early-century European metallic crust emerging as a fully formed modern beast. Thick guitars ripped from ’90s noise rock drive mid-paced riffs that swing hard, until the vocals sever all connection to hope and DESOLAT really settles into their bleak reality. That reality is a world where the sounds of GNU and UNSANE and THEMA 11 and ZEROID all offer an escape from hopelessness by displaying aural wounds in the open. I haven’t heard anything like this in a long, long time…and I’ve never heard this. That’s the highest praise.

The Dummies / Gargoyles split 7″

Pretty wild to see these two band names again, as these PA and Frisco bands (respectively) both hung it up in the mid-’90s. No, they haven’t gotten back together, but someone overseas sure loves them enough to put out these two mediocre tracks as an obvious labor of love. The DUMMIES were definitely my favorite of the two bands here, and they provided some really great moments of trailer-trash punk raunch back in the day.  “Roundtop Rock,” included here, is unfortunately not one of their better moments. I never really much cared for the GARGOYLES’ blatant CRAMPS-worship when they played around town in the ’90s. The singer went on to the much better RECLUSIVES later on.  Their song here is just more of the same ilk. I would call this an unnecessary waste of valuable resources, but it seems like the person putting this out really cares, so go decide for yourself—it doesn’t even cost you a thing with the internet. Well, then.

Eteraz Villain LP

This album is absolutely punishing. ETERAZ rips through twelve tracks in a wild and noisy D-beat assault. The guitars have an extremely nasty, jagged tonal quality that is complemented by driving, buzzsaw bass. The crash-heavy drumming is top-notch, pushing everything deep into the red. Most notable are the vocals, which are shouted out in Persian. This really adds a lot of texture to the experience, and the higher-register delivery is an exquisite contrast to the rich bottom end of the production. “Terror” is a standout for me, but there’s not a single dud in the bunch. Gotta hand it to Iron Lung for consistently delivering the heat. Easily one of the top releases of 2022.

Faul Techniczny Dalej Pójdę Sam LP

Here’s a band I’d never heard before, FAUL TECHNICZNY (or “technical foul” for you non-Polish speakers) from Poland. They’ve been kicking around since 2017 and have compiled and released their first three LPs here as Dalej Pójdę Sam. NYHC-inspired fare with gruff vocals, frequent breakdowns, and absolutely no frills. In fact, there’s really no fat anywhere here—every song is very direct with little to no deviance from the formula that they’ve obviously found works for them. Unfortunately, this makes the songs blend together a little from time to time. Overall it’s not for me, but I know a few punks back in my hometown who could get down to this.

Glaas Glaas cassette

GLAAS effortlessly blends equal parts punk and darkened post-punk to create an energetic sound while maintaining an ambiance of melancholic dismay. Vocals sound like they’re screaming from the bottom of a pit while the guitars and drums want to continually attempt to bury them. The punk influence seemingly draws from a 1977-style revival sound like the HATEPINKS, but it’s all filtered through the post-punk of JOY DIVISION. A sort of beautified noise annoys approach that pairs well with a pint or a molotov.

Himnos / La Cruz split LP

Both of these bands appeared on Crossbar’s excellent Oi! The Antidote compilation from 2021. Although neither of their contributions were among my favorites, I was looking forward to hearing what each would deliver on this split long-player. Hailing from Mexico, HIMNOS belts out five cuts of mid-paced street rock’n’roll. All the elements are present—tough, raspy sing-alongs, bouncing bass, four-chord guitars—but I’m left with the feeling that something is missing. There were a few surprises along the way. I wasn’t expecting to hear the whine of a harmonica in “419” for example, but that’s not the type of surprise I would ever champion. On the flipside, we have Spain’s LA CRUZ. Listening to this left me with the same basic impression that I got from HIMNOS: nothing is technically missing, yet something is missing. Again, we have some competent Oi! that meets but does not exceed expectations. LA CRUZ’s curveball is the saxophone that turns up on the rocksteady-inspired “Recuerdos.” Sorry (not sorry), but wind instruments get you nowhere with me. Despite it all, I’ll be watching out for both of these bands in the future. There’s obvious potential, this just falls a bit short.

Ingrates Don’t Wanna Work / Leather Lover 7″

This EP has a slight transporting effect and breams with teenage eagerness. INGRATES hail from the cosmic, otherworldly desert of Joshua Tree and don’t want to work, to the extent of singing a song about the matter. Who the hell can blame them? The title track is the drunken, power pop-tinged record I want to hear in the damp, dark corner of a bar. The slightly longer B-side moves into more lo-fi pop harmonizing in the name of leather endearment. The EP summons a time when the BOYS screamed “Brickfield Nights” and does a good job doing so.  It’s the record I could see my thirteen-year-old self buying with saved lunch money.

