Reviews

For review and radio play consideration:

Send two copies of vinyl (one for our archive, one for the reviewer) or one copy of CD-only or cassette-only releases to PO Box 3852, Oakland, CA 94609 USA. We will review everything that falls within our area of coverage: punk, garage, hardcore, etc.—no major labels or labels exclusively distributed by major-owned distributors. Releases without vocals or drums will not be considered. Please include contact information and let us know where your band is from! No reviews of test pressings or promo CDs without final artwork. All records reviewed are added to our archive, the largest collection of punk records in the world.

(Wait — I thought you stopped doing a monthly magazine! Zinesplanation here.)

MRR #430 • March 2019

500 Miles to Memphis Blessed Be the Damned CD

Never heard of these folks before, and this is their fifth full-length in the last fifteen or so years. 500 MILES TO MEMPHIS definitely have the instrumentation on occasion: pedal steel, mandolin, and banjo, together with the wall of rock sound. I’m always a bit suspicious of bands that try and meld roots / folk music with punk rock. I think it works best when they stick to the more “regular” albeit punk stuff (though I am a sucker for the layered gospel choir vocal effects). There are a couple of songs that I’m sure SOCIAL DISTORTION could fit right into their current set. Not terrible by any means, and the lads can certainly play.

Années Zéro Nique EP

Heavy hardcore punk with a bit of a creepy deathrock undertow. Growly vocals, accented with reverb, drive the songs with unstoppable energy and there are enough intelligible riffs and dynamic changes to keep things interesting. This record expands on what could easily be a formula for punk songs—short, angry verses over repeating guitar chord progressions—but it is so much more than that. Incorporating the occasional melodic, chorus-drenched guitar lead or unusual rhythm changes brings in a ton of nuance and keeps it sounding exciting and fresh. Definitely recommended. Record comes with cool fold-out poster artwork.

Arrotzak Lurzoru Hotzetik LP

A beautiful and dreary sounding punk trio from San Sebastián. It’s the rhythmic insistence of the ESTRANGED and grand choruses of LA URSS rolled into one. There’s no shortage of contemporary “dark punk,” and while my tendency is to move on, hearing bands like ARROTZAK keeps my dismissal in check. They write really great songs with depth but that move quickly…you know, like a punk band, not a punk band trying to sound like a goth band. Lyrics are in Spanish and Basque and translated into English, and while full of despair they convey self-reflection and ultimately hope, rather than defeat or other superficial “dark” themes. It’s a really fine release, and I can sense the passion poured into it. I shared a stage with them last spring in Zarautz and they were both a great live band and genuinely friendly and welcoming guys—true punx.

Baby’s Blood Everybody Looks Like A Fucking Idiot EP

Four songs of nasty, bad attitude rock courtesy of DREW OWEN and his Finnish compatriots. I thought the quality of life was better there. Why so pissed off? It’s fast and furious sped-up thrashy garage punk. It’s ugly, mean, and even a bit funny. Right, “Sex Punk”?

Bad Bad Another Insect Bite EP

BAD BAD’s LP from a little while ago was nice low wattage psych, but that’s all been pulled away here. Behind the curtain is a smoldering shithole of dumpster electronics and weirdo punk. Sometimes like DEVO when they first discovered synths, other times turning darker, like CHROME but nerds, the songs here are sharp and catchy and careful. It sounds wrecked, but it’s never haphazard. There’s a certain precision in not sounding precise, and BAD BAD has absolutely, truly perfected that sound on this EP. BAD BAD, please make twenty more records that sound just like this one. I will never get enough.

Bad Mojos I Hope You OD CD

Judging this band by its cover and its label I was expecting a bluesy garage band. BAD MOJOS are poppy punk with buzzsaw guitars, and a vocalist that sounds like that guy from the SPITS. It’s high energy and every song is under two minutes.

Ben Edge and the Electric Pencils LP

I’m not even sure what an electric pencil is, but I feel like I owe it to these guys to find out. They start off strong with a catchy power pop number, heavy on the pop. Musically it’s solid, but also fairly straightforward. The focus is definitely on the catchy melodies and the vocals. The record continues this way. It’s mid-tempo and infectious throughout. Ben’s got a solid voice that sometimes borders on pretty. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a pretty pop record, it’s a power pop record with vocals that are solid. I’d go out of my way to find this one.

Bitemarks Sucia LP

While knowing that BITEMARKS has folks from older Florida bands such as TRUE NORTH and PALATKA might not give you a full picture of this band, it does work as a starting point. It has a similar feel to those ‘90s No Idea post-hardcore bands in that it’s aggressive and punchy but catchy and melodic without sounding cheesy or boring. Where this differs is that it is a little more straightforward, a little more rock, and the vocals are snotty and in your face. It’s like if one of those Chris Thompson bands had guitars that are big and heavy sounding rather than that noodly stuff. Top it off with a full sounding recording, and you have a record that really smokes, even if it is only single sided.

Bitter and Abusive Language II CD

Fukkn brutal stench. No nuance here, no subtleties and no bullshit whatsoever, just ramshackle D-beat presented with no apologies, and it’s ugly as shit. Full endorsement.

BOOJI BOYS Unknown Pleathers EP

You ever see a band at bookstore, and the PA is meant for poetry? So you can’t hear the vocals, and you still are jamming hard as fuck? That’s this shit right here. Like this vibe is so strong, I actually feel like I just finished a forty listening to this. Fuzzed the fuck out and slamming around. Sounds that make the body loose. The grooves are tight and keep driving shit forward, and the lead guitar and vocals throw in some spice to keep you guessing. Low fidelity, high quality punk right here, and it has nothing to do with JOY DIVISION.

Brain Eaters Bad Girls Motorcycle Gang from Tokyo 10"

A male rockabilly band from Paris posing as a Japanese girl gang and starting their 10” off with a song called “Lobo Loco.” There are some contradictions happening on this record. The music is straight ahead rockabilly. It’s well played and all that, but they need to figure out who they are.

Butcher Return to Nothingness LP

BUTCHER’s second LP is harrowing chaos on overdrive. Jack Butcher snarls forth with a clear yet grizzly delivery, at times bringing Rob “The Baron” Miller of AMEBIX, or intense black metal straining to mind, while still retaining hardcore razor cuts. The guitar intros are metallic and extremely accomplished, and at times melancholic post-punk vibes are mixed with discordant blackened chamber metal. Everything is much faster than you even need or expected. “Beyond the Triple World” is my favorite track, with well-placed mid-tempo bludgeoning. The lyrics are formulated into mystical analogies and spiritual perditions, which resist the power of evil, though embrace its existence, expressed through words that are wholeheartedly nihilistic and minimal, while at once fluid and existentially vast. “Beware The Gnawing Nothingness” is especially poignant and depressing. Featuring members of FORWARD, WORLD BURNS TO DEATH, ASSHOLEPARADE, and LIFECHAIN, and with calamitous cover art by the uncompromising Tomohiro Matsuda. And just like that, it ends like a cleaver to the skull. Darker, denser, and even deeper than the
debut. Get this.

