Reviews

Nada Nada

Cankro Reflexo da Verdade EP

This record is pure evil. It has literally everything you want: moshy breakdowns, tupa-tupa beats, reverb-y vocals, DISCHARGE- esque D-beat riffs…just everything. The most obvious contemporary comparison that comes to mind is DESTINO FINAL, but this 7” seems punchier than what that band put out. This record would definitely hold up to MURO’s Ataque Hardcore LP.

Fellini A Melhor Coisa Que Eu Fiz (84-90) LP

A collection of alternate versions and previously unreleased tracks recorded between 1984 and 1990 by cult Brazilian post-punks FELLINI, who formed out of São Paulo’s thriving underground scene in the mid-’80s. The group’s initial influences skewed toward greyscale UK post-punk in an early Factory Records fashion, with spindly guitar work, bass-driven melodies, sparse drum machine, and somewhat oblique vocals tracing similar lines as the ones drawn by the DURUTTI COLUMN, early NEW ORDER, and even JOSEF K, without really sounding overtly like any of them (see some of the earlier tracks on the LP, like “É Chato” or “Premonição”). And just as nearly all of the most interesting early post-punk bands ultimately needed to push back against what quickly became a too-rigid genre orthodoxy if they stayed together for any extended amount of time, with the ’80s giving way to the ’90s, echoes of Brazilian samba and Tropicália started surfacing in the still-stark FELLINI sound, with the incorporation of acoustic guitars, breezy vocals, and jazzy rhythms in songs like “O Destino” and “Por Toda Parte” that owed more to OS MUTANTES than, say, JOY DIVISION. That progression is made apparent in the way that A Melhor Coisa Que Eu Fiz is sequenced, but it’s also such a gradual and natural evolution that all of the tracks could have just as easily been the product of one recording session, rather than pulled from half a decade’s worth of material. This is a really solid and lovingly assembled anthology for a group that hasn’t gotten a ton of recognition in more Euro/US-centric narratives of second-wave post-punk in the 1980s, and well worth investigating if you’re unfamiliar with FELLINI and at all interested in dismantling that particular canon.

Gang 90 & Absurdettes Demo 1982 EP

Over the course of several years, Brazil’s Nada Nada Discos has established itself as among the best record labels in the world. NND has been particularly instrumental in lovingly reissuing some truly necessary Brazilian punk and hardcore gems. This new GANG 90 & ABSURDETTES 7”—featuring three long lost demo tracks from 1982—is another Brazilian reissue, although GANG 90 is more accurately described as pure ‘80s new wave. For those who are unfamiliar with the group, GANG 90 released several singles and albums in Brazil throughout the ’80s, but this recording represents some of their earliest (and roughest) recordings. Musically, this 7” baaaaaaarely qualifies for review in a punk fanzine—I have a feeling Tim Yo would’ve axed this one in the day—but the charming lo-fi recording, spunky bedroom pop vibes, and early BOW WOW WOW energy has me convinced. For me, “Convite Ao Prazer” is the mixtape-worthy hit here, as some of the KID CREOLE influence across the record occasionally loses me. As always with NND, this record comes with gorgeous packaging featuring amazing archival photos. Not for the punk purists, but a must-listen for the wavers who still resent the rigid uniformity that hardcore imposed on arty DIY scenes the world over in the early ’80s.

Gattopardo Cleo EP

Enigmatic post-punk from São Paulo. “Cleo” could have easily fit on the Rough Trade roster in 1979: jangling, clattering funky post-punk, with a smattering of sax. On the flip, “As Bruxas” takes the listener down a BAUHAUS doom spiral: a darker sound introduced by more chorus on the guitar lends the whole thing a more gothic vibe. A great introduction that left this listener wanting more. There’s an album from 2014 that I will be investigating forthwith.

MENTIRA Autointitulado 2x7"

Electro-darkwave duo from Barcelona. Simplistic bass with shouty vocals spattered over a sparse Casio melody, and it’s pretty cool. “História Sem Graça” is an obscure, early ’80s techno tune—equally sparse, and equally rad. It comes with the Guerra flexi, which has a lighter more pastoral sound, with vocals dreamier than the 7”—almost like the vibrations of spring. It’s just off-kilter enough to lighten the melodic drone, and keep things from getting stagnant.

Mercenárias Baú 83-87 LP

More material unearthed from the Brazilian masters of post-punk, courtesy of the splendid Nada Nada Discos. Twenty great quality demo and live tracks, and often even cooler, rawer versions of previously released ones. The live tracks from “Hardcore Rock Night” on side B especially demonstrate the sheer power and genius these women were capable of. Angular beats, massive hooks, enchanting melodies, confrontational harshness—they really could do it all. And the dreamy photo booklet layout reveals just how larger-than-life this band was. Mandatory for both fans and newcomers.