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.

Karne Krua Suicidio EP

Magnificent reissue of KARNE KRUA’s 1991 demo that you didn’t know you needed…until you hear it. Raw and gruff Brasilian hardcore/thrash from the Northeastern city Aracaju, KARNE KRUA plays from the RDP/LOBOTOMIA school, then injects wild, piercing solos and a vocal delivery that embodies sinister but addictive hardcore. While the recording on Suicidio is primitive, the delivery of these eight tracks is devastating, relentless, and the past thirty years has only served to make the recording sound even more intense. This is a reissue done right, with notes (em Português, claro) and photos from the original K7 release. Awesome.

La Grieta Askeroso Getxo Sound 2005–2015 double cassette

Spanning an entire decade from 2005–2015, this is the complete discography of Spanish avant-garde experimental art/noise project LA GRIETA. Presented with very cool-looking minimalist artwork in a dual-cassette case on bright yellow and pink cassettes, with a huge write-up in Spanish about the history of the project. It all looks very cool, and for fans of this band or this style, I imagine this to be an absolute delight. As an introduction to the band, I found it to be a lot to attempt to digest, especially with its lack of form. I recognize that is the style that is being sought, but listening to two straight hours of long, loosely knitted-together, seemingly improvised sloppy “songs” featuring squealing feedback, blip-bloops of unknown origin, horns, melodica, and even snoring has it all feeling like jazz to me. I am absolutely craving something easy on the ears.

Mid Rats Divisions CD

Hardcore skate punk that wouldn’t be out of place on Fat Wreck. Overall, it’s pretty good. Lyrics are a bit political-leaning as opposed to your common skate punk band and that’s OK. The singer’s voice took a bit to get into, it’s a weird mix of Trevor from FACE TO FACE, Davey Havok, and screaming. Not bad once you actually get into it. There’s a definite AFI vibe to the “whoa-oh” parts, for sure. All in all, not a bad outing.

Move BHC Freedom Dreams EP

On this debut 7″ EP, Boston’s MOVE BHC delivers some bone-breaking heavy hardcore/beatdown with overtly political lyrical content, with heavy emphasis on Black struggle. No thrills or smiles here, just totally righteous indignation. These eleven minutes contain several truly powerful moments, such as the intro to “Righteous Unrest.” Recommended to all those searching for some broader nuance in their windmilling music.

Nicfit Fuse LP

NICFIT does lots of things right on this debut LP. In the grand tradition of many a punk band from Japan, NICFIT plays havoc with genre, executing hairpin turns where most would end up in the weeds. On these tracks, post-punk rhythms ride surf guitar riffs into noise rock pummel. Hell, “Rigged” opens with a snippet of CECIL TAYLOR-esque piano sputter. Oddly enough, NICFIT often resembles underappreciated mid-2000s band KAITO UK, which gets two thumbs up from these two hands.

Polyester 100% Polyester LP

A super fun and dance-y record—the voice, the music, the lyrics, everything about this band makes me wanna start dancing and jumping. I just love when punks make music like this, because we don’t hear stuff like this really often. I can’t decide what song is my favourite one, because they really, really have a super interesting formula in all of them. “Dale Dale” is maybe the one that surprised me the most, because it’s so fucking good and it has some Spanish lines, so I obviously get excited about that. Also “Sue Me,” it’s fucking fire, the changes in the drums are crazy and the chorus sounds really retro, it’s amazing.  Definitely a band to check out, so different from what most punk bands are playing these days, absolutely love it.

Power Supply In the Time of the Sabre-Toothed Tiger LP

The name of this band along with the title of this LP made me expect some kind of caveman-themed metal band. Instead, this Melbourne foursome (featuring members of DRUG SWEAT, OOGA BOOGAS, and VOICE IMITATOR) delivers a relaxed and sunny brand of garage rock that never takes itself too seriously. Singer Leon Stackpole sounds effortlessly laid-back, while Mikey Young’s guitar work is impressive without being showy. While some songs are straightforward rockers (“Land of the Fire,” “Conservative Instincts“), they also get to stretch out into some more experimental territory on “Infinity and 90” and “Swimming in a Bathful of Ghosts.” It’s all exceedingly pleasant and playful while never being dull. I’m reminded of Rotterdam’s LEWSBERG and fellow Australians THIGH MASTER. A fantastic debut.