Butterscotch Stanley Maybe I’ll Move CD

Punky indie rock from New York. Mid-tempo stuff that has a TOO MUCH JOY, ARCHERS OF LOAF, and even WEEZER feel. Lyrically they are witty and funny, and the vocals can get slightly off-key. This was OK, but that’s about it.

C.H.E.W. Feeding Frenzy LP

Finally, an LP from Chicago’s best recent hardcore export! There’s something incredible about the way that they seamlessly incorporate rhythm / tempo changes and dissonance into their lightning fast riffs. How the fuck do they do it? Every listen has left my mouth agape, every track feels like it could be an example in a class on how to write a great hardcore song (even the dirges). An incredible record—I can’t wait for the next one.

Celebrity Handshake Political Future EP

These guys have a crazy rambling-shouting singer named Hot Dog Haines. He probably needs hospitalization, unless this is part of his therapy. He is from the great white Maine, so maybe this is just normal sounding for there. Their frittered noise rock sounds fitting. CRAMPS or such. Numbered out of 200 copies.

Chandra Transportation 2xLP

I first heard of CHANDRA at the height of the Making Waves zine / tumblr explosion of about ten years ago, when all these cool girl-punk sound detectives started finding all these wild Subnormal Girls-style musics from 1977 onward. The first two CHANDRA EPs were reissued on a 12” a while ago, but this is a deluxe reissue, remastered with two extra tracks, and anyone who would begrudge a super sick twelveyear-old girl circa 1981 fronting a no wave art punk downtown NYC group a deluxe reissue is a brain-free freak. The gatefold has a bunch of absolutely incredible images of CHANDRA performing and just being a kid, which is almost worth the price of admission. The music is dense paranoid art school wave, the sound of a band who would play the Mudd Club and The Kitchen. The lyrics are mean and cool like twelveyear-old girls and like NYC. Prior to writing about the nausea of riding the subway and girls called Kate, Chandra wrote songs about climbing out of a 60ft window and throwing babies in the trash! The music is truly the sound of downtown NYC, the backing band were previously released by John Cale’s own label. The second EP was recorded by an all-teenage band after a show Chandra performed where the audience was made up of her peer group, and it was clear that was the answer! It has a cooler, more lo-fi feel, punker. The unreleased songs are truly incredible and totally worth the price, paranoid lofi synth-punk for the ages! Beyond perfect. Buy or die. All teenage girls in bands now.

Closet Christ You’re In My World Now EP

Raw and demented thrash by some chap named Brendan. Six short, rapid spurts of venomous hardcore with a home-recording charm, and all the sounds just right. The occasional guitar line is whammy-bar’d, twisted at the end, and wrung out like mutant piss-soaked drawers. Think Oslo’s NEGATIV, but faster and more reckless. Only thing that would make this better is if it was twice as long, since there’s definitely room on the wax.

Columna Las Cosas Que Perdemos LP

Spanish punks offer a fresh take on post-punk (minus the flanger) that is heavily based on pop, but never really dredges too deep into either side of the divide. Devoid of any tinges of goth and cleanly recorded, COLUMNA have a continuum of bangers that keeps Las Cosas Que Perdemos churning, and upbeat. RATA NEGRA with a tinge of ÖTZI but perhaps more polished.

Combatant Witness to Destruction LP

It’s not everyday you hear a DISCHARGE-influenced band from the northeasternmost state. Aside from the DIS-structures and phrasing, COMBATANT’s tough barraging sound and burly vocals had me reminiscing about getting the first CAUSTIC CHRIST EP in the mail, or maybe a little bit of DEATHREAT? I like the urgency and the impact, but there are really no deep cuts. The lyric sheet is hard as balls to read, but they seem to address typical atrocities like war, drug addiction, war, dehumanization, and war. Same nine tracks on 45 on both sides.

D.N.A. Retrospective CD

Retrospective comprises all of this guttural Swedish D-beat band’s output. They have the vibe of early ANTI-CIMEX and the heaviness of SVART PARAD or BOMBANFALL, with funks-not-dead baselines that come to the forefront, and some slower-knuckle dragging ghostly rhythms as well. Think ATTACK SS, late-era RUDIMENTARY PENI, or even RADIO BIRDMAN, with macabre twists, turns, and gothic mangel. They cover “Green Onions,” for crying out loud. And the hardcore parts are raging. Not-as-talked-about ‘80s Swedish skit punkers, but certainly recommended.

Dead Already Gilded Age of Piss EP

Australian US hardcore band, if you know what I mean (you
probably do). Ostensibly pulling from the ’80s, but the herky-jerk tempo changes and hyper-political lyrics make it sound like its really pulling from that part of the ’90s that was pulling from the ’80s. This record I am presently reviewing is not super well-executed, but it does have a wide-eyed exuberance that I cherish and that is increasingly refreshing in this dark, dark age.

Dead Hunt LP

Oh great, another band that couldn’t exist without TRAGEDY. Not much stands out from the rest of the crust herd here, but nothing is awful either. Vocals are nice and aggressive, the production approaches stadium crust levels of cleanliness and loudness, and the riffs themselves are not terribly generic, but not super unique either. The best part of this record is the guitar leads, most of which sound like they were aped from IRON MAIDEN or something. Probably a better live band.

Dead Morticians Burial At Sea CD

From Milwaukee, WI, the unfortunately-named DEAD MORTICIANS
deliver some kind of nautical-horror themed metal. It’s good for a laugh and some air guitar, and they’re obviously having a blast, so good for them. Best song title: “Inconsequential Cataclysm.”

Deodorant Smells Good LP

This starts out on a cool note with some amateurish Joe Meek / The Ventures Play Telstar sort of thing. That all changes pretty quickly when the record cuts straight to an aggressive funk / punk, quirky MINUTEMEN-style of tune. It jumps around a bit after that. There’s a little bit of plodding JFA style stuff. There are some faster three-chord songs that sound like if your first punk band actually knew how to play. What holds it all together is that it all sounds angry and very much like the 1980s (also that it goes back to that intro thing at the end).

Des Demonas Bay of Pigs EP

The slinky ’60s organ on this will make you cry 96 tears, the rhythm section has a collapsing beat that almost feels like watching a movie about mechanical failure, the repetition inherent in the sound is hypnotic and eternal… and the vocals add to this mystery. Recommended for demanding cultists and mindless transcendentalists.

