Sunday, 29 December 2013

No - Great Space

Tearing herky-jerky hardcore from another band that joins DiE at the forefront of the UK's fertile UNGOOGLEABLEHC scene, pushing this way and pulling that way, "ON MY WAY HOME I FELL BACK AGAIN CLAWING AND STUMBLING AND FALLING AGAIN" the vocals snap in polysyndetonic rush as Become Less opens and the guitars shift and shake, burst out like warnings, whistle and click like computer destruction, never settling. It's all twirl and clamor, bouncing back and forth. Nothing is similarly twitchy, stepping in and cutting back, the violence and tautness of a dancing boxer. Too Easy is muddier, slower, lumbering onwards in murk, still with that tension and release, like a fist clenching and unclenching. "SHEETS OF SOUND/FROM WITHIN/DO IT AGAIN/IT'S NOT SO HARD" Skeletal Hand lays that twitchpunk sharpness over another stompy structure, the bass giving hints of a garage punk roller, the song speaking of desolation, inside, outside, and paranoia. "IN THE DESERT/SOMETHING MOVED/SKIN PEELS/FROM THE BONE". Shifting Clouds begins stop/start but bursts into another fast fragmentary one, "HOW COULD COULD I FIND/COMFORT IN TIME". The vocals throughout this 12" are arranged in fractured smacks, jumping like they're trying to compete with (escape from) the peaks of the guitar's scrambling alarums. Restless hardcore with no catchy handles, no hooks or mollifying choral unification, just the turbulence of punnk noise.


Saturday, 28 December 2013

Replica - s/t EP

Really raging nogimmick hardcore punk on Prank Records in the US, Cut the Cord That... in Europe. No disrespect to gimmicks, but Replica have no time for anything that isn't pure hardcore punk drive, they hang on nothing but the anger, musically, vocally. Vocals that spit with fierce conviction, strapped and bolted to perfectly pitched hardcore punk that holds tight and mean, driving onwards with shivering precision. It sounds like, I 'unno. It sounds like a hardcore punk EP. Void, Articles of Faith, Vatican Commandos, who gives a fuck. It's hardcore punk done sharp and ugly gutsy.

Beginning with an acapella scream of "COMING FROM MY EYES! COMING FROM MY EYES!", Strings is an uncomfortable one, crashing about in pained imagery, hitting you cold and hard. Rapture, an apocalyptic call. "NO FUTURE REMAINS FOR YOU." Not the nihilistic fuck-it-off Sex Pistols drawl, but a ruinous promise. "I WILL EAT YOU ALL". Damn, that's huge. Assume the position of destroying angel, not gonna fuck you up, gonna wipe that whole slate clean. The way that Dharma snarls "RAPTUUUURE", dragging out the word, corrupting it, squeezing it out into a half-yer/half-yeah, is just the best.

I had to edit out about four uses of the word snarl from the first draft of this review. Cos that's the word that constantly comes to mind listening to this, the words ripping out with violence and threat but also in that way where it could curl into a venomous smile at any time. I keep forgetting that this is Replica's debut EP, partly cos I played their demo to death, partly cos it's just so fantastically put together.

Dealer shifts the EP, closing out the A-side, speeding up. Moving from the trudge of "ERAAAASE MEEEE! BLANK MY EXISTENCE!"  to the squeal of "ERAAAASE YOOOU!" so the first line in retrospect seems less like a self-loathing pain than a fuck-you double-dare. That's where it jumps.

Cos You Can't Stop the Weather goes forward, not forgetting the struggles, but moving onwards with them, through them, feeling them tumble around you. "Collect yourself. Collect yourself. Pick up the pieces. YOU CAN'T STOP THE WEEEATHER!". The slurring now seems wryer and than the torn out anguish of Strings, the bilious bite of Rapture. Big Black Boots hits a skittering fast rhythm and rolls with that onwards motion again. It's movement, on foot in front of the other, til you can kick shit to pieces when it tries to pull you down.