Killing Frost The Declaration of W.W. cassette

With a name like KILLING FROST, I was expecting some CELTIC FROST worship—that’s kind of what you get with this release from these Finnish rockers, but there’s also a whole lot more. Prepare yourself for an extensive auditory journey when you put on this four-song release, as you’ll be treated to a vast amount of underground sounds, from doomy, slow, sludge work to fast-paced thrash, and no scheduled stops in between. The final track “Killing Frost ” seems to approach the band’s pinnacle, with a sound similar to ONSLAUGHT stirred together with AGE OF COLLAPSE: heavy drum work, soaring guitars, ethereal organ, and powerful vocals. Definitely put this cassette on if you’re in the mood for something dense and a bit different.

L’Odi Social Que Pagui Pujol EP reissue

Formed in 1981, L’ODI SOCIAL from Barcelona was one of Spain’s first hardcore punk bands, and this 7” is a facsimile of their much-revered 1986 EP with a fold-out cover and complete original artwork. This is some old-school, DC-style hardcore filtered through a European lens. It’s fast and fun, delivering five speedy tracks with a devil-may-care attitude. While a lot of their contemporaries used English language in their music, these guys opted to pen everything in their native Catalan tongue. I no hablas, but the spirit of this classic record still comes across loud and clear.

Marmalade Duplex Snot Bath! LP

Second LP of purposely obnoxious noise rock made by a handful of dudes—they’ve chosen the names Telly Salmonayonaise, Brad d. Slab, and Pectin Bungalow—from Guelph, Ontario, Canada (a small town about an hour west of Toronto). Depending on how you count, you’re either getting six or eleven tracks—the B-side is listed as a six-part single track that effectively functions as six separate songs. The music can be plodding and abrasive, like SCRATCH ACID at their slowest, soundscape-y, and meandering, or wacky and dance-y. The vocals are primarily spoken and often multi-tracked slightly out of sync. Imagine Fred Schneider, BOBBY “BORIS” PICKETT, and a ‘luded-up Will Shatter, and you’re somewhere in the ballpark. At times, it doesn’t sound that far off from stuff I really love, like PERVERTS AGAIN. There are also times where it doesn’t sound that far off from stuff I really don’t love, like CAKE. The lyrics can get a little cringey, and the whole release seems rife with inside jokes. Still, I imagine there’s a very small set of people that this thing would really appeal to. I’m not in that set, but I wouldn’t say I hated this.

Nasty Rumours Bloody Hell, What a Pity! LP

Stuff on Wanda can be kind of hit or miss for me. I mostly like it, but you can’t help but notice that it’s almost entirely based on nostalgia. I suppose every label has its thing. All that said, this is super catchy punk rock that takes you right back to 1977. When this sort of thing isn’t done well, it’s absolutely terrible. When it’s done well, it can be infectious. If you’re a fan of bands like the BRIEFS, you’ll likely enjoy this. I even get a little TOY DOLLS every now and again. This is entertaining stuff. Seriously, they bat twelve for twelve for me.

Pinch Points Process LP

I loved PINCH POINTS’ debut LP. It was punchy and pointed, the kind of jagged-angle punk with a POV that you leave on repeat. I didn’t think they could take such a grand leap forward, but sure as shit, they did. This collection of songs is a hell of a lot of fun musically, but the lyrics brought me to my knees. It’s all on-the-nose, but not in the way people usually mean as a lazy critique. The band says what it means, because they’re not being cute or coy. With songs about mental health, misogyny, the incarceration and murder of First Nations peoples at the hands of police, and literal calls to action against apathy, these are important screeds against the ills of our globally unwell society. Then the band wraps it all in a package of catchy, well-read hooks and illuminated playing across the board. A recent video gave a peek into the band’s writing process, and I saw something I hadn’t seen in a jam space in a long time: a white board featuring every bridge and sub-bridge and ABCs galore. It makes sense, the results are a sort of prog-but-not-for-dorks lightning bolt of punk with an effortless (sounding) execution. It’s exhilarating, and already leaves me breathless for the next release.

Pleasant Mob Irene / Trees & Flowers cassette

A two-song cassingle of chiming psychedelic softness with all the fixins—McGuinn-ish twelve-string, a groovy bass line for you to sway to, some tambourine shimmer. There’s even a flute! Second song is a strummy hummy “la-la-la”-laden cover of a STRAWBERRY SWITCHBLADE tune.

Prisão Não Pertenço EP

One of the best demos of the year, now getting the vinyl treatment from Adult Crash, and I’m grateful. Stockholm’s PRISÃO is a bit of a supergroup (members of VIDRO, AXE RASH, and FERAL BRAIN, among others), but don’t let that distract you from their power. Throaty, abrasive hardcore punk sung in Portuguese…it’s just relentless, fist-pounding hardcore punk. Like, I don’t know what the fukk else you could want.