Dewaere Slot Logic LP

The record kicks off sounding a little like a loungey take on the MISFITS, and then moves into heavy rock with theatrical vocal delivery somewhat in the vein of the STROKES. The entire recording is drenched in a heavy coating of static fuzz and reverb. It’s big and dirty and you probably know if that’s the kind of thing that gets you going.

Direct Hit Crown of Nothing CD

Never heard of these chaps before this disc, though apparently it’s their second full-length. What it does remind me of, most muchly, is the LILLINGTONS’s Stella Sapiente record. Both bands have some pedigree as pop punkers (the LILLINGTONS a bit longer, obviously), both are “concept” albums (still a rarity in punk rock, for better or worse), and on both records, they respectively take the pop punk genre and really reshape, expand, and redefine it. Throwing in lots of (darker) new wave stylings, and a whole host of other sounds and influences. Both are really fucking good.

Dissekerad Domenatten EP

Supergroup of sorts featuring members of BRAINBOMBS, AVSKUM, TOTALITÄR, and a buncha other Swede greats. Unfortunately this lil EP is nowhere near as exciting as any of those bands, but it’s not a total waste. The riffs hold this back—I coulda sworn I’ve heard them on a couple of dozen records before this one! The redeeming grace is Poffen’s incredible voice, still snarling and snapping with the same desperation and fury he had decades ago. Despite that, this record is still pretty forgettable.

Eke Buba Shut Up EP

Holy shit, this record. I mean…whoa. Like early Boston hardcore but tougher and faster and my face is fukkn melting. Like this is perfect early ’80s USHC but better and from 2018 and from Croatia, and this is also quite possible the single most crucial record in MRR this month. Been a long time since this old man has been this floored, highest recommendation for fans of punk (that means all readers).

Extended Hell Call of the Void EP

Play loud! Megaton hardcore punk outta New York with Scandi tendencies, highlighted by the tough vocals and intense but focused drum attack. TOTALITÄR are an obvious primary influence, but there are moments here that line up very well with early TRAGEDY in terms of the expansiveness of the sound and the riffing. Couple the quality tunes with a very well-designed sleeve (that cover art is downright haunting) and a huge, warm recording, and you’ve got a top-quality punk record.

Fancy Pick Up EP

Straight fire from Texas. Guitars tweaked just so, and the toughest kind of hate flowing through the microphone, FANCY gets straight to business and kicks out four on the floor hardcore in the fukkn teeth on their debut slab—it’s just timeless hardcore punk. The moment when “Bubble” slows down is absolute magic, and then that snarl ushers in the EP’s only down moment, and if you aren’t moshing then you’re maybe dead. This one is in league with the big dogs. SPAZM 151 and POISON IDEA-caliber hardcore offered with the highest recommendation. Killer.

Forward Apathy Kills People EP

Tokyo’s kings are still…well, they are still kings. Two more tracks of fierce, positive, life-affirming Japanese hardcore. A mid-tempo A-side with a chorus just begging for crowd participation (the songs are completely different, but I’m reminded of the times I’ve seen audiences competing with the PA during the chorus in “What’s The Meaning Of Love?”) gives way to an absolute burner in “Our World Our Own,” injecting raw JapanCrust fury into the anthemic hardcore that has become FORWARD’s signature over the last two decades. Ishiya’s vocals are gravel and fire, Souichi is still a fukkn animal, while You and Akiyama still manage to feel loose as fukk while remaining rock solid. FORWARD is very, very close to the perfect hardcore punk band, and this record (along with the full-length in the last issue) show that they have no intention of letting up.

Geld Soft Power EP

Horrifyingly psychedelic, raw punk madness out of Melbourne,
Australia. It’s like tearing out my brain in chunks with over the top, effected noise, then ripping those chunks to pieces with some shredding guitar solos. This is might be what FLIPPER would sound like if they were a really pissed off D-beat band, and could actually play their instruments. If you’re looking to live the chaos, look no further.

Gino and the Goons She Was Crushed EP

Another great record from GINO AND THE GOONS. I’m even
saying that with a skronking sax blasting in the first few seconds of “She Was Crushed.” Sax jokes aside, this EP contains four cool garage punk smashers. Catchy and fun danceable tunes for jumping around and spilling your beer. Oh yeah.

Glen Schenau Phantom Vibration / Canovee

Helter skelter demented anti-pop here from this Aussie alum of
KITCHEN’S FLOOR and others. Potentially inspired by the more
off-kilter C86 noise perpetuated by the likes of STUMP, BOGSHED, BIG FLAME, DAWSON, and the like; Decidedly non-trad but bursting with ideas and interesting sounds.

Hakan III LP

When the first song came on, I almost convinced myself it was the MARKED MEN, but it’s not. What I’m saying here is that Italy’s HAKAN don’t stray far from the melodic punk blueprint that MARKED MEN certainly did not invent, but did perfect many years ago. Strong melodies, raw guitars, breakneck RAMONES-beat drumming and memorable songs. What I’m saying is that it’s nothing new, but when it’s done right, it still sounds really good.

Hand Grenades Demos to London 12"

Incredible reissue of a 1979 7” with two extra unreleased tracks. The title track is absolutely incendiary: wild tense DIY skree that yes has some SWELL MAPS tones, but is probably one of the coolest Wanna Buy a Bridge-y songs I have heard. Anarchic nervous energy captured so totally: the guitar sound is perfect, otherworldly somewhere between an alarm and some ENO sound effect, then the way the rhythm section sort of rumbles and shambles creates this total sound of claustrophobia and freedom. How do you even do that all at once??? The vocalist sorta hits that HOMOSEXUALS note in a way you won’t be able to stop consuming. It’s wild how English this sounds for a NYC band, it just doesn’t sound like their contemporaries at all to me? But the first song sorta makes me think of a photo of the Lower East Side circa 1980, so what do I know. Just a total magic snapshot of one of the coolest sounds created in the wake of punk! The unreleased songs are incredible.

Hetze Bedbugs LP

Blasting anxious hardcore from Belgium—there’s a total FLEAS AND LICE vibe, but with deadly blast beats (when appropriate!) and a ferocity from the vocalist that almost makes you squirm in your seat. Then again, if you’re still sitting after “Pile of Shit” is finished, then maybe Bedbugs ain’t for you after all. The rest of us though: we gonna rage ‘til we are fukkn dead, and HETZE is going to rage with us. Stripped Down Blistering EuroThrashCrust is officially a new subgenre.