From Strings & Rapture, all loathing and destructions, wrath and anxiety, contempt, the EP explodes out of that whole. You Can't Stop the Weather still deals with the the spatterings of mistakes and misfortune ("HABIT FORMING LOSSES HAVE GOT ME PASSING TIME/WONDERING IF WHAT'S LEFT OF ME IS MINE") but they punch through that, rather than writhing around in it. Five hardcore songs of inevitability, of the struggle with blankness, of movement and personal progress, questioned, pulled at, and lived with. And it fucking snaaarls that shit at you, unrepentant in each moment. Lives lived in punk fury. One of the best straight-up hardcore punk records of the year.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Gag - This Punk Shit Is Cool But I Hope I'm Rob Zombie When I'm 28

Stealing the crown of best cover art of the year away from Criaturas' Espiritu De Libertad with their Who Killed Spikey Jacket? take on the Velvet Underground's banana thing, Gag's one sided 12" This Punk Shit Is Cool But I Hope I'm Rob Zombie When I'm 28 also completes the double with best album title of the year, narrowly pipping World Scariest Police Chases's NOFX And Out Come The Wolves Dookie and Japanther's Eat Like Lisa Act Like Bart at the finishing line.

Five tracks of stompy evil stuff, slobbery snarls closer to hunger animal barks than recognisably human sound, cackle noise and besmeared adumbrations of speech, thrumming slumbass and lumbering ghouls, horrorpunk, not as in campy songs about vampire girlfriends and zombie hordes and facing off against zombie hordes with just your hot vampire girlfriend by your side. Fear in incomprehensibility, fear in noise, fear in the distorted gargle, the hardcore clump, the echoes of mocking Flipper-y laughter squirting out of the grasping noise, the nicks and cuts of the guitar, fear in the repetition of grunts and in the sick guttural grumble. The song titles hinting at some conjurings of ugly malevolence hidden in that bestial yelp that draws up nightmarish shivers of GISM's perfectly mutilated Nuclear Armed Hogs from your fearpunk hindbrain, CLOWN FARM, RAW MEAT, STEEL SHANK. This EP is the sound of something approaching and whatever that shit is it's not good.


Sunday, 15 December 2013

Bad Noids - Everything From Soup to Dessert

Some great dismissive and obnoxious squirtpunk from Katorga Works. Cleveland's Bad Noids start their album with a sort of freakout clattering to a stop, like the cut-off section of some invisible first track (do you remember when CDs had those supersecret secret tracks that you had to rewind the first track to get to? That was the coolest thing about that medium), the track dividings ineptly placed, straight into it, catch up or fall out. Lies is accusatory, bitterness and playground spite "You smell like shit!" isn't big and it isn't clever but it's spat with enough venom it cuts, "Here's a gun you know what you to do with it." An invitation to self-destruction, nastier and than any brutish threat.

Bad Vomit's frantic downhill run rips quickly from "DON'T CARE BOUT WHAT YOU SAY" to "FUCK YOUR HUMAN RACE!" cutting between duelling panicked snaps, one breathless, the other bitter, that rise in panic and crash into incomprehensibility as the song rumbles and shakes its rusty panels as it approaches escape velocity, escape force. "ALL I HAVE TO SAY IS FUCK YOU PEOPLE IT'S TIME FOR ME TO LEAVE AND IT WEIGHS A TON"

Caught in a ramshackle basement cacophony, Bad Noids are held together by the vocals, which are Apocalypse Hoboken snotty, Crazy Spirit anguished, and sometimes (like on the line "We're only gonna play for yoooou." on Roth's Children/Lizard People) there's hints of a Biafran gleeful snideness. Closest maybe to Joey Vindictive's pained muppetbark, words sharpened and dragged out, pulled and mutilated, like "I was born in a bad dreeeeeeam" on the squeaking/cracking proto-punk roller Nun Mother, until even the simplest thing gets right down to its raw meaning, it's defining punch. Lines don't need wit when they're done like that.

Poison in the Kitchen crying "MAMA! WHAT'S FOR DINNER!?", theirs are cozy places thrashed and crashed, Bad Noids are the weirdos born of ultimate normality. The way that suburban sprawl and all its attempts at safety and quietitude cannot sustain itself and births some real odd pricks, chugging good ol' clean-livin-American-dream coca cola cos your mum's cooking you poison, dropping Wendy's slogans into the grimey underpunk.

Roth's Children's/Lizard's People stop-start trainclank into slide-around banger and hellbeast croon, a distortion, Mary Had a Little Lamb melody, more wholesomeness thrown into the meatgrinder, like the way My Country chucks in some rootsy harmonica (also present in drowned fits on Poison in the Kitchen) in a sort of twisted exaggeration of This Bike is a Pipe Bomb, it's a corruption of folky sounds. TBIAPB were rooting their sound in rebel-folk tradition, Bad Noids are blasting tradition to smoking stumps, the harmonica fraying at the edges and dragged along in the chaos.