Quaker Wedding Total Disarray LP

There’s a place between LEATHERFACE and AMERICAN STEEL (post-the Rouge’s March album) where this band lies. The great, angularly harsh guitar work is reminiscent of 1997 HOT WATER MUSIC before their infamous Hard Rock Cafe breakup, and the lyrics haunt with the emotional despair and angst of WEDDING PRESENT’s David Gedge. This is their sophomore release on the infallible Salinas Records and fits in with the more raw and rock part of their discography. I didn’t know what a “quaker wedding” was when I was assigned this review. But the week after, I caught one of JAWBREKER’s shows for the 25th anniversary of Dear You and then watched the documentary Don’t Break Down about the history of the band. At the end of the film Blake Schwarzenbach makes a comment that during the meeting when the band broke up, it felt like a quaker wedding where “you just sit there but there’s a lot of weight in the room.” Here the weight is authentically well-defined and felt.

Reality P.R.O.M.O. cassette

Cool tape with two long tracks from this Israel-based solo project that opens with a great GOBLIN-style synth dirge, all digital bells and deep, bubbling atmosphere. Then it gets really weird, with a truly unique vocal approach that sounds unlike anything I have heard before. The closest thing I can compare the down-tuned, altered vocals is maybe DJ SCREW’s productions, but imagine that over snaky post-punk/indie guitars and electronic drums. It sounds like a Speak & Spell left between melted JOY DIVISION and SONIC YOUTH tapes. There are many great, chiming call-and-response guitar lines that are both dissonant and shimmering with beauty. While disconcerting at first, I found this very listenable and interesting all the way through. Recommended.

Side Effect Suicide Tuesday! 12″

SIDE EFFECT plays their punk by the numbers with power chords, great little earworms, and snarled, raspy vocals. All throughout they capably add additional melodies, briefly quiet down and ramp back up again. This record is short and sweet. Its catchy and shambolic style brings to mind the OBSERVERS.

S.M.I.L.E. Just S.M.I.L.E. cassette

Hardcore punk that has something for everyone. A little bit of metal-tinged guitars here, some RANCID-esque bass lines there, some breakdown parts, a dash of street punk, and mildly distorted vocals. S.M.I.L.E. is one of those bands that would appeal to all sorts, while simultaneously being an acquired taste to others. Definitely worth a listen, or three.

Soup Activists Riling Up the Neighbors cassette

Martin Meyer is arguably one of the primary architects responsible for our contemporary punk landscape. For better or worse, I don’t know that we end up with the chain/egg punk dichotomy without LUMPY AND THE DUMPERS and their gooey aesthetic, or his label Lumpy Records and their “Feelin’ Eggy?” promo emails (not to mention Lumpy put out records by most of the bands originally labeled “egg-punk”). That aside, I’m also just a huge fan of the dude’s work. So, it came as quite a shock to just learn that he’s been making music under the SOUP ACTIVISTS name for the past two years, and this eleven-song cassette is his second release. Now, I go in blind when it comes to projects I’m unfamiliar with, so I had no idea who this was on my first listen. But my initial reaction was “Why did MRR give me this? It sounds like…SICKO or some shit!” To be fair, I think I was primarily picking up on the earnestness of the music—as I sat with it longer, I could tell there was actually a lot more going on. Still my primary point of comparison, at least on those first few tracks, would be something like the ramshackle pop punk of early FIFTEEN. Later tracks maybe feature more of the lo-fi jangle/strained tunefulness you’d find in an Eric Gaffney-sung SEBADOH track or some polish-free pop akin to, say, a DOLLY MIXTURE. Now that I know who’s behind the music, I can’t not hear that this is a Marty joint. But it would be hard to overstate how blown away I was to find that out. I’m still not sure that I really love the music here, but I have certainly loved the time I’ve spent so far trying to figure that out.