Holly Golightly Do the Get Along… CD

My favorite style of HOLLY! The cool ’60s garage / girl group update with her untouchable vocals! The title track is beyond… I spent my teenage years going to see THEE HEADCOATEES every month at various pubs in North London and having to leave before they finished playing because of having to get the goddamn last train! A true and total psycho fan, I own most all the solo records by each HEADCOATEE, but I sorta petered off with HOLLY GOLIGHTLY partly because of budgetary concerns (she has a lot of records my friends!), but also because she went country blues in a way that was a little dull to these ears at least. On the evidence of this and the last LP, she is back where we want her to be! We meaning me! This is totally what I want! Bruce Brand on drums!!! It’s like it’s my birthday forever. This is the sound of a ‘sploitation movie set in Soho in 1965: that beat sound, with her cool fire voice—this is a dream! Makes me wanna grab my deerstalker hat and get myself to a dancefloor! A great record by one of the talents of our times.

Hyrevognene Kone EP

Punk Rock from Denmark!! It sounds very rough and angry, like the real abrasive shite you hope for when exploring the world-wide music. Maybe they did listen to the KBD even. They also have very dumb videos on the YouTube. Limited to 190 copies—sorry, you’re too late.

Idiota Civilizzato Sporchi Senza Fine LP

Holy shit, how did I sleep on this 12” from Berlin’s IDIOTA CIVILIZZATO? It’s easily one of the best hardcore records from 2018. The band conveys the outta control wildness of early manic punks such as NEGAZIONE and CHEETAH CHROME MOTHERFUCKERS. The production amplifies the chaotic feeling a lot—everything is sorta clear, but sounds like it’s just a smudge near being in the red. It results in a similar feeling as watching this sorta shit in a house show where there’s too many people and everybody is knocking everything else over—the PA is on the floor, the band members slammed against their amps, the drummer losing entire pieces of their kit to the mania. A must have!

Jerrys Farsa Radhustyrann CD

Took a bit of internet sleuthing, since there’s bugger all in terms of addresses and websites and whatnot on their disc, but I think I can definitively say that they are Swedish. I’m always partial to folks singing in their native tongue, even if I haven’t the foggiest what they’re nattering on about. Musically, they play upbeat, melodic hardcore / pop punk type stuff, with lots of horns. Thankfully, no ska to speak of. Much more a NO USE FOR A NAME with brass, than say, I dunno, AGAINST ALL AUTHORITY. Believe me, I’ve heard considerably worse.

KARBORÄTOR Cease Fire 10"

Crusty D-beat sludge from Orlando. Now, I call it sludge, but it never really gets all that slow. It’s just got that heavy duty riffage, and a few stoner metal moments, but don’t worry kids, the driving D-beat that we all love is always king here. It’s as if IMPALERS got really into BRAINOIL and EYEHATEGOD. Throw in the sick hand-screened cover featuring snakes, skulls, and barbed wire and they’ve got me sold.

Keepers LP

This San Diego trio invite you down into the mire of lurching, sludgy noise punk. The rhythm section keeps things moving along like the drummer on a Viking ship, allowing the guitar to alternate between simplistic fuzzed-out riffs and psychedelic wanderings. The track “Beautiful Things” offers some let-up from the sonic onslaught with an almost post-punk danceability. If you like things heavy, this is worth seeking out.

Lazy Class Interesting Times CD

This is street punk / Oi! from Poland with vocals in English. These guys have been around for about five years. This is decent and certainly anthemic in the vein of RANCID or the COCKNEY REJECTS, with a bit of MOTÖRHEAD-style rock. Although certainly not on those bands’ level, this is pretty solid for crowded genre.

Leftöver Crack Leftöver Leftöver Crack: The E-Sides and F-Sides CD

Unpopular opinion in 4, 3, 2, 1…LEFTÖVER CRACK are great. LEFTÖVER CRACK are important. LEFTÖVER CRACK still, in 2019, deserve so much more than the mall-meets-the-gutter status that the self-righteous punks bestow upon them, because context be damned, LEFTÖVER CRACK are fukkn great. A 30-track collection of EPs, splits and outtakes sequenced brilliantly—catchy punk, infectious ska-punk, anti-cop, anti-authority, anti-racist, pro-punk melodic punk. I don’t know what else think you want from this subculture we all claim, but MINOR THREAT is a starter band too, you dig? You don’t ditch your Pay To Cum EP just ’cause the suburban punk twerp rocks a BAD BRAINS shirt, do you? Just saying. Important punk is still important, and even though the kids like ’em, LEFTÖVER CRACK are still great.

Legionaires Disease Mass Hypnosis in the Air CD

A compilation of all the LEGIONAIRES DISEASE recordings: the eight-song 1978 studio recording that the “Rather See You Dead (Than With Wool On Your Head)” 7” would come from, the four-song 1985 studio recording, and a thirteen-song live set from 1980 at Hurrah’s in New York City. The tracks are rough and primitive, but with that compelling rawness of a punk band just having a great time. The CD booklet is really nice too. It starts out with an intro from U-Ron of REALLY RED describing LEGIONAIRES DISEASE’s singer Jerry Anomie getting released from jail, going to see the SEX PISTOLS in San Antonio, and then coming back to Houston inspired and starting the band. The booklet is filled with photos, fliers, interviews, and remembrances. It is really nice collection of this wild first wave punk band.

Louis Lingg and the Bombs Kiiroichurippu: Hopeless Love in the Age of the Glitch CD

Four new tracks, all sung in Japanese, from these long-standing Parisian pop punk techno ravers. While lyrically they’re proudly in the CRASS anarcho-punk camp, at least on this effort, there’s mercifully little of the ATARI TEENAGE RIOT electronica, and much more of the straight ahead speedy pop punk. Kinda like J CHURCH on 45 (as opposed to 33), albeit with a Parisian female chanteuse, singing in Japanese (though the whoa- oh-ohs manage to comfortably span the linguistic divide). Fantastic stuff. Self-released, so snap it up from the band.

Mandates Dead in the Face LP

This is a throwback. This is punk rock that is 100% rooted in rock’n’roll. The way it’s delivered reminds me of the DEAD BOYS. It’s faster-paced, it’s got a sense of urgency, it’s got lead guitar. The “Made in Canada” logo on the back cover doubles as a seal of approval, as Canadians are particularly good at power pop. As this one moves on, it definitely straddles that line between punk and power pop. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Outside of the quality of the recording, if someone told me this was from 1978, I’d totally believe that. Excellent.

  • Reviewer Kenny Kaos
  • Label Dirty Flair / Teenage Rampage / This Is Pop

Melting Walkmen Daylight Savings LP

Copenhagen’s MELTING WALKMEN shift gears between energetic post-punk and somber lads staring at their shoes, but they mostly keep it upbeat. The dueling guitars work through varying degrees of dissonance that truly complement one another. The shouted vocals feel similar in each song, adding little dynamics, if any. In “Petrified” it sounds as if the singer is hearing the song for the first time and doesn’t quite know what to do, but not in a cool, fun way. Anyhow, it’s decent. The vocals bum me out, but the instrumentation is excellent.

