Reviews

Total Punk

Andy Human and the Reptoids Psychic Sidekick LP

A long time comin’ for the REPTOIDS’ round two. Psychic Sidekick serves as a not-so-subtle reminder that Andy Human & Co. remain one of the top tier outfits around these days, presenting a bent variant that’s more critical, absurdist, and exciting than most of the contemporary class. Theirs is an out-of-time sound, recalling hyper-specific influences (why oh why do I continually think about the punkest moments from the OFFS or ALIEN CITY when hearing this band?) but arranged with a personality and perspective that’s unique and just plain interesting. So many killers. “You Like Your Job” is a huge wind-up, poking a safety pin in illusions via a sick guitar schmearing, “Thrust of History” is gutter glam from Galaxy Z, “Fissures” and “Echo Pedal” both take a bird’s eye outsider view while still buzzing mightily, on and on, and no duff cuts. As much as I’ve enjoyed the singles they’ve slotted in between their albums to date, the long-form release is where the REPTOIDS truly excel—I’ll be spinning this endlessly for the foreseeable future. A vital act from the here and now, so do yourself a favor and take their trip.

Brandy Clown Pain / Rent Quest 7″

The worst job I ever had was working for a balloon wholesale company. As a result, I don’t like clowns. A song called “Clown Pain,” whether or not about literal clowns, strikes a positive chord with me. “Thank you for my clown pain.” Of course, I can relate to “Rent Quest” as well. BRANDY’s music is dirty and throbbing and relentless. It leaves you anxiously on edge. The vocals are rough and pleading. The whole thing is perfect.

Brutal Birthday Commotion EP

Bombastic, over the top, simplistic, noisy punk from Italy that sounds like a wall being knocked over. Kinda sounds like they are taking cues from early JESUS LIZARD at times, but I bet they’re not. Less cerebral and more grunting. Upon first listen, I didn’t care for this, but upon repeated spins the riffs kept coming out of the mire.

Civic Selling Sucking Blackmail Bribes / Velvet Casino 7″

Another postulating sore of putrid punk’n’roll from the ever-reliable Florida outlet Total Punk. On this one, Aussies CIVIC put the pedal through the floor of a rusted Holden GTS and burn rubber down Footscray back roads to the sounds of an in-the-red fourth generation tape of hyper-kinetic, blistering meathead garage. Blown-out guitar solos that barely hold it together, shredded vocal chords, caveman-on-ice drumming, what’s not to love?

Curleys Johnny EP

The label describes them as Gainesville cretins, and I think that’s about right. The kind of people who lurk in the dark corners of the club until it is their turn to play, and then disappear back into the shadows when they’re done. Thrashy and messy. PAGANS at 78 RPM with a brattier attitude. Six songs in about as many minutes. There’s no time for messing around. Cool.

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.

Heavy Metal Too Oz 4 I.T. EP

After three LPs of rambunctious and oddball punk jingles, this Berliner/Australian combo gets the lightweight, red-stamped Total Punk sleeve treatment, and it suits them well. “Underground Agent,” “Overtime,” and “Schweinebastard” sound like a nine-year-old having a temper tantrum in the middle of older brother’s band practice. “Gasmask Factory II” uses electronic drums for a truly groove-worthy experience. While I’ve enjoyed their previous shitty-good music, I think this smaller dose works better. Those already acquainted with HEAVY METAL will not likely change their opinion either way.

Knowso Like a Buzz / Physical Freak 7″

The ’90s revival continues. KNOWSO perform robotic, kinetic nerd punk: descendants of DEVO, but with a sound that’s part NOMEANSNO, part SERVOTRON. The two short songs here form a perfectly digestible snippet of pocket-protector punk.

Musk Animal Husbandry / The Floor 7″

This is some seriously depraved shit in the best of all possible ways. You can picture these people drinking babies’ blood from a goat’s head chalice instead of morning coffee. Stu-Spasm-like vox over a delightful cacophony of sludge and those trippy HAWKWIND-like squirps and swirls, and that’s just the title track. “The Floor” is a roadhouse anthem in Hades bludgeoning forth from the nether regions to drag the lost testicals of the Lizard King back down with its last notes. Like a long night of smoking wasp spray. I am spent.

The Archaeas Rock n Roll / Replica 7″

This Kentucky gang knocks it outta the park on the first pitch. ARCHAEAS’ sound centers on skull-streamlining—full forward-motion guitar riffs, rhythms jabbing outta the garage but careening too wildly to be saddled with that tag. Feels freer, younger, druggier and more genuine than much of what ya hear as of late. A cool and true two-prong hit here—A-side’s the good-time, B’s the head-crack—jammed with enough spirit to make the shittiest over-it puker smile through the chunks.  Cannot wait to hear more.