Reviews

Get Better

Accidente Caníbal LP

Tight, melodic, high-energy release from Madrid, Spain, with vocals reminiscent of Agent M from the early TSUNAMI BOMB 7” singles that were released by Checkmate Records in the late ’90s. That label was run by Hunter Burgan who plays bass for AFI, and we can argue if his band sold out well before the Black Sails in the Sunset album, but the tight guitar/bass interplay with thunderous drumming reminds me of those early albums. Recorded in Madrid, the album was mastered by Mass Giorgini (COMMON RIDER, SQUIRTGUN) at his Sonic Iguana Studios in Lafayette, Indiana…..so maybe that’s where all this ’90s/’00s stuff is coming from. Translating the lyrics from Spanish, the songs take a strong rebellious stance, putting the common in the center and fighting back the corporate cannibals. I have a feeling this is the kind of band that will pack out the infamous Wurlitzer Ballroom in Madrid to sweaty spastic crowds after the pandemic is over.

Control Top Covert Contracts LP

What we have here is dance punk rock’n’roll for indie punk spaces jammed into crumbling strip malls. It’s dancy, loud, abrasive, and grooving. The vocalist, Ali Carter, is channeling Kathleen Hanna at her angriest, and there are more than a few times that you’ll pick up some LE TIGRE vibes in the lighter moments. In the louder moments, you’ll just enjoy the rage, like a KITTEN FOREVER with cleaner vocals. Throughout, the guitars are sharp, knifelike, and ready to sonically stab stab stab your ear holes. “Ego Death” is the perfect combination of all of CONTROL TOP’s best traits and should bring you into the fold. “Type A” should make you wiggle dance, even if you don’t want to.

Dyke Drama Hard New Pills 12″

The only complaint fans are going to have about this record is that it’s too short. For those not already familiar, DYKE DRAMA is the solo project of G.L.O.S.S.’s Sadie Switchblade. The record is dedicated to Barker Gee, a friend who passed away, and pays tribute to him by incorporating riffs and melodies from the incredible music he created. The tracks encompass the tenderness of 50 MILLION, the SPRINGSTEEN-esque sensibilities of BENT OUTTA SHAPE, the infectious melodies of the REPLACEMENTS, and gritty vocals overflowing with emotional sincerity and heartbreak. Barker would have loved this, and if you have any connection to him or to the melodic side of punk, you will too. These songs distill the sweetness of what punk can give us in hard times, whether you’re in the middle of the struggle or just looking back and remembering what got you through.

The Hirs Collective / Lifes Split microcassette

I love rare formats, and I also love tiny things, therefore I wish the archive had tapes, or I wish I could just file this release between our 5″ and 1″ records. This cassette features one song from each band. LIFES opens with a short clip of the intro to PRINCE’s “Let’s Go Crazy,” and proceeds into a steady roar of grating, distorted, blasting guitar and plaintive screams. I particularly appreciate the lyrics of this song, which were inspired by the questions of a four-year-old girl about life and death. It’s actually pretty long for a grind song—it even has a bridge. The HIRS COLLECTIVE track has a very melodic opening with building tension, then the overpowering drums hit you with a stampeding thrust. The limitations of my microcassette player speaker means I can barely hear the guitar and bass, but it’s a consistent scrape in the background under partially sung, partially shouted, and partially spoken vocals. Ends with white noise beaming as if through a slowly rotating ceiling fan. The song is dedicated to all our lost friends, and the lyrics are very powerful—harm reduction politics and compassion as well as support. There are only 25 copies of this release, but it comes with a dainty lyric sheet with beautiful art detailing gloves, a photo of LIFES playing in the woods, and the HIRS name stretched out to appear as prison bars with blue femme hands with long nails gripping the bars, and the words “burn every prison” below.

Potty Mouth SNAFU LP

POTTYMOUTH already had a very strong debut in 2013 with Hell Bent, but this album is such a massive improvement that the wait was fully worth it. The magic and chemistry they display here after taking their time to tour and yell at record labels has paid off in this cohesive magic disc released on bassist Ally Einbinder’s Get Better Records. Each menacing track clings to the next like a piece in a jigsaw puzzle. The transition between “Starry Eyes” and “Liar” sees vocalist Abby Weems dive into the deep end from a soothing, gentle crooner to a fully aggressive presence in a matter of seconds. The deliberate care taken into placing each track on this album has created a solid Jenga tower of tough ass punk that will stand tall for a long time.