Reviews

Beat Generation

Mercenárias Cadê As Armas? LP reissue

The 1986 debut album from São Paulo’s femme-punk legends MERCENÁRIAS finally gets the reissue treatment that it so desperately needed, following a pair of killer releases from Nada Nada Discos in recent years that focused on the band’s unreleased and archival material. Slashing guitar, dance-to-destroy rhythms, and shouted gang vocals denouncing all manner of oppressive systems (the police, the Brazilian government, the Catholic church), executed with an absolutely vicious, fiery energy like BUSH TETRAS or the AU PAIRS playing at a hardcore pace—ten songs in eighteen minutes! The LP’s two most urgent and blistering tracks are probably their best-known, namely “Polícia,” which starts off with a bass-supplied klaxon call before launching into a frantic push/pull of disco beats and call-and-response chants, and “Pânico,” which counters its scrabbling guitar and deep bass throb with some disarmingly melodic backing harmonies, but the darker, chorused-out post-punk moments (“Imagem” and “Amor Inimigo,” in particular) are equally great, foreshadowing a more SIOUXSIE-adjacent direction that MERCENÁRIAS would take on their 1988 follow-up Trashland. Highest recommendation possible!

Sudor Causa General 12″

It surprised me SUDOR still exists and records. Causa General is hard to pin to a specific sub-style that generously offers its relics to successors, it is balancing on the edge between fast punk and low-key hardcore. The exceptional thing about the record is how it has nothing to prove—it’s not trying to be anything—and within this rail-lacking zone, they have to stand on their own. While the autonomy drips from every chord, and likely there is a huge archive as an inspiration, I am seeking for something to hold onto. Nothing is under or over-portioned and while it could be mediocre, the record avoids that trap, too. SUDOR sounds dry, which peaks in a scratching rawness, closer to a sandpaper than a chainsaw; a simplified but energetic straightforward momentum pushes all songs; among the polished riffs they tastefully place tiny bits of solos; the beat speeds but never blasts; their sober-angst eschews any goofiness, chaos, collapsing sounds, tension overdrives. The formless aesthetic of the record floats unmarked, within territories where we are spoiled with distinctions and culture related references. How draft-like they sound, the idea of other bands could fill the frames of SUDOR songs, although the act would feel forced. It is not a drawback to be untag-able. It’s more fun for me too to be challenged to figure out what the fuck to write about the record, while I do enjoy hearing it. Judging on the loudness and prominent role of the vocals I bet lyrical messages are relevant. This is suggested by the pamphlet-looking lyrics sheet and the postcard-like cardboard piece that illustrates church and military people waving together. While obviously I am sweating over this review, as a listening experience it truly is unique and might offer a lot more food for thought then anything that is precisely tailored to my taste.

V/A Matado Por La Muerte Vol. 3 LP

I remember quite well the first time I listened to Matado Por La Muerte Vol. 1. I think it was 2008. It just felt like being hit in the face by a brick and just laughing about it while you bleed. It became an instant classic. This is the third volume (the second was released in 2015), with 21 exclusive tracks from eighteen Spanish-speaking bands. As always, the comp is full of gems and styles, all sharing the same iconoclast spirit. Here are some of the songs I enjoyed the best: CAMPAMENTO RUMANO’s PEGAMOIDES-meets-REZILLOS sound, the lo-fi fun of FINALE, the fury of Mexico’s CREMALLERAS, Peru’s MORBO’s street knowledge, Spanish SATÉLITE’s gothic notes on modern life, and the anthemic “España Me Pertenece” from TENDIDO CERO. This a really good introduction to current Spanish-speaking punk, hardcore, and post-punk if you’re interested in getting into it.