Mighty Quinn & the Oakland Ronin CD

Apparently, this band had a song played on an episode of Scrubs, or at least its singer did. I wouldn’t call this punk, maybe punky alternative? It reminds of early RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS before they became a household name on MTV. I was never into that CHILI PEPPERS or JANE’S ADDICTION “punk influenced” sound. Not bad but not my thing. Where’s Spin when you need it?

Bucket Flush / Mud Sex split EP

I think you would call MUD SEX garage punk thrash. They like rock’n’roll, but they play it too fast, like a blurry headache. From West Philly, and with an epic YouTube documentary for those who care. BUCKET FLUSH play very fast hardcore punk: they sound like a band off the MASTER TAPE comp or some such, and apparently like ROLLINS-era FLAG, and sing about giving drugs to kids in the park. Six songs on an EP seems somewhat admirable compared to what I usually have to review.

Natural Man & the Flamin’ Hot Band Electrical Man EP

The first song seemingly intentionally quotes directly from a DEVO song in the intro, then speeds into a birdcrash explosion of UKDIY Midwestern art school relentlessness. This definitely feels like a band that would have played with the EMBARRASSMENT in 1982. The second song is too funky for this hater, but I like the lyrics a lot: “Don’t ever trust your city to take care of you.” Watch out for that Michigan water, no one else is! The music is a total wash over sound: there’s no space, just a swathe of chants and sax and guitar tumble. Seems like the Midwest is alive with pleasure and here’s some audio to take you there?

Negative Vibes Broken Mind CD

Nothing fancy here, just eighteen bursts of utterly fantastic hardcore punk—and if Poland’s NEGATIVE VIBES are any indication, “fancy” is fukkn overrated. East Coast meets ACCÜSED vibe, these kids channel ’80s USHC brilliantly and their doses of unadulterated fury are a breath of fresh air.

Neo Neos Kill Someone You Hate LP

Really obnoxious, generally speedy, one-man band type garbage can pop from the impressively—perhaps destructively—prolific NEO NEOS. Generally speaking, some songs are so purely conceived, they would sound great in any setting, with any kind of production value. These are not those songs. The joy (or anger) of this record comes from the fact it sounds like shit: a cacophony of useless punk made useful by sheer volume and repetition. It’s a feat of will and hubris that’s commendable. A good record.

King Flamingo / Nico Bones split EP

KING FLAMINGO get things going with some awesome local-fi power pop, which sort of reminds me of WHITE WIRES. Song number one is bare-bones garage rock with a definite ‘60s feel. Next up is a slower ballad with a certain DANIEL JOHNSTON quality, I’m not sure if it’s the vocals or the sort of spacey effects they employ. Fresh off an an attempt to win American Idol, NICO BONES start side two with a peppy rockabilly-inspired number. They finish things off with a rocker that has definite doo-wop components, even starting off sounding like a cover of “Runaround Sue.” I’m not sure I’d say any of the tracks are knock-yoursocks-off outstanding, but they all keep your attention. Not bad.

No Statik Mysterious to Ourselves LP

Exactly what you would expect from NO STATIK. Fast, heavy- hitting, punchy hardcore. Mysterious to Ourselves doesn’t really lack anything that is hardcore, as it has all the tropes of a hardcore record: the blast, the fast, the chug, the breakdown. What has always stood out to me the most about NO STATIK is the cadence of frontperson Ruby. The way that anger, anxiety, and depression seem to just exude from the mic. They do get weird by adding some instrumental tracks to the end that serve as some soundscapes and noise, but in my opinion they could have gotten weirder. This record feels urgent and intense, the production is crystal clear, and the art is really fucking dope. I am assuming this is the last record from NO STATIK since they are billed as playing 1-2-3-4 Go! in Oakland with the tagline “say goodbye.”

No Idea / NOLLKOMPETENZ split LP

Bear with me y’all, this is one of those weird ones that came with very little info and required a bit of internet research that was mostly available in languages I don’t speak. So it seems like Sweden’s NO IDEA were around in the mid-’80s, only appearing on a relatively obscure cassette compilation during that time. This is brand new material, recorded some 32 years after their debut. It’s very much in line with what you’d expect from a bunch of dudes who haven’t been actively punk in three decades plus: awkward metal interludes, mediocre songs, and so forth. The vocals sound good at least. NOLLKOMPETENZ seem to be one of those admirable (but frustrating for an MRR reviewer) bands that don’t have any internet presence so I can’t tell you much about them but the tunes are pretty solid. They walk an interesting line, equal parts hardcore machismo, punk simplicity, and garage rock swagger, with some intentionally over the top guitar solos all held down by the super dirty bass and an extremely on-point drummer. NO IDEA are a write-off (though the ’86 material was recently reissued on an EP and may be worth looking up) but NOLLKOMPETENZ are intriguing and well worth a listen.

Organa LP

German anti-oppression powerviolence and grindcore that sounds like the industrial soundtrack to Brazil meets HIS HERO IS GONE, COMBATWOUNDEDVETERAN and the most downtrodden riffs from the CURE. Neo-crust breakdowns, blistering grindcore attacks, and open intermittent D-beat sections that are so brief you can’t ignore their ingenuity. Gnarly charred vocals spew out lyrics in both German and English. Lyrical themes decry the ugly existence of fascism, racism, nationalism, sexism, and homophobia. ORGANA, lay down six brutal tracks through shattering noise and fury. Production is super heavy—well done. This is a one-sided LP with a circle of barbed wire etched on the other.

Parsnip Feeling Small / Winter

The first PARSNIP 45 was a total moment of mind loss for me: a true and total encapsulation of C86/TVP, ’60s and ’80s Mod Girl Dreams, umm, DOLLY MIXTURE if they were way punker…and here with the second we have more of the same! The first song is a perfect DAN TREACY meets DOLLY MIXTURE dreamscape! My mind was a plastic bag before the song was over!!! It sounds almost like the song is sort of writing itself as it goes along in a totally pop freedom manner, like listening to a SWELL MAPS 7” you dreamed of. Flip the disc over and there’s this fucking perfect BANGS/PANDORAS pop garage song about the tyranny and delights of winter, what more would you want out of a 7’?! PARSNIP are a true and total delight, and I want fifty more 45s like this immediately, OK punkers?