Sundown Keep Moving CD

Melodic hardcore quartet SUNDOWN, of Indianapolis, presents their debut LP. With every member contributing to vocals, you get a variety of leads from song to song, the best of which I think is the tremendous, metal-tinged screams of the opener “Don’t Ask Me” that lights a fire for its successors. Their self-described influences of HOT WATER MUSIC and AVAIL can definitely be heard throughout: heavy riffs, clever lead guitar turnarounds, shouts and howls that cede to emo-styled melodies. Think of a grittier ALKALINE TRIO. If this strikes your nostalgic fancy, this fast and technical record will keep you on your toes.

Swath Of… Lament cassette

Oh hell yes—this is what I needed!! Early primitive heavy metal vibes on “His Demise,” brooding ethereal indie on “Where It Started…,” and pounding deathrock on “The Changeling” (there are three more tracks, but you see where I’m going here). The guitar has a lo-fi “plugged straight into the board because I didn’t know else to record” power that is so fucking impossible to fake, you just nail it or it sucks, and SWATH OF… nails it like few bands I’ve ever heard. Vocals are haunting throughout, they just soar and they shadow everything else in the mix. Lament is a benefit for the Black Trans Travel Project, which only further seals the deal for me—New Jersey fucking delivers.

Total Nada El Camino Más Fácil EP

Somewhere I read that to repress libidinal energy is to repress the genius of creativity. TOTAL NADA, with this debut EP, seeks to do precisely the opposite. They build, with just six awesome tracks, a space of liberation for those libidinal energies to emerge and birth autonomy and personal expression. The band is from Canada, with a Colombian vocalist singing in Spanish, and a sound where the different axes of the global hardcore cartography converge. One senses the brutalist monotone of RUDIMENTARY PENI but also the manic aggression of South American hardcore of the late ’80s and early ’90s and the overwhelming force of the best Italian punk. It’s gorgeous, it’s fun, it’s sweaty, and above all, it’s brilliant. It is the light that guides us out of the ideological labyrinth in which we live.

Walled City Dream Deprivation cassette

Fast and angry debut from Florida’s WALLED CITY. The instrumentation comes off like melodic hardcore á la DEATH BY STEREO, whereas the vocals and lyrical content sound like the recent (and only) ENACT release. I think “Broken Windows” hits the hardest, and is a good taster for the EP. Have a listen and get pissed.

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.

1000 Travels of Jawaharlal / Minority Blues Band split LP

A vinyl reissue of an album that was originally released on CD in 2000. MINORITY BLUES BAND kicks things off with five songs that are firmly rooted in punk but have underlying emo tendencies, with songs sung in English and their native Japanese. At times there’s a heavy CAP’N JAZZ vibe, albeit more in-tune and angry with a more controlled chaos. 1000 TRAVELS OF JAWAHARLAL are definitely holding it down with more of the same type of vibe as their comrades, but whereas MINORITY BLUES BAND is a bit more rooted in punk, I’d argue that JAWAHARLAL are screamo to the core. All in all, this is a great split and I for one am a huge fan of the split LP format, so the fact that this finally has seen a vinyl release is perfect.

Autarch Excession//Excision cassette

While the 2020s are still running on ignorant punk stomps, in the mountains of North Carolina there are four people who are determined to keep pushing the epic crust envelope further and further. Stunning, downtuned, apocalyptic D-beat lurches, replete with over-the-top guitar leads and dual vocals that seem all obligatory not because “they’re supposed to do that” but because it all needs to be there. You can feel it. For a band to sound so simultaneously confident and desperate is beyond refreshing, even while the tonnage from these two songs crushes you from the inside. AUTARCH has been in the game for a while, and they sound more important than ever.

Bombardement Le Futur Est Là LP

When I reviewed the BOMBARDEMENT EP last month, I never saw this monster follow-up LP coming. On Le Futur Est Là, the band simultaneously pays great honor to and transcends traditional DISCHARGE-worship with their sharp and calculated panache. The guitar on this record gets increasingly bonkers as it goes on, soloing us all straight to hell with smiles on our faces. Hailing from the beautiful, wine-drunk city of Bordeaux, BOMBARDEMENT picks up on elements of the sound that most other D-enizens have neglected, such as the pared-down primitive menace and background cacophony of “Poison” and the build-up of chaos on “Predateur.” On top of all this madness, you can hear the singer literally throwing her entire soul into every performance. The best part is, it kinda feels like they’re just getting started. I haven’t been able to stop listening to this. It’s A+ shit, kids. The future is here, indeed.

