Push My Buttons

Bennî Diamond Man / Heavy Metals 7”

BENNÎ is Ben McCullough from WIZZARD SLEEVE, NATURAL CHILD, and HEAVY LIDS. He plays the synthesizer in a rollicking tribute to KRAFTWERK. I enjoyed listening to this on repeat while walking the still-empty streets of San Francisco, taking in the post-apocalypticness of the first anniversary of the pandemic. It’s just the right soundtrack. On the cover, BENNÎ is wearing a chainmail hood and black sleeveless shirt, looking like an extra from a Monty Python film. That juxtaposition is just another part of the fun.

Caligulas Mamma Dansa På Min Grav EP

This is a weird one but interesting at least. This Stockholm band plays nice bouncy, energetic punk with electronic overtones and is extremely Euro. There’s music here to dance and/or pogo to, often reminding me of early LEATHER NUN. There’s a side of beef on the cover. I don’t really get it but who cares. Skål!

Corridor People Corridor People LP

This is a new project from Stockholm, Sweden featuring Dan Gräns, former member of garage power-poppers IMPO AND THE TENTS, but this time going in a very different direction—heavy on synths, and banishing all mirth (but not without a retaining a significant amount of cowbell). Brooding yet upbeat, the vocals approach incantations, with intelligible points emerging from the reverb like distant mountain crags piercing a dense fog. The coolest thing about this record is the dance beat. I could definitely picture the dance party in Blade (the ’90s vampire movie) going off to this record, screaming along with the lyrics, “At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul.” Yes, my vampire friends, you will.

Isotope Soap An Artifact of Insects 12″

Surreal synth-punk from Sweden that’s not as blatantly DEVO-core in its intentions as a lot of their recently devolved contemporaries, but I wouldn’t rule out a Booji Boy mask hiding in the back of one of their closets, either. The electronically altered vocals (sometimes high-pitched and robotic, sometimes deep and theatrical) and the general sinister sci-fi aesthetic clearly owe some debts to late-’70s/early-’80s San Francisco synth-wielders like the RESIDENTS and CHROME, except ISOTOPE SOAP is very much a product of the dystopian, technologically-addled hell that we’re currently living in and that those earlier bands could only speculate in their creative visions.

Kalle Hygien Absolute Bomber EP

The A-side sounds like a weird mix of quirky electro punk and CRESS. Drum machine, distorted guitar and some minimal electronic and synth stuff. Cool, upbeat punky songs with a good drive and hook that sticks. Side B slows down, retains some of the same elements, but loses the urgency. The fourth track has no beat to speak of at all. Fans of HEAVY METAL and AUSMUTEANTS or thereabouts should check it out.

Kerosene Kream Look Mom EP

Quirky new wave from Stockholm for the now-times. They’ve got a quirky vibe, not in an arty or weirdo way but fun, like if GORILLA ANGREB was really the B-52’S. All four songs are upbeat and have strong pop hooks, elevated by multiple charismatic vocalists and a layer of electronics that liven up the whole production. It’s okay and even healthy to have a little fun every once in a while, so if you’re brooding as much as I am these days look no further than KEROSENE KREAM if you need a little pick-me-up.

Polyester Dipsomaniac / Bite Me 7”

Pretty decent shocking pink hard-wave from Sweden that looks and sounds damn fine under a black light. EPOXIES, X-RAY SPEX, the DAMNED, and VAGEENAS are good places to look if you’re needing that feeling of control by comparison. The title track excels and smokes on this platter and being a former “dipso” myself, it gives me that fuzzy feeling inside. “Bite Me” has a much bigger and theatrical sound and is no slouch in itself making this EP flow like luminous paint down the gutter.