It's just an album full of normality motifs (the TV dinner cover, yo), but the real kick of it comes not from its subversions but the way in which it twists these things, tapping into childhood bluntness and surety, that power of tantrum, fearsome in its absurd totality, eschewing nuance and subtext for screams of "COPS! COPS! FUCK THEIR SHIT!" (or as the near incomprehensible spiralling liner notes would have it "FUCK THERE SHIT!", the is full of typoes and misspellings and shit, just adding  to that sort of sloppy inept vibe). Happy Endings "There's no happy endings/If you don't cum" dares you to look for a deeper meaning to the idea of happy endings beyond this obvious adolescent jizzjoke, their might be some deeper depression there, but this is an album that makes a virtue of it's superficial nasalizings and scrapings, it's obsessions, it's unhappiness in itself, scrawl crayola-bright on its face plain, momentstuck, givenover, screaming for this time right now, no structure behind it, nothing but the fleeting sharpness of this ugly day. The secret track a primitive stomp of "I HAVE A HEADACHE!", giggling mindlessly through the pain and a drawl of Baaaad Nooooids. Bad Noids: their noids are bad. It is what it is.

Download here.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

NUKE CULT - Join or Don't

Itchin like a spiderbite, oozin like a cracked scab, a scritching scratchin ten minutes of bloody twerp punk from Kansas mutants. The guitar burbling like molten metal, the vocals all classic bitten-off sneer and insect snickering. Stress Relief draws out a little prickly riff, that digs in and grinds it out, Circle A goes from lo-fi bassbounce to chaotic panicspit of "CIRCLE A I WON'T OBEY!", Cop Caller rages before degenerating into an accusatory "WHO THE FUCK CALLED THE COPS!". Snob similarly self-destructs into a kind of playful drumpop, noise shiver and slovenly drawl. Join or Don't, blasé blasts, drawing you in or just letting you slip out the backdoor away from these disintegratory idiots. It's your loss. Sign me up. My draft for this review was just me smearing the logo in blood in my notebook.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Kromosom - Nuclear Reich

Australian rawpunx. They've got a split with Isterismo and a 12" called 8 Tracks, and instead of the next logical step, an 8 track called Twelve Inches, they've got this thing called Nuclear Reich. Some of this band have a really great true meathead music sideproject Bloody Hammer playing a crustied take street punk/Oi! and that Criminal Damage bent has bled back into Kromosom, infecting their Mauser/Giftgasattack/Kriegshög bluntness with a little bit of melody and communal spirit. Media Control has an intro that plays like a sharpened bonesplinter take on Cockney Rejects' I Am Not a Fool or maybe even Rancid's Avenue's and Alleyways and the fistpump of Culture Degeneration (CUL! TURE! DEGENERATION!) hits as one of those inept and inane irresistible shoutalongs like Lower Class Brats' Psycho. Elsewhere though they stick to the rawpunx and they do it fine but it's not quite as great as those moments where the Oi! degenerates into gross chaos roar, or the noise lifts up in brief melody.

Draw the Line and Answer are punx scene songs, tearing at the place of punk within the world, attacking those who would exploit it from outside (Answer: "CUT OUT THE LEECH THAT FEEDS ON PUNK BLOOD.") and corrupt it mindlessly from inside (Draw the Line: "BRING BONEHEAD DESTRUCTION"), Draw the Line almost cuts itself to pieces with an anguished stumbling, but Answer is just straight tear. Nuclear Reich and Radiation are classic odes to the bomb in that pained Discharge style, the titular opening leading in with a bit of dirty postapocalyptic creep, Radiation being another real down-the-line up and out one. Culture Degeneration, Virtual Inmate and Media Control all take shots at the psychological destruction brought about by technology and media in their fallout-swathed guitar rush. Human Shell is all GISM in its makings though, creepy inhuman burps and swirling/squealing guitar solos that sit in weird contrast to the burn of the rest of the sound.

The lyrics often break into disjointed declarative shouts, like that of a migrained brain inable to construct syntax in the pain and lightning fury and just blurting out the basics of its point leaving you to put things back together,  Media Control: "ARMY OF DRONES! MEDIA CONTROL! IDENTITY! MEDIA CONTROL!", Human Shell: "STERILE! CASTRATED! DOCILE!", Culture Degeration: "PROGRESSION! REGRESSION!", Radiation: "NUCLEAR LEAKAGE! NATURE RAVAGED!". Broken pieces of a broken world, stitched together by a breaking sound. Fullblast atomic stomppunx.