CB 550 demo cassette

Fucking great. Classic American-style hardcore with Rollins-esque exhausted vocals hollered over blown-out, fast punk riffs, and non-stop drum attacks. Four songs recorded as one track in under five minutes. First track “Mee Bee” has start/stop, fast beat slam breaks that rule. “Ignite” starts with a creepy-crawl beat and then slows it waaay down to a nasty caveman stomp. I can only imagine how hard the elbows must fly at this part. True broken-nose, pit-crush music. “Wife” has a simple bass riff, driven by tom rolls. It all turns into a furious D-beat rager and doesn’t let up until it’s over. “Pee” finishes out the tape with another fast rager. If this tape came out in 1980, we would all know about it—it’s that good. Check out that cover too—perfect. This is exactly my jam and it comes highly recommended. I’m gonna go listen to it again.

 

C.O.F.F.I.N. Children of Finland Fighting in Norway LP

Here’s a band that does the sleaze-rock-meets-heavy-metal sound with some actual flair—not to mention brains. From track one, you know what you’re in for, as whining dog leads and the classic “slam on the piano” riff set the stage for rhythmic pyrotechnics and lead singer Ben Portnoy’s incredibly commanding growl. This band raises hell in a way most rock bands forget how to, and they don’t sound the least bit stale for all their reference (and reverence) to the hazy halls of hallowed rock that came before. Part of what makes the formula so fresh is that there’s clearly more thinking going on than the group might want to let on at first. Take some of the lyrics from ripper “Cecila”: “Volunteer your story to your new chosen friend / Treat it like a rag through the back of your head / Follow suit, dirty the bowl / Dread dripping from your pockets as you power home.” That’s practically out of a novel for my money, and it lends serious pathos to a record that’s more than just a good time (although it is also most certainly that). Unreal record. Stone classic that breathes smoke and pukes fire.

Demand Demo 2021 cassette

Washington DC’s DEMAND’s demo from last year delivers some super solid hardcore. Very danceable with some nice hints of melody while still keeping it HC to the very core—the type of hardcore that wouldn’t be out of place on the Triple B roster. This debut release demonstrates some real powerful potential for this band and I’m really stoked to see what’s up next—recommended!

Dramachine Συγκινησιακή Πανούκλα LP

Athens, Greece trio leaning heavy into a pop-synth/drum-machine soundscape, only to break the mold with vocals that range from post-punk to new wave dance to weirdo DIE ANTWOORD-esque rapping (see “Φεύγουμε Από Εδώ (Let’s Get Out of Here)” featuring SCI-FI RIVER).  In this way, each song is its own oddball trip. The album translates to “Emotional Disease,” and maybe that explains it all.

El Sancho Jollier Than Thou cassette

Novelty Christmas album from Hawaiian-based pop punk band EL SANCHO. Six songs of RAMONES-core pop punk filled with repetitive sing-songy vocals and catchy guitar leads. Pretty entertaining as far as novelty Christmas songs go. “Merry Christmas Joey Ramone” had me coming back for a few extra listens.

Fix More is More LP

Naturally, when you see the name FIX, most of you will probably think of the Detroit hardcore band, and a smaller percentage will wonder why the extra “X” is missing from those new wavers that wrote “One Thing Leads to Another.” You would be wrong on both accounts in this case, and while finding any info on this band was nigh impossible, I wasn’t disappointed by these Germans’ full-throttle garage punk. Every song mows you down with strictly down-strummed, tightly-wound power chord riffs, and the drummer’s wrists must be bionic with all those relentless RAMONES-ian hi-hats. If you love the MARKED MEN template but also sprechen sie Deutsch, then it may behoove you to seek out this record.