POŻOGA Wolfpack Attack EP

We got us a ripper right here. No shortage of driving riffs, barking vocals and straight up nassssty bass tone. I would call it D-beat leaning hardcore, with plenty of moshy parts, but nothing too derivative. The band would definitely fit well on a bill with the UK’s ARMS RACE. Clear influence from GBH, VARUKERS, DISCHARGE, etc., and even reminded me a bit of BLOODKROW BUTCHER. There’s also a pretty rocking cover of “No Hay Futuro” by Spain’s RIP. The band is based out of Dublin, but comprised of immigrants from all over the world.

  • Reviewer Ali Tadayon
  • Label Distroy / Going Postal / Hidden Beauty / Seitan Hell Bike Punx / Senseless Acts of Anger / Tirano Intergalactico

Priors New Pleasure LP

Insistent, kinetic fuzzed-out punk pop. Itchy repetitive guitar riffs serve as foil to the just-this-side-of-annoying keyboard melodies that drive the songs. The vocalist’s delivery is snotty yet deadpan, detached yet sneering: little escapes their disdain. PRIORS pound their way through fourteen songs here, most of which come in around the two-minute mark, save for the epic title track, which despite its five-minute-plus is no slow burner.

Q Quiche EP

I suspect that if I’d paid more attention to the “mysterious guy hardcore” bands à la HOAX and them, I’d have a better frame of reference to review this record, as Q seem to share those bands’ self- destructive aggression and disinterest in sharing information. From my vantage point, Q are very much a band that fit in with the late ’90s Pessimiser / Theologian scene. There are occasional blastbeats, tons of mid-to-slow tempo stomping riffs, and shrieked, nearly metal styled vocals while the guitars are pure hardcore punk. They could easily be slotted in on one of the Cry Now, Cry Later comps alongside heavy hitters like MAN IS THE BASTARD, STAPLED SHUT, or especially CATTLEPRESS. This is an odd, unsettling record, I haven’t heard many like it. Worth checking out, especially for those with nostalgia for the powerviolence days.

Qlowski Pure as Fear EP

Stylish and busy post-punk from Italy. There’s an opposition in QLOWSKI’s tunes: the keys and melodies are pure dancefloor new wave, but the beat and mood is far darker. I realize this is sorta thee bread & butter post-punk tactic, but it feels extra unnerving in this instance. The best moments recall BLACK SUNDAY, the worst I’ve already forgotten.

Red Delicious Far From the Tree EP

This is so good! Hardcore with tough and growly female vocals sung in Portuguese, sick riffs, and sludgy breakdowns. There’s something old school about the vibe, with slower parts that almost have the kind of sassy, deliberate delivery of MINOR THREAT. The fast parts are brutal and fun at the same time, a combo that is sadly not as pervasive as one might hope. Listening to this record is the closest thing to being in a circle pit that you can do without actually moving. Every member of this band brings in cool, interesting elements. And they managed to cram eight tracks onto an EP. Don’t miss this!

Richard Papiercuts Twisting the Night 12"

Anyone who needs to read a review in order to determine whether to purchase this record almost certainly hasn’t heard 2015’s IF, the best LP of that year in my estimation, and probably one of the greatest of this dismal decade. This four-song 12” EP continues in the tradition of that record, which is to say it’s wonderful. RICHARD PAPIERCUTS easily gives lie to the common punk fallacy that the best music is always made by those who don’t know what they’re doing—it frequently is, of course, but PAPIERCUTS proves it’s possible to use an encyclopedic knowledge of music to create something unique, rather than cresting the wave of whatever flavor of nostalgia is in vogue this month. This
is all to say that while I’m sure there are specific reference points on this record, it’s hard to point them out because it’s all melding into something of its own (and because they’re probably largely bands I’ve never even heard of!). I can say that this record’s got a more ’80s pop lean to it than the last one: big sounds and big hooks and danceable rhythms. I can drop a reference to TEARS FOR FEARS or maybe even like PET SHOP BOYS or something (that one spoken line in “A Place to Stay”!). Or, just as impossibly, I can try to describe how this record makes me feel: peaceful, energized, optimistic—in a word, buoyant. But either approach is inadequate in conveying the beauty of Twisting the Night, a record that deserves to not just be heard, but to be listened to with focus and intent.

Roht Iðnsamfélagið Og Framtíð þess LP

You should expect a monster, and you will receive a monster. Thunderous and monotonous and fully exposed, ROHT take punk and drag it into a dark dark place; like RUDIMENTARY PENI and PAILHEAD, they are playing the game but never playing by the rules. I suppose you can call this industrial hardcore or something like that, and they would fit as nicely (or poorly) on a bill with LARD as with DYS. I had every expectation that this record was going to be good as soon as it was announced. I didn’t think it would be this good.

Rubella Gallows Humor LP

According to press, Cleveland’s RUBELLA has put out over 60 releases since 1998 and they’re all a little different. On this vinyl release, the band consists of dense, minimalist synth with mostly plain, somber, clear vocalizations. There is a ’90s 4AD Records feel to it, underscored by rumbling, low frequencies. The earnest vocal delivery sometimes reminds me of someone who had a past in folk-punk, but I don’t think that is really the case here. Overall, a solid release for the synth crowd.

Ruin By Design From Ashes to Empowerment CD

DC punk with a definite RITES OF SPRING feeling, albeit more hardcore and with more gang vocals. The title appropriately encomases the vibe lyrically and musically. Lots of exclamations in the lyric sheet, emphasized in all caps. If the songs were longer, the vocals might be too grating, but they keep things on point just enough. I find their sound to be honest, and their lyrics relevant (albeit a little cheesy), which is more than I can say for many current bands I’m introduced to.

Ryan Dino Chapter One: The Final Chapter LP

Mr. Dinosaur is actually Mr. Bell: Atlanta wunderkind and contributor of brawn and brains to notable rulers such as PREDATOR and GG KING, to name but a few. “Chapter One: The Final Chapter” finds Ryan out front, collecting material from various sessions over the past few years, and completed with shifting line-ups. It’s a uniformly kick-ass assemblage of material that’s wonderfully varied: merging the expected expert-level punk with nods to DIY pop, tongue-in- cheek metal, dark hardcore, and atmospheric weirdness. It’s epic from every angle, and a very deep-dive into the murky recesses of an extraordinarily capable punk brainiac—often funny, sometimes grim or damaged, always world class. It demands repeated listening and prompts a fair amount of obsession from the jump. Get lost.

S.B.F. Same Beat Forever LP

Damn, they really weren’t kidding. Programmed drums pretty much stick to the same beat the whole time, but this sounds raw and punk as fuck. Drum machines can create chaos; I don’t know why some people aren’t convinced of this. I’m hella in it when they do a more hardcore vibe, but sometimes they lose me with the more standard rock stuff. Luckily, this only happened twice, and this record goes hard as fuck pretty much the whole time. I would really love to hear this sound further developed and experimented with. I like this record a lot, but I’m even more interested to see where this could go.

