Reviews

Dan Goetz

Puppy and the Handjobs I Hate Everything EP

Imagine if Beavis and Butt-Head had eventually, um, Grown Up Fucked Up, somehow learned to read via overtly sexist garage rock zines, and got into the GERMS and the JABBERS more than GWAR, and you’re enough of the way there. Gross declarations of sexual frustration and an accompanying music video for the song “Cocksucker” on Pornhub (I’m not kidding) turn to creepy stalking and kidnapping fantasies with the song “Predator.” The decent garage scuzz underneath you can find elsewhere without all this nonsense.

  • Reviewer Dan Goetz
  • Label Black Gladiator / Slovenly
  • Issue MRR #441 • February 2020

Foster Care El Abuso LP

Speedy hardcore with a no-hope vibe, and a vocalist whose thick NY accent that reminds me of the MOB (NY) of all things. It’s mostly straightforward, but they throw in some experimental aspects from time to time, along with a noise interlude. The second side is considerably better than the first, so you might want to even listen to that one first.

  • Reviewer Dan Goetz
  • Label Total Punk
  • Issue MRR #440 • January 2020

Electric Chair Performative Justice EP

Any worries I had that this EP wasn’t going to match this band’s sprawled-on-the-floor live set were eradicated by the end of the first song. On these five tracks, ELECTRIC CHAIR fuse together the freewheeling yet tough and melodic side of early ’80s Mid/western US hardcore with stripped-down and more abrasive early ’80s European hardcore (D-beat and otherwise), all filtered through the drugged vibes of the BETA BOYS, with whom they share members. Vocals like a drill sergeant who got dosed and enjoyed it. Can’t wait for what’s next.

  • Reviewer Dan Goetz
  • Label Iron Lung
  • Issue MRR #440 • January 2020

Chain Whip 14 Lashes LP

Last year’s factory town hardcore-styled debut EP was a solid starting point, but CHAIN WHIP have outdone themselves on their first LP. You can still hear the sense of, dare I say, pedestrian soulfulness (by hardcore standards, of course) that reminds me of the FIX, the DICKS, and the LEFT via the present, but this time around, the melodic, sing-along-ready songs are matched by faster speeds and more commandeering, rapid-fire vocals. The overall feel is one of being beaten down but undefeated, and finding jubilation in envisioning just how you’re gonna overthrow your overlords. I would imagine this band is best experienced by happening on them live on a rainy Tuesday after a not-terrible-but-not-great day at your dead-end job, and proceeding to spend their entire set up front, jumping up and down against the stage with a massive grin on your face. While these fourteen lashes listen more like a collection of songs than a cohesive album, the songs are more than varied enough to make each of them leave its own mark. Highly recommended.

  • Reviewer Dan Goetz
  • Label Chain Whip Records
  • Issue MRR #440 • January 2020

Odd Man Out Odd Man Out LP

While “NWHC” as a descriptor has always been more of a collection of largely metallic capitol-H hardcore bands from western Washington than a cohesive genre unto itself, I feel like there’s a musical thread between a number of bands to have come out of this sterile, dreary corner of the US, of which ODD MAN OUT is both a continuing part of and expansion on. BROTHERHOOD is a clear main influence, primarily in terms of vocal delivery, competent changeups that less capable bands might handle like a herky-jerky musical collision, along with guidance on how to expand on both standard youth crew and burlier NYHC templates, and ODD MAN OUT heeds these lessons well, while also applying the hindsight and musical raw material of thirty extra years from which to draw. Plenty of dancefloor-ready mosh abounds—and even the drawn out-seeming breakdowns go somewhere in the end, or you can tell that they’re riding on a riff because it’s fucking good—but there’s also a good deal of lightning-fast blasting that brings everything together well. This LP compiles their 7”, CCHC tape, three covers (the DC YOUTH BRIGADE and Tacoma’s SIDETRACKED), and four new songs, and it’s cool to hear the evolution from the earliest songs to the newest ones. And while we’re on the subject of BROTHERHOOD, RIP Ron Guardipee.

  • Reviewer Dan Goetz
  • Label Refuse
  • Issue MRR #438 • November 2019

Hellbent Dead Off the Floor EP

Playing more polished, professional-sounding hardcore and having music videos and shit can be tricky business, as it makes me just want to dismiss a band as wanting to open for TERROR and/or MUNICIPAL WASTE or get a writeup in No Echo or wherever—is “blogcore” a genre (or aspiration) descriptor at this point? That said, I like HELLBENT. They play hardcore that is indeed polished, and half of these songs indeed have music videos, but they’re ultimately saved and then some by an abrasion in the guitar sound, higher-pitched vocals that are adequately heavy, and interesting songs that aren’t monotonous—fueled in large part by the less-conventional drumwork—and admittedly funny lyrics about shit like king penguins. I believe this four-song EP contains all previously-released songs.

  • Reviewer Dan Goetz
  • Label Pink Lemonade
  • Issue MRR #438 • November 2019

Protein Alive EP

Middle-of-the-road youth crew from Poland that would be equally at home on the React! roster. Vocals are a couple steps above spoken, and the fast parts trade in a bit of speed for power without upsetting the overall ratio. Riffs are adequate if not mindblowing, while melodic leads offer sentimental moments. The pleasantly rough-around-the-edges recording helps to balance the proverbial equation.