Greyhound Greyhound cassette

This ten-track ripper is for those who love their hardcore old school and in-your-face. Starting with a great stomping track called, appropriately enough, “Intro,” this Oakland, CA two-piece rages fast and hard. Any one of these songs could have been on a seminal hardcore compilation from the mid-’80s, but instead of lyrics bitching about Reagan and Thatcher, GREYHOUND gives you 2020s existential despair, alienation, and personal pain. The only track hinting at anything vaguely political is “Mirroring Constructs,” touching on corporate exploitation and getting caught up in the illusions of status, materialism, and career. GREYHOUND proves that great hardcore doesn’t have to be all politics, all the time. With guest vocals by Trevor McBride (YOUTH IN CRISIS) and Frankie Oh (KANTA KANTA), this is an album to play on repeat.

The Hamiltones Live at the Jungle Gym cassette

The HAMILTONES follow up their incredible Dracula Invitational, 1791 LP from last year with a live cassette on Primitive Screwhead, the Big Neck Records live cassette subsidiary label. End of February 2014 in Buffalo, NY: lo-fi nasty instrumental surf rock plays as an absolutely bonkers party rages around. Punkers in Buffalo have had this recurring event for years now, with a beach party taking place in the midst of winter to attempt to stave off the seasonal blues. Heat is cranked, swimwear is donned by all those in attendance, and on this special year, musical guests the HAMILTONES performed live in a jam-packed living room. I happened to be at this party, and I don’t exactly remember things being as debaucherous as fellow attendee Micky Harmon depicted in his artist’s rendering of the evening on a wild-looking four-panel foldout cover for this cassette. Though, the more I think about it and listen to these tunes, the more accurate I think the artwork actually is.

In Venus Sintoma LP

Perfection, that’s the first word that came to my mind after listening to this absolutely killer record. It’s this kind of post-punk that I fucking love, with a lot of changes, weird drums, noise, dance-y, a strong voice—there’s a lot of good stuff happening that I just can’t describe, people just need to listen to this. “4 Segundos” and “Cores” are the tracks that really blow my mind, this will be in my top ten this year, for sure.

The Jars Make Love Not War LP

Forming from the ashes of SST (band, not label), the JARS were an active, if marginal, player in the early Berkeley punk scene. Their first single (Start Rite Now) was just the fourth release on the now legendary Subterranean label. Despite their links to bands like FLIPPER and DEAD KENNEDYS, the JARS’ brand of self-described “psycho-pop” owes more to ’60s surf and garage than their California punk contemporaries. This archival collection compiles the entirety of their recorded output: a couple of singles alongside several live tracks and unreleased studio recordings. Tracks like “Start Rite Now” and “Teenage Rebellion” are bright, simple pop songs with a zany edge courtesy of a Farfisa organ, while on other tracks, such as “Electric 3rd Rail,” they stretch out into more discomfiting territory. Their ’60s influences are made most obvious by a handful of live instrumental covers of classic TV show themes, as well as a SONICS cover (“Psycho”). It’s a good time. Fans of Bay Area punk history and ROKY ERICKSON’s songs about creatures with atom brains will enjoy the JARS’ good-natured kitschiness.

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Kevin Man in the Van LP

Bakersfield, California stoner grunge trio—does it make any sense at all that the opener “Prick” comes off like UNSANE through a surf filter? It doesn’t make sense, but it grabbed me and I listened with eager ears as these dudes dished out heavy tunes about getting fucked up and being alive. That surf thing I thought I heard never came back, but instead KEVIN just bashed the shit out of seven pieces of early ’90s heavy sludge.

Lafff Box Master EP

New Berlin-based label Turbo Discos brings us the debut release from this German outfit, featuring members of LASSIE and EX-WHITE. “Master” kicks off the four-song EP with some hooky downstroke punk. It sounds not unlike early MEAN JEANS, particularly with its lightning-fast rhythm section and booming production. Fortunately that’s where the comparison ends. As soon as I figured out who this reminded me of, some warbly raygun guitars swoop in, the overdubs start getting looser, and a harshly shouted chorus starts up. This ain’t no pop punk! That track ends with its wall-of-sound production crumbling into a C.C.T.V.-ish chicken scratch guitar fadeout. It’s really something! The remainder of the EP is equally as compelling, sounding like a cool mix of contemporary robo-rock (e.g., SET-TOP BOX or RESEARCH REACTOR), the SPITS, and the industrial-tinged garage punk of LILI Z. A real ripper! Handsome cover to boot!