Scheisse Minnelli Waking Up on Mistake Street CD

Fairly prolific German skate punk that at their best recalls later RKL (whom Destiny also released back in the late ’80s), though the production clearly dates this to the modern era. Not quite as show-offy musically as RKL, but there are lots of licks (from all instruments), and, like, the cover art is by Dan Sites who did literally all of the RKL artwork. The lyrics are junior high in quality, but not problematic or anything—just kinda goofy and about skating and shit, and occasionally surface-level political. I have a soft spot for stuff like this (and LOVE RKL) but I would probably enjoy them more live.

Shock Futur Noir EP

I swear, some of my favorite hardcore records of the past few years have come from France, and Bordeaux’s SHOCK doesn’t disappoint. Heavy NYHC influence on this five-song EP, as well as some clear influence from NEGATIVE APPROACH, and maybe even BOSTON STRANGLER. Lots of driving riffs, a couple banging breakdowns on “Futur Noir,” “Nuit de Brouillard,” and the three-minute “Guirre a la Guerre,” and some cool effects sprinkled in here and there.

Spazz Dwarf Jester Rising CD

Debut full-length from West Bay legends, Dwarf Jester Rising clocks in under 25 minutes and their irreverent stamp on ’90s hardcore is undeniable. Sample-laden guttural blasts, discordant dirges, this is what the kids call powerviolence, and it didn’t start here, but this is when people outside of California started paying attention. Dwarf Jester Rising is important, to be sure, but it’s also really fucking good. Favorite track: “Burning Tongue.”

Spectre Out of Time EP

SPECTRE plays some surfy rockabilly. It’s reverby and noodly as goes with that territory, but too straightforward and restrained for me.

Spit Toxic Noise LP

With nineteen songs ranging from twenty seconds to around two minutes, I think it’s safe to say at least one of these skate-punk riffs will tickle your fancy. I would describe it as CIRCLE JERKS with some blast beats here and there. The vocals are kinda snotty like Keith Morris, but the riffs range from melodic to thrashy. It’s kind of all over the place; still unsure of whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Tørsö Build and Break EP

Holy shit y’all, a good fucking record released by Revelation Records in the year 2018! TØRSÖ join fellow Bay Area punkers PRIMAL RITE as the only cool, interesting band released by the legendary label in a dog’s age. This is an excellent record: repping straightedge 2018 with a mix of classic mosh tendencies and a ton of driving Scandi-crust influence, made distinctive by both Mae’s commanding vocals (making her one of the very, very few women to appear on a Rev release) and extremely tight arrangements. “Grab A Shovel” might be the best of the bunch, with a massive outro that absolutely devastates. Thanks to a top-shelf recording job everything sounds fantastic and even the art is interesting and relevant to the band instead of being a slapped-together computerized mess.

Th’ Losin Streaks his Band Will Self-Destruct in T-Minus LP

Has it really been fourteen years since the first TH’ LOSIN STREAKS LP? Well, that certainly is too long to wait for a second album. During those lost years they may have discovered a time machine and gone to London to play some gigs at the Railway Hotel. This Band Will Self- Destruct in T-Minus has a mod-y garage rock feeling reminding me of a more restrained, early period the WHO. The songs are catchy. The guitar playing is punchy and crisp. Great album.

The CIA LP

This doesn’t sound “influenced” by anything, it doesn’t seem like a replicant band idea or a recreation of a desired era—it seems more like a combination of people (from VIAL, TY SEGALL BAND and CAIRO GANG) that decided to make a total sound. Denee’s vocals definitely make the band: she has a classic, savage style that will make you dream of PENELOPE HOUSTON and DINAH CANCER, but with the fury of watching the SCREAMERS’ Target Video. The aesthetic of total devastation. I was a huge fan of her last band VIAL, who were truly incredible live, so I was really excited for this record. Watching them play last month was killer, and I would say if you have a chance to do so, take it! That experience gave different meaning to this record, which upon initial listen did not enthrall me totally. The bassonly attack made me think of that ’90s Touch and Go style, or maybe GODHEADSILO. But at any rate, I think the live experience altered my perception of the record.

The Complicators Too Old flexi

One-song, flexi single with the chorus “I am too fucking old / and I don’t care.” It’s your basic ANTI-NOWHERE LEAGUE-style street punk. If you’re into this band, just buy the split EP with EMPIRE DOWN, which also has this song on it.

The Cult Of Lip Sleep Receiver Cassette

It’s dark, heavy, and grungy, but up-tempo. It’s sloppy rock with repetitive bass lines, fuzzy guitars, and reverb-heavy, monotone vocals. It’s like a gothy version of the PIXIES. It all felt a little like a boring wall of sound mess until it got to the last song, and all of a sudden it’s real cool. It’s more dynamic, the guitar strings are getting bent out of tune, but it’s actually real catchy, and despite the repetitive nature of all the band’s songs, this one feel fresh. At the very least, you should check out “Closer.”

The Ejector Seats Blueprint for a Miserable Existence LP

Dirty rock’n’roll that ranges between punk parts and poppy riffs. Pretty standard tape machine fuzz with a garage pop vibe throughout. The songwriting varies quite a bit and new sounds are introduced once in a while, which keeps you listening. If this is your thing then go for it, but there’s nothing too gripping for me here.

The Hunches Same New Thing LP

Well, here’s another wrong made right: part three in Almost Ready’s vault plundering of the late and oh-so-great HUNCHES. Same New Thing dusts off a recording session that predates their infamous debut—serving as a demo then, but offering a really cool glimpse into their (pretty stunning) process now, seventeen years (!) later. Anyone familiar with their debut album will recall the noise that coats each tune, but Same New Thing casts so many of those heart-wrenching moments as leaner and sometimes meaner than the more widely-heard versions. Formative takes on tunes like “Lisa Told Me” and “Explosion” really drive home just how smartly and furiously the HUNCHES crafted their songs. Tunes as fuckin’ great as those would sound good underwater, yes, but they’re magic here all the same. Related, there are serious kicks to be heard with their collective fandom shining through here: copious Cle-punk and Dee-Troit channeling, broken blues and glass-smash punky damage, firing all at once. No fuckin’ wonder I was so smitten with them. Still am, it seems. One of the few true 21st century killers. Highly recommended!

The Next Mad House CD

This band started in 1978, and played the Mabuhay during the club’s early punk heyday of the late ’70s. This a full-length of new songs which comes after a decades-long hiatus. A good mix of spunky punk and power pop songs. This reminds a lot of the BRIEFS, but there is a NEW YORK DOLLS quality at times as well. Good stuff.

