Reviews

Spittle

Juggernaut Juggernaut LP

This Italian outfit displays a power not unlike bands like BIG BLACK and NAKED RAYGUN, with its rich guitar sound and mid-tempo hardcore energy. The commitment to gutsy, disciplined playing really pays off too; this debut LP is entirely assured—and the individual tunes, all finely produced, do stand out after multiple listenings.

Kina Nessuno Schema Nella Mia Vita LP reissue

It’s a beautiful thing to get a note from a band member fondly recalling the submission of their demo tape to Tim Yo back in ’84, and then to receive an LP reissue thirty-five years later, and it’s still great! In my experience, KINA hasn’t quite enjoyed the bootleg t-shirt success like their contemporaries WRETCHED or NEGAZIONE, but whenever I revisit this self-recorded debut (or the Irreale Realtà LP), it’s evident that they were an equal force in the pantheon of classic ’80s Italian (or even general European) hardcore. This session is KINA at their most primitive, which unlike WRETCHED is slightly more…musical? Their tendency to break the hardcore template reminds me other interesting-while-still-ripping bands like CONTRAZIONE or STINKY RATS. This is a worthwhile reissue in a time when many, arguably, are not.

Kina Irreale Realtà LP reissue

Hailing from the far northwestern corner of Italy, Aosta’s KINA formed in 1982 inside the blast radius of the first Italian hardcore wave, but began releasing records close enough to the mid-’80s HÜSKER DÜ/SST/ARTICLES OF FAITH/RITES OF SPRING-styled bending of the confines of strict hardcore rules that the raw energy and unpredictable creativity of Italian hardcore combines with a wide, untamed flange guitar sound and complex musical arrangements that here only hint at the expansive incorporation of influences of folk music and unexpected instrumentation that would later mark their fifteen year career. Irreale Realtà (“Unreal Reality”), this three-piece’s fifteen-song debut LP, was originally self-released in 1985, and hung around a melodic core, but was and is very much a savage hardcore record with pummeling, speedy thrash that sparks and rages like the best moments of early Italian hardcore. Caustic vocals shouted in Italian hurl angry missives towards authority and power, but the lyrics are also inwardly reflective, personal, and thoughtful. This reissue reprints the original Italian inserts, but sadly not the English translations from the original export editions. It also comes in a much thicker (and less ringwear ready!) cover compared to the original, with clearer, slightly larger reproductions of the artwork, and has a more balanced remastering where the music levels out with the vocals and has a bit more depth and clarity. This makes it sound “better” overall, but also a little less sloppy and unhinged, as the extreme vocals less forcefully dominate the recording, but everything balances a bit more. It’s a good place to start if you’ve either never heard the band, or a refreshing enough update that it’s worth a visit even if you already own the original. The last two tracks on each side are live in Berlin in 1984, and shed some of the sheen that the flange guitar gives the studio recording for wild effluence of melody, shouted vocals, and high energy blasting. Though the replacement of Kina’s Blu Bus label’s classic slogan, “self-production and self-management as tools for communication and antagonistic experiences” (an idea that I think KINA tried to live by as much as promote other people to do) by a barcode underlines a reality of late 2010’s punk rock. But an otherwise well-done and great reissue!

Kina Cercando… LP reissue

This is quite the deluxe reissue of a very interesting, sometimes challenging record by one of Italian hardcore’s most long-lived and musically adventurous bands. By the time this, their second album, was recorded in 1986, the band had toured quite a bit through Europe, adding both the emerging crossover sound and the distinctive sounds of continental bands like BGK to their growing sonic palette. The resulting album includes vicious thrash metal, moments of distinctly Greek-sounding post-punk bark, Revolution Summer-style vocal harmonies over proto-emo jangle, and even some good old hardcore punk stuff. More than any other record I’ve heard, this encapsulates the mindset of the Italian hardcore scene going into 1987, a pivotal year that saw many of the key bands either break up or dramatically change their sound. This isn’t just a historical curiosity though, it’s a complicated record that fans of punk’s more historically out there bands (think SNFU) would absolutely adore. The packaging includes complete reproductions of the original sleeve and insert, an extra insert with English translations, and a CD of the album.

Kina Troppo Lontano e Altre Storie LP

Matt, Ken, and Andrew put KINA into historical context last month while touching on three other LP reissues from one of Italy’s most often overlooked but arguably essential acts. This one is a reissue of a 1996 CD that was in turn a collection of the Troppo Lontano EP (1987) and splits with the ACT, HOETH CASTLE and the SPHERE recorded between ’87-’91. While the off-the-rails Italian rage is tempered slightly, and Billy Bragg and/or HÜSKER DÜ-styled acoustic numbers appear on both sides, this is still an essential blast that chronicles the birth and growth of a band who’s importance is probably more pronounced in hindsight than it ever was at the time. Perhaps it’s precisely the acoustic tracks and the temperance that make this one so good. Not every band warrants the reissue treatment, but KINA most certainly does.

Not Moving Sinnermen LP

Poppier than I remember their previous efforts, there’s a lot of psych guitar and feel here, though rarely crunching. With the female vocals, they at times sound like some early UK pop-punk outfits on the rockier tunes.

V/A Goot From the Boot LP

Here we have a new Italian compilation distinguished by its diversity and general quality. The “green side” features a few experimental punk bands (GREY SHADOW, NOISENOISENOISE, and MIND) that illuminate some paths that can be taken out of the generic morass “hardcore” often finds itself in; they adopt unusual structures without losing bite and guitar power (except maybe MIND). The “orange side” features somewhat more conventional punk and thrash groups (CANI, JUGGERNAUT, and PUTRID FEVER), and one rhythmic synth duo (FUNNY FASHION).