Liquid Face II EP

These Australian synth punks may have created the first treaty between the chains and the eggs with this record. Imagine the awkward handshake. You know the chains would squeeze too hard. Quirky synths zig and zag over loud punk guitars, drum machines, and gruff vocals. The shouted, reverbed hardcore vocals are what really set these folks apart from most current synth punk projects—the music is still bouncy, but this is most definitely a punk record. “Levitation” is a jam where the keyboards complement the guitars perfectly into a solid driving, ominous force. “Conflicted Interest” works equally well and reminds me of ANNO OMEGA (who put out one of my favorite releases last year). Good record for bruisers as well as those guys who do somersaults through the pit.

Mop Buckets Mop Buckets LP

MOP BUCKETS is an L.A group comprised of scene veterans from bands like DEAD CROSS, RETOX, and FIELD DAY. This is a very “what you see is what you get” kind of record. Six straight-up punk tracks that hold their own any day of the week. MOP BUCKETS bring an aggressively angular style of punk. Something like the JESUS LIZARD or DRIVE LIKE JEHU, leaning heavily into post-hardcore at times. I wouldn’t go as far to say that this LP is the most inventive or original record in the genre, but it certainly holds up.

Mr. and the Mrs. Fukkkops / Gasoline Ice Cream 7″

This shit is charming as all hell. A husband and wife making arts-and-crafty, socially conscious garage punk in the middle of America. Think DEAD MOON, STREET EATERS, and GROOVIE GHOULIES with some synth punk new wave-ish vibes. The first track is the winner, but both are swell. I bet they’d make a nice casserole and put clean sheets on the spare bed if you came through town. Night, all.

Normil Hawaiians Dark World (79–81) LP

This is a compilation of singles, demos, outtakes and Peel sessions by this experimental ensemble, and in most cases, if I see the words “experimental” or “dub-inspired” in relation to British post-punk circa ’79–’81, I’m all ears. I adore the POP GROUP, THIS HEAT, and the FLYING LIZARDS, but NORMIL HAWAIIANS have none of the bleeding edge, fiery energy, or avant-garde outness I admire in those bands. Mostly this sounds in the camp of anarcho goth (or gothy anarcho, depending on whether your peanut butter got in the chocolate or vice versa). The songs are mostly a trudge, barring the single “Party Party,” which sounds like an ORANGE JUICE outtake, and their unexpected cover of FRANK ZAPPA’s “Mr. Green Genes”, which mostly inspired me to turn this off and pull out my old copy of Uncle Meat for a spin.

Outerwear The Outerwear Limits cassette

Except for two cuts on the New Hope comp, Cleveland’s OUTERWEAR has been woefully under-documented. Praise be to Scat for gifting us a belated deluge in the form of 24 tracks recorded back in 1983. OUTERWEAR was two-thirds SPIKE IN VAIN and one-third Beth Scarf. They made quite a racket. Led by Chris Marec, OUTERWEAR would be the perfect house band for a serial killer mixer. I can see some joker putting a human-skin lampshade on his head while “Piss II” plays, followed by the damp, leaky punk of “Herpes Condo.” Although OUTERWEAR is more explicitly hardcore, parallels can be drawn to other scene oddballs like SCRATCH ACID and MIGHTY SPHINCTER. This late-blooming album is a glorious pisstake. If only all side projects slayed this hard.

Postage Postage LP

Gruff, melodic, catchy pop punk with an edge. The kind that appeals to the “Fest crowd,” no doubt. Their song “80-85” is a surefire anthem. Limited to 300 copies, and I’m sure the packaging will annoy more than a few people, but it’s a good sing-along record and that should make up for the less-than-conventional packaging.