  • Reviewer Dan Goetz
  • Label Refuse
  • Issue MRR #438 • November 2019

Loose Nukes Behind the Screen EP

Yesss. Fast, raw, snotty hardcore that isn’t trying to be anything other than what it is. I almost never play the ex-members game because it’s largely lazy rockstar bullshit and rarely relevant to the tunes, but people from DIRECT CONTROL, BLOOD PRESSURE, and DARK THOUGHTS are at the helm here, and despite the relatively straightforward sound, you can hear it. Songs about phones, paranoia, punishers, and of course, nukes. Please tour the West Coast.

  • Reviewer Dan Goetz
  • Label Beach Impediment
  • Issue MRR #438 • November 2019

Betercore Completely Out Of Control: Discography 1998-2003 LP

BETERCORE was a severely underrated Dutch band that carried the self-proclaimed “youthcrust” banner during their turn-of-the-millennium existence. I quite literally discovered this band by doing an internet search for “youth crew crust” in 2003, and immediately knew that I had stumbled on something special. BETERCORE’s sound is characterized by blastbeats interspersed with mosh breakdowns, frequent between-song samples, and melodic leads, with two vocalists that trade off, and is sonically on the slightly cleaner side of abrasive (I think they’re more “crust” aesthetically and politically, and more “youth” in terms of the breakdowns, songwriting, instrument tones, and energy brought forth). Their impassioned lyrics—which can be felt in the vocal delivery—take on society’s bullshit, as well as that of the sometimes sterile and detached-from-real-life hardcore scenes that were going when they started up, with humor and seriousness whenever the respective one fit (sample song titles include “SXE, But Not An Asshole,” “Gospelcore,” “Man You Suck,” and “Mosh Against Monarchy”). Their main output is four split 7”s and a split tour CD-R, which is compiled here in reverse chronological order, along with a history, loads of pictures and flyers, and even a quiz! Although I still regularly see their records in distros, it’s nice to have everything in one place, and I’m glad that a band this necessary yet lesser-known has seen their discography pressed to vinyl and contextualized with care. They called themselves “better ’core” for a reason, and they delivered. Let us not forget.

  • Reviewer Dan Goetz
  • Label Refuse
  • Issue MRR #436 • September 2019

Line Of Sight Line of Sight LP

This DC youth crew band’s Dissent EP, originally on Youngblood, graces the A-side, while their demo is on the flipside. This is the more “searching for something” school of post-millennial youth crew, with the energy and shouted vocals (and a little singing on the demo) to match. Everything is tight, well-written, and well-played, there’s definite evolution from the demo songs to the EP ones, and they achieve a good balance between drawing from a few different corners of the overall youth crew canon and falling back on tried-and-true genre staples when it works. There’s a lot of cartoon bullshit in this genre, but these songs come off as sincere and relatively refreshing. I’d mosh.

  • Reviewer Dan Goetz
  • Label Refuse
  • Issue MRR #436 • September 2019

PERRA VIDA Célebres Plumíferos EP

This Peruvian band plays excellent straightforward hardcore punk that most often keeps a 1-2-1-2 pace, with semi-frequent breakdowns and some slower moments, and you get a sense from the vocals that she is putting forth these words because she has no other choice. The drums are varied enough between, and over the course of, each of these five songs, that they all sound distinct, and make their individual marks on this record. The nice bouncy bass tone rounds out their sound well, too. Very excited to see what’s next.

  • Reviewer Dan Goetz
  • Label En Tu Kara
  • Issue MRR #432 • May 2019

Night Slaves III LP

Ten somber, atmospheric epics that rarely clock in at less than four minutes, yet hold my attention the whole way through. A common-enough denominator—though nowhere near the whole picture—might be some of DEPECHE MODE’s slowest points, with even more sparse percussion for the most part. A few songs are driven by melancholy organ, with a choir of soulful backups to match, while others by (electric) piano or fuzzy synth. The vocalist has a distinct baritone, and the main instrumentalist, David Kane, started making electronic music in the late ’70s, but except for the aforementioned synth, most of the electronics here are part of the ambiance rather than in the foreground. That these intricate and moving songs were created mostly by two people is an even greater accomplishment.

  • Reviewer Dan Goetz
  • Label Swimming Faith
  • Issue MRR #432 • May 2019

The Empty Bottles No Sense for the Cause CD

The punk duck from that old Bubble Yum commercial is all grown up (with a red mohawk this time), sporting an Antifa neck tattoo on the cover of this CD (I can get down with that), and presumably drinking with the boys at the pub or whatever (ehh…). The music is barely-tolerable bar punk, where one moment is indistinguishable from the next (except for the gang vocals, which make me prefer their default state of monotony), and their song “Overpopulation” regurgitates that stupid liberal eugenics myth. At least there’s a funny song about Lars (not that one, the other one) selling out because he shaved his head.

  • Reviewer Dan Goetz
  • Label Awesome Vision
  • Issue MRR #432 • May 2019

Clarko I Just Wanna Pay / Medeocre Man 7"

One can almost picture CLARKO hard at work in his basement as they hear these two stripped-down, sarcastic and angsty yet bouncy solo new wave ditties. “I Just Wanna Pay” is driven by punchy synth bursts and light square wave hits, while “Medeocre Man” is more guitar-driven and a bit more brooding, as our protagonist lashes out at his subject with lines like “Your life is stupid / And I am poor!” This is one of five records in Iron Lung Records’ new Systemic Surgery series, and is now sold out.

  • Reviewer Dan Goetz
  • Label Iron Lung
  • Issue MRR #432 • May 2019