Reviews

Tyler Sovelove

Termination Termination cassette

Last year when I heard the SERFS’ debut album Sounds of Serfdom, I thought “hell yes, this has got to be a sign that 2020 is going to be a great year,” but oh how I was wrong. This new album from TERMINATION, a Cincinnati-based supergroup with members from the SERFS, MARDOU, and CRIME OF PASSING has got me really worried because it’s so fucking good that it can only mean 2021 is going to be a horrific nightmare. This tape brings all of the wild experimentation of the VELVET UNDERGROUND to the melodic garage rock of KING KHAN. It’s fuzzed-out and noisy and totally brilliant. There’s really nothing more to be said except that this kicks ass and comes highly recommended. If you feel so inclined, cop a tape. All of the profits go to the Navajo and Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund.

Verräter Verräter cassette

This cassette is completely drenched in reverb and dripping with attitude. The band is coming in with a sightly newer sounding version of hardcore, really in the vein of ALIEN NOSEJOB or UBIK. It’s slightly more spacy, but more frenetic and free with itself. If you’re not into that sound just wait until they whip out the synthesizer because that’s when things really get good. Tracks like “Narrow Minded” are just damn filthy with the distorted synth. If you do give this a listen you’re in for a ride to say the least, but I think it’s worth it.

Gargara Versus Jesus EP

The first thing you’ll notice about this EP is that the cover art is terrifyingly beautiful. It’s the type of image that will keep you up at night, but one you can also appreciate. I also think that’s a pretty apt description for the music on here. This is just some no-frills, zero-fucks-given, noisy hardcore punk coming from Skopje, Macedonia. There are four wild, caustic, and to-the-point tracks here, but none of them let up. The standout track is surely “Jesus Was a Bigfoot.” Really, there’s not much more to say. If you’re wanting some wacky aggressive hardcore then it doesn’t get much better than this.

Mentira Nada Es Sagrado LP

This is the debut LP from Kansas City hardcore band MENTIRA. The record bleeds chaos. It’s an overtly nihilistic and punishing listen. A real pummeling wall of noise that doesn’t let up for a minute of it’s half hour runtime. Reminds me of COACHWHIPS as far as the lo-fi recording. The vocals are delivered entirely in Spanish in a real demented and spacy howl. The best thing about this LP, though, is that it’s totally infectious and a record that’s gonna get stuck on repeat for me. This is one of those records that I have to say don’t blink or you’ll miss it. Give it a listen, then give it another.

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.

Shrinkwrap Killers Parents + FBI = Cahoots LP

OK, now we’re talking. I went into this LP pretty skeptical because Parents + FBI = Cahoots kind of sounds like it could be some bullshit written by TWISTED SISTER, but that is definitely not the case. This is some dark synthwave in the vein of the SPITS, but really running wild lyrically. Just take a look at some of the track titles here. We’ve got “Just Shoot Me When You’re Ready” and “Dialogue Between a Vampire & Bloodless Aliens,” among others. The LP can be a little one-note in that almost every song has the same beat, but I still fully endorse giving this a listen.

Kaleidoscope Decolonization EP

This EP is the follow-up to KALEIDOSCOPE’s last release, the After the Futures LP, and it proves to be an even bigger middle finger to power. The band confronts colonization, greed, and imperialism in an angry punk kind of way, especially on the track “Decolonization” with the line “It’s decolonization or mass extinction.” Much of the album is reminiscent of ’80s L.A. punk. Think X or the GERMS, but the group occasionally gets a little more angular and noisy, which almost reminds me of ARAB ON RADAR. There’s also some more laid-back moments on the EP like the track “Girmitiya,” which pulls off a strangely hypnotic or psychedelic style of punk similar to CATHOLIC DISCIPLINE. I highly recommend giving this a listen and I’m looking forward to hearing more from these guys.

Gag Killing for Both Realities 3 ’92 LP

This is the latest release from Olympia hardcore band GAG. Vice once called GAG “America’s new hardcore heroes.” Normally that’s a surefire way to turn me off of a band, but I think Vice might actually be right about something here. This LP is the lo-fi, grimy, sweaty basement hardcore mixtape we’ve been waiting for. Let’s get something straight though, this isn’t another wannabe ’80s hardcore revival band, they’re doing something really fresh here. At their best on tracks like “No Cops,” “Meth Lab,” or “Warm Milk,” they sound like a slightly less technical but more frenetic NOMEANSNO, and there really isn’t a moment on the LP where the band is at their worst. All things considered; this is easily some of the best hardcore I’ve heard coming from the Pacific Northwest recently.

Loss Prevention Shoot to Kill EP

No-frills, straight-to-the-point fast hardcore hailing from Kansas City. LOSS PREVENTION pulls a lot of inspiration from other Kansas City hardcore bands like BETA BOYS or RED KATE, among others. The best way I can describe this is as flyover state punk—in that it’s a fucking awesome anomaly that there’s good punk music coming out of Missouri, but it’s definitely nothing boundary pushing or original—and that’s coming from someone who lives in a flyover state. Definitely a mixed bag of an EP, but if you’re just looking for something to bang your head to on a Tuesday this could be your jam.

Kasshuve Grisablod EP

This recent release from Swedish outfit KASSHUVE proves that all you need to make great music is pure aggression. In an age of ever-constant overproduced and glamorous pop songs, this EP stands out as an anomaly of fucked up noise. The vocals are delivered in a constant guttural scream. Piercingly overdriven guitars, thick bass, and pummeling drums. Its lo-fi recording aesthetic adds to the overall noisiness and fuzz. The EP is rough and raw around the edges in all the best ways. The band wears their influences on their sleeves, but still creates something hard-hitting and fresh.

The Celetoids Optic Nerve cassette

Optic Nerve is nine minutes of classic hardcore punk in the style of DEAD KENNEDYS and some old school UK anarcho-punk with a twist of cybersecurity conspiracies in a real paranoid schizophrenic way—but god damn I think this group of paranoid schizophrenics is on to something. This ain’t anything boundary-pushing. I’ve heard this brand of punk a thousand times, but we’ve all been stuck inside way too long and this cassette is cathartic as hell. Conceptually, Optic Nerve takes on big topics like the dystopian nature of our modern digital age and altered consciousness. There’s something for everyone here. Fast-paced caustic hardcore for the angry punks, and just enough conspiracy theories for the men in tin foil hats. Give it a listen, you won’t regret it.

Slevy Volumen 2 LP

There was a time in my life when I thought surf punk was for suckers. I heard one single and thought “what, are the BEACH BOYS smoking PCP now?” I’ve got to say, though, this LP has really changed my view on the genre. The album isn’t strictly surf punk, but about half of the songs here sound like they came straight out of Repo Man. The other half of the sound is deeply influenced by early European New Wave and punk bands. Think DECIMA VICTIMA or CAMERA SILENS. Instrumentally, the LP is pretty stripped back. Drums, bass, some overdriven or chorus-laden guitars, and a bit of synth occasionally. The vocals are delivered in a real grating growl that sometimes comes off as sweet in a TOM WAITS kind of way. I can’t tell you that this is an album that’s going to stay on repeat, but it’s pretty damn good, and worth a listen.