Sedicion Extintos LP reissue

SEDICIÓN is one of the founding bands of Mexican hardcore. Hailing from the city of Guadalajara, they started in 1988 with an imagination influenced by anarchism, bringing a poignant, pacifist, and self-critical point of view to the social and political misery of Mexico in the ’80s, in the throes of the authoritarian regime of a single party that ruled in those years.  They released several albums, participated in splits with bands like HEREJÍA and M.E.L.I., and evolved their sound during the ’90s to approach melodic hardcore, managed to tour Spain (mainly in libertarian centers and squats in the Basque Country), and split up in 1995 only to return two years later, releasing a couple of albums and touring Mexico and Spain again. The group became inactive in the early ’00s, with some sporadic reunions to play live. As of 2018, the group reunited to celebrate 30 years, touring Mexico and Latin America, and it is precisely that inertia that generates an interest in reissuing their albums. Austin label Esos Malditos Punks reissued on vinyl En Las Calles from 1990 and Verdaderas Historias de Terror from 1991. Now, Punk n Vomit reissues their seminal debut Extintos from 1988. The album is harsh, brutal, savage, blunt, and violent, and at the same time, extremely catchy. A piece of late 20th century Mexican history. A great entry point for the uninitiated is “Líderes,” with one of the best riffs in the history of world punk. A must.

Sistema En Decadencia Nuestro Legado LP

Two words: crasher crust! It’s one of those genres that you either love or hate, due to the repetitiveness of the genre’s tropes. But sometimes a band comes along that makes the genre a bit more rich. SISTEMA EN DECADENCIA is such a band! After an amazing split with FEROCIOUS X, Nuestro Legado sees the light of day. Nine tracks of blistering crasher crust, noisy and fuzzed-out, worshipping ’90s Japanese bands like the almighty GLOOM. These chaos aficionados come from Melbourne and play in EXECUTION, SOMA COMA, DEJECTOR, and KRÖMOSOM, for reference. They sing in Spanish and that only adds to the urgency felt throughout. If you like pedals and fast D-beats, get this record now!

Strangelight The World Needs Laughter LP

By the album title, I thought I was in for some egg-punk silliness, but instead found an Oakland, CA hardcore foursome that sounds like Sister-era SONIC YOUTH. This is a four-song single-sided 12″, with a screen-printed B-side of “The World Needs Laughter” in an eye chart logo. The guitar and violin outro on “Lead Blanket” form a nice break before the heavy-hitting title track that slaps in half the time of its predecessor. STRANGELIGHT’s tour starts off in Oakland this month, so get after it.

Two Man Advantage DCxPC Live Presents: Two Man Advantage LP

NY’s TWO MAN ADVANTAGE are one the metro area’s longest continually-running punk bands. They have a formula and stick to it: standard-issue hardcore punk with a hockey theme. This LP features songs from NYC and Las Vegas shows. Personally, I don’t like live albums. They seem unnecessary for punk songs, which typically don’t vary much between the recorded and live versions. The mix here is nothing special and the second set is especially poor. TWO MAN’s strengths, honed since the 1990s, are better captured on their studio albums.

Us // Them Demonstration cassette

Heavy, churning, sample-laden project based in Southern California. The intensity of MANKIND? and the tonnage of early KYLESA packed into a tight, focused hardcore punk attack with guest vocalists from OVER (Portland) and BLACK SHEEP WALL. This one is all power, folks, and between-song commentary only adds to the intensity.

V/A The Buntingford Long Playing Record LP reissue

The late ’70s/early ’80s UK DIY scene turned the locals-only comp into an art form, committing countless one-and-done regional obscurities to wax and priming the pump that the Messthetics series would return to again and again in the subsequent century. Buntingford is never going to be mentioned in the same breath as Manchester or Leeds when recounting the era’s post-punk boom, but it still fostered enough of a scene to produce the seven bands immortalized on this 1981 LP collection; for a tiny market town of a couple thousand people, Buntingford was apparently punching above its weight by measure of bands per capita (although as in most small, close-knit music communities, some overlapping personnel between projects was definitely going on). There’s relatively straight rock’n’roll with a smudge of the UNDERTONES (the OTHERS) and vaguely CLASH-inspired post-pub-rock sounds (the RUN) in the mix, but the more off-center and unpolished contributions are the undisputed winners of The Buntingford Long Playing Album—the INFINITE LOTS do warbling retrofuturist synth punk like the SOUND re-envisioned as a Subterranean Records act, the nihilistic clatter of “Sheltered Life” by RIVERSIDE ROCKY sketches out the sort of (SWELL) maps that the SUBURBAN HOMES would unfold three decades later, the DEBUTANTES charm with two scrappy twee-punk songs in a DOLLY MIXTURE/GIRLS AT OUR BEST fashion, with airy teenage femme vocals straining at the upper register limits that make it all the better, and the CHOKE offers up a pair of totally ace, TELEVISION PERSONALITIES-esque naive mod-pop numbers (the lopsidedly catchy “Top Man” could be their own “Jackanory Stories”), although the completely collapsing drum beats of “Concrete Buildings” carry them into an echelon of shamble far beyond the Dan Treacy realm; I’m here for it.

Art Gray Noizz Quintet Live! Friday March 13th 2020 cassette

Another killer live cassette by the masterminds at Primitive Screwhead. This was actually my first exposure to the ART GRAY NOIZZ QUINTET, who play mid-tempo, sleazy noise rock. This was recorded mere days before all the COVID lockdown protocols began, so it stands to reason that this was likely the last live musical experience that the crowd that fateful evening would experience for quite some time. Listening to it on cassette, I would imagine that those who were lucky enough to be in attendance were held over for quite some time thanks to these nasty grooves delivered by the QUINTET.

Bzdet Nie Ma Nic cassette

It’s been fun for the last year-plus to clock the evolution of BZDET’s consistently excellent output. The mysterious artist(s?) has been cranking out a slew of tapes and digital EPs, portions of which get collected here. BZDET smears bass lines, synth-blurt, and pitch-shifted vocals together like a punk BLANK DOGS. BZDET would be right at home on a Ralph Records sampler, and would probably even steal the show. There’s a RENALDO AND THE LOAF kind of lurch to the more playful cuts and an undeniable CHROME frizz to the menacing ones. “Bad News” has a nasty edge to it until sliding into the demented “Wszyscy Wymrzemy.” Half the time the song just comes barging into the room, all sharp elbows and curled lips. And yet, they can do barren tundra post-punk as well as anyone currently scowling in the shadows. But really it sounds like all my fave-rave early ’80s German tapeheads who made punk with anything they could dig out of the garbage or find in the pantry. This isn’t even the best stuff! There’s already new material out from this busy musical formation. Have you caught the buzz yet?

Celebrity Handshake Move Back to Outer Space LP

Wowee! Now here’s something interesting. Maine’s CELEBRITY HANDSHAKE’s four-song, aptly-titled LP Move Back to Outer Space is some truly out-of-this-world “music.” The vocals bark and bellow—sometimes coherently, other times anything but. The guitar is sharp and fuzzed-out, very occasionally jamming out an identifiable riff. The drums keep some kind of a beat sometimes. The production—non-existent. The thing that makes this album so right to me is how wrong it is. My favourite track on the album is the total spontaneous free-for-all known as “Meet Me in the Iron Cage,” a free-jazz-inspired cacophony of sound overlaid with a bellowing malcontent challenging you to a one-on-one “tonight!” over the top of it all. God bless this mess.

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.

Dispo / Telesatan split LP

Both TELESATAN and DISPO feature a lot of feedback, clamor, and fuzz. TELESATAN plays fun, conventional punk defined by a big farty bass sound, cymbal crashes, and screeching guitars. The vocalists scream, yowl and taunt (think BLATZ’s side of Shit Split). Occasionally they slow to a FLIPPER-like crawl. DISPO’s songs continue in this vein. Both bands balance out the noise with catchy riffs and choruses.

Eyes and Flys Asbestos Fiber in a Sunbeam / Sad Labor 7″

There’s something about the title “Asbestos Fiber in a Sunbeam” that makes me happy. The picture I have in my mind is somewhat uplifting, and I really need that these days. The song is a rollicking, fuzzy stomper. It’s energizing. “Sad Labor” is slower with a lilting off-kilter quality that grows to sound big and expansive, then ends with the guitar just strumming slowly. I like this a lot.