The Outta Sorts Caligula EP

Local garage punk of the swing-swang-swingin’ variety. Real piss- in-yer-icetray stuff: foolish boppin’, elder juvenile delinquency. The title track attempts to link Trump and Caligula via their penchant for grope violations and it only gets brainier from there (just kidding, it doesn’t!). “I fucked a devil and I made her cum!” Ahem, well, OK, cool?

The Rusty Robots Sweethearts, Kisses, Bloody Knives EP

Punkabilly ahhhh-go-go from fuckin’ Leipzig, OK? Three tunes total, though I can hardly tell the difference between ‘em. Total hairspray overdrive skull’n’bones schlock here, no new or embarrassing ground broken, so no real harm done. What does morning-after smoked fish and stout barf sound like? Probably this.

The Sadists CD

There are four catchy, early New York punk style songs on this CD. The singer has a bratty, whiny vocal style and the band is tight in a Young Loud and Snotty way. Yet, it’s not annoyingly retro.Great stuff. They just need a better name.

The Suburban Homes EP 3 EP

Originally intended as their second release, and as such a bit on the older side, this EP nevertheless represents one more broadside in the HOMES’s attack on modern punk complacency. Definitely utilizing all the tools in the DESPERATE BICYCLES repair kit (the track “City Life” in particular borrows liberally from “Advice On Arrest”), they still manage to create something that feels now and vital.

Tightwire Six Feet Deep CD

A QUEERS / ATARIS / FIENDS-type pop punk band from Minneapolis that are a couple years old and play done-to-death. That said, it is done well. Being a trio, it’s pretty straight forward musically, as the short songs are catchy, and the vocals are on key. For the pop punk elite only.

Tortraffen Ism LP

An instant must-have: track after track of addictive mid-tempo Deutschpunk from a German expat punk in Western Australia. The dark tinges of EA80, SLIME-caliber vocals spewing fierce gravel, and there’s something to be said for the brilliant simplicity of a catchy fukkn track with piles of backing vocals. Presented with a painstakingly constructed recording that’s appropriately rough around the edges…this is great.

  • Reviewer Robert Collins
  • Label Aktiver Ausstand In Plastik / AntiMachine / Attack / Pogohai / Sedum

Lisa Marr / Tranzmitors In the Summer EP

Right off the bat with a FASTBACKS cover—that there is some bold shit. LISA MARR has a great voice, and I love the TRANZMITORS, but I’m not sure they really did much of anything with this song. In my mind, if you’re going to cover a great band like the FASTBACKS, you really need to do something with it. It kind of just sounds like a cover of “In the Summer.” They also cover two CUB songs. I honestly don’t know the originals, which might be better for me, as I have no reference point. My complaint about not doing anything with the A-cut aside, this is super poppy and catchy. It is right up my alley and I kind of love it. The one original is worthwhile and not at all dissimilar from the others. I can see myself listening to this over and over again. That voice!

Tropical Trash Southern Indiana Drone Footage LP

Dissonant psychedelic noise freakers TROPICAL TRASH are back with a new LP and it is excellent. There are unexpected twists around every turn on this record, but it still feels wholly accessible to anyone who isn’t already jamming down at the knob turner fest. The vocals sometimes have a Daydream Nation-era, blasé Thurston Moore vibe that works for them. Carefully constructed songs explode in different directions through bass-heavy riffs and non-standard instrumentation. For fans of early DREAMDECAY and THEUSAISAMONSTER.

Unfair Fight False Walls LP

Talented yet really campy hardcore, I guess they sound like STRUNG OUT? This kind of hardcore was never my thing and I am not going to start listening to it at 30. They have some interesting rhythms with some very intricate guitar and drums, but UNFAIR FIGHT couldn’t really hold my attention. This record sounds like a hodgepodge of every hardcore / punk band from Epitaph and Fat Wreck Chords from the mid-2000s, and it is a bit anxiety inducing to me.

V/A Paris Is Burning CD

Paris might be burning, but it sounds pretty damn good to these ears. Ten Parisian punk bands grace us with a couple of tracks each. Whether it’s the UK SUBS-esque HUMAN DOG FOOD, the GBH-inflected BREAKOUT, or the ever-ebullient techno pop punkers LOUIS LINGG AND THE BOMBS, the standard is uniformly astonishingly high for a compilation. The moody goths yearning for the days of ALIEN SEX FIEND even have HARASSMENT to keep ’em happy. I guess this does make them all a bit European sounding. But then again, it is Paris for fuck’s sake. Even better, this CD, brought to you by the trifecta of labels Sick My Duck, Sheekiz,and General Strike, is available for free from any of the featured bands, with a purchase of any of their other records. Given that this was sent in by LOUIS LINGG AND THE BOMBS, you ought to get it from them!

War of Destruction Angst LP

This is a legitimate shock. WAR OF DESTRUCTION, of course, were one of the earliest and best Danish hardcore bands, solidifying their place in the pantheon of European hardcore with the release of their self-titled EP in 1983. This EP is all new material, recorded in 2017, and get this: it fucking rips! Seriously, this is so much better than almost any similar new recording from an ’80s hardcore band with original members that it’s mind blowing! One song passes the 2:30 mark, everything is fucking fast, pissed, and super energetic, the vocals are vicious, the riffs are just as good as they were back in the day, the drumming is better than it ever was and some of these songs are as good or better than their ’80s stuff! Fellow punx, I implore you: ignore the shit graphic design and skepticism that naturally follows when you see an old school band’s new material. This is legitimately one of the best new records of the year.

Witch Fever Toothless / Daddy Pt. 2

Gritty rock’n’roll vibes that remind me of fatally tough ’90s rockers like BABES IN TOYLAND and L7. High production value and undeniable talent on the part of the vocalist make the sound fall somewhere between the current wave of underground punk witchiness and radio-ready hard rock. The lyrics are explicitly about claiming empowerment, which is pretty excellent whether it’s performed in a basement full of sweaty punks or a rock club full of regular people.

WLMRT Lube 2 EP

Fast, intense art punk with synth up front in the mix and maxed- out vocals. Even with the synth, freaky art riffs, and occasional group vocals, there’s nothing tender about this, which is so refreshing. There are some super-catchy grooves worthy of being called “hooks” but they’re buried in the mix in a very cool way that kind of sneaks up on you. Weird, angry, fun, and it seems like you could dance to it, or at least kind of flail around and shake spastically.

Young Skulls Bomb Train Blues / We’re Gone

This guitar-drums-organ trio of heavy-hitters from the likes of CHROME CRANKS and TRANS AM announce themselves with swagger. Two thick-necked, grinding garage rock numbers with the sweaty intensity of a rawer JOHN REIS project.