Reflex Demo 2022 cassette

Strong demo from these French punks. Don’t let the sterile artwork dissuade you—at its core, it’s melodic hardcore, but they keep it pretty dirty and loaded with tough riffage. I love the singer, as he sounds kinda like a French-accented version of early ’80s Keith Morris, and it’s endearing to me for whatever reason when he delivers vulnerable lines like “I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see anyone” on the opening track, or “I’m not afraid anymore” on “Any Decision.” In general, there’s an urgent sincerity to the songs and they feel personal and somehow relatable. I’d really like to hear more from these guys.

Sluggo Sluggo LP

Man, I was so delighted to see this one pop up on my assignments list—I had no idea the SLUGGO stuff had been reissued! Hailing from Cincinnati, SLUGGO were one of the countless lower-rung HC bands that emerged from every nook and cranny in the USA from 1982–1984. Their Contradiction 7″ from 1984 has been one of my personal favourites in the “inessential in the grand scheme, but fucking awesome regardless” subset of American hardcore releases for quite some time. A straightedge band, many accuse(d) SLUGGO of being little more than a MINOR THREAT clone and, while they certainly wore their influences on their sleeves, I feel that calling the band a wholesale rip-off does these tunes a massive disservice because they really stand on their own merits. In addition to the aforementioned Contradiction EP, this self-titled reissue also features the fruits of a different 1984 recording session on its B-side, with most of the material being previously unreleased in an official capacity—it all rips! After this, they went in a more MOTÖRHEAD-influenced metalpunk direction that, if you can track it down, also rips. This LP comes highly recommended to any fellow connoisseurs of the classics and any fans of early straightedge bands like MINOR THREAT, STALAG 13, AMERICA’S HARDCORE, etc.

Sociedad Bastarda Maqueta Askerosa demo cassette

Florida is not a place I associate much with punk rock, but SOCIEDAD BASTARDA proves me wrong. In our modern world, we are constantly fed new music that we are told is the next hottest shit in town, so bumping by chance into a brilliant unknown band like this lot feels like a breath of fresh air. What’s not to like in being sonically brutalized by dis-loving cavemen crust music? With a front cover depicting three visibly intoxicated crusters discussing the merits of the mighty GLOOM (just another day at the office, right?), and further unsubtle references to crasher crust with a logo using the classic double crass circles and the ELECTRO HIPPIES smiling face and the band openly thanking bands like ABRAHAM CROSS or DOOM for existing, the listener should know what kind of bollocking is to be expected. Unsurprisingly, SOCIEDAD BASTARD’s music is distorted, heavy, and crustier than your oldest pair of socks, but I would not describe them as being strictly crasher-noise-oriented. Beside the obvious DOOM/SORE THROAT structuring influence, the Japanese school of crust is also proudly represented with solid hints of CONTRAST ATTITUDE and ABRAHAM CROSS, and the band is clearly into the Swedish classics as they reworked two songs from BOMBANFALL and SHITLICKERS—to top it off, I am also reminded of more modern furious Scandicrust tornadoes like FLYBLOWN or WARVICTIMS. Quite a smoothie, that one. The production is cavernous and pummeling, the band’s slight sloppiness further adds to the impeccable crust vibe of the songs, and I love how the two pissed vocalists (en Español) work together here, too. I can definitely imagine SOCIEDAD BASTARDA delivering something really good on a proper vinyl release. This is gruff crust at its most asqueroso, the way it is meant to be. Yet another good one from Roachleg Records.

Stupid Future Stupid Future CD

We’re only one track in and I’m really digging this. Shit’s going on in Tennessee. I suppose if we’re looking to label this, I’d call it garage pop, with a certain somberness. The pace at times seems almost restrained, not in a bad way. Sometimes it’s mid-tempo and other times it’s a little jumpy—again, not in a bad way. The balance between instruments and vocals is excellent, and the vocal harmonies are easy to listen to. It’s straightforward and it’s well done. I find myself just kind of swaying in my chair. I’ll listen to this one again and again. If you’re into CDs, you might get one of the 200 that were made.

Tin-Ear Cadastral Maps cassette

Self-described as “tweemo,” this is TIN-EAR’s debut album. Very heavy shoegaze vibes at play, with coy vocals that lead a soft and melancholic tribe. Is my teenage self brushing the hair out of his face and crying somewhere in the kaleidoscope of time? Anyway, this lot hails from the salty shores of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, where we are taken to sea aboard a “rickety ship that may never return to shore,” and are ultimately tossed about with the nearly nine-minute closer, simply named “Untitled.” Concept albums and long-jam enders, the type of thing SONIC YOUTH pulled off, are their own form of bravery in the genre, and for that, I give this a lot of credit.