Reviews

Brassneck

Custody II LP

This sounds like a SAMIAM record. Like almost to a T. The only difference is this band is from Finland. So I suppose take that however you’d like. In fact….this is their bio on the internet: “We are a band. We make melodic music that makes us happy. We sound like Sergie Loobkoff having a knife fight with Matt Pryor and Mike Carter in the ’90s!” So it’s totally intentional, I guess. Fortunately I happen to thoroughly enjoy SAMIAM, so that helps.

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.

Custody / Spells split 7″

Denver label Snappy Little Numbers brings you a split 7” featuring a song apiece from Finnish band CUSTODY and the label owner’s band SPELLS. According to Discogs, the former band features members from NHL 95, CIGARETTE CROSSFIRE, and BAZED, while the latter pulls from MAIL ORDER CHILDREN, DUST HEART, and CHARLIE CONTINENTAL. I’ve never heard of any of those, but they all certainly sound like band names! Anyway, the CUSTODY side starts off promising enough—the first fifteen seconds sound like the band is gearing up to launch into a sick MAN OR ASTRO-MAN? rocker. Then the vocals kick in. Remember back in the mid-to-late ’90s when emo rock bands were trying to make it big by playing music that could slot in nicely next to VERTICAL HORIZON or LIFEHOUSE? No? Well, if you want to get a taste of what that sounded like, give this side a spin. SPELLS deliver on the promise of their name and start their side chanting out “C-O-N-F-I-D-E-N-C-E” like the BAY CITY ROLLERS. They then launch into something that sounds an awful lot like early HOT WATER MUSIC trying their hand at posicore. I’m having trouble imagining who this 7” would appeal to.

V/A Pulsebeat LP

As we witness the decay of the physical parts of punk, like the disappearance of the printed word and the records we used to hold in our hands, one of the earliest casualties was always going to be the compilation LP. These motherfuckers are hard to make good, you know? It’s like going to those goddamn ten band bill shows, where five people watch the band they came to see, and everyone goes outside to smoke during the rest of the night. So when I hear a comp LP in 2019 of bands I’ve never heard of and find it to be completely listenable and varied, I get pretty fucking stoked. Slobbery two-finger metal, tolerable Fat stuff, pop punk, dark synthy post-punk, drooling robo punk, cleaned-up crust, and even some fucking ska metal. I gotta hand it to these fine folks, as this is all over the place and still not fucking terrible. There’s a shit ton of sneer and bile in almost all the vocals, like every singer went to the same laryngitis-inducing singing school. Seventeen tracks, and financed by seven different record labels, which is kinda goofy, but hey, that’s the price you gotta pay to put out records in a time when nobody is buying. Definitely worth checking out.

Witch Fever Toothless / Daddy Pt. 